Mother tells the ladies at the bridge club every day
Of the rising price of tranquilizers she must pay
And she wonders why the children never seem to stay at home
Blame it on the Rolling Stones.
Blame it on the Stones; Blame it on the Stones
You'll feel so much better, knowing you don't stand alone
Join the accusation; save the bleeding nation
Get it off your shoulders; blame it on the Stones
Father's at the office, nightly working all the time
Trying to make the secretary change her little mind
And it bothers him to read about so many broken homes
Blame it on those Rolling Stones.
Blame it on the Stones; Blame it on the Stones
You'll feel so much better knowing you don't stand alone
Join the accusation; save the bleeding nation
Get it off your shoulders; blame it on the Stones
Blame it on the stones, blame it on the stones.
Blame it on the Stones?!? At the end of June of 1967, I had just gotten Bar Mitzvahed and used my gelt to buy my first four long playing albums. All four were greatest hits records but the one that I dug the most was called ‘High Tide and Green Grass’ by the Rolling Stones. I had already bought a few of their singles and had heard a number of their hits on AM radio, but I really loved every song on that LP. I soon became a Rolling Stones freak. I soon started to buy regular albums and got ‘Aftermath’, ‘Between the Buttons’ and ‘Flowers’, each of which I loved. I had been reading rock music magazine since 1966, due to my interest in song lyrics and read quite a bit about the different bands that I dug: Mothers of Inventions, the Beatles, The Byrds, The Who, etc. The Stones had a reputations as the bad boys of rock, something that their manager had invented and that they played into. No matter what their image looked like to most, the seemed to me to smart guys who loves the blues and wrote lyrics about topical, teenage, young adult concerns. Every record they made from ‘High Tide’ (1966) to ’Sticky Fingers’ (1972) was and still are classics to me. Even ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’, which was mostly panned at the time was for me one of the best record of 1967.
I started to hear the songs of Kris Kristofferson when they were played on the radio starting in 1970. I wasn’t really a big fan until more recently when I went back to his first four or so albums and realized what a good songwriter he was. After hearing the Dead cover ‘Me and Bobby McGee” many times over the past few years, the song has grown on me to be a classic. Check out “Sunday Morning Coming Down” also from the first Kristofferson album which was covered nicely by Johnny Cash. I find the above song to be pretty funny since I remember when the press used to take the Stones to task for all kinds of things, no matter how serious or silly those things were. I still think that “Symphony for the Devil” is one of the greatest rock songs ever and to me, I think that it is meant to be taken with a grain of salt. It is hard to believe that the Rolling Stones are still around, almost 60 years after their first records in 1964. And they have a new single out. Will wonders never cease?!? - MCBruceLee at DMG
THE DMG 32nd ANNIVERSARY IN-STORE FREE MUSIC SERIES Continues with:
Saturday December 9th: The GauciMusic Series Continues with:
6pm: KEN KOBAYASHI - Drums / NICK LYONS - Alto Sax / AARON QUINN - Guitar
7pm: STEPHEN GAUCI - Tenor Sax / MICHAEL GILBERT - Bass / JAMES PAUL NADIEN - Drums
8pm: JAMES McKAIN - Tenor Sax / TOM WEEKS - Alto Sax / SHOGO ELLEFSON - Bass / KEVIN SHEA
Tuesday, December 12th:
6:30: KAPPA MAKI - Trumpet & Kitchen Utensils with YONONO BW - Biwa
7:30: STEVE HUBBACK - Solo Percussion Sculptures
8:30: SABRINA SALAMONE - Violin / JAMES PAUL NADIEN - Drums
9:30: NICK FRASER - Drums / DARIUS JONES - Alto Sax
Tuesday, December 19th:
6:30: GIACOMO MEREGA - Bass Guitar / JOSH SINTON - Reeds / JAMES ILGENFRITZ - Contrabass!
7:30: DAVE MILLER - Drums / RAS MOSHE - Tenor Sax / DEVIN WALDMAN - Alto Sax
8:30: 9 VOLT: EYAL MAOZ - Guitar / RICK PARKER - Trombone
9:30: SYLVESTER GERMAINE
Tuesday, December 26th:
6:30: PAUL R. HARDING - Poetry / DANIEL CARTER - Reeds & Trumpet / TAKUMA KANAIWA - Guitar / JONATHAN WILSON - Drums
7:30: YONI KRETZMER - Tenor Sax / SHANIR BLUMENKRANZ - Contrabass
DMG stands for Downtown Music Gallery and we are located at 13 Monroe St, between Catherine & Market Sts. You can take the F train to East Broadway or the M15 bus to Madison & Catherine Sts. We are in a basement space below an art gallery & beauty salon. We are on the east side of Chinatown, not far from East Broadway & the end of the Bowery. Admission for all concerts is free and donations are always welcome. We have concerts here every Tuesday starting at 6:30 plus Steve Gauci curates his own series here on the 2nd or 1st Saturday of each month. You can check out the weekly schedule here: https://www.downtownmusicgallery.com/shows.php. I post 1 minute segments from these sets almost every day on our InstaGram feed (if you don’t do InstaGram, you can still view these 1 minute clips on the DMG homepage, (a recently added feature), so please check them out and come down to visit when you can. - BLG/DMG
THIS WEEK’S SELECTION OF NEW RELEASES & REISSUES BEGINS WITH:
ELLIOTT SHARP / SysOrk with SARAH BERNSTEIN / JESSICA PAVONE / JOANNA MATTREY / RON LAWRENCE / SHAYNA DULBERGER / et al - Occam’s Machete (zOzR ZCD 152; NYC; USA) “Occam's Machete is an algorithmic composition for 24 strings performing as SysOrk using simple instruction sets to yield a progression of sonic tableaux. Shifting dronalities are created by the movement of simultaneous verticalities. Microtonal intervals generate different tones, microrhythms, subliminal melodies, and "ghost instruments", a psychoacoustic phenomenon. Every performance will have a unique manfestation of internal detail while remaining identical in form. Occam's Machete was performed in one continuous movement and the recording may be heard that way or in sections.
Occam's Machete was performed and recorded on October 12, 2023 at Main Drag Music, Brooklyn. Main Drag's basement performance space has high ceilings with stairways and catwalks extending from top to bottom. It's a reflective room with a wonderful sound for acoustic instruments. For an immersive sonic experience, the musicians were situated throughout the space with the contrabasses on the stage flanked by the celli and violas and violins around the perimeters and up on the verticals. This piece is meant to be heard in performance in a resonant acoustic space though this recording is able to manifest one version. The ensemble included members of JACK, Sirius, Flux, and Bergamot string quartets.” - Elliott Sharp notes
Why the title, ‘Occam’s Machete’? The term ‘Occam’s razor’ refers to the principle that in explaining something, no more assumptions should be made than are necessary. The simplest explanation might just be the best. ‘Occam’s Machete” might just be the chopping away of any excessive explaining. SysOrk is/are a large ensemble of 24 strings, which includes a number of Downtown’s best: Sarah Bernstein, Joanna Mattery, Jessica Pavone, Ron Lawrence and Shayna Dulberger. The music was recorded live at the Main Drag in Brooklyn in October of this year (2023). The sound is dark and deep sounding, as if we were slowly resting on waves of throbbing strings. The sound is dense, intense and throbbing. The piece slowly becomes more dense as the waves of strings swirl together. Mr. Sharp mentions “ghost instruments” in the liner notes and what I notice is that there are some sounds buried in which slowly emerge, pulsating together like a giant accordion or church organ wheezing and burying us in dense waves. There are several layers of strings all moving together and around one another in a dense web which slowly evolves through different sections and/or densities. What I find most interesting here is that as we listen, the mutating strings have a way of altering our perceptions, keeping us off balance yet still fascinated by the overall sound and how it evolves from section to section. Apocalyptic music for the End Time(s) of humankind. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
WILLIAM HOOKER with RAS MOSHE / CHARLES BURNHAM / ON K’ DAVIS / HILLIARD GREENE / LUKE STEWART - Flesh and Bones (OrgMusic 2285; Earth) Featuring William Hooker on drums, Charles Burnham on violin, Ras Moshe on tenor sax & flute, On K’ Davis on guitar, Hilliard Greene & Luke Stewart on basses. ‘Flesh and Bones’ is what we are all made of with the Spirit of Life inside to fuel our beings. ‘Flesh and Bones’ is also the title of this disc which is something we (all humans & mammals) also have in common. “Art is a mirror of life” it states in the liner notes and that idea remains at the center of everything that drummer/composer/bandleader/organizer William Hooker does. Mr. Hooker started to compose this suite during the Great Pandemic and it was inspired by the deaths of people of color, something that has been on the minds of many of us. For every record that Mr. Hooker has done over his long (four decades) music career/journey, he has organized ensembles with great improvisers from varied backgrounds. The resumes of each of these musicians is long and filled with different sessions. This disc was recorded at a studio at NYU and it sounds warm and clean. It begins with flute, bowed bass, clapping, sly guitar and builds from there. Ras Moshe’s flute is featured and sounds great along with On K’ Davis’ voodoo like guitar and Charles Burnham’s singular wah wah violin. Mr. Moshe’s tenor sax kicks off “My Blood” while Burnham’s violin sails in the distant and Hooker’s immense drumming kicks up some turbulence underneath, whipping the sextet in a hurricane-like force. If you like “free Jazz” at its most intense, this is what we find here in ample quantities. Hooker plays that tribal, pounding beat on “Captivity”, pushing the sextet higher as the piece evolves. The sextet plays more sparsely on “Courts”, interweaving fragments which build into a more intense, spirited conclusion. Guitarist On K’ Davis is one of those extraordinary yet under-recognized giants of the Downtown Scene. Davis is featured on “True Dat”, cutting loose, stirring up the cauldron of dark spirits with Hooker fanning the flames by playing quickly with brushes and adding some well-timed shouts. “Reveal a Truth” begins with a gospel-like hand-clapping groove, and some mighty fine wah wah violin . Each of the 11 pieces is named after a different aspect of the ‘Black Lives Suite’, giving us an idea to consider while we listen to the music, which is consistently filled with inventiveness, compassion and power. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
NEW FROM CLEAN FEED:
NED ROTHENBERG with SYLVIE COURVOISIER / MARY HALVORSON / TOMAS FUJIWARA - “Crossings Four “(Clean Feed 653; Portugal) Crossings – points of convergence, loci for decision-making, determination and daring resolve. For more than four decades, New York multi-instrumentalist and composer Ned Rothenberg has operated at the stimulating nexus of no-return, working with challenging artists such as Evan Parker, Fred Frith, Marc Ribot, Elliott Sharp, Julian Sartorius and Sainkho Namtchylak in his bold pursuance of a unique and intimate musical voice liberated from all idiomatic fetters.
His latest quartet finds him accompanied by three other like-minded musicians – Mary Halvorson, Tomas Fujiwara and regular Rothenberg associate, Sylvie Courvoisier – close friends whose equally boundary-busting careers have seen them ferment vital connections between the hook-laden audacities of New York’s downtown jazz scene, the detailed intricacies of European chamber music and the chaotic ruckus of experimental rock alongside musicians including Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Ikue Mori, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock and Tomeka Reid. Such pedigrees make them obvious allies for a set of audacious explorations where daring composition and fearlessly inventive improvisation tandem together as complementary conceptual agents.
With Crossings 4, Rothenberg plots and juggles his compelling coordinates, flagging up a succession of shifting signposts and pivots around which his accomplices extemporise, each of them committed to pushing the music into lesser explored terrains, intrepidly transitioning between contrasting sections in elaborate interplays of unconventional rhythm and timbre.
Whether its Halvorson’s signature pitch-shifted guitar paroxysms, Courvoisier’s playful ivory tumbles or Fujiwara’s singular stylistic beat synthesis, each component of Rothenberg’s crack quartet contributes to its ever-evolving hive mind. Here, the group is all. Even elaborate solo deviations are pledged to the benefit of collective ensemble expression, while also allowing each player ample opportunity to stretch out and articulate, individual sounds unfurling like probing tendrils over remote alien outposts, reaching out, seeking surprising footholds within the great unknown.”
ARUAN ORTIZ with DON BYRON / LESTER ST. LOUIS / PHEEROAN AKLAFF - Pastor’s Paradox (Clean Feed 648; Portugal) Featuring Aruan Ortiz on piano, voice & composition, Don Byron on clarinet & bass clarinet, Lester St. Louis or Yves Dhar on cellos, Pheeroan AkLaff on drums and Mtume Gant on spoken word. The music here was written during the Great Pandemic (2020) and was inspired by the civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Cuban-born, Brooklyn based pianist, composer and conceptualist Aruán Ortiz has had six releases over the past few years, each one different personnel and concept-wise. This disc was inspired by Martin Luther King’s important “I have a dream…” speech, which is quoted here by the spoken word artist Mtume Gant, the song titles are based on the speech and what was happening in the US during the time that the speech was made. The band also includes some heavy hitters like Don Byron, Pheeroan AkLaff and newbie Lester St. Louis (part of Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die band). For this disc, Mr. Ortiz has expanded his original suite into a seven part work called ‘Pastor’s Paradox’.
Mtume Gant’s powerful voice is featured on three sections here and does a fine job of speaking truth to power. His words come in spurts giving us a chance to savor what he says. The interplay between the four musicians is extraordinary. The barbed clarinets and piano often play this music with a chamber-like quality while the cello and drums keep the rhythm team focused and supportive. Each of the four instrumental pieces are strong, spirited and inventive with some tight, well-written passages and free sections as well, all in good balance with each musician. The next to the last piece is called “The Dream That Wasn’t Meant To Be” and it swirls powerfully and freely with whirlwind-like waves. Mr. Ortiz’s piano kicks things off with an intense swirling, repeating piano line as the rest of the quartet joins in. Byron’s feisty clarinet soars on top as the quartet moves in wave upon wave. This piece is called “From Montgomery to Memphis” and it evokes the brutal response to the peace march that occurred on April 4th, 1965 in which local and state police harshly beat the unarmed protestors of this important civil rights march. The last piece features the line, “No peace, no justice”, which is repeated verbally at the beginning and at the end, the mid section becomes more sparse and reflective. One of the good things about this disc is the return of Don Byron to a new recording since he hasn’t been involved in a new record as a leader in several years. This is a strong and serious gem with some of the best sonic medicine heard in recent times. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TREPASS TRIO with PER ZANUSSI / MARTIN KUCHEN / RAYMOND STRID plus SUSANA SANTOS SILVA - Live in Oslo (Clean Feed CF 654; Portugal)Featuring Martin Kuchen on baritone & sopranino saxes, Per Zanussi on contrabass, Raymond Strid on drums plus guest Susana Santos Silva on trumpet. The Trespass Trio have been around since 2009 and have four previous discs on the Clean Feed label. The trio is an international one with Mr. Kuchen & Mr. Strid both from Sweden and Mr. Zanussi from Norway plus their guest Ms. Santos Silva from Portugal (home to the Clean Feed label). All of the members of this quartet collaborate with a wealth of other eclectic musicians from around the world. Check out Mr. Kuchen’s work with either Angles (still around) or Exploding Customer (long gone). I had the good fortune to hear Ms. Santos Silva with the Fred Frith Trio earlier this year (May of 2023) at the FIMAV Fest in Quebec. Fred Frith just toured with Ms. Santos Silva and was singing his praises about her when we talked at The Stone a couple of months ago.
This disc was recorded live at the Blow Out Festival in Oslo, Norway in August of 2018. Although Mr. Kuchen is a gifted, diverse improviser, both the bands he has led (esp Angles) have that Spirit Jazz sound. The opening piece on this disc, “A Desert on Fire, A Forest” also has a slower, Spirit Jazz-like vibe with a strong bari sax-led theme and righteous harmonies from Ms. Santos Silva. Kuchen and Santos-Silva work together especially well, matching each other’s notes as they go. “The Spirit of Pitesti” has a sly, dreamy vibe and slowed down pace. The trumpet and bari sax both smolder together, softly bending notes around one another in a most gracious way. Kuchen switches to sopranino on “A Different Koko”, the tempo speeds up and Ms. Santos-Silva takes the first burnin’ trumpet with Mr. Kuchen soon joining her and pushing the energy even higher. Although I don’t think that this quartet played very many gigs together, they sound like kindred spirits, like a united force together. Mr. Kuchen’s baritone sound on “Sounds & Ruins” is most enticing and larger-than-life. He is followed by an equally impressive solo by Ms. Santos-Silva, the rest of the quartet flowing well together. The closing song is called “In Tears” and it has a passion-filled, tear-stained, prayer-like vibe with some sublime mallet work by Mr. Strid. The ever-amazing Clean Feed label continues to bless us with yet another treasure chest of tasty gems like this one. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
SIMON NABATOV 3 2 with LEONHARD HUHN / PHLIP ZOUBEK / STEFAN SCHONEGG / DOMINIK MAHNIG - Verbs (Clean Feed 494; Portugal) Featuring Leonhard Muhn on alto sax & clarinet, Philip Zoubek on synthesizers, Simon Nabatov on piano, Stefan Schonegg on contrabass and Dominik Mahhig on drums. Russian/American avant piano giant, Simon Nabatov has upwards of 30 recordings as a leader or collaborator going back more than forty years, from solo offerings to moderate sized ensembles from different scenes. Mr. Nabatov has long worked with a number of Downtown’s best players: Mark Feldman, Herb Robertson, Mark Hellias, Tom Rainey and Chris Speeds, as well as with dozens of European greats: Han Bennink, Nils Wogram, Rudi Mahall and Frank Gratkowski. I hadn’t heard of saxist Leonhard Huhn before now, although synth player Phil Zoubeck is listed on a dozen plus discs in our database, working with Joe Hertenstein, Pascal Niggenkemper and Carl Ludwig Hubsch. The rhythm team here, Stefan Schonegg & Dominik Mahnig did back up Nabatov for an earlier trio disc. Mr. Mahnig also drums for one of the fine, Cuneiform prog bands, The Great Harry Hillman.
In the liner notes, Nabatov mentions that he hasn’t been able to record with his New York-based band so he decided to organize a Cologne-based quintet so that is what we find here. Most of the music is pretty much improvised although Mr. Nabatov did compose one piece and gave some direction to the rest of the quintet. “Pray” opens this disc with haunting spacious sounds, stark piano, soft clarinet, eerie almost invisible synth and stripped down yet impressive rhythm team. It is hard to tell the sax and synth apart in the next section of this piece since they are playing in a similar register. Everything speeds up to a racing-like tempo on “Race”, with the synth and alto sax upfront shadowing each other just right. Mr. Huhn plays an incredible solo here with some furious bop-like lines with Nabatov pumping powerfully underneath, pushing the quintet into hyper-speed. The quintet is ascending together here, rising higher and higher as they go. The quintet plays most skeletally on “Reveal”, with ultra subtle percussion, stark piano, hushed bowed bass, occasional fragments of notes or sounds on sax and perhaps ghost-like synth wisps. Things unfold slowly on “Breathe”, long tones balancing with shorter, more bracing interactions. This is the one written piece and Nabatov wrote several connected sections, each one different structurally with tight quick parts and other more free and fleeting parts. There are some great written parts which sound like some prog/jazz/rock done at its best but then things switch into other more free areas. “Converge” is dark, probing and quite intense as if our world was being turned upside down and we are/were losing balance to the vast inner or outer tides. This group sounds like they’ve been working together for many years as they are super tight and flow together no matter how far things go. This doesn’t really sound like an improvised date, there is too much sonic glue or a focused way of playing freely in an astonishing way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THREE NEW ONES FROM THE FINE FOLKS AT ERSTWHILE and ELSEWHERE:
TAKU UNAMI - Bot Box Boxes (erstwhile solo 007-3; USA) Taku Unami used to work with guitar and electronics and has evolved over a long time and has been working with cardboard boxes and newspapers as his sound source. Mr. Unami has recorded more than a dozen duo efforts with: Keith Rowe, Radu Malfatti, David Grubbs & Toshi Tsunoda. Unami has released just a few solo efforts but not in recent years. When asked to do a solo effort for erstwhile, he took his time to come up with a new release which he is happy with. “in late August 2023, Taku had a breakthrough and recorded three lengthy pieces in a sixteen hour period, all of which appear here in full, unedited and unmixed.”
I wasn’t so sure about listening to three discs of which there were just cardboard boxes and newspapers were used but then I remembered that this release is on the erstwhile label. The label has long developed their own sound/approach/identity which often takes some patience and deep listening to appreciate. While listening to Disc One ‘Bot’, I started to notice that although the sounds were generated mostly from cardboard and paper, there was/is more going on here than one might think. Certain close mic’d sounds are more abrupt and distinct while other sounds are warmer due to having some distance from the mic. When one rips a newspaper or cuts a cardboard box, we rarely think about the sounds we are making at that time. This disc gives us a chance to savor and think about the sounds themselves. Once we get used to the sounds and (try to) forget about what is being used, things become more fascinating. There is an organic naturalness to the sounds/music here that I like. It sounds like Unami is building something and we can only listen but not watch, hence the image is only found in our mind’s eye. I also notice this: every sound or group of sounds evokes a different image or vibe, so I pay more attention to each sound as the images and feelings they produce evolve over time. If I were retired and had more time on my hands, I would listen to each disc here, one at a time and savor each one. But I have another half dozen discs to review today (12/7/23), so I will move on… - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
3 CD Set $28
GRAHAM LAMBKIN / JAMES RUSHFORD - Gondolas (erstwhile 095-2; USA) Graham Lambkin is a longtime member of the erstwhile family, with a dozen plus discs out, most solos or duos with Jason Lescalleet, Keith Rowe and Michael Pisaro. I know that James Rushford has played piano and viola on his previous discs when he was collaborating with Oren Ambarchi and Crys Cole, but there is no instrumentation listed here like most erstwhile CD’s. The music or sounds here were recorded at two recording facilities in London, UK. On the opener, “Thought Clouds or Something”, I hear some distant piano, samples or tapes, close mic’d and other more muffled sounds and more. All or most of the sounds here are organic with minimal manipulation. The piano often sounds like it was recorded from a distance, perhaps in the back of a room. The piano is only used on occasion as there are other sounds more prominent. On “Rise of the Machines”, we hear mostly eerie electronic high-end drones with some samples flowing in and out of the mix/blend. The electronic sounds slowly grow more dense as the piece unfolds. There are pictures of snakes (cobra?), fish, a stork and an alligator on the cover and inside of this disc. Why? The title of this disc is ‘Gondolas’ which are the boats that are used in the canals of Venice, Italy. Why is this the title? “Playbit” opens Disc Two and it begins with some harpsichord which is soon followed by what sounds like a church organ. There are sounds which are hard to figure out like backwards sounds or odd samples of windlike or other sonic weirdness. Like most discs on the erstwhile label, one starts to realize that every sound or small group of sounds has an effect on our perceptions. Are some of the sounds recorded through a blanket or cloth? Again, it does take some time to adjust to these sounds and the way they unfold and evolve. Probably listening on headphones would be a better way to experience these sounds. “Traditional Noise Wall” sounds like we are submerged in a stream of sounds which we must maneuver, like riding the rapids in a canoe. The sounds here are most effective and take us along for a ride. If you are patient and have the time, these discs will take you with them to another place called “erstwhile land”. Are you ready?!? I know I am. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $21
JURG FREY // KEIKO SHICHIJO - Les Signes Passagers (elsewhere 029; USA) “Les signes passagers” is an album of seven pieces for solo fortepiano written by Jurg Frey in 2021, commissioned by the Amsterdam-based pianist Keiko Shichijo. It was premiered by Shichijo on February 5, 2022 at the Concertgebouw Brugge during the SLOW Festival. In the same year, Shichijo performed the piece again at the November Music 2022 and later recorded it for this album in April 2023 at the Concertgebouw Brugge in the presence of the composer.” - elsewhere records
Swiss born composer and clarinetist, Jurg Frey, is/was a member of the Wandelweiser Group, an international collective of composers currently based in Austria who specialize in near silent music. Mr. Frey mostly composes for piano and strings, with ensembles like Quatour Bozzini and Apartment House performing his music. The pieces here are performed on a fortepiano, a piano that was designed and played in the 18th and 19th centuries and which has a softer sound with less sustain. In the liner notes, Mr. Frey describes what he feels is unique about this type of piano and how these pieces were written it s particular sound world. While listening to the first piece, “Leger et silencieux”, I could hear the way the struck notes were bathed in minimal sustain, giving the notes a more pure tone. Time is slowed down here, the space between the notes is warm and carefully conceived/played. What I notice is that every note or phrase stands by itself and has an effect on the listener. Not just the note itself but the way each note is played also effects how we hear or experience the music as it unfolds. By “Lumineau et calme”, the tempo picks up a bit as we move into a less sparse section. In “Tres calme”, the chords become a bit darker and more spooky. The delicate yet precise nature of this music takes some time to get used to as if we were entering another less busy world. The sense of calm at the center has more going on beneath the surface than one might imagine. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TWO NEW DISCS FROM JESSE ZUBOT’S GREAT DRIP AUDIO LABEL:
JOSH ZUBOT with JESSE ZUBOT / JAMES MEGER / MEREDITH BATES / PEGGY LEE - Strings (Drip Audio 52420; Vancouver; Canada) Featuring Josh Zubot on violin, viola & compositions, Jesse Zubot on violin, Meredith Bates on violin & viola, Peggy Lee on cello and James Meger on contrabass. Jesse Zubot plays violin, lives in Vancouver, toured & recorded with Tanya Tagaq and runs the Drip Audio label. Jesse’s brother Josh Zubot lives in Toronto and has worked with a different group of musicians like Matana Roberts, Gordon Grdina and Ensemble SuperMusique. Although the two brothers have rarely recorded together in the past, Jesse’s Drip Audio has recently released two discs with both brothers. This is a string quintet which includes Meredith Bates and James Meger, both of whom have worked with the great cellist Peggy Lee, another fine Vancouver-based musician who is also part of this quintet. As Far as I can tell, this is Josh Zubot’s first release as a leader. String quintets are indeed pretty rare and this one does have a strong, focused sound. “It 5 Plank” opens with the entire quintet erupting together and soon move into some written passages with a violin (or viola) soloing over the top as the rest of the quintet spin together and around one another tightly. When the quintet plays together, the written parts make them sound larger than a quintet, closer to a small orchestra. “Rapid from Gone The Whisp” has a bluesy theme with a soloists up front and the bass & cello laying down the bottom end rhythm team parts. It is the thoughtful writing and arranging which make this ensemble so fascinating. Josh Zubot often has several layers working together in tightly arranged parts, sometimes with different subgroups playing different harmonies while the bass keeps the pulse at the center. On “Exploration 2”, the strings play freer with some plucking quickly while others bow around them. Even at a hushed volume, the strings play a variety of odd or extended sounds together, exploring their options in different ways. “Auger 44” is abrupt and intense and it erupts when it begins. This is quite intense, focused and spirited. “Night Times” features an extraordinary over-the-top violin solo over a dense layer of sprawling strings. “Exploration 1” is another piece with the strings all playing freely around one another in different combinations. What I like most about this is the way the string quintet keeps shifting directions, combinations and dynamics. Lots of surprises in each piece. This is the type of group that should be playing at different creative music festivals as they upend traditions and expectations time and again. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
EMAD ARMOUSH with FRANCOIS HOULE / JESSE ZUBOT / JP CARTER / KENTON LOEWEN / MARINA HASSELBERG - Emad Armoush’s Duos Electritradition (Drip Audio 02392; Vancouver; Canada) Featuring Emad Armoush on oud, ney, guitar & vocals with Francois Houle on clarinet, Jesse Zubot on violin, JP Carter on trumpet, Marina Hasselberg on cello and Kenton Loewen on drums. Emad Armoush plays oud (middle-eastern short-necked lute) and ney (Persian end-blown flute) and was/is a member of Haram, an ethnic improv ensemble from Vancouver that has collaborated with Gordon Grdina. Other members of Haram include Francois Houle, JP Carter and Jesse Zubot, who also runs this, the Drip Audio label. Vancouver drummer Kenton Loewen has also worked with Gordon Grdina on more than a half dozen discs, while trumpeter JP Carter can be found on more than a dozen discs on the Songlines or Drip Audio labels. I hadn’t heard of cellist Marina Hasselberg before now.
Half of the songs here written by Mr. Armoush, while the other half are traditional songs. “Ya Rayah” is first and the sound of Mr. Armoush’s oud is superb, warm, clean and well-recorded. This is a duo with clarinetist Francois Houle and it is a perfect opening piece. Armoush has an enchanting voice and sings tastefully towards the end of the piece. Armoush switches to guitar on “Warrior’s Dance” with Mr. Zubot’s eerie violin playing some sly touches. One thing I notice about this disc is this: the producer (or engineer) has added some low-end reverb to thicken up the bottom end of the sound. Even with no bassist involved the lower end sound of the strings rings or throbs, adding some ghostlike sonics to the sound. “Talah” is a traditional song and is played by the oud & guitar and drums. Although the sound is stripped down, the essence of the songs remains with Armoush pushing the boundaries out further by bending some notes inside-out. On each piece, Mr. Armoush plays the melody while letting the other members of the duo to embellish the song and take an occasional solo as well. All of the songs sound like they have ancient traditional melodies which makes the overall vibe a most enchanting one. Armoush switches to ney on “La Syrie” with Ms. Hasselberg’s cello, which has a most tantalizing sound. On “Flamenco Strut”, Armoush does play his guitar in a flamenco-like way, striking the strings in a similar way to those flamenco virtuosos while trumpeter JP Carter adds his own unique bent note sounds which work well with each of Armoush’s plucked notes. There is a balancing act going on here between those sly traditional melodies and the way reverb and other instruments add to the overall sound of these songs, ancient meets modern in a most righteous way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOELLE LEANDRE / VINICIUS CAJADO - Storm Dance (Not Two MW 1035; Poland) “Six "Dances" of a deeply turbulent nature as legendary French bassist Joëlle Léandre meets Brazilian bassist Vinicius Cajado for a 2022 live concert in Vienna at Alte Schmiede, both employing massively powerful techniques, Léandre vocalizing at times to push their dialog into tempestuous territory; at times darkly explosive but illuminated by incredible creative intent.”
MARS WILLIAMS / VASCO TRILLA - Critical Mass (Not Two MW 1033; Poland) “The second release from the duo of Spanish percussionist Vasco Trilla and Chicago reedist Mars Williams, the latter performing both on reeds and on toy instruments, each using extraordinary and extended technique to create exotically energetic conversations and beautifully meditative environments, in five creative, playful and impressively informed dialogs.”
CATHERINE LAMB / KRISTOFER SVENSSON - Translucent Harmonies - Two Duos for violin and viola, performed by andPlay (Another Timbre Ano-AT218; UK) “The New York-based andPlay duo of violinist Maya Bennardo and violist Hannah Levinson perform two extended works commissioned for their performance series, Translucent Harmonies: first an acoustic rendering of Catherine Lamb's "Prisma Interius VIII (Melodic Duo)"; then Kristofer Svensson's work of contrasts, surprises, modulations, and transformations.”
21st CENTURY SCHIZOID BAND with IAN McDONALD / MEL COLLINS / JAKKO JAKSYZYK / PETER GILES / MICHAEL GILES - Live in Japan (Cleopatra 4914; USA) The 21st Century Schizoid Band isn't doing badly for a group that's never come close to charting a record anywhere, getting out two releases in a single year, a self-titled debut plus this double-disc combined CD/DVD package from a November 2002 concert. To call this the fulfillment of a dream would be putting it mildly on several counts -- for starters, anyone who missed the original King Crimson on tour in 1969 at last has a chance to see as well as truly hear drummer Michael Giles playing in concert (welcome as the Crimso historical releases from 1969 are, they're not remotely state of the art in quality) and even bringing a new song, "Progress," to the table; Giles' more enigmatic brother Peter Giles on bass; Mel Collins, a saxman's saxman, playing this repertoire live; and Ian McDonald, the original jack of all trades in the Crimso lineup, doing what he does best (i.e., a little bit of everything). Everyone in this band plays like they're at the top of their form and having the time of their lives -- Collins is clearly the heavier-weight reedman in comparison to McDonald, but the latter gets his embellishments in as well, even on the numbers where they're both blowing sax. "In the Court of the Crimson King" is fascinating to watch just to see the amount of switching off that McDonald does between flute and keyboards. The band also does slightly later Crimso repertoire, such as "Formentera Lady," which is stretched out with a lyrical opening on bass and flute and a newly melodic treatment in the main body of the song -- the song is mostly Collins' showcase on flute and sax, while McDonald moves between various keyboards and reed instruments in support. McDonald and Michael Giles each get lead vocal showcases, the former on a newer song called "If I Was," which is a good match for the older material, although perhaps a little more obviously pop-oriented -- they also resurrect two McDonald & Giles songs, "Tomorrow's People" and "Birdman." Strangely enough, one doesn't miss Robert Fripp at all -- Jakko Jakszyk knows the sound and the style (he grew up with it) and it's his natural musical language. In addition to the 96-minute performance, which is beautifully lit and benefits from highly mobile camera work, the disc contains fairly extensive interview material totaling about 20 minutes; each of the members explains his involvement with the band and the meaning of the material. Strangely enough, Jakszyk may have had the biggest percentage of his life involved with the music of anyone present, as he discovered King Crimson when he was 11. The CD is a cut-down version of the same concert with excellent sound and perhaps a punchier mix courtesy of Jakszyk, and plays back beautifully in two-channel stereo; the DVD offers 5.1 Surround Sound, which brings out every nuance of the playing.” - Bruce Eder, AllMusicGuide
2 CD/DVD Set $18
GEORGE CRUMB // YOSHIKO SHIMIZU - George Crumb: Works For Amplified Piano(s)(Kairos 22012; Austria) With this album, Yoshiko Shimizu presents a second outstanding recording of works for amplified piano(s) by American composer George Crumb, being the only pianist who has created 'solo' realizations of his compositions Celestial Mechanics (Makrokosmos IV), Zeitgeist and Otherworldly Resonances. George Crumb praised her superb 2018 KAIROS release (0015029KAI), declaring, "I consider her to be one of my very finest interpreters. Bravissima!"
ERIC DOLPHY SEPTET with DONALD BYRD / NATHAN DAVIS / et al - Paris '64 (Hi Hat 3106CD; UK) “Eric Dolphy Septet, with Donald Byrd, live from the Qui Péche club, Paris on June 11th, 1964. Just a few weeks before his death, Eric Dolphy performed a concert at the Le Chat Qui Péche club in Paris on June 11, 1964, broadcast on French radio station France Musique, with a septet including fellow jazz luminary Donald Byrd on trumpet. The six tracks on this disc include selections from his albums Outward Bound (1960), Out There (1961), and Far Cry (1962), as well as a version of John Coltrane's "Naima". Personnel: Eric Dolphy - alto saxophone, bass, clarinet & flute; Donald Byrd - trumpet; Nathan Davis - tenor saxophone; Jack Diéval - piano; Jacques Hess - bass; Franco Manzecchi - drums; Jacky Bambou - congas. The entire broadcast is presented here, digitally remastered, with background liners.”
AGITATION FREE - Momentum (Made in Germany 262CD; Germany) "Agitation Free was one of the leading representatives of German experimental rock music in the early 1970s. The Berlin band developed long, for that time unusual, free instrumental improvisations from the end of 1967. They achieved cult status as early as 1972 with an independent mixture of improvised rock paired with electro, ethno, jazz and trance elements. Extensive live activities gave the band a steadily increasing level of recognition throughout Europe. For example, the group performed in the cultural program of the Olympic Games in Munich in the summer of 1972, toured France for two months in early 1973, performed at the 'German Rock Super Concert' in Frankfurt in May, produced the second album 2nd and then went on tour through France and major German cities. In 1974, the band began to show signs of fatigue, which led to their temporary breakup at the end of the year after a farewell concert. In retrospect, it became clear that the experimental circle Agitation Free was one of the important bands of the 'Berlin School' and furthermore a career springboard for several German musicians. Christopher Franke, for example, helped the band Tangerine Dream achieve worldwide recognition. Michael Hoenig worked with Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream before he became known as a film composer in Hollywood after a solo album (among other things, the film music for the blockbuster 9 1/2 Weeks with Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke). Axel Genrich moved to Guru Guru, Burghard Rausch became a founding member of Bel Ami. Gustl Lütjens toured with Shirley Bassey and Nena and later found a large audience with his new age band Living Mirrors, especially in the USA. Lutz 'Lüül' Ulbrich joined Ashra, worked with ex-Velvet Underground singer Nico, produced solo records in addition to theater music, and has enjoyed success with the 17 Hippies since the late 1990s."
JOHN COLTRANE with RED GARLAND / PAUL CHAMBERS / ART TAYLOR plus FREDDIE HUBBARD - Bahia (Destination Moon 055LP; Italy) “Another of the albums that Prestige would issue several years after it was recorded, Bahia is drawn from a couple of sessions that John Coltrane recorded for the label in the late 1950s, during a time in which he was exploring different genres with various players, including pianist Red Garland, bassist Paul Chambers, plus drummers Jimmy Cobb and Art Taylor. The album has plenty of Trane hallmarks in the saxophone lead, and there is noteworthy contribution from trumpeter Wilbur Harden on "My Ideal" and Freddie Hubbard on "Something I Dreamed Last Night." This is simply a great Coltrane listening experience.”
EVAN PARKER & PAUL LYTTON - Collective Calls (Urban) (Two Microphones)(Otoroku Rokure 007LP; UK) “LP reissue of Collective Calls, the first duo LP from Evan Parker and percussionist Paul Lytton. Mythically alluded to as "An Improvised Urban Psychodrama In Eight Parts," Collective Calls utilizes electronics, pre-records and homemade instruments to wryly in/act self-investigation. On Collective Calls, only the fifth release to appear on the newly minted Incus label, percussionist Paul Lytton arrives with an arsenal of sound making sources to push Parker into ever new territory. Recorded in the loft of The Standard Essenco Co on Southwark Street by Bob Woolford (Topography of the Lungs, AMM The Crypt), Collective Calls has more in common with noise or music concrete than with jazz. Influenced as much by Stockhausen, Cage and David Tudor as he was by Max Roach and Milford Graves, Lytton's percussion is abstract, expressionist and at times totally mutant. Sometimes rolling extremely fast, then screeching almost backwards over feedback, Lytton gives Parker room to play some of his weirdest work. Parker is listed as performing both saxophones, but also his own homemade assemblages, including one dubbed the 'Dopplerphone' -- a length of soft rubber tubing (activated by a saxophone mouthpiece and manipulated to alter the rate of airflow) attached to a longer length of clear plastic tubing (whirled around the head whilst being played) ending in a plastic funnel. Thickening the brew even more, Parker would also add a cassette recorder, on which he would play back collected sounds and previous recordings of the duo. Imagining the set up in a 70s loft, it's an assemblage more akin to what today's free ears might see at a Sholto Dobie show, or spread out on the floor of the Hundred Years Gallery, the shadow of Penultimate Press lurking in a corner. It's a testament to Parker's shape shifting sound -- the ever present link to birdsong being at its most warped here -- terrifically free and unfussy, wild and loose from any of the dogma that might come in later Brit-prov years. This re-issue is presented in a specially made Wigston fold-over cover, litho printed with artwork from Alan Johnston and housed in a heavy polyurethane sleeve.”
EVAN PARKER & GEORGE LEWIS - From Saxophone & Trombone (Otoroku Rokure 008LP; UK) “First vinyl re-issue of Evan Parker's duo with George Lewis. Transferred from the original masters, Otoroku has discovered that the original Incus LP was cut at the wrong speed -- and so, here is the first vinyl issue of the correct masters, or "mastas" as Adam Skeaping, legendary engineer who is also responsible for Six of One and Compatibles, fondly calls them. Skeaping, always working with the latest in recording technology for the time, has a knack for gaining access to remarkable spaces. Good spaces that were cheap because no one else had discovered them. The Art Workers Guild is a Georgian Hall in Bloomsbury, London, with lofty ceilings and hard wooden floors. It's the perfect room to exercise an instrument to its full length, to "run the full length of the staircase" in Parker's words. Two bells to ring off the floor and remain in dexterous, airy resonance. Recorded at 30ips on enormous reels, the recording captures all the fine filigree detail so celebrated on Parker's later Six of One, though here the listener is treated to tenor as well as soprano, plus, of course, George Lewis' trombone. Parker and Lewis first met at Moers festival, Lewis having just played excerpts of Coltrane's "Giant Steps" with Anthony Braxton. Living in Paris, it wasn't so hard for a young Parker to invite him for a session on his new imprint, Incus. Though having been part of the AACM, toured with Count Basie and made records for Black Saint, this would be Lewis' first foray into British improv, excited by the idea the Bailey and Parker were attempting to open up the notion of improvisation to include "the freshness of the immediate encounter." Lewis had not long recorded his solo, which mixes lively hints of Ellington and tender lyricism with total experimentation in three-part overdubbed trombone. From Saxophone to Trombone veers towards his wilder end of technicality, some of Lewis' rarer, starker improv -- all avant garde burbles and bubbles, breath control and scalar flights. It's a recording of two young masters, documented beautifully, and released for the first time on vinyl at its intended speed.”
KHAN JAMAL CREATIVE ARTS ENSEMBLE With MONETTE SUDLER / BILLY MILLS / DWIGHT JAMES / ALEX ELLISON - Drum Dance To The Motherland (Aquirre Records Zorn 092LP; Belgium) Limited reissue. There's not another album on the planet that sounds even remotely like vibraphonist Khan Jamal's eccentric, one-of-a-kind masterpiece, Drum Dance To The Motherland. Thirty years after its release, the album's tapestry of sound, fearless abstractions, relentless grooves, cool swing, flashes of ecstasy, and pan cultural embrace remain powerful and beyond category. One of only three albums released on the Philadelphia-based Dogtown label, it was barely distributed beyond the city's limits when it came out in the early '70s. Finally available again, a really stunning document of musical exploration, a classic session. In its improbable fusion of free jazz expressionism, black psychedelia, and full-on dub production techniques, Drum Dance remains a bracingly powerful outsider statement fifty years after it was recorded live at the Catacombs Club in Philadelphia, 1972. Comparisons to Sun Ra, King Tubby, Phil Cohran, and BYG/Actuel merely hint at the cosmic otherness conjured by The Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble and by sound engineer Mario Falana's real-time enhancements. Clearly, the members of the Khan Jamal Creative Arts Ensemble saw African American music as a continuum that stretched from the Motherland through the blues, R&B, jazz, and free jazz, and they prided themselves on mastering the continuum. In the early '70s, these were fairly new ideas, but they had taken firm root in Philadelphia. The search for an African American music that is modern and culturally progressive but rooted in an African tradition is the music's heart and soul. Its connection to the specific African American community in Philadelphia is its immediate inspiration. "My ancestors eventually show up in my music every time I play," Jamal says. "I've always said that my backyard is Africa." Originally issued by Jamal in 1973 in an edition of three hundred copies on Dogtown Records, Drum Dance To The Motherland was effectively a myth until eremite's 2005 CD reissue. With the master tapes long vanished, the audio was transferred at Sony Music's 54th street studio from a minty copy of the original LP. Includes an insert with Ed Hazell's detailed telling of Drum Dance's incredible history. Under License from Eremite Records.”
CHRIS FORSYTH - Solar Motel (Algorithm Free 010LP; USA) "Named after a run-down lodge in New Jersey near where he grew up, Solar Motel was the first full-band project from Chris Forsyth. Originally released in 2013, it was considered his most ambitious and sublime work of Cosmic Americana to date, and the idea of the motel also figured into a band where vacancies would open and close. 'Solar Motel is the first record on which I overtly took rock tropes and twisted them into new shapes, incorporating so many of my interests and influences -- the twin-guitar elegance of television, the boiled down rock minimalism of Rhys Chatham, the sprawl of West Coast psych, the abstract tangles of free improv, an undercurrent of ecstatic jazz energy, and the studio textures of Eno/Cale/Roxy '70s art rock. Solar Motel basically set the template for much of what I did for the remainder of that decade.'"
2 LP Set $34
JORGE BEN - Sacundin Ben Samba (Destination Moon 047LP; Italy) “One of Brazil's best-loved artists, Jorge Ben began performing as a teenager in the mid-1950s, his breakthrough coming in 1963 with the explosive debut LP, Samba Esquema Novo. Follow-up set Sacudin Ben Samba is a samba-jazz hybrid that did its best to emulate the success of Esquema Novo, with distinctive elements such as the trumpet that graces "Capoeira" and the choral backing of "Carnaval Triste"; as with his greatest works, the lyrics are full of humor and unusual references, deciphering the riddles part of the fun. A solid album that sounds better through repeated spins, it captures Ben at his youthful best.”
JOHN ST. FIELD - Control (Guerssen Records 241LP; Spain) “Psychedelic, progressive folk-rock masterpiece from 1971, recorded in London by John St. Field aka Jackie Leven (of Doll by Doll fame) but only released in Spain back at the time. Before becoming a cult singer/songwriter in the '90s, Scottish musician Jackie Leven debuted in the early '70s with Control, issued under the John St. Field pseudonym due to "problems with the forces of law and order." Recorded in London and helped by musicians from MAN and other friends (Phil Ryan, Juliet Lawson, Jesse Ballard, Joe Kucera...), the album featured a collection of wonderful songs written by Jackie after his experiences wandering away and taking copious amounts of LSD. Unlike previous reissues, this one features the complete tracklist in original running order and also a new insert with previously unseen photos/memorabilia and recollections from some of the musicians involved. Remastered sound with original artwork in gatefold sleeve. Insert with liner notes and rare photos/memorabilia.”
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
THE STONE RESIDENCIES / CAROLINE DAVIS / DEC 6–9
8:30 pm - DUO - Caroline Davis (alto saxophone, voice, synthesizer) Wendy Eisenberg (guitar, voice)
8:30 pm - TRIO - Caroline Davis (alto saxophone) Craig Taborn (piano, keyboard) Val Jeanty (turntables, percussion)
8:30 pm - QUARTET - Caroline Davis (alto saxophone) Matt Mitchell (piano) Rashaan Carter (bass) Terri Lyne Carrington (drums)
8:30 pm - Caroline Davis' Alula - Caroline Davis (alto saxophone) Qasim Naqvi (modular synth) Chris Tordini (bass) Jason Nazary (drums)
THE STONE RESIDENCIES / IKUE MORI - DEC 13–17
Ikue Mori presents four concerts of improvisation at The Stone and a special Sunday afternoon concert in celebration of her 70th birthday!
8:30 pm QUARTET 1
Zeena Parkins (harps) Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) Lotte Anker (sax) Ikue Mori (electronics)
8:30 QUARTET 2
Craig Taborn (piano) Lotte Anker (sax) Erik Friedlander (cello) Ikue Mori (electronics)
8:30 pm QUARTET 3
Satoko Fujii (piano) kappamaki (trumpet) Jim Staley (trombone) Ikue Mori (electronics)
TRIO - Koichi Makigami (voice) John Zorn (sax) Ikue Mori (electronics)
SUNDAY DECEMBER 17 AT 5PM
Sun Tracing Magic Special
A SPECIAL AFTERNOON SHOW IN CELEBRATION OF IKUE'S 70TH BIRTHDAY AT STEIFEL HALL IN THE NEW SCHOOL—SAME BUILDING AS THE STONE BUT ON THE FOURTH FLOOR—ROOM i400
Sun Tracing Magic Special Featuring: Ned Rothenberg (reeds) Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) Charmaine Lee (voice) Ches Smith (drums) Sae Hashimoto (percussion) David Watson (bagpipes) Makigami Koichi (voice) Satoko Fujii (piano) kappamaki (trumpet) Erik Friedlander (cello) Zeena Parkins (harps) Ikue Mori (electronics)
THE STONE is located in
The New School at the Glass Box Theatre
55 West 13th Street - near 6th ave
music at 8:30pm
$20 per set
unless otherwise noted
cash only payment
Article by GARY LUCAS:
This is an honest explanation/understanding of what is currently going on in Israel, please read and think about before you come to any quick conclusions.
“JEWS DO COUNT”
NEW VIDEOS from GUITAR MASTER HENRY KAISER:
Formerly of HENRY COW, THE ART BEARS, NEWS FOR BABEL & RECOMMENDED RECORDS (ReR) has been creating an ongoing series of podcasts called the Probes series. I am often fascinated at listening to each of these as Mr. Cutler does an incredible job of showing a deep history of Creative Music in the 20th century & beyond. I usually listen to these on the train to NYC that I take to get to work each day. The most recent Probes (#36) was released a few weeks ago, here is the links:
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org