Click here to [close]

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Ivo Perelman - Sunday Interview

Photo by Celso Oliveira
  1.  What is your greatest joy in improvised music?

    The childish playful soul cleansing nature of total improvisation.

  2. What quality do you most admire in the musicians you perform with?

    Their total "in the moment" availability and commitment to very demanding art form.

  3. Which historical musician/composer do you admire the most?

    Heitor Villa Lobos

  4. If you could resurrect a musician to perform with, who would it be?

    Cecil Taylor

  5. What would you still like to achieve musically in your life?

    Achieve even more control of the many musical parameters while being able to be totally in the moment.

  6. Are you interested in popular music and - if yes - what music/artist do you particularly like

    Yes, I am. I enjoy listening to Brazilian pop music like Roberto Carlos.

  7. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

    I would like to be less critical of my own playing.

  8. Which of your albums are you most proud of?

    Ivo and Seven Skies Orchestra

  9. Once an album of yours is released, do you still listen to it? And how often?

    Very rarely

  10. Which album (from any musician) have you listened to the most in your life?

    A Love Supreme - John Coltrane

  11. What are you listening to at the moment?

    12 guitar etudes by Villa Lobos

  12. What artist outside music inspires you?

    Helen Frankenthaler, painter

Ivo Perelman reviewed on the Free Jazz Blog:

  • Ivo Perelman and Matt Moran - Tuning Forks (Ibeji, 2023)
  • Ivo Perelman and Nate Wooley - Polarity 2 (Burning Ambulance, 2023)
  • Ivo Perelman and James Emery - The Whisperers (Mahakala, 2023)
  • Ivo Perelman - Molten Gold (Fundacja Słuchaj, 2023)
  • Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp - Tryptich I - III (SMP, 2023)
  • Ivo Perelman and Joe Morris - Elliptic Time (Mahakala, 2022)
  • Ivo Perelman - Reed Rapture in Brooklyn (Mahakala Music, 2022)
  • (D)IVO Saxophone Quartet (Mahakala Music, 2022) ***½
  • Ivo Perelman - Brass and Ivory Tales (Fundacja Sluchcaj, 2021) *****
  • Ivo Perelman & Nate Wooley - Polarity (Burning Ambulance, 2021) ****
  • Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp - Special Edition Box (SMP, 2020) ****½
  • Ivo Perelman: A Musical Storyteller - a film by Leonel Costa (2020)
  • Ivo Perelman - The Purity of Desire (Not Two, 2020) *****
  • Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp and Joe Morris - Shamanism (Mahakala Music, 2020) ****
  • Ivo Perelman/Pascal Marzan - Dust of Light / Ears Drawings Sounds (Setola di Maiale/ Ibeji, 2020) ****
  • Ivo Perelman and the Arcado String Trio - Deep Resonance (FSRecords, 2020) *****
  • Ivo Perelman and Matt Shipp - Amalgam (Mahakala Music, 2020) ****½
  • Ivo Perelman is Prolific in His Creativity: An Interview with Ivo Perelman
  • Reflecting upon last decade's musical influencers
  • Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp - Live in Nuremberg (SMP Records, 2019) ****½
  • Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp - Efflorescence Volume 1 (Leo Records, 2019) ****½
  • Solo percussion & percussion duets and even more percussion
  • Ivo Perelman - Ineffable Joy (ESP Disc, 2019) ****1⁄2
  • Ivo Perelman - Strings 4 (Leo, 2019) ****
  • Ivo Perelman and Rudi Mahall - Kindred Spirits (Leo, 2018) *****
  • Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp – Live In Brussels (Leo, 2017) *****
  • The Art of Perelman-Shipp (Leo Records, 2017) – Part Two
  • The Art of Perelman-Shipp (Leo Records, 2017) – Part One
  • Vision Festival 2017 - Day 6: Seeking Optimism
  • Ivo Perelman & Matthew Shipp - Le Poisson Rouge, May 7th, 2017
  • The year in review
  • The Art of the Improv Trio (3 of 3)
  • The Art of the Improv Trio (2 of 3)
  • The Art of the Improv Trio (1 of 3)
  • Ivo Perelman & Joe Morris – Blue (Leo Records, 2016) ****
  • Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, Michael Bisio, Whit Dickey -- Soul (Leo Records, 2016) ****
  • Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp - Corpo (Leo Records, 2016) ****½
  • Perelman/Maneri/Morris/Cleaver - Breaking Point (Leo Records, 2016) ****
  • Ivo Perelman and Karl Berger – The Hitchhiker (Leo Records, 2016) ****½
  • Ivo Perelman Week
  • Three more from Ivo
  • Three from Ivo (3 of 3)
  • Three from Ivo (2 of 3)
  • Three from Ivo (1 of 3)
  • Ivo Perelman galore ....
  • Ivo Perelman / Joe Morris / Gerald Cleaver - Living Jelly (Leo, 2012) ****½
  • Latest from Leo (Part 2 of 3)
  • Sax, piano, drums ... free expressions from around the world
  • Gerald Cleaver : drummer by nature
  • Ivo Perelman and friends
  • Ivo Perelman - Mind Games (Leo Records, 2009) ****
  • Ivo Perelman & Dominic Duval - Nowhere To Hide (Not Two, 2009) ****
  • Sax trio
  • Saturday, December 30, 2023

    A Tribute to Martin Davidson (1942 - 2023)

    By Martin Schray

    2023 was a year of great loss for the world of free jazz and free improvised music. Not only have great musicians passed away, but also label operators such as FMP's Jost Gebers. Martin Davidson also died at the beginning of the month, a man without whom the British improv scene in particular would have been unthinkable. Davidson was responsible for EMANEM, one of the most influential labels of the last five decades, which was also the parent label of Evan Parker’s Psi label.

    Many musicians appreciated Davidson not only for his technical expertise in mastering, but above all for his passion for this music and for his sharp humour. His releases were not only professional, they were a testament to his dedication to the craft and the artists he worked with. The careers of Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxton, the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, Evan Parker or John Russell - especially their reception in Europe - would certainly have been different without him.

    Damon Smith and Henry Kaiser have published a musical obituary for him, which you can see here:

    We have decided to refer to some milestones of EMANEM label. 

    Anthony Braxton / Derek Bailey: Duo (1974)

    Anthony Braxton and Derek Bailey were not a duo that would have immediately been described as a match made in heaven in 1974. Braxton, despite his very brittle philosophy of improvisation, represented an undeniably American approach, while Bailey was a singular phenomenon even among the abstract Brits. Moreover, both were in a transitional phase. For a while, Bailey had concentrated almost exclusively on extended techniques, pitches and chords were of no concern to him. It almost seemed as if the guitar was just a means to an end. And then they both came up with an album that placed great emphasis on truly collective improvisation and listening to each other in order to create something completely new and unique. That may sound trite today, but the music still sounds so incredibly fresh and homogeneous that you can’t tell how old it is. What is more, it has one of best album covers of all time.

    Barry Guy / Howard Riley / Philipp Wachsmann – Improvisations Are Forever Now (1977 - 79) 

    Martin Davidson has not only helped new talents to make their way, EMANEM has also re-released outstanding albums on CD for which one would otherwise have had to pay exorbitant prices on vinyl. Improvisation Are Forever Now (1977 - 79 ) is one such album. As I’m a big fan of all three musicians anyway (especially Howard Riley, who I think is always underrated), the choice of this album is no surprise. Riley is the rhythmic and harmonic center of gravity, relying heavily on his trademark clusters. Wachsmann and Guy scrub, saw and scrape around this center with their pizzicatos and glissandos. Like many EMANEM releases, there is a smorgasbord of contrasts here too, with meditative sections and fast-paced musical chases alternating at an incredible speed. The music has often been referred to as “insect music“, but the pejorative connotation contained therein could not be more wrong. Instead, there is great expressivity and energy to marvel at, as well as an extremely subtle shaping of the forms presented.

    John Butcher/Phil Durrant/Paul Lovens/Radu Malfatti/John Russell: News From the Shed (1989/2005) 

    Another great re-issue. News From The Shed was something like my initiation into what is called improv - and it was radically different from what I knew as (free) jazz or new classical music. With improv there was no planned structure, no preconceived form, the pieces only have the form that they develop spontaneously and the listener has to search for such structures, textures or parameters themselves. It was listening as work, which is why I was very disturbed at first, but then found more and more pleasure in discovering something new with every listen. The music by John Butcher (saxophones), Phil Durrant (violin and electronics), Paul Lovens (drums, cymbals and saw), Radu Malfatti (trombone, zither and accessories) and John Russell (acoustic guitar) is metallic and brittle, but then again organic and real. Crashing and creaking sounds are contrasted with quiet, long tones, it takes a while to discover the beauty of the music, but it is undeniably there. The recording was originally released on the Acta label in 1989. This CD reissue from EMANEM includes four additional tracks from the same sessions, which are of the same high quality as the original album and complement it in that they include some effects not heard elsewhere. 


    From Nick Metzger:

    Paul Rutherford - The Gentle Harm of the Bourgeoisie

    Well, in the album's liner notes Martin Davidson himself said that this one “is probably the finest solo trombone album ever made.” I tend to agree with him, along with Derek Bailey who said “…this is still the best record of solo free improvising you are likely to find.” The liner notes of the CD reissue are full of this sort of praise. I’m still not positively sure that Rutherford wasn’t from a different planet altogether. This album is gloriously wild, subtle, innovative, and funny in all the ways it needs to be - and it still sounds totally fresh. A record for the ages, and a testament to Paul Rutherford’s unique genius.

    Evan Parker & Paul Lytton - Three Other Stories (1971-1974)
    Evan Parker & Paul Lytton - Two Octobers (1972-1975)

    Between 1972 to 1977 Evan Parker and Paul Lytton released 3 albums of wild, experimental electro-acoustic free improvisation before their duo morphed into a trio with Barry Guy and took on a life of its own. The early Parker/Lytton duo albums are worlds apart from their work with Guy, including their work with electronic sounds and noise (with the exception of the first trio album) and can be seen as precursors for Parker and Lytton’s future work in their Electro-Acoustic ensembles. After 1976’s “Ra” there was nothing to hear from the duo until these two releases compiled several live and studio performances from 71-75 into two volumes of never-before-heard manna. These were released in 95 & 96, respectively, and at that time their previous duo releases were long out of print, so these came as a revelation to many.

    Evan Parker, Paul Lytton, Paul Rutherford, & Hans Schneider - Waterloo 1985

    This one is just a great set altogether with a great quartet, one that sees Parker and Lytton with Rutherford and bassist Hans Schneider - who was working with Lytton at the time - filling in for Barry Guy. The recording is from Le Festival Jazz Et Musiques Improvisees in Waterloo on August 17, 1985. Parker and Rutherford sound amazing, the subtle interactions and playful suggestions keep you coming back. You can tell Lytton and Schneider had a great rapport at the time and it comes through in their careful playing. An excellent record that I highly recommend.


    From Fotis Nikolakopoulos:

    Spontaneous Music Ensemble –Bare Essentials 1972-3 


    There are some recordings that have a big impact on you, the listener. Quite rightfully I should add. Whenever I think about the importance of Martin Davidson’s Emanem, what comes first in mind is Face to Face by SME –a duo at the time consisting, as always, John Stevens and Trevor Watts.

    This cd came out in 2007 and is proof that there was a lot more radical material for us to listen. And a label to publish it, a label dedicated to free improvisation. Emanem supported this kind of musical practice without referring to any kind of trends or hip sounds. Connecting Stevens’ liner notes from Face to Face with this double cd, we discover the essentials in non idiomatic music making. Non-hierarchical, produced on the spot, on a constant dialogue between the players, who share a wealth of ideas.

    It’s much more than just Essentials, it’s music of the highest order and we have to thank Martin Davidson for letting it out to the world.


    From Lee Rice Epstein:

    John Carter and Bobby Bradford - Tandem 1 (Enamem 4011) & Tandem 2 (Emanem 4012) (released in a remastered single edition as Emanem 5204) 

    John Carter and Bobby Bradford had a rare and beautiful partnership. Musical soulmates, their deep connection led to the recording of some of the most important records in the history of American free jazz, drawing from folk music, blues, American history, and the developments in new music happening from the 1950s all the way until Carter’s death in 1991. But no album quite captures the spark between them as effectively as Tandem, which presents two full concerts, a lengthy set from April 30, 1982, recorded at Worcester’s Piedmont Center for the Arts and a shorter set from October 20, 1979, when the duo played before the Art Ensemble of Chicago at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall. The sets feature Carter and Bradford playing and improvising on highlights from their catalog, including “Echoes From Rudolph’s,” “Circle,” “Angles,” “Woodman’s Hall Blues,” “And She Speaks,” and more. Each of them takes a solo turn, on clarinet and cornet respectively, and these plus the duets are utterly sublime. The two takes of Carter’s classic “Woodman’s Hall Blues” are must-hear for anyone who has spent time with his unique voice. Well worth also checking out Martin Davidson’s own writing for the liner notes, available online at


    Reviews by us of Emanem albums (in reverse chronological order). The label released around 258 titles since its creation in 1974 (including re-issues and compilations).

    A post scriptum from the label's website:

    The programmatic nature of EMANEM 

    "The EMANEM label was founded in 1974 in order to publish music too good and too adventurous to be considered by most other labels. In particular, it seemed (and still seems) vitally important to document improvised music that does not use the vagaries of notation as a (somewhat imperfect) means of preservation. EMANEM features improvised music at its very best - unadulterated new music for people who like new music unadulterated. Every CD is a labour of love - every one an important masterpiece - too good to discontinue. (Why waste time, effort and resources on anything less?) Most feature total improvisation, but some use partly composed material. The presentation of each CD and this website concentrates on clarity (as does the music) - there is no desire to emulate the current fashion of obscuring and/or omitting vital information. But then, Emanem is not about fashion, it is about substance."

    Emanem is not RAP!

    "I have been using the name Emanem since 1974, when the rapper who subsequently chose a similar name was only one year old. Therefore, if anything, it is he who is trying to cash in on my reputation, not vice versa. If you find this situation confusing, then please ask the rapper to change his nom de rap. Every so often I get requests from budding rappers to judge their rap. I reply that I am not qualified to do so, but that I can tell them that their spelling is poor.

    I once received an email from a lady in Greece saying that she loved me, but she lost interest when I pointed her to my website!"

    Friday, December 29, 2023

    Serious Series 2023

    By Paul Acquaro (text) and Cristina Marx (photos)

    The Uferstudios, in Berlin's Wedding district, sit on the edge of the Panke, a small creek that cuts through the city from north to south. This collection of low red-brick buildings that once housed public transit workshop is now the long-term home of studios and theaters dedicated to dance. However, on a recent mild mid-December weekend, a theater space near the entrance to complex provided a live report on the state of avant-garde jazz and improvised music in the German capital.

    The Serious Series, now in it's thirteenth year, is curated by pianist Achim Kaufmann and woodwind player Frank Gratkowski who took over programming from musicians Kathrin Pechlof and Christian Weidner in 2019. The program, a rich three nights of musical acts, draws heavily from the fertile Berlin music scene as well as reaching out to Europe and the USA. 


    The event began on Friday evening with a fantastic solo set by woodwindist Tobias Delius whose loose limbered demeanor is a perfect compliment to his exuberant playing style. Delius intersperses sudden squawks and vocalization into his melodic and bouncing lines, switching between Bb clarinet and tenor saxophone, and swinging breathlessly from dark and grumbling motives to buoyant and melodic ideas. Though the stage area was deep and wide, Delius filled the space with an inviting warmth. The pieces he played veered between melodic and atonal, the final one, dedicated to his longtime colleague cellist Tristan Honsinger who passed away this year, was a sweetly melodic theme.

    The second set of the festival was by the long standing duo of guitarist Olaf Rupp and cellist Ulrike Brand. Having worked for many years together, the two musicians seem to be more a quantum entanglement than just a duo. Tones from one instrument instantly cause a reaction from the other so finely calibrated that one could imagine that even if the two were not within earshot, they would still be as acutely intertwined.

    At some point, Rupp plucked a sequence of notes, Brand produced a gently droning reply, which became the catalyst of the guitarists next tone. What then began as a slowly forming soundscape drew to an understated peak. Brand played a sweeping, arcing melody line that settled into legato notes as Rupp clicked on the distortion. At times, both used bows to sculpt their sound. Through their sympathetic musical interactions, the two engage in a natural ebb and flow of ideas and uncannily calibrated responses.

    The first night was rounded out by the duo of pianist Steve Beresford and trombonist Sebi Tramontana. Originally programmed as a trio, Frank Gratkowski was unfortunately sick and unable to perform. Undeterred, the two brought the evening to a successful close with humorous set of short pieces.

    They began with a whimsical melody from Beresford and a muted melodic line from Tramontana. Then, an elbow to the the keyboard and the consonant melody splintered, Beresford forcefully expelling tonal shards and Tramontana sliding exuberantly through notes. Between - and during - the pieces, Beresford prepared and re-prepared the inside of the piano. He seemed to pull more and more playthings from the instrument's inside, including a penny whistle, what looked like an exercise weight, a rubber duck and a crackling electronic device that he used to augment the musical atmosphere. At one point, he flogged the strings of the piano with a cloth and in addition to the quivering sound from the strings, visible clouds of dust wafted out from the instrument. Tramontana too joined in with humorous vocalizations through his horn among some other extended techniques. 


    Saturday opened with a solo percussion set by French percussionist Toma Gouband featuring the unique use of plants as drumsticks, an array of tiny bells a top the single drum, and a bass pedal that knocked on a piled of bricks. In a sense, the performance could be called hyper-local as Gouband ingeniously incorporated plants sourced from the banks of the Panke as musical devices. Intense and focused, the set began with a curious and engaging energy but whose intense minimalism veered towards monotony after a bit.

    The trio of Achim Kaufmann, woodwindist Michael Moore and bassist Nick Dunston picked up the energy again in a set that dazzled with ferocity and calmed with swinging coolness. Though first time performing as a trio, all three had performed with each other in different combinations, especially Kaufmann and Moore who have been playing together since 1998, as a trio they gelled quickly. 

    Starting with a quiet but quickly moving improvisation, Kaufmann offered some sparse chords while Moore added a gentle melody with some slight dissonant moments over Dunston's deep, walking groove. The group's music fell somewhere on the "jazzier" side of the spectrum without landing in anything routine or staid. Next, the group engaged in an experimental exchange with Moore getting edgier and Dunston going beyond the strings with his bow. Playing with songs from Herbie Nichols mixed with compositions from Kaufmann and Moore, the music was seamlessly connected by buzzing freely improvised passages.

    Drummer Michael Vatcher's project with electronics and dancers provided an exciting ending to the night. Taught interplay between Vatcher at the drum kit and Richard Barrett and his self built electronics provided a percolating soundscape for the two dancers, Liat Waysbort and Balder Hansen, to move fluidly around - and under - the musicians. Perhaps the most unusual moments, aside from some surprisingly agile movements from the dancers, was a dynamic exchange between Barrett's electronics and Vatcher playing a saw.


    Sunday's concerts began with Serious Series' previous organizer and harpist Kathrin Pechlof with her newly formed Radical Empathy sextet. Pechlof is this year's winner of the SWR Jazzpreis and the piece, written for the group in particular, will be recorded at the broadcaster's studio in the coming months. In addition to Pechlof is Christian Weidner on alto saxophone, Elias Stemeseder on synthesizer and harpsichord, Robert Landfermann on bass, Leif Berger playing drums and finally Kaufmann on piano. The group's music is fluid, even ocean like, with slowly ebbing and flowing tidal movements, and ever lapping waves of sound bisected by melodic crosscurrents. During the set the occasional wave crested and blasts of free improvisation brought on musical white caps. 
    The set began plinkingly with an exchange of the harp and harpsicord's delicate tones. Kaufmann took the first solo, one which slowly formed out the collective playing and ending with stabbing chords. At the same time, Landerferman's bass was a steady but restrained presence, providing a tension-full drone, foreshadowing the turmoil on the horizon. Weidner's sax provided occasional contrasting textures via overblown passages that resolved back into the group full sound. The set-long piece ended in a series of climatic passages, the final an excitingly arrhythmic peak, resolving satisfyingly after the long build-up.

    Next, the ACM trio featuring pianist Celine Voccia, saxophonist Anna Kaluza and standing in for bassist Matthias Bauer, Meinrad Kneer (chosen, not just for his improvisational prowess but perhaps also that his first initial required no changes to the band's name), took the stage area to continue the evenings musical journey - though with a more spontaneous approach.
    The trio's music exemplified the subtleties that come from listening closely to each other. In their three way conversation, Voccia masterfully crafted rich phrases that ranged from lightly melodic to dynamically urgent, giving the music a push and pull reflected by Kaluza who too swung between blasts of melodic fragments and textural passages. Kneer, whose approach covered the full spectrum of his instrument, fit in perfectly. Throughout the set, Voccia added tension to the music, often with a focus on the lower end of the keyboard, while Kaluza contributed as much tonal shading as she did bright powerful moments and Kneer provided rooted and poignant counter arguments. 

    The closing act was an unexpected blast of energy in the form of the art-punk prog-jazz project Brique from pianist Eve Risser with the singer Bianca Iannuzzi, the acoustic bass playing of Luc Ex and the rock oriented drumming of Francesco Pastacaldi. The group was a study in contrasts with Risser's sometimes classically oriented playing mixing with Iannuzzi's no-wave/operatic singing and the commanding punk-like bass and drum work of Ex and Pastacaldi. Just as edgy as the music, with its strong punk attitude, was the lyrical content. While many of the details have melted away, the attitude remains. For example, one song was drawn from letters from patients in a psychiatric hospital in the 1980s. In general, the eclectic rock pulse and classical elements came together in an alluring retro-futuristic way.

    The group's energetic set came to an even more energetic encore as Risser ran to the back of the hall to pick up a flute and welcome two guests, namely her Red Desert Orchestra collaborators, trombonist Matthias Mueller and trumpeter Nils Ostendorf. The wildly chaotic brass-band dance party brought the Serious Series to a seriously fun conclusion.

    Thursday, December 28, 2023


    By Stef Gijssels

    You have to give it her. Joëlle Léandre is one of those musicians whose relentless passion and musical exploration have been a lifelong pleasure to hear. Even if she remains true to herself in her music, there is also an element of surprise in every new album, something new, something different, something unexpected. When you think you've heard it all, please think again. This is also the result of her careful networking with other musicians, as on the three albums presented here. Whether with established musicians like Craig Taborn and Mat Maneri, or with less known and younger musicians, such as Rodolphe Loubatière and Vinicius Cajado. She works with them to expand her sound pallette while at the same time she likes to be challenged and to create musical innovation. 

    Joëlle Léandre, Craig Taborn & Mat Maneri - hEARoes (RogueArt, 2023)

    It's amazing to hear three established musicians create music that could easily fit within the current 'classical avant-garde' when the music is only fully improvised. The three 'hEARoes' of this album are Joëlle Léandre on double bass, Craig Taborn on piano, and Mat Maneri on viola. 

    This is improvisation without leadership, true co-creation of three like-minded artists. They are all three at the same level of instrumental virtuosity, they have nothing more to prove, and what they show here, could be a great example for other musicians about the incredible value of discipline. The quality of the album is to a large extent the result of the mastery of the artists on their own creativity as well as keeping the overall sound, the structure of the improvisation, the balance of instruments and the sense of direction under full control. The pieces are relatively compact, each with its own voice, with no time for long meanderings and expansion. And at the same time they bring something unique and refreshing. 

    I will not go into the detail of each track. Just know that all three musicans are in great shape, and their musical output here more than meets the expectations, presenting music that can range from cautious development to agitated intensity, from bright sounds to dark moments, jazzy and avant-garde, and the biggest feat is the feeling of freedom, in the knowledge that the control they have no longer requires attention, and that the full focus is on the expressive power of the ensemble-playing.

    I've just read - now that I wrote this review - fellow reviewer Stuart Broomer's liner notes, and they are spot on. It's a long text, really worth reading, and these two paragraphs cover it best: 

    "Another miracle of musical time? Joëlle Léandre informs that she has played with Mat Maneri many times over a 30-year period. The surprise may be that they never sound mechanical, jaded or responding by rote. Further, Léandre remarks that before this day she and Craig Taborn had never played together. The surprise, perhaps strongest, is that they never sound like they’re studying each other, laying hints and clues for ready discussion. They just play, not like they’re reading a score, but rather reading each other’s vast, copious, musical mind.

    All three are always playing full out, participating wholly, coming from three different spaces, each a master with a wealth of general and specialized musical experience, collectively assembling and sharing a century of improvisatory practice as well as particular dialects: Joëlle Léandre with experience in every form of improvised music as well as special collaborations with Giacinto Scelsi and John Cage; Mat Maneri, long-time musical partner to his father Joe, and thus an indefatigable explorer of microtonal music, composed and improvised; Craig Taborn, a musician so universally informed and adept, that likely no other pianist might have fit so readily into a band called Rocket Science


    Listen and download from Bandcamp.

    Joëlle Léandre & Rodolphe Loubatière - Estampe (Confront Recordings, 2023)

    To be honest, I had never heard of Rodolphe Loubatière, a French percussionist and visual artist, residing in Geneva, Switzerland. He is a sound explorer, using all kinds of tools to produce percussive effects, forms and textures. On this album, the snare drum is his instrument, worked on with a few dozen other tools to create the desired sound. 

    Joëlle Léandre has performed often in duo formats, with saxophonists, pianists, bassists, koto and even saw players, but the number of duets with percussionists is rather rare. In the 128 albums she released as a leader, the following can be identified: "Tricotage" with Daniel Rogier (2000), "Evident" with Mark Nauseef (2004), "Winter In New York" with Kevin Norton (2007), "Off Course!" with Paul Lovens (2022), "BlaBlaBla" with Nuria Andorra (2022). 

    It's a pleasure to hear her with compatriot in this intimate musical setting. Loubatière is a rather minimalist percussionist, someone who discreetly colours the sound rather than co-lead. This gives Léandre the possibility to design her own improvisations, listening and respecting the percussionist, who is also adept at creating sustained tones from his instruments, often merging with the sound of the bowed bass. 

    As of the fourth track she starts her powerful vocals, surreal bluesy chants full of repetitions, improvised meaningless and meaningful words. She does something similar on track six, but then with half angry shouts, furious rantings, possibly kicking her instrument, expressing her dissatisfaction with the world, but with the fun laughing interjection "on rigole, tu sais" (we're laughing, you know), as if to reassure her audience.

    The last track is the most powerful, gradually building up from near silence to a high-powered single tone bowing contest near the end. 

    It's certainly not her best album, yet it remains great to listen to. 

    Listen and download from Bandcamp

    Joëlle Léandre & Vinicius Cajado - Storm Dance (Not Two Records, 2023)

    Her collaboration with the young Vinicius Cajado is great. Cajado, born in 1988, is from São Paulo, Brasil, and he has already made a strong impression in the jazz world. He already won several awards, including at the International Society of Bassists competition. His debut solo record for double bass “Monu” was nominated as “Best of the year 2021" by “The New York City Jazz Record”

    Léandre has a knack for welcoming new talent, regardless of their instrument, as long as they have a musical vision and the willingness to listen and learn, yet I guess she also likes the challenge of the new voices, the new approaches, the things they learned recently. It keeps her young, and it keeps us young. 

    They perform six 'dances', as each track is called, mostly bowed improvisations, that demonstrate a really close dancing format, all well attuned and like-minded. On the "Fifth Dance", Léandre starts with her usual vocal works, decisively taking the lead in a territory that the young Brasilian is unable to follow, yet he supports her well after some initial background position. 

    The great thing with Léandre is that she always performs to the full, nothing is done halfway, she shows how to put her entire soul into her music, a level of self-confidence and use of energy that requires time to acquire. Cajado does well in this context, and that's to his credit. 

    A French virtuoso who makes everything interesting, and a young Brasilian high potential to follow. 


    Listen and download from the label

    Wednesday, December 27, 2023

    Darius Jones - fluXkit Vancouver (its suite but sacred) (Northern Spy Records/We Jazz Records, 2023)

    By Lee Rice Epstein

    One of the most imaginative, dynamic artists, Darius Jones followed his first solo alto album (2021’s Raw Demoon Alchemy (A Lone Operation) ) with, arguably, the most impressive work of his career, thus far. His latest, fluXkit Vancouver ( its suite but sacred), commissioned by the Vancouver-based Western Front and released this fall in a collaborative venture between Northern Spy Records and We Jazz Records, debuts a new musical language, designed by Jones, that features, “extended technique moments to be unique to each individual player.” As with his albums in the Man’ish Boybook of music, the intersection of aural, visual, and physical is foregrounded on fluXkit Vancouver, bringing players and listeners together into a collaborative receiving space, where making the sounds that form the music intersects with experiencing the performance.

    The group features a new recording lineup for Jones, with the great Gerald Cleaver on drums, and a nontraditional string quartet with Joshua and Jesse Zubot on violins, Peggy Lee on cello, and James Meger on double bass. Incepted in 2019, fluXkit Vancouver draws directly on Jones’s personal experience with the city. Jones had to restart workshops with the group after cancelling performances in 2020, and that break allowed the music to, in his words, “gestate.” In addition to the 25 visual directions created for this music, the gestation period seems to have provided the players with time to ruminate on all the ways they could perform the music—or, perhaps, in the parlance of a Fluxkit, assemble (as well as disassemble and reassemble) the components contained within.

    FluXkit Vancouveropens with a short, invocation from Jones, answered by Cleaver and Meger, who, throughout the album, straddles the roles of rhythm section and string quartet. As conceptually brilliant as the material is, Jones has rarely played with such clarity and depth of feeling. He sounds more exposed than even on Raw Demoon Alchemy, partly because of the way this music relies heavily on his subsequent direction and sublimation to the ensemble. It’s a dazzling performance, with superb leaps and references to traditional jazz, which he plays against occasionally spiky, modernist violin lines. The Zubot brothers, well versed in chamber, symphony, and jazz motifs, play brilliantly together with Lee and Meger, the collective sonic environment is warm, bold, and inviting.

    Lyrically circular motifs, like aural curlicues, recur throughout, syntactical guideposts in the hour-long suite. And throughout, Cleaver’s pulsing swing showcasing, as always, his brilliance on the drum kit. Late in the final piece, “Damon and Pythias,” Lee moves forward with a cello line that could have come straight from Charles Ives or William Grant Still, over which Jones solos in the middle-to-lower range of the alto sax. The combination of folk and modern techniques is emphasized by the gradual addition of Meger and the Zubots, with the final minutes harkening back to the opening, a gorgeous and contemplative recessional. This will undoubtedly remain a high water mark for Jones as an emotionally rich, sweeping epic.

    Short documentary on the making

    Animated score for “Zubot”

    Buy direct from Northern Spy Records

    Tuesday, December 26, 2023

    Tony Oxley (1938 - 2023)

    Tony Oxley. Photo by Peter Gannushkin

    By Martin Schray

    Once the Jost Gebers, the man behind the seminal record label FMP, and Tony Oxley wanted to take Oxley’s drum equipment in a Volkswagen bus from West to East Berlin. At the GDR border a guard was checking them and was puzzled over what strange stuff was being transported. Gebers explained to him that Oxley was a drummer. When the border guard then found a violin, the matter was clear to him. Oxley had to be a musical clown. Now Tony Oxley, who was anything but a clown, and rather a phenomenal sound researcher, percussionist, violinist and electronic musician, has died after being sick for a long time.

    Oxley was born in Sheffield and taught himself to play the drums. When he was drafted into the British army, he became a percussionist in the military orchestra. While serving, Oxley was able to travel to the United States where he heard jazz greats, such as Art Blakey, Horace Silver, and Philly Joe Jones live. To see these people live was a life-changing experience. Back home in Sheffield, he formed a jazz combo, which he led for three years. In 1963, he had another decisive encounter: He met guitarist Derek Bailey, who was living just around the corner. “A once in a century coincidence,“ as Oxley described the meeting to the German music journalist Bert Noglik . With bassist Gavin Bryars they formed a trio called Joseph Holbrooke (the band was named after a long-deceased British composer). The group started out playing jazz standards, but quickly evolved into other kinds of music, driven by the interests of the three. Bryars was interested in avant-garde classical composers, Oxley in the more radical players in contemporary jazz and Bailey in both. Improvised music was the common denominator that kept the trio going. It was music virtually unknown in England or elsewhere in Europe at the time. According to Oxley and Bailey the music developed virtually out of itself in the course of Joseph Holbrooke’s playing. In 1967 Oxley moved to London. Before long he had established himself as the house drummer at one of the city’s most popular jazz clubs: Ronnie Scott’s. Although Oxley had already moved beyond traditional jazz in his own music, he enjoyed performing with the players who had helped invent jazz - legends such as Ben Webster, Joe Hendeson, Stan Getz, and Bill Evans. Thus, he developed a distinctive rhythmic style. He was able to play time in form of polyrhythmic beats, without losing the original groove, just to pick it up later on. For many musicians he was a real challenge.

    Oxley’s work at Ronnie Scott’s had given him a solid reputation as a jazz drummer although he had already connected to the freely improvised scene. In 1969, he performed on John McLaughlin’s first LP Extrapolation, and as a member of Miles Davis’s band the guitarist was already up and coming. His connection to him might have been the reason why Oxley was offered a recording contract by CBS and he was able to release The Baptised Traveller, which featured members of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Evan Parker on saxophone, Derek Bailey on guitar, Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, and Jeff Clyne on bass. The result was a vision of the future of jazz, hardly heard at that time. Oxley’s band even managed to make another record for CBS, Four Compositions For Sextet , Paul Rutherford on trombone augmented them. Commercially the albums were not successful, no wonder CBS sacked him.

    Yet, Oxley was on the safe side as to money because of his engagement at Ronnie Scott’s, but in general improvised music in Great Britain didn’t do well. It was hardly possible for the musicians to find gigs, media and record labels simply ignored it. This was the reason why Oxley co-founded the Musicians Cooperative with Bailey, Parker and several other musicians in 1970. Another move was to start Incus Records, an independent artist-owned record label, with Evan Parker and Derek Bailey. Finally, the musicians were able to document their music, to release and distribute their albums without being dependent on the big majors.

    But most of all, Oxley became the drummer who was so influential for future generations when he decided to expand his drum kit. He started to experiment with various forms of amplification and electronic devices such as ring modulators, for example. He especially liked to use them on the foreign objects he had incorporated into the kit: bowls, pieces of wire, screws, and other metal objects that were able to create a wide range of pure sounds. His already unique rhythmic style was linked to a new sound universe. From that moment on no one sounded like Tony Oxley.

    As to music two more meetings were important in Toney Oxley’s life: The one with the painter Alan Davie, who gave him his first violin. Oxley was immediately interested in the rhythmic possibilities of the instrument (not the melodic ones, again typically Oxley) and so he decided working with string ensembles of all kinds. The other one was Oxley’s encounter with Cecil Taylor. He met him when the pianist had an FMP residence in Berlin during the summer of 1988. He played with him as a duo, with William Parker in the Feel Trio, and in the 17-piece Cecil Taylor European Orchestra. What is more, Taylor introduced him to Bill Dixon, with whom he also recorded several albums for the Italian Soul Note label. Oxley became Taylor’s favourite partner for the rest of the pianist’s life.

    Tony Oxley oeuvre is so huge and various, it’s hard to give recommendations. His early recordings are certainly important landmarks for the development of European free jazz. The Baptised Traveller (CBS, 1969) and Ichnos (RCA Victor, 1971) with the same band, only that Barry Guy has replaced Jeff Clyne, are just spectacular. Tony Oxley (Incus, 1975) - also with the same collaborators (but Dave Holzworth is on bass and Howard Riley on piano) - must also be mentioned. Oxley’s trio with Riley and Barry Guy is definitely recommendable, for example Synopsis (Eminem, 1974). His work with Cecil Taylor is well-documented and almost all the releases are excellent. Above all, the first Feel Trio album, Looking (FMP 1990), with William Parker on bass is outstanding, possibly one of the best free music recordings ever made and one I hold especially dearly. As a duo the two developed a breathtaking energy, just listen to Leaf Palm Hand (FMP, 1989) and Ailanthus / Altissima: Bilateral Dimensions Of 2 Root Songs (Triple Point Records, 2009). Personal favorites of mine are his albums on Soul Note with Bill Dixon (trumpet), Barry Guy and William Parker on bass - Vade Mecum Iand II (1994 and 96).

    “I consider myself more a percussionist, in contrast to a jazz drummer who keeps time“, Oxley told Bert Noglik in the aforementioned interview. “In the new improvised music, a percussionist can interrupt the flow of his playing without affecting the nature of his relationship to the other players.“ Should St. Peter have checked Tony Oxley at the gates of heaven and the drummer had his stuff with him, he will surely not have taken him for a clown, but for what he is: one of the greatest drummers of the last 60 years. The jazz band in heaven can look forward to him.

    Annotation: parts of this obituary are based on a text by Gerald E. Brennan on Tony Oxley

    Watch Mr. Oxley play:

    Camila Nebbia - una ofrenda a la ausencia (Relative Pitch, 2023)

    By Jury Kobayashi

    Camila Nebbia is one of my favourite artists. An amazing saxophonist, composer, visual artist, Nebbia is making some of the most interesting music and art out there. She is a well sought after musician working in a variety of contexts. Her YouTube channel(which does not get nearly enough views), is an incredible portfolio of her work.

    Although I have listened to Nebbia playing with many different groups, I have always been particularly drawn to her unaccompanied sax playing. Her sound is incredible, and she has developed a distinctive and sophisticated language of saxophone playing. una ofrenda a la ausencia is one of Nebbia’s most recent albums featuring her on solo tenor saxophone (with spoken word, and effects) and is a perfect display of her solo sax work.

    una ofrenda a la ausencia, meaning an offering to absence, is explained in the album description as an exploration of the “depth, the rawness, harshness and roughness of sound embracing the intense and unfiltered expressions that emerges from absence.” Nebbia truly does embrace harsh sounds and through that embrace builds a beautiful and complex piece of music that feels like a sonic meditation on space and the possibilities of performance without others. Nebbia crafts beautiful lines with her sax that swoops and arcs like drawing shapes of sound in the air. At other times, she growls omitting blistering multiphonics.

    The depth and diversity of articulations is astounding - I love the way Nebbia builds long melodies and then contrasts them with what seem to be meditations on a cellular-like riff. I would compare it to unit structures but that isn’t quite right in this case. Instead, it feels like a deconstruction of a discreet sonic area made possible through articulation or a meditation on sounding and breathing notes into a tenor saxophone. The multiphonic passages are particularly captivating with worlds of sounds emerging from the plumage of harmonics singing from the saxophone.

    una ofrenda a la ausencia is a spectacular album by one of today’s most important artists. It is a gorgeous, visceral, and moving work that needs to be listened to.

    Mat Maneri Quartet - Ash (Sunnyside, 2023)

    By Gregg Miller  

    Ash is the Mat Maneri Quartet’s second installment to a proposed trilogy, following up on the lovely Dust (Sunnyside, 2019), with a projected third recording (Mist) in the works. The quartet is Mat Maneri’s viola, joined by Lucian Ban (piano), John Hébert (bass), and Randy Peterson (drums). Maneri has played with Hébert since the 1990s, Randy Peterson since the late 80s, and Ban since around 2010. The communication across the 4 players feels effortless, always searching, never trite. Each of the three titles in the trilogy signals something evanescent, elusive yet omnipresent and uncontrollable, atmospheric.

    Maneri’s music invokes a distinctive tone world: moody and sorrowful, a bit decrepit; earthy decay against a background of blight blanched by hazy sunlight. The lilting movement of sound over a windswept field of somewhat sickly wildflowers, muted yellows and reds, dull greens and browns. New classical, but in truth a jazz combo that has dropped the formalism, kept the nocturne, and added a torch singer carried by the viola veering in and around pitchless angst. Maneri’s viola is mourning incarnate. I could listen to the first three pieces of this recording on endless repeat.

    I first came to Mat Maneri’s musical concept listening to his triptych of records on Leo recordings: Fifty-One Sorrows (1999), Fever Bed (2000), and For Consequence (2003), and then his solo work on Trinity (ECM, 2001). (This is not even to mention his work with Matthew Shipp, or his HatHut recordings with his father, the late clarinetist/saxophonist Joe Maneri (though do check out Out Right Now (HatHut, 2001)  with Joe Maneri and Joe Morris on guitar), and Dahabenzapple (Hat Hut, 1996)with Joe Maneri, Cecil McBee on bass, and Randy Peterson.) I was and remain very taken by his singular expressiveness. Within a fairly tight aesthetic, Maneri opens up a way of allowing the viola to speak its sadness. In his interview with DJ Michael Schell (on KBCS (Bellevue College) from this past October), Maneri jokes that he’s the “Goth Jazz guy.” But then more seriously, “I’ve always loved the melancholy. It speaks to me.” It speaks to him and through him to us, the halting implication that we share the world’s mourning.

    The tracks on Ash are all of a piece. Viola rasping over and against the subtle but still cleanly tonal piano, the slowly throbbing bass, Peterson’s emotive percussion—no time, all emphasis, unraveling lines.

    Highlights from the record: The second track, “Dust to Dust,” captures a slow-motion mist, working it over 10 minutes. The liner notes read: “Dust to dust in which dust itself is a prerequisite for dust in which dust returns to dust and again . . . as if there is no end except in the coming back around of the end.” The cycle of eternal return. When Maneri drops off to let the piano-bass-drums trio do their thing, the effect is of a fog lifting. Ban plays lead and a mildly cheerful moodiness appears; Maneri returns and the tone is reset to the stoically tragic, face to face with the muted melancholy of our situation. On the third track, "Earth," Peterson’s drum solo closing it out slowly over the last two and a half minutes is a thing of beauty. The final track, “Cold World Lullaby” has an Eastern European flavor. Romanian, perhaps. Less Maneri’s concept, than his concept applied to an adjacent genre. It works.

    I do wish John Hébert’s bass were better represented in its sonic detail. The quartet played Seattle as part of the Earshot Jazz festival in November, 2023. Brandon Lopez sat in for Hébert. In the new auditorium of Cornish College of the Arts, the sound was fantastic.

    Available at Bandcamp digital or CD:

    Monday, December 25, 2023

    Free Jazz Blog's 2023 Top 10 Lists

    So, here we are, standing on the precipice of a new year looking back at the current one -- who would have thought that would see the future catching up with the present so fast, especially with AI that can take artfully crafted prompts like "Santa delivering records for Christmas, excitement, painting style" and create stunning visualizations like the one above, in addition to generating an endless supply of confusing student essays. Fortunately, we haven't outsourced all our creativity to the machines yet. For example, the past year was a banner one for experimental and improvised music. Here is some anecdotal evidence: over the past 12 months, the Free Jazz Blog received at least two thousand requests for reviews and welcomed over 1.71 million visitors -- a testament to both the spirit and creativity of musicians around the world and a nod to the tireless effort that the collective's volunteer writers put into keeping the website humming.

    Now, without further ado, we present the top 10 albums of the year from the Free Jazz Collective:

    The Free Jazz Collective's Top 10 of 2023 (A - Z):
    • Akira Sakata & Entasis - Live in Europe 2022 (Trost)
    • Anna Webber - Shimmer Wince (Intakt)
    • Fire Orchestra - Echoes (Rune Grammofon)
    • Irreversible Entanglements - Protect your Light (Impulse)
    • King Übü Örchestrü – Roi (FMR, 2023)
    • Lina Allemano - Canons (Lumo Records, 2023)
    • Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden (Constellation, 2023)
    • Matthew Shipp - The Intrinsic Nature of Shipp (Mahakala, 2023)
    • Mendoza Hoff Revels - Echolocation (AUM Fidelity)
    • Rodrigo Amado The Bridge - Beyond the Margins (Trost, 2023)

    From each list, the most listed recordings were culled to produce the above list of top 10 recordings of the year. Our rules are simply, anything that appears on a list must have been reviewed on the site (or by the reviewer personally, somewhere). You can search for any of the recordings listed to read a review of the recording. As you check out the lists the collective will be busy voting on the top album from the list below to come up with our top album of the year, which we will present on January 1st.

    And please, share your thoughts on 2023's rich offerings in the comments!
    - Paul Acquaro 
    Alphabetically by first name, the top 10's from the collective:
    Eyal Hareuveni
    • Fred Frith & Susana Silva Santos - Laying Demons to Rest (RogueArt)
    • Peter Bruun, Søren Kjærgaard & Jonas Westergaard - Thēsaurós (Ilk Music)
    • Satoko Fujii & Otomo Yoshihide - Perpetual Motion (Ayler)
    • Glass Triangle - Blue and Sun-lights (Relative Pitch)
    • Illegal Crowns - Unclosing (Out Of Your Head)
    • Vasco Trilla - A Constellation Of Anomaly (Thanatosis Produktion)
    • Jürg Frey (Quatuor Bozzini / Konus Quartett) - Continuité, fragilité, résonance (elsewhere)
    • Marcelo dos Reis & Luís Vicente - (Un)Prepared Pieces for Guitar and Trumpet (Cipsela)
    • John Butcher - The Very Fabric (Hittori)
    • Rodrigo Amado The Bridge - Beyond The Margins (Trost)
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • Dror Feiler - Maavak (Music & Noise 1980-2023, Volume 1 & 2) (iDEAL Recordings)
    Ferruccio Martinotti
    • Akira Sakata & Entasis - Live in Europe 2022 (Trost)
    • Ceramic dog - Connection (Knockwurst)
    • Fire! Orchestra - Echoes (Rune Grammofon)
    • Irreversible Entanglements - Protect your Light (Impulse) 
    • jamie branch - Fly or die fly or die fly or die (World War) (International anthem)
    • Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden (Constellation) 
    • Mendoza Hoff Revels - Echolocation (AUM Fidelity) 
    • Rob Mazurek Exploding Star Orchestra - Lightning Dreamers (International anthem) 
    • The End - Why do you Mourn (Trost) 
    • The Necks - Travel (Northern Spy) 
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • Sam Rivers - Archive series (NoBusiness) 

    Fotis Nikolakopoulos
    1. Silke Eberhard &  Céline Voccia - Wild Knots (Relative Pitch)
    2. Alabaster DePlume - Come With Fierce Grace (International Anthem)
    3. Gerrit Hatcher - Solo Five (Kettle Hole Records)
    4. Julius Amber – Close Up (Veto Records)
    5. Jack Wright, Ben Bennett - Augur (Palliative Records)
    6. Darius Jones - fLuXkit Vancouver (i̶t̶s suite but sacred) (Northern Spy, We Jazz)
    7. Rudolph & Sorey -Archaisms (defkaz)
    8. Sam Weinberg Trio w/ Chris Lightcap & Tom Rainey (Astral Spirits)
    9. Anne Gillis + XT - Our(s) Bouture(s) (Art Into Life)
    10. Rupp/Kneer/Fischerlehner - Puna (Klanggalerie)   
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:

    A few comments on the archival recordings: 2023 was M. Graves' year. Babi, the most important recording for  post-Ayler free jazz, was reissued for the first time on vinyl, plus Children of The Forest is a musical statement beyond explanations. 

    I strongly believe that the NYC recording of Evan Parker solo did  not get the praise it deserves. Last but not least, the french  avant/free jazz/experimental trio of Axolotl from 1981 gets, finally, a  first ever reissue in any format. 
    1. Milford Graves With Arthur Doyle & Hugh Glover – Children Of The Forest (Black Editions Archives)
    2. Evan Parker – NYC 1978 (Relative Pitch)
    3. Axolotl - Abrasive (SouffleContinu Records)

    Gary Chapin
    1. Tim Berne/Hank Roberts/Aurora Nealand - Oceans And (Intakt)
    2. Art Ensemble of Chicago - The Sixth Decade: From Paris to Paris (Live at Sons d’Hiver) (Rogue Art)
    3. Anna Webber - Shimmer Wince (Intakt)
    4. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden (Constellation)
    5. Irreversible Entanglements - Protect Your Light (Impulse)
    6. Matthew Shipp - The Intrinsic Nature of Shipp (Mahakala)
    7. Ceramic Dog - Connection (Knockwurst Records)
    8. Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim - Starling (self-release)
    9. Fire Orchestra - Echoes (Rune Grammofon)
    10. Marc Ducret - Palm Sweat: Marc Ducret Plays the Music of Tim Berne (Out of Your Head)
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • Matthew Shipp Trio - Circular Temple (ESP-DSK)
    • Sam River Archive Series (NoBusiness)

    Guido Montegrandi
    • Natural Information Society - Since Time is Gravity (Eremite, 2023)
    • Bill Orcutt - Jump on It (Palilalia, 2023)
    • The Pitch & Julia Reidy – Neutral Star (Miasmah, 2023)
    • Wadada Leo Smith – Fire Illuminations (Kabell Records, 2023)
    • Ove Volquartz, Gianni Mimmo, Peer Schlechta, John Hughes – Cadenza del Crepuscolo (Amirani, 2023)
    • Fire! Orchestra – Echoes (Rune Grammofon, 2023)
    • The Necks – Travel (Northern Spy 2023)
    • Dave Sewelson, William Parker, Steve Hirsh – The Gate (Mahakala, 2023)
    • Fred Frith & Susana Silva Santos – Layin Demons to Rest (RogueArt, 2023)
    • Zoh Amba, Chris Corsano, Bill Orcutt – The Flower School (Palilalia, 2023)

    Gregg Miller
    • Matthew Shipp - The Intrinsic Nature of Shipp (Mahakala, 2023)
    • Rodrigo Amado The Bridge - Beyond the Margins (Trost, 2023)
    • Greg Davis & E. Jason Gibb - Steam Fence (Superpang, 2023)
    • Rob Brown - Oceanic (Rogueart, 2023)
    • Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden (Constellation, 2023)
    • Jaap Blonk / Damon Smith / Ra Kalam Bob Moses - Rune Kitchen (Balance Point Acoustics, 2023)
    • Mat Maneri Quartet - Ash (Sunnyside Records, 2023)
    • Peter Brötzmann, Majid Bekkas, Hamid Drake - Catching Ghosts (ACT, 2023)
    • Rempis Percussion Quartet - Harvesters (Aerophonic Records, 2023)
    • The Coal - Recorded Remembered (Shhpuma, 2023)

    Irena Stevanovska
    1. The Necks - Travel (Northern Spy, 2023)
    2. Fire! Orchestra - Echoes (Rune Grammofon, 2023)
    3. Village of the Sun - First Light (Gearbox, 2023)
    4. Gard Nilssen's Supersonic Orchestra - Family (We Jazz, 2023)
    5. Ambrose Akinmusire - Beauty Is Enough (Origami Harvest, 2023)
    6. The End - Why Do You Mourn (Trost Records, 2023)
    7. Peter Brötzmann / Majid Bekkas / Hamid Drake - Catching Ghosts (ACT, 2023)
    8. KVL - Vol 2 (Astral Spirits, 2023)
    9. Irreversible Entanglements - Protect Your Light (Impulse, 2023)
    10. The Green Mean Machine - The Engine (Independent, 2023)

    Jury Kobayashi
    1. Joe Morris, Jeb Bishop, Nathan McBride: Tells or Terrier - (Not Two Records)
    2. Maria Valencia: Compendio de Alfonías Abisales - (Relative Pitch)
    3. gabby fluke-mogul, Nava Dunkelman - Likht (Relative Pitch)
    4. Jaap Blonk, Damon Smith, Ra Kalam Bob Moses - Rune Kitchen (bpa)
    5. Kris Tiner, Tatsuya Nakatani - The Magic Room (Epigraph Records)
    6. Camila Nebbia - una ofrenda a la ausencia (Relative Pitch Records)
    7. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden (Constellation)
    8. jaimie branch - Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die (Word War) (International Anthem)
    9. Irreversible Entanglements - Protect Your Light (Impulse)
    10. Tomas Fujiwara - Pith (Out of Your Head)

    Lee Rice Epstein
    1. Darius Jones - fLuXkit Vancouver (its suite but sacred) (Northern Spy & We Jazz)
    2. Anne Gillis + XT - Our/s Bouture(s) (Art Into Life)
    3. Kate Gentile - Find Letter X (Pi Recordings)
    4. GEORGE - Letters To George (Out of Your Head)
    5. Lina Allemano - Canons (Lumo Records)
    6. John Zorn - Bagatelles, Vol. 13 - 16 (Tzadik  Records)
    7. Ivo Perelman and Nate Wooley - Polarity 2 (Burning Ambulance)
    8. Eddie Prévost/ N.O. Moore/ James O’Sullivan/ Ross Lambert- CHORD (Shrike Records)
    9. João Almeida, Rodrigo Pinheiro & Vasco Furtado - Linae (Phonogram Unit)
    10. Charlotte Keeffe's Right Here, Right Now Quartet - Alive! In The Studio (Discus Music) 
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • Masada - 30th Anniversary Edition: The Complete Studio Master Takes (Tzadik)
    • Milford Graves, Arthur Doyle, Hugh Glover - Children of the Forest (Black Editions Archive)
    • Steve Swell’s Fire Into Music - For Jemeel - Fire From the Road (2004–2005) (RogueArt)

    Martin Schray
    1. Fire! Orchestra - Echoes (Rune Grammofon)
    2. Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Schemen (Karl Records)
    3. The End - Why Do You Mourn (Trost Records)
    4. Xenofox - The Garden Was Empty (audiosemantics)
    5. Mendoza Hoff Revels - Echolocation (AUM Fidelity)
    6. King Übü Örchestrü 2021 – Roi (FMR)
    7. Zoh Amba, Chris Corsano, Bill Orcutt – The Flower School (Palilalia Records)
    8. jaimie branch - Fly Or Die Fly or Die Fly Or Die (World War) (International Anthem)
    9. Rupp/Kneer/Fischerlehner - Puna (audiosemantics)
    10. Louis Laurain - Le Bargy (three:four records)
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy - Evenings at the Village Gate (Impulse!)
    • Sam Rivers Archive Series (NoBusiness)
    • Peter Brötzman / Sabu Toyozumi - Triangle - Live at OHM 1987 (NoBusiness)
    Matty Bannond
    1. Anna Webber – Shimmer Wince (Intakt Records).
    2. Ingrid Laubrock – The Last Quiet Place (Pyroclastic)
    3. Ellen Arkbro and Johan Graden – I get along without you very well (Thrill Jockey, 2022)
    4. Florian Arbenz – Conversation #8 Ablaze (Hammer)
    5. Jessica Pavone – Spam Likely (577 Records)
    6. The Green Mean Machine – The Engine (Independent)
    7. Galumphing Duo – Contrast of Opposites (AMP Records)
    8. Leo Genovese, Demian Cabaud and Marcos Cavaleiro – Estrellero (Sunnyside, 2023)
    9. Arina Fujiwara – Neon (Independent, 2023)
    10. fractus – fractus (Independent, 2023)
    Nick Metzger
    • Sven-Ake Johansson - Stumps (Ni-Vu-Ni-Connu)
    • James Brandon Lewis - Eye of I (Anti)
    • Luís Vicente 4tet - House in the Valley (Clean Feed)
    • Nava Dunkelman & gabby fluke-mogul - Likht (Relative Pitch)
    • Jaap Blonk / Damon Smith / Ra Kalam Bob Moses - Rune Kitchen (Balance Point Acoustics)
    • King Übü Örchestrü 2021 - Roi (FMR)
    • Rodrigo Amado The Bridge - Beyond the Margins (Trost)
    • Irreversible Entanglements - Protect Your Light (Impulse)
    • Sei Miguel - The Original Drum (Clean Feed)
    • Matthew Shipp - The Intrinsic Nature of Shipp (Mahakala)
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • Graves/Doyle/Glover - Children of the Forest (Black Editions Archive)
    • Marion Brown Quartet - Mary Ann, Live In Bremen 1969 (Moosicus)
    • John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy - Evenings at the Village Gate (Impulse)

    Nick Ostrum
    • Satoko Fujii and Otomo Yoshihide – Perpetual Motion (Ayler)
    • King Übü Örchestrü – Roi (FMR)
    • Joëlle Léandre - Zurich Concert (Intakt, 2023)
    • Marc Ducret - Palm Sweat: Marc Ducret Plays the Music of Tim Berne (Out of Your Head Records)
    • Eve Egoyan and Mauricio Pauly – Hopeful Monster (No Hay Discos)
    • James Brandon Lewis Red Lilly Quartet – For Mahalia, With Love/These Are Soulful Days (Tao-Forms)
    • Nava Dunkelman and gabby fluke-mogul – Likht (Relative Pitch)
    • Tomas Fujiwara – Pith (Out of Your Head Records)
    • Vasco Trilla & Ra Kalam Bob Moses - Singing Icons (Astral Spirits)
    • Pascal Niggenkemper - Blòc (Subran Musiques Aventureuses)
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • Okay Temiz’s Oriental Wind – Live at Montreux Jazz Festival 1982 (CazPlak)
    • Milford Graves, Arthur Doyle, Hugh Glover – Children of the Forest (Black Editions Archive)
    • Dror Feiler – Maavak: Music and Noise, 1980-2023 (Ideal Recordings)

    Paul Acquaro
    Akiri Sakata Entasis's set at Jazzwerstatt Peitz this fall acutally brought me to tears. The intensity that the quartet reached as Sakata summoned the demons with his furious spoken/shouted vocals was simply face melting. A friend in the audience said to me after, "I know a bit of Japanese, he was reciting his grocery list." Ok whatever, I'll have what he's cooking.
    • Akiri Sakata Entasis - Live in Europe 2022 (Trost, 2023)
    • Angelika Niescier / Tomeka Reid / Savannah Harris - Beyond Dragons (Intakt, 2023)
    • Bushman’s Revenge - All the Better For Seeing You (Is It Jazz?, 2023)
    • Daunik Lazro, Benjamin Duboc, Mathieu Bec - Standards Combustion (Dark Tree, 2023)
    • Lina Allemano - Canons (Lumo Records, 2023)
    • Marcelo dos Reis - Flora (JACC, 2023) - write
    • Mendoza Hoff Revels - Echolocation (AUM Fidelity)
    • Rodrigo Amado The Bridge - Beyond the Margins (Trost, 2023)
    • Silke Eberhard & Céline Voccia - Wild Knots (Relative Pitch)
    • The Selva - Camarão-Girafa (Clean Feed, 2023)
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • Various Artists - Jazz in der DDR (Jazzwerstatt, 2023)
    • Sam Rivers Archive Series (NoBusiness, 2023)
    • Brötzmann / Van Hove / Bennink & Albert Mangelsdorff – Outspan No.1 / 2 (CienFuegos, 2023)
    • Matthew Shipp - Circular Temple (ESP, 2023)

    Troy Dostert
    Titles that haven’t been reviewed at FJC were covered over at All About Jazz.
    1. Sylvie Courvoisier - Chimaera (Intakt)
    2. James Brandon Lewis Red Lily Quintet - For Mahalia, With Love (Tao Forms)
    3. Steve Lehman & Orchestre National de Jazz - Ex Machina (Pi)
    4. Jo Lawry - Acrobats (Whirlwind)
    5. Rodrigo Amado & the Bridge - Beyond the Margins (Trost)
    6. Irreversible Entanglements - Protect Your Light (Impulse!)
    7. Henry Threadgill Ensemble - The Other One (Pi)
    8. Mendoza Hoff Revels - Echolocation (AUM Fidelity)
    9. Trickster - Live in Brooklyn (Cygnus)
    10. Ingrid Laubrock - The Last Quiet Place (Pyroclastic)

    Stuart Broomer
    • Susan Alcorn/José Lencastre/Hernâni Faustino - Manifesto (Clean Feed)
    • Rodrigo Amado The Bridge - Beyond the Margins (Trost)
    • John Butcher - The Very Fabric (Hitorri)
    • Daunik Lazro/Benjamin Duboc/Mathieu Bec - Standards Combustion (Dark Tree)
    • Luís Lopes - Lisbon Paris: Stereo Noise Solo (Shhpuma)
    • Pascal Niggenkemper - Blòc (Subran Musiques Aventureuses)
    • Eddie Prévost/ N.O. Moore/ James O’Sullivan/ Ross Lambert- CHORD (Shriker Records)
    • Eddie Prévost, et al. -  A Bright Nowhere: Complete Series (Matchless)
    • Corey Smythe - Smoke Gets in your Eyes (Pyroclastic)
    • Anna Webber - Shimmer Wince (Intakt)
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    • Sophie Agnel / Olivier Benoit / Daunik Lazro - Gargorium (2008-2009) (Fou Records) 
    • Marteau Rouge (Foussat/Pauvros/Sato) & Evan Parker (2009) - Gift (Fou Records) 
    • Bengt “Frippe” Nordström - Vinyl Box (Ni Vu Ni Connu)

    Stef Gijssels
    1. Ambrose Akinmusire - Beauty is Enough (Origami Harvest)
    2. João Almeida, Rodrigo Pinheiro & Vasco Furtado - Linae (Phonogram Unit)
    3. Kris Tiner & Tatsuya Nakatani - The Magic Room (Epigraph Records)
    4. Marcelo dos Reis & Luís Vicente - (Un)Prepared Pieces for Guitar and Trumpet (Cipsela)
    5. Ove Volquartz, Gianni Mimmo, Peer Schlechta & John Hughes - Cadenza Del Crepuscolo (Amirani)
    6. Lina Allemano - Canons (Lumo Records)
    7. Joëlle Léandre, Craig Taborn & Mat Maneri - hEARoes (RogueArt)
    8. g a b b r o - The Moon Appears When The Water Is Still (Gabbro)
    9. Ken Vandermark and Paul Lytton - Distant Cousins (Audiographic)
    10. Fire! Orchestra - Echoes (Rune Grammofon)
    Historic/Archival/Reissued Recordings:
    1. Wayne Horvitz, Butch Morris & Bobby Previte Trio - Live Forever, Vol. 2, NYC, Leverkusen 1988-1989 (Self-Released)
    2. Alan Braufman - Live in New York City, February 8, 1975 (Valley Of Search)
    3. Pyramid Trio - Visitation Of Spirits (NoBusiness)
    4. Matthew Shipp - Circular Temple (ESP)

    William Rossi
    1. Fire! Orchestra - Echoes (Rune Grammofon)
    2. Zoh Amba / Chris Corsano / Bill Orcutt - The Flower School (Palilalia Records)
    3. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Five: In the Garden (Constellation)
    4. Susana Santos Silva - All the Birds and a Telephone Ringing (Thanatosis)
    5. Rodrigo Amado's The Bridge - Beyond the Margins (Trost Records)
    6. Irreversible Entanglements - Protect Your Light (Impulse!)
    7. hÄK / Danzeisen - hÄK / Danzeisen (Karlrecords)
    8. Akira Sakata & Entasis - Live in Europe 2022 (Trost)
    9. Pascal Niggenkemper - La vallée de l'étrange (Subran Musiques Aventureuses)
    10. Fred Frith & Susana Santos Silva - Laying Demons to Rest (Rogue Art)