CD/LP/Track Review

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Aki Rissanen: Another North

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Following on from 2016's Amorandom, Finnish pianist Aki Rissanen has produced yet another satisfying album. Born in 1980 he has already released nine albums as leader or co-leader. Rissanen studied classical piano at Finland's Kuopio Conservatory from 1990-2000 and then jazz music at Helsinki Polytechnic School and in 2009 gained a Master's degree in jazz piano and composition from the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department, also in Helsinki. He also studied improvised music at Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kaja Draksler Octet: Gledalec

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Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler mines musical forms from much of the last century and beyond for her two CD collection Gledalec. This Octet date constitutes a departure from her more widely distributed work to this point, represented by the impressive solo performance The Lives Of Many Others (Clean Feed, 2013) and the intimate duet This Love (Clean Feed, 2015) with trumpeter Susana Santos Silva. Draksler fashions varied settings for three texts by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, three by London-based Greek ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Platform: Flux Reflux

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French clarinetist Xavier Charles along with three inventive Norwegian instrumentalists acutely align their imaginative powers amid a curiously interesting soundstage, steeped in free-form minimalism, ambience, layered tonal shadings and so on. Fractured storylines, along with oddball tunings and Charles' multidimensional phrasings and acoustic effects may fake the listener into thinking the program contains electronics but no such devices are listed on the personnel listings. They occasionally explore the guts of their respective instruments along with subliminal ostinato motifs, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Champian Fulton: Christmas With Champian

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Pianist/vocalist Champian Fulton may be the only kindergartner in history to take a Charlie Parker CD into school for show and tell. The effect of her presentation on her classmates is uncertain, but  she fought the good fight. Now, almost three decades after the “Bird Goes to  Kindergarten" incident, Champian Fulton can be found on the bandstand and in the recording studio, coming into full bloom as a top tier jazz artist, with nine previous studio albums in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kamasi Washington: Harmony of Difference

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Being lauded as the “saviour of jazz" would weigh heavy on the shoulders of any young artist, even one so confident as to release a 170 minute treble CD as their 2015 debut. Yet Kamasi Washington pulled it off on the appropriately titled The Epic, with its ambitious, eclectic subject matter and surface similarities to spiritual jazz greats like Pharoah Sanders. Those that stuck with it were rewarded with an album that seemed to inhabit its own niche or world, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Dusan Jevtovic / Vasil Hadzimanov / Asaf Sirkis: No Answer

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Serbian guitarist Dusan Jevtovic debuted on Moonjune Records with a mix of hard rock and thrash metal. His Am I Walking Wrong? (2014) featured the conventional bass and drums rhythm section and demonstrated the guitarist's broad range. With No Answer the formation is far less traditional as fellow Serbian and pianist/keyboardist Vasil Hadzimanov and Israeli drummer Asaf Sirkis skirt around the bass-less trio with taut performances that again defy genre identification.In his sophomore outing as a leader, Jevtovic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Agrima

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The music of India is ancient, centuries old. The saxophone is new, with a history of less than a hundred years. Ditto for the “electric" guitar. First generation Indian-American alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa marries the old and new in his music, on his most compelling recording to date, Agrima, featuring his Indo-Pak Coalition, featuring “electric" guitarist Rez Abbasi and tabla-ist/drummer Dan Weiss. Mahanthappa--who now chairs the jazz department at Princeton University--rode to a higher profile via pianist Vijay ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Heath Watts - Blue Armstrong: Bright Yellow with Bass

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The musicians underscore the tone of this program by citing a quote from renowned artist Wassily Kandinsky: “The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with bass notes or dark lake with treble." But of course, the interpretations are decided by the listening audience, especially since most of these works are steeped in the free-jazz realm. Heath Watts (soprano sax) and Blue Armstrong (bass) yield a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Brian Charette Circuit Bent Organ Trio: Kurrent

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A mainstay of the New York scene since the '90s, organist Brian Charette has a worldly view on music that makes it hard to contain all his pent up musical energies in a conventional way. This partly explains why his recent spate of records for the Posi-Tone label seemed to satisfy while still leaving one with the nagging feeling that Charette has so much more to say then can be contained in the radio-friendly time limits set by the label.


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