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ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Jazz in the Time of Pandemic

Read "Jazz in the Time of Pandemic" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The first week of April 2020: images crystalized the daily news reports; a dystopian Times Square; Piazza Navona in Rome, emptied of tourists, Barcelona's Basílica de la Sagrada Família standing like an abstract ruin, makeshift morgues in hospital parking lots. The jazz world is small but still a microcosm of society with interdependencies that run deep. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Don Cherry: Cherry Jam

Read "Cherry Jam" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In the same year that composer/multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry recorded his milestone Complete Communion (Blue Note, 1966) he took his cornet to the studio of Danish National Radio. Cherry had established himself by the early 1960s, playing with Steve Lacy, Ornette Coleman, Paul Bley, John Coltrane, Charlie Haden, Archie Shepp, Albert Ayler and Ed Blackwell. Copenhagen began ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Jonah Prazen-Johnson: Imagine Giving Up

Read "Imagine Giving Up" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

When Jonah Parzen-Johnson released his first full-length album, Michiana (Primary Records, 2012), the Brooklyn-based artist seemed to give priority status to the electronics through which he filtered his baritone saxophone compositions. Even more so, Parzen-Johnson's 2015 follow up, Remember When Things Were Better Tomorrow (also on Primary), was dominated by ambient drones. Parzen-Johnson has continued to ...

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

The Archive of Contemporary Music

Read "The Archive of Contemporary Music" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

In Lower Manhattan, sits a musical gold mine. It's the motherlode of recorded music though the small, brightly colored sign above a grey steel door provides only a cryptic clue. The dusty window display of rare 78 RPM records, broken into erratic pie charts serves as a vestige of the past and a cautionary tale about ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Stefano Travaglini: Monk - Fifteen Piano Reflections

Read "Monk - Fifteen Piano Reflections" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Italian composer and pianist Stefano Travaglini advanced his standing in the crowded field of solo piano improvisers with Ellipse (Notami Jazz, 2017). That album of (mostly) extemporaneous creations exhibited Travaglini's capacity for coalescing abstraction and lyricism in often understated ways. Trained as a classical pianist under Arvo Part and Vince Mendoza, he benefitted from their broad ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Aruán Ortiz with Andrew Cyrille and Mauricio Herrera: Inside Rhythmic Falls

Read "Inside Rhythmic Falls" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Cuban-born pianist and composer Aruán Ortiz is constantly evolving, experimenting and injecting new elements into his craft. Inside Rhythmic Falls is his third trio album, each with impressive but different lineups. His previous trio release, Live In Zürich (Intakt Records, 2018), with bassist Brad Jones and Chicago Underground mainstay Chad Taylor on drums and mbira, saw ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Nina Simone: Fodder On My Wings

Read "Fodder On My Wings" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Nina Simone found success from the beginning of her recording career in 1959. With the release of Nina Simone at Town Hall (Colpix), her third album that year, she became a fixture on the downtown New York club scene. Her life and career took a different turn not long afterward. Simone's activism in the Civil Rights ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Chicago Underground Quartet: Good Days

Read "Good Days" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Of the many Rob Mazurek led groups, his Chicago Underground collective has been the most prolific and adventurous cooperative with seven duo outings and another four trio releases. The quartet version of Chicago Underground, like the 1998 “Orchestra" formation, had issued only one album, the self-titled debut on the Thrill Jockey label in 2001. A one-off ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Ayman Fanous / Frances-Marie Uitti: Negoum

Read "Negoum" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The very flexible tone systems of the Middle East and Southern Asia have influenced Western music for decades. From John Coltrane to Jimmy Page and George Harrison, the sounds of those regions have often successfully fused with the disciplined beat of the West. Egyptian-born, New York-based guitarist and bouzouki player Ayman Fanous and American-born, Paris-based cellist ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Matthew Shipp String Trio: Symbolic Reality

Read "Symbolic Reality" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Of the many formations in which Matthew Shipp works, his string trio is one of the most eclectic and appealing. Mat Maneri, William Parker and Shipp have covered the breadth of progressive improvised music from chamber to noise. Shipp has dabbled in electronica and hip-hop, but more often in the genre-less manner which makes him stand ...


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