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JD Allen: Radio Flyer (Savant)

If Radio Flyer by JD Allen is the tenor saxophonist’s best album yet—and it is—it’s largely because of leading-edge guitarist Liberty Ellman’s appearance. Allen has augmented the trio format before. But Ellman’s work alongside bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston is subtler and more atmospheric, adding to the music without altering the chemistry. That chemistry … Read More “JD Allen: Radio Flyer (Savant)”

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Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse: Morphogenesis (Pi)

Steve Coleman’s music has long been animated by a bobbing and weaving, thrusting and parrying dynamism. On Morphogenesis, the first recording by his drummerless Natal Eclipse octet, the brilliant, game-changing conceptualist makes the connection to boxing explicit in his liner notes and song titles like “Dancing and Jabbing” and “Shoulder Roll.” What allows this album … Read More “Steve Coleman’s Natal Eclipse: Morphogenesis (Pi)”

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David S. Ware Trio: Live in New York, 2010 (AUM Fidelity)

More than two hours of molten, visceral, spontaneous improvisation from David S. Ware is contained on Live in New York, 2010, the third posthumous volume of previously unreleased material from AUM Fidelity since the saxophonist’s passing in 2012. While Ware is most widely known and appreciated for his tenor workouts in a quartet setting, this … Read More “David S. Ware Trio: Live in New York, 2010 (AUM Fidelity)”

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Dave Liebman/Joe Lovano: Compassion: The Music of John Coltrane (Resonance)

Compassion contains more recent material than other archival releases on the Resonance label. It was recorded in 2007 for broadcast on BBC Radio in the U.K. Saxophonists Dave Liebman and Joe Lovano, pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Ron McClure and drummer Billy Hart commemorate the 40th anniversary of John Coltrane’s death in 1967. The typically classy … Read More “Dave Liebman/Joe Lovano: Compassion: The Music of John Coltrane (Resonance)”

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Review: Two Albums From Oliver Lake

JOSEPH BOWIE & OLIVER LAKE Live at ‘A Space’ 1976 (Sackville/Delmark) OLIVER LAKE FEATURING FLUX QUARTET Right Up On (Passin’ Thru) In his years between co-founding the Black Artists Group in St. Louis and the World Saxophone Quartet, Oliver Lake had already developed a unique voice on the alto saxophone and an equally original approach … Read More “Review: Two Albums From Oliver Lake”

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Review of Two Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions! Albums

Art Pepper: Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions! Volume 3: Lee Konitz (Omnivore) Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions! Volume 4: Bill Watrous (Omnivore) These Art Pepper sides have a cheeky history. Far below the radar in the first half of the 1970s, the alto saxophonist remerged in ’77 ready to stand once more in … Read More “Review of Two Art Pepper Presents West Coast Sessions! Albums”

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Jimmy Greene: Flowers: Beautiful Life—Volume 2 (Mack Avenue)

Like Beautiful Life, its Grammy-nominated companion album of 2014, Flowers was born of deep, unimaginable grief, following the death of saxophonist Jimmy Greene’s 6-year-old daughter, Ana, who was murdered at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. But whereas the previous recording was soulfully elegiac, “Flowers” is often joyfully kinetic—a rhythmically vibrant, sometimes harmonically audacious … Read More “Jimmy Greene: Flowers: Beautiful Life—Volume 2 (Mack Avenue)”

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Matt Mitchell: Førage (Screwgun)

When Tim Berne played Philadelphia in 2009, the opening act was Matt Mitchell, a then-obscure pianist who blew Berne away by performing an entire set of the saxophonist’s compositions for solo piano. Soon after that gig, Berne enlisted Mitchell for his band Snakeoil, a confident ensemble that has allowed Berne’s writing to become increasingly elliptical … Read More “Matt Mitchell: Førage (Screwgun)”

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