~ Laurence Donohue-Greene
Fresh off a triumphant performance with The Thing earlier in the week, Norwegian rhythm section mates Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (electric bass) joined with another Scandinavian, Finnish guitarist Raoul Björkenheim, for the US debut of The Scorch Trio (Dec. 2nd). The occasion was the 49th birthday celebration for Manny Maris of Downtown Music Gallery held at Bowery Poetry Club. Whereas The Thing is a fully cooperative trio, Scorch, by virtue of Björkenheim's array of 6- and 12-string electric guitars and viola de gamba, is an improv rock trio akin to Cream in its musical hierarchy.
The music was loud as befitted the instrumentation and Flaten exceeded what might otherwise have been a limited role by incorporating lots of effect pedals and pummeling the neck of the bass, a carryover from his unique style on upright. Nilssen-Love had to substitute subtlety for sheer power just in order to be heard at times, limiting somewhat his impressive vocabulary. Björkenheim though was in his element, a mix of Sonny Sharrock and Jimi Hendrix, with all the guitarist faces audiences love. The music was at its most interesting when the guitar lines resolved into atypical cadences, punctuated by Nilssen-Love's fractured rhythms. When the music reduced in volume for the second piece, Björkenheim could be more textural and inventive, to the benefit of the improvisations and this reviewer's eardrums.
Listeners worried that saxophonist Joe Lovano has set aside some of his more visceral tendencies in the past couple of years should have attended his duet set with drummer Idris Muhammad at Sweet Rhythm on Dec. 15th. Part of the club's month of sax-drums collaborations, Lovano and Muhammad channeled some of the energy peers Sonny Fortune and Rashied Ali must have left in the room from the week before.
The opening free improv, leading into Sonny Rollins' rousing "Airegin", set the tone for the evening and showed off Lovano's versatility on both his usual tenor and the club debut of his aulochrome, a fused double soprano sax with an extended tonal range. The second tune, an original blues by Lovano featured his alto clarinet in tight lockstep with Muhammad's cymbal heavy rhythms. By the time the duo had dispensed with Lovano's "Blackwell's Message" (for Ed Blackwell) and the standard "A Weaver of Dreams", any resemblance to Interstellar Space was supplanted by a thoroughly gutbucket blues sensibility. The closing "Lonnie's Lament" was played in a much more straight foward manner than the rest of the set, or even how the tune was played originally by Coltrane. In fact, the whole set, apart from the 30 minute opener was a refreshing mixture of freedom within structure, Lovano in his raspy glory and Muhammad playing the stiff rhythms that any drummer whose roots lay in R&B, Lou Donaldson and Pharoah Sanders would play.
~ Andrey Henkin
Multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum brought his New York Hieroglyphics into the Jazz Gallery for a rare area appearance. The second set Saturday (Dec. 10th) began with the leader playing a plaintive dirge on melodica over a deep bottom supplied by Patrice Blanchard's electric bass and Norbert Satchel's bass saxophone. The horns, led by trombonist Josh Roseman and trumpeter Peck Allmond, came in and Apfelbaum switched to tenor as drummer Dafnis Prieto picked up the tempo. Guitarists David Phelps and Viva DeConcini joined the fray next - the resultant sound resembling a meeting of the Liberation Music Orchestra and the Mothers of Invention. The suite-like piece continued with Apfelbaum playing piano, moving from folkish African melodies to slow stride to Tyner-ish torrents. Switching back to tenor, he led the group through a mechanistic big band interlude featuring a duet with tenorist Tony Jones. Apfelbaum then put down his horn to accompany with an array of percussion, including bicycle bells, in a spacey interlude with Charles Burnham's violin. Jessica Jones soloed on alto leading into a call and response section with a walking bass line. African vocalist Abdoulaye Diabate added yet another element to the mix. A second piece began with Apfelbaum playing gospel tinged piano, moving into rocking rhythms and a samba section. The finale featured Diabate vocalizing over a polyphonous blending of jazz, Middle Eastern and African melody and rhythm.
New York City's resident hard bop sextet One For All returned to their 'headquarters' uptown at Smoke for two nights of burning straight ahead jazz. Friday night's second set (Dec. 9th) featured the band stretching out on a couple of its staples, beginning with pianist David Hazeltine's Messenger-ish ode to Cedar Walton "The Poo" and closing with the group's collaboratively composed theme "Nothin' To It". In between the group grooved on tenor man Eric Alexander's arrangement of Bill Lee's classic "John Coltrane", which opened with a virtuoso solo bass introduction by David Williams and featured powerful statements from Alexander and trumpeter Jim Rotondi, driven by Joe Farnsworth's propulsive stick and brush work. Trombonist Steve Davis' mellow sound was spotlighted on the set's ballad feature "You Don't Know What Love Is".
The night's final show began with Rotondi's swinging title track to the group's first outing, "Too Soon To Tell", followed by Farnsworth's Eastern- tinged "I See You Brother", which featured muted trumpet wrapped warmly in the harmonies of Alexander and Davis. San Francisco vocalist Kim Nalley sat in for a beautiful rendition of "The Very Thought of You" with exemplary accompaniment from Hazeltine and then swung a straight ahead blues with the band. The satisfying set ended with Hazeltine's soulful "We All Loved Eddie Harris".
~ Russ Musto
Recommended New Releases:
· Edsel Gomez - Cubist Music (Zoho) · Ari Hoenig - Kinetic Hues (Smalls DVD) · Ryan Kisor - This Is Ryan (Videoarts) · Michel Lambert - Le Passant (rant) · David Murray - Waltz Again (Justin Time) · Loueke/Nemeth/Biolcati - Gilfema (Obliqsound)
~ David Adler, NY@Night Columnist
· Louie Belogenis - Unbroken (Tick Tock) · Tim Berne's Paraphrase - Pre-Emptive Denial (Screwgun) · Joe Fiedler - Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff (Clean Feed) · Rubén Gonzalez - Momentos (Escondida Music) · Earl May Quartet - Swinging the Blues (Arbors) · Reuben Radding - Intersections (Pine Ear Music)
~ Laurence Donohue-Greene, Managing Editor, AllAboutJazz-New York
· Anthony Braxton Quintet - [London] 2004 (Leo) · Zé Eduardo/Jack Walrath Quartet - Bad Guys (Clean Feed) · Exploding Customer - Live at Tampere Jazz Happening (Ayler) · Satoko Fujii Quartet- Angelina (Libra) · Barry Guy/London Jazz Composers Orchestra - Study II/Stringer (Intakt) · Otomo Yoshihide New Jazz Orchestra - Plays Dolphy's 'Out to Lunch' (Doubt)
~ Bruce Gallanter, Proprietor, Downtown Music Gallery
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