Sirone | Sirone’s Concord | Not Two Records

Unless I’m mistaken the last time bassist Sirone released an album under his own name before Concord was 1980, and one wonders why on earth we didn’t hear more of him in the intervening years. Concord is a quartet featuring Ben Abarbanel-Wolff on tenor saxophone, Ulli Bartel on violin and Maurice de Martin on drums, and their playing on these five Sirone originals is solid and convincing without being flashy. Bartel’s rich double stops support the arching melody of the opening “Aisha’s Serenade”, tapping into a rich vein of European folk fiddle. On “You are not alone but we are few” Sirone reaches for the bow and engages Bartel and Abarbanel-Wolff in sensitive dialogue, while de Martin adds deft touches of percussion colour. On “For all we don’t know” violin and saxophone stretch out on a simple modal melody in two-part harmony, while Sirone and Martin roll along underneath in fast triple time. It all flows effortlessly, and manages to be constantly engaging, even passionate, without ever going overboard. A boisterous drum solo leads without a break into the superb freebop “Swingin’ on a string of things / For Albert”, the Albert in question presumably being Ayler, as acknowledged by the gospel inflections of Abarbanel-Wolff’s splendidly gutsy solo, and Bartel plays Michel Sampson to perfection. The reprise of “You are not alone but we are few” is a fine touch, rounding off the album with another superb bass solo from the leader. European concert promoters who fall over themselves to book acts from New York (I’m thinking particularly of French festivals such as Banlieues Bleues and Sons d’Hiver) should turn their gaze to the east and sign these boys up fast. —Paristransatlantic Continue reading

Interzone Jazzorchestra | Transylvanian Grace | Not Two Records

The music on this album wants to reflect the great musical heritage of Romanian and especially Transylvanian folklore. The traditional songs are taken from the “Lautari” and vilagers’ repertoire, which you can still hear on weedings celebrations and in the village bars around the Carpathians The original compositions are written under the strong sensual impressions of our mutual trips through the Transylvanian highlands in the years 1997-2000. Enjoy the Music! — Maurice de Martin & Mircea Tiberian Continue reading