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Andy Biskin's Ibid: Act Necessary

Read "Act Necessary" reviewed by Dave Wayne

A working jazz musician in New York City and environs since 1991, clarinetist, composer, and filmmaker Andy Biskin is a modern-day Renaissance Man. The Texas native was already a fixture in San Antonio's polka scene (yes, people, this is a thing) as a teenager, Biskin attended Yale where he double-majored in music and anthropology. Later, he joined the staff of the legendary folklorist Alan Lomax. While working as an independent videographer and video producer / director, fate intervened and a ...

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Andy Biskin Ibid: Act Necessary

Read "Act Necessary" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Act Necessary is clarinetist-composer Andy Biskin's fifth album, where he integrates the jazz idiom into Americana, slapstick fare, funk and other disparate genres. He's an artist who stands out among his peers as he goes against the grain, while always mingling wit and whimsy into his overall musicality. Biskin's amiable and bubbly clarinet work forges an entryway into off-center rhythmic exercises amid a good-timey vibe; however, his music is not saccharine or schmaltzy. And he employs an all-star unit on ...

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Edward Ratliff: Those Moments Before

Read "Those Moments Before" reviewed by Troy Collins

The cover of Those Moments Before features a poster of Marlene Dietrich advertising Josef von Sternberg's 1931 film Dishonored. While this album--New York-based multi-instrumentalist Edward Ratliff's third as a leader--isn't a soundtrack like the earlier Barcelona in 48 Hours (Strudelmedia, 2004) was, this date unfolds with the same degree of wild eclecticism and globe-trotting impetuousness as a proverbial soundtrack album.

Joined by a stellar cast of Downtown improvisers, Ratliff has an unlimited palette of sound at his disposal. ...

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Edward Ratliff: Those Moments Before

Read "Those Moments Before" reviewed by Jerry D'Souza

Multi-instrumentalist Edward Ratliff brings a wide tapestry of sounds to Those Moments Before. His inspiration comes from Henry Threadgill, a funeral march, the tango, and Hong Kong movies, and he has assembled a stellar cast of musicians to help realize his ambitious canvas. The portrait he presents is a dynamic, moving one.

Ratliff is comfortable in several zones and his music proves the point with instrumental virtuosity that underscores his artistry. One of the more intriguing tracks, “Kowloon ...

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Andy Biskin Quartet: Early American: The Melodies of Stephen Foster

Read "Early American: The Melodies of Stephen Foster" reviewed by George Kanzler

Stephen Foster was America's first pop songwriter, his music widely sung and played, as well as reproduced on music boxes (this album begins and ends with examples) in the last half of the 19th Century. But Foster is not the only uniquely American musician clarinetist Andy Biskin takes inspiration from in this idiosyncratic album.

The spirit of Raymond Scott, whose music was created roughly a century after Foster's, also informs this project. Scott's antic style--best known from his soundtrack work ...

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Andy Biskin: Trio Tragico

Read "Trio Tragico" reviewed by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

Andy Biskin spins a musical tragicomedy on Trio Tragico. With Dave Ballou (trumpet) and Drew Gress (bass), he presents a melancholic but discretely jovial blend of chamber music and exciting new rhythms. The clarinetist's live set at Cornelia Street Café in early October captured the electricity of the trio. The improvisational bits of the performance were clean and affable, without tonal contradictions or awkward transitions. Onstage, Biskin seemed to be just as comfortable talking about his songs ...

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Andy Biskin Quartet: Early American: The Melodies of Stephen Foster

Read "Early American: The Melodies of Stephen Foster" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

In the October 2006 issue of Jazzman magazine, Vincent Bessières documents the explosion of jazz renditions of compositions by Björk, pointing to versions by artists like Geoff Keezer, Marcin Wasilewski, Greg Osby, Eric Legnini, Jason Moran, Larry Goldings and Dave Douglas. (If he'd waited another month or so, he could have included a lovely reading of “New World" on Florian Weber's new trio record Minsarah, Enja/Justin Time, 2006.) Jazz musicians' salutary interest in Björk's songs reflects a ...


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