Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Squid’s Ear review by Massimo Ricci

CF 258Scott Fields – Five Frozen Eggs (CF 258)
While looking for a point of light helping me through a better assimilation of Five Frozen Eggs’ refined complexity (and considering that I hadn’t listened to the original 1996 release) my eye fell on a quasi-nonchalant clue thrown by the nominal leader in the liners: all seven pieces were created following methods engendered by the mind of composer Stephen Dembski. Hopefully Fields will forgive the rapid investigations made to fill the umpteenth gap in my presumed knowledge, but now the conceptualization of the intentions lying behind this work appears clear: Dembski is a stalwart at the University of Wisconsin-Madison music faculty and — among diverse talents — a man who constantly looks for new ways (including the development of softwares) to generate broad-minded compositional structures. Fields, a regular collaborator, has always been concerned with tearing down the damp walls that delimit jazz and other varieties of artistic contemporariness. All of a sudden this reviewer realized that the suppositional reticence fought over the course of the first half-dozen of listens was instead merely screening a series of transparent interactions in a small universe where contrapuntal fungibility is the (flexible) criterion to follow.

The rest came easy. Marilyn Crispell courteously reclaims a role of co-protagonist thanks to her chordal radiancy imbued of classily radical obstinance. Hans Sturm has the honor of opening the album with a splendid solo (entirely notated, as stressed by Fields), then keeps nourishing the lowermost of the audio spectrum with a combination of drama and logicality. Hamid Drake impressively dissects the motoric principles, exploring secret erogenous zones in the music’s animate organic qualities, stroking and tapping a fine-grained fresco that spreads across the program, remaining nearly silent when he feels like. There are several atmospheric and stylistic changes in here — from the contemplation of the title track and “Laogai” to the discordant march of “Little Soldiers For Science”, the lone place where the tolerant boss utilizes a modicum of distortion. The only traces of prototypical swing are found in “The Archaeopteryx and the Manatees”, quieted afterwards by a gorgeous lyrical interlude. Enough words, already: just enjoy the intelligence of a quartet for which the definition “acoustic facade” will never exist.


Le Son du Grisli review by Pierre Cécile

CFG006I Never Meta Guitar Two – Solo Guitars for the XXI Century (CFG 006)
Après un premier volume pas mal tourné vers le jazz ou assimilé (avec Jeff Parker, Mary Halvorson, Noël Akchoté, Jean-François Pauvros…), ce qui est en passe de devenir une série, I Never Metaguitar, parie sur des « guitarists for the 21st Century » un peu plus franc-tireur. Si on ne sait pas s’ils sont tous en mesure de réinventer le jeu à l’instrument, ils démontrent en tout cas d’une envie plutôt iconoclaste.

Toujours concoctée par Elliott Sharp, la sélection de solos est comme attendue éclectique : post-folk (Manuel Mota, Steve Cardenas), bruistisme électrique (Ava Mendoza,Yasuhiro Usui, Shouwang Zang), minimalisme (Ben Tyree à la guitare classique fait une forte impression), atmosphérique (Joel Harrison au bottleneck non moins intéressant), voilà pour les « meilleurs ». Enfin il y a les individualistes d’hier qui en ont encore sous la pédale, comme Alan Licht et David Grubbs. Audn l’un déploie un jeu à la structure claire bousculée par le feedback, l’autre s’empare d’une guitare classique pour en pincer les cordes et inventer un bel instrumental minimalow-fi. Bref, de quoi ne pas passer à côté d’une compilation qui nous fait espérer que la série ne s’arrête pas en si bon chemin.

All About Jazz Italy review by Stefano Merighi

CF 267Lotte Anker / Rodrigo Pinheiro / Hernâni Faustino -Birthmark (CF 267)
Lotte Anker è tra le protagoniste della scena improvvisata quasi da un trentennio ormai. Aveva un tempo anche un trio tutto femminile con Marilyn Mazur e Marilyn Crispell. Ma si è fatta apprezzare soprattutto accanto a Craig Taborn e Gerald Cleaver negli ultimi anni (con dischi come Triptych, Live at the Loft e Floating Islands). Qui si allea con i portoghesi Pinheiro e Faustino per un programma piuttosto impegnativo, relativamente rischioso, sicuramente arcigno. La sua voce strumentale screziata, tagliente e vocalizzante incrocia le traiettorie poco accomodanti di pianoforte e contrabbasso, in un girovagare intuitivo che ha i suoi momenti, ma che nel complesso non cattura più di tanto.

Non che i solisti non siano agguerriti e brillanti; il fatto è che la costruzione di questa musica ricalca una pratica che tende ormai a riprodursi con una certa meccanicità. Una statica del silenzio che trova uno o più centri tonali, note lunghe di preparazione, un movimento interno che sale verso un climax, ritorno a capo (“Rise”). Oppure un nervosismo timbrico, con attacchi poderosi e susseguente espressionismo astratto tipico postfree, frasi che si impennano e si ritraggono, una narrazione memore di Tim Berne, ma non il suo controllo del materiale.

All’interno di conversazioni atonali e di oasi più quiete, si fa notare il contrabbasso di Hernâni Faustino, splendido sia nel fraseggio che nella maestosità del suono. Pinheiro passa spesso ai suoni cangianti del piano preparato, specie nell’episodio migliore del disco, la lunga “Golden Spiral”. Così come Lotte avvicina talvolta le frasi spiraliformi di Evan Parker. Anche la seconda parte dell’album rimane su identità informali.

Un buon disco di musica improvvisata, privo forse di qualche soluzione in più.

Jazzenzo Jazz Magazine review by David Cohen

CF 275Lama + Chris Speed – Lamaçal, live at Portalegre JazzFest (CF 275)
Het Portugees-Canadese trio van Lama kwam tot stand op het Rotterdams Conservatorium en debuteerde in 2011 met het album ‘Oneiros’.  Op de opvolger ‘Lamaçal’, live opgenomen op het Portalegre JazzFest, wordt het trio versterkt met de Amerikaanse freejazzsaxofonist Chris Speed. Het geluid van de cd is ontzettend goed; dat deze plaat niet het resultaat is van maandenlang studiowerk wordt slechts door sporadisch applaus verraden.

De muziek van Lama komt voort uit de opvatting dat het creeëren van muziek heden ten dage een brug moet slaan tussen verleden en toekomst. En als zodanig een nieuwe balans moet vinden tussen enerzijds een verkennende inslag en daarnaast het gebruik van een toegankelijk idioom.

Op ‘Oneiros’ en nog sterker op ‘Lamaçal’, is de invloed van deze visie nadrukkelijk aanwezig: de band bouwt zijn nummers op een combinatie van elektrische effecten en akoestisch spel. De nadruk ligt sterk op de muzikale sfeer in het openingsnummer ‘Overture for a Wandering Fish’, een compositie van trompettiste Susana Santos Silva. De combinatie van impressionistische effecten en melancholische blazers brengt de luisteraar het beeld van een diepe, kolkende zee, rijk gevuld met zeedieren en vogels. Melodieuzer van aard zijn ‘Moby Dick’, waar een grote rol is weggelegd voor bassist en bandleider Gonçalo Almeida, en het slotnummer ‘Manta’.

De toevoeging van Chris Speed aan het trio komt bijzonder natuurlijk over. Hij is nadrukkelijk aanwezig, maar eerder ondersteunend dan solistisch, en zijn geluid mengt bijzonder goed met de trompet van Santos Silva. Minder atmosferische jazz komt op de plaat naar voren in een serie duels tussen beide blazers tijdens het titelnummer ‘Lamaçal’ en op een bijdrage van Speed, het op het werk van Ornette Coleman geïnspireerde ‘Pair of Dice’.

De muziek op ‘Lamaçal’ is intrigerend en kent bijzonder sfeervolle en ontroerende passages, maar heeft ook zijn missers en weet niet de hele tijd de aandacht vast te houden. Met de verkennende inslag waarmee de muziek tot stand is gekomen, is dat niet verwonderlijk. Dat Lama echter in staat is zijn visie waar te maken en met zijn unieke elektro-akoestische bezetting muziek te creëren waarin heden en toekomst van effecten en verleden en heden van instrumentale melodielijnen prachtig worden gecombineerd, heeft het trio met ‘Lamaçal’ nogmaals bewezen.

English translation:
Portuguese – Canadian trio Lama came to stand at the Rotterdam Conservatory and debuted in 2011 with the album ” Oneiros. The successor ‘ Lamaçal ‘, recorded live at the Jazz Fest Portalegre , the trio reinforced with the American free jazz saxophonist Chris Speed. The sound of the CD is very good, that this record is not the result of months of studio work is betrayed only by sporadic applause.

The music of Lama stems from the view that the re-shaping of music today to bridge the gap between past and future, a bridge. And as such must find between a prospective impact and also the use of an accessible idiom a new balance.

On ” Oneiros ” and even stronger ‘ Lamaçal ‘, the influence of this vision clearly present: the band builds its songs on a combination of electric and acoustic effects game. The emphasis is on the musical scene in the opening track ” Overture for a Wandering Fish ‘, a composition by trumpeter Susana Santos Silva. The combination of impressionistic effects and melancholic wind brings the listener filled with rich marine life and birds. The image of a deep, churning sea , Melodic nature of ‘ Moby Dick ‘, where a large role for bassist and bandleader Gonçalo Almeida , and the closing track ‘ Manta ‘.

The addition of Chris Speed ​​on the trio comes very natural. He has a strong presence, but supportive rather than soloist, and his sound blends particularly well with the trumpet of Santos Silva. Less atmospheric jazz comes on the plate forward in a series of duels between the two instruments during the title track ‘ Lamaçal ‘ and a contribution of Speed​​, inspired by the work of Ornette Coleman ” Pair of Dice “.

The music on ‘ Lamaçal ‘ is intriguing and has very atmospheric and moving passages, but also has its failures and do not know all the time to hold attention. The exploratory impact which the music has been established, is not that surprising. However, that Lama is able to make his vision and his unique electro-acoustic music to create occupation where present and future effects of past and present are combined and beautiful instrumental melodies with the trio ‘ Lamaçal ‘ is proven again.

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

CF 276Harris Eisenstadt September Trio: Destructive Element (CF 276)
El baterista Harris Eisenstadt publica The Destructive Element con su formación September Trio. El saxofonista Ellery Eskelin y la pianista Angelica Sanchez son sus acompañantes nuevamente. Eisenstadt, que durante los últimos años está mostrando ser un gran compositor, es el autor de los nueve temas. Estos resultan muy variados en su suavidad (“Swimming, then Rained Out”), su carácter melancólico (el precioso “Cascadia”), su oscuridad (“Ordinary Weirdness”), su crispación (“Here Are the Samurai”) o su aproximación a la clásica contemporánea (“From Schoenberg”). Ellery Eskelin, y sobre todo Angelica Sanchez son unos magníficos compañeros de viaje.


CF 279MARK DRESSER σημαντικό jazz άλμπουμ
Με καριέρα που αγγίζει ή και ξεπερνά την τεσσαρακονταετία, αφού υπήρξε μέλος των Black Music Infinity του Stanley Crouch (μαζί με τους Arthur Blythe, David Murray κ.ά.) εκεί στις αρχές των 70s, ο κοντραμπασίστας Mark Dresser ήταν, είναι και παραμένει μία σημαντική μονάδα για την jazz της Δυτικής Ακτής. Πόσω μάλλον όταν στο πιο πρόσφατο άλμπουμ του, που έχει τίτλο “Nourishments” [CF 279], συνεργάζεται με σημαντικούς παίκτες όπως τον άσσο αλτίστα Rudresh Mahanthappa, αλλά και τους Michael Dessen τρομπόνι, Denman Maroney… υπερπιάνο (ένα πειραγμένο πιάνο) και Tom Rainey, Michael Sarin ντραμς.

Με μεγάλη πορεία στο κύκλωμα της αμερικανικής jazz-avant (συνεργασίες με Marilyn Crispell, Ray Anderson, John Zorn, Anthony Davis κ.ά.), ο Dresser είναι ένας συνθέτης-αυτοσχεδιαστής με κατεκτημένες επιδόσεις. Δεν είναι απλώς τα εντυπωσιακά soli του με δοξάρι (στο “Para waltz” π.χ.) ή χωρίς, είναι κυρίως η συνθετική του διαύγεια που μετατρέπει το “Nourishments” σ’ ένα πρώτης κλάσεως CD. (Επτά είναι τα κομμάτια του άλμπουμ, όλα συνθέσεις του Dresser πλην του εισαγωγικού “Not withstanding” στο οποίο έχει βάλει το χέρι του και ο Mahanthappa). Εκείνο που μένει, ακόμη και με την πρώτη ακρόαση της νέας δουλειάς του αμερικανού (από το Los Angeles) κοντραμπασίστα, είναι η δύναμη, η ευφράδεια και πάνω απ’ όλα το συναίσθημα όσων καταθέτει. Ξεκινώντας από το “Not withstanding” δεν γίνεται να αδιαφορήσεις για το παθιασμένο παίξιμο του Dresser, αλλά και για τις επιδόσεις όλης της υπόλοιπης ορχήστρας (κυρίως την σολιστική άνεση του Mahanthappa, αλλά και τα «ξεκούρδιστα»… υπερπιανιστικά χτυπήματα του Maroney). Το 14λεπτο “Canales Rose” είναι αφιερωμένο στον Paul Canales έναν σεφ του Oakland, το εστιατόριο του οποίου φαίνεται πως στηρίζει την τζαζ σκηνή της περιοχής. Το mid-tempo track έχει bluesy χροιά και… φανταστικά ηχοχρώματα από τον υπερπιάνο του Maroney· το οποίο εντυπωσιάζει και στην εισαγωγή του “Papa waltz” με την πολυρυθμία και τους μικροτόνους. Στο φερώνυμο “Nourishments” η συνθετική φλέβα του Dresser είναι πασιφανής. Οι μπασογραμμές του είναι τόσο «εύπλαστες», ώστε οι μελωδικές ασκήσεις του Mahanthappa και του Dessen να προκύπτουν εντελώς αβίαστα. Παράξενο κομμάτι το “Aperitivo”. Αν και bluesy/μινόρε, αναπτύσσεται μέσα σε μια χαλαρή, lounge ατμόσφαιρα (δυνατό το σόλο στο τρομπόνι από τον Dessen). Λίγο πριν το τέλος, και το 10λεπτο “Rasaman” έχει μία καθαρά ινδοπρεπή χροιά (προσωπικώς θα το χαρακτήριζα indo-jazz track μόνο και μόνο για την ρυθμική του ακολουθία – άπιαστο το rhythm section των Dresser/Sarin). Μπορεί να απουσιάζουν τα ινδικά σολιστικά όργανα, αλλά το άλτο με το τρομπόνι τα υπερκαλύπτουν! Έξοχο κομμάτι! Το άλμπουμ θα ολοκληρωθεί μ’ ένα ακόμη αξιοθαύμαστο track που τιτλοφορείται “Telemojo”. Το κοντραμπάσο (και με δοξάρι) με το υπερπιάνο ετοιμάζουν μία εξώκοσμη ρυθμική γραμμή, πάνω στην οποία θα «πατήσει» βασικά το πυρωμένο σόλο του Mahanthappa. Το “Nourishments” είναι ένα από τα 2-3 ωραιότερα τζαζ άλμπουμ, που άκουσα αυτή τη χρονιά.

The New York City Jazz Record review by Stuart Broomer

CF 282Joe Morris/Agustí Fernández/Nate Wooley – From the Discrete to the Particular (Relative Pitch)
Nate Wooley/Peter Evans/Jim Black/Paul Lytton – Trumpets and Drums (Live in Ljubljana) (CF 282)
Nate Wooley Sextet – (Sit In) The Throne of Friendship (CF 280)
CF 280Nate Wooley is among a group of distinguished younger trumpeters redefining the sonic possibilities of the instrument. More than that though, he combines both rare invention and rare taste across a stylistic range that stretches from free improvisation to his own version of postbop.

The trio of Wooley, guitarist Joe Morris and pianist Agustí Fernández that appears on From the Discrete to the Particular has its antecedents in Morris’ prior duos with Wooley and Fernández. It’s free improvisation of the first rank, with each of the seven pieces a developed musical dialogue defining its own timbres and shape, whether it’s the pointillist sputters of the opening “Automatos”, the flurries of discrete sounds that firstmark “As Expected” or the oblique harmonic language of “Bilocation” that flowers into an evanescent lyricism created by all three musicians. “Membrane” suggests an early John Cage prepared piano sonata extended to a collective. The longest pieces, “Hieratic” and “Chumsof Chance”, are works of transformation, whether Morris sounding like the interior of a piano on the former and a bowed cello on the latter; Fernández mounting a virtuosic keyboard assault or creating a resonant soundscape or Wooley drawing out pained multiphonics or assembling wild scratching sounds.

Trumpets and Drums (Live in Ljubljana) is a dialogue between the two fundamental sonic components of the title. If there’s a martial tradition to trumpet and drum music there’s also a mystical one, as with Joshua and the battle of Jericho, but stronger still in the Tibetan Buddhist ritual music that combines long bass trumpets with metal and skin percussion. The quartet is built on several developed affinities: Wooley has long-running duos with both fellow trumpeter Peter Evans and drummer Paul Lytton; Evans has played with Lytton as a guest with the Parker-Guy-Lytton trio and Jim Black has played drums in Evans’ quartet. The performance is divided into two long segments, entitled “Beginning” and “End” and within those parameters there are moments of near silence, whispered trumpet tones and air through horns, gentle percussive rattlings, eerie scrapes and rustlings that demand rapt attention. Quavering electronics might arise from Wooley’s amplifier or from Black’s expanded kit. Elsewhere the reare moments of incendiary power, elemental music focused on mysteries of intensity and pitch.

The Nate Wooley Sextet is a variation on the Quintet that recorded 2010’s (Put Your) Hands Together. A forum for Wooley’s compositions, (Sit In) The Throne of Friendship retains bass clarinetist/baritone saxophonist Josh Sinton, vibraphonist Matt Moran and drummer Harris Eisenstadt while bassist Eivind Opsvik either alternates with newly arrived tuba player Dan Peck or they appear together. The style suggests the Blue Note ‘free’ school and the simultaneous presence of vibraphone and bass clarinet emphasizes the Eric Dolphy influence (“Make Your Friend Feel Loved” seems to reference Dolphy’s “G.W.”). This is exploratory, varied music, alive with passion and dialogue. It’s also exuberant, whether Sinton shouting through his baritone or Peck crafting an unaccompanied introduction. While Wooley is as ‘athome’ with free improvisation as any musician, the forms here emphasize the expressiveness of his lines: on the mournful “My Story, My Story” he combines variations of pitch and inflection to achieve an emotional depth equal to that of Miles Davis or Don Cherry, rare terrain for any trumpeter.