Reviews that mention George Lewis

July 11, 2018

George Lewis/Ensemble Dal Niente

Assemblage
New World Records 80792

Refusing to limit his musical identity to that of an academic or an improviser, from time to time trombonist George Lewis operates as an arm’s length composer in the traditional Eurocentric form. The four thought-provoking performances here are part of that trope. Rather than expressing his ideas as a performer as he frequently does elsewhere, Lewis passed his scores onto the Chicago-based Ensemble Dal Niente. Using various subsets of the group it’s the members’ interpretations that are outlined on disc as if the group was dealing with notated music from many other composers. MORE

December 21, 2017

George Lewis & Splitter Orchestra

Creative Construction Set™
Mikroton Recordings CD 50

By Ken Waxman

While it may appear like sifting alphabet soup for insight, American trombonist George Lewis’ three-part Creative Construction Set™ (CCS) for Berlin’s Splitter Orchestra (SO) is an organic recasting of ideas first advanced by the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM)’s sextet the Creative Construction Company (CCC). Abbreviations aside, the essence of this performance is how this mixture of improvisation and composition can be expressed flexibly by two dozen players. 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

January 1, 2016

NPR’s 10th Annual

Jazz Critics Poll Ballot
2015

Ken Waxman (The New York City Jazz Record, Jazz Word)

NEW RELEASES

  1. Roscoe Mitchell, Celebrating Fred Anderson (Nessa)
  2. Daniel Carter-William Parker-Federico Ughi, Navajo Sunrise (Rudi)
  3. François Carrier-Michel Lambert-Rafal Mazur, Unknowable (Not Two)
  4. Anna Webber, Refraction (Pirouet)
  5. Tim Berne, You've Been Watching Me (ECM)
  6. Evan Parker, Seven (Victo)
  7. Samuel Blaser, Spring Rain (Whirlwind)
  8. Akira Sakata-Giovanni Di Domenico-John Edwards-Steve Noble, Live at Cafe Oto (Clamshell)
  9. James Falzone & the Renga Ensemble, The Room Is (Allos Documents)
  10. George Freeman & Chico Freeman, All in the Family (Southport)
MORE

June 11, 2015

Evan Parker ElectroAcoustic Septet

Seven
Victo 127

Parker/Dunmall/Bianco

Extremes

Red Toucan RT 9349

Harris Eisenstadt

Golden State II

Songlines SGL 1610-2

Anthony Braxton

Trio and Duet

Sackville (Delmark) SK3007

EarNear

EarNear

TourdeBras TDB90012 CD

Something In The Air: Canadian Exposure for Out-of-the-Country Out-of-the-Ordinary Improvisers

By Ken Waxman

Just as international improvisers sometimes find a more welcoming atmosphere for their sound experiments in Canada than at home, so too have Canadian record labels become a vehicle to release notable free music sessions. Attesting to this openness, two of the most recent discs by British saxophone master Evan Parker are on Canadian imprints. But each arrived by a different route. One of the triumphs of 2014’s Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Quebec, this performance of Seven by Parker’s ElectroAcoustic Septet (Victo 127) are available on Victo, FIMAV’s affiliated imprint. Consisting of one massive and one shorter instant composition, Seven literally delineates the electro-acoustic divide. Trumpeter Peter Evans, reedist Ned Rothenberg, cellist Okkyung Lee and Parker make up the acoustic side, while varied laptop processes are operated by Ikue Mori and Sam Pluta, with George Lewis switching between laptop and trombone, with his huffing brass tone making a particular impression during a contrapuntal faced-off with Parker’s soprano saxophone during Seven-2. At nearly 46 minutes, “Seven-1” is the defining work, attaining several musical crests during its ghostly, meandering near time-suspension, Allowing for full expression of instrumental virtuosity, dynamic flutters, flanges and processes from the laptoppists accompany, comment upon or challenge the acoustic instruments. Alternately wave forms loops and echoes cause the instrumentalists to forge their reposes. Plenty of sonic surprises arise during the sequences. Undefined processed-sounding bee-buzzing motifs for example are revealed as mouth and lip modulations from Evans’ piccolo trumpet or aviary trills from Rothenberg’s clarinet. In contrast the electronics’ crackles and static are often boosted into mellower affiliations that sound purely acoustic. Eventually both aspects meld into a climax of bubbly consistency with any background-foreground, electro or acoustic displays satisfactorily melded. More percussive “Seven-2” has a climax involving fragmented electronics pulsating steadily as first Evans, then Rothenberg and finally Parker spill out timbres that confirm formalism as much as freedom. MORE

February 1, 2015

Derek Bailey/Joëlle Léandre/George Lewis/Evan Parker

Dunois 1982
Fou Records FR-CD 06

Frank Lowe Quartet

Out Loud

Triple Point Records TPR 209

Don Pullen

Richard’s Tune

Delmark/Sackville CD2-3008

Steve Lacy

Cycles (1976-80)

Emanem 5205

Ted Daniel’s Energy Module

Energy Module

NoBusiness Records NBCD 72/73

Something In The Air: Revolutionary Records Redux

By Ken Waxman

About 40 years on, so-called Free Jazz and Free Music from the late sixties, seventies and early eighties, doesn’t sound so revolutionary any more. The idea of improvising without chord structures or fixed rhythm has gradually seeped into most players’ consciousness, with the genre(s) now accepted as particular methods for improvisation along with Bop, Dixieland and Fusion. Historical perspective also means that many sessions originally recorded during that period are now being released. Some are reissues, usually with additional music added; others are newly unearthed tapes being issued for the first time. The best discs offer up formerly experimental sounds whose outstanding musicianship is more of a lure than nostalgia. MORE

November 3, 2013

Roscoe Mitchell Quartet

Live at A Space 1975
Sackville-Demark SK 2080

Anthony Braxton

Echo Echo Mirror House

Victo cd 125

François Houle/Håvard Wiik

Aves

Songlines SGL 1601-2

Evan Tighe

Threadcount

ETC 0001

Something In The Air: Recorded in Canada, Appreciated World-Wide

By Ken Waxman

Without question one of jazz’s most representative records is of a 1954 concert with Bop masters Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach in their only performance together. That the session was recorded in Toronto’s Massey Hall makes it distinctive as well as replaceable. But Jazz at Massey Hall isn’t the only instance of jazz history being made north of the border. Precisely because of gig opportunities for committed international improvisers discs recorded at Canadian gigs or festivals are an important part of the music’s fabric. MORE

January 6, 2013

Festival Report

Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra Festival 5
By Ken Waxman

Brawny and gritty, Glasgow, Scotland`s largest city has been a shipbuilding, trading and manufacturing powerhouse since the Industrial Revolution. At the same time the grey northern port has had a long-established aesthetic side, characterized by the often imitated Arts and Crafts movement designs and structures of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868-1928).

This blend of power and passion was reflected November 29 to December 1 as the city’s 24-member Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (GIO) celebrated its 10th anniversary and 5th annual festival with performances at the city’s downtown Centre for Contemporary Art by the whole band and various subsets; other Scottish improvisers; and guests including inventive saxophonist Evan Parker, irrepressible vocalist Maggie Nicols and polymath George Lewis utilizing trombone and computer. MORE

July 12, 2011

Roscoe Mitchell

Quartet
Sackville SKCD2-3009)

Julius Hemphill

Roi Boyé & the Gotham Mintrels

Sackville SKCD2-3014/15

Oliver Lake/Julius Hemphill

Buster Bee

Sackville SKCD2-3016

George Lewis

The Solo Trombone Record

Sackville SKCD2-3012

Anthony Davis

Of Blues and Dreams

Sackville SKCD2-3020

Karl Berger & Dave Holland

All Kinds of Time

Sackville SKCD2-3010

Barry Altschul Trio
MORE

July 12, 2011

George Lewis

The Solo Trombone Record
Sackville SKCD2-3012

Julius Hemphill

Roi Boyé & the Gotham Mintrels

Sackville SKCD2-3014/15

Oliver Lake/Julius Hemphill

Buster Bee

Sackville SKCD2-3016

Anthony Davis

Of Blues and Dreams

Sackville SKCD2-3020

Karl Berger & Dave Holland

All Kinds of Time

Sackville SKCD2-3010

Roscoe Mitchell

Quartet

Sackville SKCD2-3009)

Barry Altschul Trio
MORE

May 16, 2011

Bert Turetzky/George Lewis/Vinny Golia

Triangulation II
Kadima #30

By Ken Waxman

As unruffled as any musical conversation among veteran players, the free improvisations which make up Triangulation II evolve with certainty and sophistication. Nonetheless with each player an old hand at pushing instrumental timbres to their limits, the results are anything but comfy. Multi-reedman Vinny Golia, trombonist George Lewis and bassist Bert Turetzky are so experienced at sonically depicting the seemingly impossible that they can do so at medium tempos and moderate volume. Plus these unorthodox techniques don’t stop them from creating harmonious musical relationships. MORE

March 14, 2011

Tell No Lies Claim No Easy Victories

Edited by Phillipp Schmickl
Impro 2000

ECM 40th Anniversary Catalogue

Edited by Kenny Inaoka

Tokyo Kirarasha

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

September 3, 2010

Marina Rosenfeld/George Lewis

Sour Mash
Innova 228

Chris Brown/Pauline Oliveros

Music in the Air

Deep Listening DL 43-2010

John Zorn/George Lewis/Bill Frisell

More News For Lulu

hatOLOGY 655

Marilyn Crispell/ David Rothenberg

One Dark Night I Left My Silent House

ECM 2089

Guelph Jazz Festival Highlights

Extended Play

By Ken Waxman

Characteristically adventurous, the 17th annual Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF) September 8 to 12 presents respected sound explorers in novel musical situations. MORE

September 3, 2010

John Zorn/George Lewis/Bill Frisell

More News For Lulu
hatOLOGY 655

Marilyn Crispell David Rothenberg

One Dark Night I Left My Silent House

ECM 2089

Chris Brown/Pauline Oliveros

Music in the Air

Deep Listening DL 43-2010

Marina Rosenfeld/George Lewis

Sour Mash

Innova 228

Guelph Jazz Festival Highlights

Extended Play

By Ken Waxman

Characteristically adventurous, the 17th annual Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF) September 8 to 12 presents respected sound explorers in novel musical situations. MORE

September 4, 2009

Joëlle Léandre

Live in Israel
Kadima KCR 17

Joëlle Léandre & William Parker

Live at Dunois

Leo CD LR 535

Joëlle Léandre-George Lewis

Transatlantic Visions

RogueArt ROG-0020

Joëlle Léandre & Quentin SirJacq

Out of Nowhere

Ambiance MagnétiqueAM184

Extended Play: Joëlle Léandre

By Ken Waxman

A masterful and distinctive soloist, French bassist Joëlle Léandre is versatile in any musical situation. These impressive CDs showcase her improvisational skills, while elsewhere the conservatory-trained Parisian is as comfortable with notated music, often performing studies written for her by composers such as John Cage and Giancinto Scelsi. MORE

September 4, 2009

Joëlle Léandre & William Parker

Live at Dunois
Leo CD LR 535

Joëlle Léandre-George Lewis

Transatlantic Visions

RogueArt ROG-0020

Joëlle Léandre

Live in Israel

Kadima KCR 17

Joëlle Léandre & Quentin SirJacq

Out of Nowhere

Ambiance MagnétiqueAM184

Extended Play: Joëlle Léandre

By Ken Waxman

A masterful and distinctive soloist, French bassist Joëlle Léandre is versatile in any musical situation. These impressive CDs showcase her improvisational skills, while elsewhere the conservatory-trained Parisian is as comfortable with notated music, often performing studies written for her by composers such as John Cage and Giancinto Scelsi. MORE

September 4, 2009

Joëlle Léandre-George Lewis

Transatlantic Visions
RogueArt ROG-0020

Joëlle Léandre

Live in Israel

Kadima KCR 17

Joëlle Léandre & Quentin SirJacq

Out of Nowhere

Ambiance MagnétiqueAM184

Joëlle Léandre & William Parker

Live at Dunois

Leo CD LR 535

Extended Play: Joëlle Léandre

By Ken Waxman

A masterful and distinctive soloist, French bassist Joëlle Léandre is versatile in any musical situation. These impressive CDs showcase her improvisational skills, while elsewhere the conservatory-trained Parisian is as comfortable with notated music, often performing studies written for her by composers such as John Cage and Giancinto Scelsi. MORE

September 4, 2009

Joëlle Léandre & Quentin SirJacq

Out of Nowhere
Ambiance Magnétique AM 184

Joëlle Léandre & William Parker

Live at Dunois

Leo CD LR 535

Joëlle Léandre-George Lewis

Transatlantic Visions

RogueArt ROG-0020

Joëlle Léandre

Live in Israel

Kadima KCR 17

Joëlle Léandre & Quentin SirJacq

Out of Nowhere

Ambiance MagnétiqueAM184

Extended Play: Joëlle Léandre

By Ken Waxman

A masterful and distinctive soloist, French bassist Joëlle Léandre is versatile in any musical situation. These impressive CDs showcase her improvisational skills, while elsewhere the conservatory-trained Parisian is as comfortable with notated music, often performing studies written for her by composers such as John Cage and Giancinto Scelsi. MORE

July 3, 2009

Musica Elettronica Viva

MEV 40
New World Records 80675-2

Consisting of a nucleus of academically trained composers who promoted free improvisation and group interaction, Musica Elettronica Viva (MEV) was the sort of musical aggregation that could only have been born in the 1960s.

Yet as this absorbing four-CD set of MEV performances – from its beginning in 1967, to its 40th anniversary – proves, the group’s triumphs are musically sophisticated as well as sociologically notable. Willingly subsuming the vaulted tradition of a single composer into group interaction, MEV’s most notable pieces added the smarts of jazz improvisers and the sonic versatility of increasingly complex electronic instruments to the compositional stew. Furthermore, the group has survived all these years because it never allowed electronics to submerge its initial humanistic and populist approach. MORE

March 23, 2009

Sonic Geography: Munich

For MusicWorks Issue #103
BY KEN WAXMAN

Mammoth beer-drinking establishments and meticulously maintained older structures of all sorts are the images that resonate most strongly about Munich, Germany’s third-largest city. All year Munich’s outdoor beer gardens – one of which holds 8,000 [!] people – are packed with folks enjoying the traditional one-litre (die mass) glass of beer and chowing down on regional specialties such as Weißwürste (white sausages), Leberkäs (baked sausage loaf), and sweetish chewy pretzels, while listening to brass bands. Annually the 16-day Oktoberfest adds about 17 million visitors to the Bavarian capital’s nearly 1.5 inhabitants. MORE

November 25, 2008

Alexander Von Schlippenbach-Globe Unity Orchestra

Globe Unity - 40 Years
Intakt CD 133

Schlippenbach Trio

Gold Is Where You Find It

Intakt CD 143

More than 70 years old, pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach is one more proof of Steve Lacy’s adage that “free jazz keeps you young”. A professional musician since 1962, Berlin-based Schlippenbach has maintained his level of creativity in various contexts, most prominently in the trans-European Globe Unity Orchestra (GUO) and his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens. MORE

October 8, 2008

Variations on a Theme

Guelph Jazz Festival Musicians On Their Own
Extended Play

Barry Guy/Mats Gustafsson/Raymond Strid

Tarfala

Maya MCD0801

Junk Box

Cloudy Then Sunny

Libra Records 203-019

John Zorn

News For Lulu

hatOLOGY 650

Matana Roberts

The Chicago Project

Central Control CC1006PR

Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet

Tabligh

Cuneiform Rune 270

AMMÜ Quartet

AMMÜ Quartet
MORE

July 9, 2008

Lisle Ellis

Sucker Punch Requiem
Henceforth Records 104

Paul Bley

12+6 In A Row

hatOLOGY 649

Radio I-Ching

The Fire Keeps Burning

Resonant Music 004

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet

One Dance Alone

Songlines SGL SA1571-2

Mark O'Leary/Eyvind Kang/Dylan van der Schyff

Zemlya

Leo Records CD LR 507

Expatriate – and Homebody – Sounds

Extended Play

By Ken Waxman

Geographic proximity is responsible for the migration of gifted Canadian artists to the United States. Plus Canadian improvisers down south quickly find eager collaborators. MORE

July 9, 2008

Paul Bley

12+6 In A Row
hatOLOGY 649

Lisle Ellis

Sucker Punch Requiem

Henceforth Records 104

Radio I-Ching

The Fire Keeps Burning

Resonant Music 004

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet

One Dance Alone

Songlines SGL SA1571-2

Mark O'Leary/Eyvind Kang/Dylan van der Schyff

Zemlya

Leo Records CD LR 507

Expatriate – and Homebody – Sounds

Extended Play

By Ken Waxman

Geographic proximity is responsible for the migration of gifted Canadian artists to the United States. Plus Canadian improvisers down south quickly find eager collaborators. MORE

July 9, 2008

Mark O'Leary/Eyvind Kang/Dylan van der Schyff

Zemlya
Leo Records CD LR 507

Paul Bley

12+6 In A Row

hatOLOGY 649

Lisle Ellis

Sucker Punch Requiem

Henceforth Records 104

Radio I-Ching

The Fire Keeps Burning

Resonant Music 004

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet

One Dance Alone

Songlines SGL SA1571-2

Expatriate – and Homebody – Sounds

Extended Play

By Ken Waxman

Geographic proximity is responsible for the migration of gifted Canadian artists to the United States. Plus Canadian improvisers down south quickly find eager collaborators. MORE

July 9, 2008

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet

One Dance Alone
Songlines SGL SA1571-2

Paul Bley

12+6 In A Row

hatOLOGY 649

Lisle Ellis

Sucker Punch Requiem

Henceforth Records 104

Radio I-Ching

The Fire Keeps Burning

Resonant Music 004

Mark O'Leary/Eyvind Kang/Dylan van der Schyff

Zemlya

Leo Records CD LR 507

Expatriate – and Homebody – Sounds

Extended Play

By Ken Waxman

Geographic proximity is responsible for the migration of gifted Canadian artists to the United States. Plus Canadian improvisers down south quickly find eager collaborators. MORE

July 9, 2008

Radio I-Ching

The Fire Keeps Burning
Resonant Music 004

Paul Bley

12+6 In A Row

hatOLOGY 649

Lisle Ellis

Sucker Punch Requiem

Henceforth Records 104

Wayne Horvitz Gravitas Quartet

One Dance Alone

Songlines SGL SA1571-2

Mark O'Leary/Eyvind Kang/Dylan van der Schyff

Zemlya

Leo Records CD LR 507

Expatriate – and Homebody – Sounds

Extended Play

By Ken Waxman

Geographic proximity is responsible for the migration of gifted Canadian artists to the United States. Plus Canadian improvisers down south quickly find eager collaborators. MORE

July 2, 2008

A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music

By George E. Lewis
University of Chicago Press

Home from his studies at Yale University in 1971, trombonist George Lewis was walking to his parents’ home on Chicago’s South Side when he heard unusual sounds coming from a nearby brick building. Peering inside he saw a group practicing what he calls “fascinating” music. Asking if he could attend future rehearsals, Lewis was grudgingly welcomed into what he soon found out was the disciplined but inventive milieu of the Association of the Advancement Musicians (AACM). MORE

January 19, 2004

STEVE LACY

The Beat Suite
Sunnyside/Enja SSC 3012

DEEP LISTENING BAND/JOE MCPHEE QUARTET
Unquenchable Fire
Deep Listening DL 19-2003

Blending music and texts -- either poetry or prose -- has never been a particularly easy task, especially when the music involved is improvised. Yet for the past 50 years at least, variations of the concept have been tried with various degrees of success.

Among his other sonic inquiries, soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy has turned his hand to text-based material for many years; he has been able to utilize the voice of his partner Irene Aebi as his speaker/vocalist since the late 1960s. THE BEAT SUITE is his most recent grapple with the concept -- and one that is particularly apt. The words, which intermingle with the music here, were written by 10 of the most accomplished Beat versifiers. All had or have an affinity for improvised music and most were known personally by either Lacy or Abei. MORE

November 4, 2002

GARY HASSAY/ANNE LEBARON

Blackwater Bridge
Drimala DR 02-347-02

JASON ROBINSON
Tandem
Accretions ALP 025CD

Making a list of dedicated harpists who excel in -- or even play -- free form music doesn’t take too long. In improvised music, for instance, there’s Briton Rhodri Davies and American Zeena Parkins and … Davies and Parkins. In jazz there was Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane and, … unsurprisingly, Ashby and Coltrane.

However BLACKWATER BRIDGE, an exacting duo disc featuring alto saxophonist Gary Hassay, definitely adds harpist Anne LeBaron to that stellar company. Considering the unadorned musical circumstances here, her work may be even more noteworthy. After all, solo saxophone doesn’t provide much back up. MORE

January 24, 2002

ANTHONY BRAXTON

News from the 70s
Felmay/Newtone FY 7005

With his MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and his tenured position at Wesleyan University now part of his storied past, it would seem that Anthony Braxton has attained the respect he deserves as an academic and a serious American composer. However, a document like this CD -- or “text” as the academics would term it -- serves as a reminder of how he achieved what he did.

Organized by Italian jazz writer Francesco Martinelli and consisting of almost 75 minutes of tapes from Braxton’s private tape stash, the newest track dates from 1976 and the oldest from 1971. Braxton’s improvising and band leading is emphasized as much as his composing here, and hearing him in contexts ranging from solo to quartet you quickly pick up on the skill, technique and intensity that drew people to him in the first place. Hitherto-unknown compositions and new versions of older compositions are exposed, as are unique or under-recorded partnerships. MORE