Monday, April 30, 2018

Nik Bärtsch's Ronin - Awase (ECM May 4, 2018)

“Awase”, a term from martial arts, means “moving together” in the sense of matching energies, a fitting metaphor for the dynamic precision, tessellated grooves and balletic minimalism of Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin. Six years have passed since the last release from the Swiss group. In the interim, trimmed from quintet to quartet size and with new bassist Thomy Jordi fully integrated, Ronin has become a subtly different band. Bärtsch speaks of a new-found freedom and flexibility in the approach to the material, with “greater transparency, more interaction, more joy in every performance”. The freedom here extends to revisiting early Bärtsch modules alongside new compositions including, for the first time on a Ronin record, a piece by reedman Sha. Awase was recorded at Studios La Buissonne in the south of France in October 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher.

1. Modul 60
2. Modul 58
3. A
4. Modul 36
5. Modul 34
6. Modul 59

Nik Bärtsch: piano
Sha: bass clarinet, alto saxophone
Thomy Jordi: bass
Kaspar Rast: drums

Elina Duni - Partir (ECM 2018)

Songs of love, loss and leaving. After two highly acclaimed albums with her jazz quartet, Elina Duni issues her most intimate recording to date.  The entirely solo Partir features the Tirana-born vocalist,  accompanied by her own piano, guitar and frame drum, interpreting songs from very diverse sources.  From folk songs and chansons to songs of singer-songwriters. Here we find traditional music from Albania, Kosovo, Armenia, Macedonia, Switzerland and Arab-Andalusia as well as  Jacques Brel’s “Je ne sais pas”, Alain Oulman’s  “Meu Amor”,  Domenico Modugno’s “Amara Terra Mia”, Elina’s own “Let Us Dive In” and more. Duni’s uniquely-expressive voice and pared-down arrangements locate a common thread of longing that runs through the material. Partir was recorded at Studios La Buissone in the South of France in July 2017, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

1 AMARA TERRA MIA (Domenico Modugno) 04:17
2 LET US DIVE IN (Elina Duni) 04:44
3 MEU AMOR (Alain Oulman) 04:28
4 LAMMA BADA YATATHANNA (Muhammad Abd al Rahim al Maslub) 04:16
5 VISHNJA (Traditional Kosovo) 04:07
6 LUSNAK GISHER (Traditional Armenia) 02:46
7 OYFN VEG (Philip Laskowsky) 06:19
8 KANGA E KURBETIT (Traditional Kosovo) 03:27
9 ANI KAJ LULIJE (Traditional Albanians from Macedonia) 02:19
10 VAJ SI KENKA (Traditional Albania) 03:40
11 JE NE SAIS PAS (Jacques Brel) 04:20
12 SCHÖNSTER ABESTÄRN (Traditional Switzerland) 02:56

NFM Wrocław Philharmonic | Tõnu Kaljuste: Arvo Pärt - The Symphonies (ECM 2018)

All four of Arvo Pärt’s symphonies, newly recorded with the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic under the direction his musical accomplice, Tõnu Kaljuste. Each of the symphonies, as the great Estonian composer has noted, is a world unto itself. Heard in chronological order they also tell us much about Pärt’s musical and spiritual journey, and the very different ways in which he has exercised his craft. Forty-five years separate his Symphony No. 1 (“Polyphonic”) written in 1963 while he was still a student of Heino Eller, from his Symphony No. 4 (“Los Angeles”) written in 2008, by which time he was the world’s most widely-performed contemporary composer.

1 I. Canons 11:18
2 II. Prelude and Fugue 07:56

3 I. 03:36
4 II. 02:14
5 III. 04:47

6 I. 06:29
7 II. 05:48
8 III. 08:05

9 I. Con sublimitá 09:14
10 II. Affannoso 11:47
11 III. Deciso 08:08

NFM Wrocław Philharmonic
Tõnu Kaljuste

Duo Gazzana - Ravel Franck Ligeti Messiaen (ECM 2018)

A sense of discovery is a key theme in the third ECM recital of sisters Natascia and Raffaella Gazzana.  Alongside a landscape of French music for violin and piano, drawing on a multiplicity of inspirations, the album includes a premiere recording of György Ligeti’s Duo, dedicated to Kúrtag. Duo Gazzana plays César Franck’s epic A major Sonata of 1886, and Maurice Ravel’s Sonate posthume, written in 1897, when its author was just 22, and the album concludes with Olivier Messiaen’s Thème et variations of 1932, a work which in some aspects prefigures the Quatuor pour la fin du temps.  The duo’s performances of Ravel, Franck, Ligeti and Messiaen were recorded at Lugano’s  Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI in March 2017 and produced by Manfred Eicher.

1 SONATE POSTHUME (Maurice Ravel) 13:48
2 Allegretto ben moderato 06:20
3 Allegro 07:56
4 Ben moderato: Recitativo-Fantasia 07:22
5 Allegretto poco mosso 06:39
6 DUO FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO (György Ligeti) 03:08
7 THÈME ET VARIATIONS (Olivier Messiaen) 10:11

Natascia Gazzana   Violin
Raffaella Gazzana   Piano

Alexander Knaifel - Lukomoriye (ECM 2018)

The fourth New Series album from the St Petersburg-based composer Alexander Knaifel may be his most wide-ranging to date, voyaging from the sacred to the secular and back again via several inspired detours. It includes two Prayers to  the Holy Spirit, movingly performed by the Lege Artis Choir.  Tatiana Melentieva sings Bliss, based on Alexander Pushkin’s poem, and  the great Russian poet is cross-referenced with  St Ephraim the Syrian in O Lord of All My Life (A Poem and a Prayer) sung by Piotr Migunov.  Oleg Malov, who accompanies both singers, is called upon to internalize texts in four further solo piano pieces.  A mad tea party lives up to its title, with a surreal Wonderland spirit.  This Child (after the Gospel of St Luke), A Confession and title piece Lukomoriye (both after Pushkin) are luminously quiet, and quietly magical.

1 O COMFORTER (PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT) (Alexander Knaifel) 05:23
2 A MAD TEA-PARTY (ROYAL VERSION) (Alexander Knaifel) 08:12
3 BLISS (OF THE POEM BY ALEXANDER PUSHKIN) (Alexander Knaifel) 04:37
4 THIS CHILD (Alexander Knaifel) 09:40
5 CONFESSION (Alexander Knaifel) 07:22
6 O LORD OF ALL MY LIFE (Alexander Knaifel) 16:00
7 O HEAVENLY KING (Alexander Knaifel) 06:53
8 LUKOMORIYE (Alexander Knaifel) 04:35

Oleg Malov   Piano
Tatiana Melentieva   Soprano
Piotr Migunov   Bass
Lege Artis Choir
Boris Abalian   Conductor

Hal Singer & Jef Gilson - Soul Of Africa (SUPER-SONIC JAZZ RECORDS 2018)

Mega rare great jazz recording of the legendary US saxophonist Hal Singer and French pianist Jef Gilson from 1974, originaly released on the French Le Chant Du Monde Label. The birth act of the Afro-/Jazz-Parisian scene that fascinated so many musicians and music fans throughout the 70s and 80s.Fantasic modal soul jazz masterpiece, a pure beauty from start to end...

1. Chant Inca 08:42
2. Mother Africa 06:55
3. The High Life 03:59
4. Libertarian 05:29
5. Garvey's Strut 06:08

Hal Singer (tenor sax)
Jef Gilson (piano)
Bernard Lubat (vibes, piano)
Jacky Samson (bass)
and the "Malagasy Rhythm" (consisting of Frank Raholison (drums)
Del Rabenja & Gerard Rakotoarivony (percusssion)

Palm Unit - Hommage à Jef Gilson (SUPER-SONIC JAZZ RECORDS 2018)

Over a career spanning half a century, Jef Gilson managed to occupy more or less every post in music, both possible and unimaginable. His name was up there on the French posters of the 60s and 70s, alongside the likes of John Coltrane, Oscar Peterson, Sun Ra or Ray Charles. He recorded the new wave (Byard Lancaster, Archie Shepp, David S. Ware...) in his studio and played jazz in all its guises, from the most traditional to the most abstract. 

And yet everybody, or almost everybody, seems to have forgotten: Jef Gilson is the great absentee from the history books. 

Palm Unit plays Gilson’s repertoire without any a priori, in a totally complex-free way, reinventing it whilst preserving its original essence. The keyboards sound almost psychedelic (and often not that far from the style of Eddy Louiss on Jef Gilson’s 60’s albums), the sax scratches, mews and wails, whilst the drums make the whole thing swing. Even Palm Unit’s special guest Del Rabenja, who plays the valiha (a small harp from Madagascar) and who was in Jef Gilson’s band in the 70s, featuring on several essential albums bearing the Palm imprint, was surprised to rediscover the songs still sounding so modern, decades after they were created.

1. Ouverture Suite Pour San 05:50
2. Mode De Fa 04:24
3. Newport Bounce 04:31
4. Mother Africa 04:44
5. Chakan 06:02
6. Chant Inca (Trio) 03:22
7. Chant Inca (Quartet) 02:27
8. Hommae A Rakatozafy 05:47
9. Valiha Del 07:40
10. The Creator Has A Masterplan 12:13
11. Chant Inca (Duo) 05:44

Tenor and Barytone Saxophone : Lionel Martin
Keyboards : Fred Escoffier
Drums : Philippe ‘Pipon’ Garcia
Special guest on Valiha : Del Rabenja

Hommage à Jef Gilson - CD - Palm Unit

Hommage à Jef Gilson - 2xLP (Heavy Gatefold Sleeve in Sealbag) - Palm Unit

Gilson Peranzzetta - Tributo a Oscar Peterson (FINA FLOR 2018)

A straight jazz album from Brazilian pianist Gilson Peranzzett, an artist who's played on countless sessions over the years, including a wealth of famous vocal records too – but who here pays tribute to the great Oscar Peterson, in a nicely stripped-down set of jazz piano trio tracks! Peranzzetta plays acoustic throughout, and has that magical soulful swing of Peterson – the fluid groove that made Oscar's work so revolutionary in the 50s, and which continues to be an inspiration all these many years later. At points, Gilson maybe brings in some darker touches of his own – especially on the intros to the tracks – and the group here features Paulo Russo on bass and Joao Cortez on drums. Titles include "I Feel Pretty", "Con Alma", "Days Of Wine & Roses", "Easy To Love", "I've Got You Under My Skin", and "Somewhere". ~ Dusty Groove

1 Somewhere 3:11
2 I Feel Pretty 2:58
3 Garota de Ipanema 7:06
4 The Days of Wine and Roses 3:27
5 Con Alma 6:51
6 Tico Tico no Fubá 5:38
7 Easy to Love 5:24
8 It's All Right with Me 3:43
9 I've Got You Under My Skin 4:33
10 It's De-Lovely 2:43
11 Just One of Those Things 4:00

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sebastián Mazzalupo Quarteto - Soles (KUAI MUSIC May 1, 2018)

1. Dance
2. Viaje Infinito
3. Soles
4. Ruta
5. La Hiena
6. Freeman
7. Blush
8. Lamento

All compositions by Sebastián Mazzalupo
Produced by Sebastián Mazzalupo

Sebastián Mazzalupo: sax
Miguel Marengo: piano
Juan Bayón: bass
Carto Brandán: drums

Recorded on December 15th 2017 at Doctor F, Buenos Aires
Recording Engineer: Florencio Justo
Mixed and mastered by Florencio Justo at Doctor F, Buenos Aires
Cover art: Emmanuel Panza
Logo design: Lorena Portillo

Ensamble Kuai - Soledades Permanentes (KUAI MUSIC 2018)

This record pays tribute to the great composer Jorge López Ruíz and is based on his album “Bronca Buenos Aires” (1969). Jazmín Prodan, Andrés Elstein, Damien Poots and Juan Bayón have written it collaboratively. Each movement of “Soledades Permanentes” is a very intimate reinterpretation of López Ruíz’s pieces, and though these four young composers pay respect to the mood of its original release, the sound and spirit of Kuai Music is still there. Produced and coordinated by Juan Bayón.

1. Introducción: Un Sueño Casual 03:54
2. Parte I: Rumor de Muerte 05:45
3. Parte II: Relatar el Mundo 12:40
4. Parte III: Los Silencios 13:16
5. Parte IV: Murmullos/Bronca Buenos Aires 11:18

"Introduction: Un sueño casual"/"Part I: Rumor de Muerte" composed by Jazmín Prodan. Tenor sax solo: Pablo Moser 
"Part II: Relatar el Mundo" by Andrés Elstein. Soprano sax solo: Emmanuel Famin; Trumpet solo: Sebastián Greschuk 
"Part III: Los Silencios" composed by Damien Poots. Flute solo: Emmanuel Famin; tenor sax solo: Pablo Moser 
"Part IV: Murmullos/Bronca Buenos Aires" composed by Juan Bayón & Jorge Lopez Ruíz, arranged by Juan Bayón. Alto sax solo: Lucas Goicoechea; tenor sax solo: Juani Méndez; drums & percussion solo: Andrés Elstein & Fran Cossavella

Jazmín Prodan: vocals
Sebastián Greschuk: trumpet
Lucas Goicoechea: alto sax
Emmanuel Famin: alto & soprano sax, flute
Juani Méndez: tenor sax
Pablo Moser: tenor sax
Sebastián Mazzalupo: baritone sax
Nataniel Edelman: piano
Damien Poots: guitar
Juan Bayón: bass
Andrés Elstein: drums
Fran Cossavella: percussion

Recorded on July 31th 2017 at Doctor F, Buenos Aires
Recording Engineer: Florencio Justo & Agustín Silberleib
Mixed and mastered by Florencio Justo at Doctor F
Thank you Florencio and Agustín from all the Kuai staff for your commitment and support during this process
Cover art: Nicolás Gaggero

Hans Teuber & Jeff Johnson - Deuce (ORIGIN RECORDS 2018)

"Jeff Johnson plays with a mystique that takes the music out of the ordinary with his inventive improvised lines..."

Saxophonist Hans Teuber and bassist Jeff Johnson began their musical association in 1990 when their paths intersected in Seattle. Both had recently arrived and they soon discovered the chemistry between them was substantial and uncanny. Performing together on all five of Johnson's recordings on Origin Records and on hundreds of performances, recordings and concerts over the last 25 years, their musical collaboration is highly intuitive and empathetic. Both diligently mentored in their teens by veteran jazz musicians, while simultaneously playing in a wide variety of musical situations, they each bring a rich palette of influences to their performances. From free improvisations to jazz standards, it's all touched upon here somewhere, in the moment, completely natural, conversational and without pretension.

1. WHEN I'M IN THE SKY 3:33 (Teuber, Johnson)
2. BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY 5:48 (Jimmy Reed)
3. LET'S PRETEND 3:39 (Teuber, Johnson)
4. WHAT'S NEW ? 2:59 (Bob Haggard)
6. HOT ROD 2:15 (Teuber, Johnson)
7. HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN 5;42 (Irving Berlin)
8. HOPI DREAM 4:06 (Teuber, Johnson)
9. HUMMINGBIRDS 2:00 (Teuber, Johnson)
10. YOU'VE CHANGED 7:27 (Carl Fischer)

Hans Teuber - Tenor & Alto saxophones, Alto Flute
Jeff Johnson - Bass

Recorded by Eric Eagle at Skoor Sound, Seattle, WA
on January 21, 2015 & April 4, 2017
Mixed by Eric Eagle
Mastered by Ed Brooks, Resonant Mastering, Seattle
Photo of Hans by Kirk Nordenstrom; Jeff by Jim Levitt
Cover design & layout by John Bishop

Andrew Rathbun Large Ensemble - Atwood Suites (ORIGIN RECORDS 2018)

"Rathbun's lines dance and glide, reflecting both childlike wonder and well-honed artistry."

An ambitious, multi-faceted composer, saxophonist and bandleader, Andrew Rathbun had used poetry as an inspirational catalyst for several recordings over the last 20 years. Particularly enamored by the works of famed novelist Margaret Atwood, Rathbun composed three suites for large ensemble featuring her poems and the unique voices of trumpeter Tim Hagans, drummer Bill Stewart and vocalists Luciana Souza and Aubrey Johnson, who vividly capture the imagery and emotions of Atwood's poetry. Rathbun's rich, multi-textured compositions and his use of the large ensemble as his musical voice was largely influenced by collaborations with the late, and legendary, trumpeter/composer Kenny Wheeler in the early 2000s. Wheeler's supple, dark tones floating over the group and Luciano Souza's voice bringing to life Atwood's poetry inspired Rathbun to more deeply explore these concepts.

1. Two Islands I 12:31
2. Two Islands II 5:50
3. Two Islands III 9:57

4. Power Politics I 6:30
5. Power Politics II 13:38
6. Power Politics III 9:41

1. Fractured 10:14
2. V 6:12
3. I 7:43
4. II 11:31


Andrew Rathbun - composer, director 

John O'Gallagher - Soprano, Alto Saxophones
Ben Kono - Alto Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Quinsin Nachoff - Tenor Saxophone, Clarinet
Dan Pratt - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Carl Maraghi - Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet

Seneca Black - Trumpet
Matt Holman - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Dave Smith - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Russ Johnson - Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Tim Hagans - Flugelhorn (1-6, soloist)

Alan Ferber - Trombone
Mike Fahie- Trombone
JC Sanford - Trombone
Chris Olness - Bass Trombone

Luciana Souza - Voice (Disc 1)
Aubrey Johnson - Voice (Disc 2)
Nate Radley - Guitar
Jeremy Siskind - Piano, Rhodes
David Ambrosio - Bass
Bill Stewart - Drums
Owen Howard - Drums (1,2 Disc 2)

Produced by George Schuller and Andrew Rathbun
Recorded by Michael Marciano, Systems II Recording, Brooklyn, NY January 2016
Mixed and Mastered by Michael Marciano, Aug./Sept./Nov. 2017
Additional editing by Garrett Gagnon Aug. 2017
Photos by David Korchin, photos of Andrew Rathbun, Daniel Gladstone
Cover design and layout by John Bishop

Saturday, April 28, 2018

New Mandy Patinkin & Thomas Bartlett, John Adams Albums | Rhiannon Giddens, Rostam & Pat Metheny News (NONESUCH RECORDS)

Diary: January 27, 2018

The first in a series of musical installments from singer Mandy Patinkin and pianist/producer Thomas Bartlett, Diary: January 27, 2018 was recorded by the two musicians in Bartlett's New York studio. The ten tracks of this first Diary entry include songs by Randy Newman, Rufus Wainwright, Loudon Wainwright, Teitur, Marc Bolan (T. Rex), Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields), and Marc Anthony Thompson (Chocolate Genius). 

Violin Concerto

This recording of John Adams's Grawemeyer Award-winning Violin Concerto was made with his frequent collaborators violinist Leila Josefowicz, conductor David Robertson, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis in 2016. The piece features Adams's usual "intelligence, craftsmanship, and quirkiness," says the Boston Globe, and "mingles virtuoso show with soul."

Rhiannon Giddens spoke with NPR's All Things Considered about her MacArthur Fellowship, the role of the banjo in her work, and her latest album, Freedom Highway, from which she also performed two songs. 

Mandy Patinkin Named IRC Ambassador

The International Rescue Committee has named Mandy Patinkin an IRC Ambassador, in recognition of his continued efforts to advocate for the welcoming of refugees around the world. "Meeting with refugees from all around the world has made one thing very clear to me," he says: "all they want is a better tomorrow for their loved ones, their family, their children." 

Read more ...

Watch: Rostam Shares Story Behind Half-Light Title Track

Rostam has shared a video in which he deconstructs the title track to his debut album, Half-Light, part by part, instrument by instrument, vocal track by vocal track, both his and those of featured vocalist Kelly Zutrau of Wet.

Watch the video ...

Pat Metheny to Receive PRS for Music Gold Award at Jazz FM Awards

Congratulations to Pat Metheny, who will receive the PRS for Music Gold Award at the Jazz FM Awards in London next Monday. Metheny begins a European tour in late June. 

Read more ...

Free Yourself Up

Peter Pears

Seymour Reads the Constitution!

Still Dreaming


Diary: January 27, 2018

Violin Concerto

American Utopia

Phantom Thread

Freedom Highway