Kelan Philip Cohran and the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble

Categories: 2012 and Music.

This is some great, funky progressive big band stuff is more about the groove than it is about doing anything radical. The horn writing is really solid and the music The band (who I’ve never heard before) is joined by their father (seriously, I’m pretty sure he’s the father of most of the guys here…think I read that somewhere) as featured soloist. He’s an old Sun Ra player, and you can tell, as this album feels very much in that legacy (which is a good thing). This won’t change your life (unless you’ve never heard this style of jazz before, Read More

Habana (1997) by Roy Hargrove’s Crisol

Categories: 1997 and Music.

The man has a voice! Frankly I was starting to despair that this acclaimed trumpeter was going to spend his entire career living in the Young Lion world of ‘Everything old is wonderful, everything new is terrible’. That’s sure what it sounded like in his early years. Now, I cannot pretend to have a remotely thorough knowledge of Afro-Cuban / Latin jazz, and so I cannot attest to whether or not this is innovative in any way. (I have my doubts…) But I detect a passion and a willingness to be idiosyncratic that was wholly missing from Hargrove’s earlier recordings Read More

Emergence (2009) by Roy Hargrove Big Band

Categories: 2009 and Music.

So Hargrove tackles big band and the results aren’t that different from early in his career, when he was way too in love with tradition. (You might say he was drowning in it.) Well here we are again: Hargrove’s big band touches on numerous previous jazz big bands. And the whole thing is really conventional. And just when you think this is how it will play out, he throws in the Latin thing. And maybe you think “Aha!” something different, only Gillespie did this stuff 60 years ago…And obviously Hargrove is no Gillespie (though he does an okay Miles impersonation). Read More

Liberation Music Orchestra (1969) by Charlie Haden, Carla Bley et al.

Categories: 1969 and Music.

This is like Mingus meets Shepp (in spirit, anyway) meets other free of the era (with a Latin tinge). It’s at times radical and at times thoroughly traditional and, if it could maintain that balance, it could be incredible. However, as others have noted, it’s kind of schizophrenic, and sometimes it feels like various solo records and sometimes there’s this orchestra (a very compelling orchestra). Unfortunately, it feels that the politics of the record may have been more important to Haden and Bley than the music. (That’s probably not fair, but that’s what it sounds like at times.) I am Read More