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Anne Mette Iversen: Invincible Nimbus (Brooklyn Jazz Underground)

Though she has a longstanding relationship with the Brooklyn Jazz Underground Ensemble and its imprint, Danish bassist Anne Mette Iversen has resided in Berlin since 2012. For Invincible Nimbus, the second album by her Ternion Quartet, Iversen incorporated concepts from fugues, Olivier Messiaen, and theorist Nicolas Slonimsky into an improvisational setting. The results are delivered … Read More “Anne Mette Iversen: Invincible Nimbus (Brooklyn Jazz Underground)”

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Larry Grenadier: The Gleaners (ECM)

Memories: While listening to Brad Mehldau’s early discs, I fully recall being knocked out by Larry Grenadier’s blend of poetry and pragmatism. The bassist’s solos would occasionally emerge from the trio’s exchanges, adding buoyancy while delivering an imposing yet inviting spirit. Fast-forward a quarter century and the first solo bass album by Grenadier pulls off … Read More “Larry Grenadier: The Gleaners (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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Ben Allison: Quiet Revolution (Sonic Camera)

Valuable chunks of the jazz canon go undistinguished—no doubt about that. But while the process of honoring the classics may be forever heroic, there’s no guarantee that listeners will be engaged by past glories. To make hay with yesteryear, artists must imbue the tunes with a personal vision. Sometimes that means upending the originals, sometimes … Read More “Ben Allison: Quiet Revolution (Sonic Camera)”

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Scott Petito: Rainbow Gravity (Planet Arts)

The murderer’s row of fusioneers that bassist/composer Scott Petito assembled for Rainbow Gravity is both exciting and foreboding. It implies great playing and—not unrelatedly—big, self-indulgent spotlights for the heavyweights. But while the chops are indeed fearsome, the album turns out surprisingly tight, thanks in no small part to Petito’s writing. One remarkable example: Despite the presence … Read More “Scott Petito: Rainbow Gravity (Planet Arts)”

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Charlie Haden & Brad Mehldau: Long Ago and Far Away (Impulse!)

It starts with a few irreverent tickles. Just three minutes into Bird’s “Au Privave,” Brad Mehldau gives his muse the green light, messes around with a spray of notes, and we’re off into a chatty conversation where blithe trills are grounded by buoyant thumps—meaning informality has just as much bearing on this entertaining exchange as … Read More “Charlie Haden & Brad Mehldau: Long Ago and Far Away (Impulse!)”

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Christian McBride: Christian McBride’s New Jawn (Mack Avenue/Brother Mister)

The term “jawn”—a catch-all piece of Philly jargon covering everything from object to idea—speaks to the home turf and high-level hipness of Christian McBride, as well as the broadness of vision at play here. And this most certainly marks the start of a new chapter for the distinguished bassist, serving as the launch of his … Read More “Christian McBride: Christian McBride’s New Jawn (Mack Avenue/Brother Mister)”

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