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
Trio Heinz Herbert —
Yes ... CD Intakt (Switzerland), 2018. Used ...
Tom Rainey/Mary Halvorson/Ingrid Laubrock —
Combobulated ... CD Intakt (Switzerland), 2019. New Copy ...
A well-matched trio who've really developed a sound that's all their own – a uniquely air, open style of improvisation – with Tom Rainey on drums, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor, and Mary Halvorson on guitar! There's often a lot of space between the notes, but in a very thoughtful way – as the group clearly understand each other's inclinations and musical pulsations – such that when the bolder passages come into play, their harmony is evident, but in a very different sort of way. All three musicians bring a lot of sonic sophistication to the proceedings – modes that are quite unexpected, but never gimmicky – on titles that include "Point Reyes", "Fact", "Splays Itself", "Torn Road", and "Combobulated". 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