Daily Archives: January 17, 2011

Jonathan Price (Asheville FM) Best of 2010 List

(in no particular order)

– Ganesh Anandan/Hans Reichel  –  Self Made  (Ambiances Magnetiques)
– Vandermark 5  –  Annular Gift  (Not Two)
Keefe Jackson Quartet  –  Seeing You See  (Clean Feed)
– John Butcher/Claudia Ulla Binder  –  Under The Roof  (Nuscope)
– Jerome Cooper  –  A Magical Approach  (Mutable Music)
– Matt Bauder  –  Paper Gardens  (Porter)
– Evgeny Masloboev/Anastasia Masloboeva – Russian Folksongs In The Key of Sadness  (Leo Records)
– Cesar Bolanos  –  Peruvian Electroacoustic & Experimental Music 1964-1970  (Pogus Productions)
– Ross Bolleter  –  Night Kitchen  (Emanem)
– Joe Morris  –  Camera  (ESP-Disk)

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

TOM RAINEY TRIO – Pool School (CF 185)Theoretically led by drummer Tom Rainey, this trio is a democratic affair involving him with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock (on tenor and soprano) and guitarist Mary Halvorson. The general feel is one of complete improvisation, though I’m not aware if pre-composed structures were utilized at some stage. The musicianship is obviously top-notch; no time should be wasted anymore by repeating how both Rainey and Halvorson – in different periods – have characterized the respective instruments’ evolution in recent (or less) times. On the other hand, Laubrock is a first meeting for this reviewer. It’s a pleasant discovery, a reedist who’s not gazing at her image in a mirror and does not try to resemble anyone else, interested as she is in clever melodic development and contrapuntal interrelation more than in becoming a hyper-technical clone. The twelve pieces range from nervous circularity in moderately spastic pulse-fracturing (Rainey’s wrist control is downright scary) through relatively delicate exchanges in which the artists recur to the softer nuances at their disposal to create intriguing superimpositions of moods. A piece such as “Three Bag Mary” probably represents the kind of stuff that is going to attract the largest crowd of curious observers: starting with jumpy angularity bathed in gawky straightforwardness, it ends with the scattered fragments of a still-to-be-created hymn to the absence of a better definition. With its recipe of atonal snippets that sound coherent as a planned investigation, and apparently easier paths that instead hide a good number of traps, Pool School is not that easy to appreciate right away. Patience and attentiveness are the keys to the revelation of an unpretentious flair.

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

JOE MORRIS / NATE WOOLEY – Tooth And Nail (CF 190)
No chance of getting bored when two masters – albeit of different age and background – hold a course in immediate creation of uncontaminated, restorative music such as that contained by Tooth And Nail. A guitar/trumpet duo revealing hundreds of singular yet familiar-sounding facets, Joe Morris and Nate Wooley are stylistically unattached, both desirous of creating innovative terminologies while keeping the flame of the interest for the traditional voices of their instruments flickering. They keep things on a purely acoustic level, producing communicative conversations from which an improviser willing to challenge typecasting and ordinariness can only learn.

At this altitude of instrumental interchange, amour-propre remains entirely out of the equation; any colloquial complication is perceived as a lesson in intelligibility despite the obvious lack of a predetermined harmonic foundation. As the guitarist correctly states in the record’s presentation in regard to improvisational aesthetics and technical development, “the current situation is a fresh start on the original situation”. In a track like the “A Terrific Snag” we’re shown new ways to utilize technique to get delivered by artistic constraint, not to reinforce it. The steady transmission of clean energy generated by Morris’ now sparkling, now semi-buzzing oblique plucking is countered by Wooley’s nosy chronicling, typified by his impressive facility in finding lines to follow and, soon thereafter, disintegrate them into micro-intervallic shards and infinitesimal screeches. On the other hand, “Forest Grove” is played on a cordially jumpy call-and-response, the protagonists using solitary pitches and scraping string noises that leave the audience imagining amusing gestures and odd smirks swapped in between the flurries. In “Gigantica”, Morris picks outside the conventionally acknowledged areas, regular notes and acute pings mixed in a Gibson/xylophone/mbira hybrid.

Of similar episodes, this disc is chock full. These gentlemen managed to take advantage of whatever’s applicable in eight sketches where an intelligent daringness is given away without masks of sorts. The exasperating fight against the natural flowing of life through an instrument, inexorably lost by many ostentatious virtuosos, is conspicuously absent here. This articulate pair reshuffles our convictions at the same moment in which they’re telling us that everything’s OK, and it feels fabulous throughout.