Thursday, June 9, 2016

Nick Millevoi - Desertion (2016)

Genre: Psych-Jazz-Rock
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

You may be most familiar with Nick Millevoi as one-half of the two-pronged guitar offensive of the Solar Motel Band. But you may not know that Millevoi leads his own band of psych-jazz merchants, the Desertion Quartet, featuring Jamie Saft (frequent John Zorn collaborator), Ches Smith (whose extensive credits include Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog), and Johnny DeBlase (who also plays with Millevoi in Many Arms). Named for Millevoi’s upcoming album, Desertion, the group’s longform instrumentals oscillate between heavy riffage and and free-jazz freakouts. The Quartet opened up for the like-minded Sunwatchers earlier this month and treated the crowd to a preview of that album, which is due out May 20 on Shhpuma. “Desertion and the Arsonist’s Match” was recently written up by NPR and encompasses the breadth of the band’s range; but for my money it’s the eight-minute noise breadown “The Fire That Partially Destroyed City Hall” that’s most compelling. Either way, the players have the credentials and the songs to make Desertion one of this year’s most anticipated releases.

01. Desertion and the Arsonist’s Match (8:29)
02. Just For a Moment, I Stood There in Silence (6:08)
03. Where They Do Their Capers (7:59)
04. Disneyland in Hamtramck (6:56)
05. The Big Moment is Always Out There Waiting (3:55)
06. The Fire That Partially Damaged City Hall (8:31)

Nick Millevoi - electric and acoustic guitars
Jamie Saft - hammond organ and piano
Johnny DeBlase - upright and electric bass
Ches Smith - drums
Dan Blacksberg - trombone and string arrangements
June Bender - violin 




Keefe Jackson & Jason Adasiewicz - Rows and Rows (2016) DELMARK


Shaping their musical heritage together for 15 years, saxophonist Keefe Jackson and vibist Jason Adasiewicz have been vital in defining and refining "The Chicago Sound". Their relationship with Delmark has spanned over a decade; combined they have 20 albums on the label. On Rows And Rows, six of the nine original compositions were composed specifically for the session, while the remaining three are older tunes re-imagined for duo. The atmosphere of a jazz duet can paint one of the most personal and intimate musical conversations. This one brings the listener into their world, creating a social environment that you may want to tap your foot to, or even go a little further.

Keefe Jackson-tenor saxophone, bass clarinet
Jason Adasiewicz-vibraphone

1. Caballo Ballo
2. Questioned, Understood, Possessed
3. Where's Mine
4. A Rose Heading
5. Swap
6. Rows and Rows
7. Putting It on, Taking It Off
8. Cannon from the Nothing Suite
9. Thunder Cooker


Manuel Hermia / Kari Ikonen / Sebastien Boisseau / Teun Verbruggen - Orchestra Nazionale della Luna (2016)

Source: Kari Ikonen 
Genre: Modern Creative
GAB's Rating: ★★★★★

Eclipse Music is an independent record label based in Tampere, Finland. Formed in 2007 Eclipse has in recent years become one of the premier publishers of jazz, progressive music and singer-songwriters in Finland. High artistic quality and independent spirit are the essence of Eclipse Music.

Founded by its chief conductors Manuel Hermia and Kari Ikonen in 2015, Orchestra Nazionale della Luna has quickly become one of the most important orchestras on the Moon.
Its diverse and highly original repertoire, and its inventive and energetic way of playing is fascinating lunatics and jazz lovers all over the Moon and even on Earth.

1. Itämerengue 01:27
2. Karibou 06:07
3. The Truth 06:21
4. Luna 17 B 08:51
5. Anastasia Anastaa Sian 06:06
6. First Vsions 08:27
7. Nostalgie d'un Absolu 05:32
8. Begemot 10:30
9. Ankkuri 05:34

Manuel Hermia – saxophones, flute & bansouri
Kari Ikonen – piano & moog
Sebastien Boisseau – double bass
Teun Verbruggen – drums 




Diego Allieri - Union Street (2016)

New York voices for the debut album of pianist Diego Allieri. With a bunch of originals, and a refreshing reading of Monk/Powell classics, a convincing example of contemporary jazz sound.


Jocelyn Michelle - Time To Play! (2016)

Source & Label:
Genre: Hammond
GAB's Rating: ★★★★☆

 Jocelyn Michelle Declares “It’s Time to Play!
And play she does!

When I think of great Hammond B-3 players, I think of Joey DeFrancesco and George Colligan. Now a new player emerges on the organ scene in the person of Jocelyn Michelle. Taken under the wing of Tony Monaco’s Chicken Coop Records label, Michelle studied with Monaco for years and has now released her debut album, Time to Play! (Chicken Coop Records CCP7024).

Joining her are husband John Rack and Bruce Forman on guitar, Doug Webb and Steve Mann on saxophones, Stan Martin and Andrea Lindborg on trumpet, Sammy K on drums, Brad Dutz on percussion and Gina Saputo and Regina Leonard Smyth on vocals (one track each). Jocelyn wrote six original pieces and arranged four others for her first album as a leader.

She began with piano lessons as a child but found herself influenced by rock keyboardists like Rod Argent, Keith Emerson and Deep Purple’s Jon Lord. Emerson, especially, was known for his Jazzy twists. Knowing that, you hear snatches of them all in her approach and even in her writing. Listen for a nod and a wink to Carlos Santana, too.

The album opens with her original, Englewood Cliffs. Doug Webb’s alto sax makes and early appearance and Bruce Forman gets an early guitar solo that he makes pay off. Forman has always been a fine contributor to any project and this is no exception. Webb’s solo is strong and sets up the trumpet of Stan Martin.

It’s at the half-way mark that Jocelyn herself takes the solo we’ve been waiting to hear. You hear a lick of Argent that brings a big smile to any fan of late 60s-early 70s keyboard rock. It is a great influence and plays well in Jazz. Read more...

 Englewood Cliffs
Sylvia’s Song
Trouble Man
A Sister’s Love
The Pink Panther Theme
Last Tango in Paris
Oh No, Could I Be in Love
Sunnier Days
Never Let Me Go
The Loss

Jocelyn Michelle: organ, piano
John Rack, Bruce Forman: guitar
Doug Webb, Steve Mann: sax
Stan Martin, Andrea Lindborg: trumpet
Sammy K, Brad Dutz: percussion
Gina Saputo, Regina Leonard Smyth: vocals


Fred Thomas Trio - It's Time (2016)

“Fred Thomas is a highly original talent” – Chris Parker

“Distinctive arrangements and settings by bassist/percussionist/keyboard man Fred Thomas …..encourages repeated listens to reveal all the detail, and the beguiling range and variety of the songs and arrangements reward this” – fRoots Magazine

“Drummer Fred Thomas nips any slickness in the bud with his splendidly creative messiness.” – The Wire Magazine

“British pianist and composer Fred Thomas is one of the young pianists around in the world of today’s creative jazz archipelagos that has recently caught my closest attention and curiosity. I consider his work not to be overlooked nor missed. He is at the opening of a great career built of self-demand, pertinence in taste, a true sense of drama and rhythmicity, and of tone richness and delicacy. Furthermore, his seeking for a multi-layered music is an important thrust for pushing the highest expertise issues in art even further.” – Benoît Delbecq

“The audience had already been eased into receptivity for subtle nuances by the delicate piano improvising…of Fred Thomas” – John Fordham, The Guardian

“Thomas is challenging the status quo of the classical music genre” – – The Creators Project

“Extreme sensitivity to colour and nuance….Fred Thomas is brilliant” – BBC Music Magazine “High class.”  – The Telegraph

“The Fred Thomas Trio captures the imagination of the listener with hypnotic soundscapes, whilst challenging boundaries and traditional roles of the instruments within the genres of improvised music and contemporary composition. Most importantly though, it’s beautiful music.” – Gerard Presencer

“It is drummer Fred Thomas who emerges as the leading compositional voice here. Thomas’ principal study at the Royal Academy of Music was in piano and he is an experienced performer on that instrument in a variety of contexts. This might go some way in explaining not just his dominance in the writing, but also the colouristic, textural approach he adopts on the drum kit.” – OMH Music

“superb technique” – Steve Berryman  (I Care if You Listen)

“most ear-opening of all, pianist Fred Thomas…providing an inexhaustible range of touch and colour” – Chris Morley, Birmingham Post

“first-class double-bass/pianist” – Charlie Gillett’s Sound of the World

“Fred Thomas plays with a strutting, brooding tension” – Chris Morley, Birmingham Post

“a highly cultured double-bassist/pianist” – El Correo Digital

This trio produced sounds that were a synthesis of Fred’s compositions and free improv, exploring those made possible by delving into the bowels of a grand piano – using bluetac, rubbers, pegs, coins, plectrums, mallets, and cymbals – and uniting these discoveries with the exquisite playing of Robin Fincker and Ben Bryant. Their E.P. ‘It’s Time’ was released in 2006.

1. Palo Alto
2. It's Time
3. Valse Pour Les Enfants
4. Out Through an Earhole
5. River's Run

Fred Thomas – (prepared) piano
Robin Fincker – clarinet
Ben Bryant – percussion


Brad Shepik & Ron Sanworth - Quartet 1991 (2016) SONGLINES RECORDINGS


This recording was never meant to see the light of day. It’s is a tale of two young guitarists and of a would-be producer who didn’t have a clue, but continued to love his flawed step-child – long after it had ceased to have any relevance for the musicians who created it.

Brad Shepik (it was Schoeppach back then) and Ron Samworth met at the Banff jazz workshop in 1987. Ron was playing freelance jazz, r&b/soul and improvised music in Vancouver. Brad was studying at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle and was putting together a band which included Phil Sparks and Michael Sarin. By 1991 (when this was recorded) Brad was in New York, living with Sarin (who had made the move to NYC in 1989) in a house they shared with Dave Douglas, and they were soon performing with him as a trio. Ron was co-leading Lunar Adventures and the New Orchestra Workshop, both of which had CDs out on Nine Winds, and Creatures of Habit, which had won the CBC/Alcan Grand Prix Concours de Jazz in 1990 and had a CD on Justin Time.

The idea for the record arose from a single gig Brad and Ron played in Vancouver in 1990. Each of them brought new pieces to the session, complemented by Ornette Coleman’s “Ramblin’” and Robin Holcomb’s “Nightbirds” (“Way In” is a reference to Wayne Horvitz, and Ron’s collaboration with Robin, The Point of It All, came out on Songlines in 2010). But there were serious issues with some of the performances, and the project was put on indefinite hold. Ron reflects back on it today: “Music to me has always been about creating a feeling between people, so playing together as a band is far more important than woodshedding cool stuff to play over the tunes. In hindsight it would have been great to have done a couple of live gigs with that material and then hit the studio – it could have been a nice little project. I had so much regard for Brad and Mike and Phil and regretted not being on my game those few days.” Brad comments: “I had completely forgotten about this session. Surprised to hear it again in the sense that much has changed yet remains the same. Not a huge struggle to recognize myself – I guess I have to own it.” Michael’s view is more positive: “It sounds pretty damn good to me.” (Digital editing has dealt with any shortcomings in the performance of composed sections, and two pieces have been shortened, otherwise the music is as played.)

Why release it now? Certainly there is some historical interest in light of these performers’ subsequent careers, including collaborations with other guitarists: Brad with David Tronzo, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder, Steve Cardenas and others in Paul Motian’s Electric Bebop Band and Joey Baron’s Killer Joey, and currently with Monder as well as with Nate Radley in the Arthur Kell Quartet; Ron with Tony Wilson in his band Bugs Inside and currently in The Peggy Lee Band, also performances with Bernard Falaise, René Lussier, Fred Frith, and Mark Ribot. And one interesting comparison to be made is the versions of “PLAW” here and on the first, self-titled record by BABKAS, the group that Brad formed in’92 with Briggan Krauss and Aaron Alexander (with three releases on Songlines).

But the ultimate justification is the particular character of this collaboration. It’s true that there are a swirl of influences in the music. Brad: “Conceptually I hear Ornette Coleman, Jerry Granelli, Jay Clayton, Julian Priester, Bill Frisell, Wayne Horvitz. Guitar-wise Frisell, Scofield, Metheny, Abercrombie, Jim Hall, Jimi Hendrix.” Ron: “The Zorn, Frisell, Tom Cora, Tim Berne, Knitting Factory scene was what I was checking out as well as Paul Bley, Ornette, Henry Threadgill and Paul Motian. There were a lot of influences to sort out – all of the jazz guitar guys Brad just cited for sure, Miles, Coltrane and especially the AACM, Ornette and the Downtown New York scene. The NY scene was great because it was not just rock-influenced jazz but full on genre-busting. Skronk, Hendrix, tango, minimalism, bebop, complexity, classical, folk music – whatever you brought to the table could co-exist, and that, to me was liberating.” Michael: “My playing was a compendium of various styles and influences I was processing at time: Ed Blackwell, Roy Haynes, Paul Motian, Shannon Jackson (in the Power Tools Trio with Frisell – that probably accounts for any ‘rock’ element since I was never much influenced by classic rock drummers), Joey Baron, Billy Hart, Al Foster, Jack DeJohnette, Jerry Granelli.”

Yet, out of all these influences, this one-off created some memorable, compelling music. Brad’s pieces especially, four of them never subsequently recorded, display a tense lyricism, and his playing an urgent logic, that would stamp his work with BABKAS. Despite Ron’s demurral his soloing is generally effective, and the way the guitars interact and complement each other is often beautiful. Mike is killing throughout, limning and shadowing the shifting rise-and-fall with unerring grace. Phil, whose recorded sound is unfortunately less than ideal, provides much more than just weight and propulsion at the bottom.

Ron is featured on our other March 2016 release, Michael Blake’s Fulfillment (check out his solo on “The Soldier and the Saint”). Brad is self-releasing a record by the Brad Shepik Organ Trio, Top Down, in late March.

Bent House
Way In
Song of Then

Brad Shepik, electric guitar (l. channel)
Ron Samworth, electric guitar (r. channel)
Phil Sparks, bass
Michael Sarin, drums

Compositions by Brad Shepik (1, 3, 4, 6, 9)
Ron Samworth (2, 8)
Robin Holcomb (5)
Ornette Coleman (7)