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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sandman Project: Royal Family

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Guitarist Tal Sandman's raw, groovecentric, transcultural Sandman Project draws a hefty chunk of its provenance from Ethio-jazz. The band's EP Royal Family does not contain enough improvisation to qualify as “jazz" however. Further, the Ethio-jazz in the mix, mostly contributed by trumpeter Tal Avraham and bass guitarist Shay Hazan, is less forward than the echoes of the John Lee Hooker-informed desert blues of Ali Farka Touré and traces of late 1960s West African psychedelic rock, strands for which Sandman and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trio Blurb: W

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Trio Blurb--the combination of Maggie Nichols' voice, Mia Zabelka's violin and voice, and John Russell's guitar--first came together in 2010 at the Alpenglow II--Styria meets UK festival in London. In June 2011 they played together at The Vortex, where the guitarist hosts his long-running monthly improv music club, Mopomoso. The results of that Vortex performance were released in 2013 by the Austrian Extraplatte label. Prior to that release the trio was unnamed but when Zabelka asked for some info for ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

David Virelles: Igbó Alákọrin

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Maybe the most unexpected delight of 2018, avant-garde pianist David Virelles has released an utterly dyed-in-the-wool homage to his birthplace of Santiago de Cuba.Completely different from any other recording he's done to this point, this unreconstructed slice of midcentury Cuban music is so completely steeped in tradition, and Virelles' playing is so gorgeously virtuosic, that it's akin to unearthing a lost Bebo Valdés recording from the 1950s.Which is what makes it as unexpected as it is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Atlantis Quartet: Hello Human

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Even though, after 12 years of existence and four critically acclaimed albums, Minnesota-based collaboration Atlantis Quartet has nothing further to prove, the formation presents itself more invigorated than ever. Hello Human showcases a versatile and energetic quartet, presenting 10 originals which span from humble post-bop exercises to punk-infused riff workouts, all the while enveloped by a coherent overall sound. Just recently guitarist Zac Harris exposed his appealingly warm guitar tone on trio recording American Reverie (Shifting Paradigm Records ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The End: Svårmod Och Vemod Är Värdesinnen

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The End emerge as a massive collaboration among Norwegian baritone saxophonist Kjetil Møster, Swedish baritone sax hooligan Mats Gustafsson, Norwegian noise-jazz guitarist Anders Hana, the San Francisco-based avant-rock band Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier and miraculous singer Sofia Jernberg. The quintet's debut “Svårmod Och Vemod Är Värdesinnen" manages to grasp several musical traditions. It sounds like a child that was born from extramarital affairs of New York no-wave, noise rock and free/avant-garde jazz. Such a collision between the aforementioned ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Francisco Mela: Ancestros

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One of the many fine musicians coming out of Cuba, Francisco Mela is an accomplished drummer/percussionist and composer. On Ancestros, his debut on the vinyl-only subscription label Newvelle, he has contributed seven original compositions to a collection that includes covers from Andrew Hill and Paul Motian. The album name--and its title track--are appropriated from Mela's prior release Fe (Self-produced, 2016). On two of Mela's previous releases, Melao (Ayva Musica, 2006) and Tree of Life (Half Note, 2011), progressive jazz shares ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Marie Goudy 12tet: The Bitter Suite

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Toronto-based trumpeter / composer Marie Goudy, who could plausibly be described as a child prodigy musically, wasted little time after earning a master's degree in music performance from the University of Toronto in 2017, recording soon afterward The Bitter Suite as leader of a twelve-piece ensemble in which her trumpet, compositions and arrangements underscore the seductive voice of rising star Jocelyn Barth. The album's over-arching them is young love as exemplified by its arrival ("Son for Sunshine"), ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Pasin: Ornettiquette

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It's amazing how quickly what was billed as the future of jazz became its past. In 1959 when saxophonist Ornette Coleman released his third album, he wanted to call it Focus On Sanity. Instead, at the insistence of Atlantic producer Nesuhi Ertegun, it was portentously titled The Shape Of Jazz To Come. Other musicians took heed and the free jazz movement was born. Commercially this was a disaster for jazz, with record buyers deserting the music en ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jemeel Moondoc Quartet: The Astral Revelations

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On The Astral Revelations alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc breathes new vitality into the legacy of the loft jazz era where he first made his name. It's a reputation most forcefully burnished in retrospect by the sumptuous box set Muntu Recordings (No Business, 2010), which showcases Moondoc alongside such future luminaries as bassist William Parker and the late trumpeter Roy Campbell. After a hiatus in terms of recording in the early noughties, he's become active once again, resulting ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Xavier Reija: The Sound Of The Earth

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Spain-based artists, guitarist Dusan Jevtovic and drummer Xavi Reija, reunite for a supergroup-like endeavor, including world-renowned bassist, stick artiste Tony Levin (Stick Men, King Crimson) and touch guitarist Markus Reuter, who performs/records with Levin in Stick Men amid numerous projects with others. Recorded in upstate New York, the musicians' noise-shaping, sound-designs and bone-rattling progressive rock improvisations often spearhead matters into parts unknown. Jevtovic's winding single note leads, gargantuan crunch chords and searing extended notes interweave with surreal electronics ...