Monday, March 7, 2022

Latarnik - Marianna (March 29, 2022 Astigmatic Records)

Marek Pędziwiatr has been part of the scene for over a decade now. He has gained recognition thanks to projects such as EABS and Błoto & Jaubi. Still, he has never emphasized his name through the prism of these bands, betting instead on collective work. The time has come now for Marek to present his debut album entitled Marianna, featuring him alone as Latarnik performing in a piano solo formula.

Being sought after for years as a producer for other artists and as a composer and keyboardist for his own bands, he put his solo work on hold. In between all these activities, "Latarnik" was emerging slowly in Marek's head. Under his new alias, along with the Pakistani band Jaubi, he recorded one of the most important albums of 2021, Nafs at Peace, recognised by Pitchfork, The Guardian, DownBeat and Bandcamp.

Latarnik, repeatedly awarded in Jazz Forum magazine's polls as Poland's greatest synth virtuoso, decided to reveal himself to listeners from a completely different angle. Influenced by the sound of solo recordings by Thelonious Monk, Ahmad Jamal, McCoy Tyner and Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, he gave up electronics in order to record (in an intimate way) a debut album commemorating his great-grandmother, using a hundred-year-old Steinway & Sons grand piano and analogue tape.

The encounter with the main character begins in Maradtken (now Maradki), a place hard to find on the map, yet offering a very interesting story of remembrance and passing. In the early Iron Age a fortified settlement built by the people of the West Baltic Barrow culture was located there and it was bustling with life for many more centuries. The village was partially destroyed in the 18th century after a cholera cemetery had been established there. Around 1800, on a small hill a remarkable mill was built that remained a focal point of residents' life up until the outbreak of the Second World War.
Marianna was Masurian. She was born in 1898, under Prussian rule, into a Polish- and German-speaking family. She spent her youth among Evangelicals being a devout Catholic herself, at the same time practicing traditional folk rites. She could cure people, she collected herbs, prepared potions and cast spells against illnesses. She had her own philosophy of life based on folk wisdom, which constituted a decalogue of her own, but she also relied on the extraordinary protection of the "Most Holy Mother of God". Marianna passed away at the age of 88, shortly before Marek was born. He only knew her from family stories which he then encapsulated in the emotional piano compositions on the album. Marianna is no longer with us, nor is the wooden mill in Maradki. In spite of this, the remembrance and peculiar recipes for life live on in the family, just as the afterimages of history in the old photographs from Maradtken have survived. Her story is universal: one of identity and wandering, of terror, the trauma of war, and perpetual scarcity. It is the story of an entire generation to which Marianna belonged passed on to us by our grandparents.

The Marianna album will be released by Astigmatic Records on CD and LP in both regular and limited (B1 poster included) editions, as well as on all streaming platforms. The release of the album is scheduled for Piano Day - March 29, 2022. 

1. Maradki (Sabat)
2. Panna
3. Antoni
4. Głód
5. Marta
6. Strach 1945
7. Wspomnienie
8. Berlin
9. Zniknięcie

Latarnik - Steinway & Sons piano

All the pieces were recorded on 03-04/11/2021 at Radio Opole's Studio M. im SBB.
Sound engineer: Andrzej Czubiński and Paweł Patyniak
Mix: Andrzej Czubiński
Mastering: Marco at Analogcut
Executive producer, A&R, manager: Sebastian Jóźwiak
Photos: Hubert Misiaczyk, Pędziwiatr family archive.
Graphic design: Dagna Okrzyńska

Ken Vandermark - Snapshots: Volume 4 | Poland (March 15, 2022 Catalytic-Sound)

All income generated from the sale of "Snapshots: Volume 4/Poland" will be sent to Marek (Mark) Tokar, Ukrainian bassist and friend living in Lviv, who has just joined the army to defend his country; as well as any Ukrainian humanitarian aid organizations he suggests.

Kilogram Records is excited to present “Snapshots: Volume 4/Poland,” the final installment of Ken Vandermark’s series of limited edition, 7-inch singles of improvised solo music, released during 2021 and the first part of 2022.

Each 45 contains four improvisations which use Ken’s full instrumentation: tenor & baritone sax, Bb & bass clarinet. The recordings have been issued by Kilogram at three-month intervals since March of 2021, include cover art from photographs that Ken has taken during his international touring schedule, and each single has been dedicated to countries that have had tremendous impact on his work: Japan, Austria, Brazil and, now, Poland. The music for the first three editions of the “Snapshots” project was created at Ken’s home in Chicago, on volume one by presenting four “micro-improvisations,” on the second installment by overdubbing improvisations to create duos, and on the third by extending the overdubbing principle to develop trios.

In late autumn of 2021, Ken was able to return to Poland to perform for the first time after a two year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The idea of recording the final edition of “Snapshots” in the country whose artists helped influence the material seemed ideal. After the five solo concerts that took place at the end of October, which utilized compositions written for his album, The Field Within A Line (Corbett vs. Dempsey), he spent a day recording in a country home outside of Gdansk. Ken realized that, in order to record quartets for “Snapshots: Volume 4/Poland,” all four improvised components would need total clarity, otherwise the superimposed results would sound like mud. The solution was to put each instrument into a different sonic register, while playing against expectations and conventions (for example, creating a baritone part for its highest range and a Bb clarinet part in its lowest). The strategy worked, and provided a fitting conclusion to a set of musical statements unlike any in Ken’s career, that are dedicated to the Polish artist Katarzyna Kobro, writer Stanisław Lem, composer Witold Lutosławski, and good friend and record/concert producer, Marek Winiarski.

Every volume in the series has been pressed in a hand numbered edition of 100 copies, at 40 PLN, or $10 each, with digital versions selling at 20 PLN, or $5. European fans can order copies of Snapshots 4 directly from Kilogram (, and from Catalytic Sound, which also represents North American distribution ( The entire project will be compiled on a CD, also to be released by Kilogram, that will collect all the material from each single, plus bonus tracks that did not fit onto the initial 45s, adding to the range of this unique set of recordings.

Kilogram Records will officially release “Snapshots: Volume 4/Poland” on March 15th. Each previous edition sold out almost immediately, and pre-orders of the final installment are being accepted now.


The Snapshots series began in the spring of 2021 as a special solo music project proposed by Ola Trzaska for Kilogram records. During a good part of 2020, I had been developing a new system for the solo format, something that I had wanted to work on for several years and which I finally realized because there was little else possible due to the onset of Covid. That material was compositionally based and documented in September of 2020 on the album, The Field Within A Line, released by Corbett vs. Dempsey. To be honest, when Ola presented the idea of creating another set of solo music after a year of doing little else, I knew it was going to be a challenge.

Then, taking Man Ray’s phrase, “I have no problems, I only have solutions,” to heart, I started to look at the parameters of what Ola had proposed: a series of four 7” singles to be released at regular intervals over the course of a year. One of the creative difficulties was the time limitations presented by a 45. After the C vs. D album, with pieces designed to be reconfigured into longer compositions, writing new music that had to be within three to four minutes in order to fit on a side of a single seemed too restricting. By chance, Damon Locks introduced me to the Quakers recording, Supa K: Heavy Tremors, at the same time as I was trying to figure out what to do for the Snapshots project. The longest of fifty tracks on that Quakers album is 1:45, and the average tune length is about 60 seconds. It then struck me- why not approach a 45 of improvised music in a similar way, by creating two "micro-improvisations" of about a minute and a half each per side, every piece using a different instrument?

That idea was realized on Snapshots: Volume 1/Japan. The initial strategy quickly evolved on Volume 2/Austria, by overdubbing my improvisations to create duos, a concept inspired by the album I did with Nate Wooley in the summer of 2021, The Chicago Manual of Style (Superpang), where we developed material by sharing music files and layering the parts. The next edition, Volume 3/Brazil, extended the overdubbing principle to trios. Surprisingly, I found that the process was not an additive one (like on the second edition, where 1+1=2), but was much more similar to Sergei Eisenstein’s concept of montage (where A+B=C). When the first two improvisations were layered together they created a unique, single artifact that the third needed to respond to. Understanding that principle prepared me for Snapshots: Volume 4/Poland, and helped me organize an effective recording strategy that incorporated 4 components on every piece.

The music for the first three editions of the Snapshots series was created at my home in Chicago. In late autumn of 2021, I was able to return to Poland to play concerts for the first time in two years . The idea of recording the final volume of the series in the country whose artists inspired the material seemed like an ideal way to complete the project. After a series of five solo performances that took place at the end of October, where I worked with compositions written for The Field Within A Line, I borrowed Mikołaj Trzaska’s baritone sax and bass clarinet, and spent a day recording at the Trzaska’s country home outside of Gdansk. In addition to what had been learned from working on the third edition of the series, I realized that all four improvised components needed for each piece would demand total clarity, otherwise the results could sound like mud. The solution to this problem was to focus on “range” and put each instrument into a different sonic register, while also playing against expectations and conventions (for example, creating a baritone part for its highest range and a Bb clarinet part in its lowest). The strategy worked, and gave a fitting conclusion to a set of musical statements that are unlike any I’ve made.

I’d like to thank Ola Trzaska for the opportunity to create the Snapshots project for Kilogram. It will conclude with a CD compilation of all the singles, along with a number of bonus tracks that would not fit on the original albums. It’s also important for me to state how important Poland has been for me as a source of inspiration for many years, as a place to work and to meet so many creative and generous individuals. The pieces on Snapshots: Volume 4/Poland are dedicated to just a few of them.

-Ken Vandermark, Chicago

1. Doskonała próżnia [A Perfect Vacuum] (for Stanisław Lem) / Gry zamiast łańcuchów [Games Not Chains] (for Witold Lutosławski) 03:12

2. Tancerz i taniec [The Dancer And The Dance] (for Marek Winiarski) / Koniec [The End] (for Katarzyna Kobro) 03:16

All music by Ken Vandermark (Twenty First Mobile Music/ASCAP-Cien Fuegos)
Performed on tenor sax, bass clarinet, Bb clarinet, and baritone sax

Recorded by Ken Vandermark at the Trzaska’s country home outside of Gdansk on November 2nd, 2021.  Mixed by Ken Vandermark with assistance from Ola Trzaska. Mastered by Dave Zuchowski at One Room Studio.  

Design by Iwona and Paweł Duczmal

Aaron Parks / Matt Brewer / Eric Harland - Volume One (March 2022)

In August of 2021, Eric Harland, Matt Brewer and I got together for an impromptu recording session. We didn’t rehearse, or talk much about the music, or listen back after takes; after such a long period of pandemic isolation and remote music-making, it felt restorative to just play in real time without any agenda. The three of us have been friends for over twenty years now and have a deep history both on and off the bandstand, and I think that you can hear that sense of fellowship in the music. There’s something playful and imperfect and joyous and raw in these recordings, and we hope they bring some measure of happiness to you as you listen.

1. Greetings 06:31
2. All The Things You Are 07:18
3. Aspiring to Normalcy 09:13
4. Centering 03:51
5. Maiden 09:13
6. Eleftheria 07:02
7. Of Our Time 05:42

Aaron Parks, piano
Matt Brewer, bass
Eric Harland, drums

Recorded by Josh Guinta at GSI Studios
Mixed by Chris Allen
Mastered by Nate Wood

"Greetings" and "Eleftheria" are by Aaron Parks
"All The Things You Are" is by Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II
"Aspiring to Normalcy" and "Of Our Time" are by Matt Brewer
"Centering" is by Frank Kimbrough
"Maiden" is by Eric Harland

Biodad - Long Live Biodad (March 2022)

March 2022 marks the third anniversary of the death of Justin Haynes.

Biodad was a duo comprised of me, Felicity Williams (voice), and Justin Haynes (guitar). In many ways the project had already failed; we couldn’t seem to get it off the ground. We made and then abandoned a plan to record 100 songs. All that survives from those sessions is a handful of half-finished mixes, the best of which are available here. Thanks to Jean Martin for sprucing up the mp3s, and to Deirdre O’Sullivan for her support.

For much of his adult life, Justin faced significant challenges with mental health and addiction. As I'm sure many have experienced in many contexts, with him there were moments of sublime collaboration and deep pitfalls of hurt and confusion. It's hard to assess what it all amounts to. I miss Justin, as I know many people do.


"This collection is being released as a fundraiser for the Tranzac (a non-profit arts centre in Toronto that is a real hub for a sprawling community of musicians). Justin had a special relationship with the Tranzac. He performed there often in the early-mid 2000s, and eventually worked there as a cleaner. As with many of Justin’s special relationships, this one became complicated, and Justin was banned from entering the premises for the last ten-plus years of his life. This might be a stretch, but I see that relationship as symbolic of Justin’s involvement with the music community as a whole. He stood apart and was in constant dialogue with it, even when he was (at times) not welcome. As someone who loves both the Tranzac and Justin, I see this recording as an appropriate reunion." 
-Nick Fraser, March 2022 


"Biodad is not a singer plus accompanist, but two musicians in dialogue; two musicians engaged more than anything, in listening.

Biodad is a great admirer of the duos of Ran Blake and Jeanne Lee; Norma Winstone and John Taylor; Ornette Coleman and Charlie Haden; Gary Peacock and Bill Frisell; Sidsel Endresen and Django Bates; Ivor Cutler and Phyllis King, Loren Mazzacane Connors and Suzanne Langille, Arto Lindsay and himself."

- Justin Haynes


"Low Road" is a demo Justin had sent me, which I only recently discovered when I was going through old emails. I hope many more remnant Haynes recordings surface in the years to come.


1. Time Remembered 04:52
2. Rise Up, My Love 01:51
3. Down The Line 05:07
4. Low Road 01:26
5. I'll Never Stop Loving You 03:57

Felicity Williams (voice)
Justin Haynes (guitar)

Joe McPhee / Michael Bisio / Fredrick Lonberg-Holm / Juma Sultan - The Sweet Spot (March 2022 Catalytic-Sound)

1. Malachai [11:20]
2. AMS [6:27]
3. Free 3 [5:32]
4. Human Being [6:05]
5. e320 [9:28]
6. The Sweet Spot [5:43]
7. For Django [9:56]

Recorded by Ken Helmlinger on January 26th 2021 at Hurley, New York, USA

Cello – Fredrick Lonberg-Holm
Double Bass – Michael Bisio
Percussion – Juma Sultan
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Vocals – Joe McPhee

Mastering: Jean-Pierre Bouquet, L’autre Studio, Vaires-sur Marne, FR
Poem: Joe McPhee
Liner notes: Michel Dorbon
Photograph: Albert Brooks
Cover design: Max Schoendorff
Cover realization: David Bourguignon
Executive producer: Michel Dorbon

Dave Rempis / Elisabeth Harnik / Michael Zerang - Astragaloi (March 2022 Catalytic-Sound)


This trio didn’t know how lucky they had it. They were certainly happy to perform again when this concert was recorded at the ArtActs Festival in St Johan Austria in early March 2020. Although their first outing was back in 2013 in Harnik’s hometown of Graz - a live concert broadcast through the Austrian National Radio/ORF, the band has had a sporadic performance history. So the opportunity to reunite for this festival performance was already special. Little did they know what lay ahead though, with a pandemic that was actually breaking out right around them in the Alpine ski areas of Tirol, Austria, an epicenter that would soon be tied to COVID’s spread around Europe by international vacationers. This opening night of ArtActs ‘20 would be one of those last care-free times, when one could sit until the wee hours at the bar with friends, celebrating a night of music- making with laughter and cheer, and with no concern for a shared breath.

Thankfully, these three took advantage of the opportunity to produce a stellar document of their performance. Astragaloi is the third release by this trio formation, after the digital-only Wistfully which came out in 2016 on Aerophonic, and 2020’s Triple Tube issued on cd by Not Two. While some of those records have flown under the radar because of the trio’s sparse performance schedule, that doesn’t diminish the musical simpatico that these three have enjoyed for years. Ever since Harnik’s introduction to the Chicago scene at the 2008 Umbrella Music Festival when she was a featured visiting artist, she’s actively maintained the relationships she built there, including with Rempis and Zerang. Aside from their work as a trio, all three have worked together in duo contexts since that first meeting.

On Astragaloi, it may be Harnik’s wide-ranging abilities that tie things together in such an astounding way. At one moment her preparations inside the piano turn the instrument into a quietly percussive zither, while at another her full- throated insistence at the keyboard draws out the resonance of a full orchestra. Skittering, plucking, pounding, caressing. And while she has the sheer energy to keep up with Rempis’ firebreathing tendencies, she also knows how to rein him in to quieter, more abstract spaces that explore breathy nuance and pinpoint texture. Zerang meanwhile displays the singular approach that he’s developed on the drum kit, rooted in his Middle Eastern upbringing and the significant abilities as a hand percussionist that he developed early on. That approach frees him as an improviser from so many of the tropes common to “drummers,” as he pushes the instrument beyond groove to focus on color, density, articulation, dynamics, and drive, in a way that creates an uncommon unity within the group. There are no specialized duties here, all three of these improvisers roll up their sleeves to keep the narrative momentum moving forward using every tool at their disposal.

Astragaloi is a joint release between Aerophonic and Idyllic Noise in Austria, which releases the same material on vinyl later this spring!! 

1. Milkvetch 09:55
2. Macateta 05:07
3. Locoweed 04:16
4. Lafo Litupa 14:44
5. Goats-thorn 07:39

Recorded at ArtActs Festival in Sankt Johan in Tirol, Austria, March 6th, 2020

Dave Rempis – alto/tenor saxophone
Elisabeth Harnik – piano
Michael Zerang – drums/percussion

Recorded and mixed by Markus Massinger
Mastered by Dave Zuchowski
Design by Make Amazing
Produced by Dave Rempis

Fennessy / Bishop / Smith - CERBERUS: BARK / BITE (March 2022 Balance Point Acoustics)

1. BARK 22:06
2. BITE 24:51

Sean C. Fennessy - cornet/stuff
Jeb Bishop - trombone/things
Damon Smith - double bass/objects

Recorded live at Machines with Magnets, Pawtucket Ri May/December 2018

Sun Ra & His Arkestra - Omniverse (Expanded) March 2022

Omniverse, recorded in New York in 1979 and released that year on Sun Ra's Saturn label, has been gathering dust for too long. It's a fine, overlooked item in the vast Ra catalog. The tracks aren't so much compositions as they are excursions, with only a few memorable themes or recurring motifs. It's pure jazz, somewhat "inside" (for Sun Ra), with little of the aggressiveness and confrontation for which the bandleader was known. (Track 5, "Visitant of the Ninth Ultimate," is an exception.) Omniverse is a very intimate album, offering lots of reflective piano in trio, quartet, and quintet settings, with spare horns. But instead of exhibiting a keyboard showcase, Sun Ra engages in dynamic interplay with the rhythm section. Moreover, the horns are featured largely as soloists; there are few ensemble passages.

Three of the works (tracks 3, 4 and 5) exist as recordings only on this album; there are no documented concert performances of these titles. "West End Side of Magic City" (a reference to the bandleader's birth town of Birmingham, Alabama) doesn't reappear in the known repertoire for twelve years—it surfaces at a May 1991 Atlanta concert, and was reprised in August at a New York club date (for which the piece was announced from the stage as "Vita Number 5"). "The Place of Five Points" is known to have been performed at a smattering of gigs between 1985-1988.

The massive and authoritative Campbell/Trent discography, The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra (2nd ed.) lists personnel provided retrospectively by drummer Samarai Celestial, whose account includes two baritone saxophones and trumpet on tracks 4 and 5, as well as Ra overdubbing drums on 5. However, no baritone or trumpet can be heard on either track, although there are baritone and muted trumpet on track 3, and there is a second drummer on track 1. (This is not a knock on The Earthly Recordings, which is encyclopedic in scope, and which has required the authors to sort through contradictions, uncertainties, and unknowables inherent in the cosmic legacy of Sun Ra.) An LP copy with a plain white label turned up on eBay, and bears a circular pen inscription indicating six musicians, who are listed here.
There was no official album sleeve for the Omniverse LP. Existing copies feature hand-artwork and pasted graphics on generic cardboard sleeves. One of these has been adapted for the "cover" of this digital release.

The 2021 Modern Harmonic CD edition included two bonus tracks, both of which were issued for the first time on two of our expanded digital releases: a Sun Ra solo piano rendition of "Over the Rainbow," one of Sunny's favorite and often-performed standards. This performance originated from Germany's Moers Music Festival in June 1979, and was added to our digital remastering of the all-solo piano album AURORA BOREALIS. Finally, "The Sound Mirror," featuring the Arkestra, is not the version which appeared as the title track on Saturn #19782 in 1978. This performance, believed to date from late 1977 or early 1978, features a tighter arrangement and greater sonic clarity. We first issued it on the digital remastering of TAKING A CHANCE ON CHANCES. The versions of both tracks are identical to the digital versions found on those two albums, so pardon the overlap.

– I.C.

NOTE: This is a 2021 remaster of Omniverse, which is also available from Modern Harmonic on LP and CD. The CD and digital editions contain two bonus tracks (details below). The following liner notes are adapted from our 2015 five-track digital reissue of the original Saturn album.

1. Place of Five Points 04:17
2. West End Side of Magic City 05:58
3. Dark Lights in a White Forest 10:42
4. Omniverse 08:33
5. Visitant of the Ninth Ultimate 09:25
6. Over the Rainbow (piano solo) 02:54
7. The Sound Mirror (live 1977) 09:02

All tracks produced by Sun Ra
Produced for reissue by Irwin Chusid

Tracks 1 thru 5 recorded at Variety Recording Studios, New York, September 1979
Track 6 recorded at the Moers Music Festival, Germany, June 1979
Track 7 recording date and location unknown, ca. 1977-78

Sun Ra: piano, 2nd drums (1)
John Gilmore: tenor sax (1–5)
Michael Ray: trumpet (3)
Charles Davis: baritone sax (3)
Hayes Burnett: bass (1–5)
Samarai Celestial [Eric Walker]: drums (1–5)

Personnel on track 7 can be identified if you know the styles of Ra's sidemen.

Digital restoration by I.C.
Mastering by Joe Lizzi

All titles composed by Sun Ra © Enterplanetary Koncepts (BMI)
except "Over the Rainbow" by Arlen & Harburg © EMI Feist
Issued under license from Sun Ra LLC. Thanks to Thomas Jenkins, Jr.

Cover design by Irwin Chusid and Jon Hunt, adapted from a hand-colored Saturn sleeve