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See 2017 Top Sellers and Staff Lists

See 2016 Top Sellers and Staff Top Lists

Jimmy Giuffre 3 (w / Bley / Swallow)
Graz Live 1961
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

After introducing his new trio with pianist Paul Bley and double bassist Steve Swallow in two 1961 albums on Verve, clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre embarked on a tour of Europe, this recently discovered, well-recorded concert in Graf, Austria the perfect example of his unique concepts yielding intensely focused, harmonically challenging, rhythmically abstract, and exquisite chamber jazz.


Franz Koglmann Septet (w / Clark / Arcari / D'Agaro / Turkovic / Pasztor / Herbert)
Fruits Of Solitude
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

With a superb septet of improvisers also versed in contemporary music, trumpeter Franz Koglmann presents sophisticated compositions that interject the concept of "solitude" in the three-part title track, alongside Koglmann compositions and Jimmy Giuffre's "Finger Snapper", using striking orchestration of trumpet, sax, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, french horn, cello and double bass.


Marc Ducret
Lady M
(Illusions)

Taking on one of Shakespeare's most famous and frightening female characters, Lady Macbeth, in an 11-piece ensemble that include luminaries Liudas Mockunas, Samuel Blaser, and French guitarist Marc Ducret himself, using operatic form to focus his compositions on the emotional depth of his character, blending composed, improvised and sonic material into an exciting and unsettling work, drawing incredible performances from his players.


Derek Bailey / Han Bennink / Evan Parker
Topographie Parisienne [4 CDs]
(Fou Records)

Recorded in 1981 by audio engineer and label owner Jean-Marc Foussat, the trio of guitarist Derek Bailey, saxophonist Evan Parker, and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Han Bennink are heard in an amazing evening of performance at 28 rue Dunois, in Paris, France, in duo and trio configurations, exploring material similar to Parker's "Topography of the Lungs"; essential.


Angles 9
Beyond Us
(Clean Feed)

Now a distinct edition of saxophonist Martin Kuchen's concept, the Angles 9 ensemble is captured live at the Zomer Jazz Fiets Tour in The Netherlands in 2018, performing Kuchen's embraceable and lyrical compositions, allowing his masterful band--including Magnus Broo, Johan Berthling, Mattias Stahl, &c.--great opportunities for collective playing and profound soloing.


ICP Tentet
Tetterettet
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

10 years after drummer Han Bennink, pianist Misha Mengelberg, and saxophonist Willem Breuker formed the ICP co-op, Bennink & Mengelberg formed this 10-piece "Tetterettet", an all-star international group including Peter Brotzmann, Tristan Honsinger, John Tchicai, this their first incredible and far-ranging album, remastered and available on CD for the first time.


Satoko Fujii / Ramon Lopez
Confluence
(Libra)

Having played in trio settings before, pianist Satoko Fujii and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez seized the opportunity to record as a duo in the studio in NY, bringing just two Fujii compositions to guide them, they began freely improvising, creating this stunning album of elegant interaction, peaceful yet detailed, intuitively beautiful and sophisticated music.


Anthony Braxton (w/ Nels Cline, Greg Saunier, Taylor Ho Bynum)
Quartet (New Haven) 2014 [4 CDs]
(Firehouse 12 Records)

A 4-CD box set documenting the meeting of a quartet featuring saxophonist, composer and conceptualist Anthony Braxton alongside improvising guitarist and Wilco star Nels Cline, drummer and Deerhoof founder Greg Saunier, and trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum, each CD an hour-long, wide-ranging set leaving behind genre imitations as they perform Braxton's colorful graphic score.


Joe Morris
Perpetual Frontier The Properties of Free Music [BOOK]
(Riti Publishing)

Joe Morris wrote this book to discuss aspects of free music, including responses to his questionnaire written by Joe McPhee, William Parker, Jamie Saft, Ken Vandermark, Marilyn Crispell, Nate Wooley, Jack Wright, Matthew Shipp, &c.


Dudu Pukwana / Misha Mengelberg / Han Bennink
Yi Yole
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded at the ICP Jubileum festival in Uithoorn, Holland, in 1978, this concert brings together the core of the Instant Composers Pool--pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink--with legendary South African alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana (Blue Notes), Bennink also playing trombone, clarinet, and viola, in a lyrical and unpredictable set filled with humor and astounding playing.


Torbjorn Zetterberg & The Great Question
Live
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Caught live at Jazzklubb Fasching in his home of Stockholm, Swedish bassist Torbjorn Zetterberg's The Great Question band with Susana Santos Silva on trumpet, Mats Aleklint on trombone, Jonas Kullhammar on saxophone & flute, Alberto Pinton on reeds, and Jon Falt on drums, perform 6 inventive compositions in an amazing concert of modern, upbeat, innovative jazz.


Line Hook & Sinker (Tristan Honsinger / Antonio Borghini / Axel Dorner / Tobias Delius)
Fishy Business
(Relative Pitch)

A truly unique album of free improvisation and unusual narrative from the Berlin-based quartet of Tristan Honsinger on cello, Antonio Borghini on double bass, Axel Dorner on trumpet, and Tobias Delius on tenor saxophone, clarinet, a mix of Honsinger compositions and collective improv, since 2010 a working band combining music, movement and theater; masterfully idiosyncratic.


Marker (Vandermark / Clinkman / Marquette / Stewart / Sudderberg)
New Industries [2 CDs]
(Audiographic Records)

The Chicago quintet of multi-reedist Ken Vandermark, drummer Phil Sudderberg, keyboardist/violinist Macie Stewart, and guitarists Andrew Clinkman and Steve Marquette, in a 2-CD release presenting studio and live recordings of each composition, showing how this outstanding improvising group balances dissonance and complexity with wildly swinging playing.


Daniel Studer (w/ Loriot / Zimmerlin / Zoubek)
Extended: For Strings & Piano
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

A live album at Kunstraum Walcheturm from Swiss double bassist Daniel Studer's quintet of strings and piano, with Harald Kimmig on violin, Frantz Loriot on viola, Alfred Zimmerlin on violoncello, and Philip Zoubek on piano, performing an inventive set of Studer compositions extending string improvisation to extremes through unorthodox structures and techniques.


Matt Mitchell
Phalanx Ambassadors
(Pi Recordings)

The sophisticated compositions of New York pianist Matt Mitchell on piano, also performing on synthesizer, are heard in this quintet with Miles Okazaki on electric & acoustic guitars, Patricia Brennan on vibraphone & marimba, Kim Cass on bass, and Kate Gentile on drums & percussion, a challenging album that rewards through intensity and incredible detail.


Michel Doneda / Le Quan Ninh
Thirty Ways To Avoid Talking
(Relative Pitch)

French free improvising soprano saxophonist Michel Doneda, using profoundly unusual techniques on the reed instrument, meets percussionist Le Quan Ninh, performing on "surrounded bass drum", a large drum affected by various objects across the skin, for 5 dialogs at Montreuil-sous-Bois, France, and then joined by noh theater drummer Shunichiro Hisada in Tokyo's Shushinkan Hall.


Hubweber / Schubert / Schlippenbach / Thomas / Wllers
Intricacies [2 CDs]
(NoBusiness)

Performing live at B-Flat, in Berlin, Germany in 2014, this album aptly names the intricate interactions and dialog from this sophisticated and seasoned quartet, performing extended collective compositions that showcases each player while emphasizing their group dynamic.


Nate Wooley
Argonautica
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Trumpeter Nate Wooley's major 3-part work makes oblique reference to dodecaphony, ambient tape music, and the minimalist rock of Terry Riley, conceived as a tribute to Wooley's mentor Ron Miles, who performs alongside Devin Gray & Rudy Royston (drums), Cory Smythe & Jozef Dumoulin (piano).


Picnic (Honsinger / Kondo / Bergen / Jacques Avenel / Vatcher / Vigni)
Picnic
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

ICP Orchestra cellist/composer Tristan Honsinger wrote these sophisticated works combining free improv with mischievous songs in a band with Toshinori Kondo on trumpet, Sean Bergen on sax, Jean Jacques Avenel on bass, Michael Vatcher on drums and Tiziana Simona Vigni on voice.


Art Ensemble of Chicago, The
We are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration [2 CDS]
(Pi Recordings)

Marking 50 years for Chicago's most important and innovative ensembles, formed in 1969 to advance creative musicians as part of the AACM, is this tribute to and based on music written by late members Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, and Joseph Jarman, performed by 15 innovative musicians young and old, and presented in 2 CDs: one in the studio and one live at the 2018 Edgefest.


Don Cherry / Dave Holland / Steve Lacy / Masahiko Togashi
Live at Yubin Chokin Kaikan Hall, Tokyo on May 14, 1986 [VINYL]
(Victory)

The quartet of Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, piano & vocals, Dave Holland on bass, Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone, and Masahiko Togashi on drums & percussion, recording live in 1986 at Yubin Chokin Hall, in Tokyo, brought together by Togashi and performing compositions from Lacy ("The Crus", "Quakes"), Cherry ("Mopti"), and Togashi ("I Speak to the Stars").


Fire! Orchestra
Arrival
(Rune Grammofon)

Trimmed back to a mere 14 musicians, the Fire! Orchestra core trio of Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, and Andreas Werliin and Orchestra original singers Mariam Wallentin and Sofia Jernberg add a string quartet, expanding their palette as they release their warmest and most embraceable album to date, from original material to covers of Robbie Basho and Chic.


Brad Barrett / Joe Morris / Tyshawn Sorey
Cowboy Transfiguration
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Using a participatory compositional process, the NY trio of Brad Barrett on bass & cello, Joe Morris on guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, follow a framework to make choices based on density, rhythmic ratios, register, melody, and timbre, encouraged to employ small particles of sounds and blend timbres with an awareness of implied pulse and an inclination to disrupt it.


Hans Koch / Jacques Demierre
Incunabulum
(Herbal International)

A unique pairing of reeds, piano and spinet captured live at Le Singe Club in Biel, Switzerland in 2018 between multi-reedist Hans Koch and keyboardist Jacques Demierre, a wild ride from frenetic interaction to introspective experimental, both using unusual techniques and Demierre playing inside his keyboards, a truly excellent and thrilling concert.


Greene / Smith / Moses
Life's Intense Mystery
(Astral Spirits)

Performing live at Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA, the trio of free jazz piano legend Burton Green in a trio with bassist Damon Smith and drummer Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, in 6 collective improvisations, with impressive playing from all three as they segway through the three part "Life's Intense Mystery", taking exploratory moments and even some "Kid Play" inbetween.


Franz Koglmann Septet (w / Clark / Arcari / D'Agaro / Turkovic / Pasztor / Herbert)
Fruits Of Solitude
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

With a superb septet of improvisers also versed in contemporary music, trumpeter Franz Koglmann presents sophisticated compositions that interject the concept of "solitude" in the three-part title track, alongside Koglmann compositions and Jimmy Giuffre's "Finger Snapper", using striking orchestration of trumpet, sax, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, french horn, cello and double bass.


Marc Ducret
Lady M
(Illusions)

Taking on one of Shakespeare's most famous and frightening female characters, Lady Macbeth, in an 11-piece ensemble that include luminaries Liudas Mockunas, Samuel Blaser, and French guitarist Marc Ducret himself, using operatic form to focus his compositions on the emotional depth of his character, blending composed, improvised and sonic material into an exciting and unsettling work, drawing incredible performances from his players.


Angles 9
Beyond Us
(Clean Feed)

Now a distinct edition of saxophonist Martin Kuchen's concept, the Angles 9 ensemble is captured live at the Zomer Jazz Fiets Tour in The Netherlands in 2018, performing Kuchen's embraceable and lyrical compositions, allowing his masterful band--including Magnus Broo, Johan Berthling, Mattias Stahl, &c.--great opportunities for collective playing and profound soloing.


ICP Tentet
Tetterettet
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

10 years after drummer Han Bennink, pianist Misha Mengelberg, and saxophonist Willem Breuker formed the ICP co-op, Bennink & Mengelberg formed this 10-piece "Tetterettet", an all-star international group including Peter Brotzmann, Tristan Honsinger, John Tchicai, this their first incredible and far-ranging album, remastered and available on CD for the first time.


Satoko Fujii / Ramon Lopez
Confluence
(Libra)

Having played in trio settings before, pianist Satoko Fujii and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez seized the opportunity to record as a duo in the studio in NY, bringing just two Fujii compositions to guide them, they began freely improvising, creating this stunning album of elegant interaction, peaceful yet detailed, intuitively beautiful and sophisticated music.


Dudu Pukwana / Misha Mengelberg / Han Bennink
Yi Yole
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded at the ICP Jubileum festival in Uithoorn, Holland, in 1978, this concert brings together the core of the Instant Composers Pool--pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink--with legendary South African alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana (Blue Notes), Bennink also playing trombone, clarinet, and viola, in a lyrical and unpredictable set filled with humor and astounding playing.


Torbjorn Zetterberg & The Great Question
Live
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Caught live at Jazzklubb Fasching in his home of Stockholm, Swedish bassist Torbjorn Zetterberg's The Great Question band with Susana Santos Silva on trumpet, Mats Aleklint on trombone, Jonas Kullhammar on saxophone & flute, Alberto Pinton on reeds, and Jon Falt on drums, perform 6 inventive compositions in an amazing concert of modern, upbeat, innovative jazz.


Line Hook & Sinker (Tristan Honsinger / Antonio Borghini / Axel Dorner / Tobias Delius)
Fishy Business
(Relative Pitch)

A truly unique album of free improvisation and unusual narrative from the Berlin-based quartet of Tristan Honsinger on cello, Antonio Borghini on double bass, Axel Dorner on trumpet, and Tobias Delius on tenor saxophone, clarinet, a mix of Honsinger compositions and collective improv, since 2010 a working band combining music, movement and theater; masterfully idiosyncratic.


Marker (Vandermark / Clinkman / Marquette / Stewart / Sudderberg)
New Industries [2 CDs]
(Audiographic Records)

The Chicago quintet of multi-reedist Ken Vandermark, drummer Phil Sudderberg, keyboardist/violinist Macie Stewart, and guitarists Andrew Clinkman and Steve Marquette, in a 2-CD release presenting studio and live recordings of each composition, showing how this outstanding improvising group balances dissonance and complexity with wildly swinging playing.


Daniel Studer (w/ Loriot / Zimmerlin / Zoubek)
Extended: For Strings & Piano
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

A live album at Kunstraum Walcheturm from Swiss double bassist Daniel Studer's quintet of strings and piano, with Harald Kimmig on violin, Frantz Loriot on viola, Alfred Zimmerlin on violoncello, and Philip Zoubek on piano, performing an inventive set of Studer compositions extending string improvisation to extremes through unorthodox structures and techniques.


Matt Mitchell
Phalanx Ambassadors
(Pi Recordings)

The sophisticated compositions of New York pianist Matt Mitchell on piano, also performing on synthesizer, are heard in this quintet with Miles Okazaki on electric & acoustic guitars, Patricia Brennan on vibraphone & marimba, Kim Cass on bass, and Kate Gentile on drums & percussion, a challenging album that rewards through intensity and incredible detail.


Michel Doneda / Le Quan Ninh
Thirty Ways To Avoid Talking
(Relative Pitch)

French free improvising soprano saxophonist Michel Doneda, using profoundly unusual techniques on the reed instrument, meets percussionist Le Quan Ninh, performing on "surrounded bass drum", a large drum affected by various objects across the skin, for 5 dialogs at Montreuil-sous-Bois, France, and then joined by noh theater drummer Shunichiro Hisada in Tokyo's Shushinkan Hall.


Hubweber / Schubert / Schlippenbach / Thomas / Wllers
Intricacies [2 CDs]
(NoBusiness)

Performing live at B-Flat, in Berlin, Germany in 2014, this album aptly names the intricate interactions and dialog from this sophisticated and seasoned quartet, performing extended collective compositions that showcases each player while emphasizing their group dynamic.


Nate Wooley
Argonautica
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Trumpeter Nate Wooley's major 3-part work makes oblique reference to dodecaphony, ambient tape music, and the minimalist rock of Terry Riley, conceived as a tribute to Wooley's mentor Ron Miles, who performs alongside Devin Gray & Rudy Royston (drums), Cory Smythe & Jozef Dumoulin (piano).


Picnic (Honsinger / Kondo / Bergen / Jacques Avenel / Vatcher / Vigni)
Picnic
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

ICP Orchestra cellist/composer Tristan Honsinger wrote these sophisticated works combining free improv with mischievous songs in a band with Toshinori Kondo on trumpet, Sean Bergen on sax, Jean Jacques Avenel on bass, Michael Vatcher on drums and Tiziana Simona Vigni on voice.


Art Ensemble of Chicago, The
We are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration [2 CDS]
(Pi Recordings)

Marking 50 years for Chicago's most important and innovative ensembles, formed in 1969 to advance creative musicians as part of the AACM, is this tribute to and based on music written by late members Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, and Joseph Jarman, performed by 15 innovative musicians young and old, and presented in 2 CDs: one in the studio and one live at the 2018 Edgefest.


Fire! Orchestra
Arrival
(Rune Grammofon)

Trimmed back to a mere 14 musicians, the Fire! Orchestra core trio of Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, and Andreas Werliin and Orchestra original singers Mariam Wallentin and Sofia Jernberg add a string quartet, expanding their palette as they release their warmest and most embraceable album to date, from original material to covers of Robbie Basho and Chic.


Brad Barrett / Joe Morris / Tyshawn Sorey
Cowboy Transfiguration
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Using a participatory compositional process, the NY trio of Brad Barrett on bass & cello, Joe Morris on guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, follow a framework to make choices based on density, rhythmic ratios, register, melody, and timbre, encouraged to employ small particles of sounds and blend timbres with an awareness of implied pulse and an inclination to disrupt it.


Hans Koch / Jacques Demierre
Incunabulum
(Herbal International)

A unique pairing of reeds, piano and spinet captured live at Le Singe Club in Biel, Switzerland in 2018 between multi-reedist Hans Koch and keyboardist Jacques Demierre, a wild ride from frenetic interaction to introspective experimental, both using unusual techniques and Demierre playing inside his keyboards, a truly excellent and thrilling concert.


Greene / Smith / Moses
Life's Intense Mystery
(Astral Spirits)

Performing live at Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA, the trio of free jazz piano legend Burton Green in a trio with bassist Damon Smith and drummer Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, in 6 collective improvisations, with impressive playing from all three as they segway through the three part "Life's Intense Mystery", taking exploratory moments and even some "Kid Play" inbetween.


Mark Dresser Seven (Nicole Mitchell / Ehlrlich / GoGwilt / Dessen / White / Black / McLagan)
Ain't Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You
(Clean Feed)

The 2nd album for East/West Coast double bassist and composer Mark Dresser's Seven band, in a diverse set of lyrically intricate Dresser compositions using unusual and compelling rhythmic structures, with Nicole Mitchell on flute, Marty Ehrlich on clarinets & sax, Keir GoGwilt on violin, Michael Dessen on trombone, Joshua White on piano, and Jim Black on drums.


Evan Parker / Kinetics (Anderskove / Melbye / Vestergaard)
Chiasm
(Clean Feed)

Performing live at The Vortex in London and live at the DKDM studio in Copenhagen, legendary UK saxophonist Evan Parker joins Swedish pianist Jacob Anderskov's trio Kinetics with Adam Pultz Melbye on bass and Anders Vestergaard on drums, recording these four masterful improvisations of full-force momentum, concentration, exploration and exultation.


Zeena Parkins / Wobbly
Triplicates
(Relative Pitch)

Recording in electric harpist Zeena Parkin's office at Mills College in Oakland with Jon Leideker, aka Wobbly, performing on mobile phones, tablets, booper, and mixer, their output run through a series of simple listening devices, machines designed to sing along with the melodies they believe themselves to be hearing, though they are often wrong; singular and surprising!


Dave Liebman / Steve Dalachinsky + guest Richie Beirach
The Fallout Of Dreams
(RogueArt)

A quintessential NY release from Brooklyn poet Steve Dalachinsky and saxophonist Dave Liebman with special guest pianist Richie Beirach, in 14 insightful works referencing and dedicated to Cecil Taylor, Billie Holiday, Jackson Pollock, Steve Lacy, &c &c.


John Russell (with Phil Minton, Thurston Moore, Evan Parker, &c.)
With...
(Emanem)

British free improvising guitar master John Russell's 60th birthday gig at London's Cafe Oto is celebrated in a duo with Phil Minton, a trio with Henry Lowther & Satoko Fakuda, in a trio with Evan Parker and John Edwards, and in a duo with Thurston Moore.


Fail Better! (Reis / Vicente / Guimaraes / Pereira / Filipe)
OWT [VINYL]
(NoBusiness)

Mesmerizing electric free improvisation from the Portugese quintet of Marcelo Dos Reis on guitar, Luis Vicente on trumpet, Joao Guimaraes on sax, Jose Miguel Pereira on double bass, and Joao Pais Filipe on drums, recording live at Salao Brazil in Coimbra, Portugal in 2014.


Ken Vandermark / Nate Wooley
Deeply Discounted II​ / ​Sequences Of Snow [LP]
(Audiographic Records)

The 3rd release from the duo of Chicago multi-reedist Ken Vandermark and NY trumpeter Nate Wooley, two long-form compositions written for the LP format and developed while touring North America during 2017; "Deeply Discounted II," is inspired by John Cage's "Cheap Imitation", while "Sequences of Snow," is dedicated to the experimental filmmaker & musician, Michael Snow.


Daphne Oram
Oramics [4 LPs - 2019 REISSUE]
(Young Americans)

Repressed for 2019!
Daphne Oram, founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, in a remarkable 44-track collection 4 LP release showcasing her important work and curious nature: 155 minutes/8 sides of vinyl in a heavyweight 300 gram gatefold sleeve with rare archival material.


YAPP (Brian Rogers / Alban Bailly / Matt Engle / David Flaherty)
Symbolic Heads [VINYL]
(NoBusiness)

A young band comprised of Bryan Rogers (sax), Alban Bailly (guitar), Matt Engle (bass) and David Flaherty (drums) in a release that explores post rock, modern jazz, minimal and improvised music.


Anthony Davis / Paul Plimley / Al Neil / John Kameel Farah
Past Piano Present | Live at Western Front 1985 - 2015 [VINYL LP with DOWNLOAD]
(Western Front New Music)

Four innovative and creative pianists performing solo at the Western Front between 1985 and 2015--Anthony Davis, Paul Plimley, Al Neil, John Kameel Farah--compiled on this extraordinary LP, the 2nd essential archive from one of Canada's most important performance spaces.


Nacka Forum (Kajfes / Kullhammar / Berthling / Osgood)
We Are The World [VINYL]
(Moserobie Music)

Nacka Forum, the Scandinavian quartet of Jonas Kullhammar on sax and other winds, Goran Kajfes on trumpet & cornet, Johan Berthling on double bass and Kresten Osgood on drums, in their 5th studio album of lyrical free jazz of massive technical and creative skill.


Wooley / Antunes / Queijo / Costa / Corsano
Purple Patio [VINYL]
(NoBusiness)

A very open album of improvisation, using an intensely responsive section of three drums and one bass, with Wooley in amazing form playing above the fray, from introspective reserve to seething runs, supported by a wicked undercurrent of astounding, criss-crossing rhythm.


Day & Taxi (Gallio / Jeger / Meier)
Way [VINYL 2 LPs + CD]
(Percaso)

Swiss saxophonist Christoph Gallio has led the Day & Taxi group for more than 25 years, here as a trio with Silvan Jeger on double bass and David Meier on drums for a double LP of creative jazz blending unique contemporary composition with melodic approaches.


The Dogmatics
Chop Off The Tops [VINYL]
(Dogmatics)

The second album from the duo of pianist Chris Abrahams (The Necks) and clarinetist Kai Fagaschinski (The Magic I.D., Interational Nothing) has the duo decelerating for an intimate examination of tone and harmonics through perfectly placed notes and subtly extreme technique, creating sublime sonic environments that hover and dissolve; beautiful.


Mats Gustafsson / Christian Marclay
Link [VINYL]
(Smalltown Superjazzz / Actions for Free Jazz)

Smalltown Supersound launches a new sublabel called Actions For Free Jazz with this duo of Christian Marclay and Mats Gustafsson, recording in the studio for 7 indescribably wonderful free improvisations using turntable and every inch of Gustafsson's baritone and tenor sax, plus electronics; an exciting album of unpredictable and incredibly skilled sound art.


IQ+1
Conversaphone Plus [VINYL]
(Mappa)

Describing their approach to their submersive electroacoustic music as a seance, the Czech Republic septet IQ+1 with Peter Vrba, George Bagdasarov, Veronika Hladka, Jana Kneschke, Michal Zboril, and Katerina Bilejova release their 3rd album, a mix of strings, trumpet, clarinet, harmonium, synth, electronics & field recordings, creating a virtual acousmatic music of great detail.


G. Weston Calvin
The Phoenix Orchestra - Dust and Ash [VINYL]
(577)

An excellent example of modern fusion as drummer G. Calvin Weston (Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer), also on pocket trumpet, joins the Phoenix Orchestra, a Philadelphia-based string & electric octet, for a funk driven album of spectacular playing with melodic force and compelling rhythm, showing shades of Cobham or Mahavishnu but with its feet fully in the present.


Spring Heel Jack / Wadada Leo Smith
The Sweetness of the Water [VINYL]
(Treader)

A reissue of their 2004 album, the 4th on Thirsty Ear for the UK group Spring Heel Jack of Ashley Wales on guitar &, electronics, Mark Sanders on drums & timpani, John Coxon on guitar & keys, and John Edwards on bass, joined by Evan Parker on sax & piano, and special guest Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet, for a subtle album of sonic complexities, dramatic power and lyrical poise.


Sei Miguel
O Carro De Fogo De Sei Miguel [VINYL]
(Clean Feed)

Recording live in the Namouche Studios in Lisbon in 2018, trumpeter Sei Miguel's octet performs a large work translating to "Fire Car", inspired by William Blake's "Jerusalem" (Chariot of Fire), reminding of early 70's Miles/fusion work as organist Andre Goncalves creates an atmospheric backbone over which the band introduces repetition and variation; mysterious and singular.


My Cat Is An Alien
Robert Opalio/Maurizio Opalio [VINYL]
(Important Records)

A split LP with each side featuring a 20 minute solo track from both brotherly halves of the acclaimed space guitar improvising band My Cat Is An Alien.


Paal Nilssen-Love / Mats Gustafsson
Sin Gas [Vinyl]
(Bocian)

Powerful duo playing from frequent collaborators, saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (The Thing, Original Silence, Peter Brotzmann) in three extended studio improvisations of deeply emotional and technically incredible playing.


Chicago / Sao Paulo Underground feat Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah and the Underground - Primative Jupiter [VINYL]
(Clean Feed)

Live from Lisbon's Jazz em Agosto Festival, cornetist Rob Mazurek merges his Chicago and Sao Paulo Underground bands, adding bassist Matthew Lux and jazz legend tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, for a potent blend of modern jazz, electronics, and free improvised music.


Chris Forsyth / Nate Wooley
Third [VINYL]
(Rekem Records)

The 3rd collaboration between guitarist Chris Forsyth and trumpeter Nate Wooley following "The Duchess of Oysterville" and "Chocolate Monk", here recording live in concert in Philadelphia for the two part "Evening Rage", creating rich sonic palettes of unexpected sound.


Teletopa (Collins / Evans / Aherns / Frampton)
Tokyo 1972 [VINYL 3 LPs]
(Splitrec)

The 1972 recording at a Tokyo radio station of the forward-thinking improvisation of David Ahern (violin, percussion, electronics), Roger Frampton (percussion, electronics, saxophone), Peter Evans (percussion, electronics) and Geoffrey Collins (flute, percussion electronics).


Jim Denley / Cor Fuhler
Truancy [VINYL]
(Splitrec)

Two extended and unusual improvisations between Australian saxophonist Jim Denley and Dutch pianist Cor Fuhler, developed over 7 weeks and recorded in the studio in 2013, using imaginative preparations and inventions to create fascinating new sounds and structures.


Fire! Orchestra
Ritual [VINYL 2 LPs + CD]
(Rune Grammofon)

The incredible Fire! Orchestra in a 21-piece rendition performs in the studio for an ecstatic album of free improvisation and song, with an amazing lineup including Mats Gustafsson, Mette Rasmussen, Johan Berthling, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Lotte Anker, &c. &c.


Yoshio Machida
Steelpan Improvisation Series "i" [VINYL]
(Amorfon)

The 1st of 2 album with Amorfon label leader Yoshio Machida performing acoustic improvisation on the steelpan drum influenced by traditional Indian improvised music, adding elements of Jazz, twelve-tone and ethnic music to create a unique hybrid, in a limited clear vinyl LP.


Steve Lehman Camouflage Trio
Interface [VINYL 2 LPs]
(Clean Feed)

Reissuing and re-mixing New York saxophonist Steve Lehman's 2004 album with his previous Camouflage Trio of Mark Dress on double bass and Pheeroan Aklaff on drums, perfoming a stupendous set of original compositions live at Teatro Academica Gil Vicente in Coimbra, Portugal.


Arthur Williams (w/ Peter Kuhn / Toshinori Kondo / William Parker / Denis Charles)
Forgiveness Suite [VINYL]
(NoBusiness)

Never before released radio recordings at WKCR in 1979 of NY trumpeter Arthur Williams, a member of the loft scene, in a quintet with Toshinori Kondo on trumpet, Peter Kuhn on sax, Denis Charles on drums and William Parker on bass, a great example of probing free jazz from that period.


John Zorn
A Dreamers Christmas [VINYL]
(Tzadik)

Zorn's take on Christmas with his Dreamers (Marc Ribot, Kenny Wollesen, Joey Baron, Jamie Saft, Trevor Dunn, Cyro Baptista, with guest vocalist Mike Patton) performing 7 of Zorn's favorite Christmas songs along with 2 originals.


Franz Koglmann Septet (w / Clark / Arcari / D'Agaro / Turkovic / Pasztor / Herbert)
Fruits Of Solitude
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

With a superb septet of improvisers also versed in contemporary music, trumpeter Franz Koglmann presents sophisticated compositions that interject the concept of "solitude" in the three-part title track, alongside Koglmann compositions and Jimmy Giuffre's "Finger Snapper", using striking orchestration of trumpet, sax, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, french horn, cello and double bass.


Marc Ducret
Lady M
(Illusions)

Taking on one of Shakespeare's most famous and frightening female characters, Lady Macbeth, in an 11-piece ensemble that include luminaries Liudas Mockunas, Samuel Blaser, and French guitarist Marc Ducret himself, using operatic form to focus his compositions on the emotional depth of his character, blending composed, improvised and sonic material into an exciting and unsettling work, drawing incredible performances from his players.


Derek Bailey / Han Bennink / Evan Parker
Topographie Parisienne [4 CDs]
(Fou Records)

Recorded in 1981 by audio engineer and label owner Jean-Marc Foussat, the trio of guitarist Derek Bailey, saxophonist Evan Parker, and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Han Bennink are heard in an amazing evening of performance at 28 rue Dunois, in Paris, France, in duo and trio configurations, exploring material similar to Parker's "Topography of the Lungs"; essential.


Angles 9
Beyond Us
(Clean Feed)

Now a distinct edition of saxophonist Martin Kuchen's concept, the Angles 9 ensemble is captured live at the Zomer Jazz Fiets Tour in The Netherlands in 2018, performing Kuchen's embraceable and lyrical compositions, allowing his masterful band--including Magnus Broo, Johan Berthling, Mattias Stahl, &c.--great opportunities for collective playing and profound soloing.


ICP Tentet
Tetterettet
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

10 years after drummer Han Bennink, pianist Misha Mengelberg, and saxophonist Willem Breuker formed the ICP co-op, Bennink & Mengelberg formed this 10-piece "Tetterettet", an all-star international group including Peter Brotzmann, Tristan Honsinger, John Tchicai, this their first incredible and far-ranging album, remastered and available on CD for the first time.


Satoko Fujii / Ramon Lopez
Confluence
(Libra)

Having played in trio settings before, pianist Satoko Fujii and Spanish drummer Ramon Lopez seized the opportunity to record as a duo in the studio in NY, bringing just two Fujii compositions to guide them, they began freely improvising, creating this stunning album of elegant interaction, peaceful yet detailed, intuitively beautiful and sophisticated music.


Anthony Braxton (w/ Nels Cline, Greg Saunier, Taylor Ho Bynum)
Quartet (New Haven) 2014 [4 CDs]
(Firehouse 12 Records)

A 4-CD box set documenting the meeting of a quartet featuring saxophonist, composer and conceptualist Anthony Braxton alongside improvising guitarist and Wilco star Nels Cline, drummer and Deerhoof founder Greg Saunier, and trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum, each CD an hour-long, wide-ranging set leaving behind genre imitations as they perform Braxton's colorful graphic score.


Dudu Pukwana / Misha Mengelberg / Han Bennink
Yi Yole
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded at the ICP Jubileum festival in Uithoorn, Holland, in 1978, this concert brings together the core of the Instant Composers Pool--pianist Misha Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink--with legendary South African alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana (Blue Notes), Bennink also playing trombone, clarinet, and viola, in a lyrical and unpredictable set filled with humor and astounding playing.


Torbjorn Zetterberg & The Great Question
Live
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Caught live at Jazzklubb Fasching in his home of Stockholm, Swedish bassist Torbjorn Zetterberg's The Great Question band with Susana Santos Silva on trumpet, Mats Aleklint on trombone, Jonas Kullhammar on saxophone & flute, Alberto Pinton on reeds, and Jon Falt on drums, perform 6 inventive compositions in an amazing concert of modern, upbeat, innovative jazz.


Line Hook & Sinker (Tristan Honsinger / Antonio Borghini / Axel Dorner / Tobias Delius)
Fishy Business
(Relative Pitch)

A truly unique album of free improvisation and unusual narrative from the Berlin-based quartet of Tristan Honsinger on cello, Antonio Borghini on double bass, Axel Dorner on trumpet, and Tobias Delius on tenor saxophone, clarinet, a mix of Honsinger compositions and collective improv, since 2010 a working band combining music, movement and theater; masterfully idiosyncratic.


Marker (Vandermark / Clinkman / Marquette / Stewart / Sudderberg)
New Industries [2 CDs]
(Audiographic Records)

The Chicago quintet of multi-reedist Ken Vandermark, drummer Phil Sudderberg, keyboardist/violinist Macie Stewart, and guitarists Andrew Clinkman and Steve Marquette, in a 2-CD release presenting studio and live recordings of each composition, showing how this outstanding improvising group balances dissonance and complexity with wildly swinging playing.


Daniel Studer (w/ Loriot / Zimmerlin / Zoubek)
Extended: For Strings & Piano
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

A live album at Kunstraum Walcheturm from Swiss double bassist Daniel Studer's quintet of strings and piano, with Harald Kimmig on violin, Frantz Loriot on viola, Alfred Zimmerlin on violoncello, and Philip Zoubek on piano, performing an inventive set of Studer compositions extending string improvisation to extremes through unorthodox structures and techniques.


Matt Mitchell
Phalanx Ambassadors
(Pi Recordings)

The sophisticated compositions of New York pianist Matt Mitchell on piano, also performing on synthesizer, are heard in this quintet with Miles Okazaki on electric & acoustic guitars, Patricia Brennan on vibraphone & marimba, Kim Cass on bass, and Kate Gentile on drums & percussion, a challenging album that rewards through intensity and incredible detail.


Michel Doneda / Le Quan Ninh
Thirty Ways To Avoid Talking
(Relative Pitch)

French free improvising soprano saxophonist Michel Doneda, using profoundly unusual techniques on the reed instrument, meets percussionist Le Quan Ninh, performing on "surrounded bass drum", a large drum affected by various objects across the skin, for 5 dialogs at Montreuil-sous-Bois, France, and then joined by noh theater drummer Shunichiro Hisada in Tokyo's Shushinkan Hall.


Hubweber / Schubert / Schlippenbach / Thomas / Wllers
Intricacies [2 CDs]
(NoBusiness)

Performing live at B-Flat, in Berlin, Germany in 2014, this album aptly names the intricate interactions and dialog from this sophisticated and seasoned quartet, performing extended collective compositions that showcases each player while emphasizing their group dynamic.


Nate Wooley
Argonautica
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Trumpeter Nate Wooley's major 3-part work makes oblique reference to dodecaphony, ambient tape music, and the minimalist rock of Terry Riley, conceived as a tribute to Wooley's mentor Ron Miles, who performs alongside Devin Gray & Rudy Royston (drums), Cory Smythe & Jozef Dumoulin (piano).


Picnic (Honsinger / Kondo / Bergen / Jacques Avenel / Vatcher / Vigni)
Picnic
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

ICP Orchestra cellist/composer Tristan Honsinger wrote these sophisticated works combining free improv with mischievous songs in a band with Toshinori Kondo on trumpet, Sean Bergen on sax, Jean Jacques Avenel on bass, Michael Vatcher on drums and Tiziana Simona Vigni on voice.


Art Ensemble of Chicago, The
We are on the Edge: A 50th Anniversary Celebration [2 CDS]
(Pi Recordings)

Marking 50 years for Chicago's most important and innovative ensembles, formed in 1969 to advance creative musicians as part of the AACM, is this tribute to and based on music written by late members Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, and Joseph Jarman, performed by 15 innovative musicians young and old, and presented in 2 CDs: one in the studio and one live at the 2018 Edgefest.


Don Cherry / Dave Holland / Steve Lacy / Masahiko Togashi
Live at Yubin Chokin Kaikan Hall, Tokyo on May 14, 1986 [VINYL]
(Victory)

The quartet of Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, piano & vocals, Dave Holland on bass, Steve Lacy on soprano saxophone, and Masahiko Togashi on drums & percussion, recording live in 1986 at Yubin Chokin Hall, in Tokyo, brought together by Togashi and performing compositions from Lacy ("The Crus", "Quakes"), Cherry ("Mopti"), and Togashi ("I Speak to the Stars").


Fire! Orchestra
Arrival
(Rune Grammofon)

Trimmed back to a mere 14 musicians, the Fire! Orchestra core trio of Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling, and Andreas Werliin and Orchestra original singers Mariam Wallentin and Sofia Jernberg add a string quartet, expanding their palette as they release their warmest and most embraceable album to date, from original material to covers of Robbie Basho and Chic.


Brad Barrett / Joe Morris / Tyshawn Sorey
Cowboy Transfiguration
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Using a participatory compositional process, the NY trio of Brad Barrett on bass & cello, Joe Morris on guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, follow a framework to make choices based on density, rhythmic ratios, register, melody, and timbre, encouraged to employ small particles of sounds and blend timbres with an awareness of implied pulse and an inclination to disrupt it.


Hans Koch / Jacques Demierre
Incunabulum
(Herbal International)

A unique pairing of reeds, piano and spinet captured live at Le Singe Club in Biel, Switzerland in 2018 between multi-reedist Hans Koch and keyboardist Jacques Demierre, a wild ride from frenetic interaction to introspective experimental, both using unusual techniques and Demierre playing inside his keyboards, a truly excellent and thrilling concert.


Greene / Smith / Moses
Life's Intense Mystery
(Astral Spirits)

Performing live at Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA, the trio of free jazz piano legend Burton Green in a trio with bassist Damon Smith and drummer Ra-Kalam Bob Moses, in 6 collective improvisations, with impressive playing from all three as they segway through the three part "Life's Intense Mystery", taking exploratory moments and even some "Kid Play" inbetween.


Urs Leimgruber / Jean-Marc Foussat
Face to Face [2 CDS]
(Fou Records)

The perfect foils for each other, German saxophonist Urs Leimgruber and French AKS sysnthesist Jean-Marc Foussat are heard in two complete concerts, one at the WIM in Zurich and one at the Kunsthalle in Lucerne, both exploring sound, timbre, momentum and atmosphere through extended techniques and extreme playing, and an amazing display of soundscape and sonic force.


Mark Dresser Seven (Nicole Mitchell / Ehlrlich / GoGwilt / Dessen / White / Black / McLagan)
Ain't Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You
(Clean Feed)

The 2nd album for East/West Coast double bassist and composer Mark Dresser's Seven band, in a diverse set of lyrically intricate Dresser compositions using unusual and compelling rhythmic structures, with Nicole Mitchell on flute, Marty Ehrlich on clarinets & sax, Keir GoGwilt on violin, Michael Dessen on trombone, Joshua White on piano, and Jim Black on drums.


Various Artists
Because Tomorrow Comes #3
(Because Tomorrow Comes)

The third volume of this excellent German sound magazine and audio CD, 9 artists working in sound art, electroacoustic composition; a "listenable exhibition" of modern compositional approach.


Various Artists
Because Tomorrow Comes #2
(Because Tomorrow Comes)

The second volume of this excellent German sound magazine and audio CD, 9 artists working in sound art, electroacoustic composition; a "listenable exhibition" of modern compositional approach.


Rydberg (Werner Dafeldecker / Nicolas Bussmann)
Rydberg
(Monotype)

Rydberg was a Swedish physicist with a moon crater named after him, here celebrated by the the duo of Nicholas Bussmann (sampler, electronics) and Werner Dafeldecker (function generator, electronics) in an album blending ambient electronics and muted, guiding rhythms.


Various Artists
Kraakgeluiden: Document 1
(Unsounds)

A series of improvised performances with the central idea of acoustic and electronic artists experimenting with the electronic medium in a live setting with musicians with whom they have never played with before.


Daphne Oram
Oramics [4 LPs - 2019 REISSUE]
(Young Americans)

Repressed for 2019!
Daphne Oram, founder of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, in a remarkable 44-track collection 4 LP release showcasing her important work and curious nature: 155 minutes/8 sides of vinyl in a heavyweight 300 gram gatefold sleeve with rare archival material.


Steerage
Entropy Is What The State Makes Of It
(Caduc)

An album of tones and tonal environments from Barry Chabala and A.F. Jones, using guitars and effects to create slowly moving tones punctuated with unusual utterances of unknown origin; rich and curiously non-specific sound that lives in the back- and foreground.


Lee Ranaldo / Jim Jarmusch / Marc Urselli / Balazs Pandi
[CD]
(Trost Records)

Producer & bassist Marc Urselli devised this first meeting between himself and Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo, filmaker/guitarist Jim Jarmusch, and drummer Balazs Pandi's, recording in Urselli's NY studio to capture these live analog recordings of improvisations using no overdubs, a twilight set of evolving and absorbing explorations merging rock & experimental approaches.


Pauline Oliveros
Crone Music
(Lovely Music)

Reissue of Pauline Oliveros' album of recordings from 1989-90, commissioned by Mamou Mines of the NY based experimental theater collective, for their production of Shakespeare's "Lear", with Panaiotis, co-founder of the Deep Listening Band, providing processing to expand Oliveros' solo accordion and her own pitch-modulated delays to create the sound of a full accordion ensemble.


IQ+1
Conversaphone Plus [VINYL]
(Mappa)

Describing their approach to their submersive electroacoustic music as a seance, the Czech Republic septet IQ+1 with Peter Vrba, George Bagdasarov, Veronika Hladka, Jana Kneschke, Michal Zboril, and Katerina Bilejova release their 3rd album, a mix of strings, trumpet, clarinet, harmonium, synth, electronics & field recordings, creating a virtual acousmatic music of great detail.


Mariska Baars / Rutger Zuydervelt
Eau
(Not On Label (Machinefabriek Self-released) ‎)

Collaborating previously in Piiptsjilling and their duo "Drawn", Mariska Baars (Soccer Committee) and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) come together again for this exquisite album, the title translating to "water", a beautiful combination of electronic timbres and voice that weave together and drift, ebbing and flowing like a mysteriously elegant stream.


Makigami Koichi
Moon Ether
(Doubtmusic)


Michael Yonkers
No Kidding
(Ruby Red Editora)

Former Sub Pop noise recording artist, guitarist Yonkers (Microminiature Love) in 11 tracks of ferocious and fierce effected electric guitar work.


If Thousands
I Have Nothing
(Silber Media)

Slow, sorrowful, and lush dronescapes that unfold calmly and thoughtfully, the quiet before the storm, brimming with emotion and conviction.


Larry Jefferson
Journey [CASSETTE]
(Rollax Records)

Electronic Artist Larry Jefferson explores issues of philosophy and loss and this is reflected in this collection of 9 songs & music in a professionally manufactured cassette.


Various Artists
70 Years Of Sunshine [2 CDs]
(Monotype)

An excellent 2 CD compilation of electronic and experimental artists in a tribute to the 70th anniversary of Dr. Albert Hofmann's discovery of LSD, with artists including Kawabata Makoto, Legendary Pink Dots, Rapoon, Komora A, Andrew Liles, Lord Tang, &c. &c.


United States Of America Triptych (I)
Play 1939 Southern Recording Trip Fieldnotes
(Bolt)

Sound manipulators The Norman Conquest (Pete Simonelli-voice, Miron Grzegorkiewicz-guitar, Michet Biela-bass, Dj Lenar-turntable) excerpt and process the recordings of John A. and Ruby T. Lomax's 1939 field recordings, creating a captivating set of concrete compositions.


Coclea
Coclea
(Shhpuma)

Clean Feed's side label Shhpuma presents a solo release from multi-instrumentalist Guilherme Goncalves (Gala Drop), dreamy and informed guitar-driven music borrowing from kosmische musik, Edgar Froese, or Loren Connors, in gorgeously paced lush instrumental music.


Tekla Mrozowicka / Marcin Cichy
Prominences
(Bolt)

Polish electronic composers and performers Tekla Mrozowicka and Marcin Cichy in a beautifully paced sound work of resonating textures with melodic progressions and mysterious concrete punctuations, an embraceable abstract accomplishment.


Joanna Sokolowska Halszka
plays Franz Schubert Winterreise
(Bolt)

Vocalist Joanna Halszka Sokolowska interprets Franz Shubert's "Winterreise", a 19th century work setting the poems of Wilhelm Muller to music, recorded in a single take on a winter night in Warsaw, Poland at the Komuna Theater, a fragile and unique look at this famous work.


Klaxon Gueule
Ceci n'est pas [3 CDs]
(Sono Sordo)

Translating to "this is not", the experimental Montreal trio of Michel F. Cote, Alexandre St-Onge and Bernard Falaise have for 20 years experimented in sound, bridging rock, experimental and improvised forms, here in a 3-CD retrospective of studio works from the last 16 years with collaborators Jean Derome, Ellwood Epps, Sam Shalabi, Philippe Lauzier, and Christof Migone.


Harry Bertoia
Sonambients: The Sound Sculpture Of Harry Bertoia [CD + DVD]
(Important Records)

Italian-born American artist, sound art sculptor, and modern furniture designer Harry Bertoia in a CD/DVD package containing historic recordings made in Harry Bertoia's Sonambient barn, where he developed sculptures with sonic properties, including four recently discovered audio recordings and a DVD of interview footage, showing Bertoia at work.


Michael Pisaro
Etant Donnes
(Gravity Wave)

An unusual album for American composer Michael Pisaro: six works based almost entirely on samples, punctuating more characteristic work in keeping with his Wandelweiser and EMW work with rhythmic and popular forms, albeit with Pisaro's characteristic inclusions, surprising the listener in an illusionary approach yielding serious electroacoustic compositions.


Frans de Waard / Takuji Naka / Tim Olive
False Mercury
(845 Audio)

The titles places this unearthly experimental improvisation into the solar system, exactly where the blend of electronics, tapes, contact mics, spring, tubing, pickups and synth demand that the unusual soundscapes from the trio of Frans de Waard, Takuji Naka, and Tim Olive belong, in an alien dialog of interplanetary psychedelia using mutated and mesmerizing sound.


Oliva Block
132 Ranks
(Room40)

Commissioned for the Chicago performing space LAMPO and The Renaissance Society, Olivia Block composed this large work of drone and sound from 2016-2017, premiered on the massive Skinner Organ at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel in a free concert that included a sound installation of 6 speakers placed through the chapel playing white noise, sine tones, and prerecorded organ sounds.


Oren Ambarchi & Jim O'Rourke w/ Special Guest U-Zhaan
Hence [VINYL]
(Editions Mego)

Accompanied by Japanese master tabla player U-zhaan, the 3rd album from Australian guitarist and experimenter Oren Ambarchi and Chicago/NY/Japan musician Jim O'Rourke uses U-zhaan's warmly active rhythms as a platform for shifting sounds and resonant repetition, hypnotic and psychedelic as it draws the listener into wonderful swirls of sound.


Tim Brady
Three Cities in the Life of Dr. Norman Bethune
(Ambiances Magnetiques)

A chamber opera that tells the story of the life of the Canadian doctor and humanitarian Norman Bethune by interweaving extracts from Bethune's own letters with poetry of the 1930s.


Various Artists
Sculpted Sound
(FMR)

Performances and discussion about a series of twenty metal sculptures created by Derek Shiel to be performed on as a set of percussion instruments or to be exhibited as sculpture.


Iancu Dumitrescu / Ana-Maria Avram
Live In Berlin
(Edition Modern)

Spectral composers Iancu Dumitrescu & Ana-Maria Avram present 4 works recorded live in Berlin from 2009-14, with participants including Yoni Silver, Tim Hodgkinson, Stephan O'Malley, orchestration including stretchable steel and computer, crystals, prepared piano, &c.


John Tilbury / Zygmunt Krauze
Grand Tour
(Bolt)

Polish conceptual composer Zygmunt Krauze meets pianist John Tilbury, who studied in Warsaw in the 1960s, and returned in 2015 for a residency; this delicate and beautiful work was recorded at the Concert Studio of Polish Radio in Warsaw with 4 pianos and a percussionist.


Cyril Bondi / Pierre-Yves Martel / Christoph Schiller / Angharad Davies
Awire
(Another Timbre)

During the tour in support of their "Tse" release, the quartet of Cyril Bondi on Shruti box, pipe & harmonica, Christoph Schiller on spinet & effects, Pierre-Yves Martel on Viola da Gamba, pipe & harmonica, and Angharad Davies on violin captured this performance at London's Cafe OTO, improvised over a sequence of pitches with astonishing creativity.


Earle Brown
Chamber Music
(Matchless)

Earle Brown conducts a chamber ensemble including John Tilbury on piano through a number of compositions, including versions of "October", "November", & "December", "Corroboree 1964 For Three Pianos", "Trio For Five Dances", and "Tracking Pierrot For Ensable".


Morton Feldman (Ives Ensemble)
Piano & String Quartet
(Hat [now] ART)


Cornelius Cardew
Treatise
(Hat [now] ART)


Morton Feldman
String Quartet (1979)
(Hat [now] ART)

The Ives Ensemble playing one of Morton Feldman's later and shorter works, the 1979 "String Quartet," in a digital DDD recording from 2005.


Robert Ashley
Tap Dancing in the Sand
(Unsounds)

A selection of works by the great musical pioneer Robert Ashley performed by the Dutch Ensemble MAE directed by Yannis Kyriakides, including pieces written for the Ensemble MAE.


Various Artists (Zorn / Johansson / Johnson / de Vroe / Schleirmacher)
Enfants Terribles
(Hat [now] ART)


Jennings / Cage / Tilbury / Lexer
Lost Daylight
(Another Timbre)

Pianist John Tilbury is captured with remarkable clarity by Sebastian Lexer as he performs works by composers Terry Jennings and John Cage (with Lexer on electronics); superb performances!


Morton Feldman
Piano Three Hands, Intermission 5, Vertical Thoughts 2, Extensions 3, Four Instruments, Intermission 5, Piano Piece 1956 A + B, Intersection 3, Instruments 1
(Edition Rz)

A collection of Feldman compositions primarily for piano as recorded by his earliest interpreters: Cornelius Cardew, John Tilbury, David Tutor, Cantilene Chamber Players, and Feldman himself.


John Cage
Ryoanji
(Hat [now] ART)

21 years after visiting the sparse rock and sand garden Ryoan-ji (Peacful Dragon) in Kyoto he wrote this piece, here in a remastered and redesigned 2nd edition.


Jakob Ullmann
fremde zeit addendum [3 CDs]
(Edition Rz)

A 3 CD box with new recordings of composer Jakob Ullmann's works, recorded between 2008-2011, including "disappearing musics for six players (more or less)", "komposition fur streichquartett 2", &c.


Michael Pisaro
fields have ears (6)
(Gravity Wave)

Pisaro's "fields have ears" started as a simple work for solo classical guitar and sine tones, but has developed into this extended work augmented with turntables, radios, records, field recordings, and earlier Pisaro pieces.


Michael Pisaro
The Middle of Life (Die ganze Zeit)
(Gravity Wave)

Michael Pisaro's compositions for translations of Oswald Egger's "Diskrete Stetigkeit, Poesie und Mathematik", performed with Pisaro, Egger, Julia Holter, Taku Sugimoto, Graham Lambkin (who also provides audio), &c.


Michael Pisaro
The Punishment of the Tribe by its Elders
(Gravity Wave)

Pisaro's fascinating composition created with guitar, bass, percussion, radio, electronics, and field recordings, using long gaps of silence resolved through a dynamic set of rich audio sections.


Morton Feldman
String Quartet (II) [4 CDs]
(Hat [now] ART)

The Ives Ensemble playing one of Morton Feldman's later and longer works, the 1983 "String Quartet (II)," in a digital DDD recording from 1999.


Liza Lim
The Heart's Ear
(Hat [now] ART)

Although she has probably become known as one of Australia's best-known composers, Liza Lim's compositions undermine centuries-old Eurocentrism and are largely inspired by Asian culture.


Simao Costa
ANO PRE CAU TION PER CU SSION ON SHORT CIRCUIT
(Shhpuma)

Portuguese composer and pianist Simao Costa in an album of solo prepared piano in the style of John Cage, using transducers, speaker & objects, paced like a Morton Feldman composition, balancing tones and percussive sound in exquisite compositions.


Frank Denyer
Whispers
(Another Timbre)

Five idiosyncratic compositions by English composer Frank Denyer with performers including The Barton Workshop, Elisabeth Smalt, Juliet Fraser, Kiku Day and Frank Denyer himself, using shakuhachi, voice, muted strings, percussion and an axe striking a block of wood.


James Tenney
Bass Works (performed by Dario Calderone)
(Hat [now] ART)

Fascinating works for doublebass from American composer James Tenney, 3 pieces for solo doublebass, and a large work for viola, cello, doublebass and tape delay system, performed by bassist Dario Calderone with William Lane on viola and Francesco Dillon on cello.


Cage. Schlothauer
For Seven Players
(Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Burkhard Schlothauer presents two works by John Cage written for septet, using indeterminacy in a score where each instrumental part is given twenty time brackets, allowing overlapping sounds which will be shaped depending on choices from each performer.


Antoine Beuger
Keine Fernen Mehr
(Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Antoine Beuger introduces this album with a short poem by Amy Lowell in reference to the larkspur, in two discs with 17 tracks on each of Beuger whistling, quietly and with a silence and patience of intense concentration emerging from near silence.


My Cat Is An Alien
Folclore Alieno
(Opax Records)


Avagami
Metagami
(Lens Records)


Geoff Leigh / Makoto Kawabata / Aogu Tanimoto
Live At Delsol Cafe
(Acid Mothers Temple)

Acid Mothers Temple guitarist Kawabata Makoto meets Henry Cow wind player, percussionist and sound artist Geoff Leigh, with Aogu Tanimoto on violin & synth, as they are captured live at Delsol Cafe, in Yahata, Japan, performing a spiritually psychedelic five-part improvisation merging acoustic and electronic instruments in unorthodox and fascinating ways.


Henry Cow
Leg End (Original Mix)
(Recommended Records)


Henry Cow
Unrest (Remastered)
(Recommended Records)


Henry Cow
In Praise of Learning
(Recommended Records)


Slapp Happy/Henry Cow
Desperate Straights
(Recommended Records)


Richard Youngs
plays Parallel Winter
(Bolt)

UK guitarist and vocalist Richard Youngs, also on zither, suggested performing his large song work "Parallel Winter" on the first day of his Warszawa tour of Poland, a piece that changes in length based on location and environment, here in an extended and contemplative version.


The World Heritage (Yamamoto Seiichi / Katsui Yuji / Kido Natsuki / Nasuno Mitsuru / Yoshida Tatsuya)
The Land of Light
(Magaibutsu)

The Japanese improvising rock quintet The World Heritage--Yamamoto Seiichi, Katsui Yuji, Kido Natsuki, Nasuno Mitsuru, and Yoshida Tatsuya--with two guitars, violin, bass and drums, in a live recording of dynamic collective improvisation at Akihabara Goodman in 2013.


PYN (Pittard / Yoshida / Nasuno)
L'elan Createur
(Magaibutsu Limited)

Following their 2015 album "Songs for children who don't want to sleep", the quartet of Yan Pittard on guitar & oud, Mitsuru Nasuno on bass, Maki Nakano on vocals, and Tatsuya Yoshida on drums present this soundtrack album, which translates to "the creative urge".


Thurston Moore / Umut Caglar
Dunia [VINYL]
(Astral Spirits)

Recorded in Istanbul, Turkey, guitarist Thurston Moore teams up with Konstrukt guitarist Umut Caglar to record these three rich and twisting pieces, each guitarist extracting unique performances from the other over three pieces that draw on technique and effects to create fragile and heavy sonic environments, an impressive album of modern guitar potential.


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.


La Baracande
La Baracande
(BeCoq)

The third album from the French/Belgium La Baracande, with vocalist/violinist Basile Bremaud leading a quartet of violin, guitar, lap steel, pedal board, bagpipes, hurdy-gurdy, and drone, singing long form ballads of epic tales of life and love that they describe as speaking with a voice to the living and our ghosts.


ZNR
Traite De Mecanique Populaire
(Recommended Records)

French composer and producer Hector Zazou's 2nd and last release with a "most exquisite and eccentric of groups, who hardly touched the world of working bands, and whose existence was tenuous, flickering, mythological - and yet who managed, stealthily, to find its way in time to legendary status by leaving an indelible trace in recorded form of their verifiable existence."


The Ex
27 Passports [VINYL]
(Ex Records)

After several years of Brass Unbound, Getatchew Mekuria, festivals and countless side projects, The Ex return to The Ex, a 4-piece led by the trio of guitars from Andy Moor, Terrie Hessels and Arnold de Boer driven by drummer Katherina Bornefeld, de Boer acerbic and insightful on this seriously great rock record; plus a 36-page photo book from Andy Moor.


Eclectic Maybe Band
The Blind Night Watchers' Mysterious Landscapes
(Discus)

Univers Zero bassist Guy Seger brought this eclectic group of improvisers into the studio to develop the music on this genre-defying album, informed by a sextet of musicians who have performed and recorded with projects and artists including Vanishing Pictures, X-Legged Sally, Wrong Object, Tony Levin, Tony Bianco, Paul Schutze, Trevor Watts, Zeena Parkins, Jim O'Rourke, &c.


Mako Sica / Hamid Drake
Ronda [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD]
(Astral Spirits)

The long-running Chicago free-rock trio Mako Sica currently comprised of Przemyslaw Drazek (trumpet & guitar), Brent Fuscaldo (guitar) and Chaetan Newell (drums & piano) are joined by free improvising legend Hamid Drake on drum kit, tablas and frame drum for a beautiful and rich album of genre merging, spiritually warm, primarily instrumental music, inclusive and persuasive.


Stop Motion Orchestra
Lightworks
(Megaphone / Knock 'Em Dead)

Fitting squarely in the Rock In Opposition mold, Stop Motion Orchestra is an Austin, Texas-based instrumental chamber rock band orchestrated with sax, violin, guitar, synth-bass, drums, here in their second album bringing a bright and melodic force that reminds of Hamster Theatre, Debile Menthol or L'Ensemble Raye; sophisticated, charming and knowledgeable music.


Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere
Theta Four
(Discus)

Declaring Terry Riley, Magma, Krautrock, and Sun Ra as influences, this is the fourth album from wind and keyboard player Martin Archer's Orchestra Of The Upper Atmosphere, an augmented six-piece UK ensemble whose rock affinities also embrace improvisation and minimalism, a heady mix of virtuosic playing with melodic intention and extremely detailed tapestries of sound; dreamy and elegiac.


Hedvig Mollestad Trio
Smells Funny [VINYL + CD]
(Rune Grammofon)

The sixth album from guitarist Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen's scorching Norwegian instrumental rock trio, having built a strong following through their impressive approach to rock, schooled from both early hard/progressive band but also driving fusion bands, with a penetrating edge in authoritative soloing and intense rhythmic interplay.


Cleric (John Zorn - Masada Book 3)
The Book Beri'ah Vol 2 | Chokhma
(Tzadik)

John Zorn's Masada Book Three, "The Book Beri'ah", continues in its second volume with this powerful and demanding album from the Philadelphia avant-metal band of Ludovic Beier on accordion & accordina, Timba Harris on violins, Matt Hollenberg on guitars & Oud, Dan Kennedy on bass, Larry Kwartowitz on drums, and Nick Shellenberger on keyboards & vocals.


Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
[VINYL 2 LPs REMASTERED + DOWNLOAD]
(Black Editions)

The rock legacy that is Japan's Acid Mothers Temple led by guitarist Makoto Kawabata reissues their 1st album from 1997, an ensemble of 14 musicians including guitar, synth, sax, bass, drums, didgeridoo, magic cane, and penguin; a heady brew of hypnotic flowing psychedelic, prog-quoting kosmiche, starting their legacy with a prayer and ending with AMT for All!


Charles Hayward
(Begin Anywhere)
(Klanggalerie)

This Heat and Camberwell Now drummer, songwriter, vocalist, experimenter and sociological observer Charles Hayward steps away from his drums for an intimate album of song, performing on piano with minimal accompaniment as he presents new songs and new versions of songs including pieces from Camberwell Now; powerfully fragile, insightful, fascinating.


Abraxas / John Zorn
The Book Beri'ah Vol 5: Gevurah
(Tzadik)

Blending a punk rock sensibility with Sephardic tribalism via a taste of North African Gnawa magic, Abraxas is one of the most primal and rocking ensembles in the Masada family, here taking on the 5th edition of Masada Book Three, "The Book Beri'ah", recording in Bill Laswell's studio for 9 joyfully exuberant and intensely executed interpretations of Zorn's compositions.


Elephant9
Psychedelic Backfire I
(Rune Grammofon)

The first of two "Psychedelic Backfire" concerts at Oslo's Kampen Bistro, taken from a 4 night residency by the Norwegian Elephant 9 rock trio of drummer Torstein Lofthus, bassist Nikolai Haengsle, and keyboardist Stale Storlokken, expanding on tracks from their excellent studio catalog in strongly lyrical and technically superb instrumental and improvised rock forms.


Joe Morris
Perpetual Frontier The Properties of Free Music [BOOK]
(Riti Publishing)

Joe Morris wrote this book to discuss aspects of free music, including responses to his questionnaire written by Joe McPhee, William Parker, Jamie Saft, Ken Vandermark, Marilyn Crispell, Nate Wooley, Jack Wright, Matthew Shipp, &c.


Jimmy Giuffre 3 (w / Bley / Swallow)
Graz Live 1961
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

After introducing his new trio with pianist Paul Bley and double bassist Steve Swallow in two 1961 albums on Verve, clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre embarked on a tour of Europe, this recently discovered, well-recorded concert in Graf, Austria the perfect example of his unique concepts yielding intensely focused, harmonically challenging, rhythmically abstract, and exquisite chamber jazz.


Tyshawn Sorey
Pillars [3 CDs]
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Drummer/percussionist, trombonist, pianist and importantly here, composer, Tyshawn Sorey in an amazing and ambitious work "Pillars", assembling an ensemble of virtuosic NY performers (Joe Morris, Todd Neufeld, Ben Gerstein, Stephen Hayes, Zach Rowden, Carl Test, Mark Helias) as he references Tibetan rituals, Stockhausen, and Anthony Braxton, and much more.


Milford Graves
Babi [2 CDs]
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded in 1976 at WBAI-FM/Free Music Store in New York, drummer percussionist Milford Graves goes head to head with two reedists, Arthur Doyle and Hugh Glover, an absolute stunner of percussive momentum and force, drawing the reeds into a frenzy of unbridled free playing; issued with a 2nd CD of a private recording of Graves plus unpublished photos.


Myra Melford's Snowy Egret (w/ Miles / Ellman / Takeishi / Sorey)
The Other Side Of Air
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Taking the reigns as composer, performer and bandleader, New York pianist Myra Melford's exceptional quintet Snowy Egret, with Ron Miles on cornet, Liberty Ellman on guitar, Stomu Takeishi on acoustic bass guitar, and Tyshawn Sorey on drums, present a brilliant album of creative jazz, with lyrical grooves and commanding soloing, a great and thoroughly modern album.


Mary Halvorson
Code Girl [2 CDs]
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Always open to new approaches, NY guitarist Mary Halvorson takes her trio with drummer Tomas Fujiwara and bassist Michael Formanek, adds trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and, in a twist of the thumbscrew, vocalist Amirtha Kidambi, for a mix of song and instrumental pieces that balance jazz and rock sensibilities with lyricism, intricate lines, and creative spirit.


Franz Koglmann Septet (w / Clark / Arcari / D'Agaro / Turkovic / Pasztor / Herbert)
Fruits Of Solitude
(Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)

With a superb septet of improvisers also versed in contemporary music, trumpeter Franz Koglmann presents sophisticated compositions that interject the concept of "solitude" in the three-part title track, alongside Koglmann compositions and Jimmy Giuffre's "Finger Snapper", using striking orchestration of trumpet, sax, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, french horn, cello and double bass.


John Butcher / Eddie Prevost
Visionary Fantasies
(Matchless)

A series of inspired solo and duo performances from AMM founder, percussionist Eddie Prevost and free improvising saxophonist John Butcher, captured live at London's Iklectik in 2018, splitting the album between solo and duo work as the two morph their instruments into incredible sonic devices, with intense concentration and dialog nothing short of fantastic.


AMM
An Unintended Legacy [3 CDs]
(Matchless)

A beautiful 3-CD set with a hardcover book presenting 3 full concerts from 2015 & 2016 of the AMM trio configuration of John Tilbury (piano), Keith Rowe (guitar) and Eddie Prevost (percussion). The 70 page book, dedicated to saxophonist Lou Gare, includes an AMM discography, plus photos, and essays by Paige Mitchell and Allen Fisher; Keith Rowe; Eddie Prevost; and Seymour Wright.


Derek Bailey / Han Bennink / Evan Parker
Topographie Parisienne [4 CDs]
(Fou Records)

Recorded in 1981 by audio engineer and label owner Jean-Marc Foussat, the trio of guitarist Derek Bailey, saxophonist Evan Parker, and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Han Bennink are heard in an amazing evening of performance at 28 rue Dunois, in Paris, France, in duo and trio configurations, exploring material similar to Parker's "Topography of the Lungs"; essential.


Ingrid Laubrock / Tom Rainey
Utter
(Relative Pitch)

After their 2016 tour of the US West Coast, husband and wife free improvising duo Ingrid Laubrock (tenor & soprano sax) and Tom Rainey (drums) entered a Brooklyn studio with a set of co-written compositions, which they weave together with free improv, relying on cues that can trigger a given composition at any time, adding a unique layer of communication to their exuberant playing.


Paul Dunmall / Jon Irabagon / Mark Sanders / Jim Bashford
The Rain Sessions
(FMR)

Dedicated to Cecil Taylor and taking advantage of NY saxophonist Irabagon's UK visit, this album presents four drum duets "time two", as two tenor saxophonists--Paul Dunmall and Jon Irabagon--meet two lyrical drummers--Mark Sanders and Jim Bashford--following Dunmall long-standing interest in drum and sax duets, the results this ebullient and remarkable album.


Joelle Leandre / Marc Ducret
Chez Helene
(Ayler Records)

Jean-Marc Foussat recorded the French improvising duo of electric guitairst Marc Ducret and double bassist Joelle Leandre at 19PaulFort in May, 2018, the title drawn from a poem by Edgar Allen Poe, as the two trade acoustic and electric string approaches in a sophisticated dialog of exceptional technique and inventive approaches; superb.


Joe McPhee / Hamid Drake
Keep Going
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

The second duo album between saxophonist & pocket trumpeter Joe McPhee and drummer/frame drummer Hamid Drake begins with McPhee reciting words by Harriett Tubman (Keep Going), as the two inform and astound through masterful playing, together and solo, shaking the listener through intense and unambiguously clear playing, with pieces reflecting our world situation.


Misha Mengelberg / Peter Brotzmann / Evan Parker / Peter Bennink / Paul Rutherford / Derek Bailey / Han Bennink
Groupcomposing
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Authoritative and playful free improvisation in the European Free Jazz style, this 1978 album on Misha Mengelberg and Han Bennink's Instant Composers Pool (ICP) label, included the pianist and drummer along with Peter Brotzmann, Peter Bennink and Evan Paker on sax, Paul Rutherford on trombone, and Derek Bailey on guitar, in a much-need reissue of this seminal album.


Joe Morris / Do Yeon Kim
Macrocosm
(Glacial Erratic)

Performing on the Korean gayageum (also known as kayagum), Do Yeon Kim joins Joe Morris performing on guitar for five incredible string improvisations using a diversity of approaches from both players, including pointillistic improv, rich rivers of chords, languid moments of beauty, and moments where it's difficult to discern who's playing what.


The Fictive Five (Ochs / Wooley / Filiano / Niggenkemper / Eisenstadt)
Anything Is Possible
(Clean Feed)

A tour-de-force of modern creative jazz from the quintet of Larry Ochs on tenor & sopranino saxophones, Nate Wooley on trumpet, Ken Filiano on bass & effects, Pascal Niggenkemper on bass & effects, and Harris Eisenstadt on drums, the familiar history of the musicians and the staggering skill of each bearing out the album's title, in 2 collective and 3 Ochs compositions.


Angles 9
Beyond Us
(Clean Feed)

Now a distinct edition of saxophonist Martin Kuchen's concept, the Angles 9 ensemble is captured live at the Zomer Jazz Fiets Tour in The Netherlands in 2018, performing Kuchen's embraceable and lyrical compositions, allowing his masterful band--including Magnus Broo, Johan Berthling, Mattias Stahl, &c.--great opportunities for collective playing and profound soloing.


Joe McPhee / John Edwards / Klaus Kugel
Journey to Parazzar
(Not Two)

Recorded at Metallurgov House Of Culture in the Ukraine as the 2nd concert of their tour, the trio of Joe McPhee (trumpet, alto saxophone), John Edwards (double bass), and Klaus Kugel (drums) present a masterful concert that includes a 29-minute "Re-Hairing In Zaporozhye" a 19-minute "To Rush At The Wind", and a wonderfully unconventional tribute to Cecil Taylor.


Mars Williams presents
An Ayler Xmas Volume 2
(ESP)

After releasing "An Ayler Xmas: The Music of Albert Ayler & Songs of Christmas" on Chicago saxophonist Mars Williams' Soul What? Label, ESP approached him for a 2nd volume, resulting in this joyful and quirky holiday record with contributions from Josh Berman, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Kent Kessler, Jeb Bishop, Christof Kurzmann, Didi Kern, Thomas Berghammer, Steve Hunt, Jim Baker and Hermann Stangassinger.


Mahobin (Fujii / Anker / Tamura / Mori)
Live at Big Apple in Kobe
(Libra)

Continuing the celebration of pianist Satoko Fujii's 60th birtday by releasing one CD each month, this quartet brings an excellent set of electroacoustic improvisation to the collection in a quartet with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, New York saxophonist Lotte Anker, and New York electronic artist and former DNA drummer Ikue Mori, performing live at Tokyo's Big Apple in 2018.


Steve Coleman and Five Elements
Live at the Village Vanguard, Vol. I (The Embedded Sets) [2 CDs]
(Pi Recordings)

With his earliest and most current performance history tied to the enduring Manhattan jazz club The Village Vanguard, alto saxophonist Steve Coleman records his Five Elements in a 2017 live show with Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Miles Okazaki on guitar, Anthony Tidd on bass, and Sean Rickman on drums for a fiery, exuberant and masterful concert of modern jazz.


James Lewis Brandon (Lewis / Branch / Stewart / Pirog / Crudup III)
An Unruly Manifesto
(Relative Pitch)

New York tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis leads a quintet with Jaimie Branch on trumpet, Luke Stewart on bass, Anthony Pirog on guitar, and Warren Trae Crudup III on drums, in a free jazz album dedicated to Charlie Haden & Ornette Coleman and Surrealism, modern creative music with one foot planted in the 70s and one in the 2010s.


Fish-Scale Sunrise (Ab Baars / Kaja Draksler / Joe Williamson
No Queen Rises
(Relative Pitch)

Their name taken from a poem by Wallace Stevens, the Netherlands-based trio of Ab Baars on sax and clarinet, Kaja Draksler on piano, and Joe Williamson on bass represent the spirit of the poem in seven compositions from Ab Baars plus two collective improvs, a great mix of serious and playful performance that diverts from detailed interaction to spacious reflectiveness.


Moore / Edwards / Prevost
Darkened, yet shone
(Matchless)

Combining free improvisation, free jazz, rock, and electronic/EA-improv, the trio of Eddie Prevost (drums), NO Moore (guitarist), and bassist John Edwards are caught live at IKLECTIK in London, 2017, for a concert that changes pace from vigorous riffs to unconventional introspection, with masterful playing and profound technique, an exceptional performance.


Mette Rasmussen / Chris Corsano
A View Of The Moon (From The Sun)
(Clean Feed)

Following their Relative Pitch album "All the Ghosts at Once", the free improvising duo of alto saxophonist Mette Rasmussen and drummer Chris Corsano, also on slide clarinet, release their 2nd album, a live concert at Cankarjev dom, in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2015, pushing the limits on both instruments through radical technique and inventive approaches to their playing.


Drone Trio (Davis / Frith / Greenlief)
Lantskap Logic
(Clean Feed)

Recording in the Bay Area at the Mills College Chapel in Oakland, the Drone Trio of Fred Frith on electric guitar, Phillip Greenlief using extended techniques on alto & tenor saxophones, and Evelyn Davis on the Chapel's pipe organ, use the natural resonance of the chapel and their masterful skills as improvisors to evolve fervid and powerfully sonorous environments.


Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg
Dirt... And More Dirt
(Pi Recordings)

Composer, saxophonist and flutist Henry Threadgill presents 2 full-length works for his 15 piece band "14 or 15 Kestra: Agg", as he explores new ways of integrating composition with group improvisation, here using an entirely new system of improvisation based on preconceived series of intervals realized in multi-layered counterpoint, rigorous polyphony, and timbral contrasts.


Don Cherry Trio
Studio 105, Paris 1967
(Hi Hat)

The complete broadcast on the French radio station ORTF of Don Cherry's work at Studio 105, Maison de l'ORTF, Paris in March of 1967, finding multi-instrumentalist/trumpeter Don Cherry, also on cornet, piano, bamboo flute, gong, performing with Karl Berger on vibes, marimba, piano, celeste & percussion, and Jacques Thollot on drums, bells, & timbales.


Larry Ochs / Gerald Cleaver / Nels Cline
What Is To Be Done
(Clean Feed)

The first release from the trio of Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, and Larry Ochs in a 2016 concert at Gallery5 Arts, in Richmond, Virginia, captured as part of the trio's series touring around the Northeast each December since 2015, playing what Larry Ochs describes as music that "seeks sonically to soothe, to inspire, and to conspire", in three urgent and powerful improvisations.


Mars Williams presents (w/ Berman / Lonberg-Holm / Baker / Kessler / Sandstrom / Hunt)
An Ayler Xmas: The Music of Albert Ayler & Songs of Christmas
(Soul What Records)

Chicago saxophonist Mars Williams directs his Albert Ayler tribute band, Witches and Devils, to merge Ayler-esque compositions with Christmas songs, performed by Josh Berman (cornet) Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Jim Baker (keys, viola), Kent Kessler (bass), Brian Sandstrom (bass, guitar, trumpet); an unexpected and welcome present for your free jazz festivities!


Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo
Kikoeru, Tribute to Masaya Kimura
(Libra)

Completing a year of monthly albums for pianist Satoko Fujii's "kanreki", or 60th birthday, is this impressive and cathartic album written for Fujii's Orchestra Tokyo as a tribute to late tenor saxophonist and 10 year orchestra member Masaya Kimura, with four compositions from Fujii and two from trumpeter Natsuki Tamura, in an album of both profound testimonly and celebratory release.


Anthony Braxton (w/ Taylor Ho Bynum / Bob Bresnan)
Eight Improvisations (Trio) 2014 [2 CDS]
(Tubapede)

Eight improvisations over two CDs from Anthony Braxton's trio with frequent collaborator Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, flugelhorn and bass trumpet, and Bob Bresnan on piano, Braxton performing on sopranino, soprano, alto and baritone saxes, as the trio twists bop and free/experimental jazz in insightful and quick-witted way, a sublime addition to Braxton's catalog.


Evan Parker / Kinetics (Anderskove / Melbye / Vestergaard)
Chiasm
(Clean Feed)

Performing live at The Vortex in London and live at the DKDM studio in Copenhagen, legendary UK saxophonist Evan Parker joins Swedish pianist Jacob Anderskov's trio Kinetics with Adam Pultz Melbye on bass and Anders Vestergaard on drums, recording these four masterful improvisations of full-force momentum, concentration, exploration and exultation.


Ideal Bread (Sinton / Knuffke / Radding / Fujiwara)
The Ideal Bread
(KMB Jazz)

This NYC quartet with Josh Sinton, Reuben Raddin, Tomas Fujiwara, & Kirk Knuffke pays tribute to the music of Steve Lacy through reworkings of his compositions.


Amado / Mcphee / Kessler / Corsano
A History Of Nothing
(Trost Records)

Following up their 2015 Not Two album "This is Our Language", the quartet organized by tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado with Joe McPhee on soprano saxophone and pocket trumpet, Kent Kessler on double bass, and Chris Corsano, a superb album of intense communication and soloing from a collective that merges free and lyrical playing, from ballads to full-on fury.


Sabu Toyozumi / Rick Countryman / Simon Tan
Preludes And Prepositions
(ChapChap Records)

Three extended free improvisations recorded in 2017 in Cubao Quezon City from the trio of Rick Countryman on alto saxophone, Simon Tan on acoustic bass, and Japense first generation free improviser Sabu Toyozumi on drums & Erhu (a 2-stringed Chinese instrument), as the trio take their listeners on a marathon session of inspired and playing.


The Way Ahead (Roligheten / Alberts / Barno / Aleklint / Stahl / Hoyer / Ostvang)
Bells, Ghosts And Other Saints
(Clean Feed)

An incredibly informed and modern album of free jazz drawing on an Albert Ayler influence from the Norwegian and Swedish septet of Andre Roligheten on tenor saxophone, clarinet, Kristoffer Alberts on alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, Niklas Barno on trumpet, Mats Aleklint on trombone, Mattias Stahl on vibraphone, Ola Hoyer on double bass, and Tollef Ostvang on drums.


Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (feat. Marilyn Crispell / Evan Parker)
Parallel Moments Unbroken [2CDS]
(FMR)

Scottland's large improvising ensemble of around 20 musicians, merging backgrounds in free improvisation, jazz, classical, folk, pop, experimental musics and performance art, in a 2-CD release of a piece commissioned by the BBC and featuring pianist Marilyn Crispell and saxophist Evan Parker, written using graphic scores, through composition, photographs and artwork.


Ikeda / Prevost
The Whole Moon Rests in a Dewdrop on the Grass
(Matchless)

Performing live at Cafe OTO in London, 2018, Japanese sound artist and composer Ken Ikeda comes together with percussionist and Matchless label-leader Eddie Prevost for a concert of resonant, rich improvisation, Ikeda's electronics complementing Prevost's bowed cymbals as the duo builds to a diverse offering of powerful yet controlled sonic uproar; stunning.


Linda Smith Catlin
Wanderer
(Another Timbre)

Eight sophisticated chamber pieces composed by Linda Catlin Smith and realized by the Canadian Apartment House ensemble, including a solo piano performed by Philip Thomas, a piano duo with Thomas and Mark Knoop, and works for percussion & cello, 2 quintet pieces for strings, percussion and winds, and two 7-piece conducted works with two percussionists, strings and brass.


Paul Dunmall Sun Ship Quartet (Skidmore / Kjaer / Solberg / Wastell)
John Coltrane 50Th Memorial Concert At Cafe Oto [2 CDs]
(Confront)

A stellar line-up commemorateing the 50th anniversary of John Coltrane's passing, showcasing Paul Dunmall's blistering Coltrane-influenced quartet together with special guest, lifelong Coltrane devotee saxophonist Alan Skidmore, and also marking the premiere performance of the newly formed international trio of Julie Kjaer (DK), Mark Wastell (GB) and Stale Liavik Solberg (NOR).


Friends & Neighbors (Roligheten / Johansson / Gronberg / Rune Strom / Ostvang)
What's Next?
(Clean Feed)

A great example of the Norwegian creative jazz scene, the quintet of Andree Roligheten on sax & clarinet, Thomas Johansson on trumpet, Oscar Gronberg on piano, Jon Rune Strom on double bass, and Tollef Ostvang on drums take their name from an Ornette Coleman LP, as they show us 'What's Next' by blending lyrical and free approaches with unexpected twists and turns.


Tyshawn Sorey
Pillars IV [VINYL 2 LPs 180g with DOWNLOAD]
(Firehouse 12 Records)

Vinyl edition with a unique 4-part, 4th "Pillar": Tyshawn Sorey in an amazing and ambitious work "Pillars", assembling an ensemble of virtuosic NY performers (Joe Morris, Todd Neufeld, Ben Gerstein, Stephen Hayes, Zach Rowden, Carl Test, Mark Helias) as he references Tibetan rituals, Stockhausen, and Anthony Braxton, and much more.


Mark Dresser Seven (Nicole Mitchell / Ehlrlich / GoGwilt / Dessen / White / Black / McLagan)
Ain't Nothing But A Cyber Coup & You
(Clean Feed)

The 2nd album for East/West Coast double bassist and composer Mark Dresser's Seven band, in a diverse set of lyrically intricate Dresser compositions using unusual and compelling rhythmic structures, with Nicole Mitchell on flute, Marty Ehrlich on clarinets & sax, Keir GoGwilt on violin, Michael Dessen on trombone, Joshua White on piano, and Jim Black on drums.


Frode Gjerstad / John Stevens / Johnny Mbizio Dyani
Detail 83
(FMR)

A significant release from the history of the Detail trio of Frode Gjerstad on reeds, John Stevens on drums, and Johnny Dyani on bass, recorded at the Red Seahouses in Norway in 1938 during Detail's first trio tour, a smoking set of free jazz showing the power of these innovative players around the time of their first album, "Backwards and Forwards".


Moholo-Moholo's, Louis Five Blokes
Uplift The People
(Ogun)

Drummer Moholo-Moholo, a member of Blue Notes, Elton Dean's Ninesene, Foxes Fox, London Improvisers Orchestra, a sideman for Brotzmann, Keith Tippets sideman and drummer and most importantly, band leader in a rich, lyrical and spiritual album recorded live at Cafe Oto in 2017 with Alexander Hawkins (piano), John Edwards (bass), Shabaka Hutchings (sax) and Jason Yard (sax).


Dave Rempis / Tomeka Reid / Joshua Abrams
Ithra
(Aerophonic)

Chamber-oriented jazz that borrows from compositional forms by three leaders of the Chicago improv scene--Dave Rempis on alto & tenor saxophone, Tomeka Reid on cello, and Joshua Abrams on bass--in a collective work that demonstrates the unity of stylistic approaches through the thoughtful integration of a variety of styles and strategies.


Harvey Sorgen / Joe Fonda / Marilyn Crispell
Dreamstruck
(Not Two)

With six collective compositions plus two by Joe Fonda, one from Paul Motian, and the title track by Bob Windbiel, the free improvising trio of Marilyn Crispell on piano, Joe Fonda on bass, and Harvey Sorgen on drums find lyrical beauty and masterfully controlled power in this superb album of creative free jazz, a remarkable example of the modern piano trio.


Jacob Sacks
Fishes
(Clean Feed)

Eleven new works from New York pianist Jacob Sacks in a quintet with some of NY's finest--Ellery Eskelin on tenor saxophone, Tony Malaby on tenor & soprano saxophones, Michael Formanek on bass, and Dan Weiss on drums--referencing traditional jazz influences like Monk & Mingus with superbly creative soloing fostered by the freedom of Sack's compositions.