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El’zabar, Kahil Ritual Trio and Bang, Billy – “Big M: Tribute to Malachi Favors” – [Delmark]

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Earthy jazz sounds honoring the late, esteemed bassist Malachi Favors (aka Big M) who was the original bassist in this Ritual Trio, headed by Chicago percussionist Kahil El’Zabar. As a member of The Art Ensemble of Chicago and the AACM, Favors was a huge influence musically, and also as somewhat of a father figure, on El’Zabar from an early age. After Favors passed away in 2004, El’Zabar decided to reform the Ritual Trio with Ari Brown on saxophone and Yosef Ben Israel on bass. This 2004 date is a tribute to Big M, with guest Billy Bang on violin. On various tracks, you’ll hear El’Zabar on either trap drums, “earth drums” (African hand drums) or kalimba. He also adds some flute and, on the final track, vocals. Tenor saxophonist Ari Brown plays with a great raw tone and also checks in with some first rate piano on a couple of tracks. If you’re a fan of big, booming, acoustic double bass propulsion, then you’ll enjoy what Ben Israel is up to here. Track 7 is a bluesy vocal piece with piano, bass, violin, and flute, but no percussion–not my favorite track here. Everything else, though, is a fragrant stew of low down African-influenced jazz grooves. Tracks are medium length, in the 6 to 11 minute range.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on September 6, 2016 at 10:37 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Payne, Cecil & Jordan, Duke – “Brooklyn Brothers” – [Elemental Music]

    Very nice approachable jazz with especially fine performances from baritone sax and flute player Cecil Payne (1922-2007) and Duke Jordan (1922-2006) on piano. Sam Jones on bass and Al Foster on drums also excellent. Despite mainstream appeal and covers of jazz standards, this excellent 1973 recording belongs in the KFJC library.

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on August 29, 2016 at 6:09 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Cappelletti, Arrigo – Furio Di Castri – Bruce Ditmas – “Homage to Paul Bley” – [Leo Records]

    Stripped down trio format, laid back, listenable, nonchalant. Paul Bley (1932 – 2016) was a Canada-born American jazz pianist known for his free jazz innovations and emphasis on trio playing. Italian pianist Cappelletti plays with DiCastri on bass and Ditmas on drums who had also played with Bley.

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on August 24, 2016 at 5:36 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Low Life / Last Exit [coll] – [Jazzwerkstatt]

    energetic skronk improv jazz fits recorded in the late ’80s.
    LOW LIFE Brotzmann + Laswelltracks (1-10) bass sax and electric basses, dramatic progression story telling with fart sounds abound.
    LAST EXIT (tk 11-14) is fuller free jazz sound, of guitar, drums, tenor sax, 6-string bass, and even vox on trk 12. loud crazy playing over the top of each other punctuated with occasional Primus proggy vibes.
    yummy stuff, throw LOW LIFE on continuous and add liberally to your mix – dr. mouth’s orders

  • Reviewed by mouthbreather on August 24, 2016 at 7:12 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Cline, Nels – “Dirty Baby” – [Cryptogramophone]


    Conceived as a “trialogue” between the music of Nels Cline, paintings of Ed Ruscha and poems of David Breskin. This is the musical component to Dirty Baby, a multimedia work of music, poetry, and pictures performed at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. A deluxe monograph was published by DelMonico Books.
    Two discs of instrumentals from two different nonets. A major work in the canon of Nels Cline, features brother Alex, Vinny Golia, Wayne Peet, Scott Amendola et al. CD1: Longer tunes. CD2: Shorter tracks, wildly eclectic, Funky Bluesy Thrashy, Great track names taken from Ed Ruscha paintings. Ambitious; the larger group gives Cline a lot of different possibilities.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on August 21, 2016 at 2:55 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Cosmists – “Ontological Printing” – [Self Release?]

    Trio w/unique instrumentation: theremin, percussion/trumpet, & drums. Recorded by Rent Romus. Sparse. Delicate, tinier sounds. Echoing, looping theremin is very engaging. Lots of percussion, chimes, bells.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on August 21, 2016 at 2:46 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Stanley, Aileen – “Music Hall Favorites By Aileen Stanley” – [Take 2 Records]

    aileen stanley

    Imagine if you will being a DJ in the 50s and having at your command an NBC Thesaurus series of 16″ discs full of music such as the kind found on this CD. Well, we don’t have to, because this little treasure is a perfect example of the recordings made at that time to help radio stations with filler music. Aileen Stanley, so called because she took her brother’s first name when he left her to a solo career, began performing at the age of 5 with her brother. Vaudeville was only the start, as we can see from this CD of songs from the 1900s-1920s but recorded in the 1940s. It is a trip listening to the lyrics that take you back to a time when life may not have been simpler, but the songs were. I have lots of favorites on this one. Go find yours.

  • Reviewed by humana on August 7, 2016 at 8:08 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Iriondo, Xavier & Mimmo, Gianni – “Your Very Eyes” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

    Italian experimental sax jazz released in 2008. Dueling beeps chirps fuzz and standard melody. Slow paced. Keeps you on your toes.
    - Billie Joe Tolliver

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on August 3, 2016 at 3:47 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Dogmatics, The – “Sacrifice For The Music Became Lifestyle, The” – [Monotype]

    Pointillist duo of Australian pianist Chris Abramson (The Necks) and German Kai Fagaschinski on clarinet. Ponderous piano melodies. Long attackless clarinet tones, close and breathy. Extended-technique piano scraping. Silences. Long and short tracks 2-10 minutes. Recorded in Berlin 2009.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on July 26, 2016 at 12:03 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
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  • Logan, Giuseppi – “…and They Were Cool” – [Improvising Beings]

    logan

    Saxophonist Logan was a respected, though erratic, figure in the early days of free jazz. He only made a couple of records and played with a small number of notable musicians, and then pretty much disappeared for decades. With a great deal of support from admirers, he seems to be making somewhat of a comeback and that’s a good thing.

    This CD is an airy, spacious affair featuring Logan on sax and solo piano (track 3), Jessica Lurie on sax and flute, and Larry Roland on bass. No drums. Guitarist Ed Pettersen (who also produced the CD) plays mostly subtle textural /looping things underneath, which gives the music an interesting flavor. My favorite parts are when Logan is on sax and Lurie is on flute–we hear some truly inspired conversation.

    The liner notes tell us the story of how Logan was tracked down and brought into the studio to record this CD.

  • Reviewed by Max Level on July 18, 2016 at 8:50 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • BHZ – “Total Harmonic Distortion” – [Innova Recordings]

    Snappy twirly jazz. Track two is more serene than the others. All nice medium length tracks. Crashing percussion and twittering horns. Newly formed group of Brigid Burke on clarient, Steve Hall on pianio, and Mark Zanter on guitar.
    – Billie Joe Tolliver

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on July 13, 2016 at 4:51 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Cohn, Al; Mitchell, Billy; Coker, Dolo; Vinnegar, Leroy; But – “Night Flight to Dakar” – [Xanadu Records Ltd.]

    Recorded live in Senegal in 1980, 10 knock out tracks from these five fine jazz musicians from the United States. They played without rehearsal to enthusiastic audiences – many had not heard jazz before. Not African music, American jazz. Excellent hard driving tracks, blues, and sexy slow songs. VERY VERY GOOD!!!!

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on July 13, 2016 at 4:22 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Sun Ra & His Integalatic Research Arkestra – “Planets of Life Or Death” – [Strut]

    Marchy transy playful mambo beats. Over twenty people credited in the Arkestra. Gets nutso on the b side with the keyboards and improv vocals at the end.
    Recorded live performance in France in 1973.
    – Billie Joe Tolliver

  • Reviewed by billiejoe on June 22, 2016 at 3:33 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
  • Comment on this review
  • Bennani, Abdelhai/Oki, Itaru/Silva, Alan/Sato, Makoto – “New Today, New Everyday” – [Improvising Beings]

    Tenor saxman Abdelai Bennani Moroccan-born, then French-fed, creates
    some tasty spaces that would feel right at home in Chicago. There’s
    an Art Ensemble vibe here for me, pacing and spacing with some
    eathy ancestral vibes (there’s even a track called “Tribes”)
    You might recognize Alan Silva’s name on here, the bassman of
    ESP and other lore goes spaceman with synth on the second of the
    two disks. But the connection Bennani has made with Makoto Sato
    on drums and especially Itaru Oki is fantastic. Oki mostly on trumpet,
    adds some bugle and notably windy flutes. Oki is given a lot of solo
    space, and while both he and Bennani can scorch things up, they excel
    in gentle ways. Pieces are often dreamy, Sato then eases up and will
    roll along on toms. Both horns at times seem to brush up against
    classics for a bar or two, maybe quoting some recognizable material
    to help launch an improvisation. Bennani gets a sweet hum on slow low
    notes and on both disks his work with Oki is touch and glow! Silva’s
    synth on disk two is also mellow and mildly galactic while anchored
    in the deep end like a contrabass, it sort of pushes the group into a
    more fusion zone. on “Take Time, Play the Game” but towards the
    end really elevates. On “More Is Different” Silva’s delivers more
    mind-bending pitch-bending tweaky key tinkle. Martian blues almost?
    More great stuff from this vibrant label, personally I need to back
    and uncork some the Oki releases KFJC has corralled. -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on May 29, 2016 at 11:33 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Baker, Chet Quartet – “Jazz At Ann Arbor” – [Pacific Jazz]

    Pacific Jazz was known for cool West Coast jazz and released 12″ albums from 1955 to 1957 – this was the third. Chet Baker’s trumpet is in fine form in this live recording from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and is joined by terrific side men. I especially liked Line for Lyons, Headline, and Russ Job.

    After Charlie Parker worked with Baker on the West Coast, he went back to New York and told musicians “There’s a little white cat on the coast who’s gonna eat you up”.

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on May 11, 2016 at 2:18 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
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  • Tusques, Parle, Oki & Juanpera – “Le Chant Du Jub Jub” – [Improvising Beings]

    Recorded in France in 2015, piano (Tusques), trumpet and flute (Oki), accordion (Parle), and vocals/spoken word in French (Juanpera). Very fluttery, completely improvised and rather difficult – sounds like nothing else. I only began to make sense of it on the second listen. Perhaps Jub Jub refers to the bird in Lewis Carroll’s poem “The Hunting of the Snark”?

  • Reviewed by Cousin Mary on May 7, 2016 at 3:31 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Tenor, Jimi & UMO – “Mysterium Magnum” – [Herakles Records]

    Jimi Tenor is constantly pushing himself to try out new things, or reinterpret things he is familiar with, or put a twist on things familiar, or….. Needless to say, a chameleon of sound. Jimi Tenor, his name a combination of his favorite youth idol Jimmy Osmmond (HOT!!!!) and the tenor saxophone, comes from Finland and has created music electronic, jazz, big band, industrial. He has made his own electronic-mechanic instruments. Needless to say, creative and out there. “Mysterium Magnum”, the 2015 release on Herakles Records, continues this push. Tenor performs with UMO the Finnish national Jazz Orchestra, creating 12 pieces of tight, solid and clear jazz. UMO are amazing in their playing. Clear, crisp sounds punch through these big band orchestra pieces. Oh the horns. There is a retro feel to the numbers, going back to sixties studio orchestras performing soundtracks and backup for big name singers of the past. But it’s more than that for as the band plays on Tenor comes in with the craziest synth sounds I’ve heard in a while. Squonks, squeaks, blurbles. It’s a 1960′s Russian synthesizer, the RITM-2. Oh it is so good. I just couldn’t stop smiling…. and laughing…. and jumping around. The whole thing plays it straight, but it is not, not really, not with Tenor at the helm. And at the controls of the RITM-2. Enjoy.

  • Reviewed by Naysayer on May 3, 2016 at 8:18 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
  • 1 comment
  • Bad Luck – “3″ – [Tables & Chairs Music]

    Fantastic sax and drum duo from Seattle. KFJC DJ/MD
    aBacus Finch said they are even more potent live which
    is high praise voltage considering this 2014 recording.
    Their album is bristling sharp percussion from Chris
    Icasiano, his snare is crisp and he’s more about tight
    rhythms than florid free-for-all bursts. Iscasiano likes
    to shadow his tenor partner Neil Welch on staircase sax
    runs. Welch’s style is often staccato and sweet, and
    he augments it all with outstanding electronics. A high
    drone sample piercing over the top on “Power Ballad”
    during breaks is one example, it ends in a dark alley
    where you night bump into Der Club of Gore. Most of
    side B has a charged distortion bucking at your ears,
    makes that feel like it could plug right into an old
    Pop Group ditty. “Tour Song” rises and falls, with some
    silence at times, it’s like the duo are playing on
    a nuclear sub during a meltdown. I’m not sure if it’s
    the electronics or Welch’s compositions (quick flicking
    melodies) but this jazz vinyl flat out rocks. More swinging
    than Zu, but it’s got that similar brash appeal. Welch’s
    use of effects is seamless and spectacular. The duo
    ends the album with a short smoldering “Heart Machine”
    and then a cover of the Art Ensemble’s “Nonaah” that
    palpitates and thumps in cycles. If it weren’t for
    Bad Luck our radio station would be a little less lively.
    -Thurston Hunger

  • Reviewed by Thurston Hunger on April 15, 2016 at 7:02 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,Jazz
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  • Parker, William – “Stan’s Hat Flapping In The Wind” – [Centering Records]

    19 Songs about the mysteries of death and life as revealed to a Native American who’s hat began flapping in the wind. Between 5:00 and :22 long.
    Music & Lyrics by William Parker. Sung by Lisa Sokolov. Cooper-Moore at the piano.
    Sokolov does a great job interpreting and straddling the line between brassy Musical singing and more delicate Jazz vocals. The lyric is very well written.
    16 (Prayer) & 17 (Invocation) deliver two different looks to the album. Reminds me of Ran Blake & Jeanne Lee which is
    apropos because one of the songs mentions her.

  • Reviewed by Hemroid The Leader on April 13, 2016 at 2:13 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Romus, Rent/ Rankin-parker, Teddy / Pearce, Daniel – “Live At Vamp Vintage” – [Edgetone Records]

    Free jazz trio recorded live at Vamp Vintage in Oakland.

    The album takes its name from the sea god of Irish mythology, and also from the leukocyte-immunogobulin-like receptor, a protean which regulates the immune system and inflammatory response. All tracks have names taken from cellular biology.

    This is improvised jazz inspired at times by part by post-rock and drone. It’s very cohesive and listenable, not too “out-there”.

    All three musicians are very accomplished and short biographies are provided in the liner notes. Rent Romus is on alto and soprano sax, as well as flute. He is influenced by jazz greats such as Albert Ayler and Sun Ra, and non-jazz greats like Derek Bailey and Merzbow. These influences are apparent in his solos, which alternate between long melodic riffs and repetitive otherworldly honking. Oakland resident Teddy Rankin-Parker is a renowned cellist who has played with Iron and Wine and Primus. On this album, he switches between rhythmic plucking and slow, dissonant drones. Daniel Pearce plays drums, skittery and rumbly, but not often explosive.

  • Reviewed by Louie Caliente on April 10, 2016 at 5:14 pm
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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