Tagged: jazz

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...

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....

Poem: Facts

  These are not theories, conjecture, reckless reckoning, supposition, hyperbolic hypotheses crooked as a triangle untangled by Isosceles. These are facts. Yet many of us prefer to pretend instead that the precise contrary is not a fairy tale but a fairly stale debate over which the irrational fantastical religious folks can masturbate. So I shall spell...

Hypercolor

If, like us, you’ve wondered what would happen if a punk band (or at least one with a punky aesthetic of reject-the-rules) had conservatory training and could apply virtuoso technique and advanced understanding of musical structure to their rockin’, kickin’, slammin’ music — the answer has arrived. Hypercolor, the self-titled debut recording of guitarist Eyal Maoz,...

Homey Prophet Speaks

Where you want to put it, fool? On the dark? All right. I’ll say it again: All right. All right. You know it’s gonna be all right. Everything is gonna be all right even when it’s not. Perfection includes imperfection. And that includes you, fool. So where you want to put it, my brother, My...

Slow/Fast’s “Settle”

Reedman, composer, Bang-on-a-Can-All-Star and Gutbucket alum Ken Thomson leads his Slow/Fast Quintet — Russ Johnson, trumpet; Nir Felder, guitar; Adam Armstrong, bass; Fred Kennedy, drums — through a universe of musical possibilities on the group’s September, 2014 release “Settle.” Everyone here is a virtuoso, which helps with music as technically demanding and intricate as Thomson’s, but that’s...

Kira Hooks

The Los Angeles-based Filipino-American singer-songwriter Kira Hooks has a beautiful life ahead of her. Based on her debut recording, “Elephant Heart,” twelve well-produced original songs that defy strict genre categorization — think “jazz and soul-inflected pop” — almost anything’s possible for this extravagantly talented musician. Hooks is a good writer, and a good instrumentalist. But...

Revolutionary Words

“Revolutionary Words.” Sounds intriguing, and possibly…violent? Not that kind of revolution. We’re talking about the bloodless kind, the mind revolution, each individual looking deep and changing the one and only person he/she/we are able: ourselves, one at a time. “Revolutionary Words” are those that dare to speak the truth out loud. “Revolutionary Words” are those...

Grand Fatilla’s “Global Shuffle”

The world music collective Grand Fatilla consists of Club d’Elf bassist Mike Rivard, electric mandolinist Matt Glover, accordionist Roberto Cassan, and percussionist-singer Fabio Pirozzolo. We mention this because the astonishing breadth of the group’s repertoire sounds like there are about 14 virtuoso musicians at work. Grand Fatilla specializes in nothing — except consistent excellence. On their debut recording,...

Tom Chang’s “Tongue & Groove”

Guitarist Tom Chang’s debut recording,Tongue & Groove,is an arresting, curry-flavored gumbo of jazz, contemporary classical, and South Indian Carnatic music. What this mélange sounds like is newness personified, a foreshadowing of the globalization of musical cultures. The sonic unfamiliarity doesn’t jar; it seduces. The title track opens with a 30-second vocal percussion solo that would make Bobby...