Nine wonderful tracks of “free jazz” exploration tempered with continuous references and returns to meter, rhythm, repeated phrases of almost melodic quality. Sylvie Courvoisier on piano and Mark Feldman on violin had recently teamed up with Ikue Mori and Evan Parker for an album, so they come from experience and skill. Adding Ned Rothenberg on clarinet, alto saxophone, bass clarinet and shakuhachi makes for an interesting, challenging and lovely trio. No drums. Fascinating for a jazz album. And not missed in the least. These pieces explore so many dimensions capable with this list of instruments. For instance, when Feldman bows his violin it’s more shocking and head shaking than when he plucks, which would seem to make more sense. Songs start off and seem to explode, a rhythm played which begins to twist then loose itself in pure emotion. Pushing the definition of what is jazz, this collection of sounds positively broadens that idea.
Grosse Abfahrt is a project started by Gino Robair to explore improvisation with large groups or musicians. The core of the group consists of Robair, John Shiurba, Matt Ingalls, Tim Perkis, and Tom Djll. On this album (whos title means something like “airship holiday souvenir photo album”) they are joined by Frank Gratkowski, Kjell Nordeson, Liza Mezzacappa, Phillip Greenlief, and John Bisschoff. The session was recorded at Mills College in 2009.
Given the nature of the group, and the wide variety of instrumentation (all kinds of wind, string, percussion, electronics…) I expected something pretty frenzied and cacophonous, but it’s actually quite subtle and delicate. The artists spend most of their time listening, and slowly build intricately layered soundscapes that breath and flow.
The album starts off sparse and droney, and slowly picks up some speed as it progresses. Tracks 5 and 6 sound are more energetic and skittery (although still short of cacophonous) than the others, as if the group took a quick espresso break before recording them. There is a brief frenzied climax on track 6 that really hit the spot, and then track 7 slowly unwinds, bringing us back to the vast, wide open spaces that characterize the first few tracks.
Recorded live in Lisbon in 2015 with the Red Trio (bass, drums, percussion) and their Guest John Butcher on tenor and soprano sax. Free and abstract, all improvised with a fine collaboration that interweaves Butcher’s foundation with the trio’s response. Musically interesting and engaging.
Jazz piano trio with a viola instead of bass. Drummer Whit Dickey is here searching, and expansive. Matthew Shipp’s piano is lyrical, more melodic. Maneri’s viola tone catalyzes. This is great date – something notable is happening.
German reed player Gebhard Ullmann and pianist Achim Kaufmann meet for a highly improvised conversation. Difficult at times, but overall very emotionally and musically satisfying. Poignant quiet parts, shimmery bell-like sounds, original.
Hoosier Hot Shots ??? ???Everybody Stomp/Hot Lips??? ??? [Proper Records]
The Hoosier Hot Shots were a four piece swing, jazz, corn pone, hillbilly country outfit from Indiana. Steeped in the tradition of vaudeville, the group took parts of the U.S. by storm with their weekly radio broadcasts, their stage presence, their prolific recording career and their continued appearance in Hollywood westerns. This collection, ???Everybody Stomp??? is a 4 CD set of 100 Hoosier Hot Shot delights. The guys were multi-instrumentalists, playing a variety of brass instruments as well as guitar, string bass (various), clarinet and some unique handmade instruments including the Zither and the Wabash Washboard. It consisted of a corrugated sheet metal washboard on a metal stand with various noisemakers attached, including bells and a multi-octave range of squeeze-type bicycle horns???. Also, slide whistles are in most numbers. The Hoosiers selected many standards and familiar songs of the time to cover with a jaunty, silly twist. Vocals include conversation between the musicians, with some of the singers using this high pitched kind of hillbilly accent. And don???t forget the penny whistles. Once beyond the goofiness, though, take a listen to the amazing musicianship between the members. It???s quite impressive. A fun addition, fitting many of the styles of our station???s shows.
Modern free jazz pushing the boundaries of structure and technique. Propulsive but not explosive, these three accomplished musicians find a comfortable yet still edgy middle ground between sparse and skronk.
The songs have a tight feeling of cohesion not normally found in this kind of improvised music. It’s as if the works already exist out in the ether, moving along with their own internal shape and inertia, passing through the musicians who give them voice.
Hubweber plays the trombone like an alto sax, with long blasts of notes in between gasps and gurgles. Edwards scratches, bows, and thumps the bass, achieving some bizarre reverberations and harmonics. Lowens provides many percussive layers simultaneously. Playing skittery textures during the more abstract moments, but not afraid to lay down a bursts of driving rhythmic beat when the mood calls for it.
Label-leader and dEN-master Stefano Ferrian assembled
this five piece, with a decidedly electric timbre
although his spinning sax and Vito Emanuele Galante’s
trilling trumpet cross paths a lot. The album’s title
is the musical mantra for Ferrian’s compositions here
with heaps of arpeggiated arrays and hopped up cycles
of sound. Sometimes like on “Sharp Colors” they move
at a measured pace, but even that drops out and
let’s Simone Quatrana finger flip a solo on his keys,
as Fabrizio Carriero drum punctuates. “Closed Walk”
has a plodding gait, Luca Pissavini getting thick
with his electric bass (it feels like an acoustic
tree trunk.) Ferrian’s first solo sparcs nicely,
I get a little lost in Quatrana’s closing riffwork.
But I like the down Chicago feel to that piece. The
title cut has a more frenzied fusion feel for me.
I do like Ferrian’s kind of zig-zag melody use.
Another extended round from Quatrana on the closer
with some nice muted trumpet by Galante. Cycles
that are dizzying and perhaps refreshingly
Gillespie-ing? 2014 release, at least I found it
before Discogs has! -Thurston Hunger
CD1: Summer smells / CD2: Winter smells
Pianist/composer Yelena Eckemoff recruited Finnish jazz players to record this homage to the scents of her childhood in Russia. The band is comprised of trumpeter Verneri Pohjola, drummer Olavi Louhivuori, vibraphonist Panu Savolainen and bassist Antti Lotjonen. They are a younger band, very investigative, stimulating. More IN than OUT. Eckemoff is new to our library. She gives the band a lot of room within the compositions, but they retain a strong structure.
Mimmo, Gianni & Sjostrom, Harri – “Live At Bauchhund Berlin 2010” – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]
Out on Mimmo’s own label Amirani Contemporary, a duo of soprano sax natives Gianni Mimmo and Harri Sjostrom (ho-STROAM) performing live at Bauchhund Salonlabor in Berlin, June 4, 2010. Track 1 is a spoken intro. It was recorded on the anniversary of Steve Lacy’s passing, a fact mentioned in the intro. Lots of mouthpiece sounds. They get very into the instrument. Almost private. Track 9 features Sjostrom playing a special plastic cup.
The Hoosier Hot Shots were a four piece swing, jazz, cornpone, hillbilly country outfit from Indiana. Steeped in the tradition of vaudeville, the group took parts of the U.S. by storm with their weekly radio broadcasts, their stage presence, their prolific recording career and their continued appearance in Hollywood westerns. This collection, “Everybody Stomp” is a 4 CD set of 100 Hoosier Hot Shot delights. The guys were multi-instrumentalists, playing a variety of brass instruments as well as guitar, string bass (various), clarinet and some unique handmade instruments including the Zither and the Wabash Washboard. It consisted of a corrugated sheet metal washboard on a metal stand with various noisemakers attached, including bells and a multi-octave range of squeeze-type bicycle horns”. Also, slide whistles are in most numbers. The Hoosiers selected many standards and familiar songs of the time to cover with a jaunty, silly twist. Vocals include conversation between the musicians, with some of the singers using this hight pitched kind of hillbilly accent. And don’t forget the penny whistles. Once beyond the goffiness, though, take a listen to the amazing musicianship between the members. It’s quite impressive. A fun addition, fitting many of the styles of our station’s shows.
Recorded February 17th, 2014 at Cal’s Center for New Music & Audio Technologies.
Natural Artefacts cultivates a mix of live electronics, jazz, improvised, and new music. Piano, tenor sax, percussion, electronics. Never too rough.
Susanna Lindeborg-piano, electronics
Ove Johansson- tenor sax, EWI, electronics
Pers Anders Nilsson- exPressurePad, electronics
Gino Robair- percussion, electronics
Tim Perkis.- electronics (12, 13)
Add another great record from Gerry Mulligan to the KFJC library with this music that is as comfort food to me. Featuring recordings from 1952-1953 of “pianoless quartet” members Mulligan on baritone sax, Baker on trumpet, Larry Bunker on drums, Carson Smith on bass, Chico Hamilton on drums, and Bob Whitlock on bass, this is jazz from a time when the genre was undergoing changes described on the album notes. Mulligan arranged all and composed some of these tunes, making them all worth listening and swinging to. You won’t be able to stay still, I promise.
These recordings come to us from 1958 and are as engaging as the album cover. Percussion fans will appreciate Rugulo’s compositions and the way they are executed by the likes of Andre Previn on piano, Larry Bunker on vibes, xylophone, and timpani, and Shelly Manne on drums. Read the liner notes as you partake of the pleasure, especially of “Funky Drums” and “Percussion at Work.”
Recorded 1985. 8 saxophones (3 alto, 4 tenor, 1 baritone) + piano trio. Ambitious concept, lush arrangements and verbose lead work from Philadelphia tenor player Odean Pope. You have to admire the madness? Sometimes Pope’s solo rises above. Add it to the stack with Rova & WSQ
Recorded ’95/Released ’96. Baritone Sax legend Hamiet Bluiett’s Barbecue Band blends Free sounds, Afrocentric vibes and strong Gospel flavors. Recalls Steve Coleman.
Track 2 features spoken word poetry and G-Funk.
Track 4 is gospel Wind Beneath My Wings.
Track 9 features Bluiett in top form on the baritone over Body and Soul.
Excellence sometimes hits you directly in the face, or in this case, in the ears directly to your heart. Jazz improvisation has a big field of players. Many do it but few do it superbly. From the first few notes of this cd of three sets by Foxes Fox, the listener knows this is the real deal. Evan Parker on saxophone, Steve Beresford on piano, John Edwards on double bass and Louis Moholo-Moholo on percussion do not hold back for a moment. There is no leader here. All are on a par with and sounding comfortable with each other. There is rare pause. The instrumentation is TIGHT. The musicianship is superb. All instruments perform together with rare moments of solo work. Each is a supreme example of mastery of that instrument and could be a solo piece in and of itself, but put together is a sound so rich and so full. Beresford pounding out the low and high register at the same time with equal force gave me chills. Parker’s sax floats, punches, jabs around and through, while Edwards works his own logic with bass lines coming form everywhere. Maholo-Moholo’s percussion work does not hold down the work but makes it explode even more. How many ways can you say outstanding?
Lindberg was in his 20s, had played bass in the Anthony Braxton quartet from 79-85, this 1984 date features Braxton conducting. Recalls Mingus, classical. “Holler” theme echoes Peter & The Wolf. “m to M” builds from bass-xylophone duet into trumpet&sax split-channel solo over lush backdrop. “Dresden Moods” passes thru bombs to rebuilding. Ensemble passages, duo and trio vignettes, intense, serious, impressionistic.
Guerineau, Sylvain/Kent Carter/Itaru Oki/Makoto Sato – “D’une Rive a L’autre” – [Improvising Beings]
Free jazz sounds from this international quartet, all four members having been based in France since the 1970s and well-known on the jazz/improv scene. What we get here are wide-ranging workouts on tenor sax, trumpet/flugelhorn, bass, and drums. Plenty of variety in this music, with some quiet, ambient-ish sections contrasting with wild sections full of high energy blowing and banging. And of course, everything in between. Trumpeter Itaru Oki also plays a bit of flute. I especially enjoyed bassist Kent Carter, who is solid and also gets some unusual sounds out of his instrument.
Art Tatum- piano
Lionel Hampton- vibes
Buddy Rich- drums
Jazz trio record. Tatum and Hampton are in virtuosic form. Sublime. Every tune a winner. Recorded in LA, 1955.