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Amu (Fujii / Tamura / Itani / Wildenhahn): Weave [CD & DVD] (Libra)

Mizuki Wildenhahn adds an unusual percussive instrument through dance to the multi-arts Amu quartet of Wildenhahn, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, pianist Satoko Fujii, and percussionist Takashi Itani, heard on the CD and seen on the DVD of this 2-disc set of their unorthodox and absorbing live performance at Kanagawa Prefectural Lake Sagami-ko Exchange Center in 2018. ... Click to View

Satoko Fujii / Yuko Yamaoka: Diary 2005-2015: Tuko Yamaoka plays the music of Satoko Fujii [2 CDs] (Libra)

A double CD of Satoko Fujii compositions, 56 short compositions from a series she started around 2005 to expand her skills as a composer, many of which fueled her many band's repertoires; in 2018 she asked respected classical pianist and educator Yuko Yamaoka to record this set of compositions as part of her 60th birthday monthly album set. ... Click to View

Satoko Fujii : Diary 2005-2015 [Scorebook] (Libra)

A book of scores to accompany the double CD of 56 Satoko Fujii compostions titled "Diary 2005-2015", performed by respected classical pianist and educator Yuko Yamaoka, released as part of Satoko Fujii's ambitious 60th birthday monthly album set. ... Click to View

Larry Ochs / Gerald Cleaver: Songs Of The Wild Cave (RogueArt)

An extremely unique sax and drums album, as Rova leader Larry Ochs and New York drummer Gerald Cleaver take their tenor and sopranino saxophones, and drums and percussion, into the absolute darkness and stillness of the Portel Cave in the South of France, using the resonance and inspiration of the cave to record these seven incredible improvisations. ... Click to View

Wendy Eisenberg : The Machinic Unconscious (Tzadik)

Guitarist and composer Wendy Eisenberg leads her powerful Downtown trio with Trevor Dunn on bass and Ches Smith on drums as they present hard-edged work including a piece inspired by poet Alice Notley, blending experimental and rock forms into a strange brew of eccentric improvised pieces, with an angular menacing approach and a fury of irrepressible determination. ... Click to View

Adam Hopkins: Crickets (Out Of Your Head Records)

A great example of the current Downtown/Brooklyn scene, using jazz as a jumping-off point to merge free playing, fusion, and rock stylings into an enthusiastic, and technically brilliant album, as bassist Adam Hopkins provides the ompositions performed with the sextet of Anna Webber, Ed Rosenberg, & Josh Sinton on sax, Jonathan Goldberger on guitar, and Devin Gray on drums. ... Click to View

Benoit Delbecq / Jorrit Dijkstra / John Hollenbeck: Linger (Driff Records)

The long-running collaboration of Paris pianist Benoit Delbecq and Netherlands-born, Boston-area saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra is joined by Boston drummer John Hollenbeck, the pianist and saxophonist also picking up electronics and bass synth as they improvise over 10 concepts of movement through texture and distinctive approaches to their instruments. ... Click to View

Pandelis Karayorgis Trio (w/ Damon Smith / Eric Rosenthal): Cliff (Driff Records)

Contrasting his concurrent piano trio album with Nate McBride and Luther Gray, "Pools", "Cliff" is a first encounter between Boston-area pianist and composer Pandelis Karayorgis and drummer Eric Rosenthal with double bassist Damon Smith, recently migrated from the West Coast, as the three present a concentrative album of collective improvisation revealing three masterful players. ... Click to View

Pandelis Karayorgis Trio (w/ Nate McBride / Luther Gray): Pools (Driff Records)

The classic piano trio gets Boston-area pianist Pandelis Karayorgis' take on lyrical free playing, recorded in an informal studio session as drummer Luther Gray and bassist Nate McBride run through a a set of mostly Karayorgis compositions plus two collective compositions, great modern jazz informed by a variety of projects each has collaborated on. ... Click to View

Bob Drake: L'isola Dei Lupi (ReR Megacorp)

Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and song-writer Bob Drake's 10th album, an unusual and quirky journey through rock, RIO, and prog references, exploring the "The island of the Lupi" through a strange set of songs, a showcase for Drake's immense skills and enigmatic curiosity in 16 miniatures of descriptive passages, brilliant playing and exceptional production. ... Click to View

Isotope Ensemble: Lanthanum (Creative Sources)

Creative Sources collective Isotope Ensemble led by Ernesto Rodrigues performed with a large electroacoustic group continues their investigation of isotopes, focusing on Lanthanum, a soft metal used in flints, through subtly-developing interplay the band, moving as one body, reaching several highly controlled periods of passionate improvisation, contrasting with beautifully serene sections; impressive. ... Click to View

The Necks: Body (Northern Spy)

A strong start to the Australian trio The Neck's 24th album, as Chris Abrahams on piano & keyboards, Tony Buck on drums, percussion & guitar, and Lloyd Swanton on acoustic bass present a powerhouse of free improvisation in a single hour-long work, the first half evoking jazz leaning, with a free and spacious bridge that builds suddenly to a rocking groove. ... Click to View

Matt Hannafin : John Cage: Four Realizations For Solo Percussion [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

Portland-based percussionist Matt Hannafin presents 4 works from John Cage, 2 from the 60s and 2 from the 90s: "Variations II" & "Variations III", where the performer places or drops transparencies to create a graphic score; "One4" for solo percussion incorporating improvisation; and "c Composed Improvisation" for one-sided drums using instructions and chance operations. ... Click to View

Okkyung Lee : Speckled Stones And Dissonant Green Dots [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

The title reveals two tracks from New York cellist and Downtown mainstay Okkyung Lee: "Speckled Stones", using digital and analog synthetic sounds and noise in a stammering mix of rhythm and sound, ebbing and flowing on a strange journey; and "Dissonant Green Dots" which uses penetrating tones of intense dissonance in arhythmic repetition, hypnotically assaulting the senses. ... Click to View

Sarah Hennies / Greg Stuart: Rundle [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

The duo of Sarah Hennies and Greg Stuart, who are both a part of the Meridian trio, performing at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, in Alberta, Canada, for two extended pieces using piano, percussion and objects, employing strategies and improvisation to generate indeterminate sources and sounds that create a cohesive and mysterious narrative. ... Click to View

Leap Of Faith: Topological Constructions (Evil Clown)

The core trio of the Leap of Faith Orchestra--PEK on clarinets, saxophones, clarinets & flutes, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion--is joined by fellow Orchestra violinist Mimi Rabson and special guest, violinist Elinor Speirs, for a remarkable improvised work using a huge arsenal of instruments including a new Brontosaurus Bell. ... Click to View

Oliva Block: 132 Ranks (Room40)

Commissioned for the Chicago performing space LAMPO and The Renaissance Society, Olivia Block composed this large work of drone and sound from 2016-2017, premiered on the massive Skinner Organ at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in a free concert that included a sound installation of 6 speakers placed through the chapel playing white noise, sine tones, and prerecorded organ sounds. ... Click to View

While We Still Have Bodies (Gerstein / Ali / Foster / van Hemmen): While We Still Have Bodies (Neither/Nor Records)

Using lo-fi electronics and found objects alongside their acoustic instruments, the NY quartet of Ben Gerstein (trombone), Sean Ali (double bass), Michael Foster (saxophones) and Flin van Hemmen (percussion) freely improvise with textural, rhythmic and timbral interactions, captured live at New Museum accompanying an exhibition by video artist Cheng Ran. ... Click to View

Rob Brown Quartet: Jumping Off The Page (No More Records)

Only his third date as a leader, this 2000 release features Rob Brown on alto sax and flute in a quartet with Chris Lightcap on bass, Jackson Krall on drums, and the late trumpeter Roy Campbell, a great example of New York jazz through a set of Brown original compositions, from upbeat energetic playing to rich layered soundscapes, all with soul and conviction. ... Click to View

Roy Campbell Pyramid Trio: Ancestral Homeland (No More Records)

A masterful album that embraces jazz, African and Native American musics from the late NY trumpeter Roy Campbell's fourth album from 1998 in a trio, using a strong percussive pulse over Campbell's phenomenal soloing, at times joining on percussion alongside drummer Zen Matsuura, with William Parker also taking up percussion alongside his powerful double bass work. ... Click to View

William Parker: Lifting The Sanctions (No More Records)

Pure William Parker in this solo album from 1998, as the New York double bassist presents 6 original works that demonstrate his skills as a composer, and his profound playing style, focused primarily on bowing with two pizzicato pieces, displaying an exceptional range of styles and emotions; the album cover is by Jeff Schlanger, painted during live recording of this music. ... Click to View

Milford Graves: Babi [2 CDs] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded in 1976 at WBAI-FM/Free Music Store in New York, drummer percussionist Milford Graves goes head to head with two reedists, Arthur Doyle and Hugh Glover, an absolute stunner of percussive momentum and force, drawing the reeds into a frenzy of unbridled free playing; issued with a 2nd CD of a private recording of Graves plus unpublished photos. ... Click to View

Joe McPhee / Hamid Drake: Keep Going (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

The second duo album between saxophonist & pocket trumpeter Joe McPhee and drummer/frame drummer Hamid Drake begins with McPhee reciting words by Harriett Tubman (Keep Going), as the two inform and astound through masterful playing, together and solo, shaking the listener through intense and unambiguously clear playing, with pieces reflecting our world situation. ... Click to View

Joe McPhee / Mats Gustafsson: Brace For Impact (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Drawing on many collaborations, from Peter Brotzmann's large groups to Gustafsson's The Thing, this duo album recorded in 2008 is finally issued to unleash 1 blistering album of saxophone duos, Joe McPhee on altos sax, alto clarinet, pocket trumpet and voice, with Gustafsson on baritone and slide saxophone, alto fluteophone and live electronics; brace yourself! ... Click to View

Joe McPhee: Nation Time (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Keeping this essential album in print, Corbett vs Dempsey reissues the saxophonist & pocket trumpeter's 1971 release on the CJR label alongside 3 bonus tracks, a smoking album titled for a poem by Amiri Baraka, captured live at Vassar College Urban Center for Black Studies with Mike Kull (piano), Tyrone Crabb (bass), Bruce Thompson (percussion) and Ernest Bostic (percussion). ... Click to View

Brian Marsella Trio: Outspoken: The Music Of The Legendary Hasaan (Tzadik)

From Philadelphia comes this exuberant album with its feet firmly planted in jazz tradition as the trio of pianist Brian Marsella, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Anway Marshall pay tribute to composer and pianist Hasaan Ibn Ali (1931-1980), an influence on Coltrane, Tyner, etc., with 7 Ali originals and a composition for Ali from Marsella. ... Click to View

Chaos Echoes w/ Mats Gustafsson: Sustain [VINYL - transparent blue] (Utech Records)

A thick and sick album of heavy electro-improvisation when the French quartet Chaos Echoes of brothers Ilmar Uibo on drums & percussion and Kalevi Uibo on guitar and effects, Fabien W. Furter on guitar and effects, and Stefan Thanneur on bass and effects meets with baritone saxophone Mats Gustafsson for two intense and dark tracks cut to transparent blue vinyl. ... Click to View

Gustafsson / Sandstrom / Werlin : This is From the Mouth [VINYL 1-SIDED PICTURE DISC] (Utech Records)

After working together on the theater production Das Fliegende Kind (The Flying Child), the trio of Mats Gustafsson, David Sandstrom (Refused), and Andreas Werliin (Fire!) recorded this 18 minute improvisation, a work of percussive force and rolling sax tone that builds to an explosive fury of sound, released on a stunning 1-sided picture disc. ... Click to View

Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore: After Caroline (Northern Spy)

The fourth release from Chicago bass clarinetist Jason Stein's Locksmith Isidore, a trio with Jason Roebke on bass and New York drummer Mike Pride, playing modern creative jazz with a twisted melodic sense through Stein's original compositions, alongside one collective comoposition and John Coltrane's "26-2", a great example of 21st century jazz. ... Click to View

Sarah Hennies (performed by Lenka Novosedlikova): Sisters [VINYL] (Mappa)

US Composer Sarah Hennies wrote these pieces for vibraphone for Lenka Novosedlíková to be performed at the church in Kyjatice, Slovokia, a medieval building the two discovered while traveling, and that they challenged each to bring life to the building while respecting it's contemplative character and using the psychoacoustic dimensions of space. ... Click to View

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Reviews of live performance

April 2003
   review by Kurt Gottschalk
Derek Bailey and Ikue Mori (Tonic) - April 10, 2003
Derek Bailey and Cyro Baptista (Tonic) - April 11, 2003
Derek Bailey and Shaking Ray Levis (Tonic) - April 12, 2003

Derek Bailey is a masterful soloist whose collaborations can fly or fall flat. So it was more than promising that he began a three-night stint in New York with one of this town's master collaborators.

Ikue Mori often burrows deep in the mix during joint projects, but in this duet each opened with defined roles: Mori setting a fluid, pastoral mood and Bailey gently playing atop. As if looking to upset the apple cart, Mori soon shifted her laptop from elemental sound to jagged electricity, coaxing Bailey into harmonics and hum. From there, it was anyone's game, the duo somehow working as a quartet, each playing both under and over the other. Simply put, great improvisers often make great music.

The question has been posed before whether Bailey really listens when he plays with others. The answer seems clearly to be yes, but only when viewed from afar. Bailey isn't the sort of player who engages in call-and-response and riff mimicry. He's as often engaged in soliloquy as in dialogue. But that's in part because his vocabulary on the guitar is just so extensive. His playing varies with different projects, and he refers more to the way in which collaborators plays than to what they just played. With Mori, he left open spaces of feedback and hum, custom built for her to fill. He thumped his low strings to suggest her percussive flights, he strummed quickly and laid on and off the volume pedal, emitting distorted shrapnel as Mori's rhythm lines sometimes explode, pan and fade.

Bailey and Cyro Baptista, who paired off for the second night, are an odd and long-standing duo. The percussionist is full of fast and abrupt shifts, moving helter skelter through an array of drums and devices. Bailey's changes are just as fast, but aren't built of alterations in instrument, tempo or mood. With no central nervous system, the duo presumably would need to be aware of where the other is at all times for anything to happen at all.

That, however, is a challenge for Baptista, who leads far more than he follows. For this duet, he had an unusually large arsenal in tow, including a six-piece gamelan, bass, conga and clay drums and electronics, in addition to his myriad of handheld devices. As it happens, his unending evolutions worked well with Bailey; while there's never a thing to hold on to for more than 10 or 12 seconds, the broken phrases and splintered thoughts kept motion forward, and Bailey, surprisingly (and to his credit) became the backbone. Baptista's electronics (primarily reverb and delay applied to voice or mouth instruments, and an electronic drum pad) weren't used to smooth the edges of his scattershot playing, but did help to create some less hyper atmospherics.

For the second set, however, roles were reversed, with Cyro in charge, swinging Brasilia, laying down funky harp, looping, speeding up and singing along with himself on "All the Way." Bailey played Oscar Peterson to Baptista's Ella Fitzgerald, a pure accompanist, chordal structures and arpeggios. The meeting of two good-humored souls shone through. It's a bit of camp, and all told not the most satisfying of Bailey's meetings, but pure entertainment, right down to Bailey blowing the smoke off his pistol-finger to close the set.

The third night's meeting with the Tennessee two, the Shaking Ray Levis, featured Bailey's heaviest playing of his visit, going more for volume and overdrive than in the previous two relatively subdued affairs. His distorted guitar meshed nicely with Dennis Palmer's keyboard wash, and his fast lines fit well with Bob Stagner's quick drumming, making this the most overtly ensemble playing of the three nights. The Levis alone are a dynamic ensemble, mixing drum flurries and swaying electronics with occasional vocals.

If the previous two nights were about Bailey's circuitous, obtuse means of collaborating, this was straightforward from the top, at times verily avant rock. Bailey let distortion ring over clustered notes, while Palmer let loose the occasional blues holler. "Well, George Bush is doing alright," he drawled. "You can bet he's raking in the cash like nobody's business, and he's losing control like a sorcerer's apprentice." And if Bailey didn't exactly play the blues with Palmer, he somehow still played like a bluesman.

Over the course of three nights, what became apparent is that Bailey's choices makes sense, even if sometimes they make sense of something that happened 20 minutes ago. He's ike a grandfather sitting at a table, whittling or maybe fixing a clock, who suddenly answers a question that was asked, ignored and forgotten already. And you didn't think he was listening.

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Recent Selections @ Squidco:

Jason Stein's
Locksmith Isidore:
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(Northern Spy)

Milford Graves:
[2 CDs]
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