Jazz News

by Rocco Stilo
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Click here for the Jazz News of 2019

February 2018:

Nothing In Stone (FMR, 2017) documents a trio led by Paul Dunmall (tenor, alto and soprano saxes) along with Percy Pursglove (bass and trumpet) and Tony Orrell (drums). They recorded in september 2017 three long pieces (notably the 38-minute Blue India), with many solos and improvisations. By the same label, Sign Of The Times features again Paul Dunmall with Frank Paul Schubert (both on various saxes), accompanied by the rhytm section of Sebastiano Dessanay (bass) and Jim Bashford (drums). The quartet recorded in october 2017 other three long tracks (among which the 32-minute title-track). Always mostly improvised.

The 3CD set Oneness (Leo, 2018) features a five-days studio session between Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp. The reedist and the pianist decided to put on disc the all of sessions: "The idea was to get just one CD, the best of the very best; but when we listened back to the recordings, we can't choose. So, we have to release these three CDs". Recorded in september 2017. And ESP just released two Matthew Shipp new albums. Zer0 (with a zero number, not the vocal) is a piano solo recorded in may 2017, collecting 11 pieces starting from themes written, and quickly improvised. Sonic Fiction, instead, was performed with his quartet: Mat Walerian (alto sax and clarinets), Michael Bisio (bass) and Whit Dickey (drums). The ten pieces feature melodic solos, bebop and improvisations. Recorded in december 2015.

Moons Of Saturn (Dimensional, 2017) features Frode Gjerstad on alto sax, clarinet & flute, Itzam Cano on bass and Gabriel Lauber on drums. Recorded in may 2017, the album collects ten pieces.

The trio o f Evan Parker (sax), Barry Guy (bass) and Paul Lytton (drums) started a long collaboration since 1980 recording the vinyl Tracks, and is still alive now with Music For David Mossman (Intakt, 2018), live recorded in july 2016 at Vortex Jazz Club in London (whose founder is just David Mossman) and featuring four long performances (notably the 24-minute III improvisation).

The three long untitled pieces on the self-released Idiomatic feature almost 80 minutes of studio improvised music by Sandy Ewen (guitar) and Weasel Walter (drums & live electronics). Sandy Ewen, on stage since 2004, plays effects pedals and a prepared guitar with ordinary objects. Recorded in september 2017.

Recorded in two sessions (january and december 1958), firstly released in 1964 by Prestige, and now restored by Italian label Wax Love, The Believer documents three studio recordings by John Coltrane. The tenorist led Red Garland (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), three different drummers (Arthur Taylor, Larry Ritchie and Louis Hayes) and trumpetists Donald Byrd and Freddie Hubbard, performing three pieces: the 14-minute title track, originally composed by McCoy Tyner, the 11-minute Nakatini Serenade, composed by veteran trumpeter Cal Massey (who recorded in january 1961 Blues To Coltrane), and the 5-minute Do I Love You Because You're Beautiful? (from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Cinderella). The re-release adds other two studio recordings: the 7-minute Filidia, composed by Ray Draper, and the 7-minute reworking of Sonny Rollins' Paul's Pal. These bonus tracks see Draper on tuba and Gil Coggins on piano, and were recorded before (december 1957).

Mats Gustafsson's Fire! comes back with The Hands (Rune Grammofon, 2018), on which the reedist, on various saxes and electronics, leads drummer Andreas Werlin and bassist Johan Berthling in seven new pieces, featuring a compromise between heavy rock and jazz improvisations. Recorded in may 2017.

Premiered in may 2015 at the opening of the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (FIMAV) and then presented in a march 2017 concert, the solo album R‚sistances (Ambiances Magn‚tiques, 2018) features sixteen Jean Derome's compositions, mostly improvised and performed mixing voice and acoustic, drums sets, double bass, strings, synthesizer, trumpet, piano, harp and also invented instruments.

Claudia Quintet's drummer John Hollenbeck formed in 2003 a Large Ensemble comprising of thirteen reedists, piano, vibraphone and vocalist Theo Bleckmann. Hollenbeck composed for the ensemble material for three album. For Omnitone he released A Blessing (august 2003), that featured six pieces of contemporary jazz. Eternal Interlude (Sunnyside, 2009), recorded in march 2009, was more avantgarde and free, sporting other six pieces (among which the 19-minute title-track), commissioned by various orchestras. The latest album, All Can Work (New Amsterdam, 2018), recorded in june 2017, pays tribute to disappeared trumpetist member Laurie Frink, and is largely presented here by the label.

Real Gone restored in 2017 on CD Ornette At 12/Crisis!, that gathers, as title suggest, the july 1968 session put on vinyl by Impulse, plus a forgotten live session released in 1972 by the same label and recorded in march 1969. Coleman, who played also drums and violin, led a stellar cast: Charlie Haden on bass, Dewey Redman on clarinet and tenor sax, Don Cherry on flute and trumpet. Among the five pieces collected, a reworking of Haden's Song For Che. Still by Coleman, Live in Paris 1971 (Domino, 2018) restores the old 1977 release by Jan label Trio, featuring seven pieces from a concert held with, again, Haden and Redman, plus drummer Ed Blackwell. Let's mention also the 2CD set The Love Revolution (Gambit, 2018), restoring a february 1968 Italian tour along in a quartet with Haden and Blackwell, plus the other bassist David Izenzon.

Plan B, the new Joe McPhee project comprising of James Keepnews on guitar and laptop and David Berger on drums, released From Outer Space (Roaratorio, 2018), a soundtrack to an imaginary science fiction movie. The vinyl collects ten pieces studio recorded in december 2015, mostly improvised. The leader was on saxes and trumpet.

January 2018:

Muhal Richard Abrams died at his home in october 2017 at the age of 87. In 2012 and 2016, Black Saint & Sound Note released two boxsets, of 8 and 9 CDs respectively, that collect his complete remastered recordings.

South African trumpetist Hugh Masekela, pioneer of jazz music in Africa and apartheid activist, died of cancer in Johannesburg on january 23, at the age of 78.

The Urmuz Epigrams (Tzadik, 2018) documents John Zorn's latest recording studio, a suite of compositions, say credits, "in the style of his legendary File Card compositions and Zoetropes". Dedicated to the visionary Romanian writer Urmuz, gathers, say credits, "pieces presented in two iterations, as a set of rare 78rpm records complete with surface scratches and limited dynamic range, and as a modern reconstruction of same with the full blown studio sound presented in all its perplexing glory".

The DoLP Discussions (Wide Hive, 2017) features Discussion Orchestra, a new project by Roscoe Mitchell, born from improvisations found on Roscoe Mitchell's Conversations with Kikanju Baku and Craig Taborn. Mitchell arranged the eight songs, among which the 22-minute Who Dat, and on sopranino sax played in a 20-piece orchestra led by Steed Cowart. Mostly of musicians debuted just with this release, or are quite unknown, but percussionist William Winant. Again by Mitchell, Accelerated Projection (Rogue Art, 2018) documents the reedist on alto & soprano saxes & flute and Matthew Shipp on piano. The set was recorded live in Italy in august 2005. The seven pieces alternate solos and duets, with themes quickly developped in improvisations.

After its first release as cassette, Alvin Curran's Natural History has been finally re-released on vinyl by Black Truffle. The two-part suite, a solo album by the artist, collects field recordings extracted from his archive, without additional processing, recorded over nearly 20 years, starting from 1968, at Curran's home in Rome or while traveling.

John Butcher's project Stray, with the leader on saxes, Dominic Lash on bass, John Russell on electric guitar and Stale Liavik Solberg on drums, debuted with Into Darkness (Iluso, 2017) featuring the namesake 51-minute suite recorded in december 2015, extensively presented by the label.

The 3CD set Ceci N'est Pas (Sono Sordo, 2016) documents latest Klaxon Gueules release, celebrating their 20th anniversary with 33 unreleased tracks, studio recorded between 1998 and 2014. The lineup featured, over the time, Michel F. Cote (drums, percussion, electronics), Alexandre St-Onge (basses, electronics), Bernard Falaise (electric and acoustic guitars, banjo, keyboards), Jean Derome (alto sax, flute), Ellwood Epps (trumpets), Philippe Lauzier (bass clarinet) and both on electronics Christof Migone and Sam Shalabi. All pieces are under 6 minutes. Bernard Falaise also released for Ambiances Magnetiques Lezardes Et Zebrures, a solo electric guitar album collecting nine pieces studio recorded in 2017.

The Deep Unreal (Metalanguage, 2017) features a solo electric guitar album by Henry Kaiser, recorded in december 2017 in one session. All improvised, no overdubs or looping, and long delays.

Octopus (Pyroclastic, 2018) features a piano duo by Kris Davis and Craig Taborn, recorded on concerts from which were extracted six pieces, among which two reworkings by Sun Ra and Carla Bley, also played on prepared pianos. Read here for liner notes.

Chansons Du Crepuscule (Public Eyesore, 2017) features a collaboration between guitarist Elliott Sharp and French harpist and vocalist Helene Breschand. The eleven pieces, studio recorded in may 2014, mix several musical genres: jazz, folk, rock, world and country. Extensively presented here by the label.

Invisible Threads (ECM, 2018) documents the new John Surman album studio recorded in july 2017. On saxews and clarinet, the reedist is accompanied by Brazilian pianist Nelson Ayres and Rob Waring on vibraphone and marimba. Twelve pieces.

D'Agala (Intakt, 2018) documents the Sylvie Courvoisier Trio led by the pianist along with Kenny Wollesen (drums & wollesonic) and Drew Gress (bass). Studio recorded in june 2017, the nine pieces feature compositions the pianist dedicated to several musicians recently dead (Ornette Coleman, Geri Allen, John Abercrombie, etc.).

Live At The Century City Playhouse (Dark Tree, 2017) features the Vinny Golia Wind Quartet with the leader on various woodwinds, John Carter on clarinet, Bobby Bradford on cornet and Glenn Ferris on trombone. The four recorded in may 1979 a concert from which were extracted five lenghty pieces, particularly the two-part 30-minute suite Chronos.

Italian label Wax Love delivers the vinyl Bye Bye Blackbird: Live At Penn State University, January 19th, 1963, featuring a John Coltrane's concert performed with his most famous lineup (McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass, Elvin Jones on drums). Not to be confused with the namesake album firstly released on 1981, and featuring a november 1962 concert,

Satoko Fujii planned to release in 2018 twelve albums, one for month, to celebrate her 60th birthday. The first is Solo (Libra, 2018) that documents seven pieces (among which a Jimmy Giuffre's cover) performed in concert on a Steinway D274 by the pianist, recorded in july 2017. The second, will be out in february by her project KAZE, on which the pianist led the unchanged lineup (trumpetists Christian Pruvost and Natsuki Tamura, and drummer Peter Orins) for their fourth album, Atody Man (Libra, 2018), that collects six new pieces, keeping to sport the project's sound, a mix of noise, melodic and improvisations.

The label Phono just released Plays Sphere Jazz/Jazz Epistles - Verse 1, a CD that restores two rare albums by Dollar Brand. The latter features a september 1959 session led by trumpetist Hugh Masakela and his Jazz Epistles lineup, along with Jonas Gwangwa on trombone, Kippie Moetketsi on alto sax and Dollar Brand on piano. The former, Plays Sphere Jazz, recorded in february 1960 and firstly released in 1962 by Continental, is the first credited Dollar Brand album of ever, in his trio, along with Johnny Gertze on bass and Makaya Ntshoko on drums.

Ultra (Fundacja Sluchaj, 2017) features guitarist Joe Morris in seven studio improvisations dating back to july 2011, with Junko Fujiwara (cello), Agusti Fernandez (piano), Yasmine Azaiez (violin) and Tanya Kalmanowitch (violin and viola). Morris wrote the liner notes, stating: "Combining guitar with bowed instruments is not as simple as it might seem. The short sustain of the guitar can easily be overwhelmed by the bow. My first goal with Ultra was to have the strings key off of the guitar and interact using percussive sounds, harmonics, and proportional expressions of time (pulse) in addition to melodic ideas. The first tries on Ultra used a mix of strings, flute and trumpet with some notated parts. But the composed parts restricted the flow of the music, and so I abandoned the idea of this group".

The 8CD boxset New Jazz Festival Balver Hoehle (Be! Jazz, 2017) collects live recording dating back to 1976 and 1977 by several notable musicians and lineups. Let's mention: two Mal Waldron Trios' improvisations (june 1976, 40 and 16 min.); other two improvisations (39 and 18 min.) by Archie Shepp Group, along with Dave Burrell on piano, Cameron Brown on bass, Beaver Harris on drums and Richard Greenslee on trombone (june 1976); a 54-minute improvisation by pianist Yosuke Yamashita, along with Akira Sakata (sax) and Shota Koyama (drums), from the same previous session; an one-hour performance of solo piano by Joachim Kuhn (june 1977); another hour improvisation (same session) by the Willem Breuker Kollektief.

Recorded in july 2017, So Far (Relative Pitch, 2018) features Alexander von Schlippenbach (piano) and Rudi Mahall: (clarinets) in new eleven studio pieces collectively composed, presented here by the label.

The project Racehorse Names was created in 2017 by drummer Ben Hall and guitarist Joe Morris along with Mick Dobday (electric piano and organ), Anthony Levin-Decanini (electronics), Ronnie Zawadi (percussion), veteran John Dierker (reeds) and Mike Khoury (viola and violin). The lineup detuted for Relative Pitch with New Favorite Thing Called Breathing, a studio album collecting six pieces, mostly improvised, alternating collective and solos.

Shifting Sands (Terp, 2016) documents a studio album recorded in september 2015 by well known reedist Ab Baars (here on tenor and soprano saxes, clarinet and shakuhachi) and guitarist Terrie Ex.

Not Two delivers Celebrating William Parker @ 65, credited to Bobby Zankel & The Wonderful Sound 6. The project created by the reedist (here on alto sax) gathers a notable lineup: William Parker (bass), Steve Swell (trombone), veteran drummer Muhammad Ali (the brother of Rashied Ali), Dave Burrel (piano) and Diane Monroe (violin). The namesake suite was recorded in january 2017, developping melodic themes quickly evolved in free jazz, with solos, duets and collective.

The 2CD set City Fall (Fundacja Sluchaj, 2016) features Evan Parker on tenor sax, Mikolaj Trzaska on alto sax & bass clarinet, John Edwards on double bass and Mark Sanders on drums. The three pieces (partiucularly the 43-minute Hunting Moon and the 34-minute In Case Of Fire) were recorded in september 2014. The music is obviously a mixing of improvisations, often evolved in complicated drones.

Click here for the Jazz News of 2017

History of Jazz music | History of Popular music | History of Rock music | History of the Avantgarde
Main page of Jazz | Main page of Music | Contact (Email)