Friday, October 10th, 2008 ... 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ... KZSU, 90.1 FM

(Return to playlists.)

Great music shows are always happening around the Bay Area, but there's a particularly rich slate to be had this coming week:

Notable recordings this week:
George Schuller's Circle Wide -- Like Before, Somewhat After (Playscape, 2008)

Source: On the one hand, it makes sense that you wouldn't cover Keith Jarrett's "The Survivors' Suite" shot for shot. If it sounded exactly like the original, you'd go listen to the original. (Coltrane-covering bands, take note.) On the other hand, it wasn't the combination of notes and chords that made the album-length "Survivors' Suite" special. It was the setting: the mood of the music, yes, but also the sense of strength amid bleakness, and the overhanging nuclear fears of the cold war. Even the album cover, with its simple yet fading, despairing tones, contributed.

In other words, "Survivors' Suite" doesn't seem replicable. It's no wonder that Jarrett never produced any work similar, and possibly never wanted to.

But drummer George Schuller gives "The Survivors' Suite" a shot on Like Before, Somewhat After. He comes close -- the opening guitar scratches from Brad Shepik evoke the proper Source: loneliness and emptiness, and Donnie McCaslin tries his fiery best with a sax solo at the end of part one. If I hadn't heard the original, I'd consider it an intriguing track with an innovative base concept. Big ups to Schuller, then, for trying it, but I think the effort was a bit doomed. Leaving vibraphone off the menu might have helped, I think; those comforting strains might work well in the more placid opening to Part 2 but just pillow-smother the sense of dread that should be the source of strength in Part 1.

The album is a noble cause, though. Going beyond "Survivors' Suite," it's a revival of several compositions from Jarrett's fertile 1970s period, when he ran a powerful, graceful quartet with Dewey Redman (sax), Charlie Haden (bass), and Paul Motian (drums). I've had an amazing trek through used record stores discovering one album after another from this group -- Bop-Be, Backhand, Mysteries, The Judgement. All are filled with the lush, soulful piano sound that drew so many listeners to Jarrett -- I think of it as a "Harlem stroll" sound, although that's a random and probably ignorant description -- but each album also has one Weird Song. It might be Jarrett and Redman screeching away on recorders, or one long low mysterious blur. The catalog, which I think was mostly on ABC/Impluse!, did finally get documented with a CD box set; before that, I don't think any of the albums had been rereleased on CDs easily available in the United States. They're all worth seeking out -- especially Survivors' Suite, which, as I was saying, is a real departure.

Schuller, then, is doing good work by bringing a handful of these compositions back to life. For most of the tracks, Tom Beckham's vibraphone sound is a welcome splash, taking in the piano parts and giving them a new voice. McCaslin was already in this band, but based on his solo work, his sax seems a decent choice for this kind of project. Shepik's guitar adds some nice depth -- I don't think Jarrett ever used a For a serious listener/collector, the thing to do is probably to chase down the old Jarrett albums. But Schuller's CD is going to be easier to find -- possibly cheaper, if you don't want to seek out Jarrett on vinyl. And I'd assume he's done some live shows in support of the album. If he can spark some renewed appreciation for the old Jarrett quartet, he'll have done some excellent work.

Horizontal lines denote microphone breaks.

Cooper-Moore is undergoing a solo tour of America; click on his name, there, to go to his Web page, which has the schedule. The tour consists of just the man and his homemade instruments, travelling town-to-town via bus or train. Given how difficult it is, financially, for east-coast free-jazzers to travel out this way, I'm thankful for the chance to see him. (Tuesday, Oct. 14, at Mama Colizo's Voice Factory, 1519 Mission St. near 11th, San Francisco.)

Cooper-Moore -- "America" -- America (Hopscotch, 2004)

source: AUM Fidelity ? Cooper-Moore Quartet -- "Paradox" -- V/A: Vision One: Vision Festival 1997 Compiled (AUM Fidelity, 1998)

? Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble -- "Seasoning the Greens" [excerpt] -- V/A: Vision One: Vision Festival 1997 Compiled (AUM Fidelity, 1998)

Cooper-Moore -- "Blues for Jacki Byard" -- Deep in the Neighborhood of History and Influence (Hopscotch, 2000)

* Todd Sickafoose -- "Invisible Ink, Revealed" -- Tiny Resistors (Cryptogramophone, 2008) ? Jen Baker -- "Pip Squeak" -- Blue Dreams (Dilapidated Barns, 2008)

* George Schuller's Circle Wide -- "Survivors' Suite, Part 1" -- Like Before, Somewhat After (Playscape,2008)

Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble -- "Signals" -- Jack Curtis Dubowsky Ensemble (De Stijl, 2008)

-- 4:00 p.m. --

Billy Bang -- "Contrary Motion" -- Big Bang Theory (Justin Time, 2000)

* Achim Kaufman, Frank Gratkowski, Wilbert De Joode -- "Some Lanes" -- Palae (Leo Records, 2007) * Christopher Adler -- "Ecstatic Volutions in a Neon Haze" [excerpt] -- Ecstatic Volutions in a Neon Haze (Innova, 2007) * Kris Davis -- "Minnow Bucket" -- Rye Eclipse (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2008)

Matt Davignon -- "Dpvrb K" -- Bwoo (Edgetone, 2005)

* Annea Lockwood -- "Popina to Rasova" -- A Sound Map of the Danube (Lovely, 2008) *! Chumbawamba -- "Waiting for the Bus" -- The Boy Bands Have Won (PM/Trade Root, 2008) * Bill Frisell -- "Struggle, Part 2" -- History, Mystery (Nonesuch, 2008)

* William Parker -- "O'Neal's Bridge" -- Double Sunrise over Neptune (AUM Fidelity, 2008)
* William Parker -- "Morning Mantra" [excerpt] -- Double Sunrise over Neptune (AUM Fidelity, 2008)

-- 5:00 p.m. --

* Etran Finatawa -- "Saghmar N Nanna" -- Desert Crossroads (Riverboat, 2007)

? Eric Vloeimans -- "Boom-Petit" -- Boompetit (Challenge, 2007)

Evan Parker -- "Line 2" [excerpt] -- Lines Burnt in Light (Psi,2001)

* Miya Masaoka -- "Part 2" -- While I Was Walking, I Heard a Sound... (Solitary B, 2005) * David Leikam Trio and Quartet -- [Untitled track 7] -- Live (self-released, 2008)

Gino Robair -- "Free Use of the Halving Principle" -- Singular Pleasures (Rastascan, 1997)

* Fire Room -- "Slag" -- Broken Music (Atavistic, 2008) * Ben Allison and Man Size Safe -- "Four Folk Songs" -- Little Things Run the World (Palmetto, 2008)

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

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