“You Set the Scene” by Love
from ‘Forever Changes’ released November 1967
Where are you walking, I've seen you walking
Have you been there before?
Walk down your doorsteps, you'll take some more steps
What did you take them for?
There's a private in my boat and he wears
Pins instead of medals on his coat
There's a chicken in my nest and she won't
Lay until I've given her my best
At her request she asks for nothing
You get nothing in return
If you want she brings you water
If you don't then you will burn
You go through changes, it may seem strange
Is this what you're put here for?
You think you're happy and you are happy
That's what you're happy for
There's a man who can't decide if he should
Fight for what his father thinks is right
There are people wearing frowns who'll screw you up
But they would rather screw you down
At my request I ask for nothing
You get nothing in return
If you're nice she'll bring me water
If you're not then I will burn
This is the time and life that I am living
And I'll face each day with a smile
For the time that I've been given's such a little while
And the things that I must do consist of more than style
There are places that I am going
This is the only thing that I am sure of
And that's all that lives is gonna die
And there'll always be some people here to wonder why
And for every happy hello, there will be good-bye
There'll be time for you to put yourself on
Everything I've seen needs rearranging
And for anyone who thinks it's strange
Then you should be the first to want to make this change
And for everyone who thinks that life is just a game
Do you like the part you're playing
I see your picture
It's in the same old frame
We meet again
You look so lovely
You with the same old smile
Stay for a while
I need you so, oh, oh, oh, oh
And if you take it easy
I'm still teethin'
I wanna love you, but
Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh…
Love! Even just the word itself evokes so many different feelings or vibrations or the reason we all stay alive and continue to endure the bad news. Love were a quintessential LA band, whose first self-titled album was released in 1966. Their leader and main songwriter was Arthur Lee, but they also had another strong singer/songwriter named Bryan McLean. One of the first albums I ever bought, early in the Summer of 1967 (a/k/a the Summer of Love) was that first album. To me, it still sounds marvelous, blending rock, psych, jangle, blues, garage influences. Check out their anti-drug song, “Signed, D.C.” and their minor hit, Burt Bacharach’s “My Little Red Book”.
The band rarely toured but did evolve quite a bit during their six year reign. Love were the first rock band signed to Elektra, who were mainly a folk type of label previously. Elektra released two seminal Love records in 1967, ‘Da Capo’, earlier in the year and ‘Forever Changes’ in November. The band added harpsichordist and two saxists/flute players for ‘Da Capo’, which sounded nothing like their first album. Check out the punk/psych rave-up single, “7 & 7 Is”! Although the band was plagued by internal problems (drugs, egos & mental health issues), their finest album was released near the end of the year. ‘Forever Changes’ is often considered to a masterpiece, one the greatest albums of the 1960’s and was called the American ’Sgt. Peppers’. The band soon split up after the release of that album and never got a chance to any of those songs live. Arthur Lee put a new version of Love together, who went on to make three more albums, all of which are pretty great. This is a more hard rocking version of the band and the finally did some touring, wowing audiences in England and the U.S.
After a final disappointing album called ‘Reel to Reel’, the band fizzled out and Arthur recorded a fairly good solo album called, ‘Vindicator’, and then seemed to disappear. Nearly two decades later, Mr. Lee showed up at the Knitting Factory for a Love tribute show and sat in with one of the bands. He stayed in NY for a bit and organized a new version of Love with members from the hardcore band Das Damen, Alan Licht and other Love fans. I caught a few of those shows, but they were all pretty inconsistent. Mr. Lee returned to L.A. and found another band called Baby Lemonade, who became the next version and they were great! I caught them twice and they were amazing, capturing that great Love sound live. Eventually, some wise folks in the UK helped Arthur Lee put together a version lo Love to play all the ‘Forever Changes’ live (for the first time!), complete with a string section. I caught that gig at Town Hall, and it was one of the memorable concerts of my life! Sadly, a few years later, Arthur Lee ended up in jail for a long while (5 & 1/2 years out of his 9 year sentence). He was released from prison in December of 2001 and died of leukemia in 2006.
Check out the lyrics to the above song as well as any of the other songs on ‘Forever Changes’, each song is a wonder, musically, lyrically and arrangement-wise. For me and others, 1967 was greatest year of seminal albums during the sixties. Check out the long list of albums that came out that year. ‘Forever Changes’ still sound incredible today, more than 50 years later, it is still on the top of the heap! - BLG/DMG
The Downtown Music Gallery 29th Anniversary Celebrations will begin in 2020 & Will Continue throughout the year! May 1st is our Anniversary! Every In-store throughout the Year Helps Celebrate the Spirit of Creative Music Performed Live.
Sunday, January 19th:
6pm: RAGNHILD MAY - Solo!
7pm: CECILIA LOPEZ / JOE MOFFETT - Synth and Trumpet!
8pm: MICHAEL EATON / SETH DAVIS / DORIAN WALLACE CHERYL PYLE!
Sunday, January 26th:
6pm: JEREMIAH CYMERMAN - Solo Clarinet!
7pm: SAM NEWSOME - Solo Soprano Sax!
8pm: NICK DUNSTON - Solo ContraBass!
Sunday, February 2nd:
6pm: JUDI SILVANO and BRUCE ARNOLD - Voice and Electric Guitar!
7pm: T.J.BORDEN / JAMES McKAIN / J GUY LAUGHLIN - Cello / Tenor Sax / Drums!
Sunday, February 9th:
6pm: GUILLERMO GREGORIO - Clarinet / IVAN BARENBOIM - Contralto Clarinet /
NICK JOZWIAK - Cello!
7pm: JESSE DULMAN QUARTET with RAS MOSHE / DAVE SEWELSON / LEONID GALAGANOV!
Sunday, February 16th:
6pm: NICK FRASER / TONY MALABY / BRANDON LOPEZ - Drums / Tenor Sax / ContraBass!
7pm: CHERYL PYLE / ROBERT DICK - Flute Duo!
8pm: ERIN ROGERS - Solo Sax - New CD on Relative Pitch Records!
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
DMG RECOMMENDED GIG OF THE WEEK:
This Sunday, January 19 - from 2 – 8 PM 2020
Steve Dalachinsky Memorial Tribute -
@ Artists Space (11 Cortlandt Alley, NYC)
Participants will include: Matt Shipp, John Zorn, Ned Rothenberg, Elliott Levin, Loren Connors, Danny Zamir, Anne Waldman, Bob Holman, Thurston Moore, Suzanne Langille, Nels Cline, William Parker, William Hooker and many, many more!
The Full Schedule is further down below
STEVE DALACHINSKY was the Downtown Poet Laureate! For nearly 40 years he attended hundreds of concerts, poetry readings, art & music festivals and wrote the poetry that documented the ongoing Creative Music Scene. He passed away suddenly a few months back and is greatly missed by all who knew him. This event looks to be a joyous and intense occasion to celebrate his life and art. I urge you to check it out. - BLG
This Week’s Dynamic Discs begin with this Treasure:
THE NIRO Featuring GARY LUCAS / DAVIDE COMBUSTI / FRANCESCO ARPINO / et al - The Complete Jeff Buckley and Gary Lucas Songbook (Esodisc 1902; Italy) The Niro features Gary Lucas on lead guitars, Davide Combusti on vocals, Francesco Arpino on keyboards, Phil Spalding on bass and Puccio Panettieri on drums. When Jeff Buckley came to NYC in early 1990’s, he was a relative unknown. He soon played at a historic memorial/tribute concert to his long-estranged father, Tim Buckley and wowed the audience due to amazing singing. Former Capt. Beefheart guitar great, Gary Lucas, began collaborating with Jeff Buckley, writing a dozen songs over a ten month period. Each song turned out to be something special. Young Mr. Buckley soon became the lead singer & rhythm guitarist in Mr. Lucas’s band Gods and Monsters, who got signed to Columbia Records. I caught that version of Gods and Monsters play at St. Ann’s in March or 1992 and they were extraordinary! Sadly, Mr. Buckley soon left the band to pursue a solo career, taking two of the songs for his first solo effort with “Grace” becoming the title song. In 1997, Mr. Buckley began work on his second solo effort, relocating to Memphis to record. In May of that year, Mr. Buckley decided to go swimming in the Mississippi River and soon drowned, ending his life at just 30. In 2002, an album called ’Songs to No One’ was released and included the songs that Buckley and Lucas had recorded as demos. And now, nearly three decades after they were written, Gary Lucas teams up with an Italian rock band known as The Nero to perform all 12 songs that he and Mr. Buckley had written together. This includes five songs which have never appeared on a legit release before now.
Although I recognize the names of 100’s of Italian musicians from jazz and progressive bands, old & new, I hadn’t heard of most of the musicians here. It turns out that their bassist, Phil Spalding, did play with GTR (w/ Steve Howe & Steve Hackett). This disc begins with the five unreleased songs, all of which are superb. The opening song is “No One Must Find You Here” and it begins with Mr. Lucas distinctive swirling guitars. The lead singer here, Davide Combusti, has a strong voice which is similar to Mr. Buckley’s yet it is still his own. And similar to Mr. Buckley’s voice, he sounds like he was influenced by Robert Plant when he sang for Led Zep. It is also you will either really love or not, I am indeed impressed. Both the songs and performances are inspired throughout. The first song ends with an impressive solo guitar section, which is a perfect conclusion to a great opening song. What makes this disc so special is the endlessly inventive guitar playing of Mr. Lucas, inserting nifty flourishes of electric & acoustic guitars with the sly sonic seasoning of the assorted effects that Lucas has long mastered. The feeling that I get when listening to this disc is that is sounds like the long lost album that Mr. Buckley and Mr. Lucas started in 1992 and never really finished. Jeff Buckley was a major player in his own right with many fans around the world. His career was cut short by his early death with just a handful of releases under his belt. Hopefully this great disc will be heard by some of his passionate fans since it is well worth hearing. Quite a marvelous effort from Gary Lucas and The Niro! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
COLIN HINTON with ANNA WEBBER / YUMA UESAKA / EDWARD GAVITT / SHAWN LOVATO - Simulacra (Panoramic 12/New Focus; USA) Featuring Anna Webber on tenor sax & flutes, Yuma Uesaka on tenor sax & clarinets, Edward Gavitt on electric & acoustic guitars, Shawn Lovato on bass and Colin Hinton on drums, percussion & direction. Nearly every Sunday at DMG we have free music, from 1 to 2 to 3 sets, involving varied Downtown musicians and world travelers as well. Nearly each week 1 or 2 new musicians, who I don’t recognize previously, will make their debut here. Last Sunday (1/12/20), we had a trio with Aron Nemenwirth, Dave Sewelson and a drummer named Colin Hinton. Mr. Hinton played well with that trio and left us with this disc where he is the leader. Mr. Hinton’s quintet features just one musician with whom I am previous familiar, reeds player, composer & band leader Anna Webber. Ms. Webber is a gifted composer with several fine discs out under her own name.
The first piece here, “Obversify”, is quite long and begins with skeletal fragments played with the guitar, bass & drums. The group solidifies with a written passage as the clarinetist takes a long & winding solo. Mr. Hinton does a good job of writing or directing one reed and the guitar to play these tight lines together while the other reed solos on top. At times both reeds will play their lines together while the guitarist takes a long, gnarly, ever-changing solo on his electric axe.For the intro to “Synesthopy”, both reeds plays these soft, haunting lines together to create an eerie effect, eventually the rest of the quintet come in to play more dreamy, somber, ghostlike phrased together. The other long piece here, “What Was”, is filled with several sections. Instead of having a piano to play chords and give direction, the guitarist plays crafty, complex written lines while the flute (Ms. Webber) and then the clarinet both takes long, impressive solos. One can tell that a good deal to time and work went into making this disc as each piece is filled with all sorts of twisted yet tight combinations, partially written with snippets of or longer solo rising above the impressive ever-evolving passages below. In a better, more fair world, this disc might’ve been released on the Hat Ezzthetic label while informative liner notes by Art Lange or someone similar and then tweeted about by the Hat publicity machine (only kidding). Oh well. Yet another under-recognized treasure, grab yours now. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
New from FMR - In Stock Shortly:
PAUL DUNMALL / PHILIP GIBBS / JAMES OWSTON / JIM BASHFORD - Live at the Claptrap (FMR 554; UK) Featuring Paul Dunmall on tenor & alto saxes, Philip Gibbs on guitar, James Owston on bass and Jim Bashford on drums. Recorded at the Claptrap on March 31st, 2019. What still amazes me about British reeds giant Paul Dunmall, is how he juggles so many other musicians & projects, each with varying personnel, from old timers like himself (currently at 66) to many younger musicians. UK guitar great, Philip Gibbs, is on more records with Mr. Dunmall (over 100!), while the rhythm team on far less: Mr Bashford (10 CD’s) and Mr. Owston (2 others). This discs consists of 2 long (34 & 41 minutes) each. Starting with a flurries of notes from Mr. Gibbs’ guitar, the quartet is off and soaring together. After Dunmall plays the opening blast on tenor, Gibbs takes over with another buzz of frenetic yet low volume lines. Thing then calm do to an impressive unaccompanied acoustic bass solo which soon adds Gibbs guitar flourishes. Philip Gibbs remains one of the finest under-recognized guitarists in the British empire and gets a good deal of chances to stretch out , solo and add his own inventive stream/undertow to the cascading quartet that just keeps ascending higher and higher spiritually throughout this entire long (75 minutes) disc. From checking out his picture in the inside of this disc, it look as if Mr. Owston might be in his 20’s or so. His playing is superb throughout this disc no matter what his age is, as is drummer Jim Bashford. Again, Paul Dunmall and his current selection of musicians shows that free music is still vital, exciting, alive and well and worth savoring at length. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ROB BURKE / BEN MONDER / TOM RAINEY with BEN GRAYSON - Slip Sliding (FMR 559; UK) Featuring Rob Burke on tenor, alto & soprano saxes, bass clarinet & composing, Ben Monder on guitar & Tom Rainey on drums plus Ben Grayson on electronics & editing. Saxist & composer, Rob Burke, is a member of the Monash Art Ensemble (from Melbourne, Australia), whose 2 disc set on FMR was one of those long lost gems released last year (2019) and a fave of the folks who work here at DMG. This is Mr. Burke’s third release on FMR, after working with Downtowners like George Lewis, Tony Malaby and Mark Helias. For this disc, Mr. Burke has chosen two more of Downtown’s finest: Ben Monder on guitar and Tom Rainey on drums. Their special guest is Ben Grayson, who adds electronics and does some editing of their sound. The first seven pieces were composed by Mr. Burke, the last four are group improvs.
Downtown guitar master, Ben Monder, is a great choice since he is so diverse and brings an array of approaches to this superb trio. The same can be said for Tom Rainey, another of Downtown’s best, most creative drummers. The title track, has Mr. Monder strumming these sublime, repeating chords while Mr. Burke plays his haunting tenor quietly on top and Mr. Rainey plays exquisitely below with brushes. Mr. Monder switches tones and approaches on each song. For, “Ta Ta Daa”, he plays some dark, metalish chords with a tenor sax & bass clarinet weaving their way round one another and Mr. Rainey creating a rhythmic storm down below. When Mr. Monders hits those thick power chords in the second half of this piece, things move into a darker, metal-like segment. Mr. Grayson add selective spinning electronics on occasion, often pushing the sound into a more murky terrain. Mr. Burke uses a different reed on each piece, to gives things a different vibe. I like his Trane-like soprano tone on “On the Ride”, which is somber and somehow calm at the center yet still somewhat deep & dark as well. Things speed up to a frenzied tempo on parts of “Caulfield Call”, which goes back & forth between faster and slower segments. For the last composed piece, “Divergently”, Mr. Monder pulls off a long, daredevil solo which is one of the numerous highlights here. The trio stretches out even further for the four improv pieces. Mr. Rainey’s powerful drumming kicks off “Discordat 1”, while Mr. Monder’s guitar also throbs and drones above. The trio sounds supercool improvising together: tight, focused, powerful, swirling strong lines around one another like an erupting storm. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOHN RUSSELL / STEFAN KEUNE / HANS SCHNEIDER / PAUL LOVENS - Nothing Particularly Horrible - Live in Bochum ’93 (FMR 560; UK) Featuring John Russell on acoustic guitar, Stefan Keune on sopranino & tenor sax, Hans Schneider on double bass and Paul Lovens drum set, gongs & musical saw. After Derek Bailey, the next group of UK improvising guitar elders would include John Russell, Roger Smith & Ian Brighton. Acoustic guitarist, John Russell, is the most recorded of that batch with some dozen releases out. The other elder member of this fine quartet is German drummer, Paul Lovens, who has worked with many greats: Schlippenbach/Evan Parker Trio, Cecil Taylor and Eugene Chadbourne. The other two members of this quartet, I known much less about, although bassist Hans Schneider has worked in the Georg Graewe Quintet as well as with Paul Lytton and Evan Parker. This disc was recorded live at the Museum Bochum in Germany in October of 1993 but not released until recently. The music here is all acoustic and well captured. All four members play with subdued restraint, it all improvised and well done. On each piece, the music gets a bit louder and more intense, although things calm down to a quieter part on the last piece. Guitar strings are rubbed carefully, hushed bowed bass, bent-note sax and cautious percussion, work well together. I can tell that these are seasoned, mature players who work well together, listening closely and creating a stimulating dialogue throughout. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
FRANCOIS CARRIER / TOMEK GADECKI / MARCIN BOZEK / MICHEL LAMBERT - WIDE (FMR 556; UK) Featuring Francois Carrier on alto sax, Tomek Gadecki on tenor sax, Marcin Bozek on bass & French horn and Michel Lambert on drums. The Quebec-based duo of Francois Carrier and Michel Lambert have been working together for more than a decade, sometimes as a duo but more often as a trio or quartet. They have worked with a diverse variety of other kindred spirits: Paul Bley, Dewey Redman, Steve Beresford, Alexey Lapin and John Edwards. I hadn’t heard of the other two members of this quartet, although this disc was recorded in Poland, which is where these two are most likely from. This disc begins quietly, with subtle, swirling acoustic free improv simmering. Tenor player, Tomek Gadecki, is in fine form, swirling those intense Trane-like lines, the spiritual vibe ascending higher and higher as the music unfolds. The rhythm team is also powerful, providing an intense cushion underneath. When Mr. Carrier enters on alto sax, he plays slower while keeping the equally strong and focused, the vibe calming back down to another slow burning sizzle. Things again ascend to a powerful, free/jazz blasting conclusion, building in intensity as they go. This entire disc sounds consistently inspired and is often riveting. If you are a fan of free/jazz at is best, then this disc is for you! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SUE LYNCH / DAWID FRYDRYK / JOHN EDWARDS / DAVE FOWLER - Dial (FMR 558; UK) Dial features Sue Lynch on tenor sax, clarinet & flute, Dawid Frydryk on trumpet & flugelhorn, John Edwards on bass and Dave Fowler on drums. Three of the four members of this UK-based quartet are/were relatively unknown to me previously. Aside from John Edwards, only the drummer, Dave Fowler, can be found on a couple of discs with vocalist Maggie Nichols. Contrabassist supreme, John Edwards, keeps extremely busy working with Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Paul Dunmall & Duck Baker.
This disc was recorded at Iklectik in London. There are two pieces on this disc, a shorter (about 10 minutes) and a longer (38 minutes) piece. Things begin with “Dial Tone I”, the shorter one with some strong blowing from the tenor sax and trumpet, sailing above the more restrained rhythm team below, the quartet calming down for a soft extended landing. Both horns do a fine job weaving themselves tightly around one another in connected orbits, spinning tightly together. This music here evolves organically and moves in waves from low key to explosive, but is often more restrained. When Mr. Edwards switches to bowed bass, things slow down so that the horns can also quietly stretch out their tones, cautiously weaving a somber tapestry. Spirited free music from a mostly little known cast. - Bruce Gallanter, DMG
CHRISTIAN BUCHER / SIMON TAN / RICK COUNTRYMAN - Empathy (FMR 555; UK) Featuring Rick Countryman on alto sax, Simon Tan on acoustic bass and Christian Bucher on drums. This disc was recorded at Strawberry jams Studio in the Philippines in July of 2019. Earlier this year, I received an e-mail from Japanese-based saxist Rick Countryman. He offered us several discs (LP’s & CD’s) of his trio with legendary drummer Sabu Toyozumi and bassist Simon Tan. I was intrigued since I dig Sabu from his work with Kaoru Abe, Peter Brotzmann and Derek Bailey. I would up not ordering any of the discs from Mr. Countryman but hope to in the future. I hadn’t heard of either of the rhythm team members before now.
I dig the sound of this trio: warm, well-measured, soulful yet free, but not too free. All three members are well matched, the sound is balanced just right. When the alto drops out, the bass & drums continue in a strong well connected dialogue, so tightly woven together. The trio is superbly recorded so that each note, each sound counts and is carefully crafted. What I like about Mr. Countryman is the way he soars on sax without ever screaming or bending notes too far out. He is still intense and able to soar higher and higher, the rhythm team soaring tightly with him no matter where he or they go. Both the bass and drums are also superb players who work perfectly as one, the flow between all three or even when you move into a duo if consistently strong & inspired. It turns out that Mr. Countryman was originally from the US and has been living in the Philippines since 2011, where this disc was recorded. This is one of the best discs of free/jazz improv I’ve heard recently, mature sounding and not too frenetic in any way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BOOTLEG UNIT with JAKE BERGER / COLIN PETIT / JURE BORSIC - Honey, Did You Break All My Jazz Cassettes? (FMR 559; UK) The Bootleg Unit features Jake Berger on prepared drums, Colin Petit on tape recorder & electronics and Jure Borsic on saxes & clarinet. This disc was recorded at Radio Student Studio in Ljubljana in Slovenia. The great FMR label has a long history of discovering little known creative musicians from around the world. I can’t really tell you anything about any of the three musicians in this trio, although the title of this disc and song titles show that they do have a sense of humor. I will review this disc for next weeks newsletter. - BLG
TETUZI AKIYAMA / NICOLAS FIELD / GREGOR VIDIC - Interpersonal Subjectivities (Astral Spirits 117/Monofonus Press 218; USA) Featuring Tetuzi Akiyama on electric guitar, Gregor Vidic on tenor sax and Nicolas Field on drums & percussion. This was recorded at Gok Sound in Tokyo in July of 2017. Japanese guitarist, Tetuzi Akiyama, has had a long varied career playing both acoustic guitar and electric in solos, duos & trios, with equal parts blues and freeform styles involved, from quieter discs to loud blues blasts as well. Drummer Nicolas Field has worked with Akira Sakata and Albert Cirera for the Not Two label. I can’t say I’d heard of Slovenian saxist Gregor Field before now. This disc begins with what sounds like manipulated guitar with notes stretched out by slide and/or effects, hard to tell at times. Somber sax and quiet drums soon come in as well, the trio sounds calm, drifting effortlessly together. It is a nice departure to hear free music played slowly and soflty without pushing things too far out. The guitar and sax often sound like they are playing the same not or tone together, hard to tell them apart at times excepts for those certain sax-like sound shapes. Drummer, Nicolas Field, is in particularly fine form, varying his dynamics, speeding up and slowing down while the sax & guitar down the same together. It sounds as if Mr. Akiyama is not using any distortion, only subtly altering the tone of his guitar. When things are slowed down, it is easier to hear the nuance and shape of each sound or group of sounds. On the second of three long pieces, “Synchronous Ancestor”, the trio stretch out their notes even further, with ghost-like suspense. Mr. Vidic’s tone is somewhere between Stan Getz (not nearly as smooth) and Chris Speed, hushed and haunted. Guitarist Akiyama does a good job of creating dark, moody resonance without calling to much attention to himself or even soloing. The results are mostly hypnotic, thoughtfully crafted. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PEK - Solo - Coefficient of Unity (Evil Clown 9232; USA) Featuring Dave PEK on sopranino & tenor saxes, contralto clarinet, sheng, fog horn, game calls, gongs, daxophone, theremin, synth, aquasonics, percussion, loops and processing. Of the more than a half dozen Leap of faith offshoot projects, PEK solo efforts are the most rare. This disc was recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters in October of 2019. Considering that Leap of Faith founder, Dave PEK, now has more than a 100 discs on his Evil Clown label, which only goes back 5 years (since 2014), he has learned how to produce vast amounts of inspired improv discs from solos to his LoF Orchestra. PEK collects instruments, especially multiple reeds and often works with one instrument at a time although he does some live overdubbing, processing or sampling. This disc starts with what sounds like bowed wood, perhaps a daxophone? Things unfold slowly, carefully as PEK concentrates on one or two instruments at time, occasionally manipulating their sounds. PEK is also a strong producer, carefully crafting each sound, using selective amounts of delay or effects. There is short section of electronics (synth or theremin?), midway that sounds great, a but spooky but well-placed. Since PEK takes his time, he is able to concentrate on each instrument, often quietly conjuring up inspired free spirits, drifting in and drifting out. Always compelling, thoughtfully crafted. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Last Sunday (1/12/20), Argentinian guitarist, JAVIER AREAL VELEZ, played here at DMG with Chris Pitsiokos and Kevin Murray. It was a triple header and their set was last. It was an incredible set and you can check out a couple of excerpts from it on our InstaGram feed. It reminded me of the early days of Downtown improv at its most brutal and intense. Perhaps similar John Zorn, Fred Frith & Charlie Noyes in early 1980, some forty years ago this month. Mr. Velez was here for around 10 days and played live somewhere practically every night. If you are a guitar freak like me, you should check this dude out, he is in a class of his own. He left us with a couple of discs, a band named El Helicoptero, as well as a 2 CD set compilation of creative South American bands.
EL HELICOPTERO with JAVIER AREAL VELEZ / IGNACIO SANDOVAL / LUCIANO VITALE - El Helicoptero (Inamu; Argentina) El Helicoptero features Javier Areal Velez on guitar, bass & organ, Ignacio Sandoval on vocals, bass & Moog, Agustin Areal Velez on piano & samples and Luciano Vitale on basses & electronics. The results are some sort of strange, twisted art-rock which doesn’t quite sound like any other band. The vocals both silly and fun, the songs odd, ever-changing and charming in their own way. The vocals often sound like cartoon characters and remind me of the Residents at times. The songs are stripped down yet still evoke all sorts of strange characters, with layered vocals, each one unique in its own way. Another band this reminds of at times is The Mothers of Invention, where each voice represents a different character, rather like an oratorio (The Mother’s ‘Absolutely Free’ LP is a good example). Although I don’t understand the language they are singing in, the songs are quite quirky and enchanting, the intent or message or vibe rings true throughout this entire disc. Although this disc is only 24 minutes long, it is still an impressive disc since it takes us on a strange ever-changing journey, complete with scenery changing on each piece. This is a delightful gem which doesn’t quite sound like any other band yet remains in a world of its own. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $ 14
SHIH-HUI CHEN // LITTLE GIANT CHINESE ORCHESTRA - Silvergrass & Other Orchestral Works (New World Records 80807; USA) “Intercultural composition is no longer a novelty. It has become a familiar, even commonplace, phenomenon. With this recording, Shih-Hui Chen (b. 1962) breathes fresh air into this important genre. In more ways than one, her transcultural work has blurred the lines between individual cultures and represents our rich musical horizon today.
Her earlier work is characterized by intense modernist sonorities, polyphonic layers, yearning angular melodies, and firm control of orchestral timbre and structure. It is the profound balance between her earlier modernist sensibility, with its rigorous control of polyphonic layers and structural design on the one hand, and her search for the inner self with materials distinctly different from Western tradition, that marks her accomplishment as a 21st-century composer.
In the five works collected here, Chen broadens her reach into several branches of vernacular music—Nanguan music and Taiwanese opera—and the Chinese zither of traditional literati. Two use traditional Chinese instruments as soloists with a Western orchestra, one is written for both solo Chinese instrument and Chinese orchestra, and the two remaining works are scored for Western orchestra. Yet it is the source of inspiration that really sets them apart. The earliest work, Concerto for Pipa and Chamber Orchestra (2002), is abstract in conception, with prominent pipa gestures that infuse the composition with distinctive sonorities and melodic tropes. This is followed by three works, each of which uses a melodic source from traditional Chinese genres. Fantasia on the Theme of Guanglingsan for Zheng and Chinese Orchestra (2014) is based on a well-known masterwork, which is full of drama and contrast. It shares certain sonic similarities with the pipa concerto. As a pair they differ significantly from the two following works, centered around Taiwanese Nanguan music. Fantasia on the Theme of Plum Blossoms for String Orchestra (2012) uses as its basis a famous tune from the Nanguan repertoire, while A Plea to Lady Chang’e for Nanguan Pipa and Chamber Orchestra (2013) is essentially a setting of a traditional Nanguan song in the modernist sonic fabric. Finally, Silvergrass, for Cello and Chamber Orchestra (2016) represents a step further in that direction, not only tracing the sonic aspect of another indigenous music genre—Taiwanese opera—but also delving deeply into the words, sensibility, and poetic expression of one of the island’s literary legends, author Huang Chunming, who is known for his plain, richly colloquial voice.”
New from the Folks at NEOS Label:
NIKOLAUS BRASS - Choral & Orchestral Works Vol. 2 (Neos 11911; Germany) “Choral & Orchestral Works Vol. 2, with works by Nikolaus Brass, offers extraordinary recordings of two central works. The CD is the eighth release of the composer's work on NEOS. The choral piece fallacies of hope, which bears the subtitle "German requiem", contains 32 individually composed vocal parts that are masterfully embodied by the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart. Written 13 years earlier, the 30-minute orchestral piece similar is presented as a live recording of the work's world première with the Radio-Sinfonieorchester Stuttgart des SWR.”
JORGE E. LOPEZ - Kampfhandlungen/Traumhandlungen Op. 11 II. Kammersymphonie Op. 23 "A vegso Tavasz" (Neos 11912; Germany) “Born in Cuba, Jorge E. López was raised in the USA and lives in Austria today. Although he studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts, he describes himself as an autodidact. Extra-musical influences play a large role in his music, which doesn't fit neatly into any categories or schools of "New Music". With its 52-minute duration, López's Second Chamber Symphony Op. 23 "A végső Tavasz" is the central work on this disc and also draws inspiration from various sources. This is the world premiere recording of this work as well as of the ensemble piece Kampfhandlungen / Traumhandlungen Op. 11 [Scenes of Combat / Tissue of Dreams], which is marked by dark colors and sharp contrasts.”
DANIEL PETER BIRO - Mishpatim (Laws)(Neos 11919-20; Germany) “Performed by Noa Frenkel, contralto · Ermis Theodorakis, piano Ensemble S. Dániel Péter Biró's Mishpatim (Laws) is a concert-length work in six parts, scored for voice, chamber ensemble, percussion, and electronics, including computer-activated, acoustic "ghost-instruments" that appear to play themselves. Many of Biró's haunting works are based on texts from the Hebrew Bible. Mishpatim derives its title from Chapters 21-24 of the book of Exodus, in which Moses relays God's laws to the Israelites. Dániel Péter Biró was born in 1969. He studied in the U.S., Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Israel. Today he is Associate Professor at the Grieg Academy, University of Bergen in Norway. He was awarded many times. His compositions are performed around the world.”
2 CD/DVD Set $30
HERMANN MEIER / MALIN BANG / MARCO STROPPA / AGATA ZUBEL / et al - Donaueschinger Musiktage 2018 (Neos 11914-15; Germany) The Donaueschingen Festival has been documented regularly by NEOS for many years. In the 2018 edition, Hermann Meier's Stück für großes Orchester und Klavier vierhändig (Piece for Large Orchestra and Piano Four Hands) is to be emphasized. More than 50 years after its completion, the work was premiered in Donaueschingen. Of course Malin Bång, winner of the 2018 Orchestra Prize, is included in the selection with her work splinters of ebullient rebellion. Also features: Ivan Fedele's Air on Air (2018); Marco Stroppa's Come Play With Me (2016-2018); Agata Zubel's Chamber Piano Concerto (2018); Mirela Ivičević's CASE WHITE (2018); and Francesco Filidei's BALLATA N. 7 (2018).
2 CD/DVD Set $30
JAMES REESE AND THE PROGRESSIONS - Wait For Me: The Complete Works 1967-1972 (Now Again 5190; USA) "Trombonist, bandleader, songwriter, arranger and producer James Reese never issued an album with his Progressions band, only a series of 45s - some under his own name, some under that of his collaborators - out of Spartanburg, South Carolina on his Najma label, from the late 1960s until the mid-1970s. He was as ambitious as he was talented, and his ouevre ranges from brutal, deep soul to sophisticated instrumental ballads to jazz-inflected funk. Now-Again's Egon first discovered Reese's music on a 24 lock-in in Concord, North Carolina's legendary record and antique clock repository, Ye Olde Clock Shoppe, in 1999. After he tracked down Reese, he officially reissued two of Reese's songs on his seminal Stones Throw anthology The Funky 16 Corners. He later issued more of Reese's music on the Now-Again anthology Loving On The Flipside. Sourced from rare 45s and multi-track master tapes, Wait For Me: The Complete Works 1967-1972 presents both issued and recently-rediscovered songs in the full-length format, in a cohesive set that shows the brilliance still arising from the American soul and funk sub-strata. Long time Now-Again associate Kenny Dope presents a remix of the song 'Throwing Stones', and Now-Again mastering engineer Jason Bitner presents alternate mixes of various cuts. These mixes included as a bonus CD version, which also comes bundled with an extensive booklet detailing the trajectory of Reese and his band."
2 CD Set $18
MYTHIC SUNSHIP - Changing Shapes (El Paraiso Records 056; Denmark) Mythic Sunship played three shows at the 2019 edition of Roadburn. Changing Shapes documents the most ferocious and courageous of the three. It follows 2018's Another Shape Of Psychedelic Music (EPR 048CD/LP). Changing Shapes is a continuation of those ideas, not just a live performance of previous material (only two tracks from Another Shape are featured on this set). Søren Skov joins the band again here as the five-piece burns through a handful of lengthy pieces in front of an ecstatic audience. It's an immersive listen, from the curious opening notes of "Awakening", to the relentless roar of "Ophidian Rising". "If Mythic Sunship aren't the shape of psychedelic music to come, it's in no small part because there are so few out there who could hope to match what they do." - The Obelisk
PAINJERK - Mission Invisible (Hospital 65; USA) “Hospital Productions announce the unreleased, would-be-classic from Japanese noise hero Painjerk. Originally recorded immediately after the canonical Gallon Gravy classic, this is pure -- definitive -- loop-heavy noise energy and dynamism that would become the signature of Kohei Gomi's electronic studies having influenced two generations of underground electronics since. Hailing from a background of Japanese punk, Kohei Gomi stayed true to the fierce ethos of independence and experimentation that reached its peak in Japan in the late '90s. But make no mistake, Mr. Gomi never stagnated into a single platform, having worked with such diverse labels as Alternative Tentacles, Relapse, Editions Mego, and so on. Composed with a mysterious configuration of constantly flowing noise hardware -- always recorded live without overdubs, Gomi went on to risk taking computer explorations into the roots of avant-garde compositions inspired by the likes of Pan Sonic and David Tudor. Having reached cult status and maintaining an air of mystery after an onslaught of now classic and highly collectible tape-only releases, such as the monstrous Cacophony Of A Thousand Pleasures 3xCS which was been cited as an influence for Mika Vainio. Never settling for stale genre collaborations, Kohei Gomi further went on to such divergent ends as the insane collaboration with Russell Haswell, psychedelic commune pioneers Smegma, and power violence royalty Bastard Noise. Hospital Productions now unleash this critical document onto the world, one that 20 years on can easily sit alongside the classics of its day. Raise a fist in solidarity for the inimitable punk noise of Painjerk. Digipack CD with obi.
Longtime Downtown String Wizard, JASON KAO HWANG, has been an important part of the Downtown Scene for some three decades plus. I was fortunate to have caught him with Commitment in the early 1980’s and have heard him live on dozens of occasions ever since. Besides being a gifted improviser, he is also a fine composer and leader of several bands, often blurring the lines between assumed barriers of jazz, free & written and ethnic musics. Here is a baker’s dozen discs with Mr. Hwang as a leader, all are highly recommended and there are some reviews down below. Mr. Hwang recently played at DMG for a Steve Dalachinsky Tribute gig that I organized. The other musicians included Steve Swell, Marty Ehrlich, Michael Vatcher, ThomChess (on oud) and Franks Meadows. The music turned to be truly transcendent and Mr. Hwang really shined that night. There is a new disc by Karl Berger and Jason Hwang that I will review and we will get copies in stock next week. I can’t wait to hear it. - BLG
JASON KAO HWANG BURNING BRIDGE with STEVE SWELL / TAYLOR HO BYNUM / JOSEPH DALEY / SUN LI / WANG GUOWEI / KEN FILIANO / ANDREW DRURY - Blood (True Sound 01; USA)
JASON KAO HWANG With STEVE SWELL / CHRIS FORBES / KEN FILIANO / ANDREW DRURY - Sing House (Euonymus Records EU 03; USA)
JASON KAO HWANG With MIN XIAO-FEN / WILLIAM SCHIMMEL / et al - The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown [2 CD set] (New World 80626; USA)
2 CD Set $28
JASON KAO HWANG/SANG-WON PARK - Local Lingo (Euonymus 01; USA)
JASON KAO HWANG & SPONTANEOUS RIVER With DANIEL LEVIN / TOMAS ULRICH / MICHAEL BISIO / ROSIE HERTLEIN / DAVE SOLDIER / KEN FILIANO / FRANCOIS GRILLOT / TOR SNYDER / DOM MINASI / JAMES KEEPNEWS / ANDREW DRURY / et al - Symphony Of Souls (Mulatta 22; USA)
JASON KAO HWANG / FRANCIS WONG / TATSU AOKI With WU MAN - Graphic Evidence (Asian Improv 66; USA)
JASON KAO HWANG'S EDGE With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / KEN FILIANO / ANDREW DRURY - Edge (Asian Improv 68; USA)
JASON KAO HWANG'S EDGE With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / KEN FILIANO / ANDREW DRURY - Stories Before Within (Innova 689; USA)
JASON KAO HWANG With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / STEVE SWELL / JOSEPH DALEY / SUN LI / WANG GUOWEI / KEN FILIANO /ANDREW DRURY - Burning Bridge (Innova 840; USA)
JASON KAO HWANG'S EDGE With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / ANDREW DRURY / KEN FILIANO - Crossroads Unseen (Euonymus 02; USA)
THE FAR EAST SIDE BAND [JASON KAO HWANG / SANG-WON PARK / JOE DALEY / YUKIO TSUIJI]- Urban Archaeology (Victo 037; Canada)
THE FAR EAST SIDE BAND [JASON KAO HWANG / SANG-WON PARK / YUOKIO TSUJI] - Caverns (New World Records 80458; USA)
COMMITMENT [WILLIAM PARKER / JASON KAO HWANG / WILL CONNELL Jr / ZEN MATSURA] - The Complete Recordings 1981-1983 [Ltd Ed of 500; 2 CD set] (NoBusiness CD 14/15; EEC)
2 CD Set $26 [This one might be out-of-print, we are waiting to hear back from Jason now]
JASON KAO HWANG & SPONTANEOUS RIVER With DANIEL LEVIN / TOMAS ULRICH / MICHAEL BISIO / ROSIE HERTLEIN / DAVE SOLDIER / KEN FILIANO / FRANCOIS GRILLOT / TOR SNYDER / DOM MINASI / JAMES KEEPNEWS / ANDREW DRURY / et al - Symphony Of Souls (Mulatta 22; USA)Violinist, composer and multi-ensemble leader, Jason Hwang, has been working on a number of more ambitious projects over the past few years. First there was the double disc 'The Floating Box', a chamber opera released on the New World label. Mr. Hwang has also composed and/or conducted a large string-based ensemble at the last few Vision Fests and this disc is the first documentation of that large ensemble. The Spontaneous River orchestra features some 24 strings, 7 guitars, six double basses and a drummer. That's nearly forty musicians involved, no small feat of organizing, conducting and recording. Over the past few years I have been listening to a great deal of symphonic music by a variety of twentieth century composers (Varese, Stravinsky, Xenakis, Zappa, etc.) and have gained a healthy dose of respect for the complexities involved. "Symphony of Souls" is a massive effort and as I listen, I hear different themes evolving and growing. There are deep, dark and churning seas of strings moving at different levels. At times, Jason has certain sections of the strings plucking the notes pizzicato while other strings provide sliding, shifting waves around them. Eerie Penderecki-like buzzing gives way to more percussive sections with the strong, supportive drums of Andrew Drury at the center. You can tell that Jason Hwang put a great time of time into this each of the eleven movements explores different textures and compositional strategies. He pushes, pulls and manipulates the unwieldy ensemble in a variety of successful ways. This is a serious effort and it will take some time to absorb all of the treasures within. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
JASON KAO HWANG'S EDGE With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / KEN FILIANO / ANDREW DRURY - Edge (Asian Improv 68; USA) Featuring Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet & flugelhorn, Jason Kao Hwang on violin & compositions, Ken Filiano on contrabass and Andrew Drury on percussion. Edge is quite a diverse quartet with very different backgrounds. Former Seattle-based drummer, Andrew Drury, has two fine discs out as a leader on Red Toucan & Innova, a duo disc with Jessica Lurie and a qt. disc with Reuben Radding. Former L.A.-based bassist, Ken Filiano can be heard on more than three dozen discs on Nine Winds, CIMP & Clean Feed, with Vinny Golia, Paul Smoker & Fred Hess. Young cornet master, Taylor Ho Bynum, has already worked with Anthony Braxton & the Cecil Taylor Orchestra and has a fine disc out on 482 Music. Jason Hwang has been an active member of the downtown network for thirty years now, playing with Commitment, William Parker, William Hooker, the Far East Side Band, Dom Minasi, Trio Tarana and lots more. This is Jason's third disc as a leader. 'Edge' consists of four long tracks. "No Myth" opens with some superb violin and cornet interplay, backed by Ken's throbbing bass and Andrew's hypnotic mallet work. Ken plays this deep repeating line with his bowed bass as both Jason and Taylor take inspired solos. This quartet played a great set at the Vision Fest last month and Taylor was substituting for trumpet wiz Herb Robertson. Taylor's animated and frenzied solo on the first piece does remind me of the amazing Herb Robertson, which is no small feat. Both Ken and Andrew take short, spirited solos on the first piece as well. On "Threads" Andrew sounds as if he playing on broken cymbals as Taylor plays strange muted flugelhorn and Ken bows eerie sounds on his bass and then Jason takes an odd solo by plucking his strings in a delicate yet fractured way. This is one powerful piece! Jason has chosen a perfect quartet to capture his vision, as this group has their own strong sound. On "Parallel Meditations", the bass and drums play this throbbing groove as both Jason and Taylor take exciting, dynamic and high-flying solos. Look out below! The last piece, "Grassy Hills", brings things down to a somber, haunting refrain with exquisite yet out solos for the violin and cornet once more. Jason Hwang really makes his violin sing on that last piece, a voice pleading for a better world. A perfect ending for a perfect disc. - BLG
JASON KAO HWANG With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / STEVE SWELL / JOSEPH DALEY / SUN LI / WANG GUOWEI / KEN FILIANO /ANDREW DRURY - Burning Bridge (Innova 840; USA) Over the past few Vision Festivals, composer/violinist Jason Hwang has presented successive extended works, each smashingly spectacular. So, I was enthused to see what Jason would could up with for this fest.. This set was called Burning Bridge and it featured a octet with Mr. Hwang on violin & directing, Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, Steve Swell on trombone, Joe daley on tuba, Sun Li on pipa, Wang Guowei on erhu (Chinese violin), Ken Filiano on bass and Andrew Drury on drums. I was not familiar with the pipa or erhu players here but both were great. The first piece commenced with a startling pipa and violin duo. I've seen Min Xiao Fen and Wu Man play pipa live and love the sound of that instrument. Ms. Sun Li is also a strong player and fit perfectly in this ensemble. Their was an effective vibe of suspense due to several drones happening at the same time - with Mr. Drury bowing his cymbals, muted brass and floating strings buzzing together. Different duos added odd combinations like the erhu and contrabass interacting intensely. Jason Hwang and Taylor Ho Bynum both stood out taking a number of impressive solos. What made this set so successful was the way Mr. Hwang blended different genres - gospel, jazz, ethnic into something new, rich and unpredictable. The last piece also featured spirited solos by Ken Filiano on bass and the irrepressible Steve Swell on trombone. CD of the month! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
JASON KAO HWANG'S EDGE With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / ANDREW DRURY / KEN FILIANO - Crossroads Unseen (Euonymus 02; USA) Featuring Jason Hwang on violin, viola & compositions, Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet & flugelhorn, Ken Filiano on contrabass and Andrew Drury on drums. This is the third disc from Jason Hwang's mighty Edge and they just keep getting better. For more than three decades string wizard Jason Hwang has been at the center of the avant/jazz cyclone, evolving through many layers of music's different worlds, outer and inner. Earlier this year, historic recordings by Jason's early ensemble Commitment(1981-1983) were released on NoBusiness. I can hear the connection between what Jason was doing way back when and what he is still doing today. He has remained true to his vision of combining different streams. Edge is a particularly strong, inspired Downtown all-star quartet. Each of the five long pieces show a well-integrated ensemble where each member is integral to the group sound. "Elemental Determination" starts with a sparse yet unified, repeating theme but soon spins into a spirited modal groove. Both Jason and Taylor take great, explosive solos throughout this entire disc and the bowed interplay between Jason and Ken is especially riveting. This is an all-acoustic quartet and this is a superb studio recording with perfect balance. "The Path Around the House" has a wonderful, bluesy sort-of vibe with some gritty, heart-felt playing from the entire quartet. The ever-amazing Ken Filiano kicks off "Transients" with a most impressive bass solo and features a strong cerebral theme with all four players moving in different interconnected orbits. I dig the way Taylor plays that spooky close-mic'd cornet on "Crossroads Unseen" with Ken's haunting bass also setting up the eerie mood. The sparseness of this piece is what makes it so compelling, when the quartet erupts nears the end it is as if a volcano is coming to life. The cover of this disc features a pictures of a hand in the forest with the trees being blurred by the movement of the camera. The music within also has an organic, swirling vibe which fits these images just right. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
JASON KAO HWANG With MIN XIAO-FEN / WILLIAM SCHIMMEL / et al - The Floating Box: A Story in Chinatown [2 CD set] (New World 80626; USA) A chamber opera with a libretto by Catherine Filloux. Jason Kao Hwang (b. 1957) is a highly respected improviser who also has a number of compositions and film scores to his credit. "The Floating Box" is a major contemporary work that gives voice not only to the Asian immigrant experience in America in particular but also to the immigrant experience in general. With the collaboration of librettist Catherine Filloux, The Floating Box is an original story inspired by the oral histories of Chinese-Americans living in Chinatown. The story of Eva/Yee-Wa, a young Chinese-American woman living with her mother, is the story of many diasporic peoples who have sought a better life in new, often harsh surroundings. The poetry of Filloux's libretto fuses perfectly with Hwang's eclectic score, beautifully capturing the complex, intimate relationships among these three characters. The opera employs both Chinese and Western instruments in an ensemble of eight players: piccolo/flute/alto flute; Bb clarinet/bass clarinet; vibraphone; pipa (Chinese lute); accordion; percussion, including Tibetan chimes and singing bowls, whirling air tubes, Chinese tom toms, and a Buddhist fan drum; erhu/gaohu/zhonghu (a family of two-stringed Chinese violins categorized as huqin); and cello. In Hwang's skilled hands, these instruments together forge a rich amalgam of sound--in the composer's words, "complex suspensions rather than homogenous solutions." The precision with which Hwang mines each instrument's sonic possibilities and the imaginative ways with which he draws upon subsets of the full ensemble result in a vibrant musical narrative that propels the drama forward to its conclusion. The kaleidoscopic range of musical styles employed--atonality, blues, Broadway, Chinese opera, chromaticism, impressionism, jazz, pop--establishes The Floating Box as the work of an artist who is completely comfortable bridging multiple musical worlds. The musicians include Sandia Ang, soprano; Ryu-Kyung Kim, mezzo-soprano; Zheng Zhou, baritone; Min Xiao Fen, pipa; Diana Herold, vibraphone, percussion; Patti Monson, piccolo, flute, alto flute; William Schimmel, accordion; Michiyo Suzuki, B flat clarinet, bass clarinet; Satoshi Takeishi, percussion; Tomas Ulrich, cello; Wang Guowei, gaohu, erhu, zhonghu; Juan Carlos Rivas, conductor.
2 CD Set $28
JASON KAO HWANG'S EDGE With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / KEN FILIANO / ANDREW DRURY - Stories Before Within (Innova 689; USA) Jason Kao Hwang's quartet EDGE is nested in the urban mountains of New York City where he created Stories Before Within, personal tales celebrating both life and loss. Over the past three years EDGE has embraced both past and future with musical offerings resonant with human and animal overtones. Their instruments sing through sharp lines vibrating between history, cultures and genres. 'Cloud Call' was composed in 1984, inspired by a Ukrainian street festival in NYC's East Village. New airborne rhythms and revolutions send this celebratory call aloft. 'From East Sixth Street' is where I lived in Manhattan for eight years in a tiny, $100/month apartment. Same block where Lee Morgan had lived, not far from Charlie Parker's former home, the East Village is a historic musical neighborhood. In this composition, the energy of that past surges into the present, breaking shackles of negativity to affirm our lives. 'Walking Pictures' emerge after meditation, like a parade of cherished rascals from one's life that speak of essence and kindle all shades of emotions. 'Third Sight', a melody influenced by Korean music, was originally recorded by Local Lingo (Euonymus), my duets with ajeng musician Sang Won Park. For EDGE, the arrangement is a prismatic ritual, where the dialogue of spirits leads us to what is unspoken, unknown and unnamed. 'Embers' are seen and felt in the isolation that we sometimes need to see and move forward from.
JASON KAO HWANG / FRANCIS WONG / TATSU AOKI With WU MAN - Graphic Evidence (Asian Improv 66; USA) A member of the Anthony Braxton Sextet and the Reggie Workman Ensemble, as well as a performer with Pauline Oliveros and the Deep Listening Band, William Parker, Sirone and Billy Bang, Jason Kao Hwang brings his well-traveled violin to Graphic Evidence, a collaborative performance with soprano saxophonist Frances Wong and bassist Tatsu Aoki, along with Wu Man on pipa on some cuts. On this perfect disc for a winter's day, the ensemble uses space as a fourth member, producing music of understatement and openness. Graphic Evidence presents a trio of improvisers confident enough in their art to share tracks with graceful silence, coloring the canvas with disciplined intensity.
JASON KAO HWANG/SANG-WON PARK - Local Lingo (Euonymus 01; USA) The music of Local Lingo is an expression of innate instinct. Through empathic listening, instincts guide a dialogue where cultural traditions are wholly transmuted. This is the creative journey Sang Won Park (kayagum, ajang, voice) and Jason Kao Hwang (violin, composer) have traveled over the past sixteen years, first with The Far East Side Band, and now, as a duo. The compositions of Jason Kao Hwang inspire revelatory improvisations with Sang Won Park, creating a dynamic American music that is their Local Lingo.
THE FAR EAST SIDE BAND [JASON KAO HWANG / SANG-WON PARK / YUOKIO TSUJI] - Caverns (New World Records 80458; USA) Jason Kao Hwang, electric violin; Sang-Won Park, kayagum, ajang, voice; Yukio Tsuji, percussion, skakuhachi, voice "One can hear America singing in the seams of the dominant culture." And within those seams The Far East Side Band sings, creating technically and emotionally complex, intense, and richly evocative work. "This music must exist beyond conventional categories to be true to my experiences as an Asian-American. You couldn't bag this music as jazz, classical or blues," says leader Jason Kao Hwang. He views the band as an extension of the Asian-American community, and in so many ways their music pays homage to the respective heritage of each band member. The ensemble consists of Jason Kao Hwang (composer/violin), Yukio Tsuji (percussion, shakuhachi, voice), and Sang Won Park (kayagum, ajang, voice), performing highly improvisatory compositions, heavily steeped in Asian idioms. The music on this compact disc - its mystery and beauty - is nourished by at least two cultural streams: the forms and rituals of Asian music as well as the improvisatory freedom of jazz. The Far East Side Band is thus a quintessential musical expression of the American experience. Jason Kao Hwang is a composer-in-residence with the partnership of Asia Society, Music From China, University Settlement House and the Museum of the Chinese in the Americas under the Meet The Composer/New Residencies program
COMMITMENT [WILLIAM PARKER / JASON KAO HWANG / WILL CONNELL Jr / ZEN MATSURA] - The Complete Recordings 1981-1983 [Ltd Ed of 500; 2 CD set] (NoBusiness CD 14/15; EEC) The first 5 cuts are ONLY FOUND on this CD edition - the Double LP edition only has the Live In Germany 1983 cuts] Featuring Will Connell, Jr. on alto sax, bass clarinets & flutes, Jason Kao Hwang on violin, viola & bird calls, William Parker on acoustic bass and Zen Matsura on drums. In some ways, Commitment was typical of many bands of their time. Between 1978 and 1984, they enjoyed a modest success by the subterranean standards of the Lower East Side. They struggled for gigs during the waning years of the New York loft scene, enjoyed higher profile gigs at several Kool Jazz Festivals, made one short European tour, and recorded one LP. But their music is more significant than this story might indicate. Hwang was among the first improvisers to emerge out of the Asian American movement. His presence in the band as composer and improviser makes Commitment one of the first Afro-Asian free jazz ensembles. The presence of Asian American, African American, and Asian musicians in one band was almost unprecedented in the New York lofts, and their fusion of elements from Asian and African American cultures was unique - Ed Hazell
2 CD Set $26
LIZ DURETTE - Delight (Feeding Tube Records 504; USA) "A very whacked new outing from Baltimore keyboard genius Liz Durette. Her earlier albums had a certain avant jazz approach, tempered perhaps by certain new music proclivities. And while I do not doubt she still has the chops for such things, Delight is a horse of an entirely different color. What's here was all done on keyboards, but at times it sounds like insane calliope music for wicked children with a taste for that old waltz beat. The whole first side could be the soundtrack for a surreal film about dead Viennese courtiers high-stepping their way around the Bardo as though it were a hedge maze. The more I listen to the record, the more circular its matrix appears, and the less certain I am of the direction in which gravity is pulling me. No surprise then, to learn that part of Delight's inspiration was drawn from A Genuine Tong Funeral, Gary Burton's amazing '68 LP, comprised of a full set of Carla Bley's wildest early compositions. On the flip, Durette is in a similar fettle, but seems keener on exploring the faux percussive aspects of her 'axe.' This involves the simulation of little people tap dancing on a xylophone, as well as very many other transgressive-if-meditative sonic activities. And they are all done with such flair and attention to detail you really have to wonder what sort of visions Liz has accessed. They seem to exist somewhere between romance and math. The universe of sounds she creates on Delight is wildly complex, but also it appears to operate by a set of congruous rules throughout. Like I said earlier, GENIUS!" --Byron Coley, 2019 Edition of 250.
Steve Dalachinsky Memorial Tribute -
@ Artists Space
(11 Cortlandt Alley, NYC)
This Sunday, January 19 - from 2 – 8 PM 2020
Greetings: jay sanders/yuko otomo
2pm: (mc) yuko otomo
Family - shaun orcinolo/kunihiko otomo/samantha oricinolo
A Love Supreme: friends who were by his side: andrew lampert/matt mottel/james hoff/lawrence kumpf/nicola hein/lynnea villanova/masami tomihisa/lotte bartz/liat kanbel/bonny finberg
Childhood Memories: emily cohen/peter kessler/mike shorr/marty abraham
Friends from 192 Spring St.
bob mcloughlin/carl galen lee/leslie glassburn
Sunset: jeff priess/jason napoli brooks
tom surgal/lin culbertson/loren conners
3pm: (mc) danny shot
Dreams I - penny arcade/puma perl/matt lavelle/monica de la torre
Poems for Steve I - bruce weber/valery oisteanu/neeli cherkovski (read by
vincent katz)/pierre joris
Creative Community I: anne waldman/ivan klein/muyassar kurdi/eli coplan/shan finnerty/sur rodney sur/catherine tyc
Musicians Talk I: matt shipp/joe mcphee/ka baird/james ilgenfritz/tom surgal/michael bisio/thurston moore
4pm: (mc) joanne pagano weber
Poems for Steve II: john godfry/tom savage/charles bernstein/daniel owen (read by matvei yankelevich)
Collaborators Talk: ken montgomery/vito ricci-lise vachon/loren conners-suzanne langille/pete m wyer
Song for Steve: david lawton
Kids Talk (compilation video)
the waters quartet: felix/avery/aretha/freddie zazie s lampert/melinda shopsin/kosuke nicholson/todd nicholson
john zorn/ned rothenberg/daniel zamir
5pm: (mc) billy cancel
Film: Things Fall Where They Lie (excerpt) nicole peyrafitte
Publishers Talk: matvei yankelvich/jane omerod/steve roe/phong bui/john klacsmann/joan digby
Creative Community II
julien poirier/janet hammill/ammiel alcalay/kyle dacuyan/catherine texier/basil king-martha king/andrei codrescu
Friends from Abroad: jürgen schneider/norbert nowotsch/michel dorbon/stuart krusee/lars-olof gustavsson
Musicians Talk II: nels cline/charles waters/shelley hirsch/william parker/william hooker
Vision Ensemble: william parker/william hooker/charles waters/rob brown/steve
swell/jason kao wang/shelley hirsch w/ dancers: patricia nicholson/yoshiko chumaa
6pm: (mc) tsaurah litzky
Creative Community III: bradley eros/christine hughes /maggie wrigley/shalom neuman/george grella/karen butcher
Song for Steve - sparrow
Poems for Steve III: matthew hupert/john pietaro/abe maneri/elliott levin
Creative Community IV: jim feast/regina bartkoff/max blagg/kat george–peter carlaftes/michael ruby/ken angel davis
7pm: (mc) yuko otomo
Dreams II: john kruth (read by bob holman)/jeff wright/tsaurah litzky
Community Gardens: mindy levokove (video) Ecological City: a poem by steve dalachinsky "To Be Sustainable" at campos garden
Creative Community V: romy ashby/don yorty/brian boyles/sylvie degiez/harry nudel/eliot katz
Poets Choir: “a path to unenlightment” (by steve dalachinsky) (conducted by edwin torres) amy barone/luciann beros/ama i. birch/patricia carragon/lydia cortes/mohamad hodeib/ bob holman/ron kolm/ sheila maldonado/nancy mercado/eve packer/thad rutkowski/ danny shot/francine witte
“Trickster 2” with the Snobs 2019 april paris
Grand Final Music/Words Improv (10 mins)>
EVERYBODY makes a joyful noise a la “Sun Ra” together with Steve
Bruce Lee Gallanter’s Recommended Gig List for January, 2020
THE NEW STONE
Is Located at the New School’s Glass Box Theatre
55 West 13th street - just east of 6th ave
THE STONE RESIDENCIES - CHES SMITH - JAN 14–18
8 pm - Trio - Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) Stephan Crump (bass) Ches Smith (drums)
8:30 pm - Laugh Ash - Jennifer Choi (violin) Anna Webber (flutes) Nate Wooley (trumpet) Oscar Noriega (clarinets) Cory Smythe (piano) Ches Smith (drums, vibraphone, electronics)
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, January 17, 2020 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
PATRICIA BRENNAN with Michael Formanek, Mauricio Herrera, and Noel Brennan
MOCH presenting “Raíces Jarochas”:
Michael Formanek - Bass
Mauricio Herrera - Percussion
Noel Brennan - Electronic Percussion, Turntables
Patricia Brennan - Vibraphone
Saturday, January 18, 2020 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
PATRICIA BRENNAN with Jon Irabagon, Adam O'Farill, Matt Mitchell and Tomas Fujiwara
Jon Irabagon - Saxophone
Adam O’Farrill - Trumpet
Matt Mitchell - Piano
Tomas Fujiwara - Drums
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:
Monday January 20th
7pm Dave Miller Ensemble
8pm Stephen Gauci - tenor saxophone
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
9pm Hans Tammen - buchla
Frederick Galiay - bass
Edward Perraud - drums
Andrew Levine - theramin
9:45pm Welf Dorr Ensemble
Ayumi Ishito - saxophone
Daniel Carter - woodwinds
Stelios Mihas - guitar
Damien Richardson - trumpet
Josh Rosenberg - keyboard
Downstairs @ Bushwick Public House
1288 Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn
(Across the street from M train Central Ave stop)
Jan 19 Phil Hamilton
Sunday Brunch Improv Series
Dancers: Roberta Garrison, (Pioneering NYC/Rome jazz dance improvisor, Jay Clayton, David Murray, Henry Threadgill)
Pam Quinn (PD Movement Lab, World Parkinson’s Congress)
Caroline Fermin (Founding member/performer Gallim Dance)
Matt Garrison (Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, John Mclaughlin)
Lighting designer: Tricia Toliver
Sunday Brunch Improv Series brings together a rotating cast of accomplished dancers, musicians, and lighting designers in intimate, improvised performances at the ShapeShifter Lab, Gowanus, on a Sunday afternoon.
ShapeShifter Plus Presents: Take Off Collective Residency
7pm & 8:15pm
Ole Mathisen (sax),
Matthew Garrison (bass)
Marko Djordjevic (drums)
ShapeShifter Plus Presents: Take Off Collective Residency
7pm - 8:15pm
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
Saturday, January 25 at 7 p.m.
Megumi Yonezawa / Masa Kamaguchi / Ken Kobayashi
Rockwood 3, 185 Orchard St., LES
TOMAS FUJIWARA SOLO ARCTURUS
THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2020 - 8:00 PM 9:30 PM
Tomas Fujiwara Solo
Pieces for acoustic drum set
Ben Stowers - Tenor Saxophone / Bass Clarinet
Lucas Saur - Cello
Odin Scherer - Guitar
Nick Augusta - Piano
Finn Carroll - Bass
Henry Mermer - Drums