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Linda May Han Oh - 'Walk Against Wind'

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

I've had "Lucid Lullaby" stuck in my head for weeks. It took an equal amount of time for the humor of the literal nature of the song title to wash over me, but that phrase singing forth from Linda May Han Oh's bass, haunting me perpetually, is the perfect little melody. Oh as a composer has always been adept at writing perfect little melodies throughout her body of work. This is no more clear than in her latest release, Walk Against Wind, out Friday on Biophilia Records.

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Matthew Stevens - 'Preverbal'

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

What is the actual difference between adventurous, guitar-based contemporary jazz music and instrumental post-rock? Depending on the day, I can get down just as much to Explosions in the Sky or Mogwai as much as I would to Rafiq Bhatia or, in this particular case, Matthew Stevens. For the creators, there's likely little difference, or moreso it matters less to these folks, but if you just had to put your finger on justs what exactly is going on here in the music, there's the finest lines being leapt over like a game of hopscotch in these particular sounds and a true philosophical question could be asked of these creations, particularly in regard to branding and association. With this in mind, Matthew Stevens' sophomore album, Preverbal, has a lot to unpack.

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Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - 'Ruler Rebel'

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

Since time perpetually moves forward, all movement is technically forward movement. Everything is a form of progression. Experience gives texture to signature, though the elements of signature -- those attributes that define the outward expression of persona -- remain fundamentally intact because the everlasting battle of nature versus nurture will always end up in some sort of tie. When hearing Ruler Rebel, the first of three albums trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah will release this year as part of his Centennial Trilogy, in the context of his body of work, it's apparent that this is the perfect example of the progression of his signature sound.

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Miles Okazaki - 'Trickster'

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

Miles Okazaki's compositions sound like he's creating an elaborate portrait from mosaic, octagon-shaped tiles. His style of play is dense, weaving around in his phrases with so many loops and curlicues, it's dizzying. There's a lot going on under the surface, and even the surface is still pretty busy. That his work isn't too top heavy, most particularly his latest album-- Trickster, out Friday on Pi Recordings, is quite notable. However, that such complex work can express a simple groove so compellingly, is the even larger accomplishment.

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Thundercat - 'Drunk'

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

Early on his latest album, Drunk, on the song "Bus in These Streets" (written alongside Louis Cole), bassist/singer/personality Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner notes that he's "out here doing the most". Thundercat's third album on the Brainfeeder label does a lot of things, and "the most" is the best descriptor.