Amazing sounds from pianist Burton Greene – a modernist who's been quietly continuing a great legacy of creative music he started in the 60s – still sounding distinct and full of imagination in this well-recorded recent trio performance! The set has Greene working with Damon Smith on bass and Ra Kalam Bob Moses on drums and percussion – both musicians whose overall sense of sound matches the wideness of Burton's scope – which makes the whole thing way way different than any familiar sort of trio recording! Instead, the balance swings easily between each of the three points on the triangle, but with different moments of force that keep things very lively, and very compelling – on titles that include the three part title track "Life's Intense Mystery", plus "Anything That Ain't Yes Get Rid Of It", "Kid Play", and "Perc Waves". CD
Hearts & Minds (Jason Stein/Paul Giallorenzo/Chad Taylor) —
Electroradiance ... CD AstralSpirits/Monofonus, 2018. New Copy ...
A beautifully bold setting for the bass clarinet of Jason Stein – a heady trio that features Paul Giallorenzo on keyboards and electronics, and the great Chad Taylor on drums – a musician who can't help but bring a sense of swing to this very far-reaching session! Taylor's always been one of our favorites – a musician who sometimes has the elliptical swing of a Billy Higgins or Hugh Walker, but can also be totally free as well – and here, he somehow manages to balance both sides of his music – while Stein blows bass clarinet the way most folks might handle a tenor – and Giallorenzo manages to color all the empty spots with nicely subtle work from his electric forces. Titles include "Slowly Drifting Outward", "Slippery Slope", "Treeline"," Back & Forth", "Future Told", "Frencher Frosty's Book", and "Electroradiance". CD
A mighty debut from Quin Kirchner – a drummer who's poised to become a key figure on the Chicago scene! Quin works here with help from some more familiar names – including Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Matt Ulery on bass, Nate Lepine on tenor and flute, and Nick Broste on trombone – all working at a level that's strongly spiritual – with rhythm patterns that Kirchner builds beautifully on drums, percussion, and kalimba – occasionally augmented by a few samples here and there, but mostly acoustic overall. Lepine's in great form throughout – as is Stein – and their long reed solos add these currents of personality to the record that really sends the whole thing home! Broste gets in a few powerful passages too – especially at some of the moodier moments – and Ben Boye plays piano on one track too. The whole thing's a double album that really needs the full space for expression – and titles include "Together We Can Explore The Furthers Beyond", "Mumbo Jumbo", "The Ritual", "Crossings", "Ripple", "Self-Portrait In Three Colors", "Drums & Tines (part 2)", "Flutter", "Karina", "Wondrous Eyes", and a version of Sun Ra's "Brainville". 2CD version features bonus tracks too! CD
(Limited edition of just 500 copies! 2XCDs with 4 bonus tracks not on the out of print LP.)
Charles Rumback/Jim Baker/James Singleton/Greg Ward —
Cadillac Turns ... CD AstralSpirits, 2019. New Copy ...
An album recorded under the leadership of drummer Charles Rumback – but a set that might also be the most revelatory work we've ever heard from pianist Jim Baker too! Rumback wrote all the tunes on the set – these open, long-flowing numbers that have a strongly spiritual component – which really comes through in Baker's piano, as he opens up in these cascading note clusters that are filled with more joy, life, and hope than we've ever heard in his music – given fuller strength via the alto solos of Greg Ward, a strongly pointed player who brings the whole thing into focus! James Singleton handles the bass, in a way that's well-attuned to Rumback's energy – and titles include "Dragons In Denver", "Convulsive", "Too Toney", and "Salt Lines/Storybook Skyline". CD
A searing little record that definitely lives up to the Borbetomagus legacy – one that has Kid Millions going completely nuts on the drums, while Jim Sauter spins out waves and waves of noise on tenor sax and electronics! There's not a lot of subtlety in the approach, but that's never been Jim's calling card – and it's great to hear that his legacy is alive and well, on long tracks that include "Falling Spider", and "Chrysanthemum (parts 1 & 2)". LP, Vinyl record album
(Limited edition of 500 – with download!)
Patrick Shiroishi/Vinny Golia/Dylan Fujioka/Alex Cline —
Borasisi ... CD AstralSpirits, 2019. New Copy ...
Two saxophonists and two percussionists – coming together here in a pair of beautiful long-form improvisations! Patrick Shiroishi and Vinny Golia handle the reeds, and Dylan Fujioka and Alex Cline are on drums and percussion – and the album's two extended, improvised tracks have this great sense of space and sympathy – as the musicians are really starting to feel each other out at the start, then find ways to unfurl stronger, bolder aspects of their performance – yet with distinct sonic elements that really keep the individuality of each member. Titles include "Right Eye Sun" and "Left Eye Moon". CD
One of the most unusual settings we've ever heard for the always-sharp saxophone work of John Butcher – a set that features lots of moogy moments from Pat Thomas, who uses both a theremini and electronics – alongside much more organic sounds on percussion from Stale Liavik Solberg! Butcher's always had this incredible ear for tones and unusual phrasings, but the trio here really brings out that quality even more than before – so much so, it's almost difficult to tell who's handling what elements at times – which is quite a testament to all three improvisers! Titles include "Dust", "Solution", "Threads", "Keys", "The Effort & A Smile", and "Heartaches". CD
The music of the legendary Moondog, but performed here with a unique spin that's all its own – by a strong group of Chicago musicians led by tenorist Dustin Laurenzi! Unlike some other Moondog tributes, which often stick strongly in the spirit of the original recordings, these guys really take off on their own – bringing a lot more jazz into the mix, and clearly unable to keep their own exuberant spirits from letting loose in the setting – no surprise, given that the lineup features Nick Mazzarella on alto, Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Dave Miller on guitar, Chad McCullough on trumpet, Matt Ulery on bass, and both Quin Kirchner and Ryan Packard on drums and percussion. Many tracks are longer than Moondog would have taken them – in a good way – and titles include "Down Is Up", "All Is Loneliness", "Lament 1", "Nero's Expedition", "Remember", "Fiesta Piano Solo", and "Lullaby". LP, Vinyl record album
Mesmerizing work from bassist Brandon Lopez – a solo set, but one that's far different than the usual avant jazz outing of its type! At some level, the work here is an answer to the "sense" of Bach's famous cello suites – in which Lopez creates a space that's completely his own, and very much without referent – showing the ever-increasing complexity of musical language, especially in such a personal performance as this! At another level, the set's just mindblowing work on acoustic bass – handled here by an artist who approaches his solo medium in ways that are so different than any precursors – on a list that might include Barry Guy, Barre Phillips, and Peter Kowald. The album's a fantastic statement by a player we'll be watching closely in years to come – and selections include "Vanitas", "Lamed", "Gruppo", "For Sal", "Bea", and "And The Deep Indoors". CD
Matthew Lux's Communication Arts Quartet —
Contra/Fact ... LP AstralSpirits, 2018. New Copy ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
The fantastic first album as a leader from Chicago bassist Matthew Lux – long overdue after over two decades of wonderful work on the city's scene with a variety of other combos! Matt's fantastic here as a leader – completely inventive to the point where he can evoke Charles Mingus on one track, then hit a global funk element on another, and reach these strange sci-fi elements on the next – but all while keeping his feet very firmly planted on the ground! There's an unbridled sense of creativity going on here – kind of that post-avant, post-free mode that the International Anthem scene has gotten going – and Lux's partners here are Mikel Patrick Avery on drums, acoustic guitar, and mellotron; Ben Lamar Gay on cornet, electronics, and melodica; and Jayve Montgromery on tenor, flute, samples, and clarinumpet! With that mix of instrumentation – Lux also plays some guitar, chirimia, and synth, and everyone plays percussion – you can imagine that sonic textures of the album, which often stays in relatively spiritual territory. Titles include "Ninna Nanna", "Mercury Lights", "Singlet", "Paw Paw", "CGLW", "Gris/Bleu", and "Israels". LP, Vinyl record album
Dave Rempis/Matt Piet/Tim Daisy —
Throw Tomatoes ... CD AstralSpirits, 2018. New Copy ...
Temporarily Out Of Stock
Two fantastic improvisations from the Chicago scene – both featuring the well-known talents of Dave Rempis on saxes and Tim Daisy on drums – plus the rising genius of Matt Piet on piano! Piet's a name we've only begun to pay attention to – but his bold sense of freedom here really seems to drive the proceedings on even more strongly than we might have guessed – with an urgency that really sets Rempis on fire, who then seems to do the same to the trio – while Daisy balanced beautifully between more sensitive percussion and a full-on attack of the drum kit. Titles include "To Play Is The Thing" and "The Thousand Natural Shocks". CD
A great second meeting of a really fantastic group – the kind of combo that shows just the right sort of magic that can happen when you bring together improvisers who really have a strong sense of sympathy for each other! The music here is already way more than the sum of its parts – and it has some really incredible parts – Harris Eisenstadt in the lead on drums, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Tony Malaby on tenor and soprano sax, and Jason Roebke on bass – all musicians who really get each other's strengths, and find a way to make music that's mindblowing, but in surprisingly subtle ways. Roebke's an especially powerful force here – and titles include "Biomass", "Shaded Canopy", "Song With Owen", "Pit & Mound", "Nurse Logs", and "Needles/Seedlings". CD
Kuzu (Dave Rempis/Tashi Dorji/Tyler Damon) —
Hiljaisuus ... LP AstralSpirits/Monofonus, 2018. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
A pretty intense power trio from the Chicago scene – a group that features guitar from Tashi Dorji, drums and percussion from Tyler Damon, and alto, tenor, and baritone sax from the great Dave Rempis! The album features one completely sprawling improvisation – "Fontanelles" – a very long track that has these guys coming together with a sonic frenzy that's completely mindblowing – maybe not that surprising from Rempis, but with a new fire in the company of Dorji – a guitarist that we might be hearing here for the first time, and who can play with this focused energy that's only driven on more deeply by the drums of Damon! The album features another shorter track – "Gash" – but a number that's still quite open and full of energy – with an explosive middle that makes us wonder if there was anything left of the studio once these guys finished recording. LP, Vinyl record album