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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Irene Schweizer - Pierre Favre: Live in Zurich

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Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer's celebrated duets with jazz drumming greats, Andrew Cyrille, Han Bennink and Gunter “Baby" Sommer must have been impressive spectacles. This album denotes her third duo album with her infamous fellow countryman, drummer Pierre Favre. Needless to state, the artists' extraordinary interactions are in full force via these concise pieces that were not arranged or rehearsed prior to the live gigs, spanning March 22-24, 2013 at a venue in Zurich. Even though these works skirt the free-zone, structural song-forms tender the underpinning for the musicians' uncanny intuition that of course, matures over time amid insights garnered from ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pierre Favre Ensemble: Le Voyage

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Pierre Favre is a scion of the improvisation scene in Europe and beyond. There's always been a reflective element in his drum and percussion work that suggests a slightly conservative disposition which has been manifested in a kind of politeness and reticence. Those two qualities in many respects sum up the music on this disc. While the antithesis of those qualities does not necessarily make for compelling music, in this case of this recording the overall mood is slightly soporific, as if the music could at any time simply merge with the background, never to catch the ear again.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pierre Favre: Albatros

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Renowned Swiss drummer Pierre Favre imparts his kaleidoscopic tonal palette into these intricately exercised and probing duets with fellow countryman, guitarist Philipp Schaufelberger. The musicians cover a gamut of twists, turns and subtle theme building maneuvers, including airy environs and an abundance of tradeoffs. Moreover, Favre balances out the set with structured patterns and asymmetrical rhythms in concert with his melodic fills. “Seeing" presents an ambient vista, with Favre's delicate drumming and soft cymbal hits offering a solemn underpinning to Schaufelberger's gentle plucking, flickering notes and echo-laden treatments. They project a blissful state that may intimate a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pierre Favre / Philipp Schaufelberger: Albatros

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A sense of “music-minus-one" is pretty pervasive on Albatros. Regardless of what instrument is played, the presence of an additional musician might have elevated the music and the discourse from which it springs, to a more ear-catching level than that attained by this configuration of musicians. As it is, this duo of guitar and drums is marked by perfunctory air. The waddling progress of “Pino Caro" seems faintly contrived, while “Seeing"--all three-and-a-half minutes of it--is heavy with the fragrance of what might have been, as the duo conjures an air of contradictorily unsettled solemnity. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pierre Favre / Samuel Blaser: Vol A Voile

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On one level, this program of trombone and drums duets possesses very little in the way of the sound of surprise, once the ear becomes accustomed to the sparseness of the lineup. Perhaps inevitably, this means that for all their obvious empathy, the musicians don't really grab the moment, nor do they ruffle the surface calm of the music they make. In view of the promise sometimes tantalizingly shown, this makes for a frustrating listen. Of the two musicians involved, drummer Pierre Favre has a long pedigree in the European improvisation scene. Samuel Blaser shows hints of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Pierre Favre: Fleuve

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With Fleuve, drummer and percussionist Pierre Favre demonstrates that not only is he a master of his instrument, but he also has complete command in the fields of composition and arrangement.

The music dances (often literally), and is light, airy and transparent. Favre seems to go out of his way to choose instrumentation that works against such a result by being bottom-heavy: acoustic and electric bass, tuba, serpent and bass clarinet are included. However, to lighten things, soprano saxophone is used instead of bass clarinet at times, while harp and guitar are added to the mix; plus, of course, Favre's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Robin Williamson: The Iron Stone

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Scottish singer/multi-instrumentalist Robin Williamson continues to mine the nexus of traditional song and free improvisation on The Iron Stone. Back from Skirting the River Road (ECM, 2002) are Mat Maneri (viola and Hardanger fiddle) and Swedish traditionalist Ale Möller (on a plethora of instruments plucked, pressed or blown), while renowned bassist Barre Phillips makes his first appearance with Williamson. Departing from Skirting's verse by Walt Whitman, William Blake and Henry Vaughan, Williamson looks to Walter Raleigh, Thomas Wyatt, John Clare and Ralph Waldo Emerson for inspiration, in addition to his own words and music.

That traditional folk song and free ...



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