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ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival

Read "ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival" reviewed by John Ephland

Krannert CenterELLNORA: The Guitar Festival Champaign/Urbana, IL September 5-7, 2019 It takes place every other year; every odd year. Going back to 2005, ELLNORA: The Guitar Festival, held in the University of Illinois' Champaign-Urbana' one-stop-shop Krannert Center, has been celebrating the works of an amazing array of plectrists from all walks ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Paul Bley: When Will The Blues Leave

Read "When Will The Blues Leave" reviewed by John Ephland

Ornette Coleman recorded “When Will The Blues Leave" in early 1958, released the next year on Something Else!!!! (Contemporary). Paul Bley played Coleman's blues four years later on The Floater Syndrome (Savoy Records), a trio recording with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete La Roca. Both versions--Coleman's in a quintet with trumpeter Don Cherry, bassist Don ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Spring Quartet at Dalton Recital Hall

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Spring Quartet Dalton Recital Hall, Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI May 4, 2019 They had to add chairs. The 435-seat Dalton Recital Hall, on the campus of Western Michigan University, was filled with multiple generations of music fans from all walks of life. The alluring ticket, brought to town by ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Sun Ra: Monorails & Satellites: Works For Solo Piano Vols. 1, 2, 3

Read "Monorails & Satellites: Works For Solo Piano Vols. 1, 2, 3" reviewed by John Ephland

Sun Ra as a pianist could be in your parlor, entrancing you with all manner of wistfulness, star-gazing, even a dash of the down-and-dirty via some dusty blues or off-kilter, angular, jagged afterthoughts. In this two-disc solo piano set, the nine selections that make up disc two bring it all back home, the music coalescing in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Liebman, Rudolph & Drake: Chi

Read "Chi" reviewed by John Ephland

Chi is another trio outing with saxophonist Dave Liebman and percussionist Adam Rudolph, the third leg on this stool being drummer Hamid Drake. It is a kind of follow-up to 2018's alternately serene and propulsive The Unknowable (RareNoise), on which Liebman and Rudolph were joined by percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani. Unlike The Unknowable, Chi was recorded in ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Stephan Thelen: Fractal Guitar

Read "Fractal Guitar" reviewed by John Ephland

A guitar lover's delight, the Swiss Stephan Thelen's Fractal Guitar reeks of the many splendid effects the instrument can bellow, belch, intimate, cry out and sing. And all within the narrow yet liberating, pattern-based corridors Thelen's ofttimes arhythmic funkfest conjures. With nods to David Torn, Robert Fripp, Glenn Branca and even Nik Bartsch, the aesthetic creates ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Eraldo Bernocchi: Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It

Read "Like A Fire That Consumes All Before It" reviewed by John Ephland

RareNoise is one of those labels, one of those rare (no pun intended) labels, where format and style have become irrelevant. A recent sampling of the soon-to-be historic label should suffice in telling their ongoing musical odyssey. Pit one against the other: 2018's Anguish, featuring among others, Nordic phenom Mats Gustafsson in a wild-haired hoedown of ...

Elio Villafranca: Five Islands & A Revolt

Read "Elio Villafranca: Five Islands & A Revolt" reviewed by John Ephland

The setting was Systems Two, a well-known, state-of-the-art recording studio in Brooklyn. The sessions, occurring over five days in May (7-11) 2017, were set up to record Cuban pianist/composer Elio Villafranca's sixth album, the elaborate and thoroughly rehearsed double-CD Cinque (artistShare), the music previously performed in shows at Lincoln Center in 2015. Present at ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Gilmore Keyboard Festival

Read "Gilmore Keyboard Festival" reviewed by John Ephland

Gilmore Keyboard Festival Kalamazoo, Michigan April 25 to May 12, 2018 Thursday night is always the second night of the biennial Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Thursday night is also the first night for jazz, the festival putatively a classical music rollout with jazz confections, albeit well-considered, strewn throughout this 22-day cultural jewel based ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Norma Winstone: Descansado - Songs For Films

Read "Descansado - Songs For Films" reviewed by John Ephland

Norma Winstone has had her current trio since 2001, long enough to have released five albums (four for ECM). Descansado, a celebration of cinema through the language of music, is that fourth CD, and it's a winner from start to finish. The album's title derives from a Armando Trovajoli composition, used in Italian director Vittorio De ...


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