Ten Free Jazz Albums to Hear Before You Die

Categories: Jazz

3. Black Artists Group
BAG In Paris - Aries 1973
Founded in St. Louis in the mid-1960s, the Black Artists Group was a collective of black artists, poets, playwrights and musicians, including Julius Hemphill, Oliver Lake, Hamiet Bluiett and Baikida Carrol. In 1969, BAG took over a warehouse in St. Louis where they'd host concerts, plays, film screenings, and art exhibitions. Among the group's incredibly rare recordings is this gem snatched from a Paris gig in 1973.

2. Chris Corsano/Virginia Genta
The Live in Lisbon
Here's something newer. The drummer Chris Corsano's everywhere. He has worked with free jazz old-schoolers like Joe McPhee (see Nation Time) and Evan Parker, and also with Björk and Rangda (with Sir Richard Bishop and Ben Chasny). The abrasive Italian saxophonist Virginia Genta plays with the various Jooklo ensembles, and has collaborated with folks like C. Spencer Yeh and Mats Gustafsson. The two united on this small porch in Portugal, and some brilliant bedlam ensued. Complete rage.

1. Matana Roberts
Coin Coin Chapter One: Les gens de couleur libres
Maybe you know the saxophonist Matana Roberts because she played on Godspeed You! Black Emperor's Yanqui U.X.O., but you should know her for other reasons. Roberts would almost definitely object to this being called a "free jazz" album, but I think it is the best free jazz album to come out in the last 10 years. Released last year on Constellation, Roberts leads this large ensemble on an epic, beautiful, tragic and triumphant journey through the history of Black American life and music.

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