Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut, Glasslands 2010-2011, Radiance

Jeffrey Hayden Shurdut has been one of the most incandescent and prolific of avant jazz recording artists in the last few decades. But lately I have not seen as many new releases coming out. The recent issue of an explosive live recording, Radiance, Glasslands 2010/2011 (self-released) makes up for the lack. It's the band letting loose with untrammeled energy and passion, with a presence of outside electricity in the person of Gene Moore on electric guitar, who adds some genuine fireworks, Jeffrey on a very boisterous alto, and a hugely thick barrage from Gene Janas on acoustic bass, Matt Luczak on drums, Dikko Faust on trombone, Pete Dragotta on baritone-flugel-pocket trumpet . . . and for the septet Shurdut, Moore, Janas, plus Marcus Cummins on alto and soprano, Brian Osborne on drums, Takuma Kanaiwah on musette, and Sam Englander on violin.

This is a very thorough blowout. The band making a huge sound thanks especially to the amassed horns and Moore's rattling sustained feedback skronk on guitar.

This is one to clear your system with! It's off-the-wall all the way but in the best SORT of way. Whoo!

Monday, August 29, 2016

D. Lazro, J. Leandre, G. Lewis, Enfances, 8 Janv. 1984

I am not here to tell you what to like. After all, who am I? Not some authority and if I said I were you should become suspicious, because after all we are all peddling our butts one way or another. I am just an avid listener (lifetime) with ears you can trust. Otherwise, I am just another schmoe. If I get lots of readers it benefits me--not in some monetary sense, in fact just the opposite. My wife blames the loss of our house in foreclosure to these blogs. Who knows, she could be right?

But that's my business. And my wife's, I suppose. If I come on here and tell you that the recently released album Enfances (Fou CD 18), a 1984 recording by alto saxman Daunik Lazro, bassist-vocalist Joelle Leandre and trombonist George Lewis is well worth your attention, it is because I feel that way. I get nothing out of liking what I do here.

But I DO like this one very much. It's a free avant romp, jazz if you will. Lazro is not as familiar to me as he should be but he is certainly blazing here. Joelle Leandre turns in the sort of exemplary free contrabass excellence and vocal projectivity she does so well...and some of it all is based on Rimbaud! George Lewis needs no introduction (or should need none) as one of the premiere avant trombonists and musical thinkers of our time.

You put all this together for ten improvisations and you have something great! That is, you have Enfances. It is an adventure, a trip into expression, out sound, brilliant invention. A great combination of three masters!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Modular String Trio, Ants, bees and butterflies

New music improv from Eastern Europe? That is what is happening on the Modular String Trio's provocative album Ants, bees and butterflies (Clean Feed 377). This is more the new music than the free jazz side of improv, so you are not going to hear much nodding to jazz roots but rather a good bit of abstract invention that is sound color oriented and only tangentially key-centered. But then again there are moments that have some folk roots as well.

Sergiy Okhrimchuk is on violin, Jacek Mazurkiewicz on acoustic bass and electronics, Robert Jedrzejewski on cello and Lukasz Kacperczyk is on modular synth. So it's actually a string trio plus electronics.

The strings get nice things going and the electronics expand the color envelope.

It is consistently musically contentful and original. It's something different, with a distinct musical personality. I find it keeps my attention and gives the ears lots of exercise. Recommended.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Dom Minasi, Jack DeSalvo, Soldano Dieci Anni


A two-guitar duet album with Dom Minasi and Jack DeSalvo? I was not sure what that would be until I put it on. Soldano Dieci Anni (Unseen Rain) is a hugely beautiful surprise. The both of them brought their acoustic-electrics, archtops, flattops and Jack a nylon string guitar. They let loose with some nicely done free numbers then proceeded to tackle their originals.

Fact is, Dom and Jack hit it off from the beginning. Their ability to swing and come up with great lines is heightened when the two play off against one another. The ravishing harmonies of the originals combine with inspired note choices for some of the nicest acoustic duets since side two of McLaughlin's My Goals Beyond. 

They show deep roots, great subtlety, advanced interactions and the kind of spontaneity that an album like this demands.

Hats off to Dom and Jack! Bravo!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Claudia Quintet, Super Petite

The Claudia Quintet is drummer John Hollenbeck's brainchild. Their latest, Super Petite (Rune 427) features a goodly assortment of miniatures, progressive post-jazz Hollenbeck compositional goodies. It is their 8th album and it is good.

In addition to Hollenback on drums the quintet has key members in Drew Gress on bass, Chris Speed on clarinet/tenor sax, Matt Moran on vibes and accordionist Red Wierenga.

The music is bracing, with no shortage of complexity and group identity as well as soloing of merit.

I found myself getting wrapped up in the album straight-off and I must say Super Petite has confirmed me as a fan. It's jazz-rock of a brainy sort, nothing the least bit jejune. And Drew Gress on bass as always makes a true impact. But then so does everybody.

Huge appreciation, big fat stars, my sincere top rating for this. Get it.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Changui Majadero

Cuban roots phenom Changui Majadero (self-released) may hang their hats in East L.A., but they are filled through-and-through with Eastern Cuban Changui music.Their first, eponymous release gives us many reasons to celebrate. Changui is the grandaddy of salsa and so will certainly sound familiar. Riffing tres guitar, hip bass, a grooving percussion contingent and call-and-respond vocals make this irresistible.

Changui Majadero happen to be excellent exponents of the music, though, so it's especially good to hear this set. These are songs rooted in the tradition and built squarely out of the building blocks of Afro-Cuban heritage.

It's simply outstanding music! I could not recommended it more highly!!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Corey Dennison Band

So if somebody tells you the blues are dead. Shake your head. Chicago and the iconic institution Delmark Records are giving us plenty of the real thing. Today the Corey Dennison Band (Delmark 844) featuring Corey on some blazing vocals and very nice guitar--sharing those latter duties fittingly with Gerry Hundt--a crack band and focused, razor sharp originals by Corey and Gerry.

This is straight-in-your-face Chicago blues with a hard edge and no nonsense. Corey belts it out, everybody hits it and the soulfulness is not lacking, no it isn't.

Hear here for riffing blues rock, shuffle stickitude, and cleanly raw blues from cover-to-cover.