Reviews that mention Christopher Tordini

June 17, 2019

Anna Webber

Clockwise
Pi Recordings P179

By Ken Waxman

Reaching an elevated trajectory following her last CD, B.C.-born, New York-based tenor saxophone/flutist Anna Webber aided by a seasoned septet, re-conceptualizes into new compositions impressions of 20th Century composers’ percussion works.

Percussiveness not percussion is the major focus, even though her studio reassembling of Ches Smith’s echoing tympani on the Felmanesque “King of Denmark II” are suitably staggering. Mostly though Smith sticks to drums and vibraphone to provide the precise clamor and ringing clatter that swing alongside Jacob Garchik’s emotional trombone flow; place-marking stops or sweeping glissandi from Christopher Hoffman’s cello and Chris Tordini’ bass; pulsing chromatics from pianist Matt Mitchell; and stylistic chirps or snarls from Webber and tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Jeremy Viner. MORE

September 1, 2018

Igor Lumpert & Innertexture

Eleven
Clean Feed CF 462 CD

Cene Resnik Trio/Watch for Dogs

Shades of Colors

NotTwo MW 959-2

Confirmation once again of the universality of improvised music, as well as testimony that heightened creativity may result from a shared background, are these CDs headed by Slovenian tenor saxophonists. Arguably that part of the former Yugoslavia, which has benefitted the most from that patched-together country’s break-up, since its birth in 1991 the new country has flourished, with an unexpected by-product exposure for adventurous musicians. MORE

May 8, 2017

Jim Black

Malamute
Intakt CD 283

By Ken Waxman

Like approaching a large tied up canine you’re not certain is friendly or ferocious, Malamute can lead to the same ambivalence. Most of the players in this brand new group – keyboardist Elias Stemeseder, electric bassist Chris Tordini and especially drummer Jim Black – have been involved with some of downtown NYC’s most exploratory musical situations, while Icelandic tenor saxophonist Óskar Guðjónsson is more of a songster, with a Nordic style that’s midway between melody and melancholy. Plus not one of the CD’s 13 tracks is longer than six minutes, with most in the three minute range. MORE

February 16, 2016

Matt Mitchell

Vista Accumulation
Pi Recordings Pi 62

After establishing himself in the bands of Tim Berne and John Hollenbeck among others plus releasing a duo disc with percussionist Ches Smith, pianist Matt Mitchell bolsters the scope of his creativity with this two-CD set of eight interlocking compositions. Lengthy explorations, the Mitchell pieces give ample space to his piano playing the bass work of Chris Tordini plus expanded commentary from drummer Dan Weiss and tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed, all of whom he has worked extensively with in the past. MORE

August 16, 2014

Michael Dessen Trio

Resonating Abstractions
Clean Feed CF 291 CD

The Astronomical Unit

Super Earth

Gligg Records 071

With double bass and drums for grounding, the third instrument in an improvising trio can be anything from the traditional piano to any other one, in this case a trombone. But with the subsequent limited sound picture lacking a true choral instrument, canny participants have to creatively compensate. This isn’t a problem for the two ‘bone-bass-drum ensembles here – one German-Australian and the other all-American. However each trio has evolves a different solution to the problem. MORE

July 11, 2014

Artist Feature

Matt Mitchell
By Ken Waxman

After a year’s unhappy experience in the late ‘90s trying to establish himself in NYC, pianist Matt Mitchell, 38, escaped, as he terms it, to his hometown of Philadelphia and got a day job at the University of the Arts’ library. “I swore I'd never again play one music gig I didn’t want to play, and I haven’t.”

He’s certainly lived up to that pledge. Mitchell, who ultimately quit the library job in 2009, is still in Philly. But he now divides his time working in such high-profile ensembles as Dave Douglas’ Quintet, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Project, Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, Darius Jones’ Quartet, John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Rez Abbasi's Invocation, plus his own band with bassist Chris Tordini, drummer Dan Weiss and tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed. Mitchell has also been widely praised for Fiction, his Pi Recordings debut, which is a series of duets with Snakeoil drummer Ches Smith. MORE

October 25, 2011

Michael Dessen Trio

Forget the Pixel
Clean Feed CF 222 CD

Joe Fiedler Trio

Sacred Chrome Orb

Yellow Sound Music YSL 566653

Perhaps there’s more than a kernel of truth in those clichés about energetic New Yorkers and laid-back Californians. How else could one explain the massive variance between performances on these discs, each featuring a bassist, a drummer and a trombonist-leader playing original compositions by the brass man? In a way it’s a difference between lively and listless.

It’s not that Forget the Pixel is that enervated. It’s just that a certain sameness seems to permeate the seven compositions by trombonist Michael Dessen. Dessen, an academic with an interest in new technologies as well as telematic performances in multiple locations, adds computer wave forms to this disc in order to enhance the low-key proceedings. The results curve and undulate nicely, but not enough to alter the air of lethargic moderation that permeates the disc. Besides some rapid capillary movements from Dessen in the JJ Johnson lineage however, the most affecting overall performance is the title track. Here at least brushes-directed ruffs and bounces, spelled with an occasional martial beat, from drummer Dan Weiss, coupled with speedy stops as well as sul ponticello slides from bassist Christopher Tordini provide back-up for the trombonist’s slurs, puffs and squeezes. MORE