Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee – Human Encore (CF 269)
A Coimbra (trois soirs de concerts) en compagnie de Joe McPhee, le Trespass Trio de Martin Küchen (qui signe cinq des huit titres de ce disque), pas contrariant, pas regardant, pas rancunier, en redemandait : Human Encore…
L’œil était dans l’obus, et regardait McPhee (qui, lui, soufflait en trompette piccolo). L’ouverture est en conséquence prudente : A Desert On Fire, A Forest tenant du morceau d’atmosphère porté par une contrebasse mesurée (Per Zanussi) que Küchen tiendra malgré tout à agiter. La suite convolera en motifs souterrains (Bruder Beda Ist Nicht Mehr, Xe) avec un art de l’à-propos rentré : le jazz du quartette d’exception jouant de délicatesses et d’inventions malignes.
Jazz encore : ce sont-là les improvisations, que découpent les rapides baguettes de Raymond Strid. Trompette et saxophone s’y mêlent sur un air de free terrible ou l’allure d’un swing dont les pulsations varient d’un instrument à l’autre. En conclusion, alors, cet Human Encore attendu : l’archet grave de contrebasse, le baryton et la trompette enlacés, sur un de ces hymnes prégnants dont Joe McPhee a le secret. Imparable. Indispensable.
Angelica Sanchez/Wadada Leo Smith – Twine Forest (CF 287)
Wadada Leo Smith / Tumo Orchestra – Occupy The World (Tum Records)
Intimacy and intricacy are the best ways to describe two recent collaborations from Wadada Leo Smith this year. The first, with Tumo Orchestra and then in a duo session with pianist Anglecia Sanchez.
Occupy The World is another epic orchestral work with lots of improvisation and intense mood setting movements. Inspired by the global Occupy movement from the past few years, this session is not as enveloping as last years Ten Freedom Summers but it is just as broad in scope.
“Queen Hatshepsut” inspired by the Egyptian queen of the same name, is a piece flows up and down with rough chords from both Smith, the string section and Kantonen’s fierce and sublime piano performance. The title track has various stages of deep reflection, as in the middle sections filled with atmospherics and free float trumpet lines.
In a similar inspirational voyage, Smith explores more intimacy with Angelica Sanchez on Twine Forest. The two have worked together for years, Sanchez is part of Smith’s Golden Quartet and Organic group. Surprising that this is their first outing as a duo. Either way, it’s bright, personal and highly captivating.
“Retinal Sand” sees Sanchez experimenting with the insides of the piano strings and Smith swirling with haunting accuracy. In addition to explosive outburst that blend seamlessly with the rolling and very punctuated notes from Sanchez. “In The Falls Of” while being improvised shapes itself into a lovely almost romantic ballad. The notes are soft with a melody and sparseness that stretches the piece and the imagination making for a devotional experience.
Two excellent sessions featuring similar deep, inspiring thoughts but with very clear distinction and execution. Wadada Leo Smith makes clear that with Occupy The World and Twine Forest, he is one of the most creative and prolific composers among his elder statesman colleagues on the scene today.
Mary Halvorson: Ilusionary Sea
Jakob Bro: December Song
Mostly Other People Do The Killing: Slippery Rock!
Soren Gemmer: At First
Jason Moran/Charles Lloyd: Hagars Song
Nicole Mitchell: Aquarius
Mikrokolektyw: Absent Minded
Nick Hempton: Odd Man Out
Wadada Leo Smith/Angelica Sanchez: Twine Forest
Kris Davis: Capricorn Climber
Fred Hersch/Benoit Delbecq: Funhouse
Zero Centigrade: Selce
Sava Marinkovic: Nowhere Near
Soweto Kinch: Legend Of Mike Smith
Luis Lopes: Live In Madison
Susana Santos Silva/Torbjorn Zetterberg: Almost Tomorrow
Soren Dahl Jeppesen: Pipe Dreams
Christian McBride: Out Here
Elliot Sharp Aggregat – Quintet (CF 288)
On guitarist Elliot Sharp’s new recording you’ll hear plenty of horns and a fiery rhythm section, but you will not hear a guitar.
Fans of the first Aggregat album, by the Elliot Sharp Trio, know that Sharp switched to saxophone for a good portion of the recording. Always an experimental guitarist, Aggregat showed a more ‘conventional’ side of Sharp’s compositions of angular heads and ensemble playing. On the quintet album, Sharp’s convoluted tunes unwind in similarly wonderful ways, perhaps even a bit knottier than the trio.
‘Magnatar’ kicks off he album with an elliptical figure from trumpeter Nate Wooley. Sharp’s sax offers a counter melody before all three horns break into an improvisation that contains the right ingredients: conflict, agreement, stops and starts. Bassist Brad Jones and dummer Ches Smith keep the piece flowing with a tight groove until a stuttering passage ends the tune. ‘Katabatics’ features trombonist Terry Green on a growling and churning solo, complimented by Sharp’s spiky runs. Another highlight is ‘Blues for Butch’ where a composed head quickly passes into a dense group impovization. The closing tune, ‘Cherenkov Light’ is a study of extended techniques on the horns, where breath and space are on equal footing with the instruments actual tones and notes.
The group interplay throughout is exemplary and the potentially crowded musical space of a quintet is given plenty of space to stretch out. Quintet is a tough and rewarding recording that can stand many many listens, it doesn’t pull punches and has many passages that are as challenging as ones that are easily digestible, which in turns makes for a fantastic album.