AMN Reviews: Shiroishi / Golia / Fujioka / Cline – Borasisi (2019; Astral Spirits)

Named after a sun deity appearing in a Kurt Vonnegut novel, Borasisi is a team up between two saxophonists (Patrick Shiroishi and Vinny Golia) and two drummers (Dylan Fujioka and Alex Cline). While the cover art exhibits the signature retro feel of the Astral Spirits label, the music only nods toward the past and is, in essence, a forward-looking spontaneously creative effort. And the album is a grower. Once you get to the fifth or sixth listen, the soulful and outside power of these efforts begin to hit hard as new details emerge.

Recorded live in the studio late last year, the two long tracks (Right Eye Sun and Left Eye Moon) feature simultaneous leads from Shiroishi and Golia, with and without backing from their percussionist co-conspirators. The two saxes ease into a comfortable partnership, filling in the gaps for each other whether the tempo is frenetic or paced. They seamlessly come together and then fly apart into contrapuntal explorations. There are relatively little squealing or extended techniques in play, nor individual attention-seeking efforts.

When done properly, a recording with two drummers can be exquisite, and that is exactly what Fujioka and Cline provide. They effectively merge to the point where it is virtually impossible for the listener to tell where one starts and the other stops. Their long duet at the beginning of Left Eye Moon exemplifies this point, an ever-shifting rhythmic non-pattern that is wildly unpredictable.

Whether intentional or not, this 32-minute album represents a pairing of collaborators from two different generations of free improv – Golia and Cline being the elder statesmen while Shiroishi and Fujioka represent the growing millennial contribution to this loose genre. But there is no sense of passing the torch. Instead, Borasisi is a cooperative alliance of equals – four accomplished improvisers who know how to bring the best out of themselves and each other.


John Zorn’s Rebound From PledgeMusic’s Implosion 

Source: NPR.

John Zorn, the prolific and brilliantly iconoclastic composer, realized a dream of sorts last year when he released The Book Beriah — a boxed set of 11 new albums, featuring as many different groups interpreting music he’d written for that purpose.

The Book Beriah was a Tzadik release too, though its elaborate sprawl and high production costs led Zorn to involve an outside partner: PledgeMusic, a British-based direct-to-fan crowdfunding service designed to help bring musical projects to fruition. “The only way we could have broken even was going on a platform like this,” Zorn tells NPR Music.

Now, after a calamitous turn for PledgeMusic — which announced last week that it’s headed for bankruptcy — Zorn hopes to recoup a substantial loss: $197,559, all of it raised through the platform and still owed to Tzadik.



May 12, 2019
Matteo Liberatore & Jon Irabagon, Downtown Music Gallery
Jon Irabagon Matteo Liberatore

May 12, 2019
Odd Gravity, Downtown Music Gallery
Jaimie Branch Michael Evans Thomas Helton

May 12, 2019
Guillermo Gregorio Ensemble, Downtown Music Gallery
Sarah Bernstein Guillermo Gregorio Nick Jozwiak

May 8, 2019
Matthew Shipp & Ivo Perelman, The Stone
Ivo Perelman Matthew Shipp

May 4, 2019
Anteloper, Roulette
Kim Alpert Jaimie Branch Jason Nazary

May 4, 2019
Fly or Die, Roulette
Jason Ajemian Jaimie Branch Lester St. Louis Chad Taylor

5049 Records Podcast – William Parker Revisited 

Source: 5049 Records.

With the 24th annual Vision Festival fast approaching it seemed like a good time to revisit one of the most popular episodes in the history of the 5049 Podcast, my conversation from 2013 with bass extraordinaire, philosopher, organizer and story teller, William Parker. As a bonus, included here is my second conversation with William from 2015 for Sound American, discussing the work of Don Cherry. Thank you to Nate Wooley and Sound American.

Anna Webber Profiled

Source: Jazz Right Now.

Composer and multi-instrumentalist Anna Webber has emerged as a major force since arriving in New York in 2008. She has released a series of innovative records including her trio, Simple (2014) and Binary (2016), both on Skirl Records, and most recently, her septet, Clockwise, just released in February. Her performances and recordings bristle with compositional ideas and sophisticated improvisations. She plays next with Matteo Liberatore and Lesley Mok at Spectrum on May 20; and with fellow-Canadian saxophonist Angela Morris, they summon their big band to the Queens Museum on June 9. I had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Webber about her work.