Reviews that mention Paul Hession

April 27, 2018


Vector Sounds VS 021

Rune Your Day

Rune Your Day

Clean Feed CF 424 CD

Crafting an improvising quartet with two woodwinds with only drums and double bass behind may not be as difficult as house building. But with no chordal instruments involved, the creation has to be sophisticatedly symmetrical to give proper weight to the so-called front and back lines. Yet the younger members of the all-Norwegian Rune Your Day band maintain that equilibrium with flavor development, though despite aggressive sounding song titles, the result is more New Wave than Punk Rock. A band that could be cited as an example of how well the (pre-Brexit) EU should work, the slightly older members of Mole, include one Norwegian – alto and baritone saxophonist Petter Frost Fadnes – plus French tenor saxophonist Christophe de Bézenac, Irish bassist Dave Kane and British drummer Paul Hession. Their allegiance, as can be noted by “Albert” the title of the CD’s first track, is to an updated variant of the rough and ready 1960s New Thing characterized by the likes Albert Ayler. MORE

April 26, 2012


Two Falls & A Submission
Bo’Weavil weavil 44 CD

Avram Fefer/Eric Revis/Chad Taylor


Not Two MW-854-2

Blunt, powerful, unrelieved improvisation is the collective raison d’être of these sessions, which conclusively emphasize the polyphonic textures that arise from the intersection of a mere three acoustic instruments. Naturally it helps that the six players involved are experienced technically and committed to sonic exploration.

The variables are partially transatlantic. Alto and tenor saxophonist Avram Fefer, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Chad Taylor are American; alto and baritone saxophonist Alan Wilkinson, bassist Simon H. Fell and drummer Paul Hession are British. Besides this, the nine tracks Fefer recorded in studio are dedicated to the memory of his late father; the three extended tracks on the other CD were recorded during a rare club gig by Hession, Wilkinson and Fell. MORE

November 30, 2008


Helios Suite
Slam CD 325


Holywell Session

Slam CD 324

Differences between a live and a studio session and the effect of adding and subtracting players from a core group are made obvious in these CDs, recorded on subsequent days in Oxford, England by a core trio and guests.

Oddly – and in contrast to the usual differences between in-person and in-studio gigs – Helios Suite is the stronger of the two CDs, buoyed by inventive playing within the structure of appropriately supple compositions. On the other hand, Holywell Session, the live date, is too diffuse, losing much of its power due to the shifting and substituting of different personnel. MORE

May 1, 2006


The Society of the Spectacle

Bruce’s Fingers BF 31

Chapters in what could be termed the parallel life of Simon H. Fell, these CDs expose the free improvisational side of the British bassist, whose usual renown is for partially notated compositions for massive orchestras plus electronically oriented music for strings and percussion.

BOGEY’S recorded in 1991, and THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE captured nearly 12 years later, are significant wedges of instant composition, performed by two different trios. With Fell’s double bass the only constant, BOGEY’S features his longtime playing partners, Alan Wilkinson on alto and baritone saxophones and wilkophone (sic) plus Paul Hession on drums. Described elsewhere as HWF, this band contrasts with the 10-year-old Badland trio that is filled out by alto saxophonist Simon Rose and percussionist Steve Noble. Coincidentally Noble recently recorded a trio CD with Wilkinson and veteran bassist Marcio Mattos. MORE

December 5, 2005


Meanwhile, back in Sheffield
Discus 21CD

The Ins and Outs
Emanem 4116

Free Improv merry-go-rounds, these CDs feature veteran players from the United Kingdom extending themselves in previously unrecorded trio formations.

Oversight and commitments to other groups are why, after a decade of existence, the fine Free Base trio debuts on record with THE INS AND OUTS. Conversely, MEANWHILE, BACK IN SHEFFIELD captures on disc a now-uncommon occurrence: the first live gig in a decade by that British city’s best-known native improviser: guitarist Derek Bailey, now a Barcelona-resident. He’s joined by local Mick Beck on tenor saxophone, whistles and bassoon, and drummer Paul Hession from Leeds. Both men have played individually with Bailey, but never recorded with him in this formation. MORE

July 24, 2005


Cool Moon

Proof that there’s plenty of vigor left in jazz’s customary horn-and-rhythm section combination, this Finnish-British quartet sets a new standard for advanced modern mainstream improvisation.

Five tracks of top-flight improvisation confirm that British baritone saxophonist George Haslam is one of the mainstays of his instrument; that drummer Paul Hession from the United Kingdom can work in any context; and that top-flight improvisers such as pianist Mikko Pasanen and bassist Jarmo Hiekkala can hold their own in fast company, even if most of their playing takes place in the Finnish city of Kuopio. This CD is a result of a gig featuring the Brits and Finns at that city’s ANTI-Contemporary Arts Festival. MORE

November 15, 2004


Motion Ejecta
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1164

An Anglo-American concordance, this CD celebrates a reciprocal idea exchange between three men who help nurture free improv scenes in their hometowns.

It’s also a musical souvenir from an American abroad, in this case Minneapolis, Minn.’s drummer/clarinetist Milo Fine, who works with two Englishmen -- Leeds-based drummer Paul Hession and Sheffield reedist Mick Beck -- as if they constituted a regular group, rather than participants in a second meeting. Fine played with the others at guitarist Derek Bailey’s Company Week in 1988. Miraculously on the tracks here, the three pick up the musical thread as if there was no 15-year hiatus. MORE

June 28, 2004


The Mahout

Mopomoso solos 2002
Emanem 4100

Solo, duo and group improvisations are the connective strands that knit together these two British CDs. Both showcase contemporary improv from musicians young and old, though THE MAHOUT comes with a wildcard -- New York-based pianist Borah Bergman.

Bergman, 77, who is older by far than any other participant -- British saxophonist Lol Coxhill, most elderly of the seven other musicians is six years his junior -- plays anything but than old age home jazz. As a matter of fact, the fire and intensity he brings to his two solos and three trios on THE MAHOUT almost overshadow the singular tinkering of most of the others. Individually, while each succeeds on his own terms, the pianist’s work still provides a dictionary definition of Energy Music. MORE

October 6, 2003


Zone K

The three b’s
fencing flatworm recordings ff019

Putting electric keyboards into a trio with reeds and drums can sometimes overbalance the sonority, so that it moves away from pure improv and closer to rhythmic simplicity. Because the gizmos are set up to hold and accentuate notes, it appears to be easier to create riffs, vamps and blends then investigate more cerebral experiments. This tendency can be further exacerbated if the keyboardist’s playing partners lean towards simpler syncopation as well. MORE

September 15, 2003


Pendle Hawk Carapace

Freely improvised duo sessions, involving a reed player and a percussionist always seem to invoke comparisons with John Coltrane’s famous duets with Rashied Ali. That won’t happen this time around.

It’s not so much that these seven tunes are worked over by two men who have been associated for nearly two decades -- a much longer time than Trane knew Ali -- or even that George Haslam adds the sour sound of the wooden tarogato to his baritone saxophone improvisations here. Rather it’s that Trane and Ali really aimed for abstract space in their late 1960s duets. Yet the two Britons -- Yorkshire drummer Paul Hession joins Lancastrian Haslam here -- have such eclectic experience that melody implications always exist somewhere beneath the free sounds. MORE

March 10, 2003


Bruce’s Fingers BF 44-CD

Described as by the musicians involved as “manic free jazz”, IMPROVABILITY is the first recording in 10 years by the power trio of Charles Wharf on woodwinds, bassist Simon H. Fell and drummer Paul Hession.

Yet while it doesn’t detract from the pile- driver authority of the session -- or the trio members -- by also asking: “is it just like the old days?” the response is what they probably wouldn’t expect. Yes, not only does the sound compare favorably to other Fell- Hession trios like the one with saxophonist Alan Wilkinson, it also suggests the gut-wrenching eruptions of even earlier free jazz bands such as those led by saxophonists Albert Ayler, Frank Wright and Peter Brötzmann and the heyday of the New Thing. MORE

January 13, 2003

Simon H. Fell

Composition No. 30.
Bruce’s Fingers BF 27

The compositions and performance of British bassist Simon H. Fell on this two-CD set may be the long-awaited physical flowering of Gunther Schuller’s and John Lewis’ ideas from the 1960s. Fell may also have taken those theories even further.

In the early 1960s, Schuller, a modern composer, French hornist and head of Boston’s New England Conservatory; and Lewis, pianist and music director of the Modern Jazz Quartet; conceived of Third Stream music that would combine elements of music’s first and second streams of classical music and jazz. They recorded a few albums and even put together a mixed jazz and classical ensemble called Orchestra USA. MORE

September 16, 2002


Termite one
Bruce’s Fingers BF 32

Climb into a time machine and travel back 1989 in Yorkshire, England when the weather was autumnal cool, but enough heat was being generated from an ad hoc collection of improvisers to incinerate a block of council flats.

Souvenir of Leeds’ first Termite Festival, this CD should demolish the idea that all British improv is hushed and effete as completely as termites devour wood. As a matter of fact, there are times while listening to the almost 49-minute disc, that it sounds as if the two saxophonists, one trombonist, bassist and drummer are hungrily chomping through the music the way soft bodied white ants wreck havoc on a house’s structure. MORE