Sunday, December 30, 2012

THE EX + TOM CORA - Scrabbling At The Lock (1991)

Label: Ex Records – EX 051D, RecRec Music – ReCDec 39
Format: CD, Album; Country: Europe - Released: 1991
Style: Avantgarde, Improvisation 
Recorded January 25-31 and mixed February 1-4, 1991, at ADM's Koeienverhuurbedrijf in Amsterdam, Holland; Printed in Austria
Published by RecRec Music (SUISA) Switzerland and Low Noise Music
Cello – Tom Cora
Guitar, Drums, Bass, Accordion, Voice – Andy, G.W.Sok, Katrin, Luc, Terrie (The Ex)
Mastered By [Cd] – DADC Austria
Music By – The Ex, (tracks: 1, 3 to 7, 9 to 12), Tom Cora (tracks: 1, 3 to 7, 9 to 12)
Photography By [Cover-photo] – N.D. Violllet
Sounds [Sound-scrapes] – Jeroen
Vocals [Vocal Improvisations] – Catherine Jauniaux (tracks: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10)
Words By – The Ex, (tracks: 1, 3 to 10, 12), Tom Cora (tracks: 1, 3 to 10, 12)

by Dean McFarlane

After producing an extensive discography through the '80s which contains some of the best avant-rock and post-punk put to record in the decade, the staunch Dutch independent group is paralleled by Fugazi in maintaining a strident autonomy in both business and aesthetic approaches. During the '80s they produced some of the most hard-hitting political punk, but by the beginning of the '90s were starting to experiment in new tangents that incorporated the influence of folk and free improvisation. Teaming up with the extraordinary avant-garde cellist Tom Cora of Skeleton Crew and Roof for his baffling solo cello improvisations, this formation explored the delicate modalities of European folk. A beautiful, candid recording that marks an inspired new tangent for the Ex which sparked themes that would run through their recordings for the remainder of the decade -- where folk and free improvisation would collide elegantly with their soaring autodidactic avant-rock.

I thought a lot about submitting this album to KiC, since it ’ s not exactly going with the current vibes of the site, but hey, it ’ s got Tom Cora in it, and Tom Cora is awesome under any circumstance. So here it is, a collaboration between him and Netherlander anarchist punk band The Ex, forming a very incisive force of sonic aggression unafraid of beating the liberty out of music as much as it is willing to exploit its more dramatically emotional qualities. Open to the questioning of dogma from the point of view of multiplicity, it goes beyond the usual anarcho-punk effort related to bands such as Crass by undermining their discourse with arts tinted by anarchism, the main of which is improv. It also calls upon the East and Africa as counter-influences to the Western government of science, drawn to the affirmation of life through both the individual and the communal in improvisation and non-European rhythms and chants.

The result is empowering and dramatic, bursting with walls of guitar distortion. Cora ’ s playing is melodious most of the time, but never traditional: it is played to produce rock riffs, oriental styles, and ultimate strain upon the instrument in its frantic pace. The Ex matches (generates, maybe?) the fierceness with its constant rhythmic allusions to different kinds of music (Jewish, African…), the electric power of noise, and the obvious breaks with “ normal ” punk and even post-punk. It all feels wild and genuinely fun, and I imagine one of those oh- so-old-yet-new futurist performances that grabbed the audience by the throat and shook it till the passive contemplation turned into loud, chaotic, angry, and enlightening fisticuffs. The train-wreck of civilization is, after all, always a couple minutes away from happening.

I don ’ t really have much more to say about this album, except that I hope you enjoy its very contemporary edge not only as music, but also as an ongoing expression of rebellion rooted in a very wide-reaching form of rock. Listen loud.
Have a great time!

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X-COMMUNICATION (Martin Schütz / Hans Koch) – X-Communication (1991)

Label: FMP – FMP CD 33
Format: CD, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 1991
Style: Free Improvisation
Track 1 recorded on November 3, 1990 during the 'Total Music Meeting' at the 'Quartier Latin', Berlin.
Track 2 recorded on December 15, 1990 at the Von-der-Heydt-Museum, Wuppertal. (This recording was commissioned by the Westgerman Radio/WDR-Köln).
First published in May 1991
Music By [All Music By] – X-Communication
Painting [Drawing] – Hal Foster; Photography By – Dagmar Gebers
Producer – Jost Gebers

                                                                                                         Hans Koch

X-Communication is a band that is not a band, a group of improvisers who come together to play concerts once in a while and hopefully document them with a recording or two, like this one. With Schutz and Reichel you have a strong component, in Morris you have a brass component, with Koch you have reeds which brings drummer Paul Lovens into the fold, along with vocalist extraordinaire Shelley Hirsch, violinist Jason Hwang, and trombonist Dino Deane.

                                                                                                    Shelley Hirsch

                                                                                                     Martin Schütz

There is no comprise in the music played by X-Communication. This is a group that looks for freedom at every turn, every window, and every pace. They look to turn each musician loose from the ensemble to explore with the support of the ensemble whatever it is she or he feels compelled to journey toward. The manner in which this group communicates its findings is for an entire article perhaps to discuss. The sounds, tones, textures, and timbral relationships encountered here are unique to this band; they have not been touched on before, and they will not be encountered again. These colors, so many shades of the dark, are beautiful to hear, to feel, and internalize. That they are beyond rational sense and discussion, and are facts worth celebrating.

 ~ by Thom Jurek

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

OPEN LOOSE – Explicit (Live At The Sunset - 2011)

Label: Marge – MARGE 50
Format: CD, Album; Country: France - Released: Dec 2011
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Avant-garde Jazz
Recorded live on April 11th, 2011 at the Sunset in Paris by Agnes Minetto.
Liner Notes [Translation] – Gary May
Producer – Gérard Terronès
14 page booklet with photos and liner notes in English and French.

Cornelia Street Café - Performances
29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, New York, NY 10014
Saturday, Dec 22, 2012 - 9:00PM & 10:30PM

Open Loose, an archetypal improvising band will be celebrating the release of their brilliant new CD “ Explicit ” . The album, recorded in one night at the Sunset Club in Paris, comprises nine new compositions by composer Mark Helias. Recorded in the middle of a two week tour this recording captures the live intensity of new music being explored and turned inside out by master improvisers. Come here the group live and take home an artifact in the form of their new CD. Open Loose – Explicit - Live At The Sunset.

             Mark Helias - bass, Tony Malaby - tenor saxophone, Tom Rainey - drums

By STEVE REYNOLDS - fresh impressions from the Cornelia Street Café:

...all new Helias tunes ranging from a fractured ballad to a improvised/composed 'out' piece that if played at the start of the first set would have cleared out half the room to incendiary burning groove based monster pieces like the closer the band destroyed the confused universe...
...not much else to be said except I know Evan Parker, Roscoe Mitchell, Paul Dunmall, Ellery Eskelin, Peter Brotzmann, Mats Gustafsson, Joe McPhee and Sonny Rollins all still walk this earth and Tony Malaby *still* may be the *greatest* tenor saxophonist alive...
...and Rainey played this solo intro with his hands that was beyond and then with that closing groove exploded reality for me from 5 feet away with less than a third of the house full - leave before the second set?!?!...
I have heard many many drummers over the years and this performance was simply a mind, man - the whole night but *that* last driving intensely powerful passage was comparable in total incredible genius to Hamid Drake on March 27th, 2001 at Tonic with Kessler and Vandermark or Gerry Hemingway ~ 10 years ago with Barry Guy and Marilyn Crispell or Mark Sanders @ The Knit with Evan Parker, Tim Berne and Drew Gress or Andrew Cyrille @ The Knit with Trio 3 back in the late 90's or even Randy Peterson last December with Mat Maneri's Quintet. of the year - and that includes 2 weeks ago at the Stone...


The group here is definitely open and loose, but never too free – working with some really sensitive interplay between the tenor of Tony Malaby, bass of Mark Helias, and drums of Tom Rainey – a trio who are free at points, yet also have a nice sense of structure too – really balancing different modes within the space of a single song! Helias has a really strong approach to his instrument – and his basslines, although sometimes spare, have a deep-rooted quality that really holds the whole thing together – and there's also possibly an intuitive link, given that he also wrote all the tunes on the set. Titles include "Waltz For Thursday Face", "The Archduke", "Story Line", "Explicit", "Moving Parts", and "Shorty One".

~ 2012, Dusty Groove, Inc.

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Sunday, December 23, 2012


Label: Jazzwerkstatt – jw074
Format: CD, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 2009
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz, Free Improvisation
Packaging: Jewel Tray in wrap-around box
Recorded and mastered February 19, 2008 by Gerard de Haro and Nicolas Baillard at the Studio La Buissonne in Pernes-Les-Fontaines, France
New Design (pages 2,3,4,5) by ART&JAZZ Studio
Artwork and Complete Design by VITKO Salvarica - 2012


Near perfect elaboration of a committed improvisational trio ’ s art, this Swiss-American group has been involved in furthering extrasensory mutual creation for more than a decade. Now seemingly able to predict and instantaneously react to even split-second sound dislocation, the trio has constructed a totality where the final note is as crucial as the first and where every one is woven into the overall fabric.

Considering the veteran trio ’ s background this practically supernatural connection is no surprise. During his 40 years in Europe for instance, American bassist Barre Phillips has played with everyone from saxophonist Evan Parker to pianist Paul Bley. Tenor and soprano saxophonist Urs Leimgruber has worked with bassist Joëlle Léandre, synthesizer player Thomas Lehn and many others. His Swiss countryman, pianist Jacques Demierre, is equally proficient in improvised and notated music, having recorded with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and in a trio with bassist Barry Guy, whose London Jazz Composers Orchestra also counts Phillips as a member.

Despite the CD ’ s supposed division into seven tracks, changes in strategy for these instant compositions merely involve one or another trio member pouring more textures into the mix. For instance on “ Eatlib ” Leimgruber ’ s polyphonic timbres quicken from whirrs to diaphragm- vibrated squeals as Phillips moves from strums to percussive spiccato. Initially adding singular plinks and note clusters, Demierre pedal pumps and thumps on the keys when the saxophonist ’ s extensive circular breathing turns to splutters and chips and the bassist scrubs his instrument ’ s wood as well as the strings for contrasting dynamics.

Or consider the title tune, which ends with high-frequency piano key spanks plus air flutters from the saxophonist, after commencing with tongue pops and a swaying double bass line. Throughout peeping reed vibrations evolve parallel to cascading note clusters from Demierre and col legno pumps and sweeps from the bassist. Reaching a dense climax, the piece positions Phillips ’ shrill whistling and strident slices with tremolo glissandi from the pianist, and the saxist ’ s equally taut reed squeals. Leimgruber ’ s adoption of circular breathing accompanied by high-frequency passing tones from Demierre is another strategy.

Although no less or more memorable than what precedes it, the trio would appear to be marshalling its inventions for “ Ilbeat ” , the final track, since at nearly 18 minutes it ’ s at least one-half to one-third lengthier than any other. A three-part exercise in broken octave concordance, it unites inchoate fragments into a vibrant whole. Initially aleatoric split tones and strained continuous trills from Leimgruber abut sparkling arpeggiated strums from Phillips and occasional slides and pumps from piano strings. After these languid node vibrations are met by low-pitched bass plucks, Leimgruber ’ s slurring reed pressure swells to staccato and altissimo reflux. This duet is further characterized by high-frequency note substations, wafting split tones from the saxman plus contrasting keyboard patterns.

Leimgruber, Demierre and Phillips may have jumbled the letters in Albeit to title this CD ’ s instant compositions as if they were creating the clues for a word puzzle. In most cases the results are gobbledygook in any language. Conversely the music contained beneath these bizarre titles is some of the finest contemporary improv imaginable.


I also recommend the album:


You can find it on the excellent jazz blog Caballo De Fuerza.

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THE ASTRONOMICAL UNIT - Matthias Müller / Clayton Thomas / Christian Marien – Relativity (2008)

Label: Jazzwerkstatt – jw063
Format: CD, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 2009
Style: Free Improvisation, avant-garde, Free Jazz
Recorded At Exploratorium, Berlin, March 3, 2008,
Mixed and Mastered at studio beige, January 2009 by – Nicholas Bussmann
Artwork – Chris Hinze; Design – Klaus Untiet
New Design (pages 2,3,4,5) by ART&JAZZ Studio
Artwork and Complete Design by Vitko Salvarica - 2012

                                                                                        The Astronomical Unit

The trio of trombonist Matthias Müller, bassist Clayton Thomas and drummer Christian Marien, The Astronomical Unit is a no-compromise intersection of instrumental personalities able to transcend barriers through the generation of a kind of sonority that is dense or rarefied depending on circumstance. The banishment of whatever may resemble an even vague shape of “ tune ” , or just a predictable structure, is the album ’ s main feature: events occur amidst sudden dynamic shifts, rapid discharges and unstable escalations for the large part of the performances, the music nearly inhospitable at first. But already at the second listen, one is set for a thorough comprehension of what the artists are willing to communicate. Müller is a worthy representative of the gallery of fine improvisers who decided to use trombone as a means of expression, a jargon which in this case appears quite akin to that of Jim Staley, an often forgotten name among the Rutherfords, Zummos and Lewises of the world. His jumpy talkativeness and outstanding reactivity are on a par with an explicit temperamental brilliance, every proposal uttered with spitefulness and irony at once. Thomas is great in utilizing the bass ’ body parts to the maximum extent to delineate a comprehensive gamut of timbres, disentangling the instrument from the necessities of dullard jazzy pumping. Marien represents the third piece of excellence in the group, creating new methods for the disaggregation of the rhythmic particles which, recombined and meshed with additional percussive gradations, push the interplay all along the impervious paths of improvisational capriciousness. The whole album is comparable to someone who finds a way of smiling while launching invectives. A very good effort.



Maybe it is interesting:

BOOMBOX  M  Gallery

BOOMBOX M deals with the world of sound, architecture and texture of places in Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Two walk-in boxes, the gallery visitors can watch the processed tracks to their specific origin. Thomas Bratzke and Ritsche cooking his work in 2002, came in 2004 to Christian Marien. In their performances they explore the world through play various public places. With Ausrucksmitteln between visual art, performance and music they grope from corpus of urban structures that reflect this "raw material" acoustically and visually in a place is an evolving artistic process.  

...with a performance of  MARIEN / REINER / RITSCHE 
Christian Marien - drums, Christian Reiner - voice, Ritsche Koch - Trumpet; 17.3.2010, 19h, Performancebeginn um 20h

Bratzke Thomas, born 1977 in Berlin, studied design and then sculpture / art at the Art Academy Berlin Weissensee and 2005/2006 was there a master student of Professor Berndt Wilde. The works of Thomas Bratzke are through intensive practical and theoretical approach to urban space, often in conjunction with music and performative elements, marked.  

Ritsche Koch, 05.04.1979 The center Ritsche chef creations is the combination of music with other art forms such as Visual arts, dance or language. Give him the project "Ritsche & Zast" with the visual artist Thomas Bratzke brought to different places around the world. His other fields are numerous jazz groups as well as various pop projects such as "Miss Platnum", "Seeed" or "Peter Fox". Ritsche Koch lives in Berlin.  

Christian Marien, 1975, lives in Berlin since 2000, studied percussion in Amsterdam and Berlin. As a member of various ensembles (Superimpose, The Astronomical Unit, computer tape, Miss Platnum) he plays concerts in Europe and the U.S.. Particular focus is working with dancers, actors and visual artists at the intersection of music and other artistic expressions


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Jazz Masters Cooler Theater - 2008 – Poster – No.4

Graphic Design:
Poster – No.4
Jazz Masters Cooler Theater – RECREATIONAL CHEMISTRY 
"Eternity And Transfiguration"
At The MAD FROG – London, 2008
Artwork and Complete Design by Vitko Salvarica

"If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time".
Marcel Proust

Thursday, December 20, 2012

HESSION, WILKINSON, FELL – The Horrors Of Darmstadt (1994)

Label: Shock – SX025 CD
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: 1994
Style: Free Jazz, free improvisation
Recordings were from a live show at The Termite Club, Leeds 7th June 1993.
Artwork By [Cover Art & Lettering] – Gina Southgate
Mastered By – Denis Blackham
Photography – Jo Fell
Recorded By – Alan Wilkinson, Ben Watson

Excerpts from reviews:

"Distinctive purveyors of improvised music. The power and passion of their playing called to mind the spirit of 60s US free jazz; their ferocious abstraction had much in common with European improvisers like Brötzmann/van Hove/Bennink and Schlippenbach/Parker/Lovens."
_ Chris Blackford, THE WIRE

Improv trio made their debut at the Termite Festival in 1989 and has now toured UK four times. Appeared at Sound Symposium Newfoundland (Canada) in 1994. Toured with Joe Morris in 1996. 'Revolution in sound…the music of the real underground'
_ Ben Watson

"Spontaneous music of a scorching and unrelenting intensity.....conversational music of the most intuitive eloquence.....unquenchable energy.....There probably isn't such a thing as state- of-the-art free music, but as a term of convenient endearment, it's close enough."
_ John Fordham THE GUARDIAN

A trio that has consistently garnered superlatives from critics. The Penguin Guide to Jazz - notoriously sparing with its maximum four stars ("outstanding, demanding a place in any comprehensive collection") - gave its four star accolade to no less than three albums by Hession/Wilkinson/Fell. Although only Fell ’ s bass is amplified, the trio is famously loud. "Raging, exploding tumultuous improvisation music by one of the greatest groups in the music today. It ’ s an almost unique experience at a time when acoustic free-jazz has dropped many of its confrontational aspects: these men revivify the intensities of Ayler, Brötzmann and others in the small but noble tradition of great noise." Penguin Guide to Jazz. "A trio with a growing notoriety for a furious brand of free jazz."

Alan Wilkinson (b. London 1954) first made his presence felt as part of the burgeoning Leeds music scene of the 80s, founding the Termite Club and forming long-standing liasons with Hession and Fell amongst others, while developing a highly personal, vocalized and energetic approach to the saxophone. Re-locating to London in 1990 he currently works in trios with John Edwards and Steve Noble, James Dunn and John Bisset, as well as collaborations with Chris Corsano, Spiritualized, NY duo Talibam! and Spanish group Laxula; he also and runs the flimflam improvisation club in London. Other collaborations have included Derek Bailey, Peter Brotzmann, Willi Kellers, Alex Maguire's Cat o'Nine Tails, Sunny Murray, Thurston Moore and Lee Ronaldo, Eddie Prevost, Stefan Jaworzyn, Steve Hubback and Spring Heel Jack. He has appeared at many national and international festivals and is featured on numerous recordings.

Simon H. Fell is a composer and double bassist active in free improvisation and contemporary jazz and chamber music. He has worked in small or medium groups with John Butcher, Peter Brötzmann, Lol Coxhill, Billy Jenkins, Joe Morris, Keith Tippett, John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Joey Baron, Elliott Sharp, Billy Bang, Christian Marclay and numerous others, and is a founder member of London Improvisers Orchestra . Other regular groupings include SFQ , IST , The ZFP Quartet and many more. He has presented compositions for improvisers at the LMC Festival, the Termite Festival, the Frakture Festival, Leo Records' Unsung Music Festival, Freedom of the City Festival and on many other occasions. His discography includes over 80 recordings. "A major contemporary musician" - The Penguin Guide To Jazz On CD.

Paul Hession was born in Leeds in 1956. After early singing experience as a boy soprano in a church choir and experiments with the guitar, he took up drumming at the age of 15 and since then has played and broadcast in many European & Scandinavian countries as well as Argentina, Mexico, Cuba, USA & Canada. He has played with many of the major figures on the free music scene (for example; Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Paul Rutherford, Lol Coxhill, Sunny Murray, Marshall Allen, Frode Gjerstad, Peter Kowald, Joe McPhee, Borah Bergman, Otomo Yoshihide as well as his old friends Alan Wilkinson, Simon Fell, Mick Beck & Hans- Peter Hiby). Collaborators from a different scene include Tom Jenkinson (Squarepusher), Bill Orcutt (of Harry Pussy) and techno musician/dj Paul Woolford. He is known to relish the interaction of collective music-making, but also responds to the challenge of solo performance.

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

KIDD JORDAN / JOEL FUTTERMAN / ALVIN FIELDER TRIO – Live at the Tampere Jazz Happening 2000 (2004)

Label: Charles Lester Music- 61051
Format: CD, Album; Country: US - Released: Jan. 29, 2004
Recorded live at Tampere Jazz Happening 2000, Pakkahuone, Finland
Style : Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Live at the Tampere Jazz Happening 2000 album by Kidd Jordan /Joel Futterman/Alvin Fielder Trio was released on the Charles Lester Music label; KJZD / Charles Lester Music Bookings,1735 SE 56th Ave, Portland OR 97215

                                                   Kidd Jordan /Joel Futterman/Alvin Fielder Trio

It is rare, especially in the world of free jazz, for players to perform together continuously, in part due to the perceived need to search for new sources of creativity. While each of the members of this collective performs in other groups, they continue to return to this core trio, presumably because the wells of inspiration never seem to dry up. These freely improvised tracks were recorded at the Tampere Jazz Happening 2000, an international creative music festival held during the darkest days of Finland's notorious fall season. Those familiar with the group's previous work should not be surprised by the level of intensity nor the virtuosic displays. Those coming to the group for the first time might be shell-shocked by its more than occasional ferociousness, particularly from the piano and saxophone. Joel Futterman's debt to Cecil Taylor hardly needs to be reiterated, but he also blows a soprano sax (usually curved) and an Indian wooden flute, each of which he has become more comfortable over time. The trio retains its essential core, with Futterman flying through the keyboards with unmitigated speed, like a sprinter running his last race; Kidd Jordan plowing through clipped phrases with unrelenting zeal; and Alvin Fiedler alternately keeping things moving or holding them in stride, or both. It is a good group because the players are top-notch technically, they know the others' moods, probably what they each had for breakfast, and they are able to build on common ground rather than stagnate in quotidian familiarity. Yes, you might have heard these fellows before, but every chance to hear this dynamic trio live is a big treat. In this concert setting they have time to stretch, and the audience clearly appreciates and inspires them.

~ Steven Loewy

                                                                                           Artist Jeff Schlanger
Artist's BIO:

Born in New York City in 1937, Jeff Schlanger attended New York ’ s High School of Music & Art, studied under Maija Grotell at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, and has created public art projects throughout his career on three interrelated subjects of Peace, Resistance to War, and Music. 

Schlanger has been an active participant in the Arts for Art Vision Festivals held in New York over the last nine years, was featured as a painter in performance at Sons d ’ Hiver 2004 in Paris, and at the Tampere, Finland Jazz Happening 2000 – 2003, as well as a graphic artist in Canada at the Guelph Jazz Festival in 2002. Exhibitions from these projects have been held at San Francisco ’ s Intersection for the Arts, Webster University in St. Louis, MO, and the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, NJ. Events held at downtown New York performance spaces include four installations at the Leonard Street Knitting Factory on Houston Street; three permanent pictures on view at the new Knitting Factory; installations in the Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the Arts; The Electric Circus; The Center; the Learning Alliance; the Improviser ’ s Collective, and CHARAS/El Bohio. Selections from musicWitness® have been commissioned as album covers by many leading musicians including Julius Hemphill, Muhal Richard Abrams & Roscoe Mitchell, Charles Gayle, William Parker, Billy Bang and Kidd Jordan. Articles on musicWitness® have appeared in Japan ’ s Morning magazine, Germany ’ s BeQ! and France ’ s Papiers Nicklés #2.

See more:
(All original art 27 1/2 x 39 1/2" (70 x 100cm) made during live performances in Tampere, Finland 2—5 November 2000 - ©Jeff Schlanger, music Witness® 2001.)

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KIDD JORDAN QUARTET – New Orleans Festival Suite 1999 (2000)

Label: Silkheart – SHCD 152
Format: CD, Album; Country: Sweden - Released: 2000
Style: Free Jazz; Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded May 2nd, 1999 during the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Dream Palace, New Orleans, Louisiana
Liner Notes: Marc Masters


Kidd Jordan has been a near-solitary champion of the new music in his hometown of New Orleans, which is noted for being the birthplace of jazz but certainly not noted for embracing the revolutionary aspects of the music. Although Mardi Gras ranks as the city's biggest party, the New Orleans Jazz Festival is right behind it in popularity. During this annual event, Jordan has often exposed the community to the delights inherent in creative improvised music, either as an official or maverick participant. He continues to fight a stiff battle against the staid forces of conservatism, although he hints at times he may be losing the fight. Change and New Orleans are not comfortable partners, but Jordan refuses to stop trying to enrich the resident minds with his sonic philosophy.

While the 1999 festival was happening, Jordan reassembled his dynamic quartet of Joel Futterman, William Parker, and Alvin Fielder. This group has had solid exposure in the European festival arena, where it is widely acclaimed for its inventiveness and take-no- prisoners policy. They really gave New Orleans a taste of what the rest of the world has been experiencing. Unassumingly, Jordan launches his solos by building them layer by dynamic layer until the intensity is overwhelming. He circles as a bird of prey, absorbing all the positives flowing from the band, and then he plunges into the heart of the tunes with an exhilarating display of creative genius. As would a phoenix, he rises again and reignites the atmosphere with an overwhelming abundance of innovation and musicality.

                                                                                         'Kidd' Jordan Quartet

The crack train on which Jordan speeds is propelled by three musicians who muster cyclonic swirls around him. Futterman plays with enormous passion. He astutely senses Jordan's direction and constructs intricate improvised phrases in synergistic concert. Futterman is committed to the concept of resolution. Nothing he plays is random. It is instantaneously constructed magic that is always resolved in a logical, musical manner. His piano playing sparkles on this date, but he also intuitively participates with his curved soprano or Indian flute to add yet another dimension of originality. His soprano duel with Jordan on the lengthy "Dream Palace" has enough thermal force to melt paint, but it evolves in an instinctively rational fashion.

Parker is bedrock on this date. He pours out a continuous avalanche of density from his bass. Parker is an untiring musician who maintains a pulsating, throbbing heartbeat while unrelentingly racing over the bass in a blur of activity. What he invents merges naturally and aesthetically with the collective output of the band. Fielder is an incredible, yet underrated drummer. He produces amazingly complex and interwoven percussion patterns, and he has been doing it for decades without receiving the star status his talent dictates. Fielder combines originality and vitality with a keen sense of rhythmic direction, and his bursts of spontaneity fan the inferno to make it blaze even brighter.

The Jordan quartet is a product of this age. The four listen, interrelate, interpret, and invent music with power and beauty. This is a muscular set of high artistic order guaranteed not to disappoint seekers of truth.

_ by Frank Rubolino, January 2002

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