Coming tomorrow , all day Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival 2018 marathon is looking really good and full of treasures. Those long time recognised, but still not that easy to hear too often, as well as promising new-comers. For the ticket price I call it a steal! Repertoire wise it is absolutely “Carte d’or” for every improvised (and not only) music fan.
Second Act of the ongoing Brighton Alternative Jazz Festival 2018 are two evenings reserved exclusively for Terry Riley and Gyan Riley, taking place at St. Luke’s Church, a lovely venue with a promising acoustics. I attended first of the two gigs on evening the 7th of October. Both shows had been sold out in just few days in an April, when 1st time advertised. Let’s jump to the substance then.
Some wonderful news arrived today to share with all the music lovers and for those with a taste for the classical music jazzy re – arrangements in particular. If you remember the review of the Stark Liennemann Transcedence Chopin vol.II and III CD review I wrote and published some 18 months back on my review board ,as well as in #HifiCritics magazine pages, here is another wonderful project coming. The Picture at an Exhibition by Modest Mussorgsky.
Second recording from well acclaimed Austro-German formation led by bassist Lukas Kranzelbinder, the groove pillar of Mario Rom’s Interzone Trio, took the world by storm, just like their debut The Golden Fang. Immaculately vivid septet with doubled rhythm section and a brass trio grown as on yeasts from igniting festival commission to the Star Band serving fully sold shows wherever they set foot.
What put the band in the spotlight from the very beginning was an incredible hypnotic mixture of the jazz grooves, mixed with afro-beat ad folk which seems to energise needs of todays urban nomads. With an incredible drive supplied by doubled rhythm section the band just rides over the audience’s heads. Additionally, arranges written by leader for the brass are riding fast underlined but the burning sections forces. There are speed, charm and constant virtuosity – ingredients which must spice the dish just right.
An opening Dancing in the Cage of Soul is just like that. The melody puts the spell over your head when your feet are already part of the roller-coaster.
He merges energetically just perfect with the Shake Stew’s outcome and it is an immediate click on. His composition called How We See Things is based on African polyphonic rhythm, reminding Malian origins with the brass lines written to die for. Especially Rom’s lines for trumpet are charming and possessing incredible power.
Goodbye Johnny Staccato, vigorous piece driven by extraordinary saxes dialogue flying over bluesy bass walk and repetitive rhythm drags listener from joyful reflection to ecstatic lament. There is something incredibly elegant in the way that arrangements are made and the tune moves from hysteric cannonade to the poetic spin to end up with a New Orleans alike marching climax and killing drums outro, when you started to believe that nothing there can surprise you more.
Fall Downs Seven Times with Mario’s deeply touching intro brings me feelings of Interzone, especially when backed up by the bass lines, but these are the same musicians at the end of the day so it should not surprise. His phrasing, especially with his trademark over-blowing clearly set up the mood and execute composition to the very bottom. It is a one man show.
Get up Eight is another one of the two played as Octet. Again, very Afro-beat influenced with both rhythm and reminiscences to poly-rhythmic African tradition with brass arrangements re-referring to choir tribal traditions. It is very floating and shiny piece without a trace of heaviness which firmed Schabaka’s own tune.
Closing No Sleep my King is more lurking with constant presence of the bass riff , drum-sets shimmering in the background and single brass voices joining the path and coming into unison in melodic choruses. Very cheering tune with an incredible hypnotic power and grip despite of being played slow tempo and mostly piano.
So, the six tunes only but all together leaving a storm in the head and with rich emotional approach and in the same time dance. Storm for refreshing however, not for the hungover and certainly a need for more.
Norwegian release 29.03.2018
International release 08.06.18
A bigger breakthrough
The jazz trio format is tried and tested and has become one of the basic ensemble formats of modern jazz. Here is a trio that has its feet planted firmly within the tradition, but still offers something unique to the listener. The Espen Berg Trio made its mark with the group’s first album, “Mønster”, in 2015. The trio was referred to as “the biggest and most important musical discovery in the first half of 2016” by Jazz Japan, and they have toured extensively in Japan, where they have also signed a recording contract. Now the trio is back, with a striking and elegant new album that very possibly will be an even bigger breakthrough for the trio. This is a group that is positively overflowing with talent and musical enthusiasm.
20.05.2018 The Green Door
Vandermark and Nilssen – Love have both long way behind together, as well as they do separately. I am following both musicians for over two decades now and I am constantly knocked out by their creativity and vitality, not even mention master class craftsmanship they both do represent. As it always is a case with top quality improvised music it is not a most fashionable one, therefore not easy to find neither on the shop’s shelves or the streaming services, to even to get wind of.
Here we got another folk originating project from Norway. Probably the most inspiring country when it comes to the musical influence today. And another, like Nils Økland, and Hardanger fiddler player. This traditional 8 string violin are sounding obvious to Northern listeners, for which it is a part of the musical heritage, but to All of us not familiar with an instrument sound and abilities it is entire universe of beauty to discover. If Økland carries well deserved title of instrument old master Apneseth equally deserves to be called young virtuoso.
The music is simply sensationally beautiful. With trio’s ability to merge together and very tight and careful listening to each other inside the band we are getting well over the usual folk tissue. The straight Folk base is more obvious here but so is the discovery path that young musicians are trying to approach.
Stryk for example extends the level of communication almost to the Noise-culture dictionary. With Meidell’s sampled guitar pulling the space apart like a spaceship in the quiet vacuum landscape. Hypnotising and mesmerising in the same time.
Undergruun with its modern beat merges traditional fiddle lines with some cosmic utopia, again driven by guitarist imagination. It all so well balanced that merging different musical traditions have to be carefully traced to be noticed. But given Erlends collaborations with Arve Henriksen, perhaps the most eloquent musician of his generation today, it shouldn’t surprise.
Saga, on the complete opposite pole, starts like little Music Box. With the charm of the spooky somnambulist walk and twisted sense of balance, his gentle bowing comes with a great strength, even if the melody is weaved from very silky filament. I admire guitar sampled tissue which is trying to imitate a natural resonance of the violins and as a result, bringing some three – dimensional and hybrid sense of thickness.
Lysne in that context, with samples lyrics on the drumming background can be considered a bit like a sort of Boom-Box and Rap poetry experience. Repetitive monotony of the text, which meaning stays hidden to me, but an intended flow with the rhythm remains obvious.
Such a groovy character of that music makes an overall tissue, present more or less in all tunes here, and keeps building the neuronal connection between the natural beauty of the strings and the synthetic hollow-spherical nature of the samples. To me it is exactly the crash of those two senses of space which creates a disturbance and enforces the listener to follow. Neither to find out more with analytical careful listening or to submerge and relax. Without a trace of precedence of research, but with simple hedonistic pleasure of exploring the inner worlds of your own imagination.
Wonderful recording with an indisputable charm and the names well worth to be remembered for every explorer of the new musical language.
These is the sixth record of the trio on fire consisting of Mats Gustafsson, Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin. Two years passed exactly since I reviewed their previous She Sleeps Lp. Two years is a kind of interval which marks the gap to the anterior Without Noticing.
What we have here defers vastly from almost nocturnal approach on predecessor album. Saying that one must accept that nocturnal from the Fire! is something different that the usual definition would suggest. I am finding The Hands to be a musical poem to me. Seriously. I know that the heavy sound of the trio, particularly the bass lines and lament – scream of Matt’s saxes are often compared to Black Sabath alike guitar riffs, but it is not the case here. The longer I am listening to it the more I am confident with that.
First of all are tittles of the tunes, which are making a poem as such if read in row, just follow:
When Her Lips Collapsed
Touches Me With The Tips Of Wonder
Washing Your Heart In Filth
Up. And Down.
To Shave The Leaves. In Red. In Black.
I Guard Her To Rest. Declaring Silence.
When I played them in random order the meaning collapses, there is no poetry anymore. Sounds don’t match words as they did before. Back in order and all clicks back. The tensions and realises fit again. The mood paints the drama as it was intended by those who composed them. Then I checked who did it and mystery solved itself alone. There is a clear note on the back cover saying that all tittles had been inspired by Kenneth Patchen. There we are. I love to trust own senses and encourage you to do the same. They will never betray you. The rest can always be found.
Album starts with tittle The Hands. Rough and clumsy, with almost neurotic lines reminding me The Joy Division. Repetitive character of heavy riffs supplied bringing strong visual images.
Following second track starts with some onomatopoeic intro bringing words which sound collapsed and impossible to understand, therefore the feeling matches the tittle perfectly. Heavy trip continuous with the bass’ dark steps and baritone’s cascades od sounds which are coming like cascades of thoughts inside of the head, impossible to articulate, but all meaning.
Opening sax lines on Touches Me bring the realise and nostalgic reflection. Bass hardly goes to the surface, it rather pulses like a blood in your vines. Once you focus on that you know you are still alive. Andreas finishes the picture with firm brushes and ride frames. Voices of gulls in the background are bringing marine feeling to the sketch and giving a sense of identity to the background of the story.
Each line brings his own image and his own change of mood. Dare experiment with them and you start to feel the meaning of the poem. The main theme is there and it keeps coming along the heavy lines, reminding me a bit a Tonbruket sonic universe a bit. No surprise here giving a background and mixed heritages. The pace in the music matches clearly the intonation of the words. And meaning of the words keep moving too, once the accents had been moved. The closing piece I guard her to the rest. Declaring silence clears the subject with wonderfully lyrical sax lines, making an obviosity of final departure in such a gentle way that there is really nothing to say after.
As I said, I loved She Sleeps and keep listening to it , but The Hands is no shorter congenial.