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15

Article: Album Review

Wadada Leo Smith with Milford Graves and Bill Laswell: Sacred Ceremonies

Read "Sacred Ceremonies" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


As he approached his eightieth birthday, Wadada Leo Smith could have been content to sit out the year of nothingness that Covid-19 brought in 2020 and beyond. With his 2013 Pulitzer Prize nomination, a 2016 Doris Duke Award, and nearly one-hundred recording credits, the trumpeter & multi-instrumentalist has landed at the top of countless polls throughout ...

17

Article: Album Review

Billy Bang: Lucky Man

Read "Lucky Man" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


When he performed in Germany, they called him the “black devil violinist," his frenetic playing wrapped in a gyrating, trance-like state. For Billy Bang, who believed he had schizophrenia, the epithet bore a resemblance to his inner turmoil. He was born William Walker in Mobile, Alabama but grew up in the South Bronx. He studied violin ...

24

Article: Building a Jazz Library

Instrumental Duos

Read "Instrumental Duos" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The early days of jazz were not always harmonious. Converted dance orchestras often sounded like unbalanced acoustic junkyards; a single violin, cornet, trombone, clarinet, tuba, drums, banjo, and piano, all fighting for attention. The piano was meant to be the glue holding the shrill and boisterous elements together. In 1921 a prodigy pianist named Zez Confrey ...

12

Article: Album Review

Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp: Special Edition: Procedural Language

Read "Special Edition: Procedural Language" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


The art of the duo has been all but perfected in the virtuosic recordings of saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp. The two composer-improvisers have recorded a dozen duo albums and more than twenty other collections in larger formations. Special Edition Box is art on several levels with audio, a Blue-Ray DVD, and a book, ...

21

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

A Bu Trio with Larry Grenadier and Eric Harland: One Step East

Read "One Step East" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Pianist/composer A Bu, whose given name is Dai Liang, has outgrown the “child prodigy" tag but not the attributes. A student at Central Conservatory in Beijing, and later at Juilliard, he was influenced by a meaningful meeting with Chick Corea at the age of thirteen. Corea performed in Shanghai, where he invited A Bu onto the ...

20

Article: Album Review

Nixon Mohohlo & The Collective Heads of Knuckle: The Queen of Complaints

Read "The Queen of Complaints" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


For good or bad, drummer Nixon Mohohlo has worn his heart on his sleeve for most of his musical career. Following a brief experience with monastic silence he recorded an album-length version of John Cage's “4'33." It met with outrage and was pulled from the market. In 1999, he recruited Dutch percussionist Horst Van Clutter for ...

38

Article: Under the Radar

A Different Drummer, Part 2: Royal Hartigan

Read "A Different Drummer, Part 2: Royal Hartigan" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Drums of Life--Drums of DeathThe ruins of the Anasazi people stand undisturbed in the cliffs between the high mesas and the canyon floors of the southwest. Dating to 2500 B.C., the multi-story adobe pueblos and stone cities were the sites of the ancient indigenous peoples of North America. Archeologists have uncovered an assortment of percussion instruments ...

19

Article: Album Review

Nik Bärtsch: Entendre

Read "Entendre" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Swiss keyboardist & composer Nik Bärtsch has been recording for two decades, mostly with his Ronin and Mobile groups and their overlapping musicians. A ceaseless experimenter, his early release Hishiryo: Piano Solo (Ronin Rhythm Records, 2002) was a genre-neutral project where he played piano, prepared piano, and percussion. It has been almost twenty years between solo ...

19

Article: Album Review

Roberto Miranda's Home Music Ensemble: Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985

Read "Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Roberto Miranda has appeared on almost one-hundred albums but has been lightly recorded as a leader, and inexplicably struggled to generate interest among labels. Dark Tree Records has released some great Horace Tapscott performances from the '70s and '80s. The label resurrected a Miranda-led session on Live at the Bing Theater; Los Angeles, 1985. Recorded at ...


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