(Return to playlists.)
If you're ever stranded in Boise, Idaho:
Make a cursory check of The Big Easy, although this trends more towards radio-drone hits: country, metal, and rock in their blandest forms. Wu Tang Clan performed there this past week, so that's something.
If you can tolerate cigarette smoke and jam bands, visit Terrapin Station. It's got the best vibe of any club I've yet visited in Boise, and it boasts the city's most consistent concert calendar. I can't listen to jam bands every night, but one evening there can be a welcome break from the overall midwestern-conservative vibe of Boise.
(Actually, you're going to have to tolerate cigarette smoke in almost any bar or club you visit. Sorry.)
Go to The Record Exchange. Most CDs are overpriced by a buck or two, but many new releases are on sale, and they pack plenty of special offers -- the kind where a band adds an EP available only at independent retailers, for instance. They also dock $10 from every $100 in music purchased, so it evens out, if you're in a spending mood. The used section has a surprising number of experimental and out-jazz CDs, probably castoffs from KBSU (see below). Boise is a second-tier city that's getting overrun by chain stores*; their home-grown businesses don't have the roots of an Amoeba to stand up to the storm. Do Boise a favor, and buy something here -- if not a CD, then a cool T-shirt or a novelty toy; I think that life-sized Sally might actually be for sale.
Either at the RX ("Record Exchange") or online, buy something from my buddy Jeremy, whose various projects are output on the Fort Hazel record label. He's part of a clutch of experimental-music folks in the city, and their stuff's good. Try a Lowbelly CD, maybe. Brief mentions in the playlists here and here.
Tune to KBSU, 730 AM. It's Boise State's college radio -- lots of indie rock, some weekend jazz, and death metal after sundown. Not deeply cutting-edge, but there's little other life on the radio. KBSU's FM feed is reserved for NPR and tepid white-haired classical music. The Fort Hazel folks recommend There Are Millions, a Sunday 1:30 p.m. podcast.
If it's summer, the local parks ringing downtown have some nice walking paths, and of course you've got the Boise Hawks. I should add that the Boise Art Museum has substantial and experimental exhibits -- don't get scared off by the "family friendly" moniker -- and Boise State's art department sometimes has exhibits from young hopefuls wailing against the machine. It's a breath of oxygen.
* A classic contradiction: When I first visited Boise, I was worried about there being "nothing" there and was actually comforted by the presence of Border's Books and the like. Starbuck's hadn't arrived yet (!!) and didn't until after places like Flying M had gotten on their feet. Do I have Starbuck's to thank for the popularity and survival of Flying M?
Of note this week:
ARTIST -- "TRACK TITLE" -- ALBUM TITLE (LABEL, YEAR)
Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.
* Tony Wilson 6tet -- "I Am the Walrus" -- Pearls Before Swine (Drip Audio, 2007)
* Michael Musillami Trio + Mark Feldman -- "Human Conditions" -- The Treatment (Playscape, 2007)
* Rempis Percussion Quartet -- "Black Book" -- Hunger-Gatherers (482 Music, 2007)
Abraham Burton -- "Little Melonae" -- The Magician (Enja, 1995)
* Splatter 3 + N -- "Rumations" -- Clear the Club (Rastascan, 2007)
? Tim Berne's Bloodcount -- "Mr. Johnson's Blues" -- Unwound (Screwgun, 2000)
After the intro, which includes a great 7/8 bass riff, the band gets into a long, exploratory improvisation. The combination -- rocking compositions, wide-open free playing -- is what makes this band such a great listen; they've just got the right formula for knitting it all together.
* Francois Carrier and Michel Lambert -- "Monkeys on the Green" -- Kathmandu (FMR, 2007)
* Albert Ayler -- "C.A.C." -- The Hilversum Session (ESP-Disk, 2007; orig. released 1964)
Kathy Kallick and Laurie Lewis -- "Used to Be" -- V/A: True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe (Sugar Hill, 1996)
Straight country, old cowboy style, played in conjunction with
giving away tickets to Kallick's upcoming appearance at the
Freight & Salvage.
Kallick is better known for bluegrass work, and one of her solo CDs might have
been a better representation. This one hadn't been played in at least
five years, though, and I'm on a kick to "rescue" some of those forgotten
* Bill McHenry -- "The Lizard" -- Roses (Sunnyside, 2007)
Carei Thomas Feel Free Ensemble -- "The Awestruck Waters of Antiquity" -- Mining Our Bid'ness (Roaratorio, 2002)
* Matt Davignon -- "A Mistake"/"Some Held Breaths" -- SoftWetFish (Edgetone, 2006)
Enrico Pieranunzi Trio -- "Straight to the Dream" -- Seaward (Soul Note, 1996)
I wouldn't expect the two styles to mix well, but it seems possible at first listen here. This track, near the end of the album is a "cheat," as it's got both men playing so sparsely they can bend to each other's direction. Other tracks dive in with full force, and I think I like the results. It takes a little getting used to -- but remember, Parker has his fingers in multiple lines of jazz/improv and doesn't have to do that thin twirling effect all the time. I'm going to need more listens, but so far this seems like an inspired bit of casting by the Spring Heel Jack duo (who run this label) or whoever it was that thought it up.
As the liner notes explain, the playing on this session took place in a former sugar factory, and its main purpose was to provide some action for the documentary Touch the Sound. Frith later added some overdubs, which sometimes stand out for lacking the echoey sound of the originals and sometimes overpower the sound. Not literally; the mix was put together with care by Myles Boisen and Jonathan Segel. But to me, the new guitar parts cross-cut the rest of the sounds and grab the attention more than they should, since they lack the sugar factory's reverb.
The closing piece includes a Glennie composition, "A Little Prayer," that tunefully wraps things up. I'm not sure I like that, but I can agree it's appropriate, a fitting cooldown that helps you reflect on the concentration underlying all six tracks.
Amazingly, Stanford Lively Arts has booked the duo for an April 23 concert.
The Lutts are apparently quite popular on piracy networks, which is a shame. Walter does all this work alone and I get the feeling he buries himself financially for his art. RIAA labels are being disingenuous when they talk about artists getting paid -- but here we're talking about a consciously noncommerical artist doing daring work on his own. In the absense of compensation, development of this kind of art could slow or even cease.
This was a random pull from the vinyl library. It led to a whole Joe Turner set when I did part of the Blues Marathon the next day. The story isn't that interesting, but you'll find it here.
* Jason Lindner Big Band -- "The 5 Elements and the Natural Trinity" -- Live at the Jazz Gallery (Anzic, 2007)
* = Item in KZSU rotation
-- Go back to Memory Select playlists.
Haven't given this much of a close listen yet, but it's an
ebullient big band with lots of modern touches -- this one opens with
a driving organ and electric bass duet that, by itself, could sneak
into an avant-jazz set. Later, it gets into a big Latin
groove, loud and fun.
! = Pop anomaly
? = Item not in KZSU library
-- Bay Area free/improv music calendar: http://www.bayimproviser.com.
* = Item in KZSU rotation
-- Go back to Memory Select playlists.