Daily Archives: October 16, 2008

Gaz-eta review by Tom Sekowski

Anthony Braxton / Joe Morris – Four Improvisations (Duo) 2007 (CF 100)
For their hundredth release, Portugal’s jazz/improvised music imprint Clean Feed Records has chosen no less than a duo session from Anthony Braxton and Joe Morris. Spreading across 4 CDs, this set of music investigates in great detail improvisations that occurred between the two players over the span of two July days in 2007. While Morris plays only his electric guitar, Braxton arrives at the session with everything from sopranino, soprano, alto, baritone through to bass and contrabass saxophones. Each of the four discs is about an hour’s worth of free improvisation. While on the first disc, the duo sounds as if they’re testing the waters [Morris sounds a bit pensive, while Braxton gives an impression as if he’s unsure whether to let his blows be more forceful], by the middle of the second disc, Braxton is howling through the field on his baritone, while Morris turns up the heat to match the blows. Through a series of direct thought processes, both players exude very robust demeanor. Melodic passages escape from these two every now and then. Just because this is billed as four improvisations, doesn’t mean these two have given up on putting a coherent plan of action in place. Maybe nothing was written ahead of time. Just because this is the first time the duo has improvised together doesn’t mean these improvisations are reduced to simple doodling on paper. By the time we reach the final disc, the duo has already worked out enough to understand the other’s quarks. While the final improvisation starts off like some sort of a tender ballad – with Braxton playing some hushed waves – soon enough the duo go off into free territory. Several times throughout the course of the final disc, they break into high melodies that are vibrant. Should we be surprised that by this point they found their very own unique language? Absolutely not! This completely thrilling and [I’m guessing] fully unedited set of music sets out a new standard by which future Braxton duo records will be measured.
http://www.vivo.pl/gaz-eta/recenzje/gazeta.php?nr=68&id=s_8

All About Jazz Italy review by Gigi Sabelli

Kirk Knuffke Quartet – Bigwig (CF 107)
****
Davvero un esordio discografico notevole e significativo per il giovane Knuffke, trombettista originario di Detroit ma ormai da tre anni stabile a New York dove ha collaborato, tra gli altri, con Dave Douglas, con John Zorn con varie orchestre di Butch Morris e con il gruppo del batterista Kenny Wollesen.
Incuriosisce innanzitutto la formazione: un quartetto strumentalmente non frequentissimo, in cui sembra di vedere il tentativo di mettere sullo stesso piano il free, il bop e l’esperienza californiana. In effetti, sono molti i brani in cui il rigore tematico, talvolta segnato dall’evidente eco boppistica (si ascoltino per esempio “Normal”, “Is Is”), sono arricchiti di una pronuncia che ha fatto paragonare Knuffke a Chet Baker. Nei soli poi tutto questo viene spazzato via a vantaggio di quello che si potrebbe definire una sorta di free contrappuntistico, con un ricorrente lavoro di interazione armonica o disarmonica tra tromba, trombone e contrabbasso.

Quindi gli unisoni dei temi dalla ritmica definita e incalzante sono continuamente messi in discussione da assoli in cui il lavoro dei quattro strumenti è spezzato in singole voci, in duetti e in organizzazioni dinamiche molto accentuate che vanno da un frastagliato e ribollente pianissimo a momenti di affermazione collettiva attraverso un crescendo lento e curato.
Ad accentuare questo lavoro sulle quattro voci del gruppo ci sono i due brevi pezzi intitolati “Sustain”, basati su improvvisazione di note lunghe delle due valve e del contrabbasso, sorretti da una percussività libera e mai accentuativa.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=3182