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Harry Partch

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Harry Partch (1901-1974), one of the greatest and most individualistic composers of all time, was not only a great composer, but an innovative theorist who broke through the shackles of many centuries of one tuning system for all of Western music, a music instrument inventor who created dozens of incredible instruments for the performance of his music, and a musical dramatist who created his own texts and dance/theatre extravaganzas based on everything from Greek mythology to his own experiences as a hobo. Between 1930 and 1972, he created one of the most amazing bodies of sensually alluring and emotionally powerful music of the 20th century: music dramas, dance theater, multi-media extravaganzas, vocal music and chamber music---mostly all performed on the instruments he built himself. With parents who were former missionaries to China, living in isolated areas of the American southwest, Partch, as a child, was exposed to a variety of influences from Asian to Native American

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Article: Hardly Strictly Jazz

Philadelphia, Mon Amour

Read "Philadelphia, Mon Amour" reviewed by Skip Heller


I was born in 1965, in West Philly, so I met the world in 1980 or so. My city was then recovering from two terms of mayor Frank Rizzo, whose corruption was on a level not seen since the glory days of New York mayor Jimmy Walker. Rizzo hated anyone who was young or of color. ...

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Article: Film Review

Zappa

Read "Zappa" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Alex Winter Zappa Magnolia Pictures 2020 Composer, guitarist and iconoclast nonpareil, Frank Zappa was never an easy artist to pin down, as Alex Winter's perceptive and entertaining documentary makes abundantly clear. If an artist's music should speak for itself, what are we to make of Zappa's freakish '60s collage ...

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Article: Profile

The Very Singular Mr. Ran Blake

Read "The Very Singular Mr. Ran Blake" reviewed by Duncan Heining


There have been few American composers and musicians, with the ability to encapsulate their country's music in all its racial and ethnic complexity. We might perhaps point to Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ives and perhaps, in their own distaff ways, Harry Partch and Steve Reich. In jazz, their number is fewer still--Duke Ellington and George ...

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Article: Out and About: The Super Fans

Meet Jacob Cartwright

Read "Meet Jacob Cartwright" reviewed by Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper


Our August Super Fan is a visual artist with a special affinity for improvisational music, which has spilled over into his jazz-themed painting series. In jazz, as in art, Jacob Cartwright values the past while embracing the forward momentum of the new. Plus he's really “down with the jazz cats"--read on to see what we mean! ...

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Article: Album Review

Darrell Katz and OddSong: Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks

Read "Jailhouse Doc With Holes In Her Socks" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


Darrell Katz has been working in Boston for over 30 years compiling an impressive body of work as leader of the Jazz Composers Alliance Orchestra whose music has drawn from current events, literary works and anecdotes about Charles Mingus and Albert Einstein among other sources. On this new CD he revisits several of the compositions he's ...

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Article: Live Review

Bray Jazz Festival 2015

Read "Bray Jazz Festival 2015" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Bray Jazz Festival 2015 Various Venues Bray, Ireland May 1-3, 2015 Sunshine and squall. The sun and the clouds chased each other's tails throughout the May Bank Holiday weekend of the Bray Jazz Festival. In a way the weather mirrored the music--a pleasingly eclectic, bracing mixture--and the fortunes of the ...

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Article: Album Review

The Jeff Gauthier Goatette: Open Source

Read "Open Source" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Open Source would have made a good alternative name for violinist Jeff Gauthier's ensemble, as it draws inspiration from myriad sources. Goatette continues its near twenty-year journey into territory ranging from avant-garde and sci-fi soundscapes, and deep funk grooves colored by searing electric guitar, to an altogether more pastoral melodicism reminiscent of the Mahavishnu Orchestra at ...

133

Article: Album Review

The Claudia Quintet + 1 featuring Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann: What Is the Beautiful?

Read "What Is the Beautiful?" reviewed by Troy Collins


Jazz and poetry have a longstanding relationship that precedes the postwar experiments of the Beats, dating back to the Harlem Renaissance. As with any artistic collaboration, the cooperative efforts of improvising musicians and poets have yielded mixed results over the years. One of the first artists to successfully explore this territory (with John Cage and Charles ...

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Article: Album Review

Bones & Tones: Bones & Tones

Read "Bones & Tones" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Percussion might very well be the oldest form of communication known to man, but practitioners of the percussive arts are often relegated to supporting roles in the majority of today's music. When percussionist Lloyd Haber received an invitation to form a group for the 2009 Long Beach Jazz Festival, he fought this notion and put together ...


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