Wednesday, September 28, 2016
My expressive self has been a happy recipient of this music for several weeks now. Each number shows off the sizable amassed forces, say for example vocals, violin, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn, clarinet, oud, percussion, nay and shofar for "Si Veriash a la Rana."
Each number reflects the varied backgrounds of all concerned with traditional songs arranged deftly or new compositions reflecting and combining the collective heritage of all.
It takes a bit of adjustment and a release of your everyday expectations. Once that happens you will revel in a sophisticated and musically keen world amalgam that is a joy to hear.
Heartily and happily recommended!
Monday, September 26, 2016
It is a continuous barrage of lively sonic collage we hear for some forty minutes, nimbly bounding from sound-event-station to sound-event-station, ever in development, ever pursuing an open destination.
The album was captured live at Cafe Oto and nicely expresses the creatively spontaneous inspiration of shining in the moment.
There is a beautifully open rapport between Lee and Marclay that involves an acute awareness of the sonoric possibilities of color-timbre discourses in real time. The noise element contrasts with notefull textures dramatically throughout the set.
This is a vibrant contemporary example of the exceptional flowering of new music improv that has taken place in this century thus far. As talented individuals encompass a greater and greater spectrum of sound poetics we begin to see a dramatic increase in spontaneous expressivities and at times a great distance between the language of such performances and earlier "free" vocabularies.
A brave new sort of world confronts us on the best of such event gatherings. Amalgam reminds us how far we have come, how Lee and Marclay are exemplifying and pointing towards new sonic frontiers.
Thursday, September 22, 2016
And so as a timely reminder we have a newly released, all-alto-solo Joe McPhee album Flowers (Cipsela 005), which was recorded live at the 2009 Jazz ao Centro Festival in Coimbra, Portugal.
It is a thematically unified affair--with a series of dedications (for Ornette, John Tchicai, Anthony Braxton, etc.) which serve as catalysts for some state-of-the-art improvisations.
Joe is in great form, seemingly inspired by the appreciative audience. And you find yourself caught up after a few listens in the logic-soul of the spontaneous moment.
It is an excellent set, a great one to have. Long live Joe McPhee!
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
This is music that wakes you up to new possibilities that lay out well and pointilistically drive forward with a contrapuntal kind of avant swing that starts with Nick's all-over fullness of tone and gets handed forward with the complex string work and sax soulfulness. It is a furtherance of the Too Many Continents album Nick and Tony did a while ago with Kris Davis. Clutton and Downing give the music a different spin but it's all on the road to the very new.
It is both very original and very successful in its free-structured juxtapositions.
One of the more startling avant jazz albums this year to date. Bravo Nick and Quartet! Get this one!
Monday, September 19, 2016
Nine spontaneous numbers fill out the CD with nicely turned improvs, Rudi unleashing his arsenal of clarinets in his special way and Kasper Tom playing consistently brilliant and inventive free drums.
Clearly, the two are in top form and engage in high-level dialogues throughout. Once again we have some elevations of the spirit that bear repeated listening, marking the Euro scene as a hotspot for the new jazz. Kasper Tom and Rudi Mahall make for essential listening.
I do recommend you get this one!
Friday, September 16, 2016
Each has of course developed his own sound and this duet is free flowing yet structured with some excellent compositional ideas from the two. That makes considerable difference in giving us a stand-out album.
And that's one of the hallmarks of new Chicago--they challenge themselves to pull a little bit more forward with every project via good ideas and excellent execution.
You listen to these two together and how they have devised worthy motifs to improvise around, fulcrum points as it were, and you get a program that speaks freshly of the continuing evolution of the avant improviser.
This session has it all going on--concept, motifs, beautifully thematic improvisations and an adventurous dynamic.
Another great example of how Chicago continues to remain vital!
Thursday, September 15, 2016
The additional players color the music nicely and set up the compositional thrust of Lefteris in ways that stand out.
The music rocks and swings genuinely and makes the composed and improvised material especially vivid.
It is a music so thoroughly woven together with the strands of Kordis' background and very contemporary jazz that there is no pulling apart at any time.
It is an outstanding vision of real fusion today, as valuable for Lefteris' piano as it is for the compositions and arrangements. Kudos for this! Get it.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
His newest venture is a full CD-length electro-acoustic work entitled Scutigere (E198). It is a soundscape that takes a long-form approach to its sprawling, ever-unwinding sonic tapestry. There are event-oriented sections but also an endlessly floating, suspended continuity. Sustained elements evolve and change while a sort of orchestral blend of distinctive timbral washes ebb and flow like the tides.
It takes its time and ideally you the listener need to slow down and surrender to the flow of musical ideas.
There are repetitions that mostly occur over long time spans and those repetitions develop and mutate so you find every few minutes that the music has changed a great deal though you still remain a'swim in the sonic tidal washes.
It is one of those singular works that travels along so evocatively that the hour's elapsing play time seems much more brief, or even virtually timeless.
Kudos to Julien on this one. It is surely one of the most important electroacoustic works in the last few years, to my mind. Highly recommended.
Monday, September 12, 2016
The Octet is a lively group of musicians well attuned to Peggy's arabesques, her contemporary freshness, her well-voiced, very original contemporary approach. Peggy's piano (and vocals on one number) are joined by a somewhat unusual instrumentation of clarinet, flute, trombone, cello, bass and drums, plus Suzi Stern on vocals for two pieces.
The lines she writes have unexpected aspects and tonal yet not-at-all common touches. And the sort of thoughtful arranging of the voicings gives you a sonance that stands out. There are good players here--capable of improvisations that have the sound of surprise that goes with Peggy's music.
Pretty outstanding, this all is! Get a copy if you want to dig into something new and substantial in the jazz composition realm.
Friday, September 9, 2016
The trio itself has been outstanding for while now. Rodrigo Pinheiro's piano is an explosion of wonderfully executed, dramatic ideas, Hernani Faustino responds with parallel virtuoso all-over heat, and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini gets his own sound with busy and very open creative time. Add Butcher's over-the-top energy and timing and you have a free outing that is hard to top.
This has all the good things about live jazz, recorded in a bright flame at the Jazz em Agosto series last year.
This one is a definite cork-popper, a model of extraordinarily productive four-way inspiration. Strongly recommended!
Thursday, September 8, 2016
All but one of the compositions on the set are hers, with one by Ikuo. They have a great variety, from a jazz waltz to a jagged figure to improvise off of to a sort of zombie rocker, there is whimsicality but understandably a definite seriousness of purpose in all of this.
Eri's piano style has harmonic and melodic complexity--she may have been influenced by, say, Bley and Tyner, yet there is a great deal of originality on display, even a bit of humor.
Altogether a winner of an album! Bravo Ms. Yamamoto!
Wednesday, September 7, 2016
This one is called Bridges from the East (Milo Records 301). Elektra as you may well know is a gloriously rhapsodic violinist who has the brilliance to meld wonderfully the violin's eastern roots, its jazz heritage and its classical history into a style that is all Elektra. Curtis Stewart seconds her nicely as the other violinist in the band and he can swing! Then there is the irreplaceable eastern-jazz clarinet Lefteris Bournias, plus the crack rhythm team of Bradley Jones on electric bass and then the ever-insightful drumming of Reggie Nicholson.
Elektra's compositions are as ever right on the mark and the arrangements capture the special eastern fusion blend for which the ensemble is famous.
Nothing missing here. Another gem from the ensemble!
The lyrics and hence the theme of this album is centered around the legend of the World Tree, axis mundi.
It is an album that places you on a folk-jazz terrain that is exceedingly beautiful, like no other exactly, lyrical and sonically uncanny.
If you are looking for something new and lyrical and are not sure of what, this one may give you what you cannot quite name. It's like that. It is beyond our age yet belongs to it exceptionally well.
Thursday, September 1, 2016
The lines are almost folksy-Bartoksy, but no, there is a Nachoff-sian something, too, that sets it apart.
If you are looking for brainy heat, you can put your money on this one. It is excellent.