Claudia Solal & Benoit Delbecq —
Hopetown ... CD RogueArt (France), 2020. New Copy ...
Really evocative songs from French vocalist Claudia Solal – delivered here with some creative sounds on piano from Benoit Delbecq, at a level that illuminates the words and vocal phrasing quite differently than conventional accompaniment! Solal's songs alone are amazing – written and sung with an experimental style that evokes the best 70s avant work of singers like Sheila Jordan, Karin Krog, or Annette Peacock – vivid and personal, with structures that are very different than conventional jazz vocal material – then illustrated by work from Delbecq that's equally balanced between the keys of the piano and the strings inside the instrument, which occasionally seem to have some sort of Cage-esque "preparations" added to the mix. Titles include "In The Small Of My Back", "Winter Garden", "Inner Otherness", "Euphoria", "No Sake Tonight", "Ultimate Embrace", and "Burning Green". CD
Steve Swell Quinet Soul Travelers —
Astonishments ... CD RogueArt (France), 2020. New Copy ...
One of the most righteous albums we've ever heard from trombonist Steve Swell – a great follow-up to his Soul Travelers album – and, like that one, done in this majestic mode that hearkens back to the hippest sounds of the loft jazz years! Swell's group is fantastic – with Jemeel Moondoc on alto, Dave Burrell on piano, William Parker on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums – and Leena Conquest is on a number of tracks on voice, but reciting some very hip material, instead of singing – a side of her talents that's even more powerful than before, and which really helps shape the tension between structure and freedom in the tunes! Titles include "Sketch 7", "Seldom Heard", "For Mondays", "Being Here", "Morphogenesis", and "Astonishments". CD
Fred Frith/Nicolas Humbert/Marc Parisotto —
Cut Up The Border ... CD RogueArt (France), 2020. New Copy ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of the most revolutionary albums in years from guitarist Fred Frith – and a set that really returns to the sonic genius of his important records of the 70s! The format is quite unusual – as the music combines live performance with reworked sounds that were recorded for the 1990 film Step Across The Border – cut up and used in various ways, as referenced by the title of the album – while Frith plays endlessly effortlessly creative sounds on the guitar, plus a bit of bass, organ, and piano too. Nicolas Humbert and Marc Parisotto handle the larger sonic landscape and do the cutting up, based on core recordings done decades ago by Jean Vapeaur – and there's a sense of imagination and wit to the recording that shows us that the core spirit of Frith is alive and well! CD
Echoes of Henry Cow – but very jazzy ones, too – as this combo uses songs of the famous British group as a launching point for more lyrical improvisation, topped nicely with a range of work on flutes from group leader Michel Edelin! John Greaves is a guest on a few tracks, and delivers spoken passages originally penned by Chris Cutler – but the strongest appeal of the set is the way that Edelin reworks the spirit of the songs, and shakes off some of their more outdated modes – really creating a sense of surprising freshness throughout. Other musicians include Sylvain Kassap on clarinet and bass clarinet, Sophia Domancich on piano and Fender Rhodes, Stepahen Kerecki on bass, and Simon Goubert on drums. Titles include "Half The Sky", "Living In the Heart Of The Beast", "Ruins", "Beautiful As The Moon", "Civilisation", "On Suicide", and "After The Flood". CD
Two electric guitars, dancing beautifully together in a set of free improvisations – tunes that run from just over two minutes in length, to past the ten minute mark – really letting us hear the imagination that drives the duo! Morris sounds familiar, but he's also maybe got a bit more warmth here in the company of Mary Halvorson – or maybe that's just Mary herself – as the whole thing has a well-balanced vibe that really comes through, and a breathtaking speed of creation as the notes cascade and fall forth! Titles include "Silence Invasion", "Trace Of Trane", "Shivering Sunshine", "Brain Draft", "In Other Terms", "Constant Between", and "Full Of Somehow". CD
Ingrid Laubrock/Sylvie Courvoisier/Mark Feldman/Tom Rainey —
Tism ... CD RogueArt (France), 2019. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
A quartet of musicians that we're not sure we've heard together before, but who instantly seem to find a great way to relate – effortlessly exploring similar sonic territory together, with a sense of sympathy that often makes it difficult to hear what instrument is contributing what sound to the mix! By that, we don't mean that the whole thing is an overly-bombastic, noisy affair – just that the blend of sounds here comes together in really wonderful ways, especially the use of violin by Mark Feldman and the tenor and soprano sax of Ingrid Laubrock – the latter a player we're growing to love more and more with each passing year. Tom Rainey is on drums, and nicely restrained in all the best ways – and Sylvie Courvoisier handles piano, again with a really compelling sense of sound – on titles that include "Tism", "Spectral Sound", "Tooth & Nail", and "Maisons Fragiles". CD
Palm Unit began their recorded career with a great tribute to French jazz legend Jef Gilson – but here, they maybe sound even more amazing – in an album that takes on the tunes of bassist Henri Texier, but with results that are completely the group's own! Bass definitely figures in the music – as organist Frederic Ecoffier plays some very cool bass synth too – but the music has this warm, organic flow that's very much like some of the more unusual albums that Texier recorded in the 70s – music that certainly has jazz at the core, but which is very open to embracing other sounds too – in a lineup that also features Lionel Martin on tenor, Philippe Pipon Garcia on drums, and Abraham Mansfarroll on percussion. The drums and percussion dance along in these wonderful rhythms with the keyboards and electric bassbits – and the tenor tops things off with a very soulful vibe. The set features one track with vocals – "Le Piroguer" – and other titles include "Homme Rogue", "Mad Nomad", "Don't Buy Ivory Anymore", "Quand Le Blues S'En Ira", and "Mr Freeman". CD