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Pianist Daniel Bernardes pays homage to French composer Olivier Messiaen, augmenting his piano trio of Antonio Augusto Aguiar on bass and Mario Costa on drums with the Drumming GP Ensemble of Miquel Bernat on marimba, Jeffrey Davis & Pedro Gois on vibraphones, and Joao Dias on glockenspiel, a wonderful merging of contemporary percussive composition and modern jazz. ... Click to View


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Gorilla Mask: Brain Drain [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

The 4th album from German saxophonist Peter Van Huffel's Gorilla Mask, the 3rd on Clean Feed, is another powerful blending jazz and rock forms in restless and profoundly determined music, energetic but intelligently structured, with great riffs and melodic grooves from Roland Fidezius (electric bass) and Rudi Fischerlehner (drums and percussion). ... Click to View


Jose Lencastre Nau Quartet: Live in Moscow (Clean Feed)

The collective free jazz Nau Quartet led by alto saxophonist Jose Lencastre with Red Trio pianist and bassist Rodrigo Pinheiro and Hernani Faustino and drummer Joao Lencastre are caught live at Moscow's DOM Cultural Center for this album of thoughtfully informed improvisation, using open and spontaneous structures as they evolve each conversation in organic ways. ... Click to View


Tim Stine Quartet: Knots (Clean Feed)

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Kimchi Moccasin Tango (Nyberg / Bjora / Andersen): Yankee Zulu (Clean Feed)

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Almeida / Duynhoven / Klein: Live at the Bimhuis (Clean Feed)

This is the 2nd release of this trio on Clean Feed, with Tobias Klein (alto saxophone, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet), Goncalo Almeida (double bass) and Martin van Duynhoven (drums) captured live at Bimhuis in Amsterdam in 2017, taking on compositions by Ornette Coleman alongside original compositions in a free jazz mode from all three players. ... Click to View


Egil Kalman / Fredrik Rasten: Weaving a Fabric of Winds (Shhpuma)

Swedish bass player Egil Kalman, here on modular syntheizer, joins Norwegian guitarist Fredrik Rasten, for a lovely album of drifting electronics and beautifully entwining acoustic guitar, unhurriedly developing environments of warm, slowly evolving chord structures that show influences from players like Catherine Lamb or the Wandelweiser collective. ... Click to View


Egil Kalman / Fredrik Rasten: Weaving a Fabric of Winds [VINYL] (Shhpuma)

Swedish bass player Egil Kalman, here on modular syntheizer, joins Norwegian guitarist Fredrik Rasten, for a lovely album of drifting electronics and beautifully entwining acoustic guitar, unhurriedly developing environments of warm, slowly evolving chord structures that show influences from players like Catherine Lamb or the Wandelweiser collective. ... Click to View


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Toh-Kichi (Satoko Fujii / Tatsuya Yoshida): Baikamo (Libra)

The duo of Japanese improvisers, pianist Satoko Fujii and drummer Tatsuya Yoshida, continue their collaborations which includes many albums with the Satoko Fujii Quartet, their duo "Erans" record on Tzadik, and the original "Toh-Kichi" album on Victo, here in a new studio album of intricate, energetic and ebullient improvised dialogs, named for the aquatic flower "Baikamo". ... Click to View


exclusiveOr (Peter Evans / Wooley / Muncy / Olencki / Karre / Cimini / Young / Snyder / Pluta): Modules (Carrier Records)

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exclusiveOr (Peter Evans / Wooley / Muncy / Olencki / Karre / Cimini / Young / Snyder / Pluta): Modules [VINYL] (Carrier Records)

The NY electronics duo exclusiveOr (Sam Pluta and Jeff Synder) join forces with the International Contemporary Ensemble and Architeuthis Walks on Land (Katherine Young and Amy Cimini) for this tour-de-force ensemble work, combining composed forms, electro-acoustic improvisation, noise, and lush harmonies, in a fascinatingly detailed album of creative musicianship. ... Click to View


Henry Cow: The Henry Cow Box Redux: The Complete Henry Cow [17 CDs, 1 DVD, 250pg Book] (Recommended Records)

The ultimate Henry Cow collection bringing together all of the 40th anniversary releases of this influential and innovative band, with all the remastered studio CDs, live CDs, Bonus CD, DVDs and booklets from each prior box, plus an additional 60 page booklet of band commentaries, pictures and other documents prepared specifically for this release, all in a sturdy & handsome box. ... Click to View


Krokofant w/ Stale Storlokken / Ingebrigt Haker Flaten: Q (Rune Grammofon)

Bassist Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten (The Thing) and Stale Storlokken (Elephant9, Supersilent, Terje Rypdal) join the Nordic Krokofant trio of Axel Skalstad on drums, vibraphone, Tom Hasslan on guitar, and Jorgen Mathisen on saxophone for the band's 3rd album, performing the 4-part work "Q", an intense and sophisticated album of complex and passionate instrumental rock. ... Click to View


Fay Victor: Barn Songs (Northern Spy)

With cellist Marika Hughes (2 Foot Yard, Anthony Braxton's Trillum) and saxophonist Darius Jones (Little Women, Darius Jones Trio), vocalist Fay Victor introduces her Fay Victor Chamber Trio, the open instrumental foundation highlighting Victor's expressive songs and insightful lyric content, developed with Victor and Jochem van Dijk; a great example of creative contemporary jazz song. ... Click to View


Brian Osborne: Decorous Novelties (Heat Retention Records)

Using metal, glass, wood, and plastic, percussionist Brian Osborne (The Gate, Hatchers) offers twelve tracks of interweaving layers of simplicity and complexity, clarity and haze, many pieces initiating with deceptive simplicity and insinuating themselves in unique ways, all performed live in the studio and presented with no overdubs or affects. ... Click to View


Radical Empathy Trio: Reality and Other Imaginary Places (ESP-Disk)

Recorded during Thollem's 2017 residency at Brooklyn's multi-discipline center Pioneer Works, the trio of Nels Cline on electric guitar and Michael Wimberly on drums apply treatments, alterations and processes to acoustic-electro improv, their unusual approach often inviting the listener to discover organization under a wonderful commotion of sound. ... Click to View


Hands To (Jeph Jerman): Scrine (Notice Recordings)

Sound explorer and composer Jeph Jerman created the 11 pieces on this release while living in the Knob Hill neighborhood of Colorado Springs, using unusual recording techniques he refers to as "guerrilla recordings" like tossing tape decks off buildings or putting them inside running clothes dryers, inching tape manually over the heads, exploiting creative field recordings, &c. &c. ... Click to View


Chik White / Xuan Ye: Breath Fractals (Notice Recordings)

Chik White (Darcy Spidle of rural Nova Scotia) uses a jaw harp, and Xuan Ye (Toronto) uses voice, percussion and field recordings, in this series of rich, peculiar, startling and altogether satisfying recordings that investigate a variety of approaches to their instruments, taking them to the fringes but bringing the listener along with them; oddly entertaining. ... Click to View


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  Daniel Levin Quartet 
  Organic Modernism  
  (Clean Feed) 


  
   review by Dave Madden
  2011-07-09
Daniel Levin Quartet: Organic Modernism (Clean Feed)

For a moment, recall your mentality circa age nine through fifteen: what is the phrase the rebellious you had to endure at least five times per day? "Stay away from there", or just, "Stop it!" Specifically, this was applied to scenarios where you stood, say, near a rapidly flowing irrigation canal, dipping your toe in the water you just had to test it out. Or maybe engaged in the "I'm not touching you" game with your hands an inch in front of someone's face. In other words, you needed to be as close as possible without actually doing something.

It's this sort of turbulence that makes Organic Modernism so successful and fascinating. The quartet of Daniel Levin (cello), Nate Wooley (trumpet), Matt Moran (vibraphone) and Peter Bitenc (upright bass) draw a line on the floor, mark it "Bebop" and playfully move near, almost on, briefly on, then away (not too far) from this guidepost, making judicious detours and extensions to forge something anomalous.

Bitenc begins "Action Painting" with an insistent walking line, taking on the role of loose metronome for the remaining trio to coalesce. Levin powers in with slurs and glissandi, soon twisting in tandem with Wooley's woozy dips and staccato pops and Moran's lower register brume; when Bitenc and Moran join at the first "jazz as we think of it" spot, it's a nostalgic dance that you could, in a blind test, mistake for a Ron Carter / Milt Jackson duet. But of course, as the album title implies, the focus here is on The New, and the mix soon shatters into fragments with each member now absorbed in anti-solo (i.e. Moran messes around with his tremolo speed, Levin scrapes and scratches, Wooley recapitulates the aforementioned glissando motif); they resume this approach with "Zero Gravity" where the group chafes in a stew of drones (via Wooley's breathy tones and Moran's crescendo ostinatos), occasional dotting bursts and a motorized radio-like buzz. On "Lattice", Levin and Bitenc freely battle and embrace, battle and embrace in a graceful fit of pizzicato, bowing, sprints to the highest pitch and string-snapping; "Expert Set" is a similar setting with Wooley nimbly adapting, leading and blasting Levin until both men fade into groggy shadows. Forgoing the far-out side of the quartet's aesthetic, "Audacity" is a remarkable experiment in agreement-into-polyrhythm and sudden tempo shifts, first swaggering with long unison lines, then bashing the air with the sonic equivalent of scribbling, soon sinking into long passages of Bluesy head-nodding, faster, tonal interlopers, a blend of these, etc.

From the liner notes (written by the great Art Lange): "These are concepts of the 20th century modernism extended into a new century still in need of its radical adjustment that is, a rejection of the failed conventions of realism in favor of a new, open, freer perspective..." True, but that shouldn't be confused with pastiche. Because this crew spent the time learning the language, internalizing it, their innocent "who me?" mischief sounds poignant and masterful, not sloppy or forced different-just-to-be-different yes, 500 words later I'm trying to tell you it's organic.



Daniel Levin Quartet: Organic Modernism
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