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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Empathy Project: Influences

Read "Influences" reviewed by Don Phipps

Influences, a breezy affair from Empathy Project, is like viewing fluffy white clouds while seated at a street side café on the South Bank of Paris or the beach in Rio. The music swirls and bounces gently in boppish fashion -a happy affair with an emphasis on romance.

Featuring soft but assured vocals from ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer: Asperger

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An album dedicated to villains in Disney films might be brushed off as novelty, but those that do would be mistaken. Rather than childhood fears, the tunes on Caternina Palazzi Sudoku Killer's album Asperger explore a dark and sinister side to being, like a non-stop view of a snarling Donald Trump barking insults from an 85-inch ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Christoph Irniger Pilgrim: Crosswinds

Read "Crosswinds" reviewed by Don Phipps

With Crosswinds, Christoph Irniger's quartet Pilgrim offers a scintillating trip into a musical subconscious --a dream state where one opens doors only to find more doors --a spiral staircase where the top is always just beyond reach. For the most part, the album consists of tunes that are both sparse yet engaging. And it is this ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Marilyn Mazur: Shamania

Read "Shamania" reviewed by Don Phipps

Marilyn Mazur's album Shamania is fascinating. Both impressionistic and abstract, it emphasizes wordless vocals and sounds while incorporating elements of global jazz and world music. The ten artists who play with Mazur are all women and hail from the Scandinavian avant-garde jazz scene.

Mazur's compositions are like kaleidoscopic postcards. The set begins with the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Nate Wooley: Columbia Icefield

Read "Columbia Icefield" reviewed by Don Phipps

Nate Wooley's Columbia Icefield begins with a dueling repetition of chords by bandmates Mary Halvorson and Susan Alcorn on “Lionel Trilling." The ambiguity generated by this back and forth is the perfect beginning to his album's shape-shifting music.

Wooley's trumpet is both poetic and piercing. There's a sense of longing in his tone and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Dave Liebman, Adam Rudolph, Hamid Drake: Chi

Read "Chi" reviewed by Don Phipps

Recorded live at John Zorn's New York City experimental jazz club The Stone in May of 2018, the trio of saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Liebman and multi-instrumentalists/percussionists Hamid Drake and Adam Rudolph use their album Chi to present amazing tone poems and dynamic musical explorations.

Liebman's full-throated saxophone voicings juxtapose with Drake and Rudolph's rolling ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Tom Rainey, Mary Halvorson, Ingrid Laubrock: Combobulated

Read "Combobulated" reviewed by Don Phipps

Recorded live in 2017 in New Haven, Connecticut at restaurant, watering hole, and music space Firehouse 12, Tom Rainey's Combobulated attests to the genius of three of the leading innovative music makers on the scene today. Rainey's collaborative music with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and guitarist Mary Halvorson offer up sound explosions and introspections that unzip and ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Orjan Hulten: Minusgrader

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Technique may not drive saxophonist Örjan Hultén, but most certainly jazz tunes filled with heart and soul do. On Minusgrader, an album featuring his quartet of fellow Swedes Torbjörn Gulz (piano), Filip Augustson (bass), and Peter Danemo (drums), the blues, ballads, and bop have simple laid-back structures. That is just fine, because the music's warmth permeates ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Peter McEachern: Bone Code

Read "Bone Code" reviewed by Don Phipps

There's a strong hint of New Orleans in trombonist Peter McEachern's Bone Code, like sitting on a pier on a humid afternoon watching the barges meander down the Mississippi. With arrangements that provide space for explorations, thanks to its trio format, McEachern gives himself and his cohorts, bassist Mario Pavone and drummer Michael Sarin, the opportunity ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Chris Pitsiokos: Silver Bullet in the Autumn of Your Years

Read "Silver Bullet in the Autumn of Your Years" reviewed by Don Phipps

Adventurous, hair-raising, mind-bending, dense, fibrous, layered, hallucinogenic, twisted. These are the words that come to mind when listening to the excellent but challenging music on Chris Pitsiokos's album Silver Bullet in the Autumn of Your Years. Pitsiokos' compositions often sound like a musical transcription of the trippiest parts of William Burrough's “Naked Lunch." The result? An ...