Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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Steve Reynolds
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

Post by Steve Reynolds »

OK - not comprehensive but here are the MUST have boxes from the last few years:

Peter Brotzmann - Long Story Short - from NOV 2011 - a couple of wonderful Tentet pieces with guests - one with John Tchicai

some great slabs of beastly improv within all 5 discs with Tentet members plus some major world class titans including Satoh & Honda from Japan, Laswell, Drake & Nasheet from US, etc.

Also Brotzmann's 3 Nights in Oslo from 2008 which is 2 full discs of the Tentet and 3 small formatioons of the Tentet members. Maybe the best recordings of the awesome large ensemble. Plus there is a 25 minute section of Survival Unit III within the box (McPhee, Lonberg-Holm & Zerang) that is of the absolute highest order.

Mats Gustafsson 50th birthday box - just get it - look up the drummers on this - Lovens, Sven Ake Johansson, Lytton, Nilssen- Love, etc. We get Fire! trio plus KV, The Thing plus KV, we get small form improv successfully mixed with more expressive playing. Stuff that many think doesn't work works here.

Only issue is we should have got the whole festival - but the 4 CD's are great

Zlatko Kaucic - 5 CD box on Not Two - Evan Parker on 2 discs, Agusti Fernandez on 1 disc, duet with Johannes Bauer - great quartet hidden among these treasures with Lotte Anker, Rafal Mazur & Artur Majewski - on Not Two Records

Per Ake Holmlander - 3 CD box on Not Two records from 2018 - I think recorded in 2017 - 3rd disc his full band - most underappreciated recording o=released last year as I've not read one word about it.

Agusti Fernandez - River Tiger Fire - 4 CD box again including a large ensemble recordings - plus we get a trio disc with Guy & Lopez

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Captain Hate
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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I'm surprised by how many of these I have and haven't listened to for a long time starting with Free Zone Appleby 2007 and including Blackheath, which I got after Ollie uncharacteristically raved about Prévost's solo. I'm sure my listening habits have changed greatly since the last time I listened to any of these plus they're so rich with ideas that repeated listens are rewarded. So I'm gonna start a slow methodical deep dive through all that I have or can find on Spotify.

[edit]Thanks to Steve Minkin for bringing up Free Zone Appleby 2007. I saw Parker and Rothenberg two years before this in Oberlin's acoustically lively Fairchild Chapel and was amazed at the interaction between the two. Nate Dorward's review of this disc at Paris Transatlantic points out how Ned forces EP out of his standard patterns. Add the Sardinian guitar and electronics and this is a heady brew that won't get put back in the cd rack for a while.
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negative potential
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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Are either of you (mainly meaning Cap or Stevie Rey, but also anyone else, Frau Schaumann I'm looking in your direction) admirers of Aki Takase's duo albums with reed players? e.g. with Rudi Mahall or Silke Eberhard?

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Captain Hate
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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negative potential wrote:Are either of you (mainly meaning Cap or Stevie Rey, but also anyone else, Frau Schaumann I'm looking in your direction) admirers of Aki Takase's duo albums with reed players? e.g. with Rudi Mahall or Silke Eberhard?
I've never had anyone point me in that direction, ALo. I listened to Cherry/Sakura a while back and it had better Murray playing than the by rote crap he does with Kahil el Zabar once or twice a year around here; but she's the obvious point of interest on that disc by a not small margin.

So what do you recommend? Duet for Eric Dolphy seems like an obvious choice, no?
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negative potential
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

Post by negative potential »

Captain Hate wrote:
So what do you recommend? Duet for Eric Dolphy seems like an obvious choice, no?
That's as fine a place as any to start. I think my personal favorite is "The Dessert", since it contains mostly original compositions.

They've also got a quartet recording with Johannes Bauer and Tony Buck on the Jazzwerkstatt label.

Steve Reynolds
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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Some of the best post 2004 Jazz/Free Jazz/Free Improvisation recordings that I have heard:

By Label - I'll try to do a post every few days if I can get to it:

Angelika Niescer New York Trio: The Berlin Concert - Intakt Records
Niescer on alto saxophone with Christopher Tordini on bass and the *great* Tyshawn Sorey on drums.
Under 40 minutes but a great burning live set from November 3,2017

Parker-Guy-Lytton: Music for David Mossman - Intakt Records
Live at the Vortex July 14,2016 - as great a recording of the old school trio as I've heard in years.

Tom Rainey Trio: Hotel Grief - Intakt Records
with Mary Halverson & Ingrid Laubrock
recorded 12/30/2013 @ Cornelia Street

Jurg Wickihalder Trio with Barry Guy & Lucas Niggli: Beyond - Intakt Records
compositionally based which is unusual in some respects - very demanding (to play) compositional stuff with mind boggling execution

Fred Frith Trio: Another Day in Fucking Paradise - Intakt Records
with Jordan Glenn & Jason Hoopes

I'm missing a bunch of good looking releases on this label (especially pre-2012 or so) that I hope to obtain over the next year but these are the best to my ears of what I have heard from Intakt Records

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negative potential
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

Post by negative potential »

I'll be waiting for the Clean Feed installment, a label I've completely neglected because its ascendancy coincides with the last 8-10 years where my musical interest has been divided between about 60% R&B/Blues/rocknroll/HardBop reissues, and 40% the sort of stuff discussed on IHM.

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Captain Hate
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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Steve Reynolds wrote: Angelika Niescer New York Trio: The Berlin Concert - Intakt Records
Niescer on alto saxophone with Christopher Tordini on bass and the *great* Tyshawn Sorey on drums.
Under 40 minutes but a great burning live set from November 3,2017
Love that recording. The first few moments just made me sit up and pay total attention. I'll try to come up with some other Intakt faves in a day or so.
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Steve Reynolds
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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negative potential wrote:I'll be waiting for the Clean Feed installment, a label I've completely neglected because its ascendancy coincides with the last 8-10 years where my musical interest has been divided between about 60% R&B/Blues/rocknroll/HardBop reissues, and 40% the sort of stuff discussed on IHM.
My Clean Feed installment will be short as they are way down on my list due to marginal and inconsistent sound as well as not being selective enough as to what they release. But the sound quality on their releases pales in comparison to Not Two, No Business, Intakt, Nessa or AUM Fidelity. I'm no audiophile but there is something that they seem to do in their mastering that makes the sound compressed or at least lacking in "air".

In fact here is my list for them and it is small - again I rarely buy their discs but these ones are very good despite my issues with production values:

John Butcher - Summer Skyscape - with Red Trio - but I already mentioned it:)

Joe Morris, Joe McPhee, Jamie Saft & Charles Downs: Ticonderoga - Downs (formerly Rashid Bakr) is the unexpected pleasure here - very subtle yet powerful grooves

Tony Malaby's Tamarindo: Somas Agua and the self-titled recording from 2006 - again the only issue is that the band and Waits especially doesn't comes across as they sound live. I've seen shows of this trio (and the even better trio with Formanek replacing Parker that rank among the best sax power trio shows I've even seen - yet because we don't have releases of live recordings on labels like Not Two or AUM, we have NO great recordings of the trio). These two are fine and a good introduction

Tony Malaby's Novela - same as above - a great label should have released some of their live concerts. The two shows I saw of this band were among the best shows I've seen over the past 10 years - one second set was 75 minutes and it was beyond stunning. Lots of vibrations.

Parker-Guy-Lytton with Peter Evans: Scenes in the House of Music - same concerns as above - compare the sound to Music for David Mossman

the performance pretty great as Evans finds his way into the long standing trio

Sten Sandell Trio + John Butcher: Strokes

as you can see I'm a big fan of Butcher when he plays with drummers - his more oblique solo or electronic stuff is OK I suppose but when they guy plays music that approaches more traditional EFI/free improvisation or free jazz, his playing explodes off the page to my ears.

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negative potential
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

Post by negative potential »

Looking forward to the next installments. Reminds me of the "old days" on Jazzcorner at the turn of the millenium. ;-)

Anything on Hatology tickle your fancy in the last decade or so? I think it was rather admirable that Uehlinger still maintained a foot at the "cutting edge" of improvised music at the time (issuing CDs by Trapist or Fennesz), but in terms of the more jazz-based stuff, I only bought mostly reissues. The Hary Halvorson disc with Nate Wooley looks interesting, though.

Steve Reynolds
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

Post by Steve Reynolds »

I'll be saving the best for last which will without a doubt be the releases on Not Two records

I havn't heard many recent HAT releases - I think the label's great peak is now 20 to 30 something years ago - maybe the last group of great great releases were in the mid to late 90's - from Joe Maneri to Gerry Hemingway to Jon Law to Paul Dunmall to Urs Leimgruber, etc.

remember those great Eskelin Trio recordings with Andrea Parkins & Jim Black? I havn't listened to them in years - I wonder how they hold up.

Today will be Relative Pitch. I'm very friendly with Kevin Reilly but I'm also aware of the limitations of the label (not an in house production house - no funding like the current great small euro labels - so sound quality can be variable depending on the sources but overall from what I've heard they have good source recordings and mastering with no loudness or lack of air like I hear on some other labels like Clean Feed) and his personal preferences and curation often runs somewhat outside of what I'm looking for. He is much more of a listener of more oblique sparse improvisation that often doesn't involve drummers while my interest in drummerless improvisation is more of the sort of music that this site was based on. Exceptions for me are somewhat rare (maybe Cecil & Bley on piano plus probably anything that Joelle Leandre is involved in as she is, for me at least these days, maybe the most special improvising musician of all - and her box set (on Not Two, of course) is the set that opened me up to that realization.

Back to Relative Pitch - here are some beauties:

from most recent releases or acquisitions:

Bind The Hand(s) that Feed:

Michael Foster: saxophones
Katherine Young: bassoon & electronics
Michael Zerang: drums/percussion

5 stars - stunning - top 5 of newish improve sessions I've heard over the past year or so. Zerang shows other aspects of his genius here. I love when older school free jazz drummers adapt and innovate/change.

The Hallowed Plant:

Benjamin Vergara: trumpet
Keefe Jackson: tenor & sopranino saxophone, bass clarinet
Jim Baker: piano & synthesizer
Phil Sudderberg: drums

kind of old school meets new forms - at first seemed clunky but this is a great record

Here is a drummerless session that has left a strong initial impression:

Three Stories About Rain Sunlight And The Hidden Soil

Frank Paul Schubert: soprano saxophone
Olaf Rupp: electric guitar (!!!)
Paul Rogers: seven string double bass

GREAT to hear the amazing Rogers on a recent recording - he's all too invisible on the scene and he remains one of the 4 or 5 greatest bassists on the planet

Last Dream of the Morning:

John Butcher: soprano & tenor saxophones
John Edwards: double bass
Mark Sanders: drums

I've already raved about Butcher in small groups like these and this is among the best working with the classic Brit bass/drum tandem

Sifter:

Mary Halvorson: guitar
Kirk Knuffke: cornet
Matt Wilson: drums

Wilson is not my favorite drummer but this is a sweet little pop/free jazz sort of thing that I always love way more than I think I'm going to when I play it


many more I havn't heard than I HAVE heard but the above are my "pick of the litter" so far:)

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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

Post by Tanner »

Alright, thanks a lot for all the recommendations everyone (Steve, you've given me a lot to explore in particular).

I need to hear that Brotzmann with Tchicai stuff. Interesting pairing I didn't know about previously.

Re: Relative Pitch

They seem like a very promising label for this stuff. I've only explored a couple: the VanHove/Turner disc which I liked, and the Sanders/Butcher/Edwards which is indeed very good. Gonna have to check out some others. I just saw they released a Michel Doneda/Lê Quan Ninh disc -- I'm a big Lê Quan Ninh fan, but got kinda tired of Doneda's deal a while back; however, the sound clips sounded promising. I really loved Open Paper Tree so we'll see.

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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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Tanner wrote:Alright, thanks a lot for all the recommendations everyone (Steve, you've given me a lot to explore in particular).

I need to hear that Brotzmann with Tchicai stuff. Interesting pairing I didn't know about previously.

Re: Relative Pitch

They seem like a very promising label for this stuff. I've only explored a couple: the VanHove/Turner disc which I liked, and the Sanders/Butcher/Edwards which is indeed very good. Gonna have to check out some others. I just saw they released a Michel Doneda/Lê Quan Ninh disc -- I'm a big Lê Quan Ninh fan, but got kinda tired of Doneda's deal a while back; however, the sound clips sounded promising. I really loved Open Paper Tree so we'll see.
Kevin has a great ear for this stuff. He's at 15 to 20 shows every month and has been listening like that for years. Plus he's not jaded and not stuck in the past which is a very good thing and something that many long term local NYC listeners suffer with to varying degrees.

I have the Doneda/Le Quan Ninh disc but I havn't given it much attention as I've not been in that sort of listening mode lately

Steve Reynolds
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

Post by Steve Reynolds »

Today will be No Business which for me has become one of my go-to labels.

One issue for me is that some of their releases are vinyl only and I am not a man with a turntable. The other issue is that although it is wonderful that a portion of their releases are historical (for example their is a un-released Sunny Murray trio with Bob Dickie(?) & Robert Andreano(?) that was just released as well as 1970's Sam Rivers trio with Cecil McBee & Norman Connors - both of which I'm sure will find my way to me eventually) I am quite a bit more interested in their new music releases which is what I will concentrate on via the below summary/list:

The Attic: cooperative trio with Goncalo Almeida on double bass, Rodrigo Amado on tenor saxophone & Marco Franco on drums
recorded live on 12/22/2015 - an improvised suite in 5 parts. Big

Before the Silence: another cooperative improvised performance with Albert Cirera on tenor & soprano saxophones, Hernani Faustino on double bass, Agusti Fernandez on piano & the *great* Gabriel Ferrandini on drums. Recorded live on 5/9/2015. Stunning. As with the above, great examples of modern jazz based free improvisation that incorporate high levels of power and restraint.

Night in Europe: trio with Martin Kuchen on saxophones with John Berthling on bass & Steve Noble on drums. Kind of what you might expect but terrific nonetheless.

North and The Red Stream: Red Trio & Mattis Stahl
Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, Hernani Faustino on bass, Gabriel Ferrandinin on drums with the guest on vibraphone
Three 20 minute-ish improvised pieces. Maybe my favorite from all of the newer releases. Think of a post-modern version on "Oblique" without themes and with advanced technique and great dynamics

The Freedom Principle: Rodrigo Amado on tenor, Peter Evans on trumpet, Miguel Mira on cello and again Ferrandini on drums
What you would expect and more. To my ears Evans is always better as a foil and here he plays his part to perfection. Recorded in the studio on 3/18/2013 in Lisbon

The Prisoner: Loosely composed suite (by Max Johnson) with Max on double bass, Ingrid Laubrock on tenor saxophone, Mat Maneri on viola & Tomas Fujiwara on drums. I could listen to this for days on end as it reveals so much on multiple listens. Recorded in the studio on 12/20/2012 in Paramus, NJ

Trio & Duo in New Orleans: Edward "Kidd" Jordan, Peter Kowald on double bass & Alvin Fielder on drums. I'm breaking the 2005 onward rule as the 4/28/2002 trio concert from New Orleans is simply the best "Kidd" Jordan on record and the inclusion of the late, great Kowald on one of his last recordings merits this double CD being on this list. The duet tracks are also very fine (4 tracks from 2005 & 1 from 2012) - (but of less interest to me as the exclusion of a second horn or a stringed instrument is most often a detriment for my ears and that is true for this as well) - although again Jordan & Fielder are a wonderful listen on their own.

Sudo Quartet: Joelle Leandre on bass/vocalizations, Carlos Zingaro on violin, Sebi Tramontana on trombone and the *great* Paul Lovens on drums. Recorded live on 3/25/2011 in Bobigny. Impossible music. Just not possible that 4 humans could create this live and in the moment. A great example of the unknown jazz/improve music of the past couple of decades while the VAST majority of "Jazz" fans continue to mine the back catalogue of lesser artists who stopped breathing 30 or 40 years ago. JAH forbid they have even heard of Sebi Tramontana & Carlos Zingaro, let alone listen to these grand master genius level improvisors.

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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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just wanted to say it is great to see your enthusiasm remains so strong, Steve.

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Captain Hate
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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Yeah seeing Reynolds still so jacked is a good thing.
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

Post by Dan Warburton »

Steve Reynolds wrote:un-released Sunny Murray trio with Bob Dickie(?) & Robert Andreano(?) that was just released
If you get that, do report back - curious to hear your thoughts. Later Sunny albums are notoriously uneven. The duo with Doyle on Fractal is one of my favourites - though as it predates 2005 it's not part of the remit here
Steve Reynolds wrote:Sudo Quartet: Joelle Leandre on bass/vocalizations, Carlos Zingaro on violin, Sebi Tramontana on trombone and the *great* Paul Lovens on drums. Recorded live on 3/25/2011 in Bobigny. Impossible music. Just not possible that 4 humans could create this live and in the moment..
Well it was! I was at that concert, as I recall. Must check it out, they were a fine quartet.
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Steve Reynolds
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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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Lost post but I'll send this as a summary without some of the *great* commentary:

All American free jazz improv stuff....

3 from Dave Rempis: Kuzu: Hiljaisuus, Percussion Quartet: Cochonnerie (listen to Haker Flaten here - plus the dual drumming of Daisy & Rosaly is so hip & of this time) & From Wolves to Whales (quartet with Wooley, Niggenkemper & Corsano)

Rempis is very obviously a great technician on all 3 of his horns but repeated listens reveal him as much more than that. Plus he plays with the best of the best - younger and older kick-ass improvisors - and the above 3 releases are maybe the best of what he's released on his own excellent label - aerophonic

a few AUM discs - Lung & Throat from Little Woman - quartet with Darius Jones, Travis Laplante, Andrew Smiley & Jason Nazary - 2 discs from a seemingly short-lived extreme quartet that is way off what AUM normally puts out

Then I've become a bigger follower of David S Ware than I was in the olden' days - his Live in New York - the 2 CD set recorded Live at the Blue Note on October 4th, 2010 with a trio of him, William Parker & Warren Smith. Ware plays the stritch for about 2/3rds of each set (or each disc) and dramatically switches to his tenor to close out each set. Obviously he hasn't quite the extreme force and power he once had but his tone is gorgeous and I, for one, was and is moved when I listen to this great recording.

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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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negative potential wrote:Myra Melford Snowy Egret

Alexander Schlippenbach and Eddie Prevost - Blackheath

Globe Unity Orchestra 50 Years

Mary Halvorson Octet - Away With You

also, it's a 2005 release so you might have just missed it, but the Schlippenbach Monk's Casino 3CD set on Intakt.
+ 1 on the Schlippenbach and Prevost, great stuff!

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Re: Great free jazz/improvised albums 2005-2015

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apologies for the slight thread diversion, but I wanted to post this somewhere here and this seemed like as good a place as any. I guess it's a few years old but I hadn't seen it before, I have not laughed so hard in a long time.

https://www.captiongenerator.com/98859/ ... SyPvlzyMZs