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Satoko Fujii: Ninety-Nine Years (Libra)

Composer-pianist Satoko Fujii's new Orchestra Berlin, a ten-piece ensemble, presents a powerful work written specifically for this ensemble, a thought-provoking compositions of and uninhibited energy, with performers including saxophonists Gebhard Ullmann, Paulina Owczarek & Matthias Schubert, trombonist Matthias Muller, bassist Jan Roder, and drummers Peter Orins and Michael Griener. ... Click to View


Kira Kira (Tamura / Spence / Fujii / Takemura): Bright Force (Libra)

Since 2007 Japanese pianist Satoko Fujii and Australian keyboardist Alister Spence have collaborated on performance and recording in several configurations, including work with Tony Buck, Raymond McDonald, Jim O'Rourke, &c.; this energetic and otherworldly quartet session with trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and drummer Ittetsu Takemura was recored live Knuttel House, in Tokyo, 2017. ... Click to View


Kevin Drumm: Inexplicable Hours (Sonoris)

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Kevin Drumm: Inexplicable Hours [VINYL @ LPs + CD] (Sonoris)

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Animals & Giraffes (Greenlief / la Rocco / Leidecker): Landlocked Beach (Creative Sources)

A fascinating work of spoken word and free improvisation from writer Claudia La Rocco and the duo of Phillip Greenlief on sax and Wobbly (aka Jon Leidecker) on electronics and live sampling, La Rocco's unexpected text of the mundane and the fantastic repeated, manipulated and mangled, bringing the words in and out of focus as the music and sonic environment. ... Click to View


Bill Dixon: Odyssey (Solo Works) [6 CD BOX SET] (Archive Edition)

This 2001 limited 6-CD box set of late trumpeter Bill Dixon's solo work in 5 CDs with 1 CD of him speaking, including two 32-page booklets containing essays, interviews, & writings, plus reproductions of 13 Dixon paintings, along with 3 inserts; an essential example of Dixon's incredible creative output, the final copies of which now discovered and available one last time. ... Click to View


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Recording in Seoul, South Korea at Mullae Arts Village in 2016, the duo of Australian drummer/percussionist Will Guthrie and improvising noise artist Hong Chulki release 8 pieces with concise works under 1 minute to larger improvisations up to 8 minutes, contrasting interesting rhythms with indescribable electronics, found sounds, and unusual environments. ... Click to View


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Toshiya Tsunoda / Taku Unami: Wovenland (erstwhile)

The liner notes give good detail to each composition from these Japanese sound artists and composers Toshiya Tsunoda and Taku Unami, reworking and transforming field recordings from a diverse set of environmental locations by changing pitch, playback speeds, frequency, amplitude, &., creating 11 compositions, imbuing the mundane with unusual and surprising aural attributes. ... Click to View


Michael Pisaro / Reinier van Houdt: Shades of Eternal Night (Gravity Wave)

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Michael Pisaro : Etant Donnes (Gravity Wave)

An unusual album for American composer Michael Pisaro: six works based almost entirely on samples, punctuating more characteristic work in keeping with his Wandelweiser and EMW work with rhythmic and popular forms, albeit with Pisaro's characteristic inclusions, surprising the listener in an illusionary approach to serious electroacoustic compositions. ... Click to View


Spectral (Dave Rempis / Darren Johnston / Larry Ochs): Empty Castles (Aerophonic)

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Dave Rempis / Tim Daisy & Guests: Dodecahedron (Aerophonic)

Marking their 20th anniversary working together, the collaboration between Chicago improvisers, saxophonist Dave Rempis and percussionist Tim Daisy, release their third duo recording, inviting an incredible list of improvisers to perform live with them at Elastic Arts in Chicago in 2017: Jason Adasiewicz, Jim Baker, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Steve Swell, Katie Young, and Aaron Zarzutzki. ... Click to View


Peter Bruun's All Too Human (w/ Tranberg / Ducret / Toldam): Vernacular Avant-garde (Ayler)

Copenhagen drummer Peter Bruun leads a band with guitarist Marc Ducret, trumpeter Kasper Tranberg and synth player Simon Toldam, and upbeat electric free jazz album of powerful intent and compelling compositions performing melodic and insightful compoositions, the band well acquainted from work on Ducret's own albums and with Samuel Blaser; recommended. ... Click to View


Christophe Monniot & Grand Orchestre du Tricot: Jericho Sinfonia (Ayler)

A unique ensemble performing a long-form composition by French saxophonist Christophe Monniot performed with the 12-piece Grand Orchestre du Tricot, 12 movements that are punctuated by layered spoken words, a subtle and sophisticated work realized with performers including Roberto Negro, Florian Satche, Quentin Biardeau, Jean-Baptiste Lacou, &c. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp / Joe Hertenstein: Scalene (Leo)

Scalene describes a triangle having sides unequal in length, but there's nothing uneven in the back and forth from the NY trio of tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman, pianist Matthew Shipp, and new to Perelman & Shipp's many collaborations, drummer Joe Herteinstein, in a 10-part studio recording of energetic spontaneous improvisation with a strong lyrical center. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp / Jeff Cosgrove: Live In Baltimore (Leo)

A rare live album from Brazilian-born/NY-based saxophonist Ivo Perelman, performing live at An Die Musik in Baltimore in 2017 in a trio with pianist Matthew Shipp and new drummer Jeff Cosgrove, for a single epic improvisation that takes the listener on an adventure from lyrical to energetic free jazz, all three players unhurried and absolutely focused. ... Click to View


Suspensao: Physis (Creative Sources)

The third album on Creative Sources for this 10-piece ensemble with 5 string players, piano, sax, trombone, electronics and percussion, freely improvising in an extended work themed for the Greek theological, philosophical, and scientific term typically translated as nature or physics, in a rich tapestry of meticulous detail and profoundly subtle communication. ... Click to View


Domeniconi / Schlegel / Suter : Quince Dreams (Creative Sources)

Three versatile improvisers with pedigrees including Christian Weber, Christian Wolfarth, Objets Trouves, Big Bold Back Bone, &c, the Swiss trio of Roberto Domeniconi on piano, Jan Schlegel on electric bass, and Sheldon Suter on drums use unusual and extended techniques integrated within free improv in this coproduction with RSI Rete Due Radiotelevision, Switzerland. ... Click to View


Baker / Glover: Love, Approximately (Bad Architect Records)

Bridging folk traditions with modern aesthetics, the duo of Evan Baker on guitar and Austin Glover on violin, both contributing songs, sing about every day events, music, and life, the songs having a bluesy and even early Kinks feel at times, made unique through a cappella moments and languid instrumental sections. ... Click to View


Cornelius Cardew / London Experimental Ensemble: Treatise (Split Rock Records)

The full two-hour performance of Cornelius Cardew's entire 193-page legendary Treatise graphic score, performed at Iklectik in London, England on January 28, 2017 in an 11-member ensemble of some of London's most interesting improvisers including participants in Scratch Orchestra, in a double CD release with liner notes by AMM founder Eddie Prevost. ... Click to View


Henry Kaiser / Ed Pettersen: We Call All Times Soon (Split Rock Records )

A series of acoustic guitar duos between Henry Kaiser playing on an 18-string harp guitar, and Ed Pettersen, playing an 8-string Weissenborn guitar, freely improvised and with a psychedelic/cosmic impulse as the two draw on elements of Americana and roots-based folk music in four extended recordings, the camaraderie and mutual intent evident in this fascinating album. ... Click to View


Simon Nabatov / Max Johnson / Michael Sarin: Free Reservoir (Leo)

An exciting and forceful album of free jazz from the trio of pianist Simon Nabatov, bassist Max Johnson and drummer Michael Sarin, recording in the studio in New York City with each player propelling themselves in dynamic, inventive collective free playing with an experimental bent, but never departing from the traditions of identifiable jazz music; recommended! ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp / William Parker / Bobby Kapp: Heptagon (Leo)

Releasing albums at a furious pace, Brazilian/NY saxophonist Ivo Perelman continues his collaborations with some of New York's finest players, here in a quartet with Matthew Shipp on piano, William Parker on bass and Bobby Kapp on drums, in the appropriately titled 7-part "Heptagon" of lyrical free improvisation of great intensity and dialog. ... Click to View


Camarasa / Mahler: TbPn (Gigantonium)

Recorded in concert during "Culture with a Big Q" in Toulouse, France in 2017, the duo of Xavier Camarasa on piano/prepared piano and Matthias Mahler on trombone, take Camarasa's compositions and arrange them to alternate between melodic free sections and contemporary abstract passages using extended techniques, heard in this captivating and versatile performance. ... Click to View


Clement Janinet : O.U.R.S. (Gigantonium)

French violinist Clement Janinet composes music for quartet inspired by the lyricism of the free jazz melodies of the 60s (Ornette Coleman, Phoraoh Sanders, &c.) and the timbral and rhythmic textures of repetitive music (Steve Reich, Philip Glass, John Adams, &c) in several quartet configurations including bass clarinet, tenor sax, bass, drums, guitrar, and cello. ... Click to View


Jean-Brice Godet : Epiphanies (Gigantonium)

French experimental improviser Jean-Brice Godet, a frequent collaborator with Joelle Leandre and a member of Cuir, in a solo album of 8 etudes for dictaphone, radio, and clarinet, a unique album of extreme and eccentric technique on reeds punctuated by unearthly voice and radio transmissions, a curious album that rewards detailed listening. ... Click to View


Shed Metal (Daniel Kernohan / Dan Lander): Equivalent Insecurity (Spool)

Verge Music founder Daniel Kernohan aka Dee Kay and radio host Dan Lander developed this album of electroacoustic interaction between 1987-1989 in a dilapidated row house on "the wrong side of the tracks" in Toronto, using "instruments, toys, stuff, sound" to create an amusing, sometimes startling, and insightful series of interactions; unpredictable and interesting. ... Click to View


IKB: Rhinocerus (Creative Sources)

One of Portugal's most interesting large scale lowercase ensembles led by violist Ernesto Rodrigues, with frequent Creative Sources collaborators including Nuno Torres on alto sax, Carlos Santos on electronics, Guilherme Rodrigues on cello, Miguel Mira on bass, 14 musicians move with subtlety in a tapestry of electroacoustic resonance and mystique. ... Click to View


Wasteland Jazz Unit: Attuned To Ruin [CASSETTE] (Banned Productions)

Wasteland Jazz Unit is Jon Lorenz on saxophone and John Rich on clarinet, based in Cincinnati, Ohio that please their own ears by playing an amorphous, hyper-amplified free improvised noise of blasting screaming horn squeals, damaged contact mics, feedback tones and the like, in a cassette of dark, aggressive sound. ... Click to View


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  Mary Halvorson Octet 
  Away With You  
  (Firehouse 12 Records) 


  
   review by Paul Serralheiro
  2017-05-24
Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You (Firehouse 12 Records)

Combining turn-on-a dime chops and creative expression has always been the work-in-trade of the jazz musician. Those who manage to make these two poles of orphic energy seamless and serving of one another tend to reach sublime states of musical creation. This is one way to describe what we get through eight tracks of ensemble playing by this octet under the stalwart leadership of guitarist Mary Halvorson.

One could call the ensemble a small big band, i.e. a horn section (trumpet/alto sax/ tenor sax/ trombone) and a rhythm section (guitar/pedal steel guitar/bass/drums), but this is not your average octet, although the playful spirit of large ensemble composers like Ellington and Sun Ra come to mind when listening to the euphonious cavorting on some of the material as in "Spirit Splitter" (doo-wop meets the avant guard?), or the minimalist lyricism of the guitar/bass ballad "The Absolute Almost."

Halvorson is a wonder to the ear, with such a variety of inflections via her articulation, timbre and melodic, rhythmic and harmonic ideas. Halvorson as band leader does an excellent job. A leader with chops, imagination and expressive range, she manages with her cohorts to craft fascinating musical objects.

There are many moments of marvellous mayhem throughout, with contrasting moments of elegant order, as in the choir of horns in "Inky Ribbons," or the tone poem with guitar filigree of "Fog Bank." Then there are the frequent abstract modulations which remind one of an Ornette Coleman, a Paul Bley and an Anthony Braxton, to name but a few, alongside Zappa-esque shout choruses. But always textures change, and individual instruments enter and exit in a playful and proud blast of instrumental joy. Improvisation and performing from a chart can sometimes be at odds, but not if line and form, the personal-sound and the group-sound, are in sync. And they most definitely are on this set.

Recorded in late 2015 and recently made available, Away with You offers endearing tracks made up of improvisation and pre-composed material, making for a living breathing organism, which is what a band is supposed to be. What is expressed through the music is as important as the manner in which it is expressed, or, as the Irish poet W.B. Yeats had it: the dancer and the dance are one.



Mary Halvorson Octet: Away With You
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