Friday, July 21st, 2006
... 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ...
KZSU, 90.1 FM
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
* Pink Mountain -- "Mastiff Mix" -- Pink Mountain (Frenetic, 2006)
I've been remiss, not playing this as much as it deserves (and I'm even the
one who packed it into rotation on short notice, to help promote
the band's CD release show!) I've got a few more weeks to correct
* Joelle Leandre -- "Meeting One" -- At the Le Mans Jazz Festival (Leo Records, 2006)
A two-CD set of improvisations from five different small groups,
each featuring Leandre on bass. Great showcase for one of the premier
improvisers of our time.
John Coltrane -- "Expression" -- Expression (Impulse!, 1967)
This particular track includes Maggie Nichols
on wailing wordless vocals and Irene Schweitzer on piano, a really
nice set (I played a fraction of the 25-minute piece).
Other folks showing up include William Parker, India Cooke (really cool
local violinist), and Carlos Zingaro.
Fading out the Leandre/Schweitzer/Nichols track made for a
surprisingly good transition into this 10-minute piece, from Coltrane's
final recording session. It starts off with reverent, loving piano
(Alice Coltrane) and of course gets into twisty gnarls of tenor sax,
although it doesn't get too wildly free.
* Cooper-Moore -- "Prayer Take 8" -- Outtakes 1978 (Hopscotch, 2006; recorded 1978)
A gospel-piano feel, with highly charged emotional sax from
David S. Ware. Made for a nice mood-carrier from the Coltrane track,
even though I stuck a mic break between them.
* Gebhard Ullmann, Chris Dalhgren, Jay Rosen -- "No Mouthpiece" -- Cut It Out (Leo Records, 2006)
* Cory Combs Trio -- "1974" -- Valencia (Evander, 2006)
Trio album previously mentioned
This is one of the longer tracks, about 5 minutes, with some of the
happy turn-of-the-century clarinet sound that permeates the album, but
also a briefly crazy free-jazz moment.
* Johnnie Valentino -- "4M2" -- Stingy Brim (OmniTone, 2006)
Valentino is a guitarist, but it's hard to think of this as a
"guitar" album. The horns take front stage, and the tuba -- used in place
of bass, a node to the old New Orleans sound -- colors the sound
considerably. This track starts with some unaccompanied guitar
and has a complex, progressive sound, so it stands out.
Joe Morris/William Parker -- "Hypnotext" -- Invisible Weave (No More, 1997)
Guitar-bass improvisations. Most of them start gradually,
eventually building into some nice cross-currents. A good way to savor
Morris' electric guitar sound and Parker's rich, booming acoustic
-- 4:00 p.m. --
* Liberty Ellman -- "You Have Ears" -- Ophiuchus Butterfly (Pi Recordings, 2006)
Completing the three-song all-guitar set. More on this CD
? Gubbish -- "Calling Everyone Loudly..." -- Notations in Tonations (Odd Shaped Case, 2004)
Led by bass clarinetist Aaron Novik, Gubbish is an eciting project mixing
Ornette-style jazz composing with hints of Klezmer scales. Good, creative
stuff in a similar vein to Patrick Cress' Telepathy (a band that includes
Novik; we had their latest CD in rotation recently.
?! Stan Ridgway -- "Our Manhattan Moment" -- Snakebite: Blacktop Ballads and Fugitive Songs (Redfly, 2004)
A slow one with jazzy guitar accents from guest Skip Heller and
a very Stan-like refrain of "I wish that I could be as dumb as you."
The music feels rather romantic, actually. Been thinking for a long while
about sneaking this track into the show, so here it is.
* Clive Bell and Sylvia Hallett -- "With the Book Propped Against the Horse's Mane" -- The Geographers (Emanem, 2005)
One of the difficulties we face is the cataloguing of improv.
Most of it gets filed as "jazz," given that it's saxophone-based,
uses a jazz-combo kind of lineup (drums, acoustic bass, etc.), and has
tenuous ties to the free jazz of the '60s. (Technically that's wrong;
my understanding is that the improv pioneers in Europe were avoiding
any connections with jazz -- and the music seems to have more in common
with modern classical anyway.)
* Richard Carr, Mike Nord, Georg Hofmann, Art Maddox -- "Ants" -- Biosphere (Leo Records, 2006)
Lately, I've made the decision based on how close the sound gets to jazz,
and that's eliminated a lot of CDs that one could consider fringe/modern
jazz but aren't as "musical" -- electronics experiments, for instance.
We don't toss them out; they just get added to the library as General instead
So, this CD. Most of the Emanem output gets put into jazz, but Hallett's
use of unusual percussion (bicycle wheel, mainly) to produce squeaky,
shimmery noises... and the overall percussion-heavy sound, and its
sparseness... and the bowed saw Hallett uses, and the way Bell sounds
on shakuhachi and other exotic instruments ... it just feels like an
instrumental stew that would be too confining to call "jazz." So, I
didn't; we classified this as General.
It's quite nice, by the way. Just one of those disks that makes me
question the utility of even having library divisions. My take: We should
throw everything into one big Library. Maybe use colored stickers to denote
Jazz or Blues or Country (as we already do) but why keep the shelving
separate between genres? I should add that the idea has almost no
support, so maybe I'm just being an anti-genre snob.
They play violin/viola, guitars/electronics, drums/perc, and piano,
respectively. A quartet from Oregon, doing improv with a studied,
chamber-music air to it. That creates a nice sense of structure,
but it's free enough to not be so pretentious (while still being good
* John Zorn, composer; Mark Feldman (violin) and Sylvie Courvoisier (piano) -- "Boel" -- Malphas, Book of Angels Vol. 3 (Tzadik, 2006)
Benedictine Monks of the Abbey -- "Sanctux XIII, 7th Mode" -- Gergorian Chants, Eternal Chants (Milan, 1993)
Malphas, as mentioned
is a chamber-music interpretation of some of Zorn's Masada songbook.
Dynamic and frequently jazzy stuff.
* Roy Nathanson -- "Sunny" -- Sotto Voce (AUM Fidelity, 2006)
As for the monks...
I've been using our
search engine to look up the tracks on Malphas, hoping to find
one that was released on the original 10 Masada albums. It would be cool
to play the original and the Feldman/Courvoisier versions back-to-back,
I thought. No luck so far, but a search for "Boel" turned up the
composer named "Boellmann," whose work is represented on a track of
It made a good fit with the classical/chamber sounds of Malphas, so
I went with it. But I used a 1-minute track instead of the 4-minute
Bohllmann ... hey, sometimes even avant-garde DJs worry about listeners getting
The vocal nature of this one (buoyant doo-wop styles) came to mind after
the monks, and the spare, bluesy intro to the song made for a good
* Grismore/Scea Group -- "Spinach Dip" -- Well Behaved Fish (Accurate, 2006)
Matt Flinner -- "Men from Boise" -- Walking on the Moon (Compass, 2003)
Gave this one a few spins back in 2003 when it was in rotation.
Mandolin-led jazz, straightforward stuff with unavoidable bluegrass
elements, done in an upbeat and carefree style that feels fresh. Flinner
tosses out mostly originals (I don't think this project would have worked
with a set of slavish standards readings), including the title track --
yes, it's the Police song. I was going for a fast/manic set that
led off with the Grismore/Scea track, and this one, which uses that
fleet-footed bluegrass style well, fit nicely.
-- 5:00 p.m. --
* Lucien Dubuis with Marc Ribot -- "Insomnie" -- Willisau Jazz Festival (self-released, 2006)
Ah-HAHAHAHA! Yes! Saxophonist Dubuis' most recent CD just
through rotation; this is a live-CD follow-up that Dubuis' manager
sent us. It's got Marc Ribot as a guest star, alongside Dubuis' own
guitarist, and on this track they really crank it out. Big, loud,
aggressive, fast, obnoxious -- woo hoo!
* Gutbucket -- "Throsp%" -- Sludge Test (Cantaloupe, 2006)
Speaking of big, loud, etc. ... previously mentioned
Mark Dresser -- "Force Cuisine" -- Force Green (Soul Note, 1995)
* Bennie Maupin Ensemble -- "Tapping Things" -- Penumbra (Cryptogramophone, 2006)
Positive Knowledge -- "In One Heart" -- Live in New York (Edgetone, 2003)
* Phillip Greenlief -- "Frogs" -- Seared Circuit Incident (Evander, 2006)
-- 6:00 p.m. --
Jake Smolowe -- "Level with Me" -- Level with Me (self-released, 2004)
Wardell Gray -- "Scrapple from the Apple" -- Central Avenue (Prestige, 1976; recorded 1950)
* Fred Anderson -- "Timeless" -- Timeless (Delmark, 2006)
* = 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.