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!

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Pacific Harp Project Play, MINI-Review

Anyone who loves the harp and likes to hear it carry forward what can be done in "Jazz-Rock" worlds will no doubt be interested in this album Play (Self-Released). As you can see by the cover image it is by the Pacific Harp Project, a nicely thought-out combination of harp (Megan Bledsoe Ward), vibes (Noel Okimoto), soprano sax (Todd Yukumoto) electric bass (Jon Hawes) and drums (Allan Ward).

The music is slightly reminiscent at times of the classic Gary Burton group in their later ECM days, with well done songcrafting (in this case songs by Ward, Okimoto, etc.) and then some that add singer Jamie Ward, and then finally arrangements for this ensemble of music originally composed for other instrumentation by Modern Classical composers (Salzedo, Faure) or not-so-Modern (Handel).

Ward is a very good harpist and one hears her with a happy ear if one loves such things. The rest of the band is very good as well.

The main thrust is the way everything mixes together and it is a listening that some of the smoothies and new agers might keep on if they heard yet there is substance here and this is not some kind of pablum for the musically challenged.

So you who dig the harp, check this out!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Ivo Perelman (Perelman, Maneri, Wooley, Shipp), Strings 4

When times keep going forward we can still think that some things remain constants. One is in "Modern Jazz" of course the importance of great performances, great improvisations. We need look no farther recently to reaffirm this with a new album by saxophonist Ivo Perelman in association in the always vibrant company of Matt Maneri on viola, Nate Wooley on trumpet and Matt Shipp on piano. It is the fourth volume of the new series of recordings Ivo is putting together with a title that explains itself, namely Strings, and to be more precise on this volume Strings 4 (Leo).

It is an example of the centrality of the WHO in today's open or Free Avant Jazz gathering. As you listen you know that this particular combination is the defining factor in the aural results. Perhaps it is very obvious but then it still warrants thinking about, in part because it is never so true as in this brand of musical interaction.

Truly, every person in this gathering defines the music. First off of course is Ivo himself. He embodies the Jazz Tradition and the Modern-Avant Tradition in very much his own way--with creatively brilliant line weaving that assume all that went before and neither ignores the before nor attaches to it. He simply asserts the moment of his own musical sense at every moment and in weighs the past as it travels to the today-future.

Nate Wooley on trumpet does his owning reading of past-present-future too. You might hear a growl that alludes to Bubber Miley perhaps, and it perfectly belongs to the dialog. So too Matt Manieri  climbs atop what has been and makes of his viola a freely floating, all-encompassing vehicle to express one quarter of the whole. And he does so in ways that go beyond while going within himself too.

Matt Shipp is the ideal pianist for a thoughtfully free quartet date like this, because he thrives ever in an open set game. It is what he establishes himself within, as anyone who has followed his trajectory with attention in the last few decades.

And in the end it is the moment being right for these four and nobody else that creates ir-reduplicable results.The outlook is radically collective, I suppose you could say. Everybody solos, and so too nobody solos, yet all four come in and out of focus like sun and clouds alternating on a spring day. There are vast swatches of floated note clusters punctuated with passing jabbers and woodchopper's balls hanging suspended then departing as abruptly as they came.

This could be thought of as a state-of-the-art example of free improvisation today, as it is that. If you want to check what is up nowadays this to my mind is one you should not miss. Ivo Perelman and this quartet are at the top of their game. Give it a listen by all means.