Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Sungjae Son: Near East Quartet (ECM RECORDS 2018)

The Near East Quartet has been a force in Korean music since 2010, juxtaposing elements of contemporary jazz and traditional Korean music with pure sound exploration to create new forms. Saxophonist/clarinettist Sungjae Son and guitarist Suwuk Chung have  been members from the outset, and the group has been strengthened with the integration of pansori singer Yulhee Kim and highly creative drummer Soojin Suh. On their ECM debut the NEQ plays five compositions by Sungjae Son and three Korean traditionals. Near East Quartet was recorded in Seoul, and mixed at Studios La Buissonne. Producer: Sun Chung.

Tord Gustavsen Trio - The Other Side (ECM RECORDS 2018)

“This is the chill-out as a state of grace, and it can go as deep as you like. Sublime,” wrote the Independent on Sunday of the Gustavsen’s trio’s Being There, released in 2007. Over the last decade Tord has explored other ensemble forms and formats, but on The Other Side - recorded at Oslo’s Rainbow Studio in January 2018 – he opens a new chapter in his piano trio story, with faithful drummer Jarle Vespestad, and excellent new bassist Sigurd Hole. Hole’s approach to his instrument, drawing on folk influences as well as modern jazz, is ideally suited to Gustavsen’s slowly-developing, deeply melodic pieces. The album, produced by Manfred Eicher, is issued on the eve of a major tour.

Tord Gustavsen, Piano
Sigurd Hole, Double Bass
Jarle Vespestad, Drums

1 THE TUNNEL (Tord Gustavsen) 06:02
Play 2 KIRKEN, DEN ER ET GAMMELT HUS (Ludvig Mathias Lindeman) 05:13
3 RE-MELT (Tord Gustavsen) 05:15
4 DUALITY (Tord Gustavsen) 04:35
6 TASTE AND SEE (Tord Gustavsen) 03:13
7 SCHLAFES BRUDER (J. S. Bach) 04:51
9 THE OTHER SIDE (Tord Gustavsen) 03:23
10 O TRAURIGKEIT (J. S. Bach) 03:31
11 LEFT OVER LULLABY NO.4 (Tord Gustavsen) 02:26
12 CURVES (Tord Gustavsen) 06:19

Playlist for Tom Ossana ~ The Thin Edge ~ September 19. 2018 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m. ~ Use this link to access the show online.

Dénes Várjon - De La Nuit (ECM RECORDS 2018)

“Negotiating dynamic shifts of emphasis,” The Independent has noted,”Dénes Várjon displays that most valuable of gifts: the ability to play in a way which makes you listen anew to the familiar.”  This capacity is to the fore in the Hungarian pianist’s sensitive exploration of Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit and Bartók’s Im Freien – a journey through three worlds of poetic imagination. As Jürg Stenzl writes in the liner notes. “All three works were bold forays into fundamentally new music that far transcended the limits of their time. They require pianists for whom transcendent virtuosity is second nature. ”  The album was recorded at Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano in April 2016, and produced by Manfred Eicher.

Dénes Várjon   Piano


1 Des Abends
2 Aufschwung
3 Warum?
4 Grillen
5 In der Nacht
6 Fabel
7 Traumes Wirren
8 Ende vom Lied

9 Ondine
10 Le Gibet
11 Scarbo

12 Mit Trommeln und Pfeifen
13 Barcarolla
14 Musette
15 Klänge der Nacht
16 Hetzjagd

John Abercrombie - Open Land: Meeting John Abercrombie (ECM RECORDS 2018)

An intimate portrait of a great guitarist, filmed near the end of his musical journey. Here we see John Abercrombie gigging with Gary Versace and Adam Nussbaum in Lichtenstein, jamming with Rob Sheps, Eliot Zigmund and David Kingsnorth in New York, teaching music students at Purchase College, talking guitars with NYC luthier Ric McCurdy, and hanging out at home with wife Lisa and Al the cat. Along the way John reflects, with characteristic good humor, on a creative life lived outside the mainstream and traces his story from his first encounter with an electric guitar onwards. Subtly combining and contrasting images and sound, director Arno Oehri achieves a fine balance between music passages and interviews. The film’s soundtrack includes, in addition to the live performances, selections from many of John Abercrombie’s ECM recordings.

Adam Nussbaum
Gary Versace

1 SAD SONG - NYC (John Abercrombie)
2 FIRST GUITARS (John Abercrombie)
3 NEW MCCURDY GUITAR (John Abercrombie)
4 CHILDHOOD (John Abercrombie)
5 WITHIN A SONG - GREENWICH (John Abercrombie)
6 FIRST STEPS INTO JAZZ (John Abercrombie)
7 BANSHEE - FLIGHT TO EUROPE (John Abercrombie)
10 BOSTON YEARS (John Abercrombie)
11 39 STEPS (John Abercrombie)
12 FIRST RECORDING (John Abercrombie)
13 WORK WITH ECM (John Abercrombie)
14 LISA (John Abercrombie)
15 CLASS TRIP - HOME (John Abercrombie)
16 THE FIRE (John Abercrombie)
17 JAM SESSION (John Abercrombie)
18 PLAYING & COMPOSING (John Abercrombie)
19 TIMELESS (John Abercrombie)
20 CREDITS (John Abercrombie)

Dine Doneff - Rousilvo (ECM RECORDS 2018)

Macedonian composer/multi-instrumentalist Dine Doneff (or Kostas Theodorou, his Greek citizenship name) presents his Balkan-Jazz Folk Opera – Rousilvo. Heavily influenced by the culture of his homeland, Doneff, creates a musical fabric through open dialogue among the members of a septet. A polyphony of seven women’s voices, interspersed with extracts from numerous authentic field recordings, complete a narration of expanding rhythmic and melodic forms.

Rousilvo is the old, Slavic name of the village of Xanthogeia, in north-western Greece. The village’s name, and its Slav-Macedonian speaking community, fell victim to the policy of the Greek state to forcibly “Hellenize” the land and its people. At the end of the Greek Civil War (1946-49) most of the women in the village were left alone for the rest of their lives; their husbands either killed or exiled. Since 1986 the village has been uninhabitated as a result of long-lasting social marginalization.

Ten compositions, alternating with location recordings of the surviving elderly residents of the village (sometimes singing, at times narrating their stories) salvaging and transforming a treasure trove, an elegy, of a vanishing poetry.

Takis Farazis Piano, Accordion
Kyriakos Tapakis Oud, Mandola
Pantelis Stoikos Trumpet
Dimos Dimitriadis Alto Saxophone, Flute
Antonis Andreou Trombone
Kostas Anastasiadis Drums

Slava Pop'va-Evdoxia Georgiou Voice
Lizeta Kalimeri Voice
Martha Mavroidi Voice
Lada Kandarjieva Soprano
Elena Ginina Soprano
Elitsa Dankova Mezzo
Irina Gotcheva Alto

1 NARRATIVE (Dine Doneff) 03:16
2 PENELOPES OF XANTHOGEIA (Dine Doneff) 00:01 -  05:05
3 OBLIVION (Dine Doneff) 03:14
4 MIRKA (Dine Doneff) 07:30
5 NATSKO (Dine Doneff) 01:14
6 REQUIEM (Dine Doneff) 06:33
7 AJDE SL'NTSE ZAJDI (Traditional Macedonian) 01:10
8 APATRIS (Dine Doneff) 04:57
9 KAIMAKTSALAN (Dine Doneff) 05:01
10 IMPLACABLE GRIEF (Dine Doneff) 02:02
11 SONG OF THE UNQUIETNESS (Dine Doneff) 06:50
12 AS A STORY (Dine Doneff) 05:00

Günter Baby Sommer (guest: Till Brönner) - Baby's Party (INTAKT RECORDS 2018)

Günter Baby Sommer is at the height of his musical 
career. After ‘Song for Kommeno’ (Intakt CD 190) and 
his Solo masterpiece ‘Dedications’ (Intakt CD 224) he 
presents at his 75th birthday a duo recording with 
german trumpet player Till Brönner. The listeners will 
notice quite quickly how relaxed Till Brönner and Baby 
Sommer correspond, the chosen musical material 
included. We experience the meeting of two musicians 
who have found a common language despite their 
personal distinctness; who do not need to prove anything 
to anybody. That is why their very first ever recording is 
fed by a basic calmness. Had Baby’s Party not been 
chosen to become this CDs title, the last piece – the 
Duke’s ‘In a Sentimental Mood’ – would have made an 
equally well fitting title. Not in the sense of a yearning 
retrospection but – according to the two musicians’ natural 
disposition – in the sense of an invincible preview of 
what is ahead of them.

1. Apéro con brio 06:01
2. First Shot 03:43
3. Special Guest No.1 – Danny Boy 05:52
4. Flinke Besen 04:37
5. Second Shot 03:00
6. A Soft Drink in Between 06:49
7. Inside-Outside-Trip 05:44
8. Third Shot 02:06
9. A Little Nap in Between 06:35
10. Special Guest No.2 – Der alte Spinner 06:34
11. Party Over – In a Sentimental Mood 04:38

Günter Baby Sommer: Drums, Percussion
Till Brönner: Trumpet, Flugelhorn

All compositions by Günter Baby Sommer except “Danny Boy” by
Frederic Weatherly and “In a Sentimental Mood” by Duke Ellington.
Till Brönner appears courtesy of Sony Music Masterworks, a division
of Sony Music Entertainment.

Stefan Aeby Trio - The London Concert (INTAKT RECORDS 2018)

The concert of The Stefan Aeby Trio at the Intakt Festival at Vortex Jazz Club in London 2017 was a highlight of live music in the capital that year.

It made an emphatic statement on how improvisation transcends borders and underlined the strength of a new generation of players. London journalist Kevin le genre writes: "Aeby, drummer Michi Stulz and double bassist André Pousaz make for an inherently contemporary proposition insofar as they are by no means restricted to the standard tropes of the piano trio. This is a group comprising three instruments and three open minds. hence the performance sees the players organically shift the ensemble towards many stylistic areas, whether it is a suggestion of wistful ambient soundscapes, breezy, percussive African folk, or modern pop that retains the blues to varying degrees. The music is multi-faceted.

Throughout the concert there is a palpable sense of breathing space as well as controlled intensity. A quiet fire. The lasting impression of this concert is precisely the cohesion and dynamics of the trio, with its skillful straddling of natural and digital tones, and its deft negotiation of sounds past, present and future."

Stefan Aeby: Piano
André Pousaz: Bass
Michi Stulz: Drums

1. Shi 07:54
2. Knabautsch 06:55
3. The Wheel 10:03
4. Dalston 07:30
5. Iuk 06:14
6. Song for A. 04:09
7. To the Light 10:25

Roz Harding / Mike Outram / Jim Bashford - Supermood (LEO RECORDS 2018)

Supermood is a debut CD and a welcome addition to the Leo Records' catalogue. It is a brainchild of great talent from Devon Roz Harding (alto sax & voice) who penned eleven compositions for this CD. Catchy tunes transform into collective improvisatitons and you can't tell when one finish and the other begin. Both Mike Outram (guitar, voice) and Jim Bashford (drums, voice) are virtuosos in their own right. Roz Harding organised the music as a non-stop narrative of life inside the Supermood.

1. Breath Intro 01:38
2. If You Could 07:46
3. Waiting For Pea 08:15
4. Tangled Part 1 00:33
5. Tangled Part 2 12:12
6. Mega Bear 11:54
7. You Breathed In A Storm 07:20
8. For The Moon 04:10
9. Breath Outro 00:32
10. Yesterday I Was On Time 07:50
11. Fifty-Two Fifty 05:16

Mike Outram - guitar, voice
Jim Bashford - drums, voice

All music by Roz Harding (PRS) except Breath Outro by Roz Harding and Josiah Manning
All music Produced by Josiah Manning with Roz Harding
Executive Producer Leo Feigin
Released on Leo Records
Recorded and Mixed by Josiah Manning, Momentum Studios, Devon
Mastered by Simon Heyworth, Super Audio Mastering, Devon
Artwork by Margaret Dean
Album design by Sam Whitney-Morris
Photos by Greta Westwood and Marsha Harding
Supermood Liquid Light Show by Roz Harding and Anna Harding

Lucas Leidinger / Daniel Daemen - Dialogues (LEO RECORDS 2018)

There is nothing new about the piano/saxophone duo but Lucas Leidinger (piano) and Daniel Daemen (saxophone) managed to find a special mood and sound that are utterly original. The beauty of this CD is in the fact that there are eleven fairly short pieces, some of them spontanious, some written, snipets of beautiful melodies emerge and disappear into the thin air. What is striking is the broad musical culture of these two musicians who don't seem to divide music into genres but rather treat all genres as just music.

1 Icelandic Sunset 4:29
2 Life in a Box of Glass 3:18
3 Ankomst 4:44
4 Abraxas 3:19
5 Fi - Fi - Flubber 2:26
6 K's Red Eyes 1:51
7 Dialogue 2:56
8 I Will Be Grown out of Your Face 4:32
9 Summer in Cph 3:48
10 Gorimol 2:46
11 Mit Ari (Im Hier Und Jetzt) 2:29