AMN Reviews: Abbey Rader / Kyle Motl / Drew Ceccato – Ritual (2017; Abray Productions)

Though perhaps a contradiction in terms, drummer Abbey Rader approaches free jazz with a sense of discipline. Ritual, released earlier this month, is a demonstration of such. Joined by bassist Kyle Motl and Drew Ceccato on sax, this trio (which is three-fourths of one configuration of the Abbey Rader Quartet) provides five frenetic explorations in the 6-10 minute range.  Each track features its share of liberated wailing, but is just long enough to make a discrete statement before ending.

Ritual begins with a mile-a-minute pace that is maintained for the most part. Rader plays with the energy of someone with only half of his 74 years, bashing out heavy cymbal and snare work. His drumming is anything but strictly rhythmic, as it overflows with ideas and changing directions. Motl is not only adept at keeping up – he is in absolutely monstrous form. He moves up and down the fretboard with ease, providing jarring accentuations in between streams of notes. Ceccato’s lines are insistent and rude. He is there to push boundaries and does not seem to care who he might offend in the process.

After reading John Corbett’s A Listener’s Guide to Free Improvisation, music sounded different to me. Outside albums were more pleasing to the ears when absorbed in accordance with Corbett’s rubric. It would be interesting to find out what he thinks of Ritual, because this is quintessential free jazz. It is played with an urgency that belies its delicacy and attention to detail. An excellent release.

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Mars Williams Presents An Ayler Xmas in December

Grammy-nominated saxophonist, composer and bandleader Mars Williams presents An Ayler Xmas — The Music of Albert Ayler & Songs of Christmas on Saturday, December 2 at 8 PM at Atlas Studios, located at 11 Spring Street in Newburgh, NY. This concert will be a co-production of Elysium Furnace Works in collaboration with Jazz at Atlas. General admission will be $20 at the door. Ample onsite parking is available.

For the last two of years, along with the annual Chicago performances, Williams has experimented by performing “An Ayler Xmas” in New Orleans, using local musicians. Building on their success this year, Williams expands his project by bringing it to select cities in the US and Europe featuring local improvisers from each host city. The tour will include the following citiies:

Dec. 1 – Holyoke, MA
Dec. 2 – Newburgh, NY
Dec. 4 – New York
Dec. 8 – New Orleans
Dec.10 – Chicago
Dec.15 – Vienna
Dec.16 – Wells, Austria
Dec.17 – Paris
Dec.20 – Antwerp
Dec.23 – Amsterdam

For the Newburgh performance, the musicians performing will include:

Mars Williams – Saxophones, Toy Instruments
Joe McPhee – Trumpets, Saxophones
Joe Morris – Guitar
Hilliard Greene – Bass
Chris Corsano – Drums

Three Dune-Inspired Reissues Reviewed

Via Pitchfork.

Widely loved by sci-fi fans and counter culture types alike during its mid-’60s heyday and beyond, there’s one subculture with which Frank Herbert’s literary space-opera, Dune, really connected: dudes with synthesizers. And while these were not the only artists to find inspiration on the planet Arrakis, the story’s stark landscapes and drug-enhanced space travel pair well with the sprawling and alien music made by analog electronic instruments. During the ’70s, a number of established knob twiddlers released Dune-inspired albums, a few of which have recently been or are in the process of being reissued. Though they make use of similar instrumentation – keyboards and sequenced modular synthesizers – these records do not sound the same. Some commit fully to other-worldly tones, while others come off like weedy prog-rock jam sessions that were merely branded with a Fremen place-name. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that.

5049 Records Podcast Episode 137 – Gyan Riley

Via 5049 Records.

Gyan Riley is an absolute virtuoso of the nylon string guitar, an extraordinary musician who plays with great detail and elegance. Originally from California, he has been based in Brooklyn for the past several years. He has worked closely with John Zorn, Secret Chiefs 3, Timba Harris, Wu Fei and has a long standing duo project with his father, composer Terry Riley. Gyan is the real deal and a joy to talk to.