Friday, June 23rd, 2006
... 3:10 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ...
KZSU, 90.1 FM
Returning after a week in Hawaii: Eight days without touching a computer.
Everybody needs to do that once in a while (seriously).
Can't say I got a lot of avant-jazz discoveries out of Kauai, not that I
expected any. I did encounter Denny Rouse, an old jazz cat who's played
with the likes of Stevie Wonder but also has real bebop credentials from
Art Blakey's band. He plays solo Sunday shows at the
in Kapa'a, soloing against a CD recording of piano/bass/drums. He's good,
and he tosses out some interesting ideas in his solos. Overcharges for
his CDs too, but you know ... jazz is a hard way to make a living, and
jazz on Kauai, where housing costs are through the roof for exactly the
same reasons as Silicon Valley's, has got to be even harder. So, I just
went with it; if Denny can get away with sticking it to tourists,
good for him. (Note to musicians: I'll be a lot less mellow about this
now that I'm off the island!)
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
Steve Coleman and Five Elements -- "Alt-Shift-Return" -- The Tao of Mad Phat Fringe Zones (Novus, 1993)
* Charlie Hunter Trio -- "Swamba Redux" -- Copperopolis (Ropeadope, 2006)
* Cooper-Moore -- "Duo Take 11" -- Outtakes 1978 (Hopscotch, 2005)
Old loft-jazz recordings featuring David S. Ware on sax and
Kenwood Dennard on drums, alongside Cooper-Moore on piano, flutes,
and various percussion including the homemade diddley-bow. Plus other
guests. This track isn't a duet per se, but I guess there's only one
musician at a time soloing against Cooper-Moore's diddley-bow
rhythm (a twangy, percussive/string sounding beat). Coolly executed.
* Gianluca Petrella -- "The Middleman" -- Indigo4 (Blue Note, 2005)
This is a quick-hit track with jazzy horn lines over a snappy, very
modern drum beat (a snare that emulates the snap of a drum machine;
the band Fieldwork comes to mind).
* Ben Goldberg Quintet -- "I Before E Before I" -- The Door, the Hat, the Chair, the Fact (Cryptogramophone, 2006)
Previously noted here, and
previously played here.
It's a low-key tune, but just so catchy, I can't stop playing it.
* Grismore/Scea Group -- "Cletus N'gugu" -- Well Behaved Fish (Accurate, 2006)
Whoa -- wacky, synth-laden funk that starts out cartoony and
gets into hard-digging fusion soloing. With Steve Grismore on guitar and
guitar synth, and Paul Scea on saxes, flute, etc. Also Anthony Cox on
bass -- always nice to see his name pop up. (His Dark Metals CD
isn't in our library; I'll have to bring it in for airplay sometime.)
* Roland Ramanan -- "Bloom's Blues" -- Caesura (Emanem, 2006)
This 10-minute track opens the album with a deliciously slow, groany cello
line, eventually building into faster, hardier improv.
-- 4:00 p.m. --
* Bernie Maupin Ensemble -- "Walter Bishop Jr." -- Penumbra (Cryptogramophone, 2006)
Free jazz from a veteran of the "electric Miles" period. Maupin
leads on bass clarinet and sax, and occasional flute, often digging into
funk territory. Keeps to a relatively cool intensity, as opposed to
aggressive blowouts; this track, in particular, presents a coolly steady
groove. Accessible stuff that includes plenty of substance and
sense of adventure.
* Cory Combs Trio -- "Money in Your Pocket and a Room with a View" -- Valencia(Evander, 2006)
Cory caught my attention in 2003 with his solo electric bass
album, Postcards from California. It had a dusty-road, Americana
look that read "Really bad smooth/new-age Windham Hill jazz," but turned
out to be really interesting, with a couple of free-jazz moments and
some old-world (like 1930s and before) spice here and there.
* Roy Nathanson -- "The Inflated Tear" -- Sotto Voce (AUM Fidelity, 2006)
This album adds saxophonist Dan Willis and drummer John Hollenbeck -- the
latter being the leader of the Claudia Quintet, a really interesting
modern-jazz group that includes Chris Speed, among others. Valencia
includes lots of interesting, experimental snippets and some really good
longer songs, peppered by Hollenbeck's complex drumming (he's really
good at that "drum-machine snap" mentioned with the Gianluca Petrella
CD, above). Lots of room for the sax to explore. Nice stuff, and it's
cool to see Combs landing on Phillip Greenlief's Evander label.
A veteran of the Lounge Lizards and the Jazz Passengers, Nathanson
has always had a passion for singing in addition to playing the saxophone.
He's got a raw but adequate voice with a deep New York accent that
adds a touch of sincerity or authenticity; I remember first hearing him
on an album he did with Anthony Coleman, The Coming Great Milennium,
which I'd picked up on my first ever trip to the Knitting Factory in New
York (the Knit was past its prime then, as I would later learn, and it
didn't treat the recording artists on its record label too kindly).
Anyway, that album's opening track, "Birds/Jews," was my first taste of
Nathanson's voice, which I found capitvating. This album's got vocals on
every track, sometimes singing, sometimes poetry, sometimes a mix
of the two.
* Liberty Ellman -- "Pretty Words, Like Blades" -- Ophiuchus Butterfly (Pi Recordings, 2006)
This particular track is a bit quieter than moist, starting and ending
with pretty sounds of bells.
* Paraphrase (Tim Berne, Drew Gress, Tom Rainey) -- "Trading on All Fours" -- Pre-Emptive Denial (Screwgun, 2005)
This CD didn't get much airplay because it's two tracks of about 25
minutes each; that sort of thing scares away even sympathetic DJs.
The easy answer is to excerpt the tracks -- fade in/out to present
a healthy snippet of the music -- but I like to play long tracks in their
entirety at least once during their turn in roatation. I'd already
played this one before, but I'm a fan of Berne's and this is a particularly
impressive track -- so here, on its last week in the "A-file," I figured
I'd give it another spin.
-- 5:00 p.m. --
* William Parker -- "Codex" -- Long Hidden: The Olmec Series (AUM Fidelity, 2006)
* Daniel Carter and Ravi Padmanabha -- "Vasana" -- Nivesana (Epoch, 2006)
* Phillip Greenlief -- "School" -- Seared Circuit Incident (Evander, 2006)
CD of solo saxophone pieces, all played on the same 1950s tenor that
Greenlief got from his dad (the whole CD is dedicated to Greenlief's parents
and has some touching photos and liner notes.) Devoted to
"Memory, Improvisation, and the Developing Language of the Saxophone," the CD
features a variety of sounds and strategies, keeping in an abstract vein
with lots of different techniques. It's like a musical sketchbook.
This track is my favorite, for now anyway -- a middling-aggressive set
of jazzy doodles.
* Gebhard Ullmann, Chris Dahlgren, Jay Rosen -- "Calling Mr. Waits, No. 1" -- Cut It Out (Leo Records, 2006)
Mats Morgan Band -- "Alive in Enskede" -- Thanks for Flying with Us (Cuneiform, 2005)
Aaly Trio -- "Why I Don't Go Back" -- Stumble (Wobbly Rail, 1998)
Jeb Bishop -- "i." [untitled track 9] -- 98 Duets (Wobbly Rail, 1998)
Bishop was playing a gig in town, so I figured I give him a spin;
this one's a duet with Ken Vandermark. Bishop, a trombonist, is active in
the Chicago jazz scene. He's played in a couple of Vandermark projects,
and I got to see him live on my trip to Chicago earlier this month, as
part of Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra.
* Christian McBride -- "Out Jam/Via Mwandishi/Mwandishi Outcome Jam" -- Live at Tonic (Ropeadope, 2006)
A 3-CD set of jamming live performances at Tonic, the lower East side
NYC venue that's been home to some great free/improv jazz work.
McBride's sets were a little more crowd pleasing than most Tonic fare,
but this is still pretty cool stuff -- long jams in electric Miles mode.
Each CD has a different feel ... CD 1 is like a fusiony, funky concert;
CD 2 features two extended jams (about 30 mins. apiece) with Charlie
Hunter and Jenny Scheinman guest starring (these tracks are part of a chill-out pause on CD 2); CD 3 gets into a bit of
hip-hop mode. Ambitious and colossal.
* = 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.