This music’s unclassifiable originality probably accounts for it failing to make a big splash when it first appeared in 1978. Rempel’s ensemble seamlessly meshes jazz and classical modes, finding previously unknown common ground between Ayler, Ligeti, Ravel, and more. The musicians selflessly serve the compositions and ably step out to solo when necessary. Forget previous claims: Number Six is the real Third Stream!
“Who would have thought a series of soprano saxophone duets would be so compelling?” So begins one rave review of this classic summit meeting between three of jazz’s finest improvisers. The performances on Three Blokes find Lol Coxhill, Evan Parker, and Steve Lacy creating beautiful friction and complementing each other in unexpected ways. With its unusual textures and dizzying melodies, the album showcases each musician in a fresh light. For Lacy fans in particular, this one is a must.
A Modern Classic! Simply put: 21st Century Texts is a monster. It’s gripping and intense without sacrificing memorable hooks, lyrical nuance, and rhythmic punch. As the song titles indicate, it’s also steeped in jazz history while forging its own blazing trail. Trumpeter Malik’s first recording under his own name, after slugging it out in Cecil Taylor’s band for much of that Unit’s 1970s reign, these Texts deserves a far wider audience
This solo performance finds pianist Cecil Taylor at the absolute height of his powers (“one of Taylor’s most rewarding recordings”–The Wire), moving seamlessly between delicate lyricism and swells of sheer intensity. Split into five tracks, The Tree of Life makes a good introduction while also extending the musical language of previous landmark solo albums like Silent Tongues. Otherwise out of print!
From FMP’s massive, and otherwise out of print, 11-CD box set Cecil Taylor “In Berlin ’88″ — widely acclaimed as one of the greatest achievements in jazz. Cecil Taylor has written extensively for big bands, but there are precious few recordings of this important aspect of his music. Legba Crossing is one of the key big band records in his catalog — a lyrical and nuanced, uplifting and ritualistic performance that blends jazz and classical textures in ways that evoke Ellington while still remaining singularly Cecil.
Louis Sclavis is not afraid of noise. More notably, he is not afraid of silence, either. Within this thirteen-chapter Roman (French for novel), Sclavis and idiosyncratic guitarist Jean-Marc Montera create a fully-realized sound world that ranges from near-quiet to roiling, extended-technique-fueled buzz. An intense, preternaturally focused performance, which makes for a similarly gripping listening experience.
A lovely live performance capturing the relatively rare configuration of three clarinets. All three performers are given room to shine as the group wends its way through Sclavis’ five-part Berliner Suite, plus an additional dose of Boulez. Airy, spacious, and thoroughly engaging.