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The Big Takeover Issue #89

Michael Toland

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.

Tyler Mitchell featuring Marshall Allen - Dancing Shadows (Mahakala Music)

27 January 2022

Like his former boss Sun Ra, who pushed jazz to its outer limits but always made time for the old-school Fletcher Henderson arrangements he loved, Mitchell swings wide here, as comfortable with squealing free jazz as with swinging bebop.

Cloakroom - Dissolution Wave (Relapse)

26 January 2022

The group’s well-traveled but effective blend of shimmering jangle, wide-eyed psychedelia and dreamy grunge favors sound over subject, which makes it the perfect music from which listeners can extract their own context.

Emile Parisien - Louise (ACT Music)

25 January 2022

Parisien presents a program of sturdy compositions given vibrant life on his latest album Louise.

Tenor Time - s/t (AFAR Music)

24 January 2022

Tenor Time transports you to a late night set at your favorite jazz club.

Andrew Cyrille/William Parker/Enrico Rava - 2 Blues For Cecil (TUM)

21 January 2022

There’s free improvisation, and then there’s Cecil Taylor.

Diamond Dogs - Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous (Wild Kingdom)

20 January 2022

Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous may be almost ninety minutes long, twice as long as some wags think it should be, but the length works in the band’s favor, as they’re not a bummer in the bunch.

Oz Noy/Ugonna Okegwo/Ray Marchica - Riverside (Outside In Music)

19 January 2022

Guitarist Oz Noy is best known for bluesy fusion records. For Riverside, however, he’s teamed up with his pals Ugonna Okegwo (bass) and Ray Marchica (drums) for a set of standards.

OGJB Quartet - Ode to O (TUM)

18 January 2022

Veteran heavy hitters bring all of their talents to bear on Ode to O, their second album together at the OGJB Quartet.

Dany Laj and the Looks - RetroSpectacle (Rum Bar)

17 January 2022

As a supplement to last year’s American debut Ten Easy Pieces, Laj plucked tracks from previous recordings to compile RetroSpectacle.

Anna von Hausswolff - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival (Southern Lord)

14 January 2022

Capturing a 2018 performance opening for Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds at the titular fest, Live at Montreux Jazz Festival presents Anna von Hausswolff at her most enthralling.

Cheap Cassettes - Ever Since Ever Since (Rum Bar)

13 January 2022

As with all of Matthews’ other work, Ever Since Ever Since, the trio’s second LP, swims confidently in the 70s end of the power pop pool, happily indulging in the sweet melodies/tough attack modus operandi .

Toundra - Hex (InsideOut)

12 January 2022

For Hex, Madrid instrumental rock quartet Toundra decided to go big, rather than go home.

The Pulsebeats - Lookin’ Out (Rum Bar)

10 January 2022

With a keen sense of melody and ambition to write about subjects beyond cars, girls and rock & roll, Santander, Spain’s Pulsebeats are on their way to that milestone.

Fred Hersch - Breath By Breath (Palmetto)

7 January 2022

Breath By Breath, his latest, is inspired by two things: his personal meditation practice and his emergence from lockdown.

Tony Malaby’s Sabino - The Cave of Winds (Pyroclastic)

6 January 2022
Inspired by a series of outdoor performances Malaby organized with his friends in order to stay sane during the pandemic, The Cave of Winds recruits longtime compadres bassist Michael Formanek, guitarist Ben Monder, and drummer Tom Rainey, who performed on both Sabino and 55.

Dave Stryker - As We Are (Strikezone)

5 January 2022
As We Are features the guitarist joined by a string quartet and an all-star band.

Scary Goldings - IV (Pocket, Inc.)

23 December 2021

A collaboration between freefloating funk ensemble Scary Pockets and keyboardist Larry Goldings, Scary Goldings lays the groove down hard on the combo’s fourth collaboration in four years.

Wood River/Charlotte Greve & Cantus Domus - Sediments We Move (New Amsterdam)

22 December 2021

The German saxophonist, singer and composer has been best known for her jazz work up until now, but here the notion of a singular style of music gets obliterated.

Joey DeFrancesco - More Music (Mack Avenue)

21 December 2021

Once the wünderkind of organ trio jazz, multi-instrumentalist Joey DeFrancesco is now a veteran of more than three decades on the scene.

Blue Heron - “Black Blood of the Earth” b/w “A Sunken Place” (self-released)

20 December 2021

It’s difficult these days for bands to craft this kind of heaviosity, of which there are oceans, with any real distinction. But Blue Heron does it on the first try.

Phil Ranelin - Infinite Expressions (ORG Music)

17 December 2021

Trombonist Phil Ranelin isn’t a name that springs to the lips when talking about classic horn players, despite a career going back to the early seventies, playing with everyone from Freddie Hubbard to Wayne Kramer, and leading several bands, the most famous of which is the long-running Tribe.

Doug MacDonald - Serenade to Highland Park (self-released)

16 December 2021

Consisting mostly of standards, plus a couple of originals, the record sways and swings old school, paying tribute to influential pickers like Jim Hall and Joe Pass as much as to the Los Angeles area after which it’s named.

NOW Ensemble/Sean Friar - Before and After (New Amsterdam)

15 December 2021

Essentially a meditation on the evolution of civilization, this set of tunes melds traditional European classical forms with noisier, dissonant sounds suggesting the whiplash energy of twenty-first century urban life.

Scrimshanders - Songs That Never Were (Rum Bar)

14 December 2021

Singer/songwriter John Magee has been knocking around the Boston music scene since the early nineties and the first single by his band Sugarburn. But for the past couple of decades he’s been the engine running Scrimshanders, a late period alt.country band that recalls the best of the genre.

Adam Nolan Trio - Prim and Primal (self-released)

13 December 2021

Alto saxophonist Adam Nolan likes his music fresh – so fresh, in fact, that he prefers free improvisation to pre-planned composition.

Ghost Rhythms - Spectral Music (Cuneiform)

10 December 2021

Parisian ensemble Ghost Rhythms opens its sixth album with a sound you don’t usually hear on one of its records: a human voice.

Laurence Cook/Jacques Coursil/Warren Gale/Perry Robinson/Steve Tintweiss - Ave B Free Jam (Inky Dot Media)

9 December 2021

Recorded in 1967 and just now discovered and issued, Ave B Free Jam captures a group of musicians mostly at the very beginning of their careers.

Harold Mabern - Mabern Plays Coltrane (Smoke Sessions)

8 December 2021

True to the title, Mabern takes on the catalog of iconic saxophonist and composer John Coltrane, backed by saxists Vincent Herring and Eric Alexander, trombonist Steve Davis, bassist John Webber and drummer Joe Farnsworth.

ROVA - The Circumference of Reason (ESP-Disk’)

7 December 2021

As it slides towards it forty-fifth anniversary, ROVA (AKA the ROVA Saxophone Quartet) shows no signs of easing up, let alone slowing down, on latest album The Circumference of Reason.

Brasuka - A Vida Com Paixão (Outside In Music)

6 December 2021

Though based in Dallas, Texas, the hearts of the members of Brasuka live in Brazil.

Failure - Wild Type Droid (Failure Music)

3 December 2021

For its third album since its 2013 reunion (and sixth overall), L.A. trio Failure modifies its approach while retaining its strengths.

Andrew Gabbard - Homemade (Karma Chief)

2 December 2021

Clearly inspired by prenaturally skilled popsters like Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson and, most obviously Emitt Rhodes, whose “Promises I’ve Made” closes the record, Gabbard centers his songs around piano, vocal harmonies, and an eager sense of cautious optimism.

Various Artists - Relief: A Benefit For the Jazz Foundation of America’s Emergency Relief Fund (Jazz Foundation of America/Blue Note/Concord/Mack Avenue/Nonesuch/Telarc/Verve)

1 December 2021

An unprecedented collaboration between major jazz labels, Relief aims to raise money for struggling musicians by collecting new and previously unreleased tracks from several well-known jazz artists.

William Parker & Patricia Nicholson - No Joke! (ESP-Disk’)

30 November 2021

Joined as headliner by his poet/dancer spouse Patricia Nicholson, Parker enters an explicitly political arena here – unsurprisingly for artists of color.

Handsome Jack - Get Humble (Alive Naturalsound)

29 November 2021

As far as Handsome Jack is concerned, the music of the twenty-first century doesn’t matter.

Oscar Peterson - A Time For Love: The Oscar Peterson Quartet Live in Helsinki, 1987 (Two Lions/Mack Avenue)

26 November 2021

It’s the Canadian ace’s concerts that still produce awed whispers amongst his followers, and A Time For Love: The Oscar Peterson Quartet Live in Helsinki, 1987 documents a great one.

Jeff Elbel + Ping - The Threefinger Opera (self-released)

24 November 2021

Longtime readers of this magazine/website will recognize the name Jeff Elbel, as he has written his fair share of pieces for The Big Takeover. But he’s also an accomplished singer/songwriter, as evidenced by his eighth album The Threefinger Opera.

Antietam Plus - His Majesty’s Request: A Wink O’Bannon Select (Motorific Sounds)

23 November 2021

Organized by Antietam leader Tara Key, His Majesty’s Request began as a benefit album to raise money for Wink O’Bannon’s treatment. But the guitarist died before the project could be completed, and now it exists in support of two music-related Louisville charities.

Christian McBride & Inside Straight - Live at the Village Vanguard (Mack Avenue)

22 November 2021

As musician, composer, bandleader, artistic director of the Newport Jazz Festival and host of NPR’s Jazz Night in America, bassist Christian McBride is practically the face of contemporary jazz.

The Black Watch - Here & There (ATOM)

19 November 2021

The Black Watch’s bounty of quality songs continues with Here & There, the L.A. band’s fourth release in the past two years.

Red Kite - Apophenian Bliss (RareNoise)

18 November 2021

The group’s second album Apophenian Bliss picks up right where the first one left off: with a blaze of bristling (baritone) guitar noise, spaced-out keyboard storms, bluesy bass thud and kit-punishing drum athletics.

Ivo Perelman - Brass and Ivory Tales (Sluchaj)

17 November 2021

Saxophonist Ivo Perelman has long had a special relationship with the piano. He expands on that concept with Brass and Ivory Tales, a nine-disk box set of improvisations with nine different pianists that took the saxist seven years to complete.

Snake Mountain Revival - Everything in Sight (Rebel Waves/Ripple Music)

16 November 2021

It’s no easy thing to make an old school psychedelic rock record that isn’t either unintentionally parodic or covered in mold. Damned, though, if Virginia’s Snake Mountain Revival hasn’t done it.

The Right Here - Northern Town (Rum Bar)

15 November 2021

For a while it seemed like the kind of rock & roll played by The Right Here – straightforward, heartfelt, drawn from the experiences of the hardworking 99% – threatened to take over the world.

Marieke Wiening - Future Memories (Greenleaf)

12 November 2021
The jazz she creates doesn’t feel beholden to any certain tradition, weaving in elements of American fusion and post bop, European chamber and avant-garde jazz, so seamlessly that the songs come from everywhere and nowhere.

Eberhard Weber - Once Upon a Time - Live in Avignon (ECM)

11 November 2021

Armed with his custom five-string electric upright bass and looping technology, Weber weaves tracks based on tunes from studio LPs Orchestra and Pendulum into colorful new tapestries.

Joe Fielder’s “Open Sesame” - Fuzzy and Blue (Multiphonics Music)

10 November 2021

Though he has a remarkable CV as a sideman with several jazz luminaries, trombonist Joe Fielder has an equally impressive day job as music director and staff arranger for Sesame Street since 2009.

Bill Charlap Trio - Street of Dreams (Blue Note)

9 November 2021

On cuts like Dave Brubeck’s “The Duke,” Johnny Green and Edward Heyman’s “Out of Nowhere” and Frank Loesser’s “I Know,” melody reigns supreme, Charlap teasing extended improvisations over Peter’s swinging bass and Kenny’s finger-snapping brushwork.

Barry Adamson - Steal Away (Mute)

8 November 2021

Just to remind us all that’s he still relevant, though, and not just reliving the glory days, Adamson accompanies the memoir’s release with Steal Away, four brand new songs.

Matthew Shipp - Codebreaker (TAO Forms)

5 November 2021

While it still displays plenty of Shipp’s rule-breaking flamboyance, a willingness to kick down the wall of tradition and traipse through the debris, there’s an introspection here, a sense of exploration turned deep inside instead of outside.