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Articles by John Sharpe

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Evan Parker / Barry Guy / Paul Lytton: Music For David Mossman

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Over 35 years and counting. It's fair to say that the British trio of saxophonist Evan Parker, bassist Barry Guy and drummer Paul Lytton constitutes one of the longer-lived units in the free improvised realm, a domain often distinguished by its tendency towards ad hoc groupings. So, with a discography over two score in size, you can be sure that when a new release arrives it documents something worth hearing. And that is indeed the case with ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Oslo Jazz Festival 2018

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Oslo Jazz Festival Oslo, Norway August 15-17, 2018 Introduction The Norwegian capital Oslo bills itself as a festival city and, with around a thousand concerts each year, claims that it has the most concerts per inhabitant of any city in Europe. Included among those are the 70 plus events which made up the 2018 edition of the Oslo Jazz Festival. I can vouch for the festival's visibility too, as I spied an ad on the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Samuel Blaser: Taktlos Zurich 2017

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Although in existence since 2013, Taktlos Zurich 2017 constitutes the first record by Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser's Trio with French guitarist Marc Ducret and Danish drummer Peter Bruun. It's worth the wait as Blaser helms a very responsive trio, so attuned to one another's movement that the spaces are as eloquent as the notes. One of the most talented trombonists on the scene, Blaser makes his instrument mutter, growl, speak and sing, sometimes in multiple registers through his control of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frode Gjerstad Trio + Steve Swell: Bop Stop

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The bones of Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad's Trio go back a long way. He first co-opted drummer Paal Nilssen-Love into his Circulasione Totale Orchestra when he was still a teenager. Although bassist Jon Rune Strøm is a more recent recruit, he has still been on board since 2011. As such the consistently high quality interplay they generate should come as little surprise. The addition of trombonist Steve Swell to supplement the trio is a bonus, providing a foil for Gjerstad ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Louis Moholo-Moholo's Five Blokes: Uplift The People

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At last an album which captures some of the intense excitement, wayward adventure and sheer joy of a group which has wowed audiences at festivals and clubs across Europe and North America. Uplift The People by South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo's prosaically-named Five Blokes was recorded live at London's Cafe Oto in April 2017 and represents an upgrade on Four Blokes (Ogun, 2014) in every sense. The blokes in question include long time collaborators Jason Yarde on saxophones, John Edwards ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Joe McPhee / Pascal Niggenkemper / Ståle Liavik Solberg: Imaginary Numbers

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Veteran multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee always seems open to encounters with like-minded spirits wherever he finds them. Some of his finest albums have stemmed from his collaborations with groups of younger musicians, such as Spontaneous Combustion (Otoroku, 2015) with Decoy and Skullduggery (Clean Feed, 2015) with Universal Indians. On Imaginary Numbers he teams up with two high-profile European improvisers, New York-based German-French bassist Pascal Niggenkemper and Norwegian drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg. Both are adept at the arcane blend of improv texture ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kang Tae Hwan: Live At Cafe Amores

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South Korean reedman Kang Tae Hwan is one of the foremost exponents of solo saxophone in the Far East. While he has featured in groups, notably Ton Klami who can be heard on Prophecy Of Nue (NoBusiness, 2017), his conception is so singular that it may be best appreciated in undiluted form. Which makes Live At Cafe Amores a prime exhibit to further awareness of his extraordinary art. It's another in the Lithuanian label's ongoing series of unreleased Chap Chap ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Larry Ochs Sax And Drumming Core: Wild Red Yellow

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Reedman Larry Ochs' Sax And Drumming Core was famously once threatened by a punter calling the police because they weren't conforming to his narrow definition of jazz. Wild Red Yellow constitutes the second outing by the augmented version of the band responsible for that misdemeanor, following as it does from Stone Shift (Rogue Art, 2009), which similarly incorporated the Japanese pair of trumpeter Natsuki Tamura and pianist Satoko Fujii as guests. Happily they haven't been cowed by the prospect of ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gard Nilssen's Acoustic Unity: Live In Europe

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Norwegian drummer Gard Nilssen formed Acoustic Unity back in 2014 to assuage his desire to compose and lead in a pure jazz setting. The initial get together with saxophonist André Roligheten and bassist Petter Eldh was so successful that it yielded the well-received Firehouse (Clean Feed, 2015). That achievement gives rise to an audacious gambit for the trio's second release, which comprises three CDs worth of live performances from European festivals in the summer of 2016. In order to broaden ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Vision Festival 2018

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23rd Annual Vision Festival Roulette New York, NY May 23-28, 2018 Introduction The Vision Festival somewhat surprisingly but reassuringly stands proud as the longest-lived annually produced jazz festival in New York. While the central plank remains what the Festival terms avant jazz, it's interspersed with poetry, dance, art, and film in a way which matches rather than detracts from the music. For its 23rd edition the Festival returned to Brooklyn's Roulette after three ...