jazz Archive

Album Review: D-Town Brass — Demiurge

Much of what passes for avant garde music tends toward a kind of seriousness, a dour approach that screams, “this is art!” and all but insists that the listeners revel in its importance. Accessibility rarely figures into the mix, and that’s the point, kind of. But there are exceptions. The work of Sun Ra certainly

Album Review: Miles Davis’ ‘Jack Johnson’ at 50 (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … Side Two of Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson features the same players plus a different lineup, and in fact the aggregation wasn’t credited on the original LP. McLaughlin returns, joined by gonzo electric guitarist Sonny Sharrock. The bassist now is Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette plays drums. Bennie Maupin – whose

Album Review: Miles Davis’ ‘Jack Johnson’ at 50 (Part One)

Much is made – and rightly so – of Miles Davis’ landmark 1970 release Bitches Brew. The album represented Davis’ adventurous foray into the (previously unoccupied) space in which rock and jazz coexisted. True, others had made moved toward bridging the gap between the two genres, but none had done so as forcefully and uncompromisingly

Album Review: The David Angel Jazz Ensemble – Out on the Coast

Unless one was an aficionado of the style during its heyday in the 1940s, there was little reason to predict that the form would endure far into the future. It’s doubtful that even hardcore big band fans would have expected it to last into the 21st century. But here we are. Yes, it occupies a

Hundred-word Reviews: February 2021, Part 3

These five are all archival, reissue and/or compilation releases. There’s even a vinyl release here. Wolfgang Lackerschmid & Chet Baker – Quintet Sessions 1979 I was only recently introduced to the sublime collaborative genius of Lackerschmid and Baker via this release. Now, from the same era, comes this archival release. It’s even better, featuring as

Album Review: The Justin Rothberg Group – Hurricane Mouse

Too often, when an artist makes music that starts with a jazz foundation and leans in an “accessible” direction, the result is smooth jazz. Ugh. It’s the rare artist who takes jazz textures and makes music that is both challenging and melodic. Hurricane Mouse by the Justin Rothberg Group is a successful case in point:

Album Review: The Ed Palermo Big Band — The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren

Frank Zappa’s body of work is massive. Even if one limits oneself to the music released during his lifetime, it’s a lot. Me, I have his first 45 or so albums on vinyl, and scattered post-vinyl-era releases as well. And for those who appreciate his work, it’s possible to focus on specific styles and/or eras

Album Review: Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra — Bernstein Reimagined

Established in 1990, the 17-member Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra is the orchestra-in-residence at the National Museum of American History. Though it’s primarily a live act, since its formation the Orchestra has released at least six albums. The newest is Bernstein Reimagined, in which the Orchestra (under the baton of conductor and alto saxophonist Charlie Young)

Album Review: Bill Evans — Live at Ronnie Scott’s

Perhaps the most celebrated lineup of the Bill Evans Trio is the one featuring bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian. Sadly, and because of LaFaro’s death in an auto accident, that lineup would be documented on but two albums, but what great albums they were. Nearly as acclaimed was a later trio featuring Eddie

Album Review: Sonny Rollins – Rollins in Holland

There are people out there doing important archival work. Dedicated music lovers like Zev Feldman connect with archivists, collectors, fans and like-minded individuals across the globe, seeking to unearth previously-unheard recordings by some of the most important figure in jazz. And every so often, we hear these stories of unmarked boxes on dusty shelves, found