A newly started semi-regular series (time permitting) of synthetic reviews.
UDO SCHINDLER & MARCO VON ORELLI – Luft.Spiele (FMR, 2016)
Brilliant duets. Schindler on sopranino & tenor saxes plus cornet, Von Orelli on trumpet. Clear-as-daylight tones in spite of the abundance of extended techniques; even clearer minds. Beautiful recording quality. Improvisation at its most “humbly luxurious”, extremely accurate yet sufficiently intrepid. I still have to find a Schindler record that is less than satisfactory.
BLACK BOMBAIM & PETER BRÖTZMANN – Black Bombaim & Peter Brötzmann (Shhpuma, 2016)
Given that the tones of Peter Brötzmann’s sax usually represent an erotic pleasure for yours truly, let me tell you straight away that this CD is the equivalent of a renowned pornstar desperately trying to perform with an unskilled amateur taken from the road somewhere. There are levels to be respected in music, this being is a perfect exemplification of this axiom. Black Bombaim – a Portuguese psychedelic rock trio I had never heard of before – can barely play, occasionally not even managing to keep a steady beat, just producing powerful riffs which become tedious in a minute and a half. I’m OK with Brötzmann being magnanimous, but come on.
ANDREA BORGHI – Fuochi Rituali Di San Giuseppe (Unfathomless, 2016)
Composer Andrea Borghi reworked, with subtle ears, fragments of field recordings made during a nocturnal ceremony in Versilia (Northern Tuscany, on the sea side). Thus he produced a vivid soundscape comprising reverberant ghost trains, percussive lights, figmental bass lines, crackling visions, grotesque utterances. And much more. Deserves at least three spins, and it grows with each of them.
SYLVAIN VAN INIITU / THOMAS COQUELET / QUENTIN CONRATE – Maneries Ramonandi Fournellos (Creative Sources, 2017)
Forlorn cover picture, mysterious title, unknown musicians until today for this writer (unless my memory is failing, which may very well be). These Belgian guys mostly generate unwelcoming noise, and are not ashamed for a second for that. Between industrial mayhem, malfunctioning circuits and humming decadence, with a lot of clangor for good measure. Useful to keep the neighbors in check when one wishes nobody to ring the doorbell.
SIMON NABATOV – Monk ‘n’ More (Leo, 2016)
Simon Nabatov’s advanced pianism constitutes a terrific soundtrack for a constructive solitude. Here he combines revisitations of Thelonious Monk’s tunes (ah, really?) and slightly metaphysical episodes identified by electronic treatments of the instrument’s sound. Technique and atmospheres are magnificent in the homages to Monk; “Light Blue” is the top of the album in that sense. As for the pieces composed by Nabatov, the emotional content decreases quite a bit (except perhaps for certain segments of “Sunrise Twice Redux”). Although smartly performed, in general they don’t leave indelible marks in the soul.
OLUYEMI THOMAS / SIRONE / MICHAEL WIMBERLY – Beneath Tones Floor (NoBusiness, 2010)
When the sum of three instrumentalists gifted with fervent souls gives as a result a special brand of free jazz, vibrant discharges interspersed with heartfelt reflections. Through his reeds, Thomas depicts the pulsating core of intense stories, a sudden restlessness, an enraptured faith. The late Sirone – here supposedly on his last recording – is a puncher with refined technique, a Marvin Hagler of the double bass. Wimberly knows how to listen in silence – as any intelligent drummer should – and speaks openly only when he thinks it’s appropriate. A splendid record.