Free Jazz Blog Reviews

Der Saxophonist Joe McPhee beim Konzert mit de...
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From Free Jazz:

Joe McPhee, Peter Brötzmann, Ken Kessler, Michael Zerang – The Damage Is Done (Not Two, 2009) ****

Scoolptures – Materiale Umano (Leo Records, 2009) ****½

Tongs – Jazz With The Megaphone? (Long Song Records, 2009) ***½

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4th Annual Umbrella Music Festival

The 4th Annual Umbrella Music Festival is coming to Chicago in November. Click through for a full lineup.

Umbrella Music is pleased to announce the final schedule for the fourth-annual Umbrella Music Festival, November 5th-8th. The event pcelebrates jazz and improvised music from Chicago and beyond.

Called by the Chicago Reader “perhaps the most important jazz festival in Chicago,” the Umbrella Music Festival features cutting-edge jazz and improvised music from around the world, with a particular focus on artists from the diverse, cooperative and thriving local scene.

The festival opens Thursday, November 5th with a special evening dubbed “European Jazz Meets Chicago,” co-presented by Umbrella Music, the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and several European consulates and cultural organizations. These concerts will feature some of the best improvising musicians on the European scene, some of them with their regular working groups, and some of them in first-time collaborations with their Chicago counterparts.

The concerts continue over the weekend at the regular Umbrella Music venues, and this year will feature three elder statesman of the improvised music world: legendary trumpeter Bobby Bradford, renowned multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, and the Chicago debut of Japanese alto-saxophone legend Akira Sakata.

The complete schedule, as well as all festival-related news and updates are available at

UMBRELLA MUSIC is a group of Chicago musicians and presenters working to provide performance opportunities for creative and improvising musicians. Umbrella members book weekly concert series on Wednesdays at the Hideout, Thursdays at Elastic, and Sundays at the Hungry Brain. More information on the festival, the group, and the events they coordinate is available at:

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Free Music Performances Reviews

Concert Review And Download: High Zero Festival, Saturday Night

NPR’s A Blog Supreme is offering a download of part of the recent High Zero festival.

Maybe it was the economy or maybe it was a curatorial decision, but the 11th annual High Zero Festival in Baltimore, Md. didn’t have the “star power” of previous years. There was no Tony Conrad or Joe McPhee, but in a city with a solid bed of new music practitioners — organized by the keen ears of the High Zero organization — you really couldn’t ask for a more creative line-up.

As always, High Zero puts local Baltimore musicians, artists and dancers on the same stage as international veterans to completely improvise “new music,” a rather loose term for sound with little connection to established forms. As a recent set of a CDs documenting the festival’s 11 years reveals, High Zero Festival is the premier showcase for spontaneous sound.

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General Performances

Ken Vandermark in the Belly of the Beast

The Chicago Reader discusses Ken Vandermark‘s increased nationwide prominence.

“In North America the only thing that’s happened with festivals have been in Canada—Vancouver, Victoriaville,” he told me. “I’m invisible in the mainstream jazz world in the U.S. I’m generally never covered in mainstream American publications devoted to jazz.” While Vandermark has worked with American musicians who don’t live in Chicago—Joe McPhee, Joe Morris, and Adam Lane among them—they exist in the same sort of odd parallel world that he does, away from New York and criminally relegated to the margins. Of course, Vandermark has done just fine without the imprimatur of the establishment.

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

Start: 08/03/2009 – 7:30pm
End: 08/03/2009 – 10:00pm

7:30PM – Min Xiao-Fen‘s Asian Trio: Min Xiao-Fen (pipa, vocals and electronics), Okkyung Lee (cello), and Satoshi Takeishi (percussion and electronics)

9PM – Local Lingo: Jason Kao Hwang (violin and compositions), Sang Won Park (kayagum, ajang and voice) with SPECIAL GUEST Joe McPhee (saxophones, pocket trumpet etc…)

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Creative Music Studio’s Different Music Festival

From All About Jazz:

The Creative Music Studio announces a one-night only DIFFERENT MUSIC FESTIVAL, featuring some of the finest jazz and world-beat musicians playing together in small groups and orchestra, Saturday, August 8, 7pm to Midnight at the Colony Cafe, Woodstock NY.

The evening concludes with a World Beat Dance Party to the music of Futu Futu, the popular jam band-fun-roots music ensemble that originated at CMS, the pioneering avant-garde jazz and world music school and performance center based in Woodstock from 1971 until the late 80s.

The DIFFERENT MUSIC Festival is part of a series of events to benefit the CMS Archive Project to digitize the extraordinary collection of concert tapes featuring the giants of jazz and world music recorded in the heyday of CMS.

Festival ticket price: $20, $15 for students

Different Music Festival schedule:

7pm – Small Group Conversations -Gems of improvised chamber music: A set of solo/duo/trio delicacies featuring Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso, Steve Bernstein, John Lindberg, Don Davis, Bob Selcoe, and special guests.

8:30pm – The legendary CMS Orchestra, an improvising music extravaganza, featuring all of the above players plus special guests Janet Grice, bassoon, Jane Scarpantoni cello, Jayna Nelson, flutes, Bob Selcoe, Joe McPhee, Paul Henderson, Nathan Brenowitz, trumpets, Joe Giardullo, sopranosax, Don Davis, Jorge Sylvester, altosax, Peter Buettner, flute and tenor sax, Tom Collins, Bill Ylitalo, baritone sax, Ted Orr, guitar, John Lindberg, bass, Tani Tabbal, drums, Ingrid Sertso, poetry, vocals, Karl Berger, conducting.

10pm-12am – World Beat Dance Party with Futu Futu!!! featuring Joakim Lartey, Percussion, Vocal; Chris Lan, Guitar,Fx, Vocal; Ted Orr, MIDI Guitar; Peter Buettner, Saxophone; Mike Colletti, Bass; Jamiles Lartey, Drums; This African Funk mix makes you dance
, on your feet and in your head.

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Bagatellen Reviews

From Bagatellen:

Joe McPhee — Angels, Devils & Haints (CjR)

In the many years that I’ve known Craig Johnson, his appetite for music — the kind one would expect to find among college students, debating the merits or lineage of any particular artist into the wee hours — remains insatiable, relieved perhaps by an expansive and steadily growing music and film collections, a neatly […]

Pavel Borodin – Speak Easy: The Loft Concert (DVD)

Cologne’s Loft has become a hunting reserve for Pavel Borodin’s shooting of improvising artists (pun intended). After last year’s excellent documentary on Elliott Sharp, The Velocity Of Hue (for which, reports the director, no willing label was found for distribution – a shame, given the quality of that particular work), we’re now able to watch […]

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June 19, 2009
Alex Chechile Solo, IBeam
Alex Chechile
Cymerman-Sinton-Bauder Clarinet Trio, IBeam
Matt Bauder, Jeremiah Cymerman, Josh Sinton
Harris Eisenstadt & Ellery Eskellin Duo, IBeam
Harris Eisenstadt, Ellery Eskelin

June 18, 2009
Kris Davis Trio, Tea Lounge
Kris Davis, Mary Halvorson, Ches Smith

June 16, 2009
Arve Henriksen with Jan Bang, Le Poisson Rouge
Jan Bang, Arve Henriksen
Nils Petter Molvaer Trio with Audun Kleive & Eivind Aarset, Le Poisson Rouge
Eivind Aarset, Audun Kleive, Nils Petter Molvaer

June 14, 2009
At the Vision Festival 14, Abrons Art Center
Fred Anderson, Lewis Barnes, Jacques Bisceglia, Peter Brotzmann, Rob Brown, Steve Dalachinsky, Stefania Errore, Daniel Levin, Joe McPhee, Patricia Nicholson, William Parker, Marino Pliakas, Steve Swell, Michael Wertmueller
Fred Anderson Trio, Abrons Art Center
Fred Anderson, Hamid Drake, William Parker
Full Blast, Abrons Art Center
Peter Brotzmann, Marino Pliakas, Michael Wertmueller
Michele Rosewoman and Quintessence plus Guests, Abrons Art Center
Vincent Gardner, Brad Jones, Richard Padron, Michele Rosewoman, Tyshawn Sorey, Loren Stillman, Jacob Yoffee
Planet Dream, Abrons Art Center
Rob Brown, Daniel Levin, Steve Swell
Yamamoto-Dickey-Carter, Abrons Art Center
Daniel Carter, Whit Dickey, Eri Yamamoto

June 12, 2009
The Second Approach Trio with Roswell Rudd, IBeam
Igor Ivanushkin, Tatiana Komova, Andrei Razin, Roswell Rudd

June 11, 2009
Urs Leimgruber with Peter Evans & Okkyung Lee, Roulette
Peter Evans, Okkyung Lee, Urs Leimgruber

June 10, 2009
Wibutee, Nublu
Rune Brondbo, Wetle Holte, Hakon Kornstad
Burning Genitals, The Stone
Bobby Previte, Mike Pride, Jamie Saft

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New Release from Atavistic

Recently out on Atavistic Worldwide:

Chicago-based sound artist J.R. Robinson has been creating live, ambient tonefields in museums around the US and Europe over the past two years-including the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Pompidou Center in Paris, and The Art Center Berlin.

Robinson has injected these recordings into collaborations with some like-minded heavy hitters from the noise, post-rock and jazz worlds such as David Yow (Jesus Lizard/Scratch Acid), Mark Shippy & Pat Samson (US Maple), Azita Youssefi, John Herndon & Jeff Parker (Tortoise), Keefe Jackson, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Ken Vandermark. The result (dubbed Wrekmeister Harmonies), is a distinctive hybrid of sound art and avant-garde musics, evoking the essences & influences of masterworks like Joe McPhee‘s Nation Time, Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music and the sound collages of Stockhausen.

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New on Ayler Records

Ayler Records has a handful of new releases:

Eyal Maoz & Asaf Sirkis – Elementary Dialogues

Eyal Maoz and Asaf Sirkis share a long history of collaboration. Combining composition and improvisation, their intuitive rapport guides the way through a musical conversation full of unexpected twists and turns and sudden bursts of color and energy, yet with great emotional depth and logical coherence.

Jacob William Quartet – Secondary Deviations

Jacob William is a Boston-based bass player, composer and improviser working to stretch the multicultural paradigm – exploring the innate, ornate and the palpitating roots of diverse musical traditions, here with his “Secondary Deviations” quartet featuring Jim Hobbs (alto sax), Forbes Graham (trumpet) and Croix Galipault (drums).

Rechtern/Zinman/Wang/Cook – Wakte Oglaka

A “Story of War”, told in music, minimal and reduced to the just necessary yet ornamental, by four master improvisers traveling in open spaces, with nothing but some horses, a sword, a jurta and the wind, the wind, the wind, breeding the math layed out throughout that space. Free improvisation at its best.

Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut – Digital Box
2nd installment available now!

Further explorations into the ongoing work of New-York avant-garde multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Shurdut and friends (including collaborations with Joe McPhee, Blaise Siwula, Brian Osborne, Daniel Carter, Frode Gjerstad, Anders Gahnold, Tom Chess, Marc Edwards, Dave Sewelson, Marcus Cummins, Laura Cromwell, among others).
8 new recordings now available for download along with an updated linerbook. Enjoy the ride!

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