Relative Pitch

“Searching for leadership in a singular sense on Geometry of Caves immediately becomes an exercise in needless futility. The foursome behind the fifty-minutes of freely improvised music is resolute in its acceptance of communal responsibility and creation. Vocalist Kyoko Kitamura sings and speaks in wordless flurries, matching and Taylor Ho Bynum’s brassy exhortations on cornet and either bass or piccolo trumpets. Cellist Tomeka Reid and guitarist Joe Morris worry and pluck their respective strings...

Steph Richards - trumpet, flugelhorn, resonating water vessels
Joshua White - piano, preparations, percussion

‘"A virtuoso of otherworldly trumpet sound" (Jazz Times), Steph Richards takes takes a literally transformative experience (Richards was six and a half months pregnant during the session) and shapes a concise, visceral album both in concept and in practice, exploring a more immediate connection between her body and her work. "This record expresses the idea of breathing one breath...

“It’s not a novelty that Canadian-born, New York-based trumpeter Stephanie Richards is a risk-taking artist, considering she has worked with giants of the improvised new music such as Anthony Braxton and Henry Threadgill as well as Kanye West and The Pixies, references in the contemporary rap and indie-rock genres, respectively.
In collaboration with the electronics wizard Dino J.A. Deane, whom she met through the late 'conduction' pioneer Butch Morris, Richards releases her first solo record...

“Long, simple, clear notes, they seem to trail off in the distance. Almost shyly played, as if the saxophonist wanted to approach what she wants to say very tenderly.
After her solo album Coin Coin Chapter 3: River Run Thee Matana Roberts presents herself with an entirely different approach of playing alone. While River Run Thee also included electronics, spoken word poetry, singing and all kind of samples, Always is stripped down to the single voice of her alto. And what a great saxophonist she is!..

Erin Rogers - saxophones, compositions

"2000 Miles – the second solo album from Erin Rogers – dives deep into the sonic underbelly of the saxophone, uncovering a radiant world of imagination and curiosity, where beauty is served raw. Rogers forges an alternative voice for the instrument, percussively blending tone with mechanism and melody with shimmering vocals, gutturals and breath. Singular sounds erupt into splatters of harmonic partials and multiphonics, while layers of industrial...

“A debut solo album from saxophonist Erin Rogers, Breaking Waves explores sonic multiplicity -- growth of a singular sound or idea, “breaking” a single note into two or more parts. Through multiphonics, vocalization, and inciting of outer resonance, Rogers elaborates on the single-note instrument, adding layers of complexity to the solo saxophone in a purely acoustic setting.”

“They combine on three long-form improvs, the shortest of which clocks in at just over 17 minutes, giving ample scope for the freewheeling exploration at which all three excel. They take such an egalitarian approach that it's a noticeable event when one drops out. In a favored gambit, Rupp's scratchy staccato guitar textures jostle against extended legato lines from Schubert and Rogers, but that just provides a launching point for further goings-on in which they match dynamics, hit peaks of intensity and...

“Schindler is playing a brass instrument (trumpet or trombone) when this disc begins which works well with Mr. Blonk’s unique voice. Blonk returns Schindler's squealing and mawing trumpet lute with impossible tongue beats, farting or hissing tongue and hilarious announcements, including ducklike sounds. To capricious humor he tells jokes without words, he tries to make intelligible with comic sounds and with xenophonic singing. To do this, he computerized dirty tones and chirping Klingklang to continue...

Frank Schubert – alto & soprano saxophones
Alexander von Schlippenbach - piano
Martin Blume – drums, percussion

“The trio is comprised of legend and the doyen of improvised music and free jazz: the pianist Alexander von Schlippenbach. The term "accompaniment" is rather unsuitable for the trio: Frank Paul Schubert on alto and soprano saxophone and Martin Blume on drums, act as equal partners. All trio members at ear level are the source of ideas and impulses, their interplay is a subtle.

Masahiko Satoh – piano
Otomo Yoshihide – electric guitar, whistle
Roger Turner – drums and percussion

“The Sea Trio, comprised of legendary pianist Masahiko Satoh, influential guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Otomo Yoshihide and master percussionist Roger Turner, first met and played at the legendary Egg Farm just outside Tokyo. The chemistry was immediate and though it was recorded they wanted to play again and booked at another legendary spot in Tokyo, Pit-Inn, in Shinjuku. The place was

“‘Root Of Things’ is a good example of how an unconventional arrangement can make very natural sounding music. Bisio’s bass lines syncs up with Shipp’s piano lines then diverge onto its own parallel path only to reunite with Shipp again. Dickey acts not as a timekeeper but a third timbre zone, serving dashes of cymbals and tom-toms in measured portions. Together, the symmetry produces something that doesn’t seem ordered but makes sense.
For ‘Solid Circut,’ it’s Shipp’s turn to begin the performance...

“A crucial aspect of the Chamber Ensemble and the String Trio is the harmonic slipperiness that the string players focus on, contra the piano. Mat Maneri is the son of saxophonist and composer Joe Maneri (1927-2009), whose own chamber work focused on microtonal improvisation, and while the violist has certainly forged his own path, his grand swoops and deft ponticello technique tend to blur - if not obliterate - the demarcations of Western tonality. That’s not to say he doesn’t employ romantic late...

Tamio Shiraishi - alto saxophone

"Tamio Shiraishi has worked out of Queens, NY since the early 1990s and regularly plays solo sets in the NYC subway system which have become the stuff of legend. Much of Tamio's solo aesthetic is built off of interactions with a physical space.
These ten archival duos represent some of Tamio's work with like-minded improvisors."

“This is the fourth release in the Relative Pitch solo series which features artists who deserve wider recognition for their solo work.
Tamio Shiraishi was, along with Keiji Haino, a founding member of the Japanese avant garde group Fushitsusha in the late 1970s. Since moving to New York, he has honed his unique approach to the alto saxophone in the NYC subways.
His microtonal exploration of the altissimo-range is on full display here. The seven tracks on Sora are from three studio sessions...

“Saxophonist Catherine Sikora makes a bold and singular statement with her solo album Jersey. Each of the 13 tracks is both a fully realized and poignant stand-alone monologue as well as an essential link in an intimate and deeply personal artistic expression.
A serene, logical progression of notes transforms the calm "The Knowing of Sums" into a passionate and blue-tinged improvisation. Energetic and crisp lines weave a graceful melody that returns to the opening quietude. The ardent and...

Steve Swell - trombone, pocket trumpet

"Rhina P. Espaillat is a poet whose poem “Why Publish?” (please google it!) imagines how her poetry could touch someone 100 years from now. That poem speaks of her connection with a future reader. It inspired me to see my music the same way and think what it might mean for someone who picks up this recording in the future and connect with it in a way I might not have imagined. It might inspire a future listener to take the risk of creating or doing...

“‘Cheerful’ starts out with Lindsjö’s clean guitar tones riding on Strid’s rhythmically probing structures. Küchen’s sax starts out inquiringly with clean tones which increase in intensity, reaching full skronk by the 2 minute mark and blazing through to the end of the piece. ‘Grinning’ finds the group dynamics more active early in the track, with the trio quickly establishing their relationships and direction. Lindsjö hits the overdrive pedal shortly after the initial passages, while Strid provides a....

Rob Mazurek-cornet, voice, bells, modular synth, sampler
Thollem Electric-modified electric paino, analog effects

“Only briefly acquainted, McDonas and Mazurek show remarkable responsiveness to each other in these complex improvisations. The nineteen minute opener "Shouts" begins in a haze of electric piano and synth before Mazurek slips into a disembodied wordless chant adding to the otherworldliness of the piece. About fourteen minutes in, the cornet becomes identifiable, the piano's notes..

Frode Gjerstad – saxes, clarinets, alto flute
Kevin Norton – drums, percussion
David Watson – guitars, Scottish small pipes

“This is the 3rd studio offering from the trio of Frode Gjerstad (saxophones, clarinets, flutes), Kevin Norton (percussion, vibes) and David Watson (guitar and Scottish small pipes), collectively known as TiPPLE.
Comprised of 15 concise explorations, this recording is self-consciously less reed-centric and more "experimental" sounding than their previous...

Reut Regev - trombone, electronics
Igal Foni - drums, percussion

“After over two decades of musical collaboration and shared life, we are happy to finally present our first duo release. Recorded in intimate studio settings right before the pandemic, and then amended over the lockdown in our home studio.
Music is what brought us together in the first place, and it remains central in our shared life. We hope you enjoy our musical moments.”

“It is no longer startling to hear tubes and valves channelling breath and imagination into such fine gradations of utterance. The process of deterritorialization from the trumpet's inherited identity is too far advanced to spring major surprises. The pleasure of listening to Hautzinger and Ulher together lies in the success of their creative interaction, the synergetic uplift of their shared and distinct techniques, their spontaneous responses and intuitive leaps. Prolonged introspection blossoms into...

“Leonel Kaplan plays the trumpet exclusively by focusing his approach on the rustling of the air column, the metaphysics of the tubes in a way (to paraphrase Amelie Nothomb): by playing with multiple pressure levels of the lips and the meticulous closure of the orifices with the pistons, he obtains a range of nuances, dynamics, noise, stamps rather leaded than copper, as they evoke piping.
Birgit Uhler, replies by adding to his remarkable work on the trumpet, the use of a radio, a speaker and...

Lisa Ullén - piano
Elsa Bergman - double bass
Anna Lund - Drums

“Ullén/Bergman/Lund is a piano trio based in Stockholm that plays free jazz that channels the American free jazz tradition as well as contemporary classical music. Combining raw power with an exquisite attention to detail, the three musicians make every moment sparkle with possibilities. In this aural space, every movement matters.
Ullén and fellow Swedes Bergman and Lund are all significant players in the...

“Often compared to the late Kaoru Abe, Masayoshi Urabe's solo performances begin and end with silence. Out of the silence the harmonica slowly emerges, erupting into stabs of harmonica and gutteral cries which then give way to punctuated bursts of alto eventually retreating back into the equilibrium of silence.”

Maria Valencia - alto sax, Bb clarinet, bass clarinet, toy piano, cymbal, percussion

"Compendio de Alofonías Abisales was imagined between the town of Sutatausa (Colombia) and the mountains of Banff (Canada). Intuitively, it was recorded in July 2022 during an artistic residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Inspired by old naturalist manuals, the pieces that make up this recording are fleeting sound taxonomies that ambiguously reveal the movements of the wind, the play of the...

“Turner's supportive playing is well matched with Van Hove's probing and voluminous drive, and is perfectly in tune during the introspective moments. Both of which occur amply during the 26 minute opener 'Life Dealers'.
The duo's repartee is in fine order from the get-go. For example, about ten minutes in, moments of light pianistic whimsy meets Turner's crisp percussion and the two instruments begin pushing each other to extremes. 'Shopped', the second track, is a concise seven minutes and begins...

Benjamín Vergara: trumpet

"This impossibility is propelled as an subterranean homage to trumpet players of the caliber of Don Cherry, Bill Dixon, Miles Davis, Lester Bowie, Tomasz Stanko, Wadada Leo Smith, Jaimie Branch and Chet Baker, all of them sublime atmosphere creators who observe the universe as a unit."

“When I first listened to The Hallowed Plant, I was immediately captivated. It’s a work that grabbed my attention and made immediate, intuitive sense. It seems that that the artists had a similar experience; after all, the band recorded it after having only played together twice previously. Chilean trumpeter Benjamin Vergara (trumpet) traveled to Chicago a few years ago and met Chicago-based musicians Keefe Jackson (reeds), Jim Baker (piano/synthesizer), and Phil Sudderberg (drums). It seems the...

Fie Schouten - bass clarinet, clarinet in A, basset horn
Vincent Courtois - violoncello
Guus Janssen - piano, organ, harmonium, harpsichord
Giuseppe Doronzo - baritone saxophone (tracks 6-8, 10)

“This music is improvised and inspired by Judith Schalansky’s book "Atlas of Remote Islands: 50 islands I never set foot in and never will." The music is an echo of her writing, of inspiration by islands, entities with different and changing characteristics.”

Alex Ward: electric guitar

“’Frames” is the debut solo guitar album from composer/improviser/performing musician Alex Ward. The path leading to the making of this album extended through many years, during which Ward’s approach to the guitar in general and solo playing in particular became solidified. Up until his mid-twenties, Ward was known primarily as a clarinettist and his involvement in improvised music was almost exclusively as a reeds player. During this period Ward was also playing...

ALEX WARD: clarinet (tracks 1, 2 & 4) and electric guitar (tracks 2, 3 & 4)
CHARLOTTE KEEFFE: trumpet and flugelhorn
OTTO WILLBERG: double bass

“Item 4 is Alex Ward's latest ensemble to feature his compositions for improvisers. His previous work in this field with ensembles such as Predicate, Forebrace and the Alex Ward Quintet/Sextet has been described as "deft and utterly mesmeric" (Philip Clark, The Guardian review of Alex Ward Quintet "Glass Shelves And ...

Marta Warelis - piano

“A grain of Earth’ is the first solo venture and expression of several years of working with instant compositions and the timbral possibilities of an acoustic piano. This has been wrapped in an idea of realities beyond our perception, and a thought that we are a part of a big organism where everything goes endlessly bigger and smaller in scale of size, time and speed. Everything moves in constantly interfering waves of energy; echoing and reflecting, in ceaseless dance of...

“Every time experimental British saxophonist John Butcher plays in the northwestern part of this continent his trio is made up of two Vancouver-based players: bassist Torsten Muller and drummer Dylan van der Schyff. Listening to the nine pitch-perfect improvisations on this disc demonstrates why this configuration has been maintained since 2007.
The veteran bassist, who is perfectly capable of atonal string-stretching and scrubbed pulsations, is careful to maintain a connective pumping throughout...

“This latest project Battle Pieces combines Wooley's deft touch at extended technique with his composing skills for like players. Recorded live at Anthony Braxton's Tricentric Foundation in 2014, Wooley brings together saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock (Anti-House, Paradoxical Frog, Mary Halvorson Septet), vibraphonist Matt Moran (Claudia Quintet, Slavic Soul Party, Dan Levin), and pianist Sylvie Courvoisier (Erik Friedlander Trio, Herb Robertson Quintet, and duo with Mark Feldman).
The written music and...

“Commissioned by Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Foundation, trumpeter Nate Wooley developed a modular compositional structure of small melodic, rhythmic, harmonic, conceptual, textural, and timbral fragments, allowing Ingrid Laubrock (sax), Sylvie Courvoisier (piano), and Matt Moran (Vibes) exceptional freedom in improvisation.
Wooley starts of with a fine little melody in the first piece, then Moran comes along, and a few moments later Courvoisier adds some tones to it. It all starts very calm and...

Nate Wooley – trumpet
Ingrid Laubrock – saxophones
Sylvie Courvoisior – piano
Matt Moran – vibraphone
“Battle Pieces 4, recorded live at Brooklyn’s Roulette Intermedium in 2018 is the culmination of Wooley’s set of compositions for quartet. The group, after four years of twisting and torturing Wooley’s ever-expanding set of micro-compositions into new and ever-interesting forms, perform an evening length set that moves through the breadth of their collective history as an ensemble.”

Jack Wright - tenor, alto and soprano saxophones

“There is a delicacy and a passionate hardness, stripped bare of cloying sentiment. Its rawness is the exuberance of sound overflowing, basking in its self-created luxury…. It is, every bit of it, composed the same moment you hear it.”

“Far too often, the skill and detail informing music such as this is neglected by writers attempting description, no matter how sympathetic, in favor of emotive exposition, essentially stripping the discourse of any freedom the music might offer. There’s no denying that Jack and Ben Wright plumb those psychosocial depths, but they accomplish it in a way that foregrounds something akin to linguistic expression, shoving historical precedent to a hot but distant back burner.
Take, for example, the...

If you give this very spacious, large emsemble recording that is very open and also very planned the time and attention that it needs to unfold, I think you’ll be entranced!

“As a musician, I've been curious for many years of how collective musical practices can provide a sense of weightlessness, as well as how a focused interplay can blur the lines between musicians and sound sources and create reconfigurations of the relations between the two. I have also tried to explore these observations in...