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Musician

Leroy Jenkins

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Born in Chicago, composer and violinist Leroy Jenkins was one of the most important musicians to emerge from the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians), the legendary collective of which he was a member until his death in 2007. Like many of the Association's members, Jenkins studied under the legendary Walter Dyett at DuSable High School, where he learned the alto saxophone. He received a music degree (in violin) from Florida A&M University, where he studied composition and the classical masters of the violin. Subsequently, he taught music both in Mobile, Alabama (1961-5) and in the Chicago schools (1965-9)

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Article: Interview

From Aimless to Activist, Bassist Kevin Ray Lands on Higher Ground

Read "From Aimless to Activist, Bassist Kevin Ray Lands on Higher Ground" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


Bassist Kevin Ray has recorded or played with John Stubblefield, Oliver Lake, Greg Osby, Andrew Hill, Marty Ehrlich, Elliott Sharp, John Hicks, Hamiet Bluiett and Nels Cline. Ray has performed in the premieres of works by Joe McPhee, Leroy Jenkins and others. The bassist co-leads the adventurous trio 10³²K's with trombonist/trumpeter Frank Lacy, percussionist Andrew Drury ...

4

Article: Album Review

Tomeka Reid - Joe Morris: Combinations

Read "Combinations" reviewed by John Sharpe


One of the fascinations of a duet is how the alternating tension and balance between the two poles can create an overall mood which differs from either of the constituent parts. Abstraction particularly promotes that sort of ambiguity, and it is especially prevalent in the pairing of cellist Tomeka Reid and guitarist Joe Morris on Combinations, ...

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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 ...

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Article: Year in Review

John Sharpe's Best Releases of 2020

Read "John Sharpe's Best Releases of 2020" reviewed by John Sharpe


With so few performance opportunities since March, and musicians in continuing limbo, the continued stream of new releases has been a surprise, but a welcome one. For me, and many others, music has been a source of solace in an otherwise dreadful year. That makes it all the more invidious to pick and choose between honest ...

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Article: Album Review

Alexander Hawkins, Tomeka Reid: Shards and Constellations

Read "Shards and Constellations" reviewed by Neri Pollastri


Il fulminante incontro tra una coppia di improvvisatori e ricercatori tra i più in vista a livello internazionale, ben noti anche da noi per le collaborazioni con musicisti italiani, quali sono il pianista inglese Alexander Hawkins e la violoncellista statunitense Tomeka Reid, dà vita a cinquanta minuti di una musica perlopiù inquieta, imprevedibilmente serpeggiante e interamente ...

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Article: Album Review

Johanna Burnheart: Burnheart

Read "Burnheart" reviewed by Chris May


The violin has an eventful history in jazz. But it is still a niche instrument, despite a line of singular players stretching back to Stephane Grappelli and Stuff Smith (who deserves some bonus points for composing the immortal “If You're A Viper"). There are no schools of jazz violinists, simply a succession of one-off stylists, with ...

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Article: Album Review

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Shaman!

Read "Shaman!" reviewed by Chris May


California-based tenor saxophonist and composer Idris Ackamoor, who has one foot in magical realism and the other in the politicised school of spiritual-jazz, relaunched his 1970s band the Pyramids in 2015. A year later, the group released the acclaimed We Be All Africans, which was followed in 2018 by the equally noteworthy An Angel Fell (both ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

AACM: Together We Are Stronger

Read "AACM: Together We Are Stronger" reviewed by Chris May


With the passing in 2017 of the pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and trumpeter Phil Cohran, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, formed in Chicago in 1965, lost the last two of the four musicians who organised its inaugural meeting. But with two succeeding generations of standard bearers stepping up to the plate, the AACM ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Strata-East: Seizing the Time

Read "Strata-East: Seizing the Time" reviewed by Chris May


Operating on minimum finance and maximum passion, Brooklyn's Strata-East label was a pivotal platform for the spiritual-jazz movement that emerged during the Civil Rights struggle of the 1970s. Its closest contemporary comparator was Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Both were non-profit organisations. The AACM was non-profit by design. With Strata-East, co-founder Charles Tolliver ...


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