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Wadada Smith Leo Great Lakes Quartet:
The Chicago Symphonies [4 CD BOX SET] (Tum)

Inspired by Don Cherry's 1966 Symphony For Improvisers and intended to illustrate the profound cultural contributions Chicagoans & Midwesterners have made, trumpeter Leo Smith's presents four expansive symphonies, three performed with Henry Threadgill (sax & flute), John Lindberg (bass) and Jack DeJohnette (drums), the fourth with Jonathon Haffner (sax) plus Smith, Lindberg and DeJohnette. ... Click to View

Wadada Smith Leo / Vijay Iyer / Jack Dejohnette :
A Love Sonnet For Billie Holiday (Tum)

One of two albums marking trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's 80th birthday, and showing his creative and technical skills still in peak form, here in a trio for the first time uniting independent collaborators, pianist & keyboardist Vijay Iyer and drummer Jack DeJohnette, in compositions from each of the performers plus one collective improvisation. ... Click to View

Sten Sandell / Lisa Ullen:
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The first duo album by pianists Sten Sandell and Lisa Ullén, recorded in their home country of Sweden, performing eight freely improvised piano works which include the two-part "Double Music" and two-part "Onyx", each recording contrasting complex interplay of discord and harmony with beautiful passages of introspection and intellectual depth; a remarkable merging of masterful talent. ... Click to View

Friends & Neighbors (Roligheten / Johansson / Gronberg / Rune Strom / Ostvang):
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Referencing 60s free jazz (the band's name is from an Ornette Coleman album) and structuring their tunes with melodic heads that develop into intricate structures giving the players room for impressive soloing, in the 5th album from the Scandinavian quintet of Andre Roligheten (winds), Thomas Johansson (trumpets), Oscar Gronberg (piano), Jon Rune Strom (bass), and Tollef Ostvang (drums). ... Click to View

Crazy Doberman:
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The Indiana collective Crazy Doberman in a 15-performer configuration including core members Tim Gick and Drew Davis, merging jazz and indescribable approaches to free improvisation with a mix of acoustic & electronic instruments, building their pieces from mysteriously cantankerous rumination to ecstatic grooves and much in-between. ... Click to View

Jerome Bryerton / Damon Smith :
There Must be a Reason for Generating Sounds... [CD + BOOKMARK] (Balance Point Acoustics)

From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, drummer Jerome Bryterton & double bassist Damon Smith toured & recorded with legendary German multi-reedist Wolfgang Fuchs, who was a great influence on both musicians, here presenting a tribute to the late improviser through 11 recordings titled with quotes from Fuchs, and released with a bookmark from an improvisation workshop in Oakland. ... Click to View

New Old Luten Quintet:
Big Pauer (Euphorium)

Opening with a powerful solo set from pianist Elan Pauer the album, released on the occasion of Pauer's 80the birthday, then reveals itself to be the incredible free jazz quintet of of Pauer, Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky on clarinet & shepherds' flutes, both John Edwards & Robert Landfermann on double bass, and Christian Lillinger on drums & percussion. ... Click to View

Block Ensemble (Ratkje / Joh / Pernille / Ingvaldsen / Rasmussent ...):
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Conceived by saxophonist Kirstoffer Berre Alberts and Lasse Marhaug, who composed this large acoustic work for strings, percussion, blowing instruments, pipes (organ and accordion) and vocals, soliciting solo recordings created in isolation during the pandemic which they layered and blocked in the studio to create these two remarkable works of eccentric timbre, motion & pitch. ... Click to View

Ritual Habitual (Marogna / Almeida / Ernsting):
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Presented as a a tribute to past jazz masters John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Don Cherry and Charlie Haden, Rotterdam's Ritual Habitual trio led by double bassist Gonçalo Almeida with drummer Philipp Ernsting and Riccardo Maronga on tenor sax, bass clarinet & synthesizers, create a sense of ritual through deep repetition of modern creative jazz rooted in free jazz tradition. ... Click to View

Steve Swell's Systems For Total Immersion:
Hommage A Luciano Berio (Silkheart)

After Bartok and Messiaen, trombonist & composer Steve Swell takes his sextet with Marty Ehrlich (winds), Sam Newsome (sax), Jim Pugliese (marimba), Ellen Christi (voice) and Gerald Cleaver (drums) into an exploration of Italian composer Luciano Berio with a diverse set of works reflecting Berio's vast curiosity and ovouer; a spectacular collection from a fantastic band. ... Click to View

William Parker / Patricia Nicholson:
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An unapologetically political album from double bassist William Parker in collaboration with poet Patricia Nicholson, confronting injustice and inequality through spoken word set over Parker's compositions, performed with James Brandon Lewis on tenor saxophone, Devin Brahja Waldman on alto saxophone, Francisco Mela on drums, vocals, Melanie Dyer on viola and Gerald Cleaver on drums. ... Click to View

Charles Noyes K. / Elliott Sharp:
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A series of collaborative electracoustic improvisations recorded remotely during the pandemic by long-time associates, electric guitarist Charles K. Noyes and multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp, here performing on arches h line (a 9-string double neck instrument), violinoid, triple course bass pantar, analog synthesizers, sax & bass clarinet. ... Click to View

Futari (Satoko Fujii / Taiko Saito):
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Pandemic restrictions having cancelled their European tour, the Futari duo of pianist Satoko Fujii and vibraphonist Taiko Saito chose instead to develop a new collaborative album of improvisations exchanged by sound file, each intently listening to the other's recordings, their care and pensive responses creating an astounding and sublime album of stunningly beautiful music. ... Click to View

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The second duo collaboration of Chicago percussionist Hamid Drake (Fred Anderson, Peter Brotzmann, DKV Trio, &c) and guitarist Dan Phillips (Chicago Edge Ensemble, Quartet Next, Dan Phillips Trio, Dan Phillips Quartet), recording in the studio for 11 improvisations that present a variety of moods and intensity, in textures and melodies from minimal to intricate interplay. ... Click to View

Big Bad Brotzmann Trio (feat John Edwards / John Eckhardt):
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Two recordings from naTo in Leipzig, Germany, the first an energetic free jazz romp from the Big Bad Brötzmann Trio of Peter Brötzmann on tenor sax & taragato, Oliver Schwerdt on piano & percussion and Christian Lillinger on drums & percussion; then a furtively powerful double bass duo between John Edwards and John Eckhardt, a tour de force of extended technique and deep sound. ... Click to View

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An unusually contemplative solo record from New York pianist Matthew Shipp, belying the intricately subtle density of his inventive approach to solo piano improvisation, with an innate lyricism through unusual motive and direction; perhaps one of the most succinct and concise albums Shipp has released, and a beautiful reflection of his creative intentions. ... Click to View

Darius Jones:
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Drawing on compositions from black artists who have created something uniquely their own--Sun Ra, Ornette Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Georgia Anne Muldrow--alto saxophonist Darius Jones pulls from the depths of emotion and vulnerability in five solo tracks recorded in Portland, deeply felt blues reflecting the black experience in America and the pain of isolation. ... Click to View

Various Artists:
CICP Collaborative Recordings vol. 1 (Habitable Records)

An introduction to Habitable Records, initiated by members of the Composers and Improvisers Community Project led by Argentinian guitarist Javier Subatin, their work crossing composed and improvised boundaries, here in 18 duos and trios including work by Zé Alemeida, Pedro Melo Alves, Killick!, Federico Calcagno, Luis Figueiredo, Samuel Gapp, Javier Subatin, &c. ... Click to View

Herr Borelgrip (Pierre Borel / Joel Grip):
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The first album from the amalgamated band name Herr Borrelgrip, a play on the names of alto saxophonist Pierre Borel and double bassist Joel Grip, developing their work in Stockholm, Berlin and Paris starting in 2008 as a performing duo, heard here in a beautiful gatefold double LP studio release with an extensive LP-sized booklet of text in French and images. ... Click to View

Patricia Bosshard :
Onceim-CoO (Potlatch)

Two major works of evolving acoustic soundscape from Swiss violinist & composer Patricia Bosshard realized by the 27-member Orchestra des Nouvelles Creations, which includes Bosshard, Stephane Rives, Bertrand Denzler, &c.; "Sillon" employs a percussive pulse over 27 independently transforming grooves; "Reflets" a harmonic composition for bowed strings, including three double basses. ... Click to View

Eliane Radigue:
Opus 17 [2 CDs] (Important Records)

French electroacoustic composer and innovator Eliane Radigue's final work made with feedback material from 1970, five pieces that strip away at the familiar, deconstructing and decomposing classical works into mesmerizing drones, or creating rich pulsating works of sound with intense harmonic development and controlled feedback, a powerful opus of sound. ... Click to View

PEK Solo / An Orchestra of PEKs:
Electrolysis (Evil Clown)

A follow-up to Stretching the Fabric of Space, this solo release from David Peck presents an extended layered set of fize improvisations using a base of prerecorded and premixed tracks with some electronic processing to speed up and slow down, to raise and lower pitch, and to build up thick mixes of sounds from the same sonority set. ... Click to View

Joe McPhee / Michael Bisio / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Juma Sultan:
The Sweet Spot (RogueArt)

Bringing together four masterful players into the studio in NYC--Joe McPhee on saxophones, Michael Bisio on double bass, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and Juma Sultan on percussion--for a set of with one composition each from McPhee, Sultan and Lonberg-Holm, two collective improvisations, Charlie Haden's "Human Being" and Henry Grimes "For Django". ... Click to View

Miles Okazaki / Trevor Dunn / Dan Weiss / John Zorn:
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A new collective trio of New York luminaries from bassist Trevor Dunn, guitarist Miles Okazaki and drummer Dan Weiss, Okazaki and Weiss having collaborated in Weiss' own Large Ensemble and Dunn a part of Weiss' Starebaby, here in a set of unbridled and unorthodox collective improvisations, with alto saxophonist John Zorn joining the trio on two tracks. ... Click to View

Evan Parker / John Edwards / Tony Marsh:
Medway Blues (FMR)

A superb 2009 concert at Command House, in Chatham, UK from the trio of saxophonist Evan Parker, double bassist John Edwards, and late drummer/percussionist Tony Marsh, a single 36 minute improvisation of cohesive and energetic free jazz where all three pull together as a nearly telepathic unit, plus two extended duo sections between Edwards and Marsh and a Marsh solo. ... Click to View

John Edwards / N.O. Moore / Eddie Prevost / Alan Wilkinson:
EMPoWered (577 Records)

A live performance from London's I'klectik by British musicians John Edwards (double bass), N.O. Moore (guitar), and Eddie Prévost (drums), who have a long-standing history as a trio known for both energetic playing and extraordinary introspection, here expanded with saxophonist Alan Wilkinson for two outstanding performances of technical mastery and deep communication. ... Click to View

Carlos Zingaro & Pedro Carneiro:
Elogio Das Sombras (Clean Feed)

Translating to "Eulogy of the Shadows", the free improvising duo of violinist Carlos Zingaro and percussionist Pedro Carneiro performing on marimba with a damper pedal, structure their work as though emerging out of the dark night, each step subtly increasing the glow of luminescence through intensity of interaction until receding again into obscurity; sublime. ... Click to View

#140 Fall 2021 [MAGAZINE + CD] (Musicworks)

Canada's leading avant music magazine in their Fall 2021 issue, with articles on Understory (Nicole Rampersaud, Parmela Attariwala, and Germaine Liu), Frank Denyer, Taylor Brook, record & live reviews, plus a 14 track CD with pieces from Rocío Cano Valiño, Understory Show One: Gabriel Dharmoo/SlowPitchSound/Lan Tung, Frank Denyer, Nick Storring, &c. ... Click to View

New Old Luten Quintet:
Rabatz! (Euphorium)

The second step in this evolutionary project, the title referring to "noisy bustle; Riot" started with the trio of wind & reed player Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, pianist Elan Pauer and drummer Christian Lillinger (Radau!), then expanded to this quintet with two double bassists-John Edwards & Robert Landfermann--captured live at naTo/ in Leipzig, Germany in 2015. ... Click to View

New Old Luten Septet:
Remmidemmi! (Euphorium)

This evolutionary project titled as "loud, colorful hustle & bustle" started with the trio of wind & reed player Ernst-Ludwig Petrowsky, pianist Elan Pauer and drummer Christian Lillinger (Radau!), then expanded to a quintet with two double bassists-John Edwards & Robert Landfermann--and here as a septet with saxophonist Urs Leimgruber and trumpeter Axel Dörner. ... Click to View

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  Vasco Trilla / Liba Villaecchia 

   review by Ken Waxman
Vasco Trilla / Liba Villaecchia: Asebeia (FMR)

A carefully organized suite utilizing only two instruments, on Asebeia Catalan tenor saxophonist Liba Villaecchia and percussionist Vasco Trilla frame an eight-part program where each track builds logically to and from the next. The two, who have worked with innovators like Agustí Fernández among others, produce unexpected and unusual timbres to interpret the title which translates from the ancient Greek as a criminal charge for mockery of and irreverence towards state gods.

Mockery and irreverence are part of the duo's genetic code as free improvisers. But rather than critiquing the Asebeia concept with anarchistic cacophony, Trilla and Villaecchia progress logically from light toned individual idiophone shakes and reed squeals on the introductory "Koinos_what is shared" to the dusky drones and pointed bites that define the concluding "Theión_the Devine, that which transcends man." Reed vibrations and multiphonic glissandi are gathered into honks and snarls in the first sequences with treble tones met with hard drum smacks and rumbles plus tensile cymbal scratches. Trilla lays down a steady carpet of rolls and ruffs on drum rims and sides on the title track as Villaecchia's altissimo stutters and bitten off yelps define his strategy. By the time the final pairing is heard, textures close to basso electronic processes vibrate with deeper and darker buzzes brightened only by strained split tones until completion.

Previous to that the two have individually experimented with disassociating timbres from intense polyphony, expressing their parts by melding key percussion and the sizzle of unattached cymbal pressure. But it's the extended "Ataraxia_freedom from perturbation, complete absence of desires or fears" which truly marks the disc's turning point. Suggestions of electronic drones and slurping tongue stops unite into crepuscule emphasis, finally coalescing and inflating to the solid but linear interchange that defines the remainder of the disc.

Asebeia is more connected and suite-like than many sessions that use phrases like freedom in their titles. Moreover the saxophonist and percussion have created enough exploratory motion and resolved dissonance with minimal instrumentation to keep interest high from start to finish.

Vasco Trilla / Liba Villaecchia: Asebeia
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:

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