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Ornette Coleman

Early on in his career, alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman, recorded an album entitled, The Shape of Jazz To Come. It might have seemed like an expression of youthful arrogance - Coleman was 29 at the time - but actually, the title was prophetic. Coleman is the creator of a concept of music called "harmolodic," a musical form which is equally applicable as a life philosophy. The richness of harmolodics derives from the unique interaction between the players. Breaking out of the prison bars of rigid meters and conventional harmonic or structural expectations, harmolodic musicians improvise equally together in what Coleman calls compositional improvisation, while always keeping deeply in tune with the flow, direction and needs of their fellow players. In this process, harmony becomes melody becomes harmony. Ornette describes it as "Removing the caste system from sound." On a broader level, harmolodics equates with the freedom to be as you please, as long as you listen to others and work with them to develop your own individual harmony.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

James Brandon Lewis: Molecular

Read "Molecular" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis offers up an introductory statement in the album packaging as a preface to the liner notes of Molecular. His train of thought is difficult to follow. He leaves an impression of not being a “normal" person, in the best possible sense of that assessment. It is the impression of a deep-thinking artist ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Michael Cuscuna: In The Vault Playing God

Read "Michael Cuscuna: In The Vault Playing God" reviewed by AAJ Staff

From the 1995-2003 archive: This article first appeared at All About Jazz in December 2000. Michael Cuscuna is one of the most important figures in the jazz reissue field today. He has been responsible for hundreds of releases for many companies, and he was fortunate to meet and befriend Alfred Lion during the final ...

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 ...

ARTICLE: TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five with TRi/O's Steve Shapiro, Dave Anderson and Tyger MacNeal

Read "Take Five with TRi/O's Steve Shapiro, Dave Anderson and Tyger MacNeal" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Meet TRi/O TRi/O is a collaborative groove-based contemporary jazz & funk outing from three New York musicians: Steve Shapiro on vibraphone and mallet keyboards, virtuoso 5-string bassist Dave Anderson, and drummer Tyger MacNeal. Their combined credits comprise a long list of major jazz and pop artists—including Steely Dan, Ornette Coleman, Phil Collins, Spyro Gyra, Whitney Houston, ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Matt Wilson Quartet: Hug!

Read "Hug!" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

A hug is something which is a distant memory for most of us these days. The warm and friendly vibes of this new Matt Wilson album could be thought of as a virtual hug, full of smile-inducing swing and raffish humor. Wilson's partners on this excursion are some of his usual cohorts, saxophonist Jeff ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Deerhoof: Love-Lore

Read "Love-Lore" reviewed by Troy Dostert

"Where, in short, are the flying cars?" So asked David Graeber in 2012, in a widely-circulated essay entitled “Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit." Graeber, an anthropologist of a decidedly unconventional bent, dedicated much of his academic career to challenging preconceived wisdom concerning the allegedly unlimited potential of capitalist economics and its attendant ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Josephine Davies: Way Out East: New Directions In Jazz

Read "Josephine Davies: Way Out East:  New Directions In Jazz" reviewed by Chris May

Compared to many other bands which have emerged on jny: London's paradigm-shifting jazz scene since the mid 2010s, saxophonist and composer Josephine Davies' trio Satori has attracted relatively little noise. There has been high praise from specialist critics but little mainstream media coverage and even less social media chatter. This may be because, unlike many of ...

ARTICLE: HISTORY OF JAZZ

Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists

Read "Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

[The following is a commentary on pianist Richie Beirach's 2020 e-book The Historical Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano: The 10 Essential Players (Conversations between Richie Beirach and Michael Lake), downloadable for free here.] Jazz piano has always garnered (no intended reference to Erroll Garner) special interest among the instruments because it is truly an ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Remy Le Boeuf's Assembly of Shadows: Assembly of Shadows

Read "Assembly of Shadows" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi

Dopo aver debuttato in veste di leader nel 2019 con il ricercato album Light as a World (un sestetto con, tra gli altri, Aaron Parks e Walter Smith III) il 33enne sassofonista e compositore d'origini californiane, presenta un ambizioso progetto orchestrale comprendente la suite “Assembly of Shadows," un'altra sua composizione ("Strata") e una riscrittura di “Honeymooners" ...


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