instrumental Archive

Album Review: Dewa Budjana — Naurora

The potential downside of remote recording is that – when it’s not done well, which is often – it can robe the music of the feel of of spontaneity, the vibe that comes form musicians playing together in real time. The upside, of course, is that an artist can enlist the participation of collaborators who

Rodrigo y Gabriela Take on Jazz, Metal and the Future

Though their music is rooted in acoustic flamenco guitar, Mexico City-based instrumental duo Rodrigo y Gabriela are open to – and draw from – the entirety of popular and traditional music. Across more than two decades, six studio albums, three live releases, three EPs and countless live dates across the globe, Rodrigo Sánchez and Gabriela

Mushroom: Don’t Sit This One Out

When critics try to describe Mushroom, they call upon labels like krautrock, free jazz, freakout, ambient and electronic. Launched in 1997 by drummer Pat Thomas, Mushroom is all of those things and none of them. The San Francisco instrumental collective played its first-ever gig at The Make Out Room; now, more than 24 years later,

Album Review: John McLaughlin — Liberation Time

A deeply spiritual artist, John McLaughlin makes music that moves the mind, body and spirit. There’s certainly plenty of technical precision in his music, but with in it beats a living heart. As such, the creation of that music is greatly informed and colored by the interaction among the participants (usually some of the finest

Album Review: Alchemy Sound Project – Afrika Love

Jazz differs from rock in some important, fundamental ways. While there are exceptions, one is the manner in which jazz ensemble tend to be collectives of equals rather than stars with backup. So it is with Alchemy Sound Project, a septet in which at least five of the musicians are composers. On Afrika Love, each

Album Review: Lennie Tristano — The Duos Sessions

Strictly speaking, jazz is uncommercial music. Not that the artists eschew the possibility of commercial success; it’s simply that jazz is a specialist genre. From the perspective of sales revenues, it’s among the least popular forms of music. Of course that has precisely nothing to do with its quality. And even within the genre, there

Virtuosity on display: Violinist Anne Akiko Meyers

In the classic music idiom, concert violinist Anne Akiko Meyers is the equivalent of a rock star. Debuting onstage when she was only 7 years old, she has gone onto international acclaim, crossing into other genres while maintaining the rigor and finesse of her classical training. Meyers has been featured on more than 30 albums;

Album Review: Stephan Thelen — Fractal Guitar 2

Stephan Thelen is a modern classical composer; he has been commissioned by Kronos Quartet to write a piece. His creative worldview encompasses a wide vision, as this new release demonstrates. Working with a staggeringly impressive assortment of guitarists, he has created a work that’s most assuredly not classical. The moody, vaguely sinister album has solid

Album Review: True Loves — Sunday Afternoon

If you have an appreciation for – heck, even an awareness of – the sort of kinetic soul jazz that formed the musical component of late ‘60s and early ‘70s crime film and television, then ohmygoodgracious do I have something to tell you about. True Loves’ Sunday Afternoon is a 21st century answer to that

Album Review: WRD — The Hit

Far more often than not, the term supergroup is hype. Even when it isn’t use of the word can create unfairly high expectations. The members of Blind Faith understood that, and named their (short lived) group thusly. But in the world of jazz, a different sensibility took hold long ago. Artists receive co-billing, and get