dimanche 31 octobre 2010

Christine Sehnaoui & Michel Waisvisz - Shortwave

Christine Sehnaoui: alto saxophone
Michel Waisvisz: the hands

The Lebanese label Al Maslakh produced this unusual recording by Dutch electronics master Michel Waisvisz and Lebanese saxophonist (by way of Paris) Christine Sehnaoui. That’s right a label from Beirut, Al Maslakh (meaning The Slaughterhouse), has released some impressive projects. This is a collaboration recorded in 2007. Unfortunately Waisvisz, just shy of his 60th birthday, has since passed away. He plays his own creation, “the hands,” an electronic interface that he places over his hands, allowing him to invoke movement into music making. His wow and flutter can build to thunderous noise or linger at sizzling points. Waisvisz, who has collaborated with the likes of Shelley Hirsch, DJ Spooky, Richard Teitelbaum, and Steve Lacy, creates sounds not unlike those of early Raymond Scott electronic experimentation, rumbling sometimes-cartoonish noises. His human/electric interface via his hands dares you to guess where the man stops and the electronics begin. Paired with Sehnaoui, the sounds gel. The saxophonist is adept at the microtonal aspects of the saxophone. She produces biting, slicing notes or breathy echoey sounds from the bell of her horn. Sometimes her playing reminds you of that of Bhob Rainey or Michel Doneda. There is a equanimity and patience to her playing that is born out of self control.
Mark Corroto | All About Jazz

2008 SHORTWAVE (rapidshare/mediafire)

Peter Evans & Tom Blancarte - Sparks

Peter Evans: piccolo trumpet
Tom Blancarte: double-bass

A similar abstract approach is taken on Sparks, a series of improvisations between Evans and bassist Tom Blancarte, who plays in his quartet and with whom he has an obvious rapport. Blancarte matches Evans' swirling lines with deft bowing to blend with and contrast the brass on the opener "Xangu," particularly a segment of overblown multiphonic squawks. Seemingly inexhaustible, their non- idiomatic ideas rapidly flow without establishing recognizable forms or grooves, an amorphousness that challenges player and listener alike. (from AllAboutJazz)

2008 SPARKS (rapidshare/mediafire)

Christine Sehnaoui - Solo

Christine Sehnaoui: alto saxophone

With a very distinguished and prolific language her music really took me by surprise the first time I heard it. waves of polytonal freedom and poetic beauty. lines of noise clusters and complex patterns.she is sculpting her sounds around a microtonal hub, transforming slow melodies into free improvised structures and drama that is just giving me such inspiration
and joy!
I haven’t heard such new sounds on that horn in a veeeery long time. to hear an instrumentalist nowadays finding new sounds on an instrument on this level can only be compared to when Axel Dörner entered the scene quite some years ago with a totally new concept on how to produce sounds and noises from an acoustic instrument! Axel and Christine are perhaps the two most interesting musicians making electronic music on acoustic instrument up-to-date!
To hear Christine improvise on her alto sax is in my universe to put together the great universes of Morton Feldman, Lee Konitz, Günter Christmann, Magnus Granberg and Loren Connors!
the capability of binding together the micro details in such a convincing and beautiful way is reserved for very few musicians and artists. to make us see the whole picture/ beauty thru the smallest details. that ROCKS! It F****N RULES!!!

Mats Gustafsson Feb 23rd 2007

2007 SOLO (rapidshare/mediafire)

samedi 30 octobre 2010

Martin Küchen - The Lie & The Orphanage

Martin Küchen: baritone, alto & tenor saxophones, pocket radio

It could be a walrus. Some very large, ungainly, semi-aquatic creature expelling air through a hole layered with tissue and fat and hairs. But then multiple apertures open at once and the creature just spouts information, chaotic from one angle, streamlined from another. Effluvia momentarily expelled, the beast lies down and breathes in short, percolating gasps, quiet but insistent. The pressure builds, however, surging in near-regular waves, causing the organ-walls to quiver, liquid to shudder, wind-drying them, forcing them to grind to a stuttering halt. Gasping again, more desperate and asthmatic, the inhaler partially blocked by fibers, the meager air whistling as it's sucked in, exhaled. At last, the whole bubbling, churning, motoric organism shifts into gear, half-beast, half-machine, navigating through viscous fluid, eating, excreting, copulating as it makes its way from pool to pool.

These were my initial thoughts on hearing Martin Küchen's solo album, before seeing the cover image! I was pleased that my imagery at least resided in the proper class, mammalia. Küchen's work had always connoted something extremely organic to me, combined with a strong sense of ground, of dirt and well-trodden floors. On "The Lie & The Orphanage", he evokes both of those sensations in spades, grinding, wheezing, gutturally rumbling with extreme corporeality and determination, eliciting sounds that, even in this age of post-saxophonic exploration, are startlingly new. Much more importantly, they read as true, as deeply felt expostulations, all building to the astonishingly visceral, multi-tracked finale. Strong, vital work. (from JustOutside)

2010 THE LIE & THE ORPHANAGE (mediafire/rapidshare)

Urs Leimgruber & Evan Parker - Twine

Evan Parker: soprano & tenor saxophones
Urs Leimgruber: soprano & tenor saxophones

Twine, from saxophonists Evan Parker and Urs Leimgruber, is perhaps named for two strands twisted together to make a much stronger thread. The subtitle, however, might just be two saxophonists separated at birth.

Most people familiar with the legendary Parker know his unique sound and reign as the sovereign of freely improvised tenor and soprano saxophone. He has worked in just about every combination from thrilling solo performance to his large Electro-Acoustic Ensembles.

Swiss-born Leimgruber is less well-known; a player with all Parker's tools and eight years his junior, the saxophonist has recorded with the likes of Christy Doran, Fredy Studer, Marilyn Crispell, Joëlle Léandre, and as a solo artist, and can be heard on Chicago Solo (Leo, 2010), Albeit (Jazzwerkstatt, 2010) and with OM on Willisau (Intakt, 2010). The pair might not have been separated at birth, but they are certainly brothers of the same mothers.

Parker is now famous for his duo performances with Joe McPhee, Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, and Lol Coxhill. With Leimgruber, he finds a near perfect DNA match. The pair trades what may be considered Parker-patented flutters, overtones, high-pitched banter, and low swats. Distinguishing one player from the other is difficult as both speak the same language.

The three longish pieces deliver endless fascination. "Twirl" begins with a high register exploration that could easily be a call-and-response from exotic birds. Played until exhaustion, the piece resolves itself with an ornithological silence. Both "Twist" and "Twine" involve interplay and conversation instead of competition. Neither saxophonist chooses to shout to make his point. An astounding recording. (from AllAboutJazz)

2010 TWINE (rapidshare/mediafire)

Anthony Braxton - Quintet (London) 2004

Anthony Braxton: reeds
Taylor Ho Bynum: trumpet
Mary Halvorson: guitar
Chris Dahlgren: bass
Satoshi Takeishi: percussion

This concert was the undisputed high point of the 2004 London Jazz Festival. Braxton, appearing in the UK for the first time in years (decades?) played the first half of a double bill (the second half featured Cecil Taylor) and effortlessly stole the show. I was one of the 2,000-strong audience who cheered the quintet after a triumphant performance, so I have keenly anticipated this release ever since. Given that kind of anticipation, the actual CD was bound to be an anticlimax, and so it proves to be. That is not to decry the quality of the music, which is excellent; it is simply that the anticipation and thrill of the live event is absent (not to mention Braxton's bemused absentminded professor air, which is as endearing as ever).

Nonetheless, for those who attended the concert or listened to it on the BBC (this is the BBC's own recording), this release is a faithful record of the music. Those who have never heard it before have a treat in store. Composition 343 is as spiky and atonal a piece as any by Braxton. Yet he leads from the front, injecting life and energy into its realization. In his hands, it makes sense. He is in impressive form as a player; his solo passages are varied and never fail to enthrall; his finest moment comes some sixteen and a half minutes in with a prolonged, rapidly articulated solo that shoots adrenalin into the ensemble. All the other members deserve credit; in particular, the trumpet is a worthy partner to the leader's sax. Taylor Ho Bynum achieves the same sort of balance between articulation and unpredictability as Braxton himself. A special mention also for guitarist Mary Halvorson, who is a constant source of fresh ideas and interest.

Braxton has been on a roll recently; on this evidence it looks set to continue. (from AllAboutJazz)

2005 QUINTET (LONDON) 2004 (mediafire/hotfile)

vendredi 29 octobre 2010

Anthony Braxton & Taylor Ho Bynum - Duets (Wesleyan) 2002

Anthony Braxton: sopranino saxophone, soprano saxophone, F alto saxophone, Eb alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, Eb clarinet, Bb clarinet, contralto clarinet
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, trumpbone, shell, mutes

Extracting information (and sometimes pleasure) from an Anthony Braxton large ensemble recording is often an arduous task. The music's density and somewhat impermeable nature often exhausts a listener's patience. Somehow this has rarely been the case with his duo recordings. Duets with Max Roach, Georg Grawe, Gino Robair, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, and now Taylor Ho Bynum lend insight into one of the true musical geniuses of our time.

Joining Braxton is cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum, Braxton's masters student at Wesleyan University. Bynum is no novice. He has recorded with Braxton's larger ensembles, made two nice duets discs with drummer Eric Rosenthal, and is a member of the Fully Celebrated Orchestra, which is a sort of 21st century update on Ornette Coleman's early 1960's band.

This post-Ghost Trance 2002 recording finds Braxton switching between saxophones and his much loved clarinets. The pair mixes up the session with two compositions by Braxton, three by Bynum, and a spontaneous improvisation. The relaxed nature of these tracks is the story here. Neither player grandstands, opting for fidelity to the compositions and deference to the other player. Not that there aren't moments of outstanding merit, such as Braxton's verbal overblowing on "Scrabble, his circular breathing on "Composition 305, and Bynum's deft mute work. The pair work through minimalist breathing exercises on Bynum's "To Wait and a jocular post-bop romp with "All Roads Lead To Middletown. Bynum seems to be following the pathways of modern trumpeters Bill Dixon, Don Cherry, and Axel Dorner. He extends the possibilities of the trumpet, yet includes us along for the ride. This is a highly accessible and very enjoyable date. (from AllAboutJazz)

2002 DUETS (WESLEYAN) 2002 (rapidshare/mediafire)

Moppa Elliott - Mostly other people do the killing

Peter Evans: trumpet
Jon Irabagon: saxophones
Moppa Elliott: bass
Kevin Shea: drums & percussion

Moppa Elliott is a young bassist who leads a young, talented band. As such, the music—both written and improvised parts—is
misleadingly mature. Whether it's strong training and influences or just plain old giftedness I can't say, but it's heartening
to see such talent continue to flow into jazz, despite the great old form's ongoing brush with death at the hands of the music
business, aided and abetted by an increasingly indifferent or antipathetic public.

Elliott seems to want to distance his project from the mainstream designation, but here perhaps his youth shows more plainly,
as Mostly Others Do the Killing is clearly a jazz record. The title and design of the CD aims to ape an alternative rock
aesthetic, but five seconds into the music, no one will be fooled. The compositions are in-the-pocket modern jazz romps. The
music is playful and seemingly unintimidated by the deep waters in which it swims, but the ideas and stylistic devices employed
are far from avant-garde. Elliott is correct to aim for a younger audience, but his music is far more sophisticated than any
alternative rock, and he has a heap more instrumental talent in his band.

Jon Irabagon's soprano playing seems to reveal an awareness of Steve Lacy, and he can play with bright clarity and microtonal
murkiness at will. The fine trumpeter Peter Evans, also reported to implement piccolo trumpet and baritone horn on this outing,
likewise has technique to spare, sporting by turns precision to rival Marsalis and controlled, inspired looseness that
suggests an affinity with Don Cherry. The leader's bass is recorded here, alas, heavily. He and drummer Kevin Shea certainly
manage to swing the band through the required passages and assume a perfectly satisfactory free pulse at the appropriate

2005 MOSTLY OTHER PEOPLE DO THE KILLING (rapidshare/mediafire)

jeudi 28 octobre 2010

Peter Evans Quartet - Live in Lisbon

Peter Evans: trumpet
Ricardo Gallo: piano
Tom Blancarte: bass
Kevin Shea: drums

Liner notes rarely describe the process used (and why should they?), yet on this album it is almost programmatic : "In addition to being an interesting way to connect improvisation with fixed materials the players are likely to already have under their fingers, it is also great fun to see what elements of surprise we can squeeze out of something that, on its surface, may seem very familiar".So writes trumpeter Peter Evans in the liner notes of this incredibly jazzy yet equally modern piece of music. The familiar material are harmonies and melody from "All The Things You Are", "Lush Life" and "Duke Ellington's Sound Of Love", to name but a few.

Evans is joined by Ricardo Gallo on piano, Tom Blancarte on bass and Kevin Shea on drums. The music is incredibly complex. Themes change, tempos change, rhythms change : and this several times within the same piece, and not at the same moment, but sometimes in overlaying structures, demanding incredible skills (and concentration!) from the musicians. The result is nice. Inventiveness abounds, the music changes itself the whole time, like a kind of sonic caleidoscope: you can't know what comes next, yet it follows logically and unpredictably from the previous notes, all in the same frame and structural context. The creative discipline and musicianship are stellar.

Yet in the end, it gives me a little bit the same feeling as the later albums by the Empty Cage Quartet, or some of Dave Douglas' music: the musical skills combined with intellectual play with structure create a more distant feel than the expressive and soulful straight from the heart jazz that gets my preference. It is musicians' music of a very high level. (from Free Jazz)

2010 LIVE IN LISBON (rapidshare/mediafire)

Jon Irabagon - Foxy

Jon Irabagon: tenor saxophone
Peter Brendler: bass
Barry Altschul: drums

The tacky art work on the cover may deter some of you, thinking that this the umpteenth easy listening jazz CD that has nothing but low quality to offer. A closer look and you will see the references to the first sax trio ever, with Sonny Rollins on the cover dressed as a cowboy in a desert landscape, here somewhat improved by a blonde babe in the dunes.

The content is some of the most fabulous high energy free boppish sax trios that you will hear in a long time. Jon Irabagon blows his lungs out, together with the rest of his organs and his brains for a eighty-minute long unrelenting piece supported with an equally muscular effort by Peter Brendler on bass and Barry Altschul on drums.

When is say "relentless", I mean "relentless": blowing like this for a few minutes will exhaust the most experienced among saxophonists, but the physical power that Irabagon demonstrates here is worthy of a gold medal in various olympic disciplines combined. In that sense it is a great sequel to his previous "I Don't Hear Nothing But The Blues" with Mike Pride on drums, only even more energetic.

The music itself is not adventurous, nor is it new, quite to the contrary, the trio brings phrases and rhythms from the great bop tradition, including blues, but then full of power, adding all the techniques developed in the past decades, driving the music often into wilder ranges, with shifting rhythms and tempi, although the latter is mostly of the high speed genre, with one exception, the "Foxy (Radio Edit)" on which the speed slows down a bit, and this by itself is great fun, as if the speed would be too high for the radio audiences, then it picks up again to end full blast with the ten-minute last track, "Moxie".

Despite being one lengthy track, it is somewhat arbitrary cut into twelve titles, with obvious recognisable phrases coming back in several pieces. That the music is all about raw energy and forward drive is best illustrated by "Roxy", on which Irabagon keeps blowing the same three notes on and on and on and on for minutes on end, like a railroad worker swinging down his hammer. It's all about the drive.

It is not high art, but it is high entertainment. Not ground-breaking, but at moments hard to believe how so much energy can be kept up for such a long time. Really hard to believe. Great fun! (from Free Jazz)

2010 FOXY (part1/part2)

mercredi 27 octobre 2010

Mostly other people do the killing - Forty Fort

Peter Evans: trumpet
Jon Irabagon: alto & tenor saxophones
Moppa Elliott: double-bass
Kevin Shea: drums, electronics

If Mostly Other People Do the Killing seems to be all about cleverness --mysterious band name, calling their fourth album Forty Fort, Impulse!-like cover art, pseudo-brainiac liner notes by "Leonardo Featherweight," a goof on jazz critic of renown Leonard Feather -- well, there is that. Even those who profess to disdain jazz's avant-garde, into which school this certainly falls, may very well be sucked in by the sheer fun of it all. From the first track, "Pen Argyl," the quartet -- Moppa Elliott (bass), Peter Evans (trumpet), Jon Irabagon (alto and tenor saxophone), and Kevin Shea (drums, elecronics) -- makes it clear that as serious as they are, they're not all that serious. Taking off like a New Orleans second-line march gone haywire, shifting into psychedelic Dixieland, and ultimately winding its way down into introspective free-form noisemaking and synchronized wailing, MOPDTK leaves no doubt that they are in control of their particularly jovial brand of chaos. That Elliott's songwriting (all but one is his, the other is a Neal Hefti cover) is carefully plotted, however, is also undeniable -- there is considerable melody skimming the surface, even at the most out-of-control moments (the title track, the sizzling "Nanticoke Coke"), and while Forty Fort serves as a showcase for each of its contributors to blow uninhibitedly, that they're all sharply tuned in to one another at all times becomes increasingly evident as the jams unfold. These tunes do swing, and they do groove, they boil over, collide, fly off the handle, and command constant attention. They're funky and provocative and electrifyingly, cracklingly hot. If at times the barrage of sounds seems to overwhelm, it's only because these guys love to play (as in fun time, adventurous play) so much that they can't help but run amok. From a post-bop base they expand outward into parts unknown -- stopping cold to emit a minute's worth of what sounds like a demented slide whistle, engaging in brass-ified cackling, going momentarily bluesy, then forgetting why they did that and returning to untethered improv. The very last sounds on this otherwise non-vocal recording are those of a flushing toilet and a woman's voice (à la an encouraging mom) ironically imploring, "You did a great job!" We already know that by then, but the thumbs up is reassuring. (from AMG)


mardi 26 octobre 2010

Mostly other people do the killing - Shamokin!!!

Peter Evans: trumpet
Jon Irabagon: alto saxophone
Moppa Elliott: double-bass
Kevin Shea: drums

Bassist Moppa Elliot is clearly fond of Ornette Coleman's music, and this second quartet date with his unctuously titled band Most Other People Do the Killing, or MOPDTK for short, expands on that influence. Free swing and funk with a piquant edge, a taste for harmelodics, ragged rhythm, and approximate note phrases identify their sound. Trumpeter Peter Evans and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon, two notable rising star jazz improvisers, create the tension-and-release elements that spark this music, backed by Elliott's playful and bold basslines and the loose, craggy drumming of Kevin Shea. Except for "covers" of the standards "Lover" (admittedly disconnected) and "A Night in Tunisia" (rushed very fast), the rest are originals that command attention and hold it. The sonic image of a Don Cherry-Ornette Coleman front line is firmly stamped on the opener "Handsome Eddy" and never lets go. There's an innate humor to the music, as a wildly scattered phraseology simulates the stance of Raymond Scott during "The Hop Bottom Hop," with Irabagon's acerbic sax and Elliott's slap bass à la Slam Stewart swelling the piece until it bursts. The band is enamored of hard bop, but is not its slave as is most prevalent during "Shamokin," while a more Brazilian and tango shade tints "Dunkelbergers." "Evans City" is a funky blues showing off the ribald original sound Evans extracts from his horn, while "Baden" is amazingly wry, yet refined. A drum solo precedes "Tunisia" and reveals Shea's purposefully sloppy technique, far from neat and clean, but somehow incorporating the rock-ish power of John Bonham, the powerhouse modernity of Elvin Jones, and the unabashed or unfettered carelessness of Han Bennink. Shea is at once the glue and the detonator. The album cover, an adaptation of Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers' classic Blue Note LP A Night in Tunisia, is tip-off enough that this offering serves up a modern jazz roller coaster ride, filled with sufficient campy or smart twists and turns to appeal to any who enjoys the modern jazz sound of the '60s made new yet again. And pay particular attention to Evans -- he's a true original deserving wider recognition. (from AMG)

2007 SHAMOKIN!!! (rapidshare/mediafire)

lundi 25 octobre 2010

Mostly other people do the killing - This is our moosic

Peter Evans: trumpet
Jon Irabagon: alto & tenor saxophones
Moppa Elliott: double-bass
Kevin Shea: drums

Review by Michael G. Nastos

Mostly Other People Do the Killing (yes, that's the name of the group) are mainly inspired by towns or villages in the state of Pennsylvania, and the music of Ornette Coleman. This is evident when you look at the cover art of this CD, a direct reference to Coleman's legendary album This Is Our Music. Nicely dressed young men in suits and ties, MOPDTK look only slightly like mad jazz pioneers, but in fact they seize the precepts of Coleman and are making inspired new music beyond others in their peer group. Moosic is also the name of a city in Pennsylvania, and there are others to which the band dedicates these selections. The stars of the group are trumpeter Peter Evans and saxophonist Jon Irabagon, both leaders in their own right and contributing exponentially to the brash soul and extroverted solos that identify the group sound. Bassist Moppa Elliott is the ostensible leader and the wellspring for the compositions referring to the Quaker State, while drummer Kevin Shea is probably the most energetic, frenetic, fierce, and wild-assed player this side of Han Bennink. Together MOPDTK create some of the most vibrant, exciting, and original music in modern-day progressive jazz. There's a circus-like, clownish element à la Lester Bowie quite evident in pieces such as the choppy "Two Boot Jacks" with additional yakkity, untamed references from Irabagon to Boots Randolph. Blending Bowie's humor with the multi-ethnic style of Don Cherry, Evans is particularly tuneful, stewing in an R&B brew for "East Orwell." Mixing metaphors of Danny Elfman's Batman theme, Kurt Weill, and Claude Debussy, "The Bats in the Belfry" waltzes along until the trumpet of Evans busts out with zeal and enthusiasm. The blues remain a major factor on the funky rock boogaloo workout "Drainlick," driven by the nutty drumming of Shea, inspiring it to disintegrate into free urban sounds, then bop. A dirty shuffle from Shea is installed in a low-toned then frantic "My Delightful Muse." You also get the spy-toned hard bopping "Fagundus," where Shea is everywhere at once; the children's tune "Biggertown" warped by free blowing furious bop; and a funky Bowie-like "cover" of Billy Joel's "Allentown." The selection paying direct homage to Coleman's harmolodic approximate note theory is the 12/8-based "Effort, Patience, Diligence," where admitted clichés are tossed left and right -- mostly left -- with some added blues-hued sweetness. MOPDTK have been winning substantive awards and fans who dare to be different, and they are steadily on the rise toward being one of the premier acoustic creative ensembles on the American landscape. This effort does nothing to deter their meteoric ascension, and is highly recommended. (from AMG)

2008 THIS IS OUR MOOSIC (rapidshare/mediafire)

samedi 23 octobre 2010

Peter Evans Quartet

Peter Evans: trumpet
Brandon Seabrook: guitar & electronics
Tom Blancarte: bass
Kevin Shea: drums

Occasionally, a debut album from a new artist arrives that so perfectly encapsulates the prevailing zeitgeist, it sounds like the visionary work of a seasoned veteran. The Peter Evans Quartet is such an album.

While Peter Evans' solo trumpet album, More is More (Psi, 2006) is technically the Oberlin University grad's debut recording, this quartet session is far more indicative of his wide-ranging artistry.

Evans is joined by a close-knit group of regular collaborators. Drummer Kevin Shea, of the experimental post-rock band Storm and Stress, also works with Evans in Moppa Elliott's radical be-bop revisionist band, Mostly Other People Do The Killing. Bassist Tom Blancarte is one-half of the energetic duo, Sparks, with Evans, while guitarist Brandon Seabrook (Naftule's Dream, Alex Kontorovich Quartet), has played with Evans in the nostalgic quartet, Imaginary Folk.

Evans' writing uses harmonic material found in the classic American Songbook as the basic foundation for dense, labyrinthine structures. Additional layers of counterpoint, notation, harmony and incidental noise yield an endlessly shifting set of interlocking patterns. Recognizable melodic vignettes drift in and out of focus as blasts of cacophonous frenzy and feverish group interplay obscure familiar themes and standard chord progressions, invoking a surreal refraction of tradition.

Interpreting multi-layered compositions with a combination of dazzling virtuosity and plucky élan, this crack ensemble balances boundless energy with knowing finesse. Continuously in flux, the quartet endlessly modulates between collective improvisation, intricate notated charts and individual solos with graceful verve.

Driving the ensemble with irrepressible vigor, Shea delivers the same ramshackle vitality and roiling propulsion as he did on Mostly Other People Do The Killing's Shamokin!!! (Hot Cup, 2007). Blancarte's stalwart bass acts as the group's harmonic anchor, an unshakeable pillar in a whirlwind of interactivity.

Demonstrating his academic proficiency with a soaring tone and keen phrasing, Evans shares a neo-classical sensibility with trumpeter Dave Douglas in his choice of divergent angles and jagged edges. But Evans is a far more unfettered stylist, incorporating brassy smears, buzzing howls and an endless array of overblown textures into his profuse narrative statements.

The perfect front-line partner for Evans, Seabrook unveils a correspondingly exploratory outlook, fully embracing the electronic capabilities of his instrument, veering from oscillating ambient drones to blistering white noise. Alternating between gauzy ethereal strumming, punctilious angular runs, scorching leads and shards of reverberating feedback, he shares a mercurial temperament with Evans that finds them in waggish accord.

Evans' knotty, dynamic writing offers a fractured, encyclopedic view of jazz history, moving effortlessly from time honored melodic motifs and euphonious lyricism to dizzying, frenetic improvisation. The Peter Evans Quartet is not only a definitive statement from a rising new voice, but one of the finest jazz records of the year. (from AllAboutJazz)

2007 THE PETER EVANS QUARTET (rapidshare/mediafire)

jeudi 21 octobre 2010

William Parker - Serving An Evolving Humanity

Gianni Lenoci: piano, prepared piano, voice
Vittorino Curci: alto & soprano saoxphones, megaphone, voice
Marcello Magliocchi: drums & percussion
William Parker: bass

This album starts in the best of free jazz traditions: full blast ahead, with a piano that seems to hammer all keys simultaneously, wild sax-playing and a rhythm section that goes totally berserk. The band is William Parker on double bass, Gianni Lenoci on piano, prepared piano and voice, Vittorino Curci on alto and soprano, voice and megaphone, and Marcello Magliocchi on drums.

The "berserk" piece is suddenly harnessed into a repetitive pattern by Curci, with Lenoci following and releasing the tension too, and the piece turns into calm surroundings creating an atmosphere like rain dripping from the leaves after wind and storm have gone, and the piece goes even quieter, with the playing turning minimal, full unexpected turns, sensitive and raw, until all hell breaks loose again, detonating in your ears, relentlessly, ... and becomes even quieter afterwards ... yet somehow the tension increases.

The second piece of the suite starts with Parker playing arco and pizzi simultaneously, setting the scene for an eery and slow avant-garde piece, yet full of a bluesy soul. I am less convinced of the shouting by Lenoci (we could have done without), yet the rest of the piece is staggering : Curci's alto is wailing with a rare expressivity.

The last part of the suite is totally minimalistic, with Lenoci plucking his strings, carefully, cautiously, precisely, Parker playing his shakuhachi, later his shenai, adding interesting world music textures.

It took me some time to get into this album. At first listening it sounded somewhat unfocused, with no real sense of direction or coherence, yet after listening several times in its entirety, the music on the album does evolve, it does flow, and the three pieces do form one unity. There is a lot to listen to, and its worth listening to, more than several times. Enjoy! (from freejazz)

2010 SERVING AN EVOLVING HUMANITY (rapidshare/mediafire)

lundi 18 octobre 2010

Rodrigo Amado - Searching for Adam

Rodrigo Amado: tenor & baritone saxophones
Taylor Ho Bynum: cornet, flugelhorn
John Hébert: bass
Gerald Cleaver: drums

What a band! And what music!

Rodrigo Amado on tenor and baritone, Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet and flugelhorn, John Hébert on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums, four musicians whom I've come to appreciate over the years and who all four stand for creative inventiveness. Here, they come together for the first time, playing the great music of possibilities, but doing so with a very precise voice : you have rhythm throughout, powerfully delivered by bass and drums, not melody per se, but combined lyricism and interaction is what the horns bring. In that sense the tradition of the jazz line-up is respected, but not necessarily musically.

Although the second piece starts with a slow Amado solo, that with its warm and round tone, could well come from jazz in the fifties, but Taylor Ho Bynum's staccato outbursts pierce through this, adding edgy sounds and counterbalance. Interestingly, they keep this strange dialogue going, with bass and drums slightly increasing the tempo into a kind of lightfooted dance, slowly evolving into a more meditative piece of stretched sax notes and muted cornet, all sensitive and subtle, then ending in absolute frenzy.

The third piece starts slowly, yet quite rapidly it becomes more agitated with again Cleaver and Hébert laying down a great rhythmic pulse for the short blasts of the horns. You also get a staggering - yet somewhat lost in the overall concept - three minute drum solo by Cleaver.The highlight is the last piece, which takes you along on a journey through jazz, with boppish episodes, bluesy moments, absolute avant-garde, yet ending with incredible beauty and restraint, deep and warm.

What you get is jazz, strong emotionally powerful jazz, very warm and welcoming, yet utterly free in its delivery. This is without a doubt the best musical result I've heard from Amado so far, full of paradoxes between old and new, between lyricism and abstraction, between the familiar and adventure, between sensitivity and rawness. Highly recommended! (from freejazz)

2010 SEARCHING FOR ADAM (rapidshare/mediafire)

Anthony Braxton - The Montreux/Berlin Concerts

Anthony Braxton: sopranino, alto & contrabass saxophones, clarinet & contrabass clarinet, flute
George Lewis: trombone
Kenny Wheeler: trumpet
Dave Holland: bass
Barry Altschul: drums, percussion, gong

Anthony Braxton has recorded so extensively during the '80s and '90s that it is potentially foolhardy to call any of his recordings "definitive," but this two-LP set comes close. Braxton (mostly on alto and clarinet but also playing contrabass clarinet, flute, and sopranino) is heard with two of his best quartets on these live performances. Featured are either trumpeter Kenny Wheeler or trombonist George Lewis along with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul in exciting group improvisations based on six of Braxton's difficult compositions. There is a surprising amount of humor on one of these selections, and the interplay between these masterful musicians (making expert use of space and dynamics) sometimes borders on miraculous. The fourth side of this two-fer contains a lengthy performance of Braxton and Lewis playing with the Berlin New Music Group that is of slightly lesser interest; the CD reissue leaves out that selection. In either form, this music is highly recommended and by itself demonstrates the greatness and uniqueness of Anthony Braxton's music. This important set (other than side four) has been reissued on CD.(from AMG)


jeudi 14 octobre 2010

Sabine Ercklentz & Andrea Neumann - LAlienation

Sabine Ercklentz: trumpet, electronics
Andrea Neumann: inside piano, electronics

LAlienation is about as fun an eai record can be. One of the first things people notice is the odd cover art (above) with Erklentz and Neumann in some sort of marine camo. I think such things rarely generate a net positive or negative reaction. That is, although the cover certainly doesn’t fit the typical eai release, all seriousness and simplicity, it also is weird enough to draw in people fans outside of that niche. Still, I doubt there are too many people that don’t know the artists involved who will give this record a chance because of the quirky presentation.

Even if the art didn’t hint at a sense of humor, the music inside will. Erklentz isn’t a name that I know, although she may be involved in some collaborative works I’ve heard, but Neumann is a mainstay of the scene, and her work usually projects seriousness common to the genre. This isn’t to say this particular record isn’t serious in the sense that it is surely a smart, artistic set of tracks. But there is a devious smirk at play, a “listen to this shit” kind of attitude that isn’t a regular trait of the average eai session. In fact, while the lineup and aesthetic is truly eai, after a little bit listening to this in the car for the first time, I swore this was the first eai-industrial hybrid I’d ever heard. The best parts sound of the old, ugly ’80s variant of industrial that is random noises patched together to make a completely undanceable groove combined with some spice from Cage’s prepared piano pieces.

This groove has been something that has been debated in the few reviews I’ve seen for LAlienation. I think this divergence from the eai template, given how accessible it makes the record, confuses some listeners. Not that they don’t understand the record, but they don’t know what to make of it. I like it for this very reason. eai doesn’t have to be clinical, and it doesn’t have to be minimal in every sense. There are no rules to music, and this pair’s willingness to invigorate the familiar sounds of eai with a pulse is commendable. It is serious in the way Throbbing Gristle is serious. That is to say, high art in spite of itself.

The recording quality on this record is immaculate. You can really hear all the textures, and all the placement of sounds seems to be well considered. All the little details are magnified in that special way that makes microtonal gestures psychedelic in a way (think about it: sounds and their sources recognizable, but distorted and in odd proportion). With everything in the right spot, the tracks breathe, progress from station to station, and become distinctive.

So, you should take a relatively small chance on LAlienation, especially given how big of a chance it is to defy the strict expectations of the free improv listening community. This record is fun, different, and still delivers on all the things that make eai/microtonal/improv so satisfying. (from KILLEDinCARS)

2010 LALIENATION (rapidshare/mediafire)

lundi 11 octobre 2010

Akosh S. Unit - Kebelen

Akosh Szelevényi: alto & tenor saxophones, bass & metal clarinets, gardon, flute, bombarde, kalimba, vocals, trombone, trumpet
Joe Doherty: violin, viola, alto saxophone, bass clarinet, flute
Quentin Rollet: alto saxophone
Mokhtar Choumane: ney, kaval
Bertrand Cantat: vocals
Bernard Malandain: double bass
Philippe Foch: drums, percussion

Reviewby Eugene Chadbourne

The leader of the group is Hungarian and presents compositions with references to Hungarian folk music, culture, and the language itself. The group is a combination of French and Hungarian players, but despite that and the title of Universal Music, the main frame of reference is black American free jazz, particularly the way the saxophonists get around on their horns, from grumbling split tones to pentatonic or lydian thank you notes. It is a horn of plenty, or plenty or horns with some five different players on hand wielding some form of saxophone, clarinet, or flute. The recording might not be particularly original, but it is energetic and vivid, beautifully recorded and reminiscent of one of the great collective energy jazz sessions, the epic Under the Sun recorded in the '70s by the St. Louis-based Human Arts Ensemble. As on that record, there are often several reed players improvising at once over a rhythm-section sound that is awash with odd bits of percussion and what even sounds like a boombox trying to give birth. There always seems to be something new entering the sound picture, or someone else barging in with some type of sonic stimulation. Some of the players double on brass instruments, while Mokhtar Choumaine plays not only flute by the traditional folk reed instruments the ney and the kaval. So there are always plenty of interesting things going on. What Hungarian influence there is in the actual music tends to come in toward the openings of pieces, as if setting the mood before all hell breaks loose. It is hard to imagine fans of energy jazz not enjoying either of the lengthy tracks, such as the 17-minute "Tan," certainly hotter than a trip to the beach, even with global warming. Actually, "tan" is the Hungarian word for "perhaps." The final track, "Ek," sounds a bit more European, with the accent on strings and more classical-influenced writing, although not played with all that much ensemble precision. Cover art is extremely unique, including a second cover hidden under artwork printed on peel-away plastic and an attractive folding booklet tucked inside the gatefold.

2001 KEBELEN (rapidshare/mediafire)

dimanche 10 octobre 2010

William Parker Quartet - Sound Unity

Rob Brown: alto saxophone
Lewis Barnes: trumpet
William Parker: bass, guitar bass
Hamid Drake: drums

Reviewby Thom Jurek

Recorded at two live dates in Canada in July and July of 2004, Sound Unity is the most beautifully wrought of William Parker's ensemble recordings. Certainly it doesn't break as much ground as some, and it acknowledges his debts to composers like Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, and Eric Dolphy, and that's fine; in Parker's able hands as a leader, this band with saxophonist Rob Brown, drummer Hamid Drake (are he and Parker the best rhythm section in jazz or what?), and trumpeter Lewis Barnes understands that both listening and silence are as important as what notes to play. The interaction between the horn players feels like they've been playing together for a very long time -- check out the 18-plus-minute title track. What's also important to note here is the fluidity that the rhythm section engages the horns with, such as on "Wood Flute Song," or the crazy, funky joy on "Hawaii." The bandmembers nearly lift off; they're having so much fun. The music on this set is one of those bridges -- across tradition, subgenre, nuance, and harmony. Parker's lyricism is profound, and has never been heard quite like this before. Brown is a more subtle player than some Parker has worked with before, and Barnes is a natural singer on the trumpet. The gap that's provided in the absence of a piano allows for a less strident interaction harmonically and dialogically. The music here flows, reaches, steps back, and reaches further, with Parker's guidance allowing for the horns to push one another as they do on "Groove," not so much for what they know, but for what they bring to a tune emotionally. "Harlem"'s folk song melody and lyric are among the most beautiful Parker has yet written; it's a place where blues and the Middle Eastern musics of Morocco come together. This is a stellar offering from one of the music's greatest lights.


Keith Rowe, Toshimaru Nakamura, Thomas Lehn, Marcus Schmickler - ErstLive 002

Keith Rowe: guitar, electronics
Toshimaru Nakamura: no-input mixing board
Thomas Lehn: analog synthesizer
Marcus Schmickler: synthesizer, computer

Reviewby Brian Olewnick

As a trio, Keith Rowe, Thomas Lehn and Marcus Schmickler had been responsible for the fine and raucous Rabbit Run as well as a set on the AMPLIFY 2002: balance edition, both also on Erstwhile. Most of the former and much of the latter were characterized by a rough-and-tumble approach that verged on the brutal, further enhanced on Rabbit Run by the division of the performance into random slices and the advice to the listener to play the disc on shuffle mode. Injecting Toshimaru Nakamura into this mix, he of the no-input mixing board, was like adding a leavening agent into a stew threatening to boil over its cauldron. And indeed, from the first sound, the agitation level is on low flame in this live session, hums and staticky drones predominant. The blend of instruments is intriguing: Lehn's analog synthesizer and Schmickler's computer present two subtly different poles while, perpendicularly, Nakamura's sine-like tones of alien purity intersect with Rowe's rougher-edged attacks on his guitar spiced with several harsh radio samples (including snatches of the Who's "Happy Jack"). The music unfurls in petal-like fashion, not with particular forward thrust but revealing unusual and fascinating vistas, pausing briefly for contemplation and then moving on. Not that things don't turn rambunctious on occasion; rude noises bubble to the surface several times, but always underlined by a steady flow of sound in one form or another, a linear component that keeps the music from any appearance of disjointedness. It's a slippery journey, but by performance's end, the listener has traversed an extremely wide and open sound-field, one that's worth revisiting many, many times not the least because it will be heard differently every on each occasion.

2004 ERSTLIVE 002 (rapidshare/mediafire)

vendredi 8 octobre 2010

Keith Rowe & Burkhard Beins - ErstLive 001

Keith Rowe: guitar, electronics
Burkhard Beins: percussion

Taking advantage of the availability of a top-notch recording engineer in the form of Vienna's Christoph Amann, Erstwhile top gun Jon Abbey was able to return home after the two European legs of his 2004 AMPLIFY festival (in Cologne and Berlin respectively) with a bag full of superb recordings, the first batch of which is now out in the form of these four elegant limited edition slimline jewel box releases. Mean spirited souls could moan and groan at Abbey's decision to release as four separate albums music that could quite easily have been brought out as one double CD (the Rowe / Beins set lasts 28'18", the Rowe / Nakamura / Lehn / Schmickler 38'47", the Stangl / Kurzmann 33'03" and the Fennesz quartet a mere 23'44"), but the quality of these performances and their occasional (welcome) deviations from what was beginning to seem like a rather inflexible Erstwhile norm makes Abbey's decision to release them separately more than justified.
Guitarist Keith Rowe and Berlin-based percussionist Burkhard Beins have appeared on disc together before, on the album Grain on Ignaz Schick's Zarek imprint (Zarek 06, 2001). On paper, Beins's exquisitely-paced friction (check out his work with the groups Perlonex, with Schick and Jörg Maria Zeger, and The Sealed Knot with Mark Wastell and Rhodri Davies) along with the slowmotion grit associated with Rowe's Erstwhile and Grob back catalogue might lead punters to expect an austere Weather Sky-like affair, but this set, recorded on May 10th 2004 in Berlin (not May 13th, as the booklet states, in a rare mistake for Erstwhile) is exhilaratingly combative. Rowe's radio, which has never been all that prominent on his previous Erstwhile releases, is in full effect here, picking up Radio Canada dispatches on the Iraq war (a timely reminder that while punters sat in reverential silence in the clubs of Berlin, dirty deeds were afoot in faraway lands) and, at the 15 minute mark, a chunk of Dusty Springfield's "Son Of A Preacher Man" long enough to have Tarantino fans reaching for their Bibles in awe before Rowe and Beins blast it to shit. The torrential downpour of crippled pop and vicious noise that follows should be required daily listening for any stick-up-the-ass snob who complains about this music's supposed sterility, lack of energy and, most importantly, lack of humour. I'm normally no fan of live recordings that explode into enthusiastic cheering for minutes after the music has ended, but for once the decision to let the tapes roll long enough to catch the whoops and hollers of the delighted audience and the joyful, surprised laughter of Keith Rowe himself is to be applauded.

2004 ERSTLIVE 001 (rapidshare/mediafire)

jeudi 7 octobre 2010

Anthony Braxton - Saxophone Improvisations, Series F

Anthony Braxton: alto & soprano saxophones

Reviewby Eugene Chadbourne

The Inner City label reissued this album not out of some great commitment to avant-garde solo saxophone, but because there was a licensing deal with the shady French label called America, and Braxton himself had elevated his position back home. He was a contracted artist with Arista when this reissue popped out, and had some big write-ups in magazines such as Rolling Stone -- none of which could possibly prepare an uninitiated listener for the onslaught that is his solo saxophone music in the early days when his manner of presentation was less refined and documentation was low-budget. This early-'70s recording is a bit better quality than his landmark solo recording done for Delmark on a cassette player that probably cost less than the price of watching Braxton for two sets at a New York club, back when they were hiring him. But it still sounds like it was recorded in someone's kitchen, and the pressings that either label involved in this release were willing to pay for weren't exactly top of the line. The next thing is to say that all this is part of the charm, but that would be a lie. Cheesy recording mars some of the quieter and subtler parts of the first side, and is only a bit less of a problem on the loud distorted sections. Some listeners may feel like tossing the album onto the fireplace in the first five minutes, with the opening suite coming across as a bit precious and inevitably compounded by gouges and shrapnel in the pressing. Nonetheless, the extended performance that makes up all of the second side is one of the greatest things Braxton has ever put on disc, a demonstration of energy, versatility, manipulation of tone, and perverse musical logic that stands as one of the best solo horn performances in the jazz discography. And although the early recordings of Braxton seem to be marked by frustration and failure, this is a suitable follow-up to For Alto as well as an improvement, a great accomplishment in itself.


dimanche 3 octobre 2010

Angles - Epileptical West (Live in Coimbra)

Mattias Ståhl: vibraphone
Magnus Broo: trumpet
Martin Küchen: alto saxophone
Mats Äleklint: trombone
Kjell Nordeson: drums
Johan Berthling: double bass

Last year regular reader Wojtek asked me why I didn't give the previous album by Angles, "Every Woman Is A Tree" a five star rating. And I reacted saying that I really had considered it, yet did not at the last moment. I will make up for this and give the band's new release the maximum rating, because every track on the album is equally strong and compelling, while the music is powerfully expressive, the playing exuberant and full of emotional depth.

The band is the brainchild of Swedish saxophonist Martin Küchen, and further consists of Mattias Ståhl on vibraphone, Magnus Broo on trumpet, Mats Älekint on trombone, Kjell Nordeson on drums and Johan Bertling on double bass.

Like its predecessor, the music is one long wail of protest and anger against the madness of today's world. In order to do that, the band falls back on African rhythms, grand themes, and tremendous playing. The wonderful first track could be coming from Bengt Berger's "Bitter Funeral Beer", (one of my all-time favorites) with its polyrhythmic drive, strong theme and wild interactions, yet which all fit into one whole.

The second piece, "Today Is Better Than Tomorrow", starts with slow vibes, and rumbling drums, as a gradual build-up for the glorious theme, introduced by Küchen, with the other horns echoing it, and driving it forward. It is of a hair-raising sadness.

The title track starts full of disorientation and madness over a strong rhythmic backbone, with Broo's trumpet leading the tune, then changing gear into a strong African rhythm, half-funky over which a compelling theme is woven, a solid base for the individual soloists to express their anger, and joy, then shifting back into chaotic madness, with the bass driving up the tempo to give Nordeson the chance to hammer away. "En Svensk Brownie", is again a funky rhythmic delight, evolving into middle piece with the arco bass and percussion reminiscent of Hemphill's Dogon A.D.

To my great joy, they also play the title song of their previous album, an absolutely stunning, stirring, rousing composition, again a gloriously expansive piece, that is both sad and joyful, angry and inviting, full of powerful soloing. The long last track is quieter, subdued, with Küchen's soloing beautifully soulful and bluesy, giving a great sense of compassion and hope at the same time.The piece becomes excited, then is crystalised around a sensitive arco bass solo by Bertling in the middle, then moving back to the main theme and related distress.

And it is a live album, with an audience that shouts full of enthusiasm, not only after the tracks, but also when the band unexpectedly change gear, or fall back into a steady groove. Great!

As you may read, I am excited. And more than just a little. This music gets you whole: soul, mind, heart and body.

If you buy only one album this year, buy this one! (from freejazz)

2010 EPILEPTICAL WEST - LIVE IN COIMBRA (rapidshare/mediafire)

vendredi 1 octobre 2010

Burkhard Beins - Structural Drift

Burkhard Beins: e-bowed and propelled zither, analogue synthesizer, e.t., looper, igniters, chimes, wood block, steel band, fire and stones

Burkhard Beins is best known as one of the most distinctive percussionists in European free music, performing in groups both in Berlin (Phosphor, Perlonex, Activity Center) and beyond (The Sealed Knot, Trio Sowari), though on the strength of his two solo albums, 2007's Disco Prova and now Structural Drift, he's no slouch as a composer either, bringing the same acute ear for timbre and immaculate sense of timing to more fixed structures. But whereas Disco Prova, with it's rattling machinery and Joy Divison samples, was an affectionate nod to the industrial and new wave music Beins grew up listening to, this new releases's shifting tectonic plates of synthesizers, E-bowed zither and self-designed electronic instruments (including ET, a hendheld oscillator with built-in speakers) belong in a parallel universe of electronic music along with the psychoacoustic wonders of Eliane Radigue and Maryanne Amacher.
Beins's compositions retain the same fondness for occasional sudden shifts of texture and dynamic that characterizes his improvising. Combining purely electronic sounds sourced from a Korg MS20 with his customary organic performing materials, wood and stone, the three pieces on the album were conceived and elaborated during a residency earlier this year in the Lower Saxony village of Worpswede, and the landscape surrounding the village, as shown on the album cover, with it's lonely roads, bare trees and leaden skies, seems appropriate. What on first contact might appear cold and featureless reveals on close listening a remarkable wealth of warmth, colour and detail.
- Dan Warburton, The Wire -

2009 STRUCTURAL DRIFT (rapidshare/mediafire)