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Nate Wooley: Battle Pieces 4 (Relative Pitch)

"Battle Pieces" uses trumpeter Nate Wooley's "social music" system, where each piece is constructed for a soloist who improvises with no score while the remaining player choose at will from over 75 compositions over which the soloist must find their path; here at Roulette in NYC with Nate Wooley, Sylvie Courvoisier, Ingrid Laubrock, & Matt Moran. ... Click to View


Masahiko Satoh / Otomo Yoshihide / Roger Turner: Sea (Relative Pitch)

After their Doubtmusic CD "Live at Hall Egg Farm", capturing the trio of Masahiko Satoh on piano, Otomo Yoshihide on electric guitar & whistle, and Roger Turner on drums & percussion in Fukaya City, this new chapter in the trio's activities finds them live at Shinjuku Pit Inn, in Tokyo the following year, for two energetically active and captivating conversations. ... Click to View


Ramon Lopez / Mark Feldman: Trappist-1 (Relative Pitch)

NY violinist Mark Feldman, an intensely active musician in improvisation and contemporary composition, and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez, active with an impressive list of jazz masters including Barry Guy and The Turbine!, join together in the studio for the seven-part improvisation "Trappist-1", a virtuosic intertwining from introspective to exuberantly energetic. ... Click to View


Fred Van Hove: At 80 [3 CDs / 80 page book] (Dropa Disc)

Celebrating the 80th birthday of pioneering Belgian pianist Fred Van Hove, a member of Machine Gun and a frequent partner of Peter Brotzmann and Han Bennink, in a hardbound book of photos and essay, with 3 CDs: the 1st a trio with Evan Parker and Hamid Drake at deSingel in Antwerp; the 2nd a solo piano concert at NONA; and the 3rd a solo organ at BOZAR; magnificent. ... Click to View


Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda: Four (Long Song Records)

Their aptly titled "Fourth" album since they first performed together in 2015, Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and NY bassist and flutist Joe Fonda have toured and developed an intuitive, almost telepathic, relationship--naturally melodic, intelligent yet emotional-- heard here in two concerts in Japan, with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura joining as a guest on two pieces. ... Click to View


Colin Fisher Quartet: Living Midnight [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Toronto on area saxophonist Colin Fisher, best known for his group I Have Eaten The City, with his collective quartet of NY players Daniel Carter on tenor, alto & soprano saxophones + clarinet & flute, Brandon Lopez on upright bass, and Marc Edwards on drums & percussion, for three extended and exploratory improvisations of exemplary creative insight. ... Click to View


Colin Fisher Quartet: Living Midnight (Astral Spirits)

Toronto on area saxophonist Colin Fisher, best known for his group I Have Eaten The City, with his collective quartet of NY players Daniel Carter on tenor, alto & soprano saxophones + clarinet & flute, Brandon Lopez on upright bass, and Marc Edwards on drums & percussion, for three extended and exploratory improvisations of exemplary creative insight. ... Click to View


Michael Attias : Echos La Nuit (Out Of Your Head Records)

A beautiful solo set of 12 improvisations, Michael Attias performing on alto sax with his left hand and piano with his right, captured in the natural reverberation of La Maison en Bois in Abeville-La-Riviere, France; surprisingly his 1st solo album, developed over 12 years yet played in under an hour with no retakes, a wonderful nuanced reflection in tone, melody & color. ... Click to View


Nick Dunston: Atlantic Extraction (Out Of Your Head Records)

Brooklyn-based composer, bassist, and writer Nick Dunston in his debut album, blending jazz, contemporary, chamber and avant forms, in a uniquely voiced quintet with Louna Dekker on Vargas on flutes & piccolo, Ledah Finck on violin & viola, Tal Yahalom on guitar, and Stephen Boegehold on drums, in a sophisticated album of concisely fascinating compositions. ... Click to View


Sound of the Mountain w/ Tetuzi Akiyama / Toshimaru Nakamura: amplified clarinet and trumpet, guitars, nimb (Mystery & Wonder)

Sound of the Mountain is an independent label led by Montreal area improvisers Elizabeth Millar (clarinet) and Craig Pedersen (trumpet), who traveled to Tokyo in 2017 for several concerts and this spectacular and unique recording session at GOK studio in Kichijoji with ea-improvisers Tetuzi Akiyama (guitar) and Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board). ... Click to View


Metal Chaos Ensemble: Proteus IV (Evil Clown)

The Boston-are duo of reedist PEK and percussionsit Yuri Zbitnov cover a wide range of sonorities, always with the presence of Gongs, chimes, glockenspiel, Tibetan Bowls and many other metallic sounds and the horns of PEK, here in a sci-fi epic, with Eric Woods on modular synth and Englephone, Mike Gruen on bass, and Joel Simches with real-time signal processing. ... Click to View


Frank Rosaly (w/ Blonk / Boye / Farha / Pfiffner / Bishop / Broste / McBride / Diaz / Fernandez / Guerra / Rodriguez): Todos de Pie! (Kontrans)

Examining the music of Puerto Rico through a very personal relationship, drummer Frank Rosaly assembled a group of percussionists along with trombonists Jeb Bishop & Nick Broste, bassist Nate McBride, pianist Ben Boye wind player Cameron Pfiffner, and Dutch avant-free vocalist Jaap Blonk, all using electronics and voice as they push the boundary of genre and concept. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp / Sergio Sorrentino: Spilla' (Ants)

'Spilla' means 'to play' in the language of Neapolitan musicians, and playing here are NY guitarist and composer Elliott Sharp and Italian guitarist Sergio Sorrentino, presenting world premier recordings of 4 works recorded live in Vercelli, Italy, two improvisations and two graphic scores performed on electric guitar with incredible technique and passion. ... Click to View


Werner Durand : Schwingende Luftsaulen 2 (Ants)

A beautifully hypnotic album of saxophone, accompanied by Pan-Ney, Shruti Box and Organ, recorded in overdubs by composer/wind player Werner Durand in this 2nd chapter of his trilogy focused on the Pan-Ney, a self-built instrument for repetitive foundations, as Durand draws on elements of nature, mythology, dance, religion, literature and folklore. ... Click to View


Jessica Pavone String Ensemble: Brick and Mortar (Birdwatcher Records)

After six years of composing primarily for solo viola, NY violist and violinist Jessica Pavone formed the J. Pavone String Ensemble as an extension of the sonic discoveries of her solo music, exploring tactile experience that expand on the themes of her solo work while also integrating a deeper understanding of the effects sound has on the listener. ... Click to View


Aurora Nealand / Steve Marquette / Anton Hatwich / Paul Thibodeaux: Kobra Quartet [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Quietly lurking as it prepares to attack, this Kobra is the free improvising quaret of Aurora Nealand on accordion, alto saxophone, voice & objects, Steve Marquette on acoustic & electric guitars, Anton Hatwich on bass, and Paul Thibodeaux on drums, captured live at Chicago's Hungry Brain during the Instigation Festival for a mysterious 2-part "New Omens" and some "Telly Attire". ... Click to View


Koenjihyakkei: Angherr Shisspa Revisited (Skin Graft)

A new edition of Koenjihyakkei's landmark fourth album, blending progressive rock, jazz fusion, symphonic rock and neoclassicism with the energy of hardcore punk, the volume of metal and the attitude of rock in opposition, from Tatsuya Yoshida on drums, Sakamoto Kengo on bass, Kanazawa Miyako on keyboards Yamamoto Kyoko on voice, and Komori Keiko on reeds. ... Click to View


Koenjihyakkei: Angherr Shisspa Revisited [VINYL] (Skin Graft)

A new edition of Koenjihyakkei's landmark fourth album, blending progressive rock, jazz fusion, symphonic rock and neoclassicism with the energy of hardcore punk, the volume of metal and the attitude of rock in opposition, from Tatsuya Yoshida on drums, Sakamoto Kengo on bass, Kanazawa Miyako on keyboards Yamamoto Kyoko on voice, and Komori Keiko on reeds. ... Click to View


String Theory: 3 of 9 Dimensions (Evil Clown)

String Theory is an extended string section of the Leap of Faith Orchestra, with David Peck (PEK) on reeds, Glynis Lomon on cello, and in this performance at Outpost 186 in Cambridge, MA, joined by violinist Elinor Speirs and pianist Eric Zinman, the latter also playing inside the piano with mallets, while Peck and Glynis add cymbals and wood & metal instruments. ... Click to View


PEK Solo: Closed & Open Universes [2 CDS] (Evil Clown)

Evil Clown mastermind David Peck (PEK) in a double album of solo work, first solo, then in a long work accompanied by his own prepared mixes, using clarinets, saxophones, English horn, goat horn, tarota, bamboo, Chistmas & alto flutes, slide whistles, sheng, Melodica, Akai Wind controller, moog subsequent, gongs, brontosaurus & tank bells, Englephone, and delay. ... Click to View


From Wolves To Whales (Dave Rempis / Nate Wooley / Chris Corsano / Pascal Niggenkemper) : Dead Leaves Drop [VINYL] (Dropa Disc)

Recorded during the same tour as their Aerophonic album "Strandwal", the quartet of Nate Wooley on trumpet, Dave Rempis on saxophone, Pascal Niggenkemper on bass, and Chris Corsano on drums are heard live at Het Bos in Antwerp, Belgium for 2 side-long, cutting-edge improvisations of incredible technique, creative drive, and impressive inventiveness. ... Click to View


Made to Break: F4 Fake [VINYL] (Trost Records)

This active quartet project brings together two Chicago players--drummer Tim Daisy and reedist Vandermark--with two European players--Christof Kurzmann on pooll & electronics, and Jasper Stadhouders on bass--in their 9th album, recording in the studio in Austria for an innovative album blurring the lines between fierce free jazz and inventive experimental ea-improv. ... Click to View


Gordon Grdina Quartet (w/ Noriega / Lossing / Takeishi): Cooper's Park (Songlines)

Vancouver composer, guitarist and Oud player Gordon Grdina leads his quartet of Satoshi Takeishi on drums, Russ Lossing on piano & clavinet, and Oscar Noriega on alto sax and bass clarinet, through five intricate, through-composed pieces of incredible interaction, with outstanding and consummate solos from introspective to ecstatic; eclectic and exemplary. ... Click to View


Flin van Hemmen : Casting Spells & The Coves [2 CDs] (Neither/Nor Records)

Blending live improvisation with studio composition & production, NY-based Dutch drummer, pianist and composer Flin van Hemmen spent 3 years making recordings with guitarist Todd Neufeld, double bassist Eivind Opsvik and himself, transforming them with layering, studio effects, processors and field recordings to create these intensely fascinating compositions. ... Click to View


Banquet Of The Spirits / John Zorn: The Book Beri'ah Vol. 9 - Yesod (Tzadik)

Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista's Banquet Of The Spirits takes on the 9th volume of composer John Zorn's Book Beri'ah, "Yesod", from his Masada series, here in jubilant rhythms of strong Latin influence and rich Sephardic melodies, performed in a quartet with Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on accordian, Brian Marsella on piano & vibraphone, and Tim Keiper on drums. ... Click to View


Nick Fraser / Kris Davis / Tony Malaby (with Laubrock & Allemano): Zoning (Astral Spirits)

Recording in Toronto, the core trio of drummer Nick Fraser, saxophonist Tony Malaby and pianist Kris Davis are joined on four tracks by tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trumpeter Lina Allemano, in an album of composed and collective improvisation, merging Toronto, NY and European influences in an accomplished album of diverse approaches and orchestrations. ... Click to View


Koenjihyakkei: Dhorimviskha (Skin Graft)

After a 13-year hiatus KoenjiHyakkei is back with a thrillingly joyful album of unexpected song and extended, masterful instrumental sections that turn on a pin point, referring and redefining prog and RIO forms with honest enthusiasm, in a quintet with Tatsuya Yoshida on drumming, Sakamoto Kengo on bass, Koganemaru Kei on guitar, Yabuki Taku on keys and Komori Keiko on sax. ... Click to View


Nick Fraser / Kris Davis / Tony Malaby (with Laubrock & Allemano): Zoning [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Recording in Toronto, the core trio of drummer Nick Fraser, saxophonist Tony Malaby and pianist Kris Davis are joined on four tracks by tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trumpeter Lina Allemano, in an album of composed and collective improvisation, merging Toronto, NY and European influences in an accomplished album of diverse approaches and orchestrations. ... Click to View


Jim McAuley / Scot Ray: Second Earth (Long Song Records)

An excellent first meeting of two guitarists recording on a February afternoon and released in the sequence recorded with no edits or changes, from Jim McAuley on guitar and Scot Ray on lap steel slide guitar with effects, an innately lyrical blending of styles masking the strong technical skills and long histories of these two superlative players. ... Click to View


Music Improvisation Company, The (Bailey / Parker / Davies / Muir) : 1969, 1970 [VINYL 2 LPs] (Honest Jons Records)

An impressive lineup of legendary players in this much-need reissue of guitarist Derek Bailey's 1976 Music Improvisation Company album 1968-1971", exploring innovative free and electroacoustic improvisation in these 1969 & 1970 recordings with Evan Parker on soprano saxophone & amplified auto harp, Hugh Davies on live electronics & organ, and Jamie Muir on percussion. ... Click to View


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  Hamid Drake / Sylvain Kassap 
  Heads or Tails  
  (Rogue Art) 


  
   review by Marc Medwin
  2017-11-13
Hamid Drake / Sylvain Kassap: Heads or Tails (Rogue Art)

At this point, when "free jazz" is becoming venerable without even having made more than a dent in mainstream vocabulary, it is always intriguing and satisfying to hear it grow, morphing beyond its tropes into something rich and mysterious. In that light, it is wonderful to hear drummer Hamid Drake and clarinetist Sylvain Kassap, by no means newcomers to any scene, pushing each other's and the music's boundaries at every turn on this excellent double disc.

The longer pieces are dispensed on the first disc, such as the wild and rapidly morphing ride of "Mutual Respect" or the mellifluous "Black Walnuts." This latter is energetically tender, if such a contradiction is at all meaningful, Drake painting in cymbal-driven technicolor, in and out of metric focus, while Kassap speaks in a language of ecstatic microtonal-inflected slides and warbles. It is gratifying to hear the duo egging each other on with monosyllabic exhortations and wondrous laughs which are echoed by those present to hear these spontaneous adventures. The disc ends with the brief but somehow aptly titled "Refreshing Storm," whose comparatively aphoristic form prefigures the second disc's vignettes. Of these, the opener and title track is one of the most original freely minted creations in the set. Kassap had already demonstrated his penchant for playing two instruments from his arsenal of clarinets at a time on the first disc, but here, he raises that talent to an art, accompanied by the bold delicacy and drone of Drake's ubiquitous frame drum. The eventual and militaristically plodding rhythms of "Stubborn Old Folks" could not provide more of a contrast to the languid tones and scales Kassap floats over them only to get in step as the track proceeds. "Of Course!" provides an absolutely riveting conclusion on a small scale, one in which the album's sonic disparities and syntactic prowess present themselves in delicate miniature.

The duo is in control of every gesture as dialogues are shaped and phrases are connected and resolved. Kassap demonstrates, on many occasions, his intimate familiarity with the "classical" music idioms he has mastered, while Drake introduces elements of funk and soul to which Kassap responds with alacrity. The recordings are excellent and alive, especially at those moments when we hear Kassap switching instruments or exclaiming with joy at the music. This is a fine recording of a meeting of two like minds in a rapport that any single descriptive label would stain.



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