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John Zorn: The Song Project Vinyl Singles Edition [6 7" + 32 page booklet] (Tzadik)

In celebration of his 60th Birthday, Zorn asked his most acclaimed vocal collaborators to write lyrics to select compositions from his vast musical catalog, peformed by an all-star band of Zorn regulars, presented in a beautiful box set of 7" records and a 32-page book. ... Click to View


John Zorn: The Last Judgment (Tzadik)

Zorn's Templar Quartet of Mike Patton (voice), John Medeski (organ), Trevor Dunn (bass), and Joey Baron (drums), present the final CD of their Moonchild septology, emotional and wrenching music for the accusations of heresy charged against the medieval Knights Templar order. ... Click to View


Karl Berger: Gently Unfamiliar (Tzadik)

Pianist, vibraphonist, and composer Karl Berger presents his 2nd release in a trilogy of Tzadik CDs that started with the solo "Strangely Familiar", here in a trio with Joe Fonda on bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums, lyrical free bop jazz in 7 rich and distinctive movements. ... Click to View


The Thing With Thurston Moore: Live (The Thing Records)

On tour for their album "Boot!", the Scandinavian free-jazz monsters of Mats Gustafsson (sax), Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten (bass) teamed up with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth fame at London's Cafe OTO to produce some heavy improvised thunder. ... Click to View


The Thing With Thurston Moore: Live [VINYL] (The Thing Records)

On tour for their album "Boot!", the Scandinavian free-jazz monsters of Mats Gustafsson (sax), Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten (bass) teamed up with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth fame at London's Cafe OTO to produce some heavy improvised thunder. ... Click to View


Jaap Blonk / Damon Smith: Hugo Ball: Sechs Laut- Und Klanggedichte 1916 (Six Sound Poems, 1916) (Balance Point Acoustics)

Three free improvisations for voice & double bass + improvisations on Hugo Ball's Six Sound Poems from the duo of free improvising vocalist Jaap Blonk and double bassist Damon Smith. ... Click to View


Schlippenbach Trio: First Recordings (Trost Records)

These 1972 trio recordings of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's Trio with Evan Parker on tenor & soprano sax, and Paul Lovens on drums recording at the Workshop Freie Musik at the Acadamy of the Arts, Berlin, were found in the FMP archives and are issued for the first time ever. ... Click to View


Jonas Kullhammar : Gentlemen (Original Motion Picture Jazz Tracks) (Moserobie Music)

Saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar leads various groupings of Carl Bagge on piano, Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass, Johan Holmegard on drums, Bernt Rosengren on sax, Goran Kajfes on cornet & Mattias Stahl on vibes in this soundtrack album for the motion picture "Gentlemen". ... Click to View


Mathias Landaeus : Into Life (Moserobie Music)

Pianist Mathias Landaeus leads his trio with Johnny Aman on bass and Jonas Holgersson on drums through five original pieces, a mazurka by Chopin, and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", an eclectic take on the piano trio blending modern techniques with both traditional and creative compositions. ... Click to View


The Wire: #370 December 2014 [MAGAZINE] (The Wire)

From funk to fire music, punk to psychedelia, noise to improv, Wire writers apply their minds to the subject of freedom in music; Plus: Invisible Jukebox: Peter Zummo; Cross Platform: Ursula Mayer; Global Ear: Ainu Music in Hokkaido; &c. &c. ... Click to View


Jonas Kullhammar : Gentlemen (Original Motion Picture Jazz Tracks) [VINYL 2 LPs + CD] (Moserobie Music)

Saxophonist Jonas Kullhammar leads various groupings of Carl Bagge on piano, Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass, Johan Holmegard on drums, Bernt Rosengren on sax, Goran Kajfes on cornet & Mattias Stahl on vibes in this soundtrack album for the motion picture "Gentlemen". ... Click to View


Mathias Landaeus : Into Life [VINYL] (Moserobie Music)

Pianist Mathias Landaeus leads his trio with Johnny Aman on bass and Jonas Holgersson on drums through five original pieces, a mazurka by Chopin, and Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", an eclectic take on the piano trio blending modern techniques with both traditional and creative compositions. ... Click to View


Zu & Eugene Robinson: The Left Hand Path [VINYL] (Trost Records)

Zu reveals their dark side with Jacopo Battaglia & Thomas Luca Mai performing on electronics and Massimo focused on guitars, plus guest Luca Tilli on cello; the recordings were sent to Oxbow's Eugene S Robison, resulting in this mysterious and disturbing release. ... Click to View


Pierre-Yves Martel : Continuum (Tour de Bras)

A solo work from Pierre-Yves Martel performing two works for the viola da gamba, bringing this fretted renaissance-era ancestor to the violin into the 21st century through two slowly evolving and sonically fascinating pieces. ... Click to View


The Sands: Beast To Bone (Self Released)

Singer/songwriter Julie McGeer leads a band of some of Western Canada's foremost players from the jazz and indie scene including Peggy Lee, JP Carter, Paul Rigby, Cole Schmidt, Darren Parris & Barry Mirochnik in an embraceable album combining jazz, indie pop and folk roots. ... Click to View


Ghedalia Tazartes : Hysterie Off Music [VINYL] (Holidays Records)

A remaster and reissue of Ghedalia Tazartes' 2000 release, an uncompromising clash of field recordings, sampled instruments and Tazartes' incomparable vocal eclecticism, made of emotional psalms and shamanic hymns. ... Click to View


Joe Morris: Mess Hall (Hatology)

Dark, edgy and superb electric guitar work from Joe Morris in a trio with Stave Lantner on electric keyboard and Jerome Deupree on drums, the final part of what Morris calls "Big Loud Electric Guitar Trilogy" that started with "Sweatshop" and "Racket Club", following the Hendrix legacy. ... Click to View


Luzia Von Wyl Ensemble: Frost (Hatology)

Swiss pianist/composer Luzia von Wyl and her Ensemble of jazz and classical performers presents von Wyl's compositions that borrow from modern and early jazz, chamber music and world sources, in works that draw on her experiences traveling and performing through the world. ... Click to View


Karlheinz Stockhausen : Mantra (performed by Mark Knoop, Roderick Chadwick and Newton Armstrong) (Hat [now] ART)

Stockhausen's late 60s composition "Mantra" was a return to his intricately systematised approach to musical construction, expanding the possibilities and potentialities of the serial principle to allow for more melodic and embraceable compositions. ... Click to View


Liza Lim: Orchestral Works (Hat [now] ART)

Composer Liza Lim presents 3 lesser known works: "The Compass" for orchestra with solo parts for flute and didgeridoo; "Pearl, Ochre, Hair String" featuring a cello solo using a guiro bow; and "The Guest" written for recorder soloist Jeremias Schwarzer. ... Click to View


Jean-Luc Guionnet & Eric La Casa: Home: Handover [4 CD SET] (Potlatch)

Jean-Luc Guionnet and Eric La Casa in a work for the Uninstal Festival interviewing inhabitants of Glasgow in their home spaces, the results organized into compositions blending spoken word, music, improvisation and field recordings; each CD unveils the process of the composition. ... Click to View


Surruralist(e)s, The/Le: Sortablue (Tour de Bras)

The duo of Arthur Bull on guitars & harmoia and Eric Normand on electric bass and tenor banjo, and both on voice, taking on American rural songs--delta blues, cajun music, and Quebecois laments, &c--with a modern eye and a good sense of humor. ... Click to View


Magda Mayas / Damon Smith / Tony Buck: Spill Plus (Nuscope)

Spill Plus is (prepared) pianist Magda Mayas and drummer Tony Buck (Spill) with double-bassist Damon Smith, using extended language, unusual preparations and objects to create a unique, intricate, and quietly powerful approach to free improvised music. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmall Sextet: Life in Four Parts (FMR)

Recorded for his 60th birthday celebrations, this all star recording includes Mike Fletcher (sax, bagpipes), Percy Pursglove (trumpet), Mike Hurley (piano/organ), Chris Mapp (bass) and Mark Sanders (drums) plus special quests Simon hall (bass trombone) and Bethan Jones (bass drum). ... Click to View


Deep Whole Trio (Dunmall / Rogers / Sanders): That Deep Calling (FMR)

The UK trio of Paul Dunmall on saxophone, Paul Rogers on bass and Mark Sanders on drum, performing live at the Lamp Tavern in Birmingham, 2013, for three extended free improvisations of masterful playing. ... Click to View


Riverloam Trio: Inem Gortn (FMR)

An international trio bringing together Polish saxophonist Mikolaj Trzaska with Brits Olie Brice on bass and Mark Sanders on drums, passionate free improvisation in an Ayler/Brotzmann vein, in 8 absorbing and concise pieces recorded in the studio. ... Click to View


Vincente / Pinheiro / Faustino / Franco: Clocks And Clouds (FMR)

Referencing Ligeti's composition of the same name, Portuguese trumpeter Luis Vicente is joined by 2/3 of the RED Trio--Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano) & Hernani Faustino (bass)-- along with drummer Marco Franco, to record an album of lively collective improvisation of great skill. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmall / Paul Rogers / Philip Gibbs: The Clouds Turned Silver (FMR)

A trio of frequent collaborators--Paul Dunmall on flute, soprano sax & bass clarinet, Philip Gibbs on guitar and Paul Rogers on bass--performing live at the Victoria Rooms in Briston, 2013 for four extended melodic, interactive and far-ranging free improvisations. ... Click to View


Geoff Warren: The Quartet Album (FMR)

Focusing on the flute, Geoff Warren's quarter with Raffaele Pallozzi (piano), Marco Di Marzio (bass) and Walter Caratelli (drums) present an impressive melodic and informed album of contemporary jazz quoting Roland Kirk, Soft Machine, folk music and much more. ... Click to View


Thomas Heberer / Pascal Niggenkemper : Miner's Pick (FMR)

Astute improvisations using extended language from the duo of Thomas Heberer (ICP) on cornet and Pascal Niggenkemper on double bass, two European free improvisers based in New York and pushing the limits of the improvised duo in accessible ways. ... Click to View


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John Zorn 
Redbird  
(Tzadik (1995)) 

review by Brian Olewnick
2003-08-20
John Zorn: Redbird (Tzadik (1995))

For all his hyperkinetic musical activity over the last few decades, some of Zorn's most beautiful moments have, for me, been those rare examples of stasis, when he reaches a territory and allows himself to observe instead of quickly disrupting it. Granted, those moments are few and far between, but things like the closing minutes of his string quartet Forbidden Fruit, the brief, lonesome surf guitar forays played by Ribot in Bar Khokba or even, in an odd way, the entirety of Leng T'Che with its obsessive exploration of one fearful emotion are among the examples of his music that have had the most staying power for me.

When 'Redbird' appeared, I was immediately heartened by the lovely Agnes Martin painting adorning its front cover. Not only was this a refreshing change from what I found to be the increasingly puerile and shock-for-shock's-sake illustrations more typically found on his releases, but for what it possibly promised regarding the music within. Happily, the artwork and music share a common sensibility.

The first of two pieces, 'Dark River' is a solo performance by Jim Pugliese on bass drum. It has, ostensibly, one zone of reference: the low rumble. But over the course of its nine minutes, Pugliese creates a palpable world wherein one never has any sense of sameness but instead a breathing pocket of reality. No steady rhythms, only mild fluctuations in volume, just a natural, billowing flow of deep, echoing booms achieving an almost wind-like quality at times. I have no idea how much of this is to the credit of Pugliese's own creativity or Zorn's score (I imagine a bit of both) but it's a trivial matter. It's also, presumably intentionally, an intriguing prologue to 'Redbird' proper, a processional of sorts, dark into medium light.

Zorn had cited Morton Feldman as an influence on many prior occasions but I was rarely, if ever, able to hear it in his actual music. That breathing quality, the ultra-slow rhythms as subtly irregular as they were organic, found little expression in the younger composer's work. Redbird is about as close as I've heard him get, and it's a ravishing achievement. I'm reminded very much of Feldman's orchestral work For Samuel Beckett in the sense the listener gets of having stumbled into an ongoing performance, a piece that began well before you hear the first note and continues well after the disc is over. Scored for harp, viola, cello and percussion, it also has an instrumental flavor akin to a number of Feldman's chamber works. Other influences make their presence known to be sure: one hears snatches of George Crumb and you can even pick up some sonorities in the strings that recall Ornette Coleman's 'The Skies of America'. There's also a plaintive, almost romantic aspect to some of the writing, something Feldman might abhor (though he, too, didn't sidestep it completely) but which, in my opinion, is a central part of Zorn's persona. The overall feeling is of being on a gentle seesaw, undulating back and forth, seeing almost the same view reappear time after time but always noticing some new detail, some different tinge. Eventually, it stops rather than ends.

It's been several years now since I've picked up a new Zorn release; although he'd occasionally explore similarly intriguing areas (as in Duras), too much of his recent work had struck me as treading water, and less and less interesting water at that. Although it's perhaps too much to ask of so restless a composer, I still wouldn't mind if, at least once in a while, he picked a plot of land and worked it, then worked it some more, then continued to work it. I'm fairly confident that I'd be pleasantly surprised at what he was able to grow.





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