Daily Archives: November 9, 2009

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

CF 151Samuel Blaser Quartet – Pieces Of Old Sky (CF 151)
El suizo Samuel Blaser es un virtuoso del trombón. A pesar de su breve discografía, en Pieces Of Old Sky demuestra una gran madurez no sólo como instrumentista, sino como líder. En su cuarteto participan el guitarrista Todd Neufeld, el contrabajista Thomas Morgan y Tyshawn Sorey, ese batería que se está convirtiendo en imprescindible gracias a su participación en múltiples proyectos. Si bien en la grabación hay momentos fantásticos como “Mandala”, “Red Hook” o “Speed Game”, la joya es la pieza que da título a la grabación. Un tema precioso de diecisiete minutos que el cuarteto desarrolla tranquilamente, sin prisa, de un modo relajado. La sabiduría que atesora este tema se diría impropia de un grupo con unos integrantes tan jóvenes.

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

CF 154Weightless – A Brush With Dignity (CF 154)
El cuarteto Weightless es una formación de primer nivel dentro de la libre improvisación europea. En ella participan el saxofonista John Butcher, el contrabajista John Edwards, el pianista Alberto Braida y el batería Fabrizio Spera. A Brush With Dignity está grabado en directo en Berlin en octubre de 2008 y su duración, que apenas supera los 40 minutos, resulta perfecta para una propuesta en la que la improvisación es el factor fundamental. El entendimiento entre los músicos, que van desarrollando diferentes ideas, así como el placer de escuchar el trabajo de John Butcher al saxo explorando distintas maneras de obtener sonidos con sus instrumentos, son unos motivos más que suficientes para sumergirse en la música de A Brush With Dignity.

All About Jazz review by Clifford Allen

CF 143Transit – Quadrologues (CF 143)
Nate Wooley – The Seven Storey Mountain (Important Records)
The work of trumpeter Nate Wooley falls into a number of camps: free improvisation, experimental noise or restructuralist postbop. It would be easy to lump him in with a young trumpeters/ extended techniques setting but Wooley is decidedly an individual. And while brass players tend to elicit an expected bravura, Wooley is very much at home in collective exploratory endeavors as one color in a very broad palette.

Transit is one of the first outfits that Wooley began working in when he arrived in New York from Denver and Quadrologues is the quartet’s second disc. Here, Wooley is joined by drummer Jeff Arnal, bassist Reuben Radding and altoist Seth Misterka on ten collective improvisations. While the group structurally hints at a piano-less quartet and attachments to post-Ornette non-chordal bop, such a model couldn’t be further from what Transit actualizes. A piece like “Time isn’t what you think” explores the cycles of breath, anguished whispers and near shrieks peeling away spatial layers as Misterka’s mournful, wide vibrato keen rises out of hums and sighs. Plodding pizzicato and rattling percussion mark intervals and like many of the improvisations here, there’s an airy pause that signals the end of the experience, giving one the feeling that a window on activity has shut while the foursome continue onward. That’s not to say that there aren’t moments of infectious, swinging rhythm—Arnal has a penchant for funky, flitting cross-rhythms that echo John Stevens’ Ed Blackwell-ian moments. “Speaking in Tongues” features a soulful, throaty Radding solo interwoven into a light polyrhythm and piercing golden unison.

Seven Storey Mountain is an exploration of (and creation of) environment, which finds Wooley joined by semi-regular partner Paul Lytton on percussion and David Grubbs on harmonium, as well as the inclusion of field recordings made in Jersey City. The landscape as it is initially defined here is restive, ultra-low tones bubbling only slightly to the surface. The nature of their production is unclear, perhaps electronic or a low-tone gong. Metallic breaths and gravelly burble seem assigned to a trumpet or a contact mic, while crinkling footsteps and swaths of air might signal taped Jersey environs. Though extremely subtle, the play of low tones and breaths and the introduction of rattling percussion and Grubbs’ droning harmonium enter and recede cyclically: Ten minutes in, electronic and breath palettes become dense as a clear, rolling patter of snare, cymbals and sticks generate an active blueprint toward present, immediate speed. Wooley notes, “My internal rhythm is really, really fast actually. Lytton and I have talked about this a little, because we have very similar at rest tempos, meaning the velocity that we tend to be most relaxed in.” In other words, the pensive and subtle cycles at the piece’s outset become almost closed-in, allowing environmental self-awareness to move from slow realizations to those of hyper-speed, fierce futurities.

All About Jazz review Stuart Broomer

CF 110Carlos Zingaro / Dominique Regef / Wilbert DeJoode – Spetrum (CF 110)
A group made up entirely of strings might initially suggest chamber music, but this all-European trio produces music that crosses many boundaries, not so much to create music that’s eclectic but to define its own terrain. Portuguese violinist Carlos Zingaro is a well-known exponent of free improvisation while the bassist Wilbert De Joode has served as foundation in a broad spectrum of Amsterdam-based bands from jazz to free improvisation. But what most defines this group’s original sound is the presence of Dominique Regef, the French master of the hurdy-gurdy (or sanfona or vielle à roue, other names offered on this CD) or wheel fiddle, a medieval form of violin played with a wheel that functions as a bow. Exploiting the instrument’s drone string and employing some novel playing techniques (there are rhythmic patterns that sound like a playing card in a bicycle wheel), Regef provides plenty of sonic stimulation to Zingaro and De Joode as well as some adept improvisations.
Divided into three long tracks, the first begins with a curiously poetic prelude in which sounds that approximate a classical ensemble tuning up suddenly drift to light, wispy sounds and then fall silent. It’s almost a putting to rest of some string conventions. The longest piece, the 25-minute “Spectra 02,” begins with Zingaro archly melodic in a startlingly vibrant upper register while De Joode plays sudden arpeggios and Regef creates a “bee-loud glade,” a dense buzzing drone. If the opening would sound at home with one of the Bartók violin concertos, that intensity transmutes time, eventually creating a vibrating sonic world. It’s not one you’d necessarily associate with the practices of free improvisation, but summons up a primal village music that seems to stretch across a lost century, fusing Persian and Indian influences through North Africa into Spain and the rest of Europe. It’s a sound that is local and universal, primeval and contemporary. It’s the kind of brilliant result that can only arise in the spontaneous encounter of strong musical personalities. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=34306

Expresso review by Raul Vaz Bernardo

CF 144Dennis González/ João Paulo Duo – Scapegrace (CF 144)
Devo confessar que a impressão que tinha de João Paulo era de que se tratava dum pianista competente, mas cuja expressão carregava sempre uma enorme tristeza, aliada a uma excessiva introspecção. Estas duas obras vêm desvanecer completamente esse juízo. João Paulo é um músico que, pelo menos a partir destes discos, me parece capaz de soltar uma intensa criatividade, aliada ao lirismo que a sua obra sempre apresentou. Ora é esse lirismo enleante que se transmite ao trompetista Dennis González por forma a que “Scape Grace” seja uma obra com uma carga poética enorme. Desde o primeiro tema, ‘First Song’, prenuncia-se um ambiente de calma e beleza em que, surpreendentemente, um músico como González, homem ligado às franjas mais radicais do jazz, se encontra como peixe na água. Inspirado por João Paulo, o trompetista utiliza uma enorme contenção na sua expressão, que torna o seu discurso calmo e comunicante. Os momentos são altos, mas ‘Hymn for Later’ atinge um nível altíssimo, com uma esplêndida interacção dos dois discursos. “White Works” é uma obra em solo absoluto de piano. Sem querer vogar por exibicionismos estéreis, João Paulo canta com os seus dedos uma bela música.