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FEATURED INTERVIEWS

  • Kem Owens
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    Adekemi Owens, known professionally and affectionately to music fans as "Kem," has come a long way from Nashville, Tennessee to his current hometown of Detroit, Michigan. So, one figures that is why this musical genius has written and performed songs…
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  • Law school creates more than a few challenges. There are hours upon hours of studying, grueling hours interning at law firms, and financial bills that need to find a way to get paid. For many law students the adversity is…
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  • Born in Dallas, Texas and now happily domiciled in Los Angeles, bass player Edwin Livingston could be described as being on the crest of a wave.  His CD 'Transitions' was released in late 2010 and when recently I caught up…
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  •  New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton has never conformed to anyone or anything. Reading his Facebook posts and Twitter “tweets”, you sort of get an idea about how un-traditional he is. He speaks his mind and, should someone attempt to challenge…
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MORE INTERVIEWS

Even though this album by Swiss artist Christoph Erb (reeds) and Chicagoans, Jim Baker (synth & piano) and Michael Zerang (percussion) is often centered on avant-garde sound-shaping implementations, their keen use of space looms as an added instrument. Therefore, it's not always what is stated that counts because the trio leaves room for interpretation and as a result, the program isn't clouded with excesses or superfluous content. Indeed, unorthodox and spiked with minimalism, the musicians explore the capabilities of their instruments via this polytonal endeavor that tenders an undulating environment, spawned by buzzing frameworks and laconic tonal swashes.

John Blum is a New York-born free-jazz pianist. On this record you will hear music that is to mainstream jazz what abstract art is to renaissance painting. The same tools are in play: a musical instrument, notes, rhythm, harmony...and you will hear sound bites from time to time that hint at conventional jazz roots, but what ends up on the musical canvas is of a parallel artistic universe. When you hit “play” you will know immediately that you are not in jazz Kansas anymore.

With inferences to metal-drenched avant-garde jazz, sounds of doom, and crazed electronica based free-jazz; Combat Astronomy's fourth album extends its bizarre, apocalyptic spin on cross-genre stylizations.  With notable British experimentalists and avant-garde perpetrators shaping the crazed vistas, leader, conceptualizer, and five-string electric bassist James Huggett lays down some of the heaviest bass lines known to mankind with guerrilla tactics and calamitous sound-sculpting maneuvers.  Huggett overdubs bass lines within various parts, and needless to say, envelops an ominous undercurrent throughout the broad plane of lower and upper-register tonal contrasts.

Avant-garde or free-form improvisation doesn't always need to be austere or devoid of character. Essentially, these U.K., based improvisers reaffirm those notions in vibrant fashion via these invigorating works recorded at a home studio and live performances in London.

Michael Cuscuna – executive producer from CBS Records - hired Woody Shaw in 1977. Someone thought that Miles Davis in person " sponsored " Shaw to the board of Columbia. Anyway this partnership would have made a larger audience aware of Shaw's huge talent.

Tommy Vig has created an original, strangely intuitive, and ultimately satisfying big band. This music is avant garde, and dissonance is integral to their vision. That said, Vig's pieces are about as catchy as avant garde big bands could conceivably be. Fast unison parts are balanced with clear melodies, and rounded out with explorative soloing and inventive charts.

 

The recording is dedicated Mr. Yoshitaka Sugaya, a personal friend of the group who was lost in the tsunami disaster in March, 2011. This lends a personal and tragic feel to this often raw recording. Free Jazz fans will likely find a lot to interest them here.

A restless musical spirit who has worked in pretty much every sub-genre of jazz and improvised music you can think of, Wadada Leo Smith's "Heart's Reflections" is a sprawling 2-CD set that covers a bewilderingly vast swath of stylistic ground. What makes "Heart's Reflections" such a fascinating listen is the variety of approaches that Wadada and his band take - there are funkified 'electric Miles'-inspired jams, gossamer intertwinings of trumpet, violin, and laptop, and abstract improvisations that hearken back to Smith's AACM days.

Mauro Gargano double bass player and composer born in Bari (Italy) studied classical and jazz with Maurizio Quintavalle, Furio di Castri, and Christian Gentet then with Riccardo DelFra at the National Superior Conservatory of Paris where he won a first prize.

Dave Douglas is one of the most innovative and creative musicians in modern jazz. Unlike many other trumpet players he has been trying throughout the years to create his own musical vocabulary. After completing his studies at Berklee School of Music, Douglas moved back to New York where he joined the Horace Silver band in 1987; that introduced him to a larger audience