Known for his resonant solo alto saxophone work, often recording with the New York City subways, this album presents ten unusual duos between Tamio Shiraishi and improvisers on piano, voice, cello, electronics, bass, guitar and sax, with Tim Dahl, Steve Baczkowski, Mico, Mike Sidnam, Austin Sley Julian, Nina Dante, Tara Fenamore, Leila Bordreuil, Chris Libutti, and Ami Yamasaki.
Fred Moten, prolific poet, theorist, critic, English Professor and 2020 MacArthur Fellow, provides the insightful and incisive text fueling the improvisation of New York drummer Gerald Cleaver and contrabass player Brandon Lopez, the synergy of Moten's words reminding of Gil Scott-Heron or Amiri Baraka; issued on LP by Reading Group, this CD edition adds two tracks.
Relentlessly playing through the pandemic, the husband & wife duo of tenor & soprano saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey honed their skills, developing this album of primarily composed pieces worked out through improvising; thirteen succinct, fascinating and sometimes quirky dialogs, displaying a depth that only two such close collaborators could achieve.
Each of the eight tracks on NY saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos' 2nd solo release for Relative Pitch is named for a type of stone--"Obsidian", "Feldspar", "Anthracite", &c.--each a unique take on its mineral counterpart through incredible technique and concentration, taking the alto saxophone into extreme or reflective territory complementing the nature of each element.
Swedish guitar improviser Jon Lipscomb (LOPLOP, Swedish Fix) takes his listeners on a rugged trip across the strings, using distortion, tremolo and rapid-fire technique as he mines territories between free improv, noise and rock, his nimble mind stopping to explore areas of interest then cascading into new, turbulent environments; frightfully powerful.
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It's not just the tongue that drives these compellingly irascible and unexpected sounds from the saxophone, augmented at times by samples and oscillators, as NY saxophonist Michael Foster applies technique beyond extended to a tenor and soprano saxophone, in two multi-part works of solo utterance: "Libidinal Fragments" in seven parts, and "Celluloid Nightmares" in two.
Sorollets i catxarros—noises and rattles—from Barcelona electric guitarist and free improviser Amidea Clotet, who explores unusual possibilites from the instrument through textural approaches and amplification, evoking unusual soundscapes of inexplicable sound from the body, hardware and strings of the guitar, in seven unusual and fascinating expositions.
An unusual set of electroacoustic improvisations recorded at Firehouse 12 from a New York trio led by trumpeter Forbes Graham, also on laptop and drum machine, Cecelia Lopez on analog synth, and bassist Brandon Lopez, Graham mutating his trumpet through sound processing, complemented by Cecelia Lopez's synthetic punctuations, all grounded by Brandon Lopez' solid bass work.
Recording in real-time during the pandemic, UK improvisers, baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts (Favourite Animals, Madwort Sax Quartet) and double bassist Olie Brice (Olie Brice Quintet, Tobias Delius, &c) recorded these extended improvisations simulateously at their homes, beautifully paced and intently listening as they keep the conversation going despite a world of restrictions.
Recorded using the natural resonance from the base of a stone double spiral staircase in the Castle of Chambord, France, improvising soprano saxophonist Alexandra Grimal explores her own personal language and the affect the ambience brings to her adept playing, through beautifully melodic lines, long arpeggiations, or short bursts of penetrating utterance.
Working inside and out of the piano and sometime evoking wild sounds that seem to have no relationship to the instrument, Polish-born and Amsterdam-based pianist Marta Warelis explores the concepts of realities beyond our perception, and a thought that we are a part of a big organism where everything goes endlessly bigger and smaller in scale of size, time and speed.
An album of raw and emotional "love songs", 17 unique solo violin improvisations and vocal utterance as the New York improviser runs her bow with passionate openness and intimacy through raspy edges, ardent plucking, introspective aching, and moments of beauty, all displayed through immense technique and powerful control over her instrument.
The Geometry quartet of Tomeka Reid on cello, Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, Kyoko Kitamura on voice, and Joe Morris on guitar in their sophomore release of subtly ferocious acoustic improvisation, acute and obtuse angularity through both highly interactive playing and spacious sprawls that merge melody and pointillist styles, expanded through Kitamura's imagistic vocals; outstanding.
An extended monologue on the alto saxophone from Tokyo-based Masayo Koketsu (Carrier/Koketsu/Fuwa/Itani), driven by an innate sense of timing to introduce assertive utterances, growls, throttling and intense interaction offset with long pauses, digressive asides and reflective moments, a remarkable album of modern free jazz in the Japanese tradition.
The 3-headed monster Khimaira--a lion head in front, a goat head at its back and a snake head at its tail--is rendered by the transatlantic trio of NY saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos, Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and Swedish bassist Torbjourn Zetterberg, using profound technique, snarling interaction and contemplative patience to coax the beast in masterful interplay.
Collaborating since 2004, Berlin alto saxophonist Anna Kaluza and double bassist Jan Roda--a member of Kaluza's Quartet with trombonist Christof Thewes and drummer Kay Lübke--in a studio album of duo improvisations, documenting their live performances in the same configuration since 2020 through ten succinct dialogs of informed affinity.
A fully free, quirky and marvelous set of virtually indescribable improvisation from the trio of French vocalist Clara Weill (known from her work with Fred Frith), Olivia Scemama on bass and Tom Malmendier on drums, three active international collaborators with powerful technical skills and a strange sense of humor willing to take their music where ever it oddly leads.
First meetings between British pianist Matthew Bourne and Norwegian drummer Emil Karlsen, two intrepid and like-minded improvisers using unusual techniques, preparations, inside playing and unusual percussive sources that fuel technically superb performances from both musicians, heard in six improvisations informed by masterful skill and creative drive.
The debut of this thoroughly modern piano trio from Sweden of pianist Lisa Ullen, bassist Elsa Bergman and drummer Anna Lund, merging traditional and free jazz forms along with influences from contemporary compositional music, approaching their collective music using a diverse set of strategies and techniques that yield a spectrum of captivating conversations.
Extending her interest in new forms for the solo viola, augmented by effects and voice, New York composer and improviser Jessica Pavone's fourth solo album of composed viola pieces is the result of years of concentrated long tone practice and an interest in repetition, song form and sympathetic vibration, a uniquely, sometimes quirky, and compelling album.
Known for his ensemble The Big Machine with Peter Evans, Carlos Homs, &c., NYC saxophonist Aaron Burnett steps out for a solo album of intense improvisatory exploration, demonstrating his background in classical saxophone studies that fuels an ardent intensity in personal expression, a tremendous balance between technique and passion.
A joint release between Astral Spirts and Relative Pitch, guitarist Ava Mendoza conjures five assertive and rugged "spells" performed on solo electric guitar, passionate works of raw technical skill and bold power as she improvises over two songs composed by herself, alongside pieces written for her from Devin Hoff, Trevor Dunn and John Dikeman.
With a history of both improvisation and rock, NY saxophonist and sound artist (Creature Automatic, Love As Laughter) concentrates on the sopranino saxophone in this solo album, performing acoustic feats of impressive technical skill, and on many tracks performing with tuning forks and live electronics, sequenced in a compelling journey of contrasts and wonder.
Berlin trumpeter Liz Allbee's solo work focuses on the interaction of voice, extended approaches to her instruments, which includes her self-designed quadrophonic trumpet, electronics and acoustic homemade instruments, on Rille presenting four enigmatic works of dramatic pacing--environmental and rhythmic--guided by impressionistic spoken words and moments of tonal clarity.
Exploring the sonic and visual territory of water, centering on concepts of metamorphoses and breathing underwater, pianist Joshua White and trumpeter & flugelhorn player Steph Richards also employ resonating water vessels and percussion as they present three fluid and introspectively fathomed works in multiple movements: "Sacred Sea"; "Sequoia"; and "Northern Lights".
Exploring how a composition can provide a sense of weightlessness, and influenced by the music of gamelan, krautrock, Tony Conrad & Arnold Dreyblatt, composer Alex Zethson structured these works to influence the 13 performers in his ensemble into a state of intense focus and listening as they strike, bow and pluck their instruments, creating an ecstatic sense of infinite motion.
Focusing intently on multiphonics and long-form statements on the saxophone, the second solo album from Canadian-American saxophonist based in New York City, Erin Rogers, is a tour-de-force of unusual language on the instrument, exploring every inch from the reeds to the pads in manners uniquely harrowing, ingenious, awe-filled, unorthodox, and always inspired.
From fractured and fragmented to assertively raw improvisation in the unusual pairing of saxophone and cello from Chris Pitsiokos on alto and Argentinian cellist Violeta Garcia, using intense approaches to their instruments in a reactive set of 11 concise dialogs, a well-matched meeting of innovative improvisers uniquely responding to and clearly enjoying an eccentric conversation.
Calling his music jazz and not jazz, bassist Brandon Lopez demands of his listeners to dance, as the quartet of Lopez, Steve Baczkowski on saxophones, Gerald Cleaver on percussion and Cecilia Lopez on synthesizer are heard in this energetic live concert at Roulette Intermedium in Brooklyn, blurring free jazz with experimental sound that never loses its strong grooves.
Argentinian sound artist based in NYC Cecilia Lopez engages fellow Brandon Lopez Trio double bassist Lopez and drummer Gerald Cleaver for a performance of improvisation, installation and architecture, using woven wire nets filled with instruments and hung from Roulette Intermedia's ceiling to act as a complex feedback organism with which the trio interacts.
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.
After 30 years of collaboration between French saxophonist Michel Doneda and Japanese double bassist Tetsu Saitoh, this 2016 recording was to be their last due to the premature passing of Saitoh, the two heard here in a trio with pianist Frederic Blondy recorded for Radio France in a remarkable and consuming performances of fully free and often darkly savage improvisation.
After hearing Matt Mitchell's solo piano album performing the music of saxophonist Tim Berne, Brooklyn-based acoustic guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi asked himself how Berne's compositions would sound on his own instrument, reaching out to the composer for guidance as he went into the studio to interpret and record these 10 Berne compositions.
A sparkling and energetic encounter between Norwegian saxophone legend Frode Gjerstad and fellow Norwegian and relative newcomer, pianist Isach Skeidsvoll of groups Bear Brother and Garrubo Band, the two spurring each other to intense levels of interaction, stepping back at times for introspective moments only to plunge forward in a wonderfully enthusiastic dialog.
The debut of the advanced and innovative collaboration between improviser and prominent double bassist Barre Phillips, British saxophonist John Butcher and Norwegian drummer, percussionist and improviser, Stale Liavik Solberg, recording at the Blow out Festival in Oslo, Norway in 2019, and at Offene Ohren, Einstein Kultur, in Munchen, Germany in 2018.
Composed by pianist Magda Mayas for an octet of superb avant improvisers including Rhodri Davies, Zeena Parkins, Michael Thieke, Angharad Davies, &c. and performed live at the 2019 Music Unlimited 33, in Wels, Austria, this extended work uses a graphic score to interpret 12 photographs taken over an hour observing the merging waters of the Rhone and the Arve rivers.
Darkly powerful sonic interaction through transformative use of their instruments, the trio of trombonist Matthias Müller, drummer Christian Marien and pianist Eve Risser obscure their sources through non-traditional techniques, energetically and mysteriously evoking industrial mechanisms with riveting nuance and inventiveness, an exceptional achievement.
The husband and wife duo of New York free improvisers, Reut Regev on trombone and Igal Foni on drums, both bringing electronics to their session, in surprisingly their debut duo release after two decades of musical collaboration and shared life, their assurance and intimacy evident in the relaxed spontaneity and sheer musicality they bring to their dialogs.
A single piece recorded live for Ingebrit Haker Flaten's 2020 Sonic Transmissions Festival finds the Danish saxophonist in an extended improvisation of varying moods, applying a diverse set of methods and technical approaches to the horn, from quiet meditate work to full-throated exuberance, in a remarkably personal journey of confident exposition.
Applying extended techniques from rubbing & scraping to sawing and striking, New York violinist Gabby Fluke-Mogul presents a bold solo violin album of 6 pieces with titles like "Bruise" or "Teeth", drawing an incredible gamut of unusual sounds from the violin and its body, occasionally adding vocal utterance, all laid out with a wonderfully quirky sense of timing.
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.
During their 2019 Japan Tour, the collaboration of the Norwegian experimental rock band MoE and alto sax virtuoso Mette Rasmussen extended their trio with legendary drummer Ikuru Takahashi to record this energetic, rough and tumble album exploring the boundaries between free improvisation, skronky rock, and other confrontational, conceptual crossover forms.
A dynamic and red-hot album of free improvisation from two New York legends--pianist John Blum and drummer/percussionist Jackson Krall--both in jaw-dropping form as they present two extended improvisations, "Blood and Bone" and "Wind and Wing", appropriate for the energy and intense and seemingly physically-defying technical skill each brings to their playing.
An embraceable & explorative example of the core duo of the Boston-area free improvising ensemble Leap of Faith (the foundation of the Leap of Faith Orchestra) of David Peck on reeds and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, both employing the enormous Evil Clown arsenal of percussive and sonic devices, in two large works recorded at their headquarter studio.
"Merge" aptly describes the nearly telepathic interplay between these three European Free Improv masters -- Alexander von Schlippenbach on piano, Frank Paul Schubert on alto & soprano saxophones, and Martin Blume on drums -- recorded live in 2019 at Ruhr Jazz Fest, in Bochum, Germany, for an expansive 47 minute improvisation and a brief "Forgin the Work" conclusion.
Two like-minded experimenters and improvisers meet in Berlin to extract a fascinating mixture of both unusual and traditional tones & textures on their trumpets, energetically disassembling their instruments in aberrant ways to create clicks, clacks, airy hisses and other inexplicable sounds, revealing a dialog of solid ideas that captivate and surprise their listeners.