December 17, 2009
Nilan Perera’s reviews of Firehouse 12 Records‘ two latest releases, Taylor Ho Bynum & SpiderMonkey Strings’ Madeleine Dreams and Bill Dixon’s Tapestries for Small Orchestra, are now posted at Exclaim.ca
“The music is performed by a wonderful ensemble,” Perera explains in his review of Madeleine Dreams, “with the music providing a strong and compelling counterpoint to the succinct yet supremely poetic text. The mix of composition and improvisation provides a focused yet flexible collaborator to the images evoked by the sometimes sung, sometimes spoken text, and is never contrived or obvious. The remaining three pieces by Ellington, Coleman and Sun Ra are also infused with a sly originality, completing a very satisfying work.”
“[Tapestries for Small Orchestra] marks Bill Dixon‘s 84th year in a life creating and developing one of the most singularly identifiable and personal visions in music,” Perera writes. “While this double CD set of music bristles with the glacial counterpoints, sprays of energy and the throbbing subtexts of tension that define his music, it has in some ways a rawness and presence that sound more restrained than in previous work. This aspect has been ably spelled out in the accompanying documentary on his process, in which his focus on the playing aspect of limited written material (sometimes fragments and sketches) is detailed. This CD/DVD set is not only a great set of music, but an object lesson in process.”
November 25, 2009
Exclaim!‘s December issue features its annual Year In Review in which each contributor writes about one release “that excited them most this year.”
David Ryshpan, contributor to the magazine’s Destination Out section, chose Darcy James Argue’s Infernal Machines (New Amsterdam Records).
“Vancouver-born, Brooklyn-based Argue has expanded the big band vocabulary,” he writes. “A protégé of masters Bob Brookmeyer and Maria Schneider, he bridges the gaps between new classical, indie rock and jazz. Argue’s masterful use of mutes and woodwind doubles, his harmonic sophistication, attention to form, and a secret weapon in guitarist Sebastian Noelle, place Infernal Machines at the forefront of 21st century jazz.”
August 27, 2009
This week, Exclaim.ca, the Web site for the Canadian monthly music magazine, Exclaim!, posted new reviews of both KLANG’s Tea Music (Allos Documents) and Harris Eisenstadt‘s Canada Day (Clean Feed).
Glen Hall writes, “Chicago clarinettist James Falzone’s quartet, KLANG, comes on strong, with bold playing, smart compositions and empathetic group interactions. What makes for such pleasing listening is the beautiful blending of the warm clarinet and the glistening sheen of the vibes—a really cool combination.”
“His quintet features some great young talent that attack his challenging compositions with passion,” explains David Dacks in his early review of Canada Day. “Eisenstadt’s songs deftly balance complex arrangements with subtle, elastic grooves. There are elements of post-rock, ’60s Blue Note sounds (à la Bobby Hutcherson) and West African styles—another Eisenstadt specialty.”
Tea Music was released this week and Canada Day hits the streets on October 6th. Both bands will be on tour this fall. Click here for details.
August 6, 2009
David Ryshpan reviews Firehouse 12 Records‘ latest releases in the new issue of Exclaim!
He calls bassist/composer John Hébert‘s Byzantine Monkey “a strong debut of a new band of old colleagues.” The group, which is also called Byzantine Monkey, features saxophonists Tony Malaby and Michaël Attias, flautist/clarinetist Adam Kolker, drummer Nasheet Waits and percussionist Satoshi Takeishi.
In his review of Sided Silver Solid, the second release from keyboardist/composer Carl Maguire’s longstanding group Floriculture, he writes, “the new, expanded version of the group provides him with a vast range of colours at his disposal, and Maguire dispatches the various combinations effectively.”
He adds, “The front line of violist Stephanie Griffin, with her background in contemporary classical music, and Oscar Noriega’s alto sax and clarinets blend in novel ways with Maguire’s piano, bolstered by the rock solid rhythm section of bassist John Hébert and drummer Dan Weiss. The tunes are marked by angular yet captivating melodies.”
February 25, 2009
A new review of Gerald Cleaver/William Parker/Craig Taborn’s Farmers By Nature (AUM Fidelity) is now posted here.
Exclaim! contributor Nilan Perera, who recently reviewed the new David S. Ware release, Shakti, also on AUM Fidelity, writes:
“What sets this CD apart is the degree of dynamism found in the music. Each player seems to be acutely aware of the progression of the music and adheres to the methodology by which one can play well by not playing at all. This is music of diversity, thoughtfulness and commitment, and an object lesson in spontaneous composition.”
February 2, 2009
Late last week, saxophonist/composer David S. Ware‘s latest release, Shakti (AUM Fidelity), earned reviews in two prominent international places, the BBC Web site and Exclaim!, a monthly Canadian publication.
The BBC’s Chris Jones called Shakti “a mighty return for one of the greatest players alive today,” while Exclaim‘s Nilan Perera added, “Clear composition and strong, beautiful, connected improvising make this a most satisfying CD.”
December 16, 2008
The Canadian music and culture magazine, Exclaim!, has named guitarist/composer Mary Halvorson one of its Artists To Watch in 2009 in the December 2008/January 2009 issue.
Ms. Halvorson is one of the three artists chosen in the publication’s Destination Out section as part of its Year in Review.
Nate Dorward writes, “Her new trio disc Dragon’s Head shows off her tough, richly atmospheric picking, full of just-right dissonances in the tradition of Monk or Andrew Hill. It also reveals a striking composer, her tunes elegant networks of gear-changes, silences and felicitous repetitions that are less a personal style than an entire musical language.”