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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

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Album Review

Mary Halvorson's Code Girl: Artlessly Falling

Read "Artlessly Falling" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


Guitarist Mary Halvorson has displayed her playing and composing talents in a number of settings, but this second release by her song-based band, Code Girl, is one of the most focused and intense things she has ever done. Halvorson and her quintet constructed music around eight of her own poems, each written in a specific poetic form. The results are fluid and improvisational art songs, in the manner of complex but catchy British art rock groups of the ...

7

Album Review

Mary Halvorson: Artlessly Falling

Read "Artlessly Falling" reviewed by John Sharpe


Not content with having scaled the heights of the guitar pantheon, with the second release from Code Girl, Mary Halvorson also cements her place in a unique genre of her own design. As befits someone who has taken to heart Anthony Braxton's dictum to find her own musical voice, she presents something which is part art song, part indie rock, part mainstream jazz and part free form, but all Halvorson. Mirroring the progression of her trio, first to ...

9

Album Review

Mary Halvorson: Artlessly Falling

Read "Artlessly Falling" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner


Released by Mary Halvorson's Code Girl, Artlessly Falling presents eight new compositions, each of which is structured around a specific poetic form with accompanying lyrics/poems by Halvorson herself. The forms represent a significant diversity of cultural origins and eras, including Japanese Tanka, 12th century Sestina, French Villanelle, and Malay Pantoum. With each of the above sources arguably requiring deep study to become well-versed in, this central conceit might feel like a daring experiment, hubris, or a bit of ...

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Album Review

Mary Halvorson's Code Girl: Artlessly Falling

Read "Artlessly Falling" reviewed by Troy Dostert


Aside from her most obvious musical talents, including her phenomenal guitar chops and her budding talent as a lyricist, Mary Halvorson has a special gift for understanding the abilities of her bandmates and drawing out their strengths to the fullest. Part of it is the way she tends to keep the same company in her assorted projects: bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara are the leading examples, having recorded extensively with her in their trio Thumbscrew, as heard on ...

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Album Review

Anthony Braxton: Quartet (New Haven) 2014

Read "Quartet (New Haven) 2014" reviewed by Don Phipps


The shifting moods of Anthony Braxton's Quartet (New Haven) 2014 probably have to do with the song dedications. Each number reflects a famous and important popular musician and composer—-Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, James Brown and Merle Haggard. These four musicians would most certainly provide a strange but intoxicating mix if played at a party. Yet Hendrix's laid back and yet intense style, Joplin's unique blues passion, Brown's explosive showman funk and Haggard's homespun country songs serve as the inspiration for ...

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Album Review

Taylor Ho Bynum: The Ambiguity Manifesto

Read "The Ambiguity Manifesto" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Cornetist, composer, organizer and curator Taylor Ho Bynum marshals his recording The Ambiguity Manifesto into the categories of before and after, as in AM/PM, BC/AD, and maybe more appropriately before AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) and after AACM. With the entire breadth of recorded jazz history available, Bynum chose the concepts of the AACM as the tipping point(s) for this recording. This is a natural progression from his apprenticeship with Anthony Braxton and also his work with ...

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Album Review

Taylor Ho Bynum 9-tette: The Ambiguity Manifesto

Read "The Ambiguity Manifesto" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Taylor Ho Bynum's The Ambiguity Manifesto, with its oxymoronic title, is the third album in what the cornetist-composer calls an “accidental trilogy." Following his Firehouse 12 Records releases Navigation (Possible Abstracts XII & XIII) (2013) and Enter the Plus Tet (2016), Bynum recognized a form--however unconventional--both in the composition and performing of these large ensemble works. With a 9-tette made up of members of his sextet and Plus Tet, Bynum adds Stomu Takeishi on electric bass. Bynum cites ...


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