Ken Vandermark/Klaus Kugel/Mark Tokar – “Escalator” (NotTwo Records, 2017)

“Escalator” is the newest album played by three great avant-garde jazz masters Ken Vandermark, Klaus Kugel and Mark Tokar. The album was released this week by “NotTwo Records”. The musicians of the trio are very well-known for all who are interested in free jazz – it’s Ken Vandermark (tenor sax, clarinet), Klaus Kugel (drums, percussion) and Mark Tokar (double bass). These musicians are famous for original and unique playing style, innovative and expressive improvising, effective and interesting sound of their compositions. During the years of creative activity they had recorded numerous albums with various ensembles and avant-garde jazz legends such as Peter Brotzmann, Paal Nilssen-Love, Joe Morris, Ab Baas, Joe McPhee, Lasse Marhaug and many others. Their improvisations are based on avant-garde jazz and modern jazz styles synthesis. The most part of the albums are full of live, free and dynamic sound compositions. The compositions of “Escalator” were recorded at “Alchemia Club” in Krokow in 2016.

The album has 5 compositions which is based on avant-garde jazz elements. Free, live and expressive collective improvisations also have modern jazz elements – monotonic and fast rhythmic, sharp harmony and very fast and virtuosic solos. The elements of bebop, post-bop and avant-garde jazz synthesis together in one composition. Improvisations are full of different musical expressions and sound experiments. The musicians try out new and innovative playing techniques, their melodies are very fast, emotional, virtuosic and expressive. Masterful solos, full of very fast virtuosic pasages, blow outs and other elements are the main element of the compositions. The variety of strange and peculiar timbres and sounds is also very important part of improvisations because it makes the sound of compositions even more interesting and effective. The improvisations of this album are very dynamic and contrastic with each other – episodes based on different modern and avant-garde jazz styles are combined together. The sound is very dynamic and constantly changing – fast, active, rigorous and sharp collective improvisations suddenly turns out to calm and slow episodes there double bass is heard very much. Subtle and dynamic double bass melodies, various sounds of percussion and slow saxophone melodies are the main elements of these episodes. So this music is full of surprises and stylistic waves – live, active, innovative and expressive improvisations of great avant-garde jazz masters create interesting and modern sound of these compositions.

ZWERV – “ZWERV Live” (Creative Source Recordings, 2017)

“ZWERV Live” it’s the newest album played by Amsterdam free jazz quintet “ZWERV” and released last week by “Creative Source Recordings”. “ZWERV” is a avant-garde jazz ensemble which members are talented and experienced jazz improvisers – that’s Raoul van der Weide (bass, objects), George Hadow (drums), Henk Zwerver (guitar), Ziv Taubenfeld (bass clarinet) and Luis Vincente (trumpet). All musicians have their own and unique sound and original playing style which is also based on different music styles and various Europe countries music. The musicians had been improvising with other great avant-garde jazz masters such as John Dikeman, Goncalo Almeida, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Evan Parker, Chris Speed, Jonathan Hafner, André Fernandes, Joost Buis, Marco Franco, Steve Heather, Mette Rasmussen and many others. The “ZWERV” musicians also have their own jazz ensembles and are participating in many other projects with other musicians. Their music is live, original, creative and very dynamic. The sound is full of innovative playing techniques, sound experiments, special effects and other modern music elements.

The album has 6 compositions which is based on  avant-garde jazz. The avant-garde jazz elements are combined with various modern jazz styles such as bebop, post-bop and others. Their collective improvisations have original and interesting sound which is created with many different music elements and styles. Monotonic or dynamic rhythmic, sharp or very soft harmony, colorful and interesting instrumentation, special effects and sound experiments – these are the main elements of compositions. The musicians try to search new and strange timbres – that’s why their improvisations are full of various sound experiments. They also try out new and modern playing techniques and musical expressions. Free, active and expressive melodies are integrated with slow and soft episodes which have no melodic basic just singular sounds and timbres. This contrast between two very different improvisations is heard in all compositions. It effects original and interesting sound of all compositions of this album.


Bulliphant – “Hightailing” (Creative Source Recordings, 2017)

“Hightailing” – it’s experimental jazz album released this week by “Creative Source Recordings”. Album had been played by talented jazz experimentators quintet “Bulliphant” which members are Bart Maris (trumpet, piccolo trumpet), Ruben Verbruggen (alto and baritone saxophone), Thijs Troch (synth and electronics), Gonçalo Almeida (double bass) and Friso van Wijck (drums and percussion). The ensemble leader saxophonist Ruben Verbruggen also have his own group “Spoken Saxophone Quartet”. He also had played with “Bravo Big Band”, “Jamaican Jazz Orchestra”, “Den Ambrassband” and others. Bart Maris is famous Belgium trumpet player. He had collaborated with other various avant-garde jazz players and ensembles. His music is based on experimental jazz and musical experiments. Thijs Troch is a pianist, but he also professionally manage the electronics and synth. His music is based on high variety of electronic and computer music elements combining them with various jazz styles. The other member of this ensemble is famous Portugal bassist Goncalo Almeida. He plays the music between modern and avant-garde jazz, collaborates with various jazz musicians all over the world. Virtuosic, creative and original playing style and free improvising are the main elements of his music. Goncalo Almeida had played with Ab Baars, Balasz Pandi, Chris Speed, Carlos Zíngaro, Fred Lonberg-Holm and other jazz masters. Friso van Wijck is a drummer and percussionist. His music has high variety of rhythms, sounds and timbres, it also is very dynamic, organic and expressive.

Album has 12 compositions. All the compositions are based on avant-garde jazz and various modern jazz styles such as bebop and post-bop synthesis. Collective improvisations, free and expressive musicians solos, dynamic rhythmic and colorful instrumentation – these are the main elements of improvisations. Each musician is improvising very different from other. Their melodies are based on different music styles – saxophone melodies have more bebop and other modern jazz styles elements, though trumpet improvisations are free, rigorous and expressive experimental jazz melodies. The percussion and drums effecting the rapid and dynamic sound of the compositions – the high variety of singular sounds, strange timbres are heard. The bass is playing very contrastic most of the time – virtuosic and rapid melodies combine with subtle, slow and soft episodes. The sound of acoustic instruments merges with electronics and synth sounds. The electronics are used subtle and organic in this comppositions. Computer sounds, electronics and other special effects are harmoniously connected with acoustic instruments melodies. The musicians also pay attention to musical experiments – they search for strange timbres, peculiar singuliar noises, are using special electronic effects and computer music elements. The high variety of musical expressions, expressive and dynamic improvisations, creative and talented musicians create original and interesting sound of this album.

Danny Kamins / Damon Smith / Alvin Fielder / Joe Hertenstein – “After Effects” (FMR, 2017)

“After Effects” – it’s one of the newest albums released this month. Album had been played by four great avant-garde jazz masters – Danny Kamins (baritone sax), Damon Smith (double bass), Alvin Fielder (drums, percussion) and Joe Hertenstein (drums, percussion). These four musicians are very well-known in avant-garde jazz scene. Their innovative and creative improvising, inventive and expressive musical decisions, emotional and memorable melodies and many other elements are the main elements of these musicians playing style. Musicians try out many different playing techniques, musical expressions, combine very contrastic music styles in one composition. The quartet had been improvising together in the same ensemble many times. Four great jazz masters gently complement each other in all improvisations. Different melodies and music elements are masterfully combined together. The newest album “After Effects” had been recorded by “FMR Records”.

Album has 10 compositions. All compositions are based on avant-garde jazz elements. Energetic, rigorous and dynamic collective improvisations, virtuosic and expressive solos of the musicians contrasting with each other, repetitive rhythmic and high variety of different music expressions – these are the main elements of improvisations. The musicians are improvising masterfully and creative. Their improvisations are full of inventive musical decisions, modern and innovative playing techniques, subtle and slow solos or rapidly, playful and expressive melodies. They also search out for a peculiar and strange noises, singular sounds and timbres. Rhythmic of the compositions also is very contrasting – there are many different rhythmic formulas which are organically combined together. The rhythms of Africa ethnic music,North America music styles and European contemporary classical music elements sound glamorous in one improvisation. There’s also heard high diversity of dynamics, harmony and other musical expressions which are used in these improvisations. Colorful and interesting harmony and instrumentation, contrastic and inventive dynamic and other music elements are affecting modern sound of these improvisations. Professionally and talented jazz masters, improvisations, full of many different music styles and elements, creative, inventive and dynamic improvising create an original and interesting sound of this album.

Mike Reed – “Flesh & Bone” (SR, 2017)

“Flesh & Bone” – it’s a recently released avant-garde jazz album played by Mike Reed and his ensemble. Avant-garde jazz drummer Mike Reed recorded this album with other great experimental jazz masters – Greg Ward (alto saxophone), Tim Haldeman (tenor saxophone), Jason Roebke (bass), Ben Lamar Gay (cornet), Jason Stein (bass clarinet) and Marvin Tate (words). The improvisations played by these musicians have extraordinary and original sound. Special sound effects, words and musical experiments combine with active, memorable and dynamic acoustic instruments melodies. The musicians are talented and experienced experimental jazz masters. They pay high attention to search and create original and creative sound.

Album has 11 compositions. All of them have high variety of music styles. Avant-garde jazz, bebop, post-bop, funk, traditional and contemporary mainstream jazz elements are conformed together in one composition. Different music styles influence contrasts which are the main part of compositions. The compositions are based n high variety of music elements contrasting with each other. They are absolutely different from each other and are based on various music styles and expressions. Memorable and remarkable melodies, short and extraordinary musicians solos, high variety of innovative playing techniques, special sound effects and words – these are the main elements of compositions. The musicians try out extraordinary and exclusive playing techniques, search for a new and unheard timbres and sounds. These sound and timbres experiments effect the sound of compositions – it help to create glamorous and striking sound. The album doesn’t have one music style on which is based all compositions – the improvisations are based on variety of different jazz styles gently combined together. Creative, effective and free improvising, the diversity of music styles and expressions and other elements create a dynamic and genuine sound.

Roots Magic – “Last Kind Words” (Clean Feed, 2017)

“Last Kind Words” – it’s a new avant-garde jazz album released by “Clean Feed Records”. Album improvisations had been played by experimental jazz ensemble “Roots Magic” which members are Alberto Popolla (clarinet, bass clarinet), Errico De Fabritiis (alto, baritone sax), Gianfranco Tedeschi (double bass0, Fabrizio Spera (drums) and ensemble guests Luca Venitucci (organ and piano in tracks 1,4,6,9), Luca Tilli (cello on track 3 and 7) and Antonio Castiello (dub effects on track 12). The improvisations of these musicians have expressive, dynamic and original sound. Emotional, innovative, full of unpredictable musical decisions and styles elements – these are the main elements of compositions. The musicians of this ensemble have different and original improvising and playing style. Each musician has his own playing style which is based on different countries music and music styles. The organic and masterful combining of various music styles is the main base of compositions played by this ensemble.

Album has 12 compositions. All compositions are very different from each other.The high variety of music styles is very much heard in these compositions. Avant-garde jazz elements are combined with modern jazz styles, blues and traditional jazz intonations and also with music elements of various European countries and American music, funk, African-American music and many other music styles. Though “Roots Magic” is an ensemble which playing style is between traditional jazz, blues and experimental avant-garde jazz, the ensemble masterfully combines these elements with African – American music rhythmic, memorable and expressive melodies, virtuosic, sharp, loud and rigorous solos of reeds and other acoustic instruments. This high variety of different music styles and expressions is masterfully combined together in one composition. The musicians are improvising free, expressive and emotional. Their improvisations are also based on contrast elements and musical experiments. Europe, Africa and America countries traditional music intonations, contemporary academical music styles and genres, funk and other various music elements are heard very much in these compositions. That’s why this album don’t have one basic music style – it’s an album based on the high variety of different and contrasting music styles. The virtuosity and creativity of talented musicians, inventive musical decisions, colorful harmony and other musical expressions, high variety of music styles and other elements make an effort to original and interesting sound of this album.


“KNKNIGHGH (MINIMAL POETRY FOR ARAM SAROYAN)” – it’s another one of the newest albums released this month by “Clean Feed Records”.  This album had been played by Nate Wooley (trumpet), Chris Pitsiokos (alto saxophone) Brandon Lopez (bass) and Dré Hočevar (drums). The improvisations played by these musicians have original and creative sound. The high variety of music styles, expressions, playing techniques and musical experiments are the main basics of these musicians improvising style. The musicians had been improvising together many times in the past as a quartet and with other great avant-garde jazz musicians. Their playing style, sound and improvising are very different from each other, but all music elements are gently combined together.

The album has 5 compositions. All the compositions are based on avant-garde jazz elements and musical experiments. The quartet pay high attention to special and original sound of the composition – they search new timbres, extended and innovative playing techniques, special sound effects and other music elements which have an effort to make a interesting and dynamic sound. Saxophone and trumpet melodies full of virtuosic elements, loud blow-outs, memorable and short episodes and strange timbres and sounds are very important part of these compositions. Nate Wooley and Chris Pitsiokos solos and duets are full of rigorous, sharp and loud solos with high variety of different music expressions combined together. With saxophone and trumpet melodies there also sound interesting and dynamic bass melodies and drum solos. The rhythmic of the improvisations are full of unpredictable musical decisions and surprises – sometimes it’s very dynamic and repetitive and suddenly it turns out to be very static. The compositions are full of drum rolls, virtuosic solos and the high variety of rhythms. All musicians pay high attention to free and expressive improvising. That’s why their improvisations have original and interesting sound and are full of many different music elements masterfully combined together.