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'Step It Up and Go' Gives North Carolina Music Its Dues

David Menconi's Step It Up is an absorbing love letter to the artists, scenes, and sounds of North Carolina's contributions to American popular music.

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Music

Sam Amidon Is Not the Man He Used to Be

Sam Amidon and band take nine folk songs from his debut into new territory by employing free jazz and avant-garde classical techniques.

Music

Ron Miles' 'Rainbow Sign' Is Quietly Fantastic

Don't sleep on this magical, flowing music, even if it purposely courts a dreamy mood. The jazz cornetist and composer gets four other distinctive players to come quietly together for a greater good.

Music

Dan Weiss Starebaby Blend Metal and Jazz on 'Natural Selection'

"New jazz" drummer Dan Weiss has composed varied landscapes for a band that use doom metal textures and delve into electronica, but just as often use acoustic piano and organic drumming to make complexity sound luscious.

Music

Futureshock: Herbie Hancock and the Body Politics of Pop

A classically trained jazz pianist who spent five years with the Miles Davis Quintet, Herbie Hancock is also a practising Buddhist whose ideas about transcending the body are realized in his funky cyborg "Rockit" video.

Music

Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975

Two Bremen concerts by groups led by bassist and composer Charles Mingus in 1964 and 1975 remind us of the longevity and vitality of his brilliance.

Music

Pianist Holly Bowling Discusses Grateful Dead, Jazz, and Jam Bands

Classically trained pianist Holly Bowling is releasing her latest recording of Grateful Dead songs in a few weeks. PopMatters catches up with the virtuoso to discuss the intersection of jazz and rock with classical technique.

Music

John Hollenbeck Completes a Trilogy with 'Songs You Like a Lot'

The third (and final?) collaboration between a brilliant jazz composer/arranger, the Frankfurt Radio Big Band, vocalists Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckman, and the post-1950 American pop song. So great that it shivers with joy.

Music

Artemis Is the Latest Jazz Supergroup

A Blue Note supergroup happens to be made up of women, exclusively. Artemis is an inconsistent outing, but it dazzles just often enough.

Music

Jazz Composer Maria Schneider Takes on the "Data Lords" in Song

Grammy-winning jazz composer Maria Schneider released Data Lords partly as a reaction to her outrage that streaming music services are harvesting the data of listeners even as they pay musicians so little that creativity is at risk. She speaks with us about the project.

Music

Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Music

Sly5thAve's 'What It Is' Is Sleek, Soulful, and a Good Time

What It Is, the new album from multi-instrumentalist, producer, and Quantic collaborator Sly5thAve, represents a triumph of musicianship over genre conventions.

Music

Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.

Music

David Lord Salutes Collaborators With "Cloud Ear" (premiere)

David Lord teams with Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Chad Taylor (Chicago Underground) for a new collection of sweeping, frequently meditative compositions. The results are jazz for a still-distant future that's still rooted in tradition.

Music

Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Gregory Porter Creates Another Collection of Soul-Jazz Gems on 'All Rise'

All Rise is another diamond in Gregory Porter's catalog of precious gems. There is studied wisdom, a graceful sagaciousness that accompanies the tracks.

Music

GADADU's "dosaardvark" is a Dense, Psychedelic, Jazz-Leaning Gem (premiere)

Eclectic Brooklyn sextet GADADU revisit a track originally recorded in 2015 that takes on new meaning in the age of COVID-19 and racial unrest.

Music

Soul's Busty and the Bass Talk to Their Younger Selves on 'Eddie'

Macy Gray and George Clinton contribute to Montreal-based soul collective Busty and the Bass' smooth R&B based sounds on new album Eddie.

Music

Webber/Morris Big Band Are Tightly Arranged and Gorgeously Free on 'Both Are True'

The new jazz gets a treatment from a thrilling 18-piece big band playing compositions by saxophonists Angela Morris and Anna Webber on Both Are True.

Music

12 Brilliant Recent Jazz Albums That Shouldn't Be Missed

There is so much wonderful creative music these days that even an apartment-bound critic misses too much of it. Here is jazz from the last 18 months that shouldn't be missed.

Music

Jazz's Denny Zeitlin and Trio Get Adventurous on 'Live at Mezzrow'

West Coast pianist Denny Zeitlin creates a classic and adventurous live set with his long-standing trio featuring Buster Williams and Matt Wilson on Live at Mezzrow.

Music

'History Gets Ahead of the Story' for Jazz's Cosgrove, Medeski, and Lederer

Jazz drummer Jeff Cosgrove leads brilliant organ player John Medeski and multi-reed master Jeff Lederer through a revelatory recording of songs by William Parker and some just-as-good originals.

Music

Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.

Music

Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times

Music

The Chad Taylor Trio Get Funky and Fiery on 'The Daily Biological'

A nimble jazz power trio of drums, tenor sax, and piano, the Chad Taylor Trio is free and fun, funky and fiery on The Daily Biological.

Music

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.

Music

The Greyboy Allstars Rise Up to Help America Come Together with 'Como De Allstars'

If America could come together as one nation under a groove, Karl Denson & the Greyboy Allstars would be leading candidates of musical unity with their funky new album, Como De Allstars.

Music

Joe Fiedler's Big Sackbut Get Down with Trombones 'Live in Graz'

Improvising and brass shaking from three trombones plus tuba equal a whole lotta fun on Joe Fiedler's Live in Graz.

Music

A Look Back at the Troubled Sessions for James Booker's Final Album, 'Classified'

Producer Scott Billington remembers capturing New Orleans piano legend James Booker's final, troubled days as a performer."One night he might wander around the club, staring at the ceiling, or he might get up and imitate Woody Woodpecker."

Music

Steve Cardenas' 'Blue Has a Range' Is Steeped in Blues Tradition and Expressed with Elegance

Jazz guitarist Steve Cardenas' Blue Has a Range sports modern but vintage jazz guitar at the center of a gorgeously balanced group of composer and players.

Music

Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride, and Brian Blade Come 'RoundAgain'

Joshua Redman's 1994 quartet of young jazz lions reunites as contemporary masters on RoundAgain.

Music

Tatsuya Nakatani and Shane Parish Replace Form with Risk on 'Interactivity'

The more any notions of preconceived musicality are flicked to the curb, the more absorbing Tatsuya Nakatani and Shane Parish's Interactivity gets.

Music

Rising Young Jazz Pianist Micah Thomas Debuts with 'Tide'

Micah Thomas' Tide is the debut of a young jazz pianist who is comfortable and fluent in a "new mainstream": abstraction as well as tonality, freedom as well as technical complexity.

Music

Laura Nyro's "Save the Country" Calls Out from the Past

Laura Nyro, a witchy, queer, ethnic Russian Jew, died young, but her non-conformist anthem, "Save the Country", carries forth to these troubled times.


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