Monday, July 13, 2020

Jean-Marc Foussat, Daunik Lazro, Evan Parker, Cafe Oto, Wed 22 Jan

Jean-Marc Foussat to me makes some of the most provocative and interesting Electroacoustic (live) compositional-improvisational music today. The recordings he has made in the last decade bear this out, not the least of which is a new one, Cafe Oto Wed 22 Jan (Fou Records FR-CD 38/39 2-CD) a live recording from the beginning of this year.

The first disk is Foussat doing a solo set on synth, voice and electronics; the second CD adds Daunik Lazro on baritone sax and voice and Evan Parker on soprano sax. It is music of a pronounced expression, playing upon the repetitive and sustaining layering quality of "digital delay." Unlike electronics in the earlier days, the possibility of echo-repeat-layer never appears for its own sake but rather as a means to a thicker and more hefty series of explorations.

As I review this in the thick of the pandemic I feel a renewed sense of how precious live spontaneous Improv of such a high caliber is. The health of this fragile form of creation of course depends upon the non-contagious situational possibility, on a healthy world.

Evan Parker often comes at us in endless phrases thanks in part to delay but also breath control. He is often undisguised and riding atop the near-orchestral wash of layered vocal-choral actions, synth colors and whole tones, and Lazro's baritone viscosities of rich timbral emanations.

There are long complex passages all the more impressive and exciting by virtue of their real-time live qualities. Repeat listening to this two-set wonder underscores just how inventive and mutually attuned a level this threesome (and solo) consistently attains. It is a testament to the flexible and imaginative outlook of each of these artists that one can listen and catch the strong musical personalities of each artist yet they are most definitely NOT repeating some formulaic success that unfortunately some other improvisers might fall into. Not here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Luis Lopes, Humanization 4tet, Believe, Believe, with Rodrigo Amado, Aaron and Stefan Gonzalez

Portuguese electric guitarist Luis Lopes joins together once again with fellow Portuguese tenor saxophonist Rodrigo Amado and the Texas brother rhythm team of Aaron Gonzalez on double bass and Stefan Gonzalez on drums in the group they call the Humanization 4tet. Their new album has recently come out. Believe, Believe (Clean Feed CF549CD) is the title and it continues the fine series of recordings they have put out in the last decade (some I have reviewed here, type their name in the search box above for those.)

The new one bubbles over with the sort of high spirited, energetic state-of-the-art free-wheeling contemporary Jazz that the 4tet has become known for. There are song structures or melodic kernels and a rhythmic looseness that still tends to pulsate forward, often free but directional, swinging indirectly or directly as fits the mood, ever freely loose in the best ways.  Six compositional-improvisational segments (one in two versions) make up the whole.

When such a talented and sensitively attuned group plays together intensively and extensively for a good while as the Humanization 4tet has, there is one hopes a continual growth and a resiliency to the sureness of the free expressions as they project into aural space. Believe, Believe happily shows the fruits of that sort of hands-on, mutual improvisational opening out.

Aaron and Stefan have played music together for as long as two brothers who grew up together might and with their father Dennis Gonzalez on trumpet have long been playing as the excellent and acclaimed Yells at Eels group. When you listen to the prodigious rhythm team work on this album you hear the results of talent and experience, for they are strong and sure, and form a crucial bedrock for how this band moves strikingly forward.

It is true also that the double-front line of Luis Lopes on guitar and Rodrigo Amado on tenor sax show the natural aging of togetherness, like a fine wine. So Luis springs forth with very energized abstractions on guitar that fit in well with Rodrigo's tenor effusions and the rhythm team's assertions. He does some of his best playing on disk here. And it serves notice to all who hear that Luis is happening. He is a guitarist of the highest caliber, always ready-to-hand with creative fire and poetic tone.

Rodrigo continues to shine forth as one of the very best and original avant tenors playing today. He is of course an indispensable component of the 4tet and sounds fabulous throughout.

So we have a band with all the talent and seasoning one could ask for, creating some of their most compelling and ravishing best on this CD album. Believe, Believe has all you could ask for, all you might hope for to make you a believer in this 4tet and all they do. One of their very best. Get this one and believe!