Joe McPhee & Hamid Drake
"It's easy to be cynical these days, maybe difficult to imagine that music can change the world, but not for Joe McPhee and Hamid Drake. With Keep Going, they will make the planet a better place for humanity, a place to be humane, to preserve humankind. At 78-years-old, Poughkeepsie multi-instrumentalist McPhee is a national treasure, and he's making more music than ever before, pushing himself to tour incessantly, issuing astonishing new records at a fierce rate. But this release, with legendary Chicago percussionist Drake, is something extremely special in the midst of many special records. The duo first recorded together in 1999, having only played together a limited number of times; the resulting music was issued as Emancipation Proclamation on the Okka Disk label. When the opportunity arose to hit the studio for a second time, McPhee and Drake had two more decades of extensive work together under their belts, as members of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and in many other contexts. But the session somehow consolidated their shared energy in an unexpected way – the drummer's incredible warmth and sense of buoyancy, the saxophonist and trumpeter's preternatural musicality and quest for social justice. The recording started with McPhee reciting words by Harriett Tubman, resulting in the title track; Drake's support was an achingly slow Max Roach-like beat. From this inspired, inspiring starting point, the twosome frolicked through a rich program, McPhee donning tenor and alto saxes, and pocket trumpet, Drake turning momentarily to the frame drum. Each musician contributes an introspective solo track. McPhee at one point plays trumpet into an open gong, which gives him otherworldly overtones, a sort of acoustic version of electric Miles. Drake makes too few records, so anything of his is mandatory; McPhee's been on a roll lately, releasing lots of music, but Keep Going is one not to be missed. "
Keep Your Options Open II (Option Mixtape 2017)
"In celebration of the 2018 OPTION season, Experimental Sound Studio has released a special, limited edition mixtape CD that highlights some of the best improvisers working today from around the world. This compilation showcases the breadth and diversity of improvised and creative music with rising starts like Lea Bertucci, Katinka Kleijn, Ben LaMar Gay, Matchess, The Few and Charmaine Lee as well as veterans of free jazz (Mats Gustafsson, Antonio Borghini, Tim Daisy, Jeremiah Cymerman, Curt Newton, and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten). These live sets from the 2017 OPTION season were beautifully mixed and mastered by our head engineer, Alex Inglizian. By purchasing a mixtape, you are supporting Experimental Sound Studio, the OPTION programming, and keeping creative music alive and thriving in Chicago. All proceeds go to the Option Series and the musicians involved in the mixtape. "
Knknighgh (Minimal Poetry For Aram Saroyan)
"We can say without exaggeration that the new project by Nate Wooley introduces in the so-called “free jazz” format a system that few times – if ever – we encountered with such a relevance for the musical results since the harmolodic process proposed by Ornette Coleman. And the always surprising trumpeter is very much aware of the ground breaking possibilities of this band with the upcoming New York musicians Chris Pitsiokos, Brandon Lopez and Dré Hocevar, and of the music recorded in “Knknighgh” (to be pronounced as “knife”), when presenting it as «a radical new take on the classic free jazz quartet tradition». So it is: you immediately recognize the approach as free jazz, and yet, free jazz never sounded like this before. - Clean Feed"
Evans / Fernandez / Gustafsson
"As an archeological project, this recording is a rare artifact, documenting the collaboration of three important improvisers whose technique is paraded on each track. Sometimes they choose to walk a minimalist line, Fernández exploring the piano's insides—much of the time mimicking a percussionist—while Gustafsson and Evans play with breathy sounds. In other spots, Gustafsson delivers his now-patented shout-smack saxophone punch and Evans brings his growling rumbles. Without the persistence of beat or the bounds of meter, the trio is free to exercise some serious kopros noise-making, Some may think these challenging sounds merde, others an instant archaeological treasure."
"The albums starts “Faster Then It Would Be” featuring a free blowing Vandermark on tenor saxophone, quickly joined by a bowing Kessler and a more subtle, colouring Drake; working their way into a funky groove initiated by Vandermark, promptly supported by Drake and Kessler. From here, the trio really joins as a unit and weaves threads of free and groove into a polyrhythmic web propelling Drake into a contagious solo. Following Drake’s solo, toe-tapping continues when Vandermark adds a catchy melody that develops into the climax of the piece. To clear satisfaction of the audience and this listener, well-earned applause. “20th Century Myth” finds Hamid Drake solo, searching for other worlds on his drum kit. He is a real adventurer, taking us all around the world musically. Free phrases intertwine with tribal rhythm and world music. After 5 minutes, he settles and is joined by a gentle Vandermark, and supported by a deep bowing Kessler. The track continues into a pulsating rhythm initiated by Vandermark and collectively develops and fades into a deeply wailing free blues. “Uncontrolled Writer” finds Vandermark on clarinet squealing through high registers, overtones and harmonics before settling with gentle cymbals and plucked strings. Vandermark quickly switches back to saxophone and is propelled into a groove by Drake’s brushwork that is – all too – briefly interrupted for a nice pizzicato solo on double bass by Kessler. The trio joins forces and finishes off the set with a catchy climax, answered with loud cheers and applause by the audience. This is a really tight record by masters of free music that have been all over the scene for the past 25 years. Highly recommended. You should own the record, if only for the second track. - Martin Sekelsky (Free Jazz Blog) "
Dave Rempis Solo
"Dave Rempis is a mid-career artist whose deep roots in the Chicago improvised music scene have by now stretched themselves out across the world through his multiple ongoing collaborations. But he waited a long time to put out this first solo recording. Highly aware of the singular statements in this context put forth by artists such as Coleman Hawkins, Eric Dolphy, Anthony Braxton, Steve Lacy, Joe McPhee, Evan Parker, Ab Baars, and Mats Gustafsson to name just a few, left him wary of taking this challenge on too soon. But in the fall of 2016, the time felt right. So he decided to combine the development of a unique solo vocabulary on his instrument into the larger goal of exploring and expanding the crucial network of artists, presenters, and fans that support improvised music in the United States. In the spring of 2017, he brought the idea to fruition by undertaking a massive journey across the country, performing thirty-one solo concerts in twenty-seven different cities, while also collaborating with local artists at each stop. This singular odyssey gave him the opportunity to delve methodically, night after night, into his own process towards solo improvisation. Those labors are documented on Lattice."
Two Slices Of Acoustic Car
"Recorded on 18 April 1997 at Andra Books & Records, Stockholm. Limited edition of 500. credits released January 1, 1997 Guitar, Composed By – Christian Munthe Layout – Cecilia Kusoffsky Mastered By – Niklas Billström Photography By – Gudrun Rösnes*, Harald Hult Reeds, Composed By – Mats Gustafsson"
Paal Nilssen-Love & Peter Brötzmann
"This album is one long spontaneous improvisation, and the musicians are able to flex the sense of time and space, with Brotzmann moving through the gamut of instruments he uses which provides a wider range of hues and textures for their performance and the drummer meets him every step of the way, and it is the interaction that they develop that is the most special part of the music, and the two men are egoless in placing the music before themselves and develop a startling and vibrant performance."
"Curiously, when timbre follows texture during these fully-rounded performances on Hoxha, Rutherford’s slide work and use of mutes at points takes on a gutbucket, traditional jazz coloration, not too distant from the solos of his older contemporary Free Jazzer Roswell Rudd. Trad Jazz was popular in the United Kingdom when Rutherford was coming up and while he, unlike Rudd, was likely never a recorded Dixielander, the fearless technique and casual joy of those older bonemen could influence anyone, even if by osmosis."
Live at Area Sismica
"In two sets, Lean Left is creating a non stop celebration of instant music with blissful grins and playful energy, rattling and shaking at right angles with one furious swing after the next."
Live at Big Apple in Kobe
""And the music does stay hot for long stretches during the two improvisations that comprise the CD. “Rainbow Elephant” slowly wends its way through passage after passage of astonishing sounds, following a slowly evolving path. There’s a continuous weave of sound—sparkling electronics; saxophone clicks and cries; textured, breathy drones on the trumpet; and subtle prepared piano timbres. The sound expands and contracts, dense one moment, open and airy the next. Fujii plays a long melodic arc with scintillating sounds dancing underneath. Later, Anker starts her own extended melody, supported and embellished by the others. “Yellow Sky” grows more directly from soft electronic flutters and breathy tones on saxophone and trumpet to become progressively darker and more agitated with hot raspy trumpet, rumbling piano, clattering electronics, and wailing saxophone. The album is one of the most sustained abstract performances in the Fujii discography. ""