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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Joe Downard: Seven Japanese Tales

Read "Seven Japanese Tales" reviewed by Chris May

Up-and-coming London bassist Joe Downard's debut album is an ambitious affair which winningly blends intricate soundscapes created by retro-modern analog synthesisers with the two-horns-and-a-rhythm-section acoustic jazz tradition. Downard's sextet includes five other rising stars of the London scene, prominent among them trumpeter James Copus, tenor saxophonist Alex Hitchcock (whose self-titled album debut with his band AuB ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Chris Montague: Warmer Than Blood

Read "Warmer Than Blood" reviewed by Chris May

Spring 2020 has produced two notable albums from British guitarists. In April we had Rob Luft's exquisite Life Is The Dancer (Edition). In May we have Chris Montague's own-name debut, Warmer Than Blood. Like Luft, Montague writes engaging tunes and both albums are engagingly melodic; Montague's arrangements, however, are more open-ended, giving the music a collective ...

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 ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

AuB: AuB

Read "AuB" reviewed by Chris May

Twin-tenor frontlines are almost as old as jazz itself. Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane's meeting on the title track of Rollins' Tenor Madness (Prestige, 1956) may be the starting point for some listeners, but AAJers do not need reminding that the tradition was popular in live performances as far back the 1920s. Later, with the arrival ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Laura Jurd: Getting Elemental

Read "Laura Jurd: Getting Elemental" reviewed by Chris May

Whatever other delights come along during 2020 in the way of great jazz albums, it is a near certainty that among the joint number ones will be To The Earth (Edition) by Dinosaur. Formed as the Laura Jurd Quartet in 2010 by students at London's Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and still led by ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Dark Side Trio: Industrial Song

Read "Industrial Song" reviewed by Chris May

The sophomore album from Kiev-based tenor saxophonist Danylo Vinarikov's Dark Side Trio is a tuneful, burnished affair which belies the rather forbidding name of the band, the seriosity of the album title and the dark satanic mills evoked by the sleeve art. The name of the band is also paradoxical, for the Dark Side Trio heard ...

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

Gary Bartz & Maisha: Night Dreamer Direct-To-Disc Sessions

Read "Night Dreamer Direct-To-Disc Sessions" reviewed by Chris May

This international spiritual-jazz jam promises much and delivers most of it. On the one hand, Gary Bartz, who is among the movement's American elder statesmen. On the other, Maisha, six young Londoners. The backstory: The wedding planner who brought the parties together is the London DJ and founder of Brownswood Recordings, Gilles Peterson. ...

Afrobeat: An Alternative Top Ten

Read "Afrobeat: An Alternative Top Ten" reviewed by Chris May

It would be hard if not impossible to compile an Afrobeat Top Ten which was not wholly made up of Fela Anikulapo Kuti albums. Such was Kuti's centrality in the creation and development of Afrobeat, such was the productivity of his recording career--his catalogue totals more than fifty albums, not counting reissues and compilations--and such was ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Dinosaur: To The Earth

Read "To The Earth" reviewed by Chris May

Britain's Edition label has remained independent of London's post-2015 alternative jazz scene, whose aesthetic is formed in part by the emphases of identity politics and which now, in 2020, has gone overground with the signing of three bands led by movement auteur Shabaka Hutchings to Impulse! in the US. Edition, which was founded in 2008 by ...


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