Tag Archives: Igal Foni

Paris Transatlantic review by Stephen Griffith

Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra – ASHCAN RANTINGS (CF 203)
What’s different about this two-disc set that should attract more attention than the previous two largely ignored offerings by this nonet version of Adam Lane’s “orchestra”? Maybe the presence of household names (at least in the miniscule number of households that listen to this music) like reedist Avram Fefer and trumpeters Nate Wooley and Taylor Ho Bynum. Maybe the lack of skronky electric guitars that bolstered the overt Motörhead influences that sent purists scurrying to the safety of their Ken Burns sets (although once the leader has lulled them into complacent acceptance with the lush arrangements on the first disc, he breaks out his fuzzbox midway through the title cut on the second). Or maybe it’s the haunting sense of familiarity of the excellent original compositions, two of which were featured on a prior quartet date Four Corners. Whatever the reason, it deserves your attention.
The Mingus influence was clear in the first recorded incarnation of the group, No(w) Music on Cadence Jazz Records, but, despite the lack of a piano, never has it been more evident than here, whether in the prominent placement of Lane’s bass in the mix or his pugnacious squaring-off with soloists throughout. But the influences are significantly more varied: the opening arrangement of “Imaginary Portrait” recalls the more recent David Murray Octet, and “Desperate Incantations” begins with a South African lilt before Lane prods the duelling trumpets of Wooley and Ho Bynum into a frenzy. “Nine Man Morris” sounds like a large group arrangement of an early Braxton fractured motif until Lane slows things down for a Tim Vaughn trombone feature. Top drawer stuff.

Music and More review by Tim Niland

Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra – Ashcan Rantings (CF 203)
The spirit of the great bassist and composer Charles Mingus looms large over these recordings, no small feat for a scrappy band of musicians trying to record large scale music in a difficult economic environment. The powerful and well integrated group consists of Lane on bass, Avram Fefer on alto saxophone, David Bindman and Matt Bauder on tenor saxophone, Igal Foni on drums, Reut Regev and Tim Vaughn on trombone and Taylor Ho Bynun on trumpet. It’s a compact and powerful unit that attacks the music with great verve, getting a wide variety of musical color in their palette. The artistic analogy comes through nicely in the opener, “Imaginary Portrait” where lush horns open over bass and drums, before strong trumpet comes to the fore over propulsive riffing. Bass and trumpet have their own section, exploring the dynamics of the music. “Marshal” slows things down with a spare and longing feel to the music. Lane’s elastic bass centers the ebb and flow of the subtle atmosphere. The free-ish and raw “Nine Man Morris” is very exciting, with the group playing the music fast and loose, and the bass providing a pivot point for the swirling horns, notably a killer tenor saxophone solo. As good as that performance is, “House of Elegant” catches them at their peak, with the full band coming out strong on the theme, and then sparking superb sax and trumpet interludes. Lane takes center stage on “Ashcan Rantings” with an excellent bowed bass solo (he takes another on “Sienna’s Slip Jig”) leading the group into a mid-tempo performance on an ominous riff. Grinding electronics distort the music as they delve into a wild and unfettered improvisation. This is a lengthy album, but it never dulls and becomes akin to a fascinating story, unfolding its narrative over time. The octet configuration suits the music perfectly and the band members all go above and beyond in the creation of a wonderful and creative album.

Point of Departure review by Troy Collins

Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra  – Ashcan Rantings (CF 203)
Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra has undergone considerable personnel changes since their 2007 debut, New Magical Kingdom (Clean Feed). For Ashcan Rantings, Lane’s original electro-acoustic septet has been replaced by a horn-heavy nonet (saxophonists David Bindman, Avram Fefer and Matt Bauder, trumpet players Nate Wooley and Taylor Ho Bynum, trombonists Reut Regev and Tim Vaughn, and drummer Igal Foni), with the leader’s occasionally amplified contrabass now the sole electronic instrument in the mix. Inspired by his studies with composer Earle Brown (renown for his improvised conduction method), Lane encourages his band members to create spontaneous orchestrations from predetermined melodic and rhythmic cells during thematic development sections, lending a vivacious unpredictability to his traditionally notated charts.

Expounding on his lavish themes and throbbing bass lines with ebullient verve, the band follows Lane’s mantra, espoused in the liner notes: “Regardless of its sonic character, it is music that is meant to be joyful to the ear and uplifting to the soul.” Channeling avant-blues fervor into spirited statements, Lane’s crew uses a variety of mutes and extended techniques in service of raw, soulful expressionism, updating past innovations with a modernistic flair. Lane deftly deploys the musicians, staging numerous cadenzas, duos and trios for soloists to convey their statements in more intimate settings, such as Wooley and Bynum’s coruscating trumpet exchange on “Desperate Incantations” and the expansive title track’s blustery trombone dialogue between Regev and Vaughn.

Clocking in at just over an hour and a half on two discs, the date contains a wealth of sonic diversions, from the austere lament introducing the otherwise jovial opener “Imaginary Portrait” to the jubilant collective coda of the euphonious closer “Bright Star Calyspo.” Although the hypnotic Middle-Eastern modality of “Marshall” contrasts with the regal Ellingtonian voicings that dominate the session, the brooding futuristic title track ranges even further afield, pitting Lane’s squalling, feedback-laced bass against Bauder’s bellowing baritone. Embracing numerous stylistic precedents, the schizophrenic “House of Elegant” juxtaposes avant-garde abstraction and streetwise funk, while the luxurious ballad “Lucia” exudes a different ambience entirely.

Carrying on the big band tradition with genuine conviction and steadfast leadership, Lane establishes himself as part of a continuum that includes such revered bandleaders as Charles Mingus, Muhal Richard Abrams and David Murray. An endlessly revealing set, Ashcan Rantings is easily one of the best records of the year.

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Adam Lane Returns with a Rather Stunning “Ashcan Rantings”

Adam Lane Full Throttle Orchestra – Ashcan Rantings (CF 203)
Adam Lane is not only one of the superb bassists of his generation, he is also a formidable composer and bandleader. The latest edition of the large Full Throttle Orchestra and the new 2-CD set Ashcan Rantings (Clean Feed 203) shows all of this in abundance. Full Throttle is a kind of mini-big band with seven horns, bass and drums. Nate Wooley and Taylor Ho Bynam on trumpets and reedmen Avram Fefer-Matt Bauder are probably the best known of the lot, but everybody plays an important role in the proceedings.

Basically the music on this fine set has an out-front Lane as the effectively weighty anchor for all that transpires. There are wonderfully voiced horn lines, spirited ventures into straight-eight, swing, balladic choral, and freetime feels and arrangements that set off and balance the solos in a near-perfect symbiosis.

Everyone clicks, everything works and Mr. Lane gives us an album that exemplifies what contemporary jazz is all about when it’s done right: it’s in turn exciting, accomplished and both well-conceived and in-the-moment. If you buy only ten jazz albums this year, this might well be one you should include on your list.

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

Adam Lane’s Full Trottle Orchestra – Ashcan Rantings (CF 203)
O novo CD da Full Throttle Orchestra (FTO) é uma desilusão. Não me interpretem mal: é um bom disco. Só que, depois de No(w) Music (Cadence) e New Magical Kingdom (Clean Feed), da FTO não se esperam “bons discos”, mas música que deixa o ouvinte virado pelo avesso e um pouco chamuscado. “Full throttle” significa “a todo o gás” e o septeto do contrabaixista Adam Lane, uma improvável síntese de Charles Mingus e Sonic Youth, estava à altura do nome. As expectativas para Ashcan Rantings eram altas, pois a FTO, inteiramente renovada, alinha agora os trompetistas Nate Wooley e Taylor Ho Bynum (quantos grupos podem dar-se a este luxo?), os saxofonistas Matt Bauder, Avram Fefer e David Bindman, os trombonistas Tim Vaughn e Reut Regev, e o baterista Igal Foni, tudo músicos de elite, quase todos líderes dos seus próprios grupos e quase todos representados no catálogo da Clean Feed.

Todavia, raramente a música de Ashcan Rantings atinge a intensidade, densidade, urgência e tensão das perorações de outrora. E não há virtuosos dos sopros que possam substituir a guitarra vitriólica de John Finkenbeiner, que era um alicerce do som da FTO. Também a escrita de Lane perdeu em foco e originalidade e não é coincidência que os melhores temas do novo disco sejam material “antigo”: “House of Elegant” vem de No(w) Music, “Ashcan Rantings” e “Lucia” foram escritos para o projecto 4Corners. Nas notas do CD, Lane explica que passou a delegar parte da direcção da FTO nos músicos, durante as secções improvisadas – e conclui-se que a democracia participativa deu em frouxidão. Acrescento uma hipótese para explicar a perda de gás: a de Ashcan… ter sido gravado por um grupo “ad hoc”, talentoso mas sem as necessárias horas de rodagem em conjunto.

Goddeau review by Guy Peters

Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra – Ashcan Rantings (CF 203)
2010 is aardig op weg om een freejazzjaar te worden dat in het teken staat van de middelgrote bezettingen. Angles deed het als sextet (en klonk als een big band), Eisenstadt deed het al met een nonet op Woodblock Prints en ook Lane’s vers samengestelde Full Throttle Orchestra laat zich nu kennen als een negenkoppig monster dat erin slaagt om een waanzinnig hoog niveau aan te houden.

Ashcan Rantings is een dubbelcd. Dat is vaak een goeie indicatie van overmoed of overdaad, maar de consistentie van deze schijfjes, samen goed voor een kleine honderd minuten muziek, is ronduit indrukwekkend. Van het orkest waarmee Lane No(w) Music (2001) of New Magical Kingdom (2006) opnam is intussen niemand meer overgebleven, maar de band die hij hier heeft ingeschakeld is wel van een heel bijzonder kaliber. Er werken niet minder dan zeven blazers aan mee, stuk voor stuk jonge talenten die bijna allemaal gerekend worden tot de grootste virtuozen op hun instrument: saxofonisten David Bindman, Avram Fever en Matt Bauder, trompettisten Nate Wooley en Taylor Ho Bynum en trombonisten Reut Regev en Tim Vaughn. Verder zijn er dan nog Lane op bas en Igal Foni (meneer Regev) op drums.

Lane laat in de aanstekelijke liner notes al een en ander los over zijn aanpak, die uiterst virtuoos de grens tussen compositie en improvisatie bewandelt, een grens die weinig bands zo boeiend weten te houden. Daarbij wordt doorgaans een beginstatement gemaakt, waarnaar vaker wordt teruggegrepen, ook op het einde. Daartussen zitten ritmische en/of melodische cellen, die gebaseerd zijn op die thema’s, en waarop de solisten hun ding kunnen doen. Ze kunnen inkleuren, maar ook bijsturen en zo de hele band een andere richting laten inslaan. Klinkt allemaal erg abstract en theoretisch, maar daar valt niets van te merken: Aschcan Rantings is een album dat vooral opvalt door zijn coherente sound en stijl, door zijn eenheid en niet te stuiten flow.

Alles wordt meteen duidelijk vanaf “Imaginary Portrait”, dat van start gaat met een statige aanzet met en knap arrangement dat haast van Eisenstadt had kunnen komen. Opvallend ook wat een enorme klankkleur er in deze bezetting schuilt en hoe zorgvuldig die geluiden op mekaar gestapeld worden. Dat spelen met en variëren op kloeke ’thema’s is ook iets dat we al bij Angles hoorden, maar hier gebeurt het allemaal iets verfijnder en gedoseerder. Er wordt misschien net iets minder geteerd op het buikgevoel en de blote emotie van de Scandinaven, maar ook hierin zit er soul, groove, voel je de blues, de swing, de humor en de joie de vivre. Dit is levende muziek die voortholt met een grijns, zowel in de collectieve stukken als tijdens de solomomenten, die er in overvloed zijn van alle betrokkenen.

Regev laat meteen horen hoe ze er in slaagt om een notoir moeilijk en stug instrument als de trombone toch te doen dansen. Daartoe krijgt ze ook de kans in het erop volgende “Marshall”, meteen een van de hoogtepunten van de plaat. Het begint allemaal erg melancholisch, triest zelfs, met slepend klarinetwerk van Fever, maar dan komt dat kernthema en ga je pas compleet voor de bijl door die filmische meeslependheid, die spanning opdrijvende baslijn van Lane, die Ellington in slow motion. Muziek uit een imaginaire film noir: verleidelijk, donker en sexy. Bindman steekt er een mooie solo in, maar het is Regev die met de pluimen mag gaan lopen als het contrast tussen haar solo en het slinks teruggekeerde thema zorgt voor een ondraaglijke spanning. Machtig mooie muziek levert het op.

En eigenlijk kan je àlle songs afgaan, van het trompetduel in “Desperate Incantantions”, tot de forse aftrap van “House Of Elegant” (ook al te horen op het album uit 2001) — al de songs hier hebben hun momenten. De eerste twee nummers van CD2 (de titeltrack en “Lucia”) waren al eerder te horen op het 4 Corners album (met o.a. Ken Vandermark), maar worden hier gepresenteerd in nog sterkere versies met grotere dynamiek. Mooi om te zien dat er heel coherente statements volgen en dat er toch eentje is die afwijkt van de regels: zijn negen songs tussen 8 en 12 minuten lang, dan haalt “Mahler”, het enige stuk zonder solo’s, niet eens de helft. En afsluiten wordt dan weer gedaan met “Bright Star Calypso”, een song met een verrassend hoge popfactor die zonder schaamte kiest voor melodische pracht en in al z’n aandoenlijkheid haast doet denken aan het werk van Bill Wells met Mahar Shalal Hash Baz.

Hoewel het duidelijk een andere en meer verfijnde plaat is dan Epileptical West van Angles, valt toch op dat je een vergelijkbaar evenwicht tussen traditie en avontuur, tussen souplesse en kracht, tussen klasse en emotie krijgt voorgeschoteld. Ashcan Rantings laat horen dat Lane een uitstekend componist is, eentje die zich bovendien heeft omringd met een enorm getalenteerd zootje, dat van dit dubbelalbum een meeslepende reis gemaakt heeft waar de spelvreugde voelbaar vanaf spat. Eentje om in te lijsten.

Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

Adam Lane’s Full Throttle Orchestra – Ashcan Rantings (CF 203)

Wow, what an album! From the very first notes, you’re sucked into jazz history, full of Africa, full of blues, with the interplay and the soloing of the highest level throughout. Adam Lane writes in the liner notes that “this is fun music, designed to uplift the spirit and bring the listener and performer to a more joyful place than they (we) were before”, and believe, it more than delivers on that objective.

The band is Adam Lane on bass, Avram Fefer on alto sax, David Bindman on tenor and soprano sax, Matt Bauder on tenor and baritone sax, Igal Foni on drums, Reut Regev and Tim Vaughn on trombone, Taylor Ho Bynum and Nate Wooley on trumpet.

The themes are compelling, starting with funeral march-like first piece, “Imaginary Portrait”, with African influences as on “Marshall”, or Ellingtonian as on “Nine Man Morris”, but the blues is all-pervasive, with great highlights in the quieter parts, as on the duet between Lane and Nate Wooley in the first piece, or Lane’s intro to “Desperate Incantations”. Despite the composed parts, the larger part of the music is improvised, over structural and rhythmic cells. Two of the compositions, “Ashcan Rantings”, and “Lucia” already figured on Lane’s “Four Corners” CD.

The solos are wild at times, bringing the music far beyond any concept a big band might have, with sometimes two or three musicians overlapping. giving expansive and expressive power to the already strong drive and pulse.

Lane himself is in full control of what is happening with his bass underpinning everything without limiting the band. The sound quality of the bass is absolutely exceptional too, with a kind of forefront presence that works really well.

The great paradox about this magnificent music is like the blues itself : it sounds so sad and melancholic at moment, so sweeping with “weltschmerz”, sometimes so full of distress and anger, but the totality is so deeply emotional and full of joy that it’s hard to describe. Lane’s gut-wrenching and heart-rending intro of the title track says it all. The only piece that is joyful by itself is the last one, “Bright Star Calyspo” (sic), which collapses into wild and rhythmless soloing, before bringing the album to its great finale.

And it all fits, and there are no weak moments, not in the compositions (some of them, like “Mahler” will stick to your brain for a while), not in the interplay, not in the soloing. And you get your money’s worth on top with this double-CD’s more than ninety minutes of absolute musical delight. Adam Lane knows and feels and lives music. So far, all of his albums were among my favorites of the year, but this one is superb.

Man, man, man – this is music I will still listen to with joy in a couple of decades and recommend to my great-grand-children. (They will for once stop listening to the electronic rhythmic bleeps that some new device will integrate directly in the auditory part of their brains, they will for once stop being totally disinterested in the ashcan rantings of their great-grandfather and listen in awe to the great acoustic music of the past).

Highly recommended.