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Polwechsel / Klaus Lang:
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The innovative acoustic free improvising ensemble Polwechsel bridging contemporary music and free improvisation in ways that sound deceptively electroacoustic, comprised of Michael Moser on cello, Werner Dafeldecker on double bass, and Martin Brandlmayr and Burkhard Beins on cymbals & percussion, are joined by Klaus Lang performing on the church organ of St. Lambrecht's Abbey. ... Click to View


Noah Kaplan Quartet:
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Noah Kaplan is a composer and saxophonist from Topanga Canyon, CA, associated with Anthony Coleman, David Tronzo, Peter Erskine, Rinde Eckert, Joe Morris, Mat Maneri, Joe Maneri, &c., here in his 3rd album with his Noah Kaplan Quartet, in a set of Kaplan compositions and one standard performed with Joe Morris (guitar), Giacomo Merega (electric bass) & Jason Nazary (drums, electronics). ... Click to View


Christopher Fox :
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Six compositions for solo piani written by English composerb Christopher Fox between 1991 and 2015, performed by Netherlands pianist John Snijders at Abbey Road Studios in London, each work uniquely approached in both writing and performance, each a concept or style that brings something unique to Fox's music while still retaining his voice and character in composition. ... Click to View


Burkhard Stangl / Dieb13:
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Returning to their duo work together 17 years after their erstwhile records eh, guitarist Burkhard Stangl and turntablist Dieb13 explore and expand the sonic properties of their work in this new "Garden Of Noises", using electronics and recordings of soundscapes from Paris and Montreuil, recorded live at Instants Chavires in France, 2019. ... Click to View


Oyvind Skarbo / Fredrik Ljungkvist / Kris Davis / Ole Morten Vagan:
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A transatlantic all-star quartet of modern improvisers influenced by contemporary compositional music and creative jazz, with pieces from all four players--Fredrik Ljungkvist on tenor sax & clarinet, Kris Davis on piano, Ole Morten Vagan on double bass, and Øyvind Skarbø on drums--creating superb modern, unforseeable, and joyful music. ... Click to View


Patty Waters (w/ Greene / Pavone / Altschul):
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The distinctively unique voice and unconventional stylings of Patty Waters brings a set of standards and folk songs to a live quartet session in Houston, Texas in 2018 with the stellar backup of Burton Greene on piano, Mario Pavone on bass, and Barry Altschul on drums, covering songs by Billy Holiday, Nat King Cole & Hank Williams and a trio instrumental of Monk's "Off Minor". ... Click to View


Andre Moller O. / Christoph Nicolaus / Rasha Ragab:
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Christoph Nicolaus began working with the stone harp around 2007, a block of granite with a slanted top that is deeply notched to create fins that resemble a loaf of bread, played by "bowing" the sides with wet hands causing each to vibrate in unique and beautiful tones; this album collects 13 compositions & improvisations performed between 2008 and 2018, in rich and uniquely evocative sound. ... Click to View


Bruno Duplant / Pierre Gerard:
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Five "Soleil Clandestin" soundscapes using abstract voice, guitar, electronics, field recordings & percussion from sound artists Bruno Duplant and Pierre Gerard, on the surface peaceful, minimal and using space and silence, but buried inside are disquieting additions the vocal abstractions placed in unusual position to the sound; curious and captivating. ... Click to View


Milo Fine / Joseph Damman:
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An album of improvisations culled from the long-running Minneapolis duo of amplified acoustic guitarist Joseph Damman and multi-instrumentalist Milo fine, recorded in concert at Studio Toile d'Angles in 2018, with Fine performing on percussion, a Bosendorfer imperial piano, B-flat clarinet & marimba, for 8 pieces of explorative and accomplished dialog. ... Click to View


Martin Archer :
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Inspired by the music of 70's Miles Davis electric work, composer and saxophonist Martin Archer presents 15 compositions performed in two parallel sessions over two CDs, the first in a septet that includes Corey Mwamba, Pat Thomas and Dave Sturt, and the second an extended ensemble with brass and wind sections, each bringing distinctive life to these inspired compositions. ... Click to View


Tetuzi Akiyama / Herve Boghossian:
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Translating to "sketch", the duo of Japanese improvising guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama and French guitarist Hervé Boghossian recorded these sketches in the studio in Marseille, France, seven succinct free improvisations of an open and intuitively lyrical nature performed on acoustic guitars, in a gorgeous album of uniquely spacious interlaced string improvisation. ... Click to View


Sakina Abdou / Barbara Dang / Peter Orins:
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Anticlan (Costa / Amador / Ernsting):
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Jean D. L. (w/ Hermant / Ranaldo / Young):
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Dean Rosenthal:
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American composer Dean Rosenthal's influential performance piece written in 2012 and performed more than 40 times throughout the world, a site-specific piece for any outside body of water with any number of performers, using stones to create percussive sounds in the water, here in five live performances from Newfoundland to New York to Wilbraham, MA (the composer's hometown). ... Click to View


Urs Schneider Peter :
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Four compositions for solo piano from Swiss composer Urs Peter Schneider, founder of Ensemble Neue Horizonte Bern, with four accompanying prose pieces with text in German from Schneider himself, Martin Luther, and Ita Wegman, unusual words to accompany Schneider's minimalist works of clear progressions, thoughtful direction and interesting concepts. ... Click to View


Guillaume Gargaud :
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Twenty miniature compositions for acoustic guitar from French composer and improviser Guillaume Gargaud, each under one and a half minutes, the shortest just 53 seconds, each composed in 12 measures creating a lovely reflective and introspective set of abstract melodies, poetic and evocative music from a player dedicated to solo guitar work. ... Click to View


Weston Olencki:
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New York City-based trombonist/composer Weston Olencki, specializing in the performance and production of experimental music & art, presents four compositions for brass instruments exploring a sound-based and psychoacoustic approach to solo performance, applying extended instrument preparations and fundamental principles of sound synthesis to this acoustic medium. ... Click to View


Simon Nabatov Quintet (w/ Speed / Robertson / Hebert / Rainey):
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Russian-born Germany/NY-based pianist Simon Nabatov's Quintet with the new lineup of Chris Speed on tenor sax & clarinet, Herb Robertson on trumpet & cornet, John Hebert on double bass and Tom Rainey on drums, performing Nabatov's magnificently lyrical, sophisticated and often chamber-oriented compositions, an incredible achievement in writing and performance. ... Click to View


Luis Lopes Humanization 4Tet (w/ Amado / Gonzalez / Gonzalez):
Believe, Believe (Clean Feed)

Energetic and assertive jazzcore improv from Portuguese guitarist Luis Lopes' long-running Humanization 4Tet with saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and the near-telepathic rhythm section of Aaron Gonzalez on double bass and Stefan Gonzalez on drums, in an album recorded in the studio in front of an audience in New Orleans during their 2018 tour, finding the band in formidable form. ... Click to View


Carl Testa :
Sway Prototypes - Volume 3 (Sway)

The third volume of NY bassist, composer, and electronic/computer musician Carl Testa's amazing Sway project, giving an interactive electronic processor its own voice interfacing with any size ensemble, here with two new works--one for quintet among a set of Chicago improvisers, the other in Portland, Maine with a sextet--each uniquely voiced and excitingly unpredictable. ... Click to View


Joanna Mattrey :
Veiled (Relative Pitch)

The first solo record for NY violist Joanna Mattrey, performing also on the Stroh violin, in a deep exploration of the sound possibilities for both instruments, using preparations to alter the resonance of the viola, masking its overtly singing and beautiful nature and allowing for unexpected and unusual textures which weave around melodic lines; unique and fascinating. ... Click to View


Bedrnhard Meyer / John Hollenbeck:
Grids (Shhpuma)

Bringing together NY drummer/percussionist John Hollenbeck, also on prepared piano, with Berlin bassist Bernhard Meyer for an album that blends textural rock, electronic and jazz approaches in 9 elusively calm yet structurally turbulent pieces, using complex systems of cross rhythms against atmospheric immersion, occasionally disruptive but generally eccentrically controlled and exploratory. ... Click to View


Day & Taxi:
Devotion [VINYL 2 LPs] (Percaso)

A melodically subtle and sophisticated album of twenty improvisations composed by saxophonist Christoph Gallio and performed with Gerry Hemingway on drums and Silvan Jeger on electric bass, with Friederike Mayrocker providing words on several tracks, the compositions as short as 19 seconds and a long as 7:40, each dedicated to visual artists and colleagues. ... Click to View


Dominic Cramp / Mike Khoury / Philip Greenlief / Gino Robair:
Compassion & Evidence (Creative Sources)

Recorded live at Temescal Art Center in Oakland, CA as part of their Babylon 2018 evening, the quartet of Gino Robair (electronics), Phillip Greenlief (tenor sax and clarinet), Mike Khoury (viola) and Dominic Cramp, aka Lord Tang (lyra) improvise in 2 short and 2 extended electroacoustic conversations of detailed restraint, unique pointillism and unforseen atmospheres. ... Click to View


Jim Denley / Eric Normand:
Plant 3 [VINYL] (Tour de Bras)

The collaboration of Quebec bassist Eric Normand and Australian saxophonist Jim Denley, both dedicated experimenters, in their third duo album under the Plant name, here recording live at the 2019 Syndey, Australia NowNow Festival, with Denley also playing bass flute, fruits and objects, and Normand using objects and playing the bass amp itself. ... Click to View


Marc Edwards / Guillaume Gargaud:
Black Hole Universe (Atypeek Music)

A shredding session between French improvisational guitarist Guillaume Gargaud and NY free jazz drummer Marc Edwards (Slipstream Time Travel), recorded in Queens, NY in 2017, for 5 rapid-fire displays of pyrotechnics and attentive dialog, as they take themselves to the cliff's edge and back in a dizzying album of dense technical dexterity and harmolodic force. ... Click to View


The Necks:
Three (Northern Spy)

Three extended improvisations from the three Australian improvisers Chris Abrahams (piano), Lloyd Swanton (bass), Tony Buck (drums/percussion) in their 21st album of mesmerizing music, from the dynamic opener "Bloom" to the introspective "Lovelock" dedicated to Damien Lovelock of The Celibate Rifles, ending in the lyrical and rich groove of "Further". ... Click to View


MPH (Maguire / Pynew / Hewins):
Taxonomies (Discus)

A trio of legendary Canterbury, avant improvisation and contemporary compositional players come together for an album recorded live in the studio over two days, from Alex Maguire on piano and Hammond organ, Martin Pyne on vibraphone, drums, percussion & electronics, and Mark Hewins on guitars & electronics; inventive, sophisticated, hallucinatory & virtuosic work. ... Click to View


Alex Ward Item 4:
Where We Were (Relative Pitch)

UK guitarist Alex Ward's quartet featuring his compositions for improvisers, performed with a set of younger players on London's free improv scene--Charlotte Keeffe on trumpet & flugelhorn, Otto Willberg on double bass, and Andrew Lisle on drums--heard here in two intricately exciting 2018 concerts in London at Set Dalston Lane and at Cafe Oto Project Space. ... Click to View


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  Szilard Mezei Tul A Tiszan Innen Ensemble 
  Turizmus  
  (FMR Records) 


  
   review by Marc Chénard
  2020-02-12
Szilard Mezei Tul A Tiszan Innen Ensemble: Turizmus (FMR Records)

Were it not for a chance discovery of this musician a little over ten years ago on a Leo record, this reviewer may have glossed over this twin-disc set issued last year on the British FMR label. Szilárd Mezei, an ethnic Hungarian native of Serbia, leads a group of 11 musicians, divided almost equally between those of his cultural minority and others of that country's slavic majority (if assumptions based on their names are correct).

In October 2017, the group spent three days at the Kulturni Center Novi Sad in Serbia for what seems to be a studio recording, as there are no hints of an audience on hand, and if there was one, editing all the applause out was a good idea. Included herein is a generous package of 11 extended pieces (the shortest lasting 7 minutes, the rest running in the 10 to 17 minute range). At 76 and 64 minutes respectively, this double release runs against the current trend of aligning CD durations to LP lengths (surely no coincidence given the resurgence of that format). What may also seem like a pretty long listening haul does not really bear out, a tour de force one should say. Credit should go to the leader for his skilful arrangements of traditional folksongs of the Vojvodina (a region of Serbia bordering with Hungary). Also appealing is the unconventional frontline of two violins, the leader's viola, flute, trombone, reeds (saxes and clarinets divided between two players), vibraphone/marimba, all backed by the customary three-man rhythm section. Despite those distinctive traits, there is something very standardized in the overall musical presentation: pretty much every piece falls within the traditional theme-improv-theme model so ingrained in the DNA of jazz. (The one exception, however, is a somewhat more abstract sound piece on the first disc, The Herd and Stud Move Swiftly — non-natives will surely appreciate the English-translations provided for the somewhat forbidding ones in Hungarian).

Of the many world musics, those from Eastern Europe are among the most appealing and ear-catching, their minor tonalities sounding so remarkably upbeat. Like all folk-based music, these are immediately recognizable because of their modal harmonies that shape the melodies over a steady beat so appropriate for dancing. Yet, these defining traits are limiting in that the tunes themselves start sounding a little too much alike after a while. Some may well notice this here, but the arrangements offset some of that uniformity, the meshing of the instrumental voices providing added tensions behind the melodies, the improvised middle-sections taking on lives of their own.

The ensemble, it should be noted, is not cut out of the same cloth as those wildly successful wedding bands from those parts of the world. Its tone is more that of a chamber orchestra, especially in the improvised sections that break out of the modal strictures underlying the compositions. Nevertheless, the recurrent use of ostinato accompaniments behind soloists become predictable after a while and formats the music a little too much. In the solo department, pretty well everybody has his or her say along the way, the vibes player Ivan Burka is prominently featured and effective, likewise for flutist Andrea Berendika. As for the rhythm section, pianist Marina Džukljev is the main soloist, whereas the bassist and drummer are kept in the background, the former holding down the grooves and walking patterns, the latter laying out for long stretches. While jazz provides an underlay for this group, the materials it uses and the sophisticated orchestrations derived from contemporary music demonstrate how parallel worlds can be mesh together effectively. For more on this musician and his discography, a considerable and varied one at that, go to szilardmezei.net.



Szilard Mezei Tul A Tiszan Innen Ensemble: Turizmus
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


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