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Judson Trio (Leandre / Maneri / Cleaver):
Light And Dance [2 CDs] (RogueArt)

A live recording at Instants Chavire's, in Montreuil, France in 2020, and a studio recording 5 days later in Malakoff, France, in the 2nd album from the Judson Trio of Joelle Leandre on double bass, Mat Maneri on viola, Gerald Cleaver on drums & small percussion, the entwining of viola and bass strings propelled with assertive restraint and accent from Cleaver. ... Click to View


All Set (Laubrock / Payen / Tordini / Rainey):
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Distinctive for the dual reed front line of French saxophonist Stephane Payen on straight alto sax and New York tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, with the spirited rhythm section of double bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Tom Rainey, formed in 2002 through the collectives HASK and F-IRE, finally realized in recordings with this 2019 studio encounter in Pernes-les-Fontaines, France. ... Click to View


Natural Information Society w/ Evan Parker:
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The first live album from Chicago bassist and guimbri player Joshua Abrams is the 6th Natural Information Society album, captured live in the summer of 2019 at Cafe Oto in London, the core quartet with Lisa Alvarado on harmonium, Mikel Patrick on drums and Jason Stein on bass clarinet joined by UK legend Evan Parker on soprano saxophone for four ecstatic improvisations. ... Click to View


Matthew Shipp / William Parker:
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The kind of conversation only two profoundly accomplished jazz artists such as pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker could have, steeped in the history of the creative form and founded on a long history of collaborations between the two, here in four engaging extended dialogs recorded in the studio Sextan in La Fonderie, Malakoff, France. ... Click to View


Evan Parker:
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Big Bad Brotzmann Quintet :
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A superb example of European Free Jazz tradition, modern and amazingly creative, from the quintet of pianist Oliver Schwerdt and reedist Peter Brotzmann performing on tenor sax, tarogato & clarinet, with Christian Lillinger on drums & percussion and dual double bassists in John Edwards and John Eckhardt, performing a 50+ minute free masterpiece at club naTo in Liepzig, 2017. ... Click to View


Susan Alcorn Quintet:
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An innovator in integrating pedal steel guitar into modern improvised music, Cleveland-born, Baltimore-based pedal steel guitar player Susan Alcorn's quintet enlists a superb set of New York players--Mark Feldman on violin, Michael Formanek on double bass, Mary Halvorson on guitar, and Ryan Sawyer on drums--taking on a diverse set of Alcorn compositions. ... Click to View


Susan Alcorn / Phillip Greenlief:
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A beautifully balanced encounter between Baltimore pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn and Bay Area reedist Phillip Greenlief, performing on tenor saxophone & B-flat clarinet, improvising four "colors" as the two span the spectrum from rapid interaction of weaving and pointillistic playing into deeply introspective and ruminating discourse, each the perfect complement for the other. ... Click to View


Fred Frith:
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The first of three sturdy box sets from innovative guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith, here with 8 CDs from the Recommended Records label plus a bonus CD, a thick booklet of artwork, photographs & extensive notes from Frith; albums included are Guitar Solos, Gravity, Cheap at Half the Price, Killing Time, Impur , Middle of the Moment, Keep the Dog; Dropera. ... Click to View


Fred Frith:
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The second of three sturdy box sets from innovative guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith, here with 8 CDs from the Recommended Records label plus a bonus CD, a thick booklet of artwork, photographs & extensive notes from Frith; albums included are Live in Japan, Speechless, Prints, Step Across the Border, Impur 2, Art of Memory II, Skeleton Crew, Helter Skelter. ... Click to View


Fred Frith:
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The third of three sturdy box sets from innovative guitarist, composer and improviser Fred Frith, here with 8 CDs from the Recommended Records label plus a bonus CD, a thick booklet of artwork, photographs & extensive notes from Frith; albums included are Technology of Tears, Propaganda, Allies, Accidental, The Previous Evening, Happy End Problem, Nowhere, Sideshow, Field Days; Inimitable (previously unreleased). ... Click to View


Roy Campbell / John Dikeman / Raoul van der Weide / Peter Jacquemyn / Klaus Kugel:
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Elliott Sharp:
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An insightful look at the history of New York composer, saxophonist and guitarist Elliott Sharp, "Sixteen Pieces in the Shape of a Memoir" as Sharp looks back at his musical influences and approach to playing and composing, with observations on music, art, politics and technology, a fascinating set of essays from a vanguard artist's point of view. ... Click to View


Charles Noyes K. :
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Known as a percussionist, Bay Area improviser Charles K. Noyes' first part of his Crimes In High Places is performed on electric & resonator guitars plus amplified guqin, expanding on the innovations of Derek Bailey in free-form non-idiomatic playing as he works to create a personal language on the instrument, presenting a dark and creatively foreboding vision. ... Click to View


Gerald Cleaver / Devin Gray:
27 Licks (Rataplan Records)

Drummer Gerald Cleaver's significance in NY free jazz can't be understated, and his influence and work with younger generation drummer Devin Gray as a teacher, friend and associate has shaped Gray's work, as heard here in this monumental encounter between the two drummers, a duet that started many years before, playing in the streets of NYC, and now properly captured in the studio. ... Click to View


Devin Gray / Ralph Alessi / Angelica Sanchez:
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Devin Gray / Ingrid Laubrock / Cory Smythe :
Cloudsounds Trio (Rataplan Records)

NY drummer Devin Gray provides the compositions for this EP with his Cloudsounds trio of Ingrid Laubrock performing on tenor and soprano saxophones and Corey Smythe on piano, the sophisticated structures leading the improvisers into almost chamber jazz territory, with a light playfulness and warm interaction, Gray's intriguing rhythms shifting and propelling their music. ... Click to View


The Selva + Machinefabriek (Jacinto / Almeida / Morao + Zuydervelt):
Barbatrama (Shhpuma)

The Selva trio of Ricardo Jacinto on cello, Goncalo Almeida on double bass and Nuno Morao on drums join with Rutger Zuydervelt of Machinefabriek who adds unique electroacoustic transformations to their fusion of free improvisation and hydrid world elements, resulting in this wonderfully dark venture inside a virtual jungle of contrasting darkness and refined acoustic beauty. ... Click to View


Giovanni Di Domenico :
Decay Music n. 4: Downtown Ethnic Music [VINYL] (Die Schachtel)

The fourth release in Die Schachtel's Decay Music series is Italian composer Giovanni Di Domenico's Downtown Ethnic Music, a tapestry of synthetic and acoustic sources in a 4th world/Jon Hassell mode, with rhythms from drummer João Lobo, vocals by Pak Yan Lau and Patshiva CIE women choir, the horns of Ananta Roosens and Jordi Grognard; a gorgeous album of detailed ambience and atmosphere. ... Click to View


Adrian Knight:
Fly By Night [2 CDs] (thanatosis produktion)

A "travelogue" of Swedish composer and songwriter Adrian Knight's guitar explorations, works originally released on his digital-only and now dormant label Pink Pamphlet, drawing from work recorded in his home studio that developed from sketches and experimentation, along with new recordings including one with saxophonist David Lackner; beautifully moody and elegant music. ... Click to View


J/L Duo + Adrian Knight and Frew Elfineh Taha:
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Marta Forsberg:
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OTONN :
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The electroacoustic duo of singer Andrea Silvia Giordano and drummer Nicholas Remondino, working with Pierre Bastien, E-cor Ensemble, Gianluca Verlingieri, Maria Dybbroe and Torstein Lavik Larsen, create uniquely motioned works of decay, deconstruction and destruction, percussion and voice weaving amid unusual sonic sources both abstract and rhythmic. ... Click to View


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Both members of the Tokyo band SuperDeluxe, drummer Yoshio Mashida performing on steelpan, gamelan and metal-slit drums, and 5-string banjo player Cal Lyall, performing largely on a tabletop guitar setup augmented with electronics, have developed a lovely and relaxed, compelling language of improvisational forms using structural ideas-based on minimal scalar patterns. ... Click to View


Fred Frith:
Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire (Graphic Scores 1986-96)(2CDs) (Angelica)

RESTOCKED: Fred Frith's 1999 box set, presenting a large, flexible ensemble project using marked photographs and rules as scores while Frith directs and conducts as well as performing; permanent members are Ikue Mori and Zeena Parkins, otherwise the balance of the 44 strong ensemble changes; recordings here are taken from 5 concerts, including the first in 1992 at AngelicA. ... Click to View


Robbie Avenaim / Chris Abrahams / Jim Denley:
Weft (Relative Pitch)

The Australian trio of percussionist Robbie Avenaim, keyboard player Chris Abrahams performing on a Waldorf Q+ Synthesiser and bass flutist Jim Denley, all compatriots in a variety of groupings, in an extended studio improvisation of spacious textures and rapidly understated percussive elements, aptly titled for the weaving and cris-crossing threads on a loom. ... Click to View


Sergio Armaroli / Fritz Hauser:
Angelica (Leo Records)

Performed at the Angelica Contemporary Music Festival in Bologna, Italy in 2019 and recorded with superb fidelity, drummer/percussionist Fritz Hauser joined with xylophonist Sergio Armaroli for an enthralling performance that balances chamber jazz forms with fully free exploration, avant yet embraceable as two interact in exquisite and authoritatively unhurried ways. ... Click to View


John Brennan Wolf:
Nitty Gritty Ditties (Leo Records)

33 songs & instrumentals in 74 minutes performed by Dublin composer, performer, improvisor, pianist and organist John Wolf Brennan, covering an eclectic and vast cross-section of styles and genres, from composers including Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Miles Davis, The Rolling Stones, Lars Hollmer, Tom Waits, Cornelius Cardew, Bela Bartok, Paul McCartney, John McLaughlin, &c. ... Click to View


Kontrabassduo Studer-Frey:
Zip (Leo Records)

Naming each track for the teeth of a different type of zip-fastener (curved, triangular, saggitate, &c) Swiss double bassists Daniel Studer and Peter K. Frey improvise a fascinating set of interlocking and intersecting abstractions, recorded live at at Kronen Galerie, in Zurich as the two celebrated their 20th anniversary as a duo through a series of 10 half-hour concerts. ... Click to View


Christer Bothen :
Ambrosia [3 CD BOX SET] (thanatosis produktion)

Swedish contrabass clarinetist Christ Bothen in six extended works, the first and third disks a series of solo works using incredible technique and concentration, the 2nd disc a large work in an ensemble with fellow deep reedists Hans Koch & Per Texas Johansson, double bassist Vilhelm Bromander, pianists Kristine Scholz & Tisha Mukarji, and a spectral narrative from Sofia Jernberg. ... Click to View



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  New York Contemporary Five 
  Consequences Revisited  
  (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd) 


  
   review by Nick Ostrum
  2021-02-18
New York Contemporary Five: Consequences Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Ezz-thetics' Revisited series has released a stream of archival and remastered recordings recently, some of the most notable of which include John Coltrane's Graz 1962, Albert Ayler's Saints to Holy Ghost and Europe 1964, Charlie Parker's Savoy and Dial recordings, and The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra volumes. Well, add the New York Contemporary Five's Consequences Revisited to the list of highlights.

To begin, Consequences Revisited presents a hell of a pair of line-ups at a critical juncture in nearly each of their careers and the evolution of free jazz more broadly. The first six tracks the original Consequences remastered feature Archie Shepp on tenor, John Tchicai on alto, Don Cherry on pocket cornet, Don Moore on bass, and J.C. Moses on drums. The final three tracks feature Ronnie Boykins, Sunny Murray on drums, and Ted Curson on trumpet (on tracks 7 and 8) in addition to Shepp, Cherry, and Tchicai. By the time these tracks were recorded in 1963, nearly every member had spent time with Bill Dixon and many had played with Roswell Rudd, both of whom are clear inspirations. (For his part, Dixon contributed the composition "Trio", which stands out in an openness that emphasizes the edges, frays, and contortions of horn tones rather than the energy and melody that propel most of the other tracks.) Cherry was waylaying between his stints with Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins and his future work with Albert Ayler. At the same time, Tchicai and Shepp were on the verge of breaking out in still different directions. Tchicai would serve stints with Coltrane, Ayler and New York Art Ensemble. Shepp would likewise work with Coltrane, before forging his own brand of fiery free blues and protest music. Murray, having played with Jimmy Lyons, would soon also branch into Ayler's circle with Cherry. As would the other musicians including Boykins, Curson, and, briefly, Moore and Moses, Murray would also spend a formative period in the New York loft scene and its sprawling descendants. (See Bill Shoemaker's deeply illuminative liner notes for more on the musical milieu that gave rise to this legendary but short-lived quintet.)

The music on Consequences Revisited is remarkable. Melodies are just tattered and stilted enough to grab your ear and toe-tapping enough to move at least some bop purists. The sultry rendition of Monk's " with Nelli" is the obvious case, but the freer tracks are similarly strangely melodious. Predictably, Cherry's trumpet channels Ornette's odd harmolodic spirals particularly in Cherry's own contributions "Sound Barrier" and "Consequences". (The latter of the two is the only track to appear twice on this album.) Indeed, one hears Cherry's continued reverence for bebop cacophony even as he articulates those broken lines with his characteristic colorful exuberance. Curson does an admirable job filling in for Cherry on two Shepp pieces taken from the 1964 Bill Dixon/Archie Shepp split, "Where Poppies Bloom (Where Poppies Blow)" and "Like a Blessed Baby Lamb", wherein he abandons Cherry's flamboyance in favor of bebop rat-a-tat. Tchicai and Shepp follow suit wondrously. Though they pack less fire than they would later display, hints of their later development pop up periodically. As might be expected, Shepp's contributions ("Rufus", "Where Poppies Bloom", "Like a Blessed Baby Lamb") carry the heaviest swing in an infectiously disorienting style. One hears echoes of Mingus, especially in the galavanting "Where Poppies Bloom", which begins with a contorted melody reminiscent of Eric Dolphy's work at the time. Tchicai's sole composition, "We Wo", captures a similar underlying energy and funnels it into a jaunty New Thing excursion with snaking Bird-and-Diz-styled head. Meanwhile, Don Moore and, on the last three tracks, Ronnie Boykins prove their be-bop chops. The drummers, JC Moses and Sunny Murray, pose stark contrasts that force the music into competing directions. On his work (tracks 1 5) Moses displays a spaciousness and rhythmic drive that unabashedly screams rootedness. On his contributions (tracks 7-9), Murray shows why he was such a singular and visionary drummer, desperately avoiding anything linear in favor of wide textural flourishes and broken bombardments of sound.

This is very much a recording of its time by some of the foremost free jazzers of their time. Even if it sounds its age, however, it does not sound treacly or dated. Rather, one hears the excitement in exploration and curiosity, the joyful blending of styles that, at the time, were still being developed to uncertain ends. It reminds me of what got me into this music in the first place. Cheers to ezz-thetics for another fine revisitation of a hitherto overlooked (by me, at least) classic.



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