Friday, July 4th, 2008 ... 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ... KZSU, 90.1 FM

(Return to playlists.)

Edmund Welles -- Tooth & Claw (Zeroth Law, 2007)

Edmund Welles: 
Tooth & Claw

Metal is a primary influence for Cornelius Boots, leader of the world's only original-composition bass clarinet quartet, but he'll hopefully forgive us for putting his work in the jazz section. Despite the pieces being nearly if not entirely through-composed, there's quite an avant-jazz ring to most of them, probably thanks to the existance of outfits like ROVA.

Boots does list jazz and modern classical musics as influences, too, and Edmund Welles sits at their intersection with metal. Oblique references to mystic and occult figures add to the aura -- it's so fitting that the first CD, Agrippa's 3 Books, had liner notes quoting Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

It's not just the influences, though; it's the sound. Four bass clarinets! I love the die-precision raspy rustle of the four instruments playing fast lines in unison (the title track to "Tooth and Claw" has plenty of that), the swooping drama of the low low notes, the jazzy aspirations in the high, screeching solos.

The idea is solid. Touring with it is another matter, as always. EW has included a rotating cast of characters including Aaron Novik, who's been part of several great local jazz bands. For this CD, Boots played all the parts himself.

The album opens with the Persian-inflected "Vector," a catchy and sinewy melody, followed by the title track, which is also engaging and adds some quick-fingered unison work that's probably a real challenge and a real treat to perform live. "Va Larga" adds elements of a Mediterranean serenade, while "The Butcher of Andalusia" brings the fast riffing that made so many tracks shine on Agrippa's 3 Books.

What Boots is doing is certainly original. While there's at least one other bass clarinet quartet in the world, the repertoire for such groups isn't exactly brimming over. And yet, the sound that comes out of them has so much potential -- those deep, rounded low notes that make the bass clarinet so attractive, alongside the high squeals that made the instrument useful in jazz, once players like Eric Dolphy showed what could be done.

Edmund Welles will be opening for Sleepytime Gorilla Museum for a few shows in the coming week, including July 8 at the supposedly haunted Brookdale Lodge and July 10 at the Great American Music Hall.

Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.

* Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble -- "Transition C" -- Xenogenesis Suite (Firehouse 12, 2008)

* Industrial Jazz Group -- "The Job Song" -- Leef (Evander, 2007)

* Szilard Mezei Quintet -- "Ko" (Stone) -- Cerkno (Leo Records, 2008) * Garrison Fewell and Eric Hofbauer -- "Devil at the Salang Pass" -- The Lady of Khartoum (Creative Nation, 2008)
* Jim Ryan -- Track 7, Untitled (recorded at the Iron Post; Urbana, Ill.) -- The Ghost Dog Tour Compilation (Edgetone, 2008) * Steve Reich -- "Variations for Vibes, Pianos, and Strings: Slow" [2nd mvmt] -- Daniel Variations (Nonesuch, 2008) * Fieldwork -- "Of" -- Door (Pi Recordings, 2008)

Parker/Guy/Lytton -- "Variance" -- Imaginary Values (Maya, 1994)

* John Zorn/Bar Kokhba -- "Sother" -- Lucifer (Book of Angels, Vol. 10) (
Tzadik, 2007) Jemeel Moondoc Trio -- "Triplet" -- Tri-P-Let (Eremite, 1996)

-- 4:00 p.m. --

* Bobby Previte and the New Bump -- "I'd Advise You Not To Miss Your Train" -- Set the Alarm for Monday (Palmetto, 2008)

Julius Hemphill -- "C.M.E." -- Blue Boye (Screwgun, 1998; orig. released 1978)

* Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath -- "The Bride" -- Eclipse at Dawn (Cuneiform, 2008; recorded 1971)

* Jose Maceda -- "Music for Two Pianos and Four Percusion Groups" [excerpt] -- Drone and Melody (Tzadik, 2008)

? Edmund Welles (The Bass Clarinet Quartet) -- "Synge" -- Tooth & Claw (Zeroth Law, 2007) Sleepytime Gorilla Museum -- "Angle of Repose" -- In Glorious Times (The End, 2007)
-- 5:00 p.m. --

* Yoshida Brothers -- "Kodo (Hishou version)" -- Hishou (Domo, 2008)

* Jeff Coffin and Charlie Peacock -- "Charthel Hill" -- Arc of the Circle (Runway Network, 2008)

* Boxdeserter -- "One at Home" [excerpt] -- Two Revolutions (Edgetone, 2008)

Mute Socialite -- "Me'T" -- More Popular Than Presidents and Generals (Dephine Knormal, 2008)

The Nels Cline Singers -- "Fly Fly" -- The Giant Pin (Cryptogramophone, 2004)

* Cristian Amigo -- "Soldados/Soldiers" -- Kingdom of Jones (Innova, 2008)

* Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra -- "Entrances/One" -- Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey, 2008)

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

-- Go back to Memory Select playlists.
-- Bay Area free/improv music calendar: