by Randy Newman from ‘Sail Away’ (released May, 1972)
No one likes us, I don't know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
And all around, even our old friends put us down
Let's drop the big one, see what happens
We give them money, but are they grateful?
No, they're spiteful and they're hateful
They don't respect us, so let's surprise them
We'll drop the big one and pulverize them
Asia's crowded, Europe's too old
Africa is far too hot, and Canada's too cold
And South America stole our name
Let's drop the big one, there'll be no one left to blame us
We'll save Australia
Don't wanna hurt no kangaroos
We'll build an all-American amusement park there
They got surfing too!
Boom goes London, boom Paris
More room for you, and more room for me
And every city, the whole world 'round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it'll be
We'll set everybody free
You wear a Japanese kimono, babe
There'll be Italian shoes for me
They all hate us anyhow
So let's drop the big one now
Let's drop the big one now
I got to admit that I am a longtime Randy Newman fan. I have always found him to be both hilarious and succinct. Sometimes I wince at his extreme sarcasm, but it does make one think about who we are and what we do and how we all got to this place in time and where we reside. You shouldn’t be offended by anything in the lyrics above because they are meant to be ridiculous. Actually, when I read the above lyrics today, I could hear the Fake Prez singing them. Him and the puppet-master himself, Putin & His International Fascist Chorus on background vocals. Anyway, I am just being just as ridiculous so please send your hate-mail to someone who really deserves it. Hope this makes you laugh because ‘Laughter is Still Our Medicine!’ - MC BruceLee
From RANDY NEWMAN: Stay Away - new song
THANKS TO ALL OF YOU DMG NEWSLETTER GETTERS!
Thanks to all who checked out my lengthy Covid 19 Music Diary last Tuesday, especially those who responded with kind words of support. I know we are all in a difficult position of dealing with our time and being at home for the past month. I have been keeping my sanity by staying busy, eating better, sleeping more and listening to dance music to keep my body feeling limber. Since music listening & writing is my main source of inspiration, the more I explore and consider, the better I feel. I got an e-mail from an older friend/customer from Amsterdam named Jaap de Rijke, who read about one of my listed albums and wanted to hear it. Turns out that he went to his attic, looked through his old collection found it and heard it again after many years, He thanked my for reminding him about it. I know that many of you serious listeners & collectors have piles of unplayed albums or CD’s, things that you filed away only hearing them once or maybe not ever. Now is your time to explore what you already have.
Thanks again to any mail-order customers, we are still a week behind on many of our new releases, but today 5 boxes of new discs arrived at DMG so this should keep Frank & Charmaine pretty busy. Back on my musical journey after dinner tonight, I can hardly wait. - Peace & Love from Brother Bruce Lee Gallanter from DMG at home
New Things for this week start with Two Treasures:
TWO GREAT DISCS FROM DAVE DOUGLAS’ GREENLEAF Label:
DAVE DOUGLAS with JOEY BARON / DAVE ADEWUMI / MATT STEVENS / FABIAN ALMAZAN / CARMEN ROTHWELL - Dizzy Atmosphere - Dizzy Gillespie at Zero Gravity (Greenleaf 1076; USA) Featuring Dave Douglas on trumpet, composing & arranging, Dave Adewumi on trumpet, Matt Stevens on guitar, Fabian Almazan on piano, Carmen Rothwell on bass and Joey Baron on drums. When I first start buying jazz albums in 1972 & 1973, I acquired a bunch of Diz & Bird albums and became a bebop fanatic, most of them albums were recorded in the mide-to-late forties. I still get goosebumps when I listen to those records nearly 50 years later whenever Dizzy or Charlie Parker solo and trade lines. Luckily for me, I had a high school friend who played trumpet and turned me onto Dizzy records from the 50’s and 60’s, his favorite was ‘Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac’, which still makes me laugh whenever I hear it. Similar to Miles Davis who took Dizzy’s place in Charlie Parker bands in the late forties, Dizzy was a lifetime pioneer of the ever-evolving history of jazz. Starting with being one the architects of bebop, Diz also experimented with Latin Jazz (with Chana Pozo & Mario Bauza) and Third Stream, George Russell’s “Cubana Be, Cubana Bop” was first played by Dizzy’s Big Band in the 1950’s. Unserious jazz listeners often reduced Dizzy to his inflated jowls, high notes, beret, odd bebop language and sly/silly sense of humor, but Dizzy was quite a bit more than that. Let’s see & hear how Dave Douglas’ new sextet deals with Dizzy’s long legacy…
Trumpet master/multi-bandleader/diverse composer/teacher & label head, Dave Douglas, never ceases to rest as his label, Greenleaf, and live performances always show. Every time I have Mr. Douglas live, it is with yet another fine band. Just a couple of months ago, I caught Douglas’ co-led band with Joe Lovano at the Village Vanguard, they were fantastic! That band included the ever-amazing Joey Baron on drums, who worked with Mr. Douglas in John Zorn’s Masada Quartet, the greatest of the Downtown bands to emerge in the nineties. For this effort Douglas has again utilized the talents of Joey Baron, as well as Fabian Almazon, up & coming Cuban-born pianist who has been garnering praise for the past few years. The other three members of the sextet are new names for me, Dave Adewumi (trumpet), Matt Stevens (guitar) and Carmon Rothwell (bass). Mr. Douglas is a longtime educator and spent ten years serving as the artistic director at the Banff Creative Music Center in Canada, as well as leading workshops around the world. Hence, he always seems to find new and often young musicians to work with.
The first tune is called “Mondrian” and it was inspired by the Dutch abstract painter Piet Mondrian. I like the way both trumpets play that sly theme tightly together, which is soon followed by an exceptional forward-looking piano solo by Mr. Almazon, as well an inspired from bassist Rothwell. There is a wonderful standard written by Dizzy called “Con Alma”, an early Latin-jazz blend, which is known for its difficult changes. It seems to have inspired a song here called “Con Almazon”, which has a dreamy melody and some superb work from both trumpets, both trading lines and soloing. “Cadillac” is yet another sublime gem, both trumpets and guitar plays the soft theme around one another in a haunting dram-like haze, ever so elegant. The main melody is taken from the spiritual, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, which Dizzy also used for his own slightly altered version on the aforementioned album from the 1960’s. Douglas’ sextet does actually play a couple of Gillespie’s gems, “Manteca” and “Pickin’ the Cabbage”. I’ve heard some explosive versions of “Manteca” from Dizzy’s great big bands. I love the way this group swings and swaggers through this infectious, booty-shaking Latin-Jazz standard. Guitarist, Matt Stevens, takes a great solo here, which seems to capture the history of jazz/rock/funk & Latin streams. Both trumpets play some tag team lines together spinning with slow-burning grace. “Pickin’ the Cabbage” is an early Dizzy piece that isn’t very well known. Although it swings in an older way, it still have an infectious groove and includes a swell drum solo from the mighty, ever-smiling Joey Baron. “Pacific” is a ballad, soft, simmering and the longest piece on this disc. Both trumpets play gracefully around one another in a most exquisite way, while the guitar plays as sublime, lean yet poignant solo, while the rest of the band completely lays out. On “Subterfuge”, Mr. Douglas does what he does best and has several lines moving around one another in several orbits, the trumpets leading one, the guitar leading another while the piano trio subgroup holds down the central pulse. The last song, “We Pray”, is a most enchanting, solemn, lovely, dream-like way to bring us back down to the soft cushion of Mother Earth. It concludes with a sublime solo from Mr. Baron with just his hands rubbing and tapping the drums and then a gorgeous solo from Mr. Douglas that will linger in our minds long after the CD ends. Amen. - Bruce Lee Gallanter at DMG
ANNA WEBBER / ANGELA MORRIS BIG BAND with LISA PARROTT / ADAM O’FARRILL / KENNY WARREN / PATRICIA BRENNAN / DUSTIN CARLSON / MARC HANNAFORD / ADAM HOPKINS / JEFF DAVIS / et al - Both Are True (Greenleaf 1075; USA) Since moving here from British Columbia, I’ve had my eye & ear on saxist/composer Anna Webber. As a collaborator, I’ve heard her with Harris Eisenstadt, Matt Mitchell, John Hollenbeck and Dave Douglas. As a composer and bandleader, she has continued to make leaps and strides with each of her four fabulous previous releases. Ms. webber’s co-leader here is another saxist & composer named Angela Morris, an equally talented musician who has worked with Myra Melford & Jessica Pavone and leads several of her own bands. I caught this big band at the Jazz Gallery earlier this year and was immensely impressed by the compositions and playing. I only recognize the names of about half of the 19 members listed on this disc but no matter it is the music that counts.
Starting with the opener, “Climbing on Mirrors” (by Ms. Webber), I am most impressed with the way the saxes are knitted together, repeating that hypnotic line over and over like a morse code communicado. The alto sax solo by Charlotte Greve is superb, what a great tone she has! Although there are no strings in this orchestra, all of those horns sound like an orchestra of sweeping colors, only a great composer/arranger could pull this off so successfully. Towards the end of this piece is a drum solo by Jeff Davis (one of NYC’s finest!), which is at the center of storms of swirling horns and ends with an enchanting chorus of voices as it fades away. The title track, “Both are True” (by Ms. Morris), again uses a motif of several layers of horns moving intricately around one another. I like the way there are some many layers going on simultaneously, each layer providing richly harmonized lines. New vibes player in town, Patricia Brennan, take a great solo midway so you best keep your eye & ear on her, she is here to stay and blow some minds along the way. One of the more angular pieces here is called “Rebonds” (by Webber), which features some spikey guitar from Dustin Carlson. I know that the great, ever-challenging composer Xenakis also had a piece by the name title, not sure if there is any relation to the two but I was impressed nonetheless. ”Coral” (by Morris) features several waves of shifting drones, all those the horns? No electronics?!? Very clever. This piece is both free and focused at the same time with several waves emerging and submerging simultaneously. Trumpet solo by another young monster Adam O’Farrill is also spot on! I like the way, “And It Rolled Right Down” starts off slow and soft pulsating and progresses to get freer as it goes, from standing steadfast to slowing sinking in quicksand and losing (y)our balance. The final piece, “Reverses” (also by Ms. Webber”), again starts with some soft pulsating, repeating horn lines, which start up, build and then stop, soon to start up again and build even more. Each horn layer is carefully crafted so that the different interlocking patterns connect for a while and then drop out time and again. By midway, several intricate layers coalesce, coming together in a tight, complex explosion that sounds as if it will spin out of control but never does. Just wait into you get there, it will bring a smile since it sounds like the complexity of life itself. Without a doubt, one the best discs I’ve heard this year (2020)! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HALF A DOZEN GREAT DISCS FROM THE MIGHTY FMR LABEL:
PAUL DUNMALL / JON IRABAGON / JAMES OWSTON / TYMEK JOZWIAK - Awoto (FMR 553; UK) Featuring Paul Dunmall on alto & tenor saxes, Jon Irabagon on alto & Swannee saxes, James Owston on bass and Tymek Jozwiak on drums. This disc was recorded at a studio in Birmingham, UK in May of 2019. This is second session that UK sax colossus Paul Dunmall and NY sax giant, Jon Irabagon have done together, the first one was two years ago. The rhythm team members can also be heard on previous discs from Mr. Dunmall plus on old, obscure trio effort on Slam with Mike Fletcher, Olie Brice and Mr. Jozwiak. For this session, Mr. Dunmall plays alto sax (a rarity) as well as his main axe, the tenor, while Mr. Irabagon plays Swannee saxes, which are slide saxes, most of which were made in the late 1920’s (in the U.K.), making them almost a century old and most certainly a real rarity amongst sax players and collectors.
And if nothing else, Mr. Irabagon does collect the rarest of reed instruments, like the soprillo.
There are some four long pieces here, each between 14 & 24 minutes in length. Commencing with, “A World Other Than Ours”, the quartet take their time with what sounds like two alto saxes, starting slowly and building in tempo and intensity from there. If I am not mistaken I can hear Mr. Irabagon working his way through more inside (swinging) lines before he and Dunmall take off for the outer zones. I like when the quartet calm down and let the rhythm lead the direction and get into some more sly grooves. Mr. Dunmall sounds great on tenor as he and the drummer take off on “Plus Pluto Spinning”. When Mr. Irabagon comes in, he is playing that slide sax and bending them notes upwards and downwards to good effect. The last piece is the longest, “Beyond Distant Jazz” and the quartet bring it altogether here, starting slow then building to a cosmic, free/jazz explosion, complete with powerful orgasmic culminations! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PAUL DUNMALL / ANGELICA SANCHEZ / MARK SANDERS - A Songbirds Temple (FMR 572; UK) Featuring Paul Dunmall on tenor sax & alto flute, Angelica Sanchez on piano and Mark Sanders on drums. Ever since UK sax giant started coming to NYC around 2005, he has hooked with a number of Downtown’s best improvisers: Tony Malaby, Ray Anderson, Ellery Eskelin, Kevin Norton, Matt Welch, Henry Grimes, Gerry Hemingway… All of those from sets at The Old Stone, at DMG and the Vision Fest. Over the past decade, Mr. Dunmall has also been collaborating with many visiting musicians to the UK like: Matt Shipp, Hamid Drake, John O’Gallagher and Jon Irabagon.
This is the first time that Dunmall has recorded with Downtown pianist Angelica Sanchez, picking one of his most trustworthy and creative drummers, Mark Sanders. This is a studio session, recorded in Birmingham, UK in November of 2019. There is an obvious simpatico vibe going on here right from the start. All three players are listening and working superbly together. Mr. Dunmall is swirling those Trane-like spins in a somber, spiritual way while Ms. Sanchez finds her way providing a cosmic cushion which is well-matched by Mr. Sanders ever-flowing lines. Even when the trio slows down to a solemn, dreamish section, they remain in a simmering, ghost-like trance, sublime and peaceful. And then building up to another free/jazz frenzy. Ms. Sanchez is is particularly fine form, playing those long, intense two handed lines, the intensity of the trio increasing as this piece unfolds. Considering that this was the first time that this trio had played together, they sound like old friends uniting their powers in order to soar into the stratosphere. It you need some righteous free/jazz in order to help make it through these difficult days, that brothers & sisters, this is your special magic/medicine. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BOB GLUCK / ANDREA WOLPER / KINAN ASMEH / KEN FILIANO / TANI TABBAL - Early Morning Star (FMR 569; UK) Bob Gluck is many things: a pianist, composer, a rabbi, a professor at the University of Albany and an author of two highly acclaimed books. One book is on Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi Band (an incredible electric jazz/rock/funk/space band from the early seventies) and the other book is on Miles Davis’ legendary Lost Quintet from 1969. I haven’t read either books but Intend to do so as soon as I can acquire them. What I have heard is Mr. Gluck’s nine discs on the EMF and FMR labels, each one very different from the others. Beginning with his two on the EMF (Electronic Music Foundation) label, in which Mr. Gluck works with instruments and music from the Jewish and other Middle east traditions, as well as electronic music. After Mr. Gluck went on to record a couple of trios, a duo with Aruan Ortiz and a great quartet with Eddie Henderson (from the Mwandishi Band), Christopher Sullivan and Billy Hart, a tribute to and playing some of the music of Mwandishi. It seems that each of Mr. Gluck’s previous discs have a theme of some sort.
Bob Gluck’s new disc features himself on piano & compositions, Andrea Wolper on vocals, Kinan Azmeh oh clarinet, Ken Filiano on bass and Tani Tabbal on drums. I am most familiar with bassist Ken Filiano (Nine Winds bass giant) and drummer Tani Tabbal (Roscoe Mitchell & dozens of other sessions). I don’t know Ms. Wolper very well, having only heard her once live, but I know she is married to Ken Filiano. The one name this is mostly unknown to me is clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, who has worked with Cornelius Dufallo, Erdem Helvacioglu and Bruce Tovsky. As with Gluck’s early records, he uses texts from Jewish liturgical texts as well as dealing with social justice. The sound of the quintet is some special, combining many of Mr. Gluck’s varied interests and influences. There is a most enchanting blend on the opening song, “A Time of Singing”, an exquiste Bill Evans-like sound of Gluck’s piano, the warm, enticing sound of Ms. Wolper’s voice and ancient-to-modern sound of Mr. Azmeh’s clarinet. Being Jewish myself, I have a bit of Hebrew singing in synagogue while growing up. I am impressed with the way that Gluck draws from Jewish melodies/songs which Wolper sings tastefully and the rest of the quintet also play with subtle passion. Gluck’s writing on “Emerge-ency” is deep and probing, allowing the instrumental part of the quintet to soar with intensity. Since moving to New York a while back, Mr. Filiano has emerged as one of our finest bassists. His playing here is extraordinary, with daredevil leaps across all sorts of changes in direction and endless inventiveness. Another highlight here is the clarinet playing of Kinan Azmeh, who also navigates to the more restrained, skeletal sections and soars above when need be. What I find most interesting is that Gluck’s music is rarely if ever very outside, he loves tasty, touching melodies at the root of his pieces, still allowing the rest of the group to take things further out but never too much. The soul of these songs is often rooted in rich and ancient sounding melodies. For those of you who still have a problem with jazz vocals, Ms. Wolper is only on half of these pieces and I find her voice to be an integral part of what makes this disc work. Although it not that mush of a surprise, this disc is yet another gem from the deep FMR treasure chest of delights. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE RUNCIBLE QUINTET with NEIL METCALFE / ADRIAN NORTHOVER / DANIEL THOMPSON / JOHN EDWARDS / MARCELLO MAGLOICCHI - Three (FMR; UK) Featuring Neil Metcalfe on flute, Adrian Northover on alto & soprano saxes, Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar, John Edwards on contrabass and Marcello Magliocchi on drums. Recorded live at Iklectik in March of 2019. This is the third disc from the Runcible Quintet, a band that only the FMR label would offer to champion. None of the members of the quintet, aside from bassist John Edwards (Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, John Butcher & Decoy), are very well known, although I know each of them from a handful of previous collaborations, mostly found on labels like Leo, Emanem and FMR. Saxist Adrian Northover is also a part of a current trio (The Dinner Party), whose new CD, I will review tomorrow (5/29/20), acoustic guitarist, Daniel Thompson, was part of a little know trio whose disc I reviewed a few years back and who introduced themselves to me at Keith tippett solo or Paul Dunmall Trio set I attended at Cafe Oto in London. What I dig about this quintet is that they appear to be cross-generational ranging in ages from young men to respected elders. The current London scene often reminds me of the ongoing Downtown Scene also includes dozens of musicians from cross the creative spectrum. The sounds of this quintet is what some folks would call British insect music or careful Euro free-improv, mostly acoustic and consistently fascinating. The first piece is quite long at nearly 31 minutes and goes through different sections or combinations of players: the explosive flute, guitar and rhythm team in the first section which followed by some equally intense sax/guitar/bass/drums section afterwards. Different combinations continue to merge and submerge. It is hard to explain how and why it works sometimes, you just know when it does and then you can & will soar along with the ensemble at hand. You know you are entering a magic world when the inner ghosts are set free and work together in a way that transports you somewhere else. There is a short piece called “Two” in which you know you are being delivered to a new place and it feels better to be there than the current difficult situation. This quintet does indeed have the foods to deliver. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE DINNER PARTY with ADRIAN NORTHOVER / VLADIMIR MILLER / PIERPAOLO MARTINO - Wednesday Afternoon (FMR 571; UK) Featuring Vladimir Miller on piano, Pierpaolo Martino on double bass and Adrian Northover on alto sax. Thanks to the FMR & Leo labels, we have able to watch/hear the music journey a large number of British and European musicians who rarely get much recognition. UK saxist Adrian Northover was/is once a member of the Remote Viewers (6 discs of Leo), the London Improvisers Orchestra and more recently the Runcible Quintet. Russian pianist Vladimir Miller has worked with the Moscow Composers Orchestra, Steve Lacy, Ken Hyder and Vladimir Tarasov. I don’t know much about the bassist here, Pierpaolo Martino, although He appears to be from Italy, which is where this disc was recorded in August of 2019. This is the second disc by this trio, whose name is The Dinner Party. Six of the eight pieces here are group improvs with two written by Mr. Miller. Oddly enough, the improv pieces sound like they were partially written as the trio have found a mutual bond that connects the melodic and freer spirits. The title track is one of the written pieces and it has a lovely, soothing melody, the trio sound more like an enchanting chamber trio, not so distant from the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, the sax and piano solos both exquisite. What’s interesting about this is this: it often doesn’t sound very free, more like one player will play a melodic or thoughtful fragment, while the rest of the trio soon join in and accentuate what is happening, expanding upon the fragment into it turns into something larger and/or more connected. Mr. Miller often mutes strings in the piano giving it a more rhythmic sound which works well since there is no drummer here to hold things to an ongoing rhythm pulse. The other written piece, “Open Your Eyes”, is a playful, charming ditty that sounds like it should be a theme for some PBS series. For the final and longest piece, the trio push things out a bit further, listening closely and getting into strong connected blend which is both inside and outside at the same time. The Dinner Party show that FMR still has some surprises up their sleeves, when was the last time you heard a chamber/jazz trio playing in a similar style to PCO?!? - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
UDO SCHINDLER - Pneuma_Sax Erde (FMR 549; UK) Featuring Udo Schindler on solo soprano sax recorded live in Munich in April of 2018. When Anthony Braxton’s first album of solo alto sax was released in 1968, it was an unheardof endeavor for jazz saxists to do. Things have obviously changed over the 50 years with many more saxists picking up the challenge. Solo soprano sax records are not that common although Urs Leimgruber has done several. I’ve come to recognize the playing of Udo Schindler over the past few years through his collaborations with Jaap Blonk (vocals), Marco Von Orelli (trumpet) and Frank paul Schubert (soprano sax). From the liner notes we learn that Mr. Schindler has been playing soprano sax for 40 years and it is his first instrument. Mr. Schindler starts out playing simple lines without bending too many notes, a good place to start. Schindler keeps things at a moderate pace, taking his time and working with more lyrical lines for the first long section. Schindler slowly expands his palette, calmly playing those lines, never pushing things to any extremes, to high or too low or too bent. As things progress he focuses on certain phases, repeating and/or twisting certain notes carefully. I dig that Mr. Schindler keeps things from getting too far out as some soprano saxists tend to do. He still bends and twists certain notes in a cautious way, which make it easier to deal with and not wince very much. This is a fine solo sax record on a much less fractured level of exploration. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SABU TOYOZUMI / YONG YANDSEN / RICK COUNTRYMAN / SIMON TAN - Voices of the Spirit (Chap-Chap Records CPCD-016; Japan) Featuring Rick Countryman on alto sax, Yong Yandsen on tenor sax, Simon Tan on acoustic bass and Sabu Toyozumi on drums. This mighty fine disc was recorded at the Tago Jazz Cafe in the Philippines on March 1st, 2020, which was only 2 months ago. Over the few years, we have gotten in a few discs from an American-born, Philippines-based alto saxist named Rick Countryman. Mr. Countryman has been hooking up with the legendary Japanese free/jazz drummer, Sabu Toyozumi, an old master who has worked with many other giants: Kaoru Abe, Peter Brotzmann, Misha Mengelberg and Paul Rutherford. The other two members of this quartet I know very little about aside from bassist Simon Tan being on a couple of other discs with Mr. Countryman. The tenor player here, Yong Yandsen, also recorded with Paal Nilsson-Love for a trio CD which was released a few months ago (March of 2020).
The first thing I noticed about this disc is how well it is recorded. Considering that it is recorded live, it has perfect, well-balanced sound! The quartet is/are on fire right from the opening salvo, both saxists are in fine form, consistently burning with scorch/fire intensity/spirit. Considering that the production is so good, we can hear the way all four members work together. Even when both saxists are blasting at the same time, we hear the way the rhythm team must balance & connect the two free spirits as they soar. When things finally calm down midway, the saxists do a great job of more relaxed note-bending calesthenics. I can hear some of the John Zorn/Tamio extreme high-end bent-note weirdness in what Countryman does from time to time, although both saxists here are restless explorers who rarely stay in one tonal or textural place for very long. Midway through “Unity of Opposites” the quartet calm down to a more somber simmer which feels so good after taking us to the top of the mountain. Tenor saxist Yandsen does a bit of vocalizing through his sax at times which gives him a Brotzmann-like sound although it doesn’t last very long. During the past month (April of 2020), I have stuck at home and listening to quite a bit of vinyl that I’ve never heard. It is a diverse menu and I haven’t heard much completely free music in a while. This disc makes me realize how much I miss me weekly dose of cosmic/free/music. So good to heart this again! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE MACRO-QUARTETT with DAVE BALLOU / HERB ROBERTSON / DREW GRESS / TOM RAINEY - The Complete Night: Live at The Stone, NYC (Out of Your Head Records 006; USA) Featuring Dave Ballou & Herb Robertson on trumpets with effects, Drew Gress on acoustic bass and Tom Rainey on drums. This fabulous 2 CD set was recorded live at The Old Stone on June 30th of 2007. The first disc was originally released on the often hard-to-find Ruby Flower label and is long out of print. This was the first set, now both sets are available as this 2 CD set.
"Featuring Herb Robertson on trumpet, cornet, megaphones & mutes, Dave Ballou on trumpets, flugelhorn, hoses & mutes, Drew Gress on acoustic bass and Tom Rainey on drums & cymbals. I caught this quartet live at The Stone on another occasion and was knocked out by their strange and wonderful set. This disc features three suites, "Neuroplasticity" is first. There is a strong bond between all four musicians here and the music builds organically right from the first note, eventually hitting its stride when Drew established a cosmic groove/pulse in the second section. Local sonic specialist and engineer, Jon Rosenberg has done a great job once again of capturing this quartet perfectly. The sound is warm, well-balanced and it is difficult to tell that his is a live document. There is a splendid bass and drums duo section here that is also just right. Sometimes Herb will play his small handheld electric megaphone and come up with some of those indescribable, bizarre sounds and Mr. Ballou like to play his horns through odd mutes and hoses, so we often don't know know exactly what we are hearing, but you can be certain that we are on a consistently fascinating and often kaleidoscopic journey that is impossible to dismiss. Late at night, I often watch one episode of 'Star Trek', just to unwind and be taken away. I find that this disc also has that magic to take us with it on a short journey to the stars and back." - Bruce Lee Gallanter at DMG, 07/20/13
Second set: I reviewed a new Dave Douglas CD earlier today (‘Dizzy Atmosphere’) which also featured two trumpets, but this is something else entirely. Both trumpeters here, Mr. Robertson and Mr. Ballou, bring a wealth of experiences to this date. Right from the gitgo, both trumpets are spinning out quick layers of lines around one another while the rhythm also provides a busy cushion quick rhythmic activity. The set flows organically with some strong solo sections, strong unaccompanied bass in one section, Mr. Rainey rubbing something on his high hat stand cymbals at another point, also taking one of his rare magical drums (or cymbal) solos. Although both trumpets have much different styles and backgrounds, both are adventurous and work well at finding common ground and exploring together. Lines and ideas are shared and extended, flutters, smears, high-end note-bending eruptions are well-matched by the equally inventive and diverse rhythm team. I vaguely recall being at these sets and recall how much I anticipated before hand and how much I was knocked out by the results. Both sets are outstanding and well worth returning to again. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $14
GORDON GRDINA’S THE MARROW with HANK ROBERTS / JOSH ZUBOT / MARK HELIAS / et al - Safar-e-daroon (Songlines SGL 2410; Canada) ”With their second release, Vancouver oud player Gordon Grdina's middle eastern/avant jazz ensemble is now a quintet with three outstanding string players: illustrious New York improvisers Mark Helias (bass) and Hank Roberts (cello) are joined by Vancouver violinist Josh Zubot; Hamin Honari continues on Persian percussion. Grdina's compositions are mostly based on classical middle eastern traditions but are performed in a creative jazz context where improvised group interplay is as important as solos.
Grdina comments: “This recording carries on the development of the ensemble from where Ejdeha left off. The group is defining its own aesthetic, combining aspects of the Persian dastgah and Arabic Maqam systems with free improvisation and harmonic fluidity. The band is dedicated to creating modern music that pays homage to tradition while championing personal expression. The title Safar-e-daroon means 'inner journey.' The group as a whole and each of the individual musicians are searching inward to best express their own experience of life, love and sorrow. We hope this music will help the listener on their own Safar-e-daroon.
This project extends Grdina's previous fusions involving jazz improvisation and middle eastern music, from his 2006 debut Think Like the Waves to East Van Strings' The Breath of Statues and his 10-piece Arabic band Haram's Her Eyes Illuminate. It also draws to some extent on his more avant jazz and guitar-based New York projects No Difference (featuring Helias), and the recent quartet releases Inroads and Cooper's Park.
KEIJI HAINO / MERZBOW / BALAZS PANDI - Become the Discovered, Not the Discoverer (Rare Noise 111; EEC) Featuring Keiji Haino on guitar, bass, electronics & vocals, Masami Akita a/k/a Merzbow on electronics and guitar and Balazs Pandi on drums.
“Before pressing play a quick look at the artwork gives some subtle clues of what to expect. The cover depicts what appear to be solid blocks of concrete stacked on each other. The colour of the blocks ranges from grey at the top to black at the bottom. It suggests that Become the Discovered, Not the Discoverer will be a densely layered affair which offers few respites from the heavy vibes being given off by the players.
After pressing play it only takes six seconds to have our perceptions from the cover confirmed. Searing feedback and stark irregular drumming starts and then it starts to devolve into shifting swathes of brutal noise and confusion. And it’s glorious for it. As ‘Become the Discovered I’ progresses things start to take on a strangely more conventional vibe. There are actual riffs and the drumming is in regular time, something that Pándi doesn’t really do anymore. Yes, these moments are fleeting, but when it all connects it feels like this is Merzbow, Haino and Pándi’s take on those classic rock bands that built their songs around a single riff or refrain.
What’s more remarkable is that it kind of works. There are moments when Merzbow and Haino are playing these – dare I say – catchy riffs and Pándi is adding texture and colour with his drumming and, yes, it has an enjoyable primal, devolved, quality to it.
‘Become the Discovered, Not the Discoverer II’ offers more of the same: abrasive riffs and rippling percussion, but it isn’t until ‘I Want to Learn to feel Everything in Each Single Breath’ that things calm down a bit and we are given room to breathe. If ‘Become the Discovered…’ were exercises in excess, ‘I Want to Learn…’ feels like an exercise in restraint. Gone are the walls of feedback, replaced by tonal guitars and sparse, shimmering, drumming. We can hear every note that Merzbow and Haino play. There are tinges of free jazz. As the songs progress, the noisy element starts to emerge again, but they never reach the apocalyptical levels of the opening tracks, instead it is used to add texture and emotion to the tracks.
In Pándi, Merzbow and Haino have found a new collaborator to forward their noisy agenda, and maybe more importantly, they’ve found someone who can tone things down and fill in the gaps between the rock and the hard place that their music represents.” - Nick Roseblade, The Quietus.com
SCOTT FIELDS ENSEMBLE with FRANK GRATKOWSKI / INGRID LAUBROCK / MATTHIAS SCHUBERT / PASCAL NIGGENKEMPER / CHRISTIAN WEBER / et al - Seven Deserts (New World Records 80821; USA) Wrestling with the notion of balancing both formal construction and creative spontaneity has allowed Scott Fields (b. 1952) to compose a powerful body of work with ties to extramusical concerns from the realms of literature, philosophy, and science. Seven Deserts (2019), rather than operating from a fixed narrative structure with predetermined events, lays out the ground rules for a manifestation that is absolutely identical in every performance in its operations and sonic vocabulary, but with each realization completely unique in internal detail and musical interaction. Improvisation fleshes out the structure yet also embeds itself in the musical foundation to help determine the overall shape. The conductor is improvising to the same extent that the individual players are and may set forces in motion, allow them to work, and then, based on the results, initiate the next iteration.
In Seven Deserts, Fields has created a work that has a sense of loss and unnameable dread coexisting with an objectivist appreciation of aesthetic beauty and balance. He shifts the focus between foreground and background, hyperactivity versus the static, saturated sound and quietude.
By recording Seven Deserts in the performance hall in Cologne, both with and without an audience, Fields was able to have the best of both worlds. Listening through the set, one hears deserts in full bloom: vivacious, juicy, and ripe with the players’ interactions, virtuosic solo outings, and varied sonic environments. There are elegiac clouds that suddenly are scattered with Euro-jazz disruptions. Baroque-sounding flute harmonies splinter into jazzy riffs that never settle into unisons but spiral outward. A tense groove reminiscent of Miles Davis’s On the Corner period shatters into shards of noise and floating tones. We hear roiling saxophones and vibraphone kicked over the edge by electric guitar punctuations and roaring tenor sax expletives. The final movement reveals an impression of Debussy as orchestrated by Webern, which opens into fractured solo guitar vs the ensemble and then resolving into strange attractors—pools of repeated activities without repetition and a sudden end. Fields has chosen his players wisely, an orchestra of virtuosic soloists, including members of Ensemble Musikfabrik and other new music groups from Cologne, as well as freelancers drawn both from the region and other corners of the world.
SPIRITUAL JAZZ VOL. 11 - SteepleChase (Jazzman Records Jman 120; UK) Subtitled: Esoteric, modal and progressive jazz from the SteepleChase label, 1974-84. Founded in 1972, SteepleChase Records is one of the most significant and prolific European jazz record labels. With a catalog running to well over 200 titles, the Copenhagen-based imprint has recorded and released music from some of the greatest names in jazz, including Dexter Gordon, Andrew Hill, Jackie McLean, Horace Parlan, Chet Baker, and Stan Getz. Starting out by recording visiting Americans when they performed at the legendary Café Montmartre, founder Nils Winther was encouraged to start the label by none other than the great Jackie McLean, who was the first artist to release a record on the new imprint. From there, Steeplechase rapidly grew into one of the foremost labels to document European jazz with all its distinctive originality and style. With a particular emphasis on recording front rank American artists who had chosen the expatriate life in Europe, Steeplechase was first in line to document the sounds of the greats as they developed in exile. Features extensive liner notes including a history of the label as well as notes on each of the individual tracks. Photos from the recording sessions and cover art from each of the LPs from which Jazzman Records' selection has been taken is also included. With in-demand tracks from the likes of Billy Gault, Johnny Dyani, and Khan Jamal, and the unearthing of deep cuts from greats like Jackie McLean and Mary Lou Williams, Jazzman Records' Spiritual Jazz Vol. 11: Steeplechase pays tribute to one of Europe's most important jazz labels and furthers our exploration into the infinite realms of spiritual jazz. Also features Sam Jones, Rene McLean, Jim McNeely, Michael Carvin, and Ken McIntyre.”
The Steeplchase label still exists, releasing new CD’s every few months. The majority of their vast back catalogue is still in print and available on CD and many on LP as well. We do stock a handful of titles from John Dyanni, Paul Bley, Khan Jamal and Sun Ra. Almost everything is still available so please let us know if there are any titles that you would like to order. - BLG/DMG
SPIRIT FEST - Mirage Mirage (Morr Music 174; Germany) "With Mirage Mirage, avant-pop quintet Spirit Fest gifts their listeners with their richest, deepest record to date. It's no surprise when you consider the group's membership: Saya and Ueno, aka the duo Tenniscoats; Markus Acher, best known as singer of The Notwist; Mat Fowler, who plays with Jam Money and Bons; and Cico Beck, who's making music with Joasinho, Aloa Input, and The Notwist. If that feels like a heavyweight line-up, that's because it is -- yet the overarching mood of Spirit Fest is one of lightness and joy, of experiment and pure pop pleasure. Sessions for the album were split between the Tenniscoats' Tokyo home studio in November 2018, and a small apartment studio in Munich in June 2019. Saya, Ueno and Markus pitched in songs, but sometimes, as with 'Fish With Arms', beguiling moments grew from group improvisations, often kicked off by Cico and Mat. All members stretched their instrumental limbs, too . . . There's a sincere, child-like generosity to the music, and a playfulness with an everyday surrealism you can hear in some of the experimental interjections across the album. Its final sound is the rolling click-clacking of a bicycle wheel. The bike was key to one of Mat's explorations of the Tenniscoats' Tokyo neighborhood . . . Stumbling across art amongst the everyday; that's also core to Spirit Fest . . . There's more here than just avant-pop: see the pronounced folksy lilt to 'The Snow Falls On Everyone'; or 'Mohikone', a gorgeous instrumental, droplets of piano pattering amongst a plangent acoustic guitar. The seven-minute 'Zenbu Honto (Every Thing Is Everything)' is a spiraling psychedelic pop mantra, with field recordings and slithering electronics tracing a path under the scrub-growth of guitar, piano, and drums. There are guest appearances from Micha Acher (The Notwist, Tied & Tickled Trio) on trumpet, and Aiko Okamoto, who takes part in the choral rounds of the album's closing tune, 'Saigo Song'. Whichever way you approach it, though, the guiding force of Spirit Fest is friendship and collaboration, giving life to collective dreaming..." --Jon Dale CD version comes in digipak; includes eight-page booklet.
ATTENTION ALL CREATIVE MUSICIANS OUT THERE, Around the world.
If you have a link, for some music that you are working on and want to share it with the folks who read the DMG Newsletter, please send the link to DMG at DMG@Downtownmusicgallery.com. Many of us are going stir crazy staying at home so if you want to inspire us and help us get through these difficult times, please show us what you got. I listed some these last week but have also a few more.
MORE THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU ARE WAITING AROUND FOR THE WORLD TO END OR GET BETTER:
STILL STIR CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!
This is the section where I usually recommend upcoming concerts in the NYC area. As far as I can tell there are no upcoming shows anywhere around here, except perhaps on-line. All places I usually frequent are now closed for the foreseeable future. And everyone is worried about the near future, their health and their sanity for their friends and family. I am trying to come up with something inspirational to put out there but I am also very worried about myself, the store, all of the creative musicians that we need and support, as well as everyone else who has lost their jobs.
I have been at home at my old apartment in New Jersey, cleaning, reorganizing my collection, finding lots of doubles, listening to dozens of records, CD’s,cassettes and DVD’s. And working on my ongoing series of discographies and assorted music lists.
Over the past few weeks a number of musicians have been putting up some music on-line for anyone to check out. I know that many of us are going a bit stir crazy so it is time to do some soul searching and serious listening. Here is a list of some music links to check out:
The RUBIN MUSEUM Daily Offering:
Week 5 with musicians from Brooklyn Raga Massive
The Rubin Daily Offering: 10-minute videos
Watch the first episode of week 5 on IGTV
Check it out at: https://www.instagram.com/rubinmuseum/channel/?mc_cid=0176fb37a6&mc_eid=39c235b0f4
Over the past few weeks, uncertainty has become a prominent part of everyday life. Although the unknown can be unsettling, we can find inspiration in the ways performing artists tap into impermanence to fuel their creativity.
THIS COMES FROM CLARINETIST & COMPOSER JEREMIAH CYMERMAN:
This Friday, May 1st I will be releasing my first proper album since 2018’s “Decay of the Angel”. The new record is entitled Systema Munditotius, vol. 1 and was composed in tribute to the work of CG Jung. Written and premiered in 2017, it’s one hour of music for four clarinets and two percussionists, with lots of electronics and foley. I worked on this thing for over three years. Those three years were less about making a masterpiece and more about accessing my creative unconscious and create what I believe to be the best and probably most confusing record I’ve ever made. Below are the links on where to purchase. Available for physical purchase via the 5049 website, the first fifty copies sold will be hand numbered and inscribed with a personalized sigil. “Systema Munditotius, vol.1” will also be available digitally for whatever you would like to pay via Bandcamp this Friday.
Speaking of Bandcamp, this Friday they are waiving all of their fees, giving 100% of the money to the artists. I highly recommend getting the music this way.
For physical purchase: https://www.5049records.com/store/systema-munditotius-vol-1-2020-cd
For purchase on Bandcamp this Friday: https://jeremiahcymerman.bandcamp.com/album/systema-munditotius-vol-1
ROULETTE AT HOME:
Bang on a Can Marathon - This Sunday, May 3, 2020
https://roulette.org/baoc-marathon/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=8afabd44b6-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-8afabd44b6-302668229
This Sunday, we’re partnering with Bang on a Can for six hours of nonstop music! The Bang on a Can Marathon showcases brand new works commissioned especially for the day, played by some of the most amazing performers on the planet.
Cassie Wieland "Heart" performed by Adam Holmes
Robert Honstein “Orison” performed by Ashley Bathgate
Anna Clyne “Rapture” performed by Eileen Mack
Shelley Washington “Black Mary” performed by Ken Thomson
Martin Bresnick “Ishi’s Song” performed by Lisa Moore
Ken Thomson performed by Robert Black
David T. Little “Hellhound” performed by Maya Beiser
Miya Masaoka “Music for Ichi-ten-kin (one string koto)”
Vinko Globokar “Toucher” performed by Steven Schick
Philip Glass “Knee Play 2” from Einstein on the Beach performed by Tim Fain
Molly Joyce performed by David Cossin
Steve Reich “Vermont Counterpoint” performed by Claire Chase
Dai Wei “Song for Shades of Crimson” performed by Todd Reynolds
John Adams “China Gates” performed by Vicky Chow
JAIMIE BRANCH’S FLY OR DIE: vimeo.com/407212407/822e55b8ee?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=4343421e80EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-4343421e80-302668229
JOE McPHEE - March 21st, 1999: roulette.org/event/joe-mcphee-2/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=4343421e80EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-4343421e80-302668229
ZEENA PARKINS / April 20th, 1987: roulette.org/event/zeena-parkins-3/?utm_source=Roulette Maste List&utm_campaign=4343421e80EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-4343421e80-302668229
We at NATIONAL SAWDUST
are thrilled to announce the launch of the Live@NationalSawdust Digital Discovery Festival, a weekly program of free live performances, interviews, and artist development.
Check it out at: https://live.nationalsawdust.org/?mc_cid=92234165f2&mc_eid=12e3f9406e
GREAT ARTICLE ON MARSHALL ALLEN, PHILLY’S FOREMOST HOMETOWN HERO:
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 3pm EST on Facebook. Different songs on each episode. This afternoon he is doing a tribute to the great Hal Wilner at 3pm.
Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836
From BOB DYLAN - New Song “Murder Most Foul” nearly 17 minutes long! Outstanding!
THIS FROM VIV CORRINGHAM, Experimental UK Vocalist who is currently living in NYC:
I have a couple of announcements- a new solo download release called “This random rhythm of notes and sounds” on Zeromoon:
and a recent online gig for Iklectik, London- 3 solos, me, Phil Durrant and Yifeat Ziv:
From Tuba Master JESSE DULMAN - This is a 24 minute documentary
Much of this takes place at Downtown Music Gallery and it really made me feel good!
From INGRID LAUBROCK:
From HENRY KAISER:
Outdoor Festival in Toronto, June 1971
Tisziji Muñoz featuring Lenny Breau on guitar
Lenny’s solo opens the piece, Tisziji’s solo closes the piece.
Bernie Senensky, piano, Michael Malone, trumpet
Michel Donato, bass & Clayton Johnson, drums
Check it out here: https://www.tisziji.com/treasure
nice article with many good points about music docs
From JOSH SINTON, Wonderful Baritone Saxist & Bass Clarinetist:
“Stone Cold Classics of 21st Century Saxophone Repertoire.”
From BOB DOWNES, amazing UK flutist, currently living in Germany:
JOHN RUSSELL & ROSS LAMBERT: A Duet (for the Hundred Years Gallery)
To support the Hundred Years Gallery (in London) during the covid-19 crisis we are releasing this guitar duet recording from Ross Lambert and John Russell.
The MICHAEL MUSILLAMI TRIO 2 just did a quick European tour.
Here is the personnel:
Michael Musillami guitar
Jason Robinson saxophone
Thomas Heberer trumpet
Joe Fonda bass
George Schuller drums
Here are 3 live clips:
From Clarinetist Extraordinaire BEN GOLDBERG:
Tomorrow Never Knows. Something tells me art will be fine, even though humans are in trouble at the moment. But right now art is precluded from its important work of gathering us together. So musicians are in a weird situation. Concerts, tours, festivals, and in-person teaching disappeared quickly. In the initial shock my thought was, I don't know what to do but I can record music at home. So on March 19 I began recording a new song every day. I made an album on Bandcamp where you can listen to the songs for free. It's called PLAGUE DIARY. The philosophy here is "use what you've got" (is there ever another option?) -- for me that means clarinets, a synthesizer I can't figure out, and rudimentary recording ability. Because it's a diary I am trying to use the recording process as a sketchbook, and an opportunity to mess around. ("Don't forget to mess around." -- Steve Lacy, as quoted by Kirk Knuffke.)
PLAGUE DIARY is now sixteen songs and I hope it has something that can be of use to you. A link to the album is at the bottom of this email, under the mysterious photo of my parents. Here’s the link: https://ben-goldberg--bag-production-records.bandcamp.com/album/plague-diary
THIS FROM THE GREAT GERMAN SAXIST & COMPOSER GEBHARD ULLMANN:
At this point there are obviously no upcoming concerts to announce.
However these things are new:
NEW WEBSITE - my completely new website is up now. (thanks to Riccarda Kato and Ralf Dick)
Take a look at the media section with a lot of new sound and video links
BANDCAMP SITE - through my bandcamp site a lot of CDs (including some from the 80s) are available digitally for the first time.
I’ll keep building building it up so come back from time to time.
Included is also some exclusive music like a Solo recording from last years Berlin Solo Impro Festival, some film music I did in the 90s and a festival recording with Paul Bley and Andreas Willers from 1991.
NEW CD - Conference Call will release its 3rd studio recording entitled ‚Prism‘ on the Polish Label NotTwo Records by the end of may. This project has been working for 20 years and released 10 CDs of which more than one received 4 or 4 1/2 star reviews in Downbeat magazine. Michael Stevens on piano, Joe Fonda on bass and Dieter Ulrich on the drums.
NEW VIDEOS - in these times without the real deal, live concerts, I would however like to include some links to recent new videos of projects:
BassX3 (Gebhard Ullmann bass clarinet, Chris Dahlgren and Christian Weber - double basses and objects):
1. www.youtube.com/watch?v=bTc_MCdz_bc (Transatlantic Drone)
2. www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-O2yU7kC_M (Ornettes’s Closet and Related Objects)
Das Kondensat (Gebhard Ullmann winds and electronics, Oliver Potratz basses and electronics, Eric Schaefer drums and electronics):
1. www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpARHg1CeOo (Dubbing with Guy)
2. www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4X2pd5lutk (Human Body Upgrade)
THIS FROM ROLF-ERIK NYSTRøM - firstname.lastname@example.org
I would like to share some information about A few concerts that I will play tomorrow on the internet. I cannot say how much I am looking forward to play live for people again.
So. A busy day tomorrow Friday May 1st:
World premiere on a dance performance, JSK Corona Sessions #2, with me and dancerJon Filip Fahlstrøm curated by celebrated choreographer Jo Strømgren at 7.30 pm.
A little teaser:
See it here:
At 8 pm until 10 pm the trio Poing with me, Frode Haltli - accordeon and Håkon Thelin - double bass, together with singer Maja SK Ratkje will live stream our annual crazy concert from Victoria in Oslo to mark the International Labour Day. Music by Kurt Weill, Hans Eisler, and many others in our very own way.
See it here: https://jazzinorge.no/arrangement/stream-1-mai-med-poing-og-maja-s-k-ratkje-nasjonal-jazzkringkasting/
But first, ca 1230 pm: Poing MajaSK Ratkje (12.18-1pm)
As part of Labour Day celebrations, we will be playing our versions of a couple of traditional Norwegian working class songs outdoors with Poing and Maja SK Ratkje in between speeches by previous prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland and opposition leader Jonas Gahr Støre.