We Shall Overcome
Written by Pete Seeger, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan & Zilphia Horton
We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome someday
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day
We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace
We shall live in peace some day
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We will live in peace some day
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around
The whole wide world around some day
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day
We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day
Oh, deep in my heart
I do believe
We shall overcome some day
"Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plain of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy, which has engulfed the Negro community, must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize their destiny is tied up in our destiny." - Rev. Martin Luther King
"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." — I Have a Dream speech, March on Washington. Washington, D.C., on August 28, 1963.” - Rev. Martin Luther King
Last Monday was Martin Luther King Day, a national holiday here in the USA that hopefully resonates around the world. For many of us who truly believe in Freedom, Justice, Equal Opportunity for All and Universal Love, this holiday always rings true. Every year on Martin Luther King Day, I take some time to think about his legacy. When I got home from the store on Monday later that night, I was tired and my apt was cold, the heat not working very well. Oye! I felt somewhat disillusioned by current events. I took some time to read through a large number of speeches by Reverend King, some of which are reprinted above and which have long inspired me/us, giving us all some hope in these darker times. Earlier in the day, I played some music to help inspire myself, John M and anyone who happened to come by the store. I played some gospel (“Amazing Grace” & “We Shall Overcome”), protest music (Last Poets & “Trouble Every Day” by the Mothers of Invention), soul, funk & rock, anything to stir up the emotions to consider where we are right now and where we’ve been. Martin Luther King, Mahatma Ghandi, John F. Kennedy, Frank Zappa and Anthony Braxton are my biggest heroes & inspirations. Each one has shown me ways to look at and understand the world we live in, the big picture which shows all of us how we are all connected by our humanity plus how we enlighten each other through diverse searching. Creative Music has long been my main inspiration, I hear, see and feel the best aspects of humankind within its magic. Every great day for me ends with a dance and sing along to music which inspires me/us to smile and forget about the dark forces which are trying to manipulate us. It is much better to be a Lover than a Hater. I know what’s in my own heart, but I find it is better to share what we hold dear with others. Please spend some time celebrating the great things in life we still share. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
The Independent Promoters Alliance Presents:
The NuBand @ Michiko Featuring:
THOMAS HEBERER / KENNY WESSEL / JOE FONDA / LOU GRASSI!
This Friday, January 21 at 7 pm $20 (suggested donation)
At Machiko - 149 West 46th Street (Manhattan), Stage 2
Proof of vaccination and ID are required by the venue.
$20 (suggested donation)
Next Tuesday, January 25th, here at DMG an In-store Performance:
6:30: MICHAEL VATCHER & SAM WEINBERG - Drums & Sax!
7:30: Possibly Mystery Guest?!?
This Week’s Wonderful Releases begin an Amazing Dynamic Duo:
JOHN ZORN / BILL LASWELL - The Cleansing (Tzadik 4037; USA) Zorn and Laswell have been friends and musical compatriots since they first met in 1978, and have been responsible for some of the most intense and memorable music in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Recorded in early 2021, near the end of the year’s pandemic lockdown, it marks the first time Zorn had touched the saxophone in over fifteen months. Laswell had spent most of the year locked in his apartment. Something special was happening that day—and after the session Laswell felt rejuvenated—as if all the toxins and poisons had left his body. Soulful and essential, “The Cleansing” is an historic meeting—and the first recorded duo project by these two Downtown magicians.
ANDREW CYRILLE / WILLIAM PARKER / ENRICO RAVA - 2 Blues for Cecil (TUM CD 059; Finland) 2 Blues For Cecil features three legends of modern improvised music, trumpeter Enrico Rava, bassist William Parker and drummer Andrew Cyrille. Rava and Cyrille are among the elders of improvised music with their careers going back to the 1960s whereas Parker rose to prominence during New York's loft jazz era of the 1970s. Other than this, they share one major link in their respective careers. Namely, they all have, at various times, been members of late pianist Cecil Taylor's Unit or other ensembles. Enrico Rava, William Parker and Andrew Cyrille first performed together as a trio in tribute to Cecil Taylor, with Taylor himself present, at the Whitney museum in April 2016 as part of an exhibit/program under the heading "Open Plan: Cecil Taylor." 2 Blues For Cecil was recorded on February 1 and 2 at Studio Ferber in Paris following the trio's concert on December 31, 2020 under the heading "Tribute to Cecil Taylor" as part of the Sons D'Hiver festival.
JOHN HEBERT with TAYLOR HO BYNUM / TIM BERNE / FRED HERSCH / CHES SMITH - Sounds of Love (Sunnyside; USA) A unique & somewhat surprising assemblage of talent pay homage to the great composer Charles Mingus. “Composer and bassist Charles Mingus’s legendary status is undeniable. Tributes to his genius tend to come up short because there isn’t a way to improve what he has already wrought. One element of Mingus’s vision that tends to get overlooked was his ability to create singular ensembles of strong, individual performers to play his music, ensembles that have gone down in history as some of the greatest of all time.
Bassist John Hébert has long been influenced by Mingus’s music. It was Mingus’s 1975 Atlantic recording, Changes One, that etched the clarity of the legend’s vision and tone into Hébert’s mind. Using the music and ensemble fluidity of the album as a direct inspiration, Hébert assembled an incredible band to play with the spirit of Mingus as a beacon for a number of performances from 2011 to 2013. The recording, Sounds of Love, presents the ensemble in their element, in a thrillingly dynamic live performance.
Assembling cohesive lineups of musicians is an art form that Mingus mastered. For this band, Hébert wanted to put together a shocking combination of musicians that would make the music come to life. Fred Hersch was a natural selection for the piano chair, as he had even studied with Mingus’s longtime pianist, Jaki Byard. The singular saxophonist and composer Tim Berne is a key fixture on New York’s Downtown scene where Hébert immersed himself and Berne makes a rare appearance as a sideman on Sounds of Love. Trumpeter Taylor Ho Bynum proves a fitting foil to Berne and Hébert’s Halvorson rhythm section partner, drummer Ches Smith, proves once again that he can handle any musical challenge.
The musicians hadn’t played with each other before the first rehearsal. Their contrasting sounds were what Hébert wanted to make the music come together and still stand apart. It was a true balance of personalities and styles that would have made Mingus proud.
Hébert did not intend for the group to be a repertory band. They did develop arrangements of a handful of Mingus pieces, mostly from the Changes recording. Other pieces were written by the leader as vehicles for improvisation, with more than slight nods to the Mingus’s style, as he was obviously on Hebert’s mind.”- Republic Of Jazz
JOELLE LEANDRE - At Souillac en Jazz (Ayler Records 169; EEC) An extraordinary solo double bass set recorded at Saint-Jacques church of Cales, Lot, France in 2021 as part of the Souillac en Jazz festival from Joëlle Léandre, reaching into the depths for an incomparable and intensely concentrated display of technical skill and passion on the deep strings; captivating, visceral and cathartic.
AARON BURNETT - Correspondence (Relative Pitch Records RPR SS 010; USA) Featuring Aaron Burnett on solo tenor sax. Since I hadn’t heard much about saxist Aaron Burnett before this disc arrived in the mail earlier this week, I did some research on line. There is a smoking live outdoors quartet gig up on youtube with Mr. Burnett on tenor, Peter Evans on trumpet, Nick Jozwiak on bass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Extraordinary! The Relative Pitch label is known for releasing cutting edge, challenging music which is mostly appreciated by serious listeners with big ears. The first thing I noticed is that Mr. Burnett has a strong, warm, intense tone. He starts off at the low end of his register, almost sounding like a baritone sax. Burnett takes his time, playing one phrase or line at a time, slowly bending it into other shapes. Burnett rarely does any screaming sax stuff, his pace is slower, more assured, thoughtful, not too out or over-the-top. The heart of Mr. Burnett’s sound is its more lyrical sound which Burnett explores at length, still bending notes here and there but never going too far out. I’ve listened to quite a few solo sax discs over the many years. This one is different, it is not hard to listen to. It has a soul, something warm and even tender at times yet it still explores the out limits but never too far. Certainly not the average Relative Pitch challenging your patience for outness. Still it is a gem of another kind. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MICHAEL LEONHART ORCHESTRA with ELVIS COSTELLO / BILL FRISELL / NELS CLINE / JOSHUA REDMAN / CHRIS POTTER / DONNY McCASLIN / ERIK FRIEDLANDER / FREDDIE HENDRIX / et al - The Normyn Suites (Sunnyside SSC 1669; USA) Sometime in the previous decade, Nels Cline played at one on those DMG anniversary gigs at Bowery Electric when DMG was stationed across the street. Earlier in the evening Nels introduced me to Michael Leonhart who played bass trumpet during Nels’ set that night. I didn’t know much about Mr. Leonhart at that point but found out later that he had done arrangements for Steely Dan, Elvis Costello and for Nels Cline’s ‘Lovers’ album. I ended up getting four of Mr. Leonhart’s albums for the Sunnyside label and realizing what an amazing composer, arranger and musician that Mr. Leonhart actually was/is. Earlier this week (1/17/22), I went to the Sunnyside office to pick up some titles for order and was given some 10 promos that have been released since I was last there a few months ago. When I saw that this pile included a new disc by the Michael Leonhart Orchestra, I smiled since the last two discs by this large ensemble (‘The Painted Lady Suite’ & ’Suite Extracts’) both were on my best of lists for the years they were released. Unfortunately I don’t have time to review this new disc today since I want to spend more time listening and thinking about it. Until next week…- BLG/DMG
TWO MORE GEMS from GUITARIST / OUDIST GORDON GRDINA:
GORDON GRDINA’S THE MARROW with HANK ROBERTS / JOSH ZUBOT / MARK HELIAS / HAMIN HONARI - Safar-E-Daroon (Songlines 2421-2; Canada) Featuring Gordon Grdina on oud, Hank Roberts on cello, Josh Zubot on violin, Mark Helias on contrabass and Hamin Honari on tombak, daf & frame drums. Considering that Vancouver-based guitar & oud virtuoso Gordon Grdina just sent us 6 new CD’s & 1 LP, each one with different personnel and each one a unique treasure in its own way! The Marrow (band name) appears to be an all acoustic band with two of Downtown best players: Hank Roberts & Mark Helias plus two Canadian greats: Josh Zubot and Hamin Honari. You should know of violinist Josh Zubot from his work with Matana Roberts and Ensemble SuperMusique. Percussionist Hamin Honari used to play in a great ethnic/avant-jazz group with Mr. Grdina called Sangha. This is the second disc by Grdina’s band The Marrow which also includes bassist Mark Helias, who has worked with Mr. Grdina in several other projects with Francois Houle, Matt Shipp and Tony Malaby. Mr. Helias also composed three of the nine pieces here.
Considering that the oud is often the lead instrument here, the quintet does have a middle-eastern sound. This is only one part of the group sound which also embraces other ethnic, jazz and classical influences. The title song opens this disc with some strong unison playing by the four strings: oud, cello, violin & bass with the percussion coming in soon thereafter, pushing the intensity and rhythm propulsion up another notch. Mr. Helias’ “El Baz” features more tightly written & played unison lines as the theme. The oud and violin both solo together, taking some daredevil twists and turns as the piece evolves. Master-bassist Mark Helias kicks off “Mini-Con” by himself with the rest of the quintet soon coming is. Helias’ bass throbs powerfully at the center of this slow, hypnotic, moody work. I like the way Grdina has the cello and violin playing separate yet somehow connected lines, the vibe here is filled with suspense with Mr. Zubot taking an extraordinary violin solo like a flame flickering or dancing dervish soaring higher. Another mast player is cellist Hank Roberts, who had a wonderful sextet disc out on Sunnyside from last year (2021). Mr. Roberts is a strong team player, often playing superb harmonies with the other strings: oud, violin & bass, only soloing on rare occasion. One of the highlights of this disc is the playing of violinist Josh Zubot, who seems to change the tone/approach of his playing on each piece. All of the other instruments appear to playing the low end waves together while Zubot adds his own quirky harmonies or counterpoint on top. There are often two different lines going on simultaneously, the oud & percussion playing tight rhythmic parts while the violin, cello & bass play their own swirling waves below. Everything about this disc works just right on different levels. There is a joyous spirit at the center which I feel is most uplifting. Great works lads! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
GORDON GRDINA’S SQUARE PEG with MAT MANERI / SHAHZAD ISMAILY / CHRISTIAN LILLINGER - Klotski (ABG Records 2; Canada) Featuring Gordon Grdina on guitar, oud & compositions, Mat Maneri on viola, Shahzad Ismaily on bass & Moog synth and Christian Lillinger on drums. Vancouver-based guitarist/oudist/composer, Gordon Grdina, has gathered an eclectic quartet for this release. As far as I can tell, none of the members of this quartet have worked (recorded) together before this session. Plus each member comes from a different scene (usual community of musicians that they often play with). You no doubt know of Mat Maneri from his work with Matt Shipp, Craig Taborn or Lucian Ban; utility player & multi-instrumentalist, Shahzad Ismaily, seems to work with everyone from Marc Ribot’s Ceramic Dog to Burnt Sugar to Laurie Anderson. I’ve watched drummer Christian Lillinger’s circle of players expand over time: Kaja Draksler, Peter Evans to Rolf Kuhn.
“Impending Discomfort” starts off spaciously, the guitar & viola carefully interweaving while the rhythm team rises & falls in waves. While the bass & drums throb & quietly rock together, Grdina’s el. guitar & Maneri’s viola exchange dialogue, balancing the organic flow just right. What I find most interesting is the way Grdina and Maneri work together. Mr. Maneri specializes in microtonal playing, hitting those notes in-between the regular notes most musicians abide by. Both the guitar and viola like to stretch out and bend their notes in their own way, creating fragmented harmonies which don’t sound quite right to some folks stuck in the way past yet this quartet still create their own sound/tonal world which makes sense once we get used to it. When Grdina switches to his (acoustic) oud, both he & Maneri’s sound blends together even better, with more magic glue holding things together. In “Sulfur City”, things get a big darker, coming closer to some post-punk angst which is unexpected yet well-placed. As the piece unfolds and gets more intense, Shahzad adds some scary synth which makes things even more harrowing. The same feeling I get as I read the news on Raw Story or Daily Kos every day while sipping my morning cup of coffee. Bravo! It sounds like Mr. Grdina has written skeletal pieces here with sections for the frontline & rhythm team to play together in between longer sections of freer interaction, thus giving all members a chance to stretch out and push things in different directions. Although this disc/session is much looser than the other new CD that I just reviewed yesterday (‘Safar-E-Daroon’), there is still quite a bit of adventurous and oft unpredictable playing going on here. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
URS LEIMGRUBER / AXEL DORNER / ROGER TURNER / et al - London / Leipzig / Luzern (Euphorium 060a; EEC) A powerful concert of free and electroacoustic improvisation from Urs Leimgruber on tenor saxophone, Axel Dorner on trumpet, Roger Turner on percussion, and Ra Ra da Boff (aka Oliver Schwerdt) & Ribo Flesh on electric organs, performing live at NuR in Leipzig, Germany in 2015 for two extended performances.
GUI DUVIGNAU with BILL FRISELL / BILLY DREWES / LAWRENCE FIELDS / JEFF HIRSCHFIELD RON CARTER - Baden (Sunnyside; USA) Featuring Billy Drewes on saxes & clarinet, Bill Frisell on guitar (4 songs), Lawrence Fields on piano & Wurlitzer electric piano, Gui Duvignau on bass and Jeff Hirchfield on drums plus guest bassist Ron Carter on 1 track. This disc is a tribute to the Brazilian acoustic guitarist & composer Baden Powell. Mr. Powell was a virtuoso acoustic guitarist whose recording career stretched back from 1959 until until his passing in 2000 with some 60 plus solo albums. I’ve bought my first Baden Powell CD’s over the past decade and have some half dozen of his releases, most of which are mostly solo acoustic guitar. I can’t say that I had heard of bassist Gui Divignau before now. It turns out that he was born in France, raised in Brasil, attended Berklee College and currently lives in New York. This is Mr. Duvignau’s 3rd release, his second for Sunnyside and his second using Downtowners Billy Drewes and Jeff Hirchfield. For this disc, Mr. Divignau has chosen the talents of Bill Frisell & Billy Drewes, both of whom have worked for Paul Motian plus a great young pianist named Lawrence Fields, who I caught with the Joe Lovano/Dave Douglas Footprints band at the Village Vanguard a couple of year ago.
Eight of the twelve songs here were written by Baden Powell with four composed by Mr. Duvignau. The Opening song is called, “Canto de Ossanha” and it has a delightful, warm, charming melody. Both Bill Frisell and Billy Drewes take the first of many fine guitar & sax (soprano here) solos here. “Canto de Xango” also features some fine soprano sax by Mr. Drewes, but what I like about it most are the lush layered harmonies of the rest of quintet/quartet (Frisell is on four of the 12 songs). Pianist Lawrence Fields is an incredible pianist, his playing is often majestic, rich in a variety of ways. In the second half of this piece, the quartet go free with some particularly spirited soprano sax & robust rhythm team interaction. Mr. Duvignau’s lush heartfelt bass is featured in the center of “Tristeza e Solidao”, as is Mr. Frisell’s tender, elegant guitar, his solo one of his best ever. “Ao Baden” was written by Mr. Duvignau, yet it does sound quite a bit like the other songs written by Mr. Powell, the same rich, expressive currents are flowing. Master bassist Ron Carter is featured on “Bluesa Preta/Asa Branca”, his bluesy lines at the center, his solo quite superb. Mr. Drewes switches to tenor sax for “Canto de Iemanja”, his tone even more lush & haunting. Mr. Fields also switches to a Wurlitzer electric piano, his sound also charming, rather quaint in sound, especially since so few pianists still play a Wurlitzer. Although Mr. Frisell is on four pieces here, each one is special and he is well utilized, adding his own magic tone / playing to each song. What I really like most about this disc is the slow, assured, hypnotic pace and sublime placement of each note. Sometimes the dreamworld feels better than our all-too-real world. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TANJA FEICHTMAIR / DAMON SMITH / GINO ROBAIR - The Shrilling of Frogs (Balance Point Acoustics-11; USA) Featuring Tanja Feichtmair on alto sax & clarinet, Damon Smith on contrabass and Gino Robair on percussion. Ever since hearing bassist Damon Smith playing with Henry Kaiser in Kaiser’s home studio some 20 years ago, I’ve been a big fan. Aside from being a great contrabassist, Mr. Smith works hard at finding the best (most challenging) musicians to collaborate with: Peter Kowald, Joelle Leandre, John Butcher, Sandy Ewen, Frank Gratkowski & many more. Mr. Smith has moved several time since we first met: from the Bay area to Houston, Texas to Boston, MA to St. Louis, MO, where he currently presides. Along the way, Smith has discovered and worked with many musicians from each of these places, some known and some not well-known. His own label, Balance Point Acoustics, has documented many of these collaborations and now has some two dozen releases. We just got in a new batch and I look forward to each one.
For this disc, Damon Smith works with reeds player Tanja Feichtmair and percussionist Gino Robair. Ms. Feichtmair is from Austria and can be heard on three discs from the Leo label. Bay area-based Gino Robair used to play in the great Splatter Trio and has also worked with Anthony Braxton, Derek Bailey, John Butcher and many others. Mr. Robair works with both acoustic percussion & drums, as well as electronics or (as he calls them) “activated surfaces”. The trio starts off cautiously, sparse yet focused around similar textures. Mr. Robair plays drums as well as rubbing or manipulating cymbals or other percussion-like objects. This session was recorded in August of 2003 by Scott R. Looney and mastered by Weasel Walter. The sound is superb, clean, warm, well balanced. This session was recorded during the lower-case/onkyo era, hence parts of it are more restrained but rarely for very long. Mr. Robair is in fine form here, switching between more sparse and more restless tapestry. There are sections where the bowed cymbal(s), bowed bass and fractured reeds are indistinguishable. The trio do turn up the heat on “Carpets on Barren Land” to near boiling point, erupting nicely, coming close to overdrive but not quite. I like the way Ms. Feichtmair bends the notes on her alto on “Sank into Gold”, most distinctive with Damon’s bowed bass also well interwoven. Patience is required for some of the more sparse sections yet the rewards are still great! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JEROME BRYERTON / DAMON SMITH DUO - …There Must be a Reason for Generating Sounds… 11 duos for Wolfgang Fuchs (1949-2016) (BPA LTD 14014; USA) Featuring Jerome Bryerton on drums and Damon Smith on contrabass. For a decade or so (1990’s-200’s), Damon Smith & Jerome Bryerton toured with German reeds player Wolfgang Fuchs. Mr. Smith & Mr. Bryerton also worked with Henry Kiaser, John Butcher, Frank Gratkowski and Ariel Shibolet. Not sure when this disc was recorded but it is the first recording by this particular duo. Contrabass and drums duo recordings used to a rare ocurrence but this is no longer the case since William Parker & Hamid Drake and John Edwards & Mark Sanders have had successful duo discs released. The music here is superbly recorded and it is mixed & mastered by Weasel Walter, who has good ears. The warm recording and often sparse music give this music a chance to breathe and unfold organically. Since there are assorted drones, bowed bass or bowed objects, it is often hard to tell who is doing what. No matter since the results are consistently engaging, fascinating. What I like most about this disc is that it is most modest, not too far out and easy to listen to yet is still consistently compelling throughout. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MORTON FELDMAN // APARTMENT HOUSE - Piano and String Quartet (Another Timbre 182; UK) Inspired by the broadcast performance by The Apartment House ensemble of three works by Morton Feldman, Another Timbre requested that they record the exceptional late work of the minimalist composer, Piano and String Quartet, captured at Henry Wood Hall two months later in a stunning interpretation of this enigmatic work of sensually dissipating motion.
CD $16 [In stock in 1-2 weeks, it is best to reserve a copy now]
ANTOINE BEUGER - Laments (Edition Wandelweiser Records EWR 2113-14; Austria) Wandelweiser composer and performer Antoine Beuger reflects, or more correctly, laments, in nine solo vocal works of profound emotional depth, utterances first on the dearth of time and the vicissitudes and intersections we face; then on mourning and grief, a requiem that extolls the listener to use our voice to confront sadness that we may gain strength from it.
2 CD Set $16 [In stock in 1-2 weeks, it is best to reserve a copy now]
JANE RIGLER / CURTIS BAHN / THOMAS CIUFO - Electro Resonance (Neuma 152; USA) Spirit guides to ‘low-tech’ seeking to deliver the ultimate in mental medication, Mssrs Rigler, Bahn, and Ciufo bring the art of deep listening through improvisational meditative music to the next level. Rigler’s a flautist who is certified in Oliveros’s Deep Listening practices; Bahn works with custom-built instrumentation augmented by various digital interfaces and soundmakers; Ciufo is ostensibly a guitarist who works with extended techniques and who also explores the various interstices between analog and digital sonic appliqués. Together, the trio bring all this to bear on five lengthy works (all performed live) that are situated at a middle ground overlapping deep-space drone, contemplative new age, and a particularly individualistic new ‘chamber’ music of high order. The opening “Hearing the Bell” bathes in great pools of reverb, evoking the sacred gong and bell music of Henry Wolff and Nancy Hennings, or the spiritually dense metal surface music of Jens Zygar, but the odd room noises, the occasional ‘intrusions’ of human presence, emphasize the very natural and fresh improvisatory nature of it all. “Calm” literally breathes across its nine-plus minutes, Rigler’s aspirating gusts creating mantra-like effigies around which Bahn and Ciufo circle, whipping up their own strangely oscillating ecosystems. But the true centerpiece of this recording must be the finale, “Compassion”, which tracks through a whole host of emotional states well beyond the titular descriptor. Rigler’s delicate phrasing is offset by a series of tones whose origins are diffuse and only faintly recognizable; what might be the cadence of decaying bell tones could well be digitally realized, and vice versa, but regardless, the effects they achieve in the overall mix are no less scintillating. The nagging push/pull of the sounds across this short distance—just fourteen minutes—are so elastic the music seems to drift apart, like intergalactic detritus fleeing the Big Bang, but the joint efforts of all three performers maintain enough of an even tension that for such an illustrious soundscape, it all coheres into one subtle, if indeed viscerally powerful, track.. A contradiction in terms, perhaps? When the atmospheric discharge is so pronounced as it is here, such terminology becomes redundant. Inner space music of a truly arresting caliber. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
VIRTUAL BALBOA: ZACH DARRUP / EVAN LIPSON / BEN BENNETT with GREG KELLEY - Petricho (Creative Sources 703; Portugal) The Virtual Balboa trio of Philadelphia improvisers Zachary Darrup on guitar, Evan Lipson on double bass and Ben Bennett on percussion, all performers associated with Spring Garden Music & saxophonist Jack Wright, are joined by open-form trumpeter Greg Kelley for this wonderfully scrabbly and tenacious live set captured at Vermillion in Seattle in 2019.
PASCAL BATTUS / MICHEL DONEDA - Miracle (Potlatch P121; France) Dovetailing and combining the rich harmonics of Michel Doneda's soprano and sopranino saxophone with Pascal Battus' rotating surfaces--mechanisms from small consumer electronics and their like put in motion and in contact with resonators and vibrators--this French improvising duo create fascinatingly shifting, unusual textures and sonic environments.
CHROME HILL with ASBJORN LERHEIM / ATLE NYMO / TORSTEIN LOFTHUS / ROGER ARNTZEN - This is Chrome Hill (Clean Feed 557; Portugal) Chrome Hill are a Norwegian quartet featuring Asbjorn Lerkheim on baritone guitar & compositions, Atle Nymo on tenor sax & bass clarinet, Roger Arntzen on double bass and Torstein Lofthus on drums & vibes. This is the fourth disc from Chrome Hill, the first two self-produced for the Bolage label, the next two for Clean Feed. If you do some research, you will find that each member of this quartet was worked with a variety of diverse Norwegian outfits like Elephant9, Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and In the Country. Bassist Roger Arntzen is also a member of Ballrogg, who have have 5 discs out, a few of which I’ve reviewed and still dig. All of the songs were written by Asbjorn Lerheim and arranged by the quartet.
“Clockwork” is slow and filled with suspense, the bari guitar using a variety of liquid-like effects to make it sound like it is drifting in water or in space. The sparseness & spokiness here reminds me a bit of those slowcore bands like Low or Codeine. “Limbo” has a simmering, marching rhythm at the center with a tasty tenor solo from Mr. Nymo and thick, haunting guitar from Mr. Lerheim. “Ascend” has a strong, rockin’ post-punk groove at the center with some great guitar & sax unison lines soaring on top. “10-4” features bassist Arntzen playing some hypnotic bass throbs at the center while the rest of the quartet slowly whip up a storm around him with waves crashing over & over. Nice! Chrome Hill do have their own sound which is somewhere between jazz, rock and other moody instrumental bands. It is a great thing to hear a post-rock band that evokes so many thoughtful moods without any vocals to get in the way. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BALLROGG with KALUS ELLERHUSEN HOLM / ROGER ARNTZEN / DAVID STACKENAS - Rolling Ball (Clean Feed 558; Portugal) “At first, the Norwegian trio Ballrogg was a duo formed by reedist Klaus Ellerhusen Holm (Honest John, Large Unit) and double bassist Roger Arntzen (In the Country, Chrome Hill), then later expanded with guitarist Ivar Grydeland, who through two albums added a country & western flavor to the mix and placed Ballrogg’s music as “free chamber americana”. Now the sublimely versatile Swedish guitarist David Stackenäs (Kim Myhr You|Me, Sol Sol) has taken Grydeland’s place and sounds right at home on Rolling Ball.
As Peter Margasak says in the liner notes: It’s Stackenäs’s debut recording with Ballrogg, but he’s lived with the music well before joining in 2017. Over the years Stackenäs has gamely filled in, subtly incorporating his own lyric aesthetic within arrangements crafted without him. Paradoxically, while the music on Rolling Ball registers as Ballrogg’s most compact and controlled endeavour thus far, it also feels its most liberated expression as well. The arrangements bring a contrapuntal splendor to these bucolic melodies, with each instrumental line woven into an exquisite lattice of meditative beauty. The astonishing fluidity is what makes the music of Ballrogg so special. The road ahead feels more open than ever, suggesting the titular notion of a ball moving forward according to gravity and landscape. Ballrogg create those conditions for momentum, but the magical quality is that it all feels like an act of nature.”
FORREST FANG - Forever Cascades (Projekt Records 391CD; USA) "Composer and recording artist Forrest Fang refined his dynamic hybrid style of composition over the past four decades, expanding upon his roots in progressive music, minimalism, textural ambient, and the traditional musics of Asia. Drawing on his deep knowledge of sound creation and manipulation, he uses the studio like a separate instrument to create distinctive, alluring and otherworldly atmospheres. With captivating approaches to sound creation, his latest Projekt album Forever Cascades presents a series of intricately-layered sonic vignettes and impressionistic soundscapes inspired by shoreline walks over the last year. 'Though my walks near the San Francisco Bay were initially a way for me to clear my head,' says Fang, 'I also found myself drawn to the cycles and cadences of tides and aquatic life that shifted gradually from season to season. I was seeking a similar underlying cadence or pulse in these pieces that would evolve over time.' The walk-through sound returns to where it began with subtle changes in perceived time and space. CD in 4-panel digipak."
DANCERS OF BALI - Gamelan of Peliatan, 1952 (World Arbiter 2007CD; USA) Originally released in 2006. Under the direction of Anak Agung Gede Mandera; Recorded in New York & London, 1952. The gamelan and dancers of Peliatan were the first to give an extensive foreign tour, demonstrating their revolutionary kebyar style. These performances are the first modern recordings made of a gamelan. Extensive liner notes by Edward Herbst, along with rare photos, document one of Bali's most significant ensembles. Remastered from the master tapes.”
ARCHIVAL RECORDINGS, RESTOCKS & REISSUES:
KEITH & JULIE TIPPETTS / PHILIP GIBBS / PAUL DUNMALL - Mahogany Rain (577 Records 5894; USA) Originally recorded in 2005 for a small 100-copy release, the single extended track on Mahogany Rain offers an hour of mesmerizing improvisational sound, sparsely composed and deeply experimental and performed by Keith Tippett on piano & percussion, Julie Tippetts on xylophone & voice, Philip Gibbs on guitars, and Paul Dunmall on soprano & tenor saxophones.
ORNETTE COLEMAN with DEWEY REDMAN / JIMMY GARRISON / ELVIN JONES - New York Is Now & Love Call, Revisited (Hat ezz-thetics 1125; Switzerland) An overlooked chapter in Ornette Coleman's recording career, these two Blue Note albums recorded in NY in 1968 and issued in '68 & '71 feature the innovative alto saxophonist joined by West Coast tenor saxophonist recently moved to NYC, Dewey Redman, and Coltrane sidemen, drummer Elvin Jones & bassist Jimmy Garrison, for two sessions of inventive and accomplished free jazz.
NEW YORK CONTEMPORARY FIVE with ARCHIE SHEPP / JOHN TCHICAI / DON CHERRY / DON MOORE / J.C. MOSES - Copenhagen 1963, Revisited (Hat ezz-thetics 1124; Switzerland) Originally released in 1964 on The Sonet label as Volumes 1 & 2, this CD remasters this exceptional 1963 concert of original material and pieces by Ornette & Monk, complete in sequence as performed at Jazzhaus Montmarte in Copenhagen with Archie Shepp on tenor saxophone, Don Cherry on cornet, John Tchicai on alto saxophone, Don Moore on double bass and J.C. Moses on drums.
KLAUS SCHULZE Featuring MANUEL GOTTSCHING and MICHAEL SHRIEVE - Richard Wahnfried's Tonwelle (Made in Germany 620CD; Germany) "The album Tonwelle is the result of Klaus Schulze's collaboration with some well-known musicians. Therefore, the album was released in 1981 as a vinyl under the artist's name Richard Wahnfried, featuring among others, Manuel Göttsching (Ash Ra Tempel) and Michael Shrieve (Santana). This original vinyl release was intended to be played at 45 RPM, but Klaus has already mixed the album so that it can also be played at 33 RPM. The now released double-CD version therefore has CD 1 = in 45 RPM version and then CD 2 = 33 RPM version. Newly mastered from an original mint vinyl that had never been played."
2 CD Set $22
THE TIMES - My Picture Gallery: The Artpop Recordings (Cherry Red 117CD; UK) "Six CD box set containing the complete recordings released between 1981 and 1986 by Edward Ball's indie mod band The Times including their albums Go! With The Times (recorded 1980 but released in 1985), Pop Goes Art! (1982), This Is London (1983), Hello Europe (1984), Up Against It (1986) and Enjoy (1986). Also includes The Times' rare 1981 debut single Red With Purple Flashes / Biff! Bang! Pow! which has sold for over £300."
6 CD Set $52
BACK IN STOCK:
ELIANE RADIGUE // DEBORAH WALKER / SILVIA TAROZZI / JULIA ECKHARDT - V3: Occam Ocean (Shiin Neer3; France) "There is no artist, working in the contemporary field of experimental sound, that is more important than the French composer Eliane Radigue. She is a shining light, who, for more than half a century, has quietly blazed trails with a body of work that is as creatively visionary as it is sublime. Her latest release on Shiiin Records - the third installment of her astounding Occam Ocean series - is easily among her most important to date. Recorded in collaboration with three string instrumentalists, Julia Eckhardt, Silvia Tarozzi and Deborah Walker, working in different configurations across three individual pieces - solo, duo, trio - the scale of its totality stretches far beyond the humbleness of its material means. An overwhelmingly beautiful body of sound, built from durational tones, infused with a mesmerizing sense of intellectual and creative optimism, once again Radigue has subtly redefined the terms of minimal music on deeply personal and intimate premises." OCCAM OCEAN 3 is an exceptional project, the result of collaboration between Eliane Radigue, French composer, pioneer of the exclusive use of continuous sounds, and three string instrumentalists, Julia Eckhardt, Silvia Tarozzi and Deborah Walker. Composed in Paris, the three pieces featured on this record were recorded in September 2019 at the Abbazia di Santa Maria Assunta, Monteveglio (Bologna) in Italy. The present album is released on Shiiin Records, along with a beautiful 32 pages booklet, which is a testimony of this great adventure."
MAX EASTLEY / DEREK BAILEY / COUM / FEMINIST IMPROVISING GROUP with LINDSAY COOPER / IRENE SCHWEIZER / GEORGIE BORN / et al - Another Evening at Logos 1974/79/81 (Sub Rosa Logos 001LP; Belgium) Previously-unreleased recordings from live sessions at the Logos Foundation, Ghent, Belgium, recorded in 1974, 1979, and 1981. This double LP, the first release in a vinyl-only series, includes the following recordings: a 1979 performance by Max Eastley and Logos Ensemble (Max Eastley, Godfried-Willem Raes, Moniek Darge, and Rob Keymeulen playing xylophone bars, Aeolian flutes, springboard, sanzas); a 1974 performance by Feminist Improvising Group (Georgie Born: cello, bass guitar; Lindsay Cooper: bassoon, oboe, sax, flute; Maggie Nichols: voice, piano; Sally Potter: voice, sax; Irène Schweizer: piano, drums); a 1974 performance by COUM (Genesis P-Orridge, Paul Woodrow, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Joseph L/R Rose) and Logos Ensemble (Godfried-Willem Raes, Moniek Darge, Luc Houtkamp, and others); and a 1981 performance of guitar improvisations by Derek Bailey. Logos Foundation, founded in 1968 by Godfried-Willem Raes and based in Ghent, Flanders, Belgium, is a unique professional organization for the promotion of new music and audio-related arts by means of new music production, concerts, performances, composition, technological research, and other activities related to contemporary music.”
2 LP Set $24
BRIGITTE FONTAINE - Brigitte Fontaine Est... Folle (Superior Viaduct 041; Earth) Gatefold LP version. "French poet and chameleonic vocalist Brigitte Fontaine's career spans over four decades. Only a few years before her 1968 debut, Brigitte Fontaine Est?Folle, she moved to Paris to become an actress and took her prodigiously mature voice into the studio. Rich in the drama she brought to theater, Fontaine synthesized chanson (French pop song) and world music, which eventually won her international acclaim as a performer and collaborator with a variety of artists from around the world (Art Ensemble of Chicago, Sonic Youth and Stereolab, to name just a few). On Est?Folle, Fontaine takes flight over conductor Jean Claude Vannier's brilliant arrangements. Vannier, best known for his work on Serge Gainsbourg's Histoire De Melody Nelson, is in fine form, using what would become his trademark stylings: lush strings, taut rhythms culled from across the globe and a healthy dose of whimsy. 'Il Pleut' swings from understatement to rapturous delight. 'Une Fois Mais Pas Deux' is an infectious pop song that could have been culled from a French New Wave soundtrack. Fontaine is adventurous and multi-dimensional with sophisticated lyrics, poignant melodies and enthralling delivery. Such artful handling of meter and rhyme (or lack thereof) is rare in pop song. Far from the era's yé-yé phenomenon, but never fully removed from its traditions, Est...Folle is an essential link in French pop music, exuberantly pushing the genre into more conceptual and experimental sounds."
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.
SOUP & SOUND AROUND BROOKLYN:
1/23 special Soup & Sound & Sauna! Double bill featuring JR RHODES THE FOREST (percussion ensemble) and soup and (yes) a SAUNA at Orchard Hill Farm in East Alstead, New Hampshire
4/15 JULIAN PRIESTER
Soup & Sound Around Brooklyn 2021, is a program of Continuum Culture & Arts, Inc.,
And non-profit 501(C)(3) organization. www.continuumculture.org
Soup & Sound
292 Lefferts Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11225-4115
Live Performance at The Zürcher Gallery, NYC
Saturday, February 5th at 8:00 PM
Robert Dick & Dan Blake
Celebrating the release of their CD
Laugh and Lie Down
At Zürcher Gallery, NY
33 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012
This one is from CHRIS CUTLER, original member of Henry Cow, Art Bears, News from Babel, respected author and founder of Recommended Records. This is Chris’ wonderful podcast and I urge you all to give it a listen…
Guitarist and DMG-pal HENRY KAISER has a monthly Video Solo Series on Cuneiform’s Youtube page:
1990 video from WETLANDS in here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfs5OuBfNxs
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 3pm EST on Facebook. Different songs & improvisations on each episode. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836/
This clip just arrived in my email from British Sax Colossus PAUL DUNMALL:
THE GAUCI-MUSIC SERIES CONTINUES WITH:
Monday March 7th
7pm Vinnie Sperrazza- drums
Caleb Curtis- alto sax
Noah Garabedian- bass
8pm Dafna Naphtali - vocals/synth
Ras Moshe - saxophones/flute - TBD
9pm Bushwick Series House Band
w/ Stephen Gauci - tenor sax
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
10pm Santiago Leibson - keyboard
Michael Attias - alto saxophone
Tom Rainey - drums
11pm Patrick Golden - drums
Dave Sewelson - bari saxophone
Aron Namenwirth - guitar
Live at the Downtown Music Gallery
Saturday March 12th, 2022
6:30pm CD Release Performance for "Pandemic Duets, Eli Wallace/Stephen Gauci"
Eli Wallace - synth / Stephen Gauci - tenor saxophone
7:15pm CD Release Performance for "Pandemic Duets, Kevin Shea/Stephen Gauci"
Kevin Shea - drums / Stephen Gauci - tenor saxophone
8pm CD Release Performance for "Stephen Gauci/Eli Wallace/Kevin Shea, Live at the Bushwick Series"
Stephen Gauci - tenor sax / Eli Wallace - synth / Kevin Shea - drums
At the Downtown Music Gallery
13 Monroe St, New York, NY
Live at Scholes Street Studio
Saturday March 19th, 8pm & 9:15pm sets
Live recording/Live audience!
Noa Fort - vocals
Sam Newsome - soprano saxophone
Sean Conly - bass
$15 at the door, cash/venmo
@Scholes Street Studio - 718-964-8763
375 Lorimer St, Brooklyn, NY (near Lorimer J/M, Montrose L)