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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Zack Clarke: Random Acts of Order

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Pianist Zack Clarke's Random Acts Of Order presents a threesome making waves on the NYC scene. Each of the trio studied with guitarist/composer Joe Morris, who appropriately contributes the liners to this release. Slovenian drummer Dre Hocevar may have the most visibility due to his series of discs on the Clean Feed imprint, the third of which Transcendental Within the Sphere of Indivisible Remainder (2017) also features Clarke and the bassist from this date, Henry Fraser. All eight cuts are ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Alforjs: Demons 1

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The two extended tracks on this album generate enough excitement to offset the 28-minute album length that reverts into the extended play category. Here, the Portuguese trio's second album surfaces as a futuristic primordial endeavor, featuring the musicians background chants to perhaps a higher being along with cyclical African pulses, EFX and bizarre sojourns into the netherworld. Hence, the press release blurb references Alforjs' sound or modality to the experimental krautrock ensemble Can, but saxophonist Mestre André's explosive free-form lines ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cortex: Avant-Garde Party Music

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Do you have Blue Zone envy? You know the places where people live the longest and happiest lives on the planet. They seem to get more physical activity then we do, eat better, love their communities and politicians. Politicians? I know. They even make some of the best modern jazz. Case in point the Norwegian quartet Cortex. It includes trumpeter Thomas Johansson (Friends & Neighbors, Paal Nilssen-Love Large Unit), saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts (Saka, Snik, Starlite Motel), bassist Ola Høyer ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trespass Trio: The Spirit Of Piteşti

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Swedish reedman Martin Küchen ploughs a rich variety of furrows, from explorative improvised summits to his rambunctious Angles aggregations, but one of the most enduring has been his Trespass Trio. On The Spirit Of Pitești, the fourth entry in the band's discography, he is joined by the same crew there since the inception, bassist Per Zanussi and drummer Raymond Strid. As always Küchen imparts a political subtext to the music through his choice of titles, in this case alluding to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Kaja Draksler Octet: Gledalec

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Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler mines musical forms from much of the last century and beyond for her two CD collection Gledalec. This Octet date constitutes a departure from her more widely distributed work to this point, represented by the impressive solo performance The Lives Of Many Others (Clean Feed, 2013) and the intimate duet This Love (Clean Feed, 2015) with trumpeter Susana Santos Silva. Draksler fashions varied settings for three texts by Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, three by London-based Greek ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Platform: Flux Reflux

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French clarinetist Xavier Charles along with three inventive Norwegian instrumentalists acutely align their imaginative powers amid a curiously interesting soundstage, steeped in free-form minimalism, ambience, layered tonal shadings and so on. Fractured storylines, along with oddball tunings and Charles' multidimensional phrasings and acoustic effects may fake the listener into thinking the program contains electronics but no such devices are listed on the personnel listings. They occasionally explore the guts of their respective instruments along with subliminal ostinato motifs, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Rova Saxophone Quartet: Steve Lacy’s Saxophone Special Revisited

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If you own a copy of the original Saxophone Special (Emanem, 1975), flip the LP over to view a photocopy of Steve Lacy's original notebook (with spiral binding) score of the compositions “Staples," “Swishes," and “Snaps." This is all music he performed at Wigmore Hall in London in December 1974 in a saxophone quartet that included Trevor Watts, Evan Parker, and Steve Potts. He also incorporated what he described as a “noise section" with guitarist Derek Bailey and the electronic ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Michael Attias: Nerve Dance

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Like many, Michaël Attias cultivates multiple outlets for his vibrant alto saxophone. Having moved to NYC in 1994, Attias is now inescapably associated with that city's downtown scene. What unites his Quartet with his other outfits like Renku and Spun Tree is quality. In part that's down to the variety and imagination of the frameworks Attias provides, but also down to the rich pool of players he calls on for their realization. This time out pianist Aruán Ortiz, bassist John ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Jonah Parzen-Johnson: I Try To Remember Where I Come From

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Originally from Chicago, baritone saxophonist Jonah Parzen-Johnson calls Brooklyn, N.Y. home these days but absorbed the creative spirit resident in the Windy City's progressive jazz legacy early on his career, studying and performing with some of the best. For example, he learned a great deal under the tutelage of woodwinds master Mwata Bowden, who is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. With his fourth album as a leader and first for Clean Feed, the artist ...


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