Michael Cosmic: Peace in the World / Phill Musra Group: Creator Spaces (Now-Again)
For fans of avant-garde jazz who like to dive deep into the music's history, this combination of two rarities is the reissue of the year. Michael Cosmic and Phill Musra are twins who were born, respectively, Thomas Michael Cooper and Phillip Anthony Alfred Cooper in Chicago in 1950. Falling under the influence of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians after being recruited as teens by AACM member Roscoe Mitchell, they studied with Mitchell, Anthony Braxton, and AACM founder Muhal Richard Abrams. A year at the University of Wisconsin (1970-71) gave them the opportunity to take Cecil Taylor's class, after which they moved to Boston along with fellow student Jemeel Moondoc.
A dynamically-gentle, compelling folk-Americana album by an earnest singer-songwriter from Chicago. Mr. Kesller once shared his chops on The Voice and that certainly helped raise his profile as an artist of merit and will hopefully afford him a much deserved wider audience for this amazing new album.
Some artists are discovered like that perfect shell on a stroll on the beach -- you look down and you spot it, pick it up, marvel over its beauty, and take it home. Nashville-based, El Paso-born, indie folk artist Jethro Gaglione aka Sierra Blanca has a vibe that is so sweet and fine. Utterly undeniable. A true natural talent. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist's new EP Honorable Mention will be released on Nov. 10th. In the interim, check out his single "Beds," a ballad so evocatively engaging and refreshingly simple, inviting the listener to crawl into bed with him while be serenaded to. And that is why it's my single of the week.
Leave it to Morrissey to solve our current political and social dilemmas -- North Korea nukes, Vegas sniper, racial tension, POTUS' misguided bullying, raging hurricanes and fires, et al. -- and help us find respite from the world's insanities with his latest grand single, "Spent The Day In Bed" from his new long player Low In High School (released by BMG on November 17th). It starts with an infectious keyboard hook that wraps his voice around his simple but profoundly wise proclamation:
I've been playing it every morning these past few weeks as I contemplate his very inviting and therapeutic remedy before I finally succumb to my morning rituals and log on to my computer to see what calamity awaits me. Thank you, Stephen for at least offering a very solid alternative to combat my spiraling-out-of-control anxiety. peace, Dusty
Recently, Dusty provided me a golden opportunity: in connection with the release of Three-Piece Suite -- a remastering of some compositions from Gentle Giant's first three albums -- their media team offered an interview with Derek Shulman, lead singer for the group, and now a high-level record company executive. Knowing my love of Gentle Giant, Dusty offered the interview to me. There was no constraint on content, only on the number of questions (an even dozen). So, with thanks to Anne Leighton (of Anne Leighton Media), who coordinated, here is my interview with one of progressive rock's most iconic figures, both as an artist and as a rep:
The Fall - New Facts Emerge (Cherry Red)
For a band that has existed around the spiteful and brooding presence of Mark E. Smith for over thirty albums and forty years another release shouldn't pack many surprises but it does. Many have served under his difficult demands, being in The Fall almost a rite of passage, an induction by fire for many a Mancunian musician. Some never fully recuperate from the experience.