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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brotzmann/Sonny Sharrock: WHATTHEFUCKDOYOUWANT

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This album is a release of archived material, recorded live in Luxembourg in 1987. Peter Brotzmann has been delving into his archives a lot lately and this release is one of the gems he found. Now on the Venetian label TROST, this collaboration between Brotzmann and guitarist Sonny Sharrock is widely available. Sharrock died in 1994 and jazz lost one ot its great musicians--he had played with Miles Davis, Pharoah Sanders and others during the 1960s before fading from the scene, but returned to the spotlight as part of the free-rock-jazz-noise quartet Last Exit with bassist Bill Laswell, drummer Ronald ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Abbey Rader: The Message

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Drummer Abbey Rader's four decades long career has been one of intrepid innovation and creative ingenuity. His unique approach to his instrument brims with unconventional virtuosity and a deep spiritual sense. His The Message on his own Abray label, is a three part, entirely improvised suite recorded live in Miami in January of 2014. Sort of a musical allegory about the various phases of life the harmonically multi-textured performance has an undercurrent of wise serenity even during its wildest most energetic moments. For instance on “Arrival," as the two saxophones soar over Rader's dark rumble, altoist Noah Brandmark's ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gianni Mimmo & Alison Blunt: Lasting Ephemerals

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To say that someone is a virtuoso on their instrument isn't a statement just about playing ability. Virtuosity implies a deep level of understanding and insight into the way an instrument works, its history, and its sonic capabilities. This knowledge extends to an understanding of the physics of sound production: the minute details of how the sound is generated, how it is altered tonally, timbrally, and otherwise, where the overtones lie and how they can be manipulated, how environmental factors figure into one's sound. Though technical ability comes from within, the total command of one's voice is shaped by the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brotzmann: Mental Shake

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German saxophone powerhouse Peter Brotzmann favors the trio format to deliver the optimum combination of energy and directness. Over the years he's sought inspiration from many illustrious rhythm teams, from the South African Harry Miller / Louis Moholo axis, through the American Die Like A Dog coupling of William Parker and Hamid Drake, to the Swiss Full Blast pairing of Michael Wertmuller and Marino Pliakas. However one of his most potent units in recent times has been the English twosome of John Edwards and Steve Noble. Though initiated in January 2010, to date their only documentation has been on The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Core Trio with Matthew Shipp: The Core Trio With Matthew Shipp

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Cosgrove: Alternating Current

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jeff Cosgrove: Alternating Current

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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 ...

GNOME NOTES

Stanley Jason Zappa's Epic Gig Trek

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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, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Peter Brotzmann/Sonny Sharrock: WHATTHEFUCKDOYOUWANT

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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 ...

ON AND OFF THE GRID

Practice, Do You? - Part 1-3

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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. ...

ON AND OFF THE GRID

Practice, Do You? - Part 2-3

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Borah Bergman/Kidd Jordan/William Parker/Michael Wimberly: Vita Brevis

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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 ...

ON AND OFF THE GRID

Practice, Do You? - Part 3-3

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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 ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rich Halley 4: The Wisdom of Rocks

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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 ...



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