"In the late 1990s, three young musicians in the Oslo jazz scene – Paal Nilssen-Love, Ketil Gutvik and Eivind Opsvik – hooked up with two legends – Carl Magnus “Calle” Neumann and Bjørnar Andresen. The project was named The Quintet and it was the meeting of two generations, with Neumann and Andresen passing the spirit of the 60s on to three musicians who would make their mark in the 2000s."
Every So Often
Sylvie Courvoisier & Ellery Eskelin
"While this is indeed fully improvised music, the duo is dedicated to euphonic sound. The music is never discordant as the two blend the sometimes slippery blues of Eskelin against the proper European chamber notes of Courvoisier. Her admirable band-in-a-box approach to all parts of her piano, heard on the title track, finds her knocking on wood, plucking insides, mining the utmost from the waves of energy she creates through the palpable feeling. Eskelin comments, responds, and works the edges of her energy. Later on the more direct "Accidentals," both players step up to the front line, bouncing whole notes off each other. But mostly the music tends toward a more courteous and sympathetic tone, making it possible to hear both musicians with full clarity of sound. -Mark Corroto, All About Jazz"
Experiments With a Leaf
John Butcher & Andy Moor
"The two meet in the middle of the road, so to speak, for this quick half-hour session of maxed-out microtones. It's an excitingly subdued and intense listen, and while it's laudable not to follow the compulsion to load the disc to its 80-minute capacity, the one track that stretches past 10 minutes suggests there's much more ground left for them to cover. -Kurt Gottschalk"
""While Astral Spirits releases remarkable music on a near-weekly basis, this album has truly held its place as one of the best releases of the year." - Daniel Palmer, PostGenre"
Made to Break
"F4 Fake combines fiery free jazz with raw noises and abstract electronics, all accumulating into an interplay, sensual and extreme in its own way, ... that highlights Made to Break in its best."
Face of Tokyo
Sten Sandell Trio
"Released on drummer Paal Nilssen-Love's own PNL label, the trio further consists of Sten Sandell on piano and Johan Berthling on bass. Recorded live in Japan in 2008, the album consists of two tracks: "Face Up", and "Face Down", for twice more than half an hour of quite intense musical explorations. The first track is a high energy work-out, the second starts with counter-rhythmic percussion, full of explosive power and creativity, Berthling joins on bass, first plucked, and when Sandell joins he moves to arco, while the pianist plays some eery chords, gradually driving up the tempo and energy level for again a dense improvisation, that suddenly collapses for some minimalist interaction, with all three musicians exploring the more uncommon aspects of their instruments. In stark contrast to some of the other albums below, the album demonstrates that technical mastery and musical vision make it possible to bring depth and emotional drive even with the most common of all jazz line-ups."
"This is a very exciting and much welcome blast of old school free jazz energy from a collective group featuring Mars Williams on saxophones, Kent Kessler on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. Each has deep experience on the outer fringes of the jazz scene and they make for a very cohesive and potent unit. "
Chalachew Ashenati & Ililta Band
"Chalachew Ashenafi, the legendary Gondar azmari (1966-2012) did some tours with The Ex in recent years. A traditional player, but also forward, funny and stubborn. These are his last recordings ever. Astonishing strong music. -Terp Records"
"“Featuring” is a release of “Puzzlemusik” label. Album was recorded by five jazz stars – it’s Phil Vachsman (violin, live electronics), Paul Lytton (drums, percussion, live electronics, home-made instruments), Sten Sandell (piano), Floros Floridis (clarinet, bass clarinet) and Nate Wooley (trumpet). "
"Blonk scrambled the station lists of the Berlin subway lines, U1 till U9, with a random process. This created in part pure sound poetry, performed here with a wide range of different vocal sounds."
Rozemarie Heggen & Terrie Ex
"Openness, intuition, intensity, joy are a few of the basic elements which made the special connection that have taken them both to a different level of music-making. Exploring new territory can definitely be heard in their playing. The eleven improvisations on "Fiets" are little stories, experiences you might have while doing a very Dutch thing; making a ride on your bicycle (fiets). Have a good listen!... -Terrie Hessels"
Figures and Grounds
Adam Linson Systems Quartet
""Linson's aim to explore the range of possibilities at the intersection of jazz and computer music goes some way to being achieved; it still feels as if there are yet more possibilities to be explored. As an exemplar of the use of electronics and processing with a small improvising group, Figures and Grounds is a great success." -John Eyles, All About Jazz"
Morris / Cancura / Nazary
"Just listening to the absolute basic notion of what a sax trio should sound like, is a true joy. — Stef, The Free Jazz Collective"
Joe McPhee Trio
"One of the most amazing discoveries is how the band's sound was already well-established from this very first recorded performance, not that they haven't evolved, but the core elements of total freedom, authentic feeling and reverence for tradition are already present. Quiet moments with lots of open space and room for interpretation and excursion by the individual soloists alternate by great moments of energetic explosivity. -Stef, Free Jazz Blog"
Jaap Blonk, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Michael Zerang
"Cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm and percussionist Michael Zerang have collaboratively joined forces before, but the addition of Dutch vocalist Jaap Blonk is a wonderful complement to the Chicago duo. Blonk, of course, is much more than your usual "singer, " as the sounds he caresses from his vocal chords are utterly unconventional and strikingly unique. He is literally a one-man band, reaching into a bag of bizarre blips and pops, wonderfully complementing his colleagues. Lonberg-Holm and Zerang have mastered their crafts so well that they almost sound as one. Transforming the cello into a wildly, freestyle machine, Lonberg-Holm creates a unique blend of noise and scratches into which Zerang holds on and digs. The results are totally satisfying, and each of the ten tracks glows with highlights. ~Steven A. Loewy"
Fish & Steel
Fish & Steel
"While Nilssen-Love was never a man of restraint, with two of the world’s most versatile brass improvisers going at it he able to be completely free in his approach. And this playfulness is certainly what makes Fish & Steel’s debut album such an exciting release."
Five Arias For Nalca
Benjamín Vergara / Fred Lonberg-Holm / Aaron Zarzutzki
"In all five tracks there’s never just a single idea of how the recording will proceed. They seem to decide on the spot, always ready to change direction or choose another path. This is probably the most important lesson learned in collective improvisation. -Fotis Nikolakopoulos, Free Jazz Collective"
Five Men Singing
Jaap Blonk, Koichi Makigami, Paul Dutton, Phil Minton & David Moss
""You may call them sound poets, vocalists, or even singers, but when you gather all five of them on-stage they become pure entertainers. Five Men Singing is the genuine avant-garde voice summit. Recorded live at the 2003 Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, this performance is a delightful demonstration of what the human voice is capable of, what level of excitement group improvisation can provide, and what creative singing is all about. The performance is spontaneous, mischievous, occasionally deviant, often humorous, and extremely physical." -François Couture"
Fixing the Fluctuating Ideas
Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble with Sainkho Namtchylak
""The ElectroAcoustic Ensemble is one of the most significant events in the humanization of electronic music, in making it mobile and spontaneously responsive. Fluctuating, by the Ensemble itself, is more than a valuable document, it’s a major revelatory work." -Stuart Broomer"