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Bik Bent Braam (Michiel Braam): 13

Holland’s Bik Bent Braam is a 13-piece group that’s been around for some 13 years, either of which facts may explain their latest CD title. Led by pianist Michiel Braam, the group is reminiscent of the Willem Breuker Kollektief, but with less slapstick and more showbiz polish. Braam, who writes all the arrangements, is obviously … Read More “Bik Bent Braam (Michiel Braam): 13”

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Marilyn Crispell/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian: Amaryllis

While the Crispell trio’s previous ECM disc, which featured the music of Annette Peacock, was widely praised, I found it a rather dour and occasionally ponderous set. Amaryllis is very different. Much of the music has a lighter, airier feel, and the trio’s exchanges are delightfully deft. There has always been a lyrical element in … Read More “Marilyn Crispell/Gary Peacock/Paul Motian: Amaryllis”

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Marilyn Crispell: Selected Works 1983-1986

Some of Crispell’s earlier steps are retraced on this Golden Years double CD, which collects together her first three LPs on the Leo label: the solo Rhythms Hung in Undrawn Sky (1983), And Your Ivory Voice Sings, a duo with percussionist Doug James (1985), and Quartet Improvisations, Paris 1986, with bassist Marcio Mattos, cellist Didier … Read More “Marilyn Crispell: Selected Works 1983-1986”

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Joe Harriott: Genius

There’s so little of Joe Harriott’s music available that any addition to his discography is welcome. And this is a valuable release. It comprises four tracks by Harriott’s pioneering free-form quintet live in 1961; one track apiece of the altoist with the Michael Garrick Quintet (1963) and the Michael Garrick Septet (mid-’60s); and five undated … Read More “Joe Harriott: Genius”

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Anthony Braxton: Knitting Factory (Piano/Quartet) 1994, Vol. 2

The initial volume from these concerts proved one of the 1990s’ more startling releases. It marked the first time we’d heard the Braxton piano quartet and, in particular, the first time in over 20 years we’d heard Braxton’s piano playing. “A strange and wondrous thing,” as Stuart Broomer describes it in his CD notes, “a … Read More “Anthony Braxton: Knitting Factory (Piano/Quartet) 1994, Vol. 2”

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Spaceways Incorporated: Thirteen Cosmic Standards by Sun Ra and Funkadelic

Ken Vandermark is the common denominator on these five CDs. Chicago’s ubiquitous reedsman leads or co-leads four of these groups, and also plays with Witches & Devils, an Albert Ayler tribute band put together by saxophonist Mars Williams. Vandermark is notorious for belonging to a dozen or more groups at any one time, so these … Read More “Spaceways Incorporated: Thirteen Cosmic Standards by Sun Ra and Funkadelic”

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