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Mikael Mani: Bobby

Read "Bobby" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Icelandic guitarist Mikael Mani's debut release is a poised, rewarding set of original compositions inspired by events surrounding Bobby Fischer's capture of the world chess championship in 1972.

Held in Iceland, the politically charged bout took place against the backdrop of the cold war and garnered worldwide attention. Less well known is the subsequent ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEWS

Satoko Fujii: The Kanreki Project

Read "Satoko Fujii: The Kanreki Project" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Over four decades of experimentation, Satoko Fujii has made a lasting mark on the contours of modern jazz. The wave after wave of expressive force she has unleashed emanate from the aesthetics of her home country, but are never bound exclusively to it. They form a distinctive sound belonging only to her, yet comprised of wide-ranging ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Skuli Sverrisson: Strata

Read "Strata" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

A contemplative affair, Skuli Sverisson and Bill Frisell's Strata unfolds like a slow burning fire. The hovering notes and somber guitar lines evolve gradually, emerging like wind carved monuments visible through a hovering mist to reveal a stark, melancholic, and aridly beautiful landscape.

The album demonstrates a fluid, masterful interaction between the two artists ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

José James: Lean On Me

Read "Lean On Me" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Already known for his crisp production values, astute musicianship and eclectic presentations, Jose James delivers again with his tribute to Bill Withers, Lean on Me. The album reaffirms James' signature attention to stylistic pastiche while further refining his thematic focus on the subtleties of human relationships.

Here James' narcotic blend is simultaneously steeped in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Aaron Shragge: This World of Dew

Read "This World of Dew" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

The distinctiveness of This World of Dew stems equally from Aaron Shragge's technical mastery of the flugelhorn, dragon mouth trumpet, and Japanese Shakuhachi, his deep understanding of the traditions underpinning the Japanese aesthetic, and guitarist Ben Monder's ethereal, elongated harmonic syntax.

Combined, these elements produce an immersive experience permeated by the sensibilities of the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Adrean Farrugia: Blued Dharma

Read "Blued Dharma" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

The duet outing Blued Dharma by pianist Adrean Farrugia and tenor saxophonist Joel Frahm is a nuanced affair suitable as background to a quiet evening but also worthy of closer reading.

The title track epitomizes the whole. Contemplative, balanced, subtly blended, tonally stolid, inviting, consequential. Throughout the following seven pieces, the pattern of ruminative ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Wes Montgomery: Wes Montgomery In Paris

Read "Wes Montgomery In Paris" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

With Resonance Records' release of Wes Montgomery in Paris 1965, we receive not only the first official production of this classic concert to provide royalties to the Montgomery family, but also a gloriously remastered portrait of a seminal jazz contributor during a pivotal period of artistic history.

Lovingly appointed with extensive commentary and an ...

ARTICLE: PROFILES

Fabian Almazan: Environmental Action Figure

Read "Fabian Almazan: Environmental Action Figure" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

This article was submitted on behalf of Melissa Denchak and originally published by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

After nearly going extinct, vinyl has staged a billion-dollar comeback. This year, in a seventh year of double-digit growth, an estimated 40 million records have been pressed and sold globally, and the business forecast looks just ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Satoko Fujii: Aspiration

Read "Aspiration" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

A descent into minimalist precision and emotive texture, Satoku Fuji's Aspiration bequeaths listeners with the depths of creativity that stems from residing on the edge of the avant-garde for decades. Which is precisely where music pioneers pianist Fuji, long-time trumpet partner Natsuki Tamura, electronica experimentalist Ikue Mori, and innovator Wadada Leo Smith remain.

The album's ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEWS

Wadada Leo Smith At Firehouse 12

Read "Wadada Leo Smith At Firehouse 12" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Wadada Leo Smith
Firehouse 12 Create Festival
New Haven, Connecticut
April 8-9, 2017

It is rare to experience the arc of a prolific artist's work while they are still active, and in the case of Wadada Leo Smith, to witness it at the simultaneous height of creative power ...