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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Jacek Kochan & musiConspiracy: Occupational Hazard

Read "Occupational Hazard" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Polish-born and current Canadian Jacek Kochan's 22nd release as a leader, Occupational Hazard, exists at the crossroads of straight ahead and electric jazz. A drummer, composer and arranger, Kochan has played with a variety of musicians over the course of his long career. On Occupational Hazard he leverages this broad experience to bring together ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Adam Rudolph: Ragmala and Prototypical Music

Read "Adam Rudolph: Ragmala and Prototypical Music" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Adam Rudolph has been seeking to push the boundaries of musical creativity for decades, developing a unique concept of composition, ensemble interaction, and conducting. As many writers have commented, his music resists critical commentary due to its prototypical nature. Said another way, Rudolph's music doesn't sound like anything else, and its antecedents are so varied that ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Chelsea McBride's Socialist Night School: Aftermath

Read "Aftermath" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Carve out an hour to listen to Socialist Night School's Aftermath because the combination of big-band music and progressive, challenging lyrics demands it. There's no way to let either simply wash over the ears. The music is too blunt, the lyrics too developed and too integral to absorb passively. The follow up to the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Bill Frisell: Harmony

Read "Harmony" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Renowned guitarist Bill Frisell's Blue Note Records debut Harmony is a pleasant album. This does not imply lack of innovation, the saccharine sound or the absence of bite and sorrow. These hues of bite and sorrow actually dominate the fourteen selections, which in patented Frisell manner run the gamut from traditional Americana to Elvis Costello to ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

John Yao's Triceratops: How We Do

Read "How We Do" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Trombonist and bandleader John Yao possesses a penchant for imposing ambitious artistic constraints on himself. How We Do continues that trend with a newly formed quintet comprised only of three horns, bass, and drums. Yao further ups the ante by composing demanding pieces that often careen from one stylistic approach to another within the same tune. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Lafayette Gilchrist: Dark Matter

Read "Dark Matter" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Recorded live, pianist Lafayette Gilchrist's second solo recording, Dark Matter, embraces the long history of jazz bound to the beat and textures of a specific time and place, rather than stylistic pedigree or lineage of influencers. Its rhythms are the jackhammer throb, subway rattle, and relentless pulse of Baltimore, Philly, and Washington, D.C. It's textures the ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Mikael Mani: Bobby

Read "Bobby" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Icelandic guitarist Mikael Mani's debut release is a poised, rewarding set of original compositions inspired by events surrounding Bobby Fischer's capture of the world chess championship in 1972. Held in Iceland, the politically charged bout took place against the backdrop of the cold war and garnered worldwide attention. Less well known is the subsequent ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Satoko Fujii: The Kanreki Project

Read "Satoko Fujii: The Kanreki Project" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Over four decades of experimentation, Satoko Fujii has made a lasting mark on the contours of modern jazz. The wave after wave of expressive force she has unleashed emanate from the aesthetics of her home country, but are never bound exclusively to it. They form a distinctive sound belonging only to her, yet comprised of wide-ranging ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Skuli Sverrisson: Strata

Read "Strata" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

A contemplative affair, Skuli Sverisson and Bill Frisell's Strata unfolds like a slow burning fire. The hovering notes and somber guitar lines evolve gradually, emerging like wind carved monuments visible through a hovering mist to reveal a stark, melancholic, and aridly beautiful landscape. The album demonstrates a fluid, masterful interaction between the two artists ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

José James: Lean On Me

Read "Lean On Me" reviewed by Franz A. Matzner

Already known for his crisp production values, astute musicianship and eclectic presentations, Jose James delivers again with his tribute to Bill Withers, Lean on Me. The album reaffirms James' signature attention to stylistic pastiche while further refining his thematic focus on the subtleties of human relationships. Here James' narcotic blend is simultaneously steeped in ...


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