• BIRDS AND HUMANS - Simon Rose/Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme Rodrigues/Meinrad Kneer (Creative Sources Recordings)

    If you need a dose of total improvisation, this is the one for you. Four great musicians gather in a studio and start playing. No compositions, not titles, just seven pieces varying in length from five to fifteen minutes. The quartet consists of Portugese father and son Rodrigues, Meinrad Kneer and Simon Rose, both Berlin based. Recordings were made in one session in Berlin and that makes the music really 'present' and 'live'. One can feel the intensity of the moment. The combination of viola, cello and double bass with a bariton saxophone delivers a special sound with deep tones and gives way to improvisations with wonderful twists and intense moments. Everyone of this quartet manages to let his instrument speak and sound authentic. This cd shows what topmusicians are capable of in an context of total freedom. The fexibility by which they combine their instruments is astonishing, their instrumental conversations and united direction is really great. This music needs focused and empathic listening. Not the kind of music to have a relaxed afternoon tea with, but if you are in the right mood and have the space and time to put the volume up and sit back, you're in for a fascinating 66 minutes. And well, you could even have tea with it.

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Simon Rose - Baritone saxophone
    Ernesto Rodrigues - viola
    Guilherme Rodrigues - cello
    Meinrad Kneer - double bass

  • TREE - Georg/Vogel/Andreas Waelti/Michael Prowaznik - Y

    Tree is an Austrian/Swiss classic piano trio with a modern and contemporary approach that leads the listener through various moods and musical references from Bill Evans to Eric Satie, from McCoy Tyner to Horace Silver. A cocktail of influences that creates a solid and consolidated album with eight pieces varying between five and ten minutes in length. The spirit of the great bop and hard-bop era is always in the air. Three wonderful musicians that blend extremely well and find each other prefectly throughout their collective playing and improvising. Tree produces some beautiful melodies and swinging grooves that bring peace and quiet without being cheesy or easy. Great music, driven by inspired and creative musicians that never take any moment for granted. There's always challenge but always within a frame of good taste and harmony.

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Georg Vogel – piano
    Andreas Waelti – double bass
    Michael Prowaznik – drums

  • ANDREAS WAELTI - Lowdown

    The role of the bass player has changed from purely functional to the rhythm to a melodic and harmonic one. The instrument takes an equal place in the setting of a contemporary jazz band. Like others have done before, Swiss double bass player Andreas Waelti takes the role one step further by making it a solo-instrument that performs proper pieces and improvisations. Most pieces on 'Lowdown' do not sound like an exploration of the boundaries of the instrument like for example Meinrad Kneer did on his 'Vocabularies', but is a collection of well constructed pieces with some experimental passages. Keeping full attention to an album with only solo double bass (or any solo instrument whatsoever) is quite a challenge, but Andreas manages to keep us interested. Waelti is a great bass player for sure and it's nice to hear him express his musical potential in a pure form. The standout track is the eight minute long 'Shruti' where Andreas is exploring unconventional sound capacities of his instrument, very fascinating stuff! 'Alone' played with a bow is also a very deep and intriguing piece of music. Yes, Andreas knows how to keep us listening in a well balanced sequens of tracks.

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Andreas Waelti - double bass

ALAWARI - Alawari (April Records & Music)

Alawari is a new Danish band with three horns. Its partly composed, partly improvised music bridges the gap between jazz and classical music and thus plays in the broad field of contemporary music. The story of Fleming Agerskov on the inside of the CD cover is a metaphor for Alawari's compositions that want to express the dark background of everyday life. The six musicians create a surprising orchestral sound in eleven compelling pieces with a dark edge without sounding too dejected. Some passages have something of a death march, others lead to a jaunty or chaotic climax or have a spiritual dimension. The lofty aesthetics of the performances and arrangements ensure the sublimating experience. The album has a remarkable effect, it lends itself to intensive listening, but at the same time it also has an ambient character so that you are carried away in the atmosphere that the record evokes. This is a strong debut.

(Geert Ryssen)

Sune Sunesen Rentorf - piano

Carlo Janusz Beckerlauritsen - trumpet, flugelhorn

Jonatan Melby Bak - double bass

Asger Uttrup Nissen - alto saxophone

Simon Frchhammer - drums

Frederik Engell - tenor saxophone

  • HIGH ALPINE HUT NETWORK - 727/16 (Ansible Editions)

    'Ansible Editions is a new imprint based in Toronto devoted to documenting vivid and imaginative music along the periphery of jazz.' That's the way this new label is introduced and promises to unveil some interesting music. High Alpine Hut Network consists of eight musicians who produce a harsh experimental sound sometime reminiscent of some of the more experimental jazz-related bands working in London these days. For some reason I was thinking of Liquid Tension Experiment because of the progressive rock affinity this music has, but on the other hand, High Alpine Hut Network is a lot more into the free jazz improvisation direction. The intention was to create a kind of cosmic extension of house music. There's some logic in that, although this music is created by a bunch of instrumentalists who play with and against each other which makes this music a lot more adventurous and diverse in pace and sounds. I love it! With 2 pieces and a total playing time of 20 minutes, this classifies as an EP and makes me long for more. There's a limited run on vinyl. I suppose that's the one to go after. Shannon and Hopwood are members of progressive psych-rock band Possum.

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Jason Bhattacharya - drums, percussion, electric piano
    Tobin Hopwood - guitar
    Benjamin Pullia - syntesizers, percussion
    Lauren Runions - percussion
    Joseph Shabason - tenor saxophone
    Christopher Shannon - bass, e-piano, synthesizers, percussion
    Nathan Vanderewielen - percussion, sythesizers

  • ADAMS, DUNN & HAAS - Future Moons (Ansible Editions)

    This trio also operates under the monicker of The Cosmic Range as a more spiritual oriented jazz trio. As Adams, Dunn & Haas, they create an improvised ambient atmosphere without the cosmic or esotheric factor. These are complex soundscapes created by three seasoned improvisers. They never lose focus and always stay connected to each other. The instruments they play blend together well in spite of the unconventional sounds and textures. All three musicians work in a wide range of styles from pop to contemporary improvisation which makes them free and openminded. Andy Haas has worked with John Zorn and his circle and there's some of that spirit in his playing. Fascinating progressive stuff. A full album clocking at 40 minutes and also available on vinyl (limited).

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Kieran Adams - sampler, drum machine, drums)
    Matthew Dunn - keyboards, electronics
    Andy Haas - saxophone, fife, hojok, electronics

  • THE BRODIE WEST QUINTET - Meadow Of Dreams (Ansible Editions)

    Unlike the two previous Ansible Editions releases reviewed here, The Brodie West Quintet is more like a contemporary jazz quintet playing well constructed compositions Brodie West has worked in the Netherlands with avant-punks Ex and with drummer Han Bennink, proving his wide view on music. On 'Meadow of Dreams' he leads his follow musicians through a beautiful set of compositions giving them all space and time to collaborate with their instruments. In a mix of melodies, swing patterns, contemplating passages and repetitive rhythms one gets a very interesting album that surpasses a lot of contemporary jazz records because of the original approach to composition and playing together. If High Alpine Hut or Adams, Dunn & Haas are too far out for you, but you like some delicate and inventive acoustic playing, then this one's for you. Great album!

    (Geert Ryssen)

    Evan Cartrwight - drums, vibraphone, guitar
    Josh Cole - bass
    Nick Fraser: drums
    Tania Gill - piano
    Brodie West - alto saxophone