Perfect Imperfections. On the Record: New & Noteworthy.

Crescent Moon Waning
Kip Hanrahan
(American Clave)

Neither a distinguished player nor a composer or arranger in a conventional sense, Kip Hanrahan occupies a one-of-a-kind place in American contemporary music. Beginning in the early ’80s, Hanrahan emerged as a bandleader/producer/conceptualist/music auteur. He became the off-center hub of extraordinary ensembles (don’t take my word for it, look them up) and also the ruthless instigator of unlikely musical blends and collisions — all captured in a remarkable 16-record catalog.

True to Hanrahan’s Bronx roots, his brand of cross-culturalism sounded lived-in; sophisticated, yes, but also rough-and-tumble. Call his music avant-jazz if you must, but in truth, it was an unruly, streetwise mix of jazz, blues, rock, pop, Afro-Cuban and Haitian roots music, New Orleans traditions and a half-dozen other influences, from bossa nova to Morton Feldman.

The results were never tidy, but that was never the intent. Instead, Hanrahan´s recordings seemed designed to present a contrarian view on questions of beauty, songwriting, ensemble playing and groove — and that was just for starters.

Anybody can go after perfection. But, ah, perfect imperfection — that’s a whole different matter.

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New Music, Unexpected Finds, Old Books Rediscovered — All Savored Slowly. This Must Be August

Chano & Colina
Chano Domínguez y Javier Colina

“Jazz is not a ‘what’ but a ‘how’,” once famously declared pianist Bill Evans, and flamenco, a jazz relative by history and feeling if not by family particulars, often suggests that too.
In Chano & Colina, a live recording, pianist Chano Domínguez, and bassist Javier Colina certainly make an elegant case for it.

Born and raised in Cádiz, the heart of Andalusia, Domínguez grew up with cante flamenco but also, he has often recalled, following bands such as Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and Soft Machine. Early on he was, in fact, a rocker, playing keyboards. Then he discovered jazz and Evans, Herbie Hancock, and Thelonious Monk.
He “got serious” about the piano in 1981.

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Jazz Artistry On Film And Live At The House — And Fun Too.


Open Land – Meeting John Abercrombie captures the essence of its subject in both its content and form. The documentary by Arno Oehri and Oliver Primus released on Friday, not only allows the guitarist to tell his story at his own pace, but frames it with uninterrupted long shots, unhurried interviews, and images of open spaces.

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