Reviews that mention Barre Phillips

January 11, 2021

El Intruso 13th Annual International Critics Poll 2020

Spanish Website
Ken Waxman’s ballot

Ken Waxman

(Periodista canadiense, editor de JazzWord. Durante muchos años ha escrito para los principales periódicos canadienses e internacionales y realiza comentarios sobre música en diferentes programas de radio) www.jazzword.com

Músico: “Covid 19”

Músico Revelación: “Covid 19”

Grupo: Leimgruber/Demierre/Phillips

Grupo Revelación: Tonus

Álbum: Various Artists – New Improvised Music from Buenos Aires (ESP Disk)
MORE

November 21, 2020

Barre Phillips

Thirty years in between
VICTO cd 132/08

By Ken Waxman

Proving that an old double bass soloist can still learn new tricks isn’t the point of Thirty years in between. Instead coupling a genre-defining 1989 solo disc from 85-year-old American bassist Barre Phillips with a new set of live solos from FIMAV 2019 makes clear how mature savvy has replaced adroit swagger.

Not that the 1989 tracks aren’t dazzling, as Phillips was pioneering a novel approach to soloing. With fluid variation at both ends of the timbral spectrum, he maintained a warm expansive tone, whether he’s pummeling pumping variables from the bottom tones or using hard-edged spiccato to extract narrowed multi-string squeaks, MORE

February 8, 2020

El Intruso’s

12th Annual International Critics Poll
Ken Waxman’s 2019 ballot

Musician of the year: Joe McPhee

Newcomer Musician: Timothée Quost, Gaspard Beck

Group of the year: Roots Magic, Tonus, Joe McPhee Trio

Newcomer group: MétamOrphée

Album of the year: Quatuor de Jazz Libre Du Québec, Musique Politique Anthologie 1971-1974 (Tour de Bras) Uri Caine, The Passion of Octavius Catto (816 Music)

Composer: Roscoe Mitchell, Uri Caine, Harris Eisenstad

Drums; Gerald Cleaver, Steve Noble, Tim Daisy

Acoustic Bass Joëlle Léandre, Barry Guy, Barre Phillips MORE

November 7, 2019

Leimgruber/Demierre/Phillips & Lehn

Willisau
Jazz Werkstatt JW 191

By Ken Waxman

Adding another voice to an established trio is a risk. But as these extended performances from saxophonist Urs Leingruber and pianist Jacques Demierre, both Swiss, and expatriate American bassist Barre Phillips indicate, the inclusion of German Thomas Lehn’s analog synthesizer illuminate new tinctures in the improvisational picture the others perfected over nearly two decades. This ever-shifting continuum of electronic judders not only enhances this program, but also allows the creation of parallel duos. For the first time, low-pitched string bowing is matched with keyboard strums and cadenzas while altissimo reed sputters are backed by wave form grinding. Throughout partners are changed as in a decidedly un-square dance. MORE

May 12, 2019

John Heward

Quintet
Mode/Avant 19

By Ken Waxman

A fitting memorial for Montreal visual artist John Heward (1932-2018), who was as proficient in free music as painting and sculpture, this 2014 77-minute improvisation shows how his sensitive and sophisticated approach applied proper percussion accents without bluster. Veteran American improvisers, bassist Barre Phillips and alto/soprano saxophonist Joe McPhee plus locals, bass clarinetist Lori Freedman and pianist Dana Reason are featured with no thought of hierarchy and ample space for each. MORE

January 11, 2019

Barre Phillips

End to End
ECM 2575

Mark Dresser

Modicana

NoBusiness NBLP 109

Sébastien Beliah

Nocturnes

Umlaut Records UMfr-cd 27

Solo double bass albums, at least those of a freely improvised bent, have a clearly defined genesis: Barre Phillips’ Journal Violone in 1968. Forty years later such a move is no longer novel, but part of the bucket list of many bassists. Completing his own journey, Phillips, now 84, claims that End to End is his last solo bass disc – of which he has recorded several in the interim. Consider how he approaches the challenge, along with newer solo bass excursions by San Diego-based Mark Dresser, 66, who is part of the next generation of exceptional low-string soloists; and much younger Paris-based double bass player Sébastien Beliah. MORE

July 6, 2018

Barre Phillips/Motoharu Yoshizawa

Oh My, Those Boys!
NoBusiness Records NBCD 103

With the dexterity and ingenuity internalized after years of music making, venerable double bass doyens, American Barre Phillips and the late Japanese Motoharu Yoshizawa combined for more than 75 minutes of contemplative improvisations. Recorded in 1994, as Yoshizawa (1931-1998) was feeling the impending end of his career as Japan’s most eminent Free Music bassist, the CD also serves as a prelude to the adroit creativity Phillips (b. 1934) would continue to exhibit into the next century, MORE

February 11, 2016

Paul Bley

A Modern Jazz Piano Master
By Ken Waxman

Paul Bley who died at 83 in early January was probably never bothered that he was usually described as Canada’s second best-known jazz pianist; Oscar Peterson was the first. But Bley, who shared a Montreal birth with Peterson, and who similarly was honored with induction into the Order of Canada in 2008 – albeit 30 plus years after Peterson – was for all intents and purposes a much more radical pianist than O.P. Peterson, seven years Bley’s senior, was a flamboyant stylist who adapted Art Tatum’s all-encompassing swing era techniques to the structure of modern jazz during an almost incalculable number of performances from the late 1940s until his death in 2007. However Bley, represented on more than 100 discs during his career, cycled through a variety of keyboard strategies from the outgoing to the cerebral, eventually matching the atonality of off-centre techniques with straightforward, melodically measured motion. He was also one of the first serious improvisers to deal with the sonic possibilities that could be extracted from the then brand-new portable Moog synthesizer. Later, such better-known pianists as Keith Jarrett, The Bad Plus’ Ethan Iverson and Satoko Fujii developed their playing following the examples of Bley’s breakthroughs. MORE

October 1, 2015

Urs Leimgruber/Jacques Demierre/Barre Philips

1→ 3 ╠ 2:↔1
Jazz Werkstatt JW 156

By Ken Waxman

After 15 years of continuous, though not exclusive, touring, the trio of American bassist Barre Phillip and two Swiss musicians, tenor and soprano saxophonist Urs Leimgruber and pianist Jacques Demierre, have fused into an organism whose limbs and thought processes are perfectly attuned. Oddly titled, 1→ 3╠ 2:↔1is the trio’s third and newest CD and it ably demonstrates interactive skill. It was recorded back in 2012 when senior member Phillips was a mere 76. He turns 81 on October 27. MORE

September 11, 2015

Spotlight

482 Music
By Ken Waxman

Maxims like: “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of a boy” posses more than a kernel of truth if you substitute Chicago for country and the 482 Music label for the boy. After more than a decade in New York, label-owner Mike, Lintner says ruefully that many people still consider 482 a Chicago enterprise, even though the majority of the 90-odd releases it has put out since 1997 aren’t by Chicago artists. “It was the Document Chicago Series, our close relationships with Chicago media, and, I guess to some extent [drummer] Mike Reed, that gave the label the Chicago identity,” explains Lintner, who lived in Chicago during the first six years 482 existed. “A record label can be run from most anywhere,” he insists, “and New York’s not a bad place to do it.” MORE

June 1, 2015

Continaud/Phillips/Roger/Somer

No Meat Inside
Facing You/IMR 003

Unlike musicians in other European countries who have developed extensive international contacts, most French improvisers are part of an entity unto themselves. Perhaps this relates to a time from the 1950s to the 1980s where expatriated American performers seemed to take up an inordinate amount of space in the French Jazz consciousness. Sadly that means few Gallic free players are known beyond their own borders

All of which is long preamble to question as to why a high-quality session like No Meat Inside, created by a quartet of veteran French-based improvisers, is unknown in North America. Recorded at a festival, the CD’s seven tracks offer up matchless glimpses of a particular brand of French improvisation. The tunes are more animated by the aleatoric discoveries of New music than the legacy of Free Jazz. At the same time it’s hard to only wave the tri-color flag in terms of this session. For a start bassist Barre Phillips is a Yank, but considering he has lived in France for nearly a half-century, describing him as an American is analogous to circa 1940, describing long-exiled Stravinsky as a Russian. Emmanuelle Somer, who plays oboe and C-melody saxophone here, has both French and Dutch citizenship, while tenor saxophonist and clarinetist François Cotinaud plus pianist Henri Roger are both from Monaco. Indicating geographical roots is one thing, but the key to No Meat Inside is that among the four, affiliations range from saxophonists John Surman and Urs Leingruber, to bassist Benjamin Duboc, the Helios Quartet, the Soundpainting Orchestra, the Klangfarben Ensemble, plus drummers “Brat” Oles and Ramon Lopez. MORE

April 7, 2015

Festival Report

Artacts ‘15
By Ken Waxman

Situated in the midst of Austria’s Tyrolean Alps where chair lifts are a 20 minute walk from the central square, every second store sells ski equipment and alpine-outfitted fanatics crowd the streets, the resort of St. Johann in Tirol welcomed an equally committed but different type of fanatic March 6-8. Celebrating its 15th anniversary the annual Artacts Festival presents improvised music at the Alte Gerberei cultural centre and elsewhere. Evening performances ranged from the focused minimalism of the opening Gutvik/Kjær/Strøm trio to drummer Paal Nilssen-Love’s 11-piece Large Unit that closed the festival with confrontational brawn. MORE

August 21, 2014

The Jimmy Giuffre 3&4

New York Concerts
Elemental Music 5990425

Consisting of a dozen never-before-released tracks by master reedist Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008), these 1965 trio and quartet selection fill a gap in his discography that lasted from the demise of his piano/bass/clarinet trio in the early 1960s to his reemergence with a fusion-styled band 10 years later. More than a historical curiosity though, the virile and committed soloing exhibited here by Giuffre on tenor saxophone and clarinet, seconded by the drumming of Joe Chambers on all selections, suggests that the reedman’s subsequent detour into full-time teaching robbed Jazz of additional examples of his constantly evolving style. What’s more New York Concerts shows that Giuffre’s flirtation with cerebral chamber-jazz was also over at the time. Seconded by Chamber and bassist Richard Davis on six tracks and the drummer along with pianist Don Friedman and bassist Barre Phillips on the other selections, Giuffre was in the processes of perfecting a new, hitherto unknown synthesis. MORE

September 26, 2012

Urs Leimgruber/Jacques Demierre/Barre Phillips

Montreuil
Jazz Werkstatt JW 125

Bevan/Bourne/Buck/Phillips

Everybody Else But Me

Foghorn Records FOG CD 015

Now 78, bassist Barre Phillips is one of those Americans who transferred the investigational skills he intuited playing with the likes of reedists Eric Dolphy and Jimmy Giuffre to Europe in the late 1960s. Like most Jazzmen, he was looking for steady work, but since that time he has helped create a distinctive European improv aesthetic. Based in southern France for the past 40 years, Phillips has worked with nearly every major European musical innovator from saxophonist Evan Parker to fellow bassist Joëlle Léandre. MORE

September 26, 2012

Bevan/Bourne/Buck/Phillips

Everybody Else But Me
Foghorn Records FOG CD 015

Urs Leimgruber/Jacques Demierre/Barre Phillips

Montreuil

Jazz Werkstatt JW 125

Now 78, bassist Barre Phillips is one of those Americans who transferred the investigational skills he intuited playing with the likes of reedists Eric Dolphy and Jimmy Giuffre to Europe in the late 1960s. Like most Jazzmen, he was looking for steady work, but since that time he has helped create a distinctive European improv aesthetic. Based in southern France for the past 40 years, Phillips has worked with nearly every major European musical innovator from saxophonist Evan Parker to fellow bassist Joëlle Léandre. MORE

May 6, 2012

Label Spotlight:

Maya Recordings
By Ken Waxman

As much as anything else, the birth of Maya Recordings, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, was born from impatience. Swiss violinist Maya Homburger, who operates the boutique label with her husband, British bassist/composer Barry Guy, recalls that since at that time another label was slow in putting out Arcus, a recording by Guy and bassist Barre Phillips, they decided to do so themselves. By 2012 29 Maya CDs have been released, improvised as well as baroque music.

The two were already veteran musician when Maya was created. Zürich-born Homburger, for instance, has worked with ensembles such as Trio Virtuoso and Camerata Kilkenny; while London-born Guy is part of many free jazz aggregations and is the founder/artistic director of the London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LCJO). Maya was envisioned as a different sort of imprint, Homburger recalls. “We wanted to create a label where music, cover art and writing were all related and on the highest level. We wanted to have control over the look as well as the sound.” MORE

July 3, 2010

Densités Festival

Fresnes-en-Woëvre, France
October 23 to 25 2009

A rural French hamlet in the Lorraine countryside isn’t the setting you imagine for a world-class festival of unadulterated Electronic and Free Music. Yet the Densités Festival in Fresnes-en-Woëvre – population 500 – about 80 kilometres from Nancy, is that. During three days in late October, the 16th Edition presented a sonic banquet of unstoppable Free Jazz, minimalist improv, sound installations, electro-acoustic meetings, poetry recitations and interactions between instrumentalists and dancers. MORE

May 22, 2010

Barre Phillips

Portraits
Kadima Collective Recordings KCR 025

Guillaume Viltard

Running Away

Un rêve Nu urn 001

Joe Williamson

The Inhibitionist

Jedso Records #2

Double bass solos were barely tolerated and usually treated with condensation in jazz before the 1960s At that point, new sonic experiments liberated nearly every instrument from its expected role. Like similar sessions for reeds and brass, solo string projects began to appear in profusion. This trio of solo bass CDs demonstrates how the concept of individual improvisation now has a history of its own and how the strategies adopted to do so are being extended by a new generation of players. MORE

March 13, 2010

Urs Leimgruber/Jacques Demierre/Barre Phillips

Albeit
Jazzwerkstatt JW 074

Near perfect elaboration of a committed improvisational trio’s art, this Swiss-American group has been involved in furthering extrasensory mutual creation for more than a decade. Now seemingly able to predict and instantaneously react to even split-second sound dislocation, the trio has constructed a totality where the final note is as crucial as the first and where every one is woven into the overall fabric.

Considering the veteran trio’s background this practically supernatural connection is no surprise. During his 40 years in Europe for instance, American bassist Barre Phillips has played with everyone from saxophonist Evan Parker to pianist Paul Bley. Tenor and soprano saxophonist Urs Leimgruber has worked with bassist Joëlle Léandre, synthesizer player Thomas Lehn and many others. His Swiss countryman, pianist Jacques Demierre, is equally proficient in improvised and notated music, having recorded with pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and in a trio with bassist Barry Guy, whose London Jazz Composers Orchestra also counts Phillips as a member. MORE

February 11, 2010

Peitzer Grand

Mit Vieren
Jazzwerkstatt JW 077

David Murray

Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club

Jazzwerkstatt JW 073

Thirty-odd years make a big difference in the improvised music scene, both in Europe and North America. In fact, one wonders if any of the participants on these two fine live CDs – not to mention the associated audience members – could have imagined the altered musical and political landscape of the future.

In that timeframe, as is proven by many of the tracks on Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club, it was the so-called avant-gardists in New York who were celebrating jazz’s past while contemporary players stuck to Bop and Fusion sounds. Meanwhile, as Mit Vieren demonstrates, the gap between East and West Germany was still a formidable chasm. That era’s version of political correctness made it necessary for even advanced German jazz combos to include foreign musicians among the players to ensure no band consisted of only participants from both sides of the Wall. MORE

February 11, 2010

David Murray

Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club
Jazzwerkstatt JW 073

Peitzer Grand

Mit Vieren

Jazzwerkstatt JW 077

Thirty-odd years make a big difference in the improvised music scene, both in Europe and North America. In fact, one wonders if any of the participants on these two fine live CDs – not to mention the associated audience members – could have imagined the altered musical and political landscape of the future.

In that timeframe, as is proven by many of the tracks on Live at the Lower Manhattan Ocean Club, it was the so-called avant-gardists in New York who were celebrating jazz’s past while contemporary players stuck to Bop and Fusion sounds. Meanwhile, as Mit Vieren demonstrates, the gap between East and West Germany was still a formidable chasm. That era’s version of political correctness made it necessary for even advanced German jazz combos to include foreign musicians among the players to ensure no band consisted of only participants from both sides of the Wall. MORE

November 16, 2009

Berlin’s European Jazz Jamboree Offers a Unique Take on American-based Jazz

By Ken Waxman

Like one of those novels of speculative fiction that posit a scenario in which the South wins the American Civil War; or perhaps like a variant of Superman Comic’s Bizzaro planet where everything is the reverse of earth, 2009’s European Jazz Jamboree (EEJ) offered an alternate view of jazz history. Here the music was essentially in the tradition, but, in the main, interpreted by Europeans rather than Americans.

This led to some spectacular performances taking place during the series of concerts in selected Berlin venues during mid-September. But as Superman found when he visited the Bizarro world, altered history can sometimes be disconcerting. Similarly some of the EJJ combinations failed to live up to their expected promise(s). In a further Bizarro-like irony, some of the fest’s best sounds came from aggregations whose music had very little to do with the EJJ’s stated theme. MORE

April 3, 2008

Malcolm Goldstein/Barre Phillips

Live in Puget-Ville
Bab-Ili Lef 07

By Ken Waxman

Astringent chamber improv from two expatriate Americans in their seventies, this CD captures the robust interface that resulted from the first-time meeting between bassist Barre Phillips and violinist Malcolm Goldstein.

Goldstein, who lives in Montreal, and Phillips, who resides in La Provence, France are able to use their cumulative virtuosity to easily stake out distinctive positions throughout these six improvisations. Squeaking and cross-bowing, the fiddler builds up a field of pinched spiccato runs and screeching sul ponticello feints and fades. Maintaining the lower pitches, the bull fiddler’s weighed double counterpoint to this encompasses not only legato, tremolo bowing, but hand manipulation of tremolo breaks and harmonic convergence. Regularly, as well, Phillips strikes the body of his instrument to produce wide, woody resonations, which in other circumstances could come from tuned tympani. MORE

January 9, 2008

Jazz à Mulhouse gives a loving French kiss to Improvised music

By Ken Waxman
For CODA Issue 337

Impressive saxophone and reed displays were the focus of the 24th Edition of Jazz à Mulhouse in France in late August. Overall however, most of the 19 performances maintained a constant high quality. This may have something to do with the fact that unlike larger, flashier and more commercial festivals, Jazz à Mulhouse (JAM) is an almost folksy showcase for improvisation.

Located less than 20 minutes away by train from Basel, Switzerland, Mulhouse is a mid-sized city of 150,000 in eastern France long known as an industrial textile centre. Low-key, JAM is rather like the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville (FIMAV), with better restaurants. MORE

September 25, 2005

Urs Leimgruber/Jacques Demierre/Barre Phillips

ldp – cologne
psi

Doran/Hauser/Leimgruber/Pfamatter
La Fourmi
Creative Works

By Ken Waxman
September 25, 2005

Apart from a single mainstream session in the late 1980s, Swiss saxophonist Urs Leimgruber has dedicated himself to outright reed texture exploration for many years. This tendency intensified once the reedist moved full time to Paris in 1988, immersing himself in rigorous performances of notated works as well as developing an all-inclusive approach to soprano and tenor saxophone improvisation. MORE

August 11, 2003

MICHEL LAMBERT

Out Twice
482 Music 482-1019

Michel Lambert is part of a burgeoning group of Canadian improvisers who remain domiciled in the Great White North, but whose playing opportunities and connections are international. A short list of others who have found they don’t have to make the trek to New York or London to be involved in satisfying music include Montrealers, saxophonist Jean Derome and guitarist René Lussier; Vancouverites, cellist Peggy Lee and drummer Dylan Van Der Schyft; plus Toronto saxophonist Glenn Hall. MORE

January 22, 2003

MANERI ENSEMBLE

Going To Church
AUM Fidelity AUM 024

MAT MANERI
Sustain
Thirsty Ear THI 57122.2

Substantial slices of Maneri music, these two new CDs prove that while violist Mat Manner has internalized the quirky cogitation and execution of his father, reedist Joe Maneri, he’s not adverse to testing out some ideas of his own in different contexts.

Father-son improvisers are nothing new on the jazz scene and have ranged from boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons and his funky tenor saxophonist son Gene Ammons to mainstream pianist Ellis Marsalis and his progeny. But few offspring are as inculcated in his father’s music, as Mat -- born in 1969 -- who began playing music with his father when he was only seven. It’s hardly necessary to point out that Joe -- born in 1927 -- was no mainstream Marsalis. A jobbing musician for years with an interest in ethnic, microtonal and 12-tone composition as well as jazz improvisation, his talent finally got him a gig teaching theory and composition at Boston’s New England Conservatory in 1970. But his single-mindedness left him unrecorded until his belated emergence in the mid-1990s. MORE

August 19, 2002

VINKELOE/WEAVER/SMITH

Desert Sweets
Balance Point bpa 004/plu 005

JOSCHA OETZ
Vieles Ist Eins
Accretions ALP 026CD

Back in the 1957, four-string specialist Paul Chambers put out an LP called BASS On TOP. Now while bassists Damon Smith and Joscha Oetz are definite team players on these CDs, that title could be used to describe the state of the bass -- hm, another potential title -- in 21st century California.

Smith, a native of Oakland, Calif., has already recorded a series of fine CDs, encompassing a duo with his bass mentor Peter Kowald, and in trios with different saxophonists, drummers and keyboardists. DESERT SWEETS is a souvenir of a visit to the Bay area by Swedish saxophonist/flautist Biggi Vinkeloe -- who recorded with Kowald in the past -- where she was matched with Smith and tuba player Mark Weaver from Albuquerque, N. M. MORE

March 29, 2002

MICHEL PORTAL

Alors!!!
Futura Ger 12

Followers of the vaporous, boreal undertakings of British saxophonist John Surman are going to be thrown for a loop by this session. Far from the punctilious, withdrawn playing he has exhibited over the past two decades, here’s the 26-year-old reedist as a romping, stomping New Thinger who could easily blow the present day Surman off the stand.

Of course inspiration has a lot to do with the company you keep. And this 1970 session is actually a collusion between the saxophonist’s Anglo-American trio of the day -- filled out by bassist Barre Phillips and drummer Stu Martin, both Yanks -- with two Frenchman -- percussionist Jean-Pierre Drouet and the chameleon-like woodwind master Michel Portal. MORE

September 24, 2001

THE SPACE BETWEEN

With Barre Phillips
482 Music 482-1007

One of the wonderful facets of free improvisation is that, unlike more formal music, practitioners aren't limited to certain instruments.

Thus you have this unbridled session of stirring improv performed on shakuhachi or Japanese bamboo flute; accordion retuned with just intonation; minimalist piano and string bass. The background of the four musicians couldn't be more different either.

Bay area shakuhachi player Philip Gelb, who brings a unique Occidental concept to his instrument, is as likely to collaborate with multi instrumentalist Joe McPhee, or interactive electronics composer Chris Brown as with koto master, Shoko Hikage. Accordionist Pauline Oliveros has been composing so-called serious music for 50 years and has a long history of creating electronic and minimalist works. MORE

April 24, 2001

PAUL BLEY/EVAN PARKER/BARRE PHILLIPS

Sankt Gerold
ECM 1609 012 157 899-2

Recorded at the spectacularly-situated Propstei Sankt Gerold, monastery in the Austrian alps, this follow up to the trio's lavishly praised TIME WILL TELL CD, offers a disparate vision of how the participants view sound.

Imbued with a chamber jazz essence, the first CD was also, extraordinarily, the first time British saxophonist Evan Parker and Canadian pianist Paul Bley had recorded together, despite having been involved with improvised music for, at that point, about 35 years each. Veteran American bassist Barre Phillips was the common link, and the success of the session not only set new standards of literate blending, but two years later, also allowed the three to embark on their first-ever -- and so far only -- trio tour including this date. SANKT GEROLD pinpoints the group's singularity as well as its cohesiveness. Unlike TIME's seven trio and four duo selections, this CD is divided between five trio selections and a basket full of solo spots for each member.

MORE