"Both McPhee and Bishop have played far on the outside but while these pieces are framed as improvisations between the four participants, neither strays too far from their lyrical side. The opener begins with a mournful trombone laying out thematic concepts. McPhee joins in the mourning against Zerang's slow rumble. Then it all gives way, Bishop becoming increasingly percussive, as if trying to match the drummer's off-kilter rhythms before this in turn disintegrates and McPhee, his tone reminding me of Charles Tyler, comes storming in. And so it continues, each track revealing just why they are regarded as amongst the greatest improvisers currently performing. -Alfie Cook, Free Jazz Blog"
"Much of the time it's a three way enterprise, illuminated by inventive passages like the knotty interplay between circular-breathed alto, clanking percussion and scuttling guitar on "IIOII." -John Sharpe, All About Jazz"
Ililta! New Ethiopian Dance Music
"The "Ililta" CD is a compilation of this new Ethiopian dance music, recorded with a new generation of singers over the last decade. A cross-selection of the production work of Mesele Asmamaw and some of his close colleagues. Play loud and go for it. —Terrie Hessels"
Joe Morris/Rob Brown Quartet
""They go back and forth like this for long periods until the playing turns itself inside out and swings like old-school jazz -- as interpreted by Ellery Eskelin, not Don Byas. Morris and Parker use their strings to fluctuate the tempo back and forth while Krall triple-times the entire band until they virtually collapse at the tune's end. Some of the most enduring things are the flaws; they are worn proudly, as moments frozen on tape in the heat of group interplay. It's worth owning for this alone, but it's also a challenging and deeply satisfying set of music by a short-lived but gifted quartet." -Thom Jurek "All Music""
Impressions of Po Music
Ken Vandermark's Topology Nonet Featuring Joe McPhee
""Impressions of Po Music is a unique album completely dedicated to exploring the written material of Joe Mcphee. Vandermark has rearranged 8 of McPhee's pieces from the 1970s & 80s for a nonet that includes Jason Adasiewicz, Josh Berman, Jeb Bishop, Tim Daisy, Kent Kessler, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Dave Rempis & of course, Joe McPhee. Vandermark features McPhee's tenor playing throughout in a contemporary set of arrangements inspired by the collaborations of Gil Evans & Miles Davis." — Okka Disk"
Jaap Blonk / Mats Gustafsson / Michael Zerang
"Documenting a complete, unedited session recorded in Stockholm, there is a visceral excitement as each of the eleven cuts of this recording explores the extremes of the avant-garde. Blonk is found here in a startlingly original and totally improvised trio with free music stylists Matts Gustafsson and Michael Zerang. A departure from Blonk's other recordings, this is the first of two stunning interactions with some of the finest free-style musicians on the scene. For this CD, Swedish woodwind whiz Gustafsson brings his full arsenal of soprano, tenor, and baritone saxophones, flute, fluteophone, and french flageolet, while Chicagoan Zerang powerfully and gracefully fills the percussion slot. Blonk's voice is both horn and percussionist, and the three performers seem to enjoy the interactive flow of pings, pops, and scratches. Stimulating and ever-changing, this recording demands close listening, but the rewards are clearly there for the adventuresome. Not to be missed, this version of Improvisors is laced with humor, along with buckets of extraordinary noises/sounds.""
Ig Henneman Kwintet
""… Her compositions inspire performances which are anything but ordinary, the collective improvising often breathtaking. The balance between melody and abstraction, rhythmic drive and ballad tones, keep it all sounding brilliantly right. In Grassetto feautures exciting bass clarinet Hein Pijnenburg, with Bart van der Putten's alto, Wilbert de Joode's bass, and Fred van Duynhoven's drums. They execute Henneman's turns magnificently. The leader has an original touch on viola." --Doug Lang CODA Magazine 1999"
In Memory Of Ethiopia's Greatest Azmari
"Bahru Kegne was a legendary azmari, who was even a private court-player under Haile Selassie, then the ‘free newspaper’ in the communist days and recording some amazing ‘modern’ cassettes in the last years of his life. Deep, hypnotic, trance-like music, and unlike things published before. -Terp Records"
The Ex & Guests
"The Ex had long collabroated with ICP members. Instant marked the band's first album of entirely instrumental and improvised music. Instant's 32 tracks feature shifting duos and trios of musicians performing on a wide array of conventional (electric guitars, reeds, brass, etc.) and non-conventional (e.g., toffee-tin bass) instruments. Though the entire album could have fit onto one 70-minute CD, the band formatted it for a briefer listening experience with each of Instant's 35-minute discs containing 16 short tracks."
Invitation to a Dream
Alcorn / McPhee / Vandermark
"Some matches are made in heaven and can be brought to a studio in Austin, Texas. Baltimore-based pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn, Poughkeepsie-based sax and pocket trumpet player Joe McPhee, and Chicagoan reeds player Ken Vandermark player is, no doubt, one of these rare matches. - Eyal Hareuveni, The Free Jazz Collective, 5 star review "
Joe McPhee / Jeb Bishop / Ingebrigt Håker Flaten / Michael Zerang
"Both McPhee and Bishop have played far on the outside but while these pieces are framed as improvisations between the four participants, neither strays too far from their lyrical side. The opener begins with a mournful trombone laying out thematic concepts. McPhee joins in the mourning against Zerang's slow rumble. Then it all gives way, Bishop becoming increasingly percussive, as if trying to match the drummer's off-kilter rhythms before this in turn disintegrates and McPhee, his tone reminding me of Charles Tyler, comes storming in. And so it continues, each track revealing just why they are regarded as amongst the greatest improvisers currently performing. "
"The eight pieces blend together so that it’s almost impossible to separate them, not unlike the empathetic interplay between Rempis’ horn, Reid’s cello, and Abrams’ bass. -Andy Beta, Pitchfork"
"The trio of Scandinavian rhythm section Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) and Johan Berthling (double bass) hooking up with Japanese free jazz legend Akira Sakata (saxophone/clarinet) started in 2013 at the Molde Jazz Festival in Norway. The trio took their name from the legendary 1977 collaborative album by Yosuke Yamashita Trio and dance group Dairakudakan – an album that Sakata was a central part of, that even 40 years later stand solid as a radical and bold musical statement. And this piece of history gives us a clue to where the trio of Nilssen-Love, Berthling and Sakata is aiming for, not by looking back and rethreading what has been done before, but adopting its attitude of kicking the often stale sax/drums/bass-format forward with such force that it feels completely fresh. After its start in 2013 Arashi has been a steady group, doing numerous tours in Europe and Japan, and PNL Records is pleased to release the trio’s third album, “Jikan”, a live recording from the Pit Inn club in Tokyo in September 2017. “Jikan” captures the trio at full force – with Sakata doing almost as much vocals as playing the reeds."