Monthly Archives: April 2007

All About Jazz reviews by Mark Corroto

It was a revelation when Portugal’s Clean Feed label began producing new and exciting music at the turn of this century. There seems to be no let up to their activities and recent additions to the catalog are to be celebrated. 

Ethan Winogrand – Tangled Tango (CF 074)
Drummer Ethan Winogrand, formerly of the New York Punk Band Joe Cool, continues his association with guitarist Ross Bonadonna and Charles Mingus’ son, bassist Eric Mingus, in this very hip jazz ensemble. If you are keen on the music scene, the players—trumpeter Steven Bernstein (Sexmob), saxophonist Gorka Benitez and bassist Carlos Barretto—are three of today’s hottest properties. The twelve original compositions will appeal to fans not only of Bernstein, but also those who followed the late Lounge Lizards, Stanton Moore and the new Brooklyn thing.  

Shoup/Burns/Radding/Campbell – The Levitation Shuffle (CF 73)
Saxophonist Wally Shoup came to the attention of many of us on guitarist Nels Cline’s disc Immolation/Immersion (Strange Attractors Audio House 2006). The Seattle improvising player is steeped in the tradition of saxophonists Evan Parker and Peter Brotzmann. That is to say he can blow the doors off or fiddle with silence and construct a meaningful sound. Bassist Reuban Radding is in top form here too. The quartet, although built around Shoup, finds contributions by all involved. This is a challenging set of music making—but rewarding to the most adventurous listeners.

Carlos Barretto Trio – Radio Song (CF 072)
After the release of last year’s Lokomotiv and the attention bassist Carlos Barretto received, Clean Feed decided to release this 2002 session. Barretto’s very accessible inside/outside writing draws upon not only jazz tradition, but ethnic music. With the inclusion of clarinetist Louis Sclavis, the recording becomes a fully formed sound. If you were wondering about the connections Portuguese jazz has to American and European improvisation, this is one of the best examples of a cross pollination of jazz, folk and blues—via a very fertile musical mind. The attractive sound of this record is due to the open playing of all involved, especially Barretto’s huge sound. They have also included a video of the title track, a treat for your eyes.

Otomo Yoshihide’s New Jazz Quintet – ONJQ Live In Lisbon (CF 063)
Recorded in Portugal in 2004, this meeting of Japanese noise, Swedish saxophone legend Mats Gustafsson and classic jazz turns out to be the ‘new thing’ on steroids. The turntablist/electronics artist Yoshihide picks up an electric guitar for this recontextualizing of classic songs by Charlie Haden (“Song For Che”) and Eric Dolphy (“Serene”). Veering between outright energy production and moments of sheer quiet beauty on Jim O’Rourke’s “Eureka,” the quintet doesn’t fail to surprise listeners. Gustafsson delivers his now patented baritone sound with all its inclinations towards warm interstellar travel.

Bernardo Sassetti – Unreal: Sidewalk Cartoon (CF 070)
Composer/pianist Bernardo Sassetti is perhaps best described as the signature artist of the Clean Feed label. Although his jazz is informed by pianist Bill Evans, the music he composes has a cinematic feel. He has written for Hollywood and that may explain the ongoing narrative he weaves through his recordings. This recording is contemporary classical, with a percussion ensemble, a saxophone quartet, and a woodwind/brass quintet. Think of Sassetti as a kinder, gentler version of John Zorn. Adding to his appealing discography, the soundtrack sounds of Unreal: Sidewalk Cartoon is a great listen.

Charles Gayle Trio – Consider The Lilies… (CF 060)
The ferocity of Charles Gayle’s tenor saxophone is not diminished in the least when, as here, he picks up an alto or as he has done of late, sits down to the piano. Fans know his firebrand music is informed by his faith. His Lord is not the prince of peace, but the lion of Judah. His emotions come full force through his playing. Here with drummer Jay Rosen and bassist Hillard Greene (the same lineup as on the recent Ayler Records disc) the saxophonist gives us forty-one minutes of well spent energy.

Alvin Fielder Trio – A Measure Of Vision (CF 071)
Just why Clean Feed is the leader in creative jazz music for this century is highlighted by this recording. I suspect drummer Alvin Fielder’s connection with Dennis Gonzalez is the link to this outing. Gonzalez’s trumpet has been resurrected (and featured) on Lisbon Improvisation Players’ Spiritualized and on three discs under his own name, No Photograph Available, Idle Wild, and NY Midnight Suite. The pair have a long-standing association and this recording by Fielder proudly presents Gonzalez and his two sons. The AACM founder and former Sun Ra drummer presents a mid-1960s sound not unlike that of the John Coltrane quartet, with all the warmth—yet produces quite challenging music.

Scott Fields Ensemble – Beckett (CF 069)
The guitarist Scott Fields provides a tribute to Samuel Beckett with a dense and challenging bit of chamber jazz or maybe modern classical/free music that he describes as “post-free jazz” and “exploratory music.” His concept of tightly packed compositions with noisy breaches of the oft times violent surface tempts the outer reaches of sound. Perfectly matched by the overtly quirky drummer, John Hollenbeck, these odd structures ask many musical questions, and sometimes provide answers.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=25360

AAJ review by Glenn Astarita

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Carlos Barretto Trio + Louis Sclavis – Radio Song (CF 072)
Originally released by the relatively obscure CBTM label and newly issued for this top-shelf progressive-jazz entity, we find Portuguese bassist Carlos Barretto pronouncing an up-tempo set which, in part, serves as a testament to his country’s fertile jazz scene. And with wider distribution, this well-rounded endeavor could find its way onto many of those year-end top-ten lists.

It’s a rock solid set on all fronts as highly-revered French multi-reed artist Louis Sclavis lends his wares on three works. On the opening piece titled “Distresser,” Barretto lays down a booming groove that sets the parameters for guitarist Mario Delgado and Sclavis’ torrid bass clarinet undercurrents, marked by buoyant unison lines. Moreover, drummer Jose Salguero keeps the train a-rolling with peppery African tom-tom rolls as the band instills notions of an ominously crafted travelogue.
The musicians construct linear motifs while often reversing gears to include the soloists’ often-slashing attack. Delgado is apt to slam on his EFX pedal in spots, where the unit engages soul-stirring jazz-rock passages. But the preponderance of these diverse tone poems are redesigned within a Euro-jazz mindset, devised with tricky time signatures and off-kilter shifts in momentum. They explore swing and the free zone. Then on “Searching” Delgado’s animated and expressive phrasings generate raw heat atop the rhythm section’s stinging mode of execution.
Complacency is not part of the group’s plan as they execute a Balkan motif during “Asa Celta,” sprinkling airy melodies above dramatic forays that instill mystical qualities. Regardless, it would be a criminal injustice if this wondrously absorbing program were to dwell in obscurity.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=25366

Free Jazz CD’s of the Month

Vandermark/Lane/Broo/Nilssen-Love – 4 Corners
Ravi Padmanabha & Daniel Carter – Nivesana
Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura – In Krakow In Poland
Rabih Abou-Khalil – Songs For Sad Women
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/

Free Jazz review by Stef

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Magnus Broo/Adam Lane/Paal Nilssen-Love/Ken Vandermark – 4 Corners (CF 076)
This album brings us back to more familiar territory : the quartet à la Ornette Coleman with Vandermark on sax, Magnus Broo on trumpet , Adam Lane on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. All of them are fantastic musicians, yet Adam Lane is my favorite here (check out the CD’s he released in the past years). And the result of these gentlemen’s combined effort is excellent. The first piece “Alfama” immediately offers all the variation you might expect from such a band : strong pulsing rhythms with unisono sax and trumpet, coming to a sudden halt for a long unaccompanied bluesy trumpet solo, that is first supported by some subtle drums which forces the energy back into the piece, into higher and more intense spheres, picked up by a hard-bopping sax solo like runners in a 4 x 100 relay race. The second piece “Spin With the EARth” starts with an African theme and melody, reminiscent of Don Cherry, that is deconstructed into shreds of solo and it gets gradually built up again rhythmically. On “Lucia” Vandermark steals the show with his fiery bass clarinet soloing. This CD offers a lot : freejazz, hard bop, blues, afro-jazz, funk, intens harmonic interplay and shouting counterpoint.
Of all the line-ups Vandermark played in for the last years, 4 Corners is one of the best. Adam Lane brings a deep musical and bluesy feeling to the band, and Broo adds the melodic and sometimes joyous sound.
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/

AAJ review by Troy Collins

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Alvin Fielder Trio – A Measure of Vision (CF 070)

Alvin Fielder, one of the original co-founders of the AACM, began his recording career drumming on Roscoe Mitchell’s seminal album, Sound (Delmark, 1966). Despite his numerous associations and sideman duties (Joel Futterman, Dennis Gonzalez, Kidd Jordan, Sun Ra), he’s never led a session under his own name, until now.

A Measure of Vision is Fielder’s first official release as a leader. Joined by pianist Chris Parker and trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez, Fielder and company share equally in the responsibility of keeping these mutable frameworks on track. Negotiating the spaces between them, the trio brings a casual aesthetic to their uncluttered conversations.
Fielder embraces the full spectrum of his drum kit, rounding out the bottom end in place of a bass, while accenting higher frequencies with delicate cymbal work. Parker maintains a sober sensibility, undercut with a dash of mercurial angularity and tempestuous virtuosity. His thematic variations occasionally veer into neo-classical territory, lending the trio an unexpectedly mellifluous lilt. His sophisticated touch provides harmonious balance and nuance to Gonzalez’s buoyant, burnished lyricism.
As the sole horn player, Gonzalez mines a particularly melodious vein in this unadorned context. Widely acknowledged as a master of the trumpet’s expressive capabilities, here he focuses most of his energy on linear thematic development; generating patient, raw lyricism accented by abstract whirls of sound. Fielder invited Gonzalez’s two sons Stefan and Aaron (from their hardcore project Yells at Eels) to contribute extra bass and percussion duties on three pieces. Their contributions here are subtle and sublime, adding color to the trio’s already rich palette.
The ghosts of late ’60s John Coltrane and Miles Davis materialize in the bittersweet melodies, fractured harmonies and simmering rhythmic modal fury of the ensemble’s more assertive passages. Acknowledging the influence, Fielder’s own “Max-Well” quotes from A Love Supreme.
An agreeable session full of open space, rich lyricism and adventurous improvisation, A Measure of Vision may have been a long time in coming, but some things are worth the wait.

Discover Lossing/Dresser/Maneri “Metal Rat”

Metal Rat

Download “Metal Rat” (mp3)
from “Metal Rat”
by Russ Lossing
Clean Feed

All About Jazz recommended new listenings

Recommended New Listening:

• Ralph Alessi’s This Against That—Look (Between the Lines-Challenge)
• Bobby Broom—Song and Dance (Origin)
• Anat Fort—A Long Story (ECM)
Alvin Fielder Trio—A Measure of Vision (Clean Feed)
Russ Lossing/Mat Maneri/Mark Dresser—Metal Rat (Clean Feed)
• Kendrick Scott Oracle—The Source (World Culture)
David Adler NY@Night Columnist, AllAboutJazz.com

• Luis Bonilla—Trombonilla: Terminal Clarity (Live at the Jazz Gallery)
(Now Jazz Consortium)
• Jaki Byard—Sunshine of My Soul: Live at the Keystone Korner (HighNote)
Alvin Fielder Trio—A Measure of Vision (Clean Feed)
• Denis Gabel—Keep on Rollin’ (A Tribute to Sonny Rollins)
(Nagel Heyer)
• David Rogers Sextet—The World Is Not Your Home (Jumbie)
• Michael Stephans—OM/ShalOM (Endemik)
Laurence Donohue-Greene Managing Editor, AllAboutJazz-New York

• Jaki Byard—Sunshine of My Soul: Live at the Keystone Korner (HighNote)
• Graham Collier—Hoarded Dreams (Cuneiform)
Alvin Fielder Trio—A Measure of Vision (Clean Feed)
• Ian Hendrickson-Smith—Blues in the Basement (Cellar Live)
• Fred Lonberg-Holm—Terminal Valentine (Atavistic)
• Matthias Schubert—Trappola (Red Toucan)
Andrey Henkin Editorial Director, AllAboutJazz-New York

Tonic closes tonight, april 13th, friday.

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Avant Jazz/Indie/New Music Cultural Crisis

Responding to community outrage at the eviction of Tonic – a center of New York City’s new music cultural life on the Lower East Side for the last 9 years – an ad hoc committee of musicians, cultural activists, and supporters are convening to call for public political intervention.

When: 11:00 am this Saturday april 14th
Where: Tonic, 107 Norfolk street between Rivington and Delancey
Why: To ask for public political intervention to protect new music/indie/avant/jazz in New York City and to ask the city to provide a minimum 200 capacity, centrally located venue for experimental music.
What: from 11 am on, musicians and other performers will stage a musical protest against the planned closing of Tonic, a vital NYC new music resource.

Tonic, located at 107 Norfolk Street, has been unable to afford a series of rent increases imposed by landlord William Gottleib Inc, and will be forced to close its doors this April 14th.

Coming on the heels of the closing of  CBGB’s, Sin-e, Fez, the Continental, and numerous other downtown venues, the closing of Tonic represents the continued shutting down of NYC’s hugely important live music experimental jazz, indie, and new music scene.

This wave of club closings constitutes a market failure.  If there is not immediate and sufficient public intervention, either in the form of limiting rents or supplying alternate space and funding – or both – New York City will lose an essential part of its heritage, culture, and economy.

Tonic is the last new music/indie/avant jazz venue in Manhattan with a capacity above 90, presenting concerts on a nightly basis. It is also the last such venue in the city with the relatively musician friendly policy of paying 75% of door receipts.

In the words of Steven Bernstein, (leader of the band Sex Mob):
“My band plays some of the biggest festivals in Europe…Meanwhile there’s only one club I can play in New York and it’s about to close.” (New York Times)


According to Patricia Nicholson-Parker, organizer of the Vision Festival:
“We have come together to say we deserve a space and in essence, we have already paid for our space.  Musicians contribute to the economy of this city every day with world class performances.  In the case of Tonic, many musicians came together and invested in the space.  Through benefits and organizing they raised significant sums of money (100+ grand) for the venue, ‘Tonic.’  The city needs to acknowledge this.  It is good for the city and good for the artists and their audiences that the city make available a musician-friendly community club/space which holds up to 200 audience members.  It is important that it not be in the outer boroughs but be centrally located in the LES where this serious alternative music has been birthed and where it can be easily accessed by audiences.” This press release is being issued by an ad hoc coalition of musicians and supporters of new/experimental jazz/indie music. We represent a racially and culturally diverse community united in our desire to preserve the cultural legacy and future viability of the progressive jazz, experimental rock, and new music historically based in the LES.
Saturday’s action will be the first of an ongoing series of actions towards this goal.
Further information and contacts are available at www.takeittothebridge.com

The coalition is asking:
1. That the city council adopt a general principle similar to European cultural policy; that NYC’s new music and experimental jazz/indie musical culture is a unique asset, an essential part of the city’s history, economy, and identity, and not to be left entirely at the mercy of market forces.
2. That the city recognize the damage done to its cultural heritage and status as a ‘cultural capitol’ by the displacement of venues central to experimental music, and act now to protect those venues still left from displacement either by providing funding sufficient to allow them to withstand the explosion of commercial rents, or by legislation forcing landlords to restrict rents of culturally valuable venues, or both.
3. That New York City intervene to preserve 107 Norfolk street as an experimental music venue, or make available a comparably sized and centrally located space for that purpose.
 
BACKGROUND
Economic impact:
There has been little discussion of the economic impact of shutting down nightly new music venues in NYC. Beyond its own inherent value as art, new/experimental/ indie/jazz music also serves as crucial research and development for a much larger music industry- entertainment products, including music, are a major New York City export, and live entertainment in NYC is a major factor in restaurant, tourism, and hotel industries.
The reason people come here from all over the world to hear music, and hire ensembles from
New York to tour all over the world, derives from the unique sound of the city’s music. This uniqueness derives in turn from the historic interaction between NYC’s mainstream and its avant garde and other indigenous scenes.
The proximity, the mutual artistic influence, the trading back and forth of players between mainstream and the avant garde is what has created the competitive advantage of NYC music- its world famous “edge.” The avant garde draws from a pool of excellent professionals also working in NYC pop, classical, and mainstream jazz and rock: these are enriched by the cultural ideas of its avant garde. This “edge” brings millions in local club and restaurant business, music and film production, and tourism to New York annually, in addition to creating employment for the thousands of NYC-based musicians who tour world markets on a yearly basis.
The Mostly Mozart festival is a wonderful experience for many New Yorkers. However it is neither an export nor the type of music representing New York City’s musical culture  abroad. Europeans can travel to Salzburg or Vienna to hear Mozart. New York’s indigenous forms, however, are being presented every night of the year in cities throughout Europe, Asia and around the world. New music/experimental/indie/jazz has support abroad completely disproportionate with its profile in NYC, as even a brief visit to http://www.europejazz.net/, the European jazz network website will confirm. And tourists from abroad can and do travel to New York to hear this music in its local setting. But all this depends on its having a local setting: including a viable new indie and experimental music nightly club scene. It is not only culturally barbarous, but also incredibly short-sighted economic policy that the internationally and critically recognized value of this music should be without an adequate, well-advertised, and easily accessible showcase in its place of birth: one funded well enough to be able to both nurture new talent and present established musicians.

Revue & Corrigée review by Pierre Durr

ELLIOTT SHARP – “Sharp ? Monk ? Sharp! Monk!” (CFG 001)

Elliott SHARP semble anticiper la réaction de ses auditeurs au vu du titre du recueil. A cette interrogation ou étonnement d’entendre une des principales personnalités de la scène downtown new-yorkaise des musiques expérimentales du dernier quart de siècle reprendre certains thèmes de Thelonius Monk, on peut répondre avec, entre autres, deux arguments.

Le premier tient de la nature des pièces écrites par Monk. Elle possède en elle suffisamment d’ouverture pour ne pas susciter que de plates imitations ou des parodies parfois stériles. Et d’autres l’ont déjà compris, même récemment, tel Alexander von Schlippenbach et son “Monk’s Casino” (déjà sur le label Intakt!).

Le second vient de l’interprétation d’Elliott SHARP. Un auditeur, peu ou pas du tout familier des thèmes monkiens, s’attachera plus particulièrement aux effets stylistiques, aux diverses manières d’aborder la guitare acoustique, qui parcourent les 5 thèmes de Monk … Dans cette optique, cet album est assez complémentaire de “The Velocity of Hue” (Emanem). SHARP décortique les thèmes de Monk, les réinvente, en mettant l’accent sur tel ou tel aspect d’un thème et son jeu se nourrit de divers styles ou approches de la guitare acoustique, évoquant les univers de Bailey, Frith, Fahey, voire de Segovia. Une réappropriation réussie.

Jazzman reviews by Alex Dutilh

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CARLOS BARRETTO – Radio Song (CF 072) 

Étincelant.
Sorti confidentiellement sur le label CBTM, cet enregistrement d’il y a cinq ans est à marquer d’une pierre blanche. Moins pour la présence – au plein sens du terme – de Louis Sclavis en trois occasions (dont un duo improvisé à la clarinette-basse avec le leader), que pour le tranchant du trio de Carlos Barretto. La justesse, la qualité de son et la cambrure des compositions de ce dernier en font un musicien de premier plan, l’une des plus excitantes promesses de la scène portugaises. Encore fallait-il qu’il largue les amarres du jazz « à la papa » et là, pas de doute, on est plutôt du côté de Scofield et Rosenwinkel que de Ray Brown… L’allant de Mario Delgado et de son phrasé zigzaguant sur les guitares électrique et acoustique y contribue, certes, mais c’est le batteur, José Salgueiro, qui constitue une véritable révélation : un jeu hachuré dont la finesse de timbres se renouvelle d’un morceau à l’autre toujours soucieux – et c’est le paradoxe – d’un groove puissant. L’alchimie de cette contrebasse, de cette guitare et de ce drumming est un de ces délicieux mystères où l’onirisme des climats s’épanouit à loisir. Un indice : chacun veille à laisser de l’espace. Avec le titre éponyme, Luminae est un sommet de délicatesse nerveuse, splendide de tension retenue. Grand trio.
www.jazzman.fr

ETHAN WINOGRAND – Tangled Tango (CF 074)
Bancal.
Le noyau dur de « Made in Brooklyn », le précédent album du batteur new-yorkais désormais résident du nord de l’Espagne, se retrouve ici : Ross Bonadonna a d’ailleurs signé la direction artistique et Eric Mingus vient faire une visite de courtoisie sur deux plages. Par contre c’est dans la péninsule ibérique que Winogrand a recruté Gorka Benitez et Carlos Barretto. Et Steven Bernstein est davantage là comme iconoclaste transfrontalier (rock, pop, jazz…) que comme new-yorkais, histoire pour l’ex-batteur punk de garder le lien avec ses potes de jeunesse. On entend bien ici des velléités de compositions élaborées « à la Steve Coleman », mais le résultat est par trop inégal pour que l’on ne regrette pas l’absence de coupes : 70 minutes, c’est beaucoup d’autant que l’attention faiblit sur des pièces au son parfois excessivement « chargé », comme le conclusif Wraping Paper. Manque de rigueur.
http://www.jazzman.fr