The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Keith Rowe / Mark Wastell:
Live At I-And-E [VINYL RSD] (Confront)

Performing at The Printing House, in Dublin, Ireland, the duo of Keith Rowe on guitar & electronics and Mark Wastell on amplified textures & electronics are heard in their final set of the evening, louder and more gestural, taking the audience on a long musically referential journey of theme, statement and variations, seemingly traditional yet using unique strategies. ... Click to View


The Residents :
Icky Flix: The Original Soundtrack Recording [2LP Vinyl RSD] (Ralph Records)

Colored vinyl double LP Record Store Day release of the soundtrack to the eyeballed band's 2001 "Icky Flix" DVD, 20 re-worked classic Residents tracks, originally released as a 14-track soundtrack CD, here in an extended edition that includes 6 additional tracks, "reimaginings" not included on the original version of the album. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Matthew Shipp:
Dark Matrix (Not Two)

A meeting in the studio of long-time friends and collaborators, pianist Matthew Shipp and Daniel Carter performing on alto, tenor & soprano saxes, clarinet & trumpet, having played together in many groupings this is only their first duo recording, in a thoughtful set of free improvisations with an innate lyricism and beautiful sense of pacing; masterful and evolved. ... Click to View


Jaap Blonk's Retirement Overdue (w/ Petruccelli / Stadhouders / Rosaly):
New Start [2 CDs] (Kontrans)

The first working band for Dutch vocal improviser Jaap Blonk in 20 years, as he passes 65 years and is clearly NOT ready for retirement, assembling Miguel Petruccelli (Native Aliens Ensemble) on guitar, Jasper Stadhouders (Cactus Truck) on bass, and Chicago ex-pat Frank Rosaly on drums for a double CD of new work, collective improvisation and reworked Blonk classics. ... Click to View


Antonin Artaud (Jaap Blonk):
To Have Done With the Judgment of God (Kontrans)

Vocal performer & musician Jaap Blonk presents a rendering of French dramatist, poet and theatre director Antonin Artaud's "Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de Dieu" (To Have Done With the Judgment of God), a work shelved by the French Radio in 1948 without broadcast as 'too scatological, political, anti-religious, random, and cacophonous through xylophonic and percussive sounds'. ... Click to View


Eric Brochard / Fabrice Favriou:
Derviche (Ayler)

Improvised and heavy forms of experimental rock from the French duo of piccol bassist Eric Brochard and drummer Fabrice Favriou, their music dramatic, ritualistic and urgent as they reference Maya Deren and mythological experience, their music hypnotically mesmerizing and sonically rich, slowly whirling dervishes in five varying sequences that growl and transfix. ... Click to View


What Happens In A Year (SInton / Neufeld / Merega):
Ceremonie / Musique (FiP recordings)

The 1st release of NY baritone saxophonist & bass clarinetist Josh Sinton's FiP label (Form is Possibility) is the debut of the "What Happens in a Year" trio with Todd Neufeld on electric guitar and Giacomo Merega on electric bass, an album of free collective improvisation fueled by a patiently ethereal and authoritative ethic through subtle dialog of tone, texture and pulse. ... Click to View


Dan Clucas / Jeb Bishop / Damon Smith / Matt Crane:
Universal or Directional (Balance Point Acoustics)

Three quartet improvisations and six duo combinations between Dan Clucas on cornet, Jeb Bishop on trombone, Damon Smith on double bass, and Matt Crane on drums, recording in the studio in Rhode Island, 2018, the various permutations of each player elucidating the full group interactions through focused and captivating investigations of instrumental combinations. ... Click to View


Otomo Yoshihide / Chris Pitsiokos:
Live in Florence [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Performing live at the Tempo Reale Festival in Florence, Italy in 2018, the duo of Japanese improviser Otomo Yoshihide on turntables & guitars and NY saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos fascinate with seven free dialogs, from extreme techniques of fragmented sound to jazz-oriented reference, a well-matched pair for both splintering collision and accomplished statement. ... Click to View


Iannis Xenakis:
GRM Works 1957-1962 [VINYL] (Recollection GRM)

Back in Stock: Recollection GRM assembles Greek experimental composer Iannis Xenakis' works for Groupe de Recherches Musicales circa 1957-1962: "Concret PH" (1958); "Orient-Occident" (1960); "Diamorphoses" (1957-58); "Bohor" (1962). ... Click to View


The Thing (Gustafsson / McPhee / Haker Flaten / Nilssen-Love):
She Knows... (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Named for a Don Cherry composition included on this album, the core trio of The Thing--Mats Gustafsson on reeds, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums--is joined by saxophonist and pocket trumpter Joe McPhee, recording classic free jazz and harmolodic pieces by Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer, Frank Lowe, & Joe McPhee. ... Click to View


Albert Ayler Quartet With Don Cherry:
European Recordings Autumn 1964 (Revisited) [2 CDs] (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Essential radio and live recordings from saxophonist Albert Ayler's European tour in 1964 with Don Cherry on cornet, Gary Peacock on double bass and Sunny Murray on drums, a quintessential grouping for Ayler's compositions, here in outstanding renditions of classic works including "Spirits", "Ghosts", "Vibrations", "Mothers", "Childrens", plus Don Cherry's "Infant Happiness". ... Click to View


Joel Futterman :
Intervals (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Each of the three parts of NY pianist Joel Futterman's "Intervals" is an unedited first take, a referendum on 40 years of playing and evolving his powers at free jazz that embraces tradition and future, alway engaging his listeners through fully formed figures, phrase and motifs, a great combination of familiar jazz elements and imaginative free invention. ... Click to View


Frode Gjerstad / Fred Lonberg Holm / Steve Swell / William Parker:
Tales From (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

After on a tour through upstate New York State with Chicago cellist and electronic artist Fred Lonberg-Holm, saxophonist Frode Gjerstad headed to New York City for a planned trio recording which evolved into this informed quartet with Steve Swell on trombone and William Parker on bass, tuba, cornet & flutes, an outstanding example of Transatlanic collective improvisation. ... Click to View


Cooper-Moore & Stephen Gauci:
Conversations Vol. 1 [VINYL] (577)

The first of two volumes from legendary Downtown NY pianist Cooper-Moore and saxophonist Stephen Gauci, recorded after a seven-month residency at Happylucky No. 1 Gallery in Brooklyn, allowing the two players to develop a natural dialog of unique and idiosyncratic approaches to their instruments, resulting in these 6 commanding recordings freely improvised in the studio. ... Click to View


Gadt / Osborne / Zakrocki / Olak:
Spontaneous Chamber Music Vol.3 (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

The third volume in this Polish free improvising series, starting with the collaboration of violinist Patryk Zakrocki and guitarist Marcin Olak, varying the additional players as they explore chamber-oriented free improvisation, here with the impressive vocal improvisation of Anna Gadt and cellist Annemie Osborne, as they rip apart the calendar in 14 monthly machinations. ... Click to View


Przemyslaw Chmiel Quartet:
Witchcraft (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Led by Polish multi-reedist and composer Przemyslaw Chmiel and his quartet of Mateusz Gramburg on piano, Piotr Narajowski on double bass, and Michał Szeligowski on drums, this is their debut album, presenting a sophisticated set of structured compositions that allow for great spontaneity and lyricism, a strong start for this expressive young band. ... Click to View


Sun Ra And His Solar-Myth Arkestra:
The Solar-Myth Approach (Vol. 1 & 2) [2 CDs] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Originally issued on the BYG label as a 2 volume set, these albums present a variety of tracks from various undocumented sessions in New York and Philadelphia in the 1960s, with similar personnel in the makeup of the Arkestra during this time, here fully remastered and presented as a 2-CD set including a bonus track correcting an original mastering problem; essential Ra! ... Click to View


David Myers Lee:
That Which Is It (pulsewidth)

Using electronic and digital tools similar to those that fuel his Arcane Device project, New York sound artist David Lee Myers presents an accessibly engaging set of compositions using modular electronics, feedback matrices, guitar textures, voices, and frogs in 11 polyrhythmic adventures; quirky yet non-chaotic, sublime experimental works of tone and texture. ... Click to View


Julius Gabriel:
Geminga (Creative Sources)

Using the natural resonance of the chapel of Oficinas do Convento, in Montemor-o-Novo, Portugal, saxophonist Julius Gabriel recorded these ten diverse solo improvisations, performing on soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, applying unusual and extended techniques to his playing in a mixture of technical prowess and implicit wit & melodicism. ... Click to View


Icepick (Nate Wooley / Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten / Chris Corsano):
Hellraiser [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

The 3rd album from the improvising trio of Nate Wooley on trumpet, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass, and Chris Corsano on drums, is a live recording at the 2018 Experimental Sound Studio's Option Series, a smoldering session of collective improvisation that builds tension through impressive rhythmic texture and releases it in cathartic and passionate passages. ... Click to View


Das Rad (Archer / Robinson / Dinsdale):
Adios Al Futuro (Discus)

The 2nd release from the UK instrumental rock band Das Rad of Nick Robinson on guitars, keyboards & electronics, Martin Archer on woodwind, keyboards, synth bass & electronics, and Steve Dinsdale on drums, keyboards & electronics, expand their sound and referenes as they tug on the heartstrings of prog, krautrock and other advanced rock forms with modern and mellotron-fueled orchestration. ... Click to View


Kaze (Fujii / Tamura / Pruvost / Orins) w/ Ikue Mori:
Sand Storm (Libra/ Circum-Disc)

The cooperative quartet Kaze of Satoko Fujii on piano, Peter Orins on drums, Christian Pruvost on trumpet, Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, joins with elextroacoustic improviser Ikue Mori for seven exploratory pieces recorded in the studio after a one-week tour in Austria, France, and Russia, their enthusiasm for their extraordinarily unique group sound clearly evident. ... Click to View


Gato Libre (Tamura / Fjuii / Kaneko):
Koneko (Libra)

The 8th album from Gato Libre with compositions from trumpeter Natsuki Tamura in a trio with Yasuko Kaneko on trombone and pianist Satoko Fujii here on accordion, Koneko translating to "Kitten", as Tamura explores 8 new cats from strays to shop cats through deceptively simple pieces of melodic appeal of warm color, tone & texture; absolutely charming. ... Click to View


Phil Wachsmann :
Writing In Water (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

UK-based violinist Phillip Wachsmann, an essential player bringing contemporary approaches of indeterminacy, conceptualism and electroacoustics to the early community of improvisers and experimentalists, in a reissue of his 1984 Bead Records album, presenting his astute and sophisticated live solo performance for violin and electronics at the Actual Festival in July 1984, London. ... Click to View


Francesco Gregoretti :
Solid Layers, Deafening Shapes (Toxo Records)

A solo percussion album from Francesco Gregoretti, employing traditional instruments and unusual object to create unique audio environment that use predictable rhythmic elements against capricious approaches, giving his playing a personal style fueled by resonance and natural feedback; an album that balances chaotic and structured environments in riveting ways. ... Click to View


Musicworks:
#137 Fall 2020 [MAGAZINE + CD] (Musicworks)

Fall 2020 issue of Canada's finest new music magazine, focusing on guitars--hollow, heavy, bowed, cracked, pedalled, flung, trusty companions & feedback demons; Plus articles on Casey Koyczan, Susan Alcorn, Amy Brandon, Aidan Baker, Eliza Kavtion, C. Diab, Markus Lake, Catherine Debard, Cloud Chamber, &c; and an 11-track CD with music from the aforementioned. ... Click to View


Milford Graves / Don Pullen:
The Complete Yale Concert, 1966 (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Originally issued in two volumes on their own SRP Records in 1966 & 67 as In Concert At Yale University and Nommo, the duo of drummer/percussionist Milford Graves and pianist Don Pullen are heard live in in this excitingly energetic and revelatory concert at Yale University, redefining the roles of their instruments during the most exploratory period of free jazz. ... Click to View


Schlippenbach Quartet:
Three Nails Left (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Remastered and with the original cover, the expanded Schlippenbach Trio of pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach, saxophonist Evan Parker on soprano & tenor, drummer/percussionist Paul Lovens, and German double bassist Peter Kowald, a stellar group captured in two incredibly inventive concerts at Third New Jazz Festival Moers and at Quartier Latin in 1974 & 1975. ... Click to View


Peter Kowald Quintet:
Peter Kowald Quintet (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

First ever CD reissue of the only band under bassist Peter Kowald's own name, remastered; originally released by FMP in 1972, this is exemplary European Free Jazz from one of the orignal innovators in a quartet with Peter Kowald on tuba, bass, & alphorn, Gunter Christmann and Paul Rutherford on trombones, Peter van der Locht on alto saxophone, and Paul Lovens on drums. ... Click to View


Evan Parker / Agusti Fernandez:
Tempranillo (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Reissuing this astonishing 1995 studio recording, capturing the first encounter between two legendary free jazz performers--UK saxophonist Evan Parker on tenor and soprano saxophones and pianist Augustí Fernández--in an 8-part dialog of mercurial speed balanced with moments of passionate introspection, resissued with new mastering, restoring this essential meeting. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Arcado String Trio:
Deep Resonance (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Saxophonist Ivo Perelman declares that he "metamorphosed into a string instrument" himself while playing with the dynamic string trio drawn of NY Downtown luminaries--cellist Hank Roberts, violinist Mark Feldman and bassist Mark Dresser--blending technical mastery with profound creative impulse as the quartet weaves a tapestry of free jazz and instant composition. ... 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:


Antonin Artaud
(Jaap Blonk):
To Have Done
With the Judgment
of God
(Kontrans)



Jaap Blonk's
Retirement Overdue
(w/ Petruccelli /
Stadhouders /
Rosaly):
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The Chemical
Expansion League
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Northover /
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Joel Futterman :
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The Thing
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Nilssen-Love):
She Knows...
(ezz-thetics by
Hat Hut Records
Ltd)



Albert Ayler
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Autumn 1964
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Ltd)



Icepick
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Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten /
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Das Rad
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Kaze
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Morton Feldman:
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Phill Niblock:
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Conny Bauer /
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