Reviews that mention Ingebrigt Håker Flaten

February 18, 2020

The Bureau of Atomic Tourism

RAT 043

Searching for the vehicle that will transport you to the uncharted territory where the tentacles of Jazz-Rock fusion intersect with the expanse of pure improvisation? Then your conduit of choice won’t be a spaceship but a boat: The Bureau of Atomic Tourism (B.O.A.T.). With a trans-European and American crew, this vessel has been involved with these types of voyages since 2011. Now like the evolving crews that have served on Starship Enterprise, advanced recruitment has resulted in a new simpatico sextet that interprets 14 compositions in a unique fashion. MORE

February 8, 2020

El Intruso’s

12th Annual International Critics Poll
Ken Waxman’s 2019 ballot

Musician of the year: Joe McPhee

Newcomer Musician: Timothée Quost, Gaspard Beck

Group of the year: Roots Magic, Tonus, Joe McPhee Trio

Newcomer group: MétamOrphée

Album of the year: Quatuor de Jazz Libre Du Québec, Musique Politique Anthologie 1971-1974 (Tour de Bras) Uri Caine, The Passion of Octavius Catto (816 Music)

Composer: Roscoe Mitchell, Uri Caine, Harris Eisenstad

Drums; Gerald Cleaver, Steve Noble, Tim Daisy

Acoustic Bass Joëlle Léandre, Barry Guy, Barre Phillips MORE

June 2, 2019


Pet Variations
Odin Records CD 9568

Fredrik Nordstöm


Clean Feed CF 496CD

Pushing aside the clichés which describe so-called Nordic Jazz as cold and torpid, these Scandinavian units prove that some shibboleths are as legit as Donald Trump’s views on those nations’ health care. The long-established Atomic quintet and saxophonist Fredrik Nordstöm’s ad-hoc double quartet create contemporary mainstream sounds with the same warmth and grace that could come from any band situated on any point of the compass. MORE

July 16, 2018

James Blood Ulmer with The Thing

Baby Talk
Trost TR006 CD


The Hands

Rune Grammofon RCD 2197

Should there ever be an Olympic contest for most ferocious Jazz saxophonist, then Swedish tenor, baritone and bass saxophonist Mats Gustafsson would certainly be a contender for the gold medal. A generation younger than Peter Brötzmann, but just as clamorous, the now- Austrian domiciled Gustafsson has spent the past two decades propelling strident tones in settings ranging from large acoustic ensembles to smaller bands which flirt with electronics and electric instruments. Two of the saxophonist’s most frequent affiliations are with two trios: Fire, filled out with Fellow Swedes bassist Johan Berthling and percussionist Andreas Werliin; and The Thing, where he hooks up with two Norwegians, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and percussionist Paal Nilssen-Love. MORE

January 6, 2018

The Rempis Percussion Quartet

Aerophonic 014

Larry Ochs Sax and Drumming Core

Wild Red Yellow

RogueArt ROG-0075

Two post-modern saxophonists playing three of their own extended compositions backed up by a drum team plus. That’s the simple description of these discs showcasing Bay area tenor and sopranino saxophonist Larry Ochs’ six-member Sax and Drumming Core and Chicago-based alto, tenor and baritone saxophonist Dave Rempis’ four-piece Percussion Quartet. Yet like juxtaposing Chicago and Berkley because they’re both cities, there are more differences than similarities between the two exciting discs. MORE

September 5, 2017

Météo Mulhouse Music Festival

August 22 to August 26, 2017

A consistent French tradition like chewy baguettes, fine Camembert or Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Mulhouse, France’s Météo Festival, now in its 35th year, continues to present exemplary musicians in concert, without the program ever becoming homogeneous. What this means is that while the festival which took place August 22-August 26, was introduced and reached a climax with absorbing and innovative with sets by veteran Imptov saxophonists Evan Parker and Peter Brötzmann, performances which encompassed minimalism, hard-core Free Jazz, electronics, Rock, notated and folkloric music were part of the schedule. MORE

May 18, 2017

Joe McPhee & Ingebrigt Håker Flaten

Trost Records TR157

Joe McPhee & Raymond Boni

Live from the Magic City

Trost Records TR151

Without Jazz adopting wholeheartedly a Confucian or Aboriginal culture where respect for elders outweighs many factors, it can’t be disputed that some of the most notable creativity over the past few years have come from improvisers who will never see 70 again. Then there are innovators like Joe McPhee who in 1969 arrived with a fully-formed vision on his first LP, Underground Railroad, and at 77 is still as cutting edge as the newest smart phone. Along the way McPhee has been involved in more tributaries of the Jazz’s ocean than there are run offs from land after a superabundant deluge. He has played Jazz standards and heroic salutes, dabbled in electronics and looping, touched on R&B and noted sounds, been featured in long-running and pick-up bands, and in multi-person ensembles or solo. His work is always of a consistent high quality. MORE

January 7, 2017

The DKVThing Trio

NotTwo MW 930-2



Trost TR 146

By Ken Waxman

Seemingly more ubiquitous than a smart phone, Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love appears to be everywhere at once, especially when advanced improvised music is involved. Not only does the percussionist lead his own large unit and smaller aggregations, but he also turns up in groups led by players ranging from Frode Gjerstad to Peter Brötzmann. These recent sessions are particularly notable for a couple of reasons. Semikujira is the newest chapter in the history of an on-again/off-again trio made up of Nilssen-Love, Swedish bassist Johan Berthling and veteran Japanese alto saxophonist/clarinetist Akira Sakata. Ratcheting the intensity level up into the red zone, Collider solders together The Thing, the drummer’s punk-jazz trio with Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson and Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten with its U.S. counterpoint, the DKV trio of reedist Ken Vandermark, bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Hamid Drake. MORE

December 6, 2016

Starlite Motel

Awosting Falls
Clean Feed CF 364 CD

Roswell Rudd/Jamie Saft/Trevor Dunn/Balazs Pandi

Strength and Power

RareNoise Records RNR 059

Jamie Saft’s New Zion

Sunshine Seas

RareNoise Records RNR 065

By Ken Waxman

Jamie Saft has built up an impressive resumé as keyboardist, guitarist, composer, producer and engineer, who crosses musical boundaries with the surefootedness of a mountain goat with ADHD. One of these new CDs has him fitting a noise-rock garment over the free-music outfit worn by a jazz legend; a second joins reggae-accented improvisation to a Brazilian percussionist’s beat; the third brews a potion that adds equal parts metal and psychedelic rock to non-idiomatic improvisation. MORE

November 11, 2016

Mats Gustafsson’ Peace & Fire

At Porgy & Bess
Trost Records TR 140

Keith Rowe/John Tilbury

enough still not to know

SOFA 548

Mopomoso Tour 2013

Making Rooms

Weekertoft 1-4

Barry Guy Blue Shroud Band Small Formations


NotTwo MW938-2

Something In The Air: Multi-Disc Box Sets Offer Depth As Well As Quantity

By Ken Waxman

When a CD box of improvised music appears it customarily marks a critical occasion. So it is with these recent four-disc sets. One celebrates an anniversary tour by nine of London’s most accomplished improvisers. Another collects small group interactions in Krakow by musicians gathered to perform as an orchestra. A third is a souvenir of concerts celebrating Swedish saxophonist Mats Gustafsson’s 50th birthday. Finally enough still not to know captures extended improvisations by pianist John Tilbury and table-top guitarist Keith Rowe, who have worked with one another on-and-off for 40 years. MORE

May 22, 2016

The Thing



The March

Konvoj Records Kor 005

More than a quarter century after he almost literally blew into public consciousness as a Swedish augmentation of the corybantic Peter Brötzmann-Albert Ayler saxophone tradition, multi-reedman Mats Gustafsson has continued to develop manifold playing styles. Like the comic actor who scores in dramatic parts while retaining a commitment to comedy, Gustafsson bounces from intense, atonal improvisations to other settings where burly rhythm is as much a construct as atonal scrutiny. MORE

April 7, 2016

Bobby Bradford-Frode Gjerstad Quartet

The Delaware River
NoBusiness NBLP 87

By Ken Waxman

There may be 5,251 miles separating Los Angeles and Stavanger, but L.A.-based cornetist Bobby Bradford, 81, and Norwegian saxophonist/clarinetist Frode Gjerstad, 67, are so attuned in their playing that it sounds like they’re next door neighbors with daily practice sessions. On this, their fourth quartet disc, the collaborative inspiration is as high as usual. Each time they play the brass specialist and the reedist cement a relationship that goes back to the ‘70s and ‘80s when each played separately, then together with the late British drummer John Stevens. Like a TV series invigorated by gradually adding new characters though this The Delaware River is more than a two character playlet. MORE

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

September 6, 2015

Jason Adasiewicz’s Sun Room

From The Region
Delmark DE 5017

Fred Frith/Evan Parker

Hello, I Must Be Going

Victo cd 128

Mary Halvorson Trio

Ghost Loop

ForTune 0010/010

Ingrid Laubrock Anti House

Roulette of the Cradle

Intakt CD 252

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up

After All Is Said

482 Music 482-1089

Something In The Air: Many musical Interconnections at 2015’s Guelph Jazz Festival

By Ken Waxman

As the Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF) settles into maturity, dependable musical choices and the vagaries of touring means that a few of the performers at this year’s bash, September 16 to 20, are featured at more than one ensemble. The happy end result is that the audience gets to sample some musicians’ skills in more than one challenging setting. MORE

March 13, 2015

Mats Gustafsson NU Ensemble

Hidros 6 - Knockin’
Not Two MW 915

Yves Charuest and Ellwood Epps

La Passe

Small Scale Music SM 005

Pierre Yves Martel/Phillippe Lauzier

Sainct Laurens Volume 2

E-tron Records ETRC 019

Barry Guy

Five Fizzles for Samuel Beckett

NoBusiness Records NBEP 2

Something In The Air: Unusual Formats for New Music

By Ken Waxman

Everything old is new again doesn’t go quite far enough in describing formats now available for disseminating music. Not only are downloads and streaming becoming preferred options, but CDs are still being pressed at the same time as musicians experiment with DVDs, vinyl variants and even tape cassettes. Happily the significance of the musical messages outweighs the media multiplicity. MORE

December 21, 2014

NPR 9th Annual Jazz Critics Poll: 2014

Ken Waxman’s ballot


1. Yoni Kretzmer-Pascal Niggenkemper-Weasel Walter, Protest Music (OutNow)

2. Paul Giallorenzo, Force Majeure (Delmark)

3. Kyle Bruckmann, . . . Awaits Silent Tristero's Empire (SingleSpeed Music)

4. Sakata/Lonberg-Holm/Gutvik/Nilssen-Love, The Cliff of Time (PNL)

5. Alexander Hawkins, Step Wide, Step Deep (Babel)

6. François Carrier-Michel Lambert-Alexey Lapin, The Russia Concerts Volume 1/The Russia Concerts Volume 2 (FMR)

7. Rodrigo Amado & Jeb Bishop, The Flame Alphabet (NotTwo) MORE

June 14, 2014

Something Else Musically in Steeltown

A New Music Festival
By Ken Waxman

With local jazz festivals becoming increasingly populist improvised music audiences and musicians yearn for programs oriented towards more experimental sounds. Unexpectedly the situation is being resolved 60 kilometres away in downtown Hamilton. From June 16 to 21 the first SOMETHING ELSE! festival of creative music, takes place at Hamilton Artists Inc. 155 James St. North, when local musicians share the stage with international improvisers.

“We moved to Hamilton two years ago, and while it’s fine to see music in Buffalo and Toronto, eventually there comes a time that you want good things to happen wherever you live,” explains Zula Presents’ festival curator Cem Zafir. Discovering that some of his favorite musicians would be in the area in June, Zafir decided to showcase them in Hamilton alongside deserving local artists. Suddenly the festival was born. MORE

February 11, 2014

Artist Feature

Dave Rempis
By Ken Waxman

For proof that a committed improviser can build an impressive career outside of NYC, look no further than Chicago saxophonist Dave Rempis. The Massachusetts native, who relocated to the Windy City in ’93, is kept busy touring with his own bands as well as in a variety of other groups. This month he’ll play two rare gigs in the Apple, as part of a completely new configuration with trumpeter Nate Wooley, bassist Pascal Niggenkemper and drummer Chris Corsano.

Rempis would often bump into Wooley at European festivals and Chicago gigs, so eventually they decided to combine forces. The trumpeter suggested the other players and the four will record following the dates. The resulting CD may be a joint release on Wooley’s imprint plus Rempis’ six-month-old Aerophonic label. MORE

January 18, 2014


Moments Form
Idyllic Noise IDNO 0010

Henrik Walsdorff/Adam Pultz Melbye/Kasper Tom


Barefoot Records BFREC O22 CD

With a legacy and a style now as established as Hard Bop or Classic Jazz, so called Free Jazz has become a legacy unto itself. Thus when assessing sessions like these, the proper course is not to compare how they sound viz-a-viz other forms of improvised music, but how well the sounds are presented. The answer in both cases is very well indeed.

Although both were recorded in Europe, the cast and orientation of these live trio CDs is decidedly different. For all intents and purpose an unedited pick-up session, Grøn was recorded in Odense, Denmark’s Dexter jazz club, and features Henrik Walsdorff, a visiting alto saxophonist from Berlin, playing with two experienced Danish musicians: bassist Adam Pultz Melbye and drummer Kasper Tom. Both Danes are members of the Barefoot collective, with Melbye having worked with the likes of tenor saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and Tom with distinctive improvisers like bass clarinetist Rudi Mahall. Someone who prefer not to be a band leader, Walsdorff has been a member of bands led by Alexander Von Schlippenbach and Ulrich Gumpert MORE

January 3, 2014

The Rempis Percussion Quartet

Aerophonic AR-001



Leo Records CD LR 683

Although the concept of having two drummers as part of an improvising ensemble isn’t a new one, it must be done judiciously so the percussion doesn’t overwhelm the other players. The situation is especially problematic when dealing with as few as four musicians, but both sessions here are organized so that this atypical make-up doesn’t impede creativity.

At the same time each session differ from the other due to the choice of individual chordal instrument. Phalanx, recorded in Antwerp and Milwaukee is held together during four extensive blow-outs by the powerful bass work of Norwegian-turned Texan Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. Together in different configurations since 2004, the percussion part of The Rempis Percussion Quartet is made up of Frank Rosaly and Tim Daisy, both of whom are in-demand on the expanding Chicago improv scene. Dave Rempis, who plays alto, tenor and baritone saxophone on the disc, is best known for his work in the Vandermark5. MORE

July 15, 2013

Joe McPhee/Ingebrigt Håker-Flaten

Brooklyn DNA
Clean Feed CF 244 CD

Joe McPhee Trio

First Date


Persistent in his exploration of fresh musical currents in the improvised tradition, multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee remains indefatigable 46 years after his first recording and as he settles into his eighth decade. Comfortably conversant in any sized ensemble, from his justly renowned solo discs to his long-time membership in Peter Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet, the Poughkeepsie, New York resident usually does his most profound work in smaller configurations. Take these high-quality CDs, recorded at four different years. MORE

May 13, 2013

Ingebrigt Håker Flaten

Birds – Solo Electric
Tektite Records No #

Joëlle Léandre

Wols Circus: 12 compositions pour contrebasse d’après 12 gravures de Wols

Galerie Hus HUS 112

JC Jones

Citations: Solo Bass

Kadima Collective KCR 36

Alexandre St-Onge


& Records 18

Something In The Air: The Liberation of the Unaccompanied Bass Solo

By Ken Waxman

Of all the instruments that needed the advances of free music in the 20th century to show off its true character, it has been the double bass which benefitted the most from this situation. Relegated to decorative, scene setting or mere rhythmic functions in conventional classical and jazz performances, it was only when bassists were able to express themselves without restraint that their role grew. By the 21st century in fact, solo bass recitals became as commonplace as those by other instrumentalists. The reason, as these CDs demonstrate, is the arrival of performers who can extract a multiplicity of novel tones, timbres and textures from four tautly wound strings. MORE

November 26, 2012

Remi Álvarez/Ingebrigt Håker Flaten

First Duet Live
JaZt Tapes CD-034

Remi Álvarez Quartet

Live at Vision Festival

ReKonsttruct re: 058

Probably no North American improv scene is as unknown as the Mexican one. Sure the major achievements of some Canadian players are underappreciated south of the 49th parallel, but since so many Canadian cities are near the American border, there’s frequent Can-Am interaction. Mexico is another matter. Unlike most Canadians, Hispanic Mexicans are easy to identify – ask the police in Arizona – limiting the number of quasi-legal gigs in the U.S. Undaunted though, a small community of musical experimenters survives. These CDs capture one veteran – reedist Remi Álvarez – in different American settings. During his almost 30 year career, Álvarez, who is a saxophone and jazz workshop professor at UNAM’s National School of Music , has travelled internationally, led a variety of bands and recorded with the likes of bassists Mark Dresser and drummer Harvey Sorgen MORE

August 27, 2012

The Thing with Barry Guy

No Business Records NBLP 47/48

With the Scandinavian trio The Thing having set itself up as improvised music’s version of the Rock power trio – albeit with a saxophone instead of a lead guitar – it’s instructive to note how well senior improvisers operate when entering into the band’s self-defined context.

Having established a mutually satisfying interchange with American saxophonist/trumpeter Joe McPhee, The Thing now uses this two-LP set to showcase the adaptations of British bassist Barry Guy to their sound. Guy, who founded the London Jazz Composer’s Orchestra in the 1970s, and is known for his collaborations with most top-rank European improvisers including tenor saxophonist Evan Parker, was involved in Free playing from around the time the Thing members were born. Since the early 1990s however, Swedish saxophonist and Thing member Mats Gustafsson has been playing with Guy in larger or smaller ensembles. Meanwhile on their own the other Thingers – Norwegians, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love – have racked up a history of affiliations with a cross-section of committed improvisers ranging from saxophonist Peter Brötzmann to guitarist Raoul Björkenheim. MORE

July 21, 2012

McPhee/Bishop/Håker Flaten/Zerang

Ibsen’s Ghosts
NotTwo MW 876-2

Rich Halley Quartet

Requiem for a Pit Viper

Pine Eagle Records 003

Now that – neo-cons be damned – Free Improvisation has a half century of history behind it, canny or committed musicians can decide just how supposedly far out they want to be in their playing. Take the two sessions here. With identical instrumentation and recorded within a year of one another, the quartet on the first CD has decided to stick to compositions in the song form while the other opts for almost total abstractions. Neither provides the last word – or is it timbre– on what makes up a definite program of advanced music, but each has come up with a strategy for creating profound, un-clichéd sounds. MORE

July 6, 2012

Festival Report:

Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon
By Ken Waxman

London saxophonist John Butcher and Chicago percussionist Tim Daisy were the MVPs during the Ulrichsberger Kaleidophon at the end of April. To stretch the metaphor further, Butcher was doubly valuable, since as a pinch hitter he replaced Una Casa/Observatorio’s third member when that saxophonist was unable to perform with Buenos Aires-based trumpeter Leonel Kaplan and Viennese computer manipulator Christof Kurzmann. If Butcher’s playing was sympathetically creative with that trio, his improvising was equally spectacular with The Apophonics, a new group, otherwise consisting of British bassist John Edwards and Bay-area percussionist Gino Robair. Meanwhile the cap-sporting Daisy subtly pacing Wrack, the chamber-styled string-and-horn quintet; as well as added rhythmic heft to saxophonist Dave Rempis’ Percussion 4Tet, whose raucous free jazz closed the festival to enthusiastic audience cheers. MORE

February 27, 2011

Joe McPhee and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten

Blues Chicago Blues
NotTwo MW 841-2

Decoy & Joe McPhee


Bo Weavil Recordings 041 CD

Despite a recording career which stretches back to 1968, saxophonist Joe McPhee shows no signs of slowing down, even as he reaches the age of 71. If anything newly recorded CDs such as these show that his improvisational and interpretative skills are even more advanced than in the past.

Notably enough his talents are on display here in two of Jazz’s most orthodox settings: as part of an organ combo on Oto, and on a program reflecting the conventions and sensations of the Blues, on the almost too obviously titled Blues Chicago Blues. As idiomatically American as these contexts may be, it’s probably also significant that all of his associates here are European: Norwegian bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on Blues Chicago Blues, and three Londoners – Hammond organ player Alexander Hawkins, bassist John Edwards and percussionist Steve Noble – who make up Decoy, on Oto. MORE

October 6, 2010

Festival Météo, Mulhouse, France

August 24 to August 28
By Ken Waxman

Proving that varieties of improvised music can sound as different as the personalities of those who play it, the annual Météo festival offered a cornucopia of noteworthy sounds from the bombastic to the barely audible, solo or in groups.

Venues in this Upper Rhine French city, located 30 kilometres northwest of Basel, Switzerland, also reflected this sonic diversity. Performances take place in the hushed surroundings of a 12th Century chapel downtown, and on the city’s outskirts, a capacious night club usually used for rock shows; and, new this year, within the expanses of an abandoned 1930s’ thread manufacturing factory. MORE

July 18, 2010


Theater Tilters Vol. 1
Jazzland Recordings 273339-7

The Godforgottens

Never Forgotten, Always Remembered

Clean Feed CF 164 CD

Swedish trumpeter Magnus Broo and Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love are the soldering points of both these CDs. However, not only is each disc significant in its own way, but the thought process involved in creation is as different as the other musicians involved.

Energetic Young Lions with class, the five members of Atomic have put together a CD of hard-hitting originals whose ball-in-socket performance speaks to the group’s constant touring over the past decade. Two other Atomics are Norwegian – pianist Håvard Wiik and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten – and one, multi-reedist Fredrik Ljungkvist – is Swedish. Leaders in other circumstances – as are Nilssen-Love and Broo – collectively the players have worked in different groups in Europe and North America, with fellow Scandinavians, Americans, such as multi-reedist Ken Vandermark and pianist Marilyn Crispell plus Germans, including saxophonist Peter Brötzmann and trumpeter Axel Dörner. MORE

November 9, 2008

Ab Baars Trio & Ken Vandermark

Goofy June Bug
Wig 15

Atomic School Days


Okka Disk OD 12073

Without trying to make him sound celestial and selfless, Ken Vandermark is one of those rare musicians who is as comfortable in an ensemble as fronting one. Despite recording so often as leader, the Chicago-based multi-reedist is just as apt to show up on disc as an addition to an existing band or as part of a generically titled ensemble. That was happens on these two CDs.

Over the years, collaborations with Europeans have also proven to be particularly fruitful for the saxophonist and clarinetist’s musical growth. This is confirmed on Goofy June Bug and Distill with each offering a divergent – and equally notable – take on improvised and composed music. MORE

November 9, 2008

Atomic School Days

Okka Disk OD 12073

Ab Baars Trio & Ken Vandermark

Goofy June Bug

Wig 15

Without trying to make him sound celestial and selfless, Ken Vandermark is one of those rare musicians who is as comfortable in an ensemble as fronting one. Despite recording so often as leader, the Chicago-based multi-reedist is just as apt to show up on disc as an addition to an existing band or as part of a generically titled ensemble. That was happens on these two CDs.

Over the years, collaborations with Europeans have also proven to be particularly fruitful for the saxophonist and clarinetist’s musical growth. This is confirmed on Goofy June Bug and Distill with each offering a divergent – and equally notable – take on improvised and composed music. MORE

August 22, 2005


Jazzaway Records JARCD 007

Crimetime Orchestra
Life is a Beautiful Monster
Jazzaway Records JARCD 009

Jazzaway Records JARCD 005

By Ken Waxman
August 22, 2005

You could probably chalk up the more-or-less 30 year gap in the recording career of Norwegian bassist Bjørnar Andresen, who died 2004, to changing tastes in jazz fashion. There are little-recognized veteran stylists like him playing around wherever there’s some sort of scene, but their recording opportunities are limited. MORE

August 23, 2004


ATOMIC/SCHOOL DAYS Nuclear Assembly Hall
Okkadisk OD 12049

More of an internationalist than most American musicians, Chicago-based reedist Ken Vandermark has made a point of forming concordances with European musicians. Not only is he one of the key constituents of saxist Peter Brötzmann’s Chicago Tentet, but he often works in half-European/half American bands like the AALY trio, the Territory Band and the group featured here.

As its name makes clear, the octet combines the School Days band -- Vandermark, trombonist Jeb Bishop, vibist Kjell Nordeson, bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love -- with trumpeter Magnus Broo, reedist Fredrik Ljungkvist and pianist Håvard Wiik who with Håker Flaten and Nilssen-Love make up the Scandinavian quintet Atomic. The results spread over two CD sides are dazzlingly spectacular. MORE

April 26, 2004


Wobbly Rail 013

Fly Away Little Bird
Sunnyside/Owl SSC 3504

Named for the LP that presented the fullest realization of clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre’s chamber-avant garde in 1962, the band Free Fall shows how the structured freedom of the trio can be adapted to the 21st Century.

Yet FURNACE succeeds on its own terms because the musicians involved -- American reedist Ken Vandermark and Norwegians, pianist Håvard Wiik and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten -- haven’t gone the neo-con route of recreation. Instead nine new compositions have been recorded, with the performance of the three as influenced by the subsequent 40 years plus of improv experimentation as the original Giuffre trio’s sound. MORE

December 8, 2003


Double Bass
Sofa 511

The Ungrateful Carjacker
GROB 536

Although there’s some basic crossover between the two in execution, the main difference between these solo bass CDs by Norwegian Ingebrigt Håker Flaten and Canadian-born, Berlin-resident Joe Williamson goes back to the initial concept.

DOUBLE BASS is a showcase for the jazz and Free Music skills of an outstanding double bass player. THE UNGRATEFUL CARJACKER, on the other hand, is more concerned with the textures and timbres you can produce with an acoustic double bass. In a way it’s the mental reflection of how, say, Ron Carter’s and Barry Guy’s approach to the bull fiddle differs. MORE

September 2, 2002


Double or Nothing
Okka Disc OD 12035

In Our Time
Okka Disc OD 12041

Version Soul
Atavistic ALP 130 CD

Eventually Ken Vandermark is going to have to stop wearing his emotions --and influences -- on his sleeve and CD booklet.

Now that the Chicago-based reedman has established himself nationally and internationally as an extender and interpreter of free music, aren’t the dedications he appends to each of his original compositions getting to be a bit redundant? MORE

August 19, 2002


Chain of Accidents
AYLER aylCD-035

Unbelievable but true, this new CD finds Axel Dörner, a German trumpeter, who has dedicated his career to wrenching new sounds and tones from his horn, actually playing free jazz. Not only that, but his work, melded with the contributions of the other players in this cooperative quartet, also produces one of the most satisfying -- and spontaneous -- recent EuroImprov recitals.

A true Northern European super group, The Electrics, grew out of mutual admiration for one another’s playing by Dörner and Swede Sture Ericson, a tenor and baritone saxophonist and bass clarinetist. Ericson, a longtime free improviser and member of the popular Swedish group Position Alpha from 1979 to 1995, withdrew from public performance for a few years after that and moved to Denmark. Meeting, and playing with the German brassman, who in recent years has solidified his reputation working with aggregation as different as the King Übü Orchestrü, Phosphor and Ken Vandermark’s Territory Band, rekindled his interest in performing. MORE

June 22, 2002


Space Available
Jazzland 014 724-2

Feet Music
Jazzland 016 558-2

Working musicians participate in many situations and our view of their talents is often shaped by the particular role in which we hear them.

Take Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love, for instance. In North America, if he’s known at all, it’s for his work with countryman altoist Frode Gjerstad or as part of various bands led by Chicago’s Ken Vandermark, two roles that place him very firmly in the avant-garde. MORE