AMN Reviews: Elliott Sharp – Plastový Hrad (2019; Infrequent Seams)

Sharp_Plastovy_Hrad_COVER_1400x1400_James_IlgenfritzComposer, improviser and multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp has been a major voice within the downtown New York music scene for decades. Timbre, dynamics, motion, shape and rhythm are always in play in Sharp’s compositional and improvisational practice. His music is a kind of avant-garde “groove” that combines algorithmic thinking with interpretive and improvisatory intuition. His latest album “PLASTOVY HRAD” presents three very different compositions that feature the bass clarinet.

 

“Plastovy Hrad” is for chamber orchestra with bass clarinet soloist. The composition was commissioned by the Brno Contemporary Orchestra as part of the celebration of the one hundredth anniversary of the formation of the Czech Republic. In this piece Sharp builds a kind of labyrinth that is somewhat dark and relentless. The bass clarinet soloist is a lone voice that wanders the labyrinth commenting and questioning as it moves through its ever changing surroundings. The cimbalom is prominently used to provide a counter voice to the bass clarinet.  The use of the cimbalom also gives the piece bits of Czech folk sounds that pierce the dark textures often revealing bits of light.  It’s a really interesting piece that is well recorded.  Both the soloist Lukasz Danhel and the ensemble perform with a great deal of power, conviction and subtly.

“Turing Test” premiered at the Venice Biennale in 2012. It is performed by the voices of the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart and the bass clarinet of Gareth Davis. It is a kind of mini-opera where disembodied voices try to understand who they are and where they are. While many of the techniques in Elliott Sharp’s musical language such as cells and looping appear to be at work here, they are used very differently than in other works by Sharp. In this piece Sharp uses these techniques not to construct actively evolving dense textures but clear melodic segments of counterpoint and chords for the voices. Gareth Davis’s wonderful bass clarinet is used to comment and question the voices as they continue their test. It’s a wonderful piece that is beautifully performed. I look forward to hearing more work in this vein from Elliott Sharp.

“Oumuamua” is a graphic score for bass clarinet and electronics. In this piece the bass clarinet is processed by the electronics in real time. In many ways this piece resembles Sharp’s solo electric guitar work, in that there are repeated fragments overlaid in a constant forward motion that occasionally collapses into a sustained sound mass.  The use of electronics here is really interesting in that they are both transformative and interactive. The bass clarinet transforms into clusters of floating sounds that dissolve into duets between the bass clarinet with sounds that resemble berimbau, saxophone and organ. It’s an interesting and wild romp that features Elliott Sharp’s excellent bass clarinet playing.

All in all, “PLASTOVY HRAD” is a really interesting and diverse album that presents three different faces of Elliott Sharp, one of America’s most interesting contemporary composers.

Highly Recommended!

Chris De Chiara

AMN Reviews: André Darius & Paul Mimlitsch – Renga [Plus Timbre PT012]

0122015Renga is a form of linked, short verse written by two or more poets together. André Darius and Paul Mimlitsch creatively interpret the idea of the collaborative series of brief pieces with their duo release titled, appropriately enough, Renga. The fourteen short tracks—each averaging about two minutes in length—are improvisational miniatures for Mimlitsch’s bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet and Darius’ electric upright bass and voice. The music is largely a kind of constantly moving, engagingly free lyricism with frequent excursions into pure sound and timbre, particularly on the tracks featuring Darius’ vocalizations. Mimlitsch’s reedy low register growls and ruminations contrast nicely with the brighter sounding yet similarly low-pitched electric upright bass.

http://www.plustimbre.com/

Umbrella Music Through December 30

Kent Kessler
Image via Wikipedia

From Chicago’s Umbrella Music:

Sunday, 13 December 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Jason Adasiewicz’s Rolldown
Jason Adasiewicz – vibraphone
Josh Berman – cornet
Aram Shelton – alto saxophone, clarinet
Jason Roebke – bass
Frank Rosaly – drums
CD/LP release of Varmint on Cuneiform
two sets

Wednesday, 16 December 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Fred Anderson Trio
Fred Anderson – tenor saxophone
Harrison Bankhead – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
two sets
$10 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Dave Rempis spins Easy Living

Thursday, 17 December 2009
Elastic
10:00PM | Double Quartet Round Three
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Mars Williams – saxophones
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Jim Baker – piano/electronics
Kent Kessler – bass
Brian Sandstrom – bass
Michael Zerang – drums
Steve Hunt – drums
two sets

Sunday, 20 December 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Ritwik Banerji Quintet
Ritwik Banerji – tenor saxophone
Satya Gummuluri – vocals
Steve Ptacek – drums
Patrick Mulcahy – bass
Rob Frye – reeds
11:00PM | Aram Shelton’s Fast Citizens
Aram Shelton – alto saxophone, clarinet
Josh Berman – cornet
Keefe Jackson – tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Anton Hatwich – bass
Marc Riordan – drums
CD release of “Two Cities” on Delmark

Wednesday, 23 December 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Drake/Bishop/Parker/Abrams
Hamid Drake – drums
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Jeff Parker – guitar
Joshua Abrams – bass
two sets
$10 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets by John Herndon

Wednesday, 30 December 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Josh Berman’s Old Idea
Josh Berman – cornet
Keefe Jackson – tenor sax
Jason Adasiewicz – vibraphone
Anton Hatwich – bass
Marc Riordan – drums
two sets
$6 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Peter Margasak Gets Random

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Umbrella Music Through December 23

Kent Kessler
Image via Wikipedia

From Chicago’s Umbrella Music:

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Hideout
10:00PM | Jason Stein Solo
Jason Stein – bass clarinet

Release for “In Exchange For A Process” on Leo Records
11:00PM | Locksmith Isidore
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Jason Roebke – bass
Mike Pride – drums

Release for “Three Less Than Between” on Clean Feed

$7 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Cocanig vs Jablonski
The Second Annual Classic Rock-Off

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Elastic
10:00PM | Nick Broste Trio
Nick Broste – trombone
Keefe Jackson – reeds
Anton Hatwich – bass
11:00PM | Paul Giallorenzo’s GitGO
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Mars Williams – saxophones
Paul Giallorenzo – piano
Anton Hatwich – bass
Marc Riordan – drums

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

The Hideout
10:00PM | Lonberg-Holm/Lepine
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
Nate Lepine – tenor saxophone
11:00PM | Adasiewicz/Zerang
Jason Adasiewicz – vibraphone
Michael Zerang – percussion

$7 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Kent Kessler spins Brazil

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The Hideout
10:00PM | Fred Anderson Trio
Fred Anderson – tenor saxophone
Harrison Bankhead – bass
Tim Daisy – drums

two sets
$10 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Dave Rempis spins Easy Living

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Elastic
10:00PM | Double Quartet Round Three
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Mars Williams – saxophones
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Jim Baker – piano/electronics
Kent Kessler – bass
Brian Sandstrom – bass
Michael Zerang – drums
Steve Hunt – drums

two sets

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Hideout
10:00PM | Drake/Bishop/Parker/Abrams
Hamid Drake – drums
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Jeff Parker – guitar
Joshua Abrams – bass

two sets
$10 cover

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Umbrella Music Through November 29

Tobias Delius photo courtesy Seth Tisue
Image via Wikipedia

From Chicago’s Umbrella Music:

Wednesday, 18 November 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Mars Williams Solo
Mars Williams – solo woodwinds
11:00PM | Williams/Kessler/Sandtrom/Hunt/Zerang
Mars Williams – woodwinds
Kent Kessler – bass
Brian Sandstrom – bass, guitar
Steve Hunt – percussion
Michael Zerang – percussion
$6 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Kevin Drumm spins The Music of Akos Rozmann

Thursday, 19 November 2009
Elastic
10:00PM | Delius/Kessler/Zerang
Toby Delius – reeds
Kent Kessler – bass
Michael Zerang – drums
two sets

Sunday, 22 November 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | KLANG
James Falzone – clarinet
Jason Adasiewicz – vibraphone
Jason Roebke – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
11:00PM | Tobias Delius with Bishop/Stein/Abrams/Rosaly
Tobias Delius – reeds
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Josh Abrams – bass
Frank Rosaly – drums

Wednesday, 25 November 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Rempis/Ward/McBride/Reed
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Greg Ward – alto saxophone
Nate McBride – bass
Mike Reed – drums
two sets
$6 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Tomeka Reid spins Songs of Thanks

Sunday, 29 November 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Rempis/Rosaly
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Frank Rosaly – drums
CD Release Show
two sets

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DMG Newsletter October 2nd, 2009

From DMG:

Wadada Leo Smith: 2 groups on double Live CD! Tyshawn Sorey! Ergo with Carl Maguire! John Esposito/Jeff Marx/John Siegel! Beat Circus! Vinny Golia/Damon Smith/Weasel Walter! Tony Wilson 6tet! Roger Reynolds!

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Downtown Music Gallery FREE In-Store Performance Schedule Continues with:

Sunday, September 27th Double Header!
6pm – DAVE GROLLMAN/BRAD HENKEL/VALERIE KUEHNE!
A Fine New Drums/Trumpet/Cello Trio!
7pm – BEN GERSTEIN & TONY MALABY!
Wow! Powerful Trombone & Tenor/Soprano sax Duo!

Tuesday, September 29th at 6pm:
STEFANO PASTOR/GIACOMO MAREGA/SATOSHI TAKESHI!
Amazing violin/bass/percussion Trio!
Slam Recording Artist Performs a Rare Tuesday Set at DMG!

Sundays, October 4th & 11th – No in-store sets
While the Evan Parker Festival at The Stone Continues!

Sunday, October 18th at 6pm:
JOACHIM BADENHORST & NICO ROIG!
Superb New bass clarinet & baritone guitar duo!

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Umbrella Music Through October 11

Kent Kessler, Jeb Bishop
Image by cattoo via Flickr

From Chicago’s Umbrella Music:

Wednesday, 30 September 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Frank Rosaly‘s Milkwork
Frank Rosaly – solo drums
Record Release Concert For Self-Titled Debut on Contraphonic/Molk
11:00PM | Oxbow
Frank Rosaly – drums
James Falzone – Bb clarinet
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Keefe Jackson – tenor sax, contrabass clarinet
Jason Adasiewicz – vibraphone
Jason Roebke – bass
$7 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets: Joshua Abrams spins Music For Feh Thu Les Byp Eds, Part II

Thursday, 1 October 2009
Elastic
10:00PM | Stein/Kessler
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Kent Kessler – bass
11:00PM | Baker/Kimmel/Labycz
Jim Baker – piano, electronics
Jeff Kimmel – bass clarinet
Brian Labycz – electronics
$7 suggested donation

Sunday, 4 October 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Mackay/Boye/Golombisky/Rumback
Bill Mackay – guitar
Ben Boye – keys
Matthew Golombisky – bass
Charles Rumback – drums
11:00PM | Stein/Baker/Abrams
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Jim Baker – piano, electronics
Josh Abrams – bass

Wednesday, 7 October 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Gjerstad/Lonberg-Holm/Zerang
Frode Gjerstad – reeds
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
Michael Zerang – drums
two sets
$8 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Quin Kirchner spins Drums I Like

Thursday, 8 October 2009
Elastic
10:00PM | Frode Gjerstad Group
Frode Gjerstad – reeds
Josh Berman – cornet
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Jim Baker – piano
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
Jason Roebke – bass
Charles Rumback – drums
two sets

Sunday, 11 October 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Dikeman/Bishop/Roebke/Reed
John Dikeman – tenor saxophone
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Jason Roebke – bass
Mike Reed – drums
two sets

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DMG Newsletter September 18th, 2009

From DMG:

Zorn’s Arcana Book Vol 4! Rare John Cage Book! New London Jazz Composers Orchestra! Takase & Sclavis! Die Enttauschung, Vandermark’s Frame Qt! Fred Anderson 80th B-Day CD!

Gottschalk & Fengxia! Fonda/Stevens Group! Dennis Gonzalez/Frank Lowe Qt! Allan Holdsworth/John Stevens/Danny Thompson ..and Holdsworth ‘Tony Williams‘ Tribute! Laswell’s InnerRhythmic label!

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Downtown Music Gallery FREE In-Store Performance Schedule Continues with:

Sunday, September 20th at 6pm:
MATT LAVELLE & JASON STEIN!
Two Colossal Bass Clarinetists in a Rare Duet!

Sunday, September 27th Double Header!
6pm – DAVE GROLLMAN/BRAD HENKEL/VALERIE KUEHNE!
A Fine New Drums/Trumpet/Cello Trio!
7pm – BEN GERSTEIN & TONY MALABY!
Wow! Powerful Trombone & Tenor/Soprano sax Duo!

Tuesday, September 29th at 6pm:
STEFANO PASTOR/GIACOMO MAREGA/SATOSHI TAKESHI!
Amazing violin/bass/percussion Trio!
Slam Recording Artist Performs a Rare Tuesday Set at DMG!

Sundays, October 4th & 11th – No in-store sets
While the Evan Parker Festival at The Stone Continues!

Sunday, October 18th at 6pm:
JOACHIM BADENHORST & NICO ROIG!
Superb New bass clarinet & baritone guitar duo!

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Rob Brown / Gerald Cleaver and Ned Rothenberg at RUCMA

Ned Rothenberg at Appleby Jazz Festival 2007
Image via Wikipedia

From New York’s Rise Up Creative Music & Arts:

Start: 08/31/2009 – 7:30pm
End: 08/31/2009 – 10:00pm

MONDAY, AUGUST 31
7:30PM – Rob Brown/Gerald Cleaver: Rob Brown (alto sax), Gerald Cleaver (drums)
9PM – Ned Rothenberg Group: Ned Rothenberg (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, shakuhachi), Ibrahim Maalouf (trumpet), Brahim Fribgane (oud), Stomu Takeishi (percussion)

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