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Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Karyobin (1968) [2017 REISSUE] (Emanem)

The 2nd SME record to be issued, a 1968 classic of free improvisation as the quintet of John Stevens, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, Dave Holland, and Kenny Wheeler, the 1st SME to feature their new organisational method, here remastered with far superior sound and balance than previous issues, with new notes by Evan Parker, Dave Holland and Martin Davidson plus session photos. ... Click to View


George Khan: Ah! (1968-2005) [2 CDs] (Emanem)

An essential retrospective of UK saxophonist and flutist George Khan's long career featuring 4 concerts: a 1980 duo with People Band percussionist Terry Day; a 1968 quintet with Peter Lemer (piano), Albert Kovitz (clarinet), Frank Flowers (double bass) and Terry Day; in 1975 with Terry Day and bassist Charlie Hart; and solo in London around 2005 at Mopomoso. ... Click to View


Musicianer (Sinton / Ajemian / Taylor): Slow Learner (Iluso)

Sidney Bechet referred to fellow musician as "musicianer", the title for New York baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton's trio with Jason Ajemian on acoustic bass and Chad Taylor on drums and percussion, in an outstandingly creative and compelling album of modern jazz showing the strong links between these three, dating back to their work together in Chicago in the 80s. ... Click to View


Josh Sinton: Krasa (Irabbagast)

New York reedist Josh Sinton take the contrabass clarinet on a wild ride, performing live with no overdubs using clip-on mics, a mixing board, a sans amp box, a volume pedal, and a bass amp, as he explores sonic possibilities and unexpected directions for this big reed instrument in his quest to redefine the old Slavic word for beauty or splendor: krasa. ... Click to View


Sista Maj: Series Of Nested Universes [2 CDs] (Space Rock Productions )

Organized by Camper van Beethoven violinist Johan Segal, Sista Maj is an instrumental psychedelic rock trio with Mikael Tuominen on bass, baritone guitar and sitar, and Andreas Axelsson on drums and percussion, with Segal also on organ, electric guitar, synth and bass, for a double CD exploring sophisticated heavy electric rock, jazz, hypnotic and space music. ... Click to View


Schlippenbach Trio (Schlippenbach / Evan Parker / Lovens): Warsaw Concert (Intakt)

After 44 years and presenting this, their 20th album, the UK/European free improvising trio of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens presents an incredible extended performance and a brief coda recorded during the Ad Libitum Festival at the Polish broadcasting, a testament to masterful skill and the endurance of free jazz. ... Click to View


John Zorn: The Hermetic Organ Vol. 5 _Philharmonie De Paris (Tzadik)

The During a week in April 2017 John Zorn travelled to Paris, where he performed several concerts including "The Interpretation of Dreams", presented an evening with guests, and performed solo on the organ at the Grande salle Pierre Boulez, the full concert of which is presented on this CD, along with 30 minutes of recordings made before the evening's concert. ... Click to View


Piiptsjilling: Fiif (Peter Foolen Editions)

Piiptsjilling is the duo of guitarist Romke Kleefstra and vocalists Mariska Baars & Jan Kleefstra, joined here by Rutger Zuydervelt, aka Machinefabriek, combining poetry with vocals, guitars and electronics in improvisational settings, creating rich sonic environments over which the voice guides the listener, speaking in one of the Germanic Frisian languages. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani : Cooked In My Van (H&H Production)

Anyone who follows the work of Japanese drummer/percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani knows that cooking on the road is an integral part of his traveling life, and this slender cookbook provides images, descriptions, and insight into this cooking and his life on the road, with suggestions for meals that would make the perfect accompaniment to an evening of Nakatani's music. ... Click to View


Katharina Bohlen / Reinald Noisten / Claudius Reimann : Long Clarinets - Short Stories? (Creative Sources)

Extending the realm of clarinets in improvisation, the trio of three clarinetists--Katharina Bohlen, Reinald Noisten, and Claudius Reimann--perform on clarinet and bass clarinet with a diverse set of approaches, opening their 12 movement work with a trio of bass clarinets, and then permuting bass, b-flat clarinets and sax with remarkable technique. ... Click to View


The Remote Viewers : Last Man In Europe (Remote Viewers)

The saxophone-heavy UK improvising band Remote Viewers returns to a trio format, with founders David Petts on tenor sax and Adrian Northover on soprano sax, plus John Edwards on double bass, as the stripped-down band employs signature harmonic territory and compositional approaches, making this a distinctively concentrated and welcome Remote Viewers album. ... Click to View


Jeb Bishop / Dan Ruccia: Scratch Slice Jag (Out & Gone Records)

Trombonist Jeb Bishop and North Carolina-based Out & Gone Collective member, violist Dan Ruccia, after touring and performing with Eugene Chadbourne, Dan Lilley, and David Menestres, found their sound so compatible that they recorded this duo album that uses the language of free jazz, chamber music, and extended improvisations to create something unexpected and rare. ... Click to View


Leap of Faith Orchestra: Supernovae (Evil Clown)

Boston area composer and multi-instrumentalist David Peck developed a unique approach to scoring for this large and idiosyncratic ensemble, referred to as Frame Notation, giving descriptions of sonority, time scale, events, playing occurrences, &c, leaving a great deal of freedom for these extraordinary musicians, as borne out in their incredible and extended performance. ... Click to View


John Zorn / Eugene Chadbourne: 1977-1981 [VINYL LP + BOOK] (Song Cycle)

Deluxe box set edition of the 1998 Materiali Sonori CD, originally released to accompany the book release of "Sonora: John Zorn", here in its first vinyl release presenting early Downtown NY recordings between the duo of Zorn and guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, with vital players including Tom Cora, Polly Bradfield, Davey Williams, Fred Frith, Mark Kramer, &c. ... Click to View


Hollis Taylor: Absolute Bird [2 CDs] (ReR Megacorp)

An unusual and distinctive record from violinist and ornithologist Hollis Taylor, a book with 2 CDS presenting 41 tracks of recordings of the Australian pied butcherbird, each track pairing a bird, environmental sound, and a single instrumentalist, with an impressive list of performers who take unique approaches to the challenge of accompanying a bird. ... Click to View


Udo Schindler / Johannes Ollinger / Dine Doneff: Waterway (FMR)

The quirky acoustic trio of German improvisers Udo Schindler on clarinet, saxophone, cornet, and Euphonium, Johannes Ollinger on acoustic guitar and toys, and Dine Doneff on double bass, waterphone, and toys, the odd instrumentation adding surprising textures and disorienting angles to really fine dialog, technically, melodically, and eccentrically. ... Click to View


Alan Tomlinson Trio ( w/ Dave Tucker / Phillip Marks): Out And Out (FMR)

London Jazz Composers Orchestra trombonist Alan Tomlinson, performing on tenor and alto trombone, with his trio of Dave Tucker on guitar and Phillip Marks on percussion, are caught live in Birmingham, Lancaster, London, and during the Harwich Festival, from 2009-16, demonstrating the strong rapport and exciting dialog these players have developed over years performing together. ... Click to View


David Area / Tomas Gris / Ernesto Rodrigues : Chorismos (Creative Sources)

An album of patience and concentrated listening from the lowercase trio of David Area on electronics, Tomas Gris on guitar and objects, and Ernesto Rodrigues on harp and objects, each player subtly coaxing sounds out of their instruments while the electronics act as environmental ambience over which tones slowly voice and recede and occasionally punctuate. ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi: Stacte Karaoke II [VINYL 12-inch] (Black Truffle)

Heavy rock riffs and shredding from Australian guitarist Oren Ambarchi, his version of karaoke being repeating rock structures plundered and played over, giving him a platform to show his power tools, which are heavily modified and effected guitar lines in an oddly compelling album of rock machinations from this typically explorative, experimental player. ... Click to View


Matt Weston: Searchlight Swings b/w Is That Helicopter Over Our House? [7-inch' VINYL] (7272music)

Percussionist and electronics artist Matt Weston (Arthur Brooks Ensemble V, Arc Pair) in a 7" release showcasing his playing skills over his own notation systems employing additional dimensions of pre-and post-gestural strategies, using written standard notation and visual cues based on multiple and simultaneous, graphic scores. ... Click to View


Tomas Fujiwara : Triple Double (Firehouse 12 Records)

Drummer Tomas Fujiwara's sextet is actually two trios interacting, with fellow drummer Gerald Cleaver, both Mary Halvorson and Brandon Seabrook on guitar, and Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet and Ralph Alessi on trumpet, the pairings forming unisons and contrasts that add an unrestrained sense of enthusiasm and excitement to Fujiwara's sophisticated compositions. ... Click to View


Mary Halvorson: Away With You [VINYL 2 LPs] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Mary Halvorson continues her string of excellent modern jazz albums with this octet release with fellow guitarist Susan Alcorn, Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet), Jon Irabagon & Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Jacob Garchik (trombone), John Hebert (bass) and Ches Smith (drums). ... Click to View


Taylor Bynum Ho : Enter the Plustet [VINYL] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum draws on a variety of techniques from improvised conduction to big band orchestration to deconstructed fanfares, with a large 15 member ensemble of impressive improvisers embodying a diversity of generations, backgrounds, ethnicities, and gender, presenting three large scale compositions that are ambitious and wonderfully accomplished. ... Click to View


Matthew Lux's Communication Arts Quartet: Contra/Fact [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD CODE] (Astral Spirits)

Chicago bassist Matthew Lux (Isotope 217, Exploding Star Orchestra) in an album of effusive and spiritual percussive grooves under electronic and acoustic leads, performed with Ben Lamar Gay on cornet, electronics and percussion, Mikel Patrick Avery on drums, percussion, mellotron and more, and Jayve Montgomery on various woodwinds, samples and percussion. ... Click to View


Peter Urpeth / Olie Brice / Terry Day / Ntshuks Bonga): Wraith Island (Live At Cafe Oto) (FMR)

Actually four quartet improvisations and two duets, London creative improvisers Peter Urpeth on piano, Olie Brice on bass, Terry Day on drums and Ntshuks Bonga on saxophone took to Cafe Oto in January, 2017, to record this excellent album of collective free improvisation drawing on decades of experience in an absorbing and engaging concert. ... Click to View


Lisa Ullen / Torsten Muller: Into The Staring Town (Creative Sources)

Recording at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival in 2014, the duo of Swedish pianist Lisa Ullen and German double bassist Torsten Muller perform two extended improvisations focused on music and sound, using extended techniques and unusual approaches to their instruments in service to the spontaneous flow of ideas between them, never excessive, always captivating. ... Click to View


Corso (Emilio Gordoa / Nicola L. Hein): Unwanted Pregnancy (Creative Sources)

Mexican composer and vibraphonist based in Berlin since 2012, Emilio Gordoa in a duo with guitarist Nicola L. Hein, using preparations to their vibraphones, percussion, and guitar, in an 8 part composition of diverse approaches to improvisation, from exuberant interaction to Reich-like minimalism to cantankerous experimentation, a well-rounded and interesting album. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues / Alexander Frangenheim: Underwater Music (Creative Sources)

Like the Lisbon String Trio, this trio explores strings in a viola, cello and double bass trio configuration, from Creative Sources core players Ernesto Rodrigues, Guilherme Rodrigues, and Alexander Frangenheim, exploring a classic trio concept towards new expressions and boundaries, through spritely interaction and sonic expedition. ... Click to View


Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.: Those Who Came Never Before [VINYL] (Nod and Smile Records)

Four psychedelic blues and rock tracks from Japan's Acid Mothers Temple led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto, with vocalist Cotton Casino, synth guru Higashi Hiroshi, guitarist Mitsuru Tabata, drummer Satoshima Nani, and S/T Wold on tape, space and time, informed and psych-referencing music that slowly builds into intricate and explosive inner headspaces. ... Click to View


Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.: Those Who Came Never Before (Nod and Smile Records)

Four psychedelic blues and rock tracks from Japan's Acid Mothers Temple led by guitarist Kawabata Makoto, with vocalist Cotton Casino, synth guru Higashi Hiroshi, guitarist Mitsuru Tabata, drummer Satoshima Nani, and S/T Wold on tape, space and time, informed and psych-referencing music that slowly builds into intricate and explosive inner headspaces. ... Click to View


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  Guelph's Caring Adventure  

The Little Engine in Ontario


By Mike Chamberlain
Photos: Michael E.J. Powers, 2003 2003-12-18

The Guelph Jazz Festival might be thought of as The Little Festival That Could. Could what? Well, bring high calibre non-mainstream jazz and improvised music to a small university town and make it an important part of the community’s cultural calendar, for one. For ten years now, the festival’s artistic director, Ajay Heble, and his cadre of volunteers have made Guelph, an hour west of Toronto, a good place to be during the week following Labor Day.

This was my fifth visit to the Guelph festival. On my first visit, I was captivated by the charm of the town, the friendliness of the people, and the manner in which the music was presented. None of that has changed over the years, but Heble’s ambitions have grown along with the festival’s budget. This year, the centerpiece of the program was a jazz opera by pianist/composer D.D. Jackson and poet George Elliott Clarke commissioned by Heble. Also on the program were performances by Evan Parker, Steve Lacy, Myra Melford, Mark Dresser, the Willem Breuker Kollektief, and the Peggy Lee Band. As usual, Saturday afternoon featured a number of free concerts in a tent in the city’s downtown shopping area.

The colloquium, which runs from Wednesday to Friday, gives the public a chance to participate in some of the academic discourses around jazz and improvised music. It is a vital component of the festival, and one that sets it apart from other events of its kind. Keynote addresses this year were given by Georgina Born of Cambridge University and Paul Miller, aka DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid.

Jerry Granelli
Jerry Granelli
The music began on Wednesday evening with a performance by Iron Sky, who are Halifax percussionist Jerry Granelli and bass clarinetist Jeff Reilly. Besides a normal trap set, Granelli works with metal sound sculptures designed by Nova Scotia blacksmith John Little. Working with the acoustics of the Macdonald-Stewart Art Centre, Granelli coaxed mid-range overtones out of Little’s creations, while Reilly played against those tones. The duo seemed a bit timid, with the concert not quite living up to the results of their album, Love Slave. Nevertheless, the performance had some touching moments.

Thursday afternoon’s performance by Myra Melford and Canadian violist Tanya Kalmanovitch, also at the MSAC, had flashes of spark, but ultimately faltered due to a certain paucity of ideas, with Kalmanovitch, who shares a fascination for Indian music with Melford, clearly out of her league. Too often, the improvisations ended up revolving around what sounded like Broadway show themes.

Evan Parker’s solo performance in the sanctuary of St. George’s Anglican Church on Thursday evening was an undisputed highlight of the festival. Working with the acoustic properties of the deep nave and high ceiling, Parker, especially on soprano saxophone, piled overtones one on top of another in an arresting display of control. While Parker’s soprano playing might have seemed a little cold to some, the gorgeous tone of his tenor contained worlds of emotion. This was the first time I had seen Parker solo — unforgettable.

The Willem Breuker Kollektief was, alas, just as I remembered them from my previous two experiences: tight, precise, and too much shtick. The only thing that kept them away from excesses such as the dog act was the size of the stage. Not my cup of tea, and, I suspect, it never will be.

Raw Materials, the duo of pianist Vijay Ayer and saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, were in synch right from the beginning of their Friday noon concert at Macdonald-Stewart. Working in tight unison much of the time, Maranthappa’s keening sound was balanced by Iyer’s darker-hued tonalities. This was the second time in two months that I was fortunate enough to see them. (I had seen them at the Montreal jazz festival in late June.) If anything, the second performance was even more satisfying both artistically and emotionally than the first.

The trio of Evan Parker, Sarah Peebles (electronics), and Nilan Perera (guitar) on Friday afternoon at the MSAC were a bit hit-and-miss, though Parker and Perera found much common ground in exploring microtonal possibilities, with Peebles having a bit of trouble finding a groove that jived with the other two.

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of Kalaparush and the Light, who performed at the Guelph Youth Music Centre in a late afternoon performance on Friday. The trio — Kalaparush Maurice McIntyre (tenor), Jesse Dulman (tuba), and Ravish Momin (drums) — are apparently a street band. (From what I gathered, they have all spent a fair bit of time playing on the streets of New York City.) As the performance went along, the cohesion improved, with McIntyre and Dulman picking up on each other’s melodic ideas, but unfortunately, the three often sounded as though they were playing on three different street corners.

Friday evening was taken up by the premiere of Quebecité, the afore-mentioned collaboration by D.D. Jackson and George Elliott Clarke commissioned by the festival. Billed as a jazz opera, the piece, an interracial love story that dealt with the dynamics of marginalized voices in a multicultural context, did for the most part adhere to the dictates of both forms. The music, played by a promising quintet of Jackson, John Geggie (bass), Jean Martin (drums) and Peggy Lee (cello) was definitely jazz, most of it fairly hard-driving at that. And the singers — Dean Bowman, Yoon Choi, Haydain Neale, and Kiran Ahluwalia — were operatic, in that they sang all of their lines. Unfortunately, the singers were buried much of the time in the sound mix, and technical snafus had their microphones cutting in and out. As a result, much of the message in the libretto was lost; the audience got little more than a broad-brush exploration of the libretto’s themes.

Steve Lacy’s solo set at the Guelph Youth Music Centre on Saturday morning was an affecting performance with intimations of mortality. Lacy alternated his own compositions with those of Thelonious Monk. He also employed a piano as a not-quite-silent partner, with a block depressing the sustain pedal, which produced subtle overtones as the air from Lacy’s soprano hit the strings. For most of the performance, Lacy stood at the front of the stage, but on one piece, Lacy placed the block so that it held the sustain pedal all the way down and then played into the body of the piano. I’m not a fan of encores, but Lacy’s version of “Crepuscule With Nellie” made me glad I hadn’t followed my usual practice of leaving the room before the encore.

Most of Saturday afternoon was taken up by a double concert, again at the Guelph Youth Music Centre. First up were the Peggy Lee Band, a sextet led by cellist Lee, playing her compositions that evoked those of Robin Holcomb and Bill Frisell’s neo-Americana. Particularly strong among the soloists were trumpeter Brad Turner and guitarist Tony Wilson.

Denman Maroney
Denman Maroney
Mark Dresser’s trio with pianist Denman Maroney and flautist Matthias Ziegler comprised the second half of the double bill. The music was paradoxically spare yet intricate at the same time, equally concerned with tonal and thematic development. An added bonus was the inclusion of three short films for which the group provided the live soundtrack in the second half of the concert.

Saturday evening at Chalmers United Church saw the final double concert of the festival. The trio of Myra Melford, Mark Taylor (French horn), and Bourque Simmons (soprano voice) was more precious and pretentious than penetrating. However, the quartet of Steve Lacy, George Lewis, Jean-Jacques Avenel and John Betsch gave a fully-realized performance. Drummer Betsch and (especially) bassist Avenel were astoundingly inventive in their roles, while Lewis (on trombone) and Lacy were very subtle in their exploration of melody. The quartet played a mix of older Lacy pieces such as “The Bath” and “The Rent” as well as compositions from the recent Beat Suite Quintet recording inspired by the writings of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and William S. Burroughs, and a new, unfinished piece titled “Baghdad.” In the absence of Irene Aebi, who was home battling a throat infection, Lacy read the beat poetry between the musical pieces, an approach that took nothing away from either the poetry or the music.

Evan Parker
Evan Parker
A tribute to writer Paul Haines, which took place on Sunday morning, was the final performance I attended. (A seven-hour drive precluded my seeing the duo of Martin Tetreault and percussionist Jesse Stewart that evening.) Coda editor Stuart Broomer, making a return to performance after approximately two decades, hosted the tribute, reminiscing about Haines, who died earlier this year, reading some of his work, and singing a Haines poem while accompanying himself on guitar. Guelph-based percussionist Jesse Stewart told a funny Haines story about Tony Oxley’s stool and did a short solo piece. He was followed by baritone saxophonist David Mott and pianist Michael Snow, who both spoke little and played much. Then, Evan Parker, who enjoyed a thirty-year friendship with Haines, spoke emotionally of their friendship before presenting his own solo improvisation. Finally, the five musicians did a “free for Paul,” as Broomer put it. All five listened, and all five contributed mightily in a collective effort that Haines would most probably have greatly appreciated.

This last performance stands for some of the best values that the festival represents — caring, community, and adventurous music-making. It’s for those reasons that I continue to go back to Guelph every September. If you haven’t been, you must do yourself the favor sometime.



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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Schlippenbach Trio
(Schlippenbach /
Evan Parker /
Lovens):
Warsaw Concert
(Intakt)



Spontaneous Music
Ensemble:
Karyobin (1968)
[2017 REISSUE]
(Emanem)



Musicianer
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Ajemian /
Taylor):
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(Iluso)



Sista Maj:
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Leap of
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Tomas Fujiwara :
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Mary Halvorson:
Away With You
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Taylor Bynum Ho :
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Insub Meta Orchestra:
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Sylvie Courvoisier /
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