Tag Archives: Matt Turner

Temporay Fault review by Massimo Ricci

SCOTT FIELDS ENSEMBLE – Fugu (CF 171)
These pieces were initially created with the intention of providing substance for a choreography by Li Chiao-Ping, whose dancers apparently couldn’t manage to follow the material’s erratic metres well enough to actually bring the proposed collaboration to a completion. Providentially the sounds remain, and they’re refined as much as necessary to stand alone for regular CD-fuelled consumption. The leader shows a superb command of nylon strings alternating disobedient clusters, asymmetrical rasgueados, swinging impertinence and poetic linearity depending on the circumstance. The lyrical counter altar is represented by cellist Matt Turner, who often steals the spotlight with the daydreaming rigour of his beautiful tone, finely complemented by vibraphonist Robert Stright’s shimmering unselfishness. An outstanding rhythm section – Geoff Brady on percussion, John Padden on double bass – provides a pulse that is full of zip but never petulant, contributing to the dismemberment of potential lassitude – a constant peril both in jazz and any kind of music conceived for dance. Fields confirms himself to be a name to keep an eye on all the time, especially when analyzing the way in which he frequently relinquishes a role of guitar-wielding protagonist while privileging a considerable transparency in the overall design, in turn cleverly enriched by a magnificent stability in the composed/improvised ratio.
http://temporaryfault.blogspot.com/2010/04/late-april-medley.html

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The Wire review by Daniel Spicer

Scott Fields Ensemble – Fugu (CF 171)
Chicago guitarist Scott Fields originally wrote this music to accompany a dance piece and, though it was recorded in 1995, there’s a definite mid-20th century feel to it, redolent of interpretive dance and abstract expressionism. That’s got a lot to do with Robert Stright’s vibraphone – the sound of a wittily raised eyebrow – which can’t help echoing Bobby Hutcherson’s twitchy mallet work on Eric Dolphy’s Out To Lunch from 1964. The Dolphy comparison also extends to Fields’s spry storytelling, with episodic compositions such as “A Carrot Is A Carrot” unfolding like tartly amusing character studies. There is seriousness here, too, and Matt Turner’s cello – played largely straight and sonorous – lends the pieces a plaintive gravity. When his solos fly off into wilder, free regions, recalling Joel Freedman’s mid-1960s work with Albert Ayler, it’s like a tuxedo being ripped open, Hulk-style, from within.

Tom Hull reviews on his blog

Sei Miguel – Esfingico (CF 170)
Trumpet player, b. 1961 in Paris, lived in Brazil, based in Portugal since 1980s, lists 9 records (not counting this) on his website, going back to 1988 (AMG has one, not this). Plays pocket trumpet here, a nice contrast to Fala Mariam’s alto trombone. The other credits are Pedro Lourenço (bass guitar), Cesár Burago (timbales, small percussion), and Rafael Toral (some kind of electronics: “modulated resonance feedback circuit”). Rather schematic, and a bit on the short side (39:56), but he’s onto something that might be worth exploring. B+(**)
Jorrit Dijkstra: Pillow Circles (CF 166)
Dutch saxophonist, plays alto and lyricon, has 10 or so albums since 1994, based in Boston. This is an octet with a few American names I recognize — Tony Malaby, Jeb Bishop, Jason Roebke, Frank Rosaly — and a few Europeans I don’t. With viola and guitar/banjo, plus three users of Crackle Box (“a small low-fi noisemaker invented by Dutch electronic musician Michel Waisvisz”). Only instrument that registers much for me is Bishop’s trombone. Otherwise I find it vaguely symphonic, swooning in swirls of slick harmony, but somehow it grows on you. B+(*)

Fight the Big Bull: All Is Gladness in the Kingdom (CF 169)
Virginia big band, was 9 pieces last time, now 11-12, with Steven Bernstein the big name pick up. Erstwhile leader is guitarist Matt White, who wrote most of the pieces, save two from Bernstein and an old Band song (“Jemina Surrender”) that Bernstein arranged. Sometimes it seems like their main trick is to kick up the volume; sometimes it works really well. B+(***)

RED Trio – RED Trio (CF 168)
Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, with Hernani Faustino on bass, Gabriel Ferrandini on drums. First album, I think. Based in Portugal, although Ferrandini was born in California, his father a Portugese from Mozambique, his mother an Italian-Brazilian he picked up along the way. Pinheiro plays prepared piano, making the instrument more percussive than melodic. Faustino’s bass sounds like he’s monkeying around too. The result is more avant noise than piano trio. I find it refreshing and exhilarating. A-
Kirk Knuffke – Amnesia Brown (CF 167)
Trumpet player — website announces he plays cornet now, but credit here is trumpet; originally from Denver, based in New York since 2005; has a bunch of new/recent records, including a duo with Jesse Stacken on Steeplechase, plus several trio records with various lineups. This trio includes Doug Wieselman on clarinet and guitar and Kenny Wollesen on drums. Wieselman’s guitar is surprisingly effective. His clarinet provides a contrasting tone which sometimes slows things down, but they mostly mix well. Nice artwork, although the back is impossible to decipher. B+(***)

Scott Fields Ensemble – Fugu (CF 171)
Chicago guitarist, has a couple dozen albums since 1993, of which this original 1995 recording was his second, brought back on a new label. Group wobbles between Matt Turner on cello and Robert Stright on vibes, the former slowing things down and sapping them up, the latter bristling with energy. Group also includes bass and percussion. Fields has some very nice runs, and the vibes are terrific. B+(**)
http://www.tomhull.com/blog/archives/1354-Jazz-Prospecting-CG-23,-Part-6.html

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Scott Fields Ensemble – Fugu (CF 171)

Scott Fields and Chamber Jazz Interplay, 2010 Style

Some music is just not trying to be in your face. It’s music that has a somewhat refined sensibility, and it is quite serious about that it sets about doing. That would be nylon guitarist Scott Fields’ new record in a nutshell. Fugu (Clean Feed), brings Fields together with a chamber improvisation ensemble of Geoff Brady, percussion, John Padden, acoustic bass, Robert Stright, vibes, and Matt Turner on cello. This somewhat unusual instrumentation and the music it plays reminds slightly of the old Chico Hamilton ensembles that had the cello-bass-guitar-drums-winds configuration, but only because this is music of a cooler temperature, dialogic construction and similar instrumentation. It is chamber improvisation of a tonal sort and it does not feature individual pyrotechnical displays. Beyond all that though this is music of today.

There are compositional elements but the group improvisation concept is at the forefront. It’s not a head-solo-head sort of structure. Melodic and harmonic motives come in and out in the collective mix. And always there is a feeling of spontaneity and an almost classical dialogue. There are freely phrased passages and also regularly pulsating time segments. All the musicians are interesting and contribute to the total effect, which has the feeling of some friends getting together for what turns out to be a most stimulating conversation.

This is music that needs attentive listening. It is unusual and quite intricate. Oh, and Scott Fields plays some very interesting lines. A good listen. . .
http://gapplegateguitar.blogspot.com/

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

Scott Fields Ensemble – Fugu (CF 171)

Fugu: un tesoro escondido de Scott Fields
Fugu es uno de los primeros trabajos grabados por Scott Fields a su nombre. Fue Publicado en su momento en Geode Records, la discográfica del propio Fields, para desaparecer posteriormente del mapa. Tal y como ha ocurrido en alguna otra ocasión puntual, el sello portugués Clean Feed lo ha puesto de nuevo en circulación.

Los cinco temas de Fields, que aparecen acompañados de unas liner notes que en su intento de ser graciosas no tardan nada de pasar a ser un tanto pesadas, permiten disfrutar del magnífico trabajo del guitarrista tanto en la composición como en los arreglos. A pesar del aire camerístico de los temas (a lo que ayuda la presencia de tres instrumentos de cuerda, con el violonchelo tomando un papel preponderante a lo largo de toda la grabación y con Fields aplicándose en la guitarra eléctrica con cuerdas de nylon), en ellos hay espacio abundante para unas improvisaciones y unas interacciones magníficas por parte de los cuatro músicos. En grabaciones de tal nivel es difícil señalar algún tema en particular, aunque si tuviera que elegir alguno bien podría ser el que da título a la grabación, “The Plagiarist” que es donde se alcanza la máxima tensión del disco, o “A Carrot Is a Carrot”, el más extenso y con aire un tanto melancólico.

Fugu es un nuevo acierto de Clean Feed. En este caso no por el camino de las novedades, sino por el de las reediciones. Es todo un placer poder disfrutar de pequeños tesoros escondidos, hasta ahora, como éste.
http://bun.tomajazz.com/2010/03/fugu-un-tesoro-escondido-de-scott.html

Free Jazz review by Stef

Scott Fields Ensemble – Fugu ( CF 171)
****½

Guitarist Scott Fields fits in his own musical category, trying to reconcile new music with jazz elements, inventive with musical structures and patterns, yet with an end result that is often very (too) cerebral and abstract. This album uses the same complexities, with odd meters and changing time signatures, and somehow it all seems to fit and work perfectly well. It was originally written for the dance ensemble of Li Chiao-Ping, and already released in 1995. From what I understand from the somewhat tiring liner notes is that the piece was never performed, and you can understand why, when listening to it.

That being said, the music is beautiful. Scott Fields plays nylon-string guitar, Matt Turner cello, Geoff Brady percussion, John Padden double bass and Robert Stright vibraphone. The shifting meters and the chamber-like ensemble perform with precision and clarity, keeping the music open-textured and thematically relatively free, despite the structure, that, implicit though it is to the listener, creates a sense of release when the puzzle pieces falls into place.The improvisations are excellent, and it’s a pleasure to hear Fields playing guitar in a relatively straight-forward way, especially on “The Plagiarist”, a very nervous and uptempo piece. The rest of the band is absolutely great, with the sound combination between the cello and the vibes working extremely well. On the long “A Carrott Is Not A Carrott”, the interaction between Turner’s cello and Fields’ guitar is full of sad melancholy, the interplay between cello and walking bass on “Fugu” a pleasure, as is the careful precision play between vibes and percussion.

A real treat, and an excellent idea to make this music available again.
http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/