POSITIVE KNOWLEDGE
First Ones

JOEL FUTTERMAN / ALVIN FIELDER / IKE LEVIN
Live at the Blue Monk

[Charles Lester Music, www.charleslestermusic.com]

Saxophonist / clarinettist Ike Levin doesn't nearly get the sort of attention his work calls for. Playing reed instruments for the last quarter of a century, this Chicago native has through the years played with people such as Fred Anderson, Joel Futterman, Gene Ammons, Von Freeman and countless others. His persistence on pushing the boundaries in hard-bop and free-jazz realms is commendable. With each release, his work tends to get stronger and feels like he's more fulfilled with his own self. Positive Knowledge is a San Francisco outfit that places as much emphasis on spoken word as it does on free and organic improvisations. The three core members are Oluyemi Thomas on clarinets, saxophones and various percussion, Ijeoma Thomas on vocals and percussion and Spirit on percussion. Joining them on "First Ones" is saxophonist Ike Levin, who also adds shades of percussion on a few of the tracks.
Their music is an organic sort of jazz, circa glory days of AACM. This is the Chicago sound transported to the West Coast. Seeing as how every single member plays percussion in one sense or another, it's easy to say the ensemble doesn't only dabble in percussion. In fact, they embrace percussion as something quite natural. It's in their blood. Heavy emphasis on gongs, talking drums, kalimba, shakers and other percussive varieties are heard all over this disc. Ijeoma Thomas recites some poetry on a few of the tracks but her moments of glory are heard when she's yelping syllables and phrases. Like some wild version of Linda Sharrock, she gulps, scats and yells her parts in utter abandon. The duo team of Oluyemi Thomas and Ike Levin are busy pouncing on the other two percussionists. The warmest moments come around when Thomas picks up his bass clarinet. Together with the wooden tone of Ike Levin's clarinet, they duel off of each other, taking turns at abandoned solos. Especially effective is the use of whistles on a few of the pieces. They're like a wake up call to other members of the band and signify a slight shift in direction to what the ensemble was playing the moment before. Whether this is the rebirth of the Art Ensemble sound or just a linear continuum of AACM's creative thoughts and ideals is an aside. What counts is this group continues on their quest to challenge the listener with creative music of the highest order.
Recorded at Portland's Blue Monk, "Live at the Blue Monk" features the long standing trio of creative musical partners. Pianists / saxophonist Joel Futterman is joined by percussionist Alvin Fielder and saxophonist Ike Levin for a wicked live set of music. The disc is broken up into two sets which the band played that night. Even though Joel Futterman is at the helm at the piano, this isn't some sort of an abstract session. Even though he's striking those ivories with utter force and intricate abandon, there is a lot of melody and tunefulness throughout. Futterman is a highly skilled player, one who doesn't need an elaborate introduction. It's great to hear him go at length through key changes and ferocious strings of percussive abandon. Fielder is a perfect match in that he challenges Futterman to change pace and alter directions. The two play off one another in tandem. Ike Levin's tenor sets a ferocious tone on this live session. At times he's playing against Futterman's layered flute, while at others he's simply his own man, rallying wallows of thick tenor blasts. My only concern is that in moments, the trio gets so busy and so into what they're playing, the overload is tremendous, which makes it all the more difficult to peel away individual layers from the whole. Other than that, this is a very successful live session from a trio that continues to make top-notch records.

- Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

+ Z'EV - Metaphonics
+ Brush - Brush!?
+ Ariesta Birawa Group - Ariesta Birawa vol. 1
+ Zipps - Be Stoned! Dig The Zipps
+ Satya Sai Maitreya Kali - Apache/Inca
+ Charlemagne Palestine / Tony Conrad - An Aural Symbiotic Mystery
+ Toshinori Kondo - Fukyo
+ Max Richter - Songs from Before
+ Esmerine - Aurora
+ Jean-Luc Guionnet/Pascal Battus - Parmakli
+ Bill Horist - :Projects
+ Łukasz Ciszak - auxin
+ Tomasz Bednarczyk - Summer Feelings
+ volcano! - Beautiful Seizure
+ TR 21 - Deceased City
+ Transforma & O.S.T. - Synken
+ Reynold - La Cite d'en Haut
+ Radical Face - Ghost
+ Patrick Pulsinger - Dogmatic Sequences 1994 - 2006
+ Phelan Sheppard - Harps Old Master
+ Oblong - Indicator
+ Milenasong - Seven Sisters
+ Kapitan DA - Kapitan DA
+ Hug - Heroes
+ Housemeister - Roadmovie
+ A Hawk & A Hacksaw - The Way The Wind Blows
+ The Go Find - Stars On The Wall
+ Gescom - MiniDisc
+ Damero - Happy In Grey
+ Console - Pan Or Ama
+ Classic Cuts: Knight Action - Single Girl / Los Angeles T.F. - Magical Body / Mike Dunn - So Let It Be House / Dopplereffekt - Gesamkunstwerk
+ Christ. - Blue Shift Emissions
+ Blue Raincoat - Everything Is A Piece Of Something
+ Bloodysnowman - Bloodysnowman
+ American Gigolo III - Mixed & Compiled By Princess Superstar
+ 7 Up! - Singles Only 1978 - 1982

- - - - - - - - -

+ loudQUIETloud - A Film about The Pixies DVD
+ BRENT FARISS / BILL THOMPSON - August - September
+ TOM RECCHION - Sweetly doing nothing
+ STEN SANDELL TRIO - Oval
+ MAGIC CARPATHIANS & LECHISTAN'S ELECTRIC CHAIR - Mirrors
+ WALTER & SABRINA - Chioma SuperNormal - The Dark Album
>> POSITIVE KNOWLEDGE - First Ones / JOEL FUTTERMAN / ALVIN FIELDER / IKE LEVIN - Live at the Blue Monk
+ ANTHONY BURR / OSCAR NORIEGA / CHRIS SPEED - The Clarinets
+ JESSE ZUBOT - Dementia
+ CHRISTIAN WEBER - 3 Suits & A Violin - Osaka Solo
+ HERIBERT FRIEDL - Back_Forward / BERNARD GUNTER / HERIBERT FRIEDL - Trans~
+ HORKESKART - Live in Solitude / CINC - Polyphonic Poetry
+ BOB MARSH / THERESA WONG / BRYAN EUBANKS - Luggage
+ JOHN BUTCHER / PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE - Concentric / RODRIGO AMADO / KENT KESSLER / PAAL NILSSEN-LOVE - Teatro
+ NORBERT MOSLANG / GUNTER MULLER - Wild_Suzuki / NORBERT MOSLANG - Burst_Log / MASAHIKO OKURA / GUNTER MULLER / AMI YOSHIDA - Tanker
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS / ANDREA CENTAZZO - Fire
+ RM74 - Fireproof in 8 Parts / RM74 / RLW - Pirouetten / HERPES Ö DELUXE - Kielholen
+ ÖLVIS - Bravado
+ TETSU INOUE - World Receiver / BEAUTUMN - Northing / RUDY ADRIAN - MoonWater / MARKUS REUTER - Trepanation
+ DRAKKAR SAUNA - Jabraham Lincoln
+ FLUORESCENT GREY - Lying on the Floor Mingling With God in a Tijuana Motel Room Next Door to a Veterinary Supply Store
+ HOLGER CZUKAY - Radio Wave Surfer - Good Morning Story
+ DO MAKE SAY THINK - You, You're a History in Rust
+ CLAUDIO PARODI - Horizontal Mover (homage to Alvin Lucier)
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Women of the World: Acoustic - A New Groove - One World, Many Cultures
+ BAD BRAINS - Live at CBGB 1982 - CD/DVD
+ JOHANNES BAUER / THOMAS LEHN / JON ROSE - Futch / STEVE LACY - Live at Jazzwerstatt Peitz
+ VOLCANO THE BEAR - Egg and Two Books
+ IRENE SCHWEIZER / FRED ANDERSON / HAMID DRAKE - Willisau & Taktlos
+ KOTRA AND ZAVOLOKA - Wag the Swing
+ CLINIC - Visitations
+ KUSH ARORA - Underwater Jihad
+ A WITNESS - I am John's Pancreas / PURE SOUND - Yukon
+ MONTA - The Brilliant Masses
+ SHELLEY BURGON / TREVOR DUNN - Baltimore
+ SATANICPORNOCULTSHOP - ..Aiff Skull EP
+ FRANCOIS HOULE - Aerials
+ KAZUMASA HASHIMOTO - Gllia / YASUSHI YOSHIDA - Secret Figure / MIDORI HIRANO - LushRush

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WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ Laibach - relacja z koncertu w Palladium, Warszawa 10.12.2006
+ Singing is communication - wywiad z Marit Posch alias Damero
+ Something unique - wywiad z Mikael'em Stavostrandem (Bulgur Brothers)