Tag Archives: Tamarindo

Jazz Word review by Ken Waxman

CF 304Tony Malaby Tamarindo – Somos Agua (CF 304)
An essay on the intricacies of saxophone improvisation, New York tenor man Tony Malaby explorers every nuance of reed sounds on this matchless session, backed only by the four-square pacing of William Parker’s double bass and the rhythmic flow of drummer Nasheet Waits. Reminiscent of similar trio tours-de-force by Sonny Rollins and Joe Henderson, the seven selections make up a suite whose parts flow logically and seamlessly into one another. At the same time, Malaby’s solos confirm his experimental credo by exposing as many split tones and screeches as emotive flutters and gentling tones.
Never losing sight of the tonal even as his solo explorations appear to produce aural x-rays of his horn’s insides, on the title track the saxophonist’s output is unhurried and relaxed enough to reference the initial theme, even as his dense multiphonics squeeze the last atom of sound out of his horn. Parker’s power stops or sensitive bowing, plus Waits’ crunches and clatters aptly second the saxophone flights. Nonetheless, the most edifying example of the Tamarindo trio’s game plan is the 14-minute “Can’t Find You”. Despite the title, there’s never a moment when the drummer’s intuitive cymbal splashes or drum colors aren’t on track as Malaby stretches stratospheric altissimo cries into slim variations which are finally reconstituted as a powerful narrative. Framing the journey, Parker’s thick stops eventually become supple, supportive strums. With this defining saxophone CD under his belt, it will be instructive to see how Malaby intersects with the local three-saxophones-three rhythm Kayos Theory sextet when he plays The Rex June 27 and 28.

The New York City Jazz Record review by John Sharpe

CF 304Tony Malaby Tamarindo – Somos Agua (CF 304)
While Tony Malaby has many outlets for his burly tenor saxophone, few of them pack the visceral heft of Tamarindo, the outfit crewed by bassist William Parker and drummer Nasheet Waits. Malaby hit paydirt with the trio’s eponymous 2007 debut, built on that success by adding trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith for a somewhat murky live recording in 2010, but has now reverted to the original lineup for the band’s third album, Somos Agua. It’s every bit the match for its illustrious forebears. Heads tend to be sketchy affairs, which only serve to get the real business underway – a series of cohesive collective outbursts.

Malaby is a monster, restlessly creative through all the registers of his horn, from earthy honks to fluent overblowing. But what makes him so fascinating is
that the undoubted power is leavened by a willingness to enlist any resource, whether muffled snorts, hoarse whistles, multiphonic shrieks or querulous wavering cries. Whatever works. Parker has the savvy to follow wherever Malaby roams, able to turn on a dime from gargantuan propulsion to bravura swipes of the bow while Waits blends crisp articulation at high tempos with a playbook of ever-changing rhythmic patterns.

At first blush each of the seven cuts sounds part of an unfettered blowing session, but after repeated listens barely discernible melodic themes become apparent, which briefly surface from the organic ebb and flow (not always at the outset) and fuel further group exploration. Neither tone nor time pass as absolutes in Tamarindo’s universe, shifting unpredictably and stretching or compressing elastically. Malaby forges a particularly strong connection to Parker, manifest most notably on the lengthy discursive conversation between the pair on “Bitter Dream”. But bass and drums don’t always shadow the saxophone, creating a quicksilver threepart counterpoint emerging from more conventional trio transactions. Malaby clearly understands the paradox that it takes a really tight unit to play this loose yet still keep focus.

Angelo Leonardi´s Best of 2011 List – All About Jazz Italy

Ben Allison – Action Refraction (Palmetto Records)
Stefano Battaglia – The River of Anyder (ECM)
Dino Betti van der Noot – September’s New Moon (SAM Productions)
Bobby Bradford – John Carter Quintet – Comin’ On (Hatology)
Greg Burk Trio – The Path Here (482 Music)
Franco D’Andrea – Sorapis (El Gallo Rojo)
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew Live (Sony Legacy)
Maria Pia De Vito – Huw Warren – ‘O Pata Pata (Parco della Musica)
Bill Dixon – Envoi (Victo)
Erik Friedlander – Bonebridge (Skipstone)
Tigran Hamasyan – A Fable (Verve)
Fred Hersch – Alone at the Vanguard (Palmetto Records)
Robin Holcomb and Talking Pictures with Wayne Horvitz – The Point of It All (Songlines)
Vijay Iyer with Prasanna & Nitin Mitta – Tirtha (Act)
Italian Instabile Orchestra – Totally Gone (Rai Trade)
Tony Malaby – Tamarindo Live (Clean Feed)
William Parker – I Play to Stay a Believer – The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield (AUM Fidelity)
Enrico Rava – Tribe (ECM)
Mauro Ottolini Sousaphonix – The Sky Above Braddock (Cam jazz)
Craig Taborn – Avenging Angel (ECM)

Up-and-Coming Players from 2011, the Year of the Tenor by Francis Davis, New York Times

Tony Malaby’s Novela (CF 232) and Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo Live (CF 200)
In his late forties, Malaby is still commonly referred to as up-and-coming, which means that he has yet to receive the widespread attention he deserves—but also that his approach is still evolving, especially in terms of the musical settings he chooses for himself. Featuring a heavy-on-brass-and-low-pitched-reeds nine-piece band conducted and arranged by pianist Kris Davis, Novella amounts to a Malaby retrospective, but only in that it revisits pieces he has recorded previously with smaller configurations. Davis favors wide voicings and encourages instrumental clashes and collisions, and the speed with which the three soloists—Malaby (on soprano), trumpeter Ralph Alessi, and trombonist Ben Gerstein—rocket out of the stacked ensemble on “Floating Head” make it possibly the most invigorating piece of recorded music I’ve heard all year. The rest is almost as good. But for a better glimpse of Malaby as a soloist, catch him matching wits with Wadada Leo Smith on Tamarindo Live, released earlier this year.

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo – Live (CF 200)Soprano-Tenorman Tony Malaby has been getting around much of late, appearing as a sideman or co-leader on quite a few dates, and putting together some very worthy sides as a leader. I’m now catching up with his latest, out a month or so, Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo Live (Clean Feed 200). It certainly has clout and brilliance aplenty. There’s Tony, the bass master himself–Mr. William Parker, a drive-and-bash specialist in drummer Nasheet Waits, and one of the most creative and prolific trumpet wielders active today, Mr. Leo Smith. “OK,” you might say, “You don’t need to say anything more.” Ah, but words-r-us here, so I will go on.

Tamarindo isn’t just a gathering of some heavy cats, an all-star avantiana. No. It’s the ever-shifting variety of combinations and moods that makes this music especially brilliant. Trumpet and bass have a moment to reflect, then drums and trumpet give the moment a little more linear expansiveness, then sax-bass-drums get kicking, and on from there, to give an example.

Each player has something good to say, the ideas flow, the scene changes, something new pops in. It’s a cliche to say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and it is also not entirely true. The sum of the parts of this quartet date are great to begin with and nobody becomes something other than who they are as players. Yet still there is some kinetic transformation that takes place, as in any great group improvisational moment, that brings the music onto another level. It happens here frequently.

I recently heard a tape of Coltrane practicing “Oleo” from around 1956. It was fascinating. Ultimately though he was running some ideas through with a thought to what ways around the changes he could devise. Hear him do it with the classic Miles group and there’s much more in the way of emphatic speech-making going on. Tamarindo caught live is about the same thing. These are heavy cats speechifying, making musical statements in a collective zone, rather than kind of mumbling through some various ideas as one might do in practice.

And the opposite side of the coin is when players become too concerned with what an audience expects them to do, so that playing in a live situation becomes almost a matter of them playing at playing themselves, each playing a role as an actor that represents himself, but is not actually that self. Perhaps some of the moments of JATP have that quality on occasion, and I think it is not ideal for the best improvisation.

Tamarindo Live has neither of those tendencies–tentativeness or too much of a meta-self-awareness (perhaps a fancy way of saying that somebody is “hamming it up.”)

The point though is the four masters that make up Tamarindo on this disk are making definitive collective statements on some un-expressible subject. They may repeat themselves (as a musical way to proceed), they may backtrack or “change the subject,” but what they are doing has conviction, pacing, eloquence and drama. And I believe that great improvisation, free or otherwise–whatever that might mean, has those qualities. All four of these players have been musicians to watch for a long time. When they get together as Tamarindo and selected other gatherings, they are THERE. Watch for some other cats; Malaby-Parker-Waits-Smith are doing what you were watching for in the first place!

SoJazz review by Thierrry Lepin

JazzWord review by Ken Waxman

Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo – Live (CF 200)Despite the overtly Christian religious iconography on the cover of Tamarindo Live, it would seem that the faith affirmed by this expanded version of saxophonist Tony Malaby’s band is that of free jazz. Moreover, the addition of veteran trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, certainly no fundamentalist, to the core trio filled out by second-generation drum stylist Nasheet Waits and free jazz’s most omnipresent bassist William Parker, elevates the program to an even higher spiritual and sonic plane.

Malaby, who served his apprenticeship in bands such as bassist’s Mark Helias’ trio, is confident in his solos at this Jazz Gallery session, and contributes four strong compositions. Unsurprisingly, the weightiest is the unadorned “Death Rattle”. Intense friction from Parker’s string rasgueado and Watts’ mercurial press rolls set the scene, elaborated by buzzing grace notes and slurs from the trumpeter and split tone and snorts from the saxophonist. Eventually as the drummer’s ruffs and ratamacues harden into march tempo, a sequence of reed sluices are evoked in double counterpoint to Smith’s capillary brays and bugle-call-like clarion runs. With all four players maintaining the tension, the final variant offers relief following Watts’ cymbal slaps and positioned nerve beats.

Happily the other tracks are more life affirming. “Jack the Hat with Coda” –celebrating Malaby’s son – is tender and temperate, the horns in counterpoint characterized by Smith’s trilling lopes and Malaby’s near-piccolo-tone soprano sax vibrations. As Smith and Malaby advance the line in lockstep, Parker’s stops and strums plus Watts’ bass drum smacks and paradiddles, downshift the theme to subdued concordance, given an added lilt in the dissolving postlude with barely there soprano chirps and trumpet obbligato.

Hopefully more than a one-shot experiment, a quartet Tamarindo is a first-class achievement all around.

Free Jazz review by Joe Higham

Tony Malaby’s – Tamarindo Live (CF 200)****½
This is anthill music. Yes, that’s what I said, anthill music, and you’d be right to ask what Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo and anthills have in common. Well, have you ever spent a lovely afternoon lazing around having a picnic somewhere out in the countryside? And if so maybe you lounged around after eating, staring into the grass or field around you, and as time passes you notice you’re sitting on (or near an anthill). Gradually you become engrossed and start to watch those ants running around (probably picking up your left-overs) in what seems utter chaos. Little by little as you watch you notice patterns forming, ants crossing paths without ever colliding, never an argument (as ants don’t have road rage), so much happening, so busy. At times the ant rush hour slows only to build up again as other ants appear communicating something to their comrades which then renews the energetic bustle. They carry on their tasks in a way which become almost an art form, and what may seemed disorganised at first starts to take on form and order.

And that is why Tamarindo is anthill music. It’s very much a music which buzzes with a frenetic pulse often building from nothing, each player seemingly takes his own direction and yet as the music advances you realise that everybody is following everyone else. It may sound like chaos to someone walking into the room, but when you’re ‘in’ the music it’s very exciting, full of energy, and yet with so much going on around you it’s never crowded. In fact there’s so much here to discover that you will certainly have to listen many times before really knowing the music.

It would be difficult (and maybe pointless) to single out different tracks as this album could be heard as a suite, and even if the tracks do have names and approximative themes that appear when needed (i.e. not always sax and trumpet, and not always as openings), they seem less important as it’s more about capturing the moment. There are often quite moments of interplay such as on ‘Death Rattle’, ‘Hibiscus’ and in ‘Jack the Hat’, but much of this music boils away with fantastic interplay (as always) between these superb musicians – Tony Malaby (tenor and soprano sax), William Parker (bass), inspirational drummer Nasheet Waits and of course guest trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith.

The only odd thing is that the CD fades on the last track, perhaps they couldn’t stop, or was there just too much good music to fit onto this release?

Tags for this excellent release could be – Mujician, Ornette’s Science Fiction, The Thing, Vandermark 5, Supersilent (an acoustic version …. of course).

Le Son du Grisli review by Guillaume Belhomme

Tony Malaby – Tamarindo Live (CF 200)
Au Tamarindo d’origine, ajouter le trompettiste Wadada Leo Smith pour obtenir Tamarindo Live. Transformation datée du 5 juin 2010.

On sait l’instabilité avec laquelle l’inspiration meut Malaby, qui change fort selon ses partenaires. Aux côtés de Smith, Parker et Waits, la faute de goût serait malvenue : sonorité empruntée aux années 1960, le saxophoniste passe alors de ténor en soprano avec un charisme de forcené. Lorsque le développement musical se fait plus incertain, il trouve refuge dans les propositions de Smith, linéaires lorsqu’elles ne sont pas martiales, et toujours audacieuses autant que délicates.

Le contact rapproché jusque-là en attente, Malaby et Smith profitent de la conclusion pour jouer de paraphrase et de question-réponse, se cherchant sur structure rythmique surélevée et puis s’y accordant au son de notes longues. Tamarindo Live a passé. La discographie de Malaby y gagne une référence ; celle de Smith une évidente preuve de vaillance.

Tomajazz review by Pachi Tapiz

Tony Malaby’s Tamarindo Live (CF 200) 
Clean Feed llega a la referencia número 200 de su catálogo. Del mismo modo que en la número 100 se daba el lujo de publicar el cuádruple CD de improvisaciones de Joe Morris con Anthony Braxton, la de la segunda centena es un directo de hace apenas medio año (junio de 2010) por un grupo de lujo: el cuarteto consistente en el trío Tamarindo del saxofonista Tony Malaby (con William Parker al contrabajo y Nasheet Waits a la batería) más el añadido del trompetista Wadada Leo Smith. Su contenido incluye grandes nombres, pocas sorpresas formales y (sobre todo) música de primer nivel.

Poco hay que hablar sobre William Parker o sobre un histórico como Wadada Leo Smith. Tampoco demasiado sobre Nasheet Waits (que aquí está especialmente brillante), y quizás un poco más sobre Tony Malaby, aunque tampoco mucho más. Las cuatro son figuras ya consagradas, más conocidos unos músicos que otros, pero todos ellos con unas carreras a sus espaldas que avalan su calidad.

Tal y como comentaba esta grabación presenta pocas sorpresas, ya que el directo es el hábitat por antonomasia de estos cuatro músicos. Tony Malaby es el autor de las cinco composiciones (en la última pista a la composición “Jack The Hat” se le añade como coda el tema “Caged Man”). Éstas presentan unas formas bien definidas que los cuatro músicos se encargan de moldear a su gusto y ampliar hasta unas duraciones generosas (el tema más corto dura doce minutos, el más largo diecisite). De ese modo la música se puede desarrollar sin prisas y sin unos límites auto impuestos por los músicos.

Tampoco hay demasiadas sorpresas en cuanto a las formas con unas exposiciones de la melodía en conjunto a las que le siguen los correspondientes solos, o con esas regiones musicales aparentemente indefinidas y neblinosas en la que los músicos van intercambiando sus ideas y compartiendo su inspiración para ir construyendo la música. Tampoco hay sorpresas en los ambientes, que van cambiando tema a tema. Mientras en algunos momentos tienen un carácter más incisivo (aunque tampoco demasiado), en otros la música se vuelve más enigmática o incluso contemplativa. Todos estos ingredientes, sabiamente combinados y cocinados por la maestría de los cuatro músicos sirven para estructurar un pequeño festín para los oídos.

Posiblemente Pedro Costa y compañía podrían haber celebrado este aniversario con alguna de las otras muchas buenas obras que abundan en el catálogo de Clean Feed. Sin embargo y tras la escucha parece que la decisión de que fuese precisamente este título resulta más que acertada, ya que entronca perfectamente con la filosofía del resto de referencias. Sólo queda darles la enhorabuena por llegar al número 200 en el catálogo. Ahora les toca ir a por el 300.