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Article: Album Review

Ruth Goller: Skyllumina

Read "Skyllumina" reviewed by Chris May

The Italian-born, British-based bassist and composer Ruth Goller has been rattling jazz's cage since 2007, the year she joined Acoustic Ladyland. The band was in the vanguard of what became known as “jazz punk," although its sound was closer to metal than classic punk, and the lineup included tenor saxophonist Pete Wareham and drummer Sebastian Rochford. ...


Article: Interview

Ruth Goller: Basso Profundo

Read "Ruth Goller: Basso Profundo" reviewed by Chris May

Altogether easier to talk to than is suggested by the stage makeup in the photo above, Ruth Goller reveals herself as totally down-home when, some ten minutes into this interview, the conversation turns to International Anthem, the Chicago-based label that has released her second solo album, Skyllumina. “I feel so lucky to have them," says Goller. ...


Article: Album Review

Kahil El'Zabar's Ethnic Heritage Ensemble: Open Me: A Higher Consciousness of Sound and Spirit

Read "Open Me: A Higher Consciousness of Sound and Spirit" reviewed by Chris May

The first few bars of Open Me: A Higher Consciousness Of Sound And Spirit promise the listener is in for a treat. Corey Wilkes' muted trumpet plays Miles Davis' “All Blues" counterpointed by Alex Harding's rugged baritone saxophone and Kahil El'Zabar's ankle bells and kalimba. Here is Ethnic Heritage Ensemble in all its enchanting bare-bones singularity, ...


Article: Album Review

James Brandon Lewis: For Mahalia With Love (Expanded Edition)

Read "For Mahalia With Love (Expanded Edition)" reviewed by Chris May

Not since Oded Tzur's Isabela (ECM, 2022) has a comparably exalted tenor saxophone-led album come along, not until For Mahalia, With Love. Vaultingly great jazz and deep solace for the soul, For Mahalia, With Love was released in late 2023. An annual cycle for albums of this quality is actually a sufficiency, for there is enough ...


Article: The Big Question

Why Is Jazz A Big Deal Everywhere… Except In The US?

Read "Why Is Jazz A Big Deal Everywhere… Except In The US?" reviewed by Chris May

Dateline: London, February 20, 2024. A bewildered friend in Los Angeles asks: Why is jazz so under-appreciated in the United States when it is revered everywhere else? Lest we forget, jazz was born and spent its formative years in the US and is arguably the country's most valuable contribution to world culture. But the ...


Article: Album Review

Satoko Inoue: Presents Jo Kondo's Works For Piano 2015-2020

Read "Presents Jo Kondo's Works For Piano 2015-2020" reviewed by Chris May

Jo Kondo is a composer unto himself, but for ready reference he can be filed in the proximity of John Cage and Morton Feldman, both of whom he got to know in 1978 in New York while in the city on a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Satoko Inoue is a concert pianist specializing in modern ...


Article: Album Review

London Afrobeat Collective: Esengo

Read "Esengo" reviewed by Chris May

Back in the day, when Fela Kuti invented Afrobeat--and yes, unlike practically every other music to emerge in the 20th century, Afrobeat was indeed the creation of one person--the music served two functions: to champion the rights and aspirations of post-colonial Black Africans, particularly those at the bottom of the pyramid, and to provide a soundtrack ...


Article: The Big Question

When Is A Jazz Festival Not A Jazz Festival?

Read "When Is A Jazz Festival Not A Jazz Festival?" reviewed by Chris May

Dateline: February 13, 2024. Today Britain's long-running Cheltenham Jazz Festival announced its line-up for this summer's event. The press release is headlined thus: Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2024--Dionne Warwick, Robert Plant, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Jack Savoretti, UB40, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Huey Morgan, Morcheeba And More. Dee Dee Bridgewater is not the only ...


Article: Play This!

Johnny Smith featuring Stan Getz: Moonlight In Vermont

Read "Johnny Smith featuring Stan Getz: Moonlight In Vermont" reviewed by Chris May

The last word in glacial serenity, this version of Karl Suessdorf's “Moonlight In Vermont" was, as a single on the Roost label, a bigtime jukebox and radio hit for Johnny Smith and Stan Getz in 1952. At the time both musicians were salaried musicians at NBC radio and TV studios in New York. In all, in ...


Article: Album Review

Sick Boss: Businessless

Read "Businessless" reviewed by Chris May

This bracing sophomore album from Vancouver's improvising sextet Sick Boss resonates with the beyond-genre territory of the late Jaimie Branch's Fly Or Die quartet. At a surface level there is the shared use of trumpet and cello, but deeper than that, Businessless embraces the riot grrrl abandon so beloved of Branch. Echoes of Fly Or Die ...


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