Dave Douglas Profiled

Source: burning ambulance.

Trumpeter Dave Douglas has led a lot of groups since emerging onto the global jazz scene in the late 1980s, including the Tiny Bell Trio; a quintet that included violin, cello, bass, and drums; a quartet; and a sextet. He also worked with Anthony Braxton, Myra Melford, and John Zorn, mostly as a member of Masada. He continued to create new contexts for his highly individualistic and expressive trumpet playing throughout the 2000s, and in 2003 formed his own Greenleaf label to release his music.

Sunny Murray in Europe 1968–72 

Source: The Wire.

After playing with Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler, Sunny Murray created some of the most important music of his career between 1968–72. His radical drumming and personal composing flourished through regular meetings with musicians such as Alan Silva, Byard Lancaster, Kenneth Terroade and François Tusques. But while the dynamic for free jazz in Europe provided the conditions needed for Murray’s conceptions to come to maturation and be heard, it did not ensure the longterm impact of the music made during this era. Although enough material for a box set exists, much of the work of this musician at the forefront of a revolutionary moment in music history remains unreleased. Using archival recordings and uncirculated documents, we can revisit these pivotal years.

Mark Dresser Profiled

Source: San Diego Troubadour.

I first encountered the force that is Mark Dresser at the tender age of 19, right about the time my adventure in jazz began. He was playing in a small art gallery downtown, with a group that featured vocalist Diamanda Galas, cellist Dave Millard, and multi-instrumentalist Jim French. This would have been in 1978. The music was very foreign to me, but Dresser cut an indelible impression—tall, rail-thin, with a beard of Biblical proportions.

Heather Leigh Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

“You’re the last romantic in this world, it’s true / Come on dance with me drunkenly, feel my hips sway,” Heather Leigh incants on her new LP Throne’s final song “Days Without You,” nodding to the dissolution of romanticism, while simultaneously invoking its power. One part is a dirge, the other a quickening. Few artists manage to reckon the ecstatic joy of being alive in the world with the pain it doles out, but Leigh’s a seasoned pro; she’s been releasing music since the early 2000s. She’s taken part in noise, vocal acrobatics, slide guitar improvisation (see her duo with free jazz luminary Peter Brötzmann), and—with Throne‘s release—experimental chamber pop. Her previous solo full-length, I Abused Animal, was a stark, tense musing on survival and damage created entirely from her pedal steel guitar and voice. The difference between that record and Throne is massive. Where I Abused Animal in some ways felt like a warning, Throne is sirenic, enthralling—catchy and orchestral.

Brooklyn Raga Massive Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Raga is hundreds of centuries old, but that hasn’t stopped a loose collective of New York City musicians from reinvigorating its ancient sound with a modern take on classical Indian music.

Since 2010, the Brooklyn Raga Massive, a group whose rotating cast of players have diverse backgrounds and musical experiences, have played weekly shows at different venues across the five boroughs. Anyone who knows a few licks of classical Indian music is invited to sit in. The sessions have now grown into a blossoming renaissance that injects cross-cultural styles and sounds into the tradition of raga-inspired music.

“At the time [eight years ago], it seemed like a stretch because it’s a very challenging sell,” explains David Ellenbogen, an artistic director for Brooklyn Raga Massive. “In traditional Indian music, the beat could sometimes not come in for the first 20 or 30 minutes.”

In that time, the jam sessions have grown in size. The venues have gotten bigger. Three ensembles have formed within the collective and released their own albums. Contributing members have released solo records that offer their own unique take on raga.

Tashi Dorji’s Expansive World of Experimental Guitar

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Growing up in Bhutan in the ’90s, guitarist Tashi Dorji discovered lots of different music. But playing it wasn’t so easy. “We didn’t own amps; we didn’t even know how to acquire one,” he says of his various short-lived high school bands. “A friend of mine had to build one. We had a cover band that played everything from classic rock to Nirvana to hair metal. Anything we heard, we wanted to play.”

Things changed when Dorji moved to America in 2000 to attend college. Seeing so many people play their own music inspired him to set off on his own path. “I met punk rock kids at college who took me to DIY shows, and it was so mindblowing,” he recalls. “That led me to everything else.” Self-taught on guitar, Dorji at first wrote his own music, then veered toward improvisation. “When I first heard people like John Coltrane and John Zorn, I was profoundly affected,” he says. “I was like, ‘Whoa, these guys just play?’ I had always been a very anti-authoritarian kind of person, and that idea was really appealing.”

Since then, Dorji has built a impressive catalog, both as a solo guitarist (switching between acoustic and electric) and in collaboration with many of today’s most interesting improvisers

David Menestres on Barre Phillips 

Source: burning ambulance.

It seems almost impossible, but the idea of the solo double bass album only goes back fifty years. The album generally credited as being the first was Journal Violone by Barre Phillips, recorded on November 30, 1968 inside St. James Norlands church in London. Fifty years later, Barre Phillips is ending his long run of solo albums and performances with one last album, End to End, released earlier this year on ECM.