Advertise with The Big Takeover
The Big Takeover Issue #93

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.

Brad Marino - Grin & Bear It (Rum Bar)

29 November 2023

As long as Marino treads the boards, old school rock & roll values of melody, riff, and spice will never die.

Trio Grande - Urban Myth (Whirlwind Recordings)

27 November 2023

Though definitely jazz in nature, the band never specifies what kind of jazz.

Bill Evans - Tales: Live in Copenhagen (1964) (Elemental)

22 November 2023

Taken from two separate dates in August 1964 (plus a bonus track recorded in 1969), these tracks capture the early sixties Bill Evans Trio at its most synchronous.

Palle Mikkelborg/Jakob Bro/Marilyn Mazur - Strands (ECM)

21 November 2023

A Danish jazz summit, the concert captured on Strands brings together three different generations of Denmark-born or based improvisers.

Steve Davis - Meets Hank Jones, Volume 1 (Smoke Sessions)

20 November 2023

In 2008, trombonist Steve Davis and bass player Peter Washington met up with legendary pianist Hank Jones for a relaxed trio session.

Yuhan Su - Liberated Gesture (Sunnyside)

17 November 2023

Featuring tunes written before and during the pandemic, Liberated Gesture presents vibraphonist Yuhan Su with an exceptional band of fellow travelers.

Ivo Perelman/Nate Wooley/Mat Maneri/Fred Lonberg-Holm/Joe Morris/Matt Moran - Seven Skies Orchestra (Fundacja Sluchaj)

15 November 2023

Saxophonist Ivo Perelman tends to stick to small ensembles – duos, trios, even solos. So it’s a nice surprise to hear him with a sextet.

Dave Sewelson/Stephen Moses/Jochem van Dijk/Steve Holtje - Orca Uprising (MechaBenzaiten)

13 November 2023

Nothing like a good old-fashioned free improv party.

Mareike Wiening - Reveal (Greenleaf)

10 November 2023

Three albums in, Cologne-based drummer/composer Mareike Wiening has made herself one of those artists – one whose latest record immediately vaults to the top of the buy/pre-order/save list upon announcement.

Sunny Kim, Vardan Ovsepian, Ben Monder - Liminal Silence (Earshift Music)

9 November 2023

Liminal Silence, the culmination of a long-standing collaboration between Korean singer Sunny Kim, Armenian keyboardist Vardan Ovsepian, and American guitarist Ben Monder, is an album that defies categorization.

Adam Deitch Quartet - Roll the Tape (Golden Wolf)

8 November 2023

Call it soul jazz, jazz funk, boogaloo, or whatever – there’s something irresistible about a good, danceable groove coupled with improvisational flair.

Myra Melford’s Fire and Water Quintet - Hear the Light Singing (RogueArt)

3 November 2023

Last year’s debut For the Love of Fire and Water instantly put the Quintet into the top tier of twenty-first century working groups, and Hear the Light Singing will ensure it stays there.

The Drop Nineteens - Hard Light (Wharf Cat)

2 November 2023

There’s nothing particularly twenty-first century about Hard Light – no one’s trying to reinvent the wheel here.

Joe Santa Maria - Echo Deep (Orenda)

1 November 2023

Joe Santa Maria is a great example of the new breed of jazz player – one who absorbs musical influences from across the spectrum of music and incorporates them into his own ideas.

Divine Horsemen - Bitter End of a Sweet Night (In the Red)

27 October 2023

When the Horsemen began in the mid-eighties, they were seen as the Flesh Eaters’ country cousins, with Desjardins’ patented noir lyrics set in friendlier, more melodic environs. As time passed, however, the line between the Horsemen and the Eaters blurred considerably, in part due to each band’s Red Rover membership, and that’s still the case here.

Old Californio - Metaterranea (self-released)

26 October 2023

It’s funny how what was mainstream in one era becomes underground in another.

Billy Mohler - Ultraviolet (Contagious Music)

24 October 2023

Keeping his upward swing going, bassist/composer Billy Mohler returns with his quartet for his third album.

Ivo Perelman/Nate Wooley - Polarity 2 (Burning Ambulance)

23 October 2023

Just two old friends united by talent and a taste for adventure.

Kate Gentile - Find Letter X (Pi Recordings)

20 October 2023

Drummer/composer Kate Gentile has led her New York band Find Letter X for several years now, but this is the first studio album from the quartet.

Hays Street Hart - Bridges (Smoke Sessions)

19 October 2023

Though a supergroup of sorts, the band isn’t given to grand statements or bombastic showboating.

Ohad Talmor - Back to the Land (Intakt)

18 October 2023

While going through the papers of the late saxophone giant Lee Konitz, Talmor came across DAT tapes of rough drafts of new Ornette Coleman tunes – so fresh, in fact, that they hadn’t been scored, let alone published, and performed only once.

Simon Moullier Trio - Inception (Fresh Sounds New Talent)

17 October 2023

An expert on his instrument’s possibilities, vibraphonist Simon Moullier takes full advantage of its range on his fourth album Inception.

John Scofield - Uncle John’s Band (ECM)

13 October 2023

Drawing on every aspect of Scofield’s playing, from free bop to acid country to swinging blues, and mixing originals with covers, the two disks don’t necessarily have – or need – a throughline.

Oliver Lake/Mathias Landæs/Kresten Osgood - Spirit (SFAR)

12 October 2023

Recorded in 2017, Spirit presents a live concert performed by saxophonist Oliver Lake, pianist Mathias Landæs, and drummer Kresten Osgood from a show in Lund, Sweden.

Caroline Davis’ Alula - Captivity (Ropeadope)

11 October 2023

As might be surmised from the title, Captivity explores the lives of those incarcerated, specifically those falsely imprisoned, imprisoned for political purposes, given sentences disproportionate to the crimes of which they were convicted, or dying in jail under mysterious circumstances.

Adam Birnbaum - Preludes (Chelsea Music Festival)

10 October 2023

Birnbaum takes a dozen pieces from Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier and applies jazz aesthetics, especially instrumental improvisation and rhythmic swing.

Ethan Philion Quartet - Gnosis (Sunnyside)

5 October 2023

While a Mingus tune (“What Love”) appears again on its follow-up, our bassist/composer spends the rest of Gnosis on a slate of strong originals.

Matthew Shipp - Circular Temple (ESP-Disk')

2 October 2023

It’s unfair to say that 1992’s Circular Temple is the album that put pianist Matthew Shipp on the map.

Danny the K - Cigarettes & Silhouettes/J.J. & the Real Jerks - Rat Beach/The Downhauls - Scream Into the Void/The Cornfed Project - s/t/The Hi-End - Nothing to Hide/The Gypsy Moths - Sound On/Stars Like Ours - Better Every Day (Rum Bar)

29 September 2023

Boston enclave Rum Bar Records may not have hit the notoriety of, say, Bomp! Records yet, but trust us when we say they have the market cornered on high quality power pop, punk, garage rock, and genre-agnostic rock & roll.

Todd Sickafoose - Bear Proof (Secret Hatch)

27 September 2023

Inspired by the cyclical nature of success and failure, especially in the face of hard times, Sickafoose composed an interrelated series of pieces exploring the emotional arc of enduring that cycle.

Diamond Dogs - About the Hardest Nut to Crack (Wild Kingdom/Sound Pollution)

25 September 2023

Eleven songs, thirty-five minutes, eight days of recording.

John Blum - Nine Rivers (ESP-Disk’)

22 September 2023

If you’ve ever imagined Paganini as a pianist performing “Flight of the Bumblebee” after a dozen cups of strong coffee, you’re nearly there.

Koppel Colley Blade - Perspective (Cowbell)

20 September 2023

Also known as the KCB Collective, saxophonist Benjamin Koppel, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Brian Blade have been a working band for a decade.

Ivo Perelman/Matt Moran - Tuning Forks (Ibeji)

18 September 2023

Perelman’s clearly searching for the soul balm that comes from absorbing what’s in front of him as sound , taking it into his very pores, digesting it, and letting it inform his own work at a deep level.

Eddie Henderson - Witness to History (Smoke Sessions)

15 September 2023

Ever research someone and think, “Holy cats, what a life!” Dr. Eddie Henderson can bring about that kind of gasp.

SLUGish Ensembler - In Solitude (Slow & Steady)

13 September 2023

It’s likely no surprise that the title In Solitude, the latest album from bass clarinetist Steven Lugerner’s multi-faceted group SLUGish Ensemble, references the pandemic.

Ben Winkelman - Heartbeat (OA2)

11 September 2023

Written at a crucial time, pianist Ben Winkelman’s sixth album Heartbeat captures an emotional whirlwind, with anticipation and dread mixing freely and productively.

James Brandon Lewis/Red Lily Quartet - For Mahalia, With Love (TAO Forms)

8 September 2023

When it comes to the latest album from saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and his Red Lily Quartet, the title, quite frankly, says it all.

Graham Parker & the Goldtops - Last Chance to Learn the Twist (Big Stir)

7 September 2023

Last Chance to Learn the Twist is nothing so cliché as a return to form – it’s simply one of this veteran artist’s very best records.

The Cruzados - Land of the Endless Sun (Rum Bar)

6 September 2023
Five of the best recordings from She’s Automatic, plus six new songs originally released as a digital EP of the same name, plus three live recordings.

Bark - Loud (Cool Dog Sounds/Dial Back Sound)

5 September 2023

Loud, the duo’s fourth album, features Tim on six-string bass and baritone guitar and Susan on drums, relying on meaty riffs, no-frills songwriting, and the duo’s ragged-but-right harmonizing to carry the performances. Moran/Marcus Gilmore - Refract (Red Hook)

1 September 2023

Electronic artist (Tyler Gilmore to the ‘rents) joins with jazz piano titan Jason Moran and hugely respected drummer Marcus Gilmore for Refract, an adventure in glitched-out improvisation.

Christian Dillingham - Cascades (Greenleaf)

30 August 2023

A first call bassist in both Chicago jazz and classical music, Christian Dillingham proves himself the kind of composer and bandleader who should also top lists with Cascades.

Megafauna - Olympico (self-released)

28 August 2023

The quartet’s sixth LP Olympico seethes with energy, while also evidencing the kind of refined craft great outfits earn over the course of careers.

Chris Stamey - The Great Escape (Car)

7 July 2023
For his latest album The Great Escape, Stamey slips on the classic suit for the first time since 2015 – but adorns it with a bolo tie.

Sonar with David Torn and J. Peter Schwalm - Three Movements (7d)

30 June 2023

With Torn still on board and the addition of keyboardist/electronics guru J. Peter Schwalm, with whom composer Thelen has worked on his Fractal Guitar projects and last year’s duo album _Transneptunian Planets*, Sonar takes on another of Thelen’s side hustles: composing for classical ensembles.

Joëlle Léandre/Craig Taborn/Mat Maneri - hEARoes (RogueArt)

28 June 2023

On hEARoes, the threesome eschews firepower (for the most part) for chamber music, as if they’re trying to make up new works for small classical ensembles.

Sonny Rollins - Go West! The Contemporary Records Albums (Craft)

23 June 2023

A mover and shaker in the fifties, jazz label Contemporary Records lured saxophone great Sonny Rollins from his home base in New York to Los Angeles to record with West Coast musicians.

Swans - The Beggar (Young God/Mute)

22 June 2023

Four years after the last Swans album, Gira and crew finally return with The Beggar, another album of grim tidings and aspirational gloom.

Yosef Gutman Levitt - Soul Song (Soul Song)

21 June 2023

Bassist and composer Yosef Gutman Levitt continues his prolific ways with Soul Song, the first album on his new imprint of the same name.