Reviews that mention Josh Berman

October 1, 2018

Tim Daisy's Fulcrum Ensemble

Animation
Relay Recordings RR021

He surely didn’t conceive of it that way, but the newest release by Chicago percussionist Tim Daisy's Fulcrum Ensemble can be heard as a mini history of Jazz. That’s because the versatile drummer, marimba player – and in this case – turntablist has written three compositions which are played by his multi-functional associates with subtle references to other musical narratives.

Besides Daisy, who is often as busy playing overseas as on this continent, the ensemble’s ranks are filled by locals Josh Berman on cornet, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, clarinetist James Falzone and Dave Rempis playing alto and baritone saxophones. Imported from Manhattan is trombonist Steve Swell. MORE

December 1, 2017

Mars Williams presents:

An Ayler Xmas
Soul What Records SWR 0003

Looking for that perfect seasonal gift for someone who follows Free Jazz, but is still conventional enough to celebrate the winter holidays? An Ayler Christmas may be what you need. Organized by Chicago saxophonist Mars Williams, involved in ensembles ranging from the NRG Ensemble to Ken Vandernark’s bands, his septet performs traditional fare mixed with tunes composed by saxophonist Albert Ayler during his short life (1936 -1970). Befitting holiday sentiments the tracks are played with a maximum of joy mixed with a modicum of irony. MORE

July 28, 2017

Jaimie Branch

Fly or Die
International Anthem Recording CO 0011

The Bridge Sessions 05

Escape Lane

The Bridge TBS05

Testament to Chicago’s reputation as an incubator of brass talent, which goes back as far Louis Armstrong apprenticeship there in the 1920s, are these CDs featuring trumpeters Jaimie Branch and Marquis Hill. Like the Windy City`s distinctive and somewhat chaotic transit system each has chosen an individual path of expression, and, perhaps inevitably, each has since decamped for New York.

Balancing rhythmic power, a muscular feel and a hint of repressed violence, which introduce Metal and Punk currents in her playing is Branch on Fly or Die, with it linked to the stellar backing of cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Chad Taylor. There’s also occasional input from dual cornetists Ben Lamar Gay and Josh Berman and guitarist Matt Schneider. Although conversant with hip-hop textures, on his CD Marquis Hill’s approach is polished into a slick adaptation of moderato Bop, matched with an analogous adjustment from guitarist Jeff Parker, better-known for his Rock-inflected work. At the same time the seven improvisations are put together to measure the partnership between the two Americans and two European musicians, Belgian bassist Joachim Florent, who has been involved with electronic-oriented and notated projects; and French drummer Denis Fournier who has dabbled in World Music as well as playing with Jazzers such as bassist Bernard Santacruz and trumpeter Jean-Luc Cappozzo. MORE

June 1, 2016

Festival Report

Doek ABC
By Ken Waxman

With many parts of the Netherlands reclaimed from the sea over the centuries, the Dutch have long been adroit recycling, reusing and repurposing. So it’s no surprise that except for the soft-seated Bimhuis, with its magnificent waterfront view, most venues for this year’s Doek ABC Improvisation Festival in Amsterdam, April 29 to May 4, had initially been built as schools, warehouses and even a dungeon. These locations were particularly pertinent for this year’s fest which united local improvisers (A) with visitors from Berlin (B) and Chicago (C). The festival also demonstrated how different musicians repurpose the jazz and improvised traditions. MORE

June 1, 2016

Artist Feature

Mike Reed
By Ken Waxman

Chicago drummer Mike Reed, 42, is a realist – and a visionary. More than a dozen years ago he experienced his own epiphany about the (jazz) music business and his place in it while working part time as a bartender. “I was thinking about my future and how I didn’t want to still be a bartender when I was 39 … or 49,” he recalls. Reed who at that point had been involved with different bands in Chicago’s music ferment since his mid-‘90s return to the city after completing a degree in English and Psychology at the University of Dayton Ohio, was with cornetist Josh Berman, already co-curating a series of Sunday sessions at the Hungry Brain club. Earlier, while working for a marketing agency he had helped organize city concerts encouraging people to vote in the presidential election. Promotion seemed to be the appropriate career choice and within a year, he had partnered with Pitchfork, a Chicago-based online music magazine, to create the annual summer Pitchfork Music Festival which is still going strong. MORE

April 27, 2016

Josh Berman Trio

A Dance and a Hop
Delmark DE 5021

Being based in Chicago and having worked at that city’s now closed Jazz Record Mart appears to have given cornetist Josh Berman a particularly cosmopolitan take on brass playing. Working with many open-minded players from the city and elsewhere, including tenor saxophonist Keefe Jackson and vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz, he’s comfortable with sounds based on Bop, pre-modern and purely improvised music.

Having demonstrated on earlier CDs, that like a member of a precision sports team he’s high functioning in a group situation, Berman sets himself a much tougher goal on A Dance and a Hop. Backed only by the shaded pulsing from Frank Rosaly’s drum kit and the husky sonority of Jason Roebke’s bass, like the commander of an advance squad in a battle, Berman has to surmount uncharted sonic territory with what seem to be limited resources. That he – and the other trio members – do so well is recognition that in the right hands the pared-down diet of singular brass, string and percussion structures can be as musically nourishing as the equivalent of a musical multi-course meal. MORE

January 6, 2016

Tim Daisy

October Music Vol. 1: 7 Compositions for Duet
Relay Recordings 009

Vox Arcana

Caro’s Song

Relay Recordings 010

Steel Bridge Trio

Different Clocks

Relay Recordings 011

By Ken Waxman

Quietly – well as quiet as a drummer can be – and consistently, Chicago-based percussionist Tim Daisy has over the past decade established himself as one of jazz’s go-to players. Besides ongoing partnerships with the likes of reedists Dave Rempis mostly in a duo and Ken Vandermark in small and large ensembles, Daisy’s discs showcase his own bands playing his compositions which range from the raucous to the refined. Like a screenwriter equally proficient at penning action thrillers and character-driven dramas, the drummer proficiently showcases particular genres on each of these releases. MORE

September 11, 2015

Spotlight

482 Music
By Ken Waxman

Maxims like: “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of a boy” posses more than a kernel of truth if you substitute Chicago for country and the 482 Music label for the boy. After more than a decade in New York, label-owner Mike, Lintner says ruefully that many people still consider 482 a Chicago enterprise, even though the majority of the 90-odd releases it has put out since 1997 aren’t by Chicago artists. “It was the Document Chicago Series, our close relationships with Chicago media, and, I guess to some extent [drummer] Mike Reed, that gave the label the Chicago identity,” explains Lintner, who lived in Chicago during the first six years 482 existed. “A record label can be run from most anywhere,” he insists, “and New York’s not a bad place to do it.” MORE

August 16, 2015

Tim Daisy

October Music Vol. 1
Relay Recordings 009

Aural scrap book, calling card and historical document wrapped together, this CD highlights the improvisational and compositional strategies drummer Tim Daisy has evolved during his years as part of Chicago’s burgeoning improvisational scene. Each of the lucky seven duets here is with a different associate – reedists Rempis (baritone saxophone), James Falzone (clarinet) and Katherine Young (bassoon); cornetist Josh Berman, violist Jen Clare Paulson plus Jason Adasiewicz on vibraphone and drummer Marc Riordan playing piano – and follows a unique pattern. MORE

May 8, 2013

Mike Reed’s People Places & Things

Clean on the Corner
482 Music 482-1081

By Ken Waxman

One of Chicago drummer Mike Reed’s many identities is as a passionate booster of his home town’s music – present, past and future. This fourth CD with the People Places & Things combo is a milestone in that regard. He establishes the long-time sophistication of Second City jazz by blending original lines with ‘50s and ‘60s classics by saxophonists John Jenkins and Roscoe Mitchell. The band consists of some of Chicago’s top-rated players: alto saxophonist Greg Ward, tenor saxophonist Tim Haldeman and bassist Jason Roebke; with cornetist Josh Berman and pianist Craig Taborn each added on two different tracks. MORE

March 15, 2013

Mike Reed’s People Places & Things

Clean on the Corner
482 Music 482-1081

Living By Lanterns

New Myth/Old Science

Cuneiform Records Rune 345

Drummer/bandleader Mike Reed has established himself as, among things, a deft interpreter of Chicago’s progressive music history. Nothing like a neo-con however, rather than imitation or emulation he and his People Places & Things create new variations of the city’s rich 1950s and 1960s Jazz heritage. On these exceptional sessions, he, and sidekicks, alto saxophonist Greg Ward – on both discs– and vibraphonist Jason Adasiewicz – on New Myth/Old Science – have taken the next step: integrated their own compositions with earlier ones. MORE

January 11, 2013

Rhapsody’s 2012 Jazz Critics' Poll

Individual Ballot
From Ken Waxman

• Your name and primary affiliation(s) (no more than two, please)

Ken Waxman

Jazz Word (www.jazzword.com); The New York City Jazz Record

• Your choices for 2012's ten best new releases listed in descending order one-through-ten.

1. François Houle Genera Songlines SGL 1595-2

2. Fred Ho/Quincy Saul The Music of Cal Massey: A Tribute Mutable/Big Red Media 004

3. William Parker Centering: Unreleased Early Recordings 1976–1987 NoBusiness Records NBCD 42-47 MORE

November 26, 2012

Josh Berman & His Gang

There Now
Delmark DE 2016

Venerating a bit of Chicago history while turning the concept on its head, is the idea behind cornetist Josh Berman’s There Now CD. Titling his seven-piece group as a “gang”, he references the Eddie Condon-Austin High “gang” of the late 1920s, and arranged five of the Chicago School’s Dixieland signature tunes plus three of his own compositions for this project. But the subversive allure of the CD is that it isn’t a Trad Jazz retread, but an exercise in post-modern voice approximation. MORE

May 12, 2010

Jason Adasiewicz’ Rolldown

Varmint
Cuneiform Rune 292

Aram Shelton’s Fast Citizens

Two Cities

Delmark DE 590

Organizing many bands with shifting, but similar, local personnel seems to be a factor uniting the newest generation of Chicago improvisers, with earlier jazz folk from territory towns like Chicago and Detroit. Unlike places such as New York, Los Angeles and Toronto where every player seems to be from somewhere else and may soon be heading elsewhere, Windy City folk have an overriding sense of place – even if they eventually move on. MORE

May 12, 2010

Aram Shelton’s Fast Citizens

Two Cities
Delmark DE 590

Jason Adasiewicz’ Rolldown

Varmint

Cuneiform Rune 292

Organizing many bands with shifting, but similar, local personnel seems to be a factor uniting the newest generation of Chicago improvisers, with earlier jazz folk from territory towns like Chicago and Detroit. Unlike places such as New York, Los Angeles and Toronto where every player seems to be from somewhere else and may soon be heading elsewhere, Windy City folk have an overriding sense of place – even if they eventually move on. MORE

December 8, 2008

Bill Dixon

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur
AUM Fidelity AUM 046

Bill Dixon

With Exploding Star Orchestra

Thrill Jockey Thrill 192

More than an elderly lion in winter, 83-year-old trumpeter Bill Dixon seems to have reasserted his place in the jazz firmament during the dozen years since he retired from academe after nearly three decades of teaching at Vermont’s Bennington College.

Both of these big band CDs resulted from a purple patch of creativity in the summer of 2007, when Dixon was able to lead different orchestras in New York and Chicago through some of his extended compositions. Both the 56½-minute “Darfur” suite in New York and the two 18-minute versions of “Entrances” in the mid-West are shaped around a combination of composed work and spontaneously cued solos. The tonal colors emphasized on both are orchestral rather than standard big band arrangements, with woodwinds, strings and miscellaneous percussion prominent. MORE

December 8, 2008

Bill Dixon

With Exploding Star Orchestra
Thrill Jockey Thrill 192

Bill Dixon

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur

AUM Fidelity AUM 046

More than an elderly lion in winter, 83-year-old trumpeter Bill Dixon seems to have reasserted his place in the jazz firmament during the dozen years since he retired from academe after nearly three decades of teaching at Vermont’s Bennington College.

Both of these big band CDs resulted from a purple patch of creativity in the summer of 2007, when Dixon was able to lead different orchestras in New York and Chicago through some of his extended compositions. Both the 56½-minute “Darfur” suite in New York and the two 18-minute versions of “Entrances” in the mid-West are shaped around a combination of composed work and spontaneously cued solos. The tonal colors emphasized on both are orchestral rather than standard big band arrangements, with woodwinds, strings and miscellaneous percussion prominent. MORE

October 25, 2006

Lucky 7s

Farragut
Lakefront Digital LFD-2-006

Close cooperation between New Orleans and Chicago musicians has a history that goes back as far as King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band and the New Orleans Rhythm Kings. While the rapprochement lessened during the modern jazz era, better communication and the devastation caused by a certain recent hurricane has created fortuitous couplings like the one captured here.

New Orleans trombonist and tubaist Jeff Albert and Chicago trombonist Jeb Bishop were the catalysts. Looking for a Chi-Town gig for his hometown band, Albert was convinced by Bishop to put together this septet which blends Louisiana and Illinois players. Bassist Mat Golombisky and drummer Quin Kirchner are also from the Big Easy, while cornetist Josh Berman, reedist Keefe Jackson and vibist Jason Adasiewicz are Windy City residents. Miraculously for a first-time match up, the combined ensemble ends up sounding as if they’re long-time band mates. MORE

June 27, 2005

TIM POSGATE HORNBAND

Featuring Howard Johnson
Guildwood GR 006

CHICAGO LUZERN EXCHANGE
Several Lights
Delmark DE 561

Long the most neglected member of the improv brass family – at least since Wellman Braud switched from it to the string bass to meet the demands of Duke Ellington’s 1920s band – the tuba’s orphan status has improved over the past decades.

Because of such subterranean sound sponsors as Americans Howard Johnson, Bob Stewart and Joe Daley, and Giancarlo Schiaffini, Melvyn Poore and Carl Ludwig Hübsch in Europe – among many others – it’s now accepted as a solo as well as a rhythmic instrument. Modern tubaists have so extended the flexibility and range of the brass beast that it’s showing up with increasingly frequency on all sorts of sessions, such as these two. In fact, tuba suppleness is such that each quartet sounds completely unlike other. MORE