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Harris Eisenstadt (w/ Wooley / Hawkins / Niggenkemper): Canada Day Quartet Live (Clean Feed)

While staying in the village Poschiavo in Switzerland at the Uncool Artist Residency program with his wife and son, drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt composed more than 50 single-line, three-system unison compositions and multi-voice tunes, flexible to be arranged for any size group, as heard in this all-star quartet configuration of his Canada Day ensemble. ... Click to View


Eve Risser: Apres Un Reve (Clean Feed)

A remarkably varied and unique approach to prepared piano that French pianist Eve Risser refers to as "piano droit", heard in her performance at FGO Barbara, in Paris on an upright piano, chosen for its specific mechanical qualities that allow Risser to generate a surprising amount of rhythmic variety, as she performs a single work mixing composed and improvised elements. ... Click to View


Zack Clarke Trio (w/ Kim / Cass / Dre Hocevar): Vertical Shores (Clean Feed)

A lyrical album of original compositions from New York pianist Zack Clarke, in an acoustic jazz piano trio with double bassist Kim Cass and drummer Dre Hocevar, recording in the Systems Two studio in Brooklyn for nine pieces of both optimistic and mercurial temperament, a great example mixing virtuosic form and perceptive communication in a classic configuration. ... Click to View


Arthurs / Khroustaliov / Sartorious: Hangkerum (Clean Feed)

An album of alien soundscape and un-anticipatable rhythm with seductive brass sonority floating above, from the Swiss trio of trumpeter Tom Arthurs, Isambard Khroustaliov on electronics, and Julian Sartorious on drums & percussion, contrasting complex and strangely aberrant sonic and rhythmic environments with lyrically virtuosic trumpet work. ... Click to View


Joao Lencastre's Communion 3 (w/ Sacks / Opsvik): Song(s) Of Hope (Clean Feed)

The 2nd release on Clean Feed by drummer Joao Lencastre's Communion, a shape-shift ensemble here configured with 2 New York improvisers from Lencastre's associations over 15 years in NYC--pianist Jakob Sacks and bassist Eivind Opsvik--for 10 studio recordings which includes the 4-part "Magnetic Frequency", blurring lyrical avant jazz and chamber forms; beautiful. ... Click to View


Gabriel Ferrandini (w/ Faustino / Sousa): Volupias [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Turning to one third of his more familiar Red Trio setting, percussionist/drummer Gabriel Ferrandini enlists bassist Hernani Faustino and tenor saxophonist Pedro Sousa (Sousa/Berthling/Ferrandini, PeterGabriel Duo) to perform 9 Ferrandini compositions named after streets in Lisbon leading from Ferrandini's house to his studio and then to ZDB. ... Click to View


Oddly Imploded (Gregoretti / Argenziano): They Just Sit About (Shhpuma)

Italian sonic explorer Francesco Gregoretti uses his drumkit like a lead instrument, amplifying and modifying its sound through effects, as he pursues his varied "Imploded" bands (Strongly Imploded, Grizzly Imploded) fueled by the mathematics of Chaos Theory, here with guitarist Maurizio Argenziano in an album of dense sound, from near-minimal to highly interactive. ... Click to View


Spirit in Spirit (Lencastre / Van der Weide / Govaert): Live at Zaal 100 (FMR)

A free jazz project from the trio of Portuguese alto saxophonist Jose Lencastre, French double bassist Raoul Van der Weide, and Dutch drummer Onno Govaert, performing at Amsterdam's Zaal 100 in 2018 for a concert of collective improvisation, intelligent discourse of coherently creative progressions and energetic but never overblown playing; exemplary. ... Click to View


Threnody (Berthling / Kuchen / Noble): A Paradigm Of Suspicion (Trost Records)

Previously a trio under their own names releasing the album "Threnody", the grouping of saxophonist Martin Kuchen (Angles), Johan Bertling (Fire!, Angles) and Steve Noble (St. Francis Duo, SFQ) now take the name Threnody as they burn through four extended improvisations of quickly shifting rhythm, dynamic and intensity; a remarkably passionate album. ... Click to View


Ted Daniel with Henry Grimes / Michael Marcus: Duology [VINYL] (Ujamaa Records)

Legendary New York trumpeter Ted Daniel, whose skills were honed in the 70s Loft Scene, in his 4th Duology album with the trio of Michael Marcus on clarinets and Henry Grimes on bass and violin, the leader also performing on French hunting horn, an album of varied mood and intensity that sits firmly in the free jazz legacy of daring harmonies and melodies. ... Click to View


Leap of Faith Orchestra & Sub-Units: Virtual Particles [2 CDS] (Evil Clown)

An octet version of the Boston improvising ensemble Leap of faith Orchestra, in a 3-part work using composer and multi-reedist, multi-instrumentalist David Pecks' timed segments, guiding the musicians through the piece while keeping the performance exuberantly controlled and intensely focused, while finding unusual paths for creative statement. ... Click to View


Brotzmann / Schlippenbach / Bennink: Fifty Years After... Live at the Lila Eule 2018 (Trost Records)

50 years after saxophonist Peter Brotzmann's Octet recorded the legendary "Machine Gun" album, the trio of Berlin pianist, composer Alexander von Schlippenbach and Dutch percussionist Han Bennink commemorated the album at Lila Eule in Bremen, the concert heard here so successful that the trio decided to release the album and continue on as a working trio. ... Click to View


Kodian Trio: III (Trost Records)

Recorded during their 2018 European tour, the 3rd album from the Kodian Trio of Andrew Lisle on drums, Dirk Serries on guitar, and Colin Webster on alto saxophone, is influenced by their active traveling and performing, evoking those experiences in inventive free jazz with experimental intention, from the boisterously energetic to introspectively reflective. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Sumac: Even for just the briefest moment Keep charging this "expiation" [VINYL 2 LPs] (Trost Records)

The second collaboration between the American avant-metal rock trio Sumac of guitarist Aaron Turner, drummer Nick Yacyshyn and bassist Brian Cook and Japanese legendary guitarist and vocalist Keiji Haino finds the quartet settling down from their first blast of an album, here slowly building their heavy feedback-drenched, ponderous and epic music. ... Click to View


Keiji Haino / Jim O'Rourke / Oren Ambarchi: In the past only geniuses were capable of staging the perfect crime (also known as a revolution) Today anybody can accomplish their aims... (Black Truffle)

The ninth album from the enduring trio of Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke, and Oren Ambarchi, recorded in 2015 at Tokyo's SuperDeluxe, with both Ambarchi and O'Rourke performing on drums and percussion, O'Rourke also using a Hammond Organ and Ambarchi on flute, while Haino asserts himself on guitar, electronics and voice, in 2 groove-based pieces and 2 side-long epics. ... Click to View


Konstrukt + Ken Vandermark: Kozmik Bazaar [VINYL] (KARLRECORDS)

In November 2018, the groove-oriented Turkish electric improvising quartet Konstrukt of saxophonist & electronic artist Korhan Futaci, guitarist Umut Caglar, double bassist Apostolos Sideris, and drummer Berkan Tilavel, met with Chicago multi-reedist Ken Vandermark in Instanbul, recording these improvisation, a mix of muscular playing and psychedelic interaction. ... Click to View


Max Eastley / Fergus Kelly / Mark Wastell: The Map Is Not The Territory (Confront)

The 8th release on Confront's Core series of factory-pressed CDs brings together iprovisers Max Eastley, Fergus Kelly and Mark Wastell, employing electroacoustic devices, invented instruments, metal percussion, a piano frame and tam tam to create a rich and mysterious sound world, darkly hopeful emanations in a nighttime traversal across unknown lands. ... Click to View


Chris Burn / Philip Thomas: as if as (Confront)

Contemporary composer, improviser and pianist Chris Burn in 4 lively, playful and fasciatingly structured works, as heard in Philip Thomas's renderings: "as if as"; "only the snow"; a transcription of Derek Bailey's "from ten, two, and three" in 6 parts; "pressings and screening" in 4 parts; and "the sky a silver dissonance" with Kate Ledger as a 2nd pianist. ... Click to View


Bill Orcutt: Odds Against Tomorrow (Palilalia)

After his recent work interpreting the American Songbook, guitarist Bill Orcutt returns to his own compositions in an album cleanly recorded through a Fender Twin in Orcutt's living room, with three pieces multi-tracked, the rest simply pure Orcutt, reflecting beautiful blues-tinged lyricism, jarring interwining of notes, and impressive passages of superb virtuosity. ... Click to View


Bill Orcutt: Odds Against Tomorrow [VINYL] (Palilalia)

After his recent work interpreting the American Songbook, guitarist Bill Orcutt returns to his own compositions in an album cleanly recorded through a Fender Twin in Orcutt's living room, with three pieces multi-tracked, the rest simply pure Orcutt, reflecting beautiful blues-tinged lyricism, jarring interwining of notes, and impressive passages of superb virtuosity. ... Click to View


Maja Ratkje S.K.: Sult [VINYL _ CD] (Rune Grammofon)

Starting with a pipe organ, adding metal tubes, PVC tubes, a wind machine, guitar strings, a bass string, a resin thread, metal and glass percussion, and a bow, Maja SK Ratjke developed this unusual instrument for a live performance in Jo Stromgren's ballet "Sult" ("Hunger"), taking the instrument to the studio for this extraordinarily interesting album of keys and song. ... Click to View


Morton Feldman (Philip Thomas): Piano [5 CD BOX SET] (Another Timbre)

Containing the majority of minimalist composer Morton Feldman's compositions for solo piano, 3 CDs of short works and 2 for the magnificent "For Bunita Marcus" and "Triadic Memories", performed by one of the foremost interpreters of Feldman's work, Philip Thomas, and presented in a sturdy 5-CD box set with a 52 page booklet of notes from the performer and artwork. ... Click to View


Denzler / Grip / Johansson: Zyklus 1 [2 CDs] (Umlaut Records / SAJ)

Exploring new ways of interplay within a classic jazz trio setting, "Zyklus 1" or "Cycle 1" is the 3rd album from the trio of Bertrand Denzler on tenor saxophone, Joel Grip on double bass, and Sven on Ake Johansson on drums, a double CD + poster of four improvisations that reference "Time" through masterful technique and superb collective free jazz. ... Click to View


Berman / Lytton / Roebke: Trio Discrepancies [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

The 2nd release from the trio of Chicago cornetist Josh Berman, UK drummer/percussionist Paul Lytton and Chicago bassist Jason Roebke, featuring material recorded during the trio's April 2018 European tour, in two extended side-long improvisations from Padova, Italy and Trondheim, Norway, in sets of profound technique and creative prowess; exceptional. ... Click to View


Percy Pursglove / Paul Dunmall / Mark Sanders / John Etheridge: Deps (FMR)

A smoking session recorded at Bristol Fringe Club, UK in 2019 from the quartet of frequent collaborators Percy Pursglove on bass & trumpet, Mark Sanders on drums, and Paul Dunmall on soprano & tenor saxophones and alto flute, and on this concert John Etheridge (Soft Machine, Zappatistas) on electric guitar, adding great technical skill and intensity to this exceptional concert. ... Click to View


Dunmall / Swell / Owston / Sanders: So Perhaps (FMR)

British saxophonist Paul Dunmall and American trombonist Steve Swell in a quartet with master drummer Mark Sanders and emerging UK bassist James Owston took the stage at Jubilee Center Birmingham, UK in 2019 for this dynamic album of collective improvisation, in a staggering concert of powerful technique and upbeat, ultimately swinging free jazz. ... Click to View


Philipp Wachsmann / Trevor Taylor / Paul Medley / Matthew Hutchinson : Old Dreams New Horizons (FMR)

Quartet, trio and duo sessions between Paul Medley on alto saxophone & bass clarinet, Trevor Taylor on percussion & electronics, Matthew Hutchinson on piano, and Philipp Wachsmann on violin & electronics; improv and ea-improv that uses space and patient pacing, merging approaches from Circuit Electro-Acoustic Ensemble with an overall acoustic chamber feel--beautiful. ... Click to View


Kid Millions & Sarah Bernstein: Broken Fall (VINYL) (577)

Pulling inspiration from disparate influences such as early liturgical music, Ornette Coleman, Laurie Anderson, Yoko Ono, Milford Graves, and composers Morton Feldman and Lou Harrison, Kid Millions and Sarah Bernstein create a cyclical form of spontaneous thematic music through powerful electronics, wild vocalizations, and unrelenting drum textures. ... Click to View


Ted Daniel: Solo At Abbrazia San Zeno, Pisa, Italy (Ujamaa Records)

Recorded during the Jazz Festival in Pisa, Italy while trumpeter Ted Daniel was touring through Europe, good fortune making an opportunity for Daniel to present his first fully spontaneous solo performance, captured at Abbrazia San Zeno and dedicated to his father, where Daniel plays with authenticity, relaxed warmth, impressive technique and spiritual creativity. ... Click to View


Ted Daniel Trio: "The Loft Years", Volume One (Ujamaa Records)

Free Jazz in the mid-70s in New York City was guided by The Loft movement of artist-run venues throughout the city, the perfect environment for trumpeter Ted Daniel to develop his approach to the extended improvisations heard here, recorded in the studio with his trio of Tatsuya Nakamura on drums & percussion and Richard Pierce on bass, Daniel playing flugelhorn & French horn. ... Click to View


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  Steve Adams Trio 
  Surface Tension  
  (Clean Feed) 


  
   review by Wyman Brantley
  2009-03-05
Steve Adams Trio: Surface Tension (Clean Feed)

A possible result danger, some might say of working as a multi-instrumentalist in creative music is being less recognizable as a player. There are exceptions, of course, like Ornette Coleman in his alto/trumpet/violin days, and Anthony Braxton especially stands out. But listeners are likely to come away from "Surface Tension" not being quite sure what Steve Adams sounds like. On this disk he divides his time among sopranino, alto and baritone saxophones, and also plays bass flute. But on these various instruments his playing largely seems to lack the ready recognizability of multi-instrumentalists.

This may not matter. This album seems to be about playing that is more geared toward inventive compositions and arrangements than creating backdrops for blowing.

Steve Adams is a member of the Rova Saxophone Quartet, a group known for dedication to the pieces instead of showy collective riffing. Indeed, there is much variety in the compositions here, and in the way the instruments are combined. When the fifth track "Squeamish," kicks in with its punchy alto figure as head, it suddenly becomes apparent how much the album so far has defied expectations about what a sax/bass/drums trio sounds like. But even this track moves into unanticipated territory with its early solo drum break and later sax/drum duet.

"Equilibria" exemplifies this trio's focus on interaction and careful listening. The piece is not based on a set rhythmic pulse, apart from the head, but it nevertheless maintains a sense of momentum and flow. The center section is truly a collective solo featuring edge of your seat twists and turns. 



Not all of the tunes on the CD feature unusual structures, though. "Squelch," for example, is clearly influenced by Steve Lacy. Although Adams plays it on alto, both its jaunty melody and Adams' phrasing on his solo are unmistakably Lacy-esque. "Cacophony (for Vinnie Golia)" is the most aggressive track on the album. It combines the angular compositional lines and raucous soloing of players like Cecil Taylor, Joe Morris and Rob Brown. Adams' sopranino playing on the track is superb, by the way, suggesting that an entire album from him centered on this instrument could be a welcome future project.



Steve Adams Trio: Surface Tension
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