Reviews that mention Phil Minton

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

February 8, 2020

14th Annual Francis Davis

7th Annual NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll 2019
Ken Waxman’s ballot

•Your name and primary affiliation(s)

Ken Waxman, Jazzword.com, The Whole Note, MusicWorks

•Your choices for this year’s 10 best New Releases (albums released between last Thanksgiving and this, give or take) listed in descending order one-through-ten
.

1. Uri Caine The Passion of Octavius Catto (816 Music)

2. Mark Dresser Seven Ain’t Nothing But a Cyber Coup & You (Clean Feed)

3. Robert Dick/Joëlle Léandre/Miya Masaoka Solar Wind (NotTwo) MW 986-2
MORE

November 7, 2019

Phil Minton/John Butcher/Gino Robair

Blasphemious Fragments
Rastascan BR 0076

180°

Submental

Splitrec 29

MétamOrphée

MétamOrphée

Free Sonne rnf 05

Defining who is a Jazz singer has long been a mug’s game, subject to all sorts of ifs and buts. However determining who is an improving vocalist is more straightforward – mostly through elimination. If recognizable words are lacking, melody and rhythm are secondary and vocal gymnastics include retches, yelps and other non-pleasant sounds, the case is strongly made for inclusion. Just as convincing, as free-form instrumentalist work out a particular program to expand creativity, so do advanced voice artists, as the British, French and Australian stylists here demonstrate. MORE

May 8, 2017

Festival Report

Artacts ‘17
By Ken Waxman

One of Austria’s ski resorts abutting the Alps, St. Johann in Tirol also attracts music fans during the annual artacts Festival. Attendees March 10-12 could be forgiven for being smug. While warm weather limited optimal ski conditions, music fans’ experience was elevated without using chair lifts. Case in point was the DEK trio, which opened the festival at the comfortable rustic Alte Gerberei performance space. While American tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Ken Vandermark is wedded to jazz, Austrian drummer Didi Kern is involved with rock and Graz-based pianist Elisabeth Harnik at home in notated music, the resolution of these contradictions gave the performance its bite. Kern’s paddled beat lent veracity to Vandermark’s bar-walking sax honking, while Harnik’s pastoral patterning added emotion to abstract altissimo clarinet twists. Harnik’s attack could be brawny as well, extending her dynamic range by pounding darker phases from the lowest-pitched keys and plucking, rubbing and twanging inner piano strings. Although teaming with discordant touches, DEK’s sound never lost its sense of swing. 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

October 6, 2015

John Russell

With
Emanem 5037

By Ken Waxman

As the musicians of the so-called second generation of British improvisers move into their seventh decade, many celebratory concerts are marking their undiminished skills. One of the best, preserved on this 78-minute disc, took place last December as 60th birthday boy guitarist John Russell playing four sets with six improvisers. The result confirms the adage that Free Music keeps you young.

Measuring all four, the two shorter meetings are like extended bagatelles. On “The Second Half of the First Half” Russell matches wits with his contemporary, sound-singer Phi Minton, who has never found a noise he couldn’t duplicate. As Minton bellows, burbles, moans, whistles and hiccups, the guitarist’s folksy picking is perfect accompaniment for a bawdy verbal Punch & Judy show with the singer taking all the parts. “The Second Half of the Second Half” signals a rare return to the electric guitar for Russell to battle the psyched out, dial-twisting distortions from Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore. Propelling electronic shrieks, flanges and trebly rebounds likely not heard since Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck worked together, Russell rocks out while keeping the duet chromatic and with unexpected aleatory highlights. MORE

July 6, 2012

Interview:

Veryan Weston
By Ken Waxman

London-based pianist Veryan Weston is a well-travelled musician who regularly turns up in a variety of free music situations in the United Kingdom and aboard. Best-known for his long associations with iconoclastic saxophonist Lol Coxhill and distinctive vocalist Phil Minton, Weston has also spent time in various ensembles with, among others, drummer Eddie Prévost, saxophonist John Butcher and is sometimes a member of the London Improvisers Orchestra. Weston and British alto saxophonist Trevor Watts are playing at the Stone this month as part of a duo tour of the US. MORE

June 10, 2011

Festival Report:

Freedom of the City 2011
By Ken Waxman

Electronics, percussion and home-made instruments were prominently featured in many contexts during London’s annual Freedom of the City (FOTC) festival, April 30 to May 2. In spite of this, some outstanding performances involved the hyper-traditional piano or saxophone.

A snapshot of contemporary, mostly European, creative music, FOTC encompassed sounds as different as electronic processing from the likes of Adam Bohman and Lawrence Casserley; rarefied ensemble minimalism; unabashed free jazz from saxophonist Lionel Garcin’s and pianist Christine Wodrascka’s quartet; an entire evening devoted to the massive London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO); and pianist John Tilbury’s and bassist Michael Duch’s interpretations of Cornelius Cardew and Morton Feldman compositions. MORE

December 29, 2010

Rhodri Davies/Michel Doneda/Louisa Martin/Phil Minton/Lee Patterson

Midhopestones
Another Timbre at19

John Butcher/Rhodri Davies

Carliol

Ftarri 220

Rhodri Davies/Stéphane Rives/Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme Rodrigues/Carlos Santos

Twerf Neus Ciglau

Creative Sources CS 156 CD

When blazing new sonic trails it seems that Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies has a particular affinity for doing so alongside saxophonists, as these CDs recorded between 2007 and 2009 attest. Furthermore, listening to these sessions chronologically, it appears that Davies is becoming progressively more selfless with his timbral palate whether he’s joined by Japanese Onkyo practitioners or European formalists. Only on Twerf Neus Ciglau for instance, are the harp’s expected ringing tones heard. On the other CDs, unexpected textures produced by manual string preparations, electronics, an embedded speaker and other techniques associated with a pedal harp, a lever harp or an electric harp predominate. MORE

November 21, 2010

A New Pulse:

Another Timbre welcomes both established and younger improvisers
By Ken Waxman

Frustration, altruism and a sudden monetary windfall were the contributing factors that led Simon Reynell to found the Sheffield England-based Another Timbre record label (www.anothertimbre.com) in 2006. After more than two dozen releases – both on CD and CD-R – it’s now acknowledged as an artistic success.

A sound recordist for television and someone who has been “passionately into experimental music” for around 35 years, Reynell had become increasingly frustrated by what he calls the “dumbing down” of TV programming to reality and celebrity-oriented shows from the sort of proper documentaries on which he works. An unexpected inheritance gave him some capital and Another Timbre (AT) was born. Initially setting out to present the work of young improvisers involved in drummer Eddie Prévost’s 10-year-old weekly London workshop, the catalogue has expanded to include not only improvisers from outside the United Kingdom, but also established stylists such as pianist Chris Burn and sound-singer Phil Minton. MORE

October 12, 2010

Hannes Loeschel

Songs of Innocence
Col Legno WWW 1CD 20903

British mystical poet William Blake’s 1794 poetry cycle, Songs of Innocence and Experience, has inspired many composers including Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Yet this treatment of the unconventional poet’s masterwork is notable for more than full-color illustrations for each of the 18 songs included in the session’s the lavishly produced booklet. The top-flight and ever changing arrangements here were created by Viennese composer/keyboardist Hannes Loeschel, and performed by him plus an Austrian combo of guitars, electric pianos, bass, drums and trumpet. MORE

June 16, 2010

Speak Easy

Back Chats
Creative Sources CS 149 CD

Five Rooms

No Room for Doubt

Amirani Records AMRN 020

Although it’s the least expensive and most portable instrument, the human voice is usually the one most resistant to tessitura experimentation and the innovation of non-standard forms. Perhaps it’s because in most cultures strong, lyrical expression is celebrated and, with the possible exceptions of background harmonizing and so-called scat singing, improvising vocally but without forming words is regarded as eccentric. MORE

June 1, 2009

Jan Roder

Double Bass
Jazzwerkstatt JW 037

Aki Takase & The Good Boys

Live at Willisau Jazz Festival

Jazz Werkstatt JW 049

Alexander Von Schlippenbach

Friulian Sketches

psi 08.07

TOOT

Two

Another Timbre At14

Extended Play: Alexander Von Schlippenbach and his band mates

By Ken Waxman

One European jazz pacesetter since the late 1960s, German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s groups showcase different aspects of his broad interests. Together for over 35 years, his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens features improvisers attuned to each other’s thinking. Predating that, The Globe Unity Orchestra herds outstanding Continental soloists into cooperative big band arrangements. His Monk’s Casino quintet – filled out by German players about 25 years younger than Schlippenbach, 71 – offers a unique take on Thelonious Monk’s oeuvre. Its members also score on individual projects, like these CDs. MORE

June 1, 2009

TOOT

Two
Another Timbre At14

Jan Roder

Double Bass

Jazzwerkstatt JW 037

Aki Takase & The Good Boys

Live at Willisau Jazz Festival

Jazz Werkstatt JW 049

Alexander Von Schlippenbach

Friulian Sketches

psi 08.07

Extended Play: Alexander Von Schlippenbach and his band mates

By Ken Waxman

One European jazz pacesetter since the late 1960s, German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s groups showcase different aspects of his broad interests. Together for over 35 years, his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens features improvisers attuned to each other’s thinking. Predating that, The Globe Unity Orchestra herds outstanding Continental soloists into cooperative big band arrangements. His Monk’s Casino quintet – filled out by German players about 25 years younger than Schlippenbach, 71 – offers a unique take on Thelonious Monk’s oeuvre. Its members also score on individual projects, like these CDs. MORE

June 1, 2009

Alexander Von Schlippenbach

Friulian Sketches
psi 08.07

TOOT

Two

Another Timbre At14

Jan Roder

Double Bass

Jazzwerkstatt JW 037

Aki Takase & The Good Boys

Live at Willisau Jazz Festival

Jazz Werkstatt JW 049

Extended Play: Alexander Von Schlippenbach and his band mates

By Ken Waxman

One European jazz pacesetter since the late 1960s, German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s groups showcase different aspects of his broad interests. Together for over 35 years, his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens features improvisers attuned to each other’s thinking. Predating that, The Globe Unity Orchestra herds outstanding Continental soloists into cooperative big band arrangements. His Monk’s Casino quintet – filled out by German players about 25 years younger than Schlippenbach, 71 – offers a unique take on Thelonious Monk’s oeuvre. Its members also score on individual projects, like these CDs. MORE

June 1, 2009

Aki Takase & The Good Boys

Live at Willisau Jazz Festival
Jazz Werkstatt JW 049

Alexander Von Schlippenbach

Friulian Sketches

psi 08.07

TOOT

Two

Another Timbre At14

Jan Roder

Double Bass

Jazzwerkstatt JW 037

Extended Play: Alexander Von Schlippenbach and his band mates

By Ken Waxman

One European jazz pacesetter since the late 1960s, German pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach’s groups showcase different aspects of his broad interests. Together for over 35 years, his trio with saxophonist Evan Parker and drummer Paul Lovens features improvisers attuned to each other’s thinking. Predating that, The Globe Unity Orchestra herds outstanding Continental soloists into cooperative big band arrangements. His Monk’s Casino quintet – filled out by German players about 25 years younger than Schlippenbach, 71 – offers a unique take on Thelonious Monk’s oeuvre. Its members also score on individual projects, like these CDs. MORE

December 5, 2005

Minton/Van Hove/Mattos/Blume

Axon
FMR

Activity Centre/Phil Minton
Activity Centre & Phil Minton
Absinth Records

Toot
One
SOFA

By Ken Waxman
December 5, 2005

He may not be as popular among pop-jazz fans as Jamie Cullum, Harry Connick or Kurt Elling, but no other male vocalist has recorded more experimental improv work over the past quarter century, then London’s Phil Minton, who turned 65 earlier this month.

At his age you’d expect the British vocalist to be a crooner in Chet Baker-Frank Sinatra mould or a rocker like his near contemporaries Mick Jagger or Rod Stewart. Instead the Torquay-born Minton, who like Baker started as a trumpet player, found his voice in Dadesque expostulations with fellow vocalists like Maggie Nicols and Julie Tippetts as well as agitprop in left-wing bandleader Mike Westbrook’s larger projects. MORE

November 28, 2005

Chris Abelen

Space
BVHaast

Lucas Niggli Zoom Ensemble

Sweat

Intakt

By Ken Waxman

Be careful when you count the number of musicians on these sessions. For while Space may seem to be by a 10-piece band and Sweat by a 12-piece one, each disc actually features an established improv combo expanded with the members of a contemporary chamber ensemble plus one additional idiosyncratic soloist.

As a consequence of these expansions, the composer/ band leader of each disc – Dutch trombonist Chris Abelen on Space and Swiss percussionist Lucas Niggli on Sweat – have a fuller palate of textures, colors, pitches and rhythms available. Both CDs are memorable, although Sweat has a slight edge. The cause may be that it’s a studio session, whereas Space was recorded live. Or it may be that Ensemble Neue Musik Zürich (ENMZ) is a closer fit with the drummer’s Zoom Ensemble plus British soundsinger Phil Minton, then the Zapp! String Quartet is with the trombonist’s quintet and special guest, clarinetist Ab Baars. MORE

October 11, 2004

Maja Ratkje/Jaap Blonk

Improvisors Majaap
Kontrans

Blonk/Makigamu/Dutton/Minton/Moss
Five Men Singing
Victo

By Ken Waxman

October 11, 2004

Tonsils, the larynx, the epiglottis, Kurt Schwitters’ Dadaist poetry, Donald Duck’s verbal anger and the mouth improv of comedian Jonathon Winters are some of the many sounds referenced on these CDs, which celebrate and showcase nature’s original avant-garde instrument: the human voice.

Five Men Singing is more-or-less just that. A live performance by American David Moss, Canadian Paul Dutton, Japan’s Koichi Makigami, England’s Phil Minton and Jaap Blonk of the Netherlands, it exposes every note, tone, timbre and texture that can be vibrated by the uvula, dredged from the throat and buzzed from the cheeks and lips. Improvisors Majaap adds an undercurrent of gender politics as Blonk faces off with Norwegian composer/vocalist Maja Ratkje. MORE

October 4, 2004

4WALLS

Which Side Are You On?
Red Note 11

POIRE Z + PHIL MINTON
q
For4Ears CD 1551

Of all the weird and wonderful vocalists -- note not singers -- associated with Free Music, Britain’s Phil Minton, 64, probably has the most legitimacy, not to mention longevity.

Someone who started off as a trumpeter and vocalist with Mike Westbrook’s Orchestra in the mid-1960s, he’s long since abandoned the horn, along with most conventional songs. His usual output is a cornucopia of yowls, grunts, shrills, retches and gargles. Meanwhile his associations have expanded from the cream of BritImprov, including drummer Roger Turner, reedist John Butcher and -- regularly since 1987 -- pianist Veryan Weston, to interested players from the Continent, North America and Japan. MORE

June 28, 2004

BERGMAN/HASLAM/HESSION

The Mahout
SLAM CD 318

BURNS/COXHILL/EDWARDS/MINTON/RUSSELL
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

February 3, 2003

NO SPAGHETTI EDITION

Pasta Variations
SOFA 509

JOHN BUTCHER/PHIL MINTON
Apples of Gomorrah
GROB 429

The glue -- or maybe it’s the spittle -- that holds these two sessions together is the oral work of British performer Phil Minton. One hesitates to call him a singer since his vocal tones seem to range from improvising instrumental emulation to aural recapitulation of all the intonation related to the Seven Ages of Man. And all that is mixed with cartoon character voices, operatic snatches and animal calls. MORE