Monday, October 25, 2021

Oli Astral - From the Astral (January 14, 2022)

Oli Astral is a musical universe where the sound of modern jazz guitar merges with digital music technology and visual projection. The musicians of the trio  are : Frédéric Alarie on the double Bass, William Regnier on the Drums and Olivier Grenier Bedard on guitar.

The group keeps a balance between technology and a more organic approach to music. Some elements like computers on stage, virtual instruments, MIDI controllers, and Frederic’s Modular Synthesizers serve the imagination of the musicians. The musical values thought, are still deeply rooted in the tradition of Jazz. Things like Improvisation, group interaction, and risk-taking are very important in the creative process of the trio. The importance of Melody might be the number one thing. If poetry is the only truth in the world of words, then Melody is the only truth in the world of sounds.

During the production process of the album, digital audio processing techniques were used to create musical textures. The audio artists who worked on that are Thibaut Quinchon, Derek Orsi, and Olivier Grenier-Bédard. These techniques are: creative mixing, creative editing, and computer sound design. The purpose of these is to widen the sound of the Trio with musical textures, loops, and overdubs.

The Live experience is a little more immersive. After recording, the group worked with Visual Artist Bruno Scabini, From Buenos Aires. He illustrated and animated the music with creative drawing techniques and cinematic effects.  In addition to the rest, there is a video image on stage that merges with the music. This video image transforms the Live experience into a journey into the universe of the group. 

1. From the Astral
2. L'envol
3. From the Deep
4. Avec Plaisir
5. From the Heart
6. Spectre Sonore

Guitar & MIDI controllers: Olivier Grenier-Bédard (Oli Astral)
Double Bass &Modular Synthesizers: Frédéric Alarie
Drums: William Régnier

Sam Anning - Oaatchapai (December 3, 2021 Earshift Music)

Melbourne bassist-composer Sam Anning’s fourth album as bandleader ‘Oaatchapai’ showcases his compositional flair with references to indie rock, echoes of Charles Mingus and spoken word soundscapes. The lineup of pianist Andrea Keller, trumpeter Mat Jodrell, saxophonists Carl Mackey and Julien Wilson from the award-winning Across a Field as Vast as One is augmented by guitarist Theo Carbo and drummer Rajiv Jayaweera.

1. Tjurunga
2. Oaatchapai
3. Giant Pebble
4. Stretchroactivities
5. Urkraft
6. Ripples
7. Ochre
8. Saccade
9. Off With The Blades

Mat Jodrell (trumpet)
Carl Mackey (alto saxophone)
Julien Wilson (tenor saxophone & bass clarinet)
Andrea Keller (piano & fender rhodes)
Theo Carbo (guitar)
Sam Anning (double bass & voice)
Rajiv Jayaweera (drums)

Johannes Luebbers Dectet - Divide and Conquer (October 2021 Earshift Music)

Divide and Conquer is the fourth album by Melbourne based composer Johannes Luebbers’ Dectet (JLD). The album marks the end of an ambitious 10 x 10 x 10 project, spanning 10 works in 10 years for 10 players. The album is the second and final installment of the project, featuring five wildly original tracks and some of Luebbers’ best work. The group showcases some of Australia’s most exciting soloists including pianist Andrea Keller, trumpeter Paul Williamson and saxophonist Angela Davis.

Divide and Conquer follows the release of Other Worlds in 2019 and features the second five compositions of the suite, each dedicated to a different soloist within the group. “The 10 x 10 x 10 project resulted from a longstanding interest in collaboration,” says Luebbers. “I wanted to explore how compositions can be seeded from my perception of a performer, rather than developed from my own ideas. Each piece used a starting point based upon the listening habits, musical loves and technical interests of the featured soloist. I then built a compositional world around this. As a result, the music was infused with a wider variety of reference points - more than just my own. Even if the resulting music was at times unexpected, I hope each performer saw a little piece of themselves in the work's soul.”

The title track Divide and Conquer, featuring tenor saxophonist Michael Wallace, leaps around the horn in a playful Balkan inspired melody. Stepping Stones, featuring alto saxophonist Angela Davis, creates a deft sense of inevitability as it gently weaves through unexpected harmonies. In contrast, Jack O’Lantern, featuring trumpeter Paul Williamson, plays with expansions and contractions of time, developing a theme that emphasises the textural possibilities of Williamson’s horn and provides ample space for the kind of ensemble interaction he thrives on.

Hosh Posh stands out among JLD’s repertoire, departing from Luebbers’ typically controlled notation and instead embracing a loose sense of freedom in which featured bassist Hiroki Hoshino shines. The album rounds things out with Contrarian, a feature for pianist Andrea Keller that takes inspiration from her love of Arvo Pärt, in turn provoking an inspired solo from Keller and some of the most magical moments on the album.

Winner of the 2011 ‘Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year’ (Australian Jazz ‘Bell’ Awards) and the 2011 ‘Jazz Work of the Year’ (APRA/AMC Art Music Awards), Johannes Luebbers has established himself as one of Australia’s most distinctive jazz composers. Supported by the Australia Council for the Arts and Monash University, Divide and Conquer is the fourth studio album with his ensemble, the Johannes Luebbers Dectet (JLD). Throughout his career he has been the recipient of numerous other awards including the 2009 ‘Youth Arts West Australian Citizen of the Year’, 2009 ‘Best Australian Jazz Composition of the Year’ (Bell Awards), 2008 ‘Jazz Song of the Year’ (WA Music Industry Awards), the 2006 ‘APRA Professional Development Award’ for jazz and in 2018 was a finalist for the APRA/AMC Jazz Work of the Year. In addition to his creative practice, Luebbers is an active educator and researcher and is currently Convenor of Composition and Music Technology at the Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music, Monash University.

1. Divide and Conquer 07:53
2. Stepping Stones 08:32
3. Jack 'O' Lantern 09:49
4. Hosh Posh 09:18
5. Contrarian 09:12

Johannes Luebbers (composer/conductor)
Emily Thomas (flute)
Ben Opie (oboe)
Angela Davis (alto sax/clarinet)
Michael Wallace (tenor sax/clarinet)
Paul Williamson (trumpet)
Nicole Dixon (French horn)
Andrew Murray (trombone)
Andrea Keller (piano)
Hiroki Hoshino (bass)
Aaron McCoullough (drums)

Three Lower Colours (feat. Marco Tamburini, Stefano Onorati & Stefano Paolini) / Red - Early Recordings (October 2021 Caligola Records)

Risulta preziosa questa “riscoperta” da parte di Stefano Onorati delle prime registrazioni dei Three Lower Colours, fatte subito dopo che Stefano Paolini era subentrato a Walter Paoli: qui termina il percorso del trio di Marco Tamburini ed inizia quello di un gruppo davvero paritetico. Incisioni per questo importanti, che precedono sia le colonne sonore del breve film muto di Georges Méliès, «Le voyage dans la lune», e del lungometraggio «Blood and Sand» di Fred Niblo – pubblicate entrambe soltanto su Dvd – che gli album «First Take» e «Contemporaneo immaginario» (con Il Vertere String Quartet). «Red» testimonia la nascita di un trio che avrebbe presto dato prova di non comune coesione, originalità e fantasia, proiettato come poche altre formazioni italiane del periodo verso il futuro. Così chiude le sue calzanti note di copertina il critico Guido Festinese “…

In «Red» … trovate già una sintesi guizzante, movibile e intelligente dei molti stimoli che attraversavano menti, cuori e corpi di Tamburini, Onorati e Paolini. È una musica cresciuta sui dischi del primo e del secondo Miles Davis elettrico, ma con quel quid in più di spaziosa malinconia ed estrema raffinatezza che permea le incisioni di Arve Henriksen e di tanti ricercatori del suono nordici, e qualche ifa va anche a raggiungere le terre incognite di un Jon Hassell. O a sfiorare certe mappe frequentate da Ibrahim Maalouf. Il jazz di valore ascolta e si ascolta. 

E Marco Tamburini aveva i sensi allertati e la mente reattiva, sempre.” . Ogni brano meriterebbe un’attenta analisi, sia le composizioni originali che le personali riletture di vecchi e nuovi standard, ma ci preme almeno evidenziare il riuscito e suggestivo passaggio da Angolo a Blue in Green, esecuzioni accumunate da un’atmosfera estremamente ipnotica e sognante. Quel che stupisce è che la musica sin qui documentata dei Three Lower Colours, uno dei gruppi più importanti diretti da Tamburini, copra a malapena l’arco ristretto di due anni. L’augurio non può essere che quello di poter presto tornare a gustare “riscoperte” altrettanto emozionanti. 

1. Angolo 08:40
2. Blue in Green 07:20
3. Gruvone 06:10
4. Knives Out 07:41
5. Naima 07:22
6. Relaxin' at Home 05:03
7. Red Subway Sound 07:49
8. TLC 07:33

Marco Tamburini (trumpet, flugelhorn, live electronics)
Stefano Onorati (keyboards, live electronics)
Stefano Paolini (drums, live electronics)

Recorded at Simple Sound Studio, Castelmaggiore (Bologna), in January 2009 by Marco Tamburini
mixed on 15th July 2009 by Gianluca Gadda; mastered at SOP Studio on 14th December 2020 by Stefano Onorati

Shiver - Night School (New Jazz and Improvised Music Recordings)

1. Night School 53:05

“I can’t remember exactly when my old school burnt down, but I can tell you I was there...”

Chris Sharkey (Guitar)
Andy Champion (Bass)
Joost Hendrickx (Drums)

Recorded April 2015 in Leeds
Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Chris Sharkey
Publishing and Recordings © Chris Sharkey

Shiver Cover Image by Andy Champion
Design by Andrew Delanoy

Kathya West, Alberto Dipace & Danilo Gallo - The Last Coat of Pink (October 2021 Caligola Records)

A tre anni da «Oxymoron», Kathya West e Danilo Gallo proseguono la loro originale rivisitazione del repertorio rock con questo riuscito ed intrigante «The Last Coat of Pink», in cui è bastato cambiare solo uno dei membri del trio per ottenere un risultato musicale completamente diverso. Lì a venire rilette erano le canzoni del binomio Beatles/Rolling Stones e Gallo compariva nell’inedita veste di chitarrista affiancato da Valerio Scrignoli. Qui invece torna a suonare il contrabbasso per affrontare, in modo ancor più creativo, insieme all’ipnotica suggestiva voce di Kathya West, il repertorio dei Pink Floyd, chiamando a completare il trio l’inventivo pianista Alberto Dipace, che aveva già accompagnato in «Eyes and Madness» e nel più recente «Collera City».

È una rilettura visionaria ed onirica quella offerta dal trio, come spiegano bene le parole della West: “Non è semplice suonare una vastità, ma la si può far suonare. Per il vento si può soffiare. Per l'illusione ci sono i sogni. Per i vuoti c'è la musica, quella che suona ciò che non esiste… Nella vastità spesso ci si perde. Dalla volontà di ritrovarsi, in questa vastità, è nato il nostro racconto musicale… Una vastità visionaria, quella dei Pink Floyd, in cui abbiamo voluto immergerci per sorprenderci nel ritrovarsi, sempre”. È un omaggio ai Pink Floyd il loro, intimo e personale, ma rispettoso di quelle indimenticabili melodie che hanno cambiato il corso della popular music. Brani come Money, Wish You Were Here, Hey You o Mother sembrano trovare nuova vita in un progetto audace quanto particolare, che non ha bisogno di urlare per farsi sentire, perché in questo immaginifico viaggio sonoro i sussurri sono più rumorosi delle grida. Chiude l’album Is There Anybody Out There?, che solo in questa quarta splendida versione (è ghost track nel Cd e visibile invece nel digitale), riesce a dispiegare tutta la sua struggente bellezza, dopo che le prime tre (nessuna dura più 30 secondi) ce l’avevano appena fatta assaggiare. 

1. Is There Anybody Out There? 00:11
2. Nobody Home 03:57
3. Wish You Were Here 04:03
4. Hey You 05:01
5. Is There Anybody Out There? - Reprise 1 00:28
6. Don't Leave Me Now 03:15
7. Mother 05:44
8. On the Turning Away 04:18
9. Money 04:24
10. Comfortably Numb 05:10
11. Is There Anybody Out There? - Reprise 2 00:26
12. Goodbye Blue Sky 02:39
13. Time 07:54
14. The Show Must Go On 04:47
15. Is There Anybody Out There? - Reprise 3 02:27

Kathya West (vocals)
Alberto Dipace (piano)
Danilo Gallo (double bass)

Recorded, mixed and mastered at Crossroad Recording Studio,
Cologno Monzese (Milano), Italy, in July 2020, by Vincenzo De Leo

Peter Jacquemyn / Dirk Serries - Live At Lokerse Jazzclub (October 25, 2021 Raw Tonk Records)

1. Live at Lokerse Jazzclub 54:20

Peter Jacquemyn : double bass
Dirk Serries : guitar

Live performance at the Lokerse Jazzclub, Lokeren (Belgium) on September 5th, 2020
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Dirk Serries

Le Jager - Snow Lotus (October 28, 2021)

The four creative forces forming LE JAGER combine their refreshing compositional concepts and unique improvisational interplay to generate deeply emotional music.

1. Proclamación
2. Nine
3. Danse Frénétique
4. Avril
5. This Is a Personal Void
6. Kindness
7. Wormhole
8. Alba

Damien-Jade Cyr - Sax
Jean-Michel Leblanc - Guitar
Carlos Maldonado Cisneros - Double bass
Olivier Guertin - Drums

Vincent Néron - Sound Engineer
Mathieu Quenneville - Mixing Engineer
Harris Newman - Mastering
Frédérik Généreux - Drawings
El Barrio Bien Acá - Graphic Design

All songs composed by Le Jager

Funky Ella - I Put A Spell On You (October 26, 2021)

"I Put A Spell On You" is the debut recording of Funky Ella a Paris based sextet lead by American jazz musicians Leslie Lewis (voice) and Gerard Hagen (piano/arranger). Along with four in-demand musicians from the Parisian scene - Peter Giron (contrebasse) Nicolas Peslier (guitar) Mourad Benhammou (batterie) and Jean-Philippe Naeder (percussion) - they perform music that is steeped in jazz and R&B but is all about the groove.

1.) I Put A Spell On You (Jalacy "Screamin' Jay" Hawkins) 5'45
2.) Have You Seen The Child   (Al Jarreau) 4'51
3.) Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) 6'21
4.) Work Song  ( Nat Adderley- Oscar Brown Jr) 3'27
5.) To Love Somebody   (Barry & Robin Gibb) 6'21
6.) Sinnerman  (Will Holt) 5'24
7.) Come Together  (John Lennon & Paul McCartney) 6'19
8.) Feelin' Good (Anthony Newley- Leslie Bricusse) 4'57

Leslie Lewis (vocal)
Gérard Hagen (piano)
Peter Giron (bass)
Nicolas Peslier (guitar)
Mourad Benhamou (drums)
Jean Philippe Naeder (percussion)

Recorded at:
Studio de Meudon Paris
Sami Bouvet Engineener
Antoine Aubier Assistant Engineer

Mixed & Mastered at:
Studio “J” Jerry Kalaf Mixing Engineer

Guido Spannocchi / Martin Siewert / Gina Schwarz / Matheus Jardim - ease & ooze (2021 Chant Records)

ease & ooze is the debut album from four of Europe’s most exciting contemporary improvisers: Guido Spannocchi (alto sax), Martin Siewert (guitar, effects), Gina Schwarz (electric bass, prepared electric bass) and Matheus Jardim (drums). Spanning genres, generations, genders, histories and continents, Spannocchi Siewert Schwarz Jardim had never been in the same room let alone played music together before the recording of this album. Tracked in an afternoon at Audiomanufaktur Studios (Vienna) and without cuts, edits or overdubs, ease & ooze beautifully captures the spontaneous creation of distinct compositions and soundscapes. It is a four-way musical conversation illustrating the elusive truth that playing together is always secondary to listening together.

1. Prelude
2. Allegro
3. Triple Axle
4. Scherzo
5. Coda

All songs collectively spontaneously composed by:
Guido Spannocchi alto saxophone
Martin Siewert guitar, slide guitar, effects
Gina Schwarz electric bass
Matheus Jardim drums

Recorded at Audiomanufaktur Vienna by Florian Jauker, mixed and mastered by Martin Siewert

Artwork screenprint on 35mm film by Julia Vogl 2021

Guido Spannocchi is endorsed by Austrian Audio, Corry Bros Mouthpieces UK and Marca Reeds France