Reviews that mention Pierre Favre

May 8, 2017

Pierre Favre DrumSights

Now
Intakt CD 260

By Ken Waxman

Undoubtedly the first all-percussion group was formed when our distant ancestors began collectively banging on reverberating surfaces. Since then, like the differences between foot travel and airplane flights, drum ensembles have become more sophisticated and inventive, whether outputting traditional African sounds or replicating scores in so-called classical music. Active from 1970 to 1992, Max Roach’s M’Boom was the most notable all-percussion ensemble in jazz and improvised music. Taking sticks – and brushes – into his own hands, veteran Swiss percussionist Pierre Favre’s Singing Drums (ECM) was a 1984 international variation on that theme, featuring Brazilian Nana Vasconcelos, American Paul Motian and fellow Swiss Fredy Studer. DrumSights’ Now is the most recent iteration of this ensemble. While the quartet is now all-Swiss – Chris Jaeger, Markus Lauterburg and Valeria Zangger fill the other stools – like a contemporary meal created using a traditional recipe, quality and taste is still paramount. MORE

February 18, 2017

NPR’s 11th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot
2016

•Your name and primary affiliation(s)

Ken Waxman: Jazzword.com The New York City Jazz Record; Whole Note

•Your choices for this year’s 10 best New Releases listed in descending order

1. Alexander Hawkins Trio Alexander Hawkins Music AH 1001

2. Anna Webber’s Simple Trio Binary Skirl Records 033

3. Michael Formanek Ensemble Kolossus The Distance ECM 2484

4. Artifacts Reed-Reid-Mitchell 482 Music 482-1093

5. Umlaut Big Band Euro Swing Vol. 2 Umlaut UMFR-CD18 MORE

June 6, 2015

Artist Feature

Samuel Blaser
By Ken Waxman

Swiss-born trombonist Samuel Blaser maintains strong North American ties that extend far beyond the musicians on Spring Rain (Whirlwind), his newest CD. While the disc, dedicated to Jimmy Giuffre (1921-2008) feature all-American backing from keyboardist Russ Lossing, bassist Drew Gress and drummer Gerald Cleaver, one of his frequent trans-Atlantic trips bring him to NYC this month for a series of gigs with other long-time associates such as drummer Harris Eisenstadt, bassist Michael Bates and tenor saxophonist Michael Blake – all Canadians. “It’s like a big family” says Blaser, 33. “I like to draw upon the same members in many of my bands.” MORE

March 8, 2014

Irène Schweizer/Pierre Favre

Live in Zürich
Intakt CD 228

Angelica Sanchez/Wadada Leo Smith

Twine Forest

Clean Feed CF 287 CD

Chris Abrahams/Magda Mayas

Gardener

Relative Pitch RPR 1011

With the piano a mini-orchestra, instrumentalists who partner pianists in a duo must bring prodigious chops as well as lightening quick reflexes to the program. Luckily the talents of each set of improvisers here isn’t in question. But the capacity of the other instrument is crucial in measuring the session’s achievement. MORE

December 15, 2012

Pierre Favre

Drums and Dreams
Intakt CD 197

Connie Crothers - David Arner

Spontaneous Suite for Two Pianos

Rogueart R0G-037

Pharoah Sanders

In the Beginning 1963-64

ESP-Disk ESP-4069

Various Artists

Echtzeitmusik Berlin

Mikroton CD 14/15/16

Something In The Air: Multiple Disc Sets for the Adventurous

By Ken Waxman

Defying doomsayers who predicted the death of the LP, the CD’s disappearance appears oversold. True music collectors prefer the physical presence and superior fidelity of a well-designd CD package and important material continues to released. Partisans of advanced music, for instance, can choose any one of these sets. The only saxophonist to be part of saxophonist John Coltrane’s working group, tenorist Pharoah Sanders is celebrated for his own highly rhythmic Energy Music. In the Beginning 1963-64 ESP-Disk ESP-4069, a four CD-package highlight his steady growth. Besides Sanders’ first album as leader, very much in the freebop tradition, as part of quintet of now obscure players, the other previously released sounds capture Sanders’ recordings in the Sun Ra Arkestra. More valuable is a CD of unissued tracks where Sanders asserts himself in quartets led by cornetist Don Cherry or Canadian pianist Paul Bley. The set is completed by short interviews with all of the leaders. Oddly enough, although they precede his solo debut, Sanders’ playing is most impressive with Bley and Cherry. With more of a regularized beat via bassist David Izenson and drummer J.C. Moses, Cherry’s tracks advance melody juxtaposition and parallel improvisations with Sanders’ harsh obbligato contrasted with the cornetist’s feisty flourishes; plus the darting lines and quick jabs of pianist Joe Scianni provides an unheralded pleasure. Bley’s economical comping and discursive patterning lead the saxophonist into solos filled with harsh tongue-twisting lines and jagged interval leaps. With Izenson’s screeching assent and drummer Paul Motion’s press rolls the quartet plays super fast without losing the melodic thread. Sun Ra is a different matter. Recorded in concert, the sets include helpings of space chants such as “Rocket #9” and “Next Stop Mars”; a feature for Black Harold’s talking log drums; showcases for blaring trombones, growling trumpets; plus the leader’s propulsive half-down-home and half-outer-space keyboard. Sharing honking and double-tonguing interludes with Arkestra saxists Pat Patrick and Marshall Allen, Sanders exhibits his characteristic stridency. Enjoyable for Sun Ra’s vision which is spectacular and jocular, these tracks suggest why the taciturn Sanders soon went on his own. MORE

November 6, 2012

Festival Report

Jazz Brugge 2012
By Ken Waxman

When a festival like Jazz Brugge 2012 takes place in a Belgium town, designated by UNESCO World Heritage for its picturesque canals and loving preserved medieval buildings, a certain amount of time and space dislocation can be expected. Considering that concerts (October 4 to 7) took place in the attic performance space of the 12th century Sint-Janshospitaal museum or in a massive or a smaller hall of the four-seating tier Concertgebouw, purpose built in 2002, this time-shifting continued. Additionally, three of the most insightful performances melded celebration of art from earlier century with perceptive improvisations. 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

March 6, 2012

The New York City Jazz Record Interview

With Pierre Favre
By Ken Waxman

During a career of more than 55 years, Swiss drummer Pierre Favre, who turns 75 in June, has been a constantly innovating musician. One of the first Swiss players to embrace free music in the late ’60s, since that time he’s explored a variety of musical concepts from giving solo percussion concerts to composing notated works and collaborating with folkloric-influenced improvisers. Making a rare New York apperance this month, Favre plays three times in diffemt configurations during the two weeks Intakt Records curates The Stone. MORE

June 5, 2011

Pierre Favre

Le Voyage
Intakt CD 186

Italian Instabile Orchestra

Totally Gone

Rai Trade RTP J0021

Pierre Labbé +12

Tremblement de fer

Ambiance Magnétique AM 202 CD

Fred Ho and the Green Monster Big Band

Year of the Tiger

Innova 789

Something in the Air: Big Band Redux

By Ken Waxman

More than 60 years after the big band era, improvising musicians still organize large ensembles to take advantage of its wider scope and range of colors. Such is the versatility of the arrangements possible with large bands as these sessions demonstrate, that each sounds completely unique while maintaining the same excellence. MORE

March 14, 2011

ECM 40th Anniversary Catalogue

Edited by Kenny Inaoka
Tokyo Kirarasha

Tell No Lies Claim No Easy Victories

Edited by Phillipp Schmickl

Impro 2000

As globalization intensifies, American-birthed popular music forms – most especially Jazz and Improvised Music – have evolved far beyond their initial audiences, confirming one of the hoariest of clichés, that music is a universal language. Creative music of many stripes has for many years been often treated more seriously in Europe and Asia than in North America. Consequently to be truly informed about the breadth of musical sounds it helps to understand other languages besides English. That’s the challenge related to the valuable books here. Neither is published primarily in English, but both can serve as resources for followers of Jazz and Improvised Music, no matter their native tongues. MORE

November 12, 2006

Albert Mangelsdorff

Triplicity
Skip SKP 9052-2

Joe Fiedler

Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff

Clean Feed CF 049CD

Generally credited as the first European trombonist who by the 1960s had talents that were equal to or superior to American jazzers, Frankfurt native Albert Mangelsdorff (1928-2005) evolved from being a top-ranked bopper to flirting with the avant garde and fusion in the 1970s, The result by the time of his death, was a matchless amalgam of all those styles in his playing.

Although acknowledged as a major stylist as early as 1962, when he recorded with the Modern Jazz Quartet’s pianist John Lewis, this CD by New York trombonist Joe Fiedler is the first recorder tribute the German master of multiphonics. It’s no macabre cash-in either. For Fiedler, whose experience encompasses bands as disparate as Latin- Jazz group Timbalaye, pianist Andrew Hill’s sextet and Philip Johnson’s Fast and Bulbous, recorded the just-released session in November 2003. MORE

September 25, 2006

JOE FIEDLER TRIO

Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff
Clean Feed CF 049CD

ALBERT MANGELSDORFF

Triplicity

Skip SKP 9052-2

By Ken Waxman

Generally credited as the first European trombonist who by the 1960s had talents that were equal to or superior to American jazzers, Frankfurt native Albert Mangelsdorff (1928-2005) evolved from being a top-ranked bopper to flirting with the avant garde and fusion in the 1970s, The result by the time of his death, was a matchless amalgam of all those styles in his playing.

Although acknowledged as a major stylist as early as 1962, when he recorded with the Modern Jazz Quartet’s pianist John Lewis, this CD by New York trombonist Joe Fiedler is the first recorder tribute the German master of multiphonics. It’s no macabre cash-in either. For Fiedler, whose experience encompasses bands as disparate as Latin- Jazz group Timbalaye, pianist Andrew Hill’s sextet and Philip Johnson’s Fast and Bulbous, recorded the just-released session in November 2003. MORE

September 12, 2005

Barry Guy New Orchestra

Oort – Entropy
Intakt

Maya Homburger & Barry Guy with Pierre Favre
Dakryon
Maya

By Ken Waxman
September 11, 2005

Established as one of FreeImprov’s most accomplished composer/bandleaders as well as a major improvising double bassist, Barry Guy continues to extend his musical range.

Having slimmed down his main compositional tool, the 17-piece London Jazz Composers Orchestra (LJCO) to the more compact 10 piece, all-star Barry Guy New Orchestra (BGO), Oort – Entropy shows how the group reconstitutes specific sounds. The idea is to expand musical elements initially conceived for Guy’s trio with American pianist Marilyn Crispell and British drummer Paul Lytton. MORE

December 27, 2004

PIERRE FAVRE

Saxophones
Intakt CD 093

SCHWIMMER
7X4X7
Creative Sources cs013

Superficially, it would seem that the chief difference between the reed-and-percussion sessions that makes up SAXOPHONES and 7X4X7 is that the former includes a tuba player and one additional reedist.

Not so fast -- the conception and execution of these two CDs is so antithetical that they could come from completely different musical planets. Led by veteran Swiss percussionist Pierre Favre, SAXOPHONES is on the formal side of the improv world. It alternates readings of his compositions by the complete ensemble including the ARTE (saxophone) Quartett (sic) with tracks that showcase the drummer’s extraordinary solo traps work. Berlin-based Schwimmer, on the other hand, is a reductionist combo concerned with organization of sounds in space on the border of inaudibility. MORE

April 19, 2004

KEN HYDER/VLADIMIR MILLER

Counting On Angels
SLAM CD 251

IRENE SCHWEIZER/PIERRE FAVRE
Ulrichsberg
Intakt CD 084

Pity the poor bass player.

Over the past couple of decades improvisers have distanced themselves still further from the so-called jazz scene by playing in different configurations. One of the most common scenarios is jettisoning the bassist of the standard jazz trio and recording with just piano and drums -- the way masters of the Stride piano did in the 1920s.

No one is likely to confuse COUNTING ON ANGELS or ULRICHSBERG for a Willie “The Lion” Smith session, but neither will they mistake one for the other. Adapting distinct roots to the creations at hand, both piano-percussion duos have come up with equally memorable CDs. MORE

December 16, 2002

MANFRED SCHOOF

European Echoes
Atavistic Unheard Music UMS/ALP 232CD

ALEXANDER VON SCHLIPPENBACH
The Living Music
Atavistic Unheard Music UMS/ALP 231CD

Multi-reedman Peter Brötzmann always insists that when pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach and trumpeter Manfred Schoof first heard his pioneering free jazz band in the mid-1960s “they just laughed their asses off. At that time they played the Horace Silver-style thing”. But, by the end of the decade as Brötzmann widened his circle to include other experimenters like Dutch drummer Han Bennink and worked with American jazzers like trumpeter Don Cherry and soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, his fellow Germans began to come around as well. MORE

March 19, 2001

PIERRE FAVRE/TINO TRACANNA

Punctus
Splasc(H) Records CDH 817.2

Saxophonist Tino Tracanna obviously believes in the old adage that if first you don't succeed, try again.

The 45-year-old multi-reed player who has led his own groups, written for dance performances and been a member of brassman Paolo Fresu's combos, tried something a little different in late 1999 when he negotiated an only partially successful duo session with bassist Paolino Dalla Porta.

After that, the Bergamo, Italy-based, musician waited little more than half a year before heading into the studio with a different partner with much better results. Of course it helped that his partner here is 64-year-old Swiss percussionist Pierre Favre, who has worked with everyone from mainstreamers Chet Baker and Dexter Gordon to free improvisers Evan Parker and Peter Kowald. Astute and adroit, his 1990 duo with countrywomen pianist Irène Schweizer is the exemplar that Tracanna should have been aiming for in the first place.

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September 20, 2000

STEFANO BATTAGLIA/PIERRE FAVRE/MICHAEL GASSMAN

When We Were
Splasc(h) Records CDH 690.2

STEFANO BATTAGLIA/PIERRE FAVRE
Omen
Splasc(h) Records CDH 691.2

Never has the expression "three into two doesn't go" had more resonance than with these two CD.

Recorded for Swiss radio on the same day in 1997, probably hours apart, the OMEN session is an accomplished example of what can be achieved in the moment by two skillful improvisers. In contrast the trio session resembles background music.

Unlike pop, which can revolve around endless injected patches of sound and rhythm goosing up a product at a later date, true jazz records depend on inspiration. And it can vary from hour to hour and even from minute to minute. Inspiration is in the studio on the duo CD where the two instrumentalists intertwine, despite the nearly 30 year age difference between them. Then again even at his age, Battaglia, the Italian pianist who wrote all the music, has already recorded 30 CDs, while Swiss drummer Favre's 45 year playing career has allowed him to rise to any challenge.

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