Free Jazz Blog Reviews

Rob Mazurek
Cover of Rob Mazurek

From Free Jazz:

Tim Berne – Insomnia (Clean Feed 2011) ****½
Rob Mazurek – Calma Gente (Submarine Records, 2010) *****
Albert Beger Quartet – Big Mother (2008) ****
Honey Ear Trio – Steampunk Serenade (Foxhaven Records, 2011) ****
Avram Fefer Trio – Eliyahu (Not Two, 2011) ****

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Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society Will Tour Canada In June

From Improvised Communications:

This June, Brooklyn-based composer Darcy James Argue and his 18-piece big band Secret Society will embark on a four-city tour of prominent Canadian jazz festivals.

The first stop is Sunday, June 26th in Argue’s hometown of Vancouver where the acclaimed ensemble will perform at the historic Vogue Theatre as part of the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Performances at the TD Ottawa International Jazz Festival (June 28th) and the TD Festival International de Jazz de Montréal (June 29th) will follow before the tour concludes at the TD Toronto Jazz Festival on Thursday, June 30th.

All four events are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, which enables Canadian audiences to discover artists from other regions and provinces, and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International (USAI) in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Sunday, June 26th at 9:00 p.m.
Vogue Theatre
918 Granville Street in Vancouver, BC
Tickets are $30 (on sale April 30th)

Tuesday, June 28th at 10:30 p.m.
OLG Stage at Confederation Park
100 Elgin Street in Ottawa, ON
Tickets are $22.60

Wednesday, June 29th at 6:00 p.m.
Théâtre du Gésu
1200 de Bleury in Montreal, QC
Ticket price TBA (on sale April 30th)

Thursday, June 30th at 5:30 p.m.
The Outdoor Stage at Metro Square
221 King Street West in Toronto, ON

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FONT We Speak Festival

From the Festival of New Trumpet Music:

FONT presents WE SPEAK, a three-day festival in collaboration with the Rubin Museum of Art, (Le) Poisson Rouge, and The Vision Festival,
on June 3rd, 5th & 7th, 2011.

Featuring performances by trumpeter/composers Wadada Leo Smith, Tomasz Stanko, Ted Daniel, Amir ElSaffar, Stephanie Rossum, Jonathan Finlayson, and an evening length tribute to Bill Dixon.

The Festival of New Trumpet Music (FONT), under the artistic direction of Dave Douglas, proudly announces WE SPEAK, a three-night concert series curated by Taylor Ho Bynum. Partnering with multiple venues and arts organizations, WE SPEAK showcases over a dozen leading and emerging innovative brass stylists and their musical collaborators, demonstrating why FONT has been described as “a grand highlight of the musical season” (The New Yorker) and “a cross-stylistic extravaganza” (The New York Times).

FRIDAY, JUNE 3rd, 7pm, Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th St, NYC, 212.620.5000 x344

• Honoring Bill Dixon – The Festival of New Trumpet Music celebrates the life and work of the late trumpet player Bill Dixon (1925-2010), who was an inspiration and a trailblazer, not just for his extraordinary musical innovations as a trumpet player and composer, but also for his revolutionary work as an organizer and musical activist. The musicians paying tribute feature many long-time Dixon collaborators, with Taylor Ho Bynum, Stephen Haynes, and Rob Mazurek (cornets, trumpets), William Parker (bass), Warren Smith (percussion), and special guests Stanton Davis and Wadada Leo Smith (trumpets). The concert will also celebrate the CD release of Dixon’s final concert, Envoi (Victo Records). On this evening, the ensemble will perform new compositions dedicated to Dixon by Bynum, Haynes, Mazurek, and Graham Haynes. Presented in partnership with the Rubin Museum of Art and the National Museum of Jazz in Harlem’s Harlem in the Himalayas concert series. Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door, and $5 for students, and include a post-concert guided tour of the museum.

SUNDAY, JUNE 5th, doors at 9pm and concert at 9:30, (Le) Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St, NYC, 212.505.3474

• Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet with Angelica Sanchez (piano), John Lindberg (bass), Pheeroan akLaff (drums) – FONT presents the NYC premiere of trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers, a three- part suite dedicated to the American civil rights movement between 1954-1964: “Brown v. Board of Education” (equal protection, 1954); “Little Rock Nine” (desegregation in education, 1957); and “Freedom Summer” (voter registration, 1964). Born in Leland, Mississippi in 1941, Smith had a first-hand view of the revolutionary activities that inspired this work. The piece is written specifically for the musicians in Smith’s signature ensemble, the Golden Quartet; an ensemble of master composer/performers, whose experimental practice utilizes the quartet form, considered by Smith the purest foundation of musical expression in jazz/creative music and western music culture. The appearance of Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet is made possible by Chamber Music America’s Presenting Jazz program, and Smith’s composition Ten Freedom Summers was commissioned through the CMA program New Jazz Works: Commissioning and Ensemble Development. Both programs are supported through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Tickets are $18 in advance, $22 at the door, and $15 for students.

TUESDAY, JUNE 7th, beginning at 7pm, Vision Festival 16, Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand St, NYC, 212.598.0400

• FONT at the Vision Fest – In a first time partnership between two of the leading grassroots, artist-led organizations in New York City, the Festival of New Trumpet Music and Arts for Art unite to present an evening of innovative brass music at the 16th annual Vision Festival. The night’s music spans a diversity of styles and generations, headlined by a performance by Polish trumpet legend Tomasz Stanko, in his first appearance at FONT or the Vision Festival. Tickets are $30 at the door, $140 for a Vision Festival pass, and $20 for students and seniors.

Main Stage:

• 7pm – Amir ElSaffar’s With/Between, with Amir ElSaffar (tpt, voice), Jen Shyu (voice), Liberty Ellman (guitar), Francois Moutin (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums). Iraqi-American trumpeter, santour player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar is on the forefront of a wave of musicians who are incorporating the traditional musical styles of their cultural backgrounds with modern sensibilities, blurring the lines and conventions that differentiate styles, toward a music that resonates human.

• 8:30 – Ted Daniel’s International Brass Membrane Society salutes King Oliver, with Ted Daniel (cornet), Charles Burnham (violin), Howard Johnson (tuba), Warren Benbow (drums), Orlando ‘Que’ Rodriguez (percussion). Best know for his work with pioneering free jazz artists like Sonny Sharrock, Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, Andrew Cyrille, Sam Rivers, Billy Bang and Henry Threadgill, trumpeter/cornetist Ted Daniel brings his unique musical perspective to the work of early jazz hero King Oliver and his Creole Jazz Band from 1923, in a special concert featuring tuba master Howard Johnson.

• 10:00 – Tomasz Stanko Quartet, with Tomasz Stanko (tpt), Craig Taborn (piano), Thomas Morgan (bass), Jim Black (drums). Tomasz Stanko brings an all–star New York band. His latest ECM release, Dark Eyes, came in at number eight in the 2010 DownBeat Critics Poll, and writing in The New York Times, Nate Chinen called Tomasz Stanko “a pioneering figure in European jazz. He can make a straightforward melody feel confidential, guarded. His lyricism inhabits a haunting calm and produces a somber beauty.”

Downstairs Theater:

• 7:45 – Two films by Robert O’Haire: “Bill Dixon: Going to the Center” and “Joseph Daley: Earthtones”. Two documentary films capturing an inside look at the music of two brass masters, the late trumpet player Bill Dixon and the tuba virtuoso Joseph Daley. Each film follows the composer/leaders into the recording studio, documenting the process of creation through performance footage and interviews.

• 9:15 – Stephanie Richards’ WATERcolor with Stephanie Richards (tpt), Qasim Naqvi and Andrew Munsey (drums), Kelly Rossum (tpt), Sam Minaie (bass). Stephanie Richards’ performs the experimental work WATERcolor, exploring the unpredictable properties of water through partially submerged trumpets and percussion/hardware instruments with impressionistic reflections of scattered mirrors and surfaces of colored sound.

• 10:45 – Jonathan Finlayson’s Sicilian Defense, with Jonathan Finlayson (tpt), Miles Okazaki (guitar), Keith Witty (bass), Damion Reid (drums). Best known for his long-time membership in Steve Coleman’s Five Elements and his collaboration with Steve Lehman, trumpeter/composer Jonathan Finlayson brings his working band to FONT/Vision featuring several pieces derived from his favorite chess openings.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES: Contact Taylor Ho Bynum (, 617.461.0491) or Rich Johnson (

The Festival of New Trumpet Music is made possible in part through the generous support of Chamber Music America, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Meet the Composer’s Cary New Music Performance Fund, the Bill Dixon Music Fund, and its individual donors and volunteer board.

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Emanem & Psi Releases

Henry Grimes Quartet @ HotHouse (Chicago, 12/0...
Image via Wikipedia

From Emanem & Psi:

Latest Emanem releases – available now:
5014 OTHERWAYS & FREE SPACE ‘Life Amid the Artifacts’ (1973/84)
Herman Hauge, Dave Solomon, Marc Meggido, Simon Mortimer, Nigel Coombes,
Ron Herman, John Russell, John Stevens, Trevor Watts
5015 VERYAN WESTON ‘Different Tessellations’ (2010)
Leo Svirsky & The Vociferous Choir
5016 STEVE LACY ‘School Days’ (1960/3)
Roswell Rudd, Henry Grimes, Dennis Charles

Latest psi releases – available now:
10.08 HANS KOLLER with BILL FRISELL ‘Cry, Want’ (2009)
11.01 AGUSTÍ FERNÁNDEZ & JOAN SAURA ‘Vents’ (2009/10)
11.02 DJ SNIFF ‘EP’
11.03 EVAN PARKER & MATTHEW WRIGHT ‘Trance Map’ (2008-11)
11.05 ADAM LINSON SYSTEMS QUARTET ‘Figures and Grounds’ (2008)
Axel Dörner, Rudi Mahall, Paul Lytton

Emanem release delayed until June:
5013 ISKRA 1903 ‘Goldsmiths’ (1972)
Paul Rutherford, Derek Bailey, Barry Guy

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Creative Sources Releases

From Creative Sources:

Martine Altenburger
Frederic Blondy
Bertrand Gauguet

David Chiesa
Jean-Sebastien Mariage

Hans Koch
Thomas Rohrer
Antonio Panda Gianfratti

Ernesto Rodrigues
Guilherme Rodrigues
Gil Gonçalves
Nuno Torres
Abdul Moimeme
Armando Pereira
Carlos Santos
José Oliveira

Touching Extremes Reviews

From Touching Extremes:

ALFRED 23 HARTH – Micro_Saxo_Phone. Edition III
AP’STROPHE – Objects Sense Objectes
AP’STROPHE – Corgroc
ERIC LA CASA & JEAN-LUC GUIONNET – Inscape. Lille-Flandres
SIMULACRA – There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood
FEDERICO DURAND – La Siesta Del Ciprés
KEN IKEDA – Kosame
PLEQ – Good Night
JASON KAHN – Sin Asunto