John Morrison

Je’Raf – Throw Neck

With members rooted in Chicago and New York’s underground music scenes, Je’Raf is a wildly diverse and idiosyncratic ensemble fusing Hip Hop, Punk and improvisational sounds. With Brianna Tong on vocals, PT Bell on vocals and bass, Wills McKenna and David Fletcher on tenor saxophone and trombone respectively, the band is rounded out by Ishmael

Review: SPAZA Debut Release

Mushroom Hour Half Hour is a Johannesburg, South Africa-based experimental music label. A quote from South African musicologist Dr. Sazi Diamini gives a look into the label’s philosophical approach to music-making, “There is no formal process as such ….. it’s an experiment that relies on the sensitivities between the players …..” MHHH outfit SPAZA is

James Brandon Lewis – An Unruly Manifesto

On his 2016 album, No Filter, Saxophonist James Brandon Lewis dug deep into the possibilities of the Jazz trio. With heavy Funk-Rock excursions, Hip Hop infusions and fiery free music, the album’s compositions were densely textured and impeccably performed. Expanding to a quintet with Jaimie Branch (trumpet), Luke Stewart (bass), Anthony Pirog (guitar) and Warren

Review: Kassa Overall – Go Get Ice Cream and Listen to Jazz

Since its earliest days on record, Hip Hop has not only taken inspiration from Jazz via sampling, it has quite literally plucked at its musical body, carrying aspects of Jazz’s DNA into the future. More recently, Jazz musicians have become adept at referencing the rhythmic tension as well as the stylistic and textural breadth that

Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool Documentary Retrospective

According to the Center for Disease Control, somewhere between the years of 1988 and 1990, the rate of HIV-AIDs infection among African Americans first exceeded those of whites and would remain so until today. At the dawn of the 1990s, Black america would find itself in the midst of a full blown health crisis with

Review: Sun Ra – Of Abstract Dreams (Strut Records, 2018)

About a third of the way through Robert Mugge’s classic 1980 documentary, A Joyful Noise, a group of young men on the street talk about mythic Sun Ra and his Arkestra’s presence in their neighborhood in Philadelphia’s Germantown section. “I live a few doors from Sun Ra, it’s a nice group . . . I see

Review: Amina Baraka & The Red Microphone

Celebrated poet, organizer, activist and actress Amina Baraka is a central figure in the living history of the Black Arts Movement, along with her late husband Amiri. On her latest project, Baraka digs deep into that poetic and political history, unearthing a bittersweet, timeless Blues for the working class. Backed by a tight, intuitive ensemble

Review: Nicole Mitchell – Mandorla Awakening II

Two years before her death in an interview published by Motion Magazine, Science Fiction author Octavia Butler set out to explain how the political climate of the late Cold War period inspired the hellish post-apocalyptic landscapes she wrote about in her storied Xenogenesis series. Interestingly, Butler pointed to the human tendency to organize social life

Review: Hear in Now – Not Living in Fear

Consisting of Americans Mazz Swift (violin) and Tomeka Reid (cello) and Italian double bassist Silvia Bolognesi, the contemporary string trio Hear in Now infuse classical forms with jazz sensibilities. Collectively, the trio’s resume of projects include work with Anthony Braxton, Whitney Houston, D’ Angelo, Roscoe Mitchell, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Butch Morris, and William Parker in