The judge said son, what is your alibi
If you were somewhere else, then you won't have to die
I spoke not a word, thou it meant my life
For I'd been in the arms of my best friend's wife
Now the scaffold is high and eternity's near
She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear
But sometimes at night, when the north wind blows
In a long black veil, she cries over my bones
She walks these hills in a long black veil
She visits my grave when the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me
I recall buying the first album by The Band, ‘Music from Big Pink’ when it was released in 1968. The previous year, 1967, was considered to be the most psychedelic one of that era and most bands would use psychedelic sounds, effects and lyrics as their main source of inspiration/direction. The Band were mostly from Canada, had backed southern singer Ronnie Hawkins as the Hawks and then became Bob Dylan back-up band, eventually moving to Woodstock, NY and recording the historic ‘Basement Tapes’ sessions with Dylan. The Band’s first album was an important and influential record, which sounded more like Americana or roots rock with folk, blues, gospel and bluegrass blend with rock music of their own invention. All the songs were written by members of the Band along with Bob Dylan except for this one, “Long Black Veil”. It is a sad tale about a man who is executed for a crime he didn’t commit since he was in the arms of his best friend’s wife and didn’t want to use this info as his alibi. The entire album has melancholy yet somehow triumphant feel to it which seemed to have spoken many of its listeners, directly to their hearts. Many bands and singer/songwriters claimed to have been influenced by this album: Procol Harum, Eric Clapton, etc. I have long been a big fan of The Band, each of their seven studio albums are worth checking out, especially the first three. I am currently reading ’Testimony’ by Robbie Robertson, The Band’s lead guitarist and main songwriter, which I find to be fascinating, watching The Band evolve over time. I still go back to this record from time to time and it still touches me deeply. Next week is Thanksgiving and I am heading to Florida to visit my Mom, sister and step-family. In the past, when I was still with my ex up in Quebec, I used to visit her and cook a Thanksgiving dinner for us. I always played this album then and it seems to remind me of Thanksgiving. I just wanted to send you all some good vibes and hope you all have a good Thanksgiving. Peace & Love Always, Brother Bruce Lee at DMG
THE DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY 31st ANNIVERSARY IN-STORE PERFORMANCE SERIES Continues with:
Rare Monday Night Gig, November 21st:
6:30: CAMERON CAMPBELL - Synth!
7:30: AYUMI ISHITO / ARON NAMENWIRTH / KEVIN SHEA - Sax / Guitar / Drums!
Tuesdays, November 22nd & 29th - No In-store Gigs, Happy Thanksgiving to All!
Bruce away for Thanksgiving visiting his Mom, Sis & Step-family in Florida
Tuesday, December 6th:
6:30: PATRICK GOLDEN / MATT HOLLENBERG / JEFF PEARING!
Saturday, December 10th: GauciMusicSeries:
6pm: Nora Stanley - sax / Victor Tsilimparis - keyboard / Eliza Salem - drums
7pm: Stephen Gauci - sax / Adam Lane - bass / Colin Hinton - drums
8pm: Kuba Cichocki - keyboard / Kenneth Jimenez - bass / Jeremy Carlstedt - drums
New Things This Week Begin with Three Treasures from Master Drummer William Hooker:
WILLIAM HOOKER with STEPHEN GAUCI / DEVIN WALDMAN / MARA ROSENBLOOM / MARC EDWARDS / WARREN SMITH / MICHAEL TA THOMPSON / et al - Symphonie of Flowers ( ORG Music-2156; USA) Featuring Steve Gauci on tenor sax, Devin Waldman on alto sax & flute, Mara Rosenboom on piano, Warren Smith, Michael “TA” Thompson & William Hooker (poetry & direction) on percussion and Matt Chilton, Eriq Robinson & Theodore Woodward on computer/electronics. Earlier this week (11/14/22) I caught William Hooker and his band playing a strong, spirited set at Roulette. I’ve known William Hooker for many years going back to the late seventies/early eighties and have long admired his intense drumming and bandleading/direction. Mr. Hooker is a powerful drummer who has worked with a wealth of inspired improvisers from varied genres/backgrounds: David Murray, David S. Ware, Thurston Moore, Lee Ranaldo, Elliott Sharp, Zeena Parkins, Glenn Spearman, Christian Marclay and Thomas Chapin, to name a few. Over the past few years, Mr. Hooker has released a handful of discs (CD’s & LP’s), each with varying & sometimes overlapping personnel.
This disc opens with three pieces featuring two or three drummers with an electronics player. “Chain Gang” has a sly, hypnotic, pounding, funky groove with some simmering electronics & piano adding some tasty spice. Since the liner notes are printed so small on the back cover, it is hard to tell who is doing what but it could be that Michael TA Thompson is playing the piano here on the first few pieces since he is listed on drums & piano. No matter, it is layered rolling drums at the center of this rhythmic storm. I really dig the triple drums work-out here as these players work great together, at times playing some interlocking grooves/beats. Mara Rosenbloom is one of Downtown’s best pianists although she rarely gets the recognition she deserves. She is featured here and plays with some sublime yet restless inventiveness while Mr. Hooker plays with buzzing brushes, their waves rising and falling together. There is a strong, spirited trio piece with Mr. Gauci, Ms. Rosenbloom & Mr. Hooker, which shows that even playing freely, all three are completely connected to a similar flame. I like the way electronicist Eriq Robinson takes Devin Waldman’s sax and splits it into several voices which sounds like a small army of fierce saxists for a piece called “Soul”. The other electronics wiz Theordore Woodward also twists Devin Waldman’s sax into several parts adding noises or other weird samples into the mix, the drums later entering with a ritualistic undertow while the electronics erupt. There are layers of drums and samples are spinning together here which casts a most mesmerizing spell over the entire band/record. William Hooker seems to have mastered the way to directing and inspiring his collaborators into a powerful blend. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
WILLIAM HOOKER with STEPHEN GAUCI / CHARLES COMPO / MARA ROSENBOOM / MARK HENNEN / SARAH MANNING / THEO WOODWARD / JAI-ROHM PARKER WELLS / JIMMY LOPEZ - Big Moon (ORG Music 2198; USA) Featuring William Hooker - drums, composer & conductor, Stephen Gauci, Charles Compo & Sarah Manning on reeds, Mara Rosenbloom & Mark Hennen on pianos, Theo Woodward on synth, Jai-Rohm Parker Wells on bass and Jimmy Lopez on percussion. ’The Big Moon’ is a concept record about the power of the Moon and how it affects us. William Hooker has organized a fine, nine-piece band with collaborators from his early periods like Charles Compo and Mark Hennen, as well as more recent collaborators like Sarah Manning, Steve Gauci & Mara Rosenbloom. You might remember the name Jai-Rohm Parker from his days with Machine Gun, later moving to Scandinavia for many years and now he is back again locally based.
Side A’s opener, “Stations of Power”, starts off with some lovely piano which is followed by some eerie synth. “Right Speech” features a fine, hypnotic, somewhat funky bass groove by Mr. Parker Wells and more lush piano, soulful flute & sax(es) and spirited, infectious drums. Side B’s “Ring-Pass-Not” switches between intense free sections and more spacious free parts. The sound production for both of these albums is superb and shows the warmth that only high quality vinyl can provide. On “Seven Rays”, the powerful drums, McCoy-ish piano, spirited flute and sly synth have a way of casting a strong spell over us listeners. No matter what the concept is here, the music remains strong, spirited and powerful throughout. Another extraordinary effort from William Hooker and his band of luscious outsiders. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
2 LP Set $35 [Limited Edition]
STEPHEN GAUCI / MICHAEL BISIO / WHIT DICKEY - Live at Scholes Street Studio (GauciMusic 04685; USA) Featuring Stephen Gauci on tenor sax, Michael Bisio on contrabass and Whit Dickey on drums. Recorded at Scholes Street Studio in February of this year (2022). For the past year & a half, Steve Gauci has been curating monthly events at DMG on Saturday nights. For several months Mr. Gauci played in all three sets with different personnel in each set and then when his series ended at the Bushwick Public House, he curated three sets monthly with different bands for each set, just one set with Mr. Gauci himself as a member. In addition, Mr. Gauci has also had a monthly gig at Scholes Street Studio with different bands, himself in one per night. Plus he has recorded and released dozens of discs of both live sets at Scholes as well as studio sessions. Mr. Gauci has been releasing these discs in different series, the current four are all recorded at Scholes St. Studio.
One each of his numerous duo and trio sets, Gauci uses a variety of rhythm sections, drawing from a large network of gifted improvisers, some old and some pretty young, but all well-chosen. For this live set Mr. Gauci uses two older members of the Downtown Network, bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey. Both Mr. Bisio and Mr. Dickey have worked together numerous times with either/both Matt Shipp and Ivo Perelman. Both Bisio and Dickey are masters of free/jazz, right from the first salvo, all three members are working tightly together. Mr. Gauci seems to vary his playing between shrieks & squeals with quick bursts of fractured lines. Mr. Dickey is playing with mallets when the disc first begins, his playing warm and relaxed with Bisio matching his quick rhythmic cascades as they move together in crashing waves. At the center of the cyclone, there is a sense of calm which Gauci rides with mature restrained fire, his lines spiraling upwards, bending center notes with focused abandon. Gauci often starts shrieking on top and then comes down as the rhythm also slows down to a less frenzied pace/simmer. Mr. Bisio plays a short heartfelt unaccompanied bass solo before the trio begin to escalate higher. Mr. Bisio takes another short, introspective solo which leads into a more relaxed trio section with Bisio playing that heartbeat pulse at the center for a period. There is thoughtful organic quality to this set of music, everything flows nicely into the next section. As this disc evolves Mr. Gauci starts to break free of certain recognizable licks and play more closely to the way the two rhythm team members play with a mature sense of calm at the center. The trio work their way up to another cyclonic frenzy before they gradually come down to Mother Earth with one foot on the ground and the other in the stars. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
The below disc was listed a month ago but it turns out that we jumped the gun as far as the release date; it is finally here and now in stock:
IVO PERELMAN / CHAD FOWLER / ZOH AMBA / MATTHEW SHIPP / WILLIAM PARKER / STEVE HIRSH - Alien Skin (Mahakala 041; USA) Featuring Ivo Perelman on tenor sax, Zoh Amba on tenor sax & flute, Chad Fowler on stritch & saxello, Matt Shipp on piano, William Parker on contrabass and Steve Hirsh on drums. Last night (10/4/22) we had two incredible sets here at DMG. The second set featured Ivo Perelman & Jim Clouse (owner of Park West Studio where this disc was recorded) on saxes, Sean Conly on acoustic bass & Patrick Golden on drums. Although it was what most folks would call “free jazz”, it worked because everyone listened and worked closely together. I hadn’t heard my old friend Ivo Perelman live in a long while although I’ve reviewed & listed dozens of his discs from the last decade or so. This three sax fronted sextet featured an all-star crew, some of whom had not played together previously and will not most likely play together again. Ms. Zoh Amba is a young (early 20’s) saxist from down south who has several great discs out on the Tzadik & 577 Records labels. Chad Fowler is also from the south and runs this, the Mahakala label. Chad plays two rare saxes, a stritch (made popular by Rahsaan Roland Kirk) and a saxello (Elton Dean’s main ax). Matt Shipp and William Parker certainly need no introduction here while drummer Steve Hirsh can be found on several discs from the Mahakala label. William Parker haunting bowed bass starts things off with Matt Shipp’s dark,turbulent piano soon being added. Each sax slowly enters, together and apart and each one has a distinctive voice and all three work together extremely well. While one of the saxes plays or leads up front, the other two weave their lines tightly around one another. I hadn’t heard of drummer Steve Hirsh before his name popped up on several Mahakala recordings. Each member of this sextet sounds inspired and they work well together superbly. There are layers of challenging interplay going on here so we have to listen closely to hear the different combinations merge and submerge in numerous wondrous waves. Mr. Parker breaks into a slow, simmering blues like bringing the ensemble into a swell, slow groove. Everyone builds slowly together, with the bowed bass creating a drone underneath shifting waves above. Ms. Amba has been getting alot of hype recently in the press, which can be a good thing depending… On record, she is a good leader and team player, hence her records are consistently strong and stirring. On this disc, all members of the sextet work well as one unified force/sound. There is one track that reminds me of one of those swell Albert Ayler-like marching beat groove fests. This is one of the best Free Music/Spirit Jazz discs I’ve heard in a long while, so please to do check it out. It is Music/Magic/Medicine at its best. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PULVERIZE THE SOUND with PETER EVANS / TIM DAHL / MIKE PRIDE - Black (Relative Pitch Records 1157; USA) This is the third release from Pulverize the Sound and the trio’s personnel remains Peter Evans on trumpets, Tim Dahl on electric bass & microphone and Mike Pride on drums, glockenspiel & auxiliary percussion. I felt a bit sad when I learned that ace trumpeter Peter Evans was moving to Spain a few years ago since I am such a big fan of Mr. Evans’ extraordinary trumpet work, composing and multi-bandleading. Mr. Evans has since moved back here which is a great thing for us serious listeners. Peter Evans leads several bands, collaborates with other heavy cats (like Evan Parker, Barry Guy & John Zorn) and plays/records solo trumpet sets which are in a class of their own.
Pulverize the Sounds is perhaps Mr. Evans' most extreme band and they do have a rather intense pink/rock edge. Bassist Tim Dahl (Child Abuse, Lydia Lunch & Unnatural Ways) and drummer Mike Pride (MDC, Three-Layer Cake w/ Mike Watt & From Bacteris to Boys) both have some of the Punk/Rock cred in their long resumes. This Pulverise disc is the first one which is all improvised although it doesn’t always sound like that. The opening piece, “Downtick” is a powerful, hard-charging trio effort with the pedal to the floor when it opens. Midway it slows down with Mr. Dahl on hypnotic effects laden bass, Mr. Pride on haunting glockenspiel and Mr Evans playing his trumpet through some quirky effects. Tim Dahl is obviously using some fuzz or distortion pedals and other gnarly effects, adding a sense of ominous dread to the trio. Mike Pride is an inventive drummer who draws from jazz, metal, noise, punk and progressive streams and does a good job of shifting through an ever-changing series of rhythmic eruptions and furious changes in direction. Young master trumpeter Peter Evans also has a deep back of tricks/licks/ideas, sputtering vocal sounds through his horn, distinctive extended technique sounds and a variety of effects to turn his trumpet into other strange sonic dimensions. There are also a number of haunting, slower and spacious sections which help balance the fury and intensity with moments of unexpected restraint. Peter Evans remains an astonishing improviser, pulling off some ferocious lines at superhuman speed and varying his playing by playing directly, closely into the mic at times and then soaring higher and faster than anyone else on the planet Earth. This disc is consistently outstanding, completely engaging on many levels, edge-of-our-seat excitement. Be prepared to be hit hard upside your heads. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
PATRICIA BRENNAN with KIM CASS / MAURICIO HERRARA / MARCUS GILMORE - More Touch (Pyroclastic Records 22; USA) Featuring Patricia Brennan on vibes with electronics & marimba & all compositions, Kim Cass on bass, Mauricio Herrara on percussion and Marcus Gilmore on drums. Ever since hearing the way that Frank Zappa wrote for marimba & vibes on the Mothers of Invention’s ‘Uncle Meat’- album (rel 1968), I’ve become a big fan of vibes players from across the spectrum, consistently searching out the work of established greats (Bobby Hutcherson, Milt Jackson & Ruth Underwood) to loads of lesser known marvels (Teddy Charles, Walt Dickerson & Khan Jamal). A number of newer faces have popped up in recent years like Joel Ross, Andria Nicodemou and Patricia Brennan. I’ve caught Ms. Brennan just a few times previously with Mary Halvorson, Matt Mitchell and Tomas Fujiwara and she has impressed me each time.
This is Patricia Brennan’s first disc as a leader and she has organized a fine quartet with Kim Cass on bass (works with Caroline Davis, Devin Gray & Zack Clarke), Mauricio Herrara on percussion and veteran drummer Marcus Gilmore (Steve Coleman & Vijay Iyer). According to the liner notes Ms. Brennan grew up in Mexico and was inspired by a wealth of music: Afro-Cuban, folkloric, classical music and all sorts of rock music. This quartet is mostly a percussion quartet with a bassist, hence there is quite a bit of shrewd interlocking rhythmic parts. “Unique Respect” has an infectious, somewhat funky groove with bubbling bass at the center. Ms. Brennan adds a bit of electronics to her vibes giving them a slinky, slippery sound. Drummer Marcus Gilmore played with M-Base composer Steve Coleman for several years and still has that infectious, slamming M-Base drum sound. Ms. Brennan adds some eerie effects to her vibes on the title track, this piece is very spacious with quite a bit of space between different sections. It does erupt freely in places and overall sounds like a skeletal chamber piece with different connected sections. “El Nahualli (The Shadow Soul)” pulsates with an eerie sort of tension, reminding me of the way ghosts or spirits appear and disappear only if one takes the time to notice them. Ms. Brennan’s sprawling vibes rise above the squelchy sounds below taking us along with her on a reflective ballad dedicated to Ms. Brennan’s aunt. On “Square Bimagic”, keeps several rhythm lines moving tightly around one another, while the drummer speeds up and slows down, the vibes continue to pulsate and repeat certain hypnotic lines. “Robin” has a great triumphant melody/vibe recalling a fairytale or Saturday morning cartoon show that made us feel good when we were young. Overall, this entire 71 minute disc is like a long set of stories unfolding in front of us. Get on board and go along for the ride. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
AXEL DORNER / LORI FREEDMAN / ANDREA PARKINS / CHRISTOPHER WILLIAMS / YORGOS DIMITRIADIS - BeingFive (Relative Pitch Records 1161; USA) Featuring Axel Dorner on trumpet & electronics, Lori Friedman on clarinets, Andrea Parkins on accordion, amplified objects & electronics, Christopher Williams on double bass and Yorgos Dimitriadas on percussion & electronics. This quintet of international improvisers was organized by Montreal-based clarinetist Lori Friedman and goes under the name of BeingFive. No doubt you know about trumpeter Axel Dorner (who has worked with Alex Von Schlippenbloch in Monk’s Casino, from lower case to the Globe Unity Orchestra) and accordionist Andrea Parkins (who played in a longtime trio with Ellery Eskelin & Jim Black and another trio with Nels Cline & Tom Rainey). I know very little about bassist Christopher Williams (aside from a duo disc with Derek Bailey) and not much more about percussionist Yorgos Dimitriadas, who has worked with Paul Dunmall & Frank Paul Schubert. This disc was recorded in a studio in Berlin in June of 2022. A more varied set of backgrounds would be difficult to find. The music/sounds here move quiet sound to more abrasive free wheeling intensity. What I like about this is that everything sounds focused and directed somehow. For a long piece called “Miniatures”, the quintet plays a number of short pieces, all are either less than 30 seconds or from 1 to 3 minutes. The brevity forces the group to play together without giving things a chance to evolve very much. The electronics, used by three of the members, are also used selectively like punctuation. Both Lori Friedman and Axel Dorner are diverse improvisers who have worked in a wide variety of situations, hence it is often concentrated on subtle textures or gestures. Due to some extended technique playing, it is often hard to tell who is doing which sound. On the final and longest piece, “Freeze”, the group stretch their sounds into long, humming drones and eerie textures. The production, the music and the way things evolve are top notch here, a new high for the ever-challenging Relative Pitch label. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
AHLEUCHATISTAS [MK. 3] with SHANE PARISH / TREVOR DUNN / DANNY PIECHOKI - expansion (riverworm records 004; USA) Ahleuchatistas Mark 3 feature Shane Parish on guitar, Trevor Dunn ob bass and Danny Piechockir on drums. Ahleuchatistas hail from North Carolina and has been recording since 2003. The only constant member is guitarist Shane Parish and they’ve gone through both trio and duo phases. Their last disc was released in 2015 when they were a duo of guitar & drums and on this, their new one (2022), they return as a trio with bass giant Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, Electric Masada) and drummer Danny Piechocki. I hadn’t heard of their drummer before now although he is/was a member of two obscure bands: Jitters and Terms. I am a longtime fan of Ahleuchatistas (10 discs total & 4 singles or EP’s), as well as a number of Shane Parish’s other projects. Ahleuchatistas have always been a sort of punk/prog/math rock power trio or duo and again this is what we find here. “Entering the Realms” blends Beefheartian twists and turns with tightly played prog-like ensemble playing, all the parts tightly interwoven. “The Curse That Keeps on Giving” spins at a furious pace with much intricate math rock ensemble playing, the tight shifting parts are most often breath-taking. Although this is a trio, the complex interlocking parts and breakneck speed are astonishing to behold. Even when they occasionally slow down, they keep things interesting by playing fractured chords in shrewd harmony. Shane Parish uses minimal effects on his guitar, keeping things more interesting by ever-shifting his way through a series of complex prog exercises, each one more intricate than the previous one. Another thing that Parish does which I find to be captivating is the way he moves between tight single note sections and those full throttle chord which keeps things expanding outwards or more densely. One of the things I dig most about this band and disc is that although Ahleuchatistas have that Beefheartian herky-jerky rhythmic things, they’ve found a way to make it less fractured and more enticing and still consistently engaging. Since I haven’t gotten my hands on the vast Muffins box yet, I will have to settle with this not-so-modest treasure of prog/math-rock wonder. It rules!!! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $14 [Limited Edition CD-R]
PHILLIP GREENLIEF / TREVOR DUNN - twenty seven (riverworm records 003; USA) Featuring Phillip Greenlief on tenor sax & B-flat clarinet and Trevor Dunn on contrabass. There are a number of fine improvising saxists who have made a career out of focusing on what they do best over the long hall, recording when they can and getting some recognition for their efforts whenever they can. I am thinking about sax greats like Jack Wright, Paul Flaherty, Wally Shoup and Phillips Greenlief. Mr. Greenlief is based in the Bay area and has been playing/recording for nearly three decades. He has recorded a number of duo & trio efforts with Susan Alcorn, Fred Frith, Joelle Leandre and Frank Gratkowski. Mr. Greenlief has been running the Evander label, whose 2nd release was a duo with Trevor Dunn and Mr. Greenlief, which was released in 1996. This disc appears to be the second disc from this duo, some 26 years later. Both Mr. Greenlief and Mr. Dunn has obviously evolved over the last 1/4 century, play with a wide variety of musicians from different scenes.
The opening piece, “Jen de Paume” soars open with Greenlief playing some odd, breathy, note-bending sounds on sax (left side) while Dunn plays intense, throbbing, plucked and bowed contrabass (right). On “NY/LON”, Mr. Dunn bows with an intense, note-bending flurry while Greenlief plays those focused extended technique fractured note lines. What I find most interesting is that the sound of the tenor sax and contrabass are somewhat similar in their organic wood, string and horse-hair sonic terrain. The close-mic’d recording and balance of both instruments is just right. Although many folks know of Trevor Dunn from his electric bass playing with Mr. Bungle, the Fantomas or with certain John Zorn projects, he is also a strong, endlessly inventive acoustic bassist. Both Dunn and Greenlief are well-matched and seem to be having an ongoing series of inspired dialogues. Mr. Greenlief switches to clarinet for a few of these pieces, his playing remains closely aligned to Mr. Dunn’s similar sounding excursions/conversations. Over the past year Trevor Dunn has kept himself busy with a variety of bands/situations, each one completely different: Brian Marsella Trio, Nate Wooley’s Columbia Icefield, Martin Philadelphy’s KOMP, Sally Gates’ Titans to Tachyons and Spermchurch (a duo with electronics). This disc shows that Trevor Dunn and Phillip Greenlief are both master improvisers. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
CD $14 [Limited Edition CD-R]
DAN KURFIRST with DANIEL CARTER / ALEXIS MARCELO / DAMON BANKS / ROSHNI SAMLAL - Arkinetics (Neuma 163; USA) This fully engrossing recording comes courtesy of local NY percussionist Kurfirst, who has traveled through the canals of the downtown NYC scene but only now graced us with this lovely debut CD. It turns out it’s been worth the wait, both for Kurfirst to further refine and develop his considerable chops as a player and composer, and also so his vivid ideas could finally emerge wholly formed, agile and energetic as these rhythmic exercises are. He’s tapped in to a rich vein of multi-ethnic and nomadic musics across Arkinetics (a blending of kinetics with architecture), commanding a fluid groove and beautifully languid pace that reincarnates the ghosts of Jon Hassell, Miles Davis, Airto, early Return to Forever, and Trilok Gurtu all in one fell swoop. The opening “Peace In” ushers in a positively lush soundscape wherein Alexis Marcelo’s featherbed Rhodes provides a ravishing underpinning to Kurfirst’s quasi hip-hop beats and sets the stage for the album’s subsequent unfolding. Thus, “Birth Beats 2” erupts in a tablastorm of barely restrained fury, as keyboards ebb below the surface like slow-moving lava and Daniel Carter’s trumpet cuts silky contours of sound that have Miles to go before they sleep. This might all seem to indicate that Kurfirst is content to simply be but one component in his quintet. On the contrary, it is his rhythmic phrasing and inventive performances that push his colleague’s vamps forward, making for a delectable hunk of velvety fusion that brings the finer archetypes of vintage 70s precursors roaring back into being with a pristine, devastatingly compelling rush. I mean, “Ghost Killers”? That one piece is a damn near-perfect six-minutes of chocolate Rhodes chords, honking trumpet, and spinning webs of percussion make for a piece de resistance that, if you revere the aforementioned 70s forebears with the same enthusiasm as I, will leave you fairly breathless. Whoa is me - Darren Bergstein, DMG
JURAJ KOJS - Orchid Music (Neuma 154; USA) Here’s a real head-scratcher for ya’, experimental ‘music’ that shucks category, transcends boundaries, shatters preconceptions and upsets apple carts. Kojs is a Slovakian multimedia artist well-versed in the fields of sound art, bioacoustics, theater, and other mixed media, and this daring piece of work, most of which is sourced from the DNA of indigenous Florida orchids, confounds as well as delights. The casual listener may hasten to label this ‘music’ by any literal definition of the word, and it would be sensible to divorce yourself from said notions while allowing these soundworlds to reveal their secrets as they flitter about your listening space. Kojs is onto something special here, working with and through maxims first established by the likes of Cage, Tudor, Günter, etc., checking off radical forms of indeterminacy and immediatism in the creation and final molding of his unique aural sculptures. Each piece is named for a particular species and/or sub-phylum of orchid, its DNA mapped and encoded to various sound generators, triggers, and actualizers including custom-designed synths, drum machines/programs, and additional augmentations coming from typewriters, woodblocks, organic matter, dripping waters, and other far-flung, transmuted samples. If you’re looking for sonic analogs to the textures and sonorities orchids might make or exude, you’re wasting your valuable time. These popping, regurgitating, febrile collections of noises, tones, and whatnot quiver, quake, and shake with inner pulses of their own design, neither plant-like or synthetic but a vibrant combination of the two. A work such as track five resembles something Hecker might devise if in a less abrasive mood, the resident digitalia curling and unfurling with much surface tension, while the quasi-classical “The Orchid Quartet” conjures images of android player piano ensembles rendered physical by cooing mannequins spewing looped soliloquies of nursery rhymes that reverberate with a decidedly disturbing undercurrent. Make of this what you will, but there’s no denying the level of originality Kojs dumps in our ears with no little surfeit of pith and imagination. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
CHRISTIAN WOLFF - A Complete Anthology of Solo and Duo Violin Pieces (Black Truffle 099CD; Australia) “Black Truffle announce its second release from New York violin duo String Noise (Conrad Harris and Pauline Kim Harris), following on from their self-titled double-disc collection of compositions by Alvin Lucier (BT 061CD, 2020). Here, they present A Complete Anthology of Solo and Duo Violin Pieces by legendary American experimental composer Christian Wolff. The youngest and in some ways most radical of the composers of the New York School (alongside Brown, Cage, and Feldman), Wolff has ceaselessly rethought his approach throughout the seven decades of his composing career, moving from early experiments in radical reduction through indeterminacy, improvisation, and leftist political engagement to reach the limpid lyrical fragments of his most recent music. Beautifully recorded across two days by Ryan Streber with Wolff in attendance, String Duo's complete anthology of Wolff's work for violin solo and duo covers the entirety of the composer's career, from his earliest published work to a major new work written for this recording. Written by the teenaged Wolff in 1950 during his brief period studying with Cage, "Duo for Violins" is a beautifully austere experiment in extreme reduction, using only three chromatically adjacent pitches without octave transpositions. This recording also presents premiere recordings of two other short duo pieces from the same year, recently rediscovered by Wolff in his papers, which use similarly reduced materials in a livelier, more dynamic manner. Moving forward to the 1970s, the solo pieces "Bread and Roses" and "The Death of Mother Jones" belong to the period in which Wolff was drawing on political music, in this case two early 20th century songs that celebrate women labor activists. In both, arrangements of the traditional melodies are followed by a series of technically demanding free variations in a modernist style. The lyricism of these pieces is carried into the more fragmented, elusive works of the '90s onward. In the beautiful "Six Melodies Variation" (1993), written in tribute to Cage, fragments of Cage's "Six Melodies" dissolve into anthemic snatches of the music of 18th century American composer William Billings. The sixteen "Small Duos for Violinists" (2021) explore the radically disjunctive style of recent major Wolff works such as "Long Piano (Peace March 11)", where short "patches" varying in style, density, and notation system are places next to each other without clear concern for conventional compositional principles. Includes extensive liner notes and wonderful reproductions of a series of Wolff's delicate abstract works in pencil, crayon, and water color.”
BLORP ESETTE GAZETTE - Volumes Three & Four (Gilgongo Records 129CD; USA) "The history of the Blorp Esette, which chronicles the output of the Los Angeles Free Music Society and other entities in its orbit, dates back to 1977, with the release of Blorp Esette Volume One LP (soon to be reissued by Superior Viaduct) and Volume 2 2LP in 1980. Volumes 3 and 4 emerged in 1999, packaged in a boxset with the previous volumes. The Blorp Esette Gazette first appeared with Volume 1 & 2 in 2013. Intended to be an on-going series, it was paused after the passing of Transparency label owner Michael Sheppard who was co-releasing the CDs with LAFMS members. While the original Esette is an obligatory who's-who of LAFMS (Doo-Dooettes, Smegma, Le Forte Four), the Gazettes have an even more sprawling reach. Compiled by Ace Farren Ford and Ju Suk Reet Meate, Volumes 3 & 4 features: Michael Uhlenkott, (AN) EeL, Ace & Duce, Control Unit, Sissy Spacek, Kommissar Hjuler und Frau Mama Baer, Million Brazillians, Lee Rockey, Trance Farmers, Keith Mitchell, Split Second, Mr. Foon, Electric Bill Robinson, Testing Vault, Donkey Flybye, James Dewey, Eric Zann, Threed, Purple Panther Ensemble, Lynn Carey, Collide Burger with Chicken Larry and Patrick Lubow, Dr. Amazon, Io, GX Jupitter-Larsen & Ace Farren Ford, Dan and Letha Rodman Melchoir, Harold Schroeder, Erica Rawlings. Art direction by John Wiese & Ace Farren Ford, with collages from Cody Brant featured throughout the release. Each 'issue' of the Gazette features a visual artist (Vol. 1 was Ace Farren Ford, Vol. 2 was Rick Potts)."
2 CD Set $16
GAYE SU AKYOL - Anadolu Ejderi (Glitterbeat 137CD; Germany) “Wildly acclaimed Istanbul-based artist Gaye Su Akyol delivers an unforgettable fourth album, Anadolu Ejderi. Building upon her mélange of Turkish psychedelia, empowered commentary and retro-futurist sonics, her vision is more personal and uncompromising than ever before. Lauded for her startling, innovative mix of Turkish psychedelia and folk song, surf music and ʼ90s Western rock, a global sweet spot where Anatolian music heroine Selda Bağcan rubbed shoulders with Kurt Cobain, Akyol was ready to expand her vision after a relentless period on the road. Everything on Anadolu Ejderi -- the title translates as "Anatolian Dragon" -- breathes fire. It takes chances, the lyrics offer an exploration of politics in today's Turkey. The personal is very much part of that. While it can hark back to the beauty of Istanbul before the coups that changed the place, when the country shifted, Anadolu Ejderi is a record that's filled with possibilities and dives into the unexpected. It's there in the dancing joy of slipping a disco section into the title track or the stark beauty of the acoustic openings to "Yaram Derin Derin Kanar" and "Biz Ne Zaman Düşman Olduk," which arrive as shocks to the system. If you thought you knew what to expect in Gaye Su Akyol's music, things have changed. Akyol's lyrics lure, puzzle, and often take by surprise, as with the album's final track, "Içinde Uyanıyoruz Hakikatin" (We Are Waking Up In Reality). Musically it can seem like the closest to a straightforward Western song she's come, but, Akyol notes, "you also hear non-existent Turkish folk". Akyol is an astute observer of what's happened to her country. The tales history tells are important to her. That first upheaval of 1980 was followed by another in 1997, and her cries for what's lost stand in her words. The political allusions are often carefully oblique, but they're there. The instrumentation forges closer connections between Turkey's past and its present. The rock guitar, bass and drum trio are now accompanied by traditional instruments such as violin, oud, electro baglama, cümbüş, sazbüş. With Anadolu Ejderi, Akyol says, "I'm telling stories for the future." To do that takes courage. It takes bravery and daring. Listen, and you'll hear the roar of the Anatolian dragon as it roars. "Her voice is a mesmerizing thing, deep and plummy enough to shake trees and stir hearts." --Pitchfork
TINY LEGS TIM - Call Us When It's Over (Juke Joint 500 5008CD; Germany) Tim de Graeve (1978-2022). Raised in rural Westouter in Belgium, Tim discovered his love for blues music through his father's record collection, including an acoustic album by Blind Lemon Jefferson. He took classical guitar lessons from the age of eight and soon began writing his own songs. Tim formed his own blues band at the age of 17. Tim went to Ghent to study biology at university and lived there for the rest of his life. He worked as a teacher for a time, making music with his band The Heartfakers as a hobby. At the age of 20, a nine-year ordeal began. Even as a child he had problems with his liver, but this was not correctly diagnosed at the time. This was to take revenge, because as a young man he spent most of his time in the hospital getting liver transplants and fighting for his life. Meanwhile, Tim focused on learning how to play his grandfather's slide guitar and delving into blues classics like delta blues and writing songs. Back then he swore to himself that if he survived, he would dedicate his life to become a professional musician. In 2009, he released his debut EP Please Dr. Please under the name Tiny Legs Tim & The Concrete Blues Band. He then focused on releasing solo work as a singer-songwriter for a number of years. His stage name, Tiny Legs, was a reference to his small and thin appearance, which was a result of his severe liver disease. Inspiration came from some of his blues heroes like Blind Willy Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, and Sleepy John Estes, who also have three-part names, often describing a physical characteristic. He thought it was a funny name that had a self-relating effect. It was a way of dealing with his "new" body. He recorded more albums, sometimes solo, sometimes with a drummer or harp-player or like on the marvelous 2019 album Elsewhere Bound with an eight-piece band. For Call Us When It's Over Tim founded a new four-piece band that recorded these six tracks during the pandemic (hence the album title). This band blew everyone away at the Goezot Festival in Turnhout in September 2021. Juke Joint 500 instantly struck a deal which hopefully was the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship. This was not to be as Tim de Graeve died during an operation in hospital in May 2022.
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 Saturday, NOVEMBER 19TH, 6PM
ARTS FOR ARTS FAMILY GATHERING:
at The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural & Education Center
SCHEDULE - Subject to change:
6pm to 6:30
Opening Big Band: Dan Kurfirst - drums / Daro Behroozi - reeds / Rodney Chapman - Ayumi Ishito - tenor / Dave Sewelson - baritone / Andrew Lamb, Mike McGinnis, Ras Moshe - sax / Claire deBrunner - bassoon / Dick Griffin - trombone / On Ka Davis, Che Chen - guitar / Ken Filiano - bass / Sam Yulsman - piano / Lesley Mok - drums / Andrea Wolper, Lisa Sokolov - vocals
6:40 to 6:55
Luke Stewart - bass / Heru Shabaka-Ra - trumpet / Daniel Carter - reeds, trumpet / Tcheser Holmes - drums
7pm to 7:10
Poets: Patricia Spears Jones / Zigi Lowenberg
Chris Marte Award
7:20 to 7:35
Ava Mendoza - guitar / Rob Brown - alto sax / Jason Kao Hwang - violin /William Parker - bass / Tcheser Holmes - drums
Richard & Roberta Award
7:40 to 7:50
Aakash Mittal - sax / gabby fluke-mogul - violin / Leo Chang voice, percussion /Ken Filiano - bass / Dan Kurfirst - drums
7:50 to 7:55
8:00 to 8:15
Ahmed Abdullah - trumpet / Monique Ngozi Nri - voice / Sam Newsome - soprano sax / Daniel Carter - reeds, trumpet / William Parker - bass /Francisco Mora Catlett - drums / Davalois Fearon - dance
8:20 to 8:35
James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax / Eri Yamamoto - piano / Brandon Lopez - bass / Michael TA Thompson - drums
James Brandon Lewis Award
8:40 to 8:45
Poets: Raymond Nat Turner
Jaimie Branch Award
8:50 to 9:05
Avram Fefer - alto sax / Dick Griffin - trombone / Dave Sewelson - baritone sax Luke Stewart - bass / Michael Wimberly - drums / Lesley Mok - drums
9:15 to 9:30
Voices: Lisa Sokolov, Andrea Wolper, Ellen Christi, Kyoko Kitamura /Patricia Nicholson - text / Eri Yamamoto - piano / Michael TA Thompson - drums
9:35 to 9:45
Mara Rosenbloom - piano / Karen Borca - bassoon / Mike McGinnis - reeds /Leo Chang - voice, percussion / Whit Dickey - drums
9:55 to 10:35
William Parker Finale: Rob Brown - alto sax / Dave Sewelson - baritone sax Aakash Mittal - reeds /James Brandon Lewis - tenor sax / Daniel Carter - reeds, trumpet / Dick Griffin - trombone / Aquiles Navarro - trumpet / Jason Hwang, gabby fluke-mogul - violin / Lisa Sokolov, Andrea Wolper, Ellen Christi, Kyoko Kitamura - voices / Eri Yamamoto - piano / Brandon Lopez, Ken Filiano - bass Michael Wimberly, Juan Pablo Carletti - drums - Dance: Davalois Fearon, Patricia Nicholson and others…
LETS ALL MASK UP TO STAY SAFE!
November 22nd, 2022
Live at Scholes Street Studio
Tuesday November 22nd
Live recording/Live audience!
7:30pm Mara Rosenbloom - piano
gabby fluke-mogul - violin
Tcheser Holmes - drums
8:30pm Stephen Gauci - tenor saxophone
Santiago Leibson - piano
Adam Lane - bass
Colin Hinton - drums
9:30pm Kevin Shea - drums
Jonathan Goldberger - guitar
Live recording/Live audience!
$20 at the door (entire evening), cash/venmo
@ Scholes Street Studio
375 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn / 718-964-8763
gaucimusic.com / https://www.facebook.com/events/3307967336145215
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27 8:00 PM
John Zorn’s NEW MASADA QUARTET
509 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
John Zorn - sax
Julian Lage - guitar
Jorge Roeder - bass
Kenny Wollesen - drums
THEIR ONLY PERFORMANCE UNTIL SPRING 2023 - DON’T MISS THIS ONE!
A surprise and rare appearance of John Zorn’s newest and most exciting ensemble, the New Masada Quartet. Performing classic compositions from the Masada songbooks, NMQ is a tight unit of like-minded virtuosi and one of the best groups Zorn has ever had. Bristling hot guitar master Julian Lage, bass wizard Jorge Roeder and 30-year Zorn veteran Kenny Wollesen perform with a crackling live energy that brings the Masada music to life like never before! Led by Zorn’s versatile sax and stop and start conducting, the music is filled with burning solos, telepathic group interaction, heartfelt lyricism and hypnotic grooves.
Wednesday November 30th, 8pm
playing music from Curha’s latest recording, “Curha 3”
Curtis Hasselbring (trombone and guitar)
Raphael McGregor (lap steel)
Adam Minkoff (electric bass)
Dan Rieser (drums)
Curha 3 came out early September on Chant Records and this is the CD release show. Curha (aka Curtis Hasselbring) plays all of the instruments on the recording with the addition of a few guests, Eblis Alvarez (of the Meridian Brothers), Doug Wieselman (Millenium Territory Orchestra) and Peter Hess (Phillip Glass Ensemble, Slavic Soul Party). The music is inspired by both the utopian promise of the exotica/space age pop music of the 1950s and 60s and the jagged dystopian musical explorations of the post-punk era - think Esquivel meets XTC.
The show is at 8-9:40 and tickets are a (highly) suggested $20.
A CONCERT FOR THE UKRAINE
Friday, December 9th at 7:30pm, doors at 6:30
The Auditorium at The New School
66 W. 12th Street, NY, NY, 10011
Presented by John Zorn & The College of Performing Arts at The New School
LAURIE ANDERSON-JOHN ZORN DUO
MARC RIBOT-MARY HALVORSON DUO
SARA SERPA & MARTA SANCHEZ
RAVI COLTRANE QUARTET
with ADAM ROGERS / DEZRON DOUGLAS & KUSH ABADEY
Suggested Donation $50 & above to RAZOM
Please show a receipt of your donation at the door for admission
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… the new one just popped up today, 7/27/22:
THERE IS A RECENT INTERVIEW with FRED FRITH by Rick Rees that is found here: https://rickrees.substack.com/p/fred-frith-interview . Rick Rees has been working on a website/blog/book/whatever about the great producer/manager/instigator/raconteur Georgio Gomelsky. Gomelsky is someone I’ve long admired and Rees is doing a good job of documenting/interviewing numerous Gomelsky associates. The Fred Frith interview is great and if you are a Frith fan, you should want to know about a number of upcoming projects, tours, etc. This interview showed up in my email during the last hour of my birthday last Sunday and it made me smile. Fred Frith & myself are old friends and he is someone whose music and attitude I really admire. - BLG
AMAZING SERIES OF PODCASTS PUT TOGETHER BY THE GREAT GUITARIST SAMO SALAMON:
The wonderful Slovenian guitarist/composer Samo Salamon has an incredible podcast on Youtube entitled "DR. JAZZ". He has interviewed many of the leading lights of contemporary improvisation including Bill Frisell, Hal Galper, Herb Robertson, Ben Monder, Bob Moses etc. and his conversations are deep and enlightening. Highly recommended for all curious listeners across the worlds of creative music. Here is the link below..
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/
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org