Three hyper-progressive improvisational jazz and cross-genre artists push the envelope again on their 2nd album for Cuneiform Records. The musicians' busy schedules via numerous and largely prolific solo and group-based projects have rocketed their respective artistries into the limelight, especially ECM recording artist Michael Formanek (bass) who for the past several decades has become a household name within these circles. Nonetheless, it's an adventurous exploration, led by guitarist Mary Halvorson's signature phraseology, comprised of extended lines that vaporize into the cosmos amid her diminutive note-bending jaunts and so on. Here, drummer Tomas Fujiwara generates a buoyant underpinning with colorful accents in parallel with Formanek's fluid and powerful support.
One can always count on Ed Palermo and his Big Band to pop up every couple of years with another sizzling set of Frank Zappa inspired jazz, and he's done that yet again here in early 2016 with his latest Cuneiform Records release One Child Left Behind. Featuring 17 tracks, 9 of which are Zappa recreations, along with some Palermo originals and other covers, One Child Left Behind is a dazzling display of musical artistry from this large outfit, which for the album consists of seventeen musicians.
São Paulo Underground's second Cuneiform release, 2013's Beija Flors Velho e Sujo, translates as Old and Dirty Hummingbirds – a rather contradictory title but an appropriate one for an album melding the nimble with the lowdown (and the abstract and trippily disorienting). Now solidified into the trio of Rob Mazurek (cornet, Evolver, ring modulator, analog delay, harmonium), Mauricio Takara (percussion, cavaquinho, electronics), and Guilherme Granado (keyboards, synthesizer, sampler, voice), São Paulo Underground take listeners on a kaleidoscopic journey across the album's ten tracks, which were trotted out during a 2012 U.S.-Canadian tour before being recorded and mixed in Chicago – with deep sonic manipulation – for inclusion here.
The Ed Palermo Big Band is led by alto saxist and arranger Ed Palermo; he has had this big band with much of the same personnel for over 30 years, which is an impressive feat in itself, and has had his band performing the music of Frank Zappa for 20 years. There are a number of ensembles performing the music of Frank Zappa, who is now recognized as one of the great 20th century American composers, but no one does it with this ease, skill and originality! The band is a 18 piece ensemble of five woodwind players, four trumpeters, three trombonists, two keyboardists, guitar, violin, bass and drum. All of these musicians are NYC professionals, and they have been playing this music for years with Ed, because, like Ed, they recognize and appreciate the genius inherent in the huge body of Zappa's work, and they want to keep this great music alive and in front of the public. OH NO! NOT JAZZ!! consists of two discs: The first disc further explores Ed's distinctive, big band interpretations of the music of Frank Zappa, while the second disc features Ed's own, colorful compositions.
Guitar summits don't ascend higher than when legendary British free-jazz pioneer and longtime session ace Ray Russell meets the brilliant California avant-improv overachiever and Antarctic diver Henry Kaiser in the realm of The Celestial Squid. With more than countless session and soundtrack performances to his credit, including the early James Bond film scores, Russell is returning to his bone-rattling, noise-rocking roots for the first time since the very early 70s. You'll be shaken and stirred as Kaiser, Russell and eight super friends deliver a no-holds-barred, free-range sonic cage match.