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JazzTimes October 2020

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Get JazzTimes digital magazine subscription today for in-depth coverage of the jazz scene. In addition to insightful profiles on jazz stars new and established, every issue contains reviews of the latest CDs, books and performances. This award-winning publication features lively writing, stunning photography and sophisticated design. Often controversial, always entertaining, JazzTimes is a favorite of musicians and fans alike.

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10 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
what’s on jazztimes.com

Exclusive Content Colin Fleming gives us a magical-realist short story, “The Day Louis Armstrong Lost His Color,” set in the mid-1930s with cameo appearances from Josh Gibson and the Bride of Frankenstein, while Michael J. West picks 10 essential Andrew Hill tracks in our latest JazzTimes 10. Plus full-length obituaries for Annie Ross, Helen Jones Woods, and Joe Segal. JT Blog In February 2021, Entertainment Cruise Productions—the producer of both the Jazz Cruise and the Smooth Jazz Cruise—is “docking” on the shores of Las Vegas to present two weeklong programs of music at the Encore Las Vegas Resort Theater, “Jazz: Live in Las Vegas” (Feb. 21-26) and “The Smooth Jazz Cruise Live in Las Vegas” (Feb. 28-March 5). Featured artists will include Cyrille Aimée, Christian McBride, George Benson, and Dave Grusin. Audio & Video Exclusive…

2 min.
live reviews: what to do?

You may possibly recall that in a previous era (about six months ago as I write this), JazzTimes used to publish reviews of concerts and festivals. Most of them appeared only on our website, but every so often they’d make it into the pages of the magazine too. Such was the case with Sharonne Cohen’s feature-length take on the Port-au-Prince Jazz Festival. The fact that this annual event, held at the end of January, had gone on in the face of near-disastrous conditions in Haiti warranted a longer treatment, which we gave it in our April issue. That issue reached subscribers in early March, by which time we in the eastern U.S. had a looming disaster of our own to contend with. I had planned further live reviews in March…

5 min.
ladies and gentlemen, they are swirling through space

For an album steeped in flighty Afrofuturism, spiky syncopation, and angular everything-else, Swirling—the first new full-length from the Sun Ra Arkestra since 1999—is gleefully set in its ways. It magically makes the past present, recalling the late Ra’s time in Fletcher Henderson’s band in the 1940s as well as his teasing avant-garde efforts of the late ’50s and mid-’70s. Equally represented, for the first time on record, are longtime leader and alto saxophonist Marshall Allen’s twitchy neo-traditionalist interpretive skills. Combined with the Arkestra’s legendarily spacey, spiritual, and sensual way with a song, this makes Swirling free, warm, and familiar; all but two of its tracks come from the Ra playbook. Yet it has an alluring adventurousness not found on the Arkestra’s last new album, A Song for the Sun, both…

4 min.
calling from the funkhaus

Though 18 Monologues Élastiques is, technically speaking, a solo album, it’s evident from the outset that Samuel Blaser was not alone during its recording. It opens with the sound of echoing footsteps, and Blaser’s trombone enters only after several seconds, a distant echo from somewhere far off. The steps quicken as the sound draws closer, making the track, “Appearance,” an act of discovery rather than a simple improvisation. It’s an ideal entry point for listeners, drawing them in along with their mysterious guide—who, it turns out, is Blaser’s semi-silent partner in the project, producer and sound designer Martin Ruch. The recording itself became an act of literal exploration for the pair, who spent nights wandering the hallways and studios of East Berlin’s largely abandoned Funkhaus Nalepastraße. Once the largest radio broadcasting…

3 min.
big gigantic jazz

In 2016, the Colorado-based tenor saxophonist Dominic Lalli stood onstage at Lollapalooza, playing thick, funky lines with his electronic-music act Big Gigantic. Red Hot Chili Peppers played the same night; Radiohead performed the evening prior. Most jazz musicians do not find themselves in this position. But Lalli is nothing if not versed in the ways of swing, and it shows on A Blind Man’s Blue, the first jazz LP from the saxophonist. Released in July and featuring heavyweights like drummer Rudy Royston and trumpeter Ron Miles, the focused but ebullient album stretches from Gershwin and Miles Davis to Lalli’s own intense originals. It’s all a million miles from the sound of Big Gigantic, but there are many routes to the same destination. Recorded roughly a decade ago with an estimable band…

4 min.
worth the wait

To say that this past spring didn’t exactly flower for the jazz community would be a gross understatement. With the quarantine and shuttering of venues, musical plans simply withered away. For trombonist Marshall Gilkes, who was set to embark on a busy touring season, the situation birthed a seriously altered reality. “I was going to be gone more in this period than ever before in my life,” he reveals. Gilkes’ March-to-July plans had included tours with Makoto Ozone, Maria Schneider, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and trombone quartet Slide Monsters, plus some playing with the Brass Band of Battle Creek and an international assortment of educational residencies in cities like Philadelphia, Calgary, and Osaka. All of it was wiped off the calendar, along with recording sessions in April for Gilkes’ first…