June 13, 2018

Jungsu Choi Tiny Orkester - Tschüss Jazz Era [2018]

This review was published on NextBop

As someone who has written for theater, musicals and film, Jungsu Choi is no stranger to the grand. The South Korean composer has brought together a band of twelve top class musicians - with the power of at least twice that number. Throughout Tschüss Jazz Era, his Tiny Orkester plays through five pieces that are all arranged by Choi, including two Choi originals, "Stolen Yellow" and "Nach Wien 224."

June 9, 2018

Kadhja Bonet - Childqueen [2018]

Kadhja Bonet's music has an otherworldly quality to it. It's radiant, gorgeous work that defies genre classification. Hints of psychedelia, soul and folk course through the veins of Bonet's compositions. All of this, plus an angelic voice, is what made her debut EP, The Visitor, such a joy to listen to. A few years later, the high quality of Childqueen shows that the brilliance on display in The Visitor was not just lightning in a bottle.

May 7, 2018

Saba - Care for Me [2018]

Even though he had already put out a couple mixtapes and had features on Noname's Telefone and Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book, Saba formally introduced himself to a larger audience in 2016 with his debut album Bucket List Project. The stark difference between Bucket List and Care for Me shows just how much can change in a couple years. While Bucket List was a solid, often upbeat and playful debut LP, Care for Me is very much on the opposite side of the spectrum. Saba's sophomore effort is a poignant and mellow album that, more than anything, is informed by loss. Although Bucket List opened new doors for Saba in 2016, the young rapper's life quickly took a turn for the worse in 2017, when he lost his cousin, best friend and Pivot Gang collaborator, Walter Long, Jr (dinnerwithjohn), to a fatal stabbing in Chicago. 

April 1, 2018

Mary Halvorson - Code Girl [2018]

This review was published on NextBop

If there is one word that cannot be used to describe Mary Halvorson, it's stagnant. In the past decade, the unconventional guitarist has been consistently expanding the range of her creativity, appearing on a staggering amount of recordings while developing a strikingly singular compositional approach. Code Girl, the name of Halvorson's latest record and band, stands adjacent from the progression that began in 2008 on Dragon's Head. Instead of adding another musician to the original trio with Ches Smith (drums) and John Hébert (bass), which has slowly grown into an extraordinary Octet, Halvorson looks to Thumbscrew, a collaborative band with Tomas Fujiwara (drums) and Michael Formanek (bass), and makes two exciting additions, Ambrose Akinmusire (trumpet) and Amirtha Kidambi (vocals).

March 11, 2018

Andrew Drury's Content Provider - Try [2018]

This review was published on Free Jazz Blog

In the sophomore album by Andrew Drury's Content provider, Try, the drummer continues his habit of being involved in quality experimental jazz. Drury, who handles all of the compositions, is joined by musicians who are also mainstays in the New York avant-garde music scene: Ingrid Laubrock (tenor and soprano saxophones, autoharp), Briggan Krauss (alto saxophone, guitar) and Brandon Seabrook (guitar). Though Content Provider can be quite abrasive, and thrives in that energy, the record also has very well played atmospheric moments. This is notable on "Cassandra", the sole track that features Krauss on guitar.