Sunday, September 25, 2016

2 Sem 2016 - Part Four

The Impossible Gentlemen
Let´s Get DeLuxe

By Adrian Pallant
Something of a Northern homecoming for guitarist Mike Walker and pianist/keyboardist Gwilym Simcock, a great buzz of excitement preceded the album launch of The Impossible Gentlemen’s third release, Let’s Get Deluxe, at Manchester Jazz Festival last night. Looking back from the stage of the RNCM Theatre, every one of the steeply-tiered seats appeared to be filled, and a warm expression of appreciation greeted this ‘international supergroup’ as they took up their positions. Alongside US colleagues, bassist Steve Rodby and drummer Adam Nussbaum, the name of Iain Dixon has now been added, providing a seamless woodwind and synth addition to the Gents’ distinctive musical character.
The new recording is stacked with layered instrumental textures (most notably Simcock on French horn), yet their live interpretation was a triumph, as revealed in the bright, opening prog-guitar groove of title track Let’s Get Deluxe. Grungy, late-night Dog Time (which Walker explained didn’t quite cut it in his straight Salford accent, but rather pronounced “Dawwwg Tahhhm”) is already an album standout – but here, the guitarist coaxed the most wonderful howls and caterwauls from his fretboard as it melded with Simcock’s double-banked Nord organ tremolo, before erupting into a full-bodied blues rocker with contrasting, mysterious episodes.
Dedicated to late, great pianist John Taylor, A Simple Goodbye is one of the most affecting tributes, and Simcock’s delicate chordal eloquence at the grand piano was matched by Walker’s oh-so-subtle string-bent cries – had a pin dropped in the hall, it would surely have been noticed; and blithe, countrified Speak to Me of Homebreezed along to Walker’s picked guitar and Dixon’s folksy soprano sax improvisations, expounding on the nursery-rhyme simplicity of its original melody. A complex left-hand piano figure introduced shuffling Barber Blues (from the band’s second album), developing to feature delightful bass clarinet from Dixon and lithe bass perambulations from Rodby, with Mike Walker feeling and mouthing every nuance of his octaved extemporisations; and amidst colourful drum soloing, with a few cheeky fake endings, Nussbaum’s cymbal work was positively balletic.
Closing the set with an even more energised version of the new album’s Propane Jane, Simcock jabbed away funkily with his effective Fender Rhodes voicing, and those deliciously soaring electric guitar lines from Walker could happily have been soaked up into the wee small hours by this rapt audience. But with that final number announced after just over an hour, never has a concert melted away so quickly, the whole auditorium rising to its feet in genuine gratitude for the beauty they had witnessed (many later taking to social media to declare it “one of the jazz gigs of the year”). Quite rightly called back for an encore, the band’s known playfulness surfaced: as Mike Walker’s guitar became detached from its strap, he genially muttered, “What ‘ave ah dun ‘ere?”, promptly followed by Gwilym Simcock's subtle teasing in the form of a perfect rendition of the Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em theme at the top of the Steinway!

Kenny Barron Trio
Book Of Intuition

By Mac Randall
For some strange reason, the trio that Kenny Barron has been leading for the past decade, featuring bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa and drummer Johnathan Blake, had never cut an album until now. We should all thank the deity of our choice that they finally entered a recording studio, because Book of Intuition is a total delight.
From the first minute of the bossa-nova-ish opening track, “Magic Dance,” previously recorded as “J.J. Dream” with Ron Carter and Lenny White, the high degree of attunement between Barron and his bandmates is obvious. When he lays into a particularly frisky single-note phrase early on in his solo, Blake responds split seconds later with a flourish of ride cymbal and side stick, over which Kitagawa imposes a slight ritard to humorous effect. Next up is “Bud Like,” a blazing Barron performance stoked by Blake’s command of accents and Kitagawa’s dexterous walking. And so it continues through a mix of old and new material, including two pretty selections from Barron’s soundtrack for the 2010 film Another Harvest Moon.
Two standout pieces are by Thelonious Monk, to whom Barron’s had a direct spiritual line for many years. Although he may be a much smoother pianist technically than Monk, the two share a wicked sense of humor. For “Shuffle Boil,” Barron starts off his solo in a surprisingly romantic mood, then delves into deep funk, as if to say he was only kidding with that first bit. Even better is his solo take on “Light Blue,” which alternates fluid Tatum-esque arpeggios with jarring dissonances and ends on a downward glissando that fails perfectly to resolve anything.

Alessandro Lanzoni


By Brian Morton
Through his two latest, most successful records, “Dark Flavour” and “Seldom”, released on CAM JAZZ in 2013 and 2014, respectively, Alessandro Lanzoni has conclusively developed his own features as an artist who puts his talent to good use in an unceasing musical exploration, to meet his inborn communication needs that are funnelled into narrative paths, both fanciful and logical, where form and imagination are strongly balanced. A performer so willing to explore could not but find piano solo as a favourable environment, in which he is able to release his creative energy most genuinely and subjectively: this is how Lanzoni’s latest album, again to be released on CAM JAZZ, was born. Its title, “Diversions”, conveys Alessandro’s ability to create ever-changing sonic landscapes through free improvisation, places where the listener is led confidently by an expert who knows how to manoeuver the roughest paths, mastering the most varied musical languages. For his stylistic versatility, Alessandro Lanzoni perfectly represents a contemporary aesthetic theory that leads the artist to express the many different stimuli of today’s world. But all this is supported by the young pianist’s strong background of classical studies, skilfully absorbed formal patterns and own genuine “jazzy” nature that induce the famous Scottish music reviewer, Brian Morton, to say: “Lanzoni’s music is not so much washed on the banks of the Arno as dipped in the waters of the Mississippi”, joking about his name, oddly sounding like Manzoni, the Italian author of “The Betrothed”.
Recorded in Ludwigsburg on 8 - 9 September 2015 at Bauer Studios.
Recording engineer: Johannes Wohlleben

Enrico Zanisi

By Franco Fayenz
Keywords. The first that come to mind are: inventiveness, talent, musicality, technique, composition, fusion, courage. You’ll find other keywords by listening to Enrico Zanisi’s brand new record. One could fill an entire review with them. Once again, the very young player from Rome (born in 1990) shows an amazing maturity in leading his trio through the recording of this sumptuous, kaleidoscopic album. With the support of Joe Rehmer on double bass and Alessandro Paternesi on drums, Zanisi built up a sterling recording, which (nearly) consists of original tunes, except for the closing piece, “Träumerei” by Robert Schumann: less than three minutes of elegance in its purest form, as if, at the end of a splendid musical journey, the trio wanted to say that everything starts from there, the old masters. Indeed, technical command over the instrument is derived from a deep-seated classical background, which enables Enrico Zanisi to explore any land with astonishing confidence and awareness, considering that he is only twenty-three years old. (Jazz by new talent is still rich in influences of all kinds.) It’s difficult to recommend one song, rather than another: from its opening, “Claro”, to its closing dedicated to Schumann, this album is a clear round of enlightened, well-written tunes, with airy moods (“Equilibre”), havens of peace (“Au Revoir”) and captivating rhythms (“Power Fruits”). Keywords (is it also a pun with the “keyboard”, of which Zanisi is a master?) is the ideal sequel to Life Variations, recorded a year ago, which displayed a fully blossomed, defined personality. Same concept (Ermanno Basso in the production room, Rehmer e Paternesi as excellent co-leads), up a notch. The Roman pianist is definitely ready to enter the circle of Italy’s top jazzmen, as already stated by Musica Jazz magazine in 2012.
Recorded in Ludwigsburg on 12, 13 June 2013 at Bauer Studios
Recording engineer: Johannes Wohlleben

Saturday, September 17, 2016

2 Sem 2016 - Part Three


By Roger Farbey
Parallax (noun) "the apparent displacement of an observed object due to a change in the position of the observer." This phenomenon is exactly how the listener new to Phronesis' oeuvre would perceive this, their sixth album recorded within the last decade.
"67000 MPH" for example, is a whistle stop tour of musically-defined gravitational resistance. The mad tempo changes and frequent erratic structural modulations characterise this frenetic opening number penned by Anton Eger. But in spite of this wild compositional metamorphosing the music is absolutely gripping. The initial fractured nature of Ivo Neame's "Ok Chorale" is soon resolved with undulating waves of light and shade from all three musicians playing together almost telepathically.
The tentative start to Jasper Hoiby's "Stillness," via sombre arco bass, belies its subsequent robustness propelled by Neame's florid piano and Eger's tumultuous rhythmic pulse. A breathing space is afforded in Neame's delicate ballad, "Kite For Seamus" at odds with the ensuing juddering explosions of Høiby's "Just 4 Now," his bass lines vibrantly percolating through the morass of piano and drums.
There is a considerable staccato element to Eger's "Ayu," emphasised by Eger's driving percussion, but typically there are paradoxical passages of near-tranquillity too. In contrast to the melee, Høiby's ballad "A Silver Moon" exudes sensitive fragility and a keen and haunting melody. The spaces here allow bass and piano in particular to interact magnificently.
In sections of Ivo Neame's aptly titled "Manioc Maniac" his rambunctious piano begins at times to channel Cecil Taylor whereas the concluding number, Eger's "Rabat," gradually resolves into a more coalescent form, centred around repeated chord patterns which permit some release to the built-up tension, finally drawing the piece to a relatively sedate close.
In truth, Phronesis are one of the most exciting jazz trios around. Although initially bassist Høiby's brainchild, the band is democratic both in terms of the prominence of all three musicians, each of whom are virtuosos in their own right, and also by the equal sharing of the composing duties. But crucially, the sheer energy that's generated from this album is simply phenomenal.
Track Listing: 
67000 MPH; OK Chorale; Stillness; Kite For Seamus; Just 4 Now; Ayu; A Silver Moon; Manioc Maniac; Rabat.
Jasper Høiby: double bass; Ivo Neame: piano; Anton Eger: drums.

Gilson Peranzzetta & Amoy Ribas

Lançado em 2015.

1. Fator Rh (03:56)
2. Luiz Eça É pra Você (04:19)
3. Loa de um Barranqueiro (05:24)
4. Paz (04:15)
5. Croa de um Jongueiro (03:42)
6. Repercutindo (02:58)
7. Lá Vai o Cara (04:47)
8. Entre Rios (05:27)
9. Quase em Gana (04:38)
10. Chega de Verdades Queremos Promessas (03:27)
11. Paisagens de Vidro (05:19)
12. Aprendi Com Donato (03:29)

Ed Motta
Perpetual Gateways

By John L Walters 
Ed Motta’s music can be an acquired taste. This is not because his music is especially challenging or ‘difficult’ – though his use of harmony is far from simple. It’s more that Motta inhabits a world of his own making which seems far removed from the everyday machinations of the post-internet music industry, from the commercial landscape of pop music and from the day-to-day concerns of many listeners and musicians.
I guess that Motta, like Charles Mingus, like Martin Scorsese, Byron or Shelley is a kind of romantic, who yearns for times and places he is too young to have experienced at first hand. And, like a portrait painter in a time of abstract expressionism, or a machine code programmer trying to make sense of Facebook, he is an outsider who is bursting with inside information, the sort of person outlined by Brian Wilson in ‘I Guess I Just Wasn’t Made For This World.’
Motta has well honed skills as a singer-songwriter-instrumentalist, which makes him a rare artist in an age of delegators and generalists. Furthermore he appears to have a brain and intellectual appetite the size of a small, inhabitable planet, in possession of a vast amount of knowledge about cheese, wine, jazz, stage musicals, comic books, arcane instruments and the ‘Yacht Rock’ culture he explored in the album AOR. (This 2013 masterpiece lovingly recreated West Coast sounds of the late 1970s in Rio studios, with guests such as Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunik from Incognito and David T. Walker, and hip English lyrics by Rob Gallagher aka Earl Zinger.)
For Perpetual Gateways, Motta has set his controls for the heart of jazz-rock – with an emphasis on the jazz side of the hyphen. He hired musicians who were around at the time of the music’s heyday, pianists Greg Phillinganes and Patrice Rushenand flutist Hubert Laws, and younger guys such as bassist Cecil McBee Jr and trumpeter Curtis Taylor, who – like Motta – appear to have ingested that West Coast sound in their parents’ vinyl). The producer is Kamau Kenyatta, known for his fine work with Gregory Porter, and the album has the form of an LP: one side is Soul Gate; the other, Jazz Gate.
Side one opens with Captain’s Refusal, a jazzy yacht-rock song with nifty horn punctuation and close mic’d lead vocal tracking reminiscent of George Duke’s mid-70s albums. Phillinganes’ electric piano solo sneakily quotes from ‘Girl From Ipanema’ as if responding to Motta’s musical joke, and there is a splashy, flamboyant ending by drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith.
Hypochondriac’s Fun pairs bizarre lyrics with a perky, rolling groove that has a hint of Michael McDonald-era Doobie Brothers – it swings and rocks at the same time. If you listen on headphones, Motta’s vocal is almost in your ears, a whispering presence both calming and slightly weird. There’s a barnstorming acoustic piano solo by Phillinganes – you can imagine the other session players applauding after the take.
Good Intentions has an understated keyboard minor chord vamp and groove from the Donny Hathaway / Stevie Wonder school, with an arrangement (by Motta himself) that locks so neatly with the rhythm track that the horns can be mixed high. More classy acoustic piano (by Patrice Rushen) and drums that make you wish Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith had played on Donald Fagen’s sweet but somewhat underproduced Hold On To That Slinky Thing (on Sunken Condos).
Reader’s Choice is Motta’s take on a torch song, with a lovely chord sequence, and a fine trumpet coda by Curtis Taylor in which he channels the most dramatic soul ballads he’s ever internalised. However the English words (Motta’s own) are somewhat opaque. Even if Motta’s songs make Elton John’s repertoire sound tepid, Bernie Taupin has nothing to worry about.
The Soul Gate A-side comes to an end with Heritage Déjà Vu, the most explicitly Latin track on the whole album, with a nice turnaround between upbeat yacht rock and a jazzy chorus montuno that invokes the sound of Brazilian-themed jazz-rock albums from the 1970s: early Return To Forever, Flora Purim, Airto, George Duke and Earth Wind and Fire.
The Jazz Gate second side of Perpetual Gateways starts with Forgotten Nickname, another breezy ballad with magnificent flute by Hubert Laws.
The Owner is a hustling, up-beat hard bop song with colourful drums, piano vamps and trumpet/sax hooks that channel a 1960s Horace Silver influence. There’s an exuberant acoustic piano solo by Rushen plus more Taylor on trumpet and an arrangement by Kenyatta – it’s proper, full blooded jazz!
A Town in Flames opens with a blare of free-ish horns and cymbals that evoke Motta’s Aystelum (which itself was reminiscent of the intro to Steely Dan’s Everything Must Go). The track then hustles along like crazy and features another terrific solo by Laws.
I Remember Julie is an uncompromisingly forthright jazz piece driven along by a busy, ultrafast 4/4 swing time feel – like that of the best mid-60s jazz quartets and quintets. Motta demonstrates his vocal chops with a melody that could plausibly be a vocalese version of something from Miles Smiles.
Overblown Overweight, with its fleet 6/4 pulse, takes us down the path of ‘righteous jazz’ re-trodden so successfully by Gregory Porter, Kamasi Washington and a host of newer bands. There are great vocal harmonies, a roaring tenor sax solo by guest Charles Owens, and an electric piano solo by Rushen. Motta treats us to some scat singing. Defying its title, the track sounds lean and sleek.
Although Perpetual Gateways deliberately pushes buttons for those who loved this music the first time round, its strength lies in what Motta has done with the idiom to make it new. At a time when much popular music sounds rigid, arthritic, auto-tuned and overproduced, Perpetual Gateways is a generous, authentic treat – fast on its feet and bursting with energy.

Marcotulli/ Erskine/ Danielsson
Trio M/E/D

By Neri Pollastri
Questo disco live documenta la tournée fatta nel 2014 in trio da Rita Marcotulli, Palle Danielsson e Peter Erskine, antichi compagni di avventura (con il contrabbassista svedese la pianista romana registrò nel lontano 1993 il primo disco a proprio nome, lo splendido Night Caller) già avevano registrato un disco (uscito per la collana dell'Espresso) nel 2006. Di quella tournée viene qui ripreso il concerto tenutosi il 13 luglio a Genova.
Avvalendosi anche della tensione e della concentrazione di un concerto dal vivo, il disco mette assai bene in mostra il valore della formazione: pariteticità basata su una perfetta intesa artistica, ecletticità stilistica mai scissa dalla centralità della melodia, originalità del repertorio, fulgide qualità dei singoli. Di quest'ultimo fattore si ha un esempio emblematico fin dall'apertura, la prima delle due tracce di Danielsson dedicate ai pianeti: nel bel brano dalle curiose forme di derivazione barocca, il contrabbassista si produce in una bellissima introduzione in solitudine, che riprende di nuovo poco prima della conclusione. Il prologo di una performance di altissimo livello che ne prova la splendida forma.
Non sono da meno i due compagni: la Marcotulli -della quale è presente qui solo un brano, "This Is Not" -ha ovviamente più volte modo di mettersi in luce (tra i tanti momenti si ascolti il modo in cui conduce e varia espressivamente la seconda parte dell'ultimo brano, "Autumn Rose" di Erskine); il batterista, oltre a essere sempre molto presente nell'ordito paritetico (si senta lo scambio con la pianista nella seconda metà di "This Is Not"), domina ampiamente la scena nel suo "Bulgaria," ove si produce in un lungo assolo d'apertura.
Due gli omaggi, il primo a Monk , con un "Pannonica" certo più smussata rispetto alla spigolosità dell'originale ma comunque ricca di espressività, e l'altro, con un "Nightfall" sentitissimo e infatti molto bello, a Charlie Haden, che all'epoca del concerto era scomparso da appena due giorni.
Un gruppo di primo piano, dunque, che presenta una musica curatissima, moderna e viva, forse non particolarmente innovativa ma che unisce fruibilità e spessore, bellezza dei suoni e invenzioni improvvisative.
Track Listing:
Mars; This Is Not; Spells; Pannonica; ForJupiter; Nightfall; Bulgaria; Autumn Rose.
Rita Marcotulli: pianoforte; Palle Danielsson: contrabbasso; Peter Erskine: batteria.

Francis Hime
50 Anos de Música

By Biscoito Fino
Os 75 anos de vida e 50 de carreira de Francis Hime foram celebrados no palco, em grande estilo, ao som de uma trilha sonora generosa em clássicos e novas canções do compositor, intérprete, arranjador e pianista carioca. Registrado pelo Canal Brasil, o espetáculo comemorativo, batizado com o nome de Francis Hime - 50 Anos de Música, está sendo lançado em CD e DVD.

06. MINHA