Brent Burton

Brent’s Contributions

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April 2008    Artist Profiles

Cuong Vu: Beyond All Borders

Cuong Vu just bought a new house, but don’t ask him when he’s going to pack up his old one. “I’m looking around my room going, ‘Oh, my God!’” he says. “Moving is hard.” Of course, piloting a U-Haul across town is nothing compared to, say, leading a bicoastal...

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January/February 2008    Albums

My Foolish Heart
Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette

Keith Jarrett tends to divide listeners into two camps: the cult and everyone else. For those who aren’t sure where they belong, the pianist’s latest double disc is a good place to start. Everything about My Foolish Heart—from the time-tested material (13...

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December 2007    Albums

The Middle Picture
Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet

For a guy who claims membership in Cecil Taylor’s large ensemble and several of Anthony Braxton’s groups, Taylor Ho Bynum is a surprisingly accessible musician. The Brooklyn-based cornetist avoids many of the avant-garde’s hoarier clichés, opting instead...

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December 2007    Albums

Galore
Human Feel

As if to remind listeners of their downtown past, Human Feel begins its first new album in over a decade with an onslaught of Lower East Side noise. This kind of throat-clearing might’ve been impressive back in the era of “Young Lion” conservatism, but nowadays...

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December 2007    Albums

Spinning the Circle
David Witham

One look at David Witham’s recording credits and you can tell the guy’s from L.A. The pianist and keyboard player has recorded with everyone from Chaka Khan to Jose Feliciano to k.d. lang. But the music he makes as a leader belies his background as an anonymous...

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November 2007    Albums

At Night
Theo Bleckmann & Ben Monder

On At Night, the duo’s second recording, Theo Bleckmann and Ben Monder make the kind of music that critics often describe as genre-defying. Bleckmann, a vocalist who also contributes what he calls “live electronic processing,” sings in an off-kilter style...

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November 2007    Albums

Live at the Village Vanguard Volume I
Paul Motian Trio 2000 + Two

Though his spot in the pantheon is secure—drumming for Thelonious Monk and Bill Evans will do that for you—Paul Motian has never been one to rest on his laurels. Earlier this year, his bass-less trio with Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano released Time and Time...

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October 2007    Albums

El Espiritu Jibaro
Roswell Rudd & Yomo Toro

It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Yomo Toro is an impressive guitarist. The Puerto Rican virtuoso flits effortlessly from note to note, blurring time while remaining fluidly funky. His acoustic soloing evokes the speed and delicacy of hummingbird...

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July/August 2007    Albums

The Third Quartet
John Abercrombie Quartet

In jazz, it seems, it pays to be in your face or achingly sweet. Veteran guitarist John Abercrombie is neither. Though more nimble than most, he shows little interest in guitar heroism. And his playing, which is recognizable for its rich, silvery tone, is...

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April 2007    Albums

Nomad
Gato Libre

Jazz fans are, by now, used to globalization. But, for some reason, Japanese Latin-jazz quartet Gato Libre still seems odd. It’s not that the music is awkward. Far from it. Nomad, the second full-length from trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and co., is nothing if...

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April 2007    Albums

The Words and the Days
Enrico Rava Quintet

Enrico Rava is arguably the first Italian jazz musician to make it in the Big Apple. The trumpeter named an early record Il Giro Del Giorno in 80 Mondi (“Trip Around the Day in 80 Worlds”), and he has spent much of his subsequent career moving back and forth...

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January/February 2007    Albums

Streaming
Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell

In the press materials for Streaming, his new album with pianist Muhal Richard Abrams and saxophonist Roscoe Mitchell, trombonist and laptopper George Lewis says the music made by this leaderless trio is “open,” not “free.” The difference? In Lewis’ words...

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January/February 2007    Albums

Momentum
Dave Burrell

For most who have heard of him, Dave Burrell is inextricably linked to a time when chaos was king. The 66-year-old pianist plays on some of the New Thing’s most memorable freak-outs—Pharoah Sanders’ Tauhid and Sonny Sharrock’s Black Woman, among others—and...

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November 2006    Albums

Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City: Live at the Iridium
Art Ensemble of Chicago

The deaths of trumpeter Lester Bowie, in 1999, and bassist Malachi Favors, in 2004, have reduced the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago to just three original members: drummer Don Moye and saxophonists Roscoe Mitchell and Joseph Jarman. The Bowie- and Jarman...

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November 2006    Albums

Frequency
Frequency

If the avant-garde act Frequency is, for the most part, somewhat less than avant-garde, it’s probably because the Chicago quartet revisits so many elements of its hometown past. Burbling percussion? Whimsical riffs? Atonal squall? Check, check and double...

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July/August 2006    Albums

Saudades
Trio Beyond

According to leader Jack DeJohnette, Trio Beyond is based on the Tony Williams Lifetime, a pioneering outfit that, like fusion itself, spanned the gamut from rough and raging to slick and simmering. DeJohnette, of course, is well versed in the period: In...

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About Brent Burton

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Brent Burton is a freelance writer from Washington, DC. He is a regular contributor to Jazz Times, Revolver, Decibel, and Washington City Paper. When not working, he spends much of his time with his wife and son.