Tag Archives: jazz

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JUNE 4: 8pm, Brooklyn’s Radegast Hall & Biergarten, in Williamsburg

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“Bird-In-Hand” is the final track from Hot Cup recording artists Mostly Other People Do the Killing’s new release “Red Hot,” due out September 24, 2013.

Featuring: Peter Evans (Rising Star Trumpet), Jon Irabagon (Rising Star Alto Saxophone) Dave Taylor (NARAS MVP Virtuoso), Brandon Seabrook (2012 Best Guitarist, Village Voice), Ron Stabinsky, Moppa Elliott (Rising Star Composer), Kevin Shea (2012 Best Drummer, Village Voice)

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Henry Threadgill Sextett

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Butch Morris hits NYC (thx for heisted image – write me and i’ll add the credit)

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Hi-Beck (Lee Konitz)
Live in Brooklyn @ Shapeshifter.
October 2012.

You’re either tight or you’re not. Mike Baggetta & Jeremy Udden sure were that night.

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Hank Shteamer Talks Winter JazzFest with John Schaefer

Hank Shteamer Talks Winter JazzFest with John Schaefer

Forget 10, Here’s 20 (Best Jazz Albums of 2012)

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1. Brad Mehldau Trio – Ode  (Nonesuch)


2. John Abercrombie –  Within A Song   (ECM)


3. Kris Davis – Aeriol Piano   (Clean Feed)


4. Ravi Coltrane – Spirit Fiction     (Blue Note)


5. Luciana Souza  - Duo III   (Sunnyside)


6. Paradoxical Frog – Union   (Clean Feed)


7. Ahmad Jamal  –  Blue Moon     (Jazz Village)


8. Billy Hart – All Our Reasons   (ECM)


9. Tim Berne – Snakeoil    (ECM)


10. Orrin Evans – Flip The Script     (Posi-Tone)


11. Ryan Truesdell – Centennial: Newly Discovered Works of Gil Evans  (ArtistShare)


12. David Virelles – Continuum  (Pi) 


13. Vijay Iyer Trio – Accelerando (ACT)


14. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – The Cherry Thing  (Smalltown Supersound)


15. Mary Halvorson – Bending Bridges   (Firehouse 12) 


16. Masabumi Kikuchi – Sunrise  (ECM)


17. Jon Irabagon’s Outright!  - Unhinged  (Irabbagast)


18. Darius Jones Quartet – Book of Mae’Bull  (AUM Fidelity)


19. Steve Lehman Trio – Dialect Florescent (Pi)


20. Frank Kimbrough Trio – Live At Kitano (Palmetto)


Don’t go thinking this list in any hierarchical order – Brad’s not top and Frank’s not bottom. 


LISTEN ON SPOTIFY


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CANADA DAY SOUNDTRACK PROVIDED BY CANADA DAY

Harris Eisenstadt has a couple of new ways to celebrate July 1. His Canada Day outfit is cagey in its blending of out and in, and it’s filled with soloists expert at pithy declaration. Listen to trumpeter Nate Wooley on “The Magician of Lublin,” vibraphonist Chris Dingman on “The Ombudsman 4.” They’re from new discs on the 482 Music and Songlines labels. The Octet version of the group, responsible for “The Ombudsman Suite,” moved through a very deliberate and very wise set at the Red Hook Jazz Festival a couple weeks ago. There are moments when it seems Eisenstadt’s band would have fit perfectly into the late-period Blue Note era that generated just gems as Andrew Hill’s Point of Departure and Bobby Hutcherson’s Dialogue. 

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up “The Air Is Different” (482 Music)


Brooklyn has been a hotbed of creative jazz for the last several years, and it shows no sign of abating. To wit: the raucous yet architectural music of drummer Tomas Fujiwara. On The Air is Different his Hook Up quintet demonstrates its scope with a program that allows a swirl of singular motifs to have their say while still presenting a unified statement. At various points saxophonist Brian Settles growls, trumpeter Jonathan Findlayson coos, and guitarist Mary Halvorson screeches; the cagey rhythm section of bassist Trevor Dunn and the bandleader give these disparate textures a solidifying glide. Elements of swing have as much say as elements of rock, and Fujiwara’s compositions are eloquent, whether they’re musing poignantly, as they do on “For Ours,” or celebrating agitation, as they do on “Double Lake, Defined.”


Breadth is something Fujiwara is truly invested in. In the liner note he quotes Fela about rhythm’s responsibilities, and reveals inspirational sources that include Bjork, a Buddhist bell-bowl, and first 16 bars of Talib Kweli’s rhyme on Black Star’s “Definition.” The curves that mark “Smoke-Breathing Lights” – a piece about the way different people walk – is a microcosm of the program. In the middle of a 10-minute suite (of sorts) there’s an exchange between Halvorson and Settles that gives each a chance to move from stormy to sublime. Something similar happens on the title track, dedicated to Fujiwara’s grandfather, a Buddhist priest. It begins with a march feel, makes room for a knotty passage, and harks to Coltrane’s Interstellar Space with a romp between Settles and the drummer. Agility is a prerequisite for this outfit, and as the music morphs, a thesis starts to float between the passages: life’s contours are many, and you’d best be prepared for what’s around the corner.   

Robert Glasper Experiment Black Radio (Blue Note)

In a recent DownBeat cover story pianist Robert Glasper says that he’s basically looking for trouble by blending hip-hop, improv and swing, and that he’s got no problem with what people think of the resultant chemistry on his new album because jazz needs “a big-ass slap.” Black Radio does indeed entwine the three elements above, but it would be hard to deem its music as a radical shift or a defiant statement that rebuffs decades of orthodoxy. Grooves are prominent, echoes of ‘70s R&B bubble up, rhymes are dropped by notable MCs, and soulful vocal tracks are nudged to the forefront. As a collage of modern urban moves, it really works. There’s an enticing flow that starts at Eryka Badu’s glide through Coltrane’s “Afro Blue,” curves through some Lupe Fiasco thoughts about “the transformation of niggas,” veers towards philosophical pillow talk from Meshell Ndegeocello, and winds up with a kaleidoscopic refraction of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It’s all plush, pretty, and mildly engaging, but as it plays out, you never feel the sting of that slap Glasper’s referencing.


Maybe that’s for the best. Jazz is a music of nuance just as much as it is a music of exclamation. And with the declamation of MCs getting most of the attention, the subtleties of hip-hop are often under-appreciated. The canny architectural design that gives Black Radio its shape employs plenty of dreamy funk that drifts from place to place and offering a sizable scope. At separate junctures, it allows Lalah Hathaway and Ledisi a chance to bring their own blend of church and boudoir into a romantic realm that conjures Massive Attack’s shimmering ballads.


Ultimately it’s flash that’s missing from the formula. Hip-hop’s most kinetic rhymes are energizers, part of the rhythm section themselves. Between all the vocal cooing and rounded tones of the Fender Rhodes, there’s something a tad too mellow about the program. That said, it is the most natural stylistic confluence the leader has created thus far, and its pleasures are many. I’d just like to hear a bit more animation. I bet Glasper’s got a hell of a party record in him yet.