Friday, January 18th, 2008 ... 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ... KZSU, 90.1 FM

(Return to playlists.)

I did manage to see Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd perform Still Life with Commentator last night, in the theater that's literally above our heads here at KZSU. I'd interviewed Vijay and played some of the album's tracks on last week's show; the link includes a description of the piece.

It was great stuff. I'd love to have seen the full theatrical production put on at the Brooklyn Academy of Music last year, but this stripped-down, more intimate version was plenty moving in itself. The pieces come with compositional skeletons and of course pre-written lyrics and narration, but the music is largely improvised, creating swirls of textures that can build up to a frenzy. I became a fan of Guillermo E. Brown, who showed a lot of stage presence with his vocal parts. It was also great to watch Pamela Z in action, as always, and to see Liberty Ellman for the first time; he got to dig in with a couple of solos late in the piece.Okkyung Lee on the cello was terrific, too, laying down deep bassy grooves or adding scraping metallic sounds to the overall textures.

Electronics samples were flying everywhere. The overall piece has a drifting quality to it -- not necessarily dreamy, as some songs get hard-edged and crisp, but wandering, a byproduct of the improvisation that's going on. I like that. In addition to being a rewarding sound, it's a good representation of the confusion around media today -- things are changing, but we still don't know what the final forms will be.

The "Tips" Project: Took some time today to interview Phillip Greenlief, who along with Bruce Ackley (of ROVA and Aurora Josephson has been performing Steve Lacy's "Tips," a set of 14 songs based on aphorisms by cubist painter Georges Braque. They'll be performing it again at the Jazzschool in Berkeley tomorrow. (The second act will be a Larry Ochs group that also includes Okkyung Lee).

More on the interview below.

(You can read more about "Tips" by following the Lacy link above; from the Home Page, click on "Play," then "Art Songs." The site is set up to reject you if you try to go there directly.)

Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.

Bruce Ackley Trio -- "Out of the Box" -- The Hearing (Avant, 1998)

* Martin Speicher, Georg Wolf, Lou Grassi -- "Shapes and Shadows" -- Shapes and Shadows (Clean Feed, 2007)

* Bill McHenry -- "The City" -- Roses (Sunnyside, 2007)

* Erik Friedlander -- "Rachisel" -- Volac: Book of Angels, Volume 8 (Tzadik, 2007) * Mick Barr -- "rdd-4" -- Octis: Iohargh Wended (Tzadik, 2007) * Francois Carrier and Michel Lambert -- "Amarawati Garden" -- Kathmandu (FMR, 2007)

* Amir ElSaffar -- "The Blues in E Half-Flat" -- Two Rivers (Pi Recordings, 2007)

* Happy Apple -- "The New Bison" -- Happy Apple Back on Top (Sunnyside, 2007) * His Name Is Alive -- "Geechee Recollections" -- Sweet Earth Flower (High Two, 2007)

? (Tim Berne's) Bloodcount -- "Scrap Metal" -- Seconds (Screwgun, 2007; recorded 1997)

* Healing Force -- "Heart Love" -- Songs of Albert Ayler (Cuneiform, 2007)

* Rothko -- "Torch" -- Fractures (Acerbic Noise, 2007) Phillip Greenlief and Joelle Leandre -- "Variation 2 (For Soprano Saxophone And Contrabass)" -- That Overt Desire of Object (Evander, 2006)
Steve Lacy -- "Trickles"/"Duck" -- Clinkers (Hatology,2000; recorded 1977) * Rempis Percussion Quartet -- "The Bus and the Canyon" [excerpt] -- Hunger-Gatherers (482 Music, 2007)
Phillip Greenlief -- Interview, on Steve Lacy's "Tips" Steve Lacy +6 -- "Aggression" -- The Cry (Soul Note, 1999)
Water Shed 5tet -- "Braque" -- Blue Plate Tectonics (Rastascan, 1996) ? Vijay Iyer and Mike Ladd -- "John Stewart on Crossfire" -- Still Life with Commentator (Savoy Jazz, 2007)

Steve Lacy -- "Monk Medley" [excerpt] -- Solo: Live at Unity Temple (Wobbly Rail, 1998)

* Quartet San Francisco -- "Boy Scout in Switzerland" -- Whirled Chamber Music (Violinjazz, 2007) * Tony Wilson 6tet -- "Squirk" -- Pearls Before Swine (Drip Audio, 2007)

* = Item in KZSU rotation
! = Pop anomaly
? = Item not in KZSU library

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