Friday, March 01, 2019

There used to be a feature in Cadence magazine called 'Hodgepodge and Shorties', iirc, where reviewers provided extremely brief synopses and opinions about new recordings. I always disliked that, thinking it gave overly short shrift to the music. I still dislike the idea but, dammit, there are simply too many things demanding attention here for me to give anywhere near the appropriate amount of time and space--if I want to have anything else of a life, that is, which I do--so I'm just going to give my own listing and short descriptors of items sent my way over the past couple of months, almost all via download. Apologies for the brevity.

Jakob Heinemann - Latticework (Scripts)

(Can't locate an image of the cover, sorry). Four solo acoustic bass improvisations, tough, blistery and imaginative, very much out of the free jazz tradition (I pick up strong--welcome--hints of Malachi Favors). The final track, 'Filaments', extends intriguingly into more abstract realms before settling into a thoughtful near-dirge and arco keening. Strong work, hoping to hear more.


(Various) - Free Percussion (tsss tapes)

A cassette release containing twelve short solo pieces by twelve percussionists, with the exception of a handful (Will Guthrie, Rie Nakajima, Tim Daisy, Chris Dadge) previously unknown to me. The works are largely out of a free-jazz, kitchen sink approach, generally skillfully deployed. While I would often have preferred a less frenetic attack, what they do they do quite imaginatively, with clarity and precision, Nakajima's careful work is a welcome exception to this more active approach as is the delicate dance of cymbals bells and bowed metals by João Lobo that concludes the album. An interesting array, overall.

tsss  tapes on bandcamp

Eli Wallace - Barriers (Eschatology)

An invigorating, wide-ranging solo piano performance, mostly involving preparations and inside-the-piano work. The playing is active and abstract, but with a good sense of spatial volume--active but not over-busy, leavened with fine, darker ruminations in the lower registers. There are traces of Cecil Taylor in play, especially in the "unprepared" portions, but that's pretty much unavoidable in this neck of the improv woods and Wallace does a really interesting job of extending matters in rewarding directions. Good work.


Bent Duo/Casey Anderson - ghostses (a wave press)

A fascinating suite of short pieces by Anderson using extracts of text from W.R. Sewald ('The Rings of Saturn') performed by Bent Duo (David Friend and Bill Solomon). In addition to each reading portions of the text, the pair play (simultaneously, I think) largely on percussion--mostly bell-like items, light and bright, and fluttering wood-based devices, in addition to radio. The instrumental passages reflect the sounds of the text to a degree, loosely echoing the rhythms. The words, though fractured from their original mooring, are spoken clearly and just flat enough to meld finely with the accompanying sounds, not standing out too much, not being subsumed. Really excellent, one of the finest text/sound works I've heard in a good while.

a wave press

Gonçalo Almeida/Yedo Gibson/Vasco Furtado - Multiverse (Multikulti Project)

Powerful, driving acoustic jazz from Almeida (bass), Gibson (soprano saxophone) and Furtado (drums). Gibson is sometimes somewhere between Coltrane and Kirk, other times adjacent to Evan Parker or Sam Rivers, but always hyper-focussed and intense. Almeida's sound is deep, rich and expansive, perhaps on the Haden/Favors axis, while Furtado is light and wonderfully propulsive. Solid, enjoyable work--jazz fans should take note.

Multikulti Project

Axel Dörner/Augustí Fernández/Ramon Prats - Venusik (Multikulti)

Anoher trio from the same label as above, here with Dörner (trumpet), Fernández (piano) and Prats (percussion), but much more on the Euro free improv rather than jazz side of things. Five cuts, from quiet to raucous, Dörner having a great deal of swaggering fun on the latter. There are several exciting moments, including Prats' playing on 'Suparco' and Dörner and Fernández on much of the final track but, overall, the session feels a little routine, with too few meaty ideas. Not bad, not so necessary.

Multikulti Project

The Robadors Quartet  - 19:30 (Multikulti Project)

The third item from Multikulti is about midway between the prior two re: jazziness vs. free improv, maybe a bit closer to jazz. The quartet consists of Tom Chant (saxophones), Marco Mezquida (piano), Johannes Nästesjö (bass) and, once again, Ramon Prats (drums). Prats stands out once again and, indeed, the quartet plays well as a whole, integrated and cohesive. Once again, though, to these ears the general conception feels too obvious, following too well-trodden a path (FMP, Incus, etc.). Oddly, of the three Multikulti releases here, the more overtly jazzish one, the Almeida, works the best for me, feels the most vibrant. But the Robadors will certainly satisfy may listeners, very ably handled.

Multikulti Project

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