Daily Archives: January 15, 2008

Cadence Magazine review by Larry Hollis

Alípio C Neto Quartet – The Perfume Comes Before the Flower (CF 093)

From three participants to four, established chord-based improvisation to uninhibited free discourses, it’s what we find on (4). My feelings about avant garde Jazz have always been mixed. I love the abandonment but miss the Blues (except for Ornette and other favorites) and sometimes it seems there’s a snobbishness that silently says “We’re too smart to swing.” I don’t get that particularly from Alipio C. Neto and his compadres but I must say it does get a little hairy at times. His name didn’t register but multi-instrumentalist Herb Robertson’s did, along with bass ace Ken Filiano’s. Their monikers have graced the pages of this magazine many times. All five selections are Neto’s. Robertson seems a bit more controlled (but far from sedate) than in other instances and he and Neto make for a compatible frontline with one taking the more active role over the other’s, more static stance. Michael T. A. Thompson reminds this listener of a drummer from back when, Woody Theus (AKA Transcending Sonship) in some of the things he does. The tuba of Ben Stapp is added for the last three tracks, the first of which is a brooding ballad while the other two are more up with touches of Albert Ayler’s martial inclinations faintly heard. Like (1), there is a nice blend of written sections juxtaposed with purely improvised spaces that offset one another impressively. Once again, Ken Filiano proves he is one of the most inventive acoustic bassists on the planet. Although this is not essential, several more dedicated fans of the genre will consider its purchase in that category. Different grins for different chins, to paraphrase Sly Stone.
©Cadence Magazine 2008. www.cadencebuilding.com    ph: 315-287-2852

Cadence Magazine review by Marc Medwin


1 – Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana – Miren (A Longing) (CF 087)
2- Scott Fields Ensemble – Denouement (CF 088)
3 – T.E.C.K. String Quartet – TECK (CF 089)
4 – Marc O’Leary -On the Shore (CF 091)

Portugal’s Clean Feed continues its prolific documentation of everything beyond, above and below what its press calls “the invisible frontiers of Jazz” with four strong new releases. Diverse and often exotic, the material is largely engaging and rewards repeated listening. I have always been a softy for all things drone, and the new Ravish Momin disc (1) delivers loads of it, courtesy of Brandon Terzic’s ude work. The opening moments of “What Reward” simply spring to life with buzz and energy, Terzic offering up one of the disc’s best solos. The others contribute with similar intensity, the two versions of “Fiza” demonstrating the levels of intricacy and detail reached by this trio’s new incarnation.
The first is somehow more mystical and brooding, while the second benefits from the Kalmanovitch/Bardfeld violin duo. Neither rendition is despensible, and the disc is marred only by a preternaturally loud and boomy kick drum. If it was Momin’s desired effect, it puts the rest of his superb playing sadly a bit out of focus.
Scott Fields’ (2) compositional world is forbidding at best, almost impenetrable at worst. Billed as a double trio and actually recorded ten years ago, Denouement lends itself more easily to immediate comprehension because of the stereo placement of the six players. Additionally, or maybe as a result, the textures are somewhat thinner, or more accessible,
than on more recent releases. The opening guitar duo breathes with refreshing transparency, and when the other instruments enter, it is as if each, aware of his doppelganger, is extra careful not to tread on any toes. The compositions themselves, structures rather than always strictly notated, also allow for more space and silence; simply listen to “Nothing had been Wrong” to spot the aesthetic. A beautiful bass glissando opens a meditative full group exploration, Kline and Parker’s guitar styles of a piece, even combining with high arco playing from the bassists to eerie effect. The album swings and lopes with downright pleasantness, not that any of the sure-fire improvisational prowess of other efforts is sacrificed— far from it! All complement each other quite nicely in what might be described as a harmolodic journey through structured improvisation.
While Fields and company explore subtle timbral modifications, T.E.C.K.’s disc (3) is a study in moment-to-moment timbral diversity. Having heard them in this year’s Vision Festival, I was curious to see if the controlled excitement generated by their set would translate to the recorded media. I was not disappointed; in fact, many details not apparent in the concert come off very well on disc. The group aesthetic is difficult to pin down, morphing as it does without respite. The harried opening of “Ripples” borders on the terrifying, a rather ironic state of affairs given its gentle title, while the introductory passages of “Swapfield” glisten with semistatic light. Each instrumentalist’s control of every sound is breathtaking, and the level of listening is no less impressive. Only a group exhibiting such connectivity could pull off the staccato sequences of “Levitation” with such ease and dexterity, and the album is absolutely brimming with such telepathic dialogue.
Mark O’Leary’s (4) approach to the guitar eschews, in large part, the detailed and precisely chiseled freneticisms of Elliott Sharp and Scott Fields, although On the Shore’s opening track might lead one to assume otherwise. Its cascades of runs, first clean and then with distortion, seem somewhat superfluous after an audition of the rest of the album. Much of O’Leary’s conception might fall under the category of colored silence, repetitions hanging over friendly voids. His use of effects is very tasteful, gorgeously long reverb enhancing much of the disc, and his volume pedal places him somewhere between Bill Frisell and Derek Bailey, a touch of Allen Holdsworth informing the slides and bends he uses to fine effect. Only the trumpet work disappoints just a bit, as tradition hangs a
bit heavy over it.
©Cadence Magazine 2008. www.cadencebuilding.com    ph: 315-287-2852

Cadence Magazine review by Charles Winokoor

Rob Brown Trio – Sounds (CF 077)
Altoist Rob Brown’s latest, entitled, simply enough, Sounds, features the multi-talented and flexible Daniel Levin on cello and Satoshi Takeishi on a variety of percussion instruments.
Brown, who’s been recording forward-thinking small group music since the ‘80s, notes in the CD liners that the advantage of using a cello and percussion instead of bass and drums “allows the listener to hear … with fewer preconceptions,” in addition to allowing him to write music “that is more open, in terms of style, genre etc.” The good news here on Sounds is that he’s right on both counts. Better yet is that besides the boundary-busting nature of the personnel, there is a colloquial earthiness that lets a listener in on the conversation without need of any prior initiation. Brown’s three-part “Sounds” is a suite originally written for dance and visual art, and, not surprisingly, it is the most delicate and impressionistic of the bunch. That is except for part II, a very much inthe- pocket, pseudo-boogaloo with a chatty head that sets the leader on course to deliver a slightly raspy, controlled rant that is nothing short of fun. “Stutter Step,” which Brown describes as “the most traditionally free-Jazz sounding (piece) in the program,” gives him a chance to flash some serious technical chops, all while Levin and Takeishi sputter and bump against each other. The only time I found myself wandering was on “Sinew,” a slow-moving piece I found a tad too torturous for my palette. But “Tibetan Folk Song,” with Levin laying down what could pass for an avant-garde Motown bass line, and “Moment of Pause,” a lighthearted, whimsical boppish stroll that bears a certain similarity to “Days of Wine and Roses,” more than compensate for any possible shortcoming.Rob Brown writes “These days the boundaries that define how a Jazz group plays are really disappearing (although I do still consider this a Jazz group).” I concur.
©Cadence Magazine 2008. www.cadencebuilding.com    ph: 315-287-2852

Improvised Music Collective Best of 2007 by Ron Steeds

Now’s The Time Program
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

1. On The Shore – Mark O’Leary (Clean Feed, 2007) 2. 3ology – 3ology (no label, 2007)

3. La Gatta Nel Sacco – Test Quintet (no label, 2007)

4. Helicopter 111 – Helicopter 111 (no label, 2007)

5. Out of Line – Don Scott (Feast Your Ears, 2007)

6. Colour Fields – Frank Lozano Group (Effendi, 2007)

7. Spark! – Marty Ehrlich & Myra Melford (Palmetto, 2007)

8. Dance of the Soothsayer’s Tongue: At Tonic – Dennis Gonzalez NY Quartet (Clean Feed, 2007)

9. A Measure of Vision – Alvin Fielder Trio (Clean Feed, 2007)

10. The Furniture Moves Underneath – Inhabitants (Drip Audio, 2007)