One trio. One guest. A single, forty-two minute, freely improvised piece. That's what you basically have here, but such a bare description doesn't do it justice. The Core Trio--a group that has yet to actually record as a stand-alone trio--has an interesting history that seems to always revolve around personnel twists. The group came to exist as a three-piece when the members of an avant-garde quartet called Rosta decided to disband, but that was just the first of several changes. The Core Trio's first recording brought the core membership--saxophonist Seth Paynter, drummer Richard Cholakian and bassist/leader Thomas ...read more
Alternating Current is a completely entrancing recording that captures three master players listening and responding in real time. Both Matthew Shipp and William Parker thrive in the completely improvised arena, which is why drummer Jeff Cosgrove wanted them for this project. A second reason might have been that neither musician had ever played a composition by Paul Motian, who is one of Cosgrove's idols, along with Andrew Cyrille, who has connections with all three musicians and who helped bring them together for this project. Completely improvised music has to find its own internal way of carrying ...read more
Drummer Jeff Cosgrove certainly knows how to draw attention to himself. For his third album the DC area-based drummer enlists the services of two avant jazz icons in pianist Matthew Shipp and bassist William Parker. Just what a coup this is can be gauged from the fact that Shipp's previous sideman dates have included the legendary saxophonists David S. Ware and AACM iconoclast Roscoe Mitchell. Cosgrove has studied with masters like Andrew Cyrille and Paul Motian, and has covered the latter's tunes on Motian Sickness: For The Love Of Sarah (Self Produced, 2012). It was Cyrille who hooked him up ...read more
During the second week of June, saxophonist Stanley Jason Zappa undertook a fairly demanding performance trek with two colleagues, saxophonist Catherine Sikora and percussionist Nick Skrowaczewski. It began in the Okanagan wine region of southwestern British Columbia and concluded at the Casse Tete Festival at the inland city of Prince George, around 500 miles to the north. It was held at The Exploration Place between June 13th and 15th. Zappa provided a sense of the venue options and outcomes. There were three venues: the club, the winery cellar, and the festival." Interestingly, ...read more
Gone, now more than twenty years ago, guitarist Sonny Sharrock passing in 1994 seems like just yesterday. Maybe it is because his inexhaustible larger-than-life sound still permeates the music of today's free jazz community. This recording, from 1987 is a hidden gem and treasured fragment, perhaps another Rosetta Stone that allows listeners to appreciate how the jazz and rock music worlds shattered into a million pieces in the 1960s, only to reconfigure into new and challenging ways. Sharrock first met Peter Brötzmann in 1969, as the saxophonist relates in the conversation interview book with Gerard Rouy We Thought ...read more
I began studying the guitar when I was seven years old. I hated my teacher and I didn't practice much, but when I changed teachers' and I went to Joe Geneli, I regained a love for the guitar that I first had when I was four years old when I first saw Roy Rogers sing and play. It was with Joe that I began to practice. I found an hour a day was sufficient, but as I got older and the music he gave became harder, I practiced longer. When I was fourteen I switched to Sal Salvador. ...read more
Continued from Part 1 I began studying the guitar when I was seven years old. I hated my teacher and I didn't practice much, but when I changed teachers' and I went to Joe Geneli, I regained a love for the guitar that I first had when I was four years old when I first saw Roy Rogers sing and play. It was with Joe that I began to practice. I found an hour a day was sufficient, but as I got older and the music he gave became harder, I practiced longer. When I was ...read more
Vita Brevis represents maverick pianist Borah Bergman's last session before his death at age 85 in 2013. In the liners label boss Joe Chonto speculates that Bergman suffered from undiagnosed Aspberger's syndrome. As such it's perhaps not a surprise that he found his niche in outsider music--the jazz avant-garde. However his musical ability was never in doubt, given his remarkable facility to simultaneously pursue separate lines at length with each hand. On this date he's surrounded by other elder statesmen of the scene capable of following the pianist wherever he roams. NOLA saxophonist Kidd Jordan's uncompromising career stretches ...read more
Continued from Part 2 I began studying the guitar when I was seven years old. I hated my teacher and I didn't practice much, but when I changed teachers' and I went to Joe Geneli, I regained a love for the guitar that I first had when I was four years old when I first saw Roy Rogers sing and play. It was with Joe that I began to practice. I found an hour a day was sufficient, but as I got older and the music he gave became harder, I practiced longer. When I was ...read more
Over the span of a uniformly superb career, saxophonist Rich Halley and his working quartet have blended sophisticated style and unbridled vigor into impeccable performances that brim with creative energy. Their fourth release The Wisdom Of Rocks is no exception. What is unique about this provocative and exhilarating record is its unadorned beauty and mordant sound. Like the title insinuates, a pervasive theme is a raw, almost primal erudition that permeates its dozen, mostly, short tracks. The hard-hitting The Atoll" opens the disc with an intense sonic gust. After a powerful series of musical blows, Halley and trombonist ...read more
Bassist Max Johnson is one of the most prolific and versatile musician/composers in music today and likely on the verge of a major breakthrough. Barely past the year's mid-point Johnson has offered three fine releases with different groups and distinctly different styles. Recording with Kirk Knuffke on cornet on Johnson's namesake trio release The Invisible Trio (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2014) the approach was a broad mix of multi-layered structure and unfettered originality. Shortly afterward, Johnson released The Prisoner (NoBusiness Records, 2014) with a quartet that included saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and violist Mat Maneri. Here the avant-garde music was inspired ...read more
The debut album of Portuguese saxophonist Rodrigo Amado's Wire Quartet--featuring the rhythm section of the acclaimed RED Trio, double bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini (who also plays in Amado's long-standing working Motion Trio) and experimental guitarist Manuel Mota--demonstrate Amado strongest and most intense performances to date, defying any attempt to associate it with post-bop or free jazz. This powerful quartet also establishes Amado's wise choice when it comes to radical and original sounding guitarists, after collaborating with Luis Lopez in the Portuguese-American Humanization Quartet. The titles of the three extended pieces frame the spirit ...read more
"Playing music is like doing heart surgery," bassist William Parker told interviewer Radhika Philiip in Being Here: Conversations on Creating Music (Radio.org, 2013). Every time you hit a note, someone's life is on the line, and so you can't fool around." Serious intent and intense focus are the cornerstones of these playful dialogues between Parker, drummer Jeff Cosgrove and pianist Matthew Shipp. A similar approach is also recommended in approaching this music--background noise it ain't. Drummer Andrew Cyrille--to whom the title track is dedicated--is the link between the three musicians, having taught Cosgrove and collaborated with both Shipp ...read more
Pulcinella shares its name with a character from the Commedia dell'Arte--he figures rather charmingly on the band's website--and declares its mix of jazz, rock, tango and Baltic traditions to be delocalised jazz." Presumably this refers to the music's international identity--no single place can lay claim to the Pulcinella sound. Bestiole, Pulcinella's third album since saxophonist Ferdinand Doumerc brought it together in Toulouse in 2004, showcases a quartet whose breadth of musical vision moves from fast, energetic, dance rhythms to gentle, melancholy, ballads. Pulcinella's combination of straightforward and engaging melodies, infectious rhythms and joyous performance shines through on tunes ...read more
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