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Wednesday, December 13

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Feature Thu Jan 18 2007

Jazz to Hear from Atavistic's Unheard Music Series

Chicago's Atavistic label and producer John Corbett continue mining the seemingly endless treasure trove of obscure European jazz and improv recordings with four new releases in their on-going Unheard Music Series.

Atavistic is re-releasing gems from the respected German FMP label under the "Archive FMP Edition" moniker and scores two big hits with two reissues by German saxophonist Peter Brötzmann.

Alarm.jpg

The first, Alarm by the Peter Brötzmann Group, features a live 1981 recording of an international nine piece ensemble performing Brötzmann's composition of graphic instructions for a reaction to a nuclear emergency, and a brief blues set-closer based on Coltrane's Some Other Blues called "Jerry Sacem" composed by saxophonist Frank Wright. The album's title comes from the fact that the show was interrupted due to a bomb threat that halted the concert!

Brötzmann's group cooks throughout and the horns fill the soundfield with dense activity ranging from long tones to smart interjections by trumpeter Toshinori Kondo and a garrulous solo spot for trombonists Hannes Bauer and Alan Tomlinson in "Alarm, part 2." Pianist Alexander Von Schlippenbach adds expert comping and sprays volleys of upper-register notes which cut through the mass of horns and churning yet detailed swing of bassist Harry Miller and drummer Louis Moholo.

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The second Brötzmann disc Pica Pica features the saxophonist along with trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff and drummer Gunter "Baby" Sommer live at a club in Cologne in 1982 during the "Jazzfest Unna". Brötzmann preferred this club as the liners point out because it was equipped with a 20-liter barrel of fresh beer, which was empty after the gig.

Well, the conditions were certainly right for a superb set and all three musicians shine brightly irregardless of alcohol consumption. Brötzmann and Mangelsdorff blend well together and their lines are supported by Sommer's buoyant, expressive drumming. Mangelsdorff integrates his trombone multphonics where he sings notes which playing others to produce chords and Sommer sets up killing vamps left and right and his vocal whoops and hollers clearly show these guys were enjoying themselves. A satisfying disc.

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Also captured live and loose are the Swiss trio of Chistoph Gallio (soprano saxophone) of the group Day & Taxi, Urs Voerkel (piano and drums), and Peter K Frey (double bass and trombone) from a 1981 set at an improvisation workshop in Zurich entitled Tiegel which features 13 brief improvisations. Voerkel switches between piano and drums often, but I favored Voerkel on the later which provides the trio with a jittery propulsive swing while Frey's trombone adds a nice foil to Gallio's expert soprano lines.

Esteem.jpg

The final release comes from recently deceased soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy's personal cassette archives of more than 300 live shows from 1975 to 2004 which are being cleared for release by Lacy's widow, musician Irene Aebi.

This installment entitled Steve Lacy Quintet Esteem and subtitled "The Leap: Steve Lacy Cassette Archives Vol. 1" starts at the earliest of Lacy's cassette collection with a live date recorded in Paris in 1975. The set features Lacy's regular working group at the time burning through 6 lengthy Lacy originals. The C90 cassette sound (headphones required) doesn't do justice to Lacy's tone, can barely contain the volcanic group sound which features eruptions by Lacy's foil saxophonist Steve Potts on alto and soprano. The music is ragged and glorious with all members comfortable and fearless with Lacy's charts. Let's hope the rest of Steve Lacy's cassettes are labeled and ready for release.
-Bob Holub

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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