Reviews that mention John Hébert

October 11, 2020

Simon Nabatov

Plain
Clean Feed CF 546 CD

Cutout

Cutout

Driff Records DCD 2001

Two quintets featuring European-born pianists animate these sessions. Except for the degrees of ebullience brought to these all-original sessions by two quintets of mostly American associates each disc is equally noteworthy.

Boston-based, the Cutout group includes bassist Nate McBride, trombonist Jeb Bishop and drummer Luther Gray, who collectively and singly have played with everyone from Taylor Ho Bynum to Ken Vandermark. Pianist Pandelis Karayorgis was born in Greece and saxophonist Jorrit Dijkstra in Holland. However both have taught at the post-secondary level and played in Massachusetts for decades, making them un-hyphenated American for everyone but Donald Trump. Born in Russia, pianist Simon Nabatov spent a few years in New York after emigrating, but has now firmly ensconced in Köln. Visiting the US last year he organized this quintet featuring a cross section of experienced improvisers. Saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed, drummer Tom Rainey, trumpeter Herb Robertson and bassist John Hébert have worked with many sound explorers including Tim Berne, Ingrid Laubrock and Gerry Hemingway and a couple have been featured on earlier Nabatov discs. MORE

July 21, 2020

Andy Milne and Unison

The Remission
Sunnyside Records SSC 1576

Jim Black Trio

Reckon

Intakt CD 334

Uwe Oberg/Joe Fonda/Lucía Martínez

Relight

NotTwo MW 994-2

Paraskevopoulos/Winter/Pröll

Live at artacts ’19 St. Johann

Creative Sources CS 622 CD

Favored in many styles of Jazz at least since the early 1950s, the conventional piano, bass and drums trio has been used by everyone from Teddy Wilson on one hand to Cecil Taylor on the other. The true test of interpretation for many though is how to assert individuality within the category’s parameters. Each trio here does so, but happily with singular solutions. MORE

February 11, 2019

Jonathan Finlayson

3 Times Round
Pi Recordings 77

Although closely identified with Steve Coleman’s Five Elements, band with which he has been playing for 18 years, trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson’s new set of seven originals seems to more accurately reflect the influence of another band leader with whom he has also played. In fact despite lacking tuba, cello and two drummers, this sextet approximates the sound of Henry Threadgill’s Sextett from the early 1980s.

Not that there’s any hint of copying. But considering that besides the Oakland, Calif.-born trumpeter, drummer Craig Weinrib also put in time with Threadgill, compositional osmosis from the AACM saxophonist may just have been in the air. Others players on the date are all young-veteran pacesetters of the New York scene: alto saxophonist Steve Lehman and tenor saxophonist Brian Settles plus pianist Matt Mitchell and bassist John Hébert. Overall though, it’s only “Refined Strut” and the preceding, most dramatic “The Moon is New” which appear most overtly Threadgillian. Trenchant and balladic, the first tells its story as it evolves from hard comping from Mitchell and airy flutter tonguing from the trumpeter that is cushioned by a saxophone choir. Divergently, the multi-sectional “Moon is New” reaches its zenith with an exchange among open-horn brassiness from Finlayson, straight-ahead tenor sax vibrations and swirling piano chords, following percussive bowed bass and bass clef keyboard elaboration and culminating in overlapping piano and bass string chording which drone to the ending. MORE

September 16, 2016

Renku

Live in Greenwich Village
Clean Feed CF 354 CD

Jean-Brice Godet Quartet

Mujô

Fou Records FR-CD 16

Like a high-quality electronic product manufactured by the Panasonic Corporation, the career of alto saxophonist Michaël Attias has always involved being slightly ahead of his time. Israeli-born, the reedist followed what has now become a common career trajectory, by moving back-and-forth from the US to Paris, where he first recorded, before setting in New York in the 1990s. Since that point, despite Donald Trump and Brexit, globalization has become a reality in the music business, with the number of immigrant musicians who relocate to North America, especially New York, for a greater or shorter time swelling. Today many players on an Apple bandstand may not only be non-New Yorkers, but non-Americans. Live in Greenwich Village reflects this internationalism. Besides Attias, the cooperative Renku trio includes Japanese-born percussionist Satoshi Takeishi and bassist John Hébert, whose Cajun-Louisiana background is noted in the Gallic spelling of his surname. Each contributes to the compositional pool of this its third disc, recorded after 10 years together. MORE

September 6, 2015

Ingrid Laubrock Anti House

Roulette of the Cradle
Intakt CD 252

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up

After All Is Said

482 Music 482-1089

Jason Adasiewicz’s Sun Room

From The Region

Delmark DE 5017

Fred Frith/Evan Parker

Hello, I Must Be Going

Victo cd 128

Mary Halvorson Trio

Ghost Loop

ForTune 0010/010

Something In The Air: Many musical Interconnections at 2015’s Guelph Jazz Festival

By Ken Waxman

As the Guelph Jazz Festival (GJF) settles into maturity, dependable musical choices and the vagaries of touring means that a few of the performers at this year’s bash, September 16 to 20, are featured at more than one ensemble. The happy end result is that the audience gets to sample some musicians’ skills in more than one challenging setting. MORE

September 6, 2015

Mary Halvorson Trio

Ghost Loop
ForTune 0010/010

Ingrid Laubrock Anti House

Roulette of the Cradle

Intakt CD 252

Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up

After All Is Said

482 Music 482-1089

Jason Adasiewicz’s Sun Room

From The Region

Delmark DE 5017

Fred Frith/Evan Parker

Hello, I Must Be Going

Victo cd 128

Something In The Air: Many musical Interconnections at 2015’s Guelph Jazz Festival

By Ken Waxman
MORE

December 21, 2014

John Hébert Trio

Floodstage
Clean Feed CF 290 CD

The Tim Daisy Trio

A Fine Day in Berlin

Relay Recordings 006

Compositional focus or pure improv, emblematic Jazz piano trios with bass and drums can be envisioned in accordance with the tendencies of the participants. These sessions, recorded about one month apart in different European countries, instructively outline these differences. Interestingly enough as well, although the piano is the main melody instrument on both, neither session is lead by a pianist. The second outing for a group consisting of French pianist Benoît Delbecq plus New Yorkers, drummer Gerald Cleaver and bassist John Hébert, Floodstage mostly highlight the compositions of the New Orleans-born bassist. A true international configuration, A Fine Day in Berlin’s four extended track resulted from a day of collaboration between American drummer Tim Daisy, Norwegian pianist Håvard Wiik and Australian bassist Clayton Thomas. MORE

March 8, 2014

Artist Feature

Ingrid Laubrock
By Ken Waxman

One of the many non-American musicians who have set up shop in NYC, German-born saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, 43, has quickly become a presence on the local scene. But the soprano and tenor saxophonist one who was already recognized for her playing and writing elsewhere – London’s highly competitive improv scene – before she crossed the ocean permanently in 2008.

Then again, the Hundewick-raised reedist has always thrived on new situations and challenges. And as someone who didn’t start playing the saxophone until her teens she declares that “I didn't really decide that I wanted to become a musician, it more or less happened … I sort of drifted into it.” MORE

February 16, 2014

Samo Šalamon Quartets

Stretching Out
Samo Records No #

One of Slovenia’s two internationally known jazzmen – (the other? percussionist Zlatko Kaučič) – guitarist Samo Šalamon has developed an elastic musical persona adaptable to many situations. Recorded four years apart, the sessions that make up this two-CD set highlight his so-called American and European quartets. While there is much good work throughout, the superiority of the eight 2012 Continental tracks over the three 2008 U.S. ones, confirms the truth of the old adage, which in this case would be “you can take a musician out of southern Central Europe …” MORE

December 13, 2013

Mary Halvorson Septet

Illusionary Sea
Firehouse 12 Records FH12-04-01-017

More enterprising than most of her earlier discs, New York guitarist Mary Halvorson created this series of compositions for an expanded ensemble, most of whose members she works with in other contexts. The results are audacious, proving that the guitarist, who first made her reputation with Anthony Braxton, is a sophisticated composer as well as soloist.

That said many of the tracks have a resemblance to Henry Threadgill’s jaunty writing for similar-sized ensembles. But, as would be expected, while Threadgill emphasizes low brass and rhythm, Halvorson’s weight is more on guitar and saxophones. Dividing the reed duties here are alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon and tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, while the rhythm section consists of bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith. Brass power arrives from trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and trombonist Jacob Garchik. Garchik’s and Laubrock’s contributions were added to the others who usually make up the guitarist’s working quintet, so her challenge was reconceptualising the five-part arrangements for seven. Listening to the sympathetic outcome though, you’d never know that the pieces hadn’t been created for that configuration from the get-go. MORE

September 24, 2013

Book of Three

Continuum (2012)
Relative Pitch RPR 1012

Gianni Lenoci Hocus Pocus 4 + Taylor Ho Bynum

Empty Chair

Setola di Maiale SM 2440

The Convergence Quartet

Slow and Steady

NoBusiness NBCD 53

Along with leading his own band(s) and serving as aide-de-camp for many of Anthony Braxton’s projects, peripatetic cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum somehow manages to find time to regularly gig with players on both sides of the Atlantic. Sympathetic to others’ ideas his presence manages to multiply the number of high quality sessions extant. MORE

August 28, 2013

Ingrid Laubrock’s Anti House

Strong Place
Intakt CD 208

Ches Smith and These Arches

Hammered

Clean Feed CF 270 CD

Guitarist Mary Halvorson may be the connection between these two New York-centred quintet sessions, yet their striking individuality results from who’s sitting behind the drum kit. On Hammered, Ches Smith, whose experience encompasses drumming for rock bands such as Secret Chiefs 3, brings a punkish energy to an affiliation with certified New York downtowners. Meanwhile, although Strong Place is under saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock’s leadership – she also composed all the tunes – much of the disc’s definition comes from the laid-back rhythm strategy of drummer Tom Rainey, who usually fronts a trio filled out by the German-born tenor and soprano saxophonist and Halvorson. Other players on Strong Place include pianist Kris Davis, who is Canadian, and bassist John Hébert who isn’t, despite the way he spells his last name. MORE

October 25, 2011

Joe Fiedler Trio

Sacred Chrome Orb
Yellow Sound Music YSL 566653

Michael Dessen Trio

Forget the Pixel

Clean Feed CF 222 CD

Perhaps there’s more than a kernel of truth in those clichés about energetic New Yorkers and laid-back Californians. How else could one explain the massive variance between performances on these discs, each featuring a bassist, a drummer and a trombonist-leader playing original compositions by the brass man? In a way it’s a difference between lively and listless.

It’s not that Forget the Pixel is that enervated. It’s just that a certain sameness seems to permeate the seven compositions by trombonist Michael Dessen. Dessen, an academic with an interest in new technologies as well as telematic performances in multiple locations, adds computer wave forms to this disc in order to enhance the low-key proceedings. The results curve and undulate nicely, but not enough to alter the air of lethargic moderation that permeates the disc. Besides some rapid capillary movements from Dessen in the JJ Johnson lineage however, the most affecting overall performance is the title track. Here at least brushes-directed ruffs and bounces, spelled with an occasional martial beat, from drummer Dan Weiss, coupled with speedy stops as well as sul ponticello slides from bassist Christopher Tordini provide back-up for the trombonist’s slurs, puffs and squeezes. MORE

September 30, 2011

Frank Carlberg

Tivoli Trio
Red Piano Records rpr 14599-4403-2

Stevens, Siegel & Ferguson

Six

Konnex KCD 5243

Fully-functioning Jazz piano trios involve a meeting of equals, so that all nuances of the performance are communicated. Nonetheless its very name attests that, intentionally or not, the keyboardist usually becomes first among equals, a situation that sometimes unbalances the performance.

Helsinki native Frank Carlberg dominates Tivoli Trio in that manner. Now domiciled in New York, the keyboardist composed all 13 of the tracks here and even co-owns the record company. But Carlberg, who is also on the faculty of the New England Conservatory and Berklee College and has played with among others saxophonist Steve Lacy and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, has enough experience with different bands to ensure his so-called sidemen can not only deal with the demanding themes, but challenge him when necessary. Gerald Cleaver is one of the most versatile drummers in New York, working with, among others, saxophonists Tim Berne and Roscoe Mitchell. Bassist John Hébert follows a similar path, playing with trombonist Joe Fielder and trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum to name two. MORE

May 31, 2011

Taylor Ho Bynum/John Hébert/Gerald Cleaver

Book of Three
RogueArt Rog-0029

Joe Hertenstein/Pascal Niggenkemper/Thomas Heberer

HNH

Clean Feed CF 205 CD

Unusual in composition, an improvising trio made up of double bass, drums and a brass instrument usually has a harder time balancing its sonics than when the third instrument is piano, say, or saxophone. It’s a tribute to each of these formations that the end results are of such high-quality, although the Book of Three CD is low-key and atmospheric, while HNH is bright and lively. MORE

August 2, 2010

Michaël Attias

Renku in Coimbra
Clean Feed CF 162 CD

Oleś Brothers with Rob Brown

Live at SJC

Fenommedia Live Series FM 09-008

Double bass and drums power and patterns are the reason for the success of both these trio CDs which also feature – and in one case is lead by – an alto saxophonist. Nonetheless, these cohesive qualities would likely be present no matter who was the third partner.

Poland’s most notable rhythm section, twin brothers, bassist Marcin Oleś and drummer Bartłomiej “Brat” Oleś are a lot more than the Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb of Eastern Europe. Although their skills as close-knit accompanists have benefited musicians ranging from German woodwind player Theo Jörgensmann to American cellist Erik Friedlander, they also produce sessions and – as in this case – compose the music. Not only has Brat Oleś in particular supplied memorable tunes for this CD, but the two spur New York saxophonist Rob Brown to his most impressive soloing on record. Considering Brown travels in the company of players such as bassist William Parker and pianist Mathew Ship that’s high praise. MORE

October 1, 2009

Andrew Green

Narrow Margin
Microphonic Records No #

Striking sounds can result from a combination of a sprain and serendipity. At least that’s the genesis of this uncommon musical salute to post-Second World War film noir. Featuring eight distinctive compositions given an unusual post-modern Cool Jazz lilt, Narrow Margin also reveals a hitherto unknown side of guitarist Andrew Green.

A veteran New York-based musician who has played with everyone from pianist Joanne Brackeen to drummer Matt Wilson as well as authoring three best-selling guitar instruction books, Green’s change to show off his superior composing and arranging chops literally came about by accident; in 2006 he sprained his wrists and couldn’t play for 10 weeks. Spending his time viewing hard-boiled film classics during this hiatus, Green decided to compose themes which reflect that atmospheric genre, yet reinterpret its textures using his knowledge of more contemporary jazz and rock. MORE

August 11, 2008

Joe Fielder Trio

The Crab
Clean Feed CF 092 CD

Slippery and slurpy, the nine tracks on this CD show that trombonist Joe Fielder has the chops to carry off a session backed by only bass and drums. The Crab is so memorable because it’s also no show-off’s technical exercise. The New York-based bone man invests each one of his bustling original compositions with emotion, humor and excitement.

A veteran of Latin as well as straight jazz bands, Fielder even brings Hispanic tinges to lines such as the title track and “A Frankfurter in Caracas”, which also pays homage to his mentor, German trombonist Albert Mangelsdorff. At the same time, like the older brass man, his solos on these and the other tunes while lyrical, encompass bitten-off notes, double tonguing, low-pitched growls and snorts. Using a collection of mutes and multiphonics his solo on “The Crab” is particularly outstanding, since he doubles entire passages with both mouthpiece and his own mouth, while elsewhere articulating staccato runs as effortlessly as J J. Johnson. MORE

March 15, 2008

Gebhard Ullmann

New Basement Research
Soul Note 121491-2

More appropriately described as demonstrated results than research, this first-class presentation of low-end polyphony not only celebrates Berlin reedist Gebhard Ullmann’s 50th birthday, but also gives him a chance to reinterpret older compositions in new surroundings.

Regularly gigging in both Europe and North America, the tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist’s sidemen reflect his trans-Atlantic contacts. British soprano and baritone saxophonist Julian Argülles traded licks with Ullmann on a continental big band recording, while the other players are all New Yorkers. Trombonist Steve Swell co-leads a quartet with the Berliner, while bassist John Hebert and drummer Gerald Cleaver, functioning for the first time as the reedist’s rhythm team, aptly demonstrate why they’re among the busiest individuals in the city. MORE

November 12, 2006

Albert Mangelsdorff

Triplicity
Skip SKP 9052-2

Joe Fiedler

Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff

Clean Feed CF 049CD

Generally credited as the first European trombonist who by the 1960s had talents that were equal to or superior to American jazzers, Frankfurt native Albert Mangelsdorff (1928-2005) evolved from being a top-ranked bopper to flirting with the avant garde and fusion in the 1970s, The result by the time of his death, was a matchless amalgam of all those styles in his playing.

Although acknowledged as a major stylist as early as 1962, when he recorded with the Modern Jazz Quartet’s pianist John Lewis, this CD by New York trombonist Joe Fiedler is the first recorder tribute the German master of multiphonics. It’s no macabre cash-in either. For Fiedler, whose experience encompasses bands as disparate as Latin- Jazz group Timbalaye, pianist Andrew Hill’s sextet and Philip Johnson’s Fast and Bulbous, recorded the just-released session in November 2003. MORE

September 25, 2006

JOE FIEDLER TRIO

Plays the Music of Albert Mangelsdorff
Clean Feed CF 049CD

ALBERT MANGELSDORFF

Triplicity

Skip SKP 9052-2

By Ken Waxman

Generally credited as the first European trombonist who by the 1960s had talents that were equal to or superior to American jazzers, Frankfurt native Albert Mangelsdorff (1928-2005) evolved from being a top-ranked bopper to flirting with the avant garde and fusion in the 1970s, The result by the time of his death, was a matchless amalgam of all those styles in his playing.

Although acknowledged as a major stylist as early as 1962, when he recorded with the Modern Jazz Quartet’s pianist John Lewis, this CD by New York trombonist Joe Fiedler is the first recorder tribute the German master of multiphonics. It’s no macabre cash-in either. For Fiedler, whose experience encompasses bands as disparate as Latin- Jazz group Timbalaye, pianist Andrew Hill’s sextet and Philip Johnson’s Fast and Bulbous, recorded the just-released session in November 2003. MORE

April 10, 2006

JOHN MCNEIL

East Coast Cool
OmniTone 15211

Dedication with a difference, EAST COAST COOL sets out to recreate the classic sound of baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan’s influential piano-less quartet without copying its tunes or arrangements.

Unlike the so-called Young Lions, composer/arranger/trumpeter John McNeil, 57, is mature enough to have forged his own identity. That means that the 12 tunes here are treated the way a veteran actor would conceive of a personal interpretation of Hamlet, without resorting to the impersonation of a more established performer. MORE