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About the Artists
Presspectives

acceptance of sorrow

Milo Fine, Joseph Damman

Duration 72.42 | Released March 2020

milo fine: drum set (percussion), bösendorfer imperial piano, b flat clarinet, marimba

joseph damman: amplified acoustic guitar

 

recorded in concert by milo fine at studio toile d'angles (minneapolis, minnesota) september 9, 2018

all music presented as played

 

About the Artists

2020 marks Milo Fine's 51st year working exclusively in the field of free jazz/improvised music. More to the point (and co-opting bassist/composer Kent Carter’s autobiographical liner note to the 1966 LP JAZZ REALITIES), he states: “I was born January 22, 1952 (Minneapolis, Minnesota), and am not yet dead.”

photo by John Whiting

 

Picture of Milo Fine

Joseph Damman (b. 1985) resides in Minneapolis, MN. His obsession with free improvisation began in 2006, and, since then, he has improvised with local musicians in countless configurations. Additionally, he led the Malian music-influenced Body Omara with Tom Reichert and Davu Seru which featured his compositions. 2006 also marked Joseph's first encounter with Milo Fine at the then yearly Heliotrope Music Festival. They began their ongoing collaborations in 2011.

Picture of Joseph Damman

Presspectives

Massimo Ricci — The Squid's Ear — 20.07.2020

 I will not lie, this review had a problematic gestation. Numberless components of Acceptance Of Sorrow categorically reject a sheer description; sometimes, even a simple analysis. On the other hand, the uncontaminated springs of an original such as Milo Fine cause this sort of problem to ears frequently polluted by formulaic pronouncements. The Minneapolis maverick's insight, shared by this writer for a long time now, yet still full of unanticipated twists and turns, is not limited to mere musical indications. It encompasses varied existential layers, profound reflections synthesized in sounds as temperamental as impossible to encode.

Fine's nonconformist experimentation has placed him alongside illustrious companions throughout his path; Derek Bailey and Anthony Braxton immediately come to mind. But guitarist Joseph Damman — also from Minneapolis, and an equally active figure in the local scene — is another kind of proposition. Younger and relatively undiscovered, apparently self-taught (he mainly picks and strums with the right thumb à la Wes Montgomery, minus the sugar), a fondness for African folk among several interesting details in his CV. In essence, Damman would — on surface — appear as an unlikely interlocutor for Fine's unconventional manner, informed by erratic designs alternated with moments of near-contemplation.

Not so. Nevertheless, it did take days of serious focus before fathoming the duo's spirited practicality. Damman's capacity of catching the more experienced partner's intuitions and locating spots to fit into the interaction is essential in that regard. The unprocessed tone of his amplified acoustic guitar warrants a consistent clarity to an often clustery dialogue, complementing quite efficiently each color in Fine's palette (drum set/percussion, Bösendorfer Imperial piano, B flat clarinet, marimba). This somewhat awkward balance helps, and not a little, to improve the absorption of a music whose natural entanglement — not deprived of instants of absolute stillness — is a treasurable gift in times of sonic and mental plastification.

Lastly, the album's title. Sorrow is the name of the beautiful painting of a Black drummer adorning the cover. It was bought by Fine's parents (Mr. Elliot and Mrs. Agnes) way back when, and today it's hanging from the wall of his home studio, where this set was taped on September 9, 2018.

Jean-Michel Van Schouwburg — Orynx — 11.05.2020

[FR]

Voilà qui change tout à fait des publications et de l’esthétique du label Aural Terrains du compositeur – improvisateur hellène Thanos Chrysakis. Songez donc : qui se souvient du percussionniste clarinettiste et pianiste américain Milo Fine, un des pionniers de la libre improvisation aux USA basé à Minneapolis depuis des décennies ? Et pourtant. Dans sa discographie, on compte une collaboration avec Joe McPhee, MFG in Minnesota, sur Hat Hut, label historique qui a aussi publié deux albums du Milo Fine Free Jazz Ensemble featuring Steve Gnitka : Hah ! et The Constant Extension of Inescapable Tradition en 1977 et 1978. Depuis lors, son label Shih-Shih Wu Aï (fondé en 1972) relate les aventures de son Milo Fine FJE dont Emanem a publié Koi/Klops. Au catalogue d’Emanem, on compte aussi des duos avec Anthony Braxton et Derek Bailey, une collaboration avec la chanteuse Viv Corringham et  deux doubles CD’s. L’un relate son séjour londonien en 2002, Ikebana, et l’autre regroupe trois des premiers albums vinyles du MFFJE featuring SG. Pour  intituler cette réédition Earlier Outbreaks of Iconoclasm  d’un groupe au nom aussi alambiqué mais resté longtemps un duo, ou son dernier triple CD solo, The Only Dignity is Oblivion, il faut n’avoir rien à perdre. Il existe aussi une belle rencontre avec un autre multi-instrumentiste indécrottable, Tim Hodgkinson (« d’Henry Cow »). Milo Fine cultive sans doute une conception tout à fait particulière de l’improvisation : dans les mêmes longs morceaux, il passe de la clarinette, au piano et à la batterie successivement avec un instinct sûr de dérive poétique et volontariste. Mais Milo Fine se défend particulièrement bien sur ses trois instruments et a l’art d’improviser en écoutant son collègue, le guitariste Steve Gnitka ou ici , Joseph Damman. Au piano, il assume pleinement le challenge. On le sait, en improvisation, associer une guitare acoustique et légèrement amplifiée et grand piano, c’est un véritable chausse-trappe. Consultez les discographies de vos pianistes préférés, il y a très peu d’exemples. Derek Bailey avec Cecil Taylor à la requête de C.T. lui-même et le Barcelona de D.B. avec Agusti Fernandez. Donc, lui, il ose, même au péril de l’entreprise, car il ne craint aucun risque. En outre, j’aime beaucoup son jeu énergique, mordant et extrême à la clarinette dont il fait littéralement exploser la colonne d’air et le registre policé. Rageusement brötzmanniaque. À la batterie, il incarne l’improvisation libre pur jus dans le sillage des Paul Lovens et Roger Turner, l’invention je parle. Avec Joseph Damman, il a trouvé quoi faire rapport à son appétit insatiable de guitaristes. Sur un album du MFFJE sur Shi Shi Wu Aï, on trouve aux côtés de Steve Gnitka un deuxième guitariste cobaye, Charlie Gillett. C’est dire que Milo Fine n’a pas froid aux yeux. Et donc cette série d’improvisations en duo a bien des qualités intrinsèques de la free music telle qu’elle se doit d’être vécue. La variété des climats, affects, stratégies, moods, matériaux sonores entourent le jeu subtil et sinueux du guitariste acoustique Joseph Damman, lequel exploite de nombreuses possibilités expressives, contrapuntiques, harmoniques, narratives, oniriques, suggestives de son instrument légèrement amplifié. Alors que Milo Fine joue alternativement de la batterie, des 97 touches du Bösendorfer imperial piano, de la clarinette en Si bémol explosive et du marimba aérien dans des dynamiques et des volumes différents et contrastés, son parcours excentrique place son collègue au centre de ses divagations et met paradoxalement en évidence ce qui fait que Joseph Damman est un guitariste remarquable dans une multiplicité de registres reliés par un lyrisme singulier auquel l’apparente folie de son collègue apporte un éclairage étonnant, dramatique ou faussement anodin. Les émotions suggérées par cette dramaturgie improvisée font le tour des sentiments éprouvés durant la sainte journée de travail ou … de confinement… Si M.F. semble tirer la couverture à lui, en fait, le héros de cette aventure est Joseph Damman, guitariste inconnu qui invente et développe avec succès une palette stylistiquement étendue pour faire face au défi posé par un multi-instrumentiste aussi extravagant. À côté d’un tel hurluberlu, nombre d’improvisateurs qui se profilent à l’horizon du web avec leur C.V. semblent être des fades réchauffant avec empressement les plats concoctés par des pionniers sans peur depuis des lustres. Donc, je vote pour cet Acceptance of Sorrow de deux artistes qui n’exploitent aucune formule récurrente, aucun formatage ou allégeance casuistique, aucun jeu de rôle, mais une cause perdue, le challenge d’improviser à bras le corps en s’égarant, découvrant incidemment des merveilles, trouvailles, travellings – plans insensés mais réussis.

Eyal Hareuveni - The Free Jazz Blog - 11.08.20

Acceptance of Sorrow brings together two Minnesota-based free-improvisers - multi-instrumentalist Milo Fine, known for his duets with Derek Bailey, Anthony Braxton, and Tim Hodgkinson, who plays here on drum-set, Bösendorfer imperial piano, B flat clarinet and marimba, and a generation younger guitarist, Joseph Damman, who is influenced by West-African music, who plays amplified acoustic guitar. Fine and Damman have been collaborating as a duo since 2011 and Fine hosted Damman on his APOPHENIA album (Atrocious Gnosis, 2018). Their first album as a duo was recorded in a concert at Studio Toile d'Angles in Minneapolis, Minnesota in September 2018. Fine mentions that his late parents, the percussion instructor Elliot and painter Agnes “purchased ‘sorrow’ while on vacation”, and now this sorrow adorns his home-based Studio Toile d'Angles.

The poetic titles (the first ones are taken from the autobiography of British noir writer Derek Raymond) set the atmosphere for this set of eight improvisations. The close, strong affinity of Fine and Damman, and their organic, free-associative interplay is stressed already in the first, extended piece, “Nothing Is Worse Than To Be Coerced By Dialectic”, where fine alternates between the clarinet, played in an urgent manner, and the marimba, played in more playful-dreamy manner, and the piano, touched here briefly. The tone is lyrical, introspective, and highly nuanced, and both Fine and Damman employ silence as an important element in their spectrum of suggestive sounds.

When Fine moves to the piano on the following “The Bitter Wave” the improvisation sounds as informed by free jazz and the seminal influence of Cecil Taylor. Damman injects well-articulated, song-like lines that contrast the dramatic, free-form playing of Fine. This tension between the restless, energetic playing of Fine and the modest, reserved, and subtle playing of Damman becomes the essence of this meeting. While Fine instantly soars to distant, chaotic skies, Damman playing radiates that he stands on solid ground, which enables him to offer structured narratives and introduces his impressive, singular voice. Check his leading role on “The Stench Of The Word; The Towering Babel”.

Jan Granlie — Salt Peanuts — 9th July 2020

[ Danish ]

Så er det på tide med litt mer skikkelig «freejazz». Og denne gangen er vel musikken omtrent så fri det er mulig å få den uten at det bare blir tull og tøys.

På «Acceptance of Sorrow» møter vi trommeslageren, pianisten, klarinettisten og marimaspilleren Milo Fine i duo sammen med gitaristen Joseph Damman i åtte, ytterst frittgående «strekk», innspilt live på konsert i Minneapolis den 9. september 2018. Og det må sies at det er et spennende, musikalsk møte vi får være med på.

Begge musikerne kommer fra Minneapolis. Jeg har aldri hørt om de tidligere, men etter et dypdykk i internetverdenen, har jeg funnet ut at Fine har spilt med omtrent det som kan krype og gå av freejazz-musikere i hjembyen, inkludert Damman. Han startet sin karriere i 1969, men har spilt trommer siden 1961, piano siden 1966 og klarinett fra 1974. Ved siden av denne duoen, er han også å høre med sitt eget jazzensmeble, Blue Freedom’s New Art Transformation, MFG, Reform Art Orchestra, Reform Art West og Teenage Boatpeople, uten at noen av disse tar særlig plass i min samling.

Joseph Damman er det vanskelig å finne ut noe særlig om, men på denne innspillingen spiller han gitar slik vi tidligere har hørt det fra Derek Bailey, John Russell og norske Ivar Grydeland, i hans periode som medmusikant til trommeslageren Ingar Zach. Det vil si at vi hverken får bluesakkorder eller andre former for gjenkjennelige akkordrekker.

Og sammen blir dette en kommunikasjon og musikk man skal ha hørt en del lignende av før man godkjenner det fullt ut. Men setter man seg ned, uten så mange andre gjøremål på agendaen, så tror jeg du, i likhet med meg, får en fin, musikalsk reise i et landskap du ikke hører hver dag.

Jeg setter spesielt pris på Fine pianospill, som er minimalistisk, men uten at det blir ensformig eller kjedelig. Han byr hele tiden på spennende vinkler, og leverer fint spill. Det samme må man si om marimbaspillet, som ikke er i nærheten av hva man er vant til å høre, og klarinettspillet er rått og deilig, og er med på å løfte platen.

Damman spiller, som sagt gitar på en litt annen måte enn det man er vant til. Han bruker gitaen mer til å lage lydbilder enn å legge akkorder for Fine, og den amplifiserte (heter det det?) akustiske gitaren fungerer svært godt sammen med Fines piano, marimba, klarinetter eller trommer.

Dette er musikk som krever en hel del av lytteren, hvis man skal høre musikken på plate. Det krever konsentrasjon og at man er vel bevandret uti denne formen for musikk fra før. Men aller helst skal denne musikken høres i et kunstgalleri, hvor bildene på veggene kan være med på å forsterke musikken og gjøre opplevelsen større.

Men spennende er det, hele veien, men ikke spill den hvis du har svigermor på middagsbesøk!