All I know is something like a bird
Within her sang
All I know she sang a little while
And then flew off
Tell me all that you know
I'll show you snow and rain
“Bird Song” was dedicated to/inspired by Janis Joplin, who passed away in October of 1970. Ms. Joplin was both a friend and earlier occasional collaborator with the Grateful Dead, dating Pigpen, the Dead’s frontman, in the early days. Ms. Joplin was a strong blues/rock singer but she was plagued by the demons of drugs, alcohol and fame. “Bird Song” comes from the first Jerry Garcia self-titled solo album which was released in 1971. Mr. Garcia wrote all of the music and played all of the instruments, aside from the drums by the Dead’s Billy Kreutzmann. Robert Hunter wrote the lyrics for practically every song that Mr. Garcia ever wrote. I’ve long felt that this album was Garcia’s finest studio effort since every song and the long space jam really work, a perfect album. As many of you know, I have been on an odyssey for the past two years, listening to an hour of live Dead music almost every night in chronological order. I’ve listened to 225 gigs so far and am currently listening to October 19 of 1971. Both the music and the words on this song really touch me. Robert Hunter has a way of capturing some part of our shared American mythology with his words. Every time I listen my hour-long Dead set, I find moments of transcendence, both musically and lyrically. Sometimes I weep, sometimes I laugh, often I dance and sing along, but mostly I soar. This helps me to deal with the ongoing bad news of life on our planet at present. Special thanks to Janis, Jerry, Robert, Billy and the rest of the Dead. Peace to all. - Brother Bruce at DMG
BENEFIT FOR UKRAINE SUPPORT
This Sunday, May 29th at Roulette at 5pm:
Organized by John Zorn in partnership with Roulette
NEW MASADA QUARTET with JOHN ZORN, JUILAN LAGE, JORGE ROEDER & TOMAS FUJIWARA
BILL FRISELL and JULIAN LAGE
CYRO BAPTISTA and GLOSSOLALIA with BRIAN MARSELLA, FELIPE HOSTINS & GIL OLIVIERA
LAURIE ANDERSON and JOHN ZORN
ARTURO O’FARRILL QUARTET with ARTURO O’FARRILL, LIANY MATEO & ZACK O’FARRILL
JOE LOVANO GROUP with JUDY SILVANO, BILL FRISELL & ANDREW CYRILLE
Roulette is located at 509 Atlantic Ave, corner of Third Ave in Brooklyn
For more info: https://roulette.org/event/benefit-for-ukraine-support/
THE DMG 31st ANNIVERSARY ONGOING IN-STORE CELEBRATION CONTINUES with:
RARE Saturday, May 28th EVENT:
6:30: KRESTON MICHAEL OGSGOOD / HERB ROBERTSON / MARCUS ROJAS - Drums / Trumpet / Tuba!
Tuesday, May 31st:
6:30: JESSICA ACKERLEY / ERIN ROGERS / HENRY MERMER - Guitar / Saxes / Drums!
7:30: DARREN JOHNSTON / CHES SMITH - Trumpet / Percussion!
Tuesday, June 7th:
6:30: THOMAS HEBERER / TOMAS ULRICH / PHIL HAYNES - Trumpet / Cello / Drums!
7:30: MAX KUTNER / MICHAEL EATON / KEVIN SHEA - Guitar / Tenor Sax / Drums!
This Week’s New Discs Begin with a Strong Quartet Disc from Relative Pitch Records:
TAYLOR HO BYNUM / KYOKO KITAMURA / JOE MORRIS / TOMEKA REID - Geometry of Trees (Relative Pitch Records 1144; USA) Featuring Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, Joe Morris on guitar, Kyoko Kitamura on voice and Tomeka Reid on cello. It has been four years (within a week) from the time that the first disc by this same quartet was released on the Relative Pitch label. All four of these splendid musicians have been working with a variety of other strong collaborators: Mr. Bynum (with Bill Cole & Tomas Fujiwara), Mr. Morris (Ivo Perelman & Whit Dickey), Ms. Kitamura (William Parker & Corey Smythe) and Ms. Reid (Dave Douglas & Myra Melford).
This disc starts out quietly, cautiously, as the quartet get to know each other and slowly combine forces. This is soft, spacious, sublime improv, delicately interwoven like a warm tapestry for the eyes. Joe Morris pushes the tempo upwards on “Imaginary Donuts” so that all four members start to weave their lines more furiously, several orbits all spinning together at the same time. There are moments when it is hard to tell the difference between the voice, cornet, cello and guitar. There are moments when a certain individual or group will break through the calm and stir things up so that we are pushed further out, higher up. As a longtime friend and fan of Kyoko Kitamura, I was surprised to hear her voice sounding different than the past, her singing more assured & thoughtful, less bent but still breaking through the surface of calm. The pace picks up on “The Earth Laughs, Then Brushes Her Teeth”, with some strong, explosive improv for an intense lift-off. At one point, it sounds as if Joe Morris is muting his strings with an object or his hand, giving it an odd yet effective sound. As this disc evolves, the quartet takes off for the stratosphere, with several peaks amongst the hills and valleys that they work their way through. I love when they erupt together into a frantic eruption which brings them together as they soar higher. There is a feeling of camaraderie that flows through this disc as well, we can hear these folks embracing, stretching out and trading ideas like a thoughtful conversation between old friends. No matter how far things go out, there is a shared feeling of mutual trust going on here, not just between the four musicians involved but taking in us serious listeners as well. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JACOB GARCHIK with SAM NEWSOME / JACOB SACKS / THOMAS MORGAN / DAN WEISS - Assembly (Yestereve07; USA) Featuring Jacob Garchik on trombone & compositions, Sam Newsome on soprano sax, Jacob Sacks on piano, Thomas Morgan on contrabass and Dan Weiss on drums. Every few years, trombonist/composer Jacob Garchik releases a new record on his own Yesteve label, each one different concept-wise and personnel-wise. The last one was in July of 2020. For this disc, Mr. Garchik has a chosen a fine quintet. In between his occasional releases, Mr. Grachik has worked with Mary Halvorson, Matt Mitchell & Kate gentile, Anna Webber and Chet Doxas. For this disc, Garchik has chosen pianist Jacob Sacks, who has worked with for many years, soprano sax master Sam Newsome, contrabassist Thomas Morgan (for Bill Frisell, Ron Miles & Jim Black) and in-demand drummer Dan Weiss, who seems to play for nearly everyone & has worked with Mr. Garchik since his first disc in 2005.
This disc was recorded during the pandemic in early 2021, taken home and then manipulated and reassembled, with more recordings added to that reworked music. Hence, this is not a straight-forward jazz quintet recording but something unexpected. Things off start off one way and then abruptly (or not so abruptly) change yet something is holding this together. “Collage” is first and we can hear the soprano sax and trombone playing some sly harmonies while the piano/bass/drums rhythm team throbs from quiet to more robust waves. “Pastiche” at first swings hard and quickly, with the trombone & soprano sax playing some truly tight lines, before it slows down to a cool jazz swing groove and superb solo from Garchik’s trombone. Things speed up for a Zappa-like, furious, cartoonish ending. “Bricolage” is a more majestic piece with some superb layers of trombones and soprano saxes pulsating together and swirling around one another. “Homage” has several tight, well-written lines coalescing together before it breaks into a solemn ballad of sorts. I dig the way Grachik has assembled, “Idee Fixe”, with several quick repeating lines all swirling together in between some short inspired piano inserts. Mr. Garchik’s trombone sounds like a throbbing didjeridoo at the center of “Fantasia”, the central throb is most hypnotic. I like the way Jacob Garchik reworks these of these pieces so that it takes some work to figure out the way things here have been twisted in odd shapes yet somehow make sense when you hear and listen closely. Time for another listen. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HIKASHU - Pataphysical Songs and Impro (Makigami Records 0017; Japan) Featuring Makigami Koichi on vocals, theremin, cornetkaukin ukelele & didgeridoo, Mita Freeman on guitar, Shimizu Kazuto on piano & synth, Sakaide Masami on bass and Sato Masaharu on drums plus guest Koketsu Masayo on alto sax. Hikashu have been around for some 40 years and have some 25 discs out. Although they started out as a Japanese new wave band of sorts, they have long absorbed & combined many styles/genres through their long strange journey. Madman vocalist & multi-instrumentalist, Makigami Koichi, seems to be the only original member by now, although in 1988 bassist, Sakaide Masami, joined and the personnel slowly solidified into was has become the solid quintet. Hikashu seems to have split up (or not recorded) for a decade between 1996 & 2007. Nowadays they seem to record every 2-4 years.
Now that the quintet is solid or focused, they sound both inventive and spirited no matter what style they are drawing from. On the first track, the keyboardist/synth-player & guitarist plays what sounds like a cool horn section matching Makigami’s strong, wacky vocals. Hikashi still sound rather like a diverse, ever-inventive New Wavish pop band yet no two songs sound the same. Since I don’t speak Japanese I can’t tell you what they are singing about but I get the feeling that their tongues are forever stuck in their collective cheeks. Makigami himself adds his own charm with oft hilarious vocals as well as selective theremin, cornet, jawharp and shakuhachi. There are a number of short, well-selected improv sections which capture the charm of Downtown or Canterbury-like whimsy. Over a long period of time, the musicians of Hikashu have gotten better at what they do so they filled with surprising changes in direction and inventive solos appear throughout. The balance between the silly and more seriously inventive passages is just right throughout. I especially like when Makigami plays theremin and/or jawharp (koukin), inserting lots of odd solos when you least expect them. This disc is nearly 70 minutes so it took a while to fully absorb/admire. I remain a big fan no matter what, whether being astounded by their inventiveness or just laughing my tush off from time to time. A splendid time is guaranteed for all! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ANDREAS RØYSUM ENSEMBLE - Fredsfanatisme (Motvind Records Mot 16; Norway) Featuring Henriette Eilertsen on flute, Signe Emmeluth on alto sax, Marthe Lea on tenor sax, Andreas Røysum on clarinets & compositions, Hans P. Kornstad on violin, Joel Ring, John Andrew Wilhite-Hannisdal & Christian Meaas Svendsen on double basses & cello and Ivar Myrset Asheim on drums & percussion. In October of 2021, we listed some eight discs from the Norwegian Motvind label. After receiving promos copies in the mail previously, Darren Bergstein, Frank Meadows and myself reviewed each of their discs and were immensely pleased with each one. This is the second disc from the Andreas Røysum Ensemble and I recall the first one to pretty great as well. The only members of this band that I was previously familiar with are/were Signe Emmeluth, who has a fine solo effort out on Relative Pitch and is a member of the Spacemusic Ensemble and Marthe Lea, who has a leader date also on Motvind.
In a sense we could say that this is a double quartet with four reeds, four strings and a drummer. The opening song, “Til Tell Teigen” has a sprawling, spiritual jazz, Trane-like (as in ‘Africa Brass’) like sound with all four reeds (the flute on top) all swirling together. I can hear a chorus of chanting voices floating on top, yet it is only in my imagination. Mr. Røysum’s contrabass clarinet kicks off “Lalibela” with more swirling interplay from the other reeds over some a bubbling contrabass groove/pulse. Drummer Ivar Myrset Asheim is featured on “Hina Hina” and has an enchanting organic Rakalam Bob Moses-like sound. The four reeds spin tightly around one another with a spirited rhythm team groove pumping underneath. Each piece involves an infectious, churning, hypnotic groove with layers of reeds and strings (violin, cello & contrabasses) all swirling together, rising and falling as the they move in wave upon wave. The closest comparison that I can think of is early 1970’s Pharoah Sanders (esp the ones with two bassists) and/or Alice Coltrane, but without any of those screaming saxes. My favorite piece here is called “Sawakuro”, which features a slow enchanting repeating groove with a sea of strings and reeds all rising and falling together. The tenor sax (by Marthe Lea) reaches higher like a voice screaming to be free of that which holds us all down to Mother Earth. If any of you out there need some healing music, this is what we have here. Ommmmmmmmmmm… - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MAURICE LOUCA featuring THE “A” TRIO with ANTHEA CADDY / CHRISTINE KAZARYAN / KHALED YASSINE / MAZEN KERBAJ / REED YASSIN / SHARIF SEHNAOUL / et al - The Luck Hour (Northern Spy 143; USA) Featuring Maurice Louca on guitar & compositions, Mazen Kerbaj on trumpet & electronics, Sharif Sehnaoui on guitar, Christine Kazaryan on harp, Anthea Cady on cello, Reed Yassin on contrabass, Khaled Yassine on percussion & gamelan plus Devin Brahja Waldman on alto sax and Ayman Asfour on violin. This is the second disc from Egyptian guitarist/composer Maurice Louca on the Northern Spy label. Mr. Louca is also a member of the Dwarfs of East Agouza with Alan Bishop and Sam Shalabi. I just got back from the FIMAV/Victo Fest and caught two bands which included members that play here on Maurice Louca’s second disc. Both sets were fascinating in different ways, both incorporating both acoustic and electric instruments and manipulating them in odd ways.
The opening piece features a whirlwind of sounds, layers of percussion, electronics and other mysterious sounds which are hard to decipher yet most effective at keeping us off balance. Slowly Mr. Louca’s guitar, a harp, cello and violin come swirling in together. The overall effect is most mesmerizing. There are several percussion instruments involved: vibes or marimba, gamelan gongs, many other sounds as well. The guitar and harp play interlocking lines and are at the center of the storm. Mr. Louca’s splendid oud-like acoustic guitar kicks off the second piece which includes ethnic percussion, plus violin in some odd tuning, a hypnotic middle-eastern groove which seems perfect for belly dancing or a similar head-nodding groove. Mr. Louca often adds unexpected percussive sounds and/or manipulates some instruments in ways which make it hard to tell what is going on. There seems to be a balance between the central groove or pulse and a mix of odd percussive sounds which add an element of what-the-f*ck is going on?!?! That balance is just right, hence we are consistently drawn in and messed with by the unexpected detours. Every week I review at least one disc which will blow the minds of those who come visit the store or purchase some of our/my recommended items via the newsletter or internet. This disc is the cosmic/ethnic sounding treasure of the week (5/27/2022). Absolutely mind-blowing! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DAVID VIRELLES - Nuna (Pi Records 94; USA)‘Nuna’ is a book of compositions for solo piano by Cuban-American pianist and composer David Virelles. ‘Nuna’ is the consequence – as with so many others – of Virelles’s time in isolation during the Covid pandemic. His first project in that time was Transformación del Arcoiris, a captivating set of music for synthesizer, piano and sampler that was released in August 2020 as part of Pi Recordings’ Bandcamp-only “This is Now: Love in the Time of Covid” series, which sought to help make up for some of the wages lost by musicians due to the pandemic. The New York Times called the release “Spellbinding…. Throughout, there is a feeling of lines evaporating — between musical performance and everyday life, between conceptualism and folklore, between togetherness and solitude.”
The seclusion naturally led to the completion of the present work for solo piano – some of which was premiered during a residency at the Spoleto Festival – which finds Virelles exploring the totality of his influences on the instrument, from improvisational contexts, Cuban traditional music, African keyboard traditions and European piano practices, all filtered through a modernist harmonic lens. Virelles cites as inspirations a wide range of pianists in the liner notes, from Frederic Chopin and Alexander Scriabin to the tributaries of African-diasporic music – both Black American and Cuban musicians, but also the Algerian pianist Mustapha Skandrani and Ethiopian Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou.
Mr. Virelles describes Nuna as “a metaphor for the piano as an ancient instrument.” While the sonorities of the Steinway Model D concert grand piano are often on full display in his playing, he pays equal emphasis to tempering the instrument’s natural resonance, connecting it more to the sound of folkloric instruments such as thumb pianos, harps and drums. He achieves this purely through touch and pedaling, without any other mechanical manipulation or “prepping.” Indeed, the entire album is a demonstration of Virelles’s masterful control of shading, dynamics and timbre.
The set begins with “Spacetime,” a mysterious invocation played on the marímbula, a large, resonant wooden box with metal keys, that is used traditionally in changüí music. It is followed by a program of original compositions – with the exception of “Cuando Canta El Cornetín,” and “Germania” by Santiago de Cuba composers Mariano Mercerón and Sindo Garay, respectively. Virelles mostly plays solo, except on three tracks where he is joined by percussionist Julio Barreto, a long-standing member of Gonzalo Rubalcaba’s group in the 1990s. Virelles describes each piece as “its own little cosmos focused on one musical approach or idea.” The range of inspirations includes Cuban atmospheres, New York experimentalism, post-romantic harmonics, improvisational swing and sonic textures. The playing is elegant, favoring clean lines that make clear the music’s rhythmic invention and contrapuntal weave. Each piece is a sparkling précis of their manifold influences, and they never resort to easy cultural or performative clichés. It’s all unmistakably the work of a singular probing intellect. As with each of Virelles’s projects, Nuna bridges the folkloric with the contemporary, while shrouded in an aura of mystery.”
KJETIL MULELID TRIO - Who Do You Love The Most? (Rune Grammafon 2229; Norway) “Who Do You Love The Most? is the young trio's third album in just over four years, and continues in the tradition of their two previous efforts; beautiful and evocative melodies, rich on harmonies, often rhythmically complex textures and a typically folk-like Scandinavian character with the occasional gospel feel. The album's ten songs are all Kjetil Mulelid originals, except for a gripping cover of Judee Sill's "The Archetypical Man". Two of the originals are the trio's versions of songs that first appeared on the pianist's much lauded solo piano album (Piano) from 2021 (RCD 2220CD/RLP 3220LP). Kjetil André Mulelid comes across as an exceptionally mature pianist and composer.”
CHES SMITH with BILL FRISELL / CRAIG TABORN / MAT MANERI - Interpret It Well (Pyroclastic Records 19; USA) Featuring Craig Taborn on piano, Mat Maneri on viola, Bill Frisell on guitar and Ches Smith on drums & compositions. We got the promo for this disc perhaps two months ago and have been waiting patiently for it to be released. It was delayed a couple of times since then but I did check out the CD pre-release set at The Stone last month. The set was superb and what I dug the most was that the other three musicians: Bill Frisell, Mat Maneri and Craig Taborn, sounding like they were playing the music from the inside outwards and didn’t play the usual licks they play on their own leader dates. What I have long admired about Ches Smith is this: aside from being a great, diverse percussionist, Mr. Smith seems to think like a composer who sees the big picture, his collaborators are all integral parts to what he has in mind when he composes. In 2016, ECM released a CD by the Ches Smith Trio with Craig Taborn on piano and Mat Maneri on viola. I really dug that disc since it sounded closer to gnarly chamber music than avant jazz, calm yet with some inner angst that I admired. When I caught that trio live at an all-day ECM fest, they turned up the volume and intensity, creating some controversy since it did sound like anything I’ve heard from any other ECM band. The usually more restrained guitar great, Bill Frisell, sat in with the trio and they started to work as a quartet. Some six years after the release of the first disc by the Ches Smith Trio we know have the new Ches Smith Quartet.
Ches Smith is both a gifted percussionist and composer. Each project of his is quite different. Check out his Haitian project, ‘We All Break / Path of Seven Colors’, from last year and you will be surprised by what you hear. This project/band is something else entirely. “Trapped” opens and has a brooding, swirl with some resonating drones from the vibes, piano, guitar and viola. The music here is dreamy, subtle, somewhat haunting at times, slow moving, filled with assorted drones. Ches Smith often plays vibes, which are hushed and elegant. On “Clear Major”, the quartet break through the more subtle calm and push the tension higher which makes for a more exciting long detour. This is the best piece here since it sounds more like life itself, you never know when our sense of restraint will be knocked about by the unexpected behavior of us so-called civilized humans. “I Need More” is even more rambunctious and balances the two extremes quite well. If it were up to me, I would’ve put tracks 5 and 6 up front since that is where the energy feels better than floating in space. Perhaps that is why Ches named that piece, “I Need More”. So do I. Overall I do enjoy the way this disc moves through different moods, each one effecting me or us on a different level. I just Mat Maneri playing with Gordon Grdina’s electric quartet at FIMAV earlier this week. Mr. Maneri is the secret weapon here as well, since his distinctive microtonal or bent playing often adds some unexpected angst to the brew. Bill Frisell takes a particularly twisted solo on this piece, showing a very different side to what he often does on his own. It is refreshing to hear this break. Hence, there are quite a few surprises in store so please be patient, the rewards are greaT. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DANIEL MAUNICK - Persistence (Far Out Recordings 230CD; UK) “Between producing landmark albums with the likes of Azymuth, Marcos Valle, and Sabrina Malheiros, recent years have seen Daniel Maunick flourishing as a solo artist with acclaimed releases on Eglo Records, Mother Tongue, Visions, AKO Beatz (under his Dokta Venom alias), and of course, Far Out Recordings. His sophomore solo album Persistence is an exemplary culmination of the momentum Maunick has built since his 2019 debut Macumba Quebrada (FARO 214CD/LP), which earned support from Moodymann, Benji B, Gilles Peterson, Ron Trent, Palms Trax, Derrick Carter, and Moxie, to name just a few. Since collaborating with Shy FX for his first ever release at the age of fifteen (a now impossible to find single sided jungle acetate), Maunick has remained embedded in the fabric of the culture, from early work for the legendary Talkin' Loud label to notching credits with Terry Callier, Paul Weller, Ski Oakenfull, Brenda Russell, and his father's legendary brit-funk outfit Incognito. And for almost two decades he's served as producer for a long string of classic and future-classic Far Out albums, most recently Alex Malheiros' Tempos Futuros (FARO 228CD/LP). As on his previous Far Out opuses (most recently the Musica Encantada EP (JD 050EP)), Persistence sees Maunick continue to playfully use foundations of traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms, heard in the sultry samba swing of "Arraiá", the pulsating batucada enveloping the bassy synth stabs in "Remnants of Joy", and spectral cuicas throughout the blissfully bumping "Illusions". But going beyond his trademark nods to Brazil, he reflects on his jungle-ist roots with the emotionally charged "Love Is Gone", and flexes his deep house muscles with the late-night magic of "Just Deserts" and "Addicted". The sheer variety on show is testament to the wide scope of influences and experiences Maunick has accumulated and absorbed in his career to date. It's also evident that after years spent with jazz funk masters like Azymuth and Incognito, as well as hitmakers like Marcos Valle, Maunick has reached a new caliber with his compositional prowess alongside his astoundingly accomplished studio skills. Persistence is a modern classic by a veteran at the peak of their powers.”
BMC Records CD Sale - Week #2:
TRIO BRAAMDEJOODEVATCHER with MICHIEL BRAAM / WILBERT DeJOODE / MICHAEL VATCHER / FERENC KOVACS - Quintet (BMC Records 179; Hungary) “How can a trio be a quintet? That mathematical impossibility can be expressed along with other anomalies when dealing with creative improvised music. A long-established trio in the Netherlands, made up of pianist Michiel Braam, bassist Wilbert de Joode and American drummer Michael Vatcher, Trio BraamdeJoodeVatcher has over evolved time a program based on Braam's Q compositions that are adaptable to many situations. Just how adaptable is demonstrated on this fine CD with the trio performance expanded to include two of Hungary's most-accomplished improvisers - trumpeter/violinist Ferenc Kovács, and Miklós Lukács, who plays the traditional cimbalom, or oversized, horizontal hammered zither. Both Budapest-based players are regular associates in the bands of tenor saxophonist Mihály Dresch, the country's most consistently adventurous Jazzer. Lukács has also played with the French-Hungarian combo Ozone and Kovács with American drummer Hamid Drake. Putting the stodgy traditionalism of their favored instruments aside, Kovács' and Lukács' versatility allows them to find common ground with the Dutch-American trio. Kovács, whose tough, modal trumpet playing is also featured throughout, shows off his neo-Roma fiddling to its best advantage on 'Q1' and 'Q16', while the unique tones of Lukács' so-called string-piano are aptly demonstrated on 'Q10' and 'Q 26'. 'Q1' for example is as close to hard R&B as a string-constituted combo such as this can get. With metronomic low frequency chords played by Braam and doubled by de Joode's thumping bass notes, this piece could be a Magyar-Dutch interpretation of Blues singer John Lee Hooker's 'I'm Mad Again.' A chordal ostinato continues throughout it and is joined by Vatcher's bass drum thumps, even as Kovács produces a counter line of spiccato and sul ponticello Roma-like fiddle strokes. 'Q16' encompasses even more gypsy-styled fiddling, although here the stuttering double-stopped strings alternate with spangling, twangy resonations from Lukács' instrument and popped brush strokes from the drummer. On the other hand, 'Q10' is defined by andante pacing from the keyboardist plus a thick walking bass line. Taking up the additional space are Kovács' trumpet's rubato grace notes and Lukács' string fills. A rare cheery swinger that stands out among the melancholic tunes which surround it, 'Q10' is equally satisfying. More typical is 'Q26', which is built around pressurized friction. With the bassist's col legno pumping, the cimbalomist's strums and plucks and Braam's defining key clanks, the backdrop augments and flattens to properly display the trumpeter's well-constructed solo. Initially the valve expansion works its way downwards to near silence and then upwards to a brassy finale. Other pieces voice the multiple string sets in ways that the resulting polyphony references both contrapuntal chamber music plus the intoxicating sonic freedom of concentrated, cerebral improvisation. This quintet may be ad-hoc, but admirable as well. Although the Dutch-American trio members only met the Hungarian stylists the day before Quintet was recorded, from the evidence here any number of encores could and should be considered.” — Ken Waxman, Jazz Word
GYORGI LIGETI / GYORGY KURTAG / PETER EOTVOS / et al - Live at Carnegie Hall (BMC 162; Hungary) “On 31 January 2009 in the Zankel Hall in the Carnegie Hall New York, one concert in the series Extremely Hungary was dedicated jointly to the works of György Ligeti and György Kurtág. This disc contains the live recording of the Carnegie Hall concert. The composition on the new disc (BMC CD 162) is Four Poems by Anna Akhmatova, which he set for soprano and ensemble as his Op. 41, a score he finished in 2008 for a première in New York on January 31, 2009--and it is this first performance that is recorded here, along with other pieces from the concert, given in the Zankel auditorium of Carnegie Hall: Kurtág's Troussova, and his friend Ligeti's M e l o d i e n and Cello Concerto. (The program also included a third work by each composer: Kurtág's S p l i n t e r s and Ligeti's W i t h Pipes, Drums, Fiddles.) Péter Eötvös conducts the UMZE Ensemble, with Miklós Perényi in the Ligeti concerto and Natalia Zagorinskaya in both Troussova and the new cycle, which Kurtág dedicated to her. — Paul Griffiths, The Hungarian Quarterly
PETER EOTVOS // ENSEMBLE LINEA - Ensemble Linea Plays Eotvos (BMC Records 175; Hungary) “The entire oeuvre of Péter Eötvös is haunted by the theatre. His operas have brought him recognition throughout the world as a master of the genre. But his chamber music and symphonic works too have a strong dramatic dimension and are eminently theatrical...
Eötvös prefers to tell stories like Beckett and Chekov. Sometimes he uses grand opera; this release offers miniature theatrical works. Octet Plus adds a soprano to eight winds (flute, clarinet, two each of trumpet, trombone and bassoon) with bits of Beckett's radio play Embers. There's a taxi waiting for Chekov, but he'd rather go on foot makes clear its subject, but it's a piece for solo piano. Natasha would appear to be a shard from Chekov's Three Sisters scored for soprano, violin, clarinet and piano. The disc opens with the six-player sonata, reminiscent of Bartók's sonata for pianos and percussion: two pianos, sampler and three percussionists. The fourth of five movements is explicitly titled 'Bartók crosses the ocean.' It's perky and bright, antiphonal pianos among distributed percussion, the synthesizer contributing decidedly non-Bartók timbres. The two short solo piano items run in sequence and may inadvertently blur. Erdenkalavier - Himmelklavier Nr. 2 starts from a similarly named piece by Berio. Psy distills a concertante work into a trio for cimbalom, flute and cello. Cadenza is for solo flute.” — Grant Chu Covell, La Folia
SYLVAIN RIFFLET & JON IRABAGON & SEBASTIEN BOISSEAU - Rebellion(s) (BMC 296; Hungary) “‘Rebellion(s)’ is a brand new project of two outstanding reed-players - Sylvain Rifflet from France and Jon Irabagon from the US. Their program is inspired by those revolts, rebellions, revolutions and freedom-fights which marked the path of both nations leading to democracy - from a musical point of view. While in France most of the music written in revolt periods were songs, protest songs or hymns, in the United States jazz musicians have always been involved in composing music for and about rebellions, especially during the long fight for civil rights. It's enough just to mention John Coltrane's Alabama, or the music by Archie Shepp, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders and many others...
Sylvain and Jon have researched music penned during or after riots and revolutions, compositions written about or inspired by them. They think that the link between rebellion and music still exists: composition and improvisation, using new forms and taking new aspects, are proper ways to express any kind of revolt. Using themes from their research and composing entirely new ones, they built a set of pieces which they started to work on with two further key figures of the French and US jazz scene: Jim Black on drums and Sébastien Boisseau on double bass. The result is a complex music melting influences of jazz, free jazz, repetitive and minimalist music through fluent improvisation.”
THE LP SECTION:
THE NEW JAZZ ORCHESTRA with NEIL ARDLEY / IAN CARR / BARBARA THOMPSON / JON HISEMAN / TREVOR WATTS / PAUL RUTHERFORD / et al - Western Reunion London 1965 (Mad About Records 055; Portugal) “First time worldwide reissue, originally released in 1965. British jazz masterpiece from 1965 featuring Neil Ardley, Ian Carr, Barbara Thompson, and John Hiseman. In the mid-60s London scene, the New Jazz Orchestra was one of those unavoidable and big-band groups (originally started as Clive Burrows Orchestra), where almost everyone who was anyone on the scene or almost transited through the group, which was normally the vehicle for composer Neil Ardley. You'll find in the Western Reunion album, among others, stellar names like Ian Carr (of Rendell-Carr Quintet and Nucleus fame), Barb Thompson, Tony Reeves, John Hiseman (all three of future Colosseum fame), Trevor Watts (future Amalgam), plus a bunch more of lesser-known, but no-less gifted musicians like Paul Rutherford, etc. The line-up would fluctuate to include many other household names, The New Jazz Orchestra was formed in December 1963, its name reflecting both the youth of its members -- their average age was only 23 -- and their mission to perform the new kind of orchestral jazz that was then developing in America but still to be heard in Britain. The personnel included such (then) non-jazz instruments as flute, horn and tuba in addition to the standard brass, saxes and rhythm line-up of the big band. This is the NJO's first album, recorded in March 1965 before an invited audience to make the young band feel at ease. The NJO was the offspring of a popular weekend jazz club, the "Jazzhouse" based at the Green Man, Blackheath (demolished to make way for Allison Close) where the "house" band was the Ian Bird Quintet (initially comprising Ian Bird, tenor sax; Clive Burrows, baritone sax; Johnny Mealing, piano; Tony Reeves, bass and Trevor Tomkins, drums -- Mealing and Tomkins left to join the newly formed Rendell-Carr Quintet and were succeeded by Paul Raymond and Jon Hiseman respectively). The ensemble featured many London-based jazz musicians, such as Harry Beckett, Jack Bruce, Ian Carr, Dave Gelly, Michael Gibbs, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jon Hiseman, Henry Lowther, Don Rendell, Frank Ricotti, Paul Rutherford, Barbara Thompson, Trevor Tomkins, Michael Phillipson, Les Carter, Tom Harris, Trevor Watts, and Lionel Grigson. Ardley, Gibbs, Carter, Rutherford, Michael Garrick, and composer Mike Taylor all contributed pieces and arrangements. Under exclusive license of Universal Music Portugal.”
CARAVAN - Caravan (Music on Vinyl 385; Netherlands) "In the psychedelic late sixties there was a lively music scene in the Canterbury area that revolved around the band The Wilde Flowers. They never recorded much themselves, however, but after they disbanded other influential bands were formed from their ashes: Soft Machine, Gong and, most importantly, Caravan. Caravan's eponymous debut was released in 1968. It was considered a groundbreaking album capturing the freakish and exploratory moods of the times. Their sound went much further than the changing styles of the contemporary underground and that's what distinguished Caravan from other bands in their genre. 180 gram audiophile vinyl."
Similar to their brethren, Caravan had similar sound and instrumentation when they started. Caravan had two lead singers, Pye Hastings (the high voice) on guitar and Richard Sinclair (the low voice) on bass, keyboardist David Sinclair (on fuzz organ, Richard’s cousin) and Richard Coughlan on drums plus guest Jimmy Hastings (Pye’s brother) on sax & flute. The opening song, “A Place of My Own”, was an underground hit that I heard on WNEW-FM on Scott Muni’s ‘Things from England’ weekly show. That song as well as the rest of the album still sends shivers up & down my spine some 50 years later. - BLG at DMG
MAGMA with CHRISTIAN VANDER / BRIAN GODDING / et al - Kohntarkosz (Music on Vinyl 3044COL-LP; Netherlands) "Magma has been one of France's most influential bands since their founding in 1969. They released their fifth studio album Kohntarkosz in 1974, which set them off in a completely new musical direction. The band used a more restrained approach, which resulted in every hit seeming to weight twenty tons by contrast. The result is a mysterious atmosphere which holds the listener in awe. For this recording, and in particular the track 'Coltrane Sundia', the band used John Coltrane as the main inspiration, creating a vibrant tribute. ‘Kohntarkosz’ is housed in a gatefold sleeve and is available as a limited edition of 2000 individually numbered copies on yellow & red marbled vinyl."
CAPTAIN BEEFHEART & HIS MAGIC BAND - Doc At The Radar Station (Music on Vinyl 2787LP; Netherlands) "Doc at the Radar Station is the eleventh album by American blues rock band Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. Released in 1980, this album resulted in a resurgence of Beefheart's (also known as Don Van Vliet) popularity. The album, which was self-produced by Beefheart, was critically acclaimed as well. It would be Beefheart's second-to-last album before his retirement from music. The album is now available on black vinyl. 180 gram audiophile vinyl."
‘Doc at the Radar Station’ is my favorite later period album by Captain Beefheart and his band. It was supposedly inspired by a number of New Wave and Punk bands (like Pere Ubu), many of whom were influenced by Captain Beefheart’s music and vocals, from his long music journey (1966-1981). Check out the song: “The Best Batch Yet” for the great Captain’s take on these bands. A must have for all Creative Music Freaks worldwide. - BLG, DMG
JAY CLARKSON - Kindle (Rose Hobart 003; UK) “Rose Hobart announce the reissue of Jay Clarkson's 1999 masterpiece Kindle, available on vinyl for the first time. Clarkson is one of Aotearoa/New Zealand's most singular songwriters, with a history that includes membership of The Playthings and The Expendables, both groups who released records with the legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun, as well as subsequent solo albums, along with her bands Breathing Cage and (now) The Containers. Clarkson wrote and recorded Kindle after relocating from Christchurch to Dunedin in the mid '90s, settling into a new mode of music making and embracing the possibilities of home recording. Supported with funding from Creative NZ, Clarkson bought a four-track recorder -- the tried-and-trusted Tascam 424 Mark II, the cornerstone of any good, self-respecting home studio -- and set about to make perhaps her most hushed, gorgeous set of songs yet. For the songs on Kindle, Clarkson approached lyric writing differently -- for a number of songs, she used what she has called the "open a book at random and point your finger" method to get her creativity flowing, borrowing (with adjustments) from Graham Greene and Thomas Merton, amongst others, locating evocative potential in found language and then expanding outwards. Elsewhere, Clarkson's songs are sparked by people and events that coincide with her everyday life, or they become more philosophically reflective, as in the hypnotic "Wheeling", where a repeating, intricate web of guitar underscores a song reflecting life's dualities and circularity. The album's sound world is deep and dappled, with clacking drum machines (loaned to Jay by Robert Scott of The Clean and The Bats), richly wound guitars, and humming keyboards all providing a perfect setting for Clarkson's astonishing voice, which is at once generous and wry. Clarkson has previously reflected upon the "transitional head-space" she was in while writing and recording Kindle, and that certainly seems to have informed the emotional complexity of these songs and performances -- it's an album of grace and wisdom. Clarkson would go on to make more music, such as her lovely 2007 album, Over The Mountain, recorded with Johannes Contag, and a recent solo set, Spur, released on Austrian label Zelle in 2015. She continues to perform live when circumstances allow, with her group The Containers, and in 2016 was invited to perform at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow. But Kindle stands as singular in her catalogue and her career -- a moment of inwards reflection, things pared back to basics, Jay alone in the home studio, writing for the intimacies of the moment. Includes download code; edition of 250.
MACULA KURU - Macula Kuru (Feeding Tube Records 623; USA) "Amazingly psychedelic quartet session by two Japanese players (Junzo Suzuki and Mitsuru Tabata) and two Belgians (Bart De Paepe and Jan D'Hooghe.) Originally this was recorded as a trio, while Junzo was touring Europe in March 2020, but he passed the tape to Mitusri (his partner in the gorgeous acid folk duo, 20 Guilders) to add bass. And we're glad he did, 'cause the low-lunar notes Tabata generates kinda keep the music from floating off into space. We'd been trying to do something with Bart (who runs the Sloow Tapes concern, among many other projects) for a while. And we flipped out when we heard this session. The twinned electric guitars (from Bart and Junzo) are massive thrashing sky whales of sound. Both these guys are known for psychedelic vision mass, but they really take it to another level here. Urged along by D'Hooghe's rock solid percussion (which was a new one on me, since he's known more for his electro work) and Tabata's wonderful bass playing (which doesn't feel in the least like an add-on), the guitars explode like variations on all the best Japanese acid flash. Without really referring to any specific precursors, Macula Kuru (a name that refers to a goddamn eye disease of all things) really nail the open possibilities still available to guitar psych players who are willing to tug on the loose threads of the cosmos. Not sure what's going on with these guys right now. Junzo Suzuki was in a serious accident earlier this year, and we can only wish him a very full recovery. But if music is the healing force of the universe, he should be in good hands. Because Macula Kuru's music is on a par with anything he's ever done. And he has been in some HEAVY outfits. Nice one!" --Byron Coley, 2022
SPECTRES with FRANCOIS BAYLE / STEPHEN O’MALLEY / JIM O’ROURKE / ELIANE RADIGUE / et al - Composing Listening (Shelter Press 001BK; France) Published with the support of INA GRM. Composing Listening features texts by: Félicia Atkinson, François Bayle, François J. Bonnet, Drew Daniel, Brunhild Ferrari, Beatriz Ferreyra, Stephen O'Malley, Jim O'Rourke, Eliane Radigue, Régis Renouard Larivière, Espen Sommer Eide, Daniel Teruggi, Chris Watson. This book has been conceived as both a prism and a manual. Following the "traditional" arc of electroacoustic composition (listen-record-compose-deploy-feel), each of the contributions collected together here focuses in on a personal aspect, a fragment of that thrilling territory that is sonic and musical experimentation. Although the term "experimental music" may now have be understood as referring to a genre, or even a particular style, we ought to hold on to the original use of this term, which was based more on an approach than on any particular aesthetic line to be followed. The experimental is first and foremost a spirit, the spirit of the exploration of unknown territories, a spirit of invention which sees musical composition more as a voyage into uncertain territories than as a self-assured approach working safe within the bosom of fully mapped out and recognized lands. 228 pp; thread-sewn softcover; one color offset; Size: 135x200cm; Language(s): French, English.”
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.
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:
My good friend & guitar master GARY LUCAS is playing half hour sets at his apartment in the West village every Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday at 10:30pm Tues, Thurs and Sat on Facebook. Different songs & improvisations on each episode. Here is the link: https://www.facebook.com/gary.lucas.5836/
Here’s a list of upcoming gigs from local promoter:
Will Bernard -
June 1 - Pond Life Release Party #1 - Nublu - 7:00 pm
June 5 - Pond Life Release Party #2 - Barbès - 9:00 pm
Will Bernard - guitar
Chris Lightcap - bass
Ches Smith - drums
Tim Berne - alto saxophone
Billy Mohler -
June 15 - Bar Lunatico - two sets 9:00 pm and 10:30pm
June 16 - Nublu - 7:00 pm
Billy Mohler, double bass, compositions
Chris Speed, tenor saxophone
Shane Endsley, trumpet
Nate Wood, drums
Whit Dickey -
June 22 - Vision Festival 2022 - Roulette - 8pm
Astral Longform: Staircase in Space
Whit Dickey – drums
Rob Brown – alto saxophone
Mat Maneri – viola
Brandon Lopez – bass
Stephen Harvey -
June 23 - Jazz Gallery - Jazz Composers' Showcase - 7:30pm and 9:30pm
Stephen Philip Harvey
Rafael Piccolotto de Lima
Personnel: Ben Kono, Ethan Helm, Quinsin Nachoff, Jasper Dutz, Courtney Wright - reeds; Roger Garcia, Jonathan Challoner, David Adawumi, Andrew Wagner - trumpets; Nick Grinder, Nick Vayenas, Evan Amoroso, Jennifer Wharton - trombones; Olli Hirvonen -guitar, Martha Kato -piano, Evan Gregor -bass, Jared Schonig -drums
Sonic Liberation Front w/ Oliver Lake -
June 26 - Vision Festival 2022 - La Plaza at The Clemente - 6pm
Oliver Lake’s JUSTICE with Sonic Liberation Front
Oliver Lake - composer, arranger, conduction, spoken word
Elliot Levin - tenor sax
Veronica Jurkiewicz - violin
Matt Engle - acoustic bass
Kevin Diehl - drum kit, synth drums
Jameka Gordon - flute
Chaela Harris – voice (alto)
Ravi Seenerine – voice (tenor)
Shanon Chua – voice (soprano)
Vadim Neselovskyi: Odesa—A Musical Walk Through a Legendary City
June 29 - The Stone - 8:30
Vadim Neselovskyi - piano