“I Can See Clearly Now”
by Jimmy Cliff - released in 1972
I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.
Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone.
All of the bad feelings have disappeared.
Here is that rainbow I've been praying for.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.
(Ooh...) Look all around, there's nothing but blue skies.
Look straight ahead, there's nothing but blue skies.
I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
I can see all obstacles in my way.
Here is that rainbow I've been praying for.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.
It's gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.
It's going to be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day.
Bright bright bright bright bright (bright) bright (bright)
Do me a favor, find a copy of the above song, put aside anything else distracting you and give it a serious listen. Does it make you feel any better?!? I hope so. My nightly ritual has been to listen to at least one record that I’ve never heard plus some challenging music of any type to engage my mind. After that, I usually listen to some live Dead (still going in chronological order, just finished January of 1970) to wind things down before I nod out. To keep myself balanced between extremes and to make me smile, I try to listen to a song or an entire album of music which makes me feel better, either by inspiring me to dance and/or sing along. I listened to the above song earlier today when I was working on a review and you know, the song made me feel better, uplifting my spirits immensely. “I Can See Clearly Now” is an early (sort of) reggae song and I was a big reggae fan in the late seventies and eighties. I caught Bob Marley, Black Uhuru, Third World… in their prime and reggae & dub still inspire me. Pass me the spliff. I also love sad songs and have been listening to some early Neil Young lately, his first four albums are that I still cherish. Robert Wyatt and Gillian Welch also make me weep. Yesterday felt like the first day of Summer, the temperature almost at 90 degrees. Time to take out my cut-off shorts and dance in the sun. If you are down please find some way to make yourself (and someone else) feel better. Peace & Love from MC Bruce Lee
This Week’s Monumental Discs begin with not one but two 3 CD sets from WADADA LEO SMITH:
WADADA LEO SMITH with MILFORD GRAVES / BILL LASWELL - Sacred Ceremonies (TUM Box 003; Finland) “‘Sacred Ceremonies’ brings together three distinct and highly influential movements in contemporary creative music, convening in a once-in-a-lifetime meeting of wholly singular minds. Wadada Leo Smith was a member of the first generation of composers and musicians to come out of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in Chicago in the 1960s whereas Milford Graves was an important proponent of the "new music" or "free jazz" movement in New York City during the same decade. Bill Laswell in turn was an integral part of the Downtown scene in New York City in the 1970s. From those early days, they have each long since forged a totally unique personal approach to making music and have now together created a collection of music that transcends any easily definable influences.”
3 CD Set $55
WADADA LEO SMITH - Trumpet (TUM Box 002; Finland) “‘Trumpet’ was recorded over one beautiful summer week in July 2016 at St. Mary´s Church in the town of Pohja, on the Southern Coast of Finland. It features fourteen new compositions by Wadada Leo Smith, including four extended multi-part works. As a whole, Trumpet represents a totally unique journey into the possibilities of the trumpet as a solo instrument and the immersive, almost meditative power of Smith´s extended solo performance.”
There are very few trumpet players who sound amazing throughout their entire careers, many have problems hitting certain notes as they age. Wadada Leo Smith remains at the top of Trumpet Mountain! He always sounds inspired, inventive, engaged and a notch above all those trumpet greats. I just finished listening to the third and final disc here and like always, I am smiling, feeling proud of Wadada Leo Smith, the true king of Trumpeters! There is quite a bit to listen to hear as well as the superb booklet. A treasure chest for all Deep Listeners! - BLG at DMG
3 CD Set $55
IKUE MORI / BRIAN MARSELLA / SAE HASHIMOTO - Archipelago X (Tzadik 4033; USA) “Laptop wizard Ikue Mori, master keyboardist Brian Marsella and classical percussion virtuoso Sae Hashimoto are Archipelago X, a dynamic new trio born during the 2020 pandemic. Recording at their home studios and exchanging tracks back and forth for months, the music is detailed, evocative and dramatically mysterious, blending electronica, classical, ambient, film soundtrack, pop and jazz into a remarkably original aggregate. Inspiring and engaging music by this fabulous trio of downtown musical masters spanning three generations!”
ROSCOE MITCHELL / SANDY EWEN / DAMON SMITH / WEASEL WALTER - A Railroad Spike Forms the Voice (ugEXPLODE 82 / BPA 13013; USA) Featuring Roscoe Mitchell on saxes, Sandy Ewen on guitar, Damon Smith on double bass and Weasel Walter on drums. This recording features the first time meeting between Art Ensemble of Chicago saxophone legend Roscoe Mitchell and the long running improvisational trio of Sandy Ewen (guitar), Damon Smith (double bass) and Weasel Walter (drums). This 72 minute piece is a no-holds-barred display of musical abstraction, savagely deconstructing both form and instrumental technique in equal amounts. Mitchell's signature flinty, probing reed outbursts poke with persistence through the unpredictable chasms created by the extreme counterpoint of the ensemble interplay. Ewen, who prefers to eschew electronic gadgetry to concentrate on new means of coaxing unknown timbres from her guitar, speaks in alien tongues teased out by friction and interference from foreign objects and her stereo deployment adds a spatial element to the soundscape. Damon Smith is a staunch modernist. His deployment of the contrabass as a means of deliberately brusque deconstruction offers constant tension against the pointillistic warfare of Weasel Walter's idiosyncratic percussion assault. This is not a free jazz record. Nobody plays all the time. Surprise and contrast run rampant. The group is available for parties and bar mitzvahs. The 6-panel digipak features artwork by Sandy Ewen and extensive liner notes by Clifford Allen.
TWO from Multi-Reeds Wiz RAS MOSHE:
RAS MOSHE BURNETT and MUSIC NOW with DAVE ROSS / JASON HWANG / LARRY ROLAND / JOHN PIETARO / CHARLES DOWNS - 50 Shades of May (Tube Room Records 55491-18397; USA) Featuring Ras Moshe Burnett on reeds, flute & percussion, Dave Ross on guitar, Jason Hwang on violin, Larry Roland on contrabass, John Pietaro on percussion and Charles Downs on drums. I’ve been friends with saxist Ras Moshe for many years as we share a bond: we both are devoted to finding the most spiritual side of Avant Jazz / Free Music, no matter where and when it comes from. From Coltrane & Ayler through the Art Ensemble & Soft Machine, we both recognize where the True Spirit is found. This long journey guides our Deep Listening habits as well as the music that Mr. Moshe creates. Mr. Moshe has long named his band Music Now since what they do, they do in The Now. The personnel has changed in their nearly 20 year journey but the True Spirit remains.
The current version of Music Now is an all-star version, each member integral to their intense, focused sound. One member has an impressive resume: Dave Ross (William Hooker & Welf Dorr), Jason Hwang (from Braxton through Threadgill & many of his own groups), Larry Roland (World Experience Orchestra), John Pietaro (Red Microphone & journalist) and Charles Downs (a/k/a Rashied Bakr: Other Dimensions in Music). ’50 Shades of May’ was recorded at Scholes street Studio in March of 2018. The title track is long and strong in spirit with Mr. Moshe in his most Trane-like mode. Both Dave Ross on guitar and Jason Hwang on amplified violin are buzzing around Moshe like bees around a hive. So nice to hear Mr. Hwang takes a wah-wah solo on his violin while Mr. Ross interweaves his own lines in a fine tapestry. Moshe takes an inspired tenor sole while the rest of the sextet provide a cosmic cushion underneath, the music moving in wave upon wave. Long one of the unsung guitar heroes of the Downtown Scene, Dave Ross, takes a long, expressive, solo which builds high and then dies down into a calm less turbulent section where Hwang takes over and also pulls off a massive solo again building a rich conclusion. The firestorm continues on “Tiger, Crane, Dragon”, which begins with a powerful blend of swirling guitar, tenor sax and congas, the cosmic vibe ascending higher and higher. This piece is quite magical, it floats and soars and provides us with a new dimension to be placed in. The sextet breaks down into duos, trios and quartets, organically unfolding in trance-inducing sections. Mr. Moshe switches to soprano sax as the ensemble works their way into a more reflective, spacey section. For those guitar freaks out there, check out Dave Ross’ long solo here, spinning out quick layers of lines, blowing many minds as he goes. “On the day You Were Born” begins with a spirited duo on tenor sax and violin, restrained at first but not for very long. Mr. Hwang remains one of the finest, feistiest of Free Jazz violinists and sounds particularly great here, pushing Ras and the rest of the sextet higher and higher. For those of you who love to hear the deepest of Free Jazz/Music, this is your manna for the week so grab this disc and go for the Cosmic Journey yoself! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RAS MOSHE BURNETT / DAFNA NAPHATALI - Fuse Box (GBR 053; USA) Featuring Ras Moshe Burnett on tenor sax & flute and Dafna Naphtali on electronics, live processing & voice. There are a large number of experimental musicians in the New York area who have been around for a long while but rarely get the recognition they deserve. Dafna Naphtali is one of those gifted experimenters and has worked with Chuck Bettis, Kitty Brazelton and Gordon Beeferman. Downtown saxist & avant-jazz scholar, Ras Moshe, you should surely know as he has been on the scene for a couple of decades and has played here at DMG on more than a dozen occasions. Mr. Moshe records infrequently and does lead a band called Music Now which has a half dozen releases under their belt. These two musicians work well together, while Mr. Moshe’s tenor sax plays those feisty line at the center, Ms. Naphtali adds layers of her voice, stretching it out and applying varies strange effects as if there are different characters or voices involved. While Mr. Moshe basically plays himself, playing an assortment of his varied avant/jazz sax licks, Ms. Naphtali keeps adding different layers of both altered voices and electronic samples & treated effects. Dafna has taken some time to manipulate both the sax and the varied voices which change on every tracks. This is much different from anything that Ras Moshe has done in the past which I think is agood thing since he seems to be up for the challenge as Dafna Naphtali always does. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALLAN CHASE / RA KALAM BOB MOSES - Shamanic Soliloquies (Ra Kalam Records 017; USA) Featuring Allan Chase on alto, soprano & bari saxes and Ra Kalam Bob Moses on drums, djembe, kalimbas, dumbek, assorted percussion, bass & voice. Recorded at Native Pulse, (most likely) in the Boston area in October of 2016. I recall checking out alto saxist Allan Chase when he was a member of Prima Materia (3 great discs on KFW) with Rashied Ali & Louie Belogenis in the early 1990’s. Since then, Mr. Chase moved up to Boston to teach at Berklee College & New England Conservatory. Ra Kalam Bob Moses also lives and teaches in the Boston area, as well as running his own label which releases both new & historic CD’s with a wide variety of collaborators. I am not sure how often Mr. Chase and Mr. Moses played together, but this disc makes it sound like they’ve been doing this for a long while. Ra Kalam talks about Mr. Chase being a mild mannered academic in the liner notes but the proof is in the pudding here, there is so much more Spirit going on here. From the first burst, there is something marvelous, magical going on here. Thanks to a friend of Mr. Moses’, an old alto sax, once owned & played by the amazing Eric Dolphy was brought to this session and played by Mr. Chase on a couple of tracks. Mr. Chase plays with a lovely, breath-taking tone on “Melancholy Dolphy” and is backed by some splendid mallet-work by Moses. Ra Kalam is very selective and chooses a different percussion instrument on most of the tracks, always providing a sympathetic percussive cushion to whatever Mr. Chase does. “Baritone Prayer Song” is an aptly titled piece with some luscious, solemn toned baritone sax. For “Soul Cry”, the duo overdub kalimba, bass, bari and alto saxes into a solemn, rich simmering blend. I love the way Ra Kalam overdubs layers of whispering voices and saxes on “Exhaling Attachment”, so many layers all tightly swirling around one another in a most kaleidoscopic way. Even better is when Ra Kalam layers various percussion on “Panorama Llama”, with swirling layers of somber saxes drifting with a sea of cosmic percussion. There is a lovely vibe going on throughout this entire disc as if we were on an island and surrounded by some tranquil waters like the calm before the storm. Most sublime and comforting in its own way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RYAN NIELSEN / RA KALAM BOB MOSES / JOHN LOCKWOOD / ARYEH KOBRINSKI - The Gift of Breath (Ra Kalam Records 013; USA) Featuring Ryan Nielsen on trumpet, John Lockwood & Aryeh Kobrinski on basses and Ra Kalam Bob Moses on drums, djembe, gongs, talking drum & keyboard. A couple of times a year, percussion master Ra Kalam Bob Moses, releases discs on his own label, often presenting lesser known musicians that are former students of his or professors at either music schools in Boston where he also teaches. We do know elder bassist John Lockwood from his work with Tisziji Munoz and The Fringe, the legendary Boston trio. I don’t know much about the other two musicians here although Mr. Kobrinski did play with Greg Burk & Ra Kalam for an earlier disc. As I suspected, trumpeter Ryan Nielsen was a student of Mr. Moses. The bassists here only play together on 2 of the 12 tracks here, so most of the pieces are trumpet fronted trios. Mr. Nielsen has a rich, warm tone on his trumpet. “The Gift of Breath” opens with a lush, solemn vibe. The trio plays the piece in a lovely, thoughtful ballad-like way. The trumpet tone warm like butter softly spread on a tasty bagel. On “Matsevah” Mr. Nielsen plays each note as if were a fragile wisp about to disappear, cautious, warm, enchanting. “Bright Shiny Day” is a line taken from “I Can See Clearly Now” by Jimmy Cliff. The piece itself has a robust, uplifting sway. “Africano Liberdad” has a melody which sounds rather familiar, like an ancient folk or ethnic song sung when we were youngsters. The mallet-work by Ra Kalam is most magical, a cosmic calming pulse that is quietly resonating throughout. The trumpet sings rapturously on top as if it is taking us on a mellow flight. Bassist Kobrinski keeps his bass fluttering quickly throughout “Pitter Patter”, expanding and contracting over and over, the trumpet buzzing like a bee right until the last note. Although ten of the twelve songs were mostly improvised, there is something going here which makes it sound like there were some pre-composed melodies going on which just organically emerged from a flowing mass of evolving ideas/playing. What’s interesting is this: bassist Aryeh Kobrinski, the one musician here I didn’t know, sounds especially inventive, stirring up the kettle, keeping the pulse flowing while the trumpet and drums often swirl around one another like some old ghost/friends. There is a calming undertow throughout which feels mighty fine in these oft turbulent times. Ra Kalam’s one original, “The Lioness”, has a sort of reggae that sounds just wonderful and had me dancing around my kitchen. Go Ra Kalam! This entire session sounds consistently enchanting so get on down to your fave local record store (if they still exist) and get a copy for yourself, otherwise just ask your fave bubbies at DMG! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BACK IN STOCK from the RA KALAM ARCHIVES:
BOB MOSES / DAVID LIEBMAN / JEANNE LEE / TERUMASA HINO - Wheels of Colored Light (Ra-Kalam Records; USA) Reissue of the 1979 album on Open Minds. Featuring Dave Liebman on tenor & soprano saxes, flutes & musette, Terumasa Hino on cornet & wood flute, Jeanne Lee on voice and Bob Moses on drums, percussion & voice. Avant/jazz vocalist Jeanne Lee was something else, one of the best jazz vocalists who transcended any boundaries or pigeon-holing tactics. And she was sadly unrecorded. Besides more than a dozen albums made with her husband Gunter Hampel, she only made a handful of records under her own name. Bob Moses and Dave Liebman are also great musicians that can be found on a large selection of records of their own well as a being busy sidemen. Bob Moses has worked with many important figures like Gary Burton, Steve Kuhn, Tisziji Munoz and Pat Metheny. Dave Liebman has also worked with many giants like Miles Davis, Elvin Jones & Richie Bierach as well as having dozens of his own records. I remember hearing a number of great records with Terumasa Hino in the seventies but haven't heard much from him in recent years. This fine disc was released in 1992 but unknown to me until recently.
Each of the ten or so records from Bob Moses is special in some different way. "A Distant Place" is a strong duo with Moses and Liebman for tenor and drums, spiritual sounding and perfectly balanced. "Talking Tongues" is an excellent trio for muted & unmuted trumpet, soprano sax and drums, free, occasionally furious and completely focused. Bob Moses and Dave Liebman sound as if they are hooked up to a similar spiritual place and play together like lifelong friends. The title track features a thoughtful spoken word poem by Moses with the voices of Jeanne Lee and Bob himself reading (and Jeanne singing) in a most enchanting way with equally enticing music in the second half. "Spanish Steps" is a strong duo for trumpet and drums with another perfectly balanced communion of the spirits. The final piece is a long, magical work called "Spirits Renewed" with ancient sound percussion and other organic sounds like wood flutes, delicate trumpet, gongs and cymbals. A transcendent conclusion to a most haunting and wonderful undiscovered treasure. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery,
DESERTION TRIO with NICK MILLEVOI / JOHNNY DeBLASE / JASON NAZARY - Numbers Maker (Cuneiform Records Rune 479; USA) The Desertion Trio features Nick Millevoi on guitar, Johnny DeBlase on bass and Jason Nazary on drums. After New York & Chicago, Philly seems to be the next great place on the east coast for a strong, ever-evolving Creative Music Scene. Over the past decade, drummer Calvin Weston and guitarist Chris Forsythe (in Solar Motel) have both kept busy in an assortment of spirited projects. Not forgetting elders like Marshall Allen, Elliott Levin, Odean Pope, Bobby Zankel or Dave Burrell, newer, younger players like guitarist Nick Millevoi, saxist Keir Nueringer & vocalist Moor Mother have been popping up at a quicker rate. I’ve caught Nick Millevoi on several occasions with Many Arms and the Desertion Trio and he has knocked me out on each set.
The is the third disc by the Desertion Trio, their first two included guest keyboardist Jamie Saft (both on Shhpuma). This disc was recorded live at Firehouse 12 in Hartford, CT in October of 2019. From the gitgo, this is a most powerful, dynamic post/prog/jazz/rock trio. I’ve always dug strong guitar-led power trios (from Cream, thru the Jimi Hendrix Experience) and this trio is something else. The rhythm remains busy, pumping hard while Millevoi plays a series of spirited rock/jazz solos. The trio take their time at first before they start to increase their tempo to a more blistering level in the last section of this tour-de-force. The rhythm team here are well chosen and have impressive resumes: John Deblase has worked in Zevious (Cuneiform) & Devekus (Tzadik), while Jason Nazary works with Darius Jones and Chris Pitsiokos. The trio even get into some more metallic, scrunge at times as well, adding some selective wah-wah at times. I dig when Millevoi takes off bending and twisting certain notes to some powerful abandon, revving up a storm of activity, shredding like there’s no tomorrow! The trio slow down for the mysterious, Television toned epic called “Taboo”, which simmers just right like some spicy soup. In the nineties, we had some impressive power trios led by Jonas Hellborg & Shawn Lane as well as Praxis with Buckethead. Now we have another colossal trio to be reckoned with. Here they are in all their spirited glory! Dig in deep and go along for the roller coaster ride. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MOTORPSYCHO - Kingdom of Oblivion (Rune Grammofon 105; Norway) “One would think that after the Gullvåg Trilogy -- two double and a single album in a mere three years -- the ultra-productive trio Motorpsycho might be in need of a break of sorts... but on the other hand, riding a golden wave like never before in their 30 year existence, why stop now? The bulk of the album was recorded in France back before the pandemic, but was added to, tweaked and finished in 2020. The initial idea was to collect big riffs on one album and do a pure hard rock record, but the objective changed along the way as they rediscovered their folkish bent and how this lighter touch gave it all a nice contrast. Mixed by Andrew Scheps. Produced by Bent Sæther. Reine Fiske guests on several tracks.”
JOHN LUTHER ADAMS - “Arctic Dreams” (Cold Blue 0060; USA) - To longtime listeners like myself, John Luther Adams is known not only for his singular ability to seamlessly orchestrate classical ensembles on the terms of naturally occurring phenomenon and environments, but for his particular relationship with the expansive space of northern environments. An Alaskan resident from 1978 - 2014, much has been noted and written about how his sound worlds relate to the icy tundras, verdant forests and expansive marine life of the North-est America. In Arctic Dreams, his latest for Cold Blue, JLA specifically utilizes the vocabulary of aeolian wind harps, an ancient modal string instrument designed to be played by the wind, to unpack a series of works for four string players, four singers and three layers of digital delay. Following the resonant and mechanical nature of the harps he is imitating, the string players perform solely on open strings and naturally occurring harmonics. while the singers recite a series of “Arctic Litanies,” composed of the names of Arctic places, plants, birds, weather, and seasons, in the languages of the Iñupiat and Gwich’in peoples of Alaska. On par with the intelligence of the rest of this catalogue, he integrates the programmatic vocalizations into the beds of sound quite seamlessly. The dynamic stasis of the digitally augmented sound and the careful gestures of the musicians subtly integrate the shapes, sonorities and human concepts of the landscape into an articulation of the beauty of its essence. Microtonality and clinical mathematics are clearly heavy allies in the constructions here, but they are never allowed to overwhelm the listener's attention. Once again, JLA has demonstrated his mastery of thoroughly modern techniques, as well as his singular vision for redeeming their musicality towards an articulation of the world as it exists almost everywhere else besides the concert hall. - Frank Meadows for DMG
TWO MORE TREASURES from The COLOSSAL PSYCH/PROG OUTFIT GARCIA PEOPLES:
GARCIA PEOPLES - Natural Facts (Beyond is Beyond is Beyond; USA) “You won’t get far with New Jersey quartet Garcia Peoples before noticing the unambiguous Grateful Dead associations. For a lot of bands, Grateful Dead worship stops at a reverent cover or a t-shirt design; Garcia Peoples commit. This begins with the band’s name (inspired by just being really, really into the Dead) and continues in slippery guitar leads, dusty vocal harmonies, and elongated song suites connected by untethered jams. On their 2018 debut Cosmic Cash, they looked not just to Jerry and co. but to a range of psychedelic masters: high-energy shredding channeled a lineage of nerdy technicality from Zappa to NRBQ to Phish, while gentler moments hinted at time spent studying private-press acid-folk records. The influences could be glaring at times, but substantial songwriting and a sense of giddy euphoria helped the album to transcend.
Arriving just seven months later, second album Natural Facts is still indebted to familiar reference points, but finds the band pushing to expand. The tandem guitar work of founding members Danny Arakaki and Tom Malach guides most songs, providing as much narration as their woozy vocal harmonies. Daydreamy and swaying, “High Noon Violence” constructs an intricate patchwork of acoustic and overdriven guitar tones before liquefying into a puddle of wailing dual leads. “Weathered Mountains” taps into the noodly pseudo-prog of the Dead’s studio output circa Blues for Allah, transposing that energy to a higher pitch and reimagining glassy-eyed Weir/Garcia lead lines as played by Television. Though it’s impressive to hear a young group fly so close to their key inspirations, some moments verge on psychedelic cosplay, teetering between devout admiration for iconic jam bands and too many hours spent comparing audience recordings of the 9/19/70 “Dark Star.”
As they move away from one-dimensionality, Garcia Peoples trace a line between ’60s West Coast psych and Jersey indie roots. Natural Facts explores this intersection, volleying between considered songwriting and ideas that sound born of all-night jam sessions. The lazy amble of “Rolling Tides” draws on meandering guitar figures, but tucks them into the background of a less elaborate structure. As the song moves through traditional soft verses and loud choruses, Arakaki’s sheepish vocals sound descended from the warm mumble of Yo La Tengo’s Ira Kaplan. Garcia Peoples’ less jammy material can be as straightforward as the bounding feel-good melodicism of “Break Me Down” or as jagged as the thunderous, off-time riffing of album opener “Feel So Great.” Where the breezy Cosmic Cash found Garcia Peoples on a stoned countryside drive, here they sound trapped in stop-start city gridlock. Engineer Jeff Zeigler’s modernized production amplifies the contrast, with sharper mixes and enormous drums adding newfound nerviness even to even the most subdued tracks.” - Fred Thomas, Pitchfork
GARCIA PEOPLES - Nightcap At Wits’ End (Beyond is Beyond is Beyond; USA) “There is a storm brewing in America at the moment – anger, passion, rebellion, disquietude – you might say it is a country on the precipice of a revolution. You might say, the music industry, community and the American people are indeed at their ‘wits end.’ This restlessness toppled with the tsunami of talent comes Garcia Peoples’ Nightcap at Wits End. Rather than just a listening session this is both a moody psychedelic space and, upon drinking their magic potion, a portal to another world. This is a space to experience, then revisit and revel in.
It’s hard not to love The Grateful Dead. Back in the golden years, the Dead could construct a masterful weave where everything seems to entwine, spiral and lace under the next – the magical bite of Garcia’s guitar and Weir’s chaotic rhythm, underpinned by some of the most thunderous bass playing in this solar system, to the milky way and beyond. Garcia Peoples are a New Jersey band who seem to have taken this ‘Deadhead’ devotion to a whole new level. From their early days to 2018 release Cosmic Cash, you could hear the Zappa, you could hear Jethro Tull, you could even hear Jerry’s whispers which beckoned you to turn around to a rather looming technicoloured shadow. Still, however obvious the influence may be, the rich and thoughtful lyricism and wholesome feelings of nostalgia have helped the band’s albums to truly shine.” - Words by Alexandra Dominica, Moof Mag
THE MISUNDERSTOOD - Children Of The Sun: The Complete Recordings 1965-66 (Grapefruit Records 086; UK) "The Misunderstood must rank as one of the greatest cult bands of the sixties psychedelia era. The band began forging their innovative sound in Riverside, California, where they were discovered by DJ John Peel (then working in the US as John Ravenscroft). Having cut a few recordings locally, the band relocated to the UK on Peel's recommendation. In London, The Misunderstood signed to Fontana Records to cut what are considered six landmark tracks. Issued that December, 'I Can Take You To The Sun' remains a high watermark of the original psychedelia era and was backed by an explosive version of Bo Diddley's 'Who Do You Love', but the band broke up soon afterwards when singer Rick Brown was drafted. A second single, the blistering psych rock of 'Children Of The Sun' (backed by the anti-war gem 'I Unseen') was belatedly issued in February 1969 when a new line-up of the band re-signed to the label. In 1982, Cherry Red released the landmark compilation LP, Before The Dream Faded, which not only unveiled two further Fontana recordings, the high octane 'Find The Hidden Door' and 'My Mind' but also collated seven archive tracks from the band's Riverside days. Since then, additional recordings have surfaced on various retrospectives. Children Of The Sun finally assembles The Misunderstood's entire known output from 1965-1966 onto one package, suitably re-mastered by Alec Palao. With incisive sleeve-notes from Mike Stax (Ugly Things) and involvement with various original band members, and a handsome design from Andy Morten (Shindig!), this is truly the definitive document of a legendary underground band, assembled by those who love their music."
2 CD Set $22
OBERON - A Midsummer's Night Dream (Grapefruit Records 090; UK) "Recorded by students at the start of their summer holidays, Oberon's self-financed, 99-copies-only 1971 album A Midsummer's Night Dream is one of the rarest, most expensive artifacts to emerge from the primordial soup of the early seventies British underground scene. More importantly, it also boasts a reputation as one of the most vital, with one commentator suggesting that 'at least one of the few copies pressed should be preserved in the British Museum.' Having featured tracks from the album on our heavily-praised 3-CD British underground folk collections Dust On The Nettles and Sumer Is Icumen In, the Grapefruit label now celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the making of A Midsummer's Night Dream by issuing the album in its entirety. With a second disc comprising a live show recorded roughly three months before the album, this remastered two-CD digipak edition -- featuring rare photos and a new essay on the band -- is the definitive release of a fascinating dropped stitch in the fabric of the early Seventies underground folk cosmology."
2 CD Set $22
MAGIC CASTLES - Sun Reign (A Recordings AUK 136; UK) “Minneapolis psych-rockers Magic Castles are back with a new album, Sun Reign, making an exciting return after founder and songwriter Jason Edmonds suffered a near fatal car accident in November 2019. Magic Castles are well-versed in the ways of psychedelically-inclined folk-rock. Edmonds's smooth vocal harmonies float above the guitars, creating a lush, almost Byrds-esque soundscape. The layered arrangements incorporate Farfisa organ, synths, and dreamy string arrangements. Sun Reign is the band's fourth release on Anton Newcombe's label A Recordings Ltd. Ironically similar to Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Magic Castles have been plagued by lineup changes over the years. Due to this and other factors, in 2016, Edmonds, a single father, decided to take a short hiatus from regular live shows and touring to focus on his family. During that time, (2016-2019) Edmonds, an introverted multi-instrumentalist, continued to record new material in his studio, and also record with a new band at Neil Weir's studio Blue Bell Knoll, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The results of these sessions are the current release, Sun Reign. In November of 2019, tragedy struck and Edmonds was seriously injured in a car accident that required hospitalization and surgery. Friends started a GoFundMe that raised over $20k USD for the uninsured musician's hospital bills, showing an incredible outpouring of love and support for him and his family. Fortunately, Edmonds has made a complete recovery from his injuries and has bounced back remarkably well. In early 2020, Edmonds managed to finish the remaining work on the album Sun Reign, including a previously unreleased song, "Surmise", penned by guitarist Jermiah Doering, and a rare cover of a moody 1966 garage rock song "Ode to the Wind" by Danny and the Counts. Edmonds also began working with a booking agency, planning a return tour to Europe with the band to support the new album. Unfortunately, it was not to be. Due to the global pandemic crisis of Covid-19, the album was delayed until 2021, and the promising tour was cancelled. In May of 2020, Minneapolis police killed George Floyd two blocks from Edmonds's home, which incited riots across the country. The protests led to the burning of Minneapolis, where a long-time music venue and many other buildings were lost. Edmonds' studio was not destroyed although many nearby buildings were. Edmonds is a known supporter of Black Lives Matter.”
THREE MASSIVE FRED FRITH BOX-SETS!
FRED FRITH with LARS HOLLMER / BILL LASWELL / FRED MAHER / ZEENA PARKINS / JEAN DEROME / RENE LUSSIER / CHARLES HAYWARD / et al - Rocking The Boat (Volume 1 - Of The Fred Records Story, 2001-2020)(ReR Megacorp FSRB1; UK) "First of a three-box collection by one of the most innovative guitarists and composers of his generation, containing 8 ReR CDs, plus a bonus Fred title & a fat historic booklet with artwork, photographs, extensive notes and other comments by Fred, all packed into in a sturdy box -- and at a budget price. Box one contains: The legendary Guitar Solos, Gravity (with Etron Fou Leloublan and Samla Mammas Manna), Cheap at Half the Price, Killing Time (with Bill Laswell and Fred Maher), Impur (for very large ensemble), Middle of the Moment (film score), Keep the Dog (double CD feat: Rene Lussier, Bob Ostertag, Zeena Parkins, Jean Derome & Charles Hayward). Plus, bonus CD Dropera. Biographical: Recipient of Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize for his life's work in experimental music and Professor Emeritus at the legendary epicenter of American experimental music, Mills College in Oakland, California, Fred still teaches in the improvisation master's program at the Musik Akademie in Basel & as visiting faculty in the Universidad Austral in Valdivia, Chile, where he has been collaborating on the creation of a new School of Music & Sound Art.”
9 CD Set $72
FRED FRITH with ZEENA PARKINS / TOM CORA / JOHN ZORN / GUIGOU CHENEVIER / BILL LASWELL / FRED MAHER / STEVE BUCHANAN / MARS WILLIAMS / et al - Crossing Borders (Volume 2 Of The Fred Records Story, 2001-2020)(ReR Megacorp FSRB2; UK) "Second of a three-box collection by one of the most innovative guitarists and composers of his generation, containing 8 ReR CDs, a bonus Fred title and a fat historic booklet with artwork, photographs, extensive notes & other comments by Fred, all packed into in a sturdy box -- and at a budget price. Box 2 contains: Live in Japan, Speechless, Prints, Step Across the Border (film score), Impur 2 (large ensemble), Art of Memory II (with John Zorn), Skeleton Crew (double CD with Zeena Parkins and Tom Cora). Plus, bonus CD Helter Skelter (remastered). Cover photo: Heike Liss Biographical: Recipient of Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize for his life's work in experimental music & Professor Emeritus at the legendary epicenter of American experimental music, Mills College in Oakland, California, Fred still teaches in the improvisation master's program at the Musik Akademie in Basel and as visiting faculty in the Universidad Austral in Valdivia, Chile, where he has been collaborating on the creation of a new School of Music and Sound Art. Also appearing: Guigou Chenevier, Margot Mathieu, Ferdinand Richard, Jo Thirion, Tina Curran, Roger Kent Parsons, Asha & Storm, George Cartwright, Hans Bruniusson, Mars Williams, Steve Buchanan, Bill Laswell, Fred Maher, Bernd "Uimsch' Lehmann, Dave Kerman, Mike Johnson, Sebastian Gramms, Alexandra Schulz, Sheena Dupuis, Tom Cora, Zeena Parkins, Bob Ostertag, John Zorn, Daihachi Oguchi, Jean Derome, Rene Lussier, Kevin Norton, Eino Haapala, Marc Hollander, Lars Holl mer, Tim Hodgkinson, Iva Bittov. Pavel Fajt, Eitetsu Hayashi, Haco, Rabi, Lu, Katrin, Dave Newhouse, Laurent Frick, Pascal Pariaud, Joel Jorda, Laurent Vichard, Samuel Chagnard, Stephane Lambert, Philippe Madile, Serge Sana, Claire Mollard, Stephane Grosjean, Cyril Cambon, Stephen Tissot, Guillaume Quemener, Ghilem Lacroux, Bader Gharzouli, Gilles Laval, Jean-Michel Quoisse, Denis Mariotte, Claude Monteil, Edmond Hosdikian, Fred Giuliani, Kiwi, Nadine Laporte, Richard Peter et al."
9 CD Set $72
FRED FRITH with CHRISTIAN MARCLAY / JIM STALEY / GEORGE CARTWRIGHT / GAOL BRAND / CARLA KIHLSTEDT / TENKO / JOEY BARON / et al - Stepping Out (Volume 3 Of The Fred Records Story, 2001-2020)(ReR Megacorp FSRB3; UK) "Third of a three box collection by one of the most innovative guitarists and composers of his generation, containing eight ReR CDs, a bonus Fred title and a fat historic booklet with artwork, photographs, extensive notes and other comments by Fred, all packed into in a sturdy box -- and at a budget price. Box three contains: Technology of Tears, Propaganda, Allies, Accidental, The Previous Evening, Happy End Problem, Nowhere, Sideshow, Field Days. Plus, bonus CD Inimitable (previously unreleased). Biographical: Recipient of Italy's Demetrio Stratos Prize for his life's work in experimental music and Professor Emeritus at the legendary epicenter of American experimental music, Mills College in Oakland, California, Fred still teaches in the improvisation master's program at the Musik Akademie in Basel and as visiting faculty in the Universidad Austral in Valdivia, Chile, where he has been collaborating on the creation of a new School of Music and Sound Art. Also appearing: Tenko, John Zorn, Christian Marclay, Jim Staley, Joey Baron, George Cartwright, Tom Cora, Christian Kaya, Claudio Puntin, Heike Liss, Bernd Settelmeyer, Bernd Weber, Kikutsubo Day, Carla Kihlstedt, Theresa Wong, William Winant, Patrice Scanlon, Gail Brand, Fred Giuliani & Hande Erdem Cover photo: Heike Liss. 'Fred Frith makes music that incorporates transformative, disruptive, revolutionary wisdom while constantly expanding his range of sonic subversion' - lsole che Parlono."
9 CD Set $72
2 Important ESP Reissues on LP!
LOWELL DAVIDSON TRIO with GARY PEACOCK / MILFORD GRAVES - self/titled (ESP-Disk 1012; USA) On Ornette Coleman’s recommendation, ESP-Disk’ owner Bernard Stollman signed up pianist Lowell Davidson (then majoring in biochemistry at Harvard) for this album without having heard him play. Davidson came to New York and got to work with the elite rhythm section of drummer Milford Graves and bassist Gary Peacock, both stalwarts of the ESP catalog. The interplay among the members of the trio is dazzling, but in all ways the pianist is the star of the album. His playing inevitably drew comparisons to Cecil Taylor (can’t blame the critics too much, as there just weren’t that many pianists going this far out in 1965, so there weren’t many comparisons available), but he is his own man stylistically, and puts more space around his notes. He’s equally likely to unleash complexly intertwining two-handed runs, spicy dissonances, shimmering Impressionism, or poignant lyricism. The only recording ever approved for release by Davidson, it remains fresh and exciting fifty-six years later.
“Almost mimicking the human voice that is singing in short thrilling phrases, Davidson's songs are like vocal necklaces comprising gorgeous gem-like beads of notes in elaborately decorative chains of provocative combinations. Strung together almost endlessly in hitherto unheard of designs, the music strikes the consciousness as the soft felt of the hammers of the piano are tapping in the nerves of the brain just as they do the myriad and perfectly tuned strings inside the body of the piano. Davidson can be elegant, as on ‘L,’ elegant and majestic on ‘Stately 1’ childlike and playful on ‘Dunce’ and ‘Ad Hoc’ and almost like a chorister on ‘Strong Tears.’ In that respect, this is a definitive work that captures in essence the entire pianist's beliefs and channels them through a many emotions in these songs.
“The composition of the trio is also quite inspired. There appears to have been a symbiotic relationship between the other players—bassist Gary Peacock, percussionist Milford Graves—and the pianist. Davidson's superior harmonic sense is beautifully reflected in the manner in which Graves, for instance, employs dynamics to explore tonal colors and rhythmic textures. Although he displays this exquisite sensibility throughout very good examples of this are heard on ‘L’ and ‘Stately.’ Peacock achieves no less a state of rarified elegance playing both pizzicato and con arco, especially on ‘Ad Hoc.’ Note his and Graves' rumbling bass, punctuated by bright splashes on various cymbals, a perfect foil for Davidson's complex forays into the heart of the song's theme.” - Raul d'Gama Rose, All About Jazz
FREE MUSIC QUINTET with PIERRE COURBOIS / BOY RAAYMAKERS / PETER VAN DER LOCHT / ERWIN SOMER / FERDINAND RIKKERS - Free Music 1 & 2 (ESP-Disk 1083; USA)Dutch drummer Pierre Courbois, an early adaptor of free jazz, had previously appeared on ESP-Disk’ with Gunter Hampel (Music from Europe, ESP1042) in 1968 and that same year recorded this album in a farmhouse (as shown on the front cover) in the village of Weslum, home of group member Erwin Somer.
“One of the most uncompromising free jazz records ever made, this one-off improvisation by a group of Dutch players, led by percussionist Pierre Courbois, is an archetype of the style. Free jazz doesn't just require a lot of unrestrained blowing and freeform noise, although there are passages of that here. The two lengthy improvs build from placid beginnings, as each member adds various percussion instruments to the growing cacophony, before reedsman Peter van der Locht (at times playing two saxes at once á la Rahsaan Roland Kirk) and trumpeter Boy Raaymakers let loose. All five players get their chances to lead the quintet, although there's a minimum of soloing. Courbois drives both improvs, and there's a five-minute stretch starting about seven minutes into "Free Music Number One" where he simply explodes, bashing a trap kit and a variety of other objects like the cartoon Tasmanian Devil on a dozen espressos, armed with a pair of baseball bats. There's an impressive sense of dynamics to the improvs, both of which have sections of near-silence mixed in with the explosions, and there's a structural unity to each improv despite the lack of musical themes or other familiar signposts.” – Stewart Mason / Members: Boy Raaymakers: trumpet, bugle & percussion, Peter Van Der Locht: soprano sax, tenor sax, piccolo flute, percussion, Erwin Somer: violin, vibraphone & percussion, Ferdinand Rikkers: bass & percussion and Pierre Courbois: percussion, leader.
SANDY EWEN - You Win (Gilgongo Records GGGR-099; USA) Featuring Sandy Ewen on electric guitar on lap with implements & devices. Formerly Texas-based guitarist, Sandy Ewen, moved to Brooklyn several years ago and has been playing here at DMG on a regular basis as well as doing loads of other gigs around town. I have been a big of hers even before she moved here thanks to fellow guitarist Henry Kaiser, who has long sung her praises. We were fortunate to have Ms. Ewen play here at DMG last Saturday (5/15/21), both in a solo set and a trio set with Nate Wooley & Chris Pitsiokos. Both sets will be viewable on our YouTube channel soon. Ms. Ewen left us with a rare solo album which was released last year and will be out-f-print in the near future. If you want to hear some truly unique experimental guitar, you should really check Ms. Ewen out. She doesn’t quite sound like anyone else I’ve heard. The rest of this review will appear next week when I can finish it. - BLG
RON GEESIN - Pot-Boilers: Ron Geesin Soundtracks to Stephen Dwoskin Films 1966-1970 (Trunk 087; UK) “Sublime, unique, sexy, and peculiar unreleased scores by electronic and jazz pioneer Ron Geesin, made for the films by maverick director Stephen Dwoskin. Geesin made great music and worked with Pink Floyd. Dwoskin made odd films, most of them are in the BFI permanent collection. These superb unreleased soundtracks come from a fascinating, progressive, and important period in British film history. They represent an intriguing collaboration between the lively Ron Geesin from Scotland and the American Stephen Dwoskin, who both met in London. Musically they are minimal, charismatic, and quite groundbreaking. Ron's soundtracks for Dwoskin' films, recorded in the Geesins's flat, encompassed Ron's very eclectic range of styles -- madcap piano and fretted banjo as well as tape manipulation. Aside from Ron's soundtracks, some of which belong to films that no longer exist (including Pot-Boiler). There was no London equivalent to the underground film scene that Dwoskin had known in New York, and his films remained unseen until such a scene began to come into being, in the autumn of 1966. Some of them made their debut at the Mercury Theatre, near Notting Hill Gate, that September. Dwoskin wrote Alone, starring Zelda Nelson (from Ron Rice's Chumlum), and Chinese Checkers, with Beverly Grant and Dwoskin's friend Joan Adler. Soon both Dwoskin and Geesin became involved in the nascent London Film-Makers' Co-op, which put on screenings in Better Books on Charing Cross Road. In the same autumn, Dwoskin moved into a flat almost opposite the Geesins on Elgin Crescent. More collaborations followed, including Naissant, on which Gavin Bryars, whom Geesin had met during a stint on the northern club circuit with novelty act Dr Crock and His Crackpots, played double bass. Around the end of 1967, Geesin released his first solo LP, A Raise of Eyebrows, and Dwoskin won recognition at the Fourth Experimental Film Competition, aka EXPRMNTL 4, an occasional film festival staged at Knokke-le-Zoute in Belgium. By now the films had optical soundtracks. For Moment, a single-shot film, Geesin provided his most experimental score yet. At the time of its debut in 1970, Dwoskin and the Geesins were sharing a house in Ladbroke Grove. By then, Ron was working with Pink Floyd, and soon afterwards he and Frankie moved out to the country, to be replaced by Bryars both in the house and as Dwoskin's principal collaborator. Until now these scores have remained part of the Geesin Archive and have never been issued. Sleeve notes by Ron Geesin.”
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.
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.
FROM ARTS FOR ARTS:
Masma Dream World
IN PERFORMANCE AND CONVERSATION
TONIGHT, May 20 at 8pm
$5 Minimum Donation | $10 Suggested Donation
Devi Mambouka - vocals, dance
Haunted Halo - bass
Christian Van Bremen - synth
A multidisciplinary artist trained in reiki, Butoh, and sound therapy, Masma Dream World's music has been described as an "engagement with the subconscious and a trek down a healing path." The singer and dancer is joined by her band for a performance designed to lead listeners on a journey towards personal awakening. Stick around after the concert for a lively Artist Talk with the performers. Upon donating you will receive a private viewing link through Eventbrite. You can donate to watch through Monday, May 24.
Donate on our Website to Watch
Upcoming On_Line Salon Schedule
AFA is charging a minimum $5 to watch On_Line Salons. Donate on the AFA website to receive your private viewing link through Eventbrite.
Tuesday May 25, 8pm
Isaiah Barr - saxophones, clarinets
Austin Williamson - drums
Thursday May 27, 8pm
The Healing Force
Patricia Nicholson - voice, text
Ellen Christi - voice
Andrea Wolper - voice
Jean Carla Rodea - voice
Ava Mendoza - guitar
Val Jeanty - percussion
Thursday June 3, 8pm
Mara Rosenbloom - piano
Melanie Dyer - viola
Sean Conly - bass
Tuesday June 8, 8pm
Jeremy Carlstedt - drums
Brian Settles - tenor saxophone
Anders Nilsson - guitar
Thursday June 10, 8pm
John Blum - piano
Mark Hennen - piano
Jackson Krall - drums
Donate on our Website to Watch
Breaking Free Coming Home
25 Years of VISION
Pioneer Works - July 22-23 & 29-30
159 Pioneer St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
La Plaza at The Clemente - July 24-25 & 31
114 Norfolk St, NYC 10002
Arts for Art, Inc.
107 Suffolk Street #300
New York, NY 10002
HENRY KAISER Continues with his Weekly Solo Series on Cuneiform’s Youtube page:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHUc8FYsWxg - new interview with Mr. Kaiser
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0-qbKTem9o - Tribute to Milford Graves
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 & improvisations on each episode.
Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836/
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: