Friday, October 6th, 2006
... 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ...
KZSU, 90.1 FM
The station now has a TV! It's a small flat-screen deal, installed up near
the ceiling in a back office that was recently repainted and recarpeted.
I'd noticed it before, but didn't much care -- until today, when I realized
the Twins vs. A's playoff game would be happening right during my shift! In
the past, I would just settle for following the playoff games via primitive
gamecast apps, the kind that tell you the game situation in almost-real-time.
Before that (circa 1999), I'd just suffer and not know the game outcome til
I turned on my car radio on the way home. But now -- now! -- I was able to
watch a good 1/2 of the game before starting my shift.
I'm still using the gamecast apps in the studio, because it's not wise
to stand in another room staring at a screen while the CD approaches the end
of a track ... but it's nice to glance at the real live TV feed, even for
just instants at a time.
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
* Heernt -- "Pi ~ 3.1415" -- Locked in a Basement (Sunnyside, 2006)
* Steven Bernstein's Millenial Territory Orchestra -- "Boy in the Boat" -- MTO Volume 1 (Sunnyside, 2006)
* Jason Moran -- "Refraction 2" -- Artist in Residence (Blue Note, 2006)
Pianist Moran delivers another set of accessible modern jazz with creative, outside touches. Track 1 is a pop anomaly, using a bit of hip-hop
influence (it doesn't quite work) while the rest of the CD explores different
territories: Strange percussion and backgrounds spice up some otherwise
ordinary tracks; some serious, classical-minded touches appear; and some tracks just get into wild soloing (this being one of them -- he sets up a
plodding background rhythm and goes nuts over it with his soloing). Some of
"outside" attempts don't feel organic, which has been a problem with several of
the recent Blue Note titles -- it's like they're trying to hard to "push the
envolope" without losing their growing reputation as a pop label.
* Hazmat Modine -- "It Calls Me" -- Bahamut (Barbes, 2006)
Regarding the latter point -- we've just received a CD from Blue Note, an
artist named Amos Lee. He's a singer/songwriter. Not in the Norah Jones way,
where you could argue there's some jazz to the compositions, but a straight
singer/songwriter, maybe with a touch more glossy production than the usual
guitar-strumming type. With Blue Note being owned by conglomerate EMI, and
obviously jonesing for another Norah Jones ... you know, I'm glad artists like
Moran get support from the label, but I'm becoming more and more indifferent as to whether the current Blue Note lives or dies. The magic is gone, people;
maybe it's time to lay the name to rest, before this pop dross overwhelms the
back-catalog of pioneering jazz that Blue Note used to stand for.
A treat from the World music file. Sort of like New Orleans jazz,
delta blues and gypsy jazz, plus the occasional appearance by Tuvan throat
singer Huun Huur Tuu. This one's a scratchy bucolic blues with Tuu providing
a croaky chorus -- very cool. This CD ended up being No. 3 played at the
station this week.
* Carnival Skin -- "Iono" -- Carnival Skin (Nemu, 2006)
* Matt Davignon -- "Polyps" -- SoftWetFish (Edgetone, 2006)
More sound experiments from Davignon, a local artist whose medium of
choice lately has been the drum machine. Except instead of producing those
dry drum beats, he processes the sound, twists it, runs it through tape reels
slowly. The result are some liquid clicks, brooding groans, and a very
different, dark sound field than you'd expect.
? Anthony Davis -- "Estraven" -- Of Blues and Dreams (Sackville, 2001; recorded 1978)
More about Matt Spark, a KQED-TV documentay series profiling local artists.
A really good quartet session that gets into some exploratory group
wandering. With Davis (piano), Leroy Jenkins (violin), Abdul Wadud (cello), and
Pheeroan Ak Laff (drums).
Biggi Vinkeloe, George Cremaschi, Miya Masaoka, Gino Robair -- "An Intimate Detail" -- Klang. Farbe. Melodie. (482 Music, 2004)
Sackville is a Canadian label that's been putting out archival recordings
of folks like Davis, Anthony Braxton, Don Pullen, George Lewis, etc., on
limited CD editions of 1,000.
A good improv session featuring out-of-towner Vinkeloe (sax), former
local Masaoka (koto), and Bay Area stalwarts George Cremaschi (bass) and Gino
Robair (drums). Short tracks with some rich exploration. Vinkeloe has come
through town a couple of times and seems to have struck up quite a few
friendships with the local improv crowd.
* Achim Kaufmann, Michael Moore, Dylan Van der Schyff -- "Cuk" -- Kamosc (Red Toucan, 2006)
* Myra Melford/Be Bread -- "Equal Grace" -- The Image of Your Body (Cryptogramophone, 2006)
From pianist Melford, a strong follow-up to her last album, Where
the Two Worlds Touch. Adds some new voices, including Cuong Vu on
trumpet and Brandon Ross on electric guitar. Melford herself continues to
play piano and harmonium, the latter being an accordion-like instrument, and
is still studying Indian music. Some more info in the intro and track
descriptions for the 6/24/05
show. We'll hopefully get Myra on-air for an interview sometime before
her early November gig.
Jim Black -- "Garden Frequency" -- Alas No Axis (Winter & Winter, 2000)
An favorite CD of mine from the recent past, with a personal story to go
with it. This track includes lots of guitar blasts and feedback, a kind of
raucous, clashing start that made a nice segue from the high-energy finale of
the Melford track.
* Tony Bianco -- "Walking on Wood" -- Monkey Dance (FMR, 2006)
Great fusion-tinged, upbeat grooves -- most unexpected, given I know
Bianco mostly as a free-improv drummer. Liner notes explain the CD as
Bianco's funk adventure, although there's plenty of free-jazz craziness to be
had (Dave Liebman on sax, e.g.) and an apparent influence from Indian (or
maybe Indonesian?) music and mythology; the cover features a painting of a
screeching money dressed in ceremonial garb, in the throes of some passionate,
vicious dance. A couple of tracks like this one use balaphon (a xylophone-like wooden instrument) for some "world" touches.
* Joshua Redman Elastic Band -- "Put It in Your Pocket" -- Momentum (Nonesuch, 2006)
* Harry Miller's Isipingo -- "Children at Play" [excerpt] -- Children at Play (Cuneiform, 2006; recorded 1975)
* Ed Palermo Big Band -- "Dwarf Nebula Processional March and Dwarf Nebula" -- Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance (Cuneiform, 2006)
*! T Bone Burnett -- "Seven Times Hotter Than Fire" -- True False Identity (Columbia, 2006)
Other funk touches here include electric guitar and electric piano, solid
steady beats and grooves, and of course lots of dense and complex drumming.
This is awesome stuff; I hope the other DJs latch on to it.
This is a pretty straight, fast-blues form with chord changes. But most of this album has a darker feel for T Bone, lots of the strange-sound production that he and Mitchell Froom have sprinkled on lots of rock records in the last decade. Very interesting.
-- 5:00 p.m. --
* Pete McCann -- "JM" -- Most Folks (OmniTone, 2006)
Making it up to Pete for last time, playing one of the tracks that has
some prog-sounding riffs. See here.
* Geoff Farina, Luther Gray, Nate McBride -- "Breccia" -- Out Trios Volume Four ["Almanac"] (Atavistic, 2006)
Latest in Atavistic's series of guitar-trio improvisational sessions. What's been interesting is the range of sounds/moods among the disks. Volume 2 (Jeff Parker, Kevin Drumm, Michael Zerang) was very out, lots of nonmusical sounds. Volume 3 (Nels Cline, Andrea Parkins, Tom Rainey) was more musical, with lots of bombast and lots of quiet segments.
* Art Ensemble of Chicago -- "Song for Charles" -- Non-Cognitive Aspects of the City (Pi Recordings, 2006)
* WATIV -- "Golombisky" -- Baghdad Music Journal (High Mayhem, 2006)
This one has more of a rock sound than Volume 3. Farina spins wandering guitar lines with a touch of blues to them, backed by free-jazzy drums and bass; the overall effect could be considered alt-rock, I suppose. I like it a lot.
Randomly, it just now occurs to me I could occasionally link to other people's reviews. I haven't fully read the one I just linked to; wonder if they agree with me.
Holy smokes -- a lo-fi project of avant-jazz plus ambient samples, anchored by piano and keyboards, done by a soldier who's done a tour in Iraq. The name is short for William A. Thompson IV. The samples mostly aren't novelty snippets related to the war or politics -- they're things like a broken air conditioning unit, for instance. Then again, he did record snippets of random Baghdad radio for the opening piece, called "Post-Election News." Sampling also includes the music; this track, for instance, has a sampled bassline from back home in New Orleans. Impressive stuff.
* Morton Feldman, performed by the California EAR Unit -- "Why Patterns?" [excerpt] -- Rothko Chapel (New Albion, 2006)
Feldman = so quiet it makes you itch. I played the opening minutes of this long piece, which made a good backdrop for the Concert Calendar. (The rest of the CD is taken up by the various segments of the piece, "Rothko Chapel.")
* Danielle Palardy Roger -- "Moimoimoi/Mon Amour" -- Bruidcoeur, Prieres des Infideles (Ambiances Magnetiques, 2006)
Vocal experimentation, in a suite of pieces almost like an avant opera. Lots of different sounds permeate the tracks -- lots of wailing, sobbing noises, choirs, normal harmonies, grols, hisses, demonic grunts. All over the place. I have to admit, voice as an instrument doesn't intrigue me much. I appreciate the talent, patience, and art involved in making the voice do certain things; it's just not as enjoyable a listen to me as, say, piano.
That Nothing Is Known -- [untitled track 4] -- Quartet Improvisations (target="new">Recorded, 1998)
There's a story behind the whole thing, and the title is "The last moments of a man's agony." So, it's not a happy story.
Improv session, the sound-exploration kind, including Bob Marsh (cello, voice), Jack Wright (sax), and John Berndt (sax). Probably curated by
Berndt, whose High
Zero festival brings an international clutch of improvising musicians
to Baltimore each year, where they perform in combinations that have never
played together before.
* Horace Tapscott -- "Inception" [excerpt] -- Love at Lovero, Vol. 1 (Nimbus West, 2006; recorded 1981)
* = 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.