“No one’s dictating where it is going,” says London-based drummer Martin France. “We are treating it incredibly carefully. That sort of music, it’s delicate. You’ve got to know what you’re doing, but at the same time not do it.” France is talking about Krononaut, his collaboration with guitarist/producer Leo Abrahams (Brian Eno, Imogen Heap). The line up also includes trumpeter Arve Henriksen, saxophonist Matana Roberts, and bass players Tim Harries and Shahzad Ismaily who with Abrahams and France form trios and quartets to create haunting and occasionally slightly disorienting sounds and textures. Great cover image too, by Munich-based photographer Nick Frank.
Following God At The Casino, this new album is even more surprising. A more binary beat, sometimes rock, a more tangible tension, a more punchy narration, everything is imbued with a welcome radicality. Definitely a record that won’t age.
Axel Stinshoff, Jazz Thing (Germany)
MARIA JOÃO: Open Your Mouth (Membran)
Luca Vitali, Giornale della Musica (Italy)
FRANCESCO MASSARO BESTIARIO: Quaderni di zoologia imperfetta (Folderol)
SOOÄÄR-YARALYAN-OUNASKARI: Goodbye July (O-Tone Music)
Paweł Brodowski, Jazz Forum (Poland)
YOUNG POWER: Young Power (Polish Jazz)
Almost all of the original volumes of the venerable Polish Jazz series have been remastered and reissued on CD and LP by Polskie Nagrania over the last few years. The newest two historical releases are „Young Power” (vol. 72) and Jarosław Śmietana “Sounds and Colors” (vol. 73). Young Power, when it emerged in the latter part of the 1980s, was quite a sensation. It was a loose, big-band like formation, bringing together the brightest up-and-coming musicians on the Polish jazz scene – leading students of the Academy of Music in Katowice as well as freewheeling spirits form the circles of avant garde, rock and blues. Bursting with energy and imagination. Its captivating music was a kaleidoscope of different elements, ranging from jazz-rock and fusion to free and modal, to rhythm and blues, soul, rock and roll, heavy-metal, punk rock, Afro-Cuban, and reggae. This debut recording presents seven original compositions, four of which were written by its leader, flutist Krzysztof Popek. All in all, Young Power lasted only four years, 1986-1990, had four albums released, and made a strong impact at home and internationally.
Four Russians, two residing in Moscow (pianist Ivan Farmakovsky and drummer Sergey Ostroumov) and the the other two in New York City (bassist Boris Kozlov and trumpet player Vitaly Golovnev,) cannot play together too often, for obvious reasons. Even their debut album as a band with that tongue-in-cheek name (yes, in Russian there also is a double entendre in this name, although of a more acerbic nature than in English) was released in a rather epic manner, as the release had to be postponed for months due to Covid-19 restrictions. Alas, it was the final recording for the drummer Ostroumov, who passed away last year, shortly after this album was recorded and mixed. A stout modern mainstream jazz effort: honest, brilliantly performed, and deceivingly straight.
Jan Granlie, Salt-peanuts.eu (Pan-Scandinavian)
TERJE RYPDAL: Conspiracy (ECM)
Why the hell… On his new release, “Conspiracy”, guitar player Terje Rypdal collaborates with keyboardist Ståle Storløkken, bassist Endre Hareide Hallre and drummer Pål Thowsen. We get six compositions by Rypdal, and from the start of the opening track, “As If The Ghost… Was Me?” until they round off with “Dawn”, this is Rypdal and his musical friends at their very best. In recent years, I have missed a bit of the slightly floating guitar playing of Rypdal, which has been his “trademark” and “fingerprint”. But here we get it again, much like he has decided that here we will be fully satisfied. His play is laid back and delicious, while there is an energy in what he does that is surprisingly nice. And with “the new”, at least for me, bass player Endre Hareide Hallre, who really presents himself in the second track “What Was I Thinking” and in the fourth track “By His Lonesome”, he has found a bassist who works about as well in the whole that Bjørn Kjellemyr did in the Chaser trio. And that he has now resumed his collaboration with Pål Thowsen is brilliant, because Thowsen is a drummer, who with his distinctive playing, fits perfectly into Rypdal’s “floating” guitar playing, both as a contrast and bridge builder. And the keyboard magician Ståle Storløkken, who has played regularly with Rypdal in recent years, he has got a keyboard player who fills exactly where he should in this context. Together, the four have made, perhaps, Rypdal’s finest record since “Chaser” in 1985. He has the total overview of the music, and with this “team” of partners, I feel that he has found back to his best. Floating, delicious and beautiful “string playing” with excellent musicians, where Hareide Hallre is the big surprise. Highly recommended!
Christine Stephan, JAZZTHETIK (Germany)
SOOÄÄR-YARALYAN-OUNASKARI: Goodbye July (O-Tone Music)
EIVIND AUSTAD NEW ORLEANS TRIO: That Feeling (Losen Records)
Contemporary as well as mainstream Norwegian pianist Eivind Austad plays with musicians from the birthplace of jazz, James Singelton on bass and Johnny Vidachovic on drums. The theme of the album is the same as where it is recorded: New Orleans.
Copenhagen drummer Peter Bruun has a Passion for Productive Paradoxezz. Black can be white vice versa. There is jazz, the other music and there is also the clever game of playing the other music in an other way. That’s where listeners can meet ATH. Nothing is, what it seems and it seems that it is what it is. You are in need of substantial entertainment? Take the ATH trip! This Hamlet commando of ace musicians – bassist Petter Eldh, trumpeter Kasper Tranberg, guitarist Marc Ducret, drummer Peter Bruun – sweeps all corners empty. On y vas, ca ira!
Power trio Rymden (Bugge Wesseltoft, Magnus Öström & Dan Berglund) is back. Star Sailor is the sequel to last year’s acclaimed debut album Reflections and Odessys, which the trio recorded after only a few live concerts and a couple of rehearsals together. The trio has since toured extensively with almost 100 concerts on their CV. Most of the concert gig was recorded and the trio has now used the material as a basis for composing new material for album number two. Many of the song ideas have emerged during the sound check. This time, large parts of the songs’ origins are prepared by the whole trio, in contrast to the debut when primarily everyone contributed with their own compositions. It is obvious that the group dynamics and the collective process after all gigs have been strengthened another notch and it is also clear that the trio worked even more goal-oriented. You move in similar spheres as on the debut; jazz is incorporated with art music, minimalism, folk, electronica, psychedelia, progressive and symphonic rock. The songs move between atmospheric painterly, cinematic passages to almost powerful eruptive musical outbursts, with equal parts acoustic and electronic. The varied compositions are often built around repetitive, rhythmically crunchy oriented riffs rather than complex melodies. The songs breathe a direct appeal, regardless of whether a reflective melancholy is woven in (My Life In A Mirror, Sunday) or, as at the album’s highlight, the flashy prog fusion fusion jazz The Life And Death Of Hugo Drax, it becomes obvious that the sound is the primary in Space’s music construction.
Cim Meyer, Jazz Special (Denmark)
JONATHAN SARAGA: Journey To A New World (Fresh Sound)