AMN Reviews: Harold Rubin & Alexander Frangenheim – Suite

Harold Rubin & Alexander Frangenheim: Suite [cs216]

Suite matches Israeli clarinetist Harold Rubin with German-born double bassist Alexander Frangenheim for a set of well-balanced improvisations that do indeed fit together like related parts within a suite.

Clarinet-double bass duets, with their mixture of high-register woodwind and low register strings, can be expected to rest on the instruments’ marked contrast of pitch and timbre. This is the case with Suite, but Frangenheim’s use of extended technique in the bass’s upper register often aligns the two instruments in a way that can make them undistinguishable in tone. Frangenheim favors a rough-hewn sound that sets up a creative tension with Rubin’s liquid lines; the bass often serves as a field against which the clarinet provides the foreground figure. Mark Smulian’s electric bass, featured on three tracks, supplements the backdrop and offers a subtle but unmistakable color contrast to the double bass. Throughout all of the pieces, the players strike the right balance between conventionally melodic, emotionally direct music and adventurous essays in textural exploration.

Highlights include the pointillistic Twin Leaf, which sets a fragmented clarinet melody within a plucked bass surrounding; the dialogue of bowed bass and plaintive clarinet, joined by thick harmonics on the electric bass, of White Skies; and the brief Tintoe, with its birdlike clarinet playing over Frangenheim’s rubbing, scraping, and jagged melodies. The deeply felt Slow Trio begins with quiet harmonics and high-pitched arco bass paired with tentative stabs on the clarinet; the track builds into a polyphonic braid of sound as long clarinet tones wrap themselves around countermelodies on double bass and electric bass. Wood Knocks First supplies just what it promises: An opening gambit of struck strings and fingerboard, moving into a wide-ranging and staccato pizzicato bassline, complemented by fittingly broken melodies on the clarinet.

Coming to the Vortex Jazz Club

English: Saxophonist Chris Biscoe
English: Saxophonist Chris Biscoe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From London’s Vortex:

Thur 27 | 8.30pm
Ken Vandermark, Olie Brice, Mark Sanders
A fixture on the Chicago-area music scene since the 1990s, saxophonist Ken Vandermark has earned wide critical praise for his playing and his multi-layered compositions, with an emphasis on contemporary music that deals directly with advanced methods of improvisation. He has performed and recorded in a vast array of contexts and with many internationally renowned musicians. For tonight’s gig he is joined by Olie Brice (double bass) and Mark Sanders (drums).


Fri 28 | 8.30pm
Jah Wobble & The Modern Jazz Ensemble
As well as breaking new ground, via fresh, powerful compositions, the band pays tribute to musical heroes such as Miles Davis, Donald Bird, Dave Brubeck, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Weather Report and others. The Modern Jazz Ensemble comprises Clive Bell (flute), Marc Layton-Bennett (drums), Sean Corby (trumpet), George King (keys), Neville Murray (perc), Chris Cookson (guitar) and Jah Wobble on (bass). Expect monstrous grooves and daring-do improvisation.


Sat 29 | 8.30pm

Loop Collective – Upload Festival
Building on the success of previous festivals programmed by The Loop Collective, UPLOAD is a multi-platform, two-day festival featuring a stunningly diverse programme of new projects. Performances will range from 20 drummers playing on Dalston’s Gillett Square, to a club night featuring boundary-pushing African music, to a specially commissioned large ensemble bringing together some of Europe’s most forward thinking improvisers and composers. True to its name, the festival will extend into the digital universe with performances being instantly made available online at in a variety of mediums.


Wed 3 | 8.30pm
Tony Marsh Memorial Tribute
The career of drummer Tony Marsh, who died earlier this year, started in traditional jazz, embraced bebop, fusion, orchestral and free jazz and went on to encompass the latest developments in improvised music. Tony was a founding member of the innovative fusion band Major Surgery, appeared on two of Mike Westbrook‘s most important recordings for large groups, had close and fruitful associations with giants of the British jazz scene such as Mike Osborne, Evan Parker and Harry Beckett, and recently worked with many of the most creative young musicians in improvised music, both in the London Improvisers Orchestra and in small groups. Recently he also performed and recorded with the legendary Roscoe Mitchell and John Tchicai. Tonight’s tribute brings together friends who had long associations with Tony, particularly in the jazz and improvised music areas from the 1980s onwards. Musicians include: Full Monte – playing as a trio with Chris Biscoe (reeds), Marcio Mattos (bass), Brian Godding (guitar synth), Then as Now – the compositions of Harry Beckett with Henry Lowther (trumpet), Chris Biscoe (reeds) Steve Lodder (piano), Fred Baker (electric bass), Mark Saunders (drums), Picard/Dunmall Quartet – with Simon Picard and Paul Dunmall (tenor saxes), Nick Stephens (bass), Mark Saunders.


Sat 6 | 8.30pm
Fuelled by textural guitar loops, angular riffs and displaced drum grooves, Troyka – Chris Montague (guitars), Kit Downes (organ) and Joshua Blackmore (drums) – have distilled their unique genre bending live act into a compelling listening experience. Perhaps it’s the trio’s trademark bite combined with an evocative lyricism that is most distinctive in their collective approach on this album. It is utterly absorbing, shocking and charismatic.

After 26 Years, The Sam Rivers Trio Resurfaces

English: Barry Altschul, moers festival 2011
English: Barry Altschul, moers festival 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From NPR:

Jazz multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers, who died at 88 in December 2011, recorded with many trios in the 1970s. But his most celebrated trio was barely recorded at all. In 2007, it played a reunion concert — its first in 26 years. In the ’70s, Rivers often recorded with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Barry Altschul. Usually, one or two other musicians were involved, as on Holland’s quartet classic Conference of the Birds. The Rivers-Holland-Altschul trio toured frequently but made only two low-profile albums, The Quest and Paragon, the latter never reissued. Its 2007 recording Reunion: Live in New York has now been released on CD, and it surpasses either of those oldies — as if the band had never gone away.

Newsbits: Robert Rich / Eric Ross / Tarana / Wesleyan / Ethel

Robert Rich‘s latest release, Nest, is now out.

Thereminist Eric Ross is interviewed.

Trio Tarana will play in New York tonight.

The Musical Singularity: Music for Computer-Controlled Pipe Organ takes place tonight at Wesleyan University, featuring compositions by Benjamin J Mansavage Klein, Jascha Narveson, Caroline Park, Brian Parks, Carl Testa, and Rachel Devorah-Trapp. Memorial Chapel, Wesleyan University, 221 High Street, Middletown, CT.

ETHEL was named new Resident Ensemble at New York’s Metropolitan Museum’s Balcony Bar Friday and Saturday Evenings.

Zappa Plays Zappa on Tour in Europe and US this Fall

Dweezil Zappa in Denmark with Zappa Plays Zapp...
Dweezil Zappa in Denmark with Zappa Plays Zappa, October 13, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Zappa Plays Zappa:

10 Nov ’12 London,UK The Roundhouse
11 Nov ’12 Brighton, UK Brighton Centre
12 Nov ’12 Nottingham, UK Royal Concert Hall
13 Nov ’12 Cardiff, UK St David’s Hall
14 Nov ’12 Gateshead, UK The Sage Gateshead
15 Nov ’12 Edinburgh, UK HMV Picturehouse
17 Nov ’12 New Brighton, UK Floral Pavillion Merseyside
18 Nov ’12 Birmingham, UK Town Hall
19 Nov ’12 Brussels, BE Ancienne Belgique
20 Nov ’12 Utrecht, NL Tivoli
21 Nov ’12 Groningen, NL Oosterpoort
22 Nov ’12 Luxembourg, LU Rockhal
24 Nov ’12 Gothenburg, SE Congress Centre
25 Nov ’12 Oslo, NO Sentrum Scene
26 Nov ’12 Copenhagen, DE Amager Bio

Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa – North America 2012
6 Dec ’12 Fargo, ND Fargo Theatre
7 Dec ’12 Minneapolis, MN Mill City Nights
8 Dec ’12 Madison, WI Barrymore Theater
9 Dec ’12 Council Bluffs, IA Horseshoe Casino
11 Dec ’12 Covington, KY Madison Theater
12 Dec ’12 St. Louis, MO The Pageant
13 Dec ’12 Kansas City, MO Harrah’s
14 Dec ’12 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre
15 Dec ’12 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater
16 Dec ’12 Flagstaff, AZ The Orpheum Theater
18 Dec ’12 Salt Lake City, UT The Depot
19 Dec ’12 Boise, ID Knitting Factory
20 Dec ’12 Missoula, MT The Wilma Theatre
21 Dec ’12 Spokane, WA Knitting Factory
22 Dec ’12 Vancouver, BC Commodore
23 Dec ’12 Seattle, WA The Neptune