Friday, March 17, 2017

Free Walking Trio - Mind Our Business (feat. Nanni Teot) ANGAPP MUSIC 2017

I primi esperimenti di pratica collettiva del trio formato da Giuliano Vozella (chitarra), Michele Ciccimarra (batteria e percussioni) e Giovanni Cristino (pianoforte e tastiera) hanno come sfondo i comuni studi nel conservatorio di musica N. Rota di Monopoli. L'affinità è alimentata dal comune bagaglio didattico e dal differente percorso musicale che i tre seguono fuori dall’istituzione praticando i linguaggi del rock, del blues, del jazz e dell’improvvisazione libera, congiunti ad un interesse poliedrico per la produzione musicale in genere e ad un'attenzione per la musica dal vivo. Nel 2014 il chitarrista Giuseppe Pascucci dopo aver affiancato il trio per un periodo, sostituisce Giuliano Vozella, contribuendo assieme a Cristino e a Ciccimarra alla costituzione di un nuovo repertorio originale.

Insieme collaborano nelle residenze per artisti Focare e Con.Divisione nelle quali si misurano con altri media espressivi. Nel agosto 2015 incontrano Angapp nell’ambito del Festival “neXt”, che propone al trio una collaborazione per la produzione di un disco. Nel corso dell’anno il trombettista Nanni Teot si unisce al trio dopo averli seguiti per alcuni concerti, arricchendo di un timbro nuovo e di un’altro livello narrativo la formazione. Ad aprile 2016 il quartetto realizza le registrazioni del primo disco con Angapp records: "Mind Our Business“ a nome di Free Walking Trio feat Nanni Teot.

The Free Walking Trio was born in 2012 with M. Ciccimarra - drum, G. Vozella - Guitar, G. Cristino - Keyboard and Piano, during their jazz class studies in the Conservatorio di Musica N. Rota in Monopoli. The experimental sound of the trio conforms with their musical practice explored outside the boundaries of the music school and beyond: playing jazz, world, rock even classical music, creating a musical crossroad with a specific identity in original compositions. In 2014 after a short period in 4tet with a double guitar, G. Pascucci - Guitar, replaces Vozella and the FWT renews its repertoire with new original compositions.

They join special context of musical performance and art exhibitions in “Focare” and “Con.Divisione” since 2012. In 2015 they meet N. Teot - Trumpet and Flugelhorn: he brings about another narrative level and a warm tone to the compositions. In August 2015 during the “nExt” Festival, in Corato, they meet An-gapp Music label. They will produce the first Free Walking Trio feat Nanni Teot album, out in February 2017: MindOur Business, available in the main digital stores.

1. At the Corner 6:17
2. Cupaclap 2:53
3. Fenomenali poteri cosmici in un minuscolo spazio vitale 5:37
4. Matted 2:05
5. Lo 10:19
6. Go Up 8:33
7. Wait 7:12
8. Plue 2:45
9. Go Up (Alternative) 8:21

Reflections in Cosmo - Reflections in Cosmo (RareNoise Records 2017)

The fire and fury of ‘60s free jazz and the tumult of electronic rock-tinged experimental music is on full display on this new powerhouse offering from four cutting edge Oslo-based musicians collectively known as Reflection in Cosmo. With Kjetil Moster on saxes, Hans Magnus Ryan on guitar, Stale Storlokken on keyboards and Thomas Stronen on drums, these four kindred spirits strike a tumultuous accord on their self-titled debut on RareNoiseRecords, which represents Moster’s followup on RareNoise to his edgy avant-jazz collaboration in 2014 with the Hungarian power trio Ju. At times recalling the ferocious intensity of the late ‘80s free jazz quartet Last Exit (Peter Brotzman, Sonny Sharrock, Bill Lawell, Ronald Shannon Jackson), this potent Norwegian outfit pushes the envelope with Moster’s blowtorch intensity on baritone and tenor saxes, Ryan’s wailing electric guitar work, Storlokken’s crunchy, distortion-laced keyboards and Stronen’s thunderous drumming.

“This band was initiated by Thomas and Ståle,” explains Moster. “They have been releasing albums on Rune Grammofon under the name Humcrush for 15 years and they wanted to try out an expanded direction, both in terms of band members and references. They asked me and Hans Magnus ‘Snah’ Ryan from Motorpsycho, actually not being aware of the fact that Hans Magnus just took over for Ståle in my own quartet Møster! Yes, it’s a small inbred world, this.”

This small world that Moster refers to is the world of genre-crossing musicians operating in the twilight zone between experimental electric jazz, noise rock and psych rock. As Moster says,

“Instead of the jazz-rock we had in the 70’s and 80’s, maybe we now can talk of rock-jazz? Jü would definitely be a part of this fellowship, as would Elephant9 and Møster!”

Add Reflection in Cosmo to that list. And whether or not they are following in the footsteps of Last Exit, Moster is quick to point out, “Any comparison to Brötzmann I take as a big compliment! He has definitely been a huge influence on me for big periods of my musical upbringing. Last Exit is sure ringing in the back of my head in this band, even though we have not been discussing explicit references like that. We all bring in our own musical backgrounds and add it to the stew.”

Recorded in spacious Øra Studio in in Trondheim, Norway, Reflection in Cosmo reveals some uncanny group-think by these four Norwegian musicians. “I don’t like rules in music,” says Stronen, “and with the background we all have, from free-music to hip-hop and contemporary music, that’s not going to be an issue.”

Moster does bring a Brotzman-like intensity to bear on his bari blowouts like “Fuzzstew,” “Cosmosis” and the kinetic “Perpetual Immobile.” He switches to soprano sax on the spacious, ambient number “Ironhorse” and blows bold tenor lines on “Cosmic Hymn” and the title track. Ryan unleashes his ferocious guitar chops on the aptly-named “Fuzzstew” and “Balklava.” Says Moster of his six-string partner,

“Hans Magnus is one of my favorite guitarists of all time. His sense of texture and ability to build tension and raise this hellacious ferocity is quite unique. I think it comes from playing for about 30 years with Motorpsycho, thus rooted in a heavy but detailed rock aesthetic, but still been deeply into a broad variety of improvisational styles.’

Drummer Stronen is featured traversing the kit with power and precision on the crushing title track. Regarding his own drum influences, Stronen points to myriad inspirations.

“As a kid I was lucky to play a lot with older and better musicians. The first thing I learned was to listen to the other musicians and react to what they did. I played everything from pop/rock music to free improvised music and got the chance to perform on stage quite early. By the time I turned 18, I started to practice seriously. Since then I’ve been influenced by lots of jazz music, from Pharaoh Sanders, Miles Davis and John Coltrane to lots of European musicians on ECM Records. For a longer time, I was massively into Japanese classical music, West African Wolof music and American minimalist composers. Drumming-wise, I’ve picked from the history of jazz, Japanese drum ensembles and classical drummers. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you dig into as long as you dig. It’s a long and thorough process of collecting what’s great about what you hear and putting that in the big melting pot, and with a large vocabulary you can put what’s needed into the music.”

Their combination of refreshing new ideas, uninhibited improvisations and heavy-duty, throbbing intensity places Reflection in Cosmo in rarefied air. “The main key to the four of us, I think, is that we´re open minded and don’t have a presumption of how to play,” adds Stronen. “I find Snah, Kjetil and Ståle to be daring, curious and generous in the way they play. Our agenda is to put the music in front and not some solo performance. The instruments and way of playing blends well, I think. We all have a lot of energy too, which can make the music powerful.”

1. Cosmosis
2. Ironhorse
3. Cosmic Hymn
4. Balklava
5. Perpetuum Immobile
6. Fuzzstew
7. Reflections In Cosmo

Kjetil Møster: saxophones
Hans Magnus Ryan (Snah): guitar
Ståle Storløkken: keyboards
Thomas Strønen: drums

Rebecca Kilgore & Bernd Lhotzky - This And That (ARBORS RECORDS 2017)

You know those moments in conversation when communication truly works, so that simple words carry deeper meaning - when speaker and hearer get one another? This communion can happen when musicians who live their art deeply create a heartfelt kinship. This CD captures fifteen such lovely interludes created by a most empathic pair. ~Michael Steinman

01. I'm Shooting High (2:59)
02. Lotus Blossom (3:40)
03. Pick Yourself Up (2:52)
04. Baltimore Oriole (4:20)
05. Flying Down To Rio (2:53)
06. A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing (2:49)
07. Grievin' (4:26)
08. Who Cares (3:10)
09. Star Crossed Lovers (2:44)
10. By Strauss (3:11)
11. Do-Do-Do (4:30)
12. The Best Thing For You (2:59)
13. I Hear The Music Now (2:47)
14. Sweet And Lovely (3:24)
15. You Can't Lose A Broken Heart (3:24)

Rebecca Kilgore, vocals
Bernd Lhotzky, piano

Organized Crime - Kiss the Ring (2017)

by George Wilde /

unk is a way of life in New Orleans. Tracing back to The Meters, the progenitors of the style, funk music has moved audiences—literally and figuratively—for decades. In line with renewed post-Katrina interest in the city, the funk culture has reached a new critical mass, with nightly live-music dance parties on Frenchmen Street, as well as large-scale funk events like Oak Street Block Party, Fiya Fest, Bear Creek Bayou, and packed shows for contemporary funk luminaries Dumpstaphunk, Eric Krasno, Nigel Hall, and the extended family of acts and side projects loosely organized around the festival favorite, Lettuce.

So if New Orleans is the spiritual and geographical home of the genre, where the hearth of the backbeat groove shines brightly, consider Organized Crime to be Keepers of the Flame. While out-of-towners descend upon New Orleans each year at Jazz Fest to ply their booty-shaking wares to the masses, Organized Crime is a collective of transplants who have come to call New Orleans home. Working day and night in the trenches of the live music scene, the band’s latest effort Kiss The Ring transcends the nightly party (though they are fluent in that craft) to develop a new iteration of the New Orleans funk sound.

Consider the title track, opening with Patrick Kelleher’s rock-solid drum groove, worthy of any breakbeat crate-digger’s sample collection. While the song employs the classic funk elements—unison pentatonic scale riffs, dance beat, drums/organ/guitar instrumentation implied by the band name—it morphs from the vintage sound to the present day with Andriu Yanovski’s crunchy synth low-end. Delay-effected arpeggios imply an R&B tinge, perhaps a byproduct of his weekly Baptist church service gig, where he accompanies the sermons of a black Southern preacher.

This student-of-the-past turned contemporary-creator is thematic throughout the record. Blue Note organ trio interludes are interspersed with love songs. “Come Back” features heartfelt lyrics and a soulful trombone solo from Evan Oberla (Allen Stone, Elle King, OAR), an iconic instrument in Organized Crime’s home town. “Freaky Girl” highlights Henry Green’s (Brass-A-Holics, Big Easy Brawlers) R&B stylings, as well as prog-rock guitar tones. The band’s cultivated musical training comes through with the complex rhythmic and melodic composition “Lion’s Den.”

But perhaps most important for a band that lives, breathes, and sings New Orleans is the inclusion of two covers. First is legendary New Orleans jazz and funk drummer James Black’s “Storm In The Gulf.” If taken figuratively and symbolically, including this track signals the band’s claim to a place in the culture (i.e. they are the storm). If taken literally, the choice could signal the uneasy position of a city whose very existence hangs in the balance of rising sea levels and ever more volatile weather. This nod to the significance of climate change in New Orleans life is driven home with the final track: Tower of Power’s classic “Only So Much Oil In The Ground.” The lyrics—convincingly rendered by local recording engineer and vocalist Gio Blackmon—serve as a reminder to a foolish fossil fuel-addicted society, as pressing today (if not more) as they were when originally recorded.

The album is also an opportunity to expose local horn-section Brass Lightning (Evan Oberla, Ari Kohn, Cyrus Nabipoor), who has made their own way as a live and recorded act, collaborating with rising star Tarriona “Tank” Ball and punk-rock percussion expert Mike Dillon.

The 9-track opus was brought to life by by two-time Grammy Award-winner producer Chris Finney, who himself is steeped in the NOLA traditions having worked with legends Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, every member of The Meters, Dumpstaphunk, and more. Informed by the inimitable musical past of the city but unafraid to dig in to the contemporary, Finney offers the same expertise of experience to Organized Crime that he has leveraged in cultivating The Revivalists, Sexual Thunder!, and Naughty Professor.

With a record release party planned for March 16 at Gasa Gasa in New Orleans, and an summer East Coast tour in the works, Organized Crime is staking a claim to the past, present, and future of the New Orleans funk brand. Listen closely. Pay your dues.

1. Kiss the Ring
2. Storm in the Gulf
3. Come Back
4. Freaky Girl
5. Goodfellas
6. Lion's Den
7. Do You?
8. Cop Out
9. Only so Much Oil in the Ground

Andriu Yanovski - Keyboards, Hammond B3, Synthesizers, Key Bass, Vocals
Henry Green - Lead Guitar
Patrick Kelleher - Drums
Horn Arrangements by Brass Lightning (Ari Kohn - Saxophones, Cyrus Nabipoor - Trumpet, Evan Oberla - Trombone)
Guest Vocals on "Only so Much Oil in the Ground" By Gio Blackmon

Harriet Tubman - Araminta (SUNNYSIDE RECORDS 2017)

The anthroponym Araminta means “lofty” and “protective.” Araminta was also the given name of one of the most important figures in US and world history, abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Guitarist Brandon Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer J.T. Lewis have proudly worn Harriet Tubman’s chosen name as their eponym for nearly 20 years, reaching for the heights of musical expression while preserving elements of their musical path. 

Harriet Tubman’s new recording Araminta is about becoming. It is also about evolution and collaboration. Just as Araminta Ross adopted the name Harriet on her path to legend, Harriet Tubman the band has taken the monumental name for their own partnership and sonic growth. The group’s lengthy association has allowed for an instinctive musical relationship among the members, who have affiliations with music and musicians spanning genres and the globe. Together, their music is a cumulative repository of their musical influences, a sort of transcendental blues. 

For Araminta, the trio invited the astounding trumpet player and musical conceptualist Wadada Leo Smith to add his unique sensibilities to their musical world as an electric improvisatory group. There is evidence of the musical weight that each musician has to bear. Each has his own approach to music, whether it be in motion, gesture or space. Their history comes through in the music they play, which spans nearly 50 years of black music. Though less “weighty” musicians might have found it intimidating to join a group as cohesive as Harriet Tubman, Smith fit right in. When their linguistic elements came together, Tubman and Smith immediately began a joint conversation. 

This ensemble is a manifestation of Tubman’s quest to maintain the thread of creative musical construction that had to a large extent existed in a state of suspended animation for the past 30 years or so in the U.S., a style of musical exploration that was largely blocked in favor of a more conservative brand of jazz. This compositional approach, which blends jazz, rock, funk, dub and electronic music into a reconfigured whole that is Tubman’s singular take on “free” music, is compositionally akin to, and melds easily with, Smith’s own ideas on spontaneous composition. His idea of “concentration of activity,” which frames sound in space and intensity without relying on notation, fit seamlessly within Lewis’s and Gibbs’s multivalent rhythmic constructions and alongside Ross’s personal remix of theoretical and compositional elements as expressed through his guitar. 

As a whole, these elements created an emergent compositional space, a matrix of creativity. None of the pieces on Araminta are traditionally notated. Some music was constructed using the quasi-fractal geometric constructions encoded in quilts made by the Shoowa peoples of Congo as the “score.” This method served to keep the ensemble’s music reflexive, allowing the members of the ensemble to respond to each other spontaneously. 

Recording engineer and producer Scotty Hard was intimately involved in the shaping of the music. He participated in the selection process of the raw recordings from the first two recording sessions, and helped shape the music from the third. He was a vital collaborator, and was instrumental in turning the recordings that make up Araminta into a powerful musical statement. 

The recording begins with the evocative “The Spiral Path To The Throne,” which begins with strident tones from the ensemble, breaking down into a simmering groove with a tremendous dialog between Ross and Smith. “Taken” floats atmospherically until the tension between the overdriven guitar, propulsive bass and rampant drums brings the piece to a controlled boil. Lewis’s steady backbeat introduces “Blacktal Fractal” and establishes a powerful groove with Gibbs that Smith and Ross’s plaintive melody soars over. “Ne Ander” is a powerful piece showcasing each individual on searing solos. 

“Nina Simone” is a sedate meditation with washes of sound that seem to float on a churning electric ether. The otherworldly groove and incendiary solos of “Real Cool Killers” shows the real strength of the trio as the crossroads of many paths of black music, from Funkadelic to Hendrix to Robert Johnson. Smith’s powerful “President Obama’s Speech at the Selma Bridge” is especially moving with the trumpeter communicating his intentions through the air and the trio responding in kind. The recording concludes with the beautifully restrained “Sweet Araminta,” an improvised ballad with an expressive guitar’s vox humana-like response to the smooth bass and skitteringly responsive percussion. 

What does freedom and equality sound like? Harriet Tubman are on a mission to inform the world and, with the addition of the great Wadada Leo Smith on their new Araminta, the ensemble proves that they have all the sonic information needed to be the next step in Black music’s evolution.

1. The Spiral Path To The Throne 06:05
2. Taken 03:04
3. Blacktal Fractal 05:15
4. Ne Ander 08:05
5. Nina Simone 07:26
6. Real Cool Killers 04:59
7. President Obama's Speech At The Selma Bridge 07:02
8. Sweet Araminta 04:04 

Brandon Ross - guitar
Melvin Gibbs - bass
JT Lewis - drums
Wadada Leo Smith - trumpet