Reviews that mention Bill Laswell

December 22, 2018

Barker/Kaiser/Laswell/Mahanthappa

Mudang Rock
Fractal Music 2028-801

Luckily more “Mudang” than “Rock”, this long (71 minute plus) CD is another marker in California guitarist Henry Kaiser’s decades long investigation of Korean shamanistic music. This time out he’s aided by an A team of like-minded sound explorers. Austrian percussionist Simon Barker is as skillful playing traditional Korean music which he has studied for two decades, as Jazz. American Bill Laswell is best known for his production work that melded Rock Funk, Electro, Hip Hop and world rhythms, as well as his bass playing with the likes of Ronald Shannon Jackson. Additional string players are added on a couple of tracks, but Mudang Rock’s most crucial element is the playing of New York-based alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa. Already noted for his ability to add echoes of his East Indian heritage to improvisation, Mahanthappa’s searing interjections adhere the seven tracks to serious sonic tropes and away from faux exoticism. MORE

June 1, 2018

Wadada Leo Smith

Najwa
TUM CD 049

Smith/Tamura/Fujii/Mori

Aspiration

Libra 204-043

After more than a half century of diverse music making, at 76, Wadada Leo Smith is now considered a major American composer, player and academic theoretician, with the consequent awards and accolades that accrue from that status. Yet they haven’t kept him away from new objectives. Acknowledged for his large-form and solo work, he’s also been part of many combos since he Leroy Jenkins and Anthony Braxton hooked up in the late 1960s. Known for his skills in an all-acoustic environment these new CDs demonstrate his dexterity in an electronic environment and true to form each illuminates a singular aspect of that area. MORE

February 6, 2016

Blue Buddha

Blue Buddha
Tzadik TZ 4010

By Ken Waxman

Some musicians are so comfortable with free jazz that they work through its challenges as effortlessly as they breathe. Case in point is tenor saxophonist Louie Belogenis who as part of the Prima Materia group during the ‘90s partnered drum master Rashied Ali. But Blue Buddha is more than Belogenis demonstrating his command of the idiom. Instead, the seven spiritually infused tracks establish a group identity among the saxophonist and three other players who are anything but hard-core free jazzers. MORE