Him go go for sh*t (yes)
Him go shit come-back (yes)
And you talk to am (yes)
Then you surprise when him (yes)
Shack for you (yes)
Him go say you no go cross (yes)
You no go cross today (yes)
Na that time dem go start dem
Power show o (na wrong show o)
Go post office na the same
Dem go bluff you (yes)
Waste your time (yes)
Run you up (yes)
And then run you down (yes)
Dem go tire your body (yes)
And them tire your whole mind (yes)
Dem go say no change for fifty Kobo (yes)
Na that time dem go start them power show o (na wrong show o)
Motor car owner sef him go take
Him car push him car push labourer
Down for road
Then him start to yab (yes)
Foolish labourer (yes)
Nonentity, him no get money (yes)
Look him sandals e don tear finish (yes)
Look him trouser e don tear for yansh (yes)
Look him singlet e don dirty finish (yes)
Look him body e no bath this morning (yes)
Look him pocket e don dry finish (yes)
You go suffer for nothing (yes)
You go suffer for nothing (yes)
You no know me sha? (Yes)
I be general for army office (yes)
I be officer for police station (yes)
I be secretary for government office (yes)
You foolish laborer, nonentity (yes)
You go suffer for nothing
Na that time dem go start dem power show (na wrong show o)
Power show na sad thing (yes)
Na bad thing (yes, yes! Na wrong show o)
Power na to help your land
Na to help your mates (na wrong show o)
Yes, yes! Na wrong show o
Yes, yes! Na wrong show o
Yes, yes! Na wrong show o
When Frank Meadows was working here at the store, we listened to a disc of Fela’s music music almost every Friday to help us get in the mood to work, dance, sing along and feel groovy. Practically all of Fela Kuti’s has that effect on me and many other folks worldwide, it is the essence of Afrobeat Funk and if it doesn’t make you want to dance around, then Jack you dead! I ordered an album called ‘Live at Berliner Jazztage’ from our distributor a few months ago and it just showed up and is in stock now. I haven’t heard it yet but the above song can be heard/viewed on YouTube so please do check it out. Everyday I read the news online or read the NY Times on Fridays and I get frustrated by what I read, especially as we get pushed closer to Fascism thanks to Fake News Worldwide. We all need to break free of the things which hold us down so we can still enjoy whatever life has to offer which makes us feel better. A toast to Better Days Ahead! - MCBruceLee at DMG
THE DMG 32nd ANNIVERSARY IN-STORE FREE MUSIC SERIES Continues with:
Tuesday, March 28th:
6:30: T.J. BORDEN / AH - Cello / Voice
7:30: THOMAS HELTON / KENNY WARREN / MIKE PRIDE - ContraBass / Trumpet / Drums
8:30: PATRICK GOLDEN / JIM CLOUSE / DAVE SEWELSON / ADAM LANE
Rare Monday, April 3rd:
6:30: LEONID GALAGANOV / KENNY WARREN / AQUILES NAVARRO / DAVID CROWELL - Drums / 2 Trumpets / Tenor sax
Tuesday, April 4th:
6:30: THOMAS HEBERER / JOE FONDA / JOE HERTENSTEIN - Trumpet / Contrabass / Drums
7:30: GIACOMO MEREGA / ANDREW SMILEY / RAF VERTESSEN - El Bass / El Guitar / Drums
Tuesday, April 11th:
6:30: DANNY KAMINS / MAX KUTNER / JAMES PAUL NADIEN - Sax / Guitar / Drums
7:30: CHERYL PYLE’S BEYOND MUSIC GROUP & Birthday Celebration
8:30: BRAD HENKEL / JOANNA MATTREY / LESLEY MOK - Trumpet / Viola / Drums
THIS WEEK’S DYNAMIC DISCS BEGIN WITH AN AMAZING NEW JOHN ZORN QUARTET:
JOHN ZORN // SIMULACRUM with JOHN MEDESKI / BRIAN MARSELLA / MATT HOLLENBERG / KENNY GROWHOWSKI - 444 (Tzadik 8398; USA) Featuring Brian Marsella on electric piano, John Medeski on organ, Matt Hollenberg on electric guitar and Kenny Growhowski on drums. Brian Marsella joined the heavy metal organ trio “Simulacrum” to spawn the astonishing fusion quartet “Chaos Magick”. This fourth CD in their ever-expanding legacy is a magical collection of instrumental music at its finest. Tighter and wilder than ever, Medeski, Hollenberg, Grohowski, and Marsella perform with a remarkable rapport in this provocative new direction from Downtown alchemist John Zorn, who has been exploring new musical worlds and confounding expectations since the 1970s! "444 is among the best things I’ve ever done." — John Zorn
JAMES BRANDON LEWIS with CHRIS HOFFMAN / MAX JAFFE - Eye of I (Anti 87950; USA) “At its core, the improvisational dance that occurs between jazz musicians during a performance is a conversation. This rich and spontaneous act of communication is the beating heart that animates Eye Of I, the newest album from tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis and his trio consisting of Chris Hoffman on cello and drummer Max Jaffe. The album opens with “Foreground,” a brief, head-bopping intro that pulls listeners into its swinging groove before dissipating. It’s the first curveball in an album full of unexpected occurrences.
With “Someday We’ll All Be Free,” the trio take on Donny Hathaway’s uplifting 1973 R&B classic. With lyrics written by his friend, Edward Ulysses Howard, the song’s heartfelt message of perseverance was intended to be a comfort for Hathaway who was struggling with his declining mental health. In the hands of Lewis and the trio, “Someday We’ll All Be Free” is transformed into a slow-moving march whose emotional tone hangs somewhere between mournful and reluctant optimism. Jaffe’s drumming here is particularly expressive, providing both rhythmic propulsion and sonic color, while Lewis wrings every bit of ache and joy out of Hathaway’s melody
From here the band slides into “The Blues Still Blossoms,” a slow, tune brimming with emotional depth. As the piece opens, Lewis states the main melody, before Hoffman echoes the statement and the two respond and play off one another with patience and grace. “Middle Ground” and the album’s title track “Eye Of I” push the energy up to dramatic extremes. On both tracks, Hoffman’s distorted cello cuts through the flurry of sound conjured by Jaffe and Lewis as the band reaches punk-like heights of volume and intensity. On “Eye Of I,” the trio’s ability to listen, improvise and respond even in the midst of such a hellacious flurry is impressive. The music here sounds brutal and abstract, but not arbitrary.
Throughout its 44-minute run time, Eye Of I makes a case that the communicative nature that has defined jazz remains strong among our best young players. By committing themselves to the practice of authentic, real-time musical expression, James Brandon Lewis, Max Jaffe, and Chris Hoffman walk each other through the creative adventure that is improvisation and come out the other side alive.” - Bandcamp
CD $16 / LP $25
VINNY GOLIA / MAX JOHNSON / WEASEL WALTER - No Refunds (Unbroken Sounds 03; USA) Featuring Vinny Golia on baritone & sopranino saxes, saxello & B-flat clarinet, Max Johnson on contrabass and Weasel Walter on drums. Recorded at the Seaside Lounge in August of 2014. This is the sixth disc that Downtown bassist & composer, Max Johnson has released in the past year or so. Each of these releases has been strong, spirited and completely different personnel & stylistic-wise. This set was recorded live at the Seaside Lounge in Houston, Texas in August or 2014, nearly a decade ago but not released until now. All three of these seasoned musicians have large resumes: Vinny Golia plays & collects more reed instruments than most other saxists, hails from L.A. and teaches at UCLA. Master drummer and No Wave historian, Weasel Walter, has worked with many other legends (Lydia Lunch, Henry Kaiser, Hal Russell), does a job of mixing and mastering for many and occasionally pisses off some folks for his caustic sense of humor or honest opinions. Considering that I’ve reviewed 5 other discs led by Max Johnson in the past year and each one has knocked me out, he continues to surprise me with each gig and recording.
Considering that this is a live recording, Mr. Walter’s mixing & mastering talents really do make this trio sound larger-than-life. It sounds like Mr. Golia begins on baritone sax, with Mr. Johnson bowing those low-end notes bristling like a powerful undertow. Weasel is also an incredible, soul-stirring, powerful drummer, completely focused no matter how free the music is. “Cellular Angst” starts off with just the drums and Weasel is in strong form,just by himself before the bass enters, both players buzzing together. When Golia enters on sopranino, the trio hits that sprawling Trane-like free-wheeling whirlwind intensity. Mr. Golia’s sopranino playing is extraordinary, spiraling higher and at a furious death-defying pace. Golia switches to B-flat clarinet for “The Clarinet” piece, the tempo slows down while the trio play some more spacious improv, working together in tight orbits. I love the way Mr. Walter’s drums sound on “Iban”, starting off on cowbell, the trio escalating & accelerating higher as they soar together. This entire disc is Free Music at its best, tightly executed and superbly recorded and balanced just right. A long lost gem! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SYLVAIN LEROUX / KARL BERGER / MATT PAVOLKA / SERGO DECIUS - Quatuor Creole (Engine 046; USA) Featuring Sylvain Leroux on Fula flute (a/k/a tambin), regular flute, alto sax, khaen & dozon ngoni, Karl Berger on piano & vibes, Matt Pavolka on contrabass and Sergo Decius on congas & percussion. I know flutist Sylvain Leroux from his work with Adam Rudolph, Karl Berger and John Ehlis. Originally from Germany, pianist/vibist Karl Berger has been living here since his early album was released on ESP in 1967. He founded the Creative Music Studio in the early 1970’s, an influential international school for Creative Musicians from around the world. I do know of bassist Matt Pavolka from his work with Ben Monder, Sunna Gunnlaugs and Talat (CD on Tzadik). I hadn’t heard of percussionist Sergo Decius before this disc had arrived earlier this week (March of 2023).
Sylvain Leroux wrote most of the songs here except for a Guinean folk song and a piece by Baden Powell. The disc opens with a doson ngoni, a six-stringed harp-like acoustic instrument also known as a hunter’s harp, which is commonly found in Gambia and was/is played by Don Cherry and William Parker. It has a lovely, enchanting sound, hence we are already feeling an infectious vibe. Karl Berger is playing vibes, although he sounds more like he is playing marimba or balafon. It feels like we are sitting in an African village, swaying to the organic groove that this quartet is playing. Matt Pavolka switches between plucking and bowing, keeping that enticing pulse grooving throughout. “Tanganika” is a Ghanian folk song which which also has a lovely lilting melody and lush groove. Instead using a regular drum set, Mr. Decius plays congas and hand percussion which work well with this mostly stripped down yet enchanting acoustic quartet. “fantaisie creole” is a long haunting piece, which features sections of sumptuous bass & congas and sublime flute and piano interplay. Mr. Berger takes a long, subdued piano solo which seems to include some fairytale (Creole?) like melodies. There is a long repeating, churning riff which reverberates throughout this entire piece which has a most hypnotic quality. Mr. Berger also takes an inspired vibes solo in the last section which is a model of grace and heart-felt warm vibes. A khaen or khene is a bamboo mouth organ from Laos which Mr. Leroux plays on at least one piece creating a subtle yet somehow charming drone. On several of these pieces Leroux sings certain notes while he is also playing the flute, creating some enticing organic harmonies. Since all of these musicians are playing acoustically, this gives this disc a fine, organic quality which has a way of uplifting our spirits like some positive herbal medicine. Sylvain Leroux also just left us a current LP (March of 2023) that he put out. Looking forward to that one as well. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
UDO SCHINDLER & ETIENNE ROLIN - Plastic Narratives: Duo User 52 (FMR 648; UK) Featuring Udo Schindler on clarinets, cornet & tuba and Etienne Rolin on basset horn, bansuri and glissotar. Several times a year, FMR and other labels release new discs from German reeds, brass, synth player Udo Schindler, some 65 discs in the past decade. On each one Mr. Schindler switches between various instruments and works with a wide variety of other improvising musicians. For this disc, Mr. Schindler is working with Etienne Rolin, a French/American flutist who plays some rare instruments here like the basset horn (clarinet-like yet larger), bansuri (ancient side blown flute) and glissotar (similar to a taragato but with magnetic foil attaching for pitch-bending notes). This disc was recorded live from 12/2020 to 2/21in Munich and in Feldafing, Germany.
The duo seem to switch between the six instruments on each piece, starting with tuba and basset horn on the first piece. Sounds like Schindler is adding bits of his voice through the tuba at times, bending certain notes while Mr. Rolin is also carefully bending similar notes with his basset horn. Mr. Rolin also uses his voice to make weird somewhat funny sounds while he is improvising which add to the overall odd charm. At times it is hard to tell which instrument is being played yet the duo consistently work well together balancing their different sounds. I like the way the glissotar bends notes in a vocal-like way as if an alien was trying to talk to us. There is a good deal of spirited dialogue going on here: a sad, bluesy cornet refrain, odd bent notes which always seem to be in flux, changing into something else than they started with. Although I can’t often tell the instruments are which, the sounds remain consistently engaging. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CHRISTIAN BUCHER / RICK COUNTRYMAN - The Force of Gravity (FMR 650-1222; UK) Featuring Rick Countryman on alto sax and Christian Bucher on drums. This disc was recorded in July of 2022 at Strawberry Jams in Quezon City in the Philippines. American-born saxist Rick Countryman has been living in the Philippines for a while, playing gigs with both local & visiting musicians and documenting many of these performances. FMR, Chap-Chap & his own SOL label have released some 20 discs in the past 4 years, all with varying personnel: solo, duos, trios and an occasional quartet. Swiss drummer Christian Bucher has also been living in the Philippines and recording with Mr. Countryman, this seems to be their 10th disc together. The duo start out here with sparse sounds, taking their time to build. This sounds like a live disc and it is well recorded, clean, warm, well-balanced. “The Force of Nature” starts off with some impressive drumming, whipping up a tight storm of activity before the sax joins him, the intensity increasing as they go. All of the pieces on this disc are relatively short, under 5 minutes mostly. This keeps the duo focused without long periods of explosive free/jazz blasting. Each of the 13 pieces sound complete and they all seem to fit together nicely balancing spacious and explosive episodes in a most organic way never having to push our patience. The quieter moments actually seem to work best since we have to listen more closely and notice the texture or timbral quality of each sound. Mr. Countryman has a strong, distinctive tone/sound on his alto sax, especially in the middle register. These two musicians work extremely well together, they always sound connected, playing tightly as one force of nature. This is an excellent example of Free Music at its best. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
STEPHEN GREW - Chasm—The St. James’ & St. Basil’s Suite (Discus 151CD; UK) Pianist and improvisor Stephen Grew brings an entire legacy of instrumental heft and command to bear on this spellbinding recording. Captured live in the cathedral resonances of both the St. James and St. Basil churches in Newcastle, England (and lovingly produced by Charles McGovern) every crystalline tone, keystrike, and emotional state is rendered in base relief by the performer, whose breadth of invention and variegated turns of phrase is both beguiling and seemingly effortless. Grew manages what few innovators save for the likes of Cecil Taylor, Ahmad Jamal, or Keith Jarrett can do, auguring entire worlds of sound forged from the melding of manual dexterity and imaginative bravado. This is of course most amply demonstrated during the half-hour plus discourse of “Light in the Chasm”, which alternates between long tidal waves of sweeping chords and the kind of dense tone clusters produced in a pristine rush by the aforementioned Taylor. Grew achieves a similar stridency that is instantly captivating. His talent is almost a force of nature, rippling with a limitless energy that he harnesses with great aplomb. The lengthy piece grabs you by the lapels and never lets go; even when Grew takes a breath (demanding the audience does likewise), it’s obvious he’s merely shifting gears, catapulting from one set of vibrant ideas to the next. Whether straddling the piano's more earthy gesticulations, a series of minor key modalities that might ruffle the feathers of more conservative listeners, or probe sensitive, meditative sequences of arch minimalism and abject silences that occur about ten minutes in, the latent power in these moves never diminishes for a second. The following “Run in the Chasm” and closer “End of the Chasm” channels the furious power of classical composers such as Dvorak or Sibelius though some strikingly beautiful shafts of light manage to permeate the darkness even in the quietest moments. A finely wrought and surely everlasting piece of work. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
EUPHOTIC with CHERYL LEONARD / TOM DJLL / BRYAN DAY - Isopleths (Public Eyesore 146; USA) Featuring Tom Djll on trumpet & electronics, Cheryl Leonard on driftwood, sand, rocks, feathers, etc. and Bryan Day on invented instruments. We recently got a large box from Bay Area experimental musician/composer Tom Djll. The box contained several CD’s and a large box with pictures & a disc inside. A couple of days later, we got another package in with two discs from the Public Eyesore label which is run by Bryan Day. I’ve long been fascinated by Tom Djll, whose music is always experimental but not easy to stick within any regular categories. Mr. Djll has worked with other unique musicians like Jack Wright, Bhob Rainey and Frank Gratkowski. Cheryl Leonard is a composer/improviser based in California, specializing in field recordings.
This disc was recorded in San Francisco and L.A. in 2018 & 2019. It sounds as if many of the acoustic sounds were recorded close mic’d. Mr. Djll plays trumpet in the lower case way, something also developed by Greg Kelley, Nate Wooley and Franz Hautzinger. I find the music/sound here to be consistently fascination. The subtle manipulation of the trumpet, small objects and minimal electronics, makes for a unique blend. The sound gets more dense as it evolves with layers of what sound like samples (vocals or other objects, hard to tell the difference), burbles, tweaks, static, high pitched squeaks, wind-like sounds, hums, buzzing, etc. Djll often sounds like he is about to play a complete phrase or line but keeps his sounds short and to the point. At times it sounds like someone is putting an audio microscope close to the smallest of sounds in our environment and then amplifying them. Kind of feeling like a giant amongst insects. What makes this work is that it is never too far out, it sounds organic and flows in a most natural way. I listened to this disc all the way through and found that it was consistently engaging. Amen. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DAVID LEE MYERS - Gagaku (Pulsewidth PW024; US) Myers’s latest work is a tone-stretching odyssey deconstructing the very vagaries of sound and vision. His knack is an almost supernatural alacrity for getting some of the most sublime noises from his collection of machines, charting sonic topographies few others can scarcely dream of. Gagaku is something of a rendering of Myers’s awry reimagining of Japanese court music, if that court worshipped devilish crimson kings and mighty samurai warriors intent on storming the studio and retaking the universe. “Heart of Darkness” fairly ignites the trappings of its Joseph Conrad namesake with its shifting, rusty tones and pellucid pulsations, suggesting deep investigations into all sorts of inky headstates but for a mutant, stubbornly Asian feel lurking well within its vibrating center. The evil, resonating golems inhabiting the short percolations of “Masks” is jittery enough to send electric bolts up the spine, leading right into “Pantomime”, where indeterminate ambience rules a mechanical stage populated by skeins of roboticized menace. “Kebyar” ejects much of the shadowy elastics Myers’s establishes, opting instead for a leathery intertwining of popping synths and textures that cruise across the listening space like pulled taffy, until the whole thing eventually collapses under its sinewy weight. By the time that the penultimate “Masks III” arrives, when the golems return for yet another ceremonial installment, their voices mere ghostly contrails scattered to the winds, the album’s denouement, “Footpath”, is the ideal coda, littered with bits of grime-encrusted granulations and corroded synthetic apparitions leading us down some ancient, alien, primrose path. Shiver me timbres. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
ALBERT AYLER - The Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings (Elemental Music 5990542; USA) “The last years of beyond-free saxophonist and composer Albert Ayler were sonically restless and more troubled than previous seasons. While his music jittered through a self-restrictive and reflective vibe, his mental health suffered a sharp decline until his death from a possible suicide (unless you believe the Mob got to him, as goes the legend) in November 1970.
That there was such darkness and tension haloing Ayler at that time is one reason these long-lost tapes from July 1970 are so crucial to the saxophonist’s canon. Welcoming the unmoored freedom and light of the loose avant-garde back into his soul, even for a few shows, was like finding the Holy Spirit, then blasting into Heaven.
Ayler’s appearance/installation at France’s Fondation Maeght on July 25 and 27 of 1970 has previously been excerpted on albums with poor production values, namely Live on the Riviera (ESP-Disk’) and Nuits de la Fondation Maeght (Shandar). Recently discovered and released in their entirety for the first time (thanks to producer/archivist Zev Feldman), the Fondation Maeght recordings put the saxophonist’s penultimate concert performances in historical perspective while proving how mystical and spontaneous Ayler’s endgame truly was.
Pianist Call Cobbs (not at the first show), bassist Steve Tintweiss, drummer Allen Blairman, soprano saxophonist and vocalist Mary Maria, and a singing, tenor and soprano saxophone-playing Ayler start with the redemptive, howling blues of “Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe” and move swiftly, and playfully, into the humorously honking free soul of “Birth of Mirth.” (Jokes are big on these ORTF concerts, what with the rolling “Holy Spirit” and the cacophonous “Truth Is Marching In.”)
Often derided for not being as tight as previous Ayler ensembles (and for Maria’s Yoko Ono-like influence over the saxophonist), the group on this live set is charming, challenging, and filled with energy. Maria’s spoken word slide into winnowing vocals is particularly winning, and she is at her warmest when Ayler’s passionate blowing goes full-tilt scorched earth. While “Heart Love” is raw and churchy, with its saxophonist finding the grit in gospel’s grace and repetition, each of the seven numbered “Revelations” is a different shade of ceremony for player and audience, from snake charm to exorcism to confessional and congregational. Albert Ayler’s Complete ORTF 1970 Fondation Maeght Recordings is a must for fans of the free.”
4 CD Set $55
ECHO NEUKLANG - Neo-Kraut-Sounds 1981-2023 / Various Artists (Bureau B 416CD; Germany) “Christoph Dallach, Andreas Dorau, and Daniel Jahn present Echo Neuklang, a compilation which explores the question of how krautrock has influenced generation after generation of musicians since its inception. A contentious genre at the best of times, the music within its spectrum is essentially intangible. The common thread running through it is a compulsion to seek out the new. Beginning in the year 1981 and extending as far as 2023, the music in this collection demonstrates how the idea of what passed for krautrock in the 1970s has been interpreted or reinterpreted by a diverse array of artists with distinct approaches in the decades which followed, without recourse to any generic conventions. Features Stefan Thelen & Olek Gelba, Burnt Friedman, Haindling, Conny Frischauf, Moebius & Renziehausen, Deutsche Wertarbeit, Kreidler, Workshop, Love-Songs, To Rococo Rot, Härte 10, Schlammpeitziger, and Rheingold.
A conversation between Dallach, Dorau, and Jahn: A: Goodness, I'm freezing, it is wintertime in 2019. Here we sit, smoking in a railway station bar to discuss our compilation and the irksome topic of krautrock. Such a stupid word, krautrock. The three of us all agree on that, do we not? D: Indeed we do. There's no rock in krautrock. A: Rock's just as stupid, we can agree on that as well! C: Not one of the interesting, so-called krautrock bands has anything to do with rock. A: The million-dollar question has to be: what is krautrock anyway? I would say that krautrock is a genre which defies description. Think about the rhythms, the music, the instrumentation, there are no recurring elements at all. It must be the freest genre of all time. D: The only common denominator is that it's free music, different music, neither experimental in the classic sense, nor is it pop or rock. C: There has never been a "krautrock sound" as such, it's more of a unifying attitude, a drive to search for something genuinely new. That's how it was back in the early 1970s. A: It was an attempt to find "other" music! But has it crossed into this millennium, is that same spirit in evidence in newer music? C: Absolutely, like the music on this compilation, because it is so hard to classify. A: So what do we call it? D: Neo-kraut? A: I like it, you've left out the rock. D: And so the story continues.”
ALASDAIR ROBERTS - Grief in the Kitchen and Mirth in the Hall (Drag City 862CD; USA) "Critically-acclaimed, criminally-overachieving Glasgow-based singer and guitarist Alasdair Roberts is known as a superlative original songwriter as well as an interpreter of traditional songs from Scotland and beyond. For the past twenty years, his recordings have alternated between these two complimentary poles, with 'pop' records such as The Amber Gatherers and A Wonder Working Stone nestling in his expansive back catalogue alongside 'folk' albums such as No Earthly Man and What News (with Amble Skuse and David McGuinness). Additionally, all of these records possess a further dimension, derived from their collation of songs together into one album-length statement. This is part of Alasdair's great achievement in his career -- for him, this thing of music and song hasn't come the eons it's travelled to simply entertain. These impulses fully present and well honed, Alasdair returns to his roots with Grief in the Kitchen and Mirth in the Hall, his fifth full-length collection of traditional song. Recorded live in the studio, it is an entirely solo collection of twelve traditional ballads and songs sparsely arranged for acoustic guitar, piano and voice. The majority of the songs originate in Alasdair's homeland of Scotland, with a couple from Ireland and one from Prince Edward Island on Canada's eastern seaboard too . . .
Collectively the songs deal with various conflicts and tensions -- those of gender; of class, status and position; and of geography and tribal belonging ? and the roles and responsibilities expected at the various intersections of these constructs . . . As with many of Alasdair's recordings, Grief in the Kitchen and Mirth in the Hall contains ballads aplenty: tragic ('Bob Norris'), supernatural ('The Holland Handkerchief') and dramatic ('Eppie Morrie'). There are love songs ('The Lichtbob's Lassie') and anti-love songs ('Kilbogie'). There are rare, seldom-heard pieces ('Young Airly') and much more well-known ones ('Mary Mild,' a version of 'The Queen's Four Maries'). Woven through all of this -- a thread of levity, perhaps -- is a triptych of zoological allegories -- a panegyric to a mystical steed ('The Wonderful Grey Horse'), a lament for a lost cow ('Drimindown') and a paean to a regal waterbird ('The Bonny Moorhen'), which serves to highlight the intersection of the mythic, the eternal and the mundane at which we all find ourselves in every day of our life on Earth. Grief In the Kitchen and Mirth in the Hall was masterfully recorded by Sam Smith at Green Door Studios, Glasgow over an economical two days, and mixed in one day..."
OLIVER - Stone Unturned (Guerssen Records 066CD; Spain) "Hawkwind, Jefferson Airplane, and Tull all mixed together!" "the precursor to the entire 'The Cramps - Bad Music For Bad People'..." "predates the White Stripes by 20 years!" "this reminds me of early Kurt Vile demos in areas..." "sounds like something Jack White would do now" These are some of the comments you can find on YouTube by people who have just discovered Oliver's private press masterpiece Standing Stone (GUESS 065CD/175LP). That gives you an idea of how unique and ahead of its time Oliver's music is. Recording all by himself at a remote farm in Wales (within hailing distance of the real Standing Stone in the Preseli Hills, Pembrokeshire) and assisted by his brother Chris (a BBC engineer at that time) Oliver self-released in 1974 Standing Stone, now a cult album, reissued on Guerssen last year. Fans of Standing Stone will be blown away when they hear Stone Unturned, a previously unreleased second Oliver album, recorded also in 1974 at the farm and assisted by brother Chris. Performed by Oliver using a single mic, guitars and various effects devices, this is in the same vein as Standing Stone but even more loose and raw. Highly recommended to any acid folk/psych blues fan. Previously unreleased album from 1974 released for the first time. Master tape sound; insert with liner notes and photos; digital download card. "... anyone with a feel for psychedelic guitar, acid folk and mysticism could not deny that Oliver's work is unique in its own breath-taking way, an offering from the deepest point of his being."
THE DILS - Dils Dils Dils (Radiation Reissues 009CD; Italy) “Reissue, compilation originally released in 1990. Legendary punk trio the Dils formed in San Diego in southern California and when they moved to San Francisco, bassist Tony Kinman found himself living with the Avengers, but once they hit Los Angeles in 1977, they began recording frantic singles for fledgling independents such as What? Records, Dangerhouse, and Rogelleti for more melodic, country-influenced songs, pointing to their further reincarnation as Rank & File. Ace compilation Dils Dils Dils gathers early studio work and live recordings. This edition featuring two bonus tracks, recorded in LA in 1979. Crucial listening for all Dils fans!”
STRUCTURE with ANDRE CECCARELLI / URSZULA DUDZIAK / BERNARD WYSTRAETE / et al - Pop Music (Sommor Records 082; Spain) “Reissue, originally released in 1970. Cool library-styled French album. Psychedelic, proggy jazz-funk with Brazilian/bossa touches. Groovy flute by Bernard Wystraëte plus heavy bass, drums (by André Ceccarelli), violin, occasional fuzz-wah guitar and Urszula Dudziak-like scat vocals. In 1970, the AFA label asked flautist Bernard Wystraëte to register a "pop" album after the worldwide impact of progressive bands like Aphrodite's Child and Jethro Tull. Bernard recruited some of his friends who were professional musicians and Structure was born. He wrote a collection of songs influenced by progressive rock, jazz and Brazilian music. The Pop Music album was recorded live in the studio to give a "live show" feel. It was released later that year housed in a superb psychedelic sleeve. The band even toured across France and several countries at the same time that Bernard and other Structure members started backing famous French singer Marie Laforêt live. After the good reception given to the album, another label asked Bernard to record a Structure 45. Dilatation/Scale was released under a new line-up. RIYL: Jean Cohen-Solal, COS, Cortex, ZAO, Triode... Original artwork in hard cardboard sleeve; insert with liner notes and photos. CD version includes two bonus tracks: the tracks on the Dilatation/Scale 45.”
* FOUR ALBUMS FROM STEVEN BERNSTEIN RELEASED ALL AT ONCE!:
The personnel for the Millennial Territory Orchestra is Steve Bernstein on trumpet, slide trumpet & flugel, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, Charlie Burnham on violin, Doug Weiselman on clarinet & tenor sax, Peter Apfelbaum on tenor sax, Erik Lawrence on bari sax, Matt Ministeri on guitar & banjo, Ben Allison on bass and Ben Perowsky on drums. From the late 1920’s until the mid 1940’s (when bebop erupted), 100’s of big bands toured throughout the US, playing music for dancers & listeners across the land, employing hundreds of musicians. The Big Band Era ended around 1945 with the end of WWII and the quick popularity of bebop (small groups for serious listening), followed by Cool, Harp Bop, early R&B, electric blues, rockabilly…in the fifties & beyond. Ever since the demise of the Big Ban Era, a smaller number of Big Bands have continued: Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton, etc. Keeping a large ensemble together and working is hard to do but some bands still flourish…
STEVEN BERNSTEIN’S MILLENNIAL TERRITORY ORCHESTRA - Community Music Vol 1: Tinctures in Time (Royal Potato Family; USA) The personnel for the Millennial Territory Orchestra is Steve Bernstein on trumpet, slide trumpet & flugel, Curtis Fowlkes (Jazz Passengers) on trombone, Charlie Burnham (Odyssey) on violin, Doug Weiselman on clarinet & tenor sax (Lounge Lizards), Peter Apfelbaum (Hieroglyphics Ensemble) on tenor sax, Erik Lawrence on bari sax, Matt Munisteri on guitar & banjo, Ben Allison on bass and Ben Perowsky (Lost Tribe) on drums. You should recognize all of the musicians here from assorted Downtown ensembles. The obvious examples are listed after their names. Steve Bernstein has been running the Millennial Territory Orchestra (MTO) since 2005, generally an octet with mostly the same personnel. After three fine discs in 2006, 2008 & 2011, Steve Bernstein decided to up the ante, releasing three MTO records all within a short period of time.
Mr. Bernstein composed & arranged all the music here. Bernstein is a wise old man who has studied and played with a wealth of other musicians from jazz’s long history as well as other styles/genres: swing, bop, R&B, rock, funk, etc. Side A starts with: “Planet B” starts off with an eerie sustained electric guitar at the center of a swirling, suave ensemble. Elegant, dreamy, haunting, refreshing. “Quart of Relativity” is sublime with a lovely layer of simmering horns. One of the unsung heroes of the Downtown Scene is Doug Weiselman, whose clarinet reaches out tastefully like a fine gem, with a cushion of other horns simmering below. “Angels” sounds like an an ancient bluesy/soul standard of sorts with some lush bari sax by Erik Lawrence. “Show Me Your Myth” closes out Side 1 and sounds like a title written by Sun Ra. Bernstein’s arranging here is top notch, exquisite soulful harmonies for the horns, rich and hypnotic. Even when Bernstein strips things down, he keeps the warm-hearted essence at the center to keep us all smiling and nodding our heads to the music.
Side B: This album was pressed on high quality vinyl which was mixed & mastered with the utmost taste, hence it sounds wonderful, warm, real like life itself, often subtle with no screaming horns. “High Light” featuring an astonishing heart-on-your-sleeve soulful trombone solo from Curtis Fowlkes with laid- back funky charm of the rest of the band like some tasty gravy. Contrabassist Ben Allison takes a spiritual bass solo as well midway with Fowlkes oozing the charm by using a subtle mute for the wah-wah effect. “The Gift” is soft and burns quietly with billowing sax from Peter Apfelbaum or Mr. Lawrence. I just listened to a double disc set from Maria Schneider Orchestra called ‘Data Lords’, which is the finest large ensemble music I’ve heard in a long while. I’ve got to admit that this MTO album is up there amongst the stars or gems of contemporary large ensembles. “Satori Slapdown” is supremely funky, not just the great bass-line, it’s those phat tooting, churning (James Brown-like) horns that get to us funksters. “Angels Too” closes out the side with a striking trio of tenor sax, bass & drums, whipping up a quaint storm
STEVEN BERNSTEIN’S MILLENNIAL TERRITORY ORCHESTRA - Community Music Vol 2: Good Time Music Featuring Catherine Russell (Royal Potato Family; USA) This is the second of four albums featuring Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra (3 MTO’s) and his Hot Nine bands. The personnel for the Millennial Territory Orchestra here is Steve Bernstein on trumpet, slide trumpet, Curtis Fowlkes (Jazz Passengers) on trombone, Charlie Burnham (Odyssey) on violin, Doug Weiselman on clarinet & tenor sax (Lounge Lizards), Peter Apfelbaum (Hieroglyphics Ensemble) on tenor sax, Erik Lawrence on bari sax, Matt Munisteri on guitar, Ben Allison on bass and Ben Perowsky (Lost Tribe) on drums, plus two guests: Catherine Russell on vocals and John Medeski on organ (1 track). Unlike the first volume of the recent MTO album, this features all six cover songs, arranged by Mr. Bernstein.
Commencing with Percy Mayfield’s “River’s Invitation” (from 1953), a sly, funky gem which is superbly sung by the ever-amazing singer Catherine Russell. The MTO, here a 10-piece band sound like an old Soul Revue which should put a smile on your face and make you want to dance around. “Yes We Can” was written by Allen Toussant and was a hit for the Pointer Sisters. Here it begins with some earthy violin (by Charlie Burham) and gets right into the great greasy groove. Mr. Burnham’s violin solo is short and sweet! “You’ve Been a Good Old Wagon” was written by Bessie Smith and covered by Dinah Washington & Dave Van Ronk. It is a fine, blues-drenched delight, superbly sung by Ms. Russell with some marvelous earthy clarinet by Mr. Weiselman and slide trumpet by Mr. Bernstein. In the last section it is heartwarming arrangements by Bernstein that truly stands out. “Loveless Love” was written by WC Handy and performed by Louie Armstrong. Ms. Russell’s simmering, sly vocals really ring true here and are caressed nicely by Burnham’s violin and Erik Lawrence’s bari sax. “Come On” was written by Earl King and covered by Jimi Hendrix for his ‘Electric Ladyland’ record (1969). The MTO version is more fleshed out with some swell roaring horns, a great greasy groove and more of Ms. Russell’s infectious singing. “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand” was written by Professor Longhair (in the style of Henry Butler) and it sounds like an old R&B standard. Catherine Russell squeezes every bit of earthy soul out of it as she sings the gospel/truth speaking to our hearts and souls directly. The underlying theme that runs through all of these songs is a New Orleans sorta vibe since most of the composers here are from that area: Allen Toussant, Earl King and Professor Longhair. This album would make a great late night party record for both slow close dancing with some funky grooves for those who need to get down to it. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
STEVEN BERNSTEIN & THE HOT NINE Featuring JOHN MEDESKI & ARTURO O’FARRILL - Community Music - Vol 3: Manifesto in Henryisms (Royal Potato Family; USA) Steve Bernstein’s Hot 9 are an offshoot version of the MTO which consists of Mr. Bernstein on trumpet & slide trumpet, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, Charlie Burnham on violin, Doug Weiselman, Peter Apfelbaum & Erik Lawrence on reeds, Matt Munisteri on guitar, Brad Jones on bass and Donald Edwards on drums plus guests: John Medeski on organ & piano (5 tracks) and Arturo O’Farrill on piano (1 track). This record includes seven cover songs and two originals by Mr. Bernstein.
Jelly Roll Morton’s “Black Bottom Stomp” (from 1926, almost a century old!) kicks things off here with some goofy old school organ over that ancient, earthy groove. The music sounds like Dixieland and has that happy-go-lucky vibe. “Booker Time” was written by Henry Butler, to whom this album is dedicated to (as in the “Henryisms” of the title). This song is festive and has that infectious second line beat/groove with a number of juicy horn solos. “Bogalusa Strut” is an old New Orleans standard and also has an old school Dixieland-like vibe/style with a swell violin solo by Mr. Burnham. It sounds like the band is trying to go freer near the end of the piece. Burnham also sings “(My Girl) Josephine”, which was written by Fats Domino (in 1960). It is also another infectious groove feat with a fine violin solo (by Mr. Burnham) and righteous vocals by Mr. Burnham as well. “Little Dipper” (written by Bernstein) goes straight into “Dippermouth Blues” (by King Oliver). John Medeski is featured on piano here and plays that outside/inside style just right. Gotta love those swirling horns, an ancient sound which still sounds like fun today. “Xmen” is another original by Mr. Bernstein and features some explosive piano by Arturo O’Farrill. Finally, this album closes with in intro by Bernstein called “Newport Aperitif” followed by Duke Ellington’s classic, “Diminuendo & Crescendo in Blue” which was a big hot for Ellington at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956. It also has an infectious, gleeful vibe and another fine piano solo from Mr. O’Farrill. There is an overall infectious, uplifting vibe which runs throughout this entire album so you best get a copy to make your life even more enjoyable. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
STEVEN BERNSTEIN’S MILLENNIAL TERRITORY ORCHESTRA - Community Music Vol 4: Tinctures in Time (Royal Potato Family; USA) This version of the MTO features Steve Bernstein on trumpet, slide trumpet & flugel, Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, Charlie Burnham on violin, Doug Weiselman on clarinet, Peter Apfelbaum on tenor sax, Erik Lawrence on bari sax, Matt Munisteri on guitar & vocal (for “Black Peter”), Ben Allison on bass and Ben Perowsky on drums. ‘Volume 4’ of the recent MTO or Hot 9 albums by Steve Bernstein is called ‘Popular Culture’ and it features all cover songs, each one well selected. It starts with “I’m Gonna Leave You By Yourself” was written by Eddie Harris (from 1969). It has a great, fat, funky, bluesy groove and overall vibe. All three saxes sound ever so soulful, their harmonies rich and tasty. Yum yum! “Black Peter” comes from the first Grateful Dead album which made them popular after the long psychedelic jam era, ‘Workingman’s Dead’ (1970). Matt Munisteri sings it and does a fine job with his swaggering voice. I was unsure of how a Dead song would fit with the MTO but I must admit that it fits perfectly: soulful, righteous and downhome. Aside from their more psych jamming episodes, the Dead were obviously influenced by many types of American music: blues, bluegrass, dixieland, rockabilly, jazz swinging & free. “Flirtibird” is a rare Duke Ellington song which was included on the ‘Anatomy of a Murder” soundtrack from 1959. Once more it is Mr. Bernstein’s arranging for this octet which stands out with several layers of well-integrated horns. “Put It Right Here” was written by Porter Grainger and covered by Bessie Smith in 1928. Instead of vocals, Mr. Munisteri plays some heart-tugging old school acoustic guitar, quite a wonderful solo! “Long, Long, Long” was written by George Harrison for the Beatles ‘White Album’ (released in 1968). It features some gorgeous playing by Curtis Fowlkes on trombone, Doug Weiselman on clarinet and Burnham on violin. The last song here is “Duke Ellington’s Sound of Love” written by Charles Mingus. Once more the arranging here is top notch with sublime, soulful harmonies for the entire band. I found all four new albums by Steve Bernstein to be Great Medicine for the Soul, Heart and Ears. It doesn’t get any better than this. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
* THE MILLENNIAL TERRITORY ORCHESTRA Will Be performing at The Stone this Saturday, March 25th at 8:30 for one set! You know exactly where MCBruceLee will be! Up front & nodding!
FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI AND AFRICA 70 - Live at Berliner Jazztage, November 14, 1978 - German Radio (Radio Loop Loop 079LP; Italy) The Berlin concert was Fela's last known concert before the Africa 70 band broke up, a live document you don't want to miss. Word is that this was a great, roarin’, funky show. I just checked out an excerpt from it on YouTube and it had me dancing around my kitchen. Party time so get on down.
MIKE WATT / CHARLES PLYMELL - Live In Fish Town (Feeding Tube Records 660LP; USA) "On a hot night in Philly -- Saturday August 9, 1998 -- Brooke Sietsons's backyard hosted the No More Bush tour. The line-up that evening was Zaïmph, Jack Rose, MV EE, Tom Carter & Willie Lane, 50 Foot Women with Axolotl, and the sole known appearance of the Mike Watt/Charles Plymell duo. Plymell and Watt had met a year earlier at the Festival Ecstatique in Western Mass, and they hit it off like crazy. So, when this tour was coming together, and Charley agreed to reprise the work he did on the More Hair Less Bush tour in '94, we noticed Watt's path with the Stooges might intersect around the Philly area. As always, Watt was chuffed to not have to take a day off, and excited to team up with one of his literary heroes. Plymell was stoked as well, and the two were spieling and laughing from the moment they hooked up. When it was time for them to perform, they were ready to fucking rock. Watt starts things with a couple of his own poems (which were published as a booklet for this appearance) then Charley rolls into it, with Mike shifting to bass. Starting with classics -- "Song for Neal Cassady," "Was Poe Afraid?," etc. -- Plymell adds a couple of new ones at the end, while Watt pulls spectral bass lines from the aether, and the dark hot night soaks it all in. The whole event was pretty amazing, but this meeting of the minds was really the high point for most of us. You might not have been there, but thanks to the recording made by Laki Vazakas and the pics taken by Dan Cohoon, you can now lie and say you were! Just remember -- we were all sweating. Even Charles Burns!" - Byron Coley, 2023
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
This Friday at I-Beam in Brooklyn:
8pm: Webb Crawford - solo guitar
9pm: Nate Wooley / A H - Trumpet / Voice
Webb is an amazing guitar player, instrument builder who studied with Mary Halvorson since she was in high school. https://triptickstapes.bandcamp.com/album/joiners
IBeam is located at 168 7th St, Brooklyn, NY 11215
“The Williamsburg Avant-Garde: Experimental Music and Sound on the Brooklyn Waterfront” Book Launch and Concert will take place on March 16th, 2023
Mr. Bradley writes: I am excited to announce that the launch for my new book, The Williamsburg Avant-Garde: Experimental Music and Sound on the Brooklyn Waterfront, will be held at the Shift (411 Kent Avenue) in Brooklyn on March 16. This book was a ten-year project involving interviews with 180 musicians active in Williamsburg in the period 1988-2014. I will be holding other events with different musicians through the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this project. It would be great to see you all, especially many of you who I haven't seen since before the pandemic!
We are working on getting copies in to sell at the store so let us know if you are interested.
CHRIS PITSIOKOS is back in town and playing some gigs:
March 31st at Statue, in Sunset Park 8pm
1. My new solo 4-channel electroacoustic piece "Irrational Rhythms and Shifting Poles"
2. DoYeon Kim/Trevor Dunn duo
3. Tim Dahl/Dan Peck/Alexis Marcelo
In all seriousness I have been working on this new piece for 13 months. It might be the most exciting musical achievement in my life. I premiered it last month and am now very happy to share it in NYC.
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org