Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dré Pallemaerts - Coutances (2016)

Genre: Modern Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

Dré PALLEMAERTS started playing dance music with his brother Jacky Pallemaerts when he was 10 and got into Jazz at the age of 14. In '75, he starts studying music at the Academy in Antwerp. At 17, he meets American bassist John CLAYTON, known for his collaboration with Monty ALEXANDER. John CLAYTON brings Dré in contact with drummer Jeff HAMILTON, who invites him to study with him in in Los Angeles, '84. In '85, Dré appears at the Singapore Jazz Festival, sent by the Belgian Ministry of Culture. Back in Belgium, Dré rapidly integrates the local scene, playing with the best Belgian jazzmen : Steve HOUBEN, Jacques PELZER, Michel HERR, Bert JORIS, Charles LOOS and others... 

Dutch pianist Jack VAN POLL hires him for his trio with bassist Hein VAN DE GEYN. The trio accompanies several soloists such as Arnett COBB, Spike ROBINSON, Dave PIKE, and several American singers, such as Etta CAMERON, Deborah BROWN and Dee Dee BRIDGEWATER. With singer Dee DANIELS, he tours throughout Europe, Africa and the US, where he stays for a while in Seattle, and works with singer Ernestine ANDERSON, pianist James WILLIAMS and trumpeter Art FARMER. With pianist Michel HERR and bassist Hein VAN DE GEYN, he accompanies several soloists : Slide HAMPTON, Wolfgang ENGSTFELD, John RUOCCO. With HERR, VAN DE GEYN and trumpet player Bert JORIS, he tours and records with US saxophonist Joe LOVANO. In 88, he stays during 8 months in New York, playing a.o. with Judy NIEMACK, John CAMPBELL, Fred HERSCH, David KIKOSKI etc. Back in Belgium, he joins guitarist Philip CATHERINE's Trio during 3 years, with Hein VAN DE GEYN, and tours throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. 

He also tours and records with French guitarist Serge LAZAREVITCH. In '91, he receives the Prize of "Youth and Music Flanders" He was a member of the Bob BROOKMEYER Quartet (1 awarded CD), Toon ROOS Quartet, Kurt VAN HERCK Quartet, Kris DEFOORT Trio, Erwin VANN Trio & Quartet, WORLDS, MOTHER, the BRUSSELS JAZZ ORCHESTRA, Michel HERR Trio, European Quintet, MÄÄK's SPIRIT, the Frank VAGANÉE Trio. Read more... 


The Claudia Quintet - Super Petite (2016)

Source & Label: 
Genre: Unclassifiable by any standard...
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

“You’d never mistake Claudia for anyone else.”
– DownBeat

“Sensing the tipping point where improvisation undermines a composer's intentions, or composition imprisons good improvisers, is the challenge for musicians who like giving equal weight to both – and the Claudia Quintet are frontrunners at this tricky game.”
– The Guardian

“...imparts another testament to their enduring resilience and idiosyncratic representation of the jazz vernacular. (Passionately recommended....)”
– All About Jazz

“Unclassifiable by any standard...The Claudia Quintet has explored the permeable boundaries between genres with single-minded dedication.” – Point Of Departure

Short doesn’t necessarily mean simple. Drummer-composer John Hollenbeck acrobatically explores the dichotomy between brevity and complexity on Super Petite, the eighth release by the critically-acclaimed, proudly eccentric Claudia Quintet. The oxymoronic title of the new album, captures the essence of its ten new compositions, which pack all of the wit and virtuosity that listeners have come to expect from the Claudia Quintet into a shorter time-frame. 

 Hollenbeck’s uncategorizable music – which bridges the worlds of modern jazz and new music in surprising and inventive ways - is realized by Claudia’s longstanding line-up. Over the course of 19 years and 8 albums, the band has forged an astounding chemistry and become expert at juggling mind-boggling dexterity with inviting emotion and spirit.

The concept of shorter works was both a personal challenge for Hollenbeck as a composer always dealing with a wealth of ideas, but also a reaction to a tendency in modern music toward the epic. “I’m feeling things in the opposite direction,” the composer explains. “When tunes are longer, there tend to be moments when not a whole lot is happening. If you have a really short tune, the whole thing has to be compelling.”

2.JFK Beagle 03:28
6.Rose Colored Rhythm
7.If you seek a Fox
8.Pure Poem
9.Newark Beagle

John Hollenbeck – drums and percussion
Red Wierenga – accordion
Matt Moran – vibraphone
Drew Gress – acoustic bass
Chris Speed – clarinet and tenor sax  



JD Allen - Americana (2016)

Source:  Dusted Magazine
Genre: Post-bop/Free Jazz
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

Measured from its title on down, Americana marks an auspicious return to roots for tenorist JD Allen. A welcome reunion of his core trio with bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston, it’s also an explicit homage to the bottomless reservoir of musical and cultural precedence from which they draw and transform. Central to that creative process is the blues, the protean American song form that’s been integral to each of Allen’s previous efforts, but is arguably at its apogee throughout the nine piece program presented here.
“Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil” swaggers along on a capaciously-girthed bass line and the steady sway of Royston’s rolling beat as Allen’s tenor testifies on top. The rich throaty cry that underlies his phrases harkens directly back to the kind of Texas-honed tenor that was the parlance of Booker Ervin, deeply emotive, but devoid of dime-a-dozen sentimentality. “Cotton” carries the substantial contextual weight of its title on August’s lush strings and Allen’s somber melodic delivery. Royston fills in the edges with clipped snare and cymbal accents and the three players trace a winding, darkly swinging path through figurative plantation acreage. The closing “Lillie Mae Jones” sits at the opposite side of the impassioned spectrum with a sunny Coltrane-reminiscent motif serving as improvisational spark and tinder.
“Bigger Thomas” and “Lightin’” both work as vivid musical portraits of their respective titular personages. The first references Richard Wright’s predestined literary protagonist with a bright thematic line that repeatedly folds back in on itself against a percolating rhythm to echo the inevitability brought about by societal conditioning. The Texas bluesman answering to the surname Hopkins gets tribute tinged with contrasting optimism on the second. Once again August and Royston are each instrumental in framing Allen’s expressive leads with both weight and texture. The title piece spools out from a blunt bass strum bracketed by cymbals as tenor modulates moodily between light and dark.
Allen positions two telling covers alongside the seven originals. Vera Hall’s “Another Man Done Gone” has an indeterminate date of compositional origin, but a field recording made by Alan Lomax in 1940 preserved the piece for posterity. As channeled into sound through Allen’s downcast horn, August’s resonant arco ribbons and Royston’s tumbling mallets, the resigned melancholy behind Hall’s anecdotal lyrics remain intact. Bill McHenry, a saxophonist colleague of Allen’s, is the source for “If You’re Lonesome, You’re Not Alone” the sole piece that operates independently of conventional blues structures. As with earlier Allen outings, adherence to customary LP length all but ensures the immediate impulse to cue the itinerary up again for a repeat performance.
Derek Taylor



Spike Wilner - Koan (2016)

Source & Label:
Genre: Piano Trio
GAB's Rating: ★★★★☆

koan - a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.

Pianist Spike Wilner contemplates with passionate reverence and goes all zen on his new release "Koan." With a captivating musical program investigating the paradoxical nature of the mind and exploring the hidden nature of romance, Wilner leads his trio steadily beyond the landmarks of the past while carrying tradition forward into fresh realms of modern melodic improvisation. The message is moving and their statement is solid as Wilner's piano trio shines brightly and swings sweetly behind the able support of bassist Tyler Mitchell and the explosive metrics of drummer Anthony Pinciotti. On "Koan," Spike Wilner lets the music flow through him and succeeds in putting forth an emotionally engaging performance of uplifting joy and brooding intensity that is sure to bring bright moments of intense delight to jazz fans everywhere. 
01 Iceberg Slim Spike Wilner  4:21
02 Koan Spike Wilner  5:16
03 Warm Valley Spike Wilner  5:23
04 I'll See You Again Spike Wilner  3:47
05 Hot House Spike Wilner  4:20
06 Monkey Mind Spike Wilner  3:02
07 Gypsy Without a Song Spike Wilner  4:59
08 Trick Baby Spike Wilner  6:19
09 Three Ring Circus Spike Wilner  4:59
10 Young At Heart Spike Wilner  4:56
11 Lonely Woman Spike Wilner  7:02
12 Blues For the Common Man Spike Wilner  6:22

Spike Wilner - Piano
Tyler Mitchell - Bass
Anthony Pinciotti - Drums  

Oleg Kireyev & Keith Javors - The Meeting (2016) INARHYME RECORDS


(Inarhyme)The unprecedented double recommendation this week is because both albums have the brilliant Tom Harrell on trumpet and flugelhorn as a sideman, a rare role for him these days— and because they are among the most compellingly conceived and executed quintet collections in years. Kirk MacDonald is a Canadian tenor saxophonist whose imagination, firmness and drive recall Dexter Gordon and other mainstream tenor heroes. The rhythm section of pianist Brian Dickinson, bassist Neal Swainson and drummer Dennis Mackrel might have been made to order for MacDonald and Harrell. MacDonald’s ten compositions are perfect for the band. The Russian tenor saxophonist Kireyev and American pianist Javors have recorded together before, but The Meeting, with Harrell’s buoyant contribution, takes the collaboration to a new height. Ben Williams on bass and E.J. Strickland on drums round out the rhythm section. Surprise: Kireyev’s Tuvan throat singing in “Caravan.”

The Meeting
Body and Soul
Fresh Blues

Oleg Kireyev: tenor saxophone, vocals
Keith Javors: piano
Tom Harrell: trumpet, flugelhorn
Ben Williams: acoustic bass
E. J. Strickland: drums


Dawda Jobarteh / Stefan Pasborg – duo: Dawda Jobarteh & Stefan Pasborg – duo (2016) ILK Music


This is a meeting between two gentlemen from two different music cultures, and from two different continents. Together they create a melting-pot of styles mixed together into an output based on their mutual love for strong rhythmical shapes, beautiful melodies and the pure energy in music. Each of them brings compositions from their past and present, and the result is this powerful and unique release!

STEFAN PASBORG (Denmark) One of the most personal and versatile young European drummers / bandleaders – from groove to abstract! Three time Danish Music Awards-winner Stefan Pasborg is a highly energetic drummer from the melting pot of Copenhagen, and after getting a snare drum, a cymbal and a high-hat at the age of three from renowned jazz drummer Alex Riel, he has developed into a very personal musician on the European jazz scene... And has toured the most of Europe and in USA, Canada, Africa and Asia - in more than 30 countries, on 5 continents, from Shanghai to Vancouver, from Monte-Carlo to Moscow, from Varanger to Casablanca, and from New York to São Paulo - both as a leader and as a sideman. ... Pasborg has won prices like f.ex. the Soloist-prize at ʻ16th European Jazz Contestʼ in Germany, the 1st Prize at ʻ5th European Tournament of Improvised Musicʼ in France, ʻJazznytprisenʼ in Denmark...

DAWDA JOBARTEH (Gambia): Dawda Jobarteh was born in the Gambia in 1976 in a griot family. He started playing the drums at age seven and from age 12 he started to go and play concerts with his uncle Malamin Jobarteh and his cousins Pa Bobo Jobarteh and Tata Dindin Jobarteh’s Salaam Band. Around this time he also started to teach tourists playing the drums. In 1996 Dawda was on his first tour outside West Africa in France and Germany, and in 1997 he was on a big tour arranged by WOMAD. In 1999 Dawda moved to Denmark where he is still living. In Denmark Dawda took up his family instrument, the kora and little by little made it his main instrument. Today Dawda is mainly a kora player and composer inspired by both traditional and modern West African music as well as influences from all over the world. In 2011 Dawda released his debutalbum Northern Light Gambian Night which was evaluated as one of the best albums of the year by Songlines. In 2012 the album was nominated as best album at Danish Music Awards World.

Dawda Jobarteh, kora
Stefan Pasborg, drums

01. Better Get Hit in Your Soul
02. Dancing in Your Head
03. A Change Has Come
04. Mali
05. Kaira
06. Bells
07. Mopti
08. Marlong
09. Sundiata



Miles Davis & Robert Glasper - Everythings Beautiful (2016)

Messing with Miles Davis music is a dangerous proposition. It was necessary for Don Cheadle's  biopic Miles Ahead, and with help from Robert Glasper, it's sometimes a successful endeavor.

In cinephile circles, biopics are notorious for being underwhelming. Nitpicking can come from multiple directions—with one camp deriding a central lack of tension in the telling of an icon’s familiar story, and another wailing over any dramatic liberty taken with the historical record. Director and actor Don Cheadle’s new film about Miles Davis plunges consciously and energetically into this fraught zone, not least because it dares to call itself Miles Ahead (aka the title of one of Davis’ great big band LPs). That titling move amounts to an open invitation to jazz whiners and/or experts everywhere.

As an actor, Cheadle looks and sounds the part. His styling is immaculate, and his voice channels Davis’ famous rasp. But at a level of sound, the two recordings that spring from Cheadle’s project face an even steeper challenge—simply because any re-appropriation of Davis’ music is a more precarious enterprise than acting out the life story. In this light, reporting that the original sounds created for (or inspired by) Cheadle’s film do not immediately register as embarrassments is a form of high praise.

The bulk of this film’s single-disc “original motion picture soundtrack” is built from brief dialogue snippets from the film (which are fine), select Davis cuts presented in full (“So What,” from Kind of Blue, naturally) and a few edits of classic Davis recordings (which should be avoided on general principle). Shaving down clips of Miles is a necessity of cinematic sound-design convention, and isn’t a mark against the film itself. But once you’re listening to a recording, outside the theater, I doubt even the filmmakers behind Miles Ahead would argue that it isn’t more important to seek out a complete, originally issued take. The soundtrack’s most interesting custom songs come toward the end of the album, where the film’s musical supervisor, keyboardist Robert Glasper, has the chance to offer four original pieces inspired by Davis’ protean example. And he makes each opportunity count.

“Junior’s Jam” has a spare funk indebted to Miles’ Jack Johnson sessions (and fortunately the playing of Glasper, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, and trumpeter Keyon Harrold doesn’t sound overly imitative). The chill of “Francessence” sounds equally inspired by In a Silent Way as well as latter-day film score work by the likes of Terence Blanchard. There’s a group rave-up meant to connote an active club feel (“What’s Wrong With That?”), and it includes some fiery soprano saxophone playing from onetime Davis band member Wayne Shorter. And album-closer “Gone 2015” features joyously triumphant rhyming from the too-often overlooked Pharoahe Monch.

Working on the film seems to have given Glasper more ideas than could be included on the original soundtrack. So, with the permission of the Davis estate, he’s also created another full-length release that frequently uses the trumpeter’s recorded legacy as point of departure. More than a “remix” album, Everything’s Beautiful shows off Glasper’s skills with sampling, and his talent for creating original work. The pinnacle of the set comes on “Maiysha (So Long),” when Erykah Badu delivers original lyrics over Glasper’s playing and a sample of a Davis performance found on the album Get Up With It. And the keyboardist’s cover of “Milestones” proves that he doesn’t need access to the trumpeter’s tape-vault in order to create valid interpretations.

Glasper’s supporting cast draws from the range of talents he’s also employed on his reliably enjoyable Black Radio series of jazz-meets-R&B fusion recordings. So in addition to Badu’s star turn, we get Phonte rapping over a 9th Wonder production (during “Violets”), as well as the presence of vocalists like Bilal—whose phrasing and register-leaps animate the strut of “Ghetto Walkin’” (built from a groove Davis cut in 1969). The melisma and occasional grit of Ledisi’s voice drives “I’m Leaving You,” a song which also puts the spotlight on the guitar work of latter-day Davis collaborator John Scofield. 

A trio of cuts toward the middle of Everything’s Beautiful suffers from feeling less robustly reimagined than the rest of the set—placing a slight drag on momentum. But there’s an easy fix: To experience the full range of the pianist’s Davis-derived thinking, just add Glasper’s contributions from the Miles Ahead soundtrack to Everything’s Beautiful. By being respectful of the artist’s legacy while also making some smart, contemporary production choices, Glasper’s best work proves an an ideal vehicle for paying tribute to an artist who had a firm feel for tradition, but who never stayed fixed in one place for very long.