Put on your yarmulke
Here comes Chanukah
So much funukkah
To celebrate Chanukah
Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights!
When you feel like the only kid in town
Without a Christmas tree
Here's a list of people who are Jewish
Just like you and me
David Lee Roth lights the Menorah
So do James Caan, Kirk Douglas and the late Dina Shore-ah
Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli?
Bowzer from Sha Na Na and Arthur Fonzerelli
Paul Newman's half Jewish, Goldie Hawn's half too
Put them together, what a fine looking Jew!
You don't need "Deck the Halls" or "Jingle Bell Rock"
'Cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock (both Jewish!)
Put on your yarmulke
It's time for Chanukah
The owner of the Seattle Supersonic-ahs
O.J. Simpson: not a Jew
But guess who is? Hall-of-famer Rod Carew (he converted)
We got Ann Landers and her sister Dear Abby
Harrison Ford's a quarter Jewish, not too shabby!
Some people think that Ebenezer Scrooge is
Well, he's not, but guess who is? All Three Stooges!
So many Jews are in showbiz
Tom Cruise isn't, but I heard his agent is
Tell your friend Veronica
It's time you celebrate Chanukah
I hope I get a harmonica
On this lovely, lovely Chanukah
So drink your gin and tonic-ah
And smoke your marijuani-kkah
If you really, really wanna-kkha
Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Chanukah
This week is Hanukah week for eight days and it is known as the Festival of Lights. “The eight-day Jewish celebration known as Hanukkah or Chanukah commemorates the rededication during the second century B.C. of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, where according to legend Jews had risen up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. Hanukkah, which means “dedication” in Hebrew, begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December. Hanukkah 2022 begins on the evening of Sunday, December 18 and ends on the evening of Monday, December 26. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.” - from Wikipedia
The above song was written and sung by comedian Adam Sandler for an episode of Saturday Night Live. I find it pretty hilarious since my Mom is still reminding me that certain folks are Jewish. And most of them have a sense of humor, something we all need to get through in these difficult times.
When I was growing up in Linden, NJ, my family would celebrate Hannukah by lighting a Menorah (candleholder) for each of eight nights, say a prayer and give or receive gifts for each night. I embrace rituals which have meaning for me based on their/my history. I received a Happy Holidays card in the mail from my niece Jenna with a picture of my grandniece Sophie who turned 3 on December 8th. Sophie is adorable and the I keep the card on the wall near my computer at home where I do most of my work for the store as well as my ongoing lists of my vast library of records, CD’s, cassettes, singles, DVD’s and music mags. The pic of Sophie makes me smile and reminds me of having Hope for a better future, for her, my family and friends and for all of you in my extended family.
This Saturday is Christmas Eve, a holiday I don’t really celebrate but I do appreciate the more positive aspects of like gift-giving. Merry Christmas to all our friends out there, hopefully you will get a present that makes you smile inside or outside or both. Downtown Music Gallery will turn 32 (!) next year which makes me even more proud since it has a long, strange yet inspiring trip. Peace and Love Always, Bruce Gallanter from DMG & The DMG Staff: John Mori, Kevin Murray & James Paul Nadian
THE INDEPENDENT PROMOTERS ALLIANCE PRESENTS:
THE TOM RAINEY TRIO with INGRID LAUBROCK & MARY HALVORSON!
Friday, December 30th at 7:30pm - Two sets - $20 cash
DiMenna Center for the Performing Arts
450 West 37th St in Manhattan
Covid protocols: dimennacenter.org
The amazing Tom Rainey Trio have been playing at the end of December for most of their long reign. For many years they played at Cornelia Street Cafe which closed a few years ago. The Independent Promoters Alliance (Matt Vernon, Chris Stern & Bruce Lee Gallanter) wants to keep this tradition alive so we organized this show and are working on more important gigs for the future. Stay tuned!
THINGS BEGIN WITH THE LAST TZADIK CD TO BE RELEASED IN 2022:
JOHN ZORN // EUGENE CHADBOURNE - John Zorn's Olympiad - Vol. 3 Pops Plays Pops - Eugene Chadbourne Plays The Book Of Heads (Tzadik 8395; USA) Composed in 1976 and studied by guitarists the world over, The Book of Heads is one of Zorn’s most popular and oft-performed compositions. Concentrated into 35 "heads" that can be used as jumping off points for improvisation, the score uses an hermetic language of meticulously notated sounds inspired by contemporary classical extended techniques, cartoons, film noir, Zen philosophy, and the idiosyncratic guitar languages of free improvisation via Chadbourne, Frith, Bailey et al. Interpreted here by the madcap virtuoso they were originally created for: Eugene Chadbourne, they receive a passionate and creative interpretation—looser, wilder and more open than the textbook readings of James Moore and Marc Ribot. Vexingly entertaining, this curious release contains fifteen of the original 35 études: sixty minutes of the most gonzo music ever created for solo guitar!
RELEASED EARLIER THIS YEAR:
JOHN ZORN with EUGENE CHADBOURNE / DUCK BAKER / RANDY HUTTON / POLLY BRADFIELD - John Zorn’s Olympiad - vol. 2 Fencing 1978 (Tzadik 8390; USA) “Two extremely rare live recordings of the classic Zorn composition Fencing from the early days of the Downtown scene. Featuring two realizations of the piece—one recorded at Zorn’s artist loft The Theatre of Musical Optics with Eugene Chadbourne, Duck Baker, and Randy Hutton on guitars—and the other at Bard College with Chadbourne, Polly Bradfield, and John Zorn, a legendary concert that took place with George Lewis, Anthony Braxton, and Roscoe Mitchell in the audience. The music is astonishing—strange sounds, odd juxtapositions, stark silences, sudden explosions, all held together by a bizarre overarching compositional logic. Featuring a 16-page booklet replete with photos, scores, and extensive notes and remembrances by Zorn, Chadbourne, Baker, and George Lewis, this is a collector’s dream. Vexing and powerful sounds from the 1978 New York Underground!”
EUGENE CHADBOURNE / JOHN ZORN STEVE BERESFORD / TOSHINORI KONDO - The Beast of 20,000 Fathoms (Chadula; USA) Featuring Eugene Chadbourne on guitar, John Zorn on alto & soprano saxes, clarinet & game calls plus Steve Bereford on piano & whatever and Toshinori Kondo on trumpet. This rare historic disc features pieces from two sets: a duo with Eugene Chadbourne & John Zorn plus a quartet with the duo joined by Steve Beresford and Toshinori Kondo. It looks like it was recorded in December of 1977 but the liner notes are somewhat blurred so it is hard to tell. Parts or all of this was recorded at Studio Henry which was located at 1 Morton St & Bleecker, in the West Village. Studio Henry was the first place that I heard many of the members of the original Downtown Scene beginning in December of 1979. It was quite a funky, low key place with black walls, folding chairs, no stage and a toilet which rarely worked. It was a co-op that was run by musicians as a rehearsal place mostly. Rumor had it that Charlie Parker used to practice there. I caught this duo there in January of 1980 and was confused by what they were doing. Could they actually play or was this some sort of joke? Listening to this music now, it does make sense to me so many years (40 ) later, The duo with Chadbourne and Zorn is up first. At this point, Mr. Zorn was playing mostly dozens of mouthpieces (having taken his saxes or clarinet apart), using bird or game calls and a cup of water to play into. The set begins quietly with subtle, freaky sounds, nimble string manipulation, soft, odd sounds from the reeds/mouthpieces. Patience is required especially for a prog/jazz snob like I was back then. One thing I do notice is that the duo make every note count, taking their time to evolve. On the second piece, the duo really take off, with a stream of quick unique bent notes, both players have a unique of twisting their notes so that they are playing as one stream. The duo actually do a bebop(?) standard here, “You Got to My Head”, which they twist into all types of odd shapes and it is pretty charming in its own way. The duo do a ballad of sorts on track 5, with Doc Chad balanced between playing the somber melody and rubbing the strings at the same time. What I find most interesting is that Mr.’s Zorn and Chadbourne sound like they’ve created their own language which sounds similar and like they are having on ongoing conversation throughout. Wacky British multi-instrumentalist Steve Beresford and Japanese trumpet madman join the Great Duo on track 8, pushing the freak-out, free-improv further out. Although both Beresford and Kondo come from very different scenes, the quartet work well together, tossing off layers of odd interconnected lines. Doc Chad occasionally tosses off a few weird words via distorted mic, with Kondo consistently playing & bending notes all over, with game calls by Zorn and Beresford switching between piano, tenor horn and toys or objects at his disposal. When the circus comes to town, you should attend before you drown… - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE CHADBOURNES with EUGENE CHADBOURNE / JOHN ZORN / TOM CORA / MARK KRAMER / DAVID LICHT - And I Turned Out to Be... (Chadula; USA) The Chadbournes featured Eugene Chadbourne on guitar & voice, John Zorn on soprano & alto sax & B-flat clarinet, Tom Cora on cello, Mark Kramer on cheap organ & tapes, and David Licht on drums. Recorded on May 4 of 1981 at Calhoun's in Cincinnati, Ohio. Although they look like an early Downtown supergroup on paper, the version of the Chadbournes were pretty short-lived. One year, more or less. I can remember only one gig in NY, at the old Kitchen which was later released as a 2-LP set. Plus there is also a great studio album with this line-up called 'There'll Be No Tears Tonight'. Both are long-gone, however Dr. Chadbourne has been recovering some old rarities. This one is from drummer David Licht, who was in Shockabilly and the Klezmatics. From what I recall Mr. Zorn and Mr. Cora split pretty quickly, word is that weren't too keen on playing any some of the more rock oriented elements of this band. Although is a bit low-key, the early Downtown Magic is there in droves. The band goes from over-the-top, furiously paced at times, with intense rockin’ moments as well. The band is way more diverse than any 1 or 2 pigeonhole terms. There is a balance of psychedelics guitar licks & effects, distinctive extended technique, Downtown Free noise. There are some incredible criss-crossing combinations: sick amplified cello / noise guitar / wacky sax trading intensely. There are a handful of covers here which are deconstructed / blown up like two Beatles songs, "It's Your Birthday" and "Octopus' Garden' w/ hilariously cool Zorn alto solo! Doc Chadbourne sounds like he is on speed on occasion, the tempo increasing to some daredevil speed. Later into a lid-back version of "Crazy" by Willie Nelson. Towards the end, the is some strong, spirited trading between the Chad on guitar & voice, Zorn on games calls & mouthpieces - yes! It brings back great memories of catching the Chadbournes at the Kitchen around the same time. Mr. Zorn and Mr. Cora would soon jump ship so the the band turned into a feisty, over-the-top comedy/psych trio called Shockabilly. Released in March of 2021. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
STEPHEN GAUCI / SANTIAGO LEIBSON / WILLIAM PARKER / TYSHAWN SOREY - Live at Scholes Street Studio (GauciMusic 04687; USA) Featuring Steve Gauci on tenor sax, Santiago Leibson on piano, William Parker on contrabass and Tyshawn Sorey on drums. Over the past few years there seems to be a number of fine jazz pianists popping up amongst the ever-expanding Downtown NYC scene: Leo Genovese, Eric Plaks, Eli Wallace, Mara Rosenbloom and Santiago Leibson. I’ve heard each of these pianists play in assorted live situations, many for Arts-for-Arts events. That is where I caught Santiago Leibson earlier this year. The other three musicians here should should no doubt know of since remains busy with different bands as leaders, composers and collaborators. The youngest one here is drummer/composer Tyshawn Sorey who won a MacArthur Grant and has been garnering accolades for his diverse composer credits/disc/concerts.
This disc was recorded live at Scholes Street Studio in Brooklyn in September of 2021 at a monthly series that Mr. Gauci has been presenting monthly for more than a year, usually a quartet with a pianist involved. The set long (40 minutes) piece begins with pumping bass, Tyshawn’s powerful cymbal & drumset work, squalling, sprawling sax and intense piano chords up and down the keyboard. Mr. Santiago takes the first of several extraordinary piano solos at the 10 minute mark here, playing some heavy, throbbing dense chords while Mr. Gauci keeps varying between low-end and high notes eruptions. Each of the four members are/is well chosen and integral to the strong quartet sound. Midway, thing wind down to a more restrained, calm section before they start to escalate higher and more intensely. Mr. Santiago again rasises the rafters when he solos with that powerful William Parker/Tyshawn Sorey rhythm team whipping up a storm underneath.
PLAYFIELD with DANIEL CARTER / AYUMI ISHITO / ERIC PLAKS / ZACH SWANSON / ARON NAMEMWIRTH / et al - Vol. 1 - Stepping Out (577 Records 5849-1; USA) Featuring Daniel Carter & Ayumi Ishito on reeds, trumpet & electronics, Erik Plaks on piano & Fender Rhodes, Aron Namemwirth & Yutaka Takahashi on guitar & effects, Luisa Muhr on voice, Zach Swanson on bass and Jon Panikkar on drums. Over the past 2-3 years, the ever-ambitious 577 Records label has released over 50 CD’s and LP’s, mostly of improvised or other avant music from many Downtowners, as well as a few Europeans like Paul Dunmall, Eddie Prevost, Keith Tippett and others. The one musician who can be found on many of these discs is the great, unstoppable (have horns, will play) Daniel Carter. Daniel Carter is driven by the desire to play/improvise with as many players as is possible, some known and many not very well known.
You should recognize a few of the names here: Ms. Ayumi Ishito can be found on two earlier discs on 577; Eric Plaks and Aron Namenwirth have worked together often and have played at DMG on several occasions; bassist Zach Swanson has also worked with Daniel Carter, Adam Hopkins and is currently in a trio called Astroturf Noise. The two names I don’t recognize are vocalist Luisa Muhr and guitarist Yutaka Takahashi. Daniel Carter was once a member of TEST, an intense hardcore improv quartet who used to play often at the Astor subway stop and usually scare the sh*t out of the usual subway travelers. That was in the nineties. Nowadays, Mr. Carter seems to have laid back and often plays quieter and much restraint. The First piece, “Tree House” is indeed laid back and spacey with simmering flute, sax. electric piano, swirling guitars and rhythm team. This disc was recorded at The Bunker in Brooklyn and was mixed & mastered by Jon Rosenberg, one of Downtown’s best recordists. Although this music is obviously freely improvised, it often sounds focused with several layers all coalescing together. Although there are 8 musicians involved, the music is rarely too dense. Vocalist Luisa Muhr has a soft, slightly jazz voice and fits here as an integral part of the octet. I dig the way this disc was produced as we can hear each member of the octet playing is a different place in the stereo pan/audio image. Midway through “Ice Cream Mountain”, Zach Swanson’s bass throbs hypnotically, keeping the pulse central until Daniel Carter’s Mile Davis-like trumpet enter and the guitars play those sly wah-wah, fuzz lines around one another. The tempo speeds up throughout the long piece with some strong el piano, guitars, horns and crazed vocals near the end. The last piece, “Loves Electric Touch” is the longest at nearly 20 minutes and it is features some mesmerizing, swirling spirits: soprano sax on top with layers of electric guitars, el piano, tenor sax and strong spiraling rhythm section. This is one of my favorite improv dates of recent vintage, it just feels right and is most uplifting, vibewise. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ASTROTURF NOISE with SAM DAY HARMET / SANA NAGANO / ZACHARY SWANSON with SUSAN ALCORN / WALTER THOMPSON/ et al - Blazing Freezing (577 Records 5854-1; USA) Astroturf Noise are Sam Day Harmet on mandolin with FX, Sana Nagano on violin & FX and Zach(ary) Swanson on bass with guests Susan Alcorn on pedal steel, Stash Wyslouch on acoustic guitar and Walter Thompson on piano. This is the second disc by Astroturf Noise who have also played here at DMG on a couple of occasions. The acoustic mandolin is usually at the heart of many bluegrass and country bands which began with mandolinist/vocalist Bill Monroe way back in the late 1950’s. Astroturf Noise are certainly not a bluegrass outfit although they do draw from certain aspects of this ancient genre/style. I don’t know much about Sam Day Harmet although he does come to some of the gigs at the store and is friendly. Violinist Sana Nagano has played here on numerous occasions, each time with a different group (Peach & Tomato, Sarah Bernstein Veer Quartet, Karl Berger CMO), plus she has two great oddball discs on the 577 Records label. Bassist Zach Swanson records with different Downtown groups by Daniel Carter, Adam Hopkins and Aron Namenwirth. So good to see & hear my friend pedal steel goddess Susan Alcorn on two tracks here. Ms. Alcorn is a unique pedal steel player who has worked to Eugene Chadbourne and was last seen collaborating with Mary Halvorson. I don’t recognize the name of Stash Wyslouch (real name?) and I wonder if this Walter Thompson is the same one who is known for his unique conductions a/k/a soundpainting.
This disc begins with “Tennessee Blazes” which sounds like a bluegrass and funk mash-up, sort of. There is a beatbox/drum machine groove which keeps coming in and then dropping out with moments of intense free weirdness erupting as well. In some ways, this reminds me of the way the Residents deconstruct certain genres, yet somehow make an unlikely blend work. “Brack Water Waltz” features some lovely, haunting pedal steel (by Susan Alcorn) with quirky echoes and quaint mandolin led melody in waltz form. “Medium Lonely Blues” has a fun-filled melody and features several short, inspired and odd solos from the mandolin and violin. Although it sounds like the center of these songs are bluegrass inspired, the trio add a good deal of unexpected twists & turns, effects and samples. There are a number of free sections midway in these pieces which are consistently fascinating and still sound like they are part of the song that started and ended in a similar fashion. Susan Alcorn is also featured on “Midnight on the Ice” which has a touching tear-jerking steel solo and tear-stained violin solo as well. The oddly titled “Dying Mechanical Banjo Parts 1 & 2” is mostly free sounding, with what sounds like a the mandolin breaking down while some cool drum machine segments appearing when you least expect them to. One of the main things that make this disc work well is the way that Mr. Harnet & Ms. Nagano use samples and effects in selective ways. Live some of those experiments didn’t work as well as they do on this great disc. The production is well-suited for this music/disc and at times I am reminded of the way Frank Zappa used editing to blend some many different sounds/ideass into a seamless creative flow. Bassist Zach Swanson is often at the heart of many of the pieces, pumping his lines which become the central flow/pulse. If you progressive music or art-rock with a sense of humor, then put this disc on your wish list. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DAVID MOTT - DragonHorn (MAE 013; Canada) Featuring David Mott on solo baritone sax, recorded at Peter Lutek’s Studio and released in 2010. This the last of four our discs that Toronto-area based bari saxist, David Mott recently sent us, after reading a review I did of a duo sax disc with Vinny Golia. Mr. Mott liked my review and sent us some of his discs to check out. All four are pretty great, especially his trio with Justin Gray & Jesse Stewart, where all three musicians sound like they are channeling raga-like music from India. That disc is called ’Spectrum’ and I’ve played at the store on every day that I’ve worked in the past week. Something about is most enchanting so I keep playing it for myself and anyone else who happens to be at the store at the time. Mr. Mott says in the liner notes that this is his third solo sax disc, although I don’t think I’ve seen the other two that I can recall. Mr. Mott also says in the notes that he was inspired by “the tradition of storytelling, shamanic journeying and witnessing the truth of the moment”. Solo baritone sax recordings are not as rare as they used to be, I checked out some great ones by John Surman, Hamiet Bluiett and Josh Sinton. There are no effects employed here, no overdubbing or manipulation of any type. The opening piece is called “Continuum” and the title seems apt, since Mr. Mott is playing a revolving circular line which changes slightly and slowly. As Mr. Mott keeps playing the circular lines, he is moving slowly back and forth, giving the sax a larger moving presence. The piece does sound somewhat storylike like the “Three Bears” in a fairytale. On “The Story”, Mott takes shrewd melodic line, repeating parts of it while accentuating the melodic fragment as the central theme. One of the things I like most about this disc is that it is not very far out, no weird sounds, shrieking or bending notes too far. “Light in the Mountain” is solemn ballad of sorts and it is most haunting, slow, thoughtful, robust and tender as well. On “Mixed Messages”, Mott starts off with a sour sounding note which he slowly stretches in different ways, carefully expanding each note/sound so we can obverse the way each sound changes or mutates into something else. Each of the 10 pieces has a theme or melodic/written fragment somewhere which is oft stated at the beginning and then slowly pulled into different shapes, all of which seem to fall within a pattern or song-form. At times Mott will take a line in one register and then play a counterpoint line in another register (lower or higher). On “Trane to Huntington” (Trane as in John Coltrane and Huntington was the name of an ashram that Alice Coltrane named an album after), Mott shows off some more feisty lines (sheets of sound-like), even note-bending at the end of a volley of notes. One of the main things which makes each of the four discs that Mr. Mott sent us special is his distinctive, ultra-warm expressive tone, rather buttery like some of the great saxists who worked with Duke Ellington. All in all, this is consistently engaging, enchanting delight and unlike any other solo sax record that I’ve ever encountered. Superb! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DAVID LEE MYERS - Frontier (Pulsewidth PW021; USA) Whether or not you buy David Myers’s assertion that his latest full-length plays more like a lighter, gentler type of ‘ambient’ music is up to your ears to discern, but though easier on the ‘ol lobes it might be, don’t be fooled in to thinking that Myers isn’t up to his usual tricks. This is yet another hallucinogenic manifesto of brilliantly conceived electronic music capping a year of strong, focused material that finds the artist working at the height of his powers and showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down. This may have been said before, but it’s a testament to Myers’s never-ending fount of ingenuity that he manages to release such consistently fine music that is remarkable for its constant breadth of imagination. Essentially, he never issues the same record twice; you’d be hard-pressed to find an obvious commonality of aesthetics across his ‘20s catalog but despite a wellspring of unheard-of sounds, his singular imprimatur is surely recognized by the cognoscenti. Across the seven-minute blurry landscape of the opening “Inland Territories”, softly rustling oscillations and rubbed textures upset the listening space, slowly blossoming via a coarsely metallic patina of tones that feel like they’re played through ancient alien didjeridoos, ritualistic, tribalistic, and fairly fatalistic. “Terraforms” suggests approaching armies of strangely earthbound yet incorporeal beings sounding calls to ghostly arms with mutant krummhorns and parched larynxes. “Outland Territories” shivers, shakes, and shambles as it paints its atmospheric shimmer across a vivid, if stark, Rothko-like canvas, minimally invasive tones alternating their timbres and frequencies within differing shades of browns and grays. By album’s end, you might think the artist has breached his final Frontier, but “Plenitude of Nameless Origin” begs to differ, as the surrounding air is nigh-on singed from the afterburns of Myers’s massaged, beautifully corroded machinery, the marimba-esque tumblings tethering you to his ’tronic escapades in a seemingly endless cycle of eddies that you wish would never end. Well, that’s why they invented the repeat button on your trusty ‘ol disc player. Press it in earnest over and over again. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
N28 - Ohmniscient (Pulsewidth PW021; USA) David Lee Myers decides to revisit his newly-forged N28 moniker to pursue yet another excavation of modular madness, inner-circuit intubation, and the simple delights derived from electricity sent through mind-whorls of breathless innovation. Ohmniscient finds Myers’ doing what he does best: bending circuitry, elasticizing bandwidth, distributing spies in the wires, wrecking havoc across power grids and reconstituting sounds through his own peculiar mental viaducts. “Closed Course” is an absolute mind-bender, a hurried, hassled fugue of curious means that embraces fizzing texture, clanging industrialisms, and a hardened approach to synth technology that nestles itself comfortably on just the right cusp of (pre)noise. “Flipflop Springhead” (Myers’s titling of his tracks never fails to delight) imagines broken fluorescent filaments dancing in the moonlit night, their gyrations bent massive and backwards, shrouded in a graying mist a-bob with gelatinous menace. “Mesmer’s Quandary” posits life in a glitched-out arcade straight outta some Cameron-devised mirror universe watching T-1000s terminate each other in a glorious, post-apocalyptic cyborg blast-out. Gristles throb and divisions of joy self-immolate on the closer “A Rustic Splendor”, Myers channelling his inner Merzbow with contained glee, putting his gleaming circuitry through the proverbial wringer, his synths whipping to and fro, sounds tracing contrails across a burning sky as the listener seeks shelter from raining debris. Packaged in a nifty little envelope, sealed with plastic tab and pressed in a micro-run of only 50 copies, forget the corresponding airless downloads and grab this one before it oxidizes out of existence. - Darren Bergstein, DMG
A.L. GUILLEN - Pulse Emancipation (zOaR 112; USA) Featuring A.L. Guillen on electric guitar. Guitarist A.L. Guillen hails from Spain and studied with Elliott Sharp, whose label zOaR has released this solo guitar disc. The title, ‘Pulse Emancipation’ celebrates dance as a Sacred intercourse, Dance emancipated from the pulse and which can not be prohibited. A Dance of Freedom and Unity from what I can gather. I hadn’t heard of Mr. Guillen before E# dropped off this discs but it turns out that he is/was a member of several bands like Sefronia, Les Rauchen Verboten and La Orquesta Argarica. Mr. Guillen has been recording & releasing records since 1998 and some 30 releases in his discography.
There are five pieces here, all named after a dance. The first is called, “First Solar Dance” and it has Mr. Guillen tapping out several lines of notes, looping certain phrases and keeping a sly, funky groove going on throughout. As the piece unfolds, Guillen adds more lines and manipulates some of them with assorts devices or effects. The central groove feels good and I can see some folks dancing along to this fat, greasy beat. Similar, sort of, to the those repeating grooves that were central to ‘Discipline’ era King Crimson. Perhaps a bit more spastic and also more fun. “Second Moon dance” is up next and here Mr. Guillen has looped some odd bent, muted note fragments. Slowly Guillen adds a few more bent note sounds but keeps the oddly funky groove going. “Second Solar Dance” starts off with an eerie drone and more looped warped note fragments. Guillen keeps adding more bent notes or lines to the flow as the central drones resonates and continues. As the pieces slowly get more dense, they become alien sounding which keeps things ever interesting to be submerged within. “First Moon Dance” is even more twisted as Guillen takes several twisted note fragments loops them adding and then subtracting certain notes/sounds, repeating select lines, giving the piece a kind of Beefheartian bent-note dance groove/sound. Throughout this piece, different themes emerge, some weirder than the last and always unpredictable in where they will go or develop. The final piece, “HieroGamu: Our Dance” is even more dense and the fractured lines more barbed. It sounds as if this is some sort of industrial, robotic dance music which has been sped up and then chopped into several odd repeating lines. It is exhilarating and not so easy to hold on to as it takes us on a shrewd roller-coaster ride through the dangerous rapids. At times it sounds like some of this music was created by a computer (program) which is not the case but still fascinating to behold. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
MARTIN BISI with DAVE MILLER / DYLAN SPARROW / MAG NE TA Z’AIR / NYC PROTESTERS / et al - Feral Myths (Black Freighter Records 015; USA) Featuring Martin Bisi - voice, guitar & producing, Genevieve Fernworthy, Sara Fantry, Mag Ne Ta Z’air & Tim Wyskida on vocals, Diego Ferri on bari guitar & synth, Vern Woodhead & Dylan Sparrow on basses and Dave Miller & Oliver Rivera Drew on drums. I remember Martin Bisi from Bill Laswell’s earliest NY recording sessions as a fine engineer and later a producer for many bands: Sonic Youth, the Swans, Cop Shoot Cop & Foetus. Mr. Bisi is a also singer, songwriter and conceptualist who has been released five records of his own over the past 35 years. I recall enjoying the first two from 1988 (‘Creole Mass’) and 1993 (‘All Will Be Won’) but haven’t heard the more recent titles until now. I only recognize a few of the names on this disc like Dave Miller, who was the manager at DMG before Frank Meadows, a great guy and a fine drummer.
The first 7 songs were recorded at Martin BC Studio in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The first piece is called “The Octave Bridge” and it reminds me of the space-rock style of Gong. Quite an infectious space-rocker. On “A Storm Called Ida”, Bisi strips things down to slow, sly, groove with layered voices (a cool chorus) and percussion chugging together with a most hypnotic groove. The rhythmic slow-rocking grooves on each piece sound ritualistic and hypnotic. Mr. Bisi does a fine job of layers numerous voices into a series of strong choruses, a different one for each piece. Bisi often seems to start off with a simple riff which is repeated and built up with layers of different voices, fuzzy guitars & bass, synth or other keyboards. He then adds different layers of strange voices, squelchy synths, etc. Some of the songs remind me of ‘Low’/‘Heroes’ era David Bowie or the dark undertow of dark sludgerock of the Swans. This disc took me while to warm up to but after several listens I am won over by that dark, intense, throbbing, art-rock weirdness/coolness. Time to search out the other Martin Bisi solo offerings that I missed. An unexpected delight. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
FRANCESCO D’ERRICO - Astigmatic Music (Black Sheep Power Desco Music CD03; Italy) Featuring Francesco D’Errico on solo piano and released in 2017. Mr. D’Errico is the leader of the great Ensemble Dissonanzen, one of the best new music ensemble to emerge from Italy. Mr. D’Errico also leads several other bands, a trio and quintets, and has around a dozen discs as a leader. Mr D’Errico wrote around half of the pieces here plus he does a few select covers by Kurt Weill and Charlie Chaplin. “Astigmatic” refers to having distorted vision due to a defect in our eyes but as far as the title “Astigmatic Music”, I am not sure what Mr. D’Errico is referring to. “three bottle sketching” opens with a dramatic flair, not unlike is swooning scene from on old Hollywood movie, rather majestic, romantic and often heartwarming. Mr. D’Errico covers Kurt Weill’s “Libenslied”, another haunting, solemn and ghost-like ballad. D’Errico own “Trottodance” is also a moderate paced song which sounds like it was also from an old film (Scott Joplin-ish) like the way piano players used to accompany silent films before the talkies (non-silent) movies took over. Mr. D’Errico likes to slow things down so that we can absorb every chord or note he choses, giving the music a chance to breathe and savor in our mind’s ear. Much of this music has a sad, touching undertow, as if we are waiting in a doctor’s office wondering what our test results will tell us. The other cover here is Charlie Chaplin’s classic “Smile”, which was written for the film, ‘Modern Times’. This is song and this version is/are most poignant, think of the opening line:: “Smile, though your heart is aching, smile, even though it’s breaking…”. What I like about this disc is that, I have to slow down my pulse/pace in order to appreciate the slow, sad vibes that flow throughout. This disc is not like anything else I’ve heard from Francesco D’Errico or his Dissonanzen Ensemble. A nice break from scream saxes or lover case nothingness. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
OCEAN EDDIE with STAN MARIS / ANDREAS BRAL / VIKTOR PERDIEUS - Ocean Eddie (El Negocito Records 106; Belgium) Featuring Stan Maris on accordion, Andreas Bral on piano & harmonium and Viktor Perdieus on saxes. Ocean Eddie is a Belgian trio whose members look young and are part of a number of bands that I’ve never heard of: The Milk Factory, Bambi Pang Pang and Kreis. If you’ve never heard of any of the musicians or bands, you are not alone. I, myself am a big fan of the accordion, which has emerged as one of the most diverse instruments in a wide variety of experimental and ethnic bands, thanks to pioneers like Guy Klucesvek, Andrea Parkins, Ted Reichman or Will Holshouser. There is an all-accordion quintet called Accordion Tribe which brings together 5 virtuosos from different scenes and all three of their discs are marvelous.
The instrumentation here is certainly unique: accordion, harmonium (or piano) and saxes. The accordion and harmonium are both played by squeezing something and their sound/texture is similar. There sounds like there is some percussion going on here but mostly it is some of the players banging on their respective instruments. “Ochre” features a hypnotic minimalist (Glass or Reich-like) repeating pattern. Rather laid back and charming. On “I Sme”, the bari sax and accordion play a line together while the piano plays some quick free-flowing counterpoint lines, the undertow and interplay are both quite stimulating. Ocean Eddie like to stretch out their pieces giving them a more ethereal of spacious vibe sometimes recalling the brevity or conciseness of an Erik Satie piece. What is interesting about these pieces is this: often the pieces will start with fragments which will be assembled, taken apart and reassembled with differing combinations changing from track to track. At times, it take some time before we hear or notice that a theme has been stated or at least presented in part. Some of these pieces are quite short yet each one evokes a different mood or sonic scene in our collective minds. I am also reminded of the ever-charming music of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, certainly this is a good thing to savor. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JEF GILSON / PHILIPPE MATE - Workshop (Souffle Continu Records 075CD; France) "In October 1974, the first number of L'Indépendant du Jazz, a small self-produced magazine DIY -- before punk supposedly invented the concept -- was launched by Jef Gilson, Gérard Terronès, Jean-Jacques Pussiau, and a few other specialists of a different kind of jazz in France, it looked at the already long career of Jef Gilson and in detail at the album with saxophonist Philippe Maté: 'The 'Workshop' is, with Philippe Maté (alto-sax), an undeniable success. Maté is genuinely 'the' most inventive French saxophonist since Michel Portal burst onto the jazz scene (who has also worked with Jef Gilson on both Enfin (1964) and Gaveau (1965).' Even though the author of the article is a mysterious I.H. Dubiniou, and it is difficult to know if it is a real person or a pseudonym used by one of the merry bunch, it is also tempting to hear it as what Jef Gilson really thought about his new discovery. Even more so as the two men would work together over a long period, as Maté became one of the key figures of Gilson's Europamerica orchestra up until the 1980s. Philippe Maté had started to make a name for himself with the Acting Trio when they released an album on the BYG label in 1969, and he was also one of the regular sidemen for the Saravah Studios. The album was recorded on February 4 1972, at the Foyer de Montorgueuil, where Gilson had set up his studio, with more or less the same team found on La Marche Dans Le Désert by Sahib Shihab Gilson Unit (FFL 065LP). This was drummer Jean-Claude Pourtier and pianist Pierre Moret (regular Gilson accomplices since Le Massacre Du Printemps (FFL 064LP)), alongside Maurice Bouhana and Bruno Di Gioa on various percussions and/or wind instruments. On bass is Didier Levallet, of the now mythical Perception, and Philippe Maté who took top billing. The two albums are however quite different. This Workshop is more abrasive, more free. Made up of two long improvisations each of over 22 minutes, 'L'Oeil' on side A and 'Vision' on side B, the album plunges you into the depths, attempting to drown you in electronic waves, dragging you back to the surface by the collar, giving you a good shakedown, before showing you the light, leaving you breathless on the shore after 46mn of the most intense music French has to offer..." - Jérôme "Kalcha" Simonneau
This reissue, originally released in 1973. Includes booklet with rare and unpublished photos. Carefully remastered from the master tapes. Licensed from Palm/Geneviève Quievreux.
CD $15 / LP $30
EMMANUELLE PARRENIN - Perelandra (Souffle Continu Records 025CD; France) CD edition of Pérélandra, a collection of unreleased songs from the Maison Rose era. It was some line-up, even for the most open-minded: Emmanuelle Parrenin and her musicians, in 1981, opened for the Clash in Paris, at the Zénith! Unsurprisingly, the crowd roared the name of the English band as soon as the French musicians appeared on stage. Didier Malherbe responded with a saxophone improvisation with all the others joining in behind. If we believe the musician improvising, rather than following the cult playlist of 1977's Maison Rose, was what saved them. Created from previously unpublished recordings from 1978, 1981, and 1982, Pérélandra is a wonderful array of the experiments so unique to Emmanuelle Parrenin. Rather than being improvised, like the legendary show at the Zénith, these experimental tracks have a more composed instrumental form and were conceived for choreographers: mainly Pérélandra, staged with dancers from Carolyn Carlson's troupe, but also Nomade, some of the sonic environment of which can be discovered here in (superb) bits and pieces found on cassettes. In total, just under a dozen tracks are presented, including contributions on bandoneon from the Argentinian Juan José Mosalini, electric piano from the ex-Double Six Jacques Denjean, or elsewhere great electroacoustic work from the wonderful and ever-faithful Bruno Menny. All of this steeped in a sonic mix typical of the most way-out acid-folk freak-outs of the 1970s. Didier Malherbe (who just before was still playing in Gong with Daevid Allen) is on three tracks, his heady graceful agility instantly identifiable, adding to a magical and spiritual universe created with spinet dulcimer, flute, hurdy-gurdy, and other-worldly vocals (amongst other ingredients). Though very difficult to label, Pérélandra could evoke a meeting between Trees Community, Heron and Robin Williamson with Ellen Fullman, Meredith Monk and Ligeti. The whole thing is steeped in an atmosphere as intense as the ecstatic hymns of Hildegard von Bingen. Emmanuelle Parrenin continues to explore similar territory in her concerts, always surprising with, Detlef Weinrich (Tolouse Low Tracks), Etienne Jaumet, Cosmic Neman, Ghedalia Tazartes, Quentin Rollet, Pierre Bastien, or Jandek. Licensed from Emmanuelle Parrenin.”
RESTOCKS & REISSUES:
ASTOR PIAZZOLLA - Nuevo Tango: Classic Albums 1955-59 (Acrobat 3450; UK) “Astor Piazzolla was an Argentinian composer, bandoneon player and bandleader who was famous for revolutionizing the traditional dance form, the tango, by introducing his concept of the Nuevo Tango, the new tango, in the mid-1950s. Born in Argentina but brought up in New York, he was a classically trained musician, while being exposed to the jazz that was so much part of the city life, as well as being steeped in the tango music of his homeland. Playing the bandoneon, an Argentinian form of accordion, he developed an eclectic outlook, playing music that transcended the genres, with its roots in Latin forms but incorporating classical motifs and tinged with various jazz influences. Studying and performing in Paris, he recorded his first Nuevo tango compositions in 1955, and followed with several albums exploring the possibilities of the style in the years that followed. This 41-track 2-CD collection comprises most of the recordings from selected albums from this era, "Sinfonia De Tango", "Tango Progresivo", Tango Moderno", Lo Que Vendra" and "Tango En Hi-Fi", which feature performances by Astor Piazzolla on bandoneon from his classic Nuevo tango era with his Orquesta De Cuerdas, (String Orchestra) and his Octeto Buenos Aires. It is remarkable music that genuinely brings together the Latin, classical and jazz metiers, and offers a fascinating insight into the work of a highly innovative and skilled musician.”
2 CD Set $17
MEREDITH MONK - Key (Lovely Music 1051; USA) 2022 restock; originally released in 1971. Key contains Meredith Monk's earliest compositions for voice. The songs that make up Key were composed and performed in a three year period between 1967 and 1970, when Monk collected them into this 45-minute "invisible theater" experience. Meredith Monk on the release: "In Key I wanted to create a constantly shifting ambience. Each song dealt with a different vocal character, landscape, technical concern or emotional quality. I was trying for a visceral, kinetic song form that had the abstract qualities of a painting or a dance. I knew that I didn't want to set music to a text; for me, the voice itself was a language which seemed to speak more eloquently than words. I chose certain phonemes for their particular sound qualities. In a sense, each song became a world in itself with its own timbre, texture and impulse." Personnel: Meredith Monk - voice, organ, jews harp; Daniel Ira Sverdlik, Dick Higgins, Collin Walcott, Lanny Harrison, Mark Monstermaker - voices.”
ALVIN LUCIER - Music On A Long Thin Wire (Lovely Music 1011; USA) “2022 restock; 1992 release. First released on Lovely Music in 1980. A 50-foot length of taut wire passes through the poles of a large magnet and is driven by an oscillator; the vibrations of the wire are miked at either end, amplified, and broadcast in stereo. The thin wire is set vibrating four times at four different frequencies; what results is not the low drone one might expect from a long, vibrating wire, but a complexity of evocative, ethereal chords. Music On A Long Thin Wire is a classic example of Alvin Lucier's investigations into the physics of sound and the sonic properties of natural processes.”
MALEEM MAHMOUD GHANIA WITH PHAROAH SANDERS - The Trance Of Seven Colors (Zehra 001LP; Germany) “2022 repress. Zehra present The Trance Of Seven Colors by master Gnawa musician Maleem Mahmoud Ghania and free jazz legend Pharoah Sanders, available on vinyl for the very first time. Originally released in 1994 on Bill Laswell's Axiom imprint, and produced by Bill Laswell, The Trance Of Seven Colors is the meeting of two true musical masters. Maleem Mahmoud Ghania (1951-2015), son of the master of Gnawa music Maleem Boubker Ghania and the famous clairvoyant and "moqaddema", A'isha Qabral, and a master of the traditional Gnawa style in his own right. Mahmoud learned this craft as a youth along with his brothers, walking from village to village, performing ceremonies with his father Boubker and was one of the few masters (Maleem) who continued to practice the Gnawa tradition strictly for healing (the central ritual of the Gnawa is the trance music ceremony -- with the purpose of healing or purification of the participants). With 30 cassette releases of music from the Gnawa repertoire with his own ensemble and performances at every major festival in Morocco, including performing for the King in various contexts, Mahmoud Ghania was also one of Morocco's most prominent professional musicians. In 1994, Bill Laswell and Pharoah Sanders went to Morocco equipped with just some mobile recording devices to record Ghania and a large ensemble of musicians (a good portion being family members) in a very intimate set-up at a private house. Sanders, the legendary free jazz musician, contributed the distinctive tenor saxophone sounds that gained him highest praise as a truly spiritual soul right from the days of playing with John Coltrane and his wife Alice and on seminal solo albums, like Karma (1969). The aptly titled The Trance Of Seven Colors ranks among the best Gnawa recordings ever released, making it onto The Vinyl Factory's list of "10 incredible percussive albums from around the world". 25 years after its original CD release, it is finally available on vinyl. Remastered for vinyl and vinyl cut by Rashad Becker at Dubplates & Mastering, Berlin. 180 gram vinyl; comes in gatefold sleeve; includes download code. "One of the most important albums of Gnawa trance music released in the '90s." --The Attic "first-hand access to Gnawa healing ceremonial music" - All Music Guide
2 LP Set $32
OLD AND NEW DREAMS with DEWY REDMAN / DON CHERRY / CHARLIE HADEN / ED BLACKWELL- A Tribute To Blackwell (Black Saint 120113LP; Italy) “Reissue, originally released in 1990. This was Old and New Dreams, a legendary quartet and possibly one the most important line-up in the post-Ornette Coleman continuum! Recorded live in Atlanta in 1987 and first released in 1990, their second Black Saint release stands as the group final statement. A high-quality recording capturing an outstanding performance as homage to Ed Blackwell, one of the greatest drummers in the history of jazz. A strong and sensitive musician who managed to integrate the New Orleans rhythm tradition with the propulsive drive of free jazz. This was an amazing concert based on a great setlist including three Coleman's originals "Happy House", "Law Years", and "Street Woman", plus Blackwell's "Togo" and Dewey Redman's "Dewey's Tune". Personnel: Dewey Redman - tenor sax, musette; Don Cherry - pocket trumpet; Charlie Haden double bass; Ed Blackwell - drums.”
JOANNA NEWSOM - Have One On Me (Drag City DC 390LP; USA) “2022 repress on vinyl; Deluxe 3LP box version with an 8-page, large-format lyric booklet and printed innersleeves. "Joanna Newsom releases her first album since late 2006's Ys, making up for lost time with a disc for 2008, one for 2009 and one for today. Featuring Ryan Francesconi and Neal Morgan from Joanna's Ys Street Band, Have One On Me is an extravagantly packaged (and extravagantly nicely-priced) collection of fantastic new Joanna Newsom songs -- her most colorful record to date."
3 LP Box Set $34
MERZBOW - Hope - I SHALL SING UNTIL MY LAND IS FREE (UKRAINE)(Song 008LP; Earth) “Music recorded and mixed by Masami Akita at Munemihouse specially for I Shall Sing Until My Land Is Free in April 2022. Previously unreleased. Mastering and lacquer cut by Noel Summerville. Artwork and design by Zavoloka. Release produced by Dmytro Fedorenko. Includes download code; edition of 500.”
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.
THE ERIC & CHRIS STERN FOUNDATION Presents:
Friday, December 30 at 7 pm
Marilyn Lerner (piano), Ken Filiano (bass & electronics), Lou Grassi (drums & percussion)
At the New Michiko Studios (new location)
15 West 39th St, NY, NY
7th Floor, Elevator Equipped
$20. suggested donation
Loren Connors: A Coming to Shore
January 28–March 25, 2023
Opening 4–7 PM January 28
Loren Connors and Alan Licht
January 28, 2023, 7 PM
468 Grand Ave #1D
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Today is #GivingTuesday!
The music and art that Arts for Art presents inspires and brings us all together. We give the artists and audience everything we have, and we need your support.
As the premier presenter of Multicultural Improvised Arts in New York City, and as a nonprofit, we depend upon the support of individuals such as yourself to ensure that Arts for Art thrives and works towards long-term stability.
Your donation will go towards:
-Artist fees and production costs for our upcoming presentations in partnership with the Gene Frankel Theatre at 24 Bond Street (the former Studio Rivbea) and Five Myles Gallery in Crown Heights.
-The Music is Mine arts education program, where we partner with NYC schools to provide high quality music workshops, private lessons and performance opportunities for low or no cost.
-The Vision Festival, now in its 27th year. The next festival will take place June 13 to 18, 2023 at Roulette Intermedium, where we will present an all star lineup of creative artists, including a full evening of performances by French bassist Joelle Leandre in honor of her lifetime of achievement.
Share with your friends and family using these links:
In gratitude for your support,
Executive Director, Arts for Art, Inc.
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:
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com