You will find them in her eyes
In her eyes, in her eyes
You will find them in her eyes
In her eyes, in her eyes
Petrified willows, twisted and brown
Wait in the wet darkening room
Withering shadows, quietly grow
Into a spectacular glow
You will find them in her eyes
In her eyes, in her eyes
Lemonous petals, dissident play
Tasting of ergot
Dancing by night, dying by day
Blackening mushrooms drink in the rain
Wilt with the dawn's welcoming pain
You will find them in her eyes
In her eyes, in her eyes
You will find them in her eyes
In her eyes, in her eyes
I remember hearing the above song on FM radio the year it was released in 1968, as well as a song called, “Hard Coming Love”. Both of these songs were/are mind-blowing psychedelic epics, perfect for FM radio listening and getting stoned, something many young folks did at the time. The title of the song comes from a painting by Hieronymus Bosch and the lyrics I am certain have to do with psychedelic mushrooms, a popular drug then. The band, The United States of America” were from L.A. and were founded by modern classical & electronic music composer/experimenter Joseph Byrd. Although the band didn’t exist very long, Mr. Byrd went on to record several other records for Columbia, Takoma and later New World Records. Their singer, Dorothy Moskowitz, also moved on to do a variety of other projects. Ms. Moskowitz is also known for her eclectic resume: performing Indian music, backing Country Joe McDonald, singing jazz in a duo with Dick Fregulia (LP in 1978) and recently releasing an album of electronic/experimental with Tim Lucas (author) and Gary Lucas as a guest. The recent record is called ‘The Secret Life of Love Songs’ and it was released in 2021. I must find a copy myself. Hey Gary!
If you are intrigued by the song and band, I urge you to find a CD reissue of this album (on Sony Legacy or Esoteric) which has bonus tracks & informative liner notes. What is interesting about the United States of America album is this: there was no guitar player in the band, a rarity for most psychedelic bands at that time, there is an electric violin, a ring modulator, early synths and a fretless electric bass player, super rare for any rock bands to employ in 1968. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE DMG 32nd ANNIVERSARY IN-STORE FREE MUSIC SERIES Continues with:
Tuesday, April 18th: Solo Sessions Featuring:
6:30: MASAYO KOKETSU - Solo Alto Sax!
7:00: JAMES McKAIN - Solo Sax!
7:30: AIDAN O’CONNELL - Contrabass!
8:00: WaterghOst - Solo Guitar!
Tuesday, April 25th:
6:30: ODON: DANIEL CARTER / TAKUMA KANAIAWA / PRIMUS LUTA / JONATHAN WILLIAM WILSON!
7:30: HANS TAMMEN / MARCO CAPPELLI - Two Guitars!
8:30: SHA - Solo Bass Clarinet & Alto Sax!
9:30: KEYNA WILKINS - Solo Flute!
Sunday, April 30th / Monday May 1st:
DOWNTOWN MUSIC GALLERY 32nd ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION/PARTY!
Tuesday, May 2nd:
6:30: EYAL MAOZ - Solo Guitar!
7:30: JAMES WENGROW / HERY PAZ / JAMES PAUL NADIEN!
8:30: AARON RUBINSTEIN - Solo guitar!
NEW THINGS BEGIN THIS WEEK with JOHN ZORN'S NEW MULTIPLICITIES QUARTET: Just arrived today!
JOHN ZORN // JULIAN LAGE / BRAIN MARSELLA / JORGE ROEDER / CHES SMITH - Multiplicities Ii: A Repository Of Nonexistent Objects (Tzadik 8399; USA) This is the acoustic companion to 'Multiplicities - Part 1'.! Written in December of 2020, Multiplicities: A Repository of Non-Existent Objects is a collection of twenty musical aphorisms inspired by the writings and thought of Gilles Deleuze. Volume One, released in 2022, featured the first set of ten compositions performed by the powerful electric ensemble Chaos Magick. This second set is played here by Zorn’s newest acoustic jazz ensemble 'Incerto', featuring virtuoso masters Julian Lage, Brian Marsella, Jorge Roeder, and Ches Smith. The performances are passionate, tight, and endlessly imaginative. Filled with unexpected twists and turns, this is a wildly varied exploration of instrumental music at its most extreme! Modern musical philosophy for adventurous, discerning minds.”
KATE GENTILE // INTERNATIONAL CONTEMPORARY ENSEMBLE - biomei.i (Obliquity Records 01; USA) Featuring: Jennifer Curtis on violin, Isabel Lepanto Gleicher on flute & piccolo, Rebekah Heller on bassoon, Joshua Rubin on clarinet & bass clarinet, Corey Smythe on piano, Ross Karre on vibes & percussion and Kate Gentile on drums, percussion and all compositions. “biomei.i” was commissioned by the International Contemporary Ensemble and premiered at Roulette on May 26 of 2022. Whether collaborating with her partner Matt Mitchell or other Downtowners like Dave Douglas, Jeremy Viner or Dustin Carlson, percussionist & composer, Kate Gentile, continues to challenge us (the serious listeners) and herself by writing difficult yet fascinating music which often takes time to fully absorb.
We got in the promo for this disc last month so I’ve got to listen to this music several times in recent weeks. Each of the 13 pieces here is named after an (obscure) creature, plant, moon or idea which Ms. Gentile defines & illustrates in the liner notes. “drobe” is the second large moon of a gas giant, its orbital resonance affects the moon’s biome or behavior. The music is turbulent, somewhat dark with Ms. Gentile’s drumming at the center and the reeds & violin swirling on top. The music consistently has different interconnected layers coalescing together. It is rarely too dense but does take time to adjust to. On “oergn” Ms. Gentile plays a morse code like pattern on a clave when the piece begins, the percussive fragment recurs throughout the piece which has a series of some skewered cloud-like bits which resonate in a timely fashion. Each piece features some sly, well-seasoned writing/playing, similar at times to Frank Zappa’s chamber music, quirky but it always makes sense or has a theme that you can hear whether below or above the surface soundscape. These pieces often breathe in and out, similar to the way an accordion also breathes (pumping in & out with a pulse). It sounds like Ms. Gentile’s composing is an extension of the way she plays percussion, succinct chamber music, carefully written and played with consistently engaging harmonies and dissonances all well-integrated. Ms. Gentile plays a drum solo on “vlimb” which sounds like it was written out with tightly played marimba connected as well. To an old Mothers/Zappa fan like myself, this music that makes me feel at home contemplating the complex problems of the world. Outstanding on several different levels. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
ALLEN LOWE and The CONSTANT SORROW ORCHESTRA with ROSWELL RUDD / RAY ANDERSON / RANDY SANDKE / DARIUS JONES / KRESTEN OSGOOD / et al - America: The Rough Cut (ESP-Disk 5082; USA) Personnel: Allan Lowe - tenor & alto saxes, guitar & compositions, Ray Suhy - guitar & banjo, Roswell Rudd & Ray Anderson - trombones (1 track each), Darius Jones - alto sax (1 track), Alex Tremblay - bass and Kresten Osgood - drums plus several guests. Allen Lowe is a musician, historian and sound restoration specialist, whose oft acerbic attitude often rubs some folks the wrong way. Check out the title of this album: ‘Jews in Hell: Radical Jewish Acculturation”. Mr. Lowe has recorded & self-released (some) a dozen or so albums, each one with a different concept and personnel.
The new CD is titles, ‘America: The Rough Cut’ and it is indeed a tribute to history of American music. Mr Lowe claims in the liner notes that: too many musicians play older styles in ways that are too bland and that few folks truly feel or understand the blues or or gospel on a gut level. This I can understand. This disc starts off with “Damnation” or “Damn Nation” (as it says in the notes). This is a strong electric blues song with spirited guitar from Ray Suhy and some belting, bluesy sax from Mr. Lowe. “Cheatin’My Heart” has an infectious, country like twang to the melody and a hearfelt sax solo from Mr. Lowe. What stands out here is the way this music doesn’t sound dated, it sounds like it embraces the past but still sounds fresh today. “Cold was the Night, Dark was the Ground” is a tribute to Blind Willie Johnson. Mr. Lowe plays greasy acoustic guitar, tenor sax and does some spirited non-lyrical blues drenched vocal sounds. It does sound like the real thing. I realize that some of the sentiment or reason for this disc is often tongue-in-cheek, yet it still feels as it is expressing the central blues vibe that many of us feel due the the Daily Fake News BS. “Blues in Shreds” does sound like an old blues song covered by a heavy metal guitarist who loves to jump off the deep end of taste. I am glad that Mr. Lowe can poke fun at old styles while capturing the essence (original spirit). I wasn’t so sure what to think about this disc the first time I heard it, but the more I listen, the more I appreciate the humor and honesty at the center. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
NAVA DUNKELMAN / gabby fluke-mogul - Likht (Relative Pitch Records 1166; USA) Featuring Nava Dunkelman on percussion and gabby fluke-mogul on violin. I recently caught the Dunkelman sisters, Nava & Shayna, a percussion duo at The Stone during their residency and their set was charming. Both sisters studied at Mills College with Fred Frith, I believe. You might’ve heard of Nava Dunkelman who appeared on a three CD set led by Fred Frith, taken from varied live sets with different improvisers. Downtown violinist gabby fluke-mogul, has two previous solo discs out on this the Relative Pitch label. fluke-mogul has played here at DMG on occasion with Joanna Mattrey and Ava Mendoza.
This disc was recorded at GSI studios, mixed by Weasel Walter and mastered by Elliott Sharp. The music here sounds free form, focused and always engaging. Fluke-Mogul is a daredevil improviser who likes to push hard, bending and twisting notes in her own unique way. Ms. Dunkelman seems like a perfect partner as both players move together tightly, sailing down the rapids as strong, spirited and intense navigators. This is an all acoustic duo, the sound is superb, well-balanced and well-integrated. There is some extended technique playing going on here: bowed percussion perhaps, violin strings manipulated in odd ways. From what I caught live, Ms. Dunkelman uses a variety of percussion items: gongs, cymbals and a variety of percussive objects, hence having quite a bit of distinctive sounds to draw from. Both musicians are in constant dialogue as they play, shadowing each other, pushing each other, creating a variety of sounds which evoke different spirits, images or ideas. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
DANNY KAMINS / VINNY GOLIA / GARRETT WINGFIELD - The Ojai Sessions (ME 003; USA) Featuring Danny Kamins on alto & baritone saxes, Vinny Golia on sopranino, soprano, bari & bass saxes and Garrett Wingfield on alto, tenor & bari saxes. Saxist Danny Kamins come from Texas and plays at the store from time to time. He played a set here last night (4/11/23) with Max Kutner & James Paul Nadien which was great. Mr. Kamins has worked in the past with (former) Texans Sandy Ewen, Damon Smith and Alvin Fielder. Reeds master Vinny Golia you should know since we has long been a Creative Music Source, teaching college, running the Nine Winds and inspiring others by example of always staying busy. Another Texas based saxist is Garrett Wingfield, who I hadn’t heard of but still can be found on some ten discs from 2015 until now. This disc was recorded in a studio in Ojai, CA in July of 2018.
Sax trios are still a relatively rare occurrence although I do recall a short set once by Evan Parker, John Zorn & Ned Rothenberg at The Stone. Things begin quietly with just some sizzling, breath-like sounds before the trio begin to escalate. I really dig the way these saxists play together, listening closely as they shift their odd fractured harmonies through different sections or combinations of connections. All of the 7 pieces just numbered and not named otherwise. Each saxist sounds like a master of different and occasional extended techniques. On “Part III”, all three saxes push their tonalities into the bent-note sounds while concentrating on certain notes, providing twisted yet stunning harmonies Although there is quite some variety in these folks play, there is never too much free weirdness and just enough focused interactions to keep this session strong a endlessly captivating. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
HENRY FRASER / CAMILIO ANGELES / JASON NAZARY - Aqrabuamelu (TTT 027; Earth) Featuring Henry Fraser on contrabass, Camilo Angeles on flute and Jason Nazary on drums. Argentinian-based flutist Camilio Angeles is a member of two great bands: Sales De Bano and Nicotina Os Primavera. Both bands have several discs out which I’ve reviewed and high praise for. Mr. Angeles usually comes to the store once or twice a year and leaves us with some current product. He just left us with two new(er) discs. This trio also features two fine Downtown musicians: Henry Fraser (works with Chris Pitsiokos, Nick Sanders & Brandon Seabrook) on bass and Jason Nazary (with Darius Jones & duo with Jaimie Branch) on drums. This disc was recorded and mixed by Jason Nazary who has done a fine job: closely pic’d and balanced just right. On “Zorro Rojo”, Mr. Angeles is carefully bending his notes, the trio pushing the intensity and inventiveness higher and higher. Both Mr. Angeles’ flute and Mr. Fraser’s bowed bass do a fine job of creating similar sounds and textures so it hard to tell them apart at times. Things heat up during the midsection of this long piece, the trio soaring and burning with intense flames. There is some truly explosive free from improv going on here which I find to have that edge-of-our-seats type of excitement. I find this disc to be consistently spirited, engaging and often intense. A winner of free music at its best! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
VIOLETTA GARCIA / CAMILIO ANGELES - El Esperor del Sueno - Vol II (TVL-054; Earth) Featuring Violeta Garcia on cello and Camilio Angeles on transverse (side-blown) & bass flutes. Both Violeta Garcia and Camilio Angeles play in an Argentinian progessive/jazz group called Nicotina os Primavera, both of which CD’s I reviewed in 2016 and 2018. Ms. Garcia also has a solo effort and a duo with Chris Pitsiokos, both of which were released on the Relative Pitch label in the last few years. This disc was recorded in Bern, Switzerland. This disc is around 28 minutes and superbly recorded. Both instruments are close mic’d and often play similar textures or sounds. Mr. Angeles often overblows to get these odd harmonics and other strange sounds some of which don’t sound like a flute but rather a whistle or even a radiator hissing. Ms. Garcia also sounds like she is playing those extended sounds so it is often hard to tell who is doing which sounds, especially when both are working in those high registers. Cellists Christopher Hoffman and T.J. Borden played at the store in the last few weeks and noticed that both of them and Ms. Garcia deal with quite a bit of extended sounds which are becoming part of a new vocabulary for the cello. The playing of this duo is often tight, focused, intense and constantly changing or evolving, keeping the players and the listeners on their toes throughout. This session is often quite intense, the sounds bristling and on the verge of erupting. On “Chimapu”, it sounds like the cello is submerged under water, the tone is dark, eerie and slowly expanding with equally haunting flute in the distance. Both players sound like they are pushing each other & themselves higher & higher on “”Jaque”, the sounds brittle and extreme. Too much! This is a strong, oft intense and focused duo who sound like one organic force which is being pushed to certain creative extremes. Most impressive! - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
TIM DAHL - Solo (1584 Productions; USA) Featuring Tim Dahl on electric bass and vocals. Electric bassist Tim Dahl has worked with a variety of rock, punk, noise, jazz & otherwise bands: Flying Luttenbachers, Mick Barr, Pulverise the Sound, Lydia Lunch Retrovirus, Steve Gauci, Unnatural Ways (with Ava Mendoza) and the CP Unit (with Chris Pitsiokos). He is also a longtime member of the beloved avant-grindcore band Child Abuse. Solo electric bass records are still rather rare. This disc was co-produced by Nandor Nevai, one of the strangest music characters I know and mixed by Michael Coleman (the constant Ben Goldberg collaborator). This disc was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs. Considering that this is just one electric bass with no overdubbing, the sound is dense, noisy, extreme and in-your-face. Tim’s electric bass sounds like it is on the verge of erupting like a volcano, with molten lava spewing up high. Mr. Dahl also adds his voice, occasional vocal sounds more as punctuation or sonic seasoning. The 22 pieces here are all relatively short yet still effective like getting slammed in the head with a fist. Mr. Dahl has a unique sound & approach on his bass, tapping, rubbing, banging on and manipulating the strings in his own distinctive way. He sounds like he is attaching objects and/or hitting the strings in odd ways. Mr. Dahl seems to using a variety of (distortion) devices, hence it is hard to tell that he is playing a bass at times. Each of the 22 pieces has a different mood or vibe. There pieces for just layers of soft feedback or drones, with occasional mutant vocals floating in and out of the mix, from ghost-like spoken words to warped screams buried in the din or waves of noise. As extreme as this disc is at times, I must admit that I am fascinated by the waves of sounds he whips on usas well as some of the verbal abuse erupting in between the mountains and valleys of noise/sonic landscapes. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
GEORGE DUMITRIU - monk on viola (Evil Rabbit ERR 36; Netherlands) Featuring George Dumitriu on solo viola, covering the songs of Thelonious Monk. I recall a period of time in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s when I listened to every Monk album that I bought in chronological to get a better idea of what was/is unique about Thelonious Monk as a pianist, composer and bandleader. I had become a Monk fanatic ever since, acquiring practically everything released under his name whether on legit labels (Prestige, Blue Note & Columbia) as well as illegit labels (too many to mention). Monk was one of the greatest composers in jazz, many of his songs are staples/standards amongst many jazz, ethnic and rock musicians. I am also fascinated by the way that other musicians have covered Monk’s songs, playing them in their own way. There have been a number of great cover records where bands or single musicians have covered Monk’s catalogue. Check out Hal Wilner’s ’That’s the Way I Feel Now’ (A&M, 1984) or Alex Von Schlippenbach’s ‘Monk’s Casino’ (Complete Works of Monk)(3 CD Set, Intakt, 2005) or Miles Okazaki’s ‘Works Volumes 1-6’ (for solo guitar, 6 CD Set - 2019).
George Dumitriu hails from the Netherlands and has decided to challenge himself by performing 9 Monk songs for solo viola. This session was recorded at the Bimhuis (famed concert hall) in Amsterdam in June of 2022. I hadn’t heard much from Mr. Dimtriu before now, although has recorded with Ab Baars, Ig Henneman and Kaja Draksler. The viola is not the most popular of string instruments and hence, viola concertos are are relatively rare. Dumitriu starts off with “Evidence”, playing the theme or melody at the beginning before he takes off, improvising around the theme. Monk had a unique way of placing notes together in ways that made them sound out-of-tune or bent into an odd shape. Dumitriu seems to favor these bent notes, bring them to life in a similar way to fellow violist Mat Maneri. “Round Midnight” is arguably Monk’s most popular (and covered) song. Dumitriu plays this song very quietly, rubbing the strings delicately, plucking a bit more abruptly later in the song and just hinting at the melody until he plays the entire line once or twice late in his rendition. On “Locomotive”, it sounds as if those bent notes (harmonies) are pushed into the front, seesawing and keeping us all off balance in a rhythmic sense. I like the way Dumitriu takes the melody on “Boo Boo’s Birthday” (nickname for Monk’s daughter) and twists it, adding a series of spiraling lines and then playing around the melody with fragments. I often had the feeling that Monk had a sly sense of humor within his songs and solos. On “Four in One”, states the theme and then he keeps pushing it further and further out, hinting at a “Jack in the Box” fragment in between extrapolations. “Humph” is an early, rarely covered Monk song that was released as a 78 rpm, 10” in 1949. I can’t recall hearing this song before now but I do like the way it is played here, the theme not pushed too far, the jubilant melody at the center and stretched out modestly. Dumitriu’s playing often has a sad or solemn sad in the way he caresses those melodies. It does take some patience to work our way through the way George Dumitriu plays and alters these songs, always adding some unexpected notes or twists to what we think will occur or evolve. The more I get used to his approach, the more I like and understand what he is doing. A true unique endeavor the many other Monk tribute recordings. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
THE DMG BOOK STORE NOW OPEN:
CISCO BRADLEY - The Williamsburg Avant-Garde (Duke University Press 78178-01937; USA) This is quite a fascinating book that plots the recent history, from late 1990’s until recently (2023) of a large, mostly grass roots Creative Music Scene that exists across the water in south Brooklyn. I myself have only attended a few of the concerts listed here and mostly at some more established places in Gowanus or close by like Roulette, I-Beam, Douglas Street, Issue Project Room and Shapeshifter. I didn’t know that the Williamsburg Avant scene was so vast, ever-changing and still re-inventing itself due to gentrification and/or greed. Since I’ve lived in New Jersey most of life, I haven’t ventured too far into Brooklyn unless I can find a way to get home safely and at a decent hour. Cisco Bradley wrote a great book about William Parker which was released just a couple of years ago (in 2021), an in depth biography which should be read by anyone who is interested in history of the Loft Jazz and Downtown Creative Music scenes. This book is also written & researched in depth and Mr. Bradley has done a great job of explaining how this scene has evolved, why a scene like this needs to take place and how it has changed both locations (venues) and personnel (musicians) over time. The ever-evolving “scene(s)” is not just avant jazz but all sorts of experimental musics/bands/musicians trying their best to survive and create something unique and timely. I’ve only read the first 50 or so pages since I just got the book a few days ago, but I am fascinated at all of the work and research that Mr. Bradley has done. A tip of the hat to Cisco Bradley for this indeed important effort and to the many musicians and venues (known & little known) that have kept experimental alive and well as long as you take the time listen, absorb and consider of immense wealth of ideas explored. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BOOK $30 [388 pages]
WILLIAM PARKER // CISCO BRADLEY - Universal Tonality - The Life and Music of William Parker (Duke University Press; USA) I just finished reading this book last week and I am about to start reading it again. I have long admired the work of William Parker, as a contrabassist, composer, multi-bandleader, ethnic-instrumentalist, team-player and ever-imaginative collaborator. I recall first checking out Mr. Parker in a string trio at Studio Henry around 1980, although there is a good chance I caught him at a Studio Rivbea Festival in the late seventies, where he has few dates as a sideman. I also knew that William Parker grew up in the Bronx and worked with some of the free/jazz giants (like Frank Lowe) way before we met. But that's about it. Journalist/professor/promoter, Cisco Bradley has done a marvelous job at illustrating William Parker’s long musical/artist journey, his family’s history and the many musicians, bands and projects he has organized or been involved with. The big revelation for me is that ever since discovering the power of Creative Music, Poetry, other Artwork and Dance, Mr. Parker has been on a journey for self-enlightenment with the hope to inspire others around him and around the world. Artistically speaking, everything that Mr. Parker works on: music, poetry, artwork and even surviving through difficult times is all connected to his original vision of rising above the poverty of his youth in order to connect with a better Vision of the future through creating Art for anyone willing to listen and think about what they are hearing. Although many folks think that Mr. Parker plays mostly “Free/Jazz”, this is just a part of what he does. His music and poetry embraces many different worlds. William Parker has a vast back catalogue of legit releases, so much that there is a large book just covering his discography. This book connects all of the dots so that's how we learn about everything WP does is part of one vast life-work. While reading this book, an immense WP 10 CD box set was released, which I have been listening to closely since it also captures an immensely diverse world of varied music. If you don’t already have this, you should consider getting this as well. Peace to all. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOE MORRIS - Perpetual Frontier: The Properties of Free Music (Riti JM; USA) Joe Morris writer, Also includes essays by Marilyn Crispell, Charles Downs, Joe McPhee, Alex Ward, Matthew Shipp, Ken Vandermark, Jack Wright, Simon H Fell, Agusti Fernandez, Nate Wooley, William Parker, Mary Halvorson, Nicole Mitchell, Katt Hernandez and Jamie Saft. 180 pages. "Free music is an art form that has been made by individuals who operate without regard for critical or institutional approval, who invented the way they play their instruments and invented platforms on which to play music, based on whatever aesthetic value they thought mattered to them." - Joe Morris The preface I've already read by Joe Morris reveal his deep knowledge of improvisation and its place in the history of aural art forms. I've spoken with Joe on a number of occasions about the worldwide network of free, experimental and adventurous music-making as well as surviving in the difficult environment of misunderstanding that surrounds this special performance art-form. I really enjoyed reading this book and so should you. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
JOEL HARRISON with RALPH TOWNER / FRED FRITH / NELS CLINE / PAT METHENY / HENRY KAISER / VERNON REID / MIKE & LENI STERN / WAYNE KRANTZ / LIBERTY ELLMAN / BEN MONDER / DAVID GILMORE / MILES OKAZAKI / JULIAN LAGE / AVA MENDOZA / et al - Guitar Talk: Conversations with Visionary Players (Terra Nova Press; USA) As founder of the Alternative Guitar Summit, guitarist/composer Joel Harrison has gotten to know a lot of adventurous contemporary guitarists: this book collects far-ranging conversations with twenty-seven of them. In fact, several of these conversations actually took place onstage during the Summit when the guitarists were either performers or honorees (every year a living guitarist/composer is honored). In each interview Harrison makes sure to cover some common topics like how they became guitarists, musical influences, career highlights, and career twists and turns. But each of the guitarists has their own unique story to tell as well, so the narrative is far from predictable.
The first few interviewees could reasonably be described as elder statesmen (despite Pat Metheny's eternal youthfulness!). Ralph Towner has a unique voice on nylon-string classical guitar and acoustic twelve-string guitar, and a towering reputation as a composer. He comes across as a humble guy, and has stories about playing in Oregon, his ECM collaboration with Jan Garbarek and the rest of that quartet, and playing at Woodstock accompanying Tim Harden. Fred Frith talks about his diverse background in both notated and improvised music, and the difference between improvising solo and with a group. Surprisingly, he says that he will practice piano, viola and bass— but not guitar, unless he has something specific to practice for.
Elliott Sharp and Bill Frisell both represent the more extreme aspects of experimentalism. Yet each has his own history, with some surprises. Sharp's love of country-blues has led him to play with Hubert Sumlin, one of his heroes. Kaiser also lists Sumlin as a hero, but his most meaningful collaborations have been with Derek Bailey, Richard Thompson, Sonny Sharrock and David Lindley. Bill Frisell played in a R&B band called the Soul Merchants in high school, and his classmates included three future members of Earth, Wind & Fire! He swears that funk is in everything he plays. On a more serious note, Michael Gregory Jackson and Vernon Reid both talk about racism in the music industry, especially for Black players in the rock industry.
Sheryl Bailey talks about her dedication to the bebop language, and a bit about the difficulties of being a woman playing jazz. Nguyen Le found a way to integrate his Vietnamese heritage into an eclectic worldwide sensibility. Rez Abbasi grew up on rock music (like many of these musicians), and did not get into Indian music until after he started playing jazz—despite having been exposed to it earlier by his parents. The last few interviews all feature younger players, but even they are a diverse group: Julian Lage, Mary Halvorson, Anthony Pirog (a regular participant in the Summit, as well as being featured (along with Harrison) in the debut releases on AGS Recordings, the record label launched by the festival in 2021), Ava Mendoza and Rafiq Bhatia.
This is a rich repository of contemporary guitar lore. The title implies that it is intended for guitarists, and indeed it is hard to imagine any guitarists who would not get a lot out of it, if they have any interest in any of these players. But there is plenty here for non-guitarist fans of this music as well.” - Mark Sullivan, AllAboutJazz
ELLIOTT SHARP - IrRational Music (Terra Nova; MIT Press; USA) This book covers longtime Downtown guitarist/reeds player/composer/multi-bandleader/labelhead, Elliott Sharp’s 50 year journey through evolving music horizons. From 1979 onwards, when Mr. Sharp arrived here from update New York, through the eighties, there was an explosion of musical creativity going on. The original cast grew quickly: Mr. Sharp, John Zorn, Wayne Horvitz, Tom Cora, Eugene Chadbourne, Robin Holcomb, Bobby Previte, Phillip Johnston, Polly Bradfield, Fred Frith… During this period number of seminal Downtown bands were born: Massacre, Material, Golden Palominos, Curlew, Microscopic Septet… I was fortunate to have witnessed much of this ever-changing scene, befriending many of these players and recording hundreds of concerts. Mr. Sharp formed ISM and then Carbon, two extremely intense guitar fronted units during this period and there is a current version of Carbon still running, nearly four decades later with a newly released CD from last year! Mr. Sharp is a restless composer and creative musician. I knew little about his background, so this book does a fine job of exploring and explaining Mr. Sharp’s early and continuing story. Mr. Sharp has upwards of 150 recordings as a leader, composer or collaborator. As the quintessential Downtown composer and musician, Elliott Sharp, does a great job of capturing and explaining his long musical/artistic journey which has evolved on many different levels for some fifty years. A consistently fascinating read for those care about the creative music scene in NYC for the past nearly four decades. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BOOK $25 [240 pages]
JACK WRIGHT - The Free Musics (Spring Garden Music Editions; USA) Free music saxist, Jack Wright, has been on a long journey for nearly forty years, playing free music with a long list of fellow travelers from around the globe: Andrea Centazzo, Michel Doneda, Tatsuya Naktani, Joe McPhee and dozens of lesser known musicians. A year ago this month, (January of 2017), Mr. Wright wrote and published a book called, ‘The Free Musics’. If, like myself and many others, you are fascinated by the wide world(s) of improvised or free music, then I highly recommend this book. Obviously, Mr. Wright has thought long and in depth about the history, practice and understanding of free music from around the world. Mr. Wright does an extraordinary job of explaining the history of ‘Free Jazz’ in the US and the way free music has evolved here, in the UK, Europe and Japan, for the past fifty years. Since Mr. Wright has been an active participant in this music, playing concerts here, in Europe and Japan, for nearly forty years, he has seen the way this music has evolved through many periods or currents. I am about a third of the way through this wonderful book and often put it down to reflect on the many interesting points that Mr. Wright makes in each chapter. Last Sunday (1/28/18), Mr. Wright played a duo set here with drummer Michael Vatcher. It was a glorious set, thoughtful, focused and mature, one of the best I’ve seen here at DMG in recent memory. An excerpt will be broadcast through our Instagram site soon. If you purchase this book through Mr. Wright or DMG, you will also receive a rare CD of solo sax from Mr. Wright, as well as improv from collaborators: Evan Lipson and Zach Darrup. If you are foolish/lazy enough to order this book from Amazon, you will not get the free CD so… - Bruce Lee Gallanter, DMG
BOOK / CD $18
PATRICK BRENNAN - Ways and Sounds - inquiries, interconnections, contours (Arteidolia Press; USA) “What we have here is a rumination on the construction of music, what it is, what it means, how it’s made, how one interacts with it either from the perspective of a listener, musician, or composer. Brennan clearly and precisely articulates his thoughts on the topic. Be warned, these are not breezy aphorisms, Brennan has thought deeply about the topics, has done his research, deftly quotes what prominent voices have said in the past, and explains his thinking behind what music is and means. There is a lot to take in and think about, from the personal meaning of music to the invisible dynamics of what drives attitudes to music. — Paul Acquaro The Free Jazz Collective What transforms sounds into music? What does it mean to compose from the inside out or the outside in? Do recordings reshape our conceptions? In this series of essays, New York composer & musician partrick brennan probes a more inclusive, non-centricized, relational framework for understanding various ecologies of composing — and most compellingly, how can we, as listeners, listen? Patrick Brennan has been actively engaging the challenges of original music as composer, bandleader and saxophonist since he formed his ensemble s0nic 0penings in 1979. He's pursued a contrarian and independent musical path toward evolving a distinct musical language in relation with the Blues Continuum. brennan has performed and recorded his own music in settings from solo to large formats and has collaborated with the Moroccan Gnawa as well as with electro-acoustic improvisers.
PETER BROTZMANN / HAN BENNINK - Schwarzwaldfahrt (Trost 230BK; Austria) “Limited restock. Schwarzwaldfahrt is a magical document of a moment out of time, a moment when the saxophone player Peter Brötzmann and percussionist Han Bennink made a journey deep into the heart of the Black Forest with early portable recording equipment and cameras. The recordings that they made there were released as the Schwarzwaldfahrt album by FMP in 1977 and it remains a free music classic, recorded completely in the open air, with Bennink and Brötzmann duetting with the birds, playing in the water, drumming on great natural xylophones made of logs and catching the sounds of airplanes strafing the skies. It is a music of eternal expansion, of elemental communion. This new book comes with the original recordings on a CD and is assembled round a treasure trove of newly discovered photographs taken during the trip by both Brötzmann and Bennink -- photographs of each other, of their lodgings, of their ritual communions, of their route into, and out of the forest. "It's so lonely, this music, these two friends, making music on their own, in all of this space, and back of time, now, too, a document of a world that seems less populated -- by people, by ideas, by demands, by the tyranny of modern time, itself." --pre-liminal poetic text by David Keenan Peter Brötzmann & Han Bennink: e-flat clarinet, b-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, birdcalls, viola, banjo, cymbals, wood, trees, sand, land, water, air. 120 page book; 20x20cm; edition of 1000.”
HEADS TOGETHER - Weed and the Underground Press Syndicate, 1965?1973 (Patrick Frey Edition; Switzerland) "A glorious design herbarium of marijuana ads from the great underground magazines of the 1960s and '70s. The youth uprising now simply known as the Sixties was fed by one of the greatest booms in publishing history. The Underground Press Syndicate (UPS) began as a loose confederation of five papers in 1966, and within a few years swelled to over 500 across the world, including Kaleidoscope, International Times and the East Village Other. They 'spread like weed,' said the UPS director, weed dealer and eventual founder of High Times Tom Forcade. The metaphor was apt: the UPS spurred the legalization movement, and weed became its totem -- and a helpful means for government agencies to crack down on the UPS, since weed permeated UPS pages, with gaps in text crammed with weed-inspired 'spot illustrations.' Heads Together collects these drawings, shining a light on lesser-known names in the stoner-art canon, and many who weren't names at all since no signature was attached. It also compiles guides for growing weed from the period that were treated like contraband by the CIA. Activist-oriented, psychedelic rolling papers are showcased too. As pot now fast-tracks toward legalization in the US and beyond, its once-incendiary status is brought into odd relief. Pot's contemporary corporate profiteers do not reflect those who fought for legalization, or the Black and Latino populations strategically criminalized for pot well before hippies were targeted and long after. The art in this book speaks to a time when pot was smoked with optimism, as something capable of activating transformation in the face of corrupt and powerful forces."
FABIO ORSI & ALESSANDRA GUTTAGLIERE - Arcoiris (Backwards BW 011; Italy) “Backwards announce a new Fabio Orsi and Alessandra Guttagliere multimedia release: a book with an audio CD. The primary inspiration for this new four-handed work between Fabio Orsi and Alessandra Guttagliere are colors. The title (Arcoiris) in fact means "rainbow". For the realization of this work, there was a constant dialogue between Alessandra and Fabio; while Alessandra proposed a color simply by naming it, Fabio created the sound compositions, vice versa Alessandra listening to the sound compositions let herself be inspired to create the drawings. The pictorial work is a light work, using natural colors sometimes made by the artist starting from flowers or plants. It is an organic work, in progress and in movement. Fabio's tracks are maybe his most "pop-oriented" to date, but made with the usual class by our artist. Comes with an A5 format deluxe booklet with drawings by Alessandra Guttagliere, printed on sturdy cardboard. Edition of 200.”
CD / BOOK $25
SUNBURNED HAND OF THE MAN - Hypnotape (VHF 158CD; USA) "A genuinely sprawling collection of high-fidelity mutation music that suits the compact disc format perfectly, Hypnotape is the third consecutive Sunburned Hand Of The Man album of studio assemblages following 2019's Headless and 2021's Pick A Day To Die. Recorded throughout 2021 and 2022, it's an album possessed with a peculiar runaway locomotion which jump cuts feverishly between unusual atmospheres yet maintains a beguiling consistency -- throbbing, twisting, undulating rhythmic blast-offs suddenly kick the door down into serene realms of nuanced acoustic privacy which are unexpectedly plunged back, face first into a miasma of shirtless, raging thuggery, ad infinitum. The album is notable in the group's monstrous catalog for a few reasons: first, it showcases founding member Conrad Capistran stepping out from behind the keyboards and electronics to spread his smooth, buttery baritone atop the majority of the tracks. From his velvet cooing above the pulsing whirlwind of opener 'People Person' to his vivid and febrile musings as a trip reporter on the frontlines of the meltdown zone on 'Roger' his honeyed vocals guide the listener Virgil-like through the inferno all the way to the album's finale where he duets with Ron Schneiderman on the old Dino Valenti/Quicksilver chestnut 'What About Me'. Secondly, it features the recorded debut of Sunburned's longtime friend and collaborator Mark Perretta after years of touring with the group. Some may remember Perretta from his days stomping across the primordial Boston underground of the late '80s/early '90s with the mighty Subskin Cables or his solo career as Deluxx but most, no doubt, will be familiar with his stint with Lou Barlow, John Davis and Bob Fay as Deluxx Folk Implosion, most notably when Perretta's whimsical ode to fatherhood 'Daddy Never Understood' was used in the opening sequence to Larry Clark's beloved coming of age tale Kids in 1996. Finally, with Hypnotape, Sunburned steps into the hallowed VHF arena after decades of hovering along adjacent corridors!"
TERRY RILEY - The Last Camel In Paris Theatre Edouard VII, Paris, 10 November 1978 (Elision Fields 102CD; USA) Back in stock: "Throughout the 1970s, legendary American composer Terry Riley toured regularly in Europe, performing solo organ concerts. In October 1978, Riley's personal technician Chester Wood built a stereo digital delay out of an ancient computer he had procured from Don Buchla, and the subsequent tour was the maiden voyage to try it out. Riley's specially modified two-manual Yamaha YC-45D portable combo organ had a Just Intonation setting and allowed him to feed stereo signals to the digital delay. The Yamaha had been manufactured with single mono output, but now with the modification it had a separate output for each manual eventuating in four channels (two live and two delayed). During a residency as a Fellow at DAAD in Berlin, Riley fine-tuned the delay speeds and experimented with different stereo combinations so that by the time of this Paris concert, the tape delays worked well with the tempos he was using. This all came on the heels of the Shri Camel recording Riley had just made in San Francisco for CBS. The musical materials of The Last Camel in Paris are second generational, belonging to the Shri Camel family while manifesting their own distinct shape and flavor."
CEL with FELIX KUBIN & HUBERT ZEMLER - Gegenwelt (Bureau B 427CD; Germany) "Gegenwelt (Parallel World) is the second LP by CEL, a duo Kubin and Zemler formed. More melodically-evolved than their eponymous 2020 debut (BB 334CD/LP), it is an even more explicit example of the syncretic impulse that impelled these guys to form the band. Their basic notion was to explore the juncture between two streams of German underground sounds -- the motorik 4/4 rhythms first posited by Can's Jaki Liebezeit and Kraftwerk's Klaus Dinger, and the sequencer-driven brain loops of early, experimental pioneers of the NDW, such as Der Plan. The opening track, "Tokamak", begins like the sequenced soundtrack to a brightly-colored animated nightmare before transmuting into a marimba fusillade that unspools like Steve Reich on steroids. The last track is 'Transformator Matki Polki', which sounds like a radical Viennese remix of random snippets from Wolfgang Dauner's Output. In between these poles are an array of wild and varied rides through cartoon landscapes, with side trips to the spy movie vibe of 'Gegenwelt', the thug/art rock hybrid of 'Eiweißangriff' and beyond. Gegenwelt is also a showcase for Kubin's latest invented instrument, the Mechatronikon. Built for him by engineer Lars Vaupel, the Mechatronikon receives CV or MIDI signals and translates them into commands for electromagnetic mini motors. In Felix's words, this allows 'sequencers to trigger kitchen gear or whatever we'd like to resonate. With this machine we can also create rhythms that a human drummer would hardly be able to reproduce in this precision.' The mechanical sound effect of this device can be heard, for example, in the piece 'Trippeltanz'. But the precision of the pure motorik impulse is not something Zemler is afraid to ignore at times. His grounding in free jazz emerges regularly (if subtly), displaying lateral moves that add another layer of complexity to music that's often moving in several directions at once. Even when the surface of CEL's melodies sound simple, a closer listening often reveals a wealth of subterranean activity. Mixed and coproduced by Hamburg's post-punk luminary Mense Reents, the music on Gegenwelt is a fine example of CEL's ability to compose pieces with a multivalent architecture listeners can appreciate in a variety of ways. Their music is partially shaped by whatever preconceptions you bring to it. So think good thoughts about Gegenwelt and your rewards will be bountiful." --Byron Coley
JOHN COLTRANE with McCOY TYNER / JIMMY GARRISON / ELVIN JONES - Copenhagen, Denmark (FM) October 25, 1963 (WHP 1449LP; Italy) “The classic four-piece line-up -- John Coltrane (tenor and soprano saxophone), McCoy Tyner (piano), Jimmy Garrison (bass), and master drummer Elvin Jones -- recorded live at Tivoli Concertsaal, Copenhagen, on the October 25th. A long hard to find concert with extended versions of Coltrane's compositions "Mr. PC", "Impressions", "The Promise", and "Naima", plus rendition of Mongo Santamaría's "Afro Blue" and Richard Rodgers-Oscar Hammerstein II's "My Favorite Things”.”
2 LP Set $40
MILES DAVIS with DAVE LIEBMAN / REGGIE LUCAS / DOMINIQUE GAUMONT / MICHAEL HENDERSON / AL FOSTER / MTUME - Ao Vivo Em Sao Paulo (May 28, 1974)( WHP 1445LP; Italy) “Miles Davis, the so called "dark magus", caught in full electric flight in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1974 featuring Dave Liebman on soprano and tenor sax and flute, the electric guitars tandem of Reggie Lucas and Dominique Gaumont, the bass anchor of Michael Henderson, and the deep groove of Al Foster on drums and James "Mtume" Forman on percussion. This was Miles's mid-seventies band, a great coalition of young talents ready to set stages on fire with their visionary funk explorations.”
SINGERS & PLAYERS - Leaps & Bounds (Lantern Rec. 026LP; Italy) “Reissue, originally released in 1984. Mandatory reissue for British dub-roots combo. Co-produced by On U Sound and Cherry Red, the album shows the masterful production of wizard Adrian Sherwood and a series of sublime vocal performances by stalwarts Bim Sherman, Mikey Dread, and Prince Far I. The sublime line-up is completed by master musicians Crucial Tony, "Deadly" Headley Bennett, Bonjo Iyabinghi Noah, and Evar Wellington. Enjoy the purity of this aquatic sound. Fully remastered and licensed; 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
Amanda Monaco’s Pirkei Avot Project
at Rizzoli Books,
1133 Broadway, New York NY 10010
Sunday, April 16 at 5 p.m.
Amanda Monaco, guitar and compositions
Tammy Scheffer, vocals
Harry Skoler, clarinet
Sean Conly, bass;
Satoshi Takeishi, percussion.
Improvised Music at the Main Drag
Wednesday May 3rd, 2023
7:00pm Beyond Flute Group w/
Cheryl Pyle -flutes
Michael Eaton -saxes
Gene Coleman -flutes
8:00pm Hans Tammen - guitar
Shelley Hirsch - vocals
Ken Filiano - bass
William Hooker - drums
9:00pm Stephen Gauci - t. saxophone
Adam Lane - bass
Kevin Shea - drums
10:00pm Adam Lane - bass
Brian Drye - trombone
Kirk Knuffke - cornet
Vinny Sperazza - drums
11:00pm Eyal Maoz - guitar
Fima Ephron - electric bass
Chris Stromquist - drums
$20 at the door (entire evening), cash/venmo
@ The Main Drag
50 South 1st Street
Between Kent ave and Wythe Ave
ATTENTION TO ALL DMG CUSTOMERS: NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org