Free Jazz: Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park (Cork, 04–04–11)

artwork for Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park: Sikora-Smith-Park (Cork, 04-04-11)
Free Jazz Blog publishes a rare double review of the download release by Catherine Sikora, Ian Smith and Han-earl Park. In one review, Philip Coombs describes a “wonderful gem of a recording,” focussing, in particular, on Catherine Sikora’s sound:

These rare folk have the ability to spin a tale you have possibly heard before but can retell it with such clarity that you are captivated or better yet hypnotized. They can give you a new understanding of something you thought you already knew. This is a beautiful power and an ability that is rare to possess.

Catherine Sikora is such a person/player. She has a clean and colorful voice that could read me my autobiography and still have me in suspense….

The main story on the recording is track three. Clocking in at almost 25 minutes, Red Line Speed, is, to continue a theme here, the Shakespearian tragedy of the album. It starts with the chatter of a couple sitting at a table close to one of the microphones. The guitar comes in but the conversation continues in the background. Park changes up his percussive touch and somehow gets his guitar to sound like a tuba of sorts. The trumpet is next, adding to the subplot. By the time Sikora joins in, the stage has been set for quite the journey….

A wonderful gem of a recording. [Read the rest…]

Philip Coombs

Tom Burrisreview also puts the spotlight on ‘Red Line Speed’ while imaging hearing a lost “Sonny Rollins and Derek Bailey duet”:

…‘Red Line Speed,’ best represents the trio’s interplay and dynamics. There is a moment where you’d swear you were listening to a Sonny Rollins and Derek Bailey duet. Smith plays spastic trumpet figures with a mute, while Sikora plays fluid lines and Park darts in between them. Smith plays a short solo of hissing sounds. My favorite moment occurs when Smith sounds like a drunken bumblebee & Sikora plays spiral figures as if she’s waving her arms, shooing him away. Then Park appears with sonic smacks, clumsily chasing the bee with an oar. When the piece comes to an abrupt end, amid trilling saxophone, muted trumped, and guitar smears, it sounds like they ripped a peanut butter sandwich apart and smashed it back together with the captured bee inside.

Park is especially adept at steering the group down side streets they might have otherwise ignored and utilizes simple techniques to arrive at unique sounds, such as sticking a piece of metal between the guitar strings & then finger-picking to approximate an alien banjo. Sikora is often the anchor of the trio, grounding them in traditional sonic terrain while playing every bit as imaginatively as the more unconventional Smith and Park. Smith frequently surprises with blurts and burps in one second, and full open tones in the next. [Read the rest…]

Tom Burris

[More about this recording…] [All reviews…]

Also available for download…

rerelease: Han-earl Park and Franziska Schroeder (Cork, 03–26–09)
audio recordings: Paul Dunmall, Han-earl Park and Mark Sanders (Birmingham, 02–15–11)
audio recordings: Han-earl Park and Richard Scott (Berlin, 10–23–10)
audio recordings: Han-earl Park plus Marian Murray (Cork, 07–29–10)