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Little Women- Tenor, alto, drums, guitar- out of Brooklyn NY bring us their 42 minute masterpiece.. which I have conveniently cut up into excerpts, less threatening in their duration, for the purposes of radio play.. that being said, this piece is really meant to be listened to uninterrupted, as a whole. Lung is all about contrast, inhale and exhale..quite and loud, gentle and rowdy,euphony and cacophony.. whenever you hear one it will be followed by the other. The piece starts off with about 1:40 of breathing sounds, which return throughout, between spurts of instrumental spasms. Tings and taps of a drum set settle in, and the rest of the party chimes in at about 4 min. These are the sounds of awakening, slowly cracking your eyes open and coming to (excerpt 1). Starting off lovely and lulled, things simmer and cook, with pops of loudness poking through (goes from very quite to quite loud without warning)..like an indecisive manic depressive, until the tension busts open about 20 minutes in (end of excerpt 2) when guitar strings start to break, the saxes start to skronk and the drummer lets loose. Another lull is followed by another freak out (excerpt 3) as eventually this epic piece winds down..circling back to where it started (excerpt 4). These guys open up a conversation that strokes, whispers, kisses, shouts, stings and bites. Killer interplay of sounds, and musicians who are tuned to the same frequency. 42 minutes goes by like 10.. go ahead.. play it from start to finish. -Surfer Rosa
This is extremely accessible, enjoyable jazz. The first couple of tracks are my favorite, with their Middle Eastern flavor and energy, but even as the tracks move on into more minimalism and suggested rather than played expressions, I remained a fan of this Finnish-born musician/composer whose oud and fretless and fretted guitar characterize these pieces. Stellar piano and percussion also pervade the release, as well as some soulful vocals on 6. Coltrane composed 2. A fine addition to our jazz library.
Skronked out Dutch seem to do it the best. What is it about Scandinavia that makes for such awesome free jazz?! Dead Neanderthals are no different. They go right for the throat with their tenor sax and drum freak out. No time to think; no time to breathe. Just shut up and head bang! The chaotic expression from these fellas captures two people who can really communicate via their instruments and create a swirl of madness. Crossing the lines between technical and messy, I can only hope that we hear more from this Dutch Grind-Jazz twosome!
Number stations were radio broadcasts that transmitted spoken or morse code numbers that were considered spy operations during the cold war. This ensemble’s improvisational music echoes their seemingly random but actually coherent messages and makes up track titles based on what their message might be. Trombonist Curtis Hasselbring leads the septet that includes Mary Halvorson (guitar), Trevor Dunn (bass), Matt Moran (vibes and marimba) and Chris Speed (tenor sax and clarinet), drummers Ches Smith and Satoshi Takeishi. Lots of great playing, a few inspired solos, and skillful interaction. Fun and sometimes even funny.
Farthest South takes its name from the term used by early 20th century explorers to describe a point as far south as one can reach, implying a location that is not fixed, much like improvised music. These three Israeli musicians are joined in the this set by free jazz saxophonist Albert Beger.
The varied backgrounds of the musicians combine to produce a completely improvised intersection of jazz, rock, noise, and electronics. A rhythmic bass line sweeps us along with its forward momentum. No annoying excessive noodling or heaviness that infects so much freely improvised music. Very cool, recommended!
Dizzing, Angelic, Hypnotic. These are just a few of the words to describe Colin Stetson’s new album. The one man saxaphone phenom is back with his 3rd album in his “New Hisory Warfare” saga. With cosmic waves of sax riffs fill the mind with worlds that haven’t be explored yet. We can see them but we can’t feel them. Stetson acts as the vessle to connect us to places that haven’t been awoken inside of you. Like Coltraine o Ayler; Stetson breaths new life into the saxaphone and into non believers.
Sao Paulo Underground’s “Tres Cabecas Loucuras” does not initially feel quiet as underground as the group name suggests, but once you start listening more closely to the different sounds coming out of this CD, a greater appreciation is gained for what is being done. Three Brazilians, one American. It could turn nasty but it doesn’t. It’s Brazil so of course it’s tropicalia. And lots of percussion. There is a cornetist, so it’s jazz. There are electronics so it’s experimental, and avant-garde and ….. Which is kind of the point, that it is just hard to classify but surprisingly not trying too hard. These four guys with beards churn up their sounds with just the right mix. The blips and squeaks of the electronics fit nicely with the acoustic four stringed cavaquinho and Brazilian percussive beats. These accomplished musicians make it all work. The American, Rob Mazurek, has a list of music, art and performance street cred a mile long, especially on the Chicago scene. Very enjoyable and surprising.
West Hill Blast Quartet on Foolproof Projects is a free jazz recording of exceptional quality. Andy Pyne, drummer, comes out of several Foolproof music groups (Kellar, Medicine and Duty) and Ron Caines, saxophonist, comes from numerous improv jazz projects as well as the prog rock group East of Eden. Dan Spicer and Gus Garside round out the quartet. Track 1 is like walking into a room where the band has already started playing, all cacaphony with sounds flying everywhere, catching you off guard. It’s loud and intense. They have definitely studied their Ornette Coleman. The other seven tracks never seem as abusive but have equally stellar performances. Several tracks showcase Pyne’s drumming persona. Track 5 has vocalizations (but not words) to go along with the instrumentation. The last track ends quietly, making a lovely balance from track 1. This is good stuff.
A rough and dirty sort of jazz-rock. This Franco-American sax/drums/electric bass trio plays music with surprising twists and turns, clever rhythmic variations, and nice bass chord action. What’s cool is that they spice up their sounds with laptop and various other effects. Sometimes it’s subtle–a slight echo or whatever–other times an instrument gets tweaked and warped into a strange new thing. This isn’t dangerous crazy jazz–it has an element of refinement and no one is going to mistake this for one of Peter Brotzmann’s groups–but if you want some nice funk grooves and intriguing compositions you can count on these guys. For some reason this reminds me of a Jim Black project such as Alas No Axis.
Trio side-Ab Baars-Clarinet; Ken Vandermark-Tenor Sax; Paal Nilssen-Love- Drums. Recorded- 2009 Addis Adeba this improvisational trio starts fast and furious with Nilssen-Love setting the time, enter Baars Clarinet squealing fire and flying high with Vandermark supporting. Vandermark takes over with blazing solo work with drums keeping live audience on edge of seat. This 4 minute improv doesn’t let up from start to finish. Solo Side- Recorded 2011 Addis Adeba. Mats Gustafsson reaches deep and long releasing animalistic guttural magnitude. Very soulful packed 4 minute solo. Both sides of this 7″ are peak high energy sessions that will leave you gasping for air.
Recorded live in Oslo and Bergen Norway May 2011. Drummer Frank Rosaly, Guitar, Elec. Mandolin Raoul Bjorkenheim, Elec. Bass Ingebright Haker Flaten, Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Sopranino Saxophones Mars Williams. The duets between Bjorkenhiem and Williams highlight throughout, but it is the impressive pulling and pushing of Rosaly, which makes this foursome go. Flaten may not be the featured star of this group, however his waves of funky as well as subtle beats keep these accomplished artists in line. Aggressive and textual and yet much room for calm and contemplative moments. A1- beautiful duet of drums and guitar that will take you on a classic trip in time of 30 years or more. C1- traveling through the Sahara on a caravan at nighttime hearing Rommel’s blitzkrieg through Monty’s 3rd division. Williams infuses his vast diverse spectrum into all 8 tracks. He blends beautifully with the other characters; you would never guess this is their first time playing together. Bjorkeheim calls his guitar style Psych-trance-ic-heavy-metal-ethno-free. And while that may be difficult to interpret, once you listen you find yourself nodding in agreement. All four of these members have traversed the Free Jazz as well as Rock landscapes over many years. While many have tried to blend the two, these guys get what Fusion is meant to be.
Walter, Weasel, Halvorson, Mary & Evans, Peter – “Mechanical Malfunction” – [Thirsty Ear Recordings]
Released in 2012, This eclectic trio features Walter on Drums, Halvorson on guitar, and Evans on trumpet. Three accomplished improvisators producing chaotic fusion at its finest. Each artist provided three compositions to this album along with two that all three collaborated on. Skilled improvisational play within composed theme and structure. Sparse and rigorous chamber improvisation, with much of the music based on short twisted phrases as well as tight intervals. For those used to the free improvisational play from these musicians this album may be frustrating initially as there is a constant struggle of composition vs. improvisation. The more it is played the better it sounds.
Raging rompin-thronkin headache jazz for underground inebriated pub creep rabble rousing.
The Gustafsson sax lion roars just as mightily as he ever did, but is seriously set at odds here against the gang of hippos that is Ich Bin N!ntendo. Winther’s thwanged and frayed guitar gutting is bent and bowed beyond belief while Johansen clamors and crashes around the drums as any ten ton animal would. Nergaard sets himself firmly and heavily in the center, keeping the savage beasts from tearing each other apart. But of course the tension breaks and they gnash and gnaw into one another in a bloody fit of multi-meter time smashing. It seems the hippos have taken control when Mats tears out from under the hubbub for one final scuffle.
On the flip side only Winther remains, hobbling about in a drunken stupor after their barroom brawl. Johansen jumps out and signal a start to their liqour soaked victory march, slogging in soggy trousers out through sludge and slime littered alleyways where they black out amidst the garbage. Yet again, they come to and begin the battle all over again, with full primal fury and mind deadening ritual.
Coleman’s masterful alto sax sets the mood for each of these tracks that were spontaneously composed, all with the theme of “creating a musical analogy of the interactions between the circulatory, nervous, respiratory, and other biological systems of the human body” (from the CD sleeve). The trumpet, bass, drums, and guitars that join the sax bring to life the “functional arrhythmias” the ensemble set out to express through accessible yet challenging jazz.
Nice vibes by Jason Adasiewicz throughout, but especially on 4. Like hearing Nicole Mitchell’s piccolo and flute, too. Long, intense exercises of jazz–conversations over multiple cups of coffee. Nice skittering rabeca (which is a Brazilian fiddle) played by Thomas Rohrer on 4 as well, so it’s the standout track for me, but beware as it ends suddenly. Of course, Rob Mazurek’s cornet injects its life into the mix at just the right times, whether it’s planned or improvised.
Four very different track here on this 12″ record from Vienna-based Trapist; Martin Siewert on guitar and electronix, Joe Williamson on the bass, and Martin Brandlmayr on drums/percussion. Each track is a spacious, yet restrictive improv, implemented with sincere precision.
Track 1 is very quiet in the beginning, slowly forming a soft, slow beat. Shimmery cymbals mix with melodic guitar and slow bass runs creating relaxing, contemplative atmosphere.
Track 2 intimidates with a building hum, like an electronic storm cloud. Screeching, scratching tones in space.
Track 3 is over too fast. Explorative and emotional, becomes bipolar with moments of ecstatic insanity.
Track 4 is all anxious-like in the beginning of this 14-minute epic. Depressing, like you’re walking down the grey street, passing ignorant cars shuffle slowly by as twisted thoughts eat away at you, leaving the wind howling with a glitchy guttural growl. Meditative meanderings, into the forest, dull hums, small nighttime animals creeping. Dusk turns to night and you realize you’re lost…
Walt Dickerson’s dazzling vibe playing is stunning on this release. Andrew Hill’s piano, George Tucker’s bass (bowed on God Bless), and Andrew Cyrille’s drums are just as lush and gorgeous. The players share a very intelligent conversation and free jazz improv association. “To My Queen” is heart felt and honest, a powerful tribute that certainly convinced me of how Walt Dickerson felt about his wife. Fine and original interpretations of two standards on Side B. Very moving, first rate 1960′s jazz.
Finally, this album, which was recorded in 1979, is being officially released. Trumpeter and composer Hannibal Marvin Peterson and his band use the medium of jazz to express views on global warming (A3) and apartheid (B2). Standout vocals by Branice McKenzie on A2 and B1. Hannibal’s belief in the integrity of the human spirit and the music used to communicate it shine through in this bold and impressive release.
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