Monthly Archives: April 2012

Le Son du Grisli review by Guillaume Belhomme

Ballister – Mechanisms (CF 245)
En concert à Chicago, Dave Rempis (saxophones ténor et baryton), Fred Lonberg-Holm (violoncelle, electronics) et Paal Nilssen-Love (batterie) improvisèrent trois titres : consignés en Mechanisms, ils sonnent le retour de Ballister.

Rempis sait qu’il existe deux façons d’allumer un feu : la percussion ou la friction. Ainsi confie-t-il la première à Nilssen-Love, la seconde à Lonberg-Holm, pour s’occuper du reste en toute liberté. Par le reste, entendre l’entretien de la flamme : par spirales tracées au ténor qui remplissent l’espace d’un souffle neuf, motifs dont l’intensité est revendiquée par chacune des notes qui les composent, répétitions qui insistent jusqu’au dérapage qui grippera la machine, sifflements qu’avalent parfois l’électronique de Lonberg-Holm, salves crachées qui ont valeur de phrases définitives…

Eprouvant avec une ingéniosité rare la force d’invention et la résistance de Rempis, Lonberg-Holm et Nilssen-Love la subliment. Au point que le second enregistrement de Ballister est une référence aussi indispensable à la courte discographie du groupe qu’à celles, plus impressionnantes, de chacun de ses trois membres.
http://grisli.canalblog.com/archives/2012/04/24/24095195.html

All About Jazz review by Glenn Astarita

Boris Hauf Sextet - Next Delusion (CF 238)
Reedman Boris Hauf frequently pushes the envelope. For evidence, one need only look at his longstanding affiliation with the avant-garde, acoustic-electric Austrian band Efzeg, known for subliminal sound-sculpting mechanics and ethereal subtleties. However, his repertoire is quite extensive. Making frequent trips to Chicago over the years, he has aligned with like-minded individuals and noted improvisers, often residing on the same musical plane, similar visions coalescing for unpredictable outcomes. On this release, Hauf merges a three-horn attack with three drummers. Needless to state, the band’s makeup and scope of intent offer abstract permutations amid a keenly inventive platform, where hidden meanings are slowly revealed.

At times microtonal, Hauf leads the ensemble through layers of minimalism planted on understated motifs and asymmetrical pulses. The musicians slowly gravitate via a “rising from the ashes” sensibility that is spiced with ominous scenarios amid a symphony of tumbling polyrhythmic drum parts, casting an implied sense of urgency throughout. For instance, on “Fame & Riches,” the popping notes and rhythmic tapping maneuvers from the horns border on a serious-minded cartoon vamp played in concert with haunting soundscapes and low-key treatments, such as the drummers’ China cymbal swashes.

Jason Stein’s flickering bass clarinet notes, accented by free-form percussion grooves, parlay a vibe of happenstance during “Wayward Lanes.” However, the band renders a brash climate as intense dialogues ensue, leading to a heavy-handed military beat fused into hyper-mode and prompting a day of reckoning type situation. Therefore, Hauf’s undulating frameworks and impressionistic tendencies spin a phantasmagoric slant into a setting that is open for interpretation via transposable plots divulged on subsequent listens.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=41914

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

Joe McPhee / Ingebrigt Haker Flaten – Brooklyn DNA (CF 244)
Brooklyn DNA es un homenaje y reivindicación del papel de Brooklyn en la historia del jazz. A dúo, Joe McPhee e Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, realizan una sesión de jazz improvisado estructurada en piezas que a pesar de los títulos no pretenden ser música programática, pero en las que sin embargo van apareciendo algunas referencias claras. Esto comienza a las pocas notas del inicio del CD con “Crossing the Bridge” que trae a la mente a Sonny Rollins y su grabación The Bridge. La brevedad de los temas (las ocho improvisaciones apenas duran 40 minutos) gracias a la concisión de los dos músicos, unido a la variedad de sonidos que aporta Joe McPhee (que utiliza además de la trompeta de bolsillo los saxos alto y soprano) y a esas múltiples referencias que van apareciendo (la música se podría calificar como improvisación libre idiomática, con un aire cercano al jazz clásico), favorecen el resultado final. La grabación pasa como un suspiro y deja con ganas de más.
http://bun.tomajazz.com/2012/04/joe-mcphee-ingebrigt-haker-flaten.html

All About Jazz Italy Vincenzo Roggero

Bobby Bradford – Mark Dresser – Glen Ferris - Live in LA (CF 241)
Valutazione: 3.5 stelle
Bobby Bradford, uno dei miglior trombettisti emersi dal free jazz e dalle zone contigue all’avanguardia, partner di Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, Charlie Haden, autore con il clarinettista John Carter di una manciata di dischi pregevoli, rientra a buon diritto nell’ampia schiera di unsung heroes, musicisti che hanno dato un contributo di notevole importanza all’evoluzione della musica afro-americana ma che raramente hanno ottenuto le luci della ribalta o raggiunto gli onori della cronaca. Questa registrazione del settembre 2009, effettuata a casa del trombonista Bruce Fowler, ci restituisce un Bradford smagliante, in gran forma, in compagnia di altri due ottimi musicisti come Mark Dresser e Glen Ferris. Due brani a firma Dresser, tre di Ferris, uno di Bradford e due completamente improvvisati (ma in registrazioni di questo tipo è spesso difficile definire la linea di demarcazione tra scrittura e improvvisazione) delineano il quadro di Live in LA.

Che è quello di una musica al di sopra di stili, mode e generi, aperta a molteplici sollecitazioni – qua e là si percepiscono un giro di blues, una linea di bop, un accenno di swing, una escursione nell’atonalità, una deviazione nel minimalismo, una cadenza folklorica – rielaborate con somma maestria e sensibilità in un unicum organico plasmato dalla personalità dei tre. La riuscita di Live in LA risiede anche nella maestria con la quale Ferris, Dresser e Bradford riescono ad esprimere la propria cifra espressiva senza prevaricazioni o atteggiamenti da primadonna ma esibendo un grande rispetto vicendevole e una ragguardevole libertà e sintonia di pensiero.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=7584

Music and More review by Tim Niland

Ballister – Mechanisms (CF245)
Ballister is a very exciting collective trio consisting of Dave Rempis on saxophones, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. With the ever present Nilssen-Love joining a couple of stalwarts of the vibrant Chicago jazz scene, the results are bound to be exciting and occasionally thrilling and the music certainly lives up to that expectation. There are three lengthy performances, and listening to Mechanisms is a very exciting proposition, with three amazing free jazz blowouts culminating in the half-hour long concluding performance “Roller Nuts.” The preceding two passages, “Release Levers” and “Claplock” set the stage, with the former being a strong uptempo improvisation, while the latter begins in a much moodier nature before building to an explosive climax. These two tracks alone are thrilling music, but “Roller Nuts” by Ballister is a free jazz epic that is just blew my mind. Explosive trio work that doesn’t let up for a second of its nearly half-hour time. I think that comparisons to John Coltrane’s Ascension and Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz are appropriate, while the trio is much smaller than those large group improvisations, the group packs a tremendous amount of energy and sustains it with remarkable drive and passion.
http://jazzandblues.blogspot.pt/

All About Jazz Italy review by Paolo Peviani

Bruno Chevillon – Tim Berne – Old And Unwise (CF 221)
Chissà se c’è qualche ironia autobiografica, qualche riferimento al proprio percorso artistico, nel vecchi e non-saggi del titolo. Perché sebbene Bruno Chevillon e Tim Berne non siano propriamente anziani (al contrario, diremmo che sono nel pieno della maturità artistica), indubbiamente siamo di fronte a due vecchie volpi della musica improvvisata. E altrettanto indubbiamente i due con il passare degli anni hanno mantenuto intatto quel pizzico di follia, quella mancanza di saggezza, che permette loro di affrontare territori musicali difficili, ostici, marginali.

Cosa c’è di meglio, per rafforzare il concetto, di un album in duo, completamente improvvisato?

Undici brani, qualcuno poco più che una miniatura (due-tre minuti), altri più lunghi (sei-otto minuti), in cui sax e contrabbasso si inseguono, si scambiano i ruoli, si incontrano, percorrono strade divergenti, si ritrovano… Ogni brano si muove su un’intenzione ben precisa. Niente fronzoli e orpelli, la musica è sempre estremamente focalizzata. Per usare le parole di Tim Berne, si arriva ad un’idea centrale, la sfruttiamo, e poi via. Senza girarci intorno.

Come prevedibile, ci sono momenti aspri e spigolosi, ma anche inattesi squarci di delicata leggerezza. L’album è denso, impegnativo, difficile. Da assumere in piccole dosi.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=7573

Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

Scott Fields & Multiple Joyce Orchestra - Moersbow/OZZO (CF 236)
A Cologne, Scott Fields dirige un ensemble de vingt-quatre musiciens (dont font partie Frank Gratkowski, Carl Ludwig Hübsch, Thomas Lehn, Matthias Schubert) et argumente sa conduction d’une fluidité exemplaire.   Ici, continuité et exploration d’une texture contenue (Moersbow en hommage à Merzbow) ; ailleurs, séparation des cuivres et des cordes avant réunion ténébreuse des deux entités ; plus loin, percées solitaires et retrouvailles en forme d’unissons salvateurs. Et dans tous les cas de figures, une justesse de ton et de forme ne s’encombrant d’aucune démonstration de force ou de virtuosité inutile.
http://grisli.canalblog.com/

Improve Sphere review by Julien Héraud

The Ames Room – Bird Dies (CF 231)
Ces dernières années, The Ames Room a écumé les festivals et salles de concerts, notamment en Europe où ils ont eu de nombreuses fois l’occasion de (re)présenter leur musique. Je ne vous apprendrai certainement pas grand chose en vous disant que ce trio est constitué de Jean-Luc Guionnet (saxophone alto), Clayton Thomas (contrebasse) et Will Guthrie (batterie) et qu’il a déjà eu l’occasion de se faire remarquer l’année dernière avec un (très bon) LP publié par Monotype; mais sait-on jamais, peut-être une âme égarée lira-t-elle cette chronique…

Pour Bird Dies, le trio Guionnet/Thomas/Guthrie propose un enregistrement live d’une longue pièce de 45 minutes. Du free jazz, The Ames Room en a conservé l’énergie et la virulence peut-être, mais le trio évolue sur une forme beaucoup plus personnelle. Il s’agit bien plus de l’imbrication de cellules et de motifs souvent répétitifs et obsessionnels, trois modules sont simultanément exploités jusqu’à l’épuisement, trois modules qui s’enchevêtrent, se superposent et dialoguent en même temps. Il ne s’agit pas de monter le volume, d’augmenter la densité ou l’intensité, pas de crescendo ni d’accélération; il s’agit avant tout de puiser toute l’énergie possible d’une formule donnée, que ce soit une note, un motif, une rythmique, une pulsation. Il ne s’agit pas non plus de transe, The Ames Room exploite la musique de manière musicale et non rituelle, si un motif s’épuise, le trio n’attend pas non plus l’épuisement du spectateur, mais renouvelle constamment sa formule et l’énergie transmise et exploitée.

Répétitif? Bird Dies l’est à première vue peut-être, mais les lignes tracées par chaque musicien évoluent continuellement. L’impression de répétition est similaire à celle d’un cœur ou de n’importe quel organe, chaque partie suit un mouvement qui paraît répétitif, mais qui s’adapte constamment au tout dans lequel elle s’insère, les motifs organiques et répétitifs évoluent au gré du corps que représente The Ames Room. Un corps solide et sans âme supérieure et directive, un corps où chaque partie est intimement connectée à chaque autre, où les organes sont reliés par une écoute extrêmement sensible, plus une énergie et une volonté communes. Et c’est certainement cette profonde connexion entre Guionnet, Thomas et Guthrie qui permet une précision dans les réponses apportées à chaque situation ainsi que dans l’évolution énergique et dynamique de chaque partie qui compose cette pièce.

Mais ce qui me semble le plus incroyable dans ce nouvel opus, c’est cette tension toujours maximale, cette énergie inépuisable. The Ames Room ne s’arrête jamais sur Bird Dies, le trio ne se repose pas et évolue toujours dans la même dynamique ultra énergique, mais jamais fatigante. Une pulsation massive, bétonnée, des phrases mélodiques puissantes et intenses, des ostinatos véhéments, autant d’éléments qui plongent l’auditeur dans un maelstrom sonore incendiaire d’une rare puissance et d’une rare intensité.

Un rare chef d’oeuvre, exceptionnellement marquant!
http://improv-sphere.blogspot.fr/2012/04/ames-room-bird-dies-clean-feed-2012.html

Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

Boris Hauf – Next Delusion (CF 238)
****
Berlin based saxophonist Boris Hauf creates some unusual music, synthetic of several modern styles, regardless of genre, combining jazz with noise, minimalism and electro-acoustic musings. On “Next Delusion” he is accompanied by Keefe Jackson on tenor sax and contrabass clarinet, Jason Stein on bass clarinet and the triple percussion line-up of Frank Rosaly, Steven Hess, and Michael Hartman on drums.

As the cover art illustrates, this is not exactly music for birthday parties, offering the combined sound of resigned desperation, sadness and doom. The first track evolves quite monotonously in the literal sense, with increasing volume and intensity. The second track starts without percussion, with the three saxes playing slow subtle harmonic shifts, to be suddenly interrupted by a triple percussion outburst, then gradually both conflicting approaches overlap and end in harmony. On “Fame And Riches”, the mood is black again, with Hess’s electronics adding to the eery atmosphere of low-toned unison lines. The album ends with a rhythm-less free-for-all in which saxes and percussion explore chaos, broken by sustained and very long rumbling of the drums, finishing in an orchestrated repetitive and rhythmic fashion.

There are moments when you wonder about the actual substance of what you’ve just heard. But then, it’s so intriguing you want to listen again. And that feeling does not go away. What is happening here? Possibly a strange and not unpleasant kind of disorientation. And somehow that is what we like.
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.pt/

JazzGram review by Alain Drouot

CYLINDER – CYLINDER (CF 219)
Cylinder is a quartet of San Francisco Bay Area expatriates, which includes, besides Shelton, a Canadian trumpeter, Darren Johnson, a bass player from Staten Island, Lisa Mezzacappa, and a drummer from Norway, Kjell Nordeson, who was a member of School Days, a defunct group that included Chicagoans Ken Vandermark and Jeb Bishop. Cylinder is a truly collective effort with every band member contributing compositions. As a result, their debut recording provides a wide variety of circumstances and forms. Johnston’s “The Ear That Was Sold to a Fish” or Mezzacappa’s “The Deep Disciplines” have also an Ornette Coleman feel. The alto sax/trumpet front line is definitely one factor, but the main idea is to have every musician play melodically. On the other hand, Nordeson’s personal sound cannot be mistaken for neither Billy Higgins’ nor Ed Blackwell’s. Whether the quartet delves into a dirge, ruminations, or collages, it strikes a nice balance between unisons and counterpoints, between abstraction and grooves, the whole experience being complemented by a broad sonic palette–in addition to the alto sax, Shelton plays the Bb and bass clarinets. And when jazz is foremost known for using melodies as a springboard for improvisation, these four musicians can also start from an impromptu situation to slowly and cleverly build a structure, which testifies to the level of communication they operate at.
http://www.letterform.net/files/jazzgram/Jazzgram-Mar-2012.pdf