Dave Burrell | Steve Swell | Turning Point | No Business Records

Dave Burrell’s Turning Point, the third in a series of five suites commemorating the people and events of the Ainerican Civil War, is one of the crowning achievements in his career. A mature and passionate work, it weaves together 150 years of American history and music into a piece that grapples with some of the most horrifying moments in American history and yet remains profoundly hopeful. Born after a nine-month gestation period of historical research and rehearsals, the music evokes the harrowing events of mid-nineteenth century America through a vivid mix of sound imagery, stylistic references, and improvisation in an attempt to come to terms with the Civil War and its legacy. — Ed Hazell Continue reading

Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra | Matter Anti-Matter | RogueArt Jazz

Out of the 63 or 67 satellites around Jupiter, fifty or more of them were discovered since the year 2000 (since the “elections” of George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin, since the busting of the Internet bubble and the market launch of the first USB key: it’s all a question of scale, right?). We are told their orbits are far apart, eccentric, inclined and retrograde. That they do as they please, heads in the clouds, that they dance. It’s your turn to dance. You understand you are a moon in all its phases simultaneously. Let me say that again. Anybody can be the root, says Roscoe Mitchell. Everything is seed, says Novalis. Ascension Dream Phoenix, says Rob Mazurek. A feast. — Alexandre Pierrepont (translation Romain Tesler) Continue reading

Max Johnson | Mark Whitecage | Steve Swell | Tyshawn Sorey | Quartet | Not Two Records

With the onset of fan donation pages all over the Internet artists, musicians and inventors of all sorts can now speak directly with their fans and solicit funds for all types of projects. Some are fantastical like ‘help me turn into a cat’ fund or ‘help make my paper clip rocket ship a reality’, but more often than not it is a musician with a book of songs that means the world to them and are looking for a way to make their vision a reality. There are even added perks to sites like these. They come in the form of incentives for the public’s donations, such as a copy of the completed album or even executive producer credits. The Max Johnson Quartet is a success story born from this new artist driven way to produce music. From a business model to recording and art work, (fantastic by the way if you can get a close look at it) to getting Not Two Records to back the recording. — Philip Coombs Continue reading

Rob Brown | Steve Swell | Joe Morris | Luther Gray | Rob Brown Quartet | Radiant Pools | RogueArt Jazz

Rob Brown has a sound of his own one that you instantly identify, and it’s a wonder why his unique way of playing alto saxophone still hasn’t found the recognition it deserves. With “Radiant Pools”, not only does he confirm what a great musician he is, but he also shows how he can give life and soul to an orchestra… and what orchestra! Quite noteworthy is the way Rob Brown’s alto sax (hear his high notes) and flute, and Steve Swell’s trombone complement and enrich each other; respond to one another while Swell shows as much talent as a soloist than composer. The rhythm – and sometimes improvising – section is brilliantly composed of Joe Morris (who also wrote a wonderful piece) on the bass, although he gained a top-ranking reputation as a guitar player, and Luther Gray whose perfect knowledge of dynamics is a clear clue of how great a drummer he his. “Radiant Pools” also proves that written and free form improvised music can make a happy combination for the recipe of a consistent musical piece… as long as the service is first-rate! Continue reading