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The Dude Abides

Mark Corroto By

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The hex conjured by an ECM reference, that the pristine sounds are of a certain emotional timbre, can also be a limiting factor. Rosenbaum restricts himself to a narrow demonstrative range here. His use of saturnine passages and snail-paced songs require a certain attention. In the hands of a lesser musician, this would be problematic. Rosenbaum's cinematic scoring experience comes into play here. His piece "Calm," a ballad is about as melancholy as they come. The music is coated with Gjærbøl's electric guitar and a textured ambiance that pours as slow as thick blackstrap molasses syrup. This is music to lower the room lights and ease back into an overstuffed chair.

Matana Roberts
COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile

Back in the day, long before music videos, artists made music to tell stories. Their sounds were not just the background for paparazzi seeking celebrities to twerk to. Sure, it's hard to believe, but the music of saxophonist Matana Roberts found on COIN COIN Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile returns to the African-American tradition of storytelling and musical narrative.

Chapter Two was recorded with a pared down version of her 16-piece band assembled for COIN COIN Chapter One: Gens de couleur libres (Constellation, 2011). This edition continues Roberts' family history from slavery to freedom with a traditional jazz quintet composed of Shoko Nagai (piano), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Thomson Kneeland (bass), Tomas Fujiwara (drums), and Roberts conduction, spoken word, and alto saxophone. This edition adds the operatic tenor voice of Jeremiah Abiah to add sanctified texture to the story told in 18 parts that flow seamlessly from the lissome free opening to the Gospel-tinged revival and the cruel segregationist passages. The music is a sung/spoken testimony to endurance and survival, and the family bonds that play a role in overcoming intolerable barriers. If Wadada Leo Smith's Ten Freedom Summers (Cuneiform, 2012) was the macro chronicle, this is the micro. The music begs to be heard from start to finish. Hopefully,this chapter is just the middle part to an ongoing saga.

Wacław Zimpel Quartet
Stone Fog
For Tune

By now, enough introductions have been made to Polish clarinetist Waclaw Zimpel that his name as a leader is of consequence. His horn has been favored by Ken Vandermark in The Resonance Ensemble—What Country Is This? (Not Two Records, 2012) and Kafka In Flight (Not Two Records, 2011) and The Reed Trio—Last Train To The First Station (Kilogram, 2011). He can be heard in duo with Tim Daisy (plus Dave Rempis) Four Walls (Multikulti, 2008), with Joe McPhee in Mikołaj Trzaska's IRCHA Clarinet Quintet Lark Rising (Multikulti, 2011), and in Keefe Jackson's Likely So (reviewed above).

His own projects, HERA, Undivided (with Bobby Few) and now, this Quartet mark him as a prominent leader. Stone Fog is a chamber-meets-free jazz session that bookends Zimpel compositions with group improvisations. His band of fellow countrymen are adroit collaborators seasoning the music as they maintain the animation. The quartet has no need for labels, genres, or styles. They eschew the pigeonhole by working improvised pieces with classical language on a track like "Hundred Of Wings Steel The Sun," all titles are borrowed lines from Laura Winter's poems. The improvisational component, Zimpel's deep throaty reed floats over the ruminating cymbal work of Klaus Kugel, bowed bass of Christian Ramond, and wind chime-sounds of Krzysztof Dys' piano. The effect of this expansive view of classical and improvisational music making is to render a special 'beyond category' recording.

John Stevens Away At Home
At The Plough Stockwell
Loose Torque

Most of the attention given to drummer John Stevens (1940-1994) centers on the Spontaneous Music Ensemble. From it's inception in the mid-1960s, SME, which Stevens co-founded with Trevor Watts defined the language of British free improvisation. The various and changing members of SME from Evan Parker, Derek Bailey, {Barry Guy}}, Kenny Wheeler, to John Butcher became the who's who of the British creative music scene.


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