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Jack Wright (sax) and Ben Bennett (percussion)

Werkhalle Wiesenburg, Berlin, April 2023

Achim Kaufmann (p), Frank Gratkowski (b-cl), Wilbur DeJoode (b) and Tony Buck (dr)

Schorndorf, Germany, April 2023

Arashi: Paal Nilssen-Love (dr), Johan Berthling (b), Akira Sakata (cl, as, voc)

Schorndorf, Germany, March 2023

Soundbridges: Thomas Lehn (s), Ken Vandermark (c), Matthias Muche (t) and Martin Blume (d),

Schorndorf, Germany, February 2023

Acoustic Unity: André Roligheten (s), Petter Eldh (b), Gard Nilssen (d)

KM28 Berlin, February 2023

Keith Eisenbrey (P), Leanna Keith (f), Jim Knodle (c), Tom Baker (g)

The Chapel at the Good Shepherd Center, Seattle, WA, March, 2023

Monday, June 5, 2023

Faith Brackenbury, John Pope, Paul Dunmall, and Tony Bianco - Sentient Beings (Off, 2023)


By Sammy Stein

In September 2022 violin and viola player Faith Brackenbury, tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall, bassist John Pope and drummer Tony Bianco met in a hilltop studio in Shropshire, England to record. They had not met as a quartet before although Bianco and Dunmall have played and recorded together many times before and Brackenbury has played with Pope and recorded with Bianco.

The date was September 23rd, auspiciously the date of John Coltrane’s birthday. It was clear the quartet shared a love for improvisation and their camaraderie become clear – so much so that Bianco suggested they call the album ‘Sentient Beings’ because of the unreserved outpouring of music that was full of fire, sensitivity, and passion.

Sentient Beings is an exemplar of spontaneous music-making. There are just three tracks named aptly ‘As it Was’, ‘Is Now’, and ‘And Ever Shall Be’ in which the quartet takes turns to lead, sit out, enter, and share diverse conversations. There is noodling at times, with each member laying their own path while at others, there is that wonderful springboarding off each other that only comes when musicians are tuned in to each other’s playing.

Dunmall is flying with his sax as he pushes up, out, and beyond normal parameters, his tongued notes merging into blares and occasional melodic phrasing. Brackenbury’s playing seems to start at every position on the strings, her virtuosity clear as she plucks, bows, and uses the full body of her instruments. Like Dunmall, she occasionally introduces a melodic phrase that counteracts the free spontaneity happening around her and weaves a classical sound into the music. Bianco is standout on drums, his intuition clear and Pope on bass is supportive and creates some deviously inventive solo lines too.

Dunmall leads the quartet many times to challenging and ever-evolving music such as in ‘As It Was’ where he creates rhythm patterns, which the others mimic, albeit not exactly because they put their own subtle spins on the phrases – as expected from these talented improvisers.

Considering the quartet had never played together before, this is a remarkable recording. It starts well with the rapport and intuitive reactions increasing as the recording progresses. The three tracks are broken by very short pauses, just long enough to hit the pause button and go and refresh your chosen beverage if you can pull yourself away from the music long enough. In ‘Is Now’ the music drops away at one point to a pared-back, almost whispered section with the saxophone meandering, the viola sighing gently over the top and the drums adding delicate, intricate sounds, and the bass supporting with its deep, yet gentle voice.

The cover picture shows colourful movement and rolling, boiling clouds with a sun appearing - a perfectly apt choice for this music with its energy, bright spots, and hidden periods of exquisite interaction, shining lit sections revealed before they are gently reclaimed into the beating heart of the music. In ‘And Ever Shall Be’ many times, a kaleidoscope of sound is created, the threads of which come together to create a picture displaying the relationships and imaginative connections of the musicians.

This is some of the best spontaneous playing I have heard in a long time. This music makes your heart and ears sing because the sense of shared understanding is almost tangible. Words can never do justice or relate precisely how the music feels. The best way is to listen to it yourself.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Alister Spence/ Tony Buck - Mythographer (Alister Spence Music, 2023)

By Stuart Broomer

Pianist Alister Spence would likely be far better known if he didn’t reside in Australia; conversely, he might not have developed the distinctive and particular style and rich depth that he shows here and on his previous recordings. There’s a special sense of space, though distinct in each musician, amongst Australian improvisers. It’s likely best known in the work of The Necks, that sense of stretching musical time towards origins and then on again, much as it appears in the indigenous music (consider the continuous oscillation of the didgeridoo) and the landscape stretching on forever. Alister Spence has led an eponymous trio for 25 years, with The Necks’ bassist Lloyd Swanton a regular, and here he’s paired with Tony Buck, both The Necks’ drummer and a prominent member of the Berlin free improvisation scene as well.

Spence possesses a particular kind of vision that speaks to an original distance, whether from our usual sense of a scene as place or as constituent style, a special capacity to see through time and space to a different territory, so that you get something like “And Yet She Turns”, a 23-minute voyage through lapping scales and clusters that stretches time toward infinity, animated by Spence’s pan-modality, the piano’s own developing resonance and Buck’s brilliant rattle, a kind of rich, randomized stimuli. From track to track here, the two together develop a collective sense of momentary occasion, so that their respective sounds might never land in precisely the same place, yet they share an essential propulsive energy, an empathy of collisions, that moves forward, stands still and reaches out, a radical model of temporal otherness.

At the opposite running time to “And Yet She Turns”, on the four-minute “The Extent to Which We Still Need Beauty”, we are again invited to a glimpse of the infinite, here formed of hanging, lapping, diatonic clusters. “Strange Luminant”, a darker meditation with an edgy looming bass line, feels strangely like an inversion of the late piano music of Alexander Scriabin.

It’s all original music of a high order, inviting a listener into a distinctive terrain.

Friday, June 2, 2023

Natural Information Society - Since Time Is Gravity (Eremite, 2023)

By Stef Gijssels

There is something about the sound of Joshua Abram's Natural Information Society that makes it immediately welcoming and infectious. Its voice resonates with deep musical roots, going back to ancient cultures and worlds, creating a communal joy of shared feelings and spiritual participation. It is also no mystery that we have reviewed several of the band's albums over the years, and that some of the albums made it to our end-of-year lists (in 2017, 2019). The whole series is also very recognisable and visually unified thanks to the beautiful artwork by Lisa Alvarado. 

Here are some other reviews of the band: 
- Decension (Out Of Our Constrictions) (2021)

Next to the leader on bass and guimbri, the band today consists of some of the best Chicagoan musicians: 

Lisa Alvarado: harmonium
Mikel Patrick Avery: drums
Josh Berman: cornet
Kara Bershad: harp
Ari Brown: tenor saxophone
Hamid Drake: conga, tabla, tar
Ben Lamar Gay: cornet
Nick Mazzarella: alto saxophone
Jason Stein: bass clarinet
Mai Sugimoto: alto saxophone, flute

All tracks have a strong core rhythm, usually very repetitive, riveting and uplifting, rolling forward like a relentless wave, enveloped by the warm layers of rhythm section and horns, over which the soloist - here with a key and stellar role for Ari Brown on sax - brings a lyrical incantation to crystalise the mood of the whole ensemble. Some would call the subgenre 'world jazz' because of the use of African instruments and rhythms, but that would narrow it too much into one specific category. Abram's efforts are much broader, less interested in a musical fusion than in finding a new musical language, one that exists in its own right, rather than being a museum or documentary of sounds. 

The communal sentiment is so strong that some pieces, such as the long "Murmuration" no longer need solos: the whole composition is a one complex and shifting piece on which instruments may come to the foreground and dissolve again in the overall sound but without actually soloing. The individuals completely fade into the total sound without actually disappearing. It's odd ... and magical.

Two tracks - "Wane" and Wax" - are more minimalistic in scope with only percussion and guimbri, providing a kind of break for the other high density compositions, whose relentless repetitions and full sound of the harmonium and horns give rise to a trance-like atmosphere, on the last track again brilliantly supportive of Ari Brown's sensitive tenor. The strangest thing about the album is that it suddenly stops, while you could have listened to it for a while longer. 

Like the other album's by the Natural Information Society, this one is a winner too. 

Listen and download from Bandcamp


Watch "Is": 

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Steve Swell’s Fire Into Music - For Jemeel: Fire from the Road (Rogue Art, 2023)

By Martin Schray

There are many legends in US Free Jazz (Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, Milford Graves, to mention some prominent ones), but there are many more unsung heroes. Jemeel Moondoc is one of them.

The saxophonist was a driving force in the New York loft jazz scene of the 1970s and then in the Lower East Side/East Village scene of the early to mid-1980s, and although he was part of Cecil Taylor’s band for some time (unfortunately undocumented), his work has received comparatively little recognition. Moondoc died in 2021 at the age of 76 after a life-long struggle with health problems, including sickle cell anemia. Hardly anybody seemed to notice his death, there were no obituaries in the major media. However, the Arts for Arts organization, which is responsible for the Vision Festival in New York, called him a “passionate, driven, unapologetic musician who was determined to make music on his terms“. They had brought the man with the characteristic hat to the stage several times. Among the people behind that organization is bassist William Parker, whose circle includes trombonist Steve Swell and percussionist Hamid Drake.

So, Steve Swell’s quartet Fire Into Music is a product of the New York improv scene. The trombonist says that he "was lucky to be invited to play in Jemeel’s ‘Jus Grew Orchestra" in the 1980s and that "it was an honor and inspiration to share the stage with him." He formed Fire Into Music for a three-and-a-half-week tour in late 2004, followed by a shorter tour in the fall of 2005. The quartet’s only studio recording, Swimming in a Galaxy of Goodwill, was released in 2007, also on Rogue Art. The four had originally planned to reunite in the summer of 2021, but Swell was stricken with throat cancer and Moondoc passed away shortly thereafter. Steve Swell has therefore decided to release previously unreleased material from performances by the band. For Jemeel - Fire from the Road presents two concerts from 2004 and 2005 in Texas plus an appearance at the Guelph Jazz Festival in Ontario, Canada. The music is a tribute to the late great saxophonist and, to cut a long story short, it’s a great one.

It already starts with the rhythm section. William Parker and Hamid Drake were the best one in Free Jazz 20 years ago (to this day their class is undisputed). Like no other, they manage to swing, even if they don’t merely play time. When they are in best shape, like in these three performances, you want to linger in the moment with them. What is more, the quartet’s lineup is also reminiscent of the great New York Art Quartet. As with the legendary band from the 1960s, everything comes out flowing, very tight and played with high self-confidence. Some of the music is completely free, as in the first concert, and yet very close to the tradition. As a saxophonist, Moondoc might not be the greatest technician, nor do classical harmonic forms seem to be important to him. Sound, gut feeling and improvisation are in the center of his playing. His main influence is definitely the blues, his style is very lyrical and explorative. Steve Swell ideally complements Moondoc, he’s an excellent musician, his earthy playing intertwines perfectly with the lines of the saxophone. The music in all three concerts is exciting (more modal on the first CD, more harmolodic on the second) and forward, both in the tradition of classical and early Free Jazz.

In detail, this means that you get to hear all kinds of playing, for example solos like the wild, super-intense 10-minute one by William Parker in the first concert at the El Dorado Ballroom in Houston, which sounds like a stream-of-consciousness monologue turned into music (including a recurring blues riff). Swell and Moondoc respond to Parker with highly expressive, unaccompanied short attacks. There are also duos like the bass/drums one in “Space Cowboys“ and in “Box Set“ and last but not least all kinds of trios, which always emerge from the heads in the composed pieces. But the four are at their best when they let it rip together. You can hear that well in Steve Swell’s aforementioned rolling blues “Space Cowboys“, which makes you want to snap your fingers, and in “Box Set“ with its angular funk riff. Another perfect example is Moondoc’s composition “Junka Nu“, which is represented in two versions on the three CDs. While the track starts rather hesitantly with Swell almost hiding behind Moondoc’s saxophone at the concert in Marfa/Texas, the head is presented much more crystalline and clear in the second version from the Guelph Festival. Here, too, the focus is on an extended solo by Parker, which is followed by a drum solo. It seems as if the quartet wants to strip the composition down to its bones to expose a core on which everything is based. Swell and Moondoc rejoin very late, and everything ends back with the head of the beginning. Behind the pure joy of playing, a meta-level of music making becomes visible.

Even though this music is almost twenty years old, it pays tribute in a touching way to what was once called Fire Music. Those who love this kind of almost traditional Free Jazz will be very happy about this treasure chest.

For Jemeel - Fire from the Road is available as a triple CD and as a download. You can listen to the music and buy it here:

 

 

* I want to thank my friend Christoph Mangelsdorf, who provided me with some very valuable information as to Moondoc’s saxophone style. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

KVL - Vol 2 (Astral Spirits, 2023)


By Ian Lovdahl

I know it's all the rage these days, but I can't bring myself to care too deeply about the alleged dangers of A.I. Yes, artificial intelligence is extremely interesting and the endless speculation over the years has brought plenty of entertainment, but I can't help but think that some prognosticators allow their fears to run too far off the leash. Naturally, I'll change my tune when album reviewers are replaced by robots, but until then, I'm content to sit back and observe the development of this increasingly bizarre and fascinating technology. For now, I'll take my devious electronics in my jazz, which is what Chicago trio KVL have to offer in spades on their second album Vol. 2.

Opener (and possible play on words) "Pink Void" has the warbling charm of an underwater arcade, buzzing with low-key electronics and mellow keys. An animated bass murmurs faithfully in the background while Kirshner's crisp cymbal and snare pop like kernels, meditating on the rhythm when Van Duerm's electric piano completes the trio. The pianist's fingers stumble knowingly across the keyboard, unpredictable yet stress-free. A brief feedback-like whine gives way to a soaring (almost blaring) Mellotron horn that triumphantly echoes throughout the valleys of the piece, hinting at more electronic experimentation to come later in the album. The relaxed air starts blowing sideways with gusts of confusion on "Bandwidth Prana", as the electro-piano stutter-steps out of the way of combative drums and obtuse bass. The tone squeezed out of the keys brings to mind the ambient jazz/hip-hop producer Rejoicer, as they shimmer with hazy joy seeking sunlight. Suddenly, someone turns a knob and a sharp pseudo-organ sound emits from the amplifier, soloing like a distorted Keith Emerson on top of the wavy melody. Although the music is definitely jazz, the occasional prog and ambient outbursts adds layers of complexity to the threesome's work.

The third track "Absent Crash" comes about as close to IDM as I could imagine. As the percussion flutters like a breakbeat and electronic keys interject with the steady bass, I'm instantly reminded of Squarepusher's early output; while not a one-for-one comparison, the spirit of Music Is Rotted One Note sings through these songs. Eventually, the band settles down into an organ-driven jazz trio by the back half of the piece, which leads into the fully liberated jazz excursion "Percival's Dilemma". No bones about it – for a short period, this is KVL at their most free, and it makes for a nice detour from their excellent cloudy basement jazz. Perhaps the most interesting set of tracks appear towards the end of Vol. 2as the "Interconnectivity Suite", a five-part journey through augmented reality. The first part opens with a nineties operating system jingle as warping synthetic sounds force the organic components to repeat their parts ad nauseam. Lux's bass takes over the melody in the breezy second part that leads into a daring dub interlude with a groovy drum beat. The band makes micro-adjustments to mix in disparate influences like dub and electronica without sacrificing their unique jazz trio identity; in fact, the seamless genre additions serve to build upon KVL's brand of jazz, however you'd like to categorize it. Coming together with a vengeance at the end, the group jams with progressive flair as they button up their suite with the ever-reliable soft chords of the keyboard; a dynamic end to a satisfyingly-deep record.

Easily one of my favorite new albums of 2023, KVL seriously impresses with their sophomore outing. It shouldn't be any surprise, considering the notable pedigree of the players, but this trio brings a sincerely needed voice that speaks to their idiosyncratic attitude and approach to jazz. I'm looking forward to listening to Vol. 2on vinyl soon and will definitely revisit the LP throughout the rest of the year. As music technology grows in scope, I'd like to see an A.I. try to generate an album like this; sure, a robot might be able to ape some instruments and rhythm, but I doubt it could replicate the warm-blooded verve pumping its heart out each and every second of the record.


Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Matt Mitchell – Oblong Aplomb (Out of Your Head Records, 2023)

By Troy Dostert

The 2013 release of Matt Mitchell’s leader debut, Fiction (Pi Recordings, 2013), announced the arrival of a daring new presence in avant-garde jazz: a pianist whose stunning technical facility could coexist with an infectious rhythmic sensibility, creating music that was demanding and sometimes even forbidding, but not to the point of inscrutability. To pursue his vision, Mitchell needed a sympathetic drummer, one capable of navigating Mitchell’s bizarrely knotty compositions while somehow finding the occasional groove, and on Fiction that was Ches Smith, beginning a partnership that would unfold fruitfully over the subsequent decade. Smith would appear on Mitchell’s A Pouting Grimace (Pi, 2017) and Mitchell would return the favor on Smith’s Path of Seven Colors (Pyroclastic, 2021). But Mitchell has always had a knack for finding supremely gifted and adventurous drummers: Dan Weiss was featured on Mitchell’s Vista Accumulation (Pi, 2015) and Kate Gentile was a pivotal contributor on both A Pouting Grimace and its follow-up, Phalanx Ambassadors (2019). Indeed, so successful was Mitchell’s partnership with Gentile that they released the formidable six-disc Snark Horse (Pi) in 2021, a stunningly prodigious collection of duo recordings. Given Mitchell’s fondness for percussionists, then, it is no surprise to see him continuing the piano-drums format on his latest double-disc effort, Oblong Aplomb, where he once again partners with Gentile (on disc one) and Smith (on disc two).

Like Fiction, Oblong Aplomb has the feel of a collection of etudes, wherein Mitchell works out his ideas in conversation with his partners with a relentless tenacity, each concept explored exhaustively before moving on to the next. One gets the sense that Mitchell is engaged in this activity as much for himself as for his listeners, to push himself as far as he can go. And it’s quite a journey, as Mitchell is in unparalleled form here. Fortunately, Gentile and Smith are every bit his equal, meeting his feints and parries with plenty of deft maneuverings of their own, not to mention matching his seemingly limitless stamina. “Slarm Biffle,” the highlight of the twelve pieces with Gentile, sees Mitchell in a fearsome showdown with the drummer, whose punchy assault keeps pace with Mitchell’s tireless interrogations for almost fourteen minutes, with an oblique rhythmic logic that somehow makes sense despite its bewildering permutations. Gentile brings an incessant energy and almost locomotive momentum to many of her twelve cuts, but her subtle nuances are impressive too, as on “Blinkered Hoopla,” where she seems perpetually in the process of both establishing and undermining the piece’s rhythmic center, or the subdued “Oneiric Argot,” where she chooses to let Mitchell’s pensive ruminations take center stage, limiting herself to supplying color and texture.

Smith is just as effective, perhaps a bit more restrained than Gentile, but with craftiness and imagination galore. “The Amused,” the first of the twelve pieces with Smith, is a remarkably complex investigation, with a variety of rhythmic detours, each of which the drummer somehow negotiates in perfect sync with the pianist. And on several tracks, like “Doleful” and “Numen,” Smith’s vibes (on the former) and glockenspiel (on the latter) allow brief respites for exploring less tumultuous terrain. Yet Smith has plenty of tricks up his sleeve as well, as on “Inveiglers,” where he adroitly keeps pace with Mitchell’s fleet upper-register runs while somehow making a bit of room for a fugitive funk beat to rear its head.

It is worth stressing that these are twenty-four well-wrought compositions, tightly constructed and with an impressive precision that rewards close listening. It isn’t unbridled freedom that is being celebrated here, but rather an uncompromising intensity of musicianship—and the perfect pairing of a demanding repertoire with those clearly best suited for playing it. While it is at times an arduous listen, and a lot of music to digest, it is a credit to Mitchell and his colleagues that they are continuing to find new ways to challenge both themselves and their listeners. 

 

Monday, May 29, 2023

Bengt Frippe Nordström – Vinyl Box (Ni Vu Ni Connu, 2023)

By Nick Ostrum

As a fan of Swedish saxophonist and visionary (he was the first to record Albert Ayler!) Bengt Frippe Nordström since I first heard him on Arthur Doyle and Sunny Murray’s Live at the Glenn Miller Café (Ayler Records) back in the mid-2000s, my heart began to race when I saw this release. Un- or underheard archival solo cuts from Nordström, including one apparently playing over a recording of When Will the Blues Leave? on the Ornette Coleman Quartet’s Something Else? (What a curio!) Several short contributions from Swedish admirers Anna Högberg, Isak Hedtjärn, Dror Feiler, Jörgen Adolfsson, Mats Gustafsson, and Sven-Åke Johansson? All splayed out across numerous vinyls, packaged with a book of essays, a playful Frippe Nordström (think the American department store Nordstrom’s) bag and whatever other tschotscke’s Ni Vu Ni Connu decided to throw in there? Alas, I discovered it too late, and the physical vinyl set was sold out! Still, I was able to procure a digital version.

I imagine I am speaking to the converted, here, as much as anyone else. The quality of the Nordström cuts are what you should expect. He recorded a few albums of various sound qualities, here remastered to clarify what could be clarified. And, all things considered, it sounds good. The outside contributions are especially crisp and pay due homage to Nordström’s expressionistic, yet oddly swinging sound blotches. Mostly, they stray from the saxophone, however. Sven-Åke Johansson contribution starts with a saxophone solo (I am not sure whether this is Johansson, a crisp recording of Nordström himself, or someone else), but quickly falls into a brush-stroke groove and a Johansson singing number. The other outside contributions focus on long-tones (Hedtjärn, Adolfsson), quick, biting attacks (Feiler), Nordström’s patient, awkward meldocism (Högberg) and breath whisps (Gustafsson), showing the many possibilities Nordström pursued or implied a half-century ago.

Of course, the main attractions are the original archival pieces. I am not sure they show much new about Nordström’s approach. Indeed, this sounds more representative of Nordström’s other releases than it does divergent. One hears the relentlessly spiky scales, the pointillist and gestural abstraction, the casually frayed Ayler-esque melodies. (Supposedly, many of these were inspired by the Scandinavian folk music with which Nordström would have been familiar, so the flow of inspiration might not have just been monodirectional.) Nordström may not have been among the technical saxophone titans, but he certainly was a visionary, who honed an approach and a sound all his own.

If you like Nordström’s other work or if you were intrigued by Mats Gustafsson’s 2012 homage Bengt, or even if not, give this set a listen. It has a lot to offer, and some hitherto largely unheard stories to tell.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Daunik, jazz maverick - the Daunik Lazro story

Daunik Lazro © Christine Baudillon

By David Cristol

"I really like coincidences, without knowing why. They refer to invisible filaments from which our existence is perhaps woven."

Alto, baritone and tenor saxophonist Daunik Lazro (b. 1945) can boast a rich discography of 45 albums at this date (not counting his appearances on other artists’ projects), with a high turnover of partners but also, and above all, long-term loyalties. He feels he has made too many records, yet no two albums are alike. The first under his name appeared in 1980, and his first credit dates back to 1973. The year 2023 therefore marks 50 years of his stage and recording activity.

A paradoxical worried serenity could characterize his playing. The elusive Lazro represents a unique voice in the European panorama. Not wanting to choose between jazz and improvised music, his two poles of attraction, he has never let anything stand in the way of creative freedom. The recent Neigen and Sonoris Causa stand out for their unusual instrumentation as well as the resulting sound worlds.

A keen sense of listening sees him fully at the service of any musical collective, seeking the right moment to speak, putting all ego to rest. Already a political gesture. Titles of pieces are deliberately mysterious, literary, including puns, references and homages to glorious elders.

Between 2016 and 2018 he took part in the transatlantic tours of The Bridge project, bringing together musicians from Chicago and France. Two live albums testify to this adventure which took him and long-time accomplice Joe McPhee from the City of the Winds to European festivals.

"I would be remiss to plead for consistency when, in my playing, I mix elements without rules nor respect or even knowledge: major, minor, tonal, diminished, chromatic, crooked, repulsive scales and so on. Ditto for the rhythms that I process in unstable temporal flows. Nowadays the tenor sax harasses me, I’m not sure which tense to use: to treat it in the past perfect (Coltrane) and/or in the simple past (Evan Parker), for lack of the present indicative which slips away."

Venturing into a record or a performance by Daunik Lazro is not an innocuous experience. You have to fully commit for the duration of the session. It can be intimidating, because you’re sure to tread unto unheard territory. Abandon all cues upon entering. In the end it is all about communion, between the players, and with the audience. 

 Editor's Note: the author's prompts are in bold, Daunik Lazro's answers follow in quotes.

FIRST CONCERTS

"Paris, autumn or winter 1962: John Coltrane with Eric Dolphy, the latter unknown to me and, I believe, not mentioned on the program. I didn’t understand everything that was happening. The following year, THE quartet with McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones – a major epiphany. Elvin's signature on my program.

© Stéphane Berland

A little later, I went to hear Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus, and others less illustrious, and after May ‘68 the French players Michel Portal, Bernard Vitet, François Tusques… The newspapers Liberation, Charlie Hebdo (thanks to writer Delfeil de Ton) and the first Actuel helped direct me to witness the advent of the “free jazz invasion” in Paris. I attended the very first concert of the Art Ensemble of Chicago in a small theatre in Montparnasse. Standing three meters away from the wizards Joseph Jarman and Malachi Favors in full painted faces and regalia is never to be forgotten. Also the Sun Ra Arkestra at the Gibus.

In 1973, having become a musician “for real”, a thousand other concerts: Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Archie Shepp and many more. In Paris, free improv did not yet exist. I remember a duet of Evan Parker and Paul Lytton, in ‘75 or ’76. Captivating, but I was not yet passionate about it. Improvisation only became my main focus around 1980.

No great classical jazz concert to mention. On records, yes. My first LP was “Sidney Bechet à l'Olympia vol. 1”, a gold disc (1 million copies sold), around 1956-57 – I was 11 or 12 years old. A radio show, "For those who love jazz" every evening on the Europe 1 radio station. In the space of three years I went from Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson (on low-cost 45s from a supermarket chain) to Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, the Jazz Messengers. Jazz was the WHOLE OF MUSIC to me. I dismissed Elvis Presley and white rock. As for the French yéyés [1960s popular singers modelled on US hits], not for me either: “It's not music, just songs”. I was a snob"

STUDIES

"I was a student while being a part-time supervisor or adjunct teacher, up to a postgraduate doctorate with a thesis on Claude Simon. The events of May ‘68 prompted the fundamental question: “what am I going to do with my life, do I want to be a teacher forever? ” The answer came in the form of the rental of a soprano sax in order to play My Favorite Things, and first encounters with musicians such as Evan Chandlee, Hugh Levick, Jonathan Dickinson... After "military" duty, as a teacher in civilian clothes at the Military School in Autun, I returned to the American Center where everything was happening, and that's when bassist Saheb Sarbib hired me. In the period 1974-79 I became a professional musician. Real life began."

JAZZ MESSENGERS

"The calling tune of the "For those who love jazz" daily broadcast was It's only a paper moon . A sublime theme and a killer tenor solo from Wayne Shorter. The day I heard the whole piece was a revelation: “endless” solos that told a story, eventually coming together in the final statement of the theme. Blakey's Messengers did a lot to awaken me to modern jazz. After Bechet, my second LP was "Massey Hall" by Bird, Dizzy etc. This more complicated jazz proved also somewhat popular. I was ready to revel in Ornette, Coltrane and the others. “Kind of blue” by Miles Davis was my 3rd LP."

INFLUENCES 1: ALTO SAX (± 1970-2000)

"Let’s skip quickly on my teenage prehistory where I practiced Petite fleur on a clarinet; then on my early youth on the soprano sax. The bass clarinet proves too difficult and I move to the alto at 25.

Through the influence of Ornette Coleman, I got closer to the source: Charlie Parker. Eric Dolphy remained inaccessible to my poor dexterity, he gave me food for thought however. Then Portal, Jimmy Lyons, John Tchicai, and a hundred more."

SAHEB SARBIB


"He was coming from Portugal and his first name was Jean, changed to Saheb as he hanged around Frank Wright’s quartet which stationed in Paris. Headquarters were the American Center on Boulevard Raspail where, in the spring of 1972, freed from army duty, I rushed to reunite with my friends. It is befuddling that nothing has been written about this place, where a crazy effervescence lasted for almost a decade. There were rehearsal studios available, no end of concerts, and every day we met Lacy, Braxton, Alan Silva and other “famous beginners” there. Saheb mingled with our group and quickly I was submitted to daily rehearsals, concerts and recording sessions. The album title "Evil season" refers to Sarbib’s year in the La Santé jail. He was released in the summer of ‘72 and came straight to THE Center. The Mouffetard district would be another area of activity a little while later.

My years of training under his thumb lasted from ‘73 to ’79. He was a demanding leader, composed all the tunes we had to play as well as the order of solos, although without grids – a kind of free bop. He allowed me, an unexpected gift, to play with black jazzmen, who seemed appreciative, to my amazement. And with great professionals such as Siegfried Kessler and François Jeanneau. A million thanks to him.

I made three records with him, tours, radio broadcasts… until he left for the USA in ‘78. He took me back in 79 for a long JMF tour in France, and in ’81 the “UFO” record came out on Cadence jazz records, on which Mark Whitecage and I both play alto sax.

Sarbib managed to set up a big band in New York, issued two records on Cadence, then various quartets with saxophonist Ricky Ford. And the world of jazz lost his trace in the 90s. When he returned to Portugal and France, he started a trade in antiques between Europe and the United States."

PORTUGAL

"Sarbib quartet’s "Evil Season" was, in 1973, my first appearance on record. We recorded at Jef Gilson's studio in Paris. In the summer of ‘74, after the Carnation revolution, he took me to Portugal, to the southern coast of Algarve for a vacation, then to perform a big outdoors concert in Faro and a TV show in Lisbon.

I don't remember how I met Carlos Alves de Magalaes (related to Magellan) nicknamed "Zingaro" because his colleagues (from the conservatory maybe?) thought he played the gypsy way. In 1975 he invited me for concerts with the group Plexus which he founded (together with Rui Neves) on his return from the army and the war in Angola – the “Algeria” of the Portuguese. Carlos and Rui organized a big festival in Setubal in 1979 with the cream of European and American musicians: Steve Lacy, Evan Parker, Irene Schweizer, Richard Teitelbaum, Workshop de Lyon, Kent Carter, David and Sunny Murray... I played a duet with bass player Jean-Jacques Avenel. It was a financial failure because the expected audience wasn’t there.

January 1985, with temperatures between -20 and -30°C all over France, we had a handful of dates with Zingaro, bassist Jean Bolcato and George Lewis, the magnificent trombonist. To my dismay, neither a single recording nor video trace remains.

Around those years, I had gained a little repute and was able to invite Carlos in France, especially in trio with Bolcato, sometimes with Greek pianist Sakis Papadimitriou. In trio format I still maintained some tunes but when as a quartet it was total improvisation.

In 1998 the Potlatch label released “Hauts plateaux”, a live duet with Carlos, recorded three years earlier. This duo played a lot in France and Portugal. I remember a French tour of 11 dates! In 2001 we performed in quartet at the Banlieues Bleues festival. I believe and fear this to be the last time Carlos and I played together.

During my Portuguese adventures with Carlos, a passionate journalist (Rui Eduardo Paes, who attended all our concerts) gave me a long interview, which I lost, oddly titled already: "Lazro and the love / hatred of jazz”."

SIEGFRIED KESSLER

"I met him in the Sarbib quartet, playing a few concerts together, with Oliver Johnson, Lacy's drummer at the time, completing the band. I loved this pianist who played both straight bebop and free, especially on the Fender piano and the clavinet, a kind of electric harpsichord equipped with a ring modulator – Kessler used effect boxes when he played electric. With Sarbib flown to the United States, I asked Siegfried if he would join me. We did a lot of concerts either in duo or in trio with J.J Avenel, always completely improvised.

Why did we stop this duo? On the one hand we got burned at an important festival, arriving very late, Kessler in no condition to play, no time for a soundcheck, and after 20 minutes Siggy got up and left the stage for a moment. For the audience and organizers, it signalled the end of a concert that had not started, creating a semi-scandal. Michel Petrucciani was playing after us. There were other setbacks. From the mid-1980s Kessler continued to play with Archie Shepp, left the Paris area and went into exile on his sailboat moored in La Grande Motte, playing in bars alone or with little-known jazzmen"

INFLUENCES 2: BARITONE SAX (± 1990-2010)

"After 20 years on alto, I missed the bass register. The baritone gave me its majestic columns of harmonics from the fundamentals to work with. I borrowed some of the techniques that Evan Parker developed on soprano and tenor, and found my own as well.

Gerry Mulligan is not an influence, Harry Carney is one. Hamiet Bluiett (from the World Saxophone Quartet) and Jon Raskin (from the Rova sax quartet) as well. But as to the sound itself, the fluid lyricism on the instrument, the main influence is John Surman."


FRENCH JAZZ AND COLLECTIVES

"It is heartbreaking that the history of French jazz from this period is not documented. Books have appeared on (free) jazz and British, German, Dutch improvisers. While beginners like me were vaguely spotted by a few benevolent minds, the jazz establishment that was soon to give in to the call of the major labels and mainstream jazz, was eager for the “unfortunate” parenthesis of free jazz to close. In the US, the whole of jazz is considered as a continuum by many serious minds, including free improvisation, now practiced by everyone alongside a more standardized jazz. Not so in France.

What did the French a disservice, apart from the fiercely conservative establishment, was that they did not, like the English, German and Dutch, inaugurate a clean break with American jazz, around 1970, to take part in the elaboration of free music European style, but remained on the middle of the road – and so did I until 1980. At foreign festivals, only Portal was spotted and invited. His Unit with guitarist Joseph Dejean, years 74-76, remains the best period for Portal in my opinion. Dejean played with the Cohelmec, Archie Shepp, Evan Chandlee and Sarbib…

It was an era of collectives. The Workshop de Lyon (ARFI) started in 1967, the Cohelmec in 1969, the Dharma around 1970, the Marseille GRIM in 1978. Groups formed in the wake of the events of 1968, because it was necessary to join and organize in order to be able to play. Cohelmec (Jean COHen, Dominique ELbaz, the MEChali brothers) was based in Paris or thereabouts. Dharma (Jef Sicard, Jean-Luc Ponthieux…) in Annecy. These groups performed, not American free jazz per se, but original music – personal compositions – heavily influenced by Ornette, Coltrane etc. We knew and liked each other. We were the next generation after the guys born around 1935: Portal, Daniel Humair, Vitet, Jean-Louis Chautemps…"

ON SELECTED GROUPS AND ALBUMS

Outlaws in Jazz (Bleu Regard, 1994)

"Free jazz came to a low ebb in France. Instead we got some consensual or/and commercial jazz, the kind that appeals to families once a year at festivals. Producer Marie Cosenza convinced me to revive some "classic tunes" by Ornette, Ayler, Charles Tyler, the "cursed". Trumpeter Jac Berrocal and I worked for a year to make these hymns and melodies sound right in our hands. Bass player Didier Levallet accepted the challenge with his usual commitment. Marie managed to bring in legendary drummer Den(n)is Charles, who described his playing style “between Art Blakey and Ed Blackwell” . This band toured consistently, Jacques Thollot sometimes sitting in for Denis when he could not come from the US.

 

The A.H.O. ("And His Orchestra") (Bleu Regard, 1997) trio performed many concerts, joyfully. With these delightful companions, bassist Jean Bolcato and drummer Christian Rollet, we played free improvisation within defined themes. Hornet is for Ornette, of course. A good record, that could fit into the narrow box of “French jazz”. If I chose a pseudonym very early on, it is because the French framework seemed too narrow from the start. The names that made me dream were Pee Wee Russel, Coleman Hawkins, Max Roach, etc. In France, jazz musicians were called Claude Luter, André Persiany, Moustache – I didn’t fantasize so much over those names."


Sonoris Causa (No Business, 2022)

"The choice of title is easy to decipher. This is a project that my friend Dominique Répécaud made possible at the Musique Action festival in Vandoeuvre; it was born of my desire of a collective improvisation with bass register instruments. There was a project of a disc at the time of the recording (2003), left aside I have forgotten why.

About two years ago a German correspondent for the blog Inconstant Sol told me that he had a tape of this concert captured from the hall, which he really liked. I find in my computer files that I listen to. The concert is incomplete. The German sends me what he has, it's good but the sound isn’t great. At Vandoeuvre, they misplaced or crushed the archives that year. Luckily Louis Michel Marion, a 1 st class bassist and a serious boy, tells me that he has a very good recording of the entire concert. Hooray! The German correspondent convinces the boss of the Lithuanian label and poof! a year and a half later, the CD comes out.

I am delighted that the “American” quintet A Pride of Lions “No Questions – No answers” ​​(Rogue Art, 2022), with Joe McPhee, Joshua Abrams, Guillaume Séguron, Chad Taylor, and Sonoris Causa got released a few months apart. They represent the gap and extent between my two aesthetic landmarks: jazz and improvisation. Sonoris is 66 minutes of ebb and flow without "dramaturgy" — unless..."




“Ecstatic Jazz” (Fou Records, 2023)

"This is the recording of a trio concert from 1982, with J.J. Avenel and Siegfried Kessler, magically unearthed. I wanted the term jazz to appear in the title for several reasons. During the period 1985-2000 roughly speaking, the term jazz was downgraded. In Nordic countries and elsewhere in Europe, in the hope that young people would venture to the concert, the name "ecstatic jazz" was often used. For example, in February 2000, the day before the trio with Peter Kowald and Annick Nozati (issued on Instants Chavirés, Fou records), Kowald had invited me for a duet in Torino, where we played under the banner Ecstatic Jazz, in front of an audience of young people in a trance. They seemed to dig our music since they danced to it.

The “free jazz” label quickly proved infamous in France. The watchdogs of "real" jazz surveyed their backyard. As for “free music” or “free impro”, these notions had not yet been accepted. Anne Montaron's program on France Musique: “À l’improviste” has fortunately helped clarifying things since more than twenty years.

My image as a radical improviser is reductive. Michel Doneda or Jean-Luc Guionnet embody it much better. They don't label themselves jazz – I do."

REVIEWS

"I have been collecting for almost 50 years what was written about me. Articles have given me great happiness, taught me things about myself, the way I was perceived, etc. Others badly written, or off the mark, made me laugh or irritated me for a moment. There was a double page in Jazz Magazine by Serge Loupien, around the time I was a beginner, with the approval of Philippe Carles. A whole page in Liberation around ’78, when this newspaper was about to create the Trans-Musiques festival which only had one edition. Four years later, the same mag was assassinating free jazz and other marginal music which decidedly did not please the large audiences and were not bankable. A 3/4 page in Le Monde in ’95 by Francis Marmande, who had crossed the country to attend the first McPhee-Parker-Lazro concert.

Prominent English critics and record labels always ignored me. On the other hand, American and Canadian critics have always been watchful and extremely competent."

INFLUENCES 3: TENOR SAX (± 2010-202…)

With Joe McPhee © Ziga Koritnik

"I followed Sonny Rollins’ journey, of course, and was a big fan. But from the first Coltrane albums, from 1960 each year brought its overwhelming surprise: Africa, India, A Love Supreme... Rollins' retirement period, his return with "The bridge" was pleasant but the guitarist and drummer couldn’t compare with McCoy and Elvin. "East broadway run down" with Trane’s rhythm team (Garrison and Jones), was impressive on the other hand. Rollins’ "free jazz" period with Don Cherry is fascinating.

So many other tenors... Pharoah Sanders, Archie Shepp, Frank Wright, Albert Ayler obviously. My giant "brother" Joe McPhee. Wayne Shorter, fabulous in Miles' second quintet.

In France, I was captivated by François Jeanneau when I met him with Sarbib, he was very much in the Coltrane mould, while I was trying to find my own voice. Jean-Louis Chautemps was an admirer of Rollins and despised Coltrane. For me the choice was obvious.

In Europe, the titans Peter Brötzmann and Evan Parker. Bifurcation point: the first continues the exacerbated expressionism of Ayler, while Parker, on tenor, continues the search of Coltrane, it is perfectly clear."

NEW GENERATION SAXOPHONISTS

"I enjoy listening to Melissa Aldana, a young Chilean who plays the tenor admirably, in a hard bop idiom, but why not? Camila Nebbia, between Argentina and Berlin, plays free sax and makes me happy. As well as the American Zoh Amba who blows super free. Sofia Salvo has an amazing expressionism on the baritone. Mette Rasmussen, Audrey Lauro, Cathy Heyden, Christine Abdelnour, Alexandra Grimal, Sakina Abdou – I could go on celebrating the young women who have appropriated the sax, which used to be a macho instrument.

From Boris Blanchet to Antoine Viard and Philippe Lemoine, plus many others that I don't know well, the guys are not left out."

SIX LAZRO DISCS FOR THE DESERT ISLAND

Periferia (In Situ, 1993 / Fou records reissue, 2022) with Zingaro, Papadimitriou, Bolcato – “southern” improvisation.

McPhee, Parker, Lazro (Vand’oeuvre, 1996) – major trio

Madly you (Potlatch, 2002 / Fou records reissue, 2023) with Zingaro, Joëlle Léandre, Paul Lovens-- perfect live

Qwat Neum Sixx (Amor Fati, 2009) w. Sophie Agnel, Michaël Nick, Jérôme Noetinger – perfect quartet.

Some other zongs (ayler records, 2011) – solo baritone.

Sens Radiants (Dark Tree, 2014) w. Benjamin Duboc & Didier Lasserre – perfect trio.

 

With Joe McPhee © Ziga Koritnik

Meeting & working with Daunik Lazro – by J-Kristoff Camps of the duo Kristoff K Roll


“The meeting with Daunik happened thanks to Dominique Répécaud, from the André Malraux Cultural Center in Vandoeuvre. Musically, the first time we performed together was on May 7, 1995 for the first variation of the “ Petit Bruit d’à côté du cœur du monde” , at the Musique Action festival. Daunik improvised solo between our acousmatic compositions.

For several months, we spent time together. Time to follow and record him in order to gather the sound material of the “Portrait of Daunik Lazro”, octophonic music that we produced. There have been 10 variations of this Petit Bruit [Little Noise], almost all with him. From N° 7 things changed, we improvised together.

From this variation came the Trio de petit bruit, later documented on the album “Chants du milieu” (Creative Sources, 2013).

Then Daunik brought together the quintet Actions Soniques which unfortunately could not exist beyond the recording of the CD, the guitarist Dominique Répécaud (1955-2016) having suddenly and definitively exited this plane.

The adventure continues thanks to the Quartet un peu Tendre with pianist Sophie Agnel, inaugurated for the 30th anniversary of the duo Kristoff K.Roll”.

Recent and upcoming releases

Gargorium - Sophie Agnel / Olivier Benoit / Daunik Lazro (on LP from Fou Records, 2022)

Ecstatic Jazz - Jean-Jacques Avenel / Siegfried Kessler / Daunik Lazro (on CD from Fou Records, 2023)

Standards combustion - Daunik Lazro / Benjamin Duboc / Mathieu Bec  (on CD from Dark Tree, 2023) 


 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Petra Haller & Meg Morley - Shoulders I Stand On (self, 2023)

By Sammy Stein

Petra Haller is a tap dancer based in London. She studied at Escola Luthier in Barcelona, and at workshops under Jason Samuels Smith, Derick Grant, and Andrew Nemr. Haller became the first tap dancer named in Jazzwise Magazine’s ‘Rising Jazz Artists: Who to look out for in 2020’. She has performed with artists including Cleveland Watkiss, Xhosa Cole, Mark Sanders, Loz Speyer, and more. Meg Morley is a classically trained musician. Melbourne-born, London-based, Morley was awarded Distinctions by the Australian Music Examination Board for its Associate and Licentiate diplomas in piano and completed a Master of Music in classical performance, and a Postgraduate Certificate in composition. She studied jazz improvisation at the Victorian College of the Arts. Together Haller and Morley have recorded an album that is as extraordinary as it is fascinating.

Haller told me “We recorded the Album, which is our debut album as a duo, at Ocean Sound Studios in Giske, Norway. My focus is to use tap dance as a percussive instrument in jazz and improvised music and perform my music in concert settings and recordings.

Meg and I have been working together since 2019 and have played improvised concerts, this project, however, is a suite featuring both composed and improvised music.”

Because both the obvious percussive elements of tap dancing and the subtler percussive elements of the hammers on the strings of the piano blend impressively, they allow the listener a vastly different listening experience.

Jazz and tap dance, of course, go together, jazz being the original street music and tap dancing being the obvious street-ready accompaniment. I have seen tap dancers perform with jazz players in venues including Ronnie Scott’s in London.

The clarity of the tap alongside the melodies of the piano provides an intricacy and pinpoint counterpoint it is difficult to achieve were it two standard instruments rather than keys and taps (the taps being the metal parts of the tap shoes’ heel and toes).

The opening track, ‘The Call of The Birds’ is evocative, with mesmeric piano melodies creating a sense of peace and calm, interspersed halfway with tap passages from Haller whose rhythms contradict the delicacy of the piano line. ‘Thicker Than Blood’ is a crazy, multi-rhythmed conversation between the percussion of the keys and the taps. Initially, a call and response, the piece develops into a duet and then a conversation as each musician inserts rhythms, the piano able to alter notation, while the tap dancing adds changes of volume, pace, and rhythm patterns. The closing section has the tap keeping metronomic time while the piano explores melody lines, evolving into a blues pattern before the emphasis changes again into improvised, free exploration of both keys and counter-reacting tap. The final phrases are repeated patterns in a return to call and response that gradually slows from the manic to the calm. Crazily good.

‘Ascendant’ begins with fast-paced taps, which continue while the piano issues forth deep, guttural phrases, before withdrawing into quietude. The extended breaks between phrases are filled by the tap’s rhythm, at this point feeling like it has a life of its own. The strings of the piano are brought into play to create a change of atmosphere with the piano now leading, with tap following on a series of repeated rhythms, chord lines packed with changes, and rhythm patterns that seem to evolve from the ether.

‘Fearless’ is a wonderfully timed duet, with the taps creating percussive elements to accompany the piano melodies. With its waltz rhythms, this track sees both tap and piano following tuneful melodies, their interaction timed to perfection. This feels more like drums and piano. The second half then becomes something else – a journey through rhythms, chord patterns, melodies, and counterrhythms provided by the tap shoes of Haller.

‘Together We Are Stream’ is a sonic torrent of percussive elements from the taps and repeated phrases from the piano that change and develop into chord progressions and melodies. The tap is relentless and rapid, and the music tugs the listener one way and then another as each musician takes the lead.

‘Forever and A Day’ is atmospheric and there are sweeping, arcing phrases, counteracted by the clickety-clack of the tap and the almost seamless transition of rhythmic pattern changes while ‘Atlantic’ sees a change of mood with a lighter touch from both piano and tap shoes, the piano responding to the rhythms set up by the taps, before it retakes the lead, offering riffles of delicate sound, into which the taps drop intricate, sometimes forceful replies.

‘Giske’ is dark, loud, and moody, with deep piano chords, topped by gentle soft riffs of melody and shuffling, frictional taps. ‘The Sound of The Birds’ is atmospheric, at times a return to the first track but more of a development on the theme and essence.

This album is an insight into how two musicians combine to create music to complement each other. The taps here prove that there is an infinite variation in how metal can strike wood – and it depends on who is wearing the taps. Haller propagates a multitude of different sounds, from soft, delicate taps to hard thunking wallops, and finds so many variations in between. Her shift of emphasis, weight, pressure and changes, shuffles, drops, and kicks, combine to create variety and change.

The piano meantime has a greater range of notes and more control over volume and of course, there is the sustain pedal, but here are two musicians who each use the sounds at their disposal to create something special.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Cupis - ànemos (Objet-A, 2023)

By Stef Gijssels

Every few years, the duo of electroacoustic composer Giovanni Verga and saxophonist Gianni Gebbia reconvene to create a new work under their name "Cupis". This is their fourth album - if we do not count the 'Cupis Remixes' from 2021 - after “Logismoi” (2018), “Avoiding the Sun”(2015), and “Prelogical Institutions” (2013). 

We've mentioned our appreciation for Gebbia's music before, especially for his very idiosyncratic sound, the quiet resolve and spiritual depth of his sonic universe, that borrows deeply from European classical and folk music to create his own quiet and gentle modern soundscapes, defying genres and expectations. 

Giovanni Verga lives and works in Berlin, but hails from Palermo, Sicily. He is a composer of electroacoustic and acousmatic music active in the fields of music, theatre and performance.
After obtaining his master's degree in Italy, he moved to Berlin where he studied at HFM Hans Eisler completing a Master of Electroacoustic Music.

The result of their collaboration is a wonderful listening experience. Verga's sinewave drones create a long and stretched sonic horizon over which Gebbia's 'soprano mutant ophicleide saxophone' soars, weeps and sings, resonating with strong reverb in a broad open space. The duo's musical aesthetic is extremely powerful: even if deeply emotional, it stays far away from any cheap sentimentalism, and at the same distance from 'new-agey' spiritualism. 

The album consists of two tracks, each around 18 minutes long. The first seems led by the saxophone, that arises almost organically out of a more basic voiceless primal sound of air blowing through a tube, a possible reference to the album's title 'Anemos' is the Greek word for 'wind', evolving into a stretched more human howling sound. The sinewaves increase in volume and the horn gradually strengthens and consolidates its initial hesitant existence. There are images of wideness, of spaciousness, desolation and silence. 

The second piece takes the sound even further, building on the first track. The space of the music contrasts with its introspective power, as if you're alone in the universe contemplating infinity. It is hard to say how much of the overall sound is actually improvised or how much is the result of post-production, but the discipline, the incredible balance and pace are exceptional, and result in a calm intensity from beginning to end. 

Enjoy!

Listen and download from Bandcamp.