Michael Zerang

20/04/2011

Artist of the day

Even though he was a member of the Chicago Tentet from the beginning, American drummer Michael Zerang remains somewhat of an unsung figure, an enigma even. Yet, he's been a member of the Chicago scene for nearly three decades now, performing with Ken Vandermark (the disbanded Quartet); Mats Gustafsson and many others. His role within the Tentet is especially interesting when compared to that of his colleague-percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love. Whereas the Norwegian is a powerhouse drummer, Zerang's approach is much subtler and often focused on the tonal possibilities of the drum kit.

If we're correct, Zerang appeared on all Tentet recordings, but his collaboration with Brötzmann goes even further, as they also met in the quartet with Joe McPhee and Kent Kessler that put out a few well-received albums. Also interesting are his albums on the Al Maslakh-label, which highlights the Lebanese scene. On that label, Zerang released an album with Brötzmann, but also an exceptionally well-received album of duo performances, Cedarhead , which is well worth investigating. Recently, he also appeared on Kafka In Flight by Vandermark's Resonance Ensmble.

Paal Nilssen-Love

18/04/2011

Artist of the day

We wrote about  drummer Paal Nilssen-Love before, when power trio The Thing visited Belgium at the end of last year, but he deserves a special mention, especially since he's a fundamental part of Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet. Nilssen-Love might very well be THE defining free jazz drummer of his generation. And we're talking Europe and the US. His overwhelming energy is legendary and so is his versality and willingness to stretch the boundaries.

Only in his mid-thirties, his discography is already of an incredible size, with a flood of records the past decade. And he played with the cream of the crop of the Scandinavian players (The Thing, Atomic , Hakon Kornstad , Frode Gjerstad, etc) forged a bond with that other all-over-the-place-guy Ken Vandermark and appeared often besides people such as Brötzmann, Mats Gustafsson , Sten Sandell, Evan Parker and John Butcher. His dedication, ferocity and (underestimated) subtlety can be felt on all the records he appears on. On top of that, he's also one of the few drummers who excels at the solo performance and performing in a rock-oriented context .

He's a regular on the excellent Smalltown Superjazzz-label, but his own label (PNL) released a bunch of terrific releases as well. Our stock would be a LOT less interesting if it didn't contain the dozens of albums he appeared on. We have many in stock, so fele free to inquire. Below are some suggestions.

Johannes Bauer

16/04/2011

Artist of the day

As another one of the lesser-known members of Brötzmanns Chicago Tentet, Johannes Bauer is nevertheless a player who can offer quite an impressive resume. Like his brother, Conrad Bauer (who also played some shows with the ensemble), Johannes is one of the most striking trombone players in avant-jazz and improvised music, succeeding in finding his own voice and not merely following in the steps of people like Paul Rutherford.

Like Steve Swell, Ray Anderson and Jeb Bishop, Bauer covers a wide range of styles and techniques, but what surely sets him apart, is his humour and often theatrical role within a project. Also with the Tentet, he often is given the opportunity to provide some of the most remarkable solos, full of wicked techniques and a dadaist sense of rebellion.

He's been a regular playing partner of Brötzmann for over three decades, but he's been heard in many more contexts: with Alan Silva, Ken Vandermark's Territory Bands and iTi , Barry Guy's New Orchestra and also, unavoidably, with his brother. A striking figure!

Some suggestions below!

Joe McPhee

14/04/2011

Artist of the day

Joe McPhee (°1939) is usually not the most striking figure during performances by Brötzmann's Chicago Tentet, preferring to let the leader decide the proceedings, yet he's apart from being the oldest member of the ensemble also one of its most interesting. He came somewhat late on the scene, only gaining a bit of cult prominence when he was already in his thirties, yet the mark he made on the generations that came after him can hardly be overestimated. His early albums like Nation Time and Trinity are considered to be cult classics, while the famous hatHut label was founded to release his music in the mid-seventies.

The career became somewhat obscure in the 80's (he appeared only on a handful of albums in that decade), but in the 90's he made a comeback next to people like Ken Vandermark and Brötzmann and his productivity picked up in an awesome fashion: the past decade, he released more music than the three decades before that! You might think the quality might suffer, but that's not true: with his own bands ànd with other projects, McPhee has proven himself to be a multifaceted, strong player, both on the trumpet as well as on the saxophone.

The past years, he released many albums with his Trio X (featuring the wonderful rhythm section of Jay Rosen and Dominic Duval), but also recorded magnificent albums with Scandivians Paal Nilssen-Love and Ingebrigt Haker Flaten and many more. A while ago, he also played a terrific concert in Belgium with the much younger drummer Chris Corsano, proving that McPhee's spirit is as adventurous as ever. It's really no surprise the musicians that surround consider him a living legend. 

Below you can find some suggestions if you'd like to hear some suggestions. Feel free to inquire.

Joe McPhee's website

Wadada Leo Smith - a few suggestions

31/03/2011

Artist of the day

Even though we have much more albums by (and with) William Parker in stock, there's also quite a few that feature the amazing trumpet player Wadada Leo Smith. Here are some exceptional examples:

THE BLUE MOUNTAIN'S SUN DRUMMER by Wadada Leo Smith and Ed Blackwell. Even though this duo album was recorded in 1986, it wasn't released until 2010 And luckily so, since it lets you be a witness to an amazing dialogue of two ultragifted improvisers. (Kabell, 2010).

SPIRITUAL DIMENSIONS 2CD by Wadada Leo Smith. A very rich and rewarding double album featuring two different line-ups, delivering the full range from abstract and cerebral to earthy and funky. A highlight in Smith's colorful career. (Cuneiform, 2009)

LIVE by Tony Malaby's Tamarindo. Strictly speaking not a WLS-album, as the trumpeter is the guest musician, but it places him in great company. You can also hear some incredibly strong playing by Smith, who goes beyond deep on this album. (Clean Feed, 2010) 

William Parker - where to start?

30/03/2011

Artist of the day

When you're dealing with a musician like William Parker, you'll have to make choices. Unless you're a hardcore fan, it's gonna be hard to keep up with the man's productivity, as he releases several albums a year as a leader and often appears on other people's albums on top of that. Several of those, such as a bunch of classic entries by David S. Ware, Other Dimensions In Music and Peter Brötzmann, have become quite popular and/or notorious. But there's also a lot to explore in his own output. If those albums are still unknown to you, here are a few interesting starting points that might give you a taste of this wonderful musician's style & vision:

PETIT OISEAU by The William Parker Quartet. Maybe not as well-known as the first two albums by this  quartet (O'Neal's Porch & Sound Unity), but every inch as impressive. Accessible, catchy, groove-driven. Irresistible freebop to satisfy the fans of free jazz and win new fans among those who usually prefer the easier stuff. (AUM Fidelity, 2008)

NEW WORLD PYGMIES by William Parker & Jemeel Moondoc. Parker and alto sax player Moondoc have been musical partners since they played with Muntu in the seventies. Although the band never got any commercial success, it has gained a near-legendary status and is considered to be a crucial part in the development of the loft jazz and modern free jazz in general. On this album, the former partners find each other anew and it leads to brilliant results. (Eremite,  1999)

UNCLE JOE'S SPIRIT HOUSE by The William Parker Organ Quartet. Released last year and undoubtedly one of the most accessible, groovy and heartfelt releases we have in stock. A tribute to his uncle and aunt, but also a tribute to the classic organ players who were predominant in jazz several decades ago. Parker gathered a stellar band around him to play some of the cosiest, bluesiest and enjoyable music of his career. (Centering, 2010)

THE PEACH ORCHARD 2CD by William Parker/In Order To Survive. The bomb. Unquestionably one of our favorite releases ever by Parker. Or by AUM Fidelity. Or by anyone else involved on this cd. Firmly rooted in the free jazz tradition, and by consequence a bit less accessible than some of the releases mentioned above, but a true feast of creative interplay by one of the most impressive line-ups Parker surrounded himself with (Susie Ibarra, Rob Brown, Cooper-Moore). This is a stunner. (AUM Fidelity, 1998)

And that's just a small grasp!

Darius Jones - SALE

17/03/2011

Artist of the day

On April 12th, New York based label AUM Fidelity will release an album that's among the most anticipated of this year: COSMIC LIEDER by pianist Matthew Shipp and alto player Darius Jones. While Shipp had already built up quite a reputation and loyal fan base as one of the most important piano players of modern free jazz, Jones is a younger talent, whose arrival on the scene recalls that of a shattering natural phenomenen. About three years ago, barely anyone had heard about the guy, while today, he's one of the most lauded and respected young saxophone players around.

His solo debut MAN'ISH BOY is still among our favorite records of the past few years, while his contributions to Little Women's THROAT and Mike Pride's From Bacteria To Boys' BETWEENWHILE are as colorful and striking. He also contributed beautifully to SCHOOL OF FISH by the Mara Rosenbloom Quartet.

To celebrate the arrival of a new album featuring Jones, we're selling these four albums at a reduced price of 11.95 EUROS! Please send an e-mail if you wish to acquire any!

Jason Adasiewicz

15/03/2011

Artist of the day

Jason Stein, Jason Roebke, Jason Ajemian, Jason Adasiewicz. What's up with the Jasons? Even more striking is that three of these guys are part of the Chicago scene, about which a lot has been said and written the past few years. Like no other city, with the possible exception of good ol' New York, it proves to be a fertile breeding ground for young talent.

One such musician is vibraphone player Jason Adasiewicz, who keeps appearing in the most diverse line-ups. Last year, he appeared at De Singer with Peter Evans and Dutch musicians Tobias Delius and Eric Boeren. Last week, he was supposed to appear besides Josh Berman in Antwerp, but he couldn't make it. Those that want to see him get a new opportunity, as he will appear at De Roma (Antwerp) on Thursday 24th, as part of Stefano Bollani's new show, Sheik Yer Zappa.

As member of The Exploding Star Orchestra , Mike Reed's Loose Assembly , Josh Berman's Old Idea, Aram Shelton's Arrive (brand new album!), or with his own band Rolldown or the trio , it's always something special. Rarely is productivity connected to such depth and diversity. Do check this guy out - he's writing history as you're witnessing it. 

Feel free to inquire about records - we have a bunch in stock! 

Alexandra Grimal

09/02/2011

Artist of the day

Another young musician to watch, is French saxophone player Alexandra Grimal, who's increasingly getting noticed for her versatility. She's a member of the experimental You Had Me At Hello, which released a few excellent vinyl releases, but there's also the surprising album Owls Talk, which she recorded with jazz luminaries Lee Konitz, Gary Peacock and Paul Motian!

The discography is not large yet, but Stef of the Free Jazz-blog already included her in his Musician Of The Year 2010-list . Justifiably so, since she already has a powerful and passionate individual style, which was already there on her 2009 album Shape, which led Stef to the following: "And as the lead voice, she is the one defining the music, its evolution, its sound, its otherworldliness, its agonizing terror, its intense expressivity, its vulnerability. What a voice for a debut album : strong, full of character and what a powerful musical vision! Highly recommended."

Next Monday, Feb. 14th, she will appear as the El Negocito café in Gent, as part of the Free Casa Integrazione group, which also features Jeroen Van Herzeele, bass player Manolo Cabras and drummer Giovanni Barcella. There's no doubt this will be an interesting evening. Later that week, she'll play several more concerts in Belgium, all with different bands. Check out her website for more information.

We have both Shape and Owls Talk in stock. Both are recommended. And there's more interesting stuff to come, our gut feeling tells us so!

Peter Jacquemyn

01/02/2011

Artist of the day

This Saturday (Feb. 5), jazz club De Singer in Rijkevorsel hosts a concert by TRIO HOT, with the line-up of Germans Theo Jörgensmann and Albrecht Maurer, helped out by Belgian bass player Peter Jacquemyn. The latter (°1963) is a central player in Belgian free improvisation.

Jacquemyn, who besides playing improvised music also excels at several visual arts (check out his website to get a glimpse of his activities), must be one of the most interesting local talents around. His versatility ensured he has worked in many different contexts, disciplines and line-ups, often working with other artists that can't be pinned down to one format as well. Even though he didn't appear on as many albums as several of his foreign contemporaries, he performed besides artists such as William Parker, Paul Rutherford, Tony Oxley, Conrad Bauer, Peter Brötzmann and many more.

While he's capable of playing beautiful and thoughtful music, the physical aspect of his style is perhaps the most striking. Seeing Jacquemyn (a tall, strong-looking guy) play sometimes feels like watching a man wrestle with the colossal instrument. It's all about the intimacy of contact, about the warmth and visceral approach of holding the wood and exploring it, manipulating it. He often uses several bows, crushed tin cans, plastic bags and an assortment of toys to create new sounds. We're not sure whether he'll go that far with the TRIO HOT, but Jacquemyn will never be able to do the conventional thing. 

We have several albums featuring Jacquemyn - including Jink , the album he released with Trio Hot in 2008 - in stock. Feel free to inquire!

The Vandermark 5

24/01/2011

Artist of the day

A while ago, we heard that avant-jazz institute The Vandermark 5 was disbanded by its leader, Ken Vandermark. Of course, with his insanely busy schedule, the man will never be without other challenges (which is also true for his cohorts Dave Rempis, Tim Daisy, Kent Kessler and Fred Lonberg-Holm), but it still felt like a disappointment. There’s no reason to believe these five people won’t meet each other in other contexts, but the quintet remained one of the very best bands around. 

In fact, the recently released 2CD The Horse Jumps And The Ship Is Gone , recorded with an expanded line-up, featuring two members of Scandinavian powerhouse Atomic, was among the very best releases by a band that rarely, if ever, seemed to stagnate. Over the course of twelve albums, two compilations (Free Jazz Classics Vol. 1&2 + 3&4), a limited 2LP release (Four Sides To The Story) and a colossal box set  (Alchemia), the band carved out its very own niche, where composition and improvisation, tradition and adventure kept up an exciting balance.
 

The band grew increasingly refined after a few quite rock-oriented releases and had a few new members fit in right away. For instance, Dave Rempis replaced Mars Williams from Simpatico (1999) onwards, while Tim Daisy made his entrance on Airports For Light (2003). Perhaps even more significantly, because it changed the band’s sound rather thoroughly, original member, trombonist and guitar player Jeb Bishop was replaced by cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, who ensured there were even more possibilities to explore. 

The band will not only be remembered for its excellent catalogue, but also for its live reputation. We were lucky enough to see them a few times on a stage, and they always delivered, feeling equally at easy in powerful blow-outs, as in complex and challenging pieces that straddled the lines between avant-jazz, free improv, chamber music and compositions with soundtrack allure. A damn shame, which makes it a good thing the band recorded so frequently.

Mara Rosenbloom

12/01/2011

Artist of the day

Definitely on our People-to-watch- list, Mara Rosenbloom is a young pianist who grew up in Wisconson, but eventually moved to New York City and is making a name for herself there. Even though she's still quite young and graduated only a few years ago, there's already enough proof that we can expect a lot of beautiful music from this talented musician.

She has only released one album so far - School Of Fish - but it's a strong debut, already displaying excellent playing AND composing, with a bunch of subtly arranged, nicely flowing pieces. Even though she performs with several ensembles, the Mara Rosenbloom Quartet is her primary project for the moment.

Interestingly, the band also features alto player Darius Jones, who released one of the most acclaimed free jazz debuts of the recent years, and has become a figure whose talent is increasingly noticed by a wider audience. His presence is of course a wonderful addition to the band that also features other young talents such as bass player Maeve Royce and drummer Nick Anderson.

You can find a bunch of clips and videos on her website and on YouTube. You can order her album from Instant Jazz. Don't miss out on this! 

Fred Lonberg-Holm

11/01/2011

Artist of the day

Cello player Lonberg-Holm is an interesting outsider figure in the world of improvisation. Not only because of his instrument, which remains a bit exotic in avant jazz context, but als because of the way he plays it, often using electric distortion, manipulation and loops to create dense, noisy textures. He even jokingly refers to himself as an "anti-cellist" on his website.

While he has a few primary projects (Valentine Trio & The Lightbox Orechestra), avant jazz fans probably know him best from The Vandermark 5 (and other Vandermark projects like The Frame Quartet and the Territory Band) and the fabulous Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, in which he's surrounded by some of the leading improvisers of the US and Europe.

But there's much more to him, as he's been working with people such as Jeff Parker, Peter Kowald, John Butcher, Jim Baker and several people of the above-mentioned bands, like Joe McPhee. On top of that, he also recorded and performed with a bunch of rock bands like Califone and Wilco. And of course also with Brötzmann. The two of them recorded one album as a duo and are touring at this very moment.

For those living in Belgium (or across the border), there's an exceptional opportunity coming up at De Singer in Rijkevorsel (Jan. 20th), where the two of them will play a concert that's gonna be a real treat for fans of adventurous and improvised music.  See you there?

Peter Brötzmann

10/01/2011

Artist of the day

You can't write anything that hasn't already been written about Brötzmann, but that doesn't have to imply you have to keep quiet about him. The man is still going strong after all! Below are a few releases that (re)appeared in our stock recently:

  • Reserve (FMP, 1989) - w/ Barre Phillips & Gunter Sommer. One of his lesser known records, but definitely one to look out for, especially because of one of Phillips' rare appearances besides the German
  • Wie Das Leben So Spielt (FMP, 1990) - w/ Werner Lüdi. The Monster vs. another powerful sax player. Another underrated record.
  • No Nothing (FMP, 1991) - After the trio and the duo album comes a solo recording. There aren't that many and each time you hear one of 'em, you wonder why.
  • Little Birds Have Fast Hearts No.2 (FMP, 1999) - Recorded with the fabulous Die Like A Dog Quartet (w/ William Parker, Hamid Drake & Toshinori Kondo), perhaps one of the very best free jazz bands of the past few decades.
  • Flying Feathers (FMR, 2002) - One of four records Brötzmann recorded with Peter Friis Nielsen (bass) and Peeter Uuskyla. Power trio!
  • Roma (PNL, 2008) - w/ Massimo Pupillo and Paal Nilssen-Love. The Hairy Bones Quartet without Kondo. You know what to expect - the man doesn't disappoint!!

Hal Russell / NRG Ensemble

15/12/2010

Artist of the day

While Russell's name doesn't ring a giant bell, his legacy is a very fascinating one. Even though he was born in 1926 and spent decades working in fairly traditional contexts, his importance as a key figure in Chicago's thriving free jazz scene was only established in the last fifteen years of his life (he died in 1992).

As a genre-bending eccentric, Russell might very well be, as critic Scaruffi once said, the missing link between Albert Ayler and Frank Zappa. His records with the NRG Ensemble (founded in the late 70's) are raucous, humorous and wildly entertaining records that paved the way for later bands like The Flying Luttenbachers (who named themselves after Russell, whose official name was Harold Luttenbacher) and the Vandermark 5. In fact, V5 bassist Kent Kessler, original sax player Mars Williams and Ken Vandermark himself at one time or another were members of the ensemble.

While the first two albums that were recently re-released - HAL RUSSELL/NRG ENSEMBLE from 1981 and GENERATION (w/ Charles Tyler) from 1982 - didn't feature the most well-known line-up , all the key ingredients were already there: the spastic genre-hopping, jump cut-techniques, dazzling interplay, a playful balance of composition and improv and, perhaps most importantly, a raucous energy and humour, something that our own Flat Earth Society's members might like (or even have heard)!

We have the first two albums, both forgotten classics of the early 80's, in stock and they're both recommended for fans of colorful free jazz w/ ultra-tight playing and a healthy dose of surreal madness.

William Parker

10/12/2010

Artist of the day

This post should be superfluous. You should know who William Parker is. You should be at his concert in Antwerp and/or Hasselt. You should own many of his records. Why? Because there are many of 'em. Dozens. And most of 'em are terrific. Because he's William Parker: 100% dedication, invividuality, vision and creativity. Because he - let's tell it like it is - lives and breathes jazz. Its tradition and its neverending search for revitalisation.

He played with Cecil taylor and David S. Ware. With Peter Brötzmann, Joëlle Léandre, Matthew Shipp and Charles Gayle. With Fred Anderson, Billy Bang, Bill Dixon, John Zorn, Kidd Jordan and Rob Brown. With Frode Gjerstad. And very, very often with Hamid Drake. The Parker-Drake rhythm section may be one of the strongest in all of jazz, capable of laying down thick grooves, causing a colossal rumble or exploring areas of improv where few bands have been before.

There's probably no artist that's as dominant in our store, Parker is all over it, with his Quartet records, trios, larger ensembles, with legends and with lesser known musicians. It's about music and opportunity, about trying out things and paying respect. It's about peace and love and creating a bond. Curtis Mayfield and Coltrane. The embodiment of the finer aspects of jazz. Improvisation. Music.

Just enter his name in the "Search"-box above, and see what you get (not nearly everything we have in stock).

Hamid Drake

09/12/2010

Artist of the day

Even though he was born in Louisiana, Hamid Drake is usually considered a Chicago musician, probably because of his partnership with the late Fred Anderson , with whom he recorded several albums in the late seventies and early eighties. Anderson was to have a profound influence on Drake's career and thinking. He played on several more records in the 80's (some of which by Herbie Hancock), but it wasn't until the early nineties that he came to prominence in the jazz world.

As a member of Brötzmann's Die Like A Dog Quartet (with bass player William Parker and trumpeter Toshinori Kondo), Drake found himself at the front ranks of free jazz and improvised music. It started a partnership with Brötzmann that would last for several years (and albums), and continued his collaborations with Parker. In the nineties, Drake also further strengthened the Chicago-connection, working with the up-and-coming Vandermark and, in the late nineties, with Brötzmann's brand new Chicago Tentet.

Around the same time, the drummer also started working with Norwegian saxophone player and improviser Frode Gjerstad, a musicians he still plays with to this day. And it seems as if those projects of the late 90's really kickstarted his career, since his discography (as leader/sideman) of the past decade easily tramples the two decades before it in size. He played with Joe McPhee and Roy Campbell, with David S. Ware and John Zorn, with hiphopper Beans and, very very often, with William Parker.

Also of interest is Hamid Drake & Bindu, an eclectic band he leads himself. It also started his work for the Rogue Art label, which released three albums by Drake & Bindu, so far, all critically acclaimed albums that display his virtuosity, capacity for keeping a groove going and emphatic interplay. Whether it's in free improv, the avant-reggae of Bindu or the freebop of the William Parker Quartet, Drake is always recognizable as the rhythmic anchor that holds it all together.

While his technique may be phenomenal, it's the soulful, good-natured flow of his playing that's most memorable. He's already a legend in (free)jazz circles and if it were up to us, he would already be regarded as one of the major figures on his instrument. In any genre. On any continent. The amount of cd's we have in stock with Drake's name on it is huge. And we're damn proud of it!

Vijay Iyer

02/12/2010

Artist of the day

Can anyone still say something about Vijay Iyer that hasn't been said before? The past two years have been quite hectic for the American pianist (and scientist), and deservedly so, since he's consistently proven himself to be an amazingly gifted pianist, agile in larger context, regular line-up and duo context (his partnership with alto player Rudresh Mahanthappa is already legendary) and sounding totally contemporary.

Both his trio album Historicity (2009) and his recently released Solo album (2010) received rave reviews from all over the world. He's getting acknowledged by both the mainstream and the 'underground' press and might be on the verge of a breakthrough. A striking virtuoso with a firm grasp of (and a refreshing approach to) jazz history, Iyer is one of the most reliable piano practitioners of his generation, which also includes people like Jason Moran and Brad Mehldau.

But let's not forget he hasn't suddenly popped up out of nowhere. He's been around for over a decade, playing in the front ranks of the adventurous avant-garde for quite a while, releasing a bunch of albums on the Pi-label that undoubtedly will stay regarded as modern jazz at its very best for years to come. Albums like Blood Sutra , Reimagining and Raw Materials offer proof of his amazing technical prowess and emphatic ability, occasionally including elements from his Indian heritage as well.

This week, Iyer will play two solo concerts in Belgium. On Dec. 6th, he'll perform at De Singer (Rijkevorsel), on Dec. 7th, he'll play at the Hnita Jazz Club (Heist-op-den-Berg). Surely not to be missed, as they might be the last opportunities to see him in such an intimate setting for quite a while!

THE THING

01/12/2010

Artist of the day

One of the most explosive units in free jazz and a trio of musicians that have quite a reputation for ferocity, energy and wild interplay. You could argue that The Thing is as much a rock & roll band as a jazz band. They have the fire, the volume and the sonc adventurousness (Gustafsson has increasingly added electronic elements into the band's overal sound palette, for instance) that's even rare in modern rock music at its most adventurous.

They started about a decade ago as a quite conventional power trio, playing Ayler-styled free jazz w/ a heavy dose of skronk & wail, playing Albert Ayler and Don Cherry covers. But they soon started experimenting, playing/deconstructing rock covers, and working with other musicians, both from the jazz world (Joe McPhee has been a frequent collaborator, just like Ken Vandermark) as the rock scene (Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore has frequently worked with them). Mats Gustafsson (saxophones, electronics), Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten (bass) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) are a unit that crunches any doubts you might have about today's jazz scene.

While the band's albums, and many other releases by the members, are released by Smalltown Superjazzz (an affiliate of Smalltown Supersound), the members are so productive that they keep popping up in the most diverse contexts (Haker-Flaten and Paal Nilssen-Love also play in Atomic, Gustafsson plays in Sonore with Brötzmann and Vandermark, etc) and on a diverse range of labels. It's the kind of band you write in capitals: THE THING. The missing link between the colossal jazzcore of Zu and fire jazz. This Friday, they'll set the AB club in Brussels on fire, preceded by the duo of Nilssen-Love & Gustafsson.

Mats Gustafsson's Website
Paal Nilssen-Love's Website

We probably have enough releases by these guys in stock to fill an entire shelf. Below are a few of our favorite releases involving these three: 

Ellery Eskelin

30/11/2010

Artist of the day

One of the most interesting sax players of the contemporary scene, Eskelin (°1959) has been a remarkable, almost mercurial presence in many contexts for the few decades. Even though he's been a mainstay of the New York scene since the eighties, he's always been somewhat of a special musician, pursuing his own vision, looking for new contexts and challenges, working both inside and outside the classic jazz parameters.

He came to prominence in the early nineties, while being a member of Joey Baron's Baron Down. Not long afterwards, he started a trio with Jim Black and Andrea Parkins, which has been one of his main projects throughout the years. This line-up's totally idiosyncratic style also established his credentials as a composer (next to being a musician/improviser). Many of the trio's releases appeared on the hatOLOGY label, which stayed his main label until today. Last year, it released a well received live album that offers proof of the band's refined, nearly intuitive interplay.

But he's always been more than a "one band"-guy, also appearing besides Gerry Hemingway, Marc Ribot, Eugene Chadbourne and many others (the list on his website is staggering), playing solo concerts and in duo context with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier (a wonderful concert at the Jazz Brugge festival a few months ago!). On top of that, he also writes insightful articles about playing music and held teaching positions in many institutions.

The next few weeks, he'll play a string of concerts with Belgian band RadioKUKAOrkest (w/ Kristof Roseeuw, Tom Wouters, Lode Vercampt and Philippe Thuriot), a meeting of open-minded musicians that's guaranteed to be something special. Check out the tour dates at the Jazzlabseries site

Ellery Eskelin's Website

We have a bunch of his albums for sale - you can find them on our website. Feel free to inquire if you have any further questions.
Below are a few of our favorites (3CD's, 1DVD)!

Mike Reed

27/11/2010

Artist of the day

Another hugely talented guy, working mainly in Chicago. On his website, it says Reed is a 'drummer & composer', but there's more to it than that. He's the kind of guy that makes things happen. More than just a drummer/percussionist, he's a musician who gathers people around him, in order to put his ideas to practice. He's one of those centers of gravity (Ken Vandermark is another one) that holds his surroundings together and ensures its relentless drive never stops. On top of that, he's also a dedicated concert promoter and organiser, being one of the most important people behind the Pitchfork Festival. In his mid-thirties, Reed is already an essential player in the thriving scene of Chicago.

The past few years, we've mainly seen him play and record with this People, Places & Things ensemble, which he brought together to fulfill one of his goals: offer a trip through Chicago's jazz history since the war. It led to three albums that are as loyal to the tradition as they are examples of a modern thinker. Proliferation, About Us and Stories & Negotiations were great additions to the impressive slew of records that come from Chicago nowadays.

A slightly smaller ensemble is his Loose Asembly, with whom he also recorded previously (a.o. Speed of Change in 2008). With that band, he recently released a new album on 482 Music, Empathetic Parts, that also features the legendary Roscoe Mitchell, a stalwart of the Chicago scene, who to this very day keeps surrounding himself with forward thinking musicians. Reed recently also appeared on Jason Adasiewicz's Sun Rooms (alongside Nate McBride).

Mike Reed's website

Mike Pride

24/11/2010

Artist of the day

He may not be the most familiar guy from New York's avant-scene, but Mike Pride's amazing productivity (he appeared on dozens of albums the past decade) and willingness to enter unknown territory slowly betrays his talents. He's very versatile and the range of contexts in which he appeared - whether it be the many projects with Jamie Saft, the free improv with Jon Irabagon or the ventures into noise and outsider music - is remarkable and proof of his restless creativity.

He recently released his first album for AUM Fidelity - Betweenwhile -, a record that superficially seems more conventional than his other work, but one that only after repeated listenings gives away its true, rebellious spirit. It not only displays a firm grasp of the dynamics of classic jazz, but also involves techniques that manage to avoid the trappings that come with it. It's an adventurous, sly and subversive album that thrives on smart interplay, tight compositions and a healthy dose of humor.

The quartet (besides Pride also alto player Darius Jones, pianist Alexis Marcelo and bass player Peter Bitenc) delivers the good and received a bunch of (very) positive reviews, both in the US and abroad. Here's one on All About Jazz. It was also reviewed on webzine Goddeau, which also did an interview with the musician. Definitely a winner from the front ranks of today's scene (and available from Instant Jazz!) and an artist to watch out for. There's more coming our way!

Reut Regev

27/10/2010

Artist of the day

Not nearly enough people have heard of the talented trombone player REUT REGEV. She was born and raised in Israel, but moved to New York to become one of our favorite young players in that city. She worked with a wide array of musicians, from Anthony Braxton and Dave Douglas to Firewater and Adam Lane.

She also has her own band, R*Time, with whom she released her debut as a leader, "This Is R*Time", in 2009. It's a magnificent album (available from Instant Jazz at a reduced price!) on which she displays her versatility and melodic inventiveness in compositions that veer from the accessible and groovy, to the angular and experimental. As usual, she's also supported by drummer/husband, Igal Foni, an equally remarkable player. They both also appear on Adam Lane's recently released album with his Full Throttle Orchestra, "Ashcan Rantings".

NOT TO MISS: Reut Regev will appear at the Rataplan in Antwerp on Nov. 6th, where she will play with Foni and bass player Mark Peterson.

Moker / Jean-Luc Cappozzo

25/10/2010

Artist of the day

Maybe another word about El Negocito's redlightBlue festival?

What about Belgian band MOKER, who will perform on Saturday Oct. 30th? They're celebrating their 10th birthday this year and made a film about that, which you can see HERE. Check it out. They're definitely one of the most interesting Belgian jazz bands currently active.

Another highlight on the festival will be the appearance of trumpeter JEAN-LUC CAPPOZZO, for many a familiar face because of his involvement in Schlippenbach's Globe Unity Orchestra, but also a intimidating presence in intimate settings. He released a solo album earlier this year (Joy Spirit, which received very enthousiastic reviews), but also a duo album w/ fellow trumpeter Edward Perraud (Suspension, released on Creative Sources). Both albums are highly recommended!!

Paul Van Kemenade

20/10/2010

Artist of the day

Maybe a quick word about an artist you may not have heard of before: PAUL VAN KEMENADE, the 53-year old sax player who's been a hard working force in the Dutch improvisation scene and who will perform TONIGHT at De Werf in Brugge. There are still seats/tickets available, so if you have the time, don't hesitate!

The international PAUL VAN KEMENADE QUINTET was founded in 1982, previously worked with people like David Murray, Kenny Wheeler and a list of African musicians, and currently consists of Van Kemenade, Han Bennink (drums), Frank Möbus (guitar), Ernst Glerum (bass) and the amazing Ray Anderson (trombone). Talk about a stellar line-up!

Van Kemenade is also one of the organisers of the STRANGER THAN PARANOIA FESTIVAL, a yearly event that takes places in Tilburg between Christmas and New Year's Day and that offers a wide range of music "...from jazz to classical, from Spanish music to avant-garde, from big band to funk, from pop to stringquartet as well as performances for children." Click HERE for this year's line-up.

Currently, Instant Jazz has one release by Van Kemenade in stock, the excellent Two Horns And A Bass

Stephen Haynes

18/10/2010

Artist of the day

The FOLLOW THE SOUND FESTIVAL had a strong edition this year. Check out the available online reviews (in Dutch) by Kwadratuur (Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4) and Goddeau (Day 3 and Day 4).

It was a blast to meet the musicians and the listeners and we think that both had a swell time as well. One special concert was the Bill Dixon tribute, and we had the opportunity to have a chat with trumpeter and all around nice guy Mr. Stephen Haynes, who seemed to dig the festival's program and approach, as well as the Belgian cuisine and the locally brewed beers.

But he also played a wonderful set with fellow trumpeters Jacques Coursil and Franz Koglmann and bass player Barry Guy. He also brought with him his recently released album "PARRHESIA", which already received a 4-star review  ("a truly strong and beautiful album") at Stef's FREE JAZZ BLOG: HERE. Don't miss out on this album, which Mr. Haynes recorded with the amazing Warren Smith (who recently also appeared on David S. Ware's "Onecept") and guitarist extraordinaire Joe Morris. Of course, it's also available from Instant Jazz. We hope to hear more from this artist soon! 

Please allow us to introduce... Martin Küchen

30/09/2010

Artist of the day

You may not have heard of Martin Küchen (°1966) yet, but that has to change. Seriously. The Swedish sax player, who has been involved in theatre, film, sound installation and plain old free jazz, has stubbornly carved out his own niche in which his multifaceted but wholly personal approach to music making is truly remarkable. He’s been working within a wide range of projects and appeared on several labels, some more prominent than others, but the consistency is breathtaking. 

We’re only sticking with three Clean Feed releases, all of which belong among the best free jazz that’s being released these days. “Every Woman Is A Tree” (2008) was the debut by the Angles sextet (w/ Johan Berthling, Kjell Nordeson, Magnus Broo, Mats Alekint and Mattias Stahl), and like 2010’s “Epileptical West / Live In Coimbra”, it’s an example of the musician’s involvement with politics. It’s music that thrives on indignation, rage, pain and sorrow, resulting in something incredibly intense and passionate.

Another extraordinary display of the musician’s skills and ferocious energy is  “…Was Here To Illuminate The Night Sky” (2009) by the Trespass Trio (w/ bass player Per Zanussi and percussion master Raymond Strid), another modern jazz album that comes straight from the gut, with bluesy wails, emotional cries of anguish and outstanding interplay. At least THREE classic free jazz albums (in our opinion, at least!) in as many years, that’s something that deserves wider recognition. Simply put: Küchen is not only a central player in Sweden, but one of the most talented free jazz players out there.

Martin Küchen's Website
...Was There To Illuminate The Night Sky at Instant Jazz
Epileptical West / Live In Coimbra at Instant Jazz

Artist Of The Day: Ingrid Laubrock

24/09/2010

Artist of the day

Miss Laubrock is our Artist Of The Day; not only because it's her birthday (a happy one, Ingrid!), but also because she recently appeared on two new CLEAN FEED releases, both of which are Instant Jazz favorites!

Laubrock, who's riginally from Germany, but moved to Londen and later to New York, has been a cult favorite since the 90's, and has become a household name in the meantime. Feeling equally at ease in free jazz, pure improv and contemporary classical, she's one of the most versatile musicians around, using almost the entire saxophone family and displaying her skills in the company of an impressive range of musicians.

Along with guitarist Mary Halvorson, she appeared on veteran Tom Rainey's official debut as a leader, 'Pool School'. Aside from that, she also appeared on 'Paradoxical Frog', with Tyshawn Sorey (drums) and Kris Davis (piano), another trio album that belongs in the front ranks of today's creative music.

More info:
Ingrid Laubrock's website
Ingrid Laubrock on MySpace
Clean Feed website