by Mark Saleski Some people really have the wrong idea about jazz. They think that most of it falls into two very broad categories: traditional, where guys in suits play an introductory theme before taking turns soloing over the developed chord changes; and avant-garde, also known as “cats-on-piano” jazz, where everybody just plays whatever the hell they want because, reallyRead More
Post Tagged with: "Whack Jazz"
I don’t know if it’s a trend of not, but lately I’ve noticed a lot more unconventional trios in jazz. By “unconventional” I mean without the bass player, and the usual premise I’ve heard for doing this is to allow more freedom. Trying out uncommon configurations is an interesting and often stimulating tactic used to open up the music andRead More
By Mark Saleski Like mystery novels, poetry, or any other form of art, music has a lot of uses. We’re sad and pull out those old Son House records. Happy? How about some Speaking In Tongues-era Talking Heads? Is romance in the air?
Ornette Coleman called his music the Shape of Things to Come, then later harmolodics. Everyone else, eventually, came to call it free jazz. And that fits. It was, after all, so very free.
A few years ago when I sat down and took a stab at identifying some up and coming women in a world of instrumental jazz still dominated by men, one of those ten names that came to mind was avant garde saxophonist Matana Roberts. After moving to NYC from her Windy City hometown she finally led a record, The ChicagoRead More
The Toronto-derived drummer, composer and bandleader Harris Eisenstadt was described by The New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen as taking a “fixer’s approach to music making, looking for ways to fit the pieces together,” and while I agree with the praise he and others have heaped on Eisenstadt, I see the man more as a demolition specialist. For hisRead More
by Tom Johnson Bill Frisell has become one of the most easily recognizable guitarists in jazz, and it’s not without an effort to incorporate himself into as many styles as one person could in a lifetime. Few guitarists in any genre could pull off the feat of having played in nearly every style imaginable
by Mark Saleski Over the years I have spent many pen scrawls, pencil swipes, and keystrokes trying to describe what it is about ‘out’ music that moves me so much. Sometimes it’s pretty easy
The jazz world suffered a significant loss Monday with the passing of violinist Billy Bang. Reportedly afflicted with lung cancer, Bang, born William Vincent Walker, was 63 years old. Given his stage name from friends as a youth, a name taken from a cartoon character, Bang’s life was anything but comical. He studied violin as a boy but didn’t fitRead More
Going from unknown two years ago to co-leading a duet record with Matthew Shipp is a meteoric rise in the avant jazz world, much less any world, but that’s just what alto saxophonist has accomplished in this short time frame.