Extended Analysis


Beats and Pieces Big Band: All In

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The idea of the gang is well established in rock bands--think of the wonderful Astrid Kirchherr photos of the Beatles in their Hamburg-era leathers, the Specials glowering from the cover of their classic debut LP or the Clash in pretty much any picture ever taken of them. Rock bands often foster this “us v's them" mentality as a shorthand for identification with their audience or a set of beliefs, but it is a position that only translates imperfectly into jazz ...


Sticky Fingers Super Deluxe Box Set

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Year in and year out, much is made of the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street (Universal Music Group, 1972/2010) (EOMS) being the “greatest rock and roll album." It is traditionally beaten out in most critics' and readers' polls by either The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Parlophone, 1967) or Rubber Soul (Parlophone, 1965). Even the Clash's London Calling (CBS, 1979) has made it even or ahead of EOMS in some polls. But EOMS is not the issue ...


Ivo Neame: Strata

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Probably best known for his work as part of the much celebrated trio Phronesis, UK pianist Ivo Neame has quietly built an enviable discography encompassing sideman appearances with Ant Law and Andre Canniere along with excellent albums as leader such as 2012's Yatra. The latter in particular was a remarkably ambitious octet session that mixed clarinet from the likes of Shabaka Hutchings with the saxophones of Jason Yarde and Tori Freestone, plus the bass of Phronesis colleague Jasper Hoiby. Change ...


Sonny Landreth: Bound By the Blues

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Fresh Cream (Atco) was released in 1966, at the height of the blues revival that began in the late 1950s with the publication of Samuel Charter's The Country Blues (Rinehart, 1950) and the subsequent release of the LP The Country Blues (Folkways, 1959). In the early blues revival, it was the rural, acoustic blues that were resurrected and celebrated. Then the ancient-by-any-standards folk songs made it to Great Britain, they were assimilated and recreated in a sonic image not previously ...


Benedicta: Marian Chant from Norcia

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The mid-1990s so-called “new age" or “ambient" music discovered the Plainsong, leading to the release of Chant (Angel, 1973/1994) by the Benedictine Monks of Santo Domingo de Silos. Such a spike in popularity in all things mystical was nothing novel at the end of the Twentieth Century (or any other post-civilization century, for that matter). Judging from the fact that recordings twenty years old at the time, by a non- descript group of cloistered clerics reflects that only the shallow ...


Luther Thomas: In Denmark

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Denmark has a long tradition of jazz immigration and in the land where the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen was born, it is truly a musical fairy tale that such great artists as saxophonists Ben Webster, Dexter Gordon and Stan Getz have lived and worked in the country, along with pianists like Kenny Drew and Horace Parlan, trumpeter and arranger Thad Jones, and drummer Ed Thigpen. It is a musical legacy to be immensely proud of, and its story has ...


Masabumi Kikuchi / Ben Street / Thomas Morgan / Kresten Osgood

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The German poet, philosopher and literary critic Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel (1772-1829) had an affinity for the fragment as an art form and in his Athenaeumsfragment 206, he wrote about it, saying that: “[a] fragment, like a small work of art, has to be entirely isolated from the surrounding world and be complete in itself like a hedgehog." Like a true Romantic poet, Schlegel saw the unique potential of the fragment as something that could point ...


zBug: Splitting Glass / Twilight Sunrise

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The sacred geometry of zBug is no small thing. So enormous, in fact, that it's invisible. It's in service of just such a contradiction--which really isn't one--that the band pushes sound-walls to the very edges of the third dimension. The brainchild of David Leikam, zBug has a piecemeal history. While getting his MFA in the composer-performer program at CalArts, where he studied under the legendary Wadada Leo Smith, Leikam met drummer Zachary Morris, with whom an early incarnation of the ...

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