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1986: The Charlie Mariano Group - Plum Island Music » Jazz » BeBop » Hard-bop

1986: The Charlie Mariano Group - Plum Island
Artist: Charlie Mariano
Album: Plum Island
Label: Mood Records
Year: 1986
Format, Flac
Time: 40:43
Size: 240 Mb

Charlie Mariano's career can easily be divided into two phases. Early on he was a fixture in Boston, playing with Shorty Sherock (1948), Nat Pierce (1949-1950), and his own groups. After gigging with a band co-led by Chubby Jackson and Bill Harris, Mariano toured with Stan Kenton's Orchestra (1953-1955) which earned him a strong reputation. He moved to Los Angeles in 1956 (working with Shelly Manne and other West Coast jazz stars), returned to Boston to teach in 1958 at Berklee, and the following year, had a return stint with Kenton. After marrying Toshiko Akiyoshi, Mariano co-led a group with the pianist on and off up to 1967, living in Japan during part of the time and also working with Charles Mingus (1962-1963).

The second phase of his career began with the formation of his early fusion group Osmosis in 1967. Known at the time as a strong bop altoist with a sound of his own developed out of the Charlie Parker style, Mariano began to open his music up to the influences of folk music from other cultures, pop, and rock. He taught again at Berklee, traveled to India and the Far East, and in the early '70s settled in Europe. Among the groups Mariano has worked with have been Pork Pie (which also featured Philip Catherine), the United Jazz & Rock Ensemble, and Eberhard Weber's Colours. Charlie Mariano's airy tones on soprano and the nagaswaram (an Indian instrument a little like an oboe) fit right in on some new agey ECM sessions and he also recorded as a leader through the years for Imperial, Prestige, Bethlehem, World Pacific, Candid (with Toshiko Akiyoshi in 1960), Regina, Atlantic, Catalyst, MPS, CMP, Leo, and Calig, among others.

~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
1999: Ehran Elisha Ensemble - The Lowdown Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Avantgarde
1999:  Ehran Elisha Ensemble - The Lowdown
Artist: Ehran Elisha Ensemble
Album: The Lowdown
Label: Cimp Records
Year: 1999; release: 2000
Format: Flac
Size: 267 mb
AMG rating 1999:  Ehran Elisha Ensemble - The Lowdown

Drummer Ehran Elisha has a relatively low profile on this recording, where he composed and arranged virtually all of the tunes. His real talent lay in bringing together an all-star contingent for an unusual get-together. The front line consists of three horns: the well respected bass trombonist/ tubaist Bill Lowe; the highly regarded trumpeter Roy Campbell, and the lesser recorded though equally competent saxophonist, David Bindman. With violinist Sam Barnfield substituting for a pianist, and the powerful Drew Gress on acoustic bass, Elisha had a seemingly easy task in front of him. That he successfully avoided cliché and provided a strong foundation for the intense soloing is a tribute to the drummer's fortitude. Instrumental combinations constantly switch, and soloists fade in and out, though the rarely heard Lowe is given a disproportionate share of the fun. There are times when the collective rises to the highest of heights, though admittedly the level is not always sustained throughout. Still, there are enough surprises to mark this as a successful and entertaining venture.
~ Steve Loewy, All Music Guide
2007: Scott Fields Freetet - Bitter Love Songs Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Avantgarde
2007: Scott Fields Freetet - Bitter Love Songs
Artist: Scott Fields Freetet
Album: Bitter Love Songs
Label: Clean Feed
Year: 2007; release: 2008
Format: Flac
Time: 62:11
Size: 358 MB

Mordant wit and caustic self-deprecation have always been reliable elements in Scott Fields creative expression. From the pithy brickbats of semi-fictional critic Hugh Jarrid to the admirable, if puzzling, practice of publishing pans right alongside praises on his website, the guitarist has never shied away presenting the whole package of his persona, prickly pear portions and all. Even by Fields archly candid standards this new Clean Feed outing stands out. His liners read as a suite-like screed, pillorying a succession of unnamed assailants to his temper and patience. He saves the strongest recriminations for last, directing black roses and dead rat vitriol at those who have wronged him in love. Track titles wryly embellish on the conceit, my personal favorite being Your parents must be ecstatic now. Despite the dour and potentially distracting emotional context, the set stays sharply on point throughout, though its hard to tell exactly how much of the acrimony is genuine and how much is amplified for show.

The music curiously recalls the early Nineties work of Joe Morris in its preference for pared down frills-free interplay. Jagged single note runs race regularly atop undulating bass and drums rhythms. Think Flip and Spike, and more specifically Itan and Mombaccus, and your close to the aural mark. Fields tone is often a bit rounder and cleaner than JoMos and that may be a function of the recording, but theres a comparable frequency of densely knotted note clusters, spit out at staccato intervals. Bassist Sebastian Gramss and drummer João Lobo traffic in comparable agitation and irascibility, shading in the cracks around Fields chattery plectrum pings while still keeping the pieces intentionally off-kilter. Its a dynamic intended to ape the disquieting feeling just prior to when ones heart goes under the knife of betrayal and scorn. The pieces follow similar schemas until I was good enough for you until your friends butted in when the seething clouds break a bit into more spacious variation of melancholy. This is easily Fields most jazz-oriented album in many moons and a welcome fang-fringed spin on familiar forms.

~ Bagatellen
1999 - Tim Richards, Sigi Finkel's - Soundscape Shibop Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz
1999 - Tim Richards,  Sigi Finkel's - Soundscape Shibop
Artists: Tim Richards, Sigi Finkel
Album: Soundscape Shibop
Label: FMR
Year: 1999
Quality: Flac
Size: 326 mb
Total time: 53:09

Although Tim Richards has recorded a number of CD's featuring the fabulous 'Spirit Level' (including an early release on FMR) This is an all new Soundscape release and 'Shibop' sees Tim sharing the writing honours with virtuoso Austrian saxophonist Sigi Finkel, an old friendship made when on one of the many Spirit Level European tours.The inclusion of the dynamic saxophonist has changed the shape of this group totally, now far more a fusion sound than 'Spirit Level', although the group includes many of the Spirit Level past and excellent musicians such as Marc Parnell on drums and Phil Scragg on bass. Fast, punchy and full of energy ,this new CD combines the enthusiasm and dynamism of fusion with the subtly and interplay of the greatest jazz!!
~ FMR Records
2003: Natsuki Tamura - Ko Ko Ko Ke Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Freejazz

2003:  Natsuki Tamura - Ko Ko Ko Ke
Artist: Natsuki Tamura
Album: Ko Ko Ko Ke
Label: Natsat
Year: 2003; release: 2004
Format: Flac
Time: 51:13
Size: 178 Mb
AMG rating 2003:  Natsuki Tamura - Ko Ko Ko Ke

By all means, this is not the album you were expecting. There is nothing here coming close to the extended technique experimentations of Song for Jyaki or the paint-stripping ensemble sound of Hada Hada. Instead, Ko Ko Ko Ke is a highly serene, peaceful, intimate journey through the art of melody and play. Natsuki Tamura alternates between simple melodic statements interpreted as if he was murmuring them to your ear and onomatopoeic or nonsense vocal sections sounding somewhere between plainsong and sound poetry. The relationship between the two "instruments" is of a lead/accompaniment nature, not unlike the bard tradition often found in South Asian folk songs (especially in Khmer culture), although here the roles are interchangeable. The melodies are very simple and gradually developed; the sole objective of the notes seems to be to highlight the trumpeter's warm, engaging tone. The voice evokes anything but discourse: instruments, birds, machines. In "Peng" it reaches a peak level of abstraction, unfolding into three different "characters" answering each other in a way that brings to mind the Dutch sound poet and improviser Jaap Blonk. It is one of only two or three tracks that shake up the listener; everything else presents itself naturally and flows smoothly, carrying the listener from one statement to the other, each note more enrapturing than the previous one. And Tamura succeeds without a trace of servility or compromise to be heard. Many think that avant-garde music is difficult and challenging by definition, but Ko Ko Ko Ke proves that it can also be easy listening and heart-warming in its very own special way.
~François Couture, All Music Guide
2009: Trinity - Breaking The Mold Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Freejazz

2009: Trinity - Breaking The Mold
Album: Breaking The Mold
Label: Clean Feed
Year: 2009
Quality: Flac
Size: 272 mb
Total time: 52:28

With a past in hardcore/metal bands, mostly playing the bass guitar, soon Kjetil Moster changed to the tenor saxophone and became interested in crossing jazz and rock with a strong improvisational approach. Specially interested in the ecstatic music of John Coltrane, his personal signature consists in a renovation of the Coltranean stylings. Involved in many top projects centered in Oslo, like Zanussi Five, Fe-Mail, Ultralyd and Crimetime Orchestra, or in colaboration with musicians like Paal Nilssen-Love, Havard Wiik, Fredrik Ljungqvist, Per Texas Johansson, Raymond Strid, Mike Pride, Michael Zerang and Nate Wooley, Moster is also the mentor of the project Trinity. His partners in this quartet couldn't be less notable: keyboardist Morten Qvenild is a former member of the band Jaga Jazzist and the founder of the piano jazz trio In the Country, Ingebrigt Haker Flaten comes from Mats Gustafsson's The Thing and Raoul Bjorkenheim's Scorch Trio, and Thomas Stronen is well known from his drumming with Food and Humcrush. With strong connections to the patrimony of jazz, Breaking the Mold is innovative, inventive, spelling and vibrant, with the glitter and strength of the most inspiring music coming nowadays from the North of Europe. Don't miss it.
~ Clean Feed
2007 - Joe Morris / Ken Vandermark / Luther Gray - Rebus Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Avantgarde
2007 - Joe Morris / Ken Vandermark / Luther Gray - Rebus

Artists:Joe Morris / Ken Vandermark / Luther Gray
Album: Rebus
Label: Clean Feed
Year: 2007
Quality: Flac
Size: 330 mb
Total time: 57:45

Despite a reviewer's best intentions suppressing them, heightened expectations have a habit of undermining the appraisal of certain albums. Regrettably, this newly released outing by the power trio of guitarist Joe Morris, reed player Ken Vandermark and drummer Luther Gray registers in that category for me. I have a great deal of respect for all three players, having thrilled to their previous work separately and in various combinations over the years. Morris' meeting with DKV Trio released on Okka back in '01 speaks to the strengths of Boston and Chicago improv sensibilities, and Gray has been a regular collaborator supplying sticks on some of his best albums. Along with these hits, have come the misfire of the last Morris/Vandermark project with pianist Hans Poppel, a case where the creative gunpowder was a bit wet and the fireworks dampened as a result This one errs closer to that one in that the music feels oddly stifled by the sharply delineated frameworks the players chose to work in.

Referencing the album title for a quick and dirty analogy: it's as if the three are working from a sack containing too narrow a selection of puzzle pieces. Vandermark and Morris are both highly skilled rhythmic improvisers and it goes without saying that Gray shares similar abiding interest in this area. The stutter stop patterns of their fevered interplay generate a high amount of centripetal aural force that, calling upon a visual corollary, reminds me of an Olympic athlete running vigorously in place. Another binding agent is Vandermark's decision to limit himself to tenor, the instrument in his armory where his harmonic encumbrances are often most manifest. Morris also often sounds tethered in this respect, his barrages of ricocheting single notes often bouncing within perplexingly confined corridors. His solo on Rebus, Part 2 marks one of several refreshing exceptions where he opens things up. There's a fair bit of flash to these pieces, with lots of notes and energy expended, but to my ears not a commensurate amount of heat. The disparity makes me mull again on the project title and the associative mystery as to why these musicians decided to hedge themselves in as they did.

~ Derek Taylor Bagatellen
2004: Chicago Luzern Exchange - Several Lights Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Avantgarde
2004: Chicago Luzern Exchange - Several Lights
Artist: Chicago Luzern Exchange
Album: Several Lights
Label: Delmark
Year: 2004; release: 2005
Quality: Flac
Size: 331 mb
Total time: 64:49

The 19 selections on this colorful set are free improvisations. The cornet-tenor-tuba-drums quartet sometimes engages in swinging free bop (as on "Slips") but much of the time is actually involved in sound explorations and rather random interplay. The one non-Chicagoan, European tuba player Marc Unternahrer, is particularly skillful and versatile, displaying a wide range of tonal distortions and operating both as a member of the rhythm section and frequently as one of the lead voices. Cornetist Josh Berman and tenor-saxophonist Keefe Jackson work well off each other while drummer Frank Rosaly is mostly very much in the background. All of that said, because of the very spontaneous nature of this music, not everything works and there are stretches that are a bit tedious before inspiration (and good luck) strikes again. It is worth a few listens as long as listeners are patient and tolerant.
~ Scott Yanow, AllMusicGuide
1984: Tim Berne - Mutant Variations Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Avantgarde
1984: Tim Berne - Mutant Variations
Artist:Tim Berne
Album: Mutant Variations
Label: Soul Note
Year: 1984
Format: Flac
Time: 43:42
Size: 269 mb
AMG rating: 1984: Tim Berne - Mutant Variations

Definitely not part of the new traditional scene, alto saxophonist Tim Berne keeps moving forward. This '83 quartet set of all originals is reminiscent at times of mid-'50s Ornette Coleman, notably due to Herb Robertson's pocket trumpet solos and the dynamics generated by Berne and Robertson's interaction with bassist Ed Schuller and percussionist Paul Motian.
~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide
2007: Raymond MacDonald & Günter Baby Sommer - Delphinius & Lyra Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Freejazz
2007:  Raymond MacDonald & Günter Baby Sommer - Delphinius & Lyra
Artists:Raymond MacDonald & Günter Baby Sommer
Album: Delphinius & Lyra
Label: Clean Feed
Year: 2007
Quality: Flac
Size: 334 mb
Total time: 59:02

"Here it is, naked to the bone, free jazz in all its glory, loose, intense and furious, not in hanger but with "joie de vivre." A sax-drums duo like this, in which one of the performers is Gunter "Baby" Sommer, a hallowed name in European improvised music, makes you anticipate an essentialist approach to the communicative powers of improvisation. This is an encounter of generations, German percussionist and free-jazz pioneer Sommer meets a new presence on the international scene, Scottish saxophonist (and a psychologist, who uses sounds as a therapy for the mentally handicapped) MacDonald. We are all musical, the Glasgow-based MacDonald has lectured. From this universal musicality grow infra-music and hyper-music, music before and after music, nuclear and at the same time cosmic, on the path blazed by John Coltrane and Rashied Ali. The Sommer-MacDonald duo isn't as spiritual, but the celebration of life is the same. Back in the 60s and 70s Sommer was part of the gang that included Peter Brotzmann, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Peter Kowald, Evan Parker, Leo Smith, and Cecil Taylor when the world was challenged by a new music that rejected both traditional jazz and academic classical composition. He, with his unusual drum kit and literary collaborations, is a living monument. MacDonald is far from being mesmerized by the personal history of his partner: he himself gained the status of one of the most important reedmen in the United Kingdom, with the Burt-MacDonald Quintet, the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, and gigs with Keith Tippett, Maggie Nicols, Lol Coxhill, Harry Beckett, and other notables. You can't ignore the energy and fresh perspectives in this joint venture."
~ Clean Feed
2003 - Michel Lambert - Out Twice Music » Jazz » BeBop » Post-bop
2003 - Michel Lambert - Out Twice
Artist: Michel Lambert
Album: Out Twice
Label: 482 Music
Year: 2002; release: 2003
Format, Flac
Time: 64:58
Size: 326 Mb

In more ways than one, this is a singular release. First off, and as intimated in its title, this disc is the result of two recording sessions cut in very different parts of the globe, one being Los Angeles, the other the South of France. In both cases, the common denominator is drummer Michel Lambert, a native of Quebec City now residing in Montreal after several years spent on the Toronto jazz scene. For the first date, he is joined by pianist Milcho Leviev (best known for his sideman duties with Art Pepper in the late seventies) and bassist John Gianelli; in the second one, he teams up with improv bassist par excellence Barre Phillips and saxophonist Lionel Garcin (tenor and alto I believe, though it's not always easy to be certain of this given his marked preference for delving into the pure sonics of his horns than the 'legit' notes). But the most unusual twist here is that all the cuts (five performed by the Statetside unit, the remaining six by its Euro counterpart) are basically free improvisations derived from graphic scores; in four of them there are musical notations included (one being a series of chords written out on staves), the others comprised of various lines, colors, forms and written instructions. The fact that the pictograms are spread out over three panels of the booklet, with added explanations given on the reverse side, all of which can also be accessed via the label's Website (www.482music/outtwice). Yet, for all of this info, the materials really don't provide much bearing for the listener. Indeed, there is an overarching sense of informality to the music, or at least a spontaneity that obscures any clear compositional designs. In fact, had there been no guidelines whatsover, or had they mixed these structured improvs with totally free ones (as is the case of track three, 'tir? au sort', where the drummer in fact made the score up afterwards), I doubt that the results would be vastly different.

What it is of greater interest is the way one goes about listening to this disc; of course, one could proceed in order (and tracks of one group alternate with those of the other), but by sequencing all of one together and then those of the other, one gets a very different perspective of the whole. On the one hand, a piano-bass-drum format is about as typical a jazz combo as one can get, and with a player as readily associated with the mainstream as Leviev, it would be hard not to expect this group to head that way; in their pieces, you feel them constantly flirting with it, but everyone seems so self-conscious about it that they don't want to yield to it, and Lambert, for one, stops playing repeatedly, in effect backing off from setting a tempo or establishing a pulse at very least. On the other hand, the French trio opts for a much more abstract group interplay, in particular the saxophonist who seems very much in line with a current crop of sonic-oriented reedman like Mats Gustafson, Michel Doneda or Bertrand Denzler. But they too hit a jazzy groove in the last minute or so of the ten-minute plus track "Vitrail pour Herbie" (dedicated to the late Canadian trumpeter Spanier), as if they were saying, "What the heck, let's indulge in this for a moment." All in all, this side may not be one that will jump at you, but it still invites the listener to consider it from different vantage points, which is not a bad thing at all.

~ Marc Chénard . The Squid's Ear
1998 - Simon Spang-Hanssen & Maneklar - Wondering Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz
1998 - Simon Spang-Hanssen & Maneklar - Wondering
Artist: Simon Spang-Hanssen & Maneklar
Album: Wondering
Label: Dacapo
Year: 1998
Format: Flac
Time: 48:31
Size: 272 MB

Wondering, is a new release from the fine Denmark based record label, Dacapo Records. Danish jazz is alive and well while making gainful commercial and artistic strides within the International Modern Jazz scene. On Wondering, saxophonist Simon Spang-Hanssen with his group, Maneklar parallel Denmarks beloved New Jungle Orchestra with the incorporation of cross-cultural rhythmic elements along with, East meets West slants and motifs.

Simon Spang-Hanssen is a very impressive technician whether performing on alto or soprano sax. Simply put, this guy can play! Hanssen has spent some time shedding with Vietnamese jazz guitarist Nguyen Le, the celebrated drummer Billy Hart and ethnic-world music projects involving Turkish and Brazilian music. Needless to say, Spang-Hanssens broad compositional range is very much evident on Wondering. The opener, Charbon features Spang-Hanssen on alto sax trading complex yet endearing choruses with the fabulous flutist Mariane Bitran. Charbon, like most of these pieces effectively illustrate multifaceted and cross-genre percussion patterns. Brain Forest features charging yet unobtrusive percussion elements enhanced by drummer and guest artist, Marilyn Mazur. Here, Bitran takes an extended flute solo which anchors the Oriental motif as Spang-Hanssen fires off flurries of Coltrane inspired, thought provoking soprano sax choruses. Throughout this recording, the percussion duo of Ole Thiell (tablas) and Jakob Andersen (perc.) along with bassist Peter Danstrup synch up in gregarious fashion. The East meets West blend is invigorating and refreshing.

Space On Earth has a slight Brazilian tinge as Spang-Hanssens rapid fire and beaming alto sax work rides atop the hybrid percussion work. Balkan motifs and fine soloing resurface on Maneklar, as the albums closer, Soir Bon possesses a pleasant and memorable hook, featuring strong tabla work and multi-textured percussion.

Wondering is yet further evidence of an enormously talented conglomerate of Danish Jazz musicians who are willing to take chances yet produce music that is surprisingly accessible.
~ Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz
2006 - Kyle Bruckmann's Wrack - Intents & Purposes Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Avantgarde
2006 - Kyle Bruckmann's Wrack - Intents & Purposes
Artist: Kyle Bruckmann's Wrack
Album: Intents & Purposes
Label: 482 Music
Year: 2006
Format, Flac
Time: 52:00
Size: 249 mb

"There are echoes of the groups that influenced his development as a composer, from the AACM, in the juxtaposition of through-composed and improvised passages... to the exhilarating urgency of Hal Russell's NRG Ensemble and Flying Luttenbachers in the tight, irregular metrics of "The System Cannot Withstand Close Scrutiny"... Bruckmann's background in classical music manifests itself in the arrangements, which make impressive use of the dark colours of Jen Clare Paulson's viola, and the Bartók-inflected melodic contours, notably on the 14-minute title track. It's a more varied and energetic outing than the group's sober debut on Red Toucan three years ago, thanks in part to the enthusiastic input of newcomers Anton Hatwich and Jason Stein... But there's as much brain as brawn, and Intents & Purposes is dazzling proof that intricately arranged, angular modern jazz can be accessible and enjoyable."
~ Dan Warburton, The Wire
1996: Herb Robertson - Sound Implosion Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Avantgarde
1996: Herb Robertson - Sound Implosion
Artist: Herb Robertson
Album: Sound Implosion
Label: CIMP
Years: 1996
Format, Flac
Time: 71:02
Size: 278 MB

Who are Robertson, Duval, and Rosen? All-star infield for the Cleveland Indians? Esteemed law firm from San Francisco? Successful brokers on the Chicago Commodities Exchange? Talented experimental musicians turned loose to create as they wish? The obvious answer is the latter.

Dominic Duval is a born-again musician pursuing truth with the zeal unique to those fortunate enough to be able to act on a mid-light crisis. Jay Rosen, a drummer paying those gigs-to-make-a-living dues, steps out from the suits and exposes the creative percussionist who resides just below the surface. Herb Robertson is a veteran hornman and permanent refugee from the commercial music world. These artists have no illusions about the role of music and creativity in their lives. When they first met to play together a few weeks before this session, they discovered an immediate compatibility. I know; I heard the tapes and was impressed. I was impressed and they were impressed and so we decided to record. What we recorded was noticeably more abstract than their work of a month earlier. Familiarity breeds confidence and the growth in confidence encourages greater risk.

This was Dominic's and Jay's second trip to The Spirit Room Studios (they make up the Mark Whitecage Trio on CIMP 106) and they came mentally prepared. The first thing Jay said to me upon setting down some of his percussion equipment in the studio was, I really like this room. Later, after recording "Magik Act," Dominic asked me rhetorically, What's the name of the label? I replied, Creative Improvised Music Projects. To which he responded, Well, that's what you're getting! And indeed we did. Listen without preconceptions and let the music find your way.

~ Robert D. Rusch,
1998: Christof Lauer - Fragile Network Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz
1998: Christof Lauer - Fragile Network
Artist: Christof Lauer
Album: Fragile Network
Label: Act Music
Year: 1998; release: 1999
Format: FLAC
Time: 57:24
Size: 342 Mb

This Frankfurtian tenor saxophonist continues his run of challenging solo albums, obviously digging the tuba, both as rhythm device and soloing foil. Lauer's 1992 Bluebells album featured US low-blower Bob Stewart, while this one finds Frenchman Michel Godard inducted as an equally important band member, his countryman Marc Ducret providing the guitar. Drums and bass come from Statesiders Gene Jackson and Anthony Cox, the latter also present on Lauer's 1995 Evidence disc. Neither composition or free-blowing improvisation lose out here, each selection perfectly poised between the two realms. Lauer is remarkable for the stamina and strength of his hard-toned solos, but that's not to say that he shirks the duties of emotional expression. The rest of the band gird their loins for the frequently staccato, after-Ornette funk themes, each piece welded into a stylistic whole, even though the composing duties are almost equally divided between the leader and Godard. Fittingly enough, the tuba solos stand proud beside Lauer's marathon outbursts, never neglecting the snuffling, truffle-hunting regions, but at times possessed of a trombonist's agility. During his "Ferma L'Ali", Godard solos on the serpent, a medieval bass horn that resounds with a unique timbre. Then he's chased away by a blurting Lauer soprano solo, which reaches hidden parts of the inner ear.
~ Martin Longley
2003: Kevin Norton - Ocean Of Earth Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Freejazz
2003: Kevin Norton - Ocean Of Earth
Artist: Kevin Norton
Album: Ocean Of Earth
Label: Barking Hoop
Year: 2003
Format: FLAC
Time: 61:33
Size: 265 Mb
AMG Rating: 2003: Kevin Norton - Ocean Of Earth

2003: Kevin Norton - Ocean Of Earth

This is an exciting change of direction for Kevin Norton, the de facto leader of this outstanding trio who performs 20 short snippets which, when taken together, form an enticing, even enthralling whole. The superficially odd instrumentation of percussion, bass, and cello might be initially off-putting, appearing at first blush narrowly focused. Curiously, perhaps, the varied textures, extraordinary musicianship, and extended techniques keep the listener on the edge of the seat, wondering what to expect next. Norton, of course, doubles on vibes, and he can be eerily ambient or alternatively ferocious. The point is that there are no set patterns, no preconceived styles; so that while the results are planted firmly in the so-called avant-garde, those expecting a certain type of sound are bound to be surprised. Joëlle Leandre is one of the best kept secrets of the modern acoustic bass: the sounds she coaxes from the strings combine a pleasantly astringent quality that is decidedly asymmetric with virtuosic conundrums that startle with their complexities. Tomas Ulrich complements his colleagues with fitting technical skill that is at its best when he clashes handily with the bassist. There are so many highlights here that it is impossible to mark them all, though the group comes together magnificently with representative complexity on "D Major," with wonderfully intense displays, just to cite one example.
~ Steve Loewy. All Music Guide
2006 - Dennis González - Boston Project - No Photograph Available Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz » Avantgarde
2006 - Dennis González - Boston Project - No Photograph Available
Artist: Dennis González
Album: Boston Project - No Photograph Available
Label: Clean Feed
Year: 2006
Quality: Flac
Size: 342 mb
Total time: 63:52

"Dennis' first recording without his sons since 1999...he had the good fortune to come to Boston and work with this group, and had not played with any members of the great Boston-based group before this, but that would be hard to tell from the great outcome of this fine disc. Coltrane used two bassists on "Africa Brass", both playing different parts and I can hear echoes of a similar vibe here. "
~ Bruce Lee Gallanter review at DMG

2004 - Z Eduardo Unit - A Jazzar no Zeca Music » Jazz » Modern Jazz
2004 - Z Eduardo Unit - A Jazzar no Zeca
Artist: Z Eduardo Unit
Album: A Jazzar no Zeca
Label: Clean Feed
Year: 2004
Quality: Flac
Size: 378 mb
Total time: 62:23

One suspects, in hearing the trio of tenor saxophonist Jesus Santandreu, bassist Ze Eduardo and drummer Bruno Pedroso, that they normally play very adventurous music. For this CD, they stick to the compositions of Jose Afonso, tunes that are often folk songs with passionate melodies. The material keeps the musicians respectful before they engage in advanced improvising. Santandreu can play with the intensity of Coltrane while at other times he displays a slightly whimsical nature closer to Sonny Rollins. Bassist Ze Eduardo has the authority of a Charles Mingus and usually directs traffic, taking almost as much solo space as Santandreu. With Pedroso offering stimulating support, the trio often jams these songs in a free bop manner la Ornette Coleman or Dewey Redman. Despite the name-dropping, Santandreu, Eduardo and Pedroso have individual voices of their own and deserve to be well-known in the U.S. Their interpretations of Jose Afonso's music is swinging and logical yet utterly unpredictable.
~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
2005 - Michael Blake Trio - Right Before Your Very Ears Music » Jazz » BeBop » Post-bop
2005 - Michael Blake Trio - Right Before Your Very Ears
Artist: Michael Blake Trio
Album: Right Before Your Very Ears
Label: Clean Feed
Year: 2005
Quality: Flac
Size: 336 mb
Total time: 57:18
AMG Rating: 2005 - Michael Blake Trio - Right Before Your Very Ears

After the rather violent opener ("Run for Cover"), one might be forgiven for thinking that this trio outing by saxophonist Michael Blake, bassist Ben Allison, and drummer Jeff Ballard was going to be mostly avant-garde jazz and free-form explorations. As the program progresses, it is difficult not to be impressed by the variety that includes the very spiritual and peaceful "Mt. Harissa," Allison slapping his bass in an old-time style on "Flip," the free bop of "All of This Is Yours," a knowledgeable reading of Thelonious Monk's "San Francisco Holiday," and a somewhat spacy rendition of "Careless Love." This set keeps one continually guessing and certainly never loses one's attention. Recommended.
~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide
1996 - Michael Cain - Circa Music » Jazz » BeBop » Post-bop
1996 - Michael Cain - Circa
Artist: Michael Cain
Album: Circa
Label: ECM Records
Year: 1996
Format, Flac
Time: 53:44
Size: 209 mb
AMG rating 1996 - Michael Cain - Circa

Pianist Michael Cain teams up with trumpeter Ralph Alessi and soprano saxophonist Peter Epstein for some unusual trio performances on this ECM CD. The 11 group originals (by Cain and/or Alessi) alternate complex written-out sections with fairly free group improvising. Epstein's soprano and Alessi's trumpet blend together almost as if they were one person playing two horns simultaneously, while Cain's rumbling keeps the music from ever getting too tonal or comfortable. Ranging from what sounds like chamber music (it is often difficult to determine when the musicians are improvising) to stretched-out long tones and heated sections, this episodic and continually intriguing music is never predictable and rewards repeated listenings.
~ Scott Yanow. All Music Guide
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