New Things This Week Begin with an Important 10 CD Set from WILLIAM PARKER!
Last month, I got a book in the mail to review: it is entitled ‘Universal Tonality - The Life and Music of William Parker’ by Cisco Bradley. I hope to finish reading it tonight. It is an extraordinary account of William Parker’ life and long music journey. I love reading this book since it shows how Mr. Parker’s entire life has been a search for the positive inspiration that Creative Music provides as long as one works hard at exploring the many ways that Great Art expresses itself, helping bring us together. This book will be released in mid-February and we will be getting copies to sell. Let us know if you want one. In the meantime, the below 10 CD set is also well worth checking out…
WILLIAM PARKER with JASON KAO HWANG / MARA ROSENBLOOM / ERI YAMAMOTO / HAMID DRAKE / COOPER-MOORE / JEMEEL MOONDOC / MATT MORAN / BEN STAPP / FAY VICTOR / ELLEN CHRISTIE / KYOKO KITAMURA / JACKSON KRALL / MATT LAVELLE / LISA SOKOLOV / MELANIE DYER / et aL - The Music of William Parker - Migration of Silence / into and Out of The Tone World (Centering Records 1020-1029; USA) This is a most ambitious project that Downtown Composer/Contrabassist/Multi-Instrumentalist/Multi-Bandleader/Poet/Visionary William Parker, has undertaken so far. A massive ten CD set in which each disc has different personnel, concept and sonic flavor. Most of it was recorded over the past 2 years (2018-2020) and all but 1 piece is/are new songs to take in. CD1 is called, “Blue Limelight” and it features a fine a nine piece unit with Jason Hwang on violin, Mara Rosenbloom on piano, three more strings, oboe, bass, two drummers and Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez on vocals. “Cosmic funk will save the world”! she sings I do believe that this is true. Not Burnt Sugar???!?! Nope, WP! This octet plus J Hwang sounds mighty fine! Vocalist Raina is the daughter of Lisa Sokolov, who has worked with William Parker for many years and who Raina sounds like. WP called this piece “Cosmic Funk”, which he says was inspired by the stanky smell on a subway car late one night. But when I hear that term, “Cosmic Funk”, I think of going to see Funkadelic play for 3 plus hours at the Apollo in Harlem in 1979! Anyway. The words here are so sweet, inspiring, positive, real, touching, soulful, jeeeez, so fine..! Laura Nyro, Rickie Lee Jones, Jeanne Lee, hmmmmm… now Raina. All amazing singers and somehow connected here. Another standout here is the oboe playing by Jim Ferraiuolo (someone I don’t know yet) who weaves his way around around the voice, adding some classical spice & mystery. The coolest of all is “Bennie’s Tune”, about a legendary (fictitious?) trumpet player named Bennie Bishop, who “abducted by the jazz police and…, this is all too much!
Disc 2 is called, ‘Child of Sound’ and it features solo piano from Eri Yamamoto, a fine Downtown jazz pianist, whose trio has been playing in the West Village for many years and with whom William Parker has collaborated several times. Mr. Parker composed the 14 songs here, only two of which have been previously recorded. The music is dedicated to the two million Indigenous people who live on reservations in the USA and have been marginalized throughout our history. The playing by Ms. Yamamoto and the music itself is filled with beauty, compassion, pride, passion, communion with Great Spirits, tenderness, strength, resolve and many other useful emotions and feelings. Mr. Parker explains in the liner notes what inspired each piece.
Disc 3 is called “The Majesty of Jah” and it features the voice of Ellen Christie (also providing samples) with Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson on trumpet and William Parker on bass, doson ngoni & percussion with the help of Jemeel Moondoc, Kid Jordan & Dave Burrell on one track. I met Ms. Christie in the late seventies when she came to a jam session I had with Tom Bruno & Steve Buchanan. Although she is under-recorded and rarely gets the recognition she well deserves, she has been a longtime favorite singer of mine. William Parker is one of the few bandleaders/composers who has utilized her talents time and again. Ms. Christie is in fine form here, her voice at the center with just superb trumpet, acoustic bass, dosun ngoni (African string instrument) and select vocal samples. Another highlight here is the trumpet playing of Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson, who appeared on an earlier WP 2 CD set called, ‘Meditation/Resurrection’.
CD 4 is called, ‘Cheops’ and features Kyoko Kitamura on voice, Matt Moran on vibes, Ben Stapp on tuba, Kayla Milmine-Abbott on soprano sax, Rachel Housle on drums and WP on bass, duduk & fujara overtone flute. I do recognize the names of Ms. Kitamura, Mr. Moran and Mr. Stapp from a variety of previous discs and in-store performances, while Kayla & Rachel are new names for me. Ms. Kitamura, who works with Anthony Braxton & Ras Moshe, is another old friend and favorite vocalist of mine. Mr. Parker calls Kyoko a one woman choir and I must agree with this. “Entire Universe” is an extraordinary piece for cosmic, swirling vocals, vibes, tuba, soprano sax, powerful bowed contrabass and drums. Ms. Kitamura sounds wonderful here stretching out her voice in a variety of ways, with strong spirited vibes, tuba, soprano sax, bass & drums swirling around her. There is a great deal to consider here as we read the lengthy liner notes about each disc, each composition. I’ve listened to 5 of the 10 discs so far and each one is a masterwork in its own way. Hope to finish listening to the rest of the box this coming weekend. No matter what, this entire 10 CD set will be one of the most talked about, studied and revered boxes of the year. Get your now and start to dig in. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
10 CD Set $85
JULIUS HEMPHILL with ABDUL WADUD / JOHN CARTER / BAIKIDA CARROLL / OLU DARA / MARTY EHRLICH / RAY ANDERSON / NELS CLINE / DAVE HOLLAND / URSULA OPPENS / ALEX CLINE / JACK DeJOHNETTE / MALINKE EELIOTT / K. CURTIS LYLE / ALAN JAFFE / MICHAEL CARVIN / JOHN PURCELL / JACK WILKINS / et al - The Boye Multi-National Crusade for Harmony - Archival Recordings [1977-2007](New World Records 80825-2; USA) “Somehow I discovered I could write this music and play the saxophone. All that stumbling around and stuff, I ended up finally being able to play it a little bit. I ain’t the greatest by any means, not even close—but I think I’ve got depth, a broadness of my musical sensibility, that a lot of soloists don’t have, because they focus on that one thing, soloing. I want to develop the whole backdrop, the scenery. Once I found out that was possible, that I could collaborate with people, I came alive musically.” — Julius Hemphill
“In response to the arguably self-righteous pronouncements made in the 1990s as to what jazz is and isn’t, Julius Hemphill (1938–1995) spoke up as he had done throughout his career. “Well, you often hear people nowadays talking about the tradition, tradition, tradition. But they have tunnel vision in this tradition. Because tradition in African-American music is wide as all outdoors.” This collection of music, this celebration of artistic collaborations that engaged Julius Hemphill throughout his life, adds much to what we know of his creativity in exploring the implications in that wide space. His work, done in what was not much more than twenty-five years, illuminated so many byways of that protean tradition, created in America against the direst of odds. Equally vital, Julius claimed, with great passion, his space to be expressive. He worked inward as much as he looked outward, in his artistic creativity and cultural engagements.
This box set contains musical compositions and performances that have come to light from the Julius Hemphill Archive at the Fales Library of New York University. These performances present thirty-five Hemphill compositions culled from close to 180 audio and visual documents of his work. Twenty-five of these works did not receive a commercial recording in his lifetime. Also represented in this box set are ensemble contexts Julius formed which did not receive substantial, or in some cases, any public documentation. These performances put Julius’s improvisational work as a saxophonist and flutist to the fore, from solo to quintet contexts. (The one exception being Disc 4, where we hear pieces Julius wrote for others to interpret.) Equally important, these performances deepen our experience of Julius’s long associations in artistic collaboration. — Marty Ehrlich from the liner notes. Here is the line-up for each disc:
Disc 1: The Boyé Multi-National Crusade for Harmony I [74:20]
Disc 2: The Julius Hemphill/Abdul Wadud Duo [60:51]
Disc 3: The Janus Company [73:47]
Disc 4: Chamber Music [63:32
Disc 5: Roi Boyé Solo and Text [75:01]
Disc 6: The Boyé Multi-National Crusade for Harmony II [65:07]
Disc 7: Live At Joyous Lake [66:44]
7 CD Box Set $100 [In stock early next week]
MARSHALL ALLEN / ROSCOE MITCHELL / SCOTT ROBINSON / MILFORD GRAVES - Flow States (ScienSonic SS 12; USA) Featuring Marshall Allen on alto sax & EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument), Roscoe Mitchell on soprano, sopranino, bass & alto saxes, Scott Robinson on tenor, bass, comtrabass & alto saxes and Milford Graves on drums. This date was recorded in April of 2015 at the ScienSonic Laboratory Studio in Teaneck, NJ. ScienSonic founder and multi-instrumentalist, Scott Robinson, organized this rare quartet date with three elders from the Free/Cosmic Jazz universe. It was the first time that both Marshall Allen (Sun Ra Arkestra founder & current leader) and Milford Graves (founding father of the Free Jazz Movement, the New York Art Quartet, professor and healer) worked with Roscoe Mitchell (founding member of the AACM & the Art Ensemble of Chicago). Scott Robinson has worked with both Marshall Allen & Roscoe Mitchell on previous releases but this was his first time working with the legendary Milford Graves. Although all three reeds players do play alto sax on this disc, they all switch off on different reeds to keep things interesting. The first piece, “Vortex State”, is long (15 minutes) and the saxes do a fine job of spiraling around one another. I like that although the music sounds free, it is still restrained and flowing and most enchanting. Roscoe Mitchell plays a spicy, spiraling soprano solo that moves in spurts while Marshall Allen bends his notes in the unique way that other Sun Ra saxists (like John Gilmore) have perfected. While listening closely to this piece, what I was reminded of is the special language of free improv, how a certain magic holds this together and communicates to those who listen closely and recognize the connected flow. On “Transition State”, Mr. Allen plays EVI, an electronic wind instrument that he has played for many years and which reminds me of the electronic sounds that Sun Ra used to play during his time on Earth. Over the last decade or so, Roscoe Mitchell has been playing more sopranino sax than ever before. It is a hard instrument to play (in tune) but Mr. Mitchell does a fine job of expressing himself in spinning layers. One of the many highlights here is the drumming of Milford Graves. Mr. Graves, whose career stretches back more than a half century, has his own sound/approach. He has his won unique sticks and uses several tom toms (all hand-painted), moving around the drums like a butterfly moves on a breeze. On the final song which is the title piece, all the saxes play these fractured lines together in a focused, intricate way. Rather than have a regular free/jazz blow-fest, there is more of a mature sense of restraint, taking time and interacting carefully. No so many fireworks but still wonderful in its own way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOHN ZORN // BILL FRISELL / JOHN MEDESKI / CAROL EMANUEL / KENNY WOLLESEN - Gnosis: The Inner Light (Tzadik 8377; USA) A sublime and transcendent memorial to one of Zorn’s earliest mentors—Ennio Morricone. Featuring the soulful guitar of Bill Frisell set within the magical sonorities of vibraphone, harp and bells the music takes on an epic orchestral sweep with the added presence of special guest keyboard wizard John Medeski on organ and piano. Filled with beautiful harmonies, a driving rhythmic pulse and stunning lyricism, this is some of the most lush and spiritual music Zorn has ever written. Truly music of the Angels—intimate chamber music to heal an aching heart performed by one of the world's most ethereal ensembles.
JOHN ZORN // JESSE HARRIS with JULIAN LAGE / JORGE ROEDER / KENNY WOLLESEN - Songs For Petra (Tzadik 8374; USA) Now available in a limited vinyl edition of 1000 copies (with 250 signed by Zorn and Harris and pressed on 180 gram vinyl), singer Petra Haden excels in this beautiful and unique program of songs penned by the songwriting team of Zorn and Harris. Friends for many years, they began working together on The Song Project in 2012, and eight years later this LP presents the full fruits of their collaboration: thirteen Zorn compositions with original lyrics by Jesse Harris. Including selections from a wide variety of Zorn projects (and one original that has never appeared before), the melodies are catchy, the lyrics heartfelt, the grooves deep and the solos profound and exhilarating. Backed by the amazing Julian Lage, Jorge Roeder and Kenny Wollesen and produced by Jesse Harris, this is a LP that you will listen to again and again.
LIMITED EDITION OF 250 COPIES PRESSED ON 180gm VINYL AND SIGNED BY JESSE HARRIS AND JOHN ZORN ORDER SOON WHILE SUPPLY LASTS! This version will not be sold through DMG, so order your copy here: //tzadik.limitedrun.com/products/688604-petra-haden-songs-for-petra-vin
SUSIE IBARRA with CLAIRE CHASE / ALEX PEH - Talking Gong (New Focus Recordings 271; USA) Composer and percussionist Susie Ibarra releases a portrait album featuring solos, duets and trios with her new trio. Talking Gong with Claire Chase and Alex Peh will release in digital and limited edition vinyl formats. Ibarra's work melds influences from her Filipina heritage with her uniquely virtuosic approach to the drum set and sound collage. Susie Ibarra is a Filipina-American composer, percussionist, and sound artist. Her sound has been described as “a sound like no other’s, incorporating the unique percussion and musical approach of her Filipino heritage with her flowing jazz drumset style” (Modern Drummer Magazine) and her compositions are sometimes described as “calling up the movements of the human body; elsewhere it’s a landscape vanishing in the last light, or the path a waterway might trace” (New York Times). Recent commissions include Kronos String Quartet’s 50 for the Future Project Pulsation, PRISM Saxophone Quartet Percussion’s Procession Along the Aciga Tree, Talking Gong trio with pianist Alex Peh and flautist Claire Chase, film score When the Storm Fades directed by Sean Devlin, and a multimedia game piece Fragility: An Exploration of Polyrhythms for Asia Society.”
LP Only $17
SATOKO FUJII / TAIKO SAITO - Beyond Futari (Libra 202-061; Japan) Featuring Satoko Fujii on piano and Taiko Saito on vibes. I hadn’t heard of vibes-player Ms. Taiko Saito before this CD arrived in the mail last month. After reading the liner notes of this disc, Mr. Fujii tells the story of meeting Ms. Saito many years back, their evolving friendship and finally playing & touring together in Japan. A fascinating one at that. Satoko Fujii is one of the most prolific musicians and composers that I know and is always juggling between several projects and musicians, from Japan, the USA, Germany and elsewhere, from solos to duos to her several orchestras. This is the first time that Ms. Fujii has played in a duo with a vibes player. Ms. Saito sounds classically trained and is seen using two bows on her vibes on the picture inside the disc. On the opening piece, “Molecular”, both Ms. Fujii and Ms. Saito play soft, shimmering notes together, the sense of suspense and mystery is strong. For “Proliferation”, it sounds as if Ms. Fujii is using some sparse utensils inside the piano and carefully muting the strings (with her hands, perhaps). Ms. Fujii wrote 6 of the 9 pieces here with 1 by Ms. Saito and two duo improvs. The piece by Ms. Saito, “Todokanai Tegami”, is a slow, spacious, elegant, dream-like one. The bowed vibes glow or simmer like ghost floating in the distance. What’s interesting about this is this: since Mr. Fujii plays inside the piano with different objects and Ms. Saito also seems to use some extended techniques on here vibes, it is hard to tell at times who is playing which sound, the textures and use of space is somewhat similar. The other great thing about this disc is the way things slowly, cautiously unfold. Sparse notes ring softly in the space, resonate, shimmer or simmer, giving the music breathing space, time to think and reflect. As prolific as Ms. Fujii is, this disc reminds me of how often she continues to surprise me/us with her diverse palette and this disc doesn’t sound quite like anything she has done before. An extra special one-time treasure. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
IVO PERELMAN TRIO with MATTHEW SHIPP / WHIT DICKEY - Garden of Jewels (Tao Forms 04; USA) Featuring Ivo Perelman on tenor sax, Matt Shipp on piano and Whit Dickey on drums. Considering that saxist Ivo Perelman has more than 100 releases out by now, there are those who think that he is rather over-recorded. Since I have reviewed the majority of these releases, I can say that each one has its own merits. Although Matt Shipp has worked with Mr. Perelman on many of these disc, this particular trio has recored only two other times. Aside from the title track, each piece here was named after a jewel plus there is an explanation what is unique about each jewel, written by Mia Hansford. The title track is first and it is sparse, just a few notes at a time, concentrating on shape of each note and the spaces in between. We can tell that Mr. Perelman and Mr. Shipp have been collaborating quite a bit since they sound so connection here. There is quite a bit this: Perelman will start a line while Shipp will complete and enhance that line, the two coming together for some tag team exchanges. Master free/jazz drummer, Whit Dickey, is a great choice since he also knows when to tap out or embellish the other two musicians. “Amethyst” starts off with Mr. Perelman letting out a vocal-like sound on his sax, an animal or organic like shriek which he stretches out with the piano and drums providing a cushion above and below. It sounds as if Perelman is quoting a fragment of a stand which sound fades into the trio bending their notes together carefully. An interesting observation is that the trio sound as if they laying back and playing fewer lines but more in related fragments. If this is the sound of a mature trio, they sound content. Sublime at times and superb. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ROSCOE MITCHELL / GERALD OSHITA / THOMAS BUCKNER - Soundscape 1979 / Unreleased Historical Recordings (ScienSonic SS 11; USA) Featuring Roscoe Mitchell on soprano sax & bass sax, Gerald Oshita on contrabass sarrusophone & Conn-o-sax and Thomas Buckner - vocals. I was very fortunate to have caught the return of the Art Ensemble of Chicago to the US for an epic concert at the Kitchen in 1973. It began with 4 clarinets (Mitchell, Jarman, Chico Freeman & Hamiet Bluiett) and ended 3 hours later with ten drummers (inc. Jack DeJohnette & Joe Chambers). It was one of the great concerts of my life and I have been a big fan of the Art Ensemble ever since. I have long kept my eye and ear on each member of the Art Ensemble, checking them out live and buying whatever records I could find. Founding member and considered leader, Roscoe Mitchell, is still with us (1/21/21) at 80 and still creating challenging music. In 1979, while Roscoe Mitchell was a Composer-in-Residence at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, Mr. Mitchell invited Bay Area woodwinds expert, Gerald Oshita, to teach a workshop. After the workshop, Mitchell, Oshita and his friend, vocalist Thomas Buckner, formed a trio, which performed at Soundscape in August of 1979. Soundscape was a loft space and located on the far west side of 52nd Street (a/k/a Bebop Lane) and run by music historian/radio show host Verna Gillis. It was one of my favorite places to hear music in the late seventies/ early eighties. This is the first recording by this trio and it has been unreleased until now.
This disc begins with “Open Side A”, for solo soprano sax, cautious, sparse, succinct. Mr. Mitchell has a unique sound and approach on the soprano sax, carefully bending and extending certain notes and lines. Leaping through different registers from bracing to fragile. The next piece is called, “Textures for Trio” and it is for bass sax, contrabass sarrusophone and voice. All three musicians play long, drone-like notes, the reeds and voice resonating, buzzing together. Both the bass sax (large & heavy) and contrabass sarrusophone (double reed with lots of piping) sound especially good together since they are in a similar deep range. Mr. Buckner’s classically trained voice also hovers in similar sonic territory. That bass sax actually sounds like an ocean liner or foghorn humming in the distance. “Prelude/[40Q]/Prelude” has a section written by Anthony Braxton, another AACM composer and Mitchell collaborator. The Braxton piece, 40Q is a march and actually does have a march-like groove (oom-pah, oom-pah), which I find amusing and a good way to show a sense of humor within what is often called “serious” music. Like much of Mr. Braxton’s compositions, the overall structure reveals one thing while the way the piece is played and extended shows yet way of dealing with the notes or instructions on the music page.
NEW from SLAM PRODUCTIONS:
GEORGE HASLAM / JOAO MADEIRA / PEDRO CATELLO LOPES / MARIO RUA - Ajuda (Slam 5100; UK) Featuring George Haslam on taragato, Joao Madeira on double bass, Pedro Castello Lopes on percussion and Mario Rua on drums. World traveling UK reeds player, George Haslam, runs the Slam label and has found a number of creative collaborators in South America: Argentina & Cuba, the UK and in Europe: Italy, Finland & Portugal. For this disc, Mr. Haslam recorded with three Portuguese musicians, one of who he has a duo CD released previously: Mario Rua. Aside from his main axe: the baritone sax, Mr. Haslam concentrates on the taragato, an Eastern European reed instrument that looks like an over-sized clarinet and which can be seen in the hands of Peter Brotzmann and NYU virtuoso/professor Esther Lamneck.
The quartet was recorded live in September of 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. Commencing with the title piece, “Ajuda (Help)”, the quartet is flying high and freely yet sound connected. Haslam’s taragato playing sounds like a soprano sax in a lower range, playing those Trane-like spinning lines at a moderate pace. The quartet never sound too busy yet play tightly in a controlled frenzy. Drummer, Mario Rua, is in especially fine form throughout, navigating the rapids and more tranquil currents as well as revving things up from time to time. The quartet calms down for “Nice to Meet You”, which features some strong buzzing bowed contrabass in the first section building organically through sections. Contrabassist Joao Madeira (who recorded a duo double-bass disc with RED Trio’s Hernani Faustino), takes an extraordinary solo midway through this long piece. I like that the quartet sound relaxed even they are traveling into some spacious, free-wheeling curves and currents. This quartet sound like they are soaring through the Spirit Jazz World, everything organic, flowing just right, ghost-like, 60’s ancient spirit sounds… - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BREAD CRUMB with GEORGE KOKKINARIS / NIKOS KODELIS / GIANNIS ARAPIS - Bread Crumb (Slam 599; UK) Personnel: Nikos Kordelis and Giannis Arapis on electric guitars and George Kokkinaris on contrabass. This disc was recorded at AUX Studios in Athens, Greece in October of 2018. UK reeds player & Slam label man, George Haslam, is consistently discovering new musicians from all over: Argentina, Italy, US, Finland and now a unique trio from Greece. The line-up of two electric guitars and a contrabass is an odd one. I dig the sound of this trio: all alien sounds: rubbed strings, acoustic & electric, the arco bass is especially effective with the soft fractured guitar interaction. It sounds like one or both guitarists are playing in lap or on table style, tapping or rubbing strings with delicate objects. The acoustic bass is often at the center here and holding it down and connected to that cushion/bottom throb. The guitars often play distant, quiet, bent note fragments which work great together. At one point I thought I heard crickets chirping but realized that this was just some rubbing of guitar or bass strings. There is a section that sounds like some lost folk/psych/out episode for a bit, soft strumming with bits of odd noises floating through. At times, they play very quietly, each guitar telling a different story somewhere in the distance yet still creating sympathetic shadows. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JAH WOBBLE & INVADERS OF THE HEART with MARTIN CHUNG / GEORGE KING / MARC LAYTON-BENNETT / TIEN-CHI - Ocean Blue Waves (Jah Wobble Records 007; UK) Featuring Martin Chung on guitar, George King on keyboards, Jah Wobble on bass & vocals and Marc Layton-Bennett on drums plus Tien-Chi on Chinese percussion. Considering that John Wobble started his career more than 30 years ago (late seventies) playing thunderous electric dub bass with Public Image, he has continued to push the envelope, working in a variety of styles, with musicians from very different scenes and ethnicities. I’ve had the good fortune to hear/feel Mr. Wobble in concert on several occasions with Public Image at Roseland and with guests Evan Parker & Bill Laswell at the 2nd Knitting Factory. His playing is a type of cosmic dub that is often astonishing and beyond intense. Aside from his rare touring, Mr. Wobble is immensely prolific as a leader or collaborator. His back catalogue is vast, some 45 or so discs, many on his former (30Hz) and current (Jah Wobble Records) labels. Since starting his own label in 2016, Wobble has had practically no US distribution just directly from his own label. There is only one ongoing band that Mr. Wobble has worked with since 1990 and that is Invaders of the Heart. Although the personnel has changed slowly over time with Wobble as the only constant, their overall sound is still somehow similar to when they began 30 years ago. This is the current version of the band (Mr.’s Chung, King & Layton-Bennett) plus they have a guest Tien-Chi on percussion. The opening piece, “Fly Away”, is a most uplifting pop/ethnic/funk groove song with Jah Wobble’s enchanting voice leading the way. He repeats the phrase, “Fly Away”, and that is what we should feel like doing. It turns out that Invaders of the Heart are a strong, spirited, tight rock/funk quartet, fresh, unique but with a recognizable sound. Mr. Wobble’s throbbing bass is always at the center, with the guitarist and keyboard (synth) wiz both playing swirling, enticing lines around one another, the drummer has one of those great, drum’n’bass groove that should keep us dancing on their toes. While Wobble holds down that great groove, the guitar and keyboard player both stretch out in short bursts always adding selective spacey spirits to keep our journey going, flowing into other dimensions. For those who care, Wobble sings on just three songs, however I think his voice is perfect for these most enchanting songs. I haven’t heard a great creative pop/dance/rock since the heydays of Talking Heads. Imagine my surprise! Can’t wait to play this at our next funk fest party at DMG! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $17 [we listed this one last month, only had 10 & they sold out quickly. We just got in 10 more, 5 of which are spoken for. All releases on Jah Wobble Records are limited, so..)
ARTICLE XI - Live In Newcastle (Discus 89; UK) Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights notes (in part) that “everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly…and freedom of association with others.” The eleven-piece (natch) ensemble named for that governmental legislation exercises that freedom with unbridled enthusiasm and sense of purpose. This is, simply put, a lush and delicious music, free of pretension, robust with emotion, performed with obvious gusto. Guitarist and composer Anton Hunter is ostensibly the leader, but the liner notes make it clear these four pieces were written by the group in total. Right from the swelling reeds of the opening track “Municrination”, the entire rich history and legacy of British jazz unfolds before you, influences ranging from the big-band explosions conducted by Mike Westbrook through to Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath configurations, Keith Tippett’s Centipede, and even the avant-jazz leanings of Henry Cow. A spirited series of couplings stride magnificently throughout, the horn sections interlocking AACM-inflected bluster within a nettle of contrapuntal rhythms that oscillate between varying states of tension and release. If you thought the halcyon days of Brit big-band were behind us, think again. Hunter’s conducting of this outfit is beyond reproach, exercising an expertly chosen array of styles—be they blues-influenced, post-bop, mini-explosions of free-form, or outright symphonic totality—to play with, merge, offset, and synchronize. Meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
SUB-UNIT NO. 1 - Main Sequence (Evil Clown 9235; USA) In Evil Clown lore, a ’sub-unit’ connotes a sub-compact sleeper cell culled by label owner/operator PEK from his larger Leap of Faith ensemble, usually featuring the man himself in various combinations. Whatever the main sequence of events taking place herein are remains a mystery, except to multi-instrumentalist PEK and cohort Michael Knoblach, but what is wholly evident is the duo’s desire to basically ransack their extraordinary collection of soundmakers to upend the new world order. Unlike some other Evil Clown joints, this one’s about fully engaging, exploring, dissecting, and manhandling the tools at their disposal. And boy do they dispose of them—well, more like wrench every available nuance out of them. PEK brings his usual assortment of clarinets, bassoons, saxes, and various other horns to the fore, further augmented with other clatterboxes such as orchestral chimes, crotales, ‘brontosaurus’ bells, woodblocks, glockenspiel, etc. Knoblach’s massive sonic arsenal seems to consist of virtually anything he has lying around the house, including such bizarre items as basket of rocks, antique sheep shears, billiards triangle, furniture carpet protector, sistrum, vintage Fisher Price bumble bee, and, additionally, ‘assorted other percussion’—the mind reels. Together, these two consolidate a tableaux of rich audio alchemy that at times feels like a literal autopsy of their respective instruments, and at others, like the death rattle of the universe. “Natal Clouds", for example, suggests just that, its elaborate ecosystem of horn-squonk and percussive shadow-boxing forming arcane meteorological phenomena that coalesce and evaporate in dizzying, ever-irising thermals. The fifteen minutes of “Gas & Dust” is more elusive, the duo concentrating on big bang and lusty crescendo rather than discretely psychological nerve-tingling, though the matrices of their struck objects periodically ring out so sharp your ears prick back as if cut by shattering glass. A record to get infinitely lost in, where subsequent playback reveals layer after layer from deep within the marvelous, shifting clangor. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
REGENORCHESTER XII with FRANZ HAUTZINGER / OTOMO YOSHIHIDE / TONY BUCK / CHRISTIAN FENNESZ / et al - Relics (Trost 203; Austria) “Founded 1995 in London by Austrian trumpeter and band leader Franz Hautzinger as an ensemble for experimental music, the project developed over the years into a mixed style fusion band. Various musicians like Fennesz, Tony Buck, Otomo Yoshihide, Burkhard Stangl, Oren Ambarchi, Martin Siewert, and others were part of this long-time and often changing project. Strongly influenced by the electronic music genres of the 1990s, the band developed its specific "Regenorchester Sound" -- vigorously pulsating, continuously evolving sound structures with electric guitar power and strong brass melodies based on pushing rhythms. Relics was recorded live at the Klangspuren Schwaz Festival in 2019. Personnel: Franz Hautzinger - quarter tone trumpet; Christian Fennesz - guitar, laptop; Otomo Yoshihide - guitar, turntables, el. devices; Luc Ex - bass; Tony Buck - drums, percussion. Mixed by Martin Siewert/Franz Hautzinger. Mastered by Martin Siewert. Artwork by Lasse Marhaug. Liner notes by Reinhard Kager, translated by Mark Fisher.
LUC EX with VERYAN WESTON / YEDO GIBSON/ et al - Music Of Inevitable Sounds (Trost 206; Austria) “Dutch bassist Luc Klaasen was an original member of the legendary avantgarde/punk band The Ex, later played with Tom Cora and today is very active as sound artist and composer with big ensembles. Luc Ex uses this project to explore the liminal zone where sound and music overlap or merge. Driven by a passion for both, he has created work for a medium-sized ensemble that is based on specific environmental sounds. Our entire world is brimming with sound; an omnipresent phenomenon that is hard to escape in many spheres of modern society. Each piece springs from a specific sound e.g. ventilators, concrete mixers, people talking loudly into their phones, building sites, robots. These elements add up to a beautiful musical painting, which straddles the middle ground between contemporary music and urban soundscapes while giving a knowing wink to the oeuvres of people like John Cage, Harry Partch, or Luigi Russolo. Personnel: Joost Buis - trombone; Saartje van Camp - cello; Luc Ex - acoustic bass; Renato Ferierra - bass/tenor sax; Pepe Garcia - percussion; Yedo Gibson -reeds; Nora Mulder - piano; Mika Szafrowski - guitar; Veryan Weston - piano/keystation; Nina Hitz - cello; Vladislav Psaruk - trombone. Recorded in Bologna/ Teatro San Leonardo and Den Haag, Korzo, 2018. Mixed by Mika Szafrowski. Mastered by Martin Siewert.
ALSO with MARTIN SIEWERT / KATHARINA ERNST - Live in Celovec (Trost 199; Austria) “Viennese improvisation guitar/drums duo ALSO return with a superb live recording. Katharina Ernst and Martin Siewert have been working together for more than five years now and continue to enjoy their compelling dynamics. This set is full of fire and thunder but also drawn by some striking and fragile moments through a variety of effects and some delicate lap steel play -- true two masters in working on the axis of refracting and reflecting, and throwing it back again. Personnel: Katharina Ernst - drums, toys; Martin Siewert - guitars, electronics. Recorded live by Ronald Pfisterer at the New Adits festival in Celovec, 2018. Produced by Katharina Ernst/Martin Siewert. Mixed and mastered by Martin Siewert. Cover artwork by Michael Breyer.
GEORG GRAEWE & SONIC FICTION ORCHESTRA with FRANK GRATKOWSKI / MARTIN SIEWERT / PETER HERBERT / et al - Fortschritt und Vergnugen (Random Acoustics 034; Germany) Recorded in Vienna, January-July 2020. Personnel: Frank Gratkowski - clarinet; Maria Gstättner - bassoon; Sara Kowal - harp; Martin Siewert - guitar; Joanna Lewis - violin; Laura Strobl - viola; Asja Valcic - cello; Georg Graewe -piano; Peter Herbert - bass and Wolfgang Reisinger - drums.
DAVEY WOODWARD AND THE WINTER ORPHANS - Love & Optimism (A Turntable Friend Records 075; Germany) “Bristol indie music legend Davey Woodward has announced his new album Love & Optimism, together with his congenial band The Winter Orphans. Best known for his bands The Brilliant Corners, The Experimental Pop Band, and Karen, this output was recorded "live" in the studio. This album is very personal and perhaps Woodward's most emotional performance, putting Davey solidly amongst the best songwriters of his generation. Love & Optimism is the band's second following their self-titled debut released in 2018 on Tapete Records (TR 412CD/LP). "I grew up and have lived in Bristol for most of my life. I use the city as a backdrop to many of my songs. Often, I go into some detail about places. Roads and the people of the city. It has always inhabited my songs. Love & Optimism continues my fascination with the city." Davey Woodward first came to prominence with his 1980s band The Brilliant Corners, part of the jangly indie C86 scene, but with a diverse palette of indie pop, country, rock n' roll, post-punk and humor. The mini albums Growing Up Absurd, Fruit Machine and What's In A Word was followed by their best known album Somebody Up There Likes Me (1987), several John Peel sessions, indie chart success and regular tours. In 2013 Cherry Red Records released a retrospective of the band's work Heart On Your Sleeve (A Decade In Pop 1983-1993). Woddward's next band The Experimental Pop Band (1996-2012) was also championed by Peel and signed to City Slang Records. In the last decade, Davey has released a handful of solo LPs, including the lo-fi folk pop album 6 Miles East Of Here 5 Miles North Of Nowhere (2011) and also recorded with alt guitar band Karen releasing several EPs on The Environmental Sounds label. "This music is honest and revealing with depth and a feeling of mysterious purposes -- the hair on your arms may stand up as you absorb this goodness." - Big Takeover Magazine
SUN RA / ESP T-SHIRTS NOW AVAILABLE in All Sizes!
Cosmic SUN RA - ’Nothing Is’ Full color T-shirts - $22 (while supplies last)
We will sending out a picture of this T-shirt modeled by our own Charmaine Lee tomorrow through Instagram so take note.
PETER GILL - Radio City (Dear Life Records DLR BTL-004; USA) The very idea of resurrecting/reimagining the sacred tome of Big Star's 1974 "Radio City" sends shivers down the spines of even the most frisky of pop evangelists; but on this cassette only release from Dear Life Records, Philadelphian Peter Gill recontextualizes the magnum opus as a low mileage junked/funked valentine for lovers longing. With blender soaked oxide production straight outta Amherst 1990, we begin with faint 'Soul' drifting in the background, radio days(dazed) from a bygone America where AM was king and we were it's queens. "Life is Right" is Krishna-like, a mantra drowned in handclaps, sunlight, and the sweetest of liquid Owsley. The vibratory, electric pie plate reductionism of "Way Out West" recalls GBV at their most deliciously homespun..and away we go and go. "Daisy Glaze' slowly collapses from within by an unstoppable rhythmic herky jerk; "She's a Mover" strikes the match ala Townsend with generous doses of broiled pick skating across shattered strings of iced fire. Throughout his crusade Mr. Gill is rambunctious and daring in execution yet spare and respectful when the compositions dictate such, i.e. "You Get What You Deserve". And deserve you do this homage most high. Strongly recommended! Edition of 25 copies. - John J Mori / DMG
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. Many of us are going stir crazy staying at home so if you want to inspire us and help us get through these difficult times, please show us what you got. I listed some these last week but have also a few more.
MORE THINGS TO DO WHILE YOU ARE WAITING AROUND FOR THE WORLD TO END OR GET BETTER: STILL STIR CRAZY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!
THIS IS FROM MY GOOD FRIEND JESSICA HALLOCK,
This is from Jessica Hallock, please do check it out, there is so much to explore here and I know some of you are bored and need some inspiration/distraction:
Livestreams are obviously no replacement for live shows, but they're all the community we have right now––so experimental music calendar NYC-Noise.com now provides links to livestreams (with artist / curator donation info); a roundup of local musicians' releases; COVID-19-related resources, including links to grants, petitions, & a local venue donation list; & an Instagram account (@NYC_Noise) promoting artists and releases. Please let me know about your livestreams &/or new records at www.nyc-noise.com/submit.
This one comes from WILL GLASS
who once played here at DMG in a trio with Kurt Gottschalk and Miguel Frasconi.
Lexiglass is a duo, myself on drums and Alexis Marcelo on keys. (Alexis is known in creative music for his work with Yusef Lateef, JD Parran, Malcolm Mooney, Mike Pride and Adam Rudolph). We have been around since 2014, often as a backing band for hip hop artists uptown, and sometimes as an improvising, instrumental hip hop band. We have released three tapes of mostly covers of artists like A Tribe Called Quest, Mobb Deep and Madlib. This EP is archival picks, including a memorable show at Resonance Cafe in Montreal--a rare moment for us with Alexis on a nice piano.
This one comes from Saxist DAVID AARON of Flip City:
Touque "Soho Sessions"
(file under "R&B/jazz/soul")
This comes from CHRIS CUTLER (Henry Cow, Art Bears & REcommended Records)
Chris has a podcast called Probes and this is Episode #28.2
During the earlier part of the pandemic/lockdown when I started going back to work at DMG in June, I listened to all of the Probes podcast series and on the train coming and going to NYC. Each one is fascinating as Mr. Cutler Probes the many aspects Creative Music, unique instrumentation, the history of recordings and lots more. Please take some time and listen to these, they are most enlightening.
THIS ONE COMES from PAUL DUNMALL, British Saxophone Colossus!!!
I haven't done any gigs since March but I have a done a couple of recordings so if your interested there's a video of one below which goes on line 7.45pm November 26th it was organized by TDE promotions/Fizzle may you all stay well. - Paul
Here's the link: https://youtu.be/GjbY7tTeH7k
THIS COMES FROM JOURNALIST & AUTHOR OF THE ESP BOOK, JASON WEISS:
The French saxophonist Etienne Brunet (studied with Lacy a bit in the ‘70s, & in fact it’s thanks to him that Saravah put out Lacy’s Scratching the Seventies, which he edited; later played with various people like Jacques Oger, Jac Berrocal, Fred Van Hove). So, if maybe you’re inclined this time to list it in your newsletter, Etienne has just posted a duo set, “Wifi Long Distance Call” (39 min.), Etienne on bass clarinet, with percussionist Shyamal Maitra, mostly on tabla.
From INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM RAINEY:
Every Week for the entirety of this pandemic/lockdown INGRID LAUBROCK & TOM RAINEY have been posting a new duo offering. I have listened to every one of these as they were sent out and am much impressed by the way this duo continues to evolve and work their way through many ideas. You can check out each one here:
This is from World Renown Flutist BOB DOWNES: