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Bebop Spoken There

Vadim Neselovskyi, Professor of Jazz Piano, Berklee College of Music: “Every pianist has to deal with a very complex left-hand part at some point. This is the essential pianistic experience – to split your brain into two halves and execute two very different tasks at the same time.” – (Down Beat September 2017).

Roscoe Mitchell: “To me, improvisation is trying to improve your skills so you can make these on-point compositional decisions. That takes practice.” – (Down Beat September 2017)

Archives

Today Saturday September 23

Scarborough Jazz Festival - Day two of three.
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Evening
Bradley Johnston (solo guitar) - Cherry Tree, 9 Osborne Rd., Jesmond, Newcastle NE2 2AE. 7:30pm. No cover charge.
Rockafellas - Billy Bootleggers, 28 Nelson St., Newcastle NE1 5AN. 9pm. Free.
Tobie Carpenter Organ Trio - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. £10.
Thin Man + Jon Gordon - The Globe, 11 Railway St., Newcastle NE4 7AD. 8pm. Free.
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Nikki Iles & Stan Sulzmann - Great Hall, Hexham Abbey, Hexham NE46 3NB. 10pm. £10/£8.
Pat McMahon Trio - Tannery, Gilesgate, Hexham NE46 3QD. 01434 605537. 9pm. Free.
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To the best of our knowledge, details of the above events are correct but may be subject to alteration.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

CD Reviews: Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus - The Distance. Jakob Bro Trio - Streams.

Michael Formanek (bass), Thomas Fujiwara (drums), Mary Halvorson (guitar), Kris Davis (piano), Patricia Brennan (marimba), Mark Helias (conductor).
Brass - David Ballou, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Kirk Knuffka, Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Ben Gerstein, Jeff Nelson.
Reeds - Loren Stillman, Oscar Noriega, Chris Speed, Brian Settles, Tim Berne.
(Review by Steve T).
Reviewing ECM CDs is a bit like the American election - even this one; or for that matter a British election, though that may be changing. 40% of readers will have both of them already and another 40% wouldn't have either in the house.
I'm one of the undecideds - the Lib Dems, the independents - with a love-hate relationship with the label.

The Distance works as an entire album so singling out specific tracks is irrelevant. It starts slowly and sounds very much classical, but with light drums and compelling bass playing which runs throughout the album, and it was only after the first play I found out the band takes the bass players name.
Gradually it transforms into something more akin to the Miles/Gil Evans collaborations from the late fifties, with which it shares its holistic qualities.
The 'boring' bits are there to make the great bits even greater and you lose so much if you pull out Summertime or It Ain't Necessarily So out of Porgy and Bess.
In fact this album may well have been made for me as the Zappa influence comes through louder and clearer as it progresses, though solely in Strictly Genteel mode.
Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Alan Ferber on trombone and Mary Halvorson on guitar deserve mention for particularly striking solos.

Jakob Bro (guitar), Thomas Morgan (double bass), Joey Baron (drums).
This is the type of stuff critics of the label point at, myself included. A famous musician visiting the North East compared ECM to walking in the mountains above the fjords in Norway and this album is certainly from the very low key end of things. I know many people like this and indeed, this is the very quality that they look for from the label, pointing out that it's always done terribly tastefully.
Track four, Full Moon Europais the only track which produces any real fireworks but, like John Abercrombie’s bass trio stuff on the label, this is in no small part due to some inventive swirling drumming, though the guitar also has a rockier edge.
For the undecided needing a nudge, my vote goes The Distance.
Steve T.

2 comments :

  1. So, Formanek trumps Bro!

    (I'll get my coat)

    ReplyDelete
  2. BumBum.

    Turns out I saw Bro in Cheltenham with Lee Konitz and Dave Douglas a couple of years back. Having seen Konitz eighteen months earlier, he'd really lost the plot and the gig was a mess.
    I t was billed as a super-group and the Asian lady on the bass was terrific though she looked terrified (they were about to take it on tour), but Dave Douglas, in mischievous Bob Downey Junior mode, spotted a free run and dazzled.
    I remember the guitarist played a telecaster, apparently the preferred solid body guitar for Jazz.

    ReplyDelete

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About this blog - contact details.

Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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