Colin Fleming

Colin’s Contributions


12/06/11    Albums

The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings of the Modern Jazz Quartet 1956-64
The Modern Jazz Quartet

The Modern Jazz Quartet has typically been slotted a notch below the top jazz ensembles: a worthy enough unit, but also a source of consternation for fans of the genre, given how readily the band transcended it. They are certainly the most Bach-ian of jazz...


07/10/11    Albums

The Complete 1932-1940 Brunswick, Columbia and Master Recordings of Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra
Duke Ellington

Mosaic isn’t exactly mucking around on this gargantuan 11-disc set that essentially distills the first grand age of Ellingtonia into the contents of one box set. There would, of course, be other ages of comparable majesty, but this set represents the first...


March 2011    Albums

Mosaic Select 36
John Carter and Bobby Bradford

If you’re an admirer of saxophonist-clarinetist John Carter and trumpeter Bobby Bradford’s musical union, you’ll surely appreciate the invaluable service provided by Mosaic with this three-disc set. Previously, if you wanted to hear these two West Coast...


October 2010    Albums

Natural Causes
Steve Tibbetts

As music to get lost in, this Steve Tibbetts album is state of the art. Featuring only Tibbetts on guitar, piano, kalimba and bouzouki and Marc Anderson on percussion—including a range of gongs—this is a decidedly Eastern disc, as though it were sourced...


08/04/09    Albums

The Trouble With Love
Richard Burgin

An enlightening hybrid, Richard Burgin’s The Trouble With Love is the rare album that ably sets one mood inside of another. With vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Chris Cefalu performing Burgin’s songs—and venturing from fuzzed-up Little Walter-style harp solos...


January/February 2009    DVDs

Jazz Icons Releases a Thrid Volume of Vintage Live Performances

With their dramatically drooped heads and shoulders, the members of Bill Evans’ 1964 trio look like an early, pre-electric shoegazer band in a Swedish broadcast that’s practically jazz-noir, a typical stylistic touch in the ongoing Jazz Icons series. This...


August 2008    Albums

Beyond Standard
Hiromi’s Sonicbloom

Pair up some old-time-radio sound effects with some Jeff Beck Wired-era whammy effects, toss in a satirical approach to the great American songsmiths, and rekindle the Japanese infatuation with the supergroup, and you too can make standards sound less standard—alien...


August 2008    Albums

Crossing the Field
Jenny Scheinman

If you prefer an album with a clear-cut identity, you might stumble a bit with this fifth instrumental outing from violinist/singer Jenny Scheinman. There’s a lot of shape-shifting going on here: string playing that resembles Mellotron effects, violin passages...


November 2007    Albums

Evolution of the Groove
Miles Davis

What a jumble. Nearly a decade and a half of groove morphology compressed into an EP, and overlaid with new components to show, at once, how rhythmically pioneering Davis was—as if this needed reiteration—in a Sly Stone/James Brown sense, and how much influence...


November 2007    Albums

The Harlem Experiment
The Harlem Experiment

A sideline project for the likes of clarinetist Don Byron, drummer Steve Berrios, keyboardist Eddie Martinez and guitarist Carlos Alomar, the ensemble billed as the Harlem House Band on this anthropologic study-cum-old-time-party-record produces a grand...


June 2007    Albums

Unmistakable Evidence
Coyote Poets

“It’s the bipolar part of town,” Unmistakable Evidence’s urbanely voiced, decidedly trippy narrator/shaman informs us on “Purgatory Avenue,” atop a rolling soundscape of token Sun Ra vamps, as though a queue of beat poets were waiting to come out and do...


June 2007    Albums

Kieran Hebden & Steve Reid

Modernist jazz rarely goes the futurist route, preferring distended time figures and atonal settings to the blips and blurs and electronic wheezes of the computer age, but this set is a virtual Tomorrowland of sound. Eschewing overdubs for a purer dialogue...


June 2007    Albums

Elana James
Elana James

A mix of old-world folk, high-stepping Irish jigs and deep country-and-western blues that’s served as populist gospel for everyone from Hank Williams to Bob Dylan to Lucinda Williams is apt to offer some panacea for the soul, if not genuine art. But this...


December 2006    Albums

Cone's Coup
Wycliffe Gordon

A high-spirited bonhomie practically radiates from this album, as you might infer from a quick glance at its titles alone, even before sitting down and spending an hour in the company of this fine band. If anyone still wishes to argue that Gordon has indeed...


December 2006    Albums

Love Sublime
Brad Mehldau And Renée Fleming

Tough not to completely give in to an album like this, where austerity is tantamount to a confession of faith and jazz rendered almost as psalmody. Mehldau’s concept, realized with spartan instrumentation, is grand: provide pianistic settings for the words...


December 2006    Albums

Remixed & Reimagined
Nina Simone

Nina Simone’s realpolitik folk-jazz might not naturally suggest itself as amenable to the whims of the remix artist, but listening to the rhythms inherent in Simone’s idiosyncratic phrasing spread across this disc’s wide-ranging beats, your equilibrium is...

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About Colin Fleming


Colin Fleming has been writing for Jazz Times since 2006. He is a regular contributor to NPR's Weekend Edition ( and Ireland's Tom Dunne Show. He writes on art, music, literature, architecture, ballet, and sports for a wide range of publications: Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, The Paris Review, the TLS, The Spectator, Boston Review, Boston Magazine, Slate, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New York Times Book Review, The New Criterion, Art New England, Tin House, Salon, ARTnews, ESPN The Magazine, The Smart Set, The Village Voice, The Barnes and Noble Review, The American Scholar, The Guardian, The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Review of Books, Record Collector, MOJO, Salmagundi, Gramophone, Spin, Cineaste, The LA Times, The Wilson Quarterly, Record Collector, The San Francisco Chronicle, The American Interest, Architectural Record, Art in America, Metropolis, Sight and Sound, The Washington Post, Film Comment, The New Statesman, Time Out New York, Smithsonian Magazine, and many others.

His fiction has recently appeared in, or is forthcoming from, AGNI, Cincinnati Review, the VQR, Post Road, Hawaii Review, Notre Dame Review, TriQuarterly, Pen America, The Hopkins Review, The Republic of Letters, The Ampersand Review, Boulevard, The Iowa Review, Slice Magazine, Black Clock, The Texas Review, Green Mountains Review, Denver Quarterly, Bull, Michigan Quarterly Review, and The Massachusetts Review.

His The Anglerfish Comedy Troupe: Stories from the Abyss, is due from Dzanc in August 2015.

He recently finished a volume of Cape Cod-set fiction called Here, Googan Googan: Tales of Cape Cod for Lubbers, Lovers, and Angels, and is completing a novel about a piano prodigy who does not wish to be one called The Freeze Tag Sessions, a memoir entitled I Am Not Like You: A Broken Man's Attempt to Write His Way Out of Hell One Story, Book, Deadline, and Note-to-Self at a Time, a Beatles book called Same Band You've Never Known: An Alternative Musical History of the Beatles, and a children's book, Silas Beavorton: The Beaver Who Tried to Dam the Ocean.

Other volumes in the works: a book of modern ghost stories; a novel called Run It Again involving the ghost of Van Gogh, John Lennon on acid in the summer of '67, and a dying Edgar Allan Poe; a novel told entirely in conversation called Musings with Franklin which may or may not be set in hell involving Writer, Bartender, and the guy from the suburbs who dresses up as Ben Franklin; Death Me: Stories from the Point of No Return, a work of incidents from which there is no turning back; a nonfiction compendium, How Brightly It Glistens: Excursions in Art, Music, Literature, and the Writing Life; and a musical memoir, Just Give Me the Backing: A Life Lived to the Music of the Beatles.

He enjoys Islay whisky, all things Red Sox, tidal pools, Dunkin' Donuts, Dickens novels, color field painting, Cape Ann, everything Charlie Parker, the seascapes of Fitz Henry Lane, Stone Roses bootlegs, and walking upwards of 100 miles a week.