noel taylor, music

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CD (Citystream) & Net Label Releases
'Swans over Dorkingi' by Bay's Leap - August 2016 (CD, citystream CTY00108)

 

Noel Taylor, clarinets
James Barralet, cello
Clare Simmonds,

 
Description

 

Dorking is an attractive former market town, close to London. Nice, but a little dull and a little too comfortable for its own good. Do swans fly over Dorking? Perhaps, perhaps not. But it is a transformational image, a sudden transmutation from the prosaic to the magical. This is exactly the same kind of alchemy that happens when Bay's Leap improvise together. As Veryan Weston writes on the album notes:

"The significant aspect of this CD is that the making of it is a very different process from the way classical contemporary chamber music is normally made. Here it is a shared composition and the three musicians form a very impressive team. They prove that it is possible to make music with all these overt seemingly 'classical/contemporary chamber music' references but through the process of improvisation."

The pianist and composer Douglas Finch comments on the cover:

"From the spare, economical treatment of the opening track, ‘Fading Light’, through to the last track with its lovely sense of mood, colour and line, Bay’s Leap display great fluidity, freedom, rhythmic energy and variety. The title track, ‘Swans over Dorking’ culminates with a Kurt Weillish tune that enters - or rather floats onto the scene, swan-like, leading to a beautiful lament fluttering on the waves. This is an improvising trio that really gels”

The three musicians possess both a shared sensibility and a rapid response to each other's ideas. Whilst many improvisers focus on texture, Bay's Leap are comfortable with tonality, if that is where the music is leading. James Barralet, on cello, possesses the kind of lush, rich tone that brings him freelance work with a variety of orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra. Clare Simmonds, on piano, has also trained to an extremely high level in the classical repertoire, but it is her instant response to pitch, tone and melody as well as her sensitivity to group dynamics which so influences the music the group create. Noel Taylor, on clarinet, is not from that kind of classical background, but seems entirely at home in this musical company, often initiating changes of direction that spring, unheralded from his instrument with instinctive confidence.

This is an unusual group of improvisers. There is, as Veryan Weston writes in the liner notes, 'a very contemporary feel' to 'Swans over Dorking', some might consider the outcome to be aimed consciously towards the post-modern, but the trio themselves would deny this. They play for pleasure, they play for joy, and they play for the knowledge of sharing those rare moments where the music itself seems to insist on its form and outcome.

 

Reviews:

 

Adam Baruch said in his review of 'Swans over Dorking':

"Improvised music is often harsh and chaotic, making it almost impossible to be listened to by listeners with no experience with the avant garde. The beauty of this music is, among other things, its accessibility to a relatively wide audience, without any compromise as to its aesthetic and artistic valour. It is good to see that the British tradition of Improvised Music is alive and kicking in spite of the harsh conditions surrounding creativity and individualism. "

" I can only recommend this wonderful album to all true music connoisseurs, regardless of their default musical inclinations. This music is able to penetrate the barriers of unfamiliarity and outlandishness by sheer power of its beauty and unadulterated ingenuity. Well done indeed!""

Adam Baruch



'cloudseedi' by Splatter with Rafal Mazur- December 2013 (CD, citystream CTY00106)

 

Ricardo Tejero, tenor saxophone
Noel Taylor, clarinet
Nichola Hein, guitar

Tomasso Vespo, piano
Antonio Longo, drums

Antonio Aiella, bass

 
Description

 

The Sicilian pianist, Tommaso Vespo, assembled the six musicians that play on 'Stones of Contention'. He invited Spanish, English and German colleagues that he knew from the Berlin Improvisers Orchestra to come to Sicily and join up with himself and two local musicians. Ricardo Tejero from Madrid plays saxophone, Noel Taylor from London is on clarinet, Nicola Hein from Köln plays guitar, with, from Sicily, Antonio Aiella on bass, Tommaso Vespo on piano and Antonio Longo on drums.

 

'Stones of Contention' is the evocative title that Vespo entitled the result. The meaning is elusive. Does it refer to some ancient ritual, or to an archaic and long-forgotten conflict? Perhaps the 'stones' have some sort of mystic power or are they mere tokens of power, to be shuffled like dice? Above all - we would wish to know are they the subject or object of 'contention'? But we will never know the answer to this, because Tommaso Vespo himself does not know. 'Stones make sounds' is his cryptic explanation. What we can say is that this is music that seems to seethe with unresolved undercurrents, as if some clandestine dispute is secretly encoded in sound. There is a sense of restlessness, of disruption, of things being tossed aside, of a discourse full of exclamations, shouts and whispers. There is an irascible quality that seems to persist throughout, like a nagging thought at the margins of a dream that never entirely resolves. Yet towards the end we hear a great clamour arising, a thunderous chorus of wild voices - on piano, drums, clarinet, saxophone, guitar and drums - all acclaiming, all contending, all shouting to an un-hearing heaven that this is their sound, this is their music, that these are the Stones of Contention.

 

'cloudseedi' by Splatter with Rafal Mazur- December 2013 (CD, citystream CTY00106)

 

Anna Kaluza, alto saxophone
Noel Taylor, clarinets
Pedro Velasco, guitar
Tom Greenhalgh, drums

Rafal Mazur, bass

 
Description

 

This is the third CD from Splatter. The collaboration with Rafal Mazur began back in 2010 when they played together in Krakow. Subsequently Rafal Mazur visited London to play at Café Oto in an evening of 'Experimental Music from Poland' in which Splatter played with him to a capacity audience. The success of this evening led them to consider making a recording. This CD is the result. Rafal Mazur is passionate about improvisation, which he links to his studies in Daoist philosophy, so it was decided that 'cloudseed' would not include any written or pre-prepared material. Most of the CD was recorded in a single session over one day. The group were amazed at how fluently each piece emerged, and how naturally Rafal Mazur seemed to blend his playing into the Splatter style. Each track seemed to move and develop according to some internal logic of its own, not perhaps the result of some mystic moment of synthesis so much as the outcome of highly focused efforts to understand each other's musical sensibilities. The title - 'cloudseed' - reflects this outpouring, the result of adding one extra ingredient to produce no mere splattering of creative rain but a veritable downpour. .

 

Reviews:

 

"The music reminds me of a controlled explosion, yet this is an explosion that does not destroy anything at all but, on the contrary, creates one of the most astonishing musical worlds I've heard recently! Marvelously paradoxical: it manages to be coherent, spontaneous and well thought-out yet at the same time, it is completely improvised. This is the artistic statement of a group of excellent musicians and mature artists and I recommend it to anyone in love with the free side of jazz, music and...life!"

Maciej Nowotny - RadioJAZZ.FM

 

'Cloud seeding’ seems a strange notion to be connected to something as fragile and enjoyable as the brand new album from Splatter, a London quartet headed by Noel Taylor and Anna Kaluza. In this work, entitled ‘cloudseed’, the band’s original rhythm section has been replaced by Portuguese guitarist, Pedro Velasco and Tom Greenhalgh on drums. Also joining them as a special guest is the Polish bassist, Rafal Mazur. This is their third album to be released on Citystream, the personal label of British clarinetist Noel Taylor, who recently visited us at the MIA Festival. When I listen to ‘cloudseed’ I am visited by pictures of past and present sounds from different places. The 13 tracks of this album seem to call out, urging us to be alive to the wishes of the forests, banishing the tumult of absurd and fiery noise through a self-contained industrial (digital) universe that balances and regulates itself. Blessed are those who live so completely in the now that they are able to live again within the disorder of an ageless innocence, free of dogma.

 

What Splatter give us is free improvisation which approaches jazz (and free jazz), rock and contemporary music, without being any of these things. It is almost as if, suddenly, the Rock in Opposition movement of the Canterbury Sound met with the impressionism of the Mediterranean, along with the neo-classical. This collective offers us a combination of sounds where we might stumble on the work of Théodore Dubois just as readily as those of Manuel de Falla, yet at the same time we can hear echoes of the dark American contemporary jazz personified by the likes of Curtis Hasselbring or Brad Shepik.

 

Don’t, however, think of this as merely a patchwork collection of wide ranging references, but rather as a thorough and conscious process of copious impregnation, as if drinking in influences from here and there were as vital and natural as breathing. The glory of the music made by some of the greatest and least pretentious creators possess this same prodigious quality : an appeal to an entire memory of previously seen (heard) pearls shining somewhere in time. Appreciate and enjoy this interesting album as if you were flipping through an album of old family photographs, guaranteed to give true music lovers a generous helping of happiness.

 

Taylor’s sound is crystalline and delicate, always keeping a certain amount of sweetness in the clarinets, especially the soprano, even during the most daring passages. When he switches to the bass it is like the steady swing of a pendulum. The alto saxophone of Berliner, Anna Kaluza, interpolates something of the fuller quality of the language of modern European jazz. The guitar of our fellow countryman, Pedro Velasco, fills every corner of the album with a filigree ambience that superficially appears understated, but is truly assertive. Mazur proves equal to the task, providing an exceptional bass that is always more melodic than rhythmic. The drums of Greenhalgh work as a sort of ‘boomerang’, switching the rhythm almost short of and almost beyond the pulsing time. All this movement of sound combined together is brilliantly paradoxical, taking us as close as possible as it gets to daydreaming.

 

Contrary to what some prophets of doom claim regarding an alleged crisis of musical creativity, we did find evidence here of an inexhaustible source of innovation, combined with great taste and excellent production quality. Rather than imitate, these musicians tried to recycle and reinvent old processes, thus presenting us with an inevitable evolution of forms. This has always been the highest virtue of the greatest artists throughout time.

 

Paulo Chagas, translated from the Portuguese and first published at www.jazz.pt

 

 

 

Splatter / Rafal Mazur – “Cloudseed” This is an excellent album by British Improvising Music quartet Splatter, recorded in an expanded lineup which also includes the Polish bassist Rafal Mazur. Splatter consists of clarinetist Noel Taylor, saxophonist Anna Kaluza, guitarist Pedro Velasco and drummer Tom Greenhalgh. On the album they perform thirteen relatively short improvised pieces, and since no composing credits are given one can assume all the music was simply spontaneously created by all the musicians involved.

 

For a freely improvised music the content of this album is remarkably melodic and beautifully serene. Surely this music was at least rehearsed to some extent before the recording, as most of it has a clearly defined melodic sequence and harmonic structure. As such it is also easily accessible to a wide range of listeners, including those who normally wouldn't make the effort to listen to Improvised Music.

 

Quite honestly this is definitely one of the most beautiful Improvised Music efforts I have been exposed to in the last few years, especially due to its complete lack of aggressiveness and belligerence that often overwhelms similar efforts. In contrast this music projects a kind of calmness and piece of mind, which perhaps reflects to some extent the need of regeneration and relaxation through Art, which becomes more popular recently. But regardless of the inner motives behind the music, the overall result is simply soothing.

 

The individual performances are all excellent, as expected. Personally the clarinet, which is on the short list of my favorite instruments, is the most impressive here with a superb tone and melodic consistency. But again, all the other players contribute equally well. The addition of the bass solidifies the sound of the ensemble and its pulsations are another dimension which goes perfectly well with the rest. Of course the work of the ensemble as a coherent unit, and in this case almost telepathically coherent, is the most important factor contributing to their success to make brilliant music.

This is definitely an album every true ambitious music connoisseur should listen to; satisfaction guaranteed!

 

http://www.adambaruch.com/reviews_item.asp?item=104494

 

 

"There are points at which the intertwining of contrasting reed tones as on “Yah Boo Sucks” or from the stretching of equivalent lines from Taylor and Kaluza on “To Boldly Go” re-orient the themes. Improvisational – or is it compositional – sophistication then produces excitement resulting from the push-pull between the horns’ and the others’ definition of the tunes. This doesn’t take place in an atmosphere of whey-faced experimentation however. As a matter of fact a track such as “Home Time”, which ends with the reeds trading fours after an avant-Rock drum’n’bass clattering and some firecracker-like explosions from whistling staccato guitar, conveys a sense of entertainment "

 

Ken Waxman@ www.jazzword.com

http://www.jazzword.com/one-review/?id=128531

 

 

 


'Scraffiti' by Splatter - March 2011 (CD, citystream CTY00105)

 
Anna Kaluza, alto saxophone
Noel Taylor, clarinets
Pedro Velasco, guitar
Michael Caratti, drums
 
Description

 

Scraffiti is a mix - frantic free jazz to lyrical tunes, some of which are written, some of which just emerged on the day. The moods swing from gentle yearning, through buoyant optimism, to jerking dislocated beats that rattle your bones.

 

Reviews:

 

"The music is really great - modern, innovative and experimenting."

Paulius Sluškonis
KTU radio station "Gaudeamus

 

"I love this music, it takes you along and lets you be with it without insisting or repeating itself. There is an unexpected space it opens up for hearing different parts each time you listen. A delightful album."

 

Helen Simpson

 

"Splatter feed shards of rock and black metal into their freeform jazz Soundscapes"  TimeOut

  

Review of Scraffiti by Luca Pagani -  in Italian at : allaboutjazz.italia - :allaboutjazz.italia

 

'This music is another dream, another box where you can put your own things' Luca Pagani - allaboutjazz.italia 

 

Air Play:

 

Featured on 'Taran's Free Jazz  Hour', on issues 12/2011 and  16/2011

Featured on 'Disorder at the Border' , Resonance FM 11/06/2011

Featured on Polish station 'Kocham Jazz' ('I love Jazz'), RadioJazz.fm, February 2012.

 

 

 



 

'All Fall Down' by Alberto Polla & Noel Taylor  - November 2010 (CD, citystream CTY00104)

 
Alberto Popolla, clarinets
Noel Taylor, clarinets
 Description

 

Freely improvised clarinet duets featuring rapidly shifting patterns of melodic interplay.Alberto Popolla and Noel Taylor came to know each other’s playing through the internet, and eventually met to play together while Popolla, from Rome, was touring the UK. Popolla’s playing is generally more complex, full of arabesque figures and rapid fingering, whereas Taylor tends to more linear phrasing. Although their clarinet playing styles are very different, it is nevertheless frequently difficult to work out who is playing what. They both respond very rapidly to each other, and the music takes on an episodic quality as they chase the hints that are tossed between them as they improvise. The overly simple, off-kilter melodies that sometimes leap out are often triggered by some perverse logic of phraseology or stray inflection. There is sometimes a quality of things half-remembered, briefly appearing before being carried along on the next musical suggestion that breaks to the surface.

 

"...the music on the album is enchanting. The duets are (I imagine) improvised and much of the music has an almost pastoral quality. Yet there are moments of strong energy and dissonance, and due to the quality of the recording you get a spacial sound, giving the impression that the two clarinettists are in the same room as you. With titles such as 'Damselfly', 'Cats Tango' or 'A-Tishoo! A-Tishoo!', one can understand that much of the music has impressionistic qualities, and what also makes the music most listenable is the clear interest that the two clarinettists have in finding and developing melody. In fact it's this ingredient that makes this album such a success and will give the listener endless fun in discovering and re-discovering each tracks details, a little like returning to an art gallery to view a painting more than once. "

 

Joe Higham


http://freejazz-stef.blogspot.com/2011/03/noel-taylor-alberto-popolla-all-fall.html
http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/news.php?id=78169

 

Air Play:

 

Featured on 'Taran's Free Jazz  Hour', issue 13/2011 

Featured on 'Disorder at the Border' , Resonance FM 11/06/2011


 


 

'Border Patrol' by Niko Meinhold & Noel Taylor  - July 2010  (CD, citystream CTY00103)

 
Niko Meinhold, grand piano
Noel Taylor, clarinet
 Description

 

Border Patrol' was a very private musical meeting between Niko Meinhold from Berlin and Noel Taylor from London. No geographical borders were crossed during the improvisations, but both musicians seem to weave in and out of different styles of playing, at times transgressing so far into melodic territory that at one moment their music might appear to be located in 19th Century Romanticism, whilst at the next it might flirt with the Blues, before fragmenting into very recognisably 21st Century improv. Both players give themselves over to a kind of auto-suggestion where a chance chord or rhythmic pattern invokes a musical thought. This is not to say that the music is indiscriminate – there is a very strong sense of shared restraint and a common feel for the shape and pace of the pieces as they develop. Neither of them would claim to have passed over any new musical boundaries, so much as to have revelled in occupying a musical no-mans land, where borders can be crossed and re-crossed without constraint.

 

Reviews:

 

"this duo can create suspense : sparse clarinet tones, and the use of extended techniques on the piano strings, make you want to know what is coming next, how these otherworldly Sounds will evolve, merge, bounce back. Without working with themes or even recognisable patterns, the two musicians master and integrate the legacy of their training : from classical music, jazz, blues to more modern aspects of new music and avant-garde, nicely navigating between romantic lyricism and abstract tension and discovery, this is music with character and vision. Both are also great at using silence and pace in the development of their improvisations."

Stef Gijssels,
freejazz-stef.blogspot.com

 

"London clarinetist Noel Taylor in a meeting with pianist Niko Meinhold, delicate and beautifully paced duos that borrow from many genres and modern approaches to create informed and stimulating dialog."  Squidco.com

 

Air Play:

 

Featured on 'Taran's Free Jazz Hour', issue 12/2011  and issue 19/2011

Featured on 'Disorder at the Border' , Resonance FM 11/06/2011

 

 



 
 
'Music for Misanthropes' by Splatter - January 2010 (CD, citystream CTY00102)

 
Anna Kaluza, alto saxophone
Noel Taylor, clarinets
Pedro Velasco, guitar
Michael Caratti, drums
 
Description

 

Anna Kaluza on quirky sax and Noel Taylor on clarinet, all whipped up into a perfect storm of funk, Latin and free jazz with the snappy drumming of Pharoah S Russell and the off beat grooves of Venezuelan bass guitarist Raúl Monsalve.

 

Reviews:

 

"The music is sweet, gentle and accessible, free and quite mature, in contrast to the adolescent scribblings on the back cover. And entirely improvised. And I must say, well improvised. The lyricism and interplay on some pieces make it sound as if it's thoroughly rehearsed or at least pre-conceived, but apparently not. The bass guitar of Monsalve is one of the most distinguishable and defining factors of the music. He gives color, punch and rhythm, allowing for the double reed front line to interlock phrases and melodies, and giving the excellent drummer the opportunity to play on or around the beat at leasure. Both Kaluza and Taylor are really good and creative, not trying to imitate, but making their own sound. It all Sounds young, crisp, fresh, modern, with rock-influences of course, and with vision and coherence."

 

Stef Gijssels,
freejazz-stef.blogspot.com

 


 


 

'Thistledown' - April 2009  (Net Label - Clinical Archives)

 
Noel Taylor, clarinet 
James O'Sulivan, guitar
Oli Mayne - vibraphone
 
Description

 

"Thistledown" is a mix of abstract Sounds and oddball melodic sparring, somewhat sweetened by the occasional song-like refrain. There is much that is jagged and spiky and unforgiving, like the coarsest of thistles, but there is also music that has a soft and ethereal delicacy, like down, ready to blow away with the slightest puff.
There are eight short improvised works. The three play together for fun, allowing themselves little ‘forbidden’ treats, such as short truncated bursts of jazz phraseology, tiny fragments of pop, and other similar ‘lapses of taste’. The result is a kind of strangulated lyricism permeated by sudden darting and abrupt changes of direction. The album makes no attempt to pursue a rigorous agenda of pushing forward the ‘boundaries of new music’, but there is a common sensibility at work, regulating the improvisational decision making process.

 

Reviews:

 

Extracts were used as the soundtrack to a short award winning film by Jose Pablo Estrada Torrescano


 

'Foundry Solo Tritych' - April 2009  (Net Label - Headphonica)

 
Noel Taylor, clarinet 

 
Description

 

I had played in the Foundry once before. It's a pub in the Hoxton area of London that hosts a lot of art events, sometimes with music or dance. The pub is housed in a building that used to be a bank, and the basement area was once a vault where the money was kept. The natural reverberation in the room is astounding, and as a clarinet player you feel, when you play there, as if the sound of your instrument has been sent back to you from the walls, freshly coated with the finest, sweetest dusting of chocolate. On this afternoon I was alone there, while upstairs they were loading beer barrels from the street. You can just hear the odd external noise in the background, but mostly it was delightfully quiet with just my clarinet to break the silence. This is what I played. I think it is a dialogue with the space itself, a conversation with an empty room.

Reviews:

 

"I like this release a lot and have had it on pretty regularly the past month so feel I should mention it. The room reverberation is seriously awesome and its so nice to hear something so natural when 99.9% of releases are processed and you can't hear the room. Its very well played and just a nice release." 

 

brian's world - comment


 

'I-C-E Bound' - April 2008  (CD-R, citystream CTY00101)
 
Noel Taylor, Bb & alto clarinet 
Jerry Wigens, Bb clarinet
Sandy Kindness, bass clarinet & contra-alto clarinet
Tara Stuckey, bass clarinet
Rick Jensen, Bb clarinet
 
 
Description

 

I-C-E, The Improvising Clarinet Ensemble was originally derived from the improbable number of clarinet players who attend Eddie Prevost's workshop at the Welsh Chapel, Southwark, London. All of its members are active with other bands and projects within the London improvisation scene.

 



'200 Used Cars' - April 2009  (CD-R, citystream CTY00100)
 
Noel Taylor, clarinet 
Sebastian Sterkowicz, guitar
Steve Rushton - drums
 
Description

 

"Thistledown" is a mix of abstract Sounds and oddball melodic sparring, somewhat sweetened by the occasional song-like refrain. There is much that is jagged and spiky and unforgiving, like the coarsest of thistles, but there is also music that has a soft and ethereal delicacy, like down, ready to blow away with the slightest puff.
There are eight short improvised works. The three play together for fun, allowing themselves little ‘forbidden’ treats, such as short truncated bursts of jazz phraseology, tiny fragments of pop, and other similar ‘lapses of taste’. The result is a kind of strangulated lyricism permeated by sudden darting and abrupt changes of direction. The album makes no attempt to pursue a rigorous agenda of pushing forward the ‘boundaries of new music’, but there is a common sensibility at work, regulating the improvisational decision making process.

 

Reviews:

 

"Innovation comes in varied forms and Uncle Rabbit proves the premise:


Made up of Noel Taylor on reeds, Sebastian Sterkowicz on guitar and Steve Rushton on drums, Uncle Rabbit is a perfectly balanced ensemble that has eschewed wild frenzy in favor of disciplined craftmanship. In the process they have created an uniquely-modern sound that I would catagorize as "contemporized chamber jazz". Taylor, alternating between woody clarinet and electric sax, is the trio's masterful melodisist on the CD's 14 original pieces. And Sterkowicz and Rushton, while playing traditional jazz rhythm instruments, do so in nontradional ways. Sterkowicz's guitar work is exceptional for its versatility. In each piece he finds a way of conjuring up unique Sounds that gives the piece a new twist and thus elevates it to a new level. Sometimes it is the sound of a trashy metallic guitar, a spanish guitar or an indian sitar, among others that may be strummed or plucked from a guitar. Likewise, Rushton brings a fresh approach on the traditional drum kit. While his drumming is prominent, with decidedly rock roots, it is appealingly restrained and varied. Like Sterkowicz, he finds a way of contributing uniqueness such as adding a raggedy snare or thumping tomtom beat.

The pieces themselves are all melodic and vary between playful and contemplative. Each has been carefully crafted and played with refreshing restraint. This may sound like "easy listening," which it is, but it is new, different and intelligent. I highly recommended this CD to those looking for fresh new sound "

Joe Szeremet
Heborn, Ky, USA.



Noel Taylor also appeared on:

 

LONDON IMPROVISERS ORCHESTRA  ‘Lio Leo Leon’  (2010) – psi 11.04, Emanem
BERIO: Berlin Improvisers Orchestra, live at Wendel, 05/09/10 (ar009, INQ)
'Scum' , Bark Psychosis - April, 1992( CD, 12” Vinyl, Third Stone)                 
'Funny Old World', The Mosquitoes (Audio Cassette, soundbites, 1991)