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Posts tagged “Jazz

From ECM: New Jazz Releases

New from ECM

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Steve Kuhn Trio Wisteria
ECM 2257

Steve Kuhn piano
Steve Swallow bass
Joey Baron drums

“Wisdom and wistfulness are intertwined in Wisteria, whose title track, written by Art Farmer, takes us back to the early 60s, when both Steve Kuhn and Steve Swallow sang softly of the blues in the trumpeter-flugelhornist’s band. They’ve shared a lot of history since then. Swallow played on Kuhn’s classic Trance; Kuhn played on Swallow’s Home and So There. Drummer Joey Baron has been heard with Kuhn on ECM discs including Remembering Tomorrow and the dazzling tribute disc Mostly Coltrane. This new album takes a fresh look at several pieces heard in Kuhn’s orchestral Promises Kept collection, but alongside the aching balladry there is also some driving hard bop (on A Likely Story) , a brace of Swallow tunes (Dark Glasses), Carla Bley’s gospel-tinged Permanent Wave and the Brazilian Romance by Dori Caymmi… In all, a varied programme that the trio seems to sail through effortlessly, master musicians beyond the need to prove anything, creating the agreeable illusion that this demanding music is playing itself.”

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Billy Hart All Our Reasons
ECM 2248

Mark Turner tenor saxophone
Ben Street double bass
Ethan Iverson piano
Billy Hart drums

“First ECM recording of a quartet formed in 2003. Originally billed as the Ethan Iverson-Mark Turner Quartet, it soon became the Billy Hart Quartet, and under this name has played shows to packed houses each year in New York City. The group’s first album for hard-bop label High Note in 2005 figured on many critics’ best-of-the year list. Since then, the ensemble’s music has gotten more free and spacious, a sensibility that aligns perfectly with ECM. While drummer Hart’s swinging beat and delicate cymbal tracery have previously been heard on the label behind Charles Lloyd and Bennie Maupin, and tenorist Mark Turner has appeared on acclaimed recording with the Fly Trio and Enrico Rava, All Our Reasons is a label debut for Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street. Hart, Iverson and Turner all contribute material, which includes modern blues, a Coltrane tribute and an Iverson-penned homage to Paul Bley, the wonderfully-titled Nostalgia for the Impossible.”

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Masabumi Kikuchi Trio Sunrise
ECM 2096

Masabumi Kikuchi piano
Thomas Morgan double bass
Paul Motian drums

“An ECM debut from Masabumi Kikuchi and a last session from the great Paul Motian. Motian and Kikuchi were friends for many years and Paul understood the idiosyncracies and the wayward charm of the Japanese pianist’s highly personal style perhaps better than anyone. The trio – completed by Zen bassist Thomas Morgan – makes new art out of the interactive free rubato ballad. A strangely beautiful album.”

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Andy Sheppard,Michel Benita,Sebastian Rochford Trio Libero
ECM 2252

Andy Sheppard tenor and soprano saxophones
Michel Benita double-bass
Sebastian Rochford drums

“UK saxophonist Andy Sheppard’s second ECM album introduces his freely lyrical new trio with Michel Benita and Sebastian Rochford. All three players share a sense of stylistic open-mindedness. Drummer Rochford is one of the young players changing perceptions of British jazz with bands Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland. Algiers-born French bassist Benita, who cites Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro as influences, has played with Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz and in the ELB trio with Nguyên Lê and Peter Erskine. Repertoire here includes originals by Sheppard, Benita and Rochford, plus group improvisations and the standard I’m Always Chasing Rainbows. In all contexts, interaction is highly creative, as Benita and Rochford respond perceptively to Sheppard’s melodically and rhythmically inventive lines. Recorded July 2011 at Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano.”

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Anders Jormin Ad Lucem
ECM 2232

Mariam Wallentin voice
Erika Angell voice
Fredrik Ljungkvist clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
Anders Jormin double-bass
Jon Fält drums

“Bassist Anders Jormin steps out with one of his projects, with an ensemble formed for the Swedish Jazz Celebration 2010. Anders sets his own lyrics – written in ancient Latin – and poetry of Denmark’s Pia Tafdrup for singers Mariam Wallentin and Erika Angell. Anders: ‘Latin seems to carry an almost magic ability to embrace and express whatever humanity has needed to communicate. The sense of eternity and mystery of this ancient language joined with the instantaneous presence and creativity of true improvisers became the inspiring framework in which the distinctive compositions came alive.’ Improvisers on hand are the great Swedish free sax player Fredrik Ljungkvist and Jormin’s highly expressive partner from the Bobo Stenson Trio, drummer Jon Fält. “

ECM might just be the finest recording company in the world.


From ECM – New Releases in March 2012

New from ECM

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Billy Hart All Our Reasons
ECM 2248

Mark Turner tenor saxophone
Ben Street double bass
Ethan Iverson piano
Billy Hart drums

“First ECM recording of a quartet formed in 2003. Originally billed as the Ethan Iverson-Mark Turner Quartet, it soon became the Billy Hart Quartet, and under this name has played shows to packed houses each year in New York City. The group’s first album for hard-bop label High Note in 2005 figured on many critics’ best-of-the year list. Since then, the ensemble’s music has gotten more free and spacious, a sensibility that aligns perfectly with ECM. While drummer Hart’s swinging beat and delicate cymbal tracery have previously been heard on the label behind Charles Lloyd and Bennie Maupin, and tenorist Mark Turner has appeared on acclaimed recording with the Fly Trio and Enrico Rava, “All Our Reasons” is a label debut for Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Ben Street. Hart, Iverson and Turner all contribute material, which includes modern blues, a Coltrane tribute and an Iverson-penned homage to Paul Bley, the wonderfully-titled Nostalgia for the Impossible.”


Masabumi Kikuchi Trio Sunrise
ECM 2096

Masabumi Kikuchi piano
Thomas Morgan double bass
Paul Motian drums

“An ECM debut from Masabumi Kikuchi and a last session from the great Paul Motian. Motian and Kikuchi were friends for many years and Paul understood the idiosyncracies and the wayward charm of the Japanese pianist’s highly personal style perhaps better than anyone. The trio – completed by Zen bassist Thomas Morgan – makes new art out of the interactive free rubato ballad. A strangely beautiful album.”

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Anders Jormin Ad Lucem

Mariam Wallentin voice
Erika Angell voice
Fredrik Ljungkvist clarinet, bass clarinet, tenor saxophone
Anders Jormin double-bass
Jon Fält drums

“Bassist Anders Jormin steps out with one of his projects, with an ensemble formed for the Swedish Jazz Celebration 2010. Anders sets his own lyrics – written in ancient Latin – and poetry of Denmark’s Pia Tafdrup for singers Mariam Wallentin and Erika Angell. Anders: ‘Latin seems to carry an almost magic ability to embrace and express whatever humanity has needed to communicate. The sense of eternity and mystery of this ancient language joined with the instantaneous presence and creativity of true improvisers became the inspiring framework in which the distinctive compositions came alive.’ Improvisers on hand are the great Swedish free sax player Fredrik Ljungkvist and Jormin’s highly expressive partner from the Bobo Stenson Trio, drummer Jon Fält.”

ECM might just be the finest recording company in the world.


From The Wall Street Journal: Rudy Van Gelder “New Jersey Jazz Revolution”

This is copyright protected, so just a few notes.

MARC MYERS
FEBRUARY 7, 2012

“On Saturday, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will honor Mr. [Rudy] Van Gelder with a Trustees Award—a Grammy that recognizes his lifelong contribution to jazz recording. As an engineer, Mr. Van Gelder is credited with revolutionizing the sound of music in the LP era—capturing the distinct textures of each instrument and giving jazz albums a warm, natural tone.

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Mr. Van Gelder is still a stickler for details. Since 1952, the 87-year-old engineer has recorded thousands of jazz albums—first at his parents’ home in Hackensack, N.J., and then here [Englewood Cliffs, N.J.]. The lengthy list includes Miles Davis’s “Workin’,” Sonny Rollins’s “Saxophone Colossus,” Art Blakey’s “Moanin’,” John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme,” Wayne Shorter’s “Speak No Evil” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay.”

See the full article here. Or, hey!! Buy the paper.


From Blue Note Records: Norah Jones, Amos Lee, and Robert Glasper

Available this Spring
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Norah Jones Little Broken Hearts
(Blue Note/EMI) T.B.A

Norah Jones is set to release a new album this spring entitled Little Broken Hearts , a collaboration with the producer and musician Danger Mouse. The two first worked together when Danger Mouse called upon Jones to contribute vocals to his acclaimed 2011 album ROME, and their connection proved deep enough that they decided to collaborate on Jones’ fifth studio album. Little Broken Hearts, which features original songs co-written by Jones and Danger Mouse, is the fascinating next step in the artistic evolution of one of the most intriguing singers to have emerged in the past decade. Together they have married their highly personal styles to create an entirely new sound.”

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Norah Jones

Available 2/14/12
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Amos Lee As The Crow Flies

As The Crow Flies, a six- song collection of previously unreleased material from the Mission Bell sessions will be released on February 14th.”

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Amos Lee

Available 2/28/12
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Robert Glasper Black Radio

Robert Glasper Experiment has announced North American tour dates including a February 28 show at the Highline Ballroom in New York City in celebration of their highly-anticipated new album Black Radio, which will be released by Blue Note Records that same day. The Highline Ballroom show will feature special guests including Chrisette Michele, Lalah Hathaway and others. Tickets are currently on sale through the Highline Ballroom website. Glasper’s tour will also bring him to Philadelphia, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington DC, with more dates to be announced shortly. See below for a full list of upcoming tour dates. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of Black Radio can be viewed on Glasper’s YouTube Channel.”

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Live at the Greene Space: “Conversation and Performance with Terence Blanchard”

“The Global Salon: New Orleans, U.S.A. will be the climactic season finale where reflections from each previously imagined region offer up a magical, spiritual energy of renewal and empowerment. Host Eddie Robinson, a native of the Gulf region, will lead audience members on an explosive journey of music, culture, arts, and film as the city’s rebuilding, environmental initiatives, and recovery efforts become the foundation for the salon.

Conversation and Performance with Terence Blanchard, Golden Globe nominee/Grammy-winning film composer, musician — A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem For Katrina) (2007); Red Tails (2012) and The Terence Blanchard Quintet”

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Terrance Blanchard

Tickets: $30.00
Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Venue: The Greene Space
44 Charlton Street, New York, NY
(corner of Varick Street)


New From ECM This Month

New from ECM

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Tord Gustavsen Ensemble: The Well
(ECM 2237)

Tore Brunborg tenor saxophone
Tord Gustavsen piano
Mats Eilertsen double bass
Jarle Vespestad drums

“Two years after Restored, Returned introduced this line-up and with extensive touring behind them, on The Well the four musicians of the Gustavsen Quartet really blossom as a band in a programme of new tunes by Tord. Sax player Tore Brunborg is given an important voice here, his melodic lines combining bluesy sonority and Nordic cry. Gently but effectively propelled by the subtle pulses of drummer Jarle Vespestad and bassist Mats Eilertsen, Gustavsen’s gospel-tinged, unhurried piano playing displays a characteristic warmth and tenderness.”

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Tim Berne Snakeoil
(ECM 2234)

Tim Berne alto saxophone
Oscar Noriega B♭ and bass clarinets
Matt Mitchell piano
Ches Smith drums; percussion

“After compelling contributions to ECM discs by David Torn and Michael Formanek, here is Tim Berne’s first leader date for the label. Snakeoil introduces a fascinating ensemble, a ‘chamber-like group’in Berne’s words, albeit one that packs some power. Tim’s tough alto is heard with Oscar Noriega’s earthy clarinets, Mat Mitchell’s cryptic piano, and Ches Smith’s tone-conscious drums, tympani, gongs and congas. Berne: “I’d decided on this very transparent instrumentation to try and avoid obvious stylistic references and to focus the listener on the musical ideas being presented.” Two years of wood-shedding preceded the recording of Snakeoil at New York’s Avatar Studios early in 2011, and the band was ready to roar. The disc is issued on the eve of a tour that takes in dates on both sides of the Atlantic.”

tl
Andy Sheppard Trio Libero
(ECM 2252)

Andy Sheppard tenor and soprano saxophones
Michel Benita double-bass
Sebastian Rochford drums

“UK saxophonist Andy Sheppard’s second ECM album introduces his freely lyrical new trio with Michel Benita and Sebastian Rochford. All three players share a sense of stylistic open-mindedness. Drummer Rochford is one of the young players changing perceptions of British jazz with bands Polar Bear and Acoustic Ladyland. Algiers-born French bassist Benita, who cites Charlie Haden and Scott LaFaro as influences, has played with Archie Shepp, Dewey Redman, Lee Konitz and in the ELB trio with Nguyên Lê and Peter Erskine. Repertoire here includes originals by Sheppard, Benita and Rochford, plus group improvisations and the standard I’m Always Chasing Rainbows. In all contexts, interaction is highly creative, as Benita and Rochford respond perceptively to Sheppard’s melodically and rhythmically inventive lines. Recorded July 2011 at Auditorio Radiotelevisione svizzera, Lugano.”

ECM might just be the finest recording company in the world.


From Cuneiform Records in January 2012

Cuneiform Records

If Not Inertia

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Ergo If not Inertia
Cuneiform Rune 339

Brett Sroka,trombone and computer
Carl Maguire, Rhodes electric piano and analog synth,
Shawn Baltazor, drums

Ergo is a trio made up of Carl Maguire on Rhodes electric piano and analog synth, Shawn Baltazor on drums and lead by Brett Sroka on trombone and laptop. Their music is one of stark melodic beauty, enveloping electro-acoustic texture and empathic imagination. They have been playing together since 2003, combining the modern sound of electronica and beyond with jazz and ambient music. The basic building blocks of their sound are beats and electronics, trombone, the Fender Rhodes and drums. The music here generally develops slowly but it’s also very accessible while remaining something that holds active interest.

In the early 2000s, Brett Sroka began exploring beyond his Jazz background and became fascinated with electronic music, surrounding himself with synthesizers and software. As he sought to reconcile the six hundred years of technology between trombone and computer he also found musicians of similarly elastic and adventurous temperaments. As they continued to play together, an idiosyncratic dynamic began to cohere and Ergo was born. With their debut cd, the band put forth a statement of purpose and were lauded by AllAboutJazz-NY for “Best Debut CD” of 2006. Ergo’s sophomore cd, “multitude, solitude” brings the band further into it’s own. They have refined a unique style of unadorned melody and intrepid improvisation with a sensual approach to the post-modern techniques of sampling, synthesis and signal processing.

If Not Inertia is a release of quietly building and subtly stunning music; music based on loops, improvisation, small composed motifs and the interplay of the musicians. For the first time, on this release, they have worked with two guest musicians, both of them guitarists. Acclaimed new-music/new-jazz guitarist Mary Halvorson appears on nearly half of the album and acoustic guitarist Sebastian Kruger appears on the final track. The guitarists add a new texture to Ergo’s sound; a sound unique in jazz today!

In addition to the music, also included on the CD is a .mov file of a five minute, high quality promotional making of film entitled The Making of If Not Inertia, which has some interview insights from the musicians, as well as some insight from the studio sessions on how this album was created.”

ACTE V

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FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA, ACTE V
Cuneiform RUNE 332/333 CD and DVD

Dimitri Alexaline, trumpet and flugelhorn
Igor Brover, piano and keyboards
Sylvain Ducloux, guitar
Patrick Forgas, drums
Sylvain Gontard, guitar
Denis Guivar’ch, saxophone
Karolina Mlodecka,violin
Kengo Mochizuki,bass
Frederic Norel, violin
Sébastien Trognon, saxes and flute
Benjamin Violet, guitar

“For over 35 years, composer/drummer/bandleader Patrick Forgas has been making progressive jazz/rock music in his native Paris. He has led various incarnations of his Forgas Band Phenomena for nearly 15 years and four previous and excellent albums, all of which have featured shifting personnel, but the group featured on Acte V, the group’s fifth album, has been stable for five years and is the same group that performed on their last release. So, happily, the band still consists of Patrick, Sebastien Trognon on saxes and flute, Dimitri Alexaline on trumpet and flugelhorn, Benjamin Violet on guitar, Karolina Mlodecka on violin, Igor Brover on piano and keyboards, Kengo Mochizuki on bass. These musicians enliven his compositions with an energy and verve that gives his compositions the performances they deserve!

Fusing new jazz directions with the electric crackle of rock with inspired solos, the music will appeal to fans of Frank Zappa’s instrumental works, Jean-Luc Ponty, Morglbl, Return To Forever and Mats/Morgan Band. The quality of the music and performances is obvious from the first note and we’re not the only ones who have noticed, as the group has been invited to play some very high profiles concerts: in 2008 they were invited to Seoul, South Korea to perform and – more relevant to this release – in June 2010, the group were invited to perform at pentultimate edition of NEARFest, performing to a packed audience of over 1,000.

The concert was recorded and filmed and is included here as a 75 minute DVD alongside a completely new studio CD. The CD album features six new songs, ranging in length from 6:30 to 13:30, while the DVD is not only the group’s first-ever concert DVD, but it’s a wonderful summation of their work almost from the beginning, featuring a composition from their 2nd album, Extra-Lucide, two songs from their 3rd album, Soleil 12, two songs from their 4th, Axis of Madness, and two songs from Acte V!

BACK IN THE DAYS

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Michael Gibbs, BACK IN THE DAYS
Cuneiform RUNE 322

Brit-jazz composer and arranger Michael Gibbs was born in 1937 in Zimbabwe. Starting in 1959, he studied in Boston at the Berklee College of Music, the Boston Conservatory , Tanglewood and the Lenox School of Music, where he studied with a who’s who of contemporary jazz and modern composition: George Russell, Gunther Schuller, Iannis Xenakis, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss and others. In 1964 he moved to the UK, where he engaged himself in the rapidly emerging contemporary UK jazz scene. Starting in the late 60s and continuing into the mid 70s, he recorded a number of highly acclaimed and influential albums featuring many of the most prominent British-based jazz players who, like Michael, were beginning to flirt with jazz/rock. Since the mid 70s he has worked as a educator as well as a free-lance arranger, doing arrangements and orchestrations for major names such as Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Peter Gabriel among many others, while too infrequently recording his own music.

Back In The Days is an audiophile recording of this great, too infrequently heard jazz composer and arranger fronting a well-honed 18-piece big band in a program of original modern jazz plus three specially arranged classics. The band is chock-full of great soloists and ensemble players and the legendary vibes player Gary Burton is a featured soloist.

After too many years of lack of consideration strictly because they were not Americans, the profile and interest in the 60s/70s wave of British jazz talents has never been higher and Gibbs is one of the major names in the field. From beginning to end, Back In The Days is a delight for fans of Brit-jazz, contemporary jazz and modern big band music!”

HOLY ABYSS

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HARRISON / FELICIATI / VU / POWELL / WEISS, Holy Abyss
Cuneiform RUNE 334

Joel Harrison, guitarist/composer
Lorenzo Feliciati, bassist/composer
Cuong Vu, trumpet
Roy Powell, Hammond B-3 organ and piano, and
Dan Weiss, drums

Holy Abyss is a collaborative effort between guitarist/composer Joel Harrison and bassist/composer Lorenzo Feliciati. Joining them are trumpeter Cuong Vu, Roy Powell on Hammond B-3 organ and piano, and Dan Weiss on drums.

A masterful electric jazz outing from five great players, this group personifies the worldwide nature of jazz today. Joel Harrison grew up in D.C., moved to the west coast in the late 80s and moved to New York City in the mid 90s where he still resides. Lorenzo Feliciati lives in Rome, Italy but travels the world and has collaborated with Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Bob Mitzer and Donovan and many others. Cuong Vu was born in Vietnam, lived for a number of years in New York City and made his name as a member of the Pat Metheny Group in the 2000s. He is currently a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Roy Powell is from England and resides in Norway, where he works in a wide range of music, including mainstream, jazz piano, avant-garde and electric, funky jazz. Dan Weiss lives in New York City where he has recorded with many of the brightest, upcoming names there.

Harrison and Weiss have played together for many years while Feliciati and Powell also are longtime allies. Vu has recorded and toured with Feliciati and Powell, so even though this is the first recording by these five musicians together, there is a lot of built in chemistry. All share a love of modern jazz that is devoid of stylistic limitations, inclusive of sounds from around the world, infused with electronics, odd meters, and deeply hued, uncommon timbres and tonal palettes.

There is a wonderful symbiosis between Harrison’s and Vu’s sounds. Both favor piercing, gorgeous tones mixed with raw, nasty electronics, and that sound, mixed with Powell’s piano and Hammond B-3, is at once jubilant and hallucinogenic, crackling with energy, and then gently subdued. Weiss delivers his signature mix of driving groove punctuated by pithy, unpredictable asides, and the ever-solid accompaniment on upright bass keeps everything grounded.

This is a marvelous program of modern, tasty, tuneful and occasionally haunting electric jazz, reminiscent of some aspects of classic electric ECM work of the 70s and 80s.”

DECLINE AND FALL

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THINKING PLAGUE, Decline and Fall
Cuneifrom RUNE 320

Sharon Bradford, vocals
Robin Chestnut, drums
Elaine Di Falco, vocals
Bob Drake, bass guitar and other strings, percussion, keyboards
Harry Fleishman, keyboards
Mark Fuller, drums
Mark Harris, saxes and clarinet
Shane Hotle, keyboards
Mike Johnson, guitar
Dave Kerman, drums and percussion
Suzanne Lewis, vocals
Matt Mitchell, piano, harmonium, synths
Eric Moon, keyboards
Deborah Perry, vocals
Kimara Sajn, keyboardist/drummer
David Shamrock, drums
Dave Willey, bass & accordion

Decline and Fall is the long awaited sixth album from a group who personifies the term beloved underground favorites. From the group’s beginnings as a duo doing basement recording experiments nearly 30 years ago until now, Thinking Plague has always had a strong vision of their unique take on progressive rock music. Despite the very long lifespan of the band and the many years between records, the basic sound of the group and instrumentation was set early and the years since have seen interesting variations on their sound, from the stripped down approach of the earliest work to the deep layering of electronic sounds and samples of their last album.

Decline and Fall strips back a lot of the studio-isms and more than ever, sounds like the work of a really powerful band. The album adds a few other new surprises, most notably the addition of wonderful vocalist Elaine Di Falco who fits right into what may be the band’s most demanding job. She sings with great poise and control the band’s hallmark melodic lines – passages that would trip up a lesser vocalist. Also new is keyboardist/drummer Kimara Sajn who plays with tremendous authority on both instruments (although just before finishing up the album, the group added drummer Robin Chestnut who appears on one track). Returning are long-term members Mark Harris on saxes and clarinets, Dave Willey on bass and Mike Johnson, the band’s guitarist, leader and composer.

A new album by Thinking Plague is always an event; working slowly and unwaveringly, the group has released a handful of brilliant, art-rock classics. Decline and Fall is the latest of them.”


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