Reviews that mention Chris Brown

July 15, 2013

Gratkowski/Brown/Winant + Gerhard E. Winkler

Vermilion Traces/Donaueschingen 2009
Leo Records CD LR 653/654

Confusing the categories once again is German saxophonist/clarinetist Frank Gratkowski on this significant double CD, which at first hearing sounds more like contemporary notated music than improvisation. But improvised it is, at least on CD1, since the saxophonist’s partners – percussionist William Winant and keyboardist Chris Brown – are California academics as comfortable working in Jazz and Improv music idioms as they are with so-called classical sounds.

The situation is more untidy on the first track of CD2, where the three are joined in a live performance in Donaueschingen by Salzburg-born composer Gerhard E. Winkler on his commissioned score “Bikini. Atoll”. Someone who creates interactive computer environments Winkler use the granular synthesis of his computer program to capture and rearrange the free improvisations created by the musicians playing. They aren`t fazed. 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

September 3, 2010

Chris Brown/Pauline Oliveros

Music in the Air
Deep Listening DL 43-2010

Marilyn Crispell David Rothenberg

One Dark Night I Left My Silent House

ECM 2089

John Zorn/George Lewis/Bill Frisell

More News For Lulu

hatOLOGY 655

Marina Rosenfeld/George Lewis

Sour Mash

Innova 228

Guelph Jazz Festival Highlights

Extended Play

By Ken Waxman

Characteristically adventurous, the 17th annual Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF) September 8 to 12 presents respected sound explorers in novel musical situations. MORE

July 15, 2008

Grosse Abfahrt

Everything that Disappears
Emanem 4146

Grosse Abfahrt

Erstes Luftschiff zu Kalifornien

Creative Sources CS 065 CD

Named for a German dirigible that in 1908 crashed near Berkeley, Calif. during an unsuccessful demonstration of its potential as trans-oceanic liner, both of Grosse Abfahrt’s CDs are organized around more successful European-American interfaces.

Undoubtedly it’s because the only air being distilled here are the currents propelled from the eight instruments on Erstes Luftschiff zu Kalifornien and the nine on Everything that Disappears. Also more in keeping with 21st Century improvisation, the fuel of choice – besides the musicians’ inventiveness – is electricity, not hydrogen gas. Plus, as opposed to brief duration and subsequent crash of inventor John Morrell’s disastrous flight, only one improvisation on either intriguing set is less than three minutes in length. Most clock in around the 10-minute mark, with the first disc’s “interkontinentale luftschiffahrt” proceeding for almost 19 minutes while the other session’s “geometric undulating driveway symmetrical, all the road of masters” unrolls for nearly 39 minutes. Depending on traffic, the later probably is likely a longer time-frame then it takes to drive between San Francisco and Berkeley. MORE

July 15, 2008

Grosse Abfahrt

Erstes Luftschiff zu Kalifornien
Creative Sources CS 065 CD

Grosse Abfahrt

Everything that Disappears

Emanem 4146

Named for a German dirigible that in 1908 crashed near Berkeley, Calif. during an unsuccessful demonstration of its potential as trans-oceanic liner, both of Grosse Abfahrt’s CDs are organized around more successful European-American interfaces.

Undoubtedly it’s because the only air being distilled here are the currents propelled from the eight instruments on Erstes Luftschiff zu Kalifornien and the nine on Everything that Disappears. Also more in keeping with 21st Century improvisation, the fuel of choice – besides the musicians’ inventiveness – is electricity, not hydrogen gas. Plus, as opposed to brief duration and subsequent crash of inventor John Morrell’s disastrous flight, only one improvisation on either intriguing set is less than three minutes in length. Most clock in around the 10-minute mark, with the first disc’s “interkontinentale luftschiffahrt” proceeding for almost 19 minutes while the other session’s “geometric undulating driveway symmetrical, all the road of masters” unrolls for nearly 39 minutes. Depending on traffic, the later probably is likely a longer time-frame then it takes to drive between San Francisco and Berkeley. 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

June 16, 2003

RICHARD TEITELBAUM

Blends
New Albion NA 118

QUARTET NATTO
Headlands
482 Music 482-1018

Adapting the sounds of traditional Japanese music to Western sensibilities has occupied Occidental musicians from the time contact was first made in the mid-19th century. Mixing electronics, computers and acoustic instruments has been another leitmotif of the mid-20th century.

That the musicians on these CDs attempt to meld both of these concepts is noteworthy enough; that they add a dollop of free improvisation to the other ingredients ratchets up the interest factor. MORE