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Musica De Selvagem (Decloedt / Nader / Rodrigues / Ferreira / Marques): Volume Unico (Shhpuma)

Reacting to negative comments about Brazilian music, Sao Paulo born double bassist Arthur Decloedt recruited saxophonist Filipe Nader to create a new, spontaneous and free form take on Brazilian jazz, using pop songs as a jumping off point, with four vocalists and a five piece band creating compelling new and unusual hybrids of Brazil's rich, rhythmic and compelling music. ... Click to View


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Albatre (Costa / Almeida / Ernstring): The Fall Of The Damned (Shhpuma)

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Knalpot (Fanoli / Jager / Caron): Dierendag (Shhpuma)

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Rupp Olaf / Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues: RRR (Creative Sources)

Electric guitarist Olaf Rupp joins the father son duo of violist Ernesto Rodrigues and cellist Guilherme cello, in a studio recordings from Berlin in 2017, as three disparate strings intertwine in acoustics and electronics for an intensely evolving two part work of textured tapestry of slow bowing, sustaining tones, unusual progressions, and odd percussive invention. ... Click to View


Chris Pitsiokos / Susana Santos Silva / Torbjorn Zetterberg: Child Of Illusion (Clean Feed)

A profound sense of drama in free playing from the young collective trio of NY saxophonist Chris Pitsiokos with the establish partnership of Portuguese trumpeter Susana Santos Silva and Swedish bassist Torbjourn Zetterberg, in jazz is chamber-like, informed by their musical background that spreads over a myriad of aesthetics, full of nuance and beautiful interplay. ... Click to View


Friends & Neighbors (Roligheten / Johansson / Gronberg / Rune Strom / Ostvang): What's Next? (Clean Feed)

A great example of the Norwegian creative jazz scene, the quintet of Andree Roligheten on sax & clarinet, Thomas Johansson on trumpet, Oscar Gronberg on piano, Jon Rune Strom on double bass, and Tollef Ostvang on drums take their name from an Ornette Coleman LP, as they show us 'What's Next' by blending lyrical and free approaches with unexpected twists and turns. ... Click to View


Jacob Sacks: Fishes (Clean Feed)

Eleven new works from New York pianist Jacob Sacks in a quintet with some of NY's finest--Ellery Eskelin on tenor saxophone, Tony Malaby on tenor & soprano saxophones, Michael Formanek on bass, and Dan Weiss on drums--referencing traditional jazz influences like Monk & Mingus with superbly creative soloing fostered by the freedom of Sack's compositions. ... Click to View


Mette Rasmussen / Chris Corsano: A View Of The Moon (From The Sun) (Clean Feed)

Following their Relative Pitch album "All the Ghosts at Once", the free improvising duo of alto saxophonist Mette Rasmussen and drummer Chris Corsano, also on slide clarinet, release their 2nd album, a live concert at Cankarjev dom, in Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2015, pushing the limits on both instruments through radical technique and inventive approaches to their playing. ... Click to View


Master Oogway: The Concert Koan [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Powerful electric jazz roots from the Norwegia quartet of Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvoll on saxophone, Havard Nordberg Funderud on guitar, Karl Erik E. Horndalsveen on double bass, and Martin Mellem on drums, shredding inspirations from 60s electric Miles and Ornette, with a rock influenced rhythm section and electric guitar work driving great soloing. ... Click to View


Heaven (Henrik Pultz Melbye / Ole Mofjell): IAPOE [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Inspired by European improvisation, 60's NY-loft-avant-garde and Ethiopian jazz, Heaven, the Norwegian collaborative project of Danish saxophonist Henrik Pultz Melbye and Norwegian drummer Ole Mofjell, merge rhythmic and melodic realms, adding stretches of noise and non-idiomatic sounds, in fast-paced, highly-energetic, and highly-informed performances. ... Click to View


Peter McEachern Trio : Bone-Code (Clean Feed)

A trombone trio led by Peter McEachern, with the frequent collaborators, the formidable rhythm team of Mario Pavone on bass and Michael Sarin on drums; here they dedicate their lyrical, blues tinged but avant embracing album to Roswell Rudd as they play a set of McEachern compositions, along with one from Mario Pavone and one from Alice Coltrane. ... Click to View


Jonas Cambien Trio (w / Roligheten / Wildhagen): We Must Mustn't We [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Leveraging influences in improvisation and contemporary compositional music, Belgian/Oslo pianist Jonas Cambien, a member of Simiskina and Platform, extends his own trio of saxophonist Andre Rolighete and drummer Andreas Wildhagen with trumpeter Torstein Lavik Larsen on 2 tracks, as they balance jazz, avant, free improv and other hybrid forms in a compellingly creative album. ... Click to View


Gunter Sommer Baby (w/ Till Bronner): Baby's Party (Intakt)

For his 75th birthday celebration, German free jazz legend Guther "Baby" Sommer joined with German trumpeter and flugelhornist Till Bronner for a rhythmically inventive, lyrical, and joyful album of free improvisation, nine pieces from Sommer plus "Danny Boy" (Weatherly) and Duke Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood", making for a stylish and upbeat party! ... Click to View


Stefen Aeby Trio (w/ Andre Pousaz / Michi Stulz): The London Concert (Intakt)

The Stefan Aeby Trio at the Intakt Festival at Vortex Jazz Club in London 2017, the pianist leading his trio with bassist Andre Pousaz and drummer Michi Stulz through lyrical original compositions from Aeby, with one from Pousaz, a wonderful example of the modern piano trio that embrace a wealth of styles and approaches while flowing clearly in jazz history. ... Click to View


Skerebotte Fatta: Riders From The Ra (Creative Sources)

Members of the Polish Infant Joy Quintet and Warsaw Improvisers Orchestra--saxophonist Jan Malkowski and drummer Dominik Mokrzewski--pair off in a dynamic album of solid free jazz, influences feeling like Albert Ayler or Steve Lacy, as the two show great technical and creative skills, sometimes in great motion, sometimes reflective, showing great command and direction. ... Click to View


Ornette Coleman : Looking For Ornette [DVD] (La Huite)

Two films documenting and seeking insight into the work of late alto saxophonist and free jazz trail blazer Ornette Coleman, to some an iconoclast, to others a pioneering musician; the first film by Jacque Goldstein creates a portrait through interviews of those influenced by him; the 2nd, Stephane Jourdain follows Coleman's influence in today's music. ... Click to View


Donald Sturge / Anthony McKenzie II (feat. Elliot Sharp, Bill Laswell, Vernon Reid): Silenced II - Views from the Auction Block [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

Drummer Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II trades off duos with a set of masterful musicians in the second volume of his "Silenced" project, here with guitarist Elliott Sharp for a complex and inspired dialog; with bassist Bill Laswell for a rich and moody soundscape; and with guitarist Vernon Reid in a piece for McKenzie's daughter; plus one solo drum piece. ... Click to View


Listening Group (feat. Daniel Carter / Patrick Holmes / Jeff Snyder / Stelios Mihas / Federico Ughi): Live at the Forward Festival 2016 [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (577)

A live performance at Forward Festival 2016, in Brooklyn, NY, merging chamber music, free improvisation, free and avant jazz and other forms in a an ensemble with Daniel Carter (sax & trumpet), Claire de Brunner (bassoon), Patrick Holmes (clarinet), Nick Lyons (sax), Jeff Snyder (electronics), Stelios Mihas (guitar), Jonah Rosenberg (piano), Zach Swanson (bass), and Federico Ughi (drums). ... Click to View


Listening Group (feat. Daniel Carter / Patrick Holmes / Jeff Snyder / Stelios Mihas / Federico Ughi): Live at the Forward Festival 2016 (577)

A live performance at Forward Festival 2016, in Brooklyn, NY, merging chamber music, free improvisation, free and avant jazz and other forms in a an ensemble with Daniel Carter (sax & trumpet), Claire de Brunner (bassoon), Patrick Holmes (clarinet), Nick Lyons (sax), Jeff Snyder (electronics), Stelios Mihas (guitar), Jonah Rosenberg (piano), Zach Swanson (bass), and Federico Ughi (drums). ... Click to View


Choi Bae Sun / Junji Hirose / Motoharu Yoshizawa / Kim Dae Hwan: Arirang Fantasy (NoBusiness)

A 1995 live concert at Romanisches Cafe in Tokyo from the South Korean and Japanese free improvising quartet of Choi Sun Bae on trumpet, Junji Hirose on tenor & soprano saxophones, Motoharu Yoshizawa on electric vertical five strings bass, and Kim Dae Hwan on percussion, in five collective improvisations including an homage to Charlie Parker. ... Click to View


Choi Bae Sun / Junji Hirose / Motoharu Yoshizawa / Kim Dae Hwan: Arirang Fantasy [VINYL] (NoBusiness)

A 1995 live concert at Romanisches Cafe in Tokyo from the South Korean and Japanese free improvising quartet of Choi Sun Bae on trumpet, Junji Hirose on tenor & soprano saxophones, Motoharu Yoshizawa on electric vertical five strings bass, and Kim Dae Hwan on percussion, in five collective improvisations including an homage to Charlie Parker. ... Click to View


Morton Feldman: Triadic Memories & Piano [2 CDS] (Hat [now] ART)

Two substantial works for solo piano from late composer Morton Feldman, performed by Dutch avant-garde pianist John Snijders; "Triad Memories" is presented in two sections over 2 CDs, following Feldmans's socre, Snijders holding the sustain pedal halfway down for unusual harmonic decay, while "Piano" exploring permutations in a work of suspended time and motion. ... Click to View


Morton Feldman: Trio (Hat [now] ART)

Reissuing the 1996 recording of Morton Feldmans' "Trio" performed by Ives Ensemble members Job Ter Haar on cello, John Snijders on piano, and Josje Ter Haar on violin, Feldman's compositions sparse with tension over spacious moments of lyrical beauty, tense dissonance, unhurried repetition, and a sense of drifting momentum, evasive yet beautiful music. ... Click to View


Metal Chaos Ensemble: Blast Furnace (Evil Clown)

PEK and Yuri Zbitnov's working project exploring chaotic rhythms on metallic instruments using a wide range of sonorities, including gongs, chimes, glockenspiel, Tibetan Bowls and other metallic sounds and horns, plus accompaniment tracks, with special guests Bob Moores on trumpet and guitar and Eric Woods on analog synth, and performing real time Signal Processing. ... Click to View


Leap Of Faith: Proof Theory (Evil Clown)

The core trio of the Leap of Faith Orchestra is Boston area PEK on clarinets, saxophones, double reeds & flutes, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion, here expanded with Eric Dahlman on trumpet, whistles and game calls, and and Jim Warshauer on saxophone, in an incredibly diverse live performance at Outpost 186, in Cambridge, 2018. ... Click to View


Antonis Anissegos / Christos Yermenoglou: Intertitles (Creative Sources)

Berlin pianist Antonis Anissegos and Greek drummer Christos Yermenoglou in an album of obscurely titled free improvisations, sophisticated and thoughtful discourse using both traditional and extended techniques, Anissegos inside and out of the piano, as the two converse through understated yet strong melodic threads, a truly lovely and accomplished album. ... Click to View


Univers Zero: Ceux Du Dehors [VINYL] (Sub Rosa)

A remarkable work of chamber rock in the the 1981 third album from Belgian band Univers Zero led by drummer/percussionist Daniel Denis, who alo provides the complex and darkly brooding compositions for the ensemble, inspired and guided by the writing of H. P. Lovecraft, here in a much-needed vinyl reissue. ... Click to View


Mike Westbrook: Starcross Bridge (Hatology)

A solo piano album of lyrical jazz compositions from London pianist and band leader Mike Westbrook, including pieces from Monk, Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Lennon & McCartney, and original work from himself and his partnership with Kate Westbrook, an album of musical and personal references with the title track dedicated to saxophonist Lou Gare. ... Click to View


Luzia von Wyl Ensemble: Throwing Coins (Hatology)

Swiss pianist and composer leads her Luzia von Wyl Ensemble, a 10 piece band orchestrated with piano, bass, drums, flute, bassoon, clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, cello, and marimba, in a series of original jazz pieces that embrace third-stream jazz and Middle Eastern modal melodies, her players taking on exceptional solo spots fueled by her sophisticated compositions. ... Click to View


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  Free Music Missionary or Professional Juggler  

Evan Parker Discusses Four Decades in Free Improvisation


By Marc Chenard
Photo by Martin Morissette 2003-06-19

Call it 'free jazz', 'free music', or 'European Improvised Music' if you want, but one thing is for sure: it is as vibrant nowadays, if not more than when it was first thrust upon the transatlantic music scene a little less than forty years ago. As enduring as its history has been over there, it is now spanning the Great Divide and reaching not only a steadily growing audience but an increasingly younger one at that. Of its most heralded practioners, British tenor and soprano saxophonist Evan Parker is clearly one of its leading figures and, at 59, his commitment to this art form has never flagged. Two summers ago, during the debut edition of a festival of improvised music held in Montreal, Evan Parker visited the city for the first time in 15 years. Between two evening performances, one solo, the other with a pair of live electronics players, he spoke at length of the music he has been unerringly devoted to for the last 35 years, sharing some insights on its checkered history while expatiating, so to speak, on a few of the fineries of his own artistic practices and beliefs. Evan Parker

Marc Chenard: In 1997, veteran Belgian pianist Fred van Hove made an interesting point when I asked him to contrast the state of improvised music now from the early days of the 1960s: for him it used to be like jumping off a cliff, but now it's more like finding your way through a jungle. Do you agree with that statement? Since you too are a 'first generation' free improviser, you have seen this music change considerably over time.

Evan Parker: To me jumping off a cliff speaks of an uncertain voyage with a messy and most likely painful end to it. But wandering through the jungle doesn't really speak of any direction, so you may not know where you're going and be lost. I'm not quite sure I follow that. This music certainly has a history to it and we play as much in reference to it as our to own current activities. Now this calls into question the issue of stylistic or aesthetic coherence, and how we can keep something fresh while keeping it true to a certain way of thinking, or line of development. Yes, I've been called a 'first generation' free improvisor, but it's really hard to say where or when this music really started, and while it may be true in a certain context, it's not really the case when you look at the bigger picture.

M.C.: Speaking of things historical, London in the late '60s was really a fulcrum of sorts, and one place in particular played an important role in the emergence of the British free music scene, that being the Little Theater. How did you get involved?

E.P.: The late drummer John Stevens just invited me to play there, and it was really his fiefdom. He had the ear of the owner (Jean Pritchard was her name), and she'd been operating an after-hours hangout for actors who, by the way, weren't that crazy about the music. So it must have been a struggle for John to keep her straight, so to speak, but he had the social skills to do that.

M.C.: At that same period, you would also get to know other European free improvising musicians from the continent, like bassist Peter Kowald [who died last year, after this interview took place].

E.P.: Peter came to London in fact, but we never played at the Little Theater. He joined me and John at a time when our group (i.e. the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, or SME for short) was reduced to just a duo. We were working at a small folk club called 'Les Cousins', which interestingly enough was operated by the blues musician Alexis Korner. At that time, he had this duo with a guy called Victor Brocks, and they had this sort of idealistic notion of playing a very free kind of blues while were doing a very free kind of jazz. So we'd each do a set thentry to play together at the end of the week... but that didn't go on for too long. So we played there with Peter over the Summer of '67. Late that year, Peter invited me to come to this music workshop that the radio producer Joachim-Ernst Behrendt was putting together for the South German radio in Baden Baden. But I only got in because John Tchicai decided to cancel at the last minute. It's on that occasion I first met Peter Brötzmann and Gunther Hampel, as well as Don Cherry, Marion Brown and Jean ne Lee.

M.C.: So I gather this session was what lead up to the now 'seminal' recording "Machine Gun"?

E.P.: Right. And Brötzmann also introduced me to Alex von Schlippenbach (around 1970), but that was after getting to know Willem Breuker, Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg. Kowald, on the other hand, was responsible for bringing me together with Irene Schweizer and Pierre Favre, and we worked for a couple of years together, and did that one recording for Wergo in '69. Sometimes they played just as a trio, or I'd join them when they could afford bringing me over. I was now getting better acquainted with the German scene, and thanks to an invitation from Jost Gebers (the now soon to retire producer of FMP Records in Berlin), a larger version of SME performed there, which had Dave Holland, Derek Bailey, Trevor Watts, John and myself.

M.C.: So it was John who was responsible for bringing you and Derek together.

E.P.: In effect, because he was playing occasionally at the Little Theater club with that trio called 'Joseph Holbrooke', the one with Gavin Bryars and Tony Oxley. But Gavin left to study in America, so it was from there that we started playing together. It was also around that time that we did that record for ECM (" Music Improvisation Company"). Come to think of it, it's really a complicated period to re-construct, because there were so many contacts happening at the same time.

M.C.: Among those contacts, there were the Blue Notes, that legendary South African band who settled in London for a while. They, too, had quite an effect.

E.P.: Sure, their approach was so different, but it was not like we were trying to learn their music only; they were just as interested by our free playing as we were by theirs. I remember doing a gig with the pianist Chris McGregor and the drummer Louis Moholo, just playing completely free, and that was probably around or before 1970. The trumpeter Mongezi Feza also did the same, and Dudu Pukwana, the sax player, would go to Holland to play with Misha and Han. To this day, Louis is still the happiest when he plays free.

M.C.: I can imagine there were a lot of sessions going on during the day, but were there many more venues to bring this to the public?

E.P.: Well, the Little Theater was pretty much the place, but there was also a short period, of about a year and a half or two, when Ronnie Scott's club kept its original Gerrard Street locale while starting up its new one right across on Frith Street. It was probably more jazzy on the average, like Mike Westbrook's bands, Chris McGregor, John Surman and Mike Osborne, with John Stevens and myself usually slotted on a midweek evening. Mike also had a place of his own called 'Peanuts' and that was further East, near Liverpool Street. His own people mostly played there, but he would farm out gigs to others as well. So you could say it was pretty healthy back then, but I think we need to have a few more Peanuts-type places happening now. I'm always encouraging bass players and drummers to do this, because they're the natural ones for this type of thing.

M.C.: In contrast to that period, how does London compare nowadays? It is happening?

E.P.: Absolutely! There are hundred of musicians now and it's impossible to keep up. There's a whole generation of people in their20's and younger now ready and eager to pursue this music. Take for example, the bassist John Edwards (who plays with Jah Wobble), he's still quite young and very much involved in this scene.

M.C.: Interestingly enough, this renewed interest in improvised music is not only a local phenomenon, but a more international one as well. Take, for instance, the United States: It's blossoming there as well, both in terms of musicians and audience.

E.P.: There's a surge, that's for sure... and I hope it carries on like this! Let's see, here we are in June, and I've been over four times already, a record for me. But the interesting thing is that I don't even initiate these contacts. They come from people inviting me. And they come not only from New York or other major cities, but from more remote places, too.

M.C.: On the first night of your stay here, you played a solo saxophone concert, and this has been very central to your art over the last 25 years. But until only recently, you would only play soprano in solo contexts, how come?

E.P.: I've always thought of myself as being a soprano player who doubles on tenor rather than the other way around. Actually, when I switched from alto to tenor way back when, there was a time I was only playing soprano. Nowadays, in certain contexts, like with drums, I only play tenor, but it's taken time for that to happen. And after playing just soprano in solo contexts, that too is changing.

M.C.: It worked out to about half and half in the performance. What also struck me is the fact that your tenor language is moving closer than ever to your soprano language, whereas in the past it seemed you made a conscious effort to keep both of these as separate as possible. What interests me here is to find out how you are working on translating the concepts of the soprano to the tenor.

E.P.: That's quite new for me, indeed, and it does seem they're overlapping more than ever. With the techniques I've developed to control certain possibilities on one horn, it's as if I can reverse the roles of the two hands when I'm trying to translate these over to what I could call the "physics of the tenor." You see, it all has to do with how broken air columns work. Now this may well be a broad generalization, but I could say that the soprano is a closed column broken in the left hand while the tenor tends to be more of a left hand position modified by the right hand. Now this might sound impenetrable to anyone who doesn't play the saxophone, or maybe even for those who do, but it means something to me. You could say that it has to do with the ways in which the keys fall under your hand, the weight distribution and the fingerings as well, because a lot of this stuff depends on getting up to a certain speed.

M.C.: I imagine you have to practice a lot to keep this up.

E.P.: These days, I'm not practicing as much as I should, because I'm too busy, traveling and what not. But one can do a lot of conceptual practicing as well, something like mental arithmetic where you're thinking of intervallic patterns. For instance: to go through sequences of alternating minor thirds and fourths, or semi-tones and flat fifths, from bottom to top and knowing where to go down when you run out of instrument. The eight or ten hour practice day is long in the past for me, but there were times when I was only doing that because work was so scarce.

M.C.: After 25 years of solo concerts and having built such a language, do you have a feeling of living too much by it? Are there times where you'd like to break away from it?

E.P.: That calls to mind the title of a book by Doris Lessing and that is Prisons We Choose to Live Inside. I guess it's a prison I've chosen to live in. Of course, you can choose to do something different, but that's rather easy to juststand up and do something nobody expects. I find it more interesting to do what people expect and then still surprise them, or myself for that matter. For the moment, I am finding things and recombining them in interesting ways. I like that feeling of capturing people's ears and taking them on a journey. I can be a guide only if I go down some paths I already know myself. After all, it's not much good having a guide who doesn't know his way through the jungle...



continued...




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