Monthly Archives: December 2014

Chicago Reader Best of 2014 list by Peter Margasak

My favorite jazz albums of 2014
Today NPR Music posted the results of the annual jazz critics poll organized by Francis Davis. In years past the poll ran in the Village Voice and the online music service Rhapsody. Steve Lehman’s impressive Mise En Abîme (Pi) landed in the top spot this year. You can check out the full results, including categories for best reissue, Latin jazz recording, debut, and vocal album here. I’ve included the ballot I submitted for this year’s poll below.

Top 10 Albums:
1. David Virelles, Mbokó (ECM)
2. Ambrose Akinmusire, The Imagined Savior is Far Easier to Paint (Blue Note)
3. Wadada Leo Smith, The Great Lakes Suites (TUM)
4. Jason Roebke Octet, High/Red/Center (Delmark)
5. Hush Point, Blues and Reds (Sunnyside)
6. Tyshawn Sorey, Alloy (Pi)
7. Tom Rainey, Obbligato (Intakt)
CF 2898. Matt Bauder & Day in Pictures, Nightshades (Clean Feed)
9. Michael Blake, Tiddy Boom (Sunnyside)
10. Jason Adasiewicz’s Sun Rooms, From the Region (Delmark)

http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2014/12/19/my-favorite-jazz-albums-of-2014

Written In Music review by Henning Bolte

CF317De Beren Gieren / Susana Santos Silva – The Detour Fish (Live in Ljubljana) (CF 317)
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Onder normale Hollandse omstandigheden smeren beren hooguit boterhammetjes – wat men al vrij wonderlijk vindt. Maar hier hebben we het met Belgische beren te maken en dat is even ander bier. Ze hoeven zich voor hun bescheidenheid niet op de borst te kloppen, hoeven ook niet pogoënd uit de bocht te vliegen. Ze zijn eerder van de lichte vervreemding, speels, met een enorme lust realiteiten te tarten. Het zijn er hier ineens vier, ook dat werkt – als een tierelier. En ziedaar, ze gieren (weer) fier van plaisir. Ze doen het al vijf jaar zo, dat getier, op deze vindvondstige manier. Hun fantasie lijkt nog (k)lang niet op, hun dadendrang is niet te stuiten. The Detour Fish, live in Ljubljana, opgenomen tijdens het Jazz Festival aldaar deze zomer.

IMG_0085Vierde in het berenverbond is Susana Santos Silva, een fantastische trompettiste uit Porto die de Europese jazz-podia verovert. Susana Santos Silva is onder meer lid van een Rotterdamse groep, Lama (zie Written In Music HIER), met een Portugese bassist (Gonçalo Almeida), een Canadese drummer (Greg Smith) en een Antwerpse rietblazer (Joachim Badenhorst), van de Zweedse groep Den Stora Frågan en heeft en duo met de Sloveense pianiste Kaja Draksler en met de Zweedse bassist Torbjörn Zetterberg maar dat allemaal terzijde.

IMG_0072Hoe zich een en ander ontvouwt, heeft Witz en klasse. Het zit hem vaak in kleine gebaren, heerlijke Umschwünge, meesterlijke gemankeerdheden. Alles met een hoop understatement en melodisch gevoel. Het herinnert bij vlagen aan Uri Caines wijze van doorkruizen, ontleden en confronteren van heterogeen materiaal. Het viertal opent daarbij de ene na de andere spanningsrijke ruimte, weet de luisteraar in staat van gespannen afwachting en opwachting te brengen. En te houden! Vertrouwen in verrassing en verrassend vertrouwen. Ieder moment spreekt. Het beweegt zodoende van moment tot moment, met grote bindingskracht en voelbare samenhang. Ieder moment heeft zijn context die wederom een nieuw momentum oproept dat zich ontvouwt. Het is alles ook nog bijzonder mooi opgenomen door Luis Delgado van Clean Feed Records uit Lissabon.

IMG_0071Het is een speciale ervaring eerst een concert te bespreken en dan de opname daarvan opnieuw te bespreken. In dit geval komen bij het beluisteren een aantal momenten en overgangen en de grote coherentie daarvan nog sterker eruit. Het versterkt hier de indrukken van de voorafgaande live belevenis tijdens het Jazz Festival van Lubjljana:

“The young Belgian piano trio De Beren Gieren, from Ghent, augmented with Porto, Portugal-based trumpeter Susana Santos Silva, was the real new thing of this year’s edition. Appealing, surprising, deft, exciting, convincing, funny (…). De Beren Gieren, (…) pianist Fulco Ottervanger, double bassist Lieven Van Pee and drummer Simon Segers (…) premiered a new program that the four musicians IMG_0148had worked on in residence the days leading up to its Ljubljana-premiere. It came into being through the joint action of Wim Wabbes, programmer at the Ghent venue Handelsbeurs, the festival’s artistic co-directors Bogdan Benigar and Pedro Costa, and the four musicians.

Its performance was a wonderful playful exercise in determining the indeterminacy of form by swirling through alternating states as velocity and retardation, hold and rush, rotation and rest, joined in and let go. At no time did the foursome lose ground. In beautiful oddness and airy heave it waltzed through its non-synchronized universe meeting the spirit of a great young guy from Vienna, composer Franz Schubert. The connection with Schubert could be drawn from the titles of the pieces, and the dynamics of the music could be seen as reinterpretations of the tempo gradations of ‘geschwind’ from Schubert’s famous trout piece. This nightly dance over a trout song was recorded and will be released on Clean Feed soon.” (All About Jazz)

http://www.writteninmusic.com/jazz/de-beren-gieren-susana-santos-silva-the-detour-fish-live-in-ljubljana/lang/nl/

Salt Peanuts review by Jan Granlie

CF314Zanussi Five – Live In Coimbra (CF 314)
Den norske bassisten Per Zanussi har de senere årene vært aktuell med en rekke prosjekter, bl.a. Trepass Trio med de to svenske musikerne Martin Kuchen (s) og Raymond Strid (dr), kvartetten Honeyleap med Klas Nevrin (p, zither), Øyvind Skabø (dr) og Fredrik Ljungkvist (s), Crimetime Orchestra, Asheim/Zanussi/Solberg, Jazzmob og danseprosjekter med Therese Markhus.

I tillegg til sin kvintett, Zanussi Five, har han også en utvidet versjon, kalt Zanussi 13, med 13 musikere fra Norge, Sverige og Finland.

Den “lille” utgaven av bandet består av saksofonistene Kjetil Møster, Eirik Hegdal og Jørgen Mathisen pluss trommeslageren Gard Nilssen, et skikkelig norsk stjernelag! All musikken er skrevet av Zanussi, og befinner seg i det moderne, akustiske landskapet.

Det hele starter med låta «Celestial» som er en neddempet og svært utypisk låt fra dette bandet. Men på andresporet, «Blood Flower» er man der man kjenner igjen bandet. Kjetil Møster drar av gårde slik vi kjenner han. De andre saksofonene kommer til med heftige riff, og bak det hele koker Gard Nilssen på sedvanlig vis.

Og slik fortsetter det. Heftig og riff basert musikk som får enhver konsertsal eller jazzklubb til å koke.

Sammensetningen av tre saksofoner er med på å gjøre bandsoundet spesielt, og når de «trår til» alle tre, med Zanussis myndige bass og Nilssens heftige trommespill, så er dette noe av det tøffeste man får i dagens jazz. Hvis du bare skal sjekke ut en låt, så sjekk tredjelåta «Hidden People». Når Eirik Hegdal «trøkker til» på barytonesaksofonen, så renner svetten av veggene.

Plata er innspilt i Saláo Brazil, Coimbra den 31. mai og 1. juni i 2013, sikkert som to jobber i løpet av en lengre turné, for det er lett å merke at dette er musikere som kjenner hverandre godt. De vet når man bør «sette inn støtet» og alle responderer på samme tid, noe som gjør musikken tett og interessant.

Zanussi Five er ett av de heftigste banda man kan høre på klubb i Norden i dag. Musikken til Zanussi fungerer også utmerket på plate! Anbefales!

http://salt-peanuts.eu/record/zanussi-five/

Odzven review by Andrej Hočevar

CF299Cene Resnik Quartet Live – From the Sky (CF 299)
Ko je Cene Resnik pred dvema letoma izdal prvenec Joyful Spontaneity, je s tem podčrtal resnost in predanost svojega ustvarjanja zadnjih nekaj let, ki se neizprosno osredotoča na avtorsko prečenje polja svobodnega jazza. Gesta je bila pomeljiva tako za Resnikovo lastno avtorsko razvojno pot kot tudi za okrepitev domače svobodnojazzovske stavbe, ki je prav z Resnikom v zadnjih letih dobila novo stebrišče. Letos, leta 2014, je Resnik z isto zasedbo, s katero je posnel že prvenec, izdal svoj drugi album, ki nosi naslov From the Sky in ga je v okviru niza Ljubljana jazz series izdala prestižna portugalska založba Clean Feed.

Ustvarjanje, kot ga razvija in na novem albumu še dodatno poglablja Cene Resnik, lahko resda opišemo kot svobodni jazz, vendar je ta oznaka toliko pomanjkljiva, kolikor je tudi pomenljiva. Ne glede na to, da je svobodni jazz seveda splošna oznaka, ki se že na ravni označevalca ne pusti dokončno uokviriti, pa jo lahko razumemo tudi v bolj zgodovinskem kontekstu glasbenega in v širšem smislu družbenega osamosvajanja. Tako tudi Resnikova glasba nedvomno korenini v žlahtni tradiciji svobodnega jazza, kot so jo razvijali glasbeniki od Johna Coltrana in Alberta Aylerja do Freda Andersona in Sabirja Mateena; in to je tradicija, ki jo nekatere sodobne svobodnojazzovske godbe nagovarjajo manj, druge bolj. V tem smislu je zato Resnikova glasba verjetno bližje omenjenim velikanom svobodnojazzovske tradicije kot pa, denimo, kakšnemu Kenu Vandermarku, Tonyju Malabyju ali Matsu Gustafssonu, če se omejim le na nekaj pihalcev. Glede na Resnikove pretekle nastope, ki sem jih uspel videti, lahko rečem, da je prav ta svobodnojazzovska tradicija tista, ki je Resnika simbolično sprejela in mu omogočila kar najplodovitejše razvijanje osebnega izraza.

Resnik je album From the Sky posnel s svojim že dobro podmazanim kvartetom, v katerem igrajo še violinist Emanuelle Parrini, kontrabasist Giovanni Maier in bobnar Aljoša Jerič. Album, ki je bil posnet v živo na ljubljanskem jazzovskem festivalu, prinaša svobodnojazzovsko godbo, zaznamovano z odločno dinamiko, ki jo Resnikov kvartet napolni s kar največjo ekspresivnostjo. Šest daljših skupinskih improviziranih kompozicij kvarteta v glavnem temelji na značilno surovi neposrednosti, katere energični zvočni izbruhi se zgolj občasno zlijejo v prepoznavne jedrnate melodije, ki pa jih zvočna celota hitro spet razburka in odplakne, da se v prepoznavni obliki le redko spet pojavijo na površju.

Zvočnost kvarteta črpa svojo izvirnost iz kombinacije bogate nakodranosti in močne vzvalovanosti. Resnikov izraz je mišičast in prodoren, v nekem smislu včasih celo robat in okoren, kar mu zagotavlja prepoznavnost in ustvarja toliko večjo napetost v polifoniji celote. Pravzaprav je kvartet kot celota slišati, kot da bi od notranjih napetosti kar pokal in brizgal v vse smeri. Resnikove saksofonske fraze se namreč v glavnem pojavljajo fragmentarno, kot improvizirano palimpsestno prekrivanje posameznih označevalcev, ki se v istem trenutku pojavijo, zradirajo in prepišejo, kar učinkuje kot grob rez v zvočnem tkivu celote. Ta učinek je še posebej slišen v mimogovorih Resnika in Maierja ali Resnika in Parrinija, saj predvsem Parrini s svojo divjo škripajočo violino podaja nepričakovane, fine zvočne iskre robovom Resnikovih grobih zvočnih potez.

Sicer se Resnik in Parrini občasno tudi srečata v spontanih spiralastih prepletih, vendar celota svojo najbolj prepričljivo izraznost črpa iz kontrastne hkratnosti štirih svobodnih glasov. Medtem ko Jerič zvočno tkivo z občutkom razteza in spet krči, se skupaj z vedno znova presenetljivo melodičnim Maierjem (kjerkoli sem ga doslej slišal, je bil odličen) ustvarja grobo grundirana podlaga, preko katere Resnik nanaša svoje debele monokromatične zvočne nanose, ki jim teksturo zagotavlja prav Parrinijevo izjemno bogato in domiselno škripanje. Kar pri tem šteje, ni toliko posamezna fraza, temveč njihova povezanost v gibki abstraktni ekspresionizem skupinskega izraza.

Z albumom From the Sky je Cene Resnik torej dokončno utrdil svoje mesto med našimi trenutno najbolj prepričljivimi svobodnojazzovskimi glasbeniki. In pri tem je toliko pomembnejše in tisto, kar najbolj prepriča, prav to, da svoj izraz razvija s predanostjo in neposrednostjo, a hkrati na tak način, da je njegovo sidro še dovolj blizu tradiciji, iz katere izhaja. Album namreč potrjuje pomembnost nians, ki svobodno godbo ločijo od svobodnojazzovske. To razlikovanje je Resnik s svojim kvartetom vzorno in individualizirano ponotranjil.

http://www.sigic.si/odzven/ponotranjeno-bistvo-svobodnega-jazza

All About Jazz Italia review by Vincenzo Roggero

CF294Eric Revis Quartet – In Memory of Things Yet Seen (CF 294)
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Nel corso degli anni la figura artistica di Eric Revis—giunto alla ribalta delle cronache jazzistiche per la lunga permanenza nel quartetto di Branford Marsalis, qui presente in due brani—è andata acquisendo i contorni di musicista che, pur senza la pretesa di cambiare le sorti del jazz, ne è diventato esponente di spicco, dalla consistente vena creativa e dal solido pensiero.

Testimonianza significativa di questa crescita, nel ruolo di leader come di interessante compositore, sono senza dubbio le incisioni per la portoghese Clean Feed. Dapprima il quartetto di Parallax, in equilibrio tra il modern jazz più innovativo—Jason Moran- ed il free aggiornato—Ken Vandermark -, poi il sorprendente piano trio di City of Asylum, con Andrew Cyrille e Kris Davis, infine ancora un quartetto, ma con un secondo sax a sostituire il pianoforte, per questo In Memory of Things Yet Seen…

http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/eric-revis-quartet-in-memory-of-things-yet-seen/

All About Jazz review by Mark Corroto

CF316Peter Brotzmann/John Edwards/Steve Noble – Soulfood Available (CF 316)
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Listeners often ask where to begin listening to the music of Peter Brötzmann. Recording for nearly 50 years (yes, five-0), he has amassed a discography that totals nearly 300 recordings. Do you start back in the Machine Gun days and his work with FMP, fast forward to Material and Last Exit or his grand projects, the Chicago Tentet and Sonore with Ken Vandermark and Mats Gustafsson?

The answer is that his career is like a river. While you cannot step into the Rhine, the Rhone or the Monongahela in the same place twice, any where you drop a needle or press play on a Brotzmann date is an immersion into the depths of his music. The live trio date is a fine place to start or continue, for that matter, with the Brotzmann experience.

This live date from the Ljubljana Jazz Festival in 2013 finds the saxophonist with the London improvisers John Edwards (bass) and Steve Noble (drums). Their very first meeting in 2010 is documented with The Worse the Better (Otoroku, 2012) and the trio also recorded a smoking set with the addition of Brotzmann’s dup partner Jason Adasiewicz (Otoroku, 2014).

The three scorch this nearly hour long set opening with Brotzmann’s trademark thunderous tenor sound. The saxophonist favors energy drummers and juggling bassists that can keep the musical balls constantly in the air. Edwards and Noble, who have been heard with Joe McPhee, Akira Sakata, Alan Wilkinson, and Lol Coxhill are certainly up for the task. The music is presented as a 43-minute title track and two shortish improvisations, is both primordial and Ellingtonian. Those seemingly disparate concepts make sense here. Brotzmann blows an untamed saxophone, b-flat clarinet, or taragato, as if it were the first notes ever sent forth. But he also crafts his improvisations not unlike a Duke Ellington suite. Segments of ferocity are contrasted by bluesy sections, and energy parts are set off against introspective passages. This recording should be compared to Songlines (FMP, 1991) with Fred Hopkins and Rashied Ali. Brotzmann displays just as much energy and perhaps even more creativity.

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/soulfood-available-peter-brotzmann-john-edwards-steve-noble-clean-feed-records-review-by-mark-corroto.php

All About Jazz review by Mark Corroto

CF307Adam Lane´s Full Throttle Orchestra – Live In Ljubljana (CF 307)
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In light of today’s economic hardships, jazz orchestras or more precisely innovative jazz orchestras are really only little big bands. When you cannot travel with two dozen musicians, a leader must recruit players who can project a synergetic sound that appears greater than the sum of their parts. Masters of the little big bands include Taylor Ho Bynum’s Sextet, Ken Vandermark’s various projects, including Audio One and Resonance Ensemble and Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra.

Lane’s outfit of seven to nine players (eight here) combines the best of traditional large group swing with what Lane calls live orchestration, where he allows the players to spontaneously arrange the music within rhythmic and melodic cells. Employing musicians that are all composers and leaders of their own bands, like trumpeters Nate Wooley and Susana Santos Silva, saxophonists David Bindman, Matt Bauder, and Avram Fefer, trombonist Reut Regev. This type of improvisation follows the work of Earle Brown and Anthony Braxton, and can also be heard in the modular improvisation approach of Vandermark’s and Peter Brotzmann’s ensembles. What distinguishs Lane’s variation is that he never abandons his rhythmic lines. Lane follows Duke Ellington’s aphorism, “it don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing,” and maybe better yet, Charles Mingus’ “better get hit in your soul.”

Lane, and drummer Igal Foni anchor this live date from 2012 with a firm control of the pulse. That allows for his front lines to explore and weave melodies and rhythms around his large shouldered themes. Each piece swerves, zags, and snakes according to the players’ choices, but never loses their orientation. The space he gives his players allows for the unique sound of say, Wooley’s trumpet on “Multiply Then Divide” and Bauder’s baritone sax on the opener. Mix into that bit of funk influence, retro-Strayhorn arrangements, and joyous music making and you have a happy crowd. Live In Ljubljana is the Full Throttle Orchestra’s fourth release, and where many listeners listed Lane’s previous disc Ashcan Rantings (Clean Feed, 2010) as one of the best recordings of the year, this disc may up that many to most.

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/live-in-ljubljana-adam-lane-clean-feed-records-review-by-mark-corroto.php?width=1024