Friday, December 9th, 2005 ... 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ... KZSU, 90.1 FM
Includes a ton of mainstream jazz during the middle hour -- something that
just organically evolved (aided by my decision to play a 15-minute
tune). Because I do 99% of my show on the fly, it's interesting to
see shows sometimes lean heavily toward one corner -- "regular" jazz, or
non-musical sound experiments, or free improv. I always wonder how
this affects the listenership, because most people prefer consistent
stretches of like musics. The mainstream jazz, in particular, probably
sucks in some listeners who promptly disconnect when I shift back to
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
* Tim Crowther, Steve Franklin, Tony Marsh -- "The Desert Nuts" -- Amherst Dislodged (Slam, 2005)
Avant-fusion, led by guitar and guitar synth (Crowther) and backed by
forests of keyboards -- sometimes atmospheric synth washes, sometimes
piano in a brisk out-jazzy style (Franklin). (Marsh plays drums.)
Nicely atmospheric stuff, somewhere between prog-fusion and psych-jamming,
but with a heavy, hazy sci-fi feel all around. Really interesting album
from a label known for British free improv, a nice sidetrack for them.
* The Redressers -- "(anti)thesis" -- To Each According... (Free Porcupine Society, 2005)
Keep forgetting to play this one (that's the danger of the skinny
paper package vs. the jewel case -- it's harder to see on the shelf.)
My loss, because this band is awesome. Devin Hoff, bassist in
Good for Cows, leads it
and wrote the songs. The band is like a chamber quartet -- with Ches
Smith (drums), Marika Hughes (cello), and Carla Kihlstedt (violin).
The music is active and bouncy; Hoff calls it instrumental rock, but you
could drop it in the jazz bin if you wanted. Awesome stuff; it's just
too bad all four band members are so busy, because this would be a nice
project to watch develop.
* Avram Fefer and Michael Bisio -- "City Life/Tipping Point" -- Painting Breath, Stoking Fire (CIMP, 2005)
* Cuong Vu -- "It's Mostly Residual" -- It's Mostly Residual (self-released, 2005)
A floaty, atmospheric piece, the kind of stuff that caught Pat
Metheney's attention and got Cuong onto Pat's last couple of albums.
As mentioned last week, this CD also has more raucous, fast-jazz pieces,
so it was nice to share a slow one, something more typical of Cuong's
old albums on the defunct Knitting Factory label. Bill Frisell on
guitar (Cuong is in his band, too).
* Ikue Mori -- "Ice Palace" -- Myrninerest (Tzadik, 2005)
Very appropriately titled, with lots of spiky icy sounds. Fast-paced.
* Derek Bailey -- "After 12 Weeks" -- Carpal Tunnel (Tzadik, 2005)
Bailey is a pioneer of untethered free improv, and people talk
about how he's fashioned his own language and style on the guitar.
(I have trouble hearing it, but maybe that's because so many improv
musicians are influenced by him.) At age 75, he's gotten carpal tunnel
syndrome and can't hold a pick any more. Rather than have surgery, he's
decided to modify his guitar technique -- and this CD shows the results.
The six tracks mark different points of Bailey's new learning process,
from the beginning (recorded with Eugene Chadbourne,
with the two of them talking a bit about Bailey's condition) to 12 weeks
later. Slow stuff, missing the fast/vicious passage Bailey can do --
which is probably an indication of how seriously he's taking this
shift in technique. Interesting document. Of course, everyone will be waiting
to see the long-term results.
* The Claudia Quintet -- "Susan" -- Semi-Formal (Cuneiform, 2005)
* Jim Black -- "Boombye" -- Alas No Axis (Winter & Winter, 2000)
One of my favorite tracks from one of my favorite albums from
that year. Let me bore you with the story of how I got this CD. It was
a dark and stormy night, literally.
-- 4:00 p.m. --
Black had become a fave drummer of mine, based largely on his
work with Tim Berne -- I'd even sought out his work on other albums (this is
how I discovered guitarist Ben Monder, e.g.)
I was in Baltimore for a trade conference and found out that Jim Black's band
was doing a show in Philadelphia while I was there -- a two-hour drive, but
closer than he'd be getting to California any time soon. So, having a
rental car at my disposal, I took a chance and made the trek. East-coasters
know this already, but I didn't: Interstate 95 is a freaking mess,
clotted with big-rigs. I made the drive clutching the steering wheel,
trying to see in the pouring rain, trying not to do anything that would
upset the 18-wheelers surrounding me. This was before GPS, too, so I had
only the sketchiest idea of where to go once I got to Philadelphia.
It was harrowing -- and I had to park a couple blocks away, so I was
soaking wet when I made it to the venue, a theater that might have been
a very large house back in old times. Black's group was playing in the
attic space, where it was nice and warm -- I arrived just after they'd
finished the first number and settled in for a very nice set. The group
plays a languid instrumental rock, very different stuff, and I got a chance
to chat with Jim and purchase his CD before the official release date.
Told ya it was boring. Anyway, I love the CD not only because it's cool,
but for the memories of the work it took to get to that show. I'm glad
I made the trip.
* Tryptych Myth -- "Poppa's Gin in the Chicken Feed" -- The Beautiful (AUM Fidelity, 2005)
* James Carter, Cyrus Chestnut, Ali Jackson, Reginald Veal -- "Platform Blues" -- Gold Sounds (Brown Brothers, 2005)
Jazz quartet doing up songs by Pavement, the indie rock band. No idea
why the label decided on that particular band, but the results are
tremendous. Fun soul-jazz pieces (mostly) with lots of twiddling by
all four band members, lots of little free-jazz departures in the
solos (especially Carter, who's great at that). Rock solid and upbeat;
I really got into it. And because I don't know Pavement, only one of
the eight tracks had that over-melodic quality that ruins so much
Beatle jazz for me.
* Art Tatum -- "Between Midnight and Dawn" -- The Genius (Jazzman; recorded 1944)
This started off the long set, like 45 minutes, of "regular" jazz.
* Gerald Wilson Orchestra -- "Blues for Manhattan" -- In My Time (Mack Avenue, 2005)
* Wynton Marsalis -- "Green Chimneys" -- Live at the House of Tribes (Blue Note, 2005)
Fifteen minutes, with long playful solos. This record
displays a verve that Wynton's studio work misses; gone is the
stern jazz purist, and in his place is a trumpet player who's really
having fun and isn't afraid to goof off a bit (always coloring
"inside the lines," but with more abandon). Great stuff, and it's
really improved my image of Wynton, too.
* Jim Hall and Enrico Pieranunzi -- "Duologue 2" -- Duologues (Cam Jazz, 2005)
This concluded the mainstream
jazz set, which ended up encompassing something like 45 minutes.
* Rich Woodson's Ellipsis -- "Cerebral Nerve"/"Nerve Ending XIII"/"Flames from an Unlikely Source" -- The Nail That Stands Up Gets Pounded Down (N/Twerp, 2005)
* Steve Lehman -- "Vapors" -- Demian As Posthuman (Pi Recordings, 2005)
-- 5:00 p.m. --
! John Lennon -- "Give Me Some Truth" -- Imagine (Apple, 1970)
Remembering, not obsessing.
* Keith Jarrett -- "Part 3" -- Radiance (ECM, 2005)
Gentle piece. But the mood got broken when I accidentally hit a
button the CD player (I'm notorious for getting "CD1" and "CD2"
mixed up, which is unforgiveably dumb). Had to recover by just hitting
"play," which launched "Part 4," a jumbly playful/avant piece.
The kind of thing you don't admit to on air (and I didn't), because most
listeners aren't paying close enough attention to hear. Why I'm admitting
it here, I don't know. Hopefully few Web surfers are reading my
stuff enough to notice.
Double Jeu Trio -- "La Fatalite de L'adiue" -- Mobiles (Unit, 1997)
Paul Murphy, Glenn Spearman, William Parker -- "Trio Hurricane" -- South (Black Saint, 2005)
The "slow" track, aggressive but not as firey and fierce as the
two other long tracks here. Always great to remember Spearmann once in
Ettrick -- [untitled track 2] -- self-released demo CDR, 2005
Sax/drums duo that describes themselves as jazz with a
death-metal touch. They do get loud and squeaky but not as "metal" as
Seth Misterka's sax work. Nice stuff, though; played it today because
they're doing a show tonight. We'll probably add this to rotation.
Moe! Staiano -- "Aetlier 8" -- The Lateness of Early Presentation (Dephine Knormal, 2002)
* The Onus -- "Jesus, Children of America" -- Triphony (Hipnotic, 2005)
Todd Sickafoose Group -- "Streaming" -- Dogs Outside (Evander, 2000)
* Nicholas D'Amato Royal Society -- "Extracted" -- Nullius in Verba (Buckyball, 2005)
* = 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.