LARS HOLLMER WITH FLOURY HAND (sketches)CD+DVD
“Lars Hollmer was a Swedish composer, accordionist and keyboardist. He was a founding member of the influential “Rock in Opposition (R.I.O.)” movement. His band Samla Mammas Manna, were a huge and hugely popular force on the Swedish progressive rock / avant rock scene for about 15 years in the 70s and into the 80s. After Samla/Zamla/Von Zamla ended in the mid 80s, he founded and performed in a number of other bands. With one or another of his bands he toured throughout Europe, the Americas and beyond.
Starting in the 1980s and concurrent with his band work, he had a solo career where he emphasized his compositions and his accordion playing and he wrote and introduced many beautiful and exciting pieces into the modern accordion repertoire, including a piece that is a modern-day standard in Sweden, “Boeves Psalm”.
“Towards the end of working on Viandra, (Lars) talked about wanting to make a new album that would be full of weird ideas and weird songs. He intended the new album to be a contrast to the melancholy and, at times, dark Viandra that he worked so hard with for several years. He said that he dug deep into his archive and found several hours of unreleased stuff, sketches, demos, and even finished songs, ranging from the early 1980s to 2008. He asked me to listen through the material and suggest a sample. That however did not happen as, in May 2008, my father was diagnosed with severe lung cancer and all plans were put on hold…. This is not With Floury Hand as my father might have imagined it and it is not a finished album. It is my selection from the more than four hours of music my father himself collected for his album. It is a mix of more or less unfinished songs and sketches that I love. It is full of wild and crazy ideas and antics, pieces of utter frivolity, but equally places full of delicate beauty. This is music straight from the heart. Just like how my father was.”-Gabriel Strand Hollmer
With Floury Hand is the final release by Lars Hollmer. In addition to the CD that contains the best recordings of what he was working on before he died and which is a treat in itself, also included is a professionally filmed DVD from 2005 of a performance at the Gouveia Art Rock Festival in Portugal. The beautiful 45′ performance here has six solo pieces, four duet pieces with his long-time friend and musical associate, bassoonist Michel Berckmans (of Univers Zero and Von Zamla), and one track with Miriodor, with all of them performing “Talrika”, the piece Lars specifically wrote for them, plus DVD extras.
JANEL & ANTHONY WHERE IS HOME
“Both musicians, together and separately, have long been an important and active part of Washington D.C.’s new-music scene. Anthony Pirog, an omnivorous, multi-faceted guitarist who studied jazz at Berklee and has performed country, fingerstyle, rock and surf music and Janel Leppin, a conservatory trained cellist steeped in North Indian and Persian classical music, who also plays electric bass in rock bands, have created a lavishly detailed musical journey, by turns ravishing and harrowing. Janel and Anthony alternately charm and challenge, with music that draws from classical, experimental, jazz, rock and electronic traditions but that ultimately is simply theirs.
Self-recording and releasing their 1st album in 2006 and selling thousands of copies at their hundreds of shows, they spent over 3 years conceiving and recording Where Is Home in a professional, analog studio, giving the album a thoughtful, comfortable and lived in feel. Alternating compositions with brief improvisations and soundscapes, Where Is Home captures the dynamic ebb and flow of their live shows where they artfully employ live looping, an array of effects and prepared backing. Simple musical lines grow into complex blocks of echoing sound which eventually are spun and turned into elegiac melodies. The music is both experimental and elegant and smokily psychedelic in a completely modern way.”
Ellen Andrea Wang
Jonas Kilmork Vemøy
Jon Audun Baar
“Pixel, the powerhouse indie-jazz ensemble from Norway, makes an indelible first impression with Reminder. Led by bassist, vocalist and composer Ellen Andrea Wang, the band also features drummer Jon Audun Baar, saxist Harald Lassen and trumpeter Jonas Vemøy. Combining indie-rock energy with the improvisational flexibility of jazz, Pixel are earthy and ethereal, wistful and agressive, sensuous and pummeling.
Pixel features the same classic, piano-less, ‘modern jazz’ quartet lineup of sax, trumpet, bass and drums as the epochal jazz quartets led by Ornette Coleman and Gerry Mulligan. Like these antecedents, the band takes full advantage of the harmonic freedom given by the lack of a chordal instrument, but Pixel is more interested in painting scenes than in setting up extended solos. With sharply etched compositions, Pixel has attained preternatural cohesion after two years together, moving seamlessly from composed passages to group improvisation marked by conversational interplay. A radical democracy, no one instrument stays in the foreground for long. With every track but one clocking well under five minutes, Pixel makes every note count, never wasting a moment or letting a tune wear out its welcome.
All four Pixels are ubiquitous on the fiercely creative Scandinavian jazz scene, which has embraced the quartet as an exemplar of Norway’s populist cutting edge. Slated for a series of major festivals and showcases across the region and the UK in conjunction with the release of Reminder, Pixel is poised to take the jazz world by storm. Like similarly forward thinking groups such as The Bad Plus and Rob Mazurek’s Chicago Underground, this is definitely jazz, but it’s jazz that rock audiences can relate to.
Reminder is the debut release by the most exciting band to come out of the insanely active Norwegian jazz scene in recent memory. In a country where jazz talent seems to seep out through the tap water, that’s saying a lot!”
POSITIVE CATASTROPHE DIBRUJO, DIBRUJO, DIBRUJO…
Taylor Ho Bynum
“Dibrujo, Dibrujo, Dibrujo… is Positive Catastrophe’s second album. Here, the group combines salsa-derived groove with the intensity of modern jazz for a mix that is both artistic (dibujo = drawing) and magical (brujo = sorcerer). It features new music by both Bynum and Gomez-Delgado, including an extended suite by each.
Throughout the recording, all of the performers in the ensemble receive ample room to feature their musical voices and there are exciting scored passages that roll into rollicking solos; this is new music that knows how to swing and shake!”
WADADA LEO SMITH TEN FREEDOM SUMMERS
Wadada Leo Smith • Pheeroan AkLaff • Nels Cline • Michael Gregory • Vijay Iyer • Shannon Jackson • Okkyung Lee • John Lindberg • Don Moye • Brandon Ross • Lamar Smith • Skulli Sverrisson • Suie Ibarra • Josh Gerowitz • Angelica Sanchez • Stephanie Smith • Casey Anderson • Casey Butler • Mark Trayle • Charlie Burgin • Southwest Chamber Music
“Trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith’s Ten Freedom Summers is the work of a lifetime by one of jazz’s true visionaries, a kaleidoscopic, spiritually charged opus inspired by the struggle for African-American freedom and equality before the law. Triumphant and mournful, visceral and philosophical, searching, scathing and relentlessly humane, Smith’s music embraces the turbulent era’s milestones while celebrating the civil rights movement’s heroes and martyrs. This four-disc set documents a stunning, career-capping accomplishment by a jazz giant in the midst of an astonishing creative surge.
An orchestral collaboration with the acclaimed eight-piece ensemble Southwest Chamber Music (harp, clarinet, 2 violins, cello, flute, viola, bass, percussion) conducted by Grammy Award-winner Jeff von der Schmidt, Ten Freedom Summers is built upon Smith’s celebrated Golden Quartet featuring pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg, drummer Susie Ibarra and/or drummer Pheeroan akLaaf (who often expands the ensemble to a quintet). As a child of the Deep South who was raised in the red-hot crucible of the civil rights movement, Smith traces the project’s origins back to 1977, when he wrote “Medgar Evers,” an expansive evocation of the NAACP activist gunned down in Mississippi 14 years earlier.
Working in fits and starts, Smith completed the 19-piece project 34 years later in October of 2011 with a portentous, elegiac piece for Southwest Chamber Music. In designing the huge, multi-movement work, he focused on the transformative decade framed by the landmark 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“I was born in 1941 and grew up in segregated Mississippi and experienced the conditions which made it imperative for an activist movement for equality,” says Smith says, who marked his 70th birthday with a presentation of this, perhaps his most ambitious undertaking. “I saw that stuff happening. Those are the moments that triggered this. It was in that same environment that I had my first dreams of becoming a composer and performer.”
After decades of being revered by his peers and colleagues, Smith is attaining his rightful place at the forefront of American music. Ten Freedom Summers is an important work that combines unique, fully scored rigorous passages and great improvisational skills into one huge and cohesive work. It is a thrilling, emotionally charged and satisfying work from a master.”
If Not Inertia
Ergo If not Inertia
Cuneiform Rune 339
Brett Sroka,trombone and computer
Carl Maguire, Rhodes electric piano and analog synth,
Shawn Baltazor, drums
“Ergo is a trio made up of Carl Maguire on Rhodes electric piano and analog synth, Shawn Baltazor on drums and lead by Brett Sroka on trombone and laptop. Their music is one of stark melodic beauty, enveloping electro-acoustic texture and empathic imagination. They have been playing together since 2003, combining the modern sound of electronica and beyond with jazz and ambient music. The basic building blocks of their sound are beats and electronics, trombone, the Fender Rhodes and drums. The music here generally develops slowly but it’s also very accessible while remaining something that holds active interest.
In the early 2000s, Brett Sroka began exploring beyond his Jazz background and became fascinated with electronic music, surrounding himself with synthesizers and software. As he sought to reconcile the six hundred years of technology between trombone and computer he also found musicians of similarly elastic and adventurous temperaments. As they continued to play together, an idiosyncratic dynamic began to cohere and Ergo was born. With their debut cd, the band put forth a statement of purpose and were lauded by AllAboutJazz-NY for “Best Debut CD” of 2006. Ergo’s sophomore cd, “multitude, solitude” brings the band further into it’s own. They have refined a unique style of unadorned melody and intrepid improvisation with a sensual approach to the post-modern techniques of sampling, synthesis and signal processing.
If Not Inertia is a release of quietly building and subtly stunning music; music based on loops, improvisation, small composed motifs and the interplay of the musicians. For the first time, on this release, they have worked with two guest musicians, both of them guitarists. Acclaimed new-music/new-jazz guitarist Mary Halvorson appears on nearly half of the album and acoustic guitarist Sebastian Kruger appears on the final track. The guitarists add a new texture to Ergo’s sound; a sound unique in jazz today!
In addition to the music, also included on the CD is a .mov file of a five minute, high quality promotional making of film entitled The Making of If Not Inertia, which has some interview insights from the musicians, as well as some insight from the studio sessions on how this album was created.”
FORGAS BAND PHENOMENA, ACTE V
Cuneiform RUNE 332/333 CD and DVD
Dimitri Alexaline, trumpet and flugelhorn
Igor Brover, piano and keyboards
Sylvain Ducloux, guitar
Patrick Forgas, drums
Sylvain Gontard, guitar
Denis Guivar’ch, saxophone
Frederic Norel, violin
Sébastien Trognon, saxes and flute
Benjamin Violet, guitar
“For over 35 years, composer/drummer/bandleader Patrick Forgas has been making progressive jazz/rock music in his native Paris. He has led various incarnations of his Forgas Band Phenomena for nearly 15 years and four previous and excellent albums, all of which have featured shifting personnel, but the group featured on Acte V, the group’s fifth album, has been stable for five years and is the same group that performed on their last release. So, happily, the band still consists of Patrick, Sebastien Trognon on saxes and flute, Dimitri Alexaline on trumpet and flugelhorn, Benjamin Violet on guitar, Karolina Mlodecka on violin, Igor Brover on piano and keyboards, Kengo Mochizuki on bass. These musicians enliven his compositions with an energy and verve that gives his compositions the performances they deserve!
Fusing new jazz directions with the electric crackle of rock with inspired solos, the music will appeal to fans of Frank Zappa’s instrumental works, Jean-Luc Ponty, Morglbl, Return To Forever and Mats/Morgan Band. The quality of the music and performances is obvious from the first note and we’re not the only ones who have noticed, as the group has been invited to play some very high profiles concerts: in 2008 they were invited to Seoul, South Korea to perform and – more relevant to this release – in June 2010, the group were invited to perform at pentultimate edition of NEARFest, performing to a packed audience of over 1,000.
The concert was recorded and filmed and is included here as a 75 minute DVD alongside a completely new studio CD. The CD album features six new songs, ranging in length from 6:30 to 13:30, while the DVD is not only the group’s first-ever concert DVD, but it’s a wonderful summation of their work almost from the beginning, featuring a composition from their 2nd album, Extra-Lucide, two songs from their 3rd album, Soleil 12, two songs from their 4th, Axis of Madness, and two songs from Acte V!
BACK IN THE DAYS
Michael Gibbs, BACK IN THE DAYS
Cuneiform RUNE 322
Brit-jazz composer and arranger Michael Gibbs was born in 1937 in Zimbabwe. Starting in 1959, he studied in Boston at the Berklee College of Music, the Boston Conservatory , Tanglewood and the Lenox School of Music, where he studied with a who’s who of contemporary jazz and modern composition: George Russell, Gunther Schuller, Iannis Xenakis, Aaron Copland, Lukas Foss and others. In 1964 he moved to the UK, where he engaged himself in the rapidly emerging contemporary UK jazz scene. Starting in the late 60s and continuing into the mid 70s, he recorded a number of highly acclaimed and influential albums featuring many of the most prominent British-based jazz players who, like Michael, were beginning to flirt with jazz/rock. Since the mid 70s he has worked as a educator as well as a free-lance arranger, doing arrangements and orchestrations for major names such as Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Peter Gabriel among many others, while too infrequently recording his own music.
Back In The Days is an audiophile recording of this great, too infrequently heard jazz composer and arranger fronting a well-honed 18-piece big band in a program of original modern jazz plus three specially arranged classics. The band is chock-full of great soloists and ensemble players and the legendary vibes player Gary Burton is a featured soloist.
After too many years of lack of consideration strictly because they were not Americans, the profile and interest in the 60s/70s wave of British jazz talents has never been higher and Gibbs is one of the major names in the field. From beginning to end, Back In The Days is a delight for fans of Brit-jazz, contemporary jazz and modern big band music!”
HARRISON / FELICIATI / VU / POWELL / WEISS, Holy Abyss
Cuneiform RUNE 334
Joel Harrison, guitarist/composer
Lorenzo Feliciati, bassist/composer
Cuong Vu, trumpet
Roy Powell, Hammond B-3 organ and piano, and
Dan Weiss, drums
“Holy Abyss is a collaborative effort between guitarist/composer Joel Harrison and bassist/composer Lorenzo Feliciati. Joining them are trumpeter Cuong Vu, Roy Powell on Hammond B-3 organ and piano, and Dan Weiss on drums.
A masterful electric jazz outing from five great players, this group personifies the worldwide nature of jazz today. Joel Harrison grew up in D.C., moved to the west coast in the late 80s and moved to New York City in the mid 90s where he still resides. Lorenzo Feliciati lives in Rome, Italy but travels the world and has collaborated with Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson), Bob Mitzer and Donovan and many others. Cuong Vu was born in Vietnam, lived for a number of years in New York City and made his name as a member of the Pat Metheny Group in the 2000s. He is currently a professor at the University of Washington in Seattle. Roy Powell is from England and resides in Norway, where he works in a wide range of music, including mainstream, jazz piano, avant-garde and electric, funky jazz. Dan Weiss lives in New York City where he has recorded with many of the brightest, upcoming names there.
Harrison and Weiss have played together for many years while Feliciati and Powell also are longtime allies. Vu has recorded and toured with Feliciati and Powell, so even though this is the first recording by these five musicians together, there is a lot of built in chemistry. All share a love of modern jazz that is devoid of stylistic limitations, inclusive of sounds from around the world, infused with electronics, odd meters, and deeply hued, uncommon timbres and tonal palettes.
There is a wonderful symbiosis between Harrison’s and Vu’s sounds. Both favor piercing, gorgeous tones mixed with raw, nasty electronics, and that sound, mixed with Powell’s piano and Hammond B-3, is at once jubilant and hallucinogenic, crackling with energy, and then gently subdued. Weiss delivers his signature mix of driving groove punctuated by pithy, unpredictable asides, and the ever-solid accompaniment on upright bass keeps everything grounded.
This is a marvelous program of modern, tasty, tuneful and occasionally haunting electric jazz, reminiscent of some aspects of classic electric ECM work of the 70s and 80s.”
DECLINE AND FALL
THINKING PLAGUE, Decline and Fall
Cuneifrom RUNE 320
Sharon Bradford, vocals
Robin Chestnut, drums
Elaine Di Falco, vocals
Bob Drake, bass guitar and other strings, percussion, keyboards
Harry Fleishman, keyboards
Mark Fuller, drums
Mark Harris, saxes and clarinet
Shane Hotle, keyboards
Mike Johnson, guitar
Dave Kerman, drums and percussion
Suzanne Lewis, vocals
Matt Mitchell, piano, harmonium, synths
Eric Moon, keyboards
Deborah Perry, vocals
Kimara Sajn, keyboardist/drummer
David Shamrock, drums
Dave Willey, bass & accordion
“Decline and Fall is the long awaited sixth album from a group who personifies the term beloved underground favorites. From the group’s beginnings as a duo doing basement recording experiments nearly 30 years ago until now, Thinking Plague has always had a strong vision of their unique take on progressive rock music. Despite the very long lifespan of the band and the many years between records, the basic sound of the group and instrumentation was set early and the years since have seen interesting variations on their sound, from the stripped down approach of the earliest work to the deep layering of electronic sounds and samples of their last album.
Decline and Fall strips back a lot of the studio-isms and more than ever, sounds like the work of a really powerful band. The album adds a few other new surprises, most notably the addition of wonderful vocalist Elaine Di Falco who fits right into what may be the band’s most demanding job. She sings with great poise and control the band’s hallmark melodic lines – passages that would trip up a lesser vocalist. Also new is keyboardist/drummer Kimara Sajn who plays with tremendous authority on both instruments (although just before finishing up the album, the group added drummer Robin Chestnut who appears on one track). Returning are long-term members Mark Harris on saxes and clarinets, Dave Willey on bass and Mike Johnson, the band’s guitarist, leader and composer.
A new album by Thinking Plague is always an event; working slowly and unwaveringly, the group has released a handful of brilliant, art-rock classics. Decline and Fall is the latest of them.”
“When one of avant-garde music’s chief protagonists, John Zorn, asked Steven Feigenbaum, head of Cuneiform Records, to curate two weeks of live music at Zorn’s NYC venue, The Stone, avant-music fans worldwide knew to expect an unprecedented treat. Unveiling his vision for Zorn’s visionary space, Feigenbaum & company proudly present Cuneiform at The Stone, a music festival/ label showcase that exceeds all musical expectations. From Nov.15-30, 2011 – the two weeks spanning Thanksgiving holiday – Cuneiform serves up a staggering feast of jazz, rock, electronic and beyond-genre music in The Stone. Featuring 25 groups who record for the label, many of them travelling to NYC from across the USA, Cuneiform at The Stone brings to lower Manhattan a sonic cornucopia, packed with revered musical icons and fiery rising stars.
Festival highlights are numerous, and include performances by special guests normally only seen at much larger venues. Cuneiform at The Stone opens on Nov. 15 with a performance by Ideal Bread, Josh Sinton’s revelatory repertory group dedicated to Steve Lacy. Later that night, trombonist and avant-garde icon Roswell Rudd – who’s featured on several Cuneiform recordings, including a key archival album (Early & Late) by the legendary Steve Lacy-Roswell Rudd Quartet – will perform with Ideal Bread as his backing band. Later in the festival, on the evening of Nov. 27th, award-winning jazz pianist Jason Moran performs with Ergo, Brett Sroka’s jazz/electronics group.
Every evening between Nov.15 and 30th – except Thurs. Nov. 24th, the Thanksgiving holiday – Cuneiform presents two musical feasts, most priced $10 each. There is something here for every avant taste. Nov. 17 is jazz dance party night, with The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble from Boston (New Orleans Second Line meets Ayler & Sun Ra) and Taylor Ho Bynum & Abraham Gomez-Delgado’s alterna-avant-Latino-jazz band, Positive Catastrophe. Jason Adasiewicz, Chicago’s 2011 Musician of the Year (Chicago Reader) brings his group Rolldown to the Stone on Nov. 18th, the same night that The Claudia Quintet + 1 performs with Theo Bleckmann. On Nov. 20th, an all-acoustic version of The Mahavishnu Project performs, while the next night, two legendary avant-rock groups from Denver- Hamster Theatre and Thinking Plague – make an extremely rare East Coast appearance. The last two nights of the festival feature, on Nov. 29th, two avant-rock groups that have been with Cuneiform since its earliest days – Forever Einstein and Doctor Nerve – and on Nov. 30th, two young jazz/rock/genre-bending groups – Zevious and Gutbucket- that are among Cuneiform’s newest signings. And in addition to the groups mentioned in this paragraphs, there are much much more…
The Claudia Quintet WHAT IS THE BEAUTIFUL?
Cuneiform RUNE 327
“Throughout the decade of the 2000s, the Claudia Quintet recorded, toured, and became one of the top five progressive jazz units in the U.S. and the world. For 2010 they continue with Royal Toast, implying elegance and a golden brown, perfectly prepared, even buttery music. …Versace’s role is that of shading or propping up these melodies, and one should listen closely to his contributions here. It’s another extraordinary musical experience from the Claudia Quintet, who deserve all the high marks they receive as an innovative, thought-provoking, singularly unique contemporary ensemble.” – All Music Guide
Drew Gress – double bass
John Hollenbeck – drums, percussion, composition
Matt Moran – vibraphone
Ted Reichman – accordion
Chris Speed – clarinet, tenor saxophone
Dead Cat Bounce Chance Episodes
Cuneiform RUNE 323
From All About Jazz
“Dead Cat Bounce, Boston’s Outstanding Jazz Act (Boston Music Awards, Phoenix Music Poll and Improper Bostonian) and recipient of commissions from Meet the Composer and Chamber Music America, is one of the few recent jazz bands to have arrived on the scene with its own distinctive voice. Featuring four saxophones of all ranges plus upright bass and drums, Dead Cat Bounce is the unique artistic vision of Matt Steckler, its founder and leader. The group formed late in 1997 as a recording project. Word of DCB’s high caliber as a performance ensemble quickly spread, and now the group plays festivals, concert series and notable clubs throughout North America.”
Sorry, I could not find a listing of personnel beyond its leader.
BILL LASWELL, RAOUL BJÖRKENHEIM, MORGAN ÅGREN BLIXT
Cuneiform RUNE 335
MATS/MORGAN BAND LIVE
Cuneiform RUNE 337
“The Music or the Money? was the second album by Mats [Öberg] keyboards/Morgan [Ågren] drums, which was originally self-released in 1997 and only available at their shows. The album showcases two different halves to the musician’s work; spontaneous playing on compositions and improvisations by the duo with and without additional musicians and as a sort of stylistic counterpoint to that, music that relies on heavily programmed electronic materials, in the vein of Frank Zappa’s synclavier works – it remains Mats’ favorite album by the group. Both are top drawer players, but their music is not simply a chops-fest of blurred, fast notes – there is a lot of humor and restraint mixed into the virtuosity, which gives them a unique sound. This new edition of The Music or The Money? adds over 45′ of unreleased material, all of which features the current version of the Mats/Morgan Band; Mats, Morgan and bassist Gustaf Hielm, who was the bassist of technical metal legends Meshuggah for many years.”
SAO PAULO UNDERGROUND (featuring ROB MAZUREK) TRES CABEÇAS LOUCURAS
Cuneiform RUNE 325
Mauricio Takara • Rob Mazurek • Guilherme Grando • Richard Ribeiro
From Cuneiform Records
HIGHLY PUBLICIZED DIGITAL BOXING MATCH
“Based out of Brooklyn, NY and creating a group sound that is truly their own, Afuche is a band that needs to be heard by lovers of adventurous, modern progressive music! Formed by Ruben Sindo Acosta & Zach Ryalls in 2008, they have been adding to the ensemble and evolving their sound by writing, performing, and touring non-stop – it was at one of their many shows where we found them and watched their continued development with keen interest.
Afuche is a 5 piece band featuring Ruben on keyboard, vocals and percussion, Zach on guitar, Denny Tek on bass, Andrew Carrico on baritone sax and Max Jaffe on drums. Taking their cues from Can, The Dirty Projectors, Frank Zappa, King Crimson, James Brown, Tortoise, as well as African and Afro-Cuban music, they take these musical influences as a base and apply their own group sound to it and bend it all into a hybrid, original and very progressive contemporary rock music that is interestingly complex without losing its inviting quality; most of all Afuche is a lot of fun.
Highly Publicized Digital Boxing Match is a showcase of a group whose sound is more than the sum of its parts. Recorded mainly live in the studio with minimal textural overdubs in one day, it is Afuche presenting their work with just as you would experience it at one of their lively and exciting shows. The fearless intensity and the strong group dynamic in the playing – extremely notable in such a young band – pours through the speakers; their sound is catchy and mesmerizing and will have you moving in ways you never thought possible.”
NO IFS, ANDS OR DOGS
“No Ifs, Ands, or Dogs, Cheer-Accident’s 17th album is a kaleidoscopic, inclusive trip into a musical madhouse that you’ll want to stay lost within. The core membership of the ever-shifting organism that is Cheer-Accident remains Thymme Jones (vocals, keyboards, brass, synth, drums); Carmen Armillas (vocals), Alex Perkolup (vocals, bass, guitar), D. Bayne (keyboards, trombone) and Jeff Libersher (vocals, guitar, keys, trumpet, bass), with able assists from Andrea Faught (vocals, keys), and Lise Gilly (saxophones), among others. Everyone makes significant and important and wonderful contributions, but since the vocalist is always the focal point in bands, I want to mention that Carmen is a real find, with a powerfully emotive voice; she really lends a huge presence to this album, working beautifully with Thymme and Jeff and the rest.
The songs on No Ifs… run the gamut of everything that makes Cheer-Accident an exceptional band: prickly, lurching psychedelia with honeyed singing, quizzical Steve Reich-meets-King Crimson rockers, and sweetly peculiar soft-pop a la Beach Boys and Free Design. This diversity does not denote dilettantism, however; Cheer Accident empowers and devotes itself to whatever style, mode, or genre it absorbs. Even after a few listens, regardless of stylistic diversity displayed during No Ifs, Ands or Dogs is the commitment to primo performance of the album/music/concept as a whole — songs often lead into one another, going from a self-contained song to a introduction (or a coda) depending on where you are or where your focus is in the listening.
After the critical acclaim and expanded audience that greeted Cheer-Accident after the release of Fear Draws Misfortune, the group responded as they always do; by a reinvention of their sound. A wonderful album that is – as usual – also something completely different! “
“Named after one of the most notable Swedish books of all time, Gösta Berlings Saga are currently one of Sweden’s most notable bands. The group are a modern instrumental rock band and their style combines post-rock, progressive rock, minimalism, avant-rock, collage/sound and more, all recorded and combined with unusual and interesting studio techniques. The four members of Gösta Berlings Saga, with their diverse musical backgrounds and personalities find a common focal point in the music they create together. Each individual effort is melted into the pot and glued together with the rest to create something greater together. The collage as a working method; Soft glued to rough. Epic glued to tiny. Minimalism glued to maximalism, all to create a new whole.
For their third album and their first for Cuneiform, Gösta Berlings Saga have created an album that is highly and creatively produced. The solid backbone of the band is always the focus and the core: Alexander Skepp (drums and percussion), Einar Baldursson (guitars), David Lundberg (Fender Rhodes, synthesizers and Mellotron), Gabriel Hermansson (bass). With the engineering and production work of Mattias Olsson (Änglagård, White Willow, etc) the band has created a truly all-embracing and forward thinking album. The disc is packed with creative and surprising flourishes from guest musicians performing on French horn, musical saw, cello, trumpet and more. There is always a lot going on that makes Glue Works much more than ‘merely’ a document of band performing; the group is performing extremely well, but the production work incorporates many unique elements into the album in tremendously surprising ways. “
(vinyl lp with download card)
“In 2007, guitarist and rock electronics innovator Richard Pinhas performed in Tokyo and then performed a duo concert with notorious ‘noise’ artist Merzbow. Both men were so excited by the duo concert, they immediately booked studio time to make the recordings that became their first duo release Keio Line. The duo continue to perform together; this concert performance and recording was their first meeting together after Keio Line. It was recorded at Les Instants Chavirés in Paris on November 12, 2008. Even though they had only worked together for a very short time the year before, the duo had already established a recognizable sound with Richard’s metronic and spacey guitar figures being worked over by Merzbow’s electronic mayhem in a glorious, psychedelic death spiral.
Paris 2008 is a vinyl-only release; the first vinyl released by Cuneiform in over 20 years! There are only 500 copies made and there will not be a repress; this lp edition is the only way to buy this in a physical format. The lp comes with a digital download card for the music and if you buy it from us, your copy will be on beautiful blue vinyl.”
” ‘ In 1973, a rock guitarist and an electronic knob-twiddler released a revered and trail-blazing document in contemporary ambient music: Rober Fripp and Brian Eno’s No Pussyfooting. Thirty-five years later, guitarist Richard Pinhas and noise artist Masami Akita (aka Merzbow) have formed the 21st century version of the concept.’ – Brandon Wu/Washington City Paper
It’s interesting that Brandon Wu compares the work of Richard Pinhas and Merzbow to Fripp and Eno. At the time it was recorded, No Pussyfooting was considered to be practically ‘noise’ (sound familiar?) and Robert Fripp has gone on record about how the record label didn’t want to release the album because it would affect the commmercial impact of these artsts. Yet, with time, the work the duo did was absorbed into the greater musical universe – if not into the mainstream – and its influence continues to this day.
While it’s never safe to predict the future, perhaps the unlikely but also quite logical meeting of Richard’s billowing clouds of guitarwork with Masami’s well considered sonic assault will also prove to be influencial upon the larger musical universe. In any event, this recording from September, 2010, expands upon their first studio meeting, Keio Line and offers an obvious follow-up, as well as new twists to the sound.
The first pressing of Rhizome also includes a number of bonuses not available after the initial pressing and all included at regular single-CD pricing!: a bonus DVD of a generous excerpt of the duo’s performance at the 2010 Sonic Circuits festival as well as a download coupon for their performance in Paris, November 12, 2008.”
“Although he made his reputation over decades and decades of work in the free jazz and improvised music realm and as a early member of Chicago’s hugely influencial AACM (the Association for the Advancement of Creative Music), trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith has long been interested in larger ensembles and electric music as well. Heart’s Reflections is a bold double-disc set that features Wadada Leo Smith’s Organic, a predominately electric, fourteen-piece group, a band most notable for a lineup marked by four guitarists. In addition to Smith, who plays both acoustic and electric trumpet, the extraordinary lineup on Heart’s Reflection includes: Brandon Ross, Michael Gregory, Lamar Smith, and Josh Gerowitz on guitar; Skuli Sverrisson and John Lindberg on bass; Angelica Sanchez on acoustic and electric piano; Stephanie Smith on violin; Casey Anderson on alto saxophone; Casey Butler on tenor saxophone; Mark Trayle and Charlie Burgin on laptops; and Pheeroan AkLaff on drums.
For a record by such a large group, at times the sound is surprisingly sparse and delicate – both qualities that have long marked Smith’s work, while at other times, it sizzles and stomps! Though longtime listeners who haven’t followed Wadada’s work in the last decade might be surprised at times by the fierceness of Organic’s rhythm section, Heart’s Reflections is nonetheless marked by the trumpeter’s usual touchstones: long sustained notes, occasional clipped phrases, and a tough-to-define playfulness that infuses all of his work.
Coming across like the next evolutionary step after Miles Davis’ electric era, Heart’s Reflections is a vibrant set that harkens back to the blues influence of Smith’s Mississippi childhood, and looks forward to still-developing realms of noise and electronics. The album fuses a galaxy of influences into a natural and accessible form, offering an ideal entry point into Smith’s vast oeuvre. Heart’s Reflections should appeal to fans of groove-oriented jazz, as well as rock and electronics audiences with a taste for adventure.”
These are my sources for music and information. If you have any suggestions for me, I would appreciate seeing them in Comments.
New Amsterdam Records – “…a non-profit-model record label and artists’ service organization that supports the public’s engagement with new music by composers and performers whose work grows from the fertile ground between genres….”
This is very very early news. There is as yet little to say about these albums. However, if the folks at Cuneiform have done their usual great job, you can expect these albums to be very worthwhile. There should be more information as the drop dates get closer.
HIGHLY PUBLICIZED DIGITAL BOXING MATCH
From CHEER ACCIDENT
NO IFS, AND OR DOGS
From GOSTA BERLINGS SAGA
From RICHARD PINHAS AND MERZBOW
From WADADA LEO SMITH’S ORGANIC
CUNEIFORM RECORDS is one of the finest labels anywhere in the world today. Here are four new offerings for January 2011.
Flock Rune 321
Ty Citerman • Adam D. Gold • Eric Rockwin • Ken Thompson
“What happens when you take four highly opinionated, strong-willed and creative composer/musicians and put them in a band together? You might have a volatile problem on your hand…or else you have Gutbucket. From the beginning Gutbucket has had no single bandleader; the result has been an expansive yet unified and recognizable group sound. With Flock, the group’s fifth release, the twelve year-old Brooklyn-based quartet push their composer-driven, art-rock-tainted chamber jazz into new terrain. The group attacks their jazz with the ferocity usually reserved for punk. Their music is filled with layers of mature arrangements and a full-throttle blend of energy, chops, melody, intricacy and noise. From the beginning, Gutbucket’s music challenged New York’s downtown norm – “a no-holds-barred approach to the jazz-rock paradigm” (The New York Times, 2010) – bringing a completely unique road-tested performance and a sound that tilted much further towards rock than many of its jazz contemporaries. Gutbucket’s brand of jazz continues to have its signature biting edge, cunning sense of humor and appreciation for the loud and theatrical. Improvisations are woven seamlessly and sometimes unexpectedly into the band’s growing repertoire, and each composer in the group has developed an individual voice that simultaneously supports the collective. Flock cements Gutbucket’s sound – still wearing the indie rock influences on its sleeve, but delving deeply into all four members’ work as individual composers, assimilating contemporary classical, free jazz, mathy art rock, and more. Audibly, Gutbucket learned from its decade of record-making and has produced its most ambitious disc yet. The band has produced a CD that is hard-hitting yet nuanced, with a new sonic and compositional breadth. Gutbucket’s imagination is in full bloom on Flock; the band sounds exactly like itself: immediate, ferocious, ambitious and inviting. During their dozen year ride, Gutbucket has brought its “impressive balance of passionate lyricism and pummeling angularity” (Time Out New York) to festivals, clubs and concert halls in 33 US states and 19 countries. All of this work and energy and power has been harnessed on Flock, the latest in their series of impressive works!
BRING YOUR OWN RUNE 314
Mark Holub • Liran Donin • Toby McLaren • Pete Grogan • Chris Williams
OPTICAL DELUSIONS RUNE 318
Marc Capel • Dimitris Bikos • Natsuko Sugao • The-Hien Trinh • Alfonso Muõz • Vasco Miguel Trilla Gomes dos santos
As long-time fans of the ‘Canterbury School’ style of jazz/rock, a very appealing, very English, sometimes slightly whimsical blend of electric jazz with complex rock have sadly learned, this style and sound is rarely invoked nowadays. Planeta Imaginario are a creative and extraordinary six piece Spanish jazz/rock band that take some of the best influences from Canterbury style music and blend it with an original, very Mediterranean feel for a end result that is strongly their own but that is also redolent of 40 years of creative work in bringing jazz and rock together. To get an idea of what Optical Delusions has to offer, think of a great rhythm section of keyboards (Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes piano, acoustic piano, synths), electric bass and drums, influenced by creative rock bands like The Muffins, Hatfield, Caravan, National Health. Be sure to make note of the fact that the keyboardist is a excellent writer and arranger. Now add three jazz musicians on trombone, trumpet and alto, soprano and baritone saxophones, as well as guests on additional saxes, flute and French horn. Give all the musicians great compositions and arrangements to play and don’t forget to throw in a little dollop of weirdness to keep everything just a little bit off the (well) beaten track. This scenario is what you have here. I would not have expected that the best current exponents of that great Canterbury sound would be a group of musicians from Barcelona, the heart of Spain’s Catalan region, but expectations are made to be destroyed and Optical Delusions will utterly destroy you!
FLASHPOINT: NDR JAZZ WORKSHOP – APRIL ’69 RUNE 315/316
For nearly 45 years, John Surman has been one of England’s best known modern jazz musicians. His career began in the late 60s as both a sideman and a leader with such notable greats as John McLaughlin, Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath, Terje Rypdal, Mike Westbrook, Barre Phillips, Albert Mangelsdorff, Chick Corea and many others. He began working with the ECM label in the late 1970s where he has released a string of fine work that continues to this day. Every period of his career is filled with highlights, which is why Cuneiform is exceedingly proud to release for the first time ever this amazing document of the late 60s ‘Brit-jazz’ scene.
The NDR Jazz Workshop was a weekly show featuring all manner of jazzmen of the day. The taping of this NDR show was around the same time as Surman was recording his second album as a leader, How Many Clouds Can You See, so this is a unique chance to get an expanded view of his formative work as a leader and also at the early work of his musical compatriots who appear with him here. For this occasion, Surman led a ten-piece ensemble featuring the cream of modern British jazz players: John Surman – soprano and baritone sax, Kenny Wheeler – trumpet and flugelhorn, Alan Skidmore – tenor sax and flute, Ronnie Scott – tenor sax, Mike Osborne – alto sax, Malcolm Griffiths – trombone, Harry Miller – bass and Alan Jackson – drums, as well as two Austrian musicians, Fritz Pauer – piano and Erich Kleinschuster – trombone. Released on Flashpoint for the first time are five great peformance, including two excellent Surman compositions that he never recorded elsewhere. High quality audio recordings from these musicians from this period are quite rare and video footage is basically non-existent. Captured in crisp, clear black and white footage and in excellent mono sound, this release is a rare and hugely important document that will blow the minds of Brit-jazz fans and will open the ears, eyes and minds of those who don’t know the great and distinctive work of these fine musicians!
(CD + DVD)
From Cuneiform Records
“one of the most beloved & widely acclaimed jazz groups in the history of NYC jazz
THE MICROSCOPIC SEPTET reunites for several live club and radio performances in NEW YORK CITY
THIS WEEK and NEXT
The Micros’ live performances are legendary. Be at the Micros’ BIRDLAND and THE HOTEL GERSHWIN concerts to see the Micros in action. And turn on your radio or go online to also hear them perform two radio concerts in the studios of WNYC & WBGO.
The Microscopic Septet’s December 2010 NYC performances will celebrate
Friday the 13th: The Micros Play Monk, their new album on Cuneiform, as well as featuring the band’s other material.
on-air & online
Wednesday Dec. 1, 2010:
WNYC Sound Check with John Schaefer
LIVE PERFORMANCE on WNYC 93.9FM
December 1, 2010 @ 2PM (Rebroadcast @ 10PM)
The Microscopic Septet will be performing live on WNYC-FM’s ‘Sound Check’ with John Schaefer tomorrow, Wednesday at 2PM (and rebroadcast at 10PM) on 93.9FM. It will also be archived online. http://www.wnyc.org/shows/soundcheck/
Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010:
WBGO The Checkout with Joshua Jackson
MICROSCOPIC SEPTET FEATURE/PERFORMANCE on WBGO 88.3FM
December 7, 2010 @ 6:30PM
Josh Jackson invites the Microscopic Septet to join him “The Checkout”. This show will be aired on Tuesday, December 7th at 6:30pm. Listen in the NYC area on 88.3FM or online at http://www.wbgo.org/
An archive of the show will be available on http://www.checkoutjazz.org
From CuneiformThe Microscopic Septet “Friday the Thirteenth The Micros Play Monk”
Cuneiform tells us, “Composer and pianist Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-82) is one of the top creative deities in the pantheon of American Jazz Greats. His tunes, once considered radical and appreciated by the cognoscenti, are now beloved standards. The music of Monk was also the catalyst that sparked the creation of one of New York’s most legendary and important jazz groups, the Microscopic Septet.
Since its founding in 1980, under the co-leadership and co-compositional duties of soprano saxophonist Phillip Johnston and pianist Joel Forrester, “the Micros” have been “New York’s most famous unknown band”; since 1990, the catchy, film noir theme they created for NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” has aired daily on stations across America, and may now be the most-broadcast jazz tune in the world.
In 1974, the Monk tune: “Well You Needn’t” first brought the future Micros co-leaders together by chance. Johnston was living in the Bowery at the time, and Forrester, hearing music, barged into his apartment, unannounced: “I was playing a Thelonious Monk tune, and a guy I had never seen before came walking through my door, which wasn’t locked – those were the hippie days…” The encounter sparked a friendship and working relationship, in which Monk’s music reverberated on multiple levels across the years. Another chance encounter – at chicken and ribs place West Boondock, forged Forrester’s friendship with the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter. And through the Baroness, Forrester would ultimately meet and periodically play piano for Monk. Since Johnston and Forrester’s first meeting, Monk’s music has remained an inspiration and guiding light throughout their music careers. In addition to creating and playing their own music, they always played Monk’s music with the Microscopic Septet, but due to their limited number of releases and their copious original songbook (more than 180 tunes), they only previously recorded one Monk composition. This new CD rectifies this omission. Featuring original arrangements of 12 Monk tunes, half from “back in the day” and half newly-written for this recording, the Microscopic Septet make clear their line of descent from Monk. The humor and angularity of Monk’s compositions mesh easily and joyfully with the elaboration and juxtaposition of the Micros-style arranging. This is a true celebration of Monk by a group that can arguably be called his most sensitive and sensational heirs.
Featuring gorgeous art work by New Yorker artist Barry Blitt – the man responsible for the infamous and controversial “Michelle and Barack ‘fist-bump’” cover and other contentious-yet-humorous artwork- and liner notes by jazz critic and long-time Micros fan Peter Keepnews, Friday the 13th is surprising yet inevitable: a long overdue party with the master, at which The Micros Play Monk.
Cuneiform Releases for September 2010 – Big Stuff
Friday The Thirteenth
“Amidst the natty suits and serious prouncements of the 1980s jazz scene, the Microscopic Septet’s arrow-through-the-head celebration of the music’s history was sorely out of place–unfortunate for the financial prospects of the Micros and the joyless approach taken by too many of their peers. Cuneiform’s two-volume , four-disc retrospective of the Micro’s too-meager output was perhaps the most welcome resurrection of the last few years, only eclipsed now by the return of the flesh-and-blood band itself….”
Richard Pinhas Metal Crystal
“Richard and Merzbow are both among the best-known figures in electronic rock music today. Merzbow is probably the single best-known artist in noise music today. While Richard’s work wouldn’t be considered to be in the ‘noise’ arena, many of the artists in the field have expressed great interest in his pioneering use of synthesizers and electronics in rock and contemporary music from the 1970s until the present. Despite coming from very different backgrounds, they had long expressed admiration for each others work. Given all of this, it is probably not surprising that the most important electronic musicians of France and Japan should finally collaborate together…”
The Two Faces of Janus
Universe Zero Heresie
“Founding members of the original “Rock In Opposition” [R.I.O.] movement and the inventors of “chamber rock”, Univers Zero have continued to change and grow and develop over their entire career, while still keeping a ensemble sound and spirit that is easily recognizable….”
UZ JSME DOMA CAVES
You can read more at the Cuneiform web site. Cuneiform is one the the most important labels bringing new artists to the public.
We are told that this is ambient/trance guitar.
The album is by Richard Pinhas, “..Richard Pinhas is internationally recognized as one of France’s major experimental musicians: the “father” of French electronic music. He was the founder of Heldon, a band whose violent fusion of electronics and guitar in the ’70s rivaled the German electronic school. As a guitar player he has been compared to Robert Fripp….”
The CD will be $18.99 when issued. There is no listing as yet for .mp3