The past few weeks have been an exciting and demanding time for yours truly. First there was the Victo Fest in Quebec, 21 sets in four days in May (16th-19th) and then there was the Vision Fest at Roulette in Brooklyn (June 11th-16th), which had some 30 or so sets in six days! Two extraordinary music experiences! And then last Monday (6/17/19), we had an incredible double-header at DMG with Chris Pitsiokos/Mark Helias/Michael Vatcher and Steve Swell/Mark Segger. This was also a (pre) birthday celebration for me and I did indulge a bit too much in food, drink and some dancing. Hence, I felt terrible yesterday for my 65th birthday, but did take it easy, fasted & just drank water all day. I did get some lovely cards and e-mail from family and friends and feel much better today, just back from yoga class at the Y. Special thanks to all of the lovely comments on our Facebook page from the many musicians & serious listeners worldwide! I finally finished my Victo review which will be transmitted shortly (sorry for the delay). All of this wonderful & challenging music, as well as all the fine folks that I spent with checking it out, helps me to feel better about life and the things & folks who enrich & inspire us. Special thanks to the folks who run both Victo (FIMAV) and the Vision Fests, as well as all the incredible musicians who play here at DMG throughout the year! You know who still loves you all, me, Bruce Lee G.
Here is a list of my favorite sets at Victo and at the Vision Fest:
Festival Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville - May 16th - 19th: 6 Favorite Sets:
1.JOHN BUTCHER - Solo (at Eglise St- Christophe Church)
2.BARRE PHILLIPS - Solo / PETER BROTZMANN / HEATHER LEIGH / HAINO KEIJI
3.PEGGY LEE BAND - “Echo Painting” (w/ Wayne Horvitz)
4.VIJAY IYER SEXTET
5.JOANE HETU ENSEMBLE - “Joker”
6.SENYAWA / HAINO KEIJI
24th Annual Vision Festival - June 11th - 16th at Roulette in Brooklyn: Favorite Sets:
1.KIDD JORDAN / JOEL FUTTERMAN / WILLIAM PARKER / HAMID DRAKE
2.JAMES BRANDON LEWIS UNRULY QUINTET!!!
2.ANDREW CYRILLE With MILFORD GRAVES/WADADA LEO SMITH & BRANDON ROSS/TOMEKA REID
3.ROB BROWN / STEVE SWELL / CHRIS LIGHTCAP / CHAD TAYLOR
4.KRIS DAVIS / WILLIAM PARKER / JEFF “TAIN” WATTS
5.JEMEEL MOONDOC/BOBBY ZANKEL/IDRIS ACKAMOOR/WILLIAM PARKER/GERALD CLEAVER
6.HEROES ARE GANG LEADERS
Both of these festivals were filled so much incredible music that it hard to absorb it all in the short period of time that the festivals took place. So, I completely understand why folks wait to attend festivals like this just a few times per year. Coming up, check the schedules for the Guelph Jazz Fest (in Ontario in September) and the Edge Fest (in Ann Arbor in October). And please come check out Free Music at DMG almost every Sunday at 6pm!
The Downtown Music Gallery 28th Anniversary Celebrations began on May 1st & Continues!
Every In-store This Summer Helps Celebrate the Spirit of Creative Music Performed Live.
Sunday, June 23rd:
6pm: TOMCHESS / ZACH SWANSON - Oud, Ney & Morsing / ContraBass
7pm: TERRENCE McMANUS - Solo Guitar
Sunday, June 30th:
6pm: RAS MOSHE & MUSIC NOW!
Sunday, July 7th:
6pm: RAF VERTESSEN / ANNA WEBBER / ADAM O’FARRILL - Drums / Reeds / Trumpet!
DMG is located at 13 Monroe St. (between Catherine & Market Sts) in a basement below a small gallery. Take the F train to East Broadway or the 6 train to Canal or the B or D to Grand, or the M-15 bus to Madison & Catherine. Come on Down, the Sunday Music Series is Always Free & the Vibes are Always Cosy. You can check the weekly in-store sets through our Instagram feed
Recommended Upcoming Show from Guitar Great GARY LUCAS:
Fri June 21st
Gary Lucas, Feifei Yang and Jason Candler
Perform their Chinese pop-jazz fusion project "The Edge of Heaven" at
5pm on the Joe’s Pub Outdoor Stage by the Cube
At Astor Place as part of the free Make Music New York Festival
This Week’s Dynamic Discs Begin with this long-awaited 4 CD Set from the New ANTHONY BRAXTON QUARTET:
ANTHONY BRAXTON With NELS CLINE / TAYLOR HO BYNUM / GREG SAUNIER - Quartet (New Haven) 2014 (FireHouse12 030; USA) “Near the end of a recent conversation with Rolling Stone, in which he emphasized time and again that his musical tastes aren’t confined to any one style, eminent avant-gardist Anthony Braxton illustrated his point by sharing a nickname he’s earned from those close to him.
“My friends call me Anthony ‘Beefheart Boy’ Braxton!” he says cheerfully.
“He was totally creative,” Braxton says of the late Captain Beefheart. “His compositions were outrageously beautiful and original. His ensemble was really special. Some people talk of Captain Beefheart as a far-out rock musician, but when I think of Beethoven, Duke Ellington, [saxophonist] Paul Desmond and Frankie Lymon, I can easily put Captain Beefheart in with my heroes and heroines.”
At the moment, those heroes and heroines, drawn from a broad assortment of genres, are especially present in the mind of the 74-year-old composer and multi-woodwind master, who has spent the past half-century synthesizing the full spectrums of jazz, classical and beyond into a vast and complex multimedia universe that at this point can only really be classified as Braxtonia. He’s speaking to Rolling Stone from his home in Connecticut, reflecting on Quartet (New Haven) 2014, a new four-CD box set that brings him into dialogue with the vanguard of modern rock. In addition to brass virtuoso Taylor Ho Bynum, an ever-imaginative bandleader and a key Braxton collaborator for more than 20 years, the record features Wilco guitarist and avant-jazz explorer Nels Cline as well as Greg Saunier, the co-founder and brilliantly idiosyncratic drummer of Deerhoof.
Out June 21st, the release consists of four roughly hour-long improvisations, each taking up a full disc. The pieces touch on a rich array of textures and moods, with Braxton moving among six different saxophones, from the tiny sopranino to the gigantic contrabass, as the inspiration hits. “Improvisation Three,” for example, contrasts wild electrified free jazz — with Cline emitting laser-gun tones, Saunier adding tumbling rolls and Braxton playing scampering phrases on the sopranino — with barely audible abstraction, as Bynum’s faint, otherworldly brass wisps mingle with the guitarist’s gentle swells, Braxton’s hushed alto lines and the drummer’s fluttering brushwork.
As heard in this excerpt from “Improvisation Two,” the group’s interplay is highly attuned yet palpably playful — the sound of four world-class players relishing the chance to step away from their typical musical zones and forge a new shared language.
The dedications that Braxton includes with the album exemplify the same spirit of cross-genre exchange. He’s never been shy about naming diverse influences, from jazz icon John Coltrane to classical trailblazer Arnold Schoenberg and the aforementioned doo-wop hitmaker Lymon, but he sends out Quartet (New Haven) 2014′s respective tracks to four figures that even longtime Braxton fans might not associate with him: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, James Brown and Merle Haggard, respectively. The pieces aren’t any kind of covers or explicit tributes; for Braxton, his homages are more like shout-outs from a longtime fan.
The roots of Quartet (New Haven) 2014 date back to August 2013, when all four musicians were booked at Switzerland’s Jazz Festival Willisau, playing with various projects. Braxton had already known Cline for years through avant-garde music circles, and he and Bynum decided to attend the guitarist’s duo performance at the fest with Saunier, an improv show that, Braxton says, “was so awesome, I almost had a heart attack.”
The gig planted a seed and Braxton, who relishes the chance to work in ad hoc situations outside his own ensembles — case in point: a 2005 appearance with Michigan noise collective Wolf Eyes — started strategizing about a quartet session. Originally, the plan was to work with some of Braxton’s composed material, but when the musicians came together the following June at New Haven’s Firehouse 12 studio, Braxton decided that a spontaneous approach made more sense.
“I found myself feeling for our first opportunity to play music together, I wanted to pick up right after the magical concert that Nels and Greg played in Willisau, which was a concert of improvisation on the highest level.”
Cline has been a Braxton fan for decades and remembers first meeting him in the mid-Seventies when an earlier quartet of Braxton’s performed in Southern California. He says that despite his reverence for Braxton, he felt instantly at ease when he got to Connecticut for the recording of Quartet (New Haven) 2014, which came right on the heels of a collaboration with another legendary figure, the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh, at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York.
“It was a Sunday evening and we all adjourned to [Braxton’s] favorite restaurant, Red Lobster, and actually had a delightful dinner there, and then recorded for two days,” the guitarist tells RS. “Braxton brought in the heavy artillery — he brought the contrabass saxophone. And he had these graphic scores that seemed to be rather meticulously created, but then he said to basically ignore them, and we improvised.
“Braxton just puts everybody at ease, because he’s very amusing and he’s very personable,” Cline continues. “So once we started playing … it could’ve been just about anybody as far as the vibe; it just felt very connected. But it sounds like nobody else, ’cause it’s Braxton. … In that sense, it’s very exciting. But I couldn’t let that distract me; I just had to use it as sound input and somebody’s soul coming through their instrument and just do my best. The fact that he puts everybody so at ease is very significant.”
That latter description of Braxton could also apply to the experience of conversing with him. Braxton spent more than 20 years teaching music at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University, and he still speaks with a kind of declamatory formality — you can almost envision him pointing his finger skyward to emphasize each phrase — peppering his answers with pet phrases like “time space,” “rhythmic logics” and “cosmic forces.” But he matches that buttoned-up demeanor with disarming friendliness and giddy enthusiasm. Even now, five years after the sessions that produced the album, Braxton still sounds thrilled by what the four musicians accomplished during their first meeting.
“It goes to show in my opinion that many of the idiomatic definitions that have brought us into this time space have more and more become irrelevant because musicians like Greg, who are viewed as percussionists in rock music — in fact, this guy could play with the New York Philharmonic, and this is also true of Nels,” he says, his voice swelling with excitement. “And so in having the opportunity to play with these guys, I found myself in an environment of trans-idiomatic creativity, and it was one of the best things that could happen to me in this time period.”
Even on his breakthrough LP, For Alto — a bracing and highly influential album of solo saxophone pieces recorded 50 years ago this past February — Braxton was already working in a space beyond category. That album’s dedications, naming everyone from jazz piano radical Cecil Taylor to iconoclastic composer John Cage, drove home the point. In the half-century since, whether paying tribute to Charlie Parker; composing elaborate, outlandish operas; writing pieces for ensembles made up of 100 tubas, four orchestras or 12 vocalists; or launching entirely new musical systems, each with its own specialized logic, he’s always resisted any kind of easy pigeonholing.
That staunch open-mindedness hasn’t always made him popular. In 1985’s Forces in Motion, an essential portrait of his life and work by the journalist Graham Lock, Braxton explains how even among his peers in Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians — an African American artists collective founded on Chicago’s South Side that also gave rise to avant-garde masters such as Pulitzer finalist Wadada Leo Smith and Roscoe Mitchell, the Art Ensemble of Chicago co-founder who will join Braxton as an NEA Jazz Master next year — he felt like an outsider.
“[M]y work and Leo’s would be viewed as not as ‘black’ as some of the musics that were reaching into Africa,” he tells Lock in Forces. “It was in this period that controversy began to ensnarl me, even in the AACM; because I was not interested only in Africa, I was interested in Africa and in Europe and in Asia.”
That controversy extended to Braxton’s critical reception, which has often focused as much on his trademark fashion choices (a 2002 Village Voice essay cited his “pipe-smoking, sweater-swaddled egghead persona”) or his sui generis composition titles (which often take the form of arcane letter-and-number sequences bundled with intricate illustrated diagrams) as much as his music. It was the rare writer who understood that if a given Braxton work didn’t exemplify conventional jazz values, it’s probably because that wasn’t remotely the intent.
In Quartet (New Haven) 2014 dedicatee Jimi Hendrix, then, Braxton recognizes a kindred spirit: a musician who never let genre-based constraints box him in.” - Hank Shteamer, Rolling Stone
4 CD Set $46
MYRA MELFORD With ALLISON MILLER / NICOLE MITCHELL / BEN GOLDBERG / DAVE DOUGLAS / MARTY EHRLICH / CHRIS SPEED / ERIK FRIEDLANDER / LINDSEY HORNER / REGGIE NICHOLSON / BRANDON ROSS / RON MILES / et al - 12 from 25 (FireHouse12 031; USA) “During late March of 2015, I performed a 12 show retrospective at The Stone in NYC, which gave me the chance to revisit many of my projects of the past 25 years. I was joined by all of the original musicians who have played in my groups over the years: from the trio I had convened for the first Knitting Factory tour of Europe in 1990, through to my current quintet, Snowy Egret.
In the summer of 2015, I released a video from each of the shows on my YouTube Channel. All the videos are presented here in high-definition with surround audio mixed just for this release, along with a previously unreleased documentary about the week of music by filmmakers Gil Corre and Sylvain Luini. Gil and Sylvain did a fantastic job of capturing the marathon week visually, as did Geoff Countryman and his crew with the audio recording. It was an amazing experience for me: to revisit all of that history – the music, the friendships, the memories of being on tour together; to share it with the many wonderful people from all over who came to The Stone to experience it; and to dream about what’s next.
I’m so grateful to everyone who was part of making this an incredibly rich and fulfilling experience for me! I hope you enjoy the music as much as we enjoyed performing it. – Myra Melford
Featuring: Duo with Allison Miller; Spindrift with Nicole Mitchell & Tyshawn Sorey; Dialogue with Ben Goldberg; Trio with Mary Halvorson & Miya Masaoka; Be Bread with Cuong Vu, Ben Goldberg, Brandon Ross, Stomu Takeishi & Matt Wilson; Same River, Twice with Dave Douglas, Chris Speed, Erik Friedlander & Michael Sarin; Snowy Egret with Ron Miles, Liberty Ellman, Stomu Takeishi & Ted Poor; Duo with Marty Ehrlich; Myra Melford Trio with Lindsey Horner & Reggie Nicholson
Blu-ray in 4-panel digipack, the high-definition videos on this Blu-Ray disc present 12 performances spanning 25 years of pianist Myra Melford’s career. The music features both hi-resolution stereo and immersive 5.1 surround mixes of every performance. The disc also includes a short film documenting Myra’s week long residency at the club. Includes unlimited streaming of 12 From 25 via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.”
JOHN ZORN // JULIAN LAGE / GYAN RILEY BILL FRISELL - Nove Cantici Per Francesco D’Assisi (Tzadik 8364; USA) Composed for a museum residency at the Frick in New York City, Nove Cantici is a beautiful suite of music inspired by the life and thought of the beloved spiritual figure Saint Francis of Assisi. A fitting follow-up to the beautiful and moody acoustic guitar CD Midsummer Moons from 2017, here the astounding guitar duo of Julian Lage and Gyan Riley is expanded to a trio with the addition of legendary guitarist Bill Frisell. Ten lovely, spiritual compositions for meditation and contemplation performed by three of the most renown guitarists in the world. An essential release that will appeal to perhaps the widest audience Zorn has ever had.
JULIAN LAGE With JORGE ROEDER / DAVE KING - Love Hurts (Mack Avenue 1148; USA) Julian Lage is a tremendously talented acoustic guitarist and by all accounts a polite, mild mannered kind of guy. Though this might not be the whole story. The cover picture of his album is of twenty used matches, which is thought to refer to his worries of becoming burnt-out after being hailed as a child prodigy then burdened with the lofty expectations of his admirers.
Lage was an accomplished blues guitarist when featured in the Oscar-nominated film documentary Jules at Eight. A year later, at nine, he was invited on stage to trade licks with Carlos Santana. Then, into his teens, he performed with, in turn, virtuoso banjo player Bela Fleck, bluegrass flat and finger picking ace Doc Watson and jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton. Now in his 30s, he no longer feels the need for such demonstrations of virtuosity.
Lage, based in New York, told Rolling Stone magazine: "I remember very vividly being a kid and people saying, 'You're so good for being such a young age.' I'd say, 'Thank you,' but I'd be thinking, I want to be good for any age. That was always my goal."
He kicks off with the melancholy "In Heaven," by Peter Scott Ivers, a harmonica player, songwriter and television personality murdered in 1983 at the age of 37. Ivers' killer has never been brought to justice. There's some microphone distortion on this track early on, but it doesn't get in the way that much and the rest of the album is fine.
Next up is a dazzlingly fast treatment of the title track of Ornette Coleman's 1959 album, "Tomorrow Is The Question." Then Lage stays with jazz for Keith Jarrett's "The Windup," a second Jarrett number, "Encore (A)" and a lesser known piece by Jimmy Giuffre, "Trudgin'"
But what he does best is to revisit and transform melancholy old pop numbers. His arrangement of the title track, an Everly Brothers' hit from 1965, is quite stunning and his playing of it makes you forget the number's lachrymose country origins.
Better still is the old Tommy Dorsey hit, "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You." On this, Lage abandons any consideration of what might or might not be expected of him and takes it along nice and slowly, exploring the beautiful old melody to the full.” - Chris Mosey, AllAboutJazz
JOHN ZORN // KLEZMERSON - The Book Beri’ah Vol 6 — Tiferet (Tzadik 5106; USA) Based in Mexico, Klezmerson is a super creative ever changing ensemble led by violinist, composer and arranger Benjamin Schwartz. Here they do their critically acclaimed and best selling Book of Angels installment one better with wild arrangements blending a variety of Mexican musical traditions with the sound of Masada. Featuring electric and acoustic strings, keyboards, accordions, saxes and of course a huge array of Latin percussion, Tiferet is one of the most delightful and imaginative CDs in the Book Beri’ah!
Two from ELLIOTT SHARP:
ELLIOTT SHARP & JOHN ANDREW WILHITE-HANNISDAL - Oslo (Va Fongool 020; Norway) “This album of improvised duos finds J.A. on double-bass and E# on Strandberg Boden 8 extended-range guitar creating a wide variety of textures and densities with radically shifting dynamics. The duo is not afraid of grooving though their rhythms are never simplistic, instead straining against regularity while rushing forward. Both musicians have a deep personal vocabularies of extended techniques that push their instruments to their expressive limits and both cover a full range of frequencies from deep bass to screaming treble. Recorded in high-resolution at the legendary NOTAM studios in Oslo, OLSO was mixed and mastered in NYC at E#'s Studio zOaR to create a vivid document of their work together.”
I like the way that Mr. Sharp is always finding duo partners to work with, each one very different from any previous partners: Nels Cline, Guy Klucevsek, Yagi Michiyo & Scott Fields. I must admit that I hadn’t heard of Norwegian bassist Mr. Wilhite-Hannisdal before now, although it turns out that he has studied with Reggie Workman at the New School in NYC. The music here appears to be partially acoustic with occasional manipulations of the guitar or subtle electronic treatments. Mr. Sharp is using a custom made Strandberg Boden 8 (string?) extended-range guitar which gets a wide variety of strange sounds. Since both musicians are played stringed instruments which they manipulate in different ways, it is difficult to tell them apart at times. This is particularly strong duo, always connected and working together extremely well. At times it is hard to tell who is doing what and often the results are mesmerizing. When I turned this disc up a bit, the odd sounds sounded even more intense and focused. Mr. Wilhite-Hannisdal is a young virtuoso, who comes up with an immense amount of unique sounds for his contrabass, often bowing frenetically while Mr. Sharp also unleashes unexpected twist, turns and his distinctive sounds. This is one of the best duo efforts I’ve heard in recent memory! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ELLIOTT SHARP // BRNO CONTEMPORARY ORCHESTRA - Plastovy Hrad (Infrequent Seams 20; USA) Quintessential Downtown composer, instrumentalist and multi-bandleader, Elliott Sharp, is a restless sonic explorer who keeps challenging himself (and us) by working in a wide variety of genres, styles or musical areas not so easily defined. This disc features three compositions, each for a very different ensemble or situation. The only common thread is that a bass clarinet is featured in each piece. The first piece, “Plastovy Hrad”, is the title piece and it is performed by the BRNO Contemporary Orchestra from the Czech Republic. The piece was inspired by the writing of Franz Kafka and poetry of Egon Bondy. The music is dark, quite haunting, often mesmerizing with a cymbalom (Czech instrument) at the center, along with some the bass clarinet as one of the leading figures. It would seem that Mr. Sharp’s composing keeps getting better, more dynamic and well thought out. “Turing Test” is a mini-opera featuring the Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart with Gareth Davies on bass clarinet. Mr. Davies has worked with Mr. Sharp on previous occasions and is an excellent bass clarinetist. The Neue Vocalsolisten are a vocal sextet and work quite well with Gareth Davies at the center. The complex layers of voices are constantly shifting, moving in musical fragments with shrewd harmonies. Mr. Davies’ bass clarinet is featured throughout, taking the lead, weaving his lines around and with the ever-changing vocals, sometimes animalistic and often without words, just expressive sounds. Most impressive! The third piece, “Oumuamua”, is performed by Elliott Sharp on bass clarinet with electronics. This piece was named after a recently discovered asteroid, which is considered by some to be an alien spaceship. The bass clarinet is heavily processed in real time and it is fascinating to listen to as the sounds are manipulated in a variety of odd ways. Once again, Elliott Sharp shows his diverse palette by placing a bass clarinet in three very different situations, each one successful in its own way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MARC DUCRET with SAMUEL BLASER / LIUDAS MOCKUNAS / et al - Lady M (Illusions 313010; France) Personnel: Marc Ducret on guitars & compositions, Sylvain Bardiau on trumpet & bugle, Liudas Mockunas on saxes & bass clarinet, Catherine Delaunay on clarinet & basset horn, Samuel Blaser on trombone, Regis Huby on violins, Bruno Ducret on cello, Joachim Florent on acoustic & electric basses and Sylvain Darrifourcq on drums & percussion plus Lea Trommenschlager - soprano voice and Rodrigo Ferreira - counter tenor voice.
Taking on one of Shakespeare's most famous and frightening female characters, Lady Macbeth, in an 11-piece ensemble that include luminaries Liudas Mockunas, Samuel Blaser, and French guitarist Marc Ducret himself, using operatic form to focus his compositions on the emotional depth of his character, blending composed, improvised and sonic material into an exciting and unsettling work, drawing incredible performances from his players.
I wasn’t so sure about this disc when I heard that there was an opera singer involved. Considering that I’ve dug everything that French guitarist, Marc Ducret, has done, I needn’t have been concerned. There are only two names I recognize here: Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser and Lithuanian reeds player Liudas Mockunas (who once played here at DMG). This disc consists of three parts. Right from the opening, “Scene 1”, the music is powerful, intense chamber music, superbly written and performed, filled with drama and passion. No vocals come in for a long stretch but when they do, they do sound fitting for the music around them. The vocals are in English, the way Shakespeare wrote them, and do not overwhelm the music. There are a number of cross-collaborations here, guitar & sax or clarinet duos, tight, spirited chamber ensemble passages. Overall, I am most impressed by the way this entrée disc unfolds and illustrates the turbulent music and words throughout. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $17 [LTD Edition]
FRANZ KOGLMANN SEPTET with JOHN CLARK / DANIELE D’AGARO / MARIO ARCARI / MILAN TURKOVIC / ATTILA PASZTOR / PETER HERBERT - Fruits of Solitude (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1005; Switzerland) With a superb septet of improvisers also versed in contemporary music, trumpeter Franz Koglmann presents sophisticated compositions that interject the concept of "solitude" in the three-part title track, alongside Koglmann compositions and Jimmy Giuffre's "Finger Snapper", using striking orchestration of trumpet, sax, clarinet, bassoon, oboe, french horn, cello and double bass. Featuring Franz Koglmann on flugelhorn, trumpet & compositions, John Clark on french horn, Daniele D’Agaro on clarinets & tenor sax, Mario Arcari on oboe & english horn, Milan Turkovic on bassoon, Attila Pasztor on cello and Peter Herbert on double bass. I have long dug the music of Franz Koglmann, who has recorded around 16 discs for the Hatology & Between the Lines labels. It has been quite a while (2015), since we seen anything new from him. The liner notes here describe at length, why Mr. Koglmann uses the rem “solitude” in the title of the disc which was inspired in part by the Duke Ellington song os the same name, a most haunting song that was first recorded by Ellington in 1934 and done several times through his career. What’s interesting for me is that today is my birthday (6/19/19) and I am home alone, fasting and trying to bathe in some solitude, after indulging a bit too much earlier this week at a birthday celebration at the store with food, drink, live & recorded music. I just listened to several versions of “Solitude” so perhaps I am in the right mood for this disc, which does seem to evoke those lonesome spirits.
The title track, Fruits of Solitude” gets three versions on this disc. Opening with version “II”, it is indeed haunting, stripped down, most subdued. Since there is no drummer here, bassist Peter Herbert is central to the sound, providing the bottom end, rhythmically and bass-wise. Mr. Koglmann’s arrangements for the brass, reeds and cello is exquisite. Daniele D’Agaro is featured on “Martians Don’t Go Home Anymore”, and plays with that lush, older sax sound, while the rest of the ensemble plays tight, tasty chamber lines around him. It seems obvious that Mr. Koglmann spent quite bit of time arranging this music since the swirling harmonies for the horns and strings is so well integrated into a thoughtful, warm, enticing sound. I especially like the way, Koglmann uses the double reeds (oboe & bassoon) for that eerie, solemn, haunting sound. Each version of the title song is different, each works well in its own way. John Clark, who I recall from his albums on ECM, is in good form here, taking an occasional solo, sounds splendid on the first version of the title track. The two cover songs seem most appropriate. Jimmy Giuffre’s “Finger Snapper”, swirls freely in between the opening and closing theme. The other cover is Dick Twardzik, “Yellow Tango”. Mr. Twardzik was a bebop piano player who died tragically very young (at just 24, heroin overdose in Paris in 1955). This piece is the closing song and it is a tango of sorts, and features some mighty fine bassoon from Mr. Turkovic. What I dig about this disc is this: the playing and arrangements are often engaging yet most subtle or somber. Superb is so many ways. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JIMMY GUIFFRE 3 With PAUL BLEY / STEVE SWALLOW - Graz - Live 1961 (Hat Ezz-Thetics 1001; Switzerland) After introducing his new trio with pianist Paul Bley and double bassist Steve Swallow in two 1961 albums on Verve, clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre embarked on a tour of Europe, this recently discovered, well-recorded concert in Graf, Austria the perfect example of his unique concepts yielding intensely focused, harmonically challenging, rhythmically abstract, and exquisite chamber jazz.
AKI TAKASE with ALEXANDER VON SCHLIPPENBACH - Hokusai Piano Solo (Intakt 327; Switzerland) “Aki Takase, the Berlin-based pianist, is one of the great personalities of modern jazz. Moments of freedom, form and humour characterize this stylistically versatile avant-gardist, the stubborn virtuoso who toys with jazz traditions. In the year of her 70th birthday, Aki Takase was honoured with The Berlin Jazz Prize. Recorded over two days at the Sendesaal Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, the album includes some pieces captured live during the award ceremony, and some recorded in a studio setting in the same historic room. The piece Bach Factory features Alexander von Schlippenbach as a guest and the Japanese author Yoko Tawada appears on Hokahoka Hokosai. Aki Takase is inspired by the Japanese painter Katsushika Hokusai. For Aki Takase, Hokusai was a hugely passionate and brilliant artist with an experimental mind who lived only with and for his paintings. "Hokusai showed so many directions in painting, which is why I wanted to convey various colours in improvisation. Music is like a colour. For me, red and light-blue are gentle colours. These were the colours that I felt. That's my internal landscape. I feel a strong connection to Hokusai."
I have listened to this disc a few times in the past couple of weeks and think it is one of this best solo piano discs I’ve heard in years. Every time I listen, I hear more things going on, the layers get deeper and richer and more involved each time. This just came in stock so I will listen again and try and write more about this gem. - BLG/DMG
Two More Gems from Clarinet & Guitar Great Alex Ward:
ALEX WARD TRIOS & SEXTET With TOM JACKSON / RACHEL MUSSON / HANNAH MARSHALL / OLIE BRICE / STEVE NOBLE - Projected / Entitles / Removal (Copepod 10; UK) The collective personnel features: Alex Ward on clarinet, electric guitar & compositions, Tom Jackson on clarinets, Rachel Musson on tenor sax, Hannah Marshall on cell, Olie Brice on contrabass and Steve Noble on drums. This disc is comprised of three sessions, two trio studio sessions (1/11/15 & 2/20/15) and one live set from the sextet (from 3/5/14 at the Vortex). Since organizing his own Copepod label, Alex Ward has been documenting his own live and studio sessions. Mr. Ward wrote all the music here which balances notation and improvisation. The first trio features Mr. Ward on clarinet, Rachel Musson on tenor sax and Steve Noble on drums. Mr. Noble remains one of best drummers on the UK-based creative music scene having worked with Derek Bailey, Peter Brotzmann, NEW and Decoy. “Projected” is the name of the first trio piece and it is something else. This is a formidable trio, extremely tight and focused, playing those difficult charts with seeming ease. Mr. Noble is on fire here, pushing Mr. Ward into a frenetic flurry, both duo sections are extraordinary. The second trio features Hannah Marshall on cello, Olie Brice on bass and Tom Jackson on clarinets. This is a strong, intense chamber trio with all three members swirling tightly together. Both string players work together very well at creating a dense harmonic fabric with some strong clarinet work by Tom Jackson added as well. The sextet session was recorded live at the Vortex Club in London and it is pretty long, at nearly 44 minutes. This piece features a number of tight written parts with free group detours eruption time and again. There are number of inspired solos here: Rachel Musson on tenor sax, both Alex Ward & Tom Jackson on clarinets or guitar plus the strong, supportive drumming on Steve Noble is consistently inspired. Although much of this moves quickly, the seems to a bond or unifying force which keeps things together and focused no matter how free things get at times. Another winner from Alex Ward’s wonderful Copepod label! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALEX WARD QUINTET With TOM JACKSON / RACHEL MUSSON / HANNAH MARSHALL / OLIE BRICE - Glass Shelves and Floor (Copepod 09; UK) Featuring Alex Ward on clarinet & amplifier, Rachel Musson on tenor sax, Tom Jackson on clarinets, Hannah Marshall on cello and Olie Brice on double bass. Last month I reviewed three discs from Alex Ward’s own label, Copepod: 2 duets with drummers and a ten-piece unit. All were great in different ways. I hadn’t heard about Mr. Ward’s label before he gave us some promos when he played at DMG in May of 2019. Since I am a big fan of Mr. Ward, whether playing clarinet or guitar, I decided to move back through his catalogue and just got in his two previous discs. Mr. Ward is an integral part of a newer creative music scene which has been evolving in and around London for the past few years. All five members of this quintet have a number of previous recordings for the Emanem, FMR, Slam, Confront & 577 Records labels.
This disc consists of two long versions of the title piece, “Glass Shelves And Floor”, one recorded in a studio and one live at the Vortex Club, both in May of 2014. In the notes, Mr. Ward explains that the music is based on a 12-note stack or modality but says that for the regular listener, it doesn’t really matter to understand this. I found the music to be consistently fascinating, ever-evolving, with the quintet playing a series of quirky harmonies, the sonorities always shifting. Sometimes the rest of the quintet lays out while one person solos, then slowly re-enters, one to musicians at a time. There sections where it is hard to tell the difference between the bowed string or bent notes from the clarinet or sax and the subtle amplified feedback or static. There are a number of sub-groups which emerge, like two stings and clarinet, hovering in circular orbits together. Saxist Rachel Musson, who I’ve only come to know in recent years for her work with Downtown drummer, Fedrico Ughi, is in particularly fine form here, bending & twisting her notes out quietly. I really dig those tight written sections which are rather gnarly and no doubt difficult to play. There are a number of sections where several lines swirl around one another in tight circles, with certain members entering, disappearing and then re-entering in intense combinations. The live version of this piece which was recorded just 2 days earlier, is superbly recorded in a quiet setting. Both versions are well worth listening to as they sound consistently focused and inspired throughout. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Back in stock, listed last month & sold out very quickly:
ALEX WARD ITEM 10 With GAIL BRAND / BENEDICT TAYLOR / MANDHIRA DE SARAM / ANDREW LISLE / et al - Volition [Live at Cafe Oto](Copepod 13; UK) Alex Ward’s Item 10 is in fact a 10 piece ensemble, live at Cafe Oto in September of 2017. Mr. Ward did the composing, mixing & mastering. I know of about 1/2 of the UK 10 piece: (Sarah) Gail Brand on trombone, Bendict Taylor on viola, Manhira De Saram on violin and Andrew Lisle on drums. All from different improv situations in London. Mr. Ward mentions in the notes that the music is partially notated, with sections of guided and (unguided or free) improvisations. Mr. Ward does a great job of directing while playing. Te first piece is led by the guitar with several layers (subgroups)revolving around him. Most of this disc features two long pieces: “Entreaty” (42 minutes) and “Volition” (33 min), both of which consist of a series of duos and trios, Each member of the 10tet gets a chance to stretch out in a duo or trio. In between the duos & trios are large, focused ensemble improvisations. All of the sections are connected with layers of expanding improv. Although this ensemble like to go all the way out, the central core is focused, tight, intense and never stepping on anyone’s toes. This disc is one of the best large (moderate?) sized ensemble discs I’ve heard. Alex ward did a great job of pulling this off and keeping it focused, spirited and directed just enough. OUTstanding! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALEX WARD / ANDREW LISLE - Doors (Copepod 11; UK) Featuring Alex Ward on clarinet & electric guitar and Andrew Lisle on drums. Mr. Ward has long excelled in the duo situation , having recorded duos with Derek Bailey, Lol Coxhill, Kay Grant (vocals) and more recently with Mike Gennaro (drums). I was not familiar with drummer Andrew Lisle although we do list him with the Kodian Trio (LP on Trost). This disc was recorded at the Barclay House in London, on two dates in August & September of 2016. Each of the four tracks are long, between 16 & 18 minutes each, with Mr. ward playing clarinet or guitar onto tracks each. “Front” opens with frantic clarinet and drums, pushing each other and nearly spinning out of control, then winding down to more cautious interplay, gliding down to nothingness for a short section. Mr. Ward concentrates on soft squeaks and careful note-bending while Mr. Lisle rubs his drums with suspense-filled space. Eventually erupting full throttle later in the long piece. “Back” features Mr. Ward on electric guitar, playing spacious, eerie, floating fragments, near calm yet somehow unnerving. The soon speeds up playing some fractured lightning licks with strong mallet support. Somewhere between Fred Frith and Haino Keiji, intense noise guitar immensely focused. Hard to believe that Mr. Ward is just as amazing & intense on the guitar as he is on the clarinet. Ward switches back to clarinet on “Open”, carefully spinning out notes, bending certain ones, spinning quicker and quicker, soaring tightly together with the drummer, gliding on a wave like a flock of birds and finally coming down for a quiet landing and settling on the ground. There is a section where it hard to tell the difference between the shifting clarinet and shimmering guitar lines, which is which?!? Does it matter?!? - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DEAD DAYS BEYOND HELP IV With ALEX WARD & JEM DOULTON - DDBH (Copepod 12; UK) DDBH is Alex Ward on guitars and Jem Doulton on drums for one piece with guests: Benedict Taylor on violins & violas, Hannah Marshall on cellos and Santiago Horro on double bass on the other long piece. This is Mr. Ward’s third duo CD with a drummer, a situation he obviously excels in. Drummer Jem Doulton is a new name for me, aside from one previous CD on Relative Pitch label called Forebrace. I know of Benedict Taylor from a hanful of records he made with Keith Tippett, Evan Parker plus a solo record on Cram. I certainly know of UK cellist Hannah Marshall, from records she has with Alexander Hawkins, Veryan Weston and Trevor Watts. Starting off with what sounds like a circus calliope which soon fades out?!? The guitar & drums duo play tight punk/prog rock of sorts, which sounds written or at least directed somehow. The results are rather Minutemen-like without the vocals. This is a mighty duo, perhaps coming out of that Ruins/Lightning Bolt/Hella type of thing. I can hear how Alex Ward would fit perfectly (on guitar and clarinet) with This is Not This Heat, since it seems as if This Heat are another obvious influence. “IVPT0 1” is one long continuous 17 minute work which just keeps going, unfolding through connected sections. “IVPT2” is another 19 minute piece for the duo plays three guests: Hannah Marshall & Bendick Taylor on strings and Santiago Horro on double bass. Things slow down to near sludge, the feedback piling up until they break into rocking groove led by an organ (not listed on cover). The strings are used minimally, often to enhance the sound of the ever shifting guitar sometimes adding a melancholy chamber trio quality. There are quite a bit of odd, unexpected twists and turns as well. Pere Ubu, Battered Ornaments… The strangely cheesy organ and strings (together) sound like a mellotron (ancient prog sound). Very strange, very cool and unlike anything I’ve heard in recent memory. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CHRISTIAN WOLFF - Preludes, Variations, Studies and Incidental Music (Sub Rosa 480; Belgium) These two discs reveal Christian Wolff as a composer fully exploring, in different ways, the continuum between music which is highly fragmented, embracing extended silences (composed or indeterminate), to that which is more progressive and seemingly driven, albeit taking in disarming and unconventional routes. As a body of repertoire, these works are remarkable for their freshness of musical thought and energy (John Cage considered Wolff to be the most "musical" of the experimental composers). Performer Philip Thomas (b.1972, North Devon) specializes in performing experimental notated and improvised music as a soloist and with leading experimental music group Apartment House. He is currently Professor of performance at the University of Huddersfield, co-director of Cerenem, and co-editor of Changing the System: the music of Christian Wolff (2010). Digipack; includes 16-page booklet.
Philip Thomas on the release: "In all my performances of Wolff's music, I aim for interpretations that both interest and surprise me, allowing the notations to lead me to new ways of playing and thinking about music, whilst at the same time trying to lead the notations toward the unexpected."
2 CD Set $18
TOSHI ICHIYANAGI / CLAUDE LEDOUX - Cloud Atlas/Vertical Study (Sub Rosa 473; Belgium) ‘Cloud Atlas’ is a collection of ten short pieces composed by Toshi Ichiyanagi between 1985 to 1999. Vertical Study gathers rare pieces composed by Claude Ledoux. Both are performed by Japanese pianist Kaoru Tashiro. "Kaoru produces serene, yet rich sound texture; the fluctuation of beat and the perspective of the motif are ingenious. I hope many more people will taste this joy of finding a grain of gold with your own eyes and ears, from her commercialism-unrelated, sincere and an experimental performance." --Miyuki Shiraishi, Asahi Journal Digipack includes 16-page booklet.
Toshi Ichiyanaghi is a legend. Close friend of John Cage and Nam June Paik, he was also the first husband of Yoko Ono -- Fluxus period. His Cloud Atlas is a collection of ten short pieces composed between 1985 to 1999. From exclusives notes from the booklet: "Music has been defined as temporal art, however the temporal elements of music have been gradually decreased and lacking since the late 19th century. I feel that we need to compensate for the lack of those elements and introduce new elements, which can be alternative to them, in my case, it is substantial space, in order to restore the spiritual richness that music provides." Currently, he serves as Artistic Director of TIME; Artistic Director of Ensemble Origin_A Millennium of Resonance; Adviser of the Japan Music Competition; Board Member of Saison Foundation; Councilor of Suntory Foundation for Arts and General Artistic Director of the Kanagawa Arts Foudation.
Claude Ledoux was a pupil of Henri Pousseur. He obtained a Master in Music Sciences from the Liège University. Nowadays, he works as a musical journalist and lecturer as well as a Musical Analysis professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris (France). In Spring 2013, he was invited in China for lectures of Master classes at the Shanghai Conservatory. The same year he founded the LAPS Ensemble which mixes laptops and acoustic instruments. The pieces presented here are an example of his interest for both his love for Japan and the cosmos.”
HIFIKLUB & MIKE COOPER - Aran Stories (Ruptured025; Lebanon) British guitarist Mike Cooper collaborates with Hifiklub, a French instrumental ensemble from Toulon, for an impressive musical reading of Robert J. Flaherty's 1934 silent film Man of Aran. Since 2007, French quartet Hifiklub has been building a protean work that evolves through an impressive series of collaborations. The band's catalog is wide and far-reaching, and includes more than 130 collaborations with such renowned musicians as Lee Ranaldo, Alain Johannes, Jad Fair, Fatso Jetson, R. Stevie Moore, amongst others. For the past 50 years Mike Cooper has been an international musical explorer, performing and recording, solo and in a number of inspired groupings and a variety of genres. Initially a folk-blues guitarist and singer songwriter, his work has diversified to include improvised and electronic music, live music for silent films, radio art and sound installations. In 2017, Hifiklub got in touch with Mike Cooper to record (and eventually perform) a live soundtrack to controversial filmmaker Robert J. Flaherty's silent movie Man of Aran. Flaherty was an American filmmaker who directed and produced the first commercially successful feature-length documentary film, Nanook of the North, in 1922. Following the success of this film, he continued the development of this new genre of narrative documentary with Moana (1926), set in the South Seas, and Man of Aran (1934), filmed in Ireland's Aran Islands. When devising the lyrics for his performance, Cooper dug into Irish writer John Millington Synge's book The Aran Islands, published in 1907. This book provided the initial inspiration for Flaherty's film. Cooper cut up texts from the book and sang them for the record, while relying on a different set of texts from the same source, for the live performance. It was Cooper who contacted Lebanese indie label Ruptured for the release of the album; no stranger to the Lebanese experimental scene and its various key players, Cooper has already recorded two albums in Beirut. Edition of 400.
HARRY BERTOIA - Experimental I/Mechanical I (Sonambient 1035; USA) When Harry Bertoia's Sonambient label was resurrected, Important Records' intention was to tell the story of Bertoia's groundbreaking Sonambient work as revealed through his extensive collection of notes and recordings. When the first new LP was released in 2016, Important were only in possession of 1/20th of the archive. Now, in 2019, the label is excited to release the first LP of new material from the full archive and they present it to increase understanding of what Bertoia was doing in his sound-barn deep in the Pennsylvania woods. The recordings contained on this LP were selected because of their relationship to Bertoia's body of recorded work. The titles are from Bertoia's notes which Bertoia placed in each tape box, indicating date and describing briefly. Like his sculptures, Bertoia never titled his recordings but frequently referred to specific concepts he was pursuing. These are among the earliest known examples of Bertoia using terms which would become more common in the years to come: "experimental", "mechanical", and "long sounds". Cut from the original master tapes maintaining a straight analog signal path. CD version includes bonus track "Long Sounds".
"Experimental I": Very few of Bertoia's early experimental sessions survive on tape: he did not record many and often erased those he taped. Most were not recorded and those that were recorded, were often erased. Those that remain, however, offer fascinating insights into how Bertoia likely worked in the barn when the tape machine wasn't running. Although he left behind hundreds of tapes, one can only begin to imagine the amount of unrecorded sessions that took place in Bertoia's barn. "Experimental I" shows the artist stretching out, in no hurry and avoiding any bombastic explosiveness. You can imagine Bertoia looking around the barn much as he is seen on this album's cover; searching for the next sound in his forest of metal wires. Unheard combinations of sculptures, percussion and long strummed sections make this recording unique. This piece has an effortless, natural flow.
"Mechanical I": There appear to be at least ten tapes from 1969-1975 that Bertoia noted were "Mechanical". Bertoia thought of his sculpture as a collaboration with industry since the diameters of his rods were, ultimately, determined by what was available from the factory that manufactured them. In that sense, Bertoia's music could, quite literally, be considered industrial and this piece has the metallic rhythms of a factory pulsing through it.
ENNIO MORRICONE - Ruba Al Prossimo Tuo (DigitMovies 299; Italy) Digitmovies presents a reissue of Ennio Morricone's soundtrack for Ruba Al Prossimo Tuo, a 1968 film by Francesco "Citto" Maselli. The 1995 GDM Music compilation With Love presented a collection of love themes by Ennio Morricone. One theme, from Ruba Al Prossimo Tuo, was enclosed directly transferred from the music track of the movie itself, but the source was in such terrible conditions that did not make it possible to create a CD master. An expanded suite (from the same disputable source) was later enclosed on a Japanese CD, but unfortunately the sound quality was mediocre. The original master tapes containing the whole original recording session in very good mono sound, have now been discovered. This CD compiles every musical note recorded in 1968. The present version contains only the original music composed by Morricone, conducted perfectly by Bruno Nicolai. Morricone wrote a monothematic score including several orchestral variations of the main theme, a brilliant and very romantic motif with lounge flavor, vocalized by I Cantori Moderni di Alessandroni. Introduced first in "Titoli di Testa" and reprised with several variations throughout the score, the theme is presented in a classic-style version with harpsichord, organ and mandolin, a slow and dreamy version with the voice of Edda and also the choir I Cantori, a samba version, a beat-flavored mysterious version, another version once again with the splendid magical voice of Edda and a slower variation with the whistle of Alessandro Alessandroni. The style of Morricone thus delivers a strongly recognizable second theme, very romantic and lounge-styled, featuring a keyboard used by the author in other scores like Giu La Testa (1971). A classic-style minuet theme with the operatic vocalism of Edda enriches the score. The third theme is a brilliant orchestral samba introduced by a typewriter and developed by the whole orchestra and then reprised with the performance of the wonderful Cantori Moderni. The CD also contains three superb "shake" dance floor music themes that bring us the unforgettable Beat atmospheres of those days' discotheques.
RAMUNTCHO MATTA - 96 AKUphone 1014; France) The poet, producer, and visual artist Ramuntcho Matta comes back to music with 96. 96 -- as in 96 hours were needed to record this new album. Ramuntcho points out that behind this dazzling recording, years of experience enabled him to achieve the mix of spontaneity and intimacy of the album. He was the man behind the success of Elli Medeiros's "Toi Mon Toit" (1986). As a matter of fact, Ramuntcho Matta likes to put artists in the spotlight, as he has done with Brion Gysin, Don Cherry, and many others. However, this time he decided to put himself in the spotlight with a record that sounds very '90s -- with a wink to Bill Laswell for the bass -- but still very contemporary. The album unveils a dark atmosphere, as if Alain Bashung had lost himself in a Lynch film. Record sleeve designed by Ramuntcho Matta. Unpublished notes and drawings from the artist's logbook Desseins Du Jour. CD version comes in a digipack; includes 12-page booklet.
WALTER MAIOLI & NIRODH FORTINI - Taraxacum (Black Sweat Records BS 051; Italy) “An amazing adventure of a musicological and botanical research on the psychoacoustic qualities of the green world. It's the investigation of an organic symbiosis, real and mysterious at the same time, between the pharmacological properties of the plant and the sound emitted by the same material essence. From the single natural element comes the vibration permeating the whole universe; an indissoluble binomial for which "everything that makes up existence contains the information of itself in all its parts". Here, the visionary Walter Maioli (Aktuala, Futuro Antico, Synaulia) collaborates with the music therapist and eclectic composer Agostino Nirodh Fortini, for more than thirty years specialist in the field of sound and video applied to body therapies and meditation. By exposing the archetype breath of the stem, slowing its speed and manipulating and filtering it electronically, the two explorers create a bath of harmonic games with purifying and regenerating powers; a deep and nebulous drone inhabited by insects, alien sounds similar to the vibrates of Fender Rhodes or tonal interludes with plays of stones in water, on the surface of an inner lake, learning to observe and dive into love and awareness.”
SPREADING THE WORD - Early Gospel Recordings (JSP 77214; UK) "This is a superbly remastered and presented 4 CD set of the earliest, deepest and most soulful Gospel recordings. There is an intensity about all these recordings that illustrates a profound faith and belief but also is a 'cry of pain' of people struggling for dignity and rights which were being denied them. These are seminal early Gospel from some of the great legends-essential music!"
4 CD Set $30
CHARLES MINGUS with THAD JONES / HANK JONES / et al - The Rarest On Debut (Down at Dawn 135; Italy) Created in 1952 by bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach, Debut label was a first attempt by jazz musicians to get their music recorded and released under their own control. It was a short-lived experiment (1952-1957) that produced some memorable works. The vibrant spirit of Mingus lives through this great selection of rare Debut recordings with himself as leader of two different line up (quintet/octet) and as bassist of the Hank Jones Trio and the Thad Jones Quintet.
ALFRED PANOU & THE ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO - Je Suis Un Sauvage/Le Moral Necessaire (Souffle Continu Records 055-EP; France) Originally released for RSD 2019. A single produced by the highly-revered Saravah label at the time, featuring the Art Ensemble of Chicago backing the poetry of the little-remembered Alfred Panou, is not as well-known as the label's other releases. Seen in the 1967 film Weekend by Jean-Luc Godard, Alfred Panou who is of mixed Benin-Togolese origin, already had a career as an actor in political theater when, pushed by producer Pierre Barouh, he recorded two of his texts concerning Black Power. Panou's prose is one of the first, in its own way, to question the notion of black identity. The rowdy poly-instrumental jungle fantasy of the Art Ensemble of Chicago creates a musical counterpoint. First ever vinyl reissue.
7” Single $13
AAMM with JOHN TILBURY / EDDIE PREVOST MAZEN KERBAJ / et al - A Trio & AMM (Unrock 012; Germany) Back in August of 2015, the legendary London grand seigneurs of improvisation pioneers, AMM (John Tilbury and Eddie Prevost) joined forces with Lebanese electro-acoustic-free-jazz outfit "A" Trio (Mazen Kerbaj, Sharif Sehnaoui, and Raed Yassin). Two generations of improvisers with a very differing approach to work, captured dancing slowly along a very thin line of fine-tuned, both, clear and crackling improvised sounds. Harsh at times with magic mellow moments of intense, fragile, broken noises. No overdubs, no use of electronics. Unjazz at times. Recorded by Andreas Pysiewicz at St. Elisabeth Kirche, Berlin on August 27th, 2015 in the context of Daad's Mikromusik Festival. Artwork and design by Mazen Kerbaj. Mixed by Fadi Tabbal at Tunefork Studios, Beirut. Produced in Lebanon by Al Maslakh and Unrock; Mastered by Peter Körfer at Ivory Tower. One-time pressing.
JACQUES THOLLOT - Quand Le Son Devient Aigu, Jeter La Girafe A La Mer (Souffle Continu Records 049; France) Souffle Continu Records present the first ever vinyl reissue of Jacques Thollot's Quand Le Son Devient Aigu, Jeter La Girafe À La Mer, originally released in 1971. While he was still just a young adolescent who had perfected his drum technique under the benevolent wing of Kenny Clarke, the Club Saint-Germain liked to present Jacques Thollot as a prodigy capable of holding his own with the famous jazz musicians who came through Paris. It was there that Eric Dolphy immediately noticed him, and from René Thomas to Walt Dickerson, everyone wanted to work with him. However, it was during the 1960s, first with Jef Gilson then François Tusques, Barney Wilen, Joachim Kühn, and Steve Lacy, that the decisive encounters occurred. Without forgetting that he joined, in 1968, one of Don Cherry's groups, went on tour with them and came back transformed. That being said, to present Jacques Thollot as an in-demand virtuoso who could adapt to any circumstances would be to ignore both his demanding compositions and his complete freedom from stylistic boundaries. Although he had already featured on some cult albums -- Our Meanings And Our Feelings by Michel Portal (1969), Monkey-Pockie-Boo by Sonny Sharrock (1970) -- the first album under his own name, recorded in 1971 for producer Gérard Terronès, who gave him free rein, would turn out to be an unexpected, unclassifiable and astounding work. Entitled Quand Le Son Devient Aigu, Jeter La Girafe À La Mer, ("when the sound gets high-pitched, throw the giraffe into the sea") it is an extraordinary sonic collage, created from discrete re-recordings and using just a handful of instruments including drums and piano. The result is a miracle, though the economy of means the production technique succeeds in putting the spotlight on the oddly elaborate compositions under an enigmatic but well-chosen title, borrowed from poet Henri Michaux. It puts into words the mysteries of a fragile melancholic universe which can be compared to another album by an iconoclastic drummer: The End Of An Ear by Robert Wyatt (1970). The difference being the highly personal elements which shine through the French musician's album, clearly drawn from listening intently to classics from Debussy, Ravel, and Barraqué (whom he knew), a seam which he would continue to mine on his equally excellent following albums Watch Devil Go (1975) and Cinq Hops (1978). Thollot recorded five albums under his own name during his lifetime, but those albums are marvelous. Licensed from Futura/Marge. 16-page booklet with unpublished photos an essay by Jean Rochard.
SPECTRA EX MACHINA - A Sound Anthology of Occult Phenomena, 1920-2017 Vol. 1 (Sub Rosa 461; Belgium) "Have a gramophone in every grave..." --James Joyce, Ulysses (1922). The anthology Spectra Ex Machina brings together rare documents pertaining to so-called occult phenomena, most of them taken from little-known archives. In the course of three volumes, this series traces an audio history of parapsychology through the exploration of spiritualism and haunted houses (Vol. 1); musician mediums (vol. 2); experiences of extrasensory perceptions (clairvoyance, psychokinesis, etc.) and electronic voice phenomena (vol. 3). The documents gathered here are, by their extravagance and far-fetched aspects, more than the mere objects of belief one would be tempted to reduce them to. They are vestiges of aberrant phenomena, fossils of an unknown civilization buried in the depths of the unconscious that are revived, in a way, when we listen to them. They can be understood as "works", in the full artistic sense of the word, and constitute a kind of "cabinet of sound curiosities" that is worthy of aesthetic interest. Sometimes imbued with a disconcerting dramatic intensity, these documents bear the features of an authentic time machine, placing the listener in the position of a witness of the time immersed in the dim darkness of the experimental hall. And it is at that precise moment that the aesthetic power of these archives takes precedence over their probative value. Their somewhat old-fashioned charm, maintained by the surface noise of magnetic tapes and old wax disks, gets stronger with each listen. Contains a 20-page large booklet, 30x30 cm.
NED COLLETTE - Old Chestnut (Feeding Tube Records 362-2; USA) Second edition of 500. Pressed on bottle green and blue bell color vinyl. "We were introduced to the music of Ned Collette by guitarist Julia Reidy, another Melbourne ex-pat currently based in Europe. Julia's word is good as gravy around here, so we checked out Ned's new work and were blown clean out of our socks. Old Chestnut is a haunting prog-folk song cycle for the ages. Ned's approach to voice and guitar resemble various models at various times. You'll hear smatterings of Leonard Cohen, Lou Reed, Pip Proud in lyrics and phrasing, but these are always just spices, added to the beautifully melancholic vistas Ned arrays before our ears. On the epic track, 'June,' there is a piano part by Chris Abrahams (of The Necks) so perfect in its conception it stops time. Working with longtime drum partner, Joe Talia, and a few other guests, Collette has made a goddamn whale of an album. The songs are brilliant, the arrangements have an addictively sparse genius, and the production is so full and delicate it reminds us of folks like Jim O'Rourke, Van Dyke Parks and Roger Waters. We are strangely unfamiliar with the bulk of Ned's previous recordings, but it doesn't really feel like it matters that much. With an album as strong as Old Chestnut, his history restarts here." - Byron Coley
2 LP Set $27
Bruce Lee Gallanter’s Recommended Gig List for June of 2019:
THE NEW STONE
Is Located at the New School’s Glass Box Theatre
55 West 13th street - just east of 6th ave
THE STONE RESIDENCIES - ANTHONY COLEMAN - JUNE 18–22
8:30 pm - TRIO - Anthony Coleman (piano) Henry Fraser (bass) Francisco Mela (drums)
8:30 pm - Survivors Breakfast Invitational - Margaret Sloyer (flute) Allison Burik (alto sax, bs. clarinet) Kalun Leung (trombone) Doug Wieselman (clarinet,bs. clarinet) Marty Ehrlich (alto sax, clarinet, bs. clarinet) Magdalena Abrego, Matthew Okun (electric guitars) Alexander Whiting (mandolin) Steven Long (keyboards) Sara Salomon (violin), Sun Kyoung Min (cello) Henry Fraser (bass) Jolee Gordon (voice) Anthony Coleman (director)
THE STONE RESIDENCIES - WADADA LEO SMITH - JUNE 25–29
8:30 pm - “Performing Lake Biwa, Ladyday”
Min Xiao Fen (voice, pipa) Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet)
8:30 pm - Reflections and Meditations on Monk
Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet)
8:30 pm - The Blue Mountain Sun Drummer, for Ed Blackwell
Wadada Leo SMith (trumpet) Pheeroan Aklaff (drums)
8:30 pm - Red Autumn Gold/Silence - Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet) Mariel Roberts, Okkyung Lee (cellos) Erika Dohi, Gabriel Zucker (pianos)
8:30 pm - Ritual Light, a Cosmic Luminous Wave-Field - Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet) Bill Laswell, Melvin Gibbs (basses) Hardedge (electronics) Pheeroan Aklaff (drums) Lamar Smith (guitar) Brandon Ross (guitars) Mauro Refosco (percussion)
THE (NEW) STONE is located in The New School’s Glass Box Theatre
All Sets at The New Stone start at 8:30pm Tickets: $20
There are no refreshments or merchandise at The Stone.
Only music. All ages are welcome. Cash Only at the door.
A serious listening environment.
The Stone is booked purely on a curatorial basis
JOHN ZORN Presents The STONE SERIES at Happy Lucky No. 1:
2 night residencies
Friday, June 21st & Saturday, June 22nd, 2019 - 8:00 PM 9:00 PM
Pamelia Stickney & Ches Smith
Jatakas performed by ODES & fragments
Chris Mannigan (sax)
Danny Tunick (mallets)
Pamelia Stickney (theremin, possibly piano)
Happy Lucky No. 1: 734 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216
646 623 0414 / www.happyluckyno1.com
by subway: Take 2, 4, or 5 trains to Franklin;
Take 3 train to Nostrand Ave.
Take A or C to Nostrand Ave.
Bushwick Improvised Music Series Continues:
Monday June 24th
7pm Paul Austerlitz - contra bass clarinet
Isaiah Obama Richardson Jr. - clarinet
Jasper Dütz - alto & bass clarinet
Ivan Barenboim - contra - bass clarinet
Charles Townsend - electric violin
8pm Stephen Gauci - tenor saxophone
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
9pm Eric Plaks - piano
Daniel Carter - woodwinds
Matt Lavelle - trumpet/bs. clarinet
Aquilles Navarro - trumpet
Andrew Hadro - baritone sax/bs. clarinet
Adam Lane - bass
Jon Panikkar - drums
9:45pm Joe Hertenstein Quartet
10:45pm Kenneth Jimenez - bass
Hery Paz - tenor saxophone/bs. clarinet
Santiago Leibson - keyboard
11:30pm Austin White - synth
Dave Miller - drums
Downstairs @ Bushwick Public House
1288 Myrtle Avenue , Bushwick
(Across the street from M train Central Ave stop)
$10 suggested donation
FRIDAY, JUNE 21, 2019 - 8:00 PM 10:00 PM
HEAVY LETTUCE SHRAGGE/CHESS QUARTET
8:00PM: HEAVY LETTUCE
Zack Foley - Vocals
Ryan Ferreira- Guitar
Chris Tordini - bass
9:00PM: SHRAGGE/CHESS QUARTET
Aaron Shragge - trumpet/shakuhachi/fx
Tom Chess - oud/ney/morsing
Michael Gam - Bass, sarod, sarangi, kanjira
Deric Dickens - Drums
SATURDAY, JUNE 22, 2019 - 8:00 PM 10:00 PM
YOON SUN CHOI ANNE RHODES
Yoon Sun Choi: 10 Watts
Anne Rhodes: Red Rainbow
IBEAM in BROOKLYN, NYC
168 7TH STREET
BROOKLYN, NY, 11215
Zürcher Gallery invites you to our SUMMER JAZZ SEASON - Concert Program
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 at 8:00 PM
LOUIE BELOGENIS Solo Tenor Sax
Performing John Coltrane’s “Meditations”
Thursday, June 27 at 8:00 PM
33 Bleecker St (just east of Lafayette)
New York, NY, 10012-2432