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Herbie Nichols

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Herbie Nichols is a perennially neglected jazz pianist and composer. He recorded less than half of his 170 compositions on three classic trio albums for Blue Note and one for Bethlehem before dying of leukemia at the age of 43 in 1963. He is often compared to Thelonious Monk, and his piano playing and compositions certainly do have some of the harmonic angularity people associate with Monk. But he had a very distinctive sound of his own, more melancholy and, for lack of a better word, poetic than Monk in many ways. In fact, Nichols was something of a poet, as the titles to his tunes suggest

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Article: Album Review

Hasaan Ibn Ali: Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album

Read "Metaphysics: The Lost Atlantic Album" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The hard bop, Philadelphia pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali had a short, troubled life. On what was believed his only recording, The Max Roach Trio Featuring the Legendary Hasaan (Atlantic, 1965), the drummer placed Ali's full image front and center, his name in a larger font on the LP cover. Within the Philadelphia jazz community, he was ...

10

Article: Album Review

François Lana Trio: Cathédrale

Read "Cathédrale" reviewed by Troy Dostert


The title of Swiss-based pianist François Lana's latest release, Cathédrale, carries a two-fold significance. Its most obvious reference is to transcendence, something Lana affirms in the liner notes: “Music is a form of spirituality," but it can also be a reference to the sophisticated architectural approach Lana brings to his art. Not only the music, but ...

1

Article: Interview

Jazz Composers Collective: The Herbie Nichols Project

Read "Jazz Composers Collective: The Herbie Nichols Project" reviewed by AAJ Staff


From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in November 1999. The Herbie Nichols Project is a working, researching, and performing entity--co-led by pianist Frank Kimbrough and bassist Ben Allison. Operating within that fertile creative aggregate known as the Jazz Composers Collective (of which Mr. Kimbrough and Mr. Allison are ...

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Article: Profile

Frank Kimbrough: From Now to Forever - A Remembrance

Read "Frank Kimbrough: From Now to Forever - A Remembrance" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu


On December 30, 2020, pianist Frank Kimbrough passed away at the age of 64. True to form, 2020 wreaked havoc until the end. The cause of death was not Covid-19, but the shock at the untimely loss of a revered artist was not any less powerful. Frank Kimbrough had the rare gift of touching ...

3

Article: Multiple Reviews

Ran Blake: Gray Moon, When Soft Rains Fall and Northern Noir

Read "Ran Blake: Gray Moon, When Soft Rains Fall and Northern Noir" reviewed by John Ephland


I'm a sucker for musical duets. Duets that make me feel like I'm in the same room with the two of them. Here we have three recent releases with the iconoclastic, legendary Ran Blake, now 83, in what is his most typical setting. Yes, to hear Blake paired up like this is to hear ...

4

Article: Album Review

Misha Mengelberg: Rituals Of Transition

Read "Rituals Of Transition" reviewed by Mark Corroto


It takes a master to speak like a child. Pianist Misha Mengelberg (1935-2017) was such a giant at the keyboard that he could shed all pretension and improvise with a simple innocence. Call it Zen enlightenment or just a blunt brilliance. His music is often absurd and paradoxical, like an inside joke, except he graciously lets ...

News: Video / DVD

Herbie Nichols: The Third World

Herbie Nichols: The Third World

In a crowded 1950s jazz universe where every pianist had a distinct artistic footprint, Herbie Nichols was among the most singular. Often compared by critics to Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, Nichols wasn't really much like either keyboard giant. If anything, Nichols' brooding style probably had more in common with Hungarian composer-pianist Béla Bartók and the ...

1

Article: Interview

Michael Cuscuna: In The Vault Playing God

Read "Michael Cuscuna: In The Vault Playing God" reviewed by AAJ Staff


From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in December 2000. Michael Cuscuna is one of the most important figures in the jazz reissue field today. He has been responsible for hundreds of releases for many companies, and he was fortunate to meet and befriend Alfred Lion during the final ...

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Article: Album Review

Ran Blake / Christine Correa: When Soft Rains Fall

Read "When Soft Rains Fall" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


Pianist Ran Blake and vocalist Christine Correa have recorded several duo albums together including two on the music of Abbey Lincoln. Here they turn to another iconic singer, Billie Holiday, concentrating on the contents of her final album, Lady In Satin (Columbia, 1958). Lady In Satin is known for its lush orchestral and choral ...


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