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John Hollenbeck / Alban Darche / Sébastien Boisseau / Samuel Blaser: J.A.S.S.

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J.A.S.S. as in the first letters of the names of American drummer John hollenbeck, French saxophonist Alban Darche and double bassist Sébastien Boisseau and Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser. But Jass also as the term used by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in March 1917 for the very first jazz-album recording or just the name of centuries-old popular card game in Switzerland and Austria. All of the above references relevant to this quartet who first played together in Berlin in July 2011 and recorded its debut after an artist's residency in Nantes, France, the hometown of Darche ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser Consort in Motion: A Mirror to Machaut

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Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser's largely mellower and investigative Consort in Motion differs from his acclaimed quartet's often hard- hitting and somewhat deviously entertaining persona for the hatOLOGY record label, partly due to French guitarist Marc Ducret's electrifying assaults. Thus, A Mirror to Machaut sheds additional light on Blaser's approach to composition, that coincides with a band personnel shift after drumming legend Paul Motian's passing in November, 2012. Blaser tackles the work and ideologies of pioneering medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut for a program that proffers diversity and unforeseen shifts in strategy. His conservatory training, linked with his ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Samuel Blaser Quartet: As the Sea

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Since bursting on the the international jazz scene in the mid-2000s, Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser has established himself as one of his instrument's foremost practitioners. His playing combines the precision and detail of a top-flight classical instrumentalist with the unfettered, emotionally direct and rhythmically rich approach that characterizes the best jazz players. Blaser--still in his early 30s-- has also forged a reputation as a bandleader and composer par excellence. Presently, he leads four different bands, and occupies the trombone chair in groups led by saxophonist Peter van Huffel, clarinetist Francois Houle and percussionist Pierre Favre. As The Sea features Blaser's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser Consort in Motion: A Mirror to Machaut

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Over the last few years Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser has established himself as a significant presence in the international jazz scene. Recent activity features no less than three consecutive releases; A Mirror to Machaut is the latest in a series of engaging albums, following One From None (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2013), the debut of his co-led Quintet with Canadian bassist Michael Bates, and As The Sea (Hatology, 2013), the second recording of his regular touring Quartet.Among his current projects, Consort in Motion is the most intriguing. The ensemble's 2011 self-titled debut featured legendary drummer Paul Motian anchoring ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser Quartet: As The Sea

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Allocating his time between Europe and New York City, Swiss-born trombone maestro Samuel Blaser has recorded for prominent record labels, specializing in the outside jazz realm. Thus, As The Sea is the quartet's follow-up to Boundless (hatOLOGY, 2011). Blaser's recognizable plight to lay out nouveau frontiers remains a continuum. No wonder why he's garnered the assistance of such reputable instrumentalists. Otherwise, the program contains a flux of contrapuntal statements. His musicality imparts breathy expansionism amid swarming movements that are purposely chaotic, and feature improvisation that at times seems to be somewhat calculated by design. Nonetheless, Blaser allows the band to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser Quartet: As The Sea

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The whole of some musical outfits is greater than its separate parts. The Berlin-based, Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser's Quartet is one of these outfits, comprised of resourceful musicians with strong personalities, distinct approaches that together complement the strengths of this band but also pushes it into newer terrains. Blaser is conservatory trained and university educated, has a perfect-pitch sound on the trombone and rich musical vision that encompasses anything between composer Richard Wagner's grandiose operas, classical Indian music and saxophone giant John Coltrane. Self-taught French guitarist Marc Ducret has developed a highly original musical language, intuitive, genre-binding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser Quartet: Boundless

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In his relatively brief tenure as a professional jazz musician who derives influences from classical music studies and John Cage-tinted abstractions, Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser's craft teems with curiously interesting applications and concepts. He's recorded for other prominent European record labels, but debuts on the historic Swiss-based hatOLOGY label with Boundless.Blaser imparts a penchant for innovation, fusing experimentation with structure and loosely organized tenets within a larger compositional picture, and his band of proven futurists share a common plight via resolute expansionism. “Boundless Suite, Part 4" is engineered on a staggered sequence of rhythmic variations. Bassist Banz Oester's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser Quartet: Boundless

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In a relatively short time, Swiss-born trombonist Samuel Blaser has established himself as one of the most interesting and innovative low brass players to emerge from the international avant-jazz scene at the beginning of the 21st Century. He's also becoming quite prolific, releasing four CDs under his own name over the previous 12 months.Boundless, Blaser's debut recording for the preeminent Swiss jazz label Hat Hut, virtually cements the notion that Blaser is more than just another technically adept youngster. Barely into his thirties, Blaser balances sheer technical brilliance with razor-sharp musical instincts and an profound historical understanding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser: Consort in Motion

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There is something positively celestial about Consort in Motion. It's like listening to a soundtrack of the workings of a Jovian planetary system: a substantial mass in the middle (Samuel Blaser's trombone), orbiting moons and scatterings of interplanetary debris (bass and drums); and flashes and sparkles twinkling off of space dust (piano), with things making sense in the milieu of a sonic version of planetary physics.Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser leads Consort in Motion, but there is an egalitarian mood on this spacious sound experience. Paul Motian--who came to the fore in terms of profile in the late fifties ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser: Consort in Motion

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Initially defined by composer Gunther Schuller in the late 1950s as a synthesis of jazz improvisation and classical composition, the Third Stream movement has since drifted into relative obscurity. However, in the ensuing decades the milieu has provided fertile ground for a number of visionary artists to make bold statements. The increasingly commonplace role of conservatory educations for enterprising jazz musicians has also brought newfound potential to this aesthetic; the number of young artists versed in classical composition and jazz improvisation is greater now than ever before.Conservatory-trained Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser came of age listening to classical music, ...

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 ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Samuel Blaser: Pieces of Old Sky & Vol à Voile

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Samuel BlaserPieces of Old SkyClean Feed2009 Pierre Favre/Samuel BlaserVol à VoileIntakt2010 There's a wonderfully eerie quality to Pieces of Old Sky, trombonist Samuel Blaser's recording with guitarist Todd Neufeld, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Tyshawn Sorey. Opening with the 17-minute title track, Blaser conjures a mood of dark, open expanse and gradual development. Neufeld lets his gently clanging chords and lines hang in the air, setting their quasi-metallic sound against Blaser's horn, which is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser Quartet: Pieces of Old Sky

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Swiss-born, Berlin-based trombonist Samuel Blaser is a musician to watch. He has a unique and personal vision, imaginative scope of articulation, and an ability to communicate and surprise with his sonic discoveries and ideas. This excellent new recording, his best so far, impresses more with every listening.

The album was recorded in New York with three forward-thinking collaborators--guitarist Todd Neufeld, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, the same trio that collaborated on Sorey's recent masterful Koan (482 Music, 2009). Blaser's original compositions are arranged as a suite that moves between delicate, soft declarations and forceful, energetic outbursts.

The title ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser: Pieces of Old Sky

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Pieces of Old Sky could be called furtive jazz. The quartet--trombone, bass, guitar and drums--sneaks around the perimeter of the room, leaving big swaths of space. It sounds as if there are mysteries in this music, secrets in Samuel Blaser's sonic world. Swiss-born trombonist Blaser treads a free jazz territory that is similar in sound and scope to Henry Threadgill's, with drifting, amorphous melodies, telepathic group interplay and unwavering conviction. The ensemble prowls in stealthy, communal fashion on the opening 17-minute title tune, walking a cerebral/visceral tightrope with a provocative élan.“Red Hook" cranks up the pace ...



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