A 50th anniversary tribute to one of the most important groups on the European avant scene in the 70s – one of the first large improvising ensembles, led by pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach – who's still very firmly at the helm in this recent recording! In fact, the orchestra is also filled with many other classic players, plus some younger improvisers too –a lineup that features Evan Parker on tenor, Wolter Weirbos and Christof Thewes on trombone, Gerd Dudek on soprano and flute, Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky on alto and clarinet, Henrik Walsdorff on alto, Paul Lovens and Paul Lytton on drums, and Axel Dorner, Tomasz Stanko, Jean-Luc Cappozzo, and Manfred Schoof on trumpets! The album features one long track, which builds in energy just like some of the group's classic recordings – with a very warm sense of sympathy in the ensemble passages, then some very strong resonance between individual instrumental voices. CD
Angelika Niescier with Tyshawn Sorey & Christopher —
Berlin Concert ... CD Intakt (Switzerland), 2018. New Copy ...
A nicely intense trio performance – featuring Angelika Niescier on tenor, working alongside the tight drums of Tyshawn Sorey and the nicely-shaped bass work of Christopher Tordini! The trio explore familiar territory here, but with lots of fresh flavors of their own – and the boldness of Tordini's bass really helps give direction to the more uptempo performances, then creates moody sonic elements at some of the more brooding moments. Sorey's as great as always – full of boundless energy, but in ways that are extremely thoughtful – and Niescier really grabs our attention with her deft performance here – at a level that will certainly have us going back to revisit her previous records. Titles include "Kundry", "5.8", "The Surge", and "Like Sheep Looking Up". CD
Pianist Aruan Ortiz really blows us away here – working on three long tracks that show a completely unique approach to the piano, but one that's as melodically pleasing as it is experimental! The trio features the great Chad Taylor on drums, and also on a bit of mbira – and Ortiz really seems to have resonance with him, as he plays these piano notes that as rhythmic as they are tuneful – balanced out by some occasional freer elements from bassist Brad Jones, whose mostly a player who has the same sense of deep soul that we love in Taylor's approach. All three musicians are a real revelation, and the long performance also features a bass solo from Jones, and inventive arrangements of slices of Chopin and Ornette Coleman. Wonderful throughout – and the kind of illuminating record that will make us dig for new jazz records until we leave this planet! CD
A really surprising little record – one that features the inventive drums and percussion of the great Gunter Baby Sommer, who we've loved for years – alongside the trumpet and flugelhorn of Till Bronner, who we're normally used to hearing in a completely different context! Make no mistake, we love Bronner's other music – but it's usually more in a soulful vein, so we're quite stunned to hear him alongside a much more freewheeling improviser – yet the blend of talents here is totally great, and has a richness that we never would have expected! Till's got a sense of phrasing that stretches back through a legacy that might include Art Farmer, Chet Baker, and even Jon Hassell and some of the ECM Records scene – and that strong sound holds firm here, while Sommer creates all these really wonderful moments on his drums – often as melodic as he is rhythmic, which has always been a huge part of his charm – but maybe never more so than here alongside Bronner. Titles include "Second Shot", "First Shot", "Apero Con Brio", "A Soft Drink In Between", "Third Shot", and "A Little Nap In Between". CD
Great work from a really well-matched trio of players – a group who remind us yet again that age has no limits in the world of improvised music! In fact, it may well be the maturity of these musicians that makes the whole thing work so well – as the balance between individual identity and group creation is perfect – very strong on each instrumental element, yet never with any overstated ego at all – as Parker, Guy, and Lytton showcase their sense of sounds that are sometimes more understated, but as powerful as a bolder blast from each instrument – with Evan Parker on saxes, Barry Guy on acoustic bass, and Paul Lytton on drums. The album features four long pieces – each dedicated to David Mossman. CD