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Melvin Butler

I am an ethnomusicologist with broad interests in music and religion of the African diaspora. The bulk of my fieldwork has explored popular music making in relation to charismatic Christianity in Haitian and Jamaican communities. In these transnational Caribbean contexts, I interrogate the cultural politics of musical style and religious expression while attending to the role of musical performance in constructing individual and collective identities. Much of my research centers on the phenomenology of Pentecostal musical worship, how the transcendent becomes immanent through musical performance, and the intersections of faith, ritual, gender, and power

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

John Petrucelli: Presence

Read "Presence" reviewed by Dustin Mallory

The sophomore effort from saxophonist John Petrucelli is a fresh and timely release of original compositions that were recorded in 2017 at the New Hazlett Theatre in Pittsburgh. The forthcoming album, titled Presence, pairs a jazz quintet with a string quartet as they perform John's majestic ten-movement suite. The album also features a guest appearance from ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2018: Part 1

Read "Festival International de Jazz de Montréal 2018: Part 1" reviewed by John Kelman

Part 1 | Part 22018 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Various Venues, Montréal, Canada June 29-July 3, 2018 Every return to Montréal for the city's annual Festival International de Jazz de Montréal is much-anticipated. Closing off six square blocks in the downtown core is rare enough; but, over ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band at Sculler's Jazz Club

Read "Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band at Sculler's Jazz Club" reviewed by Nat Seelen

Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band Sculler's Jazz Club Cambridge, MA November 10, 2017 I walked into the lobby of the Doubletree Hotel, home of Sculler's Jazz Club, at 9:40pm to find it packed, swarming with fans of Brian Blade eager to snap up a copy of his ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

2015 Detroit Jazz Festival

Read "2015 Detroit Jazz Festival" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan

Detroit Jazz Festival Hart Plaza Detroit, Michigan September 4-7, 2015 As the world's largest free jazz festival, Detroit's annual Labor Day offering provides a rewarding, but daunting task for anyone set to hunker down in the Motor City all Labor Day weekend. This year about 60 performances were in the offing ...

Jon Cowherd: Mercy

Read "Jon Cowherd: Mercy" reviewed by John Kelman

It's always difficult for an artist who has become so intimately associated with a group--especially if he or she has been a significant compositional contributor--to build a separate identity outside of that group. It might be one of the reasons that Pat Metheny Group keyboardist Lyle Mays--who not only contributed compositions of his own, but also ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Brian Blade: Fellowship - More Than Just a Word

Read "Brian Blade: Fellowship - More Than Just a Word" reviewed by John Kelman

In the 21st century, few drummers have managed Brian Blade's kind of crossover success. Beyond playing in saxophonist Wayne Shorter's quartet for nearly 15 years, beyond being a first-call drummer for producer/singer/songwriter Daniel Lanois--whether it's for his own projects like Black Dub or working with everyone from Bob Dylan to EmmyLou Harris--and beyond also being on-call ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band: Landmarks

Read "Landmarks" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

Drummer Brian Blade is a rhythmic force of nature that moves with both fire and finesse. He's contributed to numerous recordings and performances around the globe most notably as a member of the esteemed Wayne Shorter Quartet for over 10 years. Yet at the heart of Blade's own music lies a storyteller delivering tales of poignant ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Valby Summer Jazz 2012: Copenhagen, Denmark, July 6-15, 2012

Read "Valby Summer Jazz 2012: Copenhagen, Denmark, July 6-15, 2012" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

Valby Summer JazzPrøvehallen in Valby and The Betty Nansen TheatreCopenhagen, DenmarkJuly 6-15, 2012 Good things tend to grow, at least when there's passion and dedication involved, and Valby Summer Jazz, which primarily takes place at the outskirts of Copenhagen in the suburb of Valby, is indeed a labor of love that ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Ottawa Jazz Festival, Days 1-3: June 21-23, 2012

Read "Ottawa Jazz Festival, Days 1-3: June 21-23, 2012" reviewed by John Kelman

Days 1-3 | Days 4-8 TD Ottawa International Jazz FestivalOttawa, CanadaJune 21-Jul 1, 2012After a paradigm shift in 2011--deserting its largely “pure" approach to programming for one that acknowledged how, in order for it to survive, it needed to (a) attract a larger percentage from the youth demographic, and ...


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