Category: Music

Two Approaches to Jazz Drumming

For two consecutive weeks, we’ve been treated to compulsively listenable new albums by two excellent jazz drummers, Raphael Pannier (“Faune”) and Matt Wilson (“Hug!”). In many ways, the recordings couldn’t be more different. Pannier is a next generation virtuoso surrounded by other jazz killers — Miguel Zenon, Francois Moutin, Aaron Goldberg — whose spectacular modernist...

Accelerate Every Voice

Aficionados of the weird and wonderful, rejoice! Pianist-arranger Cory Smythe’s “Accelerate Every Voice,” gives new meaning to term “original music.” The recording offers strange and alluring sounds emanating from electronic keyboards and loopers, but the main sonic source is a quintet of human voices orchestrated into a collage of aural splendor that’s hard to describe...

D’ Rok THE Menace

Psychonauts rejoice! Instead of bragging about his money and hos — indeed, he announces his intention to “embrace imperfections” and view life through his Third Eye — the rapper D’ Rok THE Menace applies his mad skills to the ethereal charms of LSD, DMT, and magic mushrooms. He’s a stone cold killer, murdering his ego....

Bodied

We regret that the sensationally smart, funny, and illuminating feature film Bodied has a title that offers little clue to what the film’s about. Namely: battle rap. This sub-culture of popular culture is both fascinating and ripe for satire, and the brain trust behind the movie — producer Eminem, writer Alex Larsen and director Joseph Kahn...

Adam Rudolph’s “Ragamala”

Drummer, composer, and master sonic collagist Adam Rudolph assembled 40 celebrated musicians from his Go: Organic Orchestra and the Brooklyn Raga Massive. The result, now available on all formats, is an epic, milestone recording called Ragmala – A Garden of Ragas. Beyond category, “Ragamala” is one of those musical projects that’s better heard than described....

Vocal Jazz, Old and New

The ethereal jazz singer Jeanne Lee would have been 80 this year. A re-release of her duet album with New England Conservatory titan Ran Blake, “The Newest Sound You Never Heard,” more than 40 years after its 1966-7 recording, reveals a thoroughly modern singer unafraid to sound like no one but herself. This vocal individuality...

New Music Menagerie

The Unabashedly Weird: Baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton’s “making bones, taking draughts, bearing unstable millstones pridefully, idiotically, prosaically.” Not your usual trio: drums, cello, and bass clarinet. And not your usual music. Boundary-less, tangential, sly, the music here invites you to find deep meaning in the improvised meanderings, or none at all. The Straight-ahead: Pianist Brad Whiteley’s...

The Fable of the One-Handed Pianist

Every person with an email inbox and an enthusiastic mother has seen the video by now. No doubt your mom sent it to you, subject line: This Is SOOOO Inspiring!!! Thanks to mothers like ours, it didn’t take long for the clip, a five-minute segment from “America’s Got Talent,” to go viral, amassing more than...

Colyn Cameron’s “Sad and Easy”

We’ve had “Sad and Easy,” the latest recording from Wake Owl frontman Colyn Cameron, on auto-play. Airy, soft, trippy, light, elegant, real — the music is simultaneously catchy, in the best tradition of pop songs, and ethereal, in the best tradition of anti-pop. Cameron has a singular voice, androgynous leaning toward feminine, that goes down,...

Mad Respect to Dave Chappelle

Last week we attended a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Ms. Lauryn Hill was celebrating the 20-year anniversary of her seminal album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” and she had De La Soul opening, followed by her special guest Dave Chappelle. Before the event, we received several emails from the concert promoter reminding audience members...