Blueprints For A Blackout
"It's caustic. A real burner. (...) While still retaining an all important relevant edge to their musical comment , they've introduced elements of tunesmithing, attack, decay and composition that places them head and shoulders above their contemporaries."
Frode Gjerstad Trio + Steve Swell
"Frode Gjerstad’s name can be legendary in Norway and all the European continent, due to the fact that he was practically the only one to contrast himself, from the beginning, to the saxophone style which defined the Scandinavian approach to jazz for 40 years, the one defined by Jan Garbarek, but his trio with Jon Rune Strom and Paal Nilssen-Love is relatively new on the scene. It started in 2011 and there’s only another recording with trombonist Steve Swell as special guest, “At Constellation”, from 2015. Of course, there were some previous cumplicities between these musicians: Nilssen-Love was a member of Gjerstad’s Circulasione Totale Orchestra since 1992 and the alto saxophonist and clarinetist played with Swell in several occasions, mostly when visiting the United States. Musically, the quartet proposes a very particular kind of free improvised music with strong connections to the free jazz tradition, reinforced by the participation of the American who collaborated with the likes of Cecil Taylor, Bill Dixon and Anthony Braxton. The energy level is very high, but the delivery isn’t always on the red: lots of dynamics and sudden contrasts keep the group interactions interesting and unpredictable. Frode Gjerstad’s approach to improvisation is distinctive in itself: he’s a melodic player, even if asymetrical, and he prefers the “old school” jazz phrasing to «reed-fueled bric-a-brac», as a music critic once wrote, managing to present it as if it’s a novelty."
Boss Of The Plains
"Wheelhouse was formed in the summer of 2005, when bassist Nate McBride relocated to Chicago from Boston, and was looking for some similarly-minded musicians with whom to work. Having previously met Rempis during the saxophonist's visits home to Boston, he approached him with the idea of starting a band together. Rempis recommended up-and-coming vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, who has gone on to become one of the most noted voices in the Chicago improvised music scene. Originally, the band’s collaborative approach focused on playing each other’s compositions, but the trio moved away from that tack in 2008, pursuing a free-improvised approach instead. The slow simmer of their development over many years has allowed for an almost telepathic empathy between these players. All notable soloists and leaders on their own, in this context they pursue a more group-oriented sound where a leader emerges and retracts in unpredictable ways. Additionally, the lack of a drummer provides more sonic space and exposes many of the melodic and harmonic interactions that arise in the group, providing a setting that can move from passages that are remarkably austere, to ones that are highly energetic and dense. Boss of the Plains, their first studio recording, was recorded by the band itself in Adasiewicz's attic in October of 2010, with the same laid-back approach they've taken as a band for many years. This long overdue document showcases the slow-cooked development of an improvising chamber group that occupies a distinct niche within the Chicago music scene. credits "
Lacerda / Manso / Nilssen-Love / Zenicola
"A live recording of two extended improvisations at Audio Rebel's Quintavant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from the quartet of Arthur Lacerda on guitar and electronics, electric bassist Felipe Zenicola, guitarist Eduardo Manso, and drummer/percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love. "Bota" is a groove-oriented jam, Zenicola and Nilssen-Love carrying the pulse while the guitarists work above, ending with a degenerating electronic display. "Fogo" is the freer of the two, staring quietly and building into a wonderfully driving piece, with Nilssen-Love pulling out the stops with unpredictable and solid rhythmic intensity while Zenicola churns below. A powerful performance from Rio!"
Brace For Impact
Joe McPhee & Mats Gustafsson
"Some recordings, the world is just not ready for them when they're made. In 2008, Swedish born, Austrian resident saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Poughkeepsie, New York multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee made a suite of studio recordings that they loved so much they immediately culled, mixed, and mastered them. A decade later, when the original label for which they were planned had not yet issued them, Gustafsson and McPhee offered them to Corbett vs. Dempsey, and when we heard them we couldn't believe the music. As searching and searing as anything either of them has made, the duets lived up to their explosive title. Gustafsson is known for his energy, and it's here in droves, but there are other nuances brought out by McPhee, a supple sense of melodicism (hey now, Gustafsson is a Swede, so by birthright he's melodic) and the love of experimental sound-making that McPhee displayed on his sound-on-sound recordings in the late '60s. Although the two wind-players have worked together very extensively – in Peter Brötzmann's large groups, with McPhee as a guest in Gustafsson's band the Thing, and in all manner of large and small group improvisations – but they have never issued a record of duets before. This duo debut, now a decade in the can, is insanely powerful. We recommend that you prepare yourself for the impact. Cover image by Charline von Heyl, interior photo of McPhee and Gustafsson bracing themselves back in 2002, by John Corbett. The package is completed by a haunting cover image by artist Cauleen Smith credits "
Breakin The Lab!
Agustí Fernández, Mats Gustafsson, Ramon Prats
"In April of 2013, Agustí Fernández gave a series of concerts at what could be considered the most vital jazz venue in Barcelona, the Jamboree Jazz Club. During a residence that lasted over a month, he invited some of the best improvisers from near and far to participate in the Agustí Fernández Lab Sessions; documented herein we have the session with saxophonist Mats Gustafsson guesting (performing for the first time in Jamboree, curiously enough) alongside Catalan drummer Ramon Prats for what is both an insightful chronicle of the city's improvisational milieu and a keen recording of a kinetic and compelling performance."
Peter Brotzmann Chicago Tentet Plus Two
""Certainly when, among other things, the double bass line-up with Kent Kessler and William Parker also presents, the drum tandem Hamid Drake-Michael Zerang or the trio brass with Joe McPhee, Jeb Bishop and Roy Campbell. Where the road is so open for focusing on a crushing group sound, the Chicago Tentet opts for a more modest approach. Especially Brötzmann's more than forty-minute 'Stonewater' leaves a lot of room for 'smaller' passages. The Arabic beginning is a striking example of this. With the tumbling hand drum and the eastern singing style of Hamid Drake, on which Brötzmann releases his elaborate, clarinet-like tarogato.""
"Relying on their shared history and intuitive rapport, Vandermark, Marhaug and Nilssen-Love provide concise thematic continuity to their volatile free excursions with empathetic listening skills and clear communication."
Burn the Incline
The Vandermark 5
"Straight up funk grooves erupt into shrieking noisefests, only to subside into gentle ballad swing. The members of the V5 cooperate under his leadership on Burn the Incline to produce these amazing effects: the twin sax lead of Vandermark and Rempis powers forward under the propulsion of the versatile rhythm section of Kessler and Mulvenna. Bassist Kent Kessler gets his own time in the lead, and he uses it to advantage shaping the flow of the music. "
Burn the Incline (Limited Edition Double CD)
The Vandermark 5
"Straight up funk grooves erupt into shrieking noisefests, only to subside into gentle ballad swing. The members of the V5 cooperate under his leadership on Burn the Incline to produce these amazing effects: the twin sax lead of Vandermark and Rempis powers forward under the propulsion of the versatile rhythm section of Kessler and Mulvenna. Bassist Kent Kessler gets his own time in the lead, and he uses it to advantage shaping the flow of the music."
Burning Below Zero
"The trio debut album was recorded live recorded shortly after its establishment on October 2, 2014 at the RAJ hall in the southern Austria town Klagenfurt. The three “RAJ” free-improvisations highlight the organic, instantaneous interplay of this trio, expressive and powerful one, open-ended and curious. On the opening, extended “RAJ One”, Kern keeps challenging Vandermark's rhythmic attacks and subtle sonic searches with fast-shifting rhythmic ideas and colors spiced with healthy doses of humor, detail and invention while Harnik frames their muscular, game-like interplay in a structured narrative, introducing into it delicate sounds extracted from the piano strings. The following, extended “RAJ Two” suggests a more “burning” interplay, way beyond zero, where each musicians feeds the other with intense energy in an intensifying cycle. This pieces stresses the versatile, rhythmic sensibility of the DEK trio, moving freely from driving-stormy eruptions to gentle, lyrical touches. The last, short “RAJ Three” is a cathartic outcome of the expressive energy of this great trio. - Eyal Hareuveni (Free Jazz Blog)"
"The recording is being billed as the Ex guitars meets the Vandermark/ Nilssen-Love duo but it is not as cut and dry as that. The Ex guitarists, Terrie Hessels and Andy Moor, create a wall of amplified goodness while elevating the tremolo bar into high art. The Vandermark/ Nilsson-Love duo though are not as you would normally hear them on any of their many recordings. "
Cafe Oto / London
"Great work from this heavy heavy trio – a group that features the talents of probably the three greatest living avant saxophonists in the world – Peter Brotzmann on tenor, alto, clarinet, and tarogato, Ken Vandermark on tenor and clarinet, and Mats Gustafsson on baritone sax! The trio have worked together countless times over the past two decades – and together have an affinity that not only results in some of the most amazingly adventurous improvisation you'll ever hear from a reed player – but also a clear continuation of the warm legacy of jazz the three have helped forward together. Titles include "Fragments For An Endgame", "Arms", "Oto", and "Le Chien Perdu""
Cafe Oto London 9th April 2013
Paal Nilssen-Love / Claude Deppa / Peter Brötzmann
"Nilssen-Love and Brotzmann are joined by trumpeter Claude Deppa and this trio will carry their improvisations in a different way than on the previous album. "
Ab Baars & Zlatko Kaučič
"Slovenian drummer/percussionist Zlatko Kaucic (Kaučič) was very busy in 2013-2014. The meetup with pianist Milko Lazar for Ena / One took place between November, 2013 and March, 2014. The disc at hand finds Kaucic performing with Dutch reedman Ab Baars, recorded in October, 2014. Baars is well known in the free jazz side of the Dutch scene. As expected, the music is quite different although the intent is the same: to bring together two free improvisers and see what happens. Recorded at the Alchemia Club in Krakow (no audience), (like the meeting between François Carrier and Rafal Mazur for Unknowable), Kaucic and Baars produced seven tracks that are at once mystifying, intimidating, amazing and a lot of fun. "
Canzoni di Primavera
""All pieces consist of composed themes that form the outset for improvisations. There is nothing exceptional in this by itself, but the way both musicians expand on the theme, and the way the other musician then takes this expansion as a basis for further exploration, is exceptional. Even more so, because they are not afraid to use dissonance as a key ingredient of their sound."-Stef Gijssels After their album "Autumn Songs" the Dutch improvising duo of Ab Baars on tenor sax, clarinet and shakuhachi and Ig Henneman on viola, celebrate the music of spring in "Canzoni di Primavera" (Songs of Spring) in 10 vivacious works blending free jazz and chamber music, with subtle use of timbre, dissonance and melody in pieces inspired by poets, composers and artists."