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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 ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Nate Wooley: Seven Storey Mountain VI

Read "Seven Storey Mountain VI" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Since 2007 trumpeter Nate Wooley has been producing compositions in a song cycle collectively called “Seven Storey Mountain." The first one was performed by a trio and each succeeding version has included a greater number of musicians. The newest one, the sixth of an eventual seven iterations, is performed here by fourteen players including three vocalists. ...

Chet Baker: An Alternative Top Ten Albums To Get Lost In

Read "Chet Baker: An Alternative Top Ten Albums To Get Lost In" reviewed by Chris May

Chet Baker was born to a farmer's daughter and a hard-drinking, weed-smoking singer and guitarist in a Western Swing band in Yale, Oklahoma in 1929. Like many Okies, the family fared badly during the Great Depression but did a little better after moving to Glendale, California in 1939. Largely self-taught as a trumpeter, Baker honed his ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Markus Reuter Times Three: Oculus, Shapeshifters & Sun Trance

Read "Markus Reuter Times Three: Oculus, Shapeshifters & Sun Trance" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Markus Reuter wears many hats: touch guitarist; composer; improviser; soundscaper; and producer. This trio of simultaneous MoonJune Records releases (one technically a reissue) offer an opportunity to sample his music in all of those aspects. Markus Reuter Oculus Nothing is Sacred MoonJune Records 2020 “Oculus" is the name ...

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. ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Light Star Guiding: Light Star Guiding

Read "Light Star Guiding" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Light Star Guiding is a Polish quartet which makes music collectively, with a seamless combination of composition and improvisation (all the music on this album is credited to the whole band). It is a very contemporary sound, frequently employing repetition and trance. Tenor saxophonist Ray Dickaty says he sees the project as an electric counterpoint to ...

ARTICLE: MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Michael Robinson: Where Composition, Programming & Raga Meet

Read "Michael Robinson: Where Composition, Programming & Raga Meet" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Los Angeles-based composer Michael Robinson's work is full of contradictions. It is produced via computer programming, a system which he refers to as “Meruvina." The name comes from the sanskrit word for musical instrument, “vina" and the name of the mountain where the Hindu gods reside, “Mount Meru," and consists of software, a computer, and a ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Kronos Quartet/Terry Riley: Sun Rings

Read "Sun Rings" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

In addition to their performance of 20th century classics, modern music specialists The Kronos Quartet have a long history of commissioning new works from contemporary composers. But their relationship with minimalist pioneer Terry Riley is a special one. After composing the open-scored In C in 1964, Riley increasingly turned his attention towards improvised performances with tape-delay ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Ostrava Days 2019

Read "Ostrava Days 2019" reviewed by Martin Longley

Ostrava Days Various Venues Ostrava Czech Republic August 22-31, 2019 The biennial Ostrava Days festival rolled around again, and there's nothing quite like a once-every-two-years event to make time appear to flow even faster than normal. As a moderne composition festival, it is difficult to accurately ...


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Publisher's Desk

Best Jazz Releases of 2020... a running list! Read on.

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