“Witchi Tai To”
By Everything is Everything
Written by Jim Pepper
Witchi tai tai, hemorah
Hora nika, hora nika
Hey nay, hey nay, noah
Witchi tai tai, hemorah
Hora nika, hora nika
Hey nay, hey nay, noah
Water spirit feeling
Springing round my head
Makes me feel glad
That I'm not dead
Witchi tai tai, hemorah
Hora nika, hora nika
Hey nay, hey nay, noah
Witchi tai tai, hemorah
Hora nika, hora nika
Hey nay, hey nay, noah
Water spirit feeling
Springing round my head
Makes me feel glad
That I'm not dead
Witchi tai tai, hemorah
Hora nika, hora nika
Hey nay, hey nay, noah
Witchi tai tai, hemorah
Hora nika, hora nika
Hey nay, hey nay, noah
Water spirit feeling
Springing round my head
Makes me feel glad
That I'm not dead
Witchi tai tai, hemorah
Hora nika, hora nika
Hey nay, hey nay, noah
Witchi tai tai, hemorah
Hora nika, hora nika
Hey nay, hey nay, noah
“Witchi Tai To” was released as a single in 1969 by a relatively unknown band called Everything is Everything. I bought the single and was always enchanted by that song. I still sing it to myself since it makes me feel good. It turns out that Everything is Everything was an offshoot of The Free Spirits, a NY band whose lone studio album from 1967 is said to be one of the first culminations of jazz and rock. The Free Spirits featured Jim Pepper, Chris Hills & Columbus Baker (all ended up in E is E) plus Larry Coryell & Bob Moses. What is interesting about this song is that it takes a Native American chant (allegedly inspired by a peyote ceremony) and turns it into a rich blend of Spirit Jazz & rock with spiritual/trance-like current running underneath. The song has been covered by Oregon, Jan Garbarek, Brewer & Shipley plus Jim Pepper redid it several times throughout his career. Check the original here: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-mnet-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mnet&p=Everything Is Everything – Witchi Tai To#id=51&vid=2fdacfb82ebcf797c11f570a4faf7cb1&action=click
I have been thinking about the term “Spiritual Jazz” or “Spirit Jazz” a great deal lately. Since the pandemic hit in March of this year, 10 months ago, most of us have been forced indoors, often alone or with just the folks that we live with (or our families). It has been a difficult time dealing with fear, frustration, confusion, misinformation and most of all, loneliness. Since I find that being with other fellow or feline music freaks is what makes me happy, I’ve had to work on some inner inspiration being alone myself. Listening to, searching for and dancing to Creative Music inspires me and has kept me sane and focused for better days ahead. One of the main ongoing searches that I’ve been on is finding that spirit force/sound in different types of music: Free Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Funk, Folk and a variety of Ethnic musics. Many feel that John Coltrane’s later period epics like “A Love Supreme” and “Ascension” are the beginnings of Spirit Jazz and I agree that that music still inspires me today. Two recent records, Mars Williams’ ‘Ayler/X-Mas’ - Vol. 4 and Henry Kaiser/Vinny Golia’s ‘A Love Supreme Electric’ both capture that cosmic, spirit, jazz/rock vibe really well and every time I listen, I am taken away. The new Tisziji Munoz CD, listed below, is also coming from a similar place. Thanks to all of the musicians and creative spirits around the world whose job it is to help us get through these strange times with their soul-searching sounds. - Brother Bruce Lee G.
A FOND FAREWELL TO TERRI CASTILLO CHAPIN
On Tuesday morning, earlier this week, I was on my way to the store and received an email that informed me that Terri Chapin had passed away the night before. I was devastated since Terri & I were longtime friends and she was one of the nicest, most positive spirited folks I’ve ever known. I met Terri in the late eighties/early nineties when she was dating and then living with the late Thomas Chapin. Thomas was a dear friend, one of the greatest saxists of all and someone whose music career I was proud to help with. I saw Terri at many of Thomas’ gigs in the nineties and was invited to their apartment on a few occasions, hence, we became good friends, sharing some good times together. I had the Thomas Chapin Trio open for a John Zorn Electric Trio (w/ Rollins rhythm team) at the Knitting Factory in the early nineties and both bands were amazing! A month later, the Knitting Factory started their own label, their first signing was the the Thomas Chapin Trio. Boy was I proud! Thomas’ Trio toured Europe on several Knitting Factory tours as his career soared. Then Knit released seven CD’s on their own label, all wonderful and collected in a fine box-set. Sadly Thomas was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away in February of 1998, he was just forty. The last year that Thomas lived was a difficult year for his family and friends. Terri invited me to a healing prayer meeting which I attended hoping it would help Thomas survive. After Thomas passed away, Terri kept his legacy going and set up a website for him: thomaschapin.com. On two occasions, Terri & I organized two memorial concerts for Thomas Chapin, both of which were successful and inspiring to those who attended. It turned out that Terri’s sister, Stephanie J. Castillo, was an award-winning documentary filmmaker and decided to do a film on Thomas Chapin. She did the film and it is called, ‘Night Bird Song, The Thomas Chapin Story’. Both Terri, myself and many musicians were all interviewed in the film and I have watched it many times, since Thomas’ intense creative spirit leaps off the screen and will inspire many folks who watch now and in the future. I urge you to check it out if you haven’t done so already: https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-mnet-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mnet&p=Everything Is Everything – Witchi Tai To#id=51&vid=2fdacfb82ebcf797c11f570a4faf7cb1&action=click
A few months ago, I got an e-mail from Terri telling me that she was moving back to Hawaii, where she grew up, in order to be with her family. She said that she needed to find a home for many of Thomas’ things: CDs, Dat tapes, music scores, his collages and other items that she didn’t want to bring back home. I was happy to say that I would love to get these items and sent my employees Frank & John over to her place. Frank and John had a great time visiting her, looking through her own collected things. She even gave them some of her furniture which has been put to good use. What she didn’t mention was that she had cancer and was going home to pass with her family, six sisters and her mother around her. So, the three of us were astonished to hear of her passing this week. I have been on Terri’s own newsletter list for many years and always looked forward to whatever she sent. Mostly it was things about Thomas or just things like news items, film reviews or anything meant to inspire or uplift us. These things I will miss the most since they always got me to smile and look on the brighter side of life. The Thomas Chapin website will continue with the help of Scott Friedlander, Paul Acquaro and myself. Scott has set up a sound-cloud page for some of Thomas’ live gigs to be heard. I will be donating several dozen tapes myself in the near future. Let all join (virtual) hands and say a prayer for Terri Castillo Chapin, a truly beautiful spirit. - Bruce L. Gallanter, Frank Meadows, John Mori and anyone else who knew her.
THIS WEEKS COSMIC, SONIC, SPIRITUAL OFFERINGS BEGIN WITh This Treasure:
TISZIJI MUNOZ / DAVE LIEBMAN / PAUL SCHAFFER / DON PATE / DAVID FINCK / BILLY 'JABALI' HART / RAKALAM BOB MOSES - Immortal Drumming (Anami 072; USA) Featuring Tisziji Munoz on guitar, congas & djembe, Dave Liebman on tenor & soprano saxes & wood flute, Paul Shaffer on piano, Don ‘Yeka’ Pate & David Finck on contrabasses and Billy ‘Jabali’ Hart & Rakalam Bob Moses on drums & percussion. I have benn thinking about how important spiritual jazz has become in recent times as a way to heal the darker forces that surround us way too often in recent times. Guitar master, Tisziji Munoz is a longtime practitioner in the Spiritual Jazz realm. He has a way of tapping into that force/vibe/stream that connects our bodies, minds and souls through his music. After a handful of new releases three to four years back, he has slowed down to just 1 or 2 releases a year. His last release from earlier this year (2020) was a trio date with just bass & drums called, ‘Drop Dead’. His new one just arrived and it features a stellar seven piece band with a guitar, reeds & piano frontline and two basses & two percussionists. All the members of this all-star septet have played with Munoz before except for the great Billy Hart, a jazz elder who used to play with the legendary Mwandishi Band.
When we put this disc on for the first time earlier this week, we could tell that something special (cosmic) was going on. Mr. Munoz composed all of the songs here, the opening track, “Visiting This Planet” appeared on an earlier Munoz release. Mr. Munoz plays with saxists on rare occasions, aside from a few discs with Pharoah Sanders, whom he played with in the early 1970’s. Dave Liebman, who is another well-loved jazz elder, has worked with Munoz on several previous recordings, including an album named, “Visiting this Planet”. This piece sounds like a grand conclusion to some sort of special event, it sounds like Munoz and Liebman (on tenor) are reaching for the skies, the septet soaring together. While Liebman takes a strong, spirited solo, it is the churning sound of the piano, two basses and both drummers swirling together underneath that washes over us like crashing waves. On “This is Why We are Here”, the distinctive, dark and turbulent tone of Munoz’s guitar matches licks with Liebman’s tenor. Considering that John Coltrane and his sheets of sound are/is both main inspirations for both Munoz’ guitar and Liebman’s sax, these two play together in a most magic, connected way. On “When You Break Through to the Light”, the band speeds up, the sax and guitar reaching even higher to a dizzying tempo. As far as recognition goes, one of the great things about Munoz is his often stunning melodies at the center of most of these songs. We rarely notice the hidden songs until the band slows down a bit and we listen closely through the frenzy. On “We Are Drums”, both drummers are featured and play a lovely, ritualistic, African village-like groove/vibe. Strangely enough the opening melody on “Even If You Don’t Like It” sounds like it comes from an ancient latin/pop song that could’ve been a hit single a half century ago. It does lead to another astonishing Munoz guitar solo which finally fades until the band starts again with those freer, more spiritual launching pads. “It All Has to Go” erupts, like fireworks or a molten volcano and thens slows down into a calm conclusion with some lovely sax from Liebman. The final song, “On the Edge”, has a most poignant, somber melody, played by Mr. Liebman’s lyrical tenor and is underscored by Paul Shaffer’s sublime piano. A perfect, peaceful conclusion to an album that reaches some spiritual heights and depths in equal measure. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BOB MOSES with STEVE KUHN / ROSSEN ZAHARIEV / JACQUES SCHWARTZ BART / SCOTT ROBINSON / ABBEY LINCOLN - Nishoma - 2020 Drumcentric Remix (Rakalam Records; USA) Featuring Rossen Zahariev on trumpet & flugel, Jaques Schwartz Bart on tenor sax, Scott Robinson on bass clarinet, Steve Kuhn on piano, Chris Wood on bass and Bob Moses on drums & percussion plus guests Abbey Lincoln (1 track) & Luciana Souza (3 tracks) on vocal and Jimmy Slyde - tap dancing (2 tracks). The original session was recorded in 1998 and first released on a small label called Grapeshot a year or so later. That disc is long out-of-print so Mr. Moses decided to remix it, add some percussion and reissue it this year (2020). The personnel features some elders: pianist Steve Kuhn, whose quartet Moses played & recorded with in the seventies and jazz vocalist Abbey Lincoln, who sings on one song. Medeski, Martin & Wood bassist, Chris Wood, who went to school in Boston where Moses still teaches can also be found here. The ever in-demand multi-instrumentalist, Scott Robinson plays just bass clarinet here. The other four members of this group names didn’t sound familiar to me although the DMG database tells us that trumpeter Rossen Zahariev played with Slavic Soul Party (CD on Knitworks) and for Greg Burk and vocalist Luciana Souza worked with George Garzone (another Boston professor) and Andrew Rathbun.
Mr. Moses composed 8 of the 11 songs here with a few covers from Thelonious Monk and Irving Berlin. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to (m)any of Bob Moses’ (a/k/a Rakalam) two dozen releases, you know that his vision embraces a wide variety of cultures, genres and styles. The opening song, “Lagrimas de Alegria”, has a lovely, Brazilian sort of sound with luscious vocals, flugelhorn & tenor sax all swirling together elegantly. At the center of each song is Moses’ effervescent drumming, keeping the flow/groove simmering throughout. “Visit with the Great Spirit” was the name of an ambitious album that Moses did for Gramavision way back when, written for a large ensemble. The version here is more stripped down for a five or six piece band but is no less superb, yet more sublime, spacious and dream-like. What makes much of this disc so magical is the way that Moses has arranged the horns to float together in a most exquisite way with his own distinctive, free-flowing, organic percussion providing a cosmic cushion underneath. On another cover song called, “Moondew”, vocalist Luciana Souza reminds me of the enchanting chorus that Quincy Jones once used on his classic album, ‘Walking in Space’, an early jazz record I bought that was played on jazz radio in the mid-seventies. Two other highlights here are the playing of Steve Kuhn on piano (harp-like) and the haunting bass clarinet of Scott Robinson, another under-recognized giant. I like the way that Moses arranges Monk’s “Ask Me Now” for several layers of percussion and handclaps and somber bass clarinet, most charming. This disc ends with Abbey Lincoln singing, “How Deep is the Ocean”. Her voice is a bit weathered by this point in her life but this song somehow fits into the subdued mood of this disc with Steve Kuhn’s exquisite piano shining underneath her ancient sad yet poignant voice. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE NELS CLINE SINGERS with SKERIK / BRIAN MARSELLA / TREVOR DUNN / SCOTT AMENDOLA / CYRO BAPTISTA - Share the Wealth (Blue Note B0044802; USA) Featuring Nels Cline on guitars & electronics, Brian Marsella on Fender Rhodes & acoustic piano, Farfisa & analogue synth, Skerik on tenor sax & electronics, Scott Amendola on drums & percussion and Cyro Baptista on percussion & voice. Although guitar god, Nels Cline, keeps busy playing with a wide variety of projects (Mars Williams’ Ayler/Xmas, Previte/Saft Trio, Thollem McDonas/William Parker Trio, Anthony Braxton and Wilco), his own bands record more infrequently. This is Mr. Cline’s third disc for the Blue Note label, each of the previous ones have been completely different in personnel and concept. The Nels Cline Singers were originally a trio with Scott Amendola and Devin Hoff and have been around 2010. Although they were mostly a trio, they’ve had guests sit in (Zeena Parkins, Cyro Baptista & Yuka Honda) on their last couple of discs.
This, the new Nels Cline Singers disc is long (nearly 80 minutes!) and pretty diverse, each piece coming from a different dimension or sonic place. “Segunda” opens with one of those soft throbbing somewhat psychedelic/jazz themes, which is bound to make you smile and feel better about life. West coast jamband surviver, Skerik, sounds especially inspired interacting with Mr. Cline’s sly, pulsating guitar. The other great part of this track is the undulating, hypnotic Fender Rhodes electric piano by ongoing Zorn collaborator Brian Marsella. One of the great things about this disc and much of what Mr. Cline does on record is that he takes his time to create different moods, letting things build into often joyous rides and/or conclusions. On “Beam/Spiral”, the band gets into this wonderful, throbbing groove, while Skerik swirls on top with Nels’ angelic guitar gliding to a soft landing near the end. On the longest piece, “Stump the Panel”, the band start soaring quietly at the beginning and then take off, erupting intensely with a flurry of guitar, synth, sax and other spaced out sounds, some altered by different effects. “Princess Phone” features some incredible Fender Rhodes by Mr. Marsella, using a similar sound to Jan Hammer when he was in Mahavishnu Orchestra or Chick Corea when he led Return to Forever (both from the early 1970’s). The other long track here, “A Place on the Moon”, has a most cerebral, floating vibes as we were walking slowly on the moon, without gravity to hold us down. While listening to this piece, I was looking out my window and watching the snow slowly coming down, things moving in slow, organic motion. A nice fit. This entire lengthy CD is like a long journey through many different sonic landscapes so put on the anti-grav suit and take off with the new Nels Cline Singers. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RON MILES with BILL FRISELL / JASON MORAN / THOMAS MORGAN / BRIAN BLADE - Rainbow Sign (Blue Note B003239502; USA) “‘Rainbow Sign’ is trumpeter/composer Ron Miles' debut recording for Blue Note. He re-enlists the same intuitive quintet who played on 2017's I Am a Man. It features guitarist Bill Frisell, pianist Jason Moran, bassist Thomas Morgan, and drummer Brian Blade. Written during the summer of 2018 while caring for his dying father, these nine compositions were intended to provide empathy, peace, love, and reassurance to his transitioning parent and his family. Clocking in at over 71 minutes, Rainbow Sign bridges polytonal modal music, blues, gospel, post-bop, and pop.
The long opener "Like Those Who Dream" commences with sparse, seemingly unrelated piano and bass notes, droning trumpet tones, and guitar harmonics, with Blade's syncopated snare offering skeletal rhythmic miniatures. A pulse emerges from the front line at two minutes in, and Miles moves into deep blues. He and Frisell twin through gorgeously scripted lyric lines as the rhythm section floats atop and around his modal blues. The trumpeter's solo sings with pain and resonance as Moran's expansive comping is colored by Frisell's intelligent chord voicings before embarking on his own break. Single "Queen of the South" was inspired by Ethiopian pop, and is so songlike it's hummable. The lyric and textural interaction between Miles, Morgan, and Frisell entwines then separates for Moran who grounds the harmony in a majestic cadence as Blade plays around the beat before stretching it. The drummer employs muted tom-toms to introduce the haunting, minor-key ballad "Average." Its impressionist melodic center assumes a dominant role even as it shifts to allow for tonal variances from Frisell and Moran. "The Rumor" is infused with a drifting Americana melody from the guitarist. In a stately 4/4, Moran embellishes and extrapolates the harmony while Blade's dialogues with him intimately before Miles opens the circle thematically with muted blues lines and phrases before delivering an artfully rendered solo. "Custodian of the New" is a post-bop number with intersecting rhythms. Moran, with Miles and Frisell in tow, interrogate a layered, labyrinthine lyric as Morgan and Blade drive it with almost rockist force. "A Kind Word" closes with dramatic harmonic ideas amid multivalent rhythmic interplay. Its six-note boogaloo riff offers Moran room for chordal extrapolation while Frisell and Miles travel the lyric's outer reaches with gorgeous sonic effects as they inquire about its nuances and sense impressions. Rainbow Sign is a deeply personal album for Miles. It's a work rife with dignity and emotional and spiritual power, performed with grace and taste by this gifted quintet. It builds on I Am a Man with song-like compositions, and more intimate and intuitive dialogue, resulting in a very different, yet equally compelling listening experience.” - Thom Jurek, AllMusicGuide
ELVIS COSTELLO with STEVE NIEVE et LE QUINTETTE SAINT GERMAIN / BILL FRISELL / MICHAEL LEONHART / et al - Hey Clockface (Concord Records 01393; USA) “Alternating between loud, sumptuously produced rock and softer, Tin Pan Alley-inspired songs, the British singer-songwriter delivers a brooding set of songs about time’s ceaseless march. Whoever said that rock’n’roll is a young person’s game was waiting to be proven wrong. Few know this better than Elvis Costello. Since he was a twenty-something in black-rimmed glasses, Costello’s talent for arrangement and pastiche pointed toward fruitful twilight years, particularly as he strayed from meat-and-potatoes rock and began to dabble in musical styles less invested in the cult of youth. Now 66, the British icon has only continued to diversify his interests over the decades, collaborating with the Roots and writing for the London Symphony Orchestra. Yet he’s shown himself to be at his best in two modes: making driving, surprisingly ageless rock and exploring the conventions of the American Songbook, as he did on his sublime 1998 Burt Bacharach collaboration, Painted From Memory. Costello’s latest, Hey Clockface, merges these potentially divergent sensibilities in an adventurous set of songs about time’s ceaseless march.
Costello no longer sounds quite so ageless. On the Fats Waller-quoting “Hey Clockface / How Can You Face Me,” Costello’s voice strains against gravelly limitations, complementing his elegiac lyricism. Always a wide-ranging writer, he’s managed to preserve his breadth while allowing a sense of mournful retrospection to give the record structure and focus. Affairs are related almost uniformly in the past tense, appearing far enough in the rearview mirror that Costello often substitutes wistful affection for his customary bitterness. Even sex seems more like a memory than a present reality; his “magic powers have drained,” he tells us on one song, quoting a lover who left him. He muses on his reflection throughout, wondering how others bear to look at him: Sure, faces age, but the thought that they might be windows to the soul is frightening in Costello’s world, where everyone’s past is checkered.
Musically, the album alternates between loud, sumptuously produced rock’n’roll and softer, Tin Pan Alley-inspired tracks, reflecting two disparate recording sessions. In Helsnki’s Suomenlinnan Studio, Costello played all the instruments, from the Fender Jazzmaster to the Rhythm Ace, buffing his pop-rock songwriting with a maximalist studio sheen that sounds more like St. Vincent than the Imposters. Costello even beatboxes on the curveball “Hetty O’Hara Confidential,” about a once-towering gossip columnist whose work has become outdated in an age when “everyone has a megaphone.” In Paris, Costello linked up with jazz players, including a cellist and a brass section, who improvised much of their performance. The Paris sessions yielded the record’s most powerful songs, such as “They’re Not Laughing at Me Now,” with its poignant flügelhorn trills, and “What Is It That I Need That I Don’t Already Have?,” a masterfully evocative exploration of the 32-bar form. The dueling approaches of the two recording sessions enrich each other, providing Hey Clockface with its yin and yang. Alone, either style might have seemed like predictable genre play for Costello at this stage in its career, but together, they make for an album that’s energetic and consistently surprising.” - Daniel Felsenthal, Pitchfork
IKUE MORI / SATOKO FUJII / NATSUKI TAMURA - Prickly Pear Cactus (Libra 203-062; Japan) Featuring Ikue Mori on electronics, Satoko Fujii on piano and Natsuki Tamura on trumpet. The ever-prolific Japanese pianist, Satoko Fujii, has numerous projects going on around the world, from several large ensembles to duos, trios and other large units, many of which also feature her husband, Natsuki Tamura, an incredible trumpet player who deserves much recognition. Longtime Downtown electronic sorceress, Ikue Mori, is considered to be one of the improvisers/players on the entire Downtown network. I watched Ms. Mori evolve over many years since hearing her with DNA in the early 1980’s. She has continued to fascinate and surprise, time after time, always adding something special to any project she is involved with. Over the past few years Ms. Mori has been working with Ms. Fujii and Mr. Tamura on three previous discs, each with different personnel: Wadada Leo Smith, Lotte Anker and Kaze. When we got this in the mail several weeks ago, I was eager to hear it. Due to the pandemic, this disc was created in the homes of each musician, sending files back and forth and overdubbing whatever felt right. A different way of doing things which helps to bring out some ways of exploring and creating.
The title piece is first and starts with some immensely mesmerizing electronic sounds from Ms. Mori, soon with some intense piano and strange close mic’d trumpet added selectively. Ms. Mori was originally a drummer (for DNA) and eventually switched to drum machine or percussive sampling device. She is a master of both percussive and other distinctive sampled or electronically manipulated sounds. Things swirl together in a most magical way, with several layers of sounds carefully interwoven. Four pieces here feature the trio while the other six feature the duo of Ms. Mori and Ms. Fujii. On “Sweet Fish”, Satoko sounds as if she is playing part of a chamber concerto at a couple of points. Ms. Mori, whether starting off a piece by herself or joining the duo or the trio, is very careful about the sounds she creates. The duo or trio often slow things down to a more stripped down or skeletal level, using suspense or space to give their sounds a singular presence. Ms. Fujii also plays inside the piano with a glass or other objects, again selectively using certain sounds as unexpected punctuation. These inside-the-piano sounds work especially well with Ms. Mori’s unique percussion-like sounds. When Mr. Tamura enters, he adds a more human, fragile, organic, bent-note sound to the blend. On “Muddy Stream”, Satoko puts the pedal down while casting out harp-like lines on the piano, faster and faster, adding a certain hazy (muddy?) quality which is most hypnotic. This disc is an extraordinary one on several levels, truly transcendent throughout. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALAN BRAUFMAN with COOPER-MOORE / JAMES BRANDON LEWIS / KEN FILIANO / ANDREW DRURY - The Fire Still Burns (Valley of Search 004; USA) Featuring Alan Braufman on alto sax & flute, James Brandon Lewis on tenor sax, Cooper-Moore on piano, Ken Filiano on contrabass and Andrew Drury on drums. Amongst the hundreds of records that I’ve gone through since the pandemic started in March of 2020, is a record by Alan Braufman called ‘Valley of Search’, which was released in 1975. I listened to my copy earlier this year and was knocked out by, only vaguely recalling the name Alan Braufman. The personnel on it included a young Cooper-Moore, before he changed his name (from Gene Ashton), bassist Cecil McBee and drummer David Lee. It turned out that Braufman had recorded with Carla Bley (‘Musique Mecanique’ in 1979) and with William Hooker around the same time. I had lost track of Alan Braufman after that although he did play at the Vision Fest in 2016.
Fast forward to 45 years since he first & only leader album, Mr. Braufman is back with a stunning new effort featuring his old cohort & best friend Cooper-Moore plus three members of the ongoing Downtown Network: James Brandon Lewis, Ken Filiano and Andrew Drury. Mr. Braufman composed all of the songs here and this disc was recorded in Hudson Valley, NY in September of 2019. The first thing I noticed about this disc is that it sounds timeless, all acoustic instruments, which could’ve been recorded between 1960’s and today, 60 years later. There are two suites here: “Morning Suite” and “Evening Suite”. “Sunrise” kicks things off with Mr. Braufman’s searing alto sax at the center, playing an ancient sounding spirit jazz/gospelish melody. The next part of the suite is called “Morning Bazaar”, and it features a tasty, older-and somewhat familiar sounding melody with Braufman’s flute and Brandon Lewis’ tenor sax perfectly aligned on top. The melody had me whistling along immediately, a rare occurrence. On “No Floor No Ceiling”, the ever-amazing Cooper-Moore takes an incredible piano solo which inspires JB Lewis to take an equally explosive tenor solo and Braufman to conclude with a great solo of his own - Whoa! It makes sense that Braufman would use the Filiano/Drury rhythm team since they’ve worked with Jason Hwang on many previous discs and sound righteously good together. This music makes me feel great since it balances compelling thoughtful melodies with strong, spirited playing. Although I’m pretty sure that outside of Braufman and Cooper-Moore, none of the other musicians have played together before this session, the quintet sounds like they have been working together for many eons. I dig the way the group lays back for “Alone Again”, a slow, bluesy sort of ballad where both saxes simmer together playing a righteous-sounding old melody that sounds like it has some gospel-like vibes within. All in all, this is one of the best discs of the year, if you want some inspiration, then you best get this disc and put it in your player. Cosmic medicine for better days. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ROSS HAMMOND & JAY NAIR - Hope (Big Weezus Music; USA) Featuring Ross Hammond on steel and resonator guitars and Jay Nair on voice. This set was recorded at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Sacramento, California. Sacramento-based guitarist, Ross Hammond always has another ace up his sleeve as each of his dozen-plus releases over the past decade show. Each of his recordings feature him with different collaborators or just solo. Mr. Hammond plays both electric and acoustic guitars, drawing from jazz, blues, folk and ethnic influences. In 2016, Hammond released a duo disc with Sameer Gupta, an Indian tabla player whose playing gave the duo a raga-like sound. For this disc, Hammond plays steel and resonator guitars (both acoustic) with an Indian vocalist, another departure from anything Ross has done before. The first sound we hear is that of a background drone, similar to a tambura, a drone instrument which is found in many ragas. Its purpose is to set mood, the drone is often used for meditation purposes. Sometimes a shruti box is used to create this drone. Vocalist, Jay Nair, uses his voice similar to the way a sitar or sarod plays a raga, his voice carefully bending notes and quivering cautiously. Mr. Hammond is a master player, whose playing here reminds me of the way Jerry Douglas plays dobro. Both musicians here listen closely and work extremely well together, weaving their notes into a fascinating tapestry. I am a big fan of qawwali vocalist, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Both Mr. Nair and Mr. Ali Khan, use their voices to reach for deep places, bending notes, their voices caressing us and expressing many fleeting feelings. On “Radhika”, Hammond sounds like he is blending the blues, folk and Eastern influences together into a singular compelling sound. For as long as I can remember, the blues has a way of uniting ancient spirits from varying cultures with the universal feeling that all humans can relate to, since we all get the blues sometimes. The human voice, the most ancient of instruments in music, also has a way of affecting all who listen. Although I don’t recognize the words that Mr. Nair sings, he still conveys a strong, spirited conviction. Mr. Hammond rarely solos here although he still taps into our hearts and souls with his spirited trance-inducing phrases. This disc is superbly recorded in a church, both the guitars and voice resonating in a large reverent space with natural echo bathing the sound. Nair is not a jazz singer but a traditional-sound Indian vocalist who uses his voice like an instrument so don’t be put off by the fact that he is singing. This is an excellent release on various levels, take a chance why don’t you. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MDOU MOCTAR - Ilana The Creator (Sahel Sounds 51; Africa) Mdou Moctar is a singular artist for many reasons. He is Tuareg, a member of an ancient nomadic tribe that has occupied wide stretches of South Saharan Africa over their long history, and is recognized as one of the first musicians to perform modern electronic adaptations of their unique guitar music. Not only does his touring band (featuring Tzadik veteran Michael Coulton of Les Rhinoceros on bass) deliver one of the most electrifying and compelling rock-oriented gigs in recent memory, they serve in many ways as the flagship unit for his label Sahel Sounds. Founded in 2008 by Christopher Kirkley, a self-proclaimed “vigilante ethnomusicologist”, Sahel has maintained a consistent dedication to exploring the strangely beautiful way that Western pop and its tools have been re-appropriated by a loose network of artists in the Sahel region of West Africa. From my experience, Sahel Sounds elevates would-be buried voices into league with the most melodically interesting and sonically unique music being made today. Compilations such as “Autotune the World”, “Music from Saharan Cellphones”, and “Gao Rap: Hip Hop from Northern Mali” were my intro to the strange and immaculate world Kirkley has curated. On display is an underground network of music distributed on cellphone sound chips, for easy access on long treks through the desert. Elsewhere, autotune is redeemed from the hellish cliche of Western radio pop, and freed to be an otherworldly effect against the microtonal vocal mellisma native to the region’s music. These compilations, as well as the discography of Les filles de Illighad, are highly recommended. “Ilana: The Creator”, however proves that Moctar's band and his label peers represent not just a mere academic curiosity, but a powerful zeitgeist for this era of our world sonic culture. Mdou’s guitar style is kinetic, and demonstrates a mastery of his native harmonic vocabulary as well as the electronic effects. In many ways, West Africa has found its Hendrix figure. He allows effects (big, distorted phasers) and techniques (pick tapping, dramatic bends) that sound over-the-top on paper, to blend effortlessly over a restrained and insistent rhythm section. The writing is hypnotic, urgent melodies interspersed between cosmic instrumental breaks. His voice is playful and focused, and the group is as tight on its call-and-response style gang vocals as it is on its afro-beat meets krautrock instrumental work. This is an older release (2018) that we are just now stocking at DMG, but let us know what you think! My hunch is that this genre agnostic blend of firey, pulsating instrumentalism, West African melody, warped texture and spiritual shredding will appeal deeply to fans of the Downtown scene. - Frank Meadows for DMG
CECIL TAYLOR - At Angelica 2000 Bologna (I Dischi De Angelica 042; Italy) “In the year 2000, when Bologna was European Capital of Culture, AngelicA Festival, then in its tenth edition, invited Cecil Taylor to hold a concert at the Teatro Comunale - Opera House of Bologna: solo, with his piano (and his dance and his poetry readings) he opened an evening that ended with a rendition of the luminous piece Coptic Light by Morton Feldman performed by the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, conducted by Jurjen Hempel. This unusual juxtaposition (not in the history of the festival) should not surprise: initially ascribed only to free jazz, throughout the decades Taylor's music has been re-evaluated in all its formal complexity, and is nowadays recognized as one of the most singular productions in the musical landscape of the nineteenth century. The additional uniqueness of this release is that it adds a second CD, titled Rap, to the recording of that memorable concert, which documents the public meeting-interview that Taylor agreed to give in Bologna on the following day. Moderated by the musicologist (and founding member of the band Stormy Six) Franco Fabbri, and transcribed and notated in its entirety in the forty pages booklet (in English/Italian) by the jazz critic and historian Francesco Martinelli, Taylor opened the meeting by reading a complex statement of his on the definition of music, inclusive of an explanatory glossary at the end. What came after was no less bewildering, with Taylor using the moderator's questions as a springboard for an explosive tour de force of quotes and references. It offers the listeners an experience almost equivalent to the extraordinary internal mobility of his concerts, and a precise grid of interpretation of the imaginaries he drew from to create his unique sound, scenic and vocal theatre. The release is completed by "No Matter What - Montage of Meanings", an homage that the director of the festival Massimo Simonini paid to Taylor in May 2020, editing together extracts of the concert and of the public meeting. Recorded on May 10, 2000 at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and on May 11, 2000 at the Palazzo dei Notai, Bologna, Italy, during AngelicA, Festival Internazionale di Musica, 10th edition Mastered in May 2020 by Bob Drake at Studio Midi-Pyrénées, La Borde Basse, Caudeval, France.
2 CD Set $36
MISHA MENGELBERG - Rituals of Transition (I Dischi Di Angelica 043; Italy) ”In 2002, Misha Mengelberg was invited for the second time to the AngelicA Festival in Bologna. That edition, the twelfth, took part entirely in a squatted social center of the city, and, in collaboration with Tristan Honsinger, was conceived as one large opera lasting six days -- an opera within which the performances of many national and international artists fitted in like individual mobile "modules". Especially for this occasion and on the festival director's suggestion, who had attended a performance by the ICP Orchestra in Amsterdam during which Mengelberg had unexpectedly stood up from the piano and started singing, on the evening of May 17th 2002 the musician entered the venue pushed on a mobile platform, from which he performed a very short program of "Solo Songs" -- at the end he acted as if he was falling asleep and was pushed back behind the scenes. This burning set of approximately 15 minutes of "songs" -- in the broadest sense of the term, as the highly original Dutch composer-improviser could conceive them -- is the starting point of this CD, complemented by other previously unreleased live recordings of concerts held between 2002 and 2010 in the Netherlands, Ukraine and France, provided by the Mengelberg Foundation. As the saxophonist Ab Baars, author of the liner notes, describes them: "The improvisations on this CD are everything: annoying, exciting, meaningless, brilliant, swinging, crazy, too long, too short, irritating, beautiful, moving. And light as a feather. They come and they go again. Without intention. They are. Without boast." Rituals of Transition is the second release that I Dischi Di Angelica dedicates to the great Dutch musician and composer.”
ALVIN CURRAN / ROBERTO LANERI / GIANCARLO SCHIAFFINI - Beat 72 Lost Date (Eargong Records 001; Italy) “An unearthed treasure from the '70s Italian avant garde archives! A previously unreleased recording from the legendary Beat72 club in Rome in 1973, featuring a one-off Italian-American all-star ensemble with Roberto Laneri founding member of the experimental vocal group Prima Materia, maverick American composer Alvin Curran co-founder of Musica Elettronica Viva. Trombone specialist Giancarlo Schiaffini from the historical Gruppo di improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza. Cello virtuoso Frances Marie Uitti, close collaborator of the likes of J. Cage and G. Scelsi. Bassist Bruno Tommaso from the legendary Gruppo Romano Free Jazz and American composer Tony Ackerman from the obscure Suonosfera group. Highly creative music which defies categories and boundaries. A historical document! Additional booklet contains extensive liner notes and photos.”
GENTLE FIRE: JOHN CAGE / EARLE BROWN / CHRISTIAN WOLFF / KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN / TOSHI ICHIYANGI / et al - Explorations (1970-1973)(Paradigm 035; UK) ”Gentle Fire were a six, then five-member group of composers/improvisers/performers based in London and Yorkshire. Most of the writings that cover the pioneers of experimental, electronic, and improvised music have given them scant attention. In addition to this, their recorded output is slim, the main item being an out-of-print LP, featuring their interpretations of graphic scores by Cage, Earle Brown, and Christian Wolff. Most of the existing Gentle Fire archive was kept privately by Hugh Davies. After Hugh died in 2005, it was shared between various institutions. This release owes much to Hugh's meticulous record keeping as well as the archives at the British Library and Special Collections at Goldsmiths, University of London. Listening sessions at the British Library were a revelation, it was like discovering a missing link in the evolution of experimental music, but above all it sounded so undated and fresh. The release is divided into three sections. The first CD, recorded between 1970 and 1971 contains four studio and two concert recordings of graphic and text scores: two parts of Stockhausen's Aus den sieben Tagen, and one piece each by Earle Brown, John Cage, Toshi Ichiyanagi, and Christian Wolff. Gentle Fire were active between 1968 and 1974 and were especially active during the early '70s, appearing at numerous European avant-garde festivals. They even ended up in Iran playing in Stockhausen's Sternklang, and improvising at dawn at Hafez's tomb. The second and third CDs focus on their own works; disc two dates from 1973 and was recorded during a two-day residency at Radio Bremen. The five pieces on this disc cover a wide variety of styles and include a 23-minute version of "Group Composition VI" which is their only text-based piece and uses processed and filtered speech. Disc three is a recording of their appearance at ICES 72, a legendary festival that took place at the Roundhouse in London. Over the course of two chaotic weeks a vast number of the world's experimental musicians took to the stage. Miraculously, the whole of the Gentle Fire concert has been preserved. It consists of a performance of their "Group Composition IV", centered around a large metal sculpture that all members of the group could play at the same time. The piece actually had its première the previous year on the original pyramid stage at the first Glastonbury Fair. There are several photos of the event included in the booklet that accompanies the CDs. 48-page booklet; edition of 500 (numbered).
3 CD Set $38
MARTIN ESCALANTE / RIUCHI DAIJO / YUMA TAKESHITA - Ftarri (Sploosh Records 19; Mexico) Featuring Martin Escalante on alto sax, Riuchi Daijo on guitar and Yuma Takeshita on electric bass. Although I hadn’t heard of either Riuchi Daijo or Yuma Takeshita before now, both are Japanese and can be found on different social media sites like soundcloud or InstaGram. You can actually see the way Mr. Takeshita has modified his electric bass here: https://soundcloud.com/yumatakeshita. Mexican experimental saxist, Martin Escalante, does a good job of locating little known improvisers from around the world and recently released 5 new CD’s and an LP with Otomo Yoshihide. This disc was recorded live at Ftarri in Japan in June of 2019. I must admit that Mr. Escalante doesn’t quite sound like any other saxist and often it is hard to tell exactly what he is playing. His bending and twisting of notes is in the extreme area. Guitarist, Riuchi Daijo, does sound somewhat like Fred Frith, when he was an active member of the early Downtown Scene in the early 1980’s. It’s funny to think that the early Downtown Scene which is around 40 years old actually influenced several generations of improvisers from around the world. Since I can recognize the sound of the sax and guitar, no matter how far their sounds are manipulated, it is difficult to hear the bass at times, just some low-end rumbling going on at times. If I didn’t know better, I might think this was an early John Zorn/Fred Frith duo gig, although this is even more extreme at times. I get the feeling that most folks that heard this would ask if this is music or just noise. I would say that is both, it just takes some time to adjust to its more extreme areas of exploration. The guitarist here, Riuchi Daijo, is something else and is constantly changing his sound, making this disc well worth exploring. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
FRANCK VIGROUX - Ballades Sur Lac Gele (Raster 192; Germany) ”Raster met Franck Vigroux for the first time years ago at Berlin's Berghain during a soundcheck. At that time, he performed with Mika Vainio, with whom Vigroux often worked together. The first track on Ballades Sur Lac Gelé dates back to that time. It was created under the impression of this collaboration and friendship with Mika Vainio. This album is dedicated to him. Vainio's oeuvre is also significant in connection with the history of Raster, so it was only logical and the label's wish to release this album by Franck Vigroux. With the beginning of the corona pandemic, Franck Vigroux took up this early material again, he continued to formulate it and completed the present album Ballades Sur Lac Gelé. The title already defines the theme of the ballad, a "song/poem with very minimal structures" (quote from Vigroux). Ballade is also a play on words with the French word "balade", in this sense a ramble, a ramble over a frozen lake. The reduced, cool structures reflect this. But at the same time, under the surface, the oft-distorted sound carpets steadily increase to immense power. Like ice that grows and tectonic forces that have to erupt, glacier-like. Vigroux is very skilled at creating music in this minimalist setting. The intertwining of very few musical elements creates a kind of soundtrack that is multi-layered and at the same time universally intelligible.”
KRAUT! TEIL 1 - Die Innovativen Jahre des Krautrock 1968-1979 (Bear Family Records BCD 17621; Germany) "Progressive Rock from Germany! Towards the end of the 1960s, German bands began their first attempts to emancipate themselves stylistically from their US and British role models. Prog rock and psychedelia from our country were initially smiled at internationally and disparagingly called 'Krautrock' by cult DJ John Peel, among others. Unorthodox formations could not be pigeonholed, and so a scene with a wide musical range was created. With the release of the first of a total of four issues, Bear Family marks another milestone on the way to a comprehensive documentation of the history of popular music in Germany from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s. Smash! Boom! Bang! covers the complete history of Beat music in Germany on a total of 30 individual CDs; the CD documentation Für wen wir singen -- Liedermacher in Deutschland, consisting of four triple-CDs, describes the singer/songwriter scene with 274 individual songs, supplemented by the 10 CD box set Die Burg Waldeck Festivals 1964-1969. And finally, Aus grauer Städte Mauern - Die Neue Deutsche Welle 1997-1985, Bear Family's four-part double-CD series with popular and weird sound examples and a total of about 600(!) pages of accompanying text. With Teil 1 Kraut! Die Innovativen Jahre des Krautrock 1968-1979 we will release a double-CD every three months in 2020 with a booklet of about 100 pages and biographies of each band, an exquisite selection of the exciting and influential bands of those days, some of which caused a sensation far beyond Germany." Booklet is German language only.”
2 CD Set $30
KRAUT! TEIL 2 - Die Innovativen Jahre des Krautrock 1968-1979 Bear Family Records BCD 17622; Germany) "Unorthodox formations could not be pigeonholed, and so a scene with a wide musical range was created. Mostly remastered from digital tape copies by Marcus Heumann without wasting the original sound. Compiled and commented on 100(!) pages by Burghard Rausch. With the release of the first of a total of four issues, Bear Family marks another milestone on the way to a comprehensive documentation of the history of popular music in Germany from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s. Smash! Boom! Bang! covers the complete history of Beat music in Germany on a total of 30 individual CDs; the CD documentation Für wen wir singen -- Liedermacher in Deutschland, consisting of four triple-CDs, describes the singer/songwriter scene with 274 individual songs, supplemented by the 10 CD box set Die Burg Waldeck Festivals 1964-1969. And finally, Aus grauer Städte Mauern - Die Neue Deutsche Welle 1997-1985, Bear Family's four-part double-CD series with popular and weird sound examples and a total of about 600(!) pages of accompanying text." Booklet is German language only.”
2 CD Set $30
THE OBSESSED - Incarnate (Ultimate Edition)(Blues Funeral Recordings 014; USA) "2020 is the 40th anniversary of the formation of The Obsessed, one of the preeminent bands in the worldwide stoner/doom scene. Led by Scott 'Wino' Weinrich, a heavy music lifer admired and acclaimed by the likes of Dave Grohl, Pepper Keenan, Henry Rollins and Phil Anselmo, The Obsessed has been releasing milestone albums for decades on labels like Hellhound, Columbia and Relapse, with Wino himself playing and performing with members of Sleep, Neurosis, Foo Fighters, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and more. Since their earliest days, The Obsessed accumulated dozens of demos, b-sides, covers and alternate recordings, many of which were issued in various limited releases and an early-2000s collection called Incarnate. Long out of print, Blues Funeral Recordings' new ultimate edition of The Obsessed Incarnate is completely remastered, features the addition of 4 new tracks, and is packaged with all new artwork, photos, and extensive new liner notes with Wino himself telling stories behind each long-lost gem."
Second Week ReR CD Sale:
BIOTA - Invisible Map (ReR BCD5; UK) If fans of Biota were shocked by the pop songs that appeared for the first time on the previous Biota release on ReR, Object Holder, Invisible map is going to send them reeling. On Object Holder the songs were courtesy of Susanne Lewis (Hail), and made a glorious twenty-minute interlude in the centre of what was a typically mysterious Biota landscape of half-heard, half-remembered fragments of folk, jazz, rock and ambient. On Invisible Map, however, the songs kick the whole project off, and recur at regular intervals. They are sung by Genevieve Heistek, from the same school of Montreal musicians who spawned God Speed You Black Emperor.
BLAST - Sift (ReR Blast2; UK) This is the second release, after a long wait, from this unique ensemble. Equally at home with the discipline of composition and the tightrope of improvisation Blast (now Blast 4tet) have evolved a fluid, pointillistic, unfathomable but transparent musical language that seamlessly integrates - over very short durations - highly complex writing and very free ranging improvisation, allowing the two languages to merge and combine into a new kind of logical exposition that makes sense but can't be reverse-engineered into its component parts.
CHRIS CUTLER / TOM DIMUZIO - Quake (ReR CTD1; UK) This disc was recorded March 26, 1999 at the Fine Arts Cinema, Portland, Maine; and March 27, 199 at Voix, Lowell, Massachussets. In March of this year I was most fortunate to be able to present a Chris Cutler & Charlie Noyes solos & duo concert at Context Studios. Chris is an amazing & completely distinctive drummer & percussionist from the ultimate progressive ensemble - Henry Cow (Art Bears, News from Babel) He has authored a splendid but difficult book on music and philosophy and founded Recommended Records - label & distributor. Although I never had the chance to witness Henry Cow, I have seen Chris play with Fred Frith, Cassiber, David Thomas, Pere Ubu, LA 1919, EC Nudes and for Peter Blegvad. Just watching him play is a unique experience. He is also a wonderful improviser and wanted to do a short solo/duo tour of the east coast & I was too happy to oblige. Over the past decade, Chris has been working more with electronics and electrifying his drums & cymbals. He had a whole table of devices, including a cd player to improvise with. Charles Noyes - an original percussionist from the very early (80's) downtown scene, played only one cymbal with a wooden ball & mic. A most odd combination, but the concert really worked. 'Quake' is from another pair of duo gigs in Maine & Massachusetts from this same tour in March with Thomas Dimuzio on samplers, processing, radio & cd player. Thomas I recall from a gig at New Music America in Montreal & a set at the Victoriaville Fest. His solos records are completely engaging electronic landscapes and there is also a hard-to-find live cd with Cutler & CW Vrtacek from a few years back. So, what we get on 'Quake' is quite a dynamic electronic/percussive duo! Clanging, clinking, sailing electronic ghosts, spooky rhythmic sections appear, electric bells buzzing, metals rubbed & struck softly, the cosmic drone of well crafted static, at times getting dense and scary, but always evoking positive freed spirits! - BLG
5 UU’S S with DAVE KERMAN / BOB DRAKE / SANJAY KUMAR SUSANNE LEWIS / THOMAS DIMUZIO / JAMES GRIGSBY / MICHELLE BOS - Hunger’s Teeth (ReR 5UU1; UK) The re-formed 5UU's first CD, featuring, one-of-a-kind drummer Dave Kerman with new line-up- Sanjay Kumar (keyboards) and Bob Drake (Bass, Guitar, Vocals) with guests Susanne Lewis, Tom Dimuzio and James Grigsby. Power, complexity and intelligence - an express train that can pirouette on a dime.
HACO with HIROMICHI SAKAMOTO - Ash in the Rainbow (ReR Haco3; UK) “Haco's latest, again a test-bed of experimental arrangement and production ideas, set in the context of songs that just hold together -exquisitely realised. Extraordinary sounds and treatments and arrangements, partly because made in reverse - it starts form a body of existing material by Avant Garde Cellist Hiromichi Sakomoto, reworked, with texts, vocals and other material added (reversed vibraphone, and all manner of percussion, for instance).. Haco is one of a kind. Haco and Sakamoto performed live improvisations and recorded together for the first time in March of 2001 in Kobe, Japan. Following this meeting, Haco listened repeatedly to Sakamoto's solo album, 'Zero-shiki' (1999). She came to feel that there were "melodies" buried beneath the superficial stream of sound, which had been woven together by Sakamoto using the sounds of nature, everyday life and toys to form an organic whole. It struck Haco as a kind of requiem for nature, which, like the echo of twigs scraping together deep in the forest or a beam of sunlight breaking through two dark clouds, disappeared just as soon as it came into being. Based on the themes of destruction and rejuvenation, Haco crafted new lyrics and vocal parts and improvisational elements, and using a method of digital cutting and pasting, added newly written compositions to transform Sakamoto's original album into a completely new work. The percussion of guest musician Era Man helped to fill in any cracks that remained. The lyrics on 'Ash in the Rainbow' serve as a record of what has been lost and a prayer for what might once again be.
TRISTAN HONSINGER / MASSIMO SIMONINI - Call Me Us (ReR IDA 25; Italy) Cellist Honsinger and pre-existing media manipulist Simonini with a piece that falls between radio art, music theatre and... and what? A highly unusual performance in 10 parts that deploys its materials sparingly and intelligently and, through a combination of skill, spontaneity and ambiguity, arrives at something seemingly too controlled and precise to be improvised, but too complex and willful to have been composed. In a world of its own; this is confident, eccentric, and highly musical. Simonini’s choice, use and development of both plundered sources and real time manipulation is masterful. A one-off.
KAMPEC DOLORES - Sitting On The Buffalo (ReR KD2; UK) This Hungarian band was formed in 1984, and this is their fifth release. Led by guitarist Csaba Hajnoczy & featuring vocalist/violinist Gabi Kenderesi (both of whom also make up 1/2 of The Danubians), the band also includes soprano sax, bass & drums. ''Singer Gabi has developed her own singing, using unknown languages and innovative vocal pyrotechnics. Meanwhile the guitar, sax, bass & drums thrash out haunting mutated melodies, which also draw on folk idioms & the mix swims with bubbling electronics.”
BORIS KOVAC - From Ritual Nova 1 & 2 (ReR KCD1; UK) “Unique and wonderful music. Boris produced these careful and extended works over 14 years. Boris Kovacs was born in Vojvodina, the multi-ethnic region of what was then Jugoslavia. He studied accordion and saxophone, going on to teach himself many other instruments. On this record he plays mainly soprano saxophone, leaving Jasna Jovisevic to take alto and bassclarinet. Like pianist Slobodank Stevic, she was classically trained, as was bassist Sinisa Mazalica. The drummer, Boris' son Lav Kovac, is celebrated for his very different playing in Howling Owl and with a variety of eastern bands. ReR released their first record by Boris, Ritual Nova, in 1989. Since then he has played at festivals around the world, written music for theatre and film, and been briefly wooed by the World Music community, though his refusal to conform to type leaves him still in a class of one..What's remarkable about Boris is that he has carved out a musical form that transcends genre, or even musical content; it's a music of depth and feeling, and that's what you hear beyond the notes or style. And he has gathered, over time, musicians who can realize that mysterious quality. For Boris, this is a small group, only five people, and the music is more fragile, more personal than that of the larger ensembles. Although informed by chamber music, Serbian, Romanian and Hungarian folk music - and jazz, you can't file this record in any of those categories. With his various ensembles Boris has given well over 500 concerts at World/New Music/Jazz festivals, across 30 countries and 4 continents.He has made 3 appearances in the Top 10 World Music Charts. Europe. His CD The Last Balkan Tango was chosen as one of the 50 best albums ever by the British Songlines magazine.”
JON ROSE with DEREK BAILEY / EUGENE CHADBOURNE / ALVIN CURRAN / JOELLE LEANDRE / MISHA MENGELBERG / BARRE PHILLIPS - Violin Music For Restaurants (ReR JRCD1; UK) ’'Violin', a Radio work based on Jo 'Doc' Rosenberg's 'BOO' theory - songlines applied to restaurant tables. Includes theatre, noise, golden 4th dimension standards, vox humana.
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 a done a couple of recordings so if your 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 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 ARTS FOR ART:
Upcoming Live Stream Salon
December 17, 8pm
Parran / Ross / Smith
JD Parran - contra-alto clarinet
Dave Ross - guitar
Warren Smith - percussion
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