Monday, November 27, 2017

Didier Lockwood – Open Doors (2017)

Dix ans qu’on attendait un disque de Didier Lockwood sous son nom ! Et quel disque ! Un quartet international luxueux, avec le swinguant Dédé Ceccarrelli à la batterie, le bouillonnant pianiste Romain Antonio Farao, et le solide Darryl Hall à la contrebasse. Un vrai disque de Jazz, sortie internationale chez Sony, et un projet qui prendra la route dès le printemps prochain. L’événement de cette rentrée musicale !

01. Open Doors
02. Good Morning Lady Sun
03. Quark
04. The ballad of Pat & Robin
05. Positive Life
06. The One Shot Duet
07. Little Bossa
08. Mathilde and the Ghost
09. Blues Fourth
10. Ballad for Four
11. Now I Really Got the Blues
12. Time to Time

Thollem | Mazurek - Blind Curves and Box Canyons (RELATIVE PITCH RECORDS 2017)

Thollem McDonas and Rob Mazurek met for the rst time in January 2016 in Marfa, Texas to record and perform a concert for the closing of “Marfa Loops Shouts and Hollers,” an exhibition of visual works by Mazurek. The recording, scheduled for release in April 2017 on New York record label Relative Pitch Records, offers listeners a front row seat at this electric rst encounter.

This duo reaches out into the desert for endless possibilities. The results are coherent and deliver a constant driving force that urges the collaboration to continue into uncharted territories.

1 Shouts 18:54
2 Hollers 20:48
3 Howls 6:19

Trevor Watts and Stephen Grew Duo - All There Is (DISCUS MUSIC 2017)

It’s been said on quite a few occasions after concerts of  this duo, that it  sounds as though there’s a real affinity within the  playing. This comes through very much so in their new recording “All There Is”. Within it they use the full spectrum of dynamics and techniques that  have been developed individually over their differing careers. Watts’ roots go back to the very beginnings of improvised music as a founder member of the SME in the 1960’s and Stephen Grew has been part of the Improvised Music scene since 1994 and has played consistently on the national and international circuit, both as a soloist and in numerous collaborations.

The combination of their playing styles leads for a very potent and visceral experience, but also has interludes of great tenderness.  The music has both a relaxed, and “on the edge” feel at the same time, as all truly improvised music has. Relaxed because that’s the way the play it, and on the edge because nobody, let alone the musicians, knows where it’s going. But the previously mentioned affinity is the glue that makes it all work ever so well together!

1 Shepherd's Return
2 Contours
3 All There Is
4 Tunnels
5 Bird's Eating
6 They're All Home
7 Sea Evidence

Francesco Cusa Trio Meets Carlo Atti - From Sun Ra to Donald Trump (CLEAN FEED RECORDS 2017)

With the kind of humouristic approach characteristic of all things Italian, drummer Francesco Cusa turned the band he founded to play jazz standards into a project dealing, through his original compositions and orchestrations, with the search of the existing possibilities to «re-evoke an epoch and transpose it into the contemporary». And here are the first consequences, maintaining the «identity process» of the «fervid creative moment in black culture» which was defined 50 years ago by Sun Ra. For this endeavour, he invited Carlo Atti, a tenor saxophonist with an acclaimed career in the mainstream of Italian jazz. The music is less funny, or crazy, than the titles of the pieces suggest (for instance: “Fiscal Regime in the Life of a New York Taxidriver-Jazzman” or “Keynes and the Macro-Theory of the Structural Implosion of the Standard”), but the FCT Trio and their guest manage to surprise us, subverting the most obvious aspects of the standard jazz format (or the fake of it, because there’s no “real book” on sight). There’s an overall idea that music can change what nowadays is politically, socially and economically wrong, backing off to more happy days, but if the concept is debatable, because of the nostalgic element and because it gives to much responsability to the art of sounds, the result is a marvelous record. In this case only, the means amply justify the purposes.

1 Adam Smith Counts Every Penny (feat. Carlo Atti) 10:58
2 Economic Boom and Stasis in the Capitalistic Illusion (feat. Carlo Atti) 15:55
3 Deficit in the Economies of the Black Jazzman in the 'Sixties (feat. Carlo Atti) 5:53
4 Delivering a Load of Musical Boxes to Wall Street (feat. Carlo Atti) 8:20
5 Fiscal Regime in the Life of the New York Taxidriver–jazzman (feat. Carlo Atti) 8:29
6 Keynes and the Macro-Theory of the Structural Implosion of the Standard (feat. Carlo Atti) 5:27
7 Sun Ra vs Donald Trump (Wrestling Bout, Refereed by Roland Barthes) [feat. Carlo Atti] 11:09
8 Accelerating: From the Global Society to the Foamed Society (feat. Carlo Atti) 5:55

Carlo Atti  tenor sax
Simone Graziano  piano
Gabriele Evangelista  bass
Francesco Cusa  drums

Gianni Lenoci / Francesco Cusa - Wet Cats (AMIRANI RECORDS 2017)

Stunning interplay, sound consciousness, colour palette of the richest kind. A musical exploration driven through expressive depths, textures delights and complex pixeling sparks, by two cutting edge musicians who really master their instruments in the most flexible way without losing a solid, bodied sound. Lenoci and Cusa, already bold presences on Amirani catalogue, really play a pregnant interaction on this Wet Cats album where everything moves fluidly through eccentric creative circles of inspired music. Don’t miss it!

Ultimissimo titolo Amirani pubblicato in catalogo (siamo al numero 52), “We Cats” sancisce l’incontro al vertice tra Gianni Lenoci (piano, anche preparato, e flauto in legno) e Francesco Cusa(batteria).

Il musicista pugliese e quello siciliano hanno in verità background piuttosto dissimili ma in questa registrazione effettuata in studio a Monopoli si concedono l’uno all’altro al meglio delle loro capacità, conseguendo in modo facile ed esemplare un risultato finale degno di applausi. Qui il loro dialogo prende forma in un unico brano improvvisato per cinquantuno minuti di musica avvincente e proteiforme.

La coppia parte in sordina, in modo circospetto, attendendo una scintilla creativa che non tarda ad arrivare. Cusa stuzzica nervosamente i piatti mentre Lenoci agisce tra tastiera e cordiera. Dopo il sesto minuto i due sono già a bordo, nella cabina di comando di un aeroplano che lentamente decolla tra accordi pieni, acciaccature, sfregamenti, note percussive e sbattimenti ritmici. Raggiunta una certa quota il volo resta orizzontalmente sospeso nel vuoto, cullato da una lieve inerzia microtonale.

D’improvviso, al quindicesimo minuto, si affronta una moderata perturbazione atmosferica generata dal frenetico sovrapporsi timbrico e ritmico dei rispettivi strumenti. Un paio di minuti dopo torna la quiete. L’atmosfera è tersa, neoclassicamente rarefatta. Arriva quindi un pindarico crescendo di piano accompagnato da un intenso rollio percussivo. Il velivolo prende velocità ma segue una rotta folle e irregolare, rischiando a tratti di precipitare. I due piloti se ne accorgono e riprendono il controllo sui tempi pressanti di moderne variazioni impro-jazz.

Dopo il trentesimo minuto spengono inspiegabilmente i motori, facendo vibrare il suono con labili rintocchi. Il viaggio riprende su motivi prima ripetitivi e poi istericamente sconnessi. La tastiera di Lenoci arde note su note, la batteria di Cusa accelera la loro combustione. 

Al quarantacinquesimo la conversazione diventa concitata, il velivolo risale in quota un’ultima volta. Il viaggio però volge al termine, la meta è all’orizzonte. Si plana e atterra dolcemente, cullati dall’infantile e impercettibile soffio del flauto. File under: impro aerodinamica. Sound Contest / Olindo Fortino

1 Wet Cats 51:36

Paula Shocron / William Parker / Pablo Díaz - Emptying The Self (NENDO DANGO RECORDS 2017)

Paula Shocron is a pianist, composer, improviser, performer, music activist, and educator. 

Born in the city of Rosario, she gained great exposure at the local media since she was nominated and won the Jazz Revelation Award in 2005. 

Her debut album ‘La voz que te lleva’, Blue Art Records; had excelent reviews in national and international press. 

The Paula Shocron Trio was one of her most important groups, between 2007 and 2013. It has gained recognition nationally and internationally, having played in different festivals in Argentina and abroad including Festival Casa de Teatro in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 2009; Jamboree Barcelona, Terrassa Jazz Cava, The Concert series in Contrabaix, Catalunya, Spain and Buenos Aires Sur Scene, Paris, France. 

Among her most important recordings works are “Homenaje” (2009, Sony Music) dedicate to the pianist and composer Andrew Hill; “El Enigma” (2010, Aqcua Records) with saxophonist Pablo Puntoriero; four recordings under the argentine label Rivorecords  “Our Delight” (2011), “Warm Valley” (2012), “Serenade in Blue” (2012); “See See Rider” (2013), a piano solo; “Gran Ensamble” (Aqcua Records, 2011) and her first independent release “Surya” (digital version by Kuai Music). 

She manages the independent label Nendo Dango Records in collaboration with Miguel Crozzoli and Pablo Diaz. It includes all her last works: “Anfitrion” , by SLD Trio with Germán Lamonega on bass and Pablo Díaz on drums. “Sono-Psico-Cósmica” , a two piano live recording with pianist and cornetist Enrique Norris. “Cooperative Sound ” , with Matt Lavelle​, Ras Moshe​, Daniel Carter​, Hilliard Greene​ and Pablo Diaz. 

In 2016, SLD Trio was offered by Werner Uehlinger (hatOLOGY/Hat Hut Records) to record a second cd, “Tensegridad” , released in 2017.

She has been working as artist and currently as Artistic Director with “Creatividad en Movimiento” , a non-profit organization focused on the sustainable development of the creative arts. 

In 2012 she began to develop her main project, “PROYECTO IMUDA” , in order to investigate the relationship between music and movement. The aim was to find common codes to both artistic disciplines and work in spontaneous situations through improvisation. Over the years, these experiments began to mix with other artistic activities like painting, literature and performing arts. This group performed in different places in Argentina and abroad. 

Since 2006 she teaches piano and ensamble at Jazz Career of The Manuel de Falla Music Conservatory. She also coordinates a regular workshop which main purpose is to explore the relationships between music and movement.

1. The Eye 05:21
2. Fifty five 23:45
3. Independence day 09:56
4. Buenos Aires 05:20

Paula Shocron, piano
William Parker, bass
Pablo Díaz, drums

Gordon Grdina Quartet - Inroads (SONGLINES RECORDS 2017)

“Grdina continues to passionately explore the depths of jazz improvisation, cross-cultural fusions and the fun that comes with cutting loose. Lately, he’s been tearing it up in a new combo from New York City.” – Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Sun

This wild, eclectic project combines intricate counterpoint with the ebb and flow of dynamic yet focused improvisation. Grdina takes inspiration from the complexity of Bartok, the freedom of Ornette Coleman, the energy and logical construction of ideas in Soundgarden, and the delicacy of Webern.

Grdina’s debut recording, Think Like the Waves, was a trio with his mentor Gary Peacock and Paul Motian, and there is something of that group’s deep improvised jazz roots at work here, along with the compositional, classical music bent of his East Van Strings project (The Breathing of Statues). It’s also a reaction to his rock playing in recent years in Dan Mangan’s band and his own instrumental duo Peregrine Falls. Says Grdina, “I felt a strong inner urge to write music that was more unexpected, that didn’t repeat itself so much and was more challenging than what I had been playing. Forms can sometimes feel like you’re being strangled and talked down to. I wanted the music to continually move, feeling free but clearly directed.

“Compositionally this also came out of the work I’d done with Gary Peacock but in a very different way. We worked a lot on composition being a distilled idea that is the germ that sparks improvisation. I wanted to see what would happen if I composed the development of the ideas, keeping the same focused writing style, asking the same questions…The process of writing was similar to what I went through with East Van Strings, which was informed by listening to a lot of Webern and the second Viennese school.  Ornette always being present is a given but Soundgarden came up while on the road with Dan Mangan. When I was young I was a fan but didn’t really dig into it, as I was too interested in jazz at the time. I started listening to them again and was really excited and inspired by the energy and careful construction of ideas, intricate yet logical. I was also listening to a lot of Tim Berne and started to feel a connection between the two. So there was something between that intricacy and energy that I was really inspired by.”

“The musicians came together over a two-year process of getting more involved in the NY scene. Oscar [a member of Berne’s Snakeoil], Russ and Satoshi are all amazing, incredibly well rounded, multi-faceted musicians with unique voices. They are also master improvisers, but the chemistry of the band wasn’t apparent at the start. We had a lot of short rehearsals, a gig and then not seeing each other for two months. We did that for about a year. We then went on the road for a string of dates and everything changed. The band just solidified, everyone’s unique voice began to shine and the compositions started to click. It’s not easy music to grasp fully while you’re playing it, as it is very contrapuntal. Each instrument is focused on their own part and it takes a while before you hear it click with the other lines and the logic becomes apparent.”

“Over the course of the last few years I’ve started to connect some disparate directions musically. The oud and the guitar are starting to become interchangeable in a way…How I’m approaching each instrument is becoming more and more similar. I’m moving further away from the original Arabic sound of the oud and starting to push my own voice through its history. “Fragments” is a departure for me and is a path I would like to further develop with this band. Oud and piano in particular work so well together but are fundamentally opposed instruments. It really is like the meeting of two completely different worlds. The clash of ideologies is exciting to me.”

“I hear so many connections to so many genres in this music and from these musicians that I feel it has an extremely broad appeal…I’ve gotten compliments from folk, jazz and classical music fans both young and old, as well as fans of Soundgarden…What it demands though is deep listening. There are moments where it is energetic and in your face, bringing the music to you, but it always goes back in, requiring the listener to come closer and bring their own experience to it.”

1 Giggles  04:00
2 Not Sure  11:37
3 P.B.S.  08:06
4 Semantics  02:31
5 Fragments  09:34
6 Casper  05:44
7 Kite Flight  01:56
8 Apocalympics  09:34
9 Giggles II  04:24

All pieces composed by Gordon Grdina except 4 and 7 by Gordon Grdina and Oscar Noriega