Saturday, September 17, 2016

Vincent Peirani & Michael Wollny - Tandem (2016) ACT MUSIC

"What this Nice-born Parisian coaxes out of the piano accordion is something the likes of which has never been heard before. You can tell it is a future legend who is playing here!" – Süddeutsche Zeitung. The French accordion player, singer and composer Vincent Peirani was born on 24.4.1980 in Nice. At the age of 11 he began playing the accordion, initially classical music. As a teenager he already won numerous international awards. At 16 he discovered jazz and soon took up the study of jazz in Paris. At the beginning he faced scepticism with his accordion and his classical training, but he quickly convinced the critics with an entirely new way of looking at the instrument, made a name for himself in France's jazz scene and was soon playing with the creme de la creme of French jazz, the likes of Michel Portal, Daniel Humair, Renaud Garcia Fons, Louis Sclavis and Vincent Courtois. 

Parallel to that he pursued many of his own projects, drawing from the widest range of genres – from jazz, chanson and world music through to classic and even heavy rock. Since 2011, Peirani has been playing regularly in the quartet of the Korean singer Youn Sun Nah, the most successful female jazz artist in France in recent years. Through this engagement he also made the acquaintance of Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius and ultimately the boss of the ACT label Siggi Loch. Peirani played on the Wakenius album "Vagabond" recorded in February 2012, also astonishing and enthralling live audiences everywhere. "Thrill Box" came out in May 2013 and was Vincent Peirani's first album as a leader – star-studded with pianist Michael Wollny, bassist Michel Benita and saxophonists Michel Portal and Émile Parisien. The album showcases the entire wealth of facets of Peirani's musical influences, and reveals more impressively than ever before what an intelligent and artful composer he is, and what a masterful and profoundly musical instrumentalist and storyteller.

01. Song Yet Untitled 4:16
03. Hunter 3:55
04. Bells 3:13
05. Did You Say Rotenberg? 5:02
06. Sirenes 5:05
07. Uniskate 4:03
08. Vignette 4:02
09. Fourth of July 4:33
10. Travesuras 6:20

Vincent Peirani, accordion
Michael Wollny, piano

Giovanni Guidi, Gianluca Petrella, Louis Sclavis, Gerald Cleaver - Ida Lupino (2016) ECM RECORDS

Ida Lupino is a fresh and creative album, distinguished by deep listening and focused interaction. At its centre is the remarkable improvisational rapport of two Italian musicians – pianist Giovanni Guidi and trombonist Gianluca Petrella. Their musical understanding – already apparent to listeners who heard them in Enrico Rava’s band – has been further refined in a widely-travelled duo which seeks encounters with fellow improvisers. “Our duo work is really defined by our collaboration with other artists,” Guidi says. The present album both builds on established relationships and the stimulus of new encounters as they are joined by – in Petrella’s words – “two masters of contemporary jazz who are really on our wavelength”.

For this recording, Manfred Eicher brought Guidi and Petrella together with US drummer Gerald Cleaver and French clarinettist Louis Sclavis, for a set of music by turns introspective and outgoing. The Italians had played previously with Cleaver, on an early Guidi album called We Don’t Live Here Anymore, but Sclavis had never met the other musicians prior to the session at Lugano’s Stelio Molo RSI auditorium. “It’s very precious this kind of musical relationship,” Louis Sclavis says, “on the one hand, it’s very fragile but at the same time there is a strong connection between the players. We are four people for one music, and we don’t know where we’re going, but we control the journey.”

“In this album we are searching for many different things,” says Giovanni Guidi. “Improvised music has to be very democratic. At the same time, one of its components should be a sense of wonder. And the more you have a strong idea, at the concept level, the more you know you must not impose it…”

Gerald Cleaver: “I liked the completely open way Giovanni and Gianluca approached this: not telling me what they wanted, but having some sort of underlying plan, and what I had to do was basically surrender to it. That could have been difficult, but it ended up being a really enjoyable ride.”

The emphasis is on lyrical group improvising and tunes by the players, created in the moment or otherwise. There are a couple of exceptions: “Per i morti di Reggio Emilia (To the Dead of Reggio Emilia)” is a protest song penned by Turin folk singer-songwriter Fausto Amodei. And the title track, “Ida Lupino” , does double duty as a salute to composer Carla Bley in her 80th year (Petrella once played in a big band under Carla’s direction) and as a tribute to the late, great Paul Bley, who popularized the tune and influenced so many improvisers – not least Giovanni Guidi

“I find the music we played to be above all very sincere,” says Guidi. “It is an exact photograph of where our individual journeys have brought us, and what we were able to create together. And it wouldn’t have been possible without Manfred, who is in a way the fifth musician – hearing every note, every sound, every detail…” The album was recorded and mixed in three days, in time-honoured ECM tradition. “When we listen to what we’ve played, we’re left a little speechless, because there are so many subtleties that transform the whole quality of the music.”

Guidi, born in Foligno, was encouraged in his musical directions by Enrico Rava at summer master classes in Siena, and subsequently played on the Rava albums On The Dance Floor and Tribe. His previous ECM albums include City of Broken Dreams and This is the Day, featuring his trio with Thomas Morgan and João Lobo. Gianluca Petrella, born in Bari, plays on four ECM albums with Enrico Rava: Easy Living, The Words and the Days, Tribe and Wild Dance. The two of them, Guidi and Petrella, are frequently instanced by critics as key figures in a new “golden age” for Italian jazz.

Louis Sclavis, from Lyon, has made ten albums as a leader for ECM since 1993, the most recent being Silk and Salt Melodies and Sources, released respectively in 2014 and 2012. Where previous recordings have stressed his originality as conceptualist and jazz composer, Ida Lupino emphasizes his capacity as quick-thinking melodic improviser.

Detroit-born Gerald Cleaver, one of the very finest drummers of the present moment, made his ECM debut in 1997 as a member of Roscoe Mitchell’s Note Factory on Nine To Get Ready and has since appeared on the label as a member of Tomasz Stanko’s New York Quartet, the Michael Formanek Quartet and the Craig Taborn Trio. The most recent release featuring Cleaver is Miroslav Vitous’s Music of Weather Report.

01. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love
02. Just Tell Me Who It Was
03. Jeronimo
04. Ida Lupino
05. Per i morti di Reggio Amilia
06. Gato!
07. La Terra
08. No More Calypso?
09. Rouge Lust
10. Things We Never Planned
11. Fidel Slow
12. Hard Walk
13. Zweig
14. The Gam Scorpions

Giovanni Guidi: piano
Gianluca Petrella: trombone
Louis Sclavis: clarinet, bass clarinet
Gerald Cleaver: drums

Robert Glasper Experiment - ArtScience (2016)





Robert Glasper Experiment has released “Find You,” the powerful first single from the groundbreaking, GRAMMY-winning band’s new album ArtScience (Blue Note). The eclectic album finds the Experiment getting down to its essence, with each of the band members—keyboardist Robert Glasper, saxophonist Casey Benjamin, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Mark Colenburg—delivering the vocals and sharing in the production and songwriting on the album. On ArtScience, the Experiment sounds like a bit of everything that’s vibrant and challenging and great about music woven into a billowing fabric of jazz, funk, soul, rock, hip-hop, blues, disco, electronic, and pop.

ArtScience is available for pre-order now on iTunes and Amazon, and will be released on September 16. Fans who pre-order the download will instantly receive the lead single “Find You” which is also available as a single on streaming services. The album’s cover features an illustration by contemporary artist Hebru Brantley.

After a year of touring that has taken Glasper across North America, South America, Australia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, The Experiment has announced an NYC album release show at Bowery Ballroom on October 3. Further fall touring will be announced shortly. Visit for more tour info.

After delivering two star-studded, chart-topping, R&B GRAMMY-winning volumes of their acclaimed Black Radio series on which they collaborated with everyone from Erykah Badu to Norah Jones to Snoop Dogg, the band pondered where to go next. The answer? “You do you,” says Glasper with a chuckle. “People need to hear what the Experiment sounds like, just us—know what our vibe is and can be.”

“Find You” is a jaw-dropping tour-de-force co-written by all four Experiment members that charges through various moods and genres. The track features Hodge on lead vocals as well as a shredding guitar solo by Michael Severson. It closes with an impassioned plea for justice from Glasper’s son Riley. “He’s speaking his mind,” explains Glasper. “He was 5 and the Michael Brown case came on the news and he started going off.” Indeed, Riley speaks to the anger many feel: “It’s not fair! We should let other people live! … Let’s try to make the polices better … like real polices that help. No gun shooting!”

Glasper himself has been keeping incredibly busy as of late. Last year he reconvened his acclaimed acoustic trio for the GRAMMY-nominated album Covered, which was recorded live at Capitol Studios with bassist Vicente Archer and drummer Damion Reid. Glasper has also scored Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead film, reinterpreted the Miles Davis catalog on Everything Is Beautiful, played keys all over albums from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly to Anderson .Paak’s Malibu to Maxwell’s blackSUMMERS’night, and is currently collaborating on forthcoming albums from Herbie Hancock, Common, and Mac Miller.

The track listing for ArtScience is as follows:

1. This Is Not Fear (D. Hodge, R. Glasper, C. Benjamin, M. Colenburg)

2. Thinkin Bout You (R. Glasper, D. Hodge, M. Ayers)

3. Day To Day (C. Benjamin)

4. No One Like You (R. Glasper, C. Benjamin)

5. You And Me (R. Glasper, D. Hodge, C. Benjamin, M. Colenburg)

6. Tell Me A Bedtime Story (H. Hancock)

7. Find You (C. Benjamin, D. Hodge, R. Glasper, M. Colenburg)

8. In My Mind (R. Glasper, M. Colenburg)

9. Hurry Slowly (C. Benjamin)

10. Written In Stone (C. Benjamin, J. Lake, R. Glasper, R. Coleman)

11. Let’s Fall In Love (R. Glasper, M. Vorzimer, A. Niambi)

12. Human (J. Harris, T. Lewis)

Shawn Maxwell - Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow ( 2016) OA2 RECORDS

I's it possible for a jazz quintet to craft music that's melodically intriguing, harmonically alluring and rhythmically numbing?

Yes, indeed, judging by Thursday night's performance from Shawn Maxwell's New Tomorrow, the latest ensemble fronted by a Chicago saxophonist-flutist who already has proved that he knows how to write compellingly idiosyncratic scores.

When he led Shawn Maxwell's Alliance at the Jazz Showcase two years ago, he offered listeners a welcome respite from the rigid stylistic boundaries that hem in many ensembles. The well-named Alliance presented compositions that refreshingly fused elements of jazz, classical, pop and a hint of funk, sometimes shifting from one to the next within the span of a couple of measures. Plus how often do you encounter music penned for two saxophones, two French horns, two stand-up basses, wordless vocals, guitar, drums and percussion?

Maxwell's New Tomorrow showed him pursuing a different direction. In every way, New Tomorrow — which Maxwell will be taking into the recording studio next week — represented a tighter, leaner sound and concept. Even with just five musicians, however, the band conjured a range of color and texture, with several of the musicians doubling up on instruments.

Once again, Maxwell affirmed that he knows how to wield a pen, his intricately detailed scores bristling with surprises. Among them: highflying duo passages for Maxwell's saxophone/flute and Victor Garcia's trumpet; serpentine ostinatos for Matt Nelson's piano and electronic keyboard; ample room for Junius Paul to stretch out on acoustic and electric bass (especially the latter).

Better still New Tomorrow featured compositions built on unexpected chord progressions, stop-start rhythms and other quirky devices that continually caught listeners off guard. This was the handiwork of a composer not content to settle into predictable musical.

Why Maxwell would want to cast these terrific original ideas against the nearly relentless, sledgehammer backbeats of drummer Phil Beale stands as something of a mystery. Nearly every composition Maxwell's New Tomorrow played featured leaden, earthbound, hammered downbeats of a sort you'd expect to encounter in a dance club where hundreds of revelers want to move to the same thumping, pounding, pulsing rhythm.

Other threads of Maxwell's scores, however, aspired to something more sophisticated and engaging, which caused a push-pull tug-of-war between drummer Beale and everyone else. If the idea was to make Maxwell's high-toned writing more palatable to an audience that needed easily an digestible musical element, the effort was counterproductive. For as much as one tried to savor the melodic lines that Maxwell and Garcia were producing or the chordal structures that pianist Nelson and bassist Paul were devising, there was no escaping those overwrought, rhythmically inflexible blows on drums.

That said, other elements of Maxwell's new compositions were worth admiring, especially in the way he and several of his colleagues handled them. The ever-shifting rhythmic syntax Maxwell and trumpeter Garcia articulated in "Embraceable Excuses" piqued interest, while Garcia's irrepressibly inventive, airborne solos ennobled the entire venture. Paul's low-note flurries on electric bass and Nelson's intensely chromatic keyboard riffs kept matters interesting in "Work in Progress." And the virtuoso duet breaks for Maxwell and Garcia in "Progressive Regression" were inspiring to hear.

Is it not possible to tone down and loosen up the pummeling of the drum set?

01. Embraceable Excuses
02. Work In Progress
03. Responsibility Run
04. Inside Back
05. Whole Hearted Half The Time
06. Unexpected Heel Turn
07. Progressive Regression
08. Saturday Morning Dance
09. Carbird Seat
10. Three Kinds Of Heat
11. Throw Away Tune #2
12. Eustachian Tube Dysfunction
13. Hitting Streak
14. Bye For Now.

Shawn Maxwell: alto sax, flute
Victor Garcia: trumpet (1, 4, 5, 10)
Chad McCullough: trumpet (2, 3, 6, 8 13, 14)
Corey Wilkes: trumpet (11)
Junius Paul: acoustic and electric bass
Matt Nelson: piano, rhodes, Wurlitzer
Phil Beale: drums

Simon Kanzler - Double Identity (2016) WHY PLAY JAZZ

Simon Kanzler comes from the burgeoning scene of the collective of young musicians in Berlin, KIM. The music of his album Double Identity lets mystical pictures arise. The soundscapes of the vibraphonist fuse with the piano playing by emergent Elias Stemeseder. Double identities everywhere – with two basses and the gentle textures of the drums. Chamber ensemble included!

Empty spaces, frozen droplets, hazy hallways, surreal staircases, glass broken by light. These and others are the mystical scenes and pictures that arise when listing to the music of Simon Kanzler’s Double Identity. The music leads the listener towards dreamlike scenes under the surface of everyday reality. It explores gloomy worlds of sound between contemporary chamber music and improvised music. Gentle, lyrical sounds that remind us of late pieces by Morton Feldman are contrasted with energetic, rock-like moments. 

Simon Kanzler crosses borders, he is a flaneur between different worlds of music who does not feel obliged to one single style. As a composer he tries to establish connections between opposite and sometimes contradictory elements. He feels at home in both, in the 20th century classical music scene as well as in the burgeoning scene of the collective of young musicians in Berlin, KIM. The latter is similarly committed to musical pluralism. 

Composing for improvising musicians is especially exciting to Kanzler since they develop the material freely and penetrate it with their own individuality. 

On this occasion the subtle piano playing by Elias Stemeseders (known from his cooperation with Jim Black) should be highlighted. He amazingly understands to transcend the compositional material through his own individuality. 

His piano playing fuses with the soundscapes of the vibraphone of Simon Kanzler, as do the two basses. Igor Spallati and Max Mucha complement each other sensitively. 

Therefore double identities emerge, that are being supplemented by the edgy and gentle textures of Max Andrzejewski´s drums. 

For the title piece “Double Identity” a chamber ensemble is added to the band. In this context the influences of 20th century classical music are even more noticeable. The large-scale piece has been derived from a short melody and reminds us of late works by Karlheinz Stockhausen. In this case improvisation is of great importance as well. 

Next to a few chamber musician appear Benjamin Weidekamp (clarinet), Florian Bergmann (bass clarinet) and Antonis Anissegos (piano) as improvisers.

01. Tropfen… gefroren  6:27
02. Treppenhaus  5:11
03. Doktor Faustus  8:29
04. Glas  6:53
05. Die Wand  5:18
06. Broken White  8:57
07. Double Identity I. Rhythm  4:52
08. Double Identity II. Harmony  9:18
09. Double Identity III. Polyphony  9:14


Simon Kanzler (vibraphone)
Elias Stemeseder (piano)
Max Andrzejewski (drums)
Igor Spallati (bass)
Max Mucha (bass)

Chamber Ensemble:
Chatschatur Kanajan (conductor)
Benjamin Weidekamp (clarinet)
Florian Bergmann (bass clarinet)
Elvira van Groningen (violin)
Clémence De Forceville (violin)
Karen Lorenz (viola)
Sirja Nironen (violoncello)
Antonis Anissegos (piano)

All compositions by Simon Kanzler. Recorded January 2015 at Studio P4, Berlin, Germany. Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jean-Boris Szymczak. Cover photo by Manfred Emmenegger-Kanzler. Artwork by Natalie van Sasse van Ysselt.

Steve Gadd Band - Way Back Home (Live From Rochester, NY) 2016

As performances go, the Steve Gadd Band’s Way Back Home is striking for its precision and elegance and it may be only until you get to the end that you feel the full import of the enormous emotional weight it carries. Gadd is, after all, returning to where it all began for him: Rochester NY, his home, where young dreams grew old, music flowered and bloomed; where the whisper and thunder of his drums first informed the world of music that a sensational new percussion colourist was on his way. An iconic musical journey has come full circle and it could not have happened at a better time – when the drummer turned 70 years old.

With all of the increasing level of noise surrounding drummers and their instrument in the modern musical context it is very likely that the listening (and viewing) public might have had some niggling doubts about the veracity of Steve Gadd’s playing. This dissipates in a heartbeat, as it were. The DVD begins with a fascinating arrangement of Keith Jarrett’s ‘The Wind Up’. If you were expecting an explosion (you know how the song goes), you’re in for a big surprise. Gadd focuses on the poetry of the song; the spiraling lines, its ascent and descent as in a musical version of Duchamp’s Cubist painting showing a Nude Descending a Staircase Nr. 2’ Gadd is the consummate craftsman. 

He is the epitomé of the poetry of forward motion. He exudes lyricism as he eggs the rest of the band on to greater heights – the heights of melodic invention. And while it is now almost a cliché to talk of the drummer as a melodist you get a sense of how true it is when you listen to the sound of brushes stirring the pea soup or the sizzle and bop of sticks on cymbals. It’s like listening to (or watching in this instance) an old-fashioned master melody-maker at work. ‘Bye, Bye Blackbird’ is one of those displays of lyricism that you will never forget for exactly those reasons.

Steve Gadd has been around for decades. He has brought his unique ability to re-colour the music of other musicians. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel would testify to that as would Steely Dan, Eric Clapton, Grover Washington Jr, Al Di Meola, Chick Corea, Yusef Lateef… the list is as long as your arm. No matter whom he is playing with or what the musical situation, Gadd’s main strength has been to provide a spacious setting for rhythm, in such a way that it elevates melody and harmony. To that extent he is a songwriters’ dream and this is evident from how many vocalists he has accompanied. On Way Back Home, however, Gadd appears with his group of two albums past. The Band is made up of Michael Landau on guitar, Jimmy Johnson on bass guitar, Walt Fowler on trumpet and flugelhorn and Larry Goldings on keyboards. It is a group of musicians as accomplished as Steve Gadd who, together, enjoy a striking, telepathic connection.

Viewing this concert as a DVD holds a distinct advantage for the Gadd fanatic. The big close-ups shot through the battery of drums is filmed with wonderful focus on the movement of Gadd’s hands and the various permutations and combinations that he essays to lay out the rhythmic pattern of each song. This is something that is well-nigh impossible in the vast auditorium where the performance took place. But the excitement is palpable, whether you were in the audience or in front of the television screen or CD player (this package includes a CD as well). However you choose to experience this extraordinary performance it is nothing if not a memorable one.

01. Green Foam (Live) 08:31
02. Cavaliero (Live) 08:53
03. Africa (Live) 09:48
04. Way Back Home (Live) 09:40 
05. Bye Bye Blackbird (Live) 06:31
06. Desu (Live) 07:27
07. Oh, Yeah! (Live) 09:26
08. Them Changes (Live) 06:51

Michael Landau - guitar
Jimmy Johnson - bass
Walt Fowler - trumpet,flugelhorn
Larry Goldings - keyboards

Way Back Home European Tour


19 – Scala, Ludwigsburg, DE: 

21 – Joy Station, Sophia, BG: 

23 – Fritz HenßlerHaus, Dortmund, DE: 

24 – Gaste Garage, Hasbergen, DE: 

25, 26 – De Boerderij, Zoetermeer, NE: 

27 – Schiller, Herford, DE: 

28, 29 – Nefertiti, Gothenburg, SWE: 

30 – Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DK:


1 – Vejle Musikteater, Vejle, DK: 

3-8 – Ronnie Scott's, London, UK: 

10 – Debaser Medis, Stockholm, SWE: