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April 5 , 2012

Reviews of the Week

American monthly Stereophile makes Tord Gustavsen's The Well its record of the month

Though Gustavsen's music sounds mellifluous, gentle, mellow, and laid-back, it is not created for the casual ear any more than Bach's was. The lullaby is less a form than an intent—to soothe with sound a restive soul—that is difficult to fake. The qualities in Gustavsen's music of affection and respect—for each note, interval, rolling modulation, silence, and fellow player—are perhaps as high as I have heard in improvised music. These lullabies are not for putting the listener to sleep, but to quiet the listener enough to be able to fully hear them. The Well is the opposite of a blowing or cutting session—the emphasis is not on how many notes can be played, or how virtuosically, but on how much music can be made with as few notes as possible. Gustavsen's classical training is audible in his precise articulation; he seems to release each note with reluctance, only when it, or he, is ready. The music sounds no less spontaneous for seeming almost through-composed. The players do not impose themselves on listener or rhythm. Instead, one feels invited to an intimate musical séance in which the music is revealed in utter nakedness, with no hint of exhibitionism.
Richard Lehnert, Stereophile

Berner Zeitung is impressed by Masabumi Kikuchi's Sunrise

Ein geniales Spiel mit der Inspiration des Augenblicks ist es, wenn sich der Japaner Masabumi Kikuchi im Pianotrio mit dem jungen Kontrabassisten Thomas Morgan und Schlagzeuglegende Paul Motian trifft. […] Kikuchis Musik ist die eines konsequent Einzelnen, der weitgehend isoliert von Szenen seit 1974 in New York lebt und eine in jedem Wortsinn eigene Musik von irritierender Schönheit macht. […] Im November 2011 ist Motian 80-jährig gestorben. Dies ist auch ein finales Dokument seiner Größe.
Ulrich Steinmetzger, Berner Zeitung

Tim Berne's Snakeoil is hailed in BBC Music

The choice of Noriega as a front-line partner for Berne was an inspired one. The two display enviable empathy, the kind that only develops over time. When he solos with Berne, their lines intertwine and weave around each other. […] Snakeoil opens an interesting new chapter for Berne, this fine quartet promising much for the coming years on ECM.
John Eyles, BBC Music

Austrian magazine KULTUR is stunned by Andy Sheppard's Trio Libero

Mal lyrisch-sehnsuchtsvoll, dann wieder heiter gelöst, stets unaufgeregt, aber doch nicht ohne den gewissen Kick. Wie schon der Titel „Trio Libero“ vermuten lässt, handelt es sich hier aber nicht um einen Solisten mit zwei Begleitern, sondern um drei höchst individuelle Musikerpersönlichkeiten, die intensive Kommunikation und Interplay auf höchstem Niveau betreiben.
[…]Das Trio hat sich merklich viel Zeit genommen, um für sich eine stimmige musikalische Welt zu erschaffen, in der nichts Dissonantes Platz hat. Es hat sich gelohnt, denn herausgekommen ist eines der schönsten Kammerjazz-Alben der letzten Jahre.
Peter Füssl, KULTUR

The Boston Globe on Miklós Perényi's Britten/Bach/Ligeti

This is a modern-tilted solo disc by a veteran Hungarian cellist who deserves to be far better known. Miklós Perényi’s tone has a soulful earthiness and a molten core, and its qualities are wonderfully integrated from bottom to top.
David Weininger, The Boston Globe

All Our Reasons receives a raving review from Douglas Detrick on Aboutjazz.com

All Our Reasons is full of […] moments filled with unexpectedness, as though the music is a volatile gas that can explode at any minute. The element of surprise, and the sensitive, adaptive playing by the quartet, result in these twists and turns that give the music its own colorful vitality, and make the album worth attentive and repeated listening. Hart’s quartet is a band of strong personalities all with great talent for collaboration, a wonderful combination that is all too rare. All Our Reasons is sure to be among 2012’s best.
Douglas Detrick, Aboutjazz.com