And thus began The Age of Psychedelic Rock Music! The Byrds were from L.A. and were one the first American rock bands to soar in 1965, influenced by the Beatles and Bob Dylan, as well as folk, country, bluegrass, jazz, ethnic and assorted rock music streams. The Byrds are/were longtime favorites of mine, up there with The Mothers of Invention, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles and The Kinks. Their first single was “Mr. Tambourine Man”, written by Bob Dylan and some say it was the beginning of what would become folk-rock. The above song, “Eight Miles High” was unlike anything else that was released at the time (early 1966, blending rock and psych and influenced by Ravi Shankar’s sitar and John Coltrane’s modal/spiritual jazz. Jim/Roger McGuinn’s 12-string electric guitar introduced a new sound to rock while David Crosby’s voice and songs pushed them in more progressive directions plus their lyrics often involved science-fiction themes, both serious (“I Come and Stand at Every Door”) and silly (“Mr. Spaceman”). The first Byrds record I bought (in the summer of 1967) was ‘Fifth Dimension’ in mono at a cut-out bin for three bucks. It completely blew me away so I soon became a Byrds fan-addict. Their first five albums are consistently superb for me but my favorite is their fifth, ’Notorious Byrd Brothers’, a masterpiece of psychedelic rock with some jazz, country & folks influences all found within. A few weeks ago David Crosby passed away. This saddened me since I felt he was an important & influential singer, songwriter and musician, completely unique and quite influential. Each of his songs whether for the Byrds, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young or his first great solo album, are extraordinary and in a class of their own. I know he was tossed out of the Byrds during the ‘Notorious Byrd Bros.’ sessions for his big mouth and he had major drug and attitude problems throughout his long life, but who really cares…?!?! His music was his contribution. I just listened to the ‘Fifth Dimension’ album the other day at the store and it still sounds incredible to me more than a half century later. There is a song on it that really gets to me called, “What’s Happening?!?!”, in which David Crosby is questioning life. He starts off each verse with “I don’t know…”. I know how he feels since I often feel the same way, asking questions about the ridiculousness of life which can’t really be answered but do make us think. In the last few weeks, we have also lost guitarists Jeff Beck and Tom Verlaine, both of whom are big musical heroes of mine and many of you out there as well. I played the first Jeff Beck album ’Truth’ and Television’s ‘Marquee Moon’ recently and both still leave me astonished, smiling and inspired. A toast to the loss of three heroes of Rock, David Crosby, Jeff Beck and Tom Verlaine. I hope they are jamming up in Heaven together right now. - MC BruceLee
ATTENTION TO ALL FRIENDS AND FANS OF DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY:
We really need to get some collections of Used vinyl in to fill our shelves and bins. Over the past decade, being in Chinatown & off the beaten path, we have been selling less new CD’s than we used to in and through the stores’ mail-order service. We are selling more LP’s, CD’s and cassettes through our online Discogs store/mail-order but not as much through our weekly newsletter sales. I realize that many folks order mostly through bandcamp or just download music into their phones. Hence this hurts our sales and we do want to keep going since i/we love working here and serving you all. We have bought a number of mostly LP collections over our 32 year journey but not in a while. We do not have as deep pockets or buried treasures stored somewhere else. We did buy a large collection (2,400) of mostly mainstream jazz guitar oriented discs last year which we are still posting on discogs. Hence, if you want to help us survive, please let us know if you or someone you know wants to sell part of their LP collection no matter where they live. We also buy CD collections but these are harder to sell and our LP bins really need some new titles. If you can help us with this, please do. We really appreciate each and every customer/friends who receive this newsletter from us, come to visit and order from us when they can. Thanks for your time and attention. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
Tuesday, February 21st:
6:30: NICK FRASER / MAT MANERI / BRANDON LOPEZ - Drums / Viola / Contrabass!
7:30: AARON RUBINSTEIN - Solo Guitar!
8:30: ACTIVE FIELD: NANA FUTAGAWA - Shamisen / EVAN CAPLINGER - Cello / ORCHID McRAE - drums!
Tuesday, February 28th:
6:30: TIME PHASE TRIO: TY CITERMAN / JEN BAKER / SHAYNA DUNKELMAN!
7:30: KYLE MOTL - Solo Contrabass!
8:30: HARMOLODICS: BENJAMIN GREEN - trumpet electronics / DAVID WARD - drums / BENJAMIN WOOD - bass!
9:30: Another HARMOLODICS: JAMES McKAIN / CALEB DUVAL / JAMES PAUL NADIEN - Tenor Sax / El Bass / Drums!
Tuesday, March 7th:
6:30: LOUISE D.E. JENSEN / T.J. BORDEN - Sax / Cello!
7:30: DAVE MILLER / RAS MOSHE!
8:30: ANDERS GRIFFIN / SANA NAGANO!
This week’s great new discs begin with this gem:
AVRAM FEFER QUARTET with MARC RIBOT / ERIC REVIS / CHAD TAYLOR - Juba Lee (Clean Feed 601CD; Portugal) Featuring Avram Fefer on alto & tenor saxes, bass clarinet & compositions, Marc Ribot on guitar, Eric Revis on bass and Chad Taylor on drums. Over the past two decades Downtown saxist Avram Fefer has consistently evolved and worked his way through a variety of challenges. Mr. Fefer is hard to pin down since he has covered so many bases/genres/bands over this time and always comes as a winner or leading voice on reeds and compositions. Mr. Fefer has been a longtime member of the Burnt Sugar Arkestra, an amazing avant/funk/rock/jazz/whatever oft large ensemble led by the great writer Greg Tate. Sadly, Mr. Tate (another friend and someone I deeply admired) passed away suddenly in 2021. Fefer was devastated by this loss which also happened during the Pandemic, so he composed a dozen songs inspired by his former bandmate/friend Greg Tate. Fefer put his current quartet back together to record their second disc of the music he had just written and this disc is the result. No doubt you know all of the members of this quartet since each is a bandleader, composer and multi-collaborator with many of Downtown’s finest. I played this disc three times yesterday in a row at the store since I couldn’t get enough of it.
Mr. Fefer’s diverse musical background is apparent while listening to this music. “Showtime” opens with a great, sly, slightly funky groove and some soulful solos by Fefer on tenor sax and Ribot on guitar. The music reminds me of 70’s sit/com theme that had me whistling along immediately. “Bedoin Dream” has one of those hypnotic Saharan slow, sensual grooves which bands like Tinariwen excel in producing. Both Fefer’s tenor and Ribot’s guitar play with a most enchanting smokey vibe. Yeah…..! Each of the nine songs here has a central melody and/or groove that will stay in your memory once you hear it. “Sky Lake” has a somewhat Masada-like melody and features a wonderful, slow-burn guitar solo by Mr. Ribot. On the title track, “Juba Lee”, Fefer starts off on soprano for the opening theme which then evolves into Ribot playing some eerie Frippish sustained tones while Fefer takes a powerful solo on tenor. Ribot also takes an inspired solo with a tone he rarely uses. “Brother Ibrahim” has an infectious South African sorta groove/vibe, perhaps it inspired by Abdullah Ibrahim (a/k/a Dollar Brand). The thing I like most about this disc is this: it sounds closer to spiritual, soulful jazz without ever going into the freer areas that might push a bit too far out for some listeners. The music and vibes have a quietly transcendent feel which runs throughout. I will play this disc again later today as the sun sets and the scent of dinners in my apt building rise past and through my door. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HENRY DAGG & EVAN PARKER - Then Through Now (False Walls 09; UK) Featuring Henry Dagg on electronics and Evan Parker on soprano sax. I hadn’t heard of British electronics composer Henry Dagg before we got this disc in stock earlier this week (2/13/23). It turns out that Mr. Dagg is a sound sculptor, builder of experimental music instruments and as sound engineer for the BBC. British avant sax giant, Evan Parker, has a long history of working with electronic musicians like Lawrence Casserley, Ikue Mori and Sam Pluta. There is a long fascinating interview with Evan Parker, Henry Dagg and Karen Christopher in the liner notes which discusses at length what went into creating this disc. The music was origionally recorded live at Fruitworks/Fond Coffee in Canterbury, UK in December of 2021 and then altered by Mr. Dagg afterwards. At the beginning I didn’t heard anything but could feel some low end vibrations pulsating deep inside. We soon hear Mr. Parker’s soprano sax softly swirling in the distance while, dropping in and out of the mix with a series of drones carefully woven in each speaker or headphone side. Instead of Mr. Parker usual circular-breathing stream of notes, Parker flows, spinning out quickly at times and then breaking up the flow while Mr. Dagg adds his own quirky electronics sounds sometimes with two streams going on simultaneously. Parker’s soprano is often altered but not too much, the balance between these two voices is well thought out and executed. I really like Mr. Dagg’s electronics since he takes his time and never pushes thing into the unlistenable zone or too dense like other electronic players / extremists. The care and balance here has a sense of warmth that we rarely hear in electronic music so if you haven’t heard much electronics, this might be a good place to start. Plus us Evan Parker fans need his latest endeavor as well. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ANDREW POPPY // JOHN HARLE / SIMON HARAM / GARETH DAVIES / CRASH ENSEMBLE / ROYAL LIVERPOOL PHILHARMONIC / BBC CONCERT ORCHESTRA / et al - Ark Hive Of A Live (False Walls; UK) When I worked for Manny Maris at Lunch For Yor Ears (1988-1989), I recall hearing the music of British post-minimalist composer named Andrew Poppy which I really dug. His first two albums, ‘The Beating of Wings’ (1985) and ‘Alphabed’ (1987) were the ones I remember the best. Mr. Poppy has released 15 albums since his debut in 1985 and I haven’t heard anything he’s done in a long while. Over the past two decades, Mr. Poppy has worked with bands like The The, Erasure & Nitzer Ebb, as well as doing music for TV and film. The UK-based FalseWalls label recently released this impressive looking 4 CD set which comes with a thick (140 pages, large book) and encased in a lush thick card board case. The booklet is most impressively designed and includes text by Paul Morley (journalist & member of Art of Noise), Leah Kardos, Nik Bartsch (ECM composer) and Rose English (British performance artist who collaborated with Lindsay Cooper).
Each of the four CD’s included has a different theme and different personnel with Mr. Poppy playing piano, drum machine, percussion, etc. There is quite a bit to take in with four discs and informative notes to read through. Disc or ‘Volume One’ begins with “Goodbye Piano Concerto” for piano, keyboards, guitar & percussion, all played by Mr. Poppy. It is an eerie, somewhat skeletal, minimalist piece with a slow central pulse which we can’t hear but it is there, buried below the surface. Although this piece is minimal, it does have a strong, suspense-filled vibe running throughout it. “Attempt at an Ecstatic Moment” and “Chewing the Corner” come from a larger piece called “Horn Horn”, six pieces for two solo saxes and orchestra. These pieces a somewhat dark yet haunting, a bit solemn yet most stirring as well. “Chewing the Corner” raises the bar to a more uptempo, magical landscape with a stream of dreamy flutes and percussion plus some complex, kaleidoscopic orchestral parts. “Almost the Same Shame” is for piano and orchestra. The piano part sounds like a sped-up Philip Glass-like minimalist work. “Weighing the Measure” is for piano, drum machine percussion with bass clarinet & accordion. The music contains a series of drones, both soothing and a bit eerie. I still have to listen to the other three discs. I must admit that I am most impressed with the disc that I’ve heard and the great artwork & preparation that went into creating this lovely box set. Right now we have 5 copies and will most likely get more soon. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
4 CD Deluxe Set with 12” x 9” 130 page booklet $45
BRANDON LOPEZ TRIO with STEVE BACZKOWSKI / GERALD CLEAVER - Matanzas (Relative Pitch Records 1145; USA) Featuring Steve Baczkowski on saxes, Brandon Lopez on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums. Local contrabass great, Brandon Lopez, has really stepped up to the plate in recent years, going from one strength to the next. Mr. Lopez has been working with a big list of local legends like: Whit Dickey, Satoko Fujii, Ingrid Laubrock & Tom Rainey. Lopez has been working with upstate-based saxist Steve Baczkowski for two previous discs also on Relative Pitch. Mr. Lopez and drum wizard Gerald Cleaver have worked together on five previous discs with Ivo Perelman, Nate Wooley, Matt Nelson and Fred Moten. The sound on this disc is somewhat odd. There is a sizzling sound going on here, cymbals rattling? It sounds like it was recorded live in a large room with a stereo mic. The bass and drums are often locked in together and sound like one big force of nature, tight, intense and sprawling. Mr. Baczkowski has a distinctive sound on sax, bending certain notes in his own way. Midway, things calm down, we hear Lopez on bowed bass which works well with Mr. Baczkowski’s similar note-bending sounds. Baczkowski sounds like he playing his sax in a snare or similar buzzing sound. This is a strong, intense disc of free/music played with abandon. This session seems to be a live recording, and some of the nuances of Baczkowski’s sax are lost in the mix. This trio does have their own sound which would’ve probably sounded even better in a good studio. Strong, spirited and focused just right, nonetheless. - Bruce Lee Gallanter at DMG
TRISTAN KASTEN KRAUSE and JESSICA PAVONE - Images of One (Relative Pitch Records 1151; USA) Featuring Tristan Kasten Kruase on double bass and Jessica Pavone on viola. Bassist Tristan Kasten Krause has a solo effort released last year (2021), which was reviewed by DMG’s Frank Meadows (a fellow bassist himself) and received a good review. I’ve watched and long admired violist Jessica Pavone who often has several projects going on simultaneously. After a period of laying low due to health issues, Ms. Pavone has had a half dozen discs released in the past 1-2 years, from solo to string ensemble to a quirky trio with Matt Mottel & Lukas Koenig. This duo project is for double bass and viola, certainly unique instrumentation. The only other current group instrumentation-wise is Tree Search (for violin & double bass).
The title piece, “Images of One” is up first and features a slightly bent series of drone notes. The slightly bent harmonies provide some sandpaper for the grease which holds the piece together. “Double Cross” features a series of drones which both strings play together. Something sounds or feels somewhat off balance, as if the harmonies are/were close but not locked in. At times it sounds like an accordion, wheezing in and out, slightly out of tune, probably on purpose. There is an apocryphal story about the composer Scelsi, sitting at the piano and playing one note over and over for hours, claiming that he had to get to the know what was inside that note in order to use it correctly. The music here often sounds like the way some of these drone notes are stretched out, it is the effect that certain harmonies or dissonances affect the way we feel. It is not just the note(s) itself but the way each note is held, caressed or attacked that touches us in different ways. I notice that a certain sound of bent strings is often used in films or TV to give the feeling of unease as if letting us know that something disturbing is about to happen. Even when things are slowed down somewhat here, we still feel some apprehension for what if it is going on or coming up next. “Rarefaction” has a dark, throbbing undertow which is most haunting. Can something be both hypnotic and disturbing at the same time? This is what seems to occur here. The sky is overcast today (2/16/23) and it is makes me feel uneasy or solemn. The music here seems to fit this doleful mood. It is just starting to rain out there so I can’t go out, just watch the world turn slowly from inside my apt/cocoon. This sounds like the soundtrack for somber day. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG CD $13
ELI WALLACE with ERICA DICKER / LESTER ST. LOUIS / SEAN ALI - Precepts for Piano and Strings (Infrequent Seams 38; USA) Featuring Erica Dicker on violin, Lester St. Louis on cello, Sean Ali on double bass and Eli Wallace on piano, objects & compositions. I’ve been keeping my eye/ear on pianist Eli Wallace for the last few years, while he was working here at DMG, playing an occasional solo piano (inside the piano itself) gig, doing group improvs and now composing for small groups. For this disc Mr. Wallace has chosen an interesting cast of string players, each with varied backgrounds. Erica Dicker has worked with Anthony Braxton and is a member of the Jessica Pavone String Ensemble. Cellist Lester St. Louis was an integral part of Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die band as well as working with Dre Hocevar. Contrabassist Sean Ali plays with Carlo Costa and it is mostly known for his unique solo bass performances and records. If you get a chance to see one of his solos sets, you will see him using a toilet paper tube or soda can in between the strings of his bass for his own distinctive sound.
“Precepts for Piano and Strings” is based on a graphic score with pitch suggestions and vague time perimeters, so say the liner notes. It sounds like Mr. Wallace has chosen just the right string players/sonic explorers for this disc. “Part I” is an intense, focused excursion of free energy which is both brutal and brittle at the same time. Since I don’t hear the usual piano sound, I guess that Mr. Wallace is attacking the strings inside the piano with some object(s). Each member of the quartet is also manipulating their strings in one way or another. “Part II” is more stark or sparse so that each note of sound is suspended carefully in space. Although this piece was not fully written out, Mr. Wallace has found a way to make this music sound like it is being closely directed. On “Part III”, I notice that the way each string player bows or plucks is different based on the own sound/approach. Even the way Mr. Wallace coaxes sounds from inside the piano is most distinctive. This piece gets quite dense and intense midway which is quite fascinating to endure or absorb. What I like most about this disc is this: I can tell that someone (the composer) is directing the energy here since it sounds like the flow is organic, similar to the way life unfolds at times. Most impressive! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALEX WARD ITEM 4 - Furthered (577 Records 5921; USA) Featuring Alex Ward on clarinet & electric guitar, Charlotte Keeffe on trumpet & flugelhorn, Otto Willberg on double bass and Andrew Lisle on drums. I had thought that it has been a while since we heard something new from British clarinet & guitarist, Alex Ward, but it turns out that Mr. Ward had released a handful of discs on his own Copepod Records label plus a few on even more obscure UK labels. The last one I reviewed was a solo effort on Discus from last year and a previous disc from Item 4 from 2020. Trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe has been working with Martin Archer on several projects for Archer’s own Discus label. Discus released a superb debut effort from Ms. Keeffe for solo, duo, quartet & large ensemble just last year. Both rhythm team mates have also been working with Alex Ward and the Kodian Trio.
Commencing with “Cypherned”, with Alex Ward on guitar and Charlotte Keeffe on trumpet, Mr. Ward is a master of the post-punk bent-note no wavish guitar sound. He takes a long, intense fractured guitar solo with his trusty rhythm team following him wherever he goes. Ms. Keeffe, who is both a fine trumpeter & composer, is also a good match for Mr. Ward and his quartet, often players in a most cerebral fashion, calming down to a slow simmer at times. For “The Cusp”, Mr. Ward switches to clarinet and plays some thoughtful, smokey harmonies with Ms. Keefe’s smoldering horn. Mr. Ward’s clarinet playing often sounds like he has a foot in the past with an eye to the future. The mid section of this piece is free yet focused with everyone listening closely and responding as one force. Mr. Ward always comes up with interesting opening and closing themes. The rhythm team here is powerful, tightly wound and most impressive throughout this disc. This is a monster quartet so please check them out. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
FRANCK VIGROUX - Magnetoscope (Raster 200CD; Germany) ”Frank Vigroux's latest release Magnetoscope refers to the eighties, a "terrifying time" as he calls it. A time that influenced him and raster; Blade Runner dystopia, Polaroid colors, and VHS video recorder aesthetics (in French "Magnétoscope") form the conceptual foundation of the sound aesthetics used here. The compositions, between progressive pop ("VHS"), Vangelis romanticism ("L.A."), and dark, abstract layers of sound ("Stream"), are worked out in detail, driving forward, and can also be harmonically complex. Nevertheless, as usual from Vigroux, they somehow always remain timeless and classic. New on Magnetoscope is a kind of melodic euphoria paired with machine-funk elements, like on "Cassette". Magnetoscope is part of a series of releases -- including Vigroux's predecessor Ballades sur lac gelé from 2020 (R-M 192CD/LP) -- that interrelate strict and cool analog sounds, drum machines and noise landscapes in an epic, almost cinematic way. Let's leave it open whether this artistic attitude is also a child of the '80s.”
MARIE McAULIFFE'S ARKSEXTET With ROB HENKE/RICH PERRY/CHRIS WASHBURNE/DAVID HOFSTRA/KEVIN NORTON //BURT BACHARACH - Refractions: Plays The Music Of Burt Bacharach (Avant 070; Japan) One of the highlights of Tzadik's Burt Bacharach tribute from 1996, Marie McAuliffe follows up her brilliant arrangement of I Say A Little Prayer with an entire album of Bacharach material featuring her exciting unit, the ArKsextet. More and more known in the jazz world as a distinctive pianist and arranger, Marie's unique take on a Bacharach's melodic masterpieces swing like crazy, taking unexpected twists and turns while still remaining faithful to the Bacharach originals. ArKsextet: Marie McAuliffe (piano), Rob Henke (trumpet & flugelhorn), Rich Perry (tenor sax), Chris Washburne (trombone & tuba), Dave Hofstra (bass), Kevin Norton (drums & vibes). I recall John Zorn mentioning how much he dug Marie's lovely arrangement of "I Say a Little Prayer" on his Bacharach tribute cd of last year and that he had asked her to do an entire release of Bacharach tunes. Well here it is & what a luscious work of art it surely is. This cd features more of Marie's excellent arrangements and warm, lyrical playing of her superb ensemble. Elegant, enchanting and even haunting at times, Marie's musicians lift these tunes to a higher plane, especially the ever-melodic tone & grace of Rob Henke on trumpet & flugelhorn and Rich Perry on tenor sax. Marie constantly captures the elegant/innocent spirit of the 60's when these songs were pop hits, occasionally opening them up to unexpected directions. "In the Land of Make Believe" opens with a slow, lovely tenor bit before it erupts into a burning, super quick tempo rush, but then slows again with more delicious tenor sounds. It is long & winding version of "The Look of Love" that is this release's real gem! A marvelous arrangement of shifting tempos and textures, mysterious Coltrane-like episode for the tenor, and amazing horns only sections. Certainly the most gorgeous release on Avant, Zorn was right once more. Marie's fine, slightly psychedelic b&w artwork adorn the cover and show another of her talents." - Bruce Lee Gallanter at DMG
CD $15 [long out of print, last six copies are all we have]
HENNING CHRISTIANSEN - Op.176 Penthesilea (The Henning Christiansen Archive 005CD; UK)
“Music for a tragedy/play, Penthesilea (tragedy in 24 scenes), by director Carlo Quartucci, playwright: Heinrich von Kleist. First performance at Teatro Olimpico, Rome, Italy, on November 8, 1986. This four-and-a-half-hour audio work heavily expands on the foundation laid out for Rosenfest in 1984 as featured on the double-LP release (HC 004LP). This lavish five-CD set presents the full backing tape prepared for the performances at Teatro Olímpico, Rome in 1986 as directed by Carlo Quartucci (the live recordings of the performances remain elusive to this day). The most ambitious project Henning undertook, the Penthesilea project is also one of the most successful as it explores the numerous experiments and techniques he had developed throughout his creative life culminating in this ambitious and significant work. Unheard until now and required listening now. The full narrative of Kleist's text unfolds as an audio excursion for the mind to wander. An audiobook presented as sound. The field recordings featured in Rosenfest recordings are featured alongside a wealth of new sonic environments. Horses trot, a boxing match is treated with electronics creating an otherworldly atmosphere. In the piece "XIII XIV" you encounter moments of Henning's early classical works only to subside in a valley of gentle machines clacking amongst a whispering ghost melody. Elsewhere a thumping proto-techno beat tramples on the once trampled snow we heard in the Rosenfest recordings, a rustic squeak acts as a horn solo, onwards, the wind gets fiercer, the narrative intensifies... Op. 176 Penthesilea is presented as a deluxe five-CD box set with 32-page, full color booklet featuring writings by Villy Sørensen, Mark Harwood, Werner Durand, and Henning Christiansen. The set is all housed in a sturdy slip case with original artwork (by Henning Christiansen, scores and performance photos. All material copyright The Henning Christiansen Archive with the exception of the watercolour paintings in HC5 copyright Edition Block.”
5 CD Box Set $50
BLACK ARTISTS GROUP with OLIVER LAKE / BAIKIDA CARROLL / FLOYD LeFLORE / CHARLES BOBO SHAW / JOSEPH BOWIE - In Paris, Aries 1973 (Aguirre Records Zorn 054; Belgium) “2023 repress. Aguirre Records present a reissue of In Paris, Aries 1973 by the Black Artists Group. "This outstanding free jazz session was recorded in 1973 in Paris by Chicago outfit. It was Lester Bowie, trumpeter with the Art Ensemble of Chicago, who suggested that the Black Artists Group should head for Paris. In 1972, several members took his advice and flew to France for an extended stay. The following year, a concert featuring saxophonist Oliver Lake, trumpeters Baikida Carroll and Floyd LeFlore, drummer Charles Bobo Shaw and trombonist Joseph Bowie (Lester's younger brother) was recorded and subsequently issued as In Paris, Aries 1973, a limited LP on the group's own label. Since their formation in 1968, the home of the collective had been St Louis, the city where the Bowies had grown up. It was there that Lester started to play, before moving, to Chicago in 1966, where he joined the recently-established Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). His close friend Lake visited, attended AACM concerts and meetings and was inspired by their artistic vision, integrity, and organization. In June 1969, the Art Ensemble had taken their music to France, with its reputation for audiences that were open-minded and receptive to the music of innovators such as Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, and others. In Paris, Aries 1973 offers a fascinating glimpse into that phase of BAG's existence. The album is dedicated to the memory of Kada Kayan, a bassist who had hoped to make the trip from St Louis but had grown ill and died. His absence adds special poignancy to the sound of the bass when it appears on this recording, played by Carroll. In Paris, Aries 1973 reveals BAG's musical affinities with the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Both groups preserved an independently-minded approach to the notion of free jazz and a carefully filtered awareness of pan-African musical practices, while their creative interest in space, mobile structure, chance occurrences and simultaneity also suggests parallels with the concerns of leading experimental composers working at that time. These performances in Paris of Shaw's "Something to Play On" and Lake's "Re-Cre-A-Tion," plus two collective compositions/improvisations, display the dedication to structural fluency and sensitivity to coloration that accompanied BAG's unorthodox group dynamics and their unconventional instrumental combinations. This is not a showcase for solos, but a shape-shifting and multi-centered statement of togetherness and discovery." - Julian Cowley.
LP $28 [Limited edition]
TONY CONRAD / ARNOLD DREYBLATT / JIM O'ROURKE - Tonic 19-01-2001 (Black Truffle 100LP; Australia) “Celebrating its one hundredth release, Black Truffle present a major archival discovery: a stunning document of the only performance by the trio of Tony Conrad, Arnold Dreyblatt, and Jim O'Rourke. Across a two-night program organized by David Weinstein at legendary New York experimental venue Tonic in January 2001, Conrad, Dreyblatt and O'Rourke presented individual projects before performing a collaborative set each night, the first with members of Dreyblatt's ensemble and the second the trio heard here. As Dreyblatt points out in the wonderfully informative and reflective liner notes written for this release, this was a collaboration across generations, reflecting the profound impact of Conrad's pioneering minimalism on Dreyblatt and O'Rourke. Both Dreyblatt and O'Rourke came to this collaboration armed with a deep appreciation of Conrad's music and the just intonation principles at its core, Dreyblatt having first encountered the incredible power of Conrad's precisely tuned violin chords during his tenure as an archivist for La Monte Young in 1975, while O'Rourke had performed with Conrad in various settings since the mid-1990s (as well as admiring, reissuing, and performing Dreyblatt's music). The flyer for the concert promised "massive, ecstatic, pulsating overtones", and the trio certainly delivered. From the moment this keening stream of bowed strings begins, it is clear, as Dreyblatt writes, that you are in "Tony's sonic universe", as massively amplified, slowly shifting combinations of precisely chosen pitches fill the room with complex beating patterns and ghostly difference tones. For more than twenty-five minutes, the music operates at a level of intensity comparable to classic recordings such as Conrad's Four Violins, until the texture thins out slightly in the performance's final quarter, allowing for the listener's first recognition of the individual voices that make up this enormous, overwhelming harmonic edifice. The constant stream of bowed tones is broken by a beautifully rich pizzicato from Conrad on monochord, the sliding low tones and metallic shimmer of the other strings taking the set's final moments on an unexpected detour into spacious pastoral psychedelia. Though produced by three individuals known for their own distinctive bodies of the work, this is egoless music, the perfect expression of Conrad's desire "to move away from composing to listening", to "working 'on' the sound from 'inside' the sound". Historically important and overwhelming in sonic impact, this release also serves as a moving tribute to Tony Conrad from two musicians profoundly marked by the example set by his art and life. Presented with an inner sleeve with illuminating liner notes from Arnold Dreyblatt, an archival live photo and flyers from the concert series.”
ASHRA - Belle Alliance (MG.Art/Spalax 14761LP; Germany) “Limited restock. 2004 reissue on Spalax Music, distributed through MG.ART. Belle Alliance (1980) is the second studio album by Manuel Göttsching's Ashra trio, following the band's 1979 debut, Correlations (SPA 14760), which expanded Ashra from the solo project of 1977's New Age of Earth and 1978's Blackouts (SPA 14759LP). Manuel Göttsching (guitar, synthesizer, sequencer), Lutz Ulbrich (guitar, synthesizer, piano, mellotron), Harald Großkopf (drums, percussion, synthesizer).”
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
Feb 26 at Roulette in Brooklyn:
Disaster Benefit to Aid folks in Turkey and Syria
LAURIE ANDERSON / JOHN ZORN / SEAN LENNON
SARA SERPA’s INTIMATE STRANGERS
w/ Aubrey Johnson/Yoon Sun Choi/Matt Mitchell/Qasim Naqui
MARGARET GLASPY and JULIAN LAGE
JOE LOVANO/DAVE DOUGLAS’ SOUNDPRINTS with LEO GENOVESE/MATT PENMAN/RUDY ROYSTON
All ticket proceeds will be donated directly to the International Rescue Committee, which is providing lifesaving health care and protection services along with other emergency early recovery support to those affected. https://roulette.org/
Loren Connors: A Coming to Shore
January 28–March 25, 2023
Opening 4–7 PM January 28
468 Grand Ave #1D
Brooklyn, NY 11238
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