Tag Archives: Ray Anderson

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.

All About Jazz Italy review by Paolo Peviani

Ricardo Gallo’s Tierra de Nadie – The Great Fine Line (CF 209)
Valutazione: 4 stelle
Il progetto Tierra de Nadie, del pianista colombiano Ricardo Gallo, trae ispirazione da un pensiero di Julio Cortazar, riportato nelle note di copertina dell’album, che afferma che “la musica è una terra di nessuno, un territorio in cui quel sottile confine che separa i generi, e le identità nazionali/razziali, si fa sempre più labile. Un pensiero più che condivisibile, di cui Ricardo Gallo si appropria per dare origine ad un album che ingloba al suo interno i molteplici linguaggi del jazz. Le note presenti sul sito della Clean Feed parlano di riflesso della condizione globale di quella musica che noi chiamiamo jazz, di una sorta di folklore immaginario, chissà quanto consapevolmente rispetto al significato di questa locuzione nel jazz europeo (e pensare che la Clean Feed è un’etichetta portoghese!).

Senza scomodare parallelismi azzardati e a nostro modesto parere poco calzanti, preferiamo parlare di un album che spazia con impeccabile coerenza tra mainstream avanzato e profumi latino-sudamericani (soprattutto riscontrabili nel pianoforte del leader), tra qualche turbolenza free (con cui si apre – e a nostro avviso in modo fuorviante – l’album) e dolcissime ballads.

Brani ben scritti, melodie convincenti, pedali ritmici accattivanti, intrecci tra trombone e sax (soprattutto soprano) deliziosi, sezione ritmica incisiva … Molto bene!

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.

Tomajazz reviews by Pachi Tapiz

En 2011 el sello Clean Feed cumple su décimo aniversario. Con más de 200 referencias publicadas, un año sí y otro también aparece destacado en las votaciones anuales entre los mejores sellos del año correspondiente en revistas y medios especializados.

Daniel Levin – Inner Landscape (CF 224)
En la primera mitad del año de su aniversario ha publicado ya una decena de referencias, entre las que hay unas cuantas grabaciones destacadas. Inner Landscape es un disco en solitario de Daniel Levin. El chelista es uno de los músicos que se podría calificar como habitual del sello en los últimos meses con grabaciones publicadas del Daniel Levin Quartet o apareciendo como colaborador en otros grupos (Ivo Perelman Quartet). Inner Landscape recoge seis improvisaciones que más allá del fruto de la inspiración instantánea en el momento de la grabación suponen un proceso de reflexión y maduración. El disco está grabado en dos sesiones en Nueva York y Chicago, y proponen un pequeño viaje a partir de los breves motivos que inician cada uno de los paisajes sonoros. Levin hace uso de todo su arsenal de recursos empleando el pizzicato y el arco, y también percutiendo sobre el instrumento. Entre las referencias musicales hay pasajes que miran hacia la música clásica, e incluso de un cierto folclore no imaginado. En otros cambia hacia los terrenos de la vanguardia jazzística y la improvisación. Sin tener como objetivo mantener un ritmo marcado, pero sin rehuir de las melodías, es sumamente interesante el escucharle en un diálogo continuado consigo mismo.

Tim Berne – Insommia (CF 215)
El saxofonista Tim Berne ya nos ha dado una gran alegría a los aficionados este año 2011 con la publicación de Insommia. Una grabación de 1997 inédita hasta el momento en la que a su formación Bloodcount (Chris Speed, Michael Formanek y Jim Black), se incorporaban el trompetista Baikida Carroll, el guitarrista Marc Ducret, el violinista Dominique Pifarelly y el chelista Erik Friedlander. La grabación incluía los largos “Open, Coma” y el inédito “The Proposal”. Representantes de las mejores grabaciones de Tim Berne de la época, resulta un enigma el motivo por el que dicha grabación ha estado durmiendo el sueño de los justos durante más de una década. Especialmente, si se tiene en cuenta que Tim Berne ha mantenido en activo su discográfica Screwgun Records con la que ha documentado magníficamente sus proyectos, y sobre todo porque se erige como una obra en absoluto menor entre las que dan cuenta de su forma de entender el jazz. El CD es imprescindible para los seguidores del saxofonista y compositor.

Tim Berne / Bruno Chevillon – Old and Unwise (CF 221)
Old and Unwise es un dúo de Tim Berne con el contrabajista francés Bruno Chevillon. Once improvisaciones en las que los dos músicos establecen un diálogo de igual a igual y en el que tienen la sabiduría de modelar su discurso para pasar por diferentes estadios de ánimo. Para ello no hay más que escuchar la cierta delicadeza y parsimonia de “high/low”, y compararla con el ritmo marcado de la magnífica “l’état d’incertidumbre”, la fiereza de “Au centre du corps” o el carácter casi barroco de “back up the truck”. Berne, que aquí únicamente participa con el saxo alto, muestra que se encuentra en un magnífico estado de forma, lo mismo que le sucede al contrabajista francés.

BassDrumBone – The Other Parade (CF 223)
BassDrumBone es una formación de contrabajo (Mark Helias), trombón (Ray Anderson) y batería (Gerry Hemingway) que “únicamente” lleva en activo más de treinta años. Los tres músicos son unas primeras figuras en el jazz y la improvisación, aunque su discografía como trío no es muy abundante. Por eso la publicación de The Other Parade debería ser más que bien recibidas por los seguidores del gupo. Recientemente Gerry Hemingway comentaba que las formaciones en las que se siente más a gusto son improvisando libremente en dúo (en los últimos meses ha publicado más de media docena de grabaciones en ese formato), y en solitario. Sin embargo este trío es una formación en la que se le ve muy cómodo. En la que a los tres músicos se les ve muy cómodos. Alejados de los terrenos de la improvisación libre y la creación espontánea, algo que se algunos se empeñan en calificar como vanguardia, cada uno de los músicos aporta tres composiciones. En ellas no tienen reparo alguno en mirar al pasado con cariño y con respeto evocando la música de Nueva Orleans o echando mano del blues. Los tres son unos maestros de sus respectivos instrumentos y demuestran ser unos buenos compositores, regalándonos con unas obras contagiosas que hacen que el pie no pare de marcar el ritmo.

Ralph Alessi and This Against That – Wiry Strong (CF 220)
Ralph Alessi es un trompetista que de algún modo ha padecido el estar a la sombra de otras figuras comoDave Douglas a pesar de ser un magnífico instrumentista. En Wiry Strong no sólo lo demuestra sino que además se erige en compositor y líder de un quinteto de campanillas en el que participan el saxofonista Ravi Coltrane, el imprescindible contrabajista Drew Gress, el baterista Mark Ferber y el pianista Andy Milne. Su obra es un disco de post-bop engañoso, o quizás incluso grabado con muy malas intenciones. Hay composiciones con unas estructuras muy definidas, pero que permiten un enorme grado de libertad a los músicos la hora de expresar sus ideas. Esto es algo que no es nuevo en absoluto, pero que a veces se olvida a la hora de afrontar la creación musical. Otro elemento que llama la atención es que en setenta minutos se desgranan quince temas muy variados y deslumbrantes analizados uno a uno y en conjunto que permiten sospechar que en directo este proyecto puede ser toda una sorpresa para los oyentes desprevenidos.

Point of Departure review by Troy Collins

BassDrumBone – The Other Parade (CF 223)
Featuring nine new compositions commissioned by Chamber Music America’s “New Works” program, The Other Parade was recorded in August 2009 in honor of BassDrumBone’s 30th anniversary. Since 1977, trombonist Ray Anderson, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Gerry Hemingway have constituted the longstanding trio, whose 1979 debut recording Oahspe (Auricle) was recommended by Cadence founder Bob Rusch as “Exceptionally good music, fearlessly played and tightly coordinated.” To their credit, the same could be said of their most recent effort, more than three decades hence.

Though the group has weathered dormant periods, their virtually clairvoyant rapport has continued to grow, lending a timeless air to an approach that draws from every facet of jazz lineage for inspiration – from Dixieland to free. Balancing inside and outside aesthetics with seamless transitions between composed and improvised passages, they upend hallowed customs with cagey arrangements that invert prescribed instrumental roles. Despite being the sole horn, Anderson makes ample use of space and silence, occasionally sublimating his bright, cheerful tone and mercurial phrasing in support of Helias’ buoyant pizzicato excursions and Hemingway’s sanguine percussion ruminations; in effect, all three musicians are responsible for providing melody and rhythm.

As composers, each member contributes equally to the session; yet despite the subtle stylistic variety of their writing – which veers from expressive blues and mid-tempo swingers to greasy funk grooves and rousing second-line struts – these lyrical pieces all exude a cohesive sensibility redolent of their authors’ stylistic accord. Endlessly shifting dynamics within each tune, they vary rhythm, tempo and tone with their carefree, synergistic rapport.

The strutting opener, “Show Tuck,” demonstrates their effortless integration of avant-garde elements into structured improvisation. Taking the lead after a funky opening theme, Anderson’s solo modulates from harmonious to discordant, intensifying into blistering chromatic runs that culminate in rip-snorting bellows and gutbucket slurs. The further out Anderson ventures, the more abstract Helias and Hemingway’s interplay becomes, devolving into a pithy three-way conversation. Hemingway’s nimble drum solo follows, emulating the harmonic implications of the core melody with a graceful transition back to form. Similarly, Anderson’s madcap muted lyricism provides consistency to the deconstructed blues “The Blue Light Down The Line,” as Helias and Hemingway weave a spare underpinning that nudges the piece forward with laconic pacing. Rooted in convention, tunes like “King Louisian,” “Soft Shoe Mingle” and “Lips and Grits” work progressive variations on foundational tropes, hearkening back to Dixieland and Ragtime.

Anderson, Helias and Hemingway have each matured into venerable solo artists over the past thirty years, together as BassDrumBone they persevere as an increasingly rare entity – a touring collective that incorporates new material into their oeuvre that is as fresh and exciting as their formative efforts.

So Jazz review by Kalcha

All About Jazz Italy review by Vincenzo Roggero

BassDrumBone  – The Other Parade (CF 223)
Valutazione: 3.5 stelle
A trentatre anni dalla prima incisione (Oahspe – Auricle Records), esce il nuovo lavoro di BassDrumBone, super trio composto da tre maestri dei rispettivi strumenti che rispondono al nome di Ray Anderson (trombone), Mark Helias (contrabbasso) e Gerry Hemingway (batteria). Tre composizioni a testa, a sottolineare la natura assolutamente paritaria del combo, commissionate dalla prestigiosa Chamber Music America, The Other Parade conferma la miscela di jazz, funky, blues, free e quant’altro, che aveva fatto scalpore nel panorama jazzistico all’avvento del trio.

Si passa così dall’intricato groviglio strumentale dell’iniziale “Show Tuck” al sonnacchioso blues di “Blue Light Down the Line,” dalla gioiosa fanfara neworleansiana di “King Louisian” alla ragnatela poliritmica di “Rhythm Generation,” dallo splendido contrasto tra le linee melodiche pastorali e le sottolineature percussive di “Unforgiven” ai growl e ai colpi di lingua di “Lips and Grits”.

Inutile sottolineare come il disco sia infarcito di splendidi assoli, di come metta in risalto un telepatico interplay, di come la musica fluisca contagiosa, di come riesca ad accontentare i palati più fini come l’ascoltatore occasionale e meno smaliziato. La splendida foto di copertina ci parla di tradizioni secolari – ritrae dei giovani tamburini di Gavoi (paese nel cuore della Barbagia) durante il carnevale -, la musica contenuta in The Other Parade è intrisa di tradizione ma parla il linguaggio della contemporaneità.