Category Archives: jazz

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um, Fort Apache Reservation, Arizona, 1989

Album cover for Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um

I lose sight of the two-lane mountain road on every westbound curve. The fire of the Arizona sunset is broken by trees but still blinding, relentless in its beauty and power. I drive too fast, taking corners like I was in my old Nissan Z instead of an overloaded Toyota pickup. I flirt with the gravel on the shoulder then… Read more »

Tyshawn Sorey & Jennifer Curtis – Invisible Ritual

Album cover for Tyshawn Sorey and Jennifer Curtis "Invisible Ritual"

This record reminds me why I love music. It reminds me that music can transform our minds and our souls and the way we see the world. Each of its eight songs is an improvised duet between Carter’s violin and Sorey on either piano or drums. Each song is like a conversation between two people who are connecting for the… Read more »

Tyshawn Sorey – Unfiltered

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At first, Unfiltered seems like another nostalgic throwback to jazz of the ‘50s and ‘60s, an imitation of the greats at their greatest. Soon, however, it becomes clear that Sorey and his sextet aren’t imitating the greats, but instead are channeling their energy. Imitation is easy: you practice, you learn a style, you steal it. Channeling energy, however, is much… Read more »

Review: Jazz Re-issues from Sonny Rollins, Clifford Brown, Max Roach, Red Garland, Art Tatum and Ben Webster

Label: Essential Jazz Classics Released: June 2, 2009 The mid to late 50s was a near perfect time for jazz. As post-bop and cool jazz emerged from Charlie Parker’s bebop shake-up, the genre’s top artists were refining the sound. In a few short years, jazz would be set on its ear again by Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus… Read more »

Review: John Scofield – Piety Street

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Label: Emarcy Released: March 31, 2009 Over the years, John Scofield has worked with a who’s who of jazz and fusion artists. He has established himself as one of the top names in jazz guitar and is almost as well known outside of jazz circles as he is within. He’s one of those artists who finds himself in the unique… Read more »

Review: Trio of Doom

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Label: Legacy Recordings Released: September 30, 2008 The term “supergroup” may be popular music’s greatest misnomer. Sure, supergroups are typically made up of musicians who have done some super things, but more often than not, the meeting of their superness is just not all that, well, super. So, as legendary as the meeting of Jaco Pastorius, John McLaughlin and Tony… Read more »

Found in the Shuffle: Eric Dolphy – Gazzelloni

Song: GazzelloniArtist: Eric DolphyAlbum: Out to Lunch It is a testiment to both the Beastie Boys’ greatness and my stupidity (not to mention my short-term memory loss) that when this song began, I thought it was one of the Beastie’s instrumental tracks. Eric Dolphy was an incredible musician, and if you think flute is lame, just listen to what he… Read more »

Review: Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um (Legacy Vinyl Re-Issue)

Label: Sony Legacy Released: September 16, 2008 (originally released in 1959) “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus These aren’t just words from Charles Mingus. He didn’t always manage to make things simple, but one of the many amazing things about Mingus Ah Um is that he took this incredibly… Read more »

Review: The Drift – Ceiling Sky

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Label: Temporary Residence Limited Released: November 6th, 2007 You shouldn’t need this CD. After all, you should already have all of the Drift’s albums and you should definitely have them on vinyl. However, if you’ve missed either boat, the kind folks at Temporary Residence feel bad for you and have released this collection of The Drift’s non-CD tracks. For those… Read more »

Review: Mars Hill – Fate Chance Luck Dance

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Label: Sandbar Music Released: May 2006 According to Mars Hill’s Myspace page, they are “one of the most original and finest bands of the 21st century” and they are “genre-defying.” The former is beyond a stretch. No offense, but they aren’t even close. The latter, however, is pretty accurate. The list of genres touched significantly by Mars Hill is longer… Read more »