SLAM INTO SPRING…Alex Maguire & Nikolas Skordas Duo: Ships and Shepherds, Szilard Mezei & Jon Hemmersam Duo: Floating Orange, Pippo Lionni-Sergio Corbini & Stefano Franceschini: Actionreaction 1, Dimitar Lioleve Quartet: Eastern Shadows

Four new and exciting releases from UK-based Slam Productions, a label that keeps music fresh and free.

Nikolas Skordas plays soprano and tenor sax along with various pipes, flutes, bells and whistles as he teams up with pianist Alex Maguire for a series of duos as well as some guest appearances by Don Savrinos/tp-fh and Stathis/b on a double disc set.  Skordas takes the bagpipes to sound like Tibetan drones with Maguire’s piano on “Anchorites”, while on soprano he delivers similar effect on “Logism of Mind” as well as producing a wide vibrato on “Three Fingers.” The team sounds Monkish on “Olympos” while elliptical sonatas are created on pieces like “Poliphemos” and the melancholic “Pathway.” Exotic journeys.

The other duet album is between acoustic guitarist Jon Hemmersam and bassist-violaist Szilard Mezei for some free form conversations. There is spacious bowing that leans towards scratch of an itch on “Epilogue” and the two sound like they are juggling boxes of strings on the loose “Floating Orange Suite, Part 3” while “Part 1” and “Part 2” sound like that famous Chinese melody “Tu Ning.” Guitar strings that sound like they need to be wound and strung one or two more turns team up with bow and pizzicato on ”The River” and stringy ambience is delivered on the dot and dashes of “Deep.” Abstract strings.

The trio of Pipo Lionni/p-sounds, Sergio Corgini/p-elec and Stefano Franceschini-sss-bs-elec, form an album that mixes electronic background soundscapes with Morse Code-like dots and dashes from piano and sax. Franceschini’s sorano is cool toned as Lionni sprinkles notes like red pepper on “”AR1”and “AR4” while the synthesizers and moogs float and pulse like “Switched On Eno” during “AR5” and “AR6”. The baritone sax squawks to TOMITA-like ruminations on “”AR2” whle the percussion splatters around with electronics with piano pops on “AR4.” Electronic spray paint?

Alto saxist Dimitar Liolev forms a quartet with Martin Tashev/tp-fh, Massimiliano Rolf/b and Dimitar Semov/dr for the most straight-ahead session of the lot. Hip post bop grooves are felt on the pulsating “Day One” and upbeat “Still Wondering” and an infections 5/4 dance beat  features slick work by ROlff and Semov whle Tashev’s horn glows on “New Song.” Ethnic percussion and vocals create folk moods on “Eastern Shadows” and the bop groove is dug deep on the sleek “Jazz Me” which features Liolev’s rich and warm tone. Creative forward looking post bop.

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