dimanche 30 août 2009

Shelley Hirsch : "Singing"

(Apollo records)

A1 HmmmHaaayHaaa (3:25)
A2 Utanussa (For Uta) (4:20)
A3 Caspian Diva (3:31)
A4 Hand Ball (3:49)
A5 In The Mercurius Wagon (6:10)

B1 Rosenberg Sisters (2:04)
B2 Crackerbrain (2:59)
B3 Conference Call (2:58)
B4 Oh Death! (Traditional) (4:04)
B5 Occidental Dreams Of A Geisha (2:33)
B6 Why Do You Go There? (3:21)

A1, A3, B1, B2, B3, B5 recorded during an Artist-in-Residence grant at Studio P.A.S.S. in New York in early 1985.
A2 recorded live in concert at the Kunstverein in Stuttgart, West germany, December 1985.
A4, B6 recorded a The Institute for Audio Research, New York, July 1986.
A5 recorded at the Kammer Theatre in Stuttgart, october 1987.
B4 recorded live in concert at Het Apollohuis, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, January 1987.

Shelley Hirsch : voice, live electronics
David Simons : hand percussion, drums, prepared slide guitar, jaw harps, chinese zither (A2, B2, B3, B5)
Samm Bennett : acoustic and electronic drumset & percussion (A4, B4, B6)

« ONE of New York's most delightful experimental singers, Shelley Hirsch brings an impressive stylistic versatility to her explorations of the human voice ». (New York Times)


Jeffrey Schanzer ensemble : "Vistas"

(MusicVistas, 1987)

A1 Movement
(centers around prepared guitar)
A2 No pasaran
(dedicated to Nicaragua's struggle against U.S. and contra agression and terrorism)

B1 Vistas
(based on the musicians making choices, within both notated and improvised frameworks)
B2 Bounce
(dedicated to the memory of Thelonious "Sphere" Monk)

Jeffrey Schanzer is a composer and guitarist involved in a wide variety of music, ranging from fully notated to fully improvised. He has studied composition with Morton Feldman and Anthony Davis and guitar with Oswald Rantucci. No More In Thrall, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald, where his father was a prisoner, performed by the Sirius String Quartet with percussionist Kevin Norton, was released on the CRI label in 1997. Jeffrey performs with his wife, composer/pianist Bernadette Speach, in Schanzer/Speach Duo, and leads the Jeffrey Schanzer Ensemble. Within the context of the Duo and his Ensemble, Jeffrey has worked with such musicians as Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Oliver Lake, Leroy Jenkins, Bobby Previte, Ned Rothenberg and Wadada Leo Smith.

musicians :

Leroy Jenkins : violin
Ned Rothenberg : bass clarinet, flute, alto saxophone
Jeffrey Schanzer : prepared guitar, claves, guitar
Lindsey Horner : bass
Bobby Previte : marimba, drums, glockenspiel
Bernadette Speach : conductor on Vistas


David Moss + Tom Cora : "Cargo cult revival"

(Rift, 1983)

Tom Cora : cello and cello-resonated objects
David Moss : percussion and voice

A1 Role Of The Bait
A2 The Goat Explains The Can (4 Parts)
A3 Finger Hut
A4 Monkey Lens
A5 Unipods Are Pacifists

B1 Boundary Janitor
B2 The Wand Walks The Plank (3 Parts)
B3 Business Is Not A Business
B4 Employer Accident
B5 Dog-In-Law


lundi 17 août 2009

Badal Roy + Perry Robinson + Ed Schuller : "Raga Roni"

(Geetika, 2002)

When jazz listeners think of the tablas, only a few players immediately come to mind—Badal Roy, Zakir Hussain, and possibly the late Collin Walcott (from the group Oregon). Of them, Roy's resumé within jazz circles is certainly the most significant, with timeless contributions to the groups and recordings of Miles Davis (e.g. On The Corner, Big Fun ), fellow Miles bandmate Dave Liebman, Ornette Coleman's Prime Time, Pharoah Sanders, and clarinetist Perry Robinson, who was actually one of the first musicians Roy ran into during the late '60s after emigrating from his native Pakistan.
Roy's self-released Raga Roni, with Robinson and bassist Ed Schuller, was recorded not too long after the trio's memorable week-after-9/11 gig at the Cornelia Street Café. The tablaist treats both his tablas more like a drum kit and even percussion set than is commonly found in the more traditional manner of tabla playing. At times the session recalls Tony Scott's Eastern-influenced recordings, though the music truly crosses all music borders with Roy and Schuller's consistent funky bass lines and Robinson's occasional Jimmy Giuffre-inspired folksy mid-range playing as well as Klezmer-rooted blowing and general mastery of all ranges.
"Mountain Soup," in particular, is a splendid Eastern-influenced take on Giuffre's "Train and The River." Schuller's pizzicato contributions (of the famed Schuller family—Third Stream pioneer Gunther being his father, and very active East Coast drummer George his elder brother) complement Roy's bass tabla in an echoing fashion, while his arco playing likewise resonates the trio's meditative tones. Dave Baker, the mastermind who documented the outstanding Roy-Perry Robinson-Nana Vasconcelos collaboration from the late '70s, Kundalini (IAI, 1978), exquisitely recorded this session at Roy's home in Jersey. And with it, Raga Roni represents another chapter in jazz-inspired universal music.

Laurence Donohue-Greene (All About Jazz)


Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog

NB : no label, no date and no other information. But it's recorded live !


Marc Ribot : "Inasmuch as life is borrowed..."

(Ultima Vez, 2001)

dimanche 16 août 2009

J.A. Granelli & Mr Lucky : "El oh el ay"

(Love Slave, 2001)

Bassist J.A. Granelli (the son of drummer Jerry Granelli) named this band after a Henry Mancini song, "Mr. Lucky," a dark-hued version of which appears here. The eclectic quartet boasts some of the leading lights of New York's avant-garde scene: David Tronzo on slide guitar, Jamie Saft on organ, Kenny Wolleson on drums. (Granelli plays the unusual piccolo bass on a couple of tracks.) They make adventurous music together, getting off to a playful start with a ghoulish, cajun-tinged reading of "Whatever Lola Wants," from the show Damn Yankees. Often they wholeheartedly embrace a backbeat, even nodding unabashedly toward funk and rock on tracks like "Tronz," "Karnish," and Charlie Parker's "Red Cross." Granelli's melodic gift comes to the fore on originals like "Crawl," "Lane" (with Bob Hoffnar guesting on pedal steel), and the highly abstract "El Leo Nora." Quirky and even a bit freakish, yet quite accessible.

David R. Adler (All Music)

Here's a concisely arranged, quaint and slightly off-kilter effort from a crew of New York City musicians who generally shun the straight and narrow. Organist Jamie Shaft commences the opener, "Whatever Lola Wants," with an eerie, low-pitched groove followed by David Tronzo's wily slide guitar ruminations. The band continues to meld laid back, funk vibes with country blues and rock backbeats on many of these works. Saft's haunting organ motif serves as the underpinning for Tronzo's dreamy guitar and the group's altogether sullen soundscapes created on "Crawl." However, drummer Kenny Wollesen drags the pulse with his brushes while Tronzo consummates "Lane" with a Nashville flavor with his wistful pedal steel guitar work.
The musicians chart a course of quirkily fabricated themes and whispery choruses, although they provide an edge largely due to their unorthodox voicings and intermittent injections of humor and wit. They finalize the recording with a cacophonous, free improv fest on "Figure 1." Overall, El Oh El Ay is a fun outing, as the respective artists' distinct musical personalities provide that winning formula.

Glenn Astarita (All About Jazz)


Elliott Sharp/Carbon : "Datacide"

(Enemy, 1990)

The band CARBON was first conceived in April 1983 to be an anti-silicon sound: earthy, jagged, pulsing, and direct. It emerged from work on the fringes of the early hardcore and improv scenes with my band I/S/M and with The Hi-Sheriffs of Blue and Mofungo...
After "LARYNX", I wanted to return to a small band-format and assembled Samm Bennett on drums, percussion, sampler; Linton on drums and tapes; and electric harpist Zeena Parkins (doubling on slab and keyboard). All players had a huge timbral range - anyone in the group could deal the woofer frequencies or the tweeters, beats, melodies, or pure noise. This group played a few versions of the extended piece "JUMPCUT"(released on the "Real Estate" album) and a number of short pieces, issued as "DATACIDE" in 1989. The focus was on song-forms, each defined by widely varied parameters.

Elliott Sharp


Elliott Sharp/Carbon : "Tocsin"

(Enemy, 1991)

TOCSIN was mostly song-structures with very little formality - I had decided that CARBON should not hew to any specific agenda but should be the carrier of many mutant strains. Central to the bands sound was the use of extended timbres - sometimes to orchestrate a melodic or harmonic idea, sometime to function as the entire sonic hook. To todays ears, a pungent sound can function just as a catchy melody or lyric refrain once did.

Elliott Sharp


Bobby previte : "Claude's late morning"

(Gramavision, 1988)

Bobby Previte's Claude's Late Morning is a pivotal release in the composer/drummer's early career as a bandleader, signifying his ability to break from somewhat conventional jazz instrumentation (as in Bump the Renaissance and Pushing the Envelope) and — with great success — write for an ensemble featuring a wide array of both acoustic and electronic instruments. Perhaps most striking is Previte's skill in composing music that fully integrates these disparate instruments — including drums and drum machine, electric guitar and keyboards, trombone, harp, accordion, banjo, pedal steel guitar, tuba, and harmonica — while emphasizing each instrument's unique, individual sound. The opening number, "Look Both Ways," displays what could be considered a signature Previte style; he builds the piece from fragments — short riffs, glissandos, minimalist ostinatos, and a handful of chords — all of which fit into a sonic puzzle held together by his driving, thrashing percussion. The result has multi-layered depth that draws the listener in, while of course maintaining hard-charging forward momentum (and, it should be mentioned, providing room for a screaming Bill Frisell guitar solo). "Sometimes You Need an Airport," with its infectious backbeat and polyrhythmic riffing, gives trombonist Ray Anderson a chance to cut loose, and also features some Hammond organ stylings from Wayne Horvitz that recall Joe Zawinul with early electric Miles Davis; Previte's love of the trumpeter's late-'60s and early-'70s music would later be on full display with his Miles repertory band the Horse (aka the Voodoo Orchestra). "The Voice" places a blistering solo from Frisell over hard-hitting accompaniment, suggesting a blues-rock band with undercurrents of the more ominously dramatic moments from Phillip Glass' Koyaanisqatsi. And then, at the album's midpoint, Previte loosens the reins and reveals the full extent of his skills as a composer in the contemporary avant-garde. The cinematic "Claude's Late Morning" is at turns focused and disorientingly ethereal; especially near the beginning, it has the uneasy sense of a pleasant dream on the verge of turning nightmarish. The darkness is held at bay, however, as the piece glides through beautiful, hovering passages (prominently featuring Guy Klucevsek's moody accordion) before drawing to an understated close. Banjo, pedal steel, harp, and country-tinged piano next color "First Song for Kate," a venture into Americana that wouldn't be out of place on a Frisell record from a decade or so later. In the lovely and reserved "Ballet," the many instruments pirouette in nearly minimalist fashion around shifting rhythmic pulses; there are no drums, and Previte is featured only on marimba this time around. "Look Both Ways" is reprised near the conclusion of Claude's Late Morning and, as the album draws to a close, its sense of cohesion despite the juggling of diverse styles seems all the more remarkable. This is an essential recording for those interested in Bobby Previte's range as a composer and bandleader; it remains one of his strongest and most appealing recordings in a career that would have many peaks to follow.

Dave Lynch (All Music)

John Zorn + Bobby Previte : "Euclid's nightmare"

(Depth of Field, 1997)


John Zorn + Wayne Horvitz + Elliott Sharp + Bobby Previte : "Downtown lullaby"

(Depth of Field, 1997)


samedi 15 août 2009

Myra Melford : "The same river, twice"

(Gramavision, 1996)

Myra Melford's studies with avant-bop pianist Don Pullen and idiosyncratic jazz composer Henry Threadgill are reflected in the seamless combination of structure and free improvisation in both her writing and piano playing. Her only release on the Gramavision label, The Same River, Twice nicely exemplifies the mix with a selection of sprawling, exploratory numbers and shorter, more straightforward pieces. On relatively accessible cuts like "Bound Unbound" and "Changes I & II," Melford incorporates hints of boogie-woogie and soul into dense hard bop heads, providing plenty of room for a series of clever solo statements and boisterous unison stretches by members of her ensemble. Longer pieces like "Crush" and "The Large Ends the Way" are harder to penetrate, but repeated exposure reveals an ingenuous blend of frenetic, open-ended sections and slower, ethereal passages. The stellar backing is provided by trumpeter Dave Douglas, cellist Erik Friedlander, drummer Michael Sarin, and reed player Chris Speed. Melford's own impressive work at the piano finds her spanning the tumultuously free playing of Cecil Taylor and more blues-tinged, hard-bop keyboard terrain. A fine release by one of the brightest composers and players to appear on the jazz scene in the '90s.

Stephen Cook (All Music)


Jeffrey Schanzer : "No more in thrall"

(Cri, 1997)

On April 11, 1945, armed resistance fighters from among the prisoners of the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald took control of the camp, capturing the remaining SS guards as well as 60 demolition experts who were under orders to blow up the camp barracks with the remaining prisoners still in them. The U.S. Army arrived later that day.
From its inception, Buchenwald was the main destination for the deportation of political prisoners. The leadership of the German Communist Party, as well as members of the Social Democratic Party, Trotskyists, trade unionists, gays and others inhabited the camp. The prisoners themselves established resistance cells during the earliest days of the camp. The Nazis segregated the prisoners in "Blocks" or barracks along ethnic, national and political lines. The Buchenwald resistance had contact with the German underground and carried out many heroic acts of sabotage, particularly in the armaments works where many of the prisoners labored. The resistance cells planted many of their members in key administrative posts of the camp and were thus able to sabotage SS orders to liquidate the camp, saving thousands of lives.

My composition No More In Thrall is a tribute to the political resistance of the prisoners at Buchenwald. Each movement of the work is based on an existing folk or traditional melody reflecting the ethnic and political diversity of the camp. The work commemorates the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the Buchenwald camp and is dedicated to all martyrs in the struggle against fascism.

Red Army Song :

The first movement commemorates the Red Army prisoners, who were singled out for barbaric treatment usually reserved only for Jews. On April 8, 1945, the Nazis attempted to "evacuate" the Red Army barracks. The soldiers fought back fiercely, and even with their overwhelming military advantage, it took the SS all day to destroy the barracks and kill most of the soldiers. This Red Army song dates from the (Russian) Civil War which followed the Russian Revolution in 1917. It is probable that this song, at least in its original version, was not sung in Buchenwald because the lyrics include mention of the Red Army's founder, Leon Trotsky. By the time of the Second World War, Trotsky and many others who remained true to the original principles of Bolshevism had been purged from the Party and Army by Joseph Stalin.

Shlof In Der Ruikeit :

In the early years of Buchenwald, thousands of German and Austrian Jews were killed in mass executions. Only 350 Jews, mostly skilled workers and political prisoners, survived and were segregated in their own barracks. Buchenwald had no gas chambers and thus was not used for the mass extermination of Jews as was the Auschwitz camp. From 1941–43, no new Jewish prisoners were sent to Buchenwald. Emil Korlbach, the Block Leader of the Jewish Block, was a German Communist and one of the three main leaders of the Buchenwald underground resistance. As the Allied armies drove the German army back, the Germans "liquidated" the camps in occupied territories by marching their prisoners to Germany (many died en route) and blowing up the camps in an attempt to cover up their atrocities. Since Buchenwald is in Germany, near Weimar, it became one of the main destinations of these death marches. Many of the Jews arriving at Buchenwald were Hungarian, and were soon taken by train or truck to work destinations near Buchenwald, and then killed when they had completed their work. On April 6, the Jewish prisoners were the first to be singled out to be "evacuated" in death marches from Buchenwald. My father, Jacob Schanzer, survived one of these marches.
Shlof in der Ruikeit (Sleep in Peace) is taken from a Yiddish lullaby from Vilna, which also had a heroic history of armed resistance to the Nazis. The song was originally sung to children whose fathers were off fighting in the Spanish Civil War, telling them that their fathers would return. After the Nazi occupation of Vilna and the sealing of the Jewish ghetto, the lyrics changed and the child was told that their father was taken by the Nazis and would never return.

Which Side Are You On ? :

On November 3, 1979, several cars full of members of the American Nazi Party and Ku Klux Klan drove up to a black housing project in Greensboro, North Carolina, where an anti-Klan rally organized by the Communist Workers Party was taking place. They calmly took out weapons, opened fire on the rally, and then drove off, having killed five people and wounding several others. The lead vehicle was driven by Edward Dawson, a "former" paid FBI informer, while Bernard Butkovich, an undercover agent of the Justice Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who had infiltrated the Nazi chapter, advised them on how to bring the guns to the rally. Despite the fact that this murderous attack occurred in broad daylight, and was videotaped and broadcast on television, the murderers were acquitted. Also troubling was the lack of response to this outrage by many of those who often proclaim that we must never forget the lessons of the Holocaust - people who, like Martin Niem�ller, did not speak out because the victims were socialists and they were not.
Which Side Are You On? is an American trade union song which originated in the struggles of the mine workers. This movement is dedicated to Cesar Cauce, Michael Nathan, Bill Sampson, Sandi Smith and James Waller, the five civil rights and union activists who were murdered by fascists in Greensboro.

Traurige Cerheni :

The Roma and Sinti (Gypsies) were considered "inferior" races which the Nazis wished to exterminate. Heinrich Himmler, in an order of November 15, 1943 said: "(1) Sedentary Gypsies and part-Gypsies are to be treated as citizens of the [occupied] country. (2) Nomad Gypsies and part-Gypsies are to be placed on the same level as Jews and placed in concentration camps." After the reunification of Germany, the German government has repealed some of its favorable immigration laws and has begun to deport Roma and Sinti.
Traurige Cerheni (Sad Star) is taken from a Roma melody sung in the concentration camps. The lyrics are:
A sad star high up in the sky
I can't stay in my house
they came and took me from my bed
and I had to leave my wife and the children.
A sad star high up in the sky
they came and took me from my house
and they brought me to the concentration camp
where they burnt me to ashes.

The Internationale :

By 1938, the Buchenwald resistance had placed its members in many of the key administrative positions in the camp. Thus, they had foreknowledge of the SS orders to liquidate the camp, starting with the Jews. Emil Korlbach was able to warn the Jewish prisoners that the "Appel" or role call for Jewish prisoners on April 6 meant certain death. Also, Marcel Beaufr�re, a Belgian Trotskyist, organized many of the political prisoners to sabotage the Appel by hiding and giving Jews their red triangle emblems to replace the yellow Star of David emblems worn by the Jewish prisoners.
The Internationale is the anthem of the international socialist movement. The title of my work is taken from its lyrics: "Arise ye slaves no more in thrall." The Internationale is the only melody which is used in its full and original form. This movement, and, in large part, this entire work, was inspired by the account of Eugene Weinstock, a Hungarian-born Jew and Belgian resistance fighter, who was sent to Buchenwald in 1943:
"Toward the end of January [1945] a number of Marxists among the prisoners, anxious to express their defiance of fascism and their belief in their coming liberation, talked about holding a secret celebration of Lenin Memorial Day.... Eighteen prisoners, including a Block Leader, made plans for the celebration in one of the barracks. They found a young man who played the violin in the camp orchestra who agreed to play for them.... The young man played the 'Internationale' on a muted violin. But when the violinist returned to his own Block, an SS guard intercepted him and demanded to know where he had been with his instrument. I do not know the details of what happened after that, but the eighteen men disappeared and we never saw them again."

- Eugene Weinstock, Beyond the Last Path

According to Weinstock, on the day after liberation, a band played the Internationale and "Twenty thousand of us found voice to sing in twenty languages."


Rob Price : "At Sunset"


Jazz is no stranger to eclecticism. Musicians have been bending, breaking, reshaping, and reincorporating since the very beginning of jazz history. In fact, departing from jazz tradition might as well be the definition of jazz.
If that is indeed the case, guitarist Rob Price has, with his current release, At Sunset , marked himself as a classical jazz composer and player. Combining everything from free improvisation to country, blues, and California surf music, Price has made a truly multi-genre, decidedly entertaining album. From the Frank Black-meets-Charlie Hunter tune "Main Title" to the appropriately moody "Where it Snows," Price, with the aid of percussionist Joey Baron, saxophonist Ellery Eskelin, and bassist Trevor Dunn, brings each of the album's disparate compositions alive. Executed with restraint, the music is more about mood than overt musical dexterity, and the album benefits from this collected approach.
Highlights include the already mentioned "Where it Snows," on which Dunn contributes a highly atmospheric, extended solo, supported by Baron's distinctively hollow-toned, low key drum work; a 1950s cruise down Sunset Strip, "Night Vision"; and the brooding blues "At Sunset."
Price simultaneously takes his experimentations seriously enough to give them weight, and with enough humor to keep them free of awkward affectation. An enjoyable mix, this is an album for the gut as much as the brain.

Franz A. Matzner (All About Jazz)


Jim Pugliese : Soultronix & more

(Cellar, 1998)


And we can also (free) download some other excellent songs directly on Jim Pugliese web site :


Zeno de Rossi' Kriminal Museum : "Plateau phase"

(Chocolate Guns)

1- This happened at eight o'clock on a wednesday night (21'08'')
2- Experimental funeral (12'18'')
3- Handsome sacrifice (5'23'')
4- Plateau phase (9'02'')

Musicians :

Zeno De Rossi : drums
Briggan Krauss : sax
Ted Reichman : accordion
Jamie Saft : analog synthesis

1 & 2 recorded live at Tonic, NY on april 12th 2000
3 & 4 recorded at Downtown Music Gallery, NY on april 9th 2000


vendredi 14 août 2009

Louie Belogenis + Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz + Kenny Wollesen = Unbroken

(Tick Tock, 2005)

Tenor saxophonist Louie Belogenis traces his roots to Coltrane and Ayler explicitly, having recorded as a duo with drummer Rashied Ali and in Prima Materia, a band led by Ali that has recorded album-long interpretations of Meditations and Bells. His agenda is the same (transcendence) and his vocabulary is similar (ecstatic), but Belogenis builds to his explosions, rather than exploding right out of the box. In this respect, he resembles Pharoah Sanders most. Backed by bassist Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz and drummer Kenny Wollesen, the rhythm section frequently establishes modal grooves and repeated bass vamps that induce a mild hypnosis before Belogenis’ tenor smears away the pleasantry. Blumenkranz and Wollesen shake bells and tick and chime like a grandfather clock while Belogenis’ tone is alternately hoarse and whispery, high-pitched and urgent and smooth and mystical, with a touch of vibrato. Belogenis has been a sideman for too long: his outstanding trio proves they can play in a tradition established by rarified company.

Jeff Stockton (All About Jazz)


KotKot : "Alive at Tonic"

(AWDRLR2, 2008)

A blast of surf guitar, punctuated with crisp snare cracks, is soon engulfed by swirling sound effects, frenetic drumming and a distorted guitar attack, revealing sonic swashbucklers with a mission. Drummer Amir Ziv's KOTKOT includes percussionist Cyro Baptista, guitarist Marc Ribot and electric bassist Shahzad Ismaily, all players with intertwined histories. Alive at Tonic culls spontaneous compositions from two shows at the lamented New York club (and one track from Ziv's pad) that evince the excitement of experimentation in live performance.
The opening salvo is followed by the subdued guitar and throbbing bass of "Won't U Be My Porcupine," boasting Baptista's echoed vocalizations and a classic Ribot angular run, leading to a pounding percussion duet. The guitarist's clean jazz sound counters the uptempo rimshots and Jew's harp opening of "My Dentist in Hawaii." Later, he creates sustained tones washed in delay, an idea that he tests further on "Let There Be Light" and "Told You So," reminiscent of sounds from his Scelsi Morning CD (Tzadik, 2003).
Ziv and Baptista also flirt with patterns they played together in their group Beat the Donkey, under the guitar washes of "Dentist" and the rollicking opening of "Told," though with modulated tempos and accents. A "drum 'n' bass" veteran, Ismaily provides a pulsing presence with sound smears rather than articulated notes filling the bottom end. The re-contextualization of motifs shows their malleability and applicability in disparate situations.
After an amorphous introduction, a galloping drum/percussion groove develops on the sprawling "Mono Dream," as Ribot slowly teases a melodic phrase, settling into and using it as a platform for wilder extrapolations. At 76-plus minutes, Alive at Tonic is a healthy portion, and some forays meander. It's a small quibble, easily erased by the insistent rhythm, ardent guitar slashes and funk touches of "Bring Them to Their Knees," a sonic maelstrom as denouement.

Sean Patrick Fitzell (All About Jazz)


Marco Cappelli IDR : "Italian Doc Remix"

(itinera, 2008)

With Italian Doc Remix, guitarist Marco Cappelli is interested in exploring points of intersection between his Italian heritage, the processes of migration and a welter of contemporary approaches that include collective improvisation and turntable manipulation. He and drummer Jim Pugliese have assembled a fine band that includes Doug Wieselman (reeds), Jose Davila (trombone and tuba) and Ken Filiano (bass), with Ribot a guest on eight of the 13 tracks and DJ Logic a guest on ten. While the band drops to trio dimensions for three minute-long free improvisations between Cappelli and his guests—sudden fracturing explosions of gritty guitars and turntable sounds—most of the music is dense, intense and sustained, with Cappelli's compositions based on sources like a Gesualdo madrigal and a host of traditional songs from the 16th to 18th centuries. DJ Logic uses LPs from a set called La Tradizione Musicale in Campania and Cappelli uses tapes of traditional music for one piece. The initial tone is set by an interview recorded with Brooklyn barber Lenny Ranaldo and from there it's a wonderful confluence of collision and empathy with traditional materials lovingly disassembled by turntable manipulation, noise and free jazz bluster. The conclusion, with Wieselman on tenor, emphasizes the closeness of a village brass band to the raw joy of Albert Ayler, terrain that's close, too, to Ribot's heart.

Stuart Broomer (All About Jazz)


Paul Brody's DetoNation orchestra : "Animals & cowboys"

(NRW, 2001)

Hearing Paul Brody's DetoNation Orchestra is like hearing a flea market full of cowboys, pirates, thieves, and priests all screaming to sell there songs and stories for the best price. This is American folklore at its strangest. On stage the DetoNation Orchestra includes various sound processors, loops, unconventional guitar effects, as well as trumpet, bass & drums to give its songs and tunes a grotesque cartoon-like quality.
On top of the band are Paul Brody's strange lyrical melodies and David Moss's incredible vocal sounds and wild performance improvisations. The group pounds out an odd meter beat that matches the waves at high sea and David screams the songs of sick sailors. Next comes a retro-worksong groove and a train stumbles on its tracks up the Rocky Mountains. Then the sounds disipate into a underground disco loop with David Moss mumbling Leadbelly blues in a dark jailhouse.
Hearing Paul Brody's DetoNation Orchestra on stage is to experience one of the most exciting groups working today. A true synthesis of pop, folk, and jazz traditions. A true product of American culture organically grown from the music of Captain Beafheart, Charles Mingus, Robert Fripp, Ornette Coleman, Harry Partch, Charles Ives, and Frank Zappa.


Doug Wieselman + Jane Scarpantoni + Kenny Wollesen = Trio S

(Zitherine, 2002)

Between them, clarinettist Doug Wieselman, 'cellist Jane Scarpantoni and drummer Kenny Wollesen have played with nearly everyone who has set foot on a New York stage in the last ten years. But while it would be hard to predict exactly what a collaboration between these protean session musicians might sound like - their credits include Ellery Eskelin, John Zorn, The Kamikaze Ground Crew, Patti Smith and the Beastie Boys - the self-titled debut from this trio still comes as a surprise. The disc is a collection of low key sound paintings about water composed by bandleader Wieselman.
Unlike say, Charles Hayward's many water - themed songs, which conjure up images of groaning decks and stormy nighttime seas, the music of Trio S - as the cool blue washes of the cover watercolour suggest - is the very image of placidity. According to Wieselman, the predominantly accoustic, instrumental pieces "come from perceived melodies form water sources", a phenonmenon that " is barely audible but can be heard undere th right circumstances". Accordingly, most of the music was inspired by the "melodies" of specific bodies of water: a beach off Majorca, the Kamogawa river in Kyoto, the confluence of two streams in Washington state.
Whether you've been to these particular places or not the group's beautifully languid performances evoke their subject remakably well. And, as with most good sound paintings, the music tends to cohere as an indivisible thing that's haard to think of as a 'performance'. Picking out the sounds of individual instruments is almost beside the point. Nevertheless, the playing here is gently brilliant, with melodies hinted at rather than trumpeted, and development moving at a flowing, leisurely pace.
Metallics are used sparingly, with Wollesen generally emplaying hand-percussion and shakers rather than trap drums, and soft mallets rather than drumsticks. With typical modesty, the major 'work' of the collection, the eight - movement composition "Anthony's River" (based on a simple melodic fragment that came to Wieselman in a dream) clocks in at just under ten minutes. This music can work its way into your subconscious to the point where you almost forget you're listening to it.

Dave Mandl (Wire)


mercredi 12 août 2009

Spanish Fly : "Fly by night"

(Accurate, 1996)


Ez Pour Spout : "Don't shave the feeling"

(Love Slave, 2001)

EZ Pour Spout is an association of five esteemed New York avant-gardists: Briggan Krauss on alto sax, Curtis Hasselbring on trombone and guitar, Jamie Saft on keyboards and pedal steel guitar, J.A. Granelli on bass, and John Mettam on drums. On this release, they put an irreverent spin on music by AC/DC, Nirvana, Burt Bacharach, Cream, Frank Zappa, and more. Those inclined to prejudge this as mere musical horseplay ought to have a listen. There are certainly kitschy moments, but at bottom this is a serious attempt to treat rock as a legitimately creative form — something more and more 20- and 30-something jazz players are doing nowadays. This band's nod to Nirvana with "Heart Shaped Box" bears comparison with the Bad Plus's rendition of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," for instance. The musicianship, moreover, is excellent — particularly Jamie Saft's keyboard cadenza on "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You."

David R. Adler (All Music)


Kamikaze Ground Crew : "Covers"

(Koch Jazz, 1999)

At the rate Kamikaze Ground Crew cranks out albums, we can expect the all-star band's next pit stop around 2006. That's OK, because there's enough musical and emotional content under these Covers to fuel high-altitude listening for years to come. Originally organized to accompany the acrobatic antics of the Flying Karamozov Brothers, KGC recroded its first LP in 1985. Before Covers the rambunctious septet had produces only two other cds, 1990's The Scenic Route and 1993's Madam Marie's Temple of Knowledge. In the meantime, the personnel has shifted about original members Gina Leishman (accordion, saxes, bass clarinet, Hammond organ, vocals) , Doug Wieselman (clarinets, saxes, electric guitar, balalaika, Hammond Organ), and Steven Bernstein (trumpet, slide trumpet). Since the last outing, tenor and soprano saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum has returned (replacing Ralph Carney), and trombonist Art Baron, Tuba player Marcus Rojas, and drummer Kenny Wollesen have come on board.
Whereas previous KGC recordings featured mostly original Leishman and Wieselman compositions, Covers showcases the brilliant way they and Bernstien arrange other people's material. Opening with a dreamy version of a pop tune from Bhutan, Covers turns pieces by Stockhausen, Hendrix ('Electric Ladyland"), Satie, Huey "Piano" Smith ( "Blow Wind Blow" and "Rockin' Pneumonia" ), Eisler and Brecht, and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo into vehicles for extended collective gliding and individual soaring, consistent with the idiosyncratic interpretive styles of other bands that have feartured the players, such as the Lounge Lizards, Spanish Fly, Sex Mob, Heiroglyphics Ensemble and the Carla Bley big band. A hybrid of jazz , modern classical, rock, avant-cabaret, and New Orleans R&B, KGC's music yields pleasure on its own terms, much like that of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Mothers of Invention, or Willem Breuker Kollektief, its bent but beautiful structures providing cover from the mainstream culture's hail of mediocrity.

Derk Richardson


Kevin Norton + Laura Seaton + Erik Friedlander = Framework

(Newport Classic, 1991)


Pink Noise saxophone quartet : "The jig is up"

(Pink Tomato, 1998)

Pink Noise Saxophone Quartet, often accompanied by a rhythm section, packs some good-time originals into their first release, The Jig Is Up. Many of these players finally started getting some recognition by the late '90s (Briggan Krauss' gritty, wailing horn, for example, has become an increasingly familiar sound). And though all are active players in N.Y.C.'s avant-garde jazz scene, this music is quite structured; the music is barely "out" at all. Whenever a horn takes a solo to the outside, the rest of the band keeps the rhythm flowing and the tempo up front. The tightly working horn and rhythm sections funk some heavy grooves: New Orleans brass, staggered marches, Klezmer jump, and a whiskey binge wailer. The Jig Is Up has all the drama of a good pulp novel, and all the subtlety of a big party.

Joslyn Layne (All Music)


The President : "Miracle mile"

(Elektra, 1992)

To set the record straight, the original band was called The President of the United States of America. We often called it The President for short, and of course I had been living in Seattle for a while when the “other” band came along. The band with Elliott Sharp and Frisell played at a dive in midtown Manhattan, the name of which I forget. It was there that some folks from Nonesuch came down. They had already heard Dinner at Eight and The President and it was all of the former and some of the latter that they released, or rather re-released. Both those records were made for budgets in the hundreds of dollars.
Bring Yr Camera was made for a budget much, much larger, at the Power Station in NY, and predictably there are many things I like about the low-budget records better in hindsight. I did record many of the classic President tunes on Bring Yr Camera, especially Andre’s Mood (Andre was a favorite cat) and 3 Crows. Neither of them are my favorite readings of these tunes. I felt compelled to fill up a lot of space on Andre’s Mood that traditionally was left more spare. My favorite soloist on 3 Crows was always Stew Cutler, and I just didn’t get that from Elliott. Ironically, it was the newest tunes that sounded best, and speaking of Elliott, his solos on Philip and Hearts Are Broken are incredible, and when he hits the IV chord on Philip I always get chills. This was written years ago for my younger brother, who passed away a few years ago, and the only time I have played this tune since the band broke up was at his memorial at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery with Doug, Tim Luntzel, Kenny Wollesen and Stew Cutler. I like Our Hands of Water a lot as well. It was one of those things where suddenly we get the big studio and the expensive engineer and it was almost too much. I remember we were all on a “no reverb” kick because we hated the sound of all those ECM records that were swimming in reverb, and actually the engineer had worked with Pat Metheney a lot. The mixes had no vibe and we went back with our tails between our legs and begged for reverb. It was also the era of 20 mikes on the drum set. A lot of reviews back then mentioned the “great Hammond B-3 samples.” Of course it was a real B-3, but that was the decade between the B-3 being forgotten and the great B-3 revival of the 90s and since. We got a lot of nice notices, including my favorite, which mentioned “Sonny Boy Williamson in a Zen Temple.” It was interesting that a lot of critics said it was like fusion music, but anti-fusion at the same time. I could relate to that because I hated what fusion had become – really wretched music, but early Weather Report and Electric Miles Davis meant the world to me. The President didn’t sound like that but it certainly helped to inspire us. Dave Tronzo had replaced Bill Frisell, and he sounded killer, and we had a tour of Europe that had its ups and downs.
The next, and last, CD was Miracle Mile, which was somewhere in between. It was all new tunes, and some of it was done like a solo recording, with sequences and some drum machine and some real drums, samples but also lots of real playing. Recorded in NY and Seattle, I think it is a fine record for the most part. Ironically, not that many tunes ended up in the live repertoire. Some of them were hard to reproduce, and probably the most successful tune live was also the most unlikely -Variations on a Theme by W.C. Handy. I started doing a 6 piece version but with only 1 guitar for a while, with Kermit Driscoll on bass, J.A. Deane on samples and amplified trombone, and Stew Cutler. I liked this version because it wasn’t as guitar heavy, and the ambient stuff that Dino did was a perfect contrast to Stew, who tended to lay it down more in the pocket in a way that I think served the original intention of the band. At the same time, beside Elliott’s stellar solos and Tronzo’s, there are moments where Bill’s playing on the first President disc is some of my favorite moments of anything I have ever recorded. Speaking of guitar, with all that talent I still turned to Doug to lay down some of the rhythm guitar. He just had the right thing happening.
The last tour was a fun one, with Fred Chalenor on bass, and back to a 5-piece band. This was always a hard band live. The balance had to be just right, and by stripping it down in a way this was by far the most workable incarnation, and we had a good time. Bobby, Doug, Stew, myself and Fred. One day Fred and Stew kept looking at me on the train, and finally Stew said to me, “Man, you can really keep it together.” I asked him what the hell he was talking about. Turns out they had been drinking the night before and got the clever idea to stack a bunch of stuff in front of my hotel room door as a “surprise” in the morning. Thing was, they had the wrong room. Who knows who got the surprise.

By Wayne Horvitz himself on his blog.


mardi 11 août 2009

The President : "Bring yr camera"

(Elektra, 1989)

First rehearsal today, just with Keith Lowe on bass and Steve Moore on keyboards and trombone. So much of this music was worked out over years of rehearsal and throwing around ideas, and now I am scoring it and teaching it to new folks in a matter of hours. Lots of small mistakes in the parts, but we accomplished a lot. It is great to be sharing this music with these folks, and I am very much looking forward to hearing Tim Young, who I have played so much music with in this last decade, dig into this material from the past.
The President is the oldest of the five projects that will be presented next month. The recorded output of the band is sort of a reverse accounting of the compositions in terms of their chronology. I may have a few details wrong, but if memory serves me, I started the band within a year or so of moving to New York in 1979. In the fall of 1979, five Santa Cruz transplants rented a small basement on Morton Street in the West Village. A few things inspired me to start this assemblage. When I arrived in New York, I was at the tail end with an all out obsession with the music of Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Ornette, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, etc. Sometime that first winter Robin (Holcomb) and I went uptown and saw The Last Waltz. I had been a fan of The Band, and many of the folks in that movie, for years, but somehow I had lost a connection. Indicative of that was the fact that in all my college years at UCSC lots of great bands came through town, and yet I rarely went to hear anything outside of the “free jazz” world with the exception of one memorable Captain Beefheart gig, and as I recall, some incarnation of the Jefferson Airplane. The Last Waltz was a wake up call though, and shortly thereafter I became aware of and part of all that was happening at CBGB’s, Danceteria, Mudd Club et al. A few other things…Bobby Previte and I met via Elliot Sharp. I became very aware of The Meters through my friend Dave Hofstra, and something was in the air. The original band was based off of a few bass lines and guitar licks. I was playing bass at the time. We rehearsed at Studio Henry and played some early gigs at CBGB’s, Studio Henry and other places. The band was myself, Previte, Dave Sewelson on sax, Kevin Cosgrove on guitar and Joe Gallant on bass. Kevin was a friend from junior high, and I have no idea where he is now. Joe Gallant I gather is a porn star and producer, and Dave remains a dear friend and great baritone player. I really don’t remember a lot, but over time Doug Wieselman replaced Sewelson. I was hearing tenor and a different concept. Dave Hofstra took over on bass, and Bobby’s friend from Buffalo, Stew Cutler, started playing guitar.
I was interviewed on radio on few years later by Tania Leon, who mentioned that I seemed to be influenced by minimalist music. I was sort of taken aback, although I suppose it made sense. The only thing I could think to say at the time was that maybe Reich, Glass and that group had some influences in common, but I didn’t see why repetition and overlapping rhythmic cycles was the property of the Minimalists. The early tunes evolved from simple riffs, working with early sequencers and drum machines, and of course DX-7. I never played Gamelan music, but I was around a lot of it in college. I suppose there was some influence from that as well, in the various cycles of various lengths that inform a lot of the music, but the most important thing I took away from Indonesian music was the role of the soloist. I was particulary taken with a tape a friend of mine had given me of Kachapi/Suling music – the place of the Suling and the Rebab.
Simply put, the “improvising soloist” was less of a featured role and more inside the texture of the music. In jazz and blues music I was hearing, the soloist was stretching farther and farther out over standard changes. I became attracted to the improviser playing relatively “inside,” particularly in a modal or blues fashion, against different harmonic ideas. I suppose it was sort of polytonal, like reharmonizing a folk song, something that I have played with ever since I first played simple Bartok pieces from the Mikrokosmos.
When I moved to San Francisco in 1985, for a year the band was on hold. I made a record with Butch Morris and William Parker that was much more open, and I had formed the HMP trio. I got a DX-7 and a drum machine and made a sort of solo record called Dinner At Eight. This later made up most of the Nonesuch release, This New Generation. Many people thought the title was a reference to our music scene, but actually it referred to the pending birth of my first child. This record started a sort of second stage of writing with certain types of beats and cycles. Back in New York I started another set of pieces, all on a Tascam 4-Track, but Previte played triggered drums. We couldn’t have drums in the 5th floor walk up in which I was recording. Both Elliott Sharp and Bill Frisell played guitars. I titled this record The President. Even though the band was now almost 7 years old, it had almost faded, but this was the start of a period of greater activity and recording that would last several years.

by Wayne Horvitz himself on his


Christy Doran's Phoenix'

(Hat Hut, 1990)

Irish-born, Swiss-bred, Christy Doran is among the least heard — in the U.S. at least — yet most innovative guitarists on either side of the Atlantic. His many bands and guitar duos have taken to stages across the globe as either a collaborator or a sideman. But this date, in a sense, is all his. These very intimate, and often humorous, duo improvisations with a host of innovative musicians create a gem of an album, one that features a stunning array of musical styles and expressions, yet all characterized by the singular, disciplined talent of Doran. On "Beyond Words," Doran and Marty Ehrlich move through a short, slippery Delta-styled blues into an off-Basie jazz mode where Doran's guitar dictates interval and Ehrlich claims the mode. They don't sweep around each other so much as play through the itinerant voicings created by the microtonalities of each instrument — and swing on top of it! On "The Warm Up," Doran and Ray Anderson slide through bebop phraseology toward frenetic harmonics based on major and augmented chords. Anderson strikes out first with lines that quote both J.J. Johnson and Curtis Fuller as Doran trades him a Frippian counterpoint — and via a delay box, plays double counterpoint to his own guitar! "Spiral" with Urs Leimgruber is the monolith on this set. Fifteen-plus minutes of guttural groans, shifting timbres, collapsing overtones, and shimmering harmonics whipped into a spacey intensity that is almost unbearable. Leimgruber is a fiery soprano player. He's sophisticated, inventive, and passionate. Doran's sounds here create an ominous orchestral tension as Leimgruber ghosts his way through in mournful phrases and sonant moans. Hank Roberts' cello is as painterly as Doran's guitar. Sound upon sound, textured ambiences, and chorale lines emanate from both of them on "Song for Sonny." Hendrixian feedback and droning melodies carry the two through each other's voices, creating an openness of intervallic wonder and delight. Doran's Phoenix is an astounding showcase of the colors, textures, tones, and diverse abilities of one of the world's most original guitarists.

Thom Jurek (All Music)



(Hat Hut, 1995)

On this unusual date, the instrumentation is simply four trombones: Ray Anderson, Craig Harris, George Lewis, and Gary Valente. The bones perform eight originals, Billy Strayhorn's "Lotus Blossom," Johnny Hodges' "The Jeep Is Jumping," and Duke Ellington's obscure "Oclupaca." The performances are mostly pretty concise with free sections segueing logically into more arranged sections. No one trombonist emerges as the main star; in fact there is no attempt in the liner notes to point out who plays what although Anderson's high notes give him away at times. The adventurous music is clearly not for everyone but it generally works and one does not miss other instruments. Worth hearing.

Scott Yanow (All Music)


Sonny Sharrock band : "Seize the rainbow"

(Enemy, 1987)

The follow-up to Sonny Sharrock's entirely solo comeback album, Guitar, Seize the Rainbow puts the guitarist at the helm of a rock-styled power trio featuring bassist Melvin Gibbs and Abe Speller and Pheeroan akLaff on drums (producer Bill Laswell also plays bass on one cut). The overall sound of the album is surprisingly straightforward, heavy metal-tinged jazz-rock, though the caliber and taste of the musicians makes it something far more than what rock guitar virtuosos of the period were recording. Still, there isn't too much way-out craziness, aside from some of Sharrock's trademark slide-guitar explorations on the spiritual title track and the riff-driven rockers "Dick Dogs" and "Sheraserhead's Hightop Sneakers." For the most part, Sharrock's playing on Seize the Rainbow is more concerned with melodic themes and traditional single-note solo lines than textural experiments. Fortunately, his tone is still gloriously skronky, and his playing is no less passionate. Bill Laswell's production is bright and immediate, and the rhythm section's agility breathes a spark into the straight-up rock rhythms they're often asked to play. Even if it isn't quite as evocative as the solo sound paintings of Guitar, Seize the Rainbow does place Sharrock's playing in one of its most accessible settings, and it's perhaps the best starting point for rock fans wondering what the fuss is about.

Steve Huey (All Music)