David R. Adler

David R.’s Contributions


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...


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...


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...


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...


07/03/08    Concerts

Herbie Hancock at JVC - New York

A Herbie Hancock performance will never be insignificant, but this JVC Jazz Festival showcase, coming on the heels of the pianist’s Grammy upset for River: The Joni Letters, seemed to carry additional meaning. Here we have a living jazz master who has crashed...


May 2008    Albums

Season of Changes
Brian Blade Fellowship

Hugely celebrated as a drummer, Brian Blade has never really received his due as a composer and bandleader. If Season of Changes changes anything, let it be that. The new album arrives 10 years after the Fellowship’s eponymous debut and ends an eight-year...


May 2008    Albums

The Classical Variations
Uri Caine

Although it highlights Uri Caine’s offbeat projects dating back to 1997, The Classical Variations is not a best-of. Eleven of the 20 tracks are previously unreleased, and the disc has its own sequential integrity. If the pianist’s deconstructions of Mahler...


May 2008    Albums

The Quincy Jones ABC/Mercury Big Band Jazz Sessions
Quincy Jones

Quincy Jones, a 2008 NEA Jazz Master, stood out from his fellow honorees when they gathered in Toronto at this year’s IAJE conference. For unlike trumpeter Joe Wilder and the rest, “Q” traveled with a security detail. He is among the hugest of pop-music...


May 2008    Albums

Affairs of State
Andrew Rathbun

“Fiction could not create more colorful, ridiculous characters,” writes Andrew Rathbun in the liner notes to Affairs of State. He’s speaking of the Bush administration. A native of Canada based in Brooklyn, Rathbun is upset, like many, by political realities...


March 2008    Albums

Day Trip
Pat Metheny w/ Christian Mcbride & Antonio Sanchez

Pat Metheny is best known for his 30 years and running with the Pat Metheny Group. Among his widely varied projects, however, the trio holds a special place, beginning in 1976 with his debut album, Bright Size Life, featuring Jaco Pastorius and Bob Moses...


January/February 2008    Features

Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette & Gary Peacock: Standard Bearers

“There’s width and depth in a player’s ability,” says bassist Gary Peacock, reflecting on 25 years spent exploring standards with Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette. “Width involves technique, sense of time, all the objective aspects of a person’s playing...


11/26/07    Concerts

Tigran Hamasyan Trio

By the time Tigran Hamasyan won the prestigious Monk piano competition in 2006, he had already dominated similar face-offs in Monaco and Montreux. In Moscow, nearer his native Armenia, he placed third. It’s an enviable track record for any rising musician...


November 2007    Artist Profiles

Happy Apple: Hometown Homeboys

It’s hard to picture a band more grassroots than Happy Apple. Drummer David King, electric bassist Erik Fratzke and saxophonist Michael Lewis hail from Minneapolis, in the verdant northern Midwest, far from the concrete jungles where hard-hitting jazz musicians...


November 2007    Albums

Follow the Red Line: Live at the Village Vanguard
Chris Potter Underground

These two albums do more than highlight different facets of Chris Potter’s musicianship. They also present his take on two idiomatic choices that are highly popular in current jazz. Follow the Red Line: Live at the Village Vanguard is the second outing by...


October 2007    Solo

Jazzing Iraq

Hard to believe, but Iraq was once seen as “an island in a sea of instability.” In Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War, Penny M. Von Eschen discusses how Iraq changed, and how American jazz musicians practically witnessed it. Dave...

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About David R. Adler


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.