Phil Freeman

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Premature Evaluation

Premature Evaluation: Thundercat It Is What It Is

People don’t talk about George Duke enough. The man was a goddamn genius. After leading his own group for a few years, he began playing…
Phil Freeman | March 30, 2020 - 12:20 pm

Ugly Beauty

The Month In Jazz – March 2020

I had planned for this intro section to be slightly longer, but you know what? I’m not willing to risk my life for you people.
Phil Freeman | March 20, 2020 - 12:01 pm

Ugly Beauty

The Month In Jazz – February 2020

If you ever get the chance to watch Tyshawn Sorey play the drums, take it. Sorey is a brilliant composer — his albums Koan, The
Phil Freeman | February 20, 2020 - 3:22 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – January 2020

Has Winter Jazzfest peaked? When I was out exploring the annual weekend marathon (105 performances spread across 11 venues), it felt significantly less manic and…
Phil Freeman | January 20, 2020 - 1:19 pm

2010s In Review

The 20 Best Jazz Albums Of The 2010s

Where jazz is concerned, the 2010s could be divided almost precisely in half: BK (Before Kamasi) and AK (After Kamasi). The burly LA saxophonist's triple…
Phil Freeman | January 9, 2020 - 8:53 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – December 2019

Henry Threadgill, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his 2015 album In For A Penny, In For A Pound, has reunited his band Zooid after…
Phil Freeman | December 20, 2019 - 11:10 am

2019 In Review

The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2019

This wasn’t a year of radical transformation in the world of jazz. There was no single breakout star, and no explosion like the sudden realization…
Phil Freeman | December 9, 2019 - 3:00 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – November 2019

People often talk about particular jazz labels having an aesthetic, a through-line that encompasses most if not all of their releases. Very few labels have…
Phil Freeman | November 21, 2019 - 2:31 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – October 2019

Let me tell you about an amazing band you’ve probably never heard. Over the past few weeks, I’ve become obsessed with the George Adams/Don Pullen…
Phil Freeman | October 25, 2019 - 1:18 pm

Sounding Board

A Tribute To In The Court Of The Crimson King, Released 50 Years Ago Today

When King Crimson's debut album In The Court Of The Crimson King was released, they'd been together less than a year. The original lineup --…
Phil Freeman | October 10, 2019 - 9:30 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – September 2019

There's always one more thing in the vault, it seems. This month, a previously unreleased John Coltrane session will appear, and much like last year's…
Phil Freeman | September 20, 2019 - 10:35 am

Sounding Board

Rubberband, Man: Digging Into Miles Davis’ Newly Unearthed Lost Album

In 1955, Miles Davis signed with Columbia Records. For the next 30 years, the label rode with him through a series of artistic evolutions, from…
Phil Freeman | September 5, 2019 - 12:52 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – August 2019

One of the most fascinating things about avant-garde jazz and improvised music is the methods people use to impose structure, while still allowing plenty of…
Phil Freeman | August 23, 2019 - 12:36 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – July 2019

Turbaned organist Dr. Lonnie Smith performs at the Jazz Standard a couple of times a year, it seems. I like some of his recent albums,…
Phil Freeman | July 19, 2019 - 10:23 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – June 2019

There's a hip-hop scene in Nashville, but it would be a stretch to say that that's what the city is known for, right? When you…
Phil Freeman | June 26, 2019 - 11:47 am

Comments from Phil Freeman

You have my attention...
+1 |
February 20, 2020 on The Month In Jazz – February 2020
I'm sort of in the same boat as you - I've heard Zero Tolerance For Silence and his collaboration with Ornette Coleman, and a couple of his more recent records, but I wouldn't call myself a fan. This one's really impressive, though.
+5 |
February 20, 2020 on The Month In Jazz – February 2020
I've never been much of a Cure fan, but I saw them on this tour and was surprised by how heavy they got, and how many long, loud guitar solos Smith took.
+1 |
February 15, 2020 on Bloodflowers Turns 20
That was a fantastic album. And I got to see him play at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC, which was amazing.
+1 |
January 9, 2020 on The 20 Best Jazz Albums Of The 2010s
Because Power Metal has actual songs on it. Pantera imitating Judas Priest > Dimebag Darrell making a bunch of angle-grinder noises while Phil Anselmo grunts and roars like Mike Williams shitting a peach pit. Pantera Albums, In Order Of How Often I Actually Listen To Them: 1. Reinventing the Steel 2. Cowboys From Hell 3. Power Metal 4. Vulgar Display of Power 5. Far Beyond Driven 6. The Great Southern Trendkill
+6 |
December 9, 2019 on The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2019
Yeah, I really liked the David Ware, the Miho Hazama, the OK:KO, and the Cochemea. Haven't spent enough time with the Joe Martin yet, but I do like him.
+3 |
December 9, 2019 on The 10 Best Jazz Albums Of 2019
I saw their 10th anniversary tour. Fuck, I'm old.
0 |
November 26, 2019 on Circle Jerks Reuniting For 40th Anniversary Tour
It really grew for me. I disliked every track as they emerged, as singles, but when I heard the whole album they all suddenly snapped into place. It really is a fantastic album-as-album.
+2 |
September 20, 2019 on The Fragile Turns 20
I've been listening to them since 1989. As good as the early albums are, I'm kinda burned out on them, and I feel like the newer stuff doesn't get the appreciation it deserves.
+6 |
September 20, 2019 on The Fragile Turns 20
1. Hesitation Marks 2. The Slip 3. The Fragile 4. The Downward Spiral 5. Broken 6. Pretty Hate Machine 7. Not the Actual Events 8. Bad Witch 9. Add Violence 10. With Teeth 11. Ghosts 12. Year Zero
+3 |
September 20, 2019 on The Fragile Turns 20
I saw NIN at Madison Square Garden on (what I believe was) the second leg of the Fragile tour. A Perfect Circle opened (pre-Mer de Noms) and Marilyn Manson came out to sing "Starfuckers, Inc." with the band. It was fantastic.
+13 |
September 20, 2019 on The Fragile Turns 20
Try Live Around The World too. It's compiled from a bunch of different shows from different years, but it proves that Davis's live bands were strong as hell in those final years.
+3 |
September 5, 2019 on Rubberband, Man: Digging Into Miles Davis’ Newly Unearthed Lost Album
It's a fucking brilliant album. I ignore lyrics about 95% of the time; with her, I pay attention, and am constantly amazed. The music is fantastic, too; the harp and French horn(!) on the title track absolutely kill me. And it's a goddamn master class on how to record vocals.
+15 |
August 29, 2019 on Premature Evaluation: Lana Del Rey Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Not out till 9/27. It'll be in next month's column.
+4 |
August 23, 2019 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – August 2019
The Ahmed album is *really good*. (All-female roster, I believe. I'll have to double check. But either way, it rules.)
+3 |
August 23, 2019 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – August 2019
Yeah, Gould is a serious talent.
+2 |
July 19, 2019 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – July 2019
Went to see JD Allen's new trio in a tiny Brooklyn bar last night. His new drummer, Nic Cacioppo, is wild to watch live: he remains almost expressionless while playing, just staring off into the distance, but sometimes he opens his mouth and sticks his tongue out seemingly for no reason. But his playing is *intense*; he took a long solo on a tiny kit that reminded me of Billy Cobham.
0 |
June 27, 2019 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – June 2019
Yeah, Graves' stuff is nuts, and it seems like it's only going farther out.
+3 |
June 26, 2019 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – June 2019
I'm not sure whose combination of vocal style and general persona I hate more, Neil Sedaka or Frankie Valli. It's really too close to call, because they're both The Fucking Worst.
0 |
June 25, 2019 on The Number Ones: Neil Sedaka’s “Laughter In The Rain”
Yeah, the credits on Discogs are eye-watering. If this album *didn't* go multi-platinum, if it had tanked like the two or three before it, it might have sunk his career for good.
+7 |
June 14, 2019 on Supernatural Turns 20