Murder Most Foul by Bob Dylan
From ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’,
Recently released on Columbia Records
It was a dark day in Dallas, November '63
A day that will live on in infamy
President Kennedy was a-ridin' high
Good day to be livin' and a good day to die
Being led to the slaughter like a sacrificial lamb
He said, "Wait a minute, boys, you know who I am?"
"Of course we do, we know who you are"
Then they blew off his head while he was still in the car
Shot down like a dog in broad daylight
Was a matter of timing and the timing was right
You got unpaid debts, we've come to collect
We're gonna kill you with hatred, without any respect
We'll mock you and shock you and we'll put it in your face
We've already got someone here to take your place
The day they blew out the brains of the king
Thousands were watching, no one saw a thing
It happened so quickly, so quick, by surprise
Right there in front of everyone's eyes
Greatest magic trick ever under the sun
Perfectly executed, skillfully done
Wolfman, oh Wolfman, oh Wolfman, howl
Rub-a-dub-dub, it's a murder most foul
Hush, little children, you'll understand
The Beatles are comin', they're gonna hold your hand
Slide down the banister, go get your coat
Ferry 'cross the Mersey and go for the throat
There's three bums comin' all dressed in rags
Pick up the pieces and lower the flags
I'm goin' to Woodstock, it's the Aquarian Age
Then I'll go over to Altamont and sit near the stage
Put your head out the window, let the good times roll
There's a party going on behind the Grassy Knoll
Stack up the bricks, pour the cement
Don't say Dallas don't love you, Mr. President
Put your foot in the tank and then step on the gas
Try to make it to the triple underpass
Blackface singer, whiteface clown
Better not show your faces after the sun goes down
Up in the red light district, they've got cop on the beat
Living in a nightmare on Elm Street
When you're down on Deep Ellum, put your money in your shoe
Don't ask what your country can do for you
Cash on the barrelhead, money to burn
Dealey Plaza, make a left-hand turn
I'm going down to the crossroads, gonna flag a ride
The place where faith, hope, and charity died
Shoot him while he runs, boy, shoot him while you can
See if you can shoot the invisible man
Goodbye, Charlie, goodbye, Uncle Sam
Frankly, Miss Scarlett, I don't give a damn
What is the truth, and where did it go?
Ask Oswald and Ruby, they oughta know
"Shut your mouth," said a wise old owl
Business is business, and it's a murder most foul
Tommy, can you hear me? I'm the Acid Queen
I'm riding in a long, black Lincoln limousine
Ridin' in the back seat next to my wife
Headed straight on in to the afterlife
I'm leaning to the left, I got my head in her lap
Hold on, I've been led into some kind of a trap
Where we ask no quarter, and no quarter do we give
We're right down the street, from the street where you live
They mutilated his body and they took out his brain
What more could they do? They piled on the pain
But his soul was not there where it was supposed to be at
For the last fifty years they've been searchin' for that
Freedom, oh freedom, freedom over me
I hate to tell you, mister, but only dead men are free
Send me some lovin', then tell me no lie
Throw the gun in the gutter and walk on by
Wake up, little Susie, let's go for a drive
Cross the Trinity River, let's keep hope alive
Turn the radio on, don't touch the dials
Parkland Hospital, only six more miles
You got me dizzy, Miss Lizzy, you filled me with lead
That magic bullet of yours has gone to my head
I'm just a patsy like Patsy Cline
Never shot anyone from in front or behind
I've blood in my eye, got blood in my ear
I'm never gonna make it to the new frontier
Zapruder's film I seen night before
Seen it thirty-three times, maybe more
It's vile and deceitful, it's cruel and it's mean
Ugliest thing that you ever have seen
They killed him once and they killed him twice
Killed him like a human sacrifice
The day that they killed him, someone said to me, "Son
The age of the Antichrist has just only begun"
Air Force One comin' in through the gate
Johnson sworn in at 2:38
Let me know when you decide to throw in the towel
It is what it is, and it's murder most foul
What's new, pussycat? What'd I say?
I said the soul of a nation been torn away
And it's beginning to go into a slow decay
And that it's thirty-six hours past Judgment Day
Wolfman Jack, he's speaking in tongues
He's going on and on at the top of his lungs
Play me a song, Mr. Wolfman Jack
Play it for me in my long Cadillac
Play me that "Only the Good Die Young"
Take me to the place Tom Dooley was hung
Play "St. James Infirmary" and the Court of King James
If you want to remember, you better write down the names
Play Etta James, too, play "I'd Rather Go Blind"
Play it for the man with the telepathic mind
Play John Lee Hooker, play "Scratch My Back"
Play it for that strip club owner named Jack
Guitar Slim going down slow
Play it for me and for Marilyn Monroe
Play "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
Play it for the First Lady, she ain't feeling any good
Play Don Henley, play Glenn Frey
Take it to the limit and let it go by
Play it for Carl Wilson, too
Looking far, far away down Gower Avenue
Play "Tragedy", play "Twilight Time"
Take me back to Tulsa to the scene of the crime
Play another one and "Another One Bites the Dust"
Play "The Old Rugged Cross" and "In God We Trust"
Ride the pink horse down that long, lonesome road
Stand there and wait for his head to explode
Play "Mystery Train" for Mr. Mystery
The man who fell down dead like a rootless tree
Play it for the reverend, play it for the pastor
Play it for the dog that got no master
Play Oscar Peterson, play Stan Getz
Play "Blue Sky," play Dickey Betts
Play Art Pepper, Thelonious Monk
Charlie Parker and all that junk
All that junk and "All That Jazz"
Play something for the Birdman of Alcatraz
Play Buster Keaton, play Harold Lloyd
Play Bugsy Siegel, play Pretty Boy Floyd
Play the numbers, play the odds
Play "Cry Me a River" for the Lord of the gods
Play Number nine, play Number six
Play it for Lindsey and Stevie Nicks
Play Nat King Cole, play "Nature Boy"
Play "Down in the Boondocks" for Terry Malloy
Play "It Happened One Night" and "One Night of Sin"
There's twelve million souls that are listening in
Play "Merchant of Venice", play "Merchants of Death"
Play "Stella by Starlight" for Lady Macbeth
Don't worry, Mr. President, help's on the way
Your brothers are comin', there'll be hell to pay
Brothers? What brothers? What's this about hell?
Tell them, "We're waiting, keep coming," we'll get them as well
Love Field is where his plane touched down
But it never did get back up off the ground
Was a hard act to follow, second to none
They killed him on the altar of the rising sun
Play "Misty" for me and "That Old Devil Moon"
Play "Anything Goes" and "Memphis in June"
Play "Lonely at the Top" and "Lonely Are the Brave"
Play it for Houdini spinning around in his grave
Play Jelly Roll Morton, play "Lucille"
Play "Deep in a Dream", and play "Driving Wheel"
Play "Moonlight Sonata" in F-sharp
And "A Key to the Highway" for the king on the harp
Play "Marching Through Georgia" and "Dumbarton's Drums"
Play "Darkness" and death will come when it comes
Play "Love Me or Leave Me" by the great Bud Powell
Play "The Blood-Stained Banner", play "Murder Most Foul"
Ever since learning the words to “Blowing in the Wind” when I was a youngun at day camp, I have been a big fan of Bob Dylan. That was the first song whose lyrics truly touched me and made me think about the righteousness & wrongheadedness of mankind. When the Beatles were still singing silly love songs like “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” (early 1964) and the Stones were singing “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” (summer of 1965), Bob Dylan had already written some of the best protest songs of all time, as early as 1962!?!?! Check out the lyrics to “Masters of War”, “Chimes of Freedom” and “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”, they still ring true today. Oddly enough, Mr. Dylan has continued to grow, evolve, influence and surprise his fans ever since his first album in 1962. I still return to certain lyric classics like “Maggie’s Farm”, “The Gates of Eden” and “Desolation Row”, since they need to be probed deeper for the many layers of meaning. In the past 20 years, there have been two albums by Mr. Dylan that are personal favorites of mine, both produced by Daniel Lanois: ‘Oh Mercy’ and ’Time Out of Mind’. Check them out if you can, they are very special. Bob Dylan’s latest album, ‘Rough and Rowdy Ways’ was released on June 19th (my birthday!), of 2020, just a few months ago. I have copies on order for you all and myself to be here soon. The above song, an epic at 17 minutes was released on-line earlier this year and I have played over and over, once a night for a month or so, when it was released. I am still haunted by it, there are so many names of musicians, politicians, song titles and other references, that it will take time to fully absorb. It is a summation of what we all have been through starting with the John Kennedy assassination in November of 1963. This is Dylan’s 39th (!) studio album and I can’t wait to hear the rest of it. This has been a difficult for all of us, the sea of humanity all around our troubled planet. I want to raise a toast to Bob Dylan for his long, courageous career as a true poet and great songwriter, someone who inspires so many of us who do need someone/something to raise us up and bring us together. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
This week’s DMG Newsletter Begins with This Outstanding 2 CD Effort from TIM BERNE’S SNAKEOIL!
TIM BERNE’S SNAKEOIL with OSCAR NOREIGA / MATT MITCHELL / CHES SMITH - The Deceptive 4 Live (Intakt 358; Switzerland) Featuring Tim Berne on alto sax & compositions, Oscar Noreiga on b-flat & bass clarinets, Matt Mitchell on piano and Ches Smith on drums & percussion. One of the best things about Tim Berne, saxist/composer/multi-band leader, is the way keeps certain bands/projects together over long periods of time so that they evolve and get better as they go. Berne has had several bands throughout his long music career (first album from 1979), Hard Cell, Science Friction and the amazing Bloodcount. His most recent ongoing band is called Snakeoil and the personnel has remained constant (Noreiga, Mitchell & Smith), with an occasional guitarist added (Ryan Ferreira or Marc Ducret). Snakeoil now has four studio efforts on the ECM label starting around 2012. Mr. Berne’s deal with ECM recently came to an end so this is his first effort for the Swiss-based Intakt label. This 2 CD set was recorded at Firehouse 12 in Hartford, CT in December of 2017 and live at I-Beam in Brooklyn in June of 2010. The seven years distance in time shows how this band has evolved on a variety of levels.
I decided to listen to the earlier (second) disc first. Each disc has four songs, mostly longer ones (from 6 to 22 minutes). “OCDC” has that classic circular repeating line sound that Mr. Berne often has at the center of most of his pieces. In the first part both reeds, alto sax & clarinet) play their lines tightly together and then slowly break apart yet remain connected. The ever in-demand pianist, Matt Mitchell, uses both hands to play the two different connected lines, shadowing both reeds at times. The ever-busy drummer/percussionist/composer, Ches Smith, also blends drums, glockenspiel or vibes, also adding rhythm parts or shades to the group sound. Things slow down for “Spare/Citta” so that everyone can stretch out their notes carefully. The cerebral, circular, crisscrossing lines are most mesmerizing, like riding slowly upon wave after wave. Mr. Berne and Mr. Noreiga have been playing together for around a decade and we can hear the way they work/connect so closely together, both slipping into a stream, the flow of notes most organic sounding, one sound/force. The final piece was written by the late saxist/composer Julius Hemphill, Mr. Berne’s mentor from the mid-seventies. Again, on this piece the quartet slow things down so time can be stretched out, a device that Anthony Braxton, a contemporary of Mr. Hemphill, excelled at way back when. This piece is closer to modern chamber and it is quite extraordinary with several layers of connected patterns or parts all carefully interwoven. Disc 1 is a studio effort recorded in 2017 and again contains four long tracks. The sound on this disc is superb, warm and superbly balanced. The quartet has matured even more over time and is even more focused and quite chamber like in sound. There is way too much great music here to describe quickly so I will leave you with this: Tim Berne’s Snakeoil has delivered another masterwork, over two hours of challenging sounds. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $30
PAUL LOVENS / FLORIAN STOFFNER - Tetratne (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1026; Switzerland) Featuring Paul Lovens on drums, cymbals & gongs and Florian Stoffner on electrified guitar. There are a handful of European drummers who rank as the cream of creative percussion: Tony Oxley, Han Bennink, Sven Ake Johansson and Paul Lovens. I am fortunate to have checked them out live at least once if not many more times. I have caught German drummer perhaps a dozen times working with the Schlippenbach/Evan Parker Trio, a Cecil Taylor Quintet and some duos with Eugene Chadbourne. The last time was with the Schlippenbach/Parker Trio for three nights in one week in Berlin and Amsterdam. Watching Mr. Lovens play for 3 nights, 2 sets per night was especially fascinating since each set with that all-star, longtime trio was very different and amazing to behold. Swiss guitarist, Florian Stoffner, is a musician I don’t know much about although he has recorded with Lovens in a trio setting (in 2017), as well as with Hans Koch, Rudi Mahall and Manuel Mengis.
The music on this disc was recorded live in Ljubjanain March of 2019 at the Sound Disobedience Festival. Mr. Stoffner appears to playing a hollowbody jazz guitar with the volume turned down and a minimum of effects. Rather Derek Bailey-like at times. The music starts off very stripped down and carefully paced. This duo work together extremely well, listening closely and creating similar quirky percussive sounds. The sound of rubbing the guitar strings and rubbing the drum heads are hard to tell apart at times as is the sound of note bending from both instruments, oddly similar textures. There is a most organic, communal connection going on here, the rare beauty of wonderful improvised free music which sounds more like a chamber composition, sort of. The duo break into a strange stripped down version of “Black Bird” by the Beatles at one point which appears out of a dream. The entire disc is 34 minutes long which seems to be just enough to be played again sometime soon. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALBERT AYLER with CHARLES TYLER / DONALD AYLER / HENRY GRIMES / GARY PEACOCK / SUNNY MURRAY - Spirit Rejoice & Bells Revisited (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1109; Switzerland) "Albert Ayler's recording career was a short one, spanning only the years 1962 - 1970, yet he went through several distinct phases and, of course, exerted a strong and still-lasting influence on subsequent music. In mid-1964, having sat in with Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman and having established a working trio with Gary Peacock and Sunny Murray, he reached an early creative peak when he melded his extreme, ecstatic and melody-drenched approach with some of the established luminaries of the avant-garde jazz scene in New York, including Don Cherry, Roswell Rudd and John Tchicai.
In early 1965, while retaining Murray, he formed a new ensemble made up of largely younger, less exposed musicians. His brother Donald (trumpet), alto saxophonist Charles Tyler and bassist Lewis Worrell complete the quintet heard on Bells, recorded live at Town Hall on May 1, 1965 (heard here at the conclusion of the disc). This was Tyler's first recorded performance and among the first by Donald Ayler and Worrell. The work is a kind of suite or, more accurately, a central thematic core bracketed by freer sections. At its onset, the collective improvisation bears a distinct resemblance to the opening sections heard on Ornette Coleman's double quartet session, Free Jazz, recorded several years earlier. A rapid and spattering trumpet solo from Donald Ayler is followed by an impressively forceful one from Tyler. Beneath this, one can hear a device that Albert Ayler would use frequently: having the bassist play arco in a manner that suggests a kind of drone, albeit a queasy, disorienting one, an idea possibly picked up from Coltrane who talked about doing so with reference to drones in Indian music (Ayler's intentions, clearly, would be more church-oriented). After a brief closing passage by the ensemble (which, again, sounds notably Coleman-esque), Ayler develops a very impassioned sequence, essentially solo, leading to the central thematic material of Bells. It's classic Ayler, incorporating his affinity for march-like passages but, to this listener, having to do more with an extended hymn approach, taking "simple" melodic forms, twisting and pushing them as far as he could, using the idea of speaking in tongues derived from the Pentecostal church but always having it embedded, somewhere, in song-form. The occasional counterpoint between Ayler's eruptions and the restatement of the melody by trumpet and alto is quite moving, as is the delicate intertwining head during the final two or three minutes, though the piece ends in the same conflagration with which it began, before a brief restatement of the theme.
By the fall of 1965, Ayler had assembled a sextet with two bassists, Gary Peacock and Henry Grimes replacing Worrell, possibly modeled on the similar usage by Coltrane. The Spirits Rejoice LP, originally issued by ESP, documents five pieces from a recording session (not a live concert) at Judson Hall in New York City. The title track is arguably Ayler in purest form, from the clarion, battle-charge evoking call of the horns to Ayler's throaty, ferocious tenor in fine fettle. The rest of the ensemble is also stellar, including brother Donald's blistering work and, as on Bells, one of the bassists (presumably Grimes) providing those haunting, eerie bowed lines, destabilizing the structure quite effectively. Not to mention Sunny Murray's resolute refusal to keep standard time, having long since devoted himself to an entirely coloristic approach, almost becoming another horn. 'Holy Family' is succinct and almost catchy while 'D.C.' is an exercise in fragmentation, jaggedly lurching back and forth between a minimal theme and solos, the musicians finding their way to a fascinating and intricate interplay between basses and drums. In some sense the wild card of the set, 'Angels' adds harpsichordist Call Cobbs into the mix. The nimble, inevitably Baroque lines sound somewhat out of place at first but are quickly subsumed beneath Ayler's enormous tone, especially heartfelt and poignant here, clearly presaging similar excursions into blues and gospel-drenched depths on the part of tenorists from Joe McPhee to David Murray and beyond. Everything leads up, however, to 'Prophet', Ayler's furthest leap into free playing yet. After a nominal "theme" that consists of high yelps from the band, it's all high-energy free playing, everything undergirded by Murray's unique and perversely propulsive drums. Another intense two-bass/drum feature leads to a re-emergence of those yipping cries and a final explosive cacophonic outcry.
Together, Spirits Rejoice and Bells encapsulate a four month period where long-gestating ideas of Ayler's were birthed, helping to usher in a conception of music unlike virtually anything else extant, paving the way for his own adventures of the next several years and, perhaps more importantly, providing an extremely fertile bed for a generation or two of musicians to come."- Brian Olewnick, February 24, 2020
ALBERT AYLER TRIO with GARY PEACOCK / SUNNY MURRAY - 1964 Prophecy Revisited (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1104; Switzerland) “Viewed with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, the years immediately preceding the release of this album seem to have brought a windfall of reissued 60's U.S. free jazz. As well as high profile releases such as Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!, 2018) by John Coltrane and Musical Prophet: The Expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions (Resonance Records, 2018) by Eric Dolphy, a steady trickle of albums by such luminaries as Marion Brown, Coltrane, Jimmy Giuffre and Sun Ra has appeared, issued on Ezz-thetics. Of all these, though, the releases which are most welcome have to be two albums by Albert Ayler, of which Prophecy Revisited is the second, following the quartet recordings on 2019's Spirits to Ghosts Revisited.
As its title suggests, Prophecy Revisited is an expanded remastered reissue of recordings which first saw the light of day as Prophecy (ESP-Disk, 1975). Recorded live at the Cellar Café in NYC on June 14th 1964, by the stellar trio of Ayler on tenor sax, Gary Peacock on bass and Sunny Murray on drums, the ten tracks here capture Ayler during an intense period of activity which produced many albums including such highly-praised releases as this trio's Spiritual Unity, and Spirits Rejoice by a quintet. In the 90's, disillusioned with ESP-Disk, Sunny Murray issued an expanded version of Prophecy on a double album entitled Albert Smiles with Sunny (Live) (InRespect, 1996); although that album's track titles and durations differ somewhat from those on Prophecy Revisited, this release has remastered sound and — by omitting one alternative take — fits everything on one CD. One thing is certain, the remastering makes it sound far better than past releases of this music.
Where the original album had two versions of "Ghost", this album adds a third, entitled "Ghosts" but featuring the piece's distinctive head; to the original version of "Spirits", this one adds a brief reprise of its head to close the album, and it also adds a second version of "Wizard" to the original. Where some reissues are padded-out with uninspiring "previously unissued" takes, that certainly is not the case here. Although the versions begin in similar ways, after that the trio takes them down very different paths which are fascinatingly distinct. Most of all it makes riveting listening to hear the different solos which Ayler himself delivers. His playing style was always an amalgam of influences — including church music, military band music, R'n'B — but these takes demonstrate that Ayler himself was the lynchpin that tied them all together in a unique, unrivaled way. And in Peacock and Murray, he had tuned-in sidemen who followed and supported his every move. As an Ayler album, this one is hard to fault and practically impossible to better. Essential.” - John Eyles
SUN RA ARKESTRA - Heliocentric Worlds 1 and 2 (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1103; Switzerland) The two volumes of "Heliocentric Worlds", recorded 7 months apart in 1965, represent perhaps one of greatest chapters in Sun Ra's legacy, bringing together his immense orchestration skills with future-leaning free jazz, allowing his players expanse inside disciplined compositions that reflect on both space and the then-new freedom explored by jazz soloists. Sun Ra’s ‘Heliocentric Worlds - Volume 1’ and ’Nothing Is’ from ESP records were the first Sun Ra albums I bought way back in 1973 during my freshman year at college. I recall reading Sun Ra’s name on the famous ‘Freak-Out’ list from the first Mothers of Invention record in 1966. I bought ‘Heliocentric Worlds’ for $1.99 as a cut-out and paid the same price for dozens of Sun Ra records in the seventies. Lucky me! On the bottom of the front cover, Sun Ra’s face is amongst the great philosophers of history: Artistotle, Copernicus & Galileo. Hmmmmm. I got the feeling that Sun Ra was above and beyond what it took to be a regular avant/jazz musician. I starting checking out the Arkestra live in 1973 (at the 5 Spot) and as well as the return (from France) of the Art Ensemble of Chicago at the old Kitchen. Both bands, both gigs changed my life! I have become a Sun Ra fanatic ever since, attending dozens (hundreds?) of gigs and collecting any & all Sun Ra releases and there are hundreds of those. Listening to this music now, more than 45 years later, it brings back many memories of hearing this strange music for the first time. What’s great about the Hat Ezz-Thetic Series is this: the Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Marion Brown and Sun Ra reissues have been cleaned up sonically speaking and sound even better than I remember. Plus ‘Heliocentric Worlds’ 1 & 2 were both short and sound better together for one long session. 70 plus minutes of cosmic bliss. The next stop is Jupiter! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SUN RA ARKESTRA - Swirling (Strut 153; UK) “The satellites are spinning / A better day is breaking / Great happiness is pending / The planet Earth’s awakening.” The first lyrics on the Sun Ra Arkestra’s long-awaited Swirling (Strut), sung by Tara Middleton, sound like a dispatch from a world infinitely more promising than our own. That dogged optimism carries the entire studio album, the free-jazz institution’s first since 1999’s Song of the Sun. Founded in Chicago by the late Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount), the Arkestra remains as timeless and resplendently garbed as when it first touched down on stages more than 60 years ago; the only difference, really, are the new faces cropping up alongside the veteran players. Swirling breathes new life into more than a dozen Arkestra standards: Some are buffed up with new orchestrations (“Rocket No. 9,” “Sunology”), but most are total reinventions rather than reduxes. “The Sky Is a Sea of Darkness” is transfigured from its riotous original version into an unaccompanied, anthemic prelude, morphing into Ra’s hitherto unrecorded “Darkness,” a gently loping jaunt in triple time. Written by 96-year-old bandleader Marshall Allen, the title track breezily evokes big-band sensibilities, and “Queer Notions” (on the vinyl release only) gets a reading that sounds as euphoric and far-sighted now as Coleman Hawkins’s harmonically inventive proto-bebop performance for Fletcher Henderson’s band did in 1933. The passage of time, it seems, is of no consequence to Ra’s cosmic band. But it is an inevitability: On Swirling, you’ll hear the ghosts of recently departed conguero Atakatune and saxophonist and erstwhile band manager Danny Ray Thompson, who died after Swirling was wrapped up. They both make themselves heard, thunderously, on “Seductive Fantasy.” Middleton’s singing (a divine echo of long-gone Arkestra vocalist June Tyson) rises through the din eight minutes in, her voice hazy, enticing, inevitable. It’s as though the entire band has been holding its breath for her. Bracing and all-embracing, Swirling, like so much of the Arkestra’s output, sometimes defies easy description. Middleton, singing on opening track “The Satellites Are Spinning / Lights on a Satellite,” gets closest: “We sing this song to / A great tomorrow / We sing this song to / A balanced soul.” Listen, and so it may be.” - Hannar Edgar, Chicago Reader
METAL CHAOS ENSEMBLE with PEK / YURI ZBITNOV - Null Hypothesis (Evil Clown 9256; USA) Featuring: PEK on tenor sax, clarinets, oboe, nagaswarm, flutes, accordion, malletkat, percussion, bowls, etc and Yuri Zbitnov on drums, gongs, crotales, cymbals, bowls, balafon, bells, etc. The last we heard from longtime founding member of Leap of Faith, Dave PEK, their original drummer, Yuri Zbitnov, had retired from Leap of Faith and all their offshoots. This seems to not be the case since Mr. Zbitnov is back and playing with just one LoF offshoot: the Metal Chaos Ensemble. Along with PEK, Mr. Zbitnov was a main member of the Metal Chaos Ensemble. This time,the MCE is just a duo with PEK & Yuri. During the pandemic, which began in March of 2020, all Leap of Faith & PEK sets were recorded at Evil Clown Headquarters, this one in September of 2020, not very long ago (now: 11/4/20). Like many of the Leap of Faith projects, the Metal Chaos Ensemble changes on every disc, due to personnel and instrumental selection. ’Null Hypothesis’ starts off with what sounds like space-rock or kraut-rock like synth, throbbing slowly… then tubular bells, slowly, one by one other percussion, assorted reeds & double-reeds. The sounds move slowly, the frame is filled with measured silence and suspense-filled sounds. Mr. Zbitnov is a master drummer and always balances great grooves with spacious percussion. Yuri plays a long solo with mallets on drums and it is an inspired rhythmic jam. There are some weird electronic sounds which are hard to describe, diverse percussive sounds and unexpected twists and turns. Instead of the often intense eruptions on many of the LoF discs, this one is more spacious, more measured, less dense and quietly fascinating. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PEK SOLO - Requiem for Raymond (Evil Clown 9254; USA) Featuring Dave PEK on clarinets, flutes, dronin, gongs, bells, chimes & siren. This disc is dedicated to Raymond Sheldon Peck, Dave Peck’s father who passed away in September of this year (2020). I know that when my own father passed in 1980 at the age of only 54, I was devastated. He died way too young and was a wonderful father and all-around great person. He influenced in many good ways, especially to be honest and stand tall for what I believe. No doubt that Pek’s father was an inspiration to him as well. Of all of the many (dozen plus) solo efforts from Leap of Faith founder, Dave Peck, for this session PEK plays just 12 instruments instead of the usual 20-30 oddities that he usually draws on. The name of the piece here is called, “Grief”. The one thing I noticed about the recent batch of solo efforts by PEK is that they are consistently focused, all sounds well chosen, selectively placed, often one note or sounds at a time, slowly building by adding one layer at a time with some overdubbing device. Pek starts with a singular pounding of a gong which reverberates slowly. Soon switching to contrabass clarinet and cautiously bending and weaving his notes in a most hypnotic way. The air is filled with mystery and suspense, the contrabass clarinet bathed in echoplex, sounding closer to a monster from your fave Japanese science fiction film. PEK often uses selective amounts of reverb to add some eeriness to his reeds or percussion arsenal. Eventually PEK picks up his clarinet and starts to bend his notes inside out, further and further out, making us all feel disoriented, the way our current situation has made us feel day in and day out. The overall vibe here is one of the balance between the strength of music to inspire us with the loneliness of having to stay in solitude inside our homes either by ourselves or with some of our loved ones. Dark yet hopeful. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
OGGETTO (CARMELO PAMPILLONIO / MICHAEL FLANAGAN / FRANK MEADOWS) - Oggetto (Dear Life DL012; USA) Here goes yet another combo throwing its hat into the always-expanding electroacoustic improv mediaspace, but where others embrace dissonance as a means to an end, the intriguingly coined Oggetto venture where few others dare to tread, conversing in modes that feel and sound more composerly even when they’re wreaking havoc about the stereofield. Guitarist Flanagan employs string-shredding in varying degrees of poise and power throughout in a context that often mitigates it, occasionally processed through a tangled web of electronics, but his irruptions, particularly near the close of “Day 3.2”, are brash, fiery, and exhilarating. Drummer Pampillonio bends, folds, and manipulates his kit with a facility that echoes both the might of Tony Williams and the subtle mechanations of players like Ingar Zach; augmenting his rhythmic splatter with toxic blobs of electronics gives his patterning a corrosive edge that plays brilliantly against his partner’s irising atmospheres, especially on the varying shades of “Day 2.2”, nine minutes of spellbinding chiaroscuro that simply alights the ear. Bassist and DMG operative Meadows is the lynchpin undergirding the whole enterprise. Amid his compatriots’ dizzying squalls and preening thunder his keenly-felt pulsations and thorny lines sketch monolithic pathways for the trio to imaginatively navigate; the forbidding cartographies of “Day 3.1” are a veritable tour de force of tension and release, where Pampillonio’s cymbals preface the coming of warring entities battling it out over Flanagan’s extended guitar tones and Meadows’s truculent vibrations. This is a dazzling, superb piece of work that not only deserves a wider audience, it damn well demands one. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
CD or CASSETTE $10
ASH RA TEMPEL - Gin Rose at the Royal Festival Hall (Made in Germany 30082; Germany) "Ash Ra Tempel, the veterans of the German 'Berlin School', gained worldwide recognition with their album releases 1971-1973.Their self-titled debut-album from1971, in the line-up Hartmut Enke (bass), Manuel Göttsching (guitar), Klaus Schulze (drums), radically deconstructed elements of rock and blues, as it was combining electronic sounds to encourage new listening habits. Whilst Göttsching and Schulze later followed their solo careers, they always stayed friends and, over the decades, showed their musical solidarity in collaborations, with innovative electronics and guitar. But it was only in 2000, when they decided for this short intermezzo to perform together again under the Ash Ra Tempel banner. Julian Cope (author of Krautrock-Sampler) had invited Göttsching to his 'Cornucopia Festival' in London, and the two musicians took the offer as a great opportunity for a one-time reunion concert at the Royal Festival Hall on April 2, 2000. Preparing the music for this the concert had also led to a new studio album recording entitled Friendship. Both of the recordings, the studio album as well as the live recording from the London concert 'Gin Rosé', had been originally released in 2000 in a small edition, which was sold out very soon. The studio-album Friendship had already been re-released in 2014 (CD). Now, and due to the many requests, here it is again -- after 20 years, the re-release of the long-awaited live-album Gin Rosé. Göttsching and Schulze blend tradition and vision, and they do not simply reanimate ideas of the 1970s. The spirit of this unique liaison is reflected in every single note of this still up-to-date concert, showing these two musicians playing joyful, familiar and undeterred."
2 CD Set $24
PROCOL HARUM - Something Magic: 2-CD Remastered & Expanded Edition (Esoteric 22740; UK) Esoteric Recordings is pleased to announce the release of a new re-mastered 2 CD edition of the classic album "Something Magic" by PROCOL HARUM. First released in March 1977, the album introduced a new band line-up of Gary Brooker (vocals, piano), B.J. Wilson (drums), Chris Copping (bass),Mick Grabham (guitar) and Pete Solley (organ, synthesizer) and was recorded in Miami with producers Ron and Howie Albert. Although the album would feature a host of marvellous tracks such as 'Strangers in Space', 'Skating on Thin Ice' and 'Something Magic' and the Mick Grabham / Keith Reid composition 'The Mark of the Claw', relationships between the band and their producers grew strained when the Albert brothers rejected a number of other tracks written for the new album. As a result, Gary Brooker suggested the inclusion of a lengthy piece he had been working on with lyricist Keith Reid; 'The Worm and the Tree'. This orchestrated piece would dominate a side of the album and was the first composition of this scale that Procol Harum had recorded since 'In Held Twas in I' (on the 1968 album "Shine on Brightly"). Following the album's release (and a final US tour with bassist Dee Murray replacing Chris Copping), Procol Harum disbanded, eventually reforming in 1991 with the release of the album "The Prodigal Stranger". At the time of its release SOMETHING MAGIC stood apart from the emerging Punk rock movement and was unfairly overlooked by critics. However, the passage of time has revealed the excellence of the album. This new edition of SOMETHING MAGIC has been newly re-mastered and includes 14 bonus tracks comprising the rare B-side "Backgammon" and two live-in-the-studio recordings of 'You'd Better Wait' and 'This Old Dog', originally written for the album. The set also includes an additional disc featuring Procol Harum's performance for the BBC TV and Radio series Sight & Sound In Concert from March 1977.”
2 CD Set $20
PROCOL HARUM - Grand Hotel: 2 Disc Expanded Edition (Esoteric 22632; UK) Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of an expanded 2 disc edition of the acclaimed Procol Harum album "Grand Hotel". Released in March 1973 the album was the first to feature a line-up of Gary Brooker (piano, vocals), Alan Cartwright (bass), Chris Copping (organ), Mick Grabham (guitars) and B.J. Wilson (drums) and was remarkable for its musical diversity and was hailed as "A masterpiece of musical perfection and lyricism" by the NME weekly music paper. From the sumptuously orchestrated title track, to compositions such as 'For Liquorice John', 'Fires (Which Burnt Brightly)', 'Bringing Home The Bacon', 'Toujours L'Amour' and 'Robert's Box' - "Grand Hotel" defied classification but remains one of Procol Harum's best loved and most admired works. This expanded two disc edition includes five bonus tracks, (three previously unreleased), taken from the early recording sessions, along with a DVD (NTSC / Region Free) featuring a previously unreleased performance filmed for RTBF television in Belgium from November 1973. The release also features a replica of the book included with the original LP of "Grand Hotel" and a further lavishly illustrated booklet featuring material from Gary Brooker's personal archive and an essay by Procol Harum authority Roland Clare featuring comments from Gary Brooker.
2 CD Set $24
PROCOL HARUM - Exotic Birds and Fruit: 3cd Digipak Edition (Esoteric 32633; UK)”Esoteric Recordings are pleased to announce the release of an expanded 3CD edition of the acclaimed Procol Harum album "Exotic Birds And Fruit". Released in April 1974, the album was the product of a series of recording sessions beset by power cuts, the result of industrial strife during the winter of 1973. Despite having to work around these difficult conditions, "Exotic Birds and Fruit" would prove to be another fine collection of material written by Gary Brooker and lyricist Keith Reid, featuring such classic tracks as 'Nothing But The Truth', 'As Strong As Samson', 'Beyond The Pale', 'Butterfly Boys' and 'The Idol'. The album would reveal the line-up of Gary Brooker, Alan Cartwright, Chris Copping, Mick Grabham and B.J. Wilson to be in fine, inspired form. This new expanded three CD edition of "Exotic Birds And Fruit" includes the original album (with two bonus tracks), along with two additional discs featuring the band's entire performance for BBC Radio One's In Concert show from March 1974 and a previously unreleased 65 minute live set recorded at January Sound Studios in Dallas on July 5th 1974 for KZEW FM.
3 CD Set $30
LARGE AVANT and DIW CD Sale:
The DIW label was/is major label from Japan that released a slew of great discs of both avant and mainstream jazz, as well as some noisier extremes like Kaoru Abe, Takanayagi and Haino Keiji (a couple are listed in our Discogs store currently). When Koch Distribution dropped DIW in the early aughts, the label seemed to grind to a halt as far as new releases go. Rather sad. In the late eighties/early nineties, DIW had an off-shoot label known as Avant which was run by John Zorn and Kazunori Sugiyama. This was before Zorn & Kaz started the Tzadik label which will celebrate its 25th anniversary soon. Avant released around 65 CD’s, all of which are long out of print. When the Koch deal ended, we lucked out and got a skid of discs that would either be sent back to Japan or destroyed. Nothing on DIW or Avant is any longer in print so we have whatever is left. We still have around 50 titles left, some in quantities of 1 or 2 and as many as 15 or 20. Most likely none of the below will ever be reissued, especially on CD so this is you last chance to get many of the titles below.
RASHIED ALI / LOUIE BELOGENIS / WILBER MORRIS - Live At Tonic (DIW 940; Japan) OUTstanding!Former Coltrane collaborator and drum legend Rashied Ali, has been getting more visible over the past decade. He recorded three fantastic cds with Prima Materia for the Knit label in the 90's, each a tribute to Coltrane or Albert Ayler - both of whom were the two most influential avant-jazz tenor saxists of the sixties. He co-lead this colossal group with an amazing young tenor saxist named Louie Belogenis - a close friend and once a student of John Zorn's. Rashied and Louie went to record an excellent duo cd also for the Knit label, a tribute to Trane's final milestone effort 'Interstellar Space'. The Knit also reissued a half dozen historic recordings from Rashied's old label Survival Records from the seventies, most of which were Rashied's different units. Rashied also has a long-term studio and live collaboration with guitar god Tisziji Munoz and recently restarted the Survival catalogue with a fine cd from his current quintet. Over the past few years, with Prima Materia currently in limbo, the duo with Rashied and Louie has become a strong trio with contrabass great Wilber Morris added to their ranks. This outstanding trio has been playing at Tonic every few months and continue to grow stronger with each date. This inspired set was recorded in January of this year at Tonic and it was an incredible night - I can bear witness to this special event since I was there up front digging the cosmic vibrations that flowed from the stage. You too can take in this great set with this new offering on cd. The long opening track is called "Invocation: Trane is in the House" and John Coltrane continues to inspire this trio as they spin their web of swirling and overflowing sheets of sound. They spiral together as one solid force - a perfect triangle in which each side is of equal importance. The tenor is screaming and honking as the bass walks and the drums spin in a more restrained Elvin Jones-like way. Rashied and Louie trade lines and bend the energy back and forth answering each other as Wilber's bass provides a cushion, support and backbone while the other two aims for the stars. Both Wilber and Rashied take fine earthy solos, but the set is just getting underway and the sparks are just beginning to fly. The spirits soar once more as the trio erupts and the storm shakes us all. Wilber starts "Elixir" with a nimble bass solo which builds nicely, as Louie enters with a curved soprano sax - recently added to his palette of sax explorations. This was also Trane's second sax, which he made popular in the early sixties. Louie is still searching and slowly finding his own voice on soprano and here is already spewing intense serpent-like lines which begin to levitate the room higher and higher. Rashied's drum solo also pushes the vibrations higher as he spins his web inwards and upwards. "Norfolk Street Run Down" is fueled by Wilber's pumping bass and Rashied's furious drums which push Louie even harder and he reacts by raising the rafters skywards! "Heavenly Star" is dedicated to Albert Ayler and what's great is that Louie plays Albert's love cry tone with touching embrace while Wilber bows that bass - the trio gently evoking sad spirits which reach deep inside and pull at our heart strings. Trane's composition "Brazilia" has the trio sailing and wailing and spinning profusely once again as the heavens open up and the rain begins pouring down and washing away our sins, cleansing our souls. The closing benediction is Trane's lovely "Spiritual" , a perfect choice to end this special cosmic offering - Louie's tone is especially enchanting here on tenor as we sail into the sunset and float on our magic carpets to a beautiful and peaceful ending. - BLG
ALVA with AIDA RULLOVA / LIZA WAKEMAN / MICHELLE ANDERSON] - Fair-Haired Guillotine (Avant 072; Japan) Alva met in Tampa, Florida. Using loud thoughts and small minds they play their instruments. And they laugh...On their debut album, the mysterious trio known as Alva twists creepy savant-folk melodies out of chamber instruments, toys, tapes and voice, navigating the psychic territory of nightmare and the unconscious. Recommended for those who like it strange.
ARCADO STRING TRIO [MARK FELDMAN / MARK DRESSER / ERNST REIJSEGER] - Live In Europe (Avant 058; Japan) Live In Europe documents an amazing group that should be mentioned in the same breath with the String Trio of New York, the Kronos Quartet and even Le Quintette du Hot Club de France. The Arcado String Trio (Mark Feldman (violin), Ernst Reijseger (cello), Mark Dresser (bass) are these incredible musicians who are not just virtuosos, but highly accomplished in a variety of styles. Their original compositions, written by all three members, have one foot in contemporary classical, the other foot swinging furiously.
ABDULAI BANGOURA - Sigiri (Avant 064; Japan) An astounding solo percussion recital recorded live in Ghana, Sigiri is a dynamic document of one of Africa's greatest percussion virtuosos, Abdulai Bangoura. Exciting solo pieces for hand drum, balafon and kalimba that keep you on the edge of your seat every moment. The soul of Africa at its very best. "Abdulai is a griot or musician /story teller from a long line of family griots from Guinea in west Africa. This is a fine solo effort was recorded in Ghana with Abdulai playing drums, balafon (xylophone-like), kalimba (thumb piano) and vocals. Unlike 'Drums of Death' (Avant) and Milford Graves' solo percussion cd (Tzadik), this release is a bit more restrained, but no less engrossing. Abdulai takes his time to build his rhythmic grooves from the roots of the earth on up, from hand drums and vocals working together to bring us tribal rituals, ghosts and other enticing spirits set free. The kalimba and balafon pieces capture a flurry of lines that weave melodic and rhythmic fragments into a web of activity. The drum pieces can be more stark, yet can also hypnotize us with their careful, flowing center. Nimble spirits may arise, but the final drum piece does erupt with passions set aflame!" - BLG
AYIBOBO with JEAN-PAUL BOURELLY - Stone Voudou: Live (DIW 462; Japan) Jean-Paul Bourelly guitar with: Chico Boyer, Bonga Gaston, Hacques 'Doudou' Chancy, Jimmy Rock, Rosna, Muneer B Fennell, Mathias Agbokou, Kenny Martin. A big, bold mix of influences with jazz horns, Haitian singers and drummers, flashy electric guitar and the hip drumming of Ju Ju House. Jean-Paul Bourelly looks back to his own ancestry in Haiti. This is great international dance music!
JEAN-PAUL BOURELLY & THE BLUWAVE [BLUE WAVE] BANDITS With JOHN STUBBLEFIELD - Blackadelic-Blu (DIW 883; Japan) Jean-Paul Bourelly (g, vo, subatomic guitar bass, keyboard bass), "Kundalini" Mark Batson (key, vo), Blue Black (rap), Carl Bourelly (prog, key), John Stubblefield (ts), Mark Peterson (b), Alfredo Alias (ds, back vo), Kevin "K-Dog" Johnson (ds), Djinji Brown (sample prog) Recorded at East Hill, Planet Recording and Eastside Sound, NYC in November 1993 through January 1994. More cosmic funk from this great undiscovered master of new guitar, Think of Jimi Hendrix mixed with Parliament filtered through a hip jazz sensibility. It's an amazing blend - Bourelly has written music and lyrics for most of these ten jems.
DOUGIE BOWNE With JOHN MEDESKI / FRED HOPKINS - One Way Elevator (DIW 920; Japan) Recorded at Sear Sound, NYC in 1994. Dougie Bowne is an adventurous and colorful percussionist, known for his work with Lounge Lizards, Holly Cole, Cassandra Wilson, Cibo Matto and many others. One Way Elevator is his first album as a leader (and composer) and it's both a classic trio album and a complex and rewarding musical statement. It's certainly one of the most original piano trio albums! The band includes: John Medeski of the very successful Medeski, Martin & Wood. Here he plays piano instead of his usual Hammond B-3 organ and the results are stunning and very different! Fred Hopkins, a mainstay of modern music who came up in the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and was the bassist with the acclaimed group AIR. He has worked on countless sessions with the likes of David Murray, Oliver Lake and many more.
IN HIS OWN SWEET WAY [V.A. Tribute To DAVE BRUBECK With BILL FRISELL / EYVIND KANG / ERIK FRIEDLANDER / DAVE DOUGLAS / MEDESKI, MARTIN & WOOD et al] - In His Own Sweet Way: A Tribute To Dave Brubeck (Avant 005; Japan) Dave Brubeck is a wonderful jazz pianist, composer and bandleader - whose quartet was one of the most popular (jazz) combos of the fifties, with dozens of releases on Columbia that sold ridiculous amounts for a jazz group. Brubeck's popular quartet actually had two hits - "Blue Rondo a La Turk" and "Take Five" which was written by his well-loved, warm/cool toned alto sax hero and partner - Paul Desmond. Although Brubeck was an adventurous composer & musician who was influenced by classical and world musics, he was often dissed by jazz snobs for being too popular/white/sterile - take your pick. He is a perfect candidate or underdog for Zorn's cohorts to pay tribute to as this wonderful and wacky release proves. Fourteen tunes each done in unique and often surprising ways. I do enjoy this entire cd, but I will just mention some of the highlights : Who else but the Ruins could do a hilarious/serious Magma-esque version of "Blue Rondo"!?! Dave Slusser - Bay area sound effects wiz - does a groovy, bluesy sort of lounge version on theremin rendition of "Blue Shadows." Pachora add their distinctive middle-eastern flavor to the title track which appeared on a lp from '76 with Anthony Braxton as a special guest. Bill Frisell does a soft, heavenly take on a solo acoustic guitar cover of "Summer Song." Anthony Coleman, Erik Friedlander & Dave Douglas each do inspired solo renditions of appropriate Brubeck pieces - each is great, Anthony's is delicate, Erik's is a melancholy beaut and Dave utilizes some odd electronic sounds & samples behind his sumptuous muted trumpet. Sex Mob of course do their rambunctious best and Eyvind Kang sounds like a mutant Residents thing. Although all parties take liberties in transforming Brubeck's pieces, it is the compositions themselves that really shine through. " - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RAHN BURTON TRIO With WALTER BOOKER / JIMMY COBB - The Poem (DIW 610; Japan) Featuring Rahn Burton (p), Walter Booker (b), Jimmy Cobb (ds). Recorded at Sound On Sound, NYC on June 8, 1992. A knockout - a pianist who deftly combines the percussive with the lyrical, the new with the standard! Rahn Burton, who worked considerably with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, has made a sterling trio album backed by two of the all-time great rhythm players. They tackletunes by Monk, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin plus some of Burton's own appealing swingers.
CHRIS COCHRANE With ZEENA PARKINS / ANN RUPEL / MARC ANTHONY THOMPSON / et al - Bath (Avant 042; Japan) Chris Cochrane has worked with Fred Frith, Bob Ostertag, John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, is a member of Curlew, and was a founding member of the band No Safety. Bath is the first album under his own name and features Hanna Fox (Babe The Blue Ox), Zeena Parkins and Ann Rupel, with Marc Anthony Thompson and Dudley Saunders. With Bath, Chris Cochrane has created the Pet Sounds/Trout Mask Replica of the 1990's. Improvisation, noise and psychedelia are woven together into 18 songs touching on life and love in NYC. A seminal work of the Gay / Lesbian Queer Core scene, Bath is an important and compelling recording by one of downtown's greatest unsung guitar heroes.
GREG COHEN With DAVE DOUGLAS / ROMERO LUBAMBO / SCOTT ROBINSON / KENNY WOLLESEN - Way Low (DIW 918; Japan) Greg Cohen writes, in the liner notes for this disc, "this recording was the result of 2 years of heckling on the part of my friend John Zorn." Zorn acts as associate producer on this disc, distributed by Japanese jazz label DIW and the store with which they are associated, Disk Union -- the same people who put out Masada's stuff. It's probably never going to get domestic release, so don't wait around hoping it might. Cohen, the gentlemanly, quietly humorous bassist for Masada, is joined by Dave Douglas and several sidemen I don't know (Joel Hellany, Tony Denicola, Scott Robinson, and Ted Rosenthal, to name a few). They cover two Duke Ellington tracks, "Way Low" and "Creole Rhapsody," and also Bud Powell's "So Sorry, Please." The rest of the tunes are Cohen originals. It's pretty much in the tradition, nothing too too daring or dangerous happening, but the players love what they're doing and the music is definitely respectable (though nothing I spin very often, I must admit). If you're a serious Masada or Douglas enthusiast, it's worth your while; needless to say, Cohen fans should like it, too. The liner notes are by Cohen and the CD has an attractive gatefold design in the fashion of an LP cover, with a cool cover shot of Cohen. He kinda reminds me of David Strathairn, somehow.” - Allan MacInnis
CD $20 [mini LP sleeve]
ANTHONY COLEMAN With ROY NATHANSON / GUY KLUCEVSEK / DOUG WIESELMAN / et al - Disco By Night (Avant 011; Japan) Anthony Coleman (p, key, sampler), Roy Nathanson (ss), Doug Wieselman (cl), Guy Klucevsek (accordion), James Pugliese (ds), Gisburg Smialek (voice) . Composer Anthony Coleman is better known as a jazz pianist and leader of his versatile groups Selfhaters, the Sephardic Tinge trio and Lobster And Friend (with Roy Nathanson) and for his work with composers Glenn Branca and John Zorn. On his earliest (1992) and most compelling recording, Coleman's twisted compositional genius comes to the fore. Disco By Night is the ultimate statement about his Yugoslavic experiences, a tragic and doomed meditation on the clash between tradition/ethnicity and modernization / Westernization in Eastern Europe. Wonderful music to make you wonder.
CONTEMPORARY PIANO ENSEMBLE [HAROLD MABERN / MULGREW MILLER / JAMES WILLIAMS / GEOFF KEEZER / DONALD BROWN /CHRISTIAN McBRIDE / TONY REEDUS] - The Key Players (DIW 616; Japan) Recorded August 12 & 13, 1993. A true piano extravaganza - a full handful of keyboard aces play together. Each track has four players tackling originals by the artists and such chestnuts as Rodgers and Hart's Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Bobby Timmons' Moanin' and two by Ellington - Just Squeeze Me and Don't You Know I Care. "The Contemporary Piano Ensemble consists of five pianists (James Williams, Donald Brown, Harold Mabern, Mulgrew Miller, and Geoff Keezer), bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Tony Reedus. Since there were only four pianos in the studio, not every pianist plays on every selection. A tribute of sorts to both Phineas Newborn and Art Blakey, this set includes two medleys and such numbers as Rodgers and Hart's Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, Bobby Timmons' Moanin' and two by Ellington - Just Squeeze Me and Don't You Know I Care, in addition to some group originals. Somehow the ensembles do not get overcrowded, despite the multiplicity of keyboards, and the music contains more than its share of surprises." - Scott Yanow, AMG
STEPHEN DRURY // CHARLES IVES / FRANZ LISZT / LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN / KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN - Faith, the Loss Faith, and the Return of Faith (Avant 022; Japan) Contemporary Music is lucky to have a pianist as dedicated and passionate as Stephen Drury. A close collaborator of both John Cage and John Zorn, Drury's virtuosic solo recitals and critically acclaimed recordings are establishing him as one of contemporary music's most important performers. Drury's adventurous programming and unique interpretations of classical literature shed new light on these well-known masterpieces for solo piano. You will never hear Beethoven and Liszt the same way again. "Drury is an amazing pianist of modern classical music, a champion & friend of John Zorn and a professor at New England Conservatory. After appearing on numerous releases of Zorn's classical compositions, this is Drury's first solo cd for Avant. He has carefully chosen works by Stockhausen, Ives, Liszt & Beethoven, a restless spirit and certain noted themes bind these pieces together on varied levels. Liszt's "from the Transcendental Etudes" seems to go in opposite directions at once, the central theme a romantic melodrama worth of a silent movie of yesteryear. There are waves of notes that often get more dense at both the low and high end of the piano keyboard as the piece unfolds. Stockhausen's ever popular "Klavierstuck IX" is said to be re - imagined electronic music and is quite a different extreme - the essense of modern abstraction, long stretches of suspended silence, punctuated by flurries of activity. "The Celestial Railroad" by Ives has unexpected surprises, twists & turns, occasional quotes, playful & serious, a puzzle to ponder. The final selection is the oldest - Beethoven's "Sonata in A - flat" and is quite sad & beautiful, elegant, romantic and uplifting, a nice way to end this entire excursion." - BLG
EASSIDE PERCUSSION with JIM PUGLIESE / CHRISTINE BARD / MICHAEL EVANS - ESP (Avant 073; Japan) Christine Bard, Michael Evans and Jim Pugliese are three of the busiest percussionist on the downtown scene, having worked with everyone from Steve Reich and Philip Glass to Evan Parker and Karen Mantler and God Is My Co Pilot. Together, they are EasSide Percussion and here in their debut recording they explore a world of acoustic and electric percussion not yet imagined. Chains, bamboo clackers, water jars, Korean Shaman bells, Almglocken, Pachinko balls, mini-gamelan, lamp shades, oven parts, toys, Theremin and countless other instruments and everyday objects are used as sound sources in this dynamic suite of 20 compositions that range from musique concrete, modern classical to funk, rock and out-and-out noise. I like it ugly like this - Allen Ginsburg
JAD FAIR & THE SHAPIR-O'RAMA - We Are The Rage (Avant 052; Japan) The awkward sincerity, the joi de vivre - it's a return to form for Half Japanese vocalist, indie - rock trendsetter and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Jad Fair. Songs of love, heartbreak and whatever pops into his mind when the tape is rolling. Sharing the stage is Shapir-O'Rama, led by loony kindred soul Kim Rancourt. Also on board are Dave Rick, special guests Omoide Hatoba, Seiichi Yamamoto and superstar producer Don Fleming. Jad Fair (vo), Kim M. Rancourt (vo, Casio sax from WPLBTW), Chuck Marcus (g), Dave Rick (bass from Bongwater & Phantom Tollbooth) and Steve Dibenedetto (ds).
TOMMY FLANAGAN - Plays The Music Of Harold Arlen (DIW 486; Japan) DO WE NEED TO DRAW YOU A PICTURE? If you don't know who Harold Arlen is, you must be over the rainbow! And if you don't know who Tommy Flanagan is, please unsubscribe from this list as punishment! Master hard-bopping jazz pianist performs lovely - but non-kitschy - versions of one of 20th century's the great tune writers!
GOD IS MY CO-PILOT [SHARON TOPPER/CRAIG FLANAGIN/FRED LONBERG-HOLM/MICHAEL EVANS et al] - Mir Shlufn Nisht (Avant 032; Japan) God Co is: Sharon Topper (vo, instruments), Craig Flanagin (g, ds), Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello), Alex Klein (b), Michael Evans (ds), Siobhan Duffy (ds). Mir Shlufn Nisht is God Co's most delightful and entertaining recording; an eclectic pot pourri of Klezmer tunes, Finnish folk melodies, Russian ballads and the like, all delivered with God Co's inimitable post-everything sensibility. Sharon's heartwarming vocals and Craig's loose improvisational arrangements keep guest musicians Anthony Coleman, Andy Haas and Elliott Sharp on their feet dancing and wailing to some of the world's most timeless folk songs.
STEVE GROSSMAN With TAKEHIRO HONDA / MASAHIRO YOSHIDA - Katonah (DIW 811; Japan) Steve Grossman (ts), Tekehiro Honda (p), Hideo Kawahara (b on 3 and 4), Yasushi Yoneki (b on 1, 2, 5 and 6), Masahiro Yoshida (ds). Recorded at Avaco Studio, Tokyo, February 4, 1986. The great former Miles Davis saxophonist works with Japanese group playing a truly hip collection of tunes - John Lewis. Afternoon In Paris, Monk's Friday The Thirteenth, Tadd Dameron's Soultrane, a standard and his own tracks. Among the sidemen, Takehiro Honda, pianist, was at the heights of his career then.
GROUND ZERO [OTOMO YOSHIHIDE/UCHIHASHI KAZUHISA/MATSUBARA SACHIKO M / et al] - Plays Standards (DIW 420; Japan) Otomo Yoshihide turntables, guitars, etc; Uchihashi Kazuhisa guitars, effects, etc; Matsubara Sachiko [Sachiko M] sampler; Kikiuchi Naruyoshi saxophones; Tanaka Yumiko shamisens, voice; Nasuno Mitsuru electric bass; Uemura Masahiro and Yoshigaki Yasuhiro drums and percusion. Other than Null & Void, this is the most fully realized album from Ground Zero, one of many projects master-minded by ambitious gadfly-turntablist/stellar guitarist Otomo Yoshihide. Although this Japanese band includes two drummers, a sampler-player, and a shamisen (Japanese stringed instrument) player, the real voice is saxophonist Kikuchi Naruyoshi, whose wails and bleats lead most of the songs here. As far as cover albums go, it's obviously not as historic as Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country and Western, but it's much smarter than Guns N' Roses The Spaghetti Incident?. An impressively diverse brew is served up and reconfigured. Some highlights are Chilean protest singer Victor Jara's "El Derecho De Vivir En Paz done as a driving waltz, torch-class "Those Were The Days" done as a maelstrom, jazz pianist Steve Beresford's "The Bath of Surprise" recorded in audio-verite in an actual bathtub, a lovely sweeping tribute to singer Sakamoto Kyu, a John Philip Sousa march that would make Monty Python proud and a 'Roland Kirk version' of "I Say A Little Prayer." All of which bespeaks of Yoshihide's kaleidoscopic vision of Eastern/Western music, especially appealing here as it's presented in a song-based format that grounds the avant excursions. (Just the version of Shed a Little Tear is worth the whole CD!) - Jason Gross
JOHN HICKS TRIO With WALTER BOOKER / IDRIS MUHAMMAD - Inc. 1 (DIW 5001; Japan) John Hicks (p), Walter Booker (b), Idris Muhammad (ds). Recorded at Avaco Studio, Tokyo, April 4, 1985. John Hicks is the magician who makes the piano sound powerfully. In this album that recorded the golden age of his regular trio, he controls the speed of the sound with stoicism and uninhibitedness at will.
TRISTAN HONSINGER / TOSHINORI KONDO / PETER KOWALD / SABU TOYOZUMI - What Are You Talking About? (DIW 456; Japan) This rare reissue was recorded in May of 1983 in a studio Suzuka Mountain in Japan and features Tristan Honsinger (ICP) on cello, Toshinori Kondo on trumpet & Chinese oboe, Peter Kowald on acoustic bass and Sabu Toyozumi on drums, with each member contributing a bit of odd vocals.
LEE HYLA // LYDIAN STRING QUARTET / TIM SMITH / ELIZABETH BROWN / JIM PUGLIESE / et al - In Double Light (Avant 015; Japan) Lee Hyla is more and more becoming known as one of the premiere composers of his generation. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Goddard Lieberson award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the Rome Prize, Hyla has written music for many of the world's greatest orchestras and chamber ensembles. In Double Light, recorded from 1986 to 1992, is a beautiful collection of his works for small chamber ensembles and features some of the most exciting performers in New York and Boston. In addition to his masterpiece In Double Light is an introspective quartet for flute, viola, cello and piano, the intense second string quartet, commissioned and performed by the Lydian Quartet, and a virtuoso solo piece for bass clarinet, masterfully performed by Tim Smith, which weaves the songs of birds, both real and imaginary, into a complex tapestry of note clusters, harmonics and impossible leaps. Mary Ruth Ray (vla), Tim Smith (bcl), Elizabeth Rodgers (p), Jim Pugliese (per), Elizabeth Brown (fl, a-fl), Theodore Mook (cello), Lee Hyla (p, cond), Lydian String Quartet: Wilma Smith (vln), Judith Eissenberg (vln), Mary Ruth Ray (vla) and Rhoda Rider (cello). Released 1993
GEOFF KEEZER TRIO With JAMES GENUS / TONY REEDUS - World Music (DIW 609; Japan) Geoff Keezer (p), James Genus (b), Tony Reedus (ds), Rudy Bird (per). Recorded at Sound On Sound, NYC on January 5, 1992. Keezer first came to the attention of the jazz world as a teenage pianist in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He plays in the hard-bop tradition and has strongly developed as leader, pianist and composer. This recording from 1992 finds him in the company of two in-demand sidemen for great interpretations of classics and more of the leader's tunes. It's Only a Paper Moon by Harold Arlen, Black and Tan Fantasy by Duke Ellington, the traditional Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair and more.
JOHN KING / OTOMO YOSHIHIDE / KONDOH TATSUO / HAYAKAWA TAKEHARU / AOYAMA JUN plus KAZUTOKI UMEZU / MAKIGAMI KOICHI // BLOODBATH - Live Bloodbath Live (DIW/Phenotype 02; Japan) All star avant-noise/noise-funk band! Released only Japan in 1996. These are the last few copies from that one time pressing.
TOSHINORI KONDO With DJ SAHIB - Nerve Tripper (DIW 453; Japan)Japanese madman trumpet hero, Kondo has had a long and varied career, since first playing with early members of the downtown scene in the late seventies like Fred Frith, Eugene Chadbourne & Henry Kaiser, through Bill Laswell produced recordings in the eighties to the Die Like a Dog Qt. (w/ Peter Brotzmann) and Charged (w/ Laswell & Bernocchi) in the nineties. He is (was?) also a talk show host in Japan and has a duo cd out with DJ Krush from last year. 'Nerve Tripper' is his second effort with another DJ, DJ Sahib on turntables on 5 of the 8 tracks here. Kondo plays solo electric trumpet with effects and programs beats and the rest of the sonic environment. Kondo sounds as if he has been influenced by the Miles' electric trumpet explorations, but has taken them to even more intense heights. "Open the Gates" unleashes some hot drum n' bass-like pumping rhythms with Kondo's screaming, echoed horn riding on top. Kondo slows things down for "Lonely Way" which features some sensuous muted trumpet over spacious, funky beats. Kondo creates shimmering electronic squiggles on "Insane Moon Moves Innocent Man" with an even more slowed down beat and some haunting slightly modified el. trumpet swirling into a blissful state. "Savage Satellite" is a sort of ballad for some delightful melancholy horn, bathed in amber, with shimmering echoes. "Where You Appear" has an infectious, funky beat and sounds like something that Miles would've done nicely late in his recorded legacy. Get down and dance! DJ Sahib adds some sinister samples to "Dream Vibrates with Space", which bubble like an overflowing cauldron as Kondo's horn growls mysteriously on top. On "Attaining the Esoteric Life", DJ Sahib creates a slow, hypnotic beat while Kondo's mutant trumpet creates moody, minimal ghost-like apparitions. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HELGE LIEN TRIO With FRODE BERG / KNUT AALEFJAER - Asymmetrics (DIW 630 ,Japan) Comprising brilliant originals, piano solos and trio playing by pianist Helge Lien, bass player Frode Berg and drummer Knut Aalefaer, Asymmetrics is maybe the best piano trio album to ever come from Norway. Alright, comparisons like that are a bit dodgy, especially considering the extremely high quality of piano trios spawned by this country's flourishing jazz milieu, past and present. But when it comes to establishing a common musical expression where piano virtuosity and master musicianship join together in compositions, each one better than the last, and where the different moods are created and expressed so intensely yet calmly, no album comes close. The fact that the trio, which has existed since 2000, delivers impecible playing is the least outstanding element of the album. The trio's former records, show how Lien, Berg and Aalefjaer have perfected their collective musicianship, each of them developing his strengths as an individual instrumentalist. So it's hardly surprising that they now have the artistic clout that only the very best posess. Whether they're pounding out energetic impressionistic power or painting shamelessly beautiful ballads, this trio delivers substance all the way.
HAROLD MABERN TRIO With CHRISTIAN McBRIDE / TONY REEDUS - Maya With Love (DIW 622; Japan)Harold Mabern (p), Christian McBride (b), Tony Reedus (ds). Recorded at Avatar, New York on June 21, 1999. The Memphis-born piano master Harold Mabern has been making swinging, no-nonsense jazz for over 40 years; as both leader and sideman. He's worked with everyone - Lee Morgan, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and Sarah Vaughan to name just a few; in addition to leading sparkling trios such as this one. Here are 11 terrific performances including originals plus interpretations of standards like Cole Porter's Begin The Beguine, Kurt Weill's Speak Low, Kenny Dorham's Blue Bossa and J. J. Johnson's Lament."One of the most imaginative current players of repertoire material." ; Penguin Guide
MARIE McAULIFFE'S ARKSEXTET With ROB HENKE/RICH PERRY/CHRIS WASHBURNE/DAVID HOFSTRA /KEVIN NORTON//BURT BACHARACH - Refractions: Plays The Music Of Burt Bacharach (Avant 070; Japan) One of the highlights of Tzadik's Burt Bacharach tribute from 1996, Marie McAuliffe follows up her brilliant arrangement of I Say A Little Prayer with an entire album of Bacharach material featuring her exciting unit, the ArKsextet. More and more known in the jazz world as a distinctive pianist and arranger, Marie's unique take on a Bacharach's melodic masterpieces swing like crazy, taking unexpected twists and turns while still remaining faithful to the Bacharach originals. ArKsextet: Marie McAuliffe (p), Rob Henke (tp, flh), Rich Perry (ts), Chris Washburne (tb, tu), Dave Hofstra (b), Kevin Norton (ds, vibes). "I recall John Zorn mentioning how much he dug Marie's lovely arrangement of "I Say a Little Prayer" on his Bacharach tribute cd of last year and that he had asked her to do an entire release of Bacharach tunes. Well here it is & what a luscious work of art it surely is. This cd features more of Marie's excellent arrangements and warm, lyrical playing of her superb ensemble. Elegant, enchanting and even haunting at times, Marie's musicians lift these tunes to a higher plane, especially the ever-melodic tone & grace of Rob Henke on trumpet & flugelhorn and Rich Perry on tenor sax. Marie constantly captures the elegant/innocent spirit of the 60's when these songs were pop hits, occasionally opening them up to unexpected directions. "In the Land of Make Believe" opens with a slow, lovely tenor bit before it erupts into a burning, super quick tempo rush, but then slows again with more delicious tenor sounds. It is long & winding version of "The Look of Love" that is this release's real gem! A marvelous arrangement of shifting tempos and textures, mysterious Coltrane-like episode for the tenor, and amazing horns only sections. Certainly the most gorgeous release on Avant, Zorn was right once more. Marie's fine, slightly psychedelic b&w artwork adorn the cover and show another of her talents." - BLG
DAVID MURRAY With JAMES BLOOD ULMER / FRED HOPKINS / SUNNY MURRAY - David Murray: Recording NYC 1986 (DIW 802; Japan) Recorded at Sound Ideas, New York City on May 10, 1986. This is his Murray's memorable first album for DIW. Two songs by Butch Morris followed by four more songs by David Murray. These members cannot make the sound of this album ordinary, and this convey the appeal of Murray straight. We can recognize that his attitude is consistent from the time of this album to the later sincere tribute album to Jazz giant. "Hmmph! Strangled translation above. Just know that this is one of those singular GREAT JAZZ records you could ever hear/own - the roots are here, as well as modern explorative paths, taking it out while staying in - an amazing balancing act. (And a great gift, slyly challenging, for those who say they share your jazz interest, but aren't quite ready for some of DMG's weirder wares!) Billion THUMBS UP" - Manny 'Lunch' Maris
DAVID MURRAY With JOHN HICKS / RAY DRUMMOND / IDRIS MUHAMMAD - Ballads For Bass Clarinet (DIW 880; Japan) Recorded at Power Station, NYC on October 14 & 15, 1991. "Since Eric Dolphy brought bass-clarinet into jazz, this musical instrument came to be a touchstone, and playing this instrument means treading on a tablet Christ for many jazz saxophone players. Murray must be still only person who is free from spell of Dolphy when playing bass-clarinet. Centering great original songs on, all this work is made only by bass-clarinet. And his emotional play by John Hicks (p), whose support is gentle and shines, is so impressive." - translated from Japanese "Strangulated again - and Another ESSENTIAL recording. This isn't a fetish recording - one wonders that bass clarinet wouldn't be though of as Murray's main axe, and that's quite a statement, considering his awesome talents on the saxophone - but as we all might guess, bass clarinet just ain't sexy enough in the jazz world. But IT IS on this recording! Four originals by Murray, and one each by Wilber Morris, Idris Muhammad, and Kunie Mwanga. Anudder BILLION THUMBS UP! - MannyLunch, DMG
MUSIC REVELATION ENSEMBLE [JAMES BLOOD ULMER / CALVIN JONES / CORNELL ROCHESTER] PHAROAH SANDERS / JOHN ZORN - Cross Fire (DIW 927; Japan) Pretty good idea to rotate guest saxophonists as a means to keep James Blood Ulmer's Music Revelation Ensemble concept fresh. Pharoah Sanders and John Zorn are on board for Cross Fire, and a change to Calvin "Fuzz" Jones' acoustic bass lowers the frenzy level that marked Knights of Power. Sanders, in particular, sounds inspired by the context, playing hard and pushing Ulmer and the music. His tracks all start out peaceful, go totally outside with high harmonic shrieks and thick, woolly tenor tone, and then bring it back to the serenity base. He plays some kind of flute over Jones' arco bass on the atmospheric "Suspect," before Cornell Rochester's drums (a driving, active force throughout) gradually push things out. Some lingering echoes of Sonny Sharrock's Ask the Ages disc mark the Sanders tracks -- it is the exact same lineup after all, led by another guitar improviser with some kind of space-bluesman-kinship-connection to Jimi Hendrix -- that becomes explicit on "Sweet." And damn, "My Prayer" finds Sanders playing over segments with an outright country & western groove (yes, you read that right) before it turns sideways and abstract with a spare Ulmer solo for effective contrast. Zorn is subdued at first -- he's the weak link on the opening "Law," not connecting with the blues dirge-feel created by Jones' bass drag anchor with octave drops and a solid Ulmer solo. But he hits his stride on "Proof," his sonic sax effects playing dodge 'em games with Ulmer's guitar around a very pretty, classic Ulmer theme over a slow, descending bassline -- later he comes vomiting back in to spew forth guttural commentary, whoops, and slides near the end of a great track. His playing even picks up on the peace and serenity vibe for the nice closer "Backbeat." Music Revelation Ensemble seems to be the context that Blood Ulmer reserves his strongest melodies for, and he plays with the kind of fire and invention that made him a major figure. Cross Fire probably isn't the best place to plunge in and explore the defining Music Rev feel of Ulmer/Murray's longtime partnership that preceeded it, but it's a very worthy addition to the catalog. - Don Snowden, AMG
MIKE NOCK With BRETT HIRST/TOBY HALL - Changing Seasons (DIW 628; Japan)On his first release for the Japanese DIW label, Australian [actually New Zelander] pianist and composer Mike Nock, along with Toby Hall on drums and Brett Hirst on bass, tread lightly on this introspective, universal theme of the changing seasons. Nock contributes four originals alongside shared credits with Hall and Hirst on "Communion," "Gravity Adjustment," "Changing Seasons 'Spring to Summer'," and "Changing Seasons 'Winter to Spring'." Nock's choice of cover material -- including Wayne Shorter's classic from his days with the Miles Davis Quintet, "E.S.P."; Richie Powell's "Time"; and the traditional "Black Is the Color" -- fit the overall hazy mood of the disc perfectly. For further investigation of previous Nock releases, check out his discs on the Naxos label. ~ Al Campbell, AMG
’BIG' JOHN PATTON With JOHN ZORN / ED CHERRY / KENNY WOLLESEN - Minor Swing (DIW 896; Japan) Amazing! My fave Zorn alto solo ever is on the first song!!! Recorded at Power Station, NYC on December 21, 1994. John Zorn has always been a fan of the funky tenor and organ music that was so much a part of the Blue Note label in the 1960's and 1970's. One of the most dynamic of the organists from those records was the so soulful John Patton; or Big John Patton as he was known then. Patton is still groovin' after all these years as this killer session with Zorn proves. He's more than just a funkmeister, though. Says Harvey Pekar, "You hear something familiar in his work and think you can predict where it's going, but it turns out you're not always right / he makes every note count." This is a very special and inspired album indee! Zorn's full range of alto sax sounds and techniques show how much he loves Patton's - listen to his phenomenal solo on "The Way I Feel" which Zorn also covered with Naked City on 'Live Vol 1: Knitting Factory 1989' on the Tzadik label. All of the tunes are Patton's except the great Tyrone, written by the late organist Larry Young. "An organ trio fronted by an avant-garde alto saxophonist like John Zorn isn't usually a combination associated with groove oriented soul-jazz. Luckily, on Minor Swing, organist Big John Patton and John Zorn encourage taking chances and opening the music up, while not going so far out as to overwhelm the intended fundamental groove. Zorn sounds comfortable and content, always maintaining his individuality, taking a cue from tenor saxophonist Harold Alexander who played in a similar "out" style on Patton's 1968 session for Blue Note, Boogaloo. Patton's second comeback date of the '90s features Zorn with Ed Cherry (guitar) and Kenny Wollesen (drums) on six originals and Larry Young's "Tyrone." Patton and Zorn embrace Young's influence by employing elements of harder edged post bop that a large portion of groove-soul organ players tend to avoid. Although this session may be much harder to obtain than his Blue Note dates, this '90s Japanese-only DIW release is highly recommended!" - Al Campbell
PHALANX with GEORGE ADAMS / JAMES BLOOD ULMER / SIRONE / RASHIED ALI - In Touch (DIW 826; Japan)George Adams (ts, ss, fl), James Blood Ulmer (g, fl), Sirone (b), Rashied Ali (ds). Recorded at A&R Recording, NYC on February 27 and 29, 1988. Phalanx was an excitingly unique, and short-lived, group from the 80s that united George Adams, from Mingus bands and groups with Don Pullen; the revolutionary Ornette; inspired guitarist James Blood Ulmer; former Coltrane drummer Rashied Ali; and bassist Sirone of legendary Revolutionaly Ensemble.All of them performed extensively through Free jazz and Loft jazz periods in NYC. They had all played together in almost all possible combinations except this, Phalanx. After a few concerts and two recordings for DIW (the other is # 801) plus one on the Moers label, and on the Repertoire: Jazzbuhne sublabel, the four headed again to their respective directions.
BOBBY PREVITE EMPTY SUITS With WAYNE HORVITZ/JEROME HARRIS/ROBIN EUBANKS et al - Slay The Suitors (Avant 036; Japan) Slay The Suitors is Bobby Previte at his primal best This music was recorded LIVE in the studio - NO overdubs! Robin Eubanks (tb, electronics), Wayne Horvitz (Hammond org, key, p), Steve Gaboury (p, key, keyboard bass), Jerome Harris (g, ac-b), Roger Squitero (per), Bobby Previte (ds). Slay The Suitors was recorded for Gramavision, but never released because of a cover art controversy. It was finally released with both the music and the cover intact on the Japanese Zorn-curated Avant label, and it's one of the hardest-edged recordings in Bobby Previte's catalog as a bandleader. While Previte's work has always been edgy and adventurous, the sheer joy he gets from drumming gives his music an exuberant energy and tends -- for the most part -- to hold darker influences at bay. (His ominous 1987 soundtrack recording Dull Bang, Gushing Sound, Human Shriek is a notable exception.) Some of Previte's most upbeat compositions were found on the 1990 Gramavision album Empty Suits, credited to his ensemble of the same name that recorded Slay the Suitors in 1993. Previte, trombonist Robin Eubanks, keyboardist Steve Gaboury, and guitarist/bassist Jerome Harris are present on both Empty Suits CDs, but in many ways the two CDs couldn't be farther apart. On Slay the Suitors, Previte has largely abandoned the world fusion elements of the preceding Empty Suits, taken away the guest musicians, and eliminated any overdubbing in favor of a live in-studio recording. Even with Wayne Horvitz joining Gaboury on keyboards and Roger Squitero on percussion, the band now has a stripped-down immediacy and rougher sound, which is reinforced by Slay the Suitors' more loosely improvisational and unruly music. The Herbert Read quote on the CD cover, the controversial cover art (which reportedly led Gramavision to drop plans for releasing the CD), the Slay the Suitors title, and of course the music itself all take metaphorical aim at classicism in the arts -- so one assumes that the classical-sounding titles of the four compositions here are intended as a touch of irony. All the pieces are longer than anything on the band's Gramavision release, and all take their time to coalesce. "Fantasy and Nocturne" begins quietly with a spare piano melody that is quickly overtaken by a fusion-flavored theme from the full band; the piece then slides into pulse-driven territory filled with skronky instrumental voicings that slip, slide, and collide in cacophonous glee. Spacious passages follow, featuring experimental sonics that circle, skitter, and drone around the anchor of a slow and deliberate piano, before the band pulls back together for a coda that dramatically restates the initial theme. "Waltz" begins with keyboard atmospherics, but by its conclusion has become a ferocious frontal assault of snare-smacking, power chord-crunching metal-meets-prog in triple time; King Crimson's "Red" sounds timid by comparison. "Canon" also takes its time, as melodic trombone, guitar, and keyboard phrases are separated by pauses that let synthesized undercurrents rise to the fore. A brief world fusion-tinged jam -- approaching the spirit of the first Empty Suits CD -- concludes the piece, featuring stellar piano work that should delight fans of harmonically adventurous yet groove-based post-bop. The final composition, "Prelude and Elegy," begins with over five minutes of moody solo piano, sketching chords and lines that dissipate into silence, before the rhythm section and electric keys enter, walking a line between free funk and an acoustic piano trio (a truce of sorts is declared as the band unites beneath a lovely trombone solo that quotes "Stranger in Paradise," ending the CD on a somewhat unexpected note of lyricism). On the whole, Slay the Suitors is a shake-up, wake-up call to arms in which Bobby Previte faults classicism for not only stifling the artistic impulse, but also for running hand-in-hand with deeply entrenched, even violent forces of oppression. With this theme to guide him on Slay the Suitors, Previte is absolutely at his most uncompromising, and the resulting music -- like the CD cover -- is right on target. ~ Dave Lynch, AMG
GEORGE ROBERT & KENNY BARRON - Peace (DIW 945; Japan) Duets from George Robert [alto and soprano saxes] and piano legend Kenny Barron. "Swiss saxophonist George Robert is one of the top players of his generation, though he seems appreciated far more in Europe and Asia than in the U.S., probably because few of his recordings as a leader have been made for American labels. Known primarily for his brilliant work on alto sax, he opens this live duo date on soprano sax, with the phenomenal pianist Kenny Barron as his sole accompanist. The haunting ballad "Peace" is a superb opener, followed by a dancing "I Didn't Know What Time It Was." Barron launches the furious post-bop interpretation of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise," with Robert switching back to alto. The shimmering rendition of Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" is absolutely breathtaking. Barron has long been one of the most effective interpreters of the works of Thelonious Monk; both his playful approach to "Blue Monk" and his long introduction to "'Round Midnight" uncover new ground in each of these popular songs. The disc wraps with Barron's thoughtful ballad "Song for Abdullah," which Robert sits out. The brilliant sound of this DIW CD gives one the feeling of having a front row seat in the Geneva concert hall where it took place." - Ken Dryden
ROUGH ASSEMBLAGE [V.C. With NORMAN YAMADA/MARK DeGliANTONI/ERIC QIN]//MARC RIBOT/LINDSEY HORNER/ANTHONY COLEMAN et al - Construction & Demolition (Avant 017; Japan) Inventive and refreshing explorations of rhythm, texture and process, with instrumentation including refrigerator/stove parts, pencil and eraser, sampler and 4 amplified basses. Performers include Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman, Jim Pugliese, Christine Bard, Lindsey Horner and Chris Wood. Rough Assemblage was a five-year project of a collective of three young composers at New York's Mannes College of Music: Norman Yamada, Mark Degliantoni and the late Eric Qin (1967-1993). Yamada served for years as the organizer/prompter of the long-running Knitting Factory performances of John Zorn's game piece Cobra. His brass quintet, Mundane Dissatisfactions, has been recorded by the Meridian Arts Ensemble on Channel Classics. Mark Degliantoni has gone on to fame as the sampler player in the pop band Soul Coughing, and has also performed and recorded with Anthony Coleman, Roy Nathanson, Elliott Sharp and John Zorn. Eric Qin's work involved both the use of traditional and unconventional instruments and performing situations.
DAVID SHEA With ANTHONY COLEMAN/SHELLEY HIRSCH/ZEENA PARKINS/IKUE MORI/JIM PUGLIESE - Shock Corridor (Avant 013; Japan)Splitting his time between Europe and the United States, David Shea has become one of the most well known sampler players in the world. He has released over seven critically-acclaimed CDs in the past five years and his creativity continues to shoot off in all directions. Shock Corridor was his debut recording. Released in 1992, David presents three sides of his multi-faceted compositional skills. In the title track he presents an unfolding collage dedicated to film director Samuel Fuller and is joined by an all-star band of Jim Pugliese, Shelley Hirsch, Ikue Mori, Zeena Parkins, Jim Staley and Anthony Coleman. Also included is a cartoon piece for two keyboards and a trio for samplers that ultimately points toward the direction he was to follow over the next several years. An important and varied first release by this exciting downtown composer.
SMARNAMISA! RESIA VALLEY MUSIC [V.A.] - Folk Songs & Dances From North-East Italy (Avant 047; Japan) From beneath the Alps, near the Slovenian border in Northeast Italy, comes a gorgeous and haunting album of traditional dances, songs and fairy tales from the Resia Valley. 'Smarnamisa!' is the first compact disc of the music of Friuli, birthplace of Pasolini. The rough sawing drone of the citira (fiddle) and the bunkula (three-stringed cello) accompanied by rhythmic foot-stomping transport the listener to a medieval village in ages past.
CD 15.00 AVAILABLE
DAVE SOLDIER With BEN NEILL / BOB BANNISTER / JAMES PUGLIESE / SAMM BENNETT / et al - Smut (Avant 019; Japan) Twangy guitars, droning brass, and pornographic lyrics. Dedicated to Robert Mapplethorpe and David Wojnarowicz, these strange songs, adapted from homo- and hetero - erotic Latin poetry of the middle ages, create a medieval surf sound that will make you want to hit the beach with a copy of Catullus. Matarile, the second composition on this quirky CD, evokes 1990s New York the way Stockhausen evoked 1950s Cologne on Gesang der Junglinge. Using children's voices, rappers and city noises, Soldier structures this work like opposing mirrors in a barber shop; imitation upon imitation upon imitation ad infinitum. An assistant professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Neurology at Columbia University, Dave Soldier has been leading the Soldier String Quartet since 1985 and has collaborated with some of downtown's greatest musical luminaries. Among them Elliott Sharp, John Cale, Butch Morris and Ornette Coleman.
STRATA INSTITUTE With STEVE COLEMAN / VON FREEMAN / GREG OSBY / DAVID GILMORE / KENNY DAVIS / MARVIN "SMITTY" SMITH - Transmigration (DIW; Japan 860) Von Freeman (ts), Steve Coleman (as), Greg Osby (as), David Gilmore (g), Kenny Davis (b), Marvin "Smitty" Smith (ds). Recorded at Systems Two, Brooklyn, NY on January 1991. This is the second work of central group of M-BASE (Macro Basic Of Structured Extemporizations). Von Freeman the veteran is taken as a guest in addition to Steve Coleman and Greg Osby and ensemble of 3 wind instruments thread its way through acute rhythm. Featuring standard and blues tune, the play becomes unprecedented jazzy one and shows the fine contrast with aggressive play in the original.
SUN RA & His ARKESTRA - Live At Pit-Inn Tokyo: Cosmo Omnibus Imaginable Illusion (DIW 824 Japan) Sun Ra (p, syn, vo), Michael Ray (tp, vo), Ahmed Abdullah (tp), Tyron Hill (tb), Marshall Allen (as), John Gilmore (ts, timbales), Danny Thompson (bs), Leroy Taylor (cl, bcl), Bruce Edwards (g), Rollo Rodford (b), Eric Walker (ds), Earl"Buster" Smith (ds), June Tyson (vo, vln), Judith Holten (dance). Recorded at Pit-Inn, Shinjuku, Tokyo, August 8, 1988. The wild, wooly, wacky and wonderful Sun Ra; composer, keyboardist, philosopher, outer-space free-spirit; in a live concert form Tokyo, Japan, 1988. The band plays 6 of Ra's cosmic originals plus its own outrageous takes on Duke Ellington's Prelude To A Kiss and Jerome Kern's Why Was I Born, with a nutty vocal by Michael Ray. Other highlights: soloing of alto saxophonist Marshall Allen and tenor saxophonist John Gilmore.
TENKO / DRAGON BLUE With OTOMO YOSHIHIDE/TSUNEO IMAHORI/KATO HIDEKI/AKIRA SOTOYAMA - Hade's Park (Avant 075; Japan) Along with Yamataka Eye, Haino Keiji and Makigami Koichi, Tenko is one of the most intense and original vocalists to come out of Japan. A veteran of countless bands since the late 70's, Tenko has also worked in close collaboration with Fred Frith and Ikue Mori. This latest project is one of her best: an all-star band of some of the greatest musicians from the Tokyo underground. This second album, their first studio recording, features turntable wizard Otomo Yoshihide, guitar master Imabori Tsuneo, the ferocious drumming of Sotoyama Akira (replacing Tatsuya Yoshida) and of course the legendary Kato Hideki on bass. Blending intensity, quirkiness and improvisational unpredictability, Dragon Blue is one of Japan's most important underground bands. "All are totally on throughout this entire excursion of superb Japanoise improv. Brutal & fascinating!" - BLG
JAMES BLOOD ULMER With ORNETTE COLEMAN / JAMAALADEEN TACUMA / DENARDO COLEMAN - Tales Of Captain Black (DIW 403; Japan) Tales of Captain Black first appeared in 1978 on the Artist House label in America. It was a label set up for the purpose of allowing visionary artists to do exactly what they wanted to do. They had issued a couple of records by Ornette Coleman previously, so it only made sense to issue one by his then guitarist, James Blood Ulmer. With Coleman on alto, his son Denardo Coleman on drums, and bassist Jamaladeen Tacuma on bass, Ornette's harmolodic theory of musical composition and improvisation (whereby on a scale of whole tones, every person in the ensemble could solo at one time and stay in this new harmony) was going to get its first test outside of his own recordings. Blood was, before he was a jazz player, a funk guitarist who had tenured with Black Nasty and a side project of George Clinton's in Detroit, as well as playing as a sideman to organ groovemaster Big John Patton. Having an ally in Tacuma, Ulmer brought funk deep into free jazz territory. The disc opens with "Theme From Captain Black," a furious exercise on the interplay between Ulmer and Tacuma's root contribution. Ulmer sounds like a sideways Jimi Hendrix driving home the rhythmic riff from "Voodoo Chile" as Tacuma charges toward Denardo to undercut the time and Coleman soars over the top. But we also hear Ulmer slipping his fills in, faster than lightning, always in the cut and rolling those strings out like a sax player. On "Moon Shine," we hear the blues angle of harmolodics assert itself. Long, repetitive melody lines are played between Coleman and Blood; there's a modal feel, but it's subverted by the lack of flats. Blood augments all his chords to be played as drone-like as possible, so then even though the piece appears to be played in a minor key, after the first two measures it makes no difference because everyone is soling, not along a set of changes but a melodic line introduced at the beginning. Here is where Blood shines. His fiery arpeggios cut across the bass and rhythm lines and become their own tempo while never leaving the ensemble. The melody restates itself only often enough for the microtonal alignment between Coleman and Blood to become apparent. They are playing in different keys, and through different modal inventions, but sound in unison. On "Revelation March," which Blood recorded on Are You Glad to Be in America, is indicative of the complexities of harmolodics; it also offers a glimpse of this music out from under Coleman's tutelage. The previous melodies were all from Coleman's fake book. Here, Blood introduces the anarchy he's interested in, allowing fragmentary ideas to assert themselves as the sole reason to engage in group improvisation. Tacuma and Denardo are more than up to the challenge. Tacuma trades single lines with Blood's triple-timed fours and chords, creating a kind of melodic invention on the fly. Denardo treats the tune as if it were a march in hyperspeed. Only Coleman dares to play his loping, easy, graceful pace, blues -- wailing it above the chaos. It's beautiful. Safe to say, there are no weak tracks on Tales From Captain Black, and even the redo of "Revealing" from Ulmer's previous album show an unbridled excitement and an extrapolation of that tune's rhythmic and harmonic elements into something more sinister, more driven, more angular, more mercurial. Captain Black marks the real beginning of Ulmer's career as a leader. It has been a bumpy, restless ride since that time with many creative and professional ups and downs, but it hardly matters. Records like this one make him the most visionary and brilliant electric guitarist in a generation. ~ Thom Jurek, AMG
JAMES BLOOD ULMER With CALVIN JONES / AMIN ALI / RASHIED ALI / AUBREY DALE / MICHAEL MUSTAFA ULMER // ORNETTE COLEMAN - Music Speaks Louder Than Words: Plays The Music Of Ornette Coleman (DIW 910; Japan) James Blood Ulmer (g, vo), Calvin 'Hassen Truth' Jones (acoustic bass), Amin Ali (electric bass), Rashied Ali (ds), Aubrey Dale (ds), Michael Mustafa Ulmer (key). Recorded at Eastside Studio, NYC on December 18 & 19, 1995. This is an epoch-making album that Ulmer practices the harmolodic form. His stumbling guitar play completely differs from the sound of two guitarist of Prime Time. It would rather be compelling of Coleman's alto or Jamaaladeen Tacuma's snapping bass play. This is a man of creativity, Ulmer's fine musical effort! Includies 3 Ulmer originals.
JAMES BLOOD ULMER With RONALD DRAYTON / MARK E PETERSON / AUBREY DAYLE - Blues Preacher (DIW 869; Japan) James Blood Ulmer (g, fl, vo), Ronald Drayton (g), Mark E. Peterson (b), Aubrey Dayle (Recorded at Sound On Sound, NYC in September through November, 1992. This is a perfect blues album, he declared! He takes the a blues spirits further, however; Ulmer's guitar play is full of originality, and so this is not a common style of blues. And in this work, Jazz Is The Teacher, which is included in "Are You Glad To Be In America?"(DIW-400), was turned into a blues version. "This effort from controversial guitarist James Blood Ulmer sticks to a harsh blues-rock groove, with many of the one-chord vamps sounding like they are leftovers from John Lee Hooker's repertoire. There are no harmolodics (and little jazz) to be heard on this CD, and this rather primitive music is recommended primarily to fans of Ulmer's gruff vocals."
VIVIAN SISTERS [LAURA CROMWELL / JAMIE SAFT / VANESSA HODGE] With ZEENA PARKINS / BRIGGAN KRAUSS - Vivian Sisters (Avant 079; Japan) The Vivian Sisters are obviously not sisters , but are multi-instrumentalists Laura Cromwell (from Dim Sum Clip Job & duo with Dorgon), Jamie Saft (Tzadik/Avant cds & Zorn collaborator) and vocalist - Vanessa Hodge. Their guests include Zeena Parkins, Briggan Krauss, Andrew D'Angelo, Adam Levy and Mr. Dorgon. Like Laura's previous band DSCJ, the Vivians Sisters have grown out of post-punk and wacky improv and into something different. The cd begins with a slightly warped music box playing its quaint melody over and over. "Worry" is a scary post-punk stomper with screaming vocals, sludge bass, cheesy organ and pounding drums. "Ether Bunny" has one of those fractured melodies played on pedal steel, guitar and drums, while "Lipgloss Iguana" has Jamie playing layers of twisted keyboards - the sound of dolls crying adds a sinister presence. "Guitar Department" does feature some fat, bent electric guitar warpage and heavy drums. I really dig the restrained suspense of "A Gift From France" - which only uses kalimba (for the melody), pedal steel, bass drum and minimal percussion. There are numerous short pieces here which seem to be interludes only dealing with one or two ideas at a time. Vanessa Hodge's spoken word vocal on "Satan Satan" describes a most disturbing scene of the torture and cannibalism of children - the accompanying drums, guitar and sax are equally disturbing. The one cover tune here is ESG's "You're No Good" which gets a stripped down Shaggs-like treatment with some great dubbed echoplex effects. The last piece is called "Jennie" and it is more minimal percussion, kalimba and occasional eerie keyboard sounds. Mood music for a post-apocalyptic dream perhaps? - BLG
DAVID S WARE QUARTET With MATTHEW SHIPP / WILLIAM PARKER / WHIT DICKEY - Third Ear Recitation (DIW 870; Japan) Tails Out is another stunning release from Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Quintet, and further integrates his love of fiery jazz and the Onkyo scene, which "puts much more importance on sound texture than on musical structure" (according to good folks at www.japanimprov.com). The album starts with a wonderful reading of Charlie Haden's "Song for Che" with great playing from the saxmen, Naruyoshi Kikuchi and Tsugami Kenta, who are almost constantly in an intense dialogue throughout the album. That segues directly into an original called "Reducing Agent" that's a burner with some fierce guitar from Yoshihide. There's a steady rhythm, but the playing is very free. "Solvent Waltz" is at once lurching and spastic yet very melodic, and those who are only familiar with Yoshihide's turntable squalls and blasts of guitar terrorism might be shocked at what an excellent guitar player he truly is. The James Blood Ulmer tune "Moons Shine" has a strong harmolodic flavor, with Yoshihide turning in a great, feedback-drenched solo. "Strawberry Fields Forever" gets a fabulous drunken brass band treatment, with Yoshihide again proving what a fine guitar player he can be, when he wants to. For the last two tracks, the quintet is expanded by Sachiko M's sine waves, and the vibraphone playing of Tamara Kumiko, and the sound shifts a bit. Mingus' "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk" begins with nothing but sine waves before getting into the melody of this beautiful and gentle tune, which then segues into "Tails Out": more than ten minutes of lovely Onkyo-jazz bliss, and the longest cut on the album. Tails Out shares some kinship with Ground Zero's Plays Standards, but is far less berserk. The covers are fun, everything is extremely well played, and this band smokes (especially Kikuchi and Yoshihide), but the wildest inclinations of Ground Zero are reigned in here. Otomo Yoshihide is taking all the lessons he's learned from his myriad projects over the last 15 years and breathing new life into a slightly stale jazz scene. Highly recommended! - Sean Westergaard, AMG
DAVID WATSON With JULIE BROWN/DOUG SAFRANEK/MICHAEL ATTIAS/ANDY HAAS/TONY BUCK/CYRO BAPTISTA et al - Skirl (Avant 077; Japan) A swirling free polyphony of bagpipes over thunderous grooves, with funky phasing lines flowing into Coltrane jazz, microtonal drones and lush orchestral percussion. A regular on the downtown New York scene for the past ten years, native New Zealander David Watson pushes the boundaries of the classic "pipe and drums" format in an exciting CD of compositions and improvisation from the collective hallucination. Features a stellar constellation of drummers including Cyro Baptista's rapturous percussion orchestra "Beat the Donkey." David Watson (bagpipes), Julie Brown (bagpipes), Doug Safranek (bagpipes), Jim Pugliese (vibes, per), Christine Bard (ds, per), Tony Buck (ds, bellafon, Roto toms), Cyro Baptista (jaw harp, berimbau, quica) & Beat the Donkey (per), Marjorie Fitts (harp), Michael Attias (as), Andy Haas (didjeridu). "You might recall bagpiper & guitarist - David Watson from the two self-produced cds he has out over the past few years reviewed here & featuring the likes of Ikue Mori, Kato Hideki and members of Machines For Making Sense from Australia. 'Skirl' features three bagpipe players, percussionists Jim Pugliese & Christine Bard (EasSidePercussion), Tony Buck (Peril) and Cyro Baptista w/ Beat the Donkey, plus the alto sax of Michael Attias, the didjeridu of Andy Haas (Avant cd) and the harp of Marjorie Fitts. Odd instrumentation, but not for an Avant release. While bagpipes are mostly associated with Scottish men in kilts, there have been a few players & composers who have done something different with this ancient folk instrument - jazz musician Rufus Harley in the sixties, new music composer Yoshi Wada, and even British free-jazz sax great Paul Dunmall played one at the Keith Tippett Mujicain set at Victo this year. There was even an unexpectedly cool bagpipe fest at the old Knit with a compilation cd to follow. It seems as if (former New Zealander) David Watson has been working with bagpipes longer than almost anyone else. Beginning with a swirling array of layered bagpipes and percussion, creating a mesmerizing haze of drones. The percussion throughout this release is often rich in textures, mystery and drama, while the bagpipes also drone a rather hypnotic haze throughout. Two cuts feature the dense Brazilian carnival percussion ensemble Beat the Donkey with two bagpipes at the center of the storm - an amazing combination of sounds. A haunting treasure of cosmic drones" - BLG
SEAN WAYLAND With MATT PENMAN/JOCHEN RUECKERT - Colossus of Rhodes (DIW 626; Japan) Sean Wayland (p, organ on 9) Jochen Ruckert (ds) Matt Penman (b) Jesse Harris (g on 9) Recorded at March 20th and 21st, 2001 in New York "A gifted and original pianist/composer with his own harmonic language, Sean Wayland is one of the freshest voices to emerge from the current Australian jazz scene. With a strong background in both pop and classical music, Sean's spontaneity and freedom from cliche show a unique musical mind at work. Give a good listen also to Sean's outstanding rhythm section, German drummer Jochen Rueckert and New Zealand bassist Matt Penman, who play with a supportive and unflagging rhythmic drive throughout. Currently based in New York, this trio represents the best of today's emerging young jazz musicians, playing a creative, swinging music with an awareness of the past, while looking to the future.Step into the musical universe of Sean Wayland and hear for yourself!"- Mike Nock, Sydney, Australia.
MICHAEL WEISS QUARTET With ERIC ALEXANDER - Power Station (DIW 924; Japan) Michael Weiss (p), Eric Alexander (ts), John Webber (b), Joe Farnsworth (ds). Recorded at Avatar, NYC on October 3 & 5, 1996. Michael Weiss is known throughout the jazz world as the great pianist who's worked for so many years with saxophonist Johnny Griffin. His playing is solidly rooted in the bop and modern tradition and he has proven himself an accomplished soloist as well as a fine composer and arranger (he's written and arranged for Griffin). Power Station finds him leading a killer quintet that includes Criss Cross recording artist Eric Alexander, another Griffin sideman, John Webber, and Joe Farnsworth, drummer for saxophonists George Coleman, Junior Cook and Benny Golson. All the tunes are Michael's except the beautiful standards Some Other Spring and Alone Together. This album has the depth and power of a classic Blue Note album
WHAT WE LIVE with LISLE ELLIS / LARRY OCHS / DONALD ROBINSON - What We Live (DIW 909; Japan) Featuring Larry Ochs (ts, ss), Lisle Ellis (b), Donald Robinson (ds). Recorded at Sharkbite Studios, Oakland, California on April 24, June 4 and June 12, 1995. A furiously alive trio - actually called What We Live - playing cooperatively created compositions / improvisations. Bassist Lisle Ellis has gained notoriety for playing with the Canadian saxophonist Paul Plimley. Larry Ochs is a founder of the Rova Saxophone Quartet and one of the outstanding but highly underrated saxophonists on the scene today. This wild and exciting jazz album was WWL's debut, originally released in 1996.
THE WHISTLING HANGMEN with OREN BLOEDOW / JOHN MEDESKI / BEN PEROWSKY / et al] - Barhopping (Avant 071; Japan) Oren Bloedow has been a vital member of John Lurie's Lounge Lizards, and most recently he co-leads the pop group Elysian Fields with Jennifer Charles. This debut CD of his newest project features some of the most exciting young lions to emerge from the Downtown scene in years: John Medeski, Ben Perowsky, Aaron Heck, Don Falzone and Danny Blume. Oren's writing is moody, personal and infectious. This is hip, modern instrumental music that fuses jazz, R & B, funk, rock and soundtrack music into new musical statement that you will want to hear time and time again.
CARLA WHITE With PETER MADSEN / DEAN JOHNSON / TOM RAINEY LEW TABACKIN / STEVE BERRIOS - The Sweetest Sounds (DIW 422; Japan) Carla White (vo), Peter Madsen (p), Dean Johnson (b), Tom Rainey (ds) Special Guests: Lew Tabackin (ts), Steve Berrios (per) Recorded at Clinton Recording Studios, NYC on July 26 & 27, 1996. "One of the most impressive performers to come along in years ... a fiercely original approach to the cabaret and jazz repertoire ... profound sensitivity to the meaning of the lyric ...an unusually accomplished interpreter." - The Chicago Tribune . California-born Carla White believes in the power of the lyric and has shown herself to be a smooth and swinging singer. Here, with the help of Madsen (formerly of Three of a Kind), Johnson (the late Gerry Mulligan's longtime bassist) and Rainey (he's played with most of the best modern players) she beautifully interprets twelve great jazz and popular songs.
JAMES WILLIAMS With GEORGE COLEMAN / JOE HENDERSON / BILLY PIERCE / JAMES GENUS / TONY REEDUS - Meets the Saxophone Masters (DIW 868; Japan) Joe Henderson (ts), George Coleman (ts), Billy Pierce (ts), James Williams (p), James Genus (b), Tony Reedus (ds). Recorded at The Power Station, NYC on September 23, 1991. The terrific pianist/composer Williams holds his own with three strong and talented saxophonists. It's an incredible front line and they wail on Sweets Edison's Centerpiece, Jerome Kern's The Song Is You, Williams' Fourplay, Coleman's tribute to Henderson Lo Joe, the traditional gospel tune Calgary and the standard Old Folks.
JAMES WILLIAMS SEXTET With CLARK TERRY/CHRISTIAN McBRIDE et al - Talkin' Trash (DIW 887; Japan) Clark Terry (tp, flh, vo), Billy Pierce (ss, ts), Steve Nelson (vib), James Williams (p, org), Christian McBride (b), Tony Re... Recorded at Sound On Sound, NYC on March 4, 1993. This album, filled with pleasure, feasts our ears with masterful performance of the oldest jazz trumpeter on the active list. Double play of trumpet and flugelhorn, lavish individuality of vocal playing the fool, etc are still thriving. Support of young magnates such as James Williams who plays an active part as a producer, stands out. Serenade To A Buss Seat, a song they reproduced the masterpiece of Riverside, is also noteworthy.
BERNARD WOMA - Live At The Pito Bar (Avant 063; Japan) Bernard Woma, a member of the Dagara tribe from northern Ghana, is considered one of the foremost balafon players in the world. On Sunday afternoons, Bernard and his friends go to Nandem House to kick back, relax, drink Pito (a homemade beer brewed from millet), dance and play some music.This CD documents one such afternoon, and the result is one of the most exciting, raw, visceral recordings of African music you've ever heard. The intense energy and poly-rhythmic complexity of this music can remind you of the Cecil Taylor trio at one moment, and Steve Reich the next. But of course, you've never heard anything like it before. Absolutely Riveting.
OTOMO YOSHIHIDE'S NEW JAZZ QUINTET [ONJQ] - Live (DIW 942; Japan) Yoshihide Otomo (g), Naruyoshi Kikuchi (ts), Kenta Tsugami (as, ss), Hiroaki Mizutani (b), Yasuhiro Yoshigaki (ds, tp).Recorded live at Pit Inn, Shinjuku, Tokyo in March 17, 2002. Otomo Yoshide is, plain and simple, one of the main bandleaders to be watching in recent years. His much heralded group Ground Zero ran quickly from Zorn/Boredom inspired (and collaborated) bursts of noise to slow, beautiful extended compositions for large ensembles. Yoshide has said that Ground Zero evolved too quickly, and he seems to have learned from that experience. He now leads two remarkable groups, and each has unfolded slowly over several amazing records. Cathode, with two discs on Tzadik and a recent release on Improvised Music from Japan, and the New Jazz Quintet and Ensemble, which has had two discs on Tzadik previous to this new title. While Cathode focuses on sparse electronics, Otomo's New Jazz Quintet and Ensemble is what it sounds like, a jazz group. The two Tzadik releases combined a fairly straight-ahead jazz group with electronics to breathtaking effect. On this album, however, he delves more deeply into tradition, presenting an acoustic quintet (himself playing only guitar) and covering Eric Dolphy and Wayne Shorter tunes. The group still keeps the leader's feeling for space and waves of sound and the result is simply beautiful. A surprising move from someone who might still be better known for grinding his stylus violently against slabs of vinyl, but with the New Jazz Quintet, Otomo has done what a jazz bandleader is supposed to do, created a strong ensemble that looks forward without forgetting the past. - Kurt Gottschalk
OTOMO YOSHIHIDE'S NEW JAZZ QUINTET [ONJQ] - Tails Out (DIW 946; Japan) Tails Out is another stunning release from Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Quintet, and further integrates his love of fiery jazz and the Onkyo scene, which "puts much more importance on sound texture than on musical structure" (according to good folks at www.japanimprov.com). The album starts with a wonderful reading of Charlie Haden's "Song for Che" with great playing from the saxmen, Naruyoshi Kikuchi and Tsugami Kenta, who are almost constantly in an intense dialogue throughout the album. That segues directly into an original called "Reducing Agent" that's a burner with some fierce guitar from Yoshihide. There's a steady rhythm, but the playing is very free. "Solvent Waltz" is at once lurching and spastic yet very melodic, and those who are only familiar with Yoshihide's turntable squalls and blasts of guitar terrorism might be shocked at what an excellent guitar player he truly is. The James Blood Ulmer tune "Moons Shine" has a strong harmolodic flavor, with Yoshihide turning in a great, feedback-drenched solo. "Strawberry Fields Forever" gets a fabulous drunken brass band treatment, with Yoshihide again proving what a fine guitar player he can be, when he wants to. For the last two tracks, the quintet is expanded by Sachiko M's sine waves, and the vibraphone playing of Tamara Kumiko, and the sound shifts a bit. Mingus' "Orange Was the Color of Her Dress, Then Blue Silk" begins with nothing but sine waves before getting into the melody of this beautiful and gentle tune, which then segues into "Tails Out": more than ten minutes of lovely Onkyo-jazz bliss, and the longest cut on the album. Tails Out shares some kinship with Ground Zero's Plays Standards, but is far less berserk. The covers are fun, everything is extremely well played, and this band smokes (especially Kikuchi and Yoshihide), but the wildest inclinations of Ground Zero are reigned in here. Otomo Yoshihide is taking all the lessons he's learned from his myriad projects over the last 15 years and breathing new life into a slightly stale jazz scene. Highly recommended! - Sean Westergaard, AMG
Z'EV [STEFAN JOEL WEISSER] With GLENN BRANCA/WHARTON TIERS - Heads & Tales (Avant 034; Japan) Conceptual artist, dancer, musician, scholar and poet, Stefan Weisser began playing the drums at age 4. Moving to New York City from San Francisco in 1979, and adopting the name Z'ev, his work with performance/noise percussion broke new ground and drew the attention of rock symphonist Glenn Branca, dancer Simone Forti, guitarist Rudolph Grey and just about everybody related to the downtown scene. These recordings from the early nineties were created in New York with the assistance of long-time friends and collaborators Wharton Tiers and Glenn Branca. Showing his interests in newly developed technologies, drum 'n' bass, techno and hard-core dance beats, Heads & Tales is unlike any Z'ev recordings you've ever heard. Without compromising his commitment to intensity, his experiments here have taken a whole new turn. Heads & Tales promises to become his best-selling CD, earning him a whole new audience.
JOHN ZORN - Composer // MAKIGAMI KOICHI / UCHIHASHI KAZUHISA / TAKEI MAKOTO / NAKAMURA HITOMI / et al - John Zorn's Cobra: Tokyo Operations '94 (Avant 049; Japan) Cobra has become one of John Zorn's most infamous compositions, and is performed regularly in places as diverse as Australia, Japan, Europe and Scandinavia. These recordings from the heart of Tokyo features a new generation of Japan's most creative traditional musicians prompted by the enthusiastic musical master Makigami Koichi. Shakuhachi, koto, hichiriki, shamisen, nokan, dengaku bue, taiko, ortin doo and gidayu, mix with guitar, bass, vocals and percussion in a bizarre meeting of not only east and west, but also north, south and every other point on the compass. There has never been a Cobra like this one. Exhilarating. Isso Yukihiro (nokan, dengakubue), Uemura Masahiro (per), Uchihashi Kazuhisa (g), Kinoshita Shinichi (shamisen), Senba Kiyohiko (per), Takei Makoto (shakuhachi), Tanaka Yumiko (gidayu), Nakamura Hitomi (hichiriki), Maruta Miki (koto), Mekken (b), Yamamoto Kyoko (vo), Ito Taeko (ortin doo), Makigami Koichi (prompter).
ATTENTION ALL CREATIVE MUSICIANS OUT THERE, Around the world.
If you have a link, for some music that you are working on and want to share it with the folks who read the DMG Newsletter, please send the link to DMG at DMG@Downtownmusicgallery.com. Many of us are going stir crazy staying at home so if you want to inspire us and help us get through these difficult times, please show us what you got. I listed some these last week but have also a few more.
MORE THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU ARE WAITING AROUND FOR THE WORLD TO END OR GET BETTER: STILL STIR CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!
THIS IS FROM MY GOOD FRIEND JESSICA HALLOCK,
This is from Jessica Hallock, please do check it out, there is so much to explore here and I know some of you are bored and need some inspiration/distraction:
Livestreams are obviously no replacement for live shows, but they're all the community we have right now––so experimental music calendar NYC-Noise.com now provides links to livestreams (with artist / curator donation info); a roundup of local musicians' releases; COVID-19-related resources, including links to grants, petitions, & a local venue donation list; & an Instagram account (@NYC_Noise) promoting artists and releases. Please let me know about your livestreams &/or new records at www.nyc-noise.com/submit.
THIS IS A GIG ANNOUNCEMENT FROM VIOLINIST SARAH BERNSTEIN:
FRIDAY Nov 6, 8-10 pm EST
The Fuse Factory Electronic and Digital Arts Lab: Frequency Fridays
Fatal Gaze 8 pm
Post Vivo 8:30
Sarah Bernstein 9 pm
Id M Theft Able 9:30
This is from Thomas Sayers Ellis of HEROES ARE GANG LEADERS:
THIS IS FROM GUITAR MASTER HENRY KAISER:
once in a while they are historical old thangs from my video archive and I will be doing more collaborations with other improvisors. I plan to keep this up until there are live gigs again so there will likely be a lot more of these best, Henry
From INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM RAINEY:
Every Week for the entirety of this pandemic/lockdown INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM RAINEY have been posting a new duo offering. I have listened to every one of these as they were sent out and am much impressed by the way this duo continues to evolve and work their way through many ideas. You can check out each one here:
ROULETTE AT HOME:
https://roulette.org/rtv/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=c19eeaa4fd- Dr. Chadbourne! EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-andc19eeaa4fd-302668229#!/grs/0/id/92
https://roulette.org/event/joel-ross/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=c19eeaa4fd-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-c19eeaa4fd-302668229
https://roulette.org/event/nels-cline-from-cage-to-cunningham/?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=c19eeaa4fd-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-c19eeaa4fd-302668229
Playlist: Excerpts from the Black Avant-Garde - Tracks by Tomeka Reid, Reggie Workman, Diedre Murray, Anthony Davis, Amiri Baraka, Henry Threadgill, William Parker, Matana Roberts from the Roulette concert archive. - https://soundcloud.com/roulette_intermedium/sets/blackavantgarde?utm_source=Roulette Master List&utm_campaign=34384bb216-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_08_15_09_07_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c36db137d7-34384bb216-302668229
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 3pm EST on Facebook. Different songs on each episode. Here is the link: https://www.facebook
This One from FLUTIST Extraordinare BOB DOWNES: