Ellery Eskelin/Christian Weber/Michael Grenier —
Pearls ... CD Intakt (Switzerland), 2019. New Copy ...
Tenorist Ellery Eskelin really sounds great here – carving out these soulful, angular lines in the kind of format that seems to make him shine the most – a trio, with Christian Weber on bass and Michael Grenier on drums! Some of the tunes are of older origin, which brings out some roots in the players we might not expect – while others are originals composed by the three, and presented in a style that mixes the modern and traditional in a very captivating way. Titles include "Magnetic Rag", "ABC", "Black Drop", "Jive At Five", "The Pearls", "La Fee Verte", "Ru Jardiniere", and "Il Gatto". CD
The title's a great one – a very apt description of the sorts of sounds created by the improvising duo of Tomeka Reid on cello and Alexander Hawkins on piano – as the performance has this sharp, stark approach at times – jagged sounds from either instrument, almost as bursts of spontaneity – but constellated together to form a beautiful progression of music! The work is maybe a great illustration of that way that, taken as a snapshot, free improvisation might seem like nonsense – but taken as a whole, there's an intrinsic logic that really holds together the creative magic between two very imaginative performers like this duo. Reid maybe has more of an edge than usual, and Hawkins' work on piano really lives up to the best legacy of the Intakt label – on titles that include "If Becomes Is", "Albert Ayler", "A Guess That Deepens", "Shards & Constellations", "Danced Together", and "Strange Familiar". CD
Ingrid Laubrock & Kris Davis —
Blood Moon ... CD Intakt (Switzerland), 2020. New Copy ...
A beautiful duo, improvising freely – the piano of Kris Davis and very vivid tenor and soprano sax of Ingrid Laubrock – both interwoven in these incredible ways that make the whole thing seem like an effortless act of spontaneous creation – nothing forced, nothing overdone, just two well-matched minds spinning out an amazing array of notes and tones together! Laubrock's soprano is especially nice – often used spatially, in ways that are not unlike some of the more modern moments we've heard from Jimmy Giuffre – and Davis can hold back one minute, attack the next – always with a strong degree of sensitivity to the reeds. Titles include "Flying Embers", "Whistlings", "Jagged Jaunts", "Golgi Complex", "Gunweep", and "Blood Moon". CD
The legendary drum work of Andrew Cyrille has a fantastically fresh setting here – matched with the piano of Aruan Ortiz and the percussion of Mauircio Herra – both of whom add some spoken bits to the performance! Cyrille's brilliance hasn't dimmed at all over the years – and he's still one of the best folks to be able to roam freely all over the drum kit, while never losing his way – really amazing us with his sense of freedom, but in the way that freedom all makes sense – a great balance to some of the bolder moments that Ortiz brings to his piano, and filled in with work on changui bongoes, cata, marimbula, and cowbells by Herra. CD
There's some great energy going on in the group of tenorist Ohad Talmor – this way of making these bold chunks of sound together – crackling with the sort of life that you might find in a more outside sort of record, but with this cohesion and pulsing unity that really keeps things swinging – albeit in an offbeat way! Many elements in the music often come down on the groove together, then splinter apart – the trumpet of Shane Endsley, guitar of Miles Okazaki, piano of Jacob Sacks, bass of Matt Pavloka, and drums of Dan Weiss – all given good guidance by the leader, who also brings in some flutes, clarinets, and bansuri on one track too. Titles include "Layas Lines", "Casado", "Scent", "Groupings", and "Musique Anodine". CD
Omri Ziegele plays alto sax here with all these wonderfully evocative elements – twists, turns, and sharp angles that flow effortlessly from his horn – sometimes giving it the depth of a tenor, but also with the sharpness and occasional exotic qualities of a lighter reed instrument – a quality that really sets him apart from the pack! There's one tune here dedicated to Ornette Coleman – and although Ziegele doesn't have any of Ornette's rhythmic conceptions, his tone might be somewhere in the same territory – but definitely set up differently here with the bass of Christian Weber and drums of Han Bennink – the last of whom blows us away all over again in a few spots! Titles include "Donders Wonders", "Saw That Smile", "When The River Spoke", "Line For A Friend Of Mine", and "All Those Yesterdays". CD
Some of the boldest work we've ever heard from tenorist James Brandon Lewis – an artist you might know from his bigger label recordings for Okeh/Sony, but who sounds completely unbridled here in the company of the great drummer Chad Taylor! Taylor's a player who can step outside strongly, yet still find this inherent sense of swing – and that balance works beautifully alongside the tenor of Lewis, and seems to encourage him to take some great chances throughout the set – with some especially great moments of drums and tenor that almost evoke the way that David Murray or Sonny Rollins might handle such a performance! A really revelatory set – and a great reminder of Taylor's genius, too – with selections that include "Watakushi No Sekai", "Matape", "Come Sunday", "Imprints", "Twenty Four", "Radiance", and "Under/Over The Rainbow". CD
That's no snake oil in the bottle, it's fantastic music from this razor-sharp quintet – maybe one of the most fantastic projects that saxophonist Tim Berne has given us in many years, and a group that just seem to get better and better with each new record! There's a combination of reed and percussive elements here that's really wonderful – alto from the leader, bass clarinet from Oscar Noriega, piano and tack piano from Matt Mitchell, and drums, vibes, gongs, tanbou, and glockenspiel from Ches Smith – all then strung together by guitar work from Marc Ducret, whose range of sounds really matches those of the other players! Mitchell also adds in a bit of modular synth – and titles include "Surface Noise", "Rolo", "Dear Friend", "The Amazing Mr 7", "Third Option", "Rose Colored Assive", and "The Fantastic Mrs 10". CD
There's a heck of a lot of music in this set – more than enough to show that avant guitar genius Fred Frith has been alive and well in recent years – and at very collaborative level too! The package selects recordings from over 80 concerts that Frith performed at The Stone in New York between 2006 and 2016 – and all tracks are improvised, with Fred in a variety of different groupings of creative talents who really open things up! Performances include a trio with Ikue Mori on electronics and Nate Wooley on trumpet, a trio with Annie Lewandowski on piano and Theresa Wong on cello and electronics, a duet with Sudhu Tewari on "recuperated junk", a duet with Shelly Hirsch on voice, a duet with Evan Parker on saxes, a trio with Pauline Oliveros on accordion and Else Olsen Storesund on prepared piano, a duet with Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, a duet with Miya Masaoka on koto and electronics, and a few duets with Laurie Anderson on violin, keyboards, and electronics! CD
Really unique solo piano work from Alexander Hawkins – an artist we've been enjoying more and more in recent years, and who really makes his voice known on this well-conceived set! Hawkins has this unusual approach to his instrument – relatively free, but often quite tuneful – working in clusters of notes that feel as if he's grabbing them up from the piano in handfuls – but also balancing things out with a nice use of space as well – so that his spontaneous creations are never too overwhelming, and maybe never too overstated of their own genius and complexity – which makes for a very organic feel to the record, even if the whole thing is exploring space that's very much its own. Titles include "Tough Like Imagination", "Strange Courage", "It Should Be A Song", "Tumble Mono", "Hard As Threads", and "We All Bleed". CD
A really unusual setting for the soprano saxophone talents of Evan Parker – and one that definitely unlocks some of the more textural shapesounds in his music! Parker works here alongside Matthew Wright on turntable and live sampling – and the Trance Map trio of Adam Linson, John Coxon, and Ashley Wales – who all add more electronics to the equation – at a level that balances out the spectrum with a huge amount of electric energy next to the acoustics of Parker's horn! Evan's always had a great ear for settings like this – maybe even more so than Anthony Braxton in his famous experiments of the 70s – and there's a building ferocity to the sound that's nicely punctuated by occasional more acoustic-styled tones from Parker. The set features one long live performance, almost an hour in length – divided up into seven segments. CD
A long-overdue follow-up to the seminal set of improvisations issued as Collective Calls in the early 70s – a legendary record that's echoed beautifully in this new set of duets! And maybe, if anything, the passage of years has shown even more incredible growth in the talents of both players – as Evan Parker's range of sounds on the tenor here is simply breathtaking – and Paul Lytton's ability to change speeds and styles on the drop of a time really blow us away – the kind of spontaneous creativity and boundless sonic imagination that can make the best albums of improvised music stand out so strongly from the rest. The set features eleven selections, each given a long title pulled from the writings of Elias Canetti! CD
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Bertil Strandberg —
Cirrus ... LP Frederiksberg, 1973. New Copy (reissue)...
Out Of Stock
A hip Swedish jazz set from the early 70s – a set of warmly soulful numbers from the quintet of trombonist Bertil Strandberg – a player with some strong modal sensibilities! The group here features tenor, piano, bass, and drums – in addition to Bertil's trombone – and the album's got a sound that's a bit more laidback and righteous than other European jazz sessions of the time – a bit more like some American indie jazz session from the period, with a really nice balance of sounds. The frontline of trombone and tenor comes off wonderfully on the bolder cuts in the set – especially the tunes "Cirrus" and "Intakt" – which burst out beautifully, yet without ever going too far out! Other titles include "Glir", "Relik", "Cambodia", and "Elegi". LP, Vinyl record album