The genre-defying trio Fire! with Mats Gustafsson on saxophones & electronics, Andreas Werliin on drums, percussion and effects, and Johan Berthling on upright and electric bass, blend heavy and dark elements of free improvisation, free rock, free blues, sound and noise, and sampled overlays in their latest, cultured and crude album of brooding and gripping music.
Ex guitarist Terrie Ex improvises with Dutch sound poet and electronicist Jaap Blonk for 9 stories and sonic works, using unusual phonetic interpretations in strange stories with electronic asides and interventions, a truly unique album drawing on the evolution of their duo since 2012 that includies performances in Ex's Ethiopian "Soundpoetry" series of concerts and workshops.
Cortex propels their persuasive, groove oriented approach to jazz with this swinging album that blends free jazz styles with great hard bop, in line with a band like The Thing, this Scandinavian group wants to make your body move without indulging in excess or pandering, instead following a muse that's solidly in the exuberant free jazz tradition.
Multi-reedist Peter Kuhn returned to the San Diego scene in 2013, forming the Dependent Origination band with a core of drummer Alex Cline and saxophonist Dave Sewelson, referencing the Buddhist concept of interdependent co-arising; 4 years later this album adding Dan Clucas (cornet) & Scott Walton (bass) represents the current state of this excellent collective band.
A collaborative composition by Veryan Weston, Christine Duncan and Jean Martin, performed with Jesse & Joshua Zubot on violin and Andrew Downing on bass & cello, based on Weston's score "Tessellation IV (Make)", the composed material based on 52 quotations by women writers, each sung on a 5-note (pentatonic) scale, each scale changing by one note when the word "make" is sung.
Composer and vocalists Juliet Palmer leads an ensemble of vocalists through works that use layering of voices using lyrics from Emily Dickinson, Nicholas Power, Julie Salverson, Anna Cahtterton, and Christine Duncan, a fascinating mixture of haunting acappella interaction, solo voice, and one work with electronic backing and one over an ultrasound.
"Deep" is the word, as two Swedish improvisers--bass and contrabass clarinetist Christer Bothen, a member of Fire! Orchestra and Mats Gustafsson's Nu Ensemble, and double bassist Vilhelm Bromander, a peer of Axel Dorner, Sten Sandell, Raymond Strid, &c.--formed the duo "CBVB" to explore the possibilities of their big instruments, heard in this 6 movement, profound suite.
Two Spanish musicians--Ricardo Tejero on clarinet and saxophone, and Paloma Carrasco on cello and piano--both with a long history working together and with legendary improvisers, combine as Duo Bruo, joining their distinctive approaches in free improvisation to create 16 succinct works that present lyrical, spiritual, experimental, and distinctive dialog.
Fraqx, the Netherlands duo of guitarists Jacq Palinckx and Frank Crijns, both on electric guitar and "devices", debut their collaboration with this 7-part journey of rich deformations, from raw visceral energy to subdued experimentation, a diverse set of textures and powerful playing from two players with a long history of unusual improvisation.
Visual artists Maria Lucchese is also a multi-instrumentalist and voice performer based in Berlin, working with Gio Kaptra, a filmmaker, visual artist and scientist based in Urbino, take their listeners on a 7 part cosmic exploration using tibetan bells, theremin, voice, modular synth, breath and sound processing, the title translating to "through hardships to the stars".
A trio of free improvisers recording five detailed and subdued dialogs in the studio, from trombonist Matthias Muller (Splitter Orchester), cellist Guilherme Rodrigues, and guitarist Eric Wong, collective improvisation guided by long pointillistic passages that converge into lyrical focal points, a profound example of concentrative discourse.
Live at the 66th SALON fur Klang+Kunst in Krailling, Munich, Germany finds festival leader Udo Schindler on cornet, bass, contrabass clarinet, soprano saxophone in a duo with Berlin-based Istanbul-born computer musician Korhan Erel, who designs his own unique instruments with unusual controllers, performing 9 singular dialogs of ethereal and unorthodox sound.
Two approaches to keyboards from Japanese acoustic pianist Yoko Miura and keyboardist Jean-Marc Foussat (Fou Records) recording these extended and excursive improvisations in Paris in 2017, contrasting Foussat's alien and encompassing synthetic and electronic worlds with Miura's sophisticated playing inside and out of the piano.
Bear Brother is a young quintet that plays energetic and melodious free jazz with references to both American and European improvisational music, comprised of Erling Skorpen on trumpet, Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll on saxophone, Isach Skeidsvoll on piano, Hakon Norby Bjorgo on bass, and Martin Mellem on drums, with each band member contributing compositions.
Originally released on Hat Hut in '95, this 11-CD box blows open these 2 European concerts in Zurich and Koln, reworking the music of Charlie Parker and associated bop composers, with Braxton himself on reeds, plus saxophonist Ari Brown, trumpeter Paul Smoker, pianist Misha Mengelberg, and alternating between drummers Han Bennink and Pheeroan AkLaff; superb, essential!
An exciting meeting of multi-generational and multi-national, forward-thinking free improvisers performing live at Klub Demboh in Berlin in 2017, from the sextet of Axel Dorner (trumpet), Mia Dyberg (alto saxophone), Pierre Borel (alto saxophone), Ernesto Rodrigues (viola), Tristan Honsinger (cello) and Guilherme Rodrigues (cello).
IKB continue their series of albums graced with taxonomic latin names for animals, here with the North Island brown kiwi bird, as the string- and wind-heavy electroacoustic ensemble led by violist Ernesto Rodrigues present this extended improvisation of subtle motion and understated complexity live at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal in 2017.
A duo between Swedish guitarist Finn Loxbo (Fire! Orchestra) and bass clarinetist Erik Blennow Calalv, in a low-key, moody and tranquil album of improvisations with titles implying their unhurried approach to their dialog--"Clouds", "Moving, Dancing", and "Ryoanji"-- making a beautiful album of nearly ambient but decidedly determined music.
As part of "The Horse Improvised Music Club" concert series organized by London Improvised Music Scene members Adam Bohman, Sue Lynch and Hutch Demouilpied, the trio of drummer Steve Noble, saxophonist Adrian Northover and acoustic guitarist Daniel Thompson recorded these open-minded improvisations of strong communication and extended technique in 2017 at IKLECTIK in London, England.
An extended studio improvisation recorded in Berlin-Weissensee, Germany in 2016 from the restrained quartet of Axel Dorner on trumpet, Nuno Torres on alto sax, Alexander Frangenheim on double bass, and Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, using advanced techniques in a monumental journey that finds the quartet in a variety of expansive and intriguing dialogs.
Buenos Aires double bassist Pablo Vazquez presents nine solo improvisations using an impressive and diverse set of approaches to the instrument, utilizing every inch of the bass to evoke the supernatural beings of Argentine popular culture, in an imaginative approach to sonic narrative that demonstrates powerful control and masterful technique.
A mix of New York and Canadian players, "Eave" is the quartet of Anna Webber and Erik Hove on saxophones, Vicky Mettler on guitar and Evan Tighe on drums, a collective abstract improvising band that uses its instruments as much for effect as for conventional playing, with commanding skill in all approaches as they surprise, bemuse and mesmerize the listener.
Downtown NY drummer William Hooker leads a trio with West Coast players, Damon Smith on double bass and Ava Mendoza on guitar, for a live album at New York University in 2017 that blends free jazz and avant rock forms to create something unique and powerful, yet filled with moments of intrinsic beauty and drama, a great amalgamation of free playing.
London scene free players since the 90s, drummer Tony Irving and alto saxophonist Massimo Magee, both of the improvisation duo Ascension, meet in the studio to record seven distinctive and quirky dialogs of strong technical skill, Irving often thundering over Magee's strangling runs and melodic diversions and asides; powerful and unpredictable.
Interdisciplinary vocalist Muyassar Kurdi and Chicago-born, NY-based cellist Nicholas Jozwiak use the ambient sounds of their recording spaces in Brooklyn to add a presence to their introspective dialogs that take an almost devout approach to their calmly measured performances, making an intimate and evocative album of unorthodox improvisation.
Known as a superlative sideman, Chicago drummer/percussionist Quin Kirchner's debut as a leader brings together trombonist Nick Broste, bass clarinetist Jason Stein, saxophonist Nate Lepine, pianist Ben Boye and bassist Matt Ulery for an excellent album of spiritual free playing with compositions from Sun Ra, Andrew Hill, Charles Mingus, Paul Motian, Phil Cohran, &c.