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Magnus Granberg : Es Schwindelt Mir, Es Brennt Mein Eingweide (Another Timbre)

An hour-long work for an ensemble of six musicians by Swedish composer Magnus Granberg performed by Anna Lindal on baroque violin, d incise on vibraphonen electronics, Cyril Bondi on percussion, Anna Kaisa Meklin on viola da gamba, Christoph Schiller on spinet, and Magnus Granberg himself on prepared piano, transforming material from a song by Franz Schubert. ... Click to View


John Cage : Two2 (Another Timbre)

One of a handful of John Cage's number pieces, this work for two pianists follows the forms of Renga poetry, composed with 36 lines of music, each containing 5 measures, and each line having 31 events occuring in the sequence 5-7-5-7-7, with the pianists allowed their own tempo but waiting to synchronize each measure, as performed by Mark Knoop and Philip Thomas. ... Click to View


Bondi / Martel / Schiller: tse (Another Timbre)

With backgrounds in both improvisation and compositional music, the new trio of Cyril Bondi on harmonium, Pierre-Yves Martel on viola da gamba, and Christoph Schiller on spinet, agreed on a sequence of pitches for this 5 part improvisational work, allowing space for the players to explore pitch and melody within a contemplative and pensive framework. ... Click to View


Angles 3: Parede (Clean Feed)

Martin Kuchen's Angles band changes shape constantly, originally a trio and expanding as large as Angles 10, but this album, recorded live at SMUP, Parede, Portugal in 2016, returns the band to the original trio of Kuchen on sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on double bass, and Kjell Nordeson on drums & percussion, reworking Angles compositions to their essence. ... Click to View


Honest John w/ Ab Baars : Treem (Clean Feed)

The Norwegian quintet Honest John of Ole Henrik Moe on violin, Kim Johannesen on guitar & banjo, Ola Hoyer on double bass, Erik Nylander on drums & drum machine, on Klaus Ellerhusen sax and clarinet, are joined by multi-reedist and shakuhachi player Ab Baars at Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria to capture this quirky, controlled, and incredibly knowledgeable concert. ... Click to View


Chris Pitsiokos / CP Unit: Silver Bullet In The Autumn Of Your Years (Clean Feed)

Pushing the envelope in genre-smashing collective improvisation, Brooklyn-based sax and synth player Chris Pitsiokos and his CP Unit with 2 electric bassists--Tim Dahl and Henry Fraser--2 drummers--Jason Nazary and Connor Baker--and guitarist Sam Lisabeth, take a twisted path through improv, rock, and electronics that always shows a fierce allegiance to free jazz. ... Click to View


Scott Clark: Tonow (Clean Feed)

Drummer Scott Clark continues to explore his Native American roots in this album dedicated to the protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota, each heartfelt piece titled for aspects of those demonstrations, performed with bassist Cameron Ralston, trumpeter Bob Miller, saxophonist Jason Scott, guitarist Alan Parker, and extended with Chicago guitarist Tobin Summerfield. ... Click to View


Lynn Cassiers : Imaginary Band (Clean Feed)

Composer, vocalist and electronics artist Lynn Cassiers' new septet with Sylvain Debaisieux (soprano and tenor saxophone), Ananta Roossens (violin), Niels Van Heertum (euphonium), Erik Vermeulen (piano), Manolo Cabras (double bass) and Marek Patrman (drums) in their adventurous debut album blending improv, pop aesthetics, electronics, dreamlike voice, and solid playing. ... Click to View


AMM: An Unintended Legacy [3 CDs] (Matchless)

A beautiful 3-CD set with a hardcover book presenting 3 full concerts from 2015 & 2016 of the AMM trio configuration of John Tilbury (piano), Keith Rowe (guitar) and Eddie Prevost (percussion). The 70 page book, dedicated to saxophonist Lou Gare, includes an AMM discography, plus photos, an essays by Paige Mitchell and Allen Fisher; Keith Rowe; Eddie Prevost; and Lou Gare. ... Click to View


Mary Halvorson : Code Girl [2 CDs] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Always open to new approaches, NY guitarist Mary Halvorson takes her trio with drummer Tomas Fujiwara and bassist Michael Formanek, adds trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and, in a twist of the thumbscrew, vocalist Amirtha Kidambi, for a mix of song and instrumental pieces that balance jazz and rock sensibilities with lyricism, intricate lines, and creative spirit. ... Click to View


Mary Halvorson : Code Girl [VINYL] (Firehouse 12 Records)

Always open to new approaches, NY guitarist Mary Halvorson takes her trio with drummer Tomas Fujiwara and bassist Michael Formanek, adds trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and, in a twist of the thumbscrew, vocalist Amirtha Kidambi, for a mix of song and instrumental pieces that balance jazz and rock sensibilities with lyricism, intricate lines, and creative spirit. ... Click to View


The Thing (Gustafsson / Haker Flaten / Nilssen-Love + McPhee): Again (The Thing Records)

The Thing "again" as Gustafsson on saxophones, Haker Flaten on electric and acoustic bass, and Nilssen-Love on drums & percussion present 3 extended blues-based, Ayler-inflected free jazz pieces, with Gustafsson's powerfully emotional playing over Haker-Flaten and Nilssen-Love's powerful polyrhythmic foundations; Joe McPhee joins for one track taking on a Frank Lowe piece. ... Click to View


The Thing (Gustafsson / Haker Flaten / Nilssen-Love + McPhee): Again [VINYL] (The Thing Records)

The Thing "again" as Gustafsson on saxophones, Haker Flaten on electric and acoustic bass, and Nilssen-Love on drums & percussion present 3 extended blues-based, Ayler-inflected free jazz pieces, with Gustafsson's powerfully emotional playing over Haker-Flaten and Nilssen-Love's powerful polyrhythmic foundations; Joe McPhee joins for one track taking on a Frank Lowe piece. ... Click to View


Moholo-Moholo's, Louis Five Blokes: Uplift The People (Ogun)

Drummer Moholo-Moholo, a member of Blue Notes, Elton Dean's Ninesene, Foxes Fox, London Improvisers Orchestra, a sideman for Brotzmann, Keith Tippets sideman and drummer and most importantly, band leader in a rich, lyrical and spiritual album recorded live at Cafe Oto in 2017 with Alexander Hawkins (piano), John Edwards (bass), Shabaka Hutchings (sax) and Jason Yard (sax). ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / William Parker / Matthew Shipp: Seraphic Light (Live At Tufts University) (Aum Fidelity)

A long-form 3-part work of collective improvisation from 3 masterful New York free jazz legends--Daniel Carter on flute, trumpet, clarinet, and saxophones, William Parker on bass, and Matthew Shipp on piano--performing live at Tufts University in 2017 in a beautifully thoughtful and lyrical concert presented after a screening of the '59 film "The Cry of Jazz". ... Click to View


Ceramic Dog (Ribot / Ches Smith / Shahzad Ismaily): Y R U Still Here? [VINYL] (Northern Spy)

... Click to View


The Ex: 27 Passports (Ex Records)

After several years of Brass Unbound, Getatchew Mekuria, festivals and countless side projects, The Ex return to The Ex, a 4-piece led by the trio of guitars from Andy Moor, Terrie Hessels and Arnold de Boer driven by drummer Katherina Bornefeld, de Boer acerbic and insightful on this seriously great rock record; plus a 36-page photo book from Andy Moor. ... Click to View


The Ex: 27 Passports [VINYL] (Ex Records)

After several years of Brass Unbound, Getatchew Mekuria, festivals and countless side projects, The Ex return to The Ex, a 4-piece led by the trio of guitars from Andy Moor, Terrie Hessels and Arnold de Boer driven by drummer Katherina Bornefeld, de Boer acerbic and insightful on this seriously great rock record; plus a 36-page photo book from Andy Moor. ... Click to View


Mette Rasmussen / Tashi Dorji: (Feeding Tube Records)

Captured live, the excitingly assertive improvisation of Danish saxophonist Mette Rasmussen and Bhutan electric guitarist Tashi Dorji on the stage at Hotel2Tango in Montreal, Quebec in 2016, and at La Sala Rosa, each pushing the limits on their instruments while retaining control of their conversation, a taught balancing act of extraordinary playing. ... Click to View


Elisabeth Harnik / Joelle Leandre: Tender Music (Trost Records)

Two like-minded musicians with a history in compositional and improvised music, pianist and prepared pianist Elisabeth Harnik and double bassist and vocalist Joelle Leandre met at WIST, in Graz, Austria in 2016 to perform and record this live album of insightful and compelling dialog between two masterful musicians full of creativity and virtuosic skill. ... Click to View


Zu / Mats Gustafsson: How To Raise An Ox [VINYL] (Trost Records)

The first vinyl edition of the 2004 collaboration of Italian power trio Zu of Luca Tommaso Mai on baritone sax, Massimo Pupillo on bass, and Jacopo Battaglia on drums, with Swedish baritone sax phenomenon Mats Gustafsson, what Atavistic calls a "hypno-skronk implosion" of dueling baritones sax over wonderfully intense and skronky free improvisation; a classic! ... Click to View


Marty Ehrlich: Trio Exaltation (Clean Feed)

With a history of playing together in the Andrew Hill Sextet, Marty Ehrlich immediately chose bassist John Hebert and drummer Nasheet Waits to join Ehrlich in his new trio endeavor, the multi-wind & reed player on alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet and wooden flutes as they perform 9 lyrical and sophisticated Ehrlich compositions, plus one by Andrew Hill. ... Click to View


Chrome Hill: The Explorer (Clean Feed)

The Norwegian quartet formerly known as "Damp" with baritone guitarist Asbjorn Lerheim, tenor saxophonist Atle Nymo, drummer Torstein Lofthus, and double bassist Roger Arntzen, blend expressive forms of jazz with blues and rock in an expansive and rich set of tunes that both pay homage and look to new and inclusive formations of emotional and effusive music. ... Click to View


Lana Trio w/ Sofia Jernberg: Lana Trio w/ Sofia Jernberg (Clean Feed)

The Norwegian experimental collective improvising group of Henrik Munkeby Norstebo on trombone, Kjetil Jerve on piano, and Andreas Wildhagen on drums & percussion are the core trio here, presenting their third release by adding free improvising vocalist Sofia Jernberg, bringing a sense of unpredictability to a finely controlled chaos of technical mastery. ... Click to View


Rafael Toral / Hugo Antunes / Joao Pais Filipe / Ricardo Webbens: Space Quartet (Clean Feed)

Composer, engineer and electronic artist Rafael Toral has completed his Space Program series and now launches his "Space Quartet" with double bassist Hugo Antunes, drummer/percussionist Joao Pais Filipe, synth player Ricardo Webbens, and Toral himself on modular feedback, blending solid acoustic rhythms with interstellar and abstract sound; singular. ... Click to View


Kirk Knuffke / Ben Goldberg: Uncompahgre (Relative Pitch)

Two extraordinary players from two coasts--clarinetist Ben Goldberg from the West and cornetist Kirk Knuffke from the East--in an exuberant duo of lyrical and virtuosic free jazz that astonishes the listener with the ease of their interactions in both parallel and contrasting lines, supporting the other as they express themselves uniquely; an impressive achievement! ... Click to View


Tomeka Reid / Kyoko Kitamura / Taylor Ho Bynum / Joe Morris: Geometry of Caves (Relative Pitch)

Bringing New York and Chicago performers together, the quartet of cellist Tomeka Reid, guitarist Joe Morris, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and free vocalist Kyoko Kitamura present an album of expressive and creative collective improvisation, bridging chamber forms and free jazz with a captivatingly eccentric appeal from Kitamura's wordless vocalese. ... Click to View


Tatakai Trio (Kuchen / Lindsjo / Strid): HappI (Relative Pitch)

A trio of well-versed Swedish free improvisers--Martin Kuchen on soprano & sopranino saxophones, Raymond Strid on drums, and Anders Lijndsjo on guitar--in 8 studio improvisations of unusual and highly rhythmic and upbeat interplay, titled with happy adjectives, an apt description of the joy these three find in unconventional approaches to improvisation. ... Click to View


Stephanie Richards : Full Moon (Relative Pitch)

An extremely interesting experimental record of free improvisation and electronics from the duo of Dino J.A. Deane and trumpeter Stephanie Richards, whose work with Henry Threadgill and Butch Morris is felt in these pieces where Richards explores resonance in brass and percussion as Deane samples and manipulates her playing live; an inventive and effusive album. ... Click to View


Fujii / Fonda / Mimmo: Triad (Long Song Records)

An album recorded on the 59th birthday of pianist-composer Satoko Fujii, the second recorded with bassist Joe Fonda on the Long Song imprint, this time in a trio with soprano saxophonist Gianni Mimmo, the focus of the album the 42 minute monumental improvisation "Birthday Girl", a sophisticated and engaging dialog of lyrical playing and great beauty. ... Click to View


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  Visions from the Past  

The 2003 Vision Festival Resurrects Legends from the '60s


By Kurt Gottschalk 2003-06-24

History cut in line on May 24, when Henry Grimes took the stage two days prior to his much anticipated spotlight during the 2003 Vision Festival.

The festival was bookended by a couple of lost ESP artists, with vocalist Patty Waters (now living in Hawaii) on opening night, and bassist Grimes playing with William Parker's Jeanne Lee Project closing the fest.

But on Saturday night, just before a duet by Parker and Rob Brown, festival organizer Patricia Nicholson announced that a "very special guest" would be joining the two. With no more hype than that, the legendary bassist, who played on some great sides in the late '60s and disappeared from public view shortly thereafter, took the stage.

Grimes presumably had little time to rehearse, not having played in roughly 30 years. Parker sent him a bass this spring, after articles announcing that Grimes had been found, alive and well in California, appeared in Signal to Noise and The Wire. Grimes played a gig with guitarist Nels Cline in San Francisco before heading east for his New York re-debut.

Like a modern day Mississippi John Hurt, the resurgence of Henry Grimes is the stuff of legend. He received a standing ovation before playing a note that night, and sat in the front row throughout the six-night festival. He already has a gig booked for July at the upscale club Iridium in midtown Manhattan.

No doubt many in the audience were wondering, miraculous as his return was, how his playing would be. As it turns out, Grimes was fast and nimble, quiet but assured; he clearly remembers his Juilliard schooling. He and Parker began as two of a kind, opening arco, their hands moving nearly in unison, Brown's searing alto soaring above. The set progressed, Brown dropping out at times to allow a bass duo, and was rewarding if not entirely remarkable. Parker is always amazing and Grimes more than held his own.

Patty Waters
Patty Waters    [Photo by M.P. Landis]
Waters, too, proved an elder but rewarding version of the youthful exuberance documented on her two ESP releases. She opened with a shaky voice and a sweet smile, saying simply "Thanks for coming. Let's all hope for world peace and justice." Then, ably backed by pianist Burton Greene (with whom she recorded those early sides) and bassist Mark Dresser, she launched into a stirring version of "Strange Fruit," a song that not only mirrors her plea for justice but perhaps represents a woman whose voice shows her years. Seamlessly they drifted into a lyric version of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" and, later, Holiday's "Don't Explain," "Nature Boy" and Waters' "Moon Don't Come Out Tonight." She might not have had the range or the power she once demonstrated, but she still carried every bit of the drama, standing in repose during instrumental segments, and leaving the stage during some of Dresser and Greene's own compositions.

The Vision Family

Family comes in different forms, and family is what the artist-run New York City institution is all about. If that's a little corny, then it's the kind of corniness William Parker, Patricia Nicholson and their growing list of sympathizers embrace. More musicians each year add their names to the list of those traveling (at their own expense) from near and far to be a part of the venerable shoestring operation. Grimes is no doubt part of the clan now, and Waters may prove to be as well.

The 2003 Vision Festival Schedule

Wednesday May 21

  • Joe Maneri Trio (Matt Maneri / Randy Peterson / Christine Coppola)
  • Carl Hancock Rux / DJ Spooky
  • Billy Bang Sextet (Frank Lowe with Todd Nicholson, Andrew Bemkey, Tyshawn Sorey, and Tatsuya Nakatani)
  • Patty Waters / Burton Greene / Mark Dresser

Saturday May 24

  • Amina & Amiri Baraka with Blue Ark: The WordShip (Dwight West / Rahman Herbie Morgan / Andy McCloud / Vijay Iyer / Rudy Walker)
  • Rob Brown / William Parker / Henry Grimes
  • Milford Graves / Peter Brotzmann
  • Jin Hi Kim Trio (Billy Bang / William Parker)
  • Louis Belogenis / Roy Campbell / Hill Green / Michael Wimberly
  • Improvs: Tatsuya Nakatani, Roy Campbell, Lewis Barnes, Jonathan LaMaster and others

Thursday May 22

  • Bill Cole Project (Warren Smith / Cooper-Moore / Patricia Smith)
  • David S. Ware Quartet (Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Guillermo E. Brown)
  • Fred Anderson / Harrison Bankhead
  • The Jemeel Moondoc / Connie Crothers Quintet (Nathan Breedlove / Adam Lane / John McCutcheon)

Sunday May 25

  • Thomas Buckner / Roscoe Mitchell / Jerome Cooper / Harrison Bankhead
  • Masada String Trio (Mark Feldman / Erik Friedlander / Greg Cohen, John Zorn conducting)
  • Matthew Shipp Quartet (Daniel Carter / William Parker / Gerald Cleaver )
  • Whit Dickey / Rob Brown / Roy Campbell / Joe Morris
  • Patricia Nicholson's PaNic (Joseph Jarman / Cooper-Moore)

Friday May 23

  • Edwin Torres / Sean G. Meehan
  • Kali Fasteau / Mixashawn / Maria Mitchell / Newman Taylor-Baker
  • Roy Campbell / Joe McPhee, Warren Smith, William Parker
  • Andrew Cyrille / Kidd Jordan / William Parker
  • Raphe Malik Quartet (Sabir Mateen / Larry Rolands / Warren Smith)

Monday May 26 ~ Jeanne Lee Memorial

  • Steve Dalachinsky / Treva Offutt / Frederico Ughi
  • Gunter Hampel Galaxy Dream Band (Perry Robinson / Lou Grassi / Mark Whitecage / Ruomi Lee Hampel / Hershel Silverman / Prince Alegs
  • Amina Claudine Myers
  • William Parker's Jeanne Lee Project (Thomas Buckner / Ellen Christi / Jay Clayton / Lisa Sokolov / Rob Brown / Lewis Barnes / Joe Daley / Cooper-Moore / Gerald Cleaver / Henry Grimes)

So what better way to open the festival (after illness canceled Joseph Jarman's traditional opening invocation) than master of microtones Joe Maneri with his son and daughter-in-law, violinist Mat and dancer Christine Coppola and their longtime collaborator, drummer Randy Peterson. The three musicians played as one, tenor saxophone, electric viola and percussion in tight-sync improvisation Coppola opened with the two Maneris, adding a surprising energy to their slow, taut lines. When she left the stage, the elder Maneri took over the dance, slowly rocking in his chair, eyes closed, arms akimbo, whenever his reed left his lips.

Fred Anderson was one of the first out-of-towners to commit to the annual trip, usually appearing in a remarkable quartet with Kidd Jordan, William Parker and Hamid Drake. But this year the tenor twins were bifurcated (and Drake, touring Europe, not on the bill), so he brought along one of his Chicago compatriots, the great bassist Harrison Bankhead.

Chicago's AACM boasts many great players (specifically saxophonists) too little known outside their hometown, and Bankhead is one of the best. They played a beautiful duet of lyrical, fast-paced ballads, simmering but never boiling over.

With the Anderson/Jordan/Parker/Drake quartet out of commission this year, it was left to Parker, Joe McPhee, Roy Campbell and Warren Smith to rock the roof off the house. Other regulars also delivered pieces of what the festival has become known for. Davis S. Ware brought his firestorm groove. Kali Z. Fasteau told musical tales of world travels. Brotzmann and Graves went 0-60 in zero seconds, hitting hard and not backing down, Brotzmann blowing clarinet with enough force to make it sound for all the world like an alto sax. Matthew Shipp was in rare, free jazz mode, laying out with Parker, Daniel Carter and Gerald Cleaver, not relying on formalist, geometric structures but instead playing the sweet, hard stuff.

Guitarist Joe Morris has also been a recurring part of the festival, but this was the first year for Morris the bassist. When he started picking up the banjo a few years ago, he sounded very much like himself on banjo. His more recent upright bass playing has been that much more of a surprise as a result. Far from the fast lines he favors on the smaller strings, on bass Morris tends toward simple, heavy, repeated lines, sounding something like hislong time partner Parker. Whit Dickey led a set with Morris on bass, Brown on saxophone and Roy Campbell on trumpet. Like Dickey's recent recordings on Aum Fidelity and Riti, the set was a satisfying, cogent statement.

Although Jarman gave a scare when he missed the opening invocation, leaving Nicholson to lead the festival blessing, he was in fine form four nights later, dancing across the stage, playing sopranino, bells on his ankles. He went through a variety of settings withCooper-Moore providing percussive basslines and momentary blasts from a strung and heavily amplified table.Nicholson danced and sang, breathily invoking the "Vision for Peace" mantra that reverberated throughout the festival. "So much sadness and a few moments of unbounded joy," she sang, whispered and screamed as she spun across the stage. "Rise UP!" It was captivating enough that painter Jeff Schlanger, another Vision regular and self-proclaimed "Music Witness" was still, not painting a stroke.

Dalachinsky  Offutt
Steve Dalachinsky & Treva Offutt
[Photo by Kurt Gottschalk]
The festival occurs over Memorial Day weekend every year, and the final night appropriately serves as a memorial for a musician who died during the previous year. This year's closing night commemorated the vocalist Jeanne Lee, who died in October 2000. Poet Steve Dalachinksky read a long piece capturing her passion for life, with drummer Federico Ughi and the remarkable dancer/singer Treva Offutt. Lee's husband, reed player and vibraphonist Gunter Hampel, played a set of strong jazz complimented by poetry from their son Ruomi Lee Hampel and some rambunctious street dance by Prince Alegs.

Henry Grimes Brown
Henry Grimes & Rob Brown
[Photo by M.P. Landis]
Parker's Jeanne Lee Project, a 14-piece band with four vocalists,was similar to his Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. The long piece opened with cutely boppy four-part vocals that morphed into swirling vocalese and then into an extended solo by Grimes who, thanks to the attention of The New York Times and other local media, was responsible for packing the house. To say his playing is strong does not require the caveat "four months practice after 30 years of not playing." Grimes and second bassist Nick Rosen, along with four percussionists (Parker being among the latter) laid down an earthy groove, and the six horns swelled in shining fanfare. If there's anyone who can surf that sort of wave, it's Billy Bang, who rose with his violin from center stage and tore through the funk. It was pure Parker, grand and great Parker.



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