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Jazz Articles | Blog

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Borah Bergman/Peter Brötzmann/Frode Gjerstad: Left

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Left brings together a particularly uncompromising triumvirate of veterans in pianist Borah Bergman (who died in 2012), German saxophone icon Peter Brötzmann and Norwegian reedman Frode Gjerstad. Although all three recorded after this date in various combinations, this performance from the 1996 Molde International Jazz Festival was the threesome's first and only appearance together on disc. Gjerstad unearthed the tape while seeking an overview of old recordings and was struck by Bergman's contribution and especially his shining left hand, hence ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mat Walerian/Matthew Shipp/Hamid Drake: Jungle: Live At Okuden

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Polish reedman Mat Walerian's second album is in many ways a follow up to his first, Live At Okuden (ESP-disk, 2015). The two CD set was recorded live in Torun in central Poland, as part of Walerian's Okuden concert series, six months after his debut, and similarly features pianist Matthew Shipp. However this time out drummer Hamid Drake joins the pair. Although Walerian is credited with all but four of the 13 tracks, his compositions seem as oblique as those ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You

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This debut octet outing led by guitarist Mary Halvorson is packed with an all-star team, featuring alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon, bassist John Hébert and other notables. However, one of the differentiators is the addition of pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, who pushes the envelope above and beyond standard fare, sans the traditional Country music element. As many would anticipate, Halvorson integrates a modicum of surprises into the program that include false endings, shifting cadences, melancholic interludes and manic breakdowns amid ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Forebrace: Steeped

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Steeped is the second album release from Forebrace, the welcome follow-up to Bad Folds (Copecod, 2013). For those who delighted in that album, the good news is that the quartet's line-up remains unchanged, and the balance between composed and improvised music is as before--composed pieces credited to Forebrace's leader and clarinetist, Alex Ward, alternating with improvisations credited to the whole group. The big difference between Steeped and its predecessor is that this album was recorded live in concert (at Cafe ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anna Webber's Simple Trio with Matt Mitchell & John Hollenbeck: Binary

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Canadian native, now a Brooklyn resident, Anna Webber, has a broad, international music education having studied at McGill University in Montreal, Manhattan School of Music and the Jazz Institute of Berlin. In the latter two cases she has received Master's degrees to accompany the substantial number of grants and awards that speak to her compositional ability. She has recorded three previous albums as a leader and with Binary, the saxophonist/flautist/composer returns with her “Simple Trio" of pianist Matt Mitchell and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You

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Continuing her streak of outstanding releases, guitarist extraordinaire Mary Halvorson once again shows her determination to build upon her unique style as a composer and bandleader. She's taken her septet from 2013's superb Illusionary Sea and added an eighth member, pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, and the resulting music is typical Halvorson: harmonically complex, emotionally compelling, and full of interesting moments worth savoring. The first thing one notices about Alcorn's presence is the sense of atmosphere she provides. ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Two Sides of Stunt: Jacob Anderskov and Jacob Christoffersen

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Stunt Records is the most prominent jazz label in Denmark, and for a long time they have released high quality jazz, but other genres have also caught the attention of label heads, Søren Friis and Peter Littauer. However, there is a decidedly mainstream appeal to many of their releases and the voices of the so-called avant-garde are relatively rarely heard. There have been attempts earlier to cover the more experimental alleys of jazz with the series Stunt X, but it ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cortex: Live In New York

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Live In New York constitutes the fourth outing by young Norwegian outfit Cortex. It's one of a stream of top notch dates emerging on the Portuguese Clean Feed label by a welter of interconnected bands from the burgeoning Scandinavian scene. All four members share a common background in jazz studies from Trondheim, but are now active in a variety of guises. Trumpeter Thomas Johansson appears on All Included's Satan in Plain Clothes (2015)and Friends & Neighbors' What's Wrong? (2016), while ...


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