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Article: Album Review

Yuji Takahashi / Sabu Toyozumi: The Quietly Clouds And A Wild Crane

Read "The Quietly Clouds And A Wild Crane" reviewed by John Sharpe

Unlike most drum and piano duets, where the keyboard gets all the best lines, Sabu Toyozumi and Yuji Takahashi craft a truly egalitarian meeting of minds on The Quietly Clouds And A Wild Crane. Recorded in 1998, it represents another bulletin from the vital Japanese free scene of the period issued by the Lithuanian NoBusiness imprint ...


Article: Album Review

Matt Mitchell: Oblong Aplomb

Read "Oblong Aplomb" reviewed by John Sharpe

On Oblong Aplomb pianist Matt Mitchell pays homage to the drummers in his life. In a way, it can be seen as a follow-up to his debut Fiction (Pi Recordings, 2013). That album, a duet with stickman Ches Smith, originated from Mitchell's practice of warming up for gigs with Tim Berne's Snakeoil by running through a ...


Article: Album Review

Thermal: Ice In A Hot World

Read "Ice In A Hot World" reviewed by John Sharpe

A group which played their first concert in a disused Brussels train station in the early 2000s shows it still knows how to unsettle on Ice In A Hot World. It is only the second album during this time from saxophonist John Butcher, analog synthesizer player Thomas Lehn and guitarist Andy Moor, who ply their trade ...


Article: Album Review

Frank Gratkowski, Simon Nabatov: Tender Mercies

Read "Tender Mercies" reviewed by John Sharpe

This collection of seven duets from pianist Simon Nabatov and reedman Frank Gratkowski stands as one of those times when the late Misha Mengelberg's term “instant composition" for a series of seat-of-the-pants encounters makes absolute sense. Perhaps that should not be a surprise, considering the protagonists histories and shared base in the German city of Cologne. ...


Article: Album Review

Faith Brackenbury / Tony Bianco: Wayward Mystic-Improvisations inspired by the music of St.Hildegard von Bingen

Read "Wayward Mystic-Improvisations inspired by the music of St.Hildegard von Bingen" reviewed by John Sharpe

Violin and drum duos are something of a rarity in the jazz and improvised music arena. Swift Are The Winds Of Life (Survival, 1976) by Leroy Jenkins and Rashied Ali, and Bangception (Hat Musics, 1983) by Billy Bang and Denis Charles come to mind, but few others. However, violinist Faith Brackenbury and drummer Tony Bianco make ...


Article: Album Review

Glass Triangle: Blue and Sun​-​lights

Read "Blue and Sun​-​lights" reviewed by John Sharpe

The transatlantic trio of electric harpist Zeena Parkins, saxophonist Mette Rasmussen and drummer Ryan Sawyer, working under the moniker Glass Triangle, reunites for Blue And Sun-Lights. It is the second release as a group following an eponymous debut recorded in 2019. The band brings together a unique set of experiences--downtown sass from Parkins, European free jazz ...


Article: Album Review

Illegal Crowns: Unclosing

Read "Unclosing" reviewed by John Sharpe

When a band of four leaders in their own right still exists over ten years after its inception, then something worthwhile is afoot. Illegal Crowns comprises the familiar American triumvirate of guitarist Mary Halvorson, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, who first crossed paths with French pianist Benoît Delbecq in 2012. Their third album ...


Article: Album Review

Luis Vicente 4tet: House In The Valley

Read "House In The Valley" reviewed by John Sharpe

Portuguese trumpeter Luis Vicente wrote the four compositions which make up House In The Valley during lockdown. His intention was to evoke childhood memories of times at his grandparents' rural house. Judging from the outcomes there must have been a lot of '60s American New Thing on the turntable at the time. In particular the way ...


Article: Album Review

Moss Freed / Union Division: Micromotives

Read "Micromotives" reviewed by John Sharpe

A question any composer for improvisers must face is whether they can create something more worthwhile than what they might come up with if left to themselves. It can be a tough call. For some, such as Alexander von Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra or Peter Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet, the ultimate conclusion was no, while for others ...


Article: Album Review

Stephen Gauci / Francisco Mela / William Parker / Matthew Shipp: Live at Scholes Street Studio

Read "Live at Scholes Street Studio" reviewed by John Sharpe

Tenor saxophonist Stephen Gauci provokes blistering unfettered performances from the starry cast on another installment of Live At Scholes Street Studio. Gauci embodies a fierce DIY ethos which manifests in producing multiple concert series in NYC as well as releasing consequent material on his own label and posting video documentation on his website. On this occasion, ...


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