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Close matches: 40
Close matches1
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Aaly/DKV Double TrioDouble Or Nothing ... CD
Okka Disk, 2002. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
Two important improvising trios come together head to head in the transatlantic brilliance of Okka Disk Records in the 90s – recorded in a very unusual way that lets you clearly hear all the contributions of the members of the group! In the left channel stands AALY – a searing lineup of Mats Gustafsson on alto and tenor, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, and Kjell Nordeson on drums – and in the right channel stands DKV, with Ken Vandermark on tenor and bass clarinet, Kent Kessler on bass, and Hamid Drake on drums – a mighty meeting of musicians who are really at the top of their improvising game! Rather than come on head-to-head, it's amazing to hear the way that these well-matched trios open up to each other – especially the bassists and drummers, who are maybe less familiar in this setting than Vandermark and Gustafsson, who were an instantly amazing musical pair. The set begins with the original "Left To Right", then the group makes real magic over the course of 51 minutes, in a piece that offers variations on Albert Ayler's "Angels" and Don Cherry's "Awake Nu". CD

Close matches2
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Atomic/School DaysDistil ... CD
Okka Disk, 2008. New Copy 2CD Gatefold ... $10.99 16.99
An explosive meeting between Atomic and Ken Vandermark's School Days combo – proof that the Chicago/Scandinavia connection is stronger than ever! The double-length performance was recorded at Chicago's Green Mill nightclub, and it features an impressive lineup with Ken Vandermark on baritone sax and bass clarinet, Havard Wiik on piano, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Magnus Broo on trumpet, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, Fredrik Ljungkvist on tenor, Kjell Nordeson on vibes, and Paal Nilssen-Love – all working on very long, open tracks that almost have the feel of some of the best improvising orchestra work from years back. The vibes add a nicely chromatic quality to the work amidst some of the fiercer horn passages – and titles include "Deadline", "Irrational Ceremony", "Visitors", "Andersonville", "Dark Easter", "Fort Funston", "Bunuel At The Cocktail Party", and "Closing Stages". CD

Close matches3
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Atomic/School DaysNuclear Assembly Hall ... CD
Okka Disk, 2004. New Copy 2CD ... $10.99 13.99
A brilliant pairing of free jazz forces – the Chicago-based School Days group of Ken Vandermark, and the groundbreaking Atomic combo from the Nordic jazz underground! The players here are all very like-minded, and fold together beautifully – in an octet lineup that features reeds from Ken Vandermark and Frekerik Ljungkvist, trumpet from Magnus Broo, trombone from Jeb Bishop, piano from Havard Wiik, vibes from Kjell Nordeson, bass from Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, and drums from Paal-Nilssen Love! Both Flaten and Love would become frequent collaborators in Chicago over the years – but this set captures the meeting of the groups in a very fresh way – a double-length set that's all original material – with titles that include "W Meets A", "Transparent Taylor", "Ink Worm", "Kerosene", "Conjugations" and "Dog Days". CD

Close matches4
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Jim Baker/Steve Hunt/Brian Sandstrom/Mars WilliamsExtraordinary Popular Delusions ... CD
Okka Disk, 2007. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
An electric improvised set from Chicago – one that features piano, electric piano, and synthesizer by Jim Baker – plus bass and guitar from Brian Sandstrom, drums and percussion from Steve Hunt, and a variety of saxophones from Mars Williams! The album's somewhat unassuming at points – free, but often a bit restrained – so that quieter, more tuneful moments sit alongside some of the fuller expressions of the quartet. Baker's piano is a key force in the sound, but when Williams opens up on saxophone, he really takes over – and titles include "Feudal Gestures", "Goat & Adding Machine Ritual", "Futile Jester", "Hail To Thee Malthusia", "Somebody Rang A Bell", and "Space On Experiments In Animals". CD

Close matches5
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Anthony Braxton – Georg Grawe DuoAmsterdam 1991 ... CD
Okka Disk, 1991/1997. New Copy Gatefold ... $9.99 13.99
A really wonderful, very organic album from the duo of Anthony Braxton on reeds and Georg Grawe on piano – a set that's got a looser, freer vibe than some of Braxton's other music of the time – and which maybe takes us back to the spirit of some of earliest work on the Chicago scene! Grawe's got a nicely pointed style of playing – notes that are free, but clear and distinct – which seems to almost produced a grittier style from Braxton at times, as he blows a range of instruments that include soprano sax, clarinet, alto, and flute. The titles are free of the more academic codes that Braxton usually brings to play, and the music is too – on selections that are simply titled "Duet 1", "Duet 2", and "Duet 3". CD

Close matches6
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Brotzmann/Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-LoveHairy Bones ... CD
Okka Disk, 2008. New Copy Gatefold ... $9.99
Pretty hairy stuff from Peter Brotzmann and crew – a set that blasts right out of the gate with some really bone-rattling noise! The album's a live set, recorded recently in Amsterdam – featuring Brotzmann on alto, tenor, b flat clarinet, and tarogato – alongside Toshinori Kondo on electric trumpet, Massimo Pupillo on electric bass, and Paal Nilssen Love on drums. The electricity in the instruments can definitely be felt on the title track "Hairy Bones" – a hard-driving tune that runs for over 30 minutes, and which really recalls the energy that Brotzmann had a few decades before, when crossing over big to new audiences around the globe. "Chain Dogs" is even longer, but starts a bit slower – but then really bursts forth with more noisy elements on trumpet and bass – some really speaker-rattling stuff! CD

Close matches7
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Peter BrotzmannChicago Octet/Tentet (3CD set) ... CD
Okka Disk, 1998. New Copy 3CD ... Just Sold Out!
One of the greatest releases ever from the Okka Disk label – a legendary set that stands as a great testament to the global improvising scene that exploded in Chicago during the 90s! Back in the early years of FMP, nobody would have thought to use the name "Peter Brotzmann" and "Chicago" in the same context – but by the time of these recordings, the legendary reedman had been spending quite a bit of time in the Windy City – working strongly alongside that decade's fresh generation of improvisers, at a level that also helped Brotzmann discover new energy in his music too! The lineup here is great – both octet and tentet groups that operate in an improvising orchestra tradition – with players that include Ken Vandermark on tenor and bass clarinet, Mars Williams on tenor and alto, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Mats Gustafsson on baritone and fluteophone, Joe McPhee on pocket cornet and valve trombone, Fred Lonberg Holm on cello, Kent Kessler on bass, Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake on drums and percussion, and Brotzmann himself on tenor, clarinet, and tarogato. The set features three different live recordings, and one long studio set recorded over two days – a fantastic collection of music. Titles include "Burning Spirit (For Kazuka Shiraishi)", "Other Brothers", "Old Bottles No Wine, "Aziz", "Foolish Infinity", "Immediate Music", "Makapoor", "Foolish Infinity", "Other Brothers" and "Divide By Zero". CD
(Hand-numbered limited edition pressing.)

Close matches8
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Peter Brotzmann Chicago TentetChicago Tentet At Molde 2007 ... CD
Okka Disk, 2007. New Copy Gatefold ... $9.99 13.99
A 10th Anniversary performance by the Chicago Tentet – a wonderful group that's become the fruitful union of saxophonist Peter Brotzmann with a younger generation of players who were working heavily on the Chicago scene at the time! Back when the group first started, it was something of an experiment – but over the following decade, the ensemble won great attention for their playing, and for good reason too – considering the solo contributions of players like Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson on reeds, Joe McPhee on trumpet and tenor, Johannes Bauer on trombone, Kent Kessler on bass, and Paal Nilssen Love on drums – all working under the visionary leadership of Peter Brotzmann! The tracks are all somewhat long and open-ended – almost more spacious than on other Chicago Tentet records, with a freely improvised feel. Titles include "Ten By Ten", "Little By Little", and "Step By Step". CD

Close matches9
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Peter Brotzmann Chicago TentetStone/Water ... CD
Okka Disk, 1999. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
Fantastic live material from a very unique group – the instantly-legendary meeting of reedman Peter Brotzmann with the leading lights of the Chicago avant jazz scene in the 90s – brought together into a tremendous tentet that's maybe even better than the sum of its parts! The group features Brotzmann on tenor and clarinet, Ken Vandermark on tenor and bass clarinet, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Fred Lomberg-Holm on cello and violin, Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake on drums, Kent Kessler on bass – and "honorary Chicagoan" Mats Gustafsson on tenor and flutophone, plus Toshinori Kondo on trumpet and electronics, and William Parker on bass. Phew, that's one heck of a lineup – the kind that rivals some of the European or British improvising ensembles of decades past – but one that has its own very specific flavor, and a sound that's brimming over with youth – so much so that the non-Chicago guests really seem to gain inspiration from the core. This Okka disc set captures the band live at the 16th Victoriaville Festival in 1999. CD

Close matches10
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Peter Brotzmann Chicago TentetStone/Water ... LP
Okka Disk, 1999. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
Fantastic live material from a very unique group – the instantly-legendary meeting of reedman Peter Brotzmann with the leading lights of the Chicago avant jazz scene in the 90s – brought together into a tremendous tentet that's maybe even better than the sum of its parts! The group features Brotzmann on tenor and clarinet, Ken Vandermark on tenor and bass clarinet, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Fred Lomberg-Holm on cello and violin, Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake on drums, Kent Kessler on bass – and "honorary Chicagoan" Mats Gustafsson on tenor and flutophone, plus Toshinori Kondo on trumpet and electronics, and William Parker on bass. Phew, that's one heck of a lineup – the kind that rivals some of the European or British improvising ensembles of decades past – but one that has its own very specific flavor, and a sound that's brimming over with youth – so much so that the non-Chicago guests really seem to gain inspiration from the core. This Okka disc set captures the band live at the 16th Victoriaville Festival in 1999. LP, Vinyl record album
(Hand-numbered limited edition.)

Close matches11
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet + 2Short Visit To Nowhere ... CD
Okka Disk, 2002. New Copy ... $9.99
A set that's a bit of a companion to the Brotzmann Chicago Tentet album Broken English – as it was recorded with the same lineup, on the same days – but a record that's also got a very different vibe of its own, thanks to the never-ending imagination of all the members of the group! As on the afore-mentioned record, the group here is expanded by two key guests – bassist William Parker and trumpeter Roy Campbell – east coast heavyweights brought in to an already great lineup that features reeds from Peter Brotzmann, Mars Williams, Mats Gustafsson, and Ken Vandermark – plus Joe McPhee on trumpet and valve trombone, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Kent Kessler on bass, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and violin, and both Michael Zerang and Hamid Drake on drums. Yet even with the two guests musicians, the Tentet manages to really feel the space around each individual musician in the lineup – working with amazing sensitivity, instead of overdone bombastic energy – creating sounds of chance and change on titles that include "Lightbox", "Short Visit To Nowhere", "Ellington", and "Hold That Thought". CD

Close matches12
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Peter Brotzmann/Joe McPhee/Kent Kessler/Michael ZeGuts ... CD
Okka Disk, 2007. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
A brilliant pairing of two musicians who never recorded together during their early days on record – but who more than made up for that lack with later classics like this! The cover's got the boldness of an FMP album from the 70s, and the music within follows that spirit – a bold live performance at Chicago's Empty Bottle, a frequent home to both musicians at the time – with Joe McPhee on trumpet, alto, and tenor – Peter Brotzmann on alto, tenor, clarinet, and tarogato – driven by tremendous work on bass from Kent Kessler and drums by Michael Zerang. The set features two long live improvisations – "Guts" and "Rising Spirits". CD

Close matches13
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Full Blast & Friends (Peter Brotzmann)Crumbling Brain ... LP
Okka Disk, 2010. New Copy ... $16.99
Excellent work from Full Blast – a trio who really live up to their name, joined here by another trio of guests – with a sound that's even more of a full blast than before! The core group features Peter Brotzmann on saxes, Marino Pliakas on bass, and Michael Wertmuller on drums – moving in territory that really lives up to the Brotzmann legacy – but then expanded with work from Keiji Haino on guitar, Peter Evans on trumpet, and Mars Williams on tenor and alto – all players with nicely different aspects in their music, which find a way to resonate strongly with the group in this sextet performance recorded at Jazzfest Berlin in 2008. Titles include "Crumbling Brain", "Battle Of Visions", "Have Your Eyes", "Pull Up Pull Up Terrain Terrain", and "Deathbop". LP, Vinyl record album

Close matches14
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Mats GustafssonParrot Fish Eye ... CD
Okka Disk, 1995. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
The first American recording of Swedish reed genius Mats Gustafsson – done at a time when he was first reaching out to the Chicago jazz scene, the start of a legacy that would continue for decades! Mats is already an amazing force on his horns here – which include soprano, baritone, and fluteophone – flowing out with unusual textures and shapes that quickly mark him as one of the most unique and spontaneously creative players to emerge from the European scene in years. The first half of the set has Gustafsson working with percussionist Michael Zerang – whose sense of soundshape really matches Mats on reeds. The second is maybe a more unusual pairing, as both forces were an important part of Chicago at the time – Gene Coleman on clarinet, and Jim O'Rourke on guitar, accordion, and percussion – working strongly as an improviser, before he left the city for Sonic Youth and a host of other great endeavors. Titles include "Parrot Fish Eye", "I'll Give You This", "Knotted Canvas", "Even The Rain", "Dolphin Nap Music", "Where's The End", and "Tied Door". CD

Close matches15
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Mats Gustafsson TrioMouth Eating Trees & Related Activities ... CD
Okka Disk, 1996. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
An important early album from reedman Mats Gustafsson – and one that has him working with older free jazz giants Barry Guy on bass and Paul Lovens on a range of percussion instruments, including a musical saw! Mats is clearly the star of the set – already an amazing master of tones, textures, and timings – as he effortlessly improvises on tenor, baritone, and fluteophone – at a level that seems to be bringing an especially strong response from Guy, who's maybe gutsier here than we'd normally hear during this period. Lovens is, as always, a master of the unique sound – as amazing as Gustafsson in the way that he makes music that seems very detached from any earthy referent! The set features one long improvisation, divided into five passages. CD

Close matches16
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Loos/ArmstrongLoos/Armstrong ... CD
Okka Disk, 1999. New Copy ... $5.99
That's Loos/Armstrong, not Louis Armstrong – a late 90s Dutch group who improvise freely on both electric and acoustic elements – with a style that makes the record one of the most offbeat albums ever released on the Okka Disk label! In some ways, the combo almost tie together Dutch traditions of free jazz and electronic experimentation – with a lineup that features Gerald Bowhuis on piano, Huib Emmer on guitar, Johan Faber on drums, Patricio Wang on bass and guitar, and Dennis Rudge on voice – plus leader Peter Van Bergen on tenor, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, and some mighty cool electronics! At times, the use of voice adds almost a no wave element to the set – and on the set, Rudge reads from Sun Ra's "Endless Realm" , and "Amooooore", a 1916 text from Volt – on titles that include "FTE 1", "FA5 1", "FA 3", and "FL 1". CD

Close matches17
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Joe McPhee & Hamid DrakeEmancipation Proclamation – A Real Statement Of Freedom ... CD
Okka Disk, 2000. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
A late 90s record, but one that we might easily put next to similar spiritual improv albums from the 70s – a fantastic meeting of both artists at Chicago's Empty Bottle – with Joe McPhee on pocket trumpet and tenor, and Hamid Drake on some amazing drums and percussion! Drake's wonderfully open, fluid sense of sound is a great match for McPhee here – really opening up a side of Joe's music in a way that's a bit different than some of his other recordings of the time, including his Okka Disk material – spirited, but never stressed – exploratory, yet always with a strong sense of direction. Titles include "Hate Crime Cries", "Cries & Whispers", "Mother Africa", and "Emancipation Proclamation". Very spare, but very moving – in the manner of some of the early work by the Art Ensemble of Chicago! CD

Close matches18
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Joe McPhee & Jeb BishopBrass City ... CD
Okka Disk, 1999. New Copy ... Just Sold Out!
The album's a definite brass city – given that Joe McPhee plays pocket cornet and valve trombone, and just a bit of soprano sax – next to excellent work on slide trombone by the great Jeb Bishop! The players have an instant sympathy with each other – so much so that space and timing are as important as the sounds that emerge from either player – a really sensitive balance that reflects all the great elements that Bishop was bringing to his music at the time, and which seems to take McPhee back to some of the genius of his earliest records too! The set features the seven part "The Brass City" suite – plus "Outpost (For Tom Guaralnick)", "Transmute", and "The Rozwell Incident". CD

Close matches19
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Evan ParkerChicago Solo ... CD
Okka Disk, 1997. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
Evan Parker sounds wonderful here – on a 90s session recorded in Chicago, but a record that may well stand with our favorites from his earliest years on vinyl! Parker was sometimes sounding more academic and dry at this point in his career, but he really wakes up our ears here too – maybe in part because the album's his first-ever solo effort on tenor, in contrast to a number of other records over the years in a Lacy-like fashion, recorded with solo soprano sax! A few tunes are dedicated to heroes and inspirations – Lee Konitz, Anthony Braxton, George Lewis, and Chris McGregor – and the album features 14 solo tenor tracks in all. CD

Close matches20
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Evan Parker & Joe McPheeChicago Tenor Duets ... CD
Okka Disk, 2002. New Copy ... $9.99 13.99
Two legendary tenorists, coming together here in a record that's one of the most striking from both players at the time – a real return to the spare space of some of Joe McPhee's earliest albums, and some of the sharper edges that Evan Parker wasn't always giving us in the 90s! The setting is as basic as the title, but the sound is amazing – two giants, freely improvising in open space – making some amazing textures and tones together, but really shifting in mood from track to track – at a level that's completely spellbinding all the way through – a record that bristles with the kind of energy you'd expect from an older FMP session. An instant avant classic – with a total of 11 tracks in all! CD

Close matches21
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
School DaysIn Our Times ... CD
Okka Disk, 2002. New Copy ... $9.99
A fantastic slice of dialogue between the important millennial Chicago and Swedish avant garde scenes! The School Days quartet is further augmented by another member this go 'round, Kjell Nordeson on vibes, as they continue to explore themes inspired by and written by modernists of a different period in improvised music, like Bobby Hutcherson, Bill Evans, and Larry Young – a great example of the inspirations that move the genius of group leader, reedman Ken Vandermark. Kjell can be heard elsewhere as the drummer for Mats Gustafson's AALY trio, and is joined by his bandmate from that group here on bass, Ingebrit Haker-Flaten, with another Swede, Paal Nilssen Love on drums, while Chicagoan Ken Vandermark is joined by one of our city's other hidden gems on the frontline, Jeb Bishop on trombone. Recorded live in Norway, titles include "Shift", "Octopus", "Loose Blues" and "Another Double". CD

Close matches22
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
Ken Vandermark's Topology Nonet feat Joe McPheeImpressions Of Po Music ... CD
Okka Disk, 2013. New Copy Gatefold ... $9.99 13.99
Ken Vandermark works here in musical modes first proposed by Joe McPhee – his famous concept of Po Music – performed here by a group that also features Joe, and a whole host of great players from the Chicago scene! Vandermark and McPhee have influenced each other a lot in the past few decades – but the approach here is to return to Joe's early Hat Art use of the Po concept – especially the way it presents ideas as provocation – which are then turned into improvisational fire by a group that includes Jason Adasiewicz on vibes, Josh Berman on cornet, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Kent Kessler on bass, Dave Rempis on saxes, Tim Daisy on drums, and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and electronics. Both Vandermark and McPhee play tenor – and the music has an intensity that's amazing for such a large group of improvisers – further proof that all players are very well-matched. Titles include "Impressions Of Eroc Tinu", "Impressions Of Knox", "Impressions Of Astral Spirits/Age", and "Impressions Of Sweet Dragon". CD

Close matches23
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Fred Anderson QuartetBirdhouse ... CD
Okka Disk, 1996. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
The first new studio recording by tenorist Fred Anderson since 1980 – and a set that shows just how much he'd grown in the intervening years! Here, Fred's newly alive with a younger Chicago group – a great quartet with Jim Baker on piano, Harrison Baker on bass, and Hamid Drake on drums – all players openly fluid to move with Anderson from swinging passages to freer ones – a beautiful balance of soul and experimentation, captured in a way that maybe links Fred more closely to Von Freeman than any other record in his career – yet which still captures all the AACM vitality in his music too. Titles include "Birdhouse", "Bernice", "Like Sonny", and "Waiting For Me". CD

Close matches24
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Fred Anderson TrioLive At The Velvet Lounge ... CD
Okka Disk, 1999. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A great set from AACM legend – tenorist Fred Anderson – cut in the very familiar home territory of his Velvet Lounge in Chicago! Anderson had been tending bar and leading jam sessions at the tavern since his return from Europe in the early 80s – but ended up purchasing the venue towards the end of the next decade – and quickly turned it into one of the real hotspots for the rising Chicago avant garde! This classic live set features Anderson caught in his home turf, in the company of bassist Peter Kowald and drummer Hamid Drake – prime example of the kind of local/international crossover sets that were really shaking the Chicago scene in the 90s. The set features 3 long tracks – "Straight, But Not Straight", "To Those Who Know", and "Multidimensional Reality". CD

Close matches25
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Fred Anderson/DKV TrioFred Anderson/DKV Trio ... CD
Okka Disk, 1997. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
Tenorist Fred Anderson made some fantastic albums for the Okka Disk label during the later years of his life – and this wonderful set has the legend making tremendous new fire with the label's excellent DKV Trio! Given that the group already features Ken Vandermark on saxes, the pairing of Anderson and Ken is a heck of a match – driven on strongly here by the bassist Kent Kessler, who's at the height of his powers during these years – and drummer Hamid Drake, whose range is maybe even more bold here than usual. Titles include "Planet E", "Lady's In Love", "Aaron's Tune", "Black Woman", "Our Theme", and "Dark Day". CD

Close matches26
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✨✧ Peter Brotzmann & Hamid DrakeDried Rat-Dog ... CD
Okka Disk, 1995. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
A record that seemed to open the music of Peter Brotzmann up for a whole new generation of listeners – in part because it features the European legend on an American label that got him some of the widest circulation he'd enjoyed here in years – and also in part because drummer Hamid Drake provides a very different foil for his music! The sound is almost an imaginary 70s meeting between the FMP and loft jazz scenes – with Hamid offering up these beautifully rich tones on standard drums, frame drum, and tablas – while Brotzmann blows tenor, alto, tarogato, and e flat clarinet – often with a sound that's searing, but more soulful than usual too – especially on some of the more spacious, open moments on the record. Titles include "It's An Angel On The Door", "Trees Have Roots In The Earth", "The Uninvited Entertainer", and "Dark Wings Carry Off The Sky". CD

Close matches27
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✨✧ Peter Brotzmann/Hamid Drake/Mahmoud GaniaWels Concert ... CD
Okka Disk, 1997. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of the most unusual Peter Brotzmann records we've ever heard – and we mean that in the best way possible! The live improvisation features Brotzmann on tenor, alto, tarogato, and e-flat clarinet – working with Hamid Drake on drums, tablas, and percussion – but alongside Moroccan gnawa musician Mahmoud Gania (or Guinia), whose music is a really different addition to the Brotzmann sound! Hamid Drake provides a great bridge between both players – still working as a free jazz musician, but also bringing a wider range of sounds to his percussion, which blends perfectly with Gania's creations on the warm-toned strings of the guembri, and his occasional vocalizations too. The whole thing is amazing – and the balance of avant reeds, percussion, and regional sounds rivals some of the best of the MPS jazz-meets-world titles from years back. The improvisation is 70 minutes in length – and breathtaking throughout! CD

Close matches28
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Territory Band (Ken Vandermark)Territory Band 5 – New Horse For The White House (3CD set) ... CD
Okka Disk, 2006. New Copy 3CD ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
The greatest album to date from Ken Vandermark's Territory Band – and a record that firmly places the group in a lineage of experimental jazz orchestrations that runs from Duke Ellington through Charles Mingus and the later work of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra! There's a strength here that goes beyond any of the group's earlier efforts – and although some numbers continue their freely improvised moments, others fall into a straighter, even more focused sound – one that's got the boldness of Mingus at its best, with lots of powerful passages that give way to even more personal solo moments. Players include Ken Vandermark, Fredrik Ljungkvist, and Dave Rempis on reeds; Axel Dorner on trumpet, Johannes Bauer on trombone, Paul Lytton and Paal Nilssen-Love on percussion, Jim Baker on piano, Kent Kessler on bass, and Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello. 3CD set features 2 studio discs and 1 live radio performance – with titles that include "Fall With A Vengeance", "Untitled Fiction", "Corrosion", "Cards", and live performances of all numbers on disc 3. CD

Close matches29
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Ken VandermarkFurniture Music ... CD
Okka Disk, 2003. New Copy ... Temporarily Out Of Stock
One of the most striking albums we've heard in years from Ken Vandermark – an album of solo tracks, recorded in the living room of his home, with a wonderfully introspective and exploratory quality! The album instantly achieves a place in a legacy of solo reed work that includes seminal albums by Evan Parker and Steve Lacy – and the set features Vandermark blowing on baritone, tenor, clarinet, and bass clarinet. The set features 13 titles recorded in the living room, plus 5 more recorded live in the studio (how's that for a switch?) – with titles that include "Panels", "So Is This", "Lines", "Resistance", "Horizontal Weight", "Beck & Fall", and "Leaves". CD

Close matches30
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Fred Anderson & Steve McCallVintage Duets – Chicago 1/11/80 ... CD
Okka Disk, 1980. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
An amazing recording finally sees the light of day – a beautiful set of duets between Fred Anderson on tenor and Steve McCall on percussion – both very important players of the second wave of AACM musicians in the 70s, even though both artists never fully got their due! The material was recorded in 1980, not too long before we lost McCall – and the interplay is wonderful, and really represents a shift in the energy of the AACM scene – maybe some influence from the loft jazz world of mid 70s New York, which in turn drew inspiration from late 60s Chicago – but also delivered with a sense of soul that marks Anderson as part of a key lineage of Chicago tenorists that includes Clifford Jordan, Johnny Griffin, and John Gilmore! McCall is great too – a sensitive soul, but a strong force throughout – as the duo improvise on two long tracks, "Within" and "Wandering". CD

Close matches31
CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
✨✧ Jeb Bishop Trio/QuartetAfternoons ... CD
Okka Disk, 2001. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
One of the boldest statements on record from trombonist Jeb Bishop – and a really great reminder of his key contributions to the Chicago avant scene at the start of the century! Jeb's a master of subtle shape and sound on his instrument, but he can also play with a fiercer frenzy – which is definitely the case here, and he moves between a trio and quartet lineup – alongside Kent Kessler on bass, Tim Mulvenna on drums, and Jeff Parker on guitar! The match of Parker and Bishop happens on four of the album's seven tracks, and has an especially strong resonance – tuneful at times, fuzzier at others – although the trio tracks are pretty darn incredible, and have us really remembering the greatness of Kessler and Mulvenna too. Titles include "Mirror Image", "The Umbrella", "Piggly Wiggly", "Pond", and "Flex Time". CD

Close matches32
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✨✧ Marilyn Crispell/Fred Anderson/Hamid DrakeDestiny ... CD
Okka Disk, 1995. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A hell of a set from the comeback years of tenorist Fred Anderson on record – a date that has Fred on tenor with familiar drummer Hamid Drake – joining pianist Marilyn Crispell during a special live performance on a visit to Chicago! The set's very much in the Crispell mode – produced and presented in a manner that's more like some of her records than Fred's – and the freewheeling piano work of the legend really seems to push Anderson on to even bolder moments than some of his other records from the time, but always balanced with the kind of sensitivity that makes him so great, easily echoed by Drake's work on percussion – and balanced out with that sense of space that has always kept us interested in Crispell's music over the decades. The album features six numbered pieces, each titled "Destiny". CD

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✨✧ DKV TrioBaraka ... CD
Okka Disk, 1997. New Copy Gatefold ... Out Of Stock
When tenor player Ken Vandermark moved to Chicago in the early 90s, his presence began a set of ripples that ran through the city's jazz scene, and left traces that continue to transform the city to this day! One of those ripples became the DKV trio – a brilliant ensemble featuring Vandermark, bassist Kent Kessler, and percussionist Hamid Drake – a crack avant trio, with no end of imagination and creativity – stepping out here on a flagship recording for the Okka Disk label, maybe the most important force to document Vandermark's mighty talents during these early years! The recording features 5 tracks of varying length, from the 35 minute "Baraka" to the 8 minute "Soft Gamma Ray Repeater" – plus the titles "Figure It Out", "Consequence", and "Double Holiday". CD

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✨✧ DKV TrioLive In Wels & Chicago – 1998 ... CD
Okka Disk, 1999. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Back in the 90s, the DKV trio were one of the strongest forces in the Chicago improvising scene – a great group that featured Ken Vandermark on reeds, Kent Kessler on bass, and Hamid Drake on drums – working together with a really boundless sense of energy! This set has the group making a great appearance at the Wels Music Festival in 1998 – stepping out in a way that's a bit different than some of their previous recordings. At the festival, the trio played their incredibly haunting version of Don Cherry's "Complete Communion", drawn out into an extended suite, with the addition of the group's "Memory Sketch", in homage to Cherry. That set is paired here with some material captured on the group's home turf in Chicago – featuring 3 long improvised tracks recorded at Fred Anderson's Velvet Lounge. The Chicago material comprises a second disc in this 2CD set, and it includes the titles "Blues For Tomorrow", "Open Door", and "Burning Sky". CD
(Cover images may vary.)

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✨✧ DKV TrioTrigonometry ... CD
Okka Disk, 2002. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Excellent work from the trio of Ken Vandermark, Hamid Drake, and Kent Kessler! The 2CD set features tracks from two different live shows – one recorded in Rochester, the other in Kalamazoo, both during the group's 2001 tour of the US. Vandermark is ever-brilliant – still growing mightily as a player, and in a perfect power trio format here, working with Kessler's strong bass lines, and Drake's assorted percussion techniques. Includes a huge amount of Don Cherry tunes – such as "Brown Rice", "Awake Nu", "The Thing", and "Elephantasy" – plus readings of Sonny Rollins' "East Broadway Rundown", Joe McPhee's "Goodbye Tom B", and Ayler's "Love Cry". CD

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✨✧ Hamid Drake/Michael Zerang DuoAsk The Sun ... CD
Okka Disk, 1996. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A classic pairing of two of the most important percussionists on the Chicago avant scene of the 90s – Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang, both musicians with a very different sound and style – but whose contributions to the Okka Disk label alone are more than enough to warrant them pages in the history book of Windy City jazz! Both musicians really open up here on a fantastic range of percussive elements – standard drums, plus bells, tablas, gongs, didjeridoo, cymbals, shakers, congas, and frame drums – handled in these open, organic ways that are very different than some of the accompaniment that both Drake and Zerang were giving horn players, maybe more of a loft jazz mode, but also with ties to the early AACM. The record also features a bit of guest work – Ashik Altany on zurma and Eddie Zerang on djembe – on titles that include "The Wisdom Sisters", "River Dance", "Children Of Clark Street", "Dreaming Of Winter", "Zikr Of The Heart", and "The Black Basement". CD

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✨✧ FME (Ken Vandermark)Montage ... CD
Okka Disk, 2006. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
A double-disc set that documents the live efforts of the Free Music Ensemble – a power trio featuring Ken Vandermark on reeds, Nat McBride on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums! The style here is very much in the legacy of Vandermark's trio work of years past, especially in association with Scandinavian players – a mix of searingly intense numbers and other more introspective ones – often performances that are focused strongly around sound textures. One CD here features a 2005 Boston show, and the other includes a concert the next day, recorded up in Montreal (some travel schedule there!). Titles include "Exit The Republic", "Drift", "But Only Almost", "False Rabbit", "On A Wire", "Looking At Dutch Stairs", "New Reference", "Ottica", and "Montage". CD

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✨✧ FME (Ken Vandermark)Underground ... CD
Okka Disk, 2004. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A bold statement from the Free Music Ensemble – not a large group, but instead a searing power trio that features Ken Vandermark on reeds, Nate McBride on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums! The group work in a full-on mode that recalls the early power of the FMP scene, or some of the most striking work on ESP from the 60s – but given Vandermark's influence, they've also got a more open sensibility – clear in the shift from passage to passage of the album's numbered tracks, dedicated to influential heroes that include Peter Brotzmann, Paul Lytton, Joe Morris, and Joe McPhee – all contemporary heroes that are given great due here, but in a way that still has the trio retaining a very strong identity of their own. CD

Close matches39
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✨✧ Territory Band (Ken Vandermark)Territory Band 4 – Company Switch ... CD
Okka Disk, 2005. New Copy 2CD ... Out Of Stock
Some of the deepest work we've heard from Ken Vandermark in awhile – and that's saying a lot, given the overall greatness of most of his recordings! The set's the 4th from Vandermark's Territory Band ensemble – a larger group that allows Ken to explore grander concepts of composition and arrangement – working here in a mode that draws from the energy of his smaller group sessions, yet in a way that has a much sharper focus on the roles of the individual players. Ken's ideas are expressed beautifully in the album's 6 long original compositions – each shaded with different themes, tones, and colors, executed wonderfully by an international lineup that includes Vandermark, Fredrik Ljungkvist, and Dave Rempis on saxes; Paul Lytton and Paal Nilssen-Love on percussion; Jeb Bishop on trombone, Axel Dorner on trumpets, Kent Kessler on bass, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, Jim Baker on piano, and Lasse Marhaug on electronics. Titles include "Local Works", "Vertical 8", "Reverse Two", "Killing Floor", and "Franja". CD

Close matches40
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✨✧ Evan Parker & Georg GraweUnity Variations ... CD
Okka Disk, 1999. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A beautiful testament of how much of an impact the Chicago scene of the 90's is having on the worldwide avant jazz world! This set of live duets was recorded during a time when German pianist Georg Grawe had moved to Chicago to take advantage of the city's rich jazz scene – and when Evan Parker was visiting the city to perform in the now-legendary Empty Bottle Jazz & Improvised Music Festival. The CD captures a performance that is only the second time these two greats have played together, and it was recorded in the acoustically beautiful Unity Temple, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Despite their lack of experience together, these two masters dovetail nicely in performance, and the set of "Unity Variations" is another feather in the cap of the great Okka Disk label. Handsomely packaged, too – with a nice cover based around Albert Oehlen's painting "What The Critic Sees". CD
 
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✨✧ DKV & Joe McPheeFire Each Time (6CD set) ... CD
Not Two (Poland), 2017. New Copy 6CD ... Out Of Stock
The title here is very apt – as this fantastic quartet seem to set a different kind of fire on every one of the CDs in the set – six different performances, recorded over the space of two months – in Paris, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Poland! The group should be well-known to lovers of improvised music from earlier Okka Disk recordings in the 90s – and the passage of two decades has only made them sharper and more intense – especially when the tenor and pocket trumpet of Joe McPhee joins the lineup of Ken Vandermark on reeds, Kent Kessler on bass, and Hamid Drake on drums. The set of recordings is dedicated to James Baldwin – which you might have guessed from the title – and the whole thing is a fitting tribute to the transformation of ideas about freedom and identity over the passage of time. CD
(Fantastic package – a great box set with a magnetic flap lid!)
 
 
 



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