M.a.t.t. M.i.t.c.h.e.l.l. - 'A. P.o.u.t.i.n.g. G.r.i.m.a.c.e.' (2017)

Fri, 10/13/2017 - 10:39 -- bryan

matt mitchell is one of my favorite pianists working today. the instrumentation on this alone makes it worth the price of admission. plus, i'll check out anything by a composer who shouts out impetuous ritual in interviews

Matt Mitchell - piano, Prophet 6, electronics  Kim Cass - upright bass  Kate Gentile - drums, gongs, percussion  Ches Smith - vibraphone, glockenspiel, bongos, timpani, gongs, Haitian tanbou, percussion  Dan Weiss - tabla  Patricia Brennan - vibraphone, marimba  Katie Andrews - harp  Anna Webber - flute, alto flute, bass flute  Jon Irabagon - sopranino sax, soprano sax  Ben Kono - oboe, English horn  Sara Schoenbeck - bassoon  Scott Robinson - bass sax, contrabass clarinet  Tyshawn Sorey - conductor

_mink nun


S.t.e.p.h.e.n. C.r.u.m.p. - 'R.h.o.m.b.a.l.' (2016)

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 16:27 -- bryan

soulful catchy toe tapping quarted, led by stellar bassist stephen crump. here is the obligitory video on the making of the album. here are a few words from daily bandcamp on the record. 

in central javanese gamelan, there is a technique called "mlesed" used with the two-stringed rebab instrument. essentially this entails bending of notes to make them sharper or flatter than notes played by all other instruments in the rest of the song. the result creates a plaintive feel in the music. i suspect that crump is doing something similar here, and this is especially evident on the wonderful second cut. also, dig the way drummer tyshawn sorey swings. he makes it sound so effortless and fluid. and yet, when you tap your finger on your steering wheel, focusing in on his hi-hat hits as he keeps time, your might go slackjawed. 

here's matt mitchell nailing the description: "[Tyshawn] is playing time of various kinds, but even when it’s more or less ‘jazz swing,’ if you really listen you’ll hear all this other totally bizarre shit. You can zone in: It’s like those ‘powers of 10’ videos where it starts off in space and it moves in by powers of 10 and you’re gradually down to the subatomic level and then you zoom back out. If you do that with Tyshawn’s playing your perspective is like, ‘Holy shit, what is he doing?’ But then you zoom back out and it totally serves the music. … You’re sometimes distracted from how insane some of the things he’s playing are because of how beautiful it sounds.”



D.r.e.w. G.r.e.s.s. - 'T..h.e. S.k.y. I.n.s.i.d.e.' (2013)

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 16:01 -- bryan

Celebrate Ralph Alessi Part 5

You can almost tell how this record is a bit of a rarity just by virtue of the fact that I was only able to find a jpg image of the album cover online that's about the size of a postage stamp. Nonetheless the tunes are great. Also, the group on this is first rate, Rainey on drums, Berne on alt sax, Taborn on piano and Alessi on trumpet.  

It's always fun to check out records by great bass players in the role of band leaders. This record is no exception. It's a rewarding listen and a lot of fun. Bassists tend to get buried in the mix. This has been the case throughout the recorded history of jazz up through the present. Just listen to Vijay Iyer's incredible sextet record from this year and ask yourself, 'Where's the bass???' That makes a good reason to hear records where the bassist is in the driver's seat. Also great bassists tend to have great ideas for composition. Just ask me! ;) 



M.a.r.c. C.o.p.l.a.n.d. - 'B.e.t.t.e.r. B.y. F.a.r.' (2017)

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 15:15 -- bryan

Celebrate Ralph Alessi Part 1

Ralph Alessi is a trumpet player that I like a lot who is on some really great records these days. I am really gaining an appreciation for the trumpet as an instrument. To my ears, the saxaphone can sound so honking and aggressive and overpowering in a group. The trumpet, on the other hand, has a very mild sound as far as horns go. There are a handful of trumpet players at present who make really listenable lovely records. At the top of my list right now of favorite trumpet players, there is: Ambrose Akinmusire, Tomasz Stanko and Ralph Alessi. Marc Copland is a pianist composer and his music is what I like to call classy old man jazz. No boundaries are being broken here. This record is thoroughly not avant-guard. This record is very listenable and very relaxing and very tasty.  



A.c.o.u.s.t.i.c. G.u.i.t.a.r. T.r.i.o. (2001)

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 14:29 -- bryan

this acoustic guitar trio consists of nels cline, jim mcauley and the late great rod poole. rod poole played a guitar that he had refretted into his own twenty-odd tone octave, in his own version of just intonation, which produces harmonies that sound truly alien to ears trained on western harmony. the effect can be seen as similar to the work of microtonal black metal guitarist jute gyte, who also works with a guitar re-fretted for just intonation.

back in the early two thousands, inspired by a fascination with the music of robbie basho, i embarked upon a mission to see who was really at the outer realms of what was being done at high levels of acoustic guitar playing, just to see what i could see. from my many purchases and hours of investigation during that period, this record was my favorite find. this record might have been the first instance of when i raelly fell in love for improvised music. i remember trying again and again to grasp this music in terms of songs, trying to memorize certain moments and sections and just being utterly bewildered and mesmerized in the best possible ways. listening to this recently, it really stands the test of time. i had noticed that the version i had in my library that i had ripped from my cd copy was of a low bit rate, so i was delighted to find a higher quality copy of this tremendous record online. and i am pleased as punch to be able to share this. this record really changed the way i hear harmony. it is truly out of this world. hope you enjoy.