Monthly Archives: December 2009

Time Out Lisbon review by José Carlos Fernandes

Júlio Resende – Assim Falava Jazzatustra (CF 158 )
****

Da Alma foi um bom começo, mas adivinhava-se que Resende poderia ir mais longe, pois enquanto o piano, o contrabaixo e a bateria puxavam claramente em frente, o saxofone parecia estar preso a estruturas convencionais.
No novo quarteto de Resende esta discrepância foi resolvida: o novo titular do saxofone, Perico Sambeat, rema no mesmo sentido que os parceiros e o contrabaixista Ole Morten Vagan e o baterista Joel Silva são ainda mais irrequietos que os seus antecessores. O facto de o disco ter sido gravado ao vivo – na sala Nietszche da Fábrica Braço de Prata, o que explica o título –contribui provavelmente para a atmosfera de intensidade que nele impera.
O desafio a que Resende alude nas notas de capa de Assim Falava Jazzatustra foi superado com distinção: o seu opus 2 é assertivo, ousado e seguro da sua identidade, mesmo quando passa por ambientes tão diversos como o “kuduro progressivo” de “Sakatwala” (uma fornalha rítmica de sabor africano, com excelente solo de Vagen), o pop a deslizar para a Twilight Zone de “Ir e Voltar” (com a voz de Manuela Azevedo, dos Clã), o irresistível ímpeto rítmico de “Don’t” (com Sambeat ao rubro) e de “Boom!” e até pela miraculosa recuperação do estafado “Shine On You Crazy Diamond”, dos Pink Floyd, que nas mãos de Resende (sem o resto da banda) ressuscita como melancólica balada do American Songbook. Só “Caixa Registadora” fica um pouco abaixo dos parceiros: após início de recorte monkiano, acomoda-se ao molde de uma escaldante sessão hardbop de início dos anos 60.
O mundo passa bem sem Übermenschen (os super-homens nitzscheanos tendem a arranjar sarilhos a toda a gente), mas o Überjazz é sempre bem-vindo. Pois como diz Resende, “a essência do jazz sempre foi a de se ultrapassar a si próprio”.

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All About Jazz Italy review by Luca Canini

Lucky 7s – Pluto Junkyard (CF 141)
Valutazione: 4.5 stelle
Un po’ Chicago, un po’ New Orleans. Sono in sette, si fanno chiamare Lucky 7s e il qui recensito Pluto Junkyard, pubblicato dalla benemerita Clean Feed, è il loro secondo CD all’attivo (il primo, Farragut, è uscito per la piccola Lakefront Digital, praticamente roba da carbonari). Un po’ Chicago e un po’ New Orleans, si diceva, perchè il gruppo nasce dall’incontro fra due trombonisti: Jeff Albert, dopo il 2005 in fuga dalla Louisiana e dall’uragano Katrina verso l’Illinois, e Jeb Bishop, quasi veterano della scena di Chicago, fedele scudiero di Ken Vandermark in tante battaglie. Con loro una sezione ritmica targata New Orleans, composta dal batterista Quin Kirkchner e dal bassista Matthew Golombisky, e un terzetto di rappresentanti della “nuova” Chicago (nipote dell’AACM, figlia del post-rock, svezzata da gente come Vandermark e Mazurek): il sassofonista Keefe Jackson, il vibrafonista Jason Adasiewicz (nome da appuntare: talento immenso) e il cornettista Josh Berman.
Musica d’incroci quella dei Lucky 7s, musica che colpisce fin da subito per incisività della scrittura e cura degli arrangiamenti, qualità dei contributi solistici e imprevedibilità-varietà delle soluzioni ritmico-armoniche. Il respiro complessivo è quello tipico della Chicago odierna, tanto Vandermark (l’iniziale “#6,” con quell’attacco bruciante e il doppio tema-doppio riffone, e “Future Dog,” che su un disco degli School Days ci sarebbe stata alla grande), un pizzico di AACM (“Ash,” introduzione solenne, avvio pulsante, crescendo implacabile e sviluppo che prende in contropiede), una spruzzata di Sun Ra (l’oscura “Afterwards”); ma negli svolazzi della composita front-line (quattro fiati) non è difficile rintracciare (sarà una suggestione?) un che di New Orleans, se non altro nei contrasti-contrappunti tra la cornetta di Berman e la coppia di tromboni, che spesso assolvono compiti strettamente ritmici.     

Ma le suggestioni non sono finite, perchè “Sunny Bounce” offre una gioiosa ventata di gusto retrò (il primissimo Sun Ra? L’Oliver Nelson metà Sessanta?), mentre “Jaki’s Walk” riesce a suonare persino latin con quel suo incedere sinuoso e ostinato. Cima Coppi dell’intera scaletta, la strepitosa “The Dan Hang,” che si apre con un nervoso botta e risposta tra sax-cornetta da una parte e il trombone di Albert dall’altra. Sulla fitta trama si innesta la sezione ritmica: basso pulsante, batteria martellante, vibrafono etereo. Ci pensano poi le sei corde di Bishop (trombonista, ma anche valente chitarrista) a far esplodere il tutto in un crescendo noise, fino a quando il pezzo decolla ritmicamente, diventando qualcosa di molto simile a un’outtake dei Jaga Jazzist.

Notevole, come tutto il disco. Anzi, imperdibile.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=4715

The Wire – Best Jazz & Improv 2009 list

Best Jazz & Improv A–Z
* Borah Bergman Trio – Luminescence (Tzadik)
* John Blum – In The Shade Of The Sun (Ecstatic Peace)
* Dennis González – A Matter Of Blood (Furthermore)
* Hoots And Roots – Life And Death (Ayler)
* Christian Lillinger’s Grund – First Reason (Clean Feed)
* Joëlle Léandre – Live In Israel (Kadima Collective)
* Sebastian Lexer – Dazwischen (Matchless)
* Eivind Opsvik – Overseas III (Loyal)
* The Chris McGregor Trio – Our Prayer (Fledg’ling)
* Anthony Pateras & Max Kohane – PIVIXKI (Sabbatical)
* People Band – 69/70 (Emanem)
* Gino Robair & Birgit Ulher – Blips & Ifs (Rastascan)
* Alister Spence – Fit (Rufus)
* Trespass Trio – “… Was There To Illuminate The Night Sky” (Clean Feed)
* Ray Warleigh – Rue Victor Massé (Psi)

Free Jazz review by Stef

Tony Malaby – Voladores (CF 165)
*****
Regular readers of this blog know my appreciation for Tony Malaby, both as a saxophonist and as a composer. His tone is warm, lyrical and sensitive, his compositions and improvisations always welcoming and surprising at the same time, adventurous in his approach of jazz tradition, creating the new angle from within the musical edifice that we know. This quartet further consists of the double drums of Tom Rainey and John Hollenbeck, without a doubt two of the creative rhythmic wizards of these days, and Drew Gress on bass, another one of the finest. Hollenbeck uses everything but the kitchen sink as percussive objects, including marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, glockenspiel, melodica and small kitchen appliances (whatever that may be but surely not the kitchen sink). What a band, and again, what music. It is complex, with rhythm changes, overlapping time signatures, tempo changes, with shifting moods and intensities, often in the same piece, fierce at times, melodious always, deeply felt too. From the wild outbursts on tenor on “Old Smokey”, to the finely squeezed out tones on “Dreamy Drunk”, Malaby’s skills are a real pleasure for the ear. But he doesn’t shy away from the more experimental stuff:  a piece like “Can’t Sleep” gives a strong stressful evocation of its title, “Are You Sure?”, brings a hesitating kind of wonder, “YeSssss”, brings a wonderful quiet exploration of minimal sound interaction, “What’s Up, Smell The Sumatra”, is an exercise in distress and tension. Yet the real value comes from the longest pieces, on which all the complexities and the wealth of the music come to full fruition. “Sour Diesel” starts with a great rhythmic bass vamp, over which the soprano and the melodica interlace for a strange melody in counterpoint, but the again, structures changes and the tune evolves in a more expressive improvisation. It is in my opinion not as expressive as the more “free” “Tamarindo”, but the wealth of concepts, the skills of all four musicians, the creativity and the expressivity make this an absolutely wonderful album. Don’t miss it. http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/

Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)
On reconnaîtrait le lyrisme de Tony Malaby entre mille autres.  Le sien est dru, compact et si peu encombrant qu’il laisse tout loisir à ses partenaires pour construire et échafauder de larges battisses ; solides et massives masures aux harmonies cendrées.

Voladores s’inspire d’une troupe de musiciens-acrobates qui ont marqué le saxophoniste pendant son enfance à Tucson. On y trouve ici une liberté à fleur de peau, une légèreté qui évacue d’un trait d’anche toute velléité de frénésie et de totalitarisme. C’est un jeu d’équilibre et d’écoute magnifiquement guidé par la présence de deux batteurs (Tom Rainey et John Hollenbeck) en totale symbiose. Aucune surcharge mais un souci constant d’éviter l’addition de frappes lourdes et appuyées. De ce côté-ci : une totale réussite.

Voladores est le septième disque en qualité de leader de Tony Malaby et c’est sans doute celui qui le réconciliera avec ses rares détracteurs. C’est un disque de profonde et sereine plénitude. Ni plus, ni moins.
http://grisli.canalblog.com/archives/2009/12/22/16226836.html

Le Son du Grisli review by Pierre Lemarchand

Marty Ehrlich Rites Quartet – Things Have Got to Change (CF 150)
Things Have Got to Change : les mots s’imposent en grand sur la pochette de ce disque et apparaissent alors en filigrane les titres-manifestes du premier orchestre d’Ornette Coleman (tels Change of the Century ou encore Something Else !). D’Ornette, plutôt que le changement radical, on entendra l’urgence du propos. D’Ornette toujours, on pourra retenir ici la proposition d’un quartet sans piano, insufflée par une trompette et un saxophone alto qui, en des passages de relais enjoués, projettent dans l’espace des mélodies tantôt urgentes (Song for Tomorrow), tantôt fragiles (Some Kind of Prayer, pièce maîtresse du disque), toujours dansantes.

Est convié ici Erik Friedlander qui, avec Daniel Levin, impose le violoncelle dans le jazz d’aujourd’hui (comme hier Doug Watkins l’avait fait) pour son chant si particulier. Il peut se faire gambri comme les percussions de Pheeroan Aklaff se font crotales, en une résurgence gnawa (Rites Rhythms) comme il peut, à la manière de la contrebasse, assurer une pulsation rythmique sans faille dans le très hard bop Dung.

Ce Rites Quartet est emmené par le saxophoniste Marty Ehrlich qui y convoque des complices de longue date (de très longue date, même, pour Aklaff, dont la collaboration avec Ehrlich remonte à la fin des années 70) avec qui il a joué dans différentes de ses formations : Marty Ehrlich joua avec Erik Friedlander dans son Dark Wood Ensemble et avec le trompettiste James Zollar dans son sextet News on the Rail et dans son grand orchestre The Long View.

Mais jamais les quatre musiciens n’avaient joué tous ensemble. Ce n’est que récemment, pour ré-explorer des compositions de Julius Hemphill, qu’ils se sont rassemblés. C’est donc naturellement qu’aux cinq compositions de Marty Ehrlich s’ajoutent trois reprises de thèmes d’Hemphill.  Ce dernier, né dans la même ville qu’Ornette (Fort Worth au Texas), fut le véritable mentor d’Ehrlich. Ce dernier fit partie du dernier sextet de Julius Hemphill et continua d’y jouer la musique du Texan quand celui-ci, trop malade, ne pouvait plus souffler dans son saxophone, et ce jusqu’après la mort d’Hemphill, en 1995. La mémoire, donc, l’héritage et la fidélité, sont dans cette musique fortement présents et nourrissent les voix originales des quatre hommes qui nous livrent un disque aussi sincère qu’attachant. http://grisli.canalblog.com/archives/2009/12/22/16222842.html

Stash Dauber review

Mo’ Clean Feed Records
The demand for free jazz and creative improvised music must be a whole lot greater in Europe than it is here in these United States, because the folks at Clean Feed Records in Lisbon continue to release interesting, challenging recordings at a rate that would probably break the bank at an American label. Once again, it’s a varied bunch:

Will Holshouser Trio + Bernanrdo Sassetti – Palace Ghosts and Drunken Hymns (CF 161)
New York-based accordionist Will Holshouser and his drummerless trio meet up with Portuguese pianist Bernardo Sassetti on Palace Ghosts and Drunken Hymns. Together, they produce a music of lush romanticism, highlighted by Ross Horton’s trumpet, which alternately waxes lyrical and sings sassy, and Dave Phillips’ lovely work on arco bass. This is chamber jazz at its best, alternately wistful and playful, cast from the same mold as Dave Douglas’ Charms of the Night Sky. The title refers to the music’s European setting (recorded in Portugal) and “the mysterious link between alcohol and spirituality,” which sounds good to me.

Michaël Attias Renku – In Coimbra (CF 162)
Well-traveled Israeli-born altoist Michael Attias has a pensive sound, influenced by Lee Konitz and Jimmy Lyons (both of whom have compositions covered on Renko in Coimbra), with an acrid tone and acerbic ideas. He’s ably supported here by bassist John Hebert and drummer Satoshi Takeishi. The three can play with Art Ensemble of Chicago-like minimalism (“Do & the Birds”) or David S. Ware-ish intensity (“Fenix Culprit,” featuring a cameo by pianist Ross Lossing), sounding their best on “Universal Constant,” where their dialogue moves from abstraction (with Satoshi applying some extended techniques to his traps) to something approaching funk.

Empty Cage Quartet – Gravity (CF 161)
Empty Cage Quartet are so called because the members’ initials spell out MTKJ. “We are not conceptualists,” trumpeter Kris Tiner insists, in Gravity’s liner notes, which rival Cecil Taylor’s for density (if not obscurity). He and his mates Jason Mears (sax, clarinet), Ivan Johnson (bass) and Paul Kikuchi (drums) play through alternating sections from two pieces (“Gravity” and “Tzolkien”) that sound through-composed but are probably improvised, their horn polyphony and tightly-tuned drums evoking an agreeable collision of Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” with Out to Lunch, Point of Departure, or one of those.

Tony Malaby Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)
Voladores is the latest outing for Tony Malaby’s Apparitions. On tenor, Malaby raises a plaintive cry like mid-‘60s Ornette on the previously unrecorded Coleman composition “Homogeneous Emotions,” and gets a burry, Sam Rivers-like sound on “Old Smoky,” where he’s as forceful as Rivers can be in a trio setting. On “Dreamy Drunk,” he comes across like Archie Shepp channeling Ben Webster and makes effective use of multiphonics. The basic horn-bass-drums trio is augmented by John Hollenbeck’s tuned percussion, which adds textural variety to the proceedings. On “Sour Diesel,” Hollenbeck injects melodica into the harmonic mixture (the way Jack Dejohnette used to on his ECM sides) while Malaby follows a circuitous melodic path on soprano. Might just be the pick of this litter.

Jason Stein’s Locksmith Isidore – Three Less Than Between (CF 153)
To play the bass clarinet is to invite comparisons to Eric Dolphy, but Jason Stein — a native Lawn Guylander now based in Chicago — volunteered to be thrown into that briar patch after switching from guitar as a teenager. On Three Less Than Between, he’s creating a vocabulary for his instrument on the fly as he goes: growls, squeals, intervallic leaps, and staccato lines, aided by a rhythm section – bassist Jason Roebke and drummer Mike Pride – that’s equally inventive in supporting him. “Isn’t Your Paper Clip” explodes with energy, culminating in an old-fashioned clattering drum solo; the denouement is a relatively straightahead interlude with walking bass, followed by a restless bass solo with sympathetic drum accompaniment.

Nicolas Masson Parallels – Thirty Six Ghosts (CF 163)
Nicolas Masson Parallels’ Thirty Six Ghosts is proof that the land of William Tell has produced more than just watches and chocolate. The Shorteresque tenorman and his all-Swiss quartet (which features electric piano and stand-up bass) play a mostly introspective brand of jazz that’s informed by a love of 20th century composed music and, less audibly, alt-rock. Not surprisingly, the proximate model here is a less wired/weird version of early ‘70s Miles, particularly on the relentlessly funky “Hellboy.”

The Godforgottens – Never Forgotten, Always Remembered (CF 164)
The Godforgottens is the name adopted by Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo and the Sten Sandell trio. On Never Forgotten, Always Remembered, they perform three lengthy extemporations – the longest nearly 20 minutes – with titles that are variants of the album’s title. On “Always Forgotten,” they create brooding, oceanic swells with Sandell playing first-time Hammond B3 as well as piano. “Never Remembered” starts with a cascade of drum thunder from Paal Nilssen-Love, over which Broo and Sandell spar. “Remembered Forgotten” starts as a duel between Broo and Nilssen-Love before Sandell and bassist Johan Berthling enter the fray. Their interchanges can be either exhilarating or exhausting, depending on your point of view.
http://stashdauber.blogspot.com/2009/12/mo-clean-feed-records.html