Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1 Sem 2013 - Part Four

Jacky Terrasson

By Matt Collar
Pianist Jacky Terrasson's 2012 album Gouache is an eclectic, playful, and often beautiful album that showcases the pianist's lithe, technically adept jazz skills alongside a handful of guest artists. Terrasson is a gifted composer and improviser in a variety of jazz idioms, from straight-ahead, standards-based jazz to more contemporary and even avant-garde styles. He brings all of this to bear on Gouache. While Terrasson's virtuosic piano chops are the focal point of the release, it is also his choice of excellent sidemen here, including trumpeter Stephane Belmondo and bass clarinetist Michel Portal, that helps make the album such a buoyant and joyful listen. This is especially true on his ruminative version of John Lennon's "Oh My Love" and the positively swoon-inducing Erik Satie chanson "Je Te Veux," which both feature vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. Winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition, Salvant is a gifted, nuanced singer and here, singing in both French and English, she draws upon the languid, bittersweet influence of Billie Holiday, while always keeping a smile in her voice. Jazz pianists reworking modern pop songs has become de rigueur in 21st century jazz circles, and soTerrasson's choice to cover Lennon, as well as such radio hits as Justin Bieber's "Baby" and Amy Winehouse's "Rehab," isn't in-and-of-itself unique. However, with his painterly, impressionistic style that often brings to mind a mix of such influences as Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, Terrasson is an interesting match for this kind of pop repurposing, and his reinventions never sound anything but clever and inspired. To these ends, he turns "Baby" into a jaunty sleigh ride of song, with a euphoric '70s R&B ballad midsection. He also gives "Rehab" a slow, Horace Silver-sounding jazz-funk treatment that finds him moving from piano to Fender Rhodes. Elsewhere, Terrasson's original compositions reveal a passion for melody and groove, paired with an adventurous, flowing, stream-of-consciousness post-bop aesthetic that ultimately makes Gouache a pure joy to hear.

Yaron Herman
Alter Ego

By The JazzMann
Born in Tel Aviv pianist and composer Yaron Herman is now based in France and has established a reputation as one of the most exciting pianists currently operating on the European jazz circuit. Herman also spent time in the US studying at Berklee College of Music and he retains strong links with the North American jazz scene. Indeed it was albums such as “A Time For Everything” (2007) and “Muse” (2009) both recorded with the New York rhythm pairing of bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Gerald Cleaver that helped to win the technically gifted Herman an international reputation. Both of these releases were wide ranging and included notable covers of pop songs such as Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and Bjork’s “Isobel” alongside folk and classical leanings.
Herman signed to the prestigious German label ACT for 2010’s “Follow The White Rabbit”, his most consistent and focussed offering thus far. Here his partners were the Canadian pairing of bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Tommy Crane and I was lucky enough to see this configuration give an excellent performance at the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre as part of the 2010 London Jazz Festival. “White Rabbit” included covers of Radiohead and Nirvana (a splendid version of “Heart Shaped Box” ), an Israeli folk tune and a strong series of originals which often recalled the spirit and energy of E.S.T.
I saw Herman play live again at the 2011 Brecon Jazz Festival, this time in the company of the rhythm section that appears on this record, French bassist Stephane Kerecki , a bandleader in his own right, and Israeli drummer Ziv Ravitz. If the Brecon performance failed to reach the heights of the Purcell Room show this was largely due to outside circumstances, the gig was held in a draughty marquee and noise from other events on the festival site too often leached in and marred the trio’s performance.
Be that as it may “Alter Ego” reveals that Herman remains a phenomenal talent whose music is still developing. In addition to the core trio the new album also features the talents of Parisian musician Emile Parisien on tenor and soprano saxophones and the American Logan Richardson on alto. Herman has worked on and off with Parisien for around ten years but met Richardson more recently. Richardson has also been associated with the US born, London based musician Michael Janisch and has worked in some of the bassist’s numerous Transatlantic ensembles.
With “Alter Ego” the pop song covers are gone with the emphasis now placed firmly on Herman’s original compositions. The exceptions are two significant covers of works by Jewish composers including an interpretation of “Hatikva”, the Jewish national anthem. The pieces are, in the main, short with no item outstaying its welcome. The brevity is arguably the result of Herman’s “ego-less” approach to the writing of this record, a method he explains in his notes to the album. Indeed several of the pieces sound as if they may be the result of group improvisations with the finished track extracted from a larger whole.
The album begins in reflective mood with the solo piano introduction to “Atlas and Axis”. Soon however the sound of the two horns indicates that this is to be a very different Yaron Herman record. Although Herman subtly dominates the opener with his probing solo the interplay between the pianist and the rest of the group is satisfyingly intimate and complex with Parisien contributing strongly.
Propelled by Kerecki’s powerful bass figures and the clatter and chatter of Ravitz’s drum grooves Mojo is altogether more extrovert and lively with the horns adding a Middle Eastern/ North African feel to the piece (sometimes reminiscent of the sound of Kerecki’s 2008 album “Houria” recorded with his trio plus American saxophonist Tony Malaby). Herman’s joyous solo features him singing along ecstatically a la Keith Jarrett. “Mojo” is an outpouring of joy, a totally invigorating experience for musicians and listeners alike.
As the title might suggest “Heart Break Through” is altogether more sombre with keening saxophone underpinned by freely structured rolling rhythms. For all this there’s a strangely uplifting quality behind the sometimes brooding ambience.
“Your Eyes” is a brief but lovely passage of lyrical solo piano which provides a kind of prelude to the intriguingly titled “La confusion sexuelle des papillons”. My rudimentary French is sufficient enough for me to get the gist of this and the music itself is sometimes given an airy, butterfly like quality courtesy of Parisien’s dancing, mercurial soprano. However both the underlying rhythms and Herman’s expansive solo are surprisingly robust, shades of Jarrett again.
“Ukolabavka / Wiegenlied” is a short and lovely exploration of two melodies by Gideon Klein (1919-45), a pianist and composer born into a Moravian Jewish family. Strongly influenced by Janacek Klein often deployed folk elements in his work as can be heard here. The reeds sound almost oboe like and Kerecki impresses with a deeply resonant linking bass solo.
Herman introduces “From Afar” with a torrent of notes and the music quickly adopts a grooving E.S.T. style approach, initially forceful and attention grabbing but with the horns eventually diverting the music down a more reflective path. At just over two minutes it appears to be a fragment of a longer improvisation.
The following “Sunbath” is of a similar length but is more sombre in tone with Kerecki again featuring strongly alongside ruminative saxophone, sparse piano chording and delicately brushed drums.
On “Homemade” Ravitz adopts a hip hop groove which provides the backdrop for the exploration of the often complex melody. Kerecki again demonstrates his formidably fluent soloing abilities in a more reflective central section with Parisien on tenor and Herman himself also featuring strongly.
Herman treats The Israeli national anthem “Hatikva” (“The Hope”) with due reverence. Samuel Cohen’s minor key melody is arranged as a beautiful duet for piano and saxophone. Unusually sombre for a national anthem the modal melancholia of Cohen’s tune is offset in the sung version by the uplifting nature of the words.
The brief “Mechanical Brothers” is a highly rhythmic snippet featuring clattering industrial style drum beats, squiggling saxes and the sound Herman’s dampened piano strings. Again the piece appears to be a fragment of a larger improvisation and sounds appropriately futuristic. The title may also be an allusion to Ravitz of whom Herman says “I feel like he’s my lost brother of sorts”.
By way of contrast the following “Madeleine” is the lengthiest track on the album, through composed and episodic and superbly played by the ensemble. Herman’s ecstatic, flowing solo is a particular delight. Ravitz drives him onwards with the kind of empathic rapport that justifies the comment above.
The album concludes with the brief but spiky “Kaos”, driven by Kerecki’s monstrous bass and Ravitz’s spare but powerful drumming as piano and saxophone jostle for the listener’s attention. Again it could be a a portion of a larger whole.
Although substantially different from his previous recordings “Alter Ego” is still a quintessential Yaron Herman album. Brilliant musicianship is again combined with a sense of fun and spirit of adventure. Herman’s music combines adventurousness and a certain intellectual rigour with pure joie de vivre. With its thirteen relatively short tracks the album is an engaging mixture of moods and styles and such is Herman’s vivacity that the listener never gets the chance to be bored. The choice of the two outside pieces is an effective affirmation of Herman’s roots but overall “Alter Ego” is about Herman the composer and pianist and the palpable chemistry between the leader and his highly talented ensemble. “Alter Ego” represents another impressive and powerful release in this ACT’s twentieth anniversary year.

Mario Adnet
Um Olhar Sobre Villa-Lobos

By Jô Hallack
Mario Adnet sempre nos propõe um passeio: em seus discos, já revisitou Tom Jobim, Moacir Santos, Luiz Eça, Baden Powell. Seu novo trabalho, “Um olhar sobre Villa-Lobos”, tem como ponto de partida a obra do compositor que, segundo ele, musicalizou o Brasil. Passageiros sentados à janela desse trem caipira vão reencontrar Villa-Lobos, descobrir nuances despercebidas em sua obra e ouvir sua música pelos ouvidos de Adnet.
“Posso dizer, com segurança, que ele lavou a alma de várias gerações que passaram a gostar de música por sua causa. Colocou todo o Brasil para cantar: pobres, ricos, em colégios e nos estádios de futebol”, diz Mario, lembrando que sua mãe, aluna de canto de uma irmã de Mindinha (segunda mulher do compositor) estava entre os milhares de brasileiros que se apresentaram em corais para Villa-Lobos. “Mas, apesar de ser tão popular, de adorar a rua, Pixinguinha, Cartola, Donga, o compositor, naquela época, só teve como caminho as salas de concerto.”
“O meu desejo foi mostrar a música de Villa-Lobos sem fronteiras”, explica Adnet. A escolha do repertório foi intuitiva. “Joana (Adnet) e eu escolhemos pelo ouvido e, depois, quando percebemos, tínhamos coberto fases de toda sua vida”. Depois, hora de se debruçar nos arranjos e orquestrações. “Não mexi muito. Porque é genial. É genial! Não desconstruí. Não desmontei o que ele fez.”
Algumas músicas que eram para piano ganharam orquestra. Temas com canto lírico foram transformados para o popular sofisticado, como “Dança (Martelo)”, das “Bachianas Brasileiras nº 5”, interpretada por Mônica Salmaso. Mario também canta no disco, assim como “dois patrimônios da nossa cultura”, Milton Nascimento e Edu Lobo, e mais Muiza Adnet e Paula Santoro. Yamandu Costa participa com seu violão em duas faixas.
Ao longo do trabalho, as peças de Villa-Lobos foram se transformando em pistas, ajudando Mario a percorrer os caminhos da música brasileira. “Porque Villa-Lobos é o pai da música brasileira contemporânea, influenciou gerações e gerações. Quando você escuta as Bachianas e os Choros, vê que tudo está lá.”
Mas, ao mesmo tempo, Mario deu à música de Villa-Lobos inspirações de seus próprios descendentes. “Em ‘Abril’ fiz um arranjo que tem muito de Tom Jobim. ‘Improviso nº7’ se transformou num choro no melhor estilo Moacir Santos com lembranças de Radamés Gnattalli. O próprio Villa-Lobos dizia que suas músicas eram cartas que ele escreveu à posteridade, sem esperar resposta. Eu sou um dos que estão respondendo, também sem esperar retorno...”
“Lá vai o trem sem destino, pro dia novo encontrar, correndo vai pela terra, vai pela serra, vai pelo mar.”

Lee Konitz/ Bill Frisell/ Gary Peacock/ Joey Baron
Enfants Terribles: Live At The Blue Note

By Mark Corroto
Super groups are, by their very nature, either bright shining stars or catastrophic exploding supernovae. Dream team basketball lineups get beat by upstarts, and the new Stallone/Schwarzenegger/Van Damme movie is sure to be a nonstarter. The reasons for the flops are usually chemistry and vision, both essential requirements.
Same can be said for jazz groups. Listen to a longstanding unit work and its affinity is obvious. Assemble a quartet for a night, or fortnight and evidence of its chemistry (or lack of it) is apparent straightaway.
Such rapport is instantly recognizable from this live 2011 date at New York's Blue Note jazz club by the magnificent quartet of alto saxophonist Lee Konitz., guitarist Bill Frisell, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Joey Baron. Performing without prior practice or even a songbook, each track is begun by a different player; a jazz standard is the conversation topic, and the exploration begins. Acrobatics and grandstanding are eschewed here, in favor of a quiet conversational slow-to-medium tempo.
Add these four players to the very small list of groups that can play at such a high level without constant touring. Peacock's trio with Keith Jarrett and Jack DeJohnette comes to mind, and the late Paul Motian's band with Frisell and Joe Lovano are examples of players with an instant rapport.
Baron, Konitz's drummer of choice these days, opens "I Remember You," hinting at the melody before Frisell enters to state it, then others join in for the all-too-familiar song. Konitz's tone, born from Warne Marsh and Charlie Parker, has matured and mellowed into a treasure. At 84, his presence looms large here, but then there is the unmistakable sound of Frisell, ever faithful to not only the standards, but his unique mannerisms. Baron and Peacock present themselves as more than timekeepers; ever expressive, both can carry the day. Baron's drums absolutely sing "Body And Soul," and Peacock provides a mini-clinic with "I Can't Get Started."
Konitz and company spare the fireworks here, but provide a masterpiece of a record.
Track Listing: 
What Is This Thing Called Love?; Body & Soul; Stella By Starlight; I'll Remember April; I Remember You; I Can't Get Started.
Lee Konitz: alto saxophone; Bill Frisell: guitar; Gary Peacock: bass; Joey Baron: drums.

Benedikt Jahnel Trio

By John Kelman
He may be better known internationally to ECM fans for his participation in the pan-cultural Cyminology, but German pianist Benedikt Jahnel has been devoting just as much attention to his multinational trio featuring Spanish bassist Antonio Miguel and American drummer Owen Howard. Releasing the trio's debut in 2008 on Viennese guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel's Material Records imprint, Jahnel's work with Max.Bab has rendered superficial comparisons to Esbjörn Svensson, but if the world is looking for someone to pick up the mantle left by the late Swedish pianist, it'll have to keep on looking. Beyond being relatively young and leading a piano trio with a strong penchant for lyricism, there's little else with which to compare Jahnel's trio and e.s.t.
A truth already apparent on Modular Concepts (Material, 2008), but even clearer with Equilibrium, the trio's long overdue follow-up and ECM debut. If anything, there are some similarities in Jahnel's approach to fellow label mate, pianist Nik Bärtsch and Ronin, most recently heard on Live (ECM, 2012). But if Bärtsch and Jahnel share a certain rigor when it comes to rhythmic constructs and, more importantly, rhythmic placement, Jahnel is more intrinsically driven by song form—even, as is the case with the opening "Gently Understood," if he takes a long time getting there. Through the first three of its five minutes, Jahnel's trio collectively explores a modal, pedal toned vamp, building to an extemporaneous climax only to fade to a near-whisper and the introduction of the pianist's chordal theme—albeit one where Howard both holds down the form and explores further, a tasteful meshing of delicate cymbals and reverb-drenched, rim shot-driven drums.
What gives Jahnel's trio some of its personality is the way that it plays with conventional roles. Howard—whose 20-year career has included collaborations with everyone from saxophonist Chris Potter to guitarist Ben Monder—is, himself, a deeply melodic player; one who can, at times, leave more rhythmic concerns to Jahnel. In the opening minutes of Equilibrium's longest track, "Moorland & Hill Land," Jahnel's pulsating exploration of the lower register of his piano almost blends into a single voice with Miguel's resonant arco. Ultimately unfolding into a spare, Erik Satie-like passage, Jahnel gradually shifts to an arpeggio-driven piano a cappella that finally, eight minutes in, leads to a full trio treatment. Filled with unrelenting forward motion, Jahnel shifts that very propulsion between left and right hands, while Miguel's spare anchor supports Howard's strong thematic foil for Jahnel.
If Jahnel's trio often operates in keyboardist Joe Zawinul's long-held "nobody solos/everybody solos" ethos, that doesn't mean there aren't shining moments for its members. The gently majestic "Sacred Silence" is defined largely by Miguel, and the bassist's strong allegiance to motivic development also features near the end of "Moorland," while Howard is the clear melodist alongside Jahnel in the latter half of "Augmented." It's all about embedding the piano trio tradition into a new context where things aren't always as they seem. With Equilibrium, Jahnel has carved his own evocative space on a label that may seem loaded down with piano trios, but for whom, in the case of Jahnel, there's clearly room for one more.
Track Listing:
Gently Understood; Sacred Silence; Moorland & Hill Land; Wrangel; Augmented; Hidden Beauty; Equilibrium.
Benedikt Jahnel: piano; Antonio Miguel: double bass; Owen Howard: drums.

Andrea Pagani
Plays Puccini

E lucevan le stelle ("Tosca" - G.Puccini)
Nessun dorma ("Turandot" - G.Puccini)
Quando me n’vò ("La Bohème"- G.Puccini)
Mi chiamano Mimì ("La Bohème"- G.Puccini)
O mio babbino caro
("Gianni Schicchi"- G.Puccini)
Vissi d’arte ("Tosca"- G.Puccini)
Non piangere Liù ("Turandot"- G.Puccini)
Un bel dì vedremo("Madame Butterfly"- G.Puccini)
Che gelida manina ("La Bohème"-G.Puccini)
Coro a bocca chiusa ("Madame Butterfly"- G.Puccini)
Gira la cote ("Turandot"- G.Puccini)
Torre del Lago al chiaro di luna (A.Pagani)
Dedica a Puccini (A.Pagani)

Andrea Pagani (Piano), Marco Pacassoni (Vibes on 1, 2, 5, 8, 9, 11,13, Marimba on 4, 10), Massimo Moriconi (Double Bass), Alfredo Romeo (Drums).
Arrangiamenti di Andrea Pagani.
Prodotto da Makoto Kimata (Key'stone Music) per la Mojo Records ©2008

Andrea Pagani Trio
Le Storie D´Amore

La dolce vita (Nino Rota)
Arrivederci Roma (Garinei-Giovannini-Rascel)
Estate (Brighetti-Martino)
Love theme from "The Godfather"(Nino Rota)
Medley: Playing love-Once upon a time in America(E.Morricone)
Italian brothers (Fratelli d’Italia)
A tear on my chest ((A.Pagani)
Non partir (Bracchi-D’anzi)
Sinnò me moro (P.Germi-C.Rustichelli)
Summertime in Venice (Perotti-Cicognini)
Occhi verdi (A.Pagani)

Andrea Pagani (Piano), Massimo Moriconi (Double Bass), Alfredo Romeo (Drums).
Arrangiamenti di Andrea Pagani.
Prodotto da Makoto Kimata (Key’stone Music) per la Pony Canyon Inc. ©2007

Andrea Pagani Trio
"Bravi Bravi, Ma Ce L´Avete Una Cantante ?"

Intro (0.45)
Pills cocktail (A.Pagani) 4.20
Whisky facile (Chiosso-Buscaglione) 5.32
56 mois à Croisset (A.Pagani) 5.48
Caravan (Mills-Tizol-Ellington) 6.03
Hungry society (La società dei magnaccioni)
(Tradiz.) 6.45
Tanto pè cantà (Simeoni-Petrolini) 4.25
Parrot blue eyes (A.Pagani) 3.25
Dieci ragazze (Mogol-Battisti) 4.54
L'ernia di Joao (A.Pagani) 5.24
Genova non è la mia città (Paoli) 5.09
3+3+3=Love (A.Pagani)4.19
Matisse's paint box (A.Pagani)3.16

Andrea Pagani (Piano), Massimo Moriconi (Double Bass, El. Bass), Alfredo Romeo (Drums).
Arranged and produced by Andrea Pagani ©2012 ZONE DI MUSICA (ZDM1203)

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