Those little golden birdies look at them
And the mystic Egypt tossle dangling down
Old sleeper-man shish, don't wake him
Up one hand broom star was an obi-man
revered throughout the bone-knob land
His magic black purse slit creeped open,
Let go flocks of them
Shish sookie singabus
Snored like a red merry-go-round horse
And an acid gold bar swirled up and down,
Up and down, in back of the singabus
And the panataloon duck white goose neck quacked
What does it all mean?!? I’ve long loved lyrics to songs which speak to us, make us think and consider our places in the world. Protest music/lyrics and words about our relationships to each other and to the rest of the world, has always made me think about the things around us which influence and inspire us. There are lyricists who are also considered to be great poets like Bob Dylan, Tim Buckley, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, Frank Zappa, Robert Wyatt and yes, Captain Beefheart, all personal favorites of yours truly. Perhaps the most enigmatic lyric writer is Captain Beefheart. Myself and friends of mine from college spent many hours trying to decipher what the great Captain was saying. We once spent an entire evening transcribing and then trying to figure out what was going on inside the words of “The Old Fart at Play” from ‘Trout Mask Replica’. We actually thought we did figure it out but it has been lost to the sands of time. If you take some time you too will find several layers of meaning in the words of the songwriters listed above. It is time well spent. - BLG/DMG
The Downtown Music Gallery 29th Anniversary Celebrations will begin in 2020 & Will Continue throughout the year! May 1st is our Actual Anniversary! Every In-store throughout the Year Helps Celebrate the Spirit of Creative Music Performed Live.
Sunday, March 1st 2020:
6pm: LUCIANO PAGLIARINI and MICHEL EDELIN - International Sax Flute Duo!
7pm: JUAN PARRA CANCINO / JONATHAN IMPETT with KEIR NEURINGER!
8pm: HANK JOST - Solo Alto Sax!
Sunday, March 8th:
6pm: IMPLICIT ARCHES: KURT GOTTSCHALK - Guitar / MIGUEL FRASCONI - analog synth /
WILL GLASS - Drums
7pm: DARREN JOHNSTON - Trumpet / PETER HESS - Woodwinds /
ADAM DOTSON - Flugel-Bone!
8pm: TOMCHESS - Oud / ZACH SWANSON - ContraBass!
Sunday, March 15th:
6pm: TONED: TOM WEEKS - Sax / NATHAN CORDER - Electronics / LEO SUAREZ - Drums!
7pm: UNI: VINICIUS CAJADO - Acoustic Bass / KENJI HERBERT - Electric Guitar!
Tues, March 17th St. Patrick’s Day! Stone Cold Sober Celebration with:
6pm: JESSE DULMAN ALL-STARS: WILLIAM PARKER / DAVE SEWELSON / COOPER-MOORE!
Sunday, March 22nd:
6pm: DANIEL CARTER / KURT RALSKE / LELE DAI / FRANK MEADOWS / TODD CAPP!
7pm: BIG PICTURE: MATT LAVELLE / EVAN CRANE / LEONID GALAGANOV!
8pm: PRACTITIONER: BEN GOLDBERG - Clarinet / MICHAEL COLEMAN - Keyboards!
Sunday, March 29th:
6pm: JESSICA ACKERLEY - Solo Electric Guitar!
7pm: FRANCISCO MORA CATLETT / SAM NEWSOME / BOB STEWART!
8pm: MARK HANSLIP / FEDERICO REUBEN - From the UK!
DMG is located at 13 Monroe St. (between Catherine & Market Sts) in a basement below a small gallery. Take the F train to East Broadway or the 6 train to Canal or the B or D to Grand, or the M-15 bus to Madison & Catherine. Come on Down, the Sunday Music Series is Always Free & the Vibes are Always Cosy. You can check the weekly in-store sets through our Instagram feed. For the next month we have four triple bills in a row! More & more creative musicians want to play here at DMG and we are honored to have them. If you can, please do come down to capture the spirit of creative music live!
DMG RECOMMENDED GIG OF THE WEEK:
BURNT SUGAR THE ARKESTRA CHAMBER at THE APOLLO THEATRE!
This Saturday, February 29th at 8pm
Presenting the screening of “Shaft” (1971) with live score by Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber! A World Premiere Event at The World Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem NY!
The Apollo Theatre is located at 253 West 125th Street.
Box office: Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000 / Venue phone: (212) 531-5305.
This Week’s Dynamite Discs Begin with This Astonishing Treasure:
BOBBY PREVITE / JAMIE SAFT / NELS CLINE - Music from the Early 21st Century (RareNoise Records 115; Earth) Featuring Bobby Previte on drums, Jamie Saft on Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes & MiniMoog and Nels Cline on electric guitar & effects. The Downtown Scene has been around for more than forty years, after erupting around 1979/1980. It continues to evolve and has included more than a hundred musicians who come from a wide variety of backgrounds and generations. I have been admiring the work of Bobby Previte since the early 1980’s, as a jazz drummer, composer and ongoing multi-band leader. In the past decade, Mr. Previte has composed for chamber & percussion ensembles as well as working with keyboard wiz, Jamie Saft in several projects. Another restless sonic explorer is multiple keyboard great, Jamie Saft, who started out as Zorn collaborator & engineer, playing in Electric Masada and the Dreamers, branching out into many diverse bands/projects with revolving personnel. Guitar god, Nels Cline, certainly needs no intro here, but since moving to NY a few years ago, he has playing with a larger circle of fellow & female musicians from all over the musical spectrum: Mars Williams, Ava Mendoza, Satoko Fujii, Thollem McDonas, Kris Davis and Donald McKenzie.
Hence, this is the first time that this particular trio was recorded together. This discs consists of selections from four different live dates in New York and PA. The sound is superb and well-balanced. The opening track here is called, “Photobomb”, which has a rather majestic, prog-rock sound with the first of several incredible guitar solos from my man Nels! Mr. Saft plays some impressive Hammond organ while Mr. Previte proves some powerful, jazz-rocking drums. The overall sound reminds me the early Tony Williams Lifetime (from 1970) which had the same instrumentation and kicked off what would later be referred to as “fusion”, jazz/rock at its best. Even when the trio calms down, there is some impressive yet subtle organ and guitar interaction. The trio stays tight and focused throughout, building to a number dynamite crescendoes. Somewhere between ELP, Lifetime and different jam-bands (like MMW), there lies a sound which still sounds fresh, not dated but timeless. That would be what this trio does best, jamming like there is no tomorrow on ancient instruments, tested and true! This disc clocks in at more than 76 minutes and sounds marvelous throughout. The trio recently (February of 2020) played at NuBlu in NYC. Word is that they rocked the house and made all of this in attendance smile and feel better. This is the magic medicine of this music and it can be all yours for only…! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
* JON IRABAGON with MICK BARR / AVA MENDOZA / MIKE PRIDE // I DON’T HEAR NOTHING BUT THE BLUES - Volume 3: Anatomical Snuffbox (Irabbagast 017; USA) Featuring Jon Irabagon on tenor sax, Mick Barr & Ava Mendoza on guitars and Mike Pride on drums. This is an ongoing project that Jon Irabagon started in 2013 as a duo with the mighty Mike Pride on drums. Although the name of the duo was I Don’t Hear Nothing but the Blues, it sound more like an exercise for this tenor sax & drums duo to wail together in an ‘Interstellar Space’-like (John Coltrane & Rashied Ali LP) way. Two years later (2015), Irabagon added techno-metal guitar hero, Mick Barr, turning the duo into a trio which again soared into the freer terrain, with all the members pushing each other higher and higher til they reached boiling point. Fast forward to this week (2/27/20) and now I Don’t Hear Nothin’ But the Blues has become a quartet, adding yet another guitarist, the incredible Ava Mendoza. Formerly Bay Area-based, Ms. Mendoza, moved here a few years back. She has collaborated with many heavies like Fred Frith, Nels Cline, Sir Richard bishop, Stephen Gauci & Aaron Novik. Check out her brutal power trio Unnatural Ways and/or her new trio with Matt Nelson & Hamid Drake.
Think about the four musicians here, each from very varied backgrounds: techno-metal (Krallice, etc.), avant & straighter jazz (from Irabagon & Mike Pride Qt), hardcore punk (MDC with Pride), noise, prog, etc. I caught this quartet two nights ago (2/25/20) at The Stone and when they began, it was an onslaught, brutal, relatively loud and intense, lasting for nearly 45 minutes. This disc was recorded live at Happy Lucky No. 1 in Brooklyn in April of 2019. In order to hear everyone here, we might split our attention since both guitars and sax are in constant motion, with furious layers of lines spiraling tightly around one another. Mr. Irabagon is at the center of the storm here, playing somewhat slower than the frantic guitars on either side. While Mr. Barr shreds those lightning fast licks, Ms. Mendoza creates another blur of activity which often matches mind-blowing sax blasting of Mr. Irabagon. Since Mike Pride has worked in all sorts of jazz and HC punk bands, he sounds like the perfect choice for this molten quartet. The energy here is over-the-top and reminds me of ‘Ascension’, the spirits & ghosts soaring together higher and higher. Although the vibe is mostly exhilarating, if you concentrate on any one instrument at at time, you start to hear the way each member stretches out as the play. The title of this disc: ‘Anatomical Snuffbox’ and cartoon cover of the four outlaw musicians on their horses marching past the Old Man’s Saloon seem most appropriate, blurring the lines between the serious and the humorous intentions. This music is not for the timid but those who can keep up with it. This is certainly the Brutal truth of our everyday lives set aflame. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
* JON IRABAGON is in residency at The Stone this week (2/25-2/29/20). I urge to check him out. Also, we are having a sale on his vast back-catalogue which is listed further down in this newsletter.
DIASPORA MEETS AFRO HORN with AHMED ABDULLAH / ALEX HARDING / BOB STEWART / DONALD SMITH / MONIQUE NGOZI NRI / BOB STEWART / RONNIE BURRAGE / FRANCISCO MORA-CATLETT / ROMAN DIAZ / et al - JAZZ: A Music of the Spirit / Out of Sista’s Place (Ahmedian 2019; USA) Featuring Ahmed Abdullah on trumpets & vocals, Francisco Mora-Catlett on multiple percussion, Monique Ngozi Nri on poetry & vocals, Alex Harding on bari sax, Don Chapman on tenor sax, Bob Stewart on tuba, Donald Smith on piano, Radu be Judah on bass and Ronnie Burrage & Roman Diaz on percussion. The two co-leaders of this project, Admed Abdullan & Francisco Mora-Catlett both worked with Sun Ra for a long period in the 1970’s. Both men have embraced what they learned from Mr. Ra, from spiritual to out-jazz, space travel, mysticism and ways to inspire us, humanity to reach a higher plain through music, vocals and poetry. The music here captures those feelings and spirits which are in constant flux between the different dimensions we all exist within.
This disc begins with a sort of standard called “Accent” by Earl Coleman, which has one of those infectious, inside-outside themes, with a great groove accentuated by the bari sax of Alex Harding & drumming of Ronnie Burrage and some strong solos from Mr. Abdullah on trumpet, Mr. Harding on bari and Donald Smith on piano, who sounds like the explosive Don Pullen. Mr. Abdullah’s sublime muted trumpet is featured on the dreamy, “Eternal Spiraling Spirit”, which includes a feisty, thought-provoking recitation (by Ms. Ngozi Nri) of a poem about Malcolm X. My favorite song by Sun Ra (out of hundreds) is called, “In Some Far Place” a/k/a “Discipline 27”, which is featured on the ’Strange Celestial Road’ album. “Let’s build a better place, somewhere out in space and we will wait for you”! Yes, let’s! This version has a most enchanting funky groove, quietly propelled by the tuba, bari sax, bass and drums. Another well-selected Sun Ra song is called, “Love in Outer Space”. The version here features some charming vocal harmonies from Ms. Ngozi Nri & Mr. Abdullah, the music most enchanting. Another swell choice is the South African anthem, “Magwalandini” by Miriam Makeba. It has that infectious, South Africa, gospelish melody which will make you feel better no matter your previous mood. “Reminiscing” was composed by former Sun Ra bassist, Reginald Fields, and again it has a wonderful, space/groove vibe which is most uplifting and dream-like. This entire discs reminds me of the way a great Sun Ra concert would take us on a journey into outer & inner space, get us to think about how we have treated the Planet Earth and give us Hope for Better Days. Nothing better than Cosmic Medicine for Inspired Souls. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $16 [Limited Edition]
GRENSCO COLLECTIVE SPECIAL 5 with KEN VANDERMARK - Do Not Slam The Door! (BMC; EEC) Featuring: István Grencsó – tenor & alto sax, clarinet, flute, Ken Vandermark – tenor sax, clarinet , Stevan Kovács Tickmayer – piano, electronics, Róbert Benkő – double bass (left channel), Ernő Hock – double bass, bass guitar (right channel) and Szilveszter Miklós – drums. Is there such a thing as coincidence? Perhaps. But in the encounter between István Grencsó and Ken Vandermark some kind of necessity seems to have been at work. If we compare the careers followed by these two artists in the last decade and a half or so, it seems as if their paths have intertwined, with parallels and intersections. This is far from being self-evident, because a fundamental consideration for both of them is constant renewal, and the search for ever newer forms of expression...
My experience of working with the Grencsó Collective in Hungary is a perfect example of how creative collaboration in the arts helps to build bridges between people. I think of Coleman Hawkins inviting Pee Wee Russell to record; I think of Archie Shepp asking Roswell Rudd to be in his band; I think of Peter Brötzmann collaborating with Han Bennink, Fred van Hove, Evan Parker, and Derek Bailey; I think of Anthony Braxton developing a quartet with Marilyn Crispell - all combinations which confounded preconceptions and socio-political pressure. Each pointing to the fact that there is something essential and human in each of us that needs to be shared to enable society to move forward as a whole. - Ken Vandermark
Is there such a thing as coincidence? Perhaps. But in the encounter between István Grencsó and Ken Vandermark some kind of necessity seems to have been at work. If we compare the careers followed by these two artists in the last decade and a half or so, it seems as if their paths have intertwined, with parallels and intersections. This is far from being self-evident, because a fundamental consideration for both of them is constant renewal, and the search for ever newer forms of expression. In the musical idioms of both Grencsó and Vandermark, we hear the effect of external influences on them, and changes within them. As well as their natural predispositions, they are led in this direction by the artists who have influenced and inspired them. One strength of all the musicians is that they are able to adapt to the musical material envisioned and to each other. All the performers on this CD give the best of their artistic qualities. The music, whether composed or improvised, moves through wide ranging territories - complex, accelerated, and austere.
THE PROPER ORNAMENTS - Mission Bells (Tapete Records 454; Germany) “Nine months since the release of 6 Lenins (TR 432CD/LP, 2019), The Proper Ornaments are back with Mission Bells, a somber but uplifting record that began its life while they were on tour earlier in 2019, when new ideas emerged in different soundchecks around Europe. James Hoare, Bobby Syme, and Max Oscarnold, the founders of the group, recruited Nathalie Bruno as a bassist for the tour, and then the four-piece began recording in the summer at Hoare's home studio in Finsbury Park, London, using the same 16-track Studer tape machine as on their previous record, but this time they incorporated a Moog sequencer and other electronics instruments. On these recordings, meticulous attention to detail is never deployed as an end in itself but always with the song and sound in mind. As the Mission Bells sing, echoes of black albums Velvets, Swell Maps, Spiritualized, and Cluster might reach inside your brain, but the truth is that it's hard to pinpoint influences on an album that is the fifth in the life of this band, as they have been becoming more and more themselves, not needing to look elsewhere for inspiration. This is not a retro band, they just happened to like playing guitar, a preference that began, at least for James Hoare and Max Oscarnold, when they were nine years old. Whoever is familiar with their previous records might agree that Mission Bells has a lot of the innocent elements (drum machines underneath simple songs) of their first record, Waiting For The Summer (2013), the melancholy of Foxhole (2017), and their heavy live sounds, as drummer Bobby Syme points out. But it's the lyrical maturity that is the real achievement on this record. The words can be read as a William Burroughs cut-up experiment on what it is to live in these dystopian times. Mission Bells is a majestic achievement, a musical maelstrom, its harmonies drawing the inclined listener into an irreversible somnambulant state, caught between dreamland and waking hours. The beauty of it is, you won't want to escape, even though the door is flung open as your postmodern life awaits you outside…”
OISEAUX-TEMPETE - Tlamess (Sortilege)(Sub Rosa 494; Belgium) ”Tlamess (Sortilège) is Oiseaux-Tempête's first original soundtrack composed for the second feature film by critically-acclaimed Tunisian director Ala Eddine Slim (Festival de Cannes' 51st Quinzaine des Réalisateurs, BFI London, ADF Argentina, Geneva GIFF, Rome Medfilm Festival, Marrakech International Film Festival). Combining hypnotic feedbacks and synthesizer orchestral work, drifting ambient with shamanic beats, the Tlamess (Sortilège) original soundtrack was entirely improvised while watching the movie's rushes. On those sessions that took place between Mikrokosm recording studios in Lyon and Magnum Diva home studio in Paris, you find Oiseaux-Tempête's quartet core team: Frédéric D. Oberland, Stéphane Pigneul, Mondkopf, and Jean-Michel Pirès (Bruit Noir). Fully instrumental, including extended versions, and unreleased tracks, this immersive film score is also their most electronic album to date. "S, a young Tunisian soldier, has been told that his mother has died, and is given a week's leave. Instead of returning to his military base, he starts to drift and locking himself away in his parents' house. This passive form of desertion culminates in a manhunt through the outskirts of the city. In the second part of this hypnotic diptych, a young woman, F, is also fleeing an oppressive situation. Married to a rich man and pining away in a luxury solitude she decides to flee the golden cage and disappears into the nearby woods. Eventually the two characters will meet inside the strange forest." In his second feature, director Ala Eddine Slim presents an intriguing juxtaposition of raw realism with a hypnotic allegory of contemporary Tunisia, held together by an intense, powerful, and grating soundtrack. Regularly pairing with cinema and photography since their debut, Oiseaux-Tempête also accompanied the work of video/filmmakers As Human Pattern (KHAMSIN, best documentary at Torino Film Festival), Hinde Boujemaa (Noura's Dream, Golden Tanit & Best Actress prizes at JCC Carthage), Léa Fehner (Les Ogres, best film at Cabourg Film Festival), Stéphane Charpentier (The Divided Line, Athens French Institute), Karel Doing (Palindrome Series, International Film Festival Rotterdam), Clément Cogitore (Braguino exhibition at Le BAL), and the Temps Zero live screenings (in Berlin, Paris, Toulouse with photographers Michael Ackerman, Gaël Bonnefon, Adam Cohen, Damien Daufresne, Alisa Resnik, Gilles Roudière, Yusuf Sevincli...)
GIOBIA - Plasmatic Idol (Heavy Psych Sounds 113; Italy) “The Giöbia album Plasmatic Idol is simply impressive: a collection of different sounds and atmospheres, brings the listener to another sidereal world full of dreams and mind travels. You can clearly feel the influence of certain Pink Floyd in some passages but also pinches of Italian progressive rock, horror soundtrack sounds from '70s movies, '60s garage influences, US West Coast psychedelia, and late '60s space rock a la Hawkwind. The production is delicate and smooth, the album flows without interruptions and the music immerses your mind in a cosmic dimension. The vintage organs and synthesizers are used in the best way possible, eight tracks that capture your attention without distraction. Produced by Bazu, the guitar player and singer of the band. Mixed and mastered by Brett Orrison (Black Angels, Jack White) at Spaceflight Records in Austin, Texas. Cover artwork by Metastazis.”
WILD BILLY CHILDISH AND THE CHATHAM SINGERS - Kings of the Medway Delta (Damaged Goods 528; UK) "This album follows CTMF's Last Punk Standing LP and is something of a left turn. What prompted the decision to make a blues album? I've been making blues recordings since the early 1980s. We've made a few Chatham Singers LPs over the years and I've been meaning to record another and just got round to it. I'm still making regular CTMF recordings at the same sessions it's just the fun of working with different sounds. I was listening to Slim Harpo ('Got Love If You Want It') in a cafe, Jim form Ranscombe Studios was having a coffee and I said 'this is a great song, we should try to get that echo chamber going.' Next day he said he'd been messing with it and I said 'right, let's record!' How does this differ from the previous two Chatham Singers albums? Less country, no poetry, more developed sound, otherwise the same. It features fantastic blues harp playing by guest player Jim Riley, tell us a bit about him. Jim plays with us on the other LPs as well, I just wanted to highlight that a bit on this LP. I've known Jim since '77 when he was in the local R&B group, Wipeout, and I was in the local punk outfit The Pop Rivets. we played together a few times and became pals back then. Jim now runs the local studio where we record with my drum kit from Thee Mighty Caesars. You've really captured that authentic gritty urban blues sound. Gearheads will want to know what guitars and amps you used? My same old Selmer Truevoice guitar 15 amp I've used since the Milkshakes, a 15 Selmer bass combo (15 quid from Rochester flea market. A '59 Jazzmaster guitar and an old Hagstrom bass that Thee Headcoats got on the cheap in Seattle What do you think those other Kent-born musicians, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger would make of the album and how does it compare to their work? We got the sound of that Chess Studios echo chamber, so I guess they'd be pretty envious. I love the Rolling Stones when they were R&B fans, not so much after the rock set in."
Historic & Archival Recordings, Reissues & Restocked Items:
I’D LOVE TO TURN YOU ON - Classical and Avant-Garde Music That Inspired The Counter-Culture (El Records 351; UK) "A 3CD set of classical avant-garde music that influenced The Beatles, Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Nick Drake and more." Featuring Beethoven, Xenakis, Stockhausen, Berio, Cage, Bernard Herrmann, Ravi Shankar, Ravel, Debussy, Holst, Bill Evans, Sun Ra, G.F. Handel, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Igor Stravinsky, Edgard Varese, Sibelius, Delius, Jacques Brel, Villa-Lobos Chopin, and more.
3 CD Set $24
PETER GREEN - The End Of The Game (50th Anniversary Remastered & Expanded Edition)(Esoteric Recordings 2710; UK) "Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of a newly re-mastered and expanded 50th anniversary edition of the first solo album by the legendary Peter Green. Peter's work with Fleetwood Mac needs no introduction. His acclaimed guitar playing and writing graced several albums and a succession of hit singles before he departed the group in 1970."
BIG JOE TURNER - The Boss Of The Blues: The Complete Mono and Stereo Recordings, Recorded at Carnegie Hall 1956 (Bear Family Records 17505; Germany) "Seriously, one of the best blues albums of all time. masterfully tight, unpretentious and crazily swinging album. One of the first conceptualized blues records ever recorded. Recorded on two consecutive days in March 1956. Original mono album released September 1956. Turner never sounded better. Album reissue producer and liner notes: Colin Escott. Eco-pack with extensive booklet. When Big Joe Turner recorded the songs for Boss Of The Blues on two consecutive days in a New York studio in 1956, he could already look back on several stages of an extremely successful career. Around the mid-1930s, Turner began working with one of the stars of boogie woogie, pianist Pete Johnson from Kansas City. Both were involved in the legendary 1938 show produced by John Hammond Sr. at New York's Carnegie Hall, the 'Spirituals to Swing' concert. In 1951 Ahmet Ertegun signed Turner to his young Atlantic label. Over the next few years, Big Joe Turner recorded his most successful singles and became an Atlantic bestseller with a series of major hits in the R&B charts. In March 1956, however, history was written. Boss Of The Blues was one of the first blues concept albums (almost all other LPs of that day were compilations of previously released singles). Atlantic engaged musicians from the Count Basie community (plus their arranger). The music is anything but nostalgia. With exquisite musicians he created one of the best blues/jazz albums of all times with Big Joe Turner at the peak of his vocal expressiveness."
2 CD set $24
LINVAL THOMPSON - Trojan Dancehall Albums Collection (Doctor Bird 049; UK) "At the close of the 1970s, a new, strident style of reggae developed that by the close of the year had supplanted the roots sound, continuing to dominate Jamaica's musical landscape through to the mid-Eighties: dancehall. Few producers embraced the genre with more skill than Linval Thompson, who between 1982 and 1983 delivered four superb dancehall collections to Trojan Records, with each showcasing a major talent of the era. All but one of this quartet of LPs appear on CD for the first time in the UK, with Tristan Palma's Settle Down Girl making its full digital debut. The 2CD set is further bolstered by four Linval Thompson-produced bonus tracks, ensuring a musical feast for fans of the original dancehall sound."
2 CD Set $22
CLANCY ECCLES & THE DYNAMITES - Freedom / Fire Corner (Doctor Bird DBCD 050; UK) "The dawning of the rock steady sound, late in 1966, eliminated the need for record producers to employ horn sections, a consequence of which was to significantly reduce studio costs. The development enabled a new generation of young, dynamic music makers to make a mark upon Jamaica's recording industry and of these, few proved more successful or influential than Clancy Eccles. By the late Sixties, Eccles had become firmly established as one of the island's premiere producers, having been a pivotal figure in the development of reggae during the latter half of 1968. The following year he scored his biggest hit, the rambunctious 'Fattie Fattie', which sold in huge amounts both at home and the UK, where a chart placing for the disc was only denied by the lack of recognition of sales from Jamaican music retailers. The single's popularity prompted Trojan Records to issue Eccles's debut long-player, Freedom, which gathered the best of his self-produced recordings as a singer. The album's release coincided with a second LP of his work that showcased his most recent instrumental productions with top session crew, the Dynamites, along with a trio of tracks featuring pioneering DJ toaster, King Stitt, whose ground-breaking hit, 'Fire Corner', provided the collection's title. Both of these seminal boss reggae sets feature on this essential 2CD compilation, which is further enhanced by 13 additional vocal sides from the late Sixties along with the remaining recorded works of both King Stitt and the Dynamites, from 1969: the year reggae went outernational."
2 CD Set $22
LOOP - Fade Out (Reactor 003; UK) "Loop were loosely influenced by bands such as The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and The MC5, but retained an avant-garde and experimental edge from the likes of Can, Faust, Neu!, Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca and minimalist systems music. Band founder Robert Hampson recently announced the group is reforming to play a series of shows in 2013 and 2014, beginning with a co-headlining spot at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival."
2 CD Set $21
LOOP - Heaven's End (Reactor 001; UK) “British primal psych band Loop was formed in London in 1986 by Robert Hampson on guitar and vocals and Beki Stewart (Bex) on drums. After finding bassist Glen Ray, Loop signed to Head Records, run by Jeff Barrett (Heavenly), and released the feedbackdrenched 12-inch, 16 Dreams. With the arrival of James Endeacott on second guitar, drummer John Wills, and bassist Neil MacKay, Loop adopted a more primal, rhythmic approach and put out their debut full-length, 1987's Heavens End. The band hypnotized all with their discordant, trance-like spell which served as an antidote to the prevailing trends in British pop at the time; they resurrected the concept of loud, out-there rock for a new era, creating droning soundscapes of bleak beauty and harsh dissonance loosely influenced by The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, The MC5, but retaining the avant-garde and experimental edge of Can, Faust, Neu!, Rhys Chatham, Glenn Branca, and minimalist systems music. Live shows were revelatory -- Loop pushed PAs to the very limit, delivering a sonic pummel that has yet to be experienced since."
2 CD Set $21
LOOP - A Gilded Eternity (Reactor 004; UK) "A Gilded Eternity was the third and final full-length from Loop. Originally released in January 1990, it was reissued as part of the band's series of remastered 2xCDs in 2009. The seven tracks on the album (plus the two on the bonus single) are from a band at the absolute peak of their powers. There was far more to Loop than simply bludgeoning riffs and cranking up the gain control -- here was a group that also traded in textures, tempos and a no-less-intoxicated alternative to the saucer-eyed ravers who were then 'avin' it large. A Gilded Eternity was the moment that Loop slipped loose the anchor and set sail into a universe that was entirely their own -- a collection of hypnotic mantras that used repetition deliberately and methodically to induce a trance-like state. The epic 'Be Here Now' is a typical case: crafted around a circling, swooping riff, its build-up is both subtle and jarring, coming on with all the stealth and power of an unexpurgated LSD trip."
2 CD Set $21
BACK IN STOCK:
TONY MALABY/ANGELICA SANCHEZ/TOM RAINEY - Alive In Brooklyn (Vol 1)(Sarama; USA)Tony plays tenor sax, his wife Angelica plays piano and Tom plays drums. Over the past decade, both Angelica and Tony's musical careers have blossomed in a variety of great ways. Both keep immensely busy in a variety of projects, Angelica leading a few different groups as well as playing in Susie Ibarra's latest project and Tony can be heard with Paul Motian, Chris Lightcap and that great quartet with Louie Belogenis. Tom Rainey has also become the drummer of choice for a number of bands with Tim Berne, Mark Helias and many more. This fabulous trio has also been playing for quite a while as well and you can certainly hear it in the way they work together and anticipate each other's moves. 'Alive in Brooklyn' was recorded at Barbes in Brooklyn and features three long pieces. Released in mini-album cardboard cover.
TONY MALABY/ANGELICA SANCHEZ/TOM RAINEY - Alive In Brooklyn (Vol. 2)(Sarama Records; USA) “Alive in Brooklyn, Vol. 2 is the second album from this excellent freewheeling trio. Pianist Angelica Sanchez and her husband, tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, share their intuitive rapport with resourceful drummer Tom Rainey on another set of nebulous and visceral improvisations recorded at Barbès, one of Brooklyn's best new music venues.
Ms. Sanchez once again eschews acoustic piano for an electric Wurlitzer, invoking the brooding atmospherics of late-1970s fusion as well as the aggressive pointillist attack of that hallowed genre's more impetuous artists. Malaby is a masterful tenor stylist: capable of both paint-peeling multiphonic excess and subtle harmonic experimentation, he is able to compress the big horn's timbre down into the range of a flute. Rainey is a longtime Downtown scene veteran. His varied experiences have endowed him with a deep wellspring of creativity, veering from nuanced, rubato brush work and angular metered grooves to throttling tribal rhythms. The brilliantly recorded set opens with "Ventriliquism," a spacious and atmospheric meditation that builds to a fractious call-and-response coda. Gradually gaining intensity and momentum, "...The Other Ear" rises to a roiling climax of thundering drums, kaleidoscopic electric piano and turbulent tenor cries. Demonstrative of the trio's primal power, it is amalgam of New Thing-era expressivity amplified by fusion's electric polytonality, yielding a rousing, singular hybrid.” - Troy Collins, AllAboutJazz
LP ONLY SECTION:
MILES DAVIS with JOHN COLTRANE / CANNONBALL ADDERLEY / BILL EVANS or WYNTON KELLY / PAUL CHAMBERS and JIMMY COBB - Kind Of Blue (Wax Love 82137; Italy) “Wax Love present a reissue of Miles Davis's Kind Of Blue, originally released in 1959. One the most beautiful and essential albums of all times. The 1959 Miles Davis masterpiece is one of those rare pieces of art beyond ages and genres. A must have for any musically sensitive human being on earth. Personnel: Miles Davis - trumpet; John Coltrane - tenor sax; Cannonball Adderley - alto sax; Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly - piano; Paul Chambers - bass; Jimmy Cobb - drums.
JOHN COLTRANE / WILBUR HARDIN / CURTIS FULLER / - Africa (Wax Love WLV 82142’ Italy) "Recorded on June 24, 1958 at the Van Gelder Studio in Hackensack, NJ, these sessions feature original compositions by Wilbur Harden (best known for his work with Yusef Lateef and John Coltrane) and hard-bop trombonist Curtis Fuller (best known for his work with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and appearance on the classic Blue Trane album).The 32-year-old John Coltrane had only just recorded Blue Trane a year earlier and it is interesting to hear his style beginning to stretch out, as he makes his musical transition from strict hard bop to the groundbreaking style that would become legendary the following year on Giant Steps, making Coltrane one of the biggest names in jazz."
ALLEN TOUSSAINT - The Wild Sound of New Orleans (Wax Love 82141; Italy) Wax Love present an exact repro reissue of an early Allen Toussaint record, originally released in 1958. One of Toussaint's earliest solo recordings. Compelling and soulful New Orleans R&B, featuring the songs "Whirlaway", "Up The Creek", "Happy Times", "Nowhere To Go", and "Nashua".
JON GIBSON - Songs & Melodies, 1973-1977 (Superior Viaduct 173; USA) "Since the mid-1960s, Jon Gibson has played a key role in the development of American avant-garde music. As a versatile reed player, he has performed with everyone from Steve Reich and Philip Glass to Terry Riley and La Monte Young. In the 1970s, Gibson would emerge as a minimalist composer in his own right and release two exceptional albums, Visitations and Two Solo Pieces, on Glass' Chatham Square imprint. Songs & Melodies brings together recordings from 1973 to 1977 (mostly previously unreleased), featuring prominent figures in New York's scene including Arthur Russell, Barbara Benary and Julius Eastman. This double LP collection showcases the breadth of Gibson's expressive range -- from introspective piano meditations to cerebral ensemble works -- and the subtlety of his radical compositional techniques. The front cover artwork, a hand-drawn diagram by Gibson, originally appeared in the program for a March 1974 concert at Washington Square Church in Greenwich Village. While this concert was not the first to feature the composer exclusively, it would be a pivotal event in Gibson's early career as a composer. Superior Viaduct is honored to present this long overdue archival release that not only documents Gibson's important work, but also a crucial period in NYC musical history."
2 LP Set $30
ELLEN FULLMAN - In The Sea (Superior Viaduct 174; USA) "Ellen Fullman began developing The Long String Instrument in her St. Paul, Minnesota studio in 1980 and moved to Brooklyn the following year. Inspired by composer and instrument builder Harry Partch, Fullman's large-scale work creates droning, organ-like overtones that are as unique in the world of sound as her vision of the instrument itself. Along with her 1985 debut album -- appropriately titled The Long String Instrument -- Fullman's only output in the 1980s would be two self-released cassettes, In The Sea and Work For Four Players And 90 Strings, recorded in 1987 at an unfinished office tower in Austin, Texas. This double LP collection features music from both cassettes as well as a previously unreleased piece from 1988 at De Fabriek in Den Bosch, Holland. Ethereal and exquisitely paced, these rare recordings capture minimalism's quiet radiance. Within a musical landscape that has seen the rise of contemporary drone practitioners like Ellen Arkbro and Kali Malone, Fullman is sure to find a legion of fans. Superior Viaduct is honored to present this long overdue archival release that marks a particularly vibrant period of Fullman's pioneering and timeless work."
2 LP Set $30
BIG BLOOD - Do You Wanna Have a Skeleton Dream? (Feeding Tube Records 500; USA) "Wow! Great new LP by the full trio version of Maine's Big Blood. Colleen, Caleb, and Quinnisa are all present and accounted for at every turn on this one! Unlike their last LP, The Daughter's Union (FTR 459LP, 2019) (which seemed like some sort of experiment involving glam-rock-readymades), Do You Wanna? is awash with crazily re-imagined girl group dynamics. Some of these tight-sparkly-dress recreations have a savage teenage authority, but others wiggle more like dreams stolen from the nodes of Julee Cruise, Angelo Badalamenti, or David Lynch. Sometimes there are style-ghosts standing in all the expected places, but none of them are behaving the way we'd expect. But I do not wish to paint the sound here as monochromatic. There are many of Big Blood's classic elements employed with trademark pluck -- witchy patches recalling early Spires That in the Sunset Rise, small balloons filled with glitter & gas-pulses, bubbling pools of pure psychedelic confusion. But the strange sophistication of children wearing Diana Ross masks is something new. And it's such a mesmerizing vision, I find myself paying extra attention to it. But then again, that's just the surface. The lyrics here are of a piece with Big Blood's patented approach of creating surrealist poetry in a rural and arrestingly original American style. Quinissa's newly rampant influence seems to be grounding some of the lyrical imagery in more quotidian scenes ('Insecure Kids,' etc.), but with the parental examples she's afforded on a daily basis, this may just be a phase. But whatever else it is, Do You Wanna? is another amazing spin from Big Blood. And there's even a poster you can pin on your memory board. Talk about your win/win situations!" --Byron Coley, 2020
ELEH - Living Space (Touch 114; UK) “Following Slow Fade for Hard Sync (2009) and Location Momentum (2010), Living Space is Eleh's third physical release for Touch. Seven years in the making, this new release consolidates the artist's parallel narrative between a series of vinyl and CD releases for Important Records -- where the emphasis is on a minimalist aesthetic -- to a visual counterpoint that hints at the cinematic and painterly qualities of the music. Sound, as a healing force, is an idea as old as the medium itself. Inspired by the legacy and above all the spirit of John Coltrane, Living Space features five new compositions that seek to express the beauty of slow change, not only through the microtonal shifts in sound that Eleh navigates but moving with the atmospheric and shape-shifting conditions that the music creates as it interacts with the listening space, whether bedroom or concert hall, each one of them unique. If the ambition of Living Space is to reflect both personal and collective growth cycles, the experience of its audition has the effect of stopping time. Melodic and harmonic progressions are implied and not stated obviously, to enable listeners to apply their own emotions and feelings to the music. Using modular and analog synthesizers, piano, organ, bass, and symphonic chimes, Living Space stresses the promise of the albm's final track -- "Lighter Touch" -- forsaking the forceful hand for an approach that mirrors the slower and softer exposures of plant life and leaf formations, slow moving waters, not flash floods nor forest fires. In counterpoint to the music, the 64-minute album is presented in a gatefold sleeve with Jon Wozencroft's water photography extending the meditational pull of these new compositions. For those for whom Eleh needs no introduction, see if you agree. Anyone who has yet to experience the artist's sonic alchemy, Living Space is the perfect starting point.”
2 LP Set $23
SPOTLIGHT ON JON IRABAGON! SPOTLIGHT ON JON IRABAGON! SPOTLIGHT ON JON IRABAGON!
For me, it started around 2004 when I first checked this quartet know as Mostly Other People Do the Killing at the CBGB’s Gallery Sunday Series which was hosted by my pal Dee Pop and which took place one block south of DMG when we were stationed on the Bowery. That quartet, MOPDTK, featured Jon Irabagon on saxes, Peter Evans on trumpet, Moppa Elliott on bass and Kevin Shea on drums. I hadn’t heard of any of these then newcomers to the Downtown Scene, but I was quickly knocked out by the refreshing energy, inventiveness, inside/outside spirit and sense of humor! Although Peter Evans departed a few years back, that band continues today and remains of the Downtown’s best beyond-pigeon-holing ensembles. All members of the original are/were prolific and continue to do so today with dozens of different projects.
Jon Irabagon plays several different saxes, alto, tenor, sopranino, alto clarinet and soprillo and incredibly enough, he plays each of them quite well! No small feat, I assure you! What I find most interesting about Mr. Irabagon and the other members of MOPDTK is that continually reinvent themselves and work in many different genres or styles as is possible! Besides a half dozen discs under his own name and a dozen by MOPDTK, Mr. Irabagon can be heard on more than 100 discs as a sideman, working with Dave Douglas, Uri Caine, Barry Altschul, Matt Mitchell and many more.
This week (2/25-2/29), Mr. Irabagon has a residency at The Stone in NYC, with different personnel each night. I caught the first night, a sextet with Tim Hagans, Uri Caine, Joe Fonda, Mark Helias and Barry Altschul and it was phenomenal! Going back tonight for an altogether different group with Mick Barr, Ava Mendoza and Mike Pride, hoping to have my mind blown again. No doubt! That quartet has a new CD which will be released shortly and it is at the top of the newsletter this week. Below is a sale list of Mr. Irabagon’s back catalogue as leader, each one a winner. Make sure you have each one!
A DOZEN GREAT DISCS FROM JON IRABAGON’S BACK CATALOGUE:
JON IRABAGON with ANDEW NEFF / DANNY FOX / SCOTT RICHIE / ALEX WYATT CHRIS CASH - Here Be Dragons (Fresh Sound NT 378; Spain)
JON IRABAGON'S OUTRIGHT With RUSS JOHNSON / KRIS DAVIS / EIVIND OPSVIK / JEFF DAVIS et al - Outright (Innova 699; USA)
CD Sale $10
JON IRABAGON With MIKE PRIDE / MICK BARR - I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues, Vol 2: Appalachian Haze (Irabbagast 01; USA)
CD Sale $10
JON IRABAGON'S OUTRIGHT With RALPH ALESSI / JACOB SACKS / JOHN HEBERT / TOM RAINEY CHRIS CASH /MIKE PRIDE / EIVIND OPSVIK et al - Unhinged (Irabbagast 02; USA)
CD Sale $10
JON IRABAGON With TOM HARRELL / LUIS PERDOMO / YASUSHI NAKAMURA / RUDY ROYSTON - Behind the Sky (Irabbagast 04; USA)
CD Sale $10
JON IRABAGON - Inaction is An Action (Irabbagast 05; USA)
CD Sale $10
JON IRABAGON QUARTET with TIM HAGANS / LUIS PERDOMO / YASUSHI NAKAMURA / RUDY ROYSTON - Dr. Quixotic's Traveling Exotics (Irabbagast Records 010; USA)
CD Sale $10
JON IRABAGON With MATT MITCHELL / MIVOS QUARTET - Invisible Horizon (Irabbagast 014/015; USA)
2 CD Set $12
JON IRABAGON / JOE FIEDLER / TODD NEUFELD - In Formation Network (Nuscope 1031; USA
CD Sale $10
BRANDON LEE with JON IRABAGON / DONALD VEGA / DAVID WONG / AARON KIMMEL - Common Thread (Irabbagast 008; USA)
CD Sale $10
UPTOWN JAZZ TENTET with JON IRABAGON / BRANDON LEE / CHRIS MADSEN / CARL MARAGHI / JAMES BURTON / et al - There It Is (Irabbagast 007; USA)
CD Sale $10
JON IRABAGON CD'S with Reviews:
JON IRABAGON'S OUTRIGHT With RUSS JOHNSON / KRIS DAVIS / EIVIND OPSVIK / JEFF DAVIS et al - Outright (Innova 699; USA) “Outright!’ is the debut CD by alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon, whom Time Out New York calls "one of the city's deadliest horn players. The emphasis here isn't on runs of notes and impressing the audience; instead, Irabagon and crew strive for cohesive group improvisations, intricate yet singable melodies, and a spirit of in-the-moment improvisation that looks past the Young Lion All-Star phenomenon and more towards a group-centered view of creation. Jon spent his formative years not only in the classroom (Manhattan School of Music, The Juilliard School) but more emphatically out in the clubs of Chicago and New York City, performing everything from jazz, avant-garde, big band, rock, pop, modern classical, electronic, and Brazilian music. Jon is a sideman in several forward-thinking groups, including Matt Grason's Motel Project (featuring Washingon, D.C.'s most daring freestyle beat poets), the free improvising RIDD Quartet (Clean Feed Records), the Jostein Gulbrandsen Quartet (Fresh Sound New Talent), Jon Lundbom's Big Five Chord, and Moppa Elliott's terrorist bebop band Mostly Other People Do the Killing (Hot Cup). The latter has been garnering rave reviews and interviews in JazzTimes, Downbeat, and Playboy magazines. All of these experiences have led to this first album as a leader, where Jon combines the approaches and ideals of all this collective work and funnels these ideas through his own compositions with some of New York City's most promising young talents (who perform regularly with legends Lee Konitz, Tony Malaby, Chris Speed, and others) in tow. The music changes drastically from track to track, and there is a hint of something for everyone, while wrapped in the most free and breathing group improvisation. References to the music of Steve Coleman, Dave Douglas, Ornette Coleman, Wynton Marsalis, Tim Berne, Myron Walden, Peter Brotzmann, and even Squarepusher and Aphex Twin might be heard, as the music is created from the realm of today's New York jazz scene. The songs in this debut CD appeal to not just to the avid jazz lover, but to anyone who is interested in hearing forward-thinking music built on spontaneity and excitement. Performers include: Jon Irabagon, Russ Johnson, Kris Davis, Eivind Opsvik, Jeff Davis, Chris Cash, Jessie Lewis, The Outright! Mixed Choir, and The Original Outright! Jass Band.
JON IRABAGON With MIKE PRIDE / MICK BARR - I Don't Hear Nothin' But The Blues, Vol 2: Appalachian Haze (Irabbagast 01; USA) A few months back I wrote a review about Nate Wooley's album The Almond. It was interesting recording in which there was one note, and slight variations, stretched across 75 minutes. This one note was layered and changed slightly over time, but essentially it was one note. This new album from Jon Irabagon, Mike Pride, and Mick Barr is exactly the opposite of one note, in fact, it's just about every single note in every single possibility combination possible between the saxophone, guitar and drums. However I feel a connection, something almost intangible that the two recordings share, something deeper than just the amount of notes. There is something aligned in how the modulations within a flow of sounds and thoughts draws you into their musical melee. Suffice to say, there is a constant stream of sounds on Appalachian Haze. Mick Barr's guitar continuously agitates, it's pokey, it's scratchy, and it punctures through the blankets of sound that saxophonist Irabagon lays down. Pride's drums propel and accentuate energetically. But it's the guitar, a new voice in this group, that is like an axis for the others to dance, prowl and swing about. Like Wooley's single note, I Don't Hear Nothing But the Blues' stream also achieves a certain meditative stance. The rhythmically oscillating and melodically adventurous traversing across the guitars sonic trajectory makes this avant-rock-metal-free-jazz excursion quite lulling. I don't think I've heard anything quite like it. At the same time, the strength of the album is also the one complaint I have: it's relentless. I am not sure if it's meant for that many repeat listenings. But really a minor quip, drop into as you like, be caught in its alluring riptide but swim out when you need. If you can, find a copy of the recording, as the cover and inside art is as fun as the music is challenging and hypnotic. An illustration of the musician's as Wild West gunslingers duking it out in a saloon, it's full of humor and passion. - Paul Acquaro, freejazz-stef.blogspot.com
JON IRABAGON'S OUTRIGHT With RALPH ALESSI / JACOB SACKS / JOHN HEBERT / TOM RAINEY CHRIS CASH /MIKE PRIDE / EIVIND OPSVIK et al - Unhinged (Irabbagast 02; USA) Saxophonist Jon Irabagon is one of the busiest musicians on the contemporary jazz scene. In addition to taking plum sideman appearances with the likes of Mary Halvorson and Dave Douglas, he has found time to start his own label and release two albums this fall. Along with Irabagon, the core group on this album is Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Jacob Sacks on keyboard, John Hebert on bass and Tom Rainey on drums. There are also guest spots for individuals and even a large orchestra. The music is spirited and fun, covering a lot of ground, much like he does in the thrilling group he anchors, Mostly Other People Do the Killing. The music moves from short riotous blasts of manic joy, Camp Douglas, 1-3 which sounds like bebop meshed with cartoon music - boisterous and cheerful, to the Latin music of Lola Pastillas. This track was particularly interesting, beginning with Sacks developing an angular motif on piano, before deftly moving to a syncopated pace that builds in the elastic Latin theme. Irabagon develops a powerful saxophone solo over staccato percussion to excellent effect. Kremzeek ricochets off into another direction entirely, with horns melding with electric keyboards to usher in a complicated introduction. The tune is lightning fast with the leader soloing over strong accompaniment of bubbling electric keyboards and bass, making for a thrilling performance. A snarling guitar solo envelops the music, before making way for spots for drums and trumpet. The version of Paul Desmond's Take Five is re-worked to the point of being unrecognizable, and Irabagon develops a deep stoic 'Coltrane in 65' tone that adds a whole new dimension to the music, especially with Hebert's epic bass solo. While occasionally rough and ready, it is the wit of Irabagon and the other musicians in this album that shines through the most. This is an accessible album that will appeal to a wide swath of jazz fans, comfortable in the hard swinging world of mainstream jazz and the abstract and ever inquiring world of the avant-garde. Not to be missed. - Tim Niland
JON IRABAGON With TOM HARRELL / LUIS PERDOMO / YASUSHI NAKAMURA / RUDY ROYSTON - Behind the Sky (Irabbagast 04; USA) The grieving process is a personal journey and an act of discovery, allowing individuals to truly appreciate what was, while awakening to the reality of what is. And while no two people mourn in the exact same fashion, mourning itself, no matter the method, is almost always a cathartic experience. In the case of saxophonist Jon Irabagon, that emotional outpouring, connected to the loss of several loved ones and mentors, was channeled into Behind The Sky. Irabagon-winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition, button-pusher in the controversial and (occasionally) irreverent Mostly Other People Do The Killing, and a key ingredient in the bands of trumpeter Dave Douglas, guitarist Mary Halvorson, and several other creative leading lights-doesn't usually keep to the jazz straight and narrow. More often than not he's made his mark in "outside" endeavors, but here, in paying respect to the departed and channeling his emotions, he takes a more direct approach with his compositions and execution: tuneful expression, stability, displays of empathy, and cohesion are the norm. While a record reflecting the grieving process might logically be filled with somber songs and downcast displays, Irabagon doesn't buy into that line of thinking. Instead, he delivers charged numbers like "The Cost Of Modern Living" and "Sprites," reflective-turned-uplifting pieces like "One Wish," and sly songs like "Mr. Dazzler." There are moving pieces to be found here, like "100 Summers," and there are occasional moments of introspection, as displayed when Irabagon's soprano and Luis Perdomo's piano meet up on the adrift and efflorescent "Lost Ship At The Edge Of The Sea." But sorrowful this music isn't. Irabagon, with some help from his longtime rhythm section and guest trumpeter Tom Harrell, manages to purge his emotions without allowing pathos to weigh the music down. - Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
JON IRABAGON - Inaction is An Action (Irabbagast 05; USA) Featuring Jon Irabagon on solo soprano sax only! When Mt. Irabagon told me, he was releasing a solo soprano CD, I thought he was joking, since most folks wouldn't appreciate his sincere effort. The soprano sax is smaller than a soprano sax and the range is higher, even more brittle and difficult to play. Although the soprano seems to be getting bit more popular in recent years, thanks to pioneers like Anthony Braxton, Roscoe Mitchell and Vinny Golia, this might just be the first solo offering on sopranino only. This disc was actually recorded live in a church in Chicago. To make things even more challenging, the first piece is a close mic'd effort with some shrewd, lower-case like bent sounds. Is that a sax or someone bowing a piece of wood? On "Acrobat", Irabagon takes each ore and twists it into strange, disorienting shapes. Extremely challenging to both play and listen to and somewhat Roscoe Mitchell-like. It does sound like Mr. Irabagon has put a great deal of work into this since every piece explores different textures and extended techniques. Some of this sounds like sawing wood or daxophone weirdness or other sounds too difficult to describe (bird calls or animal sounds, perhaps?). "The Best Kind of Sad" is a somewhat bluesy, poignant piece which juggles a couple of different lines at the same time. I know that some folks will call this abrasive or indulgent, yet there is something intriguing going on here. It just a bit of patience and getting rid of certain prejudice to appreciate this effort. This disc is much better than I would've imagined but no less difficult or challenging. - Bruce Lee Gallanter
JON IRABAGON QUARTET with TIM HAGANS / LUIS PERDOMO / YASUSHI NAKAMURA / RUDY ROYSTON - Dr. Quixotic's Traveling Exotics (Irabbagast Records 010; USA) Featuring Jon Irabagon on tenor sax, Tim Hagans on trumpet, Luis Perdomo on piano, Ysushi Nakamura on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. NYC-based saxist & Monk award winner, Jon Irabagon, switches between alto, tenor & soprano saxes, leads several bands and is a founding member of Mostly Other People do the Killing. Although most of Irabagon’s half dozen plus CDs, feature different personnel, the rhythm team here (Perdomo, Nakamura & Royston, worked with Irbagaon for an earlier disc from 2015, which fettered another trumpeter: Tom Harrell. Right from the opening song, “The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”, this quintet sounds impressive: tight, inspired, burning and swinging hard. Bassist, Yasushi Nakamura, is in particularly fine form here, and he is the one member that I wasn’t familiar with. The other members are veterans of many sessions: Mr. Hagans (Bob Belden & Maria Schneider bands), Mr. Perdomo (Ravi Coltrane & Henry Threadgill) and Mr. Royston (Bill Frisell & Dave Douglas). Another great thing about this disc and band is Mr. Irabagon’s writing. Even with swinging furiously, these tunes are challenging, turning on dime and switching currents often midstream. Each of these pieces are pretty long and often move through different sections, giving member multiple chances to stretch out and take long, inspired solos. Like Mr. Irabagon’s other band, MOPDTK, this band seems to cover or evoke the history of modern jazz. “You Own Your Own” reminds me of one of those churning, Wayne Shorter songs from his mid-sixties Blue Note albums. Trumpeter, Tim Hagans, who is a guest here, is the perfect foil for Mr. Irabgaon’s often slow burning tenor flights. Midway through this piece, the tempo increases to boiling point, with Mr. Perdomo taking an incredible solo to match the powerful currents flowing through. Earlier this week, I listened to several Blue Note records (Andrew Hill & Eric Dolphy) on vinyl and was blown away by the the music and the way they sounded on record. This often CD sounds like one of those long lost Blue Note sessions that us collectors savor when we find them. No small feat! This quintet sounds like it has been together for decades, they are that tight, spirited and inventive. At some 72 minutes long, there is way too much great music here to comment on. I did listen to this entire CD and was blown away from the beginning to the end! I hope to get a chance to hear this band live so I write to Mr. Irabagon to find out if and when they are playing. This is without a doubt, one of the best jazz albums of the year! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JON IRABAGON With MATT MITCHELL / MIVOS QUARTET - Invisible Guests (Irabbagast 014/015; USA) Even before Mr. Irabagon won the Monk competition several years back, he has been challenging himself by working in different genres with varied musicians, as well as switching between different saxes. So far, Mr. Irabagon has played mostly alto or tenor sax in different bands, as well as one CD of solo sopranino sax. On ‘Invisible Guests’ (or Disc One), Irabagon again plays sopranino with pianist Matt Mitchell and the Mivos (String) Quartet. Strangely enough, Mr. Irabagon based this piece structurally on the ancient game of Mahjong, a game which his family played when he was younger and a game which my mother has played for some fifty years, still playing 2-3 times a week. I can still hear the crashing on the tiles played in Mahjong in my mind from when I was a youngster (along with “one crack, two bam”), as well as hearing the Chinese folks on the block where the store is who seem to play every day. The game is based on certain superstitions and Mr. Irabagon tries to capture “the nature of chance and kismet” in his writing and his colleagues, Matt Mitchell on piano and the Mivos String Quartet do a fine job of illustrating the music. The opening piece is for a sopranino sax without a mouthpiece, something which is slowly become more popular over time as saxist continue to experiment with their (s)axes. When one doesn’t use the mouthpiece, the sounds are odd bent breath-like sounds. It sounds as if Mr. Irabagon spent quite a it of time composing this music as it is rich, thoughtful, dense at times and pretty diverse. The string quartet are kept on their toes as they work their way through many twists and turns, which soon erupt when the piano enters on the second section of the “Invisible Guests” suite. Pianist Matt Mitchell, seems to be the most in-demand of the many Downtown keyboard players since he shows up time and again with many Downtown leaders: Tim Berne, Dave Douglas, Kate Gentile, Mario Pavone & Dan Weiss… Much of this music is quite complex and challenging, yet it is completely focused and appears to tell a story and/or create emotional scenery. Mr. Irabagon doesn’t play on much of the suite leaving it to the piano and string quartet to flesh out the music at hand, sometimes contemplative with occasional eruptions. The quieter moments here show a good balance with the more intense eruptions. ‘Dark Horizon” Live from the Mausoleum” (or Disc Two) is something else entirely. For this disc, Mr. Irabagon plays an ultra rare mezzo-soprano sax in the mausoleum of Emanuel Vigeland, a Norwegian painter who created his own unique resting place or mausoleum which is called Tomba Emmanuelle, which has 13-second reverb, as well as the striking artwork of Mr. Vigeland. The liner notes include a lengthy description which I will leave for you to read. The music, however, is astonishing. The sound of the mezzo-soprano is bittersweet, the reverberation like taking a sonic bath with a liquid echo washing over us, the soft cry of mankind floating in a tomb. The sound of the sax is lonely yet hypnotic. Mr. Irabagon circular breathes some continuous lines, taking his time, slowing down to a thoughtful level and not speeding up to the usual stream that often sounds too dense too deal with. Mr. Irabagon is a master of whichever sax he is playing, obviously working hard to master, experiment and utilize the many ways to play sax, in both settings and sounds. One of the few reeds wizards that I know owned and played a mezzo-soprano was Thomas Chapin, who recorded it for his first MuWorks release, ‘Radius’. Irabagon throws in a few Chapin-like lightning licks at one point which made me smile. There is one cover here, which is “Good Old Days” (‘Theme from the Little Rascals’), which is slowed down yet somehow endearing although some of those bent notes are almost too much. The mighty Jon Irabagon once again takes chances yet comes up a winner in the experimental saxophone department. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $16
JON IRABAGON / JOE FIEDLER / TODD NEUFELD - In Formation Network (Nuscope 1031; USA) Featuring Jon Irabagon on alto & sopranino saxes, Joe Fiedler on trombone & mutes and Todd Neufeld on electric guitar & pedals. The instrumentation of sax/trombone/guitar goes all the way back to the late 1950’s (some 60 years) to the Jimmy Giuffre Trio (with Jim Hall & Bob Brookmeyer). Thirty years later, the same instrumentation was utilized by the News for Lulu Trio (with John Zorn, George Lewis & Bill Frissel). Now, some three decades since the initial records by New for Lulu, we have this trio which includes: Jon Irabagon (from Mostly Other People the Killing & Monk award winner) on saxes, Joe Fiedler (several CD’s on Clean Feed & on his own Yellowsound label) guitarist Todd Neufeld you should recognize from his work with Tyshawn Sorey, Samuel Blaser and Alexandra Grimal. Instead of the usual group improvs, each member contributed a couple of songs plus there are two versions of the same song by Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser plus two other covers: “Voodoo” by Sonny Clark (also done by the Sonny Clark Memorial Quartet with Mr. Zorn) and “Mayday Hymn” by Albert Mangelsdorff (legendary German trombone master). Starting with Mr. Neufeld’s “C.G.F.”, the trio has a thoughtful, chamber-jazz like sound, somewhere between the Giuffre and Lulu trios. Mr. Blaser’s “Pieces of Old Sky” is calm at the center and each member must take their time to stretch their notes and let them drift, bending them together most carefully. Mr. Fiedler’s “The Next Phase” is a lovely ballad with superb, sublime, bluesy solos from each member of the trio. Over the past few years, Mr. Irabagon has been concentrating on the sopranino sax, after having mastered alto & tenor saxes. He appears to keep digging deeper into some extended techniques, especially when playing solo. On his oddly titled piece, “Wai’ anapanapa”, both he and Neufeld’s guitar, bend their their notes into strange fragments while Mr. Fiedler’s stays more relaxed no matter how far out the other two go at times. Sonny Clark’s “Voodoo” was the title track for the the Sonny Clark Memorial Quartet, which was led by Wayne Horvitz. The version here is similar to the way News for Lulu would cover a version of a Sonny Clark song: Monkish and somewhat skewered. The Mangelsdorff cover is a delight, and played most reverentially, another warm, enticing vibe. The final piece is another version of the cover by Samuel Blaser and it is most haunting. Mr. Irabagon’s tone on alto and solo show him to be in a class of his own. Rather Rahsaan-like (tart yet ghost-like) and reminding me of “The Inflated Tear”. A perfect ending to a most spectacular disc. CD of the week (12/02/17)! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD Sale $10
UPTOWN JAZZ TENTET with JON IRABAGON / BRANDON LEE / CHRIS MADSEN / CARL MARAGHI / JAMES BURTON / et al - There It Is (Irabbagast 007; USA) The Uptown Jazz Tentet is one of the most dynamic large jazz ensembles to emerge in 2016. Founded and led collaboratively by trumpeter Brandon Lee and trombonists Willie Applewhite & James Burton III, the band is comprised of ten of the most venerable and ubiquitous young sidemen in all of jazz. The compositional styles of Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Quincy Jones, Gil Evans, Wayne Shorter and Wynton Marsalis inform the ethos of this powerhouse group, shaping the band's unique and unmistakable sound.
CD Sale $10
BRANDON LEE with JON IRABAGON / DONALD VEGA / DAVID WONG / AARON KIMMEL - Common Thread (Irabbagast 008; USA) Featuring Brandon Lee on trumpet & flugelhorn, Jon Irabagon on alto & tenor saxes, Donald Vega on piano, David Wong on acoustic bass and Aaron Kimmel on drums. I hadn’t heard much of trumpeter, Brandon Lee, before now aside for one sideman date on Sunnyside. The same can be said of the rest of this quintet aside from in-demand saxist Jon Irabagon. This disc features a history of jazz trumpet with songs by Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Lee Morgan and Kenny Dorham, as well as five originals by Mr. Lee. Starting with the bebop standard, “A Night in Tunisia”, which is slowed down a bit and features some superb solos from Mr. Lee on trumpet, Mr. Irabagon on tenor sax and Donald vega on piano. Mr. Lee’s originals are also well-selected and diverse, showing off his consistently inspired playing and inventive writing. I haven’t a great more mainstream jazz CD in recent memory so this disc sounds fresh and consistently inspired throughout. A long review in the future when I have some extra time. - BLG/DMG
CD Sale $10
Bruce Lee Gallanter’s Recommended Gig List for February & March, 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 - JON IRABAGON - FEB 25 – 29
8:30 pm - Jon Irabagon Quartet - Jon Irabagon (sax) Matt Mitchell (piano) Chris Lightcap (bass) Dan Weiss (drums)
8:30 pm - Wind Quintet - Brooklyn Wind Quintet: Michel Gentile (flute) Katie Scheele (oboe) Mike McGinnis (clarinet) Sara Schoenbeck (bassoon) Nathan Koci (french horn)
THE STONE RESIDENCIES - MILES OKAZAKI - MAR 3–7
QUINTET - Miles Okazaki (guitar) Wendy Eisenberg (guitar) Michael Formanek (bass) Uri Caine (piano) Ches Smith (drums)
8:30 pm - QUARTET - Miles Okazaki (guitar) Caroline Davis (saxophone) Dan Weiss (tabla, drums) Rajna Swaminathan (mrudungam)
8:30 pm - QUARTET - Miles Okazaki (guitar) Damion Reid (drums) Jonathan Finlayson (trumpet) Amir El Saffar (trumpet) Chris Tordini (bass)
8:30 pm - QUARTET - Miles Okazaki (guitar) Steve Cardenas (guitar) Kate Gentile (drums) Jerome Harris (bass)
8:30 pm - Trickster - Miles Okazaki (guitar) Matt Mitchell (piano) Anthony Tidd (bass) Sean Rickman
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, February 28, 2020 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
URI CAINE Tango with Tango Julien Labro, Augustin Uriburu, Mark Feldman & Pablo Aslan
URI CAINE (piano)
Julien Labro (bandoneon)
Augustin Uriburu (cello)
Mark Feldman (violin)
Pablo Aslan (bass)
Saturday, February 29, 2020 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
URI CAINE with Mark Helias & Clarence Penn
Uri Caine (piano)
Mark Helias (bass)
Clarence Penn (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 March 2nd
Reggie Sylvester – drums
8pm Stephen Gauci – tenor saxophone
Sandy Ewen – guitar
Adam Lane – bass
Kevin Shea – drums
Yoni Kretzmer – tenor saxophone
Christoff Knoche – bs. clarinet
Eivind Opksvik – bass
Jeff Davis – drums
Lisanne Tremblay – violin
Edward Gavitt – guitar
Kenneth Jimenez – bass
Lesely Mok – drums
Jeff Davis – drums
Jon Irabagon – saxophones
Eivind Opsvik – bass
Jonathan Goldberger – guitar
Neal Anderson – flugel horn/ewi
Yuma Uesaka – tenor saxophone
Alec Goldfarb – guitar/electronics
Downstairs @ Bushwick Public House
1288 Myrtle Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn
(Across the street from M train Central Ave stop)
TIM BERNE'S SNAKE OIL - RECORD RELEASE SHOW!
FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2020 - 8:00 PM 10:00 PM
Tim Berne - Saxophone
Oscar Noriega - Clarinets
Ches Smith - Drums
Matt Mitchell - Piano
Harry Covert - 6-string electric bass
FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020 - 8:30 PM 9:30 PM
MARIUS DUBOULE QUINTET
Jacob Sacks - piano
Michaël Attias - alto sax
Billy Mintz - drums
Jeong Lim Yang - bass
Marius Duboule - guitar
SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 2020 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
CHOI / SACKS DUO
Yooni Choi - Voice
Jacob Sacks - Piano
MARTY EHRLICH Upcoming CONCERT:
Tuesday, March 3, 8PM one set
Oscar Noriega, Ned Rothenberg,
Andy Laster , Marty Ehrlich - Alto Saxes
Seeds Brooklyn Performance Space ($15 donation )
617 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn | seedsbrooklyn .org
Sounds of Justice
THE SUN RA ARKESTRA Led by MARSHALL ALLEN! Plus
THE WILLIAM PARKER’S CURTIS MAYFIELD PROJECT!
Wednesday, March 4, 7:00pm
The Town Hall, 123 West 43rd Street
The 25th Year Celebration for the VISION FESTIVAl is approaching fast! Join us on March 4th with the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen and the return of William Parker's Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield.
CELEBRATING WOMEN COMPOSERS!
Friday, March 20, 2020 - 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Amanda Monaco's Deathblow
Amanda Monaco, composer/guitarist
Michael Attias, alto saxophone
Sean Conly, bass
Jeff Davis, drums
Musique Libre Femmes
composer/C & alto flute
Claire de Brunner, bassoon
Roberta Piket, piano
Stephanie Griffin's Ensemble
Stephanie Griffin, composer/violist
Gordon Beeferman, piano
Hilliard Greene, bass
Jake Charkey, cello
Lee Odom, clarinet
Three short sets, Q & A after concert
Metro Baptist Church
410 West 40th Street
(between 9th & 10th Ave.), NYC