Daily Archives: January 29, 2010

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

The Godforgottens – Never Forgotten Always Remembered (CF 164)
There are times when the cumulative effort of listening to CD after CD of music can bog the senses. It is enormously time consuming, enormously tedious at times, and frustrating on a number of levels. The point is, when something doesn’t stand out one way or another, when it sounds like 500 other CDs you’ve heard in the last year, what do you say about it?

Thankfully today’s CD does not have that problem. The Godforgottens’ “Never Forgotten, Always Remembered” (Clean Feed) does stand out from the pack. It’s a free improvisation distinguished by Paal Nilssen-Love’s anarchic everything-but-the-trashcan drumming insouciance, by Johan Berthling’s earthy, rumbling double bass, and perhaps most of all, the brazen excitement of Magnus Broo on trumpet and the keyboard work of Sten Sandell.

The beginning of the performance has a droning quality set off by Sandell’s Hammond B3 and Broo’s cosmically directed trumpet. The sound of the group here is much more than the ordinary free improv ensemble at work. They hover and drone around a pitch center with avant asides and somehow manage to invoke that eastward gazing “Universal Consciousness” sort of sound that Alice Coltrane created in her prime, but without directly referencing it.

The second section has a rough-and-tumble, head-over-heels quality that is abetted especially by Nilssen-Love’s cacophonous crashing and clashing of timbres and textures. The final section brings the B3 into the mix once again with drones and melodic sustains, and with some really rather bracing trumpet from Broo.

This is accessible avant garde music that does not run through the usual exercises of how to attain a group collectivity. It’s different and it’s very good.

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Michael Attias Blends the Cool and the Hot in New CD

Michael Attias – Renku in Coimbra (CF 162)
There are times when you welcome an unfamiliar name and sound to the music corpus that constitutes your listening and playing life. Other times perhaps you can be satiated and nothing gets through the jaded ears into the appreciative consciousness. Then too, it can be that only the last few listenings in a cycle of familiarity can make everything clear to your musical head.

Michael Attias got through to me as a voice that should be heard only after a couple of listens to his excellent Renku In Columbra (Clean Feed).This is a showcase for his cool-hot alto playing, a subtle commodity that charms and caresses the senses with a real facility but also a sensitive sense of phrase and form.

The album runs through several originals by Michael and the formidably propellant bassist on the date, John Hebert. Then there are rather unknown but interesting pieces by Lee Konitz and Jimmy Lyons, one apiece.

Besides Hebert, drummer Satoski Takeishi adds a groovingly out presence. Russ Lossing joins the fray on piano for one cut.

This is improvisation as high art. Attias and Hebert are masterful, impressive, loquacious. Takeishi is alternately bombastic and playful, subtle and driving.

It shows that Michael Attias can create a sound on the alto that has a classic ring to it–cool like the coolists, hot like the new thingers, but filled with really interesting and original phrasing. These cats can swing and they can tumble out of time. They do either like they own their music, authoritatively. I am happy to get a chance to hear Attias and company hold forth so effectively on Renku. You might well feel the same way.