Old Growth Forest
This recording happened the day after two concerts at the New York venue directed by John Zorn, The Stone, in September 2015. Harris Eisenstadt thought it was the right opportunity to revive a forgotten trio with Jeb Bishop and Jason Roebke and to finally accomplish an old purpose: to have a quartet with the addition of Tony Malaby. After the gigs they went immediately to a studio and this is it. With such a reunion of improvisers it wasn’t difficult to arrange things; some written material was prepared only to define a unified identity to the music, and everything else was kept open. No other word would describe better what you’ll discover here: open jazz. An urgent, passionate and vibrant kind of jazz. “Old Growth Forest” HAD to happen, HAD to be. It took 10 years to finally get here, but each moment of this CD sounds like destiny. It’s done and we only hope that they do it again, and again, and again…
Everybody’s Somebody’s Nobody
Fred Frith / Darren Johnston
This is the first duo effort to be released by Canada-born, but long time contributor to the San Francisco Bay Area scene trumpeter Darren Johnston, and the legendary guitar iconoclast Fred Frith. They can also be heard together on the fine release “Reasons For Moving,” (Not Two, 2007), alongside Larry Ochs, Devin Hoff and Ches Smith, but in this more intimate musical gathering, the results are truly astonishing. The genesis for this session was originally to provide sounds for a short dance film for filmmakers John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson and choreographer Amy Seiwert in a commission for the SF Dance Film Festival, but as can happen when improvisors are effectively inspired by one another, this led to a full release’s worth of exciting new music. With the distinct and unusual combination of a guitar and trumpet duo, from the very first moments of “Everybody’s Somebody’s Nobody” we feel that they’re inventing a new timbral map and a new format. These are musicians from different generations, but they have more in common than what you might suppose. Johnston has started a path with his instrument similar to the one taken by Frith 40 years ago. After the termination of the prog band Henry Cow, the British six-string player started intense exploratory work around techniques, vocabularies and forms – frequently creating unprecedented and beautiful new sounds – and his accomplishments have since widely expanded the possibilities of the guitar. Now, Johnston is doing the same with the trumpet, taking it to its limits and sometimes beyond. Don’t miss this important step of today’s music evolution.
Live in Greenwich Village
Renku – the kindred-spirit New York trio of saxophonist Michaël Attias, bassist John Hébert and drummer Satoshi Takeishi – was named after a collaborative, improvised form of Japanese poetry that balances freedom and precision. The trio makes music like its name: searching and empathetic, thoroughly in the moment, resonant with meaning. Renku played a two-night stand at Manhattan’s Greenwich House in early 2014 to launch a second decade together, recording the shows for the band’s third album following Renku (Playscape, 2005) and Renku in Coimbra (Clean Feed, 2009). The resultant Live in Greenwich Village features new pieces by each member, fresh takes on vintage numbers and an absorbing interpretation of Paul Motian’s “The Sunflower.” A serpentine feel is set from the start by Attias’s “Tapstone,” the album coursing with melodies fit to charm snakes; the trio’s performances flow with kinetic energy, the vibe sensual like a New York night.
Here is one more – and particularly notable – example of the most blasting jazz made today. Protean Reality is a trio using the conventional instrumentation born with hard bop and free jazz: sax, bass and drums. But there’s nothing conventional in Chris Pitsiokos, Noah Punkt, and Philips Scholz’s approach. With a clear reference to the New York no wave scene of the Seventies, here jazz meets noise meets contemporary classical music. Mix Ornette Coleman, Sex Pistols and Iannis Xenakis in your mind and you’ll be close to what’s inside the package. Intensity, immediacy and forward propulsion are key words to describe this music, but there’s also lots of lyricism and abstract detail to deal with in the three long pieces of this CD. And if this band may be a novelty to you, the three musicians have a past. Pitsiokos has worked with the likes of Joe Morris, Peter Evans, Tyshawn Sorey, Nate Wooley, Paul Lytton, and Weasel Walter. We almost forgot: also with Lydia Lunch. Punkt has played with Tim Daisy, Peter van Huffel and Tobias Pfister. Scholz has had Rudi Mahall, Claudio Puntin and Pablo Held as partners. They’re no strangers to the business, but highly convincing representatives of a new generation of improvisers who celebrate the death of fusion jazz with joy, rage, inventiveness and zero taboos.
After the success of ―Coding of Evidentiality‖, Dre Hocevar is back—not with his trio, but with a quintet, considering the inner transformations to a quartet and again to a trio, expanding the original quest of ―Collective Effervescence‖. Cellist Lester St. Louis and pianist Bram De Looze are one more time associated with the percussionist and composer: if you’re a sports fan, you know that we can’t mess with a victorious team. The electroacoustic dimension of Dre’s sound world was initiated with the composition Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), through the hands of Sam Pluta. In this album, Philip White’s analog electronic work and signal processing along with saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos, also known as a member of the noise-jazz combo Protean Reality, thoughtfully integrate and further develop Hocevar’s innovative compositional work. So, the music grew and became wider in range, without losing detail, subtlety, and nuance. Or even intimacy: the chamber music-like ambiance keeps being the salient quality of this group. The concept too: this is collective, interactive, empathic music and the quantity of musicians associated turn that condition, even more clear. Finally, the title of the album – the mentioned ―Collective Effervescence‖ is a telling metaphor for what’s happening here, considering the strong interest in the unseen vibrations of air and bodies, sometimes dense, but always dissipating in perspectives on silence, the principle, the basis and the end of all music.
Left Exit, Mr. K Featuring Michael Duch & Klaus Holm
It may allude to the first name of Karl Hjalmar Nyberg, but the designation Mr K present us the duo founded by the mentioned saxophonist with drummer Andreas Skar Winther. The intended ambiguity of this project goes beyond this personal identity factor – it’s everywhere in the music. Mr. K covers all the possible approaches to improvisation, going from the textural, minimalistic and radically abstract, like something AMM would play, to the use of graphic and written notation, entering in more conventional situations – the ones coming from the “outer regions of jazz”. Even if the music continues to be “experimental”, this means you can already recognize it formally as “jazz”. To complicate things, Nyberg and Winther invited two other musicians, in order to expand vocabularies and interactive perspectives. Both were carefully chosen… Chameleonic bassist Michael Duch has a reductionist trio with Rhodri Davies and John Tilbury, is a member of the rock band Dog & Sky and played with luminaries of the new music field like Pauline Oliveros, Christian Wolff and Tony Conrad. No less capable to change parameters when the music asks for it, saxophonist Klaus Holm is present in every corner of the creative music scene, either close or far from jazz, side by side with Paal Nilssen-Love, Ivar Grydeland, David Stackenas, Kim Myrh, Stale Storlokken and a few others – for instance, the psychedelic rock group Motorpsycho. So, forget what you know about improvised music and expect the unexpected…