A History of Nothing
Rodrigo Amado, Joe McPhee Kent Kessler & Chris Corsano
""A History of Nothing, [Amado's] debut on the Austrian Trost Records, features five improv-centric tunes authored and sculpted by the same quartet that made This Is Our Language (Not Two Records, 2012) a reference in the genre. Namely, Joe McPhee on soprano saxophone and pocket trumpet, Kent Kessler on double bass, and Chris Corsano on drums.
Amado’s quartet is in peak form, exerting another biting album that comprehends both volcanic and ruminative sonic layers. Just let the freedom touch you while enjoying this finely calibrated commotion." (Filipe Freitas) "
Tim Daisy's Fulcrum Ensemble
"The three compositions on the group’s latest release “Animation” take inspiration from a range of contemporary musical ideas including: the innovative performance and compositional techniques pioneered by the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, structural and textural innovations connected to contemporary composers including Earle Brown, Anthony Braxton and Terry Riley, as well as the energy and spirit generated by the American “free jazz” movement of the 1960’s and 70's, notably the work of Julius Hemphill, Marion Brown, and Don Cherry. "
Mêlée + Joe Morris
"There are moments of intimacy, of direct emotional delivery, and moments of stress and distress, of darkness, signs of an upcoming storm. That doesn't come. Only the tension before it. There is no real power either. And no sweetness. It gets you out of your comfort zone. Yet you want to hear it again, and again, and again. And that's usually the only yardstick that counts. A new musical experience." -Stef "Free Jazz Blog" 2009"
"Solo compositions and improvisations performed by Chicago based percussionist and composer Tim Daisy Selected instruments recorded in various combinations including: drums/marimba/ Califones/metal percussion/bass xylophone/transistor radios/bells/chains/sticks/malletts/brushes Recorded live, without overdubs :)"
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio
"The nine pieces on D'AGALA are dedicated to people who admired and influenced Courvoisier. The title tune is for pianist Geri Allen, "one of three dedicatees who passed away as this June 2017 recording was in preparation – the others being guitarist John Abercrombie and French politician, women’s rights advocate and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil. Two pieces are for sculptors, Martin Puryear who merges organic and geometric forms, and Louise Bourgeois. On “Bourgeois’s Spiders,” Courvoisier is all over the piano – plucking or strumming strings inside, or playing with one hand inside and one on the keys, or rattling around on the metal frame. Sometimes the band sounds like a trio of percussionists; they’re that rhythmically acute", writes Kevin Whitehead in the liner notes and adds: "Some pianists approach the instrument like it’s a cathedral. Sylvie Courvoisier sometimes treats it like a playground"."
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. "
For Frank Wright
"A rare live recording at CCAM, Vandoeuvre - Lés - Nancy, on May 6, 1992. Hard to find this one anywhere else!"
From The Discrete To The Particular
Joe Morris • Agustí Fernández • Nate Wooley
"Being perfectly aware that a trio featuring Joe Morris on guitar, Agustí Fernández on piano and Nate Wooley on trumpet can’t be, for an immanent reason connected to the mastery of the musicians, less than rewarding, my attention has instead been caught by the title of the album. Echoing and mixing several philosophical and scientific subjects it is, in my opinion, a brief and inspired description of some tendencies and paths sketched out in the compositions." - Paolo Casertano "Free Jazz Blog"
Galina U (from Ig Henneman Collected)
Queen Mab Trio
"Galina U has been compiled from compositions that Henneman contributed to the Queen Mab Trio albums, See Saw and Thin Air, along with ‘Overtoom’, from a previously unreleased recording session. For See Saw Henneman contributed three tracks: ‘Marilyn L’, ‘Lori F’ and ‘Galina U’. The latter is an evocative ode to the Russian composer Galina Ustvolskaya, in which Henneman endeavours to mirror Ustvolskaya’s idiom with ominous, compelling rhythms and piano chords hammered out with full force, and she succeeds in coming unmistakably close while fortunately retaining her own vocabulary. Marilyn Lerner – piano; Lori Freedman – bass clarinet / clarinet Ig Henneman – viola "
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."
Lale Guma / Addis Hum
The Ex + Fendika
"This new 7” single release is a musical cooperation between The Ex and the Ethiopian acoustic band Fendika. The Ex has a long history with Ethiopian music and has worked together with Fendika for 6 years on many European and American festivals and also in Ethiopia. Slowly they've grown closer and the result is stunnning: the typical Ex rhythms and riffs, combined with traditional instruments (one string masinko, kobero drums) and the great voice of singer Nardos."
WOOLEY / YEH / CHEN / CARTER
"Blurring the lines between electronic and acoustic music, as well as composition versus improvisation, NCAT is a unique quartet consisting of an improvising trio whose music has been mutated and structured in post-production by its fourth member. The bulk of the musical material on this LP was recorded at STEIM in Amsterdam, during a residency of cellist/vocalist Audrey Chen, violinist/vocalist C. Spencer Yeh, and trumpet player Nate Wooley. After sifting through the collected recordings from the week, the trio sent selected pieces off to Todd Carter of TV Pow for mixing and mastering. What they received a few weeks later was a music totally transformed, as Carter had taken the piece and reconfigured them into stunning works of electro-acoustic composition. "
"After concerts and recordings as Angles 10, Angles 9, Angles 8 and Angles 6, here is back the original Angles line-up, Angles 3. It was 2004 and for a gig at the Glenn Miller Cafe it’s mentor and saxophonist, Martin Küchen invited two Scandinavian musicians now living in the United States (respectively, Austin – Texas and San Diego – California), Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Kjell Nordeson. “Parede”, the title, is a tribute to the Portuguese town near Lisbon where the album was recorded live, at a venue called SMUP which in few years became the equivalent in this Southern European country to The Stone, Cornelia Street Café and Nublu. Most of the compositions, like Küchen’s classics “Satan in Plain Clothes” and “By Way of Deception”, are the same of those other Angles investments, of course with different arrangements. This version functions as a reduction to the essence of the music conceived by the Swedish musician, resulting in an energetic, even brutal, kind of free bop delivered to the ears as if it is punk or metal, echoes of Sonny Rollins and Albert Ayler mixing with something that could come from… The Melvins. credits "
Perpetual Frontier Properties of Free Music
"The book is more than welcome, because it offers a kind of foundational explanation of what 'free music' is, and then in an almost academic fashion. Morris presents "The Properties Of Free Music", a description of the constituents and building blocks of the music, with definitions of the known ingredients like melody, harmony, rhythm and their absence and their alternatives. He describes the conceptual methods and systems that musicians can use in establishing their sound, the essence of what musicians try to achieve, and they can do that through synthesis, interpretation and invention, by using known forms or by creating new ones. He writes about musical platforms, about interaction, about open forms, templates and layering, about melodic structure. He explores four theoretical frameworks of free form in a little more depth : Ornette Coleman's 'harmolodics', Cecil Taylor's 'unit structures', Anthony Braxton's 'tri-axiom theory', and European Free Improvisation A very valuable book that will be of interest to many musicians and fans of free music." - Stef "Free Jazz Blog" 2013"
"Slobber Pup can command all elements of jazz, rock, and blues since the big band. There is something very appealing about this anarchy of noise that makes this "music" vital. It exists as a wakeup call for all who have been hypnotized into an artificial slumber of safety and contentment, and all the while the wolves are barking to get in..." - C. MICHAEL BAILEY "All About Jazz" (2015)"
The Spanish Donkey
"The album is a less about the individual voices as it is the dark and foreboding movement of sound. It's at once sludgy, defiant, nuanced and textured. The shapes of the sounds are as important as the notes themselves which, like on the track 'Behavioral Sink' rises from the slash of Saft's organ and the metallic clang of Morris' guitar." -Paul Acquaro (Free Jazz Blog)"
Ikue Mori & Maja S.K. Ratkje
"A recording of live performances which brought together two essential figures of the contemporary scene: an oustanding Norwegian composer and vocal artist Maja S.K. Ratkje and a celebrated improviser and composer, former DNA drummer, Ikue Mori. The common sound territory, created together by Mori and Ratkje, balances between quietly growing tension and powerful outbursts of unrestrained, relentless noise. Within this harmony, Ratkje takes adventurous excursions towards the borders and unknown facets of sound, using treated voice as well as an acoustic and electronic workshop, while Mori's thoughtful laptop provides a strong frame and a sense of deep focus. In these carefully crafted, long and nuanced compositions, both artists maneuver between meditative, ritual areas and irregular, elusive noise blots. The most astonishing element of this superb performance is the realization that even though the compositions are entirely intuitive, created without any previous planning, guidelines or negotations, the listener can sense a nearly palpable sense of deep connection and understanding between the artists. Their knowledge and keen, immediate communication create an invisible harness, which naturally directs the stream of improvisation. This engaging, exhaustive listen is a contemplative retreat and a daring, dizzying somersault at once'. Olga Drenda"
"In purposeful ambiguity, one is reminded, perhaps, of the solo piano work of Andrew Hill as well as some of Morris’ own guitar soli. Ultimately, Sensor is an intimate portrait of Joe Morris the musician, allowing one to forget for a moment the specific state of the axe." -Clifford Thomas "Tiny Mix Tapes" 2011"
The New Favorite Thing Called Breathing
Ben Hall's Racehorse Names
"Out and unusual compositions from drummer Ben Hall and his sextet with Mick Dobday on electric piano & organ, Anthony Levin DEcanini on electronics, Ronnie Zawadi on percussion, John Dierker on reeds, Mike Khoury on viola & violin, and joined by Joe Morris on guitar, for 6 "Spines", free compositions using odd compositional structures leading to superb solo and group playing. Each Spine presents a unique sonic world, from aggressive playing to abstract and sonically fascinating interludes, with performers extending their instruments or taking non-traditional approaches to each. The pacing of these Racehorses is unpredictable and inspired, leading the listener on a wild and unexpected journey, presenting a great cross-section of modern creative improv and territory uniquely belonging to Hall."
Chris Forsyth & Nate Wooley
"In recent years, guitarist Chris Forsyth has come on like the redeemer of classic rock. His work with the Solar Motel Band extends the improvisational fire and frankly ecstatic thrust of rock virtuosos like Tom Verlaine and Richard Thompson within sturdy riff structures that Led Zeppelin fans could appreciate without putting on their thinking caps. Trumpeter Nate Wooley’s recent output encompasses bruising free jazz with the trio Icepick, minimalist drones on his solo record The Almond and more elegantly arranged ensemble work with his Sextet. But put the two of them together and you can forget about all of that stuff. Genre references and personal styles fall away, since they’re essentially inadequate answers to the fundamental question at hand — what do we play?
-Bill Meyer (Dusted)"
"I’m glad that Ultra demanded revision. I am the now the organizer not the composer. The music was made with equal contributions from all of us. To me, Ultra is free of the contrivance that often plagues this kind of attempt, and that allows the listener to determine its meaning and value. I speak for the group when I say that we hope the music surprises and inspires you. Joe Morris June 2017 "
Vandermark 5 Turf Club Poster (2002)
"Beautiful print on heavy stock matte paper. A limited edition made for the Vandermark 5's 2002 engagement at the Turf Club in St. Paul. Order multiple posters at no extra shipping cost"
New Releases available at Catalytic Sound are brand new albums by the musicians represented by the cooperative, both as individual artists or through their independent record labels, available for the very first time.
"If you count The Thing’s collaborations with Joe McPhee, James Blood Ulmer, Ken Vandermark, Neneh Cherry, Barry Guy, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O’Rourke, Thurston Moore and DKV Trio too, Again is their 20th album (including the compilation Now and Forever and the split album The Music of Norman Howard with School Days, another Gustafsson project). Literally speaking, The Thing have done it again. After 17 years in the same line-up (Mats Gustafsson on saxes, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on acoustic and electric bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums) you might think that the band’s music has become predictable, that their mélange of free jazz, blues, rock and noise is actually a cul-de-sac because the musical options are exhausted. However, it isn’t. Though Again is the well-proved mixture of cover versions and original compositions, this time the focus is rather on jazz. The only cover, Decision in Paradise, is an old, rather conventional Frank Lowe piece. The Thing turn the tempo down considerably and a trumpet provided by Joe McPhee, the guest star on this track, transforms the falling lines of the original’s opening passage into painfully bruised sounds before Gustafsson strips the delicate melody to the bone (doing this, it reminds me of Gershwin’s “Summertime“). Bass, trumpet and saxophone dance around each other in slow motion and only after four minutes Nilssen-Love enters the game in order to give the piece more drive and tension. It’s the band’s typical way to take possession of a composition which is not their own. - Martin Schray (Free Jazz Blog) Full review here: www.freejazzblog.org/2018/06/the-thing-again-trost-records-2018.html "
Geometry Of Caves
Tomeka Reid, Kyoko Kitamura, Taylor Ho Bynum, Joe Morris
"The record also makes plenty of room for each of the musicians' individual strengths to emerge: Bynum is in especially fine form, with movement from lyrical beauty to pure abstraction and noise (just listen to his menacing growls on "Glowworm" as evidence); but Morris is also characteristically exceptional, whether offering prickly fragments or his patented scrapes, as he's continually seeking ways to advance the dialogue. Reid's relentless imagination leads her from chamber-like passages to motion-filled ostinato phrases that always possess compelling rhythmic energy; and Kitamura will be a revelation to those who haven't yet encountered her unique brand of vocal improvisation, turning in an instant from subtle to spasmodic." - Troy Dostert All About Jazz"
Homework 1: (For Muhal Richard Abrams, Curtis Mayfield & Dinah Washington)
"As part of the special edition Marker live box set "Roadwork 1 / Roadwork 2 / Homework 1", we are happy to release Systems vs. Artifacts digital album of Homework 1. Recorded by Dave Zuchowski at The Hungry Brain, Chicago on February 18, 2018. Mixed and mastered by Dave Zuchowski at One Room Studio. "
"This transatlantic trio combines musical sensibilities derived from their experiences in two world capitals of improvised music, Chicago and Amsterdam. Rempis and Rosaly, both longtime staples of the Chicago scene, have partnered for more than 15 years, most significantly in the Rempis Percussion Quartet and Rempis/Rosaly Duo. The two met guitarist/bassist Jasper Stadhouders at the Moers Festival in 2009 where the three shared a stage on the legendary “morning sessions.” Despite being only 18 years old, Stadhouders was a presence to be dealt with, his energy and aesthetic already developed into a cohesive whole. "
"This collaborative trio featuring three mid-career artists with deep roots in the Chicago improvised music scene puts forth a stunning and austere debut, a chamber-like exploration in which their three voices intertwine seamlessly into one multi-headed unit. Although each member is no doubt comfortable as a soloist, with significant leader credits under each of their belts, here they shirk that approach in favor of a music that is unflinchingly interactive and group-oriented. In this context, solo explorations don’t drive the music, but instead the sum of the three parts together delivers an unstoppable momentum recalling the type of egalitarian interactions pioneered by the trio of Jimmy Giuffre, Paul Bley, and Steve Swallow in the early 1960’s. The resulting pieces, each one a thoroughly unique and cohesive landscape, deliver a strikingly clear example of what’s possible when musicians with broad interests in all types of contemporary musical expression combine their aesthetics in a non-genre and non-stylistically bound approach. Rempis, Reid, and Abrams deliver a wholly original sound on this recording, straddling the intersections of free improvisation, contemporary classical, jazz, and folk musics from around the world, without being contained by the precepts of any one of those influences."
Joe McPhee: One Day...A Lightning Storm
"This very special limited edition release features excerpts from Joe’s conversation with John Corbett and is accompanied by the complete interview in a beautifully designed 20 page booklet. It’s release coincides with the Blank Forms celebration of Joe’s career. "
Journey To Parazzar
Joe McPhee, John Edwards, Klaus Kugel
"Recorded at Metallurgov House Of Culture in the Ukraine as the 2nd concert of their tour, the trio of Joe McPhee (trumpet, alto saxophone), John Edwards (double bass), and Klaus Kugel (drums) present a masterful concert that includes a 29-minute "Re-Hairing In Zaporozhye" a 19-minute "To Rush At The Wind", and a wonderfully unconventional tribute to Cecil Taylor "
Live At Konfrontationen Nickelsdorf 2012
Ab Baars / Meinrad Kneer / Bill Elgart
"live at konfrontationen nickelsdorf 2012 features baars in a trio, which had quite a few gigs in those days, a co-op with german bassist meinrad kneer and long-time american-in-europe expatriate drummer bill elgart. for those used to baars’ gentlemanly ellington-affected playing and composing the first sound heard on “nickelsdorf suite #1 part i” may shock. here’s the dutchman skronking harsh aylerian smears from his saxophone. at the same time though baars’ altissimo screams and tonal exaggerations slide securely in place besides the weightlifter-like string pulls that kneer resonates to solidify the rhythm and elgart’s elegant pings and ruffs which moderate the output. - ken waxman, 11 november 2018, jazzword.com "
Momentum 2 & 3 : Brüllt and Monster Roster
""This collection can be a bit exhausting, but it is admirably ambitious in the melding of free jazz and abstract electronic music. They may seem like strange bedfellows, but when everything clicks, the results are undeniably impressive." -Music and More, January 12, 2018"
The Young Mothers
" “Then Young Mothers roared out of the gate with fierce, jarring visceral power. Theirs is a dense, multi-layered sound where Ivesian contrapuntal lines often divide the ensemble into competing units -- How fortunate 30 or so of us were that they docked in Deep Ellum last night. I'll be anxiously awaiting their return.” -Ken Shimamoto "
"Out this weekend! A new record on Nate Wooley's label, Pleasure of The Text Records from the power trio, New Monuments. Preorder CD and Digital now from Catalytic Sound."
No Queen Rises
" "Dew lies on the instruments of straw that you were playing, / The ruts in your empty road are red" Fish-Scale sunrise signals for Baars a broadening spectrum of possibilities for compositions and improvisations. Baars wanted to explore new timbre, dynamics and sounds. He employs for the first time in his ensembles a pianist - Slovenian, Amsterdam-based pianist Kaja Draksler, who collaborated before with Baars in her Octet - introducing a new weight of nuances of timbre and dynamics as well as new harmonic horizons. Canadian, Stockholm-based double bass player Joe Williamson completes this drummer-less format and positions the bass with a unique role. Baars wrote seven compositions and the other two are free-improvisations. -Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz"
Ken Vandermark / Klaus Kugel / Mark Tokar
"Can there be such a thing as straight-ahead free? If so, this disk’s five as-it-happens improvisations would be it. Each achieves something remarkable, a seldom-realized free jazz ideal: the more these players achieve something remarkable, the more these players sacrifice themselves in support of one another, the more our attention is drawn to each’s individual merits. Teasing his solos to climax on the album’s two longest performances, Vandermark shows he knows the difference between repetition and repetitiveness. This might be some of his best playing on records; it’s definitely among his lustiest. Tokar’s “extended” bass technique is astonishing, and worthy of special notice is the way he matches tones with Vandermark when the latter explores the lower reaches of his horn. Kugel is a model drummer, supplying both motion and combustion without so much as implying a steady beat. Only one modifier will do in further categorizing this free jazz: classic. - Francis Davis"
Noise Of Our Time
"It was only during Ken Vandermark's residency at the Jazz club The Stone in January 2016 that Vandermark found himself in the same vicinity as Nate Wooley, Sylvie Courvoisier and Tom Rainey. A year later they went into the studio with nine compositions – three each by Courvoisier, Vandermark and Wooley. These four musicians have well-documented, distinct personalities which, in this context, results in performances full of surprises, rich contrasts and shared responsibilities. The music sounds thoughtful, but never over-wrought. They play by intuition, yet retain a vivid complexity. Their composing is transparent and unclichéd; their improvising provided with a remarkable coherence and openness. And perhaps it is exactly this – a fresh collective unity that keeps their respective personalities and idiosyncrasies intact – that brings them success in this bold and collaborative performance. Art needs to pique and renew your interest, take you on inspiring and surprising journeys and sometimes even confront your own biases. Creating, not reviving as a way to evolve and to keep going forward in all directions. credits "
McPhee • Caloia • Stewart
"Permutations” is a set of colorful expressions, rich musical language, marvelous and brilliant solos and original musical decisions." -AvantScena Art Stew Records – ASR 007"
Roadwork 1 / Roadwork 2 / Homework 1 (3CD Box Set)
"Where Wired for Sound felt fresh, youthful and surprising in so many aspects, this triple live album is a spectacular snapshot of how this group has progressed together – and is progressing together… On ‘Accordéon’ they are staring down the abyss just like Mats Gustafsson’s Fire, combining a very heavy pulsating groove with fiery improvisation. Another emotion which must be balanced perfectly to not become a cliché, but they pull it off perfectly! On ‘French Dress’ I think Sudderberg brings his performance up at least one level, again together with the band and on ‘B Eiga’ the group performance is fantastically tight. The album ends but I want more! “ - Gustav Lundqvist Free Jazz Blog *****"
Roadwork 1: New Orleans (For Ed Blackwell, Irma Thomas & Allen Toussaint)
"As part of the special edition Marker live box set "Roadwork 1 / Roadwork 2 / Homework 1", we are happy to release Systems vs. Artifacts digital album of Roadwork 1. Recorded by Danny Kadar and Joe Stolarick at The Mint during The Instigation Festival, New Orleans on January 25, 2018. Mixed and mastered by Dave Zuchowski at One Room Studio."
Roadwork 2: Atlanta (For James Brown, Marion Brown and Mary Lou Williams)
"As part of the special edition Marker live box set "Roadwork 1 / Roadwork 2 / Homework 1", we are happy to release Systems vs. Artifacts digital album of Roadwork 2. Recorded by Andrew Wiggins at The Earl, Atlanta on January 31, 2018. Mastered by Dave Zuchowski at One Room Studio."
The Clifford Thornton Memorial Quartet
"An absolutely fitting and exceptional tribute to late trumpeter & trombonist Clifford Thornton from a quartet of NY and European free jazz musicians, particularly Joe McPhee who recorded with Thornton and cites him as an influence, plus Daunik Lazro (sax), Makoto Sato (drums) and Jean-Marc Foussate (synth), recorded live at Nickelsdorf's Konfrontationen Festival 2017. "
Joelle Leandre / Elisabeth Harnik
"Two like-minded musicians with a history in compositional and improvised music, pianist and prepared pianist Elisabeth Harnik and double bassist and vocalist Joelle Leandre met at WIST, in Graz, Austria in 2016 to perform and record this live album of insightful and compelling dialog between two masterful musicians full of creativity and virtuosic skill."