Phil Freeman

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Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – March 2017

If you don't follow Jazz Twitter, you probably missed the biggest (well, loudest, anyway) jazz story of the month. About three weeks ago, pianist Ethan…
Phil Freeman | March 24, 2017 - 9:35 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2017

February is Black History Month, so let's talk about blackness in jazz. That'll be fun, right? …
Phil Freeman | February 24, 2017 - 11:19 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – January 2017

Welcome to Stereogum’s monthly jazz column! Jazz has an amazing and exhaustively documented past; classic albums are constantly being reissued, and newly discovered live recordings…
Phil Freeman | January 20, 2017 - 10:01 am

2016 In Review

The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2016

Jazz had no breakout star on the scale of Kamasi Washington in 2016. Of course, the burly LA-based saxophonist who dominated 2015’s press coverage, even…
Phil Freeman | December 9, 2016 - 12:48 pm

Sounding Board

The Worst New Band In America Reminds Us That Nü-Metal’s Not Going Anywhere

Last week, the worst album of 2016 arrived in my inbox. It may eventually lose that title -- I haven't heard the She & Him
Phil Freeman | September 21, 2016 - 12:26 pm

Sounding Board

Defeating The Jazz Zombies: America’s Music Is Alive & Well — These 7 Artists Are Proof

Jazz has a zombie problem. Musicians who’ve been dead for decades continue to stalk the commercial landscape, grabbing listeners new to the genre before they…
Phil Freeman | September 12, 2016 - 11:21 am

Counting Down

Iggy Pop Albums From Worst To Best

Iggy Pop is the beating heart of rock 'n' roll. Since 1969, his whirling, explosive live performances have set a standard that 99 percent of…
Phil Freeman | March 22, 2016 - 12:34 pm

Essay

How Five Finger Death Punch Got Huge By Writing Songs For Soldiers

If the Billboard Top 200 chart was still based on album sales alone, Five Finger Death Punch would have the #1 album in America right…
Phil Freeman | September 16, 2015 - 2:22 pm

Counting Down

Motörhead Albums From Worst To Best

Motörhead are one of those bands, like ZZ Top or AC/DC, that seemingly everyone who likes loud electric guitars can agree on. They exist for…
Phil Freeman | September 2, 2015 - 11:43 am

Comments from Phil Freeman

It took a long time for Berne to click with me. What ultimately did it was his Science Friction band - they have one studio album and a 2CD live set, all of which has since been combined into a 3CD set. Marc Ducret on guitar, Craig Taborn on Fender Rhodes, laptop, and organ, and Tom Rainey on drums.
+2 |
March 24, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – March 2017
I have the album here, but haven't gotten a chance to listen to it yet. Need to pull it out this weekend for sure.
+3 |
March 24, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – March 2017
Yeah, I heard about that. Really glad that guy's work is reaching people - it's terrific stuff, and he's incredibly smart.
+4 |
March 24, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – March 2017
You got me - I downloaded that Délétère album, and I HATE 99% of black metal. (It was the mention of "submerged organ" that convinced me it was worth a listen.)
+5 |
February 28, 2017 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – February 2017
I like his playing with Billy Cobham (as mentioned by best fwends), and he was great in Miles Davis's '80s bands. Beyond that, I'm not that much of a fan, particularly not of his funk/jam-band stuff. I will also admit my description above is a little unfair - it makes the new record sound like some boring-ass Bill Frisell shit, which it ain't. But my broader point stands, I think.
0 |
February 24, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2017
Good tip - I've never even heard of Hoopla!
+1 |
February 24, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2017
I have it, but haven't had time to check it out yet. (Man, do I wish the Clean Feed label would release 1 or 2 titles a month, instead of batches of 8 titles at once 3 or 4 times a year - it would be much less overwhelming.)
+2 |
February 24, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2017
I haven't heard it yet, but I liked the one before this. I'm actually more interested in this one than many of their other albums, because it's broken up for LP sides - I don't have time for hour-long tracks very often.
+3 |
February 24, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2017
That Ominous Circle album is really, really good. (As is the new Immolation.) Also, just want to mention that Black Army Jacket's 222 (their only album) and Closed Casket (a collection of 50 tracks from splits, compilations, etc.) are being reissued - digital only, no physical versions - later this month, so if you need some old-school pissed-off grind, keep an eye out.
+2 |
February 1, 2017 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – January 2017
Mark Turner, too. If you go through the "artist index" on their site, it's an incredible list of names... http://crisscrossjazz.com/artist/index.html
+8 |
January 20, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – January 2017
I didn't mention this in the blurb, but the last track on the album is an Afrobeat reworking of the same song (pianist switches to organ, bassist goes electric) that's killer. I stumbled on her album basically out of nowhere last week and just loved it.
+10 |
January 20, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – January 2017
Weirdly proud that a song/band I wrote about made this list.
+3 |
December 31, 2016 on The Worst Playlist Of 2016
List your favorite jazz albums of 2016. Then we can have a serious talk.
0 |
December 14, 2016 on The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2016
Metheny's really good on Cuong Vu's album on Nonesuch this year, too. Also, Logan Richardson has a trio called Dunstan, with two Finnish musicians, Antti Lötjönen and Teppo Mäkynen, on bass and drums. I think all they have out is a limited edition 10", of all things, but who knows, maybe they'll make an album.
+1 |
December 10, 2016 on The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2016
I suspect the response was a lot more muted than it would be today, just because albums like How Will I Laugh Tomorrow... came out pre-Internet, when haters' only recourse was, like, writing an angry letter to Flipside. My personal belief is that Muir (and Henry Rollins) were major, if too rarely acknowledged, catalysts for making it OK for heavy music dudes to talk about their feelings.
+2 |
November 30, 2016 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – November 2016
"Frank discussion of personal vulnerability is prima facie unacceptable in metal" - Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies would like a word. (Although he really is the exception that proves the rule.)
+1 |
November 30, 2016 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – November 2016
The second Disturbed album is their best, but their whole catalog is remarkably solid. They have BAD taste in cover songs, though.
+4 |
September 21, 2016 on The Worst New Band In America Reminds Us That Nü-Metal’s Not Going Anywhere
Donny McCaslin and the entire band from Bowie's Blackstar have an album coming out next month. I've heard it and it's really, really good.
+4 |
September 12, 2016 on Defeating The Jazz Zombies: America’s Music Is Alive & Well — These 7 Artists Are Proof
That Battle Trance album is really cool. The guy who leads it, Travis Laplante, had a group (don't know if they're still active) with Darius Jones (another amazing saxophonist/composer) called Little Women; their albums Throat and Lung are fantastic. I wrote about them a while ago for my own site, Burning Ambulance: https://burningambulance.com/2013/04/09/little-women/
+4 |
September 12, 2016 on Defeating The Jazz Zombies: America’s Music Is Alive & Well — These 7 Artists Are Proof
As far as alto saxophonists, try Tim Berne - he's recently put a bunch of his older albums up on Bandcamp. I recommend anything by his Science Friction band.
+7 |
September 12, 2016 on Defeating The Jazz Zombies: America’s Music Is Alive & Well — These 7 Artists Are Proof