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Tord Gustavsen: Quiet is the New Loud

Stuart Nicholson writes about the amazing pianist Tord Gustavsen, one of the latest in a long line of fine musicians ECM has plucked out of Norway.

And Christopher Porter fills us in on the rest of the current Norwegian scene, which builds on ECM’s legacy while creating its own.

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Mike Stern: These Times

These Times is Mike Stern’s debut on ESC after a long career on Atlantic that began with Upside Downside in 1986. It sees him consolidating a subtle change of direction. Where once he seemed to be attracted to the polar opposites of either the backbeat or straightahead swing, with not much interesting him in between, … Read More “Mike Stern: These Times”

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Chicago Underground Trio: Slon

The vexing issue of the conflict in Iraq has prompted many jazz musicians to raise their voice in onstage protest. The Chicago Underground Trio’s Slon is, according to the press release, “in a nutshell, an anti-war record.” Yet whatever your feelings about Iraq, it should come as no surprise that jazz is being harnessed as … Read More “Chicago Underground Trio: Slon”

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The Bad Plus: These are the Bad Plus

The most controversial band in jazz today is neither some plugged-in improv band nor a no-stones smooth-jazz group. No, the Bad Plus is an acoustic piano trio that makes many people fall in love with jazz for the first time even as it turns off longtime listeners to the music. Why are tastes so divided about the Band Plus? Tad Hendrickson talks with the band about their phenomenal success over the past year. Meanwhile, Bill Milkowski dissects the group, and John Murph wonders aloud if race is part of the Bad Plus’ popularity.

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Jazztronica: A Brief History of the Future of Jazz

It’s happening, it’s underway-it’s just a question of how far and how fast. With more and more ensembles including a musician dealing with electronics-sequencing, programming, DJing, sampling-the sound of jazz is evolving. Call it jazztronica, nu-jazz or bluescreen jazz, but one thing is certain: It’s potentially the most exciting development in the music for decades. … Read More “Jazztronica: A Brief History of the Future of Jazz”

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Weather Report: Live and Unreleased

Formed in 1971, Weather Report was one of the most important bands in contemporary jazz-indeed, some have persuasively argued it was the most important group of the past 30 years. Weather Report’s range extended from French impressionism to free jazz, bebop to world music, electronic to acoustic, big band to chamber sounds. The band was … Read More “Weather Report: Live and Unreleased”

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Ben Allison: Peace Pipe

As Art Lange persuasively argued in the liner notes to Dr. Cyclops’ Dream (Soul Note), the second Herbie Nichols Project album, “There is a prevalent and pervasive misunderstanding in jazz, along the lines that the quality of the music is to be measured primarily through the improvised solo,” pointing out how the best jazz is … Read More “Ben Allison: Peace Pipe”

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Michael Petrucciani: Concerts Inedits

Despite the unqualified admiration of just about everyone who counts on the international jazz circuit, recognition that Michel Petrucciani had been perhaps the finest of all the young musicians who swept into jazz during the last 20 or so years was only really forthcoming after his death on January 6, 1999. This seems to be … Read More “Michael Petrucciani: Concerts Inedits”

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