Monday, December 18, 2023

Andrew Krasilnikov, Bloody Belly Comb Jelly


From Russian Jazz saxophonist and composer Andrew Krasilnikov comes BLOODY BELLY COMB JELlY  (Rainy Days Records Rainy 018CD)--a remarkable record with a title not easily digested but in the end refers to a very luminous genus of jellyfish newly discovered in the depths of the oceans.

Krasilnikov plays soprano and c-melody saxophone, and writes the fascinating intricacy of the some seven compositions in part reflecting time spent at Berklee College, Boston sessions and New York Apple Core Moments before returning to Moscow, and creating this exciting large band offering among other albums. Little-by-little the music reinvents your ears in an exuberant super FreeBop topping off.

You hear echoes of Shorter, Tristano, Hancock, Gill Evans as you forward ahead to a beyond slot.

Chromatic runs of delicious ambiguity fill your ears thanks to sax, band and piano. As you listen by track five you start to meet happily the irrepressible flow and facticity from Krasilnikov, then the pianist too starts flowing very nicely as well, almost in a Tristano Atlantic mode. The quartet starts off the album and they are good. Others are added more or less consistently for the big band culmination. Listen to this one!

Check the whole album on Bandcamp

Satoko Fujii Tokyo Trio, Jet Black


For many years pianist Satoko Fujii has been one of a handful of new avant improv jazz pianists who lead the field as the major influences, the major innovators on their instrument. That is saying something as the number of talented jazz pianists today is quite high in my estimation and to my appreciation. Ms, Fujii over the years has been extraordinarily productive, with hundreds of CDs released of several hundred performances in solo and many varied instrumentations of all kinds. Right now we have an especially compelling CD out of Fujii and her Tokyo Trio in a riveting set entitled Jet Black (Libra Records  203-073).

Ms. Fujii's Tokyo Trio has all the requisites for a landmark avant Jazz Improv Trio. Ms. Fujii's strong pianistic musicality and her vibrant compositions make every cut a highlight. There are six Fujii compositions here,  all standouts for memorable character and strength, along with open ended Jazz inventiveness and New Music Modernisms. Takashi Sugawa on bass and Ittetsu Takemura on drums both have high inventive skills and original musicality in all they play here. They are in many ways the ideal foil for Ms. Fujii's remarkable presence throughout.

Ms. Fujii's imaginative scoring for the trio makes for highly engaging fare, thanks to the superior musicality of the members and their response to her fertile musical ideas. This one is a solid winner and a thrill to hear multiple times. Highly recommended. Satoko Fujii scores big here. Hurrah!


Friday, December 1, 2023

Brew, Heat (1998-99), Between Reflections (2019), Miya Masaoka, Reggie Workman, Gerry Hemingway


When it comes to Brew, I am guilty of not previously being aware of them as a threesome. Yet I have been gladly aware of kotoist Miya Masaoka for some time, and of course i have followed happily the bass, bandleading and musical direction of Reggie Workman for many years and so too of drummer Gerry Hemingway. But I still say after studying the music that the whole in the presence of this double CD Heat (1999) and Between Reflections (2019)  (Clean Feed CF642) is greater  in the sense that the three invent a largeness that I did not quite expect of either of the three singularly. It was a surprise at what they created as a whole beyond what I might have heard them do previously, or in other words there is a happy confluence, a chemistry of togetherness that is a true pleasure to hear, cover-to-cover.

Miya plays koto and electronics throughout, then appears also as percussionist and on the monochord and percussion for the second CD, Reggie appears of course on bass as well as percussion plus saw and digeridoo on Between Reflectiony, Gerry plats drums and electronics throughout and then also vibes and voice for CD2. There is a consistency of excellence ro be heard always, a distinctive expressive totality that touches on motives, an openness with occasional forays into swing and rock underpinnings. The koto in Miya's hands can sound like itself technique-wise but then at times a harp, a guitar and/or an avant extended technique vehicle. Workman and Hemingway complete the picture with a rhythm team as good or better than any today.

This is a very first-rate improv sequence, and both the early and later disks come through with high impact. music, all astute improvisation sequences, some of the best on our current scene.