“Fusion jazz” is one of my favorite genres because it can encompass the intelligent, episodic prog rock of Guapo, forward-thinking world fusion of Maira Marquez or plain fun instrumental music of Rock Candy Funk Party.
S. Victor Aaron’s Mid-Year Best of 2013 (Avant Garde and Experimental Jazz): Ben Goldberg, Ceramic Dog
In years past, I’ve called this the “whack jazz” list and this time we’re going to call it “avant garde and experimental jazz,” but any music that goes too far outside the bounds of convention gets lumped into its own category.
Once in a while a major act known for creating some of the most melodious, listenable songs will shock us all and uncork a track that’s the polar opposite. The Beatles had their “Revolution 9,” Lou Reed had his Metal Machine Music and Pat Metheny his Zero Tolerance for Silence.
When Billy Bang walked into a Helsinki studio in February of 2011 with trombonist Dick Griffin, pianist Andrew Bemkey, bassist Hilliard Greene and drummer Newman Taylor-Baker, he would be recording for the last time.
As members of Seattle’s vibrant, underrated improvised music scene, Kate Olsen and Naomi Siegel are rising stars there who have pooled their creative talents into the project Syrinx Effect. Olson plays soprano sax and Siegel the trombone, but there’s more to this duo than just two horns.
There’s a lot of buzz around ace clarinetist Anat Cohen, but there’s another lady horn player from Israel who deserves a lot of attention, too. Reut Regev plays not reeds but brass, and her trombone knows no bounds in its spunk and personality;
Überjam was the most contemporary music John Scofield had made in a richly varied, artistically meaningful and just plain enjoyable career in jazz over these last forty years; only fellow guitarist Pat Metheny can point to a more impressive body of work over that time.
Cavity Fang sprung from the fertile mind of keyboardist and composer Michael Coleman.
Trombonists don’t typically have the audacity to be featured with no chordal help like a piano or guitar, but I can’t imagine Mike Vlatkovich performing any other way.
Robert Walter has been going back and forth between his two main acid jazz projects the Greyboy Allstars and his 20th Congress since the 90s, but 2013 is the year when both worlds collided.