Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Eve Risser, Apres un Reve, Solo Piano

From pianist Eve Risser we have the live solo EP Apres un Reve (Clean Feed CF 524CD) recorded in concert at FGO Barbara in Paris, 2018.

What stands out about this composition-performance is the heightened inside-the-piano acuity of the sound, by strumming directly the strings of the piano, plucking, hitting and conventional key stroking, but at times with some amount of involvement of preparation of the strings, if perhaps with the fingers and hand alone at times. That and the fascinating polyrhythms she produces as an integral part of the piece set this very much apart from the usual fare.

There is eventually once the work gets going a mesmeric quality that sounds rather African and/or Minimalistic. The harmonic beauty, especially of the introduction, is also stunning.

I could describe this one with many more words, but I would think a single listen would cover all of it handily. And if you hear it once, no doubt you will want to hear it again!

Highly recommended. A tour de force of new pianism.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Harris Eisenstadt, Canada Day Quartet Live

To my mind Harris Eisenstadt and his Canada Day Quartet are doing some of the most interesting and original Modern Jazz today. That is born out by their latest Canada Day Quartet Live (Clean Feed 535 CD).

Harris provides the compositions and plays the rather subtly yet definitively plied drums as always. He is joined by a formidable lineup of contemporary improvisers--Nate Wooley on trumpet, Alexander Hawkins on piano, Pascal Niggenkemper on acoustic bass. The band is freeze-framed for a live set at AJMI in Avignon at the end of a nine-gig European tour.

They tackle eight interrelated compositions in their patented loose-tight fashion. Angular yet directional, the set deals with themes, motifs and rather brilliant soloing with a swingingly loose rhythm base. as is their wont.  Harris notes in the liners that the compositions were conceived during a three-week stay at Poschiavo, Switzerland in 2017 as part of the Uncool Artist Residency, and consists of both unison lines and multi-voiced lines.

It is with the combination of compositional foundations and freely articulated group and individual improvs that the music takes on its distinctive qualities and hey, it is much more than just head-solos-head in layout--everything permeates everything else and all the better for it.

This is the Canada Day outfit's seventh album and surely one of their best. Eisenstadt is essential listening for any serious student of the improvised arts today. Hear this!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Derek Bailey, Han Bennink, Evan Parker, Topographie Parisienne, Dunois, April 3d, 1981

Dunois. April 3rd, 1981. Whatever the weather, if darker or lighter the sky, not much matters in that wise save it made it possible for Derek Bailey, guitar, Han Bennink, drums, and Evan Parker, sax, to get together and play some extensive improvisations together live and that Jean-Marc Foussat was on hand to record it. We happily have the four-CD set now to appreciate this gig, entitled Topographie Parisienne (Fou FR CD 34-35-36-37).

Bailey and Parker had already made a huge impression on the world via their involvement with selves and others, as members of the Music Improvisation Company, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble and in various other configurations. Han Bennink was a critical member of the Dutch Improv scene, the ICP Orchestra and etc. The three together was an auspicious and lovely thing as these four CDs beautifully attest.

We get two LP length cuts of the entire trio plus an LPs worth of Bailey-Parker duets, a half hour of Bailey and Bennink together and another of Bennink and Parker. Then as a sort of bonus we also have solo Parker for two ten-minute stints.

By the time these sides were waxed the world of Improv was fully a thing unto itself and recognized as such. Parisienne audiences no doubt knew what they were hearing or most might well have. The simpatico vibes were apparent as all three turn in some of their very best work, in all configurations.

This is seminal improv. Do not miss it if you are a fan! If not, give it a try anyway! Here are four reasons why each is considered a master stylist in Improv. They are on their game in the very best ways! Bravo!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Go: Organic Orchestra and Brooklyn Raga Massive, Ragmala, A Garland of Ragas

Where else might you hear a combination of Indian Classical influence, Prog-Fusion Quasi-Psychedelica, Gnawa, Prog-Funk post-Miles and a myriad of other things deftly put together as one. Certainly the concatenation of Adam Rudoph's Go: Organic Orchestra and the Brooklyn Raga Massive and their two-CD, three-LP Ragmala - A Garland of Ragas (Meta Records Meta/BRM 023) is a place where all such things happen together exceedingly well.

The album combines some 40 musicians including Gnawa's legendary Hassaan Hakmoun, Chicago's own Hamid Drake on drums/percussion, celebrated cornetist Graham Haynes, flautist Kaoru Watanabe along with the Go and Brooklyn ensembles.

Fused advance and Indian classical are the primary drivers one might say--for the roots of the two orchestras lie there, yet too this is not some "ordinary" fusion, for everyone brings specifics, never generics.

The two CDs have such a variable palette of goodies that I scarce know where to start, other than to say that rhythm is prominent and the drumming-percussion is irresistible. Yet then so are the parts that map out the written routines and their juxtapose with very viable improvisational points in time.

It is an album whose ambition is justified in excellent adventure, results that make you come back repeatedly to grow into the music world-fully well, at least in my case. It is invigorating grafting-hybridization that promises and delivers in ways we do not often get such measure of in the Progressive music-Avant sphere.

This is not music to rest on laurels. It expands in the best sense of what Fusion was meant to be in its inceptive years.

Hurrah for this one. Get it!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Heddy Boubaker, The Sea of Intranquility. MINI-Review

Heddy Boubaker's The Sea of Intranquility (Ubn Reve Nu umd008) is an album length electroacoustic work that has a soundscaped psychedelic presence and sonic strength that wakes you up. It has a long-run kind of aural magic and a guitar-sourced orchestral fullness that is very rewarding to hear. You can buy a copy at DISCOGS

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Cheryl Pyle, Beyond Trio, Live at the I Beam, Beyond Quartet, Beyond Quartet


I've been happily following the music of flautist-bandleader Cheryl Pyle for well on a decade I believe. If I have missed some outings lately it was not for the want of it but rather the upside-down quality of trying to keep on since the world I was a part came into financial eclipse in the last five years. I am not here to complain for life is a gambit we cannot afford to ignore, isn't it? All is well now in that I am doing good things I hope most every day.

Meanwhile Cheryl has been alerting me to some fine new recordings of hers of late and I come on here to praise a few, namely her Beyond Trio Live at I Beam and her Beyond Quartet (Bandcamp). The trio features Cheryl on flute and alto flute plus Michael Eaton on soprano sax and Reggie Sylvester on drums. The Quartet date is Pyle and Eaton plus Claire de Brunner on bassoon and Gene Coleman on bass flute and piccolo. Everyone on both dates is in fine form.

Both albums reward your listening concentration with a very alive set of Cheryl's compositions, an Improv Music and New Thing coming together that is a definite exhilaration from start to finish. Her groups grow ever more tightly spun together though still with the freedom that has always been part of her hallmark. And her compositions are a new element, more fully worked out and a vital new scaffolding for what she continues to evolve into now.

I would say most definitely that Cheryl is doing some of the most interesting New Jazz in and around New York these days. These two albums show us why she is a voice that must be heard. Check these out by all means!

To order etc here are the two links:

Friday, April 26, 2019

Chris Greene Quartet, PlaySPACE (Live)

PlaySPACE (Live) (Single Malt Recordings 8004922345871) brings you the new recording by saxophonist Chris Greene and his Quartet, and proves nicely that live jazz recordings when right are much of what the music is about. Chris is limber and inspired as his tenor and soprano charge forward with the excellent support of the quartet.

A nice arrangement of  Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil" caps a lively set of progressive Funk, Modern-day swinging, the blues and the truth, which is what the blues tell, right? We hear the band in the Evanston, Il. club SPACE, Chris's hometown haunt. Clearly everyone is relaxed and hooked up to the main stem.

Chris has his own voice and is not afraid to let loose here, nor does the quartet hang back. It is one of those immediate hookups that reminds you why hitting the clubs even today is the best way to hear the music, and too why live recordings if right are very right.

Check this out!