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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Edwards: For Rei As A Doe: For piano and computer

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Michael Edwards is a British composer, based in Edinburgh, who developed a range of musical computer techniques ranging from real-time digital instruments to self-contained, algorithmic environments. His composition for piano and computer For Rei As A Doe, was originally written for Japanese pianist Rei Nakamura and reflects long years of practicing the vipassana meditation. It is a slow and quiet piece, in which silence has an equal role to the piano or subtle, minimalist electronics. The pianist, Austrian Karin Schistek performs with great focus and precision, letting the piano's resonating sonorities blossom organically to emphasiza a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

konstruKt and Joe McPhee: Babylon: The First Meeting of Istanbul

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Taken at face value, konstruKt's catchphrase, “Free Jazz from Turkey," seems a tad pedestrian. But, if one considers Turkey's place in the world-literally the crossing point between Asia and Europe-its crazy-quilt ethnic diversity, and its continued religious and political unrest, it's a fitting metaphor. Oddly, most of the band's recorded output features invited guest artists from the US and Europe. In addition to multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, featured here, konstruKt has collaborated with Evan Parker, Marshall Allen, Peter Brotzmann and Eugene Chadbourne among others, and their next album is a collaboration with Japanese saxophonist Akira Sakata. Such collaborations can be artistically ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Akira Sakata, Giovanni Di Domenico, John Edwards, Steve Noble: Live at Cafe Oto

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Recorded in concert at London's Cafe Oto in January 2014, this album features the kind of cosmopolitan ensemble in which the venue specialises. It brings together veteran Japanese reedsman Akira Sataka and Spanish pianist Giovanni Di Domenico with London's own John Edwards and Steve Noble. The latter pair have virtually become the house bassist and drummer at Cafe Oto, appearing with many visiting musicians, some of whom play at the venue for that very reason. It is no exaggeration to say that the twosome deserves the often-heard description of them, “the Sly and Robbie of Improv." As well as their ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Olie Brice Quintet: Immune to Clockwork

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For some time, bassist Olie Brice has been a highly-regarded member of the London improvising community, so it is a genuine pleasure to welcome Immune to Clockwork, his debut album as a leader. Many ingredients combine to mark out effective band leaders from the less successful ones; on this showing, Brice ticks enough boxes to indicate that he is well suited to the role. Firstly, a leader must have the knack of selecting band personnel who combine together effectively; that is not just about recruiting good players but also about having a sense of the chemistry between them. (Yes, we ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Steven Schoenberg: Christmas Reimagined

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Categorization is an anti-entropic effort to describe similar, but not equal, things for comparative reasons. So was my thinking when I began my review of pianist Steven Schoenberg's recording Steven Schoenberg Live: An Improvisational Journey (Quabbin Records, 2009) with: “Like the face of Helen launching a thousand ships, for better or worse, Keith Jarrett's 1975 Koln Concert (ECM) inspired a like number of improvisational piano recitals (half of which were ultimately Jarrett's own) and the entire genre of “New Age" solo piano music. This spontaneous creativity is, at best an inspiration, and at worst, a bore.“

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rich Halley 4: The Wisdom of Rocks

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Portland-based saxophonist Rich Halley mines a rich seam, despite plying his wares away from the limelight. Halley has been fortunate to overcome the plight of anyone working outside the main centers of jazz activity by finding a coterie of like-minded talents to sympathetically explore his inside/outside conundrums. As a result his discography contains a stream of solid, timeless dates that ignore current fashion, of which Wisdom of Rocks is just the latest installment. An easy interplay pervades a program of 12 relatively short cuts, distinguished by incisive solo spots, in which the execution goes way beyond the scripted notes.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

RED Trio and Mattias Ståhl: North And The Red Stream

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On their fifth album, Swedish vibraphonist Mattias Ståhl joins the Portuguese Red Trio as a guest. He's the latest in a sequence which includes alliances with saxophonist John Butcher and trumpeter Nate Wooley on disc, and reedman Ken Vandermark in performance. The product, North And The Red Stream, comprises three collective improvisations recorded at the VDU Jazz Festival in the Lithuanian city of Kaunas in 2013. Each arises from an impromptu give and take, negotiated on the fly, as the principals continue to exercise the democratic ethos which has served them so well to date. Unsurprisingly the ...



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