Daily jazz blog, Marlbank

Phillip Golub, Abiding Memory, Berthold Records, Endectomorph ***1/2

One of the most appealing new-name-to-us avant-garde pianists that we have come across this year. But how to describe what Golub, who hails from Los Angeles, does? Given that Abiding Memory is avant the outcome is highly abstract. Written for an …

Published: 7 Jul 2024. Updated: 12 days.

One of the most appealing new-name-to-us avant-garde pianists that we have come across this year. But how to describe what Golub, who hails from Los Angeles, does? Given that Abiding Memory is avant the outcome is highly abstract. Written for an unusually shaped quintet of cello, guitar, piano, bass, and drums inspirations are as various as medieval French rhythms and the 21st century sound of John Hollenbeck's Claudia Quintet.

Writing in the Harvard Magazine referring to an earlier work called 'Filters' also issued on the Greyfade label Nancy Walecki in 2022 noted that ''Golub’s musical influences mingle together in 'Filters,' from the ars subtilior music of medieval France and spectralism to Thelonious Monk.''

Electric guitarist Alec Goldfarb's role on 'The Group to Hear' is crucial and there's a correspondence across the arrangement between guitar and piano. Their rapport and interplay is the main traction here. Tunes are Golub's who makes use of harpsichord on 'A Regrouping' - he also plays Rhodes electric piano elsewhere alternating with piano.

Vijay Iyer in the liner notes says: ''I know Phillip Golub very well. I met him a decade ago, have followed him closely ever since, and would trust him with my life. He and Endectomorph founder Kevin Sun were among my 'day-ones,' the group of students who gamely signed up to study with me upon my arrival at Harvard in January 2014.''

Golub as part of Tropos was on Axioms//75ab released 4 years by Biophilia Records. He was also the musical dramaturg and music coordinator for Wayne Shorter and Esperanza Spalding opera Iphigenia. And he has studied composition with Michael Finnissy and Julian Anderson and piano and improvisation with among others Jason Moran, Bruce Brubaker, Joe Morris, and Ran Blake.

There is a floating beyond-bar complexion to the weightlessness of the arc of some of the pieces found for instance on 'Unspooled (Waiting Quietly)'. Drummer Vicente Atria does not have to keep a strict beat, that is not part of the process at all. But you get a sense of pulsar flow on some of the best passages for instance on 'In a Secret Corner'. Recorded at a studio in Astoria, New York the remaining players in the ensemble are cellist Daniel Hass and bassist Sam Minaie.

Phillip Golub, photo: Marena Lin

Tags: Reviews

Giovanni Guidi, A New Day, ECM *****

A New Day was recorded at La Buissonne, a big favourite of A New Day producer Manfred Eicher's for years and years, tracks include a traditional Catalan Christmas carol here entitled 'Cantos Del Ocells' usually known as 'El cant dels ocells' and …

Published: 6 Jul 2024. Updated: 13 days.

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  • A New Day was recorded at La Buissonne, a big favourite of A New Day producer Manfred Eicher's for years and years, tracks include a traditional Catalan Christmas carol here entitled 'Cantos Del Ocells' usually known as 'El cant dels ocells' and in English 'The Carol of the Birds' - boomer folk fans will know it most through Joan Baez.
Sombre and stately - an authoritative presence

The Gato Barbieri inspired Giovanni Guidi 5-star CAM Jazz album Ojos de Gato was a big highlight in 2021. This latest is every bit its equal. The remarkable Italian pianist's reunion with James Brandon Lewis from that extraordinary recording is here on a differently configured (eg: no trombone) quartet album recorded in France last summer.

Both are joined by the Frisellian tone master double bassist Thomas Morgan - the Charlie Haden of his generation - and drummer João Lobo, both of whom were on the earlier Guidi album released in 2019 entitled Avec Le Temps - an album all about romanticism and beauty on which Morgan also appeared and which included a homage to Tomasz Stańko.

Guidi originals 'To A Young Student,' 'Means For A Rescue,' his free improvisation and co-write with the band 'Only Sometimes,' 'Luigi (The Boy Who Lost His Name)' and 'Wonderland' plus an interpretation of Rodgers and Hart classic standard 'My Funny Valentine' are also included.

The best track is without a shadow of a doubt the stunning 'Wonderland.' And Lewis contributes a very moving solo on the Catalan carol and appears on an ECM recording for the first time. Yes, it's all another landmark in American free-jazz player Lewis' ever more compelling body of work. And yet again Guidi proves himself sui generis.

'Only Sometimes' and 'Cantos del Ocells' are streaming. A New Day is out on Friday