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Articles by John Eyles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alex Ward Item 10: Volition (Live at Café Oto)

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Although he was already a member of a lengthy list of ensembles, led by himself or others, when composer, improviser, clarinetist and guitarist Alex Ward put together his Item 10 band he had new ideas in mind; the ten musicians would be a pool from which ensembles of various sizes could be drawn for different musical ends. In choosing the personnel of past groups Ward has shown an excellent knowledge of the players at his disposal from different backgrounds and ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

John Butcher

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In the Building a Jazz Library article on Evan Parker, it says that seasoned Parker followers would describe him as the finest improvising saxophonist of his generation. Curiously, many of those same people would use exactly that phrase about John Butcher. The simple explanation for this apparent contradiction is that we are talking about two generations; Parker (born 1944) is a member of the “first generation of free improvisation" (along with Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley, John Stevens, Paul Rutherford, Barry ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Another Timbre completes its Canadian Composers Series

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In the spring of 2017, Another Timbre released the first five recordings of a ten-disc series dedicated to Canadian composers. The discs were accompanied by a booklet that contained interviews with each of the eight composers (eight not ten, because two of the composers have two discs each in the series). It demonstrated that the eight were a disparate group in terms of their country of birth, country of residence, age, musical style and experience. Despite that, those first five ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Arve Henriksen: The Height of the Reeds

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For the year 2017, Hull, a northern port on the east coast of England, was selected as the UK City of Culture. This led to the city commissioning or organising a series of artistic and cultural events throughout the year. One such event was the commissioned work “The Height of the Reeds" which celebrated the long seafaring relationship between Hull and Scandinavia. Composed by the Norwegians Arve Henriksen, Eivind Aarset and Jan Bang, for three months from April ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Magnus Granberg: Es schwindelt mir, es brennt mein Eingeweide

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In recent years Magnus Granberg has become so prevalent that it is surprising to note his first CD did not come out until 2008, a limited-edition release with the ensemble Skogen. After a stuttering start, recordings came regularly after his first Another Timbre recording, Ist Gefallen in Den Schnee (2012), attracted glowing reviews. Now, Es schwindelt mir, es brennt mein Eingeweide is Granberg's seventh Another Timbre album in as many years. Across the previous six, he has employed ensembles ranging ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Two on Umlaut Records with bassist Sébastien Beliah

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The Paris-based double-bassist and composer Sébastien Beliah has quite a history, being in smaller ensembles such as Wark (alongside alto saxophonist Marc Baron, tenor saxophonist Antoine Daures and percussionist Guillaume Dommartin), R.Mutt (with alto saxophonist Pierre-Antoine Badaroux and percussionist Antonin Gerbal) and Un Poco Loco (with tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Geoffroy Grombone and trombonist Fidel Fourneyron), and also in much larger bands like ONCEIM, Umlaut Big Band--see him in the YouTube clip below--and Ensemble Hodos, which he directs. Two 2018 releases on ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Debut Recordings On The Elsewhere Label

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After initial publicity about it in the preceding February, July 2018 saw the release of the first two recordings on the Elsewhere label. Each of the albums is available on CD in a limited edition of 500, as well as on unlimited edition digital files. The discs are attractively clad in sleeves with artwork (which digital customers get on JPEG) by David Sylvian, who is also credited as co-producer of the first release alongside the founder of Elsewhere, Yuko Zama. ...

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Two Contrasting Releases From Bertrand Denzler

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Although the Swiss-born saxophonist, improviser and composer Bertrand Denzler has a modestly-sized discography compared to some saxophonists, the recordings within it reveal a diverse range of collaborations and activities with a consistently-high quality level. For many years he has participated in ensembles such as Hubbub, The Seen and Trio Sowari, his distinctive saxophone sound being one of the key ingredients of the groups' sounds and successes. But such long-term projects have never prevented Denzler from pursuing a range of short-term ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Hilde Marie Holsen: Lazuli

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In May 2015, Norwegian trumpeter and soundscaper Hilde Marie Holsen released her debut recording, Ask, on the Hubro label, to glowing reviews, including an All About Jazz piece that described her as “a natural heir of masters such as Nils Petter Molvaer and Arve Henriksen." While that may seem quite a weight to put on the shoulders of a young player with only one album release to her name, Holsen's music on Ask fully justified it. And three years on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Espen Eriksen Trio with Andy Sheppard: Perfectly Unhappy

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The Norwegian Espen Eriksen Trio was formed in 2007 and its personnel has remained unchanged ever since, across three previous album releases on Rune Grammofon. Such stability has allowed pianist Espen Eriksen, bassist Lars Tormod Jenset and drummer Andreas Bye to bond together and develop the particular chemistry that a successful trio needs, without having to resort to gimmicks or trickery to get their music noticed. Primarily based upon Eriksen's own compositions, that music has a rich sense of melody ...