Dopolarians, André Matos, and Johnny Gandelsmen

Artist: Dopolarians

Title: The Bond

Label: Mahakala Music

Release Date: 4/2/21

Personnel: William Parker – bass; Brian Blade – drums; Kelley Hurt – vocals; Chad Fowler – alto sax; Christopher Parker – piano; Marc Franklin – trumpet

Impression: This powerhouse ensemble has unleashed an absolute supernova on which we have been invited on a stirring escapade across the universe.

More Info: Bandcamp

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ArtistAndré Matos

Title: Casa

Label: Robalo Music

Release Date: 4/2/21

Personnel: André Matos – electric guitar

Impression: The fourth installment of the solo guitar series from Matos continues his welcomed tradition of providing a fitting atmosphere in which to ruminate inner truths, not surprising as it was inspired by the writings of Jorge de Sena, Stefan Zweig, W.G. Sebald, and Julio Cortazar.

More Info: André Matos site

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ArtistJohnny Gandelsmen (producer) w/ David Cieri

Title: Hemingway, A Film By Ken Burns And Lynn Novick Original Music From The PBS Documentary

Label: In A Circle Records

Release Date: 3/26/21

Personnel: Shanir Blumenkranz – bass (tracks 2, 4, 5, 7, 8) & oud (track 7); David Cieri – piano (tracks 3 & 6), urdu (track 6); Jeremy De Jesus – alto flute (tracks 4 & 5); Johnny Gandelsman – violin (tracks 2, 5, 8); Mathias Kunzli – percussion (tracks 2, 4, 5, 7); Michael Nicolas – cello (tracks 2, 4, 5, 7); Gyan Riley – guitar (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 7-9)
Composers: Shanir Blumenkranz (track 7); David Cieri (tracks 3 & 6); Jeremy De Jesus (track 4); Gonzalo Grau (track 5); Mathias Kunzli (track 4); Michael Nicolas (track 4); Gyan Riley (tracks 1, 4, 9); Lev Ljova Zhurbin (tracks 2 & 8)

Impression: The music here is earthy, vivacious, and unpretentious with no small degree of melancholy, deeming it a suitable backdrop to a telling of the life of Hemingway.

More Info: Hemingway documentary

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Deniz Cuylan, Christopher Hoffman, and Pino Palladino & Blake Mills

Artist:Deniz Cuylan

Title: No Such Thing As Free Will

Label: Hush Hush Records

Release Date: 3/19/21

Personnel: Deniz Cuylan: Guitar, Clarinet, Piano; Brian Bender: Cello; Cem Mısırlıoğlu: Piano on “No Such Thing As Free Will”

Impression: Beautifully played and meditative minimalism is the rule on this terrific nylon string guitar-centric collection.

More Info: Deniz Cuylan interview

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Artist:Christopher Hoffman

Title: Asp Nimbus

Label:Out of Your Heads Records

Release Date: 3/26/21

Personnel: Christopher Hoffman – cello, composition; Bryan Carrott – vibraphone; Rashaan Carter – bass; Craig Weinrib – drums; David Virelles – piano (track 2 only)

Impression: Atypical instrumentation, inspired / memorable compositions, and expert performances combine to make AN one of the most fulfilling releases of 2021 so far.

More Info: Out of Your Heads Records

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Artist: Pino Palladino and Blake Mills

Title: Notes With Attachments

Label: New Deal / Impulse Records

Release Date: 3/12/21

Personnel: Pino Palladino – semi-acoustic bass, bass harmonica, bass, polyphonic bass synthesizer, calabash, guitars, fretless bass, Fender bass; Blake Mills – berimbau, nylon string guitar, electro guitar, Coral electric sitar, DI Neve Fuzz, percussion, polyphonic guitar synthesizer, rubberized guitar, ngoni, fixed reeds, string synthesizer, e-flute with Direct String Synthesizer, fretless baritone guitar, drums, slide guitar, marimba, wordless vocals; Chris Dave – drums, baby kit, percussion, clavinet, Rhodes, brushes; Sam Gendel – Poly-Sax with BOSS Super Shifter, saxophones; Larry Goldings – Mellotron saxophone, celeste, Hammond B3, Prophet V; Rob Moose – viola, violin; Jacques Schwarz-Bart – sax section; Bruce Flowers – IZotope synthesizer; Andrew Bird – violin; Marcus Strickland – bass clarinet, saxophone; Ted Poor – prepared piano; Ben Aylon – Senegalese percussion; Matt Chamberlain – timbales.

Impression: At times, when more than one producer tackles a project together the old “too many cooks in the kitchen” scenario rears its ugly head, but on Notes these masters prove they are above all else exemplary listeners, yielding an impossibly grooving and immersive sonic experience.

More Info: Blake Mills site

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Charles Lloyd & The Marvels, Jakob Bro, and John Zorn

Artist: Charles Lloyd & The Marvels

Title: Tone Poem

Label: Blue Note Records

Release Date: 3/12/21

Personnel: Charles Lloyd – sax, flute; Bill Frisell – guitar; Greg Leisz – pedal steel guitar; Reuben Rogers – bass; Eric Harland – drums

Impression: It is an absolute thrill to hear the most accomplished musicians on the planet creating utterly selfless and joyous music with an uncommonly soulful collective touch.

More Info: Blue Note Records

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Buy Here: Blue Note Store


Artist: Jakob Bro

Title: Uma Elmo

Label: ECM Records

Release Date: 2/12/21

Personnel: Jakob Bro – guitar; Arve Henriksen – trumpet, piccolo trumpet; Jorge Rossy – drums

Impression: Bro affords more space in the creation of his beauteous sonic sculptures than nearly any other musician, and the result on UE is thoroughly accommodating meditation that could prove to be no small aid in the fight against our collective trauma if we simply engage with it.

More Info: ECM Records

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Artist: John Zorn

Title: Heaven And Earth Magick

Label: Tzadik Records

Release Date: 2/21

Personnel: Ches Smith – Drums; Stephen Gosling – Piano; Sae Hashimoto – Vibraphone; Jorge Roeder – Bass

Impression: In a number of ways, Heaven And Earth Magick represents the pinnacle of Zorn’s aesthetic: wildly complex and varied compositions performed by impossibly proficient sight-reading soloists accompanied by the best of the best of improvising rhythm section. A+

More Info: Tzadik Records

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Buy Here: Downtown Music Gallery



Hafez Modirzadeh, Miguel A. Ruiz, Camino al Desván, Mecánica Popular, Finis Africae, Orfeón Gagarin, Victor Nubla, Javier Segura, Jabir, Esplendor Geométrico, Luis Delgado, Mataparda, Suso Saiz, Eli Gras, and Ben Monder, Tony Malaby, & Tom Rainey

Artist: Hafez Modirzadeh

Title: Facets

Label: Pi Recordings

Release Date: 03/05/21

Personnel: Hafez Modirzadeh – tenor saxophone (2-5, 7, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17); Kris Davis – piano (3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 16); Tyshawn Sorey – piano (2, 5, 8, 10, 14, 17); Craig Taborn – piano (1, 7, 11, 13, 15, 18)

Impression: In a series of totally riveting pan-chromatic duets, Dr. Modirzadeh and company deliver the equivalent of a sound-fantasy of mine: Steve Lacy meets La Monte Young uptown.

More Info: Pi Recordings

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Artist: Various

Title: La Ola Interior: Spanish Ambient & Acid Exoticism 1983-1990

Label: Bongo Joe

Release Date: 03/05/21

Personnel: Miguel A. Ruiz, Camino al Desván, Mecánica Popular, Finis Africae, Orfeón Gagarin, Victor Nubla, Javier Segura, Jabir, Esplendor Geométrico, Luis Delgado, Mataparda, Suso Saiz, and Eli Gras

Impression: If you’ve been revisiting ethno-trance music of the late 80s/ early 90s (Steve Roach, Rapoon, Jorge Reyes, etc) during lockdown like me, the release of this collection of mostly underappreciated Spanish artists of imaginary-global-ambience is cause for great excitement.

More Info: Bongo Joe

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Artist: Ben Monder Tony Malaby & Tom Rainey

Title: Live at The 55 Bar

Label: Sunnyside Records

Release Date: 02/26/21

Personnel: Ben Monder – guitar; Tony Malaby – saxophone; Tom Rainey – drums

Impression: Just days before COVID-19 took the reins of the foreseeable future, Monder’s trio arrived at NYC’s venerable 55 Bar as a volatile powder keg, and proceeded to pummel with the ferocity of an unhinged basement power electronics gig…and I’m grateful it was documented for us to hear.

More Info: Sunnyside Records

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Snowpoet, Oportet, and Hobby Horse

Artist: Snowpoet

Title: Wait For Me

Label: Edition Records

Release Date: 02/19/21

Personnel: Lauren Kinsella – Vocals; Chris Hyson – Piano, Synths; Matthew Robinson – Piano, Synths; Josh Arcoleo – Saxophone; Dave Hamblett – Drums (except on ‘With You’); Drums on ‘With You’ – Lloyd Haines; Alex Haines – Guitar; Alice Zawadski – Violin

Impression: Snowpoet follow up 2018’s outstanding Thought You Knew with an even more refined infectiousness with what is thus far one of the most satisfying listens of the year.

More Info: Edition Records

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Artist: Oportet

Title: Scandala

Label: Auand Records

Release Date: 02/19/21

Personnel: Marco Fiorenzano – piano; Umberto Lepore – double bass, bells, objects; Stefano Costanzo – drums, bells, bow and objects; Davide Maria Viola – cello (on tracks 1 and 4)

Impression: This set was recorded live in front of a group of students to demonstrate the increasingly lost skill of capturing live performance on the first take and impressively, Costanzo and crew choke odd meters into submission and mold tempos and moods as only truly locked-in musicians can.

More Info: Auand Records

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Artist: Hobby Horse

Title: Goodnight Moon

Label: Auand Records

Release Date: 04/27/20

Personnel: Stefano Tamborrino: cello, piano, synth, voice, trombone, guitar, drum machine, drums, glockenspiel; Joe Rehmer: double bass, keyboards; Dan Kinzelman: trumpet, piano, electronic drums, clarinet, bass clarinet, keyboards, sax

Impression: This categorically wonderful record born out of limitation snuck out last year as the pandemic began to rage and is perhaps a more mollifying suite of imaginary landscapes, originally conceived as lullabies.

More Info: Auand Records

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