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Jazz Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stick Men featuring Mel Collins: Roppongi

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Stick Men is a long standing offshoot group from the iconic progressive rock band King Crimson. Founded in 2007 by drummer Pat Mastelotto and Chapman Stick players Tony Levin and Michael Bernier, it took its name from the unusual instrumentation of two Stick players. Mastelotto recently joked that if they knew it would go on so long, they would have thought of a better name. Since touch guitarist Markus Reuter replaced Bernier they have continued to compose new material, also ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nick Fraser: Is Life Long?

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There is a pulse, maybe better stated a pace, drummer Nick Fraser is partial to on his recording Is Life Long?. His quartet, originally named Towns And Villages, is assembled around a concept. It is a two string (bass and cello), saxophone, and drum outfit. The music trawls an insouciant path through six original compositions. Being that it is the quartet's fourth recording, they must be doing something right.Where another drummer might be eager to display labor-intensive feats ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bobo Stenson: Contra la indecision

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Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson could be considered an anomaly amongst the ECM roster of piano players. His work over the past decades has been more controlled and, not to be taken as an insult or affront to Stenson's earthy lyricism, less challenging than the works of past and current label-mates such as Paul Bley, Marilyn Crispell, Carla Bley, Keith Jarrett, Craig Taborn, Vijay Iyer, Django Bates, Benedikt Jahnel, or Colin Vance. Yet Stenson's deceptively beautiful molded organics have ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Whit Dickey: Vessel in Orbit

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From the first chord struck on “Spaceship 9" by pianist Matthew Shipp, Vessel in Orbit demonstrates the epitome of seasoned and extremely talented musicians improvising together. This trio, led by drummer Whit Dickey, provides musical compositions and improvisations that are at once eerie, dark, foreboding, yet hauntingly beautiful. The recording (engineered admirably by Jim Clouse) offers up a fascinating portrait of Dickey's colorful prowess across the trap set, violist Mat Maneri's abstract lyricism, and Shipp's constant accents, plucks, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steve Reich: Pulse/Quartet

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In 2016, composer Steve Reich celebrated a milestone birthday and to mark the occasion an upward of hundreds of performances of his work were performed at various places around the globe. These performances and celebrations just confirmed the almost unfathomable beauty and timelessness of his oeuvre as they represented 50 years in music. They also confirmed why he is an important part of the contemporary music landscape for many generations and not just in classical music.Apart from revisiting ...

Best of Mr. P.C. 2017

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Dear Mr. P.C.: This whole “jazz musicians play thousands of chords to three people" vs. “rock musicians play three chords for thousands" thing: What is the correct chord/audience ratio? Perhaps zero chords for an infinite audience is the ideal; or all chords for no audience. I certainly have landed closer to the latter. Is art about this kind of calculus? --Randy H., Atlanta   Dear Randy: Let's break ...

BOOK REVIEWS

The Universe and John Coltrane: The Physics of Cosmic Vibrations

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The Jazz of Physics: The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe Stephon Alexander 272 Pages ISBN: # 13: 978-0465093571; # 10: 0465093574 Basic Books 2016 On the face of it, the premise that jazz and physics are related disciplines seems strange and remote. Because of its spontaneous nature, rhythmic pulse, and emphasis on emotion, jazz is a personal, subjective artistic means of expression which is accessible to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

URO: OR

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It's always nice to discover a meeting of new or unfamiliar bedfellows in the music world. However figuratively or geographically removed some things may seem to be--such as Scandinavia's fjords and the American heartland, let's just say for instance--you can probably count on a crew of good and willing players to find some common ground. Okay, old-world folk and Americana aren't even that different in the first place, but they don't seem to rub shoulders as often as they could. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

William Flynn: The Songbook Project

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The Songbook Project from guitarist William Flynn provides jazz enthusiasts with great arrangements of some top-flight songs from the popular music catalog. On this album, one can hear jazz versions of music by the Smashing Pumpkins, Oasis, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, and Jewel. The musicians all add color to the music. “Tonight Tonight" opens with harmony provided by Pete Mills' saxophone and Flynn's guitar. This is followed by charming and ebullient solos by pianist Lucas Holmes, Flynn and ...