This Week in Music 1/18
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1w ago
Earscratcher - Self Titled - A crack free jazz quartet develops fast tight collective improvisation, torrid interplay for bowed cello, piano, drums and saxophone. The group's use of dynamic shifts of space, brushed percussion and openness and layers of sound, coalesce into massive deluge of notes, where complex rhythms meet extended piano techniques playing inside the instrument alongside long bowed lines of cello. This creates a unique soundscape launching over the top saxophone squeals and drumming. Quieter sections emerge where instruments gradually fold together, brushes, lush piano and ..read more
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This week in music (1/14)
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2w ago
Francois Carrier - Unwalled - The latest album from this protean Canadian alto saxophonist finds him in august company with Alexander von Schlippenbach on piano, John Edwards on bass and Michel Lambert on drums. The disc is maxed out with improvisations both long and short and the open ended nature of this allows for the fact that the band is not just just a fire-breathing free jazz unit but a group that has thoughtful melodic unity that allows for the use of dynamics which shapes this excellent and compelling album. Unwalled Bob Weir - Ace / 50th Anniversary Edition - The initial 1972 busm ..read more
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Hedvig Mollestad and Trondheim Jazz Orchestra - Maternity Beat (Rune Grammofon Records, 2022)
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3w ago
Guitarist Hedvig Mollestad has developed a considerable reputation as an electric guitar player and bandleader, equally at home in the spheres of jazz fusion and progressive rock. This album extends her range considerably with the inclusion of the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra which allows her to demonstrate her composing and arranging skills, in addition to that of a potent improvisor. "On The Horizon, Part 2" opens with guitar snarls with taut bass and drums winding up the tension, as the horns and other instruments come in to flesh out the scene. Saxophones enter over a choppy rhythm, whil ..read more
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Bill Frisell - Four (Blue Note Records, 2022)
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3w ago
Guitarist Bill Frisell convenes a new group of players for this album, featuring Greg Tardy on saxophone and clarinet, Gerald Clayton on piano and Johnathan Blake on drums. He presents an all original program, returning to some earlier compositions and introducing some new ones as well. The title track for an earlier Americana tinged album, "Good Dog, Happy Man" has a drummer led opening before the wistful theme for clarinet and guitar brings the picture into focus. The music is light and breezy, and is among the most easy listening sounds that Frisell has made, with gentle and friendly ..read more
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Thelonious Monk Quartet - Live Five Spot 1958 Revisited (ezz-thetics, 2022)
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1M ago
Things were looking up for the great composer and pianist Thelonious Monk by 1957. His cabaret card had been returned, allowing him to play in New York City clubs again, and he began to get longer residencies at a small Bohemian club called The Five Spot. By the following year he was a staple at that location, recording two live albums for Riverside Records, Misterioso and Thelonious in Action with Johnny Griffin on tenor saxophone, Ahmed Abdul-Malik on bass and Roy Haynes on drums. The original LP's took tracks from a few different recording dates, but this disc focuses entirely on the ..read more
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2022 Reset - Top ten / three + honorable mentions
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1M ago
Jazz Top Ten (new releases)   1. Mary Halvorson - Amaryllis (Nonesuch)  2. The Attic - Love Ghosts (NoBusiness)  3. David Murray Brand New World Trio - Seriana Promethea (Intakt)  4. Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity - Elastic Wave (ECM)  5. Zoh Amba - Bhakti (Mahakala Music)  6. John Zorn & Bill Laswell - The Cleansing (Tzadik)  7. Secret People - self titled (Out of Your Head)  8. Ballister - Chrysopoeia (Aerophonic/Not Two)  9. Matthew Shipp Trio - World Construct (ESP-Disk)  10. The Comet Is Coming - Hyper-Dimensional Expansion Beam (Impuls ..read more
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Andrew Hill - Point Of Departure To Compulsion!!!!! (ezz-thetics records, 2022)
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1M ago
Pianist and composer Andrew Hill was at one of the peaks of his relentless creativity in 1964 and 1965 when these sessions were recorded resulting the the lauded Point of Departure album and the lesser known but equally fascinating Compulsion!!!! Jazz at this point had reached an uneasy peace with the more explicitly avant-garde players paving the way for groundbreaking musicians like Hill who had mastered the past forms of the music while looking for his own vision of the future. Recorded in March of 1964, the lineup on Point of Departure is staggering in retrospect. In additi ..read more
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Trevor Dunn’s Trio - Convulsant avec Folie a Quatre - S​e​ances (Pyroclastic Records, 2022)
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1M ago
This is a thoroughly interesting and compelling album led by the bassist and composer Trevor Dunn, in the company of Mary Halvorson on guitar, Ches Smith on drums, Carla Kihlstedt on violin, Oscar Noriega on bass clarinet, Mariel Roberts on cello and Anna Webber on alto flute, making a veritable who's who of modern jazz and new music talent. This makes for rich and multi layered music project, ranging from dervish like complexity to spare rumination. Drawing on the story of a spiritualist cult in early eighteenth century France, Dunn develops a suite of compositions that suits the partic ..read more
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Richard Koloda - Holy Ghost: The Life And Death Of Free Jazz Pioneer Albert Ayler (Jawbone Press, 2022)
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1M ago
Who was Albert Ayler? That is a question that fans and musicians have struggled with for years, through generations of CDs falling in and out of print, limited edition boxes and ephemeral downloads and streams. The author does his best to provide factual and verifiable information about Ayler's life and music, beginning with his upbringing in a very religious and fraught family unit which Koloda believes left an indelible imprint upon him. Ayler was a talented if sheltered saxophone player who got important real world experience playing for two summers in the band of the blues great Little Wa ..read more
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Whit Dickey Quartet - Root Perspectives (TAO Forms, 2022)
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1M ago
Pianist Matthew Shipp and drummer Whit Dickey have been recording and performing together in a wide variety of contexts since the early nineties. Both musicians have developed unique instrumental and improvisational styles, which mesh very well with tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby and bassist Brandon Lopez here to create a potent and successful modern jazz album. Dickey developed the goal for this recording through heavy listening to John Coltrane's Crescent and A Love Supreme, and he brings the passion of those classic recordings forward in time to this project. The opening track is "Supernova ..read more
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