There was always more to Impulse than John Coltrane. As part of the label's 50th anniversary victory lap in 2011, Impulse launched the "2-on-1" reissue series, pairing compatible '60s or '70s LPs, usually on one CD. The series digs deep into that catalogue's riches, reflecting its diversity. The New York avant-garde is represented, but also bebop and hardbop stars, distinguished Ellingtonians, drummers and pop-influenced guitarists: music for big, small, hot and sweet bands. The series… more »
It used to be easier to pretend that an album was its own perfectly self-contained artifact. The great records certainly feel that way. But albums are more permeable than solid, their motivations, executions and inspirations informed by, and often stolen from, their peers and forbearers. It all sounds awfully formal, but it's not. It's the very nature of music — of art, even. The Six Degrees features examine the relationships between classic records and five… more »
OK! Are you guys ready to get bummed out? Because it's the week before Valentine's Day and, man, do we have some sad records for you. I mean, sad even for indie rock, which has sad basically branded into its DNA. So if you're ready to be heartbroken, let's get going.
Sharon Van Etten, Tramp: Basically, the only record you need today. A great leap forward from her previous, folky outings, Tramp finds Van Etten falling… more »
The first HUGE new release day of 2012, so strap in and get ready for a pretty comprehensive rundown! Dave Sumner's got your jazz picks, and I've got the rest. Here we go!
Cloud Nothings, Attack on Memory: ALBUM OF THE DAY. Dylan Baldi grows up in a nanosecond, making a snarling rock record that hurtles forward with the speed and fury of a meteor. The sonic touchstones here are '90s emo greats like Jawbreaker, the… more »
It says something about the timeless state of modern jazz that one of 2011's memorable releases, saxophonist/composer Tim Berne's Insomnia, was recorded in 1997. Nothing about the music sounds dated: not his curvy, harmonized melodies, the ways they jostle the spirited improvising, the lushness of an octet with a built-in chamber trio (violin, cello, bass), or the sure pacing of long suite-like sets. His concept was fully developed, then as now. (ECM's putting out a… more »
Pianist Keith Jarrett’s sessions of July 1971 resulted in three LPs and the birth of his finest group: a quartet (and sometimes quintet) with tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Paul Motian. This particular album has some eccentric moments, with Jarrett switching to soprano on the effective “Mortgage on My Soul” and making appearances on steel drum, recorder, and banjo (in addition to piano) on two adventurous pieces. Redman is featured on Chinese musette during “Spirit” (which has Haden on conga and steel drums) and also plays some clarinet in addition to his usual tenor. Not everything works, and there are some wandering moments, but the music always holds one’s interest; one can easily see the potential that would soon be realized by this intriguing ensemble. – Scott Yanow