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Blacks' Myths - 's/t'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Washington, DC, duo Blacks' Myths are hypnotically gripping. In five compositions (three of considerable length), the pair are exploring the realm of ambient music, Afrobeat, drone, and jazz, finding ways to be charmingly weird. Bassist Luke Stewart and drummer Warren G. "Trae" Crudup III are the rhythm section of saxophonist James Brandon Lewis' trio, and they certainly show all kinds of range with that configuration. However, on their own, it's fascinating to hear how their inclinations is to stretch out their ideas as far as they can go, to fully inhabit a groove like riding out an acid trip through all its twists and turns. This album is Steward and Crudup unhinged for almost 45 minutes and it's far too cool not to revisit. It's literally a drum & bass album, at a top notch one at that. Check out their debut album, out now on Atlantic Rhythms, after the jump.

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Justin Brown - 'NYEUSI'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

For years, I have referred to Justin Brown as a murderer. He has an adeptness at the drum kit so technically rambunctious, so particularly expressive, that one's previous thinking about what drums can do dies. This has been the clear case for years in a percussive sense, however, Brown also has this capability as a composer and bandleader, as shown in his debut album, NYEUSI, out now on Biophilia Records.

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Broken Shadows - The North Door - June 20, 2018

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Paper burns at 451°F. At what temperature do master musicians start burning? When everything is going just right on stage? Broken Shadows -- the quartet of Tim Berne on alto saxophone, Chris Speed on tenor saxophone, Reid Anderson on base, and Dave King on drums -- concluded their tour in Austin, Texas, last Wednesday, an appropriate location for a band united to celebrate music of Texas composers-- Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, and Julius Hemphill. There aren't many instances in which jazz today celebrates the works of Coleman, Redman, and Hemphill. Yes, they come up every now and again but in such a concentrated, celebrated form, this isn't so much the case. A group like this looking at work like this is special. Coleman, Hemphill, and Redman were all from Fort Worth, Texas; it only made sense that the store would conclude in Texas, as Berne noted early on stage.

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Brad Mehldau Trio - 'Seymour Reads the Constitution!'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

The Brad Mehldau Trio -- Mehldau on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass, and Jeff Ballard on drums -- have not released an album together in four years, 2014's Blues and Ballads. You know how it goes-- artists create, move onto other ideas, take time creating on their own until the time is right to bring something just so to your usual collaborators. Sure, Mehldau spent the last four years vamping on Bach, jamming with a genius mandolin player, and playing a sideman, but there's just something so satisfying about hearing these three guys together again, jamming over original tunes, dazzling us with jazz standards, and playing rock covers in that model that we all know and love. Seymour Reads the Constitution! is certainly a return to form for these guys.

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Thumbscrew - 'Ours' and 'Theirs'

Anthony Dean-Harris
Editor-in-Chief
anthony.deanharris@nextbop.com / @i_ADH

Thumbscrew - the trio of guitarist Mary Halvorson, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara - are giants at the particular kind of weird they do individually, but they're practically mythological titans when united together. For the last four years, this trio has been a total trip, bending notes and playing with abstractions while holding onto a certain snap that brings it all together. Before this and in the midst of this period, the three have worked on one another's individual works as well. Now, for the first new albums on a reworked Cuneiform Records, Thumbscrew is back with two albums -- one of original compositions appropriately titled Ours and an album of covers thusly titled Theirs -- which release this Friday, June 8th.