Relative Pitch

“American drummer Chris Corsano and French saxophonist Christine Abdelnour have been working as aduo for several years and perform regularly in Europe. The disc « Quand fond la neige, où va le blanc ?» (Where Does the White Go When the Snow Melts?) is the highlight of their teaming.
The association of the two most talented musicians of the "new" generation offers a music of incredible richness in which the duo merges like tectonic plates of different densities, moving through intricate and complex...

“Gardener starts with a track that is just over a minute long. "Song of the pylon", had me more intrigued than riveted and was followed up with a 15 minute brain teaser "The changes wrought by the recurring use of tools" where harmonium, harpsichord, and piano are used to create an almost jack hammering effect where both musicians, who are credited with all three instruments, throw themes, fragments of ideas, and phrases at earth other at a dizzying pace.
There is some greatness on Gardener like...

“This album celebrates the 1977 band TWINS, that consisted of Bruce Ackley, Eugene Chadbourne, Henry Kaiser, and John Zorn. Featuring the usual instrumentation of two reeds and two guitars, it pre-dated they New York Downtown scene that was to follow. Ackley and Kaiser wanted to re-visit the original repertoire and approach of this quartet, but found it unlikely that the original members could be reunited for such a project. Grabbing their pals Fred Frith and Aram Shelton, they entered the studio to...

I love this album; do you love pedal steel guitar and/or Astor Piazolla? If so, you will love it too!

“It’s wholly fitting that this questing US pedal steel guitarist has chosen to interpret the nuevo tango of Astor Piazzolla on her latest longplayer. The late Argentinean composer presided over a revolution in traditional music by emphasising elements of improvisation, dissonance and counterpoint, while Alcorn seeks the total liberation of her instrument, away from the stifling confines of...

“A trio of adventurous Spanish improvisers, pianist Irene Aranda, bassist Johannes NÄstesjö and percussionist Nuria Andorra channel forces of exploration, energy and elemental mystery on Inner Core, six inventive tracks that plumb their astonishing creative depths with a fervid curiosity.
Fans of free improvisation may recognize these musicians through their mutual connections with pianist Agustφ Fernßndez, currently one of the most highly-regarded performers in this genre. And like Fernßndez...

“AYCH features three of the finest improvisers working today: saxophonist Jim Hobbs; guitarist Mary Halvorson; and cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum. All three come with stellar pedigrees and experience in guitarist/bassist Joe Morris' ensembles, plus Halvorson and Bynum were schooled at the knee of Anthony Braxton. Their previous recording together was last year's Bynum Sextet session, Apparent Distance (Firehouse 12, 2011).
Seven of the twelve tracks presented here are group improvisations, the remaining ...

“The image on the cover says it all, a blast furnace exploding with elemental energy and heat. And it doesn't take long for the music on Old Smoke, a live release that represents the first recorded collaboration between saxophonist Steve Baczkowski, bassist Brandon Lopez and drummer Chris Corsano, to reach astonishing peaks of fiery intensity. This is a trio not to be trifled with, on a single-minded pursuit of powerful free improvisation in its most uncompromising form.
Of the three musicians...

“Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ is right in Frisell’s wheelhouse as a soulful blend of country, blues and gospel, and he delivers jagged electric phrases that, like fireworks, sometimes end abruptly with a starburst and sometimes zigzag before fading. John McLaughlin’s ‘Follow Your Heart’ is likewise refried and slowly wrung out after sizzling. Baron comes to the fore on fleet but gentler tracks such as Benny Goodman’s ‘Benny’s Bugle,’ Charlie Parker’s ‘My Little Suede Shoes’ and a nifty soft-shoe...

“The title track starts with a written structure that eventually leads to an unaccompanied bass solo which reminds these ears that, as much as I enjoy Bisio with pianist Matthew Shipp, a greater appreciation of his technique and writing comes across when he steps away from the individualistic pianist. The music is grounded, not free and wild, but that nevertheless generates close listening. Sometimes Knuffke and Bisio play in an in-between place which doesn't feel like the bass is echoing the cornet...

Kirk Knuffke-cornet
Art Bailey-accordion
Michael Bisio-bass
Michael Wimberly-drums

“There's much to listen for on "Accortet" - the sound quality is excellent (kudos to Jim Clouse of Park West Studio in Brooklyn, NY), the compositions are thoughtful, and the musicianship unbeatable.
Kurt Knuffke continues to impress in every setting he plays in and Art Bailey's musical palette shows how he continues to expand the vocabulary of the accordion. And the rhythm section keeps the...

“In seven tracks, all credited to both of them, the players keep their ears on each other, exploring the sonic possibilities of their instruments and how they can interact. Those familiar with either musician might expect some untamed frenzy, and Bisio and Shipp definitely deliver dark and stormy textures. Bisio utilizes his bow for intense scraping and howling in ‘Decay,’ where Shipp begins by plucking his piano strings and ends with heavy handwork in the lower register. But the bassist also reveals...

"“Bogan Ghost is Liz Allbee on trumpet and Anthea Caddy on cello and 'Zerfall' is one pleasant, totally absorbing surprise. "Surprise" if only because of my limited prior exposure to their music.
I happened to have heard them both as part of the Splitter Orchestra (and a subset or two thereof) last year at St. Merri in Paris but still, I wasn't quite prepared for the music encountered here.
I guess the main unexpected (and very welcome) aspect is the degree of concision in play and the fact that.

“On the surface, the album title might be an oxymoron. None of these free-form works resemble traditional ballads, but the young Brooklyn-based duo's ideology and vision is clearly distinct and personalized via these jaunts that to some extent, parallel the British free jazz scene with acidic, creaky and scorching elaborations. There is a consortium of zany nouveau classical music breakouts with bizarre episodic transgressions that tend to hold your attention. At times, the acoustic instrumental...

“Last Dream of the Morning is insistently acoustic, distinctions between free jazz and improvised music fall away here. Kinships and antecedents extend from AMM to Sun Ra and they’re being consistently synthesized and extend into new terrains.
Bassist John Edwards and drummer Mark Sanders have become the defining ‘rhythm’ pairing of English free jazz, working together for decades in groups with Evan Parker, Veryan Weston and many others. If this is a first meeting of a trio with Butcher, past...

“Eugene and Henry have been playing together of nearly 43 years. Back in 1977 they recorded a guitar duet that Wadada Leo Smith had presented to them: WIND CRYSTALS. This piece was released on Henry’s first album on Eugene’s Parachute label: ICE DEATH. On the 40 year anniversary of the original WIND CRYSTALS, Henry and Eugene recorded an entire album of guitar duets composed by Wadada, including a re-recording of WIND CRYSTALS. This album contains pieces from several different phases of Wadada’s work...

Greg Cohen-bass
Bill Frisell-guitar

“The sunny lyricism of "Old Gravenstein" sets the bar high from the outset. Frisell takes lead melodic duties while Cohen injects rhythmic impetus, but in truth their lines are but two interweaving threads of the same chord.
The duo has a spring in its step on "California Here I Come," written in 1921 by Buddy DeSylvia, Joseph Myer, and Al Jolson and declared the official state song of California in 1988. Cohen takes his most extended solo of the set...

“Salt Task opens with the revolutionary title track, a 20-minute-piece that erupts with dense contrapuntal cogitations simultaneously driven by the trio. After the opening section, the musicians usually interact two by two, exploring different sonic possibilities and moods until reaching the final section, where the trio strikes again. Depending on the setting, one may float serenely over idyllic landscapes, march at the sound of a military trumpet, startle with ominous low-pitched piano vibes, revolve...

“Sylvie Courvoisier and Mary Halvorson’s Crop Circles is an exercise in balance, while still maintaining a great sense of musical freedom. Brooklyn-based Halvorson plays guitar on the collaboration album alongside Switzerland-native and pianist, Courvoisier, also currently working in Brooklyn.
The two work democratically, shifting leads and complementing the other’s sound in a way that seems effortless. Throughout the work, neither artist overwhelms the space and there is an electric ‘push and pull...

“Don’t be fooled by the name; Dead Neanderthals are neither dead nor Neanderthal. What they are is a tight, energy driven cohort of musicians who know how to lay down a good vibe. Worship the Sun, sees Rene Aquarius on drums and Otto Kokke on sax get together for a lesson in genial, improvisational mayhem.
There are just two tracks, the first over 15 minutes and the second just a tad over 17. ‘Worship,’ the first track, is a percussive delight, interspersed with some screaming, devilish sax from...

“This year French soprano saxophone player Michel Doneda will turn 60 and US label Relative Pitch celebrates the occasion by releasing this forty five minute disc of a recording from last year at La Chapelle De Las Planques in Tanus, France.
No doubt picked up with multiple microphones, and later on edited into the seven pieces we find on this disc. Doneda is a master of deception. In this chapel his saxophone sound like saxophone - very occasionally, such as in 'Skeleton Key', but most of the...

Soprano player Michel Doneda and Le Quan Ninh are celebrating a 30 year playing relationship. Doneda's playing can be at turns lyrical, playful, or raucous, and can switch from the liveliness of street melodies to circular breathing, microscopic sounds, or shrieking outbursts. Ninh plays regularly in ensembles in forms that mix improvised acoustic & electroacoustic music, 'performance art', dance, poetry, experimental cinema, photography and video. Listening is their main discipline.
"It’s our...

“A sound of a decidedly different kind. With the release of their CD Lily (Relative Pitch Records), ISABELLE DUTHOIT and FRANZ HAUTZINGER have proven they know how to consistently create a different kind of musical harmony and escape musical conventionality.
Those familiar with the artistic creations and various projects of these artistic free-spirits can probably imagine where Lily will take them. And that is most definitely not to any of the usual musical landscapes. That which Isabelle Duthoit...

“Estamos Trio, on the album - appropriately titled - People's History, offers an avant-garde and multicultural reflection with an epicenter in the history of the border that separates Mexico from the United States....led by the North American pianist and composer Thollem McDonas they create music that tries to encourage communication and collaboration between musicians and artists born on both sides of the Mexican-American border to, in this way, develop a better understanding and appreciation among...

“These experienced musicians know how to weave a complex, captivating stories with few strokes of imaginative sounds, austere yet elegant, subtle but full of nuances. ‘Endless’ visits Far-Eastern, terrains, flows in a balladic narrative and matures in a touching, playful dance of court and spark between Baars, playing the clarinet, and Draksler. ‘For Toby’ suggests a complete different dialog between Baars and Draksler. He sings gently with his tenor sax while she pounds the piano keys in a hyper...

“By turns romantic and melodic or fierce and insistent, Flaherty will often start a phrase with a mellow tone only to feed it through a grinder and shred it. One of my favorite moments comes about 3 minutes into the first piece, where he ascends beyond the upper reaches of his horn and whistles, the sound taking on a definite electronic tinge. At the ten-minute mark of the same number, both men start stomping hard before coming to a melancholy close. There are long moments of horn gargle and fast and...

“Flamingo explores sound, texture and dynamics. Sometimes verging on the threshold of hearing and at other times engaging in dense layers and waves of sound, the music of Flamingo creates a poetic space in which pure sound phenomena step forth on the eternal backdrop of silence.
Flamingo is Chris Heenan on contrabass clarinet, Adam Pultz Melbye on double bass, and Christian Windfeld on snare drum, percussion & objects. On LOUD they expand the trio with sound artist and engineer Roy Carroll. In LOUD...

“Steeped is the second album release from Forebrace, the welcome follow-up to Bad Folds. For those who delighted in that album, the good news is that the quartet's line-up remains unchanged, and the balance between composed and improvised music is as before, with composed pieces credited to Forebrace's leader and clarinetist, Alex Ward, alternating with improvisations credited to the whole group. The big difference between Steeped and its predecessor is that this album was recorded live in concert...

“No surprise in comparing this release to the Rova Sax Quartet. It features Jon Raskin, a founding member of that ensemble, as well as fellow saxophonists Frank Gratkowski and Phillip Greenlief. Recorded on two dates, one in 2007 and the other in 2010, this intrepid trio gives their instruments a workout across nine tracks.
Honestly, limited-palette releases like this can be hit or miss. But in the right hands, three saxes can offer a broad range of pitches and textures. Such is the case for All At...

“The Out Louds is a new formation of three accomplished improvisers: clarinetist Ben Goldberg, guitarist Mary Halvorson and drummer Tomas Fujiwara. While improvising ensembles usually work within a style, The Out Louds seem to be living up to their name, literally ‘thinking out loud’, seeking different ways to meld their musical thoughts.
Distinct approaches arise everywhere here, whether it’s a lead voice establishing a distinctly odd tack or supportive bits that wander far afield, sometimes...

“Having been recorded live the compositions are free flowing and continuous in sound throughout, with one piece blending into another either through the pieces being merged together through performance, and the possible use of sympathetic editing with Fujiwara’s drums often providing the link. Fujiwara’s drums generate a scattering of sound and the skittering rhythms create great interplay between the guitar and the trumpet. Brandon Seabrook is very deft at carefully using effects to colour the...

“By way of introduction, Gauci parades his easygoing burly tenor saxophone, blending emphatic motifs amid roller coaster lines in a limber double act with Filiano’s nimble-fingered stylings, which fuse melody with rhythmic attack on the opening ‘Epee’. That’s followed by a similarly involved pairing of cornet and bass at the outset of ‘Ghosting’, before Gauci joins to inaugurate a spirited three-way interaction. It’s immediately obvious that as a group they are fully formed, missing nothing, a feeling...

“The disc begins with, "That Was For Albert 10," Golia's tenor wrapping around Bradford's smearing trumpet for a repeating fanfare over the free range drums of Cline and the rambling pulsations of Filiano. Suddenly, the band contracts into "straight" time playing, just ahead of a dual solo by the two horns. Bradford finally breaks loose for a few laps around the field before Golia erupts with a massive tenor solo full of long lines broken up by well-timed screams.
"Otolith" has a vaguely...

"Empiricism in the west" is a revelation, two amazing wind players - saxophonist, clarinetist and flautist Vinny Golia and saxophonist Urs Leimgruber - in a series of free improvising duos pushing their instruments into unusual and captivating territories.
The aim of this luxurious collaboration is to obtain a synergy of the sounds of all the instruments, keeping in mind all that the technique involves: circular breathing, search for dissonances, multiphonics, exaltation of acoustic dynamics...

“The veteran Guillermo Gregorio is back and this is the debut of a duo with the young double bass player Brandon Lopez. The clarinetist after having lived in the sixties in Buenos Aires and later moved to Chicago where for years he was an integral part of the local scene, now lives in New York and among the many and more recent collaborations, the meeting with Lopez is actually worth note. The listening between the two is superlative and the sound produced by clarinet and double bass is warm and...

“Out and unusual compositions from drummer Ben Hall and his sextet with Mick Dobday on electric piano & organ, Anthony Levin DEcanini on electronics, Ronnie Zawadi on percussion, John Dierker on reeds, Mike Khoury on viola & violin, and joined by Joe Morris on guitar, for 6 "Spines", free compositions using odd compositional structures leading to superb solo and group playing. Each Spine presents a unique sonic world, from aggressive playing to abstract and sonically fascinating interludes, with...

Mary Halvorson-guitar
Chris Speed-sax
Eivind Opsvik-bass
Tomas Fujiwara-drums

“Halvorson is a highly inventive composer and improviser, playful, yet fierce when she needs to be, with a knack for oblique melodies and rhythmic hooks which her crack New York quartet knock in and out of orbit.
Reverse Blue's ten tracks feature some genuinely lovely tunes alongside some ingenious twists, with Halvorson wrapping her fingers around pretty Baroque figures, Moroccan modes, wiggy...

“Mary Halvorson is involved in so many side projects it's hard to pick a favorite ; until now. Sifter, her trio with Kirk Knuffke (cornet) and Matt Wilson (drums), has created one of the most inviting discs of the year with its self-titled debut. The compositions are concise. The themes are hummable. The solos never venture too far from home, and yet conversely it's a highly adventurous recording.
This album is loaded with surprises, as on ‘Back and Forth,’ where the main theme goes up and...

Ig Henneman – viola
Jaimie Branch – trumpet
Anne La Berge - flute

“
Three eccentric sketching women who succeeded in converting the concert hall into a spectacle with a drowned diesel engine on a race track, although it did not turn into a crazy fair. No, it was primarily an ode to the ingenious freedom, an intensely varied and colorful performance that was permeated by fun and games, but one of the kind that made your feelers and imagination run wild by its fresh originality, abrasive...

“In the Sea’s eponymous new album for Relative Pitch features just a string trio, allowing the players to settle into a chamberlike collision of approaches. Double bassist Nicolas Caloia and violinist Joshua Zubot bring brio and care to Honsinger’s pieces, which draw from classical music, Italian folk, and his aforementioned slapstick aesthetic, loads of nonsensical singing alternately limning pretty melodies and harnessing pure chaos.
Improvisation and attuned interplay between the players define...

Tristan Honsinger-cello, voice
Antonio Borghini-double bass
Axel Dörner-trumpet
Tobias Delius-tenor sax, clarinet

“Tristan Honsinger, Axel Dörner, Tobias Delius and Antonio Borghini played their first concert as a quartet in the legendary Berlin venue “Miss Hecker” in 2010. The spontaneous meeting turned quickly into a working band named “Hook, Line & Sinker”. The combination of music, movement and theater, trademark of Honsinger’s work in the last 40 years, finds in this quartet a.

“Happy Jazz gathers the results of a studio gig in the fall of last year, but in usual Relative Pitch fashion additional details are few and ultimately secondary to the deliberate and distinctive nearly 80-minutes of music-making on offer.
The album title isn’t exactly an intuitive appellation describing the structured sounds the three players conjure together, but it does seem a fair summation of their shared mood from moment to moment in each other’s company. As with the scant annotative...

“Google is a useful tool in the topical unpacking of Uncompahgre, an improvised conclave between cornetist Kirk Knuffke and clarinetist Ben Goldberg that makes the absence of other instruments inconsequential and even preferred. The album title derives from the Ute phrase for ‘muddied water’ and references a plateaued peak in the San Juan Mountains that is also the most elevated section of the Colorado River drainage basin. Geography and language aside, the instrumentation also directly recalls earlier...

“Two of the most fascinating musicians of the free improvisation scene are Ingrid Laubrock on sax and Tom Rainey on drums, partners in life and partners in music. Their musical universe is something special, one of resonance and emphasis, of intimate immediacy and deep restraint, rather than effects and spectacular outbursts.
Or to put it differently, the rawness of the duo setting is softened by the lyricism and accuracy of the playing. Laubrock's tone is warm and round as usual, while Rainey's...

“Recorded at the end of a 2014 US tour, Buoyancy is the second duo release from saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and drummer Tom Rainey, a team who have collaborated on so many recordings that it’s really gotten hard to keep track of them all. Last year they played together on at least three records, including Laubrock’s Ubatuba project and the under-recognized trio album Hotel Grief (with Mary Halvorson).
What’s clear in this more intimate format is the undeniable rapport Laubrock and Rainey possess...

“This is a very intimate record; the recording makes it so. Recorded and mixed by Andy Taub, mastered by Weasel Walter, no less. Closely miked sax, Laubrock’s slightly hollow, dry tone, even austere, on the way to haunting. What you hear is breath, space, muted tonguing, a hint of the room echo, a squawk here, a gently laid tone there, a very personal saxophone. Rainey’s brushes are sweet, just enough, not too much. His cymbal touches and rim hits are measured, chasing after Laubrock, occasionally...

“Bass and flute represent significant tonal contrasts and here, flutist Jerome Bourdellon and world-renowned bassist, composer and improviser Joelle LEandre divulge innumerable perspectives and quite a bit of food for thought on these duets. However, Bourdellon employs bass clarinet and bass flute on two tracks, as no other instruments are nestled into the mid-sections of the program and the artists follow similar modalities to complement and support each other.
Each piece presents a different ...

“Contrabassist Joélle Leandre and West Coast woodwind player Phillip Greenlief work out 11 different compositions between their two respective instruments and voices on That Overt Desire of Object. The flexibility and space that each provides the other seems to be reflected in the line note comments about the negative effects of greed. The title is a variation of the Luis Bu±uel movie That Obscure Object of Desire (1977), with a playing field that appears a bit more level when compared to the bassist's...

James Brandon Lewis - Tenor Saxophone
Jaimie Branch - Trumpet
Luke Stewart - Bass
Anthony Pirog - Guitar
Warren Trae Crudup III - Drums

Being lucky enough to live in the surprisingly active cauldron of great music that is currently happening in DC, I have also been lucky enough to see James’ regular trio [James, Luke and Warren] several times because Luke is a DC’er and he makes it happen!
They are a very fine free jazz trio built on heads-style trio who have knocked m

Christian Lillinger-drums
Tobias Delius-tenor sax & clarinet

“In conversations Delius often mumbles, he sometimes gets lost in anacoluthons, just to use very elaborate and eloquent constructions in the next sentences. Lillinger, on the other hand, is someone who talks very rapidly, his sentences ricochet through the air. He throws in ideas, interrupts his thoughts, turns in another direction, just to be absolutely precise within a second. As a drummer his style is incredibly inventive and...

“The best free improvisation ensembles generally carry three characteristics: tremendous mastery by the individual instrumentalists, sympathetic listening, and instinctual timing. This quartet displays all three on this fantastic recording released by Relative Pitch. The group is comprised of Brandon Lopez (Brandon Lopez Trio, Xivaros, The Mess, Nate Wooley Quartet) on Contrabass, Matt Nelson (Battle Trance, GRID, tUnE-yArDs) on Tenor Saxophone, Andria Nicodemou (Leap of Faith, London Improvisers...