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La Monte Young

La Monte Young is an American avant-garde artist, composer and musician, generally recognized as the first minimalist composer. His works are cited as notable examples of post-war avant-garde, experimental, and contemporary music. Young is especially known for his exploration of drone music. Born October 14, 1935 in a log cabin in Bern, Idaho, La Monte went to high school in Los Angeles. During this time he played saxophone in a group with Billy Higgins, Dennis Budimir and Don Cherry and with various other musicians. To continue his education, he relocated to Berkeley, where he met life long friend and collaborator Terry Riley

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Article: Album Review

Nik Bartsch: Entendre

Read "Entendre" reviewed by Chris May


Back in 2006, Swiss composer and keyboard player Nik Bärtsch's ECM debut, Stoa, recorded with his group Ronin, sounded like the album James Brown might have made if he'd appointed Steve Reich musical director of his backing band, The J.B.'s. Simultaneously cerebral and on the good foot, it was minimalism, Jim, but not as we knew ...

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Article: Year in Review

Chris May’s Best Releases Of 2020

Read "Chris May’s Best Releases Of 2020" reviewed by Chris May


Not the best year for live gigs in London, but Dele Sosimi's Afrobeat Orchestra just made it under the wire, lighting up the Jazz Cafe in late January. Rather like Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Sosimi's band has form as an incubator of young talent. A recent star in the making was trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi, who has ...

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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: Interview

Jon Hassell: Words with the Shaman

Read "Jon Hassell: Words with the Shaman" reviewed by Chris May


Jon Hassell is best known as the creator of Fourth World music, an acoustic-electronic blend of jazz, minimalism, drone, ambient, traditional African and Asian instruments and harmolodic signatures. Hassell has defined Fourth World as “serious music with transcultural appeal and a smile." He unveiled the concept on his debut album, Vernal Equinox (Lovely Records), in 1977. ...

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Article: Album Review

Jon Hassell / Farafina: Flash Of The Spirit

Read "Flash Of The Spirit" reviewed by Chris May


The trumpeter and keyboard player Jon Hassell is often labelled a practitioner of ambient music. This is a misconstruction resulting mainly from Hassell's encounters with Brian Eno, who is widely perceived as ambient's originator. Hassell's oeuvre, a technologically enabled fusion of western and non-western musics which he calls Fourth World, is a wholly different kettle of ...

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Article: Ethnographies of Jazz

Elder Ones, "From Untruth," and a Threat Called New York: An Essay

Read "Elder Ones, "From Untruth," and a Threat Called New York: An Essay" reviewed by Arian Bagheri Pour Fallah


If what we witness today; rabid expansion of capital and with it, growing class difference, and a renewed interest in Marx; if these were testimony to one thing, it would be Derrida's spook of a wager from his seminal Specters de Marx. Indeed, neo-liberal/conservative sham thinkers such as Fukuyama today find shelter no longer in Hegel, ...

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Article: Album Review

Ustad Saami: God Is Not A Terrorist

Read "God Is Not A Terrorist" reviewed by Chris May


God Is Not A Terrorist is by no stretch of the imagination a jazz album, but it contains deep and authentic music and will appeal to some AAJers. Ustad Saami is a master of the Pakistani vocal style known as surti, which is characterized by its use of microtones. Microtones are widely used in music throughout ...


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