Arashi (Akira Sakata/Johan Berthling/Paal Nilssen Love) —
Jikan ... CD PNL (Norway), 2019. New Copy ...
Legendary Japanese reedman Akira Sakata joins younger improvisers Johan Berthling on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums and percussion – and really seems to shape their performance, given the results of the record! Sakata blows both alto sax and bass clarinet – always with that rich, raw tone that's made him so great for so many decades – and he also vocalizes occasionally, with an earthy quality that's very powerful, and very different than his saxophone work. Paal is maybe a bit more restrained than usual, really letting Sakata set the scene for most numbers – then finding the right way to embrace and embolden the sound – and Berthling proves again that he's one of the more sensitive improvisers in recent years, while still very much holding his own in the trio. Titles include "Jikan", "Saitaro Bushi Arashi", "Yamanoue No Okura", and "Tsuioku". CD
Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love —
Screen Off ... CD PNL (Norway), 2019. New Copy ...
The title here might seem a bit unusual, but it's a reference to Youtube, which is the source of all the material used on the album – about a decade's worth of performances by Ken Vandermark and Paal Nilssen-Love – captured by fans, cleaned up by the pair, and lined up here as a fantastic live document of their longstanding sympathies for each other as improvising musicians!Ken is often at his most sonically intense – blowing a variety of reed instruments with plenty of full-on force to match the always-driving percussion of Paal Nilssen-Love – who's clearly hitting a lot of those powerhouse moments the fans love to capture so much. All tracks are improvised, captured from live recordings around the world – and the set features 21 selections in all! CD