Friday, June 25, 2021

Summer of Sonny

I almost couldn't believe it when I saw Sonny Sharrock featured so prominently in Questlove's new Summer of Soul doc. It's a phenomenal movie in general, but this was something I never expected. If only we could see the rest of the Herbie Mann set that this brief clip was drawn from!

It's a general guiding principle of mine that I take any/every opportunity to talk or write about Sonny. When I get right down to it, I think he is my single favorite musician of all time, the one whose soundworld resonates with me more than anyone else's. It's a bit heartbreaking to dwell on the fact that I'll never see him in the flesh, but new glimpses like this provide fresh inspiration. 

Here is my latest attempt to pay homage to his towering achievement, and to hopefully invite a few new listeners in. (And here's an older piece, specifically focused on Guitar, that touches on some of the same ideas.) As hard as his music hits me, year after year, his words, from the many archival interviews out there, carry nearly the same weight. 

Friday, May 07, 2021

Recently

Here is a new feature on the Descendents' upcoming album, which was recorded in 2002 and 2020, and features songs written between 1977 and 1980. It's kind of a convoluted saga, but I loved untangling it — and getting to speak with 3/4 of the Milo Goes to College lineup. 

Here is a review of the excellent new Bonnie "Prince" Billy / Matt Sweeney album, Superwolves, which I'm starting to think might be better than their first.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Recently

I spoke to all four members of Slint about Spiderland, which turns 30 this week. This album entered my bloodstream at the exact right time (I was maybe 16), and it's never lost its mystique or appeal. Every time I put it on, it's like stepping into another world. What a pleasure to talk to these guys, who still seem so utterly apart from any trend or movement. Forget "post-rock" or "math-rock" or what have you — Slint just went their own way.

I also wrote about the new albums by Pharoah Sanders and Archie Shepp, which are so different from each other but which I love equally.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Milford and Chick

Last week, just days apart, we lost a pair of masters, who, as many pointed out, worked together early in their career, before they became leaders in their respective areas of the jazz world.

Here is a new piece I wrote for Rolling Stone in tribute to Milford Graves. And here are a few writings on him from over the years: a live review of Graves with John Zorn and Steve Coleman at the Vanguard; a dual account of seeing him play the night before catching J. Read, one of my favorite metal drummers; and a reflection on an online Graves master class. And here is an interview I conducted with Milford at his home in 2015. I'm so grateful to have shared time and space with him on multiple occasions.

I haven't gone quite as deep with Chick Corea but I'm nevertheless a huge fan, from the Miles records, to Now He Sings (and the later ECM albums by that trio) to Return to Forever, the Herbie duo and beyond. Here is an obituary for Rolling Stone, as well as a new interview with Herbie Hancock on Chick's genius and benevolent spirit.

Friday, February 05, 2021

'Stay in Shape! Vol. 1'

My friend and fellow writer/musician Brad Farberman has put together this lovely and eclectic multi-artist comp for Bandcamp Friday, with proceeds going to the beloved Greenpoint bar/venue Troost. He was kind enough to invite me to be a part of it. I've been playing guitar (mostly at home) for around three years now, but my track here, "Magna Eye Sketch," represents the first example of that work that I've released into the world. Enjoy!