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Brandon Seabrook Trio: Convulsionaries (Astral Spirits)

For the last decade, Brooklyn-based guitarist Brandon Seabrook has been a ubiquitous workhorse in New York City’s avant underground, with a ballooning oeuvre. In his powerhouse trio Seabrook Power Plant, prog rock was dissected with hardcore punk intensity, and more recently, his metal chops were in full throttle on Die Trommel Fatale and in Needle Driver, … Read More “Brandon Seabrook Trio: Convulsionaries (Astral Spirits)”

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Mattson 2: Play “A Love Supreme” (Spiritual Pajamas)

A Love Supreme has been covered in its entirety before—Branford Marsalis’ quartet famously did it twice, in a too-faithful studio album and then on an adventurous live recording. And John Coltrane has been deconstructed before; see the rapturous take on Interstellar Space by guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Gregg Bendian. But never have we heard something … Read More “Mattson 2: Play “A Love Supreme” (Spiritual Pajamas)”

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Michael Musillami Trio +2: Life Anthem (Playscape)

It’s surely no coincidence that a concept album documenting Michael Musillami’s 2016 brain hemorrhage and tumor should comprise such cerebral music. At least, it does in the part of Life Anthem that directly corresponds to the experimental guitarist’s trauma; emotion seeps back into the music as it deals with recovery and (to quote the title of … Read More “Michael Musillami Trio +2: Life Anthem (Playscape)”

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Miles Okazaki: Work: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Monk, Volumes 1-6 (Miles Okazaki)

“Exhaustive” is certainly a word that comes to mind for Work. Miles Okazaki was armed only with his solo guitar when he recorded all 70 known compositions by Thelonious Monk (70 being the number included in Steve Cardenas and Don Sickler’s Thelonious Monk Fakebook). It’s an undertaking of such ambition, even Monk never got there: … Read More “Miles Okazaki: Work: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Monk, Volumes 1-6 (Miles Okazaki)”

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Sonar with David Torn: Vortex (RareNoise)

Sometimes opposites really do attract. Sonar is an eight-year-old Swiss “post-minimalist” quartet that combines austere, oddly interlocking rhythms with a distinctive tritone bass and guitar tuning, and does so with mathematical precision (their primary songwriter, Stephan Thelen, actually is a mathematician). They proudly proclaimed their first couple of records “live in studio,” without any loops … Read More “Sonar with David Torn: Vortex (RareNoise)”

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Dave Liebman/John Stowell: Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet (Origin)

Jazz innovator, early soprano saxophone pioneer, gifted improviser with a tone so distinctive it can be recognized within microseconds—this is what musically knowledgeable folks tend to think of when Sidney Bechet’s name comes up. Composer? Not so much. But the New Orleans legend’s catalog of originals was sizable, and fellow soprano master Dave Liebman has … Read More “Dave Liebman/John Stowell: Petite Fleur: The Music of Sidney Bechet (Origin)”

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Jakob Bro: Returnings (ECM)

If Danish guitarist Jakob Bro needed a good reason to further explore some of the music he’s recorded in recent years while also breaking new ground, he clearly found it here, collaborating with trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Jon Christensen in an intimate, fluidly interactive session. Not surprisingly, given Mikkelborg’s stellar contributions, … Read More “Jakob Bro: Returnings (ECM)”

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Rez Abbasi: Unfiltered Universe (Whirlwind)

Art is shaped by nuance, guitarist Rez Abbasi asserts in the brief liner notes that accompany Unfiltered Universe, and the sentiment offers a clue as to why each of the album’s seven performances invites additional hearings. With every spin, it seems, his latest release reveals fresh rewards and new, far-reaching perspectives. In a sense, this … Read More “Rez Abbasi: Unfiltered Universe (Whirlwind)”

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