"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 / Lou Mallozzi / Ken Vandermark
""The eighth release in the Kontrans "Improvisers" series is a live recording from Elastic Arts, in Chicago in 2019 from the trio of Jaap Blonk on voice & electronics, Lou Mallozzi on turntables, cds, mixer, microphone & organ pipes, and Ken Vandermark on clarinet, bass clarinet, & tenor & baritone saxophones, in a uniquely quirky, exuberant and extraordinary set of improvisations." - Squidco"
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"
Inscape - Tableaux
Barry Guy New Orchestra
"There are so many levels on which this magnificent set of performances led and orchestrated by bassist Barry Guy can be appreciated. What he calls his New Orchestra is essentially a pared down version of his larger London Composers Jazz Orchestra, but this smaller group is no less potent or any less convincing. For one thing, there is Guy's brilliant writing, which permits the players - and these include some of the cream of the European jazz avant-garde - to flourish through individual solo contributions wrapped around kernels and flashes of magical insights. Saxophonists Mats Gustafsson and Evan Parker exemplify the high level of improvisation, but there is a wealth of talent everywhere, including pianist Marilyn Crispell, trumpeter Herb Robertson, and trombonist Johannes Bauer. At heart, Guy is a landscape artist who paints broadly and passionately, but who pays careful attention to details. His own voice on bass is heard here more than with his larger conglomerations - an additional treat. In the end, it is the broad strokes, the vision, the grandeur that most impress. A magnificent achievement. -Steven A. Loewy . All Music Guide, March 2001"
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."
"The sophomore release of the Norwegian-American free improvisation quartet VCDC (following the self-titled album, Hispid, 2011) features the quartet as a highly inventive and playful unit. Clarinetist Frode Gjerstad, one of the forefathers of the Norwegian free jazz and free improvisation scene; cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, who in the last years collaborate regularly with Scandinavian musicians as Gjerstad on other projects or the Swedish-American quintet Seval; drummer Ståle Liavik Solberg and vocal artist Stine Janvin Motland, who work together as the duo MotSol—recorded two extended improvisations at the Galleri Sult in Stavanger, Gjerstad's hometown. -Eyal Hareuveni"
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"
It's Magnificent, but It Isn't War
Cold Bleak Heat
""Using music in a way that would make Plato squeal, these four accomplished musicians -- certainly among the forefront of experimental music -- have crafted an unrelenting slab of noise that's as violent as it is sublime." - Mr. P, Tiny Mix Tapes"