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The Intakt Adventure Continues


The Intakt Adventure Continues

Ellery Eskelin | Christian Weber | Michael Griener: Sensations of Tone

At any given time in the past decades, saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, bassist Christian Weber and drummer Michael Griener have been members of genre-defining trios across Europe and the US giving evidence that the music of Jazz has never, ever died. And right from the first track of the CD Sensations of Tone you encounter a very original approach, with slurring appoggiaturas and clipped staccato, quite unlike any – even neo-classical – recording driven by New Orleans swing. The relentlessly driving “Shreveport Stomp”, “Moten Swing” and “Ain’t Misbehavin’” are played with sensitive touch and much tonal imagination, each a high point with slowly accelerating repeated notes and dramatic runs (especially in the Waller). All of the music is performed with considerable freedom and flexibility – and not at all the sort of merciless onslaught we so often hear when swing music is played.

Track List – Orchard and Broom; Shreveport Stomp; Cornelia Street; China Boy; Ditmas Avenue; Moten Swing; Dumbo; ain’t Misbehavin’.
Personnel – Ellery Eskelin: tenor saxophone; Christian Weber: bass; Michael Griener: drums.

Running time – 52:56

Stefan Aeby Trio: To the Light

The music of Stefan Aeby (and in this case André Pousaz as well) has always been, for me, contemporary music not only with an audacious sense of experimentation, but also music with a feel for exotic tone colours and tart, folk-like rhythms. Pousaz and Michi Stulz home in on the improvisational element of Stefan Aeby’s music as if the pianist had them in mind as performers all along. This is a fine programme overall, then, much to be recommended; but in addition to the work of Stefan Aeby, do keep an ear out for the playi8ng of André Pousaz and Michi Stulz as well. Moreover, all three members of this trio are wily players and their strikingly maverick performances have something to teach about this endlessly fascinating music. Of so many highlights on this recording
“Knabautsch”, “Hmmm” and “Shi”, which are almost Zen-like and almost Taoist in nature, hint at the piquant atmosphere of this program.

Track List – Stalden; To the Light; Knabautsch; Hmmm; Luk; The Good King; Shi; The Wheel.
Personnel – Stefan Aeby: piano; André Pousaz: double bass; Michi Stulz: drums.

Running time – 53:04

Barry Guy | Marilyn Crispell | Paul Lytton: Deep Memory

The profound and innovative virtuosity of each of these three protagonists on Deep Memory is always in in danger of gobbling up the other. But at no time is this evident on this recording. Barry Guy, Marilyn Crispell and Paul Lytton are all content in their own skins while strutting forth their individuality in these performances. The music gets interesting from the first bars of each of the pieces. Guy, Crispell and Lytton hold nothing back and each piece is played with controlled rhythmic fire, harmonic tricks and flaming melodies. I hear nothing ‘lyrical or contented’ or ‘sweetly ardent’ about any of this music. In each instance, thematic statements grow increasingly elaborate and the brilliance of Guy, Crispell and Lytton is incandescent with their leaping soli, deliberate ‘wrong note’ landing points and fiery scales it often feels as if the musicians are duking it out – tastefully, of course.

Track List – Scent; Fallen Angel; Sleeper; Blue Horizon; Return of Ulysses; Silenced Music; Dark Days.
Personnel – Barry Guy: bass and compositions; Marilyn Crispell: piano; Paul Lytton: percussion.

Running time – 52:07

Ingrid Laubrock: Serpentines

If a virtuoso storm is created throughout this recording it is because of the stellar nature of this ensemble led by saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock. It’s almost as if trumpet and koto duel with piano, tuba, drums and electronics while the saxophones and glockenspiel of Ingrid Laubrock is the glue that holds all of the seemingly disparate pieces together providing an occasional astringent edge to a curvaceous melody or extra heft to low, sustained notes played by Dan Peck on tuba in support of the horns. However, while Laubrock capably commands her part, her playing is also extremely pliant and she is often heard to yield to the more incisive phrasing and intonation of Peter Evans’ trumpet or Craig Taborn’s piano. And all of the musicians in this magnificent ensemble benefit from more detailed engineering in contrast to many recordings of other medium-sized groups’ overly reverberant acoustics.

Track List: Pothole Analytics Pt. 1; Pothole Analytics Pt. 2; Chip in Brain; Squirrels; Serpentines.
Personnel – Ingrid Laubrock: tenor and soprano saxophones, and glockenspiel; Peter Evans: piccolo trumpet and trumpet; Miya Masaoka: koto; Craig Taborn: piano; Sam Pluta: electronics; Dan Peck: tuba; Tyshawn Sorey: drums.

Running time – 54:02

Christophe Irniger Pilgrim: Big Wheel Live

The highlight of this brilliant disc, Christophe Irniger’s doffing of the proverbial hat to Mussorgsky’s “Pictures an an Exhibition”, is the deliriously surreal “Acid” written for Pilgrim, which includes Irniger on tenor saxophone, Stefan Aeby on piano, Dave Gisler on guitar, Raffaele Bossard on bass and Michi Stulz on drums. The 12-minute, 41-second-long song is played with intoxicating style by the quintet live in concert at Ratzeburg, Berlin and Altenburg which was captured on record by Hannes Kumke. The rest of the music on these three sets is equally wonderful with its edgy, retro urban energy. “The Kraken”, another Irniger composition is equally brilliant and virtuoso to the end, as is Raffaele Bossard’s “Falling II”. Each of these epic pieces shows off each instrument, alone and in stunning combinations with the others. Christophe Irniger’s command of pitch and line against the piano and guitar is most compelling.

Track List – Entering the Concert Hall; Acid; Ending at the District; Falling II; Lost in Space; The Kraken.
Personnel – Christoph Irniger: tenor saxophone; Stefan Aeby: piano; Dave Gisler: guitar; Raffaele Bossard: bass; Michi Stulz: drums.

Running time – 1:02:44

Barry Guy conducting the London Jazz Composers Orchestra, recorded at HARMOS – Schaffhausen. Personnel: Barry Guy: composition, direction and bass; Evan Parker: reeds; Mats Gustafsson: reeds; Trevor Watts: reeds; Simon Picard: reeds; Pete McPhail: reeds; Conrad Bauer: trombone; Johannes Bauer: trombone; Alan Tomlinson: trombone; Henry Lowther: trumpet; Herb Robertson: trumpet; Rich Laughlin: trumpet; Per Åke Holmlander, tuba; Phil Wachsmann: violin; Barre Philips: bass; Paul Lytton: percussion; Lucas Niggli: percussion; Howard Riley: piano. A Film by Jürg and Marianne Rufer. Live at Jazzfestival Schaffhausen, Mai 21, 2008. Camera: Dominique Magnusson, Aragorn Frey, Has Frey, Jürg and Marianne Rufer. Editing and DVD-production: Jürg Rufer. Sound engineer: Willy Strehler, Klangdach, Guntershausen. Produced, published and copyright by Intakt Records, Patrik Landolt. For more information go please to the Intakt Records Website – www.intaktrec.ch

Raul da Gama is a poet and essayist. He has published three collections of poetry, He studied at Trinity College of Music, London specialising in theory and piano, and he has a Masters in The Classics. He is an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep technical and historical understanding of music and literature.


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