instrumental Archive

100-word Reviews for November 2017: New Music

So much great music and so little time. Here’s ten reviews: all new music, each summed up in 100 words. All are worth your time. Bryant Fabian Marsalis – Do For You? (Consolidated Artists) I struggle with a lot of current-day jazz. No matter how I try, much of it leaves me cold. Here’s a

Evil Note Lab: Pushing the Boundaries of Live Musical Improvisation

Ableton Live is computer software that allows musicians real-time interactivity with sequences of notes, sounds and textures. While the software is often used as a creative studio tool, in the hands of Asheville musical collective Evil Note Lab, Ableton Live realizes its potential as a performance instrument. Evil Note Lab puts its groundbreaking musical experiment

Slacktone Gets to the Good Part Quickly

Surf instrumental music is a distinct musical style, one that has persisted in popularity even as countless other musical fashions have come and gone. While today surf music enjoys a cult following, that cult is as strong as ever. And thanks to its modern-day exponents – like Los Angeles-based Slacktone, who agressively update surf music,

Jonah Parzen Johnson’s Combination of Man, Machine and Instrument

A saxophonist employing the circular breathing method is impressive, but not as remarkable as it once was. At the top of the creative scale, jazz legend Rahsaan Roland Kirk used the technique; at the other end of the spectrum, Kenny G made it into the Guinness Book for playing the longest-held note on the saxophone

Ten 100-word Reviews: Archival/Reissue Releases

With a great deal of my time these days spent working on my new book and various artist interviews, I tend to amass a backlog of albums for review. To lessen that backlog, I present ten reviews, each distilled down to its essence. Or at least to 100 words. All of these titles are reissues,

Reviews: 12 Jazz Reissues (Part Two)

Alphonse Mouzon – In Search of a Dream (MPS) Powerhouse fusion drummer Mouzon made his name on sides by Les McCann (the stunning Invitation to Openness) and Weather Report’s debut, but it was with Larry Coryell’s 11th House that he gained top-level fame. This, the sixth album under his name, is guaranteed to please fans

Reviews: 12 Jazz Reissues (Part One)

Albert Ayler Quartet – Copenhagen Live 1964 (hatOLOGY) The music of tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler (1936-1970) is assuredly not for the jazz novitiate. With an approach that makes Ornette Coleman sound mainstream, Ayler pushed even the boundaries of free jazz. Released in cooperation with the musician’s estate, this never-before-heard live session from more than a

Album Review: Yonder — Pearl Diver

Some music insists upon itself; rock ‘n’ roll, for example – when it’s done right – is designed to be impossible to ignore. So, too can other forms – progressive rock, jazz, blues – have an element of showiness in their presentation, one that seems to imply, “hey, check this out.” Other musical forms can

Album Review: Gel-Sol — Horse Head Bookends

It’s inevitable: the first thing one notices about Horse Head Bookends, the latest album from Andrew Reichel (d/b/a/ Gel-Sol), is its stunningly original album artwork and packaging. The vinyl LP is housed in a black, die-cut sleeve with a front window that serves as a frame for a 12×12 full-color art. There’s a collage for

New Music Review Roundup, Part 3

Today I wrap up three days’ worth of reviews of new music. Dig if you will. The Pollyseeds – Sounds of Crenshaw, Vol. 1 As far as I know, none of the music on Sounds of Crenshaw Vol. 1 is used on the soundtrack of the Amazon Original series Bosch, but – like that crime