Reviews that mention Scott R. Looney

October 27, 2012

Forward Energy

The Awakening
Edgetone EDT 4127

Bulletins from the West Coast confirm that along with all the other sonic innovations taking place there, Free Jazz is still alive and well. As a matter of fact, the 10 tracks on The Awakening – dig that Energy Music-styled title – show that a new generation of experimenters have become proficient in the style.

Titular leader Jim Ryan, who adds flute and trumpet to his usual improvising on alto and tenor saxophones, is old enough to have played with Steve Lacy in Paris in the 1970s and in the Bay area with the likes of trumpeter Eddie Gale. Rent Romus, who plays alto, soprano and C-melody saxophones, has worked with many local musicians, while pianist Scott R. Looney has a long-time working relationship with bassist Damon Smith as well as playing with outsiders like bass saxophonist Tony Bevan. Bassist Eric Marshall is in Gale’s groups, while percussionist Timothy Orr plays everything from Zydeco to all sorts of Jazz. MORE

May 6, 2011

Scott R. Looney & Klaus Janek

1510
Edgetone EDT 4104

Stephan Crump/James Carney

Echo Run Pry

Clean Feed CF 199 CD

Although the piano is the most orchestral of instruments and the double bass initially designed for strictly accompanist or rhythmic functions, in Jazz and Improvised Music keyboard-bass pairings are as common as hearing two guitars and a drum set in Rock. However for this pairing to move beyond the commonplace, extrasensory perception of each partner’s skills is almost obligatory.

This truism is validated on these duo CDs. As sophisticated as it in execution, with some exceptionally connective moments, the meeting of New Yorkers, pianist James Carney and bassist Stephan Crump, betrays its genesis as serendipitous improvisations created when other members missed a rehearsal of the band in which both were involved. Attempts to compensate for the missing musicians may be why the two tracks, which time in at either side of 24 minutes each, drag at points. MORE

March 20, 2008

Various

White Nights Festival Tel Aviv 2006
Kadima Collective KCR 11

Shibolet/Josephson/Baker/Looney/Smith

Untitled (1959)

Kadima Collective KCR 09

Slava Ganelin-Vladimir Volkov

Ne Slyshno

Auris Media Aum 012

Slava Ganelin-Ned Rothenberg

Falling Into Place

Auris Media Aum 007

Secure in its position as the one true democracy in the Middle East, cosmopolitan elements in Israel have long encouraged the growth of an indigenous jazz scene. Only in the past decade-and-a-half however, have improvisers on the Israeli scene elicited more than local interest. At the same time, associations between many Israelis and musicians in other countries has meant that a Diaspora of improvisers from the Jewish state has set up shop – and garnered fulsome praise – in jazz capitals such as New York. MORE

March 20, 2008

Slava Ganelin-Ned Rothenberg

Falling Into Place
Auris Media Aum 007

Slava Ganelin-Vladimir Volkov

Ne Slyshno

Auris Media Aum 012

Various

White Nights Festival Tel Aviv 2006

Kadima Collective KCR 11

Shibolet/Josephson/Baker/Looney/Smith

Untitled (1959)

Kadima Collective KCR 09

Secure in its position as the one true democracy in the Middle East, cosmopolitan elements in Israel have long encouraged the growth of an indigenous jazz scene. Only in the past decade-and-a-half however, have improvisers on the Israeli scene elicited more than local interest. At the same time, associations between many Israelis and musicians in other countries has meant that a Diaspora of improvisers from the Jewish state has set up shop – and garnered fulsome praise – in jazz capitals such as New York. MORE

March 20, 2008

Slava Ganelin-Vladimir Volkov

Ne Slyshno
Auris Media Aum 012

Slava Ganelin-Ned Rothenberg

Falling Into Place

Auris Media Aum 007

Various

White Nights Festival Tel Aviv 2006

Kadima Collective KCR 11

Shibolet/Josephson/Baker/Looney/Smith

Untitled (1959)

Kadima Collective KCR 09

Secure in its position as the one true democracy in the Middle East, cosmopolitan elements in Israel have long encouraged the growth of an indigenous jazz scene. Only in the past decade-and-a-half however, have improvisers on the Israeli scene elicited more than local interest. At the same time, associations between many Israelis and musicians in other countries has meant that a Diaspora of improvisers from the Jewish state has set up shop – and garnered fulsome praise – in jazz capitals such as New York. MORE

March 20, 2008

Shibolet/Josephson/Baker/Looney/Smith

Untitled (1959)
Kadima Collective KCR 09

Slava Ganelin-Vladimir Volkov

Ne Slyshno

Auris Media Aum 012

Slava Ganelin-Ned Rothenberg

Falling Into Place

Auris Media Aum 007

Various

White Nights Festival Tel Aviv 2006

Kadima Collective KCR 11

Secure in its position as the one true democracy in the Middle East, cosmopolitan elements in Israel have long encouraged the growth of an indigenous jazz scene. Only in the past decade-and-a-half however, have improvisers on the Israeli scene elicited more than local interest. At the same time, associations between many Israelis and musicians in other countries has meant that a Diaspora of improvisers from the Jewish state has set up shop – and garnered fulsome praise – in jazz capitals such as New York. MORE

June 28, 2004

FONDA/MCPHEE/WHITE/KARETNCK

Heat Suite
Konnex KCD 5122

JIM RYAN’S FORWARD ENERGY
The Concept
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1162

Think of Energy Music in the United States like the committed American Left.

Although denounced as an unfashionable anachronism or a contemptible spent force by bombastic conservative commentators, grass roots organizations unexpectedly assert themselves at the local or national level when events swing too far towards the Right.

It’s the same thing with so called Energy Music, Free Jazz or what in the 1960s was called the New Thing. Always treated with contempt by the established mainstreamers of the day, it was derided as a passing fad almost from the time it was first heard. Today jazz’s neo-cons call it old hat with the same disdain that political neo-cons dismiss the New Deal and the unionization. MORE

May 17, 2004

AKCHOTÉ/AUZET/FERRARI

Impro-Micro-Acoustique
Blue Chopsticks BC12

DAVE TUCKER WEST COAST PROJECT
Tenderloin
Pax PR 90264

Eventually, it seems that when a musician truly wants to express himself most freely, he must get involved with improvisation. Take these two CDs as evidence.

Englishman Dave Tucker gained his greatest fame as guitarist for the rock group The Fall in the early 1980s. Since then he’s turned to improv, playing with saxist Evan Parker and drummer Roger Turner at home and matching wits with this Bay area crew on a visit stateside. MORE

December 9, 2002

THE FOCUS QUINTET

1-8 IN 1
Sachimay sca 9357

THE ABSTRACTIONS Sonic Conspiracy
Edgetone EDT 4012

Each of these CDs features Bay area guitarist Ernesto Diaz-Infante and an improvising female vocalist. Other than that you probably couldn’t find two more different sessions that get lumped into the experimental/improvised music category.

Putting aside the ancient West Coast-East Coast dichotomy -- The Abstractions hail from and recorded in San Francisco, the Focus Quintet is a New York band -- the difference between the bands is more philosophical than musical. Directed by Dan DeChellis on piano and keyboards and featuring guitarist Chris Forsyth percussionist, Jeff Arnal and vocalist Anita DeChellis as well as Diaz-Infante, the East Coast ensemble, like much of the pianist’s other work aims for that undefined area between “free jazz and art song”, as he terms it. The Left Coasters, on the other hand, who include along with Diaz-Infante, saxophonist Rent Romus, Bob Marsh on vibes and violin, Scott Looney on percussion and vocalist Jesse Quattro plus a good collection of toys and odd instruments, aim to meld improvised jazz, thrash rock, electronics and surrealistic vocal textures. Each CD must be taken on its own terms. MORE

October 14, 2002

JIM RYAN’S FORWARD ENERGY

Configurations 2002
Edgetone EDT 4009

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, are all highlighted on the more than two hours of this double-CD set by Bay area saxophonist Jim Ryan. But the nuptials being celebrated here are the successful marriage of some veteran players’ post bebop improvisations with those from a new generation of North Californian players.

That takes care of the old and new part. The blue(s) feature on a few of these tracks, while the only thing that’s really “borrowed” is jazz music itself, which some would mistakenly deny to someone like Ryan, who doesn’t conventionally swing. MORE

March 8, 2002

SCOTT R. LOONEY

Solo Piano
Edgetone Records EDT 4004

When the opportunity arises to release it, self-effacing musicians have to decide whether their first CD should be pieced together from already recorded items or be a new beginning. As less expensive recording media makes CD production an option for many, either decision can be correct, with the result being a milestone or a disappointment. Unfortunately pianist Scott Looney appears to have made the wrong choice.

Technically admirable and impeccably recorded and mastered, this disc is a pleasant enough collection that meanders between New Age ennui and Keith Jarrett-like showiness. Looney proves he’s a fine pianist on these eight tracks recorded in 1995. It’s just that a more exciting session, recorded in 2000, with bassist Damon Short and saxophonist Tony Bevan show that his skills at piano, prepared piano and electronics have multiplied many times since then. MORE

October 8, 2001

PETER KOWALD/DAMON SMITH

Mirrors - Broken But No Dust
Balance Point Acoustics BPA 001

TONY BEVAN/DAMON SMITH/SCOTT R. LOONEY
The sale of tickets for money was abolished
Balance Point Acoustics BPA 002

It's altogether fitting that Bay area bassist Damon Smith has put out a duet session with German bassist Peter Kowald as the first release on his own label. After all it was exposure to Kowald's DUOS: EUROPA LP in 1994 that convinced the young musician to sell the fender bass he had been playing in punk and art rock combos to concentrate on double bass and creative improvised music. MORE