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Tom Rainey: Combobulated

Read "Combobulated" reviewed by John Sharpe

Recorded live at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut, Combobulated constitutes the fourth outing for what might be now seen as a free jazz supergroup, even if it wasn't when they cut Pool School (Clean Feed, 2009). The stars of saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and guitarist Mary Halvorson have continued to rise in the intervening years, while drummer Tom Rainey has been at the top of the game since the early 1990s. While the group plies its trade under Rainey's banner, ...

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Sylvie Courvoisier and Mark Feldman: Time Gone Out

Read "Time Gone Out" reviewed by Troy Dostert

In a partnership that spans decades, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and violinist Mark Feldman have forged a musical language that essentially obliterates the idiomatic distinctions between classical composition and improvised jazz. Both are unquestioned virtuosos, with the technical ability to do virtually anything on their respective instruments, and this is critical to their ability to create music that is on the one hand deliberate and meticulously crafted and, on the other, free-spirited and adventurous. Only musicians who have worked together as ...

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Evan Parker: Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf 

Read "Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf " reviewed by Glenn Astarita

This is another bright spot in acclaimed British saxophonist Evan Parker's extensive career. Along with Matthew Wright's turntable and live sampling activities, Trance Map emanates from the duo's meeting in 2008, for a project that includes field recordings, samples and other EFX-based mediums merged into improvisational creations. It's an electro-organic infusion, complete with the sounds of nature and Parker's circular, whirling and cyclical sax phrasings—a process and technique that he patented and developed into a signature stylization many years ago. ...

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Angelika Niescier - Christopher Tordini - Gerald Cleaver (feat. Jonathan Finlayson): New York Trio

Read "New York Trio" reviewed by Troy Dostert

After alto saxophonist Angelika Niescier's masterful live disc from 2018, Berlin Concert (Intakt), she decided to head into the studio to document her continually evolving compositions. It's a somewhat altered line-up from the earlier album. Niescier's go-to bassist, Christopher Tordini remains. However, instead of Tyshawn Sorey we have Gerald Cleaver occupying the drum kit; and we are also treated on a few of the cuts to trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, who adds another dimension to Niescier's pieces. With more of an ...

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Evan Parker: Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf 

Read "Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf " reviewed by Mark Corroto

Excise the notion of virtual reality and AI as the force behind the music heard on Crepuscule In Nickelsdorf by Evan Parker and Matthew Wright's Trance Map+. Undoubtedly you might be tempted to have this thought by surveying the instrumentation, which is chock-full of sampling and electronics. Let's reserve those thoughts for a listen to this live recording from July, 2017 in the city of Nickelsdorf, Austria. Parker and Wright collaborated on the original Trance Map (psi, 2011) ...

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Human Feel: Gold

Read "Gold" reviewed by Mark Corroto

The band's appellation might be Human Feel, but after over 30 years of recording and performing together, maybe the quartet of saxophonists Andrew D'Angelo and Chris Speed, guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and drummer Jim Black should change their name to 'Super Hero Feel.' Just like a comic book franchise, when this quartet reconvenes, there is going to be some turbulence before triumph. The quartet's coming together this time is after 12 years without releasing a full-length album. The wait was certainly ...

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Trio Heinz Herbert: Yes

Read "Yes" reviewed by John Sharpe

On their second album on Intakt, after The Willisau Concert (2017), the young electronics-heavy Swiss threesome Trio Heinz Herbert move even further from their jazz roots. The prevalent effects mean that sound sources in most cases remain indeterminate, emphasizing that theirs is a collectively derived music, more about feel, coloration and texture than individual prowess and expression. It's easier to say what it is not rather than what it is, as they draw liberally from avant rock, minimalism, prog, club ...

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Kaja Draksler / Petter Eldh / Christian Lillinger: Punkt.Vrt.Plastik

Read "Punkt.Vrt.Plastik" reviewed by John Sharpe

Three outrageously talented up-and-coming players on the European scene join energies on a program of spiky attitude based around rhythmically dynamic foundations. German drummer Christian Lillinger and Swedish bassist Petter Eldh may be best known as the potent bedrock of the Amok Amor Quartet which featured trumpeter Peter Evans. Now they fulfill the same function in a new co-operative trio with Amsterdam-based Slovenian pianist Kaja Draksler, who reveals a more wayward side than manifest on her ambitious octet release Gledalec ...

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Alexander Hawkins: Iron Into Wind

Read "Iron Into Wind" reviewed by John Sharpe

On his second solo album pianist Alexander Hawkins creates an adventurous and deeply personal synthesis which draws from both jazz and classical wellsprings. One of the foremost representatives of an exciting younger generation of British musicians, his talents are on display not only on his own projects, like Uproot (Intakt, 2018), but with growing circle of collaborators that reads like a who's who of contemporary jazz: Evan Parker, Taylor Ho Bynum, Harris Eisenstadt, Rob Mazurek, Joe McPhee, Wadada Leo Smith, ...

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Christoph Irniger Pilgrim: Crosswinds

Read "Crosswinds" reviewed by Don Phipps

With Crosswinds, Christoph Irniger's quartet Pilgrim offers a scintillating trip into a musical subconscious --a dream state where one opens doors only to find more doors --a spiral staircase where the top is always just beyond reach. For the most part, the album consists of tunes that are both sparse yet engaging. And it is this mix of idioms that makes the album so successful. Irniger's raspy breathing is often heard in his sax playing. His attacks are ...

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Don Byron / Aruan Ortiz: Random Dances And (A)tonalities

Read "Random Dances And (A)tonalities" reviewed by John Sharpe

The title Random Dances And (A)tonalities hints at the inclusive nature of this studio encounter between Cuban-born, New York-based pianist Aruán Ortiz and American clarinetist Don Byron. Ortiz's admiration for Byron's work caused him to seek out the reedman and led to this session that brings together their varied backgrounds. Between the two, they encompass early jazz, the liberated mainstream, avant-garde and classical realms. The resultant program contains three originals from the pianist, two from Byron, one jointly credited tune ...

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Tom Rainey, Mary Halvorson, Ingrid Laubrock: Combobulated

Read "Combobulated" reviewed by Don Phipps

Recorded live in 2017 in New Haven, Connecticut at restaurant, watering hole, and music space Firehouse 12, Tom Rainey's Combobulated attests to the genius of three of the leading innovative music makers on the scene today. Rainey's collaborative music with saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and guitarist Mary Halvorson offer up sound explosions and introspections that unzip and fragment consciousness. Rainey's muscular drumming explores timbres, shades, velocity, and ferociousness--sometimes simultaneously. Yet he can just as easily remain in the background, ...