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Bill Laswell

Over the course of some three decades, visionary bassist-producer Bill Laswell has been one of the most prolific and restlessly creative forces in contemporary music. A sound conceptualist who has always been a step ahead of the curve, he has put his inimitable stamp on nearly 3,000 recording projects by such artists as Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno, Bootsy Collins, Nine Inch Nails, Motorhead, Peter Gabriel, Blur, The Ramones, George Clinton, Pharaoh Sanders, The Dalai Lama, Matisyahu, Angelique Kidjo, DJ Krush, RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ, Sting, The Last Poets, Afrika Bambaataa, Julian Schnabel, Whitney Houston, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti and most notably Herbie Hancock, who collaborated with Laswell for the pivotal 1983 smash-hit single "Rock-It" which introduced scratching to the mainstream, inspired a generation of turntablists and gave the great jazz pianist instant street credibility among the burgeoning hip-hop cognoscenti. Laswell's sense of creative daring as a producer was further demonstrated on several recordings that have kept him on the cutting edge, including Afrika Bambaataa's collaboration with John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols fame) on World Destruction and PiL's Album (which brought together an unlikely pairing of drumming greats Ginger Baker and Tony Williams, synth-pop pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame and rising guitar star Steve Vai)

ARTICLE: RADIO

Steven Bernstein, Michael Brecker and the Art of Jazz-Hacking the Pop world - Part 1

Read "Steven Bernstein, Michael Brecker and the Art of Jazz-Hacking the Pop world - Part 1" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

This week we focus on Steven Bernstein and Michael Brecker, the quintessential jazz-hackers of the pop world. If you heard a compelling saxophone solo on a high-end pop or rock production, especially between the 1970s and 1990s, you could bet it was by Michael Brecker, who over the years has appeared on almost 1000 ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Dave Douglas: Engage

Read "Engage" reviewed by Giuseppe Segala

Nella conduzione della propria etichetta indipendente Greenleaf Music, Dave Douglas ha sempre perseguito criteri di attenzione e rispetto verso lo scambio positivo tra esseri umani, ambiente, forme della convivenza. “Composizioni dedicate all'azione positiva": così il trombettista definisce questo lavoro in dodici brani, facendo riferimento ai mesi dell'anno e alle tonalità musicali della tradizione occidentale. Un CD ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Thiago Nassif: Mente

Read "Mente" reviewed by Chris May

This is by no stretch of the imagination a jazz album, yet Brazilian singer, multi-instrumentalist and composer Thiago Nassif's Mente is so packed with risk-taking and invention that it is likely to appeal to a good number of AAJers. The music's starting point is tropicalia, Brazil's tripped-out successor to bossa nova in the ...

ARTICLE: IN PICTURES
ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Zeñel: Extreme Sports

Read "Extreme Sports" reviewed by Chris May

The coupling of jazz and dance music is hardly a new one and, contrary to the dictats of the jazz police, neither is it antithetical. Jazz began as dance music and enjoyed its most widespread popular success during the jitterbug-crazed swing era. But 21st century electronic dance music does present a unique challenge. By its nature, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Pharoah Sanders: Live In Paris (1975)

Read "Live In Paris (1975)" reviewed by Chris May

Pharoah Sanders' catalogue of newly-discovered album releases is expanding as fast as those of his fellow travellers Alice Coltrane and John Coltrane. Which is great, but... most of the albums were recorded live, sometimes with poor audio capture, and do not always find the musicians at their best. You have to pick and choose between them. ...

ARTICLE: WHAT IS JAZZ?

2020 Winter JazzFest Marathons: A Survival Guide

Read "2020 Winter JazzFest Marathons: A Survival Guide" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Believe it or not, it is that time of the year again! The holidaze are barely over and a new edition of Winter JazzFest is upon us. Knowing a jazz marathon is the perfect antidote to the holiday shopping and social marathons, producer Brice Rosenbloom and his cohorts have put together a program of gargantuan proportions. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Maleem Mahmoud Ghania & Pharoah Sanders: The Trance Of Seven Colors

Read "The Trance Of Seven Colors" reviewed by Chris May

Producer Bill Laswell gets a bad rap in some quarters, and sometimes he deserves it. During his mid 1980s through mid 1990s purple period, Laswell tended to apply, some would say impose, a one-size-fits-all, avant-rock-and-funk formula across the board to the projects he took on. It was novel and radical and compelling and Laswell assembled a ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Stephan Thelen: Fractal Guitar Remixes and Extra Tracks

Read "Fractal Guitar Remixes and Extra Tracks" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Swiss guitarist-composer Stephan Thelen (leader of the band Sonar) released his first solo album Fractal Guitar (Moonjune Records, 2019) to great acclaim. This remix album offers a dramatic new look at four of the original five tracks--only “Radiant Day" is skipped--as well as adding three new tracks from Thelen and two collaborators. The remix ...


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