free jazz and free-form improvisation (or whatever pleases our ears for that matter)
Since the release of Carrousel almost 2 years ago, whenever we went to listen to the trio of Théo, Valentin and Guillaume, we had the opportunity to discover an evolving repertoire, never trapped in the rarely exciting comfort of repetition. We happily welcomed the regular appearance of new forms and tunes, but also of new colors offered by Théo's taking on the viola and Guillaume switching to acoustic guitar at times.
So, as we began discussing a recording with the new material, when Théo offered to further expand the range of the trio by inviting the 4 strings of Joëlle Léandre to join their usual 14 and thus bringing with them numerous new possibilities for the music, we imagined the best. Today, the best is here: neither a welcome addition or a one-time meeting, but the sound and feeling of a real band. As far as we're concerned, listening to this music instantly puts a smile on our face. What about you?
Scott Fields is a leading guitarist and composer in avant-jazz and New Music. Jeffrey Lependorf is a composer of contemporary chamber music and opera. He is also a certified master of the shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese bamboo flute, and has helped create a new repertoire of music for this ancient instrument. In Everything is in the instructions, they perform new works for guitar and shakuhachi that combine written and improvised material. Don’t look for anything related to so-called ‘world music’ or some new agey concept here. This is the exciting combination of two major musical personalities, and definitely music for the 21st century, where sound, silence and structures are masterly entwined to create something entirely new and original.
In June 2011, a few month after the release on Ayler Records of their second recording, Electricity, the quartet of Luís Lopes (guitar), Rodrigo Amado (tenor sax), Aaron González (bass) and Stefan González (drums) went on a 10-city US East Coast tour, passing through Dallas, Austin, Houston, New Orleans, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, Chicago and Madison. That last evening in Madison, there was plenty of great energy in the air and the quartet was in full gear for their typical tight mix of free jazz, rock, funk and bluesy hard bop. On tour with them was photographer António Júlio Duarte and the disc comes in a limited edition with a 12-page booklet of his photos from the band's trip.
As children, Aakash Mittal and Stefan González were great friends, often visiting each others’ homes after attending school all day at Rosemont Elementary in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas. And then one day, Aakash and his family were gone, and the friends stayed out of touch for years until one day a message appeared in Dennis González' inbox, explaining what he’d been doing all those years.
In the meantime, Aakash Mittal had been studying with Rudresh Mahanthappa, playing or recording music (including his own quartet debut) with Ravish Momin among others. So it was decided that on Aakash's next visits to family in Dallas, he would join Yells At Eels (Dennis' trio with sons Stefan and Aaron) to record this CD. The recordings were intense and felt like they had known each other for years, which, of course, they had. But it really felt like they’d been playing together through the lost years.
There would be much to say about the pieces that they played those two days, and of the stories that were told or created, but it’s probably better to let the music sound out its own story, for you to create your own film to this soundtrack of the four lives meeting on two beautiful autumn days.
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Founded in 2000 in Sweden by Jan Ström and Åke Bjurhamn, Ayler Records has gained recognition among free jazz fans over the years by releasing both archive and contemporary recordings from artists as diverse as Jimmy Lyons, Noah Howard, Peter Brötzmann, William Parker or Charles Gayle, as well as documenting the Scandinavian free jazz scene.
In 2009, Ayler Records moved to France where it is now operated by Stéphane Berland who had joined the label in 2005, bringing with him the will to open the catalogue to forms of improvised music in less direct relationship with the free jazz history, while remaining faithful to the original spirit.