Friday, July 29th, 2005 ... 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ... KZSU, 90.1 FM
Talking today with Chris Jones of sfSound, a
local group that plays contemporary classical music. He'll be
performing John Cage's "Concert for Piano and Orchestra, which the
Dictionary of Music calls the piece "an encyclopedia of indeterminate notations."
Also on the bill are a Satie piece and a composition from
guitarist John Shiurba
as well as some improvisational works from the ensemble. Good stuff.
Not that anyone cares, but it was just last week I was writing in this
space about the Boston Modern Orchestra Project
and how sfSound deserved the kind of attention (funding) those folks
get from the Boston community. Just trying to do my part, I guess.
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
* Erik Truffaz -- "Tantrik" -- Saboua (Blue Note, 2005)
New direction for Truffaz. He's still adding Euro-dance elements
to his jazz trumpet, but this time it's in a more rocking vein, and with
more overtly "world" influences (several tracks with Tunisian vocalist
Mounir Troudi, for example). I liked it, although I've read reviews
that say it's all too much (true, admittedly) -- and I agree that
Truffaz's trumpet is an awkward fit sometimes with this louder,
aggressive direction. That said, the guitar parts -- often over-the-top,
including a couple of psych jams -- won me over. The rap track, though,
just proves yet again that jazz and rap aren't as good a mix as
* Rouge Ciel -- "Nostradamus l'Avait Predit" -- Veuillez Proceder (Ambiances Magnetiques, 2005)
* John Gunther Trio -- "Marksman" -- V/A: CIMPosium Volume 15 (CIMP, 2005)
Peter Brotzmann and Hamid Drake -- "Trees Have Roots in the Earth" -- The Dried Rat-Dog (Okka Disk, 1995)
* The Contemporary Jazz Quintet -- "Actions #II" -- Actions (Atavistic/Unheard Music Series, 2005; recorded 1966-1967)
Danish free-jazz group that was obviously influenced by the music
of U.S. folks like Albert Ayler and Sunny Murray. The band includes
a musical saw, played by Niels Harrit, and it's not there just for a
track or two; it's all over the place. Gives the whole CD a ghostly
feel, obviously. These guys aren't well known here but they were
quite active in Scandanavia, back in the day, according to John Corbett's
* Natto Quartet -- "Ume" -- Thousand Oaks (482 Music, 2005)
The "long" one (11 minutes) on this album, a nice expansive and
slow improvisation. The quartet includes two Japanese instruments
(shakuhachi and koto) alongside piano and some computer electronics,
an interesting blend that comes across contemplative and Asian (and
Tim Perkis knows not to overdo the electronics slashing across the
acoustic instruments). Seemed like a nice break after the dense,
intense Contemporary Jazz Quintet piece.
-- 4:00 p.m. --
* Roger Smith and Louis Moholo-Moholo -- "Letters to Insects" [excerpt] -- The Butterfly and the Bee (Emanem, 2005)
* Ellis Marsalis -- "Somehow" -- Ruminations in New York (ESP-Disk, 2005)
* John Surman -- "Way Back When (Part 3)" -- Way Back When (Cuneiform, 2005; recorded 1969)
This track's got a mellow feel like a Bitches Brew warmup
session. Electric piano helps give it that nicely dated sound. Cool
disk overall; we've got another one on Cuneiform from a guy named
Graham Collier that mines a bigger '60s sound, with big horns but
still delving into that early free-jazz sound. It'll be added to rotation next
* Gianluigi Trovesi and Gianni Coscia -- "Round About Weill/Denn Wie Man Sich Bettet, So Liegt Man" -- Round About Weill (ECM, 2005)
A tribute album to Kurt Weill with Trovesi on clarinet and Coscia
on accordion, for that Euro sidewalk-cafe kind of sound. Fun and charming,
also lots of nicely involved solos and an overall jazzy freedom.
* Myra Melford/The Tent -- "Eight" -- Where the Two Worlds Touch (Arabesque, 2004)
* Grachan Moncur III Octet -- "Exploration" -- Exploration (Capri, 2005)
John Cage and David Tudor -- [First several stories on Disk 2] -- Indeterminacy (Smithsonian Folkways, 1992; orig. released 1959)
An example of the "indeterminacy" mentioned above: Cage reads little
one-minute stories while Tudor plays music -- piano, electronics, whatever
-- in the background. The catch is that the two men didn't listen to each other during the performance; they recorded their parts
separately and dropped them together onto tape. Indeterminacy! Adding
to the randomness, Cage spoke at varying speeds with occasional
long pauses, so that the 90 stories average more than 1 minute apiece.
And then, to make things even more unpredictable, I started playing
one of the "September Winds" tracks during this one, adding another
layer of sounds to the mix. Would Cage have approved?
* Evan Parker and September Winds -- "Foghorns (I)" -- Short Stories (Leo Records, 2005)
Grouping of four saxophonists and one trombonist, performing
pieces that are mostly 3 minutes or less. That's in contrast to the
hour-long pieces on their previous CDs. This European band originally
got together to play in a cistern, creating cool echoey effects.
The contrast of this CD, where ideas are presented and then terminated
in a hurry, is nice -- but it helps if you're aware that they normally do
do longer pieces.
* Fred Lonberg-Holm -- "Almost Mid-Day" -- Other Valentines (Atavistic, 2005)
Jazzy piece that borrows from "Round Midnight." Longberg-Holm gets
some nice cello tones going on this one.
Craig Taborn -- "American Landscape" -- Light Made Lighter (Thirsty Ear, 2001)
John Cage - "Four Walls" parts I-III (John McAlpine, piano) -- Four Walls (Largo, 199?)
-- 5:00 p.m. --
John Cage -- "Four Walls" part IV -- Four Walls (Largo, 199?)
* Joelle Leandre/India Cooke -- "Firedance 6" -- Firedance (Red Toucan, 2005)
* Blaise Siwula/Mike Khoury -- [un titled track 4] -- Eight Duets 2002-2003 (Detroit Improvisation, 2005)
! Rush -- "Cinderella Man" -- A Farewell to Kings (Mercury, 1977)
Minutes earlier, Ragnar of Ravensfjord (a fellow DJ) came into the
station and informed me it was Geddy Lee's birthday. How could I
not play this?
* John Tchicai, Garrison Fewell, Tino Tracanna, Paolino Dalla Porta, Massimo Manzi -- "Prayer for Right Guidance" -- Big Chief Dreaming (Black Saint, 2005)
The latest from saxophonist Tchicai, with Fewell on guitar and an
Italian band. A few tracks, like this one, draw from elements of
Native American music, but they come across almost stereotypical and
mocking. Maybe it's ironic or honorable, and I'm just missing something.
* Scott Amendola Band -- "Buffalo Bird Woman" -- Believe (Cryptogramophone, 2005)
Scott's band goes all Crazy Horse on us! A slow yet noisy track
resembling Neil Young territory.
* Paul Dunmall with Paul Lytton and Stevie Wishart -- "The Ears Have It" [excerpt] -- In Your Shell Like (Emanem, 2005)
Small-group improv with a twist: Wishart plays hurdy-gurdy on three
tracks, and Dunmall drops his sax in favor of bagpipes on two tracks!
Interesting results -- the hurdy-gurdy adds accordion-like atmosphere, of
course, but combined with the bagpipes, you can get strange dissonant
drones. Very cool, but also not good in large doses (IMHO). Dunmall does
cut loose on bagpipes -- how often do you read that phrase -- for some
long, swirling, fast-paced cascades of notes resembling saxophone play.
Erik Satie -- "3 Gymnopedies" -- Piano Solos of Erik Satie (Windham Hill, 198X)
* = Item in KZSU rotation
! = Pop anomaly
? = Item not in KZSU library
-- Go back to Memory Select playlists.
-- Bay Area free/improv music calendar: http://www.bayimproviser.com.