Sweating in the ghetto with the Panthers and the poor
The rats have joined the babies who are sleeping on the floor
Now wouldn't it be a riot if they really blew their tops?
But they got too much already and besides we got the cops
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends.
Oh there's a dirty paper using sex to make a sale
The Supreme Court was so upset, they sent him off to jail.
Maybe we should help the fiend and take away his fine. (*)
But we're busy reading Playboy and the Sunday New York Times
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends
Smoking marijuana is more fun than drinking beer,
But a friend of ours was captured and they gave him thirty years
Maybe we should raise our voices, ask somebody why
But demonstrations are a drag, besides we're much too high
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends
Oh look outside the window, there's a woman being grabbed
They've dragged her to the bushes and now she's being stabbed
Maybe we should call the cops and try to stop the pain
But Monopoly is so much fun, I'd hate to blow the game
And I'm sure it wouldn't interest anybody
Outside of a small circle of friends
I recall hearing this song on FM radio in 1967, the year the album it came from was released. It made me smile at the hypocrisy of so-called liberals, hippies and other more well-informed freaks. ‘Pleasure of the Harbor’ was the first album I bought by Phil Ochs and I became a big fan and went back to hear his older records (starting 1964). Mr. Ochs was what we used to call a protest singer and he was one of the few who could give Bob Dylan a run for the money. Phil Ochs was also a troubled individual who got more paranoid as time went on and eventually committed suicide on April 9th of 1976, the anniversary of which is just a couple of days from now. Similar to Mr. Dylan, Ochs’s songs also evolved from protest songs to odd art songs. His last great album was called, ‘Rehearsals For Retirement’ and it was released in 1969, and it has a picture of his tombstone on the cover, allegedly he died at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968. One of the things I liked about Mr. Ochs’ lyrics was that he was not afraid to poke fun at both right wing and left wing politicians, since both had flaws worth commenting on. He does a job of capturing the often confusing spirit of the times, since no one had all the answers to the questions that most of kept and continue to ask, to stay sane in the troubling times we all have to deal with. I have been listening to several of Phil Ochs albums in recent times and they often still ring true more than a half century later. - MC BruceLee, DMG
Tuesday, April 12th:
6:30: JAMISON WILLIAMS - Bari Sax / DANNY KAMINS - Sopranino / Bari Saxes!
7:30: SYLVESTER GERMAINE / CHRIS LIGHTCAP / SATOSHI TAKEISHI - Guitar / Bass / Percussion!
Saturday, April 16th:
STEPHEN GAUCI - tenor sax / KEISUKE MATSUNO - guitar / JEREMY CARSLSTEDT - drums
Sets at 6:30 & 7:15
Tuesday, April 19th:
6:30: THOMAS HEBERER / JOE FONDA / JOEY HURT - Trumpet / Contrabass / Drums!
7:30: NICK DUNSTON / JOAN SUE / ISABEL CRESPO PARDO / HENRY FRASER - Two Voices / Two Basses!
Sunday, May 1st: DMG 31st Anniversary Celebration!
Featuring GARY LUCAS & ELLIOTT SHARP &… - 3 30 Minute Solo Guitar Sets and Book Signings!
This is will be an invite only celebration for 15 lucky folks and will be filmed for a future on-line broadcast.
This Week's New Discs Begin with this one:
DAVE DOUGLAS - hudson solos (Greanleaf Music GRE-CD 1091; USA) This splendid date features Dave Douglas on trumpet, mutes and engineering. This disc was inspired by the Hudson River, which is 315 miles long and runs from the New York Bay (between Manhattan & Jersey City) on up to the Adirondack Mountains in upper New York State. Mr. Douglas lives up state near the Hudson River and visited it almost every day during the long pandemic shutdown of 2021. Mr. Douglas has recorded & released many records with various bands but has never done a solo trumpet effort until now. Mr. Douglas was asked to do a rare solo concert at the Kerrytown Concert House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and it was presented online. Some of the pieces here were created for that concert, some are tributes to Douglas’ heroes like Wadada Leo Smith and Bakaida Carroll, two trumpet legends. Overall, it was the spirit and flow of the Hudson River, that was the main inspiration.
I got this disc around a month ago (March of 2022) and wanted to give it several listens before writing about it since my appreciation of it has grown over time. Mr. Douglas composed all of the pieces here except for “Partita No. 2” by J.S. Bach. The first piece is called “Fish” and Douglas has recorded a couple of trumpets with the use of overdubs. This is solemn, lovely, warm, touching, glowing with subtle yet rich harmonies for both trumpets. While one trumpet plays slow, sad long tones, the other adds a number of moderate tempo looping lines, both meeting at the end of a phrase to play coy, subdued harmonies. “Let Your Ears Be Attentive” (for Wadada) features Douglas slowly muting & bending every note like a wah-wah, carefully caressing each note. Douglas switches to a closed mute for the first part of “For Bakaida”, then opening the mute for the next part and switching to another for the next bit, each mute changes the tone & nature of the trumpet as if we are trying on different personalities the way we switch clothes for a different image. The Bach piece shows Mr. Douglas at his most pure, using some lush room reverb while balancing the lovely old classical sound with occasional short detours or flurries. I like the way Dave plays the bottom line on “Ichabod” in soft, long, bass-like tones while adding an enchanting, playful upper line. “Seven Minutes for Kenny” (Wollesen maybe?), features that natural, organic sounding room reverb/echo which is most enchanting. Douglas plays with a slow sense of calm, taking his time and playing those tender dream-like notes in the second half. One of the things I like most about this disc is that since Mr. Douglas is playing solo or alone, we have to fill in what we might expect from a band situation, an inner rhythm team. Dave Douglas uses a variety of mutes on the final piece “Mute Court”, each note/sound evokes a different vibe. Although sparse overall, Douglas overdubs several different muted trumpet parts. The space between the notes gives us a chance to fill in the rest. The music here makes me yearn to be near a river or the ocean with the sound of the flowing water creating inner sense of peace, a rare thing indeed. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $16 [Limited Edition]
JOHN DIKEMAN / WILLIAM PARKER / HAMID DRAKE - Live at La Resistenza (el Negocito Records 041; Belgium) Featuring John Dikeman on tenor & alto sax, William Parker on contrabass and Hamid Drake on drums. American-born saxist, John Dikeman, has been living in the Netherlands for a decade or so, recording with various Dutch, other European & American musicians. Mr. Dikeman has led a few of his own bands like Cactus Truck and the Universal Indians. Since the beginning of this year (2022), Mr. Dikeman has toured & recorded with two top rhythm teams: Pat Thomas, John Edwards & Steve Noble (for 577 Records) and with William Parker & Hamid Drake. This disc was recorded live on tour at La Resistenza ib Ghent, Belgium in May of 2014. William Parker and Hamid Drake are considered to be the best free/avant/jazz rhythm team, longtime working together in numerous bands with Peter Brotzmann, David S Ware, Fred Anderson, Paul Dunmall and Charles Gayle.
Right from the opening salvo, the trio takes off. Mr. Dikeman has a strong, dark, blustery tone on tenor, digging deeply into the Trane-like world of flurries, bent notes and occasional sax screams. William Parker and Hamid Drake often sound like they are joined at the hip in the way they work together as one spiritual force, building up as the intensity increases and calming down as well. Mr. Dikeman has a unique way of bending & twisting certain notes out, reaching for the stars at times while he also keeps tone warm yet probing. for those who you who still favorFree/Sprit Music at its best, this is another treasure to warm to. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RAF VERTESSEN QUARTET with ANNA WEBBER / ADAM O’FARRILL / NICK DUNSTON - LO1 (el Negocito Records 097; Belgium) Featuring Anna Webber on tenor sax, Adam O’Farrill on trumpet, Nick Dunston on contrabass and Raf Vertessen on drums & compositions. I’m not so sure when Belgian drummer Raf Vertessen moved to NY, but he has played here at DMG on several occasions. This is Mr. Vertessen’s first release as a leader and he has picked a strong quartet: Anna Webber (multi-bandleader, composer & collaborator with Dave Douglas, Harris Eisenstadt & others) on tenor sax, Adam O’Farrill (grandson of Latin/jazz legend Chico O’Farrill & member of several bands: Mary Halvorson, Gabriel Zucker) and young bass wiz Nick Dunston (with Dave Douglas, Amirtha Kidambi & Zack Clarke).
So far, Mr. Vertessen has done mostly improvised sets here at DMG but he did compose and direct this quartet. The title track, “LO1”, begins with a sprawling theme for the tenor and trumpet to play with dream-like harmonies while Mr. Vertessen plays somber mallets in slow waves as the quartet comes together, rising and falling as one. Vertessen is a master mallets player and sounds great at creating an organic pulse or throb with Dunston’s bass to ground the great tenor sax/trumpet frontline. The quartet expand freely on “#1”, building to an intense yet tightly wound conclusion. On each piece, Vertessen gets the two horns to switch positions or directions, thus keeping the band and listeners on their toes to figure out which strategies are being utilized. Both Ms. Webber’s tenor and Mr. O’Farrill’s trumpet play warm one moment and then twist their notes in odd ways in the next section. When I listened to this disc at the store earlier this week, I liked what I heard but couldn’t pay too much attention. Now that I am listening to it at tome without distractions, it sounds even better with several layers of songs or ideas moving around one another in a more connected way. And more is revealed each time I listen. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
WARPED DREAMER with ARVE HENRIKSEN / STIAN WESTERHUS / JOZEF DUMOULIN / TEUN VERBRUGGEN - Lomahongva (el Negocito Records 047; Belgium) Warped Dreamer features Arve Henriksen on trumpet, flute & voice, Stian Westerhus on guitar, Jozef Dumoulin on Fender Rhodes and Teun Verbruggen on drums with all four also playing some electronics. This is a half Belgian, half Norwegian quartet with each member coming from very different collaborations. I recall all of their name from different places: Arve Henriksen (various bands on Rune Grammofon), Stian Westerus (Bushman’s Revenge & w/ Sidsel Endresen), Jozef Dumoulin (w/ Haino Keiji & Bureau of Atomic Tourism) and Teun Verbruggen (BoAT & Flat Earth Society). An odd mix to be sure. This is a live recording from January of 2015 done in Antwerp, Belgium. This disc starts off with some brooding, spacious, swirling sounds, suspense-filled Jon Hassell-like trumpet, dark, rumbling electric piano, swirling drums and ghost-like electronics all interwoven and moving in cosmic waves. There are several layers of electronic sounds which keep shifting like organic winds. Since all four members play electronics, there are a variety of odd, strange electronic sounds & soundscapes which are also woven together and shift through different moods or scenes. I dig the multi-layered electronic sections here since they are well put together and are not too difficult to listen to, mostly fascinating to behold. Mr. Henriksen takes a couple of splendid dreamy solos which seem to float out of the ether. The balance between all of the disparate elements here are especially effective throughout our trip. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HEROES ARE GANG LEADERS with THOMAS SAYERS ELLIS / JAMES BRANDON LEWIS / MELANIE DYER / DEVIN BRAHJA WALDMAN / LUKE STEWART / et al - LeAutoRoiOgraphy - Live at Sons D’Hiver in Paris (577 Records 5887; USA) Heroes Are Gang Leaders or HAGL are Thomas Sayers Ellis as bandleader & main poet, James Brandon Lewis on tenor sax, Devin Brahja Waldman on alto sax & synth, Heru Shaka-Ra on trumpet, Melanie Dyer on viola & vocal, Brandon Moses on guitar, Warren “Trae” CruduJenna Camille on piano & vocals and Warren “Trae” Crudup III on drums plus Nettie Chickering, Randall Horton and Bonita Lee Penn - poets/voices. The HAGL collective have been around since 2015 and have five discs out, all great. This set was recorded live at the Sons D’Hiver Festival in Paris in February of 2019. Frontman,bandleader and published poet, Thomas Sayers Ellis has had a half dozen great poetry books published and he has sent me several of them, each one is better than the last one.
‘LeAutoRoiOgraphy’ was inspired by the great poet & orator Amiri Baraka, one of the few great poets who understood the marvel of “Free Jazz” and wrote about it and civil rights in a most articulate way. Mr. Baraka casts a large shadow on HAGL and they do a fine job of exploring his words and influence. “Amina” is first and it is also the name of Amiri’s wife, a fine poet in her own right. It begins with a solemn duo of viola & tenor sax and they are soon joined by Mr. Ellis and several other voices. Similar to an oratorio, each voice represents another character. The band breaks into a slow, bluesy groove with a chorus of several voices singing and speaking together. I recognize one of Mr. Baraka’s great poems here, “Someone Blew Up America”. The band shifts effortlessly between freer and written/groove sections. On “Shrimpy Grits”, Mr. Ellis tells a story about hanging out with Amiri Baraka to start off the piece and is soon joined by another strong female voice singing along, the voices, horns and rhythm team all swirling together in a marvelous, mesmerizing way. Ms. Camille plays some wonderful, soulful piano on “LeAutoRoiOgraphy”, which works well with the choir of gospelish voices rising and falling in passion-filled waves. “If Elvis Presley is the king, then what is James Brown, God?!?!” asks Mr. Sayers near the end of this piece, with his tongue firmly in cheek as both of those music legends had many flaws. What makes this disc rise above so much competition is the way so many voices here present so many different ideas or opinions, all well-worth considering, as long as you listen closely. Aside from the consistently inspired tenor sax of James Brandon Lewis, Devin Brahja Waldman (nephew of legendary beat poet Anne Waldman), plays strong, firey alto sax throughout, weaving his tart tone in between the varied voices, all spinning in separate, related orbits. If you think that there may be too much poetry or vocals on this disc, remember this: all of the music here is consistently inspired and balanced with the voices just right, no one stepping on anyone else’s toes. Absolutely breathtaking! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
OCEANS OF SILVER AND BLOOD - Acetate (Confront CORE 02EP; UK) Nifty little EP of two spooky itinerant soundscapes from Mark Wastell's ever-surprising Confront label. On this outing, he’s joined by fellow sonic delineator Joachim Nordwall, whose own label Ideal Recordings is also responsible for some of the more striking electronic and experimental works of recent years. Nordwall’s synth, tapes, and effects are neatly supported by Wastell’s trusty tam tam and timpani, and it’s those percussive flutterings that lend an earthy connection to his partner’s alien fieldwork. The opening piece, “Eca”, immediately positions the listener in an environmental quandary, where the ‘place’ the sounds flow out of quickly transforms into something most decidedly ’non-place’, weird, hissy, gently purring, somewhat ’soft’ industrial regions where it’s difficult to gain one’s footing; the mysterious ambiance created augurs its own distinctive and strangely enveloping vertigo. Wastell’s periodic accents ratchet up the tension, under which Nordwall’s effects coalesce and shimmer. “Etat”, on the other hand, ups the latent industrial grit of its predecessor and brings Wastell’s tam tam to the fore, its well-timed thwacks banging a gong across the bow of Nordwall’s immense, ominous kosmische drone. In all, twenty-four near-perfect minutes of masterful atmospheric discharge. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
JAN BANG / DAVID TOOP / MARK WASTELL - Compound Full of Bones, Translucent Thousands (Confront CORE 23; UK) This gathering amounts to nothing less than an experimental/improv supergroup, featuring three of contemporary music’s finest and sharpest exponents of the form. Jan Bang brings his usual litany of samples (and skill with live sampling) to the fray; David Toop utilizes lap steel guitar, flutes, whistles, small percussion, harmonica, elastic, and paper; Mark Wastell attacks his tam tam with beaters, brushes, sticks, and bows, and also breaks out his autoharp and gongs. The results cohere in a brilliant aural morass of delectable, near-indescribable sound that brings out the best of all three performers. A shame the whole thing’s only thirty-five minutes long, but, man, what an engrossing half-hour. Wastell and Toop start off hesitantly, tickling and teasing us as they gently rub metallic surfaces, engage in a flurry of tentative quacks and squeaks, tap, touch, and tantalize their respective objects to brave out some subtle nuggets of noise. Bang eventually enters the picture mutating his colleagues' broad strokes, cycling them repeatedly back into the mix with a colorful appliqué of ultravivid effects. At roughly the midway point, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts: Bang’s electronics are in full-flight, transmogrifying the music’s aspect ratio in a sensate, electronic rush while Toop’s incorporeal whistles tag-team Wastell’s brittle hand-strikes, the two of them fighting a veritable duel to the death. A crescendo of sorts occurs around the twenty-minute mark, as the three wind things down in subtly inventive fashion, their cumulative irruptions evaporating towards infinity. Fetching stuff, ear-rational in extremis. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
MARTIN ARCHER TRIO - See You Soon Or See You Sometime (Discus 127; UK) Featuring Martin Archer on tenor, sopranino & saxello saxes, Michael Bardon on contrabass and Walt Shaw on drums. Saxist, keyboardist, producer & Discus label head, Martin Archer, a long list of projects that he records with. I’ve heard most of these bands/discs and still can’t believe how successful he is at producing so many challenging/fascinating groupings. This is the first sax trio project that Mr. Archer has done and he has obviously put a good deal of thought into its execution. His partners here are Michael Bardon (age 36) on contrabass and Walt Shaw (age 76) on drums. Mr. Bardon has a recent solo bass CD out (on Discus) which shows him to be an most impressive bassist. Walt Shaw has worked with Mr. Archer on several projects (Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere, mainly) as well as with Paul Dunmall and a quartet with Bruce Coates (reviewed here in 2014).
At first I though that this disc would be just another free jazz sax trio session but there quite a bit more going on than that. The cover art is based on the graphics used on all Naxos contemporary classical discs with a picture of an abandoned petrol station in North Wales. I gather that Mr. Archer wants this disc to be taken more seriously and thus be placed on Contemporary Classical section of informed record stores worldwide. There are six pieces here, mostly written by Mr. Archer with a graphic score by Mr. Shaw and closing with a traditional/free improv piece. What I find most interesting is this: on most of the other projects that Mr. Archer has recorded, he rarely gets a chance to stretch out on sax, often playing keyboards, synth, doing arranging, composing and producing for a wide variety of projects. “Rotten Star” is first and we get to hear Mr. Archer on tenor sax, playing warm, cool, sumptuous, Trane-light in tone, with thoughtful yet skeletal playing from the rhythm team. The main theme has a ballad-like melody that the trio play in close harmony. “Evabje” is the graphic score by Walt Shaw (which is displayed in the liner notes) and Mr. Archer is playing sopranino, softly twisting his notes inside-out similar to the way Roscoe Mitchell a sopranino. This piece has a sparse yet focused Braxton-ish overall sound. The title track, “See You Soon Or See You Sometime”, is the long piece here and starts off as a powerful free/jazz tenor sax blow-out, slowly winding down through different freer sections with some strong interplay between all three musicians. “Walt Blues” was written by Mr. Archer & Mr. Bardon and it is a tasty blues song, with a strong bowed bass anchoring that churning ancient sounding melody. The final piece, “Improvisation in Traditional Form” is freely improvised yet we can hear the way this trio works together, connecting the dots as far as direction and development. I’ve listened to this disc several times over the past few weeks and I am enjoying it more and more as I become familiar with the way it unfolds and inspires us serious listeners. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DAVID SANDFORD BIG BAND Featuring HUGH RAGIN - A Prayer for Lester Bowie (Greanleaf Music; USA) “If you like your big band jazz leaning toward the avant-garde, then maybe this new disc from the composer, arranger and bandleader David Sanford will speak to you. At the helm of a super-crisp, dynamic ensemble, Sanford presents six compositions of his own, an ecstatic reading of Dizzy Gillespie’s “Dizzy Atmosphere”, and “A Prayer For Lester Bowie”, the central piece that gave the album its title. The latter was composed, arranged and ‘conducted’ (in the same concept of Butch Morris) by trumpeter Hugh Ragin, a former student of Bowie and an enthusiast of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who introduces an explorative journey that incorporates random pointillism, full-bodied orchestral scoring, cinematic solemnity and swinging locomotions with euphoric horn expansions.
The album’s opener, “Full Immersion”, is a roving effort made of layers that gradually pile up with logic. First, it’s the congas commanded by Theo Moore that pop up, followed by rattling percussion and Jim Messbauer’s trombone playing; and then we have a funky wah guitar, simmering piano, slapping bass, massive horn unisons, and last but not least, the authoritative solos and exciting interplay by tenor saxophonists Anna Webber and Geoff Vidal. This piece was inspired by a fountain in Rome as well as by the New Orleans funk band Galactic.
“Subtraf” features Dave Fabric's bluesy guitar distortions, and a trombone statement by Mike Christianson; “Woman in Shadows” is an eight-minute ballad inspired by Luke Swank photographs that loosens things up for composure, having altoist Teddy Levine hopping out front for one single speech; “popit” behaves like a thrashing funk-metal song that scalds as it flows with clever counterpoint and rhythmic energy; and “V-Reel”, which gravitates toward funk, has tuba player Raymond Stewart grooving out loud before the improvisations by Levine and Ben Harrington on alto and trombone, respectively.
A sense of freedom erupts from every arrangement, and the diligent musicians are put at the service of a group ideal that relies on motion, texture and free improv to succeed.” - JazzTrail.net
SIROM - The Liquified Throne of Simplicity (TAK: Til/Glitterbeat 120; Germany) “The Slovenian "imaginary folk" trio's most epic and transportive album yet. Powered by acoustic and often handmade instruments, these expansive compositions echo the borderless, collective spirit of groups like Don Cherry's Organic Music Society and Art Ensemble of Chicago. Drawing on this geography of contemplation and psychic energy, from a country previously swallowed up by Yugoslavia and before that, reaching back centuries, the Roman, Byzantine and Austro-Hungarian Empires, the Slovenian trio of Iztok Koren, Ana Kravanja and Samo Kutin conjure up an extended album of intuitive transcendence and reflection on the unique sounding The Liquified Throne of Simplicity. Finding a home once more with Glitterbeat Records' adventurous, experimental, mostly instrumental, platform tak:til, and following on from the debut I Can Be A Clay Snapper (GB 051CD/LP, 2017), and the equally acclaimed A Universe That Roasts Blossoms For A Horse (GB 079CD/LP, 2019), Sirom's fourth such inventive and illusionary album incorporates some aspects of the former whilst expanding the inventory of eclectic instruments and obscured sounds. For the first time the trio also ignore the time constraints of a standard vinyl record to fashion longer, more fully developed entrancing and hypnotizing peregrinations. This new, amended, approach results in 80 minutes of abstract and rustic folklore, dream-realism, explorative intensity and cathartic ritual. And within that array of realms there's evocations of Jon Hassell's Fourth World experiments, visions of Samarkand, the esoteric mysteries of Tibet, an unplugged faUSt, and pastoral hurdy-gurdy churned Medieval Europe. These off-the-beaten-track performances converge history and geography with untethered fantasies and ambiguous atmospheres; all of which are made even more so fantastical, and even symbolic, by both the poetic, allegorical fabled track titles and the softly surreal illustrative artwork by the small village-based painter Marko Jakse, whose signature magical, if solemn, characters and landscapes adorn the album's cover and inlay. Music, in part, as a therapy The Liquified Throne of Simplicity offers a portal to other musical, sonic worlds: an escape route out of the on-going pandemic and its demoralizing, mentally draining effects and the crisis it has sparked in Slovenia, with certain far right groups especially taking advantage to ramp up the discourse of nationalism. By instinct, and in parts by coincidence, Sirom once more entrance with their vague undulations and illusionary echoes of places, settings, time and escapism on another highly magical album.”
BACK IN STOCK:
HOWARD PEACH with CHRIS SPEED / SIMON JERMYN / LANDER GYSELINCK - Howard Peach (Dewerf 129/el Negocito 028; Belgium) Howard Peach is Chris Speed on tenor sax, Simon Jermyn on electric bass and Lander Gyselinck on drums. Downtown sax great Chris Speed certainly needs no intro since he has been an integral part of the Downtown Scene since moving here more than two decades back. Irish bassist/composer Simon Jermyn is an unsung hero of the electric bass who has worked with Joachim Badenhorst & Loren Stillman and has a fine solo bass & guitars disc out that you must hear. I had not heard of Belgium drummer Lander Gyselinck before this but it turns out that he leads several of his own bands.
Mr. Gyselinck is the producer of this disc while all of the pieces except one were written or improvised by all members of the trio together. On the opening piece, "Lausanne", there is a sublime, subdued vibe which feels good, calming down of the spirits. Mr. Gyselinck does a fine job keeping the flow burning softly with mostly mallets and brushes. "Hidden Word" deals with the spooky sounds of rubbed cymbals, somber sax and bass drones and is filled with suspense. There is something most enchanting in the sound of this trio and their laid back approach sense of restraint. On one of the last pieces, "Sycamore Sea", the trio do a fine job of playing free yet keeping things equally modest with screaming or urgency, balancing the extremes very well. There is something charming about this disc that can't easily be put into words. A kind of subtle magic that is unique amongst the more restless eruptions we usually offer. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $15 [We’ve only LP copies of this disc which we got from Chris Speed many years ago]
COLIN FISHER QUARTET with DANIEL CARTER / BRANDON LOPEZ / MARC EDWARDS - Living Midnight (Astral Spirits 107/MF 211; USA) Featuring Colin Fisher on tenor & alto saxes, Daniel Carter on tenor, alto & soprano saxes, clarinet & flute, Brandon Lopez on acoustic bass and Marc Edwards on drums & percussion. As far as I can tell, saxist Colin Fisher, hails from the Toronto area and is a member of the AIM Orchestra, who have worked with Anthony Braxton and is in a band called Ask the Oracle with Downtowner Andy Haas. The other members of this quartet should be rather well-known to us Downtown Music fan-addicts. The ubiquitous reeds & brass wiz Daniel Carter has played with just about everyone in NYC, way too many to name here. Young bass great, Brandon Lopez, has also been working hard over the past few years with Ivo Perelman, Dave Rempis and Nate Wooley, to name a few. Powerhouse drummer, Marc Edwards, is one of NY’s most dynamic and intense drummers. Things begin in a more subdued way, with flute & tenor sax up front, the rhythm team quietly rustling underneath… things keep building in tempo and intensity throughout this long free piece. Contrabassist Brandon Lopez has become the current Downtown bassist to watch as he grows and keeps getting better, His playing here is at the center of the storm, churning, throbbing and pushing the rest of the quartet. What is interesting is this: Mr. Fisher and Mr. Carter work really well together, balancing their reeds or brass as they switch between their assorted axes. Even the occasionally overwhelming propulsion by Marc Edwards is consistently sympathetic to the rest of the quartet, his solo midway through the first long piece is a highlight, outstanding and not too long. If you dig the more spiritual, uplifting and occasionally blasting side of free-jazz, then this disc is for you. It is pretty long (71 minutes) and it consistently inspiring to hear. Ommmmmmmmmmmmm. Namaste. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HISTORIC & ARCHIVAL RECORDINGS, REISSUES & RESTOCKED ITEMS:
JOAN LA BARBARA - Voice Is The Original Instrument - Early Works (Lovely Music 3003CD; USA) Collection of early works and Joan La Barbara's first vocal compositions, originally released on LPs in the 1970s and early 1980s on her own Wizard Records. La Barbara says, "One of my earliest pieces, 'Hear What I Feel', was a self-exploratory, sensory-deprivation experimental work, designed to help me discover new sounds, delve into psychological aspects, as well as communicate with the audience on a pre-verbal level of awareness. After spending an hour in isolation with my eyes taped shut and not touching anything with my hands, I was led our into the performance space where my assistant had placed a variety of substances in six small glass dishes. As I touched the material, I tried to give an immediate vocal response to what I felt both emotionally and physically, without the benefit of visual information. I expected the shock of bringing a solitary state of mind into the heightened awareness of a performance situation to intensify my experience, and the poignancy of my 'prepared' state to affect the audience. The sounds are presented here in their raw state; it is truly an experimental work with no intentional musical implications or designs. 'Voice Piece: One-Note Internal Resonance Investigation' explores the color spectrum of a single pitch. 'Circular Song' was inspired by the circular breathing technique of horn players. 'Des Accords pour Teeny', an exploration of multi-phonic technique or choral singing, was dedicated to Teeny Duchamp. In much of my early work I dealt with sound as a physical presence, sculpting it, building up layers in complex constructions, letting the flow of thought and the visualization of sonic gestures direct my studio art. Voice Is The Original Instrument was both a statement of purpose and a manifesto as, through various experiments and explorations, I tried to rediscover the basic function of the voice as the first means of expression as well as to release untapped sonic material. As I gave my classically trained voice its freedom, letting it direct me toward new places and ideas, I developed what was a unique vocabulary and used those sounds to score an orchestra of layered voices."
2 CD Set $24
ASH RA TEMPEL - Le Berceau de Cristal (MGART 132CD; Germany) "In 1975 I was doing a series of concerts in France with Lutz Ulbrich, where we were presenting 'Inventions for Electric Guitar' and other compositions, which we developed together that year. In August, we were invited for two concerts in the South of France, one in the wonderful Roman theater in Arles, the other at the Festival Palace in Cannes. This is where we met the musicians of the German band CAN and the singer Nico, who also played at the festival. After the concerts we stayed together a few days in the beautiful city of Arles. Nico's friend, the French director Philippe Garrel, was working at that time on a film starring Nico, Anita Pallenberg and Dominique Sanda and was looking for music to make you dream. I always recorded most of our concerts, that's how we were able to offer him the piece that we had performed as 'encore' in Cannes. It became the main theme of the film. Other parts were recorded during several sessions throughout 1975 in my studio in Berlin. Instruments and electronic devices were relatively simple compared to today's technology: four-track tape recorder, an old Farfisa organ, the beautiful EKO Rhythm Computer (Italian machines controlled by punched cards), the EMS superb guitar-Synthi HiFli and, of course, our 'usual' guitars. All this combined with the patching, the filtering and echo has produced its own unique sound to 'electronic dreams' of the 70s." - Manuel Göttsching, 1993 - Recorded in 1975 at Studio Roma, Berlin, with the exception of "Le Berceau de Cristal," recorded in concert on August 7, 1975, at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France. Mixed and produced by Manuel Göttsching.
MYTHOS - Dreamlab (Die Kosmischen Kuriere; Germany) “In 1975, the second album of the Berlin based electronic group Mythos was released. Mastermind Stephan Kaske and his band present the typical sound cascades and sequences of the Berlin school. Similar to the works of several other fellow artists on the same label, the album develops a science fiction concept around the story of an extraterrestrial visitor on a journey to Earth. Dreamlab is predominantly made up of peaceful and relaxed music. The meter is often determined by echoes from flutes and guitar riffs backed by expansive Mellotron arrangements. This remastered reissue comes in a digisleeve on the original Kosmische Kuriere label.”
LP ONLY SECTION:
DOUG HAMMOND with BYARD LANCASTER / ALEX FOSTER / MARVIN BLACKMAN / HUBERT EAVES / CECIL McBEE / ANGELA BOFIL / et al - Folks (Manufactured Recordings 066LP; USA) "Released in 1980, Hammond's third album is described by jazz critic Francis Davis (Village Voice, Atlantic Monthly) in Downbeat Magazine as 'something of an omnibus -- there's a little bit of everything here, the best of it excellent.' Expect bright original compositions filled with dancing rhythm duets, sonorous cello, modal vocalese & more. Recorded with bassist Cecil McBee, vocalists Angela Bofil and Bessie Carter, saxophonists Steve Coleman and Byard Lancaster and cellist Muneer Abdul Fataah, Hammond is an unassuming leader, acting as an imaginative drummer who allows the soloists to shine time and time again. Now considered a rare, classic spiritual jazz session of the era."
DEREK & THE DOMINOES with ERIC CLAPTON / BOBBY WHITLOCK / CARL RADLE / JIM GORDON - Live at Fillmore East and Johnny Cash TV Show, 1970 (Outsider 013LP; Italy) “Live at Fillmore East is a live album by Derek and the Dominos, recorded in two performances in October 1970 at the Fillmore East. It includes live material previously released on the In Concert album, live material previously released on Eric Clapton's Crossroads box set, and several previously unreleased numbers. The set-list contains tracks from the album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, plus "Roll It Over" a tune from Clapton's first solo album (on which the other three band members had played). "Matchbox", recorded on the Johnny Cash TV Show in Nashville, Tennessee, is performed with Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.”
RED GARLAND QUINTET with JOHN COLTRANE / DONALD BYRD / GEORGE JOYNER / ART TAYLOR - Soul Junction (Sowing Records 022LP; Italy) “Sowing Records present a reissue of Red Garland Quintet's Soul Junction, originally released in 1960. Recorded in November 1957 and released in 1960 on Prestige Records, Soul Junction is the highly celebrated Red Garland release featuring the young John Coltrane on tenor sax and Donald Byrd on trumpet. Garland's ultra-relaxed piano fits perfectly with the steady groove provided by George Joyner on bass and Art Taylor on drums, while Coltrane and Byrd often steal the show with outstanding solos. This is a marvelous quintet digging deep into the blues idiom and the soulful side of jazz. Clear vinyl.”
POLIPHONY - Poliphony (Mad About Records 054; Portugal) “British jazz underground masterpiece, originally released in 1973. Ultra-rare UK prog-jazz fusion private-pressing. In 1973, four Englishmen who loved jazz, rock, and groove decided to record an independent album at Zelia Studios in Birmingham. The result was Poliphony, which had few hard copies and became a rarity among jazz rock collectors. The core of the jazz rock quartet Poliphony came together in Birmingham around 1971 on the initiative of the young student and pianist Dave Bristow, who invited guitarist Richard Bremmer to join the line-up that also included Bob Boucher. The last musician to join Poliphony was drummer Dave Fear. None of the members were professional musicians: Boucher was a teacher at an elementary school, while Fear was a trainee accountant. Poliphony began to gain some local notoriety by playing in pubs and universities with a few residencies at local clubs such as The Elbow Room and The Opposite Lock. The next step would be the recording of an album to consolidate and give another status to their live performances. In 1973, they finally started recording at Zella Studios. The material was recorded in two days maximum and most of the tracks were done in one or two takes. Predominantly a combination of fuzz guitar and jazz, the self-titled album Poliphony is a fascinating record of progressive British jazz rock. Drummer Dave Fear left Poliphony in late 1973, and the band disbanded completely within a year. Only pianist Dave Bristow pursued a career in music, including a stint at Yamaha, for whom he developed the factory voicing and several other synthesizers. Officially reissued under exclusive license from Dave Bristow. 180 gram vinyl.”
COURTIAL WITH ERROL KNOWLES - Don't You Think It's Time (Mad About Records 061; Portugal) “Present a first-time vinyl reissue of Courtial with Errol Knowles' Don't You Think It's Time, originally released in 1976 on Pipeline, a small label from Woodside, California. Killer soul/jazz-funk highly collectible LP recorded in 1976 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Cult LP including rare groove classics like "Losing You", "Don't You Think It's Time", or "Love Nevermore". Includes six-page insert book with lyrics; OBI; 180 gram vinyl.
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.
GIG ANNOUNCEMENT FROM OUR FRIEND & LONGTIME DMG MANAGER CHUCK BETTIS
Tuesday, April 19th at 8pm:
At TV Eye, 1647 Weirfield St. in Ridgewood, Queens
INDEPENDENT PROMOTERS ALLIANCE Presents:
JOHN BLUM / ROB BROWN / LOU GRASSI!
@ Michiko Studios, Stage 2
149 West 46th Street
Saturday, April 23 7:00
Proof of vax required by venue. (Stage 2 is on 3rd floor. Building is not elevator-equipped.)
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…
Guitarist and DMG-pal HENRY KAISER has a monthly Video Solo Series on Cuneiform’s Youtube page:
1990 video from WETLANDS in here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfs5OuBfNxs
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 10:30pm Tues, Thurs and Sat on Facebook. Different songs & improvisations on each episode. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836/
This clip just arrived in my email from British Sax Colossus PAUL DUNMALL:
THIS COMES FROM OUR FRIEND, WEST COAST VIOLIN GODDESS JENNY SCHEINMAN:
Jenny Scheinman & Friends Celebrate Barbes’ 20th Birthday, Brooklyn, NY
April 10 @ 8pm & 9:30pm - I am throwing a gratitude party for my old hometown haunt, Barbes, on the eve of it's 20th Anniversary. This neighborhood bar is where I spent ten years of Tuesdays - crafting, honing, meeting, welcoming and experimenting. We will play old songs, new songs, and call in the spirits of the dearly departed with whom we once shared this space. Jeff Lederer (woodwinds), Steve Cardenas (guitar), Carmen Staaf (piano), Tony Scherr (bass), and Kenny Wollesen (drums).
Damn Skippy @ The Ivy Room, Albany, CA - April 20 & 21, 8pm - Damn Skippy is the latest collaborative incarnation of an ever mutating west coast guitar groove band stemming from TJ Kirk, The Scott Amendola Band, and my own first album ‘Live At Yoshi’s.' It promises to be sweaty and ridiculous. Will Bernard (guitar), John Schott (guitar), Todd Sickafoose (bass) and Scott Amendola (drums).
House Of Faern @ Dresher Ensemble Studio, Oakland, CA - April 24, 4pm - These musicians saved my soul during the shutdown. We played jazz into nature and now come bearing the fruit. Beth Schenck (alto saxophone), Matt Wrobel (guitar), John Wood (piano) and Todd Sickafoose (bass).
'FOCUS' with The Eureka Symphony @ The Arkley Center, Eureka, CA - May 20 & 21, 8pm
My symphonic debut! ‘Focus’ is a seven part fairy tale for string orchestra and improvising soloist, written by Eddie Sauter, and made famous by Stan Getz in the early 1960s.
'Kannapolis: A Moving Portrait' mini west-coast tour! June 1 @ Stanford University, 7:30pm
June 3 @ Pepperdine University, 8pm -‘ Kannapolis' is the movie live music show that I have been touring for the last 7 years. It is about community, resilience, and human connection. It seems to only grow more relevant as the years go by - a miracle piece! Footage shot by Mr Waters in Piedmont during the latter half of the Great Depression, re-edited and directed by feature film maker Finn Taylor, commissioned by Aaron Greenwald for Duke Performances, and performed by yours truly with Robbie Fulks (guitar/vocals) and Robbie Gjersoe (guitar/vocals).