26 November, 2012


Mundell Lowe - Guitar Moods (1956)

Mundell Lowe - Guitar Moods (1956)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 140MB
This is very much a chamber jazz set. Mundell Lowe plays "Our Waltz" as an unaccompanied guitar solo and his trio with bassist Trigger Alpert and drummer Ed Shaughnessy is joined by either Al Klink or Phil Bodner on various woodwinds during seven of the 11 other selections. The bass clarinet, flute, oboe, and English horn are quite atmospheric, adding to the beauty of the ballads. The brevity of the individual selections is understandable but it is unfortunate that this CD reissue is only 32 and a half minutes long, for what is here is quite memorable. Guitar Moods, which lives up to its name, is recommended anyway.

-01. "Speak Low" (Ogden Nash, Kurt Weill) - 2:38
-02. "We'll Be Together Again" (Carl Fischer, Frankie Laine) - 2:07
-03. "Memories of You" (Eubie Blake, Andy Razaf) - 3:48
-04. "Ill Wind" (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) - 3:02
-05. "You Don't Know What Love Is" (Gene de Paul, Don Raye) - 3:08
-06. "I Dream Too Much" (Dorothy Fields, Jerome Kern) - 2:18
-07. "June in January" (Ralph Rainger, Leo Robin) - 2:54
-08. "I'll Take Romance" (Oscar Hammerstein II, Ben Oakland) - 1:53
-09. "It's So Peaceful in the Country" (Alec Wilder) - 4:11
-10. "Our Waltz" (David Rose) - 1:54
-11. "I'm Old Fashioned" (Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer) - 2:09
-12. "Goodbye" (Gordon Jenkins) - 3:06
Recorded at Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, New Jersey on February 20 (tracks 1, 2, 5, 8, 9 & 11) and March 2 (tracks 3, 4, 6, 7, 10 & 12), 1956

* Mundell Lowe - guitar
* Al Klink - bass clarinet, flute (tracks 1, 2, 5, 8, 9 & 11)
* Phil Bodner - oboe, English horn (tracks 3, 4, 6, 7, 10 & 12)
* Trigger Alpert - bass
* Ed Shaughnessy - drums



Ellery Eskelin - The Sun Died (1996)

Ellery Eskelin - The Sun Died (1996)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 335MB
Soul Note
Eskelin gives the tough tenor tradition a downtown twist, playing a set of tunes by the likes of Harold Ousley, Gene Ammons, and Harold Vick, aided by a pair of punk jazz subversives: guitarist Marc Ribot and drummer Kenny Wollison. It's a frequently successful jaunt, although the music sometimes sounds like the engineer forgot to take the mute button off the bass channel during mixdown. Actually, as one glance at the personnel listings tells you, there is no bass player; the ultra-resourceful Ribot fills in the spaces where he can, but anyone familiar with the soul/funk/organ trio genre (meaning just about anyone who might consider buying this album) is bound to miss that low end. That said, Eskelin plays wonderfully; he's got a big, grainy sound and arrogant way of articulating that does justice to the extroverted tenorists to which he's paying tribute. On top of the traditional elements, Eskelin adds free jazz harmonies, David Murray-esque intervallic leaps, assymetrical phrasing, and every other kind of post-Coleman/Ayler/Coltrane saxophonic device to good ends. The music swings hard, thanks in large part to Wollison, whose uninhibited style gives the music an extra dose of nihilism. As for Ribot, if he didn't write the book on jazz nihilism, he was surely there when it was being proofread. With all due respect to Eskelin -- who must've had a reason for it -- there seems to be no good purpose in not having a bassist on the date. As good as the record is, this reviewer's ear just craves that missing element; with a good bass player, the record might have been perfect. As it is, it's merely excellent.

-01. "Twistin' the Jug" - 5:07
-02. "The People's Choice" - 6:39
-03. "Canadian Sunset" - 5:14
-04. "Out of It" - 2:34
-05. "Seed Shack" - 7:36
-06. "Ca' Purange (Jungle Soul)" - 6:52
-07. "The Sun Died" - 6:40
-08. "Jivin' Around" - 3:31
-09. "Precious Memories" - 4:29
-10. "The Light" - 3:25

* Ellery Eskelin (tenor saxophone)
* Marc Ribot (guitar)
* Kenny Wollesen (drums)



Szabados Gyorgy, Roscoe Mitchell - Jelenés / Revelation (1996)

Szabados Gyorgy, Roscoe Mitchell  - Jelenés / Revelation (1996)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 440MB
György Szabados (13 July 1939 – 10 June 2011) was a Hungarian jazz pianist, and is sometimes referred to as the "father" or "unofficial king" of the Hungarian free jazz movement since the 1960s.
Szabados was born in Budapest. Even though he started performing in 1962, his rise to fame is generally considered to have started with his quintet winning the renowned San Sebastian Jazz Festival Grand Prize in the free jazz category in 1972. His first album that was recorded with a quartet in 1975 was entitled Wedding. Despite the abstraction of the music, the record was well received in Hungary and abroad, thereby setting the scene for his subsequent albums. International recognition is probably noted by including the album in The Essential Jazz Records compiled by Max Harrison, Eric Thacker and Stuart Nicholson (Volume 2: Modernism to Postmodernism).[2] Even though he could not record again until 1983, he maintained his status by establishing the Kassák Workshop for Contemporary Music, in which a new generation of musicians acquired a free and intuitive manner of playing jazz, with a distinct Hungarian sound. Generally, his collaborators would make up the next generation of Hungarian jazz, including acclaimed saxophone player Mihály Dresch. Further international recognition followed in the 1980s, through his collaboration with Anthony Braxton on their duo record Szabraxtondos. In Hungary, he proceeded to form MAKUZ, or the Royal Hungarian Court Orchestra, which membership varied, but always consisted of at least nine musicians that were committed to free, improvised music. Subsequently, he still collaborated with Roscoe Mitchell on their 1998 record Jelenés (Revelation) and again with Braxton and Vladimir Tarasov this time for the live recording Triotone. He was awarded the Kossuth Prize, the most prestigious cultural award in Hungary, in 2011 by the President of Hungary. He died in Nagymaros on 10 June 2011.
Szabados' work and thinking is distinctly placed in Hungarian culture. Most importantly, a good deal of his music is influenced by Hungarian folk music, mainly from Transsylvania. Apart from direct folk associations, this influenced on Szabados' work was to a great extent mediated through the work of Hungarian composer Béla Bartók (1881–1945), who pioneered the reintegration of folk tradition in classical by his numerous field recordings. As he formulated it himself:
'Apart from the occasional moments, it is difficult to find traces of Bartók's music in our music. Hungarian music has such characteristic features that, when they appear, they are immediately linked to Bartók, whereas the real kinship is not with Bartók but, on a much deeper level, with Hungarian music, a world view, and a special taste'
Apart from folk influences in his work, Szabados always gave clear references to other key instances of Hungarian culture. His 1983 record Adyton, for instance, is partially a reference to Hungarian poet Endre Ady, whereas his 1989 album A szarvassá vált fiak (Sons that became deer) was inspired by the Hungarian revolution of 1956. Choosing the word Adyton as a title for his record also shows the Szabados' philosophical thinking about his music.

-1. Motiv - 26:01
-2. Revelation - 28:12
-3. Free Music in honour of the Art Ensemble of Chicago - 18:29

* Roscoe Mitchell - alto sax
* György Szabados - piano, leader
* Mihaly, Dudas Dresch - tenor and soprano sax, bass clarinet
* Ferenc Kovacs - trumpet, violin
* Robert Benkö - double bass
* Istvan Balo - drums, percussion
* Tamas Geröly - drums, percussion

THX to szakall

13 November, 2012


Cracow Klezmer Band - The Warriors (2001)

Cracow Klezmer Band - The Warriors (2001)
world, klezmer | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 310MB
Allmusic bio:
The Cracow Klezmer Band is a Polish quartet that plays a style of music that started as traditional klezmer and over time, evolved into contemporary Jewish music flavored with strong gypsy influences. Members of the group are violinist Jaroslaw Tyrala, double bassist Wojciech Front, accordionist Jarek Bester, and Oleg Dyyak, who plays percussion, clarinet, and accordion. Bester formed the Cracow Klezmer Band in 1997 in the city of Cracow. Over the next few years, the group built a growing fan base by appearing at Jewish Culture festivals in Hungary, Finland, Poland, Prague, and the Czech Republic. In between touring, the band began to work on recordings, completing a debut album, De Profundis, in September of 2000. It was followed by a sophomore offering, the Warriors, a short year later. A few of the tracks fans can sample from recordings done by the Cracow Klezmer Band include "Recollections of the Past," "Devil Circle," "Secrets of Life," "The Amorous Dance of the Orchid," "The Warrior," and "Memento Mori."
Each piece telling a different dramatic narrative, The Warriors is another brilliant release by one of Europe’s most original and exciting avant-Klezmer ensembles. Based in the historic city of Cracow, one of the last strongholds of Jewish life in Poland and home to one of the most important annual festivals of Jewish music in the world, this brilliant quartet blends the spontaneity of improvisation, the precision of classical music and the soul of the Jewish tradition. Ever-surprising new music by this thrilling band of virtuosos.

-1. "The Warrior" - 7:16
-2. "Klezmer Caravan" - 7:54
-3. "Klezmer Rhapsody" - 4:20
-4. "The Prayer" - 5:59
-5. "The Amourous Dance Of The Orchid" - 3:52
-6. "Memento Mori" - 6:02
-7. "The Fortress" - 6:37
-8. "Recollections Of The Past" - 10:08

* Jarosław Tyrała - violin
* Jarosłąw Bester - accordion
* Oleg Dyyak - accordion, clarinet, percussion
* Wojciech Front - double bass



Ketil Bjornstad, Terje Rypdal - Life in Leipzig (2005)

Ketil Bjornstad, Terje Rypdal - Life in Leipzig (2005)
jazz | 1cd | eac-flac-cue-log-cover | 295MB
There is an art to the duo performance -- many jazz artists have tried it and accomplished it beautifully in many settings, live and in the studio. That said, there are very few recorded live performances between an electric guitarist and a pianist. Life in Leipzig is one. Recorded in 2005 by Germany's MDR radio as part of its broadcast of the city's jazz festival, this marks the debut live offering by pianist and composer Ketil Bjørnstad (and his first recording for ECM since 2000). It is also the first time this wonderful duo with guitarist and composer Terje Rypdal has been documented on tape for release. These two artists have been working together since the 1993 when Water Stories, Bjørnstad's debut recording for ECM, was released. They have also traveled and performed together as a duo extensively; the depth of shared language that such familiarity and rapport brings is displayed in spades here. The material comes from both volumes of Bjørnstad's The Sea as well as Water Stories and Rypdal's Skywards and If Mountains Could Sing. There is also a fragment from Edvard Grieg's Notturno. As evidenced here, this was a magical evening: the sound is pristine, the instruments seem to remain in tune (Bjørnstad considers himself a hard hitter and was worried the Bösendorfer wouldn't hold his attack -- perhaps he's never heard Cecil Taylor's performances on this type of piano), and the communication between the two musicians is almost out of this world in its warmth, beauty, ferocity, and intensely emotional melodicism. If music can approach poetry -- and the pianist is a fan of the art form, even recording a tribute to Paul Celan -- then there is no doubt, the gorgeously recorded studio efforts within the Bjørnstad quartet on the aforementioned records notwithstanding, that this live set gets there seemingly effortlessly.
The set begins with the dark, low-register rumble on the piano (the Bösendorfer has extra keys at the bottom) of "The Sea V." It is an ominous, dissonant way to begin a show -- to begin any recording, really. Rypdal allows his pedaled Fender guitar and twin Vox AC30 amps to offer some controlled feedback, a few razor-sharp notes, and then, as Bjørnstad begins to articulate the melody, the guitarist lightens also, still hovering in the background, offering texture and atmosphere as the theme of melody is asserted pensively and the blend of middle and higher registers articulates the song itself. Over eight minutes, the pair uses a rather simple melodic form to examine and sing in numerous harmonic registers, offering tension and release over and over, carrying the listener along through waves and stillness, yet each passage is different than the last. Rypdal, who has been writing plenty of classical music in the last decade or so, has lost none of his power as a jazz and rock guitarist. His sound is instantly recognizable, and all his notes and scales sting and climb before just pushing the melody through the noise. He is seldom talked about as a "guitar hero" in the same way some of his peers are, but he should be. His is one of the most original voices on the instrument in its history. As "The Sea V" exhausts itself after eight minutes, it is replaced seamlessly with "The Pleasure Is Mine, I'm Sure" from Rypdal's Skywards. The transition is seamless, though listeners have traveled a great distance already. The pianist asserts the melodic theme in expanded chord voicings, filling the entire range of the keyboard. But it's Rypdal with his sparse raging high notes who is actually articulating its finer points even as he attacks them. The beauty in his playing is that he doesn't need a flurry of notes or dashing up and down the neck with blinding speed to get his point across. He lets one fly every once in a while, but only as the tension and drama in a particular piece dictate.
"Flotation and Surroundings" offers some of that intensity and fury, though it never loses sight of the tune. This startling performance marks the end of the first half of the gig; the music has been continuous, as in a suite, for half an hour. A breath is taken and then Rypdal's "Easy Now" commences the next segment, whispering, halting, spacious, and springlike. The skeletal lyric lines go between the pair and eventually come into the clearing fully formed, and as sweetly sung as anything that is emotionally honest can be. Grieg's Notturno and Bjørnstad's "Alai's Room" are both less than two minutes in length and offer a kind of pastoral lull before the tension ratchets up again, but this time rapturously on "By the Fjord," which is almost a hymn. "The Sea IX" is a return to the lithe, languid beauty of an indescribable contradiction: that something so beautiful and majestic is also potentially terrifying, as a place of creation and destruction. The album ends with Rypdal's compositions "Le Manfred/Floran Peisen" and the scorcher "The Return of Per Ulv." The former is a guitar solo; it uses all of his effects pedals to paint the sound of a string orchestra as accompaniment to his feedback, loops, and open ringing drones. It begins with shimmers and whispers and becomes a tour de force, like the chorus of drunken angels singing in one gloriously rich yet riotous harmony, and then hushes itself before coming to a close. The latter is a sound rocker between piano and guitar. Both players allow this song to bring out the best of their collaboration. Easily identifiable changes and choruses are forcefully put forth, but there is no loss in the lyricism and grandeur of the song itself. Bjørnstad's solo is truly beautiful; it's all chords and theme. Rypdal paints around them, playing the melody and digging through it to find its nooks and crannies and prying it out of the inherent lyricism. His own solo goes against the grain and brings it down for a moment before letting it all fall out, and the intensity and communication are transcendent. The most amazing thing is that the entire set takes place in 54 minutes! What a contender this record is for one of 2008's finest recordings, and what a solid entry it is in the catalogs of both men.

1. "The Sea V" - 8:01
2. "The Pleasure Is Mine, I'm Sure" (Terje Rypdal) - 5:28
3. "The Sea II" - 7:29
4. "Flotation and Surroundings" - 6:42
5. "Easy Now" (Rypdal) - 4:35
6. "Notturno (Fragment)" (Edvard Grieg) - 1:01
7. "Alai's Room" - 1:38
8. "By the Fjord" - 3:06
9. "The Sea IX" - 5:23
10. "Le Manfred/Foran Peisen" (Rypdal) - 5:10
11. "The Return Of Per Ulv" (Rypdal) - 5:20
* Recorded live by MDR, October 14, 2005 during the Leipziger Jazztage.

* Ketil Bjørnstad - piano
* Terje Rypdal - guitar



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