Thursday, August 28, 2014

SLAPP HAPPY with HENRY COW – Desperate Straights (LP-1975)



Label: Virgin – V 2024
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Repress / Country: UK / Released: 1975
CD ReR Megacorp – ReR HCSH1 (UK) (2004)
Style: Avantgarde, Jazz Rock, Prog Rock
Recorded at The Manor & Nova Sound Studios, 1974.
Arranged By, Producer – Henry Cow, Simon Heyworth, Slapp Happy

A1 - Some Questions About Hats . . . (1:49)
A2 - The Owl . . . (2:14)
A3 - A Worm Is at Work . . . (1:52)
A4 - Bad Alchemy . . . (3:06)
A5 - Europa . . . (2:48)
A6 - Desperate Straights . . . (4:14)
A7 - Riding Tigers . . . (1:43)
B1 - Apes in Capes . . . (2:14)
B2 - Strayed . . . (1:53)
B3 - Giants . . . (1:57)
B4 - Excerpt from The Messiah . . . (1:48)
B5 - In the Sickbay . . . (2:08)
B6 - Caucasian Lullaby . . . (8:20)

Line-up / Musicians
- Peter Blegvad / guitar, voice
- Lindsay Cooper / oboe, bassoon
- Chris Cutler / drums
- Fred Frith / guitar, violin, xylophone
- John Greaves / bass guitar, piano
- Anthony Moore / piano
- Tim Hodgkinson / clarinet, organ, piano
- Dagmar Krause / voice, wurlitzer

Guest musicians:
- Mont Campbell / French horn
- Nick Evans / trombone
- Mongezi Fezza / trumpet
- Geoff Leigh / flute
- Pierre Moerlen / percussion



Shortly after recording 'Unrest', Henry Cow entered into a merger with label mates Slapp Happy. Slapp Happy comprised Dagmar, a German vocalist who would later win great acclaim for interpretations of Brecht (and sign my copy of this abum), Peter Blegvad, American born but raised and educated in England, played guitar and wrote most of the lyrics and would later contribute the unique strip cartoon Leviathan to the Independent, and Anthony Moore, English pianist who wrote most of the music and who would later work with the post Waters Pink Floyd. Together they produced a kind of skewed pop awash with literary and artistic references. They had recorded 2 albums with Faust, the second of which was re-recorded with session players for Virgin. 2 albums would come from this merger; Desperate Straights (Slapp Happy with Henry Cow) and In Praise Of Learning (Henry Cow with Slapp Happy).
Desperate Straights was the first of the joint ventures to be recorded, and the union of Henry Cow's avant rock with Slapp Happy's warped pop was both challenging and accessible. The majority of the songs were built around a piano/bass/drums accompaniment, with other instruments adding extra colour where needed. Tim Hodgkinson's clarinet is deployed as an instrumental foil to Dagmar's unique voice to superb effect, particularly on the opening song Some Questions About Hats. Elsewhwere, The Owl features Dagmar accompanied solely by horns and Europa has some superb percussion from Pierre Moerlen - all the arrangements are highly original and well thought out. Peter Blegvad takes the lead vocal on Strayed and does a neat pastiche of Lou Reed's drawl. Excerpt From The Messiah is a snippet of Handel as though played by a 70s glam metal band like Slade. There are 2 instrumentals, the title track which is a short, off kilter foxtrot, and the closing track, a lengthy piano/clarinet piece which features the 2 instruments playing scales very slowly. Caucasian Lullaby isn't bad at all, and would have been a superb addition to one of Eno's Obscure label releases, but it is somewhat out of keeping with the rest of the album.

This release is more representative of Slapp Happy than Henry Cow. All of Slapp Happy's albums are worth checking out - this album was released on CD as a twofer with their first album for Virgin, and is superb value if you can find it. If you've ever wondered what a cabaret band from mars would sound like, this album is definitly for you.

Review by Syzygy,
PROG REVIEWER, February 08, 2005



Buy this album!

HENRY COW – In Praise Of Learning (LP-1975)



Label: Virgin ‎– V 2027
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album / Country: UK / Released: 1975
CD ReR Megacorp – ReR HC3 (US) (2000)
Style: Avantgarde, Jazz Rock, Prog Rock
Recorded at the Manor, February & March 1975, except track A1, recorded November 1974.
Artwork By [Sock] – Ray Smith
Producer – Henry Cow, Phil Becque, Slapp Happy
Recorded By, Mixed By – Phil Becque
Remastered By – Matt Murman

ART IS NOT A MIRROR - IT IS A HAMMER (John Grierson)

A1 - War . . . (2:26)
A2 - Living In The Heart of the Beast . . . (15:30)
B1 - Beginning: The Long March . . . (6:27)
B2 - Beautiful as the Moon - Terrible as an Army With Banners . . . (7:02)
B3 - Morning Star . . . (6:06)

Line-up / Musicians
- Dagmar Krause / vocals
- Peter Blegvad / clarinet, guitar, vocals
- John Greaves / bass, piano
- Chris Cutler / piano, trumpet, drums, vocals
- Lindsay Cooper / bassoon, oboe, Wind
- Mongezi Feza / trumpet
- Phil Becque / synthesizer
- Fred Frith / guitar, piano, violin, keyboards, xylophone
- Tim Hodgkinson / organ, clarinet, piano, keyboards, saxophone, vocals
- Geoff Leigh / trumpet, saxophones
- Anthony Moore / synthesizer, piano, keyboards, electronics

The trademark chainmail sock was deep red, and the cover was adorned with a quote from the left wing film maker John Grierson - 'Art is not a mirror, it is a hammer'. The titles of the two instrumentals also explicitly refer to the band's left wing politics; Beginning: The Long March is a reference to the Chinese Revolution, while Morning Star is the name of the daily paper published by the Communist Party of Great Britain.
And what of the music?




HENRY COW had joined forces with the German trio SLAPP HAPPY as they collaborated to make the album "Desperate Straights" under the SLAPP HAPPY name. "In Praise Of Learning" sees this collaboration continue only this one is released under the HENRY COW name. This collaboration would end shortly after this album was released. Still this melding of the two bands makes "In Praise Of Learning" quite different from their previous two studio albums. More avant-garde i'd say plus having Dagmar Krause on vocals changes the mood completely. I am used to her vocals from the ART BEARS albums but those who haven't heard her sing before don't usually view her participation as a positive. Including guests we get eleven musicians involved with the making of this record. SLAPP HAPPY would fold after this recording when Dagmar announced she was staying with HENRY COW as the COW would tour a lot the following year or so. She would return to SLAPP HAPPY though as witnessed on their 1980 release "Acnalbasac Noom".
"War" is only 2 1/2 minutes long and was composed by the SLAPP HAPPY duo of Moore and Blegvad. Both Blegvad and Krause sing on it and Dagmar is quite passionate here. I like the brief instrumental sections. "Living In The Heart Of The Beast" opens with Frith ripping it up with some dissonant guitar leads. Krause comes in vocally and I like this song already much better than the first tune. It settles down before we get some more aggressive guitar. A calm follows with piano and Dagmar returns in a reserved manner. It turns dark before 3 minutes as we get a complex instrumental section that really impresses. Vocals are back before 4 1/2 minutes. Another calm a minute later as the vocals stop and the sounds become intricate. Vocals are back and they do get passionate at times. Another calm before 7 1/2 minutes with organ. Violin joins in from Frith after 8 minutes. It will kick in again but settle back quickly. This is so good ! Vocals are back before 12 1/2 minutes as it stays fairly relaxed. Great, great track composed by Tim Hodgkinson.

"Beginning- The Long March" like the final track "Morning Star" were joint efforts by the two bands. The first is experimental throughout as various sounds come and go. I like this instrumental a lot, it's a real trip. "Beautiful As The Moon-Terrible As An Army With Banners" is a Frith / Cutler composition. It opens with reserved vocals and a laid back sound with plenty of piano. It does become a little more passionate then settles back before 3 minutes. It picks back up before 4 minutes with an excellent instrumental section. Dagmar is back late. Another excellent track. "Morning Star" ends it as we get dissonant horns and random drum patterns to start and more. Avant is the word and it continues throughout. An adventerous instrumental to close out the album...

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER, March 03, 2013


Whether you agree with their politics or not, music as passionate and committed as this is all too rare, and in the prog field it is almost unprecedented. Listen and be amazed.


Never have I heard such a radiant combination of instrumentation, song-writing, emotion, intellect, everything that makes each song unique and full of true magic. If you have not heard it, grant your ears the gift immediately. This album gets my highest recommendation of anything I could write.



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Sunday, August 24, 2014

THE MUSIC IMPROVISATION COMPANY – 1968-1971 (LP-1976)



Label: Incus Records – 17
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album - Country: UK / Released: 1976
Style: Free Improvisation
Side A recorded in mono in London on 4 July 1969.
Side B recorded in stereo in London on 18 June 1970.
Painting – Jamie Muir
Producer [Post Production] – John Hadden
Recorded By – Bob Woolford (tracks: 5, 6)

The back cover features a quote from 'The Wellsprings of Music' by Curt Sachs.

A1 - Pointing . . . 7:10
A2 - Untitled 3 . . . 6:32
A3 - Untitled 4 . . . 4:10
A4 - Bedrest . . . 7:38
B1 - Its Tongue Trapped To The Rock By A Limpet, The Water Rat Succumbed To The Incoming Tide . . . 8:55
B2 - In The Victim's Absence . . . 10:35

Derek Bailey – guitar
Evan Parker – soprano saxophone, autoharp [amplified]
Hugh Davies – electronics [live], organ
Jamie Muir – percussion, painting

This LP covers the historic beginnings of the British free music scene and its founding fathers: Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Hugh Davies, and future King Crimson drummer Jamie Muir. These recordings come off amazingly well, considering the first four were recorded in mono. And while there are six pieces here, it's almost impossible to talk about them as separate entities, since what was at work in the group consciousness was to create a free jazz music in the U.K. that was distinct from what was happening in America and elsewhere in Europe at the time. Therefore in the brave spirit of rabid experimentation and oh so serious creative spirit, we have an amalgam of recordings that suggest the future of a free music that turned out very differently than its origins suggest. This collective is exactly that; none of these players -- especially not Parker or Bailey -- had developed into the kinds of soloists that they are today, not only in terms of technical expertise, but in terms of vision. What one can hear in the bravado here is indecision, misdirection, and wrongheaded musical obfuscation that proved to be liberating obstacles in the long run. The one constant here, the thread, if you will, is the sense of dynamics that became the trademark of the new music and has remained ever since. This is a document that does sound dated, but only in a way that tells a story. It's is a necessary addition to anyone's library who is interested in improvised music.

_ By THOM JUREK  



If you find it, buy this album!

Friday, August 22, 2014

HEINER GOEBBELS and ALFRED HARTH / 3 albums (LPs-1981-1984)


HEINER GOEBBELS and ALFRED HARTH – Der Durchdrungene Mensch / Indianer Für Morgen (LP-1981)

Label: Riskant ‎– riskant 4001
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 1981
Style: Avantgarde, Experimental
Cover – Johannes Beck
Music By – Alfred Harth (tracks: A1 to A6, B2 to B4), Heiner Goebbels (tracks: A1 to B4)
Producer – Wolfgang Hamm
Recorded By, Mixed By [August 81] – Heiner Goebbels
Recorded By, Mixed By [Sunrise Studios, Kirchberg] – Etienne Conod, Robert Vogel

Der Durchdrungene Mensch - Zyklus Über Den Modernen Mensch

A1 - Der Stürzende Mensch . . . 3:40
A2 - Der Lachende Und Der Weinende Mensch . . . 1:46
A3 - Der Durchdrungene Mensch
        (Lyrics By [Life Can Be A Gestalt In Time] – A. Maslow) . . . 3:36
A4 - Der Reibungslose Mensch . . . 3:11
A5 - Der Kommunistische Mensch . . . 4:15
A6 - Der Redende Und Der Schweigende Mensch
        (Featuring [Wann Ist Denn Endlich Frieden] – Wolf Biermann) . . . 2:56

Indianer Für Morgen

B1 - Berlin, Q-Damm 12.4.81
        (Rec. By – G. Lackner, R. Krause / Trombone – A. Boje, A. Roelofs) . . . 5:05
B2 - Indianer Für Morgen . . . 2:18
B3 - Dunkle Wolk
        (Lyrics By – J. Werlin / Recorded By – G. Platen / Vocals – D. Krause) . . . 5:11
B4 - Kein Kriegsspielzeug Für Jonathan . . . 4:11
B5 - Über Den Selbstmord
        (Lyrics By – Bertolt Brecht / Music By – Hanns Eisler) . . . 2:36

Heiner Goebbels – Synthesizer, Piano, Drums, Drum Machine, Bass Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet, Cello, Guitar, Harpsichord, Shawm
Alfred Harth – Voice, Trombone, Bass Clarinet, Bass Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone


GOEBBELS / HARTH mit KRAUSE / STÖTZNER – Bertolt Brecht: Zeit Wird Knapp (LP-1981)

Label: Tonstudio Zuckerfabrik – 28022
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 1981
Style: Free Jazz, Poetry, Free Improvisation
Recorded and mixed August-October 1981 Tonstudio Zuckerfabrik-Stuttgart.
Artwork [Cover, Booklet] – Pit Mischke
Composed By – Alfred Harth, Heiner Goebbels
Concept By [Idea, Choice Of Texts] – Joachim-Ernst Berendt
Engineer – Gibbs Platen
Lyrics By – Bertolt Brecht / Painting – Robert Cavegn
Photography – Saefkow/Buchholz
Producer – Heiner Goebbels, Joachim-Ernst Berendt
Recorded By – Rolf Riehm and Gisbert Lackner

A1 - Tagesanbruch . . . 4:28
A2 - Ich, Bertold Brecht . . . 1:16
A3 - Schwächen         1:12
A4 - Morgens Und Abends Zu Lesen . . . 0:48
A5 - Liebeslied           1:26
A6 - Abbau Des Schiffes Oskawa Durch Die Mannschaft . . . 6:26
A7 - Es Lebt Eine Gräfin In Schwedischem Land . . . 2:03
A8 - Die Vögel Warten Im Winter Vor Dem Fenster . . . 2:54
B1 - Apfelböck Oder Die Lilie Auf Dem Felde . . . 3:34
B2 - Der Pflaumenbaum . . . 1:38
B3 - Legende Von Der Entstehung Des Buches Taoteking Auf Dem Wege Des Laotse In Die   Emigration . . . 5:25
B4 - Liedchen Aus Alter Zeit . . . 0:37
B5 - Sonett . . . 1:25
B6 - Deutsches Lied . . . 1:26
B7 - 1940 (Ich Befinde Mich Auf Dem Inselchen Lidingo) . . . 3:35
B8 - Ich, Bertolt Brecht / An Die Nachgeborenen / Wer Zuhause Bleibt, Wenn Der Kampf Beginnt / Adresse Des Sterbenden Dichters An Die Jugend . . . 2:49

Alfred Harth – Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Recorder [Bass], Percussion
Heiner Goebbels – Piano, Harpsichord, Organ, Synthesizer [Korg, Sci, Wasp], Accordion, Cello, Violin [Chinese], Guitar, Bouzouki, Electric Bass, Percussion
Dagmar Krause – Vocals
Ernst Stötzner – Voice


HEINER GOEBBELS and ALFRED HARTH – Frankfurt-Peking (LP-1984)

Label: Riskant ‎– riskant 4011
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 1984
Style: Avantgarde
Recorded and mixed at Trion Sound Studio Frankfurt (September 1984)
Design [Cover-Design] – Johannes Paar
Mixed By [Abgemischt Von] – Büdi Siebert, Heiner Goebbels, Walter Brüssow
Music By [Musik] – Heiner Goebbels (tracks: A3), Heiner Goebbels / Alfred Harth (tracks: A1, A2, A4, B)
Producer [Produziert Von] – Wolfgang Hamm
Recorded By [Aufgenommen Von] – Bernhard Klein, Walter Brüssow

Track A1 composed for the play "Nach Aschenfeld" by F. K. Waechter
Track B uses original parts of the "Modern Revolutionary Peking-Opera 'Shachiapang' "

A1 - Die Reise Nach Aschenfeld . . 5:50
A2 - Stell Dir Vor Du Bist Ein Delphin
        (Lyrics By – Micky Reman) . . . 4:52
A3 - Blitze Über Moskau4:39
A4 - Paradies Und Hölle Können Eine Stadt Sein . . . 4:53
B  -  Peking-Oper . . . 15:55

Alfred Harth – Tenor Saxophone [Tenorsaxophon], Soprano Saxophone [Sopransaxophon], Clarinet [Klarinette], Bass Clarinet [Baßklarinette], Trombone [Posaune], Trumpet [Trompete], Performer [Mundstücke Etc.]
Heiner Goebbels – Piano, Synthesizer, Organ [Orgel], Guitar [Gitarre], Percussion [Perkussion], Violin [Chinesische Geige], Performer [Mundstücke, Gartenschläuche Etc.]


posted by -Otto-


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Monday, August 18, 2014

SOGENANNTES LINKSRADIKALES BLASORCHESTER ‎– Hört, Hört! (1977) / Mit Gelben Birnen (1980) - 2CD-Trikont



Label: Trikont – CD 0258-2
Format: 2 × CD, Compilation; Country: Germany - Released: 1999
Style: Brass Band, Big Band, Political
Mixed By – Heinz Weihe (tracks: 2-1 to 2-16), Ute Schatz (tracks: 2-1 to 2-16)
Recorded By – Clemenz Müller (tracks: 1-1 to 1-14, 2-2 to 2-4, 2-6), Dietram Köster (tracks: 2-7, 2-9, 2-12, 2-13), Franco Fabbri (tracks: 2-10, 2-11), Heinz Weihe (tracks: 2-1, 2-5), Helmut Fritz (2)(tracks: 2-14), Ute Schatz (tracks: 2-1, 2-5)
Recorded By [Vocals] – Rainer Hecht (tracks: 2-3)

SOGENANNTES LINKSRADIKALES BLASORCHESTER was a brass band formed in 1976, in Frankfurt, by HEINER GOEBBELS, ALFRED HARTH, CHRISTOPH ANDERS... in an attempt to reinforce artistically the left student movement demonstrations of that period. The band, designed mostly for live appearances, was consisting of about twenty musicians and played on stage, at the streets and in diverse political activities.
In spite of the circumstances of its birth, The So-Called Left Radical Brass Orchestra never was a preacher of left dogmatism. Their repertoire crossed the music history from baroque & classical period, early twentieth century to free-jazz and avant-garde, including original pieces, traditonal themes, covers of Hans Eisler, Frank Zappa etc.
Their interpretations were imaginative, inventive, uncompromised but not snobbish, eclectic, intellectual and yet very amusing - a channel for direct communication with the people.

SLB discography comprises the albums: "HÖRT HÖRT" (1977) and "MIT GELBEN BIRNEN" (1980)

 ''Hört, Hört!'' – Recorded july 1977. – (Trikont US-36)
1-1,3,5 and 1-14 are live recordings from a concert in 'dem Frankfurter Stadtteilkino 'Harmonie'', 11-07-1977.

1-1 Vorspiel und "Gedanken über die rote Fahne" (by Hanns Eisler)  2:52
1-2 Begleitung (by Rolf Riehm)  2:07
1-3 Tagesschau (by Alfred Harth, Heiner Goebbels, Rolf Riehm)  7:32
1-4 Ich bin halt die Kotze aus Deiner Glotze (''I'm the Slime'' by Frank Zappa)  2:37
1-5 Chickmatch-Blues (by Alfred Harth)   3:12
1-6 Die Fabriken und Stück (by Hanns Eisler, Rolf Riehm)  3:16
1-7 Circa  (by Heiner Goebbels)  5:17
1-8 Rote Sonne  (by Trad. Arranged by Heiner Goebbels)   2:23
1-9 Der Anwalt des Schreckens  (by Rolf Riehm, Lyrics by Peter Paul Zahl)   2:30
1-10 Ya no somos nosotros  (by Karaxu, Arranged by Heiner Goebbels)  1:37
1-11 La resistencia se organisa  (by Karaxu, Arranged by Heiner Goebbels)  4:54
1-12 Homesick-Blues  (by Rolf Riehm, Lyrics by Peter Paul Zahl)  3:28
1-13 Lied von der Gedankenfreiheit  (by Walter Mossmann)   1:50
1-14 Tschüs  (by Walter Kubiczek, Lyrics by Dieter Lietz)  1:33

''Mit Gelben Birnen'' – Recorded Sept. 1979 and August 1980. – (Trikont US-63)

2-1 Trotzalledem  (by Trad. Arranged by Heiner Goebbels)  3:47
2-2 Die Hügel von Ca'n Geroni  (by Rolf Riehm)   2:53
2-3 Hälfte des Lebens  (by Heiner Goebbels, Words by Friedrich Hölderlin)  2:36
2-4 Poema para el despertar de un niño  (by Johannes Eisenberg, Written by Cumbo, Rubio)   3:07
2-5 Ohne dass ich sagen würde, ich bin der neue Führer  (Arr.by Goebbels, Comp. by Hübner) 7:50
2-6 Präludium  (by Johann Sebastian Bach, Arranged by Rolf Riehm)  2:10
2-7 Einzugsmarsch  (''Enlightenment'' by Sun Ra, Arranged by Heiner Goebbels)  2:24
2-8 Zirkus  (by Rolf Riehm)   3:53
2-9 Baderkatalog   3:30
2-10 Großvater Stöffel  (by Hanns Eisler, Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht)   0:37
2-11 Trauermarsch  (by Willem Breuker)   3:11
2-12 O'Guarracino  (by Trad. Arranged by Heiner Goebbels)   4:52
2-13 Maschine   3:42
2-14 Kommet Ihr Hirten  (Composed by Trad.)  1:14
Bonus
2-15 Verstandsaufnahme  (by Heiner Goebbels, Words by Erich Fried)   3:04
2-16 Poltergeist  (by Trad. Arranged by Heiner Goebbels)   2:33

SLB musicians:
Christoph Anders, Alfred Harth, Heiner Goebbels – tenor saxes
Henning Wiese, Rolph Riem, Barbara Muller-Rendtorff – alto saxes
Thomas Jahn, Gudrun Stocker, Cora Stefan – flutes
Volker Haas, Reinhard Bussmann, Herwig Heise, Walter Ybema – clarinets
Klaus Becker, Johannes Eisenberg, Gunther Lohr – trumpets
Michael Hoehler, Peter Lieser – trombones
Uwe Schriefer, Jorn Stuckrath – tubas
Ernst Stotzner – voice



This post has prepared my friend Herr -Otto- and here are some of his interesting notes:

Just in case you wonder about the titles of the original LPs: “Hört, hört!” is not equivalent to the (approving) “hear, hear!” used in US and British English but quite the opposite, more like an expression of outrage, as in: “I can’t believe what I just heard!” or, in John McEnroe’s words: “You can’t be serious, man!”

…and “mit gelben Birnen” is the first line of Hölderlin’s poem “Hälfte des Lebens” which was published in 1805 when Friedrich was 35. Apparently a full life span back then was considered 70 years (with some luck). Hölderlin himself exceeded that by 3 years, although most of his later years (after 1807) he spent in a psychologically unstable state in the town of Tübingen in a tower by the Neckar river. This tower is still now referred to as “der Hölderlinturm”.

Enjoy!

posted by -Otto-



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Thursday, August 14, 2014

MATT LAVELLE TRIO – Spiritual Power (2007)



Label: Silkheart – SHCD 156
Format: CD, Album; Country: Sweden / Released: 2007
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded at West Park Studios in Brooklyn, NY 12/04/2007.
Artwork By [Front Cover] – Bob Thompson
Executive Producer [For Silkheart Records] – Keith Knox, Lars-Olof Gustavsson
Photography By – Peter Gannushkin
Photography By [Front Cover] – Lars Hoflund
Producer [For POS Productions] – Michael T.A. Thompson
Recorded By, Mixed By, Mastered By – Jim Clouse

Jazz trios led by a horn other than a saxophone are something of a rarity and while Matt Lavelle is known primarily as a trumpet player (William Parker's Little Huey Orchestra), on Spiritual Power he mostly divides the bulk of his time evenly between the mellower flugelhorn and bass clarinet. This band's natural antecedent is Roy Campbell's Pyramid Trio, another non-sax group where the leader riffs over a propulsive bass-and-drum rhythm section. Here, it's bassist Hilliard Greene (an expert in forward motion from his days with Charles Gayle) who plays the pivot, authoritative with his fingers on the title cut, mournful with the bow in unison with Lavelle's darkly tinted bass clarinet on "End Times and crisply on the leading edge of the rhythm as he mimics the vocalized meter of "S?- Se Puede . Drummer Michael TA Thompson is Greene's perfect partner, articulating each note and accenting every beat. Lavelle's tunes have an organic rightness about them, an economy of language that wastes nothing and brings each performance to a satisfying resolution, the end result of an open-hearted and inspired recording session.
_ By JEFF STOCKTON, Published: April 7, 2007 (AAJ)


Matt Lavelle is a multi-instrumentalist : he plays trumpet, flugelhorn and bass clarinet. This is, I think, his first CD with a trio, and it is more than appealing. He is accompanied by veterans Hilliard Greene on bass and Mike Thompson on drums. The lack of a harmonic chordal instrument is more than compensated by the intensity of the interplay. The tone for the album is set from the first piece, "Spiritual Power" : a powerful, chasing, relentless propulsing composition that gets out the best of the three musicians. The same intensity continues on the second piece, with the trumpet being changed for the clarinet. Don't look for clearly delineated melodies here, but that is definitely not the objective. The third piece, "Si Se Puede" gets Spanish shouting support from the musicians and is an exhilirating, pulsing, halting song with powerful drum and bass work. After all this intensity, "End Times" brings a moment of rest in the album : Greene plays arco for several minutes, to be joined by Lavelle on the bass clarinet, who takes over the initiative and further improvises on the sad theme. The most beautiful piece is "I Will Have Love In My Life" that starts with a drums solo from Thompson and which evolves into a bluesy free theme that hails back to the roots of jazz. Great stuff. For those who like open and unpredictable music.
_ By Stef (FreeJazz)

Silkheart Records / catalog:
http://www.silkheart.se/catalog.php



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F. CARRIER/ D. REDMAN/ M. DONATO/ R. SÉGUIN/ M. LAMBERT – Open Spaces (Live in Quebec City, Oct.30/Nov.1st 1999)



Label: Spool – SPL 127 / Series: LINE 27
Format: CD, Album; Country: Canada - Released: Dec 2006
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live in Quebec City, Quebec, October 30 and November 1st 1999
Sound and mastering by François Carrier
Photos by – François Carrier
Produced by – François Carrier
Assisted by – Edith Fortier

Music entirely improvised by François Carrier, Dewey Redman, Michel Donato, Ron Séguin and Michel Lambert

Description: François Carrier, alto sax; Dewey Redman, tenor sax; Michel Donato, acoustic bass; Ron Séguin, acoustic bass; Michel Lambert, drums. Recorded live in Quebec City, October 30 & November 1st 1999. Inexhaustible improviser François Carrier has captivated critics and audiences alike with his intense and original playing. Inspired by the vibrating and dynamic power of sounds, Carrier is interested in exploring what he calls the 'emotional atmosphere' in music, and in celebrating ephemeral beauty of the passing moment. Whether in a meditative mood or a playful one, Carrier is always unpredictable.


With Open Spaces, François Carrier has given us an opportunity to hear him paired with the magnificent Dewey Redman, recorded over two nights live in Quebec City in 1999. Carrier's usual drummer, Michel Lambert, provides powerhouse support on both nights, while bassist Michel Donato plays on track one and Ron Séguin on tracks two and three. This release, which was also mastered and produced by Carrier, is essentially a homage to Redman.
Redman, who died last September at the age of 75, did not gain as much recognition as perhaps he should have, but he was acknowledged as one of the most versatile tenor players around. His most notable associations were with Ornette Coleman from 1967-74 and with Keith Jarrett's "American" quartet in the early '70s.
The music on Open Spaces is by turns extraordinarily beautiful and physically exciting, and it seems to these ears that Carrier, although himself a master of free improvisation, follows Redman's lead. Indeed, there are times when it is hard to tell who is playing when Redman is at the upper end of his tenor and Carrier the lower end of his alto.
The free playing here is audibly tonally and thematically centered. "Going Through" opens with one of the most beautiful rubato lines you will ever hear by Redman (I think). All is mystery, softness and warmth, with a bit of danger added in. "Open Spaces" starts with a jaunty, humorous theme, again by Redman (I think), while "With The Flow," which sounds like Carrier's answer to Redman's first theme, brings back the first track's wide, deep silences.
Not only are the front-line players totally in sync, but the bass and drum playing is always very sensitive and supportive. Lambert has been with Carrier a long time and has a sixth sense when to lay back and when to push the group forward, either by erupting or locking in with the bassist in sections that can raise the hair on your neck.
Open Spaces, perhaps even more than Carrier's recent Leo release, Happening, is a wonderful introduction to free playing for those for whom it is new. Yes, there are periods of seeming chaos, with some squealing and honking and manic drumming, but these moments are reached by logical means. Then again, there are many clear themes, quotes from Lester Young and others that just pop out and shock just as much as the free-form stuff.
Put simply, all of these players know how to control the flow, density and emotions of the music as it develops, and this makes it "easy" to accept and follow. "Free" playing here does not mean cacophony, but rather an on-your-toes, in-the-moment experience of playing and listening. Enjoy.

By BUDD KOPMAN, Published: November 27, 2006 (AAJ)



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Monday, August 11, 2014

RETURN OF THE NEW THING – Traque (2003)



Label: Ayler Records – aylCD-010
Format: CD, Album; Country: Sweden - Released: 2003
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
#1 recorded at Studio Val d'Orge, Epinay sur Orge, France on February 16, 2002.
#2-5 recorded at the Festival Jazz à Mulhouse in Mulhouse, France, on August 25, 2000.
Artwork [Cover Art], Design – Åke Bjurhamn
Executive-Producer – Jan Ström
Mastered By – Maïkôl Seminatore
Photography By – Pascale Szpiro
Recorded By – Grégory Teurtrie (tracks: 2 to 5)


Traque is the group Return of the New Thing's second recording, the first being issued several years earlier on the Leo label. Those who appreciate the high quality of these unabashedly uncompromising pieces will be unconcerned that the so-called "New Thing" has been around continuously for decades at the time of these sessions, and instead focus on the music, not the semantics. Dan Warburton, who plays piano and violin for the quartet and also wrote the liner notes (and who is better known for his exemplary work as a journalist), calls the genre of performance "improvised free jazz," but whatever it is called, the results enthrall. Those familiar with the quirky, staccato-infused, iconoclastic blowing of Jean-Luc Guionnet will recognize his primitive sound from the get-go, as his pre-bop snarls and anti-bop phrasing are riddled with a strained emotional fervor. There are times, particularly on the long opening track, when the ghost of Albert Ayler and the shadow of Cecil Taylor raise their heads. That these comparisons can even be made is a tribute to some incredible finger work from Warburton, who is the "real" thing on his primary instrument, the piano. Listeners accustomed to the (mostly) European post-Coltrane embrace of free improvisation should be taken by the harsh divergences that run throughout: the altered tempos on "Traque," the hard-hitting exclamations on "Scent," and the occasional changes in volume that sometimes seem contrived. Warburton is a powerful presence particularly on "Traque," where he is permitted to stretch at length. There appears to be a conscious effort to build slowly (and sometimes not so slowly), but there is an evolutionary consistency throughout. Much time is allotted to solos, and they are uniformly superb, with a special nod to Warburton's CT-like clusters that at their best come across like meteor showers from space, and to Guionnet's weird but enticing disjointedness. Somehow it all works remarkably well, though as is so often the case those not accustomed to "free" improvisation will find this music very abstract and difficult to follow. For everyone else, well, how about a glass of champagne?

_ Review by Steve Loewy



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Sunday, August 10, 2014

WARBURTON / FUCHS / GUIONNET / PERRAUD – Return Of The New Thing (1999)



Label: Leo Records – CD LR 280
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: Dec 1999
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded on 20 March 1999 at Ouistiti, Paris.
Mastered By – Mark Haliday
Mixed By – Dan Warburton, David Cook
Photography By – Dan Warburton, Jean-Luc Guionnet
Producer – Dan Warburton, Leo Feigin
Recorded By – David Cook

01 Somehow, Anyhow . . . 12:54
02 Hic Et Nunc, In Limine . . . 17:20
03 Y2k . . . 12:39
04 Truth And Reconciliation [To Archie Shepp] . . . 7:12

Dan Warburton – piano, violin
Jean-Luc Guionnet – alto saxophone
François Fuchs – bass
Edward Perraud – drums, percussion

" ...Dan Warburton's outfit were this event's genuine new find. Recalling The Joe Manieri Trio's revelatory performance at the first Leo Records festival back in 1996, Warburton, on piano and violin, with his group of young, top notch French players, stretched the barest of tunes until they snapped, burst and split at the seams and left the crowd hungry for more..."


This is an enjoyable disk of mostly spontaneously composed jazz by four Paris-domiciled players, led by multi-instrumentalist, jazz critic and British ex-pat Dan Warburton. (As an added bonus, the CD is graced with a tres chic cover photo of Warburton’s toddler-aged son pondering the universe amid a pile of free jazz LPs.) All but one of the four tunes on Return are freely improvised, but, like a selection of Muhal Abrams pieces from the Seventies and Eighties, they cover quite a wide range of approaches. The talented alto saxophonist Jean-Luc Guionnet goes to work early on the opening "Somehow, Anyhow," strutting impressive Evan Parker-influenced barrages. But the piece flies into another gear altogether with only a couple minutes to go (at about the 11-minute mark) when (pianist/violinist) Warburton, breaks out his serious, (and seriously fast) neo-hard-bop chops. The following "Hic et Nunc, in Limine" (by percussionist Edward Perraud) is in the late Coltrane, devotional mode, with Warburton going Alice C. one better by jumping off the three-chord arpeggiated background train whenever he feels like it. The balance is a bit heavy on the piano and drums on this one, but since Warburton and Perraud are doing such interesting stuff, it’s not really a problem. The tune gets stuck in a little rut (again at about the 11-minute mark) but the gentlemen climb out winningly after a few perilous moments atop some of the most exciting playing on the disk. "Y2K" begins with a briskly sawed note on Francois Fuchs' bass. The other players dance exotically around this single repeated pitch for a while, with Warburton taking up a Jenkins- drenched violin. Unlike its predecessors, this tune changes directions after only about half of eleven minutes, when Warburton switches to modal piano, and the bass and drums move into a funky one-chord space jam. Guionnet’s sax solos are terrific on this tune - high-energy urban heat. After a couple of minutes, Warburton leaves Tyner Town for Bergman Bay and the boys buy vacation property there. The downside here is Fuchs extreme reluctance to leave the original tonic even after the other players get more adventurous.. There’s more funk (and single-key dominance) on the closing "Truth and Reconciliation," which, though dedicated to Archie Shepp, brought to my mind the smiling faces of Errol Garner and Ray Charles. Warburton’s (again highly funkified) piano is once more the dominant voice, with Guionnet’s wailing alto and Perraud’s grooving drums the featured supporting actors. This time, Fuchs is forced to fall into the role of follower, since Warburton is calling all of the bass, chord, and rhythm shots, and a single pitch on bass would not have been appropriate. (As a sometimes "bossy" improvising keyboardist myself, I often find that when music that is both tonal and - in some sense - free is the order of the day, the best thing to do is to leave the bassist home: that way there’ll be neither conflict nor subservience.) In any case, I hope to hear more from this exciting, eclectic group. Like cellist Matt Turner’s group Chum, this gang is simply fun to listen to.

_ By Walter Horn



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Thursday, August 7, 2014

WOLFGANG DAUNER'S ET CETERA – Live (2LP-1973)




Label: MPS Records – 29 21754-2
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 1973
Style: Jazz-Rock, Fusion, Experimental
A1 to D1 recorded live at Sielmingen with Ton Studio Bauer in May 1973
D2 recorded at Dauner Studio 1973
Design [Cover], Photography By – Frieder Grindler
Engineer – Martin Wieland
Mixed By – Martin Wieland, Wolfgang Dauner
Producer – MPS Records

A1 - Twelve And Nine (Wolfgang Dauner) . . . 12:00
A2 - Introduction (Kovacev, Braceful, Schmidt-Oehm, Thurow, Dauner) . . . 10:34
B1 - Es Soll Ein Stück Vom Willi Sein (Jürgen Schmidt-Oehm) . . . 9:45
B2 - Plumcake (Matthias Thurow) . . . 10:05
C1 - G X 3 And Blues (Wolfgang Dauner) . . . 22:00
D1 - The Love That Cannot Speak It's Name (Wolfgang Dauner) . . . 16:40
D2 - Nemo's Dream (Wolfgang Dauner) . . . 4:24

Wolfgang Dauner – synthesizer, keyboards
Jürgen Schmidt-Oehm – violin, flute
Matthias Thurow – bass, sitar
Lala Kovacev – drums [left track]
Fred Braceful – drums [right track]


German outfit Et Cetera was the brainchild of Wolfgang Dauner. Starting out playing piano as a child, he actually graduated from the Stuttgart conservatory with a major in trumpet.

In 1963 he founded his own jazz band, focusing on the comtemporary scene, bringing in famous German bassist Eberhard Weber and American drummer Fred Braceful. This threesom played together well into the 70s ? changing and challenging their sound to the limit.

Dauner recieved critical acclaim with his take on experimental and modern jazz, where he and his fellow band mates stretched the boundaries of the scene to such an extent, that many since have claimed that they did to jazz what Faust did to rock. Already at the end of the 60s, these musicians showed signs of what was to come in form of the Krautrock movement rolling across Germany during the frantic and wild 70s.

So as a natural continuation of what was happening in regards to experimentation between the different genres, Dauner and crew recorded the Et Cetera debut in mid December 1970 at the Orange Recording Studios in London. The band now consisted of Roland Wittich (percussion), Eberhard Weber ( different bass instruments, vc), Fred Braceful (drums, voices, bongos), Siggi Schwab (guitar, sitar, sarangi) and Wolfgang Dauner (synths, clavinet, ringmodulator, trumpet, flute, etc etc).

Combining everything from Indian raga music and psychedelics to the avant garde jazz tendencies with a modern rock template, Et Cetera managed to conjure up a rather unique take on the Krautrock sound. Freeflowing and loose with much focus on improvisations, the band was a melting pot of many different styles and approaches.

With the add on of legendary drummer Jon Hiseman and guitar chameleon Larry Coryell for the second studio album Knirsch, the band now seemed like a sonic experimentation to be reckoned with. Sadly this was to be the final studio release from this highly eclectic group, and they called it quits the year after with a double live album.

Et Cetera was a shortlived installment in the early days of Krautrock, but seen from a modern perspective and in the larger scope of what the scene was all about, it seems only proper to call this outfit one of the true pioneers of the scene.

The music can be everything from psychedelic tinged rock to freak out avant garde jazz with a healthy dose of Indian spicing, but above all and most importantly, this group was indeed a highly experimental force that influenced and pushed the dynamics of the German Krautrock scene during its infancy.

_ David (Guldbamsen, DK)



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Sunday, August 3, 2014

JAN GARBAREK with TERJE RYPDAL – Esoteric Circle (LP-1969-76)



Label: Intercord – INT 147.300, Freedom – INT 147.300
First released on US-label Flying Dutchman 1969, under George Russell Presents...
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: W. Germany - Released: 1976
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded in Oslo, Norway in 1969.
Art Direction – Bob Heimall
Artwork [Cover Art] – Benno Friedman
Coordinator [U.s. Production] – Micahel Cuscuna, Steve Backer
Design – Nancy Greenberg
Engineer – Bjornar Andresen
Producer – George Russell

A1 - Traneflight . . . . . . .  2:53
A2 - Rabalder . . . . . . . .   8:16
A3 - Esoteric Circle . . . . . 5:23
A4 - Vips . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5:40
B1 - SAS 644 . . . . . . . . .  7:47
B2 - Nefertite . . . . . . . . .  2:03
B3 - Gee . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1:09
B4 - Karin's Mode . . . . . . 7:32
B5 - Breeze Ending . . . . . 3:39

Jan Garbarek – tenor saxophone, composed
Terje Rypdal – guitar
Arild Andersen – bass
Jon Christensen – drums, percussion

Jan Garbarek had studied with the great American composer George Russell, and had previously appeared on Russell's venture into jazz-rock, Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved By Nature. Whereas his teacher's usage of rock rhythms in an avant jazz context often came off as rather clunky, for Garbarek and his guitarist, Terje Rypdal, formerly a member of the popular Norwegian band the Vanguards, such a melding was more second nature. The Esoteric Circle, the first album by their band of the same name (hey, this was still the '60s after all), is a highly successful and enjoyable effort, one that can stand comfortably with work being done at that time by Tony Williams or John McLaughlin. Garbarek's compositions range from deeply felt homages to Coltrane ("Traneflight" and "Nefertite") to rocking jams like "Rabalder," where Rypdal gets to showcase his considerable chops. In fact, some of these themes were used by Russell in his aforementioned work. Garbarek's own playing, here entirely on tenor, come largely out of Albert Ayler as well as Coltrane, and his general attack is much more raw and aggressive than the style for which he would eventually become more widely known through his recordings for ECM. Listeners who enjoy his first several albums for that label (from Afric Pepperbird to Witchi-Tai-To) will find much to savor here.
_ Review by Brian Olewnick


Jan Garbarek's solo debut, released on US-label Flying Dutchman under "Esoteric Circle" project's name (and later re-released as his solo album), is really interesting release for every Garbarek fan.
First of all,music presented there is a bit raw but innovative mix of post-bop, fusion and avant- garde jazz. Musician's line up is the same as on Garbarek second, much better known album (and his debut on ECM), but the music sounds different. Rhythm section is more conservative there and rarely leaves post-bop tradition, but Garbarek's tenor sax and partially Rypdal's electric guitar make some trips to fusion and avant-garde zones. As a result, album in whole sounds slightly unfocused, but raw,dirty and even explosive in moments (what is impossible for any Garbarek's recorded on ECM music).

Some compositions have strong emotional vibes, nice tunes, and Coltrane's influences are obvious there.At the same time, Jon Christensen and Terje Rypdal bring some heavier and rockier elements, from jazz-rock to rock jamming. Eclectic and quite unusual musical mix for Garbarek's album, isn't it?

Rare and interesting release illustrating Garbarek's (and Rypdal's) early musical influences,inspired and innovative as few first Garbarek's ECM albums are.
_ Review by snobb



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