Daily Archives: October 22, 2009

Eyeweekly review by Dave Morris

CF 157Harris Eisenstadt – Canada Day (CF 157)
Americans don’t think being from Canada is particularly cool — in their minds, we’re basically Upper Montana — so for Brooklyn-based jazz drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt, naming his album and his ensemble after his home and native land is ballsy. So are the disc’s eight originals, which crackle with intensity despite their knotty, abstract harmonies. The team of Eivind Opsvik’s driving bass and Chris Dingman’s moody vibraphone work echo Dave Holland’s rapport with Steve Nelson, and Eisenstadt supports them with sensitive patterns that keep on pushing the band forward, as well as the occasional funk groove. Trumpeter Nate Wooley and tenor saxist Matt Bauder weave around the rhythm section with ease (especially on “After An Outdoor Bath,” which sounds at times like one of those great freewheeling loft jams from the late ’70s), but Dingman steals the show with his plaintive intro to “Every Day Is Canada Day.” If only.

Something Else review by Pico

CF 151Samuel Blaser – Pieces Of The Sky (CF 151)
Although from the same Swiss town (La Chaux-de-Fonds) as fellow trombonist Raymond Droz, Blaser is a lot more apt to be compared to Grachan Moncur III than Droz. Not full-on whack jazz, not pure hard bop, Blaser’s music resides somewhere in a wide, esoteric space in between the two. Having spent seven years at a Swiss music conservatory and several more cutting his teeth in NYC, Blaser now resides in Berlin. Last month Blaser introduced his forth album (and second album leading his quartet) Pieces Of Old Sky.

Retaining the trombone/guitar/bass/drums getup of the first quartet record 7th Heaven, but retaining only Thomas Morgan from the original lineup, Pieces Of Old Sky offers seven imaginative and unpredictable excursions into probing melodies and shifting moods. Blaser dives right into an extended piece at the beginning, the 17-minute suspended, contemplative “Pieces Of Old Sky.” Following that is my personal favorite track, “Red Hook,” which has no hook, but is a carnival ride through Dolphy-filtered Monk with a rock edge provided by Todd Neufeld’s amply amped guitar. “Choral I” and “Choral II” are brief tone ballads that reveal Blaser’s delicate side. Following more ruminative pieces “Mystical Circle” and “Mandala,” the Samuel Blaser Quartet goes a little raucous again for “Speed Game,” the freest track of the collection, and yet, contains some tightly integrated group statements.

Pieces Of Old Sky isn’t a record that’s likely to grab you on first listen, but there’s a method to Blaser’s madness that comes into sharper focus with each listen. The rapport he creates with this somewhat unusual combination of voices sets apart Samuel Blaser and his Quartet from other trombone-led small groups. His conception of sound is advanced, but rooted. That’s a pretty good way to go when traversing that nether land between hard bop and whack jazz.

Sound + Vision review by João Lopes

CF 158Júlio Resende – Assim Falava Jazzatustra (CF 158)
Júlio Resende: sob o signo de Nietzsche
É um disco rasgado pela inspiração perturbante de Nietzsche — na nota de apresentação, Júlio Resende refere-o como um filósofo que “sempre (…) me pôs os cabelos em pé”. O pianista português foi gravando, ao vivo, na Fábrica de Braço de Prata, sessões-concerto a que deu o nome nietzscheano, agora transposto para o álbum, de Assim Falava Jazzatustra. Na lista de convidados surgem o catalão Perico Sambeat (saxofone), o norueguês Ole Morten Vágan (contrabaixo), e os portugueses Joel Silva (bateria), Desidério Lázaro (saxofone) e João Custódio (contrabaixo). São exercícios de estranha intimidade, metódicos e ritualizados, mas nunca alheios a emoções profundas e contrastadas. Num dos temas, Ir e Voltar, encaixa de forma admirável a voz de Manuela Azevedo (Clã). E o piano de Júlio Resende propõe uma revisitação comovente de um tema dos Pink Floyd: Shine On You Crazy Diamond, originalmente publicado no álbum Wish You Were Here (1975).