The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

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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The Squid's Ear
Squidco Sales

:  () Various Artists  visionfest visionlive  (Thirsty Ear) 

It's hard to believe that in the first seven years of what has become the summit meeting for New York free improv, only one year has been collected for commercial release (Aum Fidelity's double disc VISION ONE: Vision Festival 1997 Compiled. While individual sets occasionally have been released, this is the second collection culled from the annual Vision Festival, with 10 tracks recorded during the 2002 edition.

The set features some festival friends, including the reunion of Jemeel Moondoc's Muntu, which he formed in the early 1970s, and pieces by Billy Bang, Matthew Shipp and a segment of a stomping performance by the Fred Anderson/Kidd Jordan Quartet; tracks by some underdocumented greats, such as Dave Burrell in a duo with bassist Tyrone Brown and a Douglas Ewart group with Wadada Leo Smith, William Parker and Hamid Drake; and an appropriate dedication in the form of a 10-minute bass solo by Peter Kowald.

In other words, there are plenty of things to justify picking up this cd/dvd set. Beyond being an important document, it's a nice souvenir.

The Vision Festival is a labor of love (in no small part on behalf of dancer and festival organizer Patricia Nicholson), and it's the kind of love that's more akin to a home-cooked meal than a diamond necklace. So, as with the festival, we are implicitly asked to forgive certain things. The sound, while acceptable, is at times muffled and unbalanced, and some of the fades between tracks are disarmingly abrupt. And anyone at the fest would probably have some quibble or another with the track selection (though surely none would argue that the Anderson/Jordan dual sax quartet with the Parker/Drake rhythm section - who appear on a third of the tracks here - merited unedited release. Here it just breaks four minutes.) A more serious gripe arises with the duplication of all but one of the audio tracks on the accompanying dvd. Surely two discs with two discs worth of material could have been arranged.

Still, strong performances abound. Shipp's trio with Parker and Mat Maneri turn out a thick-but-singing version of "Speech of Form" (from 2001's Expansion, Power, Release, released on HatOLOGY); Muntu (with Parker, Drake and Roy Campbell) play a sweetly subdued version of Albert Ayler's "Truth is Marching In"; and Ellen Christi, accompanied by guitarist Rolf Strum, Parker and Drake, proves that pretty vocals and clean guitar aren't necessarily enemies of good jazz.

Beyond the duplication of tracks, the dvd holds other disappointments. While the videographers mercifully didn't flood the stage with lights or run around in front of the audience, the single camera shoot (supplemented by black-and-white stills and roving close-ups of Jeff Schlanger's real-time portraits of the performers) makes for a static viewing. And because of the wide angle shot with little light, they were forced to brighten the footage, causing a slightly grainy picture.

Furthermore, the video accentuates some unfortunate choices in material. The Burrell track includes too long a bass solo for an eight-minute track of the too-rarely-seen pianist. Burrell even gets up and walks offstage before the end of the track. And while it's nice to have Kowald preserved for posterity, his exceptional set with dance that year would have been a better choice for viewing.

But never mind all of that, because ardent followers of this heavily documented scene are insatiable, and of course the proof is in the pudding.



By Kurt Gottschalk



The Squid's Ear presents
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


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



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



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



Joe McPhee:
Nation Time
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)



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



Joelle Leandre /
Marc Ducret:
Chez Helene
(Ayler)



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



Metal Chaos Ensemble:
Syncretic Discipline
(Evil Clown)



Misha Mengelberg /
Peter Brotzmann /
Evan Parker /
Peter Bennink /
Paul Rutherford /
Derek Bailey /
Han Bennink :
Groupcomposing
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)



Mary Halvorson /
Bill Frisell:
The Maid With
The Flaxen Hair
(Tzadik)



Paul Rutherford /
Ken Vandermark /
Torsten Muller /
Dylan van der Schyff:
Are We In Diego?
(WhirrbooM!)



Jonathan Finlayson :
3 Times Round
(Pi Recordings)



Stop Motion Orchestra:
Lightworks
(Megaphone /
Knock 'Em Dead)



Stop Motion Orchestra:
Lightworks
[VINYL]
(Megaphone /
Knock 'Em Dead)



John Butcher /
Eddie Prevost:
Visionary Fantasies
(Matchless)



Christopher Fox
(w/ John Butcher /
Thomas Lehn /
Paul Lovens /
Axel Dorner):
Topophony
(Hat
[now] ART)



Brandon Seabrook Trio:
Convulsionaries
(Astral Spirits)



Brandon Seabrook Trio:
Convulsionaries
[CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD]
(Astral Spirits)



Hearts & Minds (Jason Stein /
Paul Giallorenzo /
Chad Taylor):
Electroradiance
(Astral Spirits)



Hearts & Minds (Jason Stein /
Paul Giallorenzo /
Chad Taylor):
Electroradiance
[CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD]
(Astral Spirits)







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