Monthly Archives: May 2013

Jazz Music Archives review by Slava Gliožeris

CF 267Lotte Anker/Rodrigo Pinheiro/Hernani Faustino – Birthmark (CF 267)
We are living in time when experimental jazz musicians are not daily news stars (as if it ever was such time). In a different planet Danish sax player Lotte Anker with no doubt would be such a star.

Classically trained pianist in her teens, she switched to jazz reeds later and in her jazz-friendly homeland played with such great jazz musicians as former Miles Davis drummer US-born and Denmark living Marilyn Mazur, American pianist Marilyn Crispell and then still unknown Niels-Petter Molvaer. After her meeting with “new NY avant-garde jazz” representative sax player Tim Berne at one of festivals, she started long lasting collaboration with his band’s musicians pianist Craig Taborn and bassist Gerald Cleaver forming with them Lotte Anker Trio. With trio she recorded some her most successful and best known albums mixing her Scandinavian relaxed and airy saxophone sound with quite energetic NY downtown pulsation and freedom (learning a lot from Tim Berne and actually changing him in what could be Tim Berne trio).

Surprisingly, “Birthmark” is her different trio. This time she plays with two relatively unknown Portuguese musicians bassist Hernâni Faustino and pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro instead of Taborn/Cleaver and it works! Hernâni Faustino and Rodrigo Pinheiro are both bigger half of young but quite successful Portuguese Red Trio (their two albums got lot of positive press around Europe).It’s interesting that in new trio Lotte herself is NY loft sound generator, perfectly balanced with European free tradition representing bassist and pianist.

Music on this album is quite relaxed but has its nerve, very free form but melodic, often even lyrical, philosophical but without being boring, unique mix of Don Cherry Christiania-based music (without world fusion elements though), Tim Berne-like modern New York avant-garde jazz and European classic avant-garde tradition. And most important – all three musicians have that magic chemistry which separate great music from just good music, and it’s a rare thing.

Recorded and released in Portugal, this album has one more strong side – it isn’t too long and contains no fillers. With my full respect and even love to probably most successful of European young labels, Clean Feed Records has one serious problem – musical material editing. Many of their releases would be much, much better after even small additional cutting of not important or openly boring parts, making final albums not 79:56 min overloaded releases for crazy collectors but well produced concentrated music products for casual listeners. “Birthmark” is quite rare and successful exception – one more reason to have this album in your collection.–review.aspx?id=243172

Touching Extremes review by Massimo Ricci

CF 231THE AMES ROOM – Bird Dies (CF 231)
This record from 2011 is definitely suitable for allegorizing the concept of “getting lost”. You can attempt to fine-tune the ears a bit, and start analyzing the kind of technical contribution by a single instrumentalist. But the guess here is that after about 15/20 minutes (at best) of the circa 48 that incorporate the performance the brain will be stabilized on “blurry standby” mode, and the physical essence – most preferably, the limbs – will be doing the hard work. Basically, Bird Dies is made of diminutive rhythmic and melodic follicles that keep revolving around themselves with rambunctious vehemence, interlinking parts producing a sort of agglomerative acoustic frenzy. Yet there is no primitivism involved, as Guionnet, Thomas and Guthrie are three outstanding instrumentalists who do not need highbrowed deceptions to stymie the probity of their quest. Their success in this context depends on a congenital ability in originating driving stoutness substantiated by decipherable configurations. Try as one might to put some distance from the resulting exhilaration, it’s very probable that these ferociously half-broken orbits will defeat the resistance to insistent foot tapping and autistic head nodding. Nimble acridness, sinewy muscle and polymorphic pulse: nothing is missing. Just add the punch-drunk syndrome granted by a loud playback.

All About Jazz review by Glenn Astarita

CF 270Ches Smith and These Arches – Hammered (CF 270)
Four progressive-jazz and improvising luminaries lend their expertise for New York City-based drummer Ches Smith’s foray into a multi-purposed set, exploring and splitting the frontiers of avant-garde jazz, rock and other genres into asymmetrical components. Thus far, the artist has been in the thick of things, amassing an impressive discography, performing and recording with notables such as bassist Trevor Dunn, clarinetist Ben Goldberg and others. This album merges discordant free-form impressionism, micro-melodies, off-center jazz—and with accordionist Andrea Parkins onboard—the program includes glimpses of a carnival-like environment.

Smith’s cunning musicality is radiantly disseminated on “Animal Collection.” Here, the ensemble delves into odd-metered cadences, accelerated by a few pithy detours and unforeseen shifts in direction. But as the piece develops the band morph a succint melody and contrapuntal mechanisms into a howling incursion, sparked by the dual sax attack of Tony Malaby and Tim Berne.

Guitarist Mary Halvorson’s humbly crafted notes and Parkins’ understated voicings help define a parallel that contrasts simplicity with knotty digressions and an oddball melody, as Smith leads the charge via his solid rock beats and rumbling polyrhythmic flurries. Moving forward, the musicians intersperse a bit of social chaos with a total breakdown during the bridge and settle into a straightforward groove, leading to the garrulous closeout. On the basis of this outing and session work for others, Smith reveals a fertile imagination that complements his proficient technical faculties. No telling where he’ll go from here.

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

CF 265Christian Lillinger’s Grund – Second Reason (CF 265)
If brilliantly composed, excellently performed mid-sized ensemble avant jazz is to your liking, Christian Lillinger’s Grund and their Second Reason (Clean Feed 265) offer you a good deal of it.  The Grund is a seven-piece outfit of Achim Kaufmann on piano, Christopher Dell on vibes, Pierre Borel on alto, Tobias Delius on tenor, the double basses of Jonas Westergaard and Robert Landferman, and Christian at the drums.   It is a band that has a controlled but energetic outness in the improvisations and a new-music styled ensemble sound. Lillinger’s compositional hand gives the music a sophisticated yet outside edge, from the highly figurative post-bop avant heads to ensemble lines sounded in tandem with the solo sequences.   The ensemble is well-rehearsed, exacting, cohesive and powerful. Christian’s drums flow freely, the horns, keys and vibes have solo strength and the music is a superb outcome of the considerable thought and effort that went into it.  Bravo!

Jazztimes review by Mike Shanley

Even among today’s many ambitious drummer-composer-bandleaders, Ches Smith applies his skills to an especially dynamic array of brainy projects. Last year he appeared on Tim Berne’s Snakeoíl, continued in Mary Halvorsods quintet and released a solo percussion disc, to name a few. His technique has landed him in a number of exploratory rock bands, too, including Marc Ribofs Ceramic Dog.

Halvorson switched leadership roles with Smith for These Arches’ strong 2010 debut, Finally Out ofMy Hands, which also included Andrea Parkins (accordion, electronics) and Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone). When Malaby couldnt make a tour, Berne ñlled in and never left, ratcheting up the caliber of the music and the potential for wild flights off of the compositions. Hammered delivers in both respects.

Smith’s writing straddles his musical backgrounds, with the visceral attack of his rock side, some tripped-up melodic detours and a willingness to stop and rethink directions when least expected. The steady guitar and thundering toms on the title track sound like a Sonic Youth backing track, with alto and accordion superimposing an Eastern European melody on it. Like many of the songs, it includes a section where the quintet splits into five-point chaos. With all those lead instruments, the albums free flights get busy but never cluttered, and someone always directs everyone back to the theme. Smith’s accents and  spur the group on to the next level. Of the two saxophonists, Malaby often plays with more aggression, coming to a boil with growls and overtones, yet Berne does his fair share of ripping, too. Parkins and Halvorson cover the low end, rocking especially hard on “This Might Be a Fade Out.” Hopefully the players’ busy calendars worft preclude a follow-up to Hammered.

Expresso review by João Santos

CF 270Ches Smith and These Arches – Hammered (CF 270)
4 estrelas
Ches Smith apresenta um ambicioso estudo informado por trabalho de campo – ao lado de necrófilos da estirpe de Trevor Dunn (na presente encarnação do Trio-Convulsant), Jamie Stewart (nos neogóticos Xiu Xiu), Carla Bozulich (na encantação acusmática de Evangelista) e Trey Spruance (na funérea excentricidade dos Secret Chiefs 3) – desenvolvido nas mais variadas morgues musicais, autopsiando cada compasso e tónica, escalpelizando estrofe e refrão ou dissecando timbre, harmonia, melodia e ritmo com a incansável diligência de um patologista do apocalipse e o mórbido zelo de um enciclopedista de profecias. Numa análise geracional, o que há uns anos passava por iconoclasta curiosidade (no testemunho de figuras como John Zorn, Weasel Walter ou Elliott Sharp) deu hoje lugar a uma espécie de neurótica insaciedade (em Ches e em nomes como Kris Davis, Nate Wooley ou Peter Evans), que tem como crucial mais-valia algo de extremamente simples: a expressão de artistas que são mais do que uma lista de restrições dentro de determinada categoria, iludindo quer a tradição quer a redutora neofilia, e cujo discurso se fundamenta na assunção de um ilimitado terreno de exploração. É nessa perspetiva sintomático que se anuncie já que o próximo tomo destes These Arches – Smith na bateria, Tim Berne no saxofone alto, Tony Malaby no saxofone tenor, Mary Holvorson à guitarra elétrica e Andrea Parkins ao acordeão – seja um disco com versões de temas associados a Nina Simone, precisamente gravado com o vocalista dos Xiu Xiu. E não admira que “Hammered” se revele este concentrado de estilos – jazz alienante, desfocado folclore, vísceras de rock – com subversivos fogachos de coesão e enigmáticos hinos, ocasionalmente desconfortável e rudemente abstrato, mas nunca menos do que uma fascinante assembleia de improvisadores fora de série.

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

CF 266Eric Revis’ 11:11 – Parallax (CF 266)
Bassist Eric Revis and his II:II group sure stepped in something good when they got into the studio and recorded the album Parallax (Clean Feed 266). Maybe there’s almost no going wrong with a band that includes Revis, Nasheet Waits, Jason Moran and Ken Vandermark! But they do more than just get a session together here; they make a statement! There are a bunch of Revis originals that have historical depth yet are staunchly avant; there are some collective numbers; there are numbers by Vandermark and Attias; and a couple of classics: by Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton.  It all has real clout–the masters are in the house and they are playing like they mean it. Revis writes things you don’t forget. Everybody plays their butts off. The couple of classics get a new wardrobe. Everything goes right!   Get this one. Don’t hesitate.

PoponBop review

CF 253Hugo Carvalhais – Particula (CF 253)
Celebrando el Día del Jazz, PopOnBop no podía fallar, y aquí mostraremos 3 ejemplos de la ductilidad y sobre todo de la fuerza del jazz actual.
Como genero músical que cumple más de un siglo de vigencia, el Jazz se ha acomodado a la modernidad sin ignorar las nuevas estéticas o discursos artísticos (formas de grabación, instrumentos, público) como muestra este “poema tonal” de Hugo Carvalhais, bajista portugués que, con su segundo disco, deja en claro que es uno de los mayores creadores de universos sonoros del momento y uno de los compositores más emblemáticos de entre aquellos que reciben la modernidad para apropiarse de ella.

Aqui acompañado de violin, electrónicas, alientos, piano y bateria, el bajista nos crea su propia “galaxia” acústica. La variedad de tonalidades y colores pareciera recordar a la plástica de Pollock, sin ser el anárquico desarrollo del ruido a lo Albert Ayler, con Particula, Carvalhais muestra un avance en  sus desarrollos sonoros con un incremento de responsabilidad a los sonidos electrónicos que hacen al disco aún más colorido.

Su primer disco Nebulosa (Tim Berne en los saxofones) ya era un emblema de la música moderna, con mucho espacio y una idea estética atraída de la ciencia. Su segundo disco, Particula, del cual tomamos la segunda pieza, es simplemente arrollador. Lleno de escenas de alta intensidad conjugadas con una gran dinamismo y capacidad para interpretar meditaciones acústicas sin ser pasmosas, y sobre todo un gran trato del espacio (de lo cual se basa mucho de la música moderna) como un instrumento más.

emusic review by Dave Sumner

CF 253Hugo Carvalhais, Particula (CF 253)
The music on bassist Carvalhais’s 2012 release isn’t going to get described as pretty, but it does possess a strange beauty… a beauty evinced by the confidence of the interplay between musicians. With Emile Parisien on soprano sax, Gabriel Pinto on keys, Dominique Pifarely on violin, and Mario Costa on drums, the quintet’s conversations with one another are crazily interesting, like they’re all brainstorming a fantastic fiction and all on the same page for how they want to story to play out. This music is terribly interesting and very easy to follow along, even though it rarely keeps to a set structure for very long. Adventurous music, and Pick of the Week.

OP review by João Santos

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOMade To Break – Provoke (CF 273)
Curiosamente, “Made to break” é o título de um tratado sobre obsolescência editado há meia dúzia de anos por Giles Slade – que, entretanto, em “Big disconnect”, avançou para a igualmente acutilante temática da tecnologia e solidão, preparando-se para, até ao fim do ano, lançar um caucionário ensaio inspirado pelo iminente êxodo calculado em virtude das consequências do aquecimento global. Mais do que por facilitismo titular, a premência da evocação da obra de Slade no contexto da ação desta nova banda liderada por Ken Vandermark (com Tim Daisy à bateria, David Hoff em baixo elétrico e Christof Kurzmann no software lloopp) advém de, em ambos os casos, se refletir acerca de processos e arquiteturas de controlo – a que não será indiferente a explicativa nomeação e dedicação de cada tema nos seguintes termos: “1. Further (for John Cage) 2. presentation (for Buckminster Fuller) 3. of the facts. (for Marshall McLuhan)”. Vandermark (sax tenor e clarinete) situa o grupo na confluência do seu trabalho desenvolvido, por um lado, com o trio FME (com Nate McBride e Paal Nilssen-Love) e com o quarteto Frame (com Daisy, Fred Lonberg-Holm e McBride) e, por outro, com Spaceways Inc. (com McBride e Hamid Drake) e Powerhouse Sound (que, numa primeira versão, congregou Ingebrit Haker Flaten, Lasse Marhaug, McBride e Nilssen-Love e, noutra, reuniu John Herndon, Jeff Parker e McBride), identificando preocupações composicionais comuns, nomeadamente naquilo que define como “organização modular”: uma técnica que lhe permite reestruturar cada peça a partir dos seus componentes de base e que autoriza cada músico envolvido a improvisar subestruturas baseadas nos mesmos componentes – isto é, trata-se de um fundamento de permanente fluidez, como uma relação de causa e efeito entre composição e improvisação sem hierarquia rígida, que, pela sua própria natureza, altera no momento da sua execução qualquer elemento pré-determinado, “criando e solucionando problemas em tempo real”. Simultaneamente a essa estratégia de relativa liberdade e responsabilidade interpretativa num âmbito de composição espontânea eletroacústica, numa invulgar justaposição estilística que lhe é tão caraterística, Vandermark aproveita esta formação para avançar por formalidades rítmicas tangenciais àquela aguda e precisa – mas também crua e muito pouco asseada – articulação do pós-punk britânico (em bandas como Wire ou The Fall) e melódicas associáveis ao uso de escalas pentatónicas no jazz etíope (que tem explorado paralelamente com os The Ex e com o saxofonista Getatchew Mekurya), num compósito que se revela dotado de um fascinante e maduro paradoxismo.