Predictable is not an adjective associated with the recordings of pianist Steve Kuhn. He is joined by bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Pete La Roca for this exciting studio session from the mid-1960s, both of whom he had worked with under Art Farmer, as well as on La Roca's smashing debut as a leader, Basra. With the exception of "Ida Lupino" and "Never Let Me Go," the music will likely be unfamiliar to most jazz fans, but adventurous souls are in for a treat. Kuhn's originals include the furious modal work "Bits and Pieces," which sounds as if it represents the center of a storm, as well as "Today I Am a Man," which suggests a well-known composition from the heyday of the bop era. "Why Did I Choose You" is played with a soft bossa nova accent, while Sergio Mihanovich's "Three Waves" is intense, with overlapping changes of rhythm. "Never Let Me Go," a favorite of singers, is understated and subtle, only hinting briefly at the melody.
The Immersion series takes a compelling turn, moving towards a new perspective on Steve's Immersion experience. Disc one, "Circadian Rhythms" explores a sensual flow of harmonic suspension and sparse melodic mantra-like patterns hovering over rhythmic spaces and mercurial zones. Opening up within an organic analog modular garden of sound, a pulsing undulating groove spiral emerges, creating a suspended sensation of constant flow while hovering in the now. "Circadian Rhythms" moves through a continuous 73-minute flow in three phases…
This collection of music for guitar, brought together by Jose Luis Bieito as the musical element of his music+image binomis, Reflections, possesses a delightful balance of sounds. These are flowing, pulsing, mostly gentle sounds that tend to soothe and calm the listener's mind. Sounds that - through a variety of compositional techniques - tend to be sustained in time; the effects of which can sometimes capture a listener’s attention, holding it inside an extended musical moment, like a spell. When heard while viewing the accompanying (provocative, sometimes disturbing) images, the sounds can serve an additional function: grounding the listener's reaction, enabling the passage of emotion; like electricity discharging through a lightening rod.
As more ensembles perform and record Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, its status as a minimalist masterpiece is increasingly affirmed. Ensemble Signal's 2015 release on Harmonia Mundi is one of several amazing performances that have matched Reich's original ECM New Series recording in technical brilliance and expressivity, and it has even earned the composer's approval for being, "…fast moving, spot on, and emotionally charged." Under the direction of Brad Lubman, Ensemble Signal maintains a relentlessly steady pulse and articulates the interlocking patterns with absolute precision, though the shifting tone colors are perhaps a little clearer in this performance than in other recordings. The microphone placement is not so close that individual instruments stand out, but there is enough separation of parts to allow some sense of direction and the orientation of the smaller sub-groups of pianos, xylophones, marimbas, strings, clarinets, and voices. This is a mesmerizing performance that will transfix listeners, and the music is so compelling that it will linger on well after the CD stops. Highly recommended.
The album is the result of an improvised session that took place in a church on the island of Sardinia between the musicians from one of Hungary's most acclaimed Jazz groups, Djabe and acclaimed guitarist Steve Hackett. The collaborations between the band and the former Genesis guitarist and acclaimed solo artist began in 2007. Steve Hackett has appeared on the concert stage with Djabe performing both Genesis and Hackett solo material and Djabe compositions. This album is their first collaborative studio album. Djabe guitarist Attila Egerhazi explains: "When I came to my musician pals with the idea of this recording session I had no certain plans with the tapes. However, this was the exact way I always wanted to create my kind of a music, like we did with my band in the 80s.