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Taupe: Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow

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Taupe's creative universe thrives post-bang. It understands that stars, planets, and galaxies are an ultimate goal, yet understands the value of its gaseous beginnings before proceeding to grander narratives. Indeed, meta-explanations need not apply in this formation process, as they would only get in the way of the extroversions at play throughout. As torch-bearers of this philosophy, guitarist Mike Parr-Burman, altoist Jamie Stockbridge, and drummer Adam Stapleford have between them carved out an infinitesimal slice of darkness somewhere in the ...


Chamber 3: Transatlantic

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Seattle-based drummer Matt Jorgensen tattoos every recording he releases with a mark of bold, clean modernity--whether working with his group Matt Jorgensen + 451 on Hope (Origin Records, 2004) and Another Morning (Origin Records, 2008), or Tattooed By Passion (Origin Records, 2010). Add in scores of sideman slots. His is a distinctive sound, compositionally and instrumentally, on his own or backing his labelmates. Transatlantic is the second outing by the Jorgensen vehicle, Chamber 3, a follow up to ...


Alcyona Mick & Tori Freestone: Criss Cross

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An associate of the Loop Collective, Alcyona Mick graduated in jazz piano from the Royal Academy of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire. She writes scores for silent films and is a member of the prestigious London Jazz Orchestra. Mick has recorded two albums with the jazz group Blink, including its eponymous debut album and its follow-up, Twice. Tori Freestone joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra at 17 and went on to study jazz flute at Leeds College of Music, progressing to ...


Rudi Mahall / Alexander von Schlippenbach: So Far

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The raw materials with which pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach and clarinetist (chiefly bass clarinetist) Rudy Mahall work on the free improvisation recording So Far, are best described as untreated, as opposed to unrefined, the other definition of raw. Their music is reduced to its essential components of sound, pulse, and interplay. The two German musicians are equally versed in traditional jazz and free improvisation. It is always fascinating how both can switch from covering Thelonious Monk's entire oeuvre ...


Rob Clearfield: Wherever You're Starting From

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Chicago-based keyboardist Rob Clearfield has long been an active presence in the Windy City jazz scene, working with folks like bassist Matt Ulery, drummer Jon Deitemyer and guitarist Dan Bruce. Just last year, his appearances on Bruce's Earthshine (ears&eyes Records) and trumpeter Adam Larson's Second City (Inner Circle Music) were indicative of Clearfield's stylistic diversity, proving that he's as comfortable churning out Fender Rhodes-based grooves or doing an impressionistic take on Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit" as he is in ...


Roberto Magris Sextet: Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery

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Roberto Magris is an Italian pianist who has an eclectic range of interests but is heavily in thrall to the masters of American bebop. On this particular live recording he leads a sextet that gives that language a pronounced Latin twist leading to a set of fiery performances. Magris uses two horn players, trumpeter Brian Lynch and tenor saxophonist Jonathan Gomez, who are explosive throughout, especially on the tunes that have an underlying Latin flavor such as “African ...


Wobbler: From Silence to Somewhere

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Formed in 1999, this premier Norwegian band lights up the progressive rock genre with this superfine and expertly produced studio album, where the old school prog playbook is given a bit of an uplift, especially since the band casts a gleaming persona into these multifaceted works. Sure, glimpses of Gentle Giant and classic-era Genesis weave into various movements. However, Wobbler interlaces a multitude of rhythmic and melodic aspects into these memorable compositions, combining ethereal, windblown dreamscapes with tenacious ensemble work ...


Peter Madsen's Seven Sins Ensemble: Never Bet The Devil Your Head

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Pianist Peter Madsen has come up with a novel idea for a jazz record: A Tribute to Edgar Allen Poe (1809-1849), America's founding father of macabre/horror fiction. Bringing together a jazz quartet--piano/bass/drums/trumpet--and a string quartet, Madsen and his Seven Sins Ensemble capture the moods and atmospheres of some of the author's better-known tales on Never Bet The Devil You Head. Madsen's translation of Poe's most famous poem, “The Raven," sets the stage for the program. The string quartet ...


Kurt Elling: The Questions

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How does one grapple with existence and its juxtaposition against the present state of affairs? That's the question that hangs heaviest over The Questions. While vocalist Kurt Elling didn't come into this production with a theme in mind, he discovered a through line in the act of wrestling with difficulties and dreams in this age of marked unreason and unrest. With these ten songs he explores that topic to the fullest, coloring the music with his signature blend of authority ...


David Series: Meerkat Parade

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Apparently the official term is “clan" or “mob" when meerkats gather in a group. Despite their being social animals, nothing suggests they'd be organized enough for anything resembling a parade--that would only be a silly distraction from the business of burrowing, foraging and avoiding the jackals. Nonetheless David Series and a sharp crew find some good humor in the idea. His debut as leader doesn't aim to be quite as wild and aggressive as its namesake; this quartet's initial fusion ...