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Four German saxophonists are heard in three sophisticated and extremely creative chamber-oriented improvisations recorded at Kulturzentrum Hufeisen from Andreas Krennerich on soprano, sopranino & baritone saxophones; Frank Paul Schubert on alto & soprano saxophones; Hartmut Osswald on tenor sax & bass clarinet; and Nils Fischer on baritone sax & contrabass clarinet. ... Click to View


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Perhaps referring to their "Pan"-global membership, with improvisers from Europe, Iran, Palestine and South Korea, an unusual instrumentation including the kanun and keneche, the Pan quintet recorded this album using unconventional composing methods and the integration of sound processing and extraneous interjections, a truly unique album of encompassing improvisation. ... Click to View


Stephen Flinn:
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Schindler / Kepl:
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Track titles are borrowed from Friederike Mayröcker for their "concentrated word acrobatics and linguistic sensuality", and apt analogy to the duo of Udo Schindler on clarinets & cornet, and Iren Kepl on violin, who are recorded live at the 95th Salon für Klang+Kunst Krailling in Munich, 2019, in a set of 9 delicately virtuosic dialogs that use extended and unusual techniques. ... Click to View


Naoki Kita / Guilherme Rodrigues / Naoto Yamagishi :
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The trio of Portuguese cellist Guilherme Rodrigues, Japanese percussionist Naoto Yamagish currently residing in France, and Japanese violinist Naoki Kita, active in improvisation and contemporary fields in Portugal and Berlin, met in Saitama, Japan at Barber Fuji to record these open conversations integrating extraneous noise and incidental instrument sounds. ... Click to View


Rasmus Borg:
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Seven improvisations for solo piano from Swedish composer and pianist Rasmus Borg, recording in Stockholm in a contemplative contemporary mode, as evidenced by titles like "Nocturne", "Waltz", "Toccata", &c, referencing established forms through instant compositions, a reflection of his statement that Borg likes "melody, harmony, going in circles, canons". ... Click to View


Franklin / Gill:
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A series of improvisations recorded in an afternoon in Melbourne, Australia between bass guitarist Joseph Franklin and saxophonist Sam Gill on alto & soprano, this the debut of their duo work that since 2018 has developed a unique discourse of adept interaction from calmly precise to rapid & disciplined exchanges, connected by with textural and exploratory periods. ... Click to View


Other Plastics (Dominic Coles / Hunter Brown):
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Unusual glitch and extreme electronics improvised by the duo of New York artist Dominic Cole and Chicago/NY artist Hunter Brown (Sound Tribe Sector Nine), using approaches including glitch, noise & circuit bending in 9 pieces with tongue-in-cheek titles, balancing erratic moments with exploratory sections and near silence, an interesting and enigmatic album of aberrant electronics. ... Click to View


[SNDNG STTNS] Kifpfmuller / Janek feat. Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues :
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Since 2014 the collective [SNDNG STTNS] has explored theatrical situations between musictheatre, staging and composition with live music, instruments, recordings, samples, speach and live editing, this work featuring cellist Guilherme Rodrigues bridges the art of the brazilian "violeros" with contemporary music, acoustic and electronic composition and improvisation. ... Click to View


Cortex (Hoyer / Nilssen / Alberts / Johansson):
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Ballrogg (Ellerhusen-Holm / Arntzen / Stackenas):
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The Norwegian trio Ballrog, which started as the duo of Klaus Ellerhusen-Holm on clarinet and Roger Arntzen on double bass, then expanded with guitarist Ivar Grydeland, who is replaced by guitarist David Stackenäus, a perfect choice for the lyrical chamber approach of intertwining lines and fluid melodic statement, with a sense of "free chamber americana"; beautiful. ... Click to View


Chrome Hill (Lerheim / Arntzen / Lofthus / Nymo):
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Self-described as Scandinavian jazz rock noir, the Chrome Hill quartet of Asbjorn Lerheim on baritone guitar, Roger Arntzen on double bass, Torstein Lofthus on drums & vibraphone, and Atle Nymo on tenor saxophone, present a dramatic album of contrasts inspired by cinematic and musical moods, merging elements of folk, Delta blues and cowboy rock into their darkly cool sound. ... Click to View


Warriors of the Wonderful Sound Expanded Ensemble, The:
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AACM legend Muhal Richard Abrams was commissioned by Philadelphia saxophonist Bobby Zankel to compose for Zankel's large ensemble Warriors of the Wonderful Sound, this monumental piece premiered in 2012, but only in 2018 was a 2nd performance possible, conducted by Marty Ehrlich and receiving 2 standing ovations, the band recording this studio version the next day at Drexel University. ... Click to View


Lencastre / Nuno / Faustino / Valinho:
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Three heavy "Concept" pieces of electric jazz from the quartet of Lisbon saxophonist José Lencastre, electric bassist Felipe Zenicola (from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), drummer João Valinho and Jorge Nuno, a guitarist generally associated with psychedelic rock, as the band slowly seethes through a brew that flirts with rock and 70s fusion in unique ways. ... Click to View


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Luisa Goncalves :
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A rich and lyrical album of solo piano improvisation from Lisbon-based Portuguese pianist Luísa Gonçalves, improvised yet merging elements of contemporary compositional music into beautiful and graceful forms that she reveals in a contemplative and pensive mood, savoring her notes and progressions while allowing melody to come forward in sophisticated ways. ... Click to View


Joao Lobo (Lobo / Lobo / Kempeneer):
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Drummer Joao Lobo's trio with guitarist Norberto Lobo and double bassist Soet Kempeneer perform the drummer's dynamic compositions, along with one traditional works, a tight trio of highly interactive playing and a sense of familial interplay as the band weaves around Lobo's layered drumming and emphatic grooves, taking time for introspection among their energetic spontaneity. ... Click to View


Andre Goncalves :
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A compilation of compositions for conventional, acoustic, musical instruments, performed through synthetics and computer processing as an album of electronic music, composed by Lisbon based sound and media artist André Gonçalves, each of 9 parts simply titled "Instrumental", and each a fascinating microcosm of kinetic, synthetic-acoustic potential. ... Click to View


Kahil El'Zabar:
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Chicago multi-percussionist Kahil El'Zabar composes, arranges and conducts a tour de force musical testament to speak about the turbulent issues in America and the world today, as well as his hopes and love for a better tomorrow, in a 12-piece ensemble including Hamiet Bluiett, Tomeka Reid, Corey Wilkes, Dennis Winslett, and the James Sanders String Quartet. ... Click to View


Sabu Toyozumi / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan / Isla Antinero / Stella Ignacio:
The Search for the Five Senses (Sol Disk Records)

Recorded during Sabu Toyozumi's first collaboration with Rick Countryman in 2017, this album features music from the same nights that produced Jya-Ne and Center of Contradiction: 6 tracks from an August 11th quintet performance with voice and trombone, and electric bass; plus 2 tracks from the following night in a trio format with acoustic bass. ... Click to View


Schubert / Schlippenbach / Blume:
Forge (Relative Pitch)

"Merge" aptly describes the nearly telepathic interplay between these three European Free Improv masters -- Alexander von Schlippenbach on piano, Frank Paul Schubert on alto & soprano saxophones, and Martin Blume on drums -- recorded live in 2019 at Ruhr Jazz Fest, in Bochum, Germany, for an expansive 47 minute improvisation and a brief "Forgin the Work" conclusion. ... Click to View


Jooklo Trio (Genta / Vanzan / Lopez):
It Is What It Is (Relative Pitch)

A raucous blast of free jazz, electrifyingly extending the Italian improv unit Jooklo Duo of drummer/percussionist David Vanzan and saxophonist Virginia Genta, here on amplified tenor & sopranino saxophones, with New York improviser Brandon Lopez on electric bass, burning six hair-raising pieces of aggressive free improv of exemplary relentlessness. ... Click to View


Samara Lubelski :
Partial Infinite Sequence (Relative Pitch)

Performing solo on violin with surrounding effects that emphasize the dramatic tension in her extended sequences, Samara Lubelski presents two substantial journeys into the infinite, swirling in delays and reverb as her bow transitions from rapid up and down to long drawing and sustaining, pulling a variety of sounds that elate her listeners in spirals and eddies. ... Click to View


Susanna Gartmayer / Christoph Kurzmann:
Smaller Sad (Klanggalerie )

The first meeting between the Austrian duo of bass clarinetist Susanna Gartmayer and Christof Kurzmann, here using ppool software, voice and rubber band, creating 4 elusive and immersive works that float somewhere in the void between experimental electronics, improvisation and song, creating diaphanous tension and mysterious environments; spellbinding. ... Click to View


Tomeka Reid / Joe Morris:
Combinations (RogueArt)

New York and Chicago string improvisers combine for an album of dense abstractions through individual lines that weave between the two players, briefly combining then moving off to independent methods, as guitarist Joe Morris and cellist Tomeka Reid meet in a Brooklyn studio to record ten improvisations, including one each dedicated to their home cities. ... Click to View


Charlotte Greve / Vinnie Sperrazza / Chris Tordini:
The Choir Invisible (Intakt)

The first recording for the New York-based trio formed in 2017 by Germany/NY saxophonist Charlotte Greve, Brooklyn-based bassist Chris Trodini and drummer Vinnie Sperazza, all three composing for the band as they integrate composed structures and improvised sections with an ear towards lyrical interplay, create a diverse and optimistic first outing of buoyant jazz. ... Click to View


Christoph Irniger Trio (w / Raffaele Bossard / Ziv Ravitz):
Open City (Intakt)

Swiss saxophonist & composerChristoph Irniger extends his long-running trio of bassist Raffaele Bossard and drummer Ziv Ravitz with Brooklyn alto saxophonist Loren Stillmand and German trombonist Nils Wogram, combining arrangement and improvisation in the jazz tradition, performed with inventive clarity and a strong regard for melody, making this an upbeat and creative album of modern jazz. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Miguel Almeida / Andre Lanca / Bernardo Alvares / Felice Furioso:
Un Seul Regard Le Chant Petri De Beaute Un Mot Vert (Creative Sources)

Acoustic and sublime minimal acoustic improvisation with an emphasis on strings from the Portuguese quintet of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Miguel Almeida on acoustic guitar, Andre Lanca on electric guitar, Bernardo Alvares on double bass, and Felice Furioso on percussion, performing live during the Small Format Materials Festival at Galeria Monumental, in Lisbon. ... 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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