FOR THE NEXT TWO SATURDAYS MEMBERS OF THE DMG CREW WILL BE INVOLVED WITH TWO BIG COVID ERA LIVE GIGS!
THIS SATURDAY 3/20: Our own Charmaine Lee, who has lent invaluable support to DMG throughout the pandemic and is a world class vocalist, is presenting her first concert as a Roulette Van Lier Fellow! Info below
Vocalist Charmaine Lee presents Papillae, a composition for voice and electronics and the premiere work for her year-long Van Lier fellowship. Taking inspiration from FM/AM signals in the Roulette area, the work is an expansion of Lee’s ongoing exploration of humanity expressed through technology. Microphones, radios, and modular synthesis will be used to reveal an intimate portrait of Lee’s polyphonic sensibilities
Stream via Roulette’s website: https://roulette.org/event/charmaine-lee-papillae/
NEXT SATURDAY 3/27: After a year of lockdown, DMG returns to presenting live creative music in the LES with an afternoon gig in the outdoor seating space of our neighborhood pals at OLIVER COFFEE (5 Oliver Street in Chinatown)
Saturday March 27th
5 Oliver Street
A first time meeting trio of Wendy Eisenberg (g) / Frank Meadows (b) / Kevin Murray (d)
A solo performance by rising star violist Gabby Fluke-Mogul
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This Week’s Groovy Sonic Delights Begin with a New Disc from Our Main Man; JOHN ZORN!
JOHN ZORN // BILL FRISELL / JULIAN LAGE / GYAN RILEY - Teresa De Avila (Tzadik 8379; USA) “Preceded by "Nove Cantici per Francesco d’Assis"” and "Virtue (for Julian of Norwich)", "Teresa de Avila" is the third and final CD in Zorn’s trilogy inspired by towering figures of Christian mysticism. Written for the all-star acoustic guitar trio of Bill Frisell, Julian Lage and Gyan Riley whose performances are steeped in a feeling of love and mutual respect, the music is both beautifully simple and strangely complex, drawing equally on classical modernism, bluegrass, jazz, Jewish and renaissance music. Filled with compositional surprises, mysterious moods, beautiful harmonies and a stunning lyricism, Teresa de Ávila is a must-have for all fans of acoustic guitar music. This is one of the most personal and varied books of music Zorn has yet written—a lovely tribute to the enduring legacy of one of the world’s most beloved spiritual figures. Includes an extended appreciation by renown philosopher Arnold Davidson.”
FLOW TRIO with JOE McPHEE / LOUIE BELOGENIS / JOE MORRIS / CHARLES DOWNS - Winter Garden (ESP-Disk 5040; USA) From the producer's liner notes: "It is an interesting question how old 'free jazz' is. At some point, even a theme and a plan became optional. In the ESP-Disk' catalog, 'Taneou' on the Giuseppi Logan Quartet's eponymous album sounds like this approach of complete freedom starting from scratch; it was recorded on November 11, 1964. Joe McPhee, in 1967, appeared on Clifford Thornton's album Freedom and Unity, so his recording career covers 53 of those 56 years, 95% of the approach's history. Each succeeding decade found another player on this album joining the confraternity: Downs in 1976, Morris in 1983, and Belogenis in 1993. By that method of counting, there are 159 years of collective experience being heard on this album. Credits: Joe McPhee - tenor saxophone; Louie Belogenis - tenor and soprano saxophones; Joe Morris - bass; Charles Downs - drums. Cover painting: "tree bark & berries (for c.h.) #5," 2004, by Yuko Otomo. Recorded on January 11, 2020 by Jim Clouse at Park West Studios, Brooklyn NY. Produced by Steve Holtje.
ELLIOTT SHARP // ENSEMBLE MUSIKFABRIK / VOXNOVA ITALIA - Filiseti Mekidesi (Infrequents Seams 28; USA) I was most intrigued to read text by Elliott Sharp about his work, “Filiseti Mekidesi”, an opera. It can be found here: https://downtownmusicgallery.com/search.php?id=2021_03_13_01_13_33. I have been thinking about ever-evolving migration of groups of human beings throughout time and the geography of their moves. Over the past few years we’ve seen right-wing administrations pointing to immigrants around the world and telling us that they are our enemies. This is complete BS because we are immigrants in this land. Those not fooled by Right Wing Propaganda know who the real enemies are. I have listened to very few operas in my life, mainly ‘Wozzeck’ and ‘Lulu’ by Alban Berg plus composers like Stockhausen and Frank Zappa, who excel in that mode as far as I can tell. Hence, I can’t compare this work with anything else, as far as the form goes. Elliott Sharp, a Downtown composer/musician/innovator, has worked with many frameworks, genres and styles. For this ambitious work, Mr. Sharp composed the music & libretto and directs two ensembles the VoxNova Italia (vocal ensemble) and Ensemble MusikFabrik (15 piece German ensemble) with lead vocals by Kamilya Jubran. Disc one starts off with swirling sounds, electronic or acoustic, vocal or instrumental, hard to tell at first. Mostly mesmerizing. I can only make a few of the words but it doesn’t matter since the use of the voices and instrumental passages is/are consistently engaging. The ensemble writing/playing on “Filiset Music I” most engaging with tight layers of strings, reeds & percussion moving together. “Plutonus” features some deep, dark, baritone vocals like a voice rising from the beyond. “They Killed Us So We Had to Go” might seem funny if we hadn’t seen/heard so much immigrant bashing and the Fascistic treatment of immigrants at our borders. More cosmic ensemble writing on “In Liquid State” ends Disc 1.
CD 2 starts off with “Tempest”, with several layers of vocals interacting together over a bed of electronic sounding displacement music. Much of the strongest music here is/are the five interludes of “Filiseti Music”, each thoughtfully constructed, dense and evoking a variety of inner turmoil. Each of these interludes gets stronger, deeper in feelings. I asked for it so Mr. Sharp sent me the libretto he organized from texts by Tracie Morris & Edwin Torres, thus giving me/us more words/ideas to consider. The words often describe various sea voyages that different cultures had to deal with. Although there is often a lead voice or two, there are several layers of choral vocals which are just as impressive and evocative as the rest of the engaging sonic waves. At times the narrator (central voice) is like an inner voice of our collective consciousness. When I see the way immigrants have been treated at our borders over the past four years, it makes me angry and sad at where we are or were. The sea of voices used in this work recall these same feelings of displacement, fear and anger that many of sensitive souls all feel. It's time to cast off the chains of oppression and seek someone more hopeful. Thanks to Elliott Sharp for illuminating these series current issues by way of a serious work that embraces the complexity of our current situation. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 CD Set $15
TWO GREAT NEW DISCS from the ASTRAL SPIRITS LABEL:
ROSCOE MITCHELL & MIKE REED - The Ritual and the Dance (Astral Spirits 145; USA) Featuring Roscoe Mitchell on various reeds and Mike Reed on drums & electronics. This session was recorded live at the Oorstof Concert Series in Antwerp, Belgium in October of 2015. This is the second duo disc from Art Ensemble founder, AACM reeds wiz and professor Roscoe Mitchell with fellow Chicago drummer/bandleader Mike Reed. Their first duo offering was recorded live in Chicago and released in 2014. I’ve noticed over the past decade or so that Roscoe Mitchell seems to prefer playing his sopranino and soprano saxes more than any of his assorted reeds. Hence, it is the first sound we hear here. Mr. Mitchell has a most distinctive sound on sopranino, bending and twisting his notes into barbed circular lines, accenting those higher notes which make most folks twitch with uncomfort. Mr. Mitchell is a master of circular breathing, hence he plays those long spiraling lines with are profoundly ernest. Mr. Reed sounds like the perfect navigator for Mr. Mitchell’s ongoing steams. Mr. Mitchell eventually switches to alto or tenor with more of his circular streams expanding and contracting. Mitchell ends up on sopranino again in the last section. The ongoing swirling note stream has a way of taking us on a mesmerizing ride. It is hard to just let go but it does work wonders like other trance music does. Extraordinary to say the least. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JEREMIAH CYMERMAN / CHARLIE LOOKER - A Horizon Made of Canvas (Astral Spirits 144; USA) Featuring Jeremiah Cymerman on clarinets & pedals and Charlie Looker on guitars & piano. Recorded at Big Ego Studios in Long Beach, CA in January of 2020. I must admit that I am a longtime fan of the clarinet and have been working on a large list (for more than a decade) of more than 100 great clarinetists of the 20th century. I am much impressed when someone figures out new ways of playing the clarinet, either acoustically or with effects, as well as finding new settings for their clarinet playing. Jeremiah Cymerman is a gifted, unique clarinet player who has been working with assorted effects and collaborating with a number of other sonic explorers. Guitarist Charlie Looker was an original member of Zs and has worked with Chuck Bettis (former DMG manager) and Mike Pride. If you’ve never heard Zs, I urge you to check them out as one of the strangest of all Downtown bands.
I didn’t know that Mr. Looker played piano, but this is indeed the first thing you hear here. Subtle, minimal piano and soft clarinet, drifting together, spacious and suspense-filled. It sounds as if a klez-like clarinet passage has been slowed down to work with some minimal Morton Feldman-like piano. The piece is called, “The Ecstasy of Betrayal” and Mr. Cymerman balances between spinning out lines quickly yet quietly while the piano plays some haunting minimal fragments. Mr. Looker switches to guitar for the second piece, yet the effect is similar, minimal,spacious, one or two notes resonating quietly in space while the clarinet weaves its way in the center. Mr. Looker sounds like he is playing from the subdued somewhat dark psyche folk/rock songbook on “I’ll Show You What You Are”, while Mr. Cymerman adds some serpent like spirals above. Cymerman stretches his notes out into elastic waves on “Horizon Made of Canvas”, the skeletal piano even more haunting than earlier. Some patience is needed as time seems to be stretched out further. The clarinet which is bathed in reverb sounds like an ocean liner or foghorn in the distance, sailing over piano reverberations from the bottom of the sea. Mr. Looker plays and twists one or two notes at a time during “Samson”, the final piece. Both the guitar and clarinet carefully bend their notes around one another, keeping all who are listening off balance, like drifting on a raft on a large body of water. As dark and as turgid as things get, there is a feeling of hope at being able to rise above the quicksand below if you choose to do so. Quite effective on many levels. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Back in stock:
HARRIS EISENSTADT OLD GROWTH FOREST with JEB BISHOP / TONY MALABY / JASON ROEBKE - II (Astral Spirits 093; USA) Old Growth Forest features Jeb Bishop on trombone, Tony Malaby on tenor & soprano saxes, Jason Roebke on contrabass and Harris Eisenstadt on drums & compositions. This disc was recorded live at the Parlor Room in Northampton, MA in June of 2017. Drummer/composer Harris Eisenstadt is often juggling between several different bands or projects going on over the same time. His project, Canada Day, no has 5 releases while this is second one from Old Growth Forest. This quartet is a strong one with each member a master at what he does and integral to the group sound. I’ve long admired the work ethic and compositions of Harris Eisenstadt. The liner notes state that the room/restaurant, where this was recorded had a full house and a warm, welcoming audience. This is the way it sound. Starting out with some restrained ensemble work, Mr. Malaby soon takes an impressive unaccompanied tenor sax solo, relatively short and superb. This is followed by a fine trombone & drums duo, playful and intriguing. The tempo picks up on “Rustling”, swinging harder with some spirited interaction between the tenor sax, trombone and tight rhythm team. Mr. Eisenstadt alters the way the rhythm teams grounds or holds together each piece, giving both horns chance to stretch out, solo or duo together and weave different lines around one another. “Biomass” kinda sounds like the melody of a Mexican Hat Dance, but it is more skeletal, giving both horns a chance to solo quietly and trade some sly lines. This quartet had toured together for a while before this concert was recorded. They sound like they’ve been together for even longer, they have a group sound and play together as one thoughtful force. Consistently charming and inventive throughout. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PAT THOMAS / JOHN BUTCHER / STALE LIAVIK SOLBERG - Fictional Souvenirs (Astral Spirits 088; USA) Featuring John Butcher on tenor & soprano saxes, Pat Thomas on Moog Theremini & I-pads and Stale Liavik Solberg on drums & percussion. My favorite living tenor saxists are: Evan Parker, Paul Dunmall and John Butcher, hence I am always searching for whatever releases I can find from each of these fine fellows. John Butcher records less frequently than the other two and obviously takes his time to select whomever he works with. British keyboardist, Pat Thomas, is also prolific and immensely diverse. His name keeps popping up at a variety of sessions with a diverse cast of players: Evan Parker, Seymour Wright (in [Ahmed]), Shock Troops and the About Group. Norwegian drummer, Stale Liavik Solberg, played here at DMG earlier this year and has also worked with an odd cast: Paul Dunmall, Joe McPhee, Lotte Anker & Steve Beresford. This disc was recorded live at Iklectrik Old Paradise Yard in London in July of 2017. John Butcher is very selective about how & where he is recorded, hence has a several solo discs recorded in a variety of locations outdoors, mostly in caves. There is a rich, warm balance to the way this trio sounds, the blend of acoustic & electronic sounds superb. The results are often mesmerizing. The blend of the soprano sax, electronics and drums are extraordinary. The quieter sections are also rich in detail, often fascinating to behold and filled with suspense. Everytime Mr. Butcher’s sax re-enters, the sound of it is different, this forces the electronics and percussion to come up a diverse array of sounds to match its ever-evolving sonic pallette. This is another one of the amazing improv dates that is ever better than one might imagine! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BURTON GREENE / DAMON SMITH / RA KALAM MOSES - Life’s Intense Mystery (Astral Spirits 090; USA) Featuring Burton Greene on piano, Damon Smith on contrabass and RaKalam Bob Moses on drums & percussion. This disc was recorded live at the Lily Pad in Cambridge, MA in October of 2017. After Cecil Taylor (whose recording career started in the late fifties), the next in line for the earliest explorers of free/jazz piano were Sun Ra, Paul Bley and Burton Greene (born 1937). All three recorded for the ESP label during the mid-sixties. After leaving Chicago, Burton Greene moved to NYC and by the early 70’s he had moved to Europe (Paris and later to Amsterdam, where he still lives). Around the same time that Mr. Greene’s first album was released on ESP in 1967, Bob Moses, a native New Yorker (born 1948), also began recording with Roland Kirk, the Free Spirits and Gary Burton (both in 1967). “Ra Kalam” Bob Moses lives and teaches (at NEC) in Boston for several decades and has explored the diverse terrain of modern jazz, spiritual and ethnic musics. Contrabassist, Damon Smith, is a generation or so younger (born in 1972) and also currently resides in Boston, where this live set was recorded. All three members of this trio have been involved with playing and developing the freer side of avant/jazz. The title piece of this disc, “Life’s Intense Mystery” is split into three sections and it has an enchanting, organic, cerebral, spiritual-sounding flow. For more than a decade, Ra Kalam has been working with cosmic/jazz guitarist Tisziji Munoz, with dozens of recordings on the Anami label. All three of the musicians are masters of the free form, hence as a trio, they sound like one focused spirit/force. The natural-sounding give & take force, layers of hand percussion & drums and bubbling bass erupt together midway through the title piece. The entire set has a wonderful, most uplifting, somewhat cosmic vibe and makes me feel so good to be alive. What more could we ask for…!?! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
REGGIE NICHOLSON PERCUSSION CONCEPT with BRYAN CARROTT / BABA DON EATON / HANNAH JON TAYLOR - No Preservatives Added (Abstract Recordings; USA) Featuring Reggie Nicholson on drumset, marimba, balafon & compositions, Bryan Carrott on vibes, marimba & gong, Baba Don Eaton on djembe, congas & bongos and Hanah Jon Taylor on saxes, flute & wind synthesizer. The ever-diverse & dependable drummer, Reggie Nicholson, has worked with many music giants: Muhal Richard Abrams, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Ernest Dawkins and many more. Over the past decade Mr. Nicholson has led a series of projects, all with the word “concept” in the title, from solo to percussion & brass, each project with a different personnel. This is the second disc called Percussion Concept and the only remaining member here is Baba Don Eaton. I am well aware of vibesman, Bryan Carrott, from his work with Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris & the Lounge Lizards. Saxist Hanah Jon Taylor I know less about, although I do know that he worked with Malachi Favors and once left us with a couple of his own discs.
This disc was recorded in a studio one year ago in March of 2020. The opening song, “Time to Reset” features several layers of suspense-filled percussion and flute, the vibe is ritualistic, most enchanting. Each piece features a different strategy or concept or groove to keep things interesting. Although all of the pieces are on the sort side, Mr. Nicholson knows how to keep all of the members engaged with layered lines. Both reeds wiz Hanah Jon Taylor and vibist Bryan Carrott are featured throughout with short yet inspired solos and tight ensemble playing. HJ Taylor plays EWI (wind synthesizer) on “Remote Distance”, changing the tone of this mysterious sounding electronic instrument as he plays. One of the things I like most about this record is that it is most warmly recorded and stripped down, never too many things going on at once, never too cluttered, making each sound or solo stand out. At first I thought that this disc might be considered too short at 38 minutes but then I realized that everything fits together, everything works here as a whole work. It sounds like a suite with diverse percussion & winds being featured superbly throughout. As soon as it was over, I put it back on to listen again. - Consistently excellent. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CHRIS CORSANO & BILL ORCUTT - Made Out of Sound (Palilalia 063; USA) "Sadly, many will hear Chris Corsano & Bill Orcutt's latest LP, Made Out of Sound, as 'not-jazz,' though it would be more aptly described as 'not-not-jazz.' In a better world, it would warrant above-the-fold reviews in Downbeat, or an appearance on David Sanborn's late-night show (if someone would only give it back to him). More likely, we can hope for a haiku review on Byron Coley's Twitter timeline to sufficiently connect the various improvised terrains trodden by this long-time duo -- but if you've been able to listen past the overmodulated icepick fidelity of Harry Pussy, it should surprise you not an iota that Orcutt's style is rooted as much in the fractal melodies of Trane and Taylor as it is in Delta syrup or Tin Pan Alley glitz. As for Corsano, well, it may seem daft to call this particular record 'jazz' (because duh, it has a drummer), but to me Corsano is beyond jazz, almost beyond music, his ambidextrous, octopoid technique grappling many stylistic levers and spraying a torrent of light from every direction. Corsano's ferocity has elevated many 'mere' improv records to transcendence, but here he's crafted his polyrhythms within more narrative channels, bringing to mind his 'mannered' playing in the lamented Flower-Corsano duo. It's not 'groove' playing precisely, but it follows many grooves simultaneously, much like Orcutt's own melodic musings -- which is why they're so naturally lock-in-key here. Which maybe makes it all the more surprising that Made Out of Sound was in fact recorded in different rooms on different coasts at different times, and stitched together by Orcutt on his desktop. Corsano recorded the drums in Ithaca, NY, and (as Orcutt states), 'I didn't edit them at all. I overdubbed two guitar tracks, panned left/right. I'd listen to the drums a couple times, pick a tuning, then improvise a part, thinking of the first track as backing and the second as the 'lead', though those are pretty fluid terms. I was watching the waveforms as I was recording, so I could see when a crescendo was coming or when to bring it down.' Fluidity ties the tracks together. With a little more groove and a little less around-the-beat maneuvering, one could almost hear the boiling harmonic layers as Miles-oid in 'Man Carrying Thing,' but with new-found Sharrockian modalities, Corsano accentuating the tumbling nature of the falling notes. The Sharrock vein continues with 'How to Cook a Wolf,' its Blind Willie-esque melodic simplicity and repetition extrapolated 360-style in a repetitive descending riff that falls into Cippolina-isms (by way of Verlaine) until the end crashes upon the shore. Much like Orcutt's last solo album, Odds Against Tomorrow (PAL 056CD/LP, 2019), there's a gentler, almost pastoral flow to some tracks ('Some Tennessee Jar,' 'A Port in Air,' 'Thirteen Ways of Looking') that calls to mind the mixolydian swamplands of Lonnie Liston Smith -- but unlike Odds, other tracks ('The Thing Itself') smash that same lyricism into overdriven, multi-dimensional melodic clumps that push several vector envelopes at once in an Interstellar Space vein. With the help of Corsano, Orcutt has managed to slither even further out of the noise/improv pigeonhole lazy listeners/writers keep trying to shove him into. Looking at the back cover of Made Out of Sound, we should not see Orcutt hurling a guitar into the air with post-punk bravado, Corsano toiling behind him in the engine room -- we should witness an instrument levitating from his hands, rising on invisible major-key tendrils of melody, fired by percussion, spiraling into an invisible event horizon..." --Tom Carter
DAVID SHEA - The Thousand Buddha Caves (Room40 4125; Australia) “Caves explores his deep and continuous interest in the nexus of eastern and western musical forms. The recording charts his life-long fascination with the caves and their connection to sound, ritual and Buddhist teachings. The record transposes those interests and is an evocation to the mythologies spinning forth from the caves.
A note from David: "My path to the caves began when I was about 14, with my passion for reading Taoist, Buddhist and Zen texts, my love of Hong Kong films, Bruce Lee's influence, martial arts more broadly and meditation practice which has continued since that time. In 1980 the series of films The Silk Road produced as a collaboration between NHK television in Japan and CCTV in China explored areas of the 'Silk Road' in great detail and knocked me sideways. It laid the foundation for a life of exploring what these trading routes were and what the reality of the people living along it, travelers on it and the culture, music, art, history and rituals they created. My works Hsi -Yu Chi, The Tower of Mirrors, Satyricon and Rituals were all recordings based on adaptations of the myths, historical adaptations and connections to the many trading routes throughout the ancient world and its connection and relevance to current technological culture, through the process of building a new work on the structure of an existing novel, film adaptations or sets of ritual practices. The more I explored the specific history of the trading route from ancient Xian to Rome, the clearer it became that the Silk Road itself was a myth, a simplified 19th century explanation for a vast and very complex network of information, religious teachings, economic trade, spices and silks etc. that involved thousands of tribes, nation states, indigenous cultures, belief systems and spanned what only much later historically do we now speak of as the divide between east and west. The mountain of archaeological finds and research over the last two centuries is just beginning to be unraveled and the complexity of the purposes of the trade routes is exposing many new connections between the ancient realities of Africa, Asia, India, Europe and the Pacific region. The trading was contact and interest in difference, what does your culture have that we need, an economy of difference with less need to synthesize the traditions than to find practical connections to the value each culture may or may not have for another culture..."
MAINLINER - Dual Myths (Riot Season 100; UK) “The follow-up to Mainliner's 2013 comeback album Revelation Space has been rumored for many years. There have been tales of several attempts being finished and scrapped in the last five years. That's how hard it is to run a band when all the members are based on different continents and in other very busy bands themselves (Acid Mothers Temple and Bo Ningen notably). But it's finally done. And if you're a fan, it's been worth the wait. In Kawabata's own words: "This new album is the second chapter of this present Mainliner. Finally, we could open to the next stage to break old customs since 1995". The killer trio from the Revelation Space album is still intact, with Kawabata Makoto (motorpsycho guitar), Koji Shimura (drums), and Kawabe Taigen (bass/vocals), and it's back to calling them just Mainliner once again (Revelation Space was issued as Kawabata Makoto's Mainliner). CD version comes in gatefold sleeve.
PEK SOLO - For Alto (For Anthony Braxton)(Evil Clown 9258; USA) Featuring PEK on alto sax, tenor & bass ocarinas (potato flutes). In 1968, at the beginning of his long career, Delmark Records released Anthony Braxton’s ‘For Alto’, a two LP set of solo alto sax improvisations. It was a brave move for Mr. Braxton and the Delmark label to do since know one hard ever released an album of solo sax music. It was widely disparaged by the press as well as by established musicians like bebop giant, Phil Woods. Many thought it was an indulgent effort, not really jazz of creative music at all. Now, more than a half century later, it shows some bravery and a look at the future of jazz in general or Creative Music more specifically. Multi-reeds player and multi-instrumentalist, PEK, has decided to do a tribute to Mr. Braxton’s early solo effort with his own (mostly) solo alto offering. The only other instruments used are two ocarinas, usually thought of as toy instruments that some of us played as a child.
This disc begins with some solo ocarina with some delay added. Pek soon picks up his sax and starts slowly, playing long notes and bending them slightly, also using some reverb to add some depth to the sound of the lone sax. Pek takes his time and plays slowly at first, concentrating on his note bending abilities as he goes. I am reminded more of the last solo sax concert & CD by Mr. Braxton recorded at the 2017 FIMAV Fest Victoriaville, Quebec. Mr. Braxton also sounded more mature, older and more thoughtful in his playing. Pek’s playing here sounds equally reflective, thoughtful and with less fireworks than usual. Pek lets things build, eventually erupting, bending & twisting those notes to near breaking point. There appears to be a good balance here of the extremes, building to free frenetics and then coming back down to the planet Earth. All of Pek’s previous 100 discs feature as many instruments as he can play in one session but not this one. This is his lone (mostly) solo alto effort and it is a strong yet modest gem. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THROTTLE ELEVATOR MUSIC & KAMASI WASHINGTON - Final Floor (Wide Hive Records 355; USA) "Final Floor is eleven new tracks featuring saxophonist Kamasi Washington and trumpeter Erik Jekabson with longtime collaborators and songwriters Matt Montgomery and Gregory Howe. Joining them are Mike Hughes and on drums, Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, Ross Howe on fender guitar and Mike Blankenship on organ. As the title indicates this album represents the final original recordings of Throttle Elevator Music. Final Floor has an upscale energy with elements of rock and punk that fuel the overall sound and dynamically bring an edge back to jazz."
MIKE OSBORNE with HARRY BECKETT / CHRIS McGREGOR / HARRY MILLER / LOUIS MOHOLO - Outback (Eargong Records 003; Italy) “Eargong Records present a reissue of Mike Osborne's Outback, originally released in 1970. Alto saxophonist Mike Osborne has been one of British jazz's most intense players. A unique alto sax voice that enhanced the music of great bands such as Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Mike Westbrook, Harry Miller's Isipingo, Mike Gibbs, and many others. Originally released in 1970, Outback is Mike Osborne's debut album. This is open, passionate, and adventurous music performed at maximum energy and profound inspiration, with Osborne leading a British/South-African all-star quintet with Harry Beckett (trumpet), Chris McGregor (piano), Harry Miller (bass), and Louis Moholo (drums). Licensed from Turtle Records/Cherry Red.”
HOWARD RILEY / BARRY GUY / TONY OXLEY - Flight (Eargong Records 004; Italy) “Eargong Records present the first vinyl reissue of Howard Riley's Flight, originally released in 1971. This landmark recording sees pianist Howard Riley with two of the greatest European improvisers Barry Guy on bass and Tony Oxley on drums literally reinventing the piano trio format. This is deeply explorative music beyond time and space. Comes in gorgeous original gatefold cover. Licensed from Turtle Records/Cherry Red.
MARTINA BERTONI - Music For Empty Flats (KarlRecords 083; Germany) “Cello player and electronic artist Martina Bertoni's new album Music For Empty Flats delivers masterfully crafted experimental ambient/drone. Martina Bertoni is a Berlin-based cellist and composer. She started playing the cello at a very young age. classically trained, Bertoni's career soon developed around experimental and film music where her cello has been featured in numerous records, soundtracks for awarded movies and TV series and collaborations, among others with Blixa Bargeld and Teho Teardo with whom she recorded several albums and performed at many prestigious festivals all around the globe. The core of her solo work is based on deconstructing the relationship with her own instrument by combining acoustic sound, repetition, analog and digital synthesis. After the EPs In A Paradise You Would Be Happy (2018) and The Green EP (2019) she released her critically acclaimed full length album All The Ghosts Are Gone with the Reykjavík based label Falk in January 2020. On her new album she continues to explore the sonic possibilities of her instrument which she uses as sound source -- sounds which are then processed, adding reverb, feedback and sub-bass frequencies and thus crafting sonic sculptures, rich of atmospheres and frictions. "The inspiration for the title Music For Empty Flats comes from a fraction of time during last winter, while I was visiting Iceland. I had the strange opportunity to spend lots of time listening to music, alone in a brand new but unoccupied -- therefore completely naked -- empty flat in the suburbs of Reykjavík. it was Christmas, it was constantly dark, outside there was snow, inside there was this strange dystopian empty space in which I could listen to my favorite pieces of music in complete solitude. this is when I started sketching the new record." says bertoni. The resulting seven new tracks deliver masterfully crafted experimental ambient/drone, dense and intense but fragile and sensitive at the same time. Recommended for fans of: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Giulio Aldinucci, Lawrence English.”
THE VERY LAST SEALED COPIES from the GREAT MUTABLE LABEL:
First List: Just Musician - Title (label #) & cost / 2nd list with Reviews or blurbs
MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS with MARK FELDMAN / JOSEPH KUBERA / THOMAS BUCKNER / TODD REYNOLDS / MARY ROWELL / et al - The Visibility Of Thought (Mutable 17502; USA)
MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS / ROSCOE MITCHELL / JANACEK PHILHARMONIC - Spectrum (Mutable 17536; USA)
BORAH BERGMAN / LOL COXHILL / PAUL HESSION - Acts Of Love (Mutable 17519; USA)
BORAH BERGMAN / STEFANO PASTOR - Live at Tortona (Mutable 17534; USA)
BIG BLACK with ANTHONY WHEATON - Ethnic Fusion (Mutable 17504; USA)
CD $25 [Very Limited]
JEROME COOPER & THOMAS BUCKNER - Alone, Together, Apart (Mutable 17509; USA)
JEROME COOPER - From There To Hear (Mutable 17506; USA)
CD $20 [a dozen left - 3/16/21]
JEROME COOPER - A Magical Approach (Mutable 17538; USA)
CONNIE CROTHERS / MICHAEL BISIO - Sessions at 475 Kent (Mutable 17537; USA)
FRED HO and THE GREEN MONSTER BIG BAND With BOBBY ZANKEL / JIM HOBBS / SALIM WASHINGTON /AMIR ElSAFFAR / AMANDA MONACO / ROYAL HARTIGAN / et al - The Sweet Science Suite: A Scientific Soul Music Honoring Muhammad Ali (Mutable/Big Red Media 03 ,USA)
FRED HO & QUINCY SAUL // CAL MASSEY - The Music of Cal Massey: A Tribute, Conducted by Whitney George (Mutable/Big Red Media 04;USA)
FRED HO And THE SAXOPHONE LIBERATION FRONT With BOBBY ZANKEL/SALIM WASHINGTON/HAFEZ MODIRZADEH - Snake-Eaters (Mutable/Big Red Media 02 ;USA)
FRED HO and THE GREEN MONSTER BIG BAND With TAYLOR HO BYNUM/BOBBY ZANKEL/JIM HOBBS/SALIM WASHINGTON/MARY HALVORSON et al - Celestial Green Monster (Mutable/Big Red Media 01; USA)
LEROY JENKINS' DRIFTWOOD With MIN XIAO-FEN / DENMAN MARONEY / RICH O'DONNELL - The Art Of Improvisation (Mutable 17523; USA)
ROSCOE MITCHELL & THOMAS BUCKNER - 8 O'Clock: Two Improvisations (Mutable 17505; USA)
CD $25 [5 left & that’s it]
ROSCOE MITCHELL - Solo 3 [3 CD set] (Mutable 17515; USA)
3 CD SET $20
REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE [LEROY JENKINS / SIRONE /JEROME COOPER] - The Psyche (Mutable 17514; USA)
REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE [LEROY JENKINS / SIRONE / JEROME COOPER] - Beyond the Boundary of Time (Mutable 17532; USA)
REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE [LEROY JENKINS / SIRONE / JEROME COOPER] - Counterparts: Last Live Show (2005)(Mutable 17549; USA)
CD $25 [last few copies left]
RICHARD TEITELBAUM - Solo Live: 2009 (Mutable 17548; USA)
CD $20 [last few copies]
BLUE' GENE TYRANNY with THOMAS BUCKNER / PETER GORDON / CONRAD HARRIS / PAULINE KIM / LUKE WINSLOW-KING / et al - The Somewhere Songs/The Invention Of Memory (Mutable 17529; USA)
RANDY WESTON - Ancient Future / Blue (Mutable 17508; USA)
2 CD Set $25 [Last few copies]
The Same MUTABLE TITLES With Reviews/Blurbs:
MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS with MARK FELDMAN / JOSEPH KUBERA / THOMAS BUCKNER / TODD REYNOLDS / MARY ROWELL / et al - The Visibility Of Thought (Mutable 17502; USA) Duet for Contrabass and Piano, Duet for Violin and Piano, Baritone Voice and String Quartet, Piano Duet #1, The Visibility of Thought, Piano Improvisation Muhal Richard Abrams, Thomas Buckner, Philip Bush, Jon Deak, Mark Feldman, Joseph Kubera, ETHEL: Ralph Farris, Dorothy Lawson, Todd Reynolds, Mary Rowell
MUHAL RICHARD ABRAMS / ROSCOE MITCHELL / JANACEK PHILHARMONIC - Spectrum (Mutable 17536; USA) Petr Kotik, conductor; Thomas Buckner, baritone; Muhal Richard Abrams, piano; Roscoe Mitchell, sax. Spectrum features an improvised performance by Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell entitled Romu. This recording is also the first to feature Abrams's and Mitchell's work with orchestral forces. Mutable Music is very proud to be able to offer these premiere recordings. Abrams's Mergertone was commissioned by the Ostrava Center for New Music and premiered at the opening concert of the Ostrava Days 2007 festival by the Janacek Philharmonic, Petr Kotik conductor. Mitchell's Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City was commissioned by Mutable Music for baritone Thomas Buckner, Petr Kotik and The Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble and was premiered at the Willow Place Auditorium in February 2003.
BORAH BERGMAN / LOL COXHILL / PAUL HESSION - Acts Of Love (Mutable 17519; USA) With a unique, two-handed approach that dispenses with the traditional notion of piano playing as competing or interlocking lines, Borah Bergman deals with sound as mass, great chilly bergs or hot flows of magma that change shape as different layers flow against one another, hardening and melting at different rates. By contrast, Lol Coxhill is a singer, a chanticleer on the dunghill of the city or on the rooftree of your house, a head full of old songs and the harmonic codes to transform them. The simplest difference may be that Coxhill comes from a jazz tradition, never more communicative than when playing changes and subverting a saccharine show-tune, while Bergman, for all his deep understanding of blues, boogie-woogie, swing, bebop, comes from somewhere else, classical, cantorial, exclamatory, De profundis clamavi . . . What unites them, though, even beyond the astonishing lingua franca of improvisation, is the idea of music as a kind of labour. Both seem to inhabit an old European ideal, anti-romantic and the toughest creative path there is, that subordinates the idea of works, perfect icons of expression ready for admiring consumption, to the idea of work, a physical, mental and moral effort that has ritual at one end of its spectrum and entertainment away at the other. These are hugely enjoyable pieces; they also have an element of ritual to them; but at their core is something much more profound and constantly evolving. The evolution of music of this kind depends on a very particular sense of time. Like some of the finest British "free" percussionists X Eddie Prevost, the late John Stevens, the younger Mark Sanders - Paul Hession has the ability to impart swing to apparently metreless playing. His virtues are easily overlooked because he seems to blend effortlessly into any background or environment - the classical evolutionary virtue - and one only becomes aware of his importance when he drops out for a measure or two. Such are the ironies of shedding a performing ego. Uniqueness is a much exaggerated quality. Every rock pulled from the ground is unique; the face and history of every passer-by different to the last; what's important, though, is what you make of them in the collective. Bergman and Coxhill are special and play special music, because they have committed themselves to something larger than individual expression. (-Brian Morton, from the liner notes)
BORAH BERGMAN / STEFANO PASTOR - Live at Tortona (Mutable 17534; USA)Featuring: Borah Bergman on piano and Stefano Pastor on violin. This new CD by pianist Borah Bergman and violinist Stefano Pastor was recorded on July 1st, 2007 at the Jazz Fuori Tema Festival in Tortona, Italy. The five pieces on this recording - three compositions by Bergman and two improvisations by the duo - highlight Bergman's ambi-ideation: his amazing ability to have each hand go its own way. Instead of accompaniment and melody, what one hears are often two completely different melodic lines being played simultaneously. Stefano Pastor's style of playing the violin is strongly based on an imaginative reworking of bop wind instruments' language. A great deal of experimentation led him to re-consider the set-up of his instrument. Pastor has re-strung his violin with extremely rigid electric guitar strings to obtain a heavy sound, allowing his violin and the way he plays it to speak like a wind instrument - with breath and power. The resulting music is sometimes rasping, sometimes lyrical, a not rarely prodigious dialogue between the piano and the violin, with Bergman's hands running about on the keyboard producing cascades of notes, each with an exact, determined precision with its own very limpid specific weight. Pastor plays the game wonderfully, intervening with his violin with its sanded, gravelly, very earthy sound. British violin virtuoso Stefano Pastor will be visiting our fine town and will be here at DMG on Tuesday, September 29th at 6pm and at The Stone on Wednesday, September 30th at 8pm. Stefano Pastor is just an incredible musician so please check him out while you have a rare opportunity! - BLG
BIG BLACK with ANTHONY WHEATON - Ethnic Fusion (Mutable 17504; USA) When an album is deemed unclassifiable, it usually is either because one feels it belongs to a style yet to be defined or because one doesn't know what to do with it. There is a little of both in the case of Ethnic Fusion. For this late-1981/early-1982 studio session, percussionist Big Black teamed up with a young guitarist named Anthony Wheaton. He plays acoustic guitar with a definite classical background. Black handles the tumbas and bongos with great dexterity, playing with fire and conviction. The unamplified duo performs original compositions that stand somewhere between classical Spanish guitar pieces and Afro-Cuban jazz -- in "Trinidad" the 12-string guitar part even conjures Anthony Phillip's album Twelve. The meeting between the delicate guitar lines and Black's rock-hard hands is unexpected and highly unusual, but it works. It may take you a couple of listens at first to get used to the very low recording level and the initially frightening inequality between the two instruments. Even though the percussionist dominates, the real leader is Wheaton. His inflections in "China Lake" trigger Black's choice of rhythms. "Pavan," very 16th-century, constitutes an extreme example of these two worlds colliding. After the guitar has stated the theme, the tumbas enter thunderously, retreating to let the theme rise again, almost inaudible. And what about "Jigs," so French in spirit, accompanied by African instruments. This one-of-a-kind fusion was first released in 1982 on 1750 Arch and reissued on CD in 2001 on Mutable Music.” - Francois Couture, AllMusic.Com
CD $25 [Very Limited]
JEROME COOPER & THOMAS BUCKNER - Alone, Together, Apart (Mutable 17509; USA) Jerome Cooper - Multi-dimensional drums Thomas Buckner - Full spectrum voice Jerome Cooper has accompanied many of the big names of free jazz, but this reviewer's chief previous encounter with the percussionist was on one of Anthony Braxton's best records, New York, Fall 1974. Cooper's playing on that date stands out for its uniquely light but driving touch. His work on this new CD has the same qualities, although Cooper spends only a fraction of the disc on drumset, moving to keyboard, hand and mallet percussion and "tonal rhythm activator" for long stretches. Thomas Buckner's voice on this set of live duo improvisations delves into low groans, high cries and semi-operatic stylings, but steers clear of harshness. The brief final cut, "All Out," makes comic use of a canned rhythm pattern, but otherwise this is meditative music-the titles ("Evocation," "Journey," "Return") give a strong suggestion of what their intentions were, and what they achieved. Avoiding poking and prodding, Cooper and Buckner work alongside one another patiently, on the same wavelength. - Pat Buzby, Signal to Noise, Summer 2003
JEROME COOPER - From There To Hear (Mutable 17506; USA) What is multi-dimensional drumming? After dealing with polyrhythms, I began to hear layers of sounds and rhythms. Divided into many parts and facets, the drum set and secondary instruments I use and play are all aspects of the drums. In the future, there will be many changes and developments in the area of the mind - so what we (humankind) think and hear, is what we shall see and hear. In order to play the drum set you must be able to manipulate four or five things at one time (i.e. bass drum, snare drum, high-hat, ride cymbals and maybe voice). So an instruments name and structure doesn't stop me from playing them like a drum. You have instruments that are structurally different from the drum, but they have the same characteristic in the approach to the drum (i.e. piano, balaphone and shoes with taps). In order to find the music of the drums, I had to change my assumptions and beliefs about music in relation to the drums, which is sound in the creation of multi-rhythms. In the liner notes I will try to explain the music on this CD, from the instruments I am playing, to the structure of the improvisation. The chiram ia is a wind instrument. It is played with a double reed. Mine have six stops (some have three, four and two). They are from Mexico. To me, the chiramia is my voice synthesizer. In Mexico, some musicians play it along with their drums. In my performance, I use two, mostly played individually, but sometimes together. Through the years, I have given them names. "Slim" is the name of my chiramia with the harsh sound to it. "Big Mama" is the name I gave to the chiramia with the mellow sound. "Repooc" is the psychic name I've given my balaphones, talking drums and cymbals (African), snare drums and tom-toms (American). My bass drum is assigned the name of "OM," and my high-hat's name is "Julio." People who are familiar with my music from the 60's and 70's know that I played piano as a secondary instrument. During the period of the Revolutionary Ensemble, I would play the drum set and then go over to the piano. The problem was external duality. When Yamaha and Casio came out with the electronic keyboard and drum synthesizer, it became part of my drum set (i.e. bass drum, snare drum, high-hat, cymbals and electronic tonal rhythmic activator). "Emorej" is the name assigned to my Yamaha. Look at it this way - some musicians give names to their instruments (i.e. B.B. King's guitar "Lucille"). Or you can look at it another way - a lot of drummers carry and play percussion instruments (i.e. gong, whistles, bongos, etc.). I do the same thing except all of my percussion instruments are synthesized into one instrument. The music on this CD is from live performances at two venues--Roulette and The Knitting Factory--spanning the years 1995-98.
CD $20 [a dozen left - 3/16/21]
JEROME COOPER - A Magical Approach (Mutable 17538; USA) Jerome Cooper: Drums, balaphone, chiramia, Yamaha PSR 1500. "Drummer/percussionist Jerome Cooper's fruitful musical legacy with the Revolutionary Ensemble and stints with saxophonist/composer Anthony Braxton, pianist Cecil Taylor, and others reads like a who's who in modern jazz. This makes A Magical Approach - a new release of Jerome Cooper's multi-dimensional drumming, a very special event. The music on this CD is drawn from two live performances, recorded almost 30 years apart. Root Assumptions was recorded in 1978 while the other five tracks are from Cooper's 2007 performance at an A.A.C.M. concert. Cooper's remarkable agility and captivating musical spirit is enacted throughout these endearing works. What is multi-dimensional drumming? Imagine a drummer who plays this flute with one hand, bass drum and high-hat with his feet, and triggers drum loops, chord sequences and bass patterns with his other hand. Whether it is written or improvised, the resulting music is closer to world-funk than avant-garde jazz. Divided into many parts and facets, the drum set and secondary instruments Cooper uses and play are all aspects of the drums. In the future, there will be many changes and developments in the area of the mind -- so what we (humankind) think and hear, is what we shall see and hear. In order to play the drum set you must be able to manipulate four or five things at one time (i.e. bass drum, snare drum, high-hat, ride cymbals and maybe voice). So an instrument's name and structure doesn't stop him from playing them like a drum. You have instruments that are structurally different from the drum, but they have the same characteristic in the approach to the drum (i.e. piano, balaphone and shoes with taps). In order to find the music of the drums, Cooper had to change my assumptions and beliefs about music in relation to the drums, which is sound in the creation of multi-rhythms."
CONNIE CROTHERS / MICHAEL BISIO - Sessions at 475 Kent (Mutable 17537; USA) Featuring Connie Crothers on piano and Michael Bisio on contrabass. Connie Crothers is known for her wide range of expression, originality and her uncompromising spontaneous improvisation. Michael Bisio invariably astounds audiences with the beauty of his tone and the intensity of his very personal musical language. Together they make an absolutely outstanding duo. The four improvised works on this recording radiate intensity and beauty. One paradox of the improvising musical art is that after the music is created, it is gone. The musicians don't really get to listen to it. We hear and create the music in an instant, then move on to the next instant. Michael and I had wanted to record just to hear the music. My loft is 1,000 square feet of open space. The concrete pillars and ceiling, the tile floor and the raised wood platform in the center of the space where the piano is all cause the resonance to be greatly enhanced (the platform is even a kind of vibrating soundboard). This room is ideal for recording. I set up informally. I only used two mics, but they are great ones--my Neumann U87's. I placed them, we gave it a test, then just played. And played and played. From the first second (in fact, from the soundcheck), we were in another place altogether. What is it? Some dimension of energy, sound, feeling, beauty--every note a surprise. Michael is amazing. When we listened back, we were two astonished and very happy musicians. I couldn't believe the recording sound. After all, I can't monitor when I am also playing. And the music. It's wonderful when you listen and are so drawn in by the music itself that you don't think, I'm doing that? Although I could know that I'm the one on the piano and that it's Michael, with all his resounding non-stop individuality, there was a merge. It was just music itself, an intrinsic organism, just meant to be. - Connie Crothers
FRED HO and THE GREEN MONSTER BIG BAND With BOBBY ZANKEL / JIM HOBBS / SALIM WASHINGTON / AMIR ElSAFFAR / AMANDA MONACO / ROYAL HARTIGAN / et al - The Sweet Science Suite: A Scientific Soul Music Honoring Muhammad Ali (Mutable/Big Red Media 03; USA) During the war against advanced colo-rectal cancer (from 2006), which included two primary tumors and two recurrences, Fred Ho, hammered by massive chemo and radiation, found inspiration in the fight for his life from watching movies of The Greatest, Muhammad Ali. Ali's bold, militant, defiant and spirited resistance to the forces of American racism, combined with his elan, grace and humor (both poetical and personal), his indisputable athletic abilities and genius, and the inspiration to the world?s peoples (especially the oppressed) and their embrace of him, served as constant inspiration to Fred Ho. During one of his recovery periods, Ho decided to compose a work for his Green Monster Big Band to honor The Greatest. The Sweet Science Suite is a musical evocation of that mojo conjured through Afro Asian scientific soul music, combining the swing of jazz and American and Asian boxing, martial arts and hand-to-hand combat feels and forms, with the elasticity of temperament and pitch intrinsic to the raw, folk musical characteristics of AfroAmerica and much of the Asiatic world. During Ali's match against the juggernaut George Foreman in Zaire during the mid-1970's, Ali's employ of the 'rope-a-dope' was the quintessential methodology of the trickster, intrinsic to many Asian martial arts, such as JuJitSu, of turning the strength of one's opponent against them. This work of five movements spans the musical geography of the Black and Yellow worlds, just as Ali spanned those two worlds in his boxing training and abilities, and in turn inspired and influenced martial forms and techniques, including the footwork of the late great martial arts innovator and iconoclast, Bruce Lee. An added two-track bonus on this recording include the Jacob Epstein arrangement of Ellington?s classic In A Sentimental Mood, now re-titled by Fred Ho as In A Pan African Mood, an evocation and conjuring to mother Africa and its cultural heritage as the source for anti-imperialist and anti-technocentric inspiration. The second bonus track features Persian American vocalist Haleh Abghari and baritone saxophonist Fred Ho employing esoteric and extended techniques for both, on the Ho composed works based the James Tate poem 'Teaching The Ape to Write Poems.' On November 13 and 14, 2011, 7:30 pm both evenings, The Sweet Science Suite will have its world premiere with dancers and choreography by Christal Brown (of Urban Bushwomen fame) at the Guggenheim Museum "The 20-piece Green Monster Big Band features these NY greats: Bobby Zankel, Jim Hobbs & Salim Washington on saxes, Amir ElSaffar, Stanton Davis & Nabate Isles on trumpets, Earl McIntyre on bass trombone, Amanda Monaco on guitar, Wes Brown on bass and Royal Hartigan on drums. Over the past few years the almighty Fred Ho, bari saxist, composer & bandleader, has been quite prolific with numerous discs on the Innova and Mutable labels. Each one of these are ambitious concept records which feature Mr. Ho's feisty large ensemble with a number of seasoned veterans. I questioned his taste when Mr. Ho covered "In a Gadda Da Vida" on a previous disc, but I have to admit that his concept themes whether tongue-in-cheek or not, most often make for compelling music. This disc honors the great legendary boxing champion Muhammed Ali whose large and imposing cartoon image graces the cover. Fred Ho, who claims to have been reborn after having dealt with his own cancer, chemo and recovery, was inspired by Muhammed Ali and decided to base this work on Ali's boxing career. Each of the five movements was inspired by a different aspect of Ali's career. . Mr. Ho Has written some exciting charts with some burning solos from the saxes and trumpets, even the slightly cheesy organ (played by Art Hirahara) sounds great. Each movement is also based on a different musical theme. The second movement is based on "Flight of the Bumble Bee" (Rimsky-Korsakov) and "The Green Hornet Theme" (Billy May) and it is tight and smokin' with some great organ and bari sax solos. One of Mr. Ho's strengths is the way he combines Asian and African strains in his music. The third movement does a fine job of blending diverse African and Asian influences into a solid seamless and proud stream. A number of musicians stand out on this piece, Amanda Monaco on guitar, Art Hirahara on electric piano and Royal Hartigan on drums. The multiple layers of complex horn harmonies is also awesome. The fifth movement is a series, somber and haunting section with some extraordinary crafty composing for various layers of horns which keep evolving throughout the long and often brilliant piece. You might think that by just judging this disc by the unserious nature of the cover art that this is not a serious effort but you would be wrong. This disc is in fact one of the most impressive offerings of the month and the by far the best big band disc of the year." - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery
FRED HO & QUINCY SAUL // CAL MASSEY - The Music of Cal Massey: A Tribute, Conducted by Whitney George (Mutable/Big Red Media 04;USA) Bobby Zankel, alto sax; Bhinda Keidel and Salim Washington, tenor saxes and other woodwinds; Ben Barson, baritone sax; Jackie Coleman, Nabate Isles, Jameson Chandler (trumpets); Frank Kuumba Lacy, Aaron Johnson (trombones); Art Hirahara, piano; Melanie Dyer, viola; Dorothy Lawson, cello. Wes Brown, bass; Royal Hartigan (drums and African percussion). Calvin Massey (1928-1972) is virtually unknown with the exception of both highly knowledgeable jazz?scholars and a small coterie of illustrious musicians who remain alive and were immensely indebted to Massey?s musical influence and mentorship. Massey was a father figure and close friend to many of the greatest jazz musicians of the post-World War era until his early death in 1972. Massey was a trumpeter, but was most noted as a composer of magisterial works, of which his epic opus was The Black Liberation Movement Suite, an extended work of nine movements. Until now, the work had never been recorded in its entirety. Cal Massey ranked among the greatest jazz composers of the 20th century, included with Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Sun Ra. 'The Black Liberation Movement Suite' is one of the undiscovered gems of an epic jazz extended work. It perhaps may be regarded through the exposure of this recording release as one of the greatest jazz suites of the 20th century, joining Mingus? Epitaph, Let My Children Music and The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady, the major Ellington suites and extended form works (the Sacred Concerts, The Liberian Suite, The Drum is a Woman, etc.), Oliver Nelson's The Afro-American Suite, and the varying cosmo-dramas of Sun Ra. While of considerable musical and artistic grandeur as these other great extended works, The BLM Suite is also a work of considerable sociopolitical significance, commissioned by the Black Panther Party and musically and ideologically expressing the revolutionary upsurge of the Black Liberation struggle in the U.S. during the late-1960s. Three other Massey compositions are featured herein. Quiet Dawn was composed for the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Goodbye Sweet Pops is an homage to Louis Armstrong. Finally, The Cry of My People epitomizes Cal's compositional energy for combining the soulfulness of Spiritual-like melody with bold and complex harmonic structures.
FRED HO And THE SAXOPHONE LIBERATION FRONT With BOBBY ZANKEL / SALIM WASHINGTON / HAFEZ MODIRZADEH - Snake-Eaters (Mutable/Big Red Media 02; USA) Snake-Eaters debuts Fred Ho's Saxophone Liberation Front, featuring composer Ho on baritone saxophone and Hafez Modirzadeh (soprano), Bobby Zankel (alto) and Salim Washington (tenor). Darker than Blue, inspired by Curtis Mayfield s song, We the People Who are Darker than Blue, employs shifting meters (including a blues section in 11/8 and 11.5 /8), 12-tone serialism, compound meter ostinati, and Lydian chromatic approaches to orchestration. Ho s Yellow Power, Yellow Soul Suite coincides with the soon-to-be publication of the Drs. Roger Buckley and Tamara Roberts festschrift by the same title, and includes the previously recorded Fishing Song of the East China Sea (originally a flute trio with bass violin on the out-of-print recording by Fred Ho and the Asian American Art Ensemble, Bamboo that Snaps Back; and the now-defunct Brooklyn Sax Quartet recording The Far Side of Here), as well as Afro-Asian adaptations of other Asian folk songs. Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist) is an homage to one of Asian America s greatest innovators, martial artist-actor-philosopher-teacher Bruce Lee. Lalo Schifrin-esque tropes from the epic film, Enter: The Dragon, combine with the elan of Stan Getz-ian bossa nova and cool styles, and epitomize the Zen-like philosophy and pugilism of Bruce Lee: the art of fighting without fighting; or as Ho has stated: the point of technique is to have no technique (and by inference, be completely intuitive, improvisational and in the moment). Reflections (Upon Reflections!), in a sonata-like form of Exposition upon Monk s classic tune, an extended Development that is a significant departure from a chord-changes based tune, and a brief Recapitulation. Misty-ificaton is a what-if supposition: What if the DNA of Errol Garner s Misty was mixed with the genes of Rob Zombie s films? Frightening? Horrifying? Or, Hyperbolized? Steroidal balladry? During the international campaign to oppose the celebration of the Columbus quincentennial, in which indigenous peoples joined with anti-imperialist and pro-social justice forces worldwide, including a vast array of artists, the old Fred Ho composed the Beyond Columbus and Capitalism suite for the Rova Saxophone Quartet, which would during the 1990s lead to the formation of the Brooklyn Sax Quartet when Ho was asked to do numerous benefit concerts throughout New York City Reflections (Redux and Prefigurative) has Ho playing Thelonius Monk s melody in the very bottom register of his low-A horn while voicing the accompanying saxes down-upwards, and ending with a collective bluesy-gospel romp towards an ending chord of precursory possibilities. Finally, the extraordinary duet by Fred Ho and Persian-American vocalist Haleh Abghari, Dear Reader, based upon a James Tate poem, which was commissioned in 2006 by the Guggenheim Museum Works and Process series.
FRED HO and THE GREEN MONSTER BIG BAND With TAYLOR HO BYNUM / BOBBY ZANKEL / JIM HOBBS /SALIM WASHINGTON / MARY HALVORSON / et al - Celestial Green Monster (Mutable/Big Red Media 01; USA) On the new release Celestial Green Monster, Fred Ho and the Green Monster Big Band - assembled from Ho's favorite musicians with whom he had the pleasure and honor to work with since embarking upon a professional career in music in the 1980's - perform both original compositions by Ho (Liberation Genesis; Blues to the Freedom Fighters; The Struggle for a New World Suite) as well as arrangements of two pop culture classics ("Spiderman Theme" and "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"). The quintessential American orchestra is not the symphony, but the big band. Retaining the essential features of swing and African-descended rhythmic vitality and complexity, improvisation (both individual and collective) with sophisticated compositional imagination, elasticity and experimentation with timbre and harmony, expansive and epic themes, the big band makes for as much a "joyful noise" as the ubiquitous small band. Though the composer/arranger may start with sketches and minimally notated material, the opportunity and challenge for a broader and more extensive palette of orchestral voicing, contrapuntal techniques (both melodically and rhythmically), and magnified excitement, intensity, energy and explosive dynamic range ("from a whisper to a scream") continually make for the big band form an ideal vehicle of serious extended composition. Over the years, Mr. Ho's influences in big band writing have included composer & arrangers such as Duke Ellington, Thad Jones, Count Basie, Sun Ra, Romulus Franceschini & Calvin Massey, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Charles Tolliver, Don Ellis, Frank Foster, Melba Liston, Shorty Rogers, Lalo Schifrin, Charles Mingus, and Tadd Dameron, among others. The popular "jazz-rock" horn bands also contributed mightily to Ho's musical consciousness, including Chicago Transit Authority, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Tower of Power, Azteca, Malo, Flock, Cold Blood; as well as black funk and soul bands such as Mandrill, Crown Heights Affair, Brass Construction, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Pyramids, and Kool and the Gang. And his oeuvre also included the blazing salsa bands led by Eddie Palmieri, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, Bobby Paunetto, Willie Colon, and Celia Cruz. All of this is reflected in this amazing and amazingly joyful recording. THE GREEN MONSTER BIG BAND: Fred Ho, leader/baritone sax; Bobby Zankel, Jim Hobbs, alto sax; Hafez Modirzadeh, Salim Washington, tenor sax; Stanton Davis, Brian Kilpatrick, Amir Elsaffar, trumpet; Taylor Ho Bynum, cornet; Robert Pilkington, Marty Wehner, Richard Harper, trombone; Earl MacIntyre, David Harris, contrabass trombone; Art Hirahara, piano, electronic keyboard; Wes Brown, electric and acoustic bass; Royal Hartigan, drum set plus guest artists on In A Gadda Da Vida: Abraham Gomez-Delgado & Haleh Abghari (vocals) and Mary Halvorson (electric guitar)
LEROY JENKINS' DRIFTWOOD With MIN XIAO-FEN / DENMAN MARONEY / RICH O'DONNELL - The Art Of Improvisation (Mutable 17523; USA) Featuring Leroy Jenkins on violin, Min Xiao-Fen on pipa, Denman Maroney on piano and Rich O'Donnell on percussion. Leroy Jenkins remains the most distinctive modern violinist we have and appears to work hard at each and every project he is involved with. His new quartet, Driftwood, is again a completely unique band of gifted improvisers. Denman Maroney plays what is known as 'hyper-piano' by playing often inside the piano with bowls and other objects. Min Xiao-Fen has become the most in-demand and adventurous pipa player, since moving here during the nineties. I can't say that I was familiar with the percussionist here, Mr. O'Donnell, but he fits perfectly in this marvelous quartet. Each of the four pieces is part of "The Art of Improvisation" suite. "To Live" or the first part has the pipa and violin swirling around one another as piano and percussion also swirl intricately below with delicate precision. The interplay between all four musicians has that edge-of-your-seat mesmerizing quality. On "To Sing", as Denman plucks, bends mutes string inside the piano he also plays the keyboard balancing the two approaches just right, creating strong suspense. Leroy then adds an eerie vibe by bending his strings, creating harmonics and letting his notes drift in the air like feathers falling through the air. Both Rich and Min take incredible unaccompanied solos here as well. The quartet erupts on "To Run", with all four players sailing and spiraling layers on lines together. Very intense. Finally, on the last piece, "To Believe", they slow down to a more cautious pace and explore more freely together with sublime results. Well worth the long wait since it was delayed a bit and advertised last month. - BLG
ROSCOE MITCHELL & THOMAS BUCKNER - 8 O'Clock: Two Improvisations (Mutable 17505; USA) Featuring Thomas Buckner, voice and Roscoe Mitchell, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, percussion, flute.
CD $20 [last few copies]
ROSCOE MITCHELL - Solo 3 [3 CD set] (Mutable 17515; USA) A massive undertaking from head Art Ensemble of Chicago reeds master and percussionist - Roscoe Mitchell. 'Tech Ritter & the Megabytes' (disc 1) features Roscoe on numerous saxes, flute and the percussion cage, solos and overdubbed saxes, written and improvised, often with that focused modern classical thread, yet show a wide variety of approaches. 'Solar Flares' (disc 2) features ten pieces for solo alto sax and again Roscoe's tone, overall sound and execution of ideas blends the lyrical with more angular and harsh extremes - honks, screams, multiphonic layers and a rich palette of sonic sources. 'The Percussion Cage and Music on the Go' (disc 3) features the incredible four-sided percussion cage which must be seen (at an Art Ensemble gig), to be believed, as it contains hundreds drums, cymbals, gongs, toys and percussive things too numerous to mention. Roscoe's approach goes beyond the rhythmic nature to a more orchestral approach that often evokes the spirits of our ancestors.
3 CD Set $20
REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE [LEROY JENKINS/SIRONE [NORRIS JONES]/JEROME COOPER] - The Psyche (Mutable 17514; USA) Featuring Leroy Jenkins on violin & viola, Sirone [Norris Jones] on double bass and Jerome Cooper on drums & piano. The legendary Revolutionary Ensemble were one of the most influential and distinctive units to emerge from the late sixties avant jazz scene here in lower Manhattan. Their six albums (in seven years) are nearly impossible to find, often sell for big bucks and have never been reissued unitl now!?! Leroy Jenkins, who moved here from Chicago and was a member of the AACM, was one of the first avant jazz string soloists. 'The Psyche' captures the adventurous spirit of free jazz as it evolved during the late sixties/early seventies and was recorded & released in 1975. 'The Psyche' consists of three pieces, the side long "invasion" which evolves organically, swinging in the first part with some great bent violin playing and later followed by a long, turbulent and free-flowing piano solo from their drummer Jerome Cooper with Sirone's inventive bass weaving wonderfully underneath and commencing with another strong, cerebral solo from Leroy's powerful violin and Jerome's equally inventive mallets swirling around him. 'The Psyche' captures the turbulence of the times, the angry, frustrating vibes of the US after the end of unjust war in Viet Nam. All three members of the Revolutionary Ensemble went on to play with other pioneers of jazz - Leroy with Muhal, Sirone with Blood Ulmer and Jerome with Cecil Taylor. "One of the key albums in my LP collection...finally on CD! I'm in heaven (again)!!" - Mannylunch
REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE [LEROY JENKINS/SIRONE [NORRIS JONES]/JEROME COOPER] - Beyond the Boundary of Time (Mutable 17532; USA) Featuring LEROY JENKINS (violin), SIRONE (bass) and JEROME COOPER (drums, balaphone, chiramia, Yamaha PSR 1500). 'Beyond the Boundary of Time' documents the last live performance of the legendary Revolutionary Ensemble before Leroy Jenkins's death in 2007. This recording was made of a performance on May 25, 2005 in Warsaw, Poland. In the 1970's, the Revolutionary Ensemble introduced New York to decided musical advances, many pioneered by Chicago's A.A.C.M. musicians. Former Chicagoan Leroy Jenkins, who played violin, of all unheard-of modern jazz instruments, had formed his concept from classical, swing, blues, and modern elements and had been one of the radicals who discovered new concepts of sound, space, and musical relationships in the late 1960s. Jerome Cooper had been a somewhat later Chicago explorer, while Sirone's freedom of motion had grown out of work with the most visionary New Yorkers. Extensive rehearsal led this cooperative trio to a shared, free sense of dynamics, momentum, and form, and a wholly unique sound: their instrumental recombinations yielded a surprising variety of textures and colors. Most of all, these highly sophisticated personalities played together to create an ensemble music even larger than the sum of its parts.
REVOLUTIONARY ENSEMBLE [LEROY JENKINS/SIRONE [NORRIS JONES]/JEROME COOPER] - Counterparts: Last Live Show (2005)(Mutable 17549; USA) Leroy Jenkins (violin); Sirone (bass) and Jerome Cooper (drums, balaphone, chiramia, Yamaha PSR 1500). 'Counterparts' is a document of the last live performance by the legendary Revolutionary Ensemble. This recording was made of a performance in Genoa, Italy on November 25, 2005. In the 1970's the Revolutionary Ensemble introduced New York to decided musical advances, many pioneered by Chicago_s A.A.C.M. musicians. Ex-Chicagoan Leroy Jenkins, who played violin, of all unheard-of modern jazz instruments, had formed his concept from classical, swing, blues, and modern elements and had been one of the radicals who discovered new concepts of sound, space, and musical relationships in the late 1960s. Jerome Cooper had been a somewhat later Chicago explorer, while Sirone's freedom of motion had grown out of work with the most visionary New Yorkers. Extensive rehearsal led this cooperative trio to a shared, free sense of dynamics, momentum, and form, and a wholly unique sound: their instrumental recombinations yielded a surprising variety of textures and colors. Most of all, these highly sophisticated personalities played together to create an ensemble music even larger than the sum of its parts. After the long overdue reissue in 2004 of their 1975 recording The Pysche on Mutable Music, the Revolutionary Ensemble - Leroy Jenkins (violin), Sirone (bass), and Jerome Cooper (drums, keyboards) reunited for both recording and performances. This live set presents Sirone's Configuration and Berlin Ertarhung; Usami and Rumi Tales by Leroy Jenkins; My Birds by Jerome Cooper, as well as a group improvisation - Fulfillment. All three of these great musicians are at the top of their form here and their remarkable realization of the ensemble ideal was still revelatory and, more importantly, still revolutionary.”
CD $25 [last few copies left]
RICHARD TEITELBAUM - Solo Live: 2009 (Mutable 17548; USA) This CD was recorded live in a solo concert at the 'An die Musik' performance space in Baltimore, Maryland on April 11, 2009. The first set, Threshold Symphonies, is all played on a Kurzweil 2000 Sampler Keyboard and a Macbook Pro computer using Ableton Live software. The samples used consist of many I have gathered over the years. These include nature sounds, old Moog synth sounds, music of many friends, western and non-western musicians, sounds made with Max/MSP software, and others. In 1973, while living in a small cabin in the center of a roughly parabola-shaped valley north of Toronto, I wrote a piece based on listening to and playing very softly with the distant sound of Highway 400 (the main road north) as it filtered through the hills from outside that valley, from several miles away. This experience became the basis of a score and a series of pieces I started doing at the time called Threshold Music. The basic idea was to play so as to match the levels, timbres and amplitude envelopes of the sounds in the aural environment so carefully that the listeners could not really be sure what sound came from the environment and what from the 'music'. This attitude and approach to sound also became the basis for much of my music over the years. Threshold Symphonies is an attempt to further elaborate on this concept. The word Symphonies is used here in its original sense (as in Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments) meanings simply 'sounding together.' The second set, TBCi/bRT, is basically acoustic improvisation using piano, bells, slide whistle, and a small, handheld, electronic Crackle Box, designed many years ago by my friend, the late composer Michel Waisvisz. The music here is also indebted to the threshold idea in part, using the soft sounds from outside (sirens) as integral aspects of the music. - Richard Teitelbaum
CD $20 [last 5 copies]
“BLUE” GENE TYRANNY with THOMAS BUCKNER / PETER GORDON / CONRAD HARRIS / PAULINE KIM / LUKE WINSLOW-KING / et al - The Somewhere Songs/The Invention Of Memory (Mutable 17529; USA) This beautiful new recording by "Blue" Gene Tyranny includes the mysterious 'The Somewhere Songs' cycle (1997-2001) for baritone voice and electronics, and The Invention of Memory (2003-2005) a lyrical discourse for baritone voice, string ensemble, guitar, and piano, 'The Somewhere Songs' concerns friendships in or undergoing difficult circumstances. The narrator, in a sense, builds his own circumstantial world as he sings - the vocal part was composed first by singing spontaneously and the "transitional systems" (pitch/rhythm, etc., material) were derived from that vocal line to generate other acoustic and electronic parts. The question of the "true intentions" of the two former friends is of course left to the listener. The Invention of Memory is about the behavior and physiology of the brain. In the course of reading, Tyranny was struck by what seemed to be rough parallels between the way that people have described forms of memory and certain musical procedures. This thought created a strange sensation in him - something about the true nature of music. The Invention of Memory was written to research this nameless correlation. An initial "Song", heard in a piano solo at the outset, provides a basic reference to which the players return, similar to a past event that is recalled in varied ways. The Song is then "scanned" by the players employing different musical procedures. Some of the musical forms employed are traditional (canonic imitation, passacaglia) while the majority are compositional procedures Tyranny developed for earlier pieces, including melodic transfers within a closed loop (from the transformational lattice score of Stars Over San Francisco,1972), drone with internal motion (from The Interior Distance,1959), camouflage (from Sleeping Beauty in Camouflage, 1992), and the song modulated by its own internal voice ("gravity" modulation from The Driver's Son, 1989 - present).
RANDY WESTON - Ancient Future / Blue (Mutable 17508; USA) Randy Weston, Piano The first disc is a recent recording, Ancient Future. The second disc is Blue, previously released on the 1750 Arch label [Thomas Buckner's LP label previous to the CD label Mutable] as an LP in the early '80s.
2 CD Set $25 [Last few copies]
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.
From the Ever-Amazing Violin Goddess - JENNY SCHEINMAN:
From Longtime DMG Customer Beni Fuchs:
Calvin Weston & Umbum Soundsystem
from Kaleidoscope, released March 7, 2021:
stephan wiedenbach -lead guitar
serge beck -rhythm guitar
martin 'smily' schmid -electric bass
sam bovey -percussion
beni fuchs (ben i sabbah) - electric phin, fx, ableton push
grant calvin weston -drums
recorded 2 feb /2021 at paradise underground, schaffhausen
drum lines by g calvin weston, philadelphia 2018
with kind permission (24bit 48000khz wav recording)
This comes from Multi-Instrumentalist/Composer/Futurist SCOTT ROBINSON:
https://youtu.be/amsOS00qieQ - This is the best music video I’ve seen in recent memory.
Here is a new SEAN ALI / MEGHAN DESMOND Music Video Collaboration:
Here is the video: https://vimeo.com/516694455
Here is just the audio:
Sean Ali plays acoustic bass and has played a number of solo & duo sets here at DMG. His bass playing is unlike anyone else I’ve heard and each set was fascinating. Meghan Desmond is one of my best friends and gig-going buddies. She was saved from a normal life by Downtown Music Scene Weirdness. Inspired by the music she heard, she picked up a camera and started to experiment. She has come a long way in the last few years, doing record covers, and photo/video collaborations with assorted Downtown Artists. Check out this new one, I think she and Sean Ali have really hit their stride! The video is in black & white and both the sounds and images are quite haunting so beware! - BLG/DMG
This comes from CHRIS CUTLER (Henry Cow, Art Bears & REcommended Records)
Chris has a podcast called Probes and this is Episode #29
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 of Creative Music, unique instrumentation, the history of recordings and lots more. Please take some time and listen to these, they are most enlightening.
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:
HENRY KAISER Continues with his Weekly Solo Series on Cuneiform’s Youtube page:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHUc8FYsWxg - new interview with Mr. Kaiser
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0-qbKTem9o - Tribute to Milford Graves
#45 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlkVBCOMu4E
#44 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afG82qVOEmg
#43 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVUUVOjZ6Bc
#42 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgVSkDLAQp4&pbjreload=101