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The Big Takeover Issue #89
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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.

Elvis Back in Nashville

Elvis Presley – Elvis: Back in Nashville (RCA/Legacy Recordings)

15 November 2021

The King circa ‘71, still in fine voice, at a creative crossroads.

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.

Jess Chalker - Hemispheres

11 November 2021

Jess Chalker is an Australian singer-songwriter and artist originally from Sydney now living in London, UK. From humble roots as one of YouTube’s first-ever viral artists (with over 1.5m views of her self-penned songs), Jess went on to front Australian new-wave duo, We are the Brave, whose grassroots hits ‘Your Ghost’ and ‘Sparrow’ have now achieved close to a million streams across YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify.

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.

Nathaniel Rateliff

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats – The Future (Stax)

8 November 2021

A big voice infuses old soul sounds with modern urgency.

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.

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - First Flight to Tokyo: The Lost 1961 Recordings (Blue Note)

4 November 2021

It may not be accurate to claim that Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers invented hard bop, they certainly epitomized it.

Jorge Rossy/Robert Landfermann/Jeff Ballard - Puerta (ECM)

3 November 2021
For his leader albums, of which Puerta is the third, the Spaniard turns to the melodic instruments that most easily transition from his percussive background: vibraphone and marimba.

Remy Le Boeuf’s Assembly of Shadows - Architecture of Storms (SoundSpore)

2 November 2021

A lot of people think of big bands and jazz orchestras as repertoire acts, created to honor and/or exploit the music of the past. But there’s been a revival of large ensemble groupings in the jazz world of late, including Assembly of Shadows, led by composer and saxophonist Remy Le Boeuf.

Springtime - s/t (Joyful Noise)

1 November 2021

As if former Drones leader Gareth Liddiard wasn’t busy enough with the prolific, hard-touring Tropical Fuck Storm, he has to go and form another band in his native Australia – during the pandemic no less.

Vince Guaraldi - It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown: Music from the Soundtrack (Craft)

29 October 2021

This is a fun memento for Peanuts and Vince Guaraldi vinyl collectors, or anyone waiting at the pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin to finally make his grand entrance.

Enrico Rava - Edizione Speciale (ECM)

29 October 2021

Featuring an expertly selected setlist and a bravura performance with a well-oiled band, Edizione Speciale shows a jazz veteran at his absolute best.

Johnathan Blake - Homeward Bound (Blue Note)

28 October 2021

With a lineup like that, plus the decades of experience everyone brings to the table, there’s little chance of Homeward Bound sucking, and sure enough, it doesn’t.

Ayumi Tanaka Trio - Subaqueous Silence (ECM)

27 October 2021

Though weaned on Japanese classical music, pianist Ayumi Tanaka has done her most formative work in the Norwegian jazz scene.

Ward White - The Tender Age (VF14)

26 October 2021

With loyalty to guitar hooks and counterpoint harmonies, clever lyrics that made seedy personalities sound like the folks next door, and an expansive musical mind attuned to creating just the right arrangement or fill for the song at hand, the Los Angeleno makes music that has an easy familiarity without ever sounding specifically like anyone else.

La Luz

La Luz – La Luz (Hardly Art)

25 October 2021

A pastel psychedelic haze, seasoned with notes of modern angst.

Chet Doxas - You Can’t Take It With You (Whirlwind)

25 October 2021

Tenor saxophonist Chet Doxas is probably best known for playing in the jazz supergroup Riverside with trumpet star Dave Douglas and bass god Steve Swallow. But there are good reasons he keeps such heady company, and they’re on display on his latest leader LP You Can’t Take It With You.

Lionel Loueke - Close Your Eyes (Sounderscore)

22 October 2021

Joined by bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland, one of the greatest, grooviest rhythm sections in jazz, Loueke focuses less on finger-twisting licks and more on using his impressive technique to convey the melodies in the most efficient way possible.

Sorry Ma - Box Set

The Replacements - 'Sorry Ma' Box Set: Top 10 Bonus Tracks

21 October 2021

A lifelong Replacements fan talks about his 10 favorite bonus tracks (so far…) from the definitive new ‘Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash’ box set.

Kazemde George - I Insist (Greenleaf)

21 October 2021

Saxophonist Kazemde George has performed alongside several certified badasses, including Jason Moran, David Murray and Solange Knowles – so you know he can play. What I Insist, his first album as a leader, proves is that he can write and lead a band as well.

Matthew Stevens - Pittsburgh (Whirlwind)

20 October 2021

Originally intended to be sketches for development at a later date, the songs settled into being complete in and of themselves, with Stevens generating patterns, following their offshoots, and adding smidgens of improvisation for spice.

Whit Dickey/William Parker/Matthew Shipp - Village Mothership (TAO Forms)

19 October 2021

As might be expected from three players who’ve been partners on and off for so long, the threesome connects on a level so deep it’s nearly spiritual.


The Beatles – Let It Be Special Edition (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe)

18 October 2021

The long and winding road of the Fab Four’s most troubled album.

Get Smart - Oh Yeah No (self-released)

18 October 2021

Exactly what you’d hope for from the prime era of “college rock” – catchy, smart, cheeky, with plainspoken girl/guy next door singing and a perfect balance between jangle and crunch.

Yuma Uesaka and Marilyn Crispell - Streams (Not Two)

15 October 2021

A longstanding practice in the jazz tradition is the concept of veterans collaborating with up-and-comers, and that’s what happens on Streams.

Thomas Anderson - Ladies and Germs (Out There)

14 October 2021

His boundless imagination and thirst for good stories beyond boy-meets-girl and this-is-why-I-killed-them-all fills his albums with songs that are structurally informed by the narrative flow, rather than melody or harmony. But that doesn’t mean they’re not musical.

Craig Taborn - Shadow Plays (ECM)

8 October 2021

Rightfully acclaimed as one of the most impressive and imaginative pianists currently treading the jazz boards, Craig Taborn has played everything from hard bop to avant-garde to fusion to electronica, sitting comfortably in every situation and bringing his own distinctive style to all of them.

The Green Pajamas - Sunlight Might Weigh Even More (Green Monkey)

6 October 2021

From Love to the Beatles to the Beach Boys, echoes of the sunnier side of the sixties abound, not to mention side glances at the PJs’ neo-psych peers. But they’re only implications – this band never rips off anyone.

Black Tape For a Blue Girl - The Cleft Serpent (Projekt)

1 October 2021

This is the kind of music that could become overbearing in the wrong hands, a gloom-soaked ride to nowhere. But Rosenthal always drives his despairing themes with genuine emotional power, never toppling into melodrama or misery porn.

Helen Sung with special guest Harlem Quartet - Quartet+ (Sunnyside)

30 September 2021

Working with jazz violin maverick and co-producer Regina Carter, Sung and her cohorts have crafted a superb record that doesn’t so much push the boundaries of jazz as make clear how much discovery there still is within its borders.

Amir ElSaffar/Rivers of Sound Orchestra - The Other Shore (Out Note/Outhere)

29 September 2021

There are musicians who combine genres, to find the ways the frisson between styles can produce something interesting. Then there are the artists who want to simply obliterate genre designations altogether.

The Bootheels - 1988: The Original Demos (Omnivore)

28 September 2021

The Bootheels were one of many, many combos knockin’ it out with little goal in mind than making a big honkin’ noise and hoping someone might notice. It’s a familiar story, which begs the question: what makes the Bootheels special enough to earn 1988: The Original Demos, a collection from one of the country’s most respected reissue labels?

Mathias Eick - When We Leave (ECM)

27 September 2021

Eick’s focus is on ensemble playing and melody, often upbeat and overtly pretty melody, not rhythm or improv fire.

Eivind Aarset 4-Tet - Phantamsagoria (or) A Different Sort of Journey (Jazzland)

24 September 2021

Though formally trained, the Norwegian has spent nearly four decades standing consistently at a crossroads where rock, jazz, electronica, psych and ambient music meet, copulate, and produce healthy mutant children.