Monthly Archives: July 2009

Cadence Magazine review by Jason Bivins

CF 133Darren Johnston – The Edge of the Forest (CF 133)
The tight charts and pert rhythmic playfulness of “The Edge of the Forest” recall a Philip Johnston session in some ways. Namesake Darren has a catholic approach to his instrument, brash mute work here, tiny chirrups there, bold lines amidst it all. In his range, he recalls Herb Robertson, and also in his puckishness—check out his flatulent statement to begin “Broken” (flatulent is good, in case you’re wondering). While the leader is a pleasure to listen to, it’s also always a delight to hear Goldberg in this kind of Free Bop setting. The three-horn line (with the resourceful Brown) kills throughout, sometimes in punchy little groupings (the opener) and sometimes in wild untethered sections (amidst the funk of “Broken”). A constant to this session is the band’s freedom with tempo, even as Hoff and Dobson are winningly crisp (think Pavone/Sarin in a lot of ways). But regardless of the flexibility of the group sound, the charts stand out too with their winking blend of Herbie Nichols, Raymond Scott, and Lacy. There’s some gorgeous work from Hoff in a duet with Goldberg on the bottom-heavy “Foggy,” whose nicely melancholy accordion hints at European folk forms. The same is true of the quizzical “Cabin 5,” whose staggered pulse and buoy-ant character suggest a Breuker influence (a trumpet/tenor line both sassy and understated lolls along gently, as Goldberg rides the pulse). They pull back on the dark-hued “Edge of the Forest” and the intense closer, but overall it’s a disc filled with energy, invention, and humor.
©Cadence Magazine 2009

Cadence Magazine review by Jerome Wilson

CF 127The Flatlands Collective – Maatjes (CF 127)
Flatlands Collective is a culturally blended group that definitely has its own feel. Leader Jorrit Djikstra is a Dutch musician who moved to Chicago some years ago and created this band with some of the local talent, a few of whom are recognizable as part of the Hal Russell – Ken Vandermark extended family. There is a playfulness in this music that reflects both the humor of the Dutch scene and the experimentation of the Chicago one. Highlights include a seductive serpentine alto, clarinet, and cello melody on “Mission Rocker,” modern classical sonorities on “Micro Mood” and “In D Flat Minor” broken up by old-timey drum soloing and honking abstractions, a resonant drone led by Bishop and Lonberg-Holm on “Partially Overdone” and sly Arabian exotica on “Scirocco Song” featuring Bishop’s slashing trombone and twinkling electronics. There are also a couple of trio improvisations, one an alternately cranky and rhapsodic piece for clarinet, bass, and trombone, the other a wheezing disturbance laid down by cello, drums, and Djikstra’s alto and electronics. There is definite fun and life in the Flatlands Collective’s genre mismatching.
©Cadence Magazine 2009

Jazzreview review by Glenn Astarita

CF 146Luis Lopes – Adam Lane – Igal Foni – What Is When (CF 146)
Portuguese guitarist Luis Lopes defies rigid classifications due to his rather unconventional mode of execution witnessed on this persuasive trio date, featuring American rising star bassist/composer Adam Lane and rock solid, Israeli drummer Igal Foni. It’s a mesmeric gala, brimming with circular themes, and fractured movements.

The guitarist’s patchy voicings ride atop the rhythm section’s bustling cadences, where the band instills a sense of perpetual motion. Here, Lopes dissects and interlinks concise patterns into a semi-structured program, in concert with tangible motifs and the musicians’ ardent improvisational maneuvers. Lopes is a stylist and uses closed-hand tapping techniques while putting matters into overdrive via his cross boundary exercises. He merges free, jazz-rock with dynamic, hard-core experimentalism.

On “Cerejeiras,” the trio conveys temperance with a sinister backdrop, accentuated by Lane’s creaky, arco-based notes and Lopes’ diminutive phrasings. But they kick up a storm during aptly titled, “The Siege,” as Foni offers a tumultuous undercurrent. Then Lane stretches with his airy and pensive solo on “Melodic 8.” In other regions of sound, they launch booming unison ostinatos and venture towards off-kilter metrics, occasionally abetted by Lopes’ haze of progressive-metal like, crunch chords and odd tunings.

The trio casts an abundance of tantalizing propositions throughout this veritably, exciting album, and shun the paths frequently travelled. Each piece stands on its own, and it this point in time, I sincerely hope the unit records again. Marked by diametrically opposed angles and odd-metered song-forms, the artists maintain a keenly identifiable, group-centric methodology.

Jazzreview review by Glenn Astarita

CF 148Steve Swell –  Planet Dream (CF 148) 
The trio led by trombonist Steve Swell, share some common ground within New York City’s infamous free and progressive jazz scene, as solo performers and members of various ensembles. Moreover, they’re well represented on a global basis, due to their respective output for a variety of record labels. Hence, this outing is partly about layers, contrasts, expressive dialogues and a high-impact mode of delivery. They leave no stone unturned, so to speak.

Brown and Swell complement each other with extended note underpinnings, fragmented mini-motifs, and feverish call and response mechanisms. But it’s cellist Daniel Levin who dishes out the rhythms while serving as the common bond via his nimble plucking and buoyant metrics. The soloists’ slice and dice time, amid a few start and stop based passages, where they often rejuvenate a given theme, then go for the proverbial jugular.

They mix it up rather heartily and loom as busy bees during the largely changeable movements, but converge with a rebellious attitude on “Not Necessarily This, Nor That.” In essence, the hornists perpetuate a humanistic element.

The trio’s bump and groove workout on “Airtight,” is accelerated by Swell’s raspy-toned and melodic, free-jazz solo as the musicians segue into a riotous finale. Therefore, Planet Dream is based upon a musical agenda that is periodically softened, but rarely sweetened. It’s a curiously interesting endeavor, indeed.

All About Jazz Italy review by Vincenzo Roggero

CF 138Paul Dunmall Sun Quartet – Ancient and Future Airs (CF 138 )
Per un curioso gioco di specchi, di immagini e di significati riflessi, i titoli dei due brani presenti in Ancient and Future Airs ingarbugliano le aspettative degli ascoltatori. Perché il chilometrico (quarantanove minuti) “Ancient Airs” di antico ha ben poco mentre “Future Airs” sembra un tuffo nel passato con le sue cadenze da madrigale. Come a dire nella musica abbandoniamo criteri di analisi classicamente cronologici o consequenziali e accettiamo piuttosto un’idea di circolarità.

“Ancient Airs” è una sorta di suite nelle quale trovano spazio le più svariate situazioni improvvisative, dai furibondi unisoni freebop, a raffinati dialoghi di stampo cameristico, da complesse strutture armoniche agli esperimenti etnici di Yusef Lateef o Tony Scott evocati dalle cornamuse di Paul Dunmall, il tutto sorretto dalla tecnica formidabile dei quattro musicisti. Il breve (nove minuti!) “Future Airs” è al contrario un gioiello di misura, di discrezione e raffinatezza non levigata, di sintesi e di profondità.

Registrato in un torrido giugno 2008 al Living Theater di New York, Ancient and Futures Airs è la testimonianza di un felice incontro tra un gigante dell’improvvisazione europea e tre pezzi da novanta americani. Ma su disco, come speso capita in situazioni del genere, l’evento perde parecchio della propria forza comunicativa e rimane una sensazione di estemporaneità che lascia un po’ di amaro in bocca.

Clean Feed Fest IV – New York

Clean Feed 1From Sept 16th to the 20th at Cornelia Connelly Center
It’s confirmed, the fourth issue of the CF Fest in New York will happen from sept 16th to the 20th at the Cornelia Connelly Center in Manhattan, New York. It’s pretty close (3 blocks) from the Living Theater where it happened last year. The programa will be announced really soon. Make your plans and don’t miss it !!!

Cornelia Connelly Center: 220 East 4th street, New York

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

CF 125Townhouse Orchestra – Belleville (CF 125)
Belleville es la segunda grabación de Townhouse Orchestra. Evan Parker, Sten Sandell, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten y Paal Nilssen-Love son los integrantes de tan reducida formación, cuatro pesos pesados que militan en la primera división de la libre improvisación europea, y que pertenecen a distintas generaciones. Publicado en formato de doble CD, Belleville contiene únicamente dos temas con una duración de 45 minutos cada uno. Sus títulos, “Belleville” y “Villebelle”, son un tanto sospechosos de no ser nada más que unas excusas para etiquetar el contenido de esta obra. En ella la música se expone sin tregua, ya que no aparece dividida en unas pistas que pudiesen servir como puntos de referencia al oyente. A pesar de ello el discurso del cuarteto no está carente de estructura alguna, sino todo lo contrario, ya que a grandes rasgos se pueden distinguir cuatro partes con su correspondiente exposición, nudo y desenlace, todo ello por supuesto dentro de la tradición de la libre improvisación. A lo largo de esos noventa minutos en los que los músicos van tejiendo el discurso del grupo hay espacio para los solos, dúos, tríos, y por supuesto para que el cuarteto trabaje a plena intensidad. También hay huecos para el silencio, la calma, el retomar la energía y volver a construir un discurso a partir de la nada, o para que en su interior los cuatro músicos (especialmente Sandell), vayan incorporando distintas melodías espontáneas.

En largo y en corto. Dos cuartetos, dos formas distintas a la vez que magníficas de crear y exponer composiciones instantáneas.

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

CF 143Transit – Quadrologues (CF 143)
Quadrologues es la segunda grabación del cuarteto neoyorkino Transit en Clean Feed. Tal y como ocurría en su primera obra, que tomaba como título el nombre del grupo -o viceversa, ¡quién sabe!-, estos cuatro músicos vuelven a publicar un CD con diez piezas. Con una duración media inferior a cinco minutos, únicamente tres de ellas superan los siete minutos de duración.

Huyendo de los esquemas usuales, los temas comienzan por lo general de un modo suave a partir de las notas lanzadas por uno o a lo sumo dos de los integrantes del cuarteto, especialmente por parte de la trompeta de Nate Wooley o el saxo de Seth Misterka. A partir de ese material el cuarteto va construyendo unas composiciones instantáneas en las que los cuatro músicos combinan elementos estructurales y expresivos pertenecientes fundamentalmente a la tradición de la libre improvisación y del free-jazz, pero en la que también incorporan aromas provinientes del bop o de una cierta forma de entender la música étnica. Sin embargo, por encima de etiquetas o categorizaciones, es un placer para los oidos disfrutar de un discurso creativo en el que los elementos más importante son el diálogo y la interacción entre los cuatro músicos.

All About Jazz review by Glenn Astarita

CF 149Trespass Trio – “…was there to illuminate the night sky…” (CF 149)
In the album notes to Trespass Trio’s “…was there to illuminate the night sky…”, saxophonist Martin Kÿchen provides a colorful yet somewhat fragmented essay, regarding the evisceration of society, partly tied into the Iraq war and the everlasting Israel-Palestine conflict. He sets the stage for a life force panorama, iterated through the power of music that casts a dour or ominous state of affairs. Recorded in Norway, the Scandinavian trio exercises some bloodletting here.

The injustices of society in general are transmitted via Küchen’s often gut-wrenching baritone and alto sax phrasings, topped off with a nicely articulated gruff tone and fluent craftsmanship that’s supported by the rhythm section’s blustery mode of execution, which assists with the saxophonist’s angst-driven tone poems. With frenetic abandon and yearning lines, Kÿchen’s hyper-expressionism could make Albert Ayler sound like a purveyor of children’s lullabies, as the band embarks upon a whirlwind course of action, sans a few temperate moments.

The trio goes on a search and conquer mission during “Strid Comes,” letting it all hang out. The group exorcises the demons here and during other works, while paralleling the heady subject matter. At times, it appears that Trespass Trio is communicating doom and gloom or something akin to a Faustian bargain, but in effect the musicians simply rev it all up and move forward with an underlying theme, seemingly structured on a chaotic premise. Conjuring up an aggressive stance set forth by a brutish modus operandi, there is the occasional contrast with minimalist-like detours along the way.

eJazznews review by Glenn Astarita

CF 141Lucky 7s – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)
This upbeat and nicely in-your-face and ears Chicago-based septet projects a thoroughly happening vibe. They flush out all the non-essentials, and get to matters rather expeditiously amid a buoyant group-centric mode of operations. Members of this band are frequent collaborators with cutting-edge Chicago reedman Ken Vandermark, as the ensemble conveys that hip and pulsating progressive-jazz aura amid treks into the free-zone.

With perky horns, crisp swing vamps and investigative group dialogues, the band abides by a get-up-and-go demeanor. They vary the flows amid an abundance of contrasts and textural maneuvers. At times, the hornists’ transmit notions of a little big band at work as the musicians’ scrappy interplay is prominently generated via muscular phrasings and spunky jazz-rock passages.

They integrate regimented, classical type charts with lyrically resplendent choruses and wily metrics. Vibist Jason Adasiewicz is a colorist and strong soloist who shades and complements the multifarious rhythmic components. Along with a few discordant meltdowns, the band renders brash choruses and a driving impetus, evidenced on the punishing piece titled “The Dan Hang.” Here, tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson goes for the proverbial jugular as the rhythm section kicks it into high-gear. Among other positive attributes, it’s one of the most exciting progressive-jazz outings I’ve heard all year.