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CTYCD00110 True Stomach of a Bird

Release date: 1st September, 2023.

Ulf Mengersen - double bass
Lina Allemano - trumpet
Kamil Korolczuk - modular synth, tapes

Improvising trio TRUE STOMACH OF A BIRD create music that flows freely between gesture, melodic fragment and sonic poetry, at times creating the illusion of compositional elements that simmer just below the surface. The musicians approach their instruments by means of exploration, with an unusual fusion of rich acoustic instrumental sounds, manipulated analog cassette tapes, and modular synth, creating an aesthetic that is both unconventional and unclassifiable.



Quartet Exquis



Release Date :4/12/2021

'Da Multiplicidade Do Vácuo' by Quartet Exquis

with AnneMarie Ignarro - clarinet
Noel Taylor - bass clarinet
Helena Espvall - cello
João Madeira- contrabass

All compositions by AnnaMarie Ignarro, Noel Taylor, Helena Espvall e João Madeira.
Home recording - Lisbon, Carcavelos, Brussels, 2020
Mix and Master by João Madeira.
Design by Noel Taylor.
Produced by João Madeira, 2021


Rui Eduardo Paes,


"E eis mais um resultado da crise pandémica em curso. João Madeira, Helena Espvall, AnnaMaria Ignarro e Noel Taylor (dois cordofones, contrabaixo e violoncelo, e dois clarinetes, soprano e baixo) pegaram na metodologia surrealista que ficou conhecida como “cadavre exquis” (e daí o nome do quarteto) e cada um/uma gravou em casa no ano que passou (confinamento oblige) uma série de solos improvisados apenas com os tempos predefinidos. Madeira recolheu-os e montou as peças que ouvimos em “Da Multiplicidade do Vácuo” – só numa, a que se ouve logo na abertura, “Adieu Amennotep”, se acrescentou outra regra, o clássico formato ABA. O interessante da situação é que a conjunção de materiais tão diversos tenha resultado tão convergente. Ouvimos e parece que todos os quatro músicos estão a tocar na mesma sala, ouvindo-se e reagindo uns outros.
Para tal efeito muito contribui o facto de cada improvisador ter uma abordagem compositiva da espontaneidade criativa. Ou seja, os motivos sucedem-se, parecendo que uns geram outros. Aqui, o vácuo (entenda-se: o vazio social introduzido pelo vírus da Covid-19 e as medidas políticas impostas para o combater) é mesmo múltiplo, mas com uma multiplicidade que se complementa, dando corpo musical à ideia de que, quando olhamos para o abismo, este mira-nos de volta e nós aprendemos a lidar com essa presença. Uma coisa é certa: se a presente situação deixou os músicos numa situação ainda mais precária do que era habitual, a música, essa, encontrou formas engenhosas de continuar a acontecer. Ainda há esperança para a humanidade."

English (Google translate):

"And here is another result of the ongoing pandemic crisis. João Madeira, Helena Espvall, AnnaMaria Ignarro and Noel Taylor (two chordphones, double bass and cello, and two clarinets, soprano and bass) took up the surrealist methodology that became known as “cadavre exquis ” (hence the name of the quartet) and each one recorded at home over the past year (confinement oblige) a series of improvised solos only with the pre-set times. Madeira collected them and assembled the pieces we heard in “Da Multiplicidade do Vacuo" – only in one, the one heard right at the opening, "Adieu Amennotep", another rule was added, the classic ABA format. The interesting thing about the situation is that the conjunction of such diverse materials has resulted in such convergence. that all four musicians are playing in the same room, listening and reacting to each other. The fact that each improviser has a compositional approach to creative spontaneity contributes greatly to this effect. In other words, the reasons follow one another, seeming to generate each other. Here, the vacuum (understand: the social vacuum introduced by the Covid-19 virus and the political measures imposed to combat it) is indeed multiple, but with a multiplicity that complements each other, giving musical body to the idea that, when we look at it, to the abyss, it looks back at us and we learn to deal with that presence. One thing is certain: if the present situation has left musicians in an even more precarious situation than usual, then music has found ingenious ways to keep happening. There is still hope for humanity.".


Maciej Lewenstein

"Quartet Exquis takes its name from the Surrealist's word game, called 'Cadavre Exquis'. Each participant in Cadavre Exquis could add only single word, not knowing what words had preceded their own. Just as Cadavre Exquis was governed by simple rules, they created their own guidelines." This is a home recording - from Lisbon, Carcavelos, and Brussels in 2020 - a clear result of the COVID era.The music is on the verge of classical contemporary music (Françios Poulenc, Giacinto Scelsi,...), contemporary "third wave" jazz à la Jimmy Giure, contemporary lm music à la Nino Rota and contemporary free improvisation. An excellent album from the quartet, which "unearthed a
radical method of composition lying among the embers of the Covid-19 crisis."

The highlight of the album is 12 minutes long "Amateur of Velocipedes". In this case,Helena Espvall made a solo recording on cello, and then sent them to each of the other three: The receiving musicians then improvised to the solo, unaware of how the others had responded. They sent their own recorded tracks to João Madeira, who assembled the music that resulted. Another favorite of mine is "Destinée Arbitraire", created in the similar way, based on clarinet solo of AnnaMarie Ignarro. Excellent stuff! "

Vittorio, MuzicZoom


"Il quartetto portoghese Quartet Exquis si è trovato durante il periodo del lockdown del 2020 a confrontarsi con la letteratura surrealista ed il loro metodo di scrivere chiamato “Cadavre Exquis”, in cui ogni scrittore aggiungeva qualcosa ad un testo che non conosceva. E così, sotto la spinta del contrabbassista João Madeira ci si è riuniti intorno all’idea di fare qualcosa di simile anche in campo musicale, arrivando ad un’incisione piuttosto singolare per il modo in cui è stata elaborata in studio. Gli altri partecipanti al progetto sono AnnaMarie Ignarro al clarinetto, Noel Taylor al clarinetto basso e Helena Espvall al violoncello. ognuno ha registrato la propria parte senza sapere quello che gli altri avevano fatto, poi in studio si è messo tutto insieme. Il risultato è soprendente João Madeira, in fondo i musicisti si conoscevano bene prima che la pandemia li constringesse a restare lontani l’uno dall’altro, da questo tipo di situazione, con le antenne puntate sulla sensibilità altrui, è venuta fuori una musica libera, senza costrizioni, allo stesso tempo rilassante e coinvolgente se le si presta la giusta attenzione. È una forma telepatica di comunicazione, messa insieme anche con l’aiuto della tecnologia moderna in studio e che ha aiutato di certo i partecipanti ad uscire da un periodo difficile per tutti."


English translation:

"The Portuguese quartet, Quartet Exquis, found themselves confronted with Surrealist literature during the lockdown of 2020, especially the “Cadavre Exquis” method of writing, in which each writer adds a part to an unknown text. And in this way, under the guidance of double bassist João Madeira, they united around the idea of creating something similar with music, arriving at a rather unique recording due to the way it was processed in the studio. The other participants in this project are: AnnaMarie Ignarro on clarinet, Noel Taylor on bass clarinet and Helena Espvall on cello. Each musician recorded their own parts without knowing what the others had played and in the studio, everything was put together. The results are surprising; the musicians have known each other from before the pandemic restricted us to stay apart, so from this situation, with antennas aimed at the sensitivity of others, this free music was born without constrictions, simultaneously relaxing and engaging if you give it the right attention. It’s a form of telepathic communication put together along with the help of modern technology in the studio and it has certainly helped these musicians come out of a period which was difficult for everyone."

Musica Jazz, February 2022

English translation|:

"Two clarinets and two strings, two women and two men, equally distributed next to one other. An excellent, very elegant album; chamber music that is bright and never stuck up. This is how the “multiplicity of emptiness” comes to us, what this Portuguese quartet conveys to its audience. An album of extreme rigour also because it is engraved in the rules imposed by Covid, carefully mentioned by Noel Taylor, appropriately expanding the question of, “What happens when the musicians improvise without knowing what the others are playing?” Chaos, one might think. We allow ourselves to disagree, borrowing the concept of Cadavre Exquis from the Surrealists where those who arrive after do not know how much has been written previously and this has been transported to the musical field. The result is a strongly interactive new method of composition. To premise what is usually called a “declaration of intent,” this, as mentioned, comes in contact with a work of great aesthetic coherence, very precious under the timbral profile, never predictable or covered up in the dryness of certain chamber music, even jazz, advanced but never presumptuous (or pretentious or specious). In conclusion, an absolute gem."


Jazz Weekly

"In the liner notes, the question is asked “What happens when musicians improvise without knowing what the others are playing?”. They beg to differ that the result is chaos, but these seven “songs” state otherwise. With AnnaMarie Ignarro/cl, Noel Taylor/bcl, Helen Espvall/cel and Joao Madeira/b there is a taking turns of intros, with Ignarro passing the torch on the fragmented “Adieu Amennotep” giving long tones with Taylor on “Raices” and teaming with some bass pizzicatos for “The Anatomy of Disquiet”. The bow almost saws the bass in half on the altissimo “Destinee Arbitraire” and there’s more edginess than a Hitchcock slasher on “Amateur of Velacipedes”. Dali to music."



Bay's Leap


Release Date :01/08/2016

'Swans over Dorking' by Bay's Leap

with Clare Simmonds- piano
James Barralet -cello
Noel Taylor - clarinet & bass clarinet

Review by Adam Baruch:

(full review)

"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."

Review by João Morado

"Swans Over Dorking soa a música de câmara – com laivos de alguma contemporaneidade, é certo – resultado de longas e árduas sessões de ensaio. Ironicamente, não poderíamos estar mais longe da verdade em relação às longas sessões de treino, pois é, unicamente, a riquíssima bagagem interior que cada músico consigo transporta que permitiu a criação desta versão improvisada deste tipo de música."

(full review - pull down to see)

Review by Ken Waxman,

"...the most noteworthy tracks are “Angular Logic” and “Bate’s Motel”, where Taylor, the most committed improviser, harvests the most freedom. On the first, plunger-like snorts from bass clarinet adumbrate hunt-and-peck pianism and roistering cello slips which add up to a swinging narrative. Meanwhile the movement on “Bate’s Motel” is so supple that the fresh Balkan music-orientation of the clarinetist plus cello swipes output at the narrowest range encourages sneaky cartoon villain-like chording from Simmonds..."

(full review)


Stones of Contention


Release Date :01/05/2015

Stones of Contention

with Tommaso Vespo - piano
Ricardo Tejero - sax
Noel Taylor - clarinet
Antonio Aiella - bass
Nicola Hein - guitar
Antonio Longo -drums

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.

'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 struggle, or is it the image of 'conflict diamonds'? 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 irrascible 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.



Google translated page:

"This week, with winter approaching, it's time for some free improvisation imported from Sicily. The band's name is Tommaso Vespo Ensemble and the album's name is Stones of Contention , and if you already feel the smell of olives and young wine in the air, and you can hear seagulls somewhere in the background, you should check that you haven't just suffered a mild stroke since is one of the most cerebral, chillest jazz records you'll hear this fall."


"And although, therefore, we are talking about musicians who will be mentioned in the history of European improvisation and who tread the paths paved by their great predecessors in the seventies and eighties of the last century, Stones of Contention is a very good album. Here, we not only have a high-quality collective improvisation on the program that goes all the way from disembodied, isolated sounds to a busy, noisy free jazz gig, but it is also a cleverly sequenced record that gives the listener a certain "narrative", even though it is clear that during playing it probably at all there wasn't."


"Stones of Contention is an ideal record for the listener who likes free improv because it is a very confident performance by musicians who feel equally comfortable in classical harmonic and "technical" moments as well as in completely abstract, non-idiomatic improvisation where air is drawn through a tube in order to be heard. breath and not tone, where the instrument is struck instead of the strings being pulled and the percussion is played with a bow, but it is also, I think, a very good demonstration example for the audience that is interested in free improvisation but is repelled by the extreme hermeticity and non-referentiality of most of this music. With its warm introduction and dynamic sequencing, where different approaches to the volume, but also the abstractness of the produced sounds, are divided into clear units that, as we said, form a kind of story, this album provides the listener with a lot of elements that he can grasp and with each repeated listening go deeper into the material and hear (and understand) more of the sound in it. I liked it all very much."

Full review in Serbian




Release Date : 30/11/2013

Cloudseed by Splatter with Rafal Mazur

Review by Maciej Nowotny - RadioJAZZ.FM

"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!"

Review by Ken Waxman,

"More impressively 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."

(full review)

Review by João Morado

(full review in Portuguese)

"A estética é moderna e, mais do que um álbum de pura improvisação livre, Cloudseed poderá, porventura, ser definido como um disco de free jazz contemporâneo: free por ser improvisado e sem estruturas pré-definidas; jazz, certamente, e de índole europeia; contemporâneo pela sofisticação da produção e dos ambientes criados, não esquecendo, pois claro, a transversal mescla com a – latamente definida – dita música contemporânea."

Review by Paulo Chagas at the Jazz Portugal website.

(full review in Portuguese)

"Ao contrário do que alguns profetas da desgraça proclamam a respeito de uma alegada crise de criatividade a nível musical, conseguimos encontrar aqui provas de uma inesgotável fonte de inovação, aliadas a um excelente gosto e a uma óptima qualidade de produção. Mais do que imitar, estes músicos trataram de reciclar e reinventar processos antigos, construindo assim uma inevitável evolução das formas que nos apresentam. E esta sempre foi a maior virtude dos grandes artistas de todos os tempos."

Review by Adam Baruch

"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."

(full review)




Released in March 2011

Scraffiti by Splatter

reviewed by Luca Pagani at allaboutjazz:

"There is music that creates an environment by using sound more as an element of space than of time. It results in something unique, where the end of a piece does not bring about an end to the listening experience, but expands beyond the confines of time."

(full review)


Review by Jazz Alchemist (Bartek Adamczak):

"This music soothes your soul, it allows you to travel slowly between the stars. In fact it's quite uncanny how subtle and melodic those improvisations are, how accessible this music remains, while mantaining this elusive, emotionally gripping quality of the improvisation. Or maybe the term of a real-time composition would fit better? Never mind the terms, poetry doesn't need words."

(full review)


All Fall Down



Released in November 2010

'All Fall Down' by Noel Taylor & Alberto Popolla -

Review by Joe Higham:

"This 14 track CD is possibly one of the most delightful wind duos I've heard for a long time, and it's easy listening! By using the words easy listening I'm certainly not trying to evoke the image of James Last or Bert Kaempfert, here we have music that whilst pushing at barriers is quite unpretentious, even the length of the tunes is very modest, with the majority of the pieces having an average of 2 to 3 minutes. Yet that makes the music even more enjoyable, and of course you hear that the musicians enjoyed playing together."

(full review)



Border Patrol


Released in July 2010

'Border Patrol', by Niko Meinhold & Noel Taylor


Review by Stef Gijssels:

"..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."

(full review)




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

Review by Stef Gijssels

"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."

(full review)






'I-C-E Bound', by I-C-E - the Improvising Clarinet Ensemble
(April 2008 ) - Out of stock


Uncle Rabbit


'200 Used Cars', by Uncle Rabbit (October 2007) -



£0.00 - free

'Thistledown', by Olie Mayne, Noel Taylor & James O Sullivan (April 2009)


Digital only on Clinical Archives - listen here