30/30 classic review jazz

billie holiday – all or nothing at all (1958)

“Why people tear the seam of anyone’s dream is over my head.” Billie Holiday’s life was shaken by clandestine, anti-jazz government officials who sought to disgrace the African American public image. The opening line on All or Nothing At All, sung acapella, creates the image of a single spotlight on her face—everything else silent and […]

27/30 album of the week jazz jazz fusion

makaya mccraven – in these times

‘These Times’ has been lovingly made with a torrent of textures. Through the labyrinthine motions, McCraven and his entourage stay relentlessly kinetic with an unusual level of calm. That is a genuinely great aspect of this record: it is testing, but it works for you, with you. The liquidus quality of the marimbas, flute, and […]

27/30 classic review jazz

blossom dearie – blossom dearie (1957)

Margrethe Blossom Dearie died in 2009, aged 84. It is strange to think that the voice we hear on this record, so precisely alive and sweet, could ever be anything but. A lover of jazz and bebop, Dearie was widely admired in return by figureheads such as Gil Evans, Bill Evans, and Miles Davis. Her […]

25/30 jazz latin

joyce moreno – brasileiras canções

Considering her unquestionable talent and light-hearted appeal, Joyce Moreno holds a relatively low-profile in Europe. It’s a shame: Brasileiras Canções is as lovely a summer soundtrack as any artist will produce this year. Crucially, at no point does Moreno indulge in her swoop and soar vocals, which possess a range capable of aimless loop-de-loops and […]

21/30 dubstep electronic jazz jazz fusion

joe armon-jones, mala – a way back

On a fascinating collaboration, Joe Armon-Jones and Mala play with their lighter sides without sacrificing the undercutting darkness of dub. It’s central pitfall is that it works with the odds: the stakes are low and the payoff is expected. But it would be rude to say too much more—this is a gently titillating listening experience […]

20/30 jazz

doomcannon – renaissance

On DoomCannon’s Brownswood debut, the jazz multi-instrumentalist settles on personal and aesthetic liberties between themes of oppression. While the title track and opener could be a little longer to align with the weight of the subject matter, it nevertheless showcases a dense brood derived from strength. The following track meanwhile exercises an honest vulnerability, mirrored […]

23/30 jazz

tumi mogorosi – group theory: black music

On Tumi Mogorosi’s first album as leader since 2014’s ‘Project ELO,’ the South African drummer employs a ten-person choir to convey a sense of history and commonality. The title itself heavily draws on the notion of community, where singulars in small groups are thrust into finite sets. ‘Group Theory: Black Music’ asks, “what is an […]

28/30 classic review jazz

babs gonzales – voila (1958)

Almost every song from Babs Gonzales is a duet with New York. Though ultimately a behind-the-scenes influence, ‘Voila!’ displays Gonzales wielding the squalor and excess of the scene and the city. Most notable is his be-bop style, which helped catapult the theatrics of vocal jazz towards bravado and melodic improvisation. The record reaches further than […]

23/30 experimental hip-hop jazz

moor mother – jazz codes

Camae Ayewa’s prolific album streak has not eroded her creative, chaotic, verve. The east-coast artist has always moved without a compass—on ‘Jazz Codes,’ she becomes a sailor of the mind. The unusually soothing jazz textures are nicely contrasted by her previous, more arresting work, seducing our ears before a poetic, political point. The foggy instrumentals amplify […]