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Vinz Vonlanthen: No Man's Land

Read "No Man's Land" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Swiss improvising guitarist Vinz Vonlanthen constructs his second solo guitar album since Oeil (Leo, 2004) amid his more recent collaborative recordings for Leo Records, largely featuring like-minded French artists. Otherwise, it's an apt album title via the guitarist's resonating electric avant-garde workouts, speckled with his wordless voice overlays on several tracks. Essentially, he conveys despair and an inhuman musical scenario with subliminal and mesmeric themes, as he perpetuates a distinct sense of the unknown. Vonlanthen seemingly layers ...

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Ivo Perelman / Matthew Shipp: Efflorescence Volume 1

Read "Efflorescence Volume 1" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Charles Darwin (1809—1882) might have set in motion, with his Theory of Biological Evolution, the idea that we humans are related to apes, but it was the later explorations into DNA and genetics that proves our basic structures are but a few variations from all other lifeforms on earth. What, you make ask, does this have to do with the duo of Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp? Plenty. Please allow a bit of hyperbole here. Let us imagine we are ...

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Marilyn Crispell - Tanya Kalmanovitch - Richard Teitelbaum: Dream Libretto

Read "Dream Libretto" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

World-class pianist, Marilyn Crispell crafts an endearing musical statement, where she and her cohorts execute a requiem framed on improvisations and succinct melodies based on the pianist's close friends and family who have passed on. Consequently, the first part of this set features Crispell, violinist Tanya Kalmanovitch and legendary electronics ace, Richard Teitelbaum, while the second part is a series of duets by the pianist and violinist. An eerie calm cloaks “I" propelled by Teitelbaum's ultra-low register and ...

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Walter Fähndrich - Christy Doran - Remo Schnyder - Samuel Wettstein: Âme Sèche

Read "Âme Sèche" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

The literal translation of the album title from French to English looks to be 'soul dryer,' but in reality it could imply something else. Regardless, this international quartet abides by a surfeit of unorthodoxies. And while guitar hero Christy Doran is perhaps well-known to the global avant-jazz, improvisation and jazz fusion audience, the other artists' musical appetites span noise music, classical, jazz, improvisation and a host of cross-bred musical idioms. Nonetheless, the musicians' biographies are well-beyond the scope of this ...

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Fourth Page: The Forest from Above

Read "The Forest from Above" reviewed by John Eyles

It is a pleasure to welcome this new album by the quartet Fourth Page. After a flurry of activity in 2011, during which they released three albums, including their previous Leo recording, Blind Horizons, the group stayed together until 2013. Following a four-year break to work on other projects (during which guitarist-vocalist Charlie Beresford and pianist Carolyn Hume recorded with classically-trained cellist Sonia Hammond), the original foursome, with bassist Peter Marsh and drummer Paul May, reunited and recorded this album ...

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Ivo Perelman: Strings 1

Read "Strings 1" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Strings 1 and Strings 2 are concurrent releases--the first of seven themed albums--that also could have been subtitled “The Art of Improvisation," hearkening back to tenor sax titan Ivo Perelman's 6-volume 2016 releases, featuring longtime collaborator, cellist Mat Maneri and others. Hence, the cellist appears on both of these new Chamber-like groupings as Strings 2 also features luminaries, cellist Hank Roberts and his first on-disc encounter with reedman Ned Rothenberg. Here, world-class violinists Mark Feldman and Jason Hwang ...

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Ivo Perelman: Strings 1

Read "Strings 1" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Try to keep up sports fans, Ivo Perelman has switched directions once again. It's not that he has quit music to become a soccer star. The tenor saxophonist has more recently taken a dive into string quartets, recording a dozen or so sessions with bowing, plucking, and pizzicato-minded musicians. Strings 1 is the introduction. If this recording is a preview of the things to come, get ready for an explosion of creativity. Just when you might have thought ...

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Dialectical Imagination: Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You.

Read "Two Infinitudes; The One You "see" and the One That Is You." reviewed by Glenn Astarita

Improvising artists, Eli Wallace (piano) and Rob Pumpelly (drums) recorded this outing for legendary UK-based jazz/avant-garde/free-improv record label, Leo Records. But they've been involved with free-jazz and other jazz activities for San Francisco Bay Area's, Edgetone Records amid various projects and encounters. Indeed, the band moniker, Dialectical Imagination, is significant from an opposing forces standpoint. Yet for the most part the musicians are a team via these four galvanizing semi free-form jaunts. Besides the torrential currents, Wallace shrewdly ...

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Exodos: Heuristics

Read "Heuristics" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

The Leo Records website narrative states that this new ensemble distances itself from the clichés associated with European improvised music as the program does not adhere to a particular vision or overarching concept. Indeed, it's music without borders by musicians who possess wide-ranging and distinct resumes, including revered American drummer Gerry Hemingway who imparts his signature flair and improvisational prowess into the mix. Bassist Luca Sisera and Hemingway are superb when formulating these cadences via the soloists' unconventional ...

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Carol Liebowitz/Birgitta Frick: Malita-Malika

Read "Malita-Malika" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Carol Liebowitz is a pianist based in New York City. Birgitta Flick lives in Berlin and plays tenor sax. They met in 2010 at a jazz club in Berlin and, ever since, have played together now and again. Their music is free, not particularly melodic and occasionally downright difficult to listen to. “Whether it is a spontaneous free improvisation or a standard that dates back nearly a century--to us it's all one," they boldly proclaim in the ...

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Patrick Battstone: The Last Taxi, In Transit

Read "The Last Taxi, In Transit" reviewed by Geannine Reid

Patrick Battstone is a pianist and collaborator. What is meant by collaborator? Good Question. Battstone is as equally skilled at writing, creating and playing as he is bringing together equally creative and likeminded collaborators into one project. Battstone's projects are a democracy of performances, where each player has a vital and role in the overall sound. His last six CDs have all proven to be adventurous alliances. Now with his seventh offering The Last Taxi, In Transit. Battstone has once ...

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Roz Harding - Mike Outram - Jim Bashford: Super Mood

Read "Super Mood" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

The trio covers several acres of musical terrain on this inspiring debut led by British saxophonist/educator, Roz Harding (Mike Westbrook's Uncommon Orchestra, Paul Dunmall). Indeed, it's one of those unanticipated surprises that at the very least, adds a nouveau light to the possibilities of what a hip, small ensemble rendezvous can generate. Harding and guitarist Mike Outram are near flawless foils and masters of invention. With the latter's recoiling lines, effects and gritty jazz rock soloing and Harding's ...


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