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Two essential Downtown New York improvisers--guitarist Mary Halvorson and trumpeter Ron Miles--are joined by drummer Greg Saunier of Deerhoof in response to Nate Wooley's request that the three expand the American Songbook in astouding instrumental versions of music by Fiona Apple, Elliott Smith, The Partridge Family, John Williams, James P. Johnson, &c. ... Click to View


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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)

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

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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


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  Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda 
  Duet  
  (Long Song) 


  
   review by Darren Bergstein
  2017-03-07
Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda: Duet (Long Song)

The cover of this disc depicts what appears to be the flames of a setting sun igniting a band of cumulus clouds. The music itself is being experienced by your humble reviewer on a wet, chilly, alabaster evening in early February, and as both Satoko Fujii's piano and Joe Fonda's bass erupt out of the stereo field, such illustrated contrasts become apparent, literal, and livid.

Let's note the pedigree of these players at the outset. Pianist Fujii has developed a reputation over the years, deservedly so, as one of improv's leading lights, a clever and savvy performer of her chosen instrument who manages to combine the dexterity of Monk, the naked abstraction of Cecil Taylor, and the impressionistic flights of fancy so beloved of Paul Bley (for whom the lengthy opening piece is named, Bley being Fujii's mentor) into a commandeering whole that is far more than the sum of its parts. Virtuoso bassist Fonda has performed with a number of jazz luminaries, most recently with Barry Altschul; his fingerstrokes are nothing less than volcanic, bespoken with a unique percussive attack repurposing the grandeur of Miroslav Vitous and Eberhard Weber in one mighty package. The two came together, having never met, let alone ever performed together, before, in a fortuitous happenstance, recorded in a church in Portland, Maine in 2015, that resulted in the works documented here.

Fonda breaks through the sonic membrane on "Paul Bley" first, his huge, earthy sound working below Fujii's first tentative upper register flutters like a bubbling magma displacement. But soon Fujii's cluster tones tickle across the soundstage in a cascading run of thrusting keyboard stabs, velvety trills, and more brazen fisticuffs. All the while Fonda's formidable thunder bellows underneath, providing a fully articulated stream of notes that Fujii responds to with a near telepathic sense of tonal synergy. Fujii's husband and frequent sparring partner, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura provides some beautifully languid accompaniment on the second shorter excursion, "JSN", adding his usual mercurial vibe to an already heady brew. The very nature of the recording itself is practically a corresponding third instrumental element: live, this performance was undoubtedly captivating to behold, but on CD, the production and sound is absolutely electrifying.

Fujii's work can sometimes recall a contemporary such as Vijay Iyer, but her unbridled energy and never-ending flow of ideas remains far more texturally inviting and aurally stimulating. She's a force of nature, one to be reckoned with, which positions Duet as one of the most vital discs of its type you'll hear this year.



Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda: Duet
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