by Jason Gubbels

#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Mighty Diamonds | Right Time

July 17, 2015
mighty

The 1976 debut album from reggae trio Mighty Diamonds doesn’t usually get lumped in with other roughly contemporary works of Jamaican revolutionary agit-prop, and the reasons why aren’t difficult to comprehend. Burning Spear’s Marcus Garvey, the Abyssinians’ Satta Massagana, and Culture’s Two Sevens Clash all spelled out their apocalyptic intentions — even the album titles promised deep dives into sufferation. While Burning Spear’s dense tribute to Jamaica’s Pan-Africanist visionary featured the dignified visage of Garvey himself as artwork, the Diamonds took to Right Time’s cover as a bare-chested trio…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Randy Newman | Good Old Boys

June 19, 2015
Randy

Few things rankle a Southerner quite like the feeling that they’re being condescended to or underestimated by an outsider, and Good Old Boys toes a very fine line between being a smug bit of regionalist condescension and a brilliant albeit witheringly cynical piece of sociology. It’s a testament to the Los Angeles raised but Louisiana born Randy Newman’s mastery of narrative voice and shifting perspectives that the album ultimately emerges as a work of extraordinary insight into…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Magic Sam | West Side Soul

May 1, 2015
Magic Sam

Samuel Gene Maghett entered Cobra’s recording studios in 1957 as “Good Rocking Sam,” and luckily for all of us, some other Samuel was already laying claim to the clunky sobriquet. Maybe it really was Sam’s old friend and bass player Mack Thompson who suggested swapping Maghett out for Magic, or maybe label talent scout Willie Dixon had the bright idea. Whatever the circumstances, the recent Mississippian transplant re-dubbed Magic Sam dropped a bomb on Chicago’s West Side, the…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Cecil Taylor | Cecil Taylor Unit

March 13, 2015
Cecil Taylor, Moers Jazz Festival, maggio ; ;1978, Cecil Taylor sextet
Fotogramma selezionato per MUSICHE (Lelli e Masotti)

In a career marked by artistic triumphs, one might just as easily track Cecil Taylor’s long journey by highlighting his periods of exile. He was still scrubbing dishes in a food joint even while Down Beat gushed over his performances. The Five Spot Cafe kicked him to the curb after drink receipts for his six-week engagement failed to break even. An early 1970s academic gig teaching music at the University of Wisconsin ended in disarray when he flunked over half of his barely-attendant…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Tom T. Hall | In Search of a Song

February 20, 2015
Tommy

There were country music concept albums before In Search of a Song and there would be many after, from modern sounds in country & western music to tributes to the best damn fiddle players in the world and red headed strangers. But Tom T. Hall’s modest eleven song, thirty-one minute offering stands apart from the rest, perhaps because it’s not really a concept album at all. The packaging certainly works to suggest some kind of narrative arc, with Hall standing at the ready…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Tangerine Dream | Phaedra

January 24, 2015
tang

The daughter of Minos and wife of Theseus has long fascinated many a romantic soul — Euripides, Racine, Swinburne, and Lee Hazlewood all wove the name of Phaedra into their offerings (Hazlewood via the 1967 Nancy Sinatra-aided schlock classic “Some Velvet Morning”). Edgar Froese’s reasons for naming West Berlin synth outfit Tangerine Dream’s fifth album after the Greek figure seem altogether casual: “We’ve always been interested in Greek mythology,” he shrugged, “and the titles on [Phaedra] come from there. Not just Greek, but…

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#KickingtheCanon by Jason Gubbels Music

Art Pepper Quintet | Smack Up

January 2, 2015
Capture

Alternate title: The Junkie Blues. Altoist Art Pepper only had a few sessions left before a lengthy stint for heroin in San Quentin loomed, and while all the gory details of that are available in his peerless autobiography Straight Life (jointly written with wife Laurie), what matters is that one of our most distinctive post-war saxophonists was about to split his legacy into two epochs. On one side, former Kenton ensemble player works his way up the 1950s cool/bop divide, comfortable in either…

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