Release Date: Feb 22, 2011
Record label: Constellation
Genre(s): Jazz, Jazz Instrument, Avant-Garde Jazz, Free Improvisation, Saxophone Jazz
Once in a while, I can convince myself that it's impossible to say anything truly new in music. There has been so much music made and documented in the last 50 years, my thinking goes, that the best we can hope for is an artful re-combination of elements of the past (which seems like more than enough, most of the time). But then I'll come across a new record that sounds like nothing else I've heard: I can't quite place it, but its appeal feels so organic and easy to understand, I don't really feel a need to place it, either.
Colin Stetson's 2008 album New History Warfare, Vol. 1 showcased the saxophonist/multi-reedist's phenomenal multiphonic improvisation style and circular breathing technique. Released in 2011, New History Warfare, Vol. 2: Judges features a similar exploratory solo saxophone approach that is nothing short of mind-blowing.
Review Summary: An album that feels entirely without precedence. The temptation with New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is to try to place it somewhere within jazz; the dominance of Colin Stetson's bass saxophone, its appreciation of cacophony, and the general freeform approach of the whole album makes links to the likes of Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, John Zorn, and Albert Ayler very tempting.
Alison Krauss & Union Station Few singers do plaintive as well as Alison Krauss, with the whispers, feathery quavers and reedy resignation in her voice. After her musical and commercial triumph with Robert Plant on the 2007 album “Raising Sand” — and, Mr. Plant has said, the beginnings of a ….
Half of the year is over, and we’re so excited about how 2011 is shaping up that we wanted to share our favorite 25 albums of the year so far. Unlike with our year-end lists, this list was compiled with no official tally; whoever wanted to speak up about their favorite albums spoke up. Consequently, there’s no order here, just a list of albums accompanied by text taken directly from our reviews.
Like the PC Brigade or the Feminazis, the “purists” are one of those vague groupings pejoratively, often lazily cited by music journalists as liable to be “up in arms” at some new release with supposedly provocatively eclectic leanings. After so many decades of multiple crossovers, fusions, genre-bending, does anyone really still cling to a notion of the Pure any more? Do the “purists” still have bi-monthly meetings, their numbers increasingly dwindled, wearing black, pointy hats and arguing for a return to the days of genre apartheid? Well, maybe not when it comes to the “lower” forms, those cheap pimps and harlots rock, dance, electronica, pop, that have intermingled and cross-bred so intensively as to be mongrel beyond recognition. However, when it comes to classical and jazz, purism does still prevail.
Colin Stetson plays bass saxophone, an instrument that would look big on Yao Ming. On Stetson’s second solo effort, New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges, he draws on the NYC downtown jazz scene of the ‘80s as well as the far-out playing of Albert Ayler. Tom Waits fans might recall Stetson’s name from the early ‘00s.