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Jazz Articles


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 ...


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 ...


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. ...


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 ...


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 ...


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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Copenhagen-based bassist Tomo Jacobson--employing his musical vehicle, Moonbow--creates a musical ruckus with When the sleeping fish turn red and the skies start to sing in C-major I will follow you to the end (how's that for a CD title?). And it sounds like a ruckus in the blacksmith shop--metallic, slashing guitar, raucous, ragged-edged, tin/brass saxophones over a pumping-bellows bass and hammering drums. All this, and the sounds still has a feeling of structure--albeit a loose one--that allows the individual instrumentalists ...


Thollem McDonas: Meeting At The Parting Place

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Coming at improvisational music from the classical realm, pianist Thollem McDonas remains resolutely outside of the main stream of the jazz world. Primarily inspired by, as he puts it in his liner notes to Meeting at the Parting Place, ..."European concert music from the Renaissance to the 20th Century and jazz, particularly of the '60s and '70s" McDonas has consciously chosen a more difficult--but more artistically rewarding--path. He's one of those rare artists whose modus operandi is predicated upon the ...


Matt Piet: Of Sound Mind

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Pianist Matt Piet is most definitely a thinking man's player, roughly on a par with Ron Stabinsky (see Free For One), but with less notoriety (at least for now). Appearing as a member of the cooperative group Four Letter Words on Blow, he seemed to drive the music with a strong, clear musical personality. Of Sound Mind is his recording debut as a leader, and is intended as a major statement of intent. The instrumentation is that of ...

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