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