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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: 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 ...

7

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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Article: Interview

Matt Gold: A Guitarist in Songwriter's Disguise

Read "Matt Gold: A Guitarist in Songwriter's Disguise" reviewed by Friedrich Kunzmann


Combining improvisational concepts with Americana aesthetics is one thing, but enveloping this blend in a songwriter approach is another story entirely. The first concept is common practice these days, the second however represents the unique character which the up and coming jny: Chicago-based guitarist Matt Gold has to offer on his compelling debut effort, Imagined Sky ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May


Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

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Article: Album Review

Muriel Grossmann: Reverence

Read "Reverence" reviewed by Chris May


Since the late 1990s, the Spanish island of Ibiza has been synonymous with two things: electronic dance music and 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine aka MDMA or ecstasy. Austrian-born saxophonist Muriel Grossmann has lived on Ibiza since 2004 and her intense wall-of-sound style of astral jazz suggests she is familiar with both those pillars of Ibizan nightlife. ...

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Article: Album Review

Rob Mazurek: Desert Encrypts Vol. 1

Read "Desert Encrypts Vol. 1" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


It was twenty-five years ago, in 1994, that Rob Mazurek first emerged with Man Facing East (Hep Jazz), a quartet recording solidly positioned in the post/hard bop style. Even in the interpretations of standards, there were clues that the cornetist/composer was a restless soul. In the intervening years, Mazurek has rapidly charted his own dissident destiny ...

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Article: Album Review

Kokoroko: Kokoroko

Read "Kokoroko" reviewed by Chris May


If you ask an Afrobeat fan to name their favourite bands--excluding lineups led by Fela Kuti during his lifetime--the probability is that their top five choices will include Seun Kuti's Egypt 80 and Femi Kuti's Positive Force, both based in Lagos, along with Dele Sosimi's Afrobeat Orchestra, based in London. Other credible outfits have emerged, but ...

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Article: Album Review

The Thing: Again

Read "Again" reviewed by Mark Corroto


Wait for it. Wait. At some point during a performance or recording by the trio known as The Thing, the band attempts to rip your face off, beginning with your ears. It's been that way since they were founded in 2000. The Swedish/Norwegian free jazz/garage band have become a kind of jazz/punk royalty, cutting huge swaths ...


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