Reviews that mention Don Byron

March 21, 2005

Rêve D’éléphant Orchestra

Lobster Caravan
W.E.R.F.

Simone Guiducci/Gramelot Ensemble
Dancin’ Roots
Felmay/Newtone

By Ken Waxman
March 21, 2005

Matching improvisation with different sounds has been a defining factor in what we call jazz from its beginnings. As approximations of the sound stretch further afield the combinations became more unique and varied, especially when culture was taken into consideration.

Not all cultures and musics meld comfortably with jazz-inflected improvisations. Some match-ups are more noteworthy than others and often only parts of the union work. This becomes apparent when listening to the two European combos featured on these CDs. MORE

March 24, 2004

URI CAINE

Gustav Mahler - Dark Flame
Winter & Winter 910-095-2

Newest chapter in pianist Uri Caine’s POMO recasting of the works of the so-called Great Composers, DARK FLAME showcases an almost total vocal program.

Based on lieder composed by Austrian Gustav Mahler (1860-1911), the musicianship and inventiveness here are at the same high standard as Caine’s earlier meditations on the work of J. S. Bach, Richard Wagner and other Mahler projects. But with 14 selections rearranged over 77 minutes, there are times the variations move from novelty to gimmickry. Mahler’s oeuvre heard in gospel, Klezmer, rock or mainstream jazz variations is engaging; but linking it to turntable tricks, Oriental sounds, overwrought poetics or cocktail jazz works less well. MORE

December 3, 2001

CRAIG HARRIS & TAILGATERS TALES

Shelter
Winter & Winter JMT Edition 919 008-2

Active in working with performance artists, dancers and in theatrical productions as well as in pure instrumental settings, trombonist Craig Harris brings a heightened sense of social concerns to all of his work.

His highest profile came in the 1970s and 1980s following tenures in aggregations as different as Sun Ra’s Arkestra, Abdullah Ibrahim’s quintet and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra. Harris has also had a long time association with David Murray’s octets and big bands and is a founding member of the trombone quartet, Slide Ride. MORE

July 22, 2000

TOM CORA

It's A Brand New Day
Knitting Factory KFW-271

Tom Cora's death, at 44 in 1998, not only robbed music of one of its few improvising cellists, but also of one versatile enough to move seamlessly between jazz, rock, improv and something resembling "ethnic" music. But, after all, what would you expect from a musician whose playing partners including everyone from guitarists Eugene Chadbourne and Fred Frith to composer/saxophonist John Zorn and singer Catherine Jauniaux?

This memorial CD, made up of performances recorded at the New York's Knitting Factory between 1989 and 1996, highlights his versatility. And that's its strength as well as its weakness.

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