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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer and Helge Lien: Memnon

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Helge Lien is a contemporary Norwegian pianist principally known for work on his own and with his trio, for which he has been awarded Norway's 2008 DnBNor Musicians Award. Despite extensive exposure to the more mainstream music created with his trio, however, Lien has long been associated with more experimental projects, like the HERO duo, from 2005-6, with saxophonist Rolf-Erik Nystrøm; with Tri O'Trang, where Lien plays alongside saxophone, trumpet and/or tuba; and his more recent solo piano outing, Kattenslager (Ozella, 2012 ) This album of duets with singer Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer is not easy listening either. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Naked Truth: Ouroboros

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With apologies to the late guitarist Pete Cosey (who led a band by the name), the members of Naked Truth are bona fide “children of Agharta." That is, the group--led by bassist-guitarist Lorenzo Feliciati--has absorbed and adapted the lessons of trumpeter Miles Davis's exhausting, tectonic live recording Agharta (Columbia, 1975) so well that Davis' disc can be revisited with fresh ears and new appreciation.What does it mean to be children of Agharta? The brooding Ouroboros would not be mistaken for Davis' record in any blindfold test. Nor is it likely that Naked Truth has consciously imitated its trumpet-playing ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stevens / Rutherford / Parker / Guy: One Four and Two Twos

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This release brings the very welcome return of an August 1978 studio session involving four legends of British improv: drummer John Stevens, trombonist Paul Rutherford, saxophonist Evan Parker and bassist Barry Guy. The first four of its five quartet tracks were originally released on LP in 1980 by View; all five were rereleased on CD in 1994 by Konnex, accompanied by a 1992 Spontaneous Music Ensemble (SME) track. Here, all five are accompanied by three unreleased 1979 duo tracks from trombonist Paul Rutherford and bassist Barry Guy, and two unreleased 1992 duo tracks by drummer John Stevens and saxophonist Evan ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Naked Truth: Shizaru

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Naked Truth is the brain child of Italian bassist Lorenzo Feliciati, who has made a name for himself throughout Europe since 2005 as both a leader and collaborator. Feliciati has said that Naked Truth came from his desire to create a band where “each voice is equal and contributes to the musical conversation," and where no instrument dominates the melodies or solos. Instead, each composition is based upon a riff or sonic motif, with the players all responding with improvised layers of their own. In this spirit, all songwriting is credited to Naked Truth. Feliciati has assembled ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Thomas Zehetmair / Ruth Killius: Manto and Madrigals

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The husband and wife team of violinist Thomas Zehetmair and violist Ruth Killius is best known for its work in the Zehetmair Quartet and, more specifically, for that group's award- winning recording of Schumann's First and Third String Quartets (ECM, 2001). On Manto and Madrigals the creative pair assembles an equally creative recital of duet miniatures from the 20th and 21st Centuries. This is difficult music, requiring something between attention and careful study. Darkly dissonant, the disc's repertoire is challenging and rewarding. A brief spring morning does exist among the brooding consideration--an early piece by Béla Bartók, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

John Vanore & Abstract Truth: Contagious Words

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John Vanore & Abstract Truth's Contagious Words has the qualities of either a small big-band date or a big small-band date, depending on the perspective. There are twelve musicians listed on every track, and five more who show up for a few tracks each. That certainly has the instrumental mix for a full big band sound, but Vanore, who plays trumpet and composed most of the tracks on the album, uses the full power of the orchestra judiciously. The writing is complicated enough to sound modern and highly crafted, but remains accessible enough to retain fans of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Rutherford: Tetralogy (1978-82)

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As Joni Mitchell wrote, you don't what you've got till it's gone. So it has proved with legendary trombonist and euphonium player Paul Rutherford. A massive void has been left since his sudden death in August 2007. Sad to think we'll never see his walrus moustache and distinctive red braces again, listen to his ever-sensible views on the state of the world or hear him live as he conjures an affecting solo performance from thin air. That is why this double CD, containing four previously unissued sessions, is such a pleasure: a solo set including electronics and quartet date, both ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Paul Rutherford: Solo in Berlin 1975

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From the 27th to the 31st of March, 1975 the FMP label held its Workshop Freie Musik at the Berlin Academy of Art, and among usual suspects Alexander von Schlippenbach and the Globe Unity Orchestra, the festival held various aggregations for brass instrumentalists, in groups and as soloists. Among the trombone soloists, whose performances lasted approximately one half-hour, were Germans Albert Mangelsdorff and Gunter Christmann, Dutchman Willem Van Manen, Frenchman Vinko Globokar and the English enfant terrible Paul Rutherford, who passed away a year ago this month.In an interview shortly before his passing, Rutherford related the experience to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Groundtruther: Groundtruther: Altitude

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The third and final installment in the Groundtruther trilogy may also be the most highly anticipated, since the inclusion of John Medeski in the Charlie Hunter/Bobby Previte axis would seem to be a highly combustible mix. Yet Altitude, rather than the resounding finish to the project, is something of a mixed bag, perhaps more so than the artists intended.

But that may be because it is also the most ambitious. This is a double CD compared to the single sets of Latitude (Thirsty Ear, 2004), with Greg Osby, and Longitude (Thirsty Ear, 2005), with DJ Logic. Add to that the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte as Groundtruther: Altitude

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Music correlating to physicality gives it a fertile meaning, a meaning that lifts it out of its abstract plane into a zone that is identifiable. Listening becomes more than moving through time; it becomes a process of imagination and fulfillment.

Drummer Bobby Previte and guitarist Charlie Hunter have interpreted three descriptors of the earth in a trilogy of releases. Latitude came in 2004, Longitude in 2005, and now Altitude in 2007, all on Thirsty Ear. The first two were true to their names. The music negotiated its way on a sonic surface. The orientation and interaction ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte as Groundtruther: Altitude

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After three years and as many records, drummer Bobby Previte and guitarist Charlie Hunter bring their experimental trio project Groundtruther to a triumphant conclusion. Previte and Hunter have invited a rotating third member to play on each release; Latitude (Thirsty Ear, 2004) featured saxophonist Greg Osby, while Longitude (Thirsty Ear, 2005) starred DJ Logic. Keyboardist John Medeski joins the duo for Altitude, their third and final album.

Osby and Logic each put their own stamp on the trio, but neither seem as ideally suited to the project's varied scope as Medeski. The collective's most expansive session, Altitude ventures ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Charlie Hunter and Bobby Previte as Groundtruther: Altitude

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Like a three act play, guitarist Charlie Hunter and percussionist Bobby Previte's Groundtruther project saves the best for last. Latitude (Thirsty Ear, 2004) teamed them with intrepid saxophonist Greg Osby and while both Hunter and Previte have never been technologically challenged, it represented, individually, their most extreme integration of processing/sampling with conventional instrumentation. Likewise, Longitude (Thirsty Ear, 2005), featuring guest turntablist DJ Logic, found a curious meeting place between free improvisation and groove; moving away, however, from the general funkiness of Latitude in favor of a more hard-edged rock attitude.

Altitude continues the pursuit of even greater extremes, this time ...

MISTERIOSO

Paul Rutherford: An Homage

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It was 1975. I was a teenager at my parent's house on the lonely moors of Northern Germany, feverishly opening a package from FMP Records in Berlin, my lifeline to the world of free jazz and improvised music that I had recently discovered. The package contained one LP, Paul Rutherford's Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie. I rushed to my room to put this object of desire, a record of solo trombone music, about which I had been speculating for weeks on the record player. What I heard was not just a man playing his music, it was a philosophy of ...

GENERAL ARTICLES

Paul Rutherford In Memoriam (1940-2007)

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The passing of Paul reminds us of the fragility of living life as a pioneer in an uncertain musical world. Our work together in Iskra 1903 represented the buoyant days of intense experimentation in the small ensemble, but Paul was also busy working with several large groups - Westbrook, Globe Unity, London Jazz Composers Orchestra and later the Charlie Watts Big Band. Appearances of these groups, by their very nature, were infrequent, and as concerts became harder to arrange, so did Paul's work tail off. The paucity of playing depressed him - he was happiest on the stage, not off ...



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