Archive for the 'jazz' Category

Various – The Inaugural Perth Festival of Improvised Music

Inaugural Perth Festival of Improvised Music LP front cover
Inaugural Perth Festival of Improvised Music LP back cover
Inaugural Perth Festival of Improvised Music LP side 1

Inspired by Jon Rose’s first Relative Band Festival held in Sydney in 1984 – where Ross Bolleter, Tos Mahoney, Mark Cain and Richard Ratajczak all performed–, the first Perth Festival of Improvised Music took place in April 1985 at Praxis Gallery in Fremantle, Western Australia, and was directed by flautist Tos Mahoney, half of the Fremantle-based Alone Together duo with Ross Bolletter, whose first cassette also appeared in 1985. The musicians performing during the 1st Perth Festival formed the nucleus of free music improvisation in Western Australia during the 1980s and, to a large extend, still do today. The festival also included performances by saxophonist Steve Moore and singer Gillian McGregor, both visiting musicians from Great Britain. There was a 2nd edition of the Perth festival in 1986.

Instead of documenting the festival’s proceedings in chronological, successive solos, duets, trio, etc, producer Robbie Muir chose to create a continuous mix from the individual tracks he recorded. He completely succeeded in recreating a collective performance incorporating music theatre, invented instruments and contemporary music elements. The musicians themselves favor abstract sound textures, long held notes and extended techniques, which all melt effortlessly in Muir’s mix. Ross Bolleter is well-known today for his ruined piano outdoor performances, but at the times he was merely using inside-the-piano techniques in his music.

01 Perth Festival of Improvised Music (24:14)

  • Gillian McGregor
  • Ross Bolleter & Tos Mahoney
  • Mark Cain & Steve Moore
  • Richard Ratajczak, Gillian McGregor & Tos Mahoney
  • Ross Bolleter, Richard Ratajczak & Mark Cain
  • Tos Mahoney & Mark Cain

02 Perth Festival of Improvised Music – continued (23:58)

  • Richard Ratajczak
  • Ross Bolleter & Steve Moore
  • P.F.I.M. Ensemble

Ross Bolleter, piano, piano accordion
Mark Cain, woodwind, didgeridoo
Gillian McGregor, vocals
Tos Mahoney, flute
Steve Moore, soprano saxophone
Richard Ratajczak, double bass
The P.F.I.M. Ensemble = all the above

Total time 48:12
LP released by Impro Records, Perth(?), Australia, 1985

Download or download (alternate link)

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Maggie Nicols & Peter Nu – Don’t Assume

Maggie Nicols & Peter Nu – Don't Assume LP front cover
Maggie Nicols & Peter Nu – Don't Assume LP back cover
Maggie Nicols & Peter Nu – Don't Assume LP side 1

Published by Leo Records in 1987, Don’t Assume was Maggie Nicols‘ second duet with pianist Pete Nu, after Nicols ‘N’ Nu on the same label in 1985. Born in Scotland in 1948, Nicols first recorded with Keith Tippett’s Centipede orchestra in 1971. During the 1980s, she sang with prominent free jazz players and improvisers like Julie Tippetts, Lindsay Cooper, Joëlle Léandre, Irène Schweizer, Paul Rutherford, etc.

On Don’t Assume, and particularly on the eponymous, side-long track #4, Maggie Nicols carefully avoids anything resembling jazz singing in favor of an intermediary state between spoken word, sound poetry, thinking out loud and sprechgesang. Similarly, the piano accompaniment, a delicate, needle-point construction of ephemeral chords and non-rhythmic structures, seems to be floating mid-air in an uncertain pitch like some of Olivier Messiaen’s piano music. This strange alchemy works wonders and inevitably takes the listener by surprise.

01 So Many Changes (15:43)
02 Vamp (7:13)
03 After The Storm I Could Write (2:55)
04 Don’t Assume (One Note Leads To Many) (21:10)

Total time 47:00
LP released by Leo Records, UK, 1987


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Tzarina Q Cut – Bees On Hali

Tzarina Q Cut - Bees On Hali LP front cover
Tzarina Q Cut - Bees On Hali LP back cover
Tzarina Q Cut - Bees On Hali LP side A

Tzarina Q Cut was the duo of Danish reed player Jakob Draminsky Højmark (b. 1959) and guitarist Jørgen Teller (b. 1958). They released 2 cassettes and 2 records between 1988 and 1991, of which Bees On Hali was their last release, published on Barcelona’s G3G records. The duo ceased activites in 1990, when Draminsky Højmark  relocated to Barcelona to study electroacoustic music with Gabriel Brncic. See also the solo Draminsky Højmark cassette I posted a while ago.

Bees On Hali is a collection of instrumental vignettes in which both players favor abstract textures and stacato notes in unison or counterpoint. Draminsky Højmark plays bass clarinet and sopranino saxophone, while Jørgen Teller plays electric guitar with effect pedals. Generally disregarding melody, harmonic development or European Improv dogma, Tzarina Q Cut create vibrant and colorful sonic miniatures to which they gave the poetic names of various herbaceous plants.

01 Calluna Vulgaris (3:21)
02 Jassione Montana (2:45)
03 Propolis (5:17)
04 Crataeus Spp. (2:55)
05 Halictus Vs. Specodes (5:00)
06 Phacelia Tanacetifolia (3:23)
07 Astata Boops (1:05)
08 Gelée Royale (3:37)
09 Simonsen (3:21)
10 Klitrose (1:56)
11 Taraxacum Vulgare (5:36)
12 Narcissus Poeticus (2:48)
13 Drone Of The Decade (2:56)
14 Hive Jive (2:19)
15 Nosema (3:20)

Total time 49:40
LP released by G3G, Spain, 1990


Tzarina Q Cut discography:
1988 On Wave, cassette
1989 Kun En Kaerlighedssang, on Just a Love-song compilation LP, Old Europa Café, Italy
1989 Homage al Spoot Magic, cassette
1990 I-Cue-U, on Klima compilation LP, Mole Recordings, Denmark
1990 On Waste Ave-nude, 12”, G3G Records, Spain
1991 Bees On Hali, LP, G3G Records, Spain

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Bodo Reinke – Faustus Nostalgicus & Dracula

Bodo Reinke - Faustus Nostalgicus & Dracula LP front cover
Bodo Reinke - Faustus Nostalgicus & Dracula LP back cover
Bodo Reinke - Faustus Nostalgicus & Dracula LP side A

German composer Bodo Reinke, born 1949, worked as music director and conductor in various theaters in Kiel (1975–82), Flensburg (1982–1990), Heidelberg (1990–1993) and Rostock (1955–1999), in Northern Germany except Heidelberg in Central Germany, as well as composing chamber opera, stage, orchestral, and instrumental music – his compositions for contrabass, for instance, are favored by bassists the world over. German tango duet Duo Diagonal (Hans-Christian Jaenicke on violin and Jörg Siegloch on accordion) toured in 2011 playing several pieces by Bodo Reinke. His most recent stage music composition is Könige der Straße, a song cycle about U.S. truckers (!) with 4 singers and Reinke at the piano, premiered in Kiel in February 2012.

♫ This disc pairs two of Reinke’s most successful stage music compositions of the early 1980s. The style is comparable to Willem Breuker’s theater music like Baal (1973) or his film music for the Johan Van Der Keuken films (1974), with similar Kurt Weil and Porgy & Bess echoes and contemporary music inflections. Faustus Nostalgicus was written in 1980 for a ballet by choreographer Heinz Weitz, staged by the Kieler Ballet company. This is joyous, optimistic music played by a fine jazz ensemble led by a skilled horn section, with brilliant electric guitar interjections by Volker Linde. The contrast between dramatic, Sturm-und-Drang theme and light music is even more spectacular in Dracula, a chamber opera premiered in Kiel in 1985. Contrary to expectations, Dracula is a colourful, Transylvanian suite for small jazz ensemble with hilarious catch-me-if-you-can, chasing games and Gypsy traditional music touches here and there. Allan Jensen on tuba is the star on several numbers. Reinke’s sense of humor and superlative arrangements make this score a killer. The perfect antidote to anyone who is feeling… blue!

Faustus Nostalgicus:
01 Vorspiel (2:31)
02 Osterspaziergang (4:33)
03 Tango, Mephisto – Faustus (2:00)
04 Auerbachs Keller, Charleston (2:53)
05 Gretchen, Straße (2:05)
06 Anreise zur Walpurgisnacht (1:21)
07 Frau Marthe (4:54)
08 Gretchen – Faustus (3:06)
09 Walpurgis – Beguine (2:00)
10 Nr. 6 (2:25)
11 Nr. 7 (1:34)
12 1st Finale II (1:38)
13 1st Finale IV (4:08)
14 Nr. 12 (2:06)
15 Nr. 20 (3:25)
16 Nr. 19 (1:42)
17 Nr. 5 (3:27)

Jürgen Mattulat, trumpet
Albert Rohde, clarinet and alt saxophone
Dieter Reulan, trombone
Allan Jensen, tuba on Dracula
Ivan Petkov, violin
Volker Linde, guitar
Klaus Mattulat, percussion
Heinz-Jürgen Wittstock, contrabass
Bodo Reinke, piano

Total time 45:47
LP released by BCM, Kiel, Germany, 1985

[Alternate 1 / Alternate 2]

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Cochius – self-titled LP

Cochius – self-titled LP front cover
Cochius – self-titled LP back cover
Cochius – self-titled LP side 1

A POW during WWII, Dutch street musician Sigurd Cochius (1916-2001) had an extraordinary life since his escape from a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia – as retold by this blog ; other biographical info from Dutch Wiki. Among other things, he opened his house to drug-addict youngsters, took part to riots organized by Provo activists and made a living playing flute in the streets of Hilversum, his native city. There’s a kind of Cochius official weblog over there.

♫ This is his unique LP, featuring a dozen guest musicians, including Legendary Pink Dots members Bob Pistoor on bass and Niels van Hoorn on percussion, and an interesting pianist named Mark Peters on the first 3 tracks. The album features several long, ethno-jazz-fusion instrumentals over which Cochius delivers semi-improvised spoken poetry, according, I assume, to the philosophy he dubbed “Cochisme” (after Apache Indian chief Cochise). I can’t comment on the Dutch lyrics, but, from Cochius’ tone alone, they seem to be humoristic at times, especially on #2 Spaghetti, and Cochius is often heard laughing at his own jokes. Elsewhere, the music sounds like an indomitable flow of sinewy bass lines and ethereal flute arpeggios.

01 Indianenmars (6:02)
02 Spaghetti (11:04)
03 Intro/Minister (9:38)
04 Persingen (6:05)
05 Nojne Sjiht (1:21)
06 Nick Drake (3:12)
07 De Hommel En De Spin (11:34)

Total time 48:56
LP released by Klaverland Studio, The Netherlands, 1982


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Various – Rencontres du 1er Type

Rencontres du 1er Type cassette cover
Rencontres du 1er Type cassette
Rencontres du 1er Type cassette tracklistRencontres du 1er Type cassette infosheet

This cassette is apparently the unique release from Intra Musiques, a French underground music magazine from Strasbourg in eastern France directed by critic, concert organizer and record distributor Pierre Durr who now writes in Revue & Corrigée. Published from 1981 to 1987, Intra Musiques covered avant jazz, Rock In Opposition, industrial rock, DIY cassette releases, etc, in the tradition of legendary magazine Atem founded in the mid-1970s by Gérard N’Guyen of Les Disques du Soleil et de l’Acier record company.

♫ The “Rencontre du 1er Type” compilation gathers bands from Strasbourg, Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy (home of the Musique Action festival since 1984) and Reims (home of AYAA and Look de Book). The style is roughly similar to the AYAA compilation LPs Douze Pour Un vol. 1 and 2, that is instrumental avant jazz tracks with a rock structure, inspired by John Zorn and Fred Frith. The Look de Book tracks were exclusive to this tape and never appeared on LP or CD.

Neo Museum
01 Premier Elément (6:00)
02 Elément de Paraphrase (6:55)
Look de Book
03 Braque pour une Grosse Bique (:47)
04 L’Heure d’Appât du Panda (1:54)
05 Grotte de Biques (3:55)
06 Demain ou Ailleurs (4:46)
07 Jones, Jones, Jones and Jones Untitled (9:20)
08 Speedubong Duo Mutations  (7:18)
09 Traces de Saxes Toujours Plus à l’Ouest (6:44)

Total time 47:39
Cassette released by Intra Musiques, Strasbourg, France, 1986


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Below: some Intra Musiques issues
(#9 is availalbe as a PDF here)

Intra Musiques #14Intra Musiques #15Intra Musiques #17

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Валентина Пономарева – Искушение [Valentina Ponomareva – Temptation]

Valentina Ponomareva - Temptation LP front cover
Valentina Ponomareva - Temptation LP back cover
Valentina Ponomareva - Temptation LP side 1

The daughter of a gypsy violinist and a professional pianist, singer Valentina Ponomareva was born in 1939 in Moscow. After studying vocal and piano, she performed with Soviet jazz bands during the 1960s. In the 1970s, she joined a Moscow gypsy theater named Romen Theater and became extremely successful and popular performing romantic gypsy songs and romances with the Romen Trio (see next post). In the 1980s and 90s, Ponomareva played with Russian avant-garde musicians, including free-jazz group Arkhangelsk, Serguey Kuryokhin of Popular Mechanics, Vladimir Chekasin of the Ganelin Trio, as well as with Boris Grebenshchikov’s Aquarium avant rock band. British record company Leo Records published her Fortune Teller LP in 1985, with which she gained a global recognition as a radical singer. At the end of the 1980s, Ponomareva recorded 4 LPs for state label Melodya: Intrusion (1988), At Parting, I’ll Tell You (1989), Temptation (1989) and Terra Incognita (1990). In the 1990s, she sang in The Goose, her trio with Tim Hodgkinson and Ken Hyder, and later formed a duo with Siberian singer Sainkho Namchylak. She also performed with John Zorn and Japanese free-jazz players. Make sure to visit Valentina’s incredible official website, complete with a foreword by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev from the Kremlin’s official website: “A wonderful singer with a beautiful voice and a wide range of creative possibilities, you have earned high professional recognition and a great love of the public”, says Medvedev.

On Temptation, Ponomareva teamed with radical Russian musicians, especially with drummers Victor Suslin of Astreya (see previous post), Nikolai Lgovsky (who played on the Vyacheslav Artyomov LP posted earlier) or Michail Yudenich of noise trio ZGA. The album is far from a barrage of drums, though, rather a homeopathic background of unusual, hand-held percussion, complementing Ponomareva’s surreal, otherworldly vocal explorations. The 1st track is a magnificent Valentina solo, scatting and improvising on a background of reverbed wordless vocals. On track #2, gongs and reverb-fuelled flexatone provide a mysterious, quasi Oriental setting for Valentina’s sighs and murmurs. No rhythm, no words, no melody, just pure exploratory atmospheric music. Saxophone enters on #3 in a playful duet with scat and onomatopoeia by Ponomareva, whose cute vocals at times recall Shelley Hirsch. The same unintrusive saxophone introduces #4, but echoed flute in the background slowly grows to the front, without detracting from the singer’s meanderings. The next track is about a mythological bird and, accordingly, the music gets even more surreal and intangible. The album ends with another Ponomareva solo, a minimalist wordless song with eerie sound effect on her voice, ending unnoticed, in a last voice pianissimo. At this point, you know you’ve been listening to a masterpiece.

01 Искушение – Temptation (10:32)
02 Полнолуние – Full Moon (8:56)
03 На третий день – On The Third Day (4:53)
04 Блики – Glare (4:05)
05 Птица печали – The Bird Of Sorrow (7:02)
06 Воспоминание – Memory (5:23)

Valentina Ponomareva, voice
Mark Pekarsky, Alexander Suvorov, Dmitry Lazarev,
Nikolai Lgovsky, Alexander Vinets, Michail Yudenich, percussion
Serguei Letov, saxophone, bass clarinet, reed, flute
Vladimir Lazerson, flute
Vladislav Makarov, cello

Total time 40:54
LP released by Melodya, USSR, 1989


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Armonicord – Esprits de sel

Armonicord – Esprits de sel LP front cover
Armonicord – Esprits de sel LP cover centerfold
Armonicord – Esprits de sel LP side A

Armonicorde, 1975French saxophonist Jouk Minor, born 1947, played on essential free-jazz releases of the 1970s, including Michel Portal’s Splendid Yzlment in 1971, Bernard Vitet’s La Guêpe or Pierre Favre’s Candles Of Vision, both 1972, Alan Silva’s Seasons and The Shout, 1970 and 1979 respectively, and later appeared on Un Drame Musical Instantané’s À travail égal salaire égal in 1982. Minor’s own group Armonicord, formed in 1973, first included Bernard Vitet, Kent Carter and Rachid Houari. For the sessions of the band’s unique 1977 LP, the line-up had changed so as to expand the wind section and incorporate trombone and harpsichord players, which was to be Armonicord’s typical sound signature. The cover of Esprits De Sel, or Salt Spirits, opens to reveal a Jean Tinguely sculpture whose structure is used by Jouk Minor to draw each track’s graphic score on the front cover. The disc was the sole release of both Armonicord and L’Electrobande label.

This LP comprises 3 long tracks, of which the first one is a straight, effusive and free-flowing free jazz effort in the style of Alan Silva’s Celestial Communication Orchestra, while the other 2 are more complex, varied and less categorizable musical endeavors. Track #2 Premier Jour, especially, is a strange alchemy of harpsichord, steel drums, mourning bass horns in unison, and guembri – a Gnawa, goat gut stringed instrument, played by Jouk Minor. This pensive, semi-improvised elegy goes through many false starts and dead ends, but rewards the listener in eschewing predictable jazz gimmicks or other familiar traits, for that matter. On tr.#3 as well, Odile Bailleux’s harpsichord brings a unique, baroque touch to the proceedings. The saxophone is sometimes heard in the background of the mix, with harpsichord or drums at the front. The drummer uses a varied set of percussions including bells, steel drums, rain sticks or gongs. The meditative mood is maintained through various atmospheres and instrument combinations. Great disc, among the best French free jazz has to offer, along Operation Rhino, for instance.

01 Deuxième Jour (11:45)
02 Premier Jour (11:16)
03 Troisième Jour (21:50)

Jouk Minor, saxophones & wind instruments
Jean Querlier, saxophones & wind instruments
Josef Traindl, trombone
Odile Bailleux, harpsichord
Christian Lete, drums

Total time 44:51
LP released by L’Electrobande, Paris, 1977


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