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Anthony Braxton / James Fei:
Duet (Other Minds) 2021 (Other Minds)

Composed for a performance at the 2021 OM 25 Festival in San Fransisco between saxophonist & composer Anthony Braxton and saxophonist James Fei, "Composition 429" uses Braxton's new music system Lorraine, a combination of traditional notation and color-coded symbols of the composer's design to indicate specific sound types or performance techniques. ... Click to View


Alexander Schlippenbach von :
Globe Unity (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Wild, nearly unprecedented and an exhilarating direction in European Free Improvisation heard in the 1st recordings from 1966 of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity band, a 14-piece ensemble that included young saxophonists Peter Brötzmann, Gerd Dudek & Kris Wanders, bassist Peter Kowald, bass clarinetist Willem Breuker, trumpeter Manfred Schoof, &c. ... Click to View


Alexander Schlippenbach von :
Globe Unity [VINYL] (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

Wild, nearly unprecedented and an exhilarating direction in European Free Improvisation heard in the 1st recordings from 1966 of pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity band, a 14-piece ensemble that included young saxophonists Peter Brötzmann, Gerd Dudek & Kris Wanders, bassist Peter Kowald, bass clarinetist Willem Breuker, trumpeter Manfred Schoof, &c. ... Click to View


Devin Waldman Brahja / Hamid Drake:
Mediumistic Methodology [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Evoking the spirit of a seance experienced by alto saxophonist Devin Brahja Waldman, the duo of Waldman and drummer Hamid Drake are captured live at Elastic Arts, in Chicago, beginning as a mysteriously delicate concert of intricately introspective playing and spiritual reflection, building to a free jazz drum & sax duo of powerful and enthusiastic release. ... Click to View


Aonghus McEvoy :
Under & Cracked [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Beautifully flowing acoustic avant folk under a diverse set of influences from the Dublin five-piece band led by acoustic and electric guitarist Aonghus McEvoy, with George Brennan on electronics, David Lacey on drums, Sean Maynard Smith on upright bass and Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh on viola, evolving their tracks from pastoral to edgy agitation or ecstatic drone. ... Click to View


Artur Malecki & The Creature Trio (w/ Chmiel / Aftyka):
Widoki (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Widoki, Polish for Views, is the debut album of the free improvising trio of Artur Malecki on drums, Michal Aftyka on double bass & electric bass and Przemylaw Chmiel on tenor & soprano saxophones, performing seven compositions from drummer Malecki and one collective improvisation, a strong and wide-ranging set of recordings from a band with a fresh perspective on creative jazz. ... Click to View


Cyprien Busolini / Bertrand Gauguet:
Miroir (Akousis Records)

An album of intensive listening through concentrated improvisation from the long-running collaboration of French improvisers, Cyprien Busolini on viola and Bertrand Gauguet on alto saxophone, both using unfaltering techniques as they metamorphose their instruments from delicate silence to forceful tones, oscillating and vacillating across two extended improvisations. ... Click to View


Tragic Assembly:
Blood Drains And Memories (Soul City Sounds)

The Durham, NC free improvising trio of Crowmeat Bob on alto & tenor saxophones, clarinet & guitar, Phil Venable on double bass and Charles Chance on drums notch up their playing, with Crowmeat Bob performing on both reeds and electric guitar as the band explores breaking down the barrier between subconsciousness and expression through collective improv. ... Click to View


Tatsuya Nakatani / Kyle Motl:
Quicksand (Nakatani-Kobo)

Innovative Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani met with bassist Kyle Motl (Peter Kuhn Trio) at Nakatani Kobo Studio, in New Mexico to record these two extended improvisations, the 1st creating an aural environment through ringing metal and bowed contrabass, the 2nd a set of agitated and disruptive interactions through incredible technical skill and expressive dialog. ... Click to View


Bun Itakura / Mishio Ogawa :
Stardust (Ultragash)

A flowing twilight electro-jazz cover of the standard "Stardust" from Japanese guitarist Bun Itakura and vocalist Mishio Ogawa, expanding the melody and Ogawa's phrasing with encompassing electronics and percussion from Takefumi Kobayashi; backed with an experimental "Mystery Making Factory" using paint brush, harmonic tone guitar, and mbira. ... Click to View


River People (Bucher / Countryman / Alegre / Hori):
Sol Expression (ChapChap Records)

Evoking images of Indigenous Filipinos through free improvisation, with titles referencing the rivers, rains and environment that define them, the multi-national River People quartet of Christian Bucher on drums, Johnny Alegre on guitar, Tetsuro Hori on bass and Rick Countryman on alto saxophone are captured in the studio in Manila for seven superb collective conversations. ... Click to View


Sana Nagano:
Anime Mundi (577 Records)

A superb chamber jazz trio from NY improviser and violinist Sana Nagano, with Karl Berger on piano & vibraphone and Billy Martin on drums & percussion, Nagano having a long history with each through Berger's Improvisers Orchestra and with Martin through Creative Music Studio, their connections evident in their articulately energetic and confident collective conversations. ... Click to View


Sana Nagano:
Anime Mundi [VINYL] (577 Records)

A superb chamber jazz trio from NY improviser and violinist Sana Nagano, with Karl Berger on piano & vibraphone and Billy Martin on drums & percussion, Nagano having a long history with each through Berger's Improvisers Orchestra and with Martin through Creative Music Studio, their connections evident in their articulately energetic and confident collective conversations. ... Click to View


Hal Russell / Joel Futterman:
The Chicago River [3 CDs] (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Late Chicago saxophonist, trumpeter & vibraphonist Hal Russell (NRG Ensemble) and legendary pianist Joel Futterman, also on curved soprano saxophone & Indian flue, are heard in the complete recordings from their two day concert for the victims of the 1992 Great Flood of the Chicago River, presenting a five part work of flowing free jazz force and currents of creative power. ... Click to View


Blue Lines Trio (Scheen / van der Weide / Hadow):
Chance and Change (Casco Records)

The free swinging Dutch piano trio of Michiel Scheen on piano, Raoul van der Weide on contrabass, synthesizer & objects and George Hadow on drums, in a set of buoyant and ebullient improvisations, a mix of composed and collective works that bring together tradition and freedom, melody and abstraction, while clearly enjoying their playful approach to creative jazz. ... Click to View


Magnus Granberg :
Night Will Fade and Fall Apart [2 CDs] (thanatosis produktion)

The 6 piece Tya Ensemble of string, piano, percussion and vibraphone performs Swedish composer Magnus Granberg's beautifully delicate and dusky work, conceived from historic and recent song structures and written so that individual parts also may be performed as solo pieces, as heard in an extended ensemble version and four solo and one duo configuration. ... Click to View


Alex Zethson:
Residy (thanatosis produktion)

The Residy, or remains of a unique variation on JS Bach's Goldberg Variation no. 21, performed live by pianist Alex Zethson who maintains the structure, rhythmic movement and note order of Bach's composition, while dispersing the notes and intervals into two synths and an E-bowed grand piano to evoke these meditative and expansive interpretations. ... Click to View


Gareth Davis / Machinefabriek:
Standards (of Sorts) (Sublime Retreat)

Frequent collaborators Rutger Zyderveldt (Machinefabriek) and bass & contrabass clarinetist Gareth Davis join together for five "Standards" through electronics, synthetics and unorthodox reed work, transmuting their instruments as they create variations from a few notes, some of them "misremembered", from jazz and contemporary classical standards. ... Click to View


Amelia Cuni / Alex Mendizabal:
Stimmen Aus Himmel Und Holle (ANTS Records)

Translating to "Voices from Heaven and Hell", the meeting of two Berlin artists--Amelia Cuni, whose vocal work is described as in/voluntary singing; and Alex Mendizabal, a sound artist who here electronically manipulates the voice of Cuni--using texts from poet Erin Honeycutt as the two apply diverse, fascinating and sometimes unnerving approaches to voice, utterance and expression. ... Click to View


Various Artists:
Free Percussion/Water [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Tsss Tapes)

Demonstrating the striking diversity modern solo percussionists present, the Italian tape label TSSS Tapes compiles an international set of solo works from explorers Tim Daisy, Jeph Jerman, Ted Byrnes, Wojtek Kurek, Clinton Green, Rie Nakajima, Emilio Berne, Shakeeb Abu Hamdan, Lucie Nezri, Karen Willems, Paolo Sanna, Li Qing, Carlos Godinho, and Rodrigo Vieira. ... Click to View


Dreamstruck (Crispell / Fonda / Sorgen):
With Grace In Mind (Fundacja Sluchaj!)

Officially taking their group name from the title of their first album, The Dreamstruck trio of Marilyn Crispell on piano, Joe Fonda on bass and Harvey Sorgen on drums are heard in this innately lyrical and masterfully controlled, concise set of studio recordings, with compositions from each performer and two collective improvisations, a remarkable example of the modern piano trio. ... Click to View


Rempis / Reid / Abrams:
Allium (Aerophonic)

The second release from the Chicago chamber-oriented, collective free jazz trio of Dave Rempis on alto & tenor saxophone, Tomeka Reid on cello, and Joshua Abrams on bass, expanding on their highly concentrative and contemplative approach to group dialog, a powerfully assured and seemingly composed set of nine impeccable improvisations. ... Click to View


Seabrook / Cleaver / Cooper-Moore:
In The Swarm [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

The second album from guitarist Brandon Seabrook's Trio with Gerald Cleaver on drums & pulsating & punctuating electronics, Cooper-Moore providing massive and unconvential bass sounds on his Diddley Bow, and Seabrook himself playing banjo in inexplicably rapid and staccato runs or electric guitar with eccentric effects; rip-roaring, sometimes surreal, absolutely superb! ... Click to View


Horace Silver Quintet:
Live New York, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Recorded around the time of his most famous records, Song For My Father and The Cape Verdean Blues, lyrical hard bop/Blue Note pianist and composer Horace Silver's band is heard live at The Half Note in NYC and at "The Cork & Bib" on Long Island with his spectacular band including trumpeters Carmell Jones & Woody Shaw and saxophonist Joe Henderson. ... Click to View


Lionel Hampton Orchestra 1958:
The Mess Is Here, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

An influence on the next generation of small band and bop players, vibraphonist and Band Leader Lionel Hampton's programs included both crowd-pleasers and sophisticatedly complex sections, heard here in this 1958 studio recording from Stuttgart, Germany while touring Europe, Ghana and Israel with his exceptional band expanded by three German jazz musicians. ... Click to View


The Work:
The Worst of Everywhere [2 CDs] (Ultragash)

Originally released by Woof Records in 1982 on cassette, this double CD reissues an essential lo-fi document from The Work (Bill Gilonis, Mick Hobbs, Tim Hodgkinson and Rick Wilson) in live performances from gigs and rehearsals assembled in cut-up form, adding new pieces and expanding on others, joined at times by Catherine Jauniaux, Bob Ostertag, Chris Cutler, &c. ... Click to View


Christian Wolfarth :
39 / Part I - III (Hiddenbell Records)

39 tracks make up this compelling 3-part solo percussion work from Swiss improviser and composer Christian Wolfarth, using a game approach where some sequences are determined by the roll of a dice for note values, rest and tempo, Wolfarth performing on dead wood, a drum or 39 pine cones, augmented with recordings of stones, water, footsteps, church bells, &c. ... Click to View


David Ryan (Crosby / Innocenti / Lash):
Fields And Refrains (Aural Terrains)

A collection of three modified solo pieces and one collective performance with a minimalist aesthetic through compositions by David Ryan, performed by William Crosby on guitar, Luca Innocenti on church organ & Hammond organ and Dominic Lash on contrabass, each score allowing for interpretation and improvisation, particularly the final collaborative piece. ... Click to View


Sage Harlow J :
Variations Without A Theme (Drones Ongs) (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

Australian sound poet and vocalist Sage J Harlow aka Sage Pbbbt, whose innovative vocal work takes inspiration from Tuvan and Mongolian overtone singing and Inuit throat singing, created this mysterious set of electroacoustic compositions on the unceeded lands of the Whadjuk People of the Noongar Nation, developing four works of spellbinding spectral ambience. ... Click to View


Samuel Blaser:
7th Heaven (Between The Lines)

Based in New York at the time of this recording, Swiss trombonist and composer Samuel Blaser's quartet with Thomas Morgan on double bass, Gerald Cleaver on drums and Scott Dubois on guitar explore rhythmic and tonal approaches to improvisation, bridging modern compositional forms with traditional jazz in energetic playing of an engagingly relaxed mood. ... Click to View



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


  
   review by Paul Serralheiro
  2022-03-24
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!
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Devin Waldman Brahja /
Hamid Drake:
Mediumistic Methodology
[CASSETTE]
(Astral Spirits)



Anthony Braxton /
James Fei:
Duet (
Other Minds) 2021
(Other Minds)



Alexander Schlippenbach von:
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(Corbett vs. Dempsey)



Magnus Granberg :
Night Will Fade and Fall Apart
[2 CDs]
(thanatosis produktion)



River People (
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Countryman /
Alegre /
Hori):
Sol Expression
(ChapChap Records)



Blue Lines Trio (
Scheen /
van der Weide /
Hadow):
Chance and Change
(Casco Records)



Hal Russell /
Joel Futterman:
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[3 CDs]
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)



Dreamstruck (
Crispell /
Fonda /
Sorgen):
With Grace
In Mind
(Fundacja Sluchaj!)



The Work:
The Worst of Everywhere
[2 CDs]
(Ultragash)



Rempis /
Reid /
Abrams:
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(Aerophonic)



Seabrook /
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Cooper-Moore:
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Horace Silver Quintet:
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Revisited
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Hat Hut Records
Ltd)



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Great Waitress (
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Die Hochstapler:
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