Don't want nobody who won't dive for dimes
Don't want no speedballs 'cause I might die trying
Throw me a line, throw me a dime
'Cause there's a fat man in the bathtub with the blues
I hear you moan, I hear you moan, I hear you moan, yeah
Billy got so sad, dejected, put on his hat and start to run
Runnin' down the street yelling at the top of his lungs
All I want in this life of mine is some good clean fun
All I want in this life and time is some hit and run
I said Juanita, my sweet Juanita,
What are you up to?
I said Jaunita, my sweet chiquita,
What are you up to?
Put my money in your meter baby so it won't run down
But you caught me in a squeeze-play on the cheesy side of town
Throw me a dime, throw me a line
'Cause there's a fat man in the bathtub with the blues
I hear you moan, I hear you moan, I hear you moan, I hear you moan
I hear you moan, I hear you moan, I hear you moan…
During the time I attended Glassboro State College (1972-1976), I had given up listening to most rock music, since I had become a jazz/prog/Canterbury snob. A number of bands that I dug in the sixties (like the Stones, Yes, Genesis, Frank Zappa, Neil Young, Steve Miller) all let me down during the seventies. There were still a few rock bands that I dug during that period like Little Feat, the Dead, the Kinks, David Bowie and Frampton’s Camel, to name a few. Little Feat were always on the top of the heap as I loved each record they made in the 1970’s, they still sound great today! Little Feat combined the best elements of rock bands in their own blend: rock, funk, soul, jazz, fusion, New Orleans (although they were/are from L.A.) influences plus they could jam better than most other bands during that era (except for the Dead). I still play those records today whenever I need a boost to feel better, dancing to and singing along. The band was founded by Lowell George, a great slide guitarist, soulful singer & songwriter with some ever-infectious energy. The above song, “Fatman in the Bathub” is taken from Little Feat’s third album, ‘Dixie Chicken’. The song seems to capture a certain fleeting, party-time-like spirit which is hard to define yet you feel the joy no matter what. I would like to dedicate the song to my old pal Juanita who was the chef at Whole Foods during the early aughts when & where Mike Panico & myself would have breakfast every weekend before heading to the store. We would sing this song to her to make her smile. Those were the days, my friends and I sure do miss that era. - MCBruceLee, DMG
THE DMG 32nd ANNIVERSARY IN-STORE FREE MUSIC SERIES Continues with:
Tuesday, April 25th:
6:30: ODON: DANIEL CARTER / TAKUMA KANAIAWA / PRIMUS LUTA / JONATHAN WILLIAM WILSON!
7:30: HANS TAMMEN / MARCO CAPPELLI - Two Guitars!
8:30: SHA - Solo Bass Clarinet & Alto Sax!
9:30: KEYNA WILKINS - Solo Flute!
Sunday, April 30th at 7pm:
The DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY 32nd ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION/PARTY!
Tuesday, May 2nd:
6:30: EYAL MAOZ - Solo Guitar!
7:30: JAMES WENGROW / HERY PAZ / JAMES PAUL NADIEN!
8:30: AARON RUBINSTEIN - Solo guitar!
NEW THINGS BEGIN WITH YET ANOTHER GEM FROM DOWNTOWN’S FAVORITE PROGRESSIVE COUPLE:
MATT MITCHELL with KATE GENTILE / CHES SMITH - Oblong Aploms (Out of Your Heads Records 19; USA) Featuring Matt Mitchell on piano with Kate Gentile on drums & percussion for CD-1 and Ches Smith on drums, gongs, vibes, timpani, glockenspiel & percussion for CD-2. Both keyboardist Matt Mitchell and his partner, percussionist/composer Kate Gentile continue to amaze me/us with every release and concert that I’ve heard them do. Matt Mitchell has collaborated with Tim Berne, Dan Weiss, Mario Pavone and Dave Douglas. Kate Gentile has two discs out as a leader, both are great, challenging music for those with serious listening inclinations. Ms. Gentile’s second leader date, ‘biomei.i’, was released just last week, working with the International Contemporary Ensemble and it is a masterwork. There was a CD release celebration last Friday (4/14/23) at the Jazz Gallery and both duos played. What an incredible night!
CD-1 features the duo of Mr. Mitchell and Ms. Gentile. Although this is merely and piano & drums duo, there is much more going on here than one might think. “all imoderation” kicks things off with some tight, explosive piano & drums interplay. There seems to be strategy or theme for each piece, making them fascinating to figure how and where certain themes or lines come together. Considering that there is no bassist here, it does sound like there is a bass part or pulse going on at the center of the storm. It also sounds like there is a race going on at times with both players speeding up together to get to the finish line by the end of the excursion. The music is often exhilarating as well as exhausting. At times, Mr. Mitchell sounds like he is channeling that Cecil taylor like whiplash energy as his lines erupt, speed up, slow down and explode at points. Even when things slow down, Mitchell still takes certain lines juggles or twists them while Ms. Gentile matches each line no matter where it goes. Consistently extraordinary!
CD-2 features the duo of Matt Mitchell on piano and Ches Smith os drums, vibes, timpani, tam-tam, glockenspiel & percussion. Mr. Mitchell composed another 12 pieces for this disc. The pieces are named with one or two word titles and several of the words I had to look up to see their meaning. Ches Smith is a master percussionist, a selective bandleader and informed composer. Although this is again a duo of just piano and percussion, it sounds much larger, more orchestral or chamber-like. Mr. Mitchell favors having two or more lines going on simultaneously so we must listen closely to hear the way things are connected. The central section of many of these pieces are straight forward as far as the piano and drums playing their lines tightly together. Mr. Mitchell is filled with surprises so whenever we think we know how things will go, they turn, shift or switch directions. “Doleful” sounds like solemn chamber music with Mr. Smith adding subtle punctuation on the glockenspiel. One of the things I like best about this is that Mr. Mitchell sounds like he always pushing himself to use as much of the keyboard as possible, whipping a fury of powerful two-handed waves, at times on the verge of exploding completely free. Ches Smith is one of Downtown’s finest percussionists and Mitchell keeps him on his toes by writing and playing these tight intricate lines which are often breath-taking to behold. Two plus hours of challenging music can be a bit much for the faint-hearted among us but I feel immensely invigorated by these two discs. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $16
NOW AVAILABLE ON LP and CD:
GEORGE with JOHN HOLLENBECK / ANNA WEBBER / AURORA NEALAND / CHIQUITA MAGIC - Letters to George (Out of Heads Records 018; USA) Featuring John Hollenbeck on drums, piano & compositions, Anna Webber on tenor sax & flute, Aurora Nealand on voice, alto & soprano sax & keyboards and Chiquita Magic on keyboards, voice & piano. It’s been around 4 years since percussionist/composer John Hollenbeck has released anything as a leader. He has collaborated with other musicians like Anna Webber plus an odd duo disc with Bernard Meyer on Shhpuma. You should well know about reeds player & composer Anna Webber, since she has several bands and is a most inventive reeds player. I hadn’t heard of saxist Aurora Nealand or keyboardist Chiquita Magic. It turns our that Ms. Nealand is based in New Orleans, has worked with Tim Berne and and has a half dozen records as a leader. I hand’t heard of Chaquita Magic before this disc arrived. Perhaps he is from Montreal since Mr. Hollenbeck has been teaching at Magill University (in Montreal) for the past few years and this is where this disc was recorded. Mr. Hollenbeck wrote all but two of the pieces here. Since each of Mr. Hollenbeck’s bands and projects are so different, I had no idea what to expect. Starting with “Earthworker”, the group sound like a quirky pop quartet: with cute non-words vocals, wistful flute, simmering electric piano and a great groove provided by Hollenbeck’s drumming. The only band that I can compare this with is perhaps Free Design, a quaint, sunshine pop band which existed from the late 1960’s into the early 1970’s. “Clinton” (as in George Clinton of Parliament/Funkadelic) starts as a rambunctious, freeish sax and drums duo and then goes back into that cute, pop/rock sound. “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” written and by Sonny Bono & sung by Cher in the mid-sixties and it seems like an odd song to cover. Mr. Hollenbeck has long covered a variety of pop songs, this being the theme for two albums of his called ’Songs We Like A Lot’ and ’Songs You like A Lot’. This version of “Bang Bang” is stripped down to just vocals & drums and it is kinda cool, going free in the middle. I noticed on “”Washington Carver” that this band had their own quaint, quirky sound. The electric piano (Wurlitzer sounding) and the echoplexed flute is/are used in a distinctive way plus the quartet has their own fun-filled groove/sound. Both saxists (soprano & tenor) stretch out together on this piece as well as the theme together. For “O’Keefe”, the electric piano and drums slam together over a tight groove with the two reeds swirl tightly around them. Each piece get a bit more progressive in sound. Check out “Can You Imagine This?” where saxes and organ or synth swirl around one another over Hollenbeck’s slamming drum groove. The reeds, electric keyboards and drums all sound like they are drenched in echoes. Here is what I find most interesting here: this music is in between any established genres like rock, jazz, prog of even (un}easy listening. “Floyd” is mostly made up a drum solo with layers of sampled voices, flute and keywords floating throughout. It is also rather solemn so perhaps it is a requiem for George Floyd, a black American unjustly murdered by the police. “Grey Funnel Line” is the other cover song here, although I’ve never heard of this song before. Ms. Nealand’s vocals sound forlorn yet spirited here with a cushion of drumming underneath. For all or most of the discs by John Hollenbeck, we should expect the unexpected and that is what makes this disc so great, it is in a class of its own. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 LP Set $25
MARC DUCRET // TIM BERNE with FABRICE MARTINEZ / SYLVAINE HILARY / CHRISTIANE BOPP / BRUNO DUCRET - Palm Sweat: Ducret Plays the Music of Tim Berne (Screwgun / Out Of Your Head Records OOYH 001; USA) Featuring Marc Ducret on electric & acoustic guitars, 4 & 6 string basses, daxophone, percussion, etc., Fabrice Martinez on trumpets, flugel & tuba, Sylvaine Helary on flute, Christiane Bopp on trombone and Bruno Ducret on cello, voice & handclaps. French guitarist Marc Ducret has been working with Downtown saxist/composer/band-leader, Tim Berne, since the mid-1990’s when Mr. Ducret was a member of Berne’s band Bloodcount (3 discs on JMT & 3 discs on Screwgun), as well as a band called Big Satan. Mr. Ducret and Mr. Berne still work together from time to time. I know about French flutist Sylvaine Hilary since she’s released three of her own great discs and has worked with Eve Risser, Michel Edelin and Kris Davis. The other players here, Frabrice Martinez, Christiane Bopp and Ducret’s son Bruno, I know of from a few previous discs with Marc Ducret as the leader. The open piece contains three Berne songs, “Curls/Palm Sweat/Mirth of the Cool”, and it starts with several layers, fuzz-toned, sustain guitars, all interlocked and somewhat sinister sounding. What’s interesting abiut hese interpretations is that MR. Berne often writes this cyclic pieces which often repeat the same phrases over and over. Mr. Ducret plays these pieces or themes without so many repeated lines, using them to lead to something else. Ducret plays solo acoustic guitar on “Rolled Oats” before switching to several layers of electric guitars, many of them altered and buzzing together like angry bees. I love the way Ducret layers several electric and acoustic guitars on “Shiteless”, which also has the brass (trombone & trumpet) adding strong harmonies. Much of this disc features several solo guitars, each electric one manipulated in different ways as well as the acoustic ones all tightly played together. Mr. Ducret seems to use his varied guitars in a more orchestral way as he layers many of them, rarely getting too dense. On “Stutter Step”, Ducret begins with a dark, distorted metalish drone on which he adds some power, dark oddly melodic fragments. The fragments are based on a theme by Tim Berne most likely. Two other musicians, Matt Mitchell and Gregg Belisle-Chi, have both done tribute to Tim Berne in the past few years. This tribute obvious took some time as Mr. Ducret has reworked Mr. Berne’s music in a variety of unexpected ways. This is one of the best and most inventive guitar(s) records I’ve heard in recent memory. Guitar freaks and Tim Berne fans please take notice. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALLEN LOWE AND THE CONSTANT SORROW ORCHESTRA with KEN PEPLOWSKI / LISA PARROTT / LEWIS PORTER / et al - In the Dark (ESP-Disk 5080; USA) Featuring Allen Lowe on tenor sax & compositions, Aaron Johnson on alto sax & clarinet, Ken Peplowski on clarinet, Lisa Parrott on bari sax, Brian Simontacchi on trombone, Kellin Hannas on trumpet, Lewis Porter on piano & synth, Kyle Colina & Alex Tremblay on basses and Rob Landis on drums. Saxist, composer & music historian, Allen Lowe, went through a treacherous period after an operation to remove a cancerous tumor from his sinus. He describes in detail in the liner notes about his difficult experiences as he slowly recovered. His near death-like experience inspired him so he wrote music like he has never done before. This triple CD set (and accompanied single disc called, ‘America: The Rough Cut’) are the results of this explosion of inspiration. Mr. Lowe organized a 10-piece band about half of whom I am familiar with: Ken Peplowski (straight ahead clarinet great), Lisa Parrott (worked with Rob Reddy & Anna Webber) and Lewis Porter (pianist for Dave Liebman & esteemed liner note writer).
“Kickin’ the Bucket” opens up CD 1 and it has a righteous bluesy groove with strong earthy piano by Mr. Porter, an old school, funky, heart-felt solos from Aaron Johnson on alto, Lowe on tenor, Ms. Parrott on bari and Mr. Simontacchi on trombone. “Ralphie’s Theme” (written for Ralph Kramden of the ‘Honeymooners’, perhaps) is a fine laid back groove piece with more inspired solos from the trombone, bari sax and alto sax (Dolphy-esque). What I really dig about this music is this: although it was recorded in 2022 (last year), it sounds like it was recorded some sixty years ago in the 1950’s with updated recording techniques. All the members of the tentet play well together, tight, robust, swinging and uplifting spirit-wise. Each and every solo here sounds great with a large number of gems scattered throughout the 3 CD set. Ken Peplowski takes a wonder clarinet solo on “Hiding from a Riff”, while a recurring theme called “In The Dark” pushed the soloists even further out, closer to some free form detours. The other great thing about these disc is Mr. Lowe’s composing, he keeps coming up with memorable,and often infectious melodies. Although the music here was written during a dark period in Mr. Lowe’s life, the overall feeling is one of joy. You can’t get much better than that. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
3 CD Set $25
THEO BLECKMANN / ALICIA OLATUJA / DAN TEPFER // DAVID HAJDU - Parsonage - True Tales of Love and Anarchy at 64 East 7th Street (Sunnyside 1685; USA) Featuring Theo Bleckmann & Alicia Olatuja ob vocals, Dan Tepfer on piano, Eric Friedlander on cello, Carl Maraghi on bass clarinet and Sean Smith on bass. This is a concept disc with words by David Hajdu and music by Regina Carter, Renee Rosnes, Kirk Nurock, Darcy James Argue and others. “New York is a city of ghosts. An ordinary-looking building on an unexceptional street can harbor the spirits of countless human dramas of past years: family secrets, forgotten news, lost traditions, heroes unsung, artworks unseen…
The building at 64 East 7th Street (between 1st & 2nd Aves) in the East Village is just a couple of blocks from where the first DMG was located (211 E 5th St, from 1991-2003) and downtown the block from where John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Anthony Coleman & Charles Gayle lived in the 1980’s & 1990’s. I have long been fascinated with the East Village as far as being a home to the Creative Music Community, especially the late 1970’s and 1980’s when many of the early members the Downtown Scene moved there, searching for and creating performance places wherever they could find sympathetic spaces. David Hajdu is an author and professor at Columbia University.
Hajdu discovered the full legacy of 64 East 7th Street while researching the archives of applications for historical-district status in Greenwich Village. Startled by the forgotten histories he found, Hajdu began to imagine them as pieces in a song cycle: a hybrid work involving widely varied creators, to serve the hybrid, varied nature of the building's history. “I'm glad the bizarre history of this building is true, because if I invented it in a work of fiction, people would say, 'Oh, that's ridiculous -- all that could never happen in a single location,’” said Hajdu, whose previously published a novel about the downtown New York art world.” - Sunnyside blurb
Each of the eight pieces here tell a story about something that happened due to people who were living or working (in a book store) in the building at the aforementioned location. The music for the opening piece, “Sailing to the Sunday School Picnic” talks about a steamboat that was taking families from a local parish to a picnic in Long Island in the summer of 1904. The boat caught fire and 1,000 lives were lost. The solemn music and organic singing fits the sentiment just right. “Ballad of the Man Who Laughed” discusses a bomb that went off in September of 1920, the chief suspect was an anarchist named Alexander Brailovky, a journalist for a Communist newspaper located in the same building. Considering that there are some eight composers involved, the music somehow sounds connected. “Translation, Two Cigar Butts” was inspired by a cafe called Les Deux Megots, which was home for Beat poets like Allen Ginsberg & Amiri Baraka, before the “Beat” name was coined. “Living Light” was written by Regina Carter and was inspired by a commune called the Rainbow Family of Living Light, whose members resided in the building. The music is like a light opera or operetta and I found it to be immensely charming. All of the music here has a calm center, the singing also restrained yet enchanting. The music is often stripped down with some strong support from Dan Tepfer on piano, Erik Friedlander on cello and Carl Maraghi on bass clarinet. I can see this disc being turned into a light opera or musical performed in the East Village, where it should take place. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
EX-TENSION with GREGG BIELSKI / IVAN NAHEM / ANDREW NAHEM / MARC SLOAN / MICHAEL SHOCKLEY - The Kiss (Rorer 714; USA) Featuring Gregg Bielski on soundscapes, Ivan Nahem on vocals, lyrics & harmonica, Andrew Nahem on guitar, Marc Sloan on bass guitar, Michael Shockley on conga (1 track) and Joe Trump on drums 1 track). I caught Ritual Tension, a NY post-punk band play several times in the mid-1980’s and have been a longtime friend of their bassist Marc Sloan ever since. Mr. Sloan was also the bassist in Elliott Sharp’s Carbon. Although Ritual Tension broke up around 1990, both Ivan Nahem and Marc Sloan have continued to create music together and separately in different projects with the Swans & Carnival Crash. Both Ivan Nahem and Marc Sloan have self-released a number of fine discs of their own projects over the past decade. Mr. Bielski is also a member of several bands: Gray Death, Stare into the Sun and The Little Wretches.
This project began with Gregg Bielski creating soundscapes and Ivan Nahem (lead singer for Ritual Tension) adding his spoken words. Mr. Bielski had the other ex-members of Ritual Tension adding parts to separate tracks. “Apologies I” opens with some dark, brooding soundscapes, chains clanging, a throbbing, pounding rhythm team and layers of ominous, gothic-sounding spoken word vocals. That inner throb and layer of clanging chains or metal reminds me of Einsturzende Neubauten. Mr. Nahem’s voice always had a somewhat disturbing (serious in intent) sound and he still sounds that way today. Andrew Nahem, Ivan’s brother also adds some eerie, spacey, effects laden guitar sounds on three tracks. The overall vibe of hypnotic, brooding, disorienting, simmering spaciousness is what runs throughout and what seems to have a quietly disturbing effect on us normal folks. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALAN SONDHEIM with AZURE CARTER / EDWARD SCHNEIDER / RACHEL ROSENKRANTZ - Galut - Ballads of Wadi-Sabi (ESP-Disk 5076; USA) Featuring Alan Sondheim on multiple instruments, Azure Cater on voice & songs, Edward Schneider on alto sax and Rachel Rosenktantz on bass. Alan Sondheim was once the leader of a group of experimental improvisers from Providence, Rhode Island. This group made two under-recognized gems for the ESP label in the late sixties. Mr. Sondheim seemed to have disappeared for a bit and then returned in the mid-aughts, recording another dozen discs for several labels: Porter, Qbico, Fire Museum and ESP once again. Mr. Sondheim is know for collecting and playing odd, other ethnic instruments so here is a list of what he’s played in the past: qin, viola, violin, banjo, guzheng, rababa (bowed string instrument), erhu & madam (hand drum), electric & acoustic guitars, violin, flute, suling, xylophone, alto sax, clarinet, shenai, several recorders, mandolin, sona, koto, chimta, cor Anglais, sitar and bansari. If you don’t recognize the name of a few of these instruments, you are not alone. Mr. Sondheim has been working with vocalist Azure Carter for several past discs as well as with saxist Edward Schneider.
Alan Sondheim doesn’t list the instruments he plays here as well as the location of the recording. He claims that this is not that important. The spirit of cooperation and communion between the artists involved h is fueled by the spirit of antiwar sentiments. The disc starts off with some strange string music (a qin perhaps, which is a Chinese plucked zither). All but one of the 20 tracks are less than 6 minutes in length. Ms. Azure Carter is found on five previous discs by Mr. Sondheim,. She has a coy, somewhat sad, touching voice, child-like at times. Mr. Sondheim seems to find an instrument that matches Ms. Carter’s quaint voice, subtly bending the notes the way Ms. Carter’s voice also bends notes. Mr. Sondheim always finds a way to draw from ancient, ethnic sounding melodies with whatever instrument he is playing. The term ‘Galut’ in the CD title refers to “The Hebrew term which expresses the Jewish conception of the condition and feelings of a nation uprooted from its homeland and subject to alien rule.” “Wadi-sabi”, also of the CD title refers to “In traditional Japanese aesthetics, wabi-sabi is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection.” What these two terms have in common is one of transience and imperfection”, something that life often provides for us no matter what we do. This music also has a transient nature, like trying to capture a spirit in our hands. Alan Sondheim has a way of showing us another world or place that we haven’t been yet that we still recognize if we try. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TIM HECKER - No Highs (Kranky 239CD; USA) "The latest by Canadian composer Tim Hecker serves as a beacon of unease against the deluge of false positive corporate ambient currently in vogue. Whether taken as warning or promise, No Highs delivers -- this is music of austerity and ambiguity, purgatorial and seasick. A jagged anti-relaxant for our medicated age, rough-hewn and undefined. Morse code pulse programming flickers like distress signals while a gathering storm of strings, noise, and low-end looms in the distance. Processed electronics shiver and shudder against pitch-shifting assemblages of crackling voltage, mantric horns (including exquisite modal sax by Colin Stetson), and cathedral keys. Throughout, the pieces both accrue and avoid drama, more attuned to undertow than crescendo. Hecker mentions 'negation' as a muse of sorts -- the sense of tumult without bombast, tethered ecstasies, an escape from escapism. His is an antagonism both brusque and beguiling, devoid of resolution, beckoning the listener ever deeper into its greyscale alchemies of magisterial disquiet."
BILL ORCUTT - Jump On It (Palilalia 073CD; USA) "It's been ten years since Bill Orcutt released A History of Every One (EMEGO 173CD, 2013), a compendium of hacksaw renditions of American standards on acoustic guitar -- and since ten years is a blink of an eye, you are forgiven for not immediately realizing that we've gone an entire decade waiting for Jump On It, the next Orcutt solo acoustic record. As those of us of 'a certain age' will tell you (ad nauseam), a decade is a blink of an eye containing an infinity of experiential moments, and if this record is any gauge, the weight of those experiences have squashed Orcutt's rough edges, feathered his stop-motion timing into a languid lyrical flow, and snapped the shackles tethering his instant compositional skills to the imperative to deconstruct guitar history. In short, Jump On It is a collection of canonical, mature acoustic guitar soli to contrast against the fractured downtown conceits of previous acoustic releases. For those paying attention to the arc of Orcutt's electric records, which chart a course from Quine's choppiness to Thompsonian/Verlaine-ian flow, it should be no surprise that the ten-year gap between acoustic records should expose a similar underlying journey. But what's maybe more surprising is that Jump On It, with its living-room aesthetics and big reverb, packs a disarming intimacy absent from the formal starkness of Orcutt's earlier acoustic outings. Although you might sense the looming human in the audible breath whispering intermittently between chords (a physical flourish reminiscent of the late Jack Rose), such documentarian signposts are the exception rather than the rule. Not quite refuting (yet not quite embracing) the polish of revered watershed records by Bert Jansch, John Renbourn, or Bola Sete, Jump On It treads a path between the raw and the refined, exemplified in tracks such as 'The Life of Jesus' and 'In a Column of Air' that alternate swaying chords with Orcutt's trademark angular quicksilver runs (cut brickwall short). While you won't mistake Jump On It for incidental music, at least not if taken at full strength, stray passages radiate a conversational beauty that would please the most dissonance-adverse listener. Strangely, some of the melted lockstep grooves found in Jump On It evoke nothing other than Music for Four Guitars (PAL 068CD/LP). While many of the linear runs are clearly improvised, and the phrasing distinctly slurred, intuitive and non-mechanical, the strummed chords hint at a cellular construction similar to Jump On It's electric predecessor. (Orcutt states that he prefers to keep his strategies obscure -- but that implies there is in fact a strategy). Whatever the case, I also hear Satie in Music for Four Guitars, and I hear him here too, hidden within Jump On It's lilting repetition, which I easily imagine stretching to an infinitely-distant horizon. Like each of Satie's three Gymnopedies, each facet of Jump On It is a tiny miniature bound in a slim volume, an earworm you might savor again and again upon awakening or before drifting off. Each track is a key to a memory, a building block in a shining anamnesis leading to the recollection that hey, we're all humans in a shared cosmos, and music is one way we might make that universe go down easy. And who wouldn't jump on that?" --Tom Carter Recorded Spring/Summer 2022 at the Living Room, San Francisco. Mixed and mastered by Chuck Johnson.”
PAUL B. CUTLER - Les Fleurs (In The Red 364CD; USA) "Fans of the innovations and originality that sprang from the L.A. underground of the late 1970s and '80s often ask, 'What's Paul B. Cutler been up to?' A vital participant in the Los Angeles music scene of that period as bandleader, songwriter, musician and producer, Cutler's work -- in particular his guitar playing -- with The Consumers, 45 Grave, Vox Pop and The Dream Syndicate is still admired by fans and an influence on anyone interested in that period and the styles that developed from it. In 2014, 'Ryan Adams contacted me and wanted to form a band. He loved 45 Grave, he wanted to do some goth / punk, whatever you want to call it. That's right up my alley. He's amazingly talented and inspiring to work with. We did that for a while, and I wrote a bunch of songs.' Enthused about his new material, Cutler continued recording songs with just his signature electric guitar style and vocals. As this was developing, another vet of the early L.A. scene -- Brad Laner of Medicine and Savage Republic -- got in touch with Cutler. Soon Laner was mixing, co-producing, playing keyboards as well as adding the rhythm section. The overall process took some time, with songwriting beginning in 2014. When reflecting on the music that comprises Les Fleurs, 'To me, and it does not sound like it, but because of the philosophy I had while producing it, it's punk. I come from the original punk, before it was a genre. Before it was a 'sound.' When I got to LA in 1977 there were about twenty, maybe thirty bands and they all sounded very different. The Screamers, The Deadbeats, so many different takes on what music could be. There was no chance for commercial success so we all just did what we wanted. I never stopped. So philosophically I consider this punk rock, made in its original spirit although nobody would recognize it as such. I am a punk to this day.' So that, dear reader, is the basic story. Now it's up to you to see what you recognize in Paul B. Cutler's Les Fleurs."
KID CONGO & THE NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE - Live In St. Kilda (In The Red 378CD; USA) "Live In St. Kilda is a twelve song live album from a one-time-only show in which Kid Congo Powers was backed by The Near Death Experience. Kid Congo says, 'How did I hook up with The Near Death Experience you may ask? One fine day Kim Salmon, my long time Scientists Surrealist Beast of a friend, wrote from Australia to ask me to play at his book launch for his biography Nine Parts Water, One Part Sand: Kim Salmon And The Formula For Grunge on November 9th, 2019. The launch was to take place at the Memo Music Hall in St. Kilda, a seaside suburb of Melbourne. A royal command performance for the king of Kim? How could I say no to such an honor? What to do about a band? It did not take more than a minute for each of us to suggest Harry Howard and The Near Death Experience as the logical choice. I was a massive fan of the band already and we shared crossed paths as expats claiming out our musical in 1980s London. Harry with Crime And The City Solution and These Immortal Souls, Dave and Clare with The Moodists, Kim with the Scientists and me with Gun Club and Fur Bible. Needless to say, it was fantastical to get together and make a playlist for Kim featuring covers by Suicide and Shangri-La, with mine and NDE's songs as well. The night was magic -- I still am floating on a surrealistic pillow remembering the night. Enjoy the racket, enjoy the love, enjoy this record of friendship and celebration.'"
JIM HALL with BOB BROOKMEYER / ORNETTE COLEMAN / ERIC DOLPHY / BILL EVANS / EDDIE COSTA / BILLY TAYLOER / JIMMU RANEY / ZOOT SIMS / CARL PERKINS / RED MITCHELL / BILL CROW / STEVE SWALLOW / LARRY BUNKER / OSIE JOHNSON / WALTER PERKINS - The Early Albums Collection (Enlightenment 9219; EEC) “Born in Buffalo, New York in 1930, James Stanley Hall was an American jazz guitarist, composer and arranger. Hall moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, during his childhood. Hall's mother played the piano, his grandfather the violin, and his uncle the guitar. Jim began playing the guitar at the age of 10, when his mother gave him an instrument as a Christmas present. At 13 he heard Charlie Christian play on a Benny Goodman record, which he called his "spiritual awakening". As a teenager in Cleveland, he performed professionally, and also took up the double bass. Hall's major influences since childhood were tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Paul Gonsalves, and Lucky Thompson. While he copied out solos by Charlie Christian, and later Barney Kessel, it was horn players from whom he took the lead. In 1955, Hall attended the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he majored in composition, studying piano and bass in addition to theory. Jim Hall was a true original on the jazz spectrum, always experimenting and pushing ahead, and the albums featured on this new collection illustrate his musical prowess, innovative practices and acute talents perfectly. All originally released between 1959 and 1965, the eight records featured here in astounding re-mastered versions remain a pure delight, and this set works equally well for those new to Jim Hall's music and those already somewhat familiar.” Albums’s included: ‘Jazz Guitar’ , ’The Street Swingers’ , ‘A Girl and a Guitar’ , ‘Jazz Abstractions’ , ‘Undercurrent’ , ’Intermodulation’ , ’Two Jims and Zoot’  and Billy Taylor’s ‘Impromtu’ .
4 CD Set $18
DON CHERRY & DOLLAR BRAND with JOHNNY DYANI / NANA VASCONCELOS - Musikforum Schloss, Viktring, Austria - July 20, 1972 (WHP 1455; EEC) Recorded live in Austria in 1972 this outstanding document marks an important event such as the meeting between Don Cherry and Dollar Brand. Here, the modern jazz trumpet master and the great South-African pianist along with percussionist Nana Vasconcelos and bassist Johnny Dyani are caught in the middle of a sound ritual where jazz elements and world music echoes appear as fully integrated in some sort of visionary, organic music form. A deep sensorial experience based on human and artistic values and freedom principles. Personnel: Don Cherry (trumpet, vocals); Dollar Brand (piano, flute, vocals); Johnny Dyani (double bass, percussion, vocals); Nana Vasconcelos (berimbau, percussion, vocals).
2 LP Set $35 [Limited Edition]
BILL CALLAHAN & BONNIE PRINCE BILLY with SIR RICHARD BISHOP / ALASDAIR ROBERTS / MICK TURNER / MEG BAIRD / DAVID GRUBBS / et al - Blind Date Party (Drag City 803LP; USA) "The Blind Date Party hosted by Bill Callahan and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy and featuring AZITA, Matt Sweeney, Alasdair Roberts, Matt Kinsey, Sean O'Hagan, Bill MacKay, George Xylouris, Dead Rider, David Pajo, Mick Turner, Meg Baird, Ty Segall, Emmett Kelly, Cory Hanson, Six Organs of Admittance, David Grubbs, Cassie Berman, Cooper Crain and Sir Richard Bishop happened online in the fall and winter of '20-21 -- but the party planning dated back to the spring of 2020. Stuck at home, with no gigs in the foreseeable future, Bill, Bonny and Drag City needed an outreach program to keep themselves busy, not to mention sane. In the absence of any company or anything on the calendar, playing songs they loved was an idea; playing with people they loved, the desire. And making it fun -- so pairing someone with someone else having no say in the matter, the essence of the blind date, was the plan. Favorite songs were chosen; players from around the Drag City galaxy were messaged. Pretty soon, songs were flying back and forth -- music in the air! And thus, they were entertained throughout the summer of 2020, when so much else in the world seemed so completely wrong. By the fall, the songs started to appear online: Bill and Bonny singing a song by someone they loved and admired; each song cut by another artist they loved and admired, then sent to Bill and Bonny to provide the finishing touches. The spotlight pointed in every direction each week: toward the singers and writers who'd originally played the songs (Yusuf Islam, Hank Williams Jr., Dave Rich, The Other Years, Billie Eilish, Steely Dan, Lou Reed, Bill Callahan, Jerry Jeff Walker, Robert Wyatt, Judy Mayhan, Johnnie Frierson, Demis Roussos, Will Oldham, Leonard Cohen, David Berman, Iggy Pop and John Prine), the featured collaborators, the artists whose work adorned each digital single and videos made by still more collaborators. Now it was a party! Like the best parties, it turned out to be everything and more than they'd even hoped for. So many more people were involved in the process that we can get on the page here. Suffice to say, making records over the years has required a broad sense of community and an always-surprising mix of independence and unity, inspiration and utility..."
2 LP Set $36
* SYLVAIN LEROUX with JULIA HAYNES / MAMADOU BA / ANDY ALGIRE - Qromatica (Fula Flute LP1; USA) Featuring Sylvain Leroux on chromatic tambin & alto sax, Julia Haynes on harp & accordion, Mamadou Ba on electric bass and Andy Algire on congas, balafon & percussion. Mr. Leroux invented the Fula flute or tambin and has been playing it for more than 25 years. Mr. Leroux has worked with Adam Rudolph’s Go Organic Orchestra as well as with Karl Berger. I recently review a fine CD from Mr. Leroux with Karl Berger in the quartet, released in 2012. I don’t recognize the names of the other musicians here, although Mamadou Ba has recorded with Regina Carter and Leni Stern. Mr. Leroux wrote 5 of the 7 songs here with two covers by Thelonious Monk and JS Bach. “Zoe” opens and it has an African village like lilt/sound with an el bass & balafon (African marimba) rhythm team, acoustic harp (which sounds like a kora) and sublime, spirited flute soloing on top. “Gambalou” also has an enchanting, organic, African-sounding theme/groove. The quartet play Monk’s classic song “In Walked Bud” with accordion instead of piano and more inspired flute (tambin) on top. Bassist Mamadou Ba is the secret magical ingredient here, her electric bass playing those infectious, jubilant lines on every song. Mr. Leroux switches to alto sax for “Alliance”, and he sounds equally inspired with Ms. Haynes feisty accordion providing a strong undertow. Side Two starts off with “Main Gauche”, a strong, uptempo, infectious piece with Ms. Haynes feisty harp upfront and another fine solo from Mr. Leroux on flute. Ms. Haynes’ accordion sounds like a pulsating harmonium on “Shridana Ryapur”, simmering hypnotically underneath while Leroux plays a haunting solo above. I like the spooky, sensuous vibe on this song, most intoxicating. The last piece is “Badinerie” by JS Bach. I thought that this might be an odd song to cover but I do like the version here, which has a more African/Latin sort groove. It is a catchy song no doubt and an odd way to close this strong, spirited LP. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
* The Sylvain Leroux Quartet (reviewed above) will be playing this Sunday at 3pm in the Campos Community Garden - 640-644 East 12th St between Aves B & C
PIRKEI AVOT PROJECT with AMANDA MONACO / TAMMY SCHEFFER / DAPHNA MOR / SEAN CONLY / DANIEL FREEDMAN - Volume 2 (Self-produced; USA) Featuring Amanda Monaco on guitar, voice & compositions, Tammy Scheffer on vocals, Daphna Mor on recorders, nei & vocals, Sean Conly on bass and Daniel Freedman on drums. I’ve known gifted jazz guitarist Amanda Monaco for a couple of decades now, even attending her wedding to Andrey Henkin many years back. I’ve long admired her for her guitar playing, composing and positive vibe she always radiates. Some of you may know her from her job teaching at the Berklee College of Music in Boston for many years. It is interesting to note that Ms. Monaco was not born Jewish but converted when she married Andrey. Conversion is often frowned upon, especially be religious Jews. It seems that Amanda takes Judaism very seriously and has studied it at length. The title of this project, Pirkei Avot, translates to Chapters of the Fathers, is a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims from Rabbinic Jewish tradition, also known as “Ethics of the Fathers”. This is the second volume/disc that Ms. Monaco has done for this project. Side A starts with “Swallow Each Other Alive” which is a prayer for the welfare of the government. Ms. Monaco some soft, sly, wah-wah guitar and sings in Hebrew with her lovely, organic voice. The music comes from the more modern side of contemporary Klezmer music. Amanda scats well along with Ms. Mor’s nei or recorder (which sounds like a clarinet, often the main instrument in most klez bands). Ms. Monaco’s sweet voice and skeletal guitar are at the center of “Determine Your Actions”, another quaint, quietly soulful song. “Do Not Make Yourself Known to the Authorities” features Ms. Monaco playing some fine, Frippish sustained guitar, with a long slow-burning solo midway and inspired flute interplay. What I like most about this is that it is often stripped down to the barest essentials yet still evokes an enticing, Jewish spirit. Both Ms. Monaco’s guitar and Ms. Mor’s recorder & nei are well utilized throughout, taking tasty solos and never hogging the spotlight. I like the way Ms. Monico takes the sayings from the “Ethics of the Fathers” and puts them at the center of these songs. Since I speak on a small amount of Hebrew, I don’t understand many of the words that Monaco or Ms. Scheffer sings. But no matter, we get a short description of the words in the liner notes. More importantly, it is the music that is so enchanting here. There was a post-Klez band called Pharoah’s Daughter that existed in the late 1990’s & early aughts. I always dug that band and the Pirkei Avot Project do sound somewhat like them. This is magical music for Jews and non-observers alike, so get your copy soon. Shalom. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
RUTH ANDERSON & ANNEA LOCKWOOD - Tete-a-tete (Ergot Records 008LP; USA) Over the course of a nearly 50 year romantic and creative partnership sound artist Annea Lockwood and the late pioneering electronic composer Ruth Anderson have shared space on a number of significant releases of early electronic and tape music, including Charles Amirkhanian's trailblazing 1977 anthology of women electronic composers New Music for Electronic and Recorded Media, a 1981 split LP on Opus One, a 1997 CD for Phill Niblock's XI imprint, and 1998's Lesbian American Composers compilation on CRI. The couple additionally taught a course on the history of women's music-making at Hunter College. Although Ruth passed away in 2019, the composers' dialogue continues today with Tête-à-tête, a collection of unreleased archival and new material spread across an LP and a single-sided 10" record. It all began with a telephone call. In 1973, Ruth Anderson was seeking a substitute to cover a yearlong sabbatical from her position as the director of the Electronic Music Studio she had founded at Hunter College in New York City. Her friend Pauline Oliveros too was on sabbatical, but recommended Ruth call Annea Lockwood -- then living in London -- about the post. Over the next nine months, while Ruth was living in Hancock, New Hampshire, the couple would speak daily by phone in between visits. Ruth recorded these phone calls and, in 1974, surprised Annea with a cassette containing "Conversations," a private piece she composed by dexterously collaging fragments of their conversations alongside slowed and throwed snatches of old popular songs: "Yes Sir, That's My Baby"; "Oh, You Beautiful Doll"; and "Bill Bailey." The centerpiece of Tête-à-tête, this side of intimate musique concrète extends to its listeners a rare invitation to eavesdrop on the halcyon phenomenon of two people falling in love. Tender and playful throughout, "Conversations" comes to its zenith with a cut-up of relentless laughter of a contagious beauty that is, for once, properly convulsive. "For Ruth" is Annea's elegy to her life partner. In 2020, Annea returned to Hancock as well as to Ruth's resting place at Flathead Lake, Montana to make field recordings, which she wove together with further excerpts of the couple's 1974 conversations for a commission presented as part of the 2021 Counterflows Festival in Glasgow. A consummate field recordist, Annea imbues the simple sounds of church bells, birds, wind, and the bodies of water that permeated her time alongside Ruth with an otherworldly depth and sense of narrative akin to that of her celebrated sound maps of the Huds”, Danube, and Housatonic rivers. The collection opens with "Resolutions," Ruth's last completed electronic work, from 1984. A meditation for the individual listener composed as the result of her study of Zen, it's a rigorous, process-driven piece that charts the very slow, smooth descent of a fifth from the octave above middle C down to sub-bass frequencies. Minimalist in execution, yet powerful in effect, it glides by almost imperceptibly, with new tones arriving and hovering or levitating upwards, seemingly out of nowhere. Tape transfers by Maggi Payne and lacquers cut at Dubplates & Mastering, with domestic photos and liner notes provided by Annea Lockwood.”
LP 10” $30
HARRY PUSSY - You'll Never Play This Town Again (Palilalia 069LP; USA) "60 second bursts of chaotic rock 'n' roll that barbarize whole histories of freakout style, from free jazz through classic hardcore, boogie, blues, Black Flag, Germs, most explicitly through Beefheart, but all hyper-condensed into ultra-kranky riffs that Orcutt plays at hallucinatory speed, compressing Zoot Horn Rollo style avant confusion into lighting runs and metallic two note knock-outs. Hoyos's style is so primitive that it's wildly avantgarde, with an instinctive feel for time that confounds the most advanced improvisatory strategies with the most hysterical. And her vocals are post-Yoko in the truest sense, not directly informed by her but sharing the same spontaneous energy and a-musical appeal, sometimes breaking from songs completely to expand on barely articulated vocal rants and fever pitched bouts of screaming. The whole group existed in a zone that was constantly beyond technique. The arc of their career was perfect, the mission truly accomplished, and all that's left is this amazing series of recordings, a body of work that has had a disproportionate effect on the minds, if rarely the actual sound of the underground." - David Keenan, The Wire, December 2008
2 LP Set $35
KERRY O'BRIEN AND WILLIAM ROBIN - On Minimalism: Documenting a Musical Movement (University of California Press 9780520382084l UAE) "A revisionist history of minimalism's transformative rise, through the voices of the musicians who created it. When composers like Philip Glass and Steve Reich began creating hypnotically repetitive music in the 1960s, it upended the world of American composition. But minimalism was more than a classical phenomenon -- minimalism changed everything. Its static harmonies and groovy pulses swept through the broader avant-garde landscape, informing the work of Yoko Ono and Brian Eno, John and Alice Coltrane, Pauline Oliveros and Julius Eastman, and many others. On Minimalism moves from the style's beginnings in psychedelic counterculture through its present-day influences on ambient jazz, doom metal, and electronic music. The editors look beyond the major figures to highlight crucial and diverse voices -- especially women, people of color, and LGBTQ musicians -- that have shaped the genre. Featuring more than a hundred rare historical sources, On Minimalism curates this history anew, documenting one of the most important musical movements of our time." 470 pages; 6x9; soft cover.
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
PATRICK BRENNAN’S TRANSPARENCY KESTRA
Friday, April 28, 8pm
Church of St. Edward the Martyr
14 E. 109 Street, Manhattan
Ariel Pirotti, composition & piano
patrick brennan, composition, conducting, & alto sax
Eli Asher, trumpet
Claire de Brunner, bassoon
Melanie Dyer, viola
Ken Filiano, contrabass
Gabby Fluke-Mogul, violin
Nick Gianni, bass clarinet & bass flute
Haruna Fukuzawa, flutes
Hill Greene, contrabass
Jerome Harris, guitar
Patrick Holmes, clarinet
Westbrook Johnson, trombone
Cheryl Pyle, flutes
David Sidman, guitar
Michael TA Thompson, trap drums
Porteño Refractions is a musical dialogue combining Buenos Aires Tango pianist & composer Ariel Pirotti and patrick brennan’s transparency kestra. Pirotti will present some of his own music, and transparency kestra will debut 3 patrick brennan refractions of Ariel’s composition Despertar en la ciudad.
Improvised Music at the Main Drag
Wednesday May 3rd, 2023
7:00pm Beyond Flute Group w/
Cheryl Pyle -flutes
Michael Eaton -saxes
Gene Coleman -flutes
8:00pm Hans Tammen - guitar
Shelley Hirsch - vocals
Ken Filiano - bass
William Hooker - drums
9:00pm Stephen Gauci - t. saxophone
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
10:00pm Adam Lane - bass
Brian Drye - trombone
Kirk Knuffke - cornet
Vinny Sperazza - drums
11:00pm Eyal Maoz - guitar
Fima Ephron - electric bass
Chris Stromquist - drums
$20 at the door (entire evening), cash/venmo
@ The Main Drag
50 South 1st Street
Between Kent ave and Wythe Ave
Joe Fonda and Bass of Operation
May 26th at Michiko Studios 15 West 39th St., 7pm Start Joe Fonda - Bass
Mike Rabinowitz - Bassoon
Jeff Lederer - Clarinet ,flute and Piccolo.
Harvey Sorgen - Drums
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org