A really fantastic set from this Swedish nine piece ensemble – a record that's overflowing with brash performance and unbridled energy – adventurous, but never totally free – and always given the right sort of focus to make things come across with a tremendous amount of power! The feel is almost like a Moserobie Records take on a Charles Mingus style – and the lineup features Martin Kuchen on alto and tenor – who also composed the album's five long tracks – plus Magnus Broo on trumpet, Matthias Stahl on vibes, Goran Kajfes on cornet, Mats Aleklint on trombone, Eirik Hegdal on baritone, Alexander Zethson on piano, Johan Berthling on bass, and Andreas Werliin on drums. If you know any of those players at all, you can imagine the greatness of the group – on titles that include "Adror", "Equality & Death", "Pacemaker", "Disappeared Behind The Sun", and "Love Flee Thy House". CD
They certainly got the "beautiful" in the title right – because although the set's a series of freely-improvised duets between reedman John Butcher and drummer Stale Liavik Solberg – the pair handle their music with a lot more care and sensitivity than you might hear from any other duo! Butcher is especially great on tenor and soprano sax – shaping sounds as much as creating notes – often with an approach that's darkly poetic, and very beautiful throughout – always filled with surprise, and very well matched with Solberg's inventive percussion. Titles include "So Beautiful", "It Starts", and "To Rain". CD
A record that announces its difference right from the very first note – then keeps on setting itself apart with each new musical selection! The group's led by pianist Jonas Cambien – who can play both warmly and starkly – and the sound is balanced between the drums and percussion of Andreas Wildhagen, and the reed work of Andre Roligheten – who blows tenor, soprano, bass clarinet, and flute – often with textural tones that fold in nicely alongside the piano and drums! Yet despite that statement, there's also no set style to the group – as they really explore different interpolations of their instruments on every track – often in ways that seem to have an inherent structure, but which are also strikingly new as well – maybe even more powerful because of their tuneful inclinations than if the musicians were more free-minded. Titles include "Creationism", "Swear Like A Bear", "Unlikely Friendship", "Long Long Long", "Sister You Proved Me Right", "Crib", and "Animalism". CD
The title might be a bit goofy, but it's actually a pretty great way to sum up the spirit of this group – as the contemporary Cortex come from avant roots, but also have a vibrancy that makes their music sound more celebratory than confrontational! The quartet features endlessly creative rhythms from the duo of Olya Hoyer on bass and Gard Nilssen on drums – topped by beautiful interplay between the trumpet of Thomas Johansson and saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts – both players who can sometimes be completely in step with each other, sometimes almost at odds, and individually really work to make the whole record soar when it's time for their solos. Titles include "Mac Davis", "Grinder", "Chaos", "Waltz", "Disturbance", "Obverse/Reverse", and "Off Course". LP, Vinyl record album
Dark tones and textures from this well-matched quartet – a group led by pianist Benoit Delbecq – and featuring tenor from Mark Turner, bass from John Hebert, and drums from Gerald Cleaver – all musicians who really seem to have a strong sense of each others' role! If you know Turner's ability to slowly shift in moody passages, you'll know some of the energy of this set – although Hebert can often provide this rumbling depth that really wins us, and Delbecq can have more angular, powerful piano lines that occasionally redefine the proceedings. Titles include "Broken World", "Rosemary K", "The Loop Of Chicago", "Spots On Stripes", "Dawn Sounds", "Old Vinyl", and "Dripping Stones". CD
With a title and cover like this, we had to check the record out – and the sound within doesn't fail to disappoint! The song titles themselves are extremely political, but the music has a very universal appeal in the freer side of the spectrum – almost a poetic take on the world of free improvisation, with as much tunefulness as unbridled sense of exploration in the musicians! Players include Simone Graziano on piano, Gabriele Evangelista on bass, and Francesco Cusa on drums – working with guest Carlo Atti on saxes. Titles include "Delivering A Load Of Musical Boxes To Wall Street", "Adam Smith Counts Every Penny", "Fiscal Regime In The Life Of The New York Taxidriver/Jazzman", "Sun Ra Vs Donald Trump", and "Accelerating From The Global Society To The Foamed Society". CD
Drummer Nick Fraser leads the group, but we're in love with the contributions of all the individual members – including saxophonist Tony Malaby, who's at his creative tonal best – and the mix of Andrew Downing on cello and Rob Clutton on bass – performing together here in a wonderfully rich texture of strings! The album begins in moody territory, but soon moves into bolder moments – which really draw a lot of subtle emotional balance in the range between the tenor and cello especially – working together to evoke worlds of unseen images, with an offbeat mix of past and future. Titles include "Disclosure", "Skeleton", "Arachnid", "The Predictor", and "Quicksand". CD
Frode Gjerstad Trio with Steve Swell —
Bop Stop ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2018. New Copy ...
The trombone of Steve Swell is a great presence here – balanced alongside the trio of Frode Gjerstad on alto, Jon Rune Strom on bass, and Paal Nilssen Love on drums and percussion! Both Swell and Gjerstad have this way of creating flurries of notes that are mindblowing – fast-thinking, quickly-creative tones that fall from their horns with almost an organic sort of energy – blended together in a magical conflagration of high and low and impulses! Strom's bass shifts nicely – sometimes itself a strong engine of sonic nodes – and the drums of Paal Nilssen-Love are sometimes nicely restrained, before coming on with his trademark boundless energy. The set features four long improvisations – "Bop Stop", "Stop Bop", "Pop Bop", and "Post Stop". CD
Scandinavian jazz, recorded in Bali – in a great shift from previous volumes in this series – as all musicians play a bit of gamelan as well! Make no mistake, the format is definitely freely improvised music with a strong jazz current – with the mighty Jonas Kullhammar on tenor and flute, Susana Santos Silva on trumpet, Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass, and Espen Aalberg on drums and percussion – working together as a fantastically cohesive unit, with a bold sense of confidence that really shows the players' understanding of each other. Yet there's also a special vibe here – really marking the album as a special outing from the musicians – even if the gamelan is used sparingly alongside the more familiar instrumentation. Titles include "Irama Berat", "Dewas Dance", "Slow Ostinato", "Suling", and "Ilir Ilir". CD
Rob Mazurek —
Rome ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2017. New Copy ...
An incredible solo record from Rob Mazurek – a wonderful change from some of his larger group and collaborative projects – even though we love those a heck of a lot too! This set's a great reminder of the core improvisational genius that Rob's always had, but which sometimes is overshadowed by the group activity on his other records. Here, Mazurek blows cornet alone, and also plays both standard and prepared piano – and colors things with just a dash of his great electronics – often used in more sparing and subtle ways than some of his group efforts. A really beautiful set from a musician who continues to reward us over the years – with titles that include "Twombly At New Church", "Gazing Through Walls", "King Of Rome", and "Sweet Life In Disrepair". CD
Meridian Trio (Nick Mazzarella/Matt Ulery/Jeremy C —
Triangulum ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2017. New Copy ...
Triangulum – a great title for the wonderful energy of this group – which swings perfectly between the three sharp points of Nick Mazzarella on alto, Matt Ulery on bass, and Jeremy Cunningham on drums! These guys are freewheeling, but always soulful – not just because of Nick's well-shaped sense of tone – which can be arch-modern, yet with a surprisingly warm core – but also because the bass of Ulery has this completely rapt (wrapped?) approach – almost like some deep force watching over the whole proceedings, which then seems to set Cunningham free on drums. The group represents an amazing third (or fourth?) wave in the contemporary avant scene in Chicago – the kind of joyous expression that continues to make us proud to live in a city that can create music this wonderful. Titles include "Ringdown", "Reminiscing", "Witch Hazel", "Rhododendron", "Strange", and "Inflection Point". CD
A totally cool combination of musical elements – baritone sax and analog electronics – both played here by Jonah Parzen-Johnson with a style that's unlike anything else we can think of! Sure, saxes and electronics have come together before – ever since Richard Tietelbaum and Anthony Braxton first recorded together back in the 70s. But there's also a very different vibe here that comes both from the baritone, and its deeper sonic range – and the way that Jonah uses his electronics, sometimes with flutteringly rhythmic elements that really make the music shimmer, but without overwhelming it at all. He's also not afraid to blow straight and soulfully at times too – which is especially great when the electronics are more abstract – and throughout, the album's full of these revelatory moments that make the whole thing a delight. Titles include "These Shoulders Those Shoulders", "Cabin Pressure", "I Have Questions", "What Do I Do With Sorry", "Guns Make Us Murderers", and "Too Many Dreams". CD
Matt Piet & His Disorganization —
Rummage Out ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2018. New Copy ...
A strong group statement from Chicago pianist Matt Piet – a newer player on the city's improvising scene, but one who's already making his presence known – lined up here beautifully with heavyweights Josh Berman on cornet, Nick Mazzarella on alto, and Tim Daisy on drums and percussion! The album just features two long tracks – and both of them are maybe more of a nod back at an earlier generation of Chicago improvisers than some of the recent work of the other players – as Piet blocks things out in mood at the start, then builds up a strong energy between all of the players – with Mazzarella sounding especially great in the setting – really coming across with these searing, spiritual tones. Berman is great too – more subtle at times, but also looser and freer too – and titles include "Lost & Found" and "The Last Place You Look". CD
Alberto Pinton & Noi Siamo —
Opus Facere ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2018. New Copy ...
Reedman Alberto Pinton works here in a very full-on setting – a strong quartet with Niklas Barno on trumpet, Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass, and Konrad Angnas on drums – all players who can come out of the gate in a very bold way, but then also create these much more introspective moments of musical interplay! Pinton blows a variety of horns on the record – alto, baritone sax, clarinet, and bass clarinet – all of which create different shades of emotion. And, as usual, Zetterberg is tremendous – maybe one of the great under-appreciated bassists of the past 20 years! Titles include "Overthought", "Marion", "The Long View", "Det Vi Vet", and "Unqueitly/Sabbia". CD
Mattias Risberg —
Stamps ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2018. New Copy ...
A pretty great little album of solo piano – one that not only has a different vibe, given that Mattias Risberg also uses a moog Taurus – but also because the piano here seems to be both normal and "prepared"! Risberg has a great way of pulling out odd sounds that are still surprisingly tuneful – laying them out in progressions that are often quite angular and jagged, but which have a warm quality as well – almost painterly in the way that Mattias handles his music, with a beautifully personal touch. The whole album's played live, without overdubs – and the Taurus is handled with foot pedals, in a subtle but striking way. Titles include "Marine", "Emerald", "Vermillion", "Cobalt", "Sienna", "Viridian", and "Umber". CD
Sara Serpa —
Close Up ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2018. Used Gatefold ...
A record as enigmatic as its title – slow-building sounds crafted by the trumpet of Yaw Tembe and percussion of Monseiur Trinite – both musicians we don't know at all, but who really find a special space with this album! The sound is very open and spacious – much more in an ECM legacy than the usual releases on CleanFeed – but also with a sound that's individually its own, and which isn't trying to copy the ECM style at all. Percussion is often very spare and stark – not loud, but striking – and the performance appears to be live, in a space that also allows for lots of room echo to expand the individual elements. Titles include "A Kind Of Jester's Kindness", "Delta", "Trial", "King Before Kings", "Inner Suite Three Magnificent Ride", and "No Body". CD
The bass of Eric Revis sounds better than we ever remember – and that's saying a lot, because we've really liked his other records too! Yet here, it almost feels like Revis is out to re-state himself as a musician – coming on strong with a tone that could put him up there with the giants of earlier years – and beautifully matched with drummer Chad Taylor, who's always been an amazing example of that rare quality of being tight and loose at the same time! Ken Vandermark blows tenor and clarinet – but in a way that really seems to respect the path taken by Revis and Taylor – as does the piano of Kris Davis, which punctuates the sound perfectly. Titles include "Sing Me Some Cry", "PT 44", "Good Company", "Rye Eclipse", "Rumples", and "Drunkard's Lullaby". CD
Angles 3 —
Parede ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2018. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
An album recorded in Portugal – as you might guess from the title – but featuring a group of real Swedish music heavyweights! The trio features fantastic interplay between the bass of Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, the drums of Kjell Nordeson, and the tenor and soprano sax of Martin Kuchen – the latter of whom wrote most of the music, with a vivid style that's extremely compelling – as rich in fresh ideas as the musicians are free in their interpretation! Kuchen is amazing – really wonderful on both tenor and soprano – and the music here has maybe a looser approach to the sorts of sounds that the Moserobie label first gave us in its early years – with this great interplay between structure and freedom. Titles include "Equality & Death", "Satan In Plain Clothes", "Francisco/By Way Of Deception", and "Don't Ruin Me/Love Flee Thy House". CD
Saxophonist Marty Ehrlich is certainly exalted here – working in a superb trio setting that seems to make for one of his best records in years! The rhythm duo are fantastic – Nasheet Waits on drums and John Hebert on bass – both players who create this brooding sense of power right from the start, which Ehrlich then augments with deftly creative work on alto, clarinet, bass clarinet, and wooden flutes – notes that are sharp and striking, but always incredibly thoughtful too – a really special balance that makes for a hell of a record. Titles include "Stone", "Dance No 5", "Senhor PC", "Yes Yes", "Dusk", "Sometimes", and "The Arc Of The Oar". CD
Three horns, no piano, and plenty of imagination – a triple-length set that really opens up new possibilities for improvisation, by a quintet that features Mats Aleklint on trombone, Martin Kuchen on alto, sopranino, and flute – and Kjetil Moster on tenor and clarinet – alongside Olay Hoyer on bass and Dag Erik Knedal Andersen on drums! The tracks are very long and flowing – almost with the organic quality of spiritual jazz, but maybe a bit more outside too – very open in the way the musicians come together, almost blossoming like individual flowers in the same garden – rather than trying to challenge each other for primacy or time in the light. Titles include "See Don't Tell", "Hear Don't Say", "Towards The Uncool", "A Clandestine Jazz Operation", and "Myriads Of Space (parts 1 to 4)". CD
A really old school trio setting – one that has a loose, open, freely exploratory vibe that really takes us back to the loft jazz generation – as the musicians work in very creative territory that really shows their individual spirits, yet still also come together strongly as a whole! Joe McPhee is great on tenor and trumpet – and really reminds us of those tremendous textures and tones he started developing in the late 70s – and the rest of the trio features Pascal Niggenkemper on bass and Stale Liavik Solberg on drums – both younger musicians, but equally creative in the setting. Titles include "i", "A", and "Zero Supreme Love" – the last of which is dedicated to John Coltrane. CD
A trio of live performances from this excellent trio – material recorded in Oslo, Ljubljana, and the North Sea festival – brought together here in a really wonderful package! The first CD features just the trio – Gard Nilssen on some incredibly dynamic drums, working with Petter Eldh on bass and Andre Roligheten on tenor and soprano sax – a group who really find a new way to open things up past the original trio mode of Sonny Rollins in the 50s, but without the oft-trod territory of the familiar avant power trio too. The group is joined by Fredrik Ljungkvist on tenor and clarinet on the second CD – and we always love Fred's work on any session, this one included. The final CD features a quintet – with the presence of Jorgen Mathisen on tenor and clarinet, and Kristoffer Berre Alberts on alto, tenor, and baritone – which really ups the reed power of the album! A heck of a lot of music in one short space – all free, but nicely structured into songforms too. CD
We love the Trespass Trio – a group that offers up a very fresh setting for some musicians we first discovered in the Moserobie side of the universe – bassist Per Zanussi, drummer Raymond Strid, and reedman Martin Kuchen – who plays baritone, alto, and sopranino saxes on the album! Zanussi can have a deep bass sound at times, but also bows his instrument at points – with this beautiful current of melancholy – and there's a loose, almost ragged quality to the music that we never would have expected from the musicians years before – a mode that's powerful at moments, but maybe even more compelling when it opens up into some bluer currents of sound. Titles include "Sounds & Ruins", "In Tears", "Centers", "The Spirit Of Pitesti", and "Fri Kokko". CD
A record that comes on with the frenzy of an Ornette Coleman Quartet session – and one with a very similar lineup too – given that Nate Wooley is on trumpet, Chris Pitsiokos is on alto, Brandon Lopez is on bass, and Dre Hocevar is on drums! Yet the sound is freer, and bolder too – as the instruments flurry together in clusters, then burst out into incredible sonic territory as the set moves on – with moments that include Wooley blowing fast and tuneful with a mute, like some speed freak Miles Davis – or hitting these popping, punctuated sounds that are really unusual. The record's one that really keeps us on the edge of our seats – and furthers the sense of surprise that can make real jazz improvisation so special! CD
We find ourselves loving the sax work of Tony Malaby more and more as the years go on – and here, he's perfectly situated in a trio with Samo Salamon on guitar and Roberto Dani on drums – a group that really finds the best way to triangulate the efforts of all three players! Unlike other takes on this format, where the tenor might dominate – Malaby's work on that instrument, and a bit of soprano, are bold, but also phrased in ways that resonate beautifully with the drums and guitar – which themselves, especially the latter, take on these elements that are completely captivating – all of which makes for a record that's a lot more inside than you might guess from the cover! Titles include "Breathing", "Traveling Without Motion", "Pedro Is Clean", "Arnold", "Kei's Dream", and "Moving Target". CD
One of the headiest Peter Brotzmann albums we've heard in years, thanks to the sound of the Black Bombaim group from Portugal – who play with a guitar-heavy drive that almost takes us back to Brotzmann's Last Exit recordings of the 80s! The group play with a forward energy that takes off right from the start – heavy drums and full-on fuzzy guitar, plus some deep electric bass as well – all of which puts the reedman in a different setting than most of his recent projects, and one that reminds us just how well-suited he can be for such an experience! Some of the performances here really blow our minds all over again – with a tone that's strong, and incredibly clear – sometimes even more focused than on some of Brotzmann's other recent records, but still very free and sharp-edged overall. The album was recorded live in the studio, with a very jamming vibe! LP, Vinyl record album
Peter Brotzmann/John Edwards/Steve Noble —
Soulfood Available ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2014. Used Gatefold ...
Out Of Stock
The title's a very apt one – as saxophonist Peter Brotzmann somehow sounds even more soulful than ever – almost at a level that evokes John Coltrane and Albert Ayler with his searing, searching tones on the album's very long title track! "Soulful Available" is worth the price of admission alone – as Brotzmann blows this very spiritual tenor over bass from John Edwards and drums from Steve Noble – as all three players build intensity and resonate together, almost with a 60s ESP sort of vibe – quite different than usual for Peter, but really appreciated as well! Some of the more familiar Brotzmann sense of tone and timing come through on the album's two shorter tracks, both of which are great too – "Nail Dogs By Ears" and "Don't Fly Away". CD
Trombonist Michael Dessen is really fantastic here – blowing with great sense of shape and soul on some more straightforward numbers, then getting nicely abstract as he introduces some electronics to his music! Dessen's not the first trombonist to bring in electronics to his music, but his work here is maybe the strongest we've heard in the mode – a lot warmer than it sometimes can be, and nicely balanced with the bass of Christopher Tordini and drums of Dan Weiss. The album's dedicated to Yusef Lateef – which may have something to do with the quality, as it would be hard to go wrong with Lateef as a guidepost. But then again, the whole thing's very unique – and very much one of the strongest statements we've ever heard from Dessen! CD
Friends & Neighbors come on even stronger here than on their previous record – with a blistering array of sharp-edged notes that really live up to the Ornette Coleman legacy that inspired their name! The group's incredibly deft – free, but never unstructured – able to turn on a dime, and draw the best from each individual member – while never making it feel like the quintet is being overshadowed by a larger ego or two. There's a sympathy between the players that you don't always get on records like this – and although the performances are quite free, they have an intrinsic logic that makes them extremely powerful. Group features Andre Roligheten on tenor and clarinet, Thomas Johansson on trumpet, Oscar Gronberg on piano, Jon Rune Strom on bass, and Tollef Ostvang on drums – and titles include "Fool Pay", "Duality", "Nokken", "Melting Snow", "Friends", and "Jaguar". LP, Vinyl record album
John Lindberg BC3 with Wendell Harrison & Kevin No —
Born In An Urban Ruin ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2016. New Copy Gatefold ...
Out Of Stock
Bassist John Lindberg is the leader here – but the record starts with a beautiful solo clarinet piece by reedman Wendell Harrison – who we've loved ever since his Tribe Records work of the 70s! Harrison has played in many formats over the years – some more straight or polished than others – but here, in the company of a great trio, he reminds us that he can still be an incredibly powerful, spiritual player when needed – working here on both bass clarinet and standard clarinet – with a creative sound that rivals John Carter at his best on the instruments. The group also features wonderful vibes from Kevin Norton – whose tones balance things out nicely, and have this sharper attack at points that resonates well with Lindberg's bass. Norton also plays additional percussion – and titles include "Swooping Deep", "The Excavation", "The Left Wrist", "Devastation Of Vegetation", "Born In An Urban Ruin", and "Vermont Roadside Family". CD
A trio of live performances from this excellent trio – material recorded in Oslo, Ljubljana, and the North Sea festival – brought together here in a really wonderful package! The first record features just the trio – Gard Nilssen on some incredibly dynamic drums, working with Petter Eldh on bass and Andre Roligheten on tenor and soprano sax – a group who really find a new way to open things up past the original trio mode of Sonny Rollins in the 50s, but without the oft-trod territory of the familiar avant power trio too. The group is joined by Fredrik Ljungkvist on tenor and clarinet on the second album – and we always love Fred's work on any session, this one included. The final record features a quintet – with the presence of Jorgen Mathisen on tenor and clarinet, and Kristoffer Berre Alberts on alto, tenor, and baritone – which really ups the reed power of the album! A heck of a lot of music in one short space – all free, but nicely structured into songforms too. LP, Vinyl record album
Susana Santos Silva/Torbjorn Zetterburg/Hampus Lin —
If Nothing Else ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2015. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
A wonderful continuation of the spirit of the previous collaboration between trumpet and flugelhorn player Susana Santos Silva and bassist Torbjorn Zetterberg – but a record that also adds in a cool extra element with the organ of Hampus Lindwall too! The music has this spacious, open quality – these tonefull lines from Silva which flow out in space, but which also have a quality that's not nearly as cold as, say, an ECM session of this type – thanks to the always-amazing, always-soulful work of Zetterberg on bass – who gives the record an organic grounding, which is then supported by Lindwall's lines on organ. And we're not exactly sure what type of organ he's using, but at times it almost feels like a pipe organ – as the sounds have both a depth, and sense of presence that really makes the music unique – even at points when his contributions are very low on the sonic totem pole. Titles include "Stop Chords", "Fiddling", "Distance", "First Initiative", "Second Initiative", "One Note Each", and "One Note Song". CD
Tree Ear (Hemmingway/Strinning/Troller) —
Witches Butter ... LP CleanFeed (Portugal), 2018. New Copy Gatefold ...
Out Of Stock
The album's got a wild west cover, but a rock solid free jazz pedigree – as the music is performed by the trio of Gerry Hemmingway on drums, Manuel Troller on guitar, and Sebastian Strinning on tenor and bass clarinet! The sounds within are often very spacious and open – sometimes working with a very subtle approach, so that the resonance between each element is so gentle, it's sometimes hard to tell where one instrument ends and the other begins! A few points are a bit more wild – there's certainly a few breakout improvisational moments on the set – but the record's real charm is the careful slow brewing of sonic elements, on titles that include "Kill Button", "Big Blind", "Third Man Walking", "Range Of Hands", and "Reraise". LP, Vinyl record album