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Myra Melford Trio: Alive In The House Of Saints CD 2 (Hatology)

The much-anticipated 2nd volume in pianist Myra Melford's series of live performances, "Alive In The House Of Saints" with bassist Lindsey Horner and Reggie Nicholson, documenting sublimely beautiful and innovative playing with her trio of Lindsey Horner on bass and jaxx legend Reggie Nicholson on drums, performing live in two concerts in Germany in 1993. ... Click to View


Michael Adkins Quartet (w/ Russ Lossing / Larry Grenadier / Paul Motion): Flaneur (Hatology)

Much is made of Canadian saxophonist Michael Adkin's mid-tempo approach to jazz, heard here in his 3rd album, "Flaneur", which translates to "stroller" or "saunterer", an apt description of the lyrical, unhurried yet technically adept and sophisticated approach taken by his quartet with Russ Lossing on piano, Larry Grenadier on bass and Paul Motian on drums. ... Click to View


Samuel Blaser Trio (w/ Marc Ducret / Peter Bruun): Taktlos Zurich 2017 (Hatology)

With a history of work in Switzerland, NY and Berlin, trombonist Samuel Blaser brings his multi-national trio with avant improvising guitarist Marc Ducret and Dutch drummer Peter Bruun to the stage of the Taktlos Festival in Zurich, Switzerland in 2017 for a set of extended improvisations, all three players displaying a unique language of incisive and fascinating free jazz. ... Click to View


Markus Eichenberger / Daniel Studer: Suspended (Hatology)

Swiss compatriots with a long history of creative approaches to improvisation, double bassist Daniel Studer and clarinetist & bass clarinetist Markus Eichenberger join together for a studio album recorded at Radio Zurich in 2016, an album of furtive tension and suspense, each track named for a motion or subtle action that they carefully describe. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / William Parker / Federico Ughi: The Dream [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

This album was developed to present Daniel Carter, typically a wind/reed/trumpeter player, on an album that included his piano playing, which then advanced by adding the goal of both Carter and long-time collaborator, drummer Federico Ughi, to record with bassist William Parker, who rounds out this excellent trio on bass, tuba and shakuhachi. ... Click to View


Sabir Mateen (w/ Steve Swell / Matt Lavelle / Matthew Heyner / Michael Thompson): Prophecies Come To Pass [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

Saxophonist Sabir Mateen's NY based Shapes, Textures, and Sound Ensemble with Steve Swell on trombone, Matt Lavelle on trumpet, Matthew Heyner on bass and Michael T..A. Thompson on drums, runs though a gamut of post-bop and collective, creative jazz forms with energy, incredible dexterity, and tremendous group interplay, a great example of the modern spirit of jazz. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Demian Richardson / Matthew Putman / David Moss / Federico Ughi: The Gowanus Recordings [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A unique collective jazz album drawing on science and math in 5 improvised works from the New York quintet of Daniel Carter on alto & tenor sax, clarinet and trumpet, Demian Richardson on trumpet, Matthew Putman on piano, Dave Moss on upright bass, and Federico Ughi on drums, in a limited edition LP with a download code; superlative playing in rich layers of interaction. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Federico Ughi: Extra Room [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

For more than 15 years multi-reedist, wind and trumpet player Daniel Carter and drummer Federico Ughi have collaborated in live performance and on record, here showing the results of their work in this duo album, the vinyl edition of their exceptional 2013 CD release that shows their melodic and technical sides, their jazz roots and their warm camaraderie. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Patrick Holmes / Matthew Putman / Hilliard Greene / Federico Ughi: Telepathic Alliances [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

Recording in Brooklyn, the quintet of Daniel Carter on alto, soprano & tenor saxophones, Patrick Holmes on clarinet, Matthew Putman on piano, Hilliard Greene on bass, and Federico Ughi on drums bring together players of a very different backgrounds who share a nearly telepathic level of communication through free improv, in an album graced with Carter's poetry. ... Click to View


Donald McKenzie II Sturge Anthony (w/ Nels Cline, Arnold Lee, Melvin Gibbs, David Hofstra, Vernon Reid, CX Kidtronik): Silenced [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A six track album from drummer Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II written about the abuse of force from those charge to protect us, in a serie of duos with amazing performances from guitarist Nels Cline, saxophonist Arnold Lee, bassist Melvin Gibbs, bassist Dave Hofstra, guitarist Vernon Reid, and drummer/keyboardist CX KIDTRONIX; disturbing and important work. ... Click to View


Federico Ughi (Ughi / Irwin / Snyder / Adu / Swanson): Heart Talk [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (577)

New York drummer Federico Ughi in a band with long time collaborator David Schnug on sax, Mike Irwin on trumpet, and Jeff Snyder on electronics, more of a creative jazz album than electric, with Leila Adu on vocals and Zach Swanson on bass on 2 tracks each; informed, intelligent and lyrical free improvisation from a tight-knit group of superb players. ... Click to View


Gabriele Meirano / Xu Fengxia: New Vintage Sessions [CDr + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A collaboration between the China based Italian pianist Gabriele Meirano and the Berlin based Chinese musician Xu Fengxia, a pioneer in combining Chinese music with improvisation, who first played together when Peter Brotzmann invited them to join him in a trio concert at the Shanghai Art Center in 2011, in a duo that fuses Far East sounds and the blues. ... Click to View


Grant Weston Calvin / Lucas Brode: Flying Kites [CD + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A powerful recording that features heavy, intricate and deep grooves from Philadelphia Grant Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman's Prime Time) on drums, percussion and synths and Lucas Brode on guitars, effects and loops, a great album of creative improvisation that blends fusion-oriented playing balanced with modern sound collage and atmospheric moments. ... Click to View


Gabriele Meirano / Federico Ughi: Coordinate Orientali [CD + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A duo between two Italian born improvisers--New York based drummer and 577 Label leader Federico Ughi, and pianist Gabriele Meirano, active in the London jazz club scene for more than a decade--for an album of insightful free jazz in a dialog that shows both thoughtful and challenging moments in an open-minded, ultimately lyrical conversation between two like-minded players. ... Click to View


Nick Mazzarella / Tomeka Reid: Signaling (NESSA)

A fully and freely improvised duo from Chicago artists Nick Mazzarella on alto saxophone and Tomeka Reid on cello, using flowing and long lyrical lines with an unhurried sense of depth and richness even in the most complicated of runs, and playful inventiveness throughout, opening the album with a tribute to the duo work of Julius Hemphill and Abdul Wadud. ... Click to View


Amy Denio: The Big Embrace (Spoot)

Her 10th solo album is a welcome addition to composer, singer, and multi-instrumentalist Amy Denio's catalog, introducing 16 new songs, instrumental works, and general quirky superlative work that looks at life with a sharply optimistic eye and a joyful melody in her heart, taking delight in the banal and focusing criticism on the inane; wonderful! ... Click to View


David Myers Lee: Ether Music (Starkland)

Best known for his work under the name Arcane Device in the 80s and 90s, New York sound artist David Lee Myers carves a unique path in electronic and what he refers to as "feedback music", developing unique approaches and instruments to generate distinctive forms of electronic music, here in a 10 track album of stunningly beautiful and mysterious sound. ... Click to View


Sainct Laurens (Pierre-Yves Martel / Philippe Lauzier): Volume 2 [VINYL] (Etrons)

Using circular breathing and continuous sound, the Montreal duo of clarinetist and saxophonist Philippe Lauzier and Pierre-Yves Martel on viola da gamba, objects, feedback is a concentrative album of understated but definitive sound that develops with a profound level of precision and control, using suspense, tension, release and confidence in each other's unusual dialog. ... Click to View


Pierre Labbe : parlures et parjures (Malasartes)

Montreal multi-wind instrumentalist Pierre Labbe (Les Projectionnistes, L'Orkestre des Pas Perdus, Papa Boa) leads an insanely talented and quirky quartet with guitarist Bernard Falaise, drummer Pierre Tanguay, and narrator/storyteller Michel Faubert, creating a captivating album that transcends language in it's superb pacing, development, and artistry. ... Click to View


Cordame: Satie Variations (Malasartes)

Montreal's six-piece Cordame and composer Jean Felix Mailloux arrange and interprets 18th century composer Erik Satie's work "17 Variations" in celebration of his 150th birthday, adding a lilting swing and beautiful features allowing the orchestration of piano, harp, violin, cello, double bass, and percussion to improvise over these enduring melodies. ... Click to View


Hubert Zemler : Pupation of Dissonance (Bolt)

Hubert Zemler is a classically educated percussionist who works with symphony orchestras and improv, here performing 3 works, his own 4-part "Pupation of Dissonance", revealing an incredible knowledge and exultation in approaches to solo percussion, alongside Steve Reich's "Music for Pieces of Wood" and Per Norgard's study in drifting pulses and overlapping accents, "Waves". ... Click to View


Lisbon String Trio with Karoline Leblanc: Liames (Creative Sources)

One of five live collaborations with The Lisbon String Trio of violist Ernesto Rodrigues, cellist Miguel Mira, and bassist Alvaro Rosso, Quebec pianist Karoline Leblanc accompanying on the piano as the 4th string in this open-minded equation of slowly intersecting improvisation creating an unusual tapestry of sound that ebbs and flows in exceptional ways. ... Click to View


Autochthon: A (Creative Sources)

Autochthon refers to indigenous language or people, tied to their land; here the trio of Hartmut Osswald (reeds & things), Stefan Scheib (prepared double bass) and Wolfgang Schliemann (drums and objects) perform a native language of their own through improvisation in this interesting concert at Freejazz Festiva in, Saarbrucken, Germany in 2016. ... Click to View


Henry Cow: Vol. 4 & 5: Trondheim (Recommended Records)

Perhaps the most exceptional of the "road' albums from the Henry Cow Box Set, this 1976 Trondheim concert found the band missing bassist John Greaves and singer Dagmar Krauss, so instead of their set list they shut off the lights and gave the audience pure improvisation using EA and concrete approaches, heard in spectacular detail in Bob Drake' remaster. ... Click to View


Tandaapushi: Borromean Rings (JVTLANDT)

The second album from this Norwegian electric improvising power trio, using dark rhythmic grooves over which guitar, electric piano, amplified objects, no-input mixing board, and pianet emerge, creating hypnotic states that lead to exultant moments through sinuous melody, building and releasing intensity while maintaining a consistent gauzy undertone. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (w/ Matthew Shipp / William Parker): The Art Of Perelman-Shipp Volume 1 Titan (Leo)

For more than 20 years Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and New York pianist Matthew Shipp have collaborated in a diverse set of projects that have led to more than 30 albums; this first volume of 6 albums brings the two together with frequent collaborator William Parker for a 6 part work, fittingly dedicated to Saturn's largest moon, "Titan". ... Click to View


Rob Mazurek: Chimeric Stoned Horn [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD + 3D GLASSES] (Astral Spirits)

The 2nd part of Chicago trumpeter Rob Mazurek's Astral Spirits series that started with "Vortice of the Faun", Mazurek performing on piccolo trumpet, electronics, voice, and percussion in a detailed journey, released alongside Mazurek's art opening "Constellation Scores" at URDLA, the cover showing two 3-D prints and the package comes with glasses to view them. ... Click to View


Ab Baars & Terrie Ex: Shifting Sands (Terp Records)

Dutch saxophonist Ab Baars and guitarist Terrie Ex last recorded together in 2000 for their "Hef" album, reuniting in 2015 in Amsterdam for this well-rounded and exhilarating duo album, with Ex on electric guitar and Baars on tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet and shakuhachi, demonstrating both player's growth and continued joy in improvisation. ... Click to View


Ab Baars & Terrie Ex: Shifting Sands [VINYL] (Terp Records)

Dutch saxophonist Ab Baars and guitarist Terrie Ex last recorded together in 2000 for their "Hef" album, reuniting in 2015 in Amsterdam for this well-rounded and exhilarating duo album, with Ex on electric guitar and Baars on tenor and soprano saxophones, clarinet and shakuhachi, demonstrating both player's growth and continued joy in improvisation. ... Click to View


Thanos Chrysakis : Equinox (Aural Terrains)

A remarkable album of electronic composition from sound experimenter and improviser Thanos Chrysakis, ten stunning compositions that explore a diverse set of tones across a broad spectrum of rich deep timbre and beautiful high frequency ringing, bell-tones at times taking the focus, at others providing a rotating basis for ethereal experiments; sophisticated and engaging! ... Click to View


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The Squid's Ear
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:  () 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



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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Myra Melford Trio:
Alive In
The House Of
Saints CD 2
(Hatology)



Gabriele Meirano /
Federico Ughi:
Coordinate Orientali
[CD + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



Daniel Carter /
William Parker /
Federico Ughi:
The Dream
[VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



Sabir Mateen
w/ Steve Swell /
Matt Lavelle /
Matthew Heyner /
Michael Thompson):
Prophecies Come To Pass
[VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



Donald McKenzie II Sturge Anthony
(w/ Nels Cline,
Arnold Lee,
Melvin Gibbs,
David Hofstra,
Vernon Reid,
CX Kidtronik):
Silenced
[CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD]
(577)



Sainct Laurens
Pierre-Yves Martel /
Philippe Lauzier):
Volume 2
[VINYL]
(Etrons)



Henry Cow:
Vol. 4 & 5:
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Nick Mazzarella /
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David Myers Lee:
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Amy Denio:
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