DMG Newsletter for June 4th, 2021:
“Working Class Hero” by John Lennon
From ‘Plastic Ono Band’ album, released October, 1971
As soon as you're born, they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
They hurt you at home, and they hit you at school
They hate you if you're clever, and they despise a fool
Till you're so f*cking crazy, you can't follow their rules
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
When they've tortured and scared you for twenty-odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can't really function, you're so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still f*cking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
John Lennon was a working class hero. He did come from humble beginnings, was abandoned his Mum and ended up in the most influential rock band of all time. Not too bad! I’ve always been a huge Beatles fan, ever since they appeared on the Ed Sullivan TV show on a Sunday evening in February of 1964. That appearance seemed to have affected everyone who watched it or who heard about it soon thereafter. John Lennon was no doubt my favorite Beatle. He did have a big mouth and spoke his mind which did get him in trouble from time to time. His claim that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus certainly earned him the wrath of some of his Christian followers. While some would say that his lyrics like, “Revolution” or “Give Peace a Chance” were naive, I felt that he was being sincere about what he believed and/or observed about our fragile planet. The above song was found on his first post-Beatles solo album from 1971, along with “Mother” and “God” (“God is a concept by which we measure our pain, I’ll say it again”). Brutal yet honest, lyrically. John Lennon was murdered in front of his apartment on the upper west side of NYC in 1980 by a so-called fan. For me, this is when the sixties truly came to an end. There are rumors that John Lennon’s murder was planned by the Military Industrial Complex/Right Wing Propaganda Machine/Monster. Was this really true? Can it be proved? I guess it depends on what you believe… Don’t believe in music or political heroes or religious dogma Mr. Lennon says in “God” from that very album. I think we are all still trying to figure out what to really believe. - MC BruceLee
This Week’s Dynamic Discs Begin with This One:
CIRCUIT ELECTRO ACOUSTIC ENSEMBLE with PAUL DUNMALL / PHILIPP WACHSMANN / ASHLEY JOHN LONG / TREVOR TAYLOR - December (FMR 601-0221; UK) Masters at work here, make no bones about it. Individually and collectively, these four veterans of the British improv scene are responsible for some of the most thought-provoking, challenging, and damned-well involving music to inhabit its respective genre, however much said genre migrates, mutates, and morphs. This, the eighth outing by the electroacoustic ensemble known as Circuit, has had as many if not more members at one time or another within its ranks, though the driving force behind the group remains FMR honcho Taylor and itinerant saxophonist Dunmall, whose media remit as both leader and sideman would take endless pages to catalog. On this outstanding new recording, the merging of each musician’s sensibilities is total, their near-telepathic communication wholly refined, their aesthetic and tonal leaps-of-faith beyond reproach. Where some contemporary improv units truck in disconnected sounds that are hardly simpatico, let alone intersect with any kind of momentum or purpose, Circuit incite vivid riots of red that seethe with a rare, considered, yet visceral dynamic. All four members surely share equal billing, and each brings their own signature flair to the table, but the secret weapon here has to be Wachsmann’s violin, which more often than not is the central locus around which his colleagues effortlessly pivot. Both he and Taylor also augment their chosen weapons with carefully-coiffed electronic textures that add the proverbial icing on an already tasty sonic cake. Broken up into five discreet movements, nicked “De”, “Ce”, Em”, “Be”, and “R”, the recording achieves an innate flow, blending a decidedly chilly tenor spiked by the kinds of sharp noises one associates with crackling white environs and the somewhat inhospitable early winter sensations the quartet mimic in sound. Taylor’s facility across a wide plain of vibes, cymbals, and other subtly-struck surfaces is simply marvelous, coloring in the lines around Dunmall’s peaks and valleys, bobbing to and fro amidst Long’s acoustic bass throb, while Wachsmann often waxes quite melancholic at times. It would seem upon first listen that the group have reined in the more technological aspects of their approach but subsequent spins reveal that the various electronic elements are simply woven assuredly throughout, stirred into the overall aural patina with a painterly touch and an acute sense of drama. Such acts of expert knob twiddling and Circuit bending congeal to birth the group’s best work yet. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
TOYOZUMI-COUNTRYMAN - I Am Village (FMR CD 605-0221; UK) Killer free blowing session whose reaching for the heavens recalls nothing less than Coltrane’s similarly starcrossing ventures Ascension and Interstellar Space. American saxophonist Rick Countryman isn’t a household name like his spiritual forebear but recordings like this one will go far to rectifying that particular oversight, pronto. Drummer and percussionist Sabu Toyozumi, on the other hand, goes *way* back; born in 1943, he’s been an outspoken and brazen player of everything free, improv and otherwise since 1969, with numerous groups, collectives, and associations to his credit, performing on countless sessions with the likes of Wadada Leo Smith, Toshinori Kondo, Barre Phillips, Paul Rutherford, John Russell, etc., etc. In fact, Toyozumi’s been enjoying something of a renaissance this last clutch of years, mostly thanks to recordings issued semi-regularly by labels such as No Business, FMR, and Sol Disk. Point of fact: Toyozumi and Countryman are long-time sparring partners, with a rich history of energetic performances on record going back several years. This latest finds the duo in fine form indeed. Recorded live in 2020 in the Philippines, the pandemic’s mandated isolationism seems to have only served to usher the duo ever upwards. “Flying Raccoons” literally tears up the airspace around it, Toyozumi generating a dueling snare/cymbal firestorm through which Countryman’s alto sax writhes and contorts; a dog heard barking in the background of the track’s early moments seems almost hallucinatory until you realize it’s not your imagination, and that the canine’s exhortations work in earthly unison with Countryman’s equally strident honks. On the title track, Toyozumi ignites the proceedings immediately, tentatively at first, then more furiously, breaking the confines of his kit with sheer gusto and no less kaboodle, as Countryman’s Lacey-esque interjections take off as seemingly endless spirals of rising thermals. Great stuff from minute one, both in the players’ nods to ESP-Disk’s pioneering records of old, the proud avant-gardisms of NYC 70s loft jazz, and the soaring spirituality Mr. Coltrane’s legacy has obviously emblazoned on the trajectories of these two chaps. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
TIM BERNE / CHRIS SPEED / REID ANDERSON / DAVE KING - broken shadows (Intakt Records 362; Switzerland) Featuring Tim Berne on alto sax, Chris Speed on tenor sax, Reid Anderson on contrabass and Dave King on drums. Aside from keeping a regular ensemble together (currently Snakeoil), Tim Berne occasionally reunites with former bandmates for a rare reunion gig or disc. Saxists Tim Berne and Chris Speed were both members of Bloodcount, one of the better Downtown quartet/quintet’s, making a half dozen discs in the mid-nineties and a reunion CD in 2007. Another group that Mr. Berne has worked with previously is the Bad Plus (with Ethan Iverson & Dave King on ‘Duck’ from 2008). For this new disc, Mr. Berne again works with two members of the Bad Plus (Reid Anderson & Dave King). The one thing that Mr. Berne has not done previously is covering songs by other musician/composers. That alone makes this disc unique since this quartet does all covers by: Ornette Coleman (8 songs), Julius Hemphill (2 songs), Charlie Haden (1 song) & Dewey Redman (1 song). What do these four have in common? Good question. Mr. Coleman, Mr. Haden and Mr. Redman did work together for several years, while Mr. Hemphill was a mentor to Tim Berne. More than this, all four of these musicians have written songs which which have their basis in the blues. There is a certain earthiness to their songs. What I find most interesting is this: most of Tim Bern’e compositions are long, cyclic and repeat a select phrase over and over. None of these songs are anything like that.
The quartet is still pretty engaged and do a fine job of bringing these songs to live in their own unique way. Chris Speed used to play with more fire in the early days of Bloodcount. His tone now is warmer, his notes carefully stretched out, often taking his time to get into the fire zone. The rhythm team play with infectious glee on Julius Hemphill’s “Body”, a sort of funky, blues which is bound to make you smile. It sounds obvious to me that Mr. Berne and Mr. Speed have a long history and sound superb together, although their tones & playing are different, their harmonic connection rings true. Several of the Ornette songs are rather quirky and difficult to play, pushing the quartet through some treacherous twists and turns. This makes for some exciting moments: check out “Civilization Day” and “C.O.D.”. Julius Hemphill’s “Dogon A.D.” remains one his most memorable songs, it is rarely covered. This version is especially engaging with some amazing alto & tenor sax interplay, stretching their notes out around one another. Another highlight here is Charlie Haden’s “Song for Che”, from the first Liberation Music Orchestra record and covered Ornette as well. This version is a delight, something about that melody that feels so good to hear. Some of these Coleman classics sound somewhat angular in their original form, yet here they sound more thoughtful, less agitated. This entire disc has something special going on, blending the heart and mind and soul into a tasty concoction. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SILKE EBERHARD TRIO with JAN RODER / KAY LUBKE - Being The Up and Down (Intakt Records 365; Switzerland) Featuring Silke Eberhard on alto sax, Jan Roder on bass and Kay Lubke on drums. This is fourth disc from the Silke Eberhard Trio which has existed for around a decade. While I know of the busy bassist Jan Roder from several dozen records (Die Enttauschung & Soko Steidle bands), drummer Kay Lubke I know mostly from this trio. While Ms. Eberhard has done a couple of spirited tribute discs to Ornette Coleman & Eric Dolphy earlier, it is her composing and playing which keeps evolving in great ways. This disc was recorded both live at the A-Trane in Berlin (August of 2020) and in the studio. The Opening song, “U11” is both tight and free simultaneously, speeding up and slowing down as one unit. I like the way that Ms. Eberhard stays in the mid-range tone-wise, never screaming or screeching but making each note count. When Eberhard finished her short solo, bassist Roder takes over soloing tightly with the drums shadowing his playing. The tempo speeds up even more on “Strudel”, the trio soaring together with a roller coaster ride-like excitement, pushing Silke into a higher note range, the steam coming close to boiling point and slowing down to a ballad-like conclusion. Things calm down for the well written piece, “Laika’s Descent”, the bass at the center and providing the central structure or glue. “Hymne” reminds me of Braxton 1974 meets Ghost Trance Music, where all three members play their notes tightly together and then go completely free midway. Ms. Eberhard sets up strategic challenges on each piece structurally keeping the playing inspired and with some daredevil-like twists & turns. Another one of this week’s best gems! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
LIUDAS MOCKUNAS with AKIRA SAKATA / KAZUTOKI UMEZU / OTOMO YOSHIHIDE / EIICHI HAYASHI / MASAYO KOKETSU - In Residency at Bitches Brew (NoBusiness 140; Lithuania) Featuring Liudas Mockunas on soprano sax & tenor sax with preparations, Akira Sakata on clarinet, Kazutoki Umezu on clarinets, soprano & alto saxes, Otomo Yoshihide on guitar, Masayo Koketsu on alto sax and Eiichi Hayashi on alto sax. Lithuanian saxist, Liudas Mockunas, played a four night residency at the Bitches Brew Club in Yokohama, Japan in December of 2018. The concerts were organized by Kenny Inaoka, founder of the Chap Chap label and editor of the JazzTokyo.org webzine. Liudas played a series of duos and trios with a handful of great Japanese improvisers. Three of these names you should no doubt recognize: Akira Sakata, Kazutoki Umezu and Otomo Yoshihide, since each one has a vast resume of concerts appearances and many releases. I hadn’t heard of Ms. Masayo Koketsu before now although Eiichi Hayashi was a member of the Berlin Contemporary Orchestra and can be found on a disc from the Leo label with Heinz Geisser.
There are five long pieces here, each between 10 & 24 minutes. Although, Liudas Mockunas is one each piece, he has different saxists & 1 guitar on the other tracks. The first duo is Mockunas on soprano & Akira Sakata on clarinet. Mr. Sakata, who is also a marine biologist, who has also invented his own language & sings at times finishing off his sax work with similar vocal sounds. The clarinet & soprano sax here are close in tone and work well together, spinning a series of circular notes around one another. On each I notice that each partner(s) has their own sound/tone/approach. Masayo Koketsu plays alto sax on “Yellow Line”, playing quick, fractured lines while Mockunas plays quieter, more fragile soprano sax, occasionally playing into a container of water. One of my favorite Japanese saxists is Kozutoki Umezu, a/k/a Dr. Umezu. Umezu plays clarinet & bass clarinet, soprano & alto saxes here. He plays bass clarinet on the early part of “Red Line”, playing calmly at first and then building into a frenzy. The longest track is called “Green Line” and it is a trio with Otomo on guitar, Umezu on alto sax and Mockunas on soprano. Otomo plays with haunting, slow, somber lines creating a dark, solemn mood. This is my favorite piece here since it is more moody and cerebral. All three musicians lay back to let that solemn mood pervade.
DAVE REMPIS / TOMEKA REID / JOSHUA ABRAMS / TIM DAISY / TYLER DAMON - The Covid Tapes - Solos, Duos & Trios (Aerophonic 031; USA) Featuring Dave Rempis on alto, tenor & bari saxes, Tomeka Reid on cello, Joshua Abrams on contrabass and Tim Daisy & Tyler Damon on drums. This entire disc was recorded in 2020 during the Covid pandemic lockdown. The solo, duos & trio tracks were recorded at different places in Chicago and Milwaukee. What makes this different from the other 30 releases on Mr. Rempis’ own Aerophonic label is that Mr. Rempis & Co. play some select covers from: Joe McPhee, Jerome Kern, Dudu Pukwana and Billy Strayhorn. In the liner notes, Mr. Rempis discusses his Covid year at length and what he went through to stay engaged, inspired and sane by organizing a series of indoor/online and out-door concerts which were documented and are available on his own website. This two disc set compiles several of these sessions.
Disc One starts off with a solo baritone sax version of Joe McPhee’s “Knox”, a sort of ballad and tastefully done, each note carefully placed, stretched out, directly from the heart. “Toron” is a long alto (?)sax & drums duo for Rempis & Tim Daisy. The piece is nearly 17 minutes and goes through some different sections: circular sax streams, from dense to sparse sections, from intense to mellow… “B My Dear” was composed by the late South African expat saxist Dudu Pukwana and it is another solo sax ballad, tastefully done, most haunting. “Skin and Bones” features the trio of Rempis, Josh Abrams on bass and Taylor Damon on drums. I caught Mr. Rempis and young Mr. Damon play together at one of those Eric Stern concerts a couple of years ago and was most impressed by Mr. Damon’s playing. This is a particularly strong trio with the ever-impressive Joshua Abrams on contrabass holding the center of the trio together. Rempis covers the old standard, “The Song is You”, for another tasty alto sax solo, which goes from somber to some smokin’ bebop licks.
Disc Two begins with the old standard, “Just a Gigolo”, which might seem like an odd choice, yet which slowed down for solo sax, it becomes more poignant, each note in the melodic line savored sweetly. Another long piece, “In the Wild, features a trio with Rempis, Tomeka Reid on cello and Joshua Abrams on acoustic bass. Both Ms. Reid and Mr. Abrams are gifting string players and do a nice job of bringing things to a lovely state of calm. This piece is soft and prayer-like. As the piece builds, Mr. Rempis plays a long, playful and inspired alto solo, which is a bit Dolphy-like. Which is interesting since the next song is another standard, “On Green Dolphin Street”, which I first heard on a record by Eric Dolphy called ‘Outward Bound’ from 1961. Rempis does a splendid job of this on solo sax, his tone tart and tasty. “Glitch” is another long one and features a dou with Rempis & Tyler Damon on percussion. Someone, perhaps Rempis, is playing small hand percussion (bells or kalimba or..?), when the piece starts with Damon’s sly drum groove soon entering. This piece has a tribal, ritualistic groove/vibe which makes me want to dance or at least shake my old bones. This disc comes to an apt conclusion with the wonderful, “Isfahan”, a rarely heard song by Billy Strayhorn & Duke Ellington. Again Mr. Rempis plays this on solo sax and stretches each note sublimely. This two-disc set is a rich summation of the previous 30 discs that Dave Rempis has released, showing a number of his finest attributes. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $17
PETER GARLAND / RON SQUIBBS - “Three Dawns / Bush Radio Calling” (Cold Blue 59; USA) “Three Dawns / Bush Radio Calling” is my first exposure to the work of composer Peter Garland. As a ardent lover of post-minimalist concert music, as well as sonic homages to the world’s folk storytelling traditions, I was happy to find in this piece something so throughly up my alley as to make me question why I hadn’t been hearing Mr. Garland’s work for years. Some cursory research reveals that he was a student of James Tenney and Harold Budd (two of my favorites), is considered by some to be an expert in the pre-colonial music of North America, and was a long-time publisher at the helm of Soundings Press, inspired by a 1971 Calarts workshop with legendary Fluxus poet and impressario Dick Higgins. A near-perfect combination of influences as far as I’m concerned! The two solo piano pieces on this disc are both at least 30 years old, are performed brilliantly by pianist Ron Squibbs, and display the deep interdisciplinary bona fides of the composer. “Three Dawns” (1981-82) is losely based on a set of three poems by the early 20th century Malagasy (national language of Madagascar), poet Jean-Joseph Rabéarivelo. The piece begins underpinned by a lilting swing pattern, and progresses to reveal its character as an ideal “post-minimal” piece, bypassing the mid-twentieth century definition of minimalism (ala Glass, Reich et. al) and harkening more directly back to Satie. In this mode, sonorities and progressions develop patiently and on their own terms, if they can be said to develop at all. The effect is more like an imitation of an environment, and I encourage our readers to investigate Satie’s definition of “furniture music” which will most accurately describe this effect. These scrutinously constructed pieces achieve a lighthearted but significant effect, evoking to me the elevated nostalgia palette of Joe Hisaishi, the principal musical collaborator to Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.
“Bush Radio Calling” (1992) is the product of the composers work with New Zealand avant-theatrical troupe the Red Mole Theater company on a play entitled “Just them Walking”. In contrast to “Three Dawns” composed a decade earlier, “Bush Radio is more urgent, and opens with the boldness of more active Romantic-Era piano staples ala Beethoven and Chopin. However, the boldness feels insistently suspended within a static pulsating harmonic orb, teasing gestures that suggest harmonic progression into something more like harmonic extensions, stabbing outwards into new four dimensional shapes, subverting the need for a “line”. As he cycles through the movements, the qualities of the voicings change but the rhythmic character remains intact; an insistent openness and skittering polyrhythm invites the listener to feel the physicality and joy of playing the piano within an art-music framework that feels competently “folk” in its influence. These pieces feel like a conscious nod/extension of the long history of aping folk music in classical music, and Garland certainly has his research bona fides in place to do this more than adequately, but the goal here seems to be a clean, post-technocratic futurism, a return to “the wild” with all the baggage of our hyper-connectivity in tow. At times, it reads similarly to a solo piano reduction of Reich’s “Music for 18 Musicians” but with a more asymmetrical pulse as its undercurrent, and with a more disjointed, episodic vignette format as its structural mission. This is par for the course for the excellent modern classical sensibilities of Cold Blue’s catalogue, which to me represents an avant-garde less concerned with the mechanics of their experiment, than with the ultimate musicality of the results. In this case, it encompasses the full range between focused and thrilling. - Frank Meadows, DMG
KATARSIS4 - Live at the Underground Water Reservoir (NoBusiness 139; Lithuania) Featuring Arminas Bizys on alto & bari saxes, Algirdas Janonsis on alto sax & Hornpipe, Danielius Pancerovas on bari & alto sax and Kazimieras Jusinskas on soprano & alto saxes. Recorded September 21, 2019 at Liepkalnis Underground Water Reservoir in Vilnius, Lithauania. Ever since checking out the World Sax Quartet at the Public Theatre in the mid-seventies, I’ve had a fondness for sax quartets. Both the World Sax and ROVA were the earliest ones I’ve heard and both are/were pretty extraordinary (ROVA still exists today!). Once quite rare, sax quartets have emerged since the turn of the millenia with several still working (Prism, Zodiac & Battle Trance). I hadn’t heard of Katarsis4 before our NoBusiness package arrived earlier this week. This disc was recorded in an underground water reservoir in Lithuania, where I assume this quartet comes from. Fans of the Deep Listening Band are aware that this ensemble often plays in underground water sisterns/caverns. The very first sound on this disc is like ocean liner or foghorn blast from afar. Warm rustic and transformative. It makes one realize that the space one is in effects the way the sound it transmitted. A church or a cave both have unique sonic qualities. That room (or cave) ambience gives the sax some extra depth or resonance. The sound is rather soothing, enchanting and especially well-executed. At times, it sounds like there is a storm in the distance, some thunder from far away. Both Urban Sax and Battle Trance are much closer to this sound. Plus I’ve heard both of those ensembles in churches which no doubt enhanced their sound. Since the resonance is more dense, the reverb longer, this quartet take their time to let certain notes expand in the air/space. Instead of ever getting too dense, the group carefully manipulate the keys on the saxes and stretch out notes so that those sounds become even more mesmerizing. If I didn’t know better, I’d think I were listening to an ancient organ, a vocal or brass chorus and perhaps an analogue synth of some sort, but that is not what is going on here. The way those sound float in the air recall the feeling of being near the ocean with some waves slowly crashing over and over. This is one the best sounding discs I’ve heard recently, the ghost-like voices/sounds are beyond haunting. Slowly drifting off into the Dream World. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THOMAS KONER - Nuuk (Mille Plateaux 027; Germany) Mille Plateaux present a reissue of Thomas Köner's Nuuk, originally published as one of four CDs on the 1997 compilation Driftworks and re-released in 2004 by MillePlateauxMedia. Thomas Köner is one of the most influential modernist minimal composers. Alongside Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project, Köner has been centrally responsible for electronic music's fascination with depth and reduction. His signature sound is vast, seemingly endless, which at first seems homogenous and infinite, but once exposed to it, when our senses calibrate to the fine nuances of changes, you discover and immerse into abundance of textures, richness of modulations, and almost infinite range of sonic titillations. Köner's work was inspired by his frequent travels in the Arctic, and listeners feel his music as a journey to mysterious worlds of the Arctic region. The experience of being exposed to the extreme cold, the heightening of our senses and ability to notice even the slightest changes in color, sound, light or density that creates this dangerously reductive environment, is like an immersion in the sonic world of this German artist, where masterfully crafted layers of sound open into colossal spaces, teeming with aural life, waiting to be discovered by those who venture into it. The titles of Köner's highly regarded albums from the '90s ever so often play with this affinity -- Nunatak, Permafrost, Teimo -- all reference to the world of the Artic region, just as his album Nuuk that points us to the capital of Greenland. Subdued and minimal at first glance, this album is brimming with low-end frequencies, shadowy resonances, and boreal ambience, but at the same time, constant fluctuation and vulnerability of sonic events, makes it very organic, human and almost comforting, like the tiny harbor existing in the sea of ice, it is named after. It also served as the source of music material and inspiration for Thomas Köner's video art by the same title, which was awarded a Tiger Cub Award at the 34th International Film Festival in Rotterdam a year later.”
THREE POINT CIRCLE with K. LEIMER / MARC BARRECA / STEVE PETERS - Proximity Effects (Palace of Lights 002-2021; USA) "K. Leimer, Marc Barreca, and Steve Peters first performed together in 1980 for a pair of one-off shows in Olympia, WA. Nearly forty years later, the trio resumed work as Three Point Circle. That reunion resulted in the release of Layered Contingencies in 2020. Their new release, Proximity Effects, continues in a similar vein, obscuring individual contributions into an integrated collective compositional voice." "... fragments of guitar, electric piano, and bell tones occasionally rise to the surface of these oceanic soundscapes, their generally blurry design tends to camouflage the identifying aspects of their components. Each of the five settings unfolds in a spirit of unhurried drift, the slow pace allowing the listener to closely monitor the material as it develops and to examine the mutating sound design." - Textura
BACK IN STOCK:
SAM RIVERS QUARTET with JOE DALEY / DAVE HOLLAND / THURMAN BARKER - Archive Series - Vol. 4: Braids (NoBusiness 138; Lithuania) Featuring Sam Rivers on tenor & soprano saxes, flute & piano, Joe Daley on tuba & euphonium, Dave Holland on bass & cello and Thurman Barker on drums. NoBusiness Records continues their fine series of releases from the Sam Rivers Archive as this album features the great multi-instrumentalist playing tenor and soprano saxophone, piano and flute in the company of Joe Daley on tuba and euphonium, Dave Holland on bass and Thurman Baker on drums. Recorded in Hamburg, Germany 1979 the music has a very interesting sound with both Daley and Holland creating wonderful low end textures that play with and off of one another alongside the reeds, piano and drums to build unique and compelling conception. "An Evening in Hamburg, Part I" has the group stretching out for eighteen minutes of strong saxophone led improvisation, fast and free, with taut tuba, nimble bass and slashing percussion pushing the music along in a very exciting manner. "An Evening in Hamburg, Part II" is twice as long, beginning with the leader's unaccompanied piano that builds into a trio section with bass and drums that is stellar, capturing and holding one's attention, even more so when the tuba enters. Daley gets a short well played solo section, followed by a bass solo that has a long unaccompanied section with Holland kneading powerfully elastic tones from his instrument. Rivers moves to flute for the final section of the concert, with a wonderful section of flute and bowed bass or cello and low tuba developing a quite beautiful sound, followed by flute and tuba with chimes and little percussion instruments, developing an ever evolving sense of texture and progression. As the end of the performance nears, the pace is increased and there is a full band blowout with flute in the lead, all quite melodic, accessible and captivating. The performance is very strong, and the sound has been remastered well, but still shows its age with tape hiss and a bit of compression. Liner notes are limited to a poem by Fred Moten and a couple of photographs.” - Tim Niland
ROB BURKE / BEN MONDER / TOM RAINEY with BEN GRAYSON - Slip Sliding (FMR 559; UK) Featuring Rob Burke on tenor, alto & soprano saxes, bass clarinet & composing, Ben Monder on guitar & Tom Rainey on drums plus Ben Grayson on electronics & editing. Saxist & composer, Rob Burke, is a member of the Monash Art Ensemble (from Melbourne, Australia), whose 2 disc set on FMR was one of those long lost gems released last year (2019) and a fave of the folks who work here at DMG. This is Mr. Burke’s third release on FMR, after working with Downtowners like George Lewis, Tony Malaby and Mark Helias. For this disc, Mr. Burke has chosen two more of Downtown’s finest: Ben Monder on guitar and Tom Rainey on drums. Their special guest is Ben Grayson, who adds electronics and does some editing of their sound. The first seven pieces were composed by Mr. Burke, the last four are group improvs. Downtown guitar master, Ben Monder, is a great choice since he is so diverse and brings an array of approaches to this superb trio. The same can be said for Tom Rainey, another of Downtown’s best, most creative drummers. The title track, has Mr. Monder strumming these sublime, repeating chords while Mr. Burke plays his haunting tenor quietly on top and Mr. Rainey plays exquisitely below with brushes. Mr. Monder switches tones and approaches on each song. For, “Ta Ta Daa”, he plays some dark, metalish chords with a tenor sax & bass clarinet weaving their way round one another and Mr. Rainey creating a rhythmic storm down below. When Mr. Monders hits those thick power chords in the second half of this piece, things move into a darker, metal-like segment. Mr. Grayson add selective spinning electronics on occasion, often pushing the sound into a more murky terrain. Mr. Burke uses a different reed on each piece, to gives things a different vibe. I like his Trane-like soprano tone on “On the Ride”, which is somber and somehow calm at the center yet still somewhat deep & dark as well. Things speed up to a frenzied tempo on parts of “Caulfield Call”, which goes back & forth between faster and slower segments. For the last composed piece, “Divergently”, Mr. Monder pulls off a long, daredevil solo which is one of the numerous highlights here. The trio stretches out even further for the four improv pieces. Mr. Rainey’s powerful drumming kicks off “Discordat 1”, while Mr. Monder’s guitar also throbs and drones above. The trio sounds supercool improvising together: tight, focused, powerful, swirling strong lines around one another like an erupting storm. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HISTORIC, ARCHIVAL, REISSUES & OLDIE BUT GOODIES…
SPONTANEOUS MUSIC ENSEMBLE with JOHN STEVENS / TREVOR WATTS / PAUL RUTHERFORD / BRUCE CALE / et al - Question And Answer 1966 (Rhythm and Blues 068; UK) If there was one sound guaranteed to shock in British jazz during 1966 it was that of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, the free-improvising collective centered around drummer John Stevens which that year helped establish London's Little Theatre Club as a stronghold of the "new wave". Although the avant-garde were slow in gaining a toe-hold on British jazz tastes, every so often a grass roots jazz club would take a chance on the new style, such as the night in June 1966 when the SME alighted on Greenwich's Prince Albert pub, eager to deliver their message to fresh ears. This CD set contains all the music played that night plus a 30-minute Q&A session, creating what must surely be one of the most important early documents of British "free" jazz. Disc two also adds a studio-taped session from later that year. Both sets are previously unissued and both are essential listening for those interested in the course of modern jazz development within the UK. 12-page booklet with notes by Simon Spillett.”
2 CD Set $16 [In stock next week & with more info needed, will provide in next newsletter)
HAROLD LAND with CARMELL JONES / HAMPTON HAWES / BUDDY MONTGOMERY / PHILLY JOE JONES - Westward Bound! (Reel to Real Recordings 006; EEC) “Contains previously unissued live recordings of unsung tenor saxophone hero Harold Land from The Penthouse in Seattle from 1962, 1964 and 1965 with stellar musicians including Hampton Hawes, Carmell Jones, Buddy Montgomery and Philly Joe Jones. Released in partnership with the Harold Land Estate, the remastered audio was captured from direct transfers of the original Penthouse's tape reels. Westward Bound! includes an extensive booklet with rare photos; essays by jazz historian Michael Cuscuna, co-producers Zev Feldman and Cory Weeds, and pianist Eric Reed; plus interviews with tenor saxophone giant Joe Lovano and the legendary saxophonist Sonny Rollins.
Harold Land was a legendary hard bop/post-bop tenor saxophonist. Land developed his hard bop playing with the Max Roach/Clifford Brown band. His first recording was as the leader of the Harold Land All-Stars, for Savoy Records in '49. In '54 he joined the Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet, with whom he was at the forefront of the hard-bop/bebop movement. He moved to Los Angeles in '55 and co-led groups with Bobby Hutcherson, Blue Mitchell, and Red Mitchell. In the early '80s through to the early '90s he worked regularly with the Timeless All Stars; a group sponsored by the Timeless jazz record label. The group consisted of Land on tenor, Cedar Walton on piano, Buster Williams on bass, Billy Higgins on drums, Curtis Fuller on trombone and Bobby Hutcherson on vibes. Over his career he was a sideman on albums from Roy Ayers, Bill Evans, Ella Fitzgerald, Freddie Hubbard, Thelonious Monk, Wes Montgomery, Donald Byrd, Dinah Washington and countless others. Land was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles and joined the UCLA Jazz Studies Program in 1996 to teach instrumental jazz combo. "Harold Land was one of the major contributors in the history of the jazz saxophone," said jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell, founder and director of the UCLA Jazz Studies Program.”
BETTY CARTER with RAY CHARLES / JEROME RICHARDSON / GIGI GRYCE / PHIL WOODS / RICHIE KAMUCA / KENNY DORHAM / BENNY GOLSON / WYNTON KELLY / RAY BRYANT / HANK JONES / WENDELL MARSHALL / SAM JONES / PHILLY JOE JONES / OSIE JOHNSON / et al - The Classic Recordings (Enlightenment 9195; EEC) “Born Lillie Mae Jones on May 19, 1929, the woman who became Betty Carter was an American jazz singer known best for her improvisational technique, scatting and other complex musical abilities that demonstrated her vocal talent and imaginative interpretation of lyrics and melodies. Vocalist Carmen McRae once remarked: "There's really only one jazz singer--only one: Betty Carter." This triple disc collection features seven of Betty Carter's original albums from the earliest part of her solo-recording career, made between 1956 and 1964. Representing Carter's finest work of all, the collection is the perfect choice for both those new to this stunning vocalist and performer's greatest music, and for those ready versed in her sublime and timeless sounds.” Albums included: ‘Meet Betty Carter & Ray Bryant’, ’Social Call’, ‘Out There with Betty Carter’, ‘The Modern Sound of Betty Carter’, ‘Ray Charles and Betty Carter’, ‘Round Midnight’ and ‘Inside Betty Carter’.
3 CD Set $16
JIMMY WITHERSPOON WITH DICK MORRISSEY QUARTET with HARRY SOUTH / PHIL BATES / PHIL SEAMEN - Live In London 1966 (Rhythm and Blues 066; UK) “If there existed a common thread binding the music of London together in 1966 it was the blues. Whether you were an R&B fan or a modern jazz follower, this was a sound that continued to constitute the bedrock of your taste. And there was no individual better suited to allying these superficially disparate camps than the veteran American blues singer Jimmy Witherspoon who spent an extended stay in the capital that year, performing with contemporary jazzmen and R&B combos alike. Dick Morrissey's quartet (with Harry South, Phil Seamen and Phil Bates) provides the backing on these live recordings, many of which are previously unissued. For anyone wanting to know just how the Sixties "swung", this album is a must. 16-page booklet by Simon Spillett.”
MEMPHIS SLIM - 1964 Live (Rhythm and Blues 070; UK) “When Memphis Slim first visited Europe in 1960, he was already a twenty-year veteran recording artist, with many US 78 rpm releases behind him and a very solid reputation leading small bands in the 1940s and '50s. It's no wonder that he was able to captivate an entirely new kind of audience when he crossed the Atlantic, first as a visitor, then as a permanent resident, settling in Paris from 1962. The studios and concert halls of Europe were very different from the juke joints of the South or the nightclubs of Chicago, but it was all the same to Memphis Slim, who could grab and hold his listeners' attention wherever he played. Throughout the remainder of his life -- he died in Paris in 1988, and was buried back home in Memphis -- Slim made a great many albums, in all sorts of company, from duetting with Sonny Boy Williamson, to fronting big bands, or French beat groups, or Nashville session musicians. There were so many that the quality inevitably suffered. A blandness crept in, the performances sometimes seeming routine and even perfunctory, and his stock fell among many diehard blues fans. This is a great shame, as he deserves to be numbered among the true greats of the blues. Recordings such as the ones on this disc should help to restore him to his rightful place, as they capture him at the very start of that new era of his career, still sounding fresh, his rich and expressive voice still in its prime, still full of enthusiasm for sharing his own personal heritage of blues and boogie piano.”
P.G. SIX - Live at the Tavern (Feeding Tube Records 556; USA) "While we wait for Aaron Rosenblum to finish up his album of field recordings, we sometimes ask him about various tapes he has recorded of other artists. These, he tends to provide more quickly. Thus, here is the first of what we hope to be a series of live shows by various artists, documented by Mr. Aaron. The artist in Pat Gubler, aka PG Six. The venue is The Tavern at Hampshire College. The date is March 30, 2001. This was still an early point in Pat's solo journey, but the aesthetic documented here appears to be fully formed, and his playing is great on both harp and guitar. The set is typical of what he was doing around the time his first album came out -- a commingling of covers and originals, most with traditional Anglo flavor, all possessing an easy intimacy. The audience was small in the Tavern that night -- it is not a large room -- but you can feel how every listener present is hanging on every note, every breath. They are, as Professor Leary might say, 'tuned in.' And this focus is well rewarded. The more closely you listen to the words and fingers of PG Six, the deeper you sink into the music. His work is not the ideal background noise for strip poker parties. It's glorious darkness and light can only be fully appreciated via active listening. Pat reaches out for rings of karma not to toss them into your face, but to tuck them close to his heart. We catch glimpses of their illumination only in passing. So even though some form of radiance is often the central motif of his music, it is not always easily apprehended. I suppose this legerdemain is the deference the material deserves. Whatever it is Pat does, it sounds pretty damn great here. On a night just over two decades past. Our thanks to Aaron for his visionary switch flicking! And to you, for understanding it's import." --Byron Coley, 2021
TIMELASH - A Morphology Of Wonders (Aguirre Records 060; Belgium) "Timelash is the evolution of Embassador Dulgoon's cryptozoological sci-fi opus Hydrorion Remnants converging with Corum's surreal sonic mapping as Beguiling Isles. The combined cinematic vision jettisons listeners through a psychedelic wormhole far beyond the usual perception of known audio latitude, Aguirre Records has gone all out to inject this tribal dino DNA double slab of wax presented as twelve expansive and mesmerizing tracks of historical mutations linking early communication developments with speculative astrobiological impressions heard as mysterious and riveting melodies that wash over dizzying percussive styles and suspenseful ambience. A variety of unexampled sounds take shape throughout as tectonic tablature, reptilian choral movements, bubbling bioluminescence, tube calls, orogenic bells, crustacean chatter, lost continent scales, high plains drifting riffs, and primordial soup lapping splashes revealing to listeners a living mural that is A Morphology Of Wonders. The conjuring of cratonic creature harmonics resonate wildly from this interdimensional duet, emerging as Neopangaea music of now." - Zakira Luna, Psychic Sounds Research Edition of 300.
2 LP Set $32
RIP HAYMAN - Waves: Real and Imagined (Recital 083; USA) “Captain Rip Hayman (b.1951, New Mexico) has come ashore again, bearing fresh cargo. A student of John Cage, Ravi Shankar, and Philip Corner, Rip was a founding editor of the revered Ear Magazine (1975-1991), and since 1977 has run New York's oldest bar, the Ear Inn. The focused minimalism of his new LP Waves: Real and Imagined varies from the collaged spectacle of his first Recital LP, Dreams of India & China (2019). This oceanic dish holds two side-long works: "Waves for Flutes," a multi-tracked flute composition recorded by the artist in 1977. "Angelic", "Grave", and "Sad" modes overlap an effect of medieval choral organum, as shifting patterns evoke water and wind variations of the shore and vast sea beyond. An enchanting and arresting piece. The second side holds "Seascapes," which was recorded on the Pacific Ocean in February and March of 2020 -- through calm seas and tempestuous storms. The ship as the instrument played by the sea. We feel both lost and saved when at sea, the landfall feared or longed for. The album is dedicated to all those whose souls have been lost and found at sea amidst the waves, for each sea wave is a child of Oceanus & Tethys, Greek gods of the sea, every one sent on their way to play... Includes download coupon; includes folded 11″ x 17″ insert with liner notes; edition of 300.
DAGAR GYIL ENSEMBLE OF LAWRA DAGARA - Gyil Music of Ghana's Upper West Region (Sublime Frequencies 118; USA) Field recordings of Lobi traditional xylophone (gyil) music recorded by Hisham Mayet on location in Ghana's Upper West Region, West Africa in 2019. Featuring Aaron Bebe Sukura, considered one of the gyil's master musicians from this area. Long form trance music with acoustic instruments sounding like several minimalist orchestras getting to maximalist sonic peaks. The gyil music of the Dagara is a complex multi-dimensional symphony of notes, bringing to life an animist expression that reveals a cultural dialogue between the spirits, the deceased, musicians, dancers, and audience alike. The intensity of this recording reaches a level of complexity that rivals techno music. It is in essence an acoustic techno music, utilizing organic instruments made of wood, leather and gourds filled with spider egg sacs for resonance and played by master musicians creating a sonic wanderlust of mesmerizing sound. Limited edition LP release includes a four-page insert of notes and photos from the recording session.”
The legendary ESP-Disk label has slowly, steadily been releasing vinyl copies of their back & recent catalogue. Although the music has been taken from digital sources, the sound and pressing have been first rate. Here is a current list of their classic avant-jazz titles all available on LP. Here’s a hint: the Peter Lemer Quintet title has even better sound than all previous versions and ‘Free Music 1 & 2’ is the furthest OUT & freest of the bunch. Dust off those old turntables and listen to some amazing, cosmic music!
ALBERT AYLER With CHARLES TYLER / DONALD AYLER / LEWIS WORRELL / SUNNY MURRAY - Bells (ESP-Disk 1010; USA) Originally released in 1965. The transitional "Bells" was just under 20 minutes, released originally as one side of a clear vinyl LP with the other side empty of music. It was recorded at a May 1, 1965, Town Hall concert of ESP artists, displaying Albert Ayler's new group, which added Albert's brother Donald and Charles Tyler. The denser sound of "Bells" shows Ayler moving towards the bigger sonic statement made on Spirits Rejoice (ESPDISK 1020CD/LP), his September 23, 1965, Judson Hall session. By the way, "Bells" as heard here is not, in fact, a single composition; rather, it is a medley moving from "Holy Ghost" to an unnamed theme and then into "Bells" proper. ESP-Disk' founder Bernard Stollman was so excited by "Bells" that it was released without delaying to record additional music to fill the other side of the LP. Both Donald Ayler and Charles Tyler were making their recorded debuts; Tyler would go on to record for ESP as a leader (Charles Tyler Ensemble (ESPDISK 1029CD, 1966), and Eastern Man Alone (ESPDISK 1059CD, 1967)). One vinyl pressing of Spiritual Unity (ESPDISK 1002CD/LP) in the '60s substituted a different track for "Spirits." Mr. Stollman had no memory of how this had happened, but it was subsequently corrected and became a rarity known only to rabid collectors and ESP fanatics. The one that is on all the CDs (except for one Japanese release with both) and all the rest of the vinyl editions is the same tune as what is titled "Saints" on Witches & Devils (aka Spirits, recorded on February 24, 1964). The anomalous substitution, which does sound somewhat similar, is the same tune known as "Vibrations" on the album Vibrations (aka Ghosts) and as "[tune Q]2" in Revenant's Holy Ghost boxed set. Martin Davidson (owner of Emanem, another indie label responsible for many groundbreaking jazz releases) suggested that ESP-Disk' include this mysterious rarity on its 50th-anniversary CD edition of Spiritual Unity (ESPDISK 1002CD), and supplied the sound file. ESP kept the vinyl edition of Spiritual Unity as originally intended. How to get "Vibrations" out on vinyl, then? Well, Bells has long had plenty of open space on its B-side.
ALBERT AYLER / DON CHERRY / JOHN TCHICAI / ROSWELL RUDD / GARY PEACOCK / SUNNY MURRAY - New York Eye and Ear Control (ESP-Disk 1016; USA)Featured artists: Albert Ayler (tenor sax), Ed Blackwell (trumpet), Don Cherry (trumpet, cornet), Sunny Murray (drums), Gary Peacock (bass), Roswell Rudd (trombone), John Tchicai (saxophone, alto sax). Michael Snow is a Canadian national treasure, a true Renaissance man. He assembled a stellar group to improvise a sound track for his art film, titled Walking Woman, featuring a silhouette that is rumored to have been inspired by Carla Bley. Digitally remastered. Manufactured in the USA by the original label. New digipak format. "This is a very interesting set, music that was freely improvised and used as the soundtrack for the 34-minute short film New York Eye and Ear Control. Tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler leads the all-star sextet (which also includes trumpeter Don Cherry, altoist John Tchicai, trombonist Roswell Rudd, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Sunny Murray) on two lengthy jams. The music is fiery but with enough colorful moments to hold one's interest throughout." - Scott Yanow, AllMusic
ALBERT AYLER TRIO with GARY PEACOCK / SUNNY MURRAY - Prophecy (ESP-Disk 3030; USA) ESP-Disk present a reissue of Albert Ayler's Prophecy, originally released in 1975. Recorded in concert at the Cellar Cafe, NYC, June 14, 1964. Three weeks before this trio recorded ESP-Disk's first jazz album, the epochal Spiritual Unity (ESPDISK 1002CD/LP), it was captured "live" by Canadian poet Paul Haines, who also recorded the New York Eye and Ear Control soundtrack (ESPDISK 1016CD/LP). This is one of the most influential groups in jazz history, a coming together of like-minded innovators who would be considered crucial influences by succeeding generations, so there is no question of the immense value of this material. Yoked, in the CD era, to the one-sided 1965 LP Bells (ESPDISK 4076CD), made with a different band in a very different style a year later, it is perhaps best appreciated on its own. Personnel: Albert Ayler - tenor saxophone; Gary Peacock - bass; Sunny Murray - drums; Paul Haines - engineer. Presented here on opaque yellow vinyl.
PAUL BLEY TRIO With STEVE SWALLOW / BARRY ALTSCHUL - Closer (ESP-Disk 1021; USA) This is the wonderful pianist Paul Bley's second superb album for the ESP label. It features his amazing trio from 1965 with Steve Swallow on bass and Barry Altschul on drums. Seven of the ten tracks were written by Carla Bley, with one each by Paul Bley, Annette Peacock and Ornette Coleman. Liner notes, photos and more re-mastered from the original tapes. "This incredible record should be in every collection, it is comparable in its democratic intensity and high melodic content to Chick Corea's classic 'Song of Singing'." - from The Penguin Guide To Jazz.
LOWELL DAVIDSON TRIO With GARY PEACOCK/MILFORD GRAVES - Lowell Davidson Trio (ESP-Disk 1012; USA) Brought to the attention of ESP-Disk by Ornette Coleman, Lowell Davidson recorded this singular session on July 27th, 1965 with Gary Peacock and the ever amazing Milford Graves. "Sadly, the only recording ever released by Davidson, it remains fresh and exciting 40 plus years later. A unique piano trio recording in the tradition of Cecil Taylor and Herbie Nichols. "Recorded in 1965 with Milford Graves (percussion, drums), Gary Peacock (bass), Davidson (piano)." "This recording is the only one made by Lowell Davidson that is commercially available. The beauty of the music on this CD is only a snippet in a long career of beautiful music created by this great, but elusive artist... Jackie McLean once described Monk and Bud Powell as being 'in a state of grace'. That is how I would describe Lowell. He was extremely brilliant, his sincerity and commitment to creativity was profound. The rhetoric he used to describe his music was very rarefied and reflected his background in church music and science (and perhaps hallucinogens). He talked about the upper partials of a tone, his desire to manipulate them and their effect on the biochemisty of the brain. Lowell felt that if you could expand the consciousness of people with music it would have a molecular effect and cause their brain matter to evolve. He also described hallucinations he had as if they were real and seemed fearless about peering into the darkest parts of his own thoughts." -- Joe Morris
PAUL DUNMALL/CHRIS CORSANO - Identical Sunsets (ESP-Disk 4058; USA) Featuring Paul Dunmall on tenor sax & border (bag) pipes and Chris Corsano on drums. It should come as no surprise that the legendary ESP Disk label would release a CD by British tenor titan Paul Dunmall since ESP has long championed avant jazz from Europe as well as the US. ESP was the first US label to release albums from Gunter Hampel, Karl Berger, Peter Lemer (w/ John Surman), Karel Velebny & Nedley Elstak. Although percussion wizard Chris Corsano hails from the Boston area, he has done quite a bit of traveling & working with members of Sonic Youth, Evan Parker & Bjork, he did live in England for a period which is where this date was recorded in April of 2008. The opening piece is the title track and it starts with those cosmic bagpipes swirling intensely similar to the spiritual sounds of John Coltrane playing soprano sax during the later Trane period. It is a most righteous way to begin this wonderful disc. "Living Proof" is next and it is an incredible duo for tenor & drums. Chris is an ideal partner for the powerful Dunmall tenor exhilarations. The two are well matched and the energy flows back and forth effortlessly. I dig the organic flow that holds this duo together through more boisterous and even somewhat calm sections. Chris takes a stunning drum solo on "Better Get Another Lighthouse" proving that his playing is in a class of its own. I don't think that I've another sax & drums duo that sounds as great as this one since listening to Trane's 'Interstellar Space' sessions from 1967 or Rashied Ali's fabulous duo disc with Louie Belogenis. Extraordinary is the only to describe this throttling, outstanding date! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
SILKE EBERHARD / NIKOLAUS NEUESER and TALIBAM! - This Week in Two Weeks (ESP-Disk 5049; USA) “Recorded direct to lathe cut, this pair of spontaneous creations teams two Berlin-based horn players with two New Yorkers of broad-ranging vision. Talibam! (Matt Mottel and Kevin Shea) is a 14-year working unit based in New York City that can be described in various ways -- as a classic keyboards/drums expanded-jazz duo, as Dadaist provocateurs with an innate love for the history of music, as a Fluxus-informed theater troupe, as an electronic ensemble inspired by Stockhausen, or as a rhythm section at the cross hair of agility, speed, punctuation, and intention. Since their inception in 2003, Talibam!'s ultimate goal has been to wed disparate ideologies through proficiency, controversy, inquiry, and compassion. This is their fifth release on ESP-Disk'. Silke Eberhard is the recipient of the prestigious 2020 Jazzprize Berlin. Twice she has been awarded a spot in the "Rising Star Alto Saxophone" category in the Downbeat Critics poll. Leader of the Silke Eberhard Trio and the Dectett Potsa Lotsa XL, she has also played with Maggie Nicols, Aki Takase, Gerry Hemingway, Ulrich Gumpert, Dave Burrell, Wayne Horvitz, and more, and is a member of the collective trio I Am Three. Nikolaus Neuser, also in I Am Three, has played with Gebhard Ullmann, Matthias Schubert, Maggie Nicols, Matana Roberts, Matthew Herbert, Tyshawn Sorey, Nate Wooley, Satoko Fujii, Benny Bailey, Herb Geller, etc. His main interest lies in the border areas between jazz, free improvisation, and transdisciplinary projects. Furthermore, he has composed music for several plays, was a guest professor at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Bogotá, and appears on more than 50 CDs. Personnel: Silke Eberhard - alto saxophone; Nikolaus Neuser - trumpet; Matt Mottel - piano, synthesizer, three-string guitar; Kevin Shea - drums. Artwork by the late New York poet/collage artist Steve Dalachinsky. Edition of 500.
FREE MUSIC QUINTET with PIERRE COURBOIS / PETER VAN DER LOCHT / BOY RAAYMAKERS / ERWIN SOMMERS / FERDY RIKKERS - Free Music 1 & 2 (ESP-Disk 1083; USA) "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
LAST EXIT with SONNY SHARROCK / PETER BROTZMANN / BILL LASWELL / RONALD SHANNON JACKSON - Iron Path (ESP-Disk 4075; USA) All-star quartet Last Exit garnered its reputation with a string of unrelentingly forceful concert recordings in which it pushed the energy style of free jazz to its limits. When the group went into the studio, though, a very different sort of album emerged -- very different not only from all their other output, but even from anything else ever heard from anyone at that time. Because of that, when it was released in 1988, some fans and critics didn't know what to make of it. This was, in a way, understandable, because Iron Path was so far ahead of its time that perhaps only a quarter of a century later, in 2015, is there an audience prepared for this album's pioneering hybrid of abstract heavy metal, unsettling ambient music, and free improvisation. Back in 1988, "darkwave" hadn't yet been conceived, much less named and niched. The brutal sonic assault of Last Exit's live albums is not banished; it lurks below the surface on Iron Path, sometimes allowed to break through for a moment of stark contrast. But the unremitting density of texture heard in the quartet's shows is stripped back in favor of more subtle and varied textures, sculpting an atmosphere of moody brooding and sinister suspense. And, of course, the studio also allowed for far greater sonic clarity, putting these virtuoso players in a setting that shows off their masterful command of myriad timbres. In a world that has since become accustomed to hearing Earth, Pelican, Blut Aus Nord, Aphex Twin's Ambient Works sets, and Oöphoi, and artists such as Whote who explore the overlap between them, Iron Path can finally get its due, and an audience schooled to appreciate what it offers.
LP $18 [LTD Edition of 500]
PETER LEMER QUINTET With JOHN SURMAN / GEORGE KHAN / TONY REEVES / JON HISEMAN - Local Colour (ESP-Disk 1057; USA) Featuring Peter Lemer on piano & compositions, John Surman on bari sax, bass clarinet & soprano sax, Nisar Ahmad Khan on tenor sax, Tony Reeves on bass and Jon Hiseman on drums. This is a rare debut disc from the great British keyboardist Peter Lemer who went on to work in Phil Miller's In Cahoots, Gilgamesh, Pierre Moerlin's Gong and Turning Point. This date (1968) was also an early session (first released recording?) for John Surman, who would soon become the one of the finest baritone sax giants of all time and remains a towering figure today. The other saxist here, Nisar Ahmad Khan would soon join Battered Ornaments and collaborate with Robert Wyatt for 'Ruth is Stranger than Richard'. Although the rhythm team, Tony Reeves & Jon Hiseman, would play on numerous sessions earlier & afterwards, Mr. Hiseman would soon become the leader of the great UK jazz/rock band Colosseum. As far as I know this is Peter Lemer's first and only date as a leader and it is an overlooked classic of early British or European modern jazz. In the notes, Lemer mentions that the band played pieces by Carla & Paul Bley, as well as originals. For this album, the quintet starts off with one of Carla Bley most well-known and challenging tunes, "Ictus". Although Mr. Surman would soon put together his legendary trio (with Barre Phillips & Stu Martin) and would storm Europe playing festivals, most often erupting with their own version of "free/jazz", the music here is well-written, focused and only occasionally free. The difficult main theme of Ictus is played flawlessly with short, inspired solos from Surman on soprano and Hiseman on drums. Mr. Lemer is an equally great composer, pianist and band-leader. Lemer's piano is often at the center of the storm, playing calmly while both saxes exchange ideas or solo with breathtaking creativity and passion. Even the few pieces which sound free in part, have a magical way of flowing from section to section with an underlying connection. In many ways, this is a perfect quintet since all members are so strong and integral to the way everything fits so well. The legendary ESP label released five albums by relatively unknown or under-recognized European musicians like Gunter Hampel and Karl Berger, during this period. No doubt that these records were generally ignored at that time. It is now time, more than forty years later, to set the record straight and give credit where it is due. 'Local Colour' is a masterwork and shouldn't be ignored this time around. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RADICAL EMPATHY TRIO With THOLLEM McDONAS / NELS CLINE / MICHAEL WIMBERLEY - Reality and Other Imaginary Places (ESP-Disk 5035; USA) This album was recorded during Thollem McDonas's 2017 residency at Brooklyn-based multi-discipline mecca Pioneer Works. It's the second by Radical Empathy, which combines three uncategorizable improvisors. Michael Wimberly has been astonishing folks since his days in Charles Gayle bands and Steve Coleman & Five Elements in the early '90s, and has gone on become a composer and educator of note. Nels Cline has spent decades changing people's ideas about the role of the electric guitar in multiple contexts, ranging from Wilco to Anthony Braxton (think about that!) as well as many projects as a leader; this is his fourth album in trio with Thollem, and a fifth will follow in 2020, also on ESP-Disk. Some people have given ESP-Disk' flak (and "flak" was not the first word choice here) about putting out Thollem McDonas albums. "He's not in the jazz tradition," they say, and even though their idea of the jazz tradition includes Albert Ayler; ESP-Disk' think that this album will make their little, closed minds explode. The heavy electronic sound of the first track, with its swathes of distortion, put it very much in noise territory, with Wimberly contributing coloristic accents and heavier flurries of rhythmic activity. After the twenty uncompromising minutes of "Collective Tunnels", for "Conscious Tunnels" Cline switches to a guitar tone John Abercrombie wouldn't shy away from and Thollem sits down at an acoustic piano (for a while) - though their free improvisation is just as uncompromising. The timbres cease pacifying jazzers when blippy 1950s electronic sounds slinkily slither from the speakers. Then the piano comes back, but the guitar's tone gets dirty. Genre boundaries are crushed underfoot as the moods continue to vary wildly as "Conscious Tunnels" covers an amazing breadth of timbres and textures. Personnel: Thollem McDonas - keyboards; Nels Cline - electric guitars; Michael Wimberly - drums.
THOLLEM McDONAS / WILLIAM PARKER / NELS CLINE - Gowanis Session II (ESP-Disk 5038; USA) "Gowanus Session II was seven years in the planning. Thollem McDonas, Nels Cline, and William Parker convened at Peter Karl Studios in Brooklyn on January 3rd, 2012 and recorded two complete albums. The first was Gowanus Session I, released by Porter Records in April of 2012. GS II was put aside to eventually complete the five-album palindromic cycle of trio albums Nels and Thollem ambitiously set out to realize. The albums in between include Radical Empathy with Michael Wimberly (Relative Pitch, 2015), Molecular Affinity with Pauline Oliveros (ROAR 042LP, 2016), and Reality and Other Imaginary Places, with Michael Wimberly (ESP-Disk 5035CD/LP, 2019). William Parker debuted on ESP-Disk' in the mid-70s on Frank Lowe's classic album Black Beings (ESP-Disk 3013CD) and has returned to the label this decade on the Black Beings sequel, The Loweski ((ESP-Disk 4066CD) and with Mat Walerian's group Toxic ( (ESP-Disk 5011CD, 2017) and in a quartet with Ivo Perelman, Matthew Shipp, and Bobby Kapp (ESP-Disk, 2019), while being highly prolific as a leader, notably with a series of brilliant albums on AUM Fidelity. Nels Cline has spent decades changing people's ideas about the role of the electric guitar in multiple contexts, ranging from Wilco to Anthony Braxton (think about that!) as well as many projects as a leader, earning a spot on Rolling Stone's Top 100 Guitarists list. Thollem is a perpetually traveling pianist, keyboardist, composer, improviser, singer-songwriter, activist, author, and teacher. He's spent most of his adult life living on the road throughout North America and Europe. His work is ever-changing, evolving and responding to the times and his experiences, both as a soloist and in collaboration with hundreds of artists across idioms and disciplines. Thollem is known internationally as an acoustic piano player in the free jazz and post-classical worlds, as the lead vocalist for the Italian agit-punk band Tsigoti, and as an electronic keyboardist through a multitude of projects. Personnel: William Parker - bass; Nels Cline - electric guitar/effects; Thollem McDonas - piano. All compositions by Thollem McDonas, William Parker, Nels Cline."
PHAROAH SANDERS With STAN FOSTER / JANE GETZ / WILLIAM BENNETT / MARVIN PATTILLO - Pharoah’s First (ESP-Disk 1003; USA) Featuring: Pharoah Sanders: tenor saxophone; Stan Foster: trumpet; Jane Getz: piano; William Bennett: bass; Marvin Pattillo: percussion. "Pharoah Sander's classic 1964 session, his first as a leader. Remastered from the original tapes and presented here for the first time with insightful and entertaining interview clips detailing Pharoah's early experiences as a young musician in New York." This edition includes over thirteen minutes of previously unreleased interviews with Pharoah Sanders and ESP-Disk founder/CEO Bernard Stollman.
SUN RA & His SOLAR ARKESTRA - Vol 1: Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra (ESP-Disk 1014; USA) Limited edition 50th anniversary Esperanto version. The astonishing sessions that went light years beyond "free jazz" improvisation to create a music of deeply-felt, explosive and gentle gesture made from sound itself without reference to previous notions of melody or harmony are now reissued on 180 gram vinyl with Sun Ra's original, self-created cover art. Recorded by Richard Alderson on April 20, 1965, this set of tunes finds Sun Ra breaking ground by using synthesizers and having the Arkestra musicians double on percussion.
SUN RA & His SOLAR ARKESTRA - Vol 2: Heliocentric Worlds Of Sun Ra (ESP-Disk 1017; USA) Volume two of Sun Ra's classic Heliocentric recordings from the 1960s. The astonishing sessions that went light years beyond "free jazz" improvisation to create a music of deeply-felt, explosive and gentle gesture made from sound itself without reference to previous notions of melody or harmony are now reissued on 180 gram vinyl with Sun Ra's original, self-created cover art. Recorded by Richard Alderson on April 20, 1965, this set of tunes finds Sun Ra breaking ground by using synthesizers and having the Arkestra musicians double on percussion. More explorations of outer space by the spokesman for the space age. Manufactured in the U.S. by the original label.
PATTY WATERS With RAN BLAKE / DAVE BURRELL / BURTON GREENE / PERRY LIND / STEVE TINTWEISS / SHELLEY RUSTEN - On Tour (ESP-Disk 1055; USA) 'College Tour' was recorded at live performances shortly thereafter, and features pianists Ran Blake, Dave Burrell and Burton Greene, bassists Perry Lind and Steve Tintweiss, and drummer Shelley Rusten. Although Waters all but disappeared from the music scene after the late sixties, she was a major influence for many other vocal innovators, including Yoko Ono and Diamanda Galas. "Although this live show was only recorded a few months after the Sings session, it's hardly extraneous, featuring entirely different material. It's also a considerably more aggressive and free-leaning effort than her debut, as Waters challenges herself and the audience with avant-garde crescendos of peals and wordless, whispering moans, although she doesn't entirely neglect the more subdued and accessible features of her voice." ~ Richie Unterberger, AMG
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:
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
This one is from CHRIS CUTLER, original member of Henry Cow, Art Bears, News from Babel, respected author and founder of Recommended Records. This is Chris’ wonderful podcast and I urge you all to give it a listen…
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: