AMN Reviews: Szilárd Mezei & Nicola Guazzaloca – Lucca and Bologna Concerts [Amirani AMRN050]

Although considerably more rare than the violin-piano duo, the viola-piano duo traces at least as far back as Mendelssohn’s 1824 sonata for viola and piano. Max Reger and Paul Hindemith—the latter a violist himself—added substantially to the repertoire in the last century, as did Darius Milhaud, Hans Werner Henze, George Rochberg and others. Now, Serbian-Hungarian violist Szilárd Mezei and Bolognese pianist Nicola Guazzaloca bring the viola-piano duo into the twenty-first century, albeit in a manner that departs substantially from the conventional chamber sonata.

Unlike classical sonatas, these eight improvisations, four each from concerts in Lucca and Bologna, develop through variations of timbre, dynamics and density rather than through melodic themes and harmonic modulation. But although much of the playing negates the formal vocabulary and syntax of the classical viola-piano duo, something of the latter’s ability to capture an emotional arc remains. The music can be tempestuous, placid, abstract or even plainly melodic, as when Mezei delivers a modal soliloquy during the third improvisation from Lucca. Both improvisers draw on an expanded palette of instrumental colors, setting conventional and unconventional techniques in a mutually illuminating dialogue with each other. Guazzaloca moves agilely from the keyboard to playing directly on the strings inside the piano; his use of objects in association with the piano emphasizes the instrument’s often-obscured status as a percussion instrument. Mezei, too, plays percussively, using a full-bodied attack with the bow as well as a forceful pizzicato; his engagement with hypermodern performance techniques doesn’t eclipse an expressive immediacy consonant with his involvement with Hungarian folk traditions.

Daniel Barbiero

Bandcamp Friday Sales Supporting Trangender Rights

Many, many of the artists and labels featured here on AMN use Bandcamp as a distribution platform for their music. Not only is Bandcamp a well-designed website that makes obtaining the music simple and fast, but it also provides 80-85% of sales proceeds directly to artists. This is a significantly greater share than provided by Youtube or Spotify, for example.

As noted below, 100% of the Bandcamp cut for all sales this Friday goes to a good cause. Consider timing your purchases accordingly if want to support civil rights in the U.S.

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

Bandcamp is a platform for artistic expression, and all manner of variance in experience and identity, including gender and sexuality, is welcome here. We support our LGBT+ users and staff, and we stand against any person or group that would see them further marginalized. This includes the current U.S. administration, and its recent capricious declaration that transgender troops will no longer be able to serve in the military. That this announcement was motivated in part to help fund the border wall exposes it as part of the administration’s cynical, discriminatory agenda.

In response, we will be donating 100% of our share of every sale on Friday, August 4th (from midnight to midnight Pacific Time) to the Transgender Law Center, a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to change law, policy, and culture for the more equitable.

Dirk Serries New Releases


The heavy-hitting quartet, John Dikeman on tenor saxophone, Dirk Serries on eletric guitar, Andrew Lisle on drums and Colin Webster on alto & baritone saxophone, comprises four long-term sparring partners on the European improvised music scene. The quartet first played together in 2015 at Café Oto, and this set was released as their debut album. The quartet followed this up in 2016 with their double LP ‘Apparitions’ on the A New Wave of Jazz label. This time they played the VORTEX JAZZ CLUB with special guest Alan Wilkinson. This double album covers that complete evening : set one is the original quartet that sets the pace, on set two they are joined by power legend Alan Wilkinson on baritone and alto saxophone. By the VORTEX CLUB owner Olivier Weindling marked as one of the loudest and most powerful concerts ever that took place at this club. So imagine this when you hear the faithful representation of both those concerts.

Aside from the multiple encounters in various units, like the impromptu concert with Colin Webster at Kortrijk’s legendary Cinépalace, Fantoom (with Dead Neanderthals) or in the quintet with Luis Vicente, George Hadow and John Dikeman (forthcoming on A New Wave Of Jazz), Martina Verhoeven and Dirk Serries finally debut as a duo with this exceptional album. ‘Innocent As Virgin Wood’ refers to the purity of wood in sound, feeling and performance. Martina Verhoeven plays here the Steinway grandpiano while Dirk Serries excercises his techniques on the acoustic guitar. Fully improvised and recorded at the acoustically flawless Sunny Side Studio in Anderlecht, this album listens as one long story of deep listening and microscopic interaction. Daring, attention-span absorbing and unsettling while spacious and refined. This is by far the most challenging album on A New Wave Of Jazz to date.

Magma Tour Dates for 2017

Source: Magma.

Upcoming Tour Dates
5 August 2017 Villersexel Rock Au Chateau
18 August 2017 Las Vegas Psycho Las Vegas
20 August 2017 Toronto Mod Club Theatre
21 August 2017 Montreal LA Sala Rossa
22 August 2017 Montreal LA Sala Rossa – Sold out
8 September 2017 Torcy Fall of Summer Festival
10 October 2017 Hamburg Markthalle
11 October 2017 Berlin Kesselhaus
19 October 2017 Joue Les Tours Le Temps Machine
21 October 2017 Roye Roye
26 October 2017 Helsinki Tavastia
27 October 2017 Stockholm Kulturhuset – with Mats &Amp; Morgan
28 October 2017 Malmö Kulturbolaget
29 October 2017 Amsterdam Melkweg
2 November 2017 Cenon (Bordeaux) Le Rocher DE Palmer
3 November 2017 Boucau (64) Scene Nationale Du Sud-aquitain – Salle Apollo
21 November 2017 Buenos Aires Buenos Aires – to Be Confirmed
23 November 2017 Santiago DE Chile Nescafe DE Las Artes
26 November 2017 Sao Paulo Carioca Club

Seattle Scene: August 2-11, 2017

From Seattle’s Wayward Music Series:


Chapel Performance Space at Good Shepherd Center

4th Floor, 4649 Sunnyside Ave. N, Seattle 98103 (corner N 50th St. in Wallingford)

Every month, Nonsequitur and a community of like-minded presenters and artists offer ten concerts of adventurous music in an informal yet respectful all-ages setting: contemporary classical, free improvisation, the outer limits of jazz, electronic music, microtonal/new instruments, sound art, and other extraordinary sonic experiences.

Wed. Aug 2, 8 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

Scrape is a conductor-less string orchestra with harp and guitar that performs within a blend of jazz and classical traditions. Scrape plays the music of Jim Knapp and features improvising guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi, bassist Chris Symer, and guest soloist Mark Taylor with guest composer Toni McGowan and vocalist Chérie Hughes. Concertmaster Heather Bentley guides us through the night without a conductor in sight.

Thea Farhadian + Ewa Trębacz
Thu. Aug. 3, 8 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

Thea Farhadian (SF/Berlin) works primarily with free improvisation, and live electronic processing using Max/MSP software, integrating extended techniques, microtonality, and sound-based material. Ewa Trębacz is a Polish-American composer currently working as a Research Scientist at the UW’s DXARTS. Tonight she presents three works, two in collaboration with French horn player Josiah Boothby.

Gretchen Yanover
Fri. Aug 4, 8 PM; $5 – $15 at the door

Locally grown Seattle cellist Gretchen Yanover celebrates the release of her third album, Bridge Across Sound with a solo concert. Using her electric cello and loop sampler, Gretchen builds her compositions in the moment. String layers create a nuanced landscape, with melodies that map the heart.

High Plains + Wild Card +
Cruel Diagonals
Fri. Aug 11, 8 PM; $10 advance, $15 at door

High Plains is a new of duo of Scott Morgan (loscil) and Mark Bridges that combines electronics, field recordings, and cello. An outlet for destructive sample processing, vocal exploration, and intermedia experimentation, Cruel Diagonals is the solo project of Megan Mitchell. Wild Card is a “modular free jazz” trio of Paul Dickow (Strategy), William Selman, and Marcus Fischer.

5049 Records Episode 125: Jon Abbey

Source: 5049 Records.

An avid and life-long listener, Jon Abbey started the Erstwhile label in 1999. Since its inception, Erstwhile has served as a crucial source for uncategorizable music and has become an institution and home for artists such as Keith Rowe, Toshimaru Nakamura, Sachiko M, Günter Müller and Otomo Yoshihide. For this talk, Jon takes me back to his early days in the mailroom at the Time Life building, the early days of Erstwhile and his current listening habits. A good one.