Wednesday, June 2, 2021

KODIAN TRIO on tour 2022!

ANDREW LISLE: drums / DIRK SERRIES: electric guitar / COLIN WEBSTER: alto sax

Improvising power unit KODIAN TRIO rose from the ashes of a scorching concert at London’s Café Oto in 2015. Three albums and multiple live appearances later, the trio are swiftly becoming major contenders on the fertile and outward-looking European scene. The uniquely voiced trio is formed of saxophonist Colin Webster using aggressive techniques and unusual approaches to his horn, electric guitarist Dirk Serries throwing spiky lines in forceful and unorthodox dialog, and in-demand UK drummer Andrew Lisle providing underpinning and punctuation.

In 2020 KODIAN TRIO only managed to play one date of their proposed 5th anniversary tour, before global events brought everything to a halt. Luckily the concert was recorded and released by OEM records, and Kodian Trio will be back on the road in 2022.

"II , more than the trio previous releases, defines Kodian Trio as an outfit that operates in the lines of a classic free jazz unit, opting for an intense, uncompromising interplay, with some degrees of playfulness. Webster, Lisle and Serries form tough and dense dynamics, never lose their restless momentum." Freejazz blog

“4 out of 5. Europe’s free jazz scene continues to race forward, to the delight of its small but ardent fan base. The self-described “improvising power unit” Kodian Trio is doing its part to keep things hopping. " Free Form Free Jazz 

AVAILABLE : one-offs, fly-ins, festivals and on tour throughout Europe 2022.


Discography :
I (CD/LP, A New Wave Of Jazz 2015)
Live At Paradox (CD, Raw Tonk Records 2016)
Volt/Pletterij (TAPE, Raw Tonk Records 2017)
II (LP, Trost Records 2017)
III (CD, Trost Records 2019)
Live in Leeds (CD, Raw Tonk Records 2020)
Live at BRAKfest (CD, OEM Records 2021)

Kodian Trio Live at BRÅKFEST (2021 oem records)

1. Live at BRÅKFEST 00:00 / 24:20

Colin Webster saxophone
Dirk Serries guitar
Andrew Lisle drums

Recorded at BRÅK Festival of Improvised Music, Hundred Years Gallery, 29 February 2020.

Produced by Martin Clarke

Marco Scarassatti and Abdul Moimême - Zero Out (2021 oem records)

"This might be the first post-Bolsonaro symphony, the values of a wild, threatened by industrial detritus, which has turned that ruined landscape into the material of a personal and collective triumph, an improvisation so focussed that it includes extended introspective listening, dialogue and achieved form."
Stuart Broomer, Ezz-thetics

1. Desolation 20:29
2. Silence 02:28
3. Breathe 16:20

Marco Scarassatti viola do cocho, tromp Kirk Roland
Abdul Moimême two electric guitars (played simultaneously) & objects

Joaquim Monte recording
Mixed and mastered by Abdul Moimême
Photo by Nuno Martins
Design by Carlos Santos

Alan Wilkinson & Dirk Serries - One in the Eye (2021 A New Wave of Jazz)

Journalist Guy Peters imagines the free-improvised meeting of British reeds master Alan Wilkinson and Belgian guitarist Dirk Serries to action painting, «an arena in which to act – rather than as a space in which to reproduce, redesign, analyze or ‘express’ an object, actual or imagined». Likewise, according to Peters’ liner notes for «One in the Eye», the sound is abstract, so why not embrace it, and focus on the range of sounds, extended techniques, density, dynamics and the here and now. «One in the Eye» is a double album. The first disc was recorded at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio in Anderlecht in Belgium in November 2019. The second disc was recorded live two months later during A New Wave Of Jazz festival at the Hundred Years Gallery in London in January 2020.

Serries plays on both discs on acoustic guitars and this choice of instrument forced Wilkinson to adapt his sonic palette-  on the bass clarinet, baritone and alto saxes, to the sonic spectrum of the guitar. The pieces in the studio recording are urgent and dense, explore an array of extended techniques and different modes of energy and intensity, sometimes quite playful («In The Long Run») and at other times even abrasive, but all flow naturally and stress the immediate affinity between Wilkinson and Serries. «In The Here and Now» surprises with its lyrical melody and its quiet contemplative spirit and «The Stings Of The Flesh» relies totally on Wilisnson and Serries extended techniques and on «Pull The Other One» Wilkinson employs his voice (alongside the baritone sax) as an exotic and passionate instrument, matches beautifully by Serries’ rhythmic guitar playing.

All these pieces are remarkably cohesive. The two live improvisations are, as expected, are longer. Despite the time that has passed since the studio recording, these improvisations still highlight the immediate, organically flowing interplay. «HYG 1» is quite playful and rhythmic even in its most abstract and tense segments. «HYG 2» introduces first a mysterious vein when Serries explores Far-Eastern sonorities while Wilkinson suggests gentle, meditative lines, but soon Serries and Wilkinson settle again on loose and inventive rhythmic games. Adventurous, insightful but highly engaging.” Salt Peanuts – Denmark/Norway

1. Upshot 05:45
2. One In The Eye 02:03
3. In The Here And Now 08:09
4. Hobson's Choice 03:29
5. The Stings Of The Flesh 09:58
6. In The Long Run 11:30
7. Hand Over Fist 08:55
8. Pull The Other One 08:48
9. HYG 1 19:32
10. HYG 2 13:17

Alan Wilkinson : bass clarinet, baritone and also saxophones, voice
Dirk Serries : acoustic guitars

Disc 1 : performed, recorded, mixed and mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium) on November 29th 2019.
Disc 2 : live in concert at A New Wave Of Jazz festival, Hundred Years Gallery (London, UK) on January 22nd 2020, recorded and mixed by Martin Clarke. Mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium)

Pierre Gerard - Pieces of Apparatus (2021 A New Wave of Jazz)

My first encounter with the music of Pierre Gerard wasn’t something I enjoyed very much (see Vital Weekly 1243), as I have very little interest in the super silent approach to music (Lopez’ early work, Bernard Günther et al), so I was a little reluctant to play his latest work. I am not sure, but this might be the first time that a release by this label doesn’t mention any instruments. The previous one used “guitar, electronics, object, abstract voice with _ into environment”, so who knows, maybe here too? There are five pieces here, of which four are over eleven minutes and the longest fifteen, with in the middle a brief piece of three and a half minute.

The role of silence on this release is a lot smaller than on the first one I heard (Gerard has more releases, but mostly in very small editions). Also, I would think he just plays acoustic guitar here. Gerard plays what I would call ‘small music’. Up close to the microphone, he plays the strings individually, most of the time and very occasionally there is a small strum. This is music that is akin to that of Taku Sugimoto, but, oddly enough, with less silence (!) between the notes and fits what could be perceived as Wandelweiser music.

Small, individual sounds, seemingly randomly played on the guitar, without any hurry, without much drama, and very minimal, without being repetitive. I have no idea if Gerard plays his music with some Zen-like notion, even when the silent approach of before seemed to hint at such a thing, this release too is best be enjoyed with the mind being as empty as possible, sit back and let it all just happen, not in the ambient sense, full-immersive drone sound, but as quiet events taking place and enjoy this with a general sense of quietness.” Vital Weekly – The Netherlands

1. Formé Sur Un Bois De Rose Pâle 15:33
2. Spécimen Dans Les Tons Proches 11:38
3. Miniature En Poudre Pratique 03:26
4. En Plein Rose D'un Bois Lisse 11:08
5. Emprunté A La Transparence D'une Forêt Sans Rose 11:04

Improvised & recorded in January 2019 by Pierre Gerard. Mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium)

Arvind Ganga & Riccardo Marogna - Ballads from the Wrecked Ship (2021 A New Wave of Jazz)

Keeping things small this time, with only three new releases by A New Wave Of Jazz from Belgium and on the first one, there is electric guitar player Arvind Ganga, of whom I heard before and Riccardo Marogna, on tenor saxophone, bass clarinet and electronics. He is one half of Sho Shin Duo (Vital Weekly 1019), but I didn’t review that one. I do vaguely remember being present at an event where Ganga and Marogna were also playing, but did I see that? I honestly don’t remember. They are from the city of The Hague and have been active in the city’s improvised music scene with some occasional release.

They have seven tracks here, recorded in The Hague in 2018, use T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Waste Land’ as a “touchstone”, whatever that may constitute, and the interaction between both players is great. While the music is all improvised, and there is no escaping that fact, there is an interaction between them that results, at times, in some mysterious music. In ‘Oed’ und leer das Meer’ (“a phrase borrowed by Eliot from Wagner’s ‘Tristan Und Isolde'”) there are a few of these moments, and that’s just opening tracks.

The electronics used doesn’t take the sound of the instruments into something entirely different, but add another layer of sound to the existing sound. Both players aren’t afraid to employ a more traditional tune, chord or melody in their work together and, right next to uses metallic brushes upon snares and pieces of tin foil rattling against the wind instruments. It is that mixture of what we know and the venture into the unknown that makes this a very fine release.” Vital Weekly – The Netherlands

1. Oed' und lees das Meer 08:51
2. Chozodia 03:41
3. The Limp Leaves Waited For Rain, While The Black Clouds Gathered far distant, over Himavant 08:43
4. Phantoon 05:54
5. Zeelas 04:57
6. Kzans 06:14
7. These Fragments I Have Shored Against My Ruins 02:59

Arvind Ganga : Electric guitar, objects
Riccardo Marogna : Tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, electronics

Recorded at Helicopter, The Hague (NL) on November 9th - 10th 2018. Mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium)

Gonçalo Almeida - Monólogos a Dois (2021 A New Wave of Jazz)

I am not sure if with the double bass there are various types, like with the guitar, but none is mentioned on the cover or the fact if this is a mono recording. The latter probably not. It was recorded in the spacious surrounding of the old church in Oud-Charlois, which is a part of Rotterdam and home to a few great concerts, some of these involving the church organ housed there. Goncalo Almeida stuck to his bass. We know him for his one-off collaboration with Rutger Zuydervelt (see Vital Weekly 1000) and various releases with the Spinifex Quartet. The liner notes inform me of a whole world I probably knew existed, but someone I don’t know much about.

The world of free jazz, solo bass players and so on. It makes an interesting read, as it was done with Guy Peters, but after I was done with it, I didn’t return to it any more and decided to play the record again, no longer disturbed by historical information. I found the music quite refreshing. Almeida uses various techniques, the bow, plucking the strings, maybe a bit of the body of the instrument, but in all twelve of these pieces, the double bass remains a recognizable constant presence. It is within these pieces that he shows a great variety of approaches, from melodic, to abstract, from melancholically inclined to a menacing drone. 

From a very big sound (and I don’t mean spacious in the sense that the church plays a role in that; just a massive sound by itself, not too difficult one could think with this low humming instrument) to very small and delicate. It is never aggressive or noisy, Almeida remains a respectful player, with a fine ear for the smaller things happening between the notes, yet not overplaying the whole of silence. Far from it, actually. Like the Serries record, one of delicate beauty; a different kind of delicacy, however. Vital Weekly – The Netherlands

1. Monólogos a Dois I 08:30
2. Monólogos a Dois II 02:21
3. Monólogos a Dois III 01:35
4. Monólogos a Dois IV 03:06
5. Monólogos a Dois V 03:08
6. Monólogos a Dois VI 03:24
7. Monólogos a Dois VII 05:20
8. Monólogos a Dois VIII 02:22
9. Monólogos a Dois IX 03:21
10. Monólogos a Dois X 03:16
11. Monólogos a Dois XI 05:41
12. Monólogos a Dois XII 01:59

Gonçalo Almeida - Double bass

Performed & recorded at the Old Church in Oud-Charlois, Rotterdam (The Netherlands) on 11th July 2020

All music by Gonçalo Almeida
Recorded & mixed by Gonçalo Almeida
Mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium)

Dirk Serries - Solo Acoustic Guitar Improvisations I (2021 A New Wave of Jazz)

Following some forty CD releases on his imprint New Wave Of Jazz, Dirk Serries thinks the time is right to expand to the world of vinyl with these two LPs, of which the first one contains music by the man himself. He plays a 1957 Hoffner archtop guitar, and recorded with a single microphone, some 50 centimetres from the guitar and there has been no other audio processing.

The liner notes, as always by Guy Peters, are on the front cover, and he uses the extra space the format allows him, to talk some more on the history of free jazz and connects that to punk and self-taught musicians, of which Serries is one. His direct approach to both the guitar and the recording (mono! Phil Spector would have been proud if still alive) makes that you sit up close to the music. It is almost as if Serries is in your living room, playing his guitar. As we know from his recent playing within the field of free improvisation, Serries is a skilful and varied player, not just within the context of playing with others, but also solo.

The guitar is all ten of these improvisations easily recognized and yet nowhere it sounds like some conventional. Maybe it sounds to the uninitiated as if somebody plays it without any knowledge as to how to play the damn thing, but to the trained ear (and, hold on, I am not saying I am an expert in this field; not when it comes to guitar playing, nor when it comes to knowing something freely improvised music) of unusual music, I’d say, he knows what he is doing. He plays odd little motifs, but seemingly hitting just strings or notes, but sometimes he repeats them and makes little differences within these and here’s when you recognize someone clueless and someone who sure knows what has to be done. No bowing, no drones, no lengthy spacious journeys, all of his trademarks from his long career, but immediate, direct music. Vital Weekly – The Netherlands

This is a mono recording, using the AEA R44 Anniversary Edition ribbon microphone placed 50cm away from the body of the guitar. One band eq and variable-mu compression was subtly applied across the spectrum to smooth out dynamics. No other audio processing was used.

1. Axis 02:11
2. Grid 05:23
3. Cluster 02:53
4. Overlap 04:45
5. Kinetic 02:53
6. Factor 05:07
7. Rhetoric 01:46
8. Sketch 06:04
9. Exertion 02:33
10. Areal 03:46

Dirk Serries played a 1957 Höfner archtop guitar

Performed, recorded, mixed and mastered at the Sunny Side Inc. Studio, Anderlecht (Belgium) on July 31st 2020

BuJazzO / A Tribute To The Clarke - Boland Big Band (2021 Challenge Records)

The Federal Jazz Orchestra, abbreviated and affectionately named BuJazzO by many, pays tribute to the legendary Clarke-Boland Big Band on its new CD. The legendary international ensemble existed from 1961 to 1972 in Cologne and was led by American drummer Kenny Clarke and Belgian pianist, composer and arranger Francy Boland.

The Clarke-Boland Big Band was formed on the initiative of Pierluigi “Gigi” Campi, who was born in Italy and lived in Cologne as well as promoted and produced the band. Campi's estate contained several boxes full of original notes from the Clarke-Boland Big Band, which Campi's family bequeathed to the Federal Jazz Orchestra. Two years ago, the orchestra devoted itself to this treasure. Trombonist Jiggs Whigham, who led the Federal Jazz Orchestra from 2011 to 2020 together with saxophonist Niels Klein, chose the repertoire. After an intensive rehearsal phase, the Federal Jazz Orchestra gave twelve concerts in Germany, from whose recordings the CD is composed.

“The Clarke-Boland Big Band was an international jazz orchestra at its best,” Jiggs Whigham said who is still enthusiastic about the orchestra. He lived in Cologne at the time and played with the band several times. “The mood in the band was always full of optimism, which was also due to the fact that most of the musicians were friends. There was a party atmosphere in this band every day.”

Providing a testimonial to this ensemble makes sense, because the Clarke-Boland Big Band was not only a gathering of exquisite soloists, but also thrived thanks to its leaders. American drummer Kenny Clarke, who was a founding member of the Modern Jazz Quartet and had played in various bands of Miles Davis, had lived in France since 1956. With his characteristic drumming, for which a penetrating beat on a large cymbal was indispensable, he relentlessly drove the band forward. Belgian pianist Francy Boland, who worked as an arranger in Paris and wrote for Count Basie and Benny Goodman in New York, was responsible for the Clarke-Boland Big Band's repertoire. He tended to compose songs extremely carefully, and consequently his style shaped the sound of the band.

Since the members of the Federal Jazz Orchestra are constantly changing, despite it already existing for more than 30 years, the band can be attested a kind of eternal youth. It is fascinating to hear how this ensemble of young musicians, who are between 17 and 24 years old, appropriates the musical cosmos of the Clarke-Boland Big Band and skillfully brings this music, which is now almost 60 years old, into the present. The multi-award-winning ensemble sets a vital and pulsating monument to the Clarke-Boland Big Band.

1. You Stepped Out Of a Dream 02:57
2. Lieben Sie Jazz? 00:59
3. Lullaby Of the Leaves 03:51
4. Das Kleine Örtchen Köln 00:45
5. Love For Sale 02:53
6. BuJazzo-Voices 00:35
7. The Song Is You 05:49
8. Ein Pariser Briefkasten 00:37
9. Box 703 08:33
10. Einfach Nur Applaus 00:24
11. Smoke Gets in Your Eyes 04:44
12. Nach Der Ruhe Kommt Der Sturm 00:49
13. Dancing In The Dark 04:17
14. We Need some Beat 00:25
15. Griff's Groove 06:25
16. Ein Feature Für Alto 00:29
17. November Girl 04:53
18. Because It's Swinging 01:16
19. The Jamfs Are Coming 08:30
20. Wunderbar, Aber Schrecklich 00:42
21. African Seeds 05:08
22. I Love The Music Too 01:02
23. Johnny One Note 02:46
24. Vielen Dank 01:26
25. Sax No End 07:28

Michel Meis 4Tet - Kaboom (2021 Challenge Records)

“Kaboom” Behind this picturesque title lies the explosive mixture created by the 4tet of the Luxembourg drummer Michel Meis on his second album. This time the band has a guest on some of the songs: the French violinist Théo Ceccaldi. “Théo Ceccaldi was brought to my attention by our pianist Cédric Hanriot,” Meis said. “His music and attitude really appealed to me. There is a lot of space between the violin and the trombone in terms of sound, which was a very experimental approach. Musically, it fit very well, because both are very flexible.”

Alisa Klein on the trombone merges as casually as unpredictably with the violin tone of Ceccaldi, and band leader Meis knows very well how much she is worth for the band. “Alisa Klein is the soul of the band,” a fact of which he is very aware. “Her sound is very warm and emotional and has a lot of space, but it still sounds very intimate. Such a deep-sounding wind instrument sound totally appeals to me.”

The well-structured pieces of the band leader have exactly the right mix of eclectic modern jazz and improvisational desire for experimenting. Meis can rely on his 4tet, which has grown into an unbeatable unity since the debut album “Lost in Translation”, which received excellent reviews. “No member of the band can be replaced and it would significantly affect the sound if one were missing,” Michel Meis stated. Stephan Goldbach is on the bass, and he also plays in the Trio Village Zone of pianist Georg Ruby, for example. “Stephan also plays a lot of experimental music,” Meis knows. “For me, he's the punk attitude in the band. He is the base of the band. But he brings a lot of physical strength to the band and plays in a very solo-like manner.”

The 4tet is held together by the French pianist Cédric Hanriot. “Cédric Hanriot is a pianist the kind of which I haven’t heard many times in my life,” Meis said. “He has his Cédric moments, during which I recognize him immediately, but his solos are always surprising because he doesn't hesitate to leave his comfort zone. He always takes substantial risks, and we adapt to them.” Between the longer pieces, Meis has included small miniatures on “Kaboom” where two musicians usually ester into conversation. However, the album is opened by the impetuous “Full Pedal Jacket”, which explores the abundance of possibilities in just under nine minutes that the 4tet and its guest have at their disposal. “’Full Pedal Jacket’ tends to go in the pop direction,” Meis believes. “It’s based on a riff that I experimented with.”
The whole band joined together to play “State of Uncertainty” which shifts between edgy rhythms and small melodic treats. “I wrote the piece during the first lockdown,” Meis recounted. “The beat is repeatedly broken up, whereby the piece is intended to describe the prevailing uncertainty.”

The white cat on the cover also has some significance, because it illustrates what is also the hallmark of the Michel Meis 4tet: “Cats do what they want and have a mind of their own,” Meis knows.

1. Full Pedal Jacket 08:44
2. [hanriot] 01:15
3. State of Uncertainty 08:20
4. [ceccaldi / goldbach] 01:01
5. Kaboom 06:53
6. Coming Together 02:00
7. She 07:09
8. [goldbach / hanriot] 01:04
9. Red Desert Air 04:34
10. [klein / meis] 00:56
11. Re:Build 08:25