Phil Freeman

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2017 In Review

The Best Jazz Albums Of 2017

Jazz had an amazing 2017. It was the music’s centennial—the Original Dixieland Jass Band’s "Dixie Jass Band One Step" and "Livery Stable Blues" were recorded…
Phil Freeman | December 13, 2017 - 12:21 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – November 2017

A week ago, on November 10, I caught guitarist John McLaughlin's farewell US tour at NJPAC in Newark, NJ. I haven't paid much attention to…
Phil Freeman | November 17, 2017 - 4:33 pm

The Anniversary

Reload Turns 20

"Lars and Kirk drove on those records. The whole 'We need to reinvent ourselves' topic was up. Image is not an evil thing for me,…
Phil Freeman | November 17, 2017 - 1:23 pm

Sounding Board

Remembering Celtic Frost’s Martin Ain

Martin Eric Stricker was 16 when he and his friend Tom Gabriel Fischer formed Hellhammer. They were teenagers in Nürensdorf, a town outside Zurich, Switzerland…
Phil Freeman | October 24, 2017 - 10:17 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – October 2017

On Friday, October 6, the Art Ensemble Of Chicago played their first New York show since 2004. The last time they were in town, original…
Phil Freeman | October 20, 2017 - 11:49 am

Sounding Board

American Standards: Why Everybody Loves Tom Petty

Tom Petty wrote great rock 'n' roll songs for 40 years. His 1993 Greatest Hits album has 18 tracks, and you know at least 16…
Phil Freeman | October 3, 2017 - 11:52 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – September 2017

I don't really listen to podcasts. I've never been converted to the format for several reasons. The first of those is that I don't have…
Phil Freeman | September 22, 2017 - 10:08 am

Interview

Last Of The Multi-Platinum Post-Grunge Bands: Creed Talk My Own Prison At 20

The US record industry was doing numbers in the late 1990s that seem incomprehensible now. The year 2000 was the all-time peak, with 785 million…
Phil Freeman | August 25, 2017 - 11:46 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – August 2017

One of the first lessons I learned when I was first getting into jazz, back at the dawn of time, was Follow The Sidemen. If…
Phil Freeman | August 18, 2017 - 3:10 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – July 2017

Joe Fields died earlier this month, on 7/12. He was 88. You've probably never heard of him; I hadn't until the news of his death…
Phil Freeman | July 21, 2017 - 1:37 pm

Sounding Board

Against All Odds, Linkin Park Were America’s Last Huge Rock Band

During the late '90s and early '00s, I was one of Alternative Press magazine's nü-metal correspondents. The publisher and editors didn't really favor the music…
Phil Freeman | July 21, 2017 - 11:58 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – June 2017

The Vision Festival is a totally unique event on the New York jazz scene. Every year, Patricia Nicholson-Parker (wife of bassist William Parker) and the…
Phil Freeman | June 23, 2017 - 10:49 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – May 2017

Do you buy CD box sets? (Please answer in the comments; I'm genuinely curious.) I do. In the last couple of years, I've probably bought…
Phil Freeman | May 19, 2017 - 9:57 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – April 2017

On March 27, a little less than a week after last month’s Ugly Beauty was published, alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe died. This wasn’t a surprise…
Phil Freeman | April 21, 2017 - 12:27 pm

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

Comments from Phil Freeman

Yeah, I like basically all of those. I didn't consider the Graves album, for the record, because an earlier, shorter, self-released version (it had only four long tracks) came out in 2016. I heard that one - interviewed him at the time, too - but then when Motema picked it up for release in 2017, I'd kinda moved past it, I guess. I heard that band really blew people away at this year's Detroit Jazz Festival, though.
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December 13, 2017 on The Best Jazz Albums Of 2017
I'm not familiar with it, but am gonna check it out on Spotify. I'll offer you a recommendation in return: South African pianist/bandleader Nduduzo Makhathini's Ikhambi, which came out in late September (but I just heard it this week). Really good stuff in the vein of Pharoah Sanders/non-devotional Alice Coltrane, with occasional vocals.
+3 |
December 13, 2017 on The Best Jazz Albums Of 2017
Thanks to everyone who's been reading Ugly Beauty all year. There will be a December column, and I'm looking forward to 2018. Already got the GoGo Penguin album arglebargle and Rentaballoon mentioned, and Walter Smith III (saxophonist on Ambrose Akinmusire's albums) has a new one coming, too.
+3 |
December 13, 2017 on The Best Jazz Albums Of 2017
I believe he's easing back on extended touring 'cause he's 75. There may be health issues as well, but I'm not 100% on that.
+5 |
November 18, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – November 2017
I'd never (consciously) heard him before that McLaughlin show. (I'm POSITIVE I'd heard him before that without knowing it, because I used to edit Metal Edge magazine, which shared office space with Relix, and there was definitely some Widespread Panic coming out of the office stereo, though I wouldn't have recognized it at the time.)
+4 |
November 17, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – November 2017
I talk about the ECM news a little bit in this month's Ugly Beauty column - what's great about it is that it's ECM's WHOLE catalog, so you get all the weird shit they put out in the '70s in addition to all the chill(y) Nordic stuff people seem to know them for. I swear, having that stuff is worth my $10 monthly subscription fee all by itself.
+4 |
November 17, 2017 on Reload Turns 20
I need to check out that Indo-Pak Coalition record. I hear it's a lot more "rock"/"fusion" than their earlier stuff.
+2 |
October 20, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – October 2017
Ghostemane sounds a lot like Death Grips to me. It's not bad. I appreciate that all the songs are two minutes long, 'cause that seems to be right about where I start thinking I've had enough.
+1 |
September 15, 2017 on Thanks To Ghostemane, Industrial And Metal Are Rap Now
Yeah, I had never heard of them and had to look them up on Wikipedia. Still haven't heard any of their music.
+2 |
August 25, 2017 on Last Of The Multi-Platinum Post-Grunge Bands: Creed Talk My Own Prison At 20
Yeah, I could definitely see Towner appealing to, say, a John Fahey fan.
+3 |
July 21, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – July 2017
There's a relatively famous quote from a critic, which I'm garbling, that rock wasn't best from '64-'69 or whatever set of arbitrary calendar years you pick: rock is best from 12-17.
+10 |
July 21, 2017 on Against All Odds, Linkin Park Were America’s Last Huge Rock Band
I've never been a huge Mercyful Fate/King Diamond fan - I could appreciate what they were about, without ever feeling the need to get neck-deep in it - but man, that Attic song is amazing and has me thinking I need to dive into the King's '80s catalog and see what I've missed.
+9 |
June 30, 2017 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – June 2017
Honestly, because I didn't get the album until this morning (I pre-ordered it on Bandcamp). But Stereogum streamed it in full a couple of days ago. (It's great, of course, and people should absolutely buy it.)
+3 |
June 23, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – June 2017
The album in question is called Radio Flyer, and here's a sample track: https://soundcloud.com/highnote-savant-records/radio-flyer-jd-allen-from-radio-flyer-savant-records-scd-2162
+1 |
June 2, 2017 on Album Of The Week: Elder Reflections Of A Floating World
Bought this (along with "Lore" and the two-song "Spires Burn/Release" EP) on Bandcamp today. Definitely excited to check them out. Also out today: the new album by saxophonist JD Allen - it's his regular trio (Gregg August on bass, Rudy Royston on drums) plus guitarist Liberty Ellman, who works with Henry Threadgill a lot. Some of it sounds remarkably like late 70s/early 80s Ornette Coleman.
+1 |
June 2, 2017 on Album Of The Week: Elder Reflections Of A Floating World
I agree. When I'm listening to a group of guys in their 20s, I would MUCH rather hear them playing songs they wrote than hear them wax-museuming through a version of "Autumn Leaves" or something.
+5 |
May 19, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – May 2017
Yeah, the new song is really good and the video is terrific. I'm waiting for the full EP to appear and will have something to say at that point, for sure.
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May 4, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – April 2017
Agree - the '70s Arista albums are amazing, particularly New York Fall 1974, Five Compositions 1975, and The Montreux/Berlin Concerts. All of his Arista albums were reissued a few years ago as a box set by Mosaic Records, but that's out of print now, too. Worth picking up if you can find one, though.
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May 4, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – April 2017
At what point does someone cross the line from artist-who-committed-a-crime to criminal-who-made-some-art?
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April 7, 2017 on Listening To Kodak Black Is A Complicated Thing