Reviews that mention Jason Ajemian

July 28, 2017

Jaimie Branch

Fly or Die
International Anthem Recording CO 0011

The Bridge Sessions 05

Escape Lane

The Bridge TBS05

Testament to Chicago’s reputation as an incubator of brass talent, which goes back as far Louis Armstrong apprenticeship there in the 1920s, are these CDs featuring trumpeters Jaimie Branch and Marquis Hill. Like the Windy City`s distinctive and somewhat chaotic transit system each has chosen an individual path of expression, and, perhaps inevitably, each has since decamped for New York.

Balancing rhythmic power, a muscular feel and a hint of repressed violence, which introduce Metal and Punk currents in her playing is Branch on Fly or Die, with it linked to the stellar backing of cellist Tomeka Reid, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Chad Taylor. There’s also occasional input from dual cornetists Ben Lamar Gay and Josh Berman and guitarist Matt Schneider. Although conversant with hip-hop textures, on his CD Marquis Hill’s approach is polished into a slick adaptation of moderato Bop, matched with an analogous adjustment from guitarist Jeff Parker, better-known for his Rock-inflected work. At the same time the seven improvisations are put together to measure the partnership between the two Americans and two European musicians, Belgian bassist Joachim Florent, who has been involved with electronic-oriented and notated projects; and French drummer Denis Fournier who has dabbled in World Music as well as playing with Jazzers such as bassist Bernard Santacruz and trumpeter Jean-Luc Cappozzo. MORE

February 26, 2014

Edward Ricart Quartet + Paul Dunmall

Chameleon
New Atlantis CD 009

Dunmall/Hanslip/Gibbs/Ricart

Weeping Idols

FMR CD 356-0513

Having the talents of British tenor saxophonist Paul Dunmall and American guitarist Edward Ricart in common and recorded in the same year, these CDs confirm that the classification of the two sessions as Free Music is about as useful as noting that a Jeep and a Jaguar are both automobiles. Part of a double duo filled out by Brits Mark Hanslip on tenor saxophone and Phil Gibbs on guitar Weeping Idols is a four-track exercise in contemplative but often spiky improvisations with the balance subtly shifting among the four players. Chamaelon on the other hand, is except for Dunmall, all-American, with its six tracks spontaneously composed in a more aggressive manner, reinforced by contributions from bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Andrew Barker as well as Herb Robertson on trumpet and so-called little instruments. MORE

September 15, 2011

Yoni Kretzmer Trio

Nevertheless
Hopscotch Hop 22

Nori Jacoby/Yoni Kretzmer/Haggi Fershtman

One Afternoon

Kadima Collective KCR 21

Part of the younger generation of Israeli improvisers proving who performs at the same elevated standard as his out-of-country equivalents, tenor saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer has ample opportunity to experiment on these CDs.

Jerusalem-born and now a Brooklyn resident, the reedist has played with sound explorers ranging from pianist Slava Ganelin to saxophonist Assif Tsahar. Yet these discs are particularly instructive since one was recorded in the Jewish state with fellow Israelis and the other in Brooklyn with American associates. MORE

December 8, 2008

Bill Dixon

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur
AUM Fidelity AUM 046

Bill Dixon

With Exploding Star Orchestra

Thrill Jockey Thrill 192

More than an elderly lion in winter, 83-year-old trumpeter Bill Dixon seems to have reasserted his place in the jazz firmament during the dozen years since he retired from academe after nearly three decades of teaching at Vermont’s Bennington College.

Both of these big band CDs resulted from a purple patch of creativity in the summer of 2007, when Dixon was able to lead different orchestras in New York and Chicago through some of his extended compositions. Both the 56½-minute “Darfur” suite in New York and the two 18-minute versions of “Entrances” in the mid-West are shaped around a combination of composed work and spontaneously cued solos. The tonal colors emphasized on both are orchestral rather than standard big band arrangements, with woodwinds, strings and miscellaneous percussion prominent. MORE

December 8, 2008

Bill Dixon

With Exploding Star Orchestra
Thrill Jockey Thrill 192

Bill Dixon

17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur

AUM Fidelity AUM 046

More than an elderly lion in winter, 83-year-old trumpeter Bill Dixon seems to have reasserted his place in the jazz firmament during the dozen years since he retired from academe after nearly three decades of teaching at Vermont’s Bennington College.

Both of these big band CDs resulted from a purple patch of creativity in the summer of 2007, when Dixon was able to lead different orchestras in New York and Chicago through some of his extended compositions. Both the 56½-minute “Darfur” suite in New York and the two 18-minute versions of “Entrances” in the mid-West are shaped around a combination of composed work and spontaneously cued solos. The tonal colors emphasized on both are orchestral rather than standard big band arrangements, with woodwinds, strings and miscellaneous percussion prominent. MORE

June 7, 2004

STICKS & STONES

Shed Grace
Thrill Jockey thrill 140

DRAGONS 1976
On Cortez
Locust Music 40

Real Jazz has always been a music of apprenticeship. Unlike so-called classical or pop music where younger players can make a reputation and a living by reinterpreting and/or copying the work of their elders, jazz revolves around what you as a player can bring to the band stand.

That’s why SHED GRACE is a major step forward for the Sticks & Stones trio, while ON CORTEZ is very much an apprentice effort. Saxophonist Aram Shelton, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Tim Daisy, who gave their band its unique name because all were born in 1976, are gathering the experience in Chicago to put them in the sophomore class of players. Reedist Matana Roberts, drummer Chad Taylor -- both of whom spend much of their time in New York -- and bassist Josh Abrams, on the other hand, are already in the senior class. Individually, and collectively as a trio, they’ve developed distinct identities and appear ready to trade the promising for the established designation. MORE

February 9, 2004

MATT BAUDER

Weary Already of the Way
482 Music 482-1025

MATT BAUDER/JASON AJEMIAN
Object 3
Locust no. 38

Probably the biggest challenge facing listeners to reedist Matt Bauder’s two new CDs is figuring out how much of the music is composed, how much is improvised and how much is the result of studio manipulation. On the other hand you can merely allow the sounds to seep from your organ of Corti into your consciousness, reacting to them on a purely visceral level.

Bauder is one of the many young Chicago improvisers whose allegiance is as much with post-rock, contemporary classical and electro-acoustic drone as it is with jazz. Most of the players work in each others’ bands and a considerable number of them -- including at least three on the sextet date -- have played with the scene’s most prominent representative, saxist Ken Vandermark. MORE

November 10, 2003

TRIAGE

Twenty Minute Cliff
Okka Disk OD12045

JASON ROEBKE
Rapid Croche
482 Music 1016

Every three decades or so Chicago improvisers become the focus of the music world -- or perhaps the rest of the planet merely catches up with what’s been happening in the Windy City all along.

This first took place in the late 1920s when Young Lions such as Louis Armstrong and Earl Hines revolutionized jazz music with a solo-oriented approach. Then in the mid-1960s, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music (AACM) appeared with explorers like Roscoe Mitchell and Muhal Richard Abrams who showed that Free Music could be complex and meticulous as well as blues-based and emotional. Fast forward to the 21st century, and everyone from Austrian laptopers to German ecstatic soloists appears to be working with a new wave of Chicago-based players. MORE