Stuart Nicholson

Stuart’s Contributions


March 2004    Fusion

Spiral Out
Willie Oteri

Guitarist Willie Oteri doesn't resort to Greg Howe's flash but he does evoke the feel of the early jazz-rock sessions by the likes of Miles Davis and Tony Williams Lifetime on Sprial Out (DIW). Ephraim Owens has the Miles role and effectively fixes the musical...


March 2004    Fusion

Portrait of Jaco: The Early Years
Jaco Pastorius

Portrait of Jaco: The Early Years 1968-1978 (Holiday Park) is a valuable and fascinating documentary of the master bassist's early years. It begins with the earliest known recording of Jaco Pastorius playing drums, the instrument on which he began his career...


March 2004    Fusion

Front Page
Dennis Chambers/Bireli Lagrene/Dominique di Piazza

The ubiquitous Dennis Chambers makes another appearance on Front Page (Sunnyside), a trio date with the French guitar virtuoso Bireli Lagrene and bassist Dominique Di Piazza. One of the most astonishing guitar players in the tradition of the late Django...


January/February 2004    Albums

Chicago Underground Trio

The vexing issue of the conflict in Iraq has prompted many jazz musicians to raise their voice in onstage protest. The Chicago Underground Trio's Slon is, according to the press release, "in a nutshell, an anti-war record." Yet whatever your feelings about...


November 2003    Hearsay

Gianluigi Trovesi

I think it important for a musician who wants to say something to tell a story, to use his own background," says composer, arranger and saxophonist Gianluigi Trovesi. That is precisely what he does on his latest album, Fugace (ECM). Just one listen to the...


September 2003    Hearsay

Gilad Atzmon

Saxophonist Gilad Atzmon pledges allegiance to Coltrane, Parker, Adderley and Brecker, asserting, "I am at heart a bebop player," but believes he was born in the wrong time and the wrong place. The wrong time because "Jazz, the musical language I understand...


July/August 2003    Hearsay

Jaga Jazzist

The vibe from Jaga Jazzist began in the Oslo jazz underground about five years ago and went overground with the release of A Livingroom Hush in 2001 (reissued by Ninja Tune). In 2002, the CD was voted jazz album of the year by listeners. But if Jaga...

June 2003    Hearsay

Eivind Opsvik

Bassist, composer and bandleader Eivind Opsvik moved from the European jazz hot spot of Oslo to study for his master's degree in jazz at the Manhattan School of Music in 1998. So it's hardly surprising that a Nordic sensibility shapes the sound of his latest...


June 2003    Albums

Spring Heel Jack

After two fascinating collaborations with jazz musicians on Thirsty Ear's Blue Series-Amassed with a group of mainly European improvisers; Masses with an American ensemble-Spring Heel Jack took to the road earlier this year on an eight-date tour around England...


April 2003    Features

The Bad Plus: These are the Bad Plus

The most controversial band in jazz today is neither some plugged-in improv band nor a no-stones smooth-jazz group. No, the Bad Plus is an acoustic piano trio that makes many people fall in love with jazz for the first time even as it turns off longtime...


March 2003    Features

Jazztronica: A Brief History of the Future of Jazz

It's happening, it's underway-it's just a question of how far and how fast. With more and more ensembles including a musician dealing with electronics-sequencing, programming, DJing, sampling-the sound of jazz is evolving. Call it jazztronica, nu-jazz or...


January/February 2003    Albums

Matthew Shipp

Equilibrium is the latest installment in a career full of musical incident and event, and pianist Matthew Shipp has once again succeeded in confounding expectation by challenging established convention. The CD is Shipp's fourth for Thirsty Ear's Blue Series...


November 2002    Albums

Live and Unreleased
Weather Report

Formed in 1971, Weather Report was one of the most important bands in contemporary jazz-indeed, some have persuasively argued it was the most important group of the past 30 years. Weather Report's range extended from French impressionism to free jazz, bebop...


November 2002    Albums

Peace Pipe
Ben Allison

As Art Lange persuasively argued in the liner notes to Dr. Cyclops' Dream (Soul Note), the second Herbie Nichols Project album, "There is a prevalent and pervasive misunderstanding in jazz, along the lines that the quality of the music is to be measured...


November 2002    Albums

Jim Black Alasnoaxis

Drummer Jim Black's debut as a leader in 2000 with AlasNoAxis may have been a straw in the wind that argued for a more inclusive approach for 21st-century jazz, but it was still persuasive. With the diversity of influences that swam through his music, whether...


November 2002    Albums

Sweeter Than the Day
Wayne Horvitz

Since Zony Mash first appeared in 1997 with Cold Spell (Knitting Factory) and followed with 2000's Brand Spankin' New (Knitting Factory), the quartet has been a vehicle for Wayne Horvitz's more unbuttoned side on Hammond B-3 with Timothy Young's gritty guitar...

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About Stuart Nicholson