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Irene Schweizer / Joey Baron : Live! (Intakt)

Two generations and two masters of monumental free improvisation from Europe and New York joined together at the unerhort!-Festival Rote Fabrik Zurich in 2015 to unleash this technically awesome and ebullient and duo in a fantastic concert of dynamic power, lyrical insight, intense rhythmic support and counterpoint, and profound musical ideas; incredible! ... Click to View


Die Enttauschung (Axel Dorner / Michael Griener / Rudi Mahall / Jan Roder): Lavaman (Intakt)

The remarkable European Free Jazz quintet Die Enttauschung, crossing bop forms with modern creative approaches to jazz for over 20 years, take a new drummer--Michael Griener--and adds trombonist Christof Thewes, to join Rudi Mahall on clarinets, Axel Dorner on trumpet, and Jan Roder on bass, for an exciting and upbeat album of succint tunes that both revere and abuse jazz history in wonderful ways. ... Click to View


Trio Heinz Herbert (w/ Dominic Landolt / Ramon Landolt / Mario Haenni): The Willisau Concert (Live) (Intakt)

Textural improv of improbable grooves and tones driven by intense periods of interaction balanced with spatial sonic environments; adventurous and exuberant dialog caught live at the Jazzfestival Willisau, in Switzerland, 2016 from the trio of Dominic Landolt on guitar, Ramon Landolt on Hammond organ, synthesizer & samples and Mario Haenni on drums. ... Click to View


Aruan Ortiz : Cub(an)ism (Intakt)

Cuban pianist Aruan Ortiz explores a range of musical idioms and styles, drawing on experiences from many phases of Ortiz' life in Cuba, Spain, France and the US, exploring cubist principles, faceting, and multiple perspectives with folkloric elements, as he presents 10 original compositions of passionate and playful music, performed with virtuosic skill. ... Click to View


Aki Takase / Paul Ayumi : Hotel Zauberberg (Intakt)

Pianist Aki Takase and voilinist Ayumi Paul's 1st collaboration is an 18 movement suite for violin and piano blending composition and improvisation, with 11 movements from Takase and 5 written with Paul, plus Mozart's "K. 1 minuet in G major" and the Preludio movement from Bach's solo violin partita in E major; an absorbing set of recordings inspired by the writings of Thomas Mann. ... Click to View


Hans Hassler: Wie Die Zeit Hinter Mir Her (Intakt)

Swiss accordionist Hans Hassler stands above the (small) crowd of improvising accordionist in the breadth of his career, his ability to balance both lyrical, abstract, serious, and humorous aspects in his approach the instrument, a true original in intent and ability to engage his listeners, in 15 original and diverse compositions recorded in 2017. ... Click to View


Pan-Scan Ensemble: Air And Light And Time And Space (PNL)

"Pan-Scan" refers to pan-Scandinavian, and the nine players on this thrilling and joyful recordings are all of that origin, performing live at Blow Out in Mir, Oslo, Norway in 2016, including both Lotte Anker and Ann HOgberg on sax, Thomas Johansson, Emil Stranberg and Goran Kajfes on trumpet, Sten Sandell on piano, and Paal Nilssen-Love and Stale Liavik on drums. ... Click to View


Xavier Charles / Michel F Cote / Franz Hautzinger / Philippe Lauzier / Eric Normand: Torche! (Tour de Bras)

An exceptional free improvising quintet of Montreal & Quebec improvisers--bassist Eric Normand, drummer Michel F. Cote, and bass clarinetist Philippe Lauzier--with French clarinetist Xavier Charles and German trumpeter Franz Hautzinger, performing live during the 2016 Festival de Musique de Creation, creating fascinating commontion with incredible restraint. ... Click to View


Fraufraulein: Heavy Objects [CASSETTE] (Marginal Frequency)

The duo of Brooklyn electronics, field recording, bass guitar and french horn artists Billy Gomberg and Anne Guthrie, using musical and abstract sounds to create something between the concrete textures of field recording and spontaneous composition, presenting restrained yet detailed sound that engages the listener through transition and mystery. ... Click to View


Joda Clement / Mathieu Ruhlmann: Kindred (Marginal Frequency)

A unique cover of Brian Eno's "Taking Tiger Mountain" using synthesizer, field recordings, electromagnetic feedback, treatments, objects, oscillators, shruti box, reel to reel, ukelin, guitar, piano, clarinet, cello and voice, from Joda Clement and Mathieu Ruhlmann joined by Cristian Alvear, Gregory Moskos, Alexandra Spence, Tim Clement, Judith Hamann and A.F. Jones. ... Click to View


Mars Williams presents (w/ Berman / Lonberg-Holdm / Baker / Kessler / Sandstrom / Hunt): An Ayler Xmas: The Music of Albert Ayler & Songs of Christmas (Soul What Records)

Chicago saxophonist Mars Williams directs his Albert Ayler tribute band, Witches and Devils, to merge Ayler-esque compositions with Christmas songs, performed by Josh Berman (cornet) Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Jim Baker (keys, viola), Kent Kessler (bass), Brian Sandstrom (bass, guitar, trumpet); an unexpected and welcome present for your free jazz festivities! ... Click to View


Boneshaker (Mars Williams / Paal Nilssen-Love / Kent Kessler): Unusual Words (Soul What Records)

A CD intended to sell at concerts from Mars Williams' own Soul What Records label, a studio recording in 2012 from the powerhouse trio of Chicago multi-reedist Mars Williams, in-demand Norwegian drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love, and Chicago bassist Kent Kessler, running the gamut from furious blowing to introspective interaction. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp / Mary Halvorson / Marc Ribot: ERR Guitar (Intakt)

Elliott Sharp's New York Studio zOaR was the meeting place for three New York guitarists--Sharp himself, Mary Halvorson, and Marc Ribot--who find common ground by blending a variety of approaches to the instrument in 12 excellent and generally succinct collective improvisations, stretching, bending, plucking and inexplicably effecting their guitars. ... Click to View


John Cage: Klang der Wandlungen [3 CDs] (Edition Rz)

An impressive triple-CD box with recordings of some late works by John Cage, including "Seventy-Four for Orchestra, 1992", "103 for Orchestra, 1991, part 1 & 2", In a Landscape fur Harfe", "Postcard From Heaven fur Eine Bis Zwanzig Harfen", and some of "The Harmony of Maine"; including a 32 page booklet with photos and liner notes by Jakob Ullmann. ... Click to View


Jurg Frey: L'ame Est Sans Retenue I [5 CDs] (erstwhile)

A massive work from composer Jurg Frey focused on the dynamic relationship between sound and silence, and how it can affect our perception of the silence in a frame of space and time, using environmental sounds of field recordings and silence to create a massive work over six hours, modifying pitch, rhythm, dynamics, texture, and overtone, here properly released on 5 CDs. ... Click to View


Michael Pisaro / Samuel Dunscombe / Steven Andrew Flato / Wen Liu / Celeste Oram / Johannes Regnier: Organ For The Senses (Marginal Frequency)

San Diego's Parkeology director Kate Clark and composer Samuel Dunscombe organized this concert to take advantage of the Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ, inviting local and regional experimental composers to develop works for the 5,017 pipe instrument, attracting artists like Michael Pisaro, Samuel Dunscombe, Steven Andrew Flato, Wen Liu, &c. ... Click to View


Jon Irabagon / Joe Fiedler / Todd Neufeld: In Formation Network (Nuscope)

Saxophonist Jon Irabagon, trombonist Joe Fiedler, and guitarist Todd Neufeld met in April, 2017 in Mount Vernon at the Oktaven Audio studio to record these nine varied compositions, presenting a unifying trio sound and identity that reflects Chicago's Giuffre trio, but with a unique collective attitude as the trio employs a varied set of compositional strategies. ... Click to View


Joe McPhee: The Willisau Concert (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded in 1975 at the Swiss Willisau Jazz Festival, Joe McPhee's trio with John Synder on synth and Makaya Ntshoko on drums, and McPhee on tenor and sopranox sax, was Hat Hut's 2nd release and has been out of print since; Corbett vs. Dempsey asked McPhee what unavailable album he'd like to see in print, and this suberb album was his first choice. ... Click to View


Eugene Chadbourne : The Lost Eddie Chatterbox Session [2017 REISSUE] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Reissuing free improvising guitarist Eugene Chadbourne's 1977, San Francisco recording of compositions by the likes of Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Ornette Coleman, plus a few standards and originals, captured on an ailing quarter-track tape deck, but saved for the force of his playing, here restored, corrected, and remastered. ... Click to View


Sun Ra: Discipline 27-II [2017 REMASTER] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

The 2nd volume in Sun Ra's "Discipline" series was recorded during the same sessions as 1972's Impulse release "Space Is the Place", with Sun Ra on electronic keyboards and Moog, and a large band including Marshall Allen, John Gilmore, Danny Davis, Akh Tal Ebah, June Tyson, &c. ... Click to View


Leap of Faith Orchestra: The Expanding Universe (Evil Clown)

The Leap of Faith Orchestra is a large improvisation ensemble comprised of 5 ub-units--Leap of Faith, Metal Chaos Ensemble, String Theory, Turbulence, and the New Language Collaborative--all assembled here for a massive and far-ranging experience, scored with time indices and English language descriptions by leader David Peck; dense and spectacular. ... Click to View


Lisbon String Trio with Luiz Rocha: Akuanduba (Creative Sources)

The 4th collaboration for Portugal's Lisbon String Trio of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Miguel Mira on cello, and Alvaro Rosso on double bass, with Brazilian clarinetist based in Barcelona Luiz Rocha, all captured live at Casa dos Bicos, Fundacao Jose Saramago, in Lisbon in 2017 for free improvisation that maintains a calm center amidst seething and commanding playing. ... Click to View


Lisbon String Trio with Etienne Brunet: Telepathie (Creative Sources)

Portugal's Lisbon String Trio with Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Miguel Mira on cello, and Alvaro Rosso on double bass, in a series of releases adding one additional improviser, here joined by Etienne Brunet on soprano saxophone, for two extended improvisations of active counterpoint and beautiful open sections, an excellent and rousing collaboration. ... Click to View


Un Coup de Des (Barriere / Sainz): Volcan Evaporado (Creative Sources)

Two women in a duo of voice and amplified objects, Lali Barrier using a variety of devices that are clearly micro-amplifed and mixed in performance, as Marta Sainz intones vocal sounds, never speaking but creating innuendo and drama at a cautious pace, allowing Barrier's objects to interact, creating an unusual sonic environment of unpredictable and interesting discourse. ... Click to View


Steve Roden : Between Yellow And White On One Side. Between Blue And Black On The Other (Banned Productions)

Part of a trilogy of cassette-related works that began with a piece sound artist Steve Roden created for an online exhibition for ICA London in early 2012, these two works were composed from 1983-84 recordings Roden made in his bedroom, recorded at double speed and here playing at half speed, half in reverse, which were organized into these two compositions. ... Click to View


Kullhammar, Aalberg Zetterber & Santos Silva: Basement Sessions Vol.4 (The Bali Tapes) (Clean Feed)

The 4th volumes of this remarkable set of "basement sessions" from the Swedish trio of Espen Aalberg on drums & percussion, Jonas Kullhammar on saxophone & flute, and Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass, joined by Susana Santos Silva on trumpet, for a beautiful album of free hard bop, encompassing spiritual and ritual aspects of gamelan music in a unique and wonderful album. ... Click to View


Imaginary Numbers (McPhee / Niggenkemper / Solberg): Imaginary Numbers (Clean Feed)

Playing both pocket trumpet and tenor sax, Joe McPhee joins German/French/NY bassist Pascal Niggenkemper, and Norwegian drummer Stale Liavik Solberg, for an authoritative and bold album of collective free improv, three extended conversations that center on "A Supreme Love (For John Coltrane)", pointing to the history and sympathies of these impressive musicians. ... Click to View


Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity : Live in Europe [3 CDs] (Clean Feed)

Three complete 2016 concerts at North Sea Jazz Festival, Ljubljana Jazz Festival and Oslo Jazz Festiva, and 3 CDs to present them, from drummer Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity, a superb free/post-bop group with a core of Nilssen, bassist Petter Eldh, and saxophonist Andre Roligheten, featuring 3 saxophonists: Fredrik Ljungkvis, Kristoffer Berre Alberts, and Jorgen Mathisen. ... Click to View


Tree Ear (Strinning / Troller / Hemingway): Witches Butter (Clean Feed)

After percussionist and composer Gerry Hemingway migrated to Luzern, Switzerland he joined forces with the creative improvising community in that city, in particular with guitarist Manuel Troller and saxophonist and bass clarinetist Sebastian Strinning, the trio taking the name Tree Ear, blending free and idiomatic improv in bold, uncommon and spellbinding ways. ... Click to View


Eve Risser / Kaja Draksler: To Pianos (Clean Feed)

Two pianists dedicate to their instruments at the Gallus Hall of Cankarjev Dom during the 57th Jazz Festival Ljubljana: Paris-based pianist Eve Risser (Umlaut, En-Corps, &c) and Slovenian pianist Kaja Draskler (I/O, Draskler Octet, &c.), to record these inventive duos, weaving their keys together or working inside and out of the piano in incredible sonic approaches. ... Click to View


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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)


  Knit One, Pearl Zero  

It's difficult to count how many times we've said goodbye to the Knitting Factory: when they left their Houston Street hole for tony Tribeca, when John Zorn broke all ties with the club and label, when they were threatened with bankruptcy. No doubt there's someone out there who maintains it was all over when they first got a liquor license.

But when Michael Dorf, whose financial dealings and commitment to the music have often been questioned, announced that the club had been sold earlier this year, it seemed undeniably the end of an era.

Big ups to Village Voice writer Ted Hendrickson, then, who got KnitMedia President Jared Hoffman to put his mouth where his money is. "The problem was that the cutting-edge genres that made the Knitting Factory what it was in the early years continued to be a focus," Hendrickson is quoted as saying in the May 7-13, 2003 issue. "And the cutting edge always changes. Selling tickets is not a measure of how well you're doing. It's whether the people who buy the tickets come in the door and drink."

It's not a new modus operandi for the Knit. Another musician, who has been playing at the Knit since the Houston Street days, reports that records of bar receipts have long been kept with artists' names. Musicians who bring in the drinkers got the most bookings. It's disheartening, but it's business.

Regardless of the reasons, changes in booking policies have been plainly apparent at the Knit. And while it's not entirely a rock club (a recent night featured Tim Berne's Big Satan in the Old Office and Gary Lucas playing in the larger, remodeled Tap Bar), the artists who were featured on the old Live at the Knitting Factory cds aren't likely to be found on Leonard Street often, if at all.

Which is only a sign of changing times, not the end of time itself, unless you're reading the New York Press, the neoconservative free weekly response to the Voice. In an article headlined "Too Many Solos: New York Jazz - purists vs. tourists." Tim Marchman opined ridiculous about jazz players, venues and audiences in New York City, seeming to believe that the only viable place left for jazz musicians to turn is Wynton Marsalis' Jazz at Lincoln Center, and (rightly) criticizing the program's booking policies. "What does it mean for audiences when a quarter of the spots in the most influential jazz series are held for people who started recording in the 1950s, and another half are held for [tributes to] the dead?"

Setting aside potential debates about what performers are deserving, and what "jazz" is anyway, we still take exception with Mr. Marchman's depiction of a typical night out on the town.

"Go into any club where jazz is played and you'll likely find yourself surrounded by people who are nostalgic for something they've never known," Marchman writes. "They applaud after every solo, and how a group reacts to such a crowd tells a lot about them. Some get discouraged and lock themselves into head-solos-head, letting even the drummer take his chorus every song of every set; some batter out purposefully clattering notes, sneering that no one notices; some do what they wish and just play, somewhat deadened. None of them, no matter what they do, can much affect their situation. They've been turned into living museum exhibitions, like the women who churn butter in preservationist towns in central Pennsylvania."

Marchman doesn't refer to any venues other than Lincoln Center in the piece, but we feel certain he didn't ask anyone we know where to go to hear some live jazz. While we won't deny that things could be better - things could always be better, for working musicians - we do have some suggestions for Marchman, and will even extend an invitation for a night on the town.

It's hard to guess where he might have been looking if he missed the Jazz Gallery, the Jazz Standard and Up Over Jazz Cafe. But while we're out, we'd certainly also swing by Tonic, which celebrates its fifth anniversary this summer. The Brecht Forum has been running it's monthly Neues Kabarett series for going on five years as well, and CBGBs Lounge on Sunday nights continues to be the best deal in town. The Village Vanguard, Sweet Rhythm and Makor all have their nights.Issue Project Room is a new East Village gallery that started a promising music series with performances by Anthony Coleman and Marc Ribot. Location One, Pen and Brush and Three Jewels Cafe are also spaces that serve functions other than being a performance venue, but host adventurous jazz and improvised music.

And who knows? Maybe there'll even be something going on at the Knit.



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reviews about releases
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written by
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


John Cage:
Klang der Wandlungen
[3 CDs]
(Edition Rz)



Leap of
Faith Orchestra:
The Expanding
Universe
(Evil Clown)



Elliott Sharp /
Mary Halvorson /
Marc Ribot:
ERR Guitar
(Intakt)



Mars Williams presents
(w/ Berman /
Lonberg-Holdm /
Baker /
Kessler /
Sandstrom /
Hunt):
An Ayler Xmas:
The Music of
Albert Ayler &
Songs of Christmas
(Soul What Records)



Tree Ear
(Strinning /
Troller /
Hemingway):
Witches Butter
(Clean Feed)



Gard Nilssen's
Acoustic Unity :
Live in Europe
[3 CDs]
(Clean Feed)



Eve Risser /
Kaja Draksler:
To Pianos
(Clean Feed)



Kullhammar, Aalberg Zetterber
& Santos Silva:
Basement Session
Vol.4
(The Bali Tapes)
(Clean Feed)



Imaginary Numbers
(McPhee /
Niggenkemper /
Solberg):
Imaginary Numbers
(Clean Feed)



Joao Camoes /
Jean-Luc Cappozzo /
Jean-Marc Foussat:
Autres Paysages
(Clean Feed)



Steve Swell
(w/ Brown /
Hwang /
Ulrich /
Boston /
Pugliese):
Music for
Six Musicians:
Hommage a
Olivier Messiaen
(Silkheart)



Schlippenbach Trio
(Schlippenbach /
Evan Parker /
Lovens):
Warsaw Concert
(Intakt)



Spontaneous Music
Ensemble:
Karyobin
(1968)
[2017 REISSUE]
(Emanem)



Musicianer
(Sinton /
Ajemian /
Taylor):
Slow Learner
(Iluso)



Sista Maj:
Series Of
Nested Universes
[2 CDs]
(Space Rock Productions )



Leap of
Faith Orchestra:
Supernovae
(Evil Clown)



Hollis Taylor:
Absolute Bird
[2 CDs]
(ReR Megacorp)



Matthew Lux's
Communication Arts Quartet:
Contra/Fact
[CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD CODE]
(Astral Spirits)



Tomas Fujiwara :
Triple Double
(Firehouse 12 Records)



Mary Halvorson:
Away With You
[VINYL 2 LPs]
(Firehouse 12 Records)







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