Reviews that mention Gordon Allen

July 12, 2011

Mecha Fixes Clocks (Michel F. Côté)

À l’inattendu les dieux livrent passage
& Records ET 09

Atmospheric and ambient, but also audacious, Montreal percussionist/keyboardist and electronic manipulator Michel F. Côté uses a variety of sonic strategies to construct an exuberantly original nine-part sound world on “à l’inattendu les dieux livrent passage”. Accomplished in transforming directors’ and choreographers’ ideas into sound, as well as leading ad hoc bands such as this one, which generate a new meaning from his initials, the composer/arranger pushes and pulls the textures in a multi-stylistic fashion so that seemingly bland surfaces turn out to contain tough, multi-faceted cores. MORE

July 13, 2010

Klaxon Gueule

Infininiment
Ambiances Magnétiques AM 194 CD

Inhabitants

A Vacant Lot

Drip Audio DA 00579

Jim Lewis/Andrew Downing/Jean Martin

On a Short Path from Memory to Forgotten

Barnyard Records BR 0311

David Smith

Anticipation

Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records BJUR 015

Extended Play: New roles for Trumpets

By Ken Waxman

Although the romantic image of a lone trumpeter has been standard in jazz since the time of “Young Man with a Horn”, musically it’s actually more difficult for a trumpet to be sole horn in a band – at least until freely improvised music rewrote the rules a few decades ago. The reason is simple: unlike the saxophone’s many keys which the soloist can manipulate for different timbres, the trumpet has only three valves and a length of tubing. Brass players thus most often work with a reed partner or as part of an ensemble. However these CDs, featuring mostly Canadian casts, show that notable sessions can appear no matter the instrumental make up. MORE

April 4, 2010

Gordon Allen

All Up In There
MrE Records 2

Devaux/Lafrance/Lauda/Rossignol/Massicotte/Servant/Normand

Une Règle de Trois

Tour de Bras tdbouebe002

Noah Rosen, Yves Robert & Didier Levallet

Silhouette

Sans Bruit sbr007

Forge/Julian/Papastolou

Meshes

Another Timbre Byways at-b05

Extended Play: New Methods of Dissemination

By Ken Waxman

Proliferation of CD burners, sequencing and editing software and the exponential growth of the Internet has opened up new possibilities for disseminating music. This is especially germane for improvised and other minority sounds. By avoiding the expenses of mass distribution and manufacturing music can reach more interested listeners. Formulae have been developed to do so and each of these fine sessions uses one. MORE

August 5, 2008

Joe Giardullo Open Ensemble

Red Morocco
Rogue Art ROG-0012

Highly orchestrated, multi-faceted and engrossing, Red Morocco is a breakthrough large-form suite composed by veteran reed player Joe Giardullo. It rationally illustrates how his notated ideas can be interpreted by a group of 14 American and Canadian improvisers.

Largely self-taught as a composer and instrumentalist, Giardullo’s interest in musical creation was fed by an appreciation for Stockhausen, Berio and Indian music, study of George Russell’s Lydian Theory of Tonal Organization; plus playing situations with Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Lester Lanin (!) Peg Leg Bates (!!) Pauline Oliveros and others. It reaches inventive fruition with this 10-part creation. MORE

May 8, 2008

Two Bass Hits

Trio Léandre/Derome/Roger and Quartestski Does Prokofiev perform Montreal concerts

Trio Léandre/Derome/Roger

La Salle Rosa

Montreal March 25, 2008

Quartestski Does Prokofiev

Casa del Popolo

Montreal March 26, 2008

Bass set the pace in Montreal on two weeknights in late March. This was the result of Paris-based Joëlle Léandre performing as part of an ad-hoc trio in concert at converted social hall La Salle Rosa the night before local bassist, Pierre-Yves Martel, played across Boulevard St. Laurent at the more relaxed Casa del Popolo club, exhibiting the sort of genre-bursting freedom won for younger string players like himself by pioneers like Léandre, as his Quartestski Does Prokofiev extended its interpretations of the material on its eponymously named CD. The connection was even stronger, since the peripatetic Parisian, stopping off between gigs in New York and Paris actually played on Martel’s bass. MORE

May 1, 2008

Jean Derome et les Dangereuz Zhoms

To Continue
Ambiances Magnétiques AM 172 CD

Bernard Falaise

Clic

Ambiances Magnétiques AM 174

Collage, parody, homage, elements of electronics, improvisation and composition enliven these energetic CDs, products of Montreal’s ever-pliable Musique Actuelle scene. Strongly influenced by – but not quite – jazz, the discs announce their distinctiveness by adding tinctures of rock music, studio wizardry and poetry.

Although saxophonist and flautist Jean Derome and trombonist Tom Walsh appear on both sessions, the individual discs are as dissimilar as they are notable. To Continue is the reunion CD – after a decade-long hiatus – of Les Dangereuz Zhoms (DZ), playing eight new Derome compositions. On the other hand, Clic’s 13 miniatures highlight the versatility of Bernard Falaise, who manipulates stringed instruments, keyboards and percussion. Also heard – besides Derome’s vibrating altissimo tones and Walsh’s gutbucket growls – are trumpeter Gordon Allen’s brassy flourishes and clarinetist Lori Freedman’s chalumeau elaborations. Meanwhile Jean Martin’s sympathetic rhythmic underpinning was wedged in from a separate session, as were the spidery strokes of Julien Grégoire’s marimba. MORE

May 1, 2008

Bernard Falaise

Clic
Ambiances Magnétiques AM 174

Jean Derome et les Dangereuz Zhoms

To Continue

Ambiances Magnétiques AM 172 CD

Collage, parody, homage, elements of electronics, improvisation and composition enliven these energetic CDs, products of Montreal’s ever-pliable Musique Actuelle scene. Strongly influenced by – but not quite – jazz, the discs announce their distinctiveness by adding tinctures of rock music, studio wizardry and poetry.

Although saxophonist and flautist Jean Derome and trombonist Tom Walsh appear on both sessions, the individual discs are as dissimilar as they are notable. To Continue is the reunion CD – after a decade-long hiatus – of Les Dangereuz Zhoms (DZ), playing eight new Derome compositions. On the other hand, Clic’s 13 miniatures highlight the versatility of Bernard Falaise, who manipulates stringed instruments, keyboards and percussion. Also heard – besides Derome’s vibrating altissimo tones and Walsh’s gutbucket growls – are trumpeter Gordon Allen’s brassy flourishes and clarinetist Lori Freedman’s chalumeau elaborations. Meanwhile Jean Martin’s sympathetic rhythmic underpinning was wedged in from a separate session, as were the spidery strokes of Julien Grégoire’s marimba. MORE

March 15, 2008

Quartetski Does Prokofiev

Visions Fugitives Op. 22
Ambiances Magnétiques AM 171 CD

Nearly 90 years after its Petrograd premiere, “Visions Fugitives” the “savage and sensational” 22-minute piano piece by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953), has been admirably recast into nearly an hour’s worth of quartet jazz, by expanding the improvisational qualities of its 18 themes.

Credit for this re-imaging goes to bassist Pierre-Yves Martel, a Vanier, Ont.-native, who produced, arranged and music directed the CD. But the transmutation of the piece depends on the contributions of all members of the Montreal-based quartet: trumpeter Gordon Allen, Phillippe Lauzier, on alto and soprano saxophones and bass clarinet and drummer Isaiah Ceccerelli. Martel, who also plays early music on viola da gamba and with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, instinctively knows how to recast classical pieces so the improvisations aren’t segregated from the themes. Instead the composer’s atypical pitch and tempo direction are given added fillip with improv-jazz techniques. Maintaining a reverence for the original composition, Martel still allows his team to, for instance, transform “Con vivacità” with inferences from Classic Jazz, including slap bass lines, pressured growls from Lauzier’s horn and Allan’s wah-wah trumpet. Similarly, “Inquieto” see-saws between droll buffo interludes featuring rubato trumpet braying and sweeping sul tasto string work and a brisk parade ground pulse, strengthened by pedal-point, bass-clarinet snorts. MORE