Browsing All posts tagged under »free-jazz«

Various Artists – Album Roundup

October 23, 2015


‘Let it be known’, begins the declamation with which Damon Locks opens the first of these two live sets: the immense complexity of the knowing we are invited to share soon becomes apparent. I come across a huge variety of music, much of it extremely creative, inventive, accomplished and unconventional, but rarely do I encounter anything on the sheer scale of Galactic Parables: Volume 1, or anything remotely as ambitious. The performing forces at each of the concerts from which the album was recorded are large but not vast, at ten and eight players respectively, but the creative scope of the music …

Monkey Puzzle Trio – The Pattern Familiar (avant-jazz)

January 25, 2015


The musicians that make up Monkey Puzzle Trio are all confirmed experimentalists, all situated on the peripheries of, or the boundaries between, socially validated zones of practice, where the population is sparse and the musical meanings hard-won. The press release for this album situates the ensemble’s work on ‘a tightrope between song, improvisation and sound-as-sound’; while that helps to give us the general picture, it’s inevitably a simplification. Starting with the idea of song (the album is also described as a ‘song cycle’), it should be noted that while the music …

Review Of The Year 2014: 20 Albums

December 20, 2014


My views on end-of-year roundups in general are quite aggressive, and can be read at greater length in the introduction to last year’s selection, here. Suffice it to say that I think anyone claiming to know which are the best few albums released in any given year is seriously delusional; my selection is simply some of the records I liked the most out of those I happened to come across. These records are all seriously good, but there were over a hundred other albums that could equally well have made it onto my list; my advice is, yes, investigate these records, but more importantly, go hunting for …

The Grip – Celebrate (jazz)

November 14, 2014


This band make a sound with a great big gaping hole right through the middle of it. Conceptually, jazz has been (among other things) about the relationship between single lines and harmony, for a considerable number of decades – perhaps this became an overriding concern with the advent of be-bop, when harmonic complexity increased concurrently with a reduction in the resources commonly available for orchestrating the music. Don’t ask me, I’m not a jazz historian, and I’m far too lazy to do the research, but I reckon it’s plausible. Either way, there’s been an ongoing …

Mere – Mere (dark-ambient improvisation)

October 29, 2012


Improvisation is a complex matter, and often a contentious one: some degree of musical freedom is usually identified with it, to the extent that freedom is sometimes regarded as its defining characteristic, its essence, or indeed as the thing itself. Thus some more partisan free improvisers would not really regard formulaic improvisation (improvisation within closely bounded harmonic and rhythmic parameters) as improvisation at all. I’ve never had much time for debates that centre on the definitions of musical styles or characteristics, but I guess that if you’ve staked your career and practice on a particular ideology of creative freedom the stakes might look higher than they do to me. Personally I think there are other parameters of improvisation…