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Jazz Articles | Blog

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…

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As Weekertoft approaches its first anniversary, its teething troubles seem over as it is settling down into a pattern of releasing music regularly. Of the label's two latest releases, one is on CD, the other a download, a balanced approach that seems likely to become the norm. The download release is significant for two connected reasons: it is the label's first release not to feature one of its proprietors, guitarist John Russell and pianist Paul G. Smyth; and, with music ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

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

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One of a growing number of genre-crushing young artists working at the fringes of modern jazz and so-called “new music," Canadian-born saxophonist and composer Anna Webber has staked out some truly distinctive musical terrain with her all-star Simple Trio. If you're not familiar with Ms. Webber (who's worked with Dan Weiss, Jen Shyu, Ohad Talmor and classical composer John Luther Adams to name a few), you will certainly recognize her Simple Trio-mates: John Hollenbeck and Matt Mitchell. Kindred spirits in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pawel Kaczmarczyk Audiofeeling Trio & Mr Krime: Vars & Kaper:Deconstruction

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Doubtless some were surprised when pianist/composer Pawel Kaczmarczyk left ACT Records after the ambitious Complexity in Simplicity (2009). However, the decision has perhaps proven to be a musically astute one, given the stunning statement from Kaczmarczyk's Audiofeeling Trio--featuring one of Poland's top rhythm sections in Maciej Adamczak and Dawid Fortuna--that was Something Personal (Hevhetia, 2015). Here, the same line-up is augmented by Mr. Krime (Wojceich Dlugosz) on turntables and electronics in a powerful reimagining of Bronislaw Kaper and Henryk Vars' ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rent Romus' Life's Blood Ensemble: Rising Colossus

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Edgetone Records sent the LP edition of this album that is also available on CD and digital format. Yet I still maintain that most jazz albums are better served via full-bodied analogue productions often equating to a studio-in-your-room experience, coupled with a first-rate turntable and audiophile trimmings that may enhance the listening experience. San Francisco new-jazz saxophonist Rent Romus leads his Life's Blood Ensemble --which has been an ongoing coalition comprised of alternating personnel --through a program framed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dag Magnus Narvesen Octet: Cornua Copiae

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At times there seems no end to the bewildering stream of talent emerging from the Norwegian jazz scene. Fresh off the conveyor belt comes drummer Dag Magnus Narvesen whose Damana Octet functions more akin to an even larger ensemble, thanks to some expertly voiced charts. On the roster are some increasingly familiar names, such as saxophonists Kristoffer Alberts and Andre Roligheten, alongside a welter of less well known but equally skilled compatriots. In its blend of concise yet integrated solos ...

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 ...


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