Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Joelle Leandre, Theo Ceccaldi, Elastic

The liner notes by Stef Gijssels on the album today pretty much sum up the exceptional kind of new music improv heights achieved by contrabassist Joelle Leandre and violinist Theo Ceccaldi on Elastic (Cipsela 006). It is the thoroughgoing inspiration of two masters of their instruments coming up with a beautiful two-way sonance that hangs together as brilliant in-the-moment creations that are considerably more than a coincidental coincidence of two instrumentalists. It is more the magic of creation than simply "freeing" it up. After more than 50 years of freedom in the music realm we should expect the best matchups to go beyond. Here they most certainly do.

Joelle brings forward her multi-range bowing thoughts to second Theo's upper-range violin ideas while still holding down the bottom end. But there is considerably more going on. It's all about string tone, yes, beautifully so, and yet it is still about the notes so that we get a multi-dimensional expression, a total musical phenomenon.

Like a rubber band, the duo stretches what is possible in the listen-participation zone, so it's not idea and response so much as it is simultaneous double ideas that come into play. Beautifully so.

As a bass and violin improvisation set Joelle and Theo show us their phenomenal mastery and move us! Do not miss this one. It is breakthrough improv in all senses of the phrase!


Monday, September 19, 2016

Golfam Khayam and Mona Matbou Riahi, Narrante

A finely wrought change-of-pace is in the works today with the Iranian Naqsh Duo of Golfam Khayam on acoustic guitar and Mona Matbou Riahi on clarinet and their recent album Narrante (ECM 2475).

Both players are quite good. They combine Persian tradition and tonalities with an original composition-improv approach for some haunting music.

Both were born in Tehran, founded their duo in 2014 and recorded this album in Lugano, 2015.

What makes this album especially attractive is the fine interplay between Riahi's floating clarinet tone and Khayam's well developed, singingly classical guitar style.

The music has a magic of its own that mark this duo as something very special. Highly recommended.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Joe Morris, Shock Axis

Avant pacesetter Joe Morris takes us further out in a power trio, psychedelic free zone with his recent Power Axis (Relative Pitch 1050). It is Joe on a very electric guitar pulling out all the stops in company with an excellent trio in tandem with Chris Cretella on electric bass and Dave Parmelee on drums.

It's a full-out assault on the senses with maximum energy, motility, movement and NASA grade thrust.

Joe cranks it and lets loose with those torrents of his, but with the psychedelic power decibility it awes your sonic senses even more than is the norm. Cretella follows in the outward path with bass power and lines that compliment Joe's excellently. Parmelee is drumming full-out in that space between freetime and power rock.

This is a performance not to be missed, with plenty of variability and projective out melodics. Joe seems to have jumped over a hurdle lately and is playing with a controlled abandon even more dramatic than one expects from him, placing him at the top of the free guitar heap as he has been for some time, but doing so in ways that the heavy avant metal aficionados out there will most definitely take to heart.

Excellent heavy outness! Joe and trio are on a roll and it is a pleasure to hear them in such an inspired mode!

Recommended heartily!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Rupert Boyd, Fantasias

Rupert Boyd is a classical guitarist who, yes, gets all the notes right. But he also brings to each piece a mastery of phrasing and a rhythmic jolt at times that puts him in the coterie of artists of excellence.

All this you hear to fine advantage on his album Fantasias (Little Mystery 103). On it is a cornucopia of works from virtually all ages and places--a Piazzolla tango, an arrangement of four old Celtic songs by D. Russell, a couple of short works by DeFalla, a Villa-Lobos etude, John Dowland and on from there.

The exceptional clarity and expressiveness that is the Boyd way is rare and a great thing to hear. Check out this terrific album!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Burnt Belief, Emergent

Burnt Belief is a trio with a large, advanced, sophisticated prog rock compositional approach. They release the final part of a trilogy on Emergent (Hard World CD HDCD012). It has that spooky sort of fullness of sound that has something to do with Porcupine Tree bassist-programmer Colin Edwin.

But then Jon Durant sounds great on both electric guitars and keys. And Vinny Sabatino does a great job in the drums-percussion department.

Durant and Edwin are the composers for the duration of this fine album.

There is an unworldly sound to this band that gradually works its way into your soul. Edwin plays a memorable bass throughout And the uncanny guitar-keys blend will set your ears off, truly.

I recommend this to you who seek the latest in prog futurism! And to you who don't know what that means, too.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut, Glasslands 2010-2011, Radiance

Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut has been one of the most incandescent and prolific of avant jazz recording artists in the last few decades. But lately I have not seen as many new releases coming out. The recent issue of an explosive live recording, Radiance, Glasslands 2010/2011 (self-released) makes up for the lack. It's the band letting loose with untrammeled energy and passion, with a presence of outside electricity in the person of Gene Moore on electric guitar, who adds some genuine fireworks, Jeffrey on a very boisterous alto, and a hugely thick barrage from Gene Janas on acoustic bass, Matt Luczak on drums, Dikko Faust on trombone, Pete Dragotta on baritone-flugel-pocket trumpet . . . and for the septet Shurdut, Moore, Janas, plus Marcus Cummins on alto and soprano, Brian Osborne on drums, Takuma Kanaiwah on musette, and Sam Englander on violin.

This is a very thorough blowout. The band makes a huge sound thanks especially to the amassed horns and Moore's rattling sustained feedback skronk on guitar.

This is one to clear your system with! It's off-the-wall all the way but in the best SORT of way. Whoo!

Monday, August 29, 2016

D. Lazro, J. Leandre, G. Lewis, Enfances, 8 Janv. 1984

I am not here to tell you what to like. After all, who am I? Not some authority and if I said I were you should become suspicious, because after all we are all peddling our butts one way or another. I am just an avid listener (lifetime) with ears you can trust. Otherwise, I am just another schmoe. If I get lots of readers it benefits me--not in some monetary sense, in fact just the opposite. My wife blames the loss of our house in foreclosure to these blogs. Who knows, she could be right?

But that's my business. And my wife's, I suppose. If I come on here and tell you that the recently released album Enfances (Fou CD 18), a 1984 recording by alto saxman Daunik Lazro, bassist-vocalist Joelle Leandre and trombonist George Lewis is well worth your attention, it is because I feel that way. I get nothing out of liking what I do here.

But I DO like this one very much. It's a free avant romp, jazz if you will. Lazro is not as familiar to me as he should be but he is certainly blazing here. Joelle Leandre turns in the sort of exemplary free contrabass excellence and vocal projectivity she does so well...and some of it all is based on Rimbaud! George Lewis needs no introduction (or should need none) as one of the premiere avant trombonists and musical thinkers of our time.

You put all this together for ten improvisations and you have something great! That is, you have Enfances. It is an adventure, a trip into expression, out sound, brilliant invention. A great combination of three masters!