Monthly Archives: September 2012

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

The Fish – Moonfish (CF 254)
****
Três faixas, 43 minutos, nem um segundo de tréguas. Jean Luc Guionnet (sax), Benjamin Duboc (contrabaixo) e Edward Perraud (bateria) permitem, aqui e ali, uma breve diminuição da densidade – não da tensão – mas logo regressa o torvelinho furioso, cuja obstinação se aproxima por vezes da insanidade. É o frenesim do free jazz actualizado para o séc. XXI: ácido, adstringente e com uma rítmica mais coesa e implacável.

Se esta música fosse um peixe seria o venenoso fugu, aquela iguaria japonesa que por vezes envia uns comensais para o outro mundo. Que este peixe tenha sido pescado num concerto ao vivo no Fundão, e não em Tóquio ou Nova Iorque, testemunha que o mundo passa por curiosas mudanças e que nem tudo na globalização é tão mau como se faz crer.

Orkester Journalen review by Jörgen Östberg

JONAS KULLHAMMAR/ESPEN AALBERG/TORBJÖRN ZETTERBERG – Basement sessions vol. 1 (CF 246)
Betyg 4:••••

SNUS – Can’t stop snusing (Ayler records)
Betyg 3:•••
Saxofonisten Jonas Kullhammar är driftig som få. Han har ständigt nya projekt på gång, tycks det, och producerar sig på skiva i en omfattning som borde få David Murrays gillande. Som få  andra lyckas han förmedla den renaste spelglädje. Kullhammar vitaliserar onekligen vårt musikklimat. Men den stora produktionen innebär också att det stundom blir för mycket; man kan behöva en paus.   Efter en tids separation blir därför Kullhammars senaste cd – Basement sessions vol 1 (självklart räcker det inte med bara en volym!) – en daggfrisk uppenbarelse. Denna gång hörs han med en pianolös trio – Torbjörn Zetterberg bas, Espen Aalberg trummor – en sättning som kräver intensiv närvaro men som också kan verka befriande.   Huvudintrycket här är kalvar på grönbete, ett medryckande musicerande där musikerna lossar på tyglarna. Jonas Kullhammar spelar fantasifullt och med pondus – inte minst när han ägnar sig åt barytonsaxen och utnyttjar instrumentets hela register från bottenläget upp till flageoletterna.   Även på cdn Can’t stop snusing hörs en  pianolös trio: bas (Joel Grip), trummor (Didier Lasserre) och trumpet (Niklas Barnö).   Men den svensk-franska gruppen Snus töjer ytterligare på gränserna. Medan Kullhammars grupp verkar i gränslandet mellan det fria och det mer traditionella, och med tydliga kompositioner och tydlig puls, förefaller trumpettrions musik vara fritt improviserad (om nu något sådan verkligen existerar);  allt tycks vara tillkommet i stunden. Det gör väl Can’t stop snusing också mindre lättillgänglig.   Men skivan är spännande.   Bäst fungerar det, tycker jag, när det inte är fullt pådrag, utan de tre söker sig fram, ljudexperimenterar, när Lasserre lämnar slamret och när Grip har nära till stråken. Niklas Barnös är en uttrycksfull trumpetare med en personlig, nästan lite sluddrig diktion.   Heder åt Ayler records som ger ut denna musik.
http://www.orkesterjournalen.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2349:jonas-kullhammarespen-aalbergtorbjoern-zetterberg-basement-sessions-vol-1–snus-cant-stop-snusing-&catid=16:pa-skiva-&Itemid=100296

Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

Hugo Carvalhais – Particula (CF 253)
Le sentiment d’inaccompli qui parcourait le dernier enregistrement d’Hugo Carvalhais (Nebulosa / Clean Feed) n’encombre plus les compositions du contrebassiste portugais. Il reste, néanmoins, ça et là, quelques accents d’incertitudes, quelque fébrilité à lever l’ancre. Témoin ce trio se définissant par la mise en abime d’un motif  et n’annonçant en rien les zones de suspensions à venir. De même, un soprano décomplexé ici et monocorde ailleurs, n’aide pas à unifier une musique qui, de toute évidence, refuse les liens trop faciles.   Musiciens déambulant sans destination, affrontant la masse sans restriction aucune (le piano omniprésent de Gabriel Pinto est une petite merveille de présence et de soutien) ou s’aventurant en des quartiers ambigus, Emile Parisien, Gabriel Pinto, Dominique Pifarély, Mario Costa et Hugo Carvalhais gagnent à s’entourer de mystères, ici, jamais tout à fait élucidés.
http://grisli.canalblog.com/archives/2012/09/20/25146017.html

Monsieur Delire review by François Couture

HUGO CARVALHAIS - Particula (CF 253)
Splendide deuxième album du contrebassiste/électronicien portugais Hugo Carvalhais, dont l’écriture, bien que procédant du jazz, se situe hors des genres. Mélange de musique contemporaine, d’improvisation microsonique, et de jazz actuel, les neuf compositions de Particula créent un univers sonore unique, invitant, confortable même si on y perd ses repères. À comparer avec le récent disque d’Alexandra Grimal chez Ayler Records. Avec Emile Parisien au saxo soprano, Gabriel Pinto qui fait de petits miracles au piano, à l’orgue et au synthé, le violoniste Dominique Pifarély et Mário Costa à la batterie.

Gorgeous sophomore release from Portuguese doublebassist/electronic artist Hugo Carvalhais, whose writing, though emanating from jazz, doesn’t fit in any known genre. A blend of contemporary music, microsonic free improvisation and avant-jazz, Particula’s nine compositions weave a unique and inviting soundworld, comfortable even though you’re bound to lose your markers inside it. In a similar vein to Alexandra Grimal’s recent release on Ayler Records. With Emile Parisien on soprano sax, Gabriel Pinto who performs tiny miracles on piano, organ and synth, violinist Dominique Pifarély, and Mário Costa on drums.
http://blog.monsieurdelire.com/2012/09/2012-09-18-ensemble-x-hugo-carvalhais.html

All About Jazz Italy review by Maurizio Comandini

Elliott Sharp – Aggregat (CF 250)
Valutazione: 4 stelle
Il chitarrista Elliott Sharp ci ricorda in questo ottimo Aggregat (Clean Feed Records) che è anche un interessante saxofonista, oltre che un paladino del jazz sperimentale e d’avanguardia. I suoi tre strumenti (chitarra elettrica, sax tenore e sax soprano) sono ripartiti abbastanza equamente nei dodici brani che lo vedono in trio accompagnato dal bassista Brad Jones e il giovane batterista Ches Smith. Aggregat vede Sharp lontano dalle esasperazioni che spesso caratterizzavano il suo approccio radicale. Siamo dalle parti di Sonny Sharrock e di Ellery Eskelin, per capirci. L’iniziale “Nucular” è addirittura dedicata a Sonny Rollins. Ma con Sonny non ci sono confini generazionali o di genere che tengano… “Satan Sandwich,” di converso ci ricorda la musica dei film di Sergio Leone. Ovviamente filtrata dalla sensibilità di Elliott Sharp.

Quello che ascoltiamo è un free jazz con brandelli di struttura ancora bene individuabili che non sono semplicemente pure astrazioni sonore. Le composizioni sono tutte di Elliott Sharp, musicista sempre attento anche alla forma, oltre che alla sostanza. Si potrebbe dire che in questa occasione abbia pescato in maniera uniforme dalle sue varie esperienze, inclusa la fase blues che esplora col gruppo Terraplane. Il tutto avviene senza annacquare neppure per un istante le doti di grande creatività e coraggio che lo caratterizzano da sempre e senza mai perdere di vista il cuore della musica.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=8211

Free Jazz review by Philip Coombs

Pão – Pão (Shhpuma 002)
****½
I really like the foreboding intro to this album, the latest release from the new Portuguese label Shhpuma. It straight away sets an ambiance and a suspense, a feeling that you are in for something really good. It’s like there is something in the mud just ahead. You can’t see it yet, but it can see you. It is waiting until you get too involved to turn around and run. It waits until it can make a clean strike. Cymbals crash like dead branches beneath your feet, the saxophone is blowing wind through the trees all around you. Where is it?

Track 2, ‘Dyson Tree’, picks up where track 1 ‘Gods wait do delight in you’ leaves off, with a continuous drone being churned out by Tiago Sousa (keyboards, organ, harmonium and percussion) with a very restrained saxophone implying a melody in the background. Before long, however, your ear is drawn away from the tones and is forced to pay closer attention to the sax solo. Pedro Sousa (tenor saxophone) weaves a wonderfully slow, distraught display of subtlety and places it perfectly into the aural atmosphere constantly being set by Tiago Sousa and Travassos (tapes, amplified objects, circuit bending, voice). Because of this mood and tempo, the solo, thoughtfully, takes its own sweet time to fully develop but throughout its journey, it continues to change, search and explore multiple ideas until it finishes on fire. As track 2 was fading to its conclusion, I was already looking forward to the final and longest track on the recording.

Could what was hiding in the mud be something beautiful after all?

‘It was all downhill after the swing’, starts with Pedro Sousa displaying an orchestras worth of extended technique, chirps, and throaty effects before giving way to the electronics that were building momentum behind him all along. There are moments when the saxophone and the harmonium blend together so well that it becomes difficult to tell them apart. Around the 9 minute mark, the suspense starts to build again as percussion elements take a larger role and big powerful key changes in the tone wall signify a shift in control of the melodic elements of the track. There is a real sense of urgency at play here but no rush, a very important difference indeed. It is an unknown destination with no maps and no time limit but just the feeling that they absolutely have to get there.

Eventually, whatever was in the mud, turns around and heads back very pleased with itself.

Considering that this is only the second release from Shhpuma, they are already proving to have a great set of collective ears which will hopefully translate into longevity and many continued intriguing releases.
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.pt/search?updated-max=2012-09-10T23:32:00%2B02:00&max-results=10

Music and More review by Tim Niland

Elliott Sharp Trio – Aggregat (CF 250)
While many musicians “double” on multiple musical instruments, they are usually on instruments that are similar in range and texture, like saxophonists playing both tenor and soprano. So it was particularly interesting for Elliott Smith, a well known guitarist, to also add tenor and soprano saxophone to his repertoire on this trio album where he is accompanied by Brad Jones on bass and Ches Smith on drums. Sharp’s approach to saxophone is similar to his approach to guitar, aggressive and exciting, developing spirals and knots of sound with a raw and brawny tone. It’s rousing and somewhat jarring to hear the him switch back and forth between the instruments, but the music is well equipped for it and Jones and Smith are excellent developing a free tumbling rhythmic scheme. The opening track “Nucular” (a Sonny Rollins nod) and “Allelia” are focused on the saxophone, with Sharp developing squeals and long waves of pure sound and emotional exclamations over cool bass and drum support. “Hard Landing” is a stellar guitar based performance with Sharp blasting out angular shards of electricity and weaving them into an outrageously intense collective improvisation. The trio tumbles like acrobats on the guitar centered performance “The Grip” playing off deep textured snarling electric guitar against loping drums and bass to excellent effect. This was a very successful recording, Sharp proves himself a very powerful improviser on both guitar and saxophones, devising improvisations that make the most of his considerable skill as well as that of his bandmates, making for a substantial statement.
http://jazzandblues.blogspot.pt/

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

RED TRIO + NATE WOOLEY – Stem (CF 249)
Clean Feed   Nate Wooley and the RED Trio (pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini) first met in 2010, literally introducing themselves on stage. In the subsequent two years, their knowledge and mutual admiration have grown to the point that they have become a rugged unit able to touch all the cardinal points of improvisation tinted with jazz undertones. In the liners, Wooley compares the events taking place in an improvisational team as the mirroring of all the virtues and defects typifying the usual pros and cons of everyday’s conjoint living. The balanced eloquence of the action in Stem demonstrates that, when tempered intentness prevails upon the necessity of affirming self-pride, there is no problem whatsoever in creating music which is brilliantly questioning, ruled by dynamic reactiveness and perfectly set to resuscitate the intelligent connotations of modern jazz that too often tend to be forgotten in a whirlwind of chichi poses and unpurposed notes.   Though absolutely nothing sounds calculated, the five tracks show a degree of congruity that, in some instances, might induce someone to define the interplay as “cold”. But we all know that in many occasions sternness is just a facade hiding a heart that, when the right moment comes, beats rather impetuously. Listen to how “Phase” starts from a quietly mounting exchange featuring Ferrandini and Faustino, then gradually escalates to a wholehearted collective flare-up whose effects are in any case kept under control by the quartet’s inherent efficiency, never allowing elements of mayhem to predominate in spite of Wooley’s shrieking tantrums and Pinheiro’s emphatic punctuations and flurries. The piece offers the vision of a natural course characterized by the need, by each participant, of remaining an active part of a lively wholeness, without the egotistic traits frequently associated to the excesses of fraudulent fervency.   If we want to consider aesthetics, there’s no room for unbelievers: the overall vibe is entangling, tactile, but not overwhelming. Again, impartiality seems to win over sanguine volubility. Yet in “Ellipse” the fire of freedom burns blazingly even when everything calms town to EAI-like volumes (there’s a section in which the connection of inside piano and near-ephemeral trumpet is comparable to a dialogue between a slack-string guitar and a muted fax machine). The systematic nonattendance of an orthodox pulse reminds us that we’re dealing with artists who, hopefully, are not going to fall victims of dubious “revolutions” bathed in bundles of banknotes and establishment-regulated festivals.
http://touchingextremes.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/red-trio-nate-wooley-stem/

JazzWrap review by Stephan Moore

Pao (Shhpuma Records, SHH 001)
A very interesting debut for Portuguese trio, Pao. This is a dark, experimental and at times almost spiritual session, that is more than the sum of its parts. Structured by three long pieces, Pao demonstrates an ability to both calm and intrigue through a series of improvised pieces that still remain distinct and linear.

Opening quietly with gentle chimes and eerie electronic scratches/manipulation and one tone sax chords, “Gods Wait To Do Delight In You” establishes the path in which you are about to take. There are drones and effects that are dense yet mystical. The slow climb is similar in vein to The Necks or even more recently DMP Trio. Closing out “Gods…” is P. Sousa’s haunting sax and Travassos’ undulating electronics which are weirdly soothing.

“Dyson Tree” for me, had an almost Sunday morning church call to it. The effects of T. Sousa’s keyboard provides an organ like operatic sound. While Pedro and Travassos inject an Eastern element into the mix as the tune moves towards it’s middle lyrics. Rich and creative soundscapes happen throughout.

The closing number is my favourite. “It Was All Downhill After The Sling” is rough, gritty and beauty all at once, containing improvised lines that make you feel like your listening to session with Sonic Youth. The patterns never get overly loud. Pao manages to find a way to deconstruct and reorganize in a way that resonates long after the piece is over.

Pao is an exciting and highly creative trio from the new and continually adventurous Portuguese scene that is well worth your investigation. Sometimes you like to use the phrase “this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea”–but every once in a while I think everyone needs to be jarred out of their seat. Go buy this record! Highly Recommended!
http://jazzwrap.blogspot.pt/

Free Jazz review by Martin Schray

Hairy Bones - Snakelust (to Kenji Nakagami) (CF 252)
*****
I turn on my stereo and the music immediately nails me down, it pushes me into my seat. I try to get up and fight against it but I have got no chance. It grabs me by the throat, this is completely physical and breathtaking but it is painful in a comfortable way. I surrender and I start to enjoy this massive attack.  Hairy Bones is Peter Brötzmann (saxes, clarinets, tarogato), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet, electronics), Massimo Pupillo (e-bass), and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and whenever Brötzmann comes up with such a line-up there are always references to his legendary bands Last Exit and Die Like a Dog (the label makes them as well). And it points backs indeed: as in Die Like a Dog the rhythm group is a well-oiled machine, as in Last Exit there is a strong rock approach especially because Pupillo’s roots lie in the noise-jazz Italian group Zu and Nilssen-Love is the locomotive of Mats Gustafsson’s crossover beast The Thing.

“Snakelust” is a 53-minute-one-track-monster dedicated to the Japanese writer Kenji Nakagami and it offers everything this music can give. Like with Die Like a Dog there are different combinations, there is not always the whole band playing. You can listen to all kinds of trios (Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love, Brötzmann/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love, Kondo/Brötzmann/ Nilssen-Love), to various duos (Brötzmann/Kondo, Brötzmann/Nilssen-Love, Pupillo/Nilssen-Love), to Brötzmann and Pupillo solos or to the whole band. It is a simple sensation how these parts always come together as if this was the easiest and most organic thing.

Thus, there are magical moments galore: For example, the Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love trio is sheer madness, they sound more like hardcore industrial rock, especially with Nilssen-Love pumping like hell (he clearly is the steam machine of the band), while Kondo is driving his trumpet through all kinds of effects like fuzz boxes and wah-wah pedals, fighting invisible demons, chasing shadows in more subtle passages of reverberating, superimposed sounds. Or when Brötzmann plays a wonderful, melancholic solo on the tarogato and Nilssen-Love joins him almost stroking his drum kit with jazz brushes before Kondo is replacing Brötzmann and the whole thing is flowing into a high-voltage killer trio with Pupillo again. When one day HBO will shoot the attack of the dragons on King’s Landing in their top notch series “Game of Thrones” the full throttle parts of this album should be the soundtrack.

The label information says that this “documented concert was voted by Portuguese critics as the last year’s very best”.  Yes, it is purgatory but I always feel purified after listening, too. Play really loud!
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.pt/