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“If you count The Thing’s collaborations with Joe McPhee, James Blood Ulmer, Ken Vandermark, Neneh Cherry, Barry Guy, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O’Rourke, Thurston Moore and DKV Trio too, Again is their 20th album (including the compilation Now and Forever and the split album The Music of Norman Howard with School Days, another Gustafsson project). Literally speaking, The Thing have done it again. After 17 years in the same line-up (Mats Gustafsson on saxes, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on acoustic and electric bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums) you might think that the band’s music has become predictable, that their mélange of free jazz, blues, rock and noise is actually a cul-de-sac because the musical options are exhausted. However, it isn’t.
Though Again is the well-proved mixture of cover versions and original compositions, this time the focus is rather on jazz. The only cover, Decision in Paradise, is an old, rather conventional Frank Lowe piece. The Thing turn the tempo down considerably and a trumpet provided by Joe McPhee, the guest star on this track, transforms the falling lines of the original’s opening passage into painfully bruised sounds before Gustafsson strips the delicate melody to the bone (doing this, it reminds me of Gershwin’s “Summertime“). Bass, trumpet and saxophone dance around each other in slow motion and only after four minutes Nilssen-Love enters the game in order to give the piece more drive and tension. It’s the band’s typical way to take possession of a composition which is not their own.
- Martin Schray (Free Jazz Blog)
Full review here: www.freejazzblog.org/2018/06/the-thing-again-trost-records-2018.html ”
No Queen Rises
Relative Pitch Records
"Dew lies on the instruments of straw that you were playing, / The ruts in your empty road are red"
Fish-Scale sunrise signals for Baars a broadening spectrum of possibilities for compositions and improvisations. Baars wanted to explore new timbre, dynamics and sounds. He employs for the first time in his ensembles a pianist - Slovenian, Amsterdam-based pianist Kaja Draksler, who collaborated before with Baars in her Octet - introducing a new weight of nuances of timbre and dynamics as well as new harmonic horizons. Canadian, Stockholm-based double bass player Joe Williamson completes this drummer-less format and positions the bass with a unique role. Baars wrote seven compositions and the other two are free-improvisations.
-Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz”
Ab Baars / Meinrad Kneer / Bill Elgart
Live At Konfrontationen Nickelsdorf 2012
Relative Pitch Records
“live at konfrontationen nickelsdorf 2012 features baars in a trio, which had quite a few gigs in those days, a co-op with german bassist meinrad kneer and long-time american-in-europe expatriate drummer bill elgart.
for those used to baars’ gentlemanly ellington-affected playing and composing the first sound heard on “nickelsdorf suite #1 part i” may shock. here’s the dutchman skronking harsh aylerian smears from his saxophone. at the same time though baars’ altissimo screams and tonal exaggerations slide securely in place besides the weightlifter-like string pulls that kneer resonates to solidify the rhythm and elgart’s elegant pings and ruffs which moderate the output.
- ken waxman, 11 november 2018, jazzword.com ”
“After concerts and recordings as Angles 10, Angles 9, Angles 8 and Angles 6, here is back the original Angles line-up, Angles 3. It was 2004 and for a gig at the Glenn Miller Cafe it’s mentor and saxophonist, Martin Küchen invited two Scandinavian musicians now living in the United States (respectively, Austin – Texas and San Diego – California), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Kjell Nordeson. “Parede”, the title, is a tribute to the Portuguese town near Lisbon where the album was recorded live, at a venue called SMUP which in few years became the equivalent in this Southern European country to The Stone, Cornelia Street Café and Nublu. Most of the compositions, like Küchen’s classics “Satan in Plain Clothes” and “By Way of Deception”, are the same of those other Angles investments, of course with different arrangements. This version functions as a reduction to the essence of the music conceived by the Swedish musician, resulting in an energetic, even brutal, kind of free bop delivered to the ears as if it is punk or metal, echoes of Sonny Rollins and Albert Ayler mixing with something that could come from… The Melvins.
The Young Mothers
Self Sabotage Records
“Then Young Mothers roared out of the gate with fierce, jarring visceral power. Theirs is a dense, multi-layered sound where Ivesian contrapuntal lines often divide the ensemble into competing units -- How fortunate 30 or so of us were that they docked in Deep Ellum last night. I'll be anxiously awaiting their return.” -Ken Shimamoto ”
Ikue Mori & Maja S.K. Ratkje
“A recording of live performances which brought together two essential figures of the contemporary scene: an oustanding Norwegian composer and vocal artist Maja S.K. Ratkje and a celebrated improviser and composer, former DNA drummer, Ikue Mori. The common sound territory, created together by Mori and Ratkje, balances between quietly growing tension and powerful outbursts of unrestrained, relentless noise. Within this harmony, Ratkje takes adventurous excursions towards the borders and unknown facets of sound, using treated voice as well as an acoustic and electronic workshop, while Mori's thoughtful laptop provides a strong frame and a sense of deep focus. In these carefully crafted, long and nuanced compositions, both artists maneuver between meditative, ritual areas and irregular, elusive noise blots. The most astonishing element of this superb performance is the realization that even though the compositions are entirely intuitive, created without any previous planning, guidelines or negotations, the listener can sense a nearly palpable sense of deep connection and understanding between the artists. Their knowledge and keen, immediate communication create an invisible harness, which naturally directs the stream of improvisation. This engaging, exhaustive listen is a contemplative retreat and a daring, dizzying somersault at once'. Olga Drenda”
Joelle Leandre / Elisabeth Harnik
“Two like-minded musicians with a history in compositional and improvised music, pianist and prepared pianist Elisabeth Harnik and double bassist and vocalist Joelle Leandre met at WIST, in Graz, Austria in 2016 to perform and record this live album of insightful and compelling dialog between two masterful musicians full of creativity and virtuosic skill.”
Ben Hall's Racehorse Names
The New Favorite Thing Called Breathing
Relative Pitch Records
“Out and unusual compositions from drummer Ben Hall and his sextet with Mick Dobday on electric piano & organ, Anthony Levin DEcanini on electronics, Ronnie Zawadi on percussion, John Dierker on reeds, Mike Khoury on viola & violin, and joined by Joe Morris on guitar, for 6 "Spines", free compositions using odd compositional structures leading to superb solo and group playing. Each Spine presents a unique sonic world, from aggressive playing to abstract and sonically fascinating interludes, with performers extending their instruments or taking non-traditional approaches to each. The pacing of these Racehorses is unpredictable and inspired, leading the listener on a wild and unexpected journey, presenting a great cross-section of modern creative improv and territory uniquely belonging to Hall.”