Ethan Winogrand – Tangled Tango (CF 074)
Wishful Thinking – Wishful Thinking (CF 078)
Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana – Miren (A Longing) (CF 087)
Since 2001, the Portuguese label Clean Feed has provided curious listeners with a prolific catalogue of creative musicians from both sides of the Atlantic. The latest offerings are global in scope, maintaining high standards for new improvised music.
Ravish Momin’s Miren (A Longing) featuring Sam Bardfeld (violin) and Brandon Terzic (oud) is informed by both jazz and North Indian classical music, employing additive rhythms, circular melodies and modal approaches to solo construction. Tunes like “Tehrah”, “Miren” and “What Reward?” contain odd-length phrase structures, while “Fiza” goes for a suasive bhangra-esque dance beat. Momin’s writing varies from the long, catchy contours of “Ragalaya” to the quirky leaping gusto of “Fiza”. Terzic brings an affinity for the Middle-Eastern maqam system, as evinced by his taqasim-style improvs on “Tehran” and “What Reward?”, while Bardfeld is a miniaturist, working in small strokes to create larger frescoes.
In contrast, Ethan Winogrand’s Tangled Tango traces its roots to CBGBs punk, ‘90s neo-funk and the polyrhythmic dexterity of Elvin Jones. The rhythm section – Winogrand (drums), Ross Bonadonna (guitar), Carlos Barretto (acoustic bass), Eric Mingus (electric bass) – is joined by frontliners Steven Bernstein (slide trumpet) and Spaniard Gorka Benitez (tenor sax). Bonadonna’s comping style, more contrapuntal than chordal, contributes to the interactive possibilities of the proceedings, most exemplified on “Crocodilian Wag”, an extended exploration beginning with bass and drums, then guitar and tenor, leading finally to a four-way intersection with no stop signs. Like Miren, Tangled Tango is mixed towards balancing fore- and background elements into a unified soundscape.
Wishful Thinking is a joint venture that, like the other releases and consistent with Clean Feed’s global scope, draws on an international cast of players: German trumpeter Johannes Krieger, Brazilian tenor saxophonist Alipio Neto, British pianist Alex Maguire and a Portuguese rhythm section consisting of bassist Ricardo Freitas and drummer Rui Gonçalves. A group of leaders, the album benefits from the compositional talents of four of its members, particularly Neto, resulting in a diverse menu of tracks. Freitas’ bubbly fretless electric bass is an immediate asset, charismatic but not overbearing; Maguire’s comping (like Bonadonna’s on Tango) is more impressionistic than didactic, while his soloing is splashy, executed with no-note-left-behind bravura. Krieger and Neto are equally excitable and energetic, so the overall tone is driving, yet one of the finest moments occurs during “Lament”, a short vignette that finds the group building to and heaving a collective sigh.