Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Nublu Orchestra conducted by Butch Morris - Live at Joe's Pub NYC (December 2021 Nublu Records)

Once upon a time, for a few years at the dawn of the 21st century, Avenue C in New York City's East Village had its own Zubin Mehta, its own Herbert Von Karajan, its own Daniel Barenboim. He was a veteran of both the Vietnam War and, even more heroically, NYC's avant-garde jazz scene. His name was Lawrence "Butch" Morris and he was a well-established legend. The orchestra he conducted and the repertoire they played differed considerably from those employed by the above-named gentlemen in style, substance, tools and content. It was a motley crew of musicians from a wide array of backgrounds, styles, disciplines and genres, and the music he drew out of them, far from a set-in-stone catalog of well-established pieces from the European classical tradition, was informed by jazz improvisation, feeding off of the electricity of the streets around them and spontaneously creating the sound of NOW, on the fly and out of thin air, brought to life by each exacting stroke of Butch's baton. Each performance was a unique moment never to be repeated and there were no "hits" you were guaranteed to hear. But the recordings of these performances are revelatory and give a strong sense of something strange, new, mysterious and wonderful about to happen, or that's happening already, and these are the recordings, made all around the world, that Nublu Records is now presenting to you.

The history of Butch Morris and the Nublu Orchestra goes back to the late 90s and the friendship between Butch and Nublu's founder and owner, musician Ilhan Ersahin. Butch and Ilhan became great friends and Butch was present at the very inception of the club. Butch actually became, along with the legendary Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, a patron saint of sorts for Nublu, except that Butch stopped in for his customary nightcap every single night and regaled everybody with his hip, knowing, offbeat wisdom and humor. The kind you'd expect from a man who once released an album called "Current Trends In Racism In Modern America (A Work In Progress)." Several years into the club's existence after its official 2002 opening, with a core roster of musicians, bands and DJs having quickly begun to establish itself, the idea came up to form a supergroup of sorts, or more ambitiously, an orchestra, comprised of players who were at the club on a weekly and often daily basis, to be conducted by Butch. But instead of playing the cornet he was known for, Butch would conduct all these players in a very strict and demanding (but loving) way, not just waving a baton but getting what he wanted from a particular player by using nothing more than a glance. Players came to recognize these glances and fear them, not wanting to be singled out during the inevitable band meetings/pep speeches/dressing downs Butch would administer in the basement band room between sets. The Nublu Orchestra also distinguished itself via the use of beats and electronics that were brought in by different contributors, and which also served to distinguish the Nublu Orchestra from Butch's other Conduction work, which he had pioneered and was noted for.

It wasn't long before Butch had whipped the Nublu Orchestra into good enough shape to take on the road to the world beyond Avenue C and the dozen recordings being released now were taped all over: Bergamo, Paris, São Paulo, Lisbon, Rome, Skopje, Saalfaden, Pomigliano, Sant'Anna Arresi and good old NYC at Nublu where it all began, and also at Joe's Pub. The 12th title in the series is called "Encores" and consists of just that, brief encores performed at assorted shows around the world. Butch conducted the Orchestra for the final time in 2012 and sadly passed away in January 2013. His spirit (as well as a giant portrait of him) still permeates Nublu, both its original location and its newer location at 151 Avenue C, as well as on the fantastic recordings that Nublu Records is very proud to now present to you. 

1. Conduction No. Unknown 42:39

Recorded live at Joe's Pub New York City on an unknown date in 2004.

Line Up:

Lawrence D. ‘Butch’ Morris (Conduction)
Sabina Sciubba (Vocal)
Graham Haynes (Cornet)
Eddie Henderson (Trumpet)
Clark Gayton (Trombone)
Ilhan Ersahin (Tenor Saxophone)
Jonathon Haffner (Alto Saxophone)
Jana Andevska (Violin)
Thor Madsen (Guitar)
Jessie Murphy (Bass)
Didi Gutman (Keyboards)
Kenny Wollesen (Drums)


Project Coordinator: Velibor Pedevski
Mastered by Thor Madsen at Mazza Mansion, Copenhagen 2020
Cover Art by Ertac Uygun
℗ & © 2021, Nublu Records

Alister Spence / Joe Williamson / Christopher Cantillo - Curve (December 2021)

‘Brilliant musicianship, masterful playing and imaginative improvisational skills.’ Eyal Hareuveni, Salt Peanuts

‘Distinctive cohesiveness’ John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald

‘The hope is that this trio didn’t just “Begin” but will continue to make CDs like this for a long time.’ Ken Waxman, The Wholenote

Curve, is the second release by Australian pianist Spence, and Canadian born ex-pat Joe Williamson, and Christopher Cantillo from Sweden.

The trio first met in 2009 when Spence was invited to play at the Vilnius Jazz Festival. Since then, they have performed in 2011, 2013, and 2015, in Sweden, Norway, and the UK, as a trio, and with sax players Raymond MacDonald (Scotland), and Daniel Rourke (Australia).

1. Örnsberg Songbook 1 00:53
2. Deflect 04:59
3. Opening 08:42
4. Örnsberg Songbook 2 01:53
5. Slow Spin 07:55
6. Point of Rest 06:54
7. Örnsberg Songbook 3 00:43
8. Modulus 08:21
9. Generation 07:26
10. Örnsberg Songbook 4 01:01
11. Distribution 07:50
12. Örnsberg Songbook 5 01:31

Alister Spence – piano, prepared piano
Joe Williamson – double bass
Christopher Cantillo – drums, percussion

Recorded at Ton & Tråd, Örnsberg, Sweden on 24th February 2011
Mixed by Tim Whitten, November 2016
Mastered by Doug Henderson, September 2021
Producer: Alister Spence
Design: Cheryl Orsini
Cover and disc photographs: Alister Spence
Recording ©: 2021 Alister Spence
Artwork ©: 2021 Alister Spence
©All rights reserved
High quality audio files available for download: 24bit 48kHz

Jean​-​Charles Capon / Philippe Maté / Lawrence "Butch" Morris / Serge Rahoerson - Jean​-​Charles Capon / Philippe Maté / Lawrence "Butch" Morris / Serge Rahoerson (souffle continu records)

In November 1976, Jef Gilson’s phone rang. What a surprise! It was Serge Rahoerson, one of the musicians he had met in Madagascar at the end of the 60s and who had played on his first album “Malagasy”. Rahoerson announced that he was in Paris for a few days. Immediately, Jef wanted to organise a recording session, starting the next day. He thought of a trio including Serge, Eddy Louiss on organ and cellist Jean-Charles Capon, who had also been on one of the trips to Tananarive and so had also known Rahoerson there.

Unfortunately, Eddy Louiss –who had already played with Gilson and Capon on the album “Bill Coleman Sings And Plays 12 Negro Spirituals” in 1968- had to drop out at the last minute: he was delayed by a session with Claude Nougaro. Jean-Charles Capon had also become a sought-after studio musician since his trip to Madagascar in 1969. He appeared on several key albums on the Saravah label including the now famous “Comme À La Radio” by Brigitte Fontaine, “Un Beau Matin” by Areski and “Chorus” by Michel Roques, without mentioning the album by his own Baroque Jazz Trio. He was also to be found with Jef Gilson for his album on Vogue with the ex-drummer from Miles Davis’ first great quintet, Philly Joe Jones, or also in the orchestra led by Jean-Claude Vannier for the album “Nino Ferrer & Leggs”. He also played regularly on albums by Georges Moustaki.

Jean-Charles Capon and Serge Rahoerson found themselves thus in the studio, with Jef at the controls. He had decided to record the rhythmic structure right away. He would find the soloists later, that didn’t worry him. Serge Rahoerson was on drums. Though a saxophonist by training, Jef remembered that Serge was also capable of great things behind a drum kit: he was the improvised drummer on their cover of “The Creator Has A Master Plan” on the album “Malagasy”... The great memories came flooding back (the nod on the title “Orly - Ivato”), and the old magic worked again.

Brought in momentarily from Europamerica, Gilson’s new big band, in which JC Capon also played, the saxophonists Philippe Maté, from France (another Saravah stablemate) and the American Butch Morris (soon to be a key member of David Murray’s band) were invited to record their parts later and Gilson mixed it all as if it had been one single session (as he had already done on other albums, with the tracks by Christian Vander recorded before the creation and success of Magma).

The album would not appear until 1977, on Palm, Jef’s own label, and was dedicated to the memory of Georges Rahoerson, Serge’s father, who had also played on the album “Malagasy” and who had died prematurely at the age of 51 in 1974.

“I only received my own copy of the album in 1981 when I came to live in France definitively”, a still-moved Serge Rahoerson told us in 2013. “I was playing in a club one night and Jef turned up by surprise with a copy of the album for me, I was so pleased to see him again. When I arrived in France, I told everyone that I had played with Jef Gilson a few years previously, and I was surprised to learn that so few people knew of him. For us, he was of one of the great jazz visionaries.”

Jérôme “Kalcha” Simonneau

1. Spanish Cake Walk 04:59
2. Blues For Guy Labory 06:15
3. Orly - Ivato 06:44
4. Complainte 06:25
5. Mode De Fa - Salegy Drums Solo 11:10

Jacques Thollot - Watch Devil Go (souffle continu records)


To write these few lines, we spoke to saxophonist François Jeanneau, an old friend of Jacques Thollot who also played on several of his albums, including the “Watch Devil Go” which interests us here. He told us a story which, according to him, sums up the personality of Thollot. A noted studio had reserved three days for a Thollot recording session. The first morning was devoted to sound checks and putting some order in the score sheets which Jacques would hand out in a somewhat anarchic manner. Then everyone went for lunch. When the musicians returned to the studio, Thollot had disappeared. He wasn’t seen again for the three days. When he reappeared, he had already forgotten why he had left, The music of Jacques Thollot is in the image of its’ author: it takes you somewhere, suddenly escapes and disappears, returning in an unexpected place as if nothing had happened.

Four years after a first album on the Futura label in 1971, Jacques Thollot returned, this time on the Palm label of Jef Gilson, still with just as much surrealist poetry in his jazz. In thirty-five minutes and a few seconds, the French composer and drummer, who had been on the scene since he was thirteen, established himself as a link between Arnold Schoenberg and Don Cherry. Resistant to any imposed
framework and always excessive, Thollot allows himself to do anything and everything: suspended time of an extraordinary delicacy, a stealthy explosion of the brass section, hallucinatory improvisation of the synthesisers, tight writing, teetering on the classical, and in the middle of all that, a hit; the title-track - that Madlib would one day end up hearing and sampling.

“Watch Devil Go” was in the right place in the Palm catalogue, which welcomed the cream of the French avant-garde in the 70s. But it is also the story of a long friendship between two men. Jacques Thollot and Jef Gilson had known and respected one another for a long time. Though barely sixteen years old, Thollot was already on drums on the first albums by Gilson starting in 1963 and would play in his big band (alongside François Jeanneau once again), ‘Europamerica’, until the end of the 70s.

In a career lasting half a century and centred on freedom Jacques Thollot played with the most important experimental musicians (Don Cherry, Sonny Sharrock, Michel Roques, Barney Wilen, Steve Lacy, François Tusques, Michel Portal, Jac Berrocal, Noël Akchoté...) and they all heard in him a pulsation coming from another world.

Jérôme "Kalcha" Simonneau 

1. Kanêphoros 01:22
2. Up-Down 01:59
3. Watch Devil Go 03:16
4. In Extenso 07:05
5. Go Mind 01:44
6. Tryptique Pour La Foire Des Ténèbres De Ray Bradburry 02:32
7. Le Ciel Manque de Généalogie 00:43
8. Kamikaze's Nightmare 03:00
9. Entre Java et Tombok 02:08
10. Eddy G. Always Present 00:57
11. Before In 00:41
12. Eleven 01:04
13. La Dynastie des Wittelsbach 03:45
14. 1883-1975, Heavens 00:45
15. Au Stylo Feutre, Un Paysage 02:58
16. Canéphore 01:34

Alain Coyral / Akoy Kartet - Tous les Quatre

1. Cassandre 06:04
2. Nom de code 07:00
3. Daft Mood 04:49
4. Cool 04:30
5. To Troy 07:24
6. Tous les Quatre 04:32
7. Chérie Chérie 06:31
8. Joe 06:05

Alain Coyral (Soprano and tenor sax, composition)
Sebastien "Iep"Arruti (Trombone)
Serge Moulinier (Keys)
Christophe Jodet (Bass)
Didier Ottaviani (Drums)

Chris Morrissey - Impact Winter Formal (December 2021 Edition Records)

Described by Chicago Reader as “casually clearing the way for one potential path for jazz to progress into the future”, Chris Morrisey is a musician with an uncanny ability to blend styles and genres. Informed as much by alternative music of the 90s like Elliot Smith and Bjork as contemporary Jazz of that era, it was the presence of Happy Apple, the hyper original punk Jazz group from Minnesota (Dave King, Michael Lewis and Erik Fratzke) that installed his sense of what was possible in music.

This new set of work, his fifth record as a leader, represents his most authentic blend of all his influences in one melting pot. Here’s a musician as adept as a singer-songwriter as an improvising Jazz musician and composer.

With Impact Winter Formal, he gives up on straddling two genre worlds and instead has both feet firmly planted in a totally new one that is personal and looking-forward, complex but immediate, tuneful and inspiring. The result is brilliant, engaging and emotive featuring some of the most interesting and creative contemporary musicians in New York including Philip Dizack, Ryan Ferreira, Dan Rieser, Jon Cowherd, Josh Dion, Grey McMurray and Jason Rigby.

1. Don't Look so Serious 05:02
2. The Indigos 07:38
3. Ode to All Night 06:47
4. It's Cruel That It Ends 06:00

Chris Morrissey - Bass and Singing
Philip Dizack - Trumpet
Ryan Ferreira - Guitar
Dan Rieser - Drums
Jon Cowherd - Piano

except on THE INDIGOS, which is Chris Morrissey, Bass and Singing - Philip Dizack, Trumpet - Josh Dion, Drums - Grey McMurray, Guitar - Jason Rigby, Saxophone

All songs by Chris Morrissey (chris morrissey music, bmi)

Recorded at The Bunker Studio in Brooklyn, New York between February 2019 and April 2021

Recorded and co-produced by John Davis

Mixed by John Davis at The Bunker Studio in April 2021