Thursday, May 26, 2016

Waclaw Zimpel - Lines (2016)

Lines could barely be a more apt title for this album by Polish composer and clarinetist Waclaw Zimpel. Melodies collide and intersect throughout, and like the lines of a spirograph they only form the real whole after a few dozen cycles. It's the artist's first entirely solo record, but he's skirted the European jazz and underground scene (well documented on The Quietus) for about a decade, playing with better known names like Ken Vandermark and Hamid Drake in the process. To date Zimpel has put out some truly stunning albums of unusually melodic and seemingly very thought out free-jazz as group leader, particularly 2014's ensemble album Nature Moves, which included sounds from hurdy gurdy, metallophone, and tenor recorder, along with the more standard jazz orchestra instrumentation. That album's half-hour long opening track 'Cycles' saw Zimpel's assembled orchestra improvise its way into oceanic theme of piano arpeggios, incidental drones, and pulsing repetitions that lie at the core of the rest of the album. The influence of America's pioneering minimalists over Zimpel has already been huge, but his first solo outing takes the genre to some incredibly beautiful new territory.

The album features six compositions ranging from 3 to 10 minutes in length, and in addition to his main instrument - the clarinet - Zimpel makes extensive use of organs and plus richer textures from Eastern instrumentation like the khaen (a mouth organ from Laos, often featured in Thai molam music recently explored by Soundway). For example, ten minute opening track 'Alupa-Pappa' begins with an organ repetition almost straight from Terry Riley's Persian Surgery Dervishes, complimented by two or three more overdubbed organ lines that phase and reshape the mess of notes bouncing around the stereo field. Zimpel then takes to the warming low end of his organ's bass pedals, pushing and pulling the messy mass of organ notes scattering through the foreground like a druid conducting a rain storm. Only well past the halfway point of 'Alupa-Pappa' does the composer reach for his alto clarinet (lower and darker in register than your standard clarinet), billowing slow long notes and multitracking textural squeals from his reed. The experience is clearly built from the bubbling mass of interlocking notes the usual suspects of Riley, Reich, Glass, but Zimpel's playing seems indebted elsewhere too. The broadly stroked spiritual jazz of John Coltrane's 'Psalm' comes to mind, as does the very Gaia-oriented drones of label mate (and soon to be touring partner) Kuba Ziolek aka Stara Rzeka.

The title track - in the video above - features the warm vibrations of the Laotian khaen laying foundations for what's definitely the album's best track. Clarinet melodies snake their way around each other, winding up at a surge of bassier honks that hold and release fantastically. Oddly enough the way Massive Attack allotted the elements that comprise the climactic surge of their classic 'Teardrop' sprang instantly to this writer's mind. It's a powerful moment, and the entire album is a spectacular solo statement from Waclaw Zimpel - and yet another essential transmission from modern Poland to boot. Above all it's a heartfelt response to the ongoing influence of American minimalism that pays tribute and rebuts in equal measure.

Released February 5, 2016 

Waclaw Zimpel plays - Bb clarinet, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, khaen, hammond organs, fender rhodes 

All composed by Waclaw Zimpel except track 3, composed by Johannes Ockeghem 

Tracks 1 and 6 produced and mixed by mooryc 
Tracks 2,3,4,5 produced and mixed by Waclaw Zimpel and Maciej Staniecki 
Recorded at Tonn Studio in Łódź on 29-30.09.2015, 1.10.2015, 6-7.11.2015 by Maciej Staniecki and Krzysztof Tonn 

Designed by Łukasz Paluch, AnoMalia art studio,



Rubén Carlés - Water Lily (2016) FRESH SOUND NEW TALENT


Bassist Rubén Carlés was born in Madrid, in 1989. It is in this city where he started falling in love with music. Coming from a very musical family, Ruben was strongly influenced by his his father, a well accomplished musician and arranger and at the age of thirteen Ruben started to study the classics by listening intently to jazz bassists like Ray Brown, Charles Mingus or Paul Chambers. At eighteen he started to tour all over the Iberian peninsula participating on some of the most prestigious music festivals and competitions as a member of the band Mr Chacho.

It will be a year later when Ruben wins a full tuition scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In Boston Ruben had the opportunity of studying with masters such as John Patitucci, Hal Crook or Terry Line Carrington. After greaduating with a major in Performance he wins the conexus Scholarship to study a Master at Berklee Valencia where he currently lives. Ruben recently recorded his original work on his first music album as a leader called "Water lily". It features master artist such as Roman Filiu, Borja Barrueta or Albert Sanz, this recording will be released in 2016.

Ruben has toured and performed with bands such: The Jason Palmer band, Perico Sambeat Quintet, Albert Sanz trio, Roman Filiu Quartet, Javier Vercher Quartet/Trio, Phil Grenadier band, Iago Fernández Quartet, Xan Campos trio, Rotem Sivan trio, Jorge Vistel trio or the Luis Guerra trio among others.

01. El abuelo
02. La marcha del niño
03. Skylark
04. Urbino
05. Paquita's Train Ride
06. Igbó
07. La casa del Mago
08. Water Lily

All songs composed & arranged by Rubén Carlés, except #3 written by Hoagy Carmichael & Johnny Mercer

Rubén Carlés (bass)
Maikel Vistel, Javier Vercher (tenor sax)
Román Filiú (alto sax)
Albert Sanz (piano)
Borja Barrueta (drums, steel guitar)
Iago Fernández (drums)
Ganavya Doraiswamy (vocals)

Recorded at PKO Studios, Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, on November 25, 2015 except #6,7,8 recorded at Scoring State Berklee Studios, in Valencia, June 27, 2015
Voice recorded by Paco Cabanillas at Loose Recording Studios, Madrid, January 6, 2016

Engineered, mixed & mastered by Caco Refojo
Photography: Alejandro Sánchez
Album art by Alicia Martín

Produced by Rubén Carlés

Exceutive producer: Jordi Pujol


Victor Gould - Clockwork (2016) FRESH SOUND NEW TALENT


"It’s understandable that a jazz pianist might feel inclined, even obliged, to debut as a leader with a trio album. But Clockwork, the maiden voyage of Victor Gould, includes sextet arrangements, two pieces augmented with strings, and several percussion turns from Pedrito Martinez. There are piano trio showcases as well, but they are part of the mosaic, not the full picture. “I didn’t want to be locked in with instrumentation,” says Gould. “I’ve come to believe that the best orchestration is when you change instrumentation very often. So you could think of that in the scheme of one piece or a whole record.”

The title Clockwork amplifies this point, suggesting that varied instrumentation can in fact yield great coherence. “Clockwork is many different elements working together,” notes Gould. “It’s the very definition of clockwork — the gears of a clock all working together to create something very intricate.” At the heart of it all is an extraordinary synergy between Gould, bassist Ben Williams and drummer E. J. Strickland. It’s consistent throughout the record but most starkly evident on the trio cuts.

Having made his mark in recent years as a sideman with Wallace Roney, Ralph Peterson, Donald Harrison, Louis Hayes, Vincent Herring, Eric Alexander and more, Gould has learned a thing or two about musical clockwork. A native of Los Angeles, he attended Berklee as an undergrad and then earned the high honor of a slot at Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz from 2009-2011. Studying alongside him at both these institutions was Godwin Louis, the alto saxophonist heard on this album, who happens to be one of Gould’s dearest friends.

Trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, who’s been hiring Gould in his own superb band of late, is a characteristically stirring soloist as well as a focused and dynamic ensemble presence on the sextet pieces. Myron Walden, playing soprano and tenor saxophones, took on an added role as co-producer: “Myron and I decided which would be the best song choices from my catalogue,” Gould recalls. “After that, he helped run the recording session and took charge of time management, so it lifted a lot of the stress from me.”

Pelt plays flugelhorn on “Chaancé,” one of the two pieces to feature strings. Written and named after Gould’s wife, this lovely ballad finds the leader in a tensile give-and-take with the strings during his eloquent solo, blending with and responding to them but soaring with renewed intensity when they fall silent. By contrast, there’s an “apocalyptic” energy, to use Gould’s word, coursing through “Apostle John,” from the foreboding rubato of the prelude to the modal groove and intricate counterpoint of the piece itself. Anne Drummond adds just the right flavor on flute, almost sounding like a soprano voice.

The string arrangements followed from Gould’s prior experience scoring for symphony orchestra (his original piece “Side Angle,” which doesn’t appear here). The sextet arrangements, for their part, were a result of his tenure at the Monk Institute, where he played with a six-piece dream band of fellow students. Along with the swinging, Latin-tinged title track we hear “Three Souls,” a tribute not only to the great Hank Jones but also to two people close to Gould who died around the same time (the fleeting reference to Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ’Bout a Thing” seems to imply a fourth soul). Another sextet piece, “Room 416,” is named for the Berklee dorm room that Gould shared with bassist and friend Peter Spear, who died tragically in 2014. “Peter was really good friends with Godwin as well, so I thought it was important for Godwin to take that lead melody in the A section and show some love.”

“The Return,” a quartet number that features Louis again in radiant form, is Gould’s dedication to trumpeter Gregory Diaz, who struggled with embouchure problems at Berklee and was unable to play for a period of time. “Greg and I went to high school together as well and he was one of the best trumpet players I knew. I wrote this tune to encourage him — ‘The Return of Greg Diaz’ is its full name.”

“Sir Carter,” led off by an eccentric intro for horns and drums, is what one suspects: an homage to the great Ron Carter, who visited the Monk Institute for a week and had a profound impact on Gould and his fellow students. “Nefertiti” is of course a legendary Wayne Shorter piece that Carter himself played with the Miles Davis Quintet. Gould’s brisk 5/4 rendition gives it a straight-eighth-note patina and some added twists and turns, without ever sacrificing the tune’s hypnotic legato flavor. Here again the trio chemistry is substantial. Gould solos forcefully before yielding to the virtuosic Williams.

Martinez adds his inimitable congas on “Blue Dales,” which Gould originally composed as an etude to practice independence but later turned into a song. Right away the congas add propulsion and color to the bright, staccato rhythms of the theme, so dazzlingly articulated by Williams and Strickland. The piece is a 16-bar minor blues with dramatic and clever harmonic movement, an ideal framework for improvising: Williams leads off, followed by Gould and finally Strickland over a tumultuous four-bar vamp.

In the end it’s the combination of elements in Gould’s music — the hard-bop drive and harmonic adventure, the chamber-music refinement, the Latin tinge that Jelly Roll Morton theorized all those years ago — that makes Clockwork succeed on the level that it does. It couldn’t be clearer: Gould was ready, after years spent on numerous big-league bandstands, to take the reins and bring all his experience to bear, pursuing a sound deep in technical proficiency and flair but also expressive nuance and immersion in the jazz tradition. May those gears keep turning."

David R. Adler, New York, March 2016

01. Clockwork 7:39
02. Room 7:09
03. Chaancé 5:22
04. Blue Dales 5:21
05. The Return 7:55
06. Apostle John (Prelude) 3:07
07. Apostle John 9:03
08. Sir Carter (Intro) 0:45
09. Sir Carter 4:52
10. Nefertiti 5:38
11. Three Souls 8:06

All songs composed & arranged by Victor Gould, except #5 written by Wayne Shorter

Victor Gould (piano)
Jeremy Pelt (trumpet on #1,2,3,6,7,8 & 11)
Godwin Louis (alto sax on #1,2,3,5,6,7,8 & 11)
Myron Walden (tenor sax on #1,2,3,6,7,8 & 11)
Anne Drummond (flute on #3 & 7)
Ben Williams (bass, except on #6 & 8)
E.J. Strickland (drums, except on #6)
Pedrito Martínez (percussion on (#1,4 & 7)
Yoojin Park (violin, on #3,6 & 7)
Heejin Chang (viola, on #3,6 & 7)
Veronica Parrales (cello, on #3,6 & 7)

Recorded at Systems Two Studios, Brooklyn, New York, December 14, 2015 and January 19, 2016

Sound engineer: Max Ross
Mixing & mastering: Dave Darlington
Photography: Anne Yatskevich
Painting: Martel Chapman

Co-producers: Victor Gould & Myron Walden

Executive producer: Jordi Pujol


Nakama - Grand Line (2016) NAKAMA RECORDS


A four-piece band led by Norwegian bass player Christian Meaas Svendsen. Nakama is Japanese and can be translated as «comrade», or simply a community of people where no one is above the other. The group was founded as a quartet in 2015 but will expand its line-up over time, and each member of the band is also a member of the musician’s collective/label «Nakama Records». The music draws influences from European jazz, early American contemporary music, Japanese traditional music and the harmonies of the romantic classical era. Furthermore the music intimately explores the relation between content and non-content, and the possibilities of working with composed forms on a fixed musical material. Nakama is what it is, and Nakama is:

Adrian Løseth Waade - violin

Ayumi Tanaka - piano

Andreas Wildhagen - drums

Christian Meaas Svendsen - bass

Nakama's goal with their second release has not been to restate what has already been defined or accepted, but to challenge recognizable patterns and contribute to the expansion and evolution of our musical consciousness and the multitude of possibilities in which musical events can order themselves. The music on Grand Line is made up of two separate components: musical compositions and form compositions, and as opposed to a form which is completely set or on the other hand totally free, Grand Line investigates form as something malleable. Challenging stuff!

Grand Line will be released on CD, LP, digital download and streaming

01. Doremingo + Taiko__Grand Line 28:34
02. The Sun__Uzumaki 05:49
03. Nanika__Decks 08:16
04. Tsunagari__Split&Curve 06:40
05. Kusama__Events 05:21
06. Suffering + Daily Choices Fail Compilation 02:41
07. Daily Choices__Metro 14:15

Released May 23, 2016 

Adrian Løseth Waade - violin 
Ayumi Tanaka - piano 
Andreas Wildhagen - drums 
Christian Meaas Svendsen - bass, comp. 

Recorded by Jan Erik Kongshaug, Rainbow Studio, Oslo 22.04.2016 
Mixed and mastered by Christian Obermayer, Oslo, 22.-23.04.2016 
Cover art by Christian Meaas Svendsen 
Cover design & photos by Mikkel Cappelen Smith


Marcin Olak, Patryk Zakrocki, MIkołaj Wielecki - Spontaneus Chamber Music Vol​.​1 (2016) SLUCHAJ FUNDACJA


Patryk and I first met during the 9th edition of the Ad Libitum Festival. We performed Boguslaw Shaeffer's Media there, but more importantly we formed a part of the Ad Libitum Ensemble, an improvising orchestra, under the direction of the festival's resident conductor, Augusti Fernandez. From the very first notes we knew our cooperation would not end with the festival. Sometimes musicians who haven't known each other before are able to communicate as if they had played together for a hundred years - it is an extraordinary, inspiring experience. Sounds combine into motifs, blend into phrases and textures almost on their own, and the music just flows. 
We are talking here about improvised, intuitive music. This means that nothing has been previously planned or composed. Every sound is a unique phenomenon which may appear only here and now. 
In the studio we were joined by the brilliant percussionist, Mikolaj Miki Wielecki. It was the first time we had all played together. 
The album is a literal record of our session. The pieces come in the exact same order we played them in. Nothing has been edited, nor recorded later. We wanted to respect what happened in that moment. 
Let it flow.  Marcin Olak

Released January 11, 2016

01. Between Landscapes 03:29
02. Scarlatti's Diagonal Smiles 04:41
03. Daily Slalom 02:58
04. Winter Symmetry 04:44
05. Fire Daughters' Ritual 03:54
06. Into the Dreamtime 11:10
07. Carbon Tears 10:31
08. Blackbird Poetry 06:17

Marcin Olak, classical, acoustic & electric guitars
Patryk Zakrocki, violin, viola, tuning forks, chromatic mbira
MIkołaj Wielecki, percussions