Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Thing at Alchemia (Krakow Autumn Jazz 2012. 28.10)

There are few bands in the business that can match the energy level presented on stage by The Thing. The band made a splash this year with the "The Cherry Thing" collaboration with Neneh Cherry but if you think they've been tamed and made ready to sail off to the mainstream market you couldn't have been more mistaken.

The Thing rocks the house with the first violent hit on the drums and the simultanous sharp note of the tenor while the bass strings are being pulled away. And so they storm forward and keep rock'n'rolling through dynamite gritty riffs. Paal ongoingly destroing the drumset with the precise hits, Ingebright plucking the bass strings mightily as if it were a flamenco guitar and Mats balancing his notes on his feet like the heavy weight box champion (on tenor exclusively this time, slightly less power but there's soulfull quickness to make it up).

In the midst of this punk'n'jazz rock'n'roll madness they can surprise you with anything from the hypnotic feedback-mike distortions to a heartwarming soulfull ballad (a wothy dedication to Joe McPhee). All that could very well happen in the very same piece as it occured during the first encore of the evening when I half-expected Ingebright to take the bass and tomahawk-smash the amp with it. 'Nough written.

So here's a mad-dog* round to The Thing. For their continous tour in the search of "meat, barbecue sauce, adventures, vinyls, boots and booze".
Here's to The Thing. Knocking socks off your feet with their music since 2ooo.

mad dog - a shot with a vodka, raspberry juice and tabasco. 

The Thing:
Mats Gustafsson - tenor sax
Ingebright Haker-Flaten - double bass
Paal Nilssen-Love - drums

Alchemia. Krakow. 28.10.2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jazz Alchemist Radio for All Saints 2012

Sam Rivers
The week-long 1st marathon of this year Krakow Autumn Jazz started yesterday with a bang (or with The Thing if you want to be more specific) so if you're in Krakow nevermind this post and come tonight and tomorrow and the night after that (and...) for the concert.
For all those who can't partecipate in those live events, tune in tonight at 8pm CET to (or listen via facebook) for the playlist with which I'd like to celebrate the life and memory of outstanding musicians that past away in the recent months:

Sam Rivers (September 25, 1923 – December 26, 2011)
Zbigniew Wegehaupt (August 9, 1954 - January 13, 2012)
Tomasz Szukalski  (January 8, 1947 - August 2, 2012)
Pete Cosey (October 9, 1943 – May 30, 2012)
John Tchicai (April 28, 1936 – October 8, 2012)
Borah Bergman (December 13, 1933 – October 18, 2012)
David S. Ware (November 7, 1949 – October 18, 2012)

R. I. P.

Sam Rivers Quartet - Beatrice
Sam Rivers Rivbea All-Star Orchestra - Beatrice
Zbigniew Wegehaupt Tota Quartet - From Angel
Zbigniew Wegehaupt Tota Quartet - Viga
Tomasz Stanko/ Tomasz Szukalski/ Dave Holland/ Edvard Vesala - First Song
SBB & Tomasz Szukalski - Tydzien z Szakalem
Akira Sakata - Wakare No Ipponsugi (with Pete Cosey)
John Tchicai/ Jonas Muller/ Nikolan Munch-Hansen/ Kresten Osgood - Angel Wing
John Tchicai/ Jonas Muller/ Nikolan Munch-Hansen/ Kresten Osgood - Dashiki Man
Borah Bergman Trio - Parallax
David S. Ware Quartet - Godspelized

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Viktor Toth, Clayton Thomas, Macio Moretti at Barka (Krakow Autumn Jazz 2012; 25.10)

Clayton Thomas

Viktor Toth, Clayton Thomas and Macio Moretti have never nor player nor met before. Non entirely unusual situation on the improvised music scene - you play a tons of gis with guys you've never met before, possibly will never meet again, for better or worse. Representants of three different scenes and backgrounds (Budapest and free jazz, Berlin and radical free improv, Warsaw and indie rock) came together in Krakow for a special event that was born as an idea to be checked and presented on Krakow Autumn Jazz.

And as soon as they hit the first notes their different backgrouns are evident, Clayton Thomas plucks and slaps the strings with various objects, Viktor flows freely yet with a classic jazz feel through flying notes while Macio Moretti hits the punkish rhythm with a rock energy and punk attitude.
What's even more evident though is that those three meet together in the place and time to co-create an unique mixture of styles and influences that, while coloured with  all possible shades of the rainbow, mantains a surprsing cohesity, due to their egoless presence of mind and will to co-create and co-exist.

Viktor Toth
Each set has a short encore that's is a free jazz pleasure with fast bass walking, circus-mad fast hi-hat and breaknecking saxophone runs. The trio interchanges beetween heavy grooves and meditative, reflective melodies as well as searching, hipnotic ancient-like chants (Viktor, aside the saxophone plays a variety of wooden flutes).
There are moments of irresistible headbanging and laughter as well as those of enchanting, hypnotic beauty hidden but uncovered in the textural and timbral patterns, repetitive melodies (etheral sound of the string's aliquotes plucked gently with the fingetips of the mallets is something to behold).

Macio Moretti
The trio attracts the audience's attention both throuth the long and varied improvisation of the 1st set (plus the fast and furious free jazz ride short encore) as well as during the shorter, more coincise pieces in the 2nd one - a series of improvisation with a simple idea at the nucleon, a short phrase, a repetitive groove, a timbre or a a rhythm. And the syncronicity is picture perfect as they stop and go and play with the sudden breaks and broken rhythms and call and response like ebbs and flow till the point the only possible reaction is pure laughter (how often does music make you laugh with pure enjoyment?).

Improvising musicians meet with other improvising musicians to well .... improvise quite often (cause that's what they do) but I'd daresay that they rarely tick so quickly and so well both in rhythm and melody as did Viktor, Clayton and Macio yesterday. Which hopefully will make this event much more than just a "project" or a "collaboration" but will make this three a regular trio. For possible future enjoyment. 

Viktor Toth - alto sax, flutes
Clayton Thomas - double bass, objects
Macio Moretti - drums

Barka. Krakow Autumn Jazz 2012. 25.10.2012

ps. as there are no audio-visual materials available from the concert (for now), I invite you to have a listen to this playlist featuring fragment's of most recent cd by Viktor "Popping Bopping".

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paul Giallorenzo's GitGo - Emergent [Leo]

Paul Giallorenzo - piano
Jeb Bishop - trombone
Mars Williams - saxophones
Anton Hatwitch - bass
Marc Riordan - drums

Leo Records 2012

Chicago's vivid and vibrant jazz scene is an endless source of musical surprises and here's another one for you as the piano player Paul Giallorenzo assembles together a heavyweight jazz quintet with Jeb Bishop and Mars Williams in the frontline and Anton Hatwitch with Marc Riordan to provide the rhythmic backbone.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Jazz Alchemist Radio with Dizzy and others

Tune in tonight to (or use the facebook player) at 8 pm CET. We'll listen through couple of lately reviewed cds as well as celebrate the anniversary of Dizzy Gillespie's birthday (21 Oct 1917).
Among the presented cds you can find some medium to big ensemble surprises of the year.
The multistylistic Eivind Opvik - Overseas IV, the wonderfully abstract Little Red Big Bang and the raw, jazz meal of  Ken Vandermark Resonance - What Country Is This?
1. Dizzy Gillespie - Swing Low Sweet Charriot
2. Litlle Red Big Bang - Why Do I Have to Care
3. The Thing - Awake Nu
4. Eivind Opsvik - Nineteen to the Dozen
5. Little Red Big Bang - Vonwohin
6. Dizzy Gillespie - He Beeped when he shoulda bopped
7. Eivind Opsvik - Michelle Marie
8. Dizzy Gillespie - Oh Lady Be Good
9. Lambert Hendricks & Ross - A Night in Tunisia
10. Little Red Big Bang - Weird Blues
11. Ken Vandermark Resonance - Open Window Theory (for Fred Anderson)
12. Eivind Opsvik - 1786
13. Little Red Big Bang - Will We Ever Meet Again

Sunday, October 21, 2012

All Included at Alchemia; Krakow Autumn Jazz 2012 (18.10)

Only one day before Martin Kuchen would hypnotise the audience in Alchemia with his minimalistic vision of a solo performance. All Included instead is a fully energetic free jazz ensemble where the veteran gathers together young talents of Scandinavian scene.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Martin Kuchen - Hellstorm [Mathka] / Martin Kuchen at Alchemia (17.10)

I remember seeing Martin Kuchen in Alchemia couple of years back with another solo performance. A  most memorable performance which  stuck with me for all this time. It wasn't exclusively about the music - Kuchen would utter sounds playing on the saxophone's body with an electric toothbrush, a shortwave radio, I think there was also a ping-pong ball involved. 

Kuchen's music is woven with sinusoidal lines of sounds that are hardly recognizable. While the occasional melodic line appears (scattered and distorted), most of the times there is none, but rather all the  usually circumstancial aspects become the real substance - you will hear, as clear as if it were inside your head - a tap of the fingers, a slap of the tongue, a whisper, a hiss, a purr, a cry, a squeal, a stream of air flowing through the rusty metallic textures of the instrument, muted and resonated by the conic tubes (which on the occasion of the yesterda's concert in Alchemia were the only additional accessory).

Martin Kuchen - Hellstorm [Mathka 2012]
Strapped and bare, the sounds circle in a oscillating cycles, creating abstract black and white landscapes. This is a solitary music of an eremite, a sorrow cry in a wilderness, a song of a deserted landscape where everything stays pretty much the same while all kinds of internal variations occur at the micro or even nano-level.
Kuchen builds an acoustic enviroment around the silence, and it seems that there's nothing in the middle except white noise or looped whispers, while all kind of phenomenons are happening around, under, over and beside. It's a wanderer's music that let's your mind wander and drift along.

The concert in Alchemia was also an occasion to introduce his new LP released by Krakow - based Mathka label and I invite you wholeheartedly to have a listen to a piece presented below as well as the the one included in the previous radio playlist. 
Kuchen's vision is incredibly coherent, his approach to the solo performance so unique that it's difficult to give any kind of an evaluation.
I don't know if his process will convince you the way it did convince me, but I can gurantee you it's as singular and intriguing as possible. A one of a kind. You have to hear for yourself if it's the kind you like.

the LP is present in this radio playlist.

Martin Kuchen - alto sax, baritone sax
Alchemia. Krakow Autumn Jazz 2012. 17.10.2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jazz Alchemist Radio 15.10 with Jelly Roll Morton, Andrew Drury and others

First program of the season will start with a stomp as we celebrate the anniversary of Jelly Roll Morton (20th. October 1890) - the self-procclaimed creator of jazz music. 
Aside from that I'd like to present to you excerpts from the "A Momentary Lapse" by Andrew Drury - a striking set of modern jazz, brilliantly composed and performed. 
Two of the "Six Philosphical Games" by Olbrzym i Kurdupel serve also as an invitation to the Gadecki/Mazur/Murray concert - this Sunday at Literki.
As well as two pieces from the recent "Hellstorm" release by Mathka - a Martin Kuchen's solo album to remind you about his concert this Wednesday and subsequent evening with his quintet All Included (both at Alchemia, more info about the concerts in the Krakow Autumn Jazz Program).

Hope you'll like it
Jelly Roll Morton

1. Jelly Roll Morton - King Porter Stomp
2. Air - King Porter Stomp
3. Andrew Drury - Copalis
4. Olbrzym i Kurdupel - Get into a hot bathtube
5. Andrew Drury - The Schwartzes
6. Olbrzym i Kurdupel - Sit comfortably in a chair
7. Martin Kuchen - Ritual Deformation
8. Andrew Drury - Vaxjo Kollektiv
9. Martin Kuchen - Sarajevo
10. Jelly Roll Morton - Buddy Bolden's Blues
11. Air - Buddy Bolden's Blues

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Jack Wright & Andrew Drury at Bomba (11.10); Ircha at High Synagouge (13.10) and JAzz Alchemist Radio comes back!!!

There have been two very intriguing concerts last few days I just want to mention.

First of all Jack Wright and Andrew Drury duo at Bomba (11.10). A very intriguing set, spontanous manifestations of peculiar sounds, minimal (basically one drum and objects + saxophone), surprising, slightly terrifying - kind of like a sound effect board for a horror movie. After all, how often do you see a drum played with a dustpan and some walnuts. Drury uses the drum as natural amplifier and to see him play is like to watch a mini theater of objects while you immagine metal things being crushed, clashed, scraped and torn apart. Wright's is a an underdground hero of free-jazz music, and he'll stay this way - he's playing challenges you with an array of unorthodox approaches and sonic experiments, risky and demanding.
The 2nd set was play in quartet with Krakow musicians - Michal Dymny (prepared guitar) and Aleksander Papierz (alto) and it was dense and finely balanced group improvisation.

Jack Wright - alto, soprano sax
Andrew Drury - drum and objects ; drums (2nd set)
Michal Dymny - guitar, objects (2nd set)
Aleksander Papierz - alto sax (2nd set)
Bomba. Krakow. 11.10.2012

The 2nd concert happened yesterda - Ircha Clarinet Qaurtet with Mikolaj Trzaska, Waclaw Zimpel, Pawel Szamburski and Michal Gorczynski performed beautifull as usual so I'll just re-direct you to another post where I've written about their concert. More to come soon - I'll write about their 2nd and 3rd cd.

Mikolaj Trzaska - clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone
Waclaw Zimpel - clarinet, bass clarinet
Pawel Szamburski - clarinet, bass clarinet
Michal Gorczynski - clarinet, bass clarinet

Ircha Clarinet Quartet at High Synagogue. Krakow. 13.10.2012

Finally I want to invite you tomorrow (15.10) for the first live radio playlist this season. Wel'll focus on Andrew Drury's cd "A Momentary Lapse" and "Olbrzym and Kurdubel's "Six Philosphical Games".
As a special hitory feature - happy birthday to the self-proclaimed inventor of jazz Jelly Roll Morton!

Tune in to on 8pm CET and connect via facebook chat (user Jazzowy Alchemik).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Big Bang - Little Red Big Bang [ILK]

The Big Bang
Johanna Borchert - piano
Elena Setien - vocals
Jimmy Nyborg - trumpet
Jeppe Hejgaard - alt sax
Kevin Christensen - trombone
Jesper Levdal - tenor sax
Jakob Munck - tuba
Peter Bruun - drums
Jonas Westergaard - double bass

ILK Records 2012

I've been gathering myself to write about this one for quite a while. A few orchestras showed up on the blog recently but this one is unlike any of them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Ken Vandermark Resonance Ensemble - What Country Is This? [Not Two]

Ken Vandermark - baritone sax & Bb clarinet
Dave Rempis - alto & tenor sax
Mikolaj Trzaska - alto sax & bass clarinet
Waclaw Zimpel - Bb & bass clarinet
Steve Swell - trombone
Magnus Broo - trumpet
Per-Ake Holmlander - truba
Devin Hoff - double bass
Michael Zerang - drums
Tim Daisy - drums

Not Two 2012

I've written very briefly about this band's performance in the beginning of the year and you can check the old post for a bit of background history. "What Country Is This?" is basically is a result of the third meeting of the band, recorded in Chicago studio session after busy small-groups concerts and rehearsal schedule. If you know the previous recordings (especially the last year's "Kafka in Flight") you know more or less what are you going to get, which means you shouldn't hesitate to take another round.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Andrew Drury - A Momentary Lapse [Innova]

Eyvind Kang - violin
Briggan Krauss - alto saxophone and clarbone
Chris Speed - tenor saxophone and clarinet
Myra Melford - piano
Mark Dresser - bass
Andrew Drury - composer, drum set

Innova 2003

I had a chance to see Andrew Drury live on stage with the EDGE Quartet last year and it was also the occasion on which I was presented with the cd in hand, given the urge to present reviews of the most recent releases, I didn't decided to write about it at that particular time. Anyway Andrew Drury is coming back to Poland for a series of concerts and it's a good occasion to get back to the cd which made a a great deal of impression on me, and, although I've no idea is it's even still available, I hope you'll take the chance to see Andrew on stage if he's playing anywhere nearby.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Mikolaj Trzaska at Alchemia on 09.10 (Krakow Jazz Autumn) preview

Mikolaj Trzaska, photo by K. Penarski
Mikolaj Trzaska appears often on this blog, I've already praised his solo concerts on the occasion of Poznan Tzadik Festival 2011, the Midrasz Lab at Cheder Cafe as well as summed up briefly the evening that ended the last year's edition of the festival

I don't want to repeat too often how much I appreciate Trzaska's music, so there won't be any post-factum review, instead I'd like to invite you wholeheartedly to come this tuesday to Alchemia and listen.

As a preview I invite you to check the interview I did with Mikolaj on the occasion of the last year's concert at Alchemia:

bi-lingual version : part 1part 2part 3part 4part 5part 6

the interview will be also re-pubslihed for polish readers on jazzarium.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Eivind Opsvik - Overseas IV [Loyal Label]

Kenny Wollesen - drums, cymbals, timpani, vibraphone, marching machine
Jacob Sacks - harpsichord, fartisa organ, piano
Tony Malaby - saxophone
Brandon Seabrook - electric guitar, mandolin
Eivind Opsvik - bass

Loyal Label 2012

I'm not sure how to begin this review and I'm lost in a search of words to describe Overseas. In the field of creative music dozens of brilliant have emerged over the decades but only few have managed to establish themselves as creative composers. Eivin Opsvik's music reminds, not because of its contents, but rather it's scope and broadness of musical vision and idiosyncracy - the music of Henry Threadgill and his ability to interweave elements seemingly incoherent and un-fitting.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Peter Brotzmann & Defibrillator at Alchemia (Krakow Autumn Jazz Opening) 03.10

I promised you yesterday that the 7th edition of the Krakow Autumn Jazz festival would start with a bang and there was no doubt about it. Every time you see Peter Brotzmann on stage it means loud things will happen.
Brotzmann, age 71 and counting, presented Krakow's audience with his new project, in a company of a young trio whose name suggests a match made in heaven (or in hell, given that one of his nicknames is Behemoth of saxophone). And the Defibrillator sure hits it hard and heavy with the wise master from the very beginning - the gritty, distorted electronic feedback noises, the metal sort of heavy drumming, the psychodelic fuzzy trombone.
What I always loved about Brotzmann's presence on stage is the fact that his powerfull, distorted even brutal sound seemed to me always a maniftestation of some kind of primal, natural force. While it would be hard to call his way of playing emotional, nevertheless I always found his heavily vibrated sound filled with emotional substance that strikes somehow the essence of being in the moment.
As much as I admire his will to search for new paths and idea of challenging himself with an unusal sound enviroment I was hard put to find a correspondence between the primal nature of the sax's timbre and sci-fi, high-tech electronic wall of sounds. Which surprised me becasue I had expected that the noise, grind-core roots of the trio's sound would be a perfect fit for Brotzmann, instead I found it quite hermetic, out of sync with the emotional substance of the leader's music. In fact I preferred the group when the trio played without the Brotzmann's assistance, moments in which the overall sound's vision, dark and psychodelic, became much more cohesive.
That all being said, during the lenghty 1-hour continous performance, there were passages of dynamic interplay where the band created some real sparks. Like the thunderous drumming against the gritty tenor cries, intriguing distortions along the circular tarogato lines and last but not least the atmospheric encore where Brotzmann's deeply lyrical tenor was on full display, surrounded by the mysterious array of electronic clicks and ticks and subtly resonating plates. Which was the moment I clearly heard the soul in the machine.
As you take my account into consideration keep in my mind my unfairly high expectations. I'd say the music was highly intriguing but didn't entirely convince me. 
What is more important, my dear readers, is that I can officially announce: 7th Krakow Autumn Jazz has begun and we're all in for a plenty of musical excitement! And it all started with a bang, as promised.

Peter Brotzmann - alto, tenor, tarogato
Sebastian Smolyn - electronic trombone
Artur Smolyn - electronics
Oliver Steidle - drums

7th Krakow Autumn Jazz
Alchemia. Krakow. 03.10.2012  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Friendly reminder - Cracow Autumn Jazz festival starts tomorrow with a bang!

Krakow Autumn Jazz Festival starts tomorrow with a big bang. Peter Brotzmann & Defibritalor - sounds like it will be loud, doesn't it? :) Hope to see you all there.

On that note, the program has been updated, many additional concerts on the schedule that will take place in places like Barka and Literki has appeared, plus a couple of film sreenings, check the main post about the festival in here.

03.10.2012. ALCHEMIA godz.20:00