Tag Archives: Apparitions

All About Jazz Italy review by Vincenzo Roggero

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)
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Se mai ce ne fosse ancora bisogno, questa incisione conferma Tony Malaby come un gigante tra i sassofonisti della generazione dei quaranta/cinquantenni. Troppo spesso considerato musicista per musicisti o side-man di lusso nonostante una manciata di album a proprio nome di tutto rispetto, Malaby in questo Voladores mostra tutto il suo valore di compositore, di solista e di leader.

Nel suo sax tenore è condensata, sintetizzata e sublimata al meglio la storia dello strumento, che sa essere morbido e caldo ma anche aspro e tagliente, ortodosso e timbricamente ordinato ma anche debordante e fuori dalla tonalità, contrassegnato da una fluidità naturale debitrice dei tenoristi del periodo d’oro ma anche capace di spigolosità improvvise, salti di registro, ed esplorazioni estreme, figlie del free storico.

Rispetto ad Apparitions il suo album del 2003 che vedeva una simile formazione, l’organico subisce una minima ma significativa variazione. Michael Sarin viene rimpiazzato da John Hollenbeck che oltre alla consueta maestria alle percussioni mette in campo una poco conosciuta abilità nel giostrare tra marimba, vibrafono, xilofono e melodica. Tutto l’impianto armonico, timbrico e ritmico della musica di Malaby ne trae gran beneficio, allargando il ventaglio espressivo con un salto di qualità davvero significativo.

In Voladores convivono brevi improvvisazioni, organizzate attorno a minuscole idee timbriche, e brani più strutturati, costruiti su un giro di blues o su una cellula melodica e poi portati su altri lidi dall’inventiva e dalla visione prospettica dei musicisti coinvolti. Il tutto partendo da “Homogenous Emotions,” brano di Ornette Coleman mai registrato in precedenza eseguito come il Coltrane del dopo “A Love Supreme”.

Come dire, “a buon intenditor poche parole…”
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=4933

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Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions in an Impressive Outing

I am guilty. I have not paid enough attention to the tenor and soprano work of Tony Malaby. And so when I first put his new album Voladores (Clean Feed) on the player for a spin, I really didn’t know what to expect. What I got was an impressive recital from his group Apparitions, which is Tony along with the always interesting Drew Gress on bass plus drummer Tom Rainey and drummer/percussionist/malletman John Hollenbeck. There are eleven pieces, one by Ornette, three group improvisations and the rest Malaby originals.

The tracks provide a stimulating framework for the improvisations that Apparitions quite convincingly put across. The free-oriented ensemble of the two busy drummers, Drew’s rangingly dynamic bass and Malaby give density but not clutter to the sound stage. What most impresses is Malaby’s improvisations. He has a sureness, especially on tenor, and a fluidity of line that put the emphasis on musical creation. He does not sound like anybody but he phrases with the confidence of a Trane. He can string together some startling sixteenth-note runs, then hang back and lather up some rich, sultry Ben Websterish effusions, then dive into multiphonic tears. And he has masterful control over the sounds he produces. Listening to this disk will make a believer out of you. A believer, that is, in the importance of Tony Malaby in the many-acred pool of crafty manipulators of the horn of plenty (or of scarcity, depending who is playing)!

Seriously though this is one headlong plunge into first-notch improvisation, from a group that one could no doubt listen to in an evening’s worth of sets and emerge energized and refreshed. Nice job!
http://gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com/

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)
En la carrera de Tony Malaby hay dos caras. Por una parte la del sideman, ese saxofonista que participa en múltiples grupos y que aparece en gran cantidad grabaciones. En el otro lado está la del líder, con una carrera que si bien va poquito a poco (Voladores es la séptima grabación a su nombre), cuando lo hace, da pasos de gigante. En 2009 los dos que ha dado (el otro es Paloma Recio) son enormes. Para Voladores, su grabación en Clean Feed y segunda de la formación Apparitions, aparecen convocados tres pesos pesados. Repiten el enorme Drew Gress al contrabajo y Tom Rainey a la batería. Respecto de la primera grabación homónima del grupo fechada en 2003, Michael Sarin es sustituido por John Hollenbeck, que a la batería añade otros instrumentos percusivos como marimba, xilofón, vibráfono o glockenspiel, así como melódica. En los once temas (siete de Malaby, tres improvisaciones del cuarteto, y “Homogenous Emotions”, un tema inédito en forma de grabación de Ornette Coleman) Tony Malaby logra plantear unos temas de estructuras abiertas y espaciosas, perfectos para las improvisaciones del cuarteto que los llena de detalles, y en los que el grupo logra mantener la tensión desde el principio hasta el final. Aunque es un placer disfrutar con el trabajo de los cuatro músicos (tanto al frente en forma de solos o dúos, como en un segundo plano en un trabajo que no por menos callado es menos importante), lo es especialmente con Malaby (que está particularmente incisivo en ciertos momentos), y con Drew Gress, que se luce a las cuatro cuerdas y también con el arco.
http://www.tomajazz.com/bun/2010/01/tony-malabys-apparitions-voladores.html

Jazz and Blues review by Tim Niland

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)
With many albums and side-man appearances over the past few years, saxophonist and composer Tony Malaby has become one of the busiest and most interesting musicians on the contemporary jazz scene. He’s also developed a relationship with the adventurous Portuguese label Clean Feed, which is the perfect home of a musician who’s horizons are ever expanding. On this album, he is joined by Drew Gress on bass, Tom Rainey on drums and John Hollenbeck on percussion. Highlights of the album include the very exciting “Old Smokey” which develops into a frenetic and engrossing improvisation. Texture is very important to this group and they explore a wide range of musical colors and feelings. On “Dreamy Drunk” they move a weaving and lurching melodic statement to a coherent and at times belligerent improvisation. “Sour Diesel” also develops a momentum that is unstoppable. This was an exciting album that has wide ranging vision and explores a lot of interesting musical territory.
http://jazzandblues.blogspot.com/2010/01/tony-malaby-voladores-clean-feed-2009.html

All About Jazz review by Jeff Stockton

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)
Since arriving in NYC about 15 years ago,Tony Malaby, through a series of fortuitous (and well-chosen) associations (including Marty Ehrlich and Mario Pavone, among others) as well as spots in Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra and William Parker’s Little Huey Orchestra, has proven himself an adroit sideman, whether the concept is tilted toward the avant garde or aimed straightahead. Since his debut fronting a quartet in 2000, he has demonstrated himself to be a daring leader on a variety of small-group saxophone projects.

One of those early associations was with drummer Tom Rainey who anchors the rhythm section with bassist Drew Gress on Voladores, a session that might otherwise be a run-of-the-mill trio affair if not for the presence of John Hollenbeck, who’s credited with percussion ranging from traps to “small kitchen appliances.” Malaby calls his band Apparitions and, aside from the opening track, an Ornette Coleman composition, the band is elusive in their attack. They pump on “Old Smokey,” but the tune’s stuttering tempo and touches of marimba and vibes create a dreamy atmosphere. On “East Bay” the mood is set with Gress’ arco bass and Malaby’s soprano. But on tenor, Malaby doesn’t let up, whether dirty on the title cut or relentlessly inventive on “Dreamy Drunk,” he is as convincing and fresh a voice as there is on the scene.
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=35018

Citizen Jazz review by Julien Gros-Burdet

Tony Malaby’s Apparitions – Voladores (CF 165)
Tony Malaby est un infatigable serviteur de la musique. Que ce soit comme invité [1] ou sous son nom [2], il multiplie les apparitions discographiques, toujours avec bonheur, sans parler de ses très nombreuses prestations scéniques, tant aux États-Unis qu’en Europe.

Sorti en fin d’année 2009, Voladores est le second album de son quartet « Apparitions », après l’album éponyme (2003). Voici un groupe à la configuration originale, puisqu’il inclut aux côtés des sax du leader et de la contrebasse de Drew Gress, deux percussionnistes : Tom Rainey et Mike Sarin (Apparitions) puis John Hollenbeck (Voladores). L’apport de ce dernier, de ses nombreuses percussions (batterie, xylophone, vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel) et de son mélodica ouvre le champ musical du quartet. Déjà présent sur Warblepeck [3]), Hollenbeck [4] s’avère être le parfait complément du batteur tentaculaire et coloriste qu’est Tom Rainey et de la contrebasse assurée et élégante de Gress.

Apparitions incarne ce que peut-être un parfait équilibre à l’intérieur d’un quartet. Ainsi entouré, Tony Malaby nous offre un nouveau chef-d’œuvre : sa sonorité majestueuse, exceptionnelle de profondeur, son lyrisme déchirant et son étonnante faculté de construire ses solos dans l’instant comme de véritables compositions – « Instant Composer » est une expression inventée pour lui – illuminent la musique de Voladores. « Homogeneous Emotion », un inédit d’Ornette Coleman, semble avoir été composé par/pour lui tant il se l’approprie magnifiquement. Sur les autres pièces, toutes signées Malaby sauf trois improvisations collectives, on est frappé par la circulation de la musique, la complémentarité des musiciens et la cohésion de l’ensemble, mais aussi par la cohérence du propos, particulièrement remarquable dans les improvisations et bien sûr les lignes qui se croisent entre le saxophone et soit la contrebasse (« Dreamy Drunk »), soit les percussions, soit encore le mélodica (« Old Smokey », « Sour Diesel »).

Faculté rare, Malaby sait perpétuellement réinventer des motifs rythmiques et mélodiques qui restent longtemps dans notre mémoire. Il semble survoler le trio qui le seconde, et pourtant, il y a longtemps que Drew Gress n’avait pas été aussi bon : son jeu limpide est, ici, la pierre de voûte. Quant au batteur Tom Rainey, partenaire régulier de Malaby et entendu avec les plus grands [5], c’est un véritable mélodiste à la frappe reconnaissable entre mille. Enfin, dernier arrivé mais non moins indispensable, John Hollenbeck nourrit et enrichit de sa quincaillerie percutante ce groupe qui, avec Voladores, nous offre un des sommets de 2009.

[1] On a ainsi pu l’entendre avec Denis Colin sur l’épatant Subject To Change, au sein du quartet de Stéphane Kerecki, qui a signé le magnifique Houria ou encore sur le premier album de John Hébert, Byzantine Monkey.

[2] Deux albums en 2009 : Paloma Recio paru chez New Worlds Records et Voladores publié par Clean Feed.

[3] Songlines – 2008.

[4] Qui a également accueilli Malaby au sein de son Large Ensemble pour A Blessing et Eternal Interlude.

[5] Dave Douglas, Tim Berne, Mark Helias, Fred Hersch ou encore Herb Robertson pour n’en citer que quelques-uns.

http://www.citizenjazz.com/Tony-Malaby-s-Apparitions.html

Jazz Blog reviews by Peter Hum

Labels we love VI: Clean Feed

A while back, my fellow jazz journalist *** musician *** dayjobber Bernard Stepien professed to me that he was much better schooled in the avant-garde music of the 1960s and 1970s, and much less conversant with today’s shape of jazz to come. My response to him was: “You should check out what’s on Clean Feed.”

That’s the name of a prolific, nine-year-old Lisbon-based record company, recognized as a leading label by the post-free jazz connoisseurs. According to the Clean Feed website, its 150 recordings are “innovative contemporary jazz projects that can make a difference, building a catalogue that will be internationally recognized by its quality and coherence.” Today, I’ll consider three recent Clean Feed discs, which are admittedly a very small sample to take the measure of the label. 

In addition to recordings by many lesser known but accomplished North American and European players, Clean Feed has released several discs by some of the avant-jazz scene’s established players. Among them is Things Have Got to Change, from reedman and composer Marty Ehlrich. He’s a multi-instrumentalist in his mid-50s who writes for and performs in a variety of instrumentations, and his collaborations with such Association for the Advance of Creative Musicians (AACM) stalwarts as  Muhal Richard Abrams, Leo Smith and Leroy Jenkins go back to the late 1970s. Ehrlich’s Clean Feed disc finds him limiting himself to playing alto saxophone and leading his Rites Quartet, which includes trumpeter James Zollar, cellist Erik Friedlander and drummer Pheeroan Aklaff, all established and admired players in the segment of the jazz community where playing on changes and grooving hard meld with departures from harmonic constraints and other colourful flourishes. Things Have Got to Change consists of five Ehrlich compositions and three by his avant-jazz elder, the saxophonist Julius Hemphill. Throughout, the music is filled with simpatico and vivid expression, as the moods change from tranquil to jagged to urgent to funky — it often feels celebratory.

The disc’s first two tracks are engaging, medium-tempo free-boppers — Rite Rhythms is driven by Friedlander’s groovy ostinato and Aklaff’s minimalist percussion, while Dung, an unrecorded Hemphill composition,  swings as Friedlander plucks quarter notes. Ehrlich and Zollar are both riveting players, alternating liquid lines and piercing cries. Some Kind of Prayer is naturally more sombre, with Zollar’s horn muted and Friedlander picking up his bow for Ehrlich’s hymnal theme. After On the One’s austere bowed cello introduction, Ehrlich and Friedlander state the song’s theme and spin bracing, intertwined melodies. Hemphill’s Dogon A.D. blends odd meter and dissonance with gutsy blues and funk.

I’m very much enjoying the hard-rocking, imaginative and evocative disc Voladores  from Tony Malaby’s Apparitions. Malaby’s a saxophonist in his mid-40s whose combination of brawn, tenderness and unfettered creativity has landed him gigs with John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band and other impeccablly inside-and-outside-the-box groups. Malaby’s group Apparitions includes three extremely versatile musicians — bassist Drew Gress, drummer Tom Rainey and drummer John Hollenbeck, who plays not just drums but also marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone and vibraphone, melodica — a whooshy mood-maker in his hands — and even “small kitchen appliances.” As you would expect, the music is always richly textured.

Malaby’s disc is continually delightful, with a masterful mix of direct playing and structural surprises, primal melodies and deep, yet intriguing grooves. The musicians are extraordinarily connected — the evocative music feels less like a parade of solos and more like a succession of group passages, even as Malaby and company tinker with our expectations in terms of how the songs evolve (The standard arcs for a song’s flow of intensity don’t apply on Voladores — and that’s a good thing.) Sour Diesel, Old Smokey and Los Voladores  in particular pack an appealing blend of earthy rhythms and mystery and ought to woo discriminating alt-music listeners. I especially like the programmatic pleasures of Dreamy Drunk, with its slow, baleful beginning giving way to an echo-enhanced stretch of drum-n-bass, which in turn yields to a surprising, rocking conclusion.

Equally brash and mysterious  — despite its title — is Canada Day, from drummer Harris Eisenstadt, a New York-based Canadian expat. Eisenstadt’s joined by trumpeter Nate Wooley, tenor saxophonist Matt Bauder, vibraphonist Chris Dingman on vibraphone and bassist Eivind Opsvik for a set of originals. While these players may be lesser known, they’re do-it-all musicians to a man, balancing sophisticated harmonic playing with more timbrally motivated sounds to create some mighty expansive music. Given this lineup of instruments and how the musicians choose to play them, it’s hard not to think of such mid-1960s inside/out classics as Eric Dolphy’s Out to Lunch and Jackie McLean’s Destination Out as big-time influences. However Eisenstadt’s music has a contemporary cast too, especially on the fractured funk of After an Outdoor Bath. That track features some especially expressive, hyper-vocal tenor work from Bauder that to me brings to mind both Wayne Shorter and Sam Rivers. Not to be out done, Wooley incorporates sputtering, wheezing and screeching into his solo, to fine effect. Kategeeper is a jumpy, angular, broken funk groover that keeps tensions high. More tranquil and spacious, although nonetheless foreboding, is Eisenstadt’s Halifax. 

That’s a live version of Sentinel, a slow and heavy Masson composition that appears on his quartet’s CD Thirty Six Ghosts. Joining Masson are Colin Vallon playing electric piano, acoustic bassist Patrick Moret and drummer Lionel Friedli for a set of tunes that pull ever so naturally from free jazz, rock, pop to create a wonderfully disorienting blend. Like the North American musicians mentioned above, Masson and his countrymen are intrepid sonic explorers. The disc’s opener, Sirius, supplies emotional complexity from the get-go, with Masson spins melancholy and increasingly urgent lines over floating electric piano chords, burbling bass and clattering drums and cymbals. Le Phasme  is a slow, spare, altered-state song with a patient, shimmering solo by Vallon setting up a cresting turn by Masson. Hellboy is dense, messy, funky and chunky, with Vallon uncorking long lines and distorting his machine’s sound before Masson joins him for the angular theme. Bermuda is all about mixed-meter mysteries, with just a hint of blues, thrown in. Closing the disc is Yurel a plaintive rock ballad — its directness and unabashed lyricism leaven one’s listening after the darker preceding tracks.

Finally, I’ll mention Palace Ghosts and Drunken Hymns, from the Will Holshouser Trio, joined by the Portuguese pianist Bernardo Sassetti. Holhouser’s a New York accordionist, who has been working with trio-mates David Phillips on bass and trumpeter Ron Horton for a dozen years. Their collaboration with Sassetti is the most tuneful of the Clean Feed discs I’m considering today, riddled as it is with strains of folk and classical chamber music. But there’s edginess and lots of improvisatory gusto as well, not to mention plenty of timbral awareness. I like the stately tinge of Danca Palaciana and playfulness of Dance of the Dead. Department of Peace is an understated but moving ballad filled with clear, rich harmonies and Horton’s affecting, pure horn — a song in search of a foreign movie.

In a bit of cross-platform collaboration, I’ve handed these discs, as well as others by Clean Feed, to Stepien, who will be playing selected tracks on Rabble Without A Cause, his CKCU radio program, tonight (Jan. 13) at 11 p.m. Click here to catch the show on the Interweb.
http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/jazzblog/default.aspx