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Articles | Featured | Future

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mikkel Ploug: Alleviation

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Alleviation is a fascinatingly winsome document showcasing what occurs when tool serves as muse. While out and about in New York in 2016, Danish guitarist Mikkel Ploug happened upon a musical curio--a mahogany-top Gibson Banner LG-2. The instrument, essentially a wartime relic made by the (mostly) female work force in Gibson's Kalamazoo plant in the early '40s, was a worn-down wonder, preserved yet clearly put through life's demands. But the personality, quality of sound, and innate character of this guitar ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thunderblender: Last Minute Panic

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A rising name on the European jazz/improvised music scene, Brussels-based Irish saxophonist Sam Comerford possesses eggs and baskets aplenty, playing regularly in Ingo Hipp's AERIE, Chris Guilfoyle's Umbra, Eve Beuven's Heptatomic, Manolo Cabras' Brilliant Corners, as well as in a duo with Matthew Jacobson. Since 2015, however, Comerford has assumed the mantle of leader with Thunderblender, a trio featuring Belgians Hendrik Lasure on piano and Jens Bouttery on drums. Recorded live in 2016, the EP-length Last Minute Panic sees the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Carn Davidson 9: Murphy

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The “Carn" in Carn Davidson 9 is trombonist William, the “Davidson" saxophonist Tara. They are Canadians, as are the other seven members of their Toronto-based ensemble. They are also first-class musicians, an assessment that applies as well to everyone in the Carn Davidson 9. This is apparently the second album by the nonet, which had been together for seven years when Murphywas recorded in 2017. This new enterprise encompasses eight original compositions, four each by Carn and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bones: Haberdashery

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This is the second release by the experimental European trio, simply known as Bones. Led by bass clarinetist Ziv Taubenfeld, the program is mainly erected on fragmented motifs and variable currents amid false endings, and an aggregation of renewal processes. And it's an unrestricted engagement, as the musicians are afforded opportunities to expand and contract, while imparting a jaggedly flowing suite of subplots and operating as a cohesive improv unit. Indeed, the musicians are expressive but also work from semi-structured ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jen Shyu: Song of the Silver Geese

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The dramatic and sublime The Song of the Silver Geese is vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jen Shyu's magnum opus. On it Shyu draws from her dual cultural ancestry as well as other east Asian heritages to craft memorable performance art replete with dynamic spontaneity, unique instrumentation and exquisite poetry. The nine-piece suite is divided into “doors" and each segment brims with a mystical ambience and a surreal air. Shyu opens “Door 4: Sinom Semarangan" for example, with her resonant ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vasil Hadzimanov and Bojan Zulfikarpasic: Live at Kolarac

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The duet album between two simultaneously very similar and very opposite musicians, pianists Vasil Hadzimanov and Bojan Zulfikarpasic documents their two encounters that occurred in February and October 2015 at the prestigious concert hall in Belgrade, Kolarac. Both musicians have their distinguished careers in often different branches of jazz, have different sensibilities and yet they still find mutual ground and communication because of which this set is strangely engrossing. These two hit a remarkable rapport during the performances and that ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Geno Thackara's Best Releases of 2017

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My second year playing in the All About Jazz sandbox has been even more packed with great times and great musical discoveries than the first. I had the pleasure of reviewing plenty of terrific recordings just as strong or highly-rated as those on this list, not to mention some superb live shows, but these were the personal favorites that simply hit the spot the most. Portico QuartetArt in the Age of Automation Gondwana Records

BEST OF / YEAR END

Jerome Wilson's Best of 2017

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By most measures 2017 was not the best of years. In the jazz world however, the creativity and dedication of musicians worldwide was a beacon of positivity and purpose. Matt Wilson and Jane Ira Bloom made superb connections between poetry and jazz, new artists like Simon Millerd and Laura Campisi made strong first impressions and veteran powerhouses like Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith kept on doing what they do. Here are the 12 recordings that moved me the most ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Van Morrison: Roll With The Punches & Versatile

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Van Morrison's disenchantment with the business underpinnings of his creative output has been a continuing theme of his work over the years. It's always been something of a self-serving state of mind, but never so much so with the release of two very similarly-conceived and executed albums, on two different labels, within three months of each other. Roll With the Punches is the Belfast cowboy's second album on the Caroline Records label (following 2016's Keep Me Singing), while Versatile extends ...


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