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Steve Lacy: Free for a Minute (1966-72) [2 CDs] (Emanem)

Four sessions on a 2 CD set, all featuring Steve Lacy and Kent Carter: (1) DISPOSABILITY, the 1965 trio record with Aldo Romano of jazz standards, originals and free improv; (2) SORTIE, the 1966 free improv quartet + Enrico Rava album; (3) previously unissued 1967 'Free Fall' Film Cues in a quintet with Rava, Karl Berger, & Paul Motian; (4) two never issued '72 quintet pieces with Steve Potts, Irene Aebi on cello and Noel Mcghie. ... Click to View


Paul Rutherford : In Backward Times (1979-2007) (Emanem)

Four very different previously unissued concert settings featuring trombonist Paul Rutherford: 2 festival solos - one from 1979 with electronics and one from 2004 without; a 1988 duo with Paul Rogers a few months before their ROGUES CD; and a 2007 trio with Veryan Weston and Marcio Mattos, which turned out to be Rutherford's last public appearance. ... Click to View


Barry Guy: Frogs [VINYL 7-inch PICTURE DISC] (Trost Records)

A 7" limited vinyl picture disc made to celebrate legendary European Free Jazz bassist Barry Guy's 70th birthday, with Guy providing "acoustic sounds" along with his collaborating frogs, Wasserfrosch (Rana Esculenta) and Laubfrosch (Hyla Arborea), size A presenting Frogs & Barry Guy, and side 2, Barry Guy & Frogs; quirkly and wonderful free improv. ... Click to View


Christian Wolff : Berlin Exercises [VINYL] (God Records)

A series of shorter works composed by Christian Wolff written to explore the process of practicing and working within specified limits, exercises for both the composer and the performers, recorded live in Berlin in 2000 by an ensemble directed by Peter Ablinger and including Wolff on piano & melodica, Robin Hayward on tuba, Anette Krebs on guitar, &c. ... Click to View


Phill Niblock: Rhymes With Water [VINYL] (God Records)

A beautiful set of minimalist compositional drone from New York composer Phill Niblock, commissioned by the performers Natalia Pschenitschnikowa on bass flute and Erik Drescher on glissando flute, recorded at PIETHOPRAXIS, in Cologne, Germany by Marcus Schmickler, and in Berlin, Germany, by Thomas Ankersmit. ... Click to View


Simon Rummel Ensemble: IM MEER (Umlaut Records)

German composer and improviser Simon Rummel presents the 2nd release from his 11-piece Simon Rummel Ensemble, blending his interest in acoustic phenomena and improvisational harmonics in an extended work that shift from beautiful tonal work to disruptive cacophony and back to melodic music blending jazz and 20th century approaches; a great achievement. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee / Bryan Eubanks: My Undocumented Alien Clarinet [VINYL] (Penultimate Press)

Recorded and presented as part of Pauline Oliveros Foundation's New Vanguard Series in Kingston, NY in 2006, the unusual duo of Joe McPhee on b-flat and e-flat alto clarinets and synthesizer and Bryan Eubanks on open circuit electronics explores unusual dynamics and psychoacoustic intersections of both acoustic and electronic instruments. ... Click to View


Blaise Siwula / Jorge Nuno: Waterscapes (Creative Sources)

Waterscapes is the performing duo of New York saxophonist Blaise Siwula and guitarist Jorge Nuno, interwining distinct approaches to acoustic and electric improvisation, creating rich sound environments and rapid interaction that draws the listener in and then sweeps them off their feet with passionate, complex and informed dialog. ... Click to View


Carlo Mascolo: My Tubes (Creative Sources)

A unique take on this large brass instrument from Italian trombonis and Free Flow Festival director Carlo Mascolo, using preparations, focusing on components of the instrument, and using extreme techniques to create a startlingly diverse set of sounds, vocalisations, microtonal output and simply bizarre utterances as Mascolo attempts bring new language to horn. ... Click to View


Alfredo Monteiro Costa / Miguel A. Garcia: Aq'Ab'Al (Mikroton Recordings)

Audio experimenters Alfredo Costa Monteiro and Miguel A. Garcia join forces in an album titled after "Aq'ab'al", the Mayan Astrology Sign about polar opposites-- dawn and dusk, hot and cold, black and white--which represents renewal and change, through a series of opposing audio events, forceful sounds of texture, feedback, and intervention. ... Click to View


John Butcher / John Edwards / Mark Sanders: Last Dream Of The Morning (Relative Pitch)

A studio album between three UK master improvisers -- John Butcher on sax, John Edwards on double bass, and Mark Sanders on drums -- the trio pushing the envelope in technique and dialog in nearly telepathic playing that transports the listener into their environment, as the music builds and releases in effortless ways that are stunning and exulant; highly recommended. ... Click to View


Fred Van Hove / Roger Turner: The Corner (Relative Pitch)

Pioneering improvising pianist Fred Van Hove at UK's Cafe OTO for the first time, captured in a duo with UK drummer/percussionist Roger Turner, their first recording together, for a night of exceptional improvised interplay, sophisticated and complex playing that is constantly buoyant and charming, an enthralling conversation between two veteran players. ... Click to View


Magda Mayas / Jim Denley: Tempe Jetz (Relative Pitch)

A pairing of two innovative players, Berlin-based pianist Magda Mayas and Australian sound and wind artist Jim Denley, Mayas playing inside and out of the piano and Denley on alto sax and bass flute, both providing field recordings adding unexpected elements in a set of extremely balanced recordings that entrance the listener with unlikely and captivating settings. ... Click to View


John Butcher: Resonant Spaces [VINYL] (Blume)

Extreme acoustic space recordings from saxophonist John Butcher, part of Arika's Resonant Spaces event, with performances from resonant and remote corners of Scotland. ... Click to View


Lean Left: I Forgot To Breathe (Trost Records)

The 7th album from the quartet of Netherlands guitarists Andy Moor and Terrie Hessels (The Ex) with Chicago free improvising multi-reedist Ken Vandermark and Netherlands drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love in an album balancing amazing energy with profound introspective moments in thrilling edge-of-your-seat improvisation - excellent! ... Click to View


Lean Left: I Forgot To Breathe [VINYL] (Trost Records)

The 7th album from the quartet of Netherlands guitarists Andy Moor and Terrie Hessels (The Ex) with Chicago free improvising multi-reedist Ken Vandermark and Netherlands drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love in an album balancing amazing energy with profound introspective moments in thrilling edge-of-your-seat improvisation - excellent! ... Click to View


Kontakte Trio (Trevor Taylor / Ian Brighton / Steve Beresford): Kontakte Trio (FMR)

An important and well-matched trio of electroacoustic improvisers, and a welcome addition to guitarist Ian Brighton's return to active music life, with Steve Beresford on piano, prepared piano and electronics, and Trevor Taylor (Circuit) on percussion and electronics, six unhurried improvisations of intricate interplay and interchange themed on physics. ... Click to View


Viv Corringham / Lawrence Casserley: Anemoi (FMR)

Lawrence Casserley is a pioneer of real time electroacoustic music, since the 60s working with other artists and developing his Signal Processing Instrument, using physical gestures to process and morph sounds; here he works with British vocalist and Deep Listening teacher Viv Corringham in an other-worldly collaboration of voice and electonics. ... Click to View


Kamins / Smith / Fielder / Hertenstein: After Effects (FMR)

A great example of traditional free improvisation spanning generations from the quartet of Danny Kamins on baritone saxophone, Damon Smith on double bass, and two drummer/percussionists--Alvin Fielder and Joe Hertenstein--for 10 tracks of swinging free music recorded in the studio in Texas, 2016, jazz with a lyrical intention and powerful rhythmic underpinnings. ... Click to View


Pat Thomas: The Elephant Clock of Al Jazari [VINYL] (Otoroku)

Inspired by the automatic water clock invented by Iraq inventor, engineer, and father of robotics, Badi' al-Zaman ibn al-Razzaz al-Jazari built in the 12th century, pianist Pat Thomas recorded these four exceptional improvisations of powerful solo piano with an unusual and inventive twist live at London's Cafe Oto in 2015. ... Click to View


Gruppo Di Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza: Azioni/Reazioni 1967-1969 [4CD + DVD BOX] (Die Schachtel)

Box set CD reissue of the 2007 release of this seminal Italian free improvising group's complete recordings from 1967-69, in a deluxe box with 4 CDs, a DVD containing the original film "Nuova Consonanza" shot by Theo Gallher of their 1967 concert, and a 64 page LP-size book in English and Italian with essays, group commentary, collected reviews, &c. ... Click to View


Cilantro (Angelica Castello / Billy Roisz): Borderland (Mikroton Recordings)

Cilantro is the duo of multi-instrumentalists Angelica Castello on paetzold, ukulele, organ, tapes, & electronics, and Billy Roisz on electric bass, organ, tv, piezzo, computer & electronics, scrutinizing the activity in bordering areas between noise and silence, tenderness and rudeness, beat and drone, inner consciousness and outer awareness, control and freedom. ... Click to View


Burkhard Beins / Lucio Capece / Martin Kuchen / Paul Vogel: Fracture Mechanics (Mikroton Recordings)

"Fracture Mechanics" is the scientific study of cracks in any material, an apt title from these European experimental innovators--Burkhard Beins, Lucio Capece, Martin Kuchen, and Paul Vogel--pulling back the curtain on process and creating an impressive album crossing acoustic and electronic improv, organized sound, and inexplicable interaction; recommended. ... Click to View


The Holy Quintet (Change / Drouin / Lash / Lazardiou / Ryan): Borough (Mikroton Recordings)

The meeting of Johnny Chang (viola), Jamie Drouin (suitcase modular synth), Dominic Lash (double bass), Dimitra Lazaridou-Chatzigoga(zither, and David Ryan (bass clarinet) recording at Bourough welsh Congregational Chapel, in London in 2013, recorded by Another Timbre label leader Simon Reynell, for a unique merging of disparate approaches to ea-improv. ... Click to View


Kurt Liedwart / Andrey Popovskiy / Martin Taxt: Hjem (Mikroton Recordings)

A live concert at Dom Cultural Center in Moscow, Russia in 2015 from Norwegian tuba player Martin Taxt, Saint Petersburg violinist and object player Andrey Popovskiy, and ppool performer Kurt Liedwart focusing on sinewaves and noise, in an extended lowercase improvisation exploring harmonic and microtonal sounds. ... Click to View


Ayumi Tanaka / Johan Lindvall / Christian Wallumrod: 3 Pianos (Nakama Records)

This trio joins 3 disparate approaches to composition and improvisation--Japanese improviser Ayumi Tanaka, Oslo composer Johan Lindvall, and ECM artist Christian Wallumrod-developing the engaging material on this album by focusing on elements like tuning, register, intervals and dynamics, for an absorbing album of compatible and concentrative playing. ... Click to View


Ayumi Tanaka / Johan Lindvall / Christian Wallumrod: 3 Pianos [VINYL LP] (Nakama Records)

This trio joins 3 disparate approaches to composition and improvisation--Japanese improviser Ayumi Tanaka, Oslo composer Johan Lindvall, and ECM artist Christian Wallumrod-developing the engaging material on this album by focusing on elements like tuning, register, intervals and dynamics, for an absorbing album of compatible and concentrative playing. ... Click to View


Christian Svendsen Meaas : Avin (Nakama Records)

Known more for his double bass work, Christian Meaas Svendsen releases a stunningly beautiful album of unusually orchestrated pop songs with an 8-piece band of Nordic improvisers and performers, a dramatic album of tension and release which, despite lyrics in Norwegian, draws all listeners in through inventive and innovative musical structures. ... Click to View


Christian Svendsen Meaas : Avin [VINYL LP] (Nakama Records)

Known more for his double bass work, Christian Meaas Svendsen releases a stunningly beautiful album of unusually orchestrated pop songs with an 8-piece band of Nordic improvisers and performers, a dramatic album of tension and release which, despite lyrics in Norwegian, draws all listeners in through inventive and innovative musical structures. ... Click to View


Tipple (Frode Gjerstad / Kevin Norton / David Watson): Live at Elastic Arts (FMR)

Tipple, the trio of Frode Gjerstad on alto sax and clarinet, Kevin Norton on percussion, and David Watson on electric guitar, are captured live for an energetic and masterly concert at Elastic Arts, in Chicago, Illinois in 2015, four "Elastic" improvisations of intense interaction, from collective conversation to stunning solo statements; jaw dropping. ... Click to View


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  Visions from the Past  

The 2003 Vision Festival Resurrects Legends from the '60s


By Kurt Gottschalk 2003-06-24

History cut in line on May 24, when Henry Grimes took the stage two days prior to his much anticipated spotlight during the 2003 Vision Festival.

The festival was bookended by a couple of lost ESP artists, with vocalist Patty Waters (now living in Hawaii) on opening night, and bassist Grimes playing with William Parker's Jeanne Lee Project closing the fest.

But on Saturday night, just before a duet by Parker and Rob Brown, festival organizer Patricia Nicholson announced that a "very special guest" would be joining the two. With no more hype than that, the legendary bassist, who played on some great sides in the late '60s and disappeared from public view shortly thereafter, took the stage.

Grimes presumably had little time to rehearse, not having played in roughly 30 years. Parker sent him a bass this spring, after articles announcing that Grimes had been found, alive and well in California, appeared in Signal to Noise and The Wire. Grimes played a gig with guitarist Nels Cline in San Francisco before heading east for his New York re-debut.

Like a modern day Mississippi John Hurt, the resurgence of Henry Grimes is the stuff of legend. He received a standing ovation before playing a note that night, and sat in the front row throughout the six-night festival. He already has a gig booked for July at the upscale club Iridium in midtown Manhattan.

No doubt many in the audience were wondering, miraculous as his return was, how his playing would be. As it turns out, Grimes was fast and nimble, quiet but assured; he clearly remembers his Juilliard schooling. He and Parker began as two of a kind, opening arco, their hands moving nearly in unison, Brown's searing alto soaring above. The set progressed, Brown dropping out at times to allow a bass duo, and was rewarding if not entirely remarkable. Parker is always amazing and Grimes more than held his own.

Patty Waters
Patty Waters    [Photo by M.P. Landis]
Waters, too, proved an elder but rewarding version of the youthful exuberance documented on her two ESP releases. She opened with a shaky voice and a sweet smile, saying simply "Thanks for coming. Let's all hope for world peace and justice." Then, ably backed by pianist Burton Greene (with whom she recorded those early sides) and bassist Mark Dresser, she launched into a stirring version of "Strange Fruit," a song that not only mirrors her plea for justice but perhaps represents a woman whose voice shows her years. Seamlessly they drifted into a lyric version of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" and, later, Holiday's "Don't Explain," "Nature Boy" and Waters' "Moon Don't Come Out Tonight." She might not have had the range or the power she once demonstrated, but she still carried every bit of the drama, standing in repose during instrumental segments, and leaving the stage during some of Dresser and Greene's own compositions.

The Vision Family

Family comes in different forms, and family is what the artist-run New York City institution is all about. If that's a little corny, then it's the kind of corniness William Parker, Patricia Nicholson and their growing list of sympathizers embrace. More musicians each year add their names to the list of those traveling (at their own expense) from near and far to be a part of the venerable shoestring operation. Grimes is no doubt part of the clan now, and Waters may prove to be as well.

The 2003 Vision Festival Schedule

Wednesday May 21

  • Joe Maneri Trio (Matt Maneri / Randy Peterson / Christine Coppola)
  • Carl Hancock Rux / DJ Spooky
  • Billy Bang Sextet (Frank Lowe with Todd Nicholson, Andrew Bemkey, Tyshawn Sorey, and Tatsuya Nakatani)
  • Patty Waters / Burton Greene / Mark Dresser

Saturday May 24

  • Amina & Amiri Baraka with Blue Ark: The WordShip (Dwight West / Rahman Herbie Morgan / Andy McCloud / Vijay Iyer / Rudy Walker)
  • Rob Brown / William Parker / Henry Grimes
  • Milford Graves / Peter Brotzmann
  • Jin Hi Kim Trio (Billy Bang / William Parker)
  • Louis Belogenis / Roy Campbell / Hill Green / Michael Wimberly
  • Improvs: Tatsuya Nakatani, Roy Campbell, Lewis Barnes, Jonathan LaMaster and others

Thursday May 22

  • Bill Cole Project (Warren Smith / Cooper-Moore / Patricia Smith)
  • David S. Ware Quartet (Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Guillermo E. Brown)
  • Fred Anderson / Harrison Bankhead
  • The Jemeel Moondoc / Connie Crothers Quintet (Nathan Breedlove / Adam Lane / John McCutcheon)

Sunday May 25

  • Thomas Buckner / Roscoe Mitchell / Jerome Cooper / Harrison Bankhead
  • Masada String Trio (Mark Feldman / Erik Friedlander / Greg Cohen, John Zorn conducting)
  • Matthew Shipp Quartet (Daniel Carter / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver )
  • Whit Dickey / Rob Brown / Roy Campbell / Joe Morris
  • Patricia Nicholson's PaNic (Joseph Jarman / Cooper-Moore)

Friday May 23

  • Edwin Torres / Sean G. Meehan
  • Kali Fasteau / Mixashawn / Maria Mitchell / Newman Taylor-Baker
  • Roy Campbell / Joe McPhee, Warren Smith, William Parker
  • Andrew Cyrille / Kidd Jordan / William Parker
  • Raphe Malik Quartet (Sabir Mateen / Larry Rolands / Warren Smith)

Monday May 26 ~ Jeanne Lee Memorial

  • Steve Dalachinsky / Treva Offutt / Frederico Ughi
  • Gunter Hampel Galaxy Dream Band (Perry Robinson / Lou Grassi / Mark Whitecage / Ruomi Lee Hampel / Hershel Silverman / Prince Alegs
  • Amina Claudine Myers
  • William Parker's Jeanne Lee Project (Thomas Buckner / Ellen Christi / Jay Clayton / Lisa Sokolov / Rob Brown / Lewis Barnes / Joe Daley / Cooper-Moore / Gerald Cleaver / Henry Grimes)

So what better way to open the festival (after illness canceled Joseph Jarman's traditional opening invocation) than master of microtones Joe Maneri with his son and daughter-in-law, violinist Mat and dancer Christine Coppola and their longtime collaborator, drummer Randy Peterson. The three musicians played as one, tenor saxophone, electric viola and percussion in tight-sync improvisation Coppola opened with the two Maneris, adding a surprising energy to their slow, taut lines. When she left the stage, the elder Maneri took over the dance, slowly rocking in his chair, eyes closed, arms akimbo, whenever his reed left his lips.

Fred Anderson was one of the first out-of-towners to commit to the annual trip, usually appearing in a remarkable quartet with Kidd Jordan, William Parker and Hamid Drake. But this year the tenor twins were bifurcated (and Drake, touring Europe, not on the bill), so he brought along one of his Chicago compatriots, the great bassist Harrison Bankhead.

Chicago's AACM boasts many great players (specifically saxophonists) too little known outside their hometown, and Bankhead is one of the best. They played a beautiful duet of lyrical, fast-paced ballads, simmering but never boiling over.

With the Anderson/Jordan/Parker/Drake quartet out of commission this year, it was left to Parker, Joe McPhee, Roy Campbell and Warren Smith to rock the roof off the house. Other regulars also delivered pieces of what the festival has become known for. Davis S. Ware brought his firestorm groove. Kali Z. Fasteau told musical tales of world travels. Brotzmann and Graves went 0-60 in zero seconds, hitting hard and not backing down, Brotzmann blowing clarinet with enough force to make it sound for all the world like an alto sax. Matthew Shipp was in rare, free jazz mode, laying out with Parker, Daniel Carter and Gerald Cleaver, not relying on formalist, geometric structures but instead playing the sweet, hard stuff.

Guitarist Joe Morris has also been a recurring part of the festival, but this was the first year for Morris the bassist. When he started picking up the banjo a few years ago, he sounded very much like himself on banjo. His more recent upright bass playing has been that much more of a surprise as a result. Far from the fast lines he favors on the smaller strings, on bass Morris tends toward simple, heavy, repeated lines, sounding something like hislong time partner Parker. Whit Dickey led a set with Morris on bass, Brown on saxophone and Roy Campbell on trumpet. Like Dickey's recent recordings on Aum Fidelity and Riti, the set was a satisfying, cogent statement.

Although Jarman gave a scare when he missed the opening invocation, leaving Nicholson to lead the festival blessing, he was in fine form four nights later, dancing across the stage, playing sopranino, bells on his ankles. He went through a variety of settings withCooper-Moore providing percussive basslines and momentary blasts from a strung and heavily amplified table.Nicholson danced and sang, breathily invoking the "Vision for Peace" mantra that reverberated throughout the festival. "So much sadness and a few moments of unbounded joy," she sang, whispered and screamed as she spun across the stage. "Rise UP!" It was captivating enough that painter Jeff Schlanger, another Vision regular and self-proclaimed "Music Witness" was still, not painting a stroke.

Dalachinsky  Offutt
Steve Dalachinsky & Treva Offutt
[Photo by Kurt Gottschalk]
The festival occurs over Memorial Day weekend every year, and the final night appropriately serves as a memorial for a musician who died during the previous year. This year's closing night commemorated the vocalist Jeanne Lee, who died in October 2000. Poet Steve Dalachinksky read a long piece capturing her passion for life, with drummer Federico Ughi and the remarkable dancer/singer Treva Offutt. Lee's husband, reed player and vibraphonist Gunter Hampel, played a set of strong jazz complimented by poetry from their son Ruomi Lee Hampel and some rambunctious street dance by Prince Alegs.

Henry Grimes Brown
Henry Grimes & Rob Brown
[Photo by M.P. Landis]
Parker's Jeanne Lee Project, a 14-piece band with four vocalists,was similar to his Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. The long piece opened with cutely boppy four-part vocals that morphed into swirling vocalese and then into an extended solo by Grimes who, thanks to the attention of The New York Times and other local media, was responsible for packing the house. To say his playing is strong does not require the caveat "four months practice after 30 years of not playing." Grimes and second bassist Nick Rosen, along with four percussionists (Parker being among the latter) laid down an earthy groove, and the six horns swelled in shining fanfare. If there's anyone who can surf that sort of wave, it's Billy Bang, who rose with his violin from center stage and tore through the funk. It was pure Parker, grand and great Parker.



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