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Michael Formanek

One marker of bassist Michael Formanek's creativity and versatility is the range of distinguished musicians of several generations he's worked with. While still a teenager in the 1970s he toured with drummer Tony Williams and saxophonist Joe Henderson; starting in the '80s he played long stints with Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Fred Hersch and Freddie Hubbard. (As a callback to those days, Formanek recorded with hardbop pianist Freddie Redd in 2013). The bassist has played a pivotal role on New York's creative jazz scene going back to the '90s when he notably led his own quintet and played in Tim Berne's barnstorming quartet Bloodcount

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Tim Berne's Snakeoil: The Fantastic Mrs. 10

Read "The Fantastic Mrs. 10" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Imagine Tim Berne as the lead in the 1980's' American television series The A-Team, declaring: “I love it when a plan comes together!" He must return to that catchphrase every time his ensemble Snakeoil finishes a recording. After four outings on Manfred Eicher's ECM Records, the previous being Incidentals (2017), he moves his A-Team to Intakt ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Dave Sewelson, Satoko Fujii and Tatsuya Yoshida & More

Read "Dave Sewelson, Satoko Fujii and Tatsuya Yoshida & More" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

There's a definite theme of muscular sounding saxophone in this edition of One Man's Jazz: Dave Sewelson, Steve Baczkowski, Chris Pitsiokos, Massimo Magee, Tomasz Szukalski, Marty Ehrlich, Cene Resnik, David Leon, Jonas Kullhammar and Remy Alvarez can all skronk with the best of them, and they're somewhere blowing their reeds apart throughout the music in this ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Reid, Halvorson, Roebke and Fujiwara

Read "Reid, Halvorson, Roebke and Fujiwara" reviewed by Bob Osborne

On this show a focus on the outstanding 2019 album from Tomeka Reid, Mary Halvorson, Jason Roebke and Tomas Fujiwara called Old New. To compliment those selections there are also tracks from each of the band members in various other units demonstrating the excellent music that each of these musicians create. There are also other fantastic ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Ingrid Laubrock, Aki Takase, Alexandra Grimal and More

Read "Ingrid Laubrock, Aki Takase, Alexandra Grimal and More" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

This episode acknowledges a few of the outstanding and important female jazz improvisers who are becoming more and more prominent in the 21st century. You'll hear music from the mutual admiration duo of saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and pianist Aki Takase, French saxophonist Alexandra Grimal displaying her talents on three differently focused albums, Estonian take-no-prisoners saxophonist Maria ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Day and Taxi, Adam Rudolph, Harish Raghavan and More

Read "Day and Taxi,  Adam Rudolph, Harish Raghavan and More" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

First out of the mixed bag of audio treats this week (it's Halloween after all!) is a track from Oliver Lake's first recording 43 years ago Ntu: The Point from Which Creation Begins. I haven't played Oliver in a while and that seemed like a good place to begin catching up. Adam Rudolph's epic project, Ragmala, ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Lisa Hoppe, Sorey & Crispell, Gebhard Ullman and More

Read "Lisa Hoppe, Sorey & Crispell, Gebhard Ullman and More" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

This episode is very wide-ranging in styles and sounds; the boundaries keep expanding. I was very impressed with bassist Lisa Hoppe's new trio, Third Reality, with saxophonist David Leon and guitarist Tal Yahalom. Very original stuff! It's on a German label—Jazzhausmusik—so do some digging to find it. It's well worth the effort. Drummer, composer and influencer ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Michael Formanek Very Practical Trio: Even Better

Read "Even Better" reviewed by Don Phipps

Composer and bassist Michael Formanek's Even Better is an adventurous compilation of bluesy abstractions with surprising twists and turns. Opting for a drummer-less trio format, Formanek gives himself room to negotiate the terrain with his own intimate rhythm. He is aided and abetted by his longtime collaborator, saxophonist virtuoso Tim Berne, and guitarist extraordinaire Mary Halvorson. ...

ARTICLE: IN PICTURES

Sonic Explorations and Creative Improvisations at The Guelph Jazz Festival

Read "Sonic Explorations and Creative Improvisations at The Guelph Jazz Festival" reviewed by Dave Kaufman

In North America, there are over 100 annual jazz festivals. Only a small number of these festivals are devoted to the avant-garde, adventurous, and freely improvised music. The Vision Festival in jny: New York City is perhaps the best known festival with its celebration of improvised music, dance, and poetry. There are a few others that ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

William Parker, Gonçalo Marques & More

Read "William Parker, Gonçalo Marques & More" reviewed by Maurice Hogue

Back in 2017, one of the great quartets was in a celebratory mood over the release of a new recording, so they booked the Shapeshifter Lab in New York for their record release party. Someone had the smarts to record those musical proceedings and the results are a new album by bassist William Parker and In ...


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