Album Reviews

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: Cataclysmic Commentary

Hit ‘play’ and the first track on Audience Participation is consistent with its name. Cataclysmic Commentary’s debut record was released in March. The band is comprised of Ben Cohen on saxophones, Eli Wallace on keyboards, and Dave Miller on drums. “Surprise Kitten Explosion 5000” draws us into a space of free sound, wild and vibrant.

Review: Giannouli/Thorne/Garden – Rewa (Rattle Records, 2018)

Less than a day after Tania Giannouli (piano) and Rob Thorne (taonga puoro) first met, they recorded the eleven tracks that make up their album, Rewa. Along with Steve Garden’s sound manipulations, treatments, and mixing, the three create an expressive flow of music informed by the ancient cultures of Greece and Aotearoa (the Maori name

Review: Ensemble Fanaa’s Self-titled Debut Record

Slow, quiet breaths fill the room. Our breather is alone, deep in his own process. There are times when he himself has to check in . . . with himself. “Am I breathing ok?” he might ask, introspectively at the moment. After a few minutes, he is joined by another. The pounding of the companion’s

Review: Blacks’ Myths Self-Titled Debut

My grandfather’s name was Mason E. Guthrie and he was born in a small town called Gastonia, North Carolina, in the 1920s. I don’t know much about his childhood, save for a few family legends and what he told me during an interview I conducted with him when I was in middle school. He and

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: Eris 136199 by Han earl-Park, Catherine Sikora, and Nick Didkovsky

It has been about 24 hours since a speeding car struck me in North Philadelphia (9/21/2018, approx. 8pm). The fact that I can sit down and write about it so soon afterward will hopefully enlighten the reader to how fortunate I am to be here to compose this for you . . . and more

Review: EAVE’s Self-titled Debut Release

EAVE is a free jazz group based out of Montreal. The band is comprised of Anna Webber and Erik Hove (saxophones & flute), Vicky Mettler (guitar), and Evan Tighe (drums). Webber works out of New York. Their self-titled album opens gently, slowly unfolding sound like a swaying wind chime. “Merriweather” seems to me a prelude to

Review: Jeremiah Cymerman – Decay of the Angel

Before I sat down to listen to Jeremiah Cymerman’s Decay of the Angel, I studied the album art and noticed the note at the end of the Bandcamp description, “For maximum experience, listening with headphones or on loud speakers is strongly encouraged. – The composer”. Immediately, it is apparent that Cymerman intends not only to engage,

Review: Luke Stewart – Works for Upright Bass and Amplifier

This week I had the great pleasure of viewing Yo-Yo Ma’s Tiny Desk Concert on NPR’s website. I’ve been a fan of his playing for years, especially his rendition(s) of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suites (of which I was introduced to through the legendary cellist Pablo Casals[1]). Like most of the series, the worldly performer