Reviews that mention Jim Hobbs

December 26, 2016

Taylor Ho Bynum

Enter the Plustet
Firehouse 12 FH 12-04-01-025

Illegal Crowns

Illegal Crowns

RogueArt ROG-0066

Quietly and without excessive fanfare, Connecticut-based cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum has become one of this century’s most accomplished composers, improvisers, orchestrators and band leaders. Like a fighter who excels in whatever weight classes he trains for, Bynum has not only been involved in the macro sense, as one assistant conductor of some of Anthony Braxton’s major creations, but also in micro situations, where he manages to convey the breath of his ideas performing solo or in ensembles as small as duos, usually with drummer Tomas Fujiwara. MORE

March 22, 2016

Guelph Jazz Festival

Guelph, Ontario
September 16-20, 2015

By Ken Waxman

Story telling of the verbal and instrumental variety was an important feature of this year’s Guelph Jazz Festival. Trying out new venues such as Heritage Hall (HH), Guelph’s first black church; and the soft-seated Guelph Little Theatre (GLT), the festival added a feeling of intimacy to its innovative programming.

Front and centre with tales, tall and otherwise were two Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM) members, multi-reedist Douglas Ewart and alto saxophonist Matana Roberts. Confirming the old adage that actions can speak louder than words were musicians as cerebrally intricate as Evan Parker’s soprano saxophone forays or as raucous as guitarist Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog trio. MORE

December 11, 2014

Taylor Ho Bynum 7-Tett

Navigation (Possibly Abstracts XI & XIII)
Firehouse 12 FH-12-04-01-019

Hans Lüdemann

Die Kunst des Trio 1-5

BMC Records BMC CD 196

Flat Earth Society


Igloo IGL 257

Peter Kowald


Jazz Werksttatt JW 150

Something In The Air: Outstanding and Unusual Boxed Sets

By Ken Waxman

As the availability of music on different media continues to proliferate, the focus of the durable box set has become equally diverse. No longer does a multi-disc collection have to be definitive or far-ranging. As a matter of fact some of the best, like the ones discussed here, concentrate on certain sequences in an artist’s career. MORE

August 11, 2014

Artist Feature

Jim Hobbs
By Ken Waxman

Boston-based alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs has no problem with having his improvising and compositions celebrated – or fully celebrated – during four nights at Douglas Street Music Collective (DSMC) August 20-23, but he maintains his music is still evolving. “I’ve always believed that the music is supposed to progress and that’s the musician’s responsibility,” says Hobbs, 47. “Music shouldn't be confined to a museum re-enactment.” Known as a member of the trio or quartet called the Fully Celebrated Orchestra (FCO), Hobbs, is one musician who has always followed his own path, although chance and coincidence have also played a part. MORE

August 11, 2014


Lawnmower II
Clean Feed CF 298 CD

By Ken Waxman

More than just the second album from this quartet, Lawnmower II marks an almost complete re-orientation of the band, since two of its members are new. Besides founders drummer Luther Gray and alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, who have always mixed their jazz bona fides with indie rock allusions, 5-string electric violinist Kaethe Hostetter and electric bassist Winston Braman have replaced the quartet’s two guitarists. The changes make Lawnmower II even more appealing than Lawnmower I. MORE

November 8, 2013

Label Spotlight:

Relative Pitch Records
By Ken Waxman

We both feel that every release has been a success,” says Kevin Reilly, co-owner with Mike Panico, of the New York area-based Relative Pitch (RP) record label. “I want to stay away from categorizing our releases according to the parameters of late industrial capitalist consumerism.”

Economic methodology aside, in the less than five years since it was founded, Relative Pitch has already put out 14 well-regarded CDs, featuring younger advanced players such as guitarist Mary Halvorson and trumpeter Nate Wooley, plus veteran free musicians including bassist Joëlle Léandre and saxophonist Urs Leimgruber. MORE

May 16, 2012

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet

Apparent Distance
Firehouse 12 Records FH12

Jason Kao Hwang/Edge

Crossroads Unseen

Euonymus Records EU 02

Brass man Taylor Ho Bynum and bassist Ken Filiano are the constants in these noteworthy sessions designed to offer glimpses into the improvisational and compositional cores of a clutch of innovating musicians. Anti-establishment without being nihilists, the eight players represented validate the concept of moving forward sonically while preserving parts of the past.

The most obvious tradition linkages are that Bynum’s sextet on Apparent Distance is organized to play his four-part chamber suite. Crossroads Unseen meantime features six compositions by leader Jason Kao Hwang that make ample use of the qualities he can wring out of European music’s most venerable instruments – the violin and the viola. Hwang has worked with experimenters such as bassist William Parker and drummer Vladimir Tarasov. Filiano has become a constant New York presence after an apprenticeship with reedist Vinny Golia. Percussionist Andrew Drury is a composer in his own right, while Bynum has a long association with Anthony Braxton. This CD is the quartet’s third as Edge. MORE

June 10, 2011


Clean Feed CF 178 CD

By Ken Waxman

Architecturally organized into sound blocks, the seven tracks on this quartet`s debut CD bleed one into another to create a distinct aural picture. Mostly mid-tempo and somewhat monochromic, the pieces seem to take as much from shoe-gazer rock and poignant country music as jazz improvisation.

That’s not surprising, considering that two of players – guitarists Dan Littleton and Geoff Farina – are part of indie-rock bands such as Ida, Karate and Secret Stars. Drummer Luther Gray is a former punk-rocker who now plays with improv stylist such as saxophonist Ken Vandermark and guitarist Joe Morris. Leader of the Fully Celebrated Orchestra, alto saxophonist Jim Hobbs, having worked with trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum among others, is the jazz spark here. MORE

June 5, 2011

Fred Ho and the Green Monster Big Band

Year of the Tiger
Innova 789

Italian Instabile Orchestra

Totally Gone

Rai Trade RTP J0021

Pierre Labbé +12

Tremblement de fer

Ambiance Magnétique AM202

Pierre Favre

Le Voyage

Intakt CD 186

Something in the Air: Big Band Redux

By Ken Waxman

More than 60 years after the big band era, improvising musicians still organize large ensembles to take advantage of its wider scope and range of colors. Such is the versatility of the arrangements possible with large bands as these sessions demonstrate, that each sounds completely unique while maintaining the same excellence. MORE

August 25, 2003


Red Toucan # RT 9322

Occupying that mid-range between jazz and classical music, Laura Andel is a composer to watch, as much for her audacity as for her conception.

Argentinean-born, she’s a woodwind player who first received a degree in tango performance in Buenos Aires, then studied jazz composition and film music in Boston, and has since written for large and small ensembles in Boston, New York, Germany and Venezuela. Cinematic, with swathes of jazz and South American rhythms and quirky orchestral instrumentation, SOMNAMBULIST is a nine-part, 46-minute suite that tries to compress all her influences and studies into a definitive whole. MORE

July 13, 2002


Marriage of Heaven and Earth
Innova 567

Fugues and Flowers
Squealer Music SQLR 035

Gerry Mulligan may get credit for inventing the so-called pianoless quartet in modern jazz but it was Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz band of the early 1960s that really established it as a viable aggregation.

Having ingenious soloists like cornettist Don Cherry, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Ed Blackwell on board, Coleman on his Atlantic LPs proved that lacking a chordal instrument did nothing to weaken a band’s internal dynamics, as long as the mixture of talent and compositions was maintained. MORE