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February 10 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

British Press about Andy Sheppard's Trio Libero
The opening Libertino, a typically light-stepping Sheppard melody, somehow manages to create the idea of a witty lament. Wispy tenor-sax fragments turn into quiet snare-drum tattoos peppered with sonorous tom-tom accents. A single standard (I'm Always Chasing Rainbows) is a Jan Garbarek-like soprano sax drifter quietly prodded and pulled by Benita's bass. The long-note and bowed-bass Spacewalk Parts 1 and 2 have a pristine, shivery beauty, and the closing When We Live on the Stars has a slow and sonorous pop song quality. It's low-key, but glowing with life.
John Fordham, The Guardian

Saxophonist Sheppard's chirpy tone and improvisatory alertness have made him a master of his trade for years but this co-op trio with bassist Benita and drummer Rochford - who strokes skins in the intensely musical manner of Paul Motian - puts him on a whole new level. All contribute material, and there's a lovely, oblique version of "I'm always Chasing Rainbows", but the entire album is suffused with a spacious, questing feel that begs for further development in live performance.
Phil Johnson, The Independent on Sunday

Pressreactions on Tim Berne´s Snakeoil
Few musicians working in or around jazz over the last 30 years have developed an idiomatic signature more distinctive than Tim Berne's. An alto saxophonist with a clear but burly tone and a proprietary set of strategies for improvisation - full of gulps and leaps, odd constructions and angular attack - Mr. Berne can be identified just as easily by his compositional style, which somehow skews both discursive and direct. It's all of a piece, coming from one central nervous system, with volatility as an underlying theme.
Nate Chinen, The New York Times

Few contemporary musicians blend composition and improvisation as successfully as this alto saxophonist. Indeed, Tim Berne all but renders that distinction obsolete, so seamlessly does he integrate these apparently contradictory practices. [...] With Snakeoil, there is a sense that Berne is entering a whole new phase in his music, and the group he has been woodshedding for the past two years - clarinetist Oscar Noriega, pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Ches Smith - seems to appreciate just where he's headed.
Cormac Larkin, Irish Times

The Brooklyn-based saxophonist curbs his more rampaging instincts for a well-rehearsed, free-flowing and lyrical chamber-jazz quartet that tempers its improvised freedoms with firmly written structures that unfold and switch mood like shifting sand. There are left-field flutters and explosive thumps from drummer Ches Smith, and atmospheric acoustic piano from Matt Mitchell. Berne spins melody with a strong tone and forceful articulation and Oscar Noriega adds woody-toned clarinet to the twisty themes, acting as both contrast and foil.
Mike Hobart, Financial Times

New Public Radio about If Grief Could Wait
What is refreshing about Wallumrød's approach - and that of her collaborator, baroque harpist Giovanna Pessi - is its honest simplicity. They are not trying to transform Drake and Cohen's songs (or even Purcell's for that matter) into "classical music". The instrumentation, lovingly performed and beautifully recorded, consists of Baroque harp, viola da gamba and nyckelharpa - an antiquated contraption that looks like a cross between a fiddle and keyboard.
Tom Huizenga, New Public Radio