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Anna Webber: Clockwise (Pi)

Flutist and saxophonist Anna Webber has a penchant for the elastic and mangled. On 2014’s Simple and 2016’s Binary, both released via Chris Speed’s Skirl Records, she directed the rhythmic traffic of her not so “Simple Trio”—pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer John Hollenbeck—to head-spinning heights. For this album, her Pi debut, she’s upped the über-knotty ante even … Read More “Anna Webber: Clockwise (Pi)”

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Salim Washington: Dogon Revisited (Passin’ Thru)

Saxophonist and flutist Salim Washington’s music is characterized by a deep-running tranquility. Emotions are never forced; rather, they’re cultivated inside the listener. “Self Love/Revolutionary Ontology,” for instance, includes several free tenor passages, stoked with fury yet surpassingly gentle—no shock-screams or honks. The song eventually settles into a Spanish-tinged movement with an undercurrent of funk, followed … Read More “Salim Washington: Dogon Revisited (Passin’ Thru)”

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Jamie Baum Septet: Bridges (Sunnyside)

For many, religion is the most divisive of matters. For flutist-composer Jamie Baum, however, it turns out to be the ultimate unifier. On this fourth album from her expandable septet, Baum explores the musical common denominators beneath different ancient belief systems. Offering touches of modernization while remaining steadfast in honoring core values, Baum creates a … Read More “Jamie Baum Septet: Bridges (Sunnyside)”

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Nicole Mitchell & Haki Madhubuti: Liberation Narratives (Black Earth)

To a great degree, Liberation Narratives is a Nicole Mitchell album in the way that Clifford Brown With Strings is a Neal Hefti album. It’s incidental music, created as settings for Chicago poet Haki Madhubuti’s readings of his own work. Yet there are differences, and they place this recording among Mitchell’s most moving and interesting. … Read More “Nicole Mitchell & Haki Madhubuti: Liberation Narratives (Black Earth)”

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Nicole Mitchell: Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds (FPE)

Recorded live in Chicago and performed in 2015, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration of the AACM, Mandorla Awakening II is a resplendent reminder of why that organization’s ethos remains so invaluable. It is ambitious, adventuresome, defiant of genres and conventional wisdom and wildly dynamic. Its ability to be astral-ethereal and grassroots folky in … Read More “Nicole Mitchell: Mandorla Awakening II: Emerging Worlds (FPE)”

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Nestor Torres: Nouveau Latino

Nestor Torres is one versatile flutist, having created smooth-jazz tunes in addition to contemporary jazz with hard-driving Latin rhythms. On Nouveau Latino, the Puerto Rican native now living in Florida returns to his Latin roots with his versions of Latin salsa hits from the ’60 and ’70s, plus a few standards, such as “Cocinando” by … Read More “Nestor Torres: Nouveau Latino”

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