Reviews that mention Ikue Mori,

March 22, 2016

Guelph Jazz Festival

Guelph, Ontario
September 16-20, 2015

By Ken Waxman

Story telling of the verbal and instrumental variety was an important feature of this year’s Guelph Jazz Festival. Trying out new venues such as Heritage Hall (HH), Guelph’s first black church; and the soft-seated Guelph Little Theatre (GLT), the festival added a feeling of intimacy to its innovative programming.

Front and centre with tales, tall and otherwise were two Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (ACCM) members, multi-reedist Douglas Ewart and alto saxophonist Matana Roberts. Confirming the old adage that actions can speak louder than words were musicians as cerebrally intricate as Evan Parker’s soprano saxophone forays or as raucous as guitarist Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog trio. MORE

January 21, 2016

Lotte Anker

What River is This?
ILK 226 CD

Lotte Anker/Fred Frith

Edge of the Light

Intakt CD 237

Danish saxophonist Lotte Anker has been involved in a diverse cross section of musicians since she first began recording in 1985, from the Copenhagen Art Ensemble to sessions with the likes of pianist Marilyn Crispell and drummer Gerald Cleaver. One of the most fruitful of recent collaborations has been with British guitarist Fred Frith and these two discs show off Janus-faced sides of this combination. 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

October 7, 2012

Festival Report

The Guelph Jazz Festival
By Ken Waxman

A spectre was haunting the 2012 Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF), but it was a benign spectre: the ghost of John Coltrane. The influence of Coltrane, who died in 1967, was honored in direct and indirect ways throughout the five days of the festival which takes places annually in this mid-sized college town, 100 kilometres west of Toronto.

This year’s edition (September 5 to 9), featured two live performances of Ascension, Coltrane’s free jazz masterwork from 1965, one with the original instrumentation by an 11-piece Toronto ensemble at the local arts centre; the other on the main stage of the soft-seated River Run Centre concert hall featured the Bay-area ROVA saxophone’s quartet reimaging of the work, scored for 12 musicians adding strings and electronics to the basic ensemble. MORE

May 20, 2009

Lotte Anker/Craig Taborn/Gerald Cleaver

Live at the Loft
ILK 148 CD

Lotte Anker/Sylvie Courvoisier/Ikue MoriV

Alien Huddle

Intakt CD 144

Germinating notable improvised music is more a function of intellect and emotion than gender, race or geography – as these sessions led by Danish reedist Lotte Anker demonstrate. Live at the Loft, recorded in Köln, finds her playing with pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Gerald Cleaver, both American and male. Alien Huddle on the other hand, was recorded in New York, and features the Dane in the company of two other non-Americans or aliens: Swiss-born pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and Japanese-born electronics-manipulator Ikue Mori, both of whom, like Anker, are female. MORE

May 20, 2009

Lotte Anker/Sylvie Courvoisier/Ikue Mori

Alien Huddle
Intakt CD 144

Lotte Anker/Craig Taborn/Gerald Cleaver

Live at the Loft

ILK 148 CD

Germinating notable improvised music is more a function of intellect and emotion than gender, race or geography – as these sessions led by Danish reedist Lotte Anker demonstrate. Live at the Loft, recorded in Köln, finds her playing with pianist Craig Taborn and drummer Gerald Cleaver, both American and male. Alien Huddle on the other hand, was recorded in New York, and features the Dane in the company of two other non-Americans or aliens: Swiss-born pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and Japanese-born electronics-manipulator Ikue Mori, both of whom, like Anker, are female. MORE

September 13, 2008

Maybe Monday

Unsquare
Intakt CD 132

Expanding the long-running Maybe Monday (MM) trio to seven musicians – most of whom manipulate electronics as well as acoustic instruments – adds an additional layer of polyphony to the proceedings, creating distinct and unique dimensions. Still, the five instant compositions here are only memorably realized because the septet members are canny enough to place waveform pulsation into an already established context.

Anchor for these tracks is the initial trio, which has been together since 1997. Voltage expression was organically introduced to MM before this CD, due to the electric guitar adaptations from Fred Frith plus the electronics linked to Miya Masaoka’s 25-string koto. Although sopranino and tenor saxophonist Larry Ochs is the only acoustic hold-out, he has demonstrated his familiarity with electronic interface in his past orchestral works and often as a veteran member of the ROVA saxophone quartet. MORE

October 10, 2005

ROVA:ORKESTROVA

Electric Ascension
Atavistic ALP159CD

Giving the symbolic finger to the museum-quality preservationists who make up most of jazz repertory companies, Rova, the Bay Area sax quartet, has audaciously created its own version of “Ascension”, John Coltrane’s seminal work from 1965. Then as further nose-thumbing to the crowd that prefers polite Duke Ellington or Miles Davis-Gil Evans style recreations, the band plus eight helpmates, has conflated the piece still further into a noise and electronic extravaganza.

What’s more, this is the second time the Rova crew has honored “Ascension”. In 1995, adding a rhythm section and additional stellar soloists such as trumpeter Raphe Malik and the late tenor saxophonist Glenn Spearman, the band created a lengthy acoustic version of Trane’s original suite. Still convinced that “Ascension” is a master work that deserves to be played even more often, Rova members Larry Ochs and Jon Raskin decided on another go round, radically changing the instrumentation without losing the composition’s essence. MORE

February 1, 2002

MARINA ROSEFELD/THE SHEER FROST ORCHERSTRA

Drop, Hop, Drone, Scratch, Slide & A for Anything
Charhizma 018

Will the big bands ever come back was a standard question asked in the jazz press during the 1950s and 1960s. The idea of gathering many individuals together to play arranged improvised music is certainly still viable in terms of excitement, if not acceptance. However, fans of such Swing Era icons as Benny Goodman, Glen Miller or Ina Ray Hutton and her “all girl band” would certainly be baffled by this disc.

There are 17 musicians present, all right, but 12 of them play some version of electric guitar, while the other five work out on laptops. Lindy hoppers and hep cats will very likely be disappointed. But for those interested in the future of large scale improvised music, rather than nostalgia, this singular, almost 48 minute composition, created by Marina Rosenfeld, has a lot to offer. MORE