Phil Freeman

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Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – April 2018

Cecil Taylor died on April 5, less than two weeks after his 89th birthday. It would be impossible to condense his artistry into this intro,…
Phil Freeman | April 20, 2018 - 11:32 am

Sounding Board

Remembering “Hipster Metal” & The Sword’s Gods Of The Earth 10 Years Later

Remember hipster metal? Beginning in about 2005, a mini-wave of hard rock and metal bands popped up, to great acclaim from magazines -- there were…
Phil Freeman | April 2, 2018 - 12:25 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – March 2018

Bassist Buell Neidlinger died last week at 82. He was a fascinating figure, who traveled back and forth between the out-est of out jazz and…
Phil Freeman | March 23, 2018 - 11:57 am

Sounding Board

Looking Back On Van Halen’s Worst Album 20 Years Later

Van Halen -- the quartet of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Michael Anthony, and vocalist David Lee Roth -- rose from…
Phil Freeman | March 16, 2018 - 1:11 pm

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2018

This time last year, I read Bob Porter's Soul Jazz, a really interesting book that provided a kind of alternate history of jazz from the…
Phil Freeman | February 23, 2018 - 9:09 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – January 2018

Welcome to Ugly Beauty, Year Two. Writing this column last year was a genuine thrill, almost entirely because of the people who read it and…
Phil Freeman | January 22, 2018 - 1:26 pm

Sounding Board

Looking Back On The Legacy Of D-Beat & 10 Years Of Disfear’s Masterpiece Live The Storm

Like the Bo Diddley beat or the Amen break, the D-beat is one of the foundational rhythms of modern music. This simple, pounding drum pattern,…
Phil Freeman | January 22, 2018 - 10:33 am

Ugly Beauty

Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – December 2017

Sunny Murray died 12/8, at the age of 81, in Paris, where he’d lived for decades. Murray was one of the most important drummers in…
Phil Freeman | December 26, 2017 - 8:34 am

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

Comments from Phil Freeman

Cool - I'll check it out. Thanks!
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April 20, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – April 2018
Garden 1st Set, Garden 2nd Set, and The Willisau Concert are all up there. Also, I created a playlist with all the available music by his 1978 band: https://open.spotify.com/user/burningambulance/playlist/7BPDFwqjPERcffVxGyWOSB?si=ZLT0IgQnTxyWpVnyfBQX0A
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April 20, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – April 2018
I remember d-bags trying to tell me the first two Baroness EPs were the best thing they ever did. Fuck outta here with that bullshit. Blue Record was a slight step down from Red Album, but Yellow & Green is a goddamn masterpiece. They haven't made a bad full-length yet.
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April 2, 2018 on Remembering “Hipster Metal” & The Sword’s Gods Of The Earth 10 Years Later
Liking that Messa a LOT. And yeah, the Judas Priest album is all that and more. Like I said on Twitter when I first heard it, "The new Judas Priest album is too long (14 songs, 58 minutes - I'd have preferred 10 in 40-45), the lyrics are basically nonsense, and I still don't like the cover. And yet it still manages to totally fucking rule."
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March 30, 2018 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – March 2018
This story is really interesting to me, because it crystallizes my problem with Springsteen: He takes something that's great for two and a half minutes and does it for fifteen minutes.
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March 30, 2018 on The Number Ones: Gary U.S. Bonds’ “Quarter To Three”
Anything's better than whatever Kurt Rosenwinkel does that makes his guitar sound like a flute fed through an Echoplex.
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March 23, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – March 2018
I first became aware of Monder a few years ago, when he was in a quartet with saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh - they've got a few albums together on Sunnyside, of which The Turn is the best.
+3 |
March 23, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – March 2018
Time Out Of Mind is very good; Love And Theft and Together Through Life are good but overrated. I don't really like anything he's done since then.
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March 16, 2018 on Shut Up, Dude: This Week’s Best And Worst Comments
I saw the Residents tour supporting that album. It was one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen - a full-on (and very creepy) theatrical production where they sang gospel songs and cowboy songs in the first half, then Elvis songs in the second half.
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March 14, 2018 on The Number Ones: Elvis Presley’s “Stuck On You”
Is that true? I mean, my money would be on Barbra Streisand or someone like that.
+2 |
March 2, 2018 on Ray Of Light Turns 20
I need to listen to that Mergia album. What I've read about it has me very intrigued.
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February 28, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2018
I like this a lot. Bonehead slam metal with "oh my god, what's wrong with the toilet?" vocals, when done well, is one of my favorite things in the world, and this is really good.
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February 28, 2018 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – February 2018
"We see this all the time as new generations of critics and artists emerge to replace the old guard" - Mtume, the percussionist in Miles Davis's 1970s band, has actually said that they needed to wait for a new generation of critics to come along for albums like Agharta and On The Corner to be appreciated for what they were, instead of hated for what they weren't.
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February 28, 2018 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – February 2018
I don't like the new Therion that much either (and I'm a guy who likes Rhapsody of Fire AND Judas Priest's Nostradamus), but your larger point about bands like this getting written out of metal history by critics is very important. Something similar goes on in jazz, and I talked about it in this month's Ugly Beauty column after reading a whole book on 1970s jazz that dealt almost exclusively with the avant-garde figures from that era, totally ignoring the groups that actually sold records (back when jazz records occasionally sold). I guess if your band is doing really well, it's easy to shrug off a lack of critical appreciation, but it does tend to screw with history.
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February 28, 2018 on The Black Market: The Month In Metal – February 2018
Hey, I still like the first 3 Coldplay albums.
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February 23, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – February 2018
I like the new Tribulation a lot. I saw them open for Cannibal Corpse and Behemoth, and they were great. I don't like the dude's vocals at all, but the music is glorious. The new Agrimonia is also really, really good - a mix of Swedish death metal and goth that makes 12-minute songs work somehow? In non-metal news, the second Marmozets album comes out today, too, and it rules. They used to be screamy math-rock, and they're still sort of that, but they write ballads every once in a while now, too.
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January 26, 2018 on Album Of The Week: Tribulation Down Below
I'm actually gonna be talking about that album next month, I think, because as of now it's not streaming anywhere, and the only place you can buy it is on iTunes or through their own webstore - it's not even available on Amazon.
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January 23, 2018 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – January 2018
Wormed and Obituary. (The Obituary album that came out this year was totally crushing, and Wormed have one of the most amazing vocalists either of us has ever heard.)
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December 26, 2017 on Ugly Beauty: The Month In Jazz – December 2017
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