Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Roots Magic - Last Kind Words (CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2017)

There’s a good side in the present day global dimension and that’s called “cultural syncretism”. Roots Magic is an Italian band who’s gradually building up a repertoire between Deep Blues and Creative Jazz, and this is their second effort. As in their previous release, the track list consists of personal renditions of Delta Blues classics (mostly Charlie Patton) played with an overtly exploratory attitude derived from the Free Jazz tradition, as well as a number of pieces composed by some chosen Jazz artists such as Roscoe Mitchell, Julius Hemphill, Henry Threadgill, Hamiet Bluiett, including a couple of unearthed gems, “November Cotton Flower” by the great late Marion Brown and “Last Kind Words”, a moving pre-war song by the obscure and legendary Geshie Wiley.

This is some kind of familiar and bizarre sound creation, rooted in the essence of African-American music in its most Folkish character. Perhaps, only Non-American musicians could get the right distance to imagine something like this. Some sort of synthesized Black-influenced music based on sharp horn charts and a variety of Backbeats from Funk to Dub mutations. A whole sound world coming from the utmost respect for the originals, mixed up with good humor and subversive attitude. Needless to add that Black Music is at the very origin of every urban musical expression of today and this band shows us how and why…

01. Down the Dirt Road Blues 4:23
02. Last Kind Words 6:29
03. Tom Rushen Blues 5:10
04. Oh Hush 3:05
05. Old 4:47
06. November Cotton Flower 7:40
07. Dogon A.D. 5:48
08. Hatti Wall 3:05
09. Miss Boweavil 3:47
10. Pee Wee Blues 6:35
11. Poor Me (Again) 7:01
12. Bermuda Blues (Quasi Dub) 4:40

Alberto Popolla  clarinet & bass clarinet
Errico De Fabritiis  alto & baritone sax
Gianfranco Tedeschi  double bass
Fabrizio Spera  drums

Luca Venitucci  organ on tracks 1, 4, 9 piano on 6
Luca Tilli  cello on tracks 3, 7
Antonio Castiello  dub effects on 12

Tracks 4 & 9 inspired by C. Patton’s Oh Death and Mississippi Boweavil Blues

Recorded by Daniele Zazza – Abbey Rocchi Studio, Roma, December 2016 | Mixed and mastered by Antonio Castiello with assistance by Aldo De Sanctis – Jambona Lab, Cascina, January, February 2017
Produced by Roots Magic | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Design by Travassos | Photos by Peter Gannushkin / DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET

Available on Amazon

Max Johnson - In the West (CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2017)

Max Johnson may be the only musician to have worked with legendary improvisers Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Muhal Richard Abrams & William Parker, bluegrass royalty Sam Bush & David Grisman, in addition to rock pioneers Adrian Belew, Vernon Reid & the Butthole Surfers.  That eclecticism is at work on his new album, “In the West”, featuring piano trio, augmented by pedal steel guitar.  The album features Kris Davis on Piano, Susan Alcorn on pedal steel guitar, and Mike Pride on drums, in addition to Johnson’s bass playing and composing.  Kris Davis is one of the most breathtakingly original voices on the piano in the modern era, and her multiple projects as a leader, in addition to working with luminaries Eric Revis, Tony Malaby & Bill Frisell, display her masterful control of sound.

Susan Alcorn is one of the premiere innovators on pedal steel guitar, taking it’s roots in country and western, imbuing it with the lush harmonic beauty of Messiaen & Varese, and adding a frenetic wild free jazz energy, leading her to lend her amazing musical gifts to people like Mary Halvorson, Michael Formanek & Ellery Eskelin.  Mike Pride has led an broad musical life, doing everything from improvising with masters Joe Morris, Nate Wooley, and Peter Evans, to playing hardcore punk with the legendary band Millions of Dead Cops, but it is his unique vision and mastery of the drums that have made him one of the most powerful and moving drummers you’ll ever hear.  The combination of these four individuals is what makes “In the West” a compelling testament.  Drawing on a wide world of sounds, this quartet shifts through audio landscapes, twisting through the open and remarkable compositions of Johnson, finding themselves finally at a patient and powerful medley from Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack to “Once Upon a Time in the West”.  The journey the listener embarks on is lush and beautiful, wild and thorny, strange and uncharted, but always a treat to the ear, and moving to the soul.

1. Ten Hands
2. Greenwood
3. Great Big Fat Person
4. Once Upon a Time in the West

Susan Alcorn  pedal steel guitar
Kris Davis  piano
Max Johnson  double bass
Mike Pride  drums

All tracks composed by Max Johnson, Max Johnson Music ASCAP, except “Once Upon a Time in the West”, composed by Ennio Morricone, arranged by Max Johnson

Recorded April 27, 2014 at Acoustic Recording by Michael Brorby | Mixed by Eivind Opsvik at Greenwood Underground | Mastered by Jim Clouse at Park West Studios
Produced by Max Johnson | Executive production by Pedro Costa for Trem Azul | Artwork by Victoria Salvador | Graphic design by Travassos

Big Bold Back Bone - In Search of the Emerging Species (CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2017)

Depuration. This may be the best term to describe the type of approach conducted by the Swiss musicians Marco Von Orelli and Sheldon Suter and by their Portuguese partners, Luis Lopes and Travassos in the new opus of the project Big Bold Back Bone. If this one was previously characterized by the folding of multiple directions, from a chamber improvisation with a vague jazz flavor to rock distillations, or at least distillations of the electric parasites of that music genre, now what we find is the fruit of a decisive focus on the materials, of a depuration, in consequence, and that because there was a process of formal and stylistic resolution. We recognize the premises of a certain EAI (electro-acoustic improvisation) heiress of the pioneering band AMM and taken in the direction of the reductionist, near-silence tendency, meaning that the melodic phrasing and the rhythmic plane (already broken and not linear) are substituted by a minucious textural and timbric work.

No conventional uses of acoustic instruments, the trumpet and the drumkit, remain in “In Search of the Emerging Species”, and if the music follows some of the formulas chosen for the guitar and the electronic devices in experimental domains, they’re both at the service of a collective, with the produced sounds mixing with all the others and, in that way, almost disappearing. It’s just one, and very long, the piece here played (“Immerge”), with an extremely slow development, suspensive even, sometimes with a cliff opening in the flow of events, not to solve what is behind, not to give it conclusion, but allowing the choice of another heading in the forest of little and exotic sounds being build. A beautiful record to listen to microscopically, dropping all the tasks of everyday life.

Immerge 43:02

Marco von Orelli  trumpet, slide trumpet
Sheldon Suter  prepared drums
Luis Lopes   electric guitar and objects
Travassos   electronics

All composition by BBBB (SUISA)

Recorded by Joaquim Monte at Studio Namouche, Lisbon 30. November 2015 | Mastered by Hannes Kumke
Produced by BBBB | Executive production by Travassos for Trem Azul | Design and artwork by Travassos

Available on Amazon

Nate Wooley - Knknighgh (Minimal Poetry for Aram Saroyan) CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2017

We can say without exaggeration that the new project by Nate Wooley introduces in the so-called “free jazz” format a system that few times – if ever – we encountered with such a relevance for the musical results since the harmolodic process proposed by Ornette Coleman. And the always surprising trumpeter is very much aware of the ground breaking possibilities of this band with the upcoming New York musicians Chris Pitsiokos, Brandon Lopez and Dré Hocevar, and of the music recorded in “Knknighgh” (to be pronounced as “knife”), when presenting it as «a radical new take on the classic free jazz quartet tradition». So it is: you imediatly recognize the approach as free jazz, and yet, free jazz never sounded like this before.

The band uses short composed materials written by Wooley and those fragmented materials are looped and pushed to the limit, triggered by any of the players in whatever order chosen in the moment. At first, the procedure seems to adapt some of the repetitive strategies of minimal music, and yet again, it doesn’t sound like minimalism, and neither it is a crossover between free jazz and minimal music. Wooley’s new system gets its references outside of music, and namely in the poetry of Aram Saroyan, «the master of the one word poem», as punk singer and writer Richard Hell calls him. Of course, both Hell and Wooley are particularly interested in the musical qualities of Saroyan’s poetry, its rhythmic fluency, its alliterations, its repetition of syllabs and inherent sounds. From it, Nate Wooley created a new kind of free jazz in which less is more and the resume of a particular melodic phrase isn’t necessarily the reintroduction of a chorus line. Prepare yourself to be marveled…

1. Knknighgh 3 16:19
2. Knknighgh 4 12:36
3. Knknighgh 6 11:06
4. Knknighgh 7 6:36
5. Knknighgh 8 10:15

Chris Pitsiokos  alto saxophone
Brandon Lopez  bass
Dré Hočevar  drums

Available on Amazon and iTunes

Guy Mintus Trio - A Home In Between (PLEDGEMUSIC 2017)

The Guy Mintus trio led by Israeli award winning pianist and composer Guy Mintus featuring bassist Tamir Shmerling and Drummer Philippe Lemm. After three years of exploring their musical connection, playing many hours in rehearsal rooms, dark NYC bars and various concert halls around the US and Canada, the trio has finally entered to studio to make its first recorded statement. 

“A Home In Between” comprises of three originals, four re-imagined covers, a fully improvised piece created by the trio and a solo piano bonus track. 

The materials are varied and reveal the wide range of musical languages from which the trio derives inspiration. With their flexible and highly interactive approach the trio creates a deep synthesis from Israeli, Turkish and Greek folk to film music, from straight ahead jazz to completely freely improvised parts. 

The Album was recorded at Skillman Music Studios in Brooklyn, New York by Greg Gibaldi & Weixiong Wang on the 20th of June, 2016

Mix & mastering took place at London’s Oatmilk Studios by Roy Nadel.

Our Journey Together
Background Music
Zeybekiko for the Brave
In the Moment
Desert Song
Çoban Sirto
My Ideal

Rob Luft - Debut Album released on 28th July (EDITION RECORDS)

The wunderkind, London based guitarist and winner
of the Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize, Rob Luft delivers one
of the best debut records in many years.

ROB LUFT guitar
JOE WRIGHT tenor saxophone
JOE WEBB hammond organ, piano and harmonium

Riser is the new album from London-born award-winning guitarist Rob Luft. A musician of incredible talent, depth and maturity, Rob Luft is set to become a name to remember. At only 23 years of age his proficiency as a guitarist and composer embodies a level of musicianship and vision well beyond his years. A winner of the prestigious Kenny Wheeler Music Prize as well as placing second in The 2016 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition, Rob is already garnering praise from critics across Europe. The UK’s Jazzwise Magazine has highlighted his “obvious star quality” and Riser is an album that stands up to scrutiny as one of the finest debut records in many years in the burgeoning creative current UK Jazz scene.