Tag Archives: Gerry Hemingway

Improjazz review by Luc Bouquet

Musica Jazz review by Civelli

BASSDRUMBONE – The Other Parade (CF 223)
Sono sufficienti The Blue Light Down The Line (un gioco slow sugli stilemi del blues, dove Helias sospinge un Anderson in stato di grazia; dinamica e intesa in TheMasque) e la sovracarica ironia di KingLouisian per chiedersi come mai questi tre musicisti non siano assurti a status di grandi degli ultimi decenni. «The Other Parade»è il nono cd di Bassdrumbone, power trio nato nel 1977 con il nome di Oahspe (l’omo-nimo primo disco è ancora reperibile in vinile). Tutte le composizioni, figlie di una commisione ricevuta nel 2006 dalla Chamber Music America, non sono legate da un concept ma intrise di inter-play che in poco meno di un’ora non cala mai di tensione, in barba a generi e distinzioni stilistiche. Il tema di Soft Shoe Mingle spartisce qualcosa con C Jam Blues di Ellington e spiega un Anderson citazionista; Hemingway suona da manuale su RhythmGeneration (in realtà lo fa su tutto il disco) e da funky rockerlungo The Other Parade, costruito attor-no a un’accattivante idea melodica. Va menzionato il lavoro svolto in studio da Michael Brorby e Helias: presa e rifinitu-ra del suono sono impeccabili.

Giuseppe Segala´s Best of 2011 List – All About Jazz Italy

Ben Allison – Action Refraction (Palmetto Records)
Piero Bittolo Bon & His Original Pigneto Stompers – Mucho Acustica (Long Song Records)
Bobby Bradford – Mark Dresser – Glenn Ferris – Live in LA (Clean Feed)
Arrigo Cappelletti – Andrea Massaria – Nicola

Stranieri – Mat Maneri – Metamorphosis (Leo Records)
Gerald Cleaver – Uncle June: Be It As I See It (Fresh Sound/New Talent)
Franco D’Andrea – Sorapis (El Gallo Rojo)
Bill Dixon – Envoi (Victo)
Harris Eisenstadt – September Trio (Clean Feed)
Peter Evans – Ghosts (More is More)
Gerry Hemingway Quintet – Riptide (Clean Feed)
Fred Hersch – Alone at the Vanguard (Palmetto Records)
Taylor Ho Bynum – Apparent Distance (Firehouse 12)
Lee Konitz – Brad Mehldau – Charlie Haden – Paul Motian – Live at Birdland (ECM)
Ingrid Laubrock Sleepthief – The Madness of Crowds (Intakt)
Tony Malaby – Novela (Clean Feed)
Paul Motian – The Windmills of Your Mind (Winter and Winter)
Augusto Pirodda – No Comment (JazzWerkstatt)
Michel Portal – Bailador (EmArcy)
Starlicker trio – Double Demon (Delmark)
Craig Taborn – Avenging Angel (ECM)

Claudio Casanova´s Best of 2011 List – All About Jazz Italy

Agogic – Agogic (Table and Chairs)
Ben Allison – Action Refraction (Palmetto Records)
Tim Berne – Insomnia (Clean Feed)
Piero Bittolo Bon Jump the Shark – Ohmlaut (El Gallo Rojo)
Cline/Berne/Black – The Veil (Cryptogramophone)
Franco D’Andrea – Sorapis (El Gallo Rojo)
Miles Davis – Live in Europe 1967: The Bootleg Series – Vol. 1 (Sony Legacy) Endangered Blood – Endangered Blood (Skirl)
Erik Friedlander – Bonebridge (Skipstone)
Gerry Hemingway Quintet – Riptide (Clean Feed)
Louis Moholo-Moholo – Dudu Pukwana – Johnny Dyani – Frank Wright – Spiritual Knowledge and Grace (Ogun)
Mostly Other People Do the Killing – Coimbra Concert (Clean Feed)
Ivo Perelman Quartet – The Hour of the Star (Leo Records)
Red Trio + John Butcher – Empire (NoBusiness)
São Paulo Underground – Tres Cabeças Loucuras (Cuneiform)
Wadada Leo Smith’s Mbira – Dark Lady of the Sonnets (TUM)
Wadada Leo Smith – Heart’s Reflections (Cuneiform)
Starlicker – Double Demon – (Delmark)
David Sylvian – Died in the Wool (Samadhisound)
Dino Betti van der Noot – September’s New Moon (SAM Productions)

Enrico Bettinello´s Best of 2011 List – All About Jazz Italy

Tim Berne – Insomnia (Clean Feed)
Crisco 3 – You Can Never Please Anybody (Aut Records)
Franco D’Andrea – Sorapis (El Gallo Rojo)
Gerry Hemingway Quintet – Riptide (Clean Feed)
Julius Hemphill – Peter Kowald – Live at Kassiopeia (NoBusiness Records) Huntsville – For Flowers, Cars and Merry Wars (Hubro)
Bon Iver – Bon Iver (4AD)
Jaruzelski’s Dream – Jazz Gawronski (Clean Feed)
Steve Lacy – School Days (1960/3) (Emanem)
Domenico Lancellotti – Cine Privé (Malintenti)
Rob Mazurek – Calma Gente (Submarine Records)
Louis Moholo-Moholo – Dudu Pukwana – Johnny Dyani – Frank Wright – Spiritual Knowledge and Grace (Ogun)
Mostly Other People Do the Killing – Coimbra Concert (Clean Feed)
Mr. Rencore + Tim Berne – Intollerant (Auand)
Alfonso Santimone Laser Pigs – Ecce Combo (El Gallo Rojo)
São Paulo Underground – Tres Cabeças Loucuras (Cuneiform)
Starlicker – Double Demon (Delmark)
Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 2 (Constellation)
Vincenzo Vasi – Braccio Elettrico (Tremoloa Records)
Moritz Von Oswald Trio – Horizontal Structures (Honest Jon’s)

JazzWord review by Ken Waxman

BassDrumBone – The Other Parade (CF 223)
Thewes/Oestreich – 10 Pieces (Gligg Records)
Contemporary trombonists’ command of multiphonics as well as more conventional techniques has made their playing more versatile. But it’s still a rare trombonist who is confident enough to have his as the only horn in any sort of ensemble. Two who face the challenge admirably are American Ray Anderson, one-third of the 33-year-old BassDrumBone band and German Christof Thewes, part of numerous Continental combinations. The Schiffweiler-based brass man has given himself an even tougher assignment than Anderson. For while the Yank has long been partnered by bassist Mark Helias of New York and drummer Gerry Hemingway, who now lives in Luzerne, 10 Pieces is a CD of stark improv involving Thewes and bassist Jan Oestreich from Saarbrücken. Still, surprisingly or not, both CDs come off as equal, demonstrations of trombone triumphs.

A veteran bull fiddler, Oestreich has played with everyone from vocalist Joe Lee Wilson to saxophonist Archie Shepp, while Thewes has played with the Globe Unity orchestra and Uli Gumpert’s Workshop band as well as in smaller ensembles with pianist Uwe Oberg and drummer Michael Griener. However in essence, this particular duo session is designed to showcase the timbral strategies of each player and demonstrate how instantaneously each can respond to what his opposite number creates.

For instance, “Piece 9” joins stop-time linear movements from the ’bone man with walking bass lines which appear after Oestreich has demonstrated his guitar-like string twanging. Soon Thewes accelerates to brassy, triple tonguing spits while simultaneously slurring adagio-paced basso timbres back into the horn`s body tube. Before a coda of staccato brass bites, the two recap the head in unison. In contrast, tracks such as “Piece 2” and “Piece 3” points out how Thewes’ plunger tone shakes respond to the bassist stretching his lines with a mixture of spiccato and shuffle bowing, guiding Oestreich to woody angled string pops on the subsequent track, which are met by an equivalent rappel up the scale with tongue stops, slurs and splutters from the trombonist. Finally, as Oestreich slaps the waist and belly of his instrument, the duo reveals a polyphonic theme that sounds as if it just wandered off the TV from the soundtrack of a Cop show.

By the last piece the trombonist and bassist have worked out a formula that allows them to switch parts back and forth with effort. Widely reverberating bass lines turn to subtle string stretching as Oestreich’s steadily thumps, then these string expressions are bisected by Thewes’ staccato bites and slides. Later the trombonist’s emphasized cries leaves enough open space for great, woody bass slaps from Oestreich, although shortly afterwards the bull fiddler’s combination string stretching and percussive vocalizing are decorated by rubato brays and tongue slurring from the brassman. Probably the most spectacular example of Thewes’ skill however is on “Piece 7”, where multiphonics make it seem as if he’s playing two horns at once. There are speedier and restrained plunger sequences which are interrupted by slower, mid-pitched basso tones. Eventually the wheezes and fortissimo cries multiply to such an extent that both brass lines appear to be moving at the same time.

If there’s another trombonist even more cognizant of what a slide, tube and valves can do then it’s Anderson. One of the first brass players not affiliated with any school, throughout the years he’s added the freak effects of pre-modern soloists to the technical smarts of the Boppers … and gone beyond even that. More than an instrumental virtuoso, he also composes pleasing themes, as he proves on The Other Parade. However compositional duties aren’t limited to one trio member, as all demonstrate throughout.

Hemingway’s sophisticated percussion adds another color to the kind of interaction Thewes and Oestreich exhibit on the other CD, but the drummer is sensitive enough to keep each side of the triangle balanced. On Anderson-penned “Lips and Grits” and “King Louisiana”, for instance, his clatter, snaps, beats and cymbal claps are close cousins to Classic Jazz, with the New Haven-born percussionist suggesting the drumming of New Orleans’ Baby Dodds. Helias’ slap bass trading fours with the drummer’s rim shots at the climax of “King Louisiana” admirably fit this post-modern conception, as do the bassist’s stentorian thumps à la Pops Foster throughout both pieces. Meanwhile the trombonist mixes up his capillary expression. Sometimes it’s back-of-the-throat sputters and rubato wah-wahs, other times his bass register guffaws stay in that clef, as chromatic spits that could come from a cornet are also heard.

These variants of Old Timey and New Thing ideas further separate this trio from the other duo. On careful listening however, it’s evident that Anderson is stretching trombone timbres the same way as Thewes does on the other CD, although in the song form rather than as stark New music expositions. “The Blue Light Down the Line”, the feature Helias composed for Anderson, illuminates this still further. As Hemingway stays in the background with light taps and the bassist stretches and vibrates his strings rhythmically, the trombonist moves from vocalized hand-muting to gutbucket shading, to constricted grace notes, and finally to a capella guffaws and shakes.

The Hemingway-penned title track and concluding track put a finer point on all this, with the jocularity of other tunes traded in for a mournful theme, reminiscent of a Second Line or Mummer’s funeral parade. Not in march tempo however, the bass and drum parts harmonize in such a way to move the piece forward linearly, as the trombonist purrs and buzzes first quickly than moderato. The finale matches an expansion of metallic brass textures and martial rat-tat-tats.

Should folks still doubt that trombones can’t carry their own weight musically in stripped-down situations, a quick listen to either of these CDs should change minds very quickly.

Squid´s Ear review by Florence Wetzl

Gerry Hemingway Quintet Riptide (CF 227)
A quintet with two horns and a rhythm section is a classic jazz lineup, and drummer Gerry Hemingway has long been enamored of this traditional form. In fact, for the past twenty-six years, Hemingway has reformatted his quintet several times, with earlier members including notable musicians such as clarinetist Don Byron, trombonist Ray Anderson, and bassists Mark Dresser and Ed Schuller. The latest incarnation of his quintet features Oscar Noriega on alto sax and clarinets, Ellery Eskelin on tenor sax, Terrence McManus on guitars, and Kermit Driscoll on acoustic bass and electric bass guitar. Their new release Riptide is a joyful CD full of beautiful music, nine multi-textured compositions by Hemingway that shine bright as the sun.

A few songs deserve special mention. The title track “Riptide” is extraordinary: the song starts off with wild, rollicking energy that does in fact sound like the sea, a clattering of shells in a swirl of liquid energy. It’s an interesting arrangement where the horns provide steady accents and the guitars stretch and dance over them. All the soloists cut loose, with the saxes bending and soaring on bold, shifting runs, and the guitar and bass unfurling deep discordant chords, urgent and wild and tidal.

“Meddle Music” is a fabulously funky tune. Again it’s an interesting arrangement, with McManus keeping a steady drone under the horn’s tight front line. After the initial melody, the song breaks into a kind of abstract funk, with Hemingway and Driscoll shifting the rhythm at will. For those who enjoy the power of the electric guitar, McManus’ solo is a powerhouse; he cuts loose and dives into discordance and feedback with complete freedom.

The CD’s special gem is the tune “Backabacka.” Liner note writer Brian Morton calls the music “heterodox kwela,” referring to the South African street music known for its skiffle-like beat. The song has a spritely melody and a light, playful swing, and all the musicians play their hearts out. It’s an immensely pleasing song that radiates pure joy; this is the one to play on a rainy day when your spirit needs a boost.

In addition to the excellent music, mention must be made of the insightful liner notes by Brian Morton, who is perhaps best known for his work on the Penguin Guide to Jazz series. Here Morton shows everyone how it’s done, weaving a charming narrative that helps the listener to listen and appreciate the music at hand.

Hemingway’s quintet is certainly capable of a multitude of moods and genres, and altogether Riptide is a rich, unusual CD, a treasure of sounds and rhythms and dancing lines. And Hemingway proves once again that tradition doesn’t necessarily mean stale, witness the fresh breath he infuses into this classic jazz lineup.

Tory Collins Best of 2011 List at All About Jazz

Compiling end of the year lists is never easy. Considering the quantity of recordings issued during a year, attempting to mention every noteworthy session would result in a list of epic proportions. These few albums are a cross-section of some of the best modern jazz released in 2011, highlighting sophisticated new developments in composition and improvisation—from coast to coast.

New Releases

Taylor Ho Bynum Sextet – Apparent Distance (Firehouse 12)
Kermit Driscoll – Reveille (Leo)
FAB Trio – History of Jazz in Reverse (TUM)
Vinny Golia Octet – Music for Baritone Saxophone (Nine Winds)
Rich Halley Quartet – Requiem For A Pit Viper (Pine Eagle)
Joel Harrison String Choir – The Music of Paul Motian (Sunnyside)
Gerry Hemingway Quintet – Riptide (Clean Feed)
Jason Kao Hwang Edge – Crossroads Unseen (Euonymus)
Darius Jones Trio – Big Gurl (Smell My Dream) (AUM Fidelity)
Nicole Mitchell – Awakening (Delmark)
Ivo Perelman Quartet – The Hour of the Star (Leo)
David S. Ware, et al. – Planetary Unknown (AUM Fidelity)

Paris Transatlantic review by Michael Rosenstein

Gerry Hemingway Quintet – RIPTIDE (CF 227)
From the mid 80s through the mid 90s, Gerry Hemingway put out a series of seminal recordings, melding the collective strategies he had developed as part of Anthony Braxton’s quartet with the sense of loose-limbed free swing honed with players like Ray Anderson, Mark Helias, George Lewis, Wadada Leo Smith, and other members of the burgeoning New Haven scene in the late 70s. Starting with the long out-of-print Outerbridge Crossing and on through a series of releases on Hat Art, Random Acoustics, and GM Recordings, Hemingway built a distinctive approach to small-group composition, making use of captivating metrical layering, snaking melodic threads, and plenty of room for collective improvisation. Core to that concept was a stable band with Michael Moore, Wolter Wierbos, Ernst Reijseger, and Mark Dresser. Since then, Hemingway’s pulled together various bands with musicians like Ellery Eskelin, Herb Robertson, Frank Gratkowski, and Mark Helias; while all have had their high-points, none have quite gelled like earlier recordings. With this newest ensemble, Hemingway has once again found that group alignment. Oscar Noriega (on alto sax, clarinet, and bass clarinet) is paired with Eskelin’s tenor, and Kermit Driscoll is on board playing acoustic and electric bass; but the big change is the inclusion of guitarist Terrence McManus, whose contributions move from gentle washes to spiky, overdriven skronk. The group attacks the leader’s themes, moving from lush voicings to angular counterpoint, collectively pushing an elastic approach to the pieces’ harmonic and rhythmic structures. There’s a song-like quality to Hemingway’s writing and that often comes to the fore, as on “Gitar”, which uses percolating cross-rhythms across a backbeat to support the reed players’ arcing lines, until things open up for a driving guitar solo full of cutting distortion. There’s also a marked nod to kwela groove throughout, on “At Anytime”, “Holler Up”, and “Backabacka”. The recording is meticulously paced, the pieces seguing into each other in suite-like fashion, with a perfect balance between collective improvisations and thoughtfully-wrought solos. Let’s hope Hemingway can keep this crew together for a while.

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Gerry Hemingway Quintet – Riptide (CF 227)
Gerry Hemingway has been deftly mixing it up on drums with some of the most accomplished new jazz artists for years. He has a new album out with his quintet, Riptide (Clean Feed 227), and it shows how he is a jazz composer and bandleader of note as well. First, the quintet itself: along with Gerry on drums are a formidable two-reed tandem of Oscar Noriega and Ellery Eskelin, the electric guitar smarts of Terrence McManus, and the acoustic and electric bass of Kermit Driscoll.

It’s a date filled with good improvisations, sometimes collective with horns and guitar taking the front line, sometimes individual. The compositions are excellent frameworks for the band, devoid of cliche. There is some space in the music for Kermit and Gerry’s good feel playing to come through as well.

If you want some idea what the music sounds like. . . it has the long in-and-out group oriented development of DeJohnette’s classic New Direction days and some of Tim Berne’s ensembles at their best. The 13 minute “Gitar” and its segue into “At Aytime” is a good place to hear the fully stretched and limber group going at it for a long loose straight-time midtempo feel that turns to swingtime towards the end. This is just an example of the ensemble’s strengths: they listen to one another and compliment what is going on while articulating the compositional elements along the way. There’s a spacey balland and by the time you get to “Meddle Music” things are into a free rock groove that has some nicely out McManus guitar work. “Backabacka” combines free ska with minimalistic repetition in quite interesting ways.

Well that’s enough of the highlights to give you an idea. Strong music in the in-and-out zone, fully contemporary, that’s Riptide for you. There’s enough electricity from McManus’ guitar and Kermit’s bass guitar in some segments to break up the acoustic qualities that predominate and set them off.

It is a fascinating and fun ride. Gerry Hemingway comes through as a bandleader and the band comes through as a band. What more? Hear this one, most definitely.