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Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May

Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Charles Tolliver: Blowing Down The Walls Of Trump’s Jericho

Read "Charles Tolliver: Blowing Down The Walls Of Trump’s Jericho" reviewed by Chris May

Charles Tolliver has played with practically every major African American jazz stylist of his generation, and composed for some of them, too. In addition, he is the co-founder of Strata-East, the most influential label at the intersection of hard bop and spiritual jazz during the 1970s. Tolliver's long and distinguished career continues to flourish, with a ...

Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums

Read "Impulse! Records: An Alternative Top 20 Zeitgeist Seizing Albums" reviewed by Chris May

There can be little argument that a jazz label ever captured a zeitgeist more completely than Impulse! did during its original 1960s incarnation. In the US, the fight back against white racism was cresting, opposition to the Vietnam war was growing, outrage over the assassinations of figures of hope such as President Kennedy, Martin Luther King ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes: Expansions

Read "Expansions" reviewed by Chris May

If ever a first wave jazz-funk album deserved a 180gm vinyl reissue in 2020 it is this near masterpiece. It was originally released in 1975 on Flying Dutchman, the label Bob Thiele set up after he left Impulse!. Jazz-funk divided the jazz world in the 1970s as much as free-jazz had done a ...

Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman Records: Ten High Altitude Albums

Read "Bob Thiele's Flying Dutchman Records: Ten High Altitude Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Bob Thiele is best remembered for his years as the artistic director and house producer of Impulse!. He took over from founder producer Creed Taylor in 1961 and stayed with the label until 1969, when he left to run his own Flying Dutchman Records. Thiele's tenure at Impulse! was its most glorious period, when Thiele curated ...

Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Drummers have been key members of every band which has changed the course of jazz history, from Max Roach with Charlie Parker to Elvin Jones with John Coltrane and onwards. Yet drummers have been the leaders of a surprisingly small proportion of landmark bands themselves. Chick Webb in the 1920s was the first of the few. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Leon Thomas: Spirits Known And Unknown

Read "Spirits Known And Unknown" reviewed by Chris May

Spiritual-jazz fans in London have had a good 2019. The music looms large in several of the most prominent bands on the city's happening woke jazz scene. On top of that, London's Gearbox Records released Mothership, an on-point album by singer Dwight Trible, who also played a memorable one-nighter at Ronnie Scott's club. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Various Artists: Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2

Read "Running The Voodoo Down Volume 2" reviewed by Chris May

A raft of scholarly theories can be put forward to explain the affinities linking the genres represented on this compilation, subtitled Explorations In Psychrockfunksouljazz 1965-77. But there is a simple explanation: grass and acid, the lingua franca of the era's counterculture. True, there is only circumstantial evidence to suggest that John Coltrane and Joe Zawinul, both ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Buddy Terry: Awareness

Read "Awareness" reviewed by Chris May

Strictly niche in 2018, and on the margins even during his early 1970s heyday, New Jersey's Buddy Terry was among the cohort of soul-jazz musicians who, inspired by the rise of the black consciousness movement in the late 1960s, elected to recalibrate and repurpose their music. The new aesthetic became known as freedom jazz (and, later, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

John Coltrane: Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album

Read "Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album" reviewed by Mike Jurkovic

The day before John Coltrane, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison convened at the Van Gelder studios in Englewood Cliffs, John, Paul, George and Ringo recorded “From Me To You" at Abbey Road in seven takes. That night the Coltrane quartet tore apart Birdland and the next day recorded an album with John Hartman. Music ...


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