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Article: Album Review

Albert Ayler: New York Eye And Ear Control Revisited

Read "New York Eye And Ear Control Revisited" reviewed by Chris May

The development of so-called free jazz in New York during the first half of the 1960s was topped and tailed by three landmark recordings: Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz (Atlantic, 1961), John Coltrane's Ascension (Impulse, 1966) and Albert Ayler's New York Eye And Ear Control (ESP, 1966). Of the three discs, only New York Eye And Ear ...


Article: Building a Jazz Library

Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums

Read "Charles Mingus: An Essential Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Charles Mingus was rarely a happy man and yet his music possessed a power to uplift listeners unlike that of most other composer / bandleaders before or after him. It still has that power in 2021, four decades after his passing and on the eve of his hundredth anniversary in 2022. In his personal life, too, ...


Article: Album Review

Joe Harriott: Chronology: Live 1968 - 69

Read "Chronology:  Live 1968 - 69" reviewed by Chris May

One of not-for-profit archive label Jazz In Britain's first releases in early 2020--then only on vinyl, but in summer 2021 reissued on CD—the Jamaican-born alto saxophonist and composer Joe Harriott's Chronology Live 1968—69 is also of interest for the spotlight it throws on another player who moved from his homeland to London in the 1950s, the ...


Article: Album Review

Kris T Reeder: Jazz Mix 12

Read "Jazz Mix 12" reviewed by Chris May

British trombonist and sound designer KT Reeder's Jazz Mix 12 does not make for easy listening and nor, presumably, is it meant to. It is, however, strangely compelling, as is the music of any artist who has rejected compromise and commerciality regardless of the financial consequences. Such courageous souls are determined to pursue their muse, and ...


Article: Album Review

Slowly Rolling Camera: Where the Streets Lead

Read "Where the Streets Lead" reviewed by Chris May

You might imagine jazz musicians are well suited to run record companies, for risk taking and creativity are fundamental to both activities. Mostly, however, musician-led labels have unhappy histories. Either the musician is not from the top drawer and their A&R skills suffer accordingly; or they lack the administrative skills to run a business enterprise effectively. ...


Article: Album Review

Bill Evans: Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956 - 1980)

Read "Everybody Still Digs Bill Evans: A Career Retrospective (1956 - 1980)" reviewed by Chris May

Only occasionally do classy looking limited-edition box sets prove to be a triumph of style and substance. Too often they are undermined by cheapskate packaging, over elaborate design, poorly written and researched booklets, inadequate session details or, most egregiously, bizarre (in a bad way) track selections. So it is a more than pleasant surprise when something ...


Article: Album Review

OK Aurora: Only In Autumn

Read "Only In Autumn" reviewed by Chris May

Rod Oughton is a young London drummer with considerable technical proficiency, and a composer and bandleader of promise. With his octet OK Aurora, which prominently features singer Alina Miroshnichenko, Oughton aims to bridge the gap between jazz and what might rather patronizingly be called intelligent pop. Only In Autumn is the band's second release, following the ...


Article: Album Review

Don Rendell / Ian Carr Quintet: Blue Beginnings

Read "Blue Beginnings" reviewed by Chris May

Summer 2021 is proving to be the summer British jazz delved into its mid 1960s through mid 1970s album back catalogue and previously unreleased tape archive, with both major and specialist labels such as Jazz In Britain joining in the party. The spur to action is, of course, the new and unprecedented popularity of British jazz ...


Article: Album Review

Ed Puddick / The Upper Austrian Jazz Orchestra: Crazy Days

Read "Crazy Days" reviewed by Chris May

The opener / title track of this album could well be taken to refer to Britain's 2016 referendum on whether or not to remain in or leave the European Union, for the disc's second half, and its main event, is composer Ed Puddick's thirty-five minute “The Brexit Suite." In fact, Puddick was thinking about something else ...


Article: Album Review

Don Rendell Quintet: Space Walk

Read "Space Walk" reviewed by Chris May

As British jazz reaches new and unprecedented peaks of popularity, major labels are revisiting their vaults and rereleasing artistically enduring but long unavailable albums. Universal/Decca's British Jazz Explosion: Originals Re-Cut is the most ambitious of such reissue programs to be announced so far in 2021. It concentrates on the years 1965 -1972, a pivotal period in ...


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