"The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)"
1st Recorded by Simon & Garfunkel in 1966 for ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme’
Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin' groovy
Hello, lamppost, what'cha knowin'?
I've come to watch your flowers growin'
Ain't'cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in doo-doo, feelin' groovy
Ba da da da da da da, feelin' groovy
I got no deeds to do
No promises to keep
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me
Life, I love you
All is groovy
Is life really groovy?!? Maybe it was way back when this song came out by Simon & Garfunkel in 1966 or when it became a hit for Harper’s Bizarre, a year later. This song was also covered by The Free Design, a sunshine/baroque pop band for their debut album also released in 1967. I’ve become a big fan of The Free Design over the past decade or so. Yes, I know they are a bit too twee for most more progressive listeners but I do have a soft spot for certain light-weight pop music from the 1960’s and afterwards. Check out their reunion album called, “Cosmic Peekaboo” to see what I mean. I still use the word “groovy” at times, as well as other slang terms that so-called hippies or heads or freaks used more frequently some 50 years ago. Sometimes I get tired of being too sarcastic or pessimistic or just being an old sourpuss, so I do something make to myself feel better and those around me as well. I find that certain dance music, hummable melodies and even sunshine pop, helps me to through the more difficult times in life. Hopefully, we can all find something groovy to smile about. When life sucks, it is time for a tasty lollipop. - BLG at DMG
The Downtown Music Gallery 29th Anniversary Celebrations will begin on May 1st, 2020 & Will Continue throughout the year! Every In-store throughout the Year Helps Celebrate the Spirit of Creative Music Performed Live.
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: TODD CAPP’s MYSTERY TRAIN: KURT RALSKE / LELE DAI / FRANK MEADOWS!
7pm: RONIN PHASING: PATRICK BRENNAN - Solo Alto Sax!
8pm: M - violin/electronics / N - guitar/electronics / HANS TAMMEN - Buchla!
The Independent Promoters Alliance Presents:
A Winter Solstice Celebration - Saturday, December 21st at 8pm:
MARS WILLIAMS AYLER XMAS Project: NELS CLINE / STEVE SWELL /
HILLIARD GREENE / FRED LONBERG-HOLM / CHRIS CORSANO!
Plus FARMERS BY NATURE Featuring: GERALD CLEAVER / WILLIAM PARKER / CRAIG TABORN!
At The DiMenna Center - 450 W 37th St. (bet 9th & 10th Aves) in NYC
Sunday, December 22nd, A DMG & Eric’s House of Improv Sponsored show:
7pm: ESTAMOS TRIO: THOLLEM McDONAS Radical Empathy Project!
8pm: THOLLEM McDONAS / NELS CLINE / WILLIAM PARKER / GERALD CLEAVER!
At Jazz Habitat / El Barrio ArtSpace - 215 East 99th St.
Sunday, December 29th:
6pm: DISSIPATED FACE: STEVE POPKIN / KURT RALSKE / DANIEL CARTER / BILL MILKOWSKI / WILL DAHL!
7pm: SUBURBAN BOHEMIA Space Jam Featuring THE MONZ, MC BruceLee and…!?!
Sunday, January 5th - First DMG Gig of the New Year - Double Header!!
6pm: ELI WALLACE - Synth / ANDREW SMILEY - Guitar / CARLO COSTA - Percussion!
7pm: THOMAS HEBERER / LUKE MARRANTZ / SIMON JERMYN / MICHAEL VATCHER -
Trumpet / Fender Rhodes / Bass / Drums!
Sunday, January 12th:
6pm: JUAN P CARLETTI - Solo Drums!
7pm: ARON NAMEMWIRTH - Guitar / DAVE SEWELSON - Bari Sax / COLIN HINTON - Drums!
8pm: CHRIS PITSIOKOS / JAVIER A V / KEVIN MURRAY - Alto Sax / Guitar / Drums!
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
Groovy New Things Begin With the First of Several Solo Sax Efforts:
PETER BROTZMANN - Solo - I Surrender Dear (Trost 190; Austria) “A long desire of extraordinaire saxophone player Peter Brötzmann was a studio recording of some of his favorite jazz tunes and his own music -- a grand bridge over the music important for his life and his musical career in the past and present. Trost invited him to Martin Siewert's studio in Vienna to do so in summer 2018. The result is intense, beautiful and touching. Features compositions by Harry Barris/Gordon Clifford, Sigmund Romberg/Oscar Hammerstein II, Herbie Nichols, Dizzy Gillespie, George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin, and Sonny Rollins. Personnel: Peter Brötzmann - tenor saxophone. Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Martin Siewert. Liner notes and artwork by Peter Brötzmann.
FRED ANDERSON QUARTET with TOSHINORI KONDO / TATSU AOKI / HAMID DRAKE - Live Volume V (FPE Records 026; USA) “The Velvet Lounge was a door that Fred Anderson opened continuously for decades, an access point through which the human soul could enter and explore the organization and chaos of the cosmos. Through this door the spirits outside also came into our little system. When the exchanges happened, it made a sound of joy, like el: those of us who weren't there are lucky that recording devices were. It's a generation removed and still we can feel their presence from the record. Tatsu Aoki and Hamid Drake played frequently with Fred at the Velvet throughout the 90s, wearing smooth the handle of that door. One night in December of 1994, their guest navigator was trumpeter Toshinori Kondo. The quartet screams at the start, rests beneath a tum-tum tree, picks their way over rocky shoals and sandbars, freaks out. Like a mind, flowing through a door, to a shore, three long tracks. Clarence Bright the bartender recorded the trip on a Tascam DAT recorder. Tatsu kept it two decades on a CD transfer. Eventually it needed to be cleaned up a but so here it is. Trip way out with it.”
THREE GEMS FOR THE PERPETUALLY RETIRING MATTHEW SHIPP:
IVO PERELMAN / MATTHEW SHIPP - Live at Nuremberg (SMP Records 011; Germany) Featuring Ivo Perelman on tenor sax and Matt Shipp on piano. Recorded live in June of 2019, at “The Art of Improvisation” Festival in Nuremberg, Germany. Mr. Perelman and Mr. Shipp have been working together almost constantly for more than a decade and can be found on some two dozen discs of duos, trios and quartets. They have developed a strong rapport over time and always sound connected whenever they play together. The duo was on tour celebrating the 30 year anniversary of Mr. Perelman’s first recording from 1989, just one year after Mr. Shipp’s first album was released. Mr. Shipp is Mr. Perelman’s most constant collaborator and it shows since their playing often sounds telepathic, very closely nuanced. The music here sounds like an ongoing story with evolving sections, balanced between solo and duo interaction. Mr. Shipp seems to be tapping into a series of related vignettes or scenes, fragments of songs flow in and out of the stream with Mr. Perelman often joining him to dance or sail together. This is a classic duo effort, I was on the edge of my seat for the entire one hour length, amazed at the journey I took. So glad that Mr. Shipp hasn’t yet retired completely, this is a rare gem amongst a large treasure chest of other sonic delights. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $15 [LTD Edition, custom-made deluxe cover]
MATTHEW SHIPP & NATE WOOLEY - What If? (Rogue Art 0097; France) “The collaborations and projects of featured jazz masters always are exciting and interesting. Different playing techniques, individual styles, innovative point of view and driving playing manner are the main elements which are joined together. “WHAT IF?” is an example of great collective improvisation of pianist Matthew Shipp and trumpeter Nate Wooley. There’s no need to say, that the musicians are featured and central figures of international avant-garde jazz scene. Collaborations, projects and concerts with other famous improvisers is the main part of their activities. Musicians are using risky and adventurous decisions, fresh evocative ideas, fascinating sonorous experiments and extended playing techniques to create an exclusive sound.
Creativity, drive, expression, risk and adventures make a great combo in “WHAT IF?”. Both improvisers are creating and exploring new fields of sound zone. They’re expanding the technical abilities of instruments, experimenting on various cases of musical language and integrate radical, expressive, modern and provocative decisions. Sound experiments, research of strange tunes and the will to get out of traditional sound’s zone are the main priorities of the musicians. An experimental, specific, home-made, weird, innovative and extended playing techniques, suggestive and original ways of improvising, special effects and ornaments of all ranges contain a multi-layered, bright and modern instrumental section. Surprises, contrasts, breaking sessions and booming awakening culminations are the main compounds of independent and expressive melody line. The melody line is kept by both musicians – all kinds of colors, tunes and expressions are brought into the musical pattern. All music is completely based on free improvisation and avant-garde jazz. The newest innovations, modern decisions and the roots of 1960’s avant-garde jazz make a great combo. Expressive, sharp, complicated and aggressive rhythms and improvisations also have the relations to bebop, post bop and other modern jazz styles. Pianist Matthew Shipp is creating a polyphonic and enchanting sound. His improvisations are made at the instant – spontaneous solos, surprises, dynamic turns and expressions are the main compounds of it. Remarkable terrific melodies meet tremendous wild culminations, breaking sessions, aggressive sequences, sharp tunes, furious riffs, hysteric frantic solos, flowing transcendental passages, virtuosic glamorous ornaments and booming explosions of energy. Pianist is improvising with passion and pleasure – his improvisations bring drive, expression, wildness and emotions of all ranges to the compositions. Hot growls, gurgling solos, bursting thrills which pass to passionate melodies, glamorous riffs, vital and extremely fast passages or bursting full blasts – trumpeter Nate Wooley successfully melts all these elements in one fusion. His music is dynamic, bright and contrasting – it’s filled with drive, creativity, passion and astonishing sonoristic experiments.” - AvantScena.wordpress
CD $16 (if order along with one of the other 2 new Matt Shipp CD’s, take $1 off)
MATTHEW SHIPP STRING TRIO with MAT MANERI / WILLIAM PARKER - Symbolic Reality (Rogue Art 0096; France) Pleasurably filling the heights beyond any possible previous limitations; exuberant antidote for the doldrums! Six compositions by pianist Matthew Shipp for his String Trio with violist Mat Maneri and double bassist William Parker, their first Trio record since 2001's "Expansion, Power and Release" (Hat), their long history of working together in a variety of configurations creating a near-telepathic link between the players over Shipp's sophisticated frameworks.
CD $16 (if order along with one of the other 2 new Matt Shipp CD’s, take $1 off)
PAUL DUNMALL / PHILIP GIBBS / DAVE BALEN - Higher / Deeper (Winged Heart Records; UK) Featuring Paul Dunmall on soprano & tenor saxes, flutes & bagpipes; Philip Gibbs on guitar, prepared & unprepared and Dave Balen on percussion, tablas, dhol & drums. British sax colossus, Paul Dunmall, has long championed lower profile musicians with whom to collaborate with. I wasn’t very familiar with percussionist Dave Balen before he contacted me to offer this disc. It turns out that UK percussionist, Dave Balen, has been working my a diverse array of band & musicians for some fifty years: starting with underground rock bands like Quintessence & Shakey Vick and then working with Dave Swarbrick (from Fairport Convention), Davey Graham, Mick Taylor, John Etheridge and Norma Winstone. This disc was recorded in Mr. Balen’s Winged Heart Studios in November of 2016 and April of 2017. The other member of this great trio is guitarist Philip Gibbs, who has been Mr. Dunmall’s most consistent collaborator for more than a decade.
The title track is first and it has a sublime, spiritual sound with exquisite soprano sax at the center surrounded by the reverberations of gongs and/or cymbals. Mr. Balen’s organic sounding percussion provides a ongoing cushion, balancing spaciousness with rhythmic support. Mr. Dunmall takes his time and plays a series of inspired solos on soprano sax. Mr. Gibbs also takes his time to enter play, playing quiet fragments at first and then inserting quick flashes at a restrained volume. Mr. Balen varies his groove from piece to piece, moving to an somewhat funky rhythm when Dunmall switches to tenor sax. When I gig most about this disc is that whenever, Dunmall switches to another instrument, the entire vibe and interaction changes appropriately. Mr. Dunmall’s soprano playing is a marvel here, although even when he switches to flute, tenor or bagpipes (wow, a truly cosmic section there!), he is a master soloist, consistently inspired, always moving things to a higher level communion. This label has no other US distribution as far as we can tell, we are the only distributor. It is limited and we have only 15 copies. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JIM O'ROURKE - To Magnetize Money and Catch a Roving Eye (Sonoris 016; France) “A four-hour work, recorded at Jim O'Rourke's studio, Steamroom, between 2017 and 2018. Detailed and delicate electronic layers, processed instruments, and ambiguous field recordings come together in a slow-moving, fascinating kaleidoscope with multiple reflections and wrong turns, always in a constant state of flux. The finely crafted art of subterfuge. The four-CD set To Magnetize Money and Catch a Roving Eye is a hypnotic, multi-faceted, labyrinthine piece which flows as slowly as a river while speeding back through memory. Composer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist Jim O'Rourke was born in Chicago in 1969. He is a veritable chameleon working at the frontiers of very diverse musical genres.”
4 CD Box Set $40
JeJaWeDa with JEB BISHOP / JAAP BLONK / DAMON SMITH / WEASEL WALTER - Pioneer Works - Vol. 1 (ugEXPLODE/BPA; USA) “This new quartet, JaJeWeDa, debuted in the spring of 2019 with a series of concerts in the Northeast. The band features the great Dutch sound poet and improvisor Jaap Blonk, trombone virtuoso Jeb Bishop, and the versatile and powerful "rhythm section" of Damon Smith and Weasel Walter. Jaap Blonk is unique for his powerful stage presence and playful freedom in improvisation, combined with a keen grasp of structure. The frenetically prolific bandleader/composer/multi-instrumentalist Weasel Walter summons myriad timbres from a (mostly) conventional drum kit, while also bringing a strong performative element to the proceedings. Jeb Bishop is an extraordinary improviser, composer, and simply one of the finest living trombonists, and has been a major voice in improvised music for more than 20 years. Tireless organizer and Balance Point Acoustics label head Damon Smith expands both the sound world of the double bass and the roles it can play in an ensemble.
The sonic result of this alchemical gamble is a wide-open, unruly field of play where anything can and will happen. The New York City session and performance documented on these releases run the gamut from delicate chamber textures to Xenakis-meets-cracked-video-game burbling to all-out electronic meltdowns. ‘Pioneer Works Vol. 1’ is a CD with a deluxe ten page booklet of artworks by Jaap Blonk.” - ugExplode blurb
Weasel Walter always does a great job of recording, mixing & producing so the sound here is strong, spirited and balanced just right. I like the way those low-end sounds: voice, trombone, acoustic bass, drums & occasional electronics are blended together in tight, connected fragments. The music often sounds conducted or directed in part as one line begins with one instrument and soon turns into another instrument. Since moving to Boston, former Chicago-based trombonist has kept busy with several ensembles/situations, hence it great to hear him in a variety of sympathetic units in recent times. As a longtime fan of avant/vocalist Jaap Blonk, I am glad to hear him in different improv ensembles over the past few years. Mr. Blonk rarely dominates and fits perfectly amongst the four spirited improvisers here. Quite a dynamic quartet! - Bruce Lee, Gallanter, DMG
Three New Discs from The Great RELATIVE PITCH Label:
TOMEKA REID / KYOKO KITAMURA / TAYLOR HO BYNUM / JOE MORRIS - Geometry of Distance (Relative Pitch 1096; USA) Featuring Tomeka Reid on cello, Kyoko Kitamura on voice, Taylor Ho Byrum on cornet and Joe Morris on guitar. This is the second disc from this quartet, the first was entitled, ‘Geometry of Caves’. What makes this quartet so interesting is that each of these musicians are leaders, composers and/or administrators in music education. Both Joe Morris (NEC) and Taylor Ho Bynum (Dartmouth College) are professors, while both Kyko Kitamura & Mr. Bynum have been part of Anthony Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation. I believe that Tomeka Reid (New York/Chicago) is also involved in teaching, although she keeps extremely busy working with many important musicians: Nicole Mitchell, Dave Douglas, Mary Halvorson & the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Plus all four of these musicians are gifted improvisers and bring a wealth of experience to each session.
This is a studio session, recorded at Firehouse12 Studios in December of 2018, one year ago. Mr. Ho Bynum is a multi-brass specialist although here he concentrates on just the cornet. Beginning with, “Space Chat”, the quartet start off quietly. Since there is no percussionist or bassist involved, all four members are free to add their own percussive sounds. The music here is often quiet with a calm center. It is also mostly acoustic with Mr. Morris playing his guitar with few effects, turned down. The restrained vibe makes this easier to deal with, no extreme outbursts, so patience is required to appreciate the subtly and nuance. Both Mr. Morris and Ms. Reid also stretch or bend their strings in order to express and explore. I know that Ms. Kitamura became a parent a few years ago and I get the feeling she likes to keep her inner child at the center of her vocal ability. She has a playful, warm sound here, which works well with the other three musicians. Mr. Bynum moved from here when he began teaching a few years ago, hence I haven’t seen or heard him live or on record very much in recent times, outside of his recent CD as a leader. It seems as if he is about to explode at times here, concentrating on cornet instead of his other half dozen brass instruments he often uses with Mr. Braxton and others. He is certainly a virtuoso on cornet and keeps things interesting here launching off into a variety of outbursts, but without increasing the volume or pulse too much. If you give this disc some of your time, you will be blown away. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Like Relative Pitchman founder, Kevin Reilly, I am also a huge fan of solo sax records and performances. In recent times, I have been checking out some amazing sets of Tamio Shiraishi and Chris Pitsiokos, as well as a CD I got from Kenny Millions/Keshavan Maslak called, ‘Mother Russia’ on Leo from 1991. Below are two more discs of outstanding, challenging solo sax:
* ERIN ROGERS - Dawntreader (Relative Pitch 1097; USA) My favorite topic of conversation with Kevin Reilly is which cutting edge, experimental musician have I not checked out yet. Mr. Reilly, like myself, has demanding tastes for the furtherest out and most unique musicians from around the world, be they known or little-known. For the past year or so, Kevin has been telling me about Ms. Eric Rogers, a saxist I had not heard much about until now. For this disc, Ms. Rogers plays three solos, two on tenor sax (one with cymbal resonance) and one on soprano sax. The first thing I notice is this: Ms. Rogers has obviously been honing her skills for a long time, her sound is her own. “Beacon” is first and it played on soprano sax. Mr. Rogers plays int mid-range of the soprano so it hard tell that it is indeed a soprano sax. She concentrates on stretching out certain notes, bending and twisting them carefully. It takes some time to adjust to her playing as she her bent notes sound like a bird or some mammal talking or just expressing themselves. When Ms. Rogers increase the tempo a bit, the notes turn into a stream, she sounds somewhat like Evan Parker yet she doesn’t let the stream go on for too long, which can exhaust the listener. On the second piece, “Surface Tension”, Ms. Rogers switches to tenor sax which uses some cymbal resonance. Her tone is deeper and again she varies her approach from longer foghorn-like blasts to abrupt starts & stops to more calm, slower note-bending fragments, all of which are thoughtfully utilized. In the last section of this piece, she cautiously stretches out certain notes in way which are difficult to describe since they don’t quite sound like what most musicians do on a saxophone. It would take a new vocabulary to adequately describe those sounds which are in-between any established norms. Ms. Rogers gets into any even deeper resonance on “Breaking Waves”, with certain notes blasted, slightly twisted and sounding more like a voice or scream than a musical instrument. This entire disc just under 30 minutes which seems just long enough to appreciate Erin Rogers’ unique world/soundscape. I intend to play it again later just to figure out what exactly she is doing since there is something unique and brave about her work. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Based in New York City, Erin Rogers is a Canadian-American composer, saxophonist and performance artist dedicated to new and experimental music. Named a “rising star” (Broadway World), her music has been described as “whimsical, theatrical” (Brooklyn Vegan), “a wild ride” (An Earful), and “so complex, it’s primitive.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Her works have been presented at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center’s NYPL Series, Roulette, the Knockdown Center, and the Ecstatic Music Festival by ensembles such as mise-en, Loadbang. She has performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Copland House, wild Up, and mise-en, and is co-artistic director of the experimental performance ensembles: thingNY, New Thread Saxophone Quartet, Hypercube, and experimental duo, Popebama. Erin was a showcased performance artist on the 2017 Prototype Festival “Out-of-Bounds.” - Relative Pitch blurb
* There will be an official release concert by ERIN ROGERS on this Tuesday, December 10th at D'Addario Woodwinds (153 W. 36th St, 5th floor) in NYC. Please RSVP here: https://daddario.formstack.com/forms/rogers
MASAYOSHI URABE - What Hasn’t Come Here, COME! (Relative Pitch SS002; USA) Featuring Masayoshi Urabe on alto sax, harmonica & percussion/sounds, recorded at Sakedelic Space Shuyukan, in Shiga, Japan, August 5, 2017. Japanese saxist, Masayoshi Urabe, is both a legend and an enigma. Considering he is 54 and has been recording since the early nineties, he has some 20 records out (10 solo & 10 collaborations), all released before 2006. Since then, there have been little or no recordings until this one, recorded in 2017 and just released in December of 2019. Since 2006, Mr. Urabe seems to have disappeared, is nearly impossible to contact and claims to not care if anyone hears his recordings. Perfect bait for Relative Pitch’s Kevin Reilly, who worked hard to get this disc out. In the past, Mr. Urabe has worked with other mysterious figures like Kan Mikami, Gary Smith, Chie Mukai and members of C.C.C.C., Hijokaidan and Kousokuya. Of the 20 or so releases by or with Masayoshi Urabe, only three are currently available. You know what I will be acquiring soon…
Like another legendary Japanese saxist, Karou Abe, Masayoshi Urabe seems to be in a world of his own making. This disc/set starts off with silence and then some strange wheezing harmonica and odd vocal sounds. There is something strange yet somehow charming about the low-key opening section. There are long stretches of silence here, which gives the feeling of suspense as to when something will happen next. When Urabe switches to sax, it is hard to tell what he is playing: his tone is unique, brutal, intense, the way he bends notes is unlike anyone else I’ve heard. His use of space works well since it gives us some time to consider the distinctive sounds he makes. There some notes or sounds (high-pitched, bent note) that Urabe makes that would make dogs howl and us humans wince. I like that style of playing and Urabe keeps things very focused, it is most effective. At times he uses certain more lyrical fragments which are an odd contrast to his other more extreme sounds. Yet the balance seems just right. This music is not for the fainted-hearted but for the most committed of serious (out-sax) listeners. Join the club if you dare. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Four Amazing Discs from the ASTRAL SPIRITS Label:
BURTON GREENE / DAMON SMITH / RA KALAM BOB MOSES - Life’s Intense Mystery (Astral Spirits; USA) Featuring Burton Greene on piano, Damon Smith on contrabass and RaKalam Bob Moses on drums & percussion. This disc was recorded live at the Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA in October of 2017. After Cecil Taylor (whose recording career started in the late fifties), the next in line for the earliest explorers of free/jazz piano were Sun Ra, Paul Bley and Burton Greene (born 1937). All three recorded for the ESP label during the mid-sixties. After leaving Chicago, Burton Greene moved to NYC and by the early 70’s he had moved to Europe (Paris and later to Amsterdam, where he still lives). Around the same time that Mr. Greene’s first album was released on ESP in 1967, Bob Moses, a native New Yorker (born 1948), also began recording with Roland Kirk, the Free Spirits and Gary Burton (both in 1967). “Ra Kalam” Bob Moses lives and teaches (at NEC) in Boston for several decades and has explored the diverse terrain of modern jazz, spiritual and ethnic musics. Contrabassist, Damon Smith, is a generation or so younger (born in 1972) and also currently resides in Boston, where this live set was recorded. All three members of this trio have been involved with playing and developing the freer side of avant/jazz.
The title piece of this disc, “Life’s Intense Mystery” is split into three sections and it has an enchanting, organic, cerebral, spiritual-sounding flow. For more than a decade, Ra Kalam has been working with cosmic/jazz guitarist Tisziji Munoz, with dozens of recordings on the Anami label. All three of the musicians are masters of the free form, hence as a trio, they sound like one focused spirit/force. The natural-sounding give & take force, layers of hand percussion & drums and bubbling bass erupt together midway through the title piece. The entire set has a wonderful, most uplifting, somewhat cosmic vibe and makes me feel so good to be alive. What more could we ask for…!?! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HARRIS EISENSTADT OLD GROWTH FOREST with JEB BISHOP / TONY MALABY / JASON ROEBKE - II (Astral Spirits; USA) "This recording, a document of a live concert, was originally supposed to have taken place on February 12, 2017. We’d been on the road for a week in Canada and had had cold but clear weather the whole time. That couldn’t last. Sure enough, by the time we got to Kingston, Ontario on February 9, it was snowing peacefully. The snow ended up sticking. I remember sitting in my hotel room when Glenn Siegel, the presenter from Northampton, called. The forecast called for more and more snow, so we decided to cancel the February 11 gig and set a makeup date for a few months later. Jeb, Jason, Tony and I drove south from Ontario for hours until we finally got to Albany, halfway point to end-of-tour respective homes and airports and stayed the night in a hotel there. A bit dodgy, that snowy drive was. On June 11, 2017, Jeb, Tony, Jason and I met on a warm June afternoon at the home of the Pioneer Valley Jazzshares presenters, Glenn Siegel and Priscilla Page, in Northampton, MA. Playing a Jazzshares concert always has a really lovely vibe, super warm and community-centric. The ticket model is such that the audience buys a season of shows in advance and, as a result, the room is full. Before the gig and after, collegial conversation, delicious food and drink are the norm. It’s one of my very favorite gigs in North…”
SUSAN ALCORN / JOE McPHEE / KEN VANDERMARK - Invitation to a Dream (Astral Spirits 100/Monfonus Press 204; USA) Featuring Susan Alcorn on pedal steel guitar, Joe McPhee on soprano sax & trumpet and Ken Vandermark on tenor sax & clarinet. This disc was recorded in Austin, Texas in September of 2017. This disc is dedicated to “refugees, immigrants and the persecuted wherever they my be. “ plus there is a touching, sad poem called, “Less Than Zero” in the inside notes. Most sensitive souls around our troubled planet feel the same way, we are currently living in an ongoing nightmare. Every day we say, when will it end?!? When will the fake prez & his family/clan go to jail for the crimes they’ve committed against all of us real humans. This country was built on the backs of immigrants and that is what we all are. They are not our enemies, we know who the real enemies are. What does this have to do with this disc…?
I believe this is a first time meeting of these three master musicians from varied backgrounds. Although, Ms. Alcorn started off playing in country bands from Texas where she used to live, she want on the collaborate/experiment with Eugene Chadbourne, she later moved to Baltimore and has been popping up in different projects with Mary Halvorson, Sylvie Courvoisier & Nate Wooley. Plus that solo effort she did of the music of Astor Piazzola (called ’Soledad’ on Relative Pitch) is an under-recognized masterpiece. Ms. Alcorn records infrequently so we look forward to each & every disc that comes our way. The other two musicians here, Joe McPhee and Ken Vandermark, who have worked together on occasion are much more prolific, both touring, playing live and recording as much as is possible. I just caught Mr. McPhee playing with a new version of Trio XL (w/ Tomas Ulrich, Rosi Hertlein & Jay Rosen) a few weeks ago and it was superb. I caught Chicago scene-head, Ken Vandermark, is his old duo with Mars Williams called Cinghiale a few months ago for the first time in more than 20 years. Which brings us to…
Every time, I catch Joe McPhee, he is playing a different set of instruments, both reeds and brass. Here is is playing soprano sax & pocket trumpet while Vandermark plays tenor sax & clarinet and Ms. Alcorn plays pedal steel. The title piece, “Invitation to a Dream” is first and it is most ethereal, soft hums, drones, eerie ghost-like sounds drifting across the Texas desert. The trio like to push each other, with Ms. Alcorn going fever further out than usual inspired by Vandermark’s tenor sax and McPhee’s pocket trumpet, spinning out streams of notes and then laying back while Ms. Alcorn lets those weeping ghosts cry softly. Everyone here takes their time so there is selective space to surround the sounds. It often sounds like a calm dreamworld yet certain spirits erupt at times: in solos, duos and trio sections. There are also some delicate segments of soprano sax, clarinet & mysterious steel guitar sounds. The quieter sections are often magical and uplifting, sometimes they quickly mutate into some intense, freak-outs whichever last too long. A truly outstanding effort on all fronts! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PAT THOMAS / JOHN BUTCHER / STALE LIAVIK SOLBERG - Fictional Souvenirs (Astral Spirits 088/Monfonus Press 191; USA) Featuring John Butcher on tenor & soprano saxes, Pat Thomas on Moog Theremini & I-pads and Stale Liavik Solberg on drums & percussion. My favorite living tenor saxists are: Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall and John Butcher, hence I am always searching for whatever releases I can find from each of these fine fellows. John Butcher records less frequently than the other two and obviously takes his time to select whomever he works with. British keyboardist, Pat Thomas, is also prolific and immensely diverse. His name keeps popping up at a variety of sessions with a diverse cast of players: Evan Parker, Seymour Wright (in [Ahmed]), Shock Troops and the About Group. Norwegian drummer, Stale Liavik Solberg, played here at DMG earlier this year and has also worked with an odd cast: Paul Dunmall, Joe McPhee, Lotte Anker & Steve Beresford.
This disc was recorded live at Iklectrik Old Paradise Yard in London in July of 2017. John Butcher is very selective about how & where he is recorded, hence has a several solo discs recorded in a variety of locations outdoors, mostly in caves. There is a rich, warm balance to the way this trio sounds, the blend of acoustic & electronic sounds superb. The results are often mesmerizing. The blend of the soprano sax, electronics and drums are extraordinary. The quieter sections are also rich in detail, often fascinating to behold and filled with suspense. Everytime Mr. Butcher’s sax re-enters, the sound of it is different, this forces the electronics and percussion to come up a diverse array of sounds to match its ever-evolving sonic pallette. This is another one of the amazing improv dates that is ever better than one might imagine! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SAADET TURKOZ / ELLIOTT SHARP - Kumuska (Intakt Records 328; Switzerland) Saadet Türköz - Voice & Lyrics and Elliott Sharp on Analog Synthesizers, Bass Clarinet & Glissentar. Saadet Türköz's influences spread far and wide. Born in 1961, the singer grew up on the Bosporus where Europe and Asia meet. Her ancestors were nomads who migrated from Semey in Kazakhstan to East Turkestan from where they fled via India and Pakistan to Istanbul. But Istanbul, international city, modern metropolis and history-laden cultural crucible, is not the only place to have influenced her.
In her singing she originally drew on the folklore of her culture, carefully collecting its traditional songs via oral history, but soon opened herself up to other styles. She was influenced by the musical traditions of India, the Arab world and Central Asia and later came to blues and ever freer jazz. However, new music became increasingly important to her and she began to feel at home and understood in Zurich's eclectic free music scene.
Türköz recorded her album "Kumuska" with the American composer and multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp (b.1951), the great artist of the world of electric, metallic, raw sounds as well as complex and groovy rhythms. By now they are trusted partners, having known each other since the 1990's and first recorded together on the album Marmara Sea.
Jazz critic Manfred Papst writes in the liner notes: "Saadet Türköz is a charismatic shaman certainly, but not the pompous kind. She has a sense of humour, and even when her head is in the clouds, her feet are on the ground. The words and sounds illuminate daily life."
CD $16 (on sale)
ELLIOTT SHARP / SERGIO SORRENTINO - Spilla’ (Ants AG 21; EEC) 'Spilla' means 'to play' in the language of Neapolitan musicians, and playing here are NY guitarist and composer Elliott Sharp and Italian guitarist Sergio Sorrentino, presenting world premier recordings of 4 works recorded live in Vercelli, Italy: two improvisations and two graphic scores performed on electric guitar with incredible technique and passion. Liquidity" is part of a latter approach (2011) working on fragments of pre-existent musical notations heavily manipulated at the computer by Sharp. Both the scores deals with visual art as well as contemporary music, and are conceived to give to the performers (better, interpreters), the broader informations to "walk-in" the scores (following conceptual images and/or "sonorous" instructions).
The rest of the disc is comprised of two long improvisations where Sharp and Sorrentino takes the occasion to use the most varied (and "extended") guitar techniques, spanning all the range of contemporary "guitarism". All the pieces are World Premiere Recordings. The CD Cover image is a modified detail of the score of "Hudson River Nr. 6". " - Ants
CD $15 (this CD will be here sometime next week)
UWE OBERG / JOE FONDA / LUCIO MARTINEZ - Relight (Not Two 994; Poland) Featuring: Uwe Oberg on piano, Joe Fonda on bass & flute and Lucio Martinez on drums. We just got this in the mail from my pal, Joe Fonda. A few months, we listed the second disc by Lacy Pool, a fine trio that covers songs by Steve Lacy and features Rudi Mahall on bass clarinet and Uwe Oberg on piano. I’ve been aware of German pianist Uwe Oberg since the early aughts when he was recording for Leo & Hatology, performing in duos with Evan Parker & Silke Eberhard, as well as in solo & in trios. I know master bassist Joe Fonda pretty well, since he has so many great discs under his belt and have seen him live on numerous occasions. I had not heard of the drummer, Lucio Martinez, before now. This disc was recorded live at the Just Music Festival in Weisbaden, Germany in February of this year (2019). This is an all-improvised set and it has a spacious, enchanting sound. The trio consistently vary their approach from quick, free, intense outbursts to more restrained moments. The trio are immensely focused, tightly wound and often stop on a dime, before taking off once again. There is section on “Lighter Than Before” where Mr. Oberg mutes the strings inside the piano, plucking certain notes selectively to give it different sound while Mr. Fonda plays some charming flute with some sublime toy-like percussion rustling underneath. I dig when the trio erupts with some swirling, hypnotic, harp-like movements. The trio has a most organic, acoustic and uplifting sound. Contrabassist supreme, Joe Fonda, is often at the center of the storm, plucking and bowing furiously at times and them laying out to let the piano play some superb unaccompanied solos as well as the occasionally duets. I love the way the music magically speeds up and slows down, the trio working together as one great force of nature. This is an excellent piano trio effort on all fronts. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $15 (Sale)
UNIVERS ZERO - Phosphorescent Dreams (Sub Rosa 483; Belgium) “Available for the first time outside Japan, and on LP and CD, Phosphorescent Dreams is another epic album of symphonic schizophrenic avant-rock from Univers Zero, originally released in 2014 -- only on CD -- on the Japanese label Arcàngelo. Phosphorescent Dreams presents at the same time, in the same track, even on a single moment, the complex musical schemes and ways of Univers Zero, ranging from maximalism to minimalism, classical avant-garde with a 2020 vibe in a constant flux. In a blend of tension constantly emerging from a subtle dialogue between avant-rock and contemporary influences, harmonies and dissonance, Phosphorescent Dreams is a balanced formula of old-school know-how reshaped almost 40 years after the release of the seminal LP Univers Zero, reissued by Sub Rosa (SR 399LP, 2016).
Univers Zero represents one of the longest-living bands in Belgium. It was established in 1974. Drummer Daniel Denis had the brilliant idea to gather together a team of professionals sharing the same taste for music. The band has adopted an instrumental progressive style. Over the last couple of decades, the band has also implemented a series of influences from chamber music -- most commonly, chamber music from the 20th century. Even if the line-up changes a lot over the years, the overall sound of UZ remained fairly consistent.”
BOB DRAKE - The Gardens Of Beastly Manor (ReR CTA 25B; UK) “A one-off release of extraordinary instrumental compositions, through-composed and performed by a massed orchestra of Bob on piano, 5-string resonator banjo, Farfisa organ, Korg MS20 synthesizer, electric and acoustic guitars, recorders, drums, bass, chromatic hand-bells, trombone, trumpet and violin. 22 exquisite, enigmatic and compressed vignettes that defy comparison. It's a new departure for Bob, though the mixture of complexity, simplicity, virtuosity and dramaturgy remain the same. It's a release that will reward repeated listening. Bob Drake (b.1957) has played a lot of instruments with - and has engineered - all manner of bands, from the early 1970's on. Between 1978-1989 he played an important role in Denver's underground music scene, and was a founding member of both Thinking Plague and Hail.”
SUSS With BOB HOLMES / GARY LIEB / PAT IRWIN / JONATHAN GREGG / WILLIAM GARRETT - High Line (Northern Spy 120; USA) Suss is an NYC band which features Bob Holmes on mandolin, guitar & bass, Pat Irwin on guitars & keyboards, Jonathan Gregg on pedal steel & dobro, William Garrett on guitars & loops and Gary Lieb on keyboards. This is the second full-length release from this unique quintet. One of my best friends and serious music collectors, Jason Roth, recently asked us to get him a copy of this disc. I was intrigued when I first heard of this band more than a year ago when I checked out their first record, ‘Ghost Box’. I knew of one of their several guitarists, Pat Irwin, from his days with the Raybeats & 8-Eyed Spy (with Lydia Lunch), but that was quite a while ago and that music was pretty much disturbing, No Wave. The other members of the band come from: Rubber Rodeo and other bands I know little or nothing about. I remember digging the first disc since it reminded of those bands: Trapist and Radian, two bands who bridged the gap between the Hatology, Thrill Jockey and Erstwhile labels. No easy feat, I can assure you.
What stands out here is the way the band strips things down to a spacious, suspense-filled, a drifting ambiance. Eerie pedal steel, drone-like skeletal guitars, each note plucked gracefully, an exquisite folk or roots-rock sound, but with little or no drums (except for 2 pieces). I like the way the electric and acoustic guitars (with minimal piano) blend together into a calm flowing stream. Music for an ancient spaghetti western film? At times, it does sound that way. Each of the carefully plucked layers of guitars (steel, acoustic & electric), sound like a posse of ghosts slow dancing or just sailing on the wind. At the end of (what would be) each LP side, the drums comes in and add a bit somber power to the center of the current. I recognize the name of the drummer, Larry Eagle, from his work with mandolin/clarinet master, Andy Statman. The results here are most often breath-taking, organic, quietly mesmerizing… we just need some time and space to get on board this warm, magic carpet ride and sail gently on the wind, with several layers of dark, cerebral currents washing over us. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TIM DAISY’S VOX 4 with JAMES FALZONE / FRED LONBERG-HOLM / MACIE STEWART - Roman Poems (Relay Records 026; USA) Featuring James Falzone on clarinet, Macie Stewart on violin & piano, Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello & electronics and Tim Daisy on drums, marimba & percussion. Chicago drummer, composer & multiple bandleader, Tim Daisy, has been releasing numerous great discs on his own Relay Recordings label which has just hit their 27th disc. I have reviewed a half dozen so far and am amazed at the consistent quality of his varying projects. Aside form the more than two dozen discs on Relay, Mr. Daisy also collorabtes with a vast cast: Ken Vandermark (several bands), Aram Shelton, Dave Rempis and Paul Giallorenzo.
For Vox 4, Daisy has gathered a unique quartet of Chicago’s finest, clarinetist James Falzone (under the radar but many great leader dates), cellist Fred Longberg-Holm (ultra-prolific collaborator w/ too many names to mention), violinist/pianist Macie Stewart (who is a current of Ken Vandermark’s Marker) and Mr. Daisy on drums, percussion & compositions. Thanks to Ken Vandermark and other Chicago homeys, the creative music scene there continues to expand and become more diverse. The opening piece here, “Prelude” is an odd blend of bent strings: cello & violin, cosmic clarinet and chamber-like mallet-on-drums work. Although this disc was recorded live at Elastic Arts Foundation, the sound is clean and warm, hard to tell it is indeed live. The intense, focused interplay between the clarinet, violin, cello & drums is consistently strong. Former Chicago cellist, Fred Lonberg-Holm, is currently living in update NY, so we’ve had more chances to hear him here live recently. Lucky us! In a town with several great cellists, Mr. Lonberg-Holm is in a class of his own and is a formidable improviser. The combination of his cello with Ms. Stewart’s violin and Mr. Falzone’s clarinet is extraordinary and keeps shifting in unexpected ways. Mr. Lonbetg-Holm takes a few extraordinary, over-the-top solos here which add some icing to the great tasting cake. There are some interludes where Mr. Daisy plays solo marimba, modest, calm, charming. There are a few select duos which are also great: like clarinet & percussion on “Intermezzo” which gets even better when the cello re-enters and pushes things even higher. There is no break between the pieces here and everything flows together from section to section. This disc is more like modern chamber music yet it is not stuffy or stiff in any way. It also doesn’t quite sound like any other disc I’ve heard in recent memory. This is a difficult feat to pull off in these strange times. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RAFAEL TORAL / MARS WILLIAMS / TIM DAISY - Elevation (Relay Records 027; USA) Featuring Mars Williams on saxes, toys & broken autoharp, Rafael Toral on feedback, amps & oscillator and Tim Daisy on drums, percussion & radio. Each of the half dozen discs we’ve gotten from Chicago drummer/composer, Tim Daisy, over the past year or so is very different. Mr. Daisy leads several bands or projects simultaneously as well as collaborating with Ken Vandermark, Dave Rempis and James Falzone. For this unique improv session, Mr. Daisy, is working with Chicago sax great & multi-bandleader, Mars Williams and equally prolific Portuguese sonic manipulator, Rafael Toral. Mr. Toral has some 20 solo releases, but does occasionally collaborate with experimental musicians. This disc was recorded at Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago in September of 2017. This appears to be an all-improvised session and the trio take their time, slowly building up their tight-knit sound. The balance between the acoustic (reeds & drums) and electronic sounds is just right. It is hard to tell who is doing what at times since Mr. Williams plays all sorts of carefully-crafted bent notes on his saxes & toys with Mr. Toral possibly manipulating those sounds in his own unique way. When Mr. Daisy switches to a thumb piano, the trio quiets down to a more dream-like section. Mr. Toral does a fine job of bending those (analogue-like) electronic sounds carefully which Mr. Daisy spins his rhythmic web around the entire trio. The overall cerebral sound evolves in a most organic way. Yet another side to Mr. Daisy evolving pallete. - Brice Lee Gallanter, DMG
CHARLEMAGNE PALESTINE & CASSANDRA MILLER - Aaangelicaaa May 10th, 2015 (i Dischi di Angelica IDA 038, Italy) The music of Charlemagne Palestine can be extremely polarizing; surely an acquired taste for many, a love it or hate it proposition. ‘Course, it all makes total sense if you’re one with the drone, or at least the concept of ‘the drone’. Truth be told, with everything Palestine, there’s no easy answers, no simple through-line, and everything on the surface simply isn’t what it seems. Recorded live in front of what appears to be a very appreciative audience, one that ‘got’ the whole thing and reacted accordingly (as the 3 minutes of applause bear out), Aaangelica is in totality a masterclass of minimalist frisson, where seemingly little happens on the surface but critical mass is attained when it’s obvious the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Palestine’s arsenal includes crystal glasses and his wordless vocalizing, accompanied by the hydra-headed Zipangu Ensemble on various string-driven things (violins, cellos, contrabass), tubular bells, and tam-tam. On Palestine’s opening piece, nearly 30 minutes of it, there’s no electronics visible, but the whole thing sounds so otherworldly you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise; bereft of signal processing, the track suggests some alien Indian raga, a shimmery, spacey transmission ripped from time and space. Impossibly, things take on an even more outré complexion on the second piece, “A Large House”, composed by Miller. Here, the Ensemble work within a perpetually detuned framework, their instruments seemingly forever ushering in a ghostly flotilla of decommissioned warplanes whose engines gradually wind down. It’s an arresting work that belies its ‘classical’ vocabulary, made all the more awe-inspiring due to its gargantuan architecture: the orchestra’s death throes, perhaps, the world around it slowly crumbling? Pretty incredible stuff. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
CD $16 (on sale)
Archival & Historic Recordings & Reissued Discs:
CHARLES MINGUS with ERIC DOLPHY / BOOKER ERVIN / CHARLES McPHERSON / CLIFFORD JORDAN / JACK NIMITZ / JOHN HANDY / BUDDY COLLETTE / TED CURSON / LONNIE HILLYER / JIMMY KNEPPER / JAKI BYARD / PAUL BLEY / TOMMY FLANAGAN / DANNIE RICHMOND - The Rare Albums Collection (Enlightenment 9173; EEC) Among the most inspirational and innovative composers and musicians of the 20th Century, Charles Mingus remains perhaps jazz music's most accomplished bass player and amongst its most formidable pianists. His extensive back catalogue of recordings set a new standard in experimentation, blending as it does hard bop with elements of gospel, blues, classical and avant-garde. With a fearsome reputation as a bandleader too, Mingus' guidance resulted in some of the finest performances from the best musicians ever to grace the jazz genre, and his long-standing influence is as potent today as ever it was. This 4CD Set brings together eight of Charles Mingus' lesser known albums, all released during his glory years, between 1952 and 1964. Each LP featured remains a classic in its own right despite their commercial scarcity and often underrated status. With full original release details and complete musician lists for each record, this set provides over 5 hours of Charles Mingus' musical genius. Available here once again in perfect remastered sound, this collection will prove a delight for long term fans and Mingus beginners alike, offering as it does the chance of completing collections of this legendary jazz maestro universally. Albums included: ‘Reincarnation of a Lovebird’, ‘Mingus at Antibes’, ’Town Hall Concert’, ‘Mingus Plays Piano’ and ‘Mingus at Monterey’.”
4 CD Set $18
LEE KONITZ with BILLY BAUER / JIMMY GIUFFRE / HAL McKUSICK / WARNE MARSH / TED BROWN / SAL MOSCA / HENRY GRIMES / PETER IND / GENE ORLOFF / DAVE BAILEY/ SHADOW WILSON - The Verve Albums Collection (Enlightenment 9172; EEC) “Among the most creative and prolific saxophonists of his generation, Lee Konitz was one of few alto saxists working in the early fifties who retained a unique style, in an era when Charlie Parker extended a huge influence. An early sideman for Miles Davis, Konitz participated in the legendary Birth Of Cool sessions, while his work with jazz pianist and teacher Lennie Tristano - Lee was a former pupil - remains highly sought. Comprising the musician's eight original albums made for Verve and Atlantic in the late 1950s, this four-disc set features the finest work this estimable sax-man ever produced. With over five hours of extraordinary music, this collection documents the most pivotal phase of what was both a widely celebrated and long standing career. Working as both an ideal introduction to Lee Konitz's best music, and a welcome reminder of his musical prowess, this delightful set will thrill newcomers and seasoned fans alike.”
4 CD Set $18
COUNT BASIE & HIS ORCHESTRA - Live At The Savoy Ballroom New York 1954 (Delta 20011; Germany) “Double CD-set in the Jazz Collector edition series! William James "Count" Basie was the US-American musician, bandleader, and composer. In 1935, he formed his own jazz orchestra and led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two "split" tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, and others. Despite Basie's death in 1984, the band survived and continued without him. These recordings, live At The Savoy Ballroom New York 1954, feature Thad Jones, Joe Newman, Benny Powell, Marshall Royal, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, Don Byas, Buck Clayton, Buddy Tate, Jo Jones, and others.”
2 CD Set $12
ELLA FITZGERALD - Small Groups & Orchestra: Historical Recordings 1950-58 (Delta 20012; Germany) 40 tracks of historical recordings 1950-1958 backed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Oscar Peterson Trio, Ellis Larkins, Joe Williams, and Louis Armstrong, with detailed musician credits! Dubbed "The First Lady Of Song", Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the USA for more than half a century. In her lifetime, she won 13 Grammy awards and sold over 40 million albums. She was noted for her purity of tone, impeccable diction, phrasing, intonation, and a "horn-like" improvisational ability, particularly in her scat singing.
2 CD Set $12
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & HIS MAGIC BANDS - Magneticism II: The Very Best of Captain Beefheart & his Magic Bands, Live in the USA 1966-81 (Viper 135; UK) ‘Magneticism II’ features some of the finest "live" performances by Captain Beefheart & his Magic Bands, many being previously unreleased rarities. Led by California's enigmatic singer/songwriter: Don Van Vliet (aka Captain Beefheart), his various Magic Bands were faithful in their pursuit to realize his musical visions. "Live" they always shone and these joyously, unforgettable performances make this a truly important collection of work, showing a unique and innovative ring master directing his collaborators in staggering form to ecstatic crowds. These recordings also give a broad scope of the Captain's catalog of work with material from the beginning of his career right up to his final compositions -- reminding listeners today why he is still regarded as one of the most important and influential musician/artists of the twentieth century. To quote the Captain: "If you got ears, you gotta listen”…”
BOBBY SPARKS II - Schizophrenia - The Yang Project (Leopard 77065; Georgia) “A masterpiece - a funk opera! Leaping twenty feet forward, this extraordinarily diverse collection of tunes captures the full range of keyboardist Bobby Sparks's expansive vocabulary and inexhaustible spirit. From slamming funk to slow-grooving soul ballads to forays into straight ahead jazz, fusion, orchestral and world music, his aptly titled Schizophrenia - The Yang Project covers a myriad of bases. On board the Battlespark Galactica for the exhilarating ride is a host of his Dallas homies as well as a parade of all-stars, including bassists Marcus Miller, Pino Palladino, MonoNeon, and Hadrien Feraud, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, singers Frank McComb, and James "J. Rob" Robinson, Snarky Puppy's Michael League and Jason "JT" Thomas, guitarists Lucky Peterson and Eric Gales, and drummers Mark Simmons, Brannen Temple, and John "Li'l John" Roberts. The influences of Bernie Worrell and P-Funk, George Duke, Stevie Wonder, D'Angelo, Dizzy Gillespie, and other key figures in Sparks's long musical journey come to bear on this ambitious project, his first as a leader. An inspiring set of music that has finally come to fruition after a successful 20 years of supporting and influencing music of many genre, Schizophrenia - The Yang Project is Bobby Sparks II's crowning achievement in an outstanding career. Double-CD version includes 12-page booklet.”
2 CD Set $21
ALTERNATIVE TV - Primitive Emotions (Winter Hill Recordings 006; UK) “A collection of Alternative TV songs during recent years that have appeared on vinyl-only releases or compilations and suchlike. Includes "This Little Girl", "Negative Primitive", "The System", "Radiator", "Walls", and "Chinese Burn", amongst others. "Chinese Burn" will be a different version to the one which appears on the "Low Expectations" compilation 10" on Fourth Dimension. Even if you own some of the vinyl, this will be a neat way of listening to the tracks as they map out an arc in the group's more recent development that makes perfect sense hearing them all together on one release. As Mark Perry himself said, this release actually sounds more like an album in its own right than what's otherwise tantamount to a compilation gathering together various loose ends. However you choose to look at it, the CD makes for another great entry in the band's illustrious career, once again underlining that fine balance between commentary strewn songwriting that itself can sway perfectly between the melodic and more intense, plus pieces that nod to Mark's own love of electronic music drawing from the worlds of early industrial music and the avant-garde. As with only a few groups who initially came out of the cultural shift of the late '70s, Alternative TV always kept moving forward and exploring new ideas without completely abandoning everything that made them (a not so blind) force to be reckoned with at the outset.”
SOKRATIS VOTSKOS QUARTET - Sketching the Unknown (Jazzman Records 116; UK) “Linking the ancient and the modern across time and space, the Sokratis Votskos Quartet presents Sketching the Unknown -- a modern jazz journey into the folk and modal music of ancient Greece. Playing rich original compositions, the quartet draw freely on Greek and Balkan folk sources, jazz idioms, and the classical makams of the near East. Returning to ancient Greek modes such as Dorian, Phrygian, and Lydian, a fresh perspective is brought to the modal style that was popularized by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Herbie Hancock. Expertly versed in musical theory, the pioneering jazz players that adapted these modes for the new jazz of the late 1950s and 1960s worked in full knowledge of their ancient Greek historical origins. The musical freedom offered by these ancient scales helped them take their music to a higher level as they laid the groundwork for the spiritual moment in jazz. On Sketching the Unknown, the Sokratis Votskos Quartet brings that process full circle, linking today's jazz back to the ancient modes and microtonal folk music of Greece and the Near East. Deep modal jazz sounds from an ancient source.”
KYLE ERYE CLYD - Eggshell (YEW Records 010; USA) ”Yew Records announces the release of Eggshell a limited-edition CD by Alabama-based multidisciplinary artist, Kyle Eyre Clyd. The recordings expanded through feeling and form offering tensions that resonate in a high frequency range. Space is dramatic not letting go, pulling the listener in, the body as a resonator a total resonator. Observations to follow here, Kyle Kessler writes in her own words: "Eggshell is hard to swallow. It's not an invitation to let go, it's an occasion to eavesdrop, to oggle with the ears, and to forget music beyond the hour. This album was recorded and mastered between attacks of physical and mental anguish. Unfolding neither optimistically nor pessimistically, it establishes a logic of its own, borrowing a bit from healing music but presenting no cure. Discordant drones hang in the air with numb aftertaste. A little beauty provides temporary relief. Infinity is delivered via the physical (chronic.) Following the isolation of subjective pain, an interest in the empirical conditions of the world returned to me in tiny increments. For the best sonic experience, play it loudly in the open air. Your patience will be rewarded."
"According to doityourself.com, an eggshell finish has an extremely subtle shine, though lacking the smoothness of a satin finish does not highlight imperfections quite as much, covering well with a single coat. This, in terms of house paint, can be functionally desirable, and may be helpful in apprehending the functionality of Eggshell, the latest sound work by Birmingham, Alabama-based availablist Kyle Eyre Clyd. The CD, comprised of eight largely wordless tracks (the eavesdrop-layer of album centerpiece 'Affect/Language' being the only exception), articulates a kind of sustained sheen throughout, and while sibilant in terms of sheer hertz and fluttering at times at the higher thresholds of distinction, has a cumulative effect is that is one of subtle enclosure. As in her past work, the suspended stirrings of some empirical drama hovers within these tracks and in how they relate to each other in sequence, yielding not clandestine works nor an easily discernible whole, but rather a perception of relations. If an aesthetics of drone pervades then we are here in the province of Guy Reibel, Intersystems, A Handful of Dust, or even the first and final sections of Xenakis' La Légende d'Eer. Either way, practitioners abide, and with Eggshell, Ms. Clyd reveals a functional surface of sound which articulates the holism of experiential listening and creation." --Keith Connolly, NYC 2019.
SUGAR MINOTT - Leader For The Pack (Radiation Roots 340; Italy) Radiation Roots present a reissue of Sugar Minott's The Leader For The Pack, originally released in 1985. Sugar Minott is part of the pantheon of Jamaican roots reggae icons, one of a handful of singers that indelibly changed the course of the music and helped it reach a broader overseas audience. Raised next door to one of Jamaica's most popular dancehalls, in the heart of a notorious west Kingston slum, Minott joined The African Brothers in the mid-1970s, making an impact with singles for Rupie Edwards, Clive Chin, and Micron Music, as well as with self-produced work, but the breakthrough came when Sugar went solo for Studio One, spearheading the reuse of classic rhythms at the facility for new purpose. He later moved away from Studio One to record sparse work for Prince Jammy, Mikey Dread, and other smaller producers but the main focus was Black Roots/Youth Promotion, the record label and sound system he established himself. Then, following smash hit "Good Thing Going", Sugar helped to launch the careers of dancehall stars like Tenor Saw and Nitty Gritty. The Leader For The Pack album was produced by Bunny Lee in 1985 at The Rock studio in London, established by Gibraltarians Danny, Eddy and Henry. Sugar's first fully synthesized album, it was arranged by Jackie Mittoo and revived classic rhythms of the past with minimal, synth-driven backing, including "Everybody Needs Love" as "This Is Rockers Music", alongside a great cut of "Sleng Teng" for the title track; "Them Have To Come A We" was co-written by fellow icon, Gregory Isaacs. Includes liner notes by David Katz.
TRINITY - Dreadlocks Satisfaction (Radiation Roots RR 337; Italy) “Radiation Roots present a reissue of Trinity's Dreadlock Satisfaction, originally released in 1979. The reggae artist known as Trinity is one of the music's best-known rappers, known in Jamaica as "toasters" or "deejays" for their key work at the microphone on sound systems. Born Wade Brammer in1954 and raised in the tough streets of the Two Mile ghetto in western Kingston, an early preoccupation with the toasting styles of U Roy and Big Youth kept him away from crime, leading to a debut single as Prince Charming and more solid early work released under the name Prince Glen. Bonding closely with fellow deejay Dillinger brought another name change to Trinity at Channel One studio, which enabled his debut album, Shanty Town Determination (1977), produced by Yabby You, and subsequent breakthrough material for Channel One and Joe Gibbs, the latter releasing "Three Piece Suit," the blueprint for Althea and Donna's "Uptown Top Ranking", which would catapult Trinity to international stardom. Dreadlocks Satisfaction was produced by Bunny Lee for his Jackpot label in 1979, placing Trinity's witty raps over some of Bunny's most unusual rhythms, including alternate, rockers-styled Johnny Clarke takes of The Isley Brothers' "This Old Heart Of Mine" and The Tams' "Riding For A Fall," plus Cornell Campbell's takes of The Sensations' "Every Day Is A Holiday" and The Heptones' "Why Did You Leave"; Trinity also salutes Dillinger on a recut of John Holt's "Linger A While". Includes liner notes by David Katz.
ERIC DONALDSON - Eric Donaldson (radiation Roots RR 336; Italy) “Radiation Roots present a reissue of Eric Donaldson's self-titled album, originally released in 1971. Eric Donaldson's soaring falsetto has made him one of Jamaica's best-loved vocalists. Born in the country town of Bog Walk in 1947, Donaldson cut some ska material at Studio One in 1964, which never surfaced, and went on to form The West Indians vocal trio at the tail end of rock steady, enjoying minor local hits for Sir JJ and Lee "Scratch" Perry. Winning the annual Festival Song Competition with love ditty "Cherry Oh Baby" in 1971 saw him team up with former Jamaicans vocalist Tommy Cowan and hit-making producer Bunny "Striker" Lee, the subsequent recording of the tune at Dynamic Sounds studio resulting in a spectacular success around the world and subsequent hit cover versions by The Rolling Stones and UB40, among many others. This self-titled debut album was recorded at Dynamics in the wake of the hit with the set of upcoming players known as The Inner Circle, which then featured future members of Third World such as keyboardist and arranger Ibo Cooper and guitarist Cat Coore; along with the enduring "Cherry Oh Baby", there is a popular cover version of the doomed romance saga, "Sylvia's Mother" and an individual rendition of "Love Of The Common People", as well as the castigating "Miserable Woman", all popular with reggae fans at home and abroad. Includes liner notes by David Katz.
A Couple of Essential Magazines to Consider:
MAGGOT BRAIN - Maggot Brain #1 (Maggot Brain Dec/Jan/Feb 2020; USA) "Maggot Brain is brought to you by Third Man Records, under the eye of the 'zine wizard Mike McGonigal. Maggot Brain, a full-color quarterly with heavy cover stock." Features pieces on Alice Coltrane, Swell Maps, Malls Across America, Mia Zapata, Dilla's Donuts, vibrant Detroit sign painting, Index, Big Joanie, how to resist ICE, Daniel Johnston, Les Filles Des Illeghidad, Swampfest, The KLF's greatest pranks, and more! Also features pieces by Luc Sante and Mayakovsky.
UGLY THINGS - #52 (Ugly Things $52; USA) "It's another exciting issue. Legendary rock photographer Chuck Krall (Creem, Rock Scene, Rolling Stone) opened his archive to us including rare and unseen photos from the 1970s (the Ramones, Bo Diddley, Arthur Lee, the Dead Boys, Flamin' Groovies, Link Wray and more), and also shares his remarkable story. We also have feature stories on Florida '60s garage gods We the People, Aussie proto-punk hard rockers Coloured Balls, mercurial blues guitar master Michael Bloomfield, New England '60s teen crazies Rasputin & the Mad Monks, obscure UK new wavers the Kameras, cult private press psych/hard rock band Seiche, and the early Pretty Things remembered by their first manager, Bryan Morrison. And look for our expansive, mind-bending interviews with Cleveland proto-punk legend Craig Bell (Mirrors, Rocket From The Tombs), eccentric pop genius Brute Force, and the late Don Grady (My Three Sons, Yellow Balloon). All this and more, including our eagerly pored over review sections covering the latest reissues and rock-related books."
Thick Magazine $10
FOUR FABULOUS RELEASES FROM VANCOUVER-BASED GUITARIST & OUD PLAYER GORDON GRDINA.
All have been listed here in the past year but not at the same time!
GORDON GRDINA - China Cloud (Self-Produced; Canada) Featuring Gordon Grdina on guitar, oud, bowed guitar and candelabra. I got to hand it to Vancouver plectrumist, Gordon Grdina, who is continually in motion leads several projects simultaneously, each one different. Last Saturday (6/16/18) I caught his NY Quartet at the Greenwich House and was knocked out. Last week I reviewed another quartet disc called ‘Ejdeha’ with a different NY-based unit, also great. At the end of the set last Saturday, Mr. Grdina left me with a limited edition self-produced solo CD. Grdina has around a dozen discs out but this is his first solo recording, as far as I can figure. “Cages of Our Own Design” has Mr. Grdina playing an acoustic guitar and it is warmly recorded. It sounds as if he is about the break into the melody of Mingus’ “Good-bye Pork Pie Hat” at any moment, his playing going from an exquisite sense of calm to a flurry of notes. “Compacted Dreams” is a solo for the oud, slow and haunting when it begins and building throughout with some odd background noise buzzing. “Wax Works” is for electric guitar and it is dark and probing with selective reverb used to add an eerie, ethereal vibe, the strings resonating like ancient ghosts at a gathering of spirits. Each piece of this disc creates a different mood or vibe, telling a story or tale. Grdina plays oud on “The Waiting” which sounds like raga going from contemplative and increasing in tempo and intensity as it unfolds. Grdina’s playing here is astonishing, showing him to be a force to be reckoned with on this difficult to play instrument, more often found in the Middle East or Northern Africa. This disc is a tour-de-force for one of the best pickers to emerge from the rich Vancouver creative music scene which to evolve in leaps and bounds. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
GORDON GRDINA NOMAD TRIO with MATT MITCHELL / JIM BLACK - Nomad Trio (Skirl Records 044; USA) Featuring Gordon Grdina on oud, guitar & compositions, Matt Mitchell on piano and Jim Black on drums. Over the past decade, Vancouver-based guitarist & oud player, Gordon Grdina, has had a dozen or so releases, on several labels (mostly Songlines), often with varying personnel from the Vancouver scene and a number of Downtowners: Oscar Noreiga, Hank Roberts and Tony Malaby. For this disc, Mr. Grdina, has chosen a couple of Downtown’s best: the ubiquitous Matt Mitchell on piano and ace drummer Jim Black (currently living in Berlin). This trio has a unique sound, although Mr. Grdina’s guitar is upfront, the piano and drums are tightly wound around him. The guitar and drum play those tight, jagged lines together while Mr. Mitchell plays an endless flow of crashing chords in between. The first piece is called, “Wildfire” and this seems most apt. Grdina’s guitar solos throughout, telling a long story which moves through hills and valleys, speeding up and slowing down. The title track has a memorable, hypnotic repeating line at the center in the first section. The piano takes over fir the guitar in the midsection playing freely around the pulse which is now submerged. While Matt Mitchell plays a bassline with his left hand along with Mr; Black drumming, the guitar & upper part of the piano play complexing interlocking phrases together. There is a section on “Ride Home” where Grdina’s guitar, Mitchell’s piano and Black’s drums lock into one another as the tempo increases to near boiling point recalling early John McLaughlin. These songs often build to intense, throttling conclusions. This is one incredible trio, can't wait til this is officially released so we can spread the great word. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
GORDON GRDINA QUARTET - Cooper's Park (Songlines 1630; Canada) “Juno award-winning Vancouver guitar/oud player Gordon Grdina "continues to passionately explore the depths of jazz improvisation, cross-cultural fusions and the fun that comes with cutting loose" (Stuart Derdeyn). Following on Inroads (2017), this second release by his wildly eclectic NY jazz-rock quartet combines intricate, through-composed counterpoint with the ebb and flow of dynamic yet focused improvisation. The band comprises Oscar Noriega (Tim Berne) on alto sax and bass clarinet), Russ Lossing (Paul Motian) on piano/Rhodes/clavinet, and Satoshi Takeishi (Ben Monder) on drums. Grdina takes inspiration from the complexity of Bartok, the open spaces and freeform lyricism of Paul Bley, the energy and logical construction of ideas of Soundgarden, and the delicacy of Webern. He also cites Tim Berne as a major influence (Noriega is a member of Berne's ECM band Snakeoil). Grdina's distinctive approach to cross-genre playing and composing draws together elements that you wouldn't expect to hear together. For example, piano and oud improvise a spacey, knotty duet on the 15-minute piece "Wayward." Grdina's unique, virtuosic style of oud playing, though based in a thorough understanding of Arabic classical and folk music, liberates the instrument to explore textures and melodic territory far removed from tradition. Likewise his guitar style draws on deep jazz roots, combining them with a full-on rock intensity and a fascination with challenging structures at the outer reaches of tonality.”
Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MATT SHIPP / MARK HELIAS / GORDON GRDINA - Skins and Bones (Not Two 987; Poland) Featuring: Matthew Shipp – piano, Gordon Grdina – guitar and Mark Helias – contrabass. This session was recorded in a studio in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where Mr. Grdina lives. Canadian guitarist & oud player, Gordon Grdina, is a restless musician who keeps challenging himself by playing with different musicians on each and every release. Over a couple of decade, Mr. Grdina has worked with a number of Vancouver’s best musicians as well as international greats like Mats Gustafsson, Paul Motian, Tony Malaby and Hank Roberts. Although Mr. Grdina has worked with Mr. Helias previously, this is his first time recording with Mr. Shipp. This is also the first time that Mark Helias and Matt Shipp have recorded together, although they are neighbors on the lower east side. The first thing I noticed here is how well this is recorded: superbly, perfectly balanced. Although this music was freely improvised, there is quite a bit more going on here. On the opening track, “Bob and Weave”, the guitar and piano play their own melodic lines together, constantly connected to an inner pattern while the bass holds done the bottom, playing both rhythm team parts together. I like the way, Mr. Grdina, changes the tone of his guitar on each piece, which gives the trio a different sound on each piece. From quiet and dream-like to more explosive sections as well. The trio often take their time, strip things down to exquisite, skeletal levels and then build back up to more rambunctious moments. Consistently extraordinary throughout! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD Sale $15
LP ONLY (MOSTLY) SECTION:
MILES DAVIS QUINTET with SAM RIVERS / HERBIE HANCOCK / RON CARTER / TONY WILLIAMS - Miles In Tokyo: Miles Davis Live In Concert (Get On Down 51279LP; Italy) RSD Black Friday 2019 release. "Miles Davis was on the verge of forming one of his most acclaimed ensembles in 1964. It was this year that he travelled to perform in Japan for the first time, bringing with him 3/4ths of the musicians that would form his famed 'second great quartet'; Herbie Hancock on piano, Ron Carter on double bass, and Tony Williams on drums. In addition the jazz legend brought along saxophonist Sam Rivers to replace the recently exited George Coleman, who was primarily a free jazz musician, but had a long and extensive background in bebop. Davis and Rivers never developed any major chemistry between each other during the trip, and frequently found their distinct styles (Davis' cool and subdued traditional bop style contrasting with Rivers' wild but controlled avant-garde wandering) frequently clashing (or perhaps duelling) in their performances. But for all Davis and Rivers might not have meshed together, the crowd at Tokyo's Kohseinenkin Hall enjoyed it immensely. Davis himself reserved a special kind of respect and admiration for his Japanese audience as well, temporarily dropping his habit of exiting the stage during his fellow musicians' solos. Rivers would ultimately be dismissed from the group at the end of their trip, leading to the arrival of Wayne Shorter, and the inception of the 'second great quartet.' The partnership of Miles Davis and Sam Rivers may have been short-lived, but it did produce the live album Miles In Tokyo nearly five years later. The record is a rare jewel in Miles Davis' discography, featuring high-energy live versions of songs by Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter, and Richard Carpenter, as well as a restlessly fast-paced take on the Davis staple 'So What'. This collection has previously only been available in Japan, but is now presented on vinyl for the first time in America by Get On Down, just in time for Black Friday Record Store Day. Miles In Tokyo is a must-have for completists of free jazz, bop, and avant-garde alike."
PHAROAH SANDERS With SONNY SHARROCK / LEON THOMAS / SONNY FORTUNE / LONNIE LISTON SMITH /SIRONE / BILLY HART / et al - Izipho Zam (My Gifts)(Strata East/Pure Pleasure 62301; USA) Pharoah Sander saxes and percussion, with Sonny Sharrock guitar, Sonny Fortune alto sax, Howard Johnson tuba, Lonnie Liston Smith piano, Cecil McBee and Sirone bass, Leon Thomas vocals, Chief Bey african drums, Billy Hart and Majeed Shabazz drums, Net Bettis and Tony Wylie percussion. "Two years after the death of his mentor and boss, John Coltrane, and just before signing his own contract with Impulse!, Pharoah Sanders finally got around to releasing an album as a leader apart from the Impulse! family. Enlisting a cast of characters no less than 13 in number, Sanders proved that his time with Coltrane and his Impulse! debut, Tauhid, was not a fluke. Though hated by many of the jazz musicians at the time -- and more jazz critics who felt Coltrane had lost his way musically the minute he put together the final quintet - Sanders followed his own muse to the edges of Eastern music and sometimes completely outside the borderlines of what could be called jazz. That said, Izipho Zam is a wonderful recording, full of the depth of vision and heartfelt soul that has informed every recording of Sanders since. Guests include Sonny Sharrock, Lonnie Liston Smith, Chief Bey, Cecil McBee, Sirone, Sonny Fortune, Billy Hart, Howard Johnson, and others. The set begins with a gorgeous soul tune in "Prince of Peace," with Leon Thomas doing his trademark yodel, croon, and wail as Smith, McBee, and Hart back him and Sanders fills the gaps. Next is "Balance," the first blowing tune on the set, with the African drums, the modal horns, and Sanders' microtonal investigations of sonic polarity contrasted with Johnson's tuba, leaving the rhythm section to join him as Sharrock and Smith trade drone lines and Sanders turns it into a Latin dance from outer space about halfway through to the end -- it's astonishing. Finally, on the 28-minute title track, the band members -- all of them -- begin a slow tonal inquiry, a textured traipse into the abyss of dissonance and harmonic integration, with Thomas as the bridge through which all sounds must travel on their way to the ensemble. From here, percussion, bells, whistles, Sharrock's heavily chorded guitar -- all provide rhythm upon interval upon tonal figure until the horns enter at about 12 minutes. They move slowly at first and gather force until they blast it right open at 20 minutes and the last eight are all free blowing and an endurance ride for the listener because, with four minutes left, Sanders leads the band in a gorgeous lyric ride that brings together all disparate elements in his world and ours, making this track -- and album -- an exhilarating, indispensable out jazz experience." - Thom Jurek, AMG
LP $40 [Deluxe Audiophile Remastering with Extraordinary Sounds!]
[AHMED] with PAT THOMAS / SEYMOR WRIGHT / ANTONIN GERBAL / JOEL GRIP - Super Majnoon [East Meets West](Otoroku 022; UK) [Ahmed] is the quartet of Pat Thomas on piano, Seymour Wright on alto sax, Joel Grip on bass and Antonin Gerbal on drums. Ahmed will make music of heavy rhythm, repetition, and syncopation set deep into an understanding of jazz and the obscure depths of its history. Across the two LPs which make up Super Majnoon [East Meets West] the group work and rework the music of the late musician Ahmed Abdul-Malik to create a stamping, swinging, relentlessly propulsive record where profundity and physicality root right back to ecstatic feeling. Abdul-Malik was a NYC bassist, oudist, composer, educator, and philosopher who fused aspects of American, Arabic, and East African thought, ethics, meanings, and beliefs in open and experimental ways to make vital, forward leaning jazz. [Ahmed] reimagine the notes of Malik as they push for the trajectory of free jazz to emerge from the clichés and cloy neo-classicisms of current "improvised music". Melodies respirate, swell, escalate, and combust in a driving jazz which yes is technical, yes is accomplished, but ultimately just foot-to-the-floor swings. Super Majnoon [East Meets West] is a title fused from the leader of the Master Musicians of Jajouka Bechir Attar's description of [Ahmed] after hearing them in Switzerland last year (Majnoon is the Arabic slang for "crazy"), and Abdul-Malik's 1959 album East Meets West. Arriving as a double-LP, the first comprises studio recordings of [Ahmed] at Hong Kong's Empty Gallery in 2018 and the second a scorched live recording at OTO from August 2018. The record features photos by Bert Glinn and Taku Unami and "in and out" liner notes by James G. Spady -- historian and journalist from Philadelphia. "When a musician plays, he should paint a picture," said Malik, "he should portray wind, movement, war, the universe -- and after he finishes, he should be able to repeat in words what he has just said in music. The Man I Love -- things have all been said before -- over and over again. The reason people don't come to concerts is that they're used to the sounds." To guard against this "stagnation", said Malik, jazz must branch out, experiment, fight the inbreeding that is now its wont. Musicians must stop looking inward, and instead, open their eyes to the imaginations of other cultures. Malik interviewed by Bob Gannon in Metronome 1958.
FRED LANE AND HIS DISHEVELED MONKEYBITERS - Icepick to the Moon (Feeding Tube Records 453; USA) "Amazingly, here is the glorious (long-delayed) follow-up to Fred Lane's 1988 Shimmy Disc LP, Car Radio Jerome. In the wake of that surreal masterpiece, Shimmy announced an LP called Icepick to the Moon, but it took 31 years to wrestle this slab of bacon to the mat. And you'll be glad we did. Icepick takes up where Jerome left off. As inhabited by visual artist, Tim Reed, 'Fred Lane' (I'll drop the quote marks after this) is a lounge crooner with smoothly classic vocal chops and a taste for lyrics shaped by Alfred Jarry's proto-Dada writings. Fred Lane is a creature of the 'Pataphysical South, inhabiting the same pocket universe as Bruce Hampton and Eugene Chadbourne. And we guarantee his music is as deeply fried as anything you've ever heard. Or eaten. The roots of Lane have been explored in Skizz Cyzyk's great documentary, Icepick to the Moon (to which this is not a soundtrack LP), and are traceable back as far as high school in the late '60s, where Lane and the late guitarist Davey Williams had a weird-o cover band. A couple years later, they both ended up in the Tuscaloosa Alabama student/hippie ghetto (near the University), where some older artists -- Craig Nutt (aka "Ron 'Pate") and a few odd others -- had formed an art collective, Raudelunas, to do all the whacked out stuff interesting people like to do . . . This was the beginning of a long Alabama Surrealist tradition that includes LaDonna Smith, Anne LeBaron, Wally Shoup, and many others. Anyway, at some point, Reed brought his Fred Lane persona to the party -- an accretion of totally insane lyrics and performance tropes, set to what almost sounds like swinging cocktail music until you start noticing the bizarre detailing and avant-garde highlighting. Coming at the same early '70s moment that lounge retro was functionally hip (Manhattan Transfer, Asleep at the Wheel, Capt. Matchbox, etc.) the results were a complete mindf*ck . . . The music, penned by Reed with Roger Hagerty (aka Dick Foote), played by a band with Williams (aka Cyd Cherise) on guitar, is unbelievably fine. Sadly, this was Williams' last recording session, but the instrumental inventions are a wonderful extension of Jerome (which was notably more sophisticated, sonically, than earlier recordings)..." - Bryon Coley, 2019
Bruce Lee Gallanter’s Recommended Gig List for December of 2019:
THE NEW STONE
Is Located at the New School’s Glass Box Theatre
55 West 13th street - just east of 6th ave
8:30 pm - Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl - Amirtha Kidambi (voice) María Grand (tenor saxophone, voice) Adam O'Farrill (trumpet) Mary Halvorson (guitar) Michael Formanek (bass) Tomas Fujiwara (drums)
8:30 pm - Mary Halvorson’s Code Girl - Amirtha Kidambi (voice) María Grand (tenor saxophone, voice) Adam O'Farrill (trumpet) Mary Halvorson (guitar) Michael Formanek (bass) Tomas Fujiwara (drums)
THE STONE RESIDENCIES - IKUE MORI - DEC 10-14
8:30 pm - IMPROVISATIONS - Ikue Mori (solo electronics) John Zorn (sax) Zeena Parkins (harp) Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) and special guests
8:30 pm - Reunion Trio - Ikue Mori (electronics) Jim Staley (trombone) and a VERY special guest guitarist
8:30pm - Trio - Ikue Mori (electronics) Brian Marsala (keyboards) Ches Smith
8:30 pm - Mahobin Trio with a special guest
Ikue Mori (electronics) Satoko Fujii (piano) Kappa Maki (trumpet)
8:30 pm - IMPROVISATIONS - Ikue Mori (electronics) Will Bernard (guitar) Brian Chase (drums) Yuka Honda (keyboards)
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:
Friday, December 6, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
JEN SHYU with Mat Maneri and Anna Webber
Jen Shyu: vocals, gayageum, piano, Taiwanese moon lute, biwa
Mat Maneri: viola
Anna Webber: flute, alto flute, bass flute, tenor saxophone
Saturday, December 7, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
JEN SHYU with Mat Maneri and Ches Smith
Jen Shyu: vocals, gayageum, piano, Taiwanese moon & Japanese biwa (short-necked fretted lutes)
Mat Maneri: viola
Ches Smith: drums, vibraphone, percussion
At 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, DECEMBER 7, 2019 - 8:30 PM 10:30 PM
MICHEL MAURER’S MERIDIAN: THE SHAPE OF NOON, ALBUM RELEASE CELEBRATION.
Alex Levine - guitar
Peyton Pleninger - tenor saxophone
Ben Rolston - double bass
Michel Maurer - drums, compositions
MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2019 - 8:00 PM 11:00 PM
SFYRIA TRIO LWAB JUMP START!
Sam Decker - saxophone
Charlie Kirchen - double bass
Matt Carroll - drum set
David Leon - saxophone, flute
Eli Wallace - prepared piano
Ishmael Ali - cello, electronics
Stephen Boegehold - drum set
Kenny Warren - trumpet
Aaron Quinn- guitar
Deric Dickens - drums
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
EVA NOVOA TRIO
Eva Novoa, piano
Drew Gress, bass
Devin Gray, drums
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2019 - 8:30 PM 10:00 PM
EMI MAKABE TRIO
Thomas Morgan (double bass)
Vitor Gonçalves (piano/Accordion)
Emi Makabe (voice/shamisen/compositions) / www.emimakabe.com
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2019 - 8:30 PM & 10:30 PM
MIKE McGINNIS ROADTRIP
Mike McGinnis - Clarinet
Jeff Hermanson - Trumpet
Caroline Davis - Saxophone
Barry Saunders - Saxophone
Brian Drye - Trombone
Dan Fabricatore - Bass
Jacob Sacks - Piano
Vinnie Sperrazza - Drums
Justin Mullens - French Horn
Peter Hess - Saxophone
Sets at 8:30 and 10:00
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2019 - 8:30 PM 10:30 PM
SATOKO FUJII KAPPA MAKI
Satoko Fujii - piano
Kappa Maki - trumpet
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2019 - 8:30 PM 9:30 PM
SELECTIONS FROM CORNELIUS CARDEW’S "TREATISE”
Chet Doxas - saxophone
Jacob Sacks - prepared piano
Micah Frank - live code
IBEAM BROOKLYN, 168 7TH STREET, BROOKLYN, NY, 11215
Friday December 6th, 8pm
TAMIO SHIRAISHI - solo alto saxophone and electronics
CORY O’BRIEN - solo electronics
Installation art by Jake Coen [vibrations, motors, mirrors, and jello]
At Mirror in the Woods, 575 Union St. Brooklyn, NY
Invocation is a series on the last Friday of every month curated by Drew Wesely and Eli Wallace featuring durational musical performances paired with installation art works created specifically for each iteration. Musicians and artists work in coordination to create an immersive environment in which all present become equal participants to the space in which they are enveloped. www.facebook.com/events/1379799998837013/
The Weekly Bushwick Improvised Music Series Continues:
Monday December 9th
7pm Nick Sanders - keyboard
Tcheser Holmes - drums
Aquiles Navarro - trumpet
8pm Stephen Gauci - tenor saxophone
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
9pm Devin Gray - drums
Will Greene - guitar
9:45pm Warren Galea - guitar
Jonathan Milberger - tenor saxophone
Kevin Murray - drums
10:45pm Yoni Kretzmer - tenor saxophone
Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz - bass
Randy Peterson - drums
11:30pm Vinnie Sperrazza - drums
Chet Doxas - saxophone
Downstairs @ Bushwick Public House
1288 Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn
(Across the street from M train Central Ave stop)
Thursday, December 12th at 8pm:
Pre-Hanukkah Smackdown with
At Drom (85 Avenue A between 5th St. and 6th St. in the heart of the East Village)
Klezmer-rockers Golem team up with 10-piece Jewish Afrobeat big band Zion80 and klezmer-bhangra fusion ensemble Sharabi for a pre-Hanukkah smackdown at Drom, one of New York City’s premier world music venues: Drom: 85 Avenue A between 5th St. and 6th St. in the heart of the East Village. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door
Three of the most innovative and exciting bands in the NYC Jewish music scene will be playing at Drom in the East Village on Dec 12. Golem has been klez-rocking for nearly 20 years and recently performed on Action Bronson's Vice TV show 'That's Delicious.' Zion80 mashes up Jewish music with Nigerian Afrobeat and jazz and has been called 'a truly spiritual experience' by the NY Times. Sharabi is the world's only Yiddish-Punjabi klezmer-bhangra band, led by Grammy winning trumpeter Frank London and Grammy-nominated percussionist Deep Singh.
ADAM RUDOLPH’S GO ORGANIC ORCHESTRA BROOKLYN RAGA MASSIVE Together!
RAGMALA: A Garland of Ragas - CD/LP release concert!
Thursday December 12 - Karuna Trio: Adam Rudolph, Hamid Drake, Alexis Marcelo
Free admission: www.lincolncenter.org/atrium/show/karuna-trio-featuring-hamid-drake-adam-rudolph-and-alexis-marcelo
Friday December 13 RAGMALA: A Garland of Ragas - CD/LP release concert with 36 performers - beautiful Elebash hall only seats 180 - this concert will most likely sell out
Advance tickets: www.eventbrite.com/e/live365-adam-rudolphs-go-organic-orchestra-and-brooklyn-raga-massive-tickets-66487547043
Eric's House of Improv & Abby London-Crawford
EDITH LETTNER'S COURIER QUARTET
Friday, December 13, 2019 at 8 PM
Edith Lettner - duduk, saxophone
Ras Moshe Burnett - saxophone, flute
Mara Rosenbloom - piano
and Warren Smith - drums
The Theater @ 244 Rehearsal Studios
244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor, NYC
(Between 8th Avenue & Broadway)
ERIC STERN’s House of Improv Presents:
Sunday, December 15, 2019 at 8:00:
SATOKO FUJII & KAPPA MAKI!
at 244 Rehearsal Studios (244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor)
Sunday, December 22nd:
ESTAMOS TRIO: THOLLEM McDONAS Radical Empathy Project!
Plus THOLLEM McDONAS / NELS CLINE / WILLIAM PARKER / GERALD CLEAVER!
At Jazz Habitat / El Barrio ArtSpace (see above blurb for more info)
Saturday, December 28: Lou Grassi, Marilyn Lerner, Ken Filiano at 8 pm
At 244 Rehearsal Studios, 244 West 54th Street, 10th Floor
Saturday Dec 21 ,2019 ~~~ music at 3:00 pm~~~~ FREE
Beyond Group improvisations for Winter Solstice
Cheryl Pyle -c flute/alto flute
Michael Eaton -soprano sax
Gene Coleman-bass flute /piccolo
Jamie Baum -alto flute
This will take place at the Tompkins Square Library
331 East 10th street