HAPPY CHANUKAH and MERRY CHRISTMAS to All who celebrate These Holidays
From your Friends here at Downtown Music Gallery! Thanks for your ongoing support!
by The Free Design from their reunion album ‘Cosmic Peekaboo’ (2001)
All the pretty young singers with their popular songs
Kind of short on meaning but the beat goes on
You really have to love them - but not for very long
They'd like to thank their managers
And fans, and friends and yawn...
We all fall asleep unless the chorus is the hook
Chorus is the hook, chorus is the hook
And the verse is terse and moody
But the drum machine can cook
Drum machine can cook, the drum machine can cook
He who wants to sell a million better have a mill' to spend -
Greenbacks, Euros, Swiss Francs or Yen
You could be a genius but you won't get far
If your face is better by the doorway in a jar
You really need an earring in your navel or your lip
Music, like photography, is art that you can
Clip, clip, cut in the digital domain
The essence of the thing remains the same
We all fall asleep unless the chorus is the hook
Chorus is the hook, chorus is the hook
And the verse is terse and moody
But the drum machine can cook
Drum machine can cook, the drum machine can cook
He who wants to sell a million better have a mill' to spend -
Greenbacks, Euros, Swiss Francs or Yen.
Money makes money in this made-for-T.V. world
Creation by committee stunts the growth of boys and girls
I miss the live musicians like Ringo Starr and Gadd:
Part of a dying race, but their samples can be had
We all fall asleep unless the chorus is the hook”
A few years we got a used copy of this album by the 60’s/70’s band The Free Design which was part of some collection. I wasn’t familiar with the band although they did have a cult following during their heyday. They recorded some five albums between 1967 and 1972 which were released by the Enoch Light label, a label that specialized in audiophile muzak of some sort. Or so I thought. The music that the band played was called “Sunshine Pop” (the Association), which also included “Baroque Pop” (like the Left Banke). The CD I found was actually their reunion effort from 2001. The more I listened to it, the more I dug it. There is something about the vocal harmonies and stripped down yet quaint arrangements that really touches me. When I played this album for my sister during our Thanksgiving holiday, she said it sounds like cheesy Christmas music. Oh well. But when I play this disc for the two young men, who are astute listeners, Frank and John, who work with me, we marvel at the subtle, well constructed inventiveness. We all love this disc and keep playing it over and over. And oh, those hooks! The words to the above song are also pretty interesting and well worth considering. “We all fall asleep unless the chorus is the hook” is the last line which is repeated several times. I urge you to give this song and/or album a listen. If you want to purchase a copy of the CD, we can get you a copy so let us know. - BLG/DMG
The Passing of Another Important Member of Our Downtown Community: ERIC J. STERN
Last Sunday, December 15th, my good friend Eric Stern presented another concert in his ongoing series, known as Eric’s House of Improv with Satoko Fujii and her husband uptown at 244 Rehearsal Studios. I couldn’t make it since I had a concert at DMG that night, but I heard it was another great gig that Eric had pulled off. He went home and collapsed in his kitchen and passed away at around midnight. Eric & I have been friends more more than two decades, first meeting at concerts at the Old Knitting Factory, Tonic and The Stone, as well as attending the Vision Festival every year. Eric was a lawyer and specialized in divorce and bankruptcies, he often told sad stories about the folks he represented. We bonded since we both loved a lot of the same music: Downtown, avant-jazz, progressive rock, punk, new wave, noise, the more obscure, the better. He was an expert in rock music from New Zealand during the 1970’s & ’80’s. Over the past decade, we attended festivals together like FIMAV in Victoriaville, Quebec and the Guelph Fest, both in Canada. Another close friend of our was Mike Panico, who worked at Sony as an archivist, co-founded the Relative Pitch label and worked at DMG on weekends when we were located on the Bowery. Mike and I became close friends, had breakfast together every weekend, attended many shows and volunteered at The Stone.
In 2012, when Hurricane Sandy blasted its way through our area, I lost power in my apartment in New Jersey for two full weeks. During the first week, I ran out of food, no hot water or heat, no public transportation, nowhere to plug in my cellphone, I was exhausted and completely stressed out and I wasn’t sure if our store had been flooded or not!?! That Friday, the trains were running again so I went back to the store, which didn’t flood like other places in Manhattan, we were very lucky! That night, I had dinner in NYC with Eric & his wife Christine, we went to a movie and I dreaded returning home to my apartment. Eric & Chris insisted that I stay with them until the power returned to my apt. So, I stay with them on their apt on 24th St., which also had some 4 or 5 cats, that they had rescued. I am not really a cat person, but I was relieved to be in a warm apt, which I stayed at for a week. Hence, Eric, Chris & Mike P, started having breakfast every weekend, this was/is our breakfast club and it still continues. We would try out different restaurants and I always looked forward to these meals since we would talk about what was important to us: creative music, politics and the often ridiculous world we still live in. Mike, Eric & I all started going the Victo (Quebec) and Vision Fests together. Eventually, Mike started to plan to take music vacations in London, Amsterdam & Berlin, with me, Eric and sometimes Chris. These adventures are my favorite memories of the past decade. The three of us even went to London to attend the Henry Cow Reunion, a Robert Wyatt Interview and John Stevens Celebration, as well as the Douk Festival in Amsterdam which featured members of the ICP Orchestra. Thanks to Mike Panico for planning these special trips and to Eric for being part of our crew!
Over the past five years, Eric has been having serious health problems, diabetic (losing toes), kidney (eventually being on dialysis), vision and heart (with several stents). Last year, Mike Panico passed away suddenly on October of 2018 and Eric was the one who told me, were are still shocked and puzzled at his passing. Eric ended his law practice a couple of years earlier, due to his health problems. Around the time that Mike passed, Eric decided to do something to help the musicians whose music inspired us. With the help of his wife Chris, myself and a few other friends, he started a series known as Eric’s House of Improv. That series has presented some dozen concerts over the past 15 months, each one well selected by Eric’s great taste. Eric reached out to dozens of creative musicians and offered them a comfortable place to play and guaranteed them a fair amount of money, no matter how many folks showed up. Only a few of these shows broke even. Over the past couple of years, Eric’s health has continued to get worse, having collapsed several times and ended up in the hospital on several occasions, sometimes being close to death but miraculously pulling through. The last few months he had to walk slower and couldn’t climb too many stairs, even missing one of his own concerts.
He couldn’t sleep well and seemed perpetually tired. Chris has stood by him throughout his long, difficult ordeal. A couple of months ago, I organized something known as the Independent Promoters Alliance which is basically just a half dozen friends who pool our efforts in order to promote the music we care about, the music that inspires us and helps us to stay sane in a difficult world. Eric’s concert last Sunday got a pick in the NY Times, this was the second time he got a pick there and this is a great thing. The Eric’s House of Improv Series will continue with his wife Christine at the helm, some half dozen concerts are planned before next June. Two of those concerts, presented by the Independent Promoters Alliance will take place this weekend, see below. These are dedicated to Eric Stern.
I attended Eric Stern’s funeral yesterday and gave a short eulogy. I learned quite a bit more about Eric’s great life and the way he has always reached out to help out so many others: family, friends, Aids victims, divorced folks, stray cats and creative musicians from around the world. This week, I have been listening to many blues records and crying to myself, wondering why someone who had such a positive effect on many lives died so young (at 54). Tonight, I raise a toast to Eric Stern, one of my best friends and someone whom I am proud to have known. We love you Eric, you will not be forgotten. Rest in peace. - Bruce Lee Gallanter
FRIENDS OF DMG! We and our other friends at The Independent Promoters Alliance are presenting two special concerts this weekend. It is the holiday season so come on down and help us celebrate: the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, a New Year, a New Decade and…
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.
The Independent Promoters Alliance Presents Two Concert This Weekend:
A Winter Solstice Celebration - Saturday, December 21st at 8pm:
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 Feat: THE MONZ, MC BruceLee & other special guests!?!
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
This Week’s Cosmic Treasures begin with this Great Limited Edition Box Set:
AARON NOVIK with JEREMIAH CYMERMAN / AVA MENDOZA / LIS MEZZACAPPA / KYLE BRUCKMANN / MATT NELSON / MICHAEL COLEMAN / ET AL - Fallow Curves (Avant LaGuardia; USA) Former Bay Are-based, clarinetist, composer and multi-bandleader, Aaron Novik, has dropped the bomb: an immensely impressive multi CD Set, which collects four separate bands/projects, and put them in a lovely limited edition (of 30!) hand drawn, handmade cover. Each project has different personnel, a different concept and covers a variety of diverse directions. We have had and listed all four previously, but they will soon be out of print individually. Before moving here a few years back, Mr. Novik had a half dozen discs, one on Tzadik and the others on small West Coast labels, again diverse and all well worth checking. The cover art by Mr. Novik’s wife is also a nice gesture, making this set an instant collector’s item. Here is a review of what is inside:
‘The Fallow Curves of the Planospheres’ - Mr. Novik composed and recorded five suites in the midst of moving from San Francisco to New York a few years back and this disc is the results. The music was written in different cities: Rotterdam, Berlin, San Francisco, Brooklyn, Queens, Italy and France. The opening and closing pieces are called, “Ballroom of Lost Dignity” and feature solo clarinet & field recordings made by Mr. Novik. The opening features church bells with Mr. Novik’s immensely haunting, layered clarinet. “O O ”features some luscious toned, warm tenor sax from Matt Nelson, floating over a fine vibes/bass/drums rhythm team. The tenor, flute & clarinet all swirl superbly on top, the arrangements keep the tenor, flute & clarinet all playing tight interlocking circles over and over, kaleidoscopic and most enchanting. “No Signal” features two clarinets: Jeremiah Cymerman & Mr. Novik and two guitars: Ava Mendoza (from Unnatural Ways) & Matt Hollenberg (Cleric & various Zorn sessions). The music is dark, quietly disorienting with a layers of guitar distortion and quietly manipulated clarinets, all buzzing together. “Garden” features violin (Dina Maccabee), alto sax (Kasey Knudsen) and clarinet (Novik) playing what sounds like a simple pattern yet still feels melancholy or even solemn. All of the pieces here shift directly into the next piece with no breaks, hence we have to adjust when the vibe changes. Somehow it all works as one continuous piece. Tzadik recording artist, Jeremiah Cymerman, is a master of clarinet manipulations and here, he & Novik get several chances to bend & twist their clarinets inside out, often subtly yet most effectively. This disc does a good job of showing us how Mr. Novik is able to create a variety of hypnotic, often dream-like moods and then change the scenery slowly was we glide through, taking an escalator through different floors each one with its temporal place. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
‘The Hotel of Thirteen Losses’ - Featuring Aaron Novik on clarinets, bass clarinet, field recordings & compositions, Kasey Knudsen on alto sax, Dina Maccabee on violin, Marie Abe on accordion, Lisa Mezzacappa on bass and Jamie Moore on drums. When Aaron Novik played his residency at The Stone a few months ago (July of 2019), I didn’t know how vast his vision was, since it was based on a handful of CD’s that I hadn’t heard in a long while. I reviewed 3 or 4 of his earlier discs since then and caught several nights of his residency. Since that residency, Mr. Novik has released a handful of CD’s, one last month and three this month. ‘The Hotel of Thirteen Losses’, is broken into two sections. Mr. Novik plays clarinets & field recordings on the first suite. The first half consists of some 7 parts of a suite, each named after a loss of some sort. The feeling of loss permeates each of these pieces. Mr. Novik’s lone clarinet sounds like a wandering ghost with different ambiance on each track. Novik’s klez-like clarinet sound drifts in while the eerie sounds of the field recordings provide a sense of place: church bells, distant voices, the wind, like lost memories. The second half this disc is called “Rotterdam” and sounds again like suite. The music is performed by a sextet, most (all?) of whom are Bay area-based musicians that played at Mr. Novik’s residency. The one player I know well previously is bassist Lisa Mezzacappa, who has played at DMG a number of times and whose 1/2 dozen discs feature a number of under-recognized gems. The music is mostly solemn, chamber-like music, also evoking a sense of loss or perhaps sadness. I dig the lush, somber, quaint harmonies here, stripped down yet still filled with feelings of longing. Today is Yom Kippur (10/9/9), a Jewish holiday known as the ‘Day of Atonement’, a day of fasting and thoughts of our sins. It is a bit cold and grey outside. The music here seems to capture that same sad vibe just right. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
‘Berlin / O0’ - Former Bay Area clarinetist & composer, Aaron Novik, present two different groups here, a quintet and a septet. The first half of this disc features the quintet with Mr. Novik on bass clarinet, Kyle Bruckmann on oboe & english horn, Crystal Pascucci on cello, Lisa Mezzacappa on bass and Jordan Glenn on drums. You should recognize a few of these names: Kyle Bruckmann, who worked with Anthony Braxton & has a a dozen discs as a leader, Lisa Mezzacappa, another indispensable leader/collaborator with discs of her own and Jordan Glenn who is a ember of the Fred Frith Trio. This quintet is the strangest of the several units I’ve heard today. Starting on “Garnelen”, both reeds intertwine one way while both strings also interact on a different level with Mr. Glenn adding punctuation on hand percussion. The music here sounds more like slightly disorienting chamber music, both fascinating and unsettling, stripped down yet focused. Occasional quirkily solos pop up when you least expect them like when Ms. Pascucci’s cello & one the reeds bend notes together midway through the first group of short connected pieces. The subtley and restraint here take some patience to get adjusted to, but the rewards are well worth your time. It sounds as if we are in a slow motion, dream-like state. The septet features Novik on clarinet, Matt Nelson on tenor sax (from Battle Trance), Evan Francis on flute, Mark Clifford on vibes, Michael Coleman (Ben Goldberg collaborator) on piano, Lisa Mezzacappa (multi-bandleader & composer) on bass and Tim Bulkley on drums. When the second section begins, we first hear an odd, understated electric piano solo from Mike Coleman and then some quirky three reed (clarinet, tenor sax & flute) chamber work. The band is split between three reeds and piano/vibes/bass/rums rhythm team, both playing intricate overlapping lines. Young master, Matt Nelson, who works with everyone from Weasel Walter to Amirtha Kidambi to Battle Trance (tenor sax qt), takes the first furious solo here while the rest of septet swirl tightly around him. The septet do a fine job of keeping several interconnected lines swirling tightly around one another. Acoustic bassist Lisa Mezzacappa is in fine form here, playing quick, tight, complex lines in one part before taking an inspired bowed bass solo later. Although everyone here gets a chance to stretch out, it is Mr. Novik’s clarinet that holds things together, keeping those complex circular lines focused. The final drums solo is also a highlight, long & story-like. Araon Novik just released 3 discs at the same time, each with 1 or 2 different ensembles, each one completely different from the others. No small feat, I can assure you. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
‘No Signal’ - Featuring Aaron Novik & Jeremy Cymerman on clarinets & electronics and Ava Mendoza & Matt Hollenberg on electric guitars. This unique 2 clarinets / 2 guitars quartet, might seem odd at the first glance but each of the five ensembles from the three new CD’s just released at the same time, is completely different in their sound and approach. Both Mr. Novik and Mr. Cymerman discs out on the Tzadik label and play clarinet in their own unique way. Ms. Mendoza leads a post-punk trio called Unnatural Ways, while Mr. Hollenberg plays lead guitar with Philly post-metal band Cleric, as well as Simulacrum , a trio with John Medeski & Kenny Grohowski. All the above mentioned bands also have discs out on the Tzadik label. This disc consists of three parts, titled A, B & C. “Part A” begins with a series of unsettling drones, notes being bent slightly, expanding in an uneasy haze. It sounds like just the clarinets at first but soon another eerie drone/line appears, an e-bow guitar, perhaps. Several layers of clarinet and sustained guitar drone all hover together in disorienting lines. The guitars eventually break free of the drone and start to play a series of hypnotic, strummed chords. Each line is carefully manipulated, as the guitars & clarinets pull apart and different solos and altered sounds are interwoven. The various layers are well shaped and seem to tell a tale and evoke a host of related spirits. The strumming and pace picky up nearly the last section, the integrated layers all churning together and taking us along with them. This makes for a grand conclusion as we all soar together higher and higher. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
4 CD Set $55 [Limited Edition of 30 / numbered / hand painted covers / wax sealed]
SUSAN ALCORN & PHILIP GREENLIEF - Prism Mirror Lens (VG Records 002; USA) Featuring Susan Alcorn on pedal steel guitar and Phillip Greenlief on tenor sax & B-flat clarinet. Former Texas-based pedal steel player, Susan Alcorn, has come a,long way from her early days doing country sessions. Starting off with her first solo effort from 2009, Ms. Alcorn has collaborated with a diverse cast: Eugene Chadbourne, Tatsuya Nakatani, Audrey Chen & Ellery Eskelin, in the past year there is her well-regarded solo offering of the music of Astor Piazzola and more recently a trio offering with Joe McPhee & Ken Vandermark and an impressive Mary Halvorson Octet disc. I’ve also caught Ms. Alcorn playing the occasional improv dates in NY, especially an incredible 2 long set night with Sylvie Courvoiser. Bay area reeds player, Phillip Greenlief, runs the Evander label and also has an impressive resume: Fred Frith, Nels Cline, Vinny Golia and leads the Lost Trio.
These two players are well-matched. They listen well and blend their sounds together in a sympathetic, hypnotic, careful way. Their sounds move in slow motion so that they can cautiously stretch their sounds around one another. The overall sound here is restrained, subtle and rather dream-like. The pedal steel often reminds me the ghost of the ancient west hovering in the desert like some sagebrush blowing slowly though our view. I’ve heard Mr. Greenlief play much further out than he does here, so it seems he does adapt his style according to who he is playing with. His duo disc with Fred Frith from a couple of years ago was yet another under-recognized gem. I love this disc since it makes me feel better, like an oasis of clam in the middle of a storm. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Three from the GauciMusic label:
For the past year, saxist Stephen Gauci, has been organizing an impressive series at the Bushwick Public House in Brooklyn on every Monday. There are usually 6 sets and the music runs from 7 to past midnight, with generally around 20 musicians involved. Mr. Gauci has created an important scene and an opportunity for dozens of musicians, both local & otherwise, known & not so well known. On most Mondays, the second band of the night is Gauci’s own which usually includes the musicians on this disc depending on who’s in town. Ever more industrious, Mr. Gauci started his own label earlier this year and has released 8 CD’s so far with 3 more just out this week, they are listed below:
STEPHEN GAUCI / SANDY EWEN / ADAM LANE / KEVIN SHEA - Studio Sessions Vol. 5 (GauciMusic 03731; USA) Featuring Stephen Gauci on tenor sax, Sandy Ewen on guitar, Adam Lane on bass and Kevin Shea on drums. This is a studio session from a quartet that generally plays every Monday in Mr. Gauci’s ongoing Bushwick series, depending on which members are in town at the time. All four members of this quartet are either bandleaders on their own or gifted collaborators. You should recognize all their names from various projects: Adam Lane (many discs on CIMP, Cadence & Clean Feed) and Kevin Shea (from MOPDTK & Talibam!). Former Texas-based guitarist, Sandy Ewen, moved here a few years back and keeps quite busy playing with many players: Weasel Walter, Henry Kaiser and Sam Weinberg.I would call her the secret weapon of this group since she plays guitar-on-lap and is not really a jazz guitar, yet she is a strong, distinctive improviser. This disc begins with some intense swirling: manipulated guitar fragments, quick, vibrant, burning acoustic bass and drums interaction. Soon the tenor also erupts at the center of the ongoing storm. The balance between all four members is just right with with much focused interaction. Each member gets a chance to stretch out. Although this music is basically free, there is a central connection going on here. Ms. Ewen solos midway through the second long track, bending, twisting and inserting he unique shrapnel while the quartet swirls around her in a frenzied yet consistently elastic way. There is an ongoing connection between the tenor sax and acoustic bass, their tones and stretched (bowed) notes are similar in tone. I felt uplifted by this music, it reminds me of life itself, a constant struggle to survive and find harmony in the chaos that surrounds us. This is what true freedom is about. So take off those chains and fly high above the BS below. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SANDY EWEN / STEPHEN GAUCI - Studio Sessions Vol. 6 (GauciMusic 03735; USA) Featuring Sandy Ewen on guitar and Stephen Gauci on tenor sax. This is a studio session recorded in June of this year (2019). Experimental guitarist, Sandy Ewen, moved here from Texas, a few years ago. Her distinctive playing (guitar-in-lap) has continued to evolve as she worked with assorted Downtowners & world travelers like Sam Weinberg, Sam Newsome, Michael Foster, Sean Ali & Thomas Helton. Brooklyn-based tenor saxist, Stephen Gauci, is most ambitious, running a weekly 5 or 6 Monday night marathon at the Bushwick Public House for more than a year and documenting this ever expanding scene for his own GauciMusic label. They have two series, a live on and also these studio sessions. Mr. Gauci’s own trio or quartet, generally plays the second set of the night on each Monday, giving these musicians a rare chance build some music bonds as the connect and growth together. Aside from a recent Stephen Gauci quartet disc on the same label, this disc gives these two young masters a chance to stretch out at length. What I find most interesting is this: Mr. Gauci has long worked on his warm, dark tone on tenor sax, being influences by many of the old tenor giants of yesteryear. On the other hand, Gauci has also put himself in more experimental or freer situations, making him dig deeper into his arsenal of sounds. He starts off the first long piece by blasting out some sour, bent notes, pushing things out further and further still while Ms. Ewen plays soft fractured, insect-like sounds underneath. These two seem to be coming from different worlds or traditions yet somehow there are able to connect and bent certain notes or sounds together. Eventually Gauci calms down to more restrained note bending. The one thing that I would’ve done differently is turn up Ewen’s guitar a bit more and perhaps the sax down a bit, hence we hear more of Ms. Ewen’s unique sound. Also, I think it is time for Ms. Ewen to record and release a solo effort since we need to capture her distinctive sound in all its glory before she evolves into something else. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
AVA MENDOZA / STEPHEN GAUCI / VIJAY ANDERSON - Studio Sessions Vol. 4 (GauciMusic 03733; USA) Featuring Ava Mendoza on guitar & electronics, Stephen Gauci on tenor sax and Vijay Anderson on drums. Over the past decade a number of gifted female guitarists have emerged from the Downtown Scene, each one stretching out the limits of what has been already been done on electric guitar and moving things into some newer areas: Mary Halvorson, Wendy Eisenberg, Sandy Ewen and Ava Mendoza. Ms. Mendoza moved here from the Bay Area and has collaborated with Fred Frith, Nels Cline, Sir Richard Bishop & Weasel Walter. Check out her great trio, Unnatural Ways (CD on Tzadik). Another former West Coaster is drummer Vijay Anderson, who has worked with Adam Lane and Lisa Mezzacappa. This trio date was organized by local tenor sax great, Steve Gauci, who runs that 5 or 6 band Monday night series at the Bushwick Public House and recently started his own GauciMusic label to document this scene.
This is a free from session and it takes off soaring high right from the gitgo. All three players spinning out tight, swirling, intense lines together. While Mr. Gauci spews a torrent of Trane-like circular sax lines, Ms. Mendoza and Mr. Anderson, join forces, vibrating furious jazz/rock waves. The piece build quickly and often reach a quick conclusion and the stop, only to soon erupt again. This becomes a sort of pattern, with a good deal to tight, squalling, interconnected guitar & sax lines spinning around one another in tight orbits. Things mellow down for a break from the fire music of the section sections. Mr. Gauci, who is often known for his strong, warm, more inside at times tone, seems to enjoy pushing himself through different approaches, from blasting to some more reflective moments. One section features drummer Vijay Iyer leading the way over a series of great rocking’ grooves which give Ms. Mendoza a different pulse to jam with, building up to another great groove/jam with Gauci adding his own more operate soaring lines above. Mr. Anderson’s solid drumming here often holds things together and provide the central rhythm to the ever growing storefront of the guitar and sax which swirl together so tightly. Although this music is mainly improvised, there is some magical ingredient which holds it together and provides an exciting roller coaster ride to take. This is an outstanding trio date which can’t be pegged to down to any one device or idea. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MARILYN LERNER / KEN FILIANO / LOU GRASSI - Intention (Not Two 995; Poland) Featuring Marilyn Lerner on piano, Ken Filiano on contrabass & efx and Lou Grassi on drums & percussion. Ever since our good friend & breakfast club buddy, Mike Panico, passed away in October of 2018, Eric Stern and his wife Chris, started music series known as Eric’s House of Improv. Over the past 15 months they’ve presented more than a dozen gigs, each one special in its own way. Eric passed away earlier this week (12/15/19), a short time after he presented Satoko Fujii & Kappa Maki, in his series uptown. He will be greatly missed.
This disc captures a concert recorded at Michiko Studios in November of 2018. It was one of Eric’s early gigs. Pianist, Marilyn Lerner, hails from Toronto and I’ve seen & heard on just a few occasions as she rarely comes to NYC. I have caught her at both the Victo & Guelph festivals, both of which take place in Canada. Ms. Lerner can heard on around a dozen discs. This is the third disc by this particular trio with two of Downtown’s finest, both Mr. Filiano and Mr. Grassi are well revered musicians who can he heard on dozens of discs each. I remember digging this set quite a bit, but listening to it now, it is even better than I recall. Right from the first splash, we know there is something special, magical going on here. Superbly recorded by our friend Robert O’Haire, the music unfolds with a mysterious, soaring resonance. On the longest piece, “Metamorphosis”, the trio organically expand and contact, the piano rippling from soft to more intense waves as it evolves, Mr. Grassi takes a superb drum solo in the midsection, building once again with powerful, soaring waves crashing one over another. This move into subtle, free improv with Ms. Lerner rubbing & carefully banging things inside the piano and the bass & drums making percussive, rustling sounds. This piece is aptly called “Plink Plunk”. Mr. Filiano takes an most inventive bass solo to kick off, “Eric’s House”, This entire disc is around 74 minutes lang and it is a complete treasure from the beginning to the end. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
New from Evil Clown:
LEAP OF FAITH with PEK / GLYNIS LOMON / JIM WARSHAUER / ERIC DAHLMAN / YURI ZBITNOV - Crumpled Dimensions (Evil Clown 9229; USA) Featuring PEK on clarinet, sopranino, alto, tenor & bass saxes, musette, flute, sheng & percussion, Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice, Jim Warshauer on alto & tenor sax, bass clarinet, whistles, etc., Eric Dahlman on trumpet, game calls, synth & piano and Yuri Zbitnov on drums & percussion. Leap of Faith is a Boston-area based collective led by multi-reeds wizard, Dave PEK. There are tow other key members here, cellist Glynis Lomon and Yuri Zbitnov. The other two musicians here, Jim Warshauer and Eric Dalhmen can be found on a handful of other Evil Clown releases. This disc was recorded live at the Outpost in Cambridge, MA in September of 2019. This disc starts off with a suspense-filled vibe, eerie floating sounds, hushed cello, simmering reeds, ghostly trumpet and soft cerebral percussion. Things build ever so slowly, carefully, one or two instruments at a time. There are a number of inspired moments here: a terrific trumpet solo erupts early on and much strong interplay between different instruments. One the main things I dig about anything then PEK and his many Leap of Faith projects is that each member gets a chance to stretch out and is always respectful of who else is playing at the time. Solos often emerge out different group interaction, as each member shifts between the different instruments of their choice, one or two at a time. One great section is a phenomenal drum solo from longtime LoF member, Yuri Zbitnov. Word is that Mr. Zbitnov, who is often the magic ingredient, the rudder of USS Leap of Faith, is soon to retire from the band. He will sorely missed. This is yet another great disc from the Leap of Faith series. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TURBULENCE with PEK / JIM WARSHAUER / BOB MOORES / ERIC DAHLMAN / DUANE REED - Tumult (Evil Clown 9231; USA) Turbulence features PEK on assorted reeds, double-reeds, sheng, piano, game calls, etc, Jim Warshauer alto sax, clarinet, flutes, Bob Moores on trumpets & percussion, Eric Dahlman on trumpet, recorder & Korg synth and Duane Reed on bari horn, game calls & percussion. Turbulence is one of several Leap of Faith offshoot projects, which has some 10 or so releases with varying personnel. There is one long (70 minute) piece on this disc called “Tumult for Winds and Percussion in Q Flat Minor”. Since the regular Leap of Faith drummer (Yuri Zbitnov) is not present here, the other members of the quintet play assorted percussion. Everything flows here organically, from quiet and eerie to more intense eruptions with each musician playing one instrument at a time before they switch to something else. Game calls, hushed double and single reeds, fluttering trumpet(s), a tapestry of expanding percussion, flutes, building ever so slowly and transforming us as they sail away. Different combinations of musicians & instruments work well with one another, trading ideas, exploring and experimenting with their sounds. The cautious nature of this music makes it easier to absorb since the musicians take their time with each instrument and decide where and when to add to the evolving collage. We just got in seven new titles from the Leap of Faith folks, so it will take some time to listen and absorb each titles. Stay tuned. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SUN RA AND HIS MYTH SCIENCE ARKESTRA - When Angels Speak of Love (Cosmic Myth Records 005; USA) "One of a number of sessions cut at the Choreographers' Workshop, this 1963 set establishes Sun Ra's Arkestra as a New York band, sonically coupled to developments in the decidedly urbane downtown arts underground. The stargazing clamor of the music reflects the intensity of a cultural crossroads where concrete and dust pervade any skyward view, from East 3rd Street to Mars and beyond. One of Sun Ra's rarest releases, it had negligible circulation through shops. While most of the Saturn output couldn't get any rarer or mysterious than it already was, When Angels Speak of Love was released in 1966, it was the most elusive and mysterious in the Sun Ra catalog. It's speculated that the record was issued in two micro runs, with estimates around 150 copies. Hard core collectors around the world had been searching for this gem to no avail until Evidence Records' released a CD of the music in 2000. This updated offering utilizes the actual master tapes and we get to hear the Arkestra in its cosmic mid-60's prime via mono and stereo fidelity. Features three additional stereo tracks, with liner notes by jazz historian Clifford Allen."
CD $14 (this disc will be in stock early next week)
ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE & THE MELTING PARAISO U.F.O. - Reverse Of Rebirth In Universe (Riot Season 073R; UK) "In 2016, 21 years after Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. were founded in Osaka, Japan, there was a major shift in the line-up and 'Next Generation' was added to the band's name. We now view the first 20 years of the bands career as chapter one in our story, and we are now turning the page to start chapter two. In 2018, it's time to re-record our classics with this new line-up, we just opened the door to the next stage!" --Kawabata Makoto, 2018
Twenty-four years into their existence, Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. have circled the globe at least a few dozen times, released over 100 albums in their various guises and played thousands of shows. In recent years, they've experienced seismic line-up changes which has given them yet another new lease of life... or a rebirth if you will. Original members Kawabata Makoto (guitar, speed guru) and Higashi Hiroshi (synthesizer, noodle god) are now joined by Jyonson Tsu (vocal, midnight whistler), Satoshima Nani (drums, another dimension), and Wolf (bass, space & time) and as anyone that has seen the new line-up live will testify, things have gone even more cosmic... Reverse Of Rebirth In Universe sees the band return to their old label Riot Season for the first time since 2012's IAO Chant From The Melting Paraiso Underground Freak Out (REPOSE 032CD/LP). Both label and band have gone on some wonderful journeys during that time apart but both felt the stars were finally correctly realigned to renew their partnership in all things weird. Long time AMT fans will immediately recognize some of the song titles listed on the album sleeve here. But the songs themselves have been reworked and transformed far away from their original versions. New boy Jyonson Tsu's quiet, almost whispered vocals bring a whole new aura to proceedings, despite the familiar riffs hidden in the depths below them. It's so laidback in places it's practically horizontal, with only occasional trademark piercing guitar squeals threatening to destroy the peace and calm. The whole of side two is taken up with the twenty minute epic "Black Summer Song"... and if this is an indicator to where the AMT mothership is heading going forwards we're all in for another fucked up and magical ride. Red vinyl; edition of 300.
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
THE STONE Will be closed from December 19th through the New Year!
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 13, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
JAY CAMPBELL with Conrad Tao
playing Morton Feldman's “Patterns in a Chromatic Field”
Saturday, December 14, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
JAY CAMPBELL Solo Cello
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
The Weekly Bushwick Improvised Music Series
is taking a break for the next few weeks
and continue in January:
Monday January 6th
7pm Matt Bent – drums Rowan Wolf – saxophone Will Evans – trumpet Kevin Eichenberger – bass
8pm Stephen Gauci – tenor saxophone Adam Lane – bass Kevin Shea – drums
9pm Noa Fort – vocals Aryeh Kobrinski – bass Sarah Bernstein – violin/electronics
9:45pm Jason Hwang – violin Anders Nilsson – guitar Michael T.A. Thompson – drums
10:45pm Colin Avery Hinton – drums Tony Malaby – saxophones Eivind Opsvik – bass Todd Neufeld – guitar
11:30pm special secret guest Kevin Shea – drums Matt Mottel – keys
Downstairs @ Bushwick Public House
1288 Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn
(Across the street from M train Central Ave stop)
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
ShapeShifter Plus Presents: Take Off Collective Residency
7pm & 8:15pm
Ole Mathisen (sax),
Matthew Garrison (bass)
Marko Djordjevic (drums)
Jan 12 at 8pm:
New Zealand Jazz comes to New York; New Zealand’s premier big band lead by jazz-big band, trombone legend RODGER FOX. For the band’s performance at the ShapeShifter Lab the band will perform a completely New Zealand composed program. The Rodger Fox big band has won 6 Tui awards for the best New Zealand jazz recording.
7 & 8pm: Sebastian Rios Julliard All Stars Double bill; The New Jazz Underground : Anthony Hervey, Trumpet. Zoe Obadia, Sax. Sebastian Rios, Bass. Kyle Benford, Drums.
7 & 8:15pm: TOC
ShapeShifter Plus Presents: Take Off Collective Residency
Ole Mathisen (sax),
Matthew Garrison (bass)
Marko Djordjevic (drums)
Shapeshifter is located at
18 Whitwell Place, Brooklyn, NY 11215
Take the R train stop to Union