miércoles, 18 de noviembre de 2015

Gilad Hekselman - Homes (2015)

Source: Jazz Corner
Label: Jazz Village Label

The Gilad Hekselman Trio's new recording, Homes, fills you with quiet enthusiasm. You listen to it - or rather experience it as a contemplative contrast to the artist's complex identity in a globalized world: identification with his origins, the variety of places he has lived and worked, his musical models and influences, his place among family and friends, and his place within the history of his art. This recording reflects Gilad's relationships with his many homes; physical, geographic, musical and spiritual.

With this opus 5 (on JazzVillage, distributed by harmonia mundi) the six-string prince is celebrating a dozen years since his arrival in New York City, and also a decade of making music with his bandmates, double-bass player Joe Martin, and drummer Marcus Gilmore. The triumvirate is featured on Gilad's Words Unspoken, Hearts Wide Open and This Just In. On these essential recordings, and now with Homes, one could find abundant evidence that these formidable musicians form the ideal trio. Read more...




Max Johnson Trio - Something Familiar (2015)

"After three CDs and about five years of collaboration, resourceful bassist Max Johnson’s trio has attained a state of extraordinary cohesion. Filed out by the streamlined fluidity of Kirk Knuffke’s cornet and complementary rhythms of drummer Ziv Ravitz, the trio can handle ballads and burners with equal aplomb.

Each sonic modulation reaches its intended position the way marbles fill indentations on a Chinese checkers board. The melody of slow-paced “Les Vague”, for instance, is built around heartfelt muted cornet cries, gorgeously harmonized with double bass tones that sound sprinkled not plucked. Its antithesis, “Blips and Bloops”, is unabashedly onomatopoeic, with Knuffke’s open-horn blasts and plunger smears so vivid they’re practically emoticons while Johnson’s spiccato triple stops strengthen the jocular theme with woody affirmations. “Hammer Song” may appear as if it’s designed to showcase Ravitz yet the few hard thumps he extracts from the deeper-toned parts of his kit are ultimately displaced by lively polyrhythms, as walking bass, reverberating with the power of a punch to the solar plexus, steers the tune forward.

The sequence of “Cold Blooded” and “Little Arnie” may be Something Familiar’s high point. In both, Knuffke’s flutter tonguing and Johnson’s lilting stops move like Olympic skiers slaloming down a hill, nimbly avoiding obstacles emanating from Ravitz’ pumping rattles and supple enough in execution to recap both tunes’ heads at the finale(s).

Living up to the CD’s title, all tracks are a discernible mix of bop, cool and free motifs but they aren’t familiar in a hackneyed or overused manner. Instead, with well-modulated contributions from all and Johnson’s compositions as a base, the disc shows that distinguished jazz can be produced without resorting to extremes." Read More...

Ken Waxman (September 2015)
The New York City Jazz Record

01. Cindoze
02. Blips and Bloops
03. Cold Blooded
04. Little Arnie
05. Les Vague
06. Hammer Song
07. Something Familiar
08. Wind Song

All compositions by Max Johnson

01. Cindoze
02. Blips and Bloops
03. Cold Blooded
04. Little Arnie
05. Les Vague
06. Hammer Song
07. Something Familiar
08. Wind Song

Kirk Knuffke (cornet)
Max Johnson (double bass)
Ziv Ravitz (drums)

Recorded at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, New York

Engineered by Michael Brorby
Mixed by Max Johnson in the peace of his home
Mastered at Park West Studios by Jim Clouse
Artwork: Victoria Salvador

Produced by Max Johnson

Executive Producer: Jordi Pujol


Michael Felberbaum - Lego (2015)

Michael Felberbaum’s compositions are open to the world: his music is a puzzle where we can find a trace of the blues here, a sent of the orient there, and even reminiscences of bossa. This elaborately constructed identity creates a spatial and hypnotic atmosphere.  In his group we find Pierre de Bethmann on piano and Fender Rhodes, who is an multi-award winning French pianist (Victoires du Jazz and Académie du Jazz); Simon Tailleu on double-bass who belongs to the new generation and has already played with many international stars such as Yaaron Herman and the Korean jazz diva Youn Sun Nah; native of Canada living now in France, great drummer Karl Jannuska is able to play everything, from pulsation to suggestive colors. Read More...

All compositions by Michael Felberbaum

01. Flow 
02. Variations 
03. Horse 
04. A 
05. Nostalgia 
06. Now 
07. Mint 
08. A Little Bigger 
09. Lego

Michael Felberbaum (guitar)
Pierre De Bethmann (piano, Fender Rhodes)
Simon Tailleu (bass)
Karl Jannuska (drums)


The Charles Owens Trio - A Day With Us (2015)

Even when factoring in the vital contributions of bassist Andrew Randazzo and drummer Devonne Harris, there's no denying Charles Owens' firm hold on the nine tracks of A Day With Us. Throughout a program consisting largely of standards, the music is ruled by the broad, resonant sound of the leader's tenor saxophone and the dogged persistence that characterizes everything he plays. As if building something momentous on the spur of the moment with his wits and the force of his will, the sounds conjure up hard labor, sweat, and grime. In some instances Owens shovels notes out of the bell of his horn; in others, he wields a pneumatic drill. 

Most of Owens' solos (not to mention his introductions and post-out head forays) are long, irrepressible and headstrong. Just when you begin to wonder when he'll stop, give up, or bow out, there comes another chorus (or two or three) of smart, brawny invention. For all of the detours and digressions, the architecture of his solos is logical and relatively easy to follow. More often than not, when an improvisation ends, it begs the question: How can Owens sound so earthy, deep-rooted, yet move relentlessly and cover so much territory? And there's something positively addictive about the long way, Owens' preferred, circuitous route to a destination. Upon reaching the conclusion of "You Go To My Head," the disc's last track, an all-too-brief cadenza thwarts the expectation—and the desire—for another elongated, effusive, daring statement. 

Owens employs a number of devices that keep any threat of monotony or predictability at bay. He executes the in and out heads of "Caravan," "The Man I Love," and "You Go To My Head" in somewhat different ways, altering the tunes' identities and shifting the music's emotional temperature. A protracted and wildly inventive solo introduction animates "Caravan," the disc's opening track. The leader reinforces the tight-knit character of his working band by playing accompanying figures to Harris' solos on "Caravan," "UMMG," and "Take Five." Owens' puckish sense of humor often appears out of nowhere and disappears just as quickly. For instance, a number of tart, staccato bites flavor an otherwise sober "The Man I Love" solo. In contrast to a forthright take on the rest of the song, he transforms a portion of the bridge of "You Go To My Head" into a jaunty burlesque.

"Something" and "The Man I Love" are two prime examples of Owens ability to fashion familiar material to suit his improvisational character. Dispensing with the customary protracted introduction, the saxophonist executes a straightforward rendition of George Harrison's tune and includes a rather faithful reproduction of Harrison's guitar solo from the Beatles' recording. Owens gradually releases himself from some of the song's constraints and constructs something raw, ragged, and romantic on top of it. 

The record's masterpiece is a ten-minute treatment of George Gershwin's iconic "The Man I Love." To Owens' credit, throughout the melody and a good deal of the improv, it's tough to identify what, emotionally speaking, he seeks to convey—hope, guarded optimism, yearning, weariness, resignation? Slowly and painstakingly shaping the line he compels the listener to pay close attention to every note. The melodies Owens finds during his solo are just as purposeful and emotionally amorphous. For a time he opens up a bit, gradually becoming vigorous and terse, among other things cutting loose with one scream, shadowed by a short-lived silence. In contrast to the opening the out head is penetrating, at times almost rubbing the melody raw. The two-minute plus cadenza that follows marks the return of the restless, probing, bold tenor saxophonist. Owens defies the relative caution of the rest of the track in favor of going wherever his imagination takes him, and in doing so, leaves "The Man I Love" behind.

01. Caravan
02. Dutch
03. UMMG
04. The Man I Love
05. Take Five
06. Something
07. No Resolution
08. On A Slow Boat To China
09. You Go To My Head

Charles Owens: tenor saxophone
Andrew Randazzo: bass
Devonne Harris: drums