Dual Pleasure 2
Ken Vandermark & Paal Nilssen-Love
"“Dual Pleasure 2” , a complex and grroving piece of independent underground jazz. A clash between the highly influential and innovative Chicago and Scandinavian jazz scenes that started in 2000 when the group "School Days" was formed. One year later they started FME, a trio with bass player Nate McBride. After this it seemed very natural to define a duo. Vandermark and Nilssen-Love use free improvisation as a means to explore all levels of dynamics, density, rhythm, timbre, form and tonality. The results of their work are experienced as intense, exhilarating, and boundary breaking music with a brutal beauty."
Ken Vandermark, Michael Snow
"Although he is best known as a groundbreaking experimental filmmaker, one of the architects of structural cinema, and visual artist, Michael Snow has been active as a musician since the 1950s. A brilliant keyboardist and occasional trumpeter, Snow was a key figure in Toronto’s improvised music scene, performing and recording with the ensemble CCMC, and as an improvising pianist he’s worked in myriad contexts with many of the world’s leading free players. Saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Ken Vandermark first learned about Snow as a film student in Montreal, where the classic work Wavelength confounded and fascinated him. In 2015, Vandermark and Snow performed together for the first time as a duet, resulting in three astounding long-form improvisations. Their entire duo performance is released here, with an early painting by Snow adorning the cover."
Early Bird Gets
"By expanding his pool of collaborative constellations, Chicago reedist Dave Rempis has found a variety of contexts in which to explore his fiery improvisational aesthetic. And there’s no shortage of heat produced on The Early Bird Gets, his first recording with the trio of New York bassist Brandon Lopez and Chicago percussionist Ryan Packard. -Peter Margasak, Down Beat"
East by Northwest
Ken Vandermark & Nate Wooley
"What struck me immediately about the show was just how full and vibrant of a sound they were able to create with just the two horns. No doubt a great deal of this had to do with their compositional approach - melodies and counter melodies stretching out the musical fabric between them, creating an atmosphere as much as actual notes and tones - but then toss in the sheer virtuosity of their playing and it is quite an ear opening experience. I picked up the CD at the show and am pleased to report that what I heard from the stage is captured wonderfully on this album (Paul Acquaro, The Free Jazz Collective)"
Een Rondje Holland
The Ex Orkest
"Rock bands and orchestras -- here's a worrisome cliché usually signaling the beginning of the end for a group of musicians getting too full of themselves or already on the nostalgia bandwagon. Of course, none of that applies here, for two main reasons. The first one is the Ex -- not your run-of-the-mill punk band, this Dutch institution has always been keen on collaborating with wide-ranging artists. The second reason is the orchestra convened here: 20 of Amsterdam's finest and most daring experimental musicians, from Palinckx's singer Han Buhrs to members of the ICP Orchestra (and of course all then-current members of the Ex, including Luc Ex). Obviously, Een Rondje Holland is not for every Ex fan, but those fond of the group's previous collaborations with Buhrs, Han Bennink, or Tom Cora will probably find it at least interesting. On the other hand, followers of the Dutch avant-garde scene who are usually put off by the Ex's punk rock but enjoy the ICP Orchestra, Splinks, or even Palinckx should definitely give this album a try."
Either Or And
Evan Parker / Sylvie Courvoisier
""Even though the duo can get confrontational, they also know how to turn their dueling into fun and communicate the pleasure they take in playing with each other." - Alain Drouot, Down Beat"
Elements of Style, Exercises in Surprise
The Vandermark 5
"Seven releases down the road from 1997's Single Piece Flow, Vandermark's flagship quintet continues to serve as a vehicle for his original compositions, which span the range from hard-swinging bop to funk to energy music and the great uncategorizable beyond. The dedicatees on Elements of Style include John Gilmore, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Glenn Gould, and Max Beckmann, to name a few. As might be expected, the connections are not necessarily all that obvious, but not much about what Vandermark does is obvious, anyway."
Rafael Toral / Mars Williams / Tim Daisy
"Chattering, textural free jazz brings to mind a forest of animals slowly coming to life. - J.R. Nelson, Chicago Reader"
"Sensual reflection challenges us to transcend the usual patterns of experience and penetrate into new sound realms. With subtle humor, the borders of genre are evoked associatively and expanded. -Susanne Kogler "
Elm City Duets
Joe Morris & Barre Phillips
""Guitarist (and sometimes bassist) Joe Morris has in “Elm City Duets” a new chapter of his ongoing objective to play with his lifetime heroes: after the meeting with the renowned multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, resulting in a box with 4 CDs released by the label Clean Feed, here is another duo with a veteran of improvisation: Barre Phillips. And what a wonderful encounter this turned to be! What we have here is a vivacious dialogue between two equals, with precious and incisive arguments by both parts. Your record colection will be incomplete without this!" -Clean Feed"
"The music was recorded in a 12,000-square foot abandoned munitions bunker situated in the northeast corner of San Francisco Bay. The unique space created a natural (and unalterable) reverb which the players had to factor into their performance. -Mark Corroto, All About Jazz"
Ken Vandermark & Paul Lytton
"Vandermark alternates between the more groove based playing that he has made a name for and slightly more abstract and in a "freer" fashion. Lytton runs with these moods through busy work that is attuned to what Vandermark, heard mostly on saxophone, is playing. "
The Ex & Brass Unbound
""33 years into their career, Dutch punks the Ex are more interested in expanding the horizons of their music than in repeating their past. Enormous Door is an acrobatic, ferocious record, a welcome burst of electric noise and squealing horns from a group whose power and flexibility keep growing with time." –Pitchfork"
Large Unit Fendika
"It could be argued that this is the most accessible recording in the Large Unit catalogue, and there is no doubt that this is the first one you can dance to all the way through."
"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"