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David S. Ware/Planetary Unknown : Live At Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2011

One of the bigger surprises in the avant-jazz world in 2011 was the resurgence of drummer Muhammad Ali in Planetary Unknown, the new quartet led by tenor saxophonist David S. Ware. For the first time since 1983, a recording boasted the thunderous percussion of Ali, whose work with Frank Wright, Albert Ayler and Noah Howard … Read More “David S. Ware/Planetary Unknown : Live At Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2011”

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Pharoah Sanders: In the Beginning (1963-1964)

While most of the tenor saxophonist’s landmark recordings on Impulse !-as a leader and as sideman with John Coltrane-have been reissued, Pharoah Sanders’ formative sessions with Don Cherry, Paul Bley and the Sun Ra Arkestra in 1963-64 had lain dormant until ESP opened the vaults, unleashing the embryonic fury of one of avant-jazz’s squealing shamans. … Read More “Pharoah Sanders: In the Beginning (1963-1964)”

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Aram Shelton’s Fast Citizens: Two Cities

Perhaps it’s too obvious to focus on geography to preface a review of a jazz album, but the title of Fast Citizens’ new Delmark release begs at least a brief examination of its creators’ locales (alto saxophonist/clarinetist Aram Shelton in Oakland, Calif., the rest of the ensemble in Chicago). The current vitality of the Chicago … Read More “Aram Shelton’s Fast Citizens: Two Cities”

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Teddy Charles & Walter Wolff Trio: Live

Along with Dances With Bulls, Live marks the first time the seminal vibraphonist Teddy Charles has recorded as a leader since 1988, and only the second time since 1963. Mostly retired for the past 46 years, Charles occasionally resurfaces to record or gig. This document catches him in performance at the Bimhuis in Amsterdam, collaborating … Read More “Teddy Charles & Walter Wolff Trio: Live”

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Joe Morris Quartet: Today on Earth

To say that Boston-based electric guitarist/upright bassist Joe Morris is prolific would be an obvious understatement. In 2009 alone he released six albums, including this quartet disc. But what’s truly astonishing is the stylistic spectrum he traverses: one lineup and an hour of music simply do not cover the multitude of ideas this man possesses. … Read More “Joe Morris Quartet: Today on Earth”

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Oliver Lake Organ Trio: Makin’ It

If one thing characterizes altoist Oliver Lake as an artist, it may be his perpetual state of flux, or at least his outright dedication to examine all known sub-genres of jazz. From driving hard-bop and high-energy free-skronk to fusion and post-modern chamber-jazz, there’s barely a region Lake’s left unexplored. It’s no surprise, then, that his … Read More “Oliver Lake Organ Trio: Makin’ It”

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Kahil El’Zabar’s Infinity Orchestra: Transmigration

Essentially the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble (sans guitarist Fareed Haque and trumpeter Corey Wilkes) augmented by a careening 39-piece orchestra in concert, Kahil El’Zabar’s Infinity Orchestra sounds pretty much like what you’d expect it to: dense big-band arrangements with extended improvisations, laden with African rhythms and embellished with traditional African instrumentation. However, El’Zabar does throw a … Read More “Kahil El’Zabar’s Infinity Orchestra: Transmigration”

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Leroy Jenkins Dies at 74

Arguably the most pivotal free-jazz violinist of the ’60s-internationally renowned for both his compositional and improvisational skills and vision in merging jazz and blues with a European classical sensibility-longtime AACM member Leroy Jenkins passed away Saturday, Feb. 24 in New York. Several sources report lung cancer as the cause of death. Jenkins was 74. Perhaps … Read More “Leroy Jenkins Dies at 74”

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Steve Lacy Quintet: Esteem

When saxophonist Steve Lacy died in June 2004, he had amassed well over 300 personal cassette recordings of his concerts, spanning from the ’70s until his death and encompassing everything from dates with his standard quintet to experimental one-offs with musicians from all over the Euro free-music scene. The best of these recordings are currently … Read More “Steve Lacy Quintet: Esteem”

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