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Cecil Taylor (w/ Lyons / Dixon / Grimes / Silva / Cyrille):
With (Exit) To Student Studies, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Changing approaches to his music with new quartet of Jimmy Lyons on alto sax, Alan Silva on double bass and Andrew Cyrille on drums, pianist Cecil Taylor's incredible 1966 concert in Paris presented four extended compositions, here remastered and reissued with a track from a compilation LP--"With (Exit)"--extending his quartet with Bill Dixon on trumpet and Henry Grimes on double bass. ... Click to View


Survival Unit III (McPhee / Lonberg-Holm / Zerang):
The Art of Flight: For Alvin Fielder [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

A fully acoustic set of creative free improvisation from the Survival Unit III trio of Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, Joe McPhee on tenor saxophone & pocket trumpet and Michael Zerang on percussion, performing at the 2018 The Instigation Festival in New Orleans in a set of concerts that also was drummer Alvin Fielder's last concert, to whom this album is dedicated. ... Click to View


Charles Rumback :
Seven Bridges [VINYL + DOWNLOAD] (Astral Spirits)

Merging disparate styles into music that is clearly jazz-based, warm and beautifully structured, Chicago drummer and composer Charles Rumback's 7th album as a leader assembles a large group of luminaries including Jim Baker, Ron Miles, Jason Stein, and Greg Ward for a set of instrumentals and songs that are effusive but never sentimental, a beautiful balance. ... Click to View


Ikue Mori:
Tracing The Magic (Tzadik)

A large work from Downtown New York improviser and innovator Ikue Mori, seven piece dedicated to women artists whose vision found them creating into their 80's & 90s, performed in an ensemble with Sylvie Courvoisier, Ned Rothenberg, Zeena Parkins, Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, Erik Friedlander, David Watson, Makigami Koichi, Charmaine Lee & Sae Hashimoto. ... Click to View


Elliott Sharp / Tim Dahl / Weasel Walter:
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A scorching studio recording from 2011 recently discovered in the archives from the trio of Elliott Sharp on guitar, Tim Dahl on bass guitar, Weasel Walter on drums, a raging album of free improvisation in the Downtown NY style from three players steeped in expressing instrumental agitation with clarity and conviction - a truly burning power trio! ... Click to View


Marta Warelis:
A Grain of Earth (Relative Pitch)

Working inside and out of the piano and sometime evoking wild sounds that seem to have no relationship to the instrument, Polish-born and Amsterdam-based pianist Marta Warelis explores the concepts of realities beyond our perception, and a thought that we are a part of a big organism where everything goes endlessly bigger and smaller in scale of size, time and speed. ... Click to View


Alexandra Grimal :
Refuge (Relative Pitch)

Recorded using the natural resonance from the base of a stone double spiral staircase in the Castle of Chambord, France, improvising soprano saxophonist Alexandra Grimal explores her own personal language and the affect the ambience brings to her adept playing, through beautifully melodic lines, long arpeggiations, or short bursts of penetrating utterance. ... Click to View


Wubbels / Lee / Olencki :
Field of Action / contraposition [VINYL] (Out Of Your Head Records)

Two collaborations in a split LP, and the continuation of a series of duo pieces for piano and other instruments that pianist and keyboardist Eric Wubbels has been pursuing since 2006: first an intensive 3-part "Field Of Action" with vocalist and noise artist Charmaine Lee; then "Contraposition" with trombonist Weston Olencki in a duo with Wubbels on prepared piano. ... Click to View


M (feat. Ben Stapp / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Marco Colonna / Steve Swell):
Broken Songs (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

A set of blues songs of a personal nature, concepts for a broken yet hopeful age, written and sung by improvising guitarist Marcin "M" Olak (Gadt/Osborne/Zakrocki/Olak, Agusti Fernandez) performed and expanded by a set of stellar improvisers: Ben Stapp on tuba, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, Marco Colonna on flute and Steve Swell on trombone. ... Click to View


Phil Venable :
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Three muscular and inventive solo improvisations on the acoustic upright bass from North Carolina bassist and composer Phil Venable, a member of Tragic Assembly and The Phil Venable - Paul Swest Duo, recorded in the studio in 2022, the three "Basswork" parts are mostly demonstrating his strong walking and plucking skills, at times applying objects to his strings. ... Click to View


Strictly Missionary (Pitsiokos / Eisenberg / Lenz / Murray / Neuburg):
Heisse Scheisse [VINYL] (Astral Spirits)

Skronky multi-faceted NY Downtown-style improvisation with an electric edge from the quintet of Chris Pitsiokis on alto sax, winds, electronics & samples, Wendy Eisenberg on electric guitar, Richard Lenz on electric bass, Kevin Murray on acoustic & electronic drums and Nick Neuburg on percussion, rolling and rollicking through riffs and scrabbly exploration. ... Click to View


John Zorn (Bill Frisell / Julian Lage / Gyan Riley):
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The fifth set of compositions from John Zorn for the guitar trio of Bill Frisell, Julian Lage and Gyan Riley, these works inspired by the short stories of Argentine philosopher and writer Jorge Luis Borges, each of the nine pieces drawing on elements of folk, classical, jazz, bluegrass, world music and more, rendered impeccably by the masterful skills of all three guitarists. ... Click to View


Baldrian Quartett:
Frieda Bertelsohn Martholdy: Streichquartette – Entschlummern sollst Du, sollst entschlummern (Bruit)

A tongue-in-cheek album packaged like a Deutsche Grammophon release of a string quartet by fictional composer Frieda Bertelsohn Martholdys (1878-1907), which is instead a superb live ea-improv performance at the 2018 Music Unlimited Festival in Austria by Gaudenz Badrutt (electronics), Kai Fagaschinski (clarinette), Jonas Kocher (accordion) & Christof Kurzmann (electronics). ... Click to View


Mark Feldman / Katinka Kleijn:
Sine Nomine (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Blurring free improvisation and compositional strategies in this encounter at the "First Meeting Series" at FAB Music Studio Chicago between New York violinist Mark Feldman and Chicago cellist Katinka Kleijn, a remarkable concert in two parts showing imaginative skills of phenomenal technical expertise and experience, instant compositions of the highest order. ... Click to View


Cath Roberts / Olie Brice:
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Recording in real-time during the pandemic, UK improvisers, baritone saxophonist Cath Roberts (Favourite Animals, Madwort Sax Quartet) and double bassist Olie Brice (Olie Brice Quintet, Tobias Delius, &c) recorded these extended improvisations simulateously at their homes, beautifully paced and intently listening as they keep the conversation going despite a world of restrictions. ... Click to View


Alan Silva / Itaru Oki / Richard Comte / Makoto Sato:
Celebration (nunc.)

Recorded live in Paris in 2019 as a celebration of improvising keyboardist Alan Silva's 80th birthday, and released with a dedication to the memory of trumpeter Itaru Oki, the quartet completed with guitarist Richard Comte and drummer Makoto Sato, in a 3-part improvisation that is sadly the final recording for Oki, standing as a great example of his voice. ... Click to View


Dave Douglas:
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Beginning with a reimagining of the Civil Rights anthem "We Shall Overcome", trumpeter Dave Douglas' album is an emotional and powerful statement of human engagement towards justice--Racial justice; Climate justice; Voting justice; Gender justice--performed with Ryan Keberle on trombone, Fay Victor on voice, Camila Meza on voice, guitar, Jorge Roeder on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. ... Click to View


Udo Schindler / Peter Jacquemyn:
Fragile Eruptions (FMR)

Live recordings of two sessions of fully free and uniquely creative duo improvisations by Udo Schinlder on clarinets, saxophone and brass, and Peter Jacquemyn on double bass & voice, recorded on November 29th, 2019 at the 98th Salon für Klang+Kunst Kralling/Munich by Udo Schindler (part one) & on the next day at Galerie arToxin by Gottfried Düren (part two). ... Click to View


Artifacts (Nicole Mitchell / Tomeka Reid / Mike Reed):
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Confirming their place in Chicago's improv legacy, the second album from the Artifacts Trio of Nicole Mitchell on flute & electronics, Tomeka Reid on cello and Mike Reed on drums & percussion expand the AACM canon with compositions from each member, plus several insightful and lively collective improvisations and one piece each from Roscoe Mitchell and Muhal Richard Abrams. ... Click to View


Daniel Carter / Matthew Shipp, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver:
Welcome Adventure! Vol. 2 [CASSETTE + DOWNLOAD] (577 Records)

The 2nd of two studio albums from the quartet of Daniel Carter on saxophone & flute, Matthew Shipp on piano, William Parker on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums, recordings from the same sessions as the 1st volume with five shorter works, as the long-time collaborators and friends show their nearly telepathic rapport in adventurous and masterful modern jazz. ... Click to View


Osvaldo Coluccino :
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Composer, sound artist and poet Osvaldo Coluccino in a six-part electroacoustic composition for electronics, violin and objects, the title carrying several meanings: 1) not being there, being absent, 2) being free, 3) abstaining, opposing, being alien, 4) differing, being different, 5) (regarding places) being distant, being far away, 6) being inferior. ... Click to View


Ernstalbrecht Stiebler / Tilman Kanitz:
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Six potent duo improvisations for cello and piano by composer & pianist Ernstalbrecht Stiebler and fellow-Berlin resident Tilman Kanitz, who have been developing their dialog together for several years in studio, focusing much of their momentum on pitch and harmony, their work all the more remarkable for Stiebler only having begun improvising in his mid-80s. ... Click to View


Cecil Taylor:
Respiration (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

An incredible solo concert from legendary New York pianist Cecil Taylor in October, 1968 at the Sala Kongresowa (Congress Hall, Palace of Culture and Science) in Warsaw during the Jazz Jamboree, recorded by Polski Radio and remastered in 2021, an excellent example of the nimble mind and quick technical skills of Taylor's personal take on improvisation; stunning! ... Click to View


Steve Coleman and Five Elements:
Live at the Village Vanguard, Volume II (Mdw Ntr) [2 CDs] (Pi Recordings)

Recorded a year after Volume 1, alto saxophonist Steve Coleman's Five Elements band with Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Anthony Tidd on bass, Sean Rickman on drums and, replacing guitarist Miles Okazaki, improvising vocalist Kokayi credited as "wordsmith", performing at The Village Vanguard for a sophisticated, rhythmically fascinating and energetic concert; exemplary! ... Click to View


Miles Okazaki (w/ Mitchell / Tidd / Rickman):
Thisness (Pi Recordings)

Trickster, the stellar quartet of New York guitarist Miles Okazaki with Matt Mitchell on piano, Fender Rhodes & synth, Anthony Tidd on electric bass and Sean Rickman on drums, in a sequel to The Sky Below, blending acoustic and electric jazz in four captivating compositions that Okazaki describes as striving towards something like collective dreaming. ... Click to View


David Virelles:
Nuna (Pi Recordings)

Cuban/NY pianist David Virelles in his first solo album, 14 original compositions and 2 from Cuban composers, blending modern jazz with Cuban, African and European influences, a tour-de-force of clear and balanced, irrepresible rhythms and elegant ballads, an inspired album opening on marimbula and expanded with percussion from Julio Barreto on three tracks. ... Click to View


Musson / Moore / Brice / Prevost:
Under the Sun (Matchless)

Quartet, the masterful grouping of Rachel Musson on tenor sax, NO Moore on electric guitar, Olie Brice on double bass and Eddie Prévost on drums, an improvising ensemble of wonderfully unpredictable momentum, from passages of quiet introspection to thunderous density, but always with attentive listening and imaginative responses, heard in this spectacular 2021 concert at Iklektic. ... Click to View


Thollem:
Obstacle Illusion (Astral Spirits)

Taken from concerts during Thollem's 3-month European tour, at Centro d'Arte dell'Università di Padova; AngelicA at Teatro San Leonardo in Bologna; and Rassegna di Nuova Musica 39, performing on acoustic pianos or a Korg Wavestate, showing his technically impressive, creative drive over a diverse set of approaches to solo piano improvisation. ... Click to View


Tern (Philipp Wachsmann / Martin Hakett / Emil Karlsen):
In Air (FMR/Bead)

Two sessions from the free improvising electroacoustic trio of Philipp Wachsmann on violin & electronics, Martin Hakett on synthesizer and Emil Karlsen on drums & percussion, first for three studio recordings in 2019, and then in concert at the 2020 "Sounds Like This" festival at Leeds College for two wonderfully idiosyncratic and masterful conversations. ... Click to View


Action & Tension & Space:
Tellus [VINYL] (Rune Grammofon)

With one foot in fusion-oriented improv and the other in psychedelic/prog rock, the 4th album from the Norwegian quartet of Per Steinar Lie on lapsteel & electric guitar, Oystein Braut on guitar, organ & Mellotron, Julius Lind on double bass and Orjan Haaland on drums are joined by keyboard wiz Sigbjorn Apeland and percussionist Stale Liavik Solberg. ... Click to View



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  Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda 
  Duet  
  (Long Song) 


  
   review by Darren Bergstein
  2017-03-07
Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda: Duet (Long Song)

The cover of this disc depicts what appears to be the flames of a setting sun igniting a band of cumulus clouds. The music itself is being experienced by your humble reviewer on a wet, chilly, alabaster evening in early February, and as both Satoko Fujii's piano and Joe Fonda's bass erupt out of the stereo field, such illustrated contrasts become apparent, literal, and livid.

Let's note the pedigree of these players at the outset. Pianist Fujii has developed a reputation over the years, deservedly so, as one of improv's leading lights, a clever and savvy performer of her chosen instrument who manages to combine the dexterity of Monk, the naked abstraction of Cecil Taylor, and the impressionistic flights of fancy so beloved of Paul Bley (for whom the lengthy opening piece is named, Bley being Fujii's mentor) into a commandeering whole that is far more than the sum of its parts. Virtuoso bassist Fonda has performed with a number of jazz luminaries, most recently with Barry Altschul; his fingerstrokes are nothing less than volcanic, bespoken with a unique percussive attack repurposing the grandeur of Miroslav Vitous and Eberhard Weber in one mighty package. The two came together, having never met, let alone ever performed together, before, in a fortuitous happenstance, recorded in a church in Portland, Maine in 2015, that resulted in the works documented here.

Fonda breaks through the sonic membrane on "Paul Bley" first, his huge, earthy sound working below Fujii's first tentative upper register flutters like a bubbling magma displacement. But soon Fujii's cluster tones tickle across the soundstage in a cascading run of thrusting keyboard stabs, velvety trills, and more brazen fisticuffs. All the while Fonda's formidable thunder bellows underneath, providing a fully articulated stream of notes that Fujii responds to with a near telepathic sense of tonal synergy. Fujii's husband and frequent sparring partner, trumpeter Natsuki Tamura provides some beautifully languid accompaniment on the second shorter excursion, "JSN", adding his usual mercurial vibe to an already heady brew. The very nature of the recording itself is practically a corresponding third instrumental element: live, this performance was undoubtedly captivating to behold, but on CD, the production and sound is absolutely electrifying.

Fujii's work can sometimes recall a contemporary such as Vijay Iyer, but her unbridled energy and never-ending flow of ideas remains far more texturally inviting and aurally stimulating. She's a force of nature, one to be reckoned with, which positions Duet as one of the most vital discs of its type you'll hear this year.



Satoko Fujii / Joe Fonda: Duet
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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


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[VINYL + DOWNLOAD]
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