Friday, August 15th, 2008 ... 2:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ... KZSU, 90.1 FM

(Return to playlists.)

Back after a two-week hiatus. Didn't do anything on the music front. A weekend at Disneyland. (Interesting music? Ha! But at least "Small World" was shut down for renovations.) A trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where they're putting on a version of "Midsummer Night's Dream" that's WAY over the top. Shallow, yes -- but this is one of the most overdone plays in the canon, one that I wouldn't mind never seeing again, so it was fun to see the actors hamming it up. Big thumbs up. "Clay Cart" is awesome, too, and very ambitious.

Of note this week:

Joel Harrison -- The Wheel Joel Harrison's The Wheel is an ambitious project for double quartet (string quartet plus jazz quartet) and guitar (Harrison). This one really knocked the socks off DJ Fo, with its merging of modern classical ideas and dynamic modern jazz. The string sections crackle and sizzle, while the jazz side brings in the gently soaring lines Harrison has worked with his last few jazz albums.

I've been a fan of Harrison's work for about 10 years. He used to live in the Bay Area and played all the avant/improv haunts with his jazz compositions, accessible but complex stuff with an ear for open-ended soloing. His song "Jerusalem" spurred a fantastic violin solo from Carla Kihlstedt at one show I recall. But he was also working on experimental turf at the Joel Harrison -- 3+3=7 time, particularly with 3 + 3 = 7, a three-guitar, three-drummer band that sometimes included Nels Cline.

Getting back to "The Wheel," it's easy to divide it between the "jazz" and "classical" halves in each song, but of course Harrison muddies it up by giving solos to some of the string players. There's a nice violin turn on the gentle, sad "We Have Been the Victims of a Broke Promise," for instance. Harrison says the piece is possible only because enough classicly trained musicians these days are able to improvise and cut loose in these kinds of contexts. "Only 20 years ago, this piece would have been practically inconceivable," he writes in the liner notes.

As for where the music comes from, Harrison's liner-note introduction sums it up: "When jazz gets tiresome (too much soloing and predictable textures and form), and classical usic gets stodgy and monolithic, I dream up pieces that try to incorporate my favorite aspects of both." The string quartet might feel heavy-handed to some jazz ears, and some of the more "classical" passages do stand out inorganically. But in Harrison's ears, it all blends perfectly (just like the sore-thumb pop songs in my show don't sound out of place to me). It's worth listening to this suite on Harrison's terms. It's terific stuff, and the concluding movement is frenetic and exciting.

Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.

Tim Berne and the Copenhagen Art Ensemble -- "Eye Contact" -- Open, Coma (Screwgun, 2001)

-- 3:00 p.m. --

Gebhard Ullmann/Steve Swell Quartet -- "Seven 9-8" -- V/A: CIMPosium: Volume 15 (CIMP, 2005)

* Bob and Ellen Weller -- "His Lucent Empire" -- Point of Contact (Circumvention, 2007) * Joel Harrison -- "Ceaseless Motion (Watch the Future Roll By)" -- The Wheel (Innova, 2008)

* Bennie Maupin Quartet -- "Prophet's Motifs" -- Early Reflections (Cryptogramophone, 2008)

* The Harlem Experiment -- "One for Malcolm" -- V/A: The Harlem Experiment (Ropeadope, 2008) * Cristian Amigo -- "Rosmersholm" -- Kingdom of Jones (Innova, 2008) * Todd Sickafoose -- "Invisible Ink, Revealed" -- Tiny Resistors (Cryptogramophone, 2008)

* Shot x Shot -- "Oh No" -- Let Nature Square (High Two, 2008)

-- 4:00 p.m. --

* Bill Dixon -- "Scattering of the Following" -- 17 Musicians in Search of a Sound: Darfur (AUM Fidelity, 2008)

* Industrial Jazz Group -- "Don't Let 'Em Getcha" -- Leef (Evander, 2007) * Mute Socialite -- "Chicago! Chicago! (You Wake Me Up In The Morning)" -- More Popular Than Presidents and Generals (Dephine Knormal, 2008) * Blanketship -- "Dirty, Dirty Carol" -- Teen Sounds (Gigante Sound, 2008) * Mark Lotz Meets Omar Ka: A Fula's Call -- "There Is Beauty in the Dark Out There" -- Liingu (Lop Lop, 2008)

* Alee Kareem, composer -- "I Get Lost in the Supermarket" -- V/A: Subcutaneous Sound (Mills College, 2007)

* Phil Minton, Yagihashi Tsukasa, Sato Yukie, Higo Hiroshi -- [untitled track 1] -- Nippara/Tokyo (Austin, 2008) Jorrit Dijkstra and John Hollenbeck -- "Neuron Ringer" -- Sequence (Trytone, 2006)

* Achim Kaufman, Frank Gratkowski, Wilbert De Joode -- "A Destination Farther" -- Palae (Leo Records, 2007)

* Jose Maceda -- "Strata" [excerpt] -- Drone and Melody (Tzadik, 2007) * Tim Adams -- "Images of My Spirit" -- Images of My Spirit (Teeko, 2007) ! Kaki King -- "Bone Chaos in the Castle" -- Dreaming of Revenge (Velour, 2008)

Tony Wilson 6tet -- "I Am the Walrus" -- Pearls Before Swine (Drip Audio, 2007)

15 Degrees Below Zero -- "The Fifth" -- New Travel (Edgetone, 2007) * Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog -- "Party Intellectuals" -- Party Intellectuals (Pi Recordings, 2008)

* William Parker -- "Morning Mantra" -- Double Sunrise over Neptune (AUM Fidelity, 2008)

* Transvalue -- "The '58 Retractable Hardtop" -- Book 3: The '58 Retractable Hardtop (Thank You, 2008)

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

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