Peter Margasak

Peter’s Contributions


April 2001    Albums

At the Old Office
Joe Morris Quartet

Guitarist Joe Morris is virtuous about placing himself in disparate contexts and employing varied playing strategies, but if any pattern has emerged for him the last few years, it's that most of those situations have produced incredibly dense music. In lovely...


April 2001    Albums

Big Top
Whit Dickey

In his liner notes Dickey explains that he's recently discovered that his playing is a "dance counterpoint to the center-melody" and, indeed, his frenetic performances do interact invigoratingly with the tough melodic content set forth by guitarist Joe Morris...


April 2001    Albums

Toward, "To West"
Satoko Fujii

Toward, to West is the third trio album Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii has made with bassist Mark Dresser and percussionist Jim Black, and the rare sense of intuition they've developed together over the last few years is one of the most crucial ingredients...


April 2001    Albums

White and Blue
Natsuki Tamura

White & Blue is a series of wide-open, freely improvised trumpet-drum duets led by Satoko Fujii's husband, Natsuki Tamura. Aaron Alexander handles the traps on the other half. Although the rounded, half-valved smears of Lester Bowie and the brittle lyricism...


April 2001    Albums

Slow Poke

Slow Poke first convened in a casual jam session among four downtown New York fixtures a few years ago, and with its first proper album, Redemption, they've managed to keep that loose vibe intact while displaying a sharp focus. Anchored by the flexible...


April 2001    Features

Tortoise: Modern Standards

Musicians have always mixed stuff,” insists Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker. “Listen to the old beboppers; you can hear the Bach in Charlie Parker’s lines. But to me music is just music.” It requires only a cursory glance at Parker’s discography to discover...


March 2001    Albums

From Havana to Rio
Ernán López-Nussa

Cuba is famous for the rigorous, far-reaching conservatory training it provides for its musicians, and one need look no further than pianist Ernan Lopez-Nussa to hear the benefits of such an education. Like Chucho Valdes before him, Lopez-Nussa is an insatiable...


January/February 2001    Albums

Ellery Eskelin

Tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin's trio, with drummer Jim Black and keyboardist/sampler Andrea Parkins, has displayed remarkable resourcefulness over the course of four scrappy, thrilling albums. Despite its stripped-down instrumentation, the group maximizes...


November 2000    Albums

David Sanchez

Although jazz has always been a glorious polyglot of diverse styles and influences, over the last decade or so there's been an unmistakable movement afoot to meld it more explicate with the music of other cultures. From the Balkanized jazz created by New...


November 2000    Albums

?Descarga Total!

With his superb fourth album, ?Descarga Total!, Cuban flute prodigy and former Irakere member Orlando "Maraca" Valle continues to downplay his stunning virtuosity in favor of drum-tight ensemble precision. Retreating from his Latin-jazz past to embrace an...


October 2000    Albums

All's Well
International Hashva Orchestra

While it's hard to miss the pervasive influence of John Coltrane on Berklee-educated tenorist Mark Turner, the traces of Warne Marsh in his beautiful playing are far more arresting and exciting. Like many of his Berklee classmates, Turner draws from countless...


October 2000    Albums

Consenting Adults

M.T.B. is an ad hoc quintet nominally fronted by pianist Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner and guitarist Peter Bernstein-bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Leon Parker round out the band. Propelled by the drummer's relentless ride cymbal swing, the album delivers...


October 2000    Albums

Two Tenor Ballads
Mark Turner/Tad Shull

Pairing Mark Turner with swing specialist Tad Shull was an inspired idea, but on Two Tenor Ballads their interaction level is virtually nil. Their playing, supported by the fine rhythm section of Grenadier, pianist Kevin Hays and drummer Billy Drummond...


October 2000    Albums

Cause and Effect
Larry Coryell/ Tom Coster/ Steve Smith

Saxophonist Abraham Burton's decision to elevate his long-time drumming partner Eric McPherson to co-leader on Cause and Effect is no empty gesture; the album's spirituality-soaked sound attains its buoyancy and gravity through the group's striking rhythmic...


October 2000    Albums

10 Songs in 62 Minutes and 23 Seconds
DJ Cor Blimey and his Pigeon

Performing under this humorous handle, the superb Dutch pianist Cor Fuhler gets down to some seriously absurd business, delivering a freewheeling admixture of world music, experimental sounds and overloaded kitsch. Although Fuhler performs on a wide array...

October 2000    Albums

Tom and Gerry
Thomas Lehn/Gerry Hemingway

Percussionist Gerry Hemingway should be familiar to most readers from both his long-term membership in the Anthony Braxton Quartet and his leadership of a superb quintet, but Germany's Thomas Lehn remains an unknown quantity to most folks in North America...

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About Peter Margasak