Friday, February 9th, 2007
... 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. ...
KZSU, 90.1 FM
The first of what was supposed to be several shortened shows due
to baseball. We found out by about 4:30 that the game was rained out,
giving me the full time slot back. I'd stacked the early part of
the show with lots of plays from rotation, including the CDs that
were on their way out this week (I like to give every outgoing
CD a send-off spin).
I'd always wanted to prepare a Rainout CD for baseball, so the
sports engineer could just slap that on in the event of an unexpected
rainout. It would be all pop songs, all with "rain" or "storm"
mentioned all over the place. A couple are listed below; they shouldn't be
hard to find. "Raining" by The Bears would also
make the cut, if such a CD ever were to get made by me.
You'll notice a lot of set breaks around 5:00. Those were for the
frequent on-air notifications that the game was cancelled and the
make-up game scheduled for tomorrow.
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.
* Mark Helias' Open Loose -- "What Up" -- Atomic Clock (Radio Legs, 2006)
* Vinny Golia -- "Repetition" -- Sfumato (Clean Feed, 2005)
* Stephan Crump -- "Were It a Loss" -- Rosetta (Papillon, 2006)
* Steve Lacy Quintet -- "Rush" -- Esteem (Atavistic, 2006; recorded 1975)
* Charles Tolliver Big Band -- "Right Now" -- With Love (Blue Note, 2006)
Fairly straight big-band pieces, of middling length (about 6 minutes).
You could file Tolliver among the forgotten cats of the '60s and '70s, I
suppose. He made his mark for sure, getting name-checked by Dizzy
Gillespie at one point; see the link above. These are nice mainstream
pieces, all at a good clip (even the title track; it's more rollicking
than romantic). Some impressive piano solos from Robert Glasper.
Tolliver turns in some good solos too ... I've read reviews that say he's
not in top form, but on the album's opening track, "Rejoicin,'" he
blows the place to smithereens.
* John Shiurba 5x5 with Anthony Braxton -- "1.2.1" -- 1.2 = A (Rastascan, 2006)
A brief mention of this band here. This is
the second album for this very interesting improv project from
local guitarist Shiurba. Songs open with amusing, bouncy composed
lines, a bit reminiscent of Braxton's "Ghost Trance" pieces, and then
shift into free, untethered improv. Very nice stuff that blends
"serious" music, playful music, and, you know, improv.
* The Vandermark 5 -- "Freedom Suite Part 2" -- Free Jazz Classics Vols. 3 and 4 (Atavistic, 2006)
Saxophonist Vandermark, a towering figure in the Chicago scene,
is a serious student of the free jazz of the '60s, and these "Classics"
projects are his attempts to dig into the music of that period. He
arranges the tracks of a particular composer -- for Volume 3 it's Sonny
Rollins, for Vol. 4 it's Rahsaan Roland Kirk -- for his own band,
often tweaking the mood or otherwise adding his own touches to the
Nice stuff, although the liner notes to this 2-CD set
have him mulling over what he's learned, and whether he should continue
He writes: "Maybe investigating the groundwork for the improvised music
from the 1960s and '70s taught me that it was time to get off the
shoulders of those artists in order to look in another direction.
Maybe the point has come when it's necessary to realize the
only music worth playing is happening now."
* Sonic Liberation Front -- "First Rain" -- Change Over Time (High Two, 2006)
Kind of like a street jam with a big drum circle -- you know, the
kind where dozens of people from who-knows-where show up thumping on tubs
and buckets and sometimes even real drums. OK, SLF has a tighter sound
than that, but the overall cheery energy, the Latin tinges here and there,
and of course the street-artist jazz sound, all add up to the same
kind of image for me. A Philadelphia band with a very Berkeley sound.
It's good, as was their previous album, but the breaks for LOTS AND LOTS
of drums get homogeneous by the end of it.
* Mike Khoury, Brian Mackie, Michael Welch -- "Untitled Improvisation 1" [excerpt] -- Live at the Stardust Cafe (Detroit Improvisation, 2006)
Violinist Khoury has been sending us some great free improv
over the years. This trio disk, with sax and drums, is very good too,
but departs from the norm, with pieces that wander into steady rhythms and
almost bluesy phrasing. It's a mellow and thoughtful result, with still
enough roughness on the edges to work for improv fans.
-- 4:00 p.m. --
* Peter Brotzmann, Albert Mangelsdorff, Gunter "Baby" Sommer -- "Instant Tears" -- Pica Pica (Atavistic, 2006; orig. released 1982)
Another good European set rescued from the vaults by Atavistic.
This 20-minute track took up Side 1 of the original vinyl release. There's
lots of good, even-handed interplay and a nice trombone soloing spot for
Mangelsdorff. In the end, Brotzmann caps the piece with some of the
shrieky blowout we all know and love. Overall, he doesn't overpower the
album; there's some nice balance to go along with some good visceral
* Brotzmann/Mangelsdorff/Sommer -- "Instant Tears" [cont'd]
* Ellery Eskelin -- "I Should Have Known" -- Quiet Music (Prime Source, 2006)
Previously noted here. This one's
mellow and even a bit romantic, possibly the most accessible of the
tracks on the 2-CD set.
* Rob Reddy's Gift Horse -- "One" -- A Hundred Jumping Devils (Reddy, 2006)
Previously noted here.
While the whole album is rather accessible, this closing track carries
a mildly unsettling air. It's got lots of flourished acoustic guitar,
in kind of a Spanish setting, but the whole melody isn't quite
pretty. It's relaxed and crystalline, but also off.
It's an impressive effect, and a nice capper for an album that's
unusual sounding to begin with.
*! Rope -- "Blood Stained Lust" -- Heresy, and Then Nothing but Tears (Family Vineyard, 2006)
From not-quite-pretty to downright menacing. Previously noted
this track goes from horror-film guitar arpeggios (gentle, unsettling)
into screamed verses. Decidedly dark stuff.
* Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell -- "Streaming" -- Streaming (Pi Recordings, 2006)
* Muhal Richard Abrams, George Lewis, Roscoe Mitchell -- "Streaming" [cont'd]
-- 5:00 p.m. --
! Continental Drifters -- "The Rain Song" -- Vermillion (Razor & Tie, 1999)
An old pop favorite, one that I've always wanted to pull out during a
baseball rainout. The band is sadly broken up AFAIK, but they left
behind some awesome music.
Tango-Orkestri Unto -- "Ilon Kyyneleet" [The Tears of Joy] -- Finnish Tango (Arc, 2003)
Classical-music tangos, elegant stuff with polished violin and vocals.
It really is all Finnish, with the pieces written by various Finnish composers
throughout the 20th century. This one dates from 1984, penned by
Reino Markkula and Juha Vainio.
* What We Live -- "Arvak (The Spirit)" -- Sound Catcher (Fire Museum, 2006)
William Parker Quartet -- "Raining on the Moon" -- Raining on the Moon (Thirsty Ear, 2002)
A nice mid-level groove that goes on for 14 minutes, with a
vocal by Leena Conquest singing about a parallel universe led by Native
Americans, where Geronimo is president, living in the Red house, and his
birthday is a national holiday. It's fantastical but fun, and it does
make you think ... Duke Ellington, for example, is named Minister of
Culture, and there's no reason why that couldn't have been a closer
reality in this world.
* Kris Davis -- "Once" -- The Slightest Shift (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2006)
! The Beatles -- "Rain" -- Hey Jude (Capitol, 1970)
... but we all know it's really the B-side to
"Paperback Writer," from 1966.
* Albrecht Maurer and Norbert Rodenkirchen -- "Fadenspiel" -- Hidden Fresco (Nemu, 2006)
Previously noted here. On
this one, the "gothic fiddle" comes out sounding more country-folk.
It's quite fun.
*! Jahuta and Carl -- "3-23-2003" -- Jahuta and Carl (Little Joe Peep, 2005)
Coupla weirdos with what sound like basement pop recordings:
Guitars, casio synths, really weird warbly vocals. Mostly pop-based, with
lyrical themes of love and whatnot, plus a track called "What's That Dripping
on My Head." Oh, and then there's the 10-minute sampler/synth experimental
-- 6:00 p.m. --
My review for the station likened this particular track to Adrian Belew. No
idea where that came from, other than the vocals getting into his range.
* Kidd Jordan, Hamid Drake, William Parker -- "Resolution" -- Palm of Soul (AUM Fidelity, 2006)
Joe Morris/Rob Brown Quartet -- "Illuminate" -- Illuminate (Leo Records, 1995)
Really nice, soft, quiet track, kind of a ballad feel. From a
solid quartet CD with Morris on guitar and Brown on alto sax, and
William Parker on bass and Jackson Krall on drums.
Next, we had the impromptu John Zorn set...
* The Microscopic Septet -- "Kelly Grows Up" -- Surrealistic Swing (Cuneiform, 2006; recorded c.1989?)
Previously noted here.
This is the track with John Zorn guesting (there's a second one, but it's
about 1 minute long and you can't hear Zorn much, IIRC). It's a
straightforward crazy-swing piece like most of the Microscopics'
work, and then all of a suddent you get that fleeting clickety
SQUAWK that tells you Zorn's in the house. Big fun.
John Zorn and Fred Frith -- "The Combiner" -- The Art of Memory (Incus, 1995)
So, part of the reason the set came together was because we
have a Zorn Filmworks disk in rotation right now, alongside
the Microscopic Septet. But both of those are very accessible
projects; if I'm gonna do a John Zorn set, I have to include some
of his celebrated artsiness. The CD is what you'd expect, a set of
improvised sound explorations on sax and guitar.
* John Zorn -- "Family" -- Filmworks XVIII: The Treatment (Tzadik, 2006)
Masada -- "Midbar" -- Daled (DIW, 1995)
Masada is an exciting blend of bop jazz and Klezmer scales.
Catchy stuff, sure to please newcomers who are afraid of the Naked City
stuff. Kind of noted here.
Daled was the fourth of the 10 original Masada albums. It's
a three-song EP, and apparently was initially available only through
a mail-order deal. It was tricky. The Masada CDs were Japanese imports
on the fine DIW/Avant label. The way I was told the story, you had
to be able to read the Japanese writing on those little spine tabs --
you know, that strip of paper that hugs the side of the CD case,
that you never know what to do with because it comes loose when you
take the shrink-wrap off. You had to mail in the three tab
thingys from the first three Masada disks, apparently. The disk was
later made available through normal commercial channels, but
it was a real treasure for a while.
* Pierre Cartier - "Dedicace de la Belle Esperance" -- De la Belle Esperance (Ambiances Magnetiques, 2006)
* Dave Burrell -- "Cool Reception" -- Momentum (High Two, 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.