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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Noah Preminger: Meditations on Freedom

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Released to coincide with the inauguration of Donald Trump as President, the message of Saxophonist Noah Preminger's Meditations on Freedom is as direct as the music is powerful. Conceived immediately after Election Day 2016 and recorded shortly thereafter without cuts or edits, the music is a testament to both Preminger's artistic prowess and deep commitment to political engagement.The album's nine offerings present a series of potent statements on social justice, the struggle for equity, and a stark repudiation ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Noah Preminger: Meditations on Freedom

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Open and civil discourse has always been a tenant of democracy. Recent political events in the U.S. have reduced that discourse to a crude, gutter-level low that has left an alienated population in its wake, marginalized and left without a strong voice. From the time of the Civil War, protest music has provided counsel for vulnerable segments of society. With Meditations on Freedom saxophonist Noah Preminger adds his voice to the ranks of Billie Holiday's “Strange Fruit" (Commodore, 1939), Charles ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Adam Berenson / Scott Barnum: Penumbra

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Not one to be tethered to genres or styles, pianist and composer Adam Berenson has been long at home as a jazz pianist, a classical composer, an electronics player or any permutation of those roles. His previous double-CD Lumen (Dream Play, 2014)--complete with two string quartets--was indeed a far-ranging collection of styles and genres that the composer positioned in the broad category of chamber music. With the duo release Penumbra, Berenson and bassist Scott Barnum take to yet another experimental ...

BEST OF / YEAR END

Jerome Wilson's Best Releases of 2016

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Any “best of the year" list is really a snapshot in time. It's impossible to listen to all the worthwhile jazz music out there so you end up making a list based on what you've heard during the year. With apologies to Kris Davis, John Scofield, Darcy James Argue and all the other musicians whose CDs I haven't heard yet, here is my current Best Of for 2016. Nels Cline Lovers Blue Note Records

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Calling Ra, Mr. Sun Ra your rocket ship is ready

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How prophetic is it that we now live in the second century of Sun Ra's earthly existence? Born (maybe) in Alabama 1914, Herman Poole Blount became the pianist, arranger, band leader, poet, and can we say prophet(?) we know as Sun Ra. He was both a man of his times and a messenger from the space. I say he was maybe born in 1914, because the person known as Sonny Blount claimed to have been abducted by space aliens in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Awakening Orchestra: Atticus Live!

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Sorry. If this is the direction in which big-band jazz is moving, please apply the brakes as quickly and gently as possible so that this listener may exit the train. When it comes to big bands, some members of an older generation cling to standards that must always be upheld. Not swinging is from time to time a forgivable sin, depending on the circumstances; plodding erratically forward with a minimum of charm and no clear purpose in mind is less ...

LIVE REVIEWS

London Jazz Festival 2016

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The London Jazz Festival, now in its 24th year, straddles the capital--its noble aim, as ever, is the provision of musical succour for the diverse tastes that make up the larger British jazz audience. You want mainstream, you'll find it. Looking for fusion, then look no further. Free jazz, bebop, blues? Step this way. Postjazz? Postjazz? I'm sure I saw it here somewhere. The first Sunday caught James Blood Ulmer at the East End's Rich Mix. Backed by ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years

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The BeatlesEight Days a Week: The Touring Years (2 DVD Deluxe Edition) Universal Music Group 2016 Even with an almost immediately coincidental announcement of home video release in the early fall of 2016, Ron Howard's Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years elicited a response so great on its initially limited theatrical showings, the film compelled subsequent extended runs. And rightly so, for the former TV star and renowned director's film contains a mix of ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Sarajevo Jazz Festival 2016

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Sarajevo Jazz Festival 2016 Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina November 2-6, 2016 When your plane lands in Sarajevo, its wheels roll over the crumbling underground tunnel that was the only connection of the city to the outside world during the Serbian siege from April 5, 1992 to February 29, 1996. It was twenty years ago, and a few months later, in a devastated town, Edin Zubcevic launched his first jazz festival. “This ...


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