Nicola Guazzaloca | Tecniche Arcaiche | Amirani Records

Don’t miss Nicola’s assertive solo work !A remarkable balance between impetus and delicacy, a consistent mélange of authority and audacity, lyrical flights and meaty smashes that give both the experienced listener and the newcomer a great recording! First solo album by Nicola Guazzaloca delivers us a fully blossomed pianist. A genuine work of constant inventiveness where simple light figures and deeply textured sketches are driven by the impetus of the instant self-composing material and by a complete investigation of the piano, never losing the narrative control and the force of a fresh suggestion. Continue reading

Howard Riley | Live With Repertoire | No Business Records

British pianist Howard Riley’s previous album on No Business, the monumental The Complete Short Stories: 1998-2010 (2011), was a revelation to many, collecting together 6 CDs of stunning aphoristic improvisations. However on Live With Repertoire, as the title suggests, the pianist concentrates primarily on the songbook, particularly Monk, one of his touchstones along with Ellington. In the liners Riley explains that his working method sees him treat a gig as either with or without repertoire, depending on audience, ambience and how he feels. Something was clearly in the air in Leicester in November 2011 as the pianist generates an enthralling set from well-used materials, all captured in sparkling sound. — John Sharpe Continue reading

Satoko Fujii | Gen Himmel | Libra Records

What that comes down to is that you must approach Satoko and her music with a refreshed mind and the expectation that she will fill your ears with music that comes directly and pristinely out of her own creative being. And that is indeed the case on Gen Himmel. This is music that has freedom and compositional structuring in more or less equal measure. It is avant without trying to “take it out” so much as explore ideas. With Satoko Fujii’s fertile musical imagination that turns out to be a delightful proposition. More I need not say, except by way of the invitation to listen. This one will repay your attention with a wealth of good sounds. —Grego Applegate Edwards Continue reading

Jess Rowland | The Shape of Poison | Edgetone Records

Shape of Poison for solo piano performance and electronics, mixes unique live electro-acoustic experimentation with cut-up gamelan, crunched-out Casio tones, and other uncharted sonic landscapes. The pieces documented on this CD were recorded live at a February 2007 artist-in-residence performance at ODC Theater in San Francisco, commissioned by choreographer Manuelito Biag. Intended originally for dance, the music creates an enveloping environment in which drama and movement play out. Continue reading

Thollem McDonas | Poor Stop Killing Poor | Live in Detroit at the Bohemian National Home | Edgetone Records

This live album delivers more pearls of wisdom by that magnificent lone wolf specimen named Thollem Mcdonas. This man’s ardent playing seems to be modeled after centuries of musical knowledge; helped by the peculiar resonance of Detroit’s Bohemian National Home, Thollem wanders helplessly in search of lost recollections, which he finally finds only to immediately neglect them to turn his attention towards the end of another rainbow. Mcdonas has a gift, the same that ancient bluesmen and griots had: he carries the past within himself, even the events that he didn’t live, and lets us feel them through chordal successions that fuse Stravinsky, silent movie soundtracks and what Zappa called “bionic ragtime” referring to Conlon Nancarrow; we can find Charlie Chaplin, Friedrich Murnau, our grandma’s photo and an ectoplasmic Charlemagne Palestine in the space of a single track. – Massimo Ricci Continue reading