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 "
"It is hard to tell which are vocal sounds and which are electronic or sampled since all are strange in different ways. What is most interesting is the way that Mr. Blonk blends all of the sounds into fascinating combinations, stretching and manipulating select sound in a most focused way. It might be hard to tell that there are vocals at the center of some of these pieces yet I was still captivated throughout. - Bruce Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery"
"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"
""On the albums third track, the trio demonstrates how tight they are. Their collaborative effort and responsiveness inside a vehicle running at full speed is very impressive." -Gustav Lindqvist, Free Jazz Blog"
Joggers & Smoggers
"‘‘This record is a joyful testimony to music’s continuing ability to communicate ideas. They have opened up their frenetic grind to encompass 1,000 different rhythms. They’re caught up in something unique.’’"
"Bridge 61 is one of the musical highlights of 2006, Vandermark on sax and clarinet, Jason Stein on bass clarinet, Nate McBride on bass and Tim Daisy on drums. McBride is also the bass player of Spaceways Inc., and Tim Daisy is the drummer of the Vandermark 5. Despite his incredible output of albums, Vandermark manages to keep the attention up. The pieces on this album are all composed but with room for improvisation, the search for new effects and sound combinations. "
Journey To Parazzar
Joe McPhee, John Edwards, Klaus Kugel
"The music played here is "just XXIst century free jazz", but played at the highest possible level, with emotions and feeling erupting from the scene like lava from an exploding volcano. ... the whole album is magnifique!!! - Maciej Lewenstein, 2018"
Marc Riordan & Tim Daisy
"Critics often speak of the chemistry between two musicians. Why? Because, it is so very easy to toss out this abstract, non-quantifiable concept. Those who agree, nod. Those who differ, well they have nothing on which to challenge your statement. But here I go, Tim Daisy and Marc Riordan showcase a stellar musical affinity on their duo release Joyride. —Mark Corroto, All About Jazz"
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. "