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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne's Snakeoil: Incidentals

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Tim Berne's Snakeoil band makes its fourth ECM appearance on Incidentals. The core group of saxophonist Berne, clarinetist Oscar Noriega, pianist Matt Mitchell and percussionist Ches Smith was augmented by guitarist Ryan Ferreira, as it had been on the previous album You've Been Watching Me (ECM, 2015). Producer David Torn also made two brief appearances on guitar. The integration of composition and improvisation typical of Berne's work is especially pronounced in this program. “Hora Feliz" opens the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer: Far from Over

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Vijay Iyer sounds so evolved and invigorating with each release that it's easy to forget that his eye-opening debut Memorophilia, Asian Improv Records) was two-plus decades ago. Think about it, Blood Sutra, Historicity, Accelerando, Tirtha... But over the course of his ECM five disc career (beginning with 2014's Mutations), there has been a little bit of creative wood shedding. Not lazy, mind you, that would be impossible with the chops and concepts Iyer consistently displays. It's some un-explainable ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Tim Berne's Snakeoil: Incidentals

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Of the formal Tim Berne groups dating back to his 1990s Caos Totale, only his Bloodcount formation has a larger output than Snakeoil. From its 2012 self-titled ECM debut, four of its five releases have been on the ECM label, with only the limited edition Spare (2015) appearing on Berne's Screwgun imprint. Incidentals continues Berne's experimentation in expanding aural soundscapes, bringing the alto saxophonist/composer to a wider audience without compromising his unique approach. The group functioned as a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Gary Peacock Trio: Tangents

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Considering his nearly sixty-five years of recording, Gary Peacock has been relatively selective in his choice of leader projects. His association with luminaries Albert Ayler, Paul Bley, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett have put him in the company of jazz history makers. When Jarrett's Standards Trio, with Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, disbanded in 2014 after over twenty recordings, Peacock launched his own piano trio with pianist Marc Copland and drummer Joey Baron. Tangents is the follow-up to Now This ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer Sextet: Far From Over

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Pianist/composer Vijay Iyer has employed different instrumental forces for each of his ECM albums. Most recently, A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke (2016) was a duet with trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, while Break Stuff (2015) featured his long standing trio with bassist Stephan Crump and drummer Marcus Gilmore. For his fifth ECM date as a leader he has expanded to a sextet. The rhythm section includes Crump and drummer Tyshawn Sorey, who has long subbed for Gilmore in the trio, ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Vijay Iyer Sextet: Far From Over

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There are any number of valid ways to describe Vijay Iyer's music over the course of his twenty-three albums. Analytical, angular, intricate, dissonant, and oddly lyrical; his two previous ECM releases, Break Stuff (2015) and the duo outing, A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke, with Wadada Leo Smith (2016), have been more widely accessible without forsaking complexity. Not merely an academic, Iyer is a perpetual student, absorbing information and disseminating his aggregate knowledge in new and inventive ways. On Far ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Bill Frisell/Thomas Morgan: Small Town

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Duets can be very revealing and very demanding. In best of cases, duets require the utmost attention from two musicians, where playing with another person means playing solo and support simultaneously. When this works well, magic occurs. Over the decades, guitarist Bill Frisell has demonstrated an uncanny power and musicality as a considerable force in various corners and ends of the jazz spectrum. At once a painterly and keenly conversational player, he readily adapts his easily identifiable guitar sounds to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Stephan Micus: Inland Sea

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Like an actual inland sea, the Stephan Micus catalogue stands as a unique entity distinct from all its surroundings. Always too restless to rely on familiar sounds, he travels to find little-known instruments in far corners of the world and take time getting to know each one's voice. His 22nd ECM recording is centered mostly around the texture of the nyckelharpa--a Swedish fiddle with built-in sympathetic strings. In supporting roles here (as it were) are the genbri, a Moroccan stringed ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Craig Taborn: Daylight Ghosts

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It is very difficult to describe or sum up pianist Craig Taborn's inimitable artistic vision, style of playing and compositions. He employs a wide range of stylistic means and concepts, and as a result his playing style and compositions, be it in a solo setting or with accompaniment, are very diverse and insistently exploratory. This improvising composer and pianist has been heralded as one of the foremost practitioners on his instrument. His own approach to the piano isn't as much ...


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