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Church of the Glorious Reed

Church of the Glorious Reed John Coltrane Live In Seattle (Impulse!) Charles Gayle Kingdom Come (Knitting Factory) David S. Ware Earthquation (DIW) Phoenixlike, the free-jazz saxophonist continually rises anew from amid his own ashes. In the late 1960s hard-core free blowers like Albert Ayler, Frank Wright, Noah Howard, and Archie Shepp visited uncharted regions of […]

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Hamid Drake & Michael Zerang

There’s no better way to defrost the dead of winter than with percussionists Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang and the dreams they conjure of arid desert, beating sun, sweat, and sand. Drawing primarily on the warm sound of frame drums, which trace back to ancient Mesopotamia, they play earthy world music without new-age sentimentality. Pulse-driven […]

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Hank Crawford

The sweet, singing alto saxophone of Hank Crawford set the mark for soul hornmen from David Sanborn to Maceo Parker. After stints in the 50s with Ike and Tina and the Ray Charles Orchestra, Crawford cut 12 records of his own for Atlantic in the 60s, choice bits of which have recently been collected on […]

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Gene Coleman

Composer Gene Coleman works without the academic infrastructure that traditionally supports innovative classical music. On his own steam, he organizes a monthly program of new sounds at HotHouse called “Face the Music,” mixing a range of neglected musics–from free-improvisers and emergent performers and composers such as Erik Lund, Jim O’Rourke, and the Vision Sax Quartet […]

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Jaap Blonk/Paul Dutton

In the world of the sonic arts, voice- and text-based performance holds a pivotal place. Mixing media from aural poetry to extended vocalization and modes from narrative to nonsense, sound artists have been twisting the spoken word into semiotic pretzels since dadaists like Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara, and Kurt Schwitters first took modernist vocal performance […]

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The Dub Credo

BRISE-GLACE WHEN IN VANITAS . . . (SKIN GRAFT) TORTOISE TORTOISE (THRILL JOCKEY) KING TUBBY AND FRIENDS DUB GONE CRAZY (BLOOD & FIRE) If you’re following closely, you’ll find repeated references to dub reggae in reviews of both When in Vanitas . . . and Tortoise. Surface characteristics do give the two records a dub […]

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Battling the Jazzosaurus

KAHIL EL’ZABAR QUARTET WITH DAVID MURRAY BELMONT HOTEL, JULY 29 Artists express themselves–their tastes, interests, limitations–not only in the projects they choose to do, but in the projects they choose not to do. Restraint often shows good taste, or at least good judgment. Unfortunately, in today’s shriveled support system, artists are forced to look hard […]

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Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet

The faddish days of like-instrumented ensembles–tuba trios, kazoo quartets, Casio quintets–are hopefully now past. What’s left are a few resilient ensembles, especially those still at work in the fruitful saxophone-quartet genre. Given the variety of tonal, rhythmic, and textural possibilities open to reed players, it’s easy to forget that a sax quartet operates on one […]

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Industrial Revolutionaries

AMM GENERATIVE THEMES THE INEXHAUSTIBLE DOCUMENT NEWFOUNDLAND (MATCHLESS) In London during the mid-60s, the seeds were sown for a second industrial revolution. Industrial music, the new genre so dubbed a decade later by Throbbing Gristle (who named their short-lived record label Industrial Records), opened its Pyrex eyes, stretched its cranelike arms, and yawned a deep, […]

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A Genre of One

MAYO THOMPSON CORKY’S DEBT TO HIS FATHER (DRAG CITY) Let’s take the story of popular music to be like a drive down Main Street. Branching off from the central thoroughfare of music history are occasional culs-de-sac, blind alleys occupied by influential individual musicians, groups, and sometimes single records. One can’t exactly explain why or how […]

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Evan Parker

Major instrumental innovators reset the musical clocks, raise the stakes, and forever change the accepted terms of what is possible on an instrument. Charlie Parker and John Coltrane fall into that category, and so does British reedman Evan Parker. Since the 1970s, Parker has been charting completely unknown territory in the land of lone soprano […]

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Strangest Record of the Year

ROLF LISLEVAND JOHANNES HIERONYMUS KAPSBERGER’S LIBRO QUARTO D’INTAVOLATURA DI CHITARONE (ASTREE) And now, in the category Strangest Recording of the Year, who will take home the crown? Will it be the new record by the Butthole Surfers, those neopsychedelic Texan acid freaks? Or the latest from the Boredoms, favorite Japanese hard-core postmodern zaniacs? Or how […]

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Head Music

PETER BROTZMANN TRIO HotHouse, April 23-24 World’s oldest music cliche: music is a universal language outside of time, regardless of context. According to this line of reasoning, music chimes its way directly to some deep, inaccessible psychophysiological zone unfettered by the regional shackles of spoken or written language. Nowhere is this logic more consistently maintained […]