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Differential Equations: Jeff Platz / Kit Demos / Fabio Delvo / John McLellan

Read "Differential Equations: Jeff Platz / Kit Demos / Fabio Delvo / John McLellan" reviewed by Dave Wayne

Those drawn to free improvised music can attest to the appeal of the style: the constant flow of ideas and the crackling energy of instantaneous musical interactions. When an improvising band is “on," you know it. What you're hearing is the sound of others listening intently and responding in the moment. Heavily dependent on group chemistry, the success or failure of a free improvising group hinges on the ability of its members to participate in a sort of give-and-take that ...

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Federico Ughi: Songs For Four Cities

Read "Songs For Four Cities" reviewed by Florence Wetzel

Drummer Federico Ughi's Songs for Four Cities is a poetic meditation on inner and outer geography that's filled with deliciously lyrical tunes. Ughi lived in Italy until age 21, and then spent almost a decade in London before moving to his current home in New York City in 2000. The eight compositions on the CD explore these cities as well as Montreal, Canada, offering highly personal statements that form a sonic autobiography, a personal map of both disquiet and contentment ...

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Federico Ughi: Songs For Four Cities

Read "Songs For Four Cities" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Drummer/composer Federico Ughi presents a collection of songs dedicated to four cities in which he has lived and that have made an impact on his music. His gentle and beautiful approach bridges European and American jazz, but mostly it filters the current New York scene through a silky translucent gauze.This album of music (explain to your kids that, at one time, artists recorded collections of music and not just singles) maintains a consistent dialogue between the players, the ...

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The Flatlands Collective: Gnomade

Read "Gnomade" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The Flatlands Collective is a small big band in the Chicago tradition of various Ken Vandermark ensembles. Its leader, saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra is Dutch, which confuses the clear picture, in that this music is at times more folkishly American than American music.

But then again, this whole Chicago revival of jazz has had deep European roots.

The saxophonist builds this ensemble around Chicago players clarinetist James Falzone, trombonist Jeb Bishop (formerly of the Vandermark 5), Fred ...

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Steve Lantner Quartet: Paradise Road

Read "Paradise Road" reviewed by James Taylor

Three tracks and 56 minutes deep, Paradise Road is a workout--for listener and artists alike. The moods range from caffeinated and frenetic to thoughtful and subdued, with each member of the quartet holding the spotlight for a moment and none outshining the other. Steve Lantner's compositions bring together the best of the American and European avant-garde. A comparison to Matthew Shipp would be justified, as the two seem to associate with the same circle of friends (Mat ...

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Steve Lantner Quartet: Paradise Road

Read "Paradise Road" reviewed by Troy Collins

Recorded live at the Skycap Festival in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Paradise Road is the debut recording of pianist Steve Lantner's new quartet. Lantner's trio, last heard on Blue Yonder (Skycap, 2005), featured the energetic pianist accompanied by Joe Morris and Luther Gray, on bass and drums respectively. The spirited trio is now a quartet, augmented by saxophonist Allan Chase, well known for his turbulent excursions in Rashied Ali's Prima Materia project.

Unedited, the concert consists of three lengthy pieces, ...

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Steve Lantner Trio: Blue Yonder

Read "Blue Yonder" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Pianist Steve Lantner, an active player in Boston's improvised music community, has an ear for the unexpected. His last trio outing, Saying So, established him as a literate, empathetic voice devoted to expanding language and lyricism through understatement. On this freely improvised followup, he breaks down a number of barriers, exploring territory marked by more overt dissonance and wider emotional dynamics--often doing so by leaping and bounding, rather than assembling careful, flowing statements.

His partners on Blue Yonder, ...

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Natural History: Fur

Read "Fur" reviewed by Chris May

In which genius guitarist Joe Morris picks up the acoustic bass, forms a trio with two unknown musicians half his age, records just under an hour of totally improvised music... and blows us away with beauty.

Pretty much everything about Fur is a surprise. Morris himself, a guitarist born out of the splintered-note, rocket-speed intensity of Coltrane's late period, who took up the acoustic bass seriously only five years ago, stays much closer to the inside tradition here. ...

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Jim Hobbs & The Fully Celebrated Orchestra: Lapis Exilis

Read "Lapis Exilis" reviewed by Germein Linares

The Fully Celebrated Orchestra is an uncommon creature, even in the bizarro world of free jazz. While its music remains firmly rooted in the jazz aesthetic, the orchestra frequently invites other elements to its dance. Invite might be too soft, actually; these players demand action, movement, and depth from rock, soul, funk, and several non-Western influences. Placed into their compositions, the potent mix makes for jazz that is more urgent and youthful than swing, more eclectic than bop. It is, ...

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Bright Light Group: Bright Light Group

Read "Bright Light Group" reviewed by Paul Olson

Boston guitarist Jeff Platz's Bright Light Group combines free jazz noise with an underlying rock sensibility and feel. What's interesting about the group's eponymously titled debut CD is that these elements fuse to produce an oddly relaxed, even insouciant result.

The quintet is composed of guitarist Platz, acoustic bassist Kit Demos, trumpeter Scott Getchell, altoist Jim Hobbs, and drummer Django Carranza. The latter two play together in Hobbs' Fully Celebrated Orchestra, which shares a similar sound and aesthetic: a fondness ...

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Jim Hobbs & the Fully Celebrated Orchestra: Lapis Exilis

Read "Lapis Exilis" reviewed by Paul Olson

Boston-based altoist Jim Hobbs and his Fully Celebrated Orchestra combine vast musical prowess and playful, irreverent intelligence on Lapis Exilis. No one today is playing the alto better than Hobbs--the vast range of tones he summons from the small horn is altogether remarkable--and Orchestra members cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist Timo Shanko, and drummer Django Carranza display a comparable mastery of their respective axes. Carranza and Shanko are a devastating rhythm section (Carranza's got the shifting time of jazz down, ...

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Timo Shanko: Freedom Right Now

Read "Freedom Right Now" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Bassist and saxophonist Timo Shanko presents an exhilarating set of songs on Freedom Right Now. Taking a musical cue from the influential groups of Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, the obscure Shanko is joined by an equally unknown set of musicians that include Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, Keala Kaumeheiwa and Gary Wicks on bass, and Luther Gray on drums. A little research tells us that Shanko plays bass on Joe Morris' current trio and with Boston's Fully Celebrated Orchestra. ...