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nuscope 1011 to 1020
The following were the next ten releases for nuscope recordings:
nuscope CD 1011 Intentions
Butcher / Durrant / Lee
Intentions is the first CD by a trio with saxophonist John Butcher, violinist Phil Durrant, and cellist Peggy Lee. This is truly a cross-cultural collaboration in the best sense of the term--Butcher and Durrant hail from London, England, and Lee is a resident of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
According to journalist Bill Shoemaker, "Intentions appears at an interesting juncture in the evolution of improvised music, an art form uneasy with the disciplines it has spawned. It's a complicated scene, to use a Steve Lacyism. Within this polemic, John Butcher, Phil Durrant, and Peggy Lee have staked out an unequivocal middle ground, where a few guidelines can create an atmosphere in which the unintended flourishes. And it does on this recording."
In Pulse magazine, journalist Art Lange says the following about Intentions, "Butcher devises his own delicately subtle techniques, and combines them with the varied string sonorities (harmonics, bow tapping, microtones, etc.) Durrant and Lee create in a tangled, texturally dense counterpoint that seems to be reconfigured phrase by phrase. When intuitive intentions replace predetermined forms, the results are more surprising than logical; the ensemble's interaction offers intensity via quick, jolting, often pointillist details that scrape with friction or fit together into an abstract mosaic, reshaping the sound mass with every new contribution."
This release features an 8-page booklet with notes by the noted journalist Bill Shoemaker and art by the underrated Mary Vernon.
nuscope CD 1012 GratHovOx
Gratkowski / Van Hove / Oxley
GratHovOx is the first CD by German saxophonist/clarinettist Frank Gratkowski, Belgian pianist/ accordionist Fred Van Hove, and drummer/percussionist Tony Oxley.
Frank Gratkowski first played with Fred Van Hove at the Chicago Improvisation Festival in May of 1997 with Chicago-based percussionist Michael Zerang. The duo of Gratkowski and Van Hove was dizzying, as their considerable technique, careful attention to timbre, and sometimes blinding energy made for an amazing first set together.
According to John Corbett, "Take GratHovOx, a trio with a sensational ability to open spaces up in their sound-making activities, to leave room and appreciate the delicacies of one another's musical choices."
François Couture of the All Music Guide says, "This is a great session recorded in Leverkusen, Germany...GratHovOx embodies everything uninhibited free improv can deliver...The trio aims at a kind of free improvisation that leaves room to breathe and listen without getting entrenched in the sonic scrutiny of Berlin reductionism. The music has movement, grace, and moments of sheer excitement that never lose sight of the group sound the perfect balance act. Simply put, GratHovOx stands as one of the best free improv sessions released in 2002 and comes heartily recommended."
According to perhaps one of the more important post-modernist pianists of this age, Uri Caine, in a Blindfold Test with Ted Panken for DownBeat Magazine, "When it ('Tiddledit') started out, it could have been a piece by Stockhausen. The saxophone player might be Greg Osby or Tim Berne. Neither? There's a certain tone, and he's repeating a complicated line, with jumps. That's the Tim Berne area. In the beginning, the pianist used the pedal and the voicing, getting almost a harp-like sound, like certain music of Messiaen, but this more active section has a Cecil Taylor vibe."
This release, which is culled from a live WDR recording and additional recording done earlier in the day, features an 8-page booklet with liner notes from writer John Corbett, and beautiful cover photography by Gregory J. Lawler.
NOTE: For those of you who may have a download of the original radio session, this disc includes much material that was not broadcast. Further, this nuscope recordings release was officially authorized by the WDR, Bayer Corporation, and Fred Van Hove.
nuscope CD 1013 Solid Musik
Sten SandellOn Sunday, September 3rd, 2000, Swedish pianist Sten Sandell recorded for nuscope at Sparrow Sound Design--the same studio at which Fred Van Hove recorded in 1997 for nuscope's debut recording. This is Sten's first solo recording involving only piano, and the resulting music is very much in the serious classical vein with a strikingly individual approach.
According to Louis Goldstein, "...the opening gestures of Solid Musik are stunning, and more stunning yet is Sten Sandells ability to maintain the level of invention, interest, and intrigue throughout the entire collection of pieces. Part of the explanation must lie in the rare combination of talents in Stens possession. The listener is able to take in both the pianist for whom technical limitations are seemingly not an issue, and a composer whose vision is complex, various, and bold. To have both arms of the musical art, the invention and the execution, maintained at such a high level by the same mind and spirit, leaves the listener embraced and comforted."
In Fanfare magazine, Art Lange says, "Contemporary improvising pianists work in and with many different styles; the forms they create are spontaneous, fluid, and independently generated. Differences between them can be wide-ranging and utterly distinctivewith every detail of pitch, duration, rhythm, tempo, phrasing, tone a product of the performers compositional awareness and musical perspective. Sten Sandell, from Sweden, is a versatile player who over past three decades has worked with most of the Continents best improvisers, but has a special reputation as a solo performer. Solid Musik is his first such release on an American label, and reveals a pianist with a sensitive touch, varied technique, andmost importantlya thoughtful, balanced, imaginative, highly lyrical manner of improvisation...Sandells harmonic syntax is basically chromatic, with an implicit tonal gravity; his rhythms alternate between static and propulsive. He has a keen sense of line and shrewdly knows how to build tension and how to dissipate it. All of these things combine to make Solid Musik one of the most impressive piano recordings I have heard in a long time."
According to Bill Meyer in Signal to Noise magazine, "Each (piece) unfolds unpredictably confidently, guided by an aesthetic that owes as much to 20th century composition as to jazz. Sandell plays with impressive restraint, keeping the strong left hand action...so that the sparse but well-defined lines he traces with his right stand out in sharp relief. Don't get the idea that this is some sort of weak-kneed, cloudy impressionism; like the title says, Sandell's music is solid, grounded, quite comfortable with itself. And I haven't heard a better piano record all year."
This release features an 8-page booklet with liner notes from noted John Cage/Morton Feldman interpreter Louis Goldstein, and mysterious cover photography from Machu Picchu by Martin Chambi.
nuscope CD 1014 Fantasiestücke I-XIII
Fantasiestücke I-XIII is the third solo CD by German pianist Georg Graewe, and is by far his most artistically realized.
beautiful-sounding CD, which was recorded in
According to Fred Van Hove, Georg Graewe is far from an unprepared piano player. His sound is broad and round, his touch is bright, and his phrases are very well articulated. No doubt, he is a master of the instrument. The music is improvised in a non-idiomatic way. Georgs fantasy pieces - one 7 minutes long, the others between 2 and 5 minutes - all seem to end abruptly. They could stop there; they could have been longer or shorter; their length is indefinite. Free improvisation is as adventurous as before - now it has become adult, and Georg proves it.
Well-known and respected modern classical interpreter and occasional improviser Herbert Henck says the following about Fantasiestücke I-XIII: "The music is very original, and I really must congratulated to these intensive, concentrated, and often dramatic recordings. Even if I know the circumstances of radio productions in Cologne too well, Georg Graewe is obviously not afflicted, disturbed and limited by them, always has his head on his shoulders and seems to have the piano under perfect control. (9/4/03)"
Bruce Gallanter of the Downtown Music Gallery says, "This is his (Graewe's) fifth release for the splendid nuscope label and as always, it is beautifully recorded and features elegant artwork. This music is rich and varied, melancholy and haunting, exquisite and dream-like, rambunctious and gnarly, spirited and free-flowing, often dazzling, and occasionally intense."
This release features an 8-page booklet with liner notes from Fred Van Hove and Hans Falb, and striking cover art by the celebrated Köln-based artist Gerhard Richter.
nuscope CD 1015 Burnt Sienna
This new electro-acoustic disc, the first on the nuscope recordings label, features the trio 2nd Outlet with saxophonist/electronics master Luc Houtkamp, pianist Cor Fuhler, and percussionist Martin Blume. This CD was recorded at the LOFT in Köln, Germany during two different sessions in 2002 and 2003.
According to Thomas Lehn in the liner notes, "The resulting identity of 2nd Outlet is their finely balanced, but not too serious, act of playing with both of their identities. The traditional elements are on one hand, and the timbre work is on the other. The traditional idioms are set into the light of reflection, questioning their idiomatic meanings, by letting them co-exist with very imaginative timbre emanations, which you can hear across the entire disc in multiple shades and shapes."
In the Summer 2004 issue of Signal to Noise magazine, Bill Meyer says, 2nd Outlet's "...billing as a band is telling, for nothing about this music speaks of overweaning ego. Which isn't to suggest that they're overly reserved; each player proceeds decisively, and the collective musters a vigor that any self-respecting energy music ensemble would be glad to claim for its own."
This release features an 8-page booklet with liner notes from German synthesist Thomas Lehn and very original art from Dallas, Texas resident John Pomara.
nuscope CD 1016 Unearth
Kaufmann / Gratkowski / de JoodeOn September 28th, 2004, pianist Achim Kaufmann, reedist Frank Gratkowski, and bassist Wilbert de Joode performed this marvelous session at the LOFT in Koln, Germany.
According to journalist Marc Chenard, "Call them spur-of-the-moment pieces if you will, or instant compositions, these essays in spontaneous music are outgrowths of a collective playing experience. Since its inception almost three years ago, this unit has criss-crossed Europe on more than one occasion, one of its tours yielding enough material for a first recording on the Berlin-based Konnex label, a disc entitled Kwast.In this follow up release, pianist Achim Kaufmann, reedist Frank Gratkowski and bassist Wilbert de Joode have succeeded in meeting one of the prime challenges of improvised music, i.e. of achieving a very different sounding set of music than in its previous effort. In Unearth, these musicians focus moreso on discursive strategies, whereas its predecessor emphasized timbral explorations."
Bruce Gallanter of the Downtown Music Gallery says, "This is an extraordinary trio that had a superb disc out last year on the Konnex label. With instrumentation similar to the classic Jimmy Giuffre Trio (clarinet, piano & bass) from the mid-sixties, this current trio updates Giuffre's chamber-jazz sound in different ways. If this music is mostly improvised, it certainly doesn't sound like it. It is much closer to the restraint, thoughtfulness and sublime balance of contemporary classical music, than most modern jazz. At times it difficult to tell the bowed bass from the bass clarinet and the rubbing of objects inside the piano also comes from a similar sonic section. Pieces often move in slow motion so that the combined sounds can move and explore together, between space and suspense. Even when they start to swing more quickly, they always sail together as one solid force, no matter that they are still free at times. Like all releases on the consistently great Nuscope label, the production and balance is perfect, a marvel of warmth and attention to detail in just the right studio."
According to David Dupont in Cadence magazine, "Gratkowski, Kaufmann, and de Joode demonstrate on Unearth the kind of close listening needed to create a unified collective sound. Often that means they moderate the volume of the music, forcing the listener either to fade out of the proceedings or, if they're serious, to focus more intently on the musicians' interactions...For this trio, the musical poetry is found in the sawing song of de Joode's bass, the breathy tones of Gratkowski's horns, (and) the splashes and plinks of Kaufmann's piano. To draw on the rhetoric of the session's titles, it all has its own kinky logic, yet nothing seems remotely connected to any textbook."
This release features an 8-page booklet with liner notes from Montreal-based journalist Marc Chenard, and very original cover art from Achim Kaufmann's wife, Gabriele Guenther.
Unearth is also available as a download on HDTracks.
nuscope CD 1017 Elegans
Vinkeloe / Smith / Nordeson
Elegans, a new disc featuring alto saxophonist / flutist Biggi Vinkeloe, Bay Area double-bassist Damon Smith, and percussionist Kjell Nordeson is now available.
This trio has all of the quality of Vinkeloe's well-known trio recordings with Barre Phillips or the late Peter Kowald (both with drummer Peeter Uuskyla), but due to Smith's very original playing, and Nordeson's exciting performances on drums and vibraphone, the trio takes on a character of its own. Of course, Vinkeloe's playing is as stellar as ever.
According to double-bassist and occasional Biggi Vinkeloe collaborator Barre Phillips, "The music of Biggi Vinkeloe, with her beautiful melodies, instrumental tone and lush phrasing, the delicate, tasteful rhythmic offerings and harmonic richness of Kjell Nordeson plus the warm depth and microtonal colorings of Damon Smith all add up to a very enjoyable recording."
According to Marc Medwin
of the Bagatellen
web site, "I chose a late evening to audition
this latest Nuscope offering for the first time, and now it never sounds
quite right during the day. The duo and trio explorations exist, by and
large, in afterglow, in the calm but magical world of overtone and shadow I
associate with moonlight. The music is not reticent—far from it! It ebbs and
flows with the quiet certainty of expectation, making the occasional moments
of more extreme light and darkness more vivid./x-tad-smaller>/color>
This disc is a stunning collection of duos and trios that is certain to have much lasting value for fans of both free jazz and free improvisation. The release features an 8-page booklet with liner notes from the great bassist Barre Phillips, and exciting new art from artist Caio Fonseca.
nuscope CD 1018 Distich
Mat Maneri / Denman Maroney
Distich is a new disc featuring violist Mat Maneri and pianist Denman Maroney. Unlike many projects by each musician, the music on this disc is completely improvised, which brings in new aspects of each musician’s approach, while retaining their significant strengths.
According to Roger C. Miller, a former student of Denman Maroney and an important musician in his own right, “There are no rhythms in the traditional sense in this music. But rhythm runs through it like the pulsing of a pond in summer. Living, non-linear (life is constantly full of non-linearity). Try track 7, 'Span'—this is a pretty wet environment—the stability of land is nowhere to be found. But there is plenty going on for those who have ears to hear it.
As a pianist, I have delved into the 'prepared' world, and I find Denman's technique fascinating. His Hyperpiano is, essentially, heavy metal. There is no heavier instrument (you try moving one of those!): the soundboard, the tuning pins, the strings are all metal. You can hear the metal in Denman's work; it is as much like machinery gone haywire as the cells in a tree dividing during the first warm days of spring.
If Denman's metallic glissandos obliterate any sense of dividing the octave into 12 discrete parts, then Mat's micro-tonalities eradicate superficial civilization every bit as much, even when he's not the one leading the glissando slides down those slippery slopes. And the two together create an extremely pleasantly disorienting reorientation of the hearing system.”
In the Summer 2007 edition of Signal to Noise magazine, Bill Meyer says, "There are moments when this duo holds the preconceptions generated by their viola-piano line-up--close and gentle. But that's just so that they, like loving pigeon keepers, can drop their object of adoration into the air and watch it defy free-fall. Maneri has expanded his instrument's capabilities by adding an extra string, but even more by mastering the notes between the notes. Maroney works as much inside his piano as he does at the keyboard. But liberation from instrumental limitations doesn't mean that they abandon their fundamental languages.
For every moment when Maroney makes his Steinway rattle and slur, there's another where he chases a darting line across unprepared strings. And Maneri argues the chamber side of his music here most persuasively. The best moments come when the languages come together in a common tongue, as on 'Couplet,' where the commonly voiced piano passages seem to fly out of a thicket of blurred, bent metallic tones, and Maneri beats and drags on strings like a flint-chipper setting a much-needed fire. On the title tune, the duo's spontaneous counterpoint is lithe and dramatic; on 'Match,' gamelan-like sonorities both compliment and challenge bowed melancholy. The recorded sound, as usual from this label, is clear and bright as new ice in the morning."
Journalist Scott Verrastro, discussing the recording in the July/August 2007 edition of Jazz Times says, "At numerous occasions throughout the disc, it sounds as if the viola and Hyperpiano are the same instrument; their microtonal properties make it almost impossible to discern who is playing what. Maneri does play fractured melodies that can be briefly identified as Eastern European gypsy folk or the avant-classicalism of Schoenberg and Stravinsky, but mostly he just darts around Maroney and saws and plucks with abandon, refusing to settle on a rhythmic or melodic idea."
The recording, which was recorded, mixed, and mastered in the 24 bit domain, includes liner notes from Roger C. Miller, perhaps best known for his work with Mission of Burma and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic.
nuscope CD 1019 Chicago Approach
Gregorio / Karayorgis / McBride
According to reedist/composer Guillermo Gregorio, this trio with pianist/composer Pandelis Karayorgis and double-bassist Nate McBride “…evidences a very consistent group.” And, from the opening strains of “Assembly” through the closing notes in “Photogram,” this is not only a consistent group, but a newborn trio – a true collective.
According to journalist Michael Rosenstein, “It’s striking how the three play off of each other, drawing on each of their strengths while bringing out new shadings as well. Karayorgis’ oblique angularities and impeccable sense of harmonic phrasing are there, only concentrated to a heady distillate. Here his playing is as much about the space around the notes as it is attention to the carefully placed angular motifs and shard-like chords. McBride is an insightful musician who is now receiving the attention he deserves. This trio setting brings out the muscular grace in his playing, as the dark timbres of his bass counter with the piano and clarinet. Gregorio’s clarinet completes the picture. Throughout, his playing is infused with the warm woody tones and phrasing of the jazz clarinet vocabulary while filtered through his structuralist sensibility.”
According to journalist Greg Buium's four-star review in the June 2007 issue of downbeat magazine, "Chicago Approach is a heady, fastidious and wonderfully vivid example of the far-flung coalitions that fuel much of contemporary improvised music. Boston-based pianist Pandelis Karayorgis joins Chicago-based clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio and bassist Nate McBride in this mélange of the impromptu and the predesigned.
What's written? What isn't? Why does it matter? It doesn't. This set sticks together so marvelously and subtly. Jimmy Giuffre's name is bound to come up with any clarinet, piano, and bass trio. Gregorio, Karayorgis, and McBride even play Giuffre's 'Variation.' But the inspirations here are vast: air-traffic controllers, discrete 'structural strategies,' new music and even geometry. It's a cerebral document, but the basic drama and color are what give it power. McBride offers husky, dominant lines. Gregorio floats and skitters from Lee Konitz to Thelonius Monk to delicious reed abstractions. Karayorgis' lines are frantic, focused and appealing. The group's modest movement resonates. To conclude the set, 'Photogram' offers mumbling piano, shearing clarinet and bass overtones. It's fragmented but also incisive, filled with a quiet beauty."
This recording, which was recorded, mixed, and mastered in the 24 bit domain, includes liner notes from Boston-based journalist Michael Rosenstein, and gripping cover art from the late László Moholy-Nagy.
nuscope CD 1020 Gaga
Denman Maroney Quartet
Gaga (CD 1020), the new disc by pianist Denman Maroney's quartet with reedist Ned Rothenberg, bassist Reuben Radding, and drummer Michael Sarin, was released on Tuesday, April 15, 2008.
According to journalist Bill Shoemaker's liner notes, "the theme of Denman Maroney’s music is complexity; not a single, stand-alone complexity, but a convergence of complexities: the mathematics of pitch and rhythm expressed through partials and ratios; the historical intersections between the experimental music tradition of Cowell, Cage et al and jazz; and a period in jazz history when the impasse between its more mulish doctrines and what are arguably jazz-in-name-only hybrids threatens jazz’s relevance to the currently emerging generation that will largely set the terms for artistry and innovation in music for the 21st Century...Maroney does not reduce complexity into pat-your-foot jazz on Gaga; rather, he makes it audible and comprehensible, no small feat."
According to Marc Medwin from
the All About Jazz website, "Denman
Maroney is one of the most exciting pianists around today, just as Nuscope
is one of the finest labels for creative music. The pairing is an excellent
one on this offering from Maroney, reed player Ned Rothenberg, bassist
Reuben Radding and drummer Michael Sarin, all musicians in top form in the
service of some stellar compositions.
This CD features an 8-page booklet with liner notes by Bill Shoemaker and artwork by Chris Villars, who is also known for his comprehensive website for the late Morton Feldman.
Gaga is also available as a download on HDTracks.