Jean Claude Jones with friends

 

The CD is a big and beautiful piece of work. I like all the different pieces. They are all unique.The singer,(Yael Tai) and the saxophonist, (Gan Lev) are really great. You succeeded in creating unique universes, sounds, aand energies with your instrument. The disc is very personal. Bravo!” Joëlle Léandre

 

Jean Claude Jones Duos 2

“Very beautiful work.. and all the music is very personal” Joëlle Léandre

“ Bravo.Great sounds, energy and inventive interplay!” Mark Dresser

“ It is so great! I love the way it moves. All those duos never sound like the same modus op. Really some striking moments. The chemistry you get with the flutist and also the cellist is so strong.” Greg Cohen

“ Jones uses bass playing and technological wizardy to create a surreal soundscape teeming with life. The Kadima Collective music can only be described in terms of emotion. Duos II is recommended for reasons listeneres looking to regain the fascination and wonder music used to bring them”. Joshua Kline, Double Bassist Magazine

“ Jones, like Peter Kowald or other great bass players, releases the bass from its conventional role of timekeeping instrument. He abides with his own sense of fluid beat, and while he has studied the legacy of the bass through and through, his playing is very fresh and original, as if he's playing for the first time”. Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz

“ I became really absorbed in your whole vision. The variety you get out of the music keeps it moving forward and I can hear you directing the flow through your bass that always maintains interest and feeling. Nice soloists, too, who made the parts into a nice whole. Speaking of Stockhausen, your improvisations with the excellent vocalist reminded me of an early 60's electronic work of his "Der Gesang der Junglinge" from the Book of Daniel that is a fantastic audio experience to this day”. Alan Broadbant

“ Performances on the Kadima CDs range from divine to dreadful, with most listing towards the former attribute.”Ken Waxman, Jazz Word

 

Harold Rubin & JC Jones

“Ton duo avec Harold Rubin est vraiment tres beau, et tout ce que tu fais à la basse, beaucoup d'écoute aussi et de jeux, dans tous les sens du terme.c'est vraiment bien!!” Joëlle Léandre

“ This is the most satisfying release so far of Kadima Collective. Muse & Music documents two close musical partners and focuses on the wise and ironic beat poems of clarinet player and one of the forefathers of the Israeli Free Jazz scene, Harold Rubin... Rubin and Jones are aware that these poems create a certain atmosphere and feelings that influence and stimulate their open-ended improvisations, and try to follow these lines. Their openness, willingness to challenge themselves on any meeting and their playfulness and humor are captivating.” Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz

 

Josef Sprinzak & JC Jones The world is round



The World is Round is based on an original hebrew translation of Gertrude Stein's only children's story by Sprinzak. The story is a kind of animation to Stein's famous sentence, "A Rose is a Rose is a Rose". It Tells the story of a girl called Rose who asks herself: "would I be Rose if my name had not been Rose". The piece, which can be seen as a "children's story for adults", tries to reflect on the childhood experience when language is formed and our personal perception of the world tries to relate with a social-external view of it. 
The vocal-musical composition tries to touch this primal and innocent moment. The piece combines influences of avant-garde sound text art such as Dada songs or works of John Cage and Laurie Anderson with an investigation into the sounds of the hebrew language, and its relations between word, vocalization and image. The intermixing of the speech and the sounds produced by Jean Claude Jones creates "vocal images" of characters and landscapes.

“This release stands as a sincere document of very unique and inspiring performance and an excellent showcase of Sprinzak abilities as a highly skilled vocal artist.” Eyal Hareuveni, All All   All About Jazz



JC Jones & Gan Lev 

Languages

“This set of seventeen duets, most of them less than two minutes long and all recorded in one afternoon, is offering head-on collisions between two seasoned musicians that are full of primal ideas and an endless urge to investigate the sonorities of their instruments...” Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz

 

Temperamental Trio

Thanks to the noble work of trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj and guitarist Sharif Sehnaoui, news of the free music scene in Lebanon has reached a wider public in recent times, and was doing so even before recent events once more catapulted Lebanon centre stage. But we still know very little of developments in free improv south of the border in Israel, which makes the appearance of this set of 17 tracks more than welcome. Jean Claude Jones (bass and electronics), Loic Kessous (computer and electronics) and Stephen Horenstein (baritone saxophone) serve up a tasty mezze – oops that's a Lebanese dish.. but no matter, national boundaries do not exist in this music – of pieces ranging from tight, scrabbling insect music of "Dyad" (Horenstein's gnarly baritone reminds us of how great a player he is on those albums with Bill Dixon) to the spacier electronic landscapes of "Heavy Metal". None of the pieces outstays its welcome – only two tracks go beyond the four-minute mark – which also makes a welcome change, even if it leaves one a little hungry for more. Perhaps Kerbaj and Sehnaoui can negotiate the minefield of bureaucracy and get these members of Jerusalem's Kadima Collective to play at the next edition of their Irtijal Festival in Beirut. That'd be a more meaningful move in promoting cross-border understanding and reconciliation than the empty rhetoric of Mr Bush and Ms Rice.–DW



J.C. Jones: Hosting Myself

 

Outline and mien peg J.C. Jones as the prototypal improvising bassist—long and lanky, slumped into his instrument with a sort of focal intensity, like a surgeon—or a butcher—teasing at thick guts. The cover photo of Hosting Myself has all the bearings of an ancient iconology, and there are surely mystical undertones to that title—as if Jones's music were an act of self-sacrifice, a sonic communion.

As a bassist in the solo idiom, Jones engages among the holiest of practices; the ecclesiastics of Charles Mingus and Jimmy Garrison's ceremonial airs root a tradition steeped in mythology, in physical and spiritual force. Fitly, and somewhat uncannily, Jones's music comes from the holy hub of Jersualem, and its power is encompassing and universal.

Jones' Kadima Collective touts the phrase "more than music, and there is a sense of the transcendental in Hosting Myself. What is "more, though, is both surpassing and remarkably grounded—like all truly fine solo improvisation—an abstract sense that there is more to the performance than the spectacle of percussion, wires and vibrating strings. Jones's most immediate precedent, the solo bass pioneer Barre Phillips, has that "sense, too; Jones and Phillips share a knowledge of the bass's penetrating force, its intrinsic soulfulness. Jones's bristling, terpsichorean lines, echoing to the point of mantra, owe a clear debt to Phillips' resonant solo work.

A second, somewhat more oblique reference point is Derek Bailey. Jones gravitates toward a "purer sonic improvisation that leans on timbral, often toneless rhythms as "motivic centers. The use of electronics on Hosting Myself multiplies the density of Jones' sonic architecture, coaxing a visceral quality from the strings. The deadly focus of these pieces, and their commitment to the tiniest report, recall Bailey's shamanistic character; there is spirituality here, in the sheer act of improvising, summoning—and not merely playing—sounds.

As with Bailey's music, there is no explicit spirituality to these recordings. Doubtless, though, there is something magical, almost holy, about improvisation of this nature; Jones touches on all the right levels and degrees, convening a fine offering. By KARL A.D. EVANGELISTA

 

 

The JC Jones recording is something else altogether. Jones has gone back to music that he's recorded over the years and reorganized and reassembled the originals. "ReComp," says Jones, "involves the deconstruction, selection, rearrangement and reconstruction of the material. ...it radically affects the feeling and flow of the music." He works in different configurations and this audacious experiment in reordering gives a new play to the improvisations of his cohorts (mostly Israeli, but bassist Avishai Cohen and saxophonist Ned Rothenberg are more well known here). This is a very personal and subjective approach on the part of the artist and it completely and remarkably changes the sense of possibilities.

So Israel is most certainly a place where the notion of self-expression in new-sounding music is vigorously thriving. All About Jazz

 

A l’improviste 

Barre Phillips/Joëlle Léandre

Live in Concert 

Mark Dresser/Denman Maroney

by Steve Dalachinsky `

 

 


A l’improviste features the duo of Barre Phillips and Joëlle Léandre, recorded recently in Paris, and appearing on the same Israeli label as the Dresser/Maroney outing. It is comparable to thatcollaboration in two ways. The tunes are completely improvised and there is a free-flowing, intermingling of similar, yet individual, voices. And like Dresser and Maroney, Phillips and Léandre exhibit a range from skewered dissonance to intimate moments of tenderness. Both Phillips and Léandre also make use of the human voice, singing, talking, vocalizing in tongues, especially on the last track where there is an almost comic interchange. ALLABOUTJAZZ-NEW YORK

Live in Israel​ Joelle Leandre

The selection of recordings from her Israel tour are published in a CD of solos and another with three very different groups: a sextet with Ariel Shibolet on soprano, Albert Beger on tenor, Assif Tsahar on bass clarinet, Daniel Sarid on piano, Haggai Fershtman on drums, a trio with Steve Horenstein on winds and JC Jones on bass, and a duo with oudist Sameer Makhoul. The sextet piece grows from an initial frenzy. In the subsequnet tracks allotted to breakdown groups, the winds seem to find each its spectral position rotating on top of the dialogue between bass, piano and drums. The bass-heavy trio makes for some fascinating listening and gets very funny with the vocal part. The bass-oud duo has some static moments, but sometimes she hits just the right pitch to enter her partner's musical world. All in all, Joelle Léandre in Israel has a lot of absorbing music and is a good overall representation of a musical adventure.

Francesco Martinelli©2009

 

One of the two CDs that make up Joëlle Léandre Live in Israel (Kadima KCR 17 verifies her solo skill. This showcase includes exposition, theme variations and finale, without being conventionally programmatic. Equally strident and soothing, her string strokes include thick rhythmic scrubs and spiccato patterning that produce not only initial tones, but also corresponding echoes. Lyrical and romantic on one hand, her harsh string sweeping also expands with snaps, taps and banjo-like frails. Sometimes she vocalizes as she plays, adding another dimension to the performance.

Commanding on her own, she inserts herself into groups without fissure. In a sextet on the companion CD featuring Israeli reedists, her triple-stopped advances lock in with the horns’ contrapuntal key-slipping and trill spraying. Never upsetting balanced reed bites, her sul tasto expansions amplify the crunching dynamics of pianist Daniel Sarid, while her wood-slapping pulse operates in tandem with the flams and bounces of drummer Haggai Fershtman. In trio interaction with bassist JC Jones and saxophonist Stephen Horenstein, she lets the other bassist time-keep with col legno stops, while she string-snaps and pumps. Her bel canto warbling not only adds another texture, but also joins in double counterpoint with the saxophonist’s rubato tonguing.

 

CD 2: featuring Assif Tsahar bass clarinet , Ariel Shibolet soprano saxophone, Albert Beger tenor saxophone, Haggai Fershtman drums, Daniel Sarid piano trio with Steve Horenstein barytone,soprano saxophones and flute, J-C Jones bass,Sameer Makhoul oud.

When French contrabass legend, Joelle Leandre, visited Israel in November of 2007, she played live and recorded a number of fine solo, duo and group sessions for the Kadima label. Her fine duo with Barre Phillips, has already been released and now we have a great double disc of her solo concert plus a disc of improvisations wit a number of Israel's greatest players like Assif Tsahar, Albert Beger, and Steve Horenstein on saxes and Daniel Sarid on piano. The solo set is indeed superb and nicely-recorded. Ms. Leandre is a master improviser and always excels in the solo situation. I found this set to be quite intense and spirited. While listening to this, I was amazed by the dense, throttling low-end sounds that Joelle was making. The overall sound of her bass and various bowed, plucked and bang-on-the-strings sounds that she employs are nothing less then astonishing. Joelle Leandre is a free spirit and her contrabass playing captures the true spirit of freedom in its many flowered forms. It doesn't get any better than this!

   The second disc features Joelle improvising with a sextet, a trio and a duo of Israeli musicians. The sextet is first and it consists of three reeds players, piano, bass and drums. We know Assif Tsahar from his many years as a downtown tenor titan & bass clarinetist, Albert Beger from discs he has sent us in the past with William Parker & Hamid Drake and pianist Daniel Sarid from discs that Assif or Ori Kaplan once left us. Joelle's feisty bass fits just right with these other strong improvisers. The sextet sounds swell since no one overplays, we often hear sub-groups mix in different combinations with occasional somber sections. One track starts with two great acoustic bassists and piano and it is outstanding, especially when both bassists are bowing. Saxist Steve Horenstein has played with Bill Dixon in the past and here plays bari & soprano sax & flute. He plays strong simmering bari sax with the two bassists, Joelle and JC Jones. Jean Claude Jones is fine musician who helped organize these sessions and runs the Kadima label. JC and Joelle work very well together, their basses always compliment each other. It is difficult to tell them apart at times. The final two pieces feature Sameer Makhoul on oud and Joelle on bass, with both doing some effective vocal sounds. These pieces are more laid back, moody and prayer-like and provide a perfect ending for this wonderful disc. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery

 

Retour sur Joëlle Léandre après la chronique de Joël Pagier parue dans le n° 152. Déambulation solitaire d'abord, puis rencontres avec des musiciens israéliens, ce double album sonne comme un carnet de voyage en deux parties.

Dans le disque en solo, la musicienne semble se mettre en condition pour les rencontres qui suivront — je parle bien sûr de la construction de l'album et pas du déroulement réel du voyage. Le périple dans l'instrument et dans son alliance avec le corps qui le joue commence par les failles, les manques, les trous, avant qu'une second plage n'affiche la plénitude remise en cause par la troisième, avec une impro vocale sur "j'ai raté la patate". La quatrième enchaîne des passages inquiets et la cinquième, à partir d'une instabilité sonore radicale, bâtit une cohérence jusqu'à la lourdeur et la fatigue puis une monodie décharnée et un peu folle se dresse et se résout en un rien. Le sixième s'ouvre sur des déplacements affolés de petits animaux et se développe en masses brutales au dessus desquelles Joëlle Léandre bâtit des lancées de voix, extrapolations d'une respiration haletante soutenue par un zézaiement d'archet et des ponctuations violentes sur la caisse. La septième improvisation partage avec Anthony Braxton le sentiment de parcourir sans repos des volées d'escaliers dans des géométries hors du commun. La contrebassiste y apporte une insistance charnelle du souffle, un épuisement physique dans une construction aérienne, et pour finir un chant qui est presque celui du vielleux à la fin du Voyage d'hiver de Schubert

Dans le second cd la contrebassiste fait des rencontres. En sextet pour des morceaux free jazz, Joëlle Léandre claque les portes et laisse libre cours à sa hargne avec la rare capacité tragique de toucher aux deux pôles de la rage totale et d'une sublimation musicale. Si la pertinence de ses trios avec Jean-Claude Jones (cb) et Steve Horenstein (saxs, fl) m'a moins frappé, en revanche les deux morceaux avec Sameer Makhoul font entendre d'abord ses hésitations devant la place à prendre au côté du oud, puis la montée en puissance de la contrebasse et de la voix jusqu'à prendre le pouvoir sur la musique. Mais ce moment est très vite suivi d'un très beau mouvement de laisser aller pour partager finalement une musicalité apaisée.- Noël TACHET

 

A masterful and distinctive soloist, French bassist Joëlle Léandre is versatile in any musical situation. These impressive CDs showcase her improvisational skills, while elsewhere the conservatory-trained Parisian is as comfortable with notated music, often performing studies written for her by composers such as John Cage and Giancinto Scelsi.

One of the two CDs that make up Joëlle Léandre Live in Israel (Kadima KCR 17 verifies her solo skill. This showcase includes exposition, theme variations and finale, without being conventionally programmatic. Equally strident and soothing, her string strokes include thick rhythmic scrubs and spiccato patterning that produce not only initial tones, but also corresponding echoes. Lyrical and romantic on one hand, her harsh string sweeping also expands with snaps, taps and banjo-like frails. Sometimes she vocalizes as she plays, adding another dimension to the performance.

Commanding on her own, she inserts herself into groups without fissure. In a sextet on the companion CD featuring Israeli reedists, her triple-stopped advances lock in with the horns’ contrapuntal key-slipping and trill spraying. Never upsetting balanced reed bites, her sul tasto expansions amplify the crunching dynamics of pianist Daniel Sarid, while her wood-slapping pulse operates in tandem with the flams and bounces of drummer Haggai Fershtman. In trio interaction with bassist JC Jones and saxophonist Stephen Horenstein, she lets the other bassist time-keep with col legno stops, while she string-snaps and pumps. Her bel canto warbling not only adds another texture, but also joins in double counterpoint with the saxophonist’s rubato tonguing.

 

De dag dat Joëlle Léandre geldt als de standaard waaraan haar collega-bassisten afgemeten worden, zal een zwarte zijn voor heel wat muzikanten. De technische bagage van deze Française (met een verleden in het Ensemble Intercontemporain en bij John Cage) is ondertussen spreekwoordelijk en daarvan is deze dubbel-cd een zoveelste rechtvaardiging. Ze beheerst alle registers van het instrument: van flageoletten tot laag brommen, of het nu gaat om tokkelen, strijken of slaan op de snaren. Helemaal indrukwekkend wordt het wanneer ze verschillende technieken tegelijk aanwendt, zoals in een magisch klinkende passage in haar zesde solo-improvisatie.


De beheersing van haar instrument stelt Léandre in staat om een rijk klankpallet op te roepen met één instrument. Ze dreunt, raast, trekt mistgordijnen op met tremolo's, genereert diepe drones, zorgt voor percussieklanken en manipuleert ijle boventonen door het perfect controleren van flageoletten. Ook haar gebruik van dubbelgrepen is verbluffend. Ze zijn niet alleen perfect geïntoneerd, maar Léandre laat ze ook schuiven of evolueren, zodat er een melodie kan ontstaan uit een holle bourdonbegeleiding.


Op de eerste plaat – gevuld met solo-improvisaties – laat ze horen dat dit technisch meesterschap ten dienste staat van de muziek. Nu eens werkt ze hiervoor met vage ideeën – soms niet meer dan een beweging – dan weer hanteert ze afgebakende motieven, echte melodieën of vingervlugge loopjes. Opvallend is echter vooral dat de muziek steeds organisch blijft. Hier geen zappende structuren, maar een duidelijke muzikale ontwikkeling die meer dan eens eindigt waar die begonnen is. Alles blijft bijgevolg heel bewust en gewild klinken: Léandre is niet alleen haar instrument, maar ook haar eigen ideeën meester. Het is dan ook extra bevreemdend om te horen hoe het tweede en de zevende solostuk een open einde krijgen, alsof Léandre er plots genoeg van heeft. Idem voor de fade-outs die mee enkele tracks (op beide cd's) ontsieren.


Door de mogelijkheden van de bassiste krijgt elke solo wel een eigen karakter; zo staat de eerste bol van de grote contrasten en klinkt de tweede veel meer melodisch. De vijfde wordt voorzien van een oosters tintje door de glijdende dubbelgrepen, terwijl deze zevende gebouwd is rond de techniek van het slaan op de snaren. Toch zijn ook hier de actie en de variatie gegarandeerd: Léandre laat de techniek verschijnen in een ronddraaiende ritmiek, in samenklanken of als een drone.


Op de tweede plaat is de bassiste te horen in duo-, trio- en sextetverband. In eender welke bezetting blijft ze prominent aanwezig, zowel in het geluid als wat ideeën betreft, maar ze laat ook veel ruimte voor haar collega's, waardoor de verschillende combinaties een heel eigen gevoel kunnen ontwikkelen. Het meest homogeen klinkt het trio met collega-bassist JC Jones en saxofonist Steve Horenstein. Niet alleen is er een grote eensgezindheid over de muzikale ideeën, de combinatie levert ook een prachtig versmeltend geluid op. De drie worden drie evenwaardige partners die samen één verhaal vertellen. Het is in deze homogeen klinkende setting dat Léandre's muzikale vocabularium ideaal tot haar recht komt. 


In het sextet is daar logischerwijs minder ruimte voor. Zeker niet wanneer in het eerste stuk de groep in blok loos gaat. Deze explosieve aanpak, gecombineerd met het lo-fi karakter van de opname (ontstemde piano, rammelende drums, onevenwichtige balans, ruw totaalgeluid) doet deze opnames klinken als een echo van oude FMP-releases uit de oerdagen van de Europese geïmproviseerde muziek. Wanneer er gekozen wordt voor kleinere bezettingen binnen het zeskoppige geheel (met daarin ook drie rietblazers) komt er meer ruimte voor onderlinge communicatie. De verschillende episodes waarin de stukken dan uiteen vallen, zijn bij momenten van een fragiliteit die veel ruimte laat voor details. In een dergelijke omgeving wordt duidelijk hoe lenig Léandre's bas klinkt: wanneer ze in de laatste sextetimprovisatie in dialoog gaat met de basklarinet van Assif Tsahar moet ze op geen enkel moment onderdoen in wendbaarheid. 


De meest opmerkelijke combinatie waarin de Franse bassiste op deze live-opnames te horen is, is die met de udspeler Sameer Makhoul. De twee stukken van dit duo zijn bij de esthetisch meest gave van het album en zijn vooral melodisch gericht: zeker het eerst, dat helaas wat te veel blijft hangen in een voorspelbaar, meditatief-oosters sfeertje. De samenhang is er, maar exploratie en variatie ontbreken. Niet in het minst omdat Léandre in deze situatie geen gebruik maakt van haar klankarsenaal. Flageoletten in plaats van de eerder klassieke en steunende tonen hadden hier een hele meerwaarde kunnen betekenen. In het tweede stuk is er al meer ruimte voor op- en afbouw, maar ook hier blijven de grote ideeën of risico's achterwegen. 


'Live in Israel' laat, voor wie daar nog van overtuigd moest worden, horen dat Joëlle Léandre niet alleen tot de grootste bassisten (ongeacht geslacht), maar ook tot de grootste improvisatoren gerekend mag worden. Enkele spijtige beslissingen op het einde van tracks en een paar minder boeiende passages (voornamelijk op de groepsplaat) kunnen niet verstoppen welke technische bagage en muzikaliteit ze in het rond kan strooien. En op deze dubbel-cd is ze daar niet bepaald zuinig mee.

 

 


Mark Dresser & Denman Maroney -
Live In Concert (Kadima, 2009)

This is the third duo album by bassist Mark Dresser and pianist Denman Maroney, after "Duologues" and "Time Changes". In contrast to some of the other material by the two players, this one is fully improvised in three long pieces. The first 30 minute track was recorded live at Vision Festival on June 10, 2008, the two other pieces date from a performance in Chicago in 2001. It's hard to call this jazz, since none of the two plays anything which ressembles anything which could fit in a category. It is music that evolves, following its own logic of feeling, interaction and sonic pallette: highly unpredictable yet very focused. Maroney's "hyperpiano" becomes a different instrument in his hands, with all kind of materials muting the strings, vibrating along, or any other kind of bizarre sound that can be extracted from your standard piano. The new sounds that are created push Dresser along on the same route, re-inventing the bass as well. This does not mean that this music is experimental per se. Art is at the center of what they do, using their skills to generate feelings and intellectual play, with at times even beautiful passages, and through all the sonic novelty, jazz, blues and classical music emerge, like wisps of memory, in a great synthesis of sound. It is better than the two previous albums, soberer and richer at the same time, and strangely enough more focused despite the difference in recording dates.

Mark Dresser and Denman Maroney’s Live in Concert is taken from gigs at two different venues. The first track, performed at Vision Festival XIII in 2008, is a 31-minute piece which further demonstrates why these artists are leaders in the field on their respective instruments when it comes to extended techniques and the creation of new inventive, nearly unearthly sounds. The second half of the CD consists of two pieces recorded in concert at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs in 2001 and shows not only the long partnership and affinity these two have for each other but also their different approaches. On “Ediface”, a 23-minute piece that closes the disc, Maroney concentrates more on the keyboard than the innards of the piano while Dresser engages in some very hard plucking. We are confronted with the constructing and deconstructing of sound and the literal transfiguration of this sound into forces beyond feeling and thought. 

 

Bassist Mark Dresser is a veteran of Anthony Braxton's quartet and Denman Maroney is the creator of the term "hyperpiano," used to distinguish his approach from that of other pianists using prepared techniques for piano. Those two factors alone say enough about where their music is coming from, which by default arguably places great emphasis on where they take it.

The program they conjure from out of the ether here covers a number of bases without losing either focus or clarity. From the start it's clear that their happily shared vocabulary is an extensive one, and by the time the ninth minute of the lengthy "Starmelodics" roles around the dialog is both intimate and expansive. Maroney's supplements of the piano's traditional sound range encompass not only plenty of work under the lid but also its use as a percussion instrument. Neither of these factors is anything new as such but that doesn't alter the fact that the resulting music is unusual in the degree of its expansiveness. Dresser and Maroney's dialog is emphatically of an order that could be taken up at a moment's notice, and for all of the music's sometimes unworldly air the fact remains that when it coalesces in relatively conventional fashion, as it does at approximately the fifteen minute mark of the same piece, it does so with all the uncontrived but magical logic of musicians thinking as one.

By comparison with what precedes it, the following "Bozcaada" is even more concentrated, and not merely by dint of its relative brevity. The underlying mood of the music is a touch more fractious and indeed less expansive but the passing preoccupation with transcending the limits of conventional tonality makes for something intriguing, especially in view of Dresser's near percussive use of the bow and the presence of sounds not easily attributable to either of the instruments present. Maroney shows how vital the hyperpiano is to his method of expression by the facile way in which he makes a keyboard instrument sound like anything but, but for him that's no end in itself. - NIC JONES

 

MARK DRESSER/DENMAN MARONEY - Live In Concert (Kadima 18; Israel) Featuring Mark Dresser on contrabass and Denman Maroney on hyper-piano, recorded live at last year's (2008) Vision Fest.  The final show of the first night featured the longtime duo of Denman Maroney on prepared piano and Mark Dresser on contrabass. This duo has worked together in different combinations for more than a decade, and you could tell by the way they explore sounds in similar ways. Denman works inside the piano with metal bowls and uses other objects to mute and manipulate the strings. Mark as well is a master of exploring odd and unique sounds on his acoustic bass. They both bend their strings in ways that make it hard to tell who is doing what without looking closely. Their set unfolded in an organic way with a variety of eerie sounds that were not always melodic, yet remained effective and fascinating nonetheless. Their set had a dream-like quality with odd twisted sounds floating in a hypnotic haze. - BLG

 

Enregistrés à Chicago en 2001 et au Vision Festival 2008, Maroney au piano et Dresser à la basse semblent étirer indéfiniment un fil musical dans une activité fébrile et passionnante. Les deux sources utilisées pour ce disque sont d'une unité sonore et musicale frappante, les deux musiciens manifestent une très grande maîtrise à la fois des techniques musicales classiques et du son qui est la matière première de l'improvisation. Au point qu'ils semblent se laisser jouer par la musique. Être attentif avec cette acuité, agir avec cette vitesse, cette précision et cette élégance de vérité est un art profond et joyeux. Le piano de Denman Maroney, hyperpiano ainsi qu'il le nomme puisqu'il a fait de l'usage du piano préparé une étude très approfondie (disponible sur son site), est un déluge qui tombe sur le crâne de l'auditeur, une mousson de bonheur sonore. Mark Dresser n'est pas en reste de créativité, et traite sa contrebasse comme du chewing-gum pour l'adapter à toutes les configurations. Le duo écoule sa musique comme le fait un ruisseau, à chaque instant se choisit la ligne de plus grande pente, imprévisible, sans cesse réorienté. Un grand disque.

Noël TACHET

 

You'll be happy to know that the following has been selected by AllAboutJazz-New York as a "BEST OF 2008" in the below category, to be published in our January 2009 issue:

 

AllAboutJazz-New York Best Performance of the Year (selected by Laurence Donohue-Greene)

(Jun.10th) Denman Maroney/Mark Dresser @Clemente Soto Velez (Vision Festival)

 @Vision Festival - June 11, 2008


Thanks and congratulations, and keep up all the great work you do for the art of music!

-LDG.


Peter Kowald & Vinny Golia - Mythology 

For all practical purposes, I labeled this review as a sax-bass duo, but in reality Vinny Golia plays Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano, piccolo, tarogato, Ab clarinet, contralto clarinet, baritone sax, alto flute, sopranino, A clarinet, chinese flute and G flute. Kowald plays his bass throughout, with half the tracks pizzi and half arco. Both giants of free improvisation had actually never played together, met shortly when Kowald was traveling in the US, recorded this performance, and they actually never managed to even discuss what to do with the material, and then Kowald passed away. Luckily bassist JC Jones from Kadima Records asked Golia whether he had any material with bassists, and that's the how this album came to be.
About the music : fourteen relative short tracks, on which both musicians play what comes to mind, yet the ease with which they find a common language is possibly the most stunning part of this album. Some pieces are abstract, some more melodic, some are abrasive, some tantric, some are intense, some hypnotic, others are calm and subdued, yet despite all the variation and the differences in mood and musical exploration, just a few scene-setting notes from one musician are sufficient to have the other enter the dialogue in the same language. The breadth of their musical baggage and the incredible scope of sounds they can get out their instruments make this possible. Two examples. On the sixth track Kowald's arco is accompanied by low monotonal tantric singing on his part, with Golia's tarogato playing a very sad and melodious line over it, and gradually they build up the momentum, the volume and the power of the piece, slowing down to a state of peace. On the twelfth track, the longest one, Kowald starts with repetitive arco phrasing, and Golia enters softly with circular breathing on his A clarinet, and when the arco moves into the higher regions with piercing sounds, the clarinet goes up too, with screaching phrases, then going down again, then up again, like two birds in full flight chasing one another, interchanging positions about who follows who, and the improvisation indeed has something of the flight of the bumble-bee in all its rapid progression. Every track has its own story, its own interaction. A rich album by two creative minds who know/knew what music is all about.

 

Kowald and Golia have been valued players in the realms of the free for long enough to have established their musical identities, but what makes all the difference in this program is the extra-musical knowledge they bring to bear.

Golia brings a veritable arsenal of instruments whilst Kowald employs various techniques. Both of these points lend the music depth as well as the substance that can be taken for granted. As if to emphasize the importance of this, the track titles refer to the technique Kowald uses and the instrument Golia plays respectively. Thus "Arco / Soprano" is a model of how to extract the maximum out of relatively minimal resources. It's no mean achievement of Golia's that he manages to overtly evoke no-one other than himself on the straight horn. The music benefits accordingly, with both players being servants of the moment in the most positive sense.

"Arco / Contra Alto Clarinet" is shaded to a negligible extent by Anthony Braxton's use of the contrabass model of that horn, but once Golia gets the better of his initial preoccupation with the instrument's lower registers, the music takes flight. Kowald coaxes sounds out of his bass beyond the tempered note, but the very anti-developmental stance the duo takes has the effect of making the music even more than usually resonant.

On "Arco / Bass Clarinet" they prove how in thrall they are to the passing moment. Golia again proves to be his own man on an instrument which could be said to have an ambivalent place in the history of the music. Here he's at his most effective in the instrument's lower registers, while at times it seems as though Kowald is everywhere, his accommodation with the moment tempered by the demands of the partnership.

If the tension between resolution and irresolution is never resolved here, it might just be down to the fact that the musicians had so many considerations on their minds in the moment. "Arco / Sopranino" in essence is the measure of that implied agreement not to agree, but even so, Kowald's stealth seems to undermine the impression anyway. While Golia falls back upon rapidly and barely articulated notes, the bassist galumphs along at times, not so much in Golia's wake as alongside of him whilst looking out upon radically different vistas. - NIC JONES  

 

 

Wild Strings Musings
Jean Claude

The Reincarnation of Jean Claude Jones

Israeli, Jerusalem-based musician Jean Claude (JC) Jones is one of the most influential figures in the local small and familiar scene of free-improvised music. He was a teacher and still is a mentor to many aspiring young musicians, double bass player who was eager to experiment, and later as the founder of the Kadima Collective label that offered his work and projects of great double bass players like Joëlle Léandre, Mark Dresser, Barre Phillips and Tetsu Saitoh.

Jones has struggled for over a decade with Multiple Sclerosis, which forced him to give up playing the double bass last year. But as a true musician and spirited improviser, he reinvented himself as a guitarist, putting his classical guitar on his lap, and challenging himself to produce fascinating sounds from it.

Jones recorded these untitled solo improvisations without any intention to publish them but rather to share his new sonic adventure with close friends, who in their turn encouraged him to release it as a limited-edition disc. This DIY album is all homemade - the recording, mastering and even designing its cover. Its cover only mentions that on the first and eighth pieces Jones overdubbed himself so both pieces would sound like duets.

At first listening these improvisations sound abstract, flowing with free associative ideas, but with no sense of coherence. However, on later listenings you can notice how Jones incorporates into these spontaneous improvisations slide bluesy scales, explores loose, resonating percussive patterns, some bring to mind the sound African thumb-piano, kalimba, others the Japanese koto, and creates mysterious, cinematic textures. All with an insistent search of the timbral spectrum of the guitar - its body and strings, often manipulated and prepared. - By Eyal Hareuveni

 

 

Whatever It Takes To Make A Sound
Jean Claude (JC) Jones / Denis Fournier -

Jones and French self-taught drummer Denis Fournier collaborated in a short-lived trio in the early nineties, soon after Jones completed his studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and before he relocated to Jerusalem. This time, Fournier sent some free-associative, improvised ideas to Jones by e-mail, Jones chose the pieces he liked, edited some and added his lap-style acoustic guitar. Fournier says that both did not intend to overlook the perilous situation of Jones but to fulfill it with improvised music.

The untitled, short pieces radiate a sense of an organic, emphatic interplay and clever tension building as if Jones and Fournier were playing together in a small room. Both are adventurous souls who share a need to search and to stretch their sonic envelopes. Still, Fournier is the one that suggests the course on most of the pieces and Jones is that one that comments and abstracts his ideas. There are enough playful moments here, a kind of tortured swing on the third piece, irony and humor on the fifth piece where both sound as if deconstructing each other ideas and an intriguing story-like narrative on the sixth piece.

 

   

 

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