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Eric Dolphy: Gone In The Air

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Newly-remastered SACD reissues of Eric Dolphy's albums for the Prestige label mark the 90th anniversary of his birth. The recording sessions that Eric Dolphy led in the last four years of his life advanced the evolution of jazz. It was a tragedy that Eric Dolphy gave himself so completely and unselfishly to art that he neglected to attend to the mundane demands of bodily health. The impact of his death on June 29, 1964 at age 36 ...

INTERVIEWS

Lucia Cadotsch: Whispers Speak Louder than Screams

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Speak Low (Enja Records, 2017), the debut release of her current Trio of the same name, catapulted Lucia Cadotsch among the new artists that promise to write original chapters of vocal jazz while showing deference to the artists that preceded them. Playing a compelling brand of music that has been aptly described as “acoustic retrofuturism" --think of it as the musical version of Blade Runner's stunning blend of futuristic ambience and vintage elegance --Lucia Cadotsch, bassist Petter Eldh and saxophonist ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tucker Antell: Grime Scene

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Tucker Antell knows how to make an entrance. The two-minute solo stand that opens Grime Scene finds his stentorian saxophone blowing brusque and fluid across a wide swath. It plays like a strong man's lament-cum-catharsis, but what follows on the same track is something else: a bluesy shuffle with foot tap-inducing properties. This marks the first of many welcome surprises on this pleasing debut. While the pairing of tenor saxophone and organ trio coupled with an affinity ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anthony Braxton Quartet: (Willisau) 1991 Studio

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Picture Miles Davis finishing a solo and stepping off the bandstand to smoke, while John Coltrane steps up to the microphone to play. I'll bet that never happened with the legendary Anthony Braxton Quartet (1985-1994). His quartet with pianist Marilyn Crispell, bassist Mark Dresser, and drummer Gerry Hemingway may be the best vehicle to appreciate Braxton's conceptions as they relate to the jazz tradition. That period was the turning point for Braxton. His hardscrabble existence ended as he was awarded ...

MIXCLOUD

Kaja Draksler Octet

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The Kaja Draksler Octet is a colorful group featuring very diverse musicians from different countries that chose Amsterdam as their home base. The music of the Slovenian pianist varies from simple songs to intricate compositions with refined textures, which are often inspired by modern classical music. Greek artist Andriana Minou wrote lyrics for this group. Kaja Draksler received the 2018 Paul Acket Award, a yearly grant endowed by the North Sea Jazz Festival to a musician deserving wider ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Soothsayers: Tradition

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To describe London's Soothsayers as a group of jazz musicians who get together to play a blend of roots reggae and Afrobeat is true--but potentially misleading. It could suggest that the musicians are taking time out from serious music-making to engage in something more ephemeral, of lesser importance. The truth is contrariwise. First off, roots reggae and Afrobeat are as intrinsically profound as jazz. Second, although Soothsayers have a lot of fun doing what they do--along with their audiences, for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Musillami Trio + 2: Life Anthem

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One day in June 2016, guitarist Michael Musillami woke up with a massive headache. Tests soon revealed that he had a brain hemorrhage and also an unrelated brain tumour. He slowly recovered from his illnesses and is now in good health. Life Anthem is his musical testament to his ordeal, realized in this recording by his long-standing trio with bassist Joe Fonda and drummer George Schuller plus guests Kirk Knuffke and Scott Robinson. The music, structured as a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Robert Kennedy: Closer To Home

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Robert Kennedy has an interesting story: by day he is a techie that works for Google; by night he is an organist in the San Francisco jazz scene. Though it is not unusual for musicians to have two careers these days, as let's face it, musicians are still being paid rates from the '70s for playing music. Kennedy hails originally from the southeastern region, so by influence the rich history of jazz is in his bones. It was his time ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPR: Symphonic Bowie at Central Park SummerStage

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Donny McCaslin Group / Ensemble LPRCentral Park SummerStage Symphonic Bowie New York, NY June 9, 2018 New York City can't stop saying goodbye to David Bowie. And with good reason. The rock legend lived in Manhattan for more than 20 years and often spoke fondly of his adopted city. On June 9, another tribute was staged, this one at Central Park's SummerStage featuring Donny McCaslin, whose band backed Bowie on his final album, followed ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

The Song Poetry of William Parker

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The voice is close to the essence of what it means to be human. Through the voice, we express ourselves and sing our sorrow. It goes back a long way to hymns, blues, arias and standards. Through the tunes we tune in to ourselves and forget our daily strife. When songs are best, they become poetry. A succinct way of putting into words what can't be easily said. There is also relief in words. They can expand ...