AMN Reviews: Simao Costa – π_ANO PRE•CAU•TION PER•CU•SSION ON SHORT CIRCUIT [shh009CD]

Portuguese pianist/composer Simao Costa’s new CD explores the multiplicity of sounds available to a piano that has been prepared, electronically altered or supplemented, and even played in its native state.

The unifying theme that emerges from the seven tracks collected here is the richness of the contrasts that bind and separate the muted, low-sustain sounds of the prepared piano on the one hand, and the ringing tones and harmonies of the instrument unmodified on the other. Putting the two in motion with and against each other is something Costa does effectively throughout the set. Often, the music will take on the character of a gamelan or detuned carillon nested within resonantly pedaled left hand figures. On top of it, Costa will frequently layer in the acute hum of feedback and droning electronics. These timbral experiments are largely cerebral in affect, but surprisingly beautiful impressionistic passages are liable to erupt unexpectedly, particularly on the fourth and sixth tracks. The last and longest track shifts attention away from contrasts in timbre and resonance and focuses instead on the possibilities of rhythmic variations within a pulse, its deliberately narrow range of pitches wrapped in the buzzing and rattling sounds of distressed metal.

http://www.shhpuma.com

Undead Festival Live Review: Cinco DIY-Bring Your Own Mayo

An UNDEAD Improvised Music Review by Monique Avakian

Though I brought homemade chocolate-chip cookies for bait, sadly, I encountered no Zombies. However, there were several Other-Worldly moments that occurred at Brooklyn’s I-Beam on May 5, 2013, including a sighting of Elizabeth Reed making her way around the indeterminate and evolving wreckage near the 7th Street and 4th Avenue crossroads.

During the I-Beam portion of Search & Restore’s annual UNDEAD Festival, audience members were treated to a drum duo on two kits (Vinnie Sperrazza/Jeff Davis Duo); a trio of free-improv (Jesse Stacken Group with Mat Maneri and Devin Gray) and an electronica~trombone improv set with Brian Drye and Jacob Garchik. Big Eyed Rabbit (Max Johnson, bass; Jeff Davis, drums; Ross Martin, guitar) rounded out the evening, but, unfortunately, I had to leave before I got to hear them.

DRUM DUO:
Vinnie Sperrazza and Jeff Davis

These compositions and improvisations were based on the rudiments, and I felt happy when I heard a flam and got that. Not being solid myself with all the rudiments, though, I know missed a lot of conceptual drum~puns; BUT, I had a good time anyway, enjoying two jazz drummers’ takes on the essentials of the extras based on the essentials.

The first tune, “Imaginary Friend,” went by really fast. Strangely, I don’t have any notes on this. Probably because I was too distracted obsessing about Sperrazza’s suped-up, vintage kit — a 1948 black Ludwig (!).

Second up, we had an exploration of Ted Reed’s Syncopation, which was really enjoyable. All drummers know that book because of the dorky cover, which has become a doppelganger for all the cool stuff inside. Sperrazza and Davis made it all the more cool and super intricate, especially at the beginning when the pair started off and maintained a soft volume for a very long time. Later, there was a lot of low-down on the toms spiced with rim clicks and some spontaneous conducting and exclaiming on the part of Sperrazza that led to more joyful joint improv. The whole thing ended with a loud crescendo into a double forte. Ted, I’m sure, would have approved.

Tune #3 began with a lot of cymbal wash and soft toms and fingers brushing against skins. Here, the duo created a very jungle-like, adventurous landscape, conjuring up all sorts of benevolent pacing power animals that lent some heft to the evening. The tune continued to evolve and at one point Davis pushed the butt end of a wooden vibes mallet across his Ride to get a singular soft searing sound; an industrial sound, but mysteriously non-abrasive. This was quite beautiful and enticing—to all spirits, earth-bound as well as transdimensional.

Near the end, this tune took a further ethereal turn when someone’s phone softly made that melodic five figure corporate pattern we all now have annoyingly ingrained in our consciousness. Interestingly, this did not repeat, leading me to think that this must have been a riff offered by the Imaginary Friend Sperrazza encouraged us to wonder about earlier. Then, again, maybe it was Elizabeth Reed calling for Ted. Or, perhaps, it could have been YOU!

In any case, the musicians deftly incorporated this tiny communiqué, ending the piece with a Sperrazza witticism about the day being a DIY Have Your Own Fun kind of thing.

#4 “The Hard One”: This felt like opening a treasure chest of nesting boxes filled with 5s and 10s. Charming and spritely, this exploration expanded my understanding of what might be possible if you trade in unison, if you know what I mean. This piece scaffolded around a structure that felt simultaneously collapsible and expandable with a quick ending. Maybe too quick! Hey, we were enjoying that!

By the time we got to #5, “Heretics on the Theme of Heresy,” we had already learned that we could explore “militarism without the militarism,” so we were ready for this intriguing change-up into a time-based rock feel where the two took turns: one improvising, the other keeping time.

Davis, I noticed, has this sly way of sliding into a ripping fast run, and, in this tune, this really solidified the groove throughout in a very subliminal and pleasing way. You could learn a lot about how to get around the kit from watching this guy, especially when he’s playing soft and fast.

Something really cool happened in the middle of Heretics: somehow, these two managed a complete surfer feel for a minute even though both were playing only snare. Weight, depth, punch, harmony and melody were all evoked clearly, yet, the only sound was snare. Wow! How did they do that!?!

Sperrazza explored a lot of tom work inside of Heretics, moving around the kit deconstructing a bunch of ideas and at moments looking vertically somewhat like Keith Moon without sounding like him at all. And wasn’t Keith Moon into surfer music? Hmmmm…..more DIY magic to ponder, along with Sperrazza inserting a single measure of a swing beat near the end: charming!

TRIO OF FREE IMPROV – Jesse Stacken, Mat Maneri, Devin Gray

This group was the most abstract musically, but conceptually, and with great irony, they began with the most mundane kind of conjure: horns blaring, cars rudely zipping by dangerously close…. It’s the dead of night, and it feels like the end of the world. You realize you’ve been pinned against the cold white tile of the carbon-monoxide filled tunnel buried under the sad and lonely city. And serious choices have got to be made.

Yeah!

Whew!

Eventually, we crossed over into a more pastoral place, with rumbly drums and long bowed single notes from viola. Here, Stacken decided to make full use of the entire piano, moving up and down with really long, loud arpeggiated figures. Then he started pulling these sweet high pings out of the piano strings (literally), choosing next to alternate those with a classical sounding motif played straight up on the keys. At this point, Maneri started tapping the floor and instrument case with his bow while drummer Devin Gray scraped along on something….I think it was metal cookie cooling rack ?!?!?! (He also had a Ride made out of a piece of sheet metal and a hit hat with two mis-matched plates).

Anyway, before long, Maneri’s viola started to bend and Stacken started to pound into repetitive chords forged in sets of four tossed with sporadic rapid runs up and down. Furniture drawers in several adjacent buildings began to open and close in time to all of the sudden slamming sounds. Rugs turned into tigers and lamps flew around the room as various spirits passed through. I felt as if I might dematerialize at any moment!

I didn’t though, just became aware that Maneri was playing duple figures in what seemed like a familiar song turned upside down. Then he and the drummer galloped away, just briefly, before Maneri came back to move into a long drawn out series of single notes, bringing all of that intensity to distill into gentle piano into silence. We all hung there, suspended, for a
long time.

What a fierce experience!

Ooooh!

DUET~QUARTET ELECTRONICA TROMBONE
Brian Drye and Jacob Garchik

Here you had two who became four, with a lot of wires and gizmos and what the heck is going on, I wondered, as it dawned on me that Garchik’s trombone mute was electrified (!) and hooked up to a pedal.

Both trombonists had electric keyboards as well as the acoustic piano to play. Drye had a very simple yet powerful-looking turquoise box, which he arranged carefully on the floor. It soon became clear that this was for looping. Everything was wired into a big black box which at first they couldn’t get working; eventually it was determined that one switch had to be pulled, and we were off like Frankenstein:

Somehow, the duo created unusual loops live in the moment to improvise with. How they managed to make these live transitions so smoothly is unclear and amazing. The ostinatos became very trippy and playful, eventually pulling us into a room full of purring cats on acid, suspended in time like that famous photo of Dali jumping with cats and water. The sound of trombones against all the electronica was warmly intriguing.

At one point, Garchik used the volume switch like a scratch DJ and Drye rigged it so there were several layers of scratching syncopation with the sounds morphing from a tuba timbre to industrial clapslaps to straight up piano.

Then Garchik quoted himself from his new album, The Heavens (!) and Yeats’ little silver fish spoke to me directly, vowing an open musical secret. (*)

The UNDEAD music festival – essential and invigorating.
Catch it next year. I DIY~dare you!

(*) Yeats’ poem, The Song of the Wandering Aengus, I just found out, was originally published in a book entitled: The Wind Among the Reeds. HA!

For further exploration:

http://www.searchandrestore.com/
http://undeadmusic.com/news/
http://ibeambrooklyn.com/calendar/
http://www.vinniesperrazza.org/
http://www.jeffdavisdrums.com/
http://jessestacken.com/
http://devingraymusic.com/
http://musicians.allaboutjazz.com/musician.php?id=9028#.UZGP1I5Rjud (Maneri)
http://jacobgarchik.com/
http://briandrye.com/
http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/244302 Yeats poem

Coming up at An die Musik LIVE

Atomic
Image by svennevenn via Flickr

From DC’s An die Musik LIVE:

Friday, January 29, 8 & 9:30 pm
FOUR LIMONES

Tim Berne, saxophone
Rick Parker, piano
Mark Aanderud, trombone
Hernan Hecht, drums

Saxophonist/composer TIM BERNE has become one of the most renowned voices in the avant garde jazz community. Sleek and Modernistic” (David Adler) aptly describes the music of trombonist/composer Rick Parker. Pianist and Composer MARK AANDERUD, is one of today’s most important figures coming out of the Mexican scene. Originally from Argentina and now residing in Mexico, drummer, producer and composer HERNAN HECHT is one of the most exciting talents on the Mexican music scene. Sleek and Modernistic” (David Adler) aptly describes the music of trombonist/composer RICK PARKER. He has released 2 CD’s as a leader gaining him major notoriety by critics and publications such as Downbeat Magazine and Jazz Times. Parker is a 2 time winner of the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Award.

February 4, Thursday, 8 pm
LAPLANTE/FORMANEK/CLEAVER
A must-see for improvised jazz lover!

Travis Laplante is highly active in New York City’s experimental music scene, and at just 27 is already one of the most in-demand and unique young voices in improvisational sound. Michael Formanek’s singular approach to the acoustic bass has led to an impressive range of musical associations during his thirty-plus year career. Gerald Cleaver‘s 2002 “Adjust”, recorded for the Spanish label Fresh Sound New Talent, was nominated in the Best Debut Recording category.

February 18, Thursday, 8 & 9:30 pm
ETHNIC HERITAGE ENSEMBLE
Celebrating Black History Month at An die Musik Live for their sixth consecutive year!

Internationally acclaimed line up:
Trumpet virtuoso Corey Wilkes
Saxophone Titan Ernest Kahbeer Dawkins
Multi/Percussion Wizard Kahil Elzabar

Formed 35 years ago upon Kahil El’Zabar’s return from the University of Ghana to combine concepts of African American music making with the earlier roots of traditional African music and make it something new. After 35 years, this legendary band is still serving the people worldwide with their special brand of 21st century Griot music that truly feed the soul!

February 20, Saturday, 8 & 9:30 pm
THE MAKANDA PROJECT FEATURING CARL GRUBBS

A dynamic pairing of one of Baltimore’s iconic jazz figures with Boston-based Makanda Project. Formed to play previously unrecorded compositions by the late multi-instrumentalist Makanda Ken McIntyre, a significant jazz composer with a unique voice. McIntyre student and sideman pianist John Kordalewski arranged the music for multiple horns. The group’s artists are among Boston’s leading jazz musicians.

March 3, Wednesday, 8 pm
ATOMIC

Fredrik Ljungkvist – reeds
Magnus Broo – trumpet
Håvard Wiik – piano
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – bass
Paal Nilssen-Love – drums

Atomic was established in 2000 and already after their first two studio albums Feet Music (2002) and Boom Boom (2003), both their growing audience and music reviewers alike began to perceive them as an original flavor with an entirely individual energy that few Scandinavian jazz groups could match. Even though initially thought of as a sort of rebellion to the quaintness of the “Scandinavian Sound” which had become exemplified by Norwegian artists on labels such as ECM, Atomic found themselves becoming a new sort of unique sound on their own. An explosive blend of American free-jazz with European characteristics is how some reviewers have described them. Or better yet, “part academic lecture, part a fun night out on the town”, is how the band describes themselves, and is what makes their sound truly Atomic.

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Umbrella Music Through February 10

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten
Image via Wikipedia

From Chicago’s Umbrella Music:

Wednesday, 27 January 2010
The Hideout
10:00PM | Rempis Percussion Quartet
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
Frank Rosaly – drums
two sets
$7 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Mitch Cocanig spins Hot Music For Cold Weather

Sunday, 31 January 2010
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Jessen/Attias/Mayas/Lonberg-Holm/Rosaly
Dana Jessen – bassoon
Michael Attias – sax
Magda Mayas – piano
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
Frank Rosaly – drums
two sets

Wednesday, 3 February 2010
The Hideout
10:00PM | project [TRANSMIT]
Magda Mayas – piano
Nate McBride – acoustic and electric bass
Steve Hess – percussion
Tony Buck – percussion
two sets
$8 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Frank Rosaly spins 3 Butcher Knives or Better

Thursday, 4 February 2010
Elastic
10:00PM | Mitchell/Savage
Nicole Mitchell – flute
Darius Savage – bass
11:00PM | Cornerback
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Marc Riordan – piano
Toby Summerfield – guitar

Sunday, 7 February 2010
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Face Time
Tony Barba – tenor sax, bansuri, melodica, fx and tunes
Patrick Mulcahy – electric bass
Cory Healey – drums

Wednesday, 10 February 2010
The Hideout
10:00PM | Matt Schneider Solo
Matt Schneider – guitar
11:00PM | My Silence
Jason Stein – bass clarinet
Nick Butcher – analog electronics, guitar
Mike Reed – drums
$6 cover

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Jazz Listings from the New York Times

In the Times:

EVOLVING MUSIC/EVOLVING VOICE (Monday) This weekly series features a diverse array of improvised music from the experimental side of the tracks. The Inbetweens, a dynamic guitar-bass-drums trio, kick things off at 7 p.m., followed at 8 by the vocalist Maryanne DeProphetis, with smart accompaniment. At 9 the violinist and violist Mat Maneri teams up with the poet Steve Dalachinsky; the closing set, at 10, will be held by Four Limones, which features the alto saxophonist Tim Berne, the trombonist Rick Parker, the keyboardist Mark Aanderud and the drummer Hernan Hecht. The Local 269, 269 East Houston Street, at Suffolk Street, Lower East Side , (212) 254-5420, rucma.org; $20. (Chinen)

DARIUS JONES (Monday through Wednesday) Darius Jones has the capacity for a proud, rafters-raising tone on alto saxophone, and as an improviser, he’s fearless but disciplined. A few months ago he released “Man’ish Boy (A Raw & Beautiful Thing)” (AUM Fidelity), a serious debut featuring his pianoless trio, which he leads here on Monday. Mr. Jones changes things up a bit on Tuesday, leading a quartet with the pianist Angelica Sanchez; and on Wednesday, he presents what he calls the Elizabeth-Caroline Unit, with the singer Fay Victor, among others. At 8:30 p.m., Roulette, 20 Greene Street, at Grand Street, SoHo , (212) 219-8242, roulette.org; $15; $10 for students and under 30. (Chinen)

KONCEPTIONS AT KORZO (Tuesday) In the first set of this weekly series, at 9:30 p.m., the trumpeter Ralph Alessi teams up in a texture-minded trio with the bassist Drew Gress and the drummer Nasheet Waits. A later set, at 11, will feature a lyrical quartet led by the drummer Rob Garcia, with Mr. Gress, Noah Preminger on tenor saxophone, and Dan Tepfer on piano. Korzo Restaurant, 667 Fifth Avenue, at 20th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn , (718) 285-9425, korzorestaurant.com; cover, $7. (Chinen)

THE NECKS (Wednesday and Thursday) “Silverwater” (ReR) is the murky, throbbing, ominous new release from this Australian trio, made up of the pianist Chris Abrahams, the bassist Lloyd Swanton and the drummer Tony Buck. It’s an uninterrupted hourlong investigation, often formless but always intriguing, and a good advertisement for rare Stateside appearances like this one. At 8:30 p.m., Issue Project Room, 232 Third Street, third floor, Gowanus, Brooklyn , (718) 330-0313, issueprojectroom.org; $20. (Chinen)

MATTHEW SHIPP (Thursday) Mr. Shipp’s pianism is often prickly but rarely off-putting, because even his free improvisations tend to follow a faintly linear path. He has a fine new solo album, “4D” (Thirsty Ear), whose release he celebrates here. At 8:30 p.m., Roulette, 20 Greene Street, at Grand Street, SoHo , (212) 219-8242, roulette.org; $15; $10 for students and under 30. (Chinen)

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Umbrella Music Through January 31

Paal Nilssen-Love
Image via Wikipedia

From Chicago’s Umbrella Music:

Wednesday, 20 January 2010
The Hideout
10:00PM | Ken Vandermark’s Don Cherry Project
Ken Vandermark – reeds
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Pandelis Karayorgis – wurlitzer
Nate McBride – acoustic bass, electric bass
Jason Adasiewicz – vibraphone
Chad Taylor – drums
two sets
$8 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : John Corbett spins Classical Heavyweight Match
Ligeti vs Kagel

Thursday, 21 January 2010
Elastic
10:00PM | Ad Hoc Improvisation Collective
Mixed improvised groups, featuring:
Ken Vandermark – reeds
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Pandelis Karayorgis – wurlitzer, piano
Jason Adasiewicz – vibes
Nate McBride – bass
Chad Taylor – drums

Sunday, 24 January 2010
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Frode Gjerstad Trio with guests Bishop and Lonberg-Holm
Frode Gjerstad – reeds
Nick Stephens – bass
Paal Nilssen-Love – drums
Jeb Bishop – trombone
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
two sets

Monday, 25 January 2010
Elastic
9:00PM | Rempis Percussion Quartet
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
Frank Rosaly – drums
two sets

Wednesday, 27 January 2010
The Hideout
10:00PM | Rempis Percussion Quartet
Dave Rempis – saxophones
Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – bass
Tim Daisy – drums
Frank Rosaly – drums
two sets
$7 cover
PLUS | DJ Sets : Mitch Cocanig spins Hot Music For Cold Weather

Sunday, 31 January 2010
The Hungry Brain
10:00PM | Jessen/Attias/Mayas/Lonberg-Holm/Rosaly
Dana Jessen – bassoon
Michael Attias – sax
Magda Mayas – piano
Fred Lonberg-Holm – cello
Frank Rosaly – drums
two sets

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Myra Melford’s The Whole Tree Gone Out Today On Firehouse 12 Records

From Improvised Communications:

Today is the official street date for The Whole Tree Gone, pianist/composer Myra Melford’s Firehouse 12 Records debut.

Her first recording as a bandleader since 2006, and second with her longstanding ensemble, Be Bread, The Whole Tree Gone documents the latest evolution of eight original compositions she has been performing with this and other groups for the past five years.

“Melford’s compositions for an obviously inspired sextet comprising trumpet (Cuong Vu), clarinet (Ben Goldberg), guitar (Brandon Ross), acoustic bass guitar (Stomu Takeishi) and drums (Matt Wilson) are works of fine art,” writes saxophonist and jazz critic, Chris Kelsey, “and her piano playing gains more depth with every passing year. Wonderful music.”

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