Some of the most beautiful work we've heard from Evan Parker in a long time – sublime duets on tenor with pianist Alexander Hawkins – on long, improvised tracks that build up with a really sort of special energy between the players! Parker's got a way of being every bit as sharp and experimental as ever, yet blows with a current of soul at times – quite a surprise, and a quality that seems to be unlocked by Hawkins' thoughtful work on piano – in a style that lays out blocks of tones from the keys, which provide a perfect foil for Evan to explore with a raspy reed style. We've loved Parker for year – but it's a really special record like this that makes us sit up and take notice all over again! Titles include "Jump Start", "Capriole", "The Shimmy", and "Gambade". CD
A beautiful tangle of reeds from this all-star group – Evan Parker, Daunik Lazro, and Joe McPhee – working together here in a sublime live performance that's over 20 years old, but still blows away most of the work by the younger generation! Each individual player has a very strong sense of texture – so that as the horns and moods shift, things only get more interesting, and more complex – that special way of hearing that can result in shapes and tones that few others on the instruments might imagine! Parker plays tenor and soprano, Lazro plays alto and baritone, and McPhee plays alto and soprano – as well as alto clarinet and pocket trumpet. Titles include "Florid", "Echoes Of Memory", "Concertino In Blue", "Tree Dancing", and "To Rush At The Wind". CD
Nothing too blue here, although Mario Pavone's group certainly manages to hit some of the more indigo sides of the spectrum – but they also have this brighter sort of angularity, too – one that really comes from the piano work of Matt Mitchell! Mitchell's lines are angular – definitely inherited from a Monkish tradition, but very much his own too – much freer, and more finding this way of moving from note to note in very individual patterns – connecting musical dots in a way that's always surprising, but which always makes a great deal of sense as the performance rolls on! Drummer Tyshawn Sorey is the third member of the trio – always filled with boundless energy at the bottom, but never overwhelming the piano or bass either. Titles include "Zines", "Two One", "Xapo", "Reflections", and "Trio Dialect". CD
Tom Rainey/Mary Halvorson/Ingrid Laubrock —
Pool School ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2010. Used ...
Tom Rainey on drums, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Ingrid Laubrock on tenor and soprano saxophone. CD
These guys already had our attention the moment we looked at the back cover – and noted that they were playing songs by Phil Cohran, Sun Ra, and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre – then they really won us over once we heard the very first few notes of the set! The group's only a quartet on most tracks, but they've got a sense of majesty to really live up to the music – definitely making magic with the roots they refer to in their name – in a lineup that features Alberto Popolla on clarinet and bass clarinet, Errico De Fabritiis on alto and baritone sax, Gianfranco Tedeschi on bass, and Fabrizio Spera on drums and percussion. There's some nice surprises along the way – harmonica, zither, and "objects" used in the performances – and there's a way of reworking avant traditions that remind us of some of the most innovative sides of the Italian scene at the end of the 80s – on titles that include "When There Is No Sun", "Karen On Monday", "Frankiphone Blues", "Devil Got My Woman", "Humility In The Light Of The Creator", and "A Girl Named Rainbow". LP, Vinyl record album
Bassist Mark Dresser has a great group here – one that features flutes from Nicole Mitchell and reeds from Marty Erlich – both players whose sense of energy really helps define the spirit of the set! Erlich is especially nice – maybe more striking than we've heard in years – and although we love Mitchell's work as a leader, she's also wonderful to hear in the spirit of an ensemble – an excellent lineup that also features strong contributions from Michael Dessen on trombone, plus violin from Keir Gogwilt, piano from Joshua White, and drums and percussion from Jim Black. The music is definitely in a Dresser mode throughout – with plenty of the spaciousness that he's brought to other recordings – but there are points that seem to evoke a deeper jazz history than usual, especially on tribute tracks to Arthur Blythe and Butch Lacy. Titles include "Gloaming", "Let Them Eat Paper Towels", "Far", "Ain't Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You", "Black Arthur's Bounce", and "Butch's Balm". CD
These guys already had our attention the moment we looked at the back cover – and noted that they were playing songs by Phil Cohran, Sun Ra, and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre – then they really won us over once we heard the very first few notes of the set! The group's only a quartet on most tracks, but they've got a sense of majesty to really live up to the music – definitely making magic with the roots they refer to in their name – in a lineup that features Alberto Popolla on clarinet and bass clarinet, Errico De Fabritiis on alto and baritone sax, Gianfranco Tedeschi on bass, and Fabrizio Spera on drums and percussion. There's some nice surprises along the way – harmonica, zither, and "objects" used in the performances – and there's a way of reworking avant traditions that remind us of some of the most innovative sides of the Italian scene at the end of the 80s – on titles that include "When There Is No Sun", "Karen On Monday", "Frankiphone Blues", "Devil Got My Woman", "Humility In The Light Of The Creator", and "A Girl Named Rainbow". CD
Warriors Of The Wonderful Sound —
Soundpath ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2020. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
That's a striking name for this all-star group – and the music is equally striking too – a large piece composed by Muhal Richard Abrams, recorded here in memory to his long legacy in jazz! The work is a classic example of the way that Abrams was able to mix larger orchestrations and improvised performance – a standard that he held high in the early days of the AACM, explored strongly on his Black Saint records, and which is championed here by a lineup that includes Josh Evans and Dave Ballou on trumpets, Julian Pressley on alto, Alfred Patterson on trombone, Robert Debellis on tenor and soprano, Graham Haynes on cornet, Tom Lawton on piano, and Chad Taylor on drums – plus alto from Marty Erlich and Bobby Zankel, the former as the group's conductor, the latter as the music director. A wonderful long performance – one that certainly would have made Muhal proud! CD
Cortex is only a quartet, but the group plays here with a sense of majesty and presence that makes them feel like a much larger lineup – in part because the record is filled with really bold original compositions by trumpeter Thomas Johansson – who then executes his music with a strong sense of power next to the saxes of Kristoffer Berre Alberts! The group also features Ola Hoyer on bass and Gard Nilssen on drums and percussion – and they play with a sense of mission and cohesion that comes through right from the very first note – this mixing of structure and freedom that's right on the money, and which will certainly have us paying more attention to Johansson's music in the future. Titles include "GTM", "Anthem For The Uneasy", "Loose Blues", "Blue Gromka", "I 95", and "Standby". CD
Avram Fefer —
Testament ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2019. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
The alto and tenor of Avram Fefer sound wonderful here next to the guitar of Marc Ribot – a musician who feels more magical here than he has in years – really exploding with a strong sense of color next to the excellent drums of Chad Taylor and bass of Eric Revis! The album's a strong, powerful record from Fefer – a set that has looser elements, but also swings a fair bit too – never too straight, but also never too free – and with this majestic tone that really makes a lot of Ribot's strong sense of chromes, which almost act like splashes of musical paint next to the saxophone lines – further bursting out with a sense of unexpected richness. Titles include "Song For Dyani", "Magic Mountain", "Dean St Hustle", "Essaoura", and "Wishful Thinking". CD
Evan Parker & Kinetics —
Chiasm ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2019. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
Saxophonist Evan Parker has always been a wonderfully collaborative talent – fantastic on his own, but also very able to improvise at a fantastic level within any sort of group – so that he never dominates, and instead only seems to act as a force that seems to bring out the best in all around him! That's definitely the case here – in a set of improvisations recorded in London and Copenhagen, with a trio that features Jacob Anderskov on piano, Adam Pultz Melbye on bass, and Anders Vestergaard on drums – all younger musicians that, we think, are new to our ears – but who hit a level of spontaneous creation that's really wonderful alongside Parker's tenor. The set features four long tracks, two from each city. CD
Tim Stine —
Knots ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2019. New Copy ...
Out Of Stock
Guitarist Tim Stine is in great Chicago company here – a hip quartet that features Nick Mazzarella on alto, Matt Ullery on bass, and Quin Kirchner on drums – all players who contribute a tremendous amount to the set! There's a nice mix of arrangement and freedom going on here – and Tim's solos have this lean, raspy edge – which is balanced out by some deeper lines coming from Mazzarella's alto – all laid out over these romping rhythms from Ullery and Kirchner – almost harmelodic in thought, but a lot more complex overall! Titles include "SH8", "Ride Wild Rides", "Kjallstert", "Quietus", "Fred Waltzing", and "Trempealeau". CD
A recent evening in Houston from one of the most revolutionary voices in jazz – the legendary Patty Waters, best known for her ESP recordings in the 60s – making a great return to form in more recent years! Waters works here with a group that's maybe as equally legendary as she is – Burton Greene on piano, Barry Altschul on drums, and Mario Pavone on bass – kind of an inversion of the usual energy of a jazz trio accompanying a singer, which is perfect for the way that Waters completely breaks open the form of vocal jazz! Most titles here are familiar, but done in really unique, mindblowingly personal versions – in a lineup that includes "Loverman", "Moon Don't Come Up Tonight", "You're My Thrill", "Lonely Woman", "Strange Fruit", "I Loves You Porgy", and "Off Minor". CD
Pianist Daniel Bernardes has a lot of percussionists in his group – not just drummer Mario Costa in the core trio with Antonio Augusto Aguiar on bass – but another quartet of musicians, who add in vibes, marimba, glockenspiel, and other percussion – all in a set of tracks based on the compositional ideas of composer Olivier Messiaen! The music is still very strongly in a jazz-based mode – and the percussion is often used lightly, as melodic as it is rhythmic – but there's a great sense of note clusters going on, in ways that make the music inherently rhythmic, even when the drums are taking a back seat to the piano and vibes. Titles include "Globular Clusters", "Sobre Kieslowski I", "Ostinato Interludio E Cancao V", "19", and "Bolero". CD
A wonderful wrapping of reeds – the alto of Aram Shelton and tenor and sopranino saxes of Larry Ochs – set up here as a unified spirit in the lead of the group, but always ready to break out with these bold individual moments too! The record's got a mixture of rasp and tunefulness that speaks to the strong legacy of both players – sometimes swinging, sometimes a bit more free – with work from Kjell Nordeson on bass, and either Mark Dresser or Scott Walton on bass, depending on the tracks. Titles include "Continental Drift", "Slat", "Switch", "Another Night", "The Others Dream", and "Test Shots". CD
Mattias Risberg —
Stamps ... CD CleanFeed (Portugal), 2018. Used ...
Out Of Stock
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
The WHO here is a trio with Michel Wintsch on piano, Gerry Hemingway on drums, and Banz Oester on bass – a trio who make very different music with the songs of Duke Ellington! The vibe is very open and creative – very much in the spirit of Michel's best recordings of the past decade or so – but the real star of the set might be bassist Oester, as he handles his instrument in these really amazing ways – sometimes rhythmic, with qualities that set the pulse for the tunes – but other times with these unusual sounds that sometimes feel as if they're making up for the missing horn players that might have been in larger group recordings, and resonating wonderfully with the looser, freer lines of Wintsch on piano. Drummer Hemingway finds a way to space himself perfectly, and also adds in some really compelling moments on voice – on titles that include "The Mooche", "Black & Tan Fantasy", "Passion Flower", "Angelica", "A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing", and "In A Sentimental Mood". 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
Ghostface's second full length – maybe the most worthwhile Wu solo project, and the best of all them since the first wave of the Wu. Ghost's flow is furious and re-energized, and the guests seem to feed off this huge energy boom, too, with Method Man and Cappadona getting their best verses in a while. Also features appearances by Raekwon and Redman and some RZA beats. Tracks include "Nutmeg", "Saturday Nite", "Apollo Kids", "The Grain", "Child's Play", "Malcolm", "Buck 50", and "Cherchez La Ghost". LP, Vinyl record album
(Clean edited promo. NOTE – Cover is stained on the right half, with large patches of stuck-on paper and peeling on front and back.)