Umbrella Music Festival kicks off Wednesday

Chicago Cultural Center
Image by ImNewHere via Flickr


The boldest festival of them all kicks off Wednesday and runs through Sunday night. During the course of nearly 20 sets, the Umbrella Music Festival will bring the most innovative ideas in jazz to high-profile spots such as the Chicago Cultural Center and grass-roots clubs such as the Hideout and the Hungry Brain.

That a festival of unrepentantly avant-garde jazz should flourish for six years – its audience steadily growing and its lineup constantly expanding – says a great deal about the artistic value of this music and the ingenuity of those presenting it. No one is getting rich, after all, by staging musical performances that avoid the clichés and conventions of contemporary jazz.

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Dave Douglas at the North Sea Jazz Festival 2007.
Image via Wikipedia

Weasel Walter writes a piece on why he listens to complex music, and in the process deconstructs some Captain Beefheart.

A recently UK Marc Ribot performance is reviewed.

Jambands reviews one of the latest from David S. Ware.

Houston’s Names Sound features Pauline Oliveros on November 19.

Dave Douglas is releasing three new recordings. For Volume 1, Rare Metals, Douglas convened his newest band, Brass Ecstasy, for recording 5 new compositions and an arrangement of the classic Strayhorn tune “Lush Life.” Following Volume 1, Douglas invited Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore to play new music for this special quintet. For the final GPS release of 2011, Bad Mango the quartet So Percussion joined Douglas in the studio.

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Touching Extremes Reviews

From Touching Extremes:

EZRAMO – Come Ho Imparato A Volare
THOMAS LEHN / MARCUS SCHMICKLER – Live Double Séance (Antaa Kalojen Uida)
GREG BURK – Many WorldsTOCA LOCA – Shed
JOHANNES FRISCH & RALF WEHOWSKY – Unwahrscheinlichkeiten

Free Jazz Blog Reviews


Nils Petter Molvær
Cover of Nils Petter Molvær

From Free Jazz:

Sharif Sehnaoui – Old And New Acoustics (Al Maslakh, 2011)
Amir ElSaffar – Inana (Pi, 2011) ****½
Rabih Abou-Khalil – Trouble In Jerusalem (Enja, 2011) ***½
Ibrahim Maalouf – Diagnostic (Mi’ster Prod, 2011)
Ochion Jewell – First Suite For Quartet (Mythology records 2011) ****
Matthew Shipp & Joe Morris – Broken Partials (NotTwo, 2011) ****
The Saõ Paulo Underground – Tres Cabeças Loucuras (Cuneiform, 2011) ****½
Nils Petter Molvaer – Baboon Moon (Sula, 2011) ***½
Cuong Vu – Leaps Of Faith (Origin, 2011) ***½

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AMN Reviews: Weather Duo – From Field to Platter

Weather Duo: From Field to Platter

The new CD from Weather Duo, consisting of Ben Willis on double bass and electronics and Pat Reinholz on cello and electronics, deftly combines influences from Minimalism, electronic experimentalism, folk and rock. By turns spare and lush, organic and electronic, the compositions and performances build intriguing structures from disparate elements, whether these latter are pulsing phrases, pentatonic melodies, long-period drones, or processed sounds.

Although the CD is divided into separate tracks, the individual pieces work together to create the effect of a long suite. The recording opens with Helicopters, a drone of oscillating microtones that evolves into a pulsing bass with a cello melody on top. Entering Loth has the bass unfold a raga-like exposition in the upper register, leading directly to Loth, a piece that moves from a folk-like pentatonic opening into a cello melody over a bass ostinato that then develops into complementary pulsing phrases carried by both instruments. Interlude is just that, an entr’acte of electronic abstraction that flows directly into the somber, long-held tones of North. Into the Country is a predominantly minor-key piece built on slowly rising and descending lines, while Falling Asleep to the Feedback combines a three-against-four pulse with a vocal/electronic overlay. Following the abstract sounds and extended techniques of He Crawls from Speakers, the CD ends with decaDodeca-Lanterns, a complex pulse piece that starts with overlapping 18-beat and 15-beat phrases and ends with a passage of simple hymn-like harmonies in a reflective mood.

Emanem & Psi News

Out on Emanem & Psi news:

Latest Emanem releases – available now:
5017 TREVOR WATTS & VERYAN WESTON ‘5 More Dialogues’ (2011)
5018 CHARLOTTE HUG ‘Slipway to Galaxies’ (2010)
5019 PASCAL MARZAN & JOHN RUSSELL ‘Translations’ (2007/10)
5020 BARREL ‘Gratuitous Abuse’ (2009/10)
5021 KAY GRANT & ALEX WARD “Fast Talk” (2008-11)

Latest psi releases – available now:
11.06 TONY MARSH ‘Quartet Improvisations’ (2010)
Neil Metcalfe, Alison Blunt & Hannah Marshall
11.07 MISHA MENGELBERG & EVAN PARKER ‘It won’t be called broken chair’ (2006)
11.08 ALEKS KOLKOWSKI & UTE WASSERMANN ‘Squall Line’ (2009)
11.09 GRUTRONIC & EVAN PARKER ‘Together in Zero Space’ (2009)
11.10 PARKER / LEE / EVANS “The Bleeding Edge” (2010)

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Taran's Free Jazz Hour, podcast 34/2011

Mars Williams at Offside Festival 2008
Mars Williams image via Wikipedia

From Taran’s Free Jazz Hour, podcast 34/2011

gary hassay | michael bisio
my brother: Gary Hassay (alto sax, Tibetan singing), Mike Bisio (bass).

new artists
the stone set: Connie Crothers (piano), Bill Payne (clarinet).

live at the stone: Connie Crothers (piano), Richard Tabnik (alto saxophone), Roger Mancuso (drums), Ken Filano (bass), Mark Weber (poems).

vazytouille: line up and info

a new margin: Chad Taylor (drums), Håvard Wiik (piano), Ken Vandermark (tenor sax).

kris tiner | mike baggetta
bridges: Kris Tiner (trumpet), Mike Baggetta (guitar).

yoram rosilio
ask the dust: Yoram Rosilio and the Anti Rubber Brain Factory

daniel barbiero
fields/figures: Perry Conticchio (reeds, flutes), Rich O’Meara (percussion), Daniel Barbiero (double bass).

engine records
morning sun harvest moon: bassist Harrison Bankhead assumes the leadership role on this album which includes Ed Wilkerson (tenor saxophone, clarinets), Mars Williams (saxophones), James Sanders (violin), Avreeayl Ra (percussion), Ernie Adams (percussion).

imaginary perspective: Michael Monhart (saxophone, percussion, Tibetan horn), Greg Campbell (drums, percussion, French horn, Tibetan horn), Tom Baker (fretless guitar, electronics).

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