By Steve Weinstein
By Bryan Bierman
By Lindsey Rhoades
By Chaz Kangas
By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Jena Ardell
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Katherine Turman
MARK WHITECAGE & THE BI-COASTAL ORCHESTRA
BushWacked: A Spoken Opera
Except for one lyric written in 1776, the spoken words come from news reports, but they rivet your attention. The intent is outrage, but I find the words, so unflinchingly rooted in the real world, calmingcompared to the anarchic jazz swirling around them. A MINUS
Dud of the Month
LINCOLN CENTER JAZZ ORCHESTRA
Don't Be Afraid . . . The Music of Charles Mingus
This became inevitable once flacks tried to draw an orchestral line from Ellington to Mingus to Marsalisotherwise, wouldn't Mingus be a bit too outré for the uptown crowd? Mingus has yet to develop into a repertory staple, at least outside of the official tribute bands Sue Mingus rides herd on, and even there recent albums like I Am Three suggest they're running on fumes. What's missing from all the remakes is Mingus himselfthe virtuoso bassist, of course, but more importantly the leader who drove small bands to play huge. Here 15 musicians play small. At the end of the tricky title piece about the clown, they even laugh small. B MINUS
DOMINIC DUVAL/MARK WHITECAGE
Rules of Engagement, Vol. 1
No agitprop, just bass and reeds, a starter kit without the racket.
At the Mill Hill Playhouse: As Long as I Live
Trad jazz teamworkKenny Davern, Dan Barrett, and John Sheridan are friskier than on their own recent albums.
SAM RIVERS/BEN STREET/KRESTEN OSGOOD
Old times only easier, so reminiscent of his 60s grace it could be a self-tribute.
Norwegian avant-sax triotwo vets dating back to George Russell days, and TDWR drummer Thomas Strønen.
JOE FIELDER TRIO
Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff
And, finally, simplifies the avant-trombone master for much needed clarity.
When the Crowds Have Gone
. . . youre alone, just guitar and harmonica, crying like Blind Willie Johnson without even the Lord for comfort.
Guitar minimalism, the patterns expanding harmonically rather than repeating ad absurdum.
JOEL FUTTERMAN/ALVIN FIELDER/IKE LEVIN TRIO
Charles Lester Music
Piano-sax roughhousing, refereed by an AACM drummer who keeps both sides swinging.
Darryl Harpers clarinet trio is a marvel of studied moderation, searching but not rushed, long but not wearing.
Large group, the deep horns, accordion and strings move slowly in thick layers of harmony.
PAUL MOTIAN/BILL FRISELL/JOE LOVANO
I Have the Room Above Her
Lovanos ballad sense is suspect, but he adds substance to Motians slow abstractions.
No Work Today: Nine for Steve Lacy
Meditations on solo soprano saxa real tightrope act.
HAMID DRAKE & ASSIF TSAHAR
Live at Glenn Miller Café
Two-thirds of Lost Brother takes its avant-honk on the road.
GEORGE COLLIGANS MAD SCIENCE
More organ than synth, more drums than beats, so the advance starts from further back, trading Grant Green for Tom Guarna.
Just the Beginning
Fancy hard bop with Jeb Patton piano and extra brass, sandwiched by originals celebrating Parker, lamenting Jacquet.
Flutes, chants, hand drums, soft homespun Afro-Cuban roots.
Canadians who look and sound like they just arrived from Saturn.
THE PETER BRÖTZMANN CHICAGO TENTET
Be Music, Night
Mike Pearsons reading of Kenneth Patchen poetry provides a dry counterpoint structuring the avant-noise.
Blueprint of a Lady: Sketches of Billie Holiday
DAVID MURRAY 4TET & STRINGS