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Free Jazz / Avante Garde - CD Reviews (1158)

Reedman and composer Ken Thomson is one busy dude. Besides his steady gigs with the edgy avant-jazz-rock group Gutbucket and the avant-garde marching band The Asphalt Orchestra and his affiliation with the Bang On A Can project, he's also a member of the World/Inferno Friendship Society, Brad Lubman's 'Signal,' Fire in July, the No Net Trio, and is a co-founder of the Anti-Social Music collective. And that's just a partial list! 'Slow / Fast' is Thomson's latest project, and composing, arranging
For an ensemble to create a lengthy recording of improvised music worthy of an attentive audience, it takes a unique combination of technique and empathy. Such is the case with Varpai from the German-based trio of vocalist André Pabarciuté, bassist Mark Tokar and percussionist Klaus Kugel. The three like-minded artists perform through ten, seamlessly connected pieces with a strong sense of musical connectedness, impressively void of pretension. With emotional wails and melodious, nasally grunts,
Exploring odd-meters, swirling melodic themes and rhythmically-charged free-form improvisations, the New York-based collective Tarbaby delivers an intriguing set of swing-based jazz with The End of Fear. Along with core members Orrin Evans on piano, bassist Eric Revis and Nasheet Watts on drums, the twelve-track set features the trumpeter Nicholas Payton and saxophonists Oliver Lake and JD Allen. The use of speech sound bites cleverly enhances shorter, open-ended pieces such as "E-Math" and "Hea
The new project by Italian musician Claudio Scolari is a fascinating mix of acoustic and electronic sounds creating an almost cinematic atmosphere. For this album Claudio has the collaboration of Daniele Cavalca on drums, bass and vibraphone and Simone Scolari on trumpet.Scolari music, like the tracks Electric light over water and Emotion appearance can be described as improvised as avant-garde jazz but it is so much more. It has elements of classical music, and other jazz styles. For example Va
Two hands to do the deed. Eight note in a search of a scale. Nine songs in 45 minutes, and 88 keys at his command. So, what is a solo pianist to do now?Well, for Jim Hegarty, the options presented above form an aural playground where five originals and four standards receive random reorganizations as infinite melodic possibilities are stretched this way, that way, and – oh, hell, why not?! – that way, too.Hegarty’s Cut it/out (Noise Reduction Society) is best described as a soundtrack for a free
Though he is relatively new to the New York jazz scene, Memphis-born bassist Stephan Crump already has an impressively broad-minded musical resumé, having worked with (among others) blue-eyed soul crooner Michael McDonald, ex-Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen, singer-songwriter (and wife) Jen Chapin, saxophonist Greg Osby, and Gregg Bendian's Mahavishnu Project. His current primary gig is with the avant-jazz piano genius Vijay Iyer. Crump's own Rosetta Trio with acoustic g
After listening repeatedly and closely to “Forty Fort,” I decided that the music of the wonderfully creative quartet Mostly Other People Do The Killing (MOPDTK for short) is more 'cutting edge' than 'avant garde.' This distinction is important. Avant garde – while a completely appropriate term for many musical forms and styles - carries the connotation that one must be in a special state of mind, or have a certain sort of intellectual qualification, to truly appreciate the music. But the music o
Recordings like Jeff Antoniuk's Brotherhood invariably make me think hard about what I mean when I use the term 'modern mainstream jazz.' In one sense, it's an okay (not great) term to use when describing jazz that isn't fusion (but could have some fusion-y leanings), isn't really avant garde (but often has some 'out' harmonies and ideas), is influenced largely by the classic bop and post-bop jazz of the 50s and 60s, and consists largely of the players' original compositions. Somehow, these sort