Reviews that mention Gino Robair

November 7, 2019

Phil Minton/John Butcher/Gino Robair

Blasphemious Fragments
Rastascan BR 0076

180°

Submental

Splitrec 29

MétamOrphée

MétamOrphée

Free Sonne rnf 05

Defining who is a Jazz singer has long been a mug’s game, subject to all sorts of ifs and buts. However determining who is an improving vocalist is more straightforward – mostly through elimination. If recognizable words are lacking, melody and rhythm are secondary and vocal gymnastics include retches, yelps and other non-pleasant sounds, the case is strongly made for inclusion. Just as convincing, as free-form instrumentalist work out a particular program to expand creativity, so do advanced voice artists, as the British, French and Australian stylists here demonstrate. MORE

November 16, 2018

The Open Secret: John Butcher/Gino Robair/Dieb 13

Geography for Plays
Rastascan BRD069

Blume/De Joode/Butcher

Low Yellow

Jazz Werkstatt JW 184

Opposite sides of the Free Music coin, what these international improvising trios have in common is the talents of British reedist John Butcher. Low Yellow could be described as a classic Free Music session featuring the London-based Butcher on tenor saxophone with Dortmund-based percussionist Martin Blume and Amsterdam bassist Wilbert de Joode. Geography for Plays on the other hand centres on electronic impulses, with Butcher playing tenor and soprano saxophones plus feedback, Vienna’s dieb13 employing turntables and computer, while Californian Gino Robair is engaged with energized surfaces, prepared piano and the Blippoo Box, an analogue synthesizer with twin digital shift registers. MORE

February 26, 2015

Andrew Raffo Dewar

Interactions Quartet
Ratascan Records BRD 068

Thollem/Robair

Trio Music Minus One (for Dennis Palmer)

Setola Di Maiale SM25650

Bay-area based Gino Robair brings his percussion sets and electronics to these disparate sessions of experimental music, displaying why he has over the years been involved with fellow travelers as different as John Butcher, Nina Hagen and Terry Riley. As well, his role is crucially and individually demarcated in each instance,

Interactions Quartet lives up to its name. The CD’s 11 tracks are divided into two multi-part compositions that conflate background and foreground functions through spatially and graphically notated scores interpreted by four experienced improvisers. The others are guitarist John Shiurba, oboist/English hornist Kyle Bruckmann plus soprano saxophonist Andrew Raffo Dewar. An Argentinean-born polymath, Dewar played and studied with Anthony Braxton and Bill Dixon and now is a professor at the University of Alabama. The first five pieces are dedicated to Argentinean-American reedist/architect Guillermo Gregorio (b. 1941). The five “Pieces for Four Instruments” are dedicated to American composer Earle Brown (1926-2002), who also established his own notational systems. MORE

February 26, 2015

Thollem/Robair

Trio Music Minus One (for Dennis Palmer)
Setola Di Maiale SM25650

Andrew Raffo Dewar

Interactions Quartet

Ratascan Records BRD 068

Bay-area based Gino Robair brings his percussion sets and electronics to these disparate sessions of experimental music, displaying why he has over the years been involved with fellow travelers as different as John Butcher, Nina Hagen and Terry Riley. As well, his role is crucially and individually demarcated in each instance,

Interactions Quartet lives up to its name. The CD’s 11 tracks are divided into two multi-part compositions that conflate background and foreground functions through spatially and graphically notated scores interpreted by four experienced improvisers. The others are guitarist John Shiurba, oboist/English hornist Kyle Bruckmann plus soprano saxophonist Andrew Raffo Dewar. An Argentinean-born polymath, Dewar played and studied with Anthony Braxton and Bill Dixon and now is a professor at the University of Alabama. The first five pieces are dedicated to Argentinean-American reedist/architect Guillermo Gregorio (b. 1941). The five “Pieces for Four Instruments” are dedicated to American composer Earle Brown (1926-2002), who also established his own notational systems. MORE

April 13, 2014

The Apophonics

On Air
Weight of Wax Wow 05

Common Objects

Live in Morden Tower

Mikroton CD 29

John Butcher/Leonel Kaplan/Christof Kurzmann

Shortening Distances

L’innomable 2013/No #

There’s a probing consistency in British saxophonist John Butcher’s music, with the following of unexpected paths one of its chief listening pleasures. Like many other peripatetic improvisers, the London-based soprano and tenor saxophonist is involved with many other musicians, yet as these sessions demonstrate, he maintains a consistency of approach. MORE

September 21, 2012

Kyle Bruckmann

On Procedural Grounds
New World Records 80725-2

Kyle Bruckmann’s Wrack

Cracked Refraction

Porter Records PRCD 4061

As improvised music’s pre-eminent – well let’s face it probably only – oboe and English horn specialist, Oakland, Calif.-based Kyle Bruckmann has been flexing his organizational muscles as a band leader and composer during the past few years. These recent CDs showcase these talents admirably along, of course, with his distinctive soloing.

Gigging with New music ensembles, the Stockton Symphony and many area regional orchestras plus a smattering of Rock and electronic music bands is how Bruckmann makes his living, but it’s with his own Wrack quintet that he expresses his own ideas. Mostly consisting of Chicago musicians with whom Bruckmann played before relocating to the Bay area in 2003, the band is filled out by one player, violist Jen Clare Paulson, who is mostly involved in notated music ensembles, plus three others – bass clarinetist Jason Stein, bassist Anton Hatwich and percussionist Tim Daisy – who usually work the Improv/Jazz side of the equation, with associates such as saxophonists Ken Vandermark and Dave Rempis. MORE

July 6, 2012

Festival Report:

Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon
By Ken Waxman

London saxophonist John Butcher and Chicago percussionist Tim Daisy were the MVPs during the Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon at the end of April. To stretch the metaphor further, Butcher was doubly valuable, since as a pinch hitter he replaced Una Casa/Observatorio’s third member when that saxophonist was unable to perform with Buenos Aires-based trumpeter Leonel Kaplan and Viennese computer manipulator Christof Kurzmann. If Butcher’s playing was sympathetically creative with that trio, his improvising was equally spectacular with The Apophonics, a new group, otherwise consisting of British bassist John Edwards and Bay-area percussionist Gino Robair. Meanwhile the cap-sporting Daisy subtly pacing Wrack, the chamber-styled string-and-horn quintet; as well as added rhythmic heft to saxophonist Dave Rempis’ Percussion 4Tet, whose raucous free jazz closed the festival to enthusiastic audience cheers. MORE

February 20, 2012

Bailey/Butcher/Robair

Scrutables
Weight of Wax WOW 04

A hitherto unreleased session now made more audible through modern technology, this CD captures the unmistakable spiky playing of the late British guitarist Derek Bailey in cohesive improvisations alongside London saxophonist John Butcher, with whom he often played at the time, and visiting American percussionist Gino Robair. More crucially it’s a valuable addition to the guitarist’s burgeoning discography.

By this point the playing of Bailey (1930-2005) was very much sui generis. Having along with others, mid-wifed the growth of self-defined improvised music in the United Kingdom, his tart and acerbic method of string scraping and finger-picking had retained constant whether playing with older associates or newer musicians world-wide. As open to multiple pairings and new partners as Bailey, Butcher had by this time (2000), perfected soprano and tenor saxophone multiphonics making his tones as distinctive as the guitarist’s. Rather than being odd man out, Bay area percussionist Robair, whose rhythmic versatility is expressed by labelling his percussion instruments energized surfaces, had already set up a playing relationship with Butcher. But this is his only recorded meaning with Bailey. MORE

January 20, 2012

Rhapsody's 2011 Jazz Critics' Poll

Individual Ballot
From Ken Waxman

1) Your name and primary affiliation(s) (no more than two, please)

2) Ken Waxman

Jazz Word (www.jazzword.com )

3) Your choices for 2011's ten best new releases (albums released between Thanksgiving 2010 and Thanksgiving 2011, give or take), listed in descending order one-through-ten.

1. World Saxophone Quartet Yes We Can Jazzwerkstatt JW 098

2. Gerald Cleaver Uncle June Be It As I See It Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT-375

3. Hubbub Whobub Matchless MRCD 80 MORE

November 15, 2011

John Butcher & Gino Robair

Apophenia
Rastascan BRD 065

Tatsuya Nakatani/Michel Doneda

White Stone Black Lamp

Nakatani-Kobo Kobo-1

Ariel Shibolet/Haggai Fershtman

Happiness for Things Unseen

Kadima Collective KCR 29

Even when it comes to experimental sounds, certain stricture exist, which if not challenged threaten to straightjacket improvisers into pre-determined concepts. Consequently for the indolent or casual listener any saxophone and percussion duo is often slotted within the parameters set up more than 35 years ago by Americans John Coltrane’s and Rahied Ali’s Energy Music on one hand and Briton’s Evan Parker’s and Paul Lytton’s reductionist Free Music on the other. MORE

September 10, 2011

Rastascan

Label Spotlight
By Ken Waxman

“There was never a master plan, except to release music I enjoy and promote musicians I want to help”, says Bay area drummer Gino Robair when asked why he started Rastascan records in the early 1980s and has kept it going ever since.

Over the years the California imprint, named after the term “rasters” from television technology, has put out music on CD, LP, DVD and cassette, as downloads and even on flexi-disc, with sessions featuring artists ranging from Anthony Braxton and Evan Parker to lesser-known improvisers. “Unlike many labels that take a curatorial stance or try to ‘produce’ each record, I give the artists full control over the presentation of their work,” explains Robair. “They determine the look of the graphics, the order and choice of the music, the titles of the album and pieces. That’s one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about running a label; seeing and hearing the full artistic statement that the object represents”. MORE

January 28, 2011

David Sait

Sixty Interpretations of Sixty Seconds by Sixty Solo Improvisers
Apprise Records AP-04

As much a triumph of organization and timbral arrangement as music, this matchless CD is the result of a unique initiative by Toronto-based guzheng player David Sait. During 2009 and 2010 he solicited and collected original 60-second recordings from 60 improvisers he had played with or admired in the past, then knit the results into 10 separate tracks, each of which encompasses improvisations from six of the participants.

Considering that anyone hearing the results wouldn’t realize that each 60-second cut was recorded independently of the others, the suturing is almost faultless. Bearing in mind that contributions came from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Argentina, Japan, Spain, Australia, Ukraine, France, Belarus, Finland, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Portugal, Belgium, Serbia, Ireland and Italy, the idea that cerebral improvising is universal suggests itself as well. MORE

February 1, 2010

John Butcher Group

Somethingtobesaid
Weight of Wax WOW 02

Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble

The Moment’s Energy

ECM 2066

Now that a large portion of improvised music is deliberately moving further away from its swing-blues roots and into an accommodation with New music, a few far-sighted so-called classical festivals have made a place for improvisers. Tellingly, both these captivating CDs featuring ensembles performing large-scale compositions by significant British saxophonists, were commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. More importantly, neither work is a jazz-classical cameo, but expansive enough to allow the composers’ ideas to be figuratively painted on a larger canvas, using an extended sonic palate. MORE

February 1, 2010

Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble

The Moment’s Energy
ECM 2066

John Butcher Group

Somethingtobesaid

Weight of Wax WOW 02

Now that a large portion of improvised music is deliberately moving further away from its swing-blues roots and into an accommodation with New music, a few far-sighted so-called classical festivals have made a place for improvisers. Tellingly, both these captivating CDs featuring ensembles performing large-scale compositions by significant British saxophonists, were commissioned by the United Kingdom’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. More importantly, neither work is a jazz-classical cameo, but expansive enough to allow the composers’ ideas to be figuratively painted on a larger canvas, using an extended sonic palate. MORE

December 7, 2009

Gino Robair/Birgit Ulher

Blips and Ifs
Rastascan Records BRD 062

Percussion doesn’t have to involve bombast, beats or even a full drum set. That’s the idea of Californian Gino Robair who played with Toronto improvisers at Somewhere There the last week of November.

Robair, a Free Music veteran who uses drums as resonators for bowed scraped and rubbed objects and amplifies his instrument using circuit-bending electronics, demonstrates the resulting sonic freedom on the onomatopoeically titled “Blips and Ifs”. Partnered by German trumpeter Birgit Ulher, whose understated brass timbres are processed through radio speakers, the two express the cited sounds and many others in seven improvisations. MORE

November 20, 2008

Larry Ochs

The Mirror World
Metalanguage MLX 2007

Two profoundly different – and stirring – musical musings on the unique films of the late Stan Brakhage, saxophonist Larry Ochs’ compositions, which make up The Mirror World, sonically reach the sense of infinite variety which Brakhage achieved in his films. Neither a portrait of one cinematic creation nor designed as a soundtrack to any of Brakhage’s works, Ochs compositions stand on their own, positing as original ways of hearing sounds as the film maker found personal ways to communicate his version of seeing light. MORE

July 15, 2008

Grosse Abfahrt

Erstes Luftschiff zu Kalifornien
Creative Sources CS 065 CD

Grosse Abfahrt

Everything that Disappears

Emanem 4146

Named for a German dirigible that in 1908 crashed near Berkeley, Calif. during an unsuccessful demonstration of its potential as trans-oceanic liner, both of Grosse Abfahrt’s CDs are organized around more successful European-American interfaces.

Undoubtedly it’s because the only air being distilled here are the currents propelled from the eight instruments on Erstes Luftschiff zu Kalifornien and the nine on Everything that Disappears. Also more in keeping with 21st Century improvisation, the fuel of choice – besides the musicians’ inventiveness – is electricity, not hydrogen gas. Plus, as opposed to brief duration and subsequent crash of inventor John Morrell’s disastrous flight, only one improvisation on either intriguing set is less than three minutes in length. Most clock in around the 10-minute mark, with the first disc’s “interkontinentale luftschiffahrt” proceeding for almost 19 minutes while the other session’s “geometric undulating driveway symmetrical, all the road of masters” unrolls for nearly 39 minutes. Depending on traffic, the later probably is likely a longer time-frame then it takes to drive between San Francisco and Berkeley. MORE

July 15, 2008

Grosse Abfahrt

Everything that Disappears
Emanem 4146

Grosse Abfahrt

Erstes Luftschiff zu Kalifornien

Creative Sources CS 065 CD

Named for a German dirigible that in 1908 crashed near Berkeley, Calif. during an unsuccessful demonstration of its potential as trans-oceanic liner, both of Grosse Abfahrt’s CDs are organized around more successful European-American interfaces.

Undoubtedly it’s because the only air being distilled here are the currents propelled from the eight instruments on Erstes Luftschiff zu Kalifornien and the nine on Everything that Disappears. Also more in keeping with 21st Century improvisation, the fuel of choice – besides the musicians’ inventiveness – is electricity, not hydrogen gas. Plus, as opposed to brief duration and subsequent crash of inventor John Morrell’s disastrous flight, only one improvisation on either intriguing set is less than three minutes in length. Most clock in around the 10-minute mark, with the first disc’s “interkontinentale luftschiffahrt” proceeding for almost 19 minutes while the other session’s “geometric undulating driveway symmetrical, all the road of masters” unrolls for nearly 39 minutes. Depending on traffic, the later probably is likely a longer time-frame then it takes to drive between San Francisco and Berkeley. MORE

January 20, 2008

Cold Bleak Heat

Simitu
Family Vineyard FV41

Jon Raskin

Quartet

Ratascan Records BRD 059

Encapsulating the differences between West Coast and East Coast Free Improv, these quartet sessions illustrate how dissimilar sounding identically constituted combos can be.

Consisting of both compositional and improvisational material, the 12 tracks of Quartet are individually shaped by score and graphic elements organized by the band leader, long-time ROVA quartet member saxophonist Jon Raskin Rougher and wilder in contrast, Simitu’s six tracks seem to be nourished by the highly emotional and theatrical Energy Music which flourished in the 1970s. MORE

January 20, 2008

Jon Raskin

Quartet
Ratascan Records BRD 059

Cold Bleak Heat

Simitu

Family Vineyard FV41

Encapsulating the differences between West Coast and East Coast Free Improv, these quartet sessions illustrate how dissimilar sounding identically constituted combos can be.

Consisting of both compositional and improvisational material, the 12 tracks of Quartet are individually shaped by score and graphic elements organized by the band leader, long-time ROVA quartet member saxophonist Jon Raskin Rougher and wilder in contrast, Simitu’s six tracks seem to be nourished by the highly emotional and theatrical Energy Music which flourished in the 1970s. MORE

October 10, 2006

Gail Brand

Supermodel Supermodel
EMANEM 4126

Both an affirmation of the benefits of unstructured first-time improvisation and a threnody of sorts for a fallen comrade, Supermodel Supermodel succeeds on its two levels.

Recorded in early 2003, in Oakland, Calif., the 13 instant compositions mark the initial collaboration between London-based trombonist Gail Brand and a group of Bay area musicians – guitarist John Shiurba, bassist Matthew Sperry, percussionist Gino Robair and laptopist Tim Perkins. Not everyone – even Brand – plays on every track of this 71-minute session, with three pieces recorded shortly after the initial dates in tribute to Sperry, who was killed in an auto accident in the interim. MORE

January 9, 2006

Birgit Ulher/Gino Robair

Sputter
Creative Sources

Birgit Ulher/Michael Zerang/Lou Mallozzi
Landscape: recognizable
Creative Sources

Punctual Trio
Grammer
Rossbin

By Ken Waxman
January 9, 2006

For years North American improvisers have gone to Europe to play with like-minded musicians; today the traffic is as frequently the other way .Sputter and Landscape: recognizable are a couple of souvenirs from Hamburg-based trumpeter Birgit Ulher’s recent American odysseys that show her interaction with similarly minded Yank music experimenters. Meanwhile Grammer captures an earlier meeting in Chicago between Portuguese violinist Carlos Zingaro and two locals, one of whom is also on one of the trumpeter’s CDs. MORE

September 19, 2005

THE HAPPYMAKERS

The Happymakers
Balance Point Acoustics BPA 008

WOLFGANG FUCHS
Six Fuchs
Ratascan BRD 052

Part of the accelerating interchange between experimental musicians from Europe and the United States, multi-reedman Wolfgang Fuchs of Berlin has become a regular transatlantic commuter.

Known for his leadership of the King Übü Orchestrü and the all-reed Holz Für Europa group, these discs find Fuchs heading even further out. That’s a geographic reference – for the CDs were recorded with two different sets of associates in California’s Bay area during a productive visit by Fuchs in 2003. MORE

September 7, 2005

Another Memorable Total Music Meeting

for CODA

Gradually returning to fiscal health – its artistic vigor has never been in doubt – the 37th annual Total Music Meeting will take place November 3 to November 6 at the Berlinische Galerie Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur in Berlin’s now fashionable Kreuzberg.district. Concerts begin at 8 pm and feature three to four performances each night.

Although the program has not yet been officially announced, participants definitely include British saxophonists John Butcher and Evan Parker; Americans like trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and drummer Gino Robair, the Loos ensemble from the Netherlands; the trio of Swiss saxophonist Urs Leimgruber, American bassist Barre Phillips and French pianist Jacques Demierre and German musicians like trumpeter Axel Dörner, drummer Günter Baby Sommer and multi-reedist Wolfgang Fuchs. Attendance per night is usually in the 300 person range. MORE

December 27, 2004

JOHN SHIURBA

Triplicate
Spool Arc SPA402

JOHN SHIURBA
5x5 1.1=M
Unlimited Sedition ULS01

Glimpses into the inventive gray matter of composer/guitarist John Shiurba, these CDs made seven months apart in the same Oakland, Calif.-studio, show him and a nearly identical group of sidefolk exposing two leitmotifs.

The mathematically titled 5x5 1.1=M is a pure instrumental effort mixing composed and spontaneous material with echoes of Anthony Braxton’s Ghost Trance Music (GTM) -- not surprising since Shiurba has worked with the influential reedman. More daring, TRIPLICATE extends the basic band on both CDs -- reedists Matt Ingalls and Dan Plonsey, bassist Matthew Sperry and percussionist Gino Robair -- by adding trumpeter Tom Djill, trombonist Tom Yoder and more critically the voices of Lara Bruckmann and Morgan Guberman. The guitarist only conducts on the latter, though he does play on the first disc. MORE

November 15, 2004

JOHN BUTCHER/GINO ROBAIR

New Oakland Burr
Ratascan BRD 051

PAAL NILSSEN LOVE/MATS GUSTAFSSON
I Love It When You Snore
Smalltown Supersound STS 063 CD

Stripping down to essentials, intrepid improvisers find solos and duos present unvarnished sounds with the fewest possible obstructions.

Especially popular are discs that match a single reedist with a single percussionist to see what sparks fly. Participants in these two short CDs recorded around the same time have frequently been involved in similar situations. While all four have the scope to display outstanding, extended techniques, nowhere is there a feeling that these aren’t just new notches in the players’ belt. They may be impressive to newbies, but they’re not near any of the player’s highest standard. MORE

December 8, 2003

THE SEALED KNOT

Surface/Plane
Meniscus MNSCS012

PETER KOWALD/MIYA MASAOKA/GINO ROBAIR
Illuminations (Several Views)
Rastascan BRD 049

One percussionist, one musician who plays a four-string instrument and another whose equipment is strung with many multiples of strings make up both trios featured on these improv sessions. Yet despite these points of congruence, they’re as different as hot dogs and fish-and-chips, as one featured two Americans, the others two Brits.

Actually it’s the third man -- coincidentally a German -- who probably best defines the differences. ILLUMINATIONS (SEVERAL VIEWS) features the late Peter Kowald combining his bass fiddle and basso voice with Miya Masaoka’s kotos and Gino Robair’s percussion on 16 furious, roaring take-no-prisoners sound pieces. MORE

May 19, 2003

GEBBIA/GIANNETTO/NUNN/PALMA/POWELL/ROBAIR/SMITH

A Night in Palermo
Rastascan Records BRD 041/Curva Minore CM04

Distinctive and unique sounds from a variety of real and invented instruments dominate this session recorded in Palermo, Italy in 1998. Often, though, over the course of the 19 selections, it appears that the strangest instrument is also the most common: the human voice.

That voice belongs to Sicilian Miriam Palma. Initially trained to sing the folk music of Sicily’s central area, starting in the 1990s she intermingled that traditional style with the diplophonies, triplephonies, overtones, shouts and low bass that characterize improvisation. Her lyrics mix inferences from dialect poetry, religious texts, Sicilian Futurism, traditional lullabies and contemporary writing, including her own. MORE

October 28, 2002

BUTCHER/MASASAOKA/ROBAIR

Guerrilla Mosaics
482 Music 482-1013

A first-time collaboration between a well-travelled British saxophonist and two Californians proves that improvisational cohesiveness and empathy are often little affected by geographic distance and instrumental suitability.

While London-based reedman John Butcher’s instruments -- soprano and tenor saxophone -- are often seen as germane to improv as freedom, the others’ choices are a bit less common. Bay area percussionist Gino Robair also works out on such unusual noisemakers as the faux dax, bowed metal, and motors -- all late 20th century inventions. Meanwhile Brooklyn-based Miya Masaoka, plays not only one of the most traditional of Japanese instruments -- the 21-string koto -- but its 21st century cousin, the laser koto, with MIDI-triggering. This allows her to often double and triple the sound she produces. MORE

July 13, 2002

CARLO ACTIS DATO

USA Tour/April 2001/Live Splasc (H) CDH 520.2

Someone once said that Benny Goodman didn’t smile that much; it was just his embouchure. In Carlos Actis Dato’s case it’s not his embouchure. As a matter of fact, if all woodwind players had as much fun improvising as he seems to have, then most sitcoms would have wacky saxophonists as next door neighbors.

Although he brings a goofy sense of fun to the proceedings, be aware that Actis Dato is no Louis Prima or Jack Sheldon who treats the music as secondary to his singing and comedy routine. He may get high spirited enough to sing at certain points of these 13 live performances, but he never debases the music in any way. Like Charles Mingus or Rahsaan Roland Kirk, vocalizing is just his way of showing how well things are going. MORE

May 17, 2002

JOHN BUTCHER & GINO ROBAIR

Liverpool (Bluecoat) Concert
Limited Sedition LS026

Brevity, it’s said, is the soul of wit. Yet, as this singular duo CD proves, it can also be the font of improvisation. After listening to the slightly more than half an hour of interaction between reedman John Butcher and percussionist Gino Robair that is this limited-edition disc, you realize that the duration couldn’t and shouldn’t be lengthened.

That’s because the British saxophonist and American drummer did all that was necessary in the time allocated to them at this concert situation in the Beatles hometown of Liverpool, England. By this time, having matched wits -- and often spit -- with a panoply of British, North American and Continental improvisers, London-based Butcher knows the drill. Using either soprano or tenor saxophone he creates whizzing reed trills, elongated sonic echoes, split tones and flutter tonguing on these tracks, broken up with key pops and the occasional note fart. When Robair brings his junk shop collection of percussion instruments into play, Butcher then decides how best to respond, and the improv dance continues. MORE

October 29, 2001

GINO ROBAIR

Buddy Systems
Meniscus Records MNSCS 003

For an artist, putting together a compilation of selected duos and trios over a four- year period can sometimes result in sins of inclusion rather than omission. This 74 minute souvenir of Bay Area percussionist Gino Robair's partnership with 10 local and international improvisers comes awfully close to that weakness a couple of times, but manages to finally negate those flimsy spots with superior execution.

Robair, a long time member of the Splatter Trio, with a hefty background in improv, electronic music and straight composition has amassed so many playing buddies that he apologizes in the booklet for not including more of them here. He made the right choices to maintain the proper variety, though. Additionally, by playing not only what he terms meta-percussion, but also theremin, he can amplify the proceedings past any lesser ideas from his guest(s). MORE

October 1, 2001

JOHN BUTCHER

Music on seven occasions
Meniscus Records MNSCS 004

JOHN BUTCHER/DYLAN VAN DER SCHYFF
Points, snags and windings
Meniscus Records MNSCS 010

As amiable as he is adventurous, British saxophone explorer John Butcher rarely misses an opportunity to collaborate with similar intrepid musical explorers. Comfortable in a variety of formations, the two accomplished discs here highlight his duet work.

A superb pair, the main difference between them is choice of partners. MUSIC ON SEVEN OCCASIONS is just that, recorded over a three year period in the 1990s in different American and British studios, featuring nine partners plus four solo saxophone interludes. POINTS, SNAGS AND WINDINGS, on the other hand, has one fewer musician on board then there are nouns in the title. It's a record of duets between Butcher and Vancouver, B.C.-based percussionist Dylan van der Schyff, done last year in Vancouver. MORE

March 8, 2001

JOHN BUTCHER/GINO ROBAIR/MATTHEW SPERRY

12 Milagritos
Spool Line SPL 109

British sonic explorer John Butcher is one woodwind player who has worked assiduously on discovering every last sound he can pull out of the innards of his horns, most notably when he produces a solo session.

Mouthpiece mavens may drool when given something to like that to absorb, but others may find his interactions with other players easier to swallow. You won't think his skilled saxophone spewing all wet if you can hear it amalgamating with the deft improvising of other musicians.

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July 27, 2000

MARTIN ARCHER

Winter Pilgrim Arriving
DISCUS 12CD

Martin Archer/Simon H. Fell
Pure Water Construction
DISCUS 11CD

Some musicians who have already researched the outer limits of jazz and improv music are still looking for new areas to investigate. One bit of uncharted territory -- the intersection of improvisations, the mechanics of chance and electronic gadgetry -- fascinates Martin Archer. And these two quite different discs offer a glimpse into his thought processes.

Initially a free jazz saxophonist and composer, Sheffield, England-based Archer has spent most of the past decade immersing himself in the mechanics of electroacoustic music. Both these CDs involve music played by him and others in real time then twisted, turned, tweaked and mixed with other samples to create a new soundscape. When it succeeds it transports the adventurous listener who often can't identify the source of an individual tone; when it doesn't it becomes merely self-indulgent.

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