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A beautifully contemplative collection of vignettes performed on solo Hardanger d'amore, a sympathetic-stringed relative of the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, from Brooklyn improviser and composer Zosha Warpeha, in 13 works of thoughtfully spacious playing utilizing the resonance and rich texture of the Hardanger fiddle in works that seemingly suspend time despite beguiling momentum. ... Click to View


Christoph Gallio / Roger Turner:
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During a sabbatical in London, Swiss saxophonist Christoph Gallio (Day & Taxi) renewed his friendship with percussionist Roger Turner, with whom he had performed in a trio with Urs Leimgruber; meeting at Turner's London flat, they developed the spontaneous language heard on this freely improvised album, Gallio on soprano, alto & C-melody saxophones and Turner on drums & distinctive percussive devices. ... Click to View


Alex Hendriksen / Fabian Gisler / Paul Amereller:
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Carlos Bechegas / Ernesto Rodrigues / Carlos Santos:
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Oren Ambarchi / Johan Berthling / Andreas Werliin:
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Leap Of Faith:
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The long-running quartet of percussionist Heinz Geisser, bassist Fridolin Blumer, pianist Reto Staub and trombonist Robert Morgenthaler have for years extended their 4-tet with a 5th guest, here asking vibraphonist Christopher Dell to join them in the studio after a successful live performance in the spring of 2022, capturing this spectacular, wide-ranging example of collective improvisation. ... Click to View


Kenny Dorham:
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Revisiting and remastering two essential albums from New York hard bop trumpeter Kenny Dorham, a tremendous musican who died much too young but left a legacy of 20 albums as a leader, here in his 1956 Blue Note album in a sextet that included Bobby Timmons and Kenny Burrell, and his 1963 United Artists Jazz album in a quintet with Jackie McLean, Bobby Timmons, Teddy Smith and JC. Moses. ... Click to View


Silvan Schmid / Tom Wheatley / Eddie Prevost:
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A live recording of freely improvised improv captured at All Hallows Church in High Laver, Essex in 2023 from the trio of AMM drummer and Matchless label-leader Eddie Prévost, Zürich and Maastricht trumpeter Silvan Shmid, and London double bassist Tom Wheatley of the group Widdershins, heard in three investigative conversations of great creative drive. ... Click to View


Natsuki Tamura / Jim Black:
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Right out of the gate one feels the energy and excitement between Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and NY drummer Jim Black, each pushing the other through strong instrumental character and outrageous technique over nine Tamura compositions recorded in the studio in Switzerland, their first recording in 25 years since their 1999 Buzz Records album White and Blue. ... Click to View


Joe Mcphee / Ken Vandermark:
Musings of a Bahamian Son: Poems and Other Words (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

27 concise poems written and read by saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, punctuated by 9 musical interludes between McPhee on soprano sax and Chicago reedist Ken Vandermark on clarinet and bass, fortifying McPhee's captivating words that mix life observations among jazz references to Dolphy, Monk, Brötzmann, Coleman, &c.; a truly embraceable "book" of poetry. ... Click to View


Birgit Ulher:
Split Friction - Audiovisual Works [BOOK] (Private)

Published on the occasion of Birgit Ulher's exhibition Split Friction at Errant Sound in Berlin from November 24-26, 2023, an interdisciplinary project spanning the intersection between exhibition, video, performance, concert and sound installation, documented in this 96 page full-color book with images from the installation, graphic scores, and essays in English & German. ... Click to View


STHLM svaga:
Plays Carter, Plays Mitchell, Plays Shepp (thanatosis produktion)

The Swedish free jazz septet STHLM svaga work at the liminal edges of delicate improvisation and song, for this album commissioning works from Archie Shepp, Ron Carter and Roscoe Mitchell, Carter traveling to Stockholm to provide guidance on his composition "Desert Lament"; the band also performs Coltrane's "Jupiter" and Per Henrik Wallin's piece "Winter Rhapsody". ... Click to View


Bob Drake:
The Room In The Tower (Crumbling Tones)

A great set of 11 succinct songs and instrumentals from multi-instrumentalist, prog icon Bob Drake of Thinking Plague, The Science Group, VRIL, and Peter Blegvad fame, vignettes that play with pop formats in insidious ways around recurring Drake themes including a Planet of Dogs, three rustic tales, and a perturbing room in the tower, all noted in a colored foldout poster with lyrics. ... Click to View


Space (Ullen / Bergman / Lund):
Embrace the Space (Relative Pitch)

A startlingly exciting album of piano trio jazz from three creative innovators, in the followup to the 2022 debut of the Swedish Space Trio of Lisa Ullen on piano, Elsa Bergman on double bass and Anna Lund on drums, recording in the studio for eight collective improvisations of extremely well matched, highly interactive and exhilarating modern improv. ... Click to View


Yedo Gibson:
Conic Tube (Relative Pitch)

Born in São Paulo, Brazil and working in Amsterdam and Lisbon, and also part of the London Improvisers Orchestra, Yedo Gibson unleashes an album of solo improvisation on the soprano and tenor saxophones, his "conic tubes" which he uses to express the potential to change environment and energy through technically impressive, expressive playing. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Rodrigues:
Intenso como o Mar (Creative Sources)

With the nearly telepathic communication that only a father & son duo could have, Lisbon violist and Creative Sources label leader Ernesto Rodridgues and cellist Guilherme Rodrigues recorded these two string improvisations live at Cossoul in Lisbon during the "Esta Noite Improvisa-se", a melding of remarkable technique, concentration and profound expression. ... Click to View


Violaine Gestalder :
Furtive (Creative Sources)

With an impressive resume in improvised and contemporary forms, French saxophonist Violaíne Gestalder presents three major conceptual works for multiple players, using studio layering to perform all parts herself on soprano sax, voice & effects, a comprehensive, yearning, powerful and often mysteriously beautiful album that draws on her skills as a composer, improviser and experimenter. ... Click to View


Loris Binot / Violaine Gestalder :
Loris Binot & Violaine Gestalder (Creative Sources)

A contemplative and building collection of electroacoustic improvisations from French alto & soprano saxophonist Violaine Gestalder, augmenting her horn with effect pedals, and pianist Loris Binot, using preparations, magnetic bows and electronics to create sustained and percussive elements, recording in the CIM auditorium in Bal-Le-Duc, France for five rich and fascinating dialogs. ... Click to View



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  Johansson / Fite / Grip 
  Swinging at Topsi's  
  (Astral Spirits) 


  
   review by Nick Ostrum
  2022-09-26
Johansson / Fite / Grip: Swinging at Topsi's (Astral Spirits)

Already at the first snare pattering and the twangy plonk of the acoustic guitar and upright bass that follow, the listener can sense what they are in for. Recorded at Au Topsi Pohl, a young venue that somehow has already become a pillar of the Berlin scene, Swinging at Topsi's documents a night of free jazz rooted in the free improv of the late 1960s. From the recording, one gets the sense that this night was both representative and special, when all the pieces seemed to fall in order.

The line-up is Sven-Åke Johansson — a pillar of that earlier Euro scene — on drums, Niklas Fite on acoustic guitar and Joel Grip on double bass. (Grip also helps organize the concert series for Au Topsi Pohl.) What they produce in the first two tracks — Set 1 and Set 2 — which form the heart of this album, is a consonant string of clunk and motion with hints of the winding melodies of the bop and post-bop eras. Niklas Flite's guitar displays this stylistic tension as much as Grip and Johansson's contributions do, as he frequently and adeptly flirts with the jazz chordal tradition while remaining woody and choppy enough to escape fading blandly into the background.

In the best tradition of Johansson's era of free improv, moreover, this trio is not afraid to swing and strut when the mood hits them. That, however, is just one constitutive element of the first two tracks and is always somewhat jagged and fractured. Fracture, however, does not necessarily mean a dissociation from each other or past tradition. And this engagement with the past through deconstruction and reincorporation is another layer that makes Swinging at Topsi's so engaging and, even, comforting. At times, it feels like a welcome revisitation of that earlier free improv scene that, for all of its destructive and iconoclastic impulses was actually deeply engaged with the styles that preceded it, which formed the basis it needed in which to deviate further from the western classical and pop norms. Such an engagement comes through even more strongly in the playful 3-minute jaunts through the standards "Isn't it Romantic" and "Out of Nowhere" that close the release, wherein Johannson temporarily sets aside his drum-set to sing. Naturally, these pieces are less outre but, in their juxtaposition with the first two pieces and lack of pretension, are somewhat stranger and enchanting.

In a world of so many contending styles of music, it is refreshing to have releases like this, that nod to the progressive past and, incorporating a half-century of musical development and hindsight, effectively carry some of that spirit into the contemporary. As much as anything else, this release shows that 68er aesthetic, in four new hands and two old, is still alive, well, and adaptive.



Johansson / Fite / Grip: Swinging at Topsi's
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