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Anthony Braxton Saxophone Quartet:
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A complement to the New Braxton House Lorraine box, these live performances of Anthony Braxton's Lorraine system are performed in four European cities by Braxton himself on alto, soprano & sopranino saxophones, James Fei on sopranino & alto saxophones, Chris Jonas on alto & tenor saxophonse, Ingrid Laubrock on soprano & tenor saxophones, and Andre Vida on baritone, tenor and soprano saxophones. ... Click to View


Anthony Braxton :
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Thirteen years after his breakthrough solo saxophone album For Alto, Anthony Braxton is heard in an inventive solo concert on the same instrument, performing at the Altes Schlachthaus Theatre in Bern, Switzerland for a set of original numbered compositions, the standards "Alone Together" and "I Remember You", and two Coltrane pieces: "Giant Steps" and "Naima". ... Click to View


Simon Nabatov:
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Composer and pianist Simon Nabatov sets to music two major works of modern Russian literature - Mikhail Bulgakov's The Fatal Eggs and Heart of a Dog, each interpretation spanning an album's worth of material and performed with an extraordinary septet of chamber jazz performers through piano, sax, trombone, viola, cellos, bass and drums. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp:
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A standout in the many collaborations between New York pianist Matthew Shipp and Brazil-born, NY-based tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman, recording in the studio for eight elegantly lyrical improvisations that invoke both devotional and decisive dialogs, from an introspective "Prayer" to a dissipated "Lustihood", a spellbinding set of fraternal invocations. ... Click to View


Modney (Modney / Wooley / Gentile / Roberts / Pluta / Symthe / ...):
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aExploring tuning systems and the extremes of harmonicity and dissonance through compositions that employ prime numbers of players in solo, trio, quintet, septet, and undectet (11) configurations, violinist Modney takes listeners into transcendent and turbulent spaces spanning improvisation and composition, detailed in a 24-page booklet with collages from Ellsworth Kelly. ... Click to View


David Leon:
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An exotic album of improvised music with a wide focus, founded in saxophonist David Leon's interest in Afrocuban folkloric music, expanded through DoYeon Kim's gayagum, a traditional 12-string Korean zither, and punctuated with the exploratory drumming, percussion and glockenspiel of Lesley Mok; assertively unpredictable and continuously intriguing improv. ... Click to View


Barry Chabala / Clara Byom:
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The first meeting between two improvisers also versed in contemporary and avant music - guitarist Barry Chabala and clarinetist and accordionist Claray Byom - recording live at The Jean Cocteau Cinema, in Santa Fe, New Mexico as part of the Sandbox Music Series, for five freely improvised works that include radio, objects, iPhone and toys as part of their expansive dialogs. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Rodrigues / Madeira / Taylor / Parrinha / Taubenfeld / Carmelo / Trinite:
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In four parts this primarily acoustic octet of Lisbon improvisers evolve a deceptive narrative of collective interaction, highly textured through rich combinations that emerge and subside throughout the natural development of their converstations; with Ernesto & Guilherme Rodriguez, João Madeira, Noel Taylor, Bruno Parrinha, Ziv Tuabenfeld, Guilherme Carmelo and Monsieur Trinite. ... Click to View


Zosha Warpeha :
Silver Dawn (Relative Pitch)

A beautifully contemplative collection of vignettes performed on solo Hardanger d'amore, a sympathetic-stringed relative of the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, from Brooklyn improviser and composer Zosha Warpeha, in 13 works of thoughtfully spacious playing utilizing the resonance and rich texture of the Hardanger fiddle in works that seemingly suspend time despite beguiling momentum. ... Click to View


Christoph Gallio / Roger Turner:
You Can Blackmail Me Later (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

During a sabbatical in London, Swiss saxophonist Christoph Gallio (Day & Taxi) renewed his friendship with percussionist Roger Turner, with whom he had performed in a trio with Urs Leimgruber; meeting at Turner's London flat, they developed the spontaneous language heard on this freely improvised album, Gallio on soprano, alto & C-melody saxophones and Turner on drums & distinctive percussive devices. ... Click to View


Alex Hendriksen / Fabian Gisler / Paul Amereller:
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Unabashedly lyrical and focused on jazz tradition, the Swiss trio of Alex Hendriksen on tenor saxophone, Fabian Gisler on double bass and Paul Amereller on drums present an album of standards, including pieces by Tadd Dameron, Billy Strayhorn, Jerome Kern, Thelonious Monk and Benny Golson, warmly interpreted with extraordinary band interplay and individual soloing. ... Click to View


Nick Dunston:
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A wild "Afro-Surrealist Anti-Opera" from composer & bassist Nick Dunston, performed with an ensemble of string players (including JACK Quartet) and vocalists, in a gripping hybrid of acoustic and electronic music, using the studio for post-processing to create Dunston's self-described "warped narrative", an understatement for this incredibly passionate, surreal and absolutely impressive work. ... Click to View


Carlos Bechegas / Ernesto Rodrigues / Carlos Santos:
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Lisbon contemporary flutist and improviser Carlos Bechegas, an associate of Carlos Zingaro and his electroacoustic trio, joins violist Ernesto Rodrigues and long-time collaborator Carlos Santos in a uniquely electronic, chamber-oriented, mysteriously crepuscular improvisation captured live at Casa do Comum, Lisbon, Portugal during the 2024 "SpectraLx" event. ... Click to View


Oren Ambarchi / Johan Berthling / Andreas Werliin:
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Driven by compelling rhythms and subtle interactions that wind around them, the trio of guitarist Oren Ambarchi, bassist Johan Berthling and drummer Andreas Werliin expand their Ghosted concept in this second album, four diverse pieces fusing "funk-jazz heads, polyrhythmic skeletons, ambient pastorals, post-kraut drones and shimmering soundtrack reveries". ... Click to View


Ryuichi Yoshida :
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Known for his band Blacksheep, along with Gatos Meeting, OKHP, Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo, The Silence, and Missing Link, &c., Japanese baritone saxophonist steps out solo for twelve works, eight improvisations and four compositions, blurring the line between approaches, executed with Yoshida's rich tone, multiphonic accents, and powerful sonic pressure on the big reed. ... Click to View


Liam Hockley (Avram / Chrysakis / Dumitrescu / Radulescu):
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Canadian clarinetist Liam Hockley, a dedicated advocate for new and experimental music, performs compositions on a relatively obscure member of the clarinet family, the basset horn, alone and in layers of up to seven horns, in pieces from Romanian spectral composers Ana Maria Avram, Iancu Dumitrescu, and Horatiu Radulescu, along with a contemporary work by Thanos Chrysakis. ... Click to View


Leap Of Faith:
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The core duet of the Boston collective Leap of Faith Orchestra comprised of David Peck on clarinets, saxophones, double reeds & flutes and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, are joined by bassist Albey onBass, drummer Eric Rosenthal, guitarist Tor Snyder and brass player John Fugarino, making a strong sextet with a powerful string section in this extended improvisation. ... Click to View


Ensemble 5 (Geisser / Blumer / Staub / Morgenthaler / Dell):
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The long-running quartet of percussionist Heinz Geisser, bassist Fridolin Blumer, pianist Reto Staub and trombonist Robert Morgenthaler have for years extended their 4-tet with a 5th guest, here asking vibraphonist Christopher Dell to join them in the studio after a successful live performance in the spring of 2022, capturing this spectacular, wide-ranging example of collective improvisation. ... Click to View


Kenny Dorham:
Round About Midnight At The Cafe Bohemia To Matador - Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Revisiting and remastering two essential albums from New York hard bop trumpeter Kenny Dorham, a tremendous musican who died much too young but left a legacy of 20 albums as a leader, here in his 1956 Blue Note album in a sextet that included Bobby Timmons and Kenny Burrell, and his 1963 United Artists Jazz album in a quintet with Jackie McLean, Bobby Timmons, Teddy Smith and JC. Moses. ... Click to View


Silvan Schmid / Tom Wheatley / Eddie Prevost:
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A live recording of freely improvised improv captured at All Hallows Church in High Laver, Essex in 2023 from the trio of AMM drummer and Matchless label-leader Eddie Prévost, Zürich and Maastricht trumpeter Silvan Shmid, and London double bassist Tom Wheatley of the group Widdershins, heard in three investigative conversations of great creative drive. ... Click to View


Natsuki Tamura / Jim Black:
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Right out of the gate one feels the energy and excitement between Japanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and NY drummer Jim Black, each pushing the other through strong instrumental character and outrageous technique over nine Tamura compositions recorded in the studio in Switzerland, their first recording in 25 years since their 1999 Buzz Records album White and Blue. ... Click to View


Joe Mcphee / Ken Vandermark:
Musings of a Bahamian Son: Poems and Other Words (Corbett vs. Dempsey)

27 concise poems written and read by saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, punctuated by 9 musical interludes between McPhee on soprano sax and Chicago reedist Ken Vandermark on clarinet and bass, fortifying McPhee's captivating words that mix life observations among jazz references to Dolphy, Monk, Brötzmann, Coleman, &c.; a truly embraceable "book" of poetry. ... Click to View


Birgit Ulher:
Split Friction - Audiovisual Works [BOOK] (Private)

Published on the occasion of Birgit Ulher's exhibition Split Friction at Errant Sound in Berlin from November 24-26, 2023, an interdisciplinary project spanning the intersection between exhibition, video, performance, concert and sound installation, documented in this 96 page full-color book with images from the installation, graphic scores, and essays in English & German. ... Click to View


STHLM svaga:
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The Swedish free jazz septet STHLM svaga work at the liminal edges of delicate improvisation and song, for this album commissioning works from Archie Shepp, Ron Carter and Roscoe Mitchell, Carter traveling to Stockholm to provide guidance on his composition "Desert Lament"; the band also performs Coltrane's "Jupiter" and Per Henrik Wallin's piece "Winter Rhapsody". ... Click to View


Bob Drake:
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A great set of 11 succinct songs and instrumentals from multi-instrumentalist, prog icon Bob Drake of Thinking Plague, The Science Group, VRIL, and Peter Blegvad fame, vignettes that play with pop formats in insidious ways around recurring Drake themes including a Planet of Dogs, three rustic tales, and a perturbing room in the tower, all noted in a colored foldout poster with lyrics. ... Click to View


Space (Ullen / Bergman / Lund):
Embrace the Space (Relative Pitch)

A startlingly exciting album of piano trio jazz from three creative innovators, in the followup to the 2022 debut of the Swedish Space Trio of Lisa Ullen on piano, Elsa Bergman on double bass and Anna Lund on drums, recording in the studio for eight collective improvisations of extremely well matched, highly interactive and exhilarating modern improv. ... Click to View


Yedo Gibson:
Conic Tube (Relative Pitch)

Born in São Paulo, Brazil and working in Amsterdam and Lisbon, and also part of the London Improvisers Orchestra, Yedo Gibson unleashes an album of solo improvisation on the soprano and tenor saxophones, his "conic tubes" which he uses to express the potential to change environment and energy through technically impressive, expressive playing. ... Click to View


Rodrigues / Rodrigues:
Intenso como o Mar (Creative Sources)

With the nearly telepathic communication that only a father & son duo could have, Lisbon violist and Creative Sources label leader Ernesto Rodridgues and cellist Guilherme Rodrigues recorded these two string improvisations live at Cossoul in Lisbon during the "Esta Noite Improvisa-se", a melding of remarkable technique, concentration and profound expression. ... Click to View


Violaine Gestalder :
Furtive (Creative Sources)

With an impressive resume in improvised and contemporary forms, French saxophonist Violaíne Gestalder presents three major conceptual works for multiple players, using studio layering to perform all parts herself on soprano sax, voice & effects, a comprehensive, yearning, powerful and often mysteriously beautiful album that draws on her skills as a composer, improviser and experimenter. ... Click to View


Loris Binot / Violaine Gestalder :
Loris Binot & Violaine Gestalder (Creative Sources)

A contemplative and building collection of electroacoustic improvisations from French alto & soprano saxophonist Violaine Gestalder, augmenting her horn with effect pedals, and pianist Loris Binot, using preparations, magnetic bows and electronics to create sustained and percussive elements, recording in the CIM auditorium in Bal-Le-Duc, France for five rich and fascinating dialogs. ... Click to View



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  Moon June 
  2007 Releases  
  (Moon June Records) 

   review by Phil Zampino
  2007-08-29
Moon June: 2007 Releases (Moon June Records)

The New York based Moon June Records has released eight excellent CDs this year, proving again that rock and jazz need not fear each other in the 2000s. Moon June's prevailing artists center around Soft Machine's legacy, including works by the band named just that: Soft Machine Legacy, along with an actual Soft Machine album - Floating World Live - and solo works by Elton Dean & Hugh Hopper. They've also released work by fellow Canterbury guitarist Phil Miller, by the Italian bands Arti & Mestieri, and D.F.A., and the Indonesian band Simak Dialog.

Label boss Leonardo Pavkovik has a great ear for prog influenced improvisational rock, which he comes by from his extensive travels through the world booking and managing artists, including Allan Holdsworth, Soft Machine Legacy, Hugh Hopper, Hatfield & The North. PFM, New Trolls, Colosseum, Jan Akkerman, Gary Boyle, Alex Machacek and Gregg Bendian, &c. &c.

What follows is a brief description of each of Moon June's most recent releases. By this writer's ears there isn't a weak release in the set, and some surprisingly great new music from lesser known artists Jason Smith, Simak Dialog and Arti & Mestieri.


Elton Dean & The Wrong Object
The Unbelievable Truth

Saxophonist Elton Dean passed away in 2006, leaving a legacy that stretched from his work in the early jazz/rock version of Soft Machine to his long involvement in the British Free Jazz scene. This put him shoulder to shoulder with those few who were able to bridge the worlds of rock and serious improvisation, sharing that stage with the likes of Lol Coxhill, Carla Bley or Steve Beresford. In fact Dean started with his foot in the jazz world, but will probably be best known for those few Soft Machine records that he participated in; he continued to collaborate with former Softees throughout his career, including work with Soft Heap, Hugh Hopper and Soft Machine Legacy. An excellent player and composer, he also worked with the London Jazz Orchestra, Roswell Rudd, and Keith Tippett. This Elton Dean & The Wrong Object album showcases both Dean and Wrong Object's guitarist Michell Delville's compositions. "The Wrong Object" is a Zappa reference, and they're known for, though hardly limited to, their interpretations of Zappa's works. Here Elton Dean replaces Fred Delplancq on sax in a live recording at Glaz'art in Paris. It was his first time playing with the group, and due to a series of technical problems, the band was unable to rehearse before the show. You'd never know it based on the performances. The music is remarkably melodic and technical without bogging down in either; there's a bright and fluid quality that's never glib, but refreshingly detailed and complex without sounding like either. Sadly Dean passed away four months later, and plans for continued recording with Wrong Object were cut short there. Thankfully this album exists to document their pontential, making it my pick of the latest Moon June releases.



Soft Machine Legacy
Steam

Steam is probably the most focused upon release in this set of Moon Junes, and for good reason. Hugh Hopper, John Etheridge, Theo Travis and John Marshall have created a masterful record that presents both the dark and light sides of improvised rock with a fusion feeling, but hardly what most would call a fusion record. The album is a journey and then some, over strong pieces that never come off as facile or effusive. Theo Travis' thick sax tone adds a dark quality to the soloing, countered with his fluid flute playing and beautiful soprano lines, while drummer John Marshall prefers the lower end of his drum kit, moving at times into heavy African influenced rhythms. Hugh Hopper provides a solid bottom, using bass loops and 'fuzztonics'. Etheridge's solos are outstanding, well defined expressions that balance technique and melodic development in impressive ways. Compositions come from all four players, alone or in combination, and cover various forms that will appeal to both fans of the 70's Soft Machine and modern jazz listeners. Not suprising given the legacy of each player, and that the band is a serious force live with a busy performance schedule. An edgy and excellent set of tunes from a band descended from one of improvising jazz-rock's finest.



Phil Miller's In Cahoots
Conspiracy Theories

Miller first came to note in Robert Wyatt's post Soft-Machine band, Matching Mole. Since then he's built a great catalog of tunes, particularly with his "In Cahoots" band, which has released 8 albums since 1985. "Conspiracy Theories" is extremely melodic, gentle music without being muzak-y in the slightest way. The Canterbury sound always embraced melody, and this album is the result of decades of playing, listening and composing. No doubt this is a fusion release, but in the best sense, and if all fusion had followed such magnificent form the genre would be less panned by many a listener an critic. The pieces on this CD show some incredibly tasteful, lovely playing over thoughtful and unhurried music from musicians who know how to lay back and say what's on their mind at their own pace. Recommended.



Hopper / Picard
Franklin / Hayward
Numero D'vol

An unexpected release in this set, Numero D'Vol puts Hugh Hopper together with This Heat/Camberwell Now's legendary drummer Charles Hayward, with a front line from European saxophonist Simon Picard, who has worked with Barry Guy and Trevor Watts, and keyboardist Steve Franklin. With a rhythm section like Hayward and Hopper under the production of Hopper himself you might expect something dark and mysterious, and this album delivers. The music unfolds unhurriedly, with Picard's sax leading the way over Franklin's long string tones, over which he also plays piano. Hayward's concentrated drumming is powerful and sparsely ornamented yet always on point, a strong sound over which Hoppers dark and rock-solid bass or fuzz-bass lifts or lowers the music. Picard creates a dense conversational voice, which is offset by the alternately brooding and cheerful playing of Franklin; in fact, the latter's voice keeps the results from the portending darkness that the other three tend towards. A great album of heavy rhythmic music.



Arti & Mestieri
First Live in Japan

Arti & Mestieri make modern prog fusion that somehow crosses the line between early Genesis and The Mahavishnu Orchestra. Technical and melodic, this is a band that makes a joyful and complex sound. Excellent drumming, great sax playing, not the most challenging music but a continuation of that great 70's fusion material done not with respect but with real involvement and passion. In fact, if I had to choose between this and the recent Mahavishnu Project (and I'm glad that I don't have to choose!) I'd go with this, because it's less homage and more down-to-earth heart-felt playing from people who clearly enjoy the genre and want to extend it and keep it modern. All the more impressive because this band stretches back to 1974, with the release of their Tilt LP. First Live in Japan is their twelth release, and documents a live performance at the Club Cittá Kawasaki in Tokyo. Worth the price of admission just to follow the amazing drumming of Furio Chirico.



Jason Smith
Tipping Point

Jason Smith's trio with Gary Husband and Dave Carpenter may be the lesser known of the recent releases, but comes with excellent biographical references. Smith is mostly a West Coast player, who has worked with an extensive set of players in pop and jazz, but is probably best known from his work with Frank Zappa's last "stunt guitarist," Mike Keneally. Gary Husband has played on many of guitarist Allan Holdsworth's best albums, and for good reason: he's a beautiful player with a Keith Jarrett or Bill Evans sensibility, playing melodically on relaxed yet wonderfully ornamented runs. His approach is understated yet graceful and surprisingly complex. Bassist Dave Carpenter has worked with Allan Holdsworth, and also with pianist Alan Pasqua and vibraphonist Terry Gibbs. From all this talent comes a wonderful set of unusual covers of compositions by John McLaughlin, Keith Jarett, Kenny Wheeler, along with one original number from Gary Husband. It's a pretty straight affair, with solid trio work that makes for a remarkably enjoyable record.



D.F.A.
Kaleidoscope

Italian progressive rock revivalists DFA have released several albums since their inception in the 90's, and this double CD reissues their 1996 release "Lavori In Corso" and the 1999 "Duty Free Area," which is digitally remastered with two bonus tracks. The band wear their progressive roots proudly on their sleeve, and the muscular mellotron fueled music and powerful chops of their players recalls Crimson, Gentle Giant, Genesis, etc. Which is not to say that the music sounds derivative; in fact, their compositional skills are impressive, making modern prog that uses the tools of modern rock to their advantage. This is not technique for technique's sense, nor does it pander with theatrical histrionics, but it does use time-twisting changes and impressively skillful interaction. With vocals in Italian and great lead playing the band sounds like it has one foot in the PFM pool and another in a more Hidria Spacefolk vein. A much-need reissue for this band keeping the genuine spirit of the progressive rock movement alive.



Simak Dialog
Patahan

Simak Dialog is an 'electro-acoustic progressive jazz-fusion' group playing live on five extended compositions. No doubt Moon June's leader Leonardo Pavkovik learned of this band in his many travels in the region, and his discovery is our reward. In existence for over 14 years, the band has an ECM fusion feel to it, particularly in the Lyle Mays influenced keyboard work of Riza Arshad, who composes all of the pieces on this album, and in the acoustic and electric guitar work of Tohpati Ario Hutomo. The rhythm is played primarily on the kendang, a Indonesian drum which sounds like an Indian tabla, and fretless bass, with occassional strains of sitar adding to the oriental flavor of the music. The pace is relaxed and melodicaly warm, with some chanting and wordless vocal work on two of the pieces, along with a poetry reading. 'Patahan' translates to 'faults,' and the band quotes Miana Tiara that "it occurs only to protect and to maintain the balance of nature and it is truly an undeniably natural process in order to keep the harmony of the Earth according to his plans." It's hard to find fault with this lovely and accesible record, which balances the sound of the East and West in a harmonius and thoroughly enjoyable release.





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