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David S. Ware New Quartet: Theatre Garonne, 2008 (AUM Fidelity)

Seven years after his death, fire-and-brimstone tenor saxophonist David S. Ware is still giving us new music. Théâtre Garonne, 2008 presents his New Quartet (with guitarist Joe Morris, bassist William Parker, and drummer Warren Smith) in concert in France two weeks after the group recorded the album Shakti. Given the compressed time frame, there’s a … Read More “David S. Ware New Quartet: Theatre Garonne, 2008 (AUM Fidelity)”

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Louis Armstrong: Live in Europe (Dot Time)

Hard to believe, but nearly 50 years after his death we’re still hearing new recordings from Louis Armstrong. Live in Europe, the fourth release of the jazz pioneer’s music from Dot Time Records’ Legacy Series, comprises sets from 1948 at the first Nice International Jazz Festival and a 1952 performance in Berlin. These recordings, never … Read More “Louis Armstrong: Live in Europe (Dot Time)”

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Allen Lowe: Jews & Roots (An Avant Garde of Our Own — Disconnected Works: 1980-2018) (ESP-Disk’)

Of all the people who’ve ever made jazz, Allen Lowe may be the hardest to figure out. He’s a frustrating genius who seems to disdain commercial success despite having all the skills to attain it. He’s a saxophonist, composer, musicologist, preservationist, historian, author, lecturer, and curmudgeon who writes obscure books that few people read and … Read More “Allen Lowe: Jews & Roots (An Avant Garde of Our Own — Disconnected Works: 1980-2018) (ESP-Disk’)”

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Laurence Hobgood: Tesseterra (Ubuntu)

Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman,” first recorded by country singer Glen Campbell in 1968, has gradually become a bona fide jazz standard. Its melody and chord changes are among the most beautiful in music of any genre, and in the most skilled hands—think Cassandra Wilson’s 2002 version or the one in 2013 from John Hollenbeck’s big … Read More “Laurence Hobgood: Tesseterra (Ubuntu)”

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Massimiliano Milesi: Oofth (Auand)

The album is named for a sci-fi novel involving five-dimensional cubes and time travel, and the cover art features the musicians wearing helmets that suggest they’re either prepping for a motorcycle rally in 2049 or mocking Daft Punk. But the music on Oofth, the debut record from Italian tenor saxophonist Massimiliano Milesi’s quartet, is very … Read More “Massimiliano Milesi: Oofth (Auand)”

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Tony Monaco: The Definition of Insanity (Chicken Coup)

Tony Monaco, a master of the Hammond B-3 organ, seems to be mellowing. The fiery, greasy, and bluesy playing that has defined him over two decades of recordings is largely absent from his new album. So are his own compositions; he brings only one to the table on The Definition of Insanity and instead covers … Read More “Tony Monaco: The Definition of Insanity (Chicken Coup)”

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Sun Ra: Monorails and Satellites: Works for Solo Piano Vols. 1, 2, 3 (Cosmic Myth)

More than a quarter-century after his death, there’s still a legitimate debate over whether Sun Ra was a genius or a charlatan. That question arises again with the reemergence of his slim body of solo work. His identity was so tied up in his big bands that an album of solo piano pieces seems shocking. … Read More “Sun Ra: Monorails and Satellites: Works for Solo Piano Vols. 1, 2, 3 (Cosmic Myth)”

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Mats Eilertsen: And Then Comes the Night (ECM)

This is just a lovely album. Bassist Mats Eilertsen has had his trio with pianist Harmen Fraanje and drummer Thomas Strønen for a decade, but And Then Comes the Night is only the group’s second release and its first for ECM. It’s also Eilertsen’s second album as a leader for that label, though the Norwegian … Read More “Mats Eilertsen: And Then Comes the Night (ECM)”

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Moppa Elliott: Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band (Hot Cup)

Is there anything Moppa Elliott won’t try? The restless bassist, high school teacher, arranger, composer, and leader of the iconoclastic, genre-hopping, lineup-shifting, avant-jazz band Mostly Other People Do the Killing has done everything from Dixieland destructions to a note-for-note remake of Kind of Blue. On his new two-CD set, the so-very-accurately titled Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance … Read More “Moppa Elliott: Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band (Hot Cup)”

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John Medeski: Mad Skillet (Indirecto)

John Medeski is always cooking up something interesting, and the ingredients in this project are inspired choices. This is the first album from Mad Skillet, a quartet with guitarist Will Bernard and two members of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, drummer Terence Higgins and sousaphonist Kirk Joseph. It’s a bizarre and tasty stew of blues, … Read More “John Medeski: Mad Skillet (Indirecto)”

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Whose Hat Is This?: Everything’s OK (Ropeadope)

Four members of the Tedeschi Trucks Band have a little secret: When they’re not playing auditoriums and festivals with one of the world’s biggest blues-rock groups, they moonlight as an avant-garde quartet that draws on free jazz, hip-hop, funk, and metal. Saxophonist Kebbi Williams, bassist Tim Lefebvre, and drummers J.J. Johnson and Tyler Greenwell perform … Read More “Whose Hat Is This?: Everything’s OK (Ropeadope)”

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Dr. Michael White: Tricentennial Rag (Basin Street)

Wynton Marsalis may be the most prominent preserver of traditional jazz, but nobody works harder than Dr. Michael White at keeping it alive. The New Orleans clarinetist has steadfastly clung to the early-20th-century way of doing things for almost four decades, but he always infuses it with freshness. On Tricentennial Rag, he celebrates 300 years … Read More “Dr. Michael White: Tricentennial Rag (Basin Street)”

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