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The Dude Abides

Mark Corroto By

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The attractive sounds here are the interplay of the Eels open rhythmic orientation and Mittal's Eastern accent. He penned two tracks, "Shadows" and "Shades Of India." Both meditative pieces, the latter an epic, heroic composition that quotes John Coltrane's "India." The family González is an empathetic partner to all, capable of absorbing varying styles and approaches to deliver inspirational music. Gonzalez' "Dokonori Shīīto" is presented as a high energy speed workout that Mittal is game for. He is chased, then chases the melody and the trio into a boiling cauldron of sound.

Paul Stapleton / Simon Rose
Fauna
pfMENTUM
2013

Extended saxophone technique is just another term for deep space exploration and indeed, saxophonist Simon Rose is a musical cosmonaut. As a space traveler, he has released a couple of solitary saxophone expeditions on alto Procession (FMR, 2007) and a stunning baritone recording Schmetterling (Not Two, 2011). He provides a diverse and intriguing menu of tone manipulation, multiphonics and circular breathing.

With Fauna he shares the voyage with sound artist Paul Stapleton and his bonsai sound sculpture. Described as a portable modular musical instrument that combines a repurposed turntable, electronics, amplified metallic percussion and strings, the BoSS is part Blade Runner and part Plan 9 From Outer Space. Like Rose's serpentine routs, Stapleton's BoSS is a spluttering, droning, pitch-altering generator that is as otherworldly as a Simon's baritone. The pairs' improvisations could be the migratory songs of android whales or the piezoelectric abrasions that develop inside an old timepiece. Without the visuals, the sounds constructed are chimeric fantasies.

Albey Balgochian / Jane Grenier B.
Tragically Hip
ZenBeatz
2013

The CD (and accompanying book) titled Tragically Hip is not as much an oxymoron as it is a curse. As long as the world has had poets (meaning language) there have been those who have a transparent vision of our existence. Some of those poets have collaborated with musicians to illuminate our times. It may have started with Kenneth Patchen, whose pacifist poetry fought imperialism, then Jack Kerouac and his beat immersion into bebop, that hipped kids to jazz. The collaboration is a natural one, like the roots of hip-hop, words unsung are great liberators.

Bassist Albey Balgochian has presented jazz and poetry in multiple groups. Here he invites poet Jane Grenier B. to read her poems to his musical accompaniment. The pair draw from both improvised jazz and hipster spoken tradition. They trod an updated version of Gil Scott-Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised" with "The Revolution," a tome that now includes our sanitized Mid-East wars and corporate greed. The war comes home with "Cerial Killer Moms." 'Cerial' being a mashup of cereal and serial. The Death does not come from bombs here, but high fructose corn syrup IEDs. Balgochian's bass is as expressive as a poet's voice. Their marriage of tone and poetry in this EP is timely, yet not quite of the times.

ZZ Quartet
Beyond The Lines
In And Out Records
2013

The answer to the question: what does one do with an accordion?, is not beat it with a club until it is silenced. At least that is not the case when the accordion is utilized in the context of a jazz quartet like this ZZ Quartet. The 'Z' stands for Croatian guitarist Ratko Zjaca and Italian accordionist Simone Zanchini. Their quartet is rounded out by the Macedonian bassist Martin Gjakonovski and American drummer Adam Nussbaum. Beyond the Lines follows The Way We Talk (In And Out Records, 2010) and, while eschewing the traditional (or avant) aspects of the accordion, makes some innovative and what is more important, some swinging jazz.

Their music is difficult to pigeonhole. They draw from modern jazz, Italian film, and folk music as influences. The disc opens with the weighty bass line of "Voglio Una Donna" that unwraps into a complex and destabilizing sound. The band can hit hard and switch gears instantly ("Freak in Freak Out"), deliver a whistling pop song ("The Easy Whistler") with actual whistling, and negotiate the coolness of a lush blues ("River Spirit") all by meshing the ying/yang of Zjaca's guitar and Zanchini's accordion. The music is engaging and instantly agreeable.

Brass Mask
Spy Boy
Babel
2013

Tom Challenger's Brass Mask is not so much a 'band on the run,' but it is on the move. His octet is built like a New Orleans street band. Each member, seven horns and a percussionist, sound (and maybe even play) portable.

This update on the New Orleans carnival draws from the African-American tradition and is part blues, part jazz, and infused with the evangelizing church. What make this configuration stand out is Challenger's refinements. He pulls not only from N.O., but modern composition. The opening track, "Onnellinen" (a Finnish word meaning "happy") played with saxophones, clarinets, trombone, tuba and percussion mixes Philip Glass' minimal classicism with Gil Evans orchestration. Played by the 'street band' setup the formalism obtains soul.

The octet with Challenger (saxophone, clarinet), Theon Cross (tuba), and Nathaniel Cross (trombone); George Crowley (saxophone & clarinet), Dan Nicholls (bass clarinet & saxophone), trumpeters Rory Simmons and Alex Bonney; and percussionist John Blease do exercise their New Orleans (say Nawlins) funk with tracks like "Shallow Water," "I Thank You Jesus," and "Wizards." The updates here also draw from a Henry Threadgill influence. "Francis P" and "Israfil" play off that Threadgill fractured song structure and improvisation. The music is more than just a moveable party, it is a musical feast.

Go: Organic Orchetra
Sonic Mandala
Meta Records
2013

No, this is not a musical instruments garage sale. It's the 33-piece Go: Organic Orchestra and their 100-plus instruments under the direction of master percussionist Adam Rudolph. His self-described ensemble can be "assembled anywhere, anytime," and has had many lineups. Here he is working with New York-based players, and this recording is the orchestra's first studio session after six prior live recordings. The last release being Sound Of A Dream (Meta Records, 2011).

The music is an orchestral improvisation that is built upon Rudolph's interval matrices and cosmograms, the figurative form being mandalas utilized for meditation. The rhythms are intoxicating and mostly nonwestern. Rudolph's conduction brings to mind Butch Morris' work and that of John Zorn's Cobra, the difference here is Rudolph's background in African drumming, North Indian tabla, and Western classical composition. Let's say the Go: Organic Orchestra is a large (very large) version of the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

The remarkable aspect of this recording is just how intimate this recording is for such a large gathering. The music flows from one part to the other with an intoxication of rhythm. Horn or string sections enter, broadcasting their message, but always there is the heartbeat of percussion making this a very obliging session.

Tracks and Personnel

A Round Goal

Tracks: Overture; Bridge Solo—Keefe; Was Ist Kultur?; My TIme Is My Own; Pasturale; There Is No Language Without Deceit; Hierarchy Follies; Round Goal; Bridege Solo—Dave; Neither Spin Nor Weave; Roses.

Personnel: Wacław Zimpel: clarinet, alto clarinet; Peter A. Schmid: bass clarinet, e flat clarinet, sopranino saxophone, baritone saxophone, bass saxophone; Marc Stucki: bass clarinet, tenor saxophone, harmonium); Keefe Jackson: bass clarinet, tenor saxophone; Mars Williams: sopranino saxophone, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone; Thomas K.J. Mejer: sopranino saxophone; Dave Rempis: alto saxophone, baritone saxophone.



Look Like You're Not Looking

Tracks: Look Like You're Not Looking; Stay Here, I'll Come To You.

Personnel: Jonah Parzen-Johnson: baritone saxophone, vocals, analog synthesizer.



Heights

Tracks: Bloomer; Sea Urchin; Heights; Calm; Kimono; Fluid.

Personnel: August Rosenbaum: piano; Thomas Morgan: bass; Mads Forsby: drums; Joel Gjærsbøl: guitar, effects layering; Jakob Bro: guitar; Lars Greve: saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet; Otis Sandsjö: saxophone; Victor Dybbroe: percussion.



Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile

Tracks: Invocation; Humility Draws Down Blue; All Nations; Twelve Sighed; Spares Of The World; Secret Coven; River Ruby Dues; Confessor Haste; Amma Jerusalem School; For This Is; Responsory; The Labor Of Their Lips; Was The Sacred Day; Lesson; Woman Red Racked; Thanks Be You; Humility Draws Down New; Benediction.

Personnel: Matana Roberts: alto saxophone, vocals, conduction, wordspeak; Shoko Nagai: piano, vocals; Jason Palmer: trumpet, vocals; Jeremiah Abiah: operatic tenor vocals; Thomson Kneeland: double bass, vocals; Tomas Fujiwara: drums, vocals.



Stone Fog

Tracks: Cold Blue Sky; Old Feet Feet Out The Path; A Sudden Shift Missed; As The Moon Dips In Nettles; Hundred Of Wings Steel the Sun; River Willows Sway; One Side Of My Face Is Colder Than The Other; Stone Fog.

Personnel: Wacław Zimpel: bass clarinet, alto clarinet, Bb clarinet, tarogato, overtone flute; Krzysztof Dys: piano; Christian Ramond: double bass; Klaus Kugel: drums, percussion.



At The Plough Stockwell

Tracks: Free Blow Segue / Ann; Just A Matter Of Time; Relative Space / What's That; Whoops A Daisy: Home / What's That.

Personnel: Robert Calvert: saxophones; Jon Corbett: trumpet; Nick Stephens: electric bass; Nigel Moyse: guitar; Martin Holder: guitar; John Stevens: drum.



Colorado At Clinton

Tracks: Devil's Side (for Javier Chavez); Shadows; Wind Streaks In Syrtis Major; Shades Of India; Constellations On The Ground (for Chris Whitley); Dokonori Shīīto.

Personnel: Dennis González: C trumpet, Bb trumpet; Aakash Mittal: alto saxophone; Aaron González: bass; Stefan González: drums;



Fauna

Tracks: Borealis; Felt; Deep; Zwischenfall; Shift; Zeiteinheit; Set; Vetreiben.

Personnel: Paul Stapleton: bonsai sound sculpture; Simon Rose: baritone saxophone, alto saxophone.



Tragically Hip

Tracks: DragonFlys; Cerial Killer Moms; Solitary; The Art Of Poetry; Black Leather & Connies; The Revolution; Flux.

Personnel: Albey Balgochian: bass, vocals; Jane Grenier B.: spoken word.



Beyond The Lines

Tracks: Vogio Una Donna; Celtico; River Spirit; Freak In Freak Out; The Clockwork; Bale Con La Uno; The Judge Says You Are Not Innocent; Days of Old; The Lost Call; The South Song; The Easy Whistler.

Personnel: Personnel: Ratko Zjaca: guitars; Simone Zanchini: accordion; Martin Gjakonovski: bass; Adam Nussbaum: drums.



Spy Boy

Tracks: Onnellinen; Shallow Water; I Thank You Jesus; Nighty Night; Francis P; Indian Red; Rain Rain Rain; Meniscus; Wizards; Israfil; Indians; Don't Stand Up; Zubr Dubr.

Personnel: Tom Challenger: saxophone, clarinet; George Crowley: saxophone, clarinet; Dan Nicholls: bass clarinet, saxophone; Rory Simmons: trumpet; Alex Bonney: trumpet; Nathaniel Cross: trombone; Theon Cross: tuba; John Blease: drums, percussion.



Sonic Mandala

Tracks: Part One (Invitation); Part Two; Part Three; Part Four; Part Five; Part Six; Part Seven (slow); Part Seven (medium); Part Seven (fast); Part Eight; Part Nine; Part Ten; Part Eleven; Part Twelve (Universal Mother).

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