The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Martin Blume / Lou Houtkamp / Steve Beresford:
Shed 1 (FMR)

A superb concert of masterful collective improvisation capture live at LOFT Cologne in 2018 from the trio of Luc Houtkamp on tenor saxophone & clarinet, Steve Beresford on piano & objects, and Martin Blume on drums & percussion, in three extended improvisations, thoughtful work building to periods of powerful passion while maintaining a reflective introspectiveness. ... Click to View


In Layers (Marcelo Dos Reis / Onno Govaert / Kristian Martinsson / Luis Vicente):
Pliable (FMR)

Portuguese guitarist Marcelo Dos Reis and trumpeter Luís Vicente, Icelandic pianist Kristján Martinsson and Dutch drummer Onno Govaert release their 2nd album, moving from the studio to a live concert at Salão Brazil in Coimbra in 2018, performing six collective improvisations of explorative and technically advanced, cutting edge free improv. ... Click to View


MPT Trio (Mela / Paz / Trujillo):
Volume 1 (577)

Influenced by both free jazz and Caribbean folk music, the NYC-based MPT Trio, led by Francisco Mela (Crash Trio, Joe Lovano, McCoy Tyner, John Scofield, Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz), presents a stylistically innovative sound on their debut album, presenting eight original pieces blending diverse musical traditions with contemporary & avant-garde jazz structures. ... Click to View


John Zorn:
Azoth (Tzadik)

Two compositions by John Zorn for solo cello and two works for cello and rhythm section, performed by cellists Jay Campbell (JACK Quartet) and Michael Nicolas (Brooklyn Rider, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)), with drummer Ches Smith and bassist Jorge Roeder taking the rhythm chairs; exciting and innovative compositions in virtuoso performances ... Click to View


John Zorn (Stephen Gosling):
The Turner Etudes (Tzadik)

A suite of short pieces for solo piano subtitled "Images and Impressions for Piano", composed by John Zorn and performed by frequent Zorn interpreter Stephen Gosling, the works inspired by the sketches of English painter J.M.W. Turner, embracing influences including Ligeti, Scriabin, Bach, Glass, Debussy, Bartok, Berio, Feldman, Xenakis, Schoenberg &c. ... Click to View


Matthias Muller / Eric Normand / Petr Vrba:
Triche! (Tour de Bras / Circum-Disc)

A set of informed avant/abstract acoustic and electroacoustic improvisations recorded in the studio in Austria in 2019, from the transatlantic trio of Euro free jazz legend, trombonist Matthias Muller, Quebec bassist Eric Normand on electric bass, and innovate trumpeter Petr Vrba also deploying electronics, the trio's interaction focused on patient and inspired sonic detail. ... Click to View


Sun Ra:
Egypt 1971 [4 CDs] (STRUT)

Originally released in 3 LPs as Live in Egypt on Thoth Intergalactic and then as the Saturn albums Dark Myth Equation Visitation, Nidhamu & Horizon, this set reissues the 1971 Sun Ra tour recordings: The Mena House Hotel in Giza; a concert at Hartmut Geerken's in Heliopolis; a live Cairo TV channel broadcast; and a concert at Cairo's the Ballon Theatre. ... Click to View


Sun Ra Arkestra:
Swirling [2 LPS] (STRUT / Artyard)

The first new Sun Ra Arkestra album in twenty years, recorded in Philadelphia under the direction of saxophonist Marshall Allan, with long-standing Arkestra members including Danny Ray Thompson, Michael Ray, Vincent Chancey, Knoel Scott, Cecil Brooks, Atakatune, Elson Nascimento and Tyler Mitchel, with new material and new renderings of classic Ra compositions. ... Click to View


Joshua Abrams' Cloud Script:
Cloud Script (RogueArt)

Double bassist Joshua Abrams provides the compositions for this studio album performed with Ari Brown on tenor sax, Jeff Parker on guitar and Gerald Cleaver on drums, an exceptional quartet of master improvisers who balance lyrical and soulful playing with explorative impulse, fueled by an empathetic responsiveness that only a long history of collaboration can engender. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmal Sextet (Dunmall / Pursglove / Foote / Saunders / Owston / Bashford):
Cosmic Dream Projection (FMR)

A studio project led by Paul Dumall on alto & tenor saxophones and alto flute, recorded while on touring hiatus during the pandemic, composing six passionate and melodically charged works performed by the brilliant sextet of Percy Pursglove on trumpet, Richard Foote on trombone, Steven Saunders on guitar, James Owston on bass, and Jim Bashford on drums. ... Click to View


Dunmall. Paul with Metcalfe / Owston / Jozwiak:
Unmasked (FMR)

The other side of Paul Dunmall's characteristic saxophone work is heard here on the alto flute, bringing Dunmall together with fellow flutist Neil Metcalf and the rhythm section of James Owston on bass and Tymek Jozwiak on drums for four exceptional improvisations that focus more on interaction and less on soloing, showcasing all four through sophisticated performance. ... Click to View


Trevor Taylor:
Oscillations 12 Tone Music For Jazz Quintet (FMR)

Exploring the jazz tradition through 12 tone serial tone row scales, along with graphic and other variations, from UK composer Trevor Taylor, also on drums and vibraphones, in a quintet with Shanti Paul Jayashina on trumpet, Josh Ison on saxophones, Dan Banks on piano, and Jose Canha on Double Bass, in a set of tunes that beautifully balance freedom and lyricism. ... Click to View


MoE w/ Mette Rasmussen / Ikuro Takahashi:
Painted (Relative Pitch)

During their 2019 Japan Tour, the collaboration of the Norwegian experimental rock band MoE and alto sax virtuoso Mette Rasmussen extended their trio with legendary drummer Ikuru Takahashi to record this energetic, rough and tumble album exploring the boundaries between free improvisation, skronky rock, and other confrontational, conceptual crossover forms. ... Click to View


Metal Chaos Ensemble:
Don Quixote (Evil Clown)

An epic journey through diverse improvisational approaches within a composed framework, using heavy percussion of unusual & world origins, electronics, rock/groove elements and prepared mixes created from samples, from the Boston duo of David Peck (PEK) on reeds & an arsenal of devices & sources, and Yuri Zbitnoff on drums & percussion, with narration points along the way. ... Click to View


Audrey Chen / Phil Minton :
Frothing Morse (Tour de Bras)

Two innovators on free vocal improvisation come together for a concert at Santa Chiara Nuova Church during the 2015 ImprovvisaMente festival in Lodi, Italy, setting aside Chen's cello and electronics to focus on pure voice interactions, each using their unique language and technique in a single 37 minute performance of intrepid, inexplicable and unique improv. ... Click to View


Jean-Luc Guionnet :
Solo A La Decollation (Tour de Bras)

Emphasizing unusual aspects of the pipe organ, composer and typically reedist Jean-Luc Guionnet (Hubbub, Return of the New Thing) performs solo on the organ at the Church of the Decollation of Saint-Jean Baptiste in L'Isle-verte, Quebec, Canada, taking a sound-oriented approach to the instrument with a minimalist attitude in four extended performances. ... Click to View


Sun Ra And His Outer Space Arkestra:
A Fire Side Chat With Lucifer (Modern Harmonic)

This reissue of the 1983 Saturn Research LP presents two aspects of the Sun Ra Arkestra, the first side with the 80's classics "Nuclear War" along with "Retrospect" and "Makeup"; the second side presenting the extended and more experimental "A Fireside Chat with Lucifer", a 20 minute well balanced, open framework that allows for both melodic soloing and extended free exchanges. ... Click to View


Lisbon Improvisation Players:
Motion (Clean Feed)

A precursor to his Motion Trio, this is a 2002 studio recording led by saxophonist Rodrigo Amado performing on baritone & tenor saxophones, with US West Coast saxophonist Steve Adams on soprano & tenor saxophones, Acacio Salero on drums, and New York bassist Ken Filiano, improvising over six works that show the depth and mastery of each individually and collectively. ... Click to View


Susan Alcorn Quintet:
Pedernal (Relative Pitch)

An innovator in integrating pedal steel guitar into modern improvised music, Cleveland-born, Baltimore-based pedal steel guitar player Susan Alcorn's quintet enlists a superb set of New York players--Mark Feldman on violin, Michael Formanek on double bass, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Ryan Sawyer on drums--taking on a diverse set of Alcorn compositions. ... Click to View


Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Arnau Horta / Seijiro Murayama / Michaele-Andrea Schatt:
Installations [CD + 24 page booklet] (Swarming)

A fascinating set of stereophonic electroacoustic compositions based on the recordings and mixes used for four sound installations in four galleries in France, impeccably captured and creatively edited: Eric La Casa & Jean-Luc Guionnet; Michaële-Andréa Schatt & Eric La Casa; Seijiro Murayama & Eric La Casa; and Arnau Horta & Eric La Casa. ... Click to View


Femme / Sunk Heaven / Jeph Jerman / Somnoroase Pasarele:
7 & 7 : VOL. 1 [VINYL 2 7-inch BOX] (SpleenCoffin)

The 1st in SpleenCoffin's double-7" series, each featuring exclusive material and packaged in reclaimed 7" audio reel boxes, this volume featuring audio tracks by French synth duo FEMME; NYC's Sunk Heaven; a piece composed from a group recording of Jeph Jerman, Tim Barnes, Bill Hutson & Ten Byrnes; and a work from Romanian audio artist SOMNOROASE PĂSĂRELE. ... Click to View


Rafal Mazur (feat. Satoko Fujii / Guilleromo Gregorio / Ramon Lopez / Natsuki Tamura / Artur Majewski):
The Great Tone Has No Sound [4 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Four settings with improvising bass guitarist Rafal Mazur, 4 CDs, the first a solo studio recording of two extended improvisations; the 2nd a duo with clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio; the 3rd a live concert at Baza Club in Krakow with trumpeter Artur Majewski; the 4th a quintet session with Gregorio, Satoko Fujii (piano), Natsuki Tamura (trumpet), & Ramon Lopez (drums). ... Click to View


Kier Neuringer / Rafal Mazur:
The Continuum (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Investigating the continuity of our perceptions through sound--the one sense that flows continuously into our awareness--through a concert at Baza Club in Krakow, Poland in 2018 between alto saxophonist Keir Neuringer and acoustic bass guitarist Rafał Mazur, using magnificent technique as they tentatively then boldy exchanges waves of the past, present and future. ... Click to View


Marco Colonna / Alexander Hawkins:
Dolphy Underlined (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

A set of Eric Dolphy compositions and one Colonna composition in the style of Dolphy and a Dolphy-esque take on Billie Holiday's "God Bless the Child", from pianist Alexander Hawkins and Marco Colonna on clarinet, bass clarinet & sopranino saxophones, recorded live in Rome in 2020 for a spirited and tender hommage to one of the great and most singular figures in jazz history. ... Click to View


Elisabeth Harnik / Steve Swell:
Tonotopic Organizations (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

The title referring to the spatial arrangement where sounds of different frequency are processed in the brain, New York trombonist Steve Swell and Austrian Elisabeth Harnik performing inside and out of the piano, are captured live at Martinsschlossl, in Vienna, Austria in 2019 for 8 free improvisations of immense creative drive and ebullient rapport. ... Click to View


Kaluza / Majewski / Mazur / Trilla:
The Night of the Swift (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Picking up where the 2013 Clean Feed album Tone Hunting left off, the quartet of Anna Kaluza on alto saxophone, Artur Majewski on cornet, Rafal Mazur on acoustic bass guitar, with drummer/percussionist Vasco Trilla replacing Kuba Suchar, the refreshed quartet is heard live at the University of Zielona Gora, Poland for an informed 6-part free improvisation. ... Click to View


Bernard Santacruz / Michael Zerang:
Cardinal Point (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Seven succinct dialogs between two masterful rhythm improvisers--bassist Bernard Santacruz and drummer Michael Zerang--whose previous work with Jeff Parker, Joelle Leandre, Douglas Eward and Jean-Luc Cappozzo is distilled to this intimate setting, employing innate lyricism and unique approaches to their instruments to fascinate and captivate their listeners. ... Click to View


Mary Halvorson's Code Girl:
Artlessly Falling [VINYL 2 LPs] (Firehouse 12 Records)

The 2nd Code Girl release from guitarist Mary Halvorson presents an embraceable and ambitious set of songs from 8 poetic forms for which Halvorson composed words & music, 3 of which are sung by Robert Wyatt, the others by Amirtha Kidambi, in a band with Thumbscrew members Michael Formanek (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), plus Maria Grand (sax) and Adam O'Farrill (trumpet). ... Click to View


Trevor Watts (feat. Moire Music Drum Orchestra / Mark Hewins / Jamie Harris / Gibran Cervantes):
A World View [5 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Five CDs with unique and joyfully creative aspects of saxophonist and composer Trevor Watts' work, from concerts and studio settings in the UK, US and South Americal in configurations of Trevor Watts Moiré Music Group, with the Enjambre Acustico Urukungolo, Trevor Watts' Moiré Music Drum Orchestra, and duos with Jamie Harris, and with Marc Hewins. ... Click to View


Chris Cundy:
Mountains (Aural Terrains)

Bass clarinetist Chris Cundy, uses the studio as a performance tool for accompaniment along with pre-recorded tapes, as he contrasts two different composers--Cornelius Cardew & Ton de Leeuw and their compositions titled "Mountains", alongside a Cardew graphic score piece, and 2 work for 5 bass clarinets, from Thanos Chrysakis and John Cage, the latter from his Numbers series. ... Click to View



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  Nate Wooley (Wooley / Sawyer / Halvorson / Alcorn) 
  Columbia Icefield  
  (Northern Spy) 


  
   review by Paul Serralheiro
  2020-03-10
Nate Wooley (Wooley / Sawyer / Halvorson / Alcorn): Columbia Icefield (Northern Spy)

Glitches, interactions of discontinuity amid continuity, odd meters colliding off each other in interesting linear and poly linear possibilities, harmonies moving as slowly as a glacier are some of the principles at work in this triptych by trumpeter Nate Wooley and guests. The slow mutation and the forces of gravity and temperature, if sounds can be said to have a temperature (hot or cold, warm or cool) create music with a fair amount of awe-inspiring heft.

Wooley once said at a trumpet workshop at McGill University during Montreal's version of the Festival of New Trumpet (FONT) that he grew up in an Oregon town made up of "Vikings" and how he was always inspired by the fortitude and resilience of these people. Some of this can be heard in his playing and compositional thinking in Columbia Icefield. The music is definitely searing and compact as prehistoric ice in the first track, puzzlingly called "Lionel Trilling." I say "puzzlingly" because one wonders what a literary critic has to do with the Columbia Ice field. Is he maybe as determined and weighty? Whatever the case, the CD release tells a wonderful story of massiveness and transcendence, as Wooley's acoustic and amplified trumpet, Susan Alcorn's pedal steel, Mary Halvorson's guitar, and Ryan Sawyer's drums and voice combine in brilliant wizardly to march the title track home resolutely with an enormous sense of purpose and rightness. This is music that knows where it comes from and where it's going.

"Seven in the Woods" is a lyrical and slightly elegiac tale of love and camaraderie, with an American heartland melodic feel about it. Much like a hymn, it rings with the healing sound of truth.... but not without its underside, as Halvorson's eerie and menacing guitar wrangling yields moments of peril right in the middle of the tune, all seconded by brushes on snare drum and pregnant steel guitar chords that sound like they come from another galaxy. This is a tale not without its pitfalls for the hero, who in this case is the collective improvising soul of the band, which holds fast despite the many glitches that the improvisers works with, starting from fertile compositional ideas and rendered with imaginative and scrupulous musicianship.

The final movement, "With Condolences," is nothing if not sublime. It resounds like a spiritual dirge that brings peace and solace with its poem spoken by Sawyer (albeit with a spooky slow-down effect at one point), drum flourishes, guitar drones and Wooley's trumpet circling the proceedings like a sacred eagle, beautifully ending this paean to nature, its force, wisdom and inevitable triumph.



Nate Wooley (Wooley / Sawyer / Halvorson / Alcorn): Columbia Icefield
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


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