jazz http://culturecatch.com/taxonomy/term/73 en How Charlie Parker Taught Me to Fly http://culturecatch.com/node/3893 <span>How Charlie Parker Taught Me to Fly </span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/6775" lang="" about="/user/6775" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Brian Boston</a></span> <span>November 11, 2019 - 10:51</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UTORd2Y_X6U?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>It was just another Thursday on campus when my professor put on one of the Bird's popular recordings of "All the Things You Are" as an example of his work. Sitting in darkness in the back row, I found my mind racing as I was suddenly fourteen years old again, trying to make sense of that very same recording and why such a seemingly plain song was so important to jazz.</p> <p>“All the Things You Are” is often the first standard that budding jazz musicians will learn as it encompasses some of the most common chord changes -- 2-5's, chords moving in fourths diatonically, the chromatic walkdown at the end of the form, and that unmistakable intro/outro made famous by Bird himself. However, when lectured on the significance of this just a few years ago, I was left frustrated and confused with all questions and no answers.</p> <p>Coming into high school, I was a drummer -- nothing more. Three music classes a day, five days a week, and I still couldn't tell you what made up a scale or name a note on the staff. Each day brought humiliation. Ready to throw in the towel and daydreaming about transferring schools, those walks to the band room filled me with dread. While my peers worried themselves over Chemistry and History, Jazz had become the bane of my existence.</p> <p>As a teenager, Bird allegedly had a cymbal flung at him on the bandstand. If a sixteen year-old Parker could persevere, why couldn't I? Mama didn't raise no quitter after all. I relocated my lunch period to the practice rooms, and after school I spent hours hulked over the Vibraphone, fumbling over scales and arpeggios. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and soon I had upgraded from two mallets to four mallets, working on chord voicings and comping patterns.</p> <p>A summer of regimented practicing came and went, and I began sophomore year confident in my abilities. "All the Things You Are" showed me that I couldn't be any more wrong. I had all my scales down, minor, major, dominant, bebop, diminished, whole step, you name it. I was successful in teaching myself not only treble but bass clef in the span of a year. I could read down a lead sheet and comp the chords no problem. What I could not do, however, was improvise.</p> <p>The sole basis of <i>all jazz music </i>is improvisation. The art of instantaneous composition, of creating <b>your</b> own ideas and phrases over chord changes to tell <b>your</b> story -- that’s what makes the music. It’s what the greats from Monk to Miles were all renowned for. They say that the page is just a road map, a loosely interpretable guide to the music. Even still, staring at the first four chords (Fm7, Bbm7, Eb7, Abmaj7) I had no idea what to do with them, no understanding of what they had to do with each other. I was a dog, and my owner put the leash in my mouth and left me to walk myself.</p> <p>A new door had opened before me, a door to a previously unexplored world. Countless lessons and innumerable hours of practice later, I played my first solo at a concert (over Mingus' "Love Chant," in case you were curious). In time I was piecing together the puzzle, understanding the functions of each chord and what I could do to best serve them in my own playing. Armed with a new kind of confidence, it was hard to believe that music had seemed so grim and daunting just a few months prior. My playing evolved past any and all prior expectations I had reserved, and I began to experiment, pushing past my preconceived limits.</p> <p>The year I learned how to blow over "All the Things You Are" was the same year that I first composed music of my own. The same year that I took up playing the bass to sub in for a musical. The same year that I transcribed my first solo, Miles Davis' two choruses on "So What." The same year that I led a section for the first time, taking control of the drumline to arrange parts for the marching band’s repertoire. Although I began playing as a child, the flower of my musical career found the nutrients to blossom in high school.</p> <p>During those four years in high school, I had the privilege of meeting many great musical minds, orchestrating and performing my own written works, and learning four more instruments than I came in knowing. If I were lucky, I got to go home right after classes three or four days a month as I spent most of my time practicing in rehearsals or solo after school. I’ve played venues from the likes of Carnegie Hall to the streets of Little Italy and Chinatown. All of the things I am today, all thanks to Bird's "All the Things You Are." </p> <p><i>Mr. Boston is a Staten Island native studying Environmental Science at the Macaulay's Honors College at CCNY. </i><em>This is his first article for CultureCatch.com.</em></p> </div> <ul class="links inline list-inline"><li class="comment-add"><a href="/node/3893#comment-form" title="Share your thoughts and opinions." hreflang="en">Add new comment</a></li></ul><section> <a id="comment-1428"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1573513773"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/comment/1428#comment-1428" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Beautifully written piece ,…</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Beautifully written piece , awesome article !</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1428&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="RnxoY28Yw_xKGP6zXvXQWVUYqZ2fCPrAEyO6tQQTfbk"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/index.php/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/index.php/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Chris </span> on November 11, 2019 - 17:11</p> </footer> </article> <a id="comment-1461"></a> <article data-comment-user-id="0" class="js-comment"> <mark class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1574351386"></mark> <div> <h3><a href="/comment/1461#comment-1461" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="en">Great article. All hail Bird.</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Great article. All hail Bird.</p> </div> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=1461&amp;1=default&amp;2=en&amp;3=" token="PAalZC73loNZN0r0I5LqdbIMjJafIeKCGBvTFTl1xL8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> <footer> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/index.php/user/0"> <div class="field field--name-user-picture field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <a href="/index.php/user/0"><img src="/sites/default/files/styles/extra_small/public/default_images/avatar.png?itok=RF-fAyOX" width="50" height="50" alt="Generic Profile Avatar Image" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </a> </div> </article> <p>Submitted by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Ben Lauter</span> on November 20, 2019 - 18:59</p> </footer> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=3893&amp;2=comment_node_story&amp;3=comment_node_story" token="AG08D3q5hfbTBFV5oVz2yW1CdfI9RaHpkee0aELoaO0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Mon, 11 Nov 2019 15:51:41 +0000 Brian Boston 3893 at http://culturecatch.com Legendary '70s Jazz Sessions Reissued http://culturecatch.com/music/phill-musra-michael-cosmic-now-again <span>Legendary &#039;70s Jazz Sessions Reissued</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/steveholtje" lang="" about="/users/steveholtje" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Holtje</a></span> <span>December 13, 2017 - 01:19</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/users/69/michael-cosmic.jpg" style="width:355px; height:355px; float:right" /></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Michael Cosmic: <em>Peace in the World </em>/ Phill Musra Group: <em>Creator Spaces</em> (Now-Again)</strong></p> <p>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.</p> <!--break--> <p>Boston in the early '70s was a hotbed of avant jazz, and associate producer Clifford Allen's detailed liner notes say the brothers got to play around the Boston/Cambridge scene fairly often. Both albums were recorded during their Boston period, specifically in 1974; current N.Y.C. scene elder Cooper-Moore, then a young man sharing the Boston scene with the Cooper brothers, is cited as saying they were the only band he would go out to see in Boston. He expounds further: "[appreciating their music] had nothing to do with technique; it had all to do with their spirit, their feeling, and their connection, and when they finished, you felt what they were playing."</p> <p>Though there are differences between the two records, the similarities are great. The composed "heads" (opening themes) are Ayleresque in their simplicity and fanfare-like qualities, but in general are more rudimentary and rhythmically stiffer than the folk-songish tunes Ayler wrote (the flute melodies of Phill's "Egypt" and Michael's "We Love You Malcolm X" are lithe exceptions). Once past the heads, though, the brothers' creativity blossoms; their spontaneous improvisations, which don't seem related to the heads, are limber and natural-sounding, and they often intertwine horn lines with twinnish empathy. The brothers exhibit command of multiple instruments -- both played various saxophones and other wind instruments, along with "little instruments" (an AACM influence, here percussion or ethnic winds), with Michael also contributing Sun Ra-ish piano and organ (sometimes overdubbed atop group improvisations). Structurally, though themes occasionally reappear in the middle as signposts, things are generally quite free-form in a nicely organic way, and while there is serious energy on display at times, these are not Frank Wright-style blowouts, instead ebbing and flowing. The polyrhythmic contributions of drummer Hüseyin Ertunc, present on all but the last bonus track (see below) are crucial to the group's sound, both accenting in the moment and holding things together. Devotees of this period will recognize the general style and freedom concept while reveling in the twins' highly personalized take on it.</p> <p>The vinyl version in stores (in N.Y.C., the Greenpoint and East Village outlets of Academy Records, perhaps others) and available through Forced Exposure is two LPs and contains all the music on the original releases and pasted-on B&amp;W cover "slicks" in homage to the originals' DIY ethos. It includes a download of both albums plus three additional tracks. The latter tracks are also on not only the three-CD version but also the limited-edition three-LP version available only from Now-Again's Reserve Edition record club. The previously unreleased recording of "The Creator Is So Far Out" finds Musra and Ertunc, and possibly Cosmic, joined by guitarist Rene Arlain and bassist Wes Riley on a more meditative (because of no organ overdubs) and more extended undated version with a cleaner delivery of the head than on the album. There is also a 1973 recording, "Phyllis," with a similar group and, most significantly, a previously unreleased 1972 concert recording by World's Experience Orchestra, another underground Boston ensemble of great significance. The Coopers don’t play on this recording, but they performed in this group at other times, and leader John Jamyll Jones is the bassist on Cosmic's album; anyway, having this music is such a boon that the oddity of its inclusion here is immediately rendered irrelevant. - <em>Steve</em><em> Holtje</em></p> </div> <section> </section> Wed, 13 Dec 2017 06:19:24 +0000 Steve Holtje 3654 at http://culturecatch.com Free From Conformity http://culturecatch.com/music/matthew-shipp-ivo-perelman-interview <span>Free From Conformity</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/690" lang="" about="/user/690" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Dalachinsky</a></span> <span>April 27, 2017 - 11:18</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div style="text-align:center"> <figure class="image" style="display:inline-block"><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/matt-ivo-live_0.jpeg" style="width: 560px; height: 372px;" /><figcaption>Photo by Peter Gannushkin</figcaption></figure></div> <p>On the occasion of their new mega-release on <a href="http://www.leorecords.com" target="_blank">Leo Records</a>, <em>The Art of Perelman-Shipp Vols. 1-7</em> and their ensuing <a href="http://lpr.com/lpr_events/ivo-perelman-matthew-shipp-album-release-may-7th-2017/">CD release party at Le Poisson Rouge</a> on May 7th at 9:30 P.M. with Italian Surf Academy, I asked Ivo Perelman and Matthew Shipp the following questions.</p> <p><strong>Steve Dalanchinsky:</strong> How long have you been associated both as collaborators and friends?</p> <!--break--> <p>When did you first encounter each other's music?</p> <p>What projects are planned in the future after this mammoth undertaking?</p> <p>Talk a bit about how your musical languages differ and where they merge/intermingle.</p> <p>In brief, discuss your philosophies about free music inside/outside lyricism tune structures as well as spiritual/social ideas/ideals in the music.</p> <p>Do you feel there are any relevant messages in the music if any? </p> <p>Is there anything either of you want to add about the ongoing energies/ forces that unite and bind you to each other as artists and to the music?</p> <p>Here are the results: </p> <p><strong>Perelman:</strong> I first heard of Matthew Shipp in the late '90s. I had been living in NY for some four or five years. I went to The Knitting Factory and he was a sideman playing piano for Roscoe Mitchell. I really enjoyed the music. His playing really caught my attention; in fact, there were several people there in the audience just talking about the new guy back then, Matthew Shipp, and how original and creative his music was. So soon after, coincidentally, his wife -- who was working in a restaurant waitressing back then -- overheard a conversation I was having at my table. She found out I was a musician. She asked, "Do you know Matthew Shipp?"</p> <p>I said, "Sure I do. I love his music."</p> <p>Then we exchanged numbers and soon after I invited Matt to do a recording, which was a duo. We had never played together and we went right to the studio. It's called <em>Bendito of Santa Cruz</em>, released by Cadence Records.  After that, we did a few other things and then we hit big again as of five years ago with the recording <em>The Hour of the Star</em>, which included Joe Morris and Gerald Cleaver. Matt and I went to Brazil a few times (where I am from). We just released the seven CDs, as you say a mammoth undertaking, and we are looking forward to playing live a whole lot more. We enjoy doing that as well besides the studio work, and we will continue releasing special projects. We feel that playing in duo settings we still have a lot to discover and expand on.</p> <p>Now talking about our musical languages, how they differ and where they merge and intermingle, I come from a very different background than Matthew. My background is in Brazilian pop and folk music, Jewish music, and classical music, mainly guitar music. I was a classical guitarist up until my late teens, especially the music of Villa-Lobos and only later on as I was getting older, around seventeen, eighteen years old, I started listening to jazz.  My first influences were different than Matthew. I was into Stan Getz, especially his bossa nova association.</p> <p>Where we merge and intermingle is at the core of music’s creativity. We deal with sounds in a very personal and creative way. Our two worlds are very distinct, very different from each other, but where we meet it makes our music just one and complete.  </p> <p>Spiritual social ideas and ideals in the music: Well, we just hope for it to show through. I can only speak for myself when I say that I just hope that the music I’m playing will open up in people, different views and understandings as well as their sensibilities to appreciate music that has no preconceived ideas, no preconceived formats and music that, although fed and informed by previous masters, is music that is trying to be true to itself and to its originality.</p> <p><strong>Shipp: </strong> 1. I think we met in the mid-1990s. I don’t remember exactly when, but it was around that time.</p> <p>2. I saw a few articles or reviews of Ivo and then I went to the Knitting Factory one night when he was playing in a band with Marilyn Crispell, I think. I made a note to myself that some day I might play with him.</p> <p>3. This is our big bang. I assume we will do a few other things; since these are done ostensibly under Ivo’s name, I will let him say what he feels about them.</p> <p>4. Ivo is not the usual Lower East Side avant Vision Festival type of player, if such a creature can be postulated to exist. First of all, his Brazilian heritage does enter into his playing. Second, he has an intense interest and knowledge of classical music. Third of all, having studied to be a studio musician and giving that all up, to go into free jazz makes him a little different type of player. We both have a vision of the universe after Coltrane that is inspired by that but goes in a diametrically different direction and we both like the “old” jazz sound, whether its Ben Webster or Fats Waller. As far as why we work well together, I don’t think there is any analysis for that. It’s like a marriage. The chemistry works or it does not, and there usually is no logical analysis for that.</p> <p>5. There is no inside and outside. The music is what it is when it is played. Inside and outside is social propaganda. We link ideas. That is the tune structure -- we try to make our instruments sing. Hence lyricism rises.</p> <p>6. Steve, you know the spiritual ideas of my metaphysics and you have expanded on them in linear notes you have written over the years. I am proud to be an outright mystic. The keyboard is my instrument to generate circles and spheres in nature and spirit. (S.D.: refer to <em>Logos and Language: A Metaphysical Dialogue</em> between Shipp and myself on Rogueart Books and a recent interview with Yuko Otomo in <em>All About Jazz</em>, among various other sources.)</p> <p>7. The forces that bind us are being alive at the same time and partaking in the same language pool. Language is a mysterious force. Who is to say why the universe picks two people to have musical conversations with each other?</p> </div> <section> </section> Thu, 27 Apr 2017 15:18:40 +0000 Steve Dalachinsky 3566 at http://culturecatch.com Album of the Week: Swiss Movement http://culturecatch.com/music/vinyl-of-the-week-swiss-movement <span>Album of the Week: Swiss Movement</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>August 20, 2016 - 11:21</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Jv0fnSBf0Do?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p><strong>Les McCann &amp; Eddie Harris - <em>Swiss Movement</em> (Atlantic, 1969)</strong></p> <p>I don't profess to have the deepest critical knowledge of jazz, especially with managing editor Steve Holtje being our resident expert, but I definitely have a deep appreciation. Regardless, <em>Swiss Movement </em>by Les McCann and Eddie Harris remains of one of my favorite live jazz albums. I just picked up a super-clean used copy of it at one of my favorite vinyl shops in Akron, Ohio.</p> <!--break--> <p>The above track -- "Compared to What," written by Gene McDaniels, recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival in1969 -- was one of my favorite soul jazz tunes when I was just getting into jazz. And I still never tire of this timeless classic, nor the album. The rest of the set burns with the same ferocity <em>sans </em>vocals. And while I thought I knew everything about this album, I recently discovered that saxophonist Eddie Harris and trumpeter Benny Bailey had never played or rehearsed together with the Les McCann Trio before hitting the stage in Montreux. I suspect that's why they have such energy on stage. Atlantic/Rhino (8122798047) reissued the album back in 2010.</p> <p>I would also suggest you seek out another scorching version of "Compared to What" by Brian Auger's Oblivion Express from their <em>Closer to It</em> album (RCA, 1973). Brian's churning and burning organ really pump up the vibe. I recently reviewed it <a href="/music/vinyl-of-the-week-summer-albums-2016-part-2" target="_blank">here</a>. In fact, I would encourage a listen to both albums as soon as possible. <img alt="" border="0" height="1" src="http://ad.linksynergy.com/fs-bin/show?id=g1UnrUS5W4M&amp;bids=124192.10000242&amp;type=4&amp;subid=0" width="1" /></p> </div> <section> </section> Sat, 20 Aug 2016 15:21:51 +0000 Dusty Wright 3472 at http://culturecatch.com Mike McGinnis - Art Lande - Steve Swallow at IBeam (Brooklyn, NY), March 27, 2016 http://culturecatch.com/music/mcginnis-lande-swallow-ibeam <span>Mike McGinnis - Art Lande - Steve Swallow at IBeam (Brooklyn, NY), March 27, 2016</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/steveholtje" lang="" about="/users/steveholtje" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Holtje</a></span> <span>March 28, 2016 - 03:55</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="370" src="/sites/default/files/images/IMG_3172.JPG" style="width: 564px; height: 261px;" width="800" /></p> <p>Chances to hear pianist Art Lande in action in New York City are rare; with bassist Steve Swallow, even rarer (they had a band in the Bay Area in the '70s). Fortunately for New Yorkers, clarinetist/soprano saxophonist Mike McGinnis took it upon himself to bring them together for some trio concerts, and though snow in Colorado kept Lande from arriving for the originally scheduled Thursday and Friday shows, IBeam was able to accommodate them for the expected four sets by squeezing in a late set Saturday and then three sets Sunday night; I caught the first two on Sunday.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/IMG_3185.JPG" style="width:280px; height:373px; float:right" />Art Lande acted as the MC for the evening, and his humor was quickly apparent when he said that if McGinnis had not written their first number, "The Rising," specifically for Easter, we could think of bread instead. The trio had only played together for one rehearsal and the previous evening's set, so all three were using sheet music, and the audience could clearly see that  "The Rising" was three pages long; sure enough, it was a somewhat complex arrangement with several distinct sections. After a very sparse solo piano introduction, clarinet delivered the melody. There followed a slightly busier section that sounded improvised but still could have been arranged to some degree. Swallow, who throughout the set played a hollow-body five-string, fretted electric bass guitar with a pick, played a very melodic solo that flowed quickly. After his solo there seemed to be a "signpost;" rather than just a string of solos, "The Rising" seemed to move through a set series of instrumental combinations with brief arranged bits slightly framing each section, such as a clarinet/bass duo. Lande played while manually damping strings inside the piano to wind down the piece.</p> <p>In both the sets I heard, a new Lande composition, "Shanty Cruise," was featured, both times with a snippet of a traditional sea shanty sung as a lead-in. In this set it was "Drunken Sailor," which Lande prompted a friend in the audience to sing; next time around, Lande himself sang "Blow the Man Down." "Shanty Cruise" alternated swathes of circle-of-fifths harmonic movement with sideways-by-steps progressions. Its lead sheet is one page, and the piece circled around a lot, yet with these players, it never seemed redundant. McGinnis switched to soprano sax for this tune, and the combination of the melody's repeated notes and his soprano tone reminded me of Jan Garbarek, though perhaps it's Lande's 1974 ECM album with Garbarek, <em>Red Lanta</em>, that put that thought in my head.</p> <p>The most striking composition in this set was Lande's "For Elise," inspired by a stillborn baby. With its odd harmonic juxtapositions, it was a sort of surreal lullaby, one moment soothing, the next slipping into discomfiting unease. Lande's penchant for unusual harmonic progressions was displayed on the following "Shining Life," a tribute to his students' promise that also functioned as a quick-moving contrast to "For Elise." It oscillated between passages of mostly two chords and circles of fifths, embodying a sense of upward progress. Lande switched to melodica for the final section. There was another switch in store on Swallow's "Here Comes Everybody;" after a boppish piano solo that somewhat suggested a Bud Powell influence, Lande walked across the stage and sat behind the drum kit, playing with brushes, before returning to the piano. It was another example of his constant drive to keep timbres and textures varied. Another new Lande tune, "Constantinople," was also boppish, and very forward-driving. I especially enjoyed a section where Swallow soloed over a set pattern played by Lande and McGinnis that suggested a stripped-down version of the head.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/IMG_3186.JPG" style="width:564px; height:422px; float:left" />Lande declared we weren't ready yet for "the closer," so McGinnis's "Hearth" was played in a shorter-than-usual version: the composer played a solo clarinet intro, followed by one solo over accompaniment for each player after everybody joined. Then came the unidentified and uncredited set-closer, vampy and damn near funky.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/IMG_3190.JPG" style="width:269px; height:464px; float:right" />The second set was looser and at times freer. Lande read from William Carlos Williams's poem "The Lady Speaks" ("A storm raged among the live oaks/while my husband and I/sat in the semi-dark/listening!") as McGinnis and Swallow spontaneously backed him. Lande then plucked strings inside the piano and a long free improvisation led into Swallow's ballad "Amazing," with Lande playing some of his lushest chords of the evening. He dropped out for a McGinnis clarinet solo behind which Swallow comped with strummed chords. Surprisingly, when Lande returned, it was not with lush harmonies but rather with wide parallel octaves in counterpoint. Eventually he fleshed this out with soulful chords as McGinnis soloed even more fervently before they all returned to the ballad's theme.</p> <p>McGinnis had asked Lande for an arrangement of the standard "Darn That Dream"; Lande obliged with what he termed "a derangement," "another dream, this one turns into a nightmare." The standard's melody eventually arrived after an intro. At times the meter seemed to be 5/4, but never for long; this enhanced the dream-like nature of the arrangement. Lande sang along with/against McGinnis's wildly fluttering solo, which shifted gears into a more normal extrapolation from the standard, then a disjointed loping, and then back into nightmarish scurrying; there seemed to be a rondo-like form underlying it all. Lande also soloed, accompanied by Swallow, before the trio reunited for the conclusion.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/IMG_3184.JPG" style="width:292px; height:397px; float:left" />Before the next piece (unidentified), Lande called Swallow "Mister Roots" and prompted him to solo, which of course he did magnificently and seemingly spontaneously. Swallow's "Bend over Backwards" was up next, with Lande on melodica for a bit before returning to piano, throwing in piquant dissonances behind a looping yet disjunct theme that suggested a musical Moebius strip. After his solo, Lande moved back to the drums, and though he displayed minimal technique, he did it with maximum musicality and wit. "Shanty Cruz" was next; this time out Lande became enamored of glissandi, which sandwiched an unexpected one-handed monophonic solo.</p> <p>Lande insisted on a free improvisation, which he kicked off with a lengthy stretch of verbal free association before devoting his attention to piano and melodica. McGinnis, on clarinet, fit in just as well with the masters in the boundaryless format as he had in their tricky tonalities. Swallow explained that the next piece, "Bite Your Grandmother," was inspired by March King John Phillip Sousa's reaction to early jazz. It was (Thelonious) Monk-ish in tone, especially Lande's playing; with McGinnis on soprano sax, Steve Lacy came to mind. Lande hopped back on drums and this time revealed more technical skill as he moved from brushes to sticks for more assertive playing. Swallow spent much of the tune "walking" with such supple grace that at times it seemed like a gracefully restrained guitar lead. A section of trading fours showed even more drum technique on Lande's part.</p> <p>As the head returned (and the set came to a close), I found myself thinking it was as though "Evidence" had been expanded. Yet here, and through out the two sets, while jazz's past was sometimes referenced, the overwhelming impression and impact was of highly distinctive players creating something quite fresh, always protean and shifting, always full of the sense of surprise that is the epitome of pure jazz. </p> <p>Photos by the author.</p></div> <section> </section> Mon, 28 Mar 2016 07:55:37 +0000 Steve Holtje 3396 at http://culturecatch.com ANNIVERSARIES: Pat Metheny Born 61 Years Ago http://culturecatch.com/music/pat-metheny-guide <span>ANNIVERSARIES: Pat Metheny Born 61 Years Ago</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/steveholtje" lang="" about="/users/steveholtje" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Holtje</a></span> <span>August 12, 2015 - 12:03</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ER_Mw0fcOog?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Happy birthday to Pat Metheny (born August 12, 1954), one of the few jazz superstars of the past four decades to combine commercial success and critical plaudits. After paying his dues in Gary Burton's band (which he joined at age 19), Metheny put out his first album in 1976 and by the time of his third release two years later was gaining crossover radio play. Though the style of his eponymous band was smooth and tuneful, Metheny had a firm basis in jazz and straight-ahead guitarist gods such as Jim Hall (with whom he eventually recorded a fine duo album).</p> <p>With success came the challenge of avoiding complacency, which Metheny has met masterfully with a wide-ranging series of albums in a variety of stylistic bags, from atonal skronk to mellow Brazilian, from thorny Ornette Coleman covers to mercurial bebop. Along the way he has lent his prestige to both respected elders (Hall, Burton, Coleman, Derek Bailey, and Jack DeJohnette) and rising stars (Joshua Redman, Kenny Garrett) and spoken out against what he sees as negative trends in the business.</p> <p>Though not all his recordings have been equally successful in artistic terms, Metheny has certainly made more than just ten worthwhile albums. This selection balances quality and the wide variety of his diverse styles. (Dates shown are recording, not release.)</p> <p><strong>1. <em>Pat Metheny Group </em>(ECM, 1/78)</strong></p> <p>The album that made Metheny a star, it also launched a quartet with keyboardist Lyle Mays, fretless bassist Mark Egan, and drummer Dan Gottlieb (the latter two later formed the band Elements). Such catchy tunes as "Phase Dance," "April Joy," and "Lone Jack" received FM airplay on some adventurous rock stations and remain fan favorites. Its success paved the way for smooth jazz, but don't blame Metheny for that: this music isn't fluff, it's got a firm foundation in jazz and plenty of substance, as well as superb playing and imaginative solos.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/metheny-wichita.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:right" /><strong>2. <em>As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls </em>(ECM, 9/80)</strong></p> <p>The firmly established star moved to a spacier, more meditative sound here. Metheny (doubling on electric bass) and Mays are joined by versatile percussionist/vocalist Nana Vasconcelos in an album dominated by the haunting 20-minute title track. The chiming "Ozark" looks back to his earlier style, "September Fifteenth" remembers piano legend Bill Evans, and "Estupenda Graça" gives the hymn "Amazing Grace" a Brazilian spin.</p> <p><strong>3. </strong><em>Song X </em>(Geffen, 12/85)</p> <p>In the wake of Metheny's frequent covers of tunes by free-jazz avatar Ornette Coleman came this 1986 collaboration with the radical harmolodic saxophonist. Coleman's son, drummer Denardo Coleman, combined with Metheny's then-regular trio partners, bassist Charlie Haden and drummer Jack DeJohnette, for a free-wheeling, risk-taking session that makes Coleman's challenging music accessible without compromising its core virtues.</p> <p><strong>4. <em>Rejoicing</em> (ECM, 11/83)</strong></p> <p>This trio set with Haden and former Coleman drummer "Smilin'" Billy Higgins includes not only three Ornette tunes but also Horace Silver's "Lonely Woman" and some inspired originals by Metheny and Haden. The interplay among the three musicians is positively telepathic.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/metheny-question.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:right" /><strong>5. <em>Question &amp; Answer </em>(Geffen, 12/89)</strong></p> <p>This trio with bassist Dave Holland and drummer Roy Haynes found Metheny exploring bop and post-bop with a more straight-ahead tone bound to impress hardcore mainstream jazzers. At the time, hearing him cover the standards "All the Things You Are" and "Old Folks" was a surprise; Miles Davis's "Solar" is among the highlights.</p> <p><strong>6. <em>Trio 99-00</em> (Warner Bros., 8/99)</strong></p> <p>A return to a style similar to that of <em>Question &amp; Answer</em>, but with a younger and sometimes funkier rhythm section of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Bill Stewart. This disc is both beautiful and invigorating. This band later released a "live" album that is just as good.</p> <p><strong>7. <em>The Sign of 4</em> (Knitting Factory, 12/96)</strong></p> <p>This out-of-print three-CD set and the deleted solo guitar freak-out <em>Zero Tolerance for Silence</em> (Geffen) were Metheny's entries in the hyper-intense world of completely free improvisation. Here he combines with the legendary Derek Bailey and percussionists Gregg Bendian and Paul Wertico for mostly in-concert rave-ups in which Metheny cranks up the volume -- and the distortion -- for skronk explosions from a legendary stand at the Knitting Factory in New York City.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/metheny-kin.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:right" /><strong>8. <em>Kin</em> (Nonesuch, 6/13)</strong></p> <p>The band name -- Pat Metheny Unity Group -- could signify Metheny bringing the different musical threads of his career into one context, because there's a lot of variety here, ranging from Metheny's classic rounded guitar-tone melodicism to his squealing synth-guitar and Orchestrion to some Ornette-inspired moments to the occasional Latin rhythms. Moods and vibes change up frequently, often within a track. Giulio Carmassi (piano, organ, cello, clarinet, flute, alto sax, French horn, trombone, trumpet, vibraphone, voice, whistling), Chris Potter (soprano and tenor saxes, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto and bass flutes), Ben Williams (electric and acoustic basses), and Antonio Sanchez (drums) give Metheny a lot of timbres to work with, and the return of keyboards definitely recalls the Pat Metheny Group of yore.</p> <p><strong>9. <em>Metheny Mehldau</em> (Nonesuch, 12/06)</strong></p> <p>A duo with pianist Brad Mehldau; <a href="/music/metheny_mehldau" target="_blank">full review here</a>. They later made a quartet album that is also quite good.</p> <p><strong>10. <em>Beyond the Missouri Sky (Short Stories)</em> (Verve, 1996)</strong></p> <p>This gorgeous duo with Haden is mostly acoustic and pleasantly reflective. Two tunes from the Andrea and Ennio Morricone-penned soundtrack to <em>Cinema Paradiso</em> are especially striking in their emotional yet unsappy impact; other bases touched include Jimmy Webb, Roy Acuff, and Johnny Mandel.</p> </div> <section> </section> Wed, 12 Aug 2015 16:03:03 +0000 Steve Holtje 3287 at http://culturecatch.com Jazz Master Matthew Shipp http://culturecatch.com/music/shipp-walerian <span>Jazz Master Matthew Shipp</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/user/311" lang="" about="/user/311" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Paul Semel</a></span> <span>April 28, 2015 - 07:29</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p style="text-align:center"><img alt="" height="714" src="/sites/default/files/images/ESP5007 Shipp Walerian front midsize.jpg" style="width: 565px; height: 504px;" width="800" /></p> The Uppercut:Matthew <span data-scayt_word="Shipp" data-scaytid="1">Shipp</span> Mat <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="2">Walerian</span> Duo <div><em>Live at <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="3">Okuden</span></em></div> <div>(ESP-Disk')</div> <div> </div> <p>In recent years, some of the most interesting and evocative jazz albums -- including <span data-scayt_word="Anouar" data-scaytid="4">Anouar</span> <span data-scayt_word="Brahem's" data-scaytid="5">Brahem's</span> <em>The Astounding Eyes of Rita</em> and the <span data-scayt_word="Wolfert" data-scaytid="6">Wolfert</span> <span data-scayt_word="Brederode" data-scaytid="7">Brederode</span> Quartet's <em>Post <span data-scayt_word="Scriptum" data-scaytid="8">Scriptum</span></em> -- have featured someone playing the bass clarinet slowly and carefully in a way that recalls some of the most interesting and evocative jazz albums of all time, <em>Fusion</em> and <em>Thesis </em>by the Jimmy <span data-scayt_word="Giuffre" data-scaytid="11">Giuffre</span> 3 (later collected as <em>1961</em>). Which may explain why, despite featuring the nimble, expressive, and yes interesting and evocative fingers of pianist Matthew <span data-scayt_word="Shipp" data-scaytid="9">Shipp</span>, <em>Live at <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="10">Okuden</span></em> really gets its mood, and thus its <span data-scayt_word="mojo" data-scaytid="15">mojo</span>, from the bass clarinet, alto sax, soprano clarinet, and flute playing of Mat <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="14">Walerian</span>.</p> <p>Recorded live on May 15, 2012 during the <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="17">Okuden</span> Music Concert Series in <span data-scayt_word="Torun" data-scaytid="26">Torun</span>, Poland -- a gathering founded and <span data-scayt_word="curated" data-scaytid="27">curated</span> by <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="18">Walerian</span> -- <em>Live at <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="21">Okuden</span></em> is a moody masterpiece that recalls the aforementioned albums by <span data-scayt_word="Brahem" data-scaytid="30">Brahem</span>, the <span data-scayt_word="Wolfert" data-scaytid="22">Wolfert</span> <span data-scayt_word="Brederode" data-scaytid="23">Brederode</span> Quartet, and the Jimmy <span data-scayt_word="Giuffre" data-scaytid="24">Giuffre</span> 3<em>, </em>but in a way that's even more <span data-scayt_word="spartan" data-scaytid="35">spartan</span> (for obvious reasons). And most of the credit for this goes to <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="34">Walerian</span> who, like the clarinet players on those albums, doesn't play like he's in a Dixieland band, but more like someone who just got kicked out of a Dixieland band…only to go home and find that his wife has left him and taken all their money. And their dog. And his Xbox.</p> <p>This isn't to say <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="37">Walerian</span> and <em>Live at <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="40">Okuden</span></em> doesn't get peppy sometimes (or that his playing is all that <span data-scayt_word="bluesy" data-scaytid="47">bluesy</span>, either). Throughout the album -- especially during "Free Bop Statement One," "Free Bop Statement Two," and "Encore" -- <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="38">Walerian</span> gets downright rambunctious, with <span data-scayt_word="Shipp" data-scaytid="41">Shipp</span> following him every step of the way, while the two get rather playful during "It's Sick Out There." <span data-scayt_word="Shipp" data-scaytid="42">Shipp</span> has never been afraid to veer into free jazz territory, though usually while his playmates stay the course, and here, both he and <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="39">Walerian</span> shows the same predilection.</p> <p>But the best moments on <em><span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="50">Okuden</span></em> are the ones where the players are matched in mood and intent, and both are dark. Best typified by the songs "Introduction," "Black Rain," and "Blues for Acid Cold," <em>Live at <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="52">Okuden</span></em> paints a picture in shades of black and grey, but with occasional bits of noisy dissonance. It's mournful, contemplative, and sad, and even when it is a bit <span data-scayt_word="aggro" data-scaytid="54">aggro</span>, it's still hauntingly beautiful.</p> <p>What's truly engaging about <em>Live at <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="55">Okuden</span></em>, though, is how the songs flow from one to the next -- save for the last one, "Encore" -- to form a lengthy suite that ebbs and flows, building to a crescendo in "Love and Other Species," only to calm back down in "Peace and Respect" and then "Black Rain."</p> <p>None of the above is meant in any way to diminish the contributions of <span data-scayt_word="Shipp" data-scaytid="57">Shipp</span>, though. Like those who accompanied the clarinet players on those aforementioned albums -- <span data-scayt_word="oudist" data-scaytid="69">oudist</span> <span data-scayt_word="Brahem" data-scaytid="60">Brahem</span>, bassist Bjorn Meyer, and percussionist <span data-scayt_word="Khaled" data-scaytid="71">Khaled</span> <span data-scayt_word="Yassine" data-scaytid="72">Yassine</span> on <span data-scayt_word="Brahem's" data-scaytid="61">Brahem's</span> album; pianist <span data-scayt_word="Brederode" data-scaytid="62">Brederode</span>, double-bassist Mat <span data-scayt_word="Eilertsen" data-scaytid="75">Eilertsen</span>, and drummer Samuel <span data-scayt_word="Rohrer" data-scaytid="76">Rohrer</span> on <span data-scayt_word="Brederode's" data-scaytid="77">Brederode's</span>; and pianist Paul <span data-scayt_word="Bley" data-scaytid="78">Bley</span> and double-bassist Steve Swallow on <span data-scayt_word="Giuffre's" data-scaytid="79">Giuffre's</span> -- it is <span data-scayt_word="Shipp's" data-scaytid="80">Shipp's</span> effortlessly flowing and nubile piano playing that provides <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="63">Walerian</span> with a solid foundation on which to sit quietly, contemplating the day. And that's not even mentioning the many moments when <span data-scayt_word="Shipp" data-scaytid="58">Shipp</span> takes the lead while <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="64">Walerian</span> provides some moody atmospherics. (Though I also freely admit that, having heard <span data-scayt_word="Shipp" data-scaytid="59">Shipp</span> numerous times over the years, but having this as my first exposure to <span data-scayt_word="Walerian" data-scaytid="65">Walerian</span>, I may be taking the former and his expert piano playing for granted a little. Sorry, dude.)</p> <p>In fact, the only bad thing I can say about <em>Live at <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="84">Okuden</span></em> -- well, besides wishing the CD had come in a sturdy plastic case instead of a cardboard contraption that's already getting worn out -- is that it's the first, and so far only, recording these guys have made together. I couldn't even find some other live recordings on the web; and believe me, I looked. No matter. Because if the glorious sixty-seven-plus minutes of <em>Live at <span data-scayt_word="Okuden" data-scaytid="85">Okuden</span></em> is any indication, this won't be this twosome's last collaboration. I just hope I don't have to wait long until the next time they hit the "record" button.</p> </div> <section> </section> Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:29:09 +0000 Paul Semel 3229 at http://culturecatch.com Song of the Week: "I've Never Been To Texas" http://culturecatch.com/music/song-of-the-week-judith-owen <span>Song of the Week: &quot;I&#039;ve Never Been To Texas&quot;</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>March 5, 2014 - 11:17</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7zaPDnXi1lE?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>Singer/songwriter/pianist <a href="http://www.judithowen.net" target="_blank">Judith Owen</a> proudly wears her troubadour influences -- Carole King, Laura Nyro, Joni -- on her sleeve. Hey, being informed by such grand company only works when you can deliver. And deliver she does on her latest solo effort<em> Ebb &amp; Flow</em>. She even enlisted one of the best LA backing bands ever -- bassist Leland Sklar, drummer Russ Kunkel, and guitarist Waddy Wachtel. "I've Never Been To Texas" is one of my favorite songs from her soon-to-be-released, delightful soft rock album. She's currently on tour with Mr. Sklar. Don't miss her!</p> </div> <section> </section> Wed, 05 Mar 2014 16:17:38 +0000 Dusty Wright 2956 at http://culturecatch.com Jazz Artist of the Year: Matthew Shipp http://culturecatch.com/music/jazz-artist-2013 <span>Jazz Artist of the Year: Matthew Shipp</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/steveholtje" lang="" about="/users/steveholtje" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Steve Holtje</a></span> <span>January 13, 2014 - 01:11</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>Last year I started anointing a Jazz Artist of the Year after a spurt of six <span data-scayt_word="Ivo" data-scaytid="1">Ivo</span> <span data-scayt_word="Perelman" data-scaytid="2">Perelman</span> albums that would have dominated my best-of list if not set apart. I've done it again because once again there was an artist so prolific AND so good that he was again worth noting separately. Though pianist <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/matthew-shipp/id4300680?uo=4&amp;at=11l4R8" target="_blank">Matthew <span data-scayt_word="Shipp" data-scaytid="3">Shipp</span></a> only released one album as a leader in 2013, he was a prolific collaborator, especially with Perelman. And it has been many years since Shipp was a 'sideman'; he is an equal on these projects. </p> <p>Taking well-deserved primacy here, of course, is his one new 2013 album under his own name (there was also <em>Greatest Hits</em>, reviewed by Dusty Wright <a href="/dusty/best-music-march-2013" target="_blank">here</a>), though several of those listed below it are of equal quality.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/piano-sutras-small.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:right" /></p> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/piano-sutras/id714165685?uo=4&amp;at=11l4R8" target="_blank">Matthew Shipp: <em>Piano Sutras</em> (Thirsty Ear)</a></p> <p>After <a href="/music/matthew-shipp-piano-sutras" target="_blank">my review</a> of this great, great solo piano album was published, I worried that people might take my comparison to Mal Waldron the wrong way. Shipp has not copied Waldron here. I just wanted to wax ecstatic about the love we share for Waldron's inimitable style, and express that with so few pianists following in Waldron's footsteps, I'm happy to hear someone taking that style further. Shipp is nothing if not original and distinctive; part of what makes him so is having a different set of influences -- musical DNA, so to speak -- from the usual ones. At times on <em>Piano Sutras</em> I hear an evolution of Waldron DNA, mixed in with much more.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/art-of-duet.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:left" /></p> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-right-to-protest/id430195464?i=430195478&amp;uo=4&amp;at=11l4R8" target="_blank">Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp: <em>The Art of the Duet Vol. 1</em> (Leo)</a></p> <p>Of the five (!) 2013 albums on which Shipp teams with Brazilian saxophonist Ivo Perelman, this is the one on which Shipp's equality with the leader is most patently obvious. Note the Vol. 1 designation; this is the first of a promised three Perelman/Shipp duo albums. Since their previous duo outing in 1996, both have expanded and deepened their art. This sounds to me more refined and abstract than before, or for that matter than their other albums this year. The tracks are all relatively short -- no extended blowing here, instead highly concentrated free-improvisation etudes focusing, in the moment, on particular aspects, whether timbre, counterpoint, organic development, etc. The tight focus and frequently intellectual bent of these tracks (not that there are not impassioned passages) belies the clichéd stereotype of free improvisation, but there are also some fiery moments, most notably the final moments of "Duet #04." Often they seem to be concentrating most on timbre, and they sure do have a multitude of them on here. Of course, Perelman's ax is more conducive to extravagant displays of timbral variety, but Shipp's pretty adept at switching up his tone/touch as well. In the rarified realm of jazz duo albums, this ranks high.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/edge.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:right" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Edge-Ivo-Perelman/dp/B00CCGWJ5E/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;keywords=Ivo%20Perelman%2FMatthew%20Shipp%2FMichael%20Bisio%2FWhit%20Dickey%3A%20The%20Edge%20(Leo)&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1389653558&amp;sr=8-1-fkmr0&amp;tag=cultcatc-20" target="_blank">Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Michael Bisio/Whit Dickey: <em>The Edge</em> (Leo)</a></p> <p>This album finds Perelman working with Shipp's regular trio. Once again the tracks are all relatively concise; there are even three under two minutes. Textures are varied, most drastically on "Fatal Thorns," a sax-drums duet, and "Interlude," just sax and piano. Free jazz saxophonists used to avoid using pianists, but Shipp's style never impinges on their freedom even as it improvises the blueprint of the structure over his rhythm section's foundation. Perelman is sonically at the forefront but Shipp's trio's shaping of the tracks seems to generally set the agenda for Perelman's fluidly creative improvisations. It is bassist Michael Bisio, sawing away raucously, who is heard first here on opening track "Clarinblasen," but it is the booming chords (built on fourths) of Shipp that define the track's sound. The roiling "Lancaster" finds Perelman flitting above the busy skittering of Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey as Shipp, often settling in a tonal area and pounding away at it, complements the shapes Perelman sketches. Perelman does take the lead more actively on the aptly named "Volcanic," whereon he erupts in a frenzy of intense improvisation that is the climax of the album, after which the less-retro-than-its-title-suggests "Websterisms" lovingly brings the album to a gentle close.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/serendipity.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:left" /></p> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Serendipity-Ivo-Perelman/dp/B00CCH2JJY/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;keywords=Ivo%20Perelman%2FMatthew%20Shipp%2FWilliam%20Parker%2FGerald%20Cleaver%3A%20Serendipity%20(Leo)&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1389653137&amp;sr=8-1&amp;tag=cultcatc-20" target="_blank">Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/William Parker/Gerald Cleaver: <em>Serendipity</em> (Leo)</a> <p>Here is a glorious anomaly, in several ways. It was supposed to be Perelman, Shipp, and Cleaver, but somebody was late, Parker was called, and then both showed up to make it a quartet. Parker, in case you don't know, is the supreme free-jazz bassist of the present era, so that was serendipity indeed. Shipp and Parker were half of the mighty David S. Ware Quartet for several decades, in addition to much other work together, so their interaction has been honed to affine point. Cleaver is a more muscular drummer than Dickey, Parker a bassist of heftier conception and tone than any, and <em>Serendipity</em> is a single 43-minute improvisation of singular density and impact, with Perelman is at his most Ayleresque (or maybe Frank Wright is a better comparison). That's not to say that the textures aren't varied, that the density doesn't ebb and flow; when things quiet down (after coming to an impressive boil) around the 15-minute mark, and Perelman takes a breather for a bit, it turns into a nearly post-bop passage with Shipp at the forefront spinning serpentine lines that coil and writhe restlessly as Parker and Cleaver shadow his every move, his every rhythmic twitch, for three minutes; then Perelman rejoins, Shipp drops out, and the saxophonist waxes balladic, but with an edgy uneasiness, like Johnny Hodges continually spinning around to see if someone's following him. When Shipp comes back in, there's an almost dance-like passage, sort of an updated bar-walking groove refracted through the prism of free jazz. And then, of course, it mutates, because that's what these guys do: always take it somewhere else, always move ahead, twist the sound into a new permutation -- but always organically. It doesn't always work; there's a stretch of several minutes starting around 28:20 that's a little too treading-water for my tastes, no matter how hip Cleaver's beat becomes eventually. It's Shipp who pulls them out of that dead end with several long stretches of big, chiming chords to change up the texture and snap them out of it. Afterward, Perelman goes into a virtuoso display of altissimo stabs alternating with bass honks that (with Shipp laying out) gets into another great groove with Parker and Cleaver. (If Wynton says this doesn't swing, he's deaf.) One brief and minor lapse aside, though, this is an inspired and invigorating session that's everything great about free jazz blowing sessions.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/enigma.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:right" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Enigma-Ivo-Perelman/dp/B00FA35VMY/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;keywords=Ivo%20Perelman%2FMatthew%20Shipp%2FWhit%20Dickey%2FGerald%20Cleaver%3A%20Enigma%20(Leo)&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1389653374&amp;sr=8-1&amp;tag=cultcatc-20" target="_blank">Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Whit Dickey/Gerald Cleaver: <em>Enigma</em> (Leo)</a></p> <p>This session is distinguished by no bassist but two drummers. Besides the inherent interest in the interaction of the two drummers, whose styles are so different but who complement each other superbly here, this lineup also gives the piano an even more pivotal role in the sound of the music overall. I'm not going into this one in great detail; aside from the points just noted, its strengths are quite similar to those of the Perelman/Shipp/Bisio/Dickey album. I do slightly prefer the clarity of sound this lineup offers, though, and of course the greater rhythmic energy is especially compelling.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/violent-dose.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:left" /></p> <p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/A-Violent-Dose-Of-Anything/dp/B00FA35VQA/?_encoding=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&amp;keywords=Ivo%20Perelman%2FMatthew%20Shipp%2FMat%20Maneri%3A%20A%20Violent%20Dose%20of%20Anything%20(Leo)&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;qid=1389653423&amp;sr=8-1&amp;tag=cultcatc-20" target="_blank">Ivo Perelman/Matthew Shipp/Mat Maneri: <em>A Violent Dose of Anything</em> (Leo)</a></p> <p>In his booklet notes for this music created for the soundtrack to a Brazilian film, writer Neil Tesser makes much of the supposed surprise of free jazz being used for a soundtrack. After the seminal example of <em>New York Eye and Ear Control</em> (ESP-Disk, 1965), featuring Perelman inspiration Albert Ayler, it doesn't seem surprising to me (<em>Les Stances a Sophie</em> [Nessa, 1970] by the Art Ensemble of Chicago is also worth a citation here, though it's not as directly analogous.) This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time microtonal violist Mat Maneri has appeared on a Perelman album, but Maneri and Shipp are long-time collaborators in many contexts. Among the reasons Perelman cites for having wanted to work with Maneri are his interaction with his saxophonist father, Joe Maneri; a desire to use strings; and his horn-like phrasing ("it breathes"). One also imagines the thinner textures this group produces in their free improvisations are also more easily matched to narrative without overwhelming it. Not having seen the movie, I hear it as pure music, and it is entirely successful on that primal level; the interaction between Maneri and Perelman, in particular, is stunningly beautiful (given a listener's acclimation to atonal free improvisation, of course). Shipp's more delicate playing offers a most interesting alternative to his usual approaches. Consistently ighter in tone and more mercurial in development than most of Perelman's or Shipp's music, this eight-movement suite is unique in his voluminous discography.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/rexwrecks.jpg" style="width:135px; height:150px; float:right" />Evan Parker/Matthew Shipp: <em>Rex, Wrecks &amp; XXX</em> (RogueArt)</p> <p>Last but certainly not least, this two-disc set is Shipp's second duo album with the great English saxophonist Evan Parker (I have not yet heard their previous outing together, <em>Abbey Road Duos</em> (Treader, 2007). A partial explanation of the album title: There are three types of tracks here, Rex (six studio duos), Wrecks (one studio solo for each player), and XXX (an epic 41-minute duo concert performance). Though both are free players, Parker has a much different style from Perelman, cooler and more abstract. Shipp, who has some of that in his own style, makes an apt partner, and generally leaves more space here than he does with Perelman. (When Shipp has an outburst in the concert where he pounds away on one chord/cluster for a while, Parker follows him rhythmically but not dynamically or emotively.)</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/shipp-greatest-hits.jpg" style="width:160px; height:160px; float:left" /></p> <p><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/greatest-hits/id597623143?uo=4&amp;at=11l4R8" target="_blank">Matthew Shipp: <em>Greatest Hits</em> (Thirsty Ear)</a></p> <p>For those not previously hip to the defining jazz pianist of his generation, here's a well-programmed chance to catch up. Granted, the twelve tracks on this compilation are drawn only from his work as a leader on this label, so missing are his integral contributions to the mighty David S. Ware Quartet, and the fruitful collaborations with saxophonists Rob Brown and Ivo Perelman over the decades. In fact, we only hear recordings from 2000 on (though the inclusion of "Circular Temple #1" does, in composition at least, look back to the beginning of his career). But there's so much variety to be heard here, from solo piano musings to coolly funky fusions of electronics and hip-hop beats with jazz to post-bop to freewheeling avant-jazz groups that showcase the high-keyed interactions that perhaps most inspire him and definitely show him in the context in which he made his mark. However, the biggest revelation here, and seemingly the guiding concept of the programming here, is just how good a composer Shipp is. Obviously none of these tracks are really "hits," but within the context of his (so to speak) mature output, these are the pieces that are most built to last, and could appeal most readily to non-jazzbos, but without any sense of compromised values. Which is WHY he's the defining jazz pianist of his generation.</p> <p>My examination of my favorite non-Shipp jazz releases of 2013 will follow shortly.</p></div> <section> </section> Mon, 13 Jan 2014 06:11:38 +0000 Steve Holtje 2923 at http://culturecatch.com Crescent City Rewind http://culturecatch.com/dusty/jazzfest-2012 <span>Crescent City Rewind</span> <span><a title="View user profile." href="/users/dusty-wright" lang="" about="/users/dusty-wright" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Dusty Wright</a></span> <span>May 1, 2012 - 10:21</span> <div class="field field--name-field-topics field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Topics</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/music" hreflang="en">Music Review</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field--label">Tags</div> <div class="field--items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/taxonomy/term/73" hreflang="en">jazz</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><img alt="" height="600" src="/sites/default/files/images/jazzfest_2012.JPG" style="width:300px; height:225px; float:right" width="800" /></p> <p> </p> <p>A few weeks ago my friend Sal lamented that he would miss his annual pilgrimage to <span data-scayt_word="JazzFest" data-scaytid="1">JazzFest</span> this year. (Thanks, economy.) I thought at the time, who cares, we've got plenty of culture right here in the Big Apple. Plus I'd spent a long <span data-scayt_word="JazzFest" data-scaytid="2">JazzFest</span> weekend in 2004 the year prior to Hurricane Katrina's devastation. But as I rewind through this past weekend in New Orleans as part of the collective that descends annually to the <a href="http://www.jazzandheritage.org/" target="_blank">New Orleans Jazz &amp; Heritage Festival</a>, I was struck by the undeniable and infectious vibe of the event.</p> <p>Back in New York, we think we know and own all culture. In many ways we do, and it is often measured by the media by how loud we bray and beat our collective cultured chests. And it's certainly one of the main reasons I moved here in 1981. Then the East Village music and art scene was second to none. And I thankfully ingested much of it. But lately it occurs to me that much of our American culture is being co-opted and packaged in week- or weekend-long party parcels -- from music festivals (<span data-scayt_word="Bonnaroo" data-scaytid="4">Bonnaroo</span>, Coachella, et al.) to Micro Film Festivals (Santa Barbara, Cape May, Sundance, et al.) to Art Basel in Miami to <span data-scayt_word="ComicCon" data-scaytid="5">ComicCon</span> in San Diego to cultural festivals such as <span data-scayt_word="SXSW" data-scaytid="6">SXSW</span>, Burning Man, Food &amp; Wine Classic in Aspen, et al. Most of it is very cool and worthwhile, and I've drunk long and deep from some of those said culturally rich wells, but I might argue that <span data-scayt_word="JazzFest" data-scaytid="3">JazzFest</span> is the best.</p> <p>The <span data-scayt_word="JazzFest" data-scaytid="8">JazzFest</span> is something totally American and unique. It may appear on the surface to be a big <span data-scayt_word="ol" data-scaytid="10">ol</span>' rambling yuppie-friendly music festival attracting major yuppie headliners this year, including The Beach Boys with Brian Wilson, Tom Petty, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, and Jimmy Buffett. But it's so much more. In fact, the Foundation that runs the annual Spring event fervently promotes the indigenous music of the region, and in some ways has helped elevate music that is truly indigenous to America -- jazz, R&amp;B, Cajun, blues, gospel, folk, Zydeco, roots-rock, and funk. And wisely, many of the headlining acts that play at the Fest do their best to incorporate some of the local legends and heroes, big and small, on stage -- UK act Gomez featured three of the Rebirth horns, Dr. John sat in with The Boss, etc.</p> <p>Eleven stages/tents share music from 11:20 AM to 7 PM every day the festival is open -- typically Friday-Sunday the first weekend and Thursday-Sunday the second weekend. There's even more music in the clubs, bowling alleys, streets, gardens, private homes, and parks. It is a music orgy for ears and feet.</p> <p>I couldn't help but get up on my good foot to the Cajun or Gumbo funk of many bands on Friday and Saturday afternoon. And why not when it's served up with so much verve and passion. Chubby Carrier &amp; the Bayou Swamp Band were one of my favorite bands featured at the Fais Do-Do stage on Friday. Ditto for many of the acts at the Gospel tent on Saturday. Sanctified and soul sanitized every morning. "Look for the tambourine lady (AKA Rosalie "Lady Tambourine" Washington). If she's on stage in the gospel tent then you know the band is worthwhile," quipped NYC-based singer Dayna Kurtz. Dayna was spot on. There Rosalie was stage left with the Wimbley Family Gospel Singers.</p> <p>Thanks to my very wise dancing hostess Seran and her crew, I got to imbibe in the primal musical stew of 101 Runners. It couldn't have been any more perfect. Mardi Gras Indian Funk, part jamband mixed with the native gumbo Indian culture; the perfect commune of music past, present, and future.</p> <div class="video-embed-field-provider-youtube video-embed-field-responsive-video form-group"><iframe width="854" height="480" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/9mLkJUkNWcs?autoplay=0&amp;start=0&amp;rel=0"></iframe> </div> <p>But why would I proclaim New Orleans the new center of America's music scene? Well, hanging out Saturday evening on Frenchmen Street certainly helped strengthen my proclamation. Some may argue that street alone is perhaps only rivaled by Austin's 6th Street. Certainly the East Village rivaled their scene back in the day, but it is now diluted by the numerous hipster clubs in Brooklyn where much of the youth culture has flocked. (Plus the death of the Lakeside Lounge. RIP.) One crazy evening of dancing to The Soul Project at Cafe Negril's changed my attitude. It was early Sunday morning and the clubs were still jamming. The music was pumping, the crowds were jumping, and it was not DJ culture either. Live music! One club after another. And there was more to follow as my friend Alan peeled off to catch Galatic's last set at another venue. I punked out, spent and satiated after an entire day at JazzFest, a huge meal at Elizabeth's in Bywater with my new comrades from Chicago, and too much dancing.</p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/default/files/images/thorton-dial.jpg" style="width:200px; height:249px; float:left" /></p> <p>Even when I was working, if you can call it that, it was chill. During SyncUp I got to conduct the keynote interview with fellow NYer Daniel Glass -- owner/president of the indie label Glassnote Records, home to some very fine music including Mumford &amp; Sons, GIVERS (they killed it on the Gentilly Stage on Friday afternoon), Phoenix, et al. -- about the current state of the music industry. (Thanks Scott and Tim.) Imagine an hour-plus-long interview in the auditorium of NOMA (New Orleans Museum of Art) at 10 AM with half the audience drinking Bloody Marys, yours truly included. By the way, my new friend Robin the Royalista convinced me to take in the outsider/self-taught artists exhibit, including the magnificent Thorton Dial. His exhibit <em>Hard Truths: The Art of Thorton Dial</em> should not be missed. <span class="note">It features over 40 of Dial’s large-scale paintings (image left), drawings and found-object sculptures, including 25 new works.</span> If you're still in New Orleans, it is well worth the effort, as I'm fond of saying.</p> <p>Ditto for an elegant and sumptuous lunch at the Commander's Palace. I got to share mirth and merriment with some dear friends from New York (Peter, Ingrid, Emma, Maki), forge a new friendship with Ms. Alexa G. from NOLA (thanks for all of your hospitality), wear my seersucker blazer and straw porkpie hat, sip a proper Pimm's Cup (one of the best I've ever had outside of the UK), and of course dine on some very fine cuisine. To be certain, that was way too easy of an afternoon of leisure.</p> <p>Sal, I finally get it. And I get when you said, "Sometimes you lament what you missed and not what you saw." There is so much to take in. New Orleans has that snap that New York once had so many years ago. But it's easier; the Big Easy swag. And I get why so many of my music-freak peers can't wait to get back year in and year out. I know that I shall return. See you at the Fest or on Frenchmen Street. I'll be dancing and sweating and workin' my mojo overtime. <em>Laissez les bons temps rouler</em>!</p> </div> <section> </section> Tue, 01 May 2012 14:21:39 +0000 Dusty Wright 2459 at http://culturecatch.com