Ken Filiano

(Kenneth Steven), bassist. b. Patchogue, NY, October 27, 1952. Son of Anna Filiano (born Giuliano; May 19, 1930) and Leonard Filiano (July 12, 1930), both of New York. Brother of James Filiano (20 May 1954; an M.D., also play ssaxophone), Diana Filiano Dana (9 Dec 1961; plays guitar), and Gregory Filiano (24 July 1964; plays oboe). Ken began trumpet studies at the age of nine and played in bands throughout grammar school and high school. In his sophomore of high school, while Ken was at home recovering from an illness, his band director sent over a copy of the Ornette Coleman/Gunther Schuller record, “Jazz Abstractions.” Upon hearing the freedom expressed within the music, Ken abandoned plans to study oceanography and decided to devote his life to music. The following summer, Ken and his brother, Jim (who played saxophone), met the composer David Amram, who invited the brothers to weekend jam sessions at Amram’s house on Fire Island, NY. Here, Ken had the great fortune to play with the likes of Pepper Adams and Elvin Jones. Strongly influenced by these great players and by Amram’s record, “No More Walls,” Ken was increasingly inspired to explore the universe of music. Continue reading

Ran Blake solo / duo with David ‘Knife’ Fabris | Vilnius Noir | No Business Records

Vilnius Noir presents solos and duos from veteran pianist and iconoclastic interpreter Ran Blake, joined here by guitarist David Fabris. Fabris has appeared on three of Blake’s prior recordings (one on Soul Note and two on Hat Hut, including the excellentSomething to Live For), and has consistently provided an exciting foil for the pianist. Where Blake is stark, reticent and ambiguous, Fabris is bright and wryly surefooted; when the pianist is full and pushy, the guitarist is spiky and delicate. They’re a cantankerous, moody pair but it’s obvious that they’re having a grand time pushing one another about. The pianist’s composition “Cry Wolf” is a case in point, where Fabris inserts barroom blues-rock phrasing alongside Blake’s silvery, ringing distance. Their pairing on George Russell’s “Stratusphunk” is jovial and funky, though Blake’s strange microcosmic boogie-woogie remains untouched. Unaccompanied, Blake is enigmatic as always, moving from boisterous atonality to coy romanticism in a few notes. He’s a pretty strong foil for himself, which is what has always made his solo work intriguing, but he can also present absolute, rarefied beauty, as he does in a few simple and bright phrases on the traditional Jewish folk song “Shlof Mayn Kind”, or Michel Legrand’s haunting classic “Watch What Happens”. If you like your Third Stream peppered with a little folk-blues eclecticism, look no further than Vilnius Noir. —Clifford Allen Continue reading

Nobuyasu Furuya Quintet | The Major | No Business Records

Nobuyasu Furuya is a relatively little-known Japanese reedman who lives in Lisbon, where he’s been making associations with some of the city’s finest improvisers. Following his 2009 debut on Clean Feed (Bendowa, with bassist Hernâni Faustino and drummer Gabriel Ferrandini) he’s back with The Major, joined by the RED Trio (Faustino, Ferrandini and pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro) and trombonist Eduardo Lála in six original compositions ranging from pulpit-pounding to cagy sonic exploration. On tenor, Furuya’s playing is reminiscent of Peter Brötzmann and Mototeru Takagi, and the RED Trio is akin to a contemporary version of ARC or a free-improv version of the Garland / Chambers / Taylor rhythm section. They’re surely one of the most cohesive improvising trios in modern music, and collaborations with figures like John Butcher, Nate Wooley and now Furuya are extra icing on the cake. The three build up a detailed storm behind his gruff, burnished shouts and Lála’s tailgate on “Jap Agitator Caught Again”, bashing and whacking brush alongside the leader’s manic sear. Opening the flip side, “Where Are the Brothers and Sisters?” has a chunky ragtime to no-time rhythmic bash, with Lála’s Rudd-like slushy chortle sailing on the pianist’s eddies. The trombonist is an impressive member of the front line, belting out jovial and brusque commentary. The Major is an enjoyable and frequently compelling session with strong, engaging interplay and flashes of studied seamlessness. What more could one ask for from a second date? — Clifford Allen Continue reading

Daunik Lazro | Jean-François Pauvros | Roger Turner | Curare | No Business Records

Exceptional music that’s blazingly intense yet judiciously moderate, Curare, apparently named for the South American muscle-relaxant plant, captures sessions recorded almost two years apart from what in advanced music terms is a super group. All of its members have been plying their trade in this gene since the 1970s, French baritone saxophonist Daunik Lazro with the likes of soprano saxophonist Michel Doneda and bassist Joëlle Léandre; fellow Gaul, guitarist Jean-François Pauvros with everyone from drummer Makoto Sato to harpist Hélène Breschand; and British percussionist Roger Turner with seemingly every advanced sound explore in the United Kingdom, North America and the Continent. Never before have they recorded in trio formation and the four tracks hang together so well because of another contradiction: each cooperates fully with the others, but no one alters his individual style. — Ken Waxman Continue reading

Mockuno NuClear | Drop It | No Business Records

This is the first album of this trio with my homeland musicians. The music balances in between impro and composed, between heavy and beautiful, between jazz and whatever… I’v been playing most of these tunes with different ensembles of mine during the last 6 years, but they have never been released for different reasons. I realised – to be able to move on you really have to finish your unfinished work… Here it is. Enjoy! — Liudas Mockūnas Continue reading

Peter Brötzmann | Jörg Fischer | Live in Wiesbaden | Not Two Records

Peter Brötzmann – tenor & alto sax, clarinet, tarogato | Jörg Fischer – drums. All music by Peter Brötzmann/Jörg Fischer exept for track 4 by Peter Brötzmann. Recorded during a concert for the Kooperative New Jazz Wiesbaden at the Thalhaus on June 24, 2009. Recording engineer: Uli Böttcher. Mix and mastering: Christian Heck. Photos: P.B. by Günter Schapka (inside), Marek Wajda (back). J.F. by Jean M. Laffitau (inside), Wilfried Heckmann (back). Cover art, typography & layout: Marek Wajda. Continue reading

Pascal Niggenkemper featuring Simon Nabatov and Gerald Cleaver | Upcoming Hurricane | No Business Records

Upcoming Hurricane is a new group in a traditional form, a particular concatenation of musicians that gelled with remarkable speed and which brings its own strong personality to the idea of the piano trio. It has a layered rhythmic dynamism that comes directly from the tradition and the exploding, unfettered energy of free improvisation. It was the young bassist Pascal Niggenkemper’s idea to put together this band with the brilliant veterans Simon Nabatov and Gerald Cleaver, and it’s a sign of both Niggenkemper’s skills and his prescience that the group possesses the depth, vitality and vision that it does. — Stuart Broomer Continue reading

Karl Berger | Werner Hasler | Gilbert Paeffgen | No Business Records

The electrified acoustic trio combines several worlds. Stories are told here in the jazz idiom: starting from a basic groove is stressed about this and also improvises with nesting and rhythmic themes. The compositions are mainly played on scales from division of the octave harmonic structures and parallelisms, scales, supposedly inspired by such contrasting worlds as well as the oriental Maqamwelt of natural horns in the Alps region. The trio moves also because of the natural inclusion of electronica outside “world music” sound is ethnocentric and exoticism of the young new century – in which bits and bytes a supporting role-play required. The clash of purely electronic and acoustic sounds of the trio receives a new topicality and urgency. Continue reading