Posts Tagged ‘Dan Schnapp


A Note on Charlie Rhyner

I’ve remarked elsewhere that given the absence of any dramatic upheavals for some sixty years now, jazz has ceased to be the consistently transforming art it once was. This doesn’t mean, however, that jazz has stagnated. Hardly. A small but significant body of gifted young musicians have at once been drawing upon and extending the rich traditions that preceded them (specifically, in the case in point, the innovations of the late 50s and early 60s that cleared so many new pathways to explore). And they are making of the treasures they’ve inherited music that is elevated and solidly their own.

I’m speaking in appreciation of the guitarist and composer Charlie Rhyner’s “The First Second,” released in 2018. Rhyner is an exceptionally talented guitarist and composer who makes full use of his instrument’s resources and, equipped with a fine musical intelligence, plays with subtlety, nuance and surprise. He also knows how to swing and is very good at choosing his sidemen as well. Mike Robinson, bass, Graciliano Zambonin, drums, Imraan Khahn, alto sax and Dan Schnapp, Fender Rhodes, are all standout musicians themselves. Their interplay—the sensitivity with which they complement one another—reflects a musicianship of the highest order.

An album that rewards repeated hearings, I would not hesitate to recommend “The First Second” as an exemplary, indeed quintessential, demonstration of contemporary jazz.

Writings & Miscellaneous

Books by Robert Levin

When Pacino’s Hot, I’m Hot
The Drill Press LLC

Against Mental Health: Short Stories


“A writer of talent and intelligence.” — Irving Louis Horowitz

“Distinguished quality…profound emotion.” —Dr. Karunesh Kumar Agrawal

“Some real gold in here.”—B.D. Charles


Music & Politics
by John Sinclair and Robert Levin
World Publishing

“Robert Levin’s articles…make up the second half of Music and Politics, and they’re something else again. He’s a quietly briliant writer (not flashy but subtly dazzling) who knows jazz extremely well and who knows how to let us know what he knows. His piece on Sunny Murray says more about the birth of the New Jazz than most writers could say in a volume; the Anthony Braxton interview is one of the freshest, most reassuring articles on the future of music (of the arts in general) that I’ve read; his ‘found critique’ of ‘Space’ by the MJQ, which contrasts Murray’s thoughts on music at the White House with President Nixon’s introduction of the MJQ in that very place, is brilliant; his piece on the unfortunate evolution of Willis Jackson…is a minor masterpiece; and he’s lucid and painful and thoroughly correct when he writes that ‘What is meant by ‘every man has his price’ is that every man has his uncertainty about the validity and sanity of his perception of the truth. To ‘sell out’ is to capitulate to that uncertainty.'”
—Colman Andrews, Creem

Giants of Black Music
Edited by Pauline Rivelli and Robert Levin, with a foreword by Nat Hentoff
Da Capo Press