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Ches Smith with Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri: The Bell

Read "The Bell" reviewed by Mark Sullivan

Percussionist Ches Smith presents an album of chamber music for acoustic trio on his ECM debut as leader. Smith is often heard on drums in projects with guitarist Mary Halvorson and as a member of saxophonist Tim Berne's Snakeoil, among others. But he opens this album with the title bell, and is heard on timpani and vibraphone long before employing the drum kit. Pianist Craig Taborn is often heard on Fender Rhodes, filling in for the bass on albums like ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ches Smith with Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri: The Bell

Read "The Bell" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Despite appearing on at least fifty recordings since 2001, Ches Smith remains the more under-recognized, yet highly in-demand, member of this newly formed trio. The drummer/percussionist and vibraphonist for Tim Berne's Snakeoil, Smith has played with John Zorn on Voices in the Wilderness (Tzadik, 2003), as well as Wadada Leo Smith, and guitarists Fred Frith and Marc Ribot. The Bell is his fifth outing as a leader, three being solo efforts and one with his recent group, These Arches, which ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ches Smith and These Arches: Hammered

Read "Hammered" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Four progressive-jazz and improvising luminaries lend their expertise for New York City-based drummer Ches Smith's foray into a multi-purposed set, exploring and splitting the frontiers of avant-garde jazz, rock and other genres into asymmetrical components. Thus far, the artist has been in the thick of things, amassing an impressive discography, performing and recording with notables such as bassist Trevor Dunn, clarinetist Ben Goldberg and others. This album merges discordant free-form impressionism, micro-melodies, off-center jazz--and with accordionist Andrea Parkins onboard--the program ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ches Smith and These Arches: Hammered

Read "Hammered" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

Drummer, composer, and bandleader Ches Smith is an artist with indisputable abilities who thrives on the fringes whether supplying tight rhythms for notable musicians such as guitarist Marc Ribot, saxophonist Darius Jones, and the indie rock band Xiu Xiu, or creating self-produced works like his solo multi-instrumental electronic project Psycho Predictions (Preposterous Bee,2012). One of Smith's working bands is These Arches, a group of like-minded artists that provide plenty of forward thinking music in Hammered, the appropriately ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ches Smith & These Arches: Finally Out Of My Hands

Read "Finally Out Of My Hands" reviewed by Troy Collins

Despite its brief 35-minute runtime, Finally Out Of My Hands is one of the year's most intriguing releases. The debut recording of Ches Smith & These Arches, this visceral studio session features an unorthodox instrumental combination courtesy of some of New York's finest improvisers. Leading the unusual quartet from his trap set, Smith is joined by Downtown luminaries Mary Halvorson (electric guitar), Andrea Parkins (accordion, organ and electronics) and Tony Malaby (tenor saxophone). Eschewing conventional roles, they erase preconceived boundaries ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Ches Smith: Congs for Brums

Read "Congs for Brums" reviewed by Florence Wetzel

This solo percussion set by Ches Smith offers ten songs full of depth and imagination. About half of the tunes on Congs for Brums feature the vibraphone, the other half drums and percussion; some songs include both. Smith wrote all the vibraphone pieces on piano and his drum pieces borrow ideas from the vibraphone songs, allowing the tunes to play off one another and create a uniquely beautiful cohesion. Several songs deserve mention, including the first cut, ...


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