Goofy June Bug
Ab Baars Trio & Ken Vandermark
"This pairing is as comfortable as a reunion of grade school classmates. Recorded live at Amsterdam's Bimhuis at tour's end, Goofy June Bug finds both men splitting their time between tenor saxophone and clarinet (backed by Baars' regular rhythm section of Wilbert de Joode and Martin van Duynhoven) and both honor each other's musical traditions: Baars' compositions are as likely to carry a '60s free jazz influence as Vandermark's are to contain European classical elements."
Terrie Ex & Paal Nilssen-Love
"Fourty-two minutes of unadultered sonic violence and energy. Rock? Jazz? Noise? Punk? Paal Nilssen-Love beats the bejeezus out of his trap kit and Terrie Ex throws harsh antagonistic feedback attacks into the process, which have no direction at all, played with the enthusiasm and energy of a garage band of 16-year olds, exploring what they can produce together, equally being surprised at things that work and that don't work, with an audience that shouts and applauds when the volume decreases, thinking the lengthy improvisation is over, but actually it isn't, because neither Paal nor Terrie want to let go, diving back in, sometimes hesitantly, sometimes with renewed power, new attacks, some novel ideas - and it must be said, not all of them are violent - to be further explored, developed or altogether massacred with an attitude of self-destruction, with a loathing of feelings like empathy or sympathy or even apathy, expressing feelings of anger and disgust, as it should be in a punk band."
"This particular recording was made over two nights in December of 2012 live at Chicago’s legendary Green Mill Cocktail Lounge as part of trombonist Jeb Bishop’s 50th birthday celebration, and it does a great job of showing these tactics at work. Although in this context – a packed weekend house at a more traditional “jazz” venue - the band opted to begin each improvisation with one of their tunes, you can hear them employ these arrangement tactics over and over once they make it through the first lap. So although you’ll hear a couple of the same compositions performed from one night to the next, that material is sandwiched in between the other pre-composed material in drastically different ways with no pre-conception or roadmap of what might come next. "
Guy-Gustafsson-Strid Trio with Marilyn Crispell
"Recorded on January 22, 1996 by the Swedish broadcasting corporation, this features an international all-star new jazz/improvising group of Mats Gustafsson-soprano, tenor and baritone saxes, Marilyn Crispell-piano, Barry Guy-double bass and Raymond Strid-drums.."
McPhee / Brötzmann / Kessler / Zerang
"While the players can (and do) perform volatile energy jazz here, their preference is for music that's dissectible enough for the players to be distinguished in parts and direction. The breadth and power of these four players comes through with an exhaustive clarity in this crisp and vigorous live recording."
Hands Up! You're Free
"Maybe in bursts, where the undertow doesn't need to be ribbed with volume, this record represents the real Ex, the complex, hyperfast, mobile scourge of convenient ignorance and partyline stupidity."
"1. Masani Cisse ... a rich nobleman, a very important person, close to god. Began very poor, making a living cutting and selling firewood. One day he saw a big dead tree. Long long time ago a rich warrior, a king, stranded at the tree, dying. A ghost promised him to guard the money at the tree. Masani Cisse started to cut. After three times, the ghost appeared and asked what he was doing. "I'm hungry," Masani answered. The ghost answered that he could do anything because the money was there in the spirit of the king. "If you are really hungry, you can take the money. But some things you are not allowed to do with it. You can not seduce women from someone else with it, for example." The story of Masani Cisse runs parallel with the beginning of the kora. The founder of the kora is called: Moussa Boulouge... "
Head Above Water/Feet Out Of The Fire
"This is the power of the Vandermark composition at its finest. He is there, guiding them though the workout of notes on the page, with whistle in mouth just in case. It builds and recedes and lets the smaller dogs sing before the next wave of growling envelops your ears layered over a pretty addictive drum and bass groove."