Reviews that mention Tristan Honsinger

November 28, 2019

Le Quatuor de Jazz Libre Du Québec

Musique Politique Anthologie 1971-1974
Tour de Bras TDBHIST001

Somehow you could link the evolution of Le Quatuor de Jazz Libre Du Québec (QJLQ) that is chronicled on this impressive set of previously unavailable recorded material, with the saga of Quebec indépendentists who in the 1960s and 1970s felt that Socialism was as important to the future of Quebec as separatism. From a ragtag band of radical bohemians, academics and agitators, the movement became more respectable as business people, bureaucrats and economists signed on, so that when the Parti Québécois came to power in 1976, a rational social-democratic ethos was paramount. Even before Quebec reverted to is xenophobic and authoritarian roots with the election of Coalition Avenir Québec, successive PQ policies jettisoned socialism for a vague capitalist nationalism. MORE

October 16, 2018

Chilli Jazz Congress

September 28-30, 2018 Heiligenkreuz, Austria

By Ken Waxman

Photos by Susan O’Connor

Contemporary dance/movement and vocal improvisations were featured as much as instrumental creativity during the three days and nights of this year’s Chilli Jazz Congress (CJC), which took in late September in the tiny, whistle-stop village of Heiligenkreuz, Austria, east of Graz, short distances from the Slovenian and Hungarian borders. The multi-geographical location was fitting for this annual display of unadulterated Free Music since the 30 performers who worked in diffuse configurations, represented experimentations from 14 different countries MORE

June 11, 2018

Jazz Cerkno 23

May 17 to 19 2018
Cerkno, Slovenia

By Ken Waxman

Forty-one kilometres west of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital, the compact village of Cerkno has been host to a world-class jazz festival for almost a quarter century. Jazz Cerkno 2018 added to the illustrious tradition with three days of notable performances mostly in a specially erected canvas tent, complete with a sophisticated sound system, adjoining the darkened and homey Bar Gabrijel. What was most evident was how musicians from this country of fewer than 2¼-million people, which arguably has benefitted most economically from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, can easily hold their own in the international improvised music scene. MORE

November 6, 2016

Festival Report

Brda Contemporary Music Festival
By Ken Waxman

Good things come in small packages as the saying goes, and when it comes to a setting for a creative music festival, it’s likely difficult to find a smaller location than Šmartno, a fortified hamlet of 30 souls in Slovenia, which hosted the sixth edition of the Brda Contemporary Music Festival (BCMF) September 15th-17th. Laid out with a few winding cobblestone streets among restored and crumbling walls and buildings, the camp-type fortress dates back to the 15th century and was declared a cultural monument in 1985. Šmartno is just one of the miniscule homesteads which cling to the steep hills and curving roads of the Goriška Brda area (total population 5,000), located about midway between Triste, Italy and Ljubljana. Slovenia’s Napa Valley, Goriška Brda’s Mediterranean-like climate boasts more than 150 wine producers, with vineyards seemingly strung across every hill. BCMF itself takes place in and around Šmartno’s Hiše Kulture, consisting of three older dwelling joined together, with three floors now housing a bar, an art gallery and the Jazz Podium a basement performance space, with a raised stage topped with green, pool-table-felt-like material. MORE

June 1, 2016

Festival Report

Doek ABC
By Ken Waxman

With many parts of the Netherlands reclaimed from the sea over the centuries, the Dutch have long been adroit recycling, reusing and repurposing. So it’s no surprise that except for the soft-seated Bimhuis, with its magnificent waterfront view, most venues for this year’s Doek ABC Improvisation Festival in Amsterdam, April 29 to May 4, had initially been built as schools, warehouses and even a dungeon. These locations were particularly pertinent for this year’s fest which united local improvisers (A) with visitors from Berlin (B) and Chicago (C). The festival also demonstrated how different musicians repurpose the jazz and improvised traditions. MORE

June 20, 2014

Festival Report

Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon
By Ken Waxman

Wood fabrication in many forms, from house renovation to cabinetry, is one of the industries in the area surrounding the small Austrian town of Ulrichberg. Appropriately enough this year’s 29th Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon May 1 to 3, featured a wood-based instrument in nearly every performance.

First among equals were French double bassist Joëlle Léandre, performing in a quartet with Swiss soprano and tenor saxophonist Urs Leimgruber, Austrian guitarist Burkhard Stangl and Rome-based, American composer Alvin Curran who played piano and electronics. An experienced improviser since his time with Musica Elettronica Viva in the ‘60s, Curran’s tapping on piano strings prepared with cymbals made a perfect percussive counterpoint to Leimgruber’s key slaps and Stangl’s vertical rubbing of a violin bow on guitar strings. Léandre’s typically disruptive response to this was semi-romantic bowing. Later on, when Curran’s wheezy harmonica and steady piano chording referenced “St. James Infirmary”, she reversed course to slap a bass line as Stangl strummed appropriately. When not showcasing high-velocity string sawing which complemented Leimgruber’s extended techniques, Léandre’s ascending, pseudo-operatic cries and throat gurgles kept the program constantly fascinating to the extent that the 45-minute performance seemed to flash by in an instant. MORE

January 26, 2014

Enrico Sartori/Tobias Delius/Tristan Honsinger

Baboon
Rudi Records RRJ 1012

Hanam Quintet

Featuring Tristan Honsinger

AUT Records AUT 008

Experimental bands featuring only strings and reeds are no novelty; at this juncture even those matching cellos and saxophone don’t cause lifted eyebrows. Yet the participants in these sessions have raised the ante a bit more by restricting themselves to only instruments from those families. The results are mixed. While Baboon, made up of veteran improvisers is only a slightly flawed example of in-the-moment improvising, the Hanam Quintet doesn’t jell as successfully. Even though cellist Tristan Honsinger, who is one-third of Baboon, is also on the other disk, his presence merely adds to the reed-string unbalance. In short mixing his tones with those of reedists Enrico Sartori and Tobias Delius on Baboon creates enough space for all; having his cello added to patterns from Alison Blunt’s violin, Niko Meinhold’s piano and Horst Nonnenmacher’s double bass overloads the program. That’s because only Manuel Miethe’s soprano saxophone and Anna Kaluza’s alto saxophone are around the face the string interface. MORE

January 26, 2014

Hanam Quintet

Featuring Tristan Honsinger
AUT Records AUT 008

Enrico Sartori/Tobias Delius/Tristan Honsinger

Baboon

Rudi Records RRJ 1012

Experimental bands featuring only strings and reeds are no novelty; at this juncture even those matching cellos and saxophone don’t cause lifted eyebrows. Yet the participants in these sessions have raised the ante a bit more by restricting themselves to only instruments from those families. The results are mixed. While Baboon, made up of veteran improvisers is only a slightly flawed example of in-the-moment improvising, the Hanam Quintet doesn’t jell as successfully. Even though cellist Tristan Honsinger, who is one-third of Baboon, is also on the other disk, his presence merely adds to the reed-string unbalance. In short mixing his tones with those of reedists Enrico Sartori and Tobias Delius on Baboon creates enough space for all; having his cello added to patterns from Alison Blunt’s violin, Niko Meinhold’s piano and Horst Nonnenmacher’s double bass overloads the program. That’s because only Manuel Miethe’s soprano saxophone and Anna Kaluza’s alto saxophone are around the face the string interface. MORE

April 8, 2011

FMP In Rückblick

In Retrospect 1969-2010
FMP CD 137 - FMP CD 148

Something in the Air: FMP`s 40th Anniversary

By Ken Waxman

Throughout jazz history, independent labels have typified sounds of the time. In the Swing era it was Commodore; Modern jazz was prominent on Blue Note and Prestige; and with Improvised Music, FMP is one of the longest lasting imprints. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Berlin-based label has given listeners a spectacular birthday present with FMP In Rückblick – In Retrospect 1969-2010,12 [!] CDs representing FMP’s past and future – the oldest from 1975, the newest, by American cellist Tristan Honsinger and German guitarist Olaf Rupp from 2010, half previously unissued – plus an LP-sized, 218-page book, lavishly illustrated with contemporary photographs, posters, album covers and a discography. MORE

February 22, 2011

ICP Orchestra

(049)
ICP 049

The Either/Orchestra

Mood Music for Time Travellers

Accurate 3285

Keeping a musical ensemble together for any length of time is an accomplishment. When it’s a 10 piece Improvised Music group, and the period is a quarter century, the achievement is even more remarkable. But that’s what Mood Music for Time Travellers celebrates: the 25th anniversary of the Massachusetts-based Either/Orchestra (EO). The EO’s potent mix of Jazz, Rock, Funk and more recently African influences, makes it unique among most American Jazz groups. MORE

December 14, 2010

Tobias Delius 4Tet

Luftlucht
ICP 048

One of those curious – or is it inimitable – sessions from the Netherlands where the sounds seem to simultaneously draw on the Swing Era and Free Jazz, these eight tunes with 15 [!] titles also suggests the commotion that arises from a meeting of four strong-minded players. Of course this is an exemplary commotion for a notable musical end.

Serendipitously Luftlucht showcases the talents of the players here who individually have been drawn to participate in Amsterdam’s rich musical gestalt. Only veteran drummer Han Bennink, long a mainstay of the ICP Orchestra, is Dutch born. Tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius, another ICP stalwart, is of Argentinean/British background; anarchistic cellist Tristan Honsinger, another ICPer, is an American who lives part of the time in Italy. Meanwhile bassist Joe Williamson, who has recorded with ICP leader/pianist Misha Mengelberg among many others, is a Canadian who now calls Stockholm home. MORE

June 1, 2009

Alexander Von Schlippenbach

Friulian Sketches
psi 08.07

TOOT

Two

Another Timbre At14

Jan Roder

Double Bass

Jazzwerkstatt JW 037

Aki Takase & The Good Boys

Live at Willisau Jazz Festival

Jazz Werkstatt JW 049

Extended Play: Alexander Von Schlippenbach and his band mates

By Ken Waxman

One European jazz pacesetter since the late 1960s, German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s groups showcase different aspects of his broad interests. Together for over 35 years, his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens features improvisers attuned to each other’s thinking. Predating that, The Globe Unity Orchestra herds outstanding Continental soloists into cooperative big band arrangements. His Monk’s Casino quintet – filled out by German players about 25 years younger than Schlippenbach, 71 – offers a unique take on Thelonious Monk’s oeuvre. Its members also score on individual projects, like these CDs. MORE

June 1, 2009

TOOT

Two
Another Timbre At14

Jan Roder

Double Bass

Jazzwerkstatt JW 037

Aki Takase & The Good Boys

Live at Willisau Jazz Festival

Jazz Werkstatt JW 049

Alexander Von Schlippenbach

Friulian Sketches

psi 08.07

Extended Play: Alexander Von Schlippenbach and his band mates

By Ken Waxman

One European jazz pacesetter since the late 1960s, German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s groups showcase different aspects of his broad interests. Together for over 35 years, his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens features improvisers attuned to each other’s thinking. Predating that, The Globe Unity Orchestra herds outstanding Continental soloists into cooperative big band arrangements. His Monk’s Casino quintet – filled out by German players about 25 years younger than Schlippenbach, 71 – offers a unique take on Thelonious Monk’s oeuvre. Its members also score on individual projects, like these CDs. MORE

June 1, 2009

Jan Roder

Double Bass
Jazzwerkstatt JW 037

Aki Takase & The Good Boys

Live at Willisau Jazz Festival

Jazz Werkstatt JW 049

Alexander Von Schlippenbach

Friulian Sketches

psi 08.07

TOOT

Two

Another Timbre At14

Extended Play: Alexander Von Schlippenbach and his band mates

By Ken Waxman

One European jazz pacesetter since the late 1960s, German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s groups showcase different aspects of his broad interests. Together for over 35 years, his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens features improvisers attuned to each other’s thinking. Predating that, The Globe Unity Orchestra herds outstanding Continental soloists into cooperative big band arrangements. His Monk’s Casino quintet – filled out by German players about 25 years younger than Schlippenbach, 71 – offers a unique take on Thelonious Monk’s oeuvre. Its members also score on individual projects, like these CDs. MORE

June 1, 2009

Aki Takase & The Good Boys

Live at Willisau Jazz Festival
Jazz Werkstatt JW 049

Alexander Von Schlippenbach

Friulian Sketches

psi 08.07

TOOT

Two

Another Timbre At14

Jan Roder

Double Bass

Jazzwerkstatt JW 037

Extended Play: Alexander Von Schlippenbach and his band mates

By Ken Waxman

One European jazz pacesetter since the late 1960s, German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s groups showcase different aspects of his broad interests. Together for over 35 years, his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens features improvisers attuned to each other’s thinking. Predating that, The Globe Unity Orchestra herds outstanding Continental soloists into cooperative big band arrangements. His Monk’s Casino quintet – filled out by German players about 25 years younger than Schlippenbach, 71 – offers a unique take on Thelonious Monk’s oeuvre. Its members also score on individual projects, like these CDs. MORE

December 6, 2004

ICP ORCHESTRA

Aan & Uit
ICP 042

Up to their old tricks, the 10 members of the Dutch ICP Orchestra prove once again that having a good time and swinging doesn’t mean that you have to give up artistic integrity. Similarly this 70-minute collection of compositions, mostly by pianist/leader Misha Mengelberg, twists enough POMO strands that the band’s position as an evolving workshop -- like Mingus’ bands, for instance -- remains constant.

This time out, you notice that American cellist Tristan Honsinger -- an on-and-off ICP member for years -- and trombonist Wolter Wierbos have moved into centre position in the band, sharing the most space with originals Mengelberg and drummer Han Bennink. Yet the longest -- almost nine minute tune -- is written by and a showcase for trumpeter Thomas Heberer. MORE

May 10, 2004

CECIL TAYLOR

Incarnation
FMP CD 123

Sailing past his 75th birthday in March, pianist Cecil Taylor seems to have no trouble maintaining the creativity that has served him well since his first recording date almost a half-century ago.

How does the emphatic improviser manage to keep creative many years past when most musicians -- even Louis Armstrong, his only challenger for transformation of 20th century music -- fall into repetition and often self-parody? Very simply Taylor is always concerned with making it new. This can involved new compositions, new improvisations, new settings, or new combinations of musicians. MORE

August 4, 2003

CECIL TAYLOR ENSEMBLE

The Light of Corona
FMP CD 120

Keeping your attention fixated on the centre ring on this three-ring circus performance by a Cecil Taylor nonet is only a little more difficult than usual.

That’s because while the piano-as-ferocious-lion taming act of pianist Taylor is as riveting as always, distractions abound. There are acrobatic leaps and bounds on show from the horn section and a definite clown act arising from one member of the rhythm section.

The overriding impression you’re left with following this 1986 performance from Berlin however, is how Taylor’s seeming omnipotent power can bend any group of musicians to his will. Also, as with nearly every Taylor production over the past 40 years, the organization and output of the music on the CD are more singular than what you’d find in any other airing by a nine-piece band. MORE

June 30, 2003

ICP ORCHESTRA

Oh, My Dog
ICP 040

MYUMI PROJECT BIG BAND
Rooted: Origins of Now
Southport/Asian Improv S-SSD 0092

Performing with a mid-sized band of improvisers is widespread because it provides freedom both for the composer(s) and the players. Nine plus instruments often provide enough variations to illustrate a writer’s vision; and with fewer than 12 bandmates, musicians can contribute much more than if they’re mere section placeholders.

Small big bands can also be used to express radically different concepts as these skilled CDs demonstrate. Together for almost 30 years, the Dutch ICP Orchestra has featured many different soloists over time, but with laissez faire direction coming from pianist/composer Misha Mengelberg, there’s a consistency there. Tatsu Aoki’s Myumi Project, on the other hand, is mostly a recording ensemble, put together to give flesh to the bassist/composer’s musical portraits of Asian American improvisers in particular and Asians in North America in general. MORE

November 4, 2002

MICHAEL MOORE

Air Street
between the lines btl 023/EFA 10193-2

Creating impressive chamber jazz is a fiendishly difficult challenge. Play too gently and the sounds begin to resemble background music; play too aggressively and the raison d’être- is gone. Luckily saxophonist and clarinettist Michael Moore has avoided both those pitfalls on this CD.

Of course it helps that his trio is completed by two inventive types, who never allow the parameters of a given form to mute their exuberance. American-born, long-time Dutch resident cellist Tristan Honsinger has been exhibiting his anarchistic tendencies since the 1960s and can even upset established mischief-makers like the members of Misha Mengelberg’s ICP Orchestra, with whom he frequently plays. Younger Dutch keyboardist Cor Fuhler isn’t content to be a fine improvising pianist. He also moonlights with electronic equipment as an eccentric DJ/turntablist and expresses himself on unique home-made inventions, like the keyolin, a two-string violin on a frame, which he plays on this set. MORE

February 1, 2002

STEVE BERESFORD/TRISTAN HONSINGER

Imitation of Life/Double Indemnity Atavistic Unheard Music
UMS/ALP 224

STEVE BERESFORD/PAT THOMAS/VERYAN WESTON
3 Pianos
EMANEM 4064

Versatile from the get go, since moving to London in 1974,

multi-instrumentalist Steve Beresford has probably been involved in more undertakings than any other British improviser.

Although he’s a full-fledged member of the jazz/improv community with appearances at guitarist Derek Bailey’s Company week and recording sessions with the likes of saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Han Bennink -- among many others -- on his resumé, he hasn’t limited himself to that. Over the years he has also been a member of punk and reggae bands, created middle-of- the-road pop music, and fully scored music for film, TV, dance groups and corporations. Additionally, he has taught audio production, piano and improvisation at different times and places, as well as produced CDs for other free improvisers. MORE

September 20, 2000

MISHA MENGELBERG

Solo
Buzz ZZ 76012

ICP ORCHESTRA
Jubilee Varia
hatology 528

Comparisons are odious, but if anyone could be characterized as the Thelonious Monk of Europe it would be Dutch pianist/composer Misha Mengelberg. Headman of the little recorded Instant Composers Pool Orchestra, he's also the theoretician behind the creative musical irony which underlines much of what we know as post modern Dutch --and by extension -- European jazz.

Suddenly, though, we have two ways to appreciate Mengelberg's art, discs that could be the 1990s versions of MONK'S MUSIC and THELONIOUS HIMSELF. In fact, on the orchestra CD, you could even say that the pianist has his own Art Blakey in long-time drummer-collaborator Han Bennink and, to stretch the point even further, his own John Coltrane in saxophonist/clarinetist An Baars.

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