Nine Winds Continue to Blow

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Label chief and multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia is quite the busy man. In addition to a recent release on Portugal's Clean Feed label and a DVD documenting his Large Ensemble, he continues to turn out creative and challenging music on his own label Nine Winds. Here's a look at a few of his recent releases.

Vinny Golia
A Gift For The Unusual
Nine Winds 0239
2004

With a little help from his friends (and regular bandmates) Golia picks up one of his favorite instruments—the contrabass saxophone. This variant is a tubax, a saxophone that allows for quite a low end with amazing response. Working solo and small combinations here, the variety of music presented is impressive. Highlights include "Eye My with Wayne Peet's persistent left hand piano dancing, he also boosts some eerie theremin playing elsewhere. Cool. Golia is equally at home in chamber jazz and improvisation. His solo efforts here, while not as athletic as say, Mats Gustafsson, are captivating. When he overdubs (with five parts), you feel the power and force of the large horn's presence.

Joey Sellers' Jazz Aggregation
El Payaso
Nine Winds 0217
2005

Professor Joey Sellers' small big band, er, large small ensemble elicits some confusion because he writes music for his twelve-piece "aggregation" as if it were a quintet. The space he provides allows for a effervescence and elasticity of movement and sound you forget this is a large ensemble recording. This recording includes some heavy hitters too, the likes of Tony Malaby, Michael Sarin and David Berkman. He can color a smooth swinging number like "Carly B. with light accents or spin a funk ala James Brown special in "Corrugated Beak with equal aplomb. A favorite track is the thirteen-minute "Val, with its ringing horns and optimism.

MTKJ Quartet
Day Of The Race
Nine Winds 0258
2005

The Empty Cage Quartet, formerly known as MTKJ Quartet (go ahead try and say that five times) starts at Ornette and then breezes through modern jazz/improvisation to end in the territory occupied by the likes of Dave Douglas and Tim Berne. Like all working improvisatory bands these guys finish each others sentences working well beyond the skeletal framework of the compositions begun. Not known outside the West Coast, this is their second outing for Nine Winds. The quartet pairs intensity with quick time changes and deft touch to compel repeated spins of this disc.

Nels Cline/Vinny Golia
The Entire Time
Nine Winds 0259
2004

Like chef Mario Batali, the "molto label can easily be expressed for both guitarist Nels Cline and Vinny Golia. This duo recording, their first, yields an album of improvisation and extended technique. Both players utilize seemingly every instrument in their arsenal (actually Golia has only begun) for this outing. Mostly improvised music here, except for two dedications. One to Oliver Lake and the other Rahsaan Roland Kirk. These two masters harness their energies for mostly chamber-like sounds here. Recorded (all except one track) straight to disc, a quietness pervades this outing. Played at low volume, the music exudes a beautiful magic.

Less Of Five
Acrobati Folli E Innamorati
Nine Winds 0244
2004

This Sicilian/Italian quartet of jazz musicians further exemplifies the distinction between American and European jazz and improvisation. Perhaps it is this reviewer's opinion, but I hear European jazz musicians (these days) having more fun than their American brethren. These fifteen mostly brief tracks (two clock in at ten minutes) display a lightness of approach with a serious whimsy of thought. There are hints at klezmer, Arabic and Italian music spun with jazz passages. This deftly recorded session, with its finely separated sound, is a aural treat for your ears.

Rick Helzer
Face In The Mirror
Nine Winds 248
2004

The post-bop experience for today's musicians has certainly suffered with the plethora of reissues. Why listen to Roy Hargrove when you can listen to Dizzy Gillespie? Their (and our) search for relevance in today's music is a worthy one. So when you find a talented composer and some vital music making, celebrate it. This very smart recording grabs you from it's first note with its swing and concise blowing. Guest James Newton's flute is featured on two tracks as is Nine Winds favorite Kim Richmond. Helzer plays some sharp piano in his dedications to Thelonious Monk, " Sounds Like and Meade Lux Lewis, "The Mentor, he displays a solid mastery of time and that groove we all look for - swing


A Gift For The Unusual

Tracks: Single Booth Enclosure- Prime; Repetition; Mr. Amons Builds His Bridge; Eye My; Single Booth Enclosure Third - Revisitation; The Mozart Of Vice; The 15th; Just Something I Thought Of; Once Upon A Time On My Way To The Studio; A History Of Everything That Ever Happened; The Last Of It's Kind.

Personnel: Vinny Golia: Tubax; Michael Vlatkovitch: trombone; Bill Casale: bass; Wayne Peet: piano, Organ, Electric piano, Theremin, Synthesizer; Jessica Catron: Cello; Bill Barrett: Chromatic Harmonica.

El Payaso

Tracks: El Payaso; Corrugated Beak; Rain As Grace; Odd Children; Carly B.; Blame Baker; Val.

Personnel: Joey Sellers: trombone; John O'Gallagher: alto, soprano saxophone, clarinet, flute; Tony Malaby: tenor, soprano saxophone; Adam Kolker: baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Taylor Haskins: trumpet, flugelhorn; Dave Ballou: trumpet, flugelhorn; Joe Fiedler: trombone; Noah Bless: trombone; Nathan Durham: bass trombones; David Berkman: piano; John Herbert: bass; Mike Sarin: drums.

Day Of The Race

Tracks: Swim Swim Swim, Eat Eat Eat; Sweet Nut Stomp; The Fewest Heartbeats; Attack Of the Eye People; Not Finding Anything/The Beast Wheel's Revenge; Colianation.

Personnel: Jason Mears: alto saxophone, clarinet, Wood flutes; Kris Tiner: trumpet, Fluglehorn; Paul Kikuchi: drums Percusssion; Ivan Johnson - Contrabass .

The Entire Time

Tracks: Divining; City Snow Stories; For Oliver lake; The Tiny Boxes Speak Her Name; Smooth Surface, The Canals: One; Opus De Kirkus; Fond Rememberance Of Luther Talbot; Smooth Surface, The Canals: Two; Destination Deeth.

Personnel: Vinny Golia: xiao, bass clarinet, alto flute, curved soprano saxophone, DZI, soprano saxophone, stritch. Nels Cline: guitars, effects pedals, loops, sirens, megamouth

Acrobati Folli E Innamorati

Tracks: Acrobati Folli; Le Calmar Dans le bassin; Cus Cus; Pollution 1; Acrobati Innamorati; Uma Onda de Musica Continua; Four Sounds In The Cage; Pollution 2; Words Shadows; A Frog's Rain; Témoignage de Proximité; Emulation; Baobab; At Dead Of Night; Loop.

Personnel: Giorgio Occhinpinti: piano, prepared piano, percussion; Olivia Bignardi: alto saxophone, soprano clarinet, nacchere; Giuseppe Guarrella: bass, prepared bass; Antonio Moncada: drums.

Face In The Mirror

Tracks: Fire Storms; The Mentor (to James Newton); Tell Your Story ( to Meade Lux Lewis); Nobody's Song But Kenny's (to kenny Wheeler); Bell Chimes In (to Lori Bell); Two Witnesses; By His Wounds We Are Healed; He Who Acquanted With Sorrow; Sounds Like; Mingus Meditations; Gethsemane.

Personnel: Rick Helzer: piano; Chris Conner: bass; Duncan Moore: drums; Kim Richmond: alto, soprano saxophone; James Newton: flute; Lori Bell: flute; Joseph Howell: clarinet; Davis Borgo: tenor, soprano saxophone; Derek Cannon: flugelhorn.


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