Friday, January 27, 2017

Javier Botella & Copa Ilustrada Big Band - The Best Is yet to Come (2017)

Copa Ilustrada Band, la apuesta por el swing con raíces, dispuesta al crecimiento. Con la creencia a cuestas de que es posible en nuestro país recrear el sonido del Village Vanguard neoyorkino, con noches definitivas que huelen a jazz, saben a jazz y suenan a jazz en mitad de los escenarios más elegantes. Una formación contrastada que convirtió su devoción en su forma de vida, con el crooner español Javier Botella al frente, el hombre con más de 200 conciertos en apenas dos años, haciendo posible que un oficio de reminiscencias a los más grandes cale hasta popularizarse.

Un crooner es el nombre para definir a aquellos hombres legendarios que cantaban estándares de jazz con la profesionalidad del que afronta la tarea más importante del universo.

Javi Botella encubó su futuro como crooner durante varios años, mientras giraba dedicado a otros oficios emparentados con las buenas maneras. Entre tanto, miraba de reojo las actuaciones de Frank Sinatra, de Dean Martin, de Nat King Cole, Tony Bennet... y musitaba tantas veces: "yo, algún día, cantaré por ellos".

La conjunción empezó a ponerse en marcha cuando un secretario de la Casa Real española le invitó a una merienda exquisita dándole un tarjetón en el que se escribía: Copa Ilustrada. Ese nombre quedó en el subconsciente. Más tarde, una noche terminó en una barra en la que un cazatalentos le hizo cantar. Empezó a trabajarse en la fragua Copa Ilustrada Band.

A partir de ahí, 200 conciertos en los últimos 12 meses. Javier Botella inmediatamente se amotinó con su devoción por el swing, en compañía de contrabajos, pianistas, baterías, saxos, trombones y trompetas. Tras dejar otros mundos, dio rienda suelta a su objetivo desde siempre: ser el crooner español. Al acabar una de las actuaciones, el asistente del embajador británico en Madrid emplazó a Copa Ilustrada Band a poner la voz en la embajada una y otra vez.

Javier Botella y sus hombres aparecen de etiqueta donde se les requiere, arrancan, 'swingean' y acompañan versátiles cualquier noche, como si estuviera a punto de ser la noche más trascendente de sus vidas.

Javier Botella, voz

Big Band
Aarón Pozon (Saxo)
Ernesto Millan ( Saxo)
Gabriel Palacion (Saxo)
Jordi Ballarin (Saxo)
Victor Bruna (Saxo)
Luis Soler (Trumpet)
Javier Martinez (Trumpet)
Javier Arévalo ( Trumpet)
Fernando Hurtado(Trumpet)
Tony Molina (Bone)
Fran Sanchez (Bone)
Roberto Lorenzo (Bone)
Alejandro Mateos (Piano)
Marco Niemietz (Contra)
Tony Pereyra (Guitar)
Diego Hernando (Drums)

01. For Once in My Life 2:47
02. Sunny 4:00
03. Day by Day 2:28
04. The Best Is yet to Come 2:34
05. One for My Baby 4:26
06. Luck Be a Lady 4:14
07. You Make Me Feel so Young 3:04
08. All the Way 5:35
09. The Best of Everything 2:24
10. After You've Gone 2:57
11. Where or When 2:37
12. How Do You Keep the Music Playing 3:53
13. Algo Contigo 5:07
14. Me and My Shadow 3:15

MakeForm - MakeForm (2017)


1. Derm 04:40
2. Zzzzz 03:29
3. Le Jardin 03:55
4. Ok (feat. Nitai Hershkovits) 04:02
5. Theme Song (feat. Gilad Hekselman) 05:27
6. Idea 04:03

Joe Beerman, double bass
Eugenia Choe, piano
Juan Sanchez, drums

Gilad Hekselman, guitar
Nitai Hershkovits, piano

Tri002 - Live At The Guggenheim 2 (2017)

1. Because You Are 08:17
2. Höllengrille 12:44
3. Hellblauer Halbmond 10:04
4. For Susan 10:23

Albrecht Ernst - alto saxophone 
Tobias Fröhlich - bass 
Jan-Einar Groh - drums 

Wilhelm Martens - sound engineering 

Recorded live at Peppi Guggenheim, Berlin on 17.12.2016

Tri002 - Live At The Guggenheim 1 (2017) HERE

Ab Baars / Ingrid Laubrock / Ig Henneman / Tom Rainey - Perch Hen Brock & Rain (RELATIVE PITCH RECORDS 2016)

Perch Hen Brock & Rain is an improvising quartet drawing on myriad experiences and backgrounds; a unique combination of two long-time duos; Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey represent the best of the New York scene while Ab Baars and Ig Henneman are key members of the idiosyncratic Dutch improvised music community. In this ensemble four improvisational artists form a musical collaboration that seems to take on an almost telepathic quality, pulsing with passion, dedication, and versatility.

(…) "Perch Hen Brock & Rain creates a wide textural palette due to the clever deployment of resources, with the tough little string instrument often playing a strikingly aggressive role as a percussive engine that fires away tirelessly while the horns engage in intricate dialogue. True to its name, the group also produces a spectrum of sounds that vividly evokes nature and the animal kingdom, above all in the shrill, stark bird calls of the tenor saxophones and clarinet and the undergrowth rustlings of the drum kit, which Rainey works with consummate dexterity.” 
--Kevin Le Gendre Jazzwise 

Wels Music Unlimited 2014 
"4 master improvisers … in a set full of passion, wisdom, imagination and elegance, the third and last night of Wels Music Unlimited 2014" 
--Eyal Hareuveni Nov 9 2014 

CD 'Live & The Jazz Happening Tampere' 
(...) Reedist and shakuhachi player Ab Baars known from the ICP Orchestra and violist Ig Henneman released the album 'Live @ The Jazz Happening Tampere together with the American label RPR, by which they proof to be at the top of the international impro-scene. 
--Jan Jasper Tamboer, Parool 

(...) The communication between the musicians is almost perfect, they are not treading on each other's toes. The entire album works beautifully as a whole. 
--Jan Granli,e saltpeanuts 

(...) We can hear the way they converse in a most engaging way, exchanging ideas, lines flowing back and forth throughout. (...)This is a most extraordinary quartet, one of the finest improvising units of the year. We can only hope that this fine quartet will find their way here in the near future. In the meantime, check this dynamite disc!
-- Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG New York

It has become a very beautiful album. 
--Ben Taffijn, 

(..) The recently released cd 'Live @ The Jazz Happening Tampere’ proofs that stunning music can be created without making any appointments. The interplay between timbre and dynamics is so well balanced that the listener however suspects a composers hand in the whole form. (..) You hear the musicians on the top of their focus. What happens next is a real miracle. 
--Mischa Andriessen, Trouw

1. Perch (14:31)
2. Hen (9:47)
3. Brock (10:34)
4. Rain (13:40)
5. Tampere (4:50)

Tisziji Munoz - When Coltrane Calls! (Session 1: Fierce Compassion) (ANAMI MUSIC 2016)

By Chris Haines /

“…it is, here and now, taught that music is ordinarily used to create, validate and express self-limitation and bondage, but it can also be used for psycho-physical transformation and self-liberation. Whether or not the music is or can be used for higher purposes depends upon its medium or channel and the perceptional understanding or spiritual unfoldment of the individual performer or listener.” (Tisziji Munoz – The Bhagavad Guitar Player)

Coltrane’s music was the catalyst that initially sparked Tisziji Munoz’s interest in creative music and it seems after many years, spiritual journeys and many albums later that Munoz has come full circle to where it all started for him.  This album contains four different Coltrane tunes, “Wise One”, “Alabama”, “Lonnie’s Lament” & two versions of “Ogunde”, with the rest of the album being originals of Munoz’s.  Clearly, this album was never meant to be a ‘testimonial’ trudging through some Coltrane tunes, or a stale academic exercise in authenticity.  The emphasis appears to be on the creative spirit of the jazz master and the essence of the session.  This is borne out by the way the pieces are approached and the inclusion of original tunes/improvisations that try to capture the life-force of the music, which is the order of the day.

The group consists of a variety of musicians including Munoz (Electric Guitar), John Medeski (Piano), Don Pate (Acoustic Bass), John Benitez (Basses & Percussion), George Koller (Acoustic Bass), Tony Falco (Drums), Bob Moses (Drums) and Adam Benham (Percussion) all appearing under their spiritual name guises (for those that have them).  First off, the album seems to capture some of the spirit of Munoz’s classic albums such as Breaking the Wheel of Life and Death! & Auspicious Healing! and not just for the consistent use of the exclamation mark in the titles!  In some part this appears to come from John Medeski’s input (his name also being singled out on the album cover with equal weighting), which tends to provide the same harmonious contrast to Munoz’s playing as the brilliant exuberance of Marilyn Crispell’s piano on the aforementioned records.

“Wise One” is the first track to air with Munoz’s blistering lead guitar tracing the outline shape of the melody before spiraling off into more distant realms whilst Medeski’s piano follows the original changes more faithfully which then rolls into a piano and bass arrangement of “Alabama”.  Both versions of “Ogunde” provide Tisziji Munoz with the perfect platform to get ‘out there’, with his playing providing similar improvised arabesques and free-form sensitivity that Coltrane’s versions captured.  Of the Munoz originals “Living Native Wisdom” and “Fearless in Death” accommodate a more extended (both coming in at around 14 and 12 minutes respectively) and explorative structure allowing the music to change and contrast the initial material more naturally, either opening up into an oasis of calm as in the former or to gradually twist and turn with it’s complex and tangled lines as in the latter.

For the Coltrane purists I’m sure many noses will be turned up at this endeavor, but for those of us who are open minded and keen to engage with good creative music-making I’m sure many others will find this an interesting listen.  For those wanting more When Coltrane Calls! Session 3: Living Immortality is also out for release.

John Medeski piano
Don Pate acoustic bass
George Koller acoustic bass
John Benitez basses, percussion
Rakalam Bob Moses drums
Sadhu-Bhav Tony Falco drums
Adam Benham percussion

1. Wise One 8:17
2. Alabama 2:46
3. Ogunde 1 7:07
4. Lonnie's Lament 9:33
5. Ogunde 2 2:31
6. Living Native Wisdom 13:54
7. Straight Through the Heart 4:58
8. Fearless in Death 11:38
9. Out of the Body 8:57

Roberto Negro - Garibaldi Plop (TRICOLLECTIF 2017)

« Son presque acoustique, circulation parfaite, mise en place aussi joyeuse que précise, « fatrasie » digne de Bataille dans sa seule contribution à La Révolution surréaliste de Breton – motifs répétitifs, climats, nappes sonores, fragments de swing, cavales pour dessins animés, ébullition collective, retour au calme, citations comme s’il en pleuvait –, la performance crée une écoute, salle comble, très tendue. Pas un bruit, pas une toux, pas un chuchotement. Un peu comme si des jeunesses, rompues à toutes sortes de vacarmes à haute teneur en décibels, découvraient la lune. »
Francis Marmande – LE MONDE

« Le développement lancinant emmène sur une plage où les châteaux de sable se reconstruisent après la marée. Les fééries s’enchaînent. Je me voyais dans les studios de Hollywood tantôt sous un hangar où s’échafaudait un western, tantôt dans un autre où se tournait une romance, un autre un polar, un autre un péplum. Magique. De la musique jaillit un tourbillon d’images imprévisibles, comme une valse où le bras se poserait sur celui d’une inconnue. Soutien incomparable de la panoplie bruitiste du batteur, liberté maîtrisée du violoncelliste. On pense à Charles Mingus, à Moussorgsky, à Debussy. Le détournement d’une chanson de Maurice Chevalier (Les Gars de Ménilmontant) rappelle un des plaisirs du jazz : tordre le cou à la routine. »
Bruno Pfeiffer – LIBERATION

« Roberto Negro convoque un esprit lyrique – inspiré du vérisme italien -, dans ses compositions et dose avec précision l’alternance de passages contrastés, pétillants de couleurs et d’humour. On sort de là comme d’un spectacle de cirque, enchanté par les séquences successives – le clown, le suspense acrobatique, le dressage rugissant, l’impossible équilibriste, les claquements de fouet, l’illumination des flammes… Un des plus beaux concerts de cette année. »
Matthieu Jouan – CITIZEN JAZZ

1. La storia reale
2. Suole di gomma Vibram
3. Il vino !
4. Camouflage
5. Farina, crusca e voto alla madonna
6. Camouflage, parte seconda
7. 1944
8. Grilletto
9. Rosina cavatappi

Valentin Ceccaldi – cello, horizoncelle
Sylvain Darrifourcq– drums, electronica

Garibaldi Plop - Roberto Negro / Valentin... por tritonline

Sylvie Courvoisier & Mary Halvorson - Crop Circles (RELATIVE PITCH RECORDS 2016)

A mere two months following yet another highly thought-of ensemble record, guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson has returned with some stimulating one-on-one. In this latest such instance, Crop Circles (Relative Pitch) pits her against (or rather, with) Sylvie Courvoisier.

Halvorson has always thrived in a duo setting: Jessica Pavone, Noël Akchoté, Stephan Crump to name a few; Halvorson’s duets with the violinist Pavone even got her much of her initial notice some ten years ago. This time she goes toe-to-toe with a pianist who is likewise one of the most creatively distinctive women in avant-garde jazz.

The Swiss-born Courvoisier is the fairly rare highly trained musician who has been able to apply her ample skills toward developing a voice all her own. She leads or co-leads a number of mostly small ensembles that include Mark Feldman, Drew Gress, Marc Ribot, Kenny Wollesen and Ellery Eskelin. Numerous collaborations have involved John Zorn, Erik Friedlander, Herb Robertson, Enrico Rava and Evan Parker. Given hers and Halvorson’s predisposition for working with any musician who shares a zeal for crafting challenging scores and carrying them out in extemporaneous performances, it was perhaps only a matter of time before the paths of these two extraordinary women would cross.

That finally happened last year with an engagement at New York’s Cornelia Street Cafe, leading eight months later to a single day recording session at Courvoisier’s home studio. Each brought tunes and worked them out together and by the end of the day, ten tracks were in the can.

It’s a given that Crop Circles was going to be highly artful — and it is — but the affinity heard between the two is something that can’t be taught. The two often navigate across a tightrope of synchronicity, such as on “La Cigale,” where they erupt with clusters of notes with such density it sometimes seems that there are three or four of them playing, especially when Halvorson turns her guitar into a tornado-making machine. The unison, impossibly knotty avant-bop lines that forms the head are remindful of Lennie Tristano. The clipped notes on the brief “Water Scissors” is so synergistic and telepathic, there are practically four hands with one mind. “Eclats for Ornette” begins and ends with a precarious, harmolodic head that they somehow make it through in tight conformity. For “Downward Dog,” Courvoisier splits her brain with her right hand following the serpentine path of notes with Halvorson as her left hand effortlessly offers up the complementing chords.

Other performances are much more spacious but no less full of intrigue. The spare “Aftershock” sports subtleties like pairing the bass strings of the guitar with the left side of the piano and a symmetry that’s maintained through the slight mood adjustments. Halvorson is heard playing slide like no one else on “Woman In The Dunes” and later brandishes effects pedals as the two ride the song on swelling and receding tides of emotion.

With “Your Way,” the two demonstrate how pretty melodies have a place in avant-garde. Although it’s Halvorson’s song, Courvoisier immerses herself in it and totally inhabits it. Those wanting to hear Halvorson go crazy with her signature guitar effects need to look no further than “Absent Across Skies,” where she deploys them so effectively to add both jarring eccentricities and shape to Courvoisier’s dark, strange chord progression.

This meeting of two of the brightest minds on the edgier side of jazz today produces music that’s astonishing both in its fluency and ceaseless ingenuity. Crop Circles can be purchased directly from Relative Pitch Records here.

1. La Cigale ... SC  5:37
2. Aftershock ... MH 5:09 
3. Eclats for Ornette ... SC  3:45   
4. Absent Across Skies ... MH 7:08
5. Downward Dog ...  SC  3:59 
6. Your Way ... MH 4:50 
7. Water Scissors ... MH 1:54 
8. Woman in the Dunes ...  SC 6:56
9. Double Vision ... MH 4:31
10. Bitter Apple ... SC + MH 2:23