Middlesex improv band Led Bib nearly defy categorization, except to say that they fit only inside the avant-progressive and improvisational genres, barely. This album covers a lot of ground in four tracks, mainly with a lot of skronk and racket that flows rather nicely. Cuneiform releases another masterpiece.
[Music] Emma-Jean Thackray – Um Yang 음 양
Emma-Jane Thackray has quietly become the most important trumpet player to emerge from the London jazz scene in at least the past 10 years. Her sound melts the best of jazz fusion with electronic music of many shades. From her Bandcamp site:
Emma-Jean Thackray, an outstanding figure in the UK jazz scene, releases Um Yang, her long-dreamed project dedicated to the Taoist philosophy of duality and harmony. A highly ambitious and personal record that sees Thackray leading a septet featuring Soweto Kinch and Steam Down’s Wonky Logic, recorded straight to vinyl.
An accomplished trumpeter, beat-maker, singer, composer and DJ, Thackray draws on far wider influences than jazz. Her sound is distinctive; in the words of The Guardian like “Bitches Brew-era Miles entering the dub chamber with a New Orleans marching band – in a good way”. Since debuting in 2016, Thackray has directed the London Symphony Orchestra, performed at the NY Winter Jazz Fest, played Glastonbury five times in 2019 alone, and launched her own record label, Movementt (in association with Warp). Championed by Gilles Peterson, Theo Parrish and Jamie Cullum, Thackray has firmly cemented her place among a new wave of exciting young musicians, collaborating with Makaya McCraven, Junius Paul and Angel Bat Dawid, and still finds time to host her monthly radio show on Worldwide FM.
Raised in Yorkshire, Thackray inherited a grounding in Taoism from her father, and approaches her music with the same pursuit of harmony between Um & Yang (the Korean Ying & Yang), balancing melody and rhythm, groove and free improvisation, cerebral and physical. For this one-off recording, Thackray has applied this ideology in every sense, even down to the ensemble itself featuring not one but two percussionists. Um commences with ethereal interplay between keys, percussion, and Thackray’s trumpet, recalling the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane’s classic records. As the piece builds, an earthy groove emerges. On both trumpet and vocals, Thackray leads the ensemble further out until the piece peaks with an epic breakdown. On the flip, Yang starts on the same cacophonous note but progresses to a joyful groove before returning to a peaceful state again, balance restored.
When Night Dreamer Records invited Emma to record Um Yang straight-to-disc at Artone’s vintage recording studio in Haarlem, The Netherlands, Emma was excited by the idea of capturing this specific project in one-take, without overdubs or edits. “Recording in (Artone) was such a dream” Thackray recalls. “It had all the fantasy analogue equipment you daydream about one day being able to use. The desk looked like something Uhura would use. All the instruments were natural, woods and metals, no plastic in sight, and everything was to be hit or blown, all analogue. I really needed everything to be natural and real, because the music is about the universe, about the energy of all things, and what is more real than that.” Honest sound to match truly honest music. With Um Yang, Emma-Jean Thackray has created her most personal and defining work to date.https://ejthackray.bandcamp.com/album/um-yang
I have but one gripe. She needs to make those out-of-print vinyl records of hers in print at least digitally!
[Music] H.J. Ayala – Haïku
Our friend Hector Javier (H.J.) Ayala hasn’t appeared on the blog for a while, but we rectify this issue today. He continues to create improvisational gems, with a nod to artists like Derek Bailey informing this release.
[Music] Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Say A Little Prayer
Surely we could use a few prayers these days, considering the damage being wrought by the Corona Virus (and by idiotic local bureaucrats hell-bent on caging populations like monkeys in a zoo).
The Rahsaan Roland Kirk Quintet included Ron Burton on piano, Henry Pearson on bass, Richie Goldberg on drums and Joe Texidor on percussion in this video.
[Music] Stéphane Clor & HJ Ayala – Motoco
Listening to what I would assume is microtonal guitar work (if my friends would be so kind as to correct me, I would be much obliged) proved to be a very rewarding expeience. HJ Ayala, a friend of this blog, collaborates with cellist Stéphane Clor in this release clocking in at just under 40 minutes. This is a quiet release, but the interplay between guitar and cello seems to intricate that it managed to hold my attention throughout. I’m already a fan of Ayala’s guitar playing, so I’m not surprised he continues to release improvisational music of such great quality, but it’s nice to see him collaborate with Clor, whose work I had never heard until today. A recommended disc.
[Music] Selen Gülün – Many Faces
I’ve had the pleasure of following Selen Gülün’s work for about five years now, and her albums keep getting more and more interesting. Many Faces sounds like a work straddling the line between music, theater and painting. The sounds are delicate, graceful, but never sappy. The vocals are crisp and sharp, with no feeling of wasted motion. It’s a beautiful album.
I only have one gripe – I would love to see all of her back catalog become available digitally, at least, through Bandcamp and, if possible, to see these all come out on vinyl. It’s a selfish wish, of course, because I find her music is suited best to the audiophile world, but one can dream.
[Music] Art Ensemble of Chicago and The Necks to Perform in Melbourne — Avant Music News
Source: Broadwayworld. Supersense is thrilled to announce a once in a lifetime line-up bringing together two legendary ensembles of contemporary music, jazz and improvisation: ground breaking pioneers of American free jazz the Art Ensemble of Chicago and transcendent, internationally revered Australian trio The Necks. In a never-to-be repeated double bill at Hamer Hall on Sunday […]
via Art Ensemble of Chicago and The Necks to Perform in Melbourne — Avant Music News
[Music] Wadada Leo Smith – Spiritual Dimensions
A proper two-album set by Wadada Leo Smith, this double disc comes complete with two different, yet somehow well-meshed bands. To see what I mean, take a look at each lineup:
Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet
Vijay Iyer – piano, synthesizer
John Lindberg – bass
Pheeroan AkLaff – drums
Don Moye – drums
Wadada Leo Smith – trumpet
Nels Cline – guitar
Michael Gregory – guitar
Brandon Ross – guitar
Lamar Smith – guitar
Okkyung Lee – cello
John Lindberg – double bass
Skuli Sverrisson – electric bass
Pheeroan AkLaff – drums
These lineups are the cream of the crop of the improvisational music scene. The music is as enjoyably quirky and free as you would expect from a collaboration as grand as this.
[Music] RuRaRo – Furioso (Live in Sound Museum)
[Music] Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi with Masahiko Satoh – Proton Pump
Avant-garde bebop seems to be the most fitting way to describe this release featuring saxophonist Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi (drummer Chris Corsano and bassist Darrin Grey) along with pianist Masahiko Satoh. No less than Jim O’Rourke gushes over the the musicianship of this improvisers, but this isn’t a racket-filled noise blast. The musicianship is astounding, free, and engaging, something a lot of improvisers can’t seem to make happen unless they’re truly something special. It seems that Sakata has been making music since the 1960s, so I have a bit of exploring to do on his previous work.