Friday, September 15, 2006
... 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. ...
KZSU, 90.1 FM
Extra hour due to the sports schedule, which is nice because I'll be
gone next Friday (taking the kids to Disneyland) (no, that's hardly my
ideal vacation, but we might as well let them experience it while
they're still excited about it; I'm lobbying heavily for LEGOLAND
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
* Harry Miller's Isipingo -- "Which Way Now" -- Which Way Now (Cuneiform, 2006)
An offshoot of Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath (briefly noted
here), but without
McGregor and with bassist Miller at the helm. Same idea: Long-form jams
full of joy and abandon.
* Lucien Dubuis Trio -- "Dear Mr. Crunch" -- Willisau Jazz Festival (self-released, 2006)
track is a straight-out rock piece, with a couple of pauses for
* Robert Marcel Lepage -- "Pee Wee Joue Aux Echelles et Serpents" -- Pee Wee et Moi (Ambiances Magnetiques, 2006)
A tribute to Pee Wee Russell, the '30s clarinetist, led by Lepage,
who brings in various guest clarinetists to help him out. The CD has
a swingy, old-time jazz feel throughout, with some modern touches.
This is one of the more straight-swing tracks.
? B.E.E.K. [Peter Brotzmann, Lisle Ellis, Marco Eneidi, Jackson Krall] -- "No. 1" -- Live at Spruce Street Forum (Botticelli, 2004)
Released on Marco Eneidi's Botticelli label just before he left
the Bay Area for an opportunity to work in Vienna. Marco always
bemoaned the situation out here, and seemed to have some difficult luck
as well (liner notes in one CD describe a tussel with a theater owner
over the distribution of gate money, for instance). Hope he's doing well.
I last played this CD on-air when I devoted half a show to
Marco's music -- details
* CBD Trio -- "Crescendo" -- Suspension (Rastascan, 2006)
Nice improv session with Chris Brown (piano, electronics), Biggi
Vinkeloe (sax), and Donald Robinson (drums) -- Brown and Robinson are local,
and Vinkeloe, from Sweden, has passed through the area a few times, so she
almost counts as local. This particular track lives up to its name,
starting off quietly and blossoming into a robust improv jam. Elsewhere
on the CD, "Don's Dream" features lots of Donald Robinson's deft,
subtle drum rolls, one of the elements that makes his playing such a rich
Ellery Eskelin with Andrea Parkins and Jim Black -- "T64K37B" -- One Great Day (Hatology, 1997)
Fun, fast composition packed into a short but sweet (4.5 minutes)
package. I always grab a few extra CDs from the library to toss into the
show as the mood fits; this keeps me from leaning too much on what's in
rotation (thus keeping every show from sounding alike). Ellery's stuff
is a staple of that "library grab," but I don't always find the time to
squeeze a track in there. Tim Berne is the other staple, of course.
* Pete McCann -- "JM" -- Most Folks (OmniTone, 2006)
Deceptively sweet jazz-guitar album. The first half is pretty
and pastoral, with both acoustic and electric tracks, and it even gets
boring IMHO. Later, though, come the more complex compositions, and the
sinister nearly-prog-rock guitar lines. It never gets harsh, but it's
certainly a deeper, more cerebral type of "guitar mellow." It's as if
McCann sucked you in with four tracks of easy, comfortable stuff, then
flicks the switch to bring in the harder stuff, only you don't notice
because it's still in that gentle jazz-guitar style. Sort of. Maybe I'm
just not hearing the right elements in those first few tracks.
-- 4:00 p.m. --
* Joelle Leandre -- "Meeting One" -- At the Le Mans Jazz Festival (Leo Records, 2006)
With Maggi Nichols (vocals) and Irene Schweitzer (piano) accompanying
the living-legend bassist. Previously noted
this time, though, I played the entire 25-minute piece, which comes to an
interesting closing with Nichols speaking entire sentences in French (sorry,
I'm too rusty to translate) and Schweitzer dabbling on piano. Very nice
stuff. This was the last week in rotation for this 2-CD set, and I do
like to give air time to complete long tracks at some point in each
CD's rotation time.
* Evan Ziporyn [Sarah Cahill, piano] -- "Pondok", 4th mvmt. -- Typical Music (New Albion, 2006)
Solo piano piece, dynamic and pecking. Sounds like lots of fun to play,
as DJ Chizzy noted in his KZSU review of the CD. The piece does go through
waves of "obvious" tonality, the kinds of sentimental chords you get in
pop music, actually. But it's full of what sound like demanding virtuoso
twists. Ziporyn, by the way, is well known for his work with
Bang on a Can.
* Ahmed Abdul-Malik -- "Oud Blues" -- Jazz Sounds of Africa (Prestige/Fantasy, 2006; recorded 1961-2)
A treat of a re-release: The only (I think) album led by
Thelonious Monk's bassist. True to its word, the album brings in some sounds
of Africa (an oud -- guitar-like instrument -- as the lead on this piece,
for example) and puts them in a then-contemporary jazz context. Not at all
alien to the music of the time, the album stays in very safe spaces while
giving listeners a taste of the exotic, and pumping out some nice
swinging jazz along the way. This one is a straight upbeat blues that
just happens to have a long oud solo.
Mohamed Mounir -- "Salli Ya Waheb al Safa" [Instrumental] -- Earth...Peace (Mondo Melodica, 2002)
This inadvertently kicked off what became an all-oud set. I was
searching our database for "oud" stuff, trying to recall the name of
an ECM artist
who plays oud, and came up with a couple of other ideas that
grabbed my attention more.
From northern Egypt, a set of tunes with a male vocal lead. The
soaring, forceful vocals, although pretty, were too overwhelming to follow
the simple, happy blues lines of the Abdul-Malik track, so I went with
the instrumental version instead. Very pretty, with a chugging rhythm.
Ravish Momin's Trio Tarana -- "Instance of Memory" -- Climbing the Banyan Tree (Clean Feed, 2004)
-- 5:00 p.m. --
* Heernt -- "Quick Groove Rolling" -- Locked in a Basement (Razdaz, 2006)
* Richard Carr, Mike Nord, Georg Hoffmann, Art Maddox -- "Tornado Alley" -- Biosphere (Leo Records, 2006)
Youthful-sounding downtown NYC trio that's maybe too hip for
their own good. Tracks are packed with samples and some dance electronica
ideas, but pushing that aside, you can hear that they've got decent
chops, clever ideas, and lots of promise for doing interesting things
with jazz. I'd like to hear them dig deeper into those ideas and
succumb less to the easy repetition that the hipster electronica
! Godley & Creme -- "Joey's Camel" -- Snack Attack (Polydor, 1980?)
I'd been thinking all week about sneaking this one into the show
again, and the Heernt song just happened to end with a bass pulse that
segued nicely into the more chugging, bass-driven pulse of this track.
Godley & Creme are pop faves of mine; they were the weirder half of 10cc
and broke off from the group after 1976 to chase other opportunities.
They put out some awesome albums from that point on (and became better
known for directing music videos).
* Sex Mob -- "Exotique" -- Sexotica (Thirsty Ear, 2006)
Their albums combine plain old pop music, some unfortunate "with-the-times"
experiments (rap, which white British guys just shouldn't try), and
some more successful experiments that combine clever musical ideas
with studio tricks. The scattershot vocals on "I Pity Inanimate Objects"
from the Freeze Frame album come to mind. This track is a
two-chord tale about adventurers seeking the Ark of the Covenant
(Indiana Jones hadn't been invented yet)... it's enigmatic and
incomplete but a good listen, and easy to sing along to, as it's got
a bit of a drone quality to the melody. Plus, the background, while
subtle, is rich in little synth and guitar sounds. I got this album
while in college, and it made for great summer late-night
listening with headphones on.
particular track starts with a violin solo and dissolves into a swirling,
dark group improv -- lots of energy and a sinister tone that contrasts
the chamber-music politeness felt earlier in the album. Nice stuff.
Vinny Golia -- "Hello to Mrs. Minifield" -- Lineage (Nine Winds, 1999)
By request, as David Bug IM'ed me during the show. (I don't
intentionally leave IM on during the show; other DJs use it continually,
so if it's on, I'll suddenly receive a random IM from a listener. It's
nice, but because I have to use IM in my day job, the app is tied to
residual memories of irritation and interruptions.)
* Carnival Skin -- "Iono" -- Carnival Skin (Nemu, 2006)
Vinny, of course, is a big part of the southern California free-jazz
scene. Everybody should own at least one of the records on his Nine Winds
label; this particular disk is some straight-up free jazz with a band
that includes Bobby Bradford (trumpet, from one of Ornette Coleman's
This track is particularly intense and free, and it gets into a
thundering guitar freak-out by Bruce Eisenbeil. Excellent.
* Steven Bernstein Millenial Territory Orchestra -- "Darling Nikki" -- MTO Volume 1 (Sunnyside, 2006)
From Bernstein, the trumpeter who brought you Sex Mob (see above).
This time he's taking on some old-time jazz bits, and some R&B ("Signed, Sealed, Delivered")
in an old-time jazz vein. This particular track starts off with a
cute guitar (mandolin?) line accompanied by electric guitar and bass,
a nice folky/bluesy vibe. Eventually, it builds up into some nice
big horn lines, big and exciting.
* Ernest Dawkins New Horizons Ensemble -- "Mean Ameen" -- The Messenger (Delmark, 2006)
-- 6:00 p.m. --
Sam Rivers -- "Torch" -- Waves (Tomato, 1978)
Great free-jazz session led by Rivers, who at age 85 is still kicking.
The recent issue of Signal
to Noise includes a photo of Rivers at the Vision Festival in New
York, and he still looks spry and lively. We need to celebrate the old
cats who are still with us, instead of waiting until they're gone
to enjoy their music. This was another nice vinyl find in our library;
it's since been reissued on CD and isn't that hard to find.
Myles Boisen -- "Finger Tells a Joke" -- GuitarSpeak (Rastascan, 1994)
Myles and John Raskin of
ROVA have a project called
"Music + One," which involves players improvising against a taped
segment of someone else's improvising. It's an improv duet, but with
half of the normal interaction disconnected. Cool idea, and it's got
shades of the random improv shuffling on Jean Derome's
Le Magasin de
* Art Ensemble of Chicago -- "The J Song" -- Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City (Pi Recordings, 2006)
Uri Caine Ensemble -- "Symphony No. 1, 'Titan', 3rd mvmt." -- I Went Out This Morning over the Countryside (Winter & Winter, 1999)
They've put out a CD related to the project, featuring 20-some examples
of the taped solo improvisations for musicians to play against. The
CD release party, including some performers working with the CD, was
happening this coming weekend, and I wanted to promote it. Except. ....
I'd taken the "Music + One" CD home to review, and forgot to bring it
back. D'oh! So, I tossed on a track of Myles' solo guitar playing
as a second-best example of what the project is about. I'm an idiot.
Big, dramatic stuff from the live 2-CD set of Caine's Mahler
project. This track is big and stomping; the one following it, which
I'll have to play another time, features
the spritely springtime pleasantness of Caine's straight-jazz piano.
* Deep Blue Organ Trio -- "12th of Never" -- Goin' to Town (Delmark, 2006)
I wrestled with whether to put this one in rotation, as it's got
an awfully soft, loungy sound. Not the kind of pigeonhole I'd like
KZSU to be put in, and we certainly don't want to be receiving more of
this kind of stuff. But in deference to Delmark's taste, which is
more reliable than my own, and the fact that these guys are a fixture
at the Green Mill, one of Chicago's best known jazz clubs, I gave it
a shot, and even a spin, as you can see. Still -- the Green Mill,
while I've never visited it, is familiar to far too many tourist types,
never a good sign (think Knitting Factory today versus the mid-'80s).
I'll take the Velvet
Lounge instead, any day -- and I've discovered just this week
that they've recently re-opened the place! Wonderful news --
I can't wait to get back to Chicago.
* = 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.