Jazz Related Improv/Composition

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The art of improvisation in music did not begin with jazz, but the appearance of jazz in the early 20th century has certainly heightened the popularity of improvisation in all styles of contemporary music.

The artists featured in JMA's Jazz Related Improvisation genre play improvised music that has strong similarities to jazz, especially avant-garde jazz. The boundary between the Jazz Related Improvisation genre and the Avant-Garde Jazz and Fusion genres may not always be clear, but generally the JMA Avant-Garde jazz artist comes from a jazz background, while the Jazz Related Improviser may come from a more eclectic background. Also, the artists listed in this genre may include groups that mix jazz artists with other experimental artists.

jazz related improv/composition top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm | 60 min. caching

MARC RIBOT Spiritual Unity Album Cover Spiritual Unity
MARC RIBOT
4.83 | 5 ratings
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SUPERSILENT 5 Album Cover 5
SUPERSILENT
4.67 | 3 ratings
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MARC RIBOT Asmodeus: Book of Angels, Volume 7 Album Cover Asmodeus: Book of Angels, Volume 7
MARC RIBOT
4.47 | 6 ratings
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BACK DOOR Back Door Album Cover Back Door
BACK DOOR
4.44 | 7 ratings
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FRED FRITH Speechless Album Cover Speechless
FRED FRITH
4.08 | 6 ratings
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RADIATA 5TET Aurelia Aurita Album Cover Aurelia Aurita
RADIATA 5TET
4.09 | 4 ratings
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FRED FRITH Gravity Album Cover Gravity
FRED FRITH
3.98 | 6 ratings
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CLAUDIO MILANO Adython (with Erna Franssens) Album Cover Adython (with Erna Franssens)
CLAUDIO MILANO
4.00 | 4 ratings
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CLAUDIO MILANO Il gioco del silenzio (as NichelOdeon) Album Cover Il gioco del silenzio (as NichelOdeon)
CLAUDIO MILANO
4.02 | 3 ratings
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FRED FRITH Skeleton Crew : The Country Of Blinds Album Cover Skeleton Crew : The Country Of Blinds
FRED FRITH
4.00 | 3 ratings
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AMM Before Driving To The Chapel We Took Coffee With Rick And Jennifer Reed Album Cover Before Driving To The Chapel We Took Coffee With Rick And Jennifer Reed
AMM
4.00 | 3 ratings
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LAST EXIT Köln Album Cover Köln
LAST EXIT
4.00 | 3 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

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jazz related improv/composition Music Reviews

TCHANGODEI Tchangodei And Steve Lacy ‎: The Wasp (Duo Live)

Live album · 1984 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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snobb
Pianist Tchangodei is a mysterious figure on French jazz scene. Born in former French colony of Dahomey (now-Benin) in late 50s,he emigrated to France.Self-taught piano player for decades, he is almost totally ignored by domestic jazz community, but regularly played with France-based expatriates like Archie Shepp,Steve Lacy,Mal Waldron or Japanese trumpeter Itaru Oki.

His playing techniques is intuitive minimalism based on some repetitive drones (closest example could be a renown Waldron "drones") and fast short separate passages. Probably such ignorance of any roots (doesn't matter is it jazz techniques or so influential in Europe classic background) led to Tchangodei almost underground status in France - there are a very few local artists who ever played with him together (Louis Sclavis and Henry Texier are two names and I can hardly recall any more).

Tchangodei lived (and probably still lives) in Lyon where he ran small bar (where he played every night himself) and releasing his recorded music predominantly on his own Volcanic label. All obscurities,his albums contains piano solo music and Tchangodei collaborative musicianship with Louis Sclavis,Archie Shepp,Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron,among others.

"The Wasp" is one of such recordings - live recorded Tchangodei Steve Lacy (on soprano) duo playing behind small but enthusiastic auditory, most probably at Tchangodei's bar in Lyon. There are no credits, but most probably at least part of compositions are Lacy's. Generally music sounds as not much correlated gig of saxist and pianist. Lacy (less explosive and dynamic than usual) plays his trademark vibrato-less soprano solos without paying much attention on what happens around. Tchangodei piano is busy but produces mostly series of very short passages. Sometimes sax and piano sounds mystically click together, more often all music remind quite chaotic soloing of two musicians where each of them doesn't care much about what happens around. Still Lacy doesn't dominate here and altogether it works not so terrible as it looks on paper.At least even experienced listener can hardly remember if he ever heard such a strange duo.

Unfortunately many earlier Tchangodei recordings have been never reissued on CDs (and original vinyl versions are obscure) so it's not an easy job to find them to listen. Starting from mid 90's his new music is released on CDs,so as rule is more accessible. Not of star level, Tchangodei is an interesting example of "non-systemic" improvising pianist with his own musical face.

ANDRÉ FERTIER Clivage

Album · 1976 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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siLLy puPPy
ANDRE FERTIER’S CLIVAGE remains one of the most celebrated obscurities in the underground Indo-raga and progressive rock scene and is therefore celebrated for their unique East meets West approach that they delivered on their three albums that began with this 1977 debut REGINA ASTRIS and ended with the 1985 “Kassiopee.” While the three albums all have distinct identities, they all share a similar amalgamation of Indian raga, jazz, drone and progressive rock workouts. To this day these albums have never seen a second pressing after their initial vinyl releases yet are heralded for being some of the best examples of the Indo-raga jazz fusion scene.

REGINA ASTRIS is divided up into three long tracks clocking in over the ten minute mark and a five minute finale. The general gist of the entire album is a drone-like monotonous rhtymm that is the product of the percussion section of Armand Lemal and Indian tabla playing of Patricio Villaurel which provides the skeletal structure for the jazzy saxophone workouts of Jean Pierre de Barba, the hypnotic bass line of Claude Duhaut and the violin of Mahmoud Tabrizizadeh to play around. This is a sort of a jam session as the track’s flow is typically long, rhythmic and trance inducing with the sax and violin adding melodic accoutrements to the mix. ANDRE FERTIER adds the extra touches with acoustic guitars and keyboards but they seem to be subdued under the mix of the ethnic influences that dominate the soundscapes.

REGINA ASTRIS is much jazzier than albums like “Mixtus Orbus” that were more psychedelic and magnanimous in nature. This one has a more down-to-earth feel as it connects directly to the jazz world with the sax contributions as well as the folk world when the violin dominates. As with all CLIVAGE albums, the main gist is for a rhythmic structure to burrow into the listener’s consciousness before unfurling the tapestry of melodic sounds that dance around each other. While the track “Moving Waves” is more upbeat with howling saxophone workouts, the title track is more contemplative traditional raga oriented and certainly can remind one of a less caffeinated Shakti at times.

CLIVAGE does an excellent job at arranging the tracks so that each element has a chance to shine thus allowing all four tracks to have their own personalities. However the raga elements whether tamped down or allowed to shine always make their presence known while the sax and violin usually trade off as opposed to battling it out. “Mama Swat” actually starts out bringing chamber rock acts like Univers Zero to mind before it lifts the darkened veil and brings in lighter tones to the mix. MIXTUS ORBUS is a fairly unique sounding album that keeps the listener engaged throughout the entire run and baffles the mind as to why this has never received a proper updated release. If there are any patron saints who are seeking to release long lost gems, then by all means add ANDRE FERTIER’S CLIVAGE’s three albums to the list. They are truly well deserved prog classics that more than deserve to be rediscovered.

ANDRÉ FERTIER Clivage With André Fertier & The Philharmonic Orchestra "Pro UNESCO" : Mixtus Orbis

Album · 1978 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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siLLy puPPy
I'll jump on the masterpiece bandwagon with this one. It is truly musical ecstasy from beginning to end. This is very much 'raga rock' fusion with progressive rock compositional stylings but the jazz-fusion element is just as if not more prevalent. It is very minimalist and it reminds me of Terry Riley, Steve Reich or Philip Glass because it is very drone-oriented and the complexity comes from the sheer number of sounds overlaying each other including haunting female vocals of the sort you would hear on the original 60s Star Trek theme.

It starts out innocently enough with just a piano but then is joined by a violin, then a tabla. Every instrument repeats in loops. As more instruments come in, it allows other ones to go into variations. With nine different instruments on the album you can imagine how rich it becomes. The tension builds and builds into a sonic frenzy. The last track has the same formula but some exotic chanting is included.

Wow. At just over 30 minutes long divided into two longer and two shorter tracks, it goes by way too fast. It seems like it's just getting started and then it's all over leaving you torn between the ecstasy of having heard such beautiful music and the melancholy of knowing this is so obscure it hasn't seen the light of day on CD and that this was a fleeting moment in time that will never be repeated exactly like this again.

JAZZFAKERS Hallucinations

Album · 2016 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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js
Free improvisation is probably the oldest music tradition known to man. No doubt this is where it all began, back when early humanoids tried to figure out what to do with some hollowed out logs, reeds or bamboo. As music developed throughout the globe, some forms of improvisation remained in many cultures, but not so much in the Western world. Flash forward a few centuries and a new generation in the US and Europe 'discovered' free improvisation, both in the concert hall domain, as well as in the worlds of jazz and rock too. Moving into the 21st century, the worlds of 1960s free jazz and 80s post punk noise collided into new improvisational hybrids, which leads us to The JazzFaker’s new CD, “Hallucinations”. The JazzFakers are a talented bunch who know their chosen genre well, and I would imagine their live shows are good, and some of that comes across on the new CD, but some parts of this CD are undermined by sound issues.

Probably the biggest concern many have about ‘free improv’ is that they assume the musicians are playing this way because they lack the technique or discipline to play anything else. That may be true of some post punk wannabes, but not the Fakers, especially drummer Matt Luczak, saxophonist David Tamura, and bass player Raphael Zwyer, who all have decent chops and maybe have even taken some ‘giant steps’ somewhere along the way. There is no lack of skill here, but there is something lacking in the mixing and production department. The biggest problem is that the sound of the drum set lacks definition and presence, mostly you can only hear the cymbals, which is a shame, as Matt sounds like a good drummer, if only you could hear him a little better. Another problem is the use of overly loud clack-clack-clack persistent mechanical rhythms, probably played by a looping device of some kind. This problem mars both the beginnings of track one and two. When the band is allowed free reign without the repetitive sounds, they sound great. Some highlights include an incredibly creepy violin solo on “Delirium Tremens”, a classic free jazz drums vs. sax duo on “The Sacred Disease”, and excellent all out mayhem on the closing track.

The JazzFakers are a good band, and “Hallucinations” shows that in many places, but it could have been better with a different mix. All the same, this is good enough to recommend to those looking for something in between 70s Sun Ra, Stockhausen and early Pink Floyd, but in a modern NYC stylee.

JULIAN JULIEN Terre II

Album · 2015 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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Modrigue
Jazz from planet Earth?

Looking for original, creative yet refined and accessible jazz? Classically trained composer JULIAN JULIEN's "Terre II" may well be your destination. Adopting a genuine cinematographic approach, this third self-produced album is composed of short soundtracks depicting professional photographs from all around the world. With a wide range of various influences, such as JOHN SURMAN, zheul, krautrock, ambient, Eastern, and even concrete music, these compositions are a true invitation to travel to different countries from Earth, but also to unknown worlds.

The reference to photography is also perceptible with the tracks named "Iris" (Iris are adjustable diaphragms in optical capture devices). Thought as interludes by the artist, these short pieces are more atmospheric than the other compositions, and are interesting for their highly crafted sound work.

This time, JULIAN JULIEN plays percussions instead of saxophone, as numerous guest musicians were invited to play on this opus. Mainly from the jazz universe, the palette of instruments used is quite large. However, the music do not resemble traditional jazz or fusion at all, but rather elegant, intriguing and sometimes enigmatic soundscapes.

The opener "Prelude" immediately sets the tone. A true prelude for a journey to an unidentified destination. A beautiful mesmerizing overture, with a bit of JOHN SURMAN and a slight middle-eastern touch. The title track is more melancholic and hopeful, as its combination of piano and saxophone works perfectly. Sounding typically French at the beginning, the location is always evolving, you don't know where you are anymore. Paris? New-York? This mixture of different cultures is very nice. Then arrives the first ambient experimental "Iris", which surprisingly changes the atmosphere. As it title may suggest, "Ailleurs" ("Elsewhere" in English) does well carry its name. An aerial flute piece, with a mystical ambiance and crystalline sonoroties. With elements that can remind concrete music, early TANGERINE DREAM or KLAUS SCHULZE, the mysterious "Iris II" is spacey and floating, showing the artistic research on sound work. Nonetheless, the "Iris" tracks are not all short ambient pieces. The echoing horns of "Iris III" is a cry into the depths of the universe, like an astronaut seeking help from the infinite void. Quite cosmic, this is my favorite "Iris".

On the contrary, as the only track with wordless vocals, I found the sad "Une attente" a bit lengthy. Back to spacey experimentations with "Iris IV" and its little dissonant trumpet. Maybe the only 'difficult' passage of the disc. "Doudou" possesses a genuine ethereal beauty. An unreal soundscape depicting several places from Earth. Magic! Concerning "Iris V", it combines exotica and ambient music in the vein of modern electronic bands such as AUTECHRE or PLAID. A little strange but still pleasant. The 8 minutes "Non-Sens" is the longest track of the record. With a style resembling JOHN SURMAN's, this melancholic composition is really good. The last "Iris" sounds like music made with glasses, displaying crystalline and enigmatic notes. The album concludes on a lighter tone with "Mr John Barry", showing also JULIAN JULIEN's inspiration from the cinema. This closer can be described as a jazzy and East-European "Peter Gunn", due to the presence of a cymbalum. A bit more conventional compared to the rest of the disc, but still pretty uncommon, refreshing and very cool.

"Terre II" is a true journey around and beyond our planet. From his numerous travels and influences around the world, JULIAN JULIEN has really created a musical universe on his own, made of melancholic, mystical, touching and spacey soundscapes. Hard to describe, but not to listen to, this music is innovative and refreshing, yet varied and accessible. This is no complex free jazz here, but rather jazz instruments played for other purposes, refined and elegant ambiances, depicting Earth and space. Highly recommended!

With the important sound work, JULIAN JULIEN's style is well suited to soundtracks. The artist already did some in the past, maybe he'll compose more and more soundtracks in the future, and maybe one day an artist will release a song named "Mr Julian Julien", who knows?

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JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
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