Daily Archives: March 1, 2010

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions in an Impressive Outing

I am guilty. I have not paid enough attention to the tenor and soprano work of Tony Malaby. And so when I first put his new album Voladores (Clean Feed) on the player for a spin, I really didn’t know what to expect. What I got was an impressive recital from his group Apparitions, which is Tony along with the always interesting Drew Gress on bass plus drummer Tom Rainey and drummer/percussionist/malletman John Hollenbeck. There are eleven pieces, one by Ornette, three group improvisations and the rest Malaby originals.

The tracks provide a stimulating framework for the improvisations that Apparitions quite convincingly put across. The free-oriented ensemble of the two busy drummers, Drew’s rangingly dynamic bass and Malaby give density but not clutter to the sound stage. What most impresses is Malaby’s improvisations. He has a sureness, especially on tenor, and a fluidity of line that put the emphasis on musical creation. He does not sound like anybody but he phrases with the confidence of a Trane. He can string together some startling sixteenth-note runs, then hang back and lather up some rich, sultry Ben Websterish effusions, then dive into multiphonic tears. And he has masterful control over the sounds he produces. Listening to this disk will make a believer out of you. A believer, that is, in the importance of Tony Malaby in the many-acred pool of crafty manipulators of the horn of plenty (or of scarcity, depending who is playing)!

Seriously though this is one headlong plunge into first-notch improvisation, from a group that one could no doubt listen to in an evening’s worth of sets and emerge energized and refreshed. Nice job!

Free Jazz review by Stef

RED Trio – RED Trio (CF 168 )
The Portuguese RED Trio is Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, Hernani Faustino on bass, and Gabriel Ferrandini on drums.The intensity is comparable to the previous album, the music not entirely: it is more avant-jazz, darker, much darker.

The album starts with nervous half-muted piano playing, agitated bass and drums, full of tension till the very end. The scene for the second piece, “Flat”, is set by the heavy plucking on the bass, in the style of Paul Rogers, full of emotional power, with great attention the sound, less to the rhythm or melody, a scene which is dark and foreboding, accentuated by light percussive elements, and minimal piano touches. “Coda, Static”, is light, open and again quite intense in its slow building around silence, using sparse notes and brush-strokes to create a whole world.

“Quick Sand” is an absolute horror of a piece, a sonic nightmare, but then one that is of such a high musical level, that it really makes you shiver: piano, bass and drums create a wall of unnatural sounds, now high volume and monstrous, then low volume and eery. “Timewise” is more uptempo, almost upbeat, but again with a sense of urgency and immediacy that is out of the common: they play as if every note, every single sound counts, and then with high relevance: they are heavily accentuated, placed with precision in the evolving soundscape. It is incredible what kind of emotional depth and sonic visions this trio creates, out of nowhere, out of nothing.