Thursday, August 5, 2021

Momentary Quintet - The Spectral Mountain (August 2021 Inkbeak Records)

The Spectral Mountain is the result of a two-day recording session curated by West Peoria, Illinois Bass Guitarist, Lowell Levene-Sims.

Participants from Albuquerque, Saint Louis, Chicago and Kissimmee (many who had never met nor played together) gathered at Flat Black Studios in rural Lone Tree, Iowa to make a record with no point of reference other than free improvisation.

With just a head nod or a finger point,(along with deeply sympathetic ears) these songs materialized.

As a certain individual stated "It sounds like a particularly zonked out 70's ECM record"

Why not?


1. After Hours of Falling Through the Sky 03:43
2. I Only Sing at Funerals 05:58
3. Free Range Bathysphere 07:12
4. Dogs of the Sea 16:30

Jesse Nolan - Drums
Geoffrey Escandon - Guitar
Sam Wagster - Pedal Steel/Guitar
Lowell Levene-Sims - Bass

Engineered and Mixed by Luke Tweedy
Mastered by Todd Rittmann

Kevin McCormick & David Horridge - Light Patterns (2021 Smiling C)

Light patterns in a glass dream
Sound fountains in a gentle stream
Smoked visions in another room
Form and fade all too soon

In 1970, Kevin and David met whilst they were working in the Labour Exchange Office on Aytoun St, Manchester. Both played guitar and had been searching for other musicians who played atmospheric music. Kevin had been playing in small clubs in Manchester and David had been playing in a few local bands. One evening, they jammed together, at Kevin’s family home, and quickly realized that their playing blended together to form the basis of the sound they had been looking for.

In the late 70s, the music scene in Manchester was bursting with new bands and music. Kevin and David, however, had little in common with the local acts, being disciples of a more meditative approach. They followed a path of their own, reaching for an otherworldly sound that they heard from artists like John Martyn, David Crosby, Erik Satie, Terry Riley, Eberhard Weber, Alice Coltrane, and Ralph Towner. They experimented combining their acoustic guitars and David’s bass with various effects pedals and techniques to try and achieve a warm and expansive sound that rides the line between ambient, jazz, and psychedelic folk Music.

Towards 1981, they had written eleven songs and accompanied a few with Moog synthesizer laid down by Rob Baxter. All were recorded on cassette decks in their simple home studios. They named this collection of music “Light Patterns”, after a poem Kevin had written. With Light Patterns complete, they set out to find a label to represent their music.

They started playing a few gigs in Manchester; Band On The Wall, the Gallery, and other venues, such as Rotters which local promoter Alan Wise had organized. They set up with small amps along with their effects and played as though they were back at home. As Kevin remarks, “It was unusual, to say the least, to play such venues in a low volume chilled out way. However, people listened, often in shocked curiosity, and some even asked for tapes.”

Peter Jenner, of Blackhill Enterprises, eventually picked up the album for his new label, “Sheet”. Peter had managed lots of experimental bands and solo artists, including Pink Floyd in their early Syd Barrett days. He always favored outsiders! The tapes were taken to Strawberry Recording Studios in Manchester, who were surprised when Kevin and David walked in with just a couple of home-produced cassette tapes. Fortunately, they liked them and agreed to master the album. It was then sent to Portland Recording Studios in London for final mastering to vinyl. George Peckham, aka “Porky”, did the pressing with a personal message in the deadwax; “Kaftans, Candles and be Cool Man”. The artwork for the album cover was done by the late Barney Bubbles, a truly visionary artist.

After the album’s release, the pair continued to play together regularly until David moved away from the city. Kevin still resides near Manchester in the rolling hills outside of the city. He continues to experiment with dreamy music in his loft, and we are set to share a selection of his ethereal archival and current compositions on vinyl in the coming months. David lives a quiet life in a small coastal town in the South, he likes to sail and is an avid cricket fan. We’re excited to make Light Patterns accessible again for the first time in nearly 40 years, remastered from the original tapes. As the original press release said, “Put the album on, lie back and enter the land of no floors”. 

1. Glass Dreams 04:51
2. Last Chances 03:12
3. Coast Lines 04:07
4. Dance For Two Strangers 02:23
5. Jules & Jen 03:13
6. Sandpatterns 03:55
7. Reflections 03:07
8. Quickdance 03:31
9. Highlife 04:19
10. Sunshowers 02:12
11. Special Places 03:12

Manchester, England. 1982

Kevin McCormick: Guitar, Poem
David Horridge: Guitar, Fretless Bass
Rob Baxter: Synthesizer on A2, B2 and B6

Mastering: Brandon Hocura (Séance Centre)
Tape baking & transfer: Peter Beckmann (Technology Works)
Design: Rudy Guedj & Asger Behncke Jacobsen

Germán Bringas - Tunel Hacia Tí (2021 Smiling C)

Smiling C is proud to present a compilation of sixteen unheard works from Mexican jazz synesthete, Germán Bringas. Bringas plays with a delicate balance between experiment & pastoral spaciousness, sounding like Coltrane scoring a Tarkovsky film. To Accompany this release, we’ve made a documentary about Germán’s life.


Tunel Hacia Tí (Tunnel Toward You) is a collection of early compositions by Germán Bringas of Portales, Mexico City. This album features songs from his lost cassette ambient jazz opus, "Caminatas" (Hikes), it’s spiritual successor, "Exposción Al Vacio" (Vacuum Exposure), and unreleased works created between '91-'00. Every instrument heard on this release was played by Bringas, and recorded in a studio in the back of his home.
Germán’s pieces are informed by his synesthetic experience. As he plays, he witnesses color coordinating with each note. His earliest experience of this cross-sensory ability came from playing his parents piano when he was young. Exploring the keys, a spectrum of color presented itself, and he began searching for colors he preferred. He discovered an enticing shade of blue, which unbeknownst to him at the time, was a jazz chord. In the following years, he attended school at the Conservatorio Nacional de Música and was classically trained in piano and composition. The Conservatorio was extremely demanding, and didn’t appreciate his innate talents to play by ear. He was fed up with the indoctrinating way they taught, which coincided with a lecture he attended by Carlos Casteñeda. Inspired by the teachings, he left school behind to start a group with his friends to practice meditative exercises loosely based off Casteñeda’s Tensegrity movements to expand the body and mind. His friends and he spent years going into the woods and training as quasi-disciples of the Castañedian path. In those times, Germán developed a new approach to music, letting go of the formality of his classical training, and rediscovering his childhood experience to play from feeling. Learning trumpet, saxophone, and native Mexican instruments all to his own design, he followed his synesthetic experience to guide his compositions. He was compelled to record the discoveries he was making, so he produced a string of cassettes, only enough to pass around to friends & local collectors.

In his earliest works, you can hear the influence of his time spent in the tranquility of the woods colliding with the frenzy of the city he grew up in. Combining inspiration he obtained from ECM Records virtuosos, Mexican Rock-in-opposition, visionary jazz artists, and otherworldly sci-fi films like Blade Runner and Stalker, his songs ebb and flow between serene synths and chaotic bursts of emotive horns. In addition to these compositions, he started an experimental music club in his house in Portales called Jazzorca. At Jazzorca, which is still running to this day, he would share his pensive movements with a small group of dedicated music lovers. Germán truly created a world of his own through these works, and his sound is singular when held up to Mexican music from the same era.

Currently, Germán makes drums out of propane tanks in his backyard, he produces experimental CDs under his own label, and plays live regularly at Jazzorca. You might catch him strolling through his neighborhood in Portales at sunset, soaking in the influence of the city sounds and their associated colors he witnesses.

1. Libre 04:18
2. Exposción Al Vacio 06:36
3. Painani III 05:54
4. Nuevas Visiones De Luz 01:35
5. Caminatas 04:47
6. Escarpadas 04:45
7. Bailarina 05:43
8. El Cielo 05:43
9. Tunel Hacia Tí 02:47
10. Blues For Lyle 02:43
11. Sim Y El Campo 03:31
12. Painani II 06:03
13. Painani VII 06:49
14. Beyond Skin 03:52
15. Runner Blues 04:13
16. What Nobody Took Care 05:36

Written, produced, and arranged by Germán Bringas

Instruments: piano, trumpet, soprano & tenor saxophones, synthesizer, ocarinas, caracol, & percussion: kalimba, drums, guaje de lluvia, & berimbau

Released & unreleased works recorded in Mexico City, 1991-2000

Mastering: Dan Elleson
Design: Asger Behncke Jacobsen & Rudy Guedj

Warren Vaché and The New York City All-Star Big Band - Swingtime! (August 2021 nagel heyer records)

Nearly 100.000 enthusiastic spectators enjoyed the Swingtime!-US-tour in early 2000.

"It is a fresh recording by an all-star group of creative improvisers with impeccable swing credentials."
- Ed Berger

Warren Vaché has never been an innovator, but he's always been impressively consistent. Recorded in January 2000, this German release finds the cornetist leading a swing-oriented 11-piece band that includes, among others, Rickey Woodard and Harry Allen on tenor sax, Randy Reinhart on trumpet, Steve Ash on piano, and Jake Hanna on drums. Swingtime! is more arranged than Vaché's small group recordings, which means that he doesn't have as much room to stretch out and blow. But the arrangements are tasteful, and Vaché's band (which he calls the New York City All-Star Big Band) swings passionately on two Louis Jordan classics ("Saturday Night Fish Fry" and "Let the Good Times Roll") and warhorses like Benny Goodman's "Stompin' at the Savoy," Fats Waller's "Ain't Misbehavin'," and Count Basie's "Jumpin' at the Woodside." Vaché's least likely choice is "Mr. Bojangles," which isn't typical swing band fare, but works well for this outfit. One wishes that his band would surprise us more often; but all things considered, Swingtime! is an enjoyable, if less than essential, addition to his catalogue. AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson

1. Swingtime! 03:03
2. From This Moment On 05:19
3. I've Got My Fingers Crossed 03:58
4. Mr. Bojangles 04:02
5. The Way You Look Tonight 04:39
6. Stompin' at the Savoy 06:13
7. B. D. Blues 08:27
8. Jumpin' at the Woodside 03:16
9. A Portrait of Jenny 04:38
10. Ain't Misbehavin' 03:55
11. Saturday Night Fish Fry 06:30
12. When You're Smiling 03:18
13. Let the Good Times Roll 05:00

Warren Vaché – trumpet, vocals
Randy Reinhart - trumpet
John Allred - trombone
Matt Bilyk - trombone
Chuck Wilson – alto sax, clarinet
Harry Allen – tenor sax
Rickey Woodard – tenor sax
Alan Barnes – saxes, clarinet
Steve Ash - piano
Murray Wall - bass
Jake Hanna - drums

Randy Reinhart & Jesper Thilo Sextet - For Basie (August 2021 nagel heyer records)

"THIS CENTENARY TRIBUTE to Count Basie is happily much more than a well-intentioned repertory project. Having jazz musicians recreate famous recordings can be exhilarating but is more often an odd expenditure of creative energies. Even better, this tribute is not restricted to long versions of One O’Clock Jump and Jumpin’ At The Woodside.

What this band has done, lightly and politely, as Louis Armstrong said, is to tip their hats to a musical way of thinking and feeling epitomized by the Basie band and its smaller spinoffs in the great prewar period. This sextet plays in the great tradition but levitates it with their own inventiveness, which is what Basie, Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Jo Jones and the others did as a matter of course, as the broadcasts prove. The one direct emulation of a recording – Jesper Thilo’s version of Lester’s magnificent solo on the Jones-Smith, Inc. Lady Be Good – is beyond criticism, because that solo is a composition equal to any Schubert song, and no one complains when anyone sings those notes as written.

To summon up Basie, you need a fleet, unified rhythm section but really only two soloists: trumpet and tenor (although a trombone is always nice). Soloists who know the virtues of passionate simplicity, an uncluttered feeling, medium-to-up tempos, and you’re off! And this international sextet (Danish, American, Italian and German) has succeeded nobly…

…a listener will take the most pleasure from the way this sextet works as a band: the opening choruses of Moten Swing meld 1937-38 broadcasts with the ambiance of Basie’s late Pablo recordings; the trades between Randy and Jesper animate I Would Do Most Anything For You well beyond what we might expect. Undecided and Lester Leaps In are intense but never tense, pulsing but comfortable. The result is simultaneously modern and nostalgic, idiomatic and timeless.

Jake Hanna, who knows swing from the inside out, once told me: ‘You get too far away from Basie, you’re just kidding yourself.’ Words to live by, sisters and brothers!"

Michael Steinman, Great Neck, New York, 2006

1. Undecided 07:34
2. When I Grow Too Old to Dream 09:12
3. Blue and Sentimental 05:43
4. I'll See You in My Dreams 05:25
5. Moten Swing 08:45
6. Lady Be Good 08:49
7. Echoes of Spring / All God's Chillun Got Rhythm 05:53
8. One O'Clock Jump 06:15
9. If I Had You 06:59
10. I Would Do Anything for You 07:31
11. Lester Leaps In 06:58

Randy Reinhart - trumpet, trombone
Jesper Thilo - tenor sax, clarinet, vocals
Rossano Sportiello - piano
Rudolf ›Pluto‹ Kemper - guitar
Nico Gastreich - bass
Moritz Gastreich - drums

Recorded live on October 10, 2004 at Birdland Jazzclub, Hamburg, by Dieter Reichert.

Harry "Sweets" Edison / Barney Kessel / Jimmy Rowles - Something Bigger (August 2021 nagel heyer records)

"A lot of times, the older you get in music, the more you’ll find out that less is more. Leave spaces and don’t play everything you know. As a matter of fact, when I worked with „Sweets“, Harry Edison, a couple of weeks ago he was a lesson in that. He knows very well how to use a rhythm section."
- Benny Powell

"...a very interesting lineup of players ... the overall result is a recording highly recommended to fans of straight-ahead jazz."
- Scott Yanow

1. Happy Feeling 03:57
2. Blues in the Closet 04:41
3. Louisiana 03:56
4. You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me 05:14
5. Nice Work If You Can Get It 04:08
6. Moten Swing 03:57
7. Willow Weep for Me 07:04
8. (Back Home Again In) Indiana 03:13
9. Midnight Sun 03:09
10. Easy Does It 08:18
11. The Two Mothers 06:04
12. Contemporary Blues 04:08
13. A Smooth One 09:14
14. Twelfth Street Rag 02:57
15. Begin the Blues 04:28
16. Now's the Time 04:42
17. Lester Leaps In 02:11

Harry "Sweets" Edison - trumpet
Barney Kessel - guitar
Jimmy Rowles - piano


Sonny Criss - alto sax
Georgie Auld - tenor sax
John Simmons - bass
Buddy Rich - drums

and others

Recorded at Contemporary's Studio in Los Angeles in March, July, August and September 1955.

Barry Coates / Luis Conte - Twelve String Universe (August 6, 2021)

1. Twelve String Universe 03:44
2. Looking Glass 03:48
3. As Above So Below 04:12
4. A Really Good Day 03:08
5. One Time 03:19
6. The Universe Inside You 03:45
7. Simple Life 04:07
8. Fabric Of Reality 03:47
9. Stand Up And Fight 03:16
10. Lost Ways 04:46
11. Illuminated World 04:27

Barry Coates - electric, nylon, 12 string & guitar synth
Luis Conte - percussion

Agamemnon Moustakas - Abstractions on Absence (solo piano) 2021

1. Absorber 15:14
2. Branches 07:37
3. Quagmire 08:17
4. Sea Below Cement 14:50

Agamemnon Moustakas | piano

All music by Agamemnon Moustakas

Recorded by George Priniotakis at Artracks Recording Studios, June 2020
Mixed by George Priniotakis
Mastered by Agamemnon Moustakas & George Priniotakis