The Squid's Ear
Recently @ Squidco:

Akchote / Halvorson / Frisell:
Loving Highsmith [2CDs] (Ayler)

The soundtrack to the documentary Loving Highsmith about thriller novelist Patricia Highsmith, with music composed by Belgium guitarist Noël Akchoté along with pieces by Cole Porter, Mancini, Johnny Mercer, Frank Sinatra, Hildegard von Bingen, Carl Fischer, &c, presented in two CDs, one each of duets between Akchoté and New York guitarists Mary Halvorson and Bill Frisell. ... Click to View

Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet:
Ultraman vs. Alien Metron [SINGLE SIDED VINYL] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Recorded during the 2002 studio sessions that yielded the albums A Short Visit to Nowhere and Broken English, this unreleased recording of a Mars Williams composition is issued as a 1-sided LP with the stellar lineup of Brötzmann with Williams, Ken Vandermark, Jeb Bishop, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Kent Kessler, Michael Zerang, Hamid Drake, Mats Gustafsson and Joe McPhee. ... Click to View

Ken Vandermark's Marker:
McPhee Marker [VINYL EP] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

A 12-inch 45rpm EP from Chicago Ken Vandermark's band Marker with guest Joe McPhee on tenor saxophone, performing the Parliament Funkadelic track "Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples" and DNA's "Egomaniac's Kiss", with Vandermark on tenor & baritone saxophones plus guitarists Andrew Clinkman & Steve Marquette, keyboardist Macie Stewart and drummer Phil Sudderberg. ... Click to View

Daniel Carter / Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver :
Welcome Adventure! Vol. 2 (577 Records)

The 2nd of two studio albums from the quartet of Daniel Carter on saxophone & flute, Matthew Shipp on piano, William Parker on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums, recordings from the same sessions as the 1st volume with five shorter works, as the long-time collaborators and friends show their nearly telepathic rapport in adventurous and masterful modern jazz. ... Click to View

Flying Luttenbachers, The (Walter / Dahl / Battistoni / Nelson / Ospovat):
Terror Iridescence (ugEXPLODE)

Perhaps the darkest and most experimental album from the Flying Luttenbachers, the 4th from the NYC-based version of Weasel Walter on guitars & drums+bagpipe chanter & electronics, Tim Dahl on bass, Katie Battistoni on guitar, Matt Nelson on sax & live electronics and Sam Ospovat on drums, in two extended, terrific collective improvisations. ... Click to View

Martin Escalante / Tete Leguia / Weasel Walter:
Katyusha (ugEXPLODE)

An aggressive album of ballistic free improvisation recorded live at Seizures Palace, in Brooklyn in 2021 from the trio of Martin Escalante on saxophone, Tete Leguia on bass guitar and Weasel Walter on drums, three tracks of sax multiphonics, altissimo shrieks and subtones, bass feedback, magnetic field disruption, found objects, and distortion and high impact drumming. ... Click to View

Johan Berthling :
Bjornhorn (thanatosis produktion)

An extended 7-part solo improvisation from Swedish double bassist Johan Berthling (Angles, Fire!, Nacka Forum, Sten Sandell Trio, &c) using magnificent technique, timing and pacing in a diverse set that includes a reference to Charlie Hayden's "Turiya". ... Click to View

Masayuki Takayanagi / New Direction:
Station '70: Call in Question / Live Independence [VINYL 3 LP BOX] (Black Editions)

Reissuing and remastering the two PSF albums from Japanese improvising guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi's New Directions group of bassist Motoharu Yoshizawa, saxophonist Mototeru Takagi and drummer Sabu Toyozumi, plus a previously unreleased side-long "Mass Projection" recording, presented in a deluxe 3 LP box set with images by Yuji Itsumi and liner notes in English and Japanese. ... Click to View

Masayuki Takayanagi / New Direction:
Eclipse [VINYL] (Black Editions)

Eclipse has always been the most mysterious of the Takayanagi and New Direction records, originally issued in an edition of 100 copies, this reissue remasters the album from the original tapes to present the unique vision of improvising guitarist Masayuki Takayanagi and his band with Kenji Mori on alto sax, flute & recorder, Nobuyoshi Ino on bass and Hiroshi Yamazaki on drums. ... Click to View

Samuel Blaser / Oscar Stranoy / Luciano Berio: Ensemble Songs & Sarah Maria Sun :
Folk Songs (Blaser Music)

The project and ensemble "Songs" brings together German trombonist & composer Samuel Blaser and pianist & composer Oscar Strasnoy, taking the instrumentation and concept of Lucio Berio's Folksongs and expanding it into Blaser's "Worksongs", a set of songs around Mississippi Delta blues, and Strasnoy's "Chanzuns Popularas Rumanchas" based on the traditional music of the Canton of Grisons. ... Click to View

M. Klein / Steffan de Turck:
A New City [VINYL w/ DOWNLOAD] (Het Generiek)

A collaborative album from Dutch sound artists M. Klein (Adept, Sweat Tongue) and Steffan de Turck (Staplerfahrer) using field recordings and keyboards in two extended sound collages that take familiar sounds and transform them into a journey through an imagined land, accompanied by melodic synthetic fragments, a reflective work like a lost memory. ... Click to View

Gordoa / Malfon / Edwards / Narvesen :
Substantial Myths (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Vibraphonist Emilio Gordoa leads this superb quartet with Don Malfon on alto & baritone saxophones, John Edwards on double bass and Dag Magnus Narvesen on drums, in an incredible live performance at the 2019 Alte Gerberei Artacts Festival in Austria, a captivating set of creative techniques yielding well-controlled passages of both intense activity and unique introspection. ... Click to View

Samo Salamon / New Freequestra:
Free Distance, Vol. 2: Poems are Opening [2 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

With titles for the album and all compositions from a poem by US poet E.E. Cummings, guitarist Samo Salamon developed these structured improvisations during the pandemic, inviting a set of masterful improvisers including Martin Küchen, Luis Viocente, Vasco Trilla, Emanuele Parrini, &c. &c. to contribute to these magnificent long distance collective improvisations. ... Click to View

SteDaJoDa (Studer / Scheib / Weber / Schmitz):
Schwebend (Creative Sources)

A live recording of free improvisation recorded at Theater im Viertel, in Saarbrucken, Germany in 2021 from the SteDaJoDa quartet of Daniel Studer on double bass, Stefan Scheib on double bass, Daniel Weber on drums and Johannes Schmitz on guitar, the dark double bass foundation and floating ("Schwebend") percussion work balanced by Schmitz' blues oriented electric. ... Click to View

Eclectic Maybe Band:
Again Alors? (Discus)

Led by Univers Zero bassist and composer Guy Seger, the third album from Eclectic Maybe Band combines elements of rock, jazz, electronic and abstract landscapes, performed by an ensemble of chamber rock players including Discus label leader Martin Archer, varying groupings within the band focusing on each section in a mix of composed and improvised approaches. ... Click to View

Quartetski (Ceccarelli / Falaise / Lauzier / Martel):
Cage (Ambiances Magnetiques)

Quartetski--the Montereal quartet of Isaiah Ceccarelli on percussion & synthesizer, Bernard Falaise on electric guitar, Philippe Lauzier on bass clarinet & synthesizer and Pierre on Yves Martel on electric bass, perform John Cage's 1992 Numbers work "Four6" and "One7", a variation on "Four6", an incredible and insightful interpretation of this fascinating work. ... Click to View

Ensemble SuperMusique:
Sonne l'image (Ambiances Magnetiques)

The collective ensemble Supermusique featuring key performers from Montréal's musique actuelle scene, including Jean Derome, Isaiah Ceccarelli, Joane Hetu, Danielle Palardy, &c. perform "Sounding the Image", three animated scores composed through the creation of moving images and rendered live in a remarkable concert at Amphiteatre de Gesu, in Montreal in 2019. ... Click to View

Ensemble SuperMusique:
Commutation (Ambiances Magnetiques)

Ensemble Supermusique, Montreal's premiere open-minded improvising ensemble, here led by saxophonist & vocalist Joane Hetu and conducted by percussionist Danielle Palardy Roger, present a live concert of graphic scores dating back to 1920, with works from Fred Frith (Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire), Luigi Russolo, Maxime Daigneault, Emilie Girard-Charest & Anestis Logothetis. ... Click to View

Isaiah Ceccarelli :
Toute Clarte m'est Obscure (Ambiances Magnetiques)

A profound contemporary work integrating improvisation into composed forms from Montreal composer and percussionist Isaiah Ceccarelli and performed by an ensemble of 16 Musique Actuelle improvisers and performers, beautifully balanced between diverse instrumental passages and texts inspired by different poetical and musical forms of the past; sublime. ... Click to View

Joane Hetu :
Tags (Ambiances Magnetiques)

Four compositions written between 2000-2019 from Joane Hétu: a duo between bassist Nicolas Caloia & bass clarinetist/vocalist Lori Freedman; a work with Hétu & Jean Derome plus the Quaturo Bozzini string and Quasar saxophone quartets; a composition for 20 electric guitars; and one movement from "Préoccupant, c'est Préoccupant performed by Ensemble Supermusique. ... Click to View

Our Arms Grew Together (Music for a performance by Marta & Kim) (Machinefabriek)

Following his collaborations with choreographers & dancers Marta Alstadsaeter and Kim-Jomi Fischer resulting in the performances & albums As Much As It Is Worth and Engel, Rutger Zuydervelt composed this work for their dance/circus performance Our Arms Grew Together about romantic relationships, developed around recordings from the daily lives of Alstadsaeter and Fischer. ... Click to View

Joao Paulo / Paulo Curado / Bruno Pedroso:
As Sete Ilhas De Lisboa (Clean Feed)

2003 release of the Lisbon improvising trio of Bruno Pedroso on drums, Joao Paulo on piano and Paulo Curado on saxophone, merging jazz and world styles from Lisbon, America, Arabic and Jewish forms with lyrical strength, clear communication and an experimental attitude between the three players, a great example of the Portuguese free improvising scene. ... Click to View

Punkt.Vrt.Plastik (Draksler / Eldh / Lillinger):
Zurich Concert (Intakt)

An absolutely avant piano trio of masterful playing that pushes the envelope on melodic, harmonic and rhythmic interaction, from Christian Lillinger on drums & percussion, Kaja Draksler on piano and Petter Eldh on bass, performing live at the 2021 Unheard Of Festival at Rote Fabrik, in Zurich, Switzerland for 13 concise and energetic collective improvisations. ... Click to View

Dave Gisler Trio (w/ Jaimie Branch / David Murray):
See You Out There (Intakt)

Expanding on his live album "Zurich Concert" with trumpeter Jaimie Branch, Swiss guitarist Dave Gisler's trio with Raffaele Bossard on bass and Lionel Friedli on drums release this studio album with Branch returning, and adding New York tenor saxophonist David Murray for a mix of demanding jazz and introspective improv environments, a beautifully balanced album of avant jazz. ... Click to View

Various Artists (Bauer, Casserley, Florodos, De Joode, Kujala, Narvesen, Taramontana, Schiaffini, Wachsmann):
SoundScapes Festival # 3 - Munich 2021 Schwere Reiter [2 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

14 musicians from 9 different countries in various collaborative groupings performing acoustic & electronic free improvisations, the focus on soundscape and limited to 15 minute performances, developed by saxophonist Harri Sjöström in 2013 as "SoundScapes Festivals" and presented in Helsinki and now in Munich as part of the art-project "Aspects of Free Improvisation 2021". ... Click to View

Martin Kuchen:
Utopia (thanatosis produktion)

Ultimately it's Martin Küchen's saxophone improvisations that lead these sensitively moody environments built around multi-tracked tapes of ambiance from snare, speaker, radio and tambora (a 2-headed drum) used unusually to create subtle and spacious drone environments over which Küchen performs, hauntingly, emotionally and beautifully captivating his listeners. ... Click to View

Bernard Falaise :
G(o) sol(o) (Ambiances Magnetiques)

Quebecois guitarist Bernard Falaise of Miriodor, Klaxon Gueule, Papa Boa and Les Projectionnistes fame, continues his solo series with the fifth note of the scale, "Sol (G)", reflected in a series of eight inventive guitar improvisations using timbral effects and looping structures to expand his virtual ensemble as does in his live performances. ... Click to View

L'Ocell / Ferran Fages:
El Declivi [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (Tripticks Tapes)

The third release from the Barcelona-based experimental improvising duo L'Ocell of Chilean acoustic guitarist Fernando Carraso and Spanish double bassist Àlex Reviriego-double bass, here joined by guitarist Ferran Fages (a member of Phicus and Radium with Reviriego), for a set of mysteriously dark improvisations recorded live at Sant Roma de Mianigues church. ... Click to View

Anne Bakker / Rene Aquarius / Rutger Zuydervelt:
Hallucine (Consouling Sounds)

Composed from a combination of violin, percussion, vocals, field recordings & electronics by Rutger Zuydervelt, who initially merged unrelated recordings from violinist Anne Bakker (also on harmonica, kazoo & saw) and percussionist & sound artist Rene Aquarius, all three then overdubbing and editing the work to create this fascinating tapestry of hallucinogenic sound. ... Click to View

Zwerver / Janssen / Lumley :
What's Up (Henk Zwerver)

A set of trio improvisations on acoustic strings and drums from the Dutch trio of Henk Zwerver on acoustic guitar, Wim Janssen on drums and Aaron Lumley on double bass, performing live at Zaal 100, in Amsterdam in 2021 as the trio expand their sound through superb technique, their music balanced between energetic scurries and introspective contemplation. ... Click to View

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  Joe McPhee / Michael Marcus / Jay Rosen / Warren Smith 
  Blue Reality Quartet!  
  (Mahakala Music) 

   review by Paul Serralheiro
Joe McPhee / Michael Marcus / Jay Rosen / Warren Smith: Blue Reality Quartet! (Mahakala Music)

The cover art on this release features the quartet members (seasoned improvisers all) wearing the dreaded and by now tiringly familiar face masks imposed on us all by the pandemic. The "Blue Reality" alluded to is made fairly obvious by this imagery (which is duplicated in the inner sleeve), and while a listener might expect some doom and gloom music or a series of libertarian angry outbursts at the advice from health authorities and the restrictive requirement of this situation that nobody, but nobody cares for, what we get is a much needed and much appreciated set of tracks that are soothing and transcendental for these dark times. The offering is, one could say, a concise musical equivalent of the Decameron, a work of entertaining and therapeutic literature written by the Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio during the devastating Black Death in Florence in the 1348.

The album starts with a lullaby of sorts, a piece entitled "Love Exists Everywhere" that is comforting and uplifting, with a sparse opening flourish of cymbals, bells and vibes that is then supported by a generously voluptuous bass flute statement, then a softly sinuous tenor saxophone line that winds us into the heart of this lyrical track.

The relaxation is somewhat disrupted in the next track, "Chartreuse Tulips", with an active drums-vibes- bass clarinet opening statement, but it's more like a momentary quickening of the pulse and the album's trajectory continues mostly in the therapeutic vein, as track 3, "Joe's Train", features Joe McPhee's tenor articulating a gently forceful statement doubled by Michael Marcus's tenor. The piece is reminiscent of ideas from Tenor, an early solo work by McPhee that stands as a pivotal recording moment in the post-modern evolution of improvised music in the jazz tradition.

Four more tracks follow, each distinguished by the skillful compositional conceptions of the band members (each of whom contributes at least one tune) and the expressive and sensitive interactions of Warren Smith's drums and vibes, Michael Marcus's tenor sax, bass clarinet and bass flute, Joe McPhee's tenor sax, soprano sax and alto clarinet, and Jay Rosen's drums and percussion.

The music, while serving to evoke or provoke a sense of release from the above mentioned "Blue Reality", takes us to the heart of blues expression which is a shout of joy amid pain that celebrates, at bottom, the human experience and our ability to persevere and thrive even amid adversity. The piece of the album that brings out this message most clearly is probably "East Side Dilemma" (the tracks were recorded at the East Side Studios in NYC on Nov. 21, 2020, BTW). This track recalls the keening and spiritually satisfying complaints of John Coltrane in his late recordings (I'm thinking of Stellar Regions, in particular) with their motivic conciseness given lots of diverse spins by the instrumentalists as they dig into the heart of the matter and leave the listener in a much needed state of acceptance and surrender.

Joe McPhee / Michael Marcus / Jay Rosen / Warren Smith: Blue Reality Quartet!
Is On Sale at Squidco!

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Recent Selections @ Squidco:

Peter Brotzmann
Chicago Tentet:
Ultraman vs.
Alien Metron
(Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Daniel Carter /
Matthew Shipp /
William Parker /
Gerald Cleaver :
Welcome Adventure!
Volume 2
(577 Records)

Masayuki Takayanagi /
New Direction:
Station '70: Call in Question /
Live Independence
(Black Editions)

Akchote /
Halvorson /
Loving Highsmith

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Again Alors?

Gordoa /
Malfon /
Edwards /
Narvesen :
Substantial Myths
(Listen! Foundation (
Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Samo Salamon /
New Freequestra:
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Vol. 2:
Poems are Opening
[2 CDs]
(Listen! Foundation (
Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Ensemble SuperMusique:
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(Ambiances Magnetiques)

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Falaise /
Lauzier /
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Isaiah Ceccarelli :
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Quatuor Bozzini:
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