THE DMG NEWSLETTER BEGINS WITH Five Discs from:
FIVE FABULOUS NEW DISCS FROM THE AMAZING CUNEIFORM LABEL In Stock Shortly:
A LOVE SUPREME ELECTRIC with HENRY KAISER / VINNY GOLIA / WAYNE PEET / MIKE WATT / JOHN HANRAHAN / RAKALAM BOB MOSES - Crew on Board (Cuneiform 470/471; USA) Some records tell you what’s what. That’s not a bad thing: there’s a place in music for reportage, for commentary, for what’s going on. But A Love Supreme Electric, the collaborative project between Vinny Golia, John Hanrahan, Henry Kaiser, Wayne Peet, Mike Watt, and John Coltrane’s immortal spirit, starts from a different place. “What if?” it asks.
In fact, ALSE asks “What if?” over and over again, joyously interrogating the twin templates of Coltrane’s A Love Supreme and Meditations from a kaleidoscopic array of angles. Kaiser, the project’s de facto theorist, chose to start with “What if A Love Supreme and Meditations are two parts of one single expression of an ecstatic spiritual state?”
“I had known that Coltrane intended his Meditations suite to be a spiritual sequel to his A Love Supreme suite,” Kaiser writes in his liner notes for A Love Supreme Electric. “Thus it was natural to suggest that with our A Love Supreme Electric gigs, we often play Meditations as the second set. After having done this more than a few times, I would note that...the two suites really do fit together to actually be one 2-part suite, where all the individual sections inform, deepen, cross-reference, and expand on one another, in both the musical and spiritual domains. “The 2-CD set that we present to you here,” he continues, “is this current crew’s fiery salvo of our testimony to this.”
The band’s recognition of the essential unity of Coltrane’s two masterpieces is profound, as is the ease with which saxophonist Golia, percussionist Hanrahan, guitarist Kaiser, keyboardist Peet, and bassist Watt answer another big “what if?”: “What if Coltrane had survived cancer—which took him at the untimely age of 40, in 1967—and joined his occasional colleague Miles Davis in pioneering electric jazz?”
There are more of these questions raised in the liner notes. Close the door, unplug the phone, and press “play”. You’ve got an hour, 47 minutes, and 41 seconds to think.
2 CD Set $21
ANTHONY PROG with MICHAEL FORMANEK / CHES SMITH - Pocket Poem (Cuneiform 468; USA) Featuring Anthony Pirog on guitar, Michael Formanek on contrabass and Ches Smith on percussion. While it might confound those fixated with an artist’s niche in the marketplace, guitarist Anthony Pirog knows little of stylistic limitations—in point of fact, Pirog’s latest opus brings to mind the beloved Duke Ellington adage: Beyond category. Initially based in jazz, Pirog’s seeming objective is to be a “category” unto himself, embracing not only jazz but avant-garde and indie rock, free improvisation, electronic sound, and ambient soundscapes. His latest, Pocket Poem, is in a zone where stylistic “handles” matter little but the idea of music is vibrant, expansive, and kaleidoscopic.
Pirog has established himself engaging in genre-blurring activities in the disparate veins of indie rock, rockabilly, avant-folk, creative jazz, free improvisation, electronica, and ambient soundscapes. His work as one-half of the duo Janel & Anthony made him a fixture of the DC experimental scene for the last dozen years, and since their 2012 release, Where Is Home on Cuneiform, Anthony has been featured on several releases for the label, which showcase his multi-faceted talents including the electric jazz improvisational Five Times Surprise and the classic DC-scene inspired Music From The Anacostia Delta. His first solo opus for the label, 2015’s Palo Colorado Dream, featured backing by the same musicians on Pocket Poem: acoustic bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Ches Smith. With these two gents in tow, on Pocket Poem, Anthony designs a stylistic matrix where limits melt, genres meld, where seeming barriers shimmer and happily dissipate, engendering a both fascinating and satisfying audio journey.
Also well worth noting is his virtuosic and exciting trio Messthetics, with Brendan Canty and Joe Lally, who were the rhythmic axis for Fugazi, a band that redefined what “hardcore” and “punk rock” could and would be. Messthetics are a combination that could and would blur and redefine what could happen when musical minds harness seemingly disparate approaches and take them to new and heady heights. With this ensemble, Anthony’s work very quickly reached a new and much larger audience and the last four years saw him touring all over the world!”
RAY RUSSELL with CHRIS BISCOE / MO FOSTER / SIMON PHILLIPS / et al - Fluid Architecture (Cuneiform 483; USA) “Frank Zappa famously characterized music as sculpted air, a notion Ray Russell parlays into another dimension entirely on Fluid Architecture. Russell's new collection of unique sonic structures reflects the composer and longtime Fender Strat experimentalist's sonic signature – one distinguished by diversity and combining luscious lyricism, screaming expressionism, and an alien vocabulary of textures and colors – often within the same track. Russell's guitar can be as comforting as man's best friend or as threatening as colors out of space.
Past, present, and future entwine on opener "Escaping the Six-String Cage." This sinuous and stately, electronically enhanced edifice subliminally samples Russell's free-music masterpiece, June 11th 1971: Live at the ICA. It's the perfect introduction to the architectonic underpinnings of Russell's sound(s) here.
Guitarist-composer Ray Russell has enjoyed two distinct careers: one as an esteemed session player and award- winning film and televison composer, another as an ingenious guitar experimentalist and free-thinking collaborator. As part of an exploratory group of British ‘jazz and beyond’ musicians in the late 1960’s, Ray Russell released a number of acclaimed and ultimately influential experimental albums; Dragon Hill, Rites & Rituals, Live At The I.C.A. and Secret Asylum into the early 70s and these albums all burst at the seams with compositional invention, soundscaping expertise (he's reputedly the first English guitarist with a pedal-board setup), and a flair for collaborative mind-melding. Based on the dates of these releases, he can claim to be, along with Sonny Sharrock, one of the earliest ‘free’ guitarists.”
I.P.A with MAGNUS BROO / ATIE NYMO / MATTIAS STAHL / INGEBRIGT HAKER FLATEN / HAKON MJASET JOHANSEN - Bashing Mushrooms (Cuneiform 472; USA) “After a dozen years as one of Europe’s most acclaimed jazz ensembles, I.P.A. is still discovering mesmerizing new sonic territory. Born out of a deep dive into the music of pioneering trumpeter/composer Don Cherry, the group has firmly established its own sound and identity, and Bashing Mushrooms reveals a striking new side of the quintet. A sumptuous aural feast marked by extended, circuitous melodies and spacious, finely etched textures, it is the group’s fifth album.
While the title might suggest psychedelic journeys, Bashing Mushrooms is a work of riveting clarity, with all of the thoughtful interaction and knife-edge balance between improvisation and composition that has long distinguished the group. The five musicians in I.P.A. have found kindred exploratory spirits in the band; with Bashing Mushrooms the quintet has found a sweet spot where the confidence that comes with maturity meets the boldness informed by experience.
“We all had this calm, relaxed feeling during the session, and that helped it go in that loose direction,” Nymo says. “Even though there are high energy parts there’s sort of a calmness to it. We have been playing for a lot of years, and even though it’s new material it’s a continuation of what we’ve been doing. Playing so much in the past together is really paying off, and I think you can hear how this music came together in a natural way.”
SCHNELLERTOLLERMAIER - 5 (Cuneiform 482; USA) Featuring Manuel Toller on electric guitar, Andi Schnellerman on electric bass and David Meier on drums. There are bands that play beautiful, engaging concerts, take a bow and go home – and then there are others that open up completely new perspectives, make time stop, and whose clear-cut approach burns itself into the audience's memory. Schnellertollermeier is such a band. Anyone who has seen them live will attest to the experience and, when trying to describe their music, will use words such as “stunning”, “minimalist”, “brutal”, “decisive”, “monumental”, “angry”, “controlled”, “captivating” or “radical”.
Their concerts are energetic salvos that draw their dynamism from the tension between modern compositional techniques and free improvisation; the vistas they create open up new, uncharted landscapes influenced by minimal, avant-garde and electronic music, suffused with elements that reference krautrock and the directness of punk. Since their debut album Holz, released in 2008, they continue to surprise and captivate, leaving listeners riveted to their seats. Julian Cowley of British music magazine The Wire suspects some form of telepathic wizardry at the root of Schnellertollermeier’s intuitive interplay.
The traditional balance of power between the drums, bass and guitar is consistently subverted. Thus, here and there, the guitar assumes the role of the drums as the melodic, razor-edged heart of the rhythm section, while the drums seem to be following an entirely different agenda. The bass merges seamlessly with adjacent frequencies, or rises to the role of polyphonic protagonist - to the point where it’s hard to distinguish where one instrument ends and another begins. There are no solos, only closely knit, highly energetic arcs filled with joyful escalation. In their most ecstatic moments, the band sounds like one big drum machine made of individual human components, and accomplishes what computers cannot: taking risks, developing a rationale of its own, offering unexpected shifts.
5 takes their music even further – which at times unexpectedly leads to silence. On 5 there is more space, more intimacy, more time for dialogue between the music and listeners. The seven pieces, ranging from abstract dance music to electro-acoustic currents of sound, are gentler and more fragile than one would expect from Schnellertollermeier.”
JOE RIGBY with CALUM MacCRIMMON / SCOTT DONALD / BILLY FISHER - For Harriet (Homeboy Music; UK) “Featuring Joe Rigby on tenor & sopranino sax & flute, Calum MacCrimon on bagpipes & penny whistle, Scott Donald (drums) and billy fisher on percussion. Recorded November 16, 2009 at Showcase The Street in Dundee (Scotland) Does the name Joe Rigby ring any bells? You may have seen him playing without knowing it. On the other hand, if you'd seen him playing with Milford Graves, you'd most certainly remember. Rigby, long-time friend and partner of Milford going back all the way to the '60s, usually playing tenor saxophone and soprano, just two of his many instruments. On Joe's last visit to Scotland he got together with a gifted young bagpiper Calum MacCrimmon and two local drummers for an ecstatic spontaneous communication. Called ‘For Harriet’ in honor of his lovely wife, this is a startling new sonic exploration, the whole music exactly as it was performed.” - Homeboy website
Spiritual Jazz has long been my favorite type of jazz, ever since hearing John Coltrane and Albert Ayler on Philly Jazz radio (WXPN) around 1973 and catching the Sam Rivers Trio and the Sun Ra Arkestra live in NYC around the same time, I was hooked on spiritual music/journey. Listening to this disc, I get that same cosmic vibe, free flowing spirits caressing my mind & soul. Joe Rigby has a deep, dark, probing tone on his tenor sax with swirling bagpipes and spinning percussion underneath supporting and keeping the flow going. The cosmic flow continues when Mr. Rigby picks up the soprano sax which works ever better with the bagpipes since they are both in a similar range. Although I hadn’t heard of the other three musicians here, everyone plays well. This disc was recorded in a studio in Dundee, Scotland, where I believe these three musicians & label-head/brother Roy Morris are from. Mr. Rigby switches to (wooden?) flute for the second long piece, again with floating percussion with Billy Jenkins added on congas & djembe. Drummer Scott Donald gets into a great, laid back groove midway while Mr. Rigby switches to soprano sax. Mr. Rigby gets into the cosmic zone on soprano, his careful notes spinning serpent-like and dreamy. Mr. MacCrimmon also plays pennywhistle on this piece but it sounds more like a wooden flute and works well with soft, haunting soprano, hand percussion and stripped down drum groove. Bagpipes can often be overwhelming to deal with, too loud, imposing and nonstop. Mr. MacCrimmon plays a more subdued, sublime, flowing grace here. When Mr. Rigby takes off on “Part 3”, this is where we start reaching for deeper/higher levels outside beyond normal space. Joe Rigby should be recognized as one the best of the free/jazz reeds wizards. This disc captures him and his cohorts in a most magical way. Take a trip. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $15 [Limited Edition CD-R]
PEK SOLO - A Quartet of PEKs / The Strange Theory of Light & Matter (Evil Clown 9250; USA) Featuring PEK on clarinets, saxes, double reeds, flutes, whistles, recorders and other wind instruments. Ever since the pandemic forced everyone inside (March of 2020) for months on end, everyone has had to adjust to new ways of dealing with life. Dave Peck a/k/a PEK is the longtime fearless leader & founder of Leap of Faith and their 1/2 dozen plus offshoot bands. What was amazing is how many live and recorded sessions he has organized with some 100 discs out on his own Evil Clown label. Due to the pandemic and the precariousness of life, PEK has had to cancel practically every Leap of Faith gig except for a handful of sets recorded at his own abode, the Evil Clown Headquarters in Waltham, MA. Hence, most of the most recent Evil Clown releases are PEK solo offerings. I spoke with Mr. Peck on the phone recently and he says that with his extra time, he is learning to work wonders in his own studio by layering or overdubbing as he records so we can hear a few different instruments at the same time as he adds select lines to his ongoing sessions. For this sessions, PEK, who usually plays upwards of 50 instruments, concentrates on reeds and brass only, something he hasn’t done before as far as his recorded catalogue. Right from the first note, PEK is layering several reeds and double reeds together. I really like the way the clarinets (bass, b-flat & contrabass) clarinets sound together as PEK weaves his lines around one another in complex, twisted harmonies. PEK does a fine job of stretching out lines, bending certain notes, adding & subtracting different parts or layers as he goes. While PEK takes an occasional solo (bass sax or one of several clarinets), he also adds different parts selectively by overdubbing or sampling as he goes. This disc is pretty long at nearly 76 minutes so do take some time to listen to the entire endeavor. Yet another impressive undertaking by the ever-resourceful Mr. PEK. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
WERNER PUNTIGRAM / BEAT KELLER / GEORG WILBERTZ - Und Ja, And Yes, (zOaR 066; USA) Featuring two duets with three musicians: Werner Puntigram on trombone & conch shell with Beat Keller on feedback electric guitar or Georg Wilbertz on drums & percussion. So, my good friend Elliott Sharp comes to visit the store earlier this week (12/1/20) and lays on me this new disc from his own zOaR label. Only, this is not an E# disc but it is by three musicians from Austria. Although, I hadn’t heard of any of these folks before now, each one has an interesting history/resume. Mr. Puntigram has done quite a bit of interdisciplinary art. Check these dozen projects here: https://www.ear-x-eye.info/interdisciplinary/. Swiss guitarist, Beat Keller, also gets around, working with the NDR Big Band. Keller’s 10 & the Haiku String Trio. Drummer, Georg Wilbertz, has even less of an online presence.
This disc consists of some 24 short pieces (all under 3 & 1/2 minutes) and this disc was recorded live on 2 dates in June & November of 2019. When the first piece (for trombone & guitar) began, I was thinking about some of the trombonists who play(ed) extended sounds like Paul Rutherford, Connie & Johannes Bauer and a bit later, Jim Staley and Steve Swell. Considering that these pieces are short, the duo condense their playing into quiet, intense, focused and fractures sounds. What’s most interesting is that the duos are interspersed so that we get one or two short pieces by the trombone & guitar and then 1 or 2 by the trombone & drums. Yet they all fit together since the playing is minimal and focused. You forget which duo you are listening to but it doesn’t matter, it is all part of one thing. It does require some patience and a calm space to truly listen closely and appreciate the care and craft involved. Mr. Sharp compares this duo to Austrian Serialist composer Anton Webern from the earlier part of the last century and I can hear the way the brevity and clarity are related. Thanks to E# for putting this gem out there. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOHN TOWNLEY - The Old Sailor (The Lollipoppe Shoppe 022; Germany) “John Townley is associated with various musical projects by different groups of people. For some, he's the driving force behind the double-album by The Family of Apostolic (1968), for others the guitarist of folk-rock garage-heroes The Magicians (1965-66). Yet other folks think of him as the musician/producer behind maritime albums like his own Sailor! (1991) and A Chesapeake Sailor's Companion (2000) or the two albums by The Starboard List (1976-77). But in the end it's always the one and only John Townley -- a man of many talents with an incredible scope of musical abilities and sensibilities. Having studied guitar with Rev. Gary Davis in the early 1960s, John played the blues and folk circuit of coffee houses in New York City, meeting almost everyone you could imagine in that scene. He played in a duo with David Blue, formed an all-electric folk-band in 1965, The Psychedelic Rangers, before joining The Magicians. His next venture was to found the Apostolic Studios, the first 12-track-facility in New York. There he recorded The Family of Apostolic-album and the follow-up with Ocean (1969) as well as various projects for Vanguard Records and other labels. From the 1970's onward John's been researching, playing and producing mainly maritime folk music, making the aforementioned albums and sailing (often literally) around the USA and Europe. Now he's back with this new solo album -- and being the multi-instrumentalist that he is, he played every instrument you can hear on it by himself. The project started in 2014-15 with recordings at Marc Greene's studio in Brookville, NY and it was finished when Grammy-winning engineer John Kilgore did the final mixes in New York City in 2019-20. As John has always been fond of eclectic album concepts (just listen to the albums by the Family of Apostolic and Ocean) this new album also covers a lot of ground. His folk and blues roots are represented by new interpretations and re-inventions of some real classics, on top there are also some wonderful new original songs. Everything is tied together by John's incredible guitar playing -- acoustic and electric -- and his great voice (plus harmony vocals and around ten other instruments). John Townley returns with a folk n' blues-pickin' smasher of an album. Deluxe fold open cover. Includes insert with liner and song notes by John Townley.
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 ONE COMES from PAUL DUNMALL, British Saxophone Colossus!!!
I haven't done any gigs since March but I have done a couple of recordings so if you're interested there's a video of one below which goes on line 7.45pm November 26th it was organised by TDE promotions/Fizzle may you all stay well. - Paul
Here's the link: https://youtu.be/GjbY7tTeH7k
THIS COMES FROM JOURNALIST & AUTHOR OF THE ESP BOOK, JASON WEISS:
The French saxophonist Etienne Brunet (studied with Lacy a bit in the ‘70s, & in fact it’s thanks to him that Saravah put out Lacy’s Scratching the Seventies, which he edited; later played with various people like Jacques Oger, Jac Berrocal, Fred Van Hove). So, if maybe you’re inclined this time to list it in your newsletter, Etienne has just posted a duo set, “Wifi Long Distance Call” (39 min.), Etienne on bass clarinet, with percussionist Shyamal Maitra, mostly on tabla.
THIS COMES from KEVIN REILLY AT RELATIVE PITCH RECORDS:
MATTHEW WRIGHT // EVAN PARKER / MARK NAUSEEF / TOMA GOUBAND - Matthew Wright’s Locked Hybrids (Relative Pitch; USA) “I’m sending a head's up for tomorrow's release of Matthew Wright's Locked Hybrids. It's the first digital-only release for the label. It was assembled in Wright's studio during the lockdown and made entirely from samples of Evan Parker, Toma Gouband and Mark Nauseef collected during a 2018 recording at Arco Barco in Ramsgate, UK. Using a mixture of software editing and Wright's own brand of improvised mixing with turntables and laptops, the resultant music is a blend of experimental hip hop, sonic art, improvisation and digital composition. The release will coincide with a new Locked Hybrids commission for hcmf// that will stream from the festival website (https://hcmf.co.uk/) on the weekend of 20th-22nd November. Excerpts from the RP release will also feature on the UKs BBC Radio 3 New Music Show during that weekend.
Download Only Release at https://relativepitchrecords.bandcamp.com/album/locked-hybrids
THIS IS FROM MY GOOD FRIEND & EXPERIMENTAL PHOTOGRAPHER MEGHAN DESMOND:
I have watched this video a couple of times and find it fascinating both visually and sonically. Do check it out. - BLG at DMG
HERE IS A RECENT SOLO SET FROM FORMER DMG All-Star Saxist CHRIS PITSIOKOS:
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:
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:
As the saying goes: "If you can't beat them, join them"