This week a mix of brand new releases and classic recordings. There are fascinating new albums from Gard Nilssen, Steve Tibbetts, Daniel Carter with Evan Strauss, 5-Track, and Sheridan Riley, Alex Fournier, Trevor Watts & Liam Genocky and Brian Eaton. I also have some older releases from Elvin Jones, Pharoah Sanders, Clifford Jordan, Maria Schneider and Oliver Lake.
- Show Intro 00:00
- Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity “Altaret” from Elastic Wave (ECM) 00:54
- Steve Tibbetts “Full Moon Dogs” from Hellbound Train (ECM) 05:00
- Daniel Carter, Evan Strauss, 5-Track, Sheridan Riley “Aquarian Mars” from The Uproar in Bursts of Sound and Silence (577 Records) 14:47
- Alex Fournier/Triio “An Intrepid Toad” from Six-Ish Plateaus (Elastic Recordings) 22:03
- Brian Eaton “Clothed With The Sun, Moon and Stars” from All The Earth Will Mourn (Eatin’ Records) 27:25
- Elvin Jones “Sometimes Joie” from The Ultimate (Blue Note) 33:04
- Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra “Movement 1” from Promises (Luaka Bop) 44:00
- Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity “Spending Time With Ludvig” from Elastic Wave (ECM) 50:38
- Clifford Jordan & The Magic Triangle “Bleecker Street” from On Stage Vol. 3 (Steeplechase) 54:46
- Steve Tibbetts “Black Temple” from Hellbound Train (ECM) 1:00:42
- Alex Fournier/Triio “Six-ish” from Six-Ish Plateaus (Elastic Recordings) 1:10:35
- Maria Schneider Orchestra “Bluebird” from Data Lords (ArtistShare) 1:19:00
- Trevor Watts & Liam Genocky “Dedicated to Eric D” from The Art Is In The Rhythm (Jazz In Britain) 1:30:00
- Oliver Lake “Lonely Blacks” from Heavy Spirit (Black Lion) 1:42:56
- Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity “Boogie” from Elastic Wave (ECM) 1:46:27
- Steve Tibbetts “The Big Wind” from Hellbound Train (ECM) 1:51:00
Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity
Gard Nilssen is one of Europe’s most creative improvising drummers, with a fresh approach to rhythm and freedom. On ECM, he has appeared on acclaimed recordings with the Maciej Obara Quartet (Unloved, Three Crowns) and with Mathias Eick (Skala). Now Elastic Wave presents the Norwegian musician’s powerhouse trio, Acoustic Unity. Dynamic interaction, a swinging sense of pulse and boldly etched themes – all three players contribute compositions – are among the defining attributes of a group that addresses fiery anthems and poignant ballads with panache and conviction.
The group’s stylistic flexibility is rooted in shared experience. Nilssen and saxophonist/clarinettist André Roligheten grew up together in their hometown of Skien in Norway’s Telemark region. In 2005 they encountered Swedish bassist Petter Eldh inside a “Nordic large ensemble for young musicians” directed by Django Bates, and found an immediate rapport. In 2014, after diverse collaborations, Nilssen, Roligheten and Eldh came together as a trio, and have since toured widely. Elastic Wave is the trio’s fourth album, following releases on Clean Feed and Odin.
Many influences flow into their music. André Roligheten’s early role models included Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Archie Shepp, but his big sound draws inspiration from multiple sources. “The Other Village”, for instance, on which Roligheten plays tenor and soprano saxophones simultaneously, takes its impetus from a memory of the skirling of Mediterranean bagpipes. “Influx Delight” has a lithe, dancing Ornette-on-tenor bounce to it, but moves over a rhythmic feeling with elements of Brazilian samba, or in Gard’s view, “the way Charlie Haden and Paul Motian play Latin music.” This broad view of modern jazz history is characteristic for the trio. On “The Room Next To Her”, Roligheten plays the bass saxophone with a ritualistic power, while “Dreignau” features his elegant clarinet playing.
Bassist Petter Eldh has been heard on ECM in contexts including Django Bates’s trio Belovèd (The Study of Touch, 2016). A musician of omnivorous musical taste, channelling idioms from bebop to hiphop to free improvising, Eldh recently received the SWR Jazz Prize 2022, the jury praising his “energetic and empathetic double bass playing”, attributes evident throughout Elastic Wave. The album opens with Eldh’s tune “Altaret” – its title, meaning “the altar” in Swedish, references the view in Gard’s Oslo practice room, adorned with a portrait of Coltrane. It’s a freely contrapuntal piece opening the door on the trio’s concept of independence and togetherness in the improvising.
Gard has cited the impact of hearing Tony Williams. Elvin Jones, Ed Blackwell, Roy Haynes, and Jack DeJohnette as formative for his individualistic drum style. But he has also been touched by Jon Christensen’s waves-of-sound approach to jazz drumming. To underline the drum traditions of ECM he brought one of Christensen’s cymbals with him to the Elastic Wave session, integrating it into the total sound of his kit as a second ride cymbal. Nilssen’s tune “Lokket til Jon, og skjerfet til Paul” also alludes to a scarf once left at the La Buissonne studio by Paul Motian, used here to take the edge off the bass drum’s ringing overtones.
Some other titular allusions: the happy-go-lucky and confident “Spending Time with Ludvig” is for Gard’s young son, and the pretty ballad “Til Liv” for André’s daughter. “Acoustic Dance Music”, which also has a Colemanesque full-throttle feeling, is titled by Nilssen as a small protest against the encroaching world of electronic dance music, whose ponderous machine beat he views as the death-knell for creativity; in contrast, Acoustic Unity proposes its malleable, lively sense of drive.
Elastic Wave is issued in time for appearances at this year’s Jazzfestival Saalfelden, where Gard Nilssen is artist-in-residence, appearing with Acoustic Unity and with his large ensemble the Supersonic Orchestra (which also has the trio at its core, and its material arranged by Nilssen and Roligheten) and other formations. This autumn will see touring by both the large and small groups.
Meanwhile, the word continues to spread, beyond Europe’s borders. “Ask me to name a killer working band that most American jazz listeners still don’t know,” wrote Nate Chinen on his WBGO blog, “and there’s a good chance I’d land on Gard Nilssen Acoustic Unity. Based in Oslo and led by Nilssen, an excellent drummer on that scene, it’s an acoustic trio that can veer from abstract expressionism to hard, barrelling swing.” These qualities are much in evidence on the present recording.
Elastic Wave was recorded at Studios La Buisssonne in Pernes-les-Fontaines the South of France in June 2021. Further ECM recordings with Gard Nilssen are in preparation.
A 2CD anthology of Tibbetts recordings between 1981 and 2017
Steve Tibbetts: guitars, dobro, piano, kalimba, percussion; Marc Anderson: congas, percussion, gongs, steel drum, handpan; Michelle Kinney: cello, drones; Jim Anton, Eric Anderson, Bob Hughes: bass; Mike Olson: synthesizer; Marcus Wise: tabla; Tim Weinhold: vase, bongos; Claudia Schmidt, Rhea Valentine: voice (collective personnel)
ECM 2656/57 2CD: 6024 4557480 3 Release: 1. July 2022
Daniel Carter, Evan Strauss, 5-Track, Sheridan Riley
The Uproar in Bursts of Sound and Silence is a sort of emergent collage that came together over four years of composition, improvisation, and production. The foundations for this album were initially recorded in 2018 by producer/engineer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Skinyard) at Soundhouse in Seattle, WA with Evan Strauss, electric bass and upright bass , 5-Track (Guitar), and Sheridan Riley (Drums). The initial foundations of this music consisted of Strauss’ long-form graphically notated conceptual compositions based on the calls of the Veery songbird (Catharus fuscescens), the astrological transits at the precise time of the recording session and some thematic elements from Ursula K. Le Guin’s novel The Dispossessed. Whilst Daniel Carter appears on the other three tracks on the album he is not on this one.
In 2019 the album was given the working title Bird Songs for the Stars and Strauss commissioned the cover art, Night Fisher, from Jeane Cohen. Strauss says “Over the next couple of years, I experimented with production techniques, renamed the album The Uproar in Bursts of Sound and Silence after an excerpt from The Waves (“wind blows the uproar in bursts of sound and silence across the court / now again they are smashing the china / that is the convention”), moved to the pacific northwest, corresponded with the estate of Virginia Woolf, mastered the entire project onto a cassette tape and convinced 577 records to release it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!”.
Their second album
Releases September 9, 2022
Bea Labikova – Alto Sax
Naomi McCarroll Butler – Alto Sax
Tom Fleming – Guitar
Michael Davidson – Vibraphone
Stefan Hegerat – Drums
Alex Fournier – Double Bass/Composition
Recorded at Union Sound Company August 28/29 2021
Engineered, Mixed and Mastered by Jeff “Fedge” Elliott
Produced by Alex Fournier
Musician/composer/producer Brian Eaton releases his pensive new album, All The Earth Will Mourn, on Friday, August 26 on digital platforms via his label, Eatin’ Records. Eaton’s fourth album continues to explore new territory within jazz fusion over five tracks of original instrumental compositions: from epic orchestral arrangements to intimate ambient guitars. Fans can pre-order on iTunes and Bandcamp (in Hi-Res), and pre-save on Spotify to stream/download upon its release at Brian Eaton. com The majority of the album is influenced by the fusion and prog rock music Eaton embraced as a young musician including Bruford, Jean-Luc Ponty, Rush, and the Pat Metheny Group. His vision for the music seeks to reflect on and express passages in Scripture with a wide-ranging terrain that crosses borders between jazz, symphonic, and jazz-rock while balancing simplicity and sophistication. Eaton traverses this territory by interweaving textures of cinematic orchestral arrangements with electronic music, blending Caribbean and Latin jazz, and juxtaposing Americana with prog rock and ambient soundscapes.
All The Earth Will Mourn builds on Eaton’s 2021 release, The Known Space Project, which WWOZ (who’s aired all nine tracks from the album) called “a fun album.” Bass Musician Magazine declared it, “an eclectic expanse of ethereal atmospheres and fields of magnetic, lyrical melodies orbiting a core of contemporary jazz and prog idioms.” While All Jazz Radio raved, “The Known Space Project by Brian Eaton is a great album to wake up to…Sparse and evocative, a stand-out in the current instrumental music bouquet.” Once again, Eaton performed all the instruments along with producing and engineering the new album. The Portland-based Allegra Drums artist has been hailed a “studio wizard” and has been producing music and other artists since the early ‘90s. He is also the playlist editor at All About Jazz.
A 1968 release on Blue Note with Joe Farrell and Jimmy Garrison. A Rudy Van Gelder recording on September 6, 1968.
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra
Sam Shepherd (aka Floating Points composed this 46-minute suite. The keyboardist and electronic music producer met with Pharoah Sanders in 2019, and completed the recording in 2020 with the violins, violas, cellos, and double basses of the London Symphony Orchestra.
Clifford Jordan & The Magic Triangle
This final installment of a 1975 concert in Amsterdam finds tenor saxophonist Clifford Jordan in fine form, joined by Cedar Walton, Sam Jones, and Billy Higgins.
Trevor Watts & Liam Genocky
Recorded by Trevor Watts at the Banbury Spice Mill, 3rd November 1989
“I felt a recording that represented this very important project, and what we achieved together in terms of the final results, was long overdue. So here we offer you some music we played in 1989. But still sounds, to me, as fresh as the day we first played it.
I am both glad I got the chance to play like this, and now to share it with many more people than before. There are lots of surprises in here I think, and heaps of great playing.
Big thanks to John Thurlow of Jazz in Britain for enthusiastically taking this on, and helping to build the pathway between us and the listener. I am sure that most people who get a chance to hear this music will take away good and memorable feelings.
Trevor Watts, May 2022″
Releases August 26, 2022
1975 Black Release – the featured track is the only one on the album where Lake is in solo mode