Friday, February 26, 2016

Daniel Karlsson Trio - At the Feel Free Falafel (2016)

Source & Label: Brus & Knaster

The Daniel Karlsson Trio have since their album debut Das Taxibåt in September 2013 established themselves as one of the most interesting constellations in Swedish jazz. Not least through the magnificent hat trick brought home by their sophomore release Fusion for Fish, released in August 2014. The album ended up winning the Swedish Radio’s Jazz Group of the Year Award 2014, Swedish jazz magazine OJ’s Golden Disc 2015 as well as the Swedish Jazz Grammy 2015. Ears have been opened abroad as well, their music met with press accolades and frequent airplay in Germany, but also in the UK and Ireland.
This does not mean that the trio are resting on their laurels. New music has been recorded through the Fall of 2014 and the Spring of 2015 on the island of Runmarö in the Stockholm archipelago and then honed to perfection at the brus & knaster studio in Stockholm. The result is now ready to be sent off into the world.
On this, their third outing, there’s a also new member in the band. Double bass player Kristian Lind has moved to Turkey and has been replaced by his namesake Christian Spering, an outstanding musician and an exceptionally well known name for those in the know of the Swedish jazz scene. As always the new album contain a collection of exciting original compositions by Daniel Karlsson. Nine new songs (we had to drop one title on the LP version) with a more or less pronounced lucullic theme apparent in the song titles. Soundwise there is no reason to worry, the trio’s distinctive characteristics are very much in place, only even more so this time around. A slew of analogue synthesizers and a rare instrument in jazz settings, the Mellotron, frequently adding to the soundscape. This is not a first in jazz however, Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi years of the early 70s featured Mellotron on both the Crossings and Sextant albums.
The preeminent guitarist Andreas Hourdakis makes cameos on two tracks just as on Fusion for Fish and Daniel’s sister, Rebecka Karlsson, baroque violinist, is also featured on one track.
And as on Fusion for Fish the brilliant artist Richard Johansson has lent us one of his out of this world oil paintings for the cover.

1 Chilly Chili 5:41
2 The Daily Döner 5:30
3 Rolls For Rolling 5:44
4 Folke Bengtsson Won A Trip 5:00
5 Two Blocks Away 4:07
6 Sambal Cymbal 4:23
7 Viggo's Veggie 4:21
8 La Baguette (Kampsången) 3:18
9 Recycling Society 7:59

Daniel Karlsson - Crumar Organ, Mellotron, Roland D50, Piano
Christian Spering - Double Bass, Tar Shehnai
Fredrik Rundqvist - Drums, Percussion
Andreas Hourdakis - Electric Guitar (tracks: 7, 9)
Rebecka Karlsson - Violin (tracks: 2)



Dirk Schaadt Organ Trio - Time To Change (2016)

Source & Label: Mons Records

The Cologne music scene has always been fertile ground for sensational projects. International stars from many genres have made the city their home, and met local heroes as well as emerging talents. Culture, clubs and concerts are the pulse of this city. Musicians see each other on stage and in sessions, and sometimes when they get together it sparks from the very first meeting. That's exactly what happened with the Dirk Schaadt Organ Trio, who are now presenting their debut album Time To Change.

Already recognised masters of their craft, the three musicians, Dirk Schaadt (Hammond organ), Martin Feske (guitar) and Marcus Möller (drums), immediately sensed that they were also on the same wavelength musically.
"The high-energy, homogenous trio sound was there from our very first note together. It was immediately and compellingly clear to us all that this must be the start of a sensational new band!" quipped Schaadt with a wink.

Having chosen Cologne as his adopted home, Dirk Schaadt has played across Europe for years with international artists such as Mirja Boes, Tom Gaebel, Marla Glen, Sydney Youngblood, Sister Sledge and various talent show winners on stage, in the studio or in front of the TV camera. His instrumental version of the AC/DC classic "Highway to Hell", produced together with a Cologne soul-DJ, received airplay worldwide, including in the USA, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom.

The guitarist Martin Feske, trained in Cologne and Texas, has worked with numerous renowned musicians throughout his career. These include such diverse talents as Till Brönner, Jeff Lorber, Kirk Whalum, Lew Soloff, Gary Grainger, Peter Fessler, Tom Gaebel, Jose Carreras, Andrea Bocelli, Peter Kraus. His concerts and tours have taken him to the Berlin and Leverkusen jazz festivals, among others, and across Europe. He has also worked as a lecturer in jazz/pop guitar at the Münster University of Music.

A native of northern Germany, drummer Marcus Möller enjoys a reputation as one of the most versatile drummers there is. Over the years, his truly incredible stylistic versatility has seen him work with such renowned artists as Marc Marshall, Marla Glen, Lars Danielsson, Roy Hargrove, Nils Landgren, Inga Lühning and Giovanni Costello (The Voice of Germany).

With the ten original songs on Time To Change, the high-energy trio presents an immense variety of styles, from funky soul-jazz, to finely worked ballads, to groovy and swinging jazz compositions. These songs combine to create a dynamic, coherent and therefore unique and unmistakable trio sound. All of the trio's recordings are played live without overdubs. "By using this set-up, we were best able to capture the musical energy and the dynamic, homogenous trio sound" said Schaadt.

Titles like "Eddie Likes It" have a bass line and drum groove reminiscent of the saxophonist Eddie Harris, and on "Seven Dance", the threesome manages to get an audience of 1000 people to move their feet, even in tricky 7/4 time. "She's Late" is playfully dedicated to an organ student who constantly turns up late. And yet it's actually this tardiness, this "scatterbrained dawdling", which becomes the song's focus, expressed through its "teetering" 5/4 groove and its clever melody. The ballad "Time to Change" sensitively and forcefully deals with life's more borderline situations. It's skilfully done too, with light melodic lines and modern harmonies, and it also points out the more positive aspects that are inherent to such moments. "You Think You Know It" seems vaguely familiar… Or is it? Stylistically, it's a tribute to Benny Golson. And then there's "Just an Option". Originally planned for a much larger line-up, the trio version has evolved into a wonderful "chamber music" soul-jazz pearl.

On some of the pieces, the Dirk Schaadt Organ Trio invited musicians known to them from the Cologne jazz scene to play along: Ludwig Nuss from the WDR Big Band (trombone), Denis Gäbel (tenor saxophone) and Matthias Bergmann (trumpet, flugelhorn). They were only too happy to accept the invitation and have enriched the music with their fresh sounds.

How good it is that they met...

The Dirk Schaadt Organ Trio – with their distinctive debut "Time To Change", they've been a real boon for the music scene!

01. Eddie Likes It (5:54)
02. Tristesse Royal (6:33)
03. You Think You Know It (6:37)
04. Seven Dance (6:45)
05. Both Of You (6:31)
06. She's Late (5:57)
07. Keep The Flow (5:53)
08. Time To Change (7:22)
09. Just An Option (6:19)
10. Gut Gelaunt (6:10)

Dirk Schaadt - hammond organ
Martin Feske - guitar
Marcus Möller - drums
Matthias Bergmann - flugelhorn
Denis Gäbel - saxophone
Ludwig Nuss - trombone



Perrine Mansuy - Rainbow Shell (2016)

Label: Laborie Jazz
Source: Fnac

Avec ce nouvel opus « Rainbow Shell », la pianiste s’engage résolument sur une voie pop, une « dream pop » de l’ouest, sur les traces de l’infatigable voyageuse, l’aventureuse Katherine Mansfi eld. Toujours en quête de lumière, la romancière se hâta de vivre et d’écrire des formes courtes, des nouvelles le plus souvent, fortes, rarement sentimentales.
Zébrée de guitares blues et des samples de Rémy Decrouy, toujours soutenue par les percussions de son autre compagnon de route, Jean-Luc Difraya, l’arrivée du violoncelliste Eric Longsworth dans le groupe colore l’ensemble de nuances nouvelles : sensibilité romanesque, engagement romantique ?
Soulignant le désir de Perrine de laisser le chant intérieur, primitif et cathartique, prendre le dessus, la voix rauque de Mathis Haug confirme cette tendance, recréant ainsi un univers onirique et intime.
Quand elle donne de la voix et joue des claviers, Perrine catalyse l’énergie, tel un chaman. Elle ose affronter l’inconnu et se risque à découvrir ce que l’on est sans toujours le savoir.
Animée d’une soif de liberté et de spirituel, la pianiste se revendique inlassablement à travers la musique que fait résonner son instrument (piano), refusant cependant le ghetto de « femme de jazz », de « musique de femme ».
Après « Mandragore & Noyau de pêche », « Délubies », « Vertigo Songs », cette musicienne a su imposer peu à peu son style et ce dernier album, « Rainbow Shell », en apporte une preuve supplémentaire.

1  Dîner flottant
2  Danse avec le vent
3  Fly On
4  Magic Mirror
5  River of No Return
6  Rainbow Shell
7  Tomettes et plafond haut
8  Paying My Dues to the Blues
9  Three Rivers & a Hill to Cross
10 Ending Melody
11 Le songe du papillon

Cover Rainbow Shell
Perrine Mansuy : Piano
Eric Longsworth : Cello
Matthis Haug : Chant
Remy Decrouy : Guitares, Effets
Jean-Luc Di Fraya : Batterie 



Bastet - Freedom Is A State Of Mind (2016)

Source & Label: Bastet

Led by guitarist Justin Rock, Bastet takes the art of improvisation and the art of the trio to fresh new levels. Rock's unique compositional voice is brought to life by his trio (Giulio Cetto - bass, Mike Quigg - drums). The group's chemistry on stage is contagious at their shows, and their music creates the kind of thought provoking and exploratory ambiance that makes it seem as if time is being bent or stretched, like an elastic galaxy. You'll hear bursts of bright colors that explode onto the wall and drip down like melted wax, complimented by a sparse industrial grit. Fresh off their 2015 debut release "Eye Of Ra" and a west coast/Canadian tour, with plans for a second studio release in early 2016, Bastet is potent and brimming with passion. Check out for tour dates, band info, music, and more!!

1. When It Rains 02:05
2. Think Peace 05:53
3. Broken Blinds 06:23
4. You've Got A Hardcore Face 06:41
5. Earplugs And Ambien 04:11
6. Song 3 05:06
7. Transient 02:20
8. Freedom Is A State Of Mind 07:31
9. Tina Tioga 04:19
10.There Is No Secret 08:21

Justin Rock (guitar)
Giulio Cetto (bass)
Tim Lin (sax)
Mike Quiggs (drums)



Peter Van Huffel & Alex Maksymiw - Kronix (2016)

Label: Fresh Sound New Talent

Saxophonist Peter Van Huffel has been referred to as “one of the most intense performers on this instrument” by Raul da Gama of All About Jazz. He is the leader of the Berlin punk-jazz trio GORILLA MASK; he co-leads multiple Berlin and New York based projects including the avant-chamber ensemble House of Mirrors, The Scrambling EX and the New York trio BOOM CRANE; and has released more than 10 recordings to date under his own name. Guitarist and composer Alex Maksymiw has been active on the international improvised jazz and music scene for the past decade. He has performed with a number of well-known artists and groups across North America, Europe and the Middle East, has led numerous successful tours with his own bands, and released his first CD, entitled “The Dreamer”, in 2011. His second album as a leader, “Without a Word” – featuring saxophonist Marcus Strickland, will be released in fall 2015 on Germany’s Double Moon Records.
KRONIX is the duo project of Peter Van Huffel and Alex Maksymiw. It highlights the two performers as unique individual musicians and as strong intellectual composers. The repertoire performed by the duo consists predominantly of their own compositions, many of which have been adapted to this setting from original larger ensemble formats. This is reflective, rhythmic, energetic and exploratory music, performed by two truly gifted musicians who work together in perfect symbiosis. Although both native Canadians who attended the same college for musical studies, Van Huffel and Maksymiw first performed together in the Ukraine and Poland at the end of 2012. They have been working together as a duo since Maksymiw’s move to Berlin in the summer of 2013, where Van Huffel has resident since 2008. The debut album from KRONIX is due for release in autumn 2015 on Barcelona’s Fresh Sound Records. 

01. The Charmer 2:48
02. Excerpt Two 6:05
03. Slow Burn 5:15
04. Anyhow 4:15
05. The Dreamer 5:02
06. Petrichor 3:29
07. Drift 6:07
08. Happenstance 6:09
09. Fuse 2:56
10. Anyhow (Alternate take) 4:13

Peter Van Huffel (alto sax)
Alex Maksymiw (guitar) 



Ran Blake - Chabrol Noir (2016)

Label: Impulse

Après l’hommage sublime que Ran Blake avait rendu il y a deux ans à la chanteuse Chris Connor, le pianiste américain nous revient aujourd’hui avec une autre dédicace, celle au cinéma de Claude Chabrol.
Intitulé « Chabrol Noir », c’est logiquement du côté de la force obscure du cinéaste que le pianiste va puiser son inspiration. Moins en marchant sur les traces de Pierre Jansen que sur le propre terrain du pianiste américain. Véritable maître de l’improvisation et du suspens, Ran Blake y tourne autour de cette musique avec des airs de story teller inspiré et introspectif. Car le jeu de Ran Blake qui se situe entre le silence et résonances, a toujours su ménager ses effets et provoquer l’attente.
Que la note grave du fond du clavier résonne lentement et c’est aussitôt un chapelet de triolets venu du haut du piano qui vient aussitôt alléger le propos, comme un personnage insouciant se promenant au milieu des ténèbres.
Ran Blake est un pianiste inquiet et soucieux. Tourmenté aussi. Et l’évocation de Chabrol s’écoute alors ici comme une sorte d’invocation de son fantôme, comme une lecture poétique personnelle et très sombre de l’oeuvre du cinéaste.
Ricky Ford avec le son de son ténor âpre et puissant vient sur quelques morceaux raconter une autre histoire Chabrolienne d’une manière plus Ellingtonienne.
Album envoutant comme le sont toujours les albums du pianiste, « Chabrol noir » est une magnifique oeuvre d’appropriation à la limite de l’intime, au coeur d’un processus créatif dense, et toujours émouvant.
Jean-Marc Gelin



Ralph Alessi Baida Quartet - Quiver (2016)

Source & Label: ECM

There are magic moments when an artist can be said to have well and truly “arrived.” For Ralph Alessi, the release of Baida – his ECM debut as a bandleader – is just such a moment, despite his already extensive resume. Among those in the know, Alessi is renowned as a musician’s musician, a first-call New York trumpeter who can play virtually anything on sight and has excelled as an improviser in groups led by Steve Coleman, Uri Caine, Ravi Coltrane, Fred Hersch and Don Byron, as well as leading his own bands. But Alessi has created something breathtaking with Baida, an album sure to beguile a wider audience with its atmospheric depth and melodic allure. To voice his suite of compositions, the trumpeter has convened a powerhouse New York band with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Nasheet Waits. As a vessel for the album’s seemingly bottomless lyricism, this quartet of virtuosos plays with extraordinary finesse; but there is also a tensile strength emanating from the performances, a muscularity that one can feel. Then there is the silver of Alessi’s trumpet tone; as The New York Times has said, it has “a rounded luminescence, like the moon in full phase.”

1  Here Tomorrow
2  Window Goodbyes
3  Smooth Descent
4  Heist
5  Gone Today, Here Tomorrow
6  I To I
7  Scratch
8  Shush
9  Quiver
10 Do Over

Ralph Alessi: trumpet
Gary Versace: piano
Drew Gress: double-bass
Nasheet Waits: drums  



Michael Formanek & Ensemble Kolossus - The Distance (2016)

Label: ECM

The Distance represents a grand creative leap for bassist-composer Michael Formanek, following two widely lauded ECM releases featuring his quartet with Tim Berne, Craig Taborn and Gerald Cleaver. The new album showcases his texturally rich compositions for the dynamic 18-piece big band he has playfully dubbed Ensemble Kolossus. The project saw some of the most distinctive musicians on the New York scene bonding to realize Formanek’s epic design, as he re-imagined what a big band can be. Channeling sounds from the classic to the modern, he also composed for individually expressive soloists in the Ellingtonian tradition. Along with the dark-hued romanticism of the title track, The Distance features the “Exoskeleton” suite – a kaleidoscopic musical experience in which Formanek’s bold, beautiful vision for 21st-century large-ensemble jazz comes vibrantly to life.
Both The Rub and Spare Change (2010) and Small Places (2012), Formanek’s two previous ECM albums, received rare five-star reviews in DownBeat magazine. In conceiving The Distance, Formanek was inspired sonically by such far-flung sources as the massively resonant chords in Messiaen’s organ works and the expansive jazz orchestrations of Charles Mingus, Sun Ra, Anthony Braxton and Henry Threadgill. As The New York Times described it, Formanek’s music is “graceful in its subversions, even sumptuous.”
Despite having great respect for the craft of big-band writing, Formanek admits that he has never been especially interested in the traditional style, “because it’s just been done so well so many times before,” he says. “But I wanted a large, rich, chewy sound with this music – and the ensemble’s rhythm section is particularly big, with piano, marimba, guitar, bass and drums. I also wanted a lot of different colors and textures, with some sharp edges occasionally. With the way this group works, there’s a lot of written material but also a lot of freedom in how we get from one point to the next. Things are riskier than with the usual big band.”
Formanek has long histories with many of the players in Ensemble Kolossus, having played alongside Berne not only in his recent small bands but also in the saxophonist’s ’90s ensemble Blood Count (which also included reed man Chris Speed). The bassist plays with guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara in the cooperative trio Thumbscrew, while trumpeter Dave Ballou is a fellow Baltimore resident and occasional band mate. Among Formanek’s other connections, Ensemble Kolossus conductor Mark Helias is a longtime instrumental peer. The fellow virtuoso bassists have known each other since the late ’70s and have recently paired onstage for rare bass duets. “Mark was such a positive force on this record,” Formanek explains. “It was wonderful to have a musical mind like his to help keep the music on track while I concentrated on playing bass in the rhythm section.”
Knowing the sounds and sensibilities of all the players, Formanek conceived the music of The Distance not so much for instruments as for instrumentalists. For example, Halvorson’s guitar helps color The Distance distinctively, with her shape-shifting chords and cubist solos a key attraction of such pieces as “Without Regrets” in the “Exoskeleton” suite. “This really is an incredible collection of musicians, players with such individual voices,” Formanek says. “Someone like Chris Speed plays chord changes on tenor sax in a way that’s so personal, fresh and full of ideas. Writing for players like these, I was obviously open to being surprised, although I was surprised by how much I was surprised. Trombonist Ben Gerstein is one of those musicians who always plays the unexpected, even when you know his palette of sounds.”
Most of the band’s players are drawn from the teeming New York scene, a fact that lent a certain energy but also a generosity to the Brooklyn recording sessions, according to Formanek. “More than ever, there are great jazz players everywhere across the U.S. and the world,” he says. “But the intensity of living and working in New York City means that not only is the level of everything these New York improvisers do is of such high quality; it’s the quickness with which they grasp where the music is going, their focus and concentration. They’re great people, too, and even though the scale of the band and music was challenging, things were relaxed. It felt like we were kindred spirits, with a common purpose.
“Everyone united behind this music – and I’m thrilled with how it all came out,” Formanek concludes. “This album feels like a high point in my body of work.”

1 The Distance
2 Exoskeleton (Prelude)
3 Exoskeleton Parts I-III (Impenetrable / Beneath The Shell / @Heart)
4 Exoskeleton Parts IV-V (Echoes / Without Regrets)
5 Exoskeleton Parts VI-VII (Shucking While Jiving / A Reptile Dysfunction)
6 Exoskeleton Part VIII (Metamorphic)

Saxophones/Woodwinds: Loren Stillman (alto sax); Oscar Noriega (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet); Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet); Brian Settles (tenor sax, flute); Tim Berne (baritone sax)
Trumpets: Dave Ballou, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Kirk Knuffke (cornet)
Trombones: Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Ben Gerstein, Jeff Nelson (bass trombone, contrabass trombone)
Marimba: Patricia Brennan; Guitar: Mary Halvorson; Piano: Kris Davis
Double-bass: Michael Formanek; Drums: Tomas Fujiwara
Conductor: Mark Helias  



Harry Allen Quartet - London Date (2016)

Trio Records proudly presents a 'live' recording of a quartet featuring the incredible US jazz saxophonist Harry Allen recorded at the Watermill Jazz Club with Italian pianist Andrea Pozza, gifted bassist Simon Woolf and ever popular drummer Steve Brown.

Fans of the long linage of the saxophone greats will not be disappointed. Harry Allen can be instantly lined up as a disciple of the late Stan Getz, but he has absorbed far more of the jazz saxophone tradition with elements of Hawkins, Webster, Zoot and Al, and elements from one of his teachers Scott Hamilton. However, Harry Allen's voice is very much his own and as fresh as any on the contemporary scene. With a formidable technique and searing sound Harry Allen continues the tradition of the great saxophonists before him.

The material on the CD is a straight blowing set ofjazz standards, a couple of great originals penned by Harry Allen and Judy Carmichael and the theme to Star Trek based on the standard Out Of Nowhere.

Recorded Live at the Watermill Jazz Club 5th March 2015

Released January 4, 2016

1. This is my Lucky Day 07:56
2. A Time for Love / You Are There 09:46
3. June Song 11:03
4. Where No Man Has Gone Before (Theme from Star Trek) 09:34
5. Here’s That Rainy Day 06:40
6. (Back Home Again In) Indiana 10:02
7. Our Love Is Here To Stay 07:02

Harry Allen - tenor sax 
Andrea Pozza - piano 
Simon Woolf - double bass 
Steve Brown - drums