AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø – Melting into Foreground [Sofa SOFA550]

sofa550Some instruments or classes of instruments are particularly known for their capacity to create acoustic musique concrète. Think of the low strings—especially the double bass—and their rich overtone structures, stolid materiality and deep resonance, all of which have allowed adventurous performers to explore an expansive and sometimes quite otherworldly palette of sound. Less associated with this type of sound exploration perhaps are the brass instruments. To the extent that this perception holds, Norwegian trombonist Henrik Munkeby Nørstebø is out to challenge it.

Trained in jazz and improvisation at the Gothenburg and Oslo music academies, Nørstebø seems to take a holistic approach to his instrument, one that encompasses its full range of dynamics as well as the different voices available to it. As an instrumental personality, the trombone can be brassy and broad; Nørstebø doesn’t evade this side of it, but he does also manage to elicit a quieter, more abstract side: he reveals the trombone’s secret life as an introvert.

Both sides of the instrument are explored on the first of the album’s two tracks, Sources of Internal Heat, for solo acoustic trombone. Introducing the piece with several long C# notes separated by silences, Nørstebø proceeds to build timbres marked by a low-buzzing, rough flutter, contrasts of register, beats and multiphonics, and dynamic variations. Abstract sounds bordering on the quasi-electronic have a place as well, but so do legato melodic fragments and voice-like microtonal drifts and glissandi.

The second track, Melting into Foreground, brings in the prerecorded sound of Nørstebø on half-clarinet, which is multiplied and overlaid into irregular relationships with itself. Like the first track, this one trades in sonic ambiguities. Sounds of rumbling and static, or apparent birdsong and feedback can sometimes be traced to their sources in the acoustic trombone or in the manipulated recording—and sometimes not. The effect is acousmatic but unmistakably rooted in the recognizably musical.

On both pieces, Nørstebø keeps his compositional structures clear through a balanced use of filled and empty space. The silences he allows between passages of sound tend to act as boundaries separating sections into disjunctive events defined by dramatic changes in timbre as well as in organization and dynamics. And despite his deliberate distorting and dismantling of the trombone’s conventional voice, he allows a fundamental warmth to pervade both performances.

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Patrick Crossland & Alexander Frangenheim – Ape Green

Patrick Crossland & Alexander Frangenheim: Ape Green [cs243]

It isn’t every day that one runs across a duo of trombone and double bass. Even so, the two instruments’ differences in timbre and overlap of range make them potentially compatible partners. This potential is well-realized in this collection of improvised duets by Patrick Crossland on trombone and Alexander Frangenheim on double bass.

Throughout the set, Crossland and Frangenheim fully explore the richness of sound available to them both collectively and individually. Frangenheim brings out the extensive timbral possibilities inherent in his instrument, plucking, bowing, tapping and rattling until a complete sound profile of the double bass accumulates from his individual gestures. His use of different bow articulations are especially noteworthy, and allow the bass to play interlocutor to Crossland’s expressively vocal-like inflections, which are by turns grousing, inquisitive, lyrical, ruminative and declarative. Each player’s aural space interlocks with the other’s, creating a shared middle ground in which the roles of lead and backing line constantly shift. In the process—which both balances on and grows out of the mutually reinforcing qualities of contrast and likeness–each makes apparent the unique and defining characteristics of his particular voice.

Although the CD is organized into twelve relatively brief tracks, the momentum and continuity are such that, as with a well-written book, it’s hard not to take in the whole in one sitting.


Modfest Previewed

From Chronogram Magazine:

On January 23, Joe McPhee and Friends (Richard Teitelbaum on keyboards and Thurman Barker on drums and percussion ) will perform. McPhee is a multi-instrumentalist (and Poughkeepsie resident) who solos on tenor, alto and soprano saxophone, trumpet, pocket trumpet, trombone, clarinet, cornet, didgeridoo, and flugelhorn. He also sometimes sings. Though McPhee, at 70, is a major figure in avant-garde jazz, his music is not hysterical or ear-splitting. His playing is gracious and considered. I asked McPhee what he calls his genre. “I call it ‘Po music,’” he replied. “’Po’ is a language indicator to show that provocation is being used to move from a fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones. It refers also to words like possible, poetic, positive, etc.”

Electronic music pioneer Milton Babbitt, who is 93, will engage in a public conversation with Vassar music professor Richard Wilson, followed by a performance of Babbitt’s work by the Argento Ensemble (January 24).

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Jazz Listings From The New York Times


TIM BERNE AND LOS TOTOPOS (Thursday) Mr. Berne, an alto saxophonist and composer with a taste for coarsely layered frictions, presents a newly minted ensemble here, with Matt Mitchell on piano and electronics, Oscar Noriega on clarinets and Ches Smith on percussion. The band focuses not only on sharp and convoluted new music by Mr. Berne, but also on some rather obscure material written more than 30 years ago by his former mentor, the saxophonist-composer Julius Hemphill. At 9 p.m., I-Beam, 168 Seventh Street, Gowanus, Brooklyn ,; suggested donation, $10. (Chinen)20091126

DECOUPAGE (Tuesday) As the name implies, this improvising chamber group presents a study in artful layers: Curtis Hasselbring’s trombone, Matt Moran’s vibraphone, Satoshi Takeishi’s percussion and Mary Halvorson’s guitar. At 8 p.m., the Stone, Avenue C and Second Street, East Village ,; $10. (Chinen)20091126

PETER EVANS QUINTET (Thursday) Peter Evans, probably best recognized for his role in the upstart free-bop quartet Mostly Other People Do the Killing, is a trumpeter with an expressive command of timbre and tone. He’s also a bandleader of emerging promise; in this group he corrals the pianist Carlos Homs, the bassist Chris Tordini, the drummer Kassa Overall and the electronics artist Sam Pluta. At 8 p.m., the Stone, Avenue C and Second Street, East Village ,; $10. (Chinen)20091126

? JOHN HOLLENBECK (Monday) Mr. Hollenbeck, a percussionist-composer of broad vision and vibrant execution, presides over a triple bill in celebration of two new albums, “Eternal Interlude” (Sunnyside) and “Rainbow Jimmies” (GPE). Anchoring the evening is his Large Ensemble, a superbly cohesive big band stocked with musicians of similar temperament. Mr. Hollenbeck will also perform with Future Quest, a small-group project devoted to the music of Meredith Monk; and with a chamber trio featuring the violinist Todd Reynolds and the vibraphonist Matt Moran. At 8 p.m., Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, near Thompson Street, Greenwich Village , (212) 228-4854,; $15. (Chinen)20091126

TODD SICKAFOOSE’S TINY RESISTORS (Friday) As a bassist, Mr. Sickafoose builds grooves from the ground up, but that’s no impediment to the buoyancy of his music. “Tiny Resistors” (Cryptogramophone), his most recent album, features a number of tunes in which horn parts and guitar lines swirl around a calmly asymmetrical pulse; among his partners here are the saxophonist John Ellis and the trombonist Alan Ferber. At 10 p.m., 55 Bar, 55 Christopher Street, West Village , (212) 929-9883,; cover, $10. (Chinen)20091126

NATE WOOLEY QUINTET (Wednesday) Nate Wooley, a perspicacious young trumpeter, leads an ensemble pointedly shaped to resemble Eric Dolphy’s band on the landmark album “Out to Lunch,” and charges it with all-new original music. The ranks will include Josh Sinton on bass clarinet, Matt Moran on vibraphone, John Hébert on bass and Harris Eisenstadt on drums. At 8:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, West Village , (212) 989-9319,; cover, $10, with a $6 minimum. (Chinen)

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Free Music

Open Ears Music Audio Archive – 30 June 09

From Open Ears Music:

This is the audio archive from 30 June 09. The files are 128k VBR mp3s.


Jeff Albert (trombone & laptop), Dan Oestreicher (on set 1 only) (bari sax & analog modular synth), Jesse Morrow (bass & effects), Justin Peake (percussion & laptop)

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Flow Trio & Ray Anderson Trio @ The Local 269!

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

Start: 06/29/2009 – 7:30pm
End: 06/29/2009 – 10:30pm
Timezone: Etc/GMT-4

Louie Belogenis, tenor sax
Joe Morris, bass
Charles Downs, drums

Ray Anderson, trombone and tuba
Marty Ehrlich, reeds
Gerald Cleaver, drums

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Free Music Performances

Open Ears Music April 28, 2009 – Jeff Albert Quartet

A new live show from Open Ears Music:

This is the audio archive from 28 Apr 09. The files are 128k VBR mp3s.

Musicians: Jeff Albert (trombone), Ray Moore (alto sax), Tommy Sciple (bass), and Dave Cappello (drums). Special guest Charlie Wooton (electric bass)

Set 1 (mp3)

Set 2 (mp3)

In between sets of the Jeff Albert Quartet was a short trio improvisation by Jeff Albert, Charlie Wooton, and Marcello Bennetti (drums).

Trio (mp3)

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New Lucky 7s Out

Image of Jeff Albert from Facebook
Image of Jeff Albert

A new Lucky 7s CD is out on Clean Feed. Samples are available aswell.

Lucky 7s – Pluto Junkyard

Jeb Bishop, trombone (guitar on “The Dan Hang”) / Jeff Albert, trombone, bass trombone / Josh Berman, cornet / Keefe Jackson, tenor saxophone / Jason Adasiewicz, vibraphone /Matthew Golombisky, double bass (electric bass on “The Dan Hang”) / Quin Kirchner, drums

Recorded July 19 & 20, 2007 at Strobe Recording, Chicago, IL by James Wagner assisted by Gary Schepers / Additional recording by Matthew Golombisky / Mixed by Jeff Albert and Jeb Bishop Mastered by Jeff Albert / Produced by Jeff Albert and Jeb Bishop / Executive production by Trem Azul / Photo by Laurie Herbert / Design by Travassos

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Christian Pincock in Albuquerque

From the Spectre Series:

Christian Pincock performs improvised and composed music on valve trombone and a computer-based instrument of his own creation with MAX/MSP. Using a keyboard controller and a system of sensors attached to his trombone he is able to control sampled sounds and integrate them expressively and musically. His work is both dynamic and subtle, drawing from diverse styles such as improvised experimental music, contemporary classical, avant-garde jazz, noise, and electronica.

He has performed internationally in events such as the 9th, 10th and 11th Soundpainting Think-tank in Woodstock, Sweden, and France, the Music Omi International Arts Residency in 2007, the Banff Workshop for Jazz and Creative Music in Banff, Canada in 2006, as well as venues such as The Stone (NYC), Roulette (NYC), Le Petit Faucheux (Tours, FR).

When: Thursday, April 23, 7:00 PM
Where: ARTS Lab Digital Media Garage. 131 Pine Street NE, Albuquerque
How much: $5-10 suggested donation goes to the artists.

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New Clean Feed releases for April 21st

From Clean Feed:

CF 140 – Herculaneum “Herculaneum III“
Nick Broste – trombone
John Beard – guitar
Greg Danek – bass
Nate Lepine – flute
David McDonnell – alto saxophone and clarinet
Partick Newbery – trumpet and flugelhorn
Dylan Ryan – drums and vibraphone


CF 141 – Lucky 7’s “Pluto Junkyard“
Jeb Bishop – trombone (guitar on “The Dan Hang”)
Jeff Albert – trombone and bass trombone
Josh Berman – cornet
Keefe Jackson – tenor saxophone
Jason Adasiewicz – vibes
Matthew Golombisky – double bass (electric bass on “The Dan Hang”)
Quin Kirchner – drums


CF 143 – Transit “Quadrologues”
Jeff Arnal – percussion
Seth Misterka – alto saxophone
Reuben Radding – bass
Nate Wooley – trumpet


CF 144 – João Paulo / Dennis González “Scapegrace”
João Paulo – piano
Dennis González – Bb cornet and C trumpet


CF 145 – Avram Fefer / Eric Revis / Chad Taylor “Ritual”
Avram Fefer – alto, tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet
Eric Revis – double bass
Chad Taylor – drums

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