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Paul Dunmall / Matthew Shipp / Joe Morris :
The Bright Awakening (RogueArt)

A brilliant example of trans-Atlantic collective free improv from the quartet of New York free jazz heavies Matthew Shipp on piano, Joe Morris on double bass, Gerald Cleaver on drums, and UK tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall, playing in the tradition of ecstatic and extended free jazz in a nearly hour long live performance recorded at Roulette in Brookly in 2012. ... Click to View


Matthew Shipp / Evan Parker:
Leonine Aspects (RogueArt)

Meeting in France in 2017 for the Festival Météo de Mulhouse, Evan Parker alternating between soprano and tenor saxophones and Matthew Shipp on acoustic piano present an epic extended improvisation that naturally evolves through several sections, followed by a brief post-script, each musician attentively focused as they support the clarity of each other's playing. ... Click to View


Ikue Mori / Satoko Fujii / Natsuki Tamura:
Prickly Pear Cactus (Libra)

Extending their previous collaborations during the time of pandemic, NY electronic improviser Ikue Mori and Japanese improvisers Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and Satoko Fujii on piano developed this extraordinary ea-improv album via file exchange, starting with Fujii's piano improvisation to which Mori & Tamura added their layers, with Mori mixing the final startling results. ... Click to View


Albert Ayler Quintet 1966:
Berlin, Lorrach, Paris & Stockholm. Revisited [2 CDs] (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

... Click to View


Jim O'Rourke / Apartment House:
Best That You Do This For Me (Another Timbre)

The UK ensemble Apartment House commissioned this work from composer & experimenter Jim O'Rourke based on their performance of other O'Rourke works, here interpreting a new graphic score designed like a sonic mobile, creating a minimal yet episodic piece of flexible interpretation as the performers whistle, hum and quietly sing in combination with bowed harmonics. ... Click to View


Josten Myburgh:
Sculthorpe Studies (Another Timbre)

A large work by the Western Australian composer Josten Myburgh, using harmonies taken from the music of Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe blended with environmental field recordings, performed by Josten Myburgh on sax & electronics, Jet Kye Chong on percussion, Jameson Feakes on guitar, Djuna Lee on bass, Stuart James on piano & electronics, and Kirsten Smith on flutes. ... Click to View


Claire Chase:
Density 2036 [4 CDs] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Part of flutist Claire Chase's project to commission a modern body of work for the instrument, this 4-CD set features 17 works by 15 composers, including the multi-part album-long composition "Pan" by Brazilian-born Marcos Balter, with works for the entire flute family from piccolo to contrabass flute; participants include Tyshawn Sorey, Vijay Iyer, Pauline Oliveros, &c. ... Click to View


Sun Ra Quartet:
The Sky Is A Sea of Darkness When There is No Sun To Light The Way/Somewhere in Space [7-inch VINYL] (Art Yard)

A 7" single of two recordings from the Sun Ra Quartet, the first a 1978 recording featuring John Gilmore's "The Sky Is A Sea Of Darkness When There Is No Sun To Light The Way" performed with Michael RAy on trumpet, Luqman Ali on drums, and Gilmore on sax; the B-side presenting a 1958 version of "Somewhere in Space"; 70gm vinyl with picture sleeve. ... Click to View


Bill Dixon:
In Italy - Volume One [VINYL] (Soul Note Vinyl)

Originally released in 1980, this album reissues late trumpeter Bill Dixon's recording from Barigozzi Studio, in Milano, Italy in 1980, performing Dixon's tapestry-like compositions with Dixon on trumpet & piano, Arthur Brooks on trumpet, Stephen Haynes on trumpet, Stephen Horenstein on tenor & baritone saxophones, Alan Silva on bass, and Freddie Waits on drums. ... Click to View


Jessica Ackerley / Patrick Shiroishi:
Extremities [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

Employing a variety of strategies to free improv, guitarist Jessica Ackerley and saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi present 9 diverse dialogs, from extremely nearly silent and introspective interaction to full blown exclamation, using exceptional technique to coax unusual sounds from their instruments, always in service to well conceived momentum and expression. ... Click to View


The Locals (Thomas, Ward / Thomas / Lash / Hasson-Davis):
The Locals Play The Music Of Anthony Braxton (Discus)

An upbeat and energetic performance at the Konfrontation Festival, Ulrichsberg in 2006, featuring six early compositions by Anthony Braxton, arranged by pianist Pat Thomas and performed by the quintet of superb improviser and interpreters Alex Ward on clarinet, Evan Thomas on electric guitar, Dominic Lash on electric bass, and Darren Hasson-Davis on drums. ... Click to View


Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed:
The Ritual and The Dance (Astral Spirits)

An ecstatic and intense album of saxophone and drum improvisation from the duo of AACM legend Roscoe Mitchel and drummer Mike Reeds, also performing on electronics, the two Chicago mainstays performing at the Oorstof concert series Zuiderpershuis in Antwerp, Belgium in 2015 for an extended single improvisation of passionate and penetrating dialog. ... Click to View


Roscoe Mitchell & Mike Reed:
The Ritual and The Dance [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

An ecstatic and intense album of saxophone and drum improvisation from the duo of AACM legend Roscoe Mitchel and drummer Mike Reeds, also performing on electronics, the two Chicago mainstays performing at the Oorstof concert series at Zuiderpershuis in Antwerp, Belgium in 2015 for an extended single improvisation of passionate and penetrating dialog. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman Trio:
Garden of Jewels (Tao Forms)

A meeting of three master improvisers but also the three friends and frequent collaborators of Ivo Perelman on tenor sax, Matthew Shipp on piano, and Whit Dickey on drums, their familiarity showing in a collective compatibility and assurance heard especially in this studio album of exploratory discourse, each piece aptly dedicated to a precious jewel. ... Click to View


Helary / Rayon / Gilbert / Lavergne:
Glowing Life (Ayler)

French flutist Sylvaine Helary's new quartet explores a more electric branch of her work as a composer, in compositions that bridge improvisation and rock forms with song-like structures and narrative, performed with Antonin Rayon-Hammond Organ B3, Moog, piano & clavinet, Benjamin Glibert on electric guitar & bass, and Christophe Lavergne on drums. ... Click to View


Jeremiah Cymerman / Charlie Looker:
A Horizon Made of Canvas [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

A series of ominous duos on the dark side from NY improviser Jeremiah Cymerman on clarinets & pedals, and Charlie Looker (Extra Life, Psalm Zero) on guitars & piano, each of the five pieces exploring murky caverns of warmly bleak environments rendered through Looker's deep piano & guitar work, perforated by cracks of light through Cymerman's riffs & exclamations. ... Click to View


Jeremiah Cymerman / Charlie Looker:
A Horizon Made of Canvas (Astral Spirits)

A series of ominous duos on the dark side from NY improviser Jeremiah Cymerman on clarinets & pedals, and Charlie Looker (Extra Life, Psalm Zero) on guitars & piano, each of the five pieces exploring murky caverns of warmly bleak environments rendered through Looker's deep piano & guitar work, perforated by cracks of light through Cymerman's riffs & exclamations. ... Click to View


Tomas Fujiwara (w / Brennan / Reid):
7 Poets Trio (RogueArt)

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara composed these compositions specifically for his trio with Patricia Brennan (vibraphone) and Tomeka Reid (cello), beautifully orchestrated for the unique combination of instruments and the extraordinary technique of each player, resulting in lyrical improvisation performed with a clarity appropriate for each piece's dedication. ... Click to View


Gus Garside / Herve Perez:
The Unexpected Visitor (Orbit577)

Saxophonist Herve Perez and double bassist Gus Garside spent much of the pandemic lockdown recording these intimate duos, interpretations of a 13th Century Poem, "The Guest House" by Rumi, recording in their respective homes using software designed for real-time audio collaboration, as they developed this introspective set of dialogs with strong lyrical affinity between the two. ... Click to View


Various Artists curated by Nick Vander:
Walk My Way, Volume Two (Orbit577)

The second of a five-volume compilation series curated by Nick Vander, a testament to the incredible musical range of the guitar and the imaginative possibility of guitarists around the world, with tracks from David Stackenäs, Jessica Ackerley, Jorge Espinal, Usui Yasuhiro, Scott Fields, Sebastian Sequoiah.Grayson0, Sam Shalabi, Shinobu Nemoto and Nyctalllz. ... Click to View


Natsuki Tamura / Satoko Fujii / Ramon Lopez:
Mantle (Not Two)

While on a tour of Japan in 2019, Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez asked trumpeter Natsuki Tamura to join them, and to join in a challenge to write a new piece of music for the trio each day while on tour; this studio album selects the finest of those compositions, performed with nearly telepathic control in a mix of fire and lyrical beauty. ... Click to View


Step In (Carlo Morena / Joe Fonda / Felix Lecaros Herrera):
Voila La Tendresse (Not Two)

Pianist Carlo Morena leads this lyrical and energetic piano trio with bassist Joe Fonda and drummer FĂ©lix Lecaros Herrera, performing 6 Morena compositions and one piece by Emil Boyd, recording at the Firehouse 12 studio in Connecticut for the 3rd album under the Step In name, and the first with drummer Herrera; upbeat but never cloying, a very compelling album. ... Click to View


Mars Williams / Vasco Trilla:
Spiracle (Not Two)

A truly unique duo album of sax and drums from Chicago reedist Mars Williams and Spanish percussionist Vasco Trilla, using their immense technical skills to pivot reflective and meditative playing around exuberant free jazz spirit, maintaining a sense of journey and sonic introspection through unusual and extended technique; a beautifully balanced album. ... Click to View


Georg Graewe / Sonic Fiction Orchestra:
Fortschritt und Vergnugen (Random Acoustics)

First introduced at the "Konfrontationen" festival in Nickelsdorf in 2006, German pianist and composer Georg Graewe's Sonic Fiction Orchestra developed these diverse works of jazz, fusion-tinged, and chamber improv during a residency at the 2018/19 Porgy & Bess in Vienna, recording in the studio in 2020 for this impressive album, particularly the large "Redshift E" composition. ... Click to View


Souchal / Nick / Lazro / Cappozzo:
Neigen (Ayler)

An album of explorative and restrained improvisation, primarily acoustic but also using object and an electro-acoustic octave violin, from the quartet of Nicolas Souchal on trumpet & flugelhorn, Michael Nick on violin & electro acoustic octave violin, Daunik Lazro on tenor & baritone saxophones, and Jean-Luc Cappozzo on trumpet, flugelhorn & objects. ... Click to View


Gary Lucas:
The Essential Gary Lucas [2 CDs] (Knitting Factory)

A retrospective of the work of guitarist and one-time Captain Beefheart Magic Band member Gary Lucas, in two CDs, the first devoted to songs recorded with Lucas' psychedelic jazz-rock band Gods and Monsters, the second devoted to solo works, rarities and collaborations, with an incredible list of performers reflecting Lucas' diverse 40-year career. ... Click to View


Vasco Trilla:
Unmoved Mover (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

A dramatic set of improvisations performed on timpani and gongs from Spanish percussionist Vasco Trilla, from the quietest of moments to massively profound and encompassing events, Trilla's timing evoking both meditative passages and moments of power, in a rich and spiritual album that impresses by both technical ability and by the sense of story he reveals. ... Click to View


Alex Cunningham :
Echo's Bones Were Turned to Stone [CASSETTE] (Storm Cellar)

A muscular album of improvised "fiddling" from St. Louis violinist Alex Cunningham, five works of assertive playing based on recurring and evolving figures, often rapid string patterns that show Cunningham's skill and stamina on the instrument, interspersed with quirky expressions and extraneous instrumental sound that keep his listeners on edge and captivated. ... Click to View


Steve Baczkowski / Bill Nace:
Success [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Notice Recordings)

A rough-and-tumble improv encounter between Steve Baczkowski performing on tenor & baritone saxophones and Bill Nace performing on electric guitar, captured live at The Wild Detectives in Dallas, Texas for two extended improvisations, the first a cantankerously energetic exchange, the second mysteriously evolving from introspective to barbed interaction and back. ... Click to View


Montgomery & Turner :
Sounds Passing Through Circumstances [CASSETTE W/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Editions)

Chicago sound artists Jayve Montgomery on saxophone & flute and Nick Turner on Mellotron, present an epic two part work of effected sound, two contemplative pieces of twilight environments, the first mysteriously punctuated with distant percussive elements, the second a hopeful work of glacial melody and harmonic tones; a great sonic companion under the influence. ... Click to View



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  George Lewis / Ozana Omelchuk (Studio Dan) 
  Breaking News  
  (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd) 


  
   review by Brian Olewnick
  2021-01-14
George Lewis / Ozana Omelchuk (Studio Dan): Breaking News (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Two very different long form works from Lewis and Omelchuk, each performed by Studio Dan, a nine- or ten-piece ensemble containing strings, reeds, keyboards and percussion.

Lewis' "As We May Feel" is one of the sonically richest pieces this listener has heard from him in quite some time, kind of a more concise, fuller expression of the work he's recently done with Berlin's Splitter Orchester. The structure is modular and flowing, no repeated themes but also more organically connected than episodic. Much of the music at the outset is quite forceful and bright, bearing, to these ears, very tenuous traces of big bands from Ellington's reed and brass sections to George Russell's knottier ensembles to some of Braxton's large group pieces. But it's Lewis' presence that permeates, even if the general language he uses seems to be derived from 60s Western European models (Xenakis, Kagel). He, and certainly the ensemble, invest the work with a consistently vibrant character, dense, rich and rumbling, each phase carefully but forcibly limned. Brian Morton's notes, which contain fascinating information about both pieces' connection to the writings of Vannevar Bush, give no indication as to whether Lewis allowed for improvisation among the musicians, though I suspect so.

'Wow and Flutter" (for 2 Trombones and Ensemble) by Omelchuk is another beast entirely. Per the liners concerned with the history of musical reproduction, it reads on the surface as a variation on the kind of collage construction, referencing numerous often disparate traditions, that was popular in the 80s. The themes are much more direct and approachable, sometimes undergirded by an intriguing tissue of low trombones, veering off into snatches of ragtime, operetta, later jazz (including a straight quote from Mingus) and more. A deep, nicely awkward bass motif that sounds like it could have been lifted from a warped old Saturn LP is accosted by light percussion and string scrapes, settling into an odd and effective kind off-kilter, slow motion dance. This is followed by a brassy fanfare with aggressive, jazzy drumming, punchy and insistent; the episodic nature that Lewis managed to skillfully avoid is in full force here. Each section offers a good deal of interest and enjoyment and, as with the first piece, the music is excellently performed, but the overall effect is somewhat lacking. When the work ends with a recording of Bessie Smith's "St. Louis Blues", we're presented with the same dichotomy: the music is great; its connection with what has preceded is more problematic.



George Lewis / Ozana Omelchuk (Studio Dan): Breaking News
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Paul Dunmall /
Matthew Shipp /
Joe Morris :
The Bright Awakening
(RogueArt)



Albert Ayler Quintet 1966:
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Paris & Stockholm.
Revisited
[2 CDs]
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Hat Hut Records Ltd)



Ikue Mori /
Satoko Fujii /
Natsuki Tamura:
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Cactus
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Matthew Shipp /
Evan Parker:
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Claire Chase:
Density 2036
[4 CDs]
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The Locals
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Thomas /
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Brennan /
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