Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Ingrid Laubrock, The Last Quiet Place, Pyroclastic ***1/2

Think you know what to expect with Ingrid Laubrock - daring, experimental avant language informed by Ornette Coleman more than John Coltrane as one jumping off point? Wrong but not that wrong. More right but even not that much given that the US …

Published: 1 Apr 2023. Updated: 14 months.

Think you know what to expect with Ingrid Laubrock - daring, experimental avant language informed by Ornette Coleman more than John Coltrane as one jumping off point? Wrong but not that wrong. More right but even not that much given that the US based German saxophonist has a habit of confounding all second-guessing is to instead forget all you know about this remarkable player and approach this recording as if in a state of mindfulness. Empty your mind if you can beforehand.

However glibly trotted out your preamble and however zen you can approach this, Laubrock isn't suddenly going to start playing smooth jazz or whistling Dixie. Get a grip. Long term musical and life partner drummer Tom Rainey is as so often an inventive anchor and he is very important in the sound here. At times the drums do play to the sax but there is a helluva lot more going on too that you can't strip down. A sonic sheen to the crackle of atmosphere contained in the opener is one way to open your account. But Laubrock is more scrabbling and sarcastic - if you can be sarcastic (breaking news - this just in, you can) when you play the saxophone. And on 'Grammy Season' which is really freebop with the guitar of Brandon Seabrook acting as a lubricant the pace of the band interplay suddenly ramps up as the irony levels gain maverick traction.

Mazz Swift's violin playing is a big factor on the title track as Seabrook strums. 'Delusions' is more like a track you'd expect to hear Mary Halvorson playing. And it's no surprise really given that Laubrock and Halvorson have worked together in Laubrock's own Anti House band. Cellist Tomeka Reid's part is most important in the modernistic chamber classical-esque piece 'Afterglow' while bassist Michael Formanek's concept of beat is often hidden in plain sight but most significantly surfaces when the improvisers enter territory Brit ''free improv'' players are more likely to be familiar with also contained within the myriad of competing directions of The Last Quiet Place. Listen to a Rachel Musson record - like Reeling - for a good point of comparison for this seam pushed to the bulldozing max. The rendering when that concatenation does happen is less squeaky gate, more a ferocious unpeeling. 'Chant II' is too long but redeems itself enough when it enters woozy Albert Ayler territory. As thought provoking as ever The Last Quiet Place isn't diffident or even that hush laden at all. And you get the feeling the saxophonist has in her work begun not only a new pioneering chapter but a whole new book whose spine is not even anywhere near destructively cracking.

Out now

Ingrid Laubrock's Lilith plays the Schlachthof Bremen at Jazzahead on 28 April at 10pm

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L-r: Tom Rainey, Tomeka Reid, Michael Formanek, Mazz Swift, Ingrid Laubrock, Brandon Seabrook. Pic: publicity

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André Carvalho, Lost in Translation Vol. II, Cleanfeed ***1/2

Two years on from the first volume you might, like us, learn a few new bits of vocabulary. Because untranslatable words in the song titles become a theme throughout. These include the Arabic word 'Gurfa' - certainly not sheer guff - which has no …

Published: 31 Mar 2023. Updated: 14 months.

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Two years on from the first volume you might, like us, learn a few new bits of vocabulary. Because untranslatable words in the song titles become a theme throughout. These include the Arabic word 'Gurfa' - certainly not sheer guff - which has no direct correspondence in English but refers to the amount of water that can be held in one hand. Or how about 'Pana po'o' - no sniggering at the back, Quentin - the Hawaiian term to do with opting “to scratch your head in order to help you to remember something you've forgotten.” Still with us? Nod vigorously.

Sax, guitar, bass are the meat and two veg. Regardless of the fact that there aren't any drums the ensemble cook up some dishy treats from a rhythmically spicy recipe mainly because of the way the accents jut out and the serpentine rugged trajectories etched out enjoyably by saxophonist José Soares especially on 'Mencolek' (an Indonesian term about tapping someone deliberately on the wrong shoulder that throws them when they turn round and you have craftily shifted to their other side).

Double bassist leader André Carvalho knows how to do droney (without droning on) undertow and move beyond the beat - think Michael Formanek at his more avant-garde a bit in this. Guitarist André Matos who plays his instrument in sensibility terms a little like the way Paul Bley took to the shadowy hinterland of the piano, follows sax wonderfully on 'Poronkusema'. Ah, this review is turning into a Will Self deep dive. ''Poronkusema'' is a Sami measurement of distance, the distance, guv, a reindeer can travel before needing to stop to urinate. Significant information there Nordic opera fans settling down with your outdoor music loving pets, crossing your legs, hoping for miracles when the igloo curtain falls on Der Ring.

A live recording capturing in sunnier climes for posterity a Lisbon theatre performance last summer, tunes, plangent, often elaborate but full of guarded emotion, are mainly by Carvalho. The album becomes more avant-garde towards the end and probably even more texturally interesting the more that direction develops especially on the spooky 'Waldeinsamkeit'. Yet another untranslatable if by now preposterous term, German as it happens this time, meaning the ''feeling of being alone in the woods.'' It's not at all creepy - you're not really pondering who killed Bambi. And you'll never walk alone with this very fine walking dictionary of a band - whose own index is a sprightly A-Z spree tapping 1950s proto free-jazz ideas - for company. The Lost in Translation trio, photo: José Sarmento Matos