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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Ward Quintet: Glass Shelves and Floor

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From the personnel of his new quintet, it is obvious that clarinetist Alex Ward keeps his finger on the pulse of the London music scene. In selecting players to join him, he has hit upon four highly-rated musicians who have been impressing audiences in the capital for some years. The quintet's cellist Hannah Marshall is a long-standing member of London Improvisers Orchestra as well as such fine groups as Barrel, Haste, Trio of Uncertainty and a trio with the quintet's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Olie Brice / Tobias Delius / Mark Sanders: Somersaults

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Hot on the heels of Immune to Clockwork (Multikulti Project, 2014) by his own quintet comes another fine album featuring bassist Olie Brice. He organised the December 2014 studio recording session for Somersaults which features a trio in which Brice is joined by drummer Mark Sanders, with whom he frequently plays (notably in the Riverloam Trio with Polish saxophonist Mikolaj Trzaska, arguably a dry run for this grouping). This trio is completed by long-time ICP Orchestra member Tobias Delius on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Henry Kaiser - Damon Smith - Weasel Walter: Plane Crash Two

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This album was created shortly after experimental guitarist Henry Kaiser's large ensemble collaboration with fabled Brit guitarist Ray Russell The Celestial Squid (Cuneiform, 2015), as Plane Crash Two marks the second installment of the trio's unadulterated free improvisation exploits. Here, three longtime associates generate that special synergy required to pull it off. Regardless of tempo or pitch, the musicians expand, contract and generate call and response patterns via microsecond-like reactions amid the ensuing developments. The program is consummated ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rich Halley 4: Creating Structure

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Saxophonist Rich Halley, home-based in Portland, Oregon, has put out seventeen CDs. A good handful of those, pre-2006, were released on the now-dormant Louie Records. These were mostly chordless trio and quartet affairs that showcased Halley's talent for creating category four maelstroms that gelled and bopped their way into surprisingly catchy, damned near mainstream grooves. Pine Eagle Records, Halley's record label, was born in 2010, and the saxophonist and his like minded friends--trombonist Michael Vlatkovich, bassist Clyde Reed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

ICP Orchestra: East of the Sun

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The Holland-based Instant Composers Pool (ICP) Orchestra has amassed 51 albums since its inception in 1967 and due to health-related issues, legendary co-founder, pianist Misha Mengelberg is unable to perform. But guest artist, pianist Guus Janseen duly integrates his artistry into the orchestra's distinct constitution. And of course inimitable drummer Han Bennink helps support and steer the large ensemble through its perpetually moving currents amid its customary unpredictability and topsy-turvy discourses. As surmised, the artists interconnect free jazz improvisation, folk ...

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Dom's Duos: Dom Minasi Meets Blaise Siwula, Chris Kelsey, And Hans Tammen

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Improvising musicians all pay lip service to the idea of working without a net, but most end up building safety precautions--no matter how slight or subtle they may be--into their work. Dom Minasi, however, isn't one of those musicians. The indefatigable guitarist has no interest in sonic safeguards or insurance. He's a law unto himself, creating music that speaks to his intelligence, fearlessness, and mischievous nature. And while Minasi has been at it for half a century, he shows no ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Konstrukt and William Parker: Live At NHKM

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Let me propose the notion that American poet Emily Dickinson was a free jazz fan. Sure, you have to look past the fact that she died in 1886, when Buddy Bolden was but nine years old. But consider her words: “The worthlessness of Earthly things/The Ditty is that Nature Sings -/And then -enforces their delight/Til Synods are inordinate." She wrote about, and lived in a world much like that of a free jazz musician. Stowed away in her little house, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Henry Kaiser & Ray Russell: The Celestial Squid

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The Celestial Squid is an unprecedented summit meeting between two renowned guitarists: legendary British session ace Ray Russell and idiosyncratic Bay Area experimentalist Henry Kaiser. Although best known as a veteran studio musician, Russell's groundbreaking early records revealed a penchant for unbridled free jazz, culminating in his 1971 masterpiece Rites and Rituals (CBS). Since then, Russell has enjoyed a lucrative freelance career, working with artists ranging from Gil Evans to David Bowie, but other than a few recent fusion-oriented endeavors, ...



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