Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jazz Alchemist radio with Cecil, Frank, Ben, Sarah and others...

Cecil Taylor
Tune in tomorrow at 8pm CET to for some good music among which you will find birthday wishes to Cecil Taylor, Frank Gratkowski, Ben Webster, Sarah Vaughan, plus fragments of the last two cds reviewed - Samuel Blaser Quartet "Boundless" and Lysander Le Coultre & Albert Van Veenendaal "A Cool Tree". We'll delve into lyrical, mysterious and delicate side of jazz and post-chamber improvised music. Hope you'll enjoy it.

(due to some/a lot of technical issues the program will be re-done at home and posted on the blog in two weeks - the monday after the Easter)

Friday, March 23, 2012

Samuel Blaser Quartet - Boundless [Hatology]

Samuel Blaser - trombone
Marc Ducret - guitar
Banz Oester - double bass
Gerald Cleaver - drums

Hatology 2011

Samuel Blaser's name comes up on this blog every now (most recently with an unique take on baroque music "Consort in Motion") and there is no doubt he's one of the most versatile, talented and active trombone players of his generation. "Boundless" is another step forward in his career, an album recorded with a stellar group, for a prestigious label, presents "Boundless" suite may be his most ambitious and most uccesfull accomplishment so far.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Inner Ear (Trzaska / Swell / Holmlander / Daisy) at Alchemia (21.03)

As Marek Winiarski introduced the band - Inner Ear is 40% of Resonance and that's already quite good result. Quartet was born 3 years ago, with the second meeting of the Resonance Ensemble. I've written recently about their fresh and first cd "Breathing Steam" as well as I talked about the band with Mikolaj and he spoke also about their first meeting: 

...You're on stage and you see it, you hear this is THE band.We play so many improvisational meetings, that's what this music is about. And sometimes you hear from the very firsttime this is THE group. You look, go one place and somebody's following you, or you can follow someone, or you canmake a turn and he will continue. It's all beyond any explanation...
(in the section "Interviews" you can find links to the entire interview)

I can confirm this is THE band, 4 musicians filling the air with flow of ideas, immagination, adventorous spirit, reacting and co-creating. Music for inner ear that demands focus but rewards greatly the attention (and the audience gathered in Alchemia was holding their breath to hear even the most futile sounds hidden in the apparent silence). I invite you to get back to the cd's review and interview with Mikolaj for more. As for the concert it all summed up for me in the brief moment - expression of complete excitement andon Tim Daisy's face as the band was about to start the second improv of the concert. He had no idea what was about to happen. And he enjoyed it immensely. So did I and (to judge from the final applause) the rest of the audience.

(photos taken by Krzysztof Penarski a week before during the Resonance performance)

Mikolaj Trzaska - baritone sax, bass clarinet, clarinet, objects
Steve Swell - trombone, objects
Per-Ake Holmlander - tuba
Tim Daisy - drums, percussion

Alchemia. Krakow. 21.03.2012

Monday, March 19, 2012

Jazz Alchemist radio with Dave, Fred, Bill, Gerry, Paul and Resonance

I completely forgot to remind you but I hope you know well that in about 68 minutes, at 8 pm CET there's some jazz waiting for you at Anyway tonight we'll celebrate a couple of birthdays, a real treat this week!  (Fred Anderson, Dave Douglas, Bill Frisell, Gerry Hemingway, Paul Motian). Plus we'll get back to Resonance Ensemble with a piece from their second album "Kafka in the Flight", the latest one remains to be written about, which I hope will be soon :) . Anyway hope to hear from you in an hour on facebook chat.

1. Dave Douglas - Play it Momma (Dave's birthday on 24.03)
2. Fred Anderson & Harrison Bankhead - The Strut (Fred was born on 22.03.1929)
3. Gerry Hemingway Quartet - Tom Skwella (Gerry's birhtday on 23.03)
4. Dave Douglas Sextet with Bill Frisell - Strange Liberation (Bill's birthday on 18.03)
4. Fred Anderson & Robert Barry - Off Blue
5. Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell - Straight No Chaser (Paul's birhtday on 25.03.1931)
6. Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy - Mister Pitiful
8. Ken Vandermark Resonance Ensemble - Rope (for Done Ellis)
9. Gerry Hemingway Quartet - Devil's Paradise
10. Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Firsell - Epistrophy
11. John Tilbury plays John Cage - Sonata XII
12. Fred Anderson Trio - Tatsu's Groove

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lysander Le Coultre / Albert Van Veenendaal - A Cool Tree [Evil Rabbit]

Lysander Le Coultre - cello
Albert Van Veenendaal - piano

Evil Rabbit Records 2011

I admit both names present on this cd are completely new to me. Which is even more exciting, but also quite sad as this is a posthumous release, tribute to the talent of Lysander Le Coultre who died on january 29, 2009.
In a way he comes from beyond the grave to share this with us - but I don't want to play any metaphysics wordplays. This is a true pearl, a gem of spontaneous improvisation, born from the tradition of european chamber music and contemporary avant-guarde. Wonderfull unity of piano and cello, dialogue of two noble instruments, both well rooted in the history of classical music. 

On one hand there are some passionate, fiery and virtuosic exchanges, gypsy-like flights ("Ping Pong", "Totterdown"). "Calabrone" displays incredibly intensity of communication,"call and response" sequence so rapid that is almost visible how perfectly the musicians are able to act and react to each other continously, how profound is their communication.
On the other hand there are pieces of incredibly intimate, haunting and mysteriously enchanting music. Echoes, whispers, delicate harmonies and melodies - sacred mystery filling each note and each pause. Like the romantic melody of "Firefly" with its charming Satie-like piano melody and beautifull pizziccato solo on cello, and the captivating crescendo to end the piece. Or delicate as a moon's light ray "Summer Night's Dream" (achingly beautifull track). Or haunting beginning and ending of "In the middle there is no end" with its long pauses and single, suspended piano notes, echoing in silence, closing inbetween a sharp, dense, fiery improvisation of fast arpeggios and clusters. 

At 36 minutes this cd is almost painfully short. Feels like there was so much more to tell. Like it all ends too soon. And the only thing I can do is to press 'play' again and start with the first track. Absolute treasure of spontanous composition, of chamber music. This is music of beautifull soul. Captivating, engaging, illuminating. 

4 pieces from the album available in this playlist.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Resonance at Fabryka (14.03)

Bit of history : Resonance was born on 2007, special project for the Autumn Jazz Festival, ten musicians from four different countries, five different cities, some of them old fellows, for many of them it was the first chance to collaborate. Which, as a result, brought on many new, ongoing, partnerships like Reed Trio (Waclaw Zimpel, Ken Vandermark, Mikolaj Trzaska), Mikolaj projects with Michael Zerang, Inner Ear (Mikolaj, Steve Swell, Per-Ake Holmlander, Tim Daisy), Project Four (Waclaw Zimpel, Dave Rempis, Mark Tokar, Tim Daisy) or Waclaw & Michael duo.
The new cd "What Country is this" presents the program played in Chicago last year, which was the third edition of project. Now they started an european tour to present the program, gradually introducing new compositions to the playlist. 
There will be chance to write more about music and the cd, for now let me say this - if any of the next few dates happen to be anywhere nearby your place, do not miss it. This band storms through complex charts and arrangements with grace, power and conviction, explodes with fiery improvisations, rides the funk-rock powerfull grooves (not unlike the riffs and tunes Ken writes for Vandermark V but with twice the same amount of colours, layers and brass-reeds contrasts and contrapoints). 
Ken's writing echoes Mingus, Kenton, Evans, Lutoslawski and probably much more that I'm not able to enlist here. Ten of the top improvisors's execute the pieces bringing the life to the notes with massive group sound and mind-blowing soloing. (immagine a powerfull base line played by the baritone, tuba, bass and two drum -sets, a rhythm counterpoint set by roaring brass section, another layer added by reeds and a smoking solo on top of that). Will get back to the cd (can't wait to have my first listen tomorrow evening), for now, let me repeat - do not miss this band's performance if you have a chance to see them!

next dates:

March 15th, 2012
Pawilon Nowej Gazowni, Poznań, Poland
[part of the cycle, "Nowy Wiek Awangardy"]

March 16th, 2012
klub Żak, Gdańsk, Poland

March 17th, 2012
Kunstencentrum Belgie, Hasselt, Belgium 

more info about the group


Ken Vandermark - baritone sax, clarinet
Dave Rempis - tenor sax, alto sax
Mikolaj Trzaska - alto sax, bass clarinet
Waclaw Zimpel - clarinet, bass clarinet, alto clarinet
Steve Swell - trombone
Magnus Broo - trumpet
Per-Ake Holmlander - tuba

Mark Tokar - double bass
Michael Zerang - drums
Tim Daisy - drums

Fabryka Klub. Krakow. 14.03.2012

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Nu Band at Alchemia (11.03)

Joe Fonda
Nu Band played in Krakow couple of years back, also released on of their cd in Krakow-based Not Two label. This quartet celebrated last year its 10th anniversary it's great to see that those four still find enough gas in tank to tour, compose, play and enjoy it so much.

As written above -  they've been around as a quartet for more than a decade now so if you've been following the (free)jazz scene you should be pretty familiar with them. Fantastic musicianship, wild immagination and music that is rooted deeply in the jazz avant-guarde of the 60's, in the historical sax-trumpet-bass-drums format,. You can hear the blues foundation, you can tap your foot trying to follow quirky swinging syncopations of Lou Grassi's toms.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Jazz Alchemist radio with cds, concerts and birthdays :) many of them

Tune in today (Monday) at 8pm CET to for some great music. We'll have a go at the most recently reviewed duo album by Roy Campbell and Ehran Elisha. Get back to couple of concerts that took place recently (Nu Band) or will take place soon (Resonance!). And go back to some great recordings on the occasion of birthdays of Roy Haynes, Charles Lloyd, John Lindberg and Blue Mitchell. Tune in and enjoy (or just click 'play' below and check the playlist if the program has already aired).

1. Roy Haynes Quartet - Raoul (Roy's birthday on 13.03)
2. Ehran Elisha & Roy Campbell - Watching Cartoons with Eddie (from the "Watching Cartoons with Eddie")
3. Obara/Lindberg/Sorgen MaMuGe 3 - Forage (John Lindberg's birthday on 16.03; from "Three")
4. Charles Lloyd & Billy Higgins - Salaam Ahki (Charles' birthday on 15.03)
5. Nu Band - Lower EastSide Blues (great concert yesterday in Alchemia :)
6. Ehran Elisha & Roy Cambpell - Aesthetic Encounters, part two (from the "Watching Cartoons with Eddie")
7. Horace Silver - The Kicker (Blue Mitchell born on 13.03)
8. Roy Haynes Quartet - Long Wharf (Roy's birthday on 13.03)
9. Charles Lloyd & Billy Higgins - What is Man : Civilization
10. Obara / Lindberg / Sorgen MaMuGe 3 - T'wixt D and E (John Lindberg's birthday on 16.03; from "Three")
11. Ehran Elisha & Roy Campbell - Faith Offer Free Refills (from the "Watching Cartoons with Eddie")
12. Ken Vandermark Resonance Project - The Number 44 (Resonance back in Europe for a small tour, playing in Krakow in two days)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mazzoll / Janicki / Janicki - Minimalover at Harris Piano Jazz Bar (09.03)

Jerzy Mazzoll was one of the main protagonists of polish jazz revolution of the 90's known as yass. Yet he sort of disappeared from the scene in the recent years, after the deat of Jacek Majewski - the drummer in his Arhythmic Perfection band whose last cd is now almost a decade old. And now his back with a new project, with his fellow cohort of creative journeys - Slawek Janicki and Qba (Kuba) Janicki - a drummer who represents the new generation of polish musicians, the ones that owes their musical education and inspiration to yass rebels.
The first set consists of two long pieces, the first titled "One sound of siren (for "a" clarinet)" - long suspended notes of the noble instrument, rounded, circled by eerie percussive shades, bent strings, long arco bows filled with colourfull timbres of aliquotes. A long meditation on sound, space, air. Dense, mysterious and constantly creative.
The second one opens with strong bass drive piece, powerfull groove, potent sound of bass riff, strong rhythmic drive. A beautifull, surprising interpretation of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" was my favorite moment of the evening. Gentle intro, dynamic, mad speedy drums solo (Qba sure did listen to some punk rock in the past), surprising electronic accents (ambient soundscapes, quirky clicks and cracks), main theme mixed surprisingly with polish rap song by Kazik (who recorded once with Mazzoll in the 90s) and finally tinged with some klezmer touch. The adventorous trio was constantly creative, unorthodox in their approach to the instrument (clarinet shrieks and tongue-slapping, arco on the double bass body etc) and the structure (complex textures integrally created by the trio together, clarinet often laying the rhythm structure of the piece instead of taking the lead). Which didn't stop them from playing a couple of melodic and irresistible rhythmic pieces where it was impossible to keep your foot still.
Great musicianship, unlimited immagination, impressive focus - as I'm going through the first listen of their new cd all I can think of is - it's great to have Jerzy Mazzoll back on the jazz stage (or, as it is in my case, to be able to finally hear him live for the first time).

Here's a piece from their concert and legendary Mozg club in Bydgoszcz (a focal point for the yass scene in 90 and to this day one of the most important scenes of the creative music in Poland):

Jerzy Mazzoll - clarinet, bass clarinet
Slawek Janicki - double bass
Qba Janicki - drums, electronics

Harris Piano Jazz Bar. Krakow. 09.03.2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ehran Elish & Roy Campbell - Watching Cartoons with Eddie

Roy Campbell - trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, flute, percussion
Ehran Elisha - drums, bells, temple blocks, gong, roto toms, percussion

OutNow Recordings 2011

Trumpet - drums duos are quite rare and can be incredible fun and so it this record. The title of the cd refers to Eddie Blackwell and the music remins one instantly the Blackwell's duos with Don Cherry. This is true spirit of jazz - immagination, honesty, adventure. There's a natural flow, something pure and simple about the way Roy and Ehran play.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DVA in Alchemia (01.03); DVA - Hu

DVA is a duo band from czech. Just two persons but the way the play it seems there are at least three times these many people on stage, and possibly two different groups playing at the same time. With vocals, beatbox, guitars, saxophone and clarinet, variety of sound toys, voice and instrumental loops and samples they cross genres with careless grace. Immagined language, echoes of tango, child plays, folk, french cabaret, indie electro, scandinavian alternative rock (Sigur Ros, Mum) - absolutely captivating performance. In addition, for a couple of days before the concert I had listened continously to their latest release "Hu" and it's been an absolute pleasure - the band's songs are beautifully care-free, relaxing, joyfully childish, every one like a small box with full of surprises. Like small fairy tales. Stories of Neverland. Magically enchanting. So if you're looking for something completely different (not jazz) and especially if the aforementioned bands please your ears, I strongly recommend you give this band a listen. Give you inner child a treat (I did - got myself a vinyl :).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jazz Alchemist radio with DVA, Peter Brotzmann, Thomas Chapin and Ornette Coleman

Tune in tomorrow at 8pm CET to (the usual time and place) for some good music. We'll celebrate birthdays of Peter Brotzmann, Ornette Coleman and the unforgettable Thomas Chapin. Plus, for something completely different, couple of pieces from a czech band DVA that played recently in Krakow (a post about their concert and the latest cd will appear soon). Tune in, enjoy the music and catch me to chat on facebook.

1. Ornette Coleman Quartet - Humpty Dumpty (Ornette's birthday on 9.03)
2. Thomas Chapin Trio - Alphaville (Thomas as well born on 09.03)
3.  DVA - Tropikal Animal (post about their recent concert in Krakow will appear soon on the blog)
4. Peter Brotzmann & Jorg Fischer - Productive Cough (from "Live in Wiesbaden")
5. Ornette Coleman Quartet - Blues Connotations
6. DVA - Hap Hej
7. DVA - Tatanc
8. Thomas Chapin Trio - Lift
9. Peter Brotzmann & Jorg Fischer - Song for Fred (from "Live in Wiesbaden")
10.Thomas Chapin Trio - Anima
11. Peter Brotzmann - Lonely Woman
12. DVA - Uhuh
13. Thomas Chapin Trio + Brass - Golgotham
14. DVA - Tralala