“Pleasant Valley Sunday” by The Monkees
(released in the Summer of 1967)
Written by Gerry Goffin & Carole King
Your local rock group down the street
Is trying hard to learn this song
To serenade the weekend squire
Just came out to mow his lawn
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burnin' everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care
See Mrs. Gray she's proud today
Because her roses are in bloom
And Mr. Green he's so serene
He's got a TV in every room
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Mothers complain about how hard life is
And the kids just don't understand
Creature comfort goals they only numb my soul
And make it hard for me to see
My thoughts all seem to stray to places far away
I need a change of scenery
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Even as a youngster (I was just 13 when this single was released), I knew it was not so cool to admit to digging The Monkees. They were created by a corporation and were referred to as the Pre-Fab Four, as opposed to the Beatles (a/k/a The Fab Four). The word was that The Monkees were created by Ron Delsner & Co. through auditions, most of their hits were written by outside, Brill building songwriters and they didn’t even play instruments on some of their songs. This is mostly true. Plus they starred in their own TV show. At that point in my long journey of digging pop music played on the radio, I really didn’t care about the hype, a great pop song transcends all of that BS. I must admit that I dug all of the Monkees hits as well as a few of their album cuts. I always liked the social commentary in this song, even though it is about the suburbia that I grew up in, “status symbol land”. The title of the song comes from Pleasant Valley Way, a long street that runs through West Orange, NJ where Goffin and King were living at the time. There was a roller skating rink on Pleasant Valley Way, that featured rock concerts during the summers of 1968 and 1969. The first rock concerts I ever attended were there and the bands included: Creedence Clearwater Revival, Steppenwolf, 10 Years After, Butterfield Blues Band and the Al Kooper Revue. I have great memories of all of those concerts. There is something magical about a great pop single that takes your on a 3 minute journey and makes you wanna dance, smile and sing along. Time to do just that now in my kitchen. - BLG/DMG
The Independent Promoters Alliance,
Eric’s House of Improv and Downtown Music Gallery Present:
The Rare Return of BassDrumBone
Featuring MARK HELIAS / GERRY HEMINGWAY / RAY ANDERSON!!!
Saturday, November 9th at 8pm:
Rare Appearance at ZÜRCHER Gallery -
33 Bleecker St. (East of Lafayette), NY NY 10012
Tel: 212-777-0790 / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Downtown Music Gallery 28th Anniversary Celebrations began on May 1st & Continues! Every In-store This Summer Helps Celebrate the Spirit of Creative Music Performed Live.
Sunday, November 10th:
6pm: NOAH BECKER and MICHAEL ATTIAS - Alto Sax Duo
7pm: ROBERT DICK and NICOLA HEIN - Flute and Guitar Duo
Sunday, November 17th:
6pm: JESSE DULMAN QUARTET with RAS MOSHE / BLAISE SIWULA / LEONID GALAGANOV!
7pm: MAX KUTNER - Solo Guitar!
Sunday, November 24th:
6pm: THOMAS HELTON - Solo ContraBass
7pm: REGGIE NICHOLSON - Solo Drums
Sunday, December 8th:
6pm: SAM HARNET - Mandolin / SANA NAGANO - Violin / ZACH SWANSON - Acoustic Bass!
7pm: PEACH and TOMATO: SANA NAGANO and LEONOR FALCON - Strings!
Sunday, December 15th:
6pm: PATRICK BRENNAN - Solo Alto Sax!
7pm: TODD CAPP MYSTERY TRAIN!
8pm: M - violin/electronics / N - guitar/electronics / HANS TAMMEN - Buchla!
DMG is located at 13 Monroe St. (between Catherine & Market Sts) in a basement below a small gallery. Take the F train to East Broadway or the 6 train to Canal or the B or D to Grand, or the M-15 bus to Madison & Catherine. Come on Down, the Sunday Music Series is Always Free & the Vibes are Always Cosy. You can check the weekly in-store sets through our Instagram feed
For Drummers and Other Dedicated DMG Customers - We need your help!
We recently lost our in-house Gretsch drum kit, which was loaned to us for a few years. To make life easier for drummers who play at our weekly free music series, it was great thing to have those drums here. We are left with a mediocre practice kit which is in bad shape. Hence, we are going to purchase a new Yamaha kit very soon, which will cost us around $700. So we are asking for donations if you can help out. For local drummers: we could also use another cymbal stand or two, a sturdy high-hat stand and an extra drum key. Anything you can do would be greatly appreciated. - Thanks from Bruce Lee Gallanter, the DMG Crew and any drummers who play here in the future.
BRAND NEW SONIC TREASURES FOR THIS WEEK:
KEN VANDERMARK With JOHN BUTCHER / METTE RASMUSSEN / JOE McPHEE / NATE WOOLEY / JOHN TILBURY / IKUE MORI / KENT KESSLER / HAMID DRAKE / EDDIE PREVOST - Unexpected Alchemy (Not Two MW 993; Poland) Massive 7 CD set of unreleased recordings featuring: Ken Vandermark, John Butcher, Joe McPhee & Mette Rasmussen on reeds & brass, Nate Wooley on trumpet, John Tilbury on piano, Ikue Mori on laptop, Kent Kessler on contrabass and Hamid Drake & Eddie Prevost on drums & percussion. This has just arrived so I will review it sometime soon. - BLG
7 CD Set $80
MADE TO BREAK With KEN VANDERMARK / CHRISTOF KURZMANN / JASPER STADHOUDERS / TIM DAISY - F4 Fake (Trost 189; Austria) “This is for sure no fake news! F4 Fake is the exciting new album by Made To Break, the gripping quartet of Ken Vandermark, mixing jazz, funky patterns, and electronics in groovy improvisations -- interrupted by abstract insertions. Recorded by Daniel Schatz, November 29 2017 at Primitive Studios, Vienna. Mastering by Alex Inglizian at Experimental Sound Studio, Chicago. Mixing by Alex Inglizian and Ken Vandermark. Artwork by Federico Peñalva. Personnel: Ken Vandermark - reeds; Christof Kurzmann - pooll/electronics; Jasper Stadhouders - electric bass; Tim Daisy - drums.”
ALEXANDER VON SCHLIPPENBACH / DAG MAGNUS NARVESEN - Liminal Field (Not Two MW 991; Poland) Featuring Alexander von Schlippenbach on piano and Dag Narvesen on drums. This duAo had a previous earlier LTD Edition LP release out. As this CD has just arrived, here is review of their previous release: ‘Interweaving’ pairs the legendary Alexander von Schlippenbach on grand piano and Dag Magnus Narvesen on drums, who is 45 years his junior. The two first worked together when Schlippenbach was a guest of Norway’s Kitchen Ensemble (one of many descendants of GUO) in 2013 and the precedent for this project is Schlippenbach’s longtime duo with Swedish drummer Sven-Åke Johansson. This is a highly percussive Schlippenbach in tandem with Narvesen’s skittering accompaniment, or ethereal and sparse over mysterious clangs and pings. Either way, the pianist still crafts cohesive statements, melodic cells connecting firmly to each other while the drummer is tightly restrained in his responses, whether via density or dynamics. Monk makes another appearance to close the album with “Evidence”. They say love is the international language; Schlippenbach and Narvesen prove it is actually free improvisation.” - SoundOhm.com
AVRAM FEFER QUARTET with MARC RIBOT / ERIC REVIS / CHAD TAYLOR - Testament (Clean Feed 537; Portugal) “Avram Fefer’s new Clean Feed release, Testament, is the kind of project that excites and entices even on paper. First there’s Fefer, the saxophonist and composer who has been an important contributor to the adventurous New York scene for the past quarter-century, and whose collaborators have included Bobby Few, Archie Shepp, the Last Poets, Sunny Murray, Tony Allen, Reggie Washington, Roy Campbell and many others.
Joining him are two of his closest and longest-running comrades, who are also among the finest improvising musicians of their generation: Eric Revis, the powerhouse bassist whose experience boasts both the far reaches of the avant-garde and his veteran role as the anchor of the Branford Marsalis Quartet; and drummer Chad Taylor, a co-founder of the Chicago Underground ensembles and the percussive choice for visionaries like Pharoah Sanders, Peter Brötzmann and Marc Ribot.
Marc Ribot—the Downtown guitar stalwart and a coup for everyone from John Zorn to Tom Waits, Robert Plant and Elvis Costello—could properly be called Testament’s X factor. Following two acclaimed trio projects featuring Revis and Taylor, 2011’s Eliyahu and 2009’s Ritual, Fefer was interested to hear how Ribot’s inimitable presence might inform his unit’s telepathic, spiritually-informed chemistry, and how the guitarist might interpret the leader’s explorative yet groove-conscious original music.
As ‘Testament’s’ eight tracks prove—most of them previously recorded compositions made anew—Ribot simultaneously preserves the intimacy the group developed over many years and urges their rapport toward enthralling new thresholds. Fefer’s gambit worked so well, in fact, that it caused the clearly emotional and poetic improviser to crack up. The results, Fefer explains, were “so sensitive, dynamic and compelling that I couldn’t help laughing out loud as I listened back to some of the tracks during the mixing process.”
Fefer speaks about these musicians with fervor, and traces his relationships with them back to the heady New York avant-jazz scene of the mid-to-late-1990s, when venues like the Knitting Factory, Tonic and the First Street Café fostered a still-unsung era of sonic travelers. At that time, Fefer was still finding his footing in New York, cutting his teeth with small groups and in the city’s most progressive big bands. After earning a liberal arts degree from Harvard and studying music at Berklee and New England Conservatory, he’d spent the first half of the ’90s in Paris, helming a high-profile acid-jazz band signed to a major label.
Mr. Ribot, with whom the saxophonist had played and crossed paths but never recorded, touts “a kind of roughness that attracted me right away,” Fefer says, adding “Marc was just really generous with his spirit, and really honed in on the subtleties of the music.” Revis’ robust artistry, Fefer says, is like “the trunk of a tree, basically. Each sound that he plays is like the trunk, and you can hang on the branches and pull in all sorts of directions.”
When the saxophonist and Revis met in 1996, the bassist was a rising star already under the employ of jazz legends. By contrast, Fefer’s early years in New York weren’t easy. The transition from the artistic lifestyle and recognition of Paris to the competitiveness of New York proved difficult, so the bassist’s enthusiasm for Fefer’s music provided the saxophonist with a kind of spiritual salve and a vote of confidence. They held down a two-year residency at the Knitting Factory together, culminating in Fefer’s acclaimed leader debut, “Calling All Spirits.”
Mr. Taylor “is really rooted in Africa, in his approach to sound and drumming” says Fefer, whose own aesthetic emerges from a motherland musical diaspora that includes funk, R&B, traditional African styles and more. “He gets these inner-grooves that just really make me dance.” As for the leader, Fefer “has a forceful, astringent sound on alto and a robustly husky voice on tenor,” as the New York Times once commented in a live review, with a particular gift for generating an ensemble dynamic that can feel, as the paper of record put it, “nakedly direct.” His original music on Testament is filled with off-kilter rhythms made natural and flowing, as well as writing informed by profound personal stories. “Wishful Thinking,” for example, was written around the time of his father’s sudden passing. “He was a huge figure in my life,” Fefer says. “He was born in a labor camp in Siberia, yet he went on to be part of a Nobel Prize-winning cancer research team in America.”
“At the time we were working on this album,” he continues, “‘Wishful Thinking’ meant that I hoped he would have been around to hear it.” Other highlights include “Dean St. Hustle,” whose title and sound evoke Sonny Rollins’ The Bridge and Fefer’s move to Brooklyn from his beloved Lower East Side; and “Testament,” an homage to the invaluable hours Fefer spent playing, talking and breaking bread with Ornette Coleman at the maestro’s loft. “This piece reflects the integration of my deep African-American musical influences and my Semitic background, both of which come out of a long history of persecution, survival, renewal, triumph and transcendence,” he explains.
In the end, Fefer’s new project is, in essence, autobiography—a poetic document of a brilliantly open and receptive artist at this particular juncture in his ongoing musical quest. Says Fefer: “Testament is just what it says—a statement about how I feel, who I am, what I want to play and who I want to play it with. It is a musical reflection of my spirit, my values and the life I’ve led thus far.”
Three from SUNNYSIDE:
GERALD CLEAVER With JD ALLEN / ANDREW BISHOP / JEREMY PELT / BEN WALTZER / CHRIS LIGHTCAP - Live at Firehouse 12 (Sunnyside 1565; USA) “On his new recording, Violet Hour Live at Firehouse 12, Cleaver reconvenes this allstar ensemble for a rare performance and live recording at the New Haven, Connecticut venue. Violet Hour was first assembled for Cleaver’s 2008 recording Detroit and features some of the most inspiring instrumentalists that have come into the drummer’s orbit, most of them also hailing from or having connections to Cleaver’s home town of Detroit, the state of Michigan or the Midwest. The ensemble is made up of some of the best and most in demand musicians in jazz, all questing souls who fortunately managed to cross paths in New York City. // Cleaver has known JD Allen since playing with the then teenaged tenor saxophonist in Rodney Whitaker’s band in Detroit. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, pianist Ben Waltzer was able to establish an instant rapport with Cleaver once they met in New York. Chris Lightcap is as dependable a bassist as one can find and Cleaver has felt their bond as a unit on many performing and recording opportunities over the years. Woodwind master Andrew Bishop is the ensemble’s secret weapon, providing an instrument to suit whatever Cleaver’s compositions require. Since originally hearing him years ago in Lonnie Plaxico’s ensemble, Cleaver has been impressed with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt’s spirit and no holds barred directness.”
DAN WEISS TRIO PLUS 1 with JACOB SACKS / THOMAS MORGAN / EIVIND OPSVIK - Utica Box (Sunnyside 1573; USA) The music of drummer/composer Dan Weiss always exceeds expectations. No matter the musical situation, he tends to push the boundaries of genre, ensemble sound and expectations. The title of his new trio recording, Utica Box, is a fitting conflagration of a barbaric psychiatric treatment, the Utica crib, and Weiss’s tendency to write and perform music that is outside the box. Weiss’s trio has evolved over the past decade as their regular performances have allowed them a near telepathic communication. Pianist Jacob Sacks is a tremendous asset as his approach to the instrument is deft and his method studied. Weiss employs two bassists on Utica Box, singly and dually, depending on what his compositions ask for and the strengths of the bassist. Thomas Morgan and Eivind Opsvik are both at the top of their field on their instrument, Morgan an especially solid accompanist and improviser and the incredibly supportive Opsvik, a master of bowing
MAT MANERI QUARTET With LUCIAN BAN / JOHN HEBERT / RANDY PETERSON - Dust (Sunnyside; USA) “Imagine sitting in an ordinary room. The afternoon sun is shining through the blinds alighting on a languid scene, a couple of chairs, an empty table, and the shadows moving almost imperceptibly down the wall. Nothing seems to be stirring. But even in this peaceful stasis, there is unflagging activity as thousands of dust motes float on their lonely paths, ostensibly of their own whim.
Violist/improviser/composer Mat Maneri envisages his music as one of activity in stasis, or motion within stillness. His music continues from the lineage of master improvisers Paul Bley and Paul Motian with a sound that is distinctly his own and developed over years of discovery and practice. Maneri’s new recording, Dust, showcases his stirring playing alongside an ensemble of communicative and exploratory musicians.
The evolution of Maneri’s remarkable and individual sound began with his initial forays into classical violin. His discovery of Baroque music and its pure, vibrato-less sound was appealing to the young violinist. Further explorations into modern classical and improvisation led him to develop his own improvisational practices. Through the influence of his father, woodwind player and educator Joe Maneri, Maneri was able to find a way of vocalizing on the violin or viola, emulating the breathiness of Ben Webster and the sparsity of Miles Davis…” excerpt from Sunnyside site
Three More from GauciMusic:
JOE MORRIS / STEPHEN GAUCI / ADAM LANE - Studio Sessions Vol. 3 (GauciMusic 03677; USA) Featuring Stephen Gauci on tenor sax, Adam Lane on bass and Joe Morris on drums. Joe Morris is best known as a avant/jazz guitarist who has worked with many other creative musicians, both known and lesser known. Over the past decade, Mr. Morris started playing acoustic bass, working with a number of the some of the same musicians and has proved to be a fine bassist, as well. When Steve Gauci gave us this CD the other day, I was surprised to see that Mr. Morris is playing drums in this trio. Mr. Gauci says that this was Mr. Morris’ choice for this session and he sounds mighty fine to me. Mr. Gauci is currently juggling several projects, like running the ongoing (5 band) Monday Night Music Series at the Bushwick Public House, as well as running this, the GauciMusic label, which both documents the Monday Night Series, as well as capturing some studio sessions. Master bassist, Adam Lane, has been a constant member of Gauci’s own group, who generally play every Monday.
This session was recorded at Joe Morris’ Riti Studios in July of 2019. The sound on this disc is superb, warm, clean, intense and bristling with energy! We can tell that Mr. Gauci has worked long and hard on his great tone. Burnished and filled with passion and fury. The rhythm team is equally powerful, throttling, burning, soaring, erupting. Gauci often centers on certain notes to bend and stretch them inside out, taking his time and selecting those bent notes most carefully. Those bent notes fall in between Coltrane or Ayler or Charles Gayle, yet Gauci makes them his own, the music is less frenzied yet still powerful! Adam Lane’s contrabass throbs at the center of the storm, speeding up and slowing back down, in tight-knit waves with Mr. Morris’ impressive free/organic drumming. The second long piece starts off with a fine cerebral, solo bass intro, restrained, haunting bowed bass, spinning quickly underneath as a somber undertow. This pieces features Mr. Lane’s churning bass at the center of the storm, a strong force, anchor-like, to be reckoned with. This disc is consistently spirited, focused and mind-blowing, so dig in and get it now! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
KEVIN MURRAY / WILLIAM PARKER / DAVE SEWELSON / KAETEN GHANDHI - Live at The Bushwick Series (GauciMusic 03676; USA) Featuring Kaelen Ghandi on tenor sax, Dave Sewelson on bari sax, William Parker on bass and Kevin Murray on drums. This set was recorded at the Bushwick Public House Weekly Series on Jan 28 of 2019. This series has been going on for a year or so every Monday from 7 til past midnight with usually 5 sets per night, an important part of the current creative music scene. Drummer Kevin Murray is the leader here, works at The Stone and has played at DMG not too long ago. The two elders here, bassist William Parker and bari saxist, Dave Sewelson, have worked together through the many years on occasion. I recall Dave Sewelson from the early 1980’s when he was working with the Microscopic Septet (they continue still) and with Robin Holcomb & Wayne Horvitz. Sewelson has a long white beard, leads his own quartet, plays with Jesse Dulman & Peter Kuhn and has a current radio show on WFMU. I can’t say that I had heard of the alto saxist here (Kaelen Ghandhi), before this disc appeared. I feel fortunate to hear the ever-amazing William Parker as often as I can, ever playing here at DMG from time to time. His powerful bass is at the center of this strong quartet. Both saxists are in fine form here and play great together and apart, taking their time to build as they go without erupting into a scream fest. There are long stretches of more restrained free terrain when both or one of the saxists out. The drums and bass continue on their own, the flow off free organic spirits continue. Later on, the saxes slow down as the rhythm team speeds up, the balance between to extremes seems to work out just right. Everything calms down to a slow simmer in the final section, fading down to a quiet conclusion. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ARON NAMENWIRTH / DANIEL CARTER / JOE HERTENSTEIN / ZACH SWANSON - Live at The Bushwick Series (GauciMusic 03677; USA) Featuring Aron Namenwirth on guitar, Daniel Carter on woodwinds, Zach Swanson on bass and Joe Hertenstein on drums. Due to the ongoing Improv New Music series at the Bushwick Public House (on Mondays), places like I-Beam and the DMG Free Music Series (on Sundays), their is a steady stream of creative musicians, old & young, known or not so, who keep working in new combinations. Hence, all four members of this quartet have played here at DMG at one time or another, and in varied combinations. While guitarist Aron Namenwirth has played here a could of times so far, Daniel Carter plays here regularly, more than a half dozen times in the last year. Drummer, Joe Hertenstein, has played here on a number of occasions with Thomas Helton, Thomas Heberer and Tony Malaby. Bassist Zach Swanson has also played here a few times in the past and will be back on December 8th, 2019 with Sam Harnet & Sana Nagano,
The ubiquitous Daniel Carter starts things off with some mellow muted trumpet with restrained guitar, bass and drums rustling underneath. The quartet take their time and work well together, spinning a web of connected orbits. The low-key playing and sense of restraint make this date much easier to swallow. Mr. Namenwirth occasionally plays slide and turned hid guitar down to give a semi-acoustic sound. As is usual, Daniel Carter plays one instrument at at time, taking a long solo on each one, from trumpet to tenor to soprano sax. Drummer, Joe Hertenstein, is often at the center of the quartet, navigating both free and a connected rhythmic undertow, occasionally just playing hand percussion like bells or shakers. The music here reminds me of a soundtrack with a number of episodic sections, recalling scenes from varied movies. At times, the quartet erupt intensely for a section, which makes things more exciting and then calm down for a more reflective segment. Considering that this is a live recording, the sound is splendid and we never hear any sounds from the audience. In a later section, the quartet erupt into some strong, explosive moments, which increase our pulse rates. Another thing I dig about Steve Gauci’s Bushwick Series CD’s are the covers which feature graffiti from the area in which this was recorded. A great way to document an ongoing scene before it shifts to another locale. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOEL HARRISON with BEN WENDEL / ANUPAM SHOBHAKAR / STEPHAN CRUMP / DAN WEISS MATT WARD / DAVID COSSIN / V. SELVAGANESH / et al - Still Point: Turning World (Whirlwind Records 4745; USA) Featuring Joel Harrison on electric, acoustic & National steel guitars & compositions, Anupam Shobhakar on sarod, Ben Wendel on sax & bassoon, Hans Glawischnig or Stephan Crump on bass, Dan Weiss on drums & tabla plus members of the Talujon Percussion Quartet. Over some twenty releases, Brooklyn-based guitarist, Joel Harrison, has showed himself to be beyond easily made categorization. Raised on rock like most folks our (boomers) age, with long time studies & performances in jazz, ethnic and classical musics. For this disc Mr. Harrison has expanded his quintet to include a sarod player, three members of the Talujon Percussion Quartet band V. Selvaganish on Indian instruments: kanjira (South Indian frame drum), udu (an aerophone or water jog) and konnokol (Indian vocal percussion). This is the second disc of Mr. Harrison which features the sarod (Indian guitar-like instrument) playing of Anupam Shobhakar. You should recognize some of the other names here like Ben Wendel (from Kneebody), Stephan Crump (Rosetta Trio & duo w/ Mary Halvorson) and Dan Weiss (who plays with Tim Berne, Rez Abbasi & David Binney.
What remains most fascinating is the way that Mr. Harrison blends different cultures and genres together into a unified sound. The three members of the Talujan Percussion Quartet use instruments from varied cultures and eras. I love the way that the opening song, “Raindrops in Uncommon Times” combines sarod (acoustic), somber fuzz guitar, tabla with several layers of percussion (Reichian marimbas, raga-like tablas & Indian vocal percussion). On “One is Really Many”, Harrison combines the sounds of two early to mid-seventies ensembles Oregon (that enchanting bassoon) and Mahavishnu Orchestra (a quick yet understated rhythmic fusion). When the tempo escalates on “Permanent Impermanence”, the tenor sax and guitar soar together, spinning the quick lines tightly in an throttling Mahavishnu-like fury. What is so great about this disc is that it is so seamless, with several different threads interwoven into one grand tapestry. This disc is a consistently superb gem and doesn’t sound like any other ensemble except itself. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOEL HARRISON ANGEL BAND With DAVID BINNEY / URI CAINE / JON COWHERD / CHRIS TORDINI / STEPHAN CRUMP / BRIAN BLADE / ALLISON MILLER NELS CLINE / HANK ROBERTS / DAROL ANGER / et al - Free Country - Volume 3 (High Note 7319; USA) The Angel Band features Joel Harrison on guitars, dobro, 6-string banjo & vocal, David Binney on alto sax, Jon Cowherd & Uri Caine on piano & keyboards, Chris Tordini & Stephan Crump on upright basses and Brian Blade & Allison Miller on drums. Guests include Nels Cline on guitar, Darol Anger on violin, Hank Roberts on cello and David Mansfield on pedal steel. This is Downtown guitar ace, Joel Harrison’s third volume of country & Appalachian music songs rearranged for his own unique jazz ensemble. Although I only recognize a few of these songs like “Ring of Fire”, “Wichita Lineman” and “America the Beautiful”, each of these dozen songs ring true. Starting with “America the Beautiful”, there is a luscious, lovely, haunting, spirit that runs through this piece. The superb blend on hushed electric guitar, alto sax, piano, organ, cello, bass and drums is most enchanting. Bill Monroe was said to have invented or at least popularized bluegrass music. His song here, “Jerusalem Ridge”, is a splendid choice, although it is far from bluegrass. The theme is tastefully played by the guitar (quiet psych), Binney’s alto sax and Darol Anger’s violin. June Carter & Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” is turned into a bluesy, jazz tune with steamy vocals from Ms. Alecia Chakour and a short funky wah-wah solo from Mr. Harrison on the fade-out. Harrison’s own song, “900 Miles”, sounds like an ancient traditional piece, sad, weary, touching, directly from the heart. A few nights ago (11/4/19), I caught vocalist Theo Bleckmann singing with the Westerlies, a brass quartet from the Pacific Northwest that worked with wayne Horvitz and Dave Douglas. Mr. Bleckmann is featured here on “Angel Band”, a heart-warming song that I’ve heard Emmylou Harris sing. Bleckmann sounds marvelous here, sublimed backed by Nels Cline & Harrison’s transcendent floating guitars and dreamy piano from Mr. Cowherd. An interesting choice is Bob Wills’ “Osage Stomp” which swings hard with Uri Caine on piano and a burnin’ guitar solo from Mr. Harrison. “Go Rest High on That Mountain” is superbly sung by Everett Bradley and it sounds like an ancient gospel/blues song. “Lost Indian” in another traditional song with Uri Caine on slinky electric piano with a great slow burning electric guitar & alto sax duo, with some great double drumming revving up in the last section. This disc ends with a soft, soulful rendition of country standard, “Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain”, which features a long, soft & sad slide solo from Mr. Harrison, a perfect way to end this swell, heart-warming gem. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
STEVE COHN / DANIEL CARTER / LARRY ROLAND / MARVIN BUGALU SMITH - Voyager (Tube Room Records; USA) Featuring Steve Cohn on piano, shakuhachi, trombone & Fender Rhodes, Daniel Carter on trumpet, tenor & soprano saxes, Larry Roland on bass & poetry and Marvin Bugalu Smith on drums. There is a growing number of local musicians who I’ve noticed over the long stretch of time since I first started going to jazz, rock and avant gigs from 1968 onwards. NJ-based pianist & multi-instrumentalist, Steve Cohn, is one of those players who I caught during the Loft Jazz days of the early eighties. Over more than a dozen albums, Mr. Cohn has established himself as a gifted pianist, composer and bandleader. Mr. Cohn recently came to visit and left us with four of his previous LP’s as well as couple of his own CD’s. This disc is his latest and it was accorded in a studio in Brooklyn in May of 2018. The rest of the quartet includes another multi-instrumentalist, Daniel Carter, who seems to play with just about everyone who is interested in improvising, no matter what their background is. Bassist Larry Roland was once a member of the World Experience Orchestra (legendary/unknown Boston large ensemble) and more recently has been an MC at the Vision Fest, was well as playing in various improv situations here in NYC. Veteran drummer, Marvin Bugalu Smith, has worked with Sun Ra & Archie Shepp and more recently in a quartet with Dave Sewelson.
During the Loft Jazz days (from mid-70’s to the early 80’s), being a multi-instrumentalist was more common than it is now, with many musicians freely choosing between a wide variety of instruments. Groups like the Sun Ra Arkestra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, were influential in showing the way. This quartet starts off with piano, muted trumpet, acoustic bass and drums, swirling their lines together organically. For the longest piece here, “Taking Off”, Mr. Cohn plucks strings inside the piano while the rhythm teams spins quickly underneath, as Mr. Carter continues play cerebral muted trumpet. Elder drum wiz, Bugulu Smith is in particular fine form here, center the quartet with his mature, thoughtful playing. I like the cerebral, organic vibe that is going on here, free but with no screaming or extreme eruptions. As a mostly acoustic studio recording, the sound is superb, warm, clean and well-balanced. When Mr. Cohn switches to electric piano, midway, the quartet gets a sly, seventies laid back groove or vibe. Throughout this disc there is a strong feeling of a quartet of elders who work especially well together with nothing to prove other than a willingness to work together as a united quartet. It sounds as if the quartet is about to break into a standard on “Home”, as they toy with an old melody for a bit. There are segments when the quartet take off sailing freely, yet sound like focused and inspired. Mr. Cohn left us with 4 albums and several CD’s. Time to check them out and let you know what I find. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
STEVE COHN With FRANK LOWE / BOB STEWART /JASON HWANG/ TOM VARNER / KARL BERGER / FRED HOPKINS / WILLIAM PARKER / ZEN MATSUURA / et al - The Beggar and the Robot in Diamonds (ITM 970089; Germany) Released in 1996. Featuring Jason Hwang on violin, Tom Varner on French horn, Fred Hopkins on bass & Steve Cohn on piano & a few other sundries on the first half; and with Frank Lowe on tenor sax, Bob Stewart on tuba, Karl Berger on vibes, William Parker on bass and Zen Matsuura on drums. Very 70's loft/jazz like-the slowly building organic flow of events of focussed but free jazz. Cosmic, swirling, deep, evolving, strong and listening closely to each other. Powerful images abound. An impressive aura of lovely spirits. Great stuff! - BLG/DMG
JONATHON CROMPTON with INGRID LAUBROCK / PATRICK BREINER / PATRICK BOOTH / ADAM HOPKINS / KATE GENTILE - Intuit (New Lab Records; USA) Featuring Jonathon Crompton on alto sax & compositions, Ingrid Laubrock, Patrick Breiner & Patrick Booth on tenor saxes, Adam Hopkins on bass and Kate Gentile on drums. One of the joys of working at DMG is when new musicians show up, introduce themselves and leave us with their releases to check out. I can’t say that I heard of the saxist/leader on this date before now. We do, of course, know much about saxist/composer/multi-bandleader, Ingrid Laubrock, whose presence on the Downtown Scene has consistently evolved since she moved here a decade or so ago. Saxist, Patrick Breiner, is a member of Battle Trance, a tenor sax quartet, as well as working with Kenny Warren & Will McEvoy. Bassist Adam Hopkins left us with a fine CD os his own last year, which was released on his own Out of Your Heads Records label. Drummer Kate Gentile has worked with Matt Mitchell in different projects, as well as having a phenomenal CD of her own from recent times. I know little about saxist Patrick Booth, other than he is on a couple of discs by Bad Linde, that I’ve reviewed in the last few weeks.
This disc consists of the title piece and two suites, “Spectrum Suite” and “Canadian Sketches”. This disc turns out to be Mr. Crompton’s second disc as a leader, his first was known as Kinsmen and Strangers, a trio with sax, guitar & drums. What is most striking about this disc is the use of four saxists, three of whom are tenor players, although there are mainly three on each track. On the title track, Crompton uses the saxists in shrewd layers, with two playing a low-end line together with a tight rhythm team while Crompton’s own alto sax weaves like a snake between the cracks of the written parts. There is a section midway where it is just the alto sax playing quietly with the bass and drums, haunting, somber, calm. The first section of “Spectrum Suite” is for sax quartet. It is a lovely, thoughtful, autumnal piece, tasty with rich harmonies, mostly sublime and coming from more ancient traditions. “Apathy” starts a poignant duo for contrabass and bass clarinet, when the other saxes come in, they do so quietly with several layers of swirling lines and skeletal drums underneath. The sax harmonies are well thought out and almost renaissance-like in their sound. I’ve recently been listening to early big band music (1920’s-1950’s), to hear the way this music has evolved over time. On a piece called “Dreaming”, I love the quaint, calm, rich harmonies that the saxes (only) are playing, reminding me of some the third stream threads that were bubbling up in the fifties. It sounds as if Mr. Crompton has spent a good deal of times composing his music for the saxes here. On each piece he arranges the several layers of lines so that the saxes have a chance to play tightly together and stretch out as well, taking tart solos or just adding some twisted parts in the right places. I find it refreshing to hear a disc which features three or four saxist on most pieces yet, there is never any free/jazz blasting just well-written chamber-like music to consider thoughtfully. Bravo! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
LACY POOL with UWE OBERG / RUDI MAHALL / MICHEL GREINER - Lacy Pool 2 (Leo Records 792; UK) Featuring Uwe Oberg on piano, Rudi Mahall on bass clarinet and Michael Griener on drums. “Pianist Uwe Oberg didn't follow a straight and narrow path when putting together this formidable European trio. There is no bassist, and Rudi Mahall performs solely on clarinets, as most listeners would expect a soprano saxophone to be the mainstay of any band that pays homage to the late, modern-era jazz pioneer Steve Lacy. More importantly, the band, including drummer Michael Griener, mold Lacy's works into their signature group-focused voice, yet duly adhere to his core rhythmic and melodic fundamentals, used as vehicles for expansion amid the ever-present improvisational metrics.
The instrumentalists effectively reimagine these works that span a multitude of emotive implications, framed on Thelonious Monk's strong influence on Lacy's compositional pen and so on. These pieces abide by the trio's freedom of communications mantra, yet they also enact a delicate balance that pays off. Whether the band is generating quaint or daintily renditions of the material or partaking in some serious rebel-rousing, each piece stands on its own.
Teeming with counterpoint, reverse-engineering processes and coyly articulated diversions, Mahall and Oberg can mirror a typical Lacy phrase but largely inject their own musical nomenclature into the big picture. So, they veer off, reinvent, then circle back around to execute the primary themes with tight-knit unison phrasings, intense soloing jaunts and even dish out a walking blues motif on "Blues for Aida." The artists spin "Ladies" with razor-sharp unison choruses, amped by Uwe's harmonics, segueing into "Jazz ab 40" where the artists mix it up, accentuated by Griener's broadly textured cymbals hits and the pianist's massive block chords. Hence, the primary focus is hot n' heavy improv.
The final track "Troubles" offers yet another compelling perspective, as the band merges a blithe unison groove with linear movements and nods to old-timey jazz, topped off by Mahall's wily solo spot. Overall, the musicians exercise an often difficult to attain balance as serious chops, pungent arrangements and sonorous melodic content produce an irrefutable fun-factor, instilled with all the necessary ingredients.” - Glenn Astarita, AllAboutJazz.com
A couple of years ago, Italian guitarist, Maurizio Brunod, came to visit and left us with three fine, diverse discs. He recently had a friend drop off three more titles. Each one is completely different and are gems in their own ways…
MAURIZIO BRUNOD / NICOLA CATTANEO / FRANCO CORTELLESSA With RALPH TOWNER / WALTER LUPI - Italian Guitars Trio (Scherfler 002A-2013; Italy) Featuring the Italian Guitars Trio: Maurizio Brunod, Nicola Cattaneo & Franco Cortellessa plus Ralph Towner and Walter Lupi on assorted acoustic (6 string, 12 string & baritone) & electric guitars. Outside of Robert Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists & the California Guitar Trio, acoustic guitar ensembles are still relatively rare. So far, Italian guitarist, Maurizio Brunod, has left us with 6 discs of his own, over his last two visits, each one with different personnel and focus. This disc features several guitar trios and quartets with Ralph Towner or Walter Lupi as the guests. Most of the songs here were written by members of the trio plus a couple of covers by fellow guitarists: Mick Goodrick and Egberto Gismonti.
Starting with a piece called, “Italian Guitars”, which features four acoustic guitars with guest Ralph towner on 12-string. Although this song was written by Mr. Cortellessa, it does have the Ralph Towner-like sound, a perfect blend of four different guitars: acoustic, classical, baritone and 12-string. Throughout this disc, baritone guitarist, Cortellessa, often plays the bass-lines. Each song has a tasty, memorable melody at the center and the arrangements often have intricate yet subtle parts of each guitar to play. Although there are 3 or 4 (mostly acoustic) guitars on each track, the songs were written to show off the lush harmonies of the combined trio or quartet. There is only electric guitar on a couple of these tracks and it is played by Mr. Brunod. He does have an enticing Frippish sustain tone when he does play electric. Although ECM all-star guitarist Ralph Towner is only on 3 tracks, his presence and sound is at the center of each piece. For those of you who love the lush sounds of well placed acoustic guitars, superbly recorded and inventively played, this is a must have. Right now we just have a half dozen copies but hope to get more in the future when Mr. Brunod comes to visit us once again. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MAURIZIO BRUNOD / GIORGIO LI CALZI / BORIS SAVOLDELLI - Nostalgia Progressiva (Caligola 2241; Italy) Featuring Maurizio Brunod on acoustic & electric guitars & sampling, Giorgio Li Calzi on trumpet, flugel, keyboards & electronics and Boris Salvoldelli on vocals, electronics & vocal synth. Around a half dozen years ago, we got in two different discs by an Italian quartet known as Enter Eller, with Tim Berne as their guest on each one. Enter Eller featured Maurizio Brunod on guitar and Giovanni Maier on bass, both of whom we would hear from in more recent years. In 2017, Mr. Brunod visited and left us with three discs of his own on the Caligola label, each one very different and each one a gem. I know little about trumpeter Giorgio Li Calzi, although he does appear on one obscure disc listed ion our database by Dave Formula & Christine Hanson. Italian vocalist, Boris Salvodelli, is someone with whom I’ve heard on a few occasions: duos discs with Marc Ribot and Elliott Sharp (both on Moonjune) and as a member of N.A.D.
This disc is something else entirely, it is a tribute to late sixties & 1970’s prog, psychedelic rock and new wave. These are all cover songs: 5 from King Crimson, the Beatles, Elvis Costello, Kraftwerk and Le Orme. What do these songs have in common? A good question that I was thinking about as I listened to this disc. The five Crimson songs are from different periods/records and seem to hold this disc together. Starting with “Formentera Lady” from ‘Islands’, which is done superbly, graceful, stripped down, stunning. The sampled drum machine groove sounds oddly great as do the sly layered (overdubbed) vocals. This songs sounds more like later Japan but with some Fripp-like guitar. I like the way this trio strips down Crimson’s “Matte Kudasai” (from ‘Discipline’) to just voice, acoustic guitar and muted trumpet, oh so sublime. The Beatles tribal/psych classic album closer, “Tomorrow Never Knows”, is also transformed with slippery voices, layers of echoed guitars slightly altered and Jon Hassell-like electric trumpet in the distance. Elvis Costello wrote “Shipbuilding”, a political song that was first sung by Robert Wyatt. Kraftwerk’s “Radio Activity” sounds like an odd choice yet here it is less robotic but still nicely bent by those multi-layered Frippish guitars. Crimson classic “Starless” is stripped down to acoustic guitars with some strong singing by Mr. Savoldelli and touching trumpet by Li Calzi. There is a song here called, “Taranaki”, written by someone named Smith, which sounds more like old Brazilian Tropicalia like song, but with someone adding odd funky taped slivers. The next to the last song is “Moonchild” from the first King Crimson album, released 50 years ago (11/1969) this month. This version is both lovely and immensely haunting with some righteous slide guitar, exquisite drone-like trumpet and vocals, floating together. This disc ends with a little ditty from Le Orme, a well-regarded Italian prog band from the 1970's. Not sure what the original sounds like but this version is held down by techno-like rhythm machine, tasty acoustic guitar and quaint vocals in Italian. I can't quite think of another disc which I've heard in recent years that sounds like this one. A rare gem for the current Dark Ages. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MAURIZIO BRUNOD / ALDO MELLA / GABRIELE BOGGOP FERRARIS - Italian Jazz Book Vol. 1 (UR Records 666067; Italy) Featuring Maurizio Brunod on guitar, Aldo Mella on double bass and Gabriele Boggio Ferraris on vibes. Over the past couple of days, I’ve reviewed three different discs from Italian guitarist Maurizio Brunod, each one with different personnel and sound, each one features a different trio. Aside from Mr. Brunod, the only member of the trio with whom I had heard of previously is bassist Aldo Mello, who has worked with pianist Franco D’Andrea. All of the songs on this disc were written by members of the trio or other Italian composers: Enrico Rava, Daniele di Bonaventura, Andrea Allione and Franco D’Andrea. I really like the instrumentation here: guitar, vibes and contrabass, a jazz chamber trio of sorts. The opening track, “Dancas”, has a sublime, sunny melody, which glows with good vibes. Each song here is well-chosen, well-crafted, so that the trio sounds unified in their group sound. Mr. Brunod often plays acoustic guitar or a semi-acoustic jazz guitar. While the bass holds down the bottom end rhythmic center, the guitar and vibes play those enchanting melodies, working together perfectly. Although all three members get their chance to take the occasional solos, it is the arrangements that really shine. My favorite song here is called “Fafa” and it was written by Mr. Mella. Mr. Brunod uses subtle distortion here and gets that Frippish tone, which sounds wonderful in several layers. So good! I like the way the tone of Mr. Brunod’s guitar changes on each song, giving the music a slightly different vibe. I find that the overall subdued quality to this might put some more excitable listeners off but with some patience, there are some rich rewards buried below the surface. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Back in stock:
MAURIZIO BRUNOD - African Scream (Caligola 2248; Italy) Featuring Maurizio Brunod on electric & arch top guitars, sampling & loops. A couple of years ago, an Italian guitarist known as Maurizio Brunod left with three of his previous discs, several duos and a trio disc. Although I knew little previously about Mr. Brunod, he did once play with a band called Enten Eller Quartet, collaborating with Tim Berne. Mr. Brunod recently came back to visit and left us with this, a solo guitars CD. This disc begins with a piece called, “Ayleristic”, written by the late Boston-based guitarist Garrison Fewell who once had a duo disc out with Mr. Brunod. This piece is lovely, sad, poignant, with a heart-felt , Frippish sustained guitar solo. The one standard here is “I Remember Clifford” by Benny Golson, which is laid back, rather solemn with another tasty soft distortion solo. Brunod layers several guitars, with varying amount of sustain and loops, creating a hypnotic blend. “Waltz per Dany” is actually a waltz and it is most charming, somewhere in between Jim Hall and Bill Frisell as far as its lusciousness. Each song features a well selected looped guitar line with a great solo placed on top, the sustained tone of the solos often have a magical, quietly psychedelic tone. On “Tiresia”, Brunod inverts the formal by have the main theme played with that sly fuzz tone and then looping some background swirls as a cushion, a neat trick that works well. Each of the nine songs here stand out as a complete, well thought out idea with all parts balanced just right. Mr. Brunod recently played a set at Spectrum in Brooklyn which I sadly missed. I won’t make that mistake next time and you should grab this disc before they disappear again. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HORATIU RADULESCU // CATHERINE MARIE TUNNELL / IAN PACE - The Complete Cello Works (Mode 317; USA) Radulescu and Tunnell began working together almost immediately upon meeting in 1995. By the time they were married in 1997, Radulescu had already composed for her two of the pieces on this disc (the solo Lux Animae and the cello sonata L’Exil Intérieur), and revised and rededicated her a third, older work (Das Andere, first composed in 1984).
“L’Exil Intérieur” was Radulescu’s first and only work in the format of “sonata for instrument and piano.” A magical, otherworldly spectral composition using the combined sounds of cello and piano combined with folkloristic influences from his native Romania.
“Das Andere” is a work that can be played on any stringed instrument tuned in open fifths. It features heavy use of extended techniques. The notes to the score describe the performer’s role in this work as being to “…create a sense of trance, close to a spiritism [sic] séance…”
“Pre-Existing Soul” of Then for 2 cellos, is heard as on this recording as an “ideal version,” formed by meticulously overdubbing the cello parts in two individual layers. This provides a challenge in terms of both timing and tuning, but the results are far closer to the composer’s original intention than any live version that has been performed so far.
“Lux Animae” is a set of 21 “windows” through which the light of the soul may shine. Radulescu utilizes several of his spectral techniques in service of the larger goal of making the theoretical or imaginary concretely manifest in the physical world, as the whole instrument of the cello becomes an emanation of an impossibly low pitch, and the time in which the work exists a sort of “ring-modulation” of time itself.”
CD $15 [In stock next week]
KROKOFANT WITH STALE STORLOKKEN AND INGEBRIGT HAKER FLATEN - Q (Rune Grammofon 2209; Norway) “As David Fricke points out in his liner notes, this is not just another novelty guest-project, the Krokofant on Q is like a brand-new band. In fact, all the involved are so happy with this album that there's more to come with a bunch of new material already written. After three albums in three years as a trio, and sensing the possible danger of being stuck in a formula, they all felt a need to try something new, taking the band one step further. Especially Tom Hasslan, guitarist and main composer, felt an urge to expand the canvas and sonic possibilities. Ståle Storløkken (Elephant9, Supersilent, Terje Rypdal) was the trio's first choice for a keyboardist. He had seen Krokofant live in 2015 and, in his own words "had an instant kick", so he said yes straight away. Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (Scorch Trio, The Thing, Atomic) had seen them the same year, and practically invited himself to join up at some time. Hasslan's tunes are perfect vehicles for Storløkken to present the full scope of his playing; from sheer pastoral beauty to full on jazz skronk. The same can be said about Jørgen Mathisen, who is given ample room for soloing. By introducing Håker Flaten and his bass, work was lifted from Hasslan's shoulders while a "proper" rhythm section was born, Skalstad and Flaten instantly bonding. Personnel: Tom Hasslan - guitars; Axel Skalstad - drums; Jørgen Mathisen - saxophones; Ståle Storløkken - Hammond organ and keyboards; Ingebrigt Håker Flaten - bass.”
JEWISH MONKEYS - Catastrophic Life (GFBM 003; Germany) “After Mania Regressia (2014) and High Words (2017), Tel Aviv's grandfathers of punk are back to present their latest album Catastrophic Life. Grandfathers of punk?! Not all band members will agree. In fact, several talented young bloods joined the ranks of the Jewish Monkeys over the past years, flashing polyphonic brass and shredding guitar riffs to keep the old guys on their heels. The ten new album tracks were all written by the band itself and see the expedition venturing into unfamiliar territory. Fans have become well aware that popular shtetl tunes blended well with ska rhythms. This time however, they up the dosage, adding Afrobeat, reggae, and funk licks, Caribbean flair, wild guitars as well as a pinch of Balkan sauce to the driving mix. While their biting, satirical verses are quick to rub salt in the wound, the Monkeys are equally prone to address their own inadequacies as they come to terms with old age, impotence, lying politicians, and the incessantly rising temperatures on planet Earth. Social criticism is simply part of the game as is Jewish humor and a knack for emphasizing one's personal shortcomings: Indeed, it is a Catastrophic Life for all those hopelessly married forever, claims a song from the album, but there's always hope. For "All the Great Things" always happen when you're least expecting them, and in the end, it's all just one "Grand Bazar", a grand mix of cultures and neuralgic points. We're living in a "Robot Age" as submissive victims to the algorithms. We'd be hopelessly lost, were it not for the one they call "My Jewish Girl". And finally, "Punkfurt" takes things back to the city where it all began: Frankfurt. One of their notorious performances was even documented by German public television (ARD). During their regular tours of Germany, the Jewish Monkeys were readily welcomed by audiences who showed great interest in their musical potpourri of Eastern European descent. Let's not ignore the fact that German audiences in particular have a lot to swallow, when faced with the band's relentlessly open-minded and provocative lyrics, but usually break into relieved laughter just moments later. German Hi-Fi magazine Audio put it this way: "The Jewish Monkeys demand listeners leave their sentiments at the door. This Tel Aviv-based outfit employs an aggressive mix of cabaret, circus marches, Frank Zappa-ish horseplay and klezmer punk to shock its audiences; Jews and Gentiles alike!"
GUNTER SCHICKERT & PETER UNSICKER - Mauerharfe (MARMO Music 002; Germany) Günter Schickert, krautrock maestro of echo-driven psychedelia, returns on Marmo Music one-year-and-half after the release of the Labyrinth LP (MARMO 001LP, 2018). Mauerharfe consists of old and special material, which has officially never seen the light before. Berlin, August 1990, first post-wall Summer. Two friends, the locals Günter Schickert and gallerist Peter Unsicker perform a spectacular yet symbolically intimate interpretation of those epochal changing days by building a sound installation with a damaged piece of the Berlin Wall. They persuade the patrol "Feliks Dzierzynski" of the DDR army to transport and relocate a piece outside Peter's Wall Street Gallery on the Zimmer Strasse, in the borough of Mitte, where only a few months back the intact structure actually passed through. Once the wall was positioned, they bend down the bars of the iron structure that crop out the concrete, bind piano chords to them, stretch the strings down to the bodom base of the construct and connect guitar amplifiers to the set up. The Berlin Wall is ready to be played as a harp. Günter Schickert's Mauerharfe are executed between August and October 1990, resulting into three long field recordings. "Aufnahme bei Mauerblüten, Sommer 1990" features a 19-minute long piece. The tape-induced background noise lays down a carpet of haunting atmospheres and introduces the experiment. Günter starts to test the chords by pulling out, with his fingers, dry and acid timbers. The warm-up evolves by investigating wider sinusoidal waves and dilated metallic riffs. The track takes the form of a more conventional music narration, as the artist bangs the harp with a sort of rudimental violin bow creating marching percussive patterns. On "Zwei Spuren nacheinander aufgenommen, Herbst 1990", a similarly long take opens up with ferocious urge, like being catapulted into a warfare between iron and cement. As the strings get hit and pulled, the metal seems to crash into thousands of pieces, dissolving into merciless distortions. The third piece (CD-only), "Mauerharfe 3", is a 30-minute long performance dated August the 13th, 1990. As Schickert recalls, 29 years before exactly on that same date, the construction of the Berlin wall was accomplished. The recording is cleaner than the previous two, giving more width and definition to the sounds resulting in discrete and meditative, deep, gong-like percussive timbers. Includes exclusive pictures, liner notes, a prose poem by Peter Unsicker and some draft writings by the artists with reflections on the project.
Historic & Archival Recordings:
THE ESOTERIC CIRCLE with TERJE RYPDAL / JAN GARBAREK / ARILD ANDERSEN / JON CHRISTENSEN] - “George Russell Presents The Esoteric Circle (BGP 824; UK) This is a rare gem of late 60s European jazz, often presented as the debut album of saxophonist Jan Garbarek, but is much more than that. It includes work of the finest Nordic musicians, who came to define a certain jazz sensibility. Composer George Russell spent several years in Europe in the late 60s, recording two albums of his own work. For these he utilized this group: Garbarek, Terje Rypdal, Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen who, over the next ten years helped to create the core sound of ECM Records. Jan Garbarek had studied with the great American composer George Russell, and had previously appeared on Russell's venture into jazz-rock, Electronic Sonata for Souls Loved By Nature. Whereas his teacher's usage of rock rhythms in an avant jazz context often came off as rather clunky, for Garbarek and his guitarist, Terje Rypdal, formerly a member of the popular Norwegian band the Vanguards, such a melding was more second nature. The Esoteric Circle, the first album by their band of the same name (hey, this was still the '60s after all), is a highly successful and enjoyable effort, one that can stand comfortably with work being done at that time by Tony Williams or John McLaughlin. Garbarek's compositions range from deeply felt homages to Coltrane ("Traneflight" and "Nefertite") to rocking jams like "Rabalder," where Rypdal gets to showcase his considerable chops. In fact, some of these themes were used by Russell in his aforementioned work. Garbarek's own playing, here entirely on tenor, come largely out of Albert Ayler as well as Coltrane, and his general attack is much more raw and aggressive than the style for which he would eventually become more widely known through his recordings for ECM. Listeners who enjoy his first several albums for that label (from ‘Afric Pepperbird’ to ‘Witchi-Tai-To’) will find much to savor here.”
LOOKOUT FARM With DAVE LIEBMAN / RICHIE BEIRACH / FRANK TUSA / JEFF WILLIAMS - At Onkel Po's Carnegie Hall / Hamburg '75 (Jazzline/PÖ 77071. Germany) “In 1975, the NDR established its own festival to provide the then so called "New Jazz" with a home base in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, which was suffering slightly under the omnipresent and highly respected swing- and Dixieland traditionalists, who provided a cozy, but hardly innovative version of jazz. "Onkel Pö" was selected as a second venue of the "New Jazz" festival -- the club which had established itself as a new home of jazz in Hamburg. Also, for the club the festival meant a substantial boost. Part of the 1975 festival program was a band founded by Dave Liebman and Richie Beirach some two years previously under the enigmatically beautiful name Lookout Farm. The first and universally acclaimed record was released on the German label ECM. Liebman, Beirach as well as bassist Frank Tusa and percussionist Jeff Williams were undoubtedly at the center of this vehement awakening of a newly liberated music; ostentatiously, at the Hamburg festival concert the quartet invoked themes and motives by John Coltrane, back then the visionary leader of everything new in the world of jazz. CD version comes in a jewel case; includes 12-page booklet”
ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO [LESTER BOWIE/ROSCOE MITCHELL/JOSEPH JARMAN/MALACHI FAVORS/DON MOYE] with MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS - Kabalaba - Live at Montreux Jazz Festival (Katalyst 0004; USA) “Finally available on CD!!! One of several recordings issued by the Art Ensemble's own label and the only one to document the group as a whole, Kabalaba is a live, 1974 performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival by the same augmented band (with the addition of Muhal Richard Abrams) that recorded the superb Fanfare for the Warriors album for Atlantic. Kabalaba offers a typically great example of the Art Ensemble's live concerts from around that time. There are several percussion interludes and solo horn features interspersed among stronger thematic pieces such as Theme for Sco, which gets an energetic workout here. Roscoe Mitchell produces an especially acerbic solo alto piece, Improvization A2 [sic], all gnarls and bitter asides, followed by one of Lester Bowie's patently puckish, smear-filled outings. The concert ends with a free-for-all multi-horn blowout.” - Brian Olewnick, AMG
RYUICHI SAKAMOTO - Thousand Knives Of Ryuichi Sakamoto (WeWantSounds 024; UK) “Wewantsounds present a reissue of Ryuichi Sakamoto's first solo album Thousand Knives Of, originally released in 1978 on the sought-after Better Days label. Save for a small-scale release in 1982, this is the first time the album is being released on vinyl outside of Japan. 1978 was a key year for Japanese music. Haruomi Hosono, one of the country's most innovative musicians had just formed Yellow Magic Orchestra pursuing the sonic experimentation he had started with his solo album Paraiso. The album, recorded between December '77 and January '78, featured both Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yukihiro Takahashi. Hosono quickly invited both musicians to form YMO but before the group could release their first album, Sakamoto entered the Nippon Columbia studios in April 1978 with a plan. Sakamoto had become an in-demand session musician after studying composition at the Tokyo University of Art and had played on many key albums of the time, such as Taeko Ohnuki's Sunshower (1977) and Tatsuro Yamashita Spacy (1977). This led to an invitation by Hosono to feature on Paraiso. A penchant for avant-garde and improvisation had gotten Sakamoto interested in electronic music early on, and with Thousand Knives he decided to get Hideki Matsutake on board as he had mastered the art of synth programming following a stint with Electronic Music pioneer Isao Tomita. Thousand Knives took several months to record as Sakamoto would be busy during the day with his session work and would only record at night. Named after Belgian-born poet Henri Michaux's description of a mescaline experience, the album is a reflection on how synthesizer technology might come to change the face of music. The first side conceived as a long suite opens with the title track and a recitation of the Mao Zedong poem "Jinggang Mountain" filtered through a vocoder, before morphing into a mid-tempo synthpop instrumental. It is followed by "Island Of Woods", a ten-minute track buzzing with insect-like synth sounds. Side one ends with "Grasshoppers", a beautiful acoustic piano melody underlined by a subtle synthesizer soundscape. Side two opens with "Das Neue Japanische Elektronische Volkslied", acknowledging the influence of the German sound spearheaded by Kraftwerk. The track features a mid-tempo metronomic beat skillfully intertwined with a Japanese folk sounding melody. The album ends with two catchy up-tempo synthpop tunes in the form of "Plastic Bamboo" and "The End Of Asia", which both became staples of YMO's and Sakamoto's live shows. YMO's sound included various influences from its three members but there is no denying Thousand Knives paved the way for the group's Computer Music sound. Remastered from the original tapes by renowned producer and engineer Seigen Ono.
TAPPER ZUKIE - X Is Wrong (Kingston Sounds KSCD 085; UK) “Tapper Zukie still asks the questions and stating the facts that few artists of his caliber would attain to. His classic Dee-Jay style has been copied by many but bettered by few. Over some of his killer rhythms that he previously worked up while producing fellow roots groups such as Prince Allah, Knowledge, and Junior Ross and the Spears. Alongside some fresh rhythms, he has taken these as a backbone to some further questions and biblical reasoning that needed answering. Tapper tells it as it is on this mighty collection of tunes under the name X Is Wrong. This is the first time this set has seen a proper release only previously being available as a download from Tapper's website. A remarkably great set of songs that finally get the release they deserve. CD version includes two bonus tracks.”
SIR RICHARD BISHOP & ED YAZIJIAN - Sir Richard Bishop & Ed Yazijian (Unrock 016; Germany) “Yet another luxurious spectacle from the Saraswati Series. Ex-Sun City Girls master guitarist Richard Bishop teams up with Cul De Sac's long time Girls live collaborator, Ed Yazijian. Two grand seigneurs of underground deliver a unique album, deeply Western-rooted, filled with the musical spirit and structures of Indian music at the same time. Elegant interplay, brilliantly arranged, using mostly guitar (lap steel, tenor) and strings (viola), and an Indian stringed instrument, and some piano. A classic Saraswati Series sonic adventure. A contemporary classy polaroid, state of the art in today's underground music. Three untitled pieces which came up right Unrock's alley. 140 gram vinyl; one-time pressing.”
PLANTS OF THE BIBLE - Plants of the Bible (Feeding Tube Records 464; USA) "Here is the first physically graspable music available by this mysterious Western Massachusetts duo, whose sound has been called 'Synthetic ASMR love balladry,' by more than one canny listener. Asking them to describe themselves, we received this missive: 'Plants of the Bible started in a bedroom in Florence with a tape machine and a poem about an unkillable dog android before it quickly spiraled out of control into a real band with a real record. Their first album is a dreamy cast of imagined characters and everyday events built with elaborately layered sounds. Driven by their array of cheap keyboards and a wide range of influences from La Boheme to Fabio Frizzi to Justin Bieber, their music is deceptively inviting and playfully disorienting. They are currently working on an EP of hot songs and researching a more long-term project about the history of lesbian porn.' Not sure what more we can add, except that, according to inter-web sources, there are more than 120 plants mentioned in the Bible, ranging from 'Abraham's Bush' to 'Wormwood.' If you need more information consult a priest of some sort. If you need be confused in a way that involves wonderfully deep hooks, get this album instead. Go ahead, all will be forgiven. By actual plants!" - Byron Coley, 2019 Edition of 250.
THOMAS BRINKMANN - Raupenbahn (Editions MEGO 252; Austria) “Editions Mego present the latest addition to the compelling discography of Thomas Brinkmann. Throughout his career Brinkmann has focused on the human operating amongst industry alongside rhythms that manifest as a result of technological advancement. With this new release Brinkmann makes a U-turn, looking back to the early industrial age. Comprised of recordings of various looms, Raupenbahn investigates the sonic properties and consequences of the first automatic loom as constructed by Jacques de Vaucanson in 1745. Thomas Brinkmann once again adheres to his tendency for clarity and simplicity whilst further investigating not only the sound and rhythms of the machines (looms) but also what role they serve in society and what consequences they have on the environment. Raupenbahn presents 21 tracks in total, 11 featured on the vinyl, the remaining ten as digital bonus tracks. The majority of recordings were undertaken by Brinkmann in 2017 with a Neumann KM 184 stereo set. Additional recordings were sourced with permission from Monika Widzicka recs. from 2014 Central Museum of Textiles Łódź, Poland. Each piece presents a diversity of material which borders on the breathtaking and beautiful in richness and complexity. The various looms unravel rhythms and patterns unexpected from machines of the early industrial age. The loom holds a significant role in shaping our world being the catalyst for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine which, alongside the subsequent work of Byron's daughter Ada Lovelace, paved the way for modern computing. There is a linage of the loom that fits succinctly in Brinkmann's overall argument. Here we encounter a parallel between machine driven economies and the music that rose from such places, consider the Sheffield steel industries, the Manchester weaving industry or the Rhineland/Düsseldorf loom and machine industry. Is it a coincidence that the practice of such machines in the environment gave rise to today's predilection for electronic dance music, in pop, soundtracks, etc. Raupenbahn features no treatment or processing and explicitly displays varying tempo and timbres which ascertain a wide range of acoustic structures. The artwork features Ingrid Wiener, Rosemarie Trockel, and Alexandra Bircken, three different generations who would with ideas of fabric weaving, looming, and the like. This exceptional release works on a number of levels alongside it's striking sonic palette. The digital bonus tracks (and the LP tracks) can be redeemed with download card that comes with the LP.”
Bruce Lee Gallanter’s Recommended Gig List for November of 2019:
THE NEW STONE
Is Located at the New School’s Glass Box Theatre
55 West 13th street - just east of 6th ave
THE STONE RESIDENCIES - PETER EVANS - NOV 5th – 9th
8:30 pm - Peter Evans Ensemble - Peter Evans (trumpets, compositions) Sam Pluta (live electronics) Levy Lorenzo (percussion, electronics) Ron Stabinsky (piano, synths)
8:30 pm - Music for Brass and Percussion - Peter Evans, Adam O’Farrill (trumpets) Dave Byrd-Marrow (french horn) Weston Olencki, Kalia Vendever (trombones) Dan Peck (tuba) Levy Lorenzo, Shayna Dunkelman, Ian Antonio, Weasel Walter (percussion)
THE STONE RESIDENCIES - ARUAN ORTIZ - NOV 12 – 16
8:30 pm -“ Inside rhythmic falls"/Cub(an)ism - Aruán Ortiz (piano, prepared piano) Mauricio Herrera (percussion) Reggie Nicholson (drums)’ Presenting a solo program and the music for the upcoming new CD "Inside Rhythmic Falls"
8:30 pm - FIRM ROOTS - Aruan Ortiz (piano) Darius Jones (sax) Ches Smith (drums)
8:30 pm - PYGMALION EFFECT - Aruan Ortiz (piano) Melanie Dyer (viola) Michaël Attias (sax) Arooj Aftab (voice)
8:30 pm - Random Dances and (A)Tonalities
Aruan Ortiz (piano) Don Byron (clarinet, saxophone)
8:30 pm - TRIO/RIOT - Aruan Ortiz (piano) Brad Jones (bass) Francisco Mela (drums)
THE (NEW) STONE is located in The New School’s Glass Box Theatre
All Sets at The New Stone start at 8:30pm Tickets: $20
There are no refreshments or merchandise at The Stone.
Only music. All ages are welcome. Cash Only at the door.
A serious listening environment.
The Stone is booked purely on a curatorial basis
The Stone Series at HappyLucky No. 1 is Curated by John Zorn
Friday, November 8, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
NICOLE MITCHELL with Rashaan Carter and Tsceser Holmes
Nicole Mitchell (flute)
Rashaan Carter (bass)
Tsceser Holmes (drums)
Saturday, November 9, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
NICOLE MITCHELL with Liberty Ellman and Tomas Fujiwara
Nicole Mitchell (flute)
Liberty Ellman (electric guitar)
Tomas Fujiwara (drums)
8PM CONCERT / $20 ADMISSION
HappyLucky No. 1 is located at
734 Nostrand Ave, near Sterling
easy access from the A/C/2/3/4 trains
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2019 - 8:30 PM 10:30 PM
NEAL KIRKWOOD TRIO
Neal Kirkwood - Piano
Lindsey Horner - Bass
Michael Sarin - Drums
IBEAM BROOKLYN, 168 7TH STREET, BROOKLYN, NY, 11215
Bushwick Improvised Music Series Continues:
Monday November 4th
7pm Reggie Sylvester - drums
Ed Keller - guitar
Bryan McCune - trumpet/electronics
Joe Ravo - guitar
8pm Stephen Gauci - tenor saxophone
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
9pm CD RELEASE PERFORMANCE!
Kevin Murray - drums
Kaelen Ghandhi - tenor saxophone
Dave Sewelson - baritone saxophone
William Parker - bass
9:45pm Tom Chess - oud
Zach Swanson - bass
Noel Brennan - drums
10:45pm Yuma Uesaka - saxophones
Raquel Klein - electronics
Joey Chang - keyboards
Nikki Pet - clarinet
Pablo O'Connell - oboe
Katherine Kyu Hyeon Lim - violin
11:30pm Gaya Feldheim Schorr - vocals
Adam O'Farrill - trumpet
Downstairs @ Bushwick Public House
1288 Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn
(Across the street from M train Central Ave stop)
Monday, November 11th 2019
"Peace Be With You"
An Anti War Free Jazz performance by The Music Now Unit
Live at The Brooklyn Commons
Ras Moshe Burnett-Tenor Sax, Flute & Recitation
Matt Lavelle-Trumpet & Bass Clarinet
Charles Waters-Alto Sax
Dave Ross-Guitar & Recitation
Food and refreshments available at The Commons Cafe
The Brooklyn Commons
388 Atlantic Ave (btwn Hoyt St. & Bond St.)
Eric’s House of Improv Presents:
November 11, 2019 at 8:00
Too Noisy Fish (Featuring members of the Deranged Belgian Big Band Flat Earth Society):
Peter Vandenberghe on piano, Kristof Roseeuw on bass & Raf Vertessen on drums
At 244 Rehearsal Studios (244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor)
November 23, 2019 at 8:00
Trio XL: Joe McPhee, Dominic Duval, Jr., Jay Rosen & Rosi Hertlein
At 244 Rehearsal Studios (244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor)
Thursday Nov 7, 7 - 9pm
Howl Arts: Celebrating Bob Kaufman: An evening of poetry, film & music.
Featuring poet David Henderson performing with bassist
William Parker and trumpet, flute and reed player
Also including poets:
Maria Damon, Patricia Spears Jones, Kaye McDonough, Uche Nduka, Christopher Stackhouse, Anne Waldman, and others.
Howl Event Space, 6 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003
This is FREE EVENT!
Saturday, November 23rd, 2019, 7pm
Blank Forms presents:
NATE WOOLEY - Seven Storey Mountain
Seven Storey Mountain VI features Nate Wooley (trumpet), C Spencer Yeh (violin), Samara Lubelski (violin), Ben Hall (drums), Chris Corsano (drums), Ryan Sawyer (drums), Emily Manzo (keyboard), Isabelle O’Connell (keyboard), Ava Mendoza (guitar), Julien Desperez (guitar), Susan Alcorn (pedal steel guitar), and the voices of Mellissa Hughes, Kamala Sankaram, Anne Rhodes, Charlotte Mundy, Bridget Hogan, Daisy Press, Anaïs Maveiel, Christina Kay, Shannyn Rinker, Aubrey Johnson, Gelsey Bell, Yoon Sun Choi, Lisa Karrer, Dafna Naphtali, Amirtha Kidambi, Jasmine Wilson, Samita Sinha, Ariadne Greif, Nina Mutlu, and Erica Koehring directed by Megan Schubert.
Blank Forms at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church
346 W 20th St, New York, NY 10011