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The Big Takeover Issue #92

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.

Vicente Archer - Short Stories (Cellar Music)

7 June 2023

Bassist Vicente Archer has a quarter of a century of sessions and sideperson gigs behind him – oddly (or not), Short Stories is his first album as a leader.

Bell Witch - Future Shadows Pt. 1: The Clandestine Gate (Profound Lore)

2 June 2023

Six years on from the masterful two-disk, one-song album Mirror Reaper, the duo returns with The Clandestine Gate.

Golden Mean - Oumuamua (Jazz Re:freshed)

1 June 2023

Hearkening back to the funky, R&B-heavy fusion of the early seventies – Herbie Hancock/Crusaders division – Golden Mean paint colorful portraits that promote accessibility over complexity for its own sake.

Roomful of Teeth - Rough Magic (New Amsterdam)

31 May 2023

If there’s a better name for a vocal group than Roomful of Teeth, we haven’t heard it.

Eddie Japan - Pop Fiction (Rum Bar)

30 May 2023

From the evidence presented here, Boston’s Eddie Japan has never met a pop melody they didn’t like.

Henry Threadgill Ensemble - The Other One (Pi)

29 May 2023

Not only has he just put out his memoir Easily Slip Into Another World, but he’s released his latest piece of music The Other One.

Erik Friedlander - She Sees (Skipstone)

26 May 2023

She Sees is as adventurous and exciting as any album the iconoclastic musician and composer has made.

Michael Blake - Dance of the Mystic Bliss (P&M)

25 May 2023

Backed by guitarist Guilherme Monteiro, violinist Skye Steele, cellist Christopher Hoffman, bassist Michael Bates, and percussionists Mauro Refosco and Rogerio Boccato, Blake traverses all over the musical map here, incorporating bop, Brazil, tango, folk, and other influences into a distinctive blend all his own.

Bokani Dyer - Radio Sechaba (Brownswood Recordings)

24 May 2023

The keyboardist from Johannesburg’s Mabuta, Bokani Dyer has more to say than can be confined to one outlet.

Dan Rosenboom - Polarity (Orenda)

23 May 2023

As the 101st release on his own Orenda label, Polarity serves to both sum up and advance his career thus far.

Omer Klein/Haggai Cohen-Milo/Amir Bresler - Life & Fire (Warner Music)

22 May 2023

To celebrate their tenth anniversary as a unit, pianist/composer Omer Klein, bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo, and drummer Amir Bresler threw themselves a birthday party, entitling it Life & Fire.

Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry - Our Daily Bread (ECM)

19 May 2023

The threesome’s third LP together, Our Daily Bread keeps faith with the band’s prior explorations of spiritual and free jazz Lovano compositions.

Dan Wilson - Things Eternal (Brother Mister/Mack Avenue)

18 May 2023

As might be discerned from the title, faith, family, and the enduring relevance of art are on Wilson’s mind.

Joe Farnsworth - In What Direction Are You Headed? (Smoke Sessions)

17 May 2023

When it came to making In What Direction Are You Headed?, Farnsworth called on peers and younger players for a session that’s both traditionalist and postmodern.

The Ironsides - Changing Light (Colemine)

16 May 2023

After a decade of nifty singles, Bay Area quartet the Ironsides finally gets around to making a full-length album.

George Coleman - Live at Smalls Jazz Club (Cellar Music)

15 May 2023

Saxophonist and NEA jazz master George Coleman has played with more luminaries than most of us have had hot dinners.

Jacob Young - Eventually (ECM)

12 May 2023

For Eventually, Jacob Young decided to record in a format that, amazingly, he’s never tried before: the guitar trio.

Pilc Moutin Hoenig - YOU Are the Song (Justin Time)

11 May 2023

A mere dozen years since their last album, pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, bassist François Moutin, and drummer Ari Hoenig reconvene for YOU Are the Song.

Naya Baaz: Rez Abbasi & Josh Feinberg - Charm (Whirlwind)

10 May 2023

In partnership with sitarist Josh Feinberg, Rez Abbasi’s co-created Naya Baaz (“new falcon” in Hindu), a cross-cultural exchange that’s all about serving the tunes.

Nick & June - Beach Baby, Baby (self-released)

9 May 2023

On their latest release, Nuremberg duo Nick & June seduce listeners into their own private world.

Thomas Anderson - The Debris Field (Out There)

8 May 2023

Though not as prolific as, say, Robert Pollard or the late, great Paul K, Thomas Anderson writes more songs than most of us have had hot dinners.

Artemis - In Real Time (Blue Note)

5 May 2023

For this record, pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Allison Miller, bassist Noriko Ueda, and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen welcome saxophonists Nicole Glover and Alexa Tarantino to the fold, though they’re so well integrated it feels like they’ve been there the whole time.

Rudy Royston’s Flatbed Buggy - DAY (Greenleaf)

4 May 2023

For _DAY_*, Royston gets more specific, traversing twenty-four hours of quarantined pandemic time.

Brandon Lopez - vilevilevilevilevilevilevile (TAO Forms)

3 May 2023

Solo bass records have a special place in jazz history.

Smokey Mirror - s/t (Rise Above)

2 May 2023

What’s more amazing – that heavy psychedelic blues rock is a style that never goes away, or that in the right hands it never gets old?

deVon Russell Gray/Nathan Hanson/Davu Seru - We Sick (Innova/Composer’s Forum)

1 May 2023

For We Sick, pianist deVon Russell Gray, saxophonist Nathan Hanson, and drummer Davu Seru recorded in an empty church across the street from the Minnesota State Capitol – a building surrounded by the National Guard due to the murder of George Floyd mere weeks before.

Love and Rockets - Seventh Dream in Teenage Heaven/Express/Earth Sun Moon/s/t (Beggars Arkive)

28 April 2023

With their catalog now being reissued on collector nerds’ catnip (AKA vinyl), the time is ripe for both newcomers and longtime fans to discover, or rediscover, their distinctive genius.

Kenny Wheeler - Gnu High/Naná Vasconcelos - Saudades (ECM Luminessence)

27 April 2023

ECM steps up with the Luminessence series – vinyl reissues from the label’s vast catalog, both common classics and deep cut gems.

Allen Lowe & the Constant Sorrow Orchestra - In the Dark/America: The Rough Cut (ESP-Disk’)

26 April 2023

Saxophonist Allen Lowe has lived one hell of a music-obsessed life.

Bill Evans - Treasures: Solo, Trio & Orchestra Recordings From Denmark (1965-1969) (Elemental)

25 April 2023

As indicated by the title, these performances come from Danish radio, and have not been heard since they were first broadcast in the sixties.

Painted Faces - Normal Street (ESP-Disk’)

24 April 2023

Normal Street continues the journey into the heart of American primitivism and the lowest of low-fi.

Ben Wendel - All One (Edition)

21 April 2023

Composer and horn player Ben Wendel clearly has a grounding in jazz and classical traditions. But that doesn’t mean he’s stuck in the past, as his latest album All One suggests.

Rachel Eckroth - One (self-released)

20 April 2023

If you’re a trainspotter for either jazz or rock credits, you’re likely to have come across Rachel Eckroth’s name.

Le Boeuf Brothers - Hush (Soundspore)

19 April 2023

As much a conceptual exercise as familial playtime, Hush is an album about sonic intimacy.

Trading Aces - Rock ‘n’ Roll Homicide (Ripple Music)

18 April 2023

Drawing from the ranks of Warrior Soul and the City Kids for a tribute track to Eddie Van Helen, Meyer and friends created Trading Aces, knocking out enough songs for a debut LP in record time.

Dominic Miller - Vagabond (ECM)

17 April 2023

Though best known as the guitarist for Sting for three decades, guitarist Dominic Miller has another, less bombastic side to him.

GoGo Penguin - Everything is Gonna Be Alright (XXIM/Sony Masterworks)

14 April 2023

The dapper and dynamic trio GoGo Penguin exists outside of any easy genre sticker.

Wayne Escoffery - Like Minds (Smoke Sessions)

13 April 2023

Like Minds, the latest album from saxophonist Wayne Escoffery, focuses on chemistry – particularly the chemistry between old friends and bandmates who’ve played together so often their interplay is beyond telepathic.

Nick Finzer - Dreams Visions Illusions (Outside In Music)

12 April 2023

The founder of the great Outside In label, Nick Finzer has spent the last decade gracing the jazz racks with a plethora of interesting and exciting musicians.

Highway 61 - Driving South/Leather Catsuit - s/t/Slamdinistas - Shoot For the Stars (Rum Bar)

10 April 2023

One thing that often gets overlooked by the punk and power pop heads that follow them is that the label also spotlights a style of blues- and roots-based rock & roll that’s fallen ever further out of fashion as the decades pass.

Walter Smith III - Return to Casual (Blue Note)

6 April 2023

Both a brilliant bandleader and a consummate sideperson, saxophonist/composer Walter Smith III has been modestly making a mark in the jazz world for nearly twenty years.

Steve Swell’s Fire Into Music - For Jemeel: Fire From the Road (RogueArt)

5 April 2023

Everyone involved hits their marks with practiced ease and long-running passion, showing not only adventurous spirits but a deep-rooted chemistry.

TrioGram - s/t (Circle Theory)

4 April 2023

To follow up his debut album L.A. Source Codes, bassist and composer Will Lyle chose a different route than expected: he formed a band.

Peter Manheim - In Time (Northern Spy)

3 April 2023

Drummer/keyboardist Peter Manheim has served admirably in the engine room of cross-genre artists like Resavoir and Tony Glausi, but finally steps out to showcase his own compositions.

Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra - Lightning Dreamers (International Anthem)

31 March 2023

Trumpeter/composer/multi-disciplinarian Rob Mazurek assembled the first version of the Exploding Star Orchestra in 2005, and has used the shapeshifting ensemble as a vehicle for whatever musical flights of fancy he deems necessary ever since.

Ingrid Laubrock - The Last Quiet Place (Pyroclastic)

30 March 2023

The result is a splendid mutation of avant-garde jazz and string quartet (duo?) sounds that nods to free jazz tradition, but comes off like no one’s vision but Laubrock’s own.

Wadada Leo Smith & Orange Wave Electric - Fire Illuminations (Kabell)

29 March 2023

A leading light in experimental jazz, trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith assembled a brand new band for Fire Illuminations, the latest album in his nearly half-century career.

A Produce - The Clearing/Various Artists - Tape Excavation (Independent Project)

28 March 2023

With two new releases, Bruce Licher and Independent Project Records continue their exploration of not only the deepest crevasses of their own archives, but the electronic, experimental underground of the American Southwest.

Erica Seguine꘡Shon Baker Orchestra - The New Day Bends Light (self-released)

27 March 2023

The New Day Bends Light is a good example of what makes the twenty-first century’s contemporary big band scene so exciting.

The Black Watch - Future Strangers (ATOM)

23 March 2023

Future Strangers is the latest album from this SoCal guitar pop group, which means students of the style have a new batch of songs from John Andrew Frederick to emulate.