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Friday, October 23, 2015

58th Grammy Awards Season: For Your Consideration

- the 58th GRAMMY Awards Season has begun! -

When making your music selections
for the 2015 Grammy Awards Season, please consider these outstanding jazz, alternative rock and archival recordings released by Cuneiform Records

***
jazz large ensembles:
albums / compositions / arrangements / solos

"Both Play a Bill Frisell Set List and In My View offer harmonically redolent and melodically fertile arrangements in addition to wonderfully tuneful material. If listeners are looking for jazz big band music which doesn’t remain wholly in the jazz past but does not relinquish jazz conventions, these NDR Bigband releases are well worth investigating. 4 stars"
- Audiophile Audition


Michael Gibbs and the NDR Bigband
Play A Bill Frisell Set List




"On The Lookout / Far Away"
@SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

For Your Consideration:
- Large Jazz Ensemble Album -
Michael Gibbs and the NDR Bigband
Play A Bill Frisell Set List

For Your Consideration:
- Improvised Jazz Solo -
[solo by Bill Frisell on "Benny's Bugle"]

“So much came from my association with Mike... He went from being my hero to a friend… I’ve always fantasized about doing something with him adapting some of my music.”
- Bill Frisell

"...t
he music was magical, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to release it.
- Michael Gibbs

The dauntingly prolific Bill Frisell has recorded in a vast array of settings, but he’s never made an album like Play a Bill Frisell Set List, his first-ever appearance as the featured soloist on a big band session. Captured live in concert with one of the world’s great jazz orchestras, NDR Bigband, the guitarist delivers a tour de force performance exploring sleek, spacious and vividly expressive arrangements of compositions drawn from throughout his career designed specifically for him and the NDR (with guest Jeff Ballard) by Michael Gibbs.

"4 stars. At the 2013 Überjazz Festival in Hamburg, Germany, conductor Michael Gibbs and the NDR Bigband sought to answer a burning question: How much fire could a large ensemble bring to a typical Bill Frisell set?... With Frisell at the helm, the band played through his own compositions, standards and favorite covers—proving that, yes, bigger can sometimes be better....
By laying back and letting Frisell’s music shine, Gibbs and the NDR Bigband have created an essential entry in Frisell’s oeuvre.
"
- DownBeat

"Frisell is clearly inspired by Gibbs’ handiwork, and the same holds true for the Bigband, as it moves through a series of passionate, painterly and exuberant performances."
-
Jazz Times
Michael Gibbs and the NDR Bigband
In My View




"‘Tis As It Should Be"
@SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

For Your Consideration:
- Instrumental Composition -
"Tis As It Should Be"
[composed by Michael Gibbs]

For Your Consideration:
- Arrangement, Instrumental -
"Ramblin"
[Ornette Coleman composition;
arranged by Michael Gibbs]


While studded with treasured recordings reflecting his singular writing skills, Michael Gibbs’ slim discography has never kept pace with the breadth and depth of his creative output. In a career spanning more than half a century he’s collaborated with a dazzling array of artists in jazz and beyond, including Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Joni Mitchell, John Scofield, Gary Burton, Whitney Houston, Peter Gabriel, and Richard Galliano. Gibbs has honed a subtle and highly personal approach to arranging and composition, both beautifully showcased here and wonderfully performed by the renowned NDR Bigband.

"the treatment is colorfully expansive, designed to accommodate the ensemble’s impressive roster of soloists. ...the ensemble brings surging hard-bop drive to Ornette Coleman’s “Ramblin’,” with alto saxophonist Peter Bolte leading the way. ...rounding out the session are four diverse compositions by Gibbs that radiate a signature blend of lyricism and verve."
-
Jazz Times

"The NDR Bigband commence on Gibbs’ “Tis As It Should Be,” which has intertwined exchanges from the many horns, including Lauer’s sax and Claus Stötter’s Flugelhorn. Stötter’s glossy lines circulate throughout this engaging, Latin-shaded piece. ...Another highpoint is a boisterous take of Coleman’s soulful, rural blues tune, “Ramblin’,” (see Coleman’s 1959 LP Change of the Century) where the horns sweep with energy, as Ingmar Heller replicates Charlie Haden’s evocative bass. Guitarist Sandra Hempel also enhances the tune’s verve."
-Audiophile Audition

***
contemporary instrumental / instrumental jazz:
albums / compositions / solos


Anthony Pirog
Palo Colorado Dream




"The Great Northern"
@SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

For Your Consideration:
- Contemporary Instrumental Album -
Anthony Pirog
Palo Colorado Dream

For Your Consideration:
- Improvised Jazz Solo -
[solo by Anthony Pirog on
"The Great Northern"]

For Your Consideration:
- Instrumental Composition -
"The New Electric"
[composed by Anthony Pirog]

Washington, D.C.’s thriving jazz and experimental music scenes wouldn’t be quite where they are today without Anthony Pirog. With fearsome chops and a keen ear for odd beauty, Pirog has helped expand the possibilities of jazz, rock and experimentalism in a city formerly known for its straight-ahead tradition. Palo Colorado Dream—recorded with the all-star trio of Michael Formanek on bass and Ches Smith on drums—is Pirog’s debut as a bandleader, and it marks the young innovator’s entrance onto the national stage. The album has an immersive depth and understated allure that hold the listener rapt. And they illustrate all the various realms of Pirog’s artistry: the spinning fantasy-scape of his loops and the hard-nosed technical power of his soloing, his patience with a slow build and his knack for moments of fierce catharsis.

“One of jazz’s most reliable conduits to a living, breathing audience is electric-guitar heroism, and Anthony Pirog...seems poised to become a hero of the instrument.”
- The New York Times

“...it’s a pleasure to hear this guitarist follow in Frisell’s footsteps toward distinctive new ground. Here with an avant-garde-leaning rhythm section...Pirog ventures into bent jazz, jagged post-rock and lush atmosphere that’s engineered for wide open spaces.”
- LA Times

“A post-modern guitarist in the making”
- JazzTimes

“...make no mistake, Palo Colorado Dream is an Anthony Pirog session all the way, and an ear-opening display of his stunningly wide range of talents.”
- All Music

“A record that’s equally capable of enchanting you and pummeling you with many shades of aura in between, Palo Colorado Dream catapults Anthony Pirog into the corps of elite experimental guitarists.”
- Something Else Reviews
Rob Mazurek /
Exploding Star Orchestra

Galactic Parables: Volume 1




"The Arc of Slavery #72"

@SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube


For Your Consideration:
- Jazz Instrumental Album -
Rob Mazurek /
Exploding Star Orchestra

Galactic Parables: Volume 1


Jazz cornetist, composer and conceptualist Rob Mazurek leads his Exploding Star Orchestra through one of his most ambitious recordings, Galactic Parables: Volume 1, which is part of Mazurek’s epic sci-fi opera exploring an apocalyptic vision inspired by the writings of Samuel R. Delany and Stanislaw Lem. Featuring: Rob Mazurek, Damon Locks, Angelica Sanchez, Nicole Mitchell, Jeff Parker, John Herndon, Matthew Lux, Matthew Bauder, Chad Taylor, Guilherme Granado and Mauricio Takara.

"5/5 stars. Mazurek has raised the bar with his most impressive, far reaching and unique collection with the astounding Galactic Parables: Volume 1. Inspired in part by the music and overarching themes of Sun Ra and linked to AACM history in Mazurek's hometown of Chicago, the artist has long painted on a broader canvas, geographically, energetically and spiritually. This double-disc collection (and three LPs in the vinyl version) continues Mazurek's exploration of dimensions and concepts that defy boundaries and definitions."
-All About Jazz

"Chicago-based avant jazz musician and composer Rob Mazurek has produced his most cosmic, interplanetary work with the Exploding Star Orchestra, working with a rotating assembly featuring regular collaborators from his other ensembles such as Chicago Underground and São Paulo Underground to create his most science fiction-themed, Sun Ra-inspired compositions. Galactic Parables, Vol. 1, commissioned by the Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival in Sardinia, Italy in 2013, is the Orchestra's most ambitious undertaking yet."
- All Music

"Groundbreaking cornetist, composer, improviser, and bandleader Rob Mazurek is busy amassing one of the most impressive discographies of the 21st century, and a main thread in that value belongs to his consistently evolving Exploding Star Orchestra. Galactic Parables: Volume 1 is an expansive, beautifully designed 2CD/3LP set marking the Orchestra’s 10th anniversary and corralling a pair of live performances of the titular science-fictive suite. In detailing the boldness of Mazurek’s vision it’s likely his best to date...
We can either allow the constant stream of departed greats to burden us or we can reflect, accept and then lend our ears to the present, the better to adequately prepare for...the future. ...Rob Mazurek and the Exploding Star Orchestra reside at the apex of what’s happening musically right now.."
- The Vinyl District

***
alternative instrumental rock:
albums / videos / compositions

the cellar and point
ambit



"white cylinder (a)"
@SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @Youtube




the cellar and point"white cylinder (a)"
official music video


For Your Consideration:
- Instrumental Composition -
[for "Arc" composed by Joseph Branciforte and Christopher Botta ]

For Your Consideration:
- Music Video -
the cellar and point
"
White Cylinder (a)"


“A truly kaleidoscopic sonic journey. The patience and effort involved have resulted in one of 2014's finest albums of challenging, engaging, and genre-defying contemporary music.”
- All Music Guide

"Post-everything... Chamber music, rock, jazz, post-rock and electronic all rub elbows, and the sparks fly... The Cellar and Point have moved into a territory all their own."
- Wondering Sound

“From one song to the next, and sometimes between the beginning and end of a single song, Ambit takes the listener on a journey through texture, timbre, and time. It is a challenging and fascinating effort.”
- All About Jazz

“The Cellar and Point... use acoustic instruments and electronics to create a sound that is winningly melodic, thoughtful in its balance, groove-heavy, sometimes glitchy, and delightfully unpredictable as the septet straddles all kinds of genres.”
- WNYC’s New Sounds

“The new music band/pop group/undefinable collective... contains some of the finest musicians around. Their debut CD is a mix of catchy, overwhelming, bewildering, and unadulterated awesome.”
- Q2 Music / WQXR

“Beautiful. It’s a lovely sound: really, really well-engineered, beautifully produced. Well worth your listening on headphones for this one.”
- BBC Radio

“It’s alternately knotty and straightforward, smooth and at times a little abrasive, tonal and dissonant. Anyone can do that. But can they put all these together into a consistent, connected whole like The Cellar and Point does? I doubt it.” - Something Else!

“One of the most interesting bands of the moment, perhaps able to answer the question "where is music going?”
- All About Jazz Italia

2014 Year in Music: Best Grooves
“An exhilarating, fascinating and beautiful record.” - The Brooklyn Rail
Guapo
Obscure Knowledge




"Obscure Knowledge I" ["Radio" Edit]
@SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

For Your Consideration:
- Alternative Music Album -
Guapo
Obscure Knowledge


The greatly admired instrumental experimental rock band Guapo is celebrating 20 years in the game by releasing Obscure Knowledge, their explosive new album and tenth release! Centered around founding member and extraordinary drummer David J. Smith, the group on the album also features Kavus Torabi (guitar), Emmett Elvin (keyboards) and James Sedwards (bass). Guapo has always been committed to composing and playing inventive music. Torabi says: “...really it’s about four people playing together and respecting each other. All four people are trying to serve what the music does - not themselves.”

"A maximal minimalist masterpiece. ...The band's take-no-prisoners attitude is obvious from the word go. ...there are moments where we get the answer to thay buring question: what would Mahavishnu Orchestra and Van der Graaf Generator have sounded like if they ever joined forces? ... Unflinchingly adventurous and...brilliant...Obscure Knowledge...sets the benchmark by which others can be measured."
-Prog Magazine

"Guapo have occupied a period of music history that, from the moment people cottoned on that Radiohead might possibly have listened to a Pink Floyd album or two, has seen the rehabilitation of the word 'prog'... In parallel with this, we've also seen the rise of post-rock... In this time, Guapo have evolved from their noise rock origins to become Britain's foremost purveyors of instrumental avant prog...
Guapo...truly have become one of those groups that only really sound like themselves"
- The Quietus

"Psychedelic prog-rock’s mysterium tremendum beckons throughout Obscure Knowledge, English quartet Guapo’s captivating 43-minute tour de force. With several minutes of droning pipes slipped between lengthy ensemble sections, Obscure Knowledge is a smoothly flowing tapestry of musical moments that reappear and disappear into the flux. ... Guapo evokes the spirit of Hawkwind, Todd Rundgren’s earliest Utopia and dark Phish while dropping plenty of new alchemy itself."
- Relix

"One can always count on Guapo to deliver full-on at highest intensity, yet still embrace the subtleties and finest textural qualities that make their sound at once mesmerizing and profoundly psychedelic. ...At times their extended groaning and growling dronescapes may seem very improvised, bordering on total chaos at times, but this amazing four-piece always comes out of it in some tightly composed way that just boggles the mind. ...Obscure Knowledge...frees the spirit and opens the mind."
- Exposé

"Obscure Knowledge is a near-perfect album for the discerning progressive rock fan.... Guapo, a British instrumental-only experimental group, indulges in fusion, psychedelia, minimalism, funk, avant-metal, noise and more on Obscure Knowledge. ...This thing sounds downright dangerous at times."
- Shepherd Express

***
archival releases:
albums / liner notes

Soft Machine
Switzerland 1974




"Hazard Profile"
@SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

For Your Consideration:
- Historical Album -
Soft Machine
Switzerland 1974
CD+DVD set

Soft Machine were one of the greatest UK avant/jazz-rock bands of all time. Switzerland 1974 is a CD+DVD set featuring their Montreux Jazz Festival performance, captured just a couple of weeks before their studio sessions in London for Bundles. The hour-long set is the only available visual document of Soft Machine’s Mike Ratledge, John Marshall, Karl Jenkins, Roy Babbington, Allan Holdsworth line-up. As well as retracing Soft Machine’s transformation into one of the leading exponents of jazz-fusion, Switzerland 1974 provides a rare chance to witness the genesis of guitar legend Allan Holdsworth’s unique, innovative and unbelievably fluid and dexterous playing, before he went on to universal acclaim.

"4.5/5 stars. One of the holiest of holy grails for Soft Machine fans has... been a recording made at the 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival... The set is, in a word, nuclear. And the sound..is the absolute best it's ever been....the work that the label has devoted to cleaning up both the sound and picture makes this the definitive (and only legal) version of a stellar performance by a group that lasted a little more than a year before [Alan] Holdsworth left... Switzerland 1974 contains the only existing video document of this version of Soft Machine..."
-All About Jazz

"4 stars. After its beginnings on London’s far-out underground rock scene in 1966-’68, Soft Machine went through eight jazz-rock incarnations without a guitarist. then, in 1973, Allan Holdsworth signed on for about 15 months...now there's a CD/DVD package with excellent sound restoration that finds the band at the Montreux Jazz Festival."
- DownBeat

"...a more historically important document of this powerful and vibrant band is difficult to imagine.
... Aymeric Leroy’s liners, excellent and detailed as usual, outline the journey and multiple points of transition that led the band from its somewhat lethargic state toward the hard-hitting sound heard here and on the subsequent studio album, Bundles...
...Udi Koomran’s masterful restoration gives us a document in the best possible quality. ...this is now the way to hear a group scaling the proverbial heights."
-Dusted

"You have to be an extremely confident unit—and one mother of a band—to turn up at a prestigious mega-gig like the Montreux Jazz Festival and drop a set of new material on the audience like the newly rejiggered Soft Machine did in July 1974. ....that material would go on to comprise 1975’s Bundles, a fusion juggernaut....
The accompanying DVD of the gig is all that’s turned up, footage-wise, for this lineup, so savor that... The crowd clearly gets that something beyond even standard top-gig fare has gone down, and everyone, at the end, loses it. Quite the banner achievement for this group...and for this resulting beckoner of a live package."
- Jazz Times
Mike Osborne
Dawn




"An Idea"
@SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube


For Your Consideration:
- Album Notes -
[Liner notes for Dawn, an archival release by Mike Osborne (1941-2007),
written by Andrey Henkin]


"Dawn presents Osborne in both his earliest surviving recording, as a co-leader with Surman of a quartet from 1966, and in 1970 with the first known recordings of his mighty trio with...Harry Miller and Louis Moholo. These unearthed recordings not only fill in important gaps in Osborne's own discography but in the history of British jazz as a whole.
In all, there is well over an hour of excellent quality, previously unheard and unreleased recordings here, as well as a 12 page booklet with informative liner notes and many previously unseen photos. This is an important document historically, but even more importantly, it's really great music."
- Close to the Edge

"Dawn is an important historical document. That alone justifies its release. Of course, historical documents don't always entertain—that's not their primary function. Thankfully, Dawn is historically important and entertaining. Osborne and his colleagues are on terrific form, bursting with ideas and barely controllable energy, a reminder that late-60s UK jazz may have operated in the commercial shadows but it basked in the creative sunlight."
- All About Jazz

"The three sessions compiled on Dawn - including his very first - document two of the most important partnerships in alto saxophonist Mike Osborne’s truncated career at first light. A four-track 1966 quartet session finds Osborne sharing the front line with John Surman, with whom Osborne would work with in numerous ensembles, including the groundbreaking saxophone trio SOS. Six tracks from two 1970 dates with bassist Harry Miller and drummer Louis Moholo predate Bordercrossing, the first of the trio’s classic Ogun albums by five years. However, the reason this is one of the better archival releases of the past few years is that the music exudes the simultaneous collective realization that they were really on to something vital."
-Point of Departure

"..an outstanding document of three early sessions by the late alto saxophonist, two with his trio featuring drummer Louis Moholo and bassist Harry Miller from August and December 1970, and a third session from June 1966 with Miller, baritone and soprano saxophonist John Surman, and drummer Alan Jackson."
-Exposé

"Dawn adds two more invaluable pieces to the Osborne puzzle by presenting a set of archival small ensemble recordings with the altoist at the helm. The disc’s first six tracks date to 1970 and find him fronting a trio with familiars Miller and Moholo....
The disc’s final four tracks turn the calendar back four years. ...Fifteen years later he would succumb to...schizophrenia and be forced to withdraw from performance entirely for the remainder of his days. It’s difficult to conjecture a grimmer and grievous fate for a musician with the prodigious talent and fortitude Osborne demonstrated whenever he graced a stage or studio in his youth."
- Dusted

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