martes, 27 de septiembre de 2016

Tim Berne's Snakeoil - Anguis Oleum (2016)



The last time we heard from the masterful Snakeoil, it was on 2015’s You’ve Been Watching Me, a widely-acclaimed recording that perfectly captured the sizzling, enigmatic energy of Berne’s quartet. Anguis Oleum, their newest release, was originally paired with Berne and artist Steve Byram’s limited-edition collection of drawings and photographs, Spare. Now, it’s available for download on the Snakeoil Bandcamp page, and everyone can get a taste of what this group sounds like when it loosens the reins a bit. Anguis Oleum is not actually a collection of all-new compositions, but a live recording - it contains a couple of pieces that have previously appeared within Snakeoil’s studio output, as well as some unreleased material. As on You’ve Been Watching Me, Snakeoil consists of Berne on alto saxophone, Oscar Noriega on clarinet and bass clarinet, Matt Mitchell on piano, and Ches Smith on percussion. Guitarist Ryan Ferreira is nowhere to be found, unfortunately, but the rest of the players more than makeup for his absence.

The opening composition, “Deadbeat Beyonce,” is one of those that was previously unrecorded. It opens with a lovely run by Matt Mitchell, notes cascading over one another and gradually increasing in both intensity and complexity. After four minutes, the reeds join in with intricate figures that are instantly recognizable as coming from Berne’s compositional toolkit - minor-key, tense, and suggestive of a convoluted system of alleys in a bleak metropolis. As it unfolds, “Deadbeat Beyonce” gives way to a wild fervor; Berne is practically shooting flames from his alto, and Ches Smith pounds with an unbridled force that is particularly striking when compared to the restraint he exhibits at the beginning of the track. Even in their fiercest moments, however, the members of Snakeoil maintain a certain rigidity, a disciplined single-mindedness. The passage through the alleys may be winding, with sudden shifts and unexplained detours, but the destination is clear. At one point, it seems that the piece will close with Mitchell’s twinkling keys and Noriega’s wounded bird-calls, but that’s just a misdirect: the group come together in one last eruption, one that swells, sinks, then swells again, eventually coming to an abrupt close.

“Spare Parts” moves at a slower pace than “Deadbeat Beyonce,” taking its time to develop and stretch out. In the composition’s opening minutes, Ches Smith is on vibraphone, which is admittedly the perfect instrument to accompany the noir-ish sound-worlds that Berne constructs. As Smith taps the vibes and Noriega moves through a series of labyrinthine shapes, one can’t help but re-imagine that shadowy metropolis, steam rising from the gutters and streets perpetually soaked in rain. After some time, Smith is back on the drums, Mitchell comes in with his expressive, dramatic chord-changes, and Berne is blowing with his icy fire - a sound that is simultaneously fervent and frigid, searing and cool. “Lamé 3” is a shorter piece, but it somehow condenses the cinematic scope of the longer compositions into eight minutes - there are twists, turns, unfettered peaks, and trembling moments of tension. Also, some of the players here hit their stride: at one point, Ches Smith abandons all pretensions towards restraint and just pummels his kit. Likewise, Berne engages in a short stretch of insanity that was somewhat surprising at first; instead of that cool reservation that he typically exhibits, he practically screams with his alto saxophone, sending the track into the stratosphere.

“Oc - Dc” is the final piece here, as well as being the longest. Here, the group shows off their marvelous sense of interplay, with an almost lighthearted exchange of notes - melodies that bounce off of each other, diffract, and inexplicably change shapes as the composition moves forward. That lightheartedness is refreshing, especially in the context of Snakeoil; with this group, Berne has primarily delved into tones and textures that are on the “bleaker” side of things, and the pieces can occasionally feel airless. That airlessness is not necessarily a bad thing - in fact, it might be required in order to convey the atmosphere that the group wants us to hear. Thus, despite the fact that many Snakeoil compositions seem to work with “one note” (serpentine, minor-key, filmic), that note is played exceedingly well, and Snakeoil scratch a musical itch that no other groups can. Anguis Oleum is proof that, among Tim Berne’s manifold projects, Snakeoil is the most consistent and the most fully-developed. Now we wait for the studio follow-up to You’ve Been Watching Me!


01. Deadbeat Beyonce 21:24
02. Spare Parts 18:55
03. Lamé 3 08:34
04. Oc - Dc 24:31

Tim Berne - Alto Saxophone 
Oscar Noriega - Clarinet, Bass Clarinet 
Matt Mitchell - Piano 
Ches Smith - Drums, Percussion


Mats Eilertsen - Rubicon (2016) ECM


Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen has been a strong and supportive presence on a dozen ECM sessions to date. With Rubicon he steps forward to present his own music, with an international cast. The album features compositions originally written in response to a commission from the Vossajazz Festival. All About Jazz reviewed the premiere performance: “Rubicon proved to be a very dynamic work. Eilertsen ensured that each of the instrumentalists took their share of the spotlight, brought together combinations of players that emphasized tonal variation, and created ensemble sections bursting with life.” After fine-tuning the material on tour, Mats brought his septet to Oslo’s Rainbow Studio, where Manfred Eicher produced this definitive version of Rubicon in May 2015.


Canto
Cross the Creek
March
Balky
Lago
BluBlue
Wood and Water
September
Reminiscent
Introitus

Trygve Seim: tenor and soprano saxophones
Eirik Hegdal: soprano, baritone sax, clarinet and bass clarinet
Thomas Dahl: guitar
Rob Waring: marimba and vibraphone
Harmen Fraanje: piano, Fender Rhodes
Olavi Louhivuori: drums




Playlist Summary for Tom Ossana: The Thin Edge – September 28, 2016 MST 7:00 to 9:00p.m.


http://www.kzmu.org/listen.m3u ~ Use this link to access the show online.


http://www.kzmu.org/listen.m3u ~ Use this link to access the show online.



Ethan Iverson - The Purity of the Turf (2016) CRISS CROSS RECORDS




The Purity of the Turf is kind of a "bucket list" moment for Ethan Iverson, who has always wanted to make a record with famous bassist Ron Carter.

Iverson, pianist of the famous trio "The Bad Plus", chose drummer Nasheet Waits to fill out the trio, because Waits represents the avant-garde as well as swing.

Criss Cross records are level playing field, with everyone recording in the same studio in a single day: Thus the sporting title, "The Purity of the Turf".

The repertoire is mostly originals and jazz classics. A surprise highlight is the solo piano tribute to the late Paul Bley, "So Hard it Hurts" by Annette Peacock.

01. The Purity Of The Turf (Ethan Iverson)  4:31
02. Song For My Father (Horace Silver)  5:19
03. Darn That Dream (Jimmy Van Heusen / Edgar DeLange)  4:43
04. Along Came Betty (Benny Golson)  5:45
05. Graduation Day (Ethan Iverson)  3:33
06. Confirmation (Charlie Parker)  6:14
07. Kush (Nasheet Waits)  5:35
08. Sent For You Yesterday (Count Basie / Eddie Durham)  4:55
09. Strange Serenade (Andrew Hill)  4:23
10. Little Waltz (Ron Carter)  5:01
11. Einbahnstrasse (Ron Carter)  5:10
12. So Hard It Hurts (Annette Peacock)  3:18

Ethan Iverson, piano
Ron Carter, bass
Nasheet Waits, drums


lunes, 26 de septiembre de 2016

Ricardo Grilli - 1954 (October 7, 2016) TONE ROGUE RECORDS



Brazilian-born guitarist/composer Ricardo Grilli explores personal, musical and cosmic history on 1954, out October 7 on Tone Rogue Records

Grilli’s entrancing second album features the stellar line-up of pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Joe Martin and drummer Eric Harland

“Evocative, ethereal, and eclectic… Grilli [hits] that sweet spot somewhere between post bop and the avant garde.” – Critical Jazz

“Excellent... Can't stop listening.” – Steve Greenlee, JazzTimes



The title of 1954 (due out October 7 via Tone Rogue Records) comes from the year in which Grilli’s father was born – one possible beginning point for his own story. It also falls at the dawning of the Space Age, a time when people were looking optimistically forward to a future full of innovation and exploration. Significantly for the music contained within, it was also a time when jazz - bebop in particular - was thriving in Grilli’s adopted home of New York City, ghosts of which he can’t help but encounter as he walks through the city today.

“It gets a little mystical as you imagine it in your head how things were back then,” Grilli says. “I wonder if those musicians ever thought that the music they were shaping would evolve to become the way it is now. The concepts we use in today’s jazz still very much use the format of the bebop and hard bop era, even though they have more modern harmonies and meters.”

No matter how much he engages in a dialogue with the past, Grilli’s music is decidedly of the moment, replete with sleek, captivating melodies over tense, balance-challenging rhythms, combined in intricate but emotionally engaging structures. His compositions reveal the influence of modern masters like Kurt Rosenwinkel and Mark Turner alongside adventurous pop experimentalists like Radiohead and Sigur Ros, with a relaxed but expressive melodicism imbued by a youth spent absorbing the tropical sounds of Jobim and Elis Regina.

Grilli’s 2013 debut, If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler, captured the guitarist in a transitional moment. It documented not only his move from Brazil to Boston and then New York, but also his emergence onto the jazz scene after graduating from Berklee College of Music. Having picked up the guitar for the first time at the relatively advanced age of 20 and starting school at 23, five years later than most of his classmates, he recorded the album feeling like an underdog facing an uphill struggle.

That notion is left behind on 1954, which finds a more mature, self-assured Grilli in sophisticated communication with some of modern jazz’s most renowned musicians. “For the longest time I felt like I had missed the start of the race and had to catch up to the competition,” he says. “However, I have been very lucky to be able to play with so many of my heroes, and this record is, hopefully, a statement of my acceptance of my own playing and thinking myself worthy of playing with the musicians on it.”


Long fascinated with astronomy and the cosmos (Stephen Hawking sits on his bookshelf beside the likes of Italo Calvino, the surrealist author who lent both If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler and the current album’s “Vertigo” their titles), Grilli weaves interstellar concepts throughout the tunes on 1954. Opening track “Arcturus” is named for the brightest star in the eastern celestial hemisphere, its gradual build in intensity (thanks to Harland’s subtly insistent rhythms) suggesting the massive star’s gravitational pull. 

“Cosmonauts,” meanwhile, was inspired by the story of “phantom cosmonauts,” an unconfirmed theory suggesting that Yuri Gagarin’s successful flight may have been preceded by other ill-fated attempts.

“It’s a terrifying story,” Grilli says. “I imagined the fear of going into the unknown and not coming back. Jazz has a bit of that feeling, but not in the deadly sense. So I wanted to write an eerie, sad song, something a little somber, dark and mysterious.”


That combination of the cosmic and the intimate is echoed throughout 1954. Especially poignant is the lovely, ethereal “Rings,” which suggests the celestial rings surrounding Saturn and other planets as well as being a musical analog for the rings that symbolize union between people. The simmering, atmospheric “Radiance,” partially inspired by Brian Blade’s soulful Fellowship Band, evokes the far-off glow of heavenly bodies while pondering the loss of loved ones. “Breathe,” essentially a cha cha cha with modern contours, provides a respite from the frantic “Arcturus,” replicating the moment that a shuddering spacecraft breaks through the atmosphere into weightlessness.

Grilli also pays homage to some of his peers and mentors on 1954. “Pogo56” was written for trumpeter and Berklee professor Jason Palmer, while “Far Away Shores” is an homage to pianist Julian Shore, a close friend and collaborator. The album closes with “Pulse,” a final word on the idea of looking backward to look forward: a modernist bop tune that swings hard over contemporary harmonic movement.




Jakob Bro, Thomas Morgan & Joey Baron - Streams (2016) ECM



On his second leader album for ECM – following on from the prizewinning Gefion - Danish guitarist Jakob Bro continues to refine his trio project, with its emphases on melody, sound, space, layered textures and interaction. The rapport between Bro and Thomas Morgan (Bro calls him “my musical soul mate”) has become something extraordinary, and often guitarist and bassist develop improvisational ideas in parallel. There’s an historical aptness, too, in the choice of Joey Baron as the band’s new drummer, for Bro first encountered Morgan when the bassist was playing in Baron’s band a decade ago… On Streams Joey Baron dives into the music’s detail with obvious pleasure. This recording features five new Bro pieces: “Opal”, “Full Moon Europa”, “Shell Pink”, “Sisimiut” and “Heroines” (heard in both a trio version and a particularly lovely solo version). Completing the album’s repertoire is the freely improvised “PM Dream”, dedicated to the late Paul Motian. Jakob’s approach to melody acknowledges the influence of Motian, and both Bro and Morgan played in the late drummer’s ensembles . 

Recorded at Studios La Buissonne in the South of France in November 2015 and produced by Manfred Eicher, Streams is issued on the eve of a major tour by the Bro-Morgan-Baron trio with dates in Denmark, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Belgium, Poland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Ukraine and South Korea.


01. Opal 4:40
02. Heroines 5:35
03. Pm Dream 9:37
04. Full Moon Europa 10:19
05. Shell Pink 8:17
06. Heroines (Solo) 2:33
07. Sisimiut 7:30

Jakob Bro: guitar
Thomas Morgan: double bass
Joey Baron: drums



domingo, 25 de septiembre de 2016

Wadada Leo Smith - America’s National Parks (October 14, 2016) CUNEIFORM RECORDS




Legendary composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith creates a new
masterwork inspired by the country’s most stunning landscapes

The epic America’s National Parks, out October 14 on Cuneiform,
features Smith’s newly expanded Golden Quintet

“Smith uses his magisterial instrumental voice, his inspirational leadership and his command of classical, jazz and blues forms to remind us of what has gone down and what's still happening.” –Bill Meyer, DownBeat’s 80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today

“A trumpeter and composer of penetrating insight.” –Nate Chinen, The New York Times


With America’s National Parks, visionary composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith offers his latest epic collection, a sixmovement suite inspired by the scenic splendor, historic legacy, and political controversies of the country’s public landscapes. Writing for his newly expanded Golden Quintet, Smith crafts six extended works that explore, confront and question the preserved natural resources that are considered the most hallowed ground in the U.S. – and some that should be.

The two-CD America’s National Parks will be released on October 14 on Cuneiform Records, shortly before Smith’s 75th birthday in December.

It arrives, coincidentally, in the midst of celebrations for the centennial of the National Park Service, which was created by an act of Congress on August 25, 1916. The spark for the project, however, came from two places: Smith’s own research into the National Park system, beginning with Yellowstone, the world’s first national park; and Ken Burns’ 12-hour documentary series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

“The idea that Ken Burns explored in that documentary was that the grandeur of nature was like a religion or a cathedral,” Smith says. “I reject that image because the natural phenomenon in creation, just like man and stars and light and water, is all one thing, just a diffusion of energy. My focus is on the spiritual and psychological dimensions of the idea of setting aside reserves for common property of the American citizens.”

His 28-page score for America’s National Parks was penned for his Golden Quintet, a fresh reconfiguration of the quartet that’s been a keystone of his expression for the last 16 years. 

Pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg and drummer Pheeroan akLaff are joined by cellist Ashley Walters, affording the composer and bandleader new melodic and coloristic possibilities. “The cello as a lead voice with the trumpet is magnificent,” Smith says, “but when you look at the possibilities for melodic formation with the trumpet, the cello, the piano and the bass, that’s paradise for a composer and for a performer. My intent was to prolong or enhance the vitality of the ensemble to live longer.”

That’s an enticing prospect given the vigor and daring on bold display throughout America’s National Parks. Where many composers would be seduced into romantic excess by the sweeping vistas and majestic panoramas of Yellowstone’s grand waterfalls or Kings Canyon’s towering redwoods, Smith takes a far more investigative and expansive view, with inventive and complex scores that prompt stunning improvisations from his ensemble. In fact, he has yet to visit many of the parks paid homage in the pieces, opting instead for thorough historical research.

“You don't really need to visit a park to write about a park,” Smith insists. “Debussy wrote ‘La Mer,’ which is about the sea, and he wasn’t a seafaring person. I would defend his right to do that, and I would contend that ‘La Mer’ is a masterpiece that clearly reflects his psychological connection with the idea of the sea.”


The idea of the parks, rather than their physical and geographical beauty, is central to Smith’s conception for this music. In its marrying of natural landmarks and political challenges it can be traced back to both of the composer’s most recent epic masterpieces,

The Great Lakes and especially Ten Freedom Summers. “It became a political issue for me because the people that they set up to control and regulate the parks were politicians,” Smith says. “My feeling is that the parks should be independent of Congress and organized around an independent source who has no political need to be reelected. So it’s a spiritual/psychological investigation mixed with the political dynamics.”

Smith’s suite also takes inventive liberties with the definition of a “national park;” half of its inspirations aren’t, technically speaking, considered as such. The album opens with “New Orleans: The National Culture Park,” which argues that the entire Crescent City deserves to be recognized for its influential contributions to American history and culture. “New Orleans was the first cultural center in America and therefore it produced the first authentic American music,” Smith says.

The second piece, “Eileen Jackson Southern, 1920-2002: A Literary National Park,” takes an even broader view, suggesting that the African - American musicologist, author and founder of the journal The Black Perspective in Music, to which Smith has contributed, should be honored for her efforts to document a musical common ground shared by all Americans. Another piece represents the “Deep and Dark Dreams” of the Mississippi River, which Smith calls “a memorial site which was used as a dumping place for black bodies by hostile forces in Mississippi. I use the word ‘dark’ to show that these things are buried or hidden, but the body itself doesn’t stay hidden; it floats up.”

The other three pieces are based on more conventionally recognized national parks: Yellowstone, which became the first place in the world so designated in 1872; Sequoia & Kings Canyon, whose trees Smith marvels at as some of the largest and oldest living things on the planet; and Yosemite, which contains striking glaciers and some of the deepest lakes in the world.

America’s National Parks arrives at a time of prolific imagination and universal renown for the composer. Earlier this year Smith, part of the first generation of musicians to come out of Chicago’s AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Music), was the recipient of a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and an honorary doctorate from CalArts. In March ECM released a cosmic rhythm with each stroke, a duo recording with pianist Vijay Iyer.

While these preserved landscapes offer the inspiration of powerful natural beauty, Smith’s always open-minded view of the world leads him to find that same inspiration wherever he is. “Every concrete house is from nature,” he says. “Every plastic airplane that flies 300 people across the ocean comes out of nature. Every air conditioner conditions a natural piece of air. I think that the human being is constantly enfolded in organic nature and constructed nature, so I’m constantly inspired, inside the house or outside the house.”


For more information on Wadada Leo Smith:


America's National Parks Track Listing:

CD 1
1. New Orleans: The National Culture Park USA 1718 (20:57)

2. Eileen Jackson Southern,1920-2002: A Literary National Park (9:38)

3. Yellowstone: The First National Park and the Spirit of America – The Mountains, Super-Volcano Caldera and Its Ecosystem 1872 (12:14)

CD 2
4. The Mississippi River: Dark and Deep Dreams Flow the River – a National Memorial Park c. 5000 BC (31:07)

5. Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks: The Giant Forest, Great Canyon, Cliffs, Peaks, Waterfalls and Cave Systems 1890 (6:46)

6. Yosemite: The Glaciers, the Falls, the Wells and the Valley of Goodwill 1890 (15:23)

Golden Quintet
Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, director of the ensemble
Anthony Davis: piano
Ashley Walters: cello
John Lindberg: bass
Pheeroan akLaff: drums
Jesse Gilbert: video artist

Music composed by Wadada Leo Smith.

Recorded on May 5, 2016 and mixed by Nick Lloyd
at Firehouse 12 Recording Studio, New Haven, CT.

Mastered by Gene Paul at G&J Audio, Union City, NJ.

Art and Yosemite National Park photography by Jesse Gilbert.

Wadada photo: R.I. Sutherland-Cohen
Anthony photo: Erik Jepsen
Ashley photo: Tim Coburn
John photo: Sotiris Kontos
Pheeroan photo: Jimmy and Deena Katz
Jesse photo: Mona Tian

Package design by Bill Ellsworth.



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WADADA LEO SMITH - TOUR DATES: 2016-2017