50th Anniversary Art Ensemble of Chicago Recording on the Way

Source: Pulp. This has been confirmed by the label.

The Art Ensemble of Chicago is also recording new music at Big Sky Studios in Ann Arbor for New York’s consistently remarkable Pi Recordings label and will present a concert on Saturday, October 20 at Bethlehem United Church of Christ (423 S 4th Ave., Ann Arbor). Mitchell is also performing a concert on Wednesday, October 17 at Kerrytown Concert House with longtime friends from Detroit in honor of the Creative Arts Collective, an ACM-associated project he helped spur in Michigan in 1978.

AMN Reviews: Alfonso García de la Torre & Guillermo Lauzurika / Ensemble Sinkro [Bandcamp]

Vitoria-Gasteiz is the capital of the Basque Autonomous Community; it is also the home of the Ensemble Sinkro, a group playing acoustic and electroacoustic works by contemporary composers. The group was formed in 2005, although its roots reach back to the establishment of the Jesús Guridi Ensemble and the Electroacoustic Music Laboratory of the Conservatory of Vitoria-Gasteiz in the mid-1980s. From the latter, in particular, Ensemble Sinkro seems to have derived its interest in the integration of new technologies with the compositional methods and instrumental techniques of the Western art music tradition. Recently, the ensemble has been issuing a series of recordings that provide an aural window into the fine work being made by the current generation of Basque composers, among whom are Alfonso García de la Torre and Guillermo Lauzurika.

Música de Cámara [CD010] collects eight of García de la Torre’s electroacoustic chamber works from the period 1998-2014. García de la Torre (1964), a native of Vitoria-Gasteiz, came to composition with a background in electronic engineering as well as music; among his studies were courses at the Computing and Electronic Music Laboratory in Madrid and at IRCAM in Paris. His work often involves multimedia and encompasses sound art as well as more traditional instrumental composition. The tracks on Música de Cámara demonstrate his deftness at melding electronic technologies with solo acoustic instruments or small ensembles. What makes each unique is what all have in common: a finely honed sensitivity to the way that electronics can bring out the particular natural characteristics of a given instrument. For example, Un Caracol Manchado (2000), for tenor saxophone and electronics, is a tightly integrated work that uses voice doubling, pitch-shifting and other processes to create the illusion of a ghost saxophone shadowing the actual instrument. By contrast, 2005’s Dark for baritone saxophone and electronics maintains each element as an independent yet complementary voice. García de la Torre describes Danba II (2014) for flute, cello, percussion, piano, and electronics as a piece exploring the affinities of these very different instruments’ sound characteristics; his non-hierarchical approach to the material leads to a naturally pointillistic setting for solo voices representing independent colors.

Like García de la Torre, under whom he studied, composer/pianist Guillermo Lauzurika (1968) is a native of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Also like García de la Torre, Lauzurika’s compositions are attuned to the opportunities afforded music by new technologies and multimedia environments. His background includes work with jazz ensembles as well as dancers, improvisers and experimental musicians; currently he teaches electroacoustic music and serves as Ensemble Sinkro’s artistic director. His portrait release [CD007] comprises six works including a piece for solo piano, three for solo instruments and electronics, a work for two pianos and two percussion instruments, and one for guitar, percussion, and electronics. As with García de la Torre’s collection, Lauzuritka’s includes pieces for tenor saxophone and electronics and baritone saxophone and electronics. On both pieces, Lauzuritka artfully integrates extended and conventional saxophone techniques into the surrounding electronic soundscape. Moving over to an entirely different sound palette, MOmmm (MI) momNN(ni)c for guitar, percussion and electronics elucidates the sometimes unexpected timbral convergences of nylon string acoustic guitar on the one hand, and drums on the other. The highlight of the recording is Zatiketa, in which Lauzurika skillfully weaves together the parts for piano and pitched percussion to afford their meeting on a common ground defined by the brusque, albeit melodious, sounds of things struck.

Daniel Barbiero

Julia Wolfe and Jack Quartet Win Musical America 2019 Awards 

Source: MusicalAmerica.

Composer of the Year Julia Wolfe was an important American composer, long before women composers were in vogue. She was finally recognized when her hour-long oratorio Anthracite Fields, received the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music and, the following year, she was named a MacArthur Fellow, receiving the highly prestigious $250,000 “genius” grant. Cofounder of the pioneering new-music consortium Bang on a Can, back in 1987, on the faculty of New York University, Wolf’s current commissions include Fire in My Mouth, which the New York Philharmonic will premiere in January and an as-yet untitled co-commission by Carnegie Hall and the New World Symphony, which the latter will premiere in May under Michael Tilson Thomas. She is also composer-in-residence at the Dallas Symphony.

Of Ensemble of the Year the JACK Quartet, Allan Kozinn writes, “This group’s fresh, energetic, and stylistically omnivorous approach to the contemporary repertoire makes it a worthy heir to the tradition of new music quartets that goes back to the Composers Quartet in the 1960s and rivals the Kronos and Arditti Quartets of today.” He calls the size and range of JACK’s repertoire “truly astonishing” and, notes that, in addition to a breakneck touring and recording (34 and counting) schedule, its four members—two of them new since 2016—are also teachers, with regular residencies at the University of Iowa, the Boston University Center for New Music, and, through 2019, Duke University.

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Rempis / Piet / Daisy – Throw Tomatoes (Astral Spirits, 2018) ****

Albert Cirera / Abdul Moimême / Alvaro Rosso – Dissection Room (Creative Sources, 2018) ****

Bobby Naughton / Leo Smith/ Perry Robinson – The Haunt (No Business, 2018) ****

Kirk Knuffke / Ben Goldberg – Uncompahgre (Relative Pitch Records, 2018) ****

Vergara / Jackson/Baker / Sudderberg – The Hallowed Plant (Relative Pitch Records, 2018) ****

Tyshawn Sorey – Pillars (Firehouse 12, 2018) *****

Chaos Echoes & Mats Gustafsson – Sustain (Utech, 2018) *****

The Squid’s Ear Reviews

Source: The Squid’s Ear.

Steve Swell – Music for Six Musicians: Hommage a Olivier Messiaen (Silkheart)

Cornelius Cardew / London Experimental Ensemble – Treatise (Split Rock Records)

IKB – Apteryx Mantelli (Creative Sources)

Yoshio Machida and Constantin Papageorgiadis – Music from the Synthi 100 (Amorfon)

Bernard Falaise – Lezardes et zebrures (Ambiances Magnetiques)

October Revolution Reviewed

Source: The Key.

In 2018, jazz is having a moment. No — jazz is having a total year. With records coming from acts as musically diverse as Mansur Brown, Sons of Kemet, and current indie-music crossover darling Kamasi Washington, it will be hard for critics to keep the current cadre of musicians, experimenters and exploratory craftsmen off of their year ends lists. That said, jazz, in all of its infinite expressions, is an often polarizing, fractious musical genre, experienced by many people in many different ways. Here in Philadelphia, that unspoken division can be seen in who partakes, experiences, and benefits from the music’s rich dichotomy. Summer days spent under shade in a park in West Philadelphia where stages are erected for neighborhood jazz concerts can attract hundreds of people of all backgrounds; in fact, Philly’s deep roots in Black jazz will be on full display at these shows that have the more familial feel of a cookout or block party than a seated, black tie affair. Still, there are oftentimes expensive concerts that feel only attainable by a few, oftentimes leaving a generation of latent Philly youth musicians on the outside. It’s under these conditions that Ars Nova and Fringe Arts colluded to create The October Revolution, a forward-thinking music festival spanning four days with an emphasis on improvisational as well as composed works, delving into the experimental with a strong foothold in jazz.