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Music, Mingus Amungus keeps the jazz great's wild tendencies alive

Mingus Amungus keeps the jazz great's wild tendencies alive

There are few dead jazz players who have managed to transcend the obscurity that comes with dedicating one's life to an art form that will never command a pop audience. Those who have crossed over — Miles Davis, John Coltrane,…
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Music, Hear This Show preview: Kronos Quartet

Show preview: Kronos Quartet

For more than three decades, Kronos Quartet has blown through musical borders with an appetite for innovation rarely found in any genre, let alone the often-traditional-leaning, classical-string-group milieu. After original cellist Joan Jeanrenaud left in 1999, the combo spiced up…
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Music, Reviewed Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra

Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra

Jazz bassist Marcus Shelby is a composer, bandleader, and Bay Area educator. He combines these talents on the magnum opus Harriet Tubman, a two-CD orchestral tribute to the iconic African-American nurse, Civil War spy, and antislavery activist. While such a…
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Music, Reviewed Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock

Noted jazz pianist records pop icon tribute, endures cries of 'sellout' from the jazz community, laughs all the way to the bank. You'd be forgiven for assuming Herbie Hancock's new River: The Joni Letters, a tribute to Joni Mitchell, fits…
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Culture, Stagecap

The Life and Times of Malcolm X

Here's a challenging American opera that embodies the mercurial spirit of a challenging American. Life and Times offers a moving depiction of one man's journey from the nihilistic doubt of a hustler to the galvanizing faith of a leader. Composer…
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Music, Ace of Bass

Ace of Bass

For some people, the list of groundbreaking jazz bassists begins and ends with Charles Mingus, who passed away in 1979. Perhaps it's Mingus' sheer charisma as much as the music itself; he was as known for womanizing, fisticuffs, and the…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

In San Francisco, where there are seemingly as many polite dinner-jazz acts as there are trendy new restaurants, Adam Lane's Full Throttle Orchestra stands out like a red balloon in a white poppy field. With its full-on bursts of sonic…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Most so-called "jazz repertory acts" are little more than poser cover bands. Sure, they may try to keep memories alive, carry on the tradition, and teach the children well, but their sterile emphasis on authenticity tends to reduce the once-vibrant…
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Culture, Stage All That Jazz

All That Jazz

The first thing you think when you see Reginald Ray Savage is, "Here is one bad-ass man." Slouching outside a downtown cafe on an overcast day, he sports dark sunglasses and a white dress shirt opened to midchest, the unfurled…
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Music, Hear This Hear This

Hear This

Adam Lane's Full Throttle OrchestraEverything (and nothing) about Adam Lane's debut album Hollywood Wedding evokes the spirit of composer/bassist Charles Mingus. From the super-tight, soulful swing of "Dedicated (a version for Fred Hopkins)" to the Ellingtonian rainbow shower of "Blues…
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Music,

Recordings

Various Artists Supernatural Fairy Tales: The Progressive Rock Era, Volume 1 (Rhino) Despite having sunk deeper than the Atlantean groves often depicted in its album art, progressive rock still has its apologists. Liner notes for Supernatural Fairy Tales, an impressively…
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