Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-04-15

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Two recent albums featuring pianist Matt Mitchell and drummer Kate Gentile have been exciting me for the last few weeks: Mitchell's A Pouting Grimace and Gentile's Mannequins... both of these were on several of last year's best-of lists, and with good reason... both have compositions with intriguing, knotty melodic lines that turn and twist on themselves... Mitchell's piano and electronics work is exquisite, and Gentile is a clean inventive drummer whose textures sometimes evoke Chris Cutler... in fact, much of this music evokes the improvisational textures of late-era Henry Cow, which makes sense when you consider that Mitchell used to play in Thinking Plague... Mitchell's music is also more than a little related to the work he's done with Tim Berne's Snakeoil... I continue to revisit Sonic Youth with awe at the sheer, oh I don't know, guitar-ness of it all... I don't know when I'll return in depth to Cecil Taylor... I am still reeling from the news of his death... In the meanwhile, I plan on continuing to explore Muhal Richard Abrams and Roscoe Mitchell... especially since this week marks the ending of my Henry Threadgill listening spree... for me, the studio albums are far stronger than all the live shows, especially the Zooid ones... and his two most recent albums, In for a Penny and Old Locks are among his strongest ever...

Playlist 2018-04-16:

*AMM: Fine
*Lotte Anker/Craig Taborn/Gerald Cleaver: Triptych
*Tim Berne's Snakeoil: You've Been Watching Me
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2017-12-27 Nashville (selections)
*Decoy & Joe McPhee: Oto
*Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double
*Kate Gentile: Mannequins
*Barry Guy New Orchestra: Oort-Entropy
*Matt Mitchell: A Pouting Grimace
*Roscoe Mitchell: Duets with Tyshawn Sorey and Special Guest Hugh Ragin
*Roscoe Mitchell: Bells for the South Side (disc 2)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-03-19 "Cornering the Market" (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-03-26 "Bowser Intake Ratio" (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-04-02 "Hold It Against Me" (wav)
*Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa
*Tyshawn Sorey: The Inner Spectrum of Variables (disc 1)
*Tyshawn Sorey: Verisimilitude
*Sun Ra: selections (Bandcamp streaming)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: In for a Penny, In for a Pound
*Henry Threadgill Ensemble Double Up: Old Locks and Irregular Verbs
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2017-03-26 Knoxville TN (CDR)
*Lily Allen: Sheezus
*Colin Blunstone: Ennismore
*Carter Family: Volume 2 1935-1941 (disc 2)
*Firesign Theatre: I Think We're All Bozos on This Bus
*Grateful Dead: 1969-02-22 Vallejo CA (CDR)
*Grateful Dead: Three from the Vault (1971-02-19 Port Chester, NY) (disc 2)
*J.B.'s: Funky Good Time: The Anthology (disc 1)
*Ozric Tentacles: Jurassic Shift
*Panda Bear: Person Pitch
*Lee Perry: I Am the Upsetter (disc 3)
*Rascals: Freedom Suite (side 4)
*Sonic Youth: Evol
*Sonic Youth: Sister
*Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
*Sonic Youth: Goo
*This Heat: This Heat
*Various artists: History of Electronic/Electroacoustic Music (CDR compilation) (discs 1, 2, 3)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The 4J Label
*Hank Williams: The Original Singles Collection (disc 1)
*WMWS: One Night Stand
*Yes: 1975-07-23 Providence RI (CDR) (disc 1)
*Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention: The Roxy Performances (disc 1)

Reading List, Week of 2018-04-15

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Reading List 2018-04-16:

*Boyle, James, Jennifer Jenkins, and Keith Aoki. Theft! A History of Music (in progress)
*Christgau, Robert. Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (in progress)
*Corey, James S. A. Persepolis Rising (in progress)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (in progress)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)

Monday, April 9, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-04-08



Great to have the wonderfully remastered CD of God Is More than Love Can Ever BeSun Ra's only piano trio album... Under the double sway of Roscoe Mitchell's hypnotic sax and Sonic Youth's hypnotic guitar grooves... Going back and digging Milford Graves' work with Giuseppi Logan... I have a hard time with the sax player's almost inept and feeble attempts at free jazz, but when Logan drops out and Don Pullen takes over, true fire emerges...

Playlist 2018-04-09:

*Anthony Braxton: 4 Compositions (Ulrichsberg) 2005 Phonomanie VIII (disc 2)
*Miles Davis: Aura
*Decoy with Joe McPhee: Spontaneous Combustion (disc 2)
*Joe Henderson featuring Alice Coltrane: The Elements
*Giuseppi Logan Quartet: The Giuseppi Logan Quartet
*Roscoe Mitchell Trio: No Side Effects (disc 2)
*Roscoe Mitchell Quartet: 2009-06-28 Tivoli (CDR)
*Roscoe Mitchell's Cards For Orchestra Project: 2009-08-30 Sant'Anna Arresi, Italy (CDR)
*Roscoe Mitchell Trio: Angel City
*Roscoe Mitchell: 2011-02-17 Roulette, NYC (CDR)
*Roscoe Mitchell: Bells for the South Side (disc 1)
*David Murray/Milford Graves: Real Deal
*Paradoxical Frog: Paradoxical Frog
*Charlie Parker: The Complete Charlie Parker on Verve (disc 5)
*Sun Ra: God Is More than Love Can Ever Be (Remastered 2018 Ed.)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: Tomorrow Sunny/The Revelry, Spp
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2012-03-18 NYC (CDR)
*Eberhard Weber: Yellow Fields
*Chicago: At Carnegie Hall (disc 4)
*Tim Gane & Sean O'Hagan: La Vie d'Artiste (disc 2)
*King Geedorah: Take Me to Your Leader
*Lee Perry: I Am the Upsetter (disc 2)
*Prince: Lovesexy 25 (webcast boot CDR)
*Sly and the Family Stone: Live at the Fillmore East October 4th & 5th, 1968 (disc 4)
*Sonic Youth: Bad Moon Rising
*Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse
*Sonic Youth: The Eternal
*Sonic Youth: The Destroyed Room
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music #7: Seventh and Last a-Chronology 1930-2012 (disc 3)
*Yes: 1975-07-06 Memphis (CDR)

Reading List, Week of 2018-04-09

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A while ago I read Emily Wilson's new translation of The Odyssey, and quite enjoyed it, even though I still prefer the majestic Fagles translation... I followed that up with The Lost Books of the Odyssey, which is truly amazing... Zachary Mason's poetic re-imagining, retelling, and re-inventions of  Odysseus' adventures is absolutely mindbending...

Reading List 2018-04-09:

*Boyle, James, Jennifer Jenkins, and Keith Aoki. Theft! A History of Music (started)
*Corey, James S. A. Persepolis Rising (started)
*James, P. D. Sleep No More: Six Murderous Tales (started/finished)
*Mason, Zachary. The Lost Books of the Odyssey (finished)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (finished)
*Christgau, Robert. Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (in progress)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (in progress)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)

Friday, April 6, 2018

R.I.P. Cecil Taylor

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It happens to us all, and now it's happened to Cecil Taylor, whose music has been a major guiding force in my life since the 1970s. The only time I met him was in 1980 at Blues Alley in DC, after I'd just been transformed to a higher plane of being by two hour-long incendiary sets of his quartet with Jimmy Lyons, William Parker, and Rashid Bakr. God knows what he thought of the two rather thin goggle-eyed white guys (me and my brother Jeff), clutching albums for him to sign and basically slack-jawed and inarticulate (unlike him--he was gracious, polite if reserved, and majestic). I hope he at least could tell how much the music he'd just shared had meant to us. His music, that life spirit, has sustained me for it seems like forever, and has inspired my drumming as much if not more than any drummer. The sheer energy and love of life that pervaded his very being channeled through his fingers to anyone open to listen and receive. I'll miss that spirit deeply. Thank you, Mr. Taylor.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-04-01



I am on a Roscoe Mitchell roll after having seen him at Big Ears last week... It's been an awful lot of music to absorb, but I think I've been up to the task, heh heh.... I love his orchestration of "Nonaah" as played by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra... why doesn't that kind of thing happen regularly in the States?... oh, yeah, right, forget I asked...

Playlist 2018-04-02:

*Anthony Braxton: Sextet (Parker) 1993 (disc 7) (streaming)
*Anthony Braxton: 4 Compositions (Ulrichsberg) 2005 Phonomanie VIII (disc 4)
*Anthony Braxton/Milford Graves/William Parker: Beyond Quantum
*Decoy with Joe McPhee: Spontaneous Combustion (disc 1)
*Kate Gentile: Mannequins
*Vijay Iyer Sextet: Far from Over
*Mephista: Entomological Reflections
*Roscoe Mitchell Quartet: Live at “A Space” 1975
*Roscoe Mitchell and the Sound Ensemble: Snurdy McGurdy and Her Dancin’ Shoes
*Roscoe Mitchell: Duets with Tyshawn Sorey and Special Guest Hugh Ragin
*Roscoe Mitchell/Fred Frith/George Lewis/BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra: 2014-02-22 Glasgow (CDR)
*Roscoe Mitchell Trio: No Side Effects (disc 1)
*Roscoe Mitchell Trio: Angel City
*Roscoe Mitchell Discussions Orchestra: Discussions
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-03-19 "Cornering the Market" (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-03-26 "Bowser Intake Ratio" (wav)
*Evan Parker: Monoceros
*Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme Rodrigues/Daniel Barbiero: {the} nature {of things} likes to hide
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-06-24 NYC (CDR) (disc 2)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2011-11-25 Poznan, Poland (CDR)
*James Blood Ulmer with The Thing: Baby Talk
*Ben Webster with Strings: Music for Loving (disc 1)
*John Barry: Thunderball (Definitive Soundtrack Collection)
*Clash: Sandinista! (disc 1)
*Firesign Theatre: Dear Friends
*Tim Gane & Sean O'Hagan: La Vie d'Artiste (disc 1)
*Sonic Youth: Murray Street
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music #7: Seventh and Last a-Chronology 1930-2012 (disc 2)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Bandit Label
*Yardbirds: Live Yardbirds! Featuring Jimmy Page

Reading List, Week of 2018-04-01

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Reading List 2018-04-02:

*Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer (finished)
*Christgau, Robert. Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (in progress)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (in progress)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Mason, Zachary. The Lost Books of the Odyssey (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Friday, March 30, 2018

Brief Report: 2018 Big Ears Festival



I was lucky enough to be able to attend two days of the 2018 Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, and it was a deeply overwhelming experience, full of positivity, good vibes, and unbelievably challenging and inspiring music. Here's a brief report on what I saw. I took all these pictures; yes, they suck but there are plenty of places where you can see better ones.















Friday started of with a major implosion of space and time in my mind, with Roscoe Mitchell Trio Five: Vincent Davis on drums and Junius Paul on bass. I could quibble a little with the standard inclusion of bass and drum solos--they seemed to be there mainly to give Roscoe a chance to rest--but when he was playing, all three were on fire: high, high free energy in the finest, classic sense of that music. I was not familiar with Junius Paul, but Vincent Davis I knew from the excellent trio album No Side Effects. Much of this set was similar to that record: fiery, out, intense explosions of energy from one of the masters.












Well, that set alone would have been enough to last me a year, but there was much more to come. After catching most of a solo set from Ikue Mori (loud and intriguing), we had to split to catch Rocket Science.















A quartet organized by trumpeter Peter Allen, the main draw for me was sax giant Evan Parker. They played a brilliant hour-long improvisation, and I loved how Parker and Allen played off each other. Rarely subtle, the electronics punctuation and sound manipulation of Sam Pluta added a layer of noise to the proceedings that worked most of the time, but I felt he ran out of ideas halfway through. Not true for Craig Taborn, whose brilliant command of the piano varied between quiet, subtle ruminations to aggressive counter-attentions to the electronics. This was my first time seeing all these folks, and they just blew me away, Taborn especially.















From one giant to another: the majestic Milford Graves doing a solo set in a big theatre setting at the Bijou. Anything I say about this set will sound hokey, but it was truly transcendent and life-affirming. Graves expostulated about life, his approach to the drums, his approach to life, in a thoroughly engaging and sometime hilarious manner. He talked about applying martial arts movements and actions to his drumming, and he demonstrated on the drums. He vocalized in... Japanese? American Indian? gibberish? ( I heard "big ears" in there somewhere.) And he did things on and with the drums that I've never seen or imagined before. It was truly amazing.















The evening ended with an Evan Parker solo performance in a church with gorgeous acoustics. Another mind-blowing stunner of a set! This was my favorite of the three contexts I saw Parker participate in--amazing dexterity, breath control, multiphonics, throat singing, interstellar space-out virtuosity. Check out this sample.















The next day got jump started with a high-energy duo from skronk-samba guitarist Arto Lindsay and powerhouse Thing drummer Paal Nilssen-Love (this was to make up for my wimping out and missing The Thing's show late Friday night!). Wake up!
















After that, it was back over to another church with great acoustics for a stellar set from the Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble. Hard to see, since all the band member were on the same level as the audience (here you can just see Craig Taborn at the piano and Ikue Mori on laptop), but wonderful to listen to. This was a beautiful, wide-ranging improvisation, with excellent contributions from all involved, especially Taborn on piano and Ned Rothenberg on bass clarinet and flute.















I didn't get in line in time to see the duet performance of Milford Graves with pianist Jason Moran, dammit. I did manage to get in for most of the encore, and what I heard was a fiery Cecil Taylor-ish maelstrom of energy. Here's a short video clip. I loved Moran's playing when I saw with Anthony Braxton at the Kennedy Center; he should take it out more often, he fits right in!
















The final show I saw, and the absolute highlight of the entire festival was Roscoe Mitchell Trios back at the Bijou. Oh my gawd. Similar to the structure of Bells for the South Side, Mitchell conducted and played through a series of sub-set trios with the large band he had assembled, in differnt configurations, before finishing with a heart-stopping crescendo climax with the entire group--and what a group. Craig Taborn again--on piano and electronics--was simply outstanding, and in his short statement on electronics said more than any other single electronic artist I saw the whole festival. The Sound Ensemble rhythm section of Tani Tabbal and Jaribu Shahid, plus percussionist Ches Smith and Chicago drummer Mike Reed, plus Tyshawn Sorey on drums, percussion, piano, and toy piano, plus James Fei on reeds and electronics and Hugh Ragin on trumpet! Damn! I am not doing this music justice--I hope it was recorded. Here are a couple of video snippets to whet your appetite.



Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-03-25



Well, this past week ended with a bang, at the Big Ears Festival... more on that in a separate post!

Playlist 2018-03-26:

*Borah Bergman/Lol Coxhill/Paul Hession: Acts Of Love
*Anthony Braxton: Trillium R: Composition 162 - An Opera in Four Acts/Shala Fears for the Poor (disc 1)
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2017-12-27 Nashville (selections)
*Decoy: Vol 2: The Deep
*Fire! Orchestra: Ritual (selections)
*Matt Mitchell: A Pouting Grimace
*Roscoe Mitchell/Matthew Shipp: Accelerated Projection
*Hank Mobley: Soul Station
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-04-13 Musicircus, UR, Richmond (wav)
*Sun Ra: Discipline 27-II (2017 remaster)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-06-23 NYC (CDR) (disc 2)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-06-24 NYC (CDR) (disc 1)
*Animal Collective: Painting With
*John Barry: Thunderball (Definitive Soundtrack Collection)
*Scott Brookman: Smellicopter Two
*Chicago: At Carnegie Hall (disc 3)
*Firesign Theatre: Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me the Pliers
*Firesign Theatre: Everything You Know Is Wrong
*Firesign Theatre: Anythynge You Want To
*Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
*Grateful Dead: 1968-02-14 San Francisco (CDR) (disc 2)
*Grateful Dead: Dick's Picks Volume 8 (1970-05-02 Harpur College) (discs 2, 3)
*Grateful Dead: Three from the Vault (1971-02-19 Port Chester, NY) (disc 1)
*Guided By Voices: selections (Magic Jukebox playlist)
*Jefferson Pilot: Soundtrack to Welcome Stranger
*Love: Da Capo
*Lee Perry: I Am the Upsetter (disc 1)
*Prince: First Avenue (webcast boot CDR)
*Sonic Youth: NYC Ghosts & Flowers
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music #7: Seventh and Last a-Chronology 1930-2012 (disc 1)
*Various artists: Rough Guide to Psychedelic Bollywood

Reading List, Week of 2018-03-25

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Reading List 2018-03-26:

*Fraction, Matt, and Chip Zdarsky. Sex Criminals, Vol. 2: Two Worlds, One Cop (finished)
*Christgau, Robert. Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (in progress)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (in progress)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Mason, Zachary. The Lost Books of the Odyssey (in progress)
*Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-03-18



I am enjoying slowly working my way through the excellent compilation series of Anthology of Noise & Electronic Music CDs put out by Sub Rosa... there is so, so much I don't know... these sounds help me realize that... Also enjoyed returning to the pithy beauty of John Gilmore's playing with Dizzy Reece on From In to Out... and digging Art Taylor's free drumming on that record!... Dug out another old favorite, Spihumonesty... well, sometimes my brain is too full to go into too much detail here about my listening, and this is one of those times...

Playlist 2018-03-19:

*Mozart: Trio in E Flat, K498/Tchaikovsky: Souvenir de Florence (La Jolla Chamber Music Society)
*Muhal Richard Abrams: Spihumonesty
*Muhal Richard Abrams: The Visibility of Thought
*Hamiet Bluiett/Muhal Richard Abrams: Saying Something For All
*Anthony Braxton: Sextet (Parker) 1993 (discs 4, 5, 6) (streaming)
*Alex Cline's Flower Garland Orchestra: Oceans of Vows (disc 2)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2008-03-24 Nashville "No. 3 [tt, synth, drums]"
*Kris Davis: Capricorn Climber
*Miles Davis & Gil Evans: The Complete Columbia Studio Recordings (disc 2)
*Andrew Drury: Content Provider
*Duke Ellington: The Complete 1932-1940 Brunswick, Columbia and Master Recordings of Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra (disc 6)
*Michael Formanek/Ensemble Kollosus: The Distance
*Roscoe Mitchell: Conversations I
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-04-13 Musicircus, UR, Richmond (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-02-19 "Only in Your Ears" (wav)
*Dizzy Reece Quintet: From In to Out
*Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Karyobin
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-05-04 Rome (CDR) (disc 2)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-05-12 Köln (CDR)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-06-23 NYC (CDR) (disc 1)
* 夢遊病者: 5772
*Syd Barrett: Barrett
*John Barry: From Russia with Love (Definitive Soundtrack Collection)
*Nora Byrd & John Williams: 2018-02-03 "The Craic," Chicago (streaming)
*Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
*Love: Love
*Sly and the Family Stone: Live at the Fillmore East October 4th & 5th, 1968 (disc 3)
*Sonic Youth: Goodbye 20th Century (disc 2)
*Steely Dan: 1974-05-20 London (CDR)
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music #6: Sixth a-chronology 1957-2010 (disc 2)
*Various artists: Bollywood "Music From the Third Floor" (CDR compilation) (disc 14)
*Various artists: Looking Good: 75 Femme Mod Soul Nuggets (disc 1)
*Yes: 1976-06-21 Hollywood (CDR)

Reading List, Week of 2018-03-18

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Reading List 2018-03-19:

*Fraction, Matt, and Chip Zdarsky. Sex Criminals, Vol. 2 (started)
*Sanderson, Brandon. Edgedancer (started/finished)
*Fraction, Matt, and Chip Zdarsky. Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick (reread/finished)
*Christgau, Robert. Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (in progress)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (in progress)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Mason, Zachary. The Lost Books of the Odyssey (in progress)
*Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-03-11



Delving into the mammoth Anthony Braxton Bird set.... just wonderful... The live Sly & the Family Stone sets from 1968 feature the band at its peak in terms of power and pure funkativity... I was lucky enough to see Sly at the Mosque in '68... as I recall, he was only about 45 minutes late... Love Sonic Youth's noise-rock sensibility with their takes on 20th-century composers like John Cage and Cornelius Cardew... The Beach Boys 2012 show in Texas is a little rougher than the officially released CDs from the 50th anniversary tour, but it is still surprisingly strong...

Playlist 2018-03-12:

*Chopin: Piano Masterpieces (Martin Roscoe)
*Muhal Richard Abrams: Blues Forever
*Muhal Richard Abrams Orchestra: Rejoicing with the Light
*Art Ensemble of Chicago with George Lewis: 1977-07-28 NYC (CDR) (disc 3)
*Art Ensemble of Chicago with Hamiet Bluiett: 1979-02-03 NYC (CDR)
*Anthony Braxton: Sextet (Parker) 1993 (discs 1, 2, 3) (streaming)
*Anthony Braxton: Trillium R: Composition 162 - An Opera in Four Acts/Shala Fears for the Poor (disc 4)
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2017-12-27 Nashville (wav) track 4
*Stephan Crump/Ingrid Laubrock/Cory Smythe: Planktonic Finales
*Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore (disc 2)
*Bill Dixon: Son of Sisyphus
*Kate Gentile: Mannequins
*Sun Ra: Cosmo Earth Fantasy: Sub Underground Series Vol. 1 & 2 (Art Yard) “Cosmo Earth Fantasy”
*Sun Ra and His Mythic Science Arkestra: The Paris Tapes: Live at le Theatre du Chatelet 1971
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-02-13 NYC (CDR) (disc 2)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-05-04 Rome (CDR) (disc 1)
*Various artists: That Devilin' Tune (Vol. III, disc 4)
*Beach Boys: 2012-04-26 Grand Prairie, TX (CDR) (disc 1)
*Boredoms: Vision Creation Newsun
*Scott Brookman: A Song for Me, a Song for You
*Scott Brookman: Smellicopter (selections)
*Carter Family: Volume 2 1935-1941 (disc 1)
*Chicago: At Carnegie Hall (disc 2)
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: New CDR Compilation (disc 1)
*Fable: 1978-09-25 Hopewell, VA (CDR)
*Grand Funk Railroad: On Time
*Grateful Dead: 1968-02-14 San Francisco (CDR) (disc 1)
*Grateful Dead: 1973-09-11 Williamsburg, VA (CDR) (disc 3)
*George Harrison: All Things Must Pass (disc 1)
*Ned Lagin: Seastones
*Love: Forever Changes
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol. 3 (disc 2)
*Sly and the Family Stone: Live at the Fillmore East October 4th & 5th, 1968 (disc 2)
*Sonic Youth: A Thousand Leaves
*Sonic Youth: Goodbye 20th Century (disc 1)
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music #6: Sixth a-chronology 1957-2010 (disc 1)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Big Mack Label
*XTC: Transistor Blast (disc 4)
*Yes: 1974-12-11 Boston (CDR) (disc 2)

Reading List, Week of 2017-03-11

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Reading List 2018-03-12:

*Fraction, Matt, and Chip Zdarsky. Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick (reread/started)
*Sanderson, Brandon. Oathbringer (started)
*Lemire, Jeff, and Dean Ormston.  Black Hammer: The Event (started/finished)
*Lemire, Jeff, and Dean Ormston.  Black Hammer: Secret Origins (reread/finished)
*Christgau, Robert. Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (in progress)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (in progress)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Mason, Zachary. The Lost Books of the Odyssey (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-03-04


Just pick out any random Anthony Braxton show from the '70s... chances are it will be brilliant and kick-ass... It's starting to look like "back to the seventies" around here, what with the Chicago, and the Yes, and the Roxy Music, and the Braxton, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago... but there are plenty of other decades represented too!... Speaking of Roscoe Mitchell (was I? I was certainly thinking of him), his playing cooks on Grachan Moncur III's New Africa... definitely the highlight of that album for me... Major release on Bandcamp of Braxton's Sextet (Parker) 1993... 11 CDs' worth of Braxton playing Bird!... a little high for my budget, but it's streaming now... essential Braxton, I would say... check out "Parker Melodies, " a wonderful 34-minute deconstruciton and collage of Bird melodies and free but focused energy...

Playlist 2018-03-05:

*Beethoven: Live at the Proms: Symphony No. 5/No. 7 (BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra)
*Chopin: Piano Masterpieces (Martin Roscoe)
*Art Ensemble of Chicago with George Lewis: 1977-07-28 NYC (CDR) (disc 2)
*Daniel Barbiero & Chris Lynn: Doubting All Things Aligned
*Anthony Braxton: Performance (Quartet) 1979
*Anthony Braxton: Sextet (Parker) 1993 "Parker Melodies" (streaming)
*Anthony Braxton: Trillium R: Composition 162 - An Opera in Four Acts/Shala Fears for the Poor (discs 1, 2, 3)
*Duke Ellington: Blues in Orbit
*Jimmy Ghaphery: Songs for Cosmos (streaming)
*Mary Halvorson/Jessica Pavone/Devin Hoff/Ches Smith: Calling All Portraits
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House
*Roscoe Mitchell Discussions Orchestra: Discussions
*Grachan Moncur III: New Africa
*Grachan Moncur III: Aco Dei De Madrugada (One Morning I Waked Up Very Early)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-03-28 “Well Extract Belief System” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-02-12 "Quit Looking (For Things That Are Missed)" (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-02-19 "Only in Your Ears" (wav)
*Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa
*Spontaneous Music Ensemble: Unreleased Studio Sessions and Broadcasts 1966-1968 (CDR)
*Sun Ra: Discipline 27-II (2017 remaster)
*Sun Ra: Sun Ra Plays Gershwin (streaming)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-02-13 NYC (CDR) (disc 1)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-05-08 Amsterdam (CDR) (disc 2)
*Various artists: That Devilin' Tune (Vol. II,  disc 8)
*Various artists: Creative Music Studio Archive Selections Vol. 1 (disc 2)
*Beatles: Anthology 2 (disc 1)
*Blind Faith: Blind Faith (Deluxe Edition) (disc 2)
*James Brown: Jazz
*Carter Family: 1927-1934 (disc 5)
*Chicago: At Carnegie Hall (disc 1)
*Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: 100 days 100 Nights
*King Crimson: Radical Action to Unseat the Hold of Monkey Mind (disc 1)
*Love: Forever Changes
*Prince: Outtakes 1993-1994 (boot CDR)
*Roxy Music: The Thrill of It All (discs 3, 4)
*Sly and the Family Stone: Live at the Fillmore East October 4th & 5th, 1968 (disc 1)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Viscojon Label
*Yes: 1974-12-11 Boston (CDR) (disc 1)

Reading List, Week of 2018-03-04

Image result for my life with bob

I inordinately enjoyed this, because I, too, have kept a book of books... since I was 10...

Reading List 2018-03-05:

*Christgau, Robert. Christgau's Consumer Guide: Albums of the '90s (started)
*Lemire, Jeff, and Dean Ormston.  Black Hammer: Secret Origins (reread/started)
*Mason, Zachary. The Lost Books of the Odyssey (started)
*Homer. The Odyssey (transl. Emily Wilson) (finished)
*Paul, Pamela. My Life with Bob (finished)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (in progress)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Sun Ra: The Work Continues

Major props to three record labels continuing the hard and much-appreciated work of spreading the legacy of Sun Ra: Art YardCorbett v. Dempsey, and Bandcamp, the latter through the aegis of Sun Ra LLC, with its ongoing fostering of the Ra archives by Michael D. Anderson and Irwid Chusid.





















Discipline 27-II, the latest release from Corbett v. Dempsey, is the album's first appearance on CD. It's a major upgrade from previously-circulating vinyl rips, remastered from the original tapes and sounding crystal-clear. This clarity strengthens the multi-layered nature of the music. The bonus track is an 8-minute extravaganza from the same 1972 studio session, a free-wheeling improvisation from the full Arkestra at the height of its powers.



Art Yard has been cranking out high-quality Ra reissues and original releases for many years now. I am anxiously awaiting the release later this month of Of Abstract Dreams: a previously unreleased Philadelphia radio station set from 1974. Judging from the single track streaming now ("Unmask the Batman," with a great Gilmore solo), it's gonna be killer!

The Bandcamp Sun Ra site has been tireless in all kinds of  releases: digital-only, LP, and CD reissues of classic albums as well as newly-released live albums and thematically-arranged compilations. It's a goldmine. For my brief thoughts on Taking a Chance on Chances and the two CD releases The Magic City and My Brother the Wind Vol. 1, see here and here.



I like the idea of compilations as a way to introduce a lot of Ra's music in different contexts. Case in point: Sun Ra Exotica. For more experienced listeners, the major draw for this release is the presence of three previously unissued tracks: a 1962 "April in Paris" and two originals: "Cha-Cha in Outer Space" (1962) and "Star Bright" (1965). One question, though: the most obvious choice for this compilation would have to be "Exotic Two," from Bad and Beautiful ---why would they leave that one out? Too obvious? It's certainly squarely in the exotica vein.

And something else: there are obviously tons of unreleased Ra tracks from over the years. While I am happy to hear them in any way I can, it is a bit frustrating to keep up with them all as they get released in dribs and drabs over a plethora of thematic compilations and as bonus tracks of already-released albums. I'd love to see major compilations of unreleased tracks, preferably chronologically (rather than thematically) arranged. This isn't a complaint; it's more of a plea from a long-term fan who has very much gotten used to Ra's discography being in a scattered state, and who does really appreciate whatever he can get.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-02-25

Image result for trillium r

Finally got a hold of Anthony Braxton's first opera release, Trillium R... full satisfaction!... every bit as compelling and, at times, downright weird as Trilliums E & J... The Steven Wilson remix of XTC's Black Sea is tremendous... the stellar work of drummer Terry Chambers benefits the most... More brilliance from Roscoe Mitchell, whose Discussions takes the clever tactic of rearranging trio improvisations (from the two Conversations albums) for large orchestra... I need to do some side-by-side listenings...

Playlist 2018-02-26:

*Anthony Braxton: Trillium R: Composition 162 - An Opera in Four Acts/Shala Fears for the Poor (discs 1, 2, 3, 4)
*Kip Hanrahan: 2012-08-28 Sardegna, Italy (CDR)
*Mark Helias Open Loose: The Signal Maker
*Matt Mitchell: A Pouting Grimace
*Roscoe Mitchell Discussions Orchestra: Discussions
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-29 “Leap at the Wheel” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-02-12 "Quit Looking (For Things That Are Missed)" (wav)
*Alexander von Schlippenbach: The Living Music
*Alexander von Schlippenbach Trio: Pakistani Pomade
*Matthew Shipp Trio: 2012-11-10 London (CDR)
*Spring Heel Jack: The Sweetness of the Water
*Cecil Taylor: 3 Phasis (side 2)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-02-12 NYC (CDR)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-05-08 Amsterdam (CDR)
*Ralph Towner: Diary
*Various artists: Blue Note Plays Bossa Nova (disc 3)
*Various artists: Creative Music Studio Archive Selections Vol. 1 (disc 1)
*Maxine Brown: Oh No Not My Baby: The Best of Maxine Brown
*Count Five: Psychotic Reaction
*Esquivel: The Space Age Sound of Esquivel (disc 1)
*Grateful Dead: 1972-04-17 Copenhagen (DVD)
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol. 2 (disc 2)
*Sonic Youth: Washing Machine
*Various artists: The Big Beat 1963)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label (disc 2)
*Various artists: Byrd Noise (CDR compilation)
*XTC: Black Sea (Surround Sound Series) (disc 1)
*Yes: Fragile
*Yes: 1974-11-20 NYC (CDR)

Reading List, Week of 2018-02-25

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Reading List 2018-02-26:

*Homer. The Odyssey (transl. Emily Wilson) (started)
*Paul, Pamela. My Life with Bob (started)
*Gould, Jonathan. Otis Redding: An Unfinished Life (started)
*Le Carré, John. Our Game (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Yet Another Bonus Playlist from the Magic Jukebox



Time for another random Magic Jukebox playlist, this time from late February 2018. Good listening!

1. Fred Astaire - Shall we dance?
2. Beach Boys - Funky pretty
3. Dusty Springfield - Don't let me lose this dream
4. Brian Wilson - Don't worry
5. Beach Boys - Little pad (backing track)
6. Stock, Hausen, & Walkman - Lighting up
7. Derek Bailey - After 5 weeks
8. B.J. Thomas - Coke commercial
9. Henry Cow - Viva Pa Ubu
10. D'Angelo - Brown Sugar
11. Flaming Lips and New Fumes - Girl, you're so weird
12. Joe Tex - Buying a book
13. Beatles - Kansas City/Hey hey hey (BBC)
14. Robert Johnson - Phonograph blues
15. James Brown - Prisoner of love
16. Beatles - Being for the benefit of Mr. Kite (takes 7 + 9)
17. Andrew Tibbs & the Dozier Boys - In a traveling mood
18. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Hey hey my my (live)
19. Negro Problem - Repulsion
20. Sun Ra - Groovin' high (live 1981)
21. Charles Mingus - My search
22. Naked City - The James Bond theme
23. Guided By Voices - Cool planet
24. Beatles - Because (Anthology)
25. Love - Seven and seven is
26. Prince - Girl
27. Frank Zappa - Naval aviation in art?
28. Elvis Presley - My baby left me
29. Duke Ellington - The lady who couldn't be kissed
30. Shirelles - Stop the music
31. Elijah & the Ebonites - Hot grits!!
32. Robert Wyatt - Grass
33. Booker T. & the MGs - Downtown
34. Ann Peebles - 99 pounds
35. Frank Sinatra - Memories of you
36. Tim Gane & Sean O'Hagan - La consecration
37. Beatles - Twist and shout (live)
38. Beatles - Matchbox (BBC)
39. Otis Redding - Shout bamalama
40. High Llamas - Doo-wop property
41. Parliament - My automobile
42. Hüsker Dü - Celebrated summer
43. Sun Ra All Stars - Over the rainbow
44. Beatles - Can't buy me love (live)
45. Little Booker - Doin' the hambone
46. Ikettes - The camel walk
47. Candi Staton - Mr. and Mrs. Untrue
48. Hatfield and the North - Let's eat (real soon)
49. High Llamas - Sailing bells
50. Deerhoof - Super duper rescue heads!
51. NRBQ - Here I am
52. Elder trio - 2012-06-29 track 1 excerpt
53. Minutemen - Jesus and tequila
54. Duke Ellington - Baby when you ain't there
55. Booker T. & the MGs - Ode to Billie Joe
56. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Beverly kills
57. Coleman Hawkins - Body and soul
58. Utopia - Everybody else is wrong
59. James Brown - I can't stand myself (live)
60. Sun Ra - Tiny Pyramids
61. Beatles - Good night
62. Billy Tate - Single life
63. Jimi Hendrix - Lover man (live)
64. Percy Sledge - Between these arms
65. Elvis Presley - Trying to get to you
66. Prince - I would die 4 U
67. Sam Cooke - Desire me
68. D'Angelo - Back to the future (pt. II)
69. Robert Wyatt: You you
70. Marvin Gaye & Mary Wells - Once upon a time
71. Deerhoof -  The forbidden fruits (live)
72. Fletcher Henderson - Bye and bye
73. Sun Ra - The shadow world (live 1966)
74. Charlie Parker - Quasimodo
75. Duke Ellington - Baby!
76. Zombies - I can't make up my mind
77. Duke Ellington - Ko Ko (live 1940)
78. Charlie Parker - She rote
79. Sam Cooke - Nothing can change this love (live)
80. High Llamas - Leaf & Lime
81. Frank Zappa - Unit 9
82. Animal Collective  -Natural selection
83. Robert Pollard - Western centipede
84. Exciters - Just not ready
85. Mothers of Invention - Anything
86. Invincibles - Heart full of love
87. Baby Washington - No time for pity
88. Martha Reeves & the Vandellas - Show me the way
89. Dusty Springfield - Willie & Carla Mae
90. Miles Davis and Gil Evans - The meaning of the blues
91. Chris Clark - Put yourself in my place
92. William Bell - A smile can't hide (a broken heart)
93. Cookies - I never dreamed
94. Beach Boys - Isn't it time
95. Joe Williams - It's raining again
96. Guided By Voices - Let's go (to war)
97. Steely Dan - Parker's band
98. Sun Ra - East of the sun west of the moon (live 1981)
99. Wendy Rene - Crowded park
100. James Brown - Make it funky (live)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-02-18

    http://darksta.com/strangematterrva/

I'm a huge fan of drummer Greg Saunier... I recently saw Deerhoof (at Strange Matter, here in RVA), and what really struck me this time was just how out they took each song, keeping the outline of these jagged pop tunes but getting really, really abstract and free, with each song blossoming out to these really strange free areas, then, tight as a drum, back to the song like they'd never left it... a large part of this dynamic was due to Saunier, who strayed the earliest and the longest from each song's framework, with quite experimental drumming that more than bordered on the cacophonic... well, I just loved it... Saunier is also brilliant on two other recent outings, Big Walnuts Yonder, with he and Mike Watt making for a killer rhythm section behind Nels Cline and Nick Reinhart, and a foray into instrumental free jazz with Mary Halvorson and Ron MilesNew American Songbooks, Volume 1... I especially love their beautiful rendition of a Beach Boys favorite of mine, "Little Pad"... more, please!... Really enjoying working my way through the JSP Carter Family recordings... deep, haunting stuff... Also enjoyed revisiting some of the more recent albums with Rodger Coleman and some older improvs from New Ting Ting Loft... what's nice is that as time passes, it's harder to remember that it's me... that distance helps me hear it as a purer music, less colored by personal reflections...

Playlist 2018-02-19:

*Mendelssohn: Octet/Schubert: 'Trout' Quintet (Royal String Quartet/Psophos Quartet)
*Rachmaninov: Symphony No. 2 (BBC Philharmonic/Edward Downes)
*AMM: Fine
*Paul Bley: Ballads
*Paul Bley: Open, To Love
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: Aphelion
*Rodger Coleman/Sam Byrd: Perihelion
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2015-05-15 Centennial Park Black Box Theater, Nashville (mp3)
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: Imaginary Vinyl
*Conjure: Music for the Texts of Ishmael Reed
*Billie Holiday: Lady Day: The Complete Billie Holiday on Columbia 1933–1944 (disc 3)
*Matt Mitchell: A Pouting Grimace
*Roscoe Mitchell: Songs in the WInd
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-08 “Optose” (mp3)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-22 “Contact Saturn (Checking on Ra)” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2017-10-09 "Fight Back in the Kitchen" (wav)
*Greg Saunier​/​Mary Halvorson​/​Ron Miles: New American Songbooks, Volume 1 (streaming)
*Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks (disc 1)
*Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa
*Tyshawn Sorey: That/Not
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-02-11 NYC (CDR) (disc 2)
*Various artists: Blue Note Plays Bossa Nova (disc 2)
*Eberhard Weber: Yellow Fields
*Big Walnuts Yonder: Big Walnuts Yonder
*Scott Brookman: Smellicopter Two
*Harold Budd/Brian Eno: The Pearl
*Carter Family: 1927-1934 (disc 4)
*Sugar Pie DeSanto: Go Go Power: The Complete Chess Singles 1961-1966
*Orckestra (Henry Cow + Mike Westbrook Brass Band): 1977-09-16 Milano, Italy (CDR) (disc 2)
*Robert Pollard: Lord of the Birdcage
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol. 2 (disc 1)
*Roxy Music: The Thrill of It All (disc 2)
*Sonic Youth: Dirty
*This Heat: This Heat
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music: Fifth a-chronology 1920-2007 (disc 2)
*Various artists: Bollywood "Music From the Third Floor" (CDR compilation) (disc 15)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Trager & Note Labels (disc 2)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Way Out Label (disc 1)
*Yes: 1974-12-10 New Haven, CT (CDR) (disc 2)

Reading List, Week of 2018-02-18




















Reading List, 2018-02-19:

*Le Carré, John. Our Game (started)
*Nabokov, Vladimir. The Real Life of Sebastian Knight (reread/started/finished))
*Smiley, Jane. Ten Days in the Hills (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Playlist for Week of 2018-02-11



Irwin Chusid and MIchael D. Anderson over at Bandcamp have done it again... by "it" I mean an excellent job of re-releasing archival Sun Ra recordings... this time, they've vastly improved Taking a Chance on Chances, which up to now had only been available on seriously defective vinyl that rendered all subsequent derivations (vinyl rips, CDRs, traded files, etc.) as damn-near unlistenable... side 1, anyway... they found a tape source that's not distorted!!... remarkable... the strength of this LP for me lies in the two brilliant John Gilmore solos on "Lady Bird/Half Nelson" and "What's New"... there's a bonus unreleased track as well... highly recommended digital-only release!... The Art Ensemble of Chicago performances with George Lewis subbing for Lester Bowie are revelatory... Lewis fits right in, of course, and the band reaches new heights of... whatever it is they do... marvelous and sublime... Lewis is easily my favorite trombone player... I'm not typically fond of trombone per se, but George Lewis makes me rethink my reticence...

Playlist 2018-02-12:

*Boulez: Le Marteau sans Maître/Sur Incises (Ensemble Intercontemporain) (CDR)
*Grieg/Schumann/Chopin (David Finckel/Wu Han)
*Mozart: Introducing the Complete Mozart Edition
*Stockhausen/Donatoni/Ligeti/Berio/Kagel/Xenakis (Nieuw Ensemble 2011-01-20) (CDR)
*Susan Alcorn/Ingrid Laubrock/Leila Bordreuil: 2017-08-18 Brooklyn NY (CDR)
*Art Ensemble of Chicago with George Lewis: 1977-07-28 NYC (CDR) (disc 1)
*Anthony Braxton Quartet: Live at Moers Festival (sides 3, 4)
*Anthony Braxton Quartet: Twelve Compositions: Live at Yoshi's in Oakland,  July 1993 (disc 2)
*Kate Gentile: Mannequins
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-01 “Featherduster” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-08 “Optose” (mp3)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-02-05 "Is That Me?" (wav)
*Other Dimensions in Music: 2006-10-12 London (CDR)
*Greg Saunier​/​Mary Halvorson​/​Ron Miles: New American Songbooks, Volume 1 (streaming)
*Wadada Leo Smith: America's National Parks (disc 2)
*Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Sun Ra Exotica
*Sun Ra & His Arkestra: Taking a Chance on Chances
*Ralph Towner: Solstice
*Various artists: Blue Note Plays Bossa Nova (disc 1)
*James Brown: Get Down With James Brown! (Live At The Apollo Vol. IV)
*Carter Family: 1927-1934 (disc 3)
*Earth Wind & Fire: Gratitude
*Earth Wind & Fire: Raise!
*Jethro Tull: A Passion Play
*King Crimson: In the Court of the Crimson King (40th Anniversary Series) (disc 1)
*Denise LaSalle: Here I Am Again
*Orckestra (Henry Cow + Mike Westbrook Brass Band): 1977-09-16 Milano, Italy (CDR) (disc 1)
*Ozric Tentacles: Jurassic Shift
*Annette Peacock: X-Dreams
*Roxy Music: The Thrill of It All (disc 1)
*Upsetters: Return of the Super Ape
*Various artists: Stax Revue Live at the 5/4 Ballroom
*Various artists: Rhythm and Blues Show at the Olympia
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation (disc 2)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Saadia Label
*XTC: The Uncollected (CDR compilation)
*Yes: 1974-02-26 Boston (CDR) (disc 2)
*Yes: 1974-12-10 New Haven, CT (CDR) (disc 1)

Reading List for Week of 2018-02-11

Image result for abyss of human illusion

Reading List, Week of 2018-02-12:

*Smiley, Jane. Ten Days in the Hills (started)
*Calvino, Italo. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler (transl. William Weaver) (reread/started/finished)
*Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies (started/finished)
*Sorrentino, Gilbert. The Abyss of Human Illusion (reread/finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Sunday, February 11, 2018

New Reading Plan


http://malazan.wikia.com/wiki/Suggested_reading_order#Ultimate_reading_order_suggested_by_members_of_the_Malazan_Empire_Forum

It's time to update my reading plan for the coming year. Unlike some of my older reading plans, though, this year I'm going a bit vague. Oh, I do have some specific books in mind, of course, but overall I just have this vague sense of where I'm going, which is fine, and kind of exciting. I always leave things up to chance and whim anyway. So, no big list this time. Just some smaller lists.

Looking back at my plan from November 2016, I see that I got through about half my list of first-time reads, but only less than a third of my rereading list. Oh well! Things change.

I have compiled a long list of early modern dramatists and plays I want to get through (other than Shakespeare). I'm not going to recreate that here, but you will start to notice plays by Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, Beaumont and Fletcher, John Ford, Thomas Middleton, etc. etc. showing up on my reading lists. Of course, I will also persist in my rereading of Shakespeare, punctuated by random Shakespeare criticism. That's a given.

Pretty soon, after I get through the third Stormlight Archive book and the new Expanse novel, I will buckle down and tackle the Javier Marías trilogy Your Face Tomorrow. I want to continue my chronological reading of John le Carré novels (the next one will be Our Game). I'm going to reread Pynchon's Bleeding Edge and some more Jane Austen. I want to get to at least one Stendhal novel.

Eventually I'll tackle all of the Malazan series again (for the third time), but I was thinking I would wait until Esslemont writes the third book in the Path to Ascendancy trilogy (looks like Erikson's Kharkanas prequel trilogy is on hold, and there may be another trilogy coming, concerning Karsa Orlong).

There are also those super-long books I will eventually get through one way or another...

And that's my plan! (For now...)

Monday, February 5, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-02-04



Props to a special "songbird," Nora Byrd... check out the wonderful set of mostly traditional Irish songs she recently did for the Chicago radio show The Craic... The Henry Threadgill listening thread continues, if a bit slowly... around this time period (2010) is when the live Zooid stuff starts to run together a bit for me... I find the released albums much more compelling... A snippet of the Miles Davis Fillmore East 1970 gigs came up on the Magic Jukebox, and it sounded awesome, so I dug out the box... it still amazes me just how much free/out stuff the band got into when Miles wasn't soloing... I'm also having a mini-Sonic Youth festival for myself, going through an album a week or so... amazingly strong body of work!... Tito Puente, on the other hand, makes for great cocktail music...

Playlist 2018-02-05:

*Beethoven/Fauré/Brahms (Gould Piano Trio)
*Haydn/Beethoven: The String Quartet (The Lindsays)
*Muhal Richard Abrams/George Lewis/Roscoe Mitchell: Streaming
*Art Ensemble of Chicago with Anthony Braxton & Frank Lowe: 1975-09-14 NYC (CDR)
*Daniel Barbiero & Ken Manheimer: 2018-01-27 Rhizome, Washington DC (streaming)
*Anthony Braxton Quartet: Twelve Compositions: Live at Yoshi's in Oakland,  July 1993 (disc 1)
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2017-12-27 Nashville (wav)
*Miles Davis: Miles at the Fillmore (disc 1)
*Jimmy Ghaphery: Songs for Cosmos (streaming)
*Barry Guy/London Jazz Composers' Orchestra: Portraits (disc 2)
*Roland Kirk Quartet: Rip, Rig, and Panic
*Roland Kirk: Now Please Don't You Cry, Beautiful Edith
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-01-11 “Lincoln Log Interval” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-04-04 “Ambiguity Promiscuity” (wav)
*Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2008-11-04 Köln, Germany (CDR)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2009-02-06 Middletown CT (CDR) (disc 2)
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: 2010-02-11 NYC (CDR) (disc 1)
*James Blood Ulmer with The Thing: Baby Talk
*Nora Byrd & John Williams: 2018-01-13 "The Craic," Chicago (streaming)
*Carter Family: 1927-1934 (disc 1)
*Eddie Floyd: Soul Street
*Funkadelic: Reworked by Detroiters (disc 2)
*Grails: Doomsdayer's Holiday
*Paul Kantner, Grace Slick, & David Freiberg: Baron Von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun
*Denise LaSalle: Trapped by a Thing Called Love
*Denise LaSalle: On the Loose
*Richard Meltzer, Robert Pollard, Smegma, Antler, & Vom: The Completed Soundtrack for the Tropic of Nipples
*Ozric Tentacles: Eternal Wheel (The Best Of) (disc 1)
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol. 4 (disc 2)
*Sonic Youth: Sister
*Upsetters: Super Ape
*Various artists: Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music: Fifth a-chronology 1920-2007 (disc 1)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: Twinight's Lunar Rotation (disc 1)
*Various artists: 60 Second Remixes (CDR compilation)
*Yardbirds: Live at the BBC (disc 2)
*Yes: 1974-02-26 Boston (CDR) (disc 1)

Reading List, Week of 2018-02-04

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Reading List, Week of 2018-02-05:

*Sorrentino, Gilbert. The Abyss of Human Illusion (reread/started)
*Heywood, Thomas. A Woman Killed with Kindness (started/finished)
*Kirkman, Robert, et al. The Walking Dead (issues 107-110) (started/finished)
*Minot, Susan. Rapture (started/finished)
*Sanderson, Brandon. Words of Radiance (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (in progress)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Collective Improvisation and Structure




Very interesting thoughts on the dynamics of large-scale collective improvisation, from an interview by Jon Abbey with Keith Rowe and Radu Malfatti:
Abbey: ...for me, we've almost gotten to a point ... where I almost feel like it's impossible, or close to impossible, to make a great collaborative improvised record anymore. ... Of course, there have always been solo records, there's always been composed music, there's always been collective improvised music, there will always be all of them. It's a question of which are more interesting and which are actually doing something, and to me the balance there has shifted in the last few years. And I guess what I wonder about with your perspective, because this is my perspective: do you really think it's possible that an area like free improvisation which theoretically at least has an incredibly wide range of possibilities, I mean it's not jazz, where there are defined boundaries. So despite this seeming openness, do you think nevertheless that we've come to the end or are coming to the end of that era?
Malfatti: Well, first of all, I don't think so. But maybe the definition is to be questioned, but again, that's why I really don't distinguish between composed music and improvised music, because you have very boring composed music, obviously, and you have compositions full of cliches of the cliche of the cliche of the cliche, and you have that in improvised music as well. The most interesting part for me today is what are the three most important aspects in music, but not only in music, in different areas as well, is the material and the structure and the form. ...
But what do I do? I have a big space, and I decide I want to build a house in it. And then there are many possibilities, I can build 273 rooms, so every room is just a square meter or something, I can decide I want 3 rooms, or even just 1. So the form from the outside is still the same, but the structure is what you are doing. But for me it is like I have a sound, a note or whatever, a sound, and how do I structure it in relationship to the other sounds. So in that case, with a full understanding, I wouldn't be afraid at all to do a collective improvisation with 20 people, if those 20 people have a similar, not the same, but a similar concept of structuring. Which means, in other words, there is no single way of thinking, there is no "let's fill this space", there is no "what else can I do?", but for the sake of the overall building and produce your sound and willing to listen to the other sounds for half an hour maybe. And I don't feel the need, that there is something missing and I take the opportunity to be listening to other sounds, and this for me is what is very interesting in composed music if it has the same aspect. One building with one or two big rooms, instead of all the little cells in prisons, maybe even locked doors. 
So for me this is the most interesting part, and therefore I don't see a very big difference between improvised music and composed music, because in composed music you can arrange the sounds in a specific way. In improvised music you can as well, but you really need all the other people with the same understanding, the same feeling. But that's nothing new, because that always has been like that, even in free jazz or Dixieland, you need the people to produce a certain thing. So as I said, I think the main topic, the main interest, is the space and the structure of how to place rooms or commas or sounds. For me, this is the most interesting bit today. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

New Release from Jimmy Ghaphery: Songs for Cosmos



Jimmy Ghaphery has a new audio release on Music Is Big Place: Songs for Cosmos. Music played mostly on poemophone, a kind of typewriter-based kalimba. Check it out!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-01-28

Image result for najwa wadada

Wadada Leo Smith's new album Najwa is brilliant... great guitar-driven textures, and some of the best drumming I've ever heard from Pheeroan akLaff... much more high-energy out than anything else I've heard him do... I like Brandon Ross's playing in this context more than in Henry Threadgill's.... Henry Kaiser sounds right at home... Smith's trumpet, of course, towers over everything...

Playlist 2018-01-29:

*Beethoven: Piano Sonata/Mendelssohn/Liszt/Schubert (Paul Lewis)
*Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 (Romantic) (BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra)
*Fauré: Piano Quartet No. 1/Franck: Piano Quintet (Schubert Ensemble of London)
*Handel: Concerti Grossi Op. 3 Nos. 1 & 2/Chandos Anthems (Academy of Ancient Music)
*Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 6 & 8/Giuliani: Guitar Concerto No. 1 (Edoardo Catemario/Wiener Akademie)
*Haydn: Symphonies Nos. 77 & 76 (Academy of Ancient Music/Christopher Hogwood)
*Mozart: A Mozart Festival
*Saint-Saëns: Violin Concerto No. 3/Wienawski: Violin Concerto No. 2 (Itzhak Perlman/Orchestre de Paris)
*Xenakis: Synaphaï
*Muhal Richard Abrams: Song for All
*Derek Bailey: Standards
*Anthony Braxton: GTM (Outpost) 2003 (disc 2)
*Rodger Coleman/Sam Byrd: Unheard Voices "Waltzing with Adolph"
*Bill Dixon" Bill Dixon in Italy, Volume 1
*Barry Guy/London Jazz Composers' Orchestra: Portraits (disc 1)
*Matt Mitchell: A Pouting Grimace
*Roscoe Mitchell Discussions Orchestra: Discussions
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2018-01-15 "Slip Mixer Blend" (wav)
*Tom Rainey Trio: 2017-09-09 Jazz Gallery, NYC (wav) (disc 2)
*George Russell Sextet: 1964-07-03 Newport Jazz Festival
*Wadada Leo Smith: Najwa
*Tyshawn Sorey: The Inner Spectrum of Variables (disc 1)
*Tyshawn Sorey: Verisimilitude
*Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra: The Magic City (Full Stereo Version)
*Cecil Taylor: The Tree of Life
*Henry Threadgill Zooid: This Brings Us To, Volume 1
*McCoy Tyner: Today and Tomorrow (selections)
*Carter Family: 1927-1934 (disc 2)
*Deerhoof: The Magic
*Deerhoof: I Thought We Were Friends (single/streaming)
*Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings (disc 30)
*Funkadelic: Reworked by Detroiters (disc 1)
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Cash Label

Reading List, Week of 2018-01-28

Image result for way of kings

Reading List, Week of 2018-01-29:

*Sanderson, Brandon. Words of Radiance (started)
*Shakespeare Up Close: Reading Early Modern Texts (ed. Russ McDonald, Nicholas D. Nace, and Travis D. Williams) (started)
*Gombrich, E. H. A Little History of the World (transl. Caroline Mustill) (finished)
*Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (finished)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)

Monday, January 22, 2018

Playlist, Week of 2018-01-21



I have been particularly drawn to large-ensemble improvisational music for the last 20 or so years, fueled largely by the two CD-length pieces on Alms/Tiergarten (Spree) in Cecil Taylor's mammoth box set In Berlin '88 and by various Anthony Braxton compositions for large ensemble like Composition 96 and those on Eugene (1989)... some of the most invigorating and inspiring music in this area is the work by the Globe Unity Orchestra... standard disclaimers apply on the (sort of tired) teasing out of what's "composed" and what's "improvised"... what interests me is how various sub-groups and individuals alter and contrast textures and timbres against a backdrop of often free, unstructured rhythm... of course this activity is interesting with smaller groups as well (I experience this frequently myself, with New Ting Ting Loft), but I love the possibilities of how it can play out with a big group... my recent explorations of Barry Guy's music have been quite fruitful in this regard... Got a pile of super-cheap classical CDs at the library book sale, so I'll be working my way through them... Will get back deeper into Threadgill-land in a couple of weeks... Still absorbing the way-out music Rodger Coleman and I recorded in December... massive walls o' sound...

Playlist, Week of 2018-01-22:

*Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-4 (German Bach Soloists)
*Berg: Violin Concerto/Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht (BBC Symphony Orchestra)
*Messiaen: Turangalîla Symphony (BBC National Orchestra of Wales)
*Schubert: "Death and the Maiden" and "Rosamunde" Quartets (Endellion String Quartet)
*AMM: AMMMusic 1966
*Daniel Barbiero/Cristiano Bocci: Non-Places
*Anthony Braxton Quartet: Live at Moers Festival (sides 1, 2)
*Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd: 2017-12-27 Nashville (wav)
*John Coltrane: The Major Works of John Coltrane (disc 2)
*Tomas Fujiwara: Triple Double
*Globe Unity Orchestra: Globe Unity ‘67 & ‘70
*Hutcherson, Bobby. Stick-Up!
*Music Improvisation Company: Music Improvisation Company
*Cecil Taylor: Conquistador!
*Deerhoof: Mountain Moves
*Bob Dylan: The 1966 Live Recordings (discs 25, 26, 27)
*Fable: 1978-09-25 Hopewell, VA (CDR)
*Oh Sees: Orc
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol 3 (disc 2)
*Tito Puente: The Complete 78s: Vol. 4 (disc 1)
*Radiohead: OK Computer
*Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Deep City Label
*Various artists: Eccentric Soul: The Young Disciples
*Various artists: Nu Yorica! Culture Clash in New York City: Experiments in Latin Music 1970-77 (disc 2)
*XTC: Skylarking (The Surround Sound Series) (disc 2) (selections)
*Yes: 1975-02-16 Philadelphia (CDR) (disc 2)

Reading List, Week of 2018-01-21




At the end of every issue of Classics Illustrated, there was always this pronouncement: read the original. As a kid, I took this to heart with every Shakespeare Classics Illustrated comic I had (all of  them!), as well as many others, but I'd never gotten around to this, one of my favorite Classics comics. Well, of course, the original novel blows the comic out of the water... it turns out to have been one of the worst Classics adaptations ever (an early one, so not surprising). Anyway, The Moonstone is one hell of a novel, a real page-turner and quite ahead of its time, in both its portrayal of women and its sympathy for the Indian (ostensibly) "bad guys." Highly recommended!

Reading List, Week of 2018-01-22:

*Sanderson, Brandon. The Way of Kings (started)
*Vaughan, Brian K., and Fiona Staples. Saga, Volume 8 (started/finished)
*Collins, Wilkie. The Moonstone (finished)
*Gombrich, E. H. A Little History of the World (transl. Caroline Mustill) (in progress)
*Jackson, Holbrook. Anatomy of Bibliomania (in progress)