Versatile alto saxophonist Pete Robbins enjoys recording his ensembles within the live format. His sixth album as a leader also represents his third consecutive live recording, influenced by his residence and subsequent visits to Copenhagen. Moreover, his European band aka the Transatlantic Quartet, imparts the open-air architectures often evidenced by the Scandinavian progressive-jazz contingents amid slight inferences to the breadth and lightness of folk music. However, Robbins' previous outings lean more towards the high-octane strata, including knotty funk grooves and tricky time signatures. And he's a superb technician, possessing a fertile imagination.
Spanning several decades, progressive-jazz and improvisational icon Anthony Braxton has been no stranger to duet settings amid his large and small ensemble aggregations. Therefore, this 2-CD program recorded live in 1989 is the artist's fruitful collaboration with bassist Buell Neidlinger, noted for his work with Cecil Taylor, Steve Lacy, and educational duties at the New England Conservatory.
Based in Washington D.C., the musicians bring varied experience to the table amid stints with notable free-jazz artists, nouveau rockers, and prominent jazz-based improvisers. The duo's second album is an exploratory, yet affable excursion into parts unknown via the improvisational nature of the program. With fuzz-toned atmospherics, staggered flows and fleeting themes, the music offers a hearty forum for one's imagination to wander. However, there's uncanny logic within the grand schema, often devised on loosely based storylines, linear choruses and blitzing interchanges.
"Luca Luciano is a noted Italian clarinettist and composer who now makes his home in London, having developed an enviable reputation as an instrumental virtuoso around the UK and overseas via recordings and concert hall appearances" (Musician Magazine)
Internationally recognised for his groundbreaking contributions to contemporary clarinet music, extremely appreciated by the International Clarinet association, "Luciano has established himself as the friendly face of contemporary clarinet" according to the Clarinet & Saxophone Society of Great Britain. His latest album "Partenope" is receiving praises in three continents (BBC Radio, Jazzradio.com, CRN Australia nationwide, in Brazil and South America, RTE national broadcaster of Ireland and radios around Europe) including a number of interviews for the press and on radio.
In the liners, producer Martin Davidson provides anecdotes, interview quotes and other relevant information surrounding the premise for these vintage tracks, recorded under the leadership of the late soprano saxophone great Steve Lacy. Spanning previously unreleased and reissued material from 1967 through 1973, Lacy performs with iconoclastic modern jazz artists such as trumpeter Enrico Rava, vibist Karl Berger and others. And in most instances, the audio processing is quite good as the album offers a comprehensive sampling of Lacy's avant-garde proclivities cast in various ensembles, including eminent synthesizer improviser Richard Teitelbaum who credits Lacy with being his..."first and maybe main improv teacher." Otherwise, Teitelbaum partnered with Anthony Braxton and other progressive-minded luminaries to extend electronics formats into the freer aspects of jazz and improvisation.
Perhaps one of the more important drummers in global improvisation circles, Tom Rainey's discography as a sideman, for example, could read like a history of postmodern jazz, spanning conventional and nonconforming practices. He's a fluid drummer who subdivides the rhythmical element into fragments while tap-dancing across the kit, shaded with lyrical qualities and offbeat digressions, as the list goes on. On this trio date, he aligns with cutting-edge artists Mary Halvorson (guitar) and Ingrid Laubrock (saxophones), for a series of loosely designed improvisational jaunts, where space and counter-maneuvers are but a few of many rewarding attributes evidenced throughout.
With persuasive sonic assaults, ping-ponging stereo effects, and a web-like maze of improvisation, this trio tenders a modern psychedelic soundscape with avant-garde like tendencies. They shade the proceedings with a renegade New York City downtown aura, featuring phased-out guitar parts, booming bass ostinatos, pumping rhythms and dabs of chaos via the slow to medium-tempo grooves.
Volume 3 of influential trumpeter Dave Douglas's "Portable Series" casts yet another perspective of the artist's resiliency and broad vernacular. The premise behind the three volumes, featuring different ensembles is based on informal gatherings, hearkening back to the olden days where musicians would align for pick-up sessions. Otherwise, Bad Mango is not simply a high-octane bashing session, but offers a polytonal soundscape, spanning a diverse mix that is a nicely balanced package containing equal parts jazz and world music. Neither genre supersedes the other, although an indigenous setting is laid out via the percussionists' multifunctional approach to the program.