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James Blood Ulmer

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Free jazz has not produced many notable guitarists. Experimental musicians drawn to the guitar have had few jazz role models; consequently, they've typically looked to rock-based players for inspiration. James "Blood" Ulmer is one of the few exceptions—an outside guitarist who has forged a style based largely on the traditions of African-American vernacular music. Ulmer is an adherent of saxophonist/composer Ornette Coleman's vaguely defined Harmolodic theory, which essentially subverts jazz's harmonic component in favor of freely improvised, non-tonal, or quasi-modal counterpoint. Ulmer plays with a stuttering, vocalic attack; his lines are frequently texturally and chordally based, inflected with the accent of a soul-jazz tenor saxophonist

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Article: Album Review

Charlie Ballantine: Reflections/Introspection: The Music Of Thelonious Monk

Read "Reflections/Introspection: The Music Of Thelonious Monk" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


Reflections/Introspection... follows-up guitarist Charlie Ballentine's Life is Brief: The Music of Bob Dylan, the guitarist's tribute to another (and very different type of) iconoclastic modern composer and one of the best albums of 2018. He absolutely bounces through this double-LP (one trio, one quartet) on a merry joyride through the compositions of “the onliest Monk."

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Article: From the Inside Out

Rediscovery and Re-Creation, and an NYC Farewell

Read "Rediscovery and Re-Creation, and an NYC Farewell" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki


Greg Abate Magic Dance: The Music of Kenny Barron Whaling City Sound 2021 Musicians will sometimes honor another musician who influenced their lives or work with a tribute or memorial recording after that influential musician has passed on. There's an abundance of first-rate music on the ...

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Article: Album Review

Charnett Moffett: New Love

Read "New Love" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


If one thing is obvious from this CD, it is that electric bassist Charnett Moffett is a happy man these days. His playing leaps out of the speakers on these tracks with joy and high spirits. That may be because he works here in the company of his “new love," his wife, guitarist Jana Herzen. The ...

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Article: Album Review

Gustafsson / McPhee / Håker Flaten / Nilssen-Love: The Thing She Knows...

Read "The Thing She Knows..." reviewed by Chris May


The Hat Hut and ezz-thetics family of labels is in 2021 just three years shy of its fiftieth anniversary. This is a remarkable, perhaps unique, achievement for an independent company which has concerned itself exclusively with the avant-garde end of jazz and conservatoire music from the get go, and has done so with the highest (for ...

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Article: Interview

Dave Holland: More Than Just Notes

Read "Dave Holland: More Than Just Notes" reviewed by Ian Patterson


The creative juices, if not the hunger, desert many artists as they advance in years. Repetition and mediocrity—a blunting of the sword— can creep in, while past glories are often left to provide the kindling for flames that never quite catch. Such charges could never be levelled at English bassist Dave Holland, who turns seventy-five in ...

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Article: Album Review

Dave Holland: Another Land

Read "Another Land" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Though bass legend Dave Holland's entire career has been one marked by adventure, it has been a while since he recorded back-to-back albums with the same working group. Recordings such as Hands (Dare2, 2010), with flamenco guitarist Pepe Habichuela, the duo outing The Art of Conversation (Impulse! 2014) with Kenny Barron, Blue Maqams (ECM, 2017) with ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Saxophone Colossi: An Alternative Top Ten Banging Albums

Read "Saxophone  Colossi: An Alternative Top Ten Banging Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Miles Davis once said you could tell the history of jazz in four words: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker. You might want to add John Coltrane, you might even want to add Davis. But however you cut it, saxophones and trumpets have been the flag bearers of the music. Trumpets got things rolling and saxophones came into ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Guitar Gods & Goddesses: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "Guitar Gods & Goddesses: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Although it has been present in jazz since the 1920s, when it was routinely used in rhythm sections, as a solo instrument the guitar struggled to make itself heard--literally--until the second half of the 1930s, when reliable pick-ups and portable amplifiers became available. Foremost among the pioneers of the electrified instrument was Charlie Christian, a member ...

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Article: Book Review

Hear My Train A Comin': The Songs Of Jimi Hendrix

Read "Hear My Train A Comin': The Songs Of Jimi Hendrix" reviewed by Ian Patterson


Hear My Train A Comin':The Songs Of Jimi Hendrix Kevin Le Gendre 240 Pages ISBN: 97818000500143 Equinox 2020 Few artists have burned as briefly and brightly as Jimi Hendrix, the Afro-American guitarist and singer who set the late 1960s alight with his virtuosity and showmanship. Fifty years after he ...


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