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Elliot Sharp and Scott Fields - Afiadacampos (Neos, 2010) ****

Elliot Sharp and Scott Fields - Afiadacampos (Neos, 2010) ****

By Paul Acquaro According to Scott Fields' website, this recording with Elliot Sharp, Afiadacampos, came out in 2010, which on the cusp of 2012, makes me a little more than fashionably late. Apologies for my tardiness, however, I am pleased to report the music has not aged a bit. I think the first thing that stuck out ...

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Lisbon Berlin Trio (Clean Feed, 2011) ****

By Paul Acquaro Lisbon Berlin Trio starts with the scratching and scraping of picks across the coils of round wound electric guitar strings. Percussion rattles below and a bowed bass fills the space in between. The muted soundscape grows and soon the guitar is lashing out with distorted chord tones and a disjointed rock-ish melody. By the ...

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Achim Kaufmann - Verivyr (Pirouet - 2011) *****

Achim Kaufmann - Verivyr (Pirouet - 2011) *****

By Joe Higham On the first listen to this album I sensed that it would be a strong contender for 5 stars. It's an album that covers everything interesting and important in improvised music. It explores, swings, uses dissonance, melody, it surprises and delights you. In fact it's a lesson in what's not being taught in jazz ...

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Tony Malaby - Novela (Clean Feed, 2011) *****

Tony Malaby - Novela (Clean Feed, 2011) *****

By Paul Acquaro Novela by Tony Malaby is a real treat. It tantalizes the senses with its complex yet accessible horn arrangements, burns with a restrained energy that propels the soloists and builds so imperceptibly that by time we are half way into the first piece, “Floating Head," and the piano's slightly disjointed but flowing phrases come ...

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Raoul Bjorkenheim, Bill Laswell, Morgan Agren - Blixt (Cuneiform, 2011) ****a1/2

Raoul Bjorkenheim, Bill Laswell, Morgan Agren - Blixt (Cuneiform, 2011) ****a1/2

By Paul Acquaro I suppose that Blixt is best described as a rock power trio. Working with industrial strength rhythms, thickly distorted leads and dark enveloping bass, the trio moves through a series of tough minded improvisations bracketed by short heads. However, as tough and stormy as the tunes may get at times, the musicianship and sensibilities ...

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Ochion Jewell - First Suite for Quartet (Mythology Records 2011) ****

By Joe Higham Ochion Jewell's CD titled First Suite For Quartet released on David Binney's Mythology label, seems already one step ahead of your 'average' first CD release that I often get to hear. With such a grandiose title I was curious to see if a through composed piece of 48 minutes could hold my attention, and ...

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Matthew Shipp and Joe Morris - Broken Partials (Nottwo, 2011) ****

Matthew Shipp and Joe Morris - Broken Partials (Nottwo, 2011) ****

By Paul Acquaro The music starts getting tense midway through 'Two' on Matthew Shipp and Joe Morris' vibrant new duo recording 'Broken Partials.' Shipp extracts all the sound he possibly can from the piano while Morris, intense and focused on upright bass, contributes a swarm of sound below the piano. Soon, like Shipp, he is digging fiercely ...

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Kris Wanders - Mani Neumeier Quintet - Taken by Surprise (Not Two, 2011) ****

By Paul Acquaro The Kris Wanders and Mani Neumeier Quintet's Taken by Surprise is an excursion into free but highly melodic improvisation, and Wanders and Brett Evans' tandem tenor saxophones on the the impassioned “Oxymoron" is an inspiring opener. The quintet is rounded out by Rory Brown on bass, Yusuke Akai on guitar and Neumeier on the ...

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The Spanish Donkey -Xyx (Northern Spy, 2011) ****

By Paul Acquaro You could try approaching XYX actively listening to every nuance and rhythmic shift, analyzing and digesting every note. Or, you could let it wash over you, letting its sonic sandpaper exfoliate your mind. Either way, you will not be able to escape the tingling rawness it inflicts. I've tried both approaches, during the same listening ...

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Peter Evans and Nate Wooley - High Society (Carrier Records, 2011) *****

Peter Evans and Nate Wooley - High Society (Carrier Records, 2011) *****

By Joe Higham Being a musician and playing a wide variety of music means that my family (kids and wife) are used to hearing wild sounds emanating from the hi-fi from time to time. But in certain cases I realise that maybe some music is not for wholesale consumption, and this .... is one of them! It's ...