Saturday, June 29, 2013

The REMPIS PERCUSSION QUARTET – Circular Logic (2005)

Label: Utech Records – URCD011
Format: CDr, Album, Limited Edition; Country: US - Released: 2005
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at The Empty Bottle in Chicago on 1/25/05 and 2/1/05
Composed By – Hatwich, Rempis, Rosaly, Daisy
Recorded By, Mastered By – Malachi Ritscher

Originally released on Utech Records in June 2005 in a limited edition of 125 cd's, the release was coordinated with the band's performance at the 9th Annual Empty Bottle Bottle Festival of Improvised Music.

DAVE REMPIS – Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone
FRANK ROSALY and TIM DAISY – Drums, Percussion

01 - Part 1 (36:17)
02 - Part 2 (22:34)

Great playing by all 4 members and solid chemistry as well make for this to be one hot performance. I bought this album after only listening to a one minute sample and have to say it's one of the best whimsical purchases I've made in a long time.


Dave Rempis is best known as the other saxophonist in the Vandermark 5, a ferocious virtuoso improviser who's at home in every style of music you can name. With Circular Logic, one of the most exciting albums of the year, Rempis steps up to lead a free bop band with two rampaging drummers.

The music on Circular Logic consists of two long completely improvised performances, both recorded live. On "1.2," which runs for over half an hour, Rempis plays well on alto, baritone, and tenor saxophones, while on "2.1," he concentrates on baritone. "1.2" cavorts through several spontaneous changes in meter and tempo, while the more cohesive "2.1" builds its considerable momentum in a quick-stepping and very swinging triple meter.

In fact, while most of this program exhibits elements of free music, there's a lot of cooking throughout. With two drummers going at it, the rhythms get very complex, but a swinging pulse is at the heart of everything here. The first piece, for example, starts out in a busy 6/4 tempo and concludes with a segment of very fast 4/4 swing. Rempis carries the weight of melody, and he succeeds admirably at this.

Rempis opens the disc on alto sax, disgorging a repeated quarter note, then expanding it into riffs, melodies, and swinging lines, sometimes punctuated with fast runs or episodes of screaming or other noise elements. His tone is very warm, very full, pretty and pure, just as it is on all his horns, although he also invests his sound with some real bite. His baritone sax is cavernous, much like Harry Carney or the late, little-known Charles Tyler. His tenor has the crisp edge of Chicago hard bop masters such as John Gilmore and Clifford Jordan. He plays explosively on all his horns, building his solos to repeating climaxes. He understands the power of controlled freedom in music, so that this music, even in its wildest moments, retains a sense of order.

The rhythm section also maintains order. Bassist Anton Hatwick has impeccable time and radar ears. He always knows where the beat is. Drummers Frank Rosalt and Tim Daisy send out waves and waves of rhythm. How they interlock in such splendid fashion, in spontaneous music, is one of the many happy mysteries of this very fine CD.

Published: August 14, 2005 (AAJ)

Links in Comments!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

KEITH TIPPETT'S ARK – Frames: Music For An Imaginary Film (2LP-1978)

Label: Ogun – OGD 003 / 004
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album; Country: UK - Released: 1978
Style: Free Jazz, Fusion, Big Band, Jazz-Rock
Recorded 22, 23 & 24 May 1978 at Wessex Studios, London N5.
Design [Sleeve], Photography By – Dick Whitbread
Engineer – Gary Edwards
Engineer [Assistant] – Jeremy Spencer-Green
Executive-Producer – Keith Beal
Producer – Hugh Hopper
This music was commissioned by Ogun Publishing Co. and was first performed at The Roundhouse, London on 21 May 1978.
(Vinyl Rip)

Keith Tippett's Ark - Frames: Music For An Imaginary Film

Keith Tippett - Piano, Harmonium
Stan Tracey - Piano
Elton Dean - Alto Sax, Saxello
Trevor Watts - Tenor & Soprano Saxes, Alto Flute
Larry Stabbins - Tenor & Soprano Saxes, Flute
Mark Charig - Trumpet, Small Trumpet, Tenor Horn, Kenyan Thumb Piano
Henry Lowther - Trumpet
Dave Amis - Trombone
Nick Evans - Trombone
Maggie Nicols - Voice
Julie Tippett - Voice
Steve Levine - Violin
Rod Skeaping - Violin
Phil Waschmann - Electric Violin, Violin
Geoffry Wharton - Violin
Alexandra Robinson - Cello
Tim Kramer - Cello
Peter Kowald - Bass, Tuba
Harry Miller - Bass
Louis Moholo - Drums
Frank Perry - Percussion

Julie Tippett,  Keith Tippett, Maggie Nicols


Side A
1 Frames Part One  (20:07)
Side B
2 Frames Part Two  (19:06)
Side C
3 Frames Part Three  (23:52)
Side D
4 Frames Part Four  (20:37)

Several years after his great success with the huge ensemble Centipede and its Septober Energy release, pianist Keith Tippett returned to the large-group format with his newly formed Ark. This band, a mere 22 strong, was less rock-influenced and arguably more "mature" musically, that is, quite capable of handling the diverse demands placed on it, which covered ground from richly arranged written portions to incisive free improvisation. One of the motifs tying this work (which is a single composition spread over four sides of the original LP) is the dual presence of vocalists Maggie Nicols and Julie Tippetts (the latter possessing one of the truly beautiful voices in avant-garde jazz), their twinned vocal lines serving as fine structures around which to erect woollier passages. Also as before, Tippett deploys small groups within the larger ensemble, for example a percussion duet that's soon joined by violin and soprano saxophone. These little "nuggets" within the orchestra provide a healthy degree of differentiation as well as connecting nodes between more fully massed sections. As such, "Frames" is essentially suite-like, with anthemic melodies like the one that begins side three abutting jagged, free lines that dissolve into group interplay standing alongside pulsing minimalist patterns. It's not really so much about the soloists, although there is much fine individual playing to be found, notably the leader's piano (and that of Stan Tracey), the alto work of Trevor Watts, and the bass playing of the late, great Harry Miller. Listeners who have enjoyed Barry Guy's London Jazz Composers Orchestra or Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath will find themselves right at home here. Recommended.


Links in Comments!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

HENRY COW – Concerts (2LP-1976) - 2CD-1995

Label: East Side Digital – ESD 80822/832
Format: 2 × CD, Album; Country: US - Released: 1995
Style: Free Improvisation, Abstract, Prog Rock, Jazz, Experimental, Art Rock
Tracks 1-1 to 2-1 & 2-5 originally released as the 2LP set "Concerts" in 1976. 
Tracks 2-2 to 2-4 are taken from the "Greasy Truckers Live At Dingwalls Dancehall" compilation released in 1973.
Original LP mastered by David Vorhaus at Kaleidiphon, London.
Reissue mastered by Bob Drake at Studio Midi-Pyrénées, France.
Mixed By – Bob Conduct (tracks: 1-1 to 1-5), Harold Clark (tracks: 2-1 to 2-8), Jack Balchin (tracks: 2-1 to 2-8), Neil Sandford (tracks: 1-8, 2-12), Sarah Greaves (tracks: 1-6, 1-7, 1-9, 1-10), Tony Wilson (tracks: 1-1 to 1-5)
Recorded By, Mixed By – Henry Cow (tracks: 2-9 to 2-11), Tom Newman (tracks: 2-9 to 2-11)

Disc 1: 1 to 5 recorded 5th August 1975 at BBC Studios (Peel Session).
Disc 1: 6 & 7 recorded 21st May 1975 at the New London Theatre.
Disc 1: 8 & Disc 2: 12 recorded 13th October 1975 in Udine.
Disc 2: 1 to 8 recorded 25th July 1975 at the Hovikodden Arts Centre, Oslo.
Disc 1: 9 & 10 recorded 26th September 1974 at Vera, Groningen.
Disc 2: 9 to 11 Redorded and mixed at the Manor on 4.11.73.

John Greaves: bass, voice, celeste, piano
Tim Hodgkinson: organ, clarinet, alto sax, piano
Fred Frith: guitar, piano, violin, xylophone
Chris Cutler: drums, piano
Lindsay Cooper: bassoon, flute, oboe, recorder, piano
Geoff Leigh: tenor & soprano sax, flute, clarinet, recorder
Dagmar Krause: voice, piano
Robert Wyatt: voice

Disk 1
1. Beautiful As The Moon; Terrible As An Army With Banners / Nirvana For Mice / Ottawa Song / Gloria Gloom / Moon Reprise 22:46
2. Bad Alchemy / Little Red Riding Hood Hits The Road 8:43
3. Ruins 16:25
4. Groningen 8:56
5. Groningen Again 7:22
Disk 2
1. Oslo 28:54
2. Off The Map 8:23
3. Cafe Royal 3:20
4. Keeping Warm In Winter / Sweet Heart Of Mine 10:00
5. Udine 9:42

Henry Cow - Concerts

"Henry Cow is the new King Crimson". Though Frank Zappa and Soft Machine were both mentioned, it was the group's (supposed) similarity to King Crimson that was the main selling point of the first review I ever read of Legend, Henry Cow's debut album. And though a cautious attitude was definitely in order, this being the same magazine - though not necessarily the same writer - that four years earlier had called King Crimson "the new Moody Blues"... well, I got the album.

All were excellent musicians: on sax, clarinet and flute, Geoff Leigh was the most overtly jazz-influenced member; keyboard and reed player Tim Hodgkinson was already a very skillful composer, Amygdala being a track that one could listen to today without having any idea of its real vintage; on guitar (but also on violin, viola and piano), Fred Frith appeared to be the group's most overtly "rock" element; then there was the rhythm section: on bass, John Greaves was absolutely excellent in his choice of notes and their attack and release; while Chris Cutler would prove to be the last in the long line of inventive, personal drummers to come out of the United Kingdom (which is not to say that there were no more "technically proficient" drummers in UK after him). Though the LP definitely featured parts that on first listening sounded quite difficult, it still managed to fascinate and intrigue - while at the same time making one aware of the fact that there were musical dimensions of which the average listener (i.e., this writer) had no awareness whatsoever.

It could be said that with each successive album Henry Cow managed to test the limits of what was possible in "rock" - this should be understood as referring to both the form and the commercial environment in which they found themselves operating (this is the early 70s, remember, with T. Rex and Glam Rock as the new craze). Unrest saw the group drop the jazz (and Geoff Leigh) and get a quite different instrumental voice with Lindsay Cooper on bassoon and oboe. If side one was in some ways an extension of the first album, the studio-intensive side two was a leap not many listeners proved to be willing to take. And the lack of any serious interviews didn't help (in just a few years, Virgin Records had signed Faust, Henry Cow, Hatfield And The North, Robert Wyatt, Gong and Slapp Happy, but it was Mike Oldfield - and, later, Tangerine Dream - who paid the bills).

Things became even more confusing with the release of the Slapp Happy/Henry Cow joint album, Desperate Straights. Though the songs on the LP were not at all difficult, the only review I read at the time managed to compare Dagmar Krause's vocals to Yoko Ono's - which could not in any way be taken as a compliment! (I still remember the horrified look of those at Virgin Records - whose offices I briefly visited in Summer '75 - when I referred to In Praise Of Learning as being "Henry Cow's new album after Desperate Straights", a notion they hastened to correct.)

In Praise Of Learning managed to feature many musical streams on the same album - and quite successfully, I'd say: the short song, the long composed piece, the studio works, all was excellent. Plus, the album seriously rocked (well, maybe not in the States, their meaning of "rock" being quite different/definitely more limited than its European counterpart).

Soon all this came to an end - and to a different beginning. The day I got my copy of Concerts - an import copy I bought via mail order (I had previously bought all the group's albums in a shop in the centre of the town, and they were definitely widely available as Italian pressing) - I was quite surprised: who's this Compendium Records? It looked like Virgin Records had finally decided that this music was not, financially speaking, the shape of things to come. And though the Continent would prove to be a more fertile ground for this kind of music for a few more years, the hordes of those "complexity-challenged" who shot point blank in the direction of EL&P and Yes and who ignored even the mere existence of groups like Henry Cow (not that it would have made any difference anyway) were obviously bound to prevail.

As per the album's title, Concerts showed what a different group Henry Cow could be on stage. Compared to the old double LP of 1976 (there had been a CD re-release, about ten years ago, which I never listened to) this new Bob Drake-remastered version sounds miles better. I mean, not in the sense that anything has been "improved"! - the BBC session sounds as good as ever, the Robert Wyatt tracks sound as... well, as mediocre as ever. But it's obvious that a cleaner sound, no surface noise, and the fact of not having to deal with the physical limitations of vinyl definitely make for an easier appreciation of this music, especially when it comes to the long (almost half an hour!) improvisation titled Oslo which was originally compressed on side three.

The BBC session that (still) opens the album could maybe work as a "pocket introduction" for those who have never listened to Henry Cow. One of the group's best songs, Beautiful As The Moon, Terrible As An Army With Banners, opens: nice piano (Frith), expressive vocals (Dagmar), excellent cymbals (Cutler); then a nice reprise of the more "jazzy" Nirvana For Mice, off the first album, with Hodgkinson on saxophone and an ebullient but precise Greaves on bass; The Ottawa Song, an original, and a cover of the Wyatt/MacCormick-penned Gloria Gloom (off Little Red Record, Matching Mole's second album) show the group to be at ease.

Off Desperate Straights, Bad Alchemy has Wyatt on vocals and Greaves on piano; a nice cover of Wyatt's Little Red Riding Hood Hits The Road, off his much-lauded Rock Bottom LP, follows. Off Unrest, Frith's Ruins still sounds fertile and inventive. Originally placed on side four, the two concert extracts titled Groningen, by a Cooper-less quartet, are a superb group rumination on a theme by Hodgkinson.

Oslo is for this writer the real find: a coherent but continuously surprising improvisation sporting ever-changing timbres (Cutler on piano!), it shows how advanced the group's improvisations were at the time. As a bonus, we have the very good cuts that had originally appeared on the out-of-print-for-ages double compilation Live At Dingwalls (while listening to track 10 I happened to look at my old, but still working, turntable: a mere coincidence?). Udine brilliantly closes this (very long, but there's not one superfluous note to be found anywhere) double CD.

Meanwhile, some very dry but (in their own understated way) quite dramatic pages off Chris Cutler's touring diary will speak volumes about the group's "life on the road".

_ Story by BEPPE COLLI
( | Nov. 2, 2006)

Links in Comments!

Friday, June 21, 2013

PAUL DUNMALL SEXTET – Shooters Hill, 1998 (2004)

Label: FMR Records – FMRCD141-i0104 
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: 2004
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded at Gateway Studios, Kingston, United Kingdom, 17th May 1998
Engineer – Steve Lowe
Cover design (reproduced above) by Ewan Rigg
New Dwsign (pages 2, 3, 4) by ART&JAZZ Studio, by VITKO
Mixed By – Steven Allen
Photography By [Group Photograph] – Steve Ford
Producer – Trevor Taylor 

This photo is a gift from Andy

Paul Dunmall (tenor saxophone), Paul Rutherford (trombone), Jon Corbett (trumpet), John Adams (guitar), Roberto Bellatalla (bass), Mark Sanders (drums). Paul Dunmall continues his successful relationship with FMR with a classic example of UK group improvisation. Dunmall ’ s ability to intermingle talented performers and instruments to astoundingly creative effect is ably demonstrated with Shooters Hill, a collection of three improvised pieces recorded all in one day at London ’ s prestigious Gateway Studio. The tapes, which have been in the possession of the saxophonist since 1998, capture seven magnificent performers in fine form and Paul Dunmall has been eager to share them with an audience ever since. This is wonderful stuff and it is fantastic to see their long awaited release, at last!
_ (FMR, 2004)

Links in Comments!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

HESSION / WILKINSON / FELL – Foom! Foom! (1992)

Label: Bruce's Fingers – BF5
Format: CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: 1992
Style: Free Improvisation
Recorded on 20th & 21st February 1992 at Kite Recording Studio, Cambridge.
Liner Notes – Ben Watson
Photography By – Jo Fell
Producer – Roger Chatterton
Written-By – Alan Wilkinson, Paul Hession, Simon H. Fell

This album dates from the early days of digital recording, but the sound is excellent, specially for this occasion remastering in the ART&JAZZ Studio, by VITKO.

The first studio recording of the Hession/Wilkinson/Fell trio. Despite the group's reputation, this CD contains much unexpected beauty and delicacy.

What can you say when you get three jobs like this together who just want to blow the gates off of heaven every time they get together? Is it possible to sit and write a close analysis of every wrapped encounter on the bandstand, analyzing each improvisational encounter and how one of these complete free-for-alls is different from one another? I suppose it is, but why? This trio -- with Wilkinson on soprano, alto, and baritone; Simon Fell on bass; and Paul Hession on drums -- would be insulted if they weren't bored to tears reading such a thing first. This is extreme music made for extreme ears. That said, in the symbiotic interrelationships that are formed, torn apart, and re-formed among the fissures these tunes create, there is a logic at work, one that relies heavily on the idea that listeners don't really know what harmony, rhythm, and melody are yet, and they are still working toward that idea -- albeit in a violent and hilarious way. This is a band who has no trouble making an audience sit up and take notice either on the stand or in their living rooms, and the reason for that is simple: Nothing about this music is compromised or half-baked; it's furious with humor built in, and it's knotty, scaly, confrontational stuff played with warmth and verve. Highly recommended.

_ By Thom Jurek (AMG)

Links in Comments!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

ANTHONY BRAXTON – Knitting Factory (Piano/Quartet), Vol.1 (2CD-1994)

Label: Leo Records – CD LR 222/223
Format: 2 × CD, Album; Country: UK - Released: 1995
Style: Avant-Garde, Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded live at The Knitting Factory in 1994
Artwork [Front Cover Collage] – Stephen Kroninger
Design – Lora Denis; New Design (p4,5-TAB-A-I and TAB-B-II) by VITKO
Edited By [Editing Enigineer] – Katsuhiko Naito; Engineer [Assistant Engineer] – James McLean
Engineer [Recording Enigineer] – Jon Rothenberg; Producer – Leo Feigin

Braxton debuted as a small-group pianist during a week-long engagement at the Knitting Factory in late 1994. This gargantuan two-disc set documents that semi-auspicious occasion. The band is made up of solid downtown N.Y.C. professionals -- Marty Ehrlich on saxes and clarinet, Joe Fonda on bass, and Pheeroan Aklaff on drums; the repertoire comprised of several not-too-familiar standards by Charles Mingus, Lennie Tristano, and Thelonious Monk, among others. Braxton's pianistic style is much like his alto style. His rhythms are not even subdivisions of the beat. Braxton treats the pulse as a fence on which to hang the rhythms when he feels the urge, though he's just as likely to run alongside it, or ignore its existence altogether; he treats the harmonies with a similar bashful regard. His technique is that of an ingenious autodidact; he can definitely play, in his own way, but the way he treats the music is almost too personal. There's not much here that relates to tradition, and this vein of jazz is inextricably bound to tradition. This album is interesting in its way, but better to hear Braxton perform his own compositions in his native tongue than someone else's tunes in a borrowed language, even if he speaks that language in such a colorful and discerning dialect.

~ By Chris Kelsey, AMG

Links in Comments!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Label: CIMP – CIMP 119 
Series: Spirit Room Series – 18 
Format: CD, Album; Country: US - Released: 1996
Style: Free Jazz, Contemporary Jazz
Recorded at The Spirit Room, Rossie, NY, July 13 & 14, 1996
Produced by - Robert D. Rusch
Recording Engineer by - Marc D. Rusch
Cover Art: O. Henry's Fishtank by Kara D. Rusch

A 1996 release, Caged No More may serve as a metaphor for multi-reedman Mark Whitecage and his boundless array of musical propositions, formats and stylizations. Here, Whitecage along with longtime associate ’ s cellist, Tomas Ulrich, bassist Dominic Duval and drummer- percussionist Jay Rosen, stylistically demonstrate the fine art of improvisation! Recorded live at The Spirit Room in Rossie NY, The Quartet gain significant strides via the always stellar production and artful live recording techniques which has become a noteworthy commodity of the classy CIMP record label.

The 3 ½ minute “ Bright Ideas ” features Whitecage performing on clarinet as this 4 man army proceeds in forward motion with no looking back. The notion of “ bright ideas ” is outwardly and deterministically portrayed through fervent yet highly emotional dialogue among the bandmates. On “ Griece ” , percussionist Jay Rosen “ subtly ” heightens the intensity with his array of drums and small percussion instruments; hence the climactic nature of this piece is also enhanced by Rosen ’ s adept and meaningful tom-tom work. Rosen ’ s melding of African and Latin rhythms packs a mighty punch which effectively prods and pushes the band into various accelerations. Here, Whitecage ’ soaring yet articulate phraseology often contrasts Duval and Ulrich ’ s low register tones and keen improvisational speak. The cunning and altogether convincing dialogue throughout this project is a joy to behold!

The 17 minute, “ Feathers ” is at times frantic, soulful and touches upon, although in brief spurts – Albert Ayler....Here, the pace fluctuates as the motifs evolve through intuitive ensemble work and daring yet expressive dialogue. “ MJTD & Watershed Blues ” are two pieces which are noteworthy for Whitecage ’ brilliant utilization of tremolo and vibrato techniques. The “ blues ” portion of these pieces tend to veer off into free-jazz excursions while there is no doubt that these musicians are playing from the heart and taken as a whole, defy categorization.

Perhaps more than a textbook liturgy on improvisation this band performs with fire in their collective souls. Versatility and gutsy determination are two prime components here! The compositions are constructed around loosely based themes which afford this band tremendous opportunities to reinvent and evolve as a unit....... Caged No More is a beguiling assault on modern-improvised-jazz !!! Recommended.

_ By GLENN ASTARITA, Published: August 1, 1999 (AAJ)

Links in Comments!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

ADAM LANE QUARTET – Live At Soundlab, Buffalo NY, 2005 (2007)

Label: Cadence Jazz Records – CJR 1193
Format: CD, Album;  Country: USA - Released: 2007
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded live at Soundlab, Buffalo NY, February 25, 2005
Recording Engineer By - Steve Baczkowski
Mastering By - Jon Rosenberg
Packaging: Jewel Tray

The sensations given by a live event, force and fascination of a live performance are often a difficult thing to transfer on CD.
Not always, but sometimes the purpose is perfectly achieved…as in this case. Product of a session at Buffalo’s Soundlab, NY, in February 2005, this recording is an excellent documentation of that event, reproducing the pure energy transmitted by it. A trio of absolute protagonists of the jazz scene (Adam Lane on bass, Vinny Golia on saxophone and Vijay Anderson on drums) that becomes a quartet on four tracks (thanks to the contribution of the trumpeter Paul Smoker).
The more significant aspect of this album is an extraordinary interaction among the players, who succeed to reach a particular balance, a unity of intents and action which unleash emotional impulses.
Free improvisation in great measure, but also melodic nuances ( “ Spin with the EARth ” ), smooth passages ( “ Without Being ” at its starting phase, with an impressive Lane’s solo that leaves space to Smoker and Golia, both in evidence for the rest of the piece), again, the peaceful atmosphere created by the Golia's flute ( “ Free ” ) followed by a compulsive free improv act.
Frenetic passages alternate with more meditative moments, after which suddenly the rhythm grows again (the beautiful final track “ Lucia's First Breath ” ). So genuine, so real, so free…


Adam Lane's is not only one of my favorite bass-players of the moment, but definitely one of my preferred musicians. His sense of musical freedom, combined with melody and bluesy soul is superb, as is his choice of band members. On this album Vinny Golia plays reeds, Paul Smoker trumpet and Vijay Anderson drums. The album captures several days of live performances in Buffalo, hence the title. And Paul Smoker did not participate on one track presented here. These musicians no longer need any introduction, but the way they play together here, is absolutely stellar. The first track brings an absolutely beautiful melody - although you have to wait a bit before a theme emerges - played superbly by the whole band, compelling, fierce and free. The second track starts with a gut-wrenching arco solo by Lane, which evolves into a straight blues with the horns circling around each other in wonderfully emotional counterpoint, then speeding up the whole thing to some free jazz uptempo boogie, just to slow down again at the end, leaving the audience enthusiastic and your reviewer with goosebumps (sympathetic piloerection). The third track, "Free", starts with Vinny Golia playing flute, all bucolic, cosmic and light, to be replaced by the tenor, creating an all the more astonishing effect with the agonizing violence of the storm that comes, unleashing all power a trio can muster to create a wall of sound, ending again in peaceful calm. "In Our Time" is a fully improvized piece, but the four musicians interact so well, creating chaotic tension on the spot, out of which the arco bass elicits some highly sensitive beauty, accompanied by long slow trumpet tones and an accentuating drums. But then listen how Golia intervenes, adding little rhythmic notes, without interrupting, but emphasizing the power of the trumpet, first echoing, then slowing the sax down till it becomes unisono, a signal for Lane to end in the same long arco-played tone. Astonishingly beautiful. The last track is an odd-metred piece, mid-tempo pushed forward by a bass-vamp and strong drumming, starting with the sax leading into a theme, and when the trumpet takes over, the piece shifts into a walking bass supported free bop frenzy, and each time the sax comes in, the original rhythm appears again, with Lane moving up the speed, pushing Golia to play the bejesus out of his soprano. This is a really an excellent album, with four top-musicians at their best and interacting at their best, responsive, creative, enthusiastic, melodic and respectful. Adam Lane is truly great, and I must say that every CD that he released so far is recommended, but this one is highly recommended.

_ By Stef (FreeJazz)

Links in Comments!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

TRINITY – Breaking The Mold (2009)

Label: Clean Feed – CF139CD 
Format: CD, Album; Country: Portugal - Released: 2009 
Style: Free Jazz
Recorded live at Molde International Jazz Festival, Alexandrakjeller'n, July 20, 2006
Mastered By – John Hegre, Kjetil Møster
Mixed By – Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Thomas Hukkelberg
Photography By – Lars Myrvoll
Recorded By – Thomas Hukkelberg
Packaging: Cardstock Gatefold Sleeve

"With a past in hardcore/metal bands, mostly playing the bass guitar, soon Kjetil Moster changed to the tenor saxophone and became interested in crossing jazz and rock with a strong improvisational approach. Specially interested in the ecstatic music of John Coltrane, his personal signature consists in a renovation of the Coltranean stylings. Involved in many top projects centered in Oslo, like Zanussi Five, Fe-Mail, Ultralyd and Crimetime Orchestra, or in colaboration with musicians like Paal Nilssen-Love, Havard Wiik, Fredrik Ljungqvist, Per "Texas" Johansson, Raymond Strid, Mike Pride, Michael Zerang and Nate Wooley, Moster is also the mentor of the project Trinity. His partners in this quartet couldn't be less notable: keyboardist Morten Qvenild is a former member of the band Jaga Jazzist and the founder of the piano jazz trio In the Country, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten comes from Mats Gustafsson's The Thing and Raoul Bjorkenheim's Scorch Trio, and Thomas Stronen is well known from his drumming with Food and Humcrush. With strong connections to the patrimony of jazz, "Breaking the Mold" is innovative, inventive, spelling and vibrant, with the glitter and strength of the most inspiring music coming nowadays from the North of Europe. Don't miss it."- Clean Feed

Morten Qvenild
Kjetil Møster
 Ingebrigt Håker Flaten
Thomas Strønen

With all the respect I have for the Clean Feed label, when I put on this record, I thought, "no, not again", when listening to violent saxes annex electronics, wondering why all this is necessary, even if the album starts quite slowly and relatively quietly, eery and gloomy. But as you grow accustomed to the band's approach (if that's achievable), the quality of the music increases. Again some Scandinavians doing strong things : led by saxophonist Kjetil Moster, the band further consists of Morten Qvenild on keyboards, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, and Thomas Stronen on drums. So it starts in an interesting way, with plaintive wailing sax against a background of organ, bass, drums and electronics. Slowly the long piece moves into a more tense mode, with organ and sax reacting to each other in small bursts of sound, with interspersed electronics and then, well... all hell breaks loose, as you might have expected. The second, short piece is driven by the electronics and the arco bass, and if it were not for the sax joining after a while, it would be hard to classify this as jazz, yet it sounds good, like an ocean at night, slight wind, no land to be seen. In contrast, the third piece drops you in the middle of a rock avalanche, a weird unrelenting environment from which you can't escape, wondering whether you would even want to. But all that is just the long introduction to the last, expansive, magnificent piece, that drags you along for half an hour of intense musical joy. It starts with a powerful interaction between sax and accompanying instruments, then the intensity drops for some floating mist created by organ and electronics, a barely tangible sound, a backdrop with no foreground. And when the emotional, fragile sax enters, you know you're in for a treat, because of the intensity and the quality of the sounds created, the slow pacing, and the time taken to make each sound come to full fruition and appreciation, but as it goes with carefully built-up tension, it needs release somehow, ... and it does come, gradually, intensifying the silent moaning, speeding up the tempo, increasing the volume, and the explosion does come, expansive, wild, pounding, crashing, screeching, howling, ... What more do you want?

_ By Stef (FreeJazz)

Links in Comments!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

ARCADO + KÖLNER RUNDFUNK ORCHESTER – For Three Strings And Orchestra (1992)

Label: JMT Productions – POCJ-1120
Format: CD, Album; Country: Germany - Released: 1992
Style: Classical, Jazz, Contemporary, Avant-garde
Digitally recorded and mixed June 1991 at WDR Studio, Cologne. 
Digitally mastered December 1991 at Schalloran Studio, Berlin
Artwork By – Robert Coto; Design [Cover] – Stephen Byram
New Design (pages 2,3,4) by ART&JAZZ Studio, By VITKO
Producer – Ulrich Kurth
Recorded By – WDR Cologne
Recorded By, Mixed By – Hermann Kaldenhoff
Recorded By, Mixed By, Mastered By – Jörg Ritter

In the past, string instruments in jazz have had to play a certain role - the bass player (with pizzicato strings) was the time keeper and the policeman who took care about the harmonic structure; the cello created exotic sounds; and the violin was allowed to imitate brass instruments or to play gypsy-jazz. First in Free Jazz this set up started to change. And it took another several years till pure string ensembles were created who presented a new style: for example projects of the bass players Barre Phillipps and Dave Holland, the cellist Abdul Wadud and David Darling, the violinist Phil Waxman or Leroy Jenkins, the Kronos-Quartet, the Soldier Quartet or the Modern String Quartet. Musicians were needed who are able to combine composed and improvised music like the members of the Arcado String Trio.

The New York Times about Arcado: "The group members (Mark Dresser bass, Mark Feldman violin and Hank Roberts cello), part of just about every important new- music band on the downtown scene, are virtuosos, able to sift through the best elements of European classical music, pop and jazz and bring them to a rapprochement that sounds new." The members of Arcado write their own repertoire - the magazine Fachblatt wrote: "Dresser, Feldman and Roberts fuse chamber jazz with elements of classical music. The outcome is scintillating and oddly attractive and leaves much room for improvisational excursions."

Mark Dresser studied classical music in San Diego and Rome, he also performed with the San Diego Symphony orchestra. In recent years he has worked with avant-garde jazz artists like Anthony Braxton, John Zorn and Tim Berne (Tim Berne's Fractured Fairy Tales, JMT 919 030-2). Mark Feldman is not only at home in jazz (Anthony Davis, John Abercrombie, Tim Berne) and classical music (Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra), but equally on Broadway, pop (Sly and Robbie, Bootsy Collins, Bill Laswell) and country (Willie Nelson, George Jones). Hank Roberts is constantly working together with JMT Productions: in 1987 he released his debut album (Black Pastels, JMT 919 016-2), 1988 he recorded with the group Miniature featuring Tim Berne and Joey Baron (Miniature, JMT 919 022-2), in 1990 he started his own band Birds Of Prey featuring the pop singer D. K. Dyson (JMT 919 036-2), and 1991 Miniature released a new project (I Can't Put My Finger On It, JMT 919 045-2).

Two albums are available from Arcado: Arcado String Trio (JMT 919 028-2) and Arcado String Trio, Behind The Myth (JMT 919 039-2). The production Arcado, For Three Strings And Orchestra featuring the Kölner Rundfunk Orchester, conducted by David de Villiers is an experiment. Is it possible that classical musicians understand the intentions of three jazz musicians? Are there formal solutions which make an integration of the improvising ensembles with the orchestra possible? What will happen to Arcado's unique sound and improvisational excursions? Does it work if a classical orchestra plays with avant-garde soloists? Three of four pieces were written by the members of Arcado. The fourth composition is by Manfred Niehaus, a modern composer, who worked 23 years as a journalist for new music and Jazz at WDR Cologne. He organized projects with orchestras and jazz musicians, for example with Michael Mantler, also Karl Berger and Michael Gibbs.

David de Villiers, born 1944 in Capetown, studied in South Africa and Germany. He worked from 1977-81 at the opera house in Frankfurt/Main; since 1984 he is the first conductor and vice director of the music stages in Bielefeld. In August 1992 he will start as a general music director in Gießen, Germany. De Villiers is also working with the Capetown symphony Orchestra and the Orchestra of the South African Radiostation. For three years he was leading the chamber orchestra "Ad Artem de Metz". Very often David de Villiers is featuring young talents, several times he was leading workshops. he is also presenting concerts for children which are very popular.

For Three Strings And Orchestra is a unusual team-work which was only possible because Arcado, David de Villiers, the Kölner Rundfunk Orchester and Manfred Niehaus worked together with open minds.

_ Original Press Text written in 1992

Links in Comments!