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Sylvie Courvoisier (feat. Wadada Leo Smith / Christian Fennesz / Nate Wooley / Drew Gress / Kenny Wollesen):
Chimaera [2 CDs] (Intakt)

Chimaera is the ensemble of Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, her core trio with Drew Gress on bass, Kenny Wollesen on drums & vibraphone, expanded by two trumpeters--Wadada Leo Smith & Nate Wooley--and affected by Austrian guitarist Christian Fennesz who provides sonic backdrops for the improvisations over Courvoisier's compositions, focusing on aura over pyrotechnics; absolutely sublime. ... Click to View


James Lewis Brandon Quartet :
Transfiguration (Intakt)

With a rare ability to play hard-hitting jazz while maintaining a lyrical sense to his compositions, tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis' new studio album from his quartet of Aruan Ortiz on piano, Brad Jones on bass and Chad Taylor on drums is the fourth album from this working band, demonstrating their strong group affinity that invokes impressive soloing from all four. ... Click to View


Ingrid Laubrock (w/ Jon Irabagon / Zeena Parkins / Tom Rainey):
Monochromes (Intakt)

Saxophonist & composer Ingrid Laubrock's quartet with Jon Irabagon on sopranino sax, Zeena Parkins on electric harp and Tom Rainey on drums, in a work of conventional and graphic notation with text instructions, accompanied by fixed media tape pieces (monochromes), from Nate Wooley, Adam Matlock, Tom Rainey, and by JD Allen, David Breskin & Ingrid Laubrock manipulating Harry Bertoia sculptures. ... Click to View


Anna Webber (O'Farrill / Roberts / Stemeseder / Mok):
Shimmer Wince (Intakt)

Anna Webber's explorations of just intonation in a quintet of New York improvisers, with Webber herself on tenor sax & flutes, Adam O'Farrill on trumpet, Mariel Roberts on cello, Elias Stemeseder on synthesizer and Lesley Mok on drums, her approachable compositions blurring the lines between tuning systems while focusing on fascinatingly exotic tonal combinations. ... Click to View


Ches Smith:
Laugh Ash (Pyroclastic Records)

A stunning album that effortlessly blends styles from jazz, electronics, minimalism and contemporary forms, rendered by an eclectic group of primarily NY artists including Nate Wooley, Jennifer Choi, James Brandin Lews, Oscar Noriega, Anna Webber, Shahzad Ismaily and Smith himself, in an exhilarating and well-balanced set of Smith compositions that inform and groove spectacularly! ... Click to View


Catherine Sikora / Susan Alcorn:
Filament (Relative Pitch)

The first meeting of tenor saxophonist Catherine Sikora and pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn was at the Zurcher Gallery in New York City in 2022, an inventive dialog of free improvisation split between three "Filaments", their interaction ranging from delicate dialog to asservite discourse in a wonderfully expressive concert of sincere affinity. ... Click to View


Extra:
Spiral/Athletics (Love Earth Music)

The third album from the collaboration of sound artists Howard Seltzer, who typically works with consumer grade tape players, and Brian Grainger, head of the Milieu Music mailorder label, in an extended work of textural cassette sound, field recordings, drone music and modular synthesis, a journey through rich and well-controlled sound. ... Click to View


Fred Frith:
Guitar Solos/Fifty [VINYL 2 LPs] (Week-End Records)

While still a member of Henry Cow, guitarist Fred Frith released his first solo album simply titled Guitar Solos in 1974, a remarkable album of expression through preparations, treatments and effects; 50 years later Frith expands on that album with new compositions using a similar setup as the original, paired in this 2-LP release with the remastered original album. ... Click to View


Phil Durrant / Daniel Thompson:
Live / Studio (Bead)

The improvising string duo of stalwart London improvisers, Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar and Phil Durrant on the octave mandola, are heard in two settings of texturally rich, intricate interactions, first at Cafe OTO in 2022 for an extended improvisation, then at Cable Street Studios two months later for six succint, impressively diverse dialogs. ... Click to View


Impetus Group (Serries / Webster / Verbruggen / Verhoeven / Jackson)):
Density Dots (Klanggalerie)

Their impetus motivated by the 60's & 70's London improv scene, epitomized by Derek Bailey's Company group, guitarist Dirk Serries leads this assemblage of quick-witted improviser as they challenge each other through pointillistic and sublime passages; from Tom Jackson (clarinet), Colin Webster (sax), Martina Verhoeven (piano), Dirk Serries (guitar) & Teun Verbruggen (drums). ... Click to View


Cassiber:
The Cassiber Box redux [6 CDs, 1 DVD and Book] (Recommended Records)

Reissuing the 2013 box set of the 1980s UK/Euro improvising rock band Cassiber, including their 4 remastered studio albums + 2 additional CDs, a 2 hour DVD, and a 32-page color book, revealing an amazing band merging experimental rock, fringe jazz, punk, pop, plunderphonics, improvisation, & musique concrete with an energetic and complex form of studio composition - superb! ... Click to View


Surplus 1980:
Illusion of Consistency [VINYL + CD + DOWNLOAD] (Surplus Industries)

Composed using an "exquisite corpse" method during the pandemic, where each player provided a partially complete track with instructions to expand their concept, enlisting an incredible set of musicians across the US & Europe, directed by Moe! Staiano, including Jesse Quattro, Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, GW Sok, Amy X Neuburg, Darren Johnston, &c &c. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Jim O'Rourke / Oren Ambarchi:
With Pats On The Head, Just One Too Few Is Evil, One Too Many Is Good That's All It Is [VINYL 3 LPs] (Black Truffle)

Documenting the complete performance at the now-shuttered Tokyo underground club SuperDeluxe, the trio of Keiji Haino on guitar, voice, flute, snare & oboe, Jim O'Rouke on 6-string bass, electric guitar, synth & electronics, and Oren Ambarchi on drums & percussion, performed for 2 hours in an amazingly diverse set of acoustic and electronic improvisation. ... Click to View


Djll / Perkins:
Kinda (Artifact Recordings)

Expanding on their 2007 release Kinda Green, the decades-long collaboration of SF Bay Area improvisors Tom Djll on trumpet & electronics and Tim Perkis on "coding" and electronics presents six unusual spontaneous compositions of live trumpet, electronics and real-time manipulation, release by the Ubu, Incorporated project supporting experimental and electronic music. ... Click to View


Robert Cahen:
La nef des fous [VINYL] (Recollection GRM)

Electroacoustic composer Robert Cahen studied at ORTF and CNSM in Paris under Pierre Shaeffer, turning to video work in the 1970s and applying musique concrete concepts to moving image, these compositions recorded at the GRM studios between 1971 and 1974 show his mastery over sound and his expressive ability to morph transitions through rich sonic detail. ... Click to View


Horacio Vaggione :
Schall / Rechant [VINYL] (Recollection GRM)

Specializing in micromontage, granular synthesis, and microsound, Argentinian-born and Paris-based electroacoustic composer Horacio Vaggione recorded these four compositions at at INA GRM in Paris between 1994 and 2002, each a fascinatingly detailed work illustrating his research into sound and compositions, with a stunning aesthetic for dramatically unfolding concepts. ... Click to View


Fully Celebrated Orchestra (Hobbs / Bynum / Ayers / Gray / Shanko):
Sob Story (Relative Pitch)

Picking up from their last album in 2005, Lapis Exilis, alto saxophonist Jim Hobb's Fully Celebrated Orchestra joyfully returns with a new set of lyrical Hobb's compositions, Timo Shanko still creating a solid bass foundation and Luther Gray taking Django Carranza's place, extending the band with AYCH member Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet and Ian Ayers on guitar. ... Click to View


Reid / Edwards / Coudoux:
(Relative Pitch)

Three innovative cellists at the intersection of improvisation, contemporary compositional and experimental forms — Tomeka Reid from Chicago, Isidora Edwards from Chile and based in London, and Elisabeth Coudoux from Germany — meet in Wiesbaden to record these four multi-layered improvisations merging their unique perspectives with great concentrative expression. ... Click to View


Isabelle Duthoit / Franz Hautzinger:
Dans le Morvan (Relative Pitch)

French free vocalist Isabelle Duthoit and world traveling improviser and Zeitkratzer trumpeter Franz Hautzinger continue their collaborations at GMEA Centre National de Creation Musicale, in Albi, France to record these 11 unusual duos, using outrageous technique and inexplicable intent to create aberrant accompaniments to your most subtle and frightening dreams. ... Click to View


[ism] (Pat Thomas / Joel Grip / Aontonin Gerbal):
Maua (577 Records)

Recordings from the Berlin club Au Topsi Pohl where the [ism] piano trio of Pat Thomas on piano, Joel Grip on double bass and Antonin Gerbal on drums played 4-nights in a row, May 18-21, 2022, Thomas performing on a Bösendorfer grand piano, creating an omnipresent and precise sound that drove the band to great heights of interactive, warmly diverse playing. ... Click to View


Frank Denyer / Octandre Ensemble:
Screens (Another Timbre)

An exceptional collection of works by composer Frank Denyer written between 1973 and 2021, especially the monumental 5-part "Five Views of the Path", performed by the UK Octandre Ensemble led by composer Christian Mason and conductor Jon Hargreaves, which focuses on modern composers with an emphasis on works of timbre and ritual, Denyer's work being an ideal match. ... Click to View


Martin Arnold:
Flax (Another Timbre)

Commissioned in 2020 by pianist Philip Thomas, whose health prevented him from performing the work, Canadian composer Martin Arnold's 79-minute hypnotic solo work for piano emphasizes the keyboard's upper register in slow moving textural melodies influenced by innovative 50's & 60's bop pianists, performed in 2022 at the University of Huddersfield by pianist Kerry Yong. ... Click to View


Star City Survivor:
Wilderness (Soul City Sounds)

The follow-up to their debut album, Orbital Decay, finds guitarist Phil Venable and drummer Tommy Jackson delving deeper into their free duo referencing free jazz, ambient, no wave, and other forms of experimental and avant-garde music, their often turbulent dialog inspired by a desire to find hope in the world despite a contemporary period of death and injustice. ... Click to View


Tamarisk (Carter / Menestres / Weathers):
House of the People, Property is Theft (Editions Glomar)

The Tamarisk trio of bassist David Menestres, guitarist Andrew Weathers and vocalist Christina Carter (Charalambides) are heard live at Casa del Popolo, in Montreal and at PIT, in Brooklyn, New York, joined in Brooklyn by flutist Laura Cocks, each performance an extended journey between assertive, cathartic improvisation and introspective rumination. ... Click to View


Paquet X Landry:
Planter du sel (Tour de Bras)

Alternating between classical and electric guitars, Pascal Landry and Francois Paquet use a non-traditional broadcast system where the signal from their electric guitars is sent through materials selected by the musicians, creating unique tones and timbres, and providing an interesting visual aspect to their dialogs, captured here in the studio in Beauport, Quebec in 2021. ... Click to View


Terton (Belogenis / Dunn / Sawyer):
Outer, Inner, Secret (Tzadik)

In Tibetan Buddhism a terton is a person who is a discoverer of ancient hidden texts or terma, an apt description of the masterful, exploratory free jazz heard in the New York City band Terton of Trevor Dunn on bass, Louie Belogenis on tenor & soprano saxophones and Ryan Sawyer on drums, in ten powerfully assertive studio improvisations. ... Click to View


Nate Wooley:
Moths (Editions Verde)

Nate Wooley's exquisite improvised composition begins with a musical gesture and four parameters of change from each player--harmonic motion, articulation, extension, & physicality--which directs their "flight" in its slowly evolving pace, creating a varying mosaic of sound, as beautifully rendered by Laura Cocks (flute), Madison Greenstone (clarinet) and Eric Wubbels (keys & voice). ... Click to View


DUOT & ZARM Ensemble (Cirera / Prats / Zingaro / Alves / Mitzlaff / Rosso):
DUOT with Strings (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

The DUOT pairing of Argentinian, Barcelona-based sax player Albert Cirera and Spanish drummer Ramón Prats is joined on their 6th album by the Portuguese string quartet ZARM Ensemble of Carlos Zingaro on violin, David Alves on violin, Ulrich Mitzlaf on cello and Alvaro Rosso on double bass for a dynamic concert at Igreja do Espírito Santo in Caldas Da Rainha, Portugal. ... Click to View


Vuoto Bersagli (Carlo Mascolo / Giacomo Mongelli / Pino Montecalvo):
Vuoto Bersagli (FMR)

A unique approach to improvisation, the Italian trio of Carlo Mascolo on trombone & no-input trombone, Giacomo Mongelli on drums & objects and Pino Montecalvo on trombone & toy junk, use a "Blind Instant Composition" approach to their live studio improvisations, where the players are unable to see each other, forcing close listening & response to their quirky and fascinating conversations. ... Click to View


Andrew Bazzicalupo :
The Ball I Threw Has Not Yet Reached The Ground (Tour de Bras)

Recording in the studio in Nice, France, guitarist Andrea Bazzicalupo's solo album is a collection of pieces, consisting exclusively of improvisations and instant creations, moving between sonic explorations, melodic textures, experimental material and spontaneous compositions, a well-paced collection of introspective and assertive explorations. ... Click to View



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  Marilyn Lerner / Nicole Rampersaud 
  Brass Knuckle Sandwich  
  (Ambiances Magnetiques) 


  
   review by Paul Serralheiro
  2023-12-05
Marilyn Lerner / Nicole Rampersaud: Brass Knuckle Sandwich (Ambiances Magnetiques)

It may be premature and overly optimistic to say so, but judging from this duet of improvisers on this release, aptly titled Brass Knuckle Sandwich, it seems that women have come into their own in high-energy jazz and brawny improvised music.

Pianist Marilyn Lerner and trumpeter Nicole Rampersaud definitely pull no punches here and deliver seven solid tracks that keep the listener on the ropes. A blend of lyrical and abstract ideas communicated via extended techniques characterizes the music, as Rampersaud makes extensive use of air through the horn to articulate all kinds of noises and melodic and textural material tumbling along with Lerner's percolating and multi-timbral rhythms on keyboard. A wide range of emotions run through the seven tracks, from the fiery and insistent "Bristles," from the ironically tranquil pointillism of "Clamour," to the lyrical long tones and piano ostinato figures of "Susurration," the pedal-tone, loose-lipped airiness of "Floufe," the pastoral beauty of "Evermore," the other-worldly poignancy and study-in-contrasts of "Nat.pit.hat," and the grand symphonic proportions of the closer "Rizzoo." A lot is packed into this album.

Snippets of lyrical motifs from famous tunes like "Body and Soul" and some Kenny Wheeler compositions (especially in Rampersaud's horn on "Rizzoo") blend in with elements borrowed from the avant-guard vocabulary established by people like Bill Dixon and Leo Smith, while the piano is reminiscent of a Paul Bley or Mal Waldron with touches of Bill Evans and Cecil Taylor, or at least those are the referential echoes that register with this listener.

Recorded in 2018 at Studio Union Sound in Toronto and engineered and mixed by Jeff Elliott, Brass Knuckle Sandwich is evidence of women not only getting the opportunities they deserve to ply their creative imaginations, but also evidence of impressive mastery of their instruments in service to finely crafted real-time composition.



Marilyn Lerner / Nicole Rampersaud: Brass Knuckle Sandwich
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Ingrid Laubrock (
w/ Jon Irabagon /
Zeena Parkins /
Tom Rainey):
Monochromes
(Intakt)



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feat. Wadada Leo Smith /
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Nate Wooley /
Drew Gress /
Kenny Wollesen):
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[2 CDs]
(Intakt)



Ches Smith:
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(Klanggalerie)



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[VINYL]
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[VINYL 2 LPs]
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Joel Grip /
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Gray /
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Inner,
Secret
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