AMN Reviews: Palimpsest Trio – Stanze [pyr168]; Orrù Mar Rocha – Live at MIA 2015 [Endtitles ET2]

Improvisation can be, among other things, a kind of spontaneous composition. Two improvisational trios whose common element is Sardinian double bassist Adriano Orrù are exquisitely aware of this and play accordingly. The Palimpsest Trio, made up of Orrù on double bass, Silvia Corda on piano, and Paulo Chagas on reeds, and the trio Orrù Mar Rocha, in which violinist Maria do Mar and clarinetist/bass clarinetist Luiz Rocha join Orrù, take approaches to improvisation which have in common a grounding in compositional principles, while differing in the details.

palimpsest-trio-web_V2-1024x924The Palimpsest Trio’s concern for compositional values—for choosing and putting elements into balanced relationships—is apparent even in the title of their new release, Stanze. A stanza (plural “stanze”) is a compositional unit in poetry as well as Italian for “room” or “stopping place;” the common meaning is of boundary or limit, and by extension a container of discrete measure which can function as a constituent part among parts comprising an appropriately proportioned whole. Terms like “proportion,” “room” and “balance” bring to mind architectural properties. And in fact the nine tracks making up Stanze are permeated by an intuitive concept of musical architecture.

For Orrù, Corda and Chagas, architectural balance takes multiple forms. First is the basic push and pull of very different timbres and articulations holding the strings, piano and reeds in an elastic tension. Sounds are placed with care beside, beneath and above one another, resulting in textures that highlight timbral contrast or concord as the moment requires. Corda’s piano is mostly a sparse, staccato source of vertically-stacked tones; Chagas’ legato lines add a fluid, vocal quality to much of the music; Orrù’s use of bowhair and wood, fingers and foreign objects to excite the strings builds a polychromatic bridge between percussion and wind. The evocative Aubade, with its modal sax melody, is a good example of how this dynamic plays out.

Just as important as timbral balance is the balance between filled and empty spaces. Orrù, Corda and Chagas use staggered and coincident rests as fundamental elements for collating phrases into larger, collective compositional units. This is evident on all tracks, but most especially on Enjambements, where open spaces play as significant an overall structural and expressive role as sounds.

a1734723754_16In contrast to the Palimpsest Trio’s use of substantial blocks of empty space as structural elements, Orrù, Mar and Rocha build their performances more out of the timbral interplay of instruments that overlap substantially in sound color. Over the course of two pieces recorded live in Portugal earlier this year, the three weave an often dense texture of contrasting and complementary colors and articulations. Their instruments’ capacity for braiding long, sustained tones is demonstrated right from the opening of the first piece. The arco double bass and violin sometimes sound like a single stringed instrument of unusually wide range, while the registral coincidence and timbral similarities of bowed bass and bass clarinet are capable of blending into one seamless sound. At the same time, the three are more than happy to explore the unique sound profiles of their individual voices, creating often intense passages of starkly opposed timbres that effectively play off of the surrounding moments of instrumental confluence: Broken figures emerge from a smooth field, which eventually reabsorbs them.

Despite outward differences, what each of these pieces by both trios share is a meticulous placement of sound and a nuanced internal balance among three independent voices. Close listening is the prerequisite for doing this successfully, and as both of these recordings amply demonstrate, that is a skill that these five fine improvisers have in abundance.

Daniel Barbiero

Today in New York 


From The Bronx to Williamsburg, twelve participatory musical parades will welcome winter as they wind through streets, parks, and other public spaces in four of the city’s five boroughs. Amateurs and professionals, singers, fiddlers, bell ringers, smartphone users – all are invited to take part.
Monday, December 21 all day
Various Locations Around New York City

As the longest night of the year unfolds, and the journey of our planet nears the point when Winter commences in the Northern Hemisphere, Roulette hoses Phill Niblock’s annual Winter Solstice concert: six hours music (acoustic and electronic) and mixed media film and video in a live procession that charts the movement of our planet and the progress of ourselves through art and performance at is maximal best.
Monday, December 21 at 5:00 PM
Tickets $20, $15 students/seniors
Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Iktus PercussionIktus Percussion
Iktus Percussion performs works by Xenakis and Alex Mincek. They are also joined by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix and Happy Place.
Monday, December 21 at 8:30 PM
Tickets $8
Shea Stadium, 20 Meadow Street, Brooklyn, NY

Meredith Monk Performance Reviewed

Source: The New York Times.

Though Meredith Monk is often spoken of as if she were a soloist, she’s very often a collaborator, and a marvelous one. On Friday, she shared a program at Danspace Project with the poet-performer Anne Waldman and three other female colleagues. The evening’s sole soloist was Ms. Waldman, in the long opening number, “Entanglement Variations,” a work in progress.

GOD Records New and Upcoming Releases

Source: GODrec.


Opcion (formaly known as Ab-Hinc) is not unknown name on GODrec,since he took part of remixing Kajkyt’s Krst (see GOD 04). First side of his debut, MONOS/UND, offers three pieces of heavily processed and composed noise, accompanied with harsh beats, while on second side he joins forces with Maja Osojnik, Bernhard Loibner and Kurt Bauer, with improvised pieces being edited until becoming fully constructed pieces…

Fonoverse – Complete electro-acoustic music – 3xLP
GOD 35 – PETER ABLINGER – Voices and Piano Vol. 1
GOD 36 – PETR BAKLA – Orchestral Works

Taylor Ho Bynum’s Indiegogo Project

Source: Indiegogo, a new crowdsourced recording in early January. He is looking for supporters, so please consider contributing.

I’ve spent much of the last year developing a new book of creative orchestra music through residencies in Miami, Amsterdam, Ontario, Michigan, and Portugal, leading community-based large ensembles anchored by the musicians in my long-running sextet. A few weeks ago, I started playing with the idea of calling together a “dream band” of some of my closest friends, mentors, and colleagues to record this material in the studio, under the exquisitely audiophile auspices of Firehouse 12 Records. Magically, on a spur of the moment, last minute request, fourteen of the most extraordinary musicians I know made themselves available for two days of rehearsal and recording in New Haven, CT, on January 11-12, 2016.

The BAND!!
Nate Wooley & Stephanie Richards: trumpets
Vincent Chancey: french horn
Steve Swell: trombone
Bill Lowe: bass trombone & tuba
Jim Hobbs, Ingrid Laubrock & Matt Bauder: saxophones
Jason Kao Hwang: violin
Tomeka Reid: cello
Jay Hoggard: vibraphone
Mary Halvorson: guitar
Ken Filiano: bass
Tomas Fujiwara: drums
Taylor Ho Bynum: composer, conductor, cornet

All About Jazz Reviews

Sonny Sharrock

Source: All About Jazz.

Free Jazz Group Wiesbaden
Frictions / Frictions Now (NoBusiness Records)

Kim Kashkashian Sarah Rothenberg Steven Schick Houston Chamber Choir Robert Simpson.
Rothko Chapel (ECM Records)

Spike Orchestra
The Spike Orchestra: Cerberus (Book of Angels – Volume 26) (Tzadik)

Sonny Sharrock
Ask the Ages (M.o.d. Technologies)

Dictionary 3 (Moonjune Records)

Ben Monder
Ben Monder: Amorphae (ECM Records)

Adam Rudolph – Go: Organic Guitar Orchestra
Turning Towards The Light (Cuneiform Records)

Jon Armstrong Jazz Orchestra
Farewell (Orenda Records)