David R. Adler

David R.’s Contributions

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January/February 2010    Features

Matthew Shipp: Song of Himself

As his 50th birthday approaches, Matthew Shipp upholds the avant-garde ideal with a new solo piano album and a creative temperament as restless as ever

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May 2009    Features

John Hollenbeck: Big Apple to Brotherly Love

Gongs ring out, loud and long, followed by the boom of timpani and the sparse rattle of percussion. Then, from the rear of Philadelphia’s Painted Bride Art Center, out of view, several horns begin an achingly dissonant rubato theme. Soon the players emerge...

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April 2009    Features

Tarbaby: Back to Basics

I don’t want to hug the tar baby …” With these words, sampled and spliced into a hip-hop montage, Tar Baby’s eponymous debut begins. The voice belongs to the late Tony Snow, press secretary for the Bush White House, who used the term from the Br’er Rabbit...

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02/02/09    Concerts

Keith Jarrett Solo at Carnegie Hall

“This recording studio has more people in it than any other studio I’ve been in,” said Keith Jarrett at Carnegie Hall, in his first New York solo engagement since September 2005. The pianist was feeling talkative, although the lighthearted quips came later...

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January/February 2009    News

Revive Da Live: Put Your Horns Up

Last November at (Le) Poisson Rouge in Greenwich Village, bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding could be heard freestyling with an unlikely collaborator: Jeru the Damaja, one of the best underground rappers of the ’90s. The occasion? A late-night event produced...

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December 2008    Artist Profiles

Francisco Mela: Free Jazz Latin

Like many musicians, drummer Francisco Mela is impatient with categories, but he’s willing to pin down his mercurial concept as “free jazz Latin.” With his second album as a leader, Cirio: Live at the Blue Note, the New York-based Cuban native continues...

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11/04/08    Concerts

Enrico Pieranunzi at Birdland

Fittingly for shows on and around Halloween, there were different Enrico Pieranunzis on display last week at Birdland. The Italian master pianist spent two nights each with two starkly contrasting units: first a trio with bassist Steve Swallow and drummer...

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November 2008    Artist Profiles

Rebecca Martin: Post-Pop

I think all my records have a roundness to them,” says singer-songwriter Rebecca Martin. “Some records are angular, but I think of my records as big circles.” On The Growing Season, her fourth solo release and her debut on the Sunnyside label, Martin widens...

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November 2008    Albums

The Light and Other Things
Giacomo Merega/David Tronzo/Noah Kaplan

This is the debut recording of Italian-born electric bassist Giacomo Merega, although given the collaborative nature of the music, it’s fair that guitar innovator David Tronzo and Brooklyn-based saxophonist Noah Kaplan get equal billing. Inspired in part...

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10/30/08    Concerts

Creative Music Studio Celebration

From the stage at Symphony Space, pianist/vibraphonist Karl Berger wondered aloud: If he mentioned Creative Music Studio (CMS), the entity being celebrated this evening, would people know what he was talking about? It may still be one of the more obscure...

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October 2008    Artist Profiles

Mike Reed: Doubled Up

Chicago drummer Mike Reed drops two ambitious albums on the same day When drummer Mike Reed recorded The Speed of Change and Proliferation, he didn’t foresee putting both out at the same time. But together, the two discs (on 482 Music) say something important...

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August 2008    Albums

Always Outnumbered
Steuart Liebig/Tee-Tot Quartet

“Tee-tot” is an apt onomatopoeic term for the semi-drunk, limping rhythms put across by this oddball quartet. Led by West Coast “contrabassguitarist” Steuart Liebig, the group boasts a frontline of cornet (Dan Clucas) and Dobro (Scot Ray), with Joseph Berardi...

August 2008    Solo

Playing Changes for Change

Saxophonist Tim Ries has a song called “What Happened to Ya?” with lyrics that cite a lack of political resolve among the aging ’60s generation. Some would extend this critique to the jazz community itself, arguing that protest jazz—what Archie Shepp once...

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August 2008    Albums

The Art of Dying
Jason Ajemian

There’s an alluringly schizoid quality to this solo effort by Chicago Underground bassist Jason Ajemian. At the core of the session is his trio Smokeless Heat, with tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman and drummer Noritaka Tanaka. But the group grows to include...

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August 2008    Albums

Quartet (GTM) 2006
Anthony Braxton

“The underground is great once you get used to it,” writes Anthony Braxton in the liner notes to this multi-disc set, one of many in the reedman-composer’s elephantine discography. He’s speaking as an artist, but the same truth applies to listeners. “Getting...

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August 2008    Albums

Present Tense
James Carter

James Carter’s first outing for EmArcy is an unselfconscious mix of influences, more three-dimensional than his various tribute discs and the recent organ-trio blowouts Live at Baker’s and Out of Nowhere. The saxophonist fronts a versatile, hard-swinging...

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About David R. Adler

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David R. Adler writes on music, politics and culture from his home in New York. His work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Weekly, JazzTimes, DownBeat, Jazziz, Slate, Time Out New York, The New York Times, Forward, The New Republic Online and many other outlets. David is also a "New York @ Night" columnist and regular contributor to The New York City Jazz Record (formerly All About Jazz-New York). His blog Lerterland can be found at blog.adlermusic.com.