AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Gianni Mimmo & Daniel Levin – Turbulent Flow [Amirani AMRN032]; Gianni Mimmo & Alison Blunt – Lasting Ephemerals [Amirani AMRN037-LP1]

Two unusual and refreshing duets for reeds and strings, both of them featuring soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo.

Mimmo, a resident of Pavia in northern Italy, started out on tenor saxophone and passed through alto and baritone before settling on the soprano after hearing Steve Lacy play live with Bolognese poet Adriano Spatola. Although Lacy was an important early formative force in Mimmo’s development, the latter’s influences and aesthetic grounding go beyond jazz and even free improvisation to embrace contemporary art music as well as visual and media arts and, perhaps more importantly, poetry. Mimmo’s playing reflects an interest in the symmetries between voice and the soprano saxophone—both of which are powered and limited by the measure of breath—and is centered on a melodicism always on the verge of alluding to speech and its variable rhythms.

R-4077400-1354467939-6427.jpegThe aptly titled Turbulent Flow pairs Mimmo with the dynamic American cellist Daniel Levin. All nine tracks masterfully realize the concept of the duet as being as much about setting voices against each other—in the abrasions of parallel planes rubbing surfaces, or in the direct confrontation of collision on the perpendicular—as it is of having them blend harmoniously. Conflict and complementarity are built into the weave of the interplay between the two, with Levin’s muscular, physical engagement with timbre framing Mimmo’s buoyant complexes of sound. Both players build and relieve tension through a variety of textural strategies such as layering rapid runs up and down the sax on top of thickly impastoed cello chords and glisses; opening up transparent spaces through contrastingly quiet contrapuntal passages; mounting a flurry of upper register notes on the soprano over the cello’s obliquely walking pizzicato. This is about the beauty of angles, some of whose edges are quite sharp.

LastingEphemerals_Mimmo_Blunt_album_cover_art_2014If the sonic geometry of Turbulent Flow is broadly planar, the interplay between Mimmo and UK violinist Alison Blunt is one of supple and intertwining lines. This set of duets, recorded at St. Leonard’s Shoreditch Church in London in the summer of 2013, embodies a quieter and more reflective mood than that of Turbulent Flow. Much of the music is a matter of putting line against line. Both players shape melodies out of spontaneously constructed tone rows, with Blunt moving smoothly between single note lines and harmonically rich—and sometimes unsettling–multiple stops. Color contrasts between reed and string are largely supplementary to the improvised polyphony, but when the two instruments overlap in pitch, particularly in the upper register, each unhesitatingly asserts its own identity with stridence.

As the one constant binding both of these very different recordings together, Mimmo’s voice inevitably is thrown into high relief. It consistently coheres around an often free-flowing line that has at its core a lyrical logic that keeps it rooted in song, even as it moves through pantonal note sequences, registral leaps and serrated rhythms. Extended techniques such as key clicks and overblowing serve somewhat the same function in regard to the main line as backlighting for an object—they make clearer the essential profile of the thing in question, which for Mimmo is always the melody.


Jazz Listings from the New York Times


CAINE-SPEED-ALESSI-FELDER-LEFEBVRE-SMITH (Wednesday) Turbocharged jazz-funk is the likely purview of this awkwardly named assemblage, made up of the keyboardist Uri Caine, the multireedist Chris Speed, the trumpeter Ralph Alessi, the guitarist Nir Felder, the bassist Tim LeFebvre and the drummer Nate Smith. At 10 p.m., 55 Bar, 55 Christopher Street, West Village , (212) 929-9883,; cover, $10. (Chinen)

CLAUDIA QUINTET (Sunday) This improvising chamber ensemble pursues texturally oriented and often contrapuntal exploration; John Hollenbeck’s drumming is one color on a palette that also includes Chris Speed’s clarinet and tenor saxophone, Ted Reichman’s accordion, Drew Gress’s bass and Matt Moran’s vibraphone. For this performance, the product of a Chamber Music America commission, the group becomes a sextet with the addition of Gary Versace on piano. At 9 p.m., Douglass Street Music Collective, 295 Douglass Street, near Third Avenue, Gowanus, Brooklyn ,; suggested donation, $10. (Chinen)

DAVE DOUGLAS QUINTET (Friday through Sunday) The trumpeter Dave Douglas has led a handful of bands in recent years, but this one — with Donny McCaslin on tenor saxophone, Uri Caine on piano, James Genus on bass and Clarence Penn on drums — may be the closest to his core. The group, last documented on a live recording in 2006, seems predisposed to make its Village Vanguard return into an event. At 9 and 11 p.m., Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th Street, West Village , (212) 255-4037,; cover, $20, with a $10 minimum. (Chinen)

DANIEL LEVIN TRIO / TEENAGE BURNOUT / MICHAËL ATTIAS (Tuesday) Mr. Attias, a saxophonist, opens this adventurous triple bill with an unaccompanied solo performance, at 8 p.m. Next up, at 9, is a trio led by the cellist Daniel Levin, with Ingebrigt Haker Flaten on bass and Frank Rosaly on drums. Finally, at 10, there’s Teenage Burnout, an intriguingly named project of the baritone saxophonist (and bass clarinetist) Josh Sinton, the guitarist Owen Stewart-Robertson and the drummer Tony Falco. At Douglass Street Music Collective, 295 Douglass Street, near Third Avenue, Gowanus, Brooklyn ,; suggested donation, $10. (Chinen)

? TONY MALABY (Friday through Sunday) Mr. Malaby is a tenor and soprano saxophonist equally capable of focused tension and wild abandon. He covers that range with three unconventionally shaped bands this weekend: Double Heart, a group with two intuitive Norwegian bassists, and the drummer Tom Rainey (on Friday); Apparitions, featuring Mr. Rainey alongside another drummer, John Hollenbeck, and the bassist Drew Gress (on Saturday); and Malaby-Sanchez-Rainey, a collective trio with Mr. Rainey and the keyboardist Angelica Sanchez (Sunday). Friday and Saturday at 9 and 10:30 p.m., Sunday at 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village , (212) 989-9319,; cover, $10, with a one-drink minimum. (Chinen)

DONNY MCCASLIN GROUP (Tuesday and Wednesday) “Declaration” (Sunnyside) is the thoughtful new release from the tenor and soprano saxophonist Donny McCaslin: an arranger’s album, featuring challenging music for nonet. Drawing on that music here, Mr. McCaslin re-enlists most of the same musicians, including Alex Sipiagin on trumpet, Marcus Rojas on tuba and Ben Monder on guitar. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, Manhattan , (212) 576-2232,; cover, $20. (Chinen)

MICROSCOPIC SEPTET (Friday) A few years ago the complete output of this high-spirited outfit was reissued by Cuneiform, thwarting any notion that jazz in the 1980s was strictly a conservative affair. Here the group draws partly from “Lobster Leaps In” (Cuneiform), a new release stocked with music by two diabolical resident composers, the pianist Joel Forrester and the soprano saxophonist Phillip Johnston. At 8 p.m., Barbès, 376 Ninth Street, at Sixth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn , (347) 422-0248,; cover, $10. (Chinen)

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Daniel Levin’s Upcoming Shows

From Daniel Levin:

Daniel Levin – cello
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten – bass
Frank Rosaly – drums

Concerts December 15,16,17,18

Tuesday, Dec. 15th, 9:00 pm
@ Douglass Street Music Collective
295 Douglass Street, Brooklyn, NY

Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 3:00 pm
@ WKCR 89.9 FM, NYC

Wednesday, Dec. 16th, 6:00 pm
@ Downtown Music Gallery
13 Monroe Street, New York, NY

Thursday, Dec. 17th, 8:00 pm
@ The Rotunda/Ars Nova
4014 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA

Friday, Dec. 18th, 8:30 & 10:00 pm
@ Firehouse 12
45 Crown Street, New Haven, CT

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Umbrella Music Through July 15

*description: Ken Vandermark *photographer: Se...
Image via Wikipedia

From Chicago’s Umbrella Music

Tuesday, 7 July 2009
9:00PM | The Frame Quartet
Ken Vandermark – reeds
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
Nate McBride – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
two sets

Wednesday, 8 July 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | Williams/Levin
Mars Williams – reeds
Daniel Levin – cello
11:00PM | Levin/Kimmel/Riordan
Daniel Levin – cello
Jeff Kimmel – bass
Marc Riordan – drums
$7 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : John Corbett spins Radio Dada, Side A

Thursday, 9 July 2009
10:00PM | Stein/Baker/Abrams
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Jim Baker – piano
Josh Abrams – bass
two sets

Sunday, 12 July 2009
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Herculaneum
Nick Broste – trombone
Greg Danek – bass
David McDonnell – alto saxophone, clarinet
Patrick Newbery – trumpet
Dylan Ryan – drums, vibraphone
two sets

Tuesday, 14 July 2009
9:00PM | The Frame Quartet
Ken Vandermark – reeds
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
Nate McBride – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
two sets

Wednesday, 15 July 2009
The Hideout
10:00PM | DKV Trio
Hamid Drake – drums
Kent Kessler – bass
Ken Vandermark – reeds
two sets
$10 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets: John Corbett vs. Bruno Johnson – The Soul Battle Extraordinaire

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April 11, 2009
Gay Disco Trio, The Bell House
Jim Black, Andrew D’Angelo, Trevor Dunn
H-alpha, The Bell House
Jim Black, Briggan Krauss, Ikue Mori
Mary Halvorson & Jessica Pavone, The Bell House
Mary Halvorson, Jessica Pavone
The New Mellow Edwards, The Bell House
Trevor Dunn, Curtis Hasselbring, Ches Smith, Chris Speed

April 10, 2009
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten & Daniel Levin, 5C Cafe
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Daniel Levin
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten & Hakon Kornstad, Monkey Town
Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, Hakon Kornstad
Kornstad-Seabrook-Bard, Monkey Town
Christine Bard, Hakon Kornstad, Brandon Seabrook

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Dusted Reviews

jazz slashing
Image by mary_gaston22 via Flickr

From Dusted:

Artist: Daniel Levin
Album: Fuhuffah
Label: Clean Feed
Review date: Feb. 3, 2009

Artist: Henry Grimes
Album: Solo
Label: Ilk
Review date: Feb. 2, 2009

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AMN Picks General

AMN Picks of the Week

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Alex Maguire Sextet – Brewed in Belgium (2008, jazz)
Paul Lansky – Alphabet Book (2002, modern classical / acousmatic)
Francois Carrier – Kala (2008, free jazz)
Charles Dodge – Any Resemblance is Purely Coincidental (1994, modern classical / acousmatic)
Kalte – The Lanthanide Series (2008, electronic)
Harris Eisenstadt – Guewel (2008, free jazz)
Daniel Levin – Fuhuffah (2008, free jazz)
Jeff Gauthier / Goatette – House of Return (2008, avant-jazz)

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