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Muse Records: Ten Smoking Hot Albums

Read "Muse Records: Ten Smoking Hot Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Alone among the other great jazz labels of the 1960s and 1970s—Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Atlantic—Joe Fields' Muse is rarely anthologised, written about or otherwise celebrated. Yet like its peers, Muse was prolific, releasing over 200 premium-grade albums during the 1970s, its most active decade, alone. This relative obscurity is ...

Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter

Read "Lift Every Voice And Sing: Twenty #BlackLives Albums That Matter" reviewed by Chris May

Jazz has been inextricably linked with social and political protest since at least the late 1930s, when Billie Holiday made famous the leftist songwriter and poet Abel Meeropol's “Strange Fruit." The song, which has a power to move that is undiminished by familiarity, likens the bodies of lynched African Americans to fruit hanging in trees.

Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums

Read "Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun's Atlantic Records differs in one key respect from Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Flying Dutchman, the most prominent labels covered so far in this Building A Jazz Library series. Those labels' discographies consist almost exclusively of jazz. Atlantic had parallel interests in soul and rhythm-and-blues and, later, rock. This had consequences, as ...

Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums

Read "Drummers as Bandleaders: An Alternative Top Ten Albums" reviewed by Chris May

Drummers have been key members of every band which has changed the course of jazz history, from Max Roach with Charlie Parker to Elvin Jones with John Coltrane and onwards. Yet drummers have been the leaders of a surprisingly small proportion of landmark bands themselves. Chick Webb in the 1920s was the first of the few. ...

Trout Mask Replica

Read "Trout Mask Replica" reviewed by Eric Gudas

“No Instruction Sheet": Trout Mask Replica's Unfathomable Origin Story If you were a teenager who liked freaky stuff, on a June day in 1969 you could bicycle down to your local record store and buy a brand-new, shrink-wrapped album with a man covering his entire face with an actual fish head on the cover. A double-LP ...

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 ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Maisha: There Is A Place

Read "There Is A Place" reviewed by Chris May

The London jazz scene, which is in 2018 more active and characterful than it has been since the jazz-dance movement of the 1980s, offers up another jewel with this debut physical-release by spiritual-jazz septet Maisha. The band, led by drummer Jake Long, surfaced in 2016 with the download-only live album Welcome To A New Welcome (Jazz ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Charles Mingus: Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden

Read "Jazz In Detroit / Strata Concert Gallery / 46 Selden" reviewed by Chris May

Summer 2018 saw the general release of privately held recordings by two giants of twentieth century jazz. First up was John Coltrane's Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!). It was followed by Thelonious Monk's Mønk (Gearbox). In autumn 2018, recordings by another totemic figure, Charles Mingus, become the year's third newly revealed archaeological discovery. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Hanna Paulsberg Concept + Magnus Broo: Daughter Of The Sun

Read "Daughter Of The Sun" reviewed by Gareth Thompson

Fourteen centuries before Cleopatra, queen Hatshepsut became one of the few women to rule Egypt. Artworks at the time portrayed her with masculine muscles and a Pharaonic beard, but these icons were smashed to smithereens in Hatshepsut's burial chamber. Clearly she upset the male hierarchy back then. Three and a half thousand years later, this fourth ...


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