Reviews that mention Michael Bisio

June 4, 2017

Matthew Shipp Trio

Piano Song
Thirsty Ear THI 57212.2

Core Trio

The Core Trio featuring Matthew Shipp

Evil Rabbit Records ERR 23

Sports announcers and other chroniclers of the minutiae of recreational challenges often muse about the effects of home turf advantages verses road situations when aiming for winning outcomes. However it’s evident that improvising musicians are made of sterner stuff. With peripatetic schedules that make the itineraries of pro ball teams resemble childhood walks around the block, they usually score no matter where they’re playing. MORE

May 12, 2016

Brian Groder Trio

R Train on the D Line
Latham Records 6001

By Ken Waxman

Brian Groder’s strength as a trumpeter/flugelhornist is that he has a clearly distinctive sound. Brian Groder’s shortcoming as a trumpeter/flugelhornist is that he has a clearly distinctive sound. The result is that while the music by Groder, bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen is of uniform high quality on the eight originals the trumpeter composed for this date, his style, plus the limitations of this particular format lead to a numbing sameness on many tracks. Like actors who are hilarious on other shows but are cast on a sit-com with an overly predictable premise, the musicians on the disc have to labor mightily to put an identifiable stamp on most tracks. MORE

March 2, 2016

Michael Bisio

Accortet
Relative Pitch RPR 1040

Matthew Shipp Trio

The Conduct of Jazz

Thirsty Ear THI 57211

Straightforward in his improvising and composing, it’s fairly easy to understand how Michael Bisio has become bassist of choice for many of Jazz’s most exploratory players. He has had a long-time relationship with pianist Matthew Shipp as well as being part of straightforward ensembles with the likes of saxophonist Louie Belogenis and saxophonist/trumpeter Joe McPhee.

Although straightforward is straight as in a straight line, straightforward isn’t straight as in straight-ahead. For instance on the disc as part of Shipp’s trio with drummer Newman Taylor Baker; and with his newly constituted Accortet, featuring cornetist Kirk Knuffke, drummer Michael Wimberly and accordionist Art Bailey, Bisio’s creativity allows for angling unexpected strategies within these performances. But like a competitive long-distance swimmer who makes sure a guiding boat is always nearby, he ensures that tunes maintain a determined form and never drift off into cacophony. MORE

March 2, 2016

Matthew Shipp Trio

The Conduct of Jazz
Thirsty Ear THI 57211

Michael Bisio

Accortet

Relative Pitch RPR 1040

Straightforward in his improvising and composing, it’s fairly easy to understand how Michael Bisio has become bassist of choice for many of Jazz’s most exploratory players. He has had a long-time relationship with pianist Matthew Shipp as well as being part of straightforward ensembles with the likes of saxophonist Louie Belogenis and saxophonist/trumpeter Joe McPhee.

Although straightforward is straight as in a straight line, straightforward isn’t straight as in straight-ahead. For instance on the disc as part of Shipp’s trio with drummer Newman Taylor Baker; and with his newly constituted Accortet, featuring cornetist Kirk Knuffke, drummer Michael Wimberly and accordionist Art Bailey, Bisio’s creativity allows for angling unexpected strategies within these performances. But like a competitive long-distance swimmer who makes sure a guiding boat is always nearby, he ensures that tunes maintain a determined form and never drift off into cacophony. MORE

April 27, 2015

Matthew Shipp Trio

Root of Things
Relative Pitch Records RPR 1022

Stefan Orins Trio

Liv

Circum Disc CIDI 1402

Perhaps it’s case of comparing apples and oranges, but these takes on the classic piano trio end up with telling and widely different results. Usually classified as part of the so-called avant garde, and after almost a quarter century of recording, New York pianist Matthew Ship has produced what may be his most conventional Jazz album. Concurrently the French trio helmed by Lille-based pianist Stefan Orins, which has been a unit since 1996, and whose members move in-and-out of the experimental sphere, has come up with a CD that is high gloss, but virtually indistinguishable from many other sessions. Both are still quality products. MORE

September 1, 2014

Ivo Perelman

The Other Edge
Leo Records CD LR 699

Grencsó Open Collective

Flat/Síkvidék

BMC CD 205

After about a half a century, so-called avant-garde Jazz is defined differently depending on the players, even if the configuration involved is the standard saxophone-piano-bass-drum quartet. For instance the Hungarian-based Open Collective, led by reedist István Grencsó, performs eight originals wedded to the song form. Meanwhile Brazilian saxophonist Ivo Perelman’s otherwise all-American quartet’s eight originals are on the other edge, exploring almost completely abstract ideas. Each approach is equally valid and memorable. MORE

September 3, 2013

Perelman/Shipp/Bisio/Dickey

The Edge
Leo Records CD LR 667

Perelman/Shipp/Parker/Cleaver

Serendipity

Leo Records CD LR 668

One of the decisions – of many – that has to be made when playing purely improvised music is whether to break inspiration into bite-sized pieces or eject the narratives as mammoth slabs. On these complementary CDs, Brazilian tenor saxophonist Ivo Perelman, who has recorded in context ranging from solo to septets, tries both on for size. While correspondingly stimulating, the personnel of the two quartets defines the creations more than the instruments used. MORE

August 23, 2013

Charles Gayle Trio

Look Up
ESP-Disk 4070

Perverse as it may seem to anyone seeing him perform these days, but gigs with saxophonist Charles Gayle actually feature a kinder gentler Gayle than in the past. Today Gayle concentrates as much on his piano playing as his saxophones, and, apt to throw some standards into the set list, he also usually lets his reeds express his opinions.

That wasn’t so in 1994 as this Santa Monica concert proves. Celebrated as a link to 1960s Energy Music, who had endured neglect and homelessness to maintain his commitment, in the early 1990s Gayle was still treating every performance as a challenge. This makes for an exhilarating if someone exhausting set of more than 70 minutes. Assisted by drummer Michael Wimberley, who has seconded the likes of saxman Louie Belogenis and trumpeter Roy Campbell; and bassist Michael Bisio, now better-known for his affiliation with pianist Matthew Shipp; Gayle was practically indefatigable. Every phrase appeared to flow from his tenor saxophone in altissimo screeches or renal growls, and he wasn’t above lecturing his audience on the benefits of a Christian life and rail against homosexuality, feminism and abortion. In short he comes across as a combination of Pat Robertson and C. L. Franklin plus a resurrected Albert Ayler. MORE

September 6, 2012

Matthew Shipp Trio

Elastic Aspects
Thirsty Ear TH 57202.2

ROVA Saxophone Quartet

A Short History

Jazzwerkstatt JW 099

Ballrogg

Cabin Music

Hubro CD 2515

Albert Beger/Gerry Hemingway

There’s Nothing Better to Do

OutNow Records ONR 007

Something in The Air: New Excitement at the Guelph Jazz Festival

By Ken Waxman

One of jazz’s watershed musical creations, John Coltrane’s 1965 performance of Ascension marked his committeemen to Free Jazz and has since served as a yardstick against which saxophone-centred large ensemble improvisations are measured. On September 7 at the River Run Centre’s main stage, one of the highpoints of this year’s Guelph Jazz Festival is a reimagining of Coltrane’s masterwork by the Bay area-based ROVA Saxophone Quartet and guests. Not only is the ensemble gutsily tackling the suite, but its arrangement take Coltrane’s all-acoustic piece for five saxes, two trumpets and rhythm section and reconfigures it so that ROVA’s four saxes, and one trumpeter interact with two drummers, two violins, electric guitar and bass plus electronic processing. MORE

April 16, 2012

Jason Kao Hwang/Spontaneous River

Symphony of Souls
Mulatta MUL 022

Chocolate fetishists often have such a strong attachment to the sweet that to secure their business restaurants will describe a cocoa-infused desert as Death by Chocolate. While those who love stringed instruments as much as others love chocolate will find much to savor on Symphony of Souls, one would hope that the expansive sound picture created by violinist Jason Kao Hwang’s conduction of his composition is appreciated in less thanotological terms. Maybe the most appropriate recasting of the title should be Depth of Strings. MORE

October 6, 2010

SKM

Three
Clean Feed CF 189 CD

By Ken Waxman

Stretching herself musically by playing with a variety of local bands, including her own, Canadian-born, New York-based pianist Kris Davis reaches a pinnacle of sorts with this almost completely improvised outing, as part of a co-op trio, whose other member are as busy as she. Luckily bassist Michael Bisio and tenor saxophonist Stephen Gauci have developed similarly simpatico interactions, often working as sidemen in each other’s groups.

Still Three is different. Lacking the dominant beats a drummer would bring to the session, the three take turns assaying the rhythm function, with the saxophonist’s harsh vibrations and unexpected chord substations as crucial as the bassist’s string slapping and pumping or the pianist’s jagged percussive patterns. Similarly, bravura technical skills mixed with fearless invention take the place of any expected chord progressions they would rely on in other situations. If weaknesses are exposed, it’s because at times the ad hoc structure prevents at least one of the trio from outputting more than token comping or obbligatos. This is apparent on a tune like the otherwise stellar “Groovin’ for the Hell of It”. Slyly subverting the title’s promise, rhythmic impetus is expressed through foot pedal weight and key banging from Davis that bring the piano’s lowest quadrant into play, plus tremolo vibrations and pressurized reed bites from Gauci. Bisio appears MIA. However he makes up for this elsewhere, when contrasting dynamics are expressed through his step-by-step walking that often shadows Guaci’s jagged saxophone slurs, or when his muscular bass slaps complement Davis’ almost outrageously syncopated lines. MORE

June 1, 2010

Connie Crothers-Michel Bisio

Sessions at 475 Kent
Mutable 17537-2

The Frame Quartet

35 MM

Okka Disk OD 12078

Rempis/Rosaly

Cyrillic

482 Music 482-1064

Matthew Shipp

Nu Bop Live

Rai Trade RTPJ 0015

Extended Play: Combos: Ad Hoc and Long Constituted in Toronto

By Ken Waxman

Long-established jazz groups have become as common as pop hits based on Mozart melodies topping the charts – they sometimes exist. But with accomplished improvisers tempted by side projects, bands often reconstitute and sidemen regularly have their own gigs. In most cases, though, this doesn’t affect the music’s quality. MORE

May 12, 2010

Jimmy Bennington Trio

Another Friend: The Music of Herbie Nichols
That Swan! Records 1006

Rope

Saints and Sinners

El Gallo Rojo 314-31

Trio This

That

GM Recordings GM3050CD

Re-imagining the scope of one of the hoariest of jazz’s traditional formations – the piano trio – demands foresight, guts and technical prestidigitation. This is especially true if the pianist, bassist and drummer involved are going to deal mostly with the standard repertoire.

Two of the three sessions here manage to forge an individualistic path for a combo whose make-up has spurred improvisers as different as Thelonious Monk Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett and Oscar Peterson – the Italian Rope formation and the trio led by drummer Jimmy Bennington. The third – Trio This – has personality, but an overall listlessness in its performance relegates it here to a lesser rank. MORE

November 7, 2009

Old Dog

By Any Other Name
Porter Records PRCD-4027

Flow Trio

Rejuvenation

ESP-Disk 4052

John Coltrane dominated the concepts of nearly every young tenor saxophonist between the late 1950s and early 1980s – and his work is still one yardstick against which reedists are measured today. His influence was – and is – so all-pervasive, that even those saxophonists who forged their own identity often referred consciously or subconsciously to Trane’s work.

Oddly enough though the majority of reedists fastened onto Coltrane’s Hard Bop or Modal periods, with very few willing to deal with the timbral and textural achievements the sax man advanced just before his untimely death in 1967. Fearless and individualistic, New York-based Louie Belogenis on the other hand, is someone who has faced that challenge head on. MORE

November 7, 2009

Flow Trio

Rejuvenation
ESP-Disk 4052

Old Dog

By Any Other Name

Porter Records PRCD-4027

John Coltrane dominated the concepts of nearly every young tenor saxophonist between the late 1950s and early 1980s – and his work is still one yardstick against which reedists are measured today. His influence was – and is – so all-pervasive, that even those saxophonists who forged their own identity often referred consciously or subconsciously to Trane’s work.

Oddly enough though the majority of reedists fastened onto Coltrane’s Hard Bop or Modal periods, with very few willing to deal with the timbral and textural achievements the sax man advanced just before his untimely death in 1967. Fearless and individualistic, New York-based Louie Belogenis on the other hand, is someone who has faced that challenge head on. MORE

October 6, 2009

Joe McPhee

Angels, Devils & Haints
CJR 7

Ensemble Normand Guilbeault

Hommage à Mingus: Live at Upstairs

Ambiance Magnétiques AM 185

Davis/Ulrich/Baumann/Lutek/Richards/Jefferson

Urs Blöchlinger Tribute

Pet Mantis Records PMR 004

i.overdrive trio

Hommage à Syd Barrett

Imuzzic CRCD 0821

Extended Play: Honoring Musical Influences

By Ken Waxman

Mentors and heroes have been celebrated musically for years. In improvised music however, interpretations are more individual, the choice of honorees is quirkier, but the sounds are as impressive – as these CDs demonstrate. MORE

October 6, 2009

i.overdrive trio

Hommage à Syd Barrett
Imuzzic CRCD 0821

Joe McPhee

Angels, Devils & Haints

CJR 7

Ensemble Normand Guilbeaul
t

Hommage à Mingus: Live at Upstairs

Ambiance Magnétiques AM 185

Davis/Ulrich/Baumann/Lutek/Richards/Jefferson

Urs Blöchlinger Tribute

Pet Mantis Records PMR 004

Extended Play: Honoring Musical Influences

By Ken Waxman

Mentors and heroes have been celebrated musically for years. In improvised music however, interpretations are more individual, the choice of honorees is quirkier, but the sounds are as impressive – as these CDs demonstrate. MORE

October 6, 2009

Davis/Ulrich/Baumann/Lutek/Richards/Jefferson

Urs Blöchlinger Tribute
Pet Mantis Records PMR 004

Joe McPhee

Angels, Devils & Haints

CJR 7

Ensemble Normand Guilbeault

Hommage à Mingus: Live at Upstairs

Ambiance Magnétiques AM 185

i.overdrive trio

Hommage à Syd Barrett

Imuzzic CRCD 0821

Extended Play: Honoring Musical Influences

By Ken Waxman

Mentors and heroes have been celebrated musically for years. In improvised music however, interpretations are more individual, the choice of honorees is quirkier, but the sounds are as impressive – as these CDs demonstrate. MORE

October 6, 2009

Ensemble Normand Guilbeault

Hommage à Mingus: Live at Upstairs
Ambiance Magnétiques AM 185

Davis/Ulrich/Baumann/Lutek/Richards/Jefferson

Urs Blöchlinger Tribute

Pet Mantis Records PMR 004

i.overdrive trio

Hommage à Syd Barrett

Imuzzic CRCD 0821

Joe McPhee

Angels, Devils & Haints

CJR 7

Extended Play: Honoring Musical Influences

By Ken Waxman

Mentors and heroes have been celebrated musically for years. In improvised music however, interpretations are more individual, the choice of honorees is quirkier, but the sounds are as impressive – as these CDs demonstrate. MORE

December 26, 2005

JOE MCPHEE

Remembrance
CJR-5

“We pretty much play whatever we want to play ... and you can call it whatever you want,” declares multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee, before he and two cohorts launch into “Remembrance (closing) for Steve Lacy”, which winds up the notable series of improvisations on this CD.

A succinct definition of Free Music, serendipitously the statement also sums up the circumstances of this October 2001 gig in Seattle. Affected by post 9-11 nerves saxophonist Charles Gayle cancelled a scheduled duo performance with bassist Mike Bisio. The last minute solution was adding the bassist to the already touring duo of McPhee, who had often performed with Bisio, and French guitarist Raymond Boni, a musical partner of the reedist for about 25 years. Not only did the three meld into one unit, but one track also involves Boni in an unrehearsed duet with Seattle poet Paul Harding. MORE

December 20, 2004

JOHN HEWARD TRIO

Let Them Pass/Laissez-Passer
Drimala DR 04 347-02

MICHAEL BISIO
Composance
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1173

Held together by the substantial bass playing of Seattle’s Michael Bisio, these trio sessions are still more different than alike.

Led by Montreal-based visual artist and drummer John Heward and featuring the reeds of Joe Giardullo, both of whom have extensive playing history with multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee -- as does Bisio -- LET THEM PASS is an out and out free music session. Recorded 3,000 miles away in his hometown, Bisio’s COMPOSANCE not only features two other Left Coast improvisers, showcasing what he calls improvisers composing and performing simultaneously -- as the awkward title tries to convey -- but is also Freebop. More often than not, echoes of one of the bassist’s admitted influences -- Charles Mingus -- is heard. MORE

December 15, 2003

JOE GIARDULLO 4TET

Now Is
Drimala DR-03-347-02

ALBERTO PINTON/FREDRIK NORDSTRÖM
Dog Out
Moserobie MMPCD 013

Splitting combo leadership between a couple of sax players has been a jazz natural ever since the days of Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt in the late 1940s. With another reedman on side, not only is there a second horn to add polyphonic harmonic and tonal emphasis to a session, but dividing up the front line between two woodwind players seems to free the reed soloist even more than if his running buddy was playing a different instrument. MORE

June 22, 2002

GIARDULLO/MCPHEE/BISIO/TABBAL

Shadow & Light
Drimala DR 02-347-01

Isn’t there some cliché that states that “out of great tragedy comes art”, or something like that? Well that’s only partially true. Art shackled to the reflection of a cataclysmic event is as likely to appear as a polemic or agit-prop. Having the right opinions or feeling strongly about a situation doesn’t automatically elevate your creation to a masterpiece. Any number of folk ditties or punk rock snarls can be cited as evidence.

Sometimes -- though not always -- purely instrumental music will offer enough distance from the event to raise the believability stakes. Certainly the four veteran improvisers represented on SHADOWS & LIGHT show this. Strictly by chance, the recording session for this CD was scheduled for September 11, 2001 in upstate New York. After jazz economics convinced them not to cancel -- bassist Mike Bisio, on tour with other band members, lives in Seattle -- the group went along and recorded some of the most moving, yet joyful music to reflect the events of that day. Yet because these men are thinking improvisers rather than propagandists, the emotions have to be intuited from the impassioned playing, not descriptive titles or shouted slogans. MORE

October 19, 2000

MICHAEL BISIO

Undulations
OmniTone 15001

There's something percolating in Seattle besides coffee. It's a robust, piquant, blend of jazz that's as characteristic of the region as its scenery. Harder-edged than the laid back California brew south of it, but not as off the wall as some of the new music coming out of Vancouver, B.C. to the north, UNDULATIONS is a perfect definition of what you can expect there.

Spearheaded by bassist Michael Bisio, this CD shows off the talents of accomplished musicians able to go their own way outside the usual jazz media spotlight. We shouldn't make too much of the Northwest singularity, through. Bisio is actually a native of Troy, N.Y., who in Seattle, has worked with such present and past East Coasters as saxophonists Joe McPhee and Charles Gayle and trumpeter Barbara Donald.

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