Daily Archives: September 3, 2012

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

Clean Feed   Nate Wooley and the RED Trio (pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro, bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini) first met in 2010, literally introducing themselves on stage. In the subsequent two years, their knowledge and mutual admiration have grown to the point that they have become a rugged unit able to touch all the cardinal points of improvisation tinted with jazz undertones. In the liners, Wooley compares the events taking place in an improvisational team as the mirroring of all the virtues and defects typifying the usual pros and cons of everyday’s conjoint living. The balanced eloquence of the action in Stem demonstrates that, when tempered intentness prevails upon the necessity of affirming self-pride, there is no problem whatsoever in creating music which is brilliantly questioning, ruled by dynamic reactiveness and perfectly set to resuscitate the intelligent connotations of modern jazz that too often tend to be forgotten in a whirlwind of chichi poses and unpurposed notes.   Though absolutely nothing sounds calculated, the five tracks show a degree of congruity that, in some instances, might induce someone to define the interplay as “cold”. But we all know that in many occasions sternness is just a facade hiding a heart that, when the right moment comes, beats rather impetuously. Listen to how “Phase” starts from a quietly mounting exchange featuring Ferrandini and Faustino, then gradually escalates to a wholehearted collective flare-up whose effects are in any case kept under control by the quartet’s inherent efficiency, never allowing elements of mayhem to predominate in spite of Wooley’s shrieking tantrums and Pinheiro’s emphatic punctuations and flurries. The piece offers the vision of a natural course characterized by the need, by each participant, of remaining an active part of a lively wholeness, without the egotistic traits frequently associated to the excesses of fraudulent fervency.   If we want to consider aesthetics, there’s no room for unbelievers: the overall vibe is entangling, tactile, but not overwhelming. Again, impartiality seems to win over sanguine volubility. Yet in “Ellipse” the fire of freedom burns blazingly even when everything calms town to EAI-like volumes (there’s a section in which the connection of inside piano and near-ephemeral trumpet is comparable to a dialogue between a slack-string guitar and a muted fax machine). The systematic nonattendance of an orthodox pulse reminds us that we’re dealing with artists who, hopefully, are not going to fall victims of dubious “revolutions” bathed in bundles of banknotes and establishment-regulated festivals.

JazzWrap review by Stephan Moore

Pao (Shhpuma Records, SHH 001)
A very interesting debut for Portuguese trio, Pao. This is a dark, experimental and at times almost spiritual session, that is more than the sum of its parts. Structured by three long pieces, Pao demonstrates an ability to both calm and intrigue through a series of improvised pieces that still remain distinct and linear.

Opening quietly with gentle chimes and eerie electronic scratches/manipulation and one tone sax chords, “Gods Wait To Do Delight In You” establishes the path in which you are about to take. There are drones and effects that are dense yet mystical. The slow climb is similar in vein to The Necks or even more recently DMP Trio. Closing out “Gods…” is P. Sousa’s haunting sax and Travassos’ undulating electronics which are weirdly soothing.

“Dyson Tree” for me, had an almost Sunday morning church call to it. The effects of T. Sousa’s keyboard provides an organ like operatic sound. While Pedro and Travassos inject an Eastern element into the mix as the tune moves towards it’s middle lyrics. Rich and creative soundscapes happen throughout.

The closing number is my favourite. “It Was All Downhill After The Sling” is rough, gritty and beauty all at once, containing improvised lines that make you feel like your listening to session with Sonic Youth. The patterns never get overly loud. Pao manages to find a way to deconstruct and reorganize in a way that resonates long after the piece is over.

Pao is an exciting and highly creative trio from the new and continually adventurous Portuguese scene that is well worth your investigation. Sometimes you like to use the phrase “this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea”–but every once in a while I think everyone needs to be jarred out of their seat. Go buy this record! Highly Recommended!

Free Jazz review by Martin Schray

Hairy Bones – Snakelust (to Kenji Nakagami) (CF 252)
I turn on my stereo and the music immediately nails me down, it pushes me into my seat. I try to get up and fight against it but I have got no chance. It grabs me by the throat, this is completely physical and breathtaking but it is painful in a comfortable way. I surrender and I start to enjoy this massive attack.  Hairy Bones is Peter Brötzmann (saxes, clarinets, tarogato), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet, electronics), Massimo Pupillo (e-bass), and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and whenever Brötzmann comes up with such a line-up there are always references to his legendary bands Last Exit and Die Like a Dog (the label makes them as well). And it points backs indeed: as in Die Like a Dog the rhythm group is a well-oiled machine, as in Last Exit there is a strong rock approach especially because Pupillo’s roots lie in the noise-jazz Italian group Zu and Nilssen-Love is the locomotive of Mats Gustafsson’s crossover beast The Thing.

“Snakelust” is a 53-minute-one-track-monster dedicated to the Japanese writer Kenji Nakagami and it offers everything this music can give. Like with Die Like a Dog there are different combinations, there is not always the whole band playing. You can listen to all kinds of trios (Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love, Brötzmann/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love, Kondo/Brötzmann/ Nilssen-Love), to various duos (Brötzmann/Kondo, Brötzmann/Nilssen-Love, Pupillo/Nilssen-Love), to Brötzmann and Pupillo solos or to the whole band. It is a simple sensation how these parts always come together as if this was the easiest and most organic thing.

Thus, there are magical moments galore: For example, the Kondo/Pupillo/Nilssen-Love trio is sheer madness, they sound more like hardcore industrial rock, especially with Nilssen-Love pumping like hell (he clearly is the steam machine of the band), while Kondo is driving his trumpet through all kinds of effects like fuzz boxes and wah-wah pedals, fighting invisible demons, chasing shadows in more subtle passages of reverberating, superimposed sounds. Or when Brötzmann plays a wonderful, melancholic solo on the tarogato and Nilssen-Love joins him almost stroking his drum kit with jazz brushes before Kondo is replacing Brötzmann and the whole thing is flowing into a high-voltage killer trio with Pupillo again. When one day HBO will shoot the attack of the dragons on King’s Landing in their top notch series “Game of Thrones” the full throttle parts of this album should be the soundtrack.

The label information says that this “documented concert was voted by Portuguese critics as the last year’s very best”.  Yes, it is purgatory but I always feel purified after listening, too. Play really loud!