Deeply Discounted II/Sequences of Snow
Ken Vandermark & Nate Wooley
"Ken Vandermark and Nate Wooley release their third recording as a duo, an LP entitled "Deeply Discounted/Sequences of Snow." Their first two albums, also released as co-productions between Audiographic Records and Pleasure of the Text, were critically acclaimed (East By Northwest  received a 5 star review in the "Free Jazz Collective"; and "The New York City Jazz Record" stated that All Directions Home  "showcases the strengths that have made the duo luminaries in their respective scenes."). In addition, their performance at Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, on May 16th, 2017 was heralded as one of the "Concerts of the Year" by "The New York City Jazz Record". This latest album is an exciting new statement from the duo, featuring long-form compositions for the first time, written specifically for the LP format and developed while touring in North America during 2017. Nate Wooley's piece, "Deeply Discounted II," is inspired by John Cage's "Cheap Imitation" which, in turn, was inspired by Erik Satie's, "Socrate;" Ken Vandermark's composition, "Sequences of Snow," is dedicated to the visual artist and musician, Michael Snow, and was influenced by several of Snow's experimental films, such as "Wavelength," "Dripping Water," "La Région Centrale," "So Is This," and "See You Later.""
Delicate Paths - Music For Shô
"The music of ‘Delicate Paths’ features acoustic shō solos and group improvisations with Evan Parker, Nilan Perera and Suba Sankaran, electroacoustic works, and highlights unusual approaches to recording the shō... The listening experience is contemplative and sensuous, immersing one in the luminous sound of this traditional instrument, approached in a contemporary way."
Steel Bridge Trio
"Steel Bridge is a new music trio organized by Chicago percussionist Tim Daisy and includes two mainstays of the Bay Area improvising scene: Aram Shelton on alto saxophone and clarinet and Safa Shofrai on bass. The group was formed as a vehicle for Tim’s original compositions and is the first group which has him featured primarily on the vibraphone. Inspired by the pioneering work of the AACM as well as several of innovators working in improvised music including Steve Lacy, Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Anthony Braxton, and Walt Dickerson"
Dispatch to the Sea
Made to Break
"Dispatch From The Sea highlights the unique interplay between Vandermark and Kurzmann. Surprisingly, their interaction is quite physical given that Kurzmann plays only on a laptop, often a confrontational one, sometimes Kurzmann even takes the subversive role of deconstructing the loose architecture of this piece and suggesting a futuristic one (Eyal Hareuveni, The Free Jazz Collective)"
Atomic / School Days
"This is wonderful fun to hear. This is not boundary-shifting music, nor does it aspire to great artistic achievements. But it's a great performance by a band (or is it two bands?) that really starts benefiting from playing a lot together. I would love to see this band perform live."
Disturbing Domestic Peace
"This is prime stuff. It's primitive when compared with their current wide-ranging output, but even then they were embellishing their their scratchy politico-punk with some interesting instrumental touches. Morse code keyboards, a chipped-flint guitar sound, distorted vocals, and the rhythm section's implacable forward motion make this worth a listen even if you don't care what they had to say."
"Now into their third decade as Holland's bravest avant-punk terrorists, the Ex seem incapable of slowing down... Rhythmically there are few who can touch the Ex, and Albini's hand lends these proceedings an especially scalpel-sharp wallop, allowing the band's now-trademarked taut, skittering trapwork, thrusting bass-encounter play and nicked-guitar screech to propel their cleverly refined political/social text with an irrepressible mix of dexterity and abrasiveness... Get in their way at your own risk."
The Rempis/Daisy Duo & Guests
"Dodecahedron, the third duo recording by saxophonist Dave Rempis and percussionist Tim Daisy, celebrates a special mile-marker in the musical history of these long-time partners, as 2018 marks the twentieth anniversary of their duo pairing. These two have formed the backbone of well-known working bands dating back to 1997, when they first met in Chicago, including Triage, The Vandermark Five, The Rempis Percussion Quartet, and The Engines. But that list only scratches the surface, accounting for just a portion of likely more than a thousand gigs they’ve played together over that time. On the first disc of this new two-disc set, recorded live at Elastic Arts in Chicago in October 2017, you can hear every nuance of that two decades of shared experience. Rempis and Daisy have logged far too many hours in the van together to suffer each other’s bullshit, and continue to undermine any whiff of cliché by pushing here, pulling there, and sometimes just outright kicking the chair out from underneath one another. There’s no hiding from family. To further celebrate this special milestone, the duo invited six guests to join them individually for two recording sessions in the summer of 2017, released here on the second disc in this set. Each of these musicians – Jason Adasiewicz, Jim Baker, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Steve Swell, Katie Young, and Aaron Zarzutzki – are friends and colleagues whose distinct personalities and long histories with Rempis and Daisy have helped to shape the duo’s approach as a unit, and as individual musicians. And each of the pieces presented here showcase yet another of the many facets contained within the duo’s complex lexicon. "
Bradford / Gjerstad / Nilssen-Love
"Legendary West Coast cornetist Bobby Bradford meets two Norwegians - drummer Paal Nilssen-Love and multi-reedist Frode Gjerstad - for a live performance at Klub Dragon in Poland. A free outing, the 6 tracks are relatively short, with "Pitaya" the longest at 11 minutes. The dialog is often quite subtle and well informed, using extended techniques and unusual twists and turns that are fascinating to follow. Which isn't to say that the trio doesn't fire up some serious power playing at points, but these three masters find their true language in intelligent interaction, of which there is no end to in these wonderful recordings. Highly recommended."
Early Bird Gets
"The Early Bird Gets is the debut album by this working trio, comprised of journeyman Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis alongside two of the brightest talents in a younger generation of improvising musicians. Bassist Brandon Lopez is a musician whose virtuosity knows no bounds, currently one of the most in-demand bassists on the New York jazz and improvised music scene. Percussionist Ryan Packard counters that depth with his own breadth of interests, working in contemporary classical ensembles, indie rock bands, and jazz groups alike around Chicago, not to mention his doubling abilities on electronics. These two together provide a formidable rhythm section that can veer from hard-driving grooves to luscious soundscapes with total ease. As a trio, these three have put forth a work that may be the “jazziest” project any of them are involved with; a result that even the band members found surprising. But after honing their sound through live gigs in 2017 and early 2018, it became apparent that their free-improvised conversation kept returning to a similar destination: a three-way exploration of rhythm and tempo that left them working solidly within the jazz tradition. Not the one fixed into predictable sylistic corners, but the one defined by a spirit of boundless curiosity and exploration. A tradition they stretched back and forth like so much taffy. "
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."