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August 9 , 2013

Reviews of the Week

Geoffrey Norris from Gramophone magazine is thrilled by the Reinventions of the late Stefano Scodanibbio

‘Reinventions’ for string quartet, which occupied him during the period 2004-09, is a striking example of the ghostly, fugitive imagery that his technique and his tonal imagination could conjure up. The framework of the piece is established by three Contrapuncti (I, V and IV) from Bach’s ‘The
Art of Fugue’, interspersed with arrangements of four Spanish guitar pieces and five Mexican songs. What a mismatch and mishmash, one might imagine, with the smoochy Mexican ‘Sandunga’ rubbing shoulders with Bach at his most contrapuntally studied. But the whole, lasting more than an hour, holds together remarkably well, subtle motivic links and contrasts of mood combining to lend Scodanibbio’s approach both cohesion and variety. [...] with harmonics as a constant defining factor, the music’s atmosphere, as the Quartetto Prometeo’s first-rate performance shows, is forever haunting.
Geoffrey Norris, Gramophone

After hearing his music on Night Sessions Austrian magazine Concerto considers John Potter, founder of the Dowland project, a time-traveller

Mit Barry Guy am Kontrabass, dem Holzbläser John Surman, Maya Homburger/Barockvioline, dem Lautisten/Gitarristen Stephen Stubbs und Miloš Valent/Violine/Viola, lässt John Potter die Sogwirkung der Musik der Renaissance mühelos die Zeiten von mehr als 450 Jahren überschreiten, als Improvisation ganz selbstverständlicher Teil des Musizierens war. New Improvised Comtemporary Music für neugierige Ohren und Geister der Gegenwart im Jahre 2013.
Thomas Hein, Concerto

Somewhere by Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette impresses a British reviewer

In reviewing this latest live performance from July 2009 one is again won over firstly by the empathy that these three master musicians share, and bring to the concert stage, and more importantly the emotional feeling that they impart when playing. These guys now operate at such a high level that even familar material is approached with a fresh conception with the trio being able to take this material wherever they wish, without ever losing the character of the song.
From the opening solo piano intro 'Deep Space' Jarrett allows his musical personality to win through as opposed to any sort of technical display, and when the bass and drums enter, and the trio ease into 'Solar' the resultant feel from their combined forces is not felt but appears totally tangible as if one could literally lean back on the rhythmic pulse created by Peacock and DeJohnette.
The ballads are superb, with my pick of the bunch being a delightful 'Stars Fell On Alabama', and a wonderful reading of 'I Thought About You' which retains the link with Miles' that the trio forged on their ‘Bye Bye Blackbird’ tribute to Davis, along with the aforementioned 'Solar'. The three swing with a vengence on Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim's 'Tonight' as opposed to their treatment of 'Somewhere' that segues into Jarrett's 'Everywhere' with its subtle and dynamically varied ostinato that retains interest by drawing the listener in to the heartbeat of the music. In an effort to try and prevent the superlatives continuing to pour out, let's just say that this is definitely an album to be savoured and essential listening for anyone interested in the history of the piano trio, and leave it at that.
Nick Lea, JazzViews

An Austrian reviewer finds an ‚almost brutal elegance’ in the playing of the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble on Outstairs

Mit seinem originell besetzten Sextett (je zwei Bläser und Streicher, Tasten und Drums) öffnet der Pianist den Jazz sowohl zur Alten als auch zur Neuen Musik. Er lässt Trompete und Streicher ein feierliches Legato über einen perkussiven Puls legen, der mitunter von nachgerade brutalistischer Eleganz ist.
Klaus Nüchtern, Der Falter

Praise for Terje Rypdal's Melodic Warrior by British website Jazzcamera

Norwegian guitarist Rypdal presents two immensely impressive orchestral works on this new release. ‘Melodic Warrior’ features the outstanding British vocal group The Hillaird Ensemble, who commissioned the work, and was recorded 10 years ago with the Bruckner Orchestra at the Brucknerhaus Linz, conducted by Dennis Russell Davies. It really is a powerfully atmospheric, imaginative and moving work, with the text drawn from Native American poetry. The voices are haunting, the orchestral writing dark and at times menacing, and Rypdal’s long sustained notes on electric guitar piercing through the sound picture like bright shafts of sunlight.
The second work, ‘And The Sky Was Coloured With Waterfalls And Angels’, features Rypdal with the Wroclaw Philhamonic under Sebastian Perlowski. It is a much ore turbulent and complex creation, and quite demanding in its relentless abstraction. Rypdal has created some impressive orchestral works in the past, but the release of Melodic Warrior will enhance his reputation considerably.
John Watson, Jazzcamera

Downbeat on In Full View by the Julia Hülsmann Quartet

It does not diminish Julia Hülsmann to state that trumpeter Tom Arthurs steals the spotlight on the German pianist’s third ECM recording. [...] Arthurs displays a romanrtic lyricism that is reminiscent of Kenny Wheeler, without the elder trumpeter’s signature balletic intervals or artfully cracked notes. His tone glows warmly throughout ‘In Full View’, and his melodic voice is that of a story teller.
James Hale, Downbeat

German weekly Die Zeit re-discovers an old classic: John Abercrombie's Timeless

Alles war neu damals und wartete darauf, dass einer kommt und die Fäden verknüpft: die Vitalität des Rock mit der Intensität des Jazz, die Individualität der Improvisation mit der Gemeinschaft des Tanzes. [..] 38 Jahre nach der Erstveröffentlichung von ‚Timeless’ haben die verzerrten Gitarrensounds den Reiz des Neuen ebenso abgelegt wie die Filterspiele am Synthesizer, und was damals neue Ansätze waren, hatte sich bald im schalen Gewässer der Fusion aufgelöst Aber die Faszination ist sofort wieder da. Jeder Ton vertraut, jede Dissonanz ein alter Freund. Es ist das Zusammenspiel, der Geist von Grenzenlosigkeit und Gemeinschaft, die Spannung zwischen den Polen die diese Musik hat reifen lassen: frei und schön und zeitlos.
Stefan Hentz, Die Zeit