"It’s not the first time we find Scandinavian and American musicians playing together – some of the bands founded by Ken Vandermark have this characteristic –, but Starlite Motel comes with a different focus than the ones trying to reconnect the techniques and aesthetics of improvisation developed in Europe with its jazz roots in the United States. In “Awosting Falls”, non-idiomatic and idiomatic improv meets with… psychedelic rock. Those procedures and styles are very well known by the mastermind of this new enterprise: Gard Nilssen, the Norwegian drummer of the rock-oriented, electric bands Puma and Bushman’s Revenge, but also of hardcore post- free jazz groups like Acoustic Unity and Cortex. His Nordic companions are also familiar with it, namely saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts, who brought jazz to noise domains with partners like Lasse Marhaug and Maja Ratkje, and bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten (now living in Texas, by the way), a member of the free jazz / free rock band The Thing and leader of the metal / hip-hop / jazz combo The Young Mothers. The American in the quartet is Jamie Saft, one of the most permanent of John Zorn’s collaborators, part of Electric Masada and also the author of “Trouble: The Jamie Saft Trio Plays Bob Dylan” and leader of a band including the jazz mainstream bassist Steve Swallow, The New Standard. The music is puzzling and sensuous, cosmic and groovy at the same time. Now you can dream with a beat."
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."
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 "
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. "
Dancing With Penguins
Joe Morris & Greg Oxoby
"Oxoby has never sounded better, his bass sound round, supple, and articulate; and Morris’ signature saxophone-like guitar playing, beautifully articulated and breathlessly paced, is heard here to great effect. A fine document of an important period of time for Calgary’s improvising community. (Notes by Jonathon Ronler) "
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. "
The Vandermark Quartet
"An old one from the archives here at Catalytic Sound, only 9 original unplayed copies left!"
"The debut record of LUFT – is a two volume album of exceptional explorations within the bagpipe and reed universe —— unknown music of poetic beauty and high energy cascades. Fast moving changes in texture and layers vs static repetitions and alternatives densities and melody treatments! Vol 1 – is focusing on the interaction between the two persons/ instruments – with a huge variety in extended techniques and various ways of treating the instruments – leading to an improvised music never heard of."
Jon Vanderlander Trio
Jon Vanderlander Trio
"The Jon Vanderlander Trio 45, with Jon Fält (drums & percussion), Ken Vandermark (clarinet & baritone saxophone), and Per-Åke Holmlander (tuba). Recorded at Fylkingen, Stockholm, on October 29th, 2006, by Niklas Billström. Features the compositions “Tom Säck,” “Misha,” and “1st.” "
Joe McPhee & Hamid Drake
"It's easy to be cynical these days, maybe difficult to imagine that music can change the world, but not for Joe McPhee and Hamid Drake. With Keep Going, they will make the planet a better place for humanity, a place to be humane, to preserve humankind. At 78-years-old, Poughkeepsie multi-instrumentalist McPhee is a national treasure, and he's making more music than ever before, pushing himself to tour incessantly, issuing astonishing new records at a fierce rate. But this release, with legendary Chicago percussionist Drake, is something extremely special in the midst of many special records. The duo first recorded together in 1999, having only played together a limited number of times; the resulting music was issued as Emancipation Proclamation on the Okka Disk label. When the opportunity arose to hit the studio for a second time, McPhee and Drake had two more decades of extensive work together under their belts, as members of the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet and in many other contexts. But the session somehow consolidated their shared energy in an unexpected way – the drummer's incredible warmth and sense of buoyancy, the saxophonist and trumpeter's preternatural musicality and quest for social justice. The recording started with McPhee reciting words by Harriett Tubman, resulting in the title track; Drake's support was an achingly slow Max Roach-like beat. From this inspired, inspiring starting point, the twosome frolicked through a rich program, McPhee donning tenor and alto saxes, and pocket trumpet, Drake turning momentarily to the frame drum. Each musician contributes an introspective solo track. McPhee at one point plays trumpet into an open gong, which gives him otherworldly overtones, a sort of acoustic version of electric Miles. Drake makes too few records, so anything of his is mandatory; McPhee's been on a roll lately, releasing lots of music, but Keep Going is one not to be missed. "
Live at Big Apple in Kobe
""And the music does stay hot for long stretches during the two improvisations that comprise the CD. “Rainbow Elephant” slowly wends its way through passage after passage of astonishing sounds, following a slowly evolving path. There’s a continuous weave of sound—sparkling electronics; saxophone clicks and cries; textured, breathy drones on the trumpet; and subtle prepared piano timbres. The sound expands and contracts, dense one moment, open and airy the next. Fujii plays a long melodic arc with scintillating sounds dancing underneath. Later, Anker starts her own extended melody, supported and embellished by the others. “Yellow Sky” grows more directly from soft electronic flutters and breathy tones on saxophone and trumpet to become progressively darker and more agitated with hot raspy trumpet, rumbling piano, clattering electronics, and wailing saxophone. The album is one of the most sustained abstract performances in the Fujii discography. ""
""Moments Form" does not need time to warm up, it just starts -- a solid stream of invention and drive. Could one expect anything less from free jazz stalwarts, Mars Williams, Tim Daisy and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten? All are experienced and hard hitting improvisors and this consistently engaging album certainly, at the very least, solidifies this perception."
MVP LSD: The Graphic Scores of Lowell Skinner Davidson
Joe Morris, John Voigt, Tom Plsek
"As with most engaging music, so much informs every moment of MVP LSD that any overarching description is futile. Each performer has a large timbral pallet, but more conventional modes of expression are also plentiful. Sample Morris's beautifully pantonal musings on "Separate Blue X" or Plsek's pointilistic punctuations on "Index Card no. 1." There is dialogue a-plenty, but the larger picture is of a trio, the three musicians often seeming to breathe as one as they explore these rich and multivalent compositional landscapes. -Mark Medwin "Dusted" 2009"
"It's been nearly five decades since Joe McPhee assembled a group of musicians to perform the weekend concerts that would become Nation Time, his second LP. It was December 1970, thirty-one-year-old McPhee was inspired by Amiri Baraka's poem 'It's Nation Time,' and the students at Vassar College didn't know what hit them. 'What time is it?' shouted McPhee. 'Come on, you can do better than that. What time is it?!!' The music on Nation Time came out of a fertile, but little-known creative jazz scene in Poughkeepsie, New York, McPhee's home base. Two bands were deployed, one with a funky free foundation featuring guitar and organ, the other consisting of a more standard jazz formation, with two drummers and the brilliant Mike Kull at the piano. Across the concert and the next afternoon's audience-less recording session, the band was ignited by McPhee's passion and his gorgeous post-Coltrane / post-Pharoah tenor. On 'Shakey Jake,' they hit a James Brown groove filtered through Archie Shepp, while the sidelong title track is as searching and poignant today as it was during its heyday. Originally released in 1971 on CjR, an imprint started expressly to document McPhee's work, Nation Time has a sense of urgency and inspiration. Additional material from those December days would later appear on Black Magic Man, Hat Hut's first release. In fact, the first four records on this seminal Swiss label all featured McPhee. Nation Time was largely unknown a quarter century or so later, when it was first issued on CD through the Unheard Music Series. On Corbett vs. Dempsey, we reissued the album along with all known tapes leading up to and around it as a CD box set, but the standalone LP has remained incredibly rare. In preparing to reissue the CD on its own, a new, previously-unknown tape was discovered with three tracks recorded at the original concert in 1970. These include an intense version of Coltrane's "Naima," all of them feature pianist Kull, and none have been issued before this. Now is the time for a new generation of freaks to lose their shit when settling into the cushy beat of 'Shakey Jake' and answering the call with the only appropriate response: It's NATION TIME! credits "
New American Songbooks Vol. 2
Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aruán Ortiz, Matthew Shipp
"Last year’s release found three distinctive voices—Mary Halvorson, Ron Miles, and Greg Saunier—working together to arrange works from mass media. Their collaboration, only a few days in total, culminated in a recording that felt equal parts wild and warm; intimate and revolutionary. Volume 2 goes in another direction. While the warmth and intimacy is still very present, thanks in large part to the expert sound at Ryan Streber’s Oktaven Studios, the experience is one-on-one, as the listener is the recipient of four mini-recitals from four of the most profound interpreters on the piano today: Kris Davis, Matt Mitchell, Aruán Ortiz, and Matthew Shipp. "
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"
"Two years ago, Gush celebrated 25 year as a group. One of the concerts on the anniversary tour was organized by FRIM/SYD at Inter Arts Center in Malmoe. Konvoj Records were there! Very few things need to be said about Gush. With their abstract compositions, dissonances and free improvisations, they have already found their way into the ears of most of the daring listeners. Gush was a central force in establishing the scene for free improvised music and free jazz in Sweden in the late 80's. The group and its musicians have since continued to strongly affect, mold, deform, develop, embroil and transform both the sound of their music as well as its audience. Konvoj Records are very proud to present a recording of this amazing event in May, 2013! "
Then & Now
"Austrian musician & composer, curator, label-founder (charhizma), co-founder of the legendary Viennese bar for electronic musc (Rhiz) with many releases/bands/projects over the years, turns 50. A perfect time for a big multi-variant collection of his unreleased work: solos, duos, special collaborations, groups, for instance with B. Fleischmann, Ken Vandermark, Robert Wyatt Mats Gustafsson, Tony Buck, and many more. From electronica to avantgarde and improvisation to political chansons."