Daily Archives: January 6, 2008

New York Times “Playlist” by Nate Chinen

Tony Malaby
Within the last decade the tenor and soprano saxophonist Tony Malaby has earned a reputation as one of New York’s stalwart improvisers, through an array of sideman appointments and some rigorously rewarding albums. As a leader he favors trios, working often with bass and drums. On “Tamarindo” (Clean Feed) the bassist is William Parker, and the drummer is Nasheet Waits, and both musicians bring a driving purpose to the task. Meanwhile Mr. Malaby, simmering as often as he squalls, coherently pushes the music forward. Clearly this band, which has occasionally billed itself as Tony Malaby’s Exploding Heart, should continue working, even though Mr. Malaby has other immediate plans: His next album will feature the drummer John Hollenbeck and the cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, who also join him in performance at Barbès on Wednesday and at the Cornelia Street Café on Friday. (See tonymalaby.com.)

All About Jazz review by Marc Medwin

Martin Speicher/Georg Wolf/Lou Grassi – Shapes and Shadows (CF 084)

Lou Grassi is one of the few drummers that straddles the line between time and timelessness with ease. The three discs under discussion here demonstrate the fluidity with which he imbues all areas of his art.

No holds are barred on Shapes and Shadows, a mind-bending foray into total improvisation where Grassi really demonstrates the breadth of his timbral and rhythmic language. Buoyed by the revelatory reedwork of Martin Speicher and Georg Wolf broadly inventive bass playing, he enters majestically beautiful realms of noise, force and near-silence. Expanding on the innovations of Sunny Murray and Rashied Ali, he incorporates everything from finger cymbals to chimes, even employing what sounds like a piano wire. The title track opening is one of the disc’s crowning glories, an extraordinary study in character and space as Speicher clarinet ushers in the epic journey. If obliterating volume is the order of the day, look no further than Please Confirm, for all the new thing squall that could be desired.