Daily Archives: December 19, 2014

All About Jazz review by Mark Corroto

CF307Adam Lane´s Full Throttle Orchestra – Live In Ljubljana (CF 307)
****
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

Advertisements

All About Jazz review by Glenn Astarita

CF295Sei Miguel – Salvation Modes (CF 295)
****
Here, Portuguese trumpeter, composer Sei Miguel delves into his stockpile of older compositions that were seldom performed or recorded. And his customary, eccentric mode of operations is structured in an enticingly bizarre approach to jazz and jazz improvisation. On this release comprised of three extended tracks, the artist employs two quartets and a ten-piece ensemble as he crafts his attack with odd sound-sculpting metrics, minimalism, avant-space music, and paints liquescent hues atop placid rhythmic persuasions.

“Fermata” is the shortest piece on the album at 9:40 and features a strange alignment of instruments, evidenced by Andre Goncalves’ Hammond manipulation, Cesar Burago’s percussion and radio interference and Margarida Garcia playing or using something identified solely as, twin. With Miguel’s terse horn statements, the presentation intimates an otherworldly and slowly moving epic that could loosely pass for mechanical implements during a fabrication cycle.

Burago’s radio waves inject some blissful white noise underpinnings amid his asymmetrical tapping maneuvers using small percussion instruments. The band dishes out variable microtonal processes but Miguel eventually adds bluesy choruses into the mix, sparking a touch of realism along the way. Nonetheless, citing the avant-garde spectrum may be the easy way out when trying to categorize Miguel’s artistry. Regardless, he’s in a class of his own and possesses a distinctive pen. Sit back, relax, and let the music escort your senses to parts unknown.

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/salvation-modes-sei-miguel-clean-feed-records-review-by-glenn-astarita.php?width=1024

All About Jazz review by Troy Collins

CF301Pharoah & The Underground – Spiral Mercury (CF 301)
****
The formation of the Chicago Underground collective in the late ’90s provided cornetist Rob Mazurek with an unrestrictive setting to explore the endless possibilities of creative improvised music with his Windy City peers. A lengthy sojourn in Brazil followed, resulting in a similar project—the São Paulo Underground. Mazurek’s international activities subsequently established him as a prolific composer and industrious bandleader.

It was the release of Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey, 2008), Mazurek’s fortuitous collaboration with vanguard trumpeter Bill Dixon, that confirmed his credentials as a visionary avant-gardist. The equally enthralling Matter Anti-Matter (caught on tape in 2009 and issued by Rogue Art in 2013) followed, pairing the Orchestra with iconic AACM multi-instrumentalist Roscoe Mitchell. Recorded at the 2013 Jazz em Agosto Festival in Portugal, Spiral Mercury continues Mazurek’s practice of working with venerated masters, featuring members of the Chicago Underground and São Paulo Underground supporting none other than tenor titan Pharoah Sanders.

In contrast to the Rogue Art set, in which Mitchell was an invited guest, Pharoah & The Underground is a working band and Spiral Mercury is its debut, featuring Sanders as the primary soloist. Sanders’ infamously histrionic delivery has matured over the years into a burnished lyricism reminiscent of his former employer, John Coltrane, but his expressive potential remains undiminished, as demonstrated on the title track, where he unleashes spiraling cadences that ascend from plangent refrains to fervent multiphonic cries. Mazurek makes an apt foil for the revered saxophonist throughout the set, his protean versatility encompassing everything from coruscating fusillades to hushed motifs.

Underpinning the muscular frontline, Matthew Lux’s throbbing electric bass lines and Chad Taylor’s nimble trap set work provide pliant rhythms for Mauricio Takara’s amplified cavaquinho and Guilherme Granado’s analog synth ruminations, coalescing in a psychedelic bitches brew. The Dark Prince’s influence can be heard in the episodic drama of “Gna Toom,” whereas the mutant funk of “The Ghost Zoo” suggests an electro-acoustic reinvention of the New Thing’s torrid expressionism.

The majority of the program consists of extended variations on some of Mazurek’s most resilient tunes. In addition to the titular cut, which is culled from the Pulsar Quartet’s Stellar Pulsations (Delmark, 2012), the groove-laden “Blue Sparks From Her” originally appeared on the Chicago Underground Duo’s Synesthesia (Thrill Jockey, 2000), while the lively “Pigeon” and anthemic “Jagoda’s Dream” were first documented on São Paulo Underground’s Três Cabeças Loucuras (Cuneiform, 2011).

Masterfully balancing abstract concepts with accessible forms, Mazurek conveys his innovative experiments in an adventurous but approachable manner; this is music that truly sings the body electric. Even with its slightly raw live sound, Spiral Mercury is an excellent example of his oeuvre, fully realized by the vital contributions of his longstanding sidemen and one living legend.
Track Listing: Gna Toom; Spiral Mercury; Blue Sparks From Her; Asasumamehn; Pigeon; Jagoda’s Dream; The Ghost Zoo.

http://www.allaboutjazz.com/spiral-mercury-rob-mazurek-clean-feed-records-review-by-troy-collins.php?width=1024