New From Cuneiform Records
LARS HOLLMER WITH FLOURY HAND (sketches)CD+DVD
“Lars Hollmer was a Swedish composer, accordionist and keyboardist. He was a founding member of the influential “Rock in Opposition (R.I.O.)” movement. His band Samla Mammas Manna, were a huge and hugely popular force on the Swedish progressive rock / avant rock scene for about 15 years in the 70s and into the 80s. After Samla/Zamla/Von Zamla ended in the mid 80s, he founded and performed in a number of other bands. With one or another of his bands he toured throughout Europe, the Americas and beyond.
Starting in the 1980s and concurrent with his band work, he had a solo career where he emphasized his compositions and his accordion playing and he wrote and introduced many beautiful and exciting pieces into the modern accordion repertoire, including a piece that is a modern-day standard in Sweden, “Boeves Psalm”.
“Towards the end of working on Viandra, (Lars) talked about wanting to make a new album that would be full of weird ideas and weird songs. He intended the new album to be a contrast to the melancholy and, at times, dark Viandra that he worked so hard with for several years. He said that he dug deep into his archive and found several hours of unreleased stuff, sketches, demos, and even finished songs, ranging from the early 1980s to 2008. He asked me to listen through the material and suggest a sample. That however did not happen as, in May 2008, my father was diagnosed with severe lung cancer and all plans were put on hold…. This is not With Floury Hand as my father might have imagined it and it is not a finished album. It is my selection from the more than four hours of music my father himself collected for his album. It is a mix of more or less unfinished songs and sketches that I love. It is full of wild and crazy ideas and antics, pieces of utter frivolity, but equally places full of delicate beauty. This is music straight from the heart. Just like how my father was.”-Gabriel Strand Hollmer
With Floury Hand is the final release by Lars Hollmer. In addition to the CD that contains the best recordings of what he was working on before he died and which is a treat in itself, also included is a professionally filmed DVD from 2005 of a performance at the Gouveia Art Rock Festival in Portugal. The beautiful 45′ performance here has six solo pieces, four duet pieces with his long-time friend and musical associate, bassoonist Michel Berckmans (of Univers Zero and Von Zamla), and one track with Miriodor, with all of them performing “Talrika”, the piece Lars specifically wrote for them, plus DVD extras.
JANEL & ANTHONY WHERE IS HOME
“Both musicians, together and separately, have long been an important and active part of Washington D.C.’s new-music scene. Anthony Pirog, an omnivorous, multi-faceted guitarist who studied jazz at Berklee and has performed country, fingerstyle, rock and surf music and Janel Leppin, a conservatory trained cellist steeped in North Indian and Persian classical music, who also plays electric bass in rock bands, have created a lavishly detailed musical journey, by turns ravishing and harrowing. Janel and Anthony alternately charm and challenge, with music that draws from classical, experimental, jazz, rock and electronic traditions but that ultimately is simply theirs.
Self-recording and releasing their 1st album in 2006 and selling thousands of copies at their hundreds of shows, they spent over 3 years conceiving and recording Where Is Home in a professional, analog studio, giving the album a thoughtful, comfortable and lived in feel. Alternating compositions with brief improvisations and soundscapes, Where Is Home captures the dynamic ebb and flow of their live shows where they artfully employ live looping, an array of effects and prepared backing. Simple musical lines grow into complex blocks of echoing sound which eventually are spun and turned into elegiac melodies. The music is both experimental and elegant and smokily psychedelic in a completely modern way.”
Ellen Andrea Wang
Jonas Kilmork Vemøy
Jon Audun Baar
“Pixel, the powerhouse indie-jazz ensemble from Norway, makes an indelible first impression with Reminder. Led by bassist, vocalist and composer Ellen Andrea Wang, the band also features drummer Jon Audun Baar, saxist Harald Lassen and trumpeter Jonas Vemøy. Combining indie-rock energy with the improvisational flexibility of jazz, Pixel are earthy and ethereal, wistful and agressive, sensuous and pummeling.
Pixel features the same classic, piano-less, ‘modern jazz’ quartet lineup of sax, trumpet, bass and drums as the epochal jazz quartets led by Ornette Coleman and Gerry Mulligan. Like these antecedents, the band takes full advantage of the harmonic freedom given by the lack of a chordal instrument, but Pixel is more interested in painting scenes than in setting up extended solos. With sharply etched compositions, Pixel has attained preternatural cohesion after two years together, moving seamlessly from composed passages to group improvisation marked by conversational interplay. A radical democracy, no one instrument stays in the foreground for long. With every track but one clocking well under five minutes, Pixel makes every note count, never wasting a moment or letting a tune wear out its welcome.
All four Pixels are ubiquitous on the fiercely creative Scandinavian jazz scene, which has embraced the quartet as an exemplar of Norway’s populist cutting edge. Slated for a series of major festivals and showcases across the region and the UK in conjunction with the release of Reminder, Pixel is poised to take the jazz world by storm. Like similarly forward thinking groups such as The Bad Plus and Rob Mazurek’s Chicago Underground, this is definitely jazz, but it’s jazz that rock audiences can relate to.
Reminder is the debut release by the most exciting band to come out of the insanely active Norwegian jazz scene in recent memory. In a country where jazz talent seems to seep out through the tap water, that’s saying a lot!”
POSITIVE CATASTROPHE DIBRUJO, DIBRUJO, DIBRUJO…
Taylor Ho Bynum
“Dibrujo, Dibrujo, Dibrujo… is Positive Catastrophe’s second album. Here, the group combines salsa-derived groove with the intensity of modern jazz for a mix that is both artistic (dibujo = drawing) and magical (brujo = sorcerer). It features new music by both Bynum and Gomez-Delgado, including an extended suite by each.
Throughout the recording, all of the performers in the ensemble receive ample room to feature their musical voices and there are exciting scored passages that roll into rollicking solos; this is new music that knows how to swing and shake!”
WADADA LEO SMITH TEN FREEDOM SUMMERS
Wadada Leo Smith • Pheeroan AkLaff • Nels Cline • Michael Gregory • Vijay Iyer • Shannon Jackson • Okkyung Lee • John Lindberg • Don Moye • Brandon Ross • Lamar Smith • Skulli Sverrisson • Suie Ibarra • Josh Gerowitz • Angelica Sanchez • Stephanie Smith • Casey Anderson • Casey Butler • Mark Trayle • Charlie Burgin • Southwest Chamber Music
“Trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers is the work of a lifetime by one of jazz’s true visionaries, a kaleidoscopic, spiritually charged opus inspired by the struggle for African-American freedom and equality before the law. Triumphant and mournful, visceral and philosophical, searching, scathing and relentlessly humane, Smith’s music embraces the turbulent era’s milestones while celebrating the civil rights movement’s heroes and martyrs. This four-disc set documents a stunning, career-capping accomplishment by a jazz giant in the midst of an astonishing creative surge.
An orchestral collaboration with the acclaimed eight-piece ensemble Southwest Chamber Music (harp, clarinet, 2 violins, cello, flute, viola, bass, percussion) conducted by Grammy Award-winner Jeff von der Schmidt, Ten Freedom Summers is built upon Smith’s celebrated Golden Quartet featuring pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Susie Ibarra and/or drummer Pheeroan akLaaf (who often expands the ensemble to a quintet). As a child of the Deep South who was raised in the red-hot crucible of the civil rights movement, Smith traces the project’s origins back to 1977, when he wrote “Medgar Evers,” an expansive evocation of the NAACP activist gunned down in Mississippi 14 years earlier.
Working in fits and starts, Smith completed the 19-piece project 34 years later in October of 2011 with a portentous, elegiac piece for Southwest Chamber Music. In designing the huge, multi-movement work, he focused on the transformative decade framed by the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“I was born in 1941 and grew up in segregated Mississippi and experienced the conditions which made it imperative for an activist movement for equality,” says Smith says, who marked his 70th birthday with a presentation of this, perhaps his most ambitious undertaking. “I saw that stuff happening. Those are the moments that triggered this. It was in that same environment that I had my first dreams of becoming a composer and performer.”
After decades of being revered by his peers and colleagues, Smith is attaining his rightful place at the forefront of American music. Ten Freedom Summers is an important work that combines unique, fully scored rigorous passages and great improvisational skills into one huge and cohesive work. It is a thrilling, emotionally charged and satisfying work from a master.”