Multiple Reviews

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Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago

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Somewhat of a mystery man, guitarist Dan Phillips recorded two CDs in Chicago in 2015 and 2016. One a trio session, and the other a septet with a cast of heavyweights from the Windy City. Phillips, a Berklee and Northwestern graduate, has been living and teaching in Bangkok, Thailand since the turn of the new millennium. Born in Illinois, he spent five years in New York, and returned to Chicago for another five before decamping to Bangkok. It's just as ...

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New, Notable and Nearly Missed

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One of the great pleasures of the holiday season is taking stock of the last 12 months, comparing notes with friends, investigating their recommendations and catching up with some of those releases that you never quite got round to. The falling cost of an independent release has meant that it is easier than ever for a musician to get their work out there, but probably the hardest it has been to get any meaningful attention from a fragmented media. All ...

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Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas

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The cultural fragmentation of the last two decades or so has resulted in such a multiplicity of niche categories that the blues community only benefits by its long-term standing of loyalty to the genre. Rather than suffer foolish players gladly or thoughtlessly reward the mediocre results of their efforts, these devoted and inveterate music-lovers deeply relish the likes of Johnny Nicholas, Colin James and Matthew Curry, earnest and admirable as they are reaffirming, vicariously, their own reverence for the blues ...

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Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…

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As Weekertoft approaches its first anniversary, its teething troubles seem over as it is settling down into a pattern of releasing music regularly. Of the label's two latest releases, one is on CD, the other a download, a balanced approach that seems likely to become the norm. The download release is significant for two connected reasons: it is the label's first release not to feature one of its proprietors, guitarist John Russell and pianist Paul G. Smyth; and, with music ...

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Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio

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For the last few centuries, the avant-garde movement has taken for itself the role of challenging preconceived notions of what is acceptable in music, in poetry, in the visual arts. This challenge has, for the most part, consisted of violating accepted rules in order to provoke discussion about the validity of those norms. In the arena of serious music, we've progressed, as it were, from the highly structured world of Baroque and Romantic symphonic music to modern composers ...

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2016: An Ivo Perelman Marathon

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The original marathoner, Pheidippides in 490 BC, is believed to have run from Marathon, where a battle was being fought, to Athens to inform an assembly that the Persians had been defeated. It certainly was quite the achievement, taking into account the sorry state of footwear at the time and lack of prepackaged gels and energy drinks. Admirers of saxophonist Ivo Perelman's music have also participated in a sort of marathon in 2016 owing to the fact that he released ...

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Pi Recordings 2016 Releases

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Over the 15 years of its existence, Pi Recordings has been the home of musical innovators both established and up and coming. Its catalogue includes works by such legends as composer and woodwind player Henry Threadgill, pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and other members of the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The imprint is also where such rising talents as trumpeter Amir ElSaffar and guitarist Liberty Ellman launched their careers. Seth Rosner and Yulun Wang helm Pi and limit ...

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Badbadnotgood Is Truly Goodgoodnotbad

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Among the pleasantest surprises of 2016, a year replete with many notably unpleasant surprises, was the appearance of IV by the poly-stylistic jazz / instrumental hiphop quartet BadBadNotGood. IV came hot on the heels of Sour Soul, their remarkable 2015 collaboration with Ghostface Killah. If you still bristle when you see the words “jazz" and “hiphop" together in the same sentence, it may well be time to drop the attitude and give the music of BadBadNotGood--BBNG to their fans--a good ...

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Clouds and Stormy Nights: A New Pair from QFTF

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Germany's growing QFTF label remains ambitious as ever as 2016 draws to a close, showcasing two young off-the-beaten-path bandleaders with their own ideas of the directions modern jazz might take. With some fairly offbeat feels for melody, the pair manage to serve as two sides of the same semi-abstract coin. Matthew Sheens Cloud Appreciation Day QFTF 2016 It eases in with an almost stately air, then abruptly breaks into rhythmic careening like lightning ...


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