In the spring of last year, the very welcome appearance of two albums featuring previously unreleased performances of music by Mike Westbrook and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra prompted me to blog about them; I also ended up recommending them as possible Christmas gifts in a blog posted in December. The Westbrook album, released by … Continue reading Just in time for Christmas: great new (and old) jazz.
As you may have noticed from my writings here, with regard to the arts I tend to be pretty constant, even loyal, in terms of my interest in the work of certain people; if they produce one or two pieces I find unusually satisfying, I generally try to keep up with what they do next. … Continue reading But Is It Jazz?… (Five recent unclassifiable musical gems)
In the few years I’ve been posting best-of blogs in the face of worsening political circumstances, I’ve often expressed a rather forlorn hope that things might improve the following year. Well, it turns out, obviously, that the hope I expressed last year could not have been more forlorn. How terrible 2020 has been… not only … Continue reading Best of a bad year: movies, music and other highlights of 2020
‘In Munich I used to frequent a record shop where the owner liked jazz, and he gave me some money to make some recordings. It was all quite accidental, and I’d no idea about business or money. I’d worked as a production assistant with Deutsche Grammophon, and I’d already met, in New York, musicians like … Continue reading Happy 50th birthday, ECM!
A couple of years ago, to coincide with the release of his quartet album Daylight Ghosts, I posted a piece about the great American pianist Craig Taborn in which I ended by wondering enthusiastically about what he would come up with next. Well, we now have the answer in the form of a new album, … Continue reading Luminous meshwork: the dazzling piano duo of Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer
When the news broke a few days ago that ECM, the illustrious and proudly independent Munich-based music label founded by Manfred Eicher in 1969, was making its remarkable back catalogue available to major streaming services, a film critic friend sent me a piece in the New York Times which singled out 21 ‘essential’ ECM albums. Knowing … Continue reading Now Streaming… The Musical Treasure Trove of ECM
Ever since Manfred Eicher launched ECM almost half a century ago with the Mal Waldon Trio’s ‘Free at Last’ , the label has been notable for its sterling support of great jazz pianists. Among its first 20 releases were albums by Paul Bley, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett; these day you can find such distinguished … Continue reading Craig Taborn: a keyboards virtuoso and composer to look out for