Reviews that mention Jonathan Segel

April 23, 2011

Emergency String (X) tet/Rent Romus

Emergency Rental
Edgetone EDT 4100

Rather like Rockers Paul Revere and the Raiders’ Yankee response to the 1960s British Invasion, the San Francisco-based Emergency String (X)tet demonstrates that it’s not only Continental ensembles that can create notable string-based Free Music.

As opposed to mindless xenophobia practiced by Sarah Palin and Tea Party members, the improvisations of this group don’t have to be praised because they’re from Americans, but can be applauded as high calibre work regardless of geographical origin. One factor contributing to the CD’s outstanding qualities is the blending of the seven strings with sharp, discursive interjections from Rent Romus’ alto or soprano saxophone. MORE

December 22, 2003


Posture of Reality
Asian Improv AIR 0065

Spool LINE SPL 122

What exactly constitutes so-called ethnic music, or for that matter, ethnic instruments, are the questions raised by these two sessions.

Each features one American musician playing a Eurocentric string instrument -- the violin in one case and double bass in the other -- partnered with one non-American --in both cases Oriental -- musician playing a traditional instrument. Yet while Chinese-born Wu Man may play pipa on one disc and Japanese-born Shoko Hikage koto on the other, the resulting sounds are pretty far away from those found on the average disc shoved into the record store World Music ghetto. MORE

November 24, 2003


Tempted to Smile
Spool SZ-SPL120-CD

Rivers and Tides
Winter & Winter 910 092-2

Of all the musicians with a non-jazz background who have embraced improv over the past few years, British-born, California-based guitarist/composer Fred Frith seems to have brought the most to the table by using freer impulses to amplify his own versatility.

During his 20-odd years in the United States he’s forged alliances with musicians as different as East Coast saxophonist John Zorn and West Cost kotoist Miya Masaoka. A founding member of Henry Cow, Britain’s original Art Rock, band, he keeps his rock chops up playing with the likes of Canadian guitarist René Lussier, while his ongoing European connections have included compositions for film, theatre and dance. MORE