• Music

    Chris McGregor – In His Good Time

    London served as the home of many magnificent South African musicians, and it is safe to say that pianist Chris McGregor and his band, the Brotherhood of Breath, was the linchpin of the expat community.  This particular album was released in 1979 and originally reissued in 2012 with bonus material.  This is a shiny, well-remastered digital version, and as the material is all solo, McGregor is in fine form on his piano.

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    Svaneborg Kardyb – Over Tage

    Svaneborg Kardyb is a remarkably cool band Denmark, with elements of nu-jazz, Scandinavian folk and a similarity with more free bands on the ECM label, though these lads call Gondwana Records home these days.  From the band’s Bandcamp site. “Svaneborg Kardyb are Nikolaj Svaneborg – Wurlitzer, Juno, piano and Jonas Kardyb – drums, percussion a multi award winning duo from Denmark, where they won two “grammys” at the Danish Music Awards Jazz 2019: New artist of the year and Composer of the year. 
Drawing on Danish folk music and Scandinavian jazz influences, including Nils Frahm, Esbjörn Svennson and Jan Johansson’s…

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    Various Artists – Wearing of the Green

    The Sound Of Shellac is a record label out of Norway which refurbishes old 78rpm discs, brightens their sound and releases these tracks into well-curated compilations.  What’s more, they’re offered as pay-as-you-like releases, so purchasing these comps helps show support for such a fine label. This particular disc features artists John McCormack, Paul Robeson and Jelly Roll Morton, but the real charm of this release comes from relatively unknown or forgotten artists like Mrs. Texas Gladden and Tito Schipa.

  • Music - Spotify

    Yggdrasil & Vera Kondratieva — Timint Areh

    Yggdrasil are a Faroese project led by multi-instrumentalist Kristian Blak (whom I had the pleasure, many years ago, of meeting in Varna, Bulgaria) and a host of local musicians along with singer Vera Kondratieva from Siberia.  You would expect to hear a melding of Scandinavian and traditional Siberian music on Timent Areh, but this also adds elements of jazz, rock and maybe just a touch of post-punk.  It’s a fun album, not too terribly dark, sung beautifully and supplemented by a rather tight backing band.  Tutl Records, the record label Blak has run since the 1970s, has released another gem. …

  • Music

    Gleb Kolyadin – The Outland

    Gleb Kolyadin is the pianist of Russian progressive rock band iamthemorning, but in this release, he has no problem mixing prog rock with jazz fusion.  The album is full of guests, but perhaps the biggest one is King Crimson’s legendary bassist and Chapman stick player Tony Levin playing upright bass.  Solid.

  • Music

    EABS – Slavic Spirits

    I am floored at how consistently good Polish jazz is, and though I find the idea of dabbling in demonology somewhere between hokey and morally bankrupt, what matters for people who read this blog is consistency in great music. From EABS’ Bandcamp site: “The idea for “The Darkness”, the composition opening the Slavic Spirits LP, was born out of collective improvisation performed before a Komeda-inspired medley of “Free Witch and No Bra Queen / Sult” played in concert. It came as a surprise to us that this new album, devoted to broadly understood Slavism, turned out to have its roots…

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    Mikael Tariverdiev – Visions in Black & White

    Mikael Tariverdiev was a Russian cinema and TV composer of Armenian extraction but raised Tbilisi, Georgia, a true man of the Soviet world.  Though he was quoted as not particularly liking jazz, he was as good an improviser that Russia ever produced. From the release’s Bandcamp page: “Visions in Black and White is a collection of rare jazz and improvised themes by one of the greatest Russian film composers Mikael Tariverdiev (1931-1996). Transferred from the original tapes and beautifully remastered, these recordings manage to retain their original ambience and capture a master at work. Originally composed for cinema and TV movies…

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    Brian Auger – Auger Incorporated

    Brian Auger is the father of Acid Jazz and really needs no introduction, but his Bandcamp site provides a fine one anyway for those of you readers who haven’t had the pleasure of being introduced to the man: “Soul Bank Music announces a back catalogue deal with legendary musician and jazz keyboard master Brian Auger – with the release of a career spanning compilation ‘Auger Incorporated’. Lauded and loved by artists as diverse as Mose Allison to The Brand New Heavies, his tracks have been sampled by Mos Def, Common, Air and Kid Loco, his original compositions covered by Sarah…

  • Music - Music Articles

    [The Soundtrack Of My Life] If ~ Live at the BBC

    No reviews today as my girlfriend and I will be walking around the Buda area in Budapest, but I’d like to introduce you to Adam Baruch, an exceptionally gifted writer who I have been following for many years.  He has a gift for writing eloquently about jazz and rock, is a director of the Singer Jazz Festival, and on this post, he writes about the legendary jazz-rock/brass-rock band If.  He is worth following, and if you like what you read, consider joining his Facebook group.

  • Music - Spotify

    Duke Ellington – Such Sweet Thunder

    Duke Ellington’s Shakespearian masterpiece, Such Sweet Thunder, is the first album I bought for its typography alone.  I had heard older releases by him, had classic discs like Money Jungle, but this album caught my eye because I had had a deep interest in typography around 1994-1995.  The text on the right was so crisp despite its size, and of course the iconic photo of Duke meditating on the piano with big block capital letters made the album look more like an artifact.  The music is, of course, sumptuous, but if you have a Spotify account, you can enjoy it…