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Marking 50 years for Chicago's most important and innovative ensembles, formed in 1969 to advance creative musicians as part of the AACM, is this tribute to and based on music written by late members Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, and Joseph Jarman, performed by 15 innovative musicians young and old, and presented in 2 CDs: one in the studio and one live at the 2018 Edgefest. ... Click to View


Anna Webber: Clockwise (Pi Recordings)

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David Virelles: Igbo Alakorin (The Singer's Grove) Vol. I & II (Pi Recordings)

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Toshiya Tsunoda : Extract From Field Recording Archive [5 CD Box Set] (erstwhile)

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Remote Viewers Trio, The (Petts / Northover / Edwards): Notes Lost In A Field (Remote Viewers)

A working subset of the UK saxophone-heavy band crossing composition with improvisation, The Remote Viewers led by David Petts, here as a trio with Adrian Northover on alto sax, Petts on tenor sax, and John Edwards on acoustic bass, present 15 new compositions, 10 penned by Petts and 5 collective improvisations, a mix of ferocious timbre and exciting interaction. ... Click to View


Chester Hawkins : K516156/91044 [33 1/3 7-inch VINYL] (Intangible Arts)

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Mariska Baars / Rutger Zuydervelt: Eau (Not On Label (Machinefabriek Self-released) ‎)

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Daniel Carter / Stelios Mihas / Irma Nejando / Federico Ughi: Radical Invisibility (577)

Debut of this group named by NY multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter, with Stelios Mihas on guitar, Federico Ughi on drums, and (mysterious) Irma Nejando on bass, presenting this studio album of free, well-matched and interactive collective improvisations of acoustic and electric instrumentation, each track dedicated to artists who inspired the members of the quartet. ... Click to View


G. Weston Calvin: The Phoenix Orchestra - Dust and Ash [VINYL] (577)

An excellent example of modern fusion as drummer G. Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer), also on pocket trumpet, joins the Phoenix Orchestra, a Philadelphia-based string & electric octet, for a funk driven album of spectacular playing with melodic force and compelling rhythm, showing shades of Cobham or Mahavishnu but with its feet fully in the present. ... Click to View


Christian Svendsen Meaas: New Rituals [3 CDS] (Nakama Records)

Ritual and unveiling of Buddhist philosophy in a 3-CD exploration of the relationship between form and freedom, between modern Western culture and traditional Eastern culture, and between written and open musical material, from composer and bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen presented in 3 parts: (1) ensemble and a chant-choir, (2) ensemble, and (3) solo bass. ... Click to View


Kasper Vaernes Skullerud / Andreas Wildhagen: Troposgrafien (Nakama Records)

The long-running duo of Norwegian saxophonist Kasper Skullerud Vaernes and drummer Andreas Wildhagen, who also work together in Nakama's KNYST! trio with bassist and Nakama founder Christian Meaas Svendsen, and the Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit, in an album of five freely improvised dialogs of great technical skill, intent listening and exchange, and dynamic energy. ... Click to View


Kasper Vaernes Skullerud / Andreas Wildhagen: Troposgrafien [VINYL] (Nakama Records)

The long-running duo of Norwegian saxophonist Kasper Skullerud Vaernes and drummer Andreas Wildhagen, who also work together in Nakama's KNYST! trio with bassist and Nakama founder Christian Meaas Svendsen, and the Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit, in an album of five freely improvised dialogs of great technical skill, intent listening and exchange, and dynamic energy. ... Click to View


Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit: April Is The Cruellest Month [VINYL] (Blank Forms)

Culled from 1975 sessions by the New Direction Unit intended for but never issued on the ESP label, this insanely intense and interactive example of Japanese Free Jazz is finally unleashed, from the late legendary guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi and his quartet with wind and reed improviser Kengi Mori, percussionist Hiroshi Yamazaki, and bassist Nobuyoshi Ino. ... Click to View


Masayuki Takayanagi New Direction Unit: April Is The Cruellest Month (Blank Forms)

Culled from 1975 sessions by the New Direction Unit intended for but never issued on the ESP label, this insanely intense and interactive example of Japanese Free Jazz is finally unleashed, from the late legendary guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi and his quartet with wind and reed improviser Kengi Mori, percussionist Hiroshi Yamazaki, and bassist Nobuyoshi Ino. ... Click to View


Lee Ranaldo / Jim Jarmusch / Marc Urselli / Balazs Pandi: [CD] (Trost Records)

Producer & bassist Marc Urselli devised this first meeting between himself and Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, filmaker/guitarist Jim Jarmusch, and drummer Balazs Pandi's, recording in Urselli's NY studio to capture these live analog recordings of improvisations using no overdubs, a twilight set of evolving and absorbing explorations merging rock & experimental approaches. ... Click to View


Lee Ranaldo / Jim Jarmusch / Marc Urselli / Balazs Pandi: [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Producer & bassist Marc Urselli devised this first meeting between himself and Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, filmaker/guitarist Jim Jarmusch, and drummer Balazs Pandi's, recording in Urselli's NY studio to capture these live analog recordings of improvisations using no overdubs, a twilight set of evolving and absorbing explorations merging rock & experimental approaches. ... Click to View


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  Jacob Sacks 
  Fishes  
  (Clean Feed) 


  
   review by Nick Metzger
  2019-03-06
Jacob Sacks: Fishes (Clean Feed)

Fishes finds New York Pianist/Composer/Teacher Jacob Sacks recording his first record with Clean Feed by surrounding himself with a quintet of fellow New Yorkers and Clean Feed colleagues for one of the better sets of adventurous jazz you're likely to hear from 2018. The band consists of veteran saxophonist Ellery Eskelin on tenor, Tony Malaby on tenor and soprano saxophones, Michael Formanek on double bass, and Sacks' longtime friend and collaborator Dan Weiss on percussion. Fishes finds the band navigating Sacks' sophisticated, yet thoroughly engaging compositions that exhibit shades of Charles Mingus and Thelonious Monk in their use of simple structures within complex arrangements.

"Saloon" begins with a brief, playful tenor sax dialogue between Eskelin and Malaby before the rest of the group swings into place led by Sacks' bouncing piano figure. This sets up a brief solo by Sacks followed by clean, breathy runs from the saxophones. It's a really nice opener that shows off Sacks' capabilities as well as those of the band he's got assembled here. The next track "Carnegie the Sketcher" is measured and probing, played in a relaxed and pointillistic manner, Malaby's reedy soprano saxophone gives the piece a third stream vibe. "This is a Song" hops along on a particularly swinging bass line accented with Weiss' high-hat chatter. The saxophones and piano layer melody over the top of the mix, displaying nimble runs and lively interactions in a surfeit of colors and variation. "Carnegie Kveches If" is a brief sketch in which Sacks provides sparse, probing chords as accompaniment for the squelching reeds. Formanek and Weiss fill in the empty spaces with rhythmic shading, judiciously applying accents to an already busy track. "The Opener" begins with a melody, variations of which are played throughout by Sacks while the saxophones take turns soloing. Eskelin contrasts rough tenor growl with breathy restraint. Malaby delivers one of the better soprano solos I've heard in some time on this track. His powerful delivery and smooth fingering remind me of young Coltrane. His playing shows off his command of the instrument as well as his excellent technique. Sacks plays a brief and intentionally disjointed solo, weaving flashes of the theme with plonking chord progressions and curt flights along the keyboard.

"Carnegie Echos Kent" immediately expands in all direction, like marbles spilled from a jar. High pitched saxophone figures mingle with Sacks' tinkling keys over an understated, inquisitive rhythm. "Five Little Melodies" finds Malaby switching back to tenor saxophone and exchanging gestures with Sacks and Eskelin with Formanek utilizing both arco and pizzicato phases over Weiss' barely there percussion. "Carnegie Chutes Fork" is a busy number that gives the impression of motion, the saxophones and piano moving quickly with the bassline. Malaby offers some splattery reed squealing goodness on the soprano towards the end. "Chopped In" begins with Formanek surveying the space with dim arco lines. Sacks emerges with tingling note clusters, like sparks over a bonfire, ushering in the group. The horns illuminate any unseen edges of his construct, tracing their accents in hissing phrases and held notes. "Carnegie Stock Thew" is a short and fragmented piece of music that plays out as a fascinating dialogue between the musicians. The final piece, "Ill Blues" has an Ornette-esque 70's free jazz arrangement with a header section concluded with some great solos by the band.

Overall Fishes is an excellent record by one of New York's most talented composers. I really enjoyed the choice of musicians as well, with Malaby proving to be particularly versatile in his tonal palette across only two instruments. And although the compositions here are challenging, they is plenty of melody folded into the pieces. Many of the more challenging bits (the "Carnegie" themed pieces in particular) are highly ornate and abstract miniatures in which single ideas are explored, and due to the short duration their non-linarites are never tiresome. This is a terrific album from one of the most creative composers in new music.



Jacob Sacks: Fishes
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