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Dopolarians: Garden Party (Mahakala)

Early in 2019, the avant-garde jazz world suffered a crate-sized blow when drummer Alvin Fielder passed away at 83. A Sun Ra Arkestra member in the late 1950s, Fielder cofounded the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), played on Roscoe Mitchell’s 1966 touchstone Sound, and, in recent years, teamed with double bassist Damon … Read More “Dopolarians: Garden Party (Mahakala)”

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Radical Empathy Trio: Reality and Other Imaginary Places (ESP-Disk’)

The pianist Thollem may go by a single name, but his improvisational and compositional wizardry has many dimensions. A sort of freewheeling cross between Cecil Taylor, comedian Andy Kaufman, minimalist pioneer Pauline Oliveros, and punk icons the Minutemen, he’s extended his creative reach into myriad styles from avant-garde jazz and classical to blues and rock. … Read More “Radical Empathy Trio: Reality and Other Imaginary Places (ESP-Disk’)”

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Sam Ospovat: Getting Angular

With the release of Ride Angles (Skirl), his first album as a leader, Sam Ospovat has joined the ranks of forward-looking drummer/composers like Ches Smith, Kate Gentile, Dan Weiss, and Tyshawn Sorey: artists who are fearlessly going against the jazz grain. Sipping a beer at a bar near his Sunset Park, Brooklyn home base, the … Read More “Sam Ospovat: Getting Angular”

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Binary Canary: Iterative Systems (Carrier)

Binary Canary—a left-of-center Chicago-based duo made up of Ted Moore and Kyle Hutchins on electronics and saxophone, respectively—work on the fringes of free jazz and new-music with the surgical precision of mad scientists. Moore has been credited as both “laptopist” and “electronicist” while Hutchins provides “feedback saxophone” and “feedback cymbal,” among other contraptions, so these … Read More “Binary Canary: Iterative Systems (Carrier)”

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Resavoir: Resavoir (International Anthem)

The Chicago-based International Anthem label has taken the cutting-edge jazz world by storm, stockpiling a roster of the deepest of heavies whose 21st-century visions of the genre are next-level. Jaimie Branch, Ben LaMar Gay, Angel Bat Dawid, and Damon Locks are just some of those are breaking new ground. Now add Resavoir to IA’s fray … Read More “Resavoir: Resavoir (International Anthem)”

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Andrew Munsey: High Tide (Birdwatcher)

Earlier this year, trumpeter, flugelhornist, and composer Steph Richards showed exactly why she’s a rising force in avant-garde jazz with Take the Neon Lights, a zigzagging mind-meld of fiery postbop and hard-charging swing that dizzied up the senses. As for the drummer who sprayed the frenzied clusters of beats that fueled that stellar effort? That … Read More “Andrew Munsey: High Tide (Birdwatcher)”

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Harris Eisenstadt: Old Growth Forest II (Astral Spirits)

The original Stone on Avenue C in downtown New York City is cemented in the avant-garde annals as a launch pad for spontaneous meetings of the deepest musical minds. One such forward-looking crew: Old Growth Forest, a supergroup spearheaded by ace drummer, improviser, and composer Harris Eisenstadt. Back in 2015, the Brooklyn avant-jazz linchpin and … Read More “Harris Eisenstadt: Old Growth Forest II (Astral Spirits)”

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Mike Baggetta: Genre-Blurring Guitar Hero

Mike Baggetta has been on a high. The multifaceted guitarist recently completed a whirlwind 10-day tour in support of Wall of Flowers (Big Ego), his out-there album with punk bassist Mike Watt and legendary session drummer Jim Keltner. He capped off the cross-country jaunt at the New York club Coney Island Baby by joining forces with … Read More “Mike Baggetta: Genre-Blurring Guitar Hero”

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Red Kite: Red Kite (RareNoise)

Norway’s outside-the-box music scene remains a breeding ground for eclectic sounds that don’t fit into any particular niche. Latest example: the self-titled debut by Red Kite, which takes shredding to the next level. A Norwegian supergroup of sorts, with members culled from progressive rock-leaning outliers Elephant9, Shining, Bushman’s Revenge, and Grand General, this quartet wears … Read More “Red Kite: Red Kite (RareNoise)”

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