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Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad started the forward thinking free improv group Detail in 1981 with Eivin One Pederson on keys and SME legend, drummer John Stevens; this live recorrding of the original lineup is a fantastic document of the roots of this important band. ... Click to View


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Spunk: Adventura Botanica (Rune Grammofon)

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Sidsel Endresen & Stian Westerhus: Bonita (Rune Grammofon)

Norwegian free vocalist Sidsel Endresen and guitarist Stian Westerhus expand on their concert recording "Didymoi Dreams" by taking their concepts into the studio for a live all-improvised set of recordings of unique, unusual, edgy, and telepathic music. ... Click to View


Albatrosh: Night Owl (Rune Grammofon)

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Albatrosh: Night Owl [VINYL + CD] (Rune Grammofon)

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Roger Turner & Otomo Yoshihide: The Last Train (Fataka)

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Mattin : Songbook #5 (Disembraining Machine )

Mattin takes 5 spontaneous 5-minute songs from 5 musicians, and a 25 minute concert structured by 5 instructions based on those song titles, then records vocals for the 5 songs as a singing lecture, then superimposes all 3 to create the five 5-minutes songs on this album. ... Click to View


Hong-Kai Wang and Mattin: Collapsing Ourselves (Mount Analogue)

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Sun Ra Arkestra, The: Live in Nickelsdorf 1984 [VINYL 4 LP BOX] (Trost Records)

A sturdy 4 LP box set documenting Sun Ra's 1984 European Tour, here performing live in Nickelsdorf, Germany at Jazzgalerie, for an ebullient set of Sun Ra originals and standards with the Arkestra including John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, Danny Ray Thompson, Eloe Taylor, James Jackson, &c &c. ... Click to View


John Zorn: John Zorn's Olympiad The Early Game Pieces (Tzadik)

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Hypercolor: (Tzadik)

Eyal Maoz, James Ilgenfritz, and Lukas Ligeti make up Hypercolor, the NYC-based spastic jazz-rock hybrid whose ridiculous artsong craftsmanship alternately revels in complexity or brazen simplicity, favoring entropy and near-disaster over order or tidiness. ... Click to View


John Zorn: The Hermetic Organ Vol. 3. - Pauls Hall, Huddersfield (Tzadik)

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Mike Osborne: Dawn (Cuneiform)

British Sax legend Mike Osborne in his earliest surviving recording as a co-leader with John Surman from 1966, and in 1970 with the first known recordings of his trio with the South African rhythm team of Harry Miller and Louis Moholo. ... Click to View


Henry Kaiser & Ray Russell: The Celestial Squid (Cuneiform)

Legendary UK free-jazz guitarist Ray Russell meets California avant guitarist Henry Kaiser to explore celestial squids with drummers Weasel Walter & William Winant, bassists Michael Manring & Damon Smith, and saxophonists Steve Adams, Joshua Allen, Phillip Greenlief, and Aram Shelton. ... Click to View


Soft Machine: Switzerland 1974 [CD+DVD] (Cuneiform)

Innovative UK avant/jazz-rock band Soft Machine from their 1974 line up of Mike Ratledge on keys, Karl Jenkins on keys, Allan Holdsworth on guitar, Roy Babbington on bass, and John Marshall on drums, performing live at Congress Hall, in Montreaux, Switzerland. ... Click to View


Shoko Nagai (w/ Reynolds / Goldberger / Takeishi / Black): Taken Shadow (Animul)

Experimental electronics & improvisations from NY based composer/keyboardist Shoko Nagai, using multiple textures and an open sense of time to evoke rich aural environments, with the aid of Todd Reynolds (violin), Jonathan Goldberger (guitar), Stomu Takeishi (bass) & Jim Black (drums). ... Click to View


Kinya Sogawa: Playing Bamboo (Animul)

Kinya Sogawa is one of the most outstanding shakuhachi performers in Japan today, and is also one of Japan's finest shakuhachi makers, here in an album of masterful performance on one of his own instruments. ... Click to View


Loren Connors: My Brooklyn (Analogpath)

The story of New York City told through the guitar from Brooklyn guitarist Loren Connor, performing solo live at The Stone in January 2012, and at Brooklyn's Zebulon in February 2012, intensely personal and reflective work that well echoes this magnificent borough. ... Click to View


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  Eugene Chadbourne/René Lussier-L'oasis
Satoko Fuji/Tatsuya Yoshida-Toh-Kichi 

  (Victo) 

   review by Kurt Gottschalk
  2003-01-07
Eugene Chadbourne/René Lussier-<I>L'oasis</I><br>Satoko Fuji/Tatsuya Yoshida-<I>Toh-Kichi</I>:  (Victo)

The history of entertainment sits squarely on the four shoulders of the duo. George and Ira, Laurel and Hardy, Lennon and McCartney (not to mention McCartney and Lennon): Great music, like great comedy, often benefits from dialogue.

At the 2002 Victoriaville festival, two great duos raised the bar in avant improv musical comedy, four great musicians who have done impressive work in very different styles but with the knowledge that making an audience laugh doesn't necessarily water down the performance.

When Eugene Chadbourne and René Lussier took the stage, they promptly established that they would be mining the annals of Americana (above and below the Great Lakes). With Chadbourne on banjo and Lussier, seated, stomping in rhythm while playing his acoustic guitar, the pair looked the part of an old-time duo.

The concert, and the cd (which combines that and an earlier concert by the two) opens with a brisk traditional jig, "Buckdancer's Choice," that was as refreshing in the midst of a festival of laptops and prepared instruments as it is maddeningly catchy on disc (I actually do wake up going "dee-DEET dee-DEET-DEET deet-deet-DEET" now). The concert continued in hoedown vein with a great tale of Canadian heroism (albeit written by Texan Doug Sahm), a couple of workouts from Texas Playboy Leon McAuliffe and some improvs and traditional songs, viewed of course through the twisted lens of Chad and Lussier. Chadbourne has always had a healthy dose of humor in his work (one of his early country ventures was titled LSDC&W) and Lussier sounds like he's having as much fun here as he did in Les Granules, his great duo with saxophonist Jean Derome.

For release, the set was smartly interspersed with cuts from a concert four years earlier at Instant Cháivrés Paris, which sounds to havebeen a much noisier affair. The intercutting makes for a more diverse listen, although the full Victo set would have been equally welcome.

Lussier and Chadbourne are a natural together. So are jazz pianist/composer/bandleader Satoko Fuji and punkprog drum dynamo Tatsuya Yoshida, although how anyone (themselves included) ever realized it is beyond comprehension. Along with William Parker, Fuji is on of the few who really pushed big band jazz in the '90s, and her trio with Jim Black and Mark Dresser is consistently great.

In the last few years, Fuji's work has veered away from the edge and toward the pastoral, so news from the east that she was playing in a quartet with Yoshida perplexed the western world (or a few dozen people within it) for a year before their disappointing release Vulcan. In Quebec in May, however, they met at all levels, playing compelling jazz and incorporating Yoshida's manic, rhythmic world of high-speed riffs and Magma-inspired vocals. Yoshida, surprisingly, doesn't overwhelm for the nice stuff, and when Fuji is called upon to scream nonsense syllables or play a tango while Yoshida keeps time with his jacket zipper, she's fully immersed in the task.

The set, and the resulting record, came off like a suite and carried the amazing oomph of Yoshida at his best, never quite answering the baffling question at its core ("Did someone write something this whacked, or are they really improvising that fast?"). Toh-Kichi is as good as either has done before, which is saying something.

Frank Zappa once asked if humor belongs in music. The questions is better asked, frankly, by someone who's actually funny. These two releases show that laughter doesn't preclude tapping feet and nodding heads.





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