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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Fail Better!: OWT

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Taking Samuel Beckett's exhortation from Worstward Ho as a moniker--and a highly appropriate credo for improvisers to aspire to--Portuguese co-operative ensemble Fail Better! proffer their second release, following Zero Sum (JACC, 2014), as a limited edition LP on the Lithuanian NoBusiness label. Of the five proponents, likely the most familiar will be trumpeter Luis Vicente and guitarist Marcelo dos Reis, both increasingly visible on the European scene and previously heard in fine style on the excellent Chamber 4 (FMR, 2015). ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Rader Quartet with Kidd Jordan: Reunion

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Intrepid drummer Abbey Rader's second release in 2016, Reunion documents a stimulating live session at the, now sadly defunct, Performing Arts Exchange (PAX) in Miami. Iconoclastic jazzman and legendary saxophonist Kidd Jordan joins Rader and his quartet for this exhilarating improvisational set captured at the above mentioned venue on Halloween night of 2012. The inspired and inspirational music has a definite spiritual edge to it. For instance, on “Talkin,' Burnin,' Prayin,'" Jordan lets loose airy, fluttering lines that, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tomo Jacobson: When the sleeping fish turn red and the skies start to sing in C major I will follow you to the end

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Every record seeks its ideal listener, but this concept is very abstract and often remains a riddle, but to Polish-born bassist, Tomo Jacobson, his ideal listener is very real and responded in the best possible way to the music on his album When the sleeping fish turn red and the skies start to sing in C major I will follow you to the end. The name of the listener is the iconic bassist and composer, William Parker, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Ponzol and Abbey Rader: It's Time

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Reedman Peter Ponzol not only designs and makes unique mouthpieces for various saxophones he is also an imaginative improviser with a singular style. He and intrepid drummer Abbey Rader have a long history of collaboration spanning over four decades. On their 2016 It's Time they perform 11 intimate, original duets that are full of sublime mysticism and showcase individual virtuosity and seamless camaraderie.Rader masterfully blends sparse chimes and reverberating cymbals with silent pauses as he sets a Zen ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brötzmann / Heather Leigh: Ears Are Filled With Wonder

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Iconoclastic German reedman Peter Brötzmann has appeared in almost every conceivable combination and circumstance over the years, from the maelstrom of Last Exit to the austere horn choir of Sonore, via hook ups with almost everyone in between, counting such free jazz luminaries as Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker. However on Ears Are Filled With Wonder, recorded during the German's residency in Krakow during November 2015, he finds an unlikely accomplice in Glasgow-based American pedal steel guitarist Heather ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

RED Trio & John Butcher: Summer Skyshift

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It was the release of Empire (No Business, 2011) that constituted the point at which many people first began to pay attention to the Portuguese Red Trio. That collaboration with English saxophonist John Butcher featured on several year end lists. It paved the way for a series of further alliances, documented on disc with trumpeter Nate Wooley and vibraphonist Mattias Ståhl, as well as other albums by the core trio. With Summer Skyshift, the band has come full circle as ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rich Halley 5: The Outlier

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The Outlier feels like the third part of a triptych which started with Creating Structure, followed by Eleven. The former recording demonstrated how structure can be created during improvisation, while the latter how more- or-less composed music with structure can be the foundational basis for improvisation. The record at hand mixes the two concepts thoroughly, so much so that, with help from the liner, one would be hard pressed to tell which tracks are composed and which are ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frode Gjerstad Trio: Steam In The Casa

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Frode Gjerstad has been a key figure of Norway's free jazz scene since the 1970s. In 1981 he started a fruitful collaboration with John Stevens, who encouraged him to pursue his interests in free improvisation, eventually connecting him with a diverse range of important international musicians. A few years later he started working with a younger generation of promising Norwegian improvisers, meeting Paal Nilssen- Love when the drummer was only 15; since then they created a strong musical and personal ...


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