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Sun Ra:
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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:
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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:
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Audrey Chen / Phil Minton :
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Jean-Luc Guionnet :
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Sun Ra And His Outer Space Arkestra:
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Lisbon Improvisation Players:
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Susan Alcorn Quintet:
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Eric La Casa / Jean-Luc Guionnet / Arnau Horta / Seijiro Murayama / Michaele-Andrea Schatt:
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Rafal Mazur (feat. Satoko Fujii / Guilleromo Gregorio / Ramon Lopez / Natsuki Tamura / Artur Majewski):
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Kier Neuringer / Rafal Mazur:
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Marco Colonna / Alexander Hawkins:
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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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  Karayorgis / McBride / Smith / Gray / Rosenthal 
  CliffPools  
  (Driff Records) 


  
   review by Marc Chénard
  2020-07-09
Karayorgis / McBride / Smith / Gray / Rosenthal: CliffPools (Driff Records)

Throughout his long career, Ornette Coleman was second to none when it came to thinking out of the box. Case in point, his 1961 recording Free Jazz signaled the introduction of a novel instrumental format, the 'Double Band'. No one until then had hinged a musical project around two basses and two drum sets while also dispensing with the piano completely, something Coleman had already done away with before that date. But the concept never really flew at the time, as if it were just a little too off-the-wall. In fact, it took decades before such bands became a reality.

Those that have come into existence since stick pretty close to that model of dual piano-less rhythm sections and horns, or, alternatively, a single one manning the frontline. Far more infrequent, however, are piano trios that bolster their lineup with a second bassist and drummer. CliffPools is exactly that. Its moniker stems from the names of two trios lead by pianist Pandelis Karayorgis. In the liners, this musician states the present unit arose out of two recordings he did in 2018, one with Damon Smith and Eric Rosenthal (Cliff), the other (Pools) with Nate McBride and Luther Gray (both issued on the same label as this offering).

But a double lineup can be a tricky proposition: a single drum set, as we all know, can get pretty loud on its own, so the risks of things getting out of hand do increase when adding another one. One bass certainly provides a welcome low rumble in any situation, but a second one can muddle the whole sound. And what then about the piano amidst all of this? If poorly mic'ed, as in a live setting, it can be easily drowned out.

But no need to worry here, and on two accounts as well. Firstly, the studio environment is a definite asset, one that allows for a better balance in sound and a more reliable instrument for the pianist. The bassists on this date are to be commended, especially when they match their moves nicely and create a real surging pulse on the more energetic numbers. Conversely, they can adopt different playing strategies, such as when one goes to the bow and the other plucks. Equally successful in their chores, the drummers provide a seamless rhythmic interplay that make you forget that there are two of them, a fact that may well be attributable to the way their tracks have been mixed.

As for the music, it is very much in keeping with a certain contemporary jazz aesthetic espoused by the pianist. Anyone familiar with Karayorgis's work knows him to be well versed in the jazz tradition but willing to explore more open terrains, harmonic, melodic and formal. Of the ten middle-length cuts on this hour-plus side, the leader reprises three previous-recorded works (not specified in the notes) while providing some loose sketches for the remainder. The first two cuts "Weft" and "Blue Shadow") showcase the range of this band, the first a free-wheeling romp that stays focused throughout, the latter a study of quiet intensity of quasi-Webernian sparseness. In the ensuing tracks, the dynamics tend more towards the upper part of the scale ("Warp" being the exception), but some ("Cocoon", track 3) go from one to the other. A particularly fine moment happens at the end of the aforementioned "Warp" that winds down ever so quietly on a single plucked bass note, only to dovetail into the next cut ("Formed Shed") that opens on a bass duo with the piano entering along the way and the drummers egging things on to the end. One of the many reasons that contribute to the success of a recording is to bring players together who know each other well, and another is to allow them to document their endeavors under the best possible conditions. This album definitely meets those criteria.



Karayorgis / McBride / Smith / Gray / Rosenthal: CliffPools
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