Aaron Steinberg

Aaron’s Contributions


July/August 2005    Albums

From the Bottle

2003's eponymous debut by Tigersmilk was not an entirely welcoming thing. Happily, that difficult release has been followed by the richer, more enjoyable From the Bottle. The title, as any Chicago creative music fan can tell you, refers to the Empty Bottle...


July/August 2005    Features

Marc Ribot: The Ghost in the Guitar

Marc Ribot has long been one of the most unpredictable and unique guitarists on the scene. In his latest career twist, Ribot has created a group dedicated to investigating the music of avant-garde sax giant Albert Ayler. Aaron Steinberg tell us how Spiritual...


July/August 2005    Albums

Several Lights
Chicago Luzern Exchange

An arts exchange program sent tubist Marc Unternahrer from Luzern, Switzerland, to Chicago in 2002. There he hooked up with cornetist Josh Berman, tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson and drummer Frank Rosaly. The Swiss presence notwithstanding, this band's spare...


July/August 2005    Albums

New York School
Tom Christensen

Multireedist Tom Christensen likes the New York School of Art and its house poet, Frank O'Hara, so much that he conceived his new recording as a tribute. But this quartet date has none of O'Hara's talkiness or the sort of form-averse music that painters...


July/August 2005    Albums

Walking on the Tiger's Tail
Nguyen Le Quartet

Inspiration for guitarist Nguyen Le's new recording, Walking on the Tiger's Tail, came from the ancient Chinese writings Le has been reading lately. Far Eastern musical elements have a place on the album, as do elements of South Asian music, electronica...


June 2005    Albums

Keep It Simple
Curtis Fuller

There's nothing brash or unconventional about trombonist Curtis Fuller's latest, Keep It Simple. Still active and playing well at 70, Fuller hews close to the Jazz Messengers-style bebop and modal jazz he's been playing since the '50s. Fuller brought a solid...


June 2005    Albums

That's What I Say: John Scofield Plays the Music of Ray Charles
John Scofield

As soon as he died, Ray Charles was everywhere: Alicia Keys conjured him at the Super Bowl, his final recording pulled down a Grammy and Jamie Foxx portrayed him in an Academy-smooched biopic. This may be more Charles than anyone can reasonably be expected...


June 2005    Albums

Marcin Wasilewski, Slawomir Kurkiewicz, and Michal Miskiewicz

Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko discovered pianist Marcin Wasilewski, bassist Slawomir Kurkiewicz and drummer Michal Miskiewicz in 1993, when they were teenagers. They've been touring and recording with Stanko ever since. It is an odd sight, watching Stanko...


May 2005    Albums

Sonny II
Noel Akchote

"Wrong is right, less is more, and here is how Sonny Sharrock changed my ears and gestures." This is how Noel Akchote describes his solo outing, Sonny II, and it's about as apt an introduction as one could get. The obtuse French-born guitarist doesn't attempt...


May 2005    Albums

I Wish You Peace
Paul Dunmall Moksha Big Band

British reedist Paul Dunmall left school at 15 and became a touring musician by 17. Soon thereafter, he found himself living in an ashram in the U.S. and playing behind Alice Coltrane and Johnny "Guitar" Watson. After returning to England, Dunmall found...


May 2005    Albums

One Foot in the Swamp
John Ellis

Saxophonist John Ellis recorded his latest CD in New Orleans, and three of its tunes are exactly the sort of greasy jazz-funk tunes you'd expect from a recording named One Foot in the Swamp. Two songs feature guest guitarist John Scofield in the sort of...


May 2005    Albums

In Chicago There Is Willy
Exciting Trio

When he isn't drifting through a melody shot through with silence, guitarist Matt Schneider works from a range of feathery, abstract sounds. Bassist Griffin Rodriguez holds things together with a handful of notes, and drummer David Pavkovic spends as much...


May 2005    Albums

The Peace Between Our Companies
Happy Apple

Dave King can really pulverize his drums-and on occasion he actually does. This behavior has made him and the Bad Plus, the group he usually plays in, a critical target. In the meantime, King's other band, Happy Apple, continues to tour, release records...


May 2005    Albums


The three Austrians who make up Trapist have been remarkably efficient in their short history together. The trio's debut recording, Highway My Friend (Hatology), was made at its debut performance (recorded in 2000; released in 2002). Guitarist/electronics...


May 2005    Hearsay

Hod O'Brien

In 1957, a 21-year-old Hod O'Brien replaced pianist Bill Evans in Oscar Pettiford's band. Evans had been performing "strange things" on the keyboard, so the bassist welcomed the orthodox bop sound of O'Brien. It was the pianist's first big break. It was...


May 2005    News

A.B. Spellman: A Life in the Bebop Biz

I know that it's a violation to treat music as background, as wallpaper, but I do like working to classical music," A.B. Spellman says. It's 10 a.m. on a Monday morning, and he's trying to explain the sounds booming in his sun-filled, fifth-floor office...

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About Aaron Steinberg