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The Big Takeover Issue #94

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.

These Immortal Souls - Get Lost (Don’t Lie)/I’m Never Gonna Die Again/Extra (reissues) (Mute)

26 April 2024

Once freed from his role as the Keith Richards of scuzz rock, Rowland S. Howard was determined to forge a path with his own vision at the forefront.

Charles McPherson - Reverence (Smoke Sessions)

25 April 2024

Recorded live at SMOKE Jazz Club in 2023, Reverence stays the course of McPherson’s career, featuring performances that reveal his fealty to the old school bop sound.

E - Living Waters (Silver Rocket)

23 April 2024

Plenty of guitar bands these days attempt to revive the spirit of the nineties, when six-string noise ran strong and melodies were plentiful. To these ears, however, it seems like that kind of sonic maelstrom is best swirled by those who were there the first time around.

Bill Frisell - Orchestras (Blue Note)

19 April 2024

Orchestras fulfills a long-held dream on the part of Frisell.

Marta Sanchez Trio - Perpetual Void (Intakt)

18 April 2024

Stripping her sound down from a quintet to a trio, the Madrid-born/NYC-based composer presents Perpetual Void, the next step in her creative arc.

Fred Hersch - Silent, Listening (ECM)

17 April 2024

For Silent, Listening, he goes it alone, planting his own entry in ECM’s long line of classic solo piano records.

Ghost Trees - Intercept Method (self-released)

12 April 2024

Though they were brought together in part due to a shared love of Sun Ships, saxophonist Brent Bagwell and drummer Seth Nanaa adopt the band structure of Interstellar Space, cutting out any middle men that might provide things like chords and a bottom.

Dave Douglas - Gifts (Greenleaf)

10 April 2024

The blend of two masterful jazz musicians with a pair of post rock heroes plays to the strengths of both.

Thomas Anderson - Hello, I’m From the Future (Out There)

8 April 2024

Is there another songwriter as prolific as Thomas Anderson?

Melissa Aldana - Echoes of the Inner Prophet (Blue Note)

5 April 2024

For her seventh album, saxophonist Melissa Aldana returned to the source of her passion for jazz: the late, great Wayne Shorter.

Matthew Edwards & the Futurists - Suit b/w Kindness (Last Tape Recordings)

4 April 2024

Time passes, the world turns, and, without fail, songwriter Matthew Edwards (The Music Lovers, the Unfortunates, the Hairdressers) re-emerges from his normal life with new music.

Dayna Stephens - Closer Than We Think (Cellar Music)

3 April 2024

Backed by a strong band, Stephens is almost impossibly solid throughout, his smooth, soulful tone a perfect fit for whatever approach a tune takes.

Sam Anning - Earthen (Earshift Music)

2 April 2024

Though he made his bones as a go-to hired gun in the Australian jazz scene, bassist Sam Anning also spend three years backing up beloved Gunditjamara/Bundjalung singer, songwriter, and Aboriginal activist Archie Roach.

The Church - Eros Zeta and the Perfumed Guitars (Communicating Vessels)

29 March 2024

Created during the same sessions as last year’s epic album The Hypnogogue, The Church’s latest LP Eros Zeta and the Perfumed Guitars serves as Book 2 in the saga begun by its predecessor.

The High Llamas - Hey Panda (Drag City)

27 March 2024

The tracks come soaked in electronica touches formerly used as texture, and it’s not the synthwaves from the seventies and eighties, either.

Julieta Eugenio - Stay (Cristalyn)

25 March 2024

The Argentine saxophonist and composer indeed stays the course set by her 2022 debut Jump, with another set of chordless jazz.

Zombi - Direct Inject (Relapse)

22 March 2024

Zombi has always had its feet in two camps: electronic soundtrack music a la Tangerine Dream, Goblin, and, especially, John Carpenter; and seventies progressive rock/fusion, like Camel, FM, and Return to Forever.

Charles Lloyd - The Sky Will Still Be There Tomorrow (Blue Note)

15 March 2024

Concerned by the state of the world, the saxist brought together old and new tunes, with an ear toward inspiring melodies and arrangements.

Ivo Perelman/Mark Helias/Tom Rainey - Truth Seeker (Fundacja Sluchaj)

13 March 2024

The rhythm duo fits right into Perelman’s free improv vision, following him anywhere he chooses to roam.

Rodrigo Recabarren/Pablo Menares/Yago Vazquez - Familia (Greenleaf)

8 March 2024

With a rhythm section from Chile and a pianist from Spain, the beats here don’t reflect the danceable end of Latin America. Instead the trio draws on the Chilean chacarera and the Galician xota to find cultural beats that intersect and evolve.

Frank Carlberg Large Ensemble - Elegy For Thelonious (Sunnyside)

6 March 2024

Elegy For Thelonious is a tribute both to its subject and its creator.

Julian Lage - Speak to Me (Blue Note)

1 March 2024

Lage and producer Joe Henry plot a divergent course for the music, worrying less about genre than about melody and how best for the players to bring it to life.

Doug MacDonald - Sextet Session (Dmac)

28 February 2024

Guitarist/composer Doug MacDonald has somehow never been a household name in the jazz world.

Riley Mulherkar - Riley (Westerlies)

26 February 2024

Trumpeter Riley Mulherkar usually plies his trade with the all-acoustic, rhythm-less brass band the Westerlies. For Riley, however, he’s chosen a different route: blending standards and originals with modern production approaches.

Vijay Iyer/Linda May Han Oh/Tyshawn Sorey - Compassion (ECM)

23 February 2024

One of 2024’s most magnificently, passionately musical releases.

William Brittelle - Alive in the Electric Snow Dream (New Amsterdam)

21 February 2024

Given access to a makeshift studio in the barracks of an abandoned army base, eclectic experimental composer (and New Amsterdam co-founder) William Brittelle created Alive in the Electric Snow Dream, a hypersonic trip through a fractured but fascinating musical mind.

Ghost Funk Orchestra - A Trip to the Moon (Colemine/Karma Chief)

19 February 2024

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Seth Applebaum has fingers in many pies: old fashioned analog instrumentation, up-to-the-minute digital and sampling technology, cross-genre arrangements, an interest in American space history, and an unfettered imagination.

The Jack Rubies - Clocks Are Out of Time (Big Stir)

16 February 2024

Thirty-four years later, the Jack Rubies – consisting entirely of its original lineup – returns with the difficult third album.

The Obsessed - Gilded Sorrow (Ripple Music)

14 February 2024

Gilded Sorrow, the sixth Obsessed album, bears all the hallmarks of the stoner doom pioneer.

John Surman - Words Unspoken (ECM)

12 February 2024

As he approaches his eightieth year on the planet, John Surman chooses not to look back, but to move ever forward.

Joel Ross - nublues (Blue Note)

9 February 2024

On his new album nublues, vibraphonist Joel Ross sets expectations early.

Gentleman Jesse - “Where Time Stands Still”/”Return of the Mack” (Drunk Dial)

7 February 2024

Unlike snooty major labels and high-powered management firms, indie label Drunk Dial encourages its artists to write and record while wasted.

Baratro - The Sweet Smell of Unrest (Improvised Sequence)

6 February 2024

Now based in Milano, Italy, Dave Curran’s joined up with a pair of likeminded natives to form Baratro, an ugly power trio now bearing its first album.

Orgöne - Chimera (3Palm)

5 February 2024

On their latest album Chimera, guitarist Sergio Rios, keyboardist Dan Hastie, bassist Dale Jennings, and drummer Sam Halterman lay it down with the assurance of musicians for whom this music is a part of their very bones.

Ches Smith - Laugh Ash (Pyroclastic)

2 February 2024

Surrounding himself with horns, strings, bass, electronics, and vocals, Smith conjures a strange and seductive spell.

Ivo Perelman/Barry Guy/Ramon Lopez - Interaction (Ideji)

31 January 2024

Recorded in Paris in 2017, the record follows Perelman’s usual MO: gather his pals in the studio and record whatever happens.

The Paranoid Style - The Interrogator (Bar/None)

29 January 2024

The Interrogator sounds like manna from heaven for a certain type of rock & roll fan – specifically those that prefer their riffs ‘n’ grooves to be accompanied by a barrage of smart, pointed, funny lyrics.

Arve Henriksen & Harmen Fraanje - Touch of Time (ECM)

26 January 2024

After improvising a set together at ECM’s fiftieth anniversary concert in 2019, the duo decided to continue their working relationship, culminating in Touch of Time – their first album together.

Amanda Gardier - Auteur (Music Inspired by the Films of Wes Anderson) (self-released)

24 January 2024

Fortunately for those of us unfamiliar with Anderson’s ouevre, knowledge of the inspirational source isn’t required.

Matthieu Bordenave - The Blue Land (ECM)

22 January 2024

Whether on tenor or soprano, Matthieu Bordenave favors a plush tone and a winding, almost slithering technique that sounds like it’s searching for the heart of a piece.

Various Artists: The Memphis Blues Box: Original Recordings First Released on 78s and 45s, 1914-1969 (Bear Family)

20 December 2023

The Memphis Blues Box includes twenty disks’ and over 500 songs’ worth of blues recordings from one of the United States’ most important musical cities, almost all from the first half of the twentieth century.

The Wreckery - Fake is Forever (Helixed)

19 December 2023
Thirty-five years after their final studio LP Laying Down Law, the band reunites for Fake is Forever.

Sullivan Fortner - Solo Game/Micah Thomas - Reveal (Artwork)

18 December 2023

Jazz label Artwork Records has apparently been operating way under the radar, as I hadn’t heard of them until now. That’s especially surprising given their talent roster, including these two piano men.

The Veldt - Illuminated 1989 (Little Cloud/5BC)

15 December 2023

A mere thirty-four years late, the Veldt’s debut album finally arrives.

Datura4 - Invisible Hits (Alive Naturalsound)

14 December 2023

As far as pure listening pleasure goes, Invisible Hits hits every mark Datura4’s albums do, and more.

Tony Marsico - Sleepwalker (Rum Bar)

13 December 2023

Bassist/songwriter Tony Marsico’s long and varied career stretches back to his membership in pioneering Chicano punk band the Plugz, eventually encompassing work with Bob Dylan, Matthew Sweet, Neil Young, and tons of others.

Alon Nechushtan - For Those Who Cross the Seas (ESP-Disk’)

12 December 2023

Recording live in 2006, For Those Who Cross the Seas finds keyboardist and composer Alon Nechushtan assembling a titanic lineup of NYC free and experimental jazz players to perform a pair of longform pieces.

Mark Reboul/Roberta Piket/Billy Mintz - Seven pieces/about an hour/saxophone, piano, drums (ESP-Disk’)

7 December 2023

Few labels are as adamant at showcasing free improvisation as ESP-Disk’, but Seven pieces/about an hour/saxophone, piano, drums does more than that: it shines a light on an under-recorded talent.

Anthony Pirog - The Nepenthe Series Vol. 1 (Otherly Love)

6 December 2023

It’s not only the leader’s own sound that unites the pieces – it’s a shared vision, as clearly every person from whom Pirog asked for tracks got the memo.

Benjamin Koppel - White Buses: Passage to Freedom (Cowbell Music)

5 December 2023

During World War II, there were 20,000 concentration camp prisoners rescued by the White Buses, an operation coordinated and organized by the Red Cross. Danish saxophonist Benjamin Koppel feels this is a story we should all remember – hence White Buses: Passage to Freedom, a thematic concept album.