Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


You say you're beat? You don't know Jack

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Recorded in 2010, this tribute to Swedish saxophonist Bengt Nordström by the current saxophone champion Mats Gustafsson is a radical departure from his sound. Or, is it? Gustafsson, who plays that machine gun blasting baritone in the rocked-out jazz band The Thing, the muscle behind the punk band The Ex, or the improvising spark in so many other ensembles with players such as Peter Brötzmann, Ken Vandermark and Barry Guy, recorded these two lengthy improvisations utilizing a Grafton plastic alto saxophone. The type favored by Bengt, his mentor.

Certainly the plastic saxophone presented limitation (and possibilities) to Gustafsson. He opens "Side A—Bengt A" of this white vinyl LP (with accompanying CD) prodding and testing the horn. He blows shortish notes, casually extending his sound with vocalizations, his flutter tongue, and key manipulations. Gustafsson eschews his signature strongman sound for a breathy improvisation. By the second track, he settles into a minimalist pop-and-tongue approach that unrolls into soft melodies and multi-phonic overblowing. The frailty of the plastic horn favored by Bengt, but also used for a while by both Charlie Parker and Ornette Coleman, is exploited to some very ingenious ends here.

Frank Rosaly

Centering And Displacement

Utech Records


When is a solo drummer's recording not a drum recording? That question is not a zen koan but a hint as to what you can expect from Frank Rosaly's unchaperoned 45rpm LP (with accompanying CD), >Centering And Displacement. Rosaly is a band leader and member of Fast Citizens, Scorch Trio, and multiple new Chicago bands bands that include musicians Jason Adasiewicz, Jason Stein, and Keefe Jackson. Unlike his previous solo drum LP Millwork (Molk Records, 2009), that utilized limited electronics, this baby takes sliced and diced improvised source material collected by Rosaly, organized and arranged into a strict compositional manner before getting processed and divided into six channels and transferred to one master. Phew. Yes, the concept is dense, but the results are actually quite elegant. The LP begins with heavily distorted sounds that give way to scattered drums and electronic belches. This sensation of being inside of a whale, leads to a quite section of exploration before finishing out with multiple bells and a percussion dance. Side 2 is a brooding cauldron of metallic scrapes and electric fuzz that drops out for some introspective percussion and flute played over thrumming electronics. Rosaly who can swing as hard as any modern Chicago drummer gives us a peek into his darker more experimental side here.


Zs Score The Complete Sextet Works: 2002-2007

Norhtern Spy Records


If you are not familiar with the band known as Zs, then picture Anthony Braxton as a member of Black Flag, or perhaps better yet the punk band Black Flag if they had been schooled as musicians. The Zs has created a sort of cult following, playing opposite ends of the attention deficit disorder spectrum. The music can agitate with precise mathematics and speed or turn wispy as minimalist improvisation. This 4-CD box collects the bands output from their six early releases (various LPs, EPs, 7"s and CDs) until 2007, plus an hour of unreleased music, live recordings, and remixes.

Songs like "Fall And Climb" and "I Can't Concentrate" are modern takes on the Carl Stalling Warner Brothers cartoon chase scenes where manic climbs are followed with descents and surrealist landscapes. Like Stalling or Raymond Scott for that matter the group is concerned with precision playing, yet it maintains the DIY punk attitude throughout. The music can recall Philip Glass' repetitive scores, such as on the vocals on "Nobody Wants To be Had" or the minimalist improvisation of John Butcher. The relentless and seemingly merciless attack is the magnet and marquee here, but get past the signature "in your face" sound, and the genius of the compositions, improvisations and interactions stands out. Sometimes bad kids write great poetry.

Ben Holmes Quartet

Anvil Of The Lord

Skirl Records


Sometimes discovering a new voice in jazz involves word of mouth. Other times a new release falls into your lap. Both instances are true for trumpeter Ben Holmes. He co-leads the Yiddish-influenced Tarras band, the Ben Holmes/Patrick Farrell Duo, Trio Blastphemy, and is a sideman in half a dozen other projects. His first national release as a leader Anvil Of The Lord follows the very well received self-produced Ben Holmes Trio (2009). In any case: Hello Ben, nice to meet you.


comments powered by Disqus


Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

We Travel the Spaceways
Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, and the Buddha walk in to a bar...
By Mark Corroto
June 8, 2017
We Travel the Spaceways
Pete Mills: The Anatomy Of A Jazz Release
By Mark Corroto
January 28, 2014
We Travel the Spaceways
The Dude Abides
By Mark Corroto
October 4, 2013
We Travel the Spaceways
Taking stock, a year half over
By Mark Corroto
July 20, 2013
We Travel the Spaceways
Art Strike!
By Mark Corroto
May 22, 2013
We Travel the Spaceways
Jazz: A Blessed Obsession
By Mark Corroto
April 2, 2013
We Travel the Spaceways
Before We Say Goodbye To 2012
By Mark Corroto
January 25, 2013

Warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/websites/ on line 5