Category: Music

Aaron Irwin: “A Room Forever”

This one could haunt you. On his new disc “A Room Forever,” Aaron Irwin, a jazz saxophonist from central Illinois and now living in New York City, has composed 12 original songs based on the short stories of the late West Virginian author, Breece Pancake, whose hardscrabble tales celebrate an American pastoral slowly receding into...

I’ll Be Me

“I’ll Be Me,” a documentary about music legend Glen Campbell’s decent into Alzheimer’s is a deeply affecting, often painful portrait of an artist slowly going away. Director James Keach successfully tiptoes the line between education and exploitation, between truthfulness and vulgar voyeurism. The film has many of the hallmarks of a stylishly produced “Reality” show — confessional...

Katie Bull

On her fifth album, “All Hot Bodies Radiate,” Katie Bull continues to redefine the concept of “jazz vocalist.” She’s no chick singer. Bull’s instrument, her voice, isn’t extraordinarily powerful, plangent or peculiar, and she doesn’t project conservatory-trained technique and tuning. Yet her work mesmerizes and invites repeated listening. That’s because Bull is a singing poet, a writer...

MOPDTK’s “Mauch Chunk”

Mostly Other People Do the Killing’s latest iteration, a quartet, is led by bassist Mopppa Elliott, whose modern bop compositions are featured on the band’s new album, “Mauch Chunk,” a rollicking, raucous  dash through jazz history that’s firmly in the right now. MOPDTK’s sax man is Jon Irabagon, one the most exciting players in the world....

The Better Angels Soundtrack

It’s been nearly five years since our favorite singer, Charmaine Clamor, released a new album. In the interim, she’s taken her much-noted talent and made it deeper, stronger, richer, imbuing her expressive voice with enhanced gravity. On “The Better Angels,” Charmaine sings 11 songs of hope, all of them connecting in  some way to the higher...

The State of New Music

All is well. If you can avoid televised singing contests (among other depressing purveyors of nicely packaged sweet nothings), you realize that music, genuinely new and never heard-before music, is being composed and produced and distributed at unprecedented levels. So much of it is good — in all that imprecise word’s manifestations. There’s the straight-ahead virtuosity...

“House Hour” (PoemJazz2)

“House Hour” is the second installment in the landmark “PoemJazz” collaboration between poet Robert Pinsky and pianist Laurence Hobgood. Everything that was good in the debut is even better here. Pinsky has mastered his instrument, transforming his voice from “peculiar” to “unique.” Hobgood’s musicality and virtuosity dazzles. And the production — the mix, the equalization, the...

The Better Angels Festival

“We are not enemies, but friends…the mystic chords of memory will yet swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” Abraham Lincoln said it more than 150 years ago. From July 3 – 12, a community of beautiful Los Angeles volunteers are living those words at The...

KAZE: Uminari

The new recording from KAZE, a Japanese-French quartet — drums, piano, two trumpets — reminds us that all music is noise. Some noise, it seems, sounds better than others. On Uminari (a low frequency hum rising from the sea), the usual hallmarks of through-composed music (meter, melody, harmony) aren’t exactly absent, they’re just not terribly important....

Wake Owl

“The Private World of Paradise,” the latest from Wake Owl, is a trip. It’s trippy. It’s hippy. It’s hip. It’s the 1960’s. It’s now. Those who enjoyed Wake Owl’s debut EP “Wild Countrry” will find “Paradise” a sonic departure from indie-pop-folk. More like…hard to say. (And that’s good.) But the tunes are still subversively catchy,...