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Article: Album Review

Isaiah Collier: Parallel Universe

Read "Parallel Universe" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

The direct-to-disc recording equipment in Haarlem's Artone studio resembles a vintage control room for time travel, or maybe the record deck in a cyberpunk loft. And yes, that's Haarlem, not Harlem, though one could be excused for mixing them up here. This is where Isaiah Collier came to record Parallel Universe, a valiant and affirmative album ...


Article: Interview

Thandi Ntuli: Reclaiming The Rainbow

Read "Thandi Ntuli: Reclaiming The Rainbow" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

Thandi Ntuli is in her music room at home in Johannesburg. It is late afternoon and sunlight bursts through narrow windows onto some boho chic furniture. Ntuli brushes a cloth over her laptop screen and comes into focus, beaming a smile of welcome, wearing a long orange dress. “I'm right in the city," she says. “There's ...


Article: Album Review

Rami Atassi: Dancing Together

Read "Dancing Together" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

The Chicago-based guitarist Rami Atassi went on a south American journey with his wife to explore Mexico and Colombia. Amid the daily background music, he heard different styles and rhythmic foundations than those he was used to and took percussion lessons locally. All this later began seeping into his solo work. A Syrian-American, Atassi ...


Article: Album Review

The Saxophones: To Be A Cloud

Read "To Be A Cloud" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

The monk and Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh had a saying, “I have arrived, I am home." Hanh's writing was an influence on this third album from husband-and-wife pairing The Saxophones, namely Alexi Erenkov and Alison Alderdice. Hanh's use of clouds as a metaphor for impermanence became a keystone for them, but his thoughts on going ...


Article: Album Review

Yosef-Gutman Levitt & Tal Yahalom: Tsuf Harim

Read "Tsuf Harim" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

In early Hasidic writings, magical and supernatural concepts rooted in the mystic were common. Such notions held that human acts, including musical activity, could affect the godhead and thus the whole world. By the late eighteenth century, these Jewish religious teachings saw music as something inward, a form of contemplation with the soul. Yosef-Gutman ...


Article: Album Review

Rymden + KORK: Rymden + KORK

Read "Rymden + KORK" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

The Norwegian Radio Orchestra (aka KORK) performs each year at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. By contrast, it has also twice provided backing to the Eurovision Song Contest in Norway. Intriguing then to find them linking up with Bugge Wesseltoft, leader of Rymden and a pianist-composer whose work is both learned and accessible. Both parties create ...


Article: Album Review

Brendan Eder Ensemble: Cape Cod Cottage

Read "Cape Cod Cottage" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

When the new owners of a Cape Cod saltbox house went to insulate their attic, they found photos, manuscripts and TEAC tapes left by the previous occupant. His name was Edward Blankman, a retired dentist from Pennsylvania, who moved to Cape Cod after his wife's death. These newly uncovered recordings were sent to Jazz Dad Records ...


Article: Album Review

Hedvig Mollestad & Trondheim Jazz Orchestra: Maternity Beat

Read "Maternity Beat" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

Norwegian jazz-rock guitarist Hedvig Mollestad has never shied away from the big themes. Previous outings have seen her dabble with notions of Greek mythology and weather conditions, while channelling her love of guitar greats from Jimmy Page to John McLaughlin. Now with Maternity Beat, she offers a series of musings on the nature of family and ...


Article: Album Review

Szun Waves: Earth Patterns

Read "Earth Patterns" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

The second Szun Waves album, New Hymn To Freedom (The Leaf Label, 2018), was a critical smash that united fans of Radiohead and Pharoah Sanders alike. Media types drowned in a torrent of adjectives such as gleaming, sparkling and rippling, as if the combo of brass and electronics could produce anything else. Unless, of course, it ...


Article: Album Review

Amanda Whiting: Lost In Abstraction

Read "Lost In Abstraction" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

Ahh, the angelic harp, a symbol of celestial beings, Biblical healing, Irish identity and a rubbish lager. In jazz terms we think of the instrument in relation to Casper Reardon, Dorothy Ashby, Alice Coltrane and more recently Deborah Henson-Conant. A noble list of names if not exactly boundless. The harp is, after all, much less portable ...


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