Thursday, October 8, 2009

Foday Musa Suso: Kora Music From Gambia

I thought I'd share this only because it offers an opportunity to hear Foday Musa Suso in a context other than pop or jazz (if you search the archives you'll find some more of Foday's recorded work available).

Download Kora Music From Gambia

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"Top Ten From the Free Jazz Underground"

Here's an oldie but a goodie from Thurston Moore, that I like to come back to from time to time. His "top ten" list (which let's face it, went way beyond a top ten) has been a source of inspiration as I've searched to find exciting music to listen to, and occasionally share.

by thurston moore

No matter how you listen to it JAZZ is ostensibly about FREEDOM.

FREEDOM and the MYSTERY surrounding it.

And, like MUSIC, it is an ABSTRACT.



FREEDOM is not just another word for nothing left to lose.

We know this from MESSAGES beamed from the space-lantern of his cosmic highness SUN RA!
The MESSAGE was clear:


To freely improvise a solo within a structural context may have begun with a young Louis Armstrong in the early 20's. As a boy he grew up in New Orleans hearing and seeing musicians both black and white cultivating a celebratory and spiritual vibe.
They were flowers in the dustbin.
Slaveships stole the horns and drums. The captured African would not be allowed to communicate as they had.
Upon THE FREEDOM ACT the freed slave sought and fought for the EXPRESSION oppressed.
Jelly Roll Morton, like Louis Armstrong began to record compositions of PURE BLACK AWARENESS. Both these men had been witness, early in the century, to BUDDY BOLDEN - a man who supposedly blew the cornet so masterfully (and so loud!) that his legend was rampant. He supposedly recorded upon a cylinder (pre-vinyl format) and it has yet to be found!!
Ideas of improvisation, live and on recordings, became increasingly more sophisticated and political throughout the 40's, 50's and 60's. From Lester Youngs' twisting reedy tones to Charlie Parkers spurious key changes and (along with Miles Davis, Max Roach, et al) hyper-fast note-fly.
John Coltrane was the man. With the introduction of the long-playing record, people like Trane could experiment and extend their playing for posterity.
The vinyl communicated around the world. Trane's SOUND was BEAUTIFUL and COMPLEX and inspired all who received it. Trane himself was duly inspired by some of the most far-out musicians of the then burgeoning jazz avant-garde. Chief amongst them was Sun Ra & his Arkestra.
Factions of experimentation abounded throughout the 50's and 60's. Trane, Ra, Ornette Coleman and his white plastic alto playing notes and tones at once beautiful and harsh. Thelonius Monk, Lennie Tristano, Charles Mingus and Eric Dolphy composing and playing music inspired by whole worlds of experience (blues, eastern and western classical, religion, etc.)
Music like no one had yet imagined would emanate from the wild hearts of those such as Albert Ayler and Cecil Taylor.
These are all names of artists commonly associated with the avant-garde jazz underground of the 20th century. They all recorded fairly prolifically throughout their lifetimes (and some, like Cecil Taylor, continue). But there were so many more musicians performing and recording so-called "new" music at the time. It happened mostly in the late 60's/early 70's with the concept of artist-run collectives coming into fruition.
To play jazz totally FREE and ORGANIC was a gesture whose time had come in the 60's. It was SOCIAL and POLITICAL for reasons involving relationship, race, fury, rage, peace, war, love and FREEDOM.
We search for artifacts from this underground constantly. They were arcane and obscure at the time and are even more so today. No record labels are reissuing this stuff (some are e.g.: Evidence Records reissuing all of Sun Ra's independent Saturn label releases).
Here's a list of ten (out of hundreds of) LP's recorded in total grassroots fashion from the FREE-JAZZ underground. These are fairly impossible to locate and if you want to know what FREE-JAZZ may sound like you can get CD's of certain crucial classics where this music was allowed to exist: John Coltrane-Interstellar Space (Impulse/MCA), Ornette Coleman-Beauty Is A Rare Thing (Atlantic/Rhino), The Art Ensemble - 1967/68 (Nessa, PO Box 394, Whitehall, MI 49461), Sun Ra-various titles (Evidence)


1. DAVE BURRELL - Echo (BYG 529.320/Actuel Volume 20)..

In the fall of 1969 Free Jazz was reaching a kind of nadir/nexus. Within the industry it was controversial. Classic traditionalists (beboppers included) were outraged by men in dashikis and sandals jumping on stage and just BLOWING their guts out creating screaming torrents of action. Most musicians involved with this crying anarchy could get no bookings beyond the New York loft set. The French lovers of the avant-garde embraced this African-American scene wholly. This recording is one of many in a series of LP's with consistent design. BYG released classic Free Jazz documents by Archie Shepp (at his wildest), Clifford Thornton, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Grachan Moncur III, Sunny Murray, Alan Silva, Arthur Jones, Dewey Redman and many others. A lot of these cats are present on this recording where from the first groove it sounds like an acoustic tidal wave exploding into shards of dynamite. If you can locate Alan Silva's "Lunar Surface" LP (BYG 529.312/Actuel Vol. 12) you'll find a world even that much more OUT.


Milford may be one of the most important players in the Free Jazz underground. He enforces the sense of community as a primary exponent of his freely improvised music. His drumkit is home-made and he rarely performs outside of his neighborhood. When he does perform he plays his kit like no other. Wild, slapping, bashing, tribal freak-outs interplexed with silence, serenity and enlightened meditation. This LP was manufactured by the artists in 1967 and is recorded live at Yale University. The interplay between Milford and Don (piano) is remarkable and very free. There's a second volume which also is as rare as hen's teeth.

3. ARTHUR DOYLE Plus 4 - Alabama Feeling (AK-BA AK-1030)

Arthur is a strange cat. Not too many people know where he's from (Alabama is a good guess). He resided in New York City in the 70's and showed up in loftspaces spitting out incredible post-Aylerisms. Mystic music which took on the air of chasing ghosts and spirits through halls of mirrors (!). He hooked up with noise/action guitarist Rudolph Grey who was making the current No-Wave scene and with Beaver Harris (drums) they played gigs in front of unsuspecting art creeps apparently not "hip" enough to dig, let alone document, the history blasting their brains. Arthur did release this lo-fi masterpiece and it's a spiraling cry of freedom and fury. AKBA Records released a number of classic NYC loft-jazz sessions, most notably those of label boss Charles Tyler, a screaming tenor player who also blew with Rudolph in the late 70's/early 80's. Arthur continues to play/teach etc. in Binghamton, N.Y. and recently released in 1993 "More Alabama Feeling" on yours truly's Ecstatic Peace label (available from Forced Exposure/POB 9102/Waltham, MA 02254)

4. SONNY MURRAY - Sonny's Time Now (Jihad 663)

Sonny was the drummer considered to be the first to realize and recognize and perform, on drums, pure FREE jazz. He played behind and along with Ayler early on and Cecil Taylor. He constructed groups which always flew and raged with spiritual abandon. He took time as an abstract and turned it into free motion. This recording is super-lo-fi and is awesome. On it play Ayler(tenor) and Don Cherry (trumpet) as well as Leroi Jones (now known as Amiri Baraka) reading a killer poem called "Black Art". This music is very Ayler but more fractured and odd. Like a lot of these records there is only a front cover with the back of the jacket blank. Whether this was done for economic or artistic reasons is unclear. Jihad was a concern of Leroi Jones and anything released on this label is utterly obscure. The only other title I've seen is one just called "BLACK AND BEAUTIFUL" from the mid-60's which is Leroi and friends sitting on the stoops of Harlem chanting, beating drums and celebrating Leroi's "poems" ("The white man/at best/is..corny!") There was an ad for Jihad in an old issue of Jazz & Pop magazine which announced a Don Ayler (Albert's amazing trumpet-playing bro) LP but I've yet to meet anyone who's actually seen this. "Sonny's Time Now" was reissued a few years ago in Japan (DIW-25002) on CD and LP (with an enclosed 7" of two extra scratchy tracks!) but even that is near impossible to locate. Recorded in 1965.

5. THE RIC COLBECK QUARTET - The Sun Is Coming Up (Fontana 6383 001)

Issued in the UK only in 1970. Ric was an interesting white cat who came to the U.S. to blow some free e-motion with NYC loft dwellers. He's most well known for his amazing playing on the great Noah Howard's first ESP-Disk release (ESP 1031). The whole 1000 series of ESP is critical & crucial to anybody wanting to explore this era of Free Jazz featuring recordings by Ayler, Ornette, Sonny Simmons, Sun Ra, Henry Grimes, Steve Lacy, Sunny Murray, Marzette Watts, Patty Waters, et al. I'm not including any of these in this list as they're all available on CD now (from Forced Exposure, address above). The picture of Ric on the Noah Howard LP shows a man with race-car shades and a "cool" haircut playing his horn while a ciggie burns nonchalantly from his relaxed grip. A very hip dude. And very FREE. His only solo recording is this Fontana LP which he recorded while cruising through Europe. He connected with South African drummer Selwyn Lissack (whatever happened to...) and the UK's famous avant-altoist Mike Osborne and bassist J.F. 'Jenny' Clark (student of 20th century compositionists Lucian Berio and Karlheinz Stockhausen) to create this exceptional and complex masterpiece


Tchicai is a 6'6" Danish/Congolese tenor sax player who, in the early 60's, started blowing minds all across the Netherlands with his radical "music for the future". Archie Shepp encouraged him to come to NYC and join like-minded souls of avant-guardia. Tchicai came over and kicked everybodys ass. Leroi Jones shouted his name and talent loudly as Tchicai hooked up with Shepp and Don Cherry for the New York Contemporary Five and later an even heavier ensemble with Milford Graves and Roswell Rudd called the New York Art Quartet. The NYAQ recorded one of the most crucial sessions for ESP-Disk (esp1004) which had Leroi reciting his infamous BLACK DADA NIHILISMUS (available on CD from Forced Exposure). AFRODISIACA was released in Germany (and in other re-release configurations...supposedly) and is Tchicai gathered with 25 other local-Euro musicians playing a hurricane of a piece by trumpet/composer Hugh Steinmetz. This music gets way way out and has the real ability to take you "there". The echo effect on some of this shit is quite ill in a very analog way. And the way the shit gets that dirty-needled distortion at the end of side one (all 25 cats GOING AT IT!) is beautiful, baby, BEAUTIFUL!!

7. RASHIED ALI and FRANK LOWE - Duo Exchange (Survival SR101)

Frank Lowe has been studying and playing a consistently developing tenor sax style for a few decades now. At present he's been swinging through a Lester Young trip which can be heard majestically on his Ecstatic Peace recording (E#19..from Forced Exp.) In the early 70's, however, he was a firebrande who snarled and blew hot lava skronk from loft to loft. He played with Alice Coltrane on some of her more out sessions. Rashied Ali was the free-yet-disciplined drummer whom Coltrane enlisted to play alongside Elvin Jones and Pharaoh Sanders (and Alice) in his last mind-bending, space-maniacal recordings (check out surely the Coltrane/Ali duet CD Interstellar Space). Elvin quit the group cuz Rashied was too hardcore. Those were the fuckin' days. And Rashied had his own club downtown NYC called Ali's Alley! Duo Exchange is Rashied and Frank completely going at it and just burning notes and chords where ever they can find 'em. Totally sick. Survival was Rashied's record label which had cool b&w matte sleeves and some crucial releases mostly with his quartet/quintet and a duo session with violinist LeRoy Jenkins.


The influence of Free Jazz-era Coltrane, Ayler, Esp-disk, Shepp, etc. on hard drinking, knuckle-biting European white cats is formidable. These guys didn't care so much about plaing "jazz" as just totally ripping their guts out with high-energy, brain-plowing NOISE. Brotzmann (sax, German), Evan Parker (sax, UK), Derek Bailey (guitar, UK), and Han Bennink (drums, Dutch) are a few of the spearheaders of this Free-Euro scene and are caught on this insanely rare early document. The b&w cover has a fold-out accordion post card set of personal images of the musicians glued and paperclipped to its front. Brotzmann went on to help further the critical documentation of the Euro-Free-Jazz scene with FMP (Free Music Productions) Records which still exists to this day. There are over a 100 releases on this label of pure Euro-improv and they all offer remarkable moments. Derek Bailey went on to create his own categorically similar Incus Records in the UK which is also still extant. As is the Han Bennink associated I.C.P. (Instant Composers Pool) Records. The most mind-blasting of these recordings may be MACHINE GUN (FMP 24 CD available from NorthCountry Distr./Cadence Bldg./Redwood, NY 13679) where Brotzmann leads an octet through a smashing clanging wonderland of noise. Improvisation and classic western musics are seriously tended to by a large Euro community and it's all pretty fascinating. Check out the works of Alexander von Schlippenbach, Barry Guy & The London Jazz Composers Orchestra, Misha Mengleberg, Peter Kowald, Andre Jaume, Andrea Centazzo, Lol Coxhill and just about anybody who plays with them.


Marzette was a serious black art cat who resided in downtown NYC when Free Jazz as a NEW cultural revolution was in full gear. He painted and composed wonderful music where some of the coolest locals could flow their flavor. One of the heaviest ESP-disk recordings is Marzette's MARZETTE AND COMPANY (On CD from Forced Exposure) which has the incredible talents of saxist Byard Lancaster (who released an early indie b&w Free Jazz classic out of Philly called LIVE AT MCALLISTER COLLEGE - find it and send it to me..) and guitarist Sonny Sharrock (check his wild influence on Pharaoh Sanders' TAUHID Impulse CD and his own obscure noise guitar masterpiece BLACK WOMAN on Vortex) and cornetist Clifford Thornton (academic NEW MUSIC/Free Jazz "teacher" who released a few crucial sides such as COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK on Third World and THE PANTHER AND THE LASH on America) and the amazing free vocalist Patty Waters (who recorded two infamous hair-raising platters on ESP-Disc). This recording on Savoy was one of a series produced by Bill Dixon, an early associate of Archie Shepp's, who was an incredible composer in his own right. I've heard tapes of Dixon leading Free-Jazz orchestras into sonic symphonic heavens. Very hardcore.

This recording I list because of all its obvious loaded references but it's also quite happening and anything with Marzette, Dixon (especially INTENTS AND PURPOSES on RCA Victor), Byard (careful, there's some clinkers) and Clifford is extremely worthwhile.

10. MARION BROWN - In Sommerhausen (Calig 30 605)
BLACK ARTISTS GROUP - In Paris, Aries 1973 (BAG 324 000)
FRANK WRIGHT QUARTET - Uhuru Na Umoja (America 30 AM 6104)
CECIL TAYLOR - Indent, part 2 (Unit Core 30555)

Five way tie for last? Well, seeing as there's no "beginning" or "end" to this shit I have to list as many items as possible just to reiterate the fact that there was (indeed) a ton o' groovy artifactual evidence to support the reality of the existence of FREE MUSIC. Dig? There's used record stores all over the country (the world!) and they all have the potential to be hiding some of these curios amongst the bins and most peeps just ain't sure of their worth and sometimes you can find 'em really cheap. It's definitely a marketplace of the rarefied so when peeps are "hip" to it expect this shit to be way pricey.

Marion Brown was/is an alto player who made an incredible LP with Tony Oxley and Maarten Altena called "Porto Novo" that just twists and burns start to finish. Marion could really get on OUT as well as just play straight up. Shepp dug him and got him to do some great LP's on Impulse. He had a septet at one point that was especially remarkable featuring Beaver Harris (drums), Dave Burrell (piano), Grachan Moncur III (bone), and Alan Shorter (trumpet). Alan being Wayne Shorter's (Miles Davis sideman/classicist) brother. Where Wayne was fairly contemporary (though eclectic as a muh'fuck) Alan was strictly ill and has two obscuro LP's worth hunting down: "Orgasm" (Verve V6 8768) and "Tes Estat" (America AM 6118). "In Sommerhausen" is Marion in late 60's exploratory fashion and is quite freaky with the vocal whoops of Jeanne Lee. There's another LP from this period called "Gesprachsfetzen" (Calig CAL 30601) which really lays down the scorch.

The Black Artists Group was an unit not unlike that of The Art Ensemble of Chicago. Except they only recorded this one document and it only came out in France on a label named after the group. This is squeaky, spindly stuff and very OPEN and a good indication of what was happening in the early 70's with members Oliver Lake (later of the infamous World Saxophone Quartet) and Joseph Bowie (Art Ensemble's Lester Bowie's bro, later to start Defunkt).

Tenor saxist Frank Wright may be (previous to Charles Gayle's current reign) the heir apparent to both Trane and Ayler. Unfortunately he had a heart attack a few years back while rockin' the bandstand. All his recordings are more than worthwhile especially his BYG outing "One For John" (529.336/Actuel Vol. 36), his two ESP sessions (on CD from Forced Exposure) and his Center-of-the-World series of trio recordings with Alan Silva (bass) and Muhammed Ali (drums - Rashied's brother, not the pugilist) on the French label Sun. This LP "Uhuru.." is nothing short of killer with the great Noah Howard (alto), Bobby Few (pianist of Steve Lacy fame) and Art Taylor (heavy old-school drummer in free mode) going OUT and AT IT in stunning reverie.

FREE JAZZ of course made a strong impression on the more existential-sensitive populace of Japan. Some real masters came out of the Japanese scene and were influential to some of the more renowned noise artists of today (Boredoms, Haino Keiji). One such Jap-cat is alt-saxist Dr. Umezu who has mixed it up with NYC loft-dwellers on more than one occasion. On this completely obscure, underground release he unleashed some pretty free shit with the likes of William Parker (bass), Ahmed Abdullah (trumpet), and Rashid Shinan (drums). Parker is possibly one of the most important FREE musicians working in NYC. He's got his own constant writing/performing schedule as well as gigs with anyone from Cecil Taylor to Charles Gayle. He recorded one solo LP in the 70's called "Through Acceptance of the Mystery Peace" (Centering Records 1001) which is, as you might've guessed, "good".

I suppose we should wind things up with the king of FREE MUSIC then and now: Cecil Taylor. Cecil started experimenting with sound, new concepts of "swing", open rhythms and room dynamics very early on. He furthered his adventure with music-conservatory studies and applied a master's technique to his fleeting, furious, highly-sensitive pianistic ACTIONS. Today he's almost shaman-like in his mystic noise transploits. He hates record business weasels after years of scorn and neglect (club owners had been know to beat him up after gigs claiming he damaged their pianos) and records now for the aforementioned artist's label FMP. In the early 70's he had his own label called Unit Core and released two crucial LP's: the one listed above and one titled "Spring of Two Blue J's" (Unit Core 30551). This is when his group included two critical figures on the FREE scene. Alt-saxist Jimmy Lyons (now deceased) was a consistent improviser and a perfect player alongside Cecil as was veteran drummer Andrew Cyrille who recorded his own solo (and duos with the likes of Milford Graves and Peter Brotzmann) LP's on various small labels (BYG, FMP, Ictus).

So..that's it...and that's not it. If you're at all intrigued by this personal primer do yourself a favor and seek some of this shit out and free yr fucking mind and yr ass will surely scream and SHOUT.

Copyright Grand Royale magazine/Thurston Moore

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Arthur Doyle Electro-Acoustic Ensemble: Conspiracy Nation

Arthur Doyle (tenor sax, voice, flute, recorder)
Leslie Q (bass, guitar) Ed Wilcox (drums, percussion)
Vinnie Paternostro (Roland 505)
Tim Poland (Clavinova) Dave Cross (turntable, Ibanez DM 1100 sampler, drums on side 1, track 1.)

1. Birdman
2. Ahead A Pothead
3. Barbatiri
4. Love Ship
5. Pull the String
6. Alabama and Mississippi Reunited
7. No Title

Side One rec. at Hallwalls, Buffalo, NY on January 24, 2002. Side Two rec. at Analog Shock Club, Rochester, NY on January 26, 2002. Available as LP only

One of a number of vinyl-only releases on Qbico. Doyle has been on a roll since he began his comeback in the 1990s.

Download Conspiracy Nation

Arthur Doyle and Sunny Murray: Live at the Glenn Miller Cafe

Arthur Doyle (flute, tenor sax, voice)
Bengt Frippe Nordström (alto sax)
Sunny Murray (drums)

1. Spontaneous Creation, Pt. 1
2. Spontaneous Creation, Pt. 2
3. Spontaneous Creation, Pt. 3
4. African Love Call
5. Two Free Jazz Men Speak
6. Nature Boy
7. Joy

Liner Notes: Arthur Doyle and Sune Spångberg
Photography and Cover Art: Åke Bjurhamn
Engineer: Per Ruthström

You know if Arthur Doyle and Sunny Murray are involved, the results will be incendiary.

Download Live at the Glenn Miller Cafe

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Arthur Doyle: Plays and Sings From the Songbook Vol. 1

Here's another Arthur Doyle album - this one recorded around the time Doyle began his comeback after returning from France, where he had done time for a crime he didn't commit. While in the joint, he wrote down a bunch of tunes and lyrics, and some of that material became among the first songs he'd record once he finally got the chance again. Doyle fans will know what to expect in this set - it's a solo recording in the truest sense of the term, with Doyle playing multiple instruments (flute, piano, and of course, tenor sax) as well as serving up some vocal performance art. I've mentioned before that his vocal style is definitely unique. Listeners with an ear for free jazz will likely have the open mind needed to truly appreciate what Doyle is trying to do here. Many of these songs have been since recorded in a variety of contexts, from solo performances to sax-drum duos, to various electric and acoustic combos.

Recorded in 1992, it would take three years for it to finally see the light of day on Audible Hiss.

1. Ozy Lady Dozy Lady
2. Yo Yoo>Yo Yoo
3. Olca Cola in Angola
4. Hey Minnie Hey Wilbur Hey Mingus
5. Flue Song
6. Just Get The Funk Spot
7. Goverey

The cover art and design were handled by Doyle's old friend and former Blue Humans band mate Rudolph Grey.

Download Plays and Sings From the Songbook Vol. 1

Jah Wobble & Evan Parker: Passage to Hades

Jah Wobble - Bass, Producer
Evan Parker - Tenor Sax
Clive Bell - Flute, Pipes, Harmonica (tracks 1, 3, 4)
Mark Sanders - Drums
Jean-Pierre Rasle - Bagpipes (tracks 1, 4)

1. Passage to Hades
2. Giving Up the Ghost
3. Full On
4. Finally Cracked It

Recorded in Sept. 2000 at Intimate Studio, and released in 2001 on 30 Hertz Records.

With the exception of "Full On" (which clocks in at just under nine minutes) the tracks run about 13 to 14 minutes each, allowing the musicians stretch out and their ideas develop. This one's all about the groove. Parker responds brilliantly in this context. Fans of Wobble will know what to expect. Evan Parker fans should be in for a pleasant surprise. Well-worth seeking out.

Download Passage to Hades

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Jon Hassell: Dressing For Pleasure

When I was much younger, I recall Jon Hassell classified as a "new age" recording artist. From what I knew of new age music, after hearing Hassell I had to wonder what the critics and marketing folks were smoking. With this album, Jon Hassell got about as close as he ever would to acid jazz. If I were to use one word to describe Dressing For Pleasure, that word would be "sultry." The opening track ("G-Spot") is a personal favorite - part of what makes it work is Flea's bass playing. Also of note was the track ("Club Zombie") that would become the theme for the hit TV series The Practice. Overall the album was the most risque of Hassell's career. There was always a sensuality to his music, but this album from the song titles to the the instrumentation are nothing short of raw sexuality. Several of these tracks could serve as background music for raps ("Zeitgeist" comes to mind). Something tells me the suits at Warner Bros. had no idea how to even begin to market this one, and of course the recording went out of print. I'm not sure if this is the album I'd use to introduce Hassell's work, but it's definitely worth seeking out for those already initiated. Newbies should check some of Hassell's earlier work like Earthquake Island, or Fourth World Vol. 1: Possible Musics (with Brian Eno).

Some info:

Bass [Electric, Keyboard] - Pete Scaturro (tracks: 3, 4, 8, 9, 11)
Drums, Percussion - Brain* (tracks: 1, 2, 4 to 12)
Engineer, Mixed By - Pete Scaturro
Executive Producer - Kevin Laffey
Guitar - Joe Gore (tracks: 2, 5, 7 to 10, 12, 13)
Keyboards - Jon Hassell (tracks: 5 to 9, 12)
Mastered By - Stephen Marcussen
Producer - Jon Hassell , Pete Scaturro
Sampler, Programmed By - Blk Lion (tracks: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12)
Sampler, Synthesizer - Jamie Muhoberac (tracks: 1, 2, 12)
Trumpet - Jon Hassell (tracks: 1, 2, 5 to 7, 9 to 13)
Written-By - Jon Hassell
Notes: Recorded July-December 1993 except track 13 recorded live in rehearsal, november 1989.
Tracks (includes credits for guest artists):

1 G-Spot (5:03)
Bass - Flea
Organ - Pete Scaturro
Saxophone - Kenny Garrett
2 Villa Narco (4:32)
Bass - Trevor Dunn
Piano - Pete Scaturro
3 Kolo X (3:48)
Programmed By [Drum Programming] - Pete Scaturro
Saxophone - Kenny Garrett
4 Personals (4:13)
Scratches - DJ Grand Shogun KB
Voice - Leslie Winer
Written-By - Leslie Winer
5 Club Zombie (3:28)
6 Zeitgeist (3:51)
Guitar - Gregg Arreguin
7 Steppin' Thru Time (4:08)
Bass, Voice - Islam Shabazz
Producer - Blk Lion , Lee Curreri
Programmed By, Organ - Lee Curreri
Voice - Jon Hassell
Written-By - Pete Scaturro
8 Destination: Bakiff (4:16)
9 Sex Goddess (4:30)
Bass - Islam Shabazz
10 Buzzworld (4:28)
Bass - Buckethead
Written-By - Brain* , Buckethead , Joe Gore , Pete Scaturro
11 The Gods, They Must Be Crazy (5:42)
Piano - Greg Kurstin
Vocals - Zoe Ellis
Voice - Jon Hassell
Written-By - Pete Scaturro
12 Mati (4:21)
Bass - Trevor Dunn
13 Blue Night (Live) (7:42)
Bass - Peter Freeman (2)
Drums, Percussion - Adam Rudolph
Download Dressing for Pleasure

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Arthur Doyle: Live in Japan Doing the Breakdown

By this point, you should know what you're getting into whenever you download and play an Arthur Doyle joint. This recording features Doyle performing solo during his late 1990s tour of Japan. Doyle is credited with playing tenor sax, piano, and vocals; and of course all compositions and words are credited to Doyle. The album was released in 1998 on Yokoto Music Entertainment. Other credits:

Produced by Yokoto Shigeru

Master Engineer: Hashimoto Yoei
Photography (cover and back): Wakui Hiromi
Designer: Akiyama Shin

1. African Queen
2. Ozy Lady Dozy Lady
3. Noah Black Ark
4. Goverey
5. Doing the Breakdown
6. Just Get the Funkspot

Tracks 1-3 recorded at Modern Art Museum Sendai (11-5-1997)
Track 4 recorded at Barber Fuji (11-10-1997)
Tracks 5-6 recorded at Shuyukan (11-8-1997)

I'm not sure this recording will necessarily win over any new fans, but for those of us who are Arthur Doyle completists, it's a must.

Download Live in Japan Doing the Breakdown

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Ilia Belorukov

Here's a bio from Ilia's website:
Ilia is a young (born 1987) saxophonist from Saint-Petersburg, Russia. He works in the direction of free improvisation, free-jazz, noise and electroacoustic music. Ilia practices an experimental approach of sound extraction on different types of saxophones (alto, tenor and baritone) and on flute (inc. fluteophone). In his compositions and improvisations you can find out influences of John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Mats Gustafsson, Evan Parker and other masters of improvised music.
The artist records and distributes his music by himself. He often plays at The Gallery of Experimental Sound – 21 (GES-21), Saint-Petersburg.

Ilia has played with such musicians as David Stackenäs (Sweden), Ignaz Schick (Germany), Arkadij Gotesman, Skirmantas Sasnauskas (Lithuania), Black Motor trio, Tero Kemppainen, Jaakko Tolvi & Topias Tiheäsalo (Finland), Edyta Fil (Poland), George Bagdasarov (Armenia/Czech), Demetrius Spaneas (USA), Vladislav Makarov, Sergey Letov, Nikolay Rubanov, Alexey Lapin, Dmitriy Kakhovskiy, Alexei Borisov, Philip Croaton. Together with Dots & Lines group (trio with Roman Stolyar and Andrey Popovskiy) he performed on the festival of Jazz.Ru portal dedicated to it’s 10th anniversary. He’s also a member of Wozzeck, Totalitarian Musical Sect (TMS).

He collaborates with musicians of other genres: with Moscow groups crrust (experimental hardcore), Tooth Kink (noise, live electronics), Motherfathers (noise-rock), Solntsetsvety (magical unicellular music); with St.-Petersburg avant-rock band Hg (Rtut'). Benzolnye Mertvecy (improvised noisecore), with Samara mathcore-band Penny Flame.
At the same site, he lists as his influences:
John Coltrane, John Zorn, Tim Berne, Mats Gustafsson, Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Frode Gjerstad, John Butcher, Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, Lasse Marhaug, Phill Niblock, Robert Fripp, David Sylvian, Jeff Beck, Leonid Fedorov & Vladimir Volkov, Zu, Fennesz, Anton Webern, Alban Berg, Arvo Part, Gyorgy Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke, Valentin Silvestrov, Louis Andriessen, Paul Desmond, Meshuggah, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Grenouer, crrust, Converge, Isis
One thing rather notable about Ilia Belorukov is that a number of his recordings are available for download free of charge. What I'll be doing here is to provide a sampler of albums from projects that he is involved with in order to give you an idea of his range of interests. I'll start with the album that served as my introduction to his music.

dadazu: sin of omission

The music is a continuous 79 minute jam from a live gig in late 2007. It's a dark, moody, improvised drone piece, for lack of a better description. From the recording's site:
Recorded live at 13/11/2007 [esg21]
Mixing & recording: Dima Yalkin
Mastered by M. Pozin & I. Belorukov
Cover photo: M. Pozin

Ilia Belorukov – baritone saxophone, delay-sampler

Maxim Pozin – prepared tenor saxophone, electronics

Pavel Mikheev – electric guitar

Mikhail Ershov – electric bass guitar

Dadazu is free improvising collective includes a couple of young musicians from the modern St.Petersburg’s experimental scene.
The recording was made available on April 12, 2009 by Clinical Archives.

Next up is some solo work. This one is called Saxophone Solos Vol. 1.:

Some info about the album:
Ilia - Alto, Tenor & Baritone Saxophones, Mouthpieces
Recorded at Illusion Studio on 21 February 2007 & 7, 8, 14 April 2007
Engineered & Mixed by Ilia Belorukov
Mastered by Philip Croaton at Fate Speaks Studio
Cover Art by Ilia Belorukov
All track titles are simply Roman numerals, except for the last track, which is titled "IX (for Philip Croaton). The recording was issued January 27, 2008 by Clinical Archives. Since Coleman Hawkins first dropped "Picasso" about six decades ago, the sax solo recording has become something of a jazz staple - especially in avant-garde circles. The music here is not easy to describe. The reference points that seem to work for me at the moment are the solo recordings from the AACM crew, to the extent that there is a lot of open space to be found on each of the recording's tracks; and Kaoru Abe's solo recordings in some of the louder moments (Ilia Belorukov does seem to channel some of the dark foreboding that Kaoru Abe made into a veritable art form). Unlike Abe, or perhaps one of my favorite sax players to record regularly as a solo artist, Arthur Doyle, this is music that seems to privilege the rational over the emotional. Also, there's something rather interesting in Belorukov's technique - in spots makes the sax sound like a stringed instrument being plucked (see IV, for example). I can't say I've heard anything quite like that. You'll hear some very interesting soundscapes to say the least.

Finally, let's check out another project with which Belorukov has been involved, Totalitarian Musical Sect. Clinical Archives has two of this combo's recordings available.

Warm Things vol. 1 - Live in GES-21:

Dmitriy Kakhovskiy - bass and objects
Vitaliy Kucherov - guitar and objects
Alexey Stavizkiy - trombone and clarinet and flutes and objects
Ilia Belorukov - alto and baritone saxophones
Maxim Pozin - alto and prepared alto sax and clarinet and flutes and objects

Recorded by Dmitriy Yalkin at GES-21 on 9 May 2007
Mastered by Dmitriy Kakhovskiy

Photo by Nikolay Ovcharenko
Cover Art by Ilia Belorukov
Thing One
Thing Two
Thing Three
Thing Four
Thing Five
Warm Things vol. 2, Live in GES-21:

Dmitriy Kakhovskiy - contrabass
Vitaliy Kucherov - electric guitar & flute
Ilia Belorukov - alto saxophone & flute

Recorded by Dmitriy Yalkin at GES-21 on 14 January 2008
Mastered bu Dmitryiy Kakhovsky

Photo by Eugene Apollonsky
Cover art by Ilia Belorukov
Thing Six
Thing Seven
Thing Eight
Thing Nine
According to the first of the recordings, the Totalitarian Musical Sect cites as influences Can, Art Ensemble of Chicago, and Sun Ra, and refer to their sound as "a new Russian primitivism." And yes, the influences they cite seem to make their presence felt on both recordings.

What I've done here is to embed the recordings here on Nothing Is. Follow the links to the respective recordings and you can download the mp3s, cover art, and booklets free of charge - the works are licensed under Creative Commons. If these recordings whet your appetite, Ilia Belorukov is a very busy individual, who records prolifically in various combos, much of which should be commercially available. Since I'm relatively new to the Russian jazz scene, I'm sure I'm just barely scratching the tip of the iceberg. At age 22, Belorukov is just getting warmed up. His career will be one to watch.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pharoah Sanders: Message From Home

Pharoah Sanders came back in a big way during the mid 1990s, proving that he was still quite capable of the fiery playing that made his reputation in the 1960s and early 1970s. AMG reviewer Richard Ginelli remarked:
The world music-minded producer Bill Laswell gets a hold of Pharoah Sanders here and lo, the sleeping volcano erupts with one of his most fulfilling albums in many a year. Message From Home is rooted in, but not exclusively devoted to, African idioms, as the overpowering hip-hop groove of "Our Roots (Began In Africa)" points out. But the record really develops into something special when Sanders pits his mighty tenor sound against the pan-African beats, like the ecstatically joyful rhythms of "Tomoki" and the poised, percolating fusion of American country & western drums and Nigerian juju guitar riffs on "Country Mile." In addition, "Nozipho" is a concentrated dose of the old Pharoah, heavily spiritual and painfully passionate, with a generous supply of the tenor player's famous screeching rhetoric, and kora virtuoso Foday Musa Suso shows up on "Kumba" with a touch of village Gambian music. This resurrection will quicken the pulse of many an old Pharoah fan.
Pharoah was working a bit with Bill Laswell at the time, appearing on such Laswell-produced joints as Jah Wobble's Heaven and Earth for a couple tracks, as well as performing with and composing music on Maleem Mahmoud Ghania's Trance of Seven Colors. The album does offer a healthy dose of what, for lack of a better term, can be called the Bill Laswell sound - depending on one's perspective that might be a turn-on or a turn-off. Sanders fans will be pleased that the sax legend comes across as firmly in control with the end result an album of world fusion with teeth. A shame it's out of print.


1. Our Roots (Began in Africa) (10:21)
2. Nozipho (9:43)
3. Tomoki (6:26)
4. Ocean Song (8:49)
5. Kumba (7:50)
6. Country Mile (6:03)

Bass - Charnett Moffett , Steve Neil
Drums - Hamid Drake
Guitar - Dominic Kanza
Keyboards - Bernie Worrell , Jeff Bova , William Henderson
Kora - Foday Musa Suso
Percussion - Aiyb Dieng
Producer - Bill Laswell
Saxophone - Pharoah Sanders
Violin - Michael White

Download Message From Home

Monday, February 23, 2009

Alice Coltrane: Lord of Lords

Lord of Lords was Alice Coltrane's last record for Impulse! prior to her brief stint with Warner Bros. She made a remarkable musical transformation in the years following her husband's untimely death. By the time of this particular recording, like a lot of jazz artists, Alice Coltrane was crossing over, but not to fusion, funk or disco: rather she was crossing over into another realm altogether. The music seems to have much more in common with Western classical music (her fascination with Stravinsky and with lush string section accompaniment should be one strong hint), and arguably Indian classical music. The selections sound much more scored than improvised, but somehow no matter what the context there beats the heart of a jazzer. If you're new to Alice Coltrane's work, I'd strongly suggest trying out her earlier Impulse! albums before listening to this one - in particular Ptah the El Daoud and Journey in Satchidananda. This recording is more for the seasoned fan or completist, and ideally those open to her subsequent musical output for Warner Bros.

1. Andromeda's Suffering (9:04)
2. Sri Rama Ohnedaruth (6:12)
3. Excerpts From The Firebird (5:43)
4. Lord Of Lords (11:17)
5. Going Home (10:02)

Bass - Charlie Haden
Cello - Anne Goodman , Edgar Lustgarten (2) , Jan Kelly , Jerry Kessler , Jesse Ehrlich , Raphael Kramer , Ray Kelley
Drums, Percussion - Ben Riley
Harp, Piano, Organ, Tympani, Percussion - Alice Coltrane
Producer - Ed Michel
Viola - David Schwartz , Leonard Selic , Marilyn Baker , Myra Kestenbaum , Rollice Dale , Samuel Boghosian
Violin - Bernard Kundell , Gerald Vinci , Gordon Marron , James Getzoff , Janice Gower , Leonard Malarsky , Lou Klass , Murray Adler , Nathan Kaproff , Ronald Folsom , Sidney Sharp , William Henderson (2)

Music arranged and conducted by Alice Coltrane
Produced by Ed Michel under the direction and inspiration of Alice Coltrane
Recorded and mixed at The Village Recorder, Los Angeles, from July 5 to July 13, 1972
Engineering by Baker Bigsby

Dowload Lord of Lords

Jah Wobble: Heaven and Earth

This is an interesting album in part because of Pharoah Sanders' appearance on a couple tracks. An AMG review which seems reasonably fair and accurate:
Fusing Eastern and Western classical influences with elements of ambient, dub and hip-hop, Jah Wobble has created a truly brilliant pancultural concept album. The title track opens the LP with a near-orchestral range of dynamic emotions centered around Zi Lan Liao's vocals and violin, Kui Hsuing Li's soaring bamboo flute, and Wobble's percolating tribal drums. "A Love Song" is a hypnotic dub track showcasing the vocal talents of Natacha Atlas, whose Middle Eastern melody lends a sultry feel perfectly matched by the sensual bassline. Bill Laswell lends his distinctive touch "Gone to Croatan" and "Hit Me," which perfectly match hip-hop beats and turntable wizardry provided by DJs DXT and Rob Swift with Pharoah Sanders' mind-bending flute and horn solos and Bernie Worrell's synth textures. But the piece de resistance is "Om Namah Shiva," which combines Najma Akhtar's nimble vocal calisthenics and Inder Matharu's dazzling tabla rhythms with programmed percussion and Wobble's botton-end bass wallop to create highly effective world/dance track. Laswell himself calls Heaven & Earth "the best thing Jah Wobble has ever recorded. Who are we to argue?
Tracks and credits:

1 Heaven & Earth (8:41)
Congas, Bells - Neville Murray
Keyboards - Mark Ferda
Vocals, Zither [Ku Cheng] - Zi Lan Liao

2 A Love Song (7:23)
Guitar - Justin Adams
Vocals - Natacha Atlas

3 Dying Over Europe (3:11)

4 Divine Mother (11:12)

5 Gone To Croatan (15:30)
Drums - Jerome 'Bigfoot' Brailey*
Guitar - Nicky Skopelitis
Keyboards - Bernie Worrell
Percussion - Aiyb Dieng
Producer - Bill Laswell
Saxophone [Soprano], Flute - Pharoah Sanders
Scratches - Rob Swift

6 Hit Me (7:42)
Drums - Jerome 'Bigfoot' Brailey*
Guitar - Nicky Skopelitis
Keyboards, Synthesizer - Bernie Worrell
Percussion - Aiyb Dieng
Producer - Bill Laswell
Saxophone [Tenor] - Pharoah Sanders
Scratches - DXT , Rob Swift

7 Om Namah Shiva (4:47)
Drum Programming, Keyboards - Mark Ferda
Guitar, Backing Vocals - Justin Adams
Tabla [Tablas] - Inder 'Goldfinger' Matharu*
Vocals - Najma Akhtar

Jah Wobble handles production (except tracks 5 and 6), bass, drums, percussion, and keyboards on the various tracks. This isn't the only time that Wobble has played or collaborated with jazz artists. I have another album that I'll share at some point.

Note: Between a busy January interterm teaching load, the start of the Spring Semester, and a school board candidacy (which I ultimately lost), I've been just a bit swamped. There are some recordings in the pipeline, so as always, stay tuned!

Download Heaven and Earth

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jon Hassell: Earthquake Island

As good an introduction to Jon Hassell's music as any. Earthquake Island was his second as a leader, and features a cast of musicians who were known, more often than not, for their work in jazz and fusion - and explains the jazz-ish touches throughout the album. It's a personal favorite that is regrettably one of his more hard-to-find recordings.

Download Earthquake Island

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cabaret Voltaire: 2X45

I first learned about Cabaret Voltaire in the mid-1980s, when their videos to such tracks as "Kino" and "Do Right" were still fresh. By that point, the Cabs were a duo consisting of Steve Mallinder and Richard Kirk (Chris Watson was gone by the end of 1981), and their singles were mostly industrial dance tracks intended for rotation in clubland - and they managed some minor hits in their day. Of course even their hits were a bit too left-field to be accused of sounding mainstream. Before then, the band was known for their abrasive electronic experimentation. 2X45 finds the Cabs in transition between their past, when their only intention was to piss their audience off, and what would be their future. The album was recorded over two sessions with somewhat different lineups: one from October 1981 and the other from February 1982.

The sound will please fans of the No Wave scene to no end - it's dark, paranoid, angular, and downright funky. The Cabs' influences were varied, ranging from the minimalism of Steve Reich, ambient music of Brian Eno, the funk that made James Brown famous, and On the Corner-era Miles Davis. I've always dug on the first two tracks especially. "Breathe Deep" sounds like a tune ideal for some postpunk blaxploitation flick soundtrack. "Yashar" has some pretty interesting percussion and tape loops.

Tracks 1-3
Richard H. Kirk - Guitar, Sax, Clarinet, Synth
Stephen Mallinder - Bass, Vocals, Percussion
Chris Watson - Vox Continental, Tapes
Alan Fish - Drums, Percussion

Tracks 4-6
Richard H. Kirk - Guitar, Sax, Roland SHO9 and CSQ 100, Tapes
Stephen Mallinder - Bass, Vocals, Tapes
Eric Random - Guitar, Percussion
Nort - Drums, Percussion

1. Breathe Deep
2. Yashar
3. Protection
4. War of Nerves (T.E.S.)
5. Wait and Shuffle
6. Get Out of My Face

Download 2X45

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Marion Brown: Live in Esslingen

It's been a little while since I posted any Marion Brown recorded material, so I thought I'd hook you up with a live bootleg recording that I happened upon about three or four years ago. The sound on this live bootleg should serve as a bridge between Brown's live recordings from around 1968 or 1969 (as well as the album Porto Nova), and his ECM release Afternoon of a Georgia Faun and his duets recordings during the early 1970s. In fact, those latter releases are arguably quite similar to what you'll find here with this quintet. The ECM connection should be apparent not only from the basic approach this particular combo takes, but from the personnel list: ECM founder Manfred Eicher plays bass on this session. Expect a fairly minimalistic soundscape, "little instruments", and plenty of open spaces. In other words, don't expect a noisefest, but don't expect easy listening. Brown's music, no matter how spare, refuses to stay in the background. It's also a pleasure to hear a young Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet. Marion Brown fans will want this.

Marion Brown - Alto Sax
Leo Smith - Trumpet
Thomas Stoewsand - Cello, Flute
Manfred Eicher - Bass
Fred Braceful - Percussion

Note that although the track listing consists of a part A and B, on the CD I have, it simply appears as a single continuous improvised piece, running 46 minutes.

Download Live in Esslingen