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Misha Mengelberg


Misha Mengelberg was born in Kiev in 1935 - the son of a Dutch composer/conductor/pianist and a German harpist - but is a lifelong resident of Amsterdam, where he teaches counterpoint at the Sweelinck Conservatory. He wrote his first piece for piano at age four and has been composing pretty much ever since, in the jazz and classical fields. Crucial early influences include jazz pianists Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols, the composer John Cage, whom he heard lecture at Darmstadt in 1958, and the absurd-art movement Fluxus, with which he was involved in the 1960s. Mengelberg graduated from the Royal Conservatory in the Hague in 1964


Article: Album Review

Peter Brotzmann / Sabu Toyozumi: Triangle – Live at OHM, 1987

Read "Triangle – Live at OHM, 1987" reviewed by Mark Corroto

Triangle--Live At OHM, 1987 is a recording of Peter Brotzmann in Japan. Here he is performing with master free jazz drummer Sabu Toyozumi. This is not the musicians first meeting. The pair have released a couple nearly impossible to find discs such as Live In Japan 1982 (Improvised Company, 1999) and Live In Okayama 1987 (Improvised ...


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: Radio & Podcasts

Big M's Grab Bag

Read "Big M's Grab Bag" reviewed by Patrick Burnette

The theme this episode is--got ya!--there isn't a theme. What we do have are two mildly historical piano-led recordings by musicians who couldn't be more different if they tried, and two new releases by musicians also pulling in different directions. Get a large group together and go for eclecticism? Or just multi-track yourself and add a ...


Article: Album Review

Ada Rave / Aaron Lumley / Onno Govaert: Bioluminus

Read "Bioluminus" reviewed by Mark Corroto

We can no longer refer to the music and creative Amsterdam scene with the title coined by author Kevin Whitehead as the New Dutch Swing. His 1998 book of the same name described the origins of the free jazz movement in The Netherlands and its now legendary masters such as Misha Mengelberg, Willem Breuker, Han Bennink, ...


Article: Album Review

Vestard Shimkus / Endless Roar: Acclivity

Read "Acclivity" reviewed by Vitalijus Gailius

Endless Roar is one of the most vivid bands in the recent Latvian improvised music scene. Formed in 2014 the trio, saxophonist Arvydas Kazlauskas, double bassist Stanislav Yudin and drummer Jachin Pousson, ventured through various genres (e.g. ambient, electroacoustic, rock etc.) before diving into free improvisation. In 2021 Endless Roar met up with internationally acclaimed classical ...

Article: Album Review

Michaël Attias, Simon Nabatov: Brooklyn Mischiefs

Read "Brooklyn Mischiefs" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Registrato all'iBeam di Brooklyn il 6 luglio del 2014 e riemerso dagli archivi nel corso della pandemia, questo album documenta una fortunata serata di improvvisazione tra il pianista di origini moscovite Simon Nabatov e il sassofonista contralto israeliano Michaël Attias, un “primo incontro" tra due artisti usi a muoversi su territori accidentati e inesplorati.


Article: Album Review

Wadada Leo Smith: The Emerald Duets

Read "The Emerald Duets" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

The pioneering British photographer/author Val Wilmer said of Wadada Leo Smith, “he no longer relates to the restrictions of scales and chords. To him, music is about two things only: sound and rhythm." Her assessment, from the essential book As Serious As Your Life (Allison & Busby Ltd, 1977), was published in 1977. But in the ...


Article: Album Review

Mostly Other People Do The Killing: Disasters Vol. 1

Read "Disasters Vol. 1" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

Moppa Elliott's gonzo-surrealist jazz group, Mostly Other People Do The Killing, returns for a second album in its piano trio format with Elliott on bass, Ron Stabinsky on piano and Kevin Shea on drums. They are up to their usual tricks here, playing slapstick jazz which flits deliriously through all types of styles and sub-genres like ...


Article: Album Review

Bo Van de Graaf: Off the Record: Eccentric Music for Audio Hunters

Read "Off the Record: Eccentric Music for Audio Hunters" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

ToonDist is a Netherlands-based consortium of small independent labels distributing the creative and improvised music of their country. Founded in 2002, ToonDist is often the point of departure for unknown labels such as No Can Do Music and Pingo, and emerging ones like TryTone and Evil Rabbit. The closest ToonDist comes to “convention" may be the ...


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