Monday, March 14, 2016

Eva Novoa - Butterflies And Zebras by Ditmas Quartet (2016)

"Listening again to this album as I sit and write this a mere neighborhood away from the one with which this quartet shares a name, I think again of the staggering number of inventive musicians based in or closely associated with Brooklyn. For most musicians here this is beyond a cliche in 2015. Yet, as I spend roughly half the year playing music outside of Brooklyn it occurs to me that while devotees of creative music / improvisation / etc might have a surface-level notion about this, the true extent of this only reveals itself after one spends significant time spent here, and even then still only to a fractional extent. I imagine trying to play once a year with every musician around here who is either a friend, acquaintance, or someone I admire, and I'm not sure how I'd do it.

Michaël, Max, and Jeff are three of those friends with whom I am fortunate to play and they're pretty appropriately matched here, as I know all of them as irrepressibly and indefatigably creative; this recording definitely confirms that. Eva and I met years ago when we both were beginning to make our own inroads here. We've both since found ourselves enveloped by this community. Her playing and musical direction on this record establish an atmosphere of fecundity.

Not all the music made in these neighborhoods sounds like this. It's a particularly apropos fuse, though. Thanks for listening".

[From the inside liner notes]

01. Spicy Water (Jeff Davis) 5:36
02. The Drone (Eva Novoa) 7:56
03. No Direction (Max Johnson) 6:43
04. Justin (Jeff Davis) 4:47
05. Pre-Nerve Scale (Michaël Attias) 5:44
06. Jack Nicholson (Eva Novoa) 3:07
07. Coffee Stain (Eva Novoa) 7:51
08. Chinese Shingles (Eva Novoa) 4:46
09. La Part Maudite (Michaël Attias) 6:49
10. For Jeff (Eva Novoa) 7:58

Total time: 61:00 min. approx.

Eva Novoa (piano, Fender Rhodes on #3 & 8)
Michaël Attias (alto sax)
Max Johnson (bass)
Jeff Davis (drums)

Recorded at Sear Sound Studio, New York City, June 2015

Sound engineer: Amandine Pras
Mixed & mastered by Jeremy Loucas
Illustration & design by Valerie Trucchia

Produced by Eva Novoa

Executive producer: Jordi Pujol



Ismael Alcina - Bass Life (2016)

Label: Self Released
Source: Ismael Alcina
Genre: Electric Jazz/Fusion

Desde pequeño estuvo muy ligado al rico folclore comarcal participando de forma activa como guitarrista y vocalista de manera autodidacta. A los 16 años, comienza tocando el bajo eléctrico influenciado por músicas como el flamenco, y el pop. Más tarde, compagina sus estudios de Magisterio de Educación Musical con una afortunada e intensa actividad profesional, llegando a realizar numerosas giras y grabaciones con artistas relevantes de diversos estilos con los que recorre todo tipo de festivales, salas y recintos más importantes del panorama nacional. (EA!, Maita Vende Ca, Alba Molina, India Martínez, Lya, David de María, Lidia Guevara y Rojas, etc)

Realiza seminarios con bajistas como Paul Gill (NY) y Chris Higgins (Boston). Ya en 2010 se afinca en Barcelona donde finaliza el grado superior bajo eléctrico en Jazz & Música Moderna en la Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC) con profesores como Gary Willis, Mario Rossy, Joan Sanmartí, Ferran Conangla, Dani Pérez y Luis Vergés entre otros. Actualmente compagina su actividad como sideman, para diversos artistas y proyectos, con la realización de su propia música, su primer proyecto personal que muy pronto se verá reflejado en el que será su primer disco.

Ha colaborado con artistas como: David de Maria, Rojas, Lidia Guevara, Jimmy Malla, India Martinez, Lya, David Palomar, Rancapino, Mariana Cornejo, Joaquín de Sola, Jose Mercé, Hakim, EA!, Juan de Juan, Rycardo Moreno, Antonio Lizana, Radio Macandé, Maita Vende Ca, Manolo Carrasco, Sergio Monroy, Alba Molina, Fado Violado, José Carlos Gomez, Saurom, Fernando Lobo, The Gramophone Allstars Big Band, Pau Figueres, Xaluq…

BASS LIFE es el resultado de más de 10 años de experiencia profesional realizando giras con diversos artistas del panorama nacional. El proyecto ve la luz el pasado año en L´Auditori de Barcelona y evoluciona hasta convertirse en el primer álbum del músico gaditano.

Desde sus comienzos en su ciudad natal tocando flamenco y folclore, el bajista también ha gozado de una intensa actividad como músico de sesión para artistas de pop nacional. En Barcelona, profundiza en el estudio del jazz y la música moderna con profesores como Gary Willis y Mario Rossy, pudiendo colaborar con distintas formaciones de la ciudad condal. Actualmente, además de apostar por su propia música, está involucrado en varios proyectos y continua con su faceta como freelance.

1. Latin Day 06:29
2. Tú 05:00
3. Bipolar 04:11
4. Home 05:57
5. Solo 01:52
6. Introspección 06:24
7. WTF 04:15
8. Nana 08:20

Ismael Alcina - bajo eléctrico fretted, fretless, voz y palmas.
Adri Gonzalez - piano, rhodes, hammond y synth.
Enric Peinado - guitarra eléctrica y guitarra acústica.
Antonio Torres Vega - batería, percusiones y palmas (batería DW y platos Zildjian)

Cuarteto de cuerda (#4 y #8): Asier Suberbiola - violín, Ariadna Rodriguez Masafrets - violín, Nuria Garcia - viola y Carmen Enjamio - cello

Epi Pacheco - cajón (#3) Grabado en Studio TMA (Chiclana de la fra, Cádiz)
Jordi Bastida - guitarra eléctrica (#6)



Harris Eisenstadt - Old Growth Forest (2016)

This recording happened the day after two concerts at the New York venue directed by John Zorn, The Stone, in September 2015. Harris Eisenstadt thought it was the right opportunity to revive a forgotten trio with Jeb Bishop and Jason Roebke and to finally accomplish an old purpose: to have a quartet with the addition of Tony Malaby. After the gigs they went immediately to a studio and this is it. With such a reunion of improvisers it wasn’t difficult to arrange things; some written material was prepared only to define a unified identity to the music, and everything else was kept open. No other word would describe better what you’ll discover here: open jazz. An urgent, passionate and vibrant kind of jazz. “Old Growth Forest” HAD to happen, HAD to be. It took 10 years to finally get here, but each moment of this CD sounds like destiny. It’s done and we only hope that they do it again, and again, and again…

Jeb Bishop | trombone
Tony Malaby | tenor saxophone
Jason Roebke | double bass
Harris Eisenstadt | drums & compositions

1. Larch
2. Pine
3. Hemlock
4. Redwood
5. Spruce
6. Fir
7. Big Basin
8. Cedar

All compositions by Harris Eisenstadt, Heresy Music (SOCAN)

Recorded September 2, 2015 by Michael Brorby at Acoustic Recording, Brooklyn, NY | Mixed by Jeremiah Cymerman, October, 2015, NY | Mastered by Luis Delgado
Produced by Harris Eisenstadt | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos | Inside photograph(s) by Peter Gannushkin

Harris Eisenstadt uses Istanbul Cymbals and Regal Tip Brushes.

Thanks to Jeb, Tony, Jason, and the folks at Clean Feed.



Fred Frith / Darren Johnston - Everybody’s Somebody’s Nobody (2016)

This is the first duo effort to be released by Canada-born, but long time contributor to the San Francisco Bay Area scene trumpeter Darren Johnston, and the legendary guitar iconoclast Fred Frith.  They can also be heard together on the fine release “Reasons For Moving,” (Not Two, 2007), alongside Larry Ochs, Devin Hoff and Ches Smith, but in this more intimate musical gathering, the results are truly astonishing.   The genesis for this session was originally to provide sounds for a short dance film for filmmakers John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson and choreographer Amy Seiwert in a commission for the SF Dance Film Festival, but as can happen when improvisors are effectively inspired by one another, this led to a full release’s worth of exciting new music.

With the distinct and unusual combination of a guitar and trumpet duo, from the very first moments of “Everybody’s Somebody’s Nobody” we feel that they’re inventing a new timbral map and a new format. These are musicians from different generations, but they have more in common than what you might suppose. Johnston has started a path with his instrument similar to the one taken by Frith 40 years ago. After the termination of the prog band Henry Cow, the British six-string player started  intense exploratory work around techniques, vocabularies and forms – frequently creating unprecedented and beautiful new sounds – and his accomplishments have since widely expanded the possibilities of the guitar. Now, Johnston is doing the same with the trumpet, taking it to its limits and sometimes beyond. Don’t miss this important step of today’s music evolution.

Fred Frith, guitar
Darren Johnston, trumpet

01. Barn Dance
02. Scribble
03. Luminescence
04. Everybody's Somebody's Nobody
05. Bounce
06. Morning and the Shadow
07. Down Time
08. Rising Time
09. Scratch
10. Ants
11. Standard Candles

All music by Fred Frith and Darren Johnston

Recorded September 5th, 2013 and December 17th, 2014 at Guerrilla Sound | Engineered and mixed by Myles Boisen | Mastered at Headless Buddha Labs by Myles Boisen | Creative engineer Myles Boisen

Produced by Fred Frith and Darren Johnston | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos | Cover art by Heike Liss

Many thanks to Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, John Haptas, Kristine Samuelson, SF Dance Film Festival, Liss Fain Dance



Renku - Live in Greenwich Village (2016)

Renku – the kindred-spirit New York trio of saxophonist Michaël Attias, bassist John Hébert and drummer Satoshi Takeishi – was named after a collaborative, improvised form of Japanese poetry that balances freedom and precision. The trio makes music like its name: searching and empathetic, thoroughly in the moment, resonant with meaning. Renku played a two-night stand at Manhattan’s Greenwich House in early 2014 to launch a second decade together, recording the shows for the band’s third album following Renku (Playscape, 2005) and Renku in Coimbra (Clean Feed, 2009). The resultant Live in Greenwich Village features new pieces by each member, fresh takes on vintage numbers and an absorbing interpretation of Paul Motian’s “The Sunflower.” A serpentine feel is set from the start by Attias’s “Tapstone,” the album coursing with melodies fit to charm snakes; the trio’s performances flow with kinetic energy, the vibe sensual like a New York night.

For Renku, harmony lies in the personalities. Takeishi is an improviser of depth, with a singular time feel and sense of drama. Hébert possesses one of today’s most alluring sounds on double-bass. His three-minute soliloquy on Takeishi’s brooding “Soledad” serves as an intro to Attias’s “Lions of Cayuga,” the latter’s ricochet of melody characteristic of its composer. Throughout Live in Greenwich Village, Attias taps into the sound of surprise. Such noirish highlights as Hébert’s “ ’70s & ’80s Remix” see the saxophonist’s lines swoop and sing, keen and cry, while his squalls in the bassist’s tune “Lurch” are richly expressive. The trio reprises signature Attias pieces “Dark Net” and “Renku” from their debut album, and Live in Greenwich Village closes with his new “Goodbye Rumination.” About Renku, critic Jim Macnie said in the Village Voice: “Michael Attias’ beguilingly mercurial trio is one of those bands that give delicacy a good name. Like Air, this reeds-bass-drums outfit dedicates as much room to extended hushes as they do knotty expressionism, giving their sound an almost ghostly vibe. As it gracefully insinuates itself, the music gathers more and more depth.”

Michaël Attias

Michaël Attias | alto sax
John Hébert | double bass
Satoshi Takeishi | drums

1. Tapstone (Live)
2. Renku (Live)
3. The Sunflower (Live)
4. Lurch (Live)
5. Dark Net (Live)6. Soledad (Live)
7. The Lions of Cayuga (Live)
8. 70's & 80's Remix (Live)
9. Goodbye Rumination (Live)



Benjamin Faugloire Project - Birth (2016)

L’élégance du jazz avec l’énergie du rock et les mélodies de la pop ? 
On pourrait oser ce raccourci pour évoquer Birth, le dernier enregistrement du trio du pianiste Benjamin Faugloire. Ce mélange est à l’œuvre dès « Foundations » qui ouvre l’album, et où un riff simple et entêtant alterne avec des passage plus « jungle » (on retrouvera cet esprit, par exemple, dans « Heavy Idea » ou « Reaction »).

Comment dire ? 
C’est un peu Monsieur Propre (clarté des lignes mélodiques du piano, inspiration classique) dans la brousse (drumming brut, lignes telluriques sur la contrebasse). Avec des compositions qui sont l’évidence même - par leur côté immédiatement familier, presque entêtant - un trio « classique » aurait privilégié un jeu élastique et soyeux, un écrin de joaillier.

La force de ce trio réside, à l’inverse, dans sa capacité inouïe à varier les dynamiques au cours d’un même thème. Idem pour les métriques avec quelques passages « escarpés » qui permettent d’accentuer les contrastes, comme des « hiatus rythmiques ». On perçoit des moments de quiétude, de fragilité (« Beautiful Day For a Birth », « Euphoria », « Depression’s promises », « Alive »…), et peut-être même un zeste de nostalgie, quand arrive une rupture au détour d’une barre de mesure. Ici, le dénivelé est toujours positif. Cet enregistrement, dont on ne louera jamais assez la qualité des compositions de Benjamin Faugloire, ne comporte aucun temps faible. On a bien compris que le calme n’est jamais de longue durée et qu’il annonce toujours la tempête. Entre l’eau (le piano), qui cependant ne stagne jamais, et le feu (la batterie de Jérôme Mouriez) qui reste maîtrisé, c’est la contrebasse, ancrée sur terre, qui est gardienne du tempo. Ce mélange de jazz et de musique pop évoque parfois le trio EST. On y retrouve le même raffinement et une aisance identique pour marier des univers différents.

Après deux précédents disques ensemble, ces trois musiciens ont acquis une complémentarité qui flirte avec l’osmose. Il est fréquent de noter l’empathie entre les musiciens dans une chronique de disque ; il est rarissime de la constater à ce point. Avec quelque dix années de compagnonnage, ces trois-là poussent l’aventure encore un plus loin, vers une sorte de jazz « garage ». 
On peut être un grand sensible et jouer les déménageurs.

Benjamin Faugloire, piano
Denis Frangullian, double bass
Jérôme Mouriez, drums

01. Foundations (5:10)
02. Beautiful Day for a Birth (8:41)
03. Heavy Idea (7:53)
04. In a Loop (1:41)
05. Breathe (2:38)
06. Euphoria (9:06)
07. Depression's Promises (7:25)
08. Reaction (8:33)
09. Think Larger (5:25)
10. Alive (3:26)