Free jazz is still, decades after its inception, a massive point of contention for some jazz fans. The freedom to create on the fly in any key with total melodic and harmonic freedom with often frantic rhythms can be hard to digest for the uninitiated. But for a musician and composer like me who is well acquainted with the avant-garde and the atonal; I live for the freedom that an anarchistic approach to melody and harmony creates.
It is in this that we find the music of The Paul Swest, who I have reviewed once before. Everything that this group does well is present once again, and I can without hesitation recommend this record to fans of the previous or free jazz fans looking for a new obsession.
Get Sports Car Illusions at https://thepaulswest.bandcamp.com/album/sports-car-illusions
Dallas-based Valenti Funk creates music that is cross-genre, expressive, and ultimately a reflection of not only him but all of the musicians that he creates with. The tracks on Valenti are a blast of funk (with special nods to George Clinton), reggae, and jazz. Every track is filled with powerful energy that invites you to dance or to chill the hell out. In either case, you can tell that Valenti Funk has honed his craft as a musician and songwriter to the point that it seems effortless (even though some of the lines, both rhythmic and melodic, are quite complex). It is a true pleasure to give this record a listen, I suggest you do the same.
Valenti is available on iTunes
The best kind of music these days is music that defies convention. It’s music that is bold, fresh, and ultimately brave. This bravery can be displayed in numerous forms, but first and foremost the sound must be the focus. In my mind, the bravest music is that which is unable to be boxed into a single genre.
This music is exactly what I find when I listen to An Eclipse of Images. A cooperative project between Italian percussionist Massimo Discepoli and American experimental double-bassist/composer Daniel Barbiero, the record seeks to present musical “ hybrids meticulously built up of acoustic and electronic elements both composed and improvised.”
It does just that. The brilliant interaction between the double-bass, percussion, and electronic synth sounds create an experience that constantly leaves you in different musical worlds. You hear jazz, avant-garde classical, ambient and so much more within this record that each listen brings a new perspective.
It is a truly wondrous thing.
An Eclipse of Images can be found at http://www.acustronica.com/an-eclipse-of-images.html
When an artist has a clear vision for their work, it is imperative that they follow through with it. aoi, a composer/musician/producer from Montreal, is an example of this actually happening. With his debut EP, entitled 1(EP), aoi (real name Keven Brien) has established that he wants the listener to experience:
“A voyage through lands where the organic and synthetic evolved in symbiosis, when the past and future coexist simultaneously.”
I can testify after listening to this record that this symbiosis occurs beautifully, as numerous genres and eras coalesce to form the final product. You hear echoes of Brian Eno, Pat Metheny, Jan Hammer, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Allan Holdsworth in this record.
1(EP) is ambient, driven, and emotionally complex. Above all else it is experimental in a way that comes across as genuine, rather than pretentious (a problem that sometimes plagues the genre). Don’t let the “experimental” label scare you away if that isn’t your thing, as I truly believe there is enough for the mainstream listener here as well.
In accomplishing his vision for 1(EP), aoi has made an ambitious and beautiful debut record. It is truly something I recommend you give a try.
1(EP) by aoi can be found at https://ao-i.bandcamp.com/
Free jazz is easily one of my favorite styles of the massive jazz genre. There is something about the element of expression within it–rhythmically and melodically–that makes it so special.
Following in this style is musician and visual artist Charles Chace who performs under the project name The Paul Swest. In his newest album Wizard Talk improvisation is the key component to every track. Each instrument has its own soul and when combined there is a collision of atonality and malleable rhythm. Rather than relying on particular motifs or outlined note patterns, each track allows the listener to engage actively in the process of a song being born.
The frequent chromaticism and experimentation found in Wizard Talk may turn off the casual “jazz lounge” listener. That’s fine by me. As a composer and musician who understands the value of music without a tonal center; this kind of sound jives with me. This jazz record is for the already indoctrinated listener of the avant-garde and serialism in music composition.
If you like music that attempts to bend your ear and mind; you should give Wizard Talk a chance.
Wizard Talk by The Paul Swest can be found at:
Lots of cool things in the works for 2015 already. I’m doing new interviews soon with various musicians, working on some new music and, of course, going to continue to spill my thoughts out onto the cyberpages for you guys. Now back to the music, here’s a dude I consider a massive influence on my own artistic creations. Ornette Coleman is pretty much unmatched in musicality and pure artistry. I leave you with some of his words:
“In music you have something called sound, you have speed, you have timbre, you have harmonics, and you have, more or less, the resolutions. In most music, people that play what I call mostly standard music, they only use one dimension, which means the note and the time. Whereas like say I’m having this conversation with you now. I’m talking, but I’m thinking, feeling, smelling, and moving. Yet I’m concentrating on what you’re saying. So that means there’s more things going on in the body than just the present thing that the person’s got you doing. Like you’re interviewing me, although I’m doing more than just talking to you. And the same with you.
To me, human existence exists on a multiple level, not just on a two-dimensional level, not just having to be identified with what you do and what you say. Those things are the results of what people see and hear that you do. But the human beings themselves are living on a multiple level. That’s how I have always wanted musicians to play with me: on a multiple level. I don’t want them to follow me. I want them to follow themself, but to be with me.”
Steve Coleman is a genius, an artist, and a master of his instrument. He’s on a whole ‘nother wavelength of jazz expression (though he refers to it as M-Base).