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ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Thollem McDonas: The Beauty of Never Going Back Home

Read "Thollem McDonas: The Beauty of Never Going Back Home" reviewed by Dave Wayne

What is often forgotten about improvised music is that it can come from anywhere. Though its history is inextricably intertwined with jazz, improvisation is part and parcel of a myriad of musical cultures. Pianist and composer Thollem McDonas is not just aware of this fact, it is part of his daily existence. About 10 years ago, ...

ARTICLE: PROFILES

Byard Lancaster: From A Love Supreme to The Sex Machine

Read "Byard Lancaster: From A Love Supreme to The Sex Machine" reviewed by Clifford Allen

[ Editor's Note: This 2005 article was reprinted in memory of Byard Lancaster who died on August 23, 2012. ]

“From A Love Supreme to The Sex Machine" is reedman Byard Lancaster's personal aesthetic mantra, something that recalls the theme of the Charles Moffett tune “Avant-garde Got Soul Too."

Free jazz ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Joe McPhee: A Band Apart

Read "Joe McPhee: A Band Apart" reviewed by Clifford Allen

You might expect a musician who has been a steady figure on the creative improvising scene for nearly 45 years to have some variance in their discography and a diverse range of projects and band concepts. Reedman (and sometime pocket trumpeter) Joe McPhee's vast number of recordings and ensembles speak to that impulse, but the curious ...

Weasel Walter / Mary Halvorson / Peter Evans: Electric Fruit

Read "Weasel Walter / Mary Halvorson / Peter Evans: Electric Fruit" reviewed by Clifford Allen

Weasel Walter / Mary Halvorson / Peter Evans

Electric Fruit

Thirsty Ear

2011

Percussionist and improviser Weasel Walter often uses the term “face rip" to describe a particularly intense musical experience. In improvised music, you often don't get a “blood and guts" approach; free jazz, in many instances, has been ...

ARTICLE: CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Wadada Leo Smith / Ed Blackwell: The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer

Read "The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer" reviewed by Clifford Allen

Since the Ornette Coleman Quartet's The Shape of Jazz to Come (Atlantic, 1959), the trumpet's historical bar in creative music has been set in great part by Don Cherry. Not that Cherry's way was the only way and, in fact, the work of Bill Dixon, Donald Ayler, Lester Bowie, and a few others certainly paved significant ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Tatsuya Nakatani: Essences and Abiogenesis

Read "Tatsuya Nakatani: Essences and Abiogenesis" reviewed by Clifford Allen

What is improvised music without visuality? While the music of improvising composers can be felt and picked apart aurally, the physical act of making music in an un- preconceived setting is something rather extraordinary and easily lost through the audible distance of a recording. It's not just the dynamic, theatrical high jinks of a player like ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Decoy and Joe McPhee: Oto

Read "Decoy and Joe McPhee: Oto" reviewed by Clifford Allen

Decoy and Joe McPhee

Oto

Bo'Weavil

2010

The existence of a free-improvising organ trio, though uncommon even in 2010, shouldn't be all that surprising and, indeed, you might be prompted to ask what took so long. Certainly, figures like Larry Young and John Patton stretched the boundaries of organ-jazz in the ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Une, Deux, Trois: Solo, Duo and Trio Improvisation from Europe

Read "Une, Deux, Trois: Solo, Duo and Trio Improvisation from Europe" reviewed by Clifford Allen

At one point in time, the term “European Improvisation" meant something quite specific, carrying with it an air of otherness to American jazz audiences, solidarity to European jazz audiences, and presented rarified and sometimes unruly music based on folk, classical and open forms. In the ensuing decades, the world has grown a bit smaller, and intercontinental ...

Rag, Saddle and All: Curlew and George Cartwright / Davu Seru

Read "Rag, Saddle and All: Curlew and George Cartwright / Davu Seru" reviewed by Clifford Allen

Saxophonist and composer George Cartwright might not be an oft-repeated name in creative improvised music, but he should garner a weighted whistle whenever he does crop up. Raised in Mississippi and now calling Minneapolis home, Cartwright was co-leader of the seminal New York post-RIO/squirrely downtown jazz ensemble Curlew, alongside cellist Tom Cora, throughout the 1980s and ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Muhammad Ali: From a Family of Percussionists

Read "Muhammad Ali: From a Family of Percussionists" reviewed by Clifford Allen

Though not as well known as his brother, drummer Rashied Ali (1935-2009), Muhammad Ali spent the 1970s as one of the busiest drummers in free jazz, primarily working in a cooperative Paris-based quartet with saxophonist Frank Wright, pianist Bobby Few and bassist Alan Silva, and known as the Center of the World Quartet. Born in Philadelphia ...