August 20, 2019:
Too often that everything happens at once, despite one's plan to have everything pace itself nicely. Such was the case last week, as somewhat delayed packages including new releases on Astral Spirits and Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!) arrived on Tuesday, which we planned to introduce on Friday. So we hustled and bustled them onto the website, prioritizing Fundacja's most recent albums first, and the Astral Spirits set next. We also picked up some important back-catalog from Fundacja, the Evan Parker & Eddie Prévost CD making it into the mailing list, but the 3 box sets from Barry Guy, Joëlle Lé and Agusti Fernandez still in the work and set to go up this week.
The four new Fundacja Sluchaj! albums are an exciting set, with some well-known players in Squidco's catalog, and a few new players to get enthusiastic about. The Agusti Fernandez Trio with William Parker & Susie Ibarra is, of course, understandably excellent, recorded in concert in Fernandez' Barcelona home base, performing at the Joan Miro Foundation. Nobject with Martin Kuchen, Rafal Mazur & Vasco Trilla brings together players from several essential labels in our catalog, including Clean Feed, Creative Sources, Not Two, FMR and Relative Pitch. As different from his Angles and Fire! project, Kuchen's work here shows his broad experimental and inquisitive leanings, and all three turn in a fascinating album of exploration and discovery.
The "As You Hear" trio led by Veryan Weston is a chamber-oriented jazz trio with two newcomers: violinist Pei Ann Yeoh, who we know from the Triyeoh Trio on FRM Records; and drummer Beibei Wang, who's virtuosic work spans classical, contemporary, experimental, traditional, improvisation, electronic, jazz, & pop. Their album is recorded at Vortex Jazz Club in London, bringing out the best in all three in a unique take on collective improvisation. Last, the collaboration of Argentinian improvisers Paula Shocron (piano) & Pablo Diaz (drums) invites the great clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio for a studio session recorded in New York City. Shocron and Gregorio are well known for the Hatology & Hat [Now] Art releases, Gregorio particularly, but you will find the latter in our catalog on Corbett vs. Dempsey, Driff, Peira, and Relative Pitch.
Fernandez, Agusti Trio (w. William Parker / Susie Ibarra): One Night At The Joan Miro Foundation (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
A formidable meeting of three powerhouses of modern creative improvisation of diverse backgrounds -- Filipina-American drummer/percussionist Susie Ibarra, legendary New York bassist William Parker, and Spanish pianist Agusti Fernandez, in a spirited, masterful and stunning live performance at the Joan Miro Foundation in Barcelona recorded in 1998.
Nobject (Martin Kuchen / Rafal Mazur / Vasco Trilla): X-Rayed [2 CDs] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
Bringing separate collaborations together as a trio, Swedish saxophonist Martin Kuchen (Angles), who has worked separately with Catalan drummer Vascto Trilli and Polish guitarist Rafal Mazur, come together as Nobject, recording at Lodz-Art Inkubator during the sixth Musica Privata festival in Lodz, Poland, for 2 sets of fully free, sinuous and assertive improvisation.
As You Hear (Veryan Weston / Pei Ann Yeoh / Beibei Wang): Four Seasonings (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
Recording at Vortex Jazz Club in London in 2018, the As You Hear trio of renowned London and European free jazz pianist Veryan Weston with two younger generation improvisers, Pei Ann Yeoh (violin) and Beibei Wang (drums & percussion), here presenting a sophisticated concert of group improvisation, each collective improvisation named for a spice or seasoning.
Shocron, Paula / Pablo Diaz (special guest Guillermo Gregorio): Dialogos (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))
Argentinian improvisers Paula Shocron (piano) and Pablo Diaz (drums) invite masterful Argentinian clarinetist and Mivimiento Musica Mas founder Guillermo Gregorio to record these 14 collective improvisations in the studio in New York, drawing upon contemporary and jazz elements with virtuosic skill, revealing inventive and imaginative playing.
Astral Spirits from Chicago also released another great set of albums, and their output continues to gain momentum as they move from all cassette releases to CDs and LPs. This recent set brings us improvisation albums from the duo of Amado Rodrigo & Chris Corsano' Sean Ali's String Trio; an excellent lower register trio named CARL of Damon Smith, Daniel Kamins & Andrew Durham; and the 10th Anniversary concert of Nick Mazzarella Trio with Anton Hatwich & Frank Rosaly.
As label owner Nate Cross also has interest in the more experimental side of things, he released an excellent double cassette + download of Tereshkova, who is Jeff Lane of the Chicago/Portland, OR label Never Anything; his album presents four fascinating electroacoustic/acousmatic compositions to submerse your ear into. And last, a solo percussion album from Claire Rousay, a percussionist I wasn't previously familiar with, but who has worked with many regulars in our catalog including Brandon Lopez, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten, Jacob Wick, Ken Vandermark, &c. Her work explores queerness, human relationships, and self perception through the use of physical objects and their potential sounds, the last two hear particularly in her narrative approach to solo percussion.
Amado, Rodrigo / Chris Corsano: No Place To Fall [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)
Having previously worked together with Joe McPhee and Kent Kessler, this album distills the Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and NY drummer/percussionist Chris Corsano to a concentrated sax and drum duo of earnest and edgy playing, bending jazz, free and blues idioms to their will with magnificent technique and power, both clearly elated in their meeting.
Ali / Bordreuil / Mattrey : I Used To Sing So Lyrical [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)
The debut recording of New York double bassist Sean Ali's improvising string trio with violist Joanna Mattrey and cellist Leila Bordreuil, having worked together since 2015, each brings impressive technique and a somewhat twisted approach to their strings in a diverse set of extended improvisation from pensive and spacious to formidable density.
CARL (Damon Smith / Daniel Kamins / Andrew Durham): Solid Bottom [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)
Two basses and a lower-end saxophone from the trio of Damon Smith on double bass, Andrew Durham on electric bass, and Danny Kamins on baritone sax, Durham also adding effects and "Radio Manipulation" to their deep sound, Durham & Kamins the core of CARL with Damon Smith adding extra underpinnings to their slowly developing, sometimes pensive, sometimes cantankerous, profound improvisation.
Mazzarella, Nick Trio: Counterbalance [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)
From 2008-16 until drummer Frank Rosaly moved to Amsterdam, alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella's Trio was an active part of Chicago's creative jazz scene; in early 2018 Rosaly returned for a visit and Mazzarella composed a suite of 6 new pieces to commemorate the trio's tenth anniversary, the exuberant result this excellent concert recorded at Co-Prosperity Sphere!
Tereshkova (Jeff Lane): Chunks of Monochrome Rainbows [DOUBLE CASSETTE w/DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)
Portland Oregon composer and sound artist Jeff Lane, co-founder of the Chicago/Portland record label Never Anything, as his alter-ego Tereshkova in a large work of electronic composition, part concrete, part acousmatic, spanning two cassettes with four side-long pieces, each an extended journey in mood, motion, perplexing sources and embrace-ably interesting.
Rousay, Claire: Aerophobia [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)
Exploring human relationships and self perception through the use of physical objects and their potential sounds, San Antonio drummer Claire Rousay, who has worked with Jacob Wick, Ken Vandermark, Brandon Lopez, &c. recorded these six solo drum performances in the studio, developing each in a way that shows her strong technical skills and narrative voice on the drums.
As the US distributor for Hat Hut's ezz-thetics series, I'm happy to link our readers to Ken Waxman's review of Franz Koglmann Septet: Fruits of Solitude (ezz-thetics 1005) on his great JazzWord website. Derek Taylor also wrote about the album on his Dusted Magazine website.
Koglmann, Franz Septet (w / Clark / Arcari / D'Agaro / Turkovic / Pasztor / Herbert): Fruits Of Solitude (Hat Hut Ezz-Thetics)
With a superb septet of improvisers also versed in contemporary music, trumpeter Franz Koglmann presents sophisticated compositions that interject the concept of "solitude" in the three-part title track, alongside Koglmann compositions and Jimmy Giuffre's "Finger Snapper", using striking orchestration of trumpet, sax, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, french horn, cello and double bass.
Speaking of delays, we held off our recent order with the UK Confront label run by percussionist Mark Wastell so that we could pick up the next Core series release: Max Eastley / Fergus Kelly / Mark Wastell. That new release is worth waiting for, but it come withs the bittersweet news that the Confront Collectors Series is coming to and end with the 100th release. We've carried this series since its beginning, The Sealed Knot Unwanted Object, and for me personally it's been a revelation of improvisers and experimenters, many I was familiar with, more that I barely knew, and just as many that I was introduced to via this series. Wastell's broad view on free and nonidiomatic improvisation developed a great view on the state of unusual and explorative improvisation, focusing at first on UK and European improvisers, and widening the view to other parts of the globe as the label expanded. The packaging went from simple chipboard releases to the label's signature tin case with black stickers, all released as high-quality CDR issues.