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Tyshawn Sorey: The Inner Spectrum of Variables [2 CDs] (Pi Recordings)

New York drummer Tyshawn Sorey's impressive work for double trio is an ambitious chamber jazz work using multiple harmonic, formal, rhythmic, and modal vocabularies in an exploratory and improvisational framework, inspired by the work of Lawrence D. Butch Morris. ... Click to View


Yoni Kretzmer (Steve Swell / Thomas Heberer / Max Johnson / Chad Taylor): FIVE (OutNow Recordings)

An excellent example of collective free improv from a quintet led by NY tenor saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer with collaborators Steve Swell (trombone), Thomas Heberer (cornet), Max Johnson (double bass) and Chad Taylor (drums), capturing the horn sound of the late 60's Blue Note era. ... Click to View


Frantz Loriot Systematic Distortion Orchestra: The Assembly (OutNow Recordings)

The 11 piece Systematic Distortion Orchestra is led by composer and viola player Frantz Loriot, with Brooklyn Downtown players Nathaniel Morgan (sax), Brad Henkel & Joe Moffet (trumpet), Ben Gerstein, Sam Kulik (trombone), Sean Ali & Pascal Niggenkemper (bass), and 3 drummers. ... Click to View


JC Jones / Yoni Kretzmer (w/ Barre Philips / Mark Dresser / Reuben Radding / Sean Conly / Damon Smith / Pascal Niggenkemper): Esoteric Duos [2 CDs] (OutNow Recordings)

A tremendous CD of duos, disc one presents Israeli bassist JC Jones in duos with Steve Horenstein, Barre Phillips, Mark Dresser, Damon Smith, Yoni Kretzmer, and Carmel Raz; Disc 2 presents NY saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer in duos with Pascal Niggenkemper, Reuben Radding, Sean Conly, and JC Jones. ... Click to View


Kretzmer / Ajemian / Shea: Until Your Throat is Dry (OutNow Recordings)

The trio of NY free improvisers Yoni Kretzmer on tenor sax and Kevin Shea on drums (Talibam, Mostly Other People Do the Killing) with bassist Jason Ajemian in an intense album of "immaterial tangibility, the raw flesh, dirty concreteness, thoughtlessness and stuff called music." ... Click to View


Ehran Elisha / Kindred Spirit: Kindred Spirts: Quintets [2 CDs] (OutNow Recordings)

Composer-Improviser-Percussionist Ehran Elisha presents two quintets interpreting two of his extended compositions: "Kindred Soul" and "Spirit Suite", with collaborators including Roy Campbell, Sam Bardfeld, Dave Phillips, Yoni Kretzmer, Michael Attias, Sean Conly, &c. ... Click to View


Malfatti / Drumm / Capece: The Volume Surrounding The Task (Potlatch)

A moody album of minimal improv, using space, innuendo, breath and a wonderful sense of darkness from the trio of Radu Malfatti (trombone), Kevin Drum (electronics) and Lucio Capece (bass clarinet & preparations), performing live at Q-O2 in Brussel, Belgium. ... Click to View


Tony Conrad W/ Faust: Outside The Dream Syndicate [VINYL] (Superior Viaduct)

Originally released in Europe in 1973, this reissue details the meeting of NY violinist, composer and filmmaker Tony Conrad, a peer of John Cale, La Monte Young, &c. with the legendary German rock band Faust, recording these two side-long and forward-looking works. ... Click to View


Tony Conrad W/ Faust: Outside The Dream Syndicate (Superior Viaduct)

Originally released in Europe in 1973, this reissue details the meeting of NY violinist, composer and filmmaker Tony Conrad, a peer of John Cale, La Monte Young, &c. with the legendary German rock band Faust, recording these two side-long and forward-looking works. ... Click to View


Mats Gustafsson And Friends: MG 50 - Peace & Fire [4 CD BOX SET] (Trost Records)

A box set documenting the October 2015 3-day event held at Porgy and Bess in Vienna for the 50th birthday of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson (The Thing, Fire! and innumerable duo/trio/ensemble formations) with a who's-who of collaborators invited to join in various formations. ... Click to View


Rempis / Abrams / Ra + Baker: Perihelion [2 CDs] (Aerophonic)

Following their 2013 release "Aphelion", the working trio of Dave Rempis on sax, Joshua Abrams on bass & clarinet, and Avreeayl Ra on drums release their 2nd collaboration in a 2-CD album of live and studio improvisations, adding Jim Baker on keys and electronics for the 2nd disc. ... Click to View


Gunwale: Rempis / Wildeman / Packard: Polynya (Aerophonic)

The debut album of this focused and intrepid Chicago trio led by saxophonist Dave Rempis with young stalwarts Ryan Packard on percussion and electronics, and Netherlands transplant Albert Wildeman, for three extended improvisations recorded live and in the studio. ... Click to View


The International Nothing: The Power Of Negative Thinking (Monotype)

The 4th album from The International Nothing, originally the clarinet duo of Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke, now extended with Christian Weber on double bass and Eric Schaefer on percussion, adding new facets to their sonic spectrum of precise microtonal interaction. ... Click to View


Alfred Harth 23 / Wolfgang Seidel: Five Eyes (Moloko Records)

A fascinating psychedelic stew of improv and audio construction dovetailing tremendous playing with unexpected concrete and electronic interventions from the duo of Alfred 23 Harth on reeds, trombone, keys, and misc., and Wolfgang Seidel on drums, percussion and misc. ... Click to View


Matt Turner / Hal Rammel: As On A Pivot Of Air [10'' VINYL] (Penumbra)

A live recording by the long-running duo of Matt Turner on cello and Hal Rammel on amplified palettes at Acme Records & Music Emporium in Milwaukee in 2015 as part of the Audible Electricity series, presenting uniquely voiced and detailed improvisations. ... Click to View


PaPaJo (Hubweber / Lovens / Edwards): Spiela [2 CDs] (Creative Sources)

The long-running trio of Paul Hubweber on trombone, Paul Lovens on drums, and John Edwards on double bass in an album releasing a radio concert from Croatia in 2003, and another from Klangbrucke in 2009; highly attuned free improv with near-telepathic dialog from three masters. ... Click to View


Parak.eets (Ute Wassermann / Richard Scott / Emilio Gordoa): Natura Venomous (Creative Sources)

The trio of Richard Scott on modular synths, Emilio Gordoa on vibraphone & percussion, and Ute Wasserman on voice, in uniquely orchestrated free improvisations that focuses on sound interaction with detail and restraint, while still bringing a sense of wonder and exuberation. ... Click to View


Iridium String Quartet (Rocha / Rodrigues / Rodrigues / Mira): Iridium String Quartet (Creative Sources)

Unusual approaches to string improvisation from the quartet of Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Guilherme Rodrigues (cello), Maria da Rocha (violin), and Miguel Mira (double bass), using extended techniques in subtle yet detailed discourse yielding unexpected qualities to their instruments. ... Click to View


Moondog AKA Louis T. Hardin: Round the World of Sound (New World Records)

The "Viking of 5th Ave" Moondog (Louis Thomas Hardin) was a blind musician noted for his unique garb, but also for his beautiful compositions that blended creative and rhythmic music with lyric and song, here in a collection of 25 songs from his "Madrigal Book 1". ... Click to View


Miimo: Miimo 3 (Amorfon)

The improvising steelpan ensemble of Yoshio Machida (steel drums, percussion, electronics, PanKAT), Tatsu (bass, electronics) and Norihide Saji (drums, laptop, electronics) in their 3rd release, an alternative dub album, or music created by poly-rhythm and sound effects. ... Click to View


Chaman Chomeur : Chaman Chomeur (BeCoq)

A direct translation of this band's name is "unemployed shaman", the trio of Leo Ratherius (guitar), Marc-Antonie Moercant (drums) and Thomas Cockerel (bass) use trance-like rhythms to build sonic progressions like cathartic rituals, alongside open-minded improvisations. ... Click to View


Mats Gustafsson : Piano Mating [VINYL] (Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records)

When Blue Tapes asked Gustafsson to compose an album using an instrument he'd never recorded with before he chose the Dubreq Pianomate, an electronic instrument from the 60s intended to be used with a piano; Gustafsson used it sans-piano, and the results are these 2 beautiful drones. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Jim O'Rourke / Oren Ambarchi: I Wonder If You Noticed... [VINYL 2 LPs] (Black Truffle)

The trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke and Oren Ambarchi continues with this double LP of the band performing live at SuperDeluxe in Tokyo in 2014, for a journey in improvised rock and electronics with the shamanistic vocals of Haino guiding their unique and powerful playing. ... Click to View


Lucio Capece : Awareness About (Another Timbre)

Four recent pieces by Berlin-based instrumentalist, composer and improviser, Lucio Capece, all focusing on the process of listening, one performed by Konzert Minimal, the other solo performances including a work for hanging speakers and helium balloons. ... Click to View


Jurg Frey (performed by Cristian Alvear): Guitarist, Alone (Another Timbre)

A double CD featuring all of Wandelweiser composer Jurg Frey's music for solo acoustic guitar, beautifully interpreted by the Chilean guitarist Cristian Alvear, including a new piece written specially for Cristian Alvear; beautifully unfolding, concentrative music. ... Click to View


Angharad Davies / Rhodri Davies / Michael Duch / Lina Lapelyte / John Lely & John Tilbury: Goldsmiths (Another Timbre)

An extended group improvisation and compositions by Lely, Sarah Hughes, and Jurg Frey, subtle and beautiful performances by Angharad Davies (violin), Rhodri Davies (electric harp), Michael Duch (bass), Lina Lapelyte (violin), John Lely (objects & electronics) & John Tilbury (piano). ... Click to View


Marek Poliks : Hull Treader (Another Timbre)

Referencing sci-fi, C.S. Lewis, and alien worlds, the compositions of Marek Poliks each have a central metaphor like alien environment and warmth, spaceship and cradling, performed by ensembles using traditional and electronic instruments and objects. ... Click to View


Michael Bisio / Kirk Knuffke Duo: Row for William O. (Relative Pitch)

New York bassist Michael Bisio pays tribute to his teacher William O. Smith in this tremendous duo with cornetist Kirk Knuffke, in a beautiful mix of lyrical playing and heavy technical skills made to sound remarkably simply; a joyful and profound jazz album. ... Click to View


Ingrid Laubrock / Tom Rainey: Buoyancy (Relative Pitch)

Drawing on several years and many shared projects, the duo of Ingrid Laubrock (sax) and Tom Rainey (drums) recorded this excellent album of sophisticated improvisation at the end of a 17-date tour, performing for a studio audience at Audio for the Arts in Madison, Wisconsin. ... Click to View


Audio One (Vandermark/Adasiewicz/Berman/Bishop/Rempis/Williams/Mazzarrella/Daisy/Macri/Paulson): The Midwest School (Audiographic Records)

With a quartet of reeds (Nick Mazzarella, Dave Rempis, Ken Vandermark, Mars Williams), Jeb Bishop on trombone, Josh Berman on cornet, plus Jen Paulson on viola, Jason Adasiewicz on vibes, Nick Macri on bass and Tim Daisy on drums, this Chicago band burns with amazing free playing! ... Click to View


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  Steve Dollar 
  Jazz Guide to New York City  
  (The Little Bookroom) 

   review by Kurt Gottschalk
  2004-04-27
Steve Dollar: Jazz Guide to New York City (The Little Bookroom)

Steve Dollar is asking for it. Compiling a Let's Go-style compendium of places to hear live jazz in New York City is the kind of task which will leave you as dogged by people combing for mistakes and omissions as it will thankful tourists looking to find what lies beyond The Blue Note and The Village Vanguard. Surely as soon as you've written one thing down, something else will have changed, a downtown gallery will suddenly crop up with an interesting series of programs or some old reliable will give in to the pressure of catering to beer-swigging rockers.

Fact is, however, Dollar has done an admirable job in mapping the city, and the omissions are more than outweighed by his thorough reporting and easy prose. The little black book rounds up nearly 100 Manhattan venues and tracks down a handful in Brooklyn and Queens as well. No doubt he missed something in the Bronx and Staten Island - if only the occasional perfomance at The Bronx Museum of the Arts or the Snug Harbor Cultural Center - but for tourists trekking the usual routes or newbies interested in more context than Time Out has to offer, it's an excellent resource.

Dollar approached the project as more than a reference book. His writing is natural and entertaining, and he peppers the listings with bits of New York jazz lore. He provides a peek into where bassists go for strings, relates the story of Sonny Rollins on the Williamsburg Bridge and waxes briefly about subway musicians. He also gives some undeserved praise to the sound system at Iridium, strangely claims that "you won't find a more enjoyable place to see - and hear - live music" than Joe's Pub, and corrects the German grammar for the Neues Kabarett concert series at the Brecht Forum. (I was a cofounder of that series, but no hard feelings.) He dishes some attitude ("Intrusive waitrons, ill-mannered diners smacking and slurping, the piercing jangle of cutlery - everything exists to distract you from the performers, who might as well return to their long-forsaken Holiday Inn gig," he writes, without pointing fingers, of the ever-present dinner club), but what Dollar achieved is no small feat; he went to dozens of dark rooms with a saxophonist on one side and a bar on the other and found what made each distinct. It's a valuable little handbook, even though it will be out of date before Cab Calloway's 100th birthday.





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