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Alan Skidmore:
A Supreme Love [BOX SET 6 CDs] (Confront)

A 6-CD box set of a truly remarkable saxophonist, Alan Skidmore, whose seven-decade career takes him from traditional jazz into Coltrane-influenced free jazz and crossing into avant and jazz-rock forms, including work with Harry Miller, Tony Oxley, John Taylor, Kenny Wheeler, Wayne Shorter, Soft Machine, Paul Dunmall, &c. &c., an essential overview and testament to an incredible career! ... Click to View

Mark Dresser:
Tines of Change (Pyroclastic Records)

aA foundational member of the early Downtown NY scene, now West Coast-based double bassist Mark Dresser expands the sonic properties of his instrument in 12 succinct and forceful improvisations, expanding 4- & 5-string basses through metal tines, bowed and plucked, along with magnetic pickups amplifying nearly inaudible sounds from the strings and the instrument; awe inspiring! ... Click to View

Fred Frith / Nuria Andorra:
Dancing Like Dust (Klanggalerie )

Interdisciplinary Spanish percussionist Núria Andorrà whose background includes contemporary music and improvisation with performers including Agustín Fernández, Joëlle Léandre, Mats Gustafsson, Nate Wooley, and Joe Morris joins Fred Frith in Santa Maria de Palautordera for studio and concert recordings of eleven far-ranging dialogs of unusual and imaginative technique and concept. ... Click to View

BolZagO (Andrea Bolzoni / Francesco Zago):
Music from the Lounge (Creative Sources)

Since 2016 pianist Francesco Zago and guitarist & live electronics artist Andrea Bolzoni (The Night Watch, Stormy Six) have collaborated, focused on guitar improvisation, proposing a dialog between lyricism and psychedelic music, here in a 10-part work of fluid & ethereal sounds informed by contemporary music and creative improv, a unique journey presenting a strong narrative sense. ... Click to View

Chris Williams / Patrick Shiroishi:
Sans Soleil II [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

The second chapter in the duo of West Coast improvisers Chris Williams on trumpet, cornet, objects & mutes and Patrick Shiroishi on alto, soprano and tenor saxophones plus snare drum, essentially a free jazz outing of six fascinating dialogs, from call and response to pointillistic interaction, a masterful display of assertive playing through intensive listening. ... Click to View

Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues / Joao Madeira / Bruno Parrinha / Monsieur Trinite:
Derive (Creative Sources)

Improvising over strings, winds & percussion from the Portuguese quintet of Ernesto Rodrigues on viola, Guilherme Rodrigues on cello, Joao Madeira on double bass, Bruno Parrinha on flute & bass clarinet and Monsieur Trinite on percussion, in a studio session of active, often pointillistic interaction offset with periods of introspection, reflecting concepts of Baudelaire & The Surrealists. ... Click to View

Lina Tullgren / Alec Toku Whiting:
Unfamiliar Ceilings (Astral Spirits)

aThe duo of improvisers Lina Tullgren on violin and Japanese koto player based in Boston Alec Toku Whiting, joined on one track by Ted Reichman on synthesizer & pedals, Reichman also recording these studio sessions, as the duo apply unsual techniques with an ear toward sonic assault and unexpected twists & turns, particularly some especially aggressive interaction on "Polly Chainsaw". ... Click to View

Dietrichs (Camille Dietrich / Don Dietrich):
Catch the Leaves (Relative Pitch)

Definitely of the Borbetomagus mold, the duo of tenor saxophonist Don Dietrich and cellist Camille Dietrich, his daughter who grew up under the influence of that band's relentlessly agressive free jazz, here in a live performance at Tubby's in Kingston, New York for four burning improvisations that take apart a tree, leaving the audience to catch the fragments; terrifyingly intense! ... Click to View

Orasique (Don Malfon / Fernando Barrios / Marco Albert / Misha Marks):
Ixtlahuaca (CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD) (Eh?)

A mix of chaos, awe and humorously inspired improvisation from the quartet of Don Malfon on alto saxophone, Fernando Barrios on drums & objects, Marco Albert on voice and Misha Marks on latarra (a form of home-built guitar), recording in Colonia Buenavista de San Pedro Ixtlahuaca, Oaxaca, Mexico for 7 peculisar and absorbing improvisations. ... Click to View

Leap Of Faith:
Ordered And Disordred Localities (Evil Clown)

A 2022 recording at Evil Clown Headquarters, in Waltham, MA of the duo offshoot of the Leap of Faith Orchestra--David Peck on reeds & flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice--with guests, trumpeter Vance Provey, saxophonist Michael Caglianone, modular synth player Eric Woods and Albey on bass, with Joel Simches performing real-time signal processing. ... Click to View

Evan Parker:
NYC 1978 (Relative Pitch)

In 1978 after recording his acclaimed solo album Monoceros, saxophonist Evan Parker embarked on a solo tour of the US and Canada, in New York City performing at the legendary loft space Environ, his first-ever solo performance in NYC and a masterpiece of extended techniques, circular breathing and spectacular control on the soprano and tenor saxophones. ... Click to View

Illegal Crowns :
Unclosing (Out Of Your Head Records)

The 3rd stellar album of modern jazz recorded in the studio after a five-city tour from the quartet of Tomas Fujiwara on drums, Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet & flugelhorn, Mary Halvorson on guitar and Benoit Delbecq on piano, performing three compositions each from Halvorson, Fujiwara and Delbeq, illustrating their distinctive approach to creative improvisation. ... Click to View

Henry Threadgill Ensemble:
The Other One (Pi Recordings)

Composed by Henry Threadgill based on his observations of the exodus of people from New York City during the Covid pandemic and the debris left behind, this work titled "Valence" and dedicated to percussionist Milford Graves, is a chamber jazz piece in three movements was taken from recordings at Roulette of the second of two performances entitled "One" and "The Other One". ... Click to View

Marc Ducret:
ICI (Ayler)

With a booklet of images showing the riverside location of the first performances of French guitarist Marc Ducret's sophisticated compositions reflecting tidal river flows & fluctuations by season, the four meticulous recordings on this album were captured in the studio with Fabrice Martinez on trumpet, flugelhorn & tuba, Christophe Monniot on saxophones and Samuel Blaser on trombone. ... Click to View

Milford Graves w/ Arthur Doyle / Hugh Glover:
Children of the Forest [VINYL 2 LPs] (Black Editions Archives)

From the Milford Graves Archival Series is this double LP of previously unreleased recordings in a trio with Hugh Glover on sax, percussion, klaxon horn & vaccine trumpet and Arthur Doyle on sax & flute; then a duo with Glover; then Graves solo; taken from three 1976 sessions in Grave's own basement workshop for 8 burning, passionate and ecstatic free jazz improvisations. ... Click to View

Allen Lowe And The Constant Sorrow Orchestra:
America: The Rough Cut (ESP-Disk)

Saxophonist Allen Lowe's statement on American music and American song form across the many genres and styles that make up the terrain, including jazz, the blues, gospel, honky tonk, heavy metal, hillbilly/minstrel song & medicine shows, &c.; diverse forms of popular music that reflect a commingled society, as Lowe blurs the sacred and the profane with a stellar ensemble of musicians. ... Click to View

Flak / Guilherme Rodrigues / Bruno Parrinha / Ernesto Rodrigues:
Aeon (Creative Sources)

The cosmological concept of the aeon, the conflict between matter and spirit, is explored in eight "Chronicles" of collective free improvisation using impressive technique and concentrative interaction from the Portuguese quartet of Flak on acoustic guitar, Guilherme Rodrigues on cello, Bruno Parrinha on bass clarinet and Ernesto Rodrigues on violin. ... Click to View

Art Ensemble Of Chicago:
Les Stances a Sophie [VINYL] (Play Loud! Productions)

Recording in France in 1970, the Art Ensemble of Chicago (Malachi Favors on bass, Joseph Jarman on saxophone, Roscoe Mitchell on saxophone, Lester Bowie on trumpet) recorded the soundtrack to director Moshé Mizrahi's movie Les stances à Sophie, joined by vocalist Fontella Bass, releasing a classic and exciting album that stands as a great testament to the versatility of its players. ... Click to View

Franco Donatoni / Iannis Xenakis / Xavier Bonfill / Thanos Chrysakis / Tim Hodgkinson :
Music For Trombones, Bass Clarinets & Horn (Aural Terrains)

Five interpretations of works by contemporary composers Franco Donatoni, Iannis Xenakis, Xavier Bonfil, Thanos Chrysakis and Tim Hodgkinson performed by a stellar set of performers in varying configurations, including bass clarinetist Jason Adler, trombonist Christian Larsen, bass clarinetist Yoni Silver, clarinetist Hodgkinson, horn player Julian Faultless, &c. ... Click to View

David Myers Lee:
Partikelrauschen (pulsewidth)

Referring to the music on this album from New York feedback and electronic pioneer David Lee Myers as "firmly rooted in the electronic music of the 1950s-1960s", over nine tracks we are taken on an otherworldly journey of detailed particulate electronic adventures, sometimes swooping, vertiginous, monstrous and unpredictable, each track captured live in Myer's Pulsewidth studio. ... Click to View

Kevin Drumm:
Battering Rams [VINYL] (A Sunken Mall)

An album of transporting drones and industrial soundscapes from Chicago experimental artist Kevin Drumm, drawing the listener into his soundspace slowly through distracted studio clatter and then journeying deep into textures and tones, maintaining a natural quality to synthetic and obscure sources in this fine addition to his expansive discography. ... Click to View

Clifford Thornton / Arthur Jones Trio :
Ketchaoua / Scorpio (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Two powerfully intense 1969 free jazz recordings by American ex-patriots, saxophonist Arthur Jones and cornetist Clifford Thornton, recorded days apart in the same studio and released on BYG Records, Jones this reissue's connection with his own trio, and joining Thornton for four uniquely configured sessions that include Archie Shepp, Grachan Moncur III, Dave Burrell, and Sunny Murray. ... Click to View

Wayne Shorter:
Adams Apple To Super Nova Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Following the evolution in form and approach of composer and tenor saxophonist Wayne Shorter from his 1966 Blue Note album Adam's Apple with Hancock, Workman and Chambers (including a pre-Miles "Footprints") to the 1969 Weather Report precursor Super Nova with John McLaughlin, Sonny Sharock, Miroslav Vitous, Chick Corea, and Jack DeJohnette. ... Click to View

Satoko Fujii:
Torrent (Piano Solo) (Libra)

The ninth solo album from pianist Satoko Fujii, the most recent in a "torrent" of solo releases over the last six years, this album a remarkable display of force and beauty in improvised playing on the keyboard and inside the piano, captured live at IYO Yume Mari Kan Bunka Hall in six improvisations of cascading notes and introspective passages; spectacular! ... Click to View

Peggy Lee Band:
A Giving Way (Songlines)

Rich in lyrical playing and creative freedom, Vancouver cellist Peggy Lee's 6th album expands on her goal to explore different strategies for improvisation within composition, featuring the unique voices of her ensemble including Brad Turner (trumpet), Jon Bentley (sax), Jeremy Berkman (trombone), Ron Samworth & Tony Wilson (guitars), Andre Lachance (bass) and Dylan van der Schyff (drums). ... Click to View

Natural Information Society Community Ensemble:
Since Time Is Gravity [VINYL 2 LPs] (Eremite)

Expanding the rhythmically exuberant Natural Information Society led by Chicago bassist & guimbri player Joshua Abrams with core members Lisa Alvarado (harmonium), Mikel Patrick Avery (drums) & Jason Stein (bass clarinet), are Hamid Drake (percussion), Josh Berman & Ben Lamar Gay (cornets), Nick Mazzarella & Mai Sugimoto (alto sax & flute), Kara Bershad (harp) and Ari Brown (sax). ... Click to View

Pere Ubu:
Trouble On Big Beat Street (Cherry Red)

The 19th Pere Ubu album brings members from the history and offshoots of the band that initiated in Cleveland with vocalist David Thomas, melded with members Keith Moline and Andy Diagram from Pale Boys, legendary drummer Chris Cutler (Wooden Birds & Pere Ubu), clarinetist & guitarist Alex Ward and bassist Michel Templem, for 17 wide-ranging songs, often eccentric, but always uniquely Ubu. ... Click to View

Elijah McLaughlin Ensemble:
III [VINYL w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

The third album in Chicago 6- & 12-string guitarist Elijah McLaughlin's numbered album series of original compositions, rich flowing works of lyrical textures augmented with environmental field recordings and tape loops, performed with Jason Toth on upright bass, Katinka Kleijn on cello, effects, Joel Styzens on hammered Dulcimer and Adler Scheidt on piano. ... Click to View

Chris Williams Quintet (w/ Patrick Shiroishi / Joshua White / Eric Revis / Guillermo Brown):
Live [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Trumpeter Chris Williams in a limited white label cassette release of a post-processed/collaged live concert at Blue Whale in Los Angeles, 2018, performing on trumpet & electronics with a quintet of incredible free players: Patrick Shiroishi on saxophones & objects, Joshua White on piano, Eric Revis on acoustic bass & electronics and Guillermo Brown on drums & electronics. ... Click to View

Mike Pride:
I Hate Work [ORANGE VINYL 2xLP] (Rarenoise Records)

A warmly lyrical, mostly instrumental album of modern jazz that surprisingly takes it's title from legendary punk band MDC, and its songs from their 1982 debut album Millions of Dead Cops, led by NY drummer Mike Pride and performed with Jamie Saft (keys), Brad Jones (bass), Mick Bar (guitars) and on a few songs, vocalists JG Thirlwell (Foetus), Sam Mickens (The Dead Science) and Dave Dictor from MDC itself. ... Click to View

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  Claudio Sanna 
  Compositori Sardi Contemporanei  
  (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records, Ltd) 

   review by John Eyles
Claudio Sanna: Compositori Sardi Contemporanei (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records, Ltd)

One disadvantage of the seemingly endless flow of classic jazz reissues on the ezz-thetics label is that they can distract attention from the label's other releases which are not reissues but are appearing for the first time, this album being one such. The title translates as "Contemporary Sardinian composers", its two discs featuring compositions by eight composers from the Mediterranean island which has a population of one point six million. The pieces are all played on piano by Sardinia-born composer Claudio Sanna who is one of the eight, with three of his short pieces featured. Sanna's previous link with Hat Hut Records was his highly-praised 2015 hatOLOGY album Ammentos on which he played eight of his own pieces on solo piano, none of which appears here. Of this album's two-hour running time, two composers occupy the lion's share, Luciano Chessa with nine pieces, totalling thirty-seven minutes, and Giuseppe D'Amico with eleven pieces, totalling thirty-eight minutes.

Seven of Chessa's pieces comprise the suite "Quadri da una citta fantasma" (Pictures from a ghost town) which is subtitled "a chamber mystery for piano, blackboard and three turntables". The ghost town in question is Virginia City, Nevada, which once had a silver mining community but went from boom to bust when the prospects dried up. With such subject matter, there is plenty of dramatic music plus musique concrete sounds such as chalk writing on a board or the glitches of crackly vinyl records. For example, the suite's longest piece at seven-and-three-quarter minutes "Il Cimitero" (The Cemetery) opens with a suitably attention-grabbing piano passage but less than two minutes in that has been subsumed by crackle and the sound of Sanna noisily jotting with chalk on a slate; such sounds dominate until the piano returns for the track's final minute. By contrast, the next track, "Le miniere" (The Mines) features solo piano throughout, creating a touchingly wistful ambience.

D'Amico's suite is very different to Chessa's, as it focuses on the piano throughout with ten of the pieces being titled "Lyrical Sketch" one to ten, their durations ranging from just under two minutes to just under five. Beautifully played by Sanna, each of the sketches is richly melodic and well-paced throughout. At times, the only valid comparison to D'Amico's compositions seems to be Erik Satie. Although this album is worth investigating for these pieces alone, that is not to write off the album's remaining composers; Sanna's three pieces, totalling just over six minutes, manage to pack a lot of energetic music into that time and all three stand up well to repeat listening. Just as the Another Timbre label's Canadian Composers Series spotlighted and raised the profile of previously little-known Canadian composers, it seems likely that Compositori Sardi Contemporanei will do the same for Sardinia; although the pieces by some of the eight are brief, it cannot be long until composers such as Chessa, D'Amico, Andrea Granitzia, Paolo Pastorino, Riccardo Collu, Giovanna Dongu and Luca Sirigu are appearing on albums of their own, on ezz-thetics or other labels.

Claudio Sanna: Compositori Sardi Contemporanei
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