Monthly Archives: April 2007

AAJ review by Troy Collins

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,

• 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.


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

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.
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, 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


CARLOS BARRETTO – Radio Song (CF 072) 

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.

ETHAN WINOGRAND – Tangled Tango (CF 074)
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.

Jazzman review by Stéphane Ollivier


BERNARDO SASSETTI – Unreal Sidewalk Cartoon (CF 070)

Après une demi-douzaine de disques hard bop truffés de rythmes brésiliens et afro-cubains (cf. « Salsetti » avec Paquito d’Rivera), le pianiste portugais Bernardo Sasseti s’est engagé depuis le tournant des années 2000 dans l’élaboration d’une musique beaucoup plus personnelle. Après « Nocturno », explorant sous l’égide de Bill Evans, le versant plus spécifiquement européen de son univers (avec de très subtiles interprétations de pièces du Catalan Mompou), puis « Ascent », féerique déambulation cinématique dans un univers feutré et discrètement mélancolique, Sassetti poursuit sa métamorphose esthétique en signant avec « Unreal Sidewalk Cartoon » son œuvre incontestablement la plus ambitieuse et aboutie à ce jour. Conçue comme une sorte d’opéra de chambre sans parole, d’une rigueur extrême dans son architecture et d’un raffinement de timbres exquis, cette longue suite cotonneuse est un véritable chef d’œuvre de poésie onirique fondé sur un travail de composition et d’orchestration d’une sophistication et d’une précision rares. De façon très organique sont entremêlés des éléments résolument jazz (il y a au coeur du dispositif orchestral un authentique septet « de jazz » ), des sonorités relevant de la musique de chambre occidentale (grâce à l’utilisation parcimonieuse d’un quintette à vent et d’un quatuor de saxophones) et un enchevêtrement de rythmes empruntés à un grand nombre de traditions extra-européennes. Sassetti travaille ici autant en peintre, maîtrisant parfaitement toute l’étendue de sa très riche palette sonore, qu’en cinéaste expérimental, jouant avec un sens aigu de la dramaturgie sur des glissements imperceptibles d’humeurs et d’atmosphères. Du très grand art.