Why The 2016 Jazz Critics Poll Belongs To The Avant Gentry

Wadada Leo Smith

Source: NPR. Francis Davis explains why the elder statesmen of the avant are topping this year’s best-of lists. In short, they are actively making great music.

The results of this year’s Jazz Critics Poll — NPR’s fourth annual and my 11th, counting from its 2006 inception in the Village Voice — slightly resemble those of the last two. Henry Threadgill, Jack DeJohnette, Mary Halvorson and Vijay Iyer all are repeaters from last year’s Top 10, and Steve Lehman and Wadada Leo Smith are back from 2014’s, when they finished No. 1 and No. 2. With Smith, Threadgill and DeJohnette all over 70, and Charlie Haden 76 when he died two years ago, the average age of the musicians in this year’s Top 10 might be the oldest since ’06, when Nels Cline (No. 7 this year and 10 years older) was the baby at 50.

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Iannis Xenakis: Musical Sorcery Using Mathematical Totems 

Iannis Xenakis

Source: WilderUtopia.com.

Iannis Xenakis (May 29, 1922 – February 4, 2001) was a Greek composer-architect and musical theorist and a major figure in the postwar development of musical modernism worldwide. He was an important influence on the development of electronic music, particularly remembered for the pioneering use of stochastic mathematical techniques and computer means of handling large numbers of events in his compositions, including probability: Maxwell-Boltzmann kinetic theory of gases, aleatory distribution of points on a plane, minimal constraints, Gaussian distribution (ST/10, Atrées), Markov chains (Analogiques). He also based compositions on game theory (Duel, Stratégie), group theory, Boolean algebra and Brownian motion.

John Luther Adams on Birdsong 

Source: Red Bull Music Academy Daily.

For nearly 40 years, between the 1970s and 2010s, Mississippi-born John Luther Adams slept with the window open at night. He wanted to feel as close as possible to the drama and beauty of the natural world – and his surroundings were about as dramatic and beautiful as they come, since he lived in the Alaskan wilderness, close to the Pacific Ocean.

Vital Weekly Reviews 1061

Source: Vital Weekly.

WILL LONG – LONG TRAX (2CD by Comatonse Recordings) *
CELER – CALLISTO (CD by Two Acorns) *
GUY KLUCEVSEK – TEETERING ON THE VERGE OF NORMALCY (CD by Starkland)
YIORGIS SAKELLARIOU – SILENTIUM (CD by Pogus) *
THE NEGATIVITY BIAS – WHATEVER YOU WANT (CD by Audiophob) *
SPHERICAL DISRUPTED – PERIAPSIS (CD by Audiophob) *
TORN FROM BEYOND – IF THE VIEW FREEZES (CD by Krater Recordings) *
HIROSHI HASEGAWA/OPENING PERFORMANCE ORCHESTRA – FRACTION ELEMENTS (CD by Psych KG / E-Klageto)
ANEMONE TUNE/POST SCRIPTUM – LITANIAE MORTUORUM DISCORDANTES (CD/LP by The Epicurean) *
ERIK GRISWOLD – ECSTATIC DESCENT (CD by Cold Blue Music) *
NICHOLAS CHASE – BHAJAN (CD by Cold Blue Music) *
WINTERBLOOD – CULTI SEGRETI (CD by Frozen Light) *
CHEVAL SOMBRE – IF IT’S YOU (7″ lathe cut by Static Caravan) *
PHILIP SULIDAE – SCENES FROM A DUPLEX (CDR by Hemisphäre) *
HYDRA FEAT. STEREORENT – IMPROVISIONS (CDR by Hazard Records) *
DAVID DIAZ & ANTONIA FUNES – 5GATOS (miniCDR by Hazard Records) *
DEADMAN’S GHOST – HYPOCRITICAL OATH (cassette by Ephem Aural)
KARL FOUSEK – ONE ANOTHER (cassette by Limited Interst)
ANDREY POPOVSKIY – WORKS FOR VOICE RECORDERS 2011, 2016 (cassette by Spina Records) *
BLANK DISC TRIO/EX YOU (split cassette by Spina Records))
ANDREY SVIBOVITCH/SERGEY VANYSHEV (split cassette by Spina Records)