A dog is a man’s best friend, indeed. And on this 2010 release, improvising sax great Lol Coxhill and eminent drummer/percussionist Roger Turner pay a bit of abstract homage to our much beloved canines. The improvisation is at times minimalist in scope, yet the continually moving parts equate into a polytonal feast for one’s psyche.Coxhill performs on his customary soprano saxophone and counters Turner’s bells hits, rim-shots, tom tom patterns and colorific integration of small percussion impl
Back-when, there was a TV preview-trailer for the science-fiction movie The Blob (the original, not the 1980s remake) that scared the living [fill in blank] out of me. “The monster that can’t be killed,” screamed the icy voice-over. The Blob was this formless, massive organism that basically absorbed anything living that it touched, growing ever larger in the process. Around the same time (we're talking late 1950s), the scary monsters of free jazz and rock & roll were threatening the world,
Doing something unique with the vibraphone is a tough road to walk, especially if one is a serious musician. Notoriously difficult to play with respect to the instrument’s lack of emotional variety, it’s no surprise its best practitioners have been those of the swing world like Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson and Terry Gibbs, or more modern ensemble-tied visionaries like Mike Mainieri, Steve Nelson or Stefon Harris. Truly original voices, such as Gary Burton’s, are very rare in this world.

Strange timing, this. Almost 25 years after it was originally recorded comes this medium-length conversation between two titans of American improvised music. Fans of jazz’ farther out shores will need little introduction to either of the participants here. But despite their joint (and lazy) labeling as “outcats,” the initial highpoints of their careers – Smith’s sparse and subtle phrasing with the Smith-Braxton-Jenkins trio vs. Blackwell’s upbeat tapdancing underneath the classic Ornette Coleman
Faced with the prospect of listening to an entire CD of improvised voice-and-percussion duos, I was initially a bit put-off and placed Scarnoduo into the 'back-burner' stack. But the CD's lovely packaging, of all things, made me curious. Once I got it into my CD player, the sheer inventiveness, broad humor, and technical excellence of Blastula quickly won me over. Scarnoduo is certainly one of the year’s very best avant-garde releases, and another feather in the cap for the consistently great Am
ElectroAcoustic Silence, also known as EASilence, is a collaborative effort involving an Italian jazz quartet and Japanese electronic musician Taketo Gohara. Though Gohara is credited with ‘sound design’ on the CD’s packaging, his contributions to Flatime hearken back to the synthesized swoops, sweeps, boops, and beeps I first heard from artists such as Pat Gleeson on Herbie Hancock’s early 70s LPs, or perhaps to the electronic palette of musique concrete as formulated by Pierre Schaffer and Pie
Drummer / composer / arranger Mark Lomax drives a free-leaning tenor sax-fronted power trio with sure hands and graceful instincts on his fifth recording as a leader, The State Of Black America. The Blacksburg, VA native, an active music educator, and drum clinician has also worked with Azar Lawrence, Delfeayo Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, and Marlon Jordan. Lomax' compositions, while firmly rooted in the jazz tradition, give bassist Dean Hulett and tenor saxophonist Edwin Bayard plenty of room for
Trumpeter Ron Miles is one of those musicians who is always doing something that is worth paying attention to. This disc – prosaically titled 3ology With Ron Miles - is no exception. 3ology is a Denver-based saxophone – bass – drums trio that performs groove-based improvised music. Clearly, these three fellows have been playing together for quite some time – they've established a rich and multi-layered rapport, and never fall prey to all the sorts of excesses I associate with free improvisation
The first thing I thought when listening to “5000 Poems” the new recording from trombonist / composer Steve Swell and his 'Slammin' the Infinite' band was: “...good old Free Jazz!” This disc instantly transported me back to the late 1960s, when free jazz was really 'The New Thing,' and was really new - fresh and unencumbered by several decades worth of uninformed media baggage. 'Not Their Kind' opens “5000 Poems” with trombone and saxophone essaying a brief theme in a rush of splashy drums and C
As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, Rich Halley has flourished into one of the world's very finest jazz tenor saxophonists. Live at the Penofin Jazz Festival is Halley's 11th as a leader, and his second with former Ornette sideman Bobby Bradford. The ace cornetist is a logical choice as a front-line partner – his cool, concise playing contrasts sharply with Halley's heated, note-intensive offerings. And though Halley's sound and approach to the horn clearly comes from the John Col
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