Kidd Jordan | Peter Kowald | Alvin Fielder | Live in New Orleans | No Business Records

There are few left playing to whom the term “master” can be applied without reservation. Kidd Jordan and Alvin Fielder are two such musicians. Peter Kowald, who was taken from us far too soon, was another. Fielder and Jordan have been communing through deep listening and resultant improvisation since the 1970s, when the Improvisational Arts aggregate was conceived, and these three sessions afford the chance to compare their interactions at pivotal moments of a ten-year period. Though this trio performance with the internationally recognized German bassist is the only documentation of that group, he is clearly a kindred spirit, geographic concerns thrown to the winds as three veterans compose in, for and beyond each moment. The live trio set, ushered in by Kowald’s resonant pizzicato and an invocation from Fielder’s high hat, bristles with sublimated and titanic energy, roaring and surging with oceanic force only to be pulled back, the ebbs showing no diminution of spirit but thriving on subtlety. Listen, during his solo, to the supple but nearly silent descending polyrhythmic spirals and timbral thrusts Kowald floats over Fielder’s delicate brush work. Jordan’s reentrance, after Kowald builds his solo to an inter-register frenzy, is one of the concert’s highlights, saxophone and bass darting and weaving, overlapping, diving headlong into a spicy blend of neo -Schoenbergian pan tonality and “new thing” cries of freedom that will set the coldest heart ablaze, Fielder’s percussion adding layers of transcultural resonance. — Marc Medwin Continue reading

Peter Kowald | Off The Road | a movie directed by Laurence Petit-Jouvet | RogueArt Jazz

The German bassist Peter Kowald (1944-2002) was one of the major figures of Free Improvised Music. The film OFF THE ROAD was made on and around his extended tour of the USA in 2000. A journey around America in an old Chevrolet Caprice, the film is a “free improvised road movie” featuring encounters with many of the great names of Free Music, set against the background of “Off The Road” America. Continue reading

Dennis Gonzalez Jnaana Septet | The Gift of Discernment | Not Two Records

Trumpeter Dennis Gonzalez has been responsible for some beautifully realized music on record in the past and this is a worthy addition to the canon. The music’s full of that often difficult to define quality called life, shot through with a group conception which makes for a realization which is simultaneously both tight and loose. The presence of percussionist Alvin Fielder provides a kind of link with the percussive workouts of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago, and it’s that aesthetic which pervades the first four minutes of the opener, “Raise The Spirit,” before Chris Parker’s piano strikes out for territories new with Aaron Gonzalez’s bass hinting at harmonic possibilities. Singer Leena Conquest adds a further facet when she comes in and the gradualism of approach has the effect of enticing the listener in on the promise of new vistas. They come to the fore on “Ganesha The Spy,” where Parker’s piano sounds slightly portentous, only for the mood to disperse in the wake of percussion before Gonzalez maintains the stately, quietly reverential mood. Again the percussion is deftly handled in terms of deployment. The lyricism of the piece is perpetually foreboding, but in a manner that’s the opposite of off-putting. Not for these guys is the use of volume and instrumental screaming in pursuit of spurious spirit summoning. — Nic Jones, AllAboutJazz Continue reading