Album Reviews

Review: DUO by Otomo Yoshihide and Kawashima Makoto

Otomo Yoshihide has been well-known as an avant-garde turntablist, and often compared with Christian Marclay, pioneer of disruptive turntablism in the New York downtown scene of the 1980s. However, Otomo’s expressive focus was much different from Marclay’s, and he has already changed his main instrument from turntable to guitar. Often aggressive, Otomo’s guitar possesses a

Review: Jeremiah Cymerman – Citadels and Sanctuaries

Citadels and Sanctuaries, the latest release from clarinetist and composer Jeremiah Cymerman, is a reflection on and tribute to the influence of 10 of Cymerman’s musical heroes. It is also, according to its liner notes, Cymerman’s “most accessible record to date,” which may come as surprise when reading the list of artists paid tribute here.

Review: Maroon Futures by Afro Yaqui Music Collective

Review written by guest writer John Pietaro: Within the pantheon of new music that was birthed through jazz in particular, the political content has been brazenly, pridefully Left. Sounds of protest easily predate the artform as we know it, indeed slave poetry, field hollers, and the roots of the blues were foremost the folk art

Review: Morning/mourning by Jessica Ackerley

Guitarist and composer Jessica Ackerley has been a compelling, distinctive, and dedicated contributor to various New York creative music scenes since her arrival in 2013. Employing an inclusive aesthetic and a strong collaborative drive, Ackerley has produced an impressive output of recordings spanning jazz, improvised music, experimental rock, and noise.  Throughout this wide traversal of

Jason Nazary – Spring Collection

Jason Nazary’s June 25 release Spring Collection is one of many home recording projects undertaken around the world during the course of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. In the drummer/composer’s own words, the record’s aim “was to capture the spirit of spontaneity and collaboration lost in the absence of live music.” Nazary accomplishes this aim

Jahari Massamba Unit – Pardon My French

Not something you see every day; a review for a record that came out eight months prior. But well, here we are. I’d planned on reviewing Pardon My French months ago, but for several reasons, I could not bring myself to write it. Between dealing with pandemic-related whatever, reviewing records for The Wire Magazine, and

Review: Ocelot by Yuma Uesaka, Cat Toren, and Colin Hinton

Ocelot is a collaborative trio featuring pianist Cat Toren, saxophonist/clarinetist Yuma Uesaka, and drummer/percussionist Colin Hinton. Their music is part of the increasingly prominent tradition of cross-pollination between jazz and 20th-21st century classical music, exemplified by composer-performers such as Tyshawn Sorey and Anna Webber. Though all three members of Ocelot are composers with distinct voices,

Review: Nate Wooley – Mutual Aid Music

Mutual aid — a term coined by the Russian anarcho-communist Peter Kropotkin in 1902 — refers to systems of social organization based on reciprocity and cooperation rather than competition. Though such systems are old enough to arguably predate human society, mutual aid has gained considerable visibility in the ongoing pandemic. As the capacity of state

Album Review: BRAHJA by Devin Brahja Waldman

The more I listen to BRAHJA, the harder I find it to describe.  Its musical atmosphere is dark, mystical, and intricate, like a visionary ritual crossed with film noir. The band’s forces combine to form a tempered maximalism, recalling other masterpieces of jazz composition, ensemble playing, and production, such as Charles Mingus’ Black Saint and

Lon Moshe & The Southern Freedom Arkestra – Love is Where the Spirit Lies

On my first encounter with Lon Moshe & The Southern Freedom Arkestra, I was immediately drawn to the group’s 1977 album title, Love Is Where the Spirit Lies. The difficult task of dealing with a fringe, complex, and sought-after album feels like encountering a big tree with old roots and wanting to explain how the