Daily Archives: July 23, 2013

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

CF 276Harris Eisenstadt September Trio – The Destructive Element (CF 276)
O September Trio do baterista Harris Eisentadt é um projecto que deixará desconcertados muitos ouvintes. A sonoridade de Ellery Eskelin, densa, opaca e calorosa, evoca mestres do sax tenor de outras eras, como Coleman Hawkins e Ben Webster, mas se “Swimming, Then Rained Out”, a faixa de abertura, tem laivos de balada clássica, os ângulos impossíveis garantem-nos que não regressámos a 1954. Se os Mostly Other People Do The Killing desconstroem o jazz clássico com táticas de “choque e pavor”, o September Trio aposta na subversão de veludo.

Escutem-se a faixa que dá título ao CD, que nada tem de “destrutivo” e prima antes pela doçura e lirismo, e “Ordinary Weirdness”, um sonho sustentado pelo balanço hipnótico do piano Angelica Sanchez.


Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOMade To Break – Provoke (CF 273) 
Mais um projecto do incansável saxofonista Ken Vandermark, gravado em Lisboa em 2011, a meio da tournée de estreia da formação. São três faixas de cerca de 20 minutos de duração, com vastas planícies desoladas onde, de vez em quando, se levantam avassaladoras tempestades eléctricas, mas onde também se encontram inesperados oásis de lirismo e serenidade, protagonizados por Vandermark.

Devin Hoff (baixo eléctrico) e Tim Daisy (bateria, um colaborador usual de Vandermark) tanto tecem texturas diáfanas como engrenam em vigorosos ritmos rock e funk. A electrónica de Christoff Kurzmann tem papel discreto, emitindo crepitações, estática e zumbidos, mas, quando a temperatura sobe, pode soar como um rádio de onda curta operado pelo Mafarrico.

Jazzword review by Ken Waxman

CF 244Joe McPhee/Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten – Brooklyn DNA Clean Feed (CF 244)
Joe McPhee Trio First Date (CJR-8)
Persistent in his exploration of fresh musical currents in the improvised tradition, multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee remains indefatigable 46 years after his first recording and as he settles into his eighth decade. Comfortably conversant in any sized ensemble, from his justly renowned solo discs to his long-time membership in Peter Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet, the Poughkeepsie, New York resident usually does his most profound work in smaller configurations. Take these high-quality CDs, recorded at four different years.

First Date is significant because its first three tracks are the primary recording by McPhee’s still extant touring band, Trio X, consisting of himself on saxophones and pocket trumpet, bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen. The final track captures the trio in concert six years later. Recorded in 2011, Brooklyn DNA matches the multi-instrumentalist with resourceful Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten, who now resides in Austin. Dedicated to New York’s second most storied borough and its comprehensive Jazz history, this is more of a so-called Jazz record than the more experimental other one, recorded live at New York’s third annual Vision Festival.

First Date is more experimental for the simple reason that McPhee, Duval and Rosen didn’t expect this gig would turn into a long-time arrangement, and throughout you can hear the three trying out assorted strategies and narratives. There’s also a question of balance. While Duval, who has worked with no problem alongside saxophonists as individual as Ivo Perelman and Charles Gayle immediately sets up rapprochement with McPhee similar to Jimmy Garrison with John Coltrane or David Izenzon with Ornette Coleman, initially Rosen seems left out of the equation. This situation is only rectified when the saxophonist’s New Thing-like bites and cries and the bassist’s pumping whorls subside into mid-range so that Rosen’s more restrained percussion patterns are heard. With the subtlety of a recital percussionist, the drummer fastens on textures that can be vibrated, including bell ringing, hi-hat slapping and cymbal shaking. He stays true to this formula even when McPhee digs deeply into his soprano saxophone’s innards, pushing discordant reed tessitura to the limit before settling into unforeseen reed bites and multiphonics. Duval continues his role with a combination of harsh scrubs and rappels up-and-down his strings while Rosen’s contributes infrequent pops and some whistle blowing. Eventually the piece concludes.

Rosen’s percussion is just as restrained but resourceful as well in the Rochester, N.Y. set from 2004. Although his texture of choice appears to be the delicate plink of finger cymbals, he’s more upfront throughout with clanks and clicks from drum top and sides plus cymbal shakes. Duval too is more assertive slapping strings and bowing them in the lowest pitch, while McPhee advances the instant composition with gouts of contrapuntal glossolalia, emotional squeals and staccato freneticism, followed every step of the way by the bassist’s ragged arpeggios and the drummer’s smacks. In tandem with a pulsating bass solo, McPhee signals the ending while exploring every nuance of a secondary spiritual-like variant which combines rhythm and lyricism.

Duval’s brawny interaction is matched by the measured and powerful strokes of Håker-Flaten on the other CD. Håker-Flaten, who regularly interacts with saxophone heavy hitters such as Frode Gjerstad and Mats Gustafsson, demonstrates his inventiveness throughout. He outputs a thick carpet of passing chords to meet McPhee more outré reed excursions; or has spidery string slithers at his finger tips when the themes turn near-romantic.

Tunes such as “Blue Coronet” and “214 Martens”, respectively celebrating the legendary Brooklyn Jazz haunt and the late tenor saxophonist Dewey Redman, indicate the duality. The latter includes the two players challenging one another with contrapuntal altissimo reed cries and slashing string slaps at the top and sharp violent horn vibrations plus continuous string whapping as the finale; with McPhee pushing out a half-imaginary Redman like melody in the middle. A combination of honk and hyperbole McPhee’s alto saxophone solo on “Blue Coronet” appropriately salutes many of the Jazzers who gigged at the club. With matter-of-fact strumming from Håker-Flaten his anchor, he moves from expressive, late-night abstractions to a touch of straight-ahead blowing.

“Enoragt Maeckt Haght” brings out some of the most abstract yet affective playing on the date, with the bassist pinching his strings near the scroll before outputting double and triple stopped notes while the saxophonist moves from deep inside the body tube growls and upwards stretching bugle-like tones to reach strident reed bites and tongue slaps that make perfect sense alongside the bassist’s narrative.

The most telling piece however may be the final one, “Here and Now”. Here the two are transported to the 21st Century with an exposition mixing powerful bass slaps and alto sax note clusters that gradually attains new balance as the composition speeds up. Finally harsh bent notes from both result in a satisfactory tandem ending.

More proof – if any is needed – that at 73 plus McPhee continuous to operate at top form, no matter his partners in sound.

All About Jazz review by Robert Bush

CF 279Mark Dresser Quintet – Nourishments (CF 279)
Mark Dresser has risen to the very upper echelon of the double-bass world in the most impressive fashion: by choosing the road less traveled. His path of virtuosity has eschewed the conventional metrics of velocity over changes in favor of the development of a highly personal improvising language that includes timbre gradients, two-handed tapping, use of hammered bi-tones, and the amplification of subtle overtones of striking aural properties.

He returns to explore ensemble music under his own leadership with this new recording of his long-standing East Coast Quintet featuring Denman Maroney on “hyper-piano” ( a variant on the prepared piano—extended to the highest degree), Rudresh Mahanthappa on alto saxophone, Michael Dessen on trombone, with either Tom Rainey or Michael Sarin filling the drum chair.

Exploding with intensity, “Not Withstanding,” lurches forward on the wings of Dresser’s “metric-modulation” concept, which uses shifting meters while maintaining a pulse of 1- 2-3-4 to affect the illusion of a constantly speeding and slowing tempo. Mahanthappa attacks the form with palpable glee as Dresser power walks from here to eternity. Dessen rips, roars, and brays before yielding to the remarkable “slide-piano” of Maroney which challenges sonic expectations. Rainey is all over this with cycling waves of kinetic energy and supreme dynamic control. Finally, Dresser emerges—dueting with the sound of his own voice hissing for a solo that toggles between multi-glissandi and thunderous thwacking.

There are contemplative moments as well, such as the pensive 12 tone “Canales Rose,” where Maroney’s otherworldly piano melds with Dessen’s wounded lion trombone, or the gorgeous ballad “Para Waltz,” with its lush horn melody that gives birth to a yearning exposition by Dessen and a heartbreaking Dresser feature with the bow.

The slinky, odd-metered groove of the title track features layered melodic flourishes by Dessen and Mahanthappa and showcases another quality of this music—the blurring of what is written and improvised. The drums of Sarin balance explosive motion with shimmering colors before Dresser’s bow signals a sudden shift in direction into a theme reminiscent of Monk’s “Misterioso.”

“Aperitivo,” is a blues stood on its head with metric-modulation, where horn unisons and a piano counter-melody set the stage for Mahanthappa’s shredding effervescence, Dessen’s warbled, bluesy vibrato, and Maroney’s multifaceted spin at the “standard- piano.” Dresser follows with an undulating update on the “Detroit,” solo, using time itself as source material.

Challenging and joyful, “Nourishments” embraces tradition while extending it, and balances precise compositional deliberation with effusive improvisation.