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Nobu Stowe: Beyond Free

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The music of NS (Nobu) Stowe is synonymous with the musical storytelling characterized with spontaneity and melodic romanticism--a true rarity in the field of fully improvised music. Stowe has not only mastered the art of total improvisation--a method of fully improvised music that embraces song-like melody, tonal harmony and rhythmic propulsion as well as more commonly improvised free elements--but also unique sets of fully improvised music, incorporating his own vast musical influences, from Baroque and progressive rock to soundtracks, ethnic elements and many more, with loose-yet-comprehensive structures. The results are well-documented in the highly original works released on the German ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nobu Stowe: Confusion Bleue

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Pianist Nobu Stowe continues developing and honing his quest of “total improvisation" with the marvelous Confusion Bleue. The music hovers within the world of free jazz but almost always contains elements that imply structure, allowing the compositions to feel more or less anchored as time flows by. Stowe's explorations are supported by many of the same musicians from his previous efforts, Hommage an Klaus Kinski (Soul Note, 2007) and the Brooklyn and New York Moments (Konnex, 2006). Sonic engineer Lee Pembleton's effects vary in audibility, but it feels as though he is always there, providing both specific ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nobu Stowe: An die Musik

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Knowledge is hierarchical and contextual, with the need of integrating the new into the old without contradiction. Furthermore, conclusions reached must also be contextual, meaning that they are conditioned by the state of the knowledge from which they are drawn. What does this have to do with pianist Nobu Stowe and An Die Musik? The act of judging an artist's output as good or bad, successful or unsuccessful, which is different than like or dislike, must center on whether the work in question presents an integrated point of view. That is, can an artistic viewpoint be clearly ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nobu Stowe: An die Musik

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No decisions about a recording should ever be made based on the first few sounds that are heard. Even though An die Musik from Japanese pianist Nobu Stowe begins with a restfully melodic and dramatic three-minute piano and drum duet, it moves quickly and assuredly into a vibrant and emotive rhythmic set of improvisations. These possess percussive diversity and a distinctive pianistic bravura. This unique group of musicians alternates among combinations of instruments, moving between duos and trios of piano, drums and tabla.

Stowe interacts with his instrument ceaselessly implementing his cognizance of its capacity to tell stories, no matter ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Nobu Stowe / Lee Pembleton: Hommage an Klaus Kinski

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The evocative and haunting Hommage an Klaus Kinski has the subtitle Total-Improvisations on Sonic Canvas, which states the roles of the recording's two main protagonists: pianist Nobu Stowe and sound designer Lee Pembleton. Stowe continues here with the kind of music represented on the Brooklyn Moments and New York Moments (both Konnex, 2006), where he desires his improvisations to be “spontaneous songs" with a tonality and a melody in the manner of his main influence, Keith Jarrett. Pembleton uses his electronics to create sounds (as opposed to discrete notes) which at many times evokes clear imagery while ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Blaise Siwula / Dom Minasi / Nobu Stowe / Ray Sage: New York Moments

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No frills or trickery enacted here, as its all about a collective of like-minded musical spirits letting the chips fall where they may. This quartet stokes the coals and generates some high-heat during this rollicking and stimulating improv fest recorded at The Studio in New York City. New York Moments also serves as the companion for the trio date, Brooklyn Moments (Konnex, 2007), featuring the same personnel sans the services of guitarist Dom Minasi.

Multi-reedman Blaise Siwula sparks the chain of events with darting, voracious and frenzied lines, often complemented by Minasi's swift, single note voicings. IThe quartet ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Andrea Centazzo, Perry Robinson, Nobu Stowe: The Soul in the Mist

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On The Soul in the Mist, legendary composer/percussionist Andrea Centazzo leads a dazzling set of introspective, communal improvisation with the help of renowned clarinetist Perry Robinson and pianist Nobu Stowe. The musical explorations on this live recording, taken from two east coast concerts in November of 2006, have a meditative, trance-like quality, spacious and hauntingly patient.

For the most part, Centazzo defines the mood of each selection with definitive percussion introductions. However, the minimalist nature to his compositions allows each of the musicians to contribute to the textural development of each piece. The low, drawn-out rumble of drums coupled with ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Nobu Stowe: Brooklyn and New York Moments

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"Free jazz" is actually a misnomer. Noise is free while music has some form of order imposed upon the sounds, which do not have to be strictly “musical" notes. Success in playing free jazz hinges upon the degree to which the players listen to each other and inter-react to form larger structures. In such settings, what each musician plays is therefore not actually free but dependent upon what everyone else is doing. Feedback loops abound as sensitive players give and take, lead and follow, fight and acquiesce. The result can be thrilling, as the listener is pulled ...



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