Michael Toland began scribbling about music in 1988 for the photocopied ‘zine FHT Music Notes. He’s since written for various print and online publications, including Pop Culture Press (for whom he was reviews editor for several years), Texas Music (of which he was a founding editor), Trouser Press, Sleazegrinder, Sonic Ruin, Amplifier, Goldmine, Austin Citysearch the Austin American Statesman, Blurt and the Austin Chronicle. He was also the creator and grand poobah of the music-obsessive web site High Bias (2001-2006). He lives in Austin, Texas and works for public television.
For bassist and composer William Parker, the term “universal tonality” means, simply, “if we’re all breathing together, we’re singing together.”
Consistency, thy name is Thumbscrew.
Recorded in 2011 at Roulette’s as part of Thomas Bruckner’s Interpretations series of events, Evocation features a trio of master improvisers embodying the essence of spontaneous composition.
Due to contemporary superstardom, musicals based on their work, frequent licensing in movie and TV shows, think pieces that continue to pop up, endorsement by musicians with whom they have nothing in common stylistically, and constant radio play over the decades, it’s safe to say that ABBA never really went away.
The second release in Charles Lloyd’s “Trio of Trios” project, following Chapel from a couple of months ago, Trios: Ocean puts the alto saxophone great in the mix with guitarist Anthony Wilson and pianist Gerald Clayton.
The combination of jazz musicians with electronic artists has always had a checkered history.
It took eight years, but bassist/composer Noah Garabedian finally follows up his 2014 leader debut Big Butter and the Eggmen with Consider the Stars Beneath Us,
Jazz fans know Acuña from his early work accompanying Cuban bandleader Pérez Prado and his stint with jazz fusion icons Weather Report, for whom he played drums or percussion on two of their seminal albums, Black Market and the bestselling Heavy Weather.
Fries lays heavily into his sense of melody here, letting his lyrical riffs and creamy chording lead the way.
Squint would be a difficult record for anyone to follow up, but Lage does it with style on View With a Room.
Mercyland had smarts, tunes and a cool sound.
For her latest album Unánime , however, Amed makes a concerted effort to explore the world of Latin music – not just the music she grew up with in Argentina, but also that from Brazil, Peru, Cuba and flamenco.
Saxophonist Jon Irabagon’s latest album Rising Sun is an American journey, taking the experience of some of the States’ most beautiful country and reconfiguring it into jazz.
Singer/guitarist Dave W. and bassist/singer Ego Sensation return to their breakthrough for The Revenge of Heads On Fire, a reboot that gives the record new life.
Hersch has made duo recordings a significant part of his career, with his latest endeavor The Song is You featuring Rava as his partner in a series of standards and originals.
Joined by drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Eric Revis, improvised music vets both, Jeff Parker lets his hair down stylistically on Eastside Romp, and indulges in a good old-fashioned blowing session.
Charles Stepney is one of those artists whose name may not be common currency, but whose music is at the bedrock of sounds everyone’s heard.
Veterans like trumpeter Sean Jones and singer Kurt Elling join up-and-comers like trombonist Kalia Vandever and saxophonist Roxy Coss to perform a variety of compositions in the lush big band style.
It’s the Hollywood rule that every success gets a sequel, and sure enough, we have Music in Film: The Sequel.
Roxy Music caps their fiftieth anniversary year with a reissue of The Best of Roxy Music, a 2001 single compilation that has never been on vinyl before.
Though she’s a first call violinist and composer and leads a typical string quartet lineup on VEER Quartet, don’t assume Sarah Bernstein is a classical musician.
Young saxophonist Adam Larson is still in the phase of his career where he’s paying tribute to his idols and mentors, so he makes it obvious with his album titles.
An outgrowth of musicianly friendships and idle time during the pandemic best spent writing and recording music, Night Crickets brings together singer/songwriters/multi-instrumentalists David J (from Love & Rockets and Bauhaus) and Darwin Meiners (who records solo as Darwin) with drummer Victor DeLorenzo (Violent Femmes) for a sort of alternative rock supergroup.
Cowherd’s no speed demon, preferring to play rippling lines that let the songs unfold, rather than charge forward, which clearly suits Blade and Patitucci perfectly.
Though there’s little here that would rattle the windows, that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty going on, with complex tunes, intricate arrangements and strong ensemble playing.
Saxophonist and composer Miguel Zenón has long been at the forefront of modern jazz – synthesizing post bop and Latin jazz in ways his peers and predecessors have hinted at, but never fully realized as well as he has.
Mining a rich vein somewhere between avant-garde jazz and minimalist classical music, Battle Trance creates pieces full of vivid textures and hidden details.
Inspired by the way the social commentary in Mingus’ music reflects ongoing societal aches and pains, Philion directs a mini-big band, frontloaded with saxophones, trumpets and trombones, on a set of eight Mingus classics and deep cuts.
Oddly never quite as celebrated as his inspirations and peers, drummer Al Foster nonetheless became a key rhythmic collaborator for a dream list of bandleaders.
This fortieth anniversary edition is the first time Chronic Town has appeared en toto on shiny compact disk. Go figure.
Face à Face unites Phillips with Hungarian electronicist György Kurtág jr., son of the eponymous composer, for a series of improvised duets.
In the sweepstakes for longest time between albums, bassist Neil Swainson finally follows up his 1987 debut 49th Parallel with this year’s Fire in the West.
Sweden’s Mammoth Volume made a trio of quirky, prog-infused stoner rock records in the late nineties and early ‘aughts, earning itself critic’s darling status in a field not normally known for that label.
Casting a wide net, Keezer brings a swath of influences – hard bop, fusion, postbop, third stream – to his music.
Ultimately what this session comes down to is pure fun – these guys clearly enjoy their musical interaction, playing everything with a relaxed intensity.
Grammy-winning trumpeter and composer Brian Lynch continues his Songbook series with Vol. 2: Dance the Way U Want To, a reclamation of his back catalog through remakes and reinvention.
Singer, songwriter and all-round music impresario Tim Bowness operates in a fairly unique artistic area.
Drummer Billy Drummond has long been a rhythm keeper’s rhythm keeper, the demand for which might explain why he hasn’t headlined a recording since 1996.
The solo guitar extravaganza Electric Git Box draws on songs from throughout his career, from his 1976 debut Clarity, Circle, Triangle, Square to 2019’s WHENUFINDITUWILLKNOW.
Led since their 2014 inception by guitarist/vocalist Matt Dudzik, these guys probably can’t cross the street without sneering at oncoming traffic, but they know from hooks.
Boston singer/songwriter Abbie Barrett likes good, catchy songs and guitars. In what style those things come together depends entirely on what the tune demands – even if that’s several things at once.
With In Tense, his second album as a leader, Raghavan has staked a claim as one of modern jazz’s most interesting composers and bandleaders.
How many times have we seen a person in their twilight years, still doing it, whatever it is, and making us think, “Man, I hope I still have that much fire at their age.” Well, folks, please welcome Sheila Jordan to the stage.
San Antonio’s long-running Krayolas didn’t attract the power pop tastemakers back when the genre flourished in the eighties, never seeming to break out of their region until thirty-odd years later.
The next generation of Orange Country rock.
Thirty-six years on from his last LP, Foster, re-signed to Blue Note, issues his (very) long awaited ninth album Reboot.