Tag Archives: Birthmark

Tomajazz reviews by Pachi Tapiz

Clean Feed: en trío y en cuarteto
Tríos y cuartetos forman la oferta del sello portugués Clean Feed en su segunda entrega del año 2013. Propuestas mayoritariamente libre improvisadas en las que se muestran las múltiples caras, los múltiples enfoques que ofrece la creación instantánea.

CF 276El baterista Harris Eisenstadt publica The Destructive Element (CF 276) 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 272El trío formado por la francesa Sophie Agnel (piano), y los británicos John Edwards (contrabajo) y Steve Noble (batería) realiza una interesantísima inmersión en la libre improvisación en Meteo (CF 272). El disco, grabado en el festival del mismo nombre en Mulhouse (Francia), en agosto de 2012, incluye una única pieza de 38 minutos. Una decisión de edición, ya que igualmente podría haber sido troceada en múltiples temas. En las distintas partes los tres músicos muestran una capacidad de diálogo y de invención sencillamente asombrosas. Su música pasa por fases ambientales, abstractas, libres, intensas y suaves. También por el silencio, del que el trío renace mostrando nuevas caras de su capacidad para interactuar. Semejante discurso está al alcance de muy pocos.

CF 277City Of Asylum (CF 277) aparece editado a nombre del contrabajista Eric Revis (Branford Marsalis, Tabarby), aunque igualmente podría haberlo sido a nombre del trío Revis – (Kris) Davis – (Andrew) Cyrille. Salvo un tema de Revis (“Question), uno de Jarrett (“Prayer”) y el monkiano “Gallop’s Gallop”, los seis restantes son unas improvisaciones del trío que por momentos parecen composiciones salidas del papel pautado. Andrew Cyrille es toda una institución en la batería, algo de lo que deja muestras más que evidentes. Kris Davis, una de las mejores pianistas de la actualidad, brilla de principio a fin. Eric Revis es el titular de la grabación, pero únicamente de un modo nominal ya que el peso de la grabación se reparte equilibradamente entre los tres músicos, creando una obra con una coherencia musical sobresaliente.

CF 271Mirage (CF 271) es una grabación de improvisaciones en trío de Ellery Eskelin (saxo), Michael Formanek (contrabajo) y Susan Alcorn (pedal Steel gitar, instrumento habitual en la música country). En los temas más breves el disco transcurre mayoritariamente tranquilo y a medio tiempo, buscando y encontrando melodías. Esa contención (no tanto en la música sino en la duración) se rompe con el extenso “Downburst” (27 minutos), en el que el grupo no es capaz de mostrar mucho más de lo que logra en cada uno de los temas del resto del disco con duraciones de entre tres y cinco minutos.

CF 267Birthmark (CF 267) de la saxofonista danesa Lotte Anker y la fantástica pareja de músicos portugueses formada por Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano) y Hernani Faustino (contrabajo) es un toma y daca de gran intensidad, una sucesión musical llena de tensiones improvisadas, silencios y melodías crispadas muy bien resueltas. Por medio de estos músicos, y otros como el saxofonista Rodrigo Amado, el baterista Gabriel Ferrandini o la trompetista Susana Santos Silva la escena de la improvisación portuguesa demuestra una vitalidad envidiable.

CF 275Precisamente Susana Santos Silva es un tercio de LAMA, que completan Gonçalo Almeida (contrabajo) y Greg Smith (batería). Para Lamaçal (CF 275), su segunda grabación, registrada en directo en el portugués Portalegre Jazz Festival, contaron con la colaboración del saxofonista Chris Speed. Gonçalo Almeida es el autor de cuatro composiciones, mientras que Santos Silva, Almeida y Speed aportan una cada uno. “Anemona”, “Cachalote” o “Moby Dick” (nada que ver con la exhibición de John Bonham de los Led Zeppelin) son algunos de los momentos más logrados. En todos sus temas es tan importante la improvisación como la estructura sobre la que esta se desarrolla, la utilización ortodoxa de los instrumentos como la capacidad de explorar sus posibilidades sonoras.

clean feed made to break layout TEXTO DIFERENTE - ROJOCon Made To Break el saxofonista Ken Vandermark retoma y aúna las sendas abiertas con Spaceways Inc. (que posteriormente desarrolló con Powerhouse Sound) y FME (Free Music Ensemble). Su objetivo en este proyecto es improvisar a partir de unas composiciones modulares en las que los músicos tienen la posibilidad de elegir diferentes elementos. En su desarrollo se incluyen pasajes con un groove muy potente y contagioso con base funk, improvisaciones free en las que no se pierde de vista la melodía, y momentos más contemplativos. En este proyecto le acompañan el baterista Tim Daisy (compañero de Vandermark en mil aventuras musicales), el bajista Devin Hoff y el samplerista Christof Kurzmann.De los tres temas que componen Provoke (CF 273), grabado en directo en Lisboa, el que mejor muestra y engarza esa multitud de influencias es el dedicado a John Cage titulado “Further”. En los otros dos temas también se alternan pasajes contrastados, aunque muestran una menor variedad.

CF 269Desde el inicio de su trayectoria Clean Feed ha estado ligado al festival de Coimbra Jazz Ao Centro, al que ha dedicado la serie JACC dentro de su catálogo. Joe McPhee se une al Trespass Trio en Human Encore (CF 269), grabación registrada a lo largo de tres días en la ciudad portuguesa. En este CD se alternan las composiciones del saxofonista Martin Küchen con las improvisaciones del cuarteto. Esto motiva una variedad más que disfrutable que van del homenaje en formato free al be-bop (“A different Koko”), los aromas folklóricos de “In Our Midst” o “Bruder Beda ist nicht mehr”, el free-bop a tiempo medio (“A deserto n fire, a forest”) o el free propulsivo (“Coimbra, Mon Amour”).

Harris Eisenstadt September Trio: Destructive Element ****
Sophie Agnel, John Edwards, Steve Noble: Meteo *****
Eric Revis: City Of Asylum ****
Mirage: Mirage ***
Lotte Anker, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernani Faustino: Birthmark ****
LAMA + Chris Speed: Lamaçal ****
Made To Break: Provoke ****
Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee: Human Encore ****

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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.
http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=9471

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Jazz Magazine reviews by Stéphane Ollivier

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Le Son du Grisli review by Luc Bouquet

CF 267Lotte Anker/Rodrigo Pinheiro/Hernani Faustino – Birthmark (CF 267)
Les noirs desseins de Lotte Anker (saxophones), Rodrigo Pinheiro (piano) et Hernâni Faustino (contrebasse) résistent à s’exposer totalement. Il y a en eux du caché, de la pénombre. Comme si aurore et crépuscule refusaient que s’immiscent jour ou clarté. Il y a aussi de la menace dans leurs fondations, des regards gelés, des noires pulsions.

La violence est rentrée, parfois perfore l’écorce quand l’archet de la contrebasse se voit congédié au profit des sanglots d’un alto déclinant. Dans cet entre-deux (aurore et crépuscule donc), le trio se terre, préfère le scellé aux grandes orgues. Comme ces premiers sommeils où tout semble possible : l’égorgeur ou la belle aux bois dormants.
http://grisli.canalblog.com/

The New York City Jazz Record review by John Sharpe

CF 267Lotte Anker/Rodrigo Pinheiro/Hernani Faustino – Birthmark (CF 267)
Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker revels in the slow burn. For confirmation, just lend an ear to records like Live At The Loft or Floating Islands (both on ILK Music) by her trio with Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver to hear how she builds a soaring edifice from humble foundations. It’s a trait she shares with Portugal’s RED Trio who, in two acclaimed outings with saxophonist John Butcher and trumpeter Nate Wooley, demonstrate how they can absorb a radical stylist into their idiosyncratic group conception. Birthmark should appeal to fans of both outfits and make new converts besides, combining as it does Anker’s fluent husky musings with the spare but astute sound placement of pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro and bassist Hernani Faustino. In instrumentation, the threesome echoes Jimmy Giuffre’s pioneering ensemble of the seminal Free Fall (Columbia, 1964). And though she doesn’t play clarinet, Anker makes virtuoso use of some of the same split tone effects on her array of saxophones while maintaining a biting abstract lyricism. In that, she sets up a tension with the extended techniques of Pinheiro and Faustino. Subtle piano preparations accentuate the percussive nature of the keyboard while the bassist mines a wide range of timbres through insistent scrapes and scrabbling fingerwork, emphasizing the thwack of string against wood. Conversing through terse diction in a language of their own creation, they explore the expressive potential of line against tone. All seven cuts are collaborative constructs, characterized by a high level of sensitive interaction. “Golden Spiral” provides a case in point in the way ghostly soprano overtones merge with bowed harmonics and rubbed piano wires. After a tiptoeing sax/piano dance, the piece opens up for a wonderfully dark rippling interlude from Pinheiro, which shows that his armory comprises more than just novel textures. But that’s only one example among many on a set of chamber jazz that smolders throughout with dazzling intensity.

Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

CF 267Lotte Anker, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Hernâni Faustino – Birthmark (CF 267)
*****

Here is my rating overview of Lotte Anker albums on this blog :

– Live At The Loft (2009) : ***** – Floating Islands (2009) : ***** – Alien Huddle (2008) : ****

Here is my rating overview of RED trio albums on this blog : – RED Trio + Nate Wooley – Stem (2012) ; ***** – RED Trio + John Butcher – Empire (2011) : ****½ – RED Trio (2010) : ****

That’s a lot of five stars for a few albums. So, when Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker teams up with Portuguese pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro and bassist Hernani Faustino from RED Trio, you can bet that magic is the air. And yes, they deliver the goods. What more can I say, that yes, I am a little bit biased because I had the honor of writing the liner notes, which I reproduce below, which saves me the effort of writing a review. Intensity, lyricism, sensitivity and character guaranteed.

“Intensity, you cannot put your finger on it … though you know it when you hear it. Nervous tension, the creation of anticipation, the quick-turn changes, the effect of being in the moment, all three, at the same time, then adding a flowing continuity, building expectations, building tension, new expectations, new tension. What you hear surprises you, it captivates you, every note, every sound a story by itself. Listen to the slow shimmering tones of Lotte Anker, and the precise and cautious sparse piano notes that Rodrigo Pinheiro adds, accurate, without abundance, just the right few notes that make it work, the dark tones of Hernani Faustino’s bass, one accent here, another foundational color there. What is happening? You wonder … you wonder about the beauty you hear, the worlds that unfold behind your ears the images behind your eyes … enveloped in shimmering light, subtle yet dense, ephemeral yet solid … the space between substance … the nature of contrast. Intensity may be the result of paradoxes, a feeling of alienation combined with the comfort of recognition, the alienation of form with the recognition of emotion, the feeling that these light textures and joint instant lyricism reveal something known, a fleeting familiar feeling, implied but never stated phrases, melodies that evaporate before they become, images out of long-gone memories or images spontaneously arising, you don’t know, it is beauty offered. Intensity is about giving value to each note as part of a broader canvas, created together, with each little note valuable like glittering diamonds in a necklace, with silence acting as emptiness to emphasise the quality of the tone, the shade of the sound, their combined effect. Intense calm, controlled passion. Stretching tones on alto on arco with piano like raindrops piercing through fog. Skittering like bird song, fresh naïve and real, with somehow a menace in the background, something that might disturb, that might alter and it does, the mood changes, but somehow the structure doesn’t, still the skittering bird song, the piano the bass menacing, the bird song in distress. Ongoing surprise, unpredictability, deep experience. Don’t think while listening. Go with the sounds. Let go. Let yourself be surprised. You will be taken to strange places … intense and rich and authentic places”.
http://www.freejazzblog.org/search?updated-max=2013-05-19T06:00:00%2B02:00&max-results=10

Squid’s Ear review by Phil Zampino

CF 267Anker / Pinheiro / Faustino – Birthmark (CF 267)
The trio of Anker, Pinheiro and Faustino is a reunion of sorts, as all three are part of the Variable Geometry Orchestra, as heard in the 2007 Creative Sources release Still. As a smaller working group the three find common ground in abstract free improvisation, recording this exemplary album of distinctive playing. The Copenhagen-born, New York-based saxophonist Lotte Anker enjoys a diversity of settings, which includes the trio of Anker, Taborn, Cleaver, and the Mokuto Trio with Peter Friis Nielsen and Peter Ole Jorgens. Pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro and bassist Hernani Faustino are both members of Lisbon’s Red Trio, who bring a variety of tactics to contemporary improvisation, using abstract density and tangential lines that bring an interesting equilibrium to their work.

Bassist Faustino’s roots are as an electric rock bassist; in this trio setting his playing on the double bass, plucked and bowed, keeps a steady yet never frantic pulse while maintaing a healthy distance from obvious choices. Pianist Pinheiro works in clusters and long lines, creating circular structures that lead into interesting and unexpected avenues, often through complex and meticulous runs. Where Red Trio tends to plays quickly and percussively, here Pinheiros and Faustino are more subdued and introspective. The recordings appear on the surface to present more melodic interplay than is typically associated with these players, probably attributable to the influence of Lotte Anker’s playing. Anker is an expressive player, with a relaxed tone that reminds of Lee Konitz or Paul Desmond, though her strategies are much different. Her effortless playing belies the fierce technique and creative strength of her mind, heard in both short figures and extended runs, with beautiful melodic glimpses that resolve in elegant ways. Her playing takes this trio into territory that sounds restrained, yet on inspection is filled with intricate and expansive approaches to improvisation.

On the seven tracks of Birthmark all three players are intently listening, constraining wilder flights in favor of educated and confident discourse. “Golden Spiral” is the perfect example of this trio’s dialog, an extended work that gives ample time to each player. The work unfolds slowly, led by Faustino’s bowing work, while Anker slowly adds harmonic utterances and short crying tones that extend as Pinheiro introduces single tones, short rhythmic steps that push Anker forward; Pinheiro’s lower register playing is offset by Anker’s high tones, while Faustino maintains a low circular foundation, all three building tension. The playing increases in intensity without gaining speed, an interesting illusion that gains momentum with increased activity: Anker extending her lines, Faustino’s bowing becoming more forceful, and Pinheiro’s playing adding more complexity and range. The music becomes a subtle whirlpool, adding harmonic strength, and then unexpectedly dropping out for a solo section from Pinheiros, from which the piece builds again. This kind of exchange characterizes the trio, who provide space and support for each other without allowing the improvisations to become excessive or agitated. The music has a sort of delicacy, keen and astute, but never overbearing; it is a model of control and discipline while fascinating the listener with each player’s voice, and with their compelling conversation.
http://www.squidsear.com/cgi-bin/news/newsView.cgi?newsID=1553