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Music, Hear This Cecil Taylor and Marilyn Crispell: the Key Players

Cecil Taylor and Marilyn Crispell: the Key Players

At 78, Cecil Taylor is the granddaddy of avant-garde jazz piano. He first presented the basic concepts of so-called free improvisation nearly five decades ago by fusing volcanic energy with geometrical symmetry. The pianist bangs out a blur of fleet-fingered…
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Calendar, Night&Day Doctor Parker

Doctor Parker

New York bassist William Parker believes in music as a healing force, a vehicle for ecstatic transformation, similar to the meditative chants of Buddhist monks and the mystical dances of Sufi dervishes. His basic concept is to mix earthy grooves…
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Music, Shape-Shifter

Shape-Shifter

Almost 50 years ago, Ornette Coleman recorded his major-label debut, The Shape of Jazz to Come, which came on the heels of two fine, though relatively obscure, independent releases. The saxophonist's brazen proclamation — and unique music — put the…
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Music, Reviewed Andrew Hill

Andrew Hill

In 2006, jazz pianist Andrew Hill recounted to writer Ben Ratliff something Charlie Parker himself had once told the young pianist: "I look at melody as rhythm." Such was the metronymic outlook that informed Hill's career, some five decades' worth…
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Music, Radioactive Clout

Radioactive Clout

The Bay Area rollers in Mushroom have synched up with some impressive outsider iconoclasts over their decade-long ride. Starting from their first 12-inch, the band has embraced and updated krautrock groove, melding it to soul-jazz, space-rock, and other hybrids, sharing…
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Music, Reviewed Lisle Ellis -- Marco Eneidi -- Peter Valsamis

Lisle Ellis -- Marco Eneidi -- Peter Valsamis

The salient power of this debut recording by leading Bay Area improvisers Lisle Ellis (bass), Marco Eneidi (alto sax), and Peter Valsamis (drums) is not its thematic coherence from track to track. Nor is it the intuitive connection between the…
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Calendar, Night&Day

This Week's Day-by-Day Picks

Wednesday, May 11, 2005 Geniuses, man. They act kooky, wear weird clothes, work their highly intelligent fingers to the bone, and at some point, create stuff that blows your lower intelligence quotient out of the water, hopefully in a good…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

How does an old-school avant-gardist who made his name with the legendary Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor connect with today's kids? He meets them on the dance floor. At least that's what trumpeter Eddie Gale, San Jose's officially designated "Ambassador…
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Music, Reviewed Dave Brubeck

Dave Brubeck

Though dissed by jazz's critical establishment for the unforgivable crime of popularity, pianist/composer Dave Brubeck's Quartet remains one of the pivotal bands in the music's history. The DBQ is the most famous and successful exponent of one of the most…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Whether directing propulsive big bands or evoking a similar sound-mass in his extraordinary solo recitals, radical pianist Cecil Taylor has led the charge for a full-throttle approach to jazz improvisation for nearly half a century. At 74, this granddaddy of…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Despite more than a century of activism for gender equality, master musicians of the "fair sex" continue to be ghettoized. Even in jazz, arguably the most egalitarian of genres, female players tend to get props en masse rather than as…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Sam Rivers holds a rare place in the hierarchy of contemporary jazz. Since the late 1950s, he has shared stages with legendary figures across the spectrum, from one-of-a-kind vocalist Billie Holiday and bebop pioneer Dizzy Gillespie to chameleonlike bandleader Miles…
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Calendar, Night&Day Sound Garden

Sound Garden

Miya Masaoka, Bay Area composer and master of the koto (a traditional Japanese stringed instrument), has earned an international rep in the past decade exploring the concept of music as a living, breathing entity with no limits. An extraordinary improviser…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Bassist Dominic Duval makes each musical gesture count, whether he's fleshing out the manic chord clusters of pioneering pianist Cecil Taylor or plucking perfect-pitch harmony with new-school guitarist Hans Tammen. "My ears won't allow me to play something that's not…
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Music, Space Is  the Place

Space Is the Place

Matthew Shipp is widely regarded by broad-minded critics as the most innovative jazz pianist to come along since boundary-buster Cecil Taylor in the 1960s. As an improviser and a composer, Shipp employs both silence and sound as a springboard for…
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Music,

Pop Philosophy

I deride your truth-handling abilities Have you ever seen the movie Rashomon? In the film, a woman is raped and her husband is killed. The story is told four times by four separate people, and each time the details come…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

The name Cecil Taylor is synonymous with the concept of avant-garde jazz piano. One of the few genuine living legends of the art form, Taylor has vigorously blazed a path of innovation for more than four decades by combining fist-over-fist…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

The Bay Area's unsung hero of avant-garde jazz, trumpeter Eddie Gale has the pedigree and the vision to spread the gospel of free thinking to the region's most unlikely audiences. A Brooklyn native, the young horn player was on the…
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Music, Hear This

Hear This

As the band's name implies, Equal Interest works from the premise that each player must contribute in equal proportion to the others if the group's music is to transcend the sum of its parts and stand on its own. Further,…
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Music,

Hear This

A History of Jazz Piano on Film The film clips in A History of Jazz Piano on Film are arranged into four categories: swing, bop, modern, and early piano -- whatever that last one means. But in the end, the…
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