Chris Corsano Summer Residency at Café Oto Reviewed

English: Drummer performing with saxophonist W...

Chris Corsano


Chris Corsano is a remarkably adept American drummer who zips round his drums with studio-precision timing and an iron sense of purpose. His four-day summer residency in London ranged from intimate duos to a full-on orchestral blast, and in every situation, his powerful, loose-skinned chatter stood out.

Newsbits: Guru Freakout / Noiseless Ensemble / Steve Lehman / John Zorn

Mani Neumeier

Cover of Mani Neumeier

Releasing September 2, Mothership is the debut album from Guru Freakout, the avant garde side project created by percussionist, singer, and frontman of the legendary Krautrock band Guru Guru, Mani Neumeier, along with multi-instrumentalist/producer Jürgen Engler of German industrial band Die Krupps.

Noiseless Ensemble will perform at Zed’s Cafe, Saturday August 30th, 8-10 pm 8225 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Noiseless Ensemble performs creative improvised music, on the border between jazz and the avant garde. Their compositions range from graphic and textual notation to card games and games of chance. Drummer Robin Ghertner and bassist Harry Walker lead a diverse lineup of DC mainstays on explorations into sonic spaces that can be oblique, melodic, empty, and dynamic. They will be performing with Brad Linde on sax, founder and director of the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra and regular collaborator of Lee Konitz.

Steve Lehman is interviewed about his new release Mise en Abime.

The Quietus reviews John Zorn’s new Nova Express release, On Leaves of Grass.

Free Jazz Blog Reviews

From Free Jazz:

The Astronomical Unit: Super Earth (Gligg Reords, 2013) ****
Foils Quartet: The Jersey Lily (Creative Sources, 2014) ****
Giacomo Merega, Noah Kaplan & Joe Moffett – Crows and Motives (Underwolf, 2014) ****
Daniel Rosenboom Quintet – Fire Keeper (Orenda, 2014) ****
Moskus – Mestertyven (Hubro, 2014) ***½
Baptet – Trash Nova (Brakophonic, 2014) ****
Pharoah & The Underground – Spiral Mercury (Clean Feed CD, 2014) ****½
Pharoah & The Underground – Primative Jupiter (Clean Feed LP, 2014) ****
Led Bib – The People in Your Neighbourhood (Cuneiform, 2014) ***½

Boulez’s Piano Solos in Taka Kigawa’s Hands


Pierre Boulez

Cover of Pierre Boulez

A hall helps create the impression of a piece of music almost as much as the player or the piece itself. It is doubtless largely because the pianist Taka Kigawa’s recital on Monday evening was held at Le Poisson Rouge, the basement club in Greenwich Village, that his program had such a bewitchingly suave, intimate effect. Yes, implausibly enough, the complete solo piano works of Pierre Boulez sounded, in Mr. Kigawa’s hands and with the low-ceilinged Le Poisson Rouge acoustics, glasses tinkling at the bar, like nothing so much as a collection of unusually experimental cabaret music.

September in Portland

From Portland’s Creative Music Guild:

Outset Series Programming
September 2014
Revival Drum Shop (at its new location)
2045 SE Ankeny
All shows begin 8 PM (ends by 10)
Sliding Scale $5-$15. All ages.

September 3 – Liew Niyomkarn (Los Angeles), TBA
September 17 – Consumer and Halfbird

Liew Niyomkarn is a Bangkok-born dreamer who love to manipulate organic sound, work with electronic circuits and sound sculpture. Her work is known for its ecstatic, whimsical and unpredictable event. often expresses a sensory of flexibility and euphoric momentum behavior. Liew seeks to capture the wisdom and free energy of sound and discover new ways to engage psyche and sense thru space. Liew received her MFA in Experimental Sound Practices from Calarts and currently live in Los Angeles. (

Consumer is the solo project of electronic musician Matt Palenske. Systematically doodles on machines to map his confrontation with infinity and to help rattle restless traditions. Having remained acousmatic in Chicago for 5 years, he has manifested physically in Portland, OR offering savage live loops.

Halfbird is a very noisy trio of Grant Pierce (Not Bitter, Pinkish) on drums, Brandon Conway on guitar and Ben Kates (Thicket, It’s OK, Girl) on saxophone. This is their first show as a trio. Wear earplugs.

AMN Reviews: Ashley Paul – White Night

21ashleyAshley Paul – White Night  (Important Records, Cassauna series, SAUNA21)

By Dan Coffey

Ashley Paul’s latest release, before her upcoming full-length album on Important Records, is a cassette containing six songs. The Brooklyn-based new face on the avant-garde improv/compositional circuit has become quite prolific. Here she uses the cassette medium to create what seems like a suite in two parts, the songs tied together by explorations of loss and determination to find what has been lost. To that end, the music, all performed by Paul save for guest appearances by Eli Keszler on percussion on the title song and Greg Kelley on trumpet on another cut.

Paul plays quite a bit of guitar on these songs – deceptively simple combinations of three or four notes repeated at different tempos to anchor the chaos that she brings into the mix. Much of the guitar sounds muddled and distant, so that when another few crisp, clear notes are played on electric guitar, one suddenly gets the feeling that they’ve been in a sonic closet with Paul and her contraptions. The almost-claustrophobic nature of many of these songs don’t become apparent until this juxtaposition occurs.

The first song, “Dragon,” features Paul’s frail vocals over low-key sonic mayhem. There is so much bowing and scraping in addition to what sounds like all manner of mechanical objects being put into play, that one can imagine Tom Waits at Paul’s studio door, yelling “LET ME IN! LET ME AT THAT STUFF!” But Paul gives the contraptions center stage, moving her voice to the periphery – something Waits would never do. Another way of looking at what Paul is doing throughout the recording, but especially on “Dragon,” is to compare it to the second and third tracks of Sun Ra’s “Strange Strings”; there is a naiveté here, a sense that Paul is pushing herself out of her comfort zone, playing instruments that are not her strongest suit. Which makes the listening experience that much more transfixing.

The second track on side one, “I’m Finding You,” actually does place Paul’s voice in the forefront. It’s a much shorter piece with beautifully strained vocals that speak to a faith held despite certain odds that only the singer knows (“I’m finding you / I know you’re there). The guitar is much more prevalent in this track, reminding one of a combination of Derek Bailey-lite with echoes of Mary Halvorson.

The final song on side one is sort of a reprise of “Dragon,” but without vocals and with quite a bit more unrestrained mayhem. Side two opens with the almost ballad-like title track, again concerned with the themes of loss and finding. Paul pulls out some truly beautiful guitar work and vocals on this one. Since we’ve already mentioned Bailey, Halvorsen, and Sun Ra, one more analogy can’t hurt. “White Night” sounds like a dead ringer for much of the early 80s post-Henry Cow “Rock in Opposition” output, particularly Lindsay Cooper’s “News from Babel” project. One almost expects to hear Dagmar Krause or Robert Wyatt join in on the vocals.

The second track on side 2, “Goodbyes,” is also reminiscent of the noisier side of the Rock in Opposition movement. Fred Frith’s “guitars on the table” style of playing and the “Downtown” improv scene of the early/mid-80s is directly referenced here, to amazing effect.  The final track, “Run the Walls,” continues the RIO theme, sounding more like very-late period Henry Cow and Art Bears recordings. Paul really manages to go against the vocals heard previously, for a more cacophonous effect, reminiscent of what Dagmar Krause was doing in the Art Bears in the early 1980s.

All these referents shouldn’t obscure the fact that this is a distinctly original album by a multi-talented artist still finding her place in the musical world. After listening to this cassette, one might hope she never does find her place.

AMN Picks of the Week: Piero Bittolo Bon / Noiseless Ensemble / Mimlitsch, Darius, and Pozdrowicz / Bernie Worrell / Wadada Leo Smith / Method of Defiance

Bernie Worrell

Cover of Bernie Worrell

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Piero Bittolo Bon / Jump the Shark – Iuvenes Doom Sumus (2014)
Noiseless Ensemble – No Noise (2014)
Paul Mimlitsch / Andre Darius / Martin Pozdrowicz – Outsiders (2014)
Bernie Worrell – Purple World (2014)
Wadada Leo Smith / Bill Laswell – Akashic Meditation (2014)
Method of Defiance – Nebuchadnezzar (2014)