Phil Freeman

Phil Freeman

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I did include that one last month, yeah. It's a really good record. I've always respected Powell's importance more than I've listened to him for actual pleasure (true of most bebop, honestly), but Iverson made me want to revisit.
An absolute titan. The breadth of his body of work is unbelievable - from the proto-noise he was playing with Miles Davis live in 1970 to the insane (in the best way) fusion of Return To Forever to playing free jazz with Anthony Braxton, Dave Holland et al. to everything after...the guy had an astonishing career. I've barely scratched the surface myself, but there's just a ton of brilliant work to swim around in.
I always liked Gabriel's explanation for why his first four solo albums were all self-titled; he said he wanted them to be like issues of a magazine. I saw the So tour. It was a great show. Youssou N'Dour, one of the few African artists I've listened to whose music has never done much of anything for me, opened up. In arenas, all across North America. Gabriel's money-where-your-mouth-is support of "world music" wins him a million points forever.
I really hope the Allen album shows up on more year-end lists (I know Peter Margasak mentioned it on The Quietus). I couldn't list it here because I wrote the liner notes, but it's so good. And I liked the Revis and Lu discs you mention a lot, too.
I thought about Garcia, and listened to Source a bunch, but ultimately I decided I like her in Maisha and NĂ©rija more than I like her as a leader...
The Schneider album is very good - definitely my favorite of her works (there's something about her arranging "voice" that just doesn't click with me generally, but Data Lords has a toughness that I appreciate), but as a consumer advocate I can't justify including an album on a year-end list that's so damn hard to hear. It's not on any streaming service at all; the only way to hear it is to buy a copy directly from her. Which is great for her, but it doesn't exactly leave the door open for potential new fans.
TCIC are *amazing* live. I had to miss a Sons of Kemet/Irreversible Entanglements show in Brooklyn in 2019 and I'm still pissed about it. And Shabaka and the Ancestors were supposed to tour the US in March 2020; obviously, that didn't happen.
These guys opened for Neurosis in 1997 and it was one of the most intense things I've ever seen. Mike looked like he was going to fall over any minute, and the rest of the band looked like if he did fall over, they'd leave him there. Just a solid wave of sullen hostility coming off them... toward each other, the audience, life itself...
I remember reading somewhere that the "Chinese music" gibe came from Louis Armstrong, of all people. I almost included that in my writeup, but forgot about the Camarillo stuff so left it out.
It's always weird to me how albums are split between the Jazz and Contemporary Instrumental categories. Christian Scott's Axiom, and Jon Batiste's Chronology of a Dream: Live at the Village Vanguard, are nominated for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, not Best Jazz Album. I mean, "Live at the Village Vanguard" is right there in the title! That shit is a jazz album, full stop.

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