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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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    Music,

    Hear This

    Roswell Rudd Grounded in the raucous Dixieland jams of the earliest jazz, the rowdiest "avant-garde" blowouts of the '60s, and various folk traditions from all over the planet, Roswell Rudd tilts toward a universal music concept. While living in New…
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    Music,

    Reviews

    Cecil Taylor Quartet Qu'a: Live at the Iridium Vol. 1 (Cadence Jazz) Veteran pianist Cecil Taylor has a reputation for playing with the kind of relentless power and energy that can at times be overwhelming. As a result, for more…
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    Music,

    Riff Raff

    A Jazzman's Life Bay Area composer and tenor saxophonist Glenn Spearman died of cancer in his home Thursday morning, Oct. 8. He was 51. A colossal improviser and kindhearted father figure to many in the local creative-music community, Spearman's loss…
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    Music,

    Riff Raff

    Static KUSF Music Director Jason Knuth loved free jazz, Ornette Coleman, Sun Ra, and Cecil Taylor. He could talk endlessly about the Sun City Girls or Matthew Shipp. Lee "Scratch" Perry and anyone else who made serious, challenging music thrilled…
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    Music,

    Hear This

    Steve Lacy With an Apollonian ear for melody and almost superhuman technique, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy is god to two kinds of jazzheads -- post-boppers and outcats. More than 40 years ago, Lacy heard the genius of Thelonious Monk and…
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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"

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