Reviews that mention Matt Moran

November 11, 2016

Claudia Quintet

Super Petite
Cuneiform Records Rune 427

By Ken Waxman

Acclaimed long before he joined the faculty of McGill’s Schulich School of Music last year, with Super Petite American composer-percussionist John Hollenbeck indicates one of many reasons why a Donald Trump-obsessed United States’ loss is our gain. Consisting of 10 tracks which are meticulously crafted as if shaped by a master diamond cutter, each manages to convey a flowing simplicity, but includes enough worldly sonic jolts to stave off placidity.

Tunes such as “JFK Beagle” and “Newark Beagle” for instance use accordionist Red Wierenga’s tremolo shimmers to replicate a canine’s exuberance, while their serious airport-sniffing work is characterized by a stringent tone conveyed by tenor saxophonist Chris Speed. Alternately if Drew Gress’s walking double bass grounds the movement of those on the A-List, then squeeze-box surges lustily underlie the swing in the step of the participants. Although the titles are evocative, tracks aren’t really programmatic but are there to balance the players’ interpretative skills. For instance Speed’s clarinet line that stretches outwards like a fire hose defines the near-static mood piece that is Mangold as effectively as melded vibes-accordion ripples atop percussion pops. MORE

December 1, 2015

Daniel Levin Quartet

Friction
Clean Feed CF 342 CD

Daniel Levin/Juan Pablo Carletti

Illusion of Truth

Outnow ONOR 18

Ripe for new experiments and contexts is New York cellist Daniel Levin as he demonstrates on these releases. Member in good standing of the city’s experimental music scene, the Burlington, Vt.-born cellist has been recording with his quartet since 2006, but is also available to be challenged by the likes of reedists Joe McPhee or Ivo Perelman in other contexts. His skills along with those Erik Friedlander and Fred Lonberg-Holm among others, have helped carve out a burgeoning role in jazz-improvised music for an instrument that until recently was treated as an oddball obsession for the few such as Fred Katz and Oscar Pettiford. MORE

December 19, 2013

Nate Wooley Sextet

(Sit In) The Throne of Friendship
Clean Feed CF 280 CD

Frank Rosaly

Cicada Music

Delmark DL 5006

Transferring personal compositional notions to an ensemble can be challenging, depending on the size and makeup of the group. Both the vibraphone-centred sessions here – led respectively by Chicago drummer Frank Rosaly and New York trumpeter Nate Wooley – avoid the obvious drawbacks by entrusting the interpretations to long-time associates. However the drummer hedges his beats by mixing brief earlier tracks, recorded solo or in quintet formation, with far superior sextet outings from three years later. By maintaining a consistency of vision however, Wooley’s CD comes out on top. Another point of intersection is that while both leaders are identified with the so-called avant-garde, there’s a genuine commitment to showcasing exciting motion in the composition – call it jazz or swing if you wish. MORE

July 2, 2011

Daniel Levin Quartet

Organic Modernism
Clean Feed CF 212 CD

Erik Friedlander

Fifty Miniatures for Improvising Quintet

Skipstone Records SR006

No longer an anomaly, the cello as part of an improvising ensemble is now as common as the presence of other so-called orchestral instruments in that context. Furthermore since modern cellists involved in Free Music are schooled in its unique history, rather than being doubling bassists, the breadth of the instrument’s colors, both pizzicato and arco, are more meaningfully adapted to these situations. MORE

November 1, 2010

Daniel Levin Quartet

Bacalhau
Clean Freed CF 195 CD

Tim Daisy Vox Arcana

Aerial Age

Allos Documents 004

Jean-Marc Foltz

To The Moon

Ayler Records AYLCD-112

Kathryn Ladano

Open

No Label

Extended Play: Chamber Improvisations

By Ken Waxman

Derided in the past as effete or derivative, chamber-style improvising has fascinated musicians at least since the 1920s, both on the jazz (Benny Goodman, Red Norvo) and classical (George Gershwin, Ferde Grofé) sides. However, as this group of CDs demonstrates, with contemporary musicians conversant with both strains of sound, the transitional awkwardness of the past has been replaced by inspired flexibility MORE

December 12, 2009

Nate Wooley

Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing
Porter PRCD-4022

Daniel Levin Quartet

Live at Roulette

Clean Feed CF 147 CD

One of the trumpeters who, over the past few years, have committed to lower-case improvisation, Brooklyn-based Nate Wooley has also subtly adapted his distinctive playing to different situations. As a matter of fact, listening to these noteworthy CDs, it may appear as if Wooley, who was born in the Pacific Northwest, has a separate Midwestern and East Cost persona.

That statement may be a bit louche however. That’s because the fragmented texture-gliding he exhibits with Chicagoans cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm – who may be the most-frequently recorded cellist in New music – and bassist Jason Roebke, who anchors a clutch of Windy City combos – is close to what the trumpeter brings to some New York groups. However as a charter member of cellist Daniel Levin’s quartet since 2001, he attentively tries to meld with the impressionistic and legato impulses from the cellist as Live at Roulette attests. The band is filled out by vibist Matt Moran, who also plays in drummer John Hollenbeck’s ensembles, and bassist Peter Bitenc. MORE

December 12, 2009

Daniel Levin Quartet

Live at Roulette
Clean Feed CF 147 CD

Nate Wooley

Throw Down Your Hammer and Sing

Porter PRCD-4022

One of the trumpeters who, over the past few years, have committed to lower-case improvisation, Brooklyn-based Nate Wooley has also subtly adapted his distinctive playing to different situations. As a matter of fact, listening to these noteworthy CDs, it may appear as if Wooley, who was born in the Pacific Northwest, has a separate Midwestern and East Cost persona.

That statement may be a bit louche however. That’s because the fragmented texture-gliding he exhibits with Chicagoans cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm – who may be the most-frequently recorded cellist in New music – and bassist Jason Roebke, who anchors a clutch of Windy City combos – is close to what the trumpeter brings to some New York groups. However as a charter member of cellist Daniel Levin’s quartet since 2001, he attentively tries to meld with the impressionistic and legato impulses from the cellist as Live at Roulette attests. The band is filled out by vibist Matt Moran, who also plays in drummer John Hollenbeck’s ensembles, and bassist Peter Bitenc. MORE

November 20, 2008

Daniel Levin Quartet

Blurry
hatOLOGY 653

Drummer-less chamber-improv without compromise, this CD is more lucid than Blurry. Cellist Daniel Levin, trumpeter Nate Wooley, vibraphonist Matt Moran and bassist Joe Morris clearly and resourcefully demonstrate how extended techniques can be interlaced with shaded pointillism to create a satisfying group effort.

Throughout the cellist’s multi-toned arches and spiccato interjects plus the trumpeter’s smeary growls and plunger excavations are as germane for the evolution of the eight tracks as the bassist’s stolid thumps and the vibist’s shimmering key bounces. Encompassing smooth transitions from one instrument’s contributions to another’s, these mostly Levin-composed lines, feature uncommon exchanges involving say a splintered chromatic aside from Wooley, supported by fundamental connective plucks from Morris. Frequently polyphonic, the tunes are melded and molded using note clusters that move them through quasi-romanticism, stark improvisation and luminescent vibrations. MORE

November 21, 2006

Reuben Radding

Intersections
Pine Ear Music PEM 001

By Ken Waxman

Firmly in the genre of jazz chamber music, Intersections shows off another facet of the prodigious skills of Seattle-born, New York-based bassist Reuben Radding. Someone whose past recordings usually find him involved in no-holds-barred improv with the likes of Seattle alto saxophonist Wally Shoup or Manhattan multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter, this CD exposes a less frenetic, but no less memorable side of his playing and composing skills.

Featuring six Radding originals, two group improvisations and the bassist’s arrangement of Olivier Messiaen’s “Dance of Fury – which hardly sounds wrathful – most pieces move at a pace between adagio and andante and are replete with enough silences to cast the circumspect textures in bolder relief. MORE

October 17, 2006

Daniel Levin Quartet

Some Trees
Hatology 632

Near flawless chamber jazz, cellist Daniel Levin’s quartet inhabits eight unforced improvisations without ever turning effete or enervated.

Inspired soloing from all concerned – especially the leader, and trumpeter Nate Wooley – provides some of the session’s impetus, while the remainder comes from the powerful rhythmic thrust of Joe Morris’ bass and Matt Moran’s vibes. Morris – a dual threat, best-known as a guitarist – provides the ostinato underpinning for many tunes; while Moran, a member of the Claudia Quintet, sounds quivering key vibrations as often as accompanying wallops, especially when playing in unison with Morris. MORE

May 7, 2006

REUBEN RADDING

Intersections
Pine Ear Music PEM 001

3D
…Actually: It's Better Like This...
Not Two MW 756-2

Jazz chamber music, both INTERSECTIONS and … ACTUALLY IT’S BETTER LIKE THIS … show what can be done with three instruments – especially if one of them is part-front-line/part rhythm-section like the vibraphone.

A mixed German-American bands, 3D is the more conventional of the two combos, which may not be surprising since its lead voice, Cologne-based vibist Christopher Dell, has worked with everyone from French avant-tubaist Michel Godard to American boppers trumpeter Art Farmer and saxophonist, Benny Golson. The band also packs 12 low-key tunes onto its CD, compared to the nine on the other disc. Still, American bassist Chris Dahlgren plays often with multi-reedist Anthony Braxton and Berlin-based drummer Maurice de Martin is part of the band of New Thing bassist Sirone. MORE

February 13, 2006

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET

Semi-Formal
Cuneiform Rune 217

Establishing himself as an in-demand percussionist and band leader, New York-based John Hollenbeck usually has several parallel projects on the go. While being on-call in both his roles for associates as different as Meredith Monk, pianist Fred Hersch, the Bang on a Can All-Stars and even Klezmer Madness proves his adaptability, it sometimes adds unforeseen pressures to his own bands.

Thus while The Claudia Quintet, which has been together since 1997, is a cohesive ensemble, you sometimes get the feeling that a few too many influences are on show. Subsequent tunes ping-pong from New music inflections to Middle Eastern slurs and from contrapuntal jazz time to floating Klangfarbenmelodie that abuts AMM-like minimalist territory. MORE

November 14, 2005

JOHN HOLLENBECK LARGE ENSEMBLE

A Blessing
OmniTone OTI 15209

Already praised as a first-class drummer, composer and combo leader, John Hollenbeck now shows that he can handle the writing, arranging and guiding of an 18-piece ensemble as fluently as his other talents.

Since for all reports his drumming is a clear-headed and multi-directional as it is on A BLESSING, is it any wonder that his employers have ranged from mainstreamers Bob Brookmeyer and Lee Konitz, more advanced players like Brad Shepik and Jorrit Dijkstra plus New Music doyen Meredith Monk? MORE

May 10, 2004

POING

Giants of Jazz
The Legendary Royal Records RR 90 210

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET
I, Claudia
Cuneiform Rune 187

Hand another accolade to 30-something musicians -- they’ve finally liberated the accordion.

Once the preserve of polka bands -- or worse -- Lawrence Welk’s champagne music, the reedy sound of the bellows and keys has made distinct inroads into contemporary improv in the hands of stylists from both Europe and North America. Two of the most accomplished -- Oslo’s Frode Haltli and New York’s Ted Reichman -- help shape the sound of these two bands. MORE

December 29, 2003

YVES ROBERT

In Touch
ECM 1787

DANIEL LEVIN QUARTET
Don’t Go It Alone
RITI CD009

Brass, percussion and cello are the points of symmetry between these sets of modern, improvised chamber music. Atmospheric IN TOUCH, helmed by veteran French trombonist Yves Robert, features his longtime associate cellist Vincent Courtois as well as drummer Cyril Atef. DON’T GO IT ALONE is an appropriate title for the debut release by young American cellist Daniel Levin, whose brass input comes from cornetist Dave Ballou. Vibraphonist Mat Moran adds subtle percussion, and the session is anchored by Joe Morris, who proves that his convincing guitar techniques can be transmitted to double bass playing. MORE

June 15, 2002

DE AMSTERDAM KLEZMER BAND

Limonchiki
Knitting Factory KFW-300

SLAVIC SOUL PARTY!
In Makedonija
Knitting Factory KFW-310

Paradoxically, as the twin vises of globalization and the commercial American entertainment industry tighten their grip on the world, traditional music has never been more popular. But examples of so-called World Music lose their validity if they’re merely held up as examples of what they were (conservative) and what they’re not (American) rather than evolving with time. Evolution doesn’t mean adding rock beats and sing-a-long choruses either. MORE

January 8, 2002

JOHN HOLLENBECK

No Images
CRI Blueshift 2002

JOHN HOLLENBECK
Quartet Lucy
CRI Blueshift 2003

JOHN HOLLENBECK
The Claudia Quartet
CRI Blueshift 2004

Moving among improv, big band jazz, New music and song-based material, percussionist/composer John Hollenbeck has made a name for himself in New York over the past half-decade. During that time, Hollenbeck, who also has a master’s degree from Rochester’s Eastman School of Music has worked with folks as varied as dancer/composer Meredith Monk, arranger Bob Brookmeyer, “downtown” trumpeter Cuong Vu and Klezmer brassman Frank London. MORE