Revelatory about reviewing jazz in this era is the constant discovery of new labels. Cases in point here are these two free-form recordings. Keith Utech, out of Milwaukee, has forged a recording venture out of notions that involve shattering expectations and blasting through with explosive new music.
Spark Trio - Matt Lavelle on trumpet and bass clarinet, Ras Moshe on tenor and alto sax and Todd Capp on drums - present the furious Short Stories in Sound, recorded at the drummer's house and all about the power of sound. It's got a sense of the explorations of adventurers from the early days of free music like Albert Ayler and Sunny Murray. Though there are tracks, nine of them in fact, the disc sounds like one long extended and free group improv.
This is not traditional playing by any means but it does come from a sort of tradition and a vocabulary that listeners to new music will recognize. And after a while it starts to make aural sense. Take, for example, the track called "Katrina . It's a trumpet and drum dirge for the victims of the tragedy and it feels like a hymn that explodes in anger while simultaneously basking in sorrow. Each of the tunes here seem to emerge out of a murky cosmos as if improvisation is born anew each time. This is music that, as once said about Coltrane, opens up new ways of listening.
What emanates from the music of Silo seems to be not out of the earth but more from the colors of the world we've created. It's almost industrial but also other-worldly, with shrieks both instrumental and human, coming up out of some subterranean terrain.
Audrey Chen supplies the haunting tones of cello and her own voice with Leonel Kaplan and Nate Wooley exploring trumpet sonorities. And some truly outlandish sounds come from the traditional Maori instruments and voice of New Zealander James Webster. There are four 'tracks' here - sections of one exploration of nearly an hour. It's truly amazing to hear free improvisations done on instruments that are not part of the American jazz tradition or, when they are, to hear them so differently. These modern and post-modern environmental and man-made sound atmospheres are transfixing.
Tracks and Personnel
Short Stories in Sound
Tracks: Ignition; Launch; The Deep; The Street Vendor; Lives; Tidal Wave; Katrina; Sanctuary; Fast 'n' Furious
Personnel: Matt Lavelle: trumpet, bass clarinet; Ras Moshe: tenor and alto saxophones; Todd Capp: drums.
Personnel: Audrey Chen: cello, voice; Leonel Kaplan: trumpet; Nate Wooley, trumpet; James Webster: traditional Maori instruments, voice.