The Free Jazz Collective Reviews of Free Jazz and Improvised Music

  • Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden (Constellation, 2023)
    by [email protected] (Paul) on October 2, 2023 at 4:00 am

    By Martin Schray For twelve years now, Matana Roberts has been pursuing her ambitious Coin Coin project. In twelve chapters she wants to combine art, music and theater concepts to a representation of African-American history, for which she researches the lives of seven generations of her family. That has been the plan from the beginning. The stories of the first two albums were located in Louisiana and Mississippi, the third part was rather personal, then the narrative moved to Memphis. The new album, In The Garden, is now again not assigned to any particular place. But it’s a family history again and as the previous albums it tells us a lot about the history of the United States at the same time: “The Coin Coin project is a musical monument to human experience. The root is American, but such experiences and emotions have no identity except that they are human. I focus on human emotions and experiences, but yes: it’s also a kind of musical map of the U.S,“ Roberts said in an interview. What’s new on In The Garden is the fact that the 16 tracks don’t flow into each other; they’re clearly separated. While the previous album was more of a stream of consciousness, In The Garden is a multi-part narrative. Roberts tells the story of one of her direct ancestors (her great-great-grandmother), who died as a result of complications from an illegal abortion. From the first encounter with the father of the protagonist’s children, through the course of the toxic relationship, the gradual estrangement, the protagonist’s loneliness, her desperate attempts to regain control of her destiny, to her unfortunate death, Roberts unfolds a typical story of black women at the beginning of the 20th century. In the process, the story develops an immense dramatic and narrative force, reminiscent of the female characters of Thomas Hardy (Tess of the d'Urbervilles) or Colson Whitehead (Underground Railroad). The inevitability of the protagonist’s fate and the social circumstances that ultimately drive her to her death are heartbreaking. Then again, Roberts also builds a monument to this character, showing her as a self-confident, modern woman. Each of the story parts ends with the same words: “Well, they didn’t know I was electric, alive, spirited, fire and free. My spirits overshadowing, my dreams too bombastic, my eyes too sparkling, my laughter too true. My name is your name, our name is their name. We are named, we remember - they forget.“ What is more, the fate of the woman is reflected in the music. “We said“, the opener, starts with indistinct chatter, as if we were hearing voices from Hades. In the background, the reeds drone ominously, preparing us for the tragedy of the story - a musical moment quite reminiscent of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. What follows are narrative passages that are repeatedly mirrored or counteracted by purely instrumental pieces. On the one hand, the tracks on which Roberts speaks are underpinned by repetitive string motifs (Mazz Swift on violin), restrained drums that groove lightly (Mike Pride and Ryan Sawyer) and blues-soaked horns (e.g. in “unbeknownst“ or “a(way) is not an option“). On the other hand, the same horns (the great Darius Jones on alto sax, Stuart Bogie on bass clarinet, Matt Lavelle on alto clarinet and Roberts herself) are more prominent in the instrumental pieces. On “predestined confessions“ they wrestle, entwine, fight and vie with each other. The almost idyllic scene in “but i never heard a song so long before“(which is dominated by a lullaby), and the gospel-like “the promise“ are followed by a lament which reminds me of the great musical moments of the 1960s, of Coltrane, of Shepp, of Ayler. It becomes clear that there will be no happy ending for the protagonist. The superimposed exclamations that mark the transition to the afterlife are underlaid with wild, screeching saxophone notes. For the finale, we are back to the beginning: brass band sounds, returning home from the cemetery after the burial in the tradition of a jazz funeral, only that this band consists of the little instruments of the Art Ensemble. It is obvious to see the topic of this album as applied to the social reality in the U.S. today, as a commentary on the recent Supreme Court decision on Roe vs Wade. In an accompanying text, Roberts opposes the criminalization of abortion and displays the consequences, especially for black women. She attacks the restrictive abortion policies of ultra right-wing forces, whose child protection argument she exposes as hypocritical based on their love for guns. If it comes to the music: free jazz is not enough for Matana Roberts, her installations include various forms of noise, gospel, blues and post-rock (In The Garden is produced by TV On The Radio’s Kyp Malone). Her art takes us to territories where no one has been. In its uniqueness Coin Coin is still the most fascinating project in the jazz world. Note: Originally, jaimie branch was also scheduled to play on the album, which was unfortunately prevented by the trumpeter’s untimely death in August 2022. She is mentioned in the liner notes, the instrument she contributes is called “courage“. Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden is available on vinyl (as a double 10’ inch), on CD and as a download. You can listen to the album and buy it from Ms Roberts’ Bandcamp site. Coin Coin Chapter Five: In The Garden... by Matana Roberts  Subscrib […]

  • Sunday Interview: Billy Martin
    by [email protected] (Paul) on October 1, 2023 at 4:00 am

    Billy Martin. Photo by Matthias Heschl. What is your greatest joy in improvised music?  The act of creation! To be activated and have a conversation with the cosmos (or other musicians or the audience. What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with? Those who speak less musically, have patience, supportive and know when to throw down and take over as in a solo. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most? Ornette Coleman. If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be? Nana Vasconcelos, Ornette. Both who I have met but did not really get the chance to play with them. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life? Larger theatrical work with an orchestra and large chorus. Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like? Yes of course. it goes back to Rolling Stones, Bowie, Burt Bacharach, the Police, Public Enemy, Lil Kim. But now, it’s difficult as things are spread out more on internet. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Composing more, earlier. Which of your albums are you most proud of?  Ugh. hate that question. I have over 40 records that I released with and without bands. My own record I would say 'Meshes' (Amulet), with Medeski Martin & Wood, 'The Dropper'. Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often? Not really. Sometimes I revisit. Not often. I get burned out after awhile around the release date.Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life?  Have no idea. What are you listening to at the moment?  Esquivel. What artist outside music inspires you?  Maya Deren, John Cassavetes, Robert Altman, Cy Twombly.Reviewed albums with Billy Martin: Jazzfestival Saalfelden 2023 - Part IIColin Stetson, Billy Martin, Elliott Sharp & Payton MacDonald - Void Patrol (Infrequent Seams, 2022) Astroturf Noise - Astroturf Noise (577 Records, 2020)Daniel Carter, Brad Farberman, Billy Martin - Just Don't Die (Ropeadope Records, 2019)The John Lurie National Orchestra: The Invention of Animals (Amulet, 2014)Medeski, Martin and Wood - The Stone: Issue Four (Tzadik, 2010)   Subscrib […]

  • François Houle Genera Sextet - In Memoriam (Clean Feed, 2023)
    by [email protected] (Paul) on September 30, 2023 at 4:00 am

    By Stuart Broomer Clarinetist/composer François Houle’s In Memoriam is dedicated to Ken Pickering, one of Canada’s greatest jazz advocates, who passed away in 2018. Pickering was director of both the Vancouver Jazz Festival and Coastal Jazz and Blues Society, as well as organizing national and international tours for Vancouver musicians. Among Canada’s major jazz festivals, Vancouver was unique both in the attention it paid to the city’s most creative musicians while also featuring major creative figures from the international free jazz and improvising communities. I can’t claim close friendship, but Pickering was a singularly warm, modest and committed man, and I was always happy to have occasion to get together with him at festivals. Ken Pickering’s special closeness to this project demonstrates his familiarity with the international community. Houle asked Pickering for recommendations for an international ensemble. Pickering’s suggestions? Cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum (on this recording his place has been taken by trumpeter/ cornetist Marco von Orelli), trombonist Samuel Blaser, pianist Benoît Delbecq, bassist Michael Bates and drummer Harris Eisenstadt. Either way, it’s five different countries optimally represented by a combination of skill and personality. For a recent performance at the Guelph Jazz Festival, the international balance was retained with Jeb Bishop assuming the trombone chair. Whether intentional or not, Houle’s composition reflects the breadth of jazz that Pickering himself celebrated, with suggestions of New Orleans polyphony arising at times, something evident as well in the assortment of winds, with von Orelli sometimes playing cornet and Houle’s clarinet the only reed. It’s there too in the brass duet improvising on the expansive “Requiem for KP”. There are definite free jazz touches in the abstract and angular dimensions of Houle’s composing, most notably on “This Tune” while, conversely, there are richly orchestral textures reminiscent of third- stream music. “Ekphrasis” develops an almost ceremonial aspect with a bell-like repeating piano figure and the richness of Blaser’s trombone sound. The individual performances are consistently at a very high level, solos inevitably tied to the moods of the compositions. Several of them, including “Gish Gallop” and “Deep River”, share the reflective resonance of spirituals, a quality that achieves its apotheosis in the concluding “Chorale”, which is also a setting for Houle’s most personal tribute, an extended solo that possesses tremendous warmth and depth of feeling, making maximum use of the clarinet’s capacity for subtly expressive tonal and timbral inflections. The most delightful element of the Genera Sextet is the absolute fitness of these musicians for Houle’s requirements, both as ensemble players and soloists, an ongoing memorial to the wisdom and thoughtfulness of Ken Pickering. In Memoriam by François Houle Genera Sextet Subscrib […]

  • Ignaz Schick x 3
    by [email protected] (Paul) on September 29, 2023 at 4:00 am

    Douglas R. Ewart & Ignaz Schick - Now Is Forever (Zarek, 2023)  By Eyal Hareuveni When German turntables wizard Ignaz Schick was a teenager, and then only an alto sax player, he bought George Lewis & Douglas R. Ewart’s post-free jazz Jila-Save! Mon. - The Imaginary Suite (Black Saint, 1979), expecting some Art Ensemble of Chicago-tinged tribal Afro-Americana. But, surprisingly he was completely drawn by the non-conformist mix and naked interplay of contemporary abstraction with AACM roots and blues and totally outer space electronic drone scape with some spiritual woodwinds and brass. This album encouraged young Schick to trust his artistic instincts, take risks with musical textures and collages but also to achieve musical friendships in the process. Many years later, in 2017, while Schick was in a composer residency in Los Angeles, he initiated a two-day recording session with the exceptional visionary, multi-instrumentalist, luthier (he designed and built the shakuhachi, bamboo flutes and the didgeridoo he plays in this session in addition to the sopranino and alto saxophones and the English horn), poet, afro-logical conscience keeper and critical thinker Ewart in Minneapolis. Schick arrived with a bad flu (Ewart’s Jamaican rum recipes did wonders), but completely ready for a magical dialog, and it is clear that he is well-versed in Ewart’s work, poetry and palette of sounds. This double album sounds like an updated reflection of the seminal and powerful Jila-Save! Mon. - The Imaginary Suite, experimental and ritualist, poetic and spiritual, and matching beautifully and naturally the AACM Afro-American free jazz aesthetics with the post-2000 European electro-acoustic free improvisation. Ewart’s wise and passionate narration of cultural and socio-ecological criticism sounds prophetic and urgent, and Schick’s reserved and imaginative sonic layers deepen Ewart’s unsettling spoken messages and musical outcries. This double album documents all the extended studio improvisations and the live ones in front of a small but generous audience. Now Is Forever is a unique masterpiece, a pan-generational and pan-cultural warning, and an inspiring and motivating musical document.  Now Is Forever by Douglas R. Ewart & Ignaz Schick Ignaz Schick & Oliver Steidle - ILOG3 (Zarek, 2023) ILOG3 is something totally different. It is the third duo collaboration of turntabalist Schick with Berlin-based drummer-live electronics player Oliver Steidle who have been working as ILOG since 2013. ILOG3 was recorded at Studio Zentrifuge Berlin in October 2021, a little more than a year after ILOG2. ILOG3 was conceived originally to be a video shooting session but Schick and Steidle performed such a fascinating set that they demanded to be released. ILOG3 is a set of dense and multilayered but surreal and uplifting electroacoustic, polyrhythmic mayhem that stresses the rich musical vocabularies of Schick and Steidle. Schick adds to his turntables sampler and pitch shifter/looper as well as a stack of new and quite “clubby" vinyl while Steidle is armed up with two new midi controller pads integrated into his drum kit with which he can control in a much more virtuoso way his portion of samples. Their interplay is super fast and juggles with crosscut tricks and beats but flows organically, as Schick and Steidle know each other’s eccentricities so well that they can anticipate the next moves and already prepare counter, subversive answers. ILOG3 guarantee to spin your head even faster than the tricky beats and satisfies the most cerebral listeners as well as the ones who only want to have their share of fun. It is released in two versions, a long extended suite for the CD, and a compact compressed version for the LP. Best to get both to enjoy the different constructions and the rebellious flow of this manic and chaotic music.  ILOG3 by Ignaz Schick & Oliver Steidle Ernst Bier / Gunnar Geisse / Ignaz Schick - Hawking Extended (Zarek, 2023)  Hawking Extended brings together Schick, on alto sax, turntables and sampler, with fellow Berliner jazz drummer Ernst Bier, who played with Schick in the Hawing duo since 2013, and here adds wave drums and electronics, with Munich-based guitarist and live-electronics player Gunnar Geisse, who plays on laptop guitar and virtual instruments. This trio was recorded at Bonello Studio Berlin in May 2018, a year after the first concert of the trio. These idiosyncratic musicians mirror and are being fed by the tension of their acoustic setting of alto sax, electric laptop guitar and drums, with the electronic and processed layers of wave drums, laptop and turntables. This unique setting forces Schick, Bier and Geisse to take risks, dive deep into unpredictable and cryptic interplay, and sketch highly eclectic and obscure sonic textures, collages and collisions that occasionally touch taboo kitsch or alien kind of cartoon music and flirt with anything from poetic and cathartic free jazz to SciFi cinematic-nightmarish atmospherics. One of the pieces is titled “No Boundary Proposal” and this title captures the essence Hawking Extended weird, provocative but totally captivating, as well as the aesthetics of Schick’s work. Hawking Extended by Ernst Bier/Gunnar Geisse/Ignaz Schick     Subscrib […]

  • Nava Dunkelman & gabby fluke-mogul - Likht (Relative Pitch Records, 2023)
    by [email protected] (Paul) on September 28, 2023 at 4:00 am

    By Jury Kobayashi Anytime new footage of gabby fluke-mogul and Nava Dunkelman’s duo is uploaded to YouTube I listen to it as quickly as I can. Formed in 2014, Likht marks the duo’s first album together and is a testament to their years of collaboration. There is something fresh about this release and yet it also carries the experience of an ensemble that has played together for years. Dunkelman’s percussion sounds like an orchestra-a world of its own- with each sound meticulously placed and fiercely executed. fluke-mogul’s violin is instantly recognizable for fans of their work. Their approach goes beyond the act of playing violin, they hum, moan, play the backside of the violin, crunch, chop, and summon sounds into the moment of execution. Like the description accompanying the album states, there is a ritual being performed. The ritual is not a cloistered one, it is grounded in the mud of existence and is felt in the bones. My favourite track might be the final track, Lust. fluke-mogul’s transforms Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman and deconstructs it. Their playing is complex and the contours of the Coleman’s melody dissolve beautifully under fluke-mogul’s bow. What stands out for me in this track is Dunkelman’s playing, who must have 30 hands. I hear small percussion, cymbals, toms, bass drums, gongs, and the sound of a rubber mallet bowing a snare drum. Percussion here becomes an equal voice in the music, and often is the star itself of the track. I have heard fluke-mogul in interviews describe the influence of Ornette Coleman’s work on their playing and maybe harmolodics (musical philosophy and methodology invented by Coleman) is the best way to understand this album. From Coleman’s words, rhythm becomes melody, harmony becomes rhythm, and vice versa-all these musical elements carry equal weight and shift syntactically throughout the album. In Prime Time for Harmolodicspublished by downbeat in1983 he states “Harmolodics is the use of the physical and mental of one’s own logic made into an expression of sound to bring about the musical sensation of unison executed by a single person or with a group”. Each of these artists has a unique musical voice which could be referred to as unison following Coleman’s definition. Their unison appears to be both personal and collective in that each musician’s sound individually supports the whole of the music. Whether either fluke-mogul or Dunkelman were thinking about harmolodics when they made this album is not the point, rather,I am invoking harmolodics to help highlight the uniqueness of their sound individually and collectively. This album is beautiful and striking and leaves me wanting a follow up album. The playing is impeccable and captivating. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of experimental or improvised music. Likht by Nava Dunkelman, gabby fluke-mogul Subscrib […]

  • Thomas Canna – mi sembri frastuono, sussurro (MUPE, 2023)
    by [email protected] (Paul) on September 27, 2023 at 4:00 am

    By Guido Montegrandi As Stef Gijssels wrote on this blog some weeks ago : “Listening to solo percussion albums requires some special attention and attention span as well” and indeed that’s what this album asks of its listeners. Mi sembri frastuono, sussurro by Thomas Canna is the third output of MUPE, a small artist-managed label that is focused on providing documentary evidence of its evolving artists and their sonic search. It is a solo percussion totally acoustic album: “the record has been initially developed last winter while I was studying the concept of “resonance” on my native instrument - the drum kit in its most traditional configuration” (T. Canna, personal communication) This investigation seems to move from music to alchemical psychology and back as most of the titles suggest (Nigredo/Blackness, Albedo/Whiteness, Rubedo/Redness - are names traditionally used to describe the different steps in the alchemic path ). The result is six different pieces that (at least to me) seem to form a sort of suite. The music is framed by the initial and final tracks made of vibrating bass harmonies (Nigredo and Unificazione) while in between things get more percussive and concrete (made of metal and skin), sometimes focusing on a rhythm, sometimes dispersing in sounds and whispers. The central piece Testimone (Witness) seems to find a balance in the tension field created by the diverse sonic sources: “I was looking for timbres that would allow to hold notes/harmonics over so as to create a vast array of overlaying colours … like some background cosmic radiation with no beginning and no end existing just in the here and now.” (T. Canna, personal communication). In conclusion this album offers an insight of the musical landscape of its author and leaves us with some moments of wonder for a primeval sound that brings echoes of the sound of the elements, something like the “vibrational dew” that Ornette Coleman was searching for. Worthy listening. You can listen, buy and download this album on Bandcamp. Mi sembri frastuono, sussurro by Thomas Canna  Subscrib […]

  • Natsuki Tamura - Summer Tree (Libra, 2022)
    by [email protected] (Stef) on September 26, 2023 at 4:00 am

    By Stef GijsselsJapanese trumpeter Natsuki Tamura is his own kind of musician. Disciplined with his Gato Libre ensemble, creative and controlled in the bands and duets with his spouse Satoko Fujii, and then you have his own personal albums. These are usually idiosyncratic creations full of sonic strangeness and brutal explorations.  "Summer Tree" consists of four tracks, each with titles related to the summer period. Tamura plays trumpet, piano and wok (!), and Satoko Fujii lends her voice on "Summer Wind". "Summer Tree" and "Summer Dream" have composed themes played by his muted trumpet. Around his trumpet, many layers of sound have been produced, noise, drones, resulting in a dense wall of sound, ominous, dark and perplexing. "Summer Color", the first track, is completely improvised, and is possibly the most brutal or excessive of the album, on which the wok plays a central role in mesmerising percussive repetitions. "Summer Tree" expands the sound by many layers of screeching trumpets, like a chorus of mad, anguished and furious supernatural creatures, over which Tamura's solo trumpet quietly sings, as if totally untouched by the mayhem in the background. On "Summer Wind" Fujii determines the overall sound, by a wonderful delivery of high-pitched eery shrieks and shouts, like a mountain demon coming haunt the world. Especially on this piece, the trumpet plays a more subordinate role, with the piano and the voice taking the lead, creating a bizarre and foreboding atmosphere. The last track, "Summer Dream" offers a kind of closure, a melancholy and sad moment of redemption, and the dark background drone is countered by the lonely trumpet, as a kind of acceptance of a much darker underlying reality, in symmetry with the second track. This is one of those albums whose cover art does not reflect the nature of the music. It's hard to find a moment of blue skies, sunshine, warmth or even clarity in the music, which is dark, uncanny and at moments terrifying. Tamura has achieved something exceptional here. Listen and download from Bandcamp.  Subscrib […]

  • Ivo Perelman and Nate Wooley - Polarity 2 (Burning Ambulance, 2023)
    by [email protected] (Paul) on September 25, 2023 at 4:00 am

    By Sammy Stein Burning Ambulance Music is releasing Polarity 2 with tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman and trumpet player Nate Wooley —the eagerly awaited sequel to 2021's Polarity. Perelman re-enforces his excellent listening ear as well as his technical mastery on this recording, as he and Wooley – Wooley being equally creative– venture ever closer to the outward extremities of sounds that can be interpreted as music or sheer sonic exploration. Throughout the recording, Perelman, and Wooley trade musical commentary, rather like two familiar comrades meeting up after a short time apart, each with something to say, and the other more than willing to listen and respond. At times, there is a blending of the two instruments’ sound and it is difficult to distinguish the lines each player takes but they also regularly de-converge and scorch two distinct trails on the musical landscape. From the classy dexterity of the opening track (each track is given a simple numeric, as is Perelman’s usual want), to soothing retorts and calming responses on track 2, the pair embark on a musical communion that pairs the two instruments – and how the musicians play them, perfectly. Perelman has collaborated with many instrumentalists and adapts to different styles but with Wooley, as with Matthew Shipp, he achieves something quite special. Wooley is a creative player and unafraid to exploit any gap in the music left inadvertently or deliberately by Perelman – at one point even an intake of breath by the latter is immediately filled with squeals–seemingly of delight–by the trumpet and the theme develops around the soaring, whirling trumpet notes. From blended phrases to solo pieces like that of Perelman on track 3, there are instances of lyricism and introspective playing, Perelman’s fiery delivery tempered more than adequately by the trumpet and also duet sections where both players travel along paths that interweave and intertwine to create something new, a chimera of trumpet rasps and saxophone notes. Perelman substitutes the voice of his tenor for his own voice on track 4 with the trumpet skilfully soaring across the top before the saxophone joins again, adding Perelman’s other distinctive voice – that of his beloved tenor sax to give another vocal textural dimension to the music. This recording sees two musical shapeshifters create a colourful, flamboyant, and distinctive combination. Pre-order now and the full release will follow in October. Polarity 2 by Ivo Perelman/Nate Wooley  Subscrib […]

  • Nikolaus Neuser - Sunday Interview
    by [email protected] (Paul) on September 24, 2023 at 4:00 am

    Photo by Manuel Miethe 1. What is your greatest joy in improvised music? The feeling when active and passive dissolve, and I feel as if I'm flowing through, in a sort of transcendent state. Hearing and playing become the same, and for me, it's the closest possible approach to the moment, the now. 2. What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with? When they are capable of making their fellow musicians sound good. Some can listen so well and intensely that one sounds great. That's simultaneously my greatest ideal for myself in music-making.   3. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most? If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be? That's hard to answer, there are so many I admire for different reasons, each within their historical context. So, I can only answer this question in a very abstract way. Meeting John Cage and Merce Cunningham, for instance, would be intriguing.  4. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life? There's still so much to explore with my instrument; it's an ongoing journey. In addition, there are projects and encounters in my mind that haven't been realized yet. 5. Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like? Yes. David Bowie's latest album deeply touched me. Lately, I've also been listening to Gloria Jones, Deichkind, and Dead Kennedys. 6. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would like to be better at prioritizing. 7. Which of your albums are you most proud of? It's hard for me to favor one specific album. Different aspects feel well-realized in different albums, and I'm happy when something succeeds. Currently, I quite like the new album from I AM THREE; perhaps simply because it's current. It's set to be released in early 2024 on Leo Records, as far as I know, it will be the label's final release. 8. Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often? Once it's released and I hold the first pressed copy in my hands, I usually listen to it once more, and then not again. Sometimes after years. This can be very interesting because I no longer remember my intention while recording, so I perceive it anew. 9. Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life? Kenny Wheeler's "Gnu High" was very important to me for a long time. If I have to name just one album, it might be that one. I still listen to the album from time to time even now. 10. What are you listening to at the moment? Henry Threadgill's "Zooid." 11. What artist outside music inspires you? Marina Abramovic, Elias Canetti, Gerhard Richter, Kurt Schwitters, for instance, are inspiring for me. Also, entities like Das Zentrum für politische Schönheit (The Center for Political Beauty), where art and political/social thought merge, are worth mentioning in that context. Photo by Cristina Marx/PhotomusixReviewed albums with Nikolaus NeuserMazen Kerbaj - Walls Will Fall - The 49 Trumpets of Jericho (Bohemian Drips, 2018)Silke Eberhard – Portrait (Jazzwerkstatt, 2017)The Alliteration - The Alliteration (Creative Sources, 2014)Potsa Lotsa Plus – Plays Love Suite by Eric Dolphy (Jazzwerkstatt, 2015)     Subscrib […]

  • Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra - Family (We Jazz, 2023)
    by [email protected] (Paul) on September 23, 2023 at 4:01 am

    By Ferruccio MartinottiCould you figure out, in A.D. 2023, something more reckless than having a jazz big band? Sorry? Ah ok, having a record store, sure. Luckily for us, around, there is someone so brave and visionary to do that, he comes from Norway and his name is Gard Nilssen. Born in 1983 in a family of drummers, and a drummer himself, he has played beside the likes of Frisell, Metheny, Redman and the top notch of Scandinavian musicians, finalizing a score of more than 70 records along with different bands (SpaceMonkey, Bushman’s Revenge, among the others. His past project Puma in our humble opinion deserves a peculiar mention) and if you are familiar with the blog, his Acoustic Unity should be pretty known to your ears. Fresh from pressing, here we have Family, a new chapter of the adventure as band leader of the Supersonic Orchestra, a monster ensemble of 7 saxophones, 2 trombones, 2 trumpets, 3 double basses, 3 drums, recorded live in Den Haag, Netherlands, at Mondriaan Jazz Festival, blasting 8 tracks originally composed by  Nilssen, along with his faithful saxophonist, bass clarinetist Andrè Roligheten. It could sound pretty banal but we don’t have any difficulties to admit that, just before the music started, the synapses were (un)consciously ready to set as paradigms the Fire!Orchestra on one side and Paal-Nilssen Circus on the other. As said: banal, too banal. In fact, while you are ready to be swept away by a sonic avalanche, as soon as the music flows, a sense of warmth, even when the “angles” becoming sharper, is triggered by the smooth, sheer amalgam among the musicians but what’s really mindblowing is that you hear, you clearly feel that the band got the swing, yes dear reader, modern, free, acuminate but unmistakably BIG BAND SWING. Looking forward to catch the Supersonics live can hardly be overstated. Family by Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra  The Supersonic Orchestra is: Andrè Rolighten tenor sax, bass saxophone, bass clarinet, percussionEirikHegdal sopranino sax, C-melody sax, Bb clarinet, percussionPer “Texas” Johansson tenor sax, baritone saxophone, contrabass clarinet; Bb clarinet, percussionKjetil Moster tenor sax,baritone saxophone, Bb clarinet, percussionMette Rasmussen alto sax, percussionMaciej Obara alto sax, percussionSigne Emmeluth alto sax, percussionThomas Johansson trumpet, percussionGoran Kajfes trumpet, percussionErik Johannesen trombone, percussionGuro Kvale trombone, percussionPetter Eldh double bass, percussionOle Morten Vagan double bass, percussionIngebrigt Haker Flaten double bass, percussionHakonMjaset Johansen drums, percussionHans Hulbaekmo drums, percussionGard Nilssen drums, percussion  Subscrib […]

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