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ha’fway 2015

2nd Jul 15 (Thu) Leave a comment

Happy 239th birthday, United States!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

I don’t blog much. Not much time. I haven’t even put out my Favorites from 2013 or 2014… well, here goes for my Top 10 of 2015 so far…

The Heart Is A Monster

Carrie & LowellSol InvictusGoliath
Hand. Cannot. Erase.TalkSong Project Live at Lpr
https://i2.wp.com/artistxite.com/imgcache/album/004/501/004501077_300.jpghttp://o.scdn.co/cover/ac550bf091effa553d4b043ae338e563f29347e7Purge

 Artist Album (style)

  1. FailureThe Heart is a Monster (rock)
  2. Sufjan StevensCarrie & Lowell (indie rock)
  3. Faith No MoreSol Invictus (hard rock)
  4. Steve Taylor & the Perfect FoilGoliath (rock)
  5. Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) – Hand. Cannot. Erase. (progressive rock)
  6. Daniel Johns (of Silverchair) – TALK (pop, dance, rock)
  7. John Zorn’s The Dreamers with Mike Patton, Sofia Rei & Jesse HarrisThe Song Project Live at Le Poisson Rouge (jazz, avant garde, pop)
  8. Dave DouglasHigh Risk (jazz with electronics)
  9. Nellie McKayMy Weekly Reader (cheeky 70s rock tribute)
  10. DRKWAV (Skerik, Medeski & Deitch) – The Purge (doom, jazz, electronic, all over)

What’s still to come in 2015…

Ben Folds with yMusic, Holy Fuck (no release date, but they recorded it in late 2014), John Zorn (about every month), Puscifer (teaser on their Instagram?), TOOL (music done, lyrics nearing completion?), Charlie Hunter, and based on kickstarters/pledgemusic that I’ve supported: Chali 2Na of Jurassic 5 has a couple more EPs due, Dweezil Zappa, Jeremy Enigk of Sunny Day Real Estate, Jude Christodal, Dylan Carlson of Earth, and Fleming & John.

Will I continue with blogs in the future? I don’t know. :P

Dan – np: Critters BugginStampede

Dave Douglas – Be Still

16th Jul 12 (Mon) Leave a comment

My favorite living trumpet player is most definitely, without a doubt, the wonderful and talented melodic-lyricist Dave Douglas.  Next on the docket for him is Be Still, a collection of “deeply personal hymns and originals” with his new quintet featuring Americana vocalist Aoife O’Donovan.  It comes out on September 25, 2012, on Dave’s label – Greenleaf Music.

With Dave and (special guest) Aoife, rounding out the quintet is Jon Irabagon, Matt Mitchell, Linda Oh, and Rudy Royston.  Dave will also go out on a 50-date U.S. Tour in 2013 to celebrate his 50th birthday.  I hope to catch it, as it’s been a while since I’ve seen him.

More press on Be Still below…

Dave Douglas describes the title of his new release, Be Still, as “aspirational.” The continually evolving trumpeter and composer settles down for a ballad-like set that presents a series of hymns and folk songs with an intensely personal connection. Be Still brings out the most lyrical side of Douglas, and introduces both a newly configured Quintet, and an important new collaborator, vocalist and guitarist Aoife O’Donovan.

“Evolving” could easily apply to most of Dave Douglas’ releases, each of which seems to venture fearlessly into unexplored territory. This time, the journey is inward rather than outward, resulting in the most starkly personal album of his notable career. The intensity of Douglas’ focus on the music of Be Still is understandable given the album’s origins.

Douglas’ mother passed away last year after a three-year battle with ovarian cancer, and the hymns on this album appeared on a list she prepared for him to play at her memorial service. Douglas performed the music with his brass group at the service and an accompanying benefit concert. “Be Still My Soul” was one of those hymns, and the verses she chose to be sung felt to Douglas like a powerful imperative to go deeper with these church hymns and their meanings.

In the months after the service he continued to work with arranging the music, though initially reluctant to include the lyrics. On meeting O’Donovan in January of this year Douglas decided he had found the right vocal expression for the arrangements he wanted to make. The pieces on Be Still present a true marriage of folk song, congregational hymnody, sophisticated harmonies and rich rhythmic underpinnings.

When Douglas calls the album aspirational, he’s also referring to its title and the deceptively simple message it contains. “It’s a reminder to myself,” he says. “We are all so busy these days, and it’s a reminder to step back and reflect on creativity and depth of communication in the music. There are deep human interactions that go on in improvised music like this and they take time and patience to develop. Sometimes that means stepping away from the clutter of Twitter, Facebook, texting and traveling to focus on the essence of music in an intense way.”

Be Still marks the recorded debut of the new incarnation of the Dave Douglas Quintet, completed by four remarkably diverse musicians: saxophonist Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh, and drummer Rudy Royston. They are joined on six songs by the expressive vocals of Aoife O’Donovan of the progressive bluegrass band Crooked Still. The repertoire mines the rich melodies of traditional hymns and folk tunes, which gain even greater depth through Douglas’ intricate arrangements.

While the material on Be Still comes from traditions that Douglas may not have explicitly evoked in the past, the album is hardly out of character. His work has always concentrated on direct communication, basic emotions couched in complex expression. “I’m always looking, even in my own composition, to find some way to make something that might be very sophisticated still have these roots in something very simple,” Douglas says. “Jazz, even at its most complex, always has its roots in the music of the people, in popular music. That’s one of the reasons that I connected with these songs.”

Folk music purists would undoubtedly be affected by the crystalline clarity of O’Donovan’s voice on the tender “Be Still My Soul” or the Appalachian stomp of “High on a Mountain.” But underlying that back porch folksiness are intriguing harmonies and clever soloing, embodied by Irabagon’s pitch-perfect countrypolitan sax solo on “High on a Mountain.”

In addition to the classic songs, Douglas penned three new compositions for the album in the same spirit. “Living Streams” is a completely new setting for a traditional Scottish hymn, while “Going Somewhere With You” is as lushly tuneful as the surrounding material. The quintet tour de force “Middle March” was written just after Douglas heard the news of the death of legendary drummer Paul Motian and possesses a free-floating lyricism familiar from Motian’s own compositions.

Be Still is merely the latest new direction in a career that has been full of them, all pointing forward. One of the most influential and inventive composers and trumpeters in modern jazz, Dave Douglas leads several creative ensembles: Keystone, which performs his music composed for and inspired by film; Brass Ecstasy, the eclectic brass band; and his latest, the Sound Prints Quintet with Joe Lovano, Lawrence Fields, Linda Oh, and Joey Baron. He has served as the artistic director of the Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music at The Banff Centre in Canada for ten seasons, an honor he recently handed over to pianist/composer Vijay Iyer. Dave Douglas is also co-founder and director of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, which celebrates its tenth anniversary in 2012.

This latest incarnation of the Dave Douglas Quintet fully lives up to its diverse and ground-breaking predecessors. Saxophonist Jon Irabagon’s unpredictable career has led him from the off-the-wall antics of Mostly Other People Do the Killing to his decidedly straightahead leader debut The Observer, released shortly after he won the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. Matt Mitchell’s piano work strays from classical to the avant-garde, and lately has found him collaborating with innovators like John Hollenbeck and Tim Berne.

Chinese-Malay-Aussie bassist Linda Oh grabbed the jazz world’s attention with her self-released debut Entry in 2009, and further cemented her place as one of the music’s rising stars with this year’s Initial Here on Douglas’ Greenleaf Music. She reteams with her drummer from that album, Rudy Royston, in the Douglas quintet. Royston is best known for his long association with guitarist Bill Frisell, but his credits also include Ravi Coltrane, Jenny Scheinman, Jason Moran and Don Byron.

In the hands of these five musicians, these tunes are undeniably spiritual – but that’s less a result of their origins than the quintet’s deeply personal collective approach. “Music, in the way that I practice it, is my spiritual life,” Douglas says.

“My mother was pretty specific about the verses that she wanted sung, and as I started looking at them I realized I felt right at home here. You search a lot of places in your life. Especially from knowing so many evolved musicians I feel I’ve been exposed to many different traditions and different ways of viewing our place in the world. It’s amazing how all of them seem to lead back to the same place of unity and oneness. After working on this music and being in my mother’s church it felt like a return to the spiritual outlook I started out with, but with a deeper understanding and meaning for me. And now I don’t know, maybe that’s what she was really after!”

~Dan – np: Levi WeaverThe Letters of Dr. Kurt Gödel

* Favorite Instrumental Albums of 2011 *

31st Dec 11 (Sat) Leave a comment

As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes.  I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals (i.e.- the Goddamn Electric Bill & Mike Patton CDs).  For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness.  My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules.  With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.

As said before… I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my fourth year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, Facebox pages, yadda yadda yadda. Some of these also made it on to my 2011 Mix CD (free streaming/download).

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Product Details Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of Spirits plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 17 (Caym) :: The Masada Book two series is some of my favorite music coming out of Tzadik.  Banquet of the Spirits is the touring band of Latin percussionist Cyro Baptista, a long time Zorn collaborator.  Each track touches upon a different world tradition, steeped in Zorn’s klez-jazz score.  Lyrical and moving and fun!

Artichaut OrkestraT For Teresa :: Featuring four young musicians  from Toulouse, Artichaut Orkestra mix jazz, klezmer and classical music, blending rock energy with improv.  This is their debut record, and I’m definitely looking forward to more coming from them in the near future.
Curtis MacdonaldCommunity Immunity :: To be honest, this was an impulse purchase.  One of my favorite record labels is Greenleaf Music – founded by my favorite living trumpet-player Dave Douglas.  I was picking up some new music from DD and figured, “eh, what the hell!”  I was impressed with Curtis’ melodic compositions and emotive alto sax playing.
MogwaiHardcore Will Never Die, But You Will :: Stunning double-disc set from post-rock’s Scottish kings.  I’ll still probably forgo seeing them live again (too loud, beyond their needs), but they put out some amazingly beautiful music.

(3 CDs)
John ZornNova Express / At the Gates of Paradise / A Dreamer Christmas :: Three discs made the cut of the six Zorn releases in 2011.  Nova Express combines quirky atonal classical lyricism with a touch of the cut up techniques of Naked City and virtuosity of the Masada songbook. Zorn scored this for Joey Baron (drums), Trevor Dunn (bass), John Medeski (piano), and Kenny Wollesen (vibes).  Paradise features the same band as Nova Express, brings some Medeski organ into the mix and adds more of Zorn’s “mystical” ambiance.  The Dreamer Christmas album was an oddity for me.  Why would a Jewish jazz musician put out a Christmas album?  Because he can!  The Dreamers is one of my favorite Zorn-assembled ensembles: Joey Baron (drums), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Trevor Dunn (bass), Marc Ribot (guitars), Jamie Saft (keys), and Kenny Wollesen (vibes).  Very accessible, but not smooth jazz!  Adventurous!  Mike Patton joins them on the final track for a croon-y “chestnut roasting.”  The holiday album was also put out as a 12″ vinyl and a 7″ single – both with gorgeous artwork and design by Chippy.
yMusicBeautiful Mechanical :: The yMusic Ensemble had a kickstarter earlier this year for their debut album – with songs composed by Son Lux, Annie Clark, Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond), Saraha Kirkland snider (who penned a favorite album Penelope last year), and Gabriel Kahane.  Their string-heavy, indie chamber rock approach excites me.  Being the musical backdrop for My Brightest Diamond’s All Things Will Unwind album (my #2 vocal album in 2011) doesn’t hurt.
Peter Mulvey & David GoodrichNine Days Wonder :: Peter Mulvey has toured all over the US and the world for about 2 decades.  Some of the first times I saw him in concert, he had “Goody” with him on backing guitar.  They don’t get a chance to tour together much lately, but they did find some time to hole-up inside a studio to write and record some instrumental guitar duets.  While I love Peter’s vocal storytelling, it’s nice to hear his and Goody’s instrumental interplay tell a different story.
Goddamn Electric BillJazz :: GdEB is the one-man brainchild of Jason Torbert.  He hits the spot for organic electronic meets post-rock for me.  Ambient at times, melodic other times.  His latest work has featured some vocals, but he’s primarily a groove-induced soundscape kind of guy.  Chirps and glitches, too.  Excellent stuff!
The Dead Kenny G’sOperation Long Leash :: The Dead Kenny Gs is a duo started by saxophonist Skerik and drummer/vibes Mike Dillon in 2004.  shortly thereafter, they started adding Brian Haas, keyboard genius, when he is able, as well as Brad Houser, bassist from another Skerik band – Critters Buggin.  They push through the jazz/rock minefield to fight “injustice, cheese, and dishonesty in music, and society.”
TalkdemonicRuins :: Portland-based chamber-indie-post-rock… goodness.  So much sound from two people.  If you’re in Portland, they’re playing a big NYE show tonight… if in Eugene, they’ll be through our way (at Sam Bond’s) on Feb 24th.  Not to be missed!
Mike PattonThe Solitude of Prime Numbers :: I had to put this album as #13.  This chiefly instrumental album is a tribute to the book (by Paolo Giordano) and film of the same name.  The score is 16 tunes spread out over a 53 tracks, with the only tracks with content being 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, and 53. *slow clap* Clever, Mr. Patton!  For people who bought the CD, you can thank me for entering in the info to CDDB (t’was a pain).  The score/album fits more with his prior score for A Perfect Place – more accessible when compared to Patton’s usual schizophrenic output.  The packaging design is also brilliant – a gorgeous die-cut leaf that fold outwards.  I’d always recommend getting physical releases from Ipecac versus the digital download version.

Garage A TroisAlways Be Happy, But Stay Evil :: Skerik, Stanton Moore, Marco Benevento (who replaced Charlie Hunter) and Mike Dillon make their way through Oregon quite a bit.  They are a sight to see – you don’t know exactly what kind of show you’ll get, but it’s definitely a fun time.  Fun, groove-oriented “new jazz.”
Explosions in the SkyTake Care, Take Care, Take Care :: If not jazz, this list is also overtaken by post-rock.  it’s a love of mine, and Explosions in the Sky are one of the best in that game.  Epic, sweeping guitars crashing over a hearty drum & bass end.  This is another album where I’d recommend the physical edition – the  case can be unfolded to form a model of a house, where if viewed from the inside, the view from the door of the house is overlooking a tornado across a plain.

Erik FriedlanderBonebridge :: I started 2011 seeing Erik perform his John Zorn-penned Volac album in its entirety… brilliant and moving.  Later in the year, he came out with Bonebridge – a new band/concept that takes his Broken Arm Trio (with Trevor Dunn & Mike Sarin) and adds slide guitar player Doug Wamble to the mix.  What you get is a perfect chamber-Americana-jazz album.  I hope there are more where this came from…
Kevin Moore – Shine (Küçük Kıyamet Soundtrack) :: Kevin Moore’s main projects are the trippy/sample-heavy Chroma Key & heavier prog collaboration band O.S.I. (with Jim Matheos). Shine is the soundtrack to the 2006 Turkish film Küçük Kiyamet (“Little Apocalypse“).  It came out in early 2011 after a successful Kickstarter in 2010.  The next album from O.S.I. comes out in February 2012 on Metal Blade.  I can almost guarantee it will be my Top album of 2012, and I haven’t heard a shred of it yet.
ReptetAt the Cabin :: This Seattle-based jazz sextet is fuuuuuuuuuun – both on record and in the live setting.  I wish the distance on I-5 between me and them wasn’t 5-6 hours, as I’d see them far more often if I could.

Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, Dan PhelpsModular: Sonic Explorations :: Gorgeous soundscapes from Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, and Dan Phelps.  The Modular Project is the collaboration of the aforementioned musicians working together to “discover what the spontaneous and organic manipulation of sound can yield. Inspired by the world around them, they set out to discover what it might sound like when continents shift, clouds form, and roots push through soil.”  The track, “Everest,” features one of my favorite cellists – Eyvind Kang (who has worked with Secret Chiefs 3, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Mike Patton).  It’s a great mix of cello, vibes and soaring atmosphere.  The album is only available digitally or on vinyl (it’s a luscious triple-gatefold!)…

(3 CDs)
Dave Douglas – Three Views: GPS Series – Rare Metals, Orange Afternoons & Bad Mango :: Originally released as the “Greenleaf Portable Series” (download only), these three different releases in 2011 finally got a proper physical (boxset) release.  Dave’s prolific writing comes out with different bands on each record: Rare Metals features Dave’s most recent band Brass Ecstasy; Orange Afternoons features a specially put together quintet with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore; and Bad Mango paired Dave’s trumpet with So Percussion’s marimba, drumset, glockenspiel, musical saw, toy bells, shruti box, crotales, and more.  Three very different records tied together with Dave’s fantastic playing.

Tides From NebulaEarthshine :: This Polish post-rock group won my heart in 2009 with their debut, Aura (in 2009).  They continue to tease me with emails or news that says “tour” until I open and can’t pronounce the names of the cities that they’re hitting.  Drat!  At least their music will keep me company!  Earthshine is perfect for those fans of Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, and the like… and seeing as it beat out both those groups on my 2011 list, well, that should tell you something as well.

Michael KelseySubmerged :: Michael Kelsey is a HUGE amount of what I miss from the Midwest music scene.  He’s a musical genius – rarely paralleled on the frets.  Seeing him live (which I did any chance I could) was a site to behold.  His records do their best to capture his virtuosity, but they usually fail to capture his energy, too.  Catching fire in a bottle is tough.  Regardless, this one is a gem and also marks his first all instrumental affair.  Check him out, and if you live within a state or two from central Indiana, I count you a lucky one.  Go see him if he stops by your town.

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 :: More riff-oriented and melodic compared to the prior drone doom albums, Earth bring a cello into the mix for the first time and create an ominous soundscape that is both elegant and dreadful.  The follow-up, Angels & Demons 2, comes out in Feb 2012… and you can almost guarantee it’ll rise to the top of my list next year as well.

Note: Ric Hordinski’s Arthur’s Garden (which made it on my 2011 Mix) is technically a 2012 release, hence its absence above.

Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases?  My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York.  Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them.  I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.

And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG.  I just love and support what they do.

Enjoy the New Years’ weekend!! Be safe! See you in 2012.

My Other Favorites of 2011 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Trent Reznor & Atticus RossThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Jason Ludwig’s 2 new albums / Dave Douglas boxset

20th Oct 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

This fall is turning into a flippin’ brilliant season for new music… My Brightest Diamond, Wussy, and Puscifer… all gems.  Now some more…

Cincinnati-based singer-songwriter Jason Ludwig (formerly of Noctaluca) released two new albums last Friday.  I’ve spent a few days with them, and I LOVE-love-LOVE them.  I can’t say which one, Lost in Love or Tanglings, that I like more – but they’re both vying for a spot on my Best Albums of 2011 List.  They’re only available as a digital download (mp3 or FLAC) via Jason’s bandcamp page, but the awesome part… they’re only $5 each.

 

Go to jasonludwig.com for samples and then buy them.  Well-produced, well-arranged, creative singer-songwriter that reminds me of a cross between the pop of Glen Hansard (of the Swell Season and the Frames) and the creative of Daniel Johns (of Silverchair).  If you don’t like them, I’d be surprised.

More new music news…

My favorite living trumpet-player/composer, Dave Douglas, started a new digital download music series this year on his record label, Greenleaf Music, called GPS (Greenleaf Portable Series).  Greenleaf recently launched a cloud player with their entire catalog, they’re putting out an iPad/iPhone App, and they just announced that they’re going to put out the three GPS releases thus far (Rare Metals, Orange Afternoons, Bad Mango) as an extremely limited 3-CD boxset called Three Views.

More info coming soon from Greenleaf, but it’s expected before year’s end.

~Dan – np: My Brightest DiamondAll Things Will Unwind

Dave Douglas & So Percussion – Bad Mango [new jazz]

9th Sep 11 (Fri) Leave a comment

New “Greenleaf Portable Series” release from Dave Douglas & So PercussionGPS Vol 3: Bad Mango:



The digital album comes out October 11th, 2011, on Greenleaf Music on mp3/FLAC.

~Dan – np: TeslaFive Man Acoustical Jam

Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy & news from Camp Greenleaf

23rd Jun 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

News from trumpeter Dave Douglas’ label Greenleaf Music the other day.  All this from the GM mailing list…

Late last week, we transitioned to our new website that’s been in development for over a year. Come over for a visit to spend time with some great new features including faster load times, a new store with easier checkout, up-to-the minute news on all of our artists (present and past). And in the upcoming weeks, we will be rolling out a site optimized for mobile devices, a new app for the iPhone / iPad, and possibly what we’re most excited about, the Greenleaf Cloud–a streaming of our entire catalogue in a nifty player that you can access anywhere.

also, out now, the first in the Greenleaf Portable Series (GPS)…

Harkening back to the way jazz records used to be made, these are informal sessions that yield shorter album lengths but with the immediacy of the digital music age. Volume one in this digital-only series, Rare Metals, spotlights Brass Ecstasy, recording five new compositions and the first new released material since Spirit Moves, plus a smoking arrangement of the Billy Strayhorn classic, “Lush Life,” that sent chills through the folks that run the Village Vanguard.

And for a taste of the new music, this track is available for free download. We hope you enjoy it and choose to support the series by purchasing the full album–can’t beat the $5 price tag.

GPS Vol 2 with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore will follow late next month.

Yay!  Any day with news about new Dave Douglas music is a good day for me.

~Dan – np: Jamie SaftBlack Shabbis

Dave Douglas – United Front (April 5th)

25th Feb 11 (Fri) Leave a comment

A glimpse of the new Dave Douglas release just popped up on Greenleaf Music’s blog

United Front: Brass Ecstasy at Newport comes out April 5th, 2011.  Stay tuned here or at Greenleaf Music for details as they emerge.

~Dan – np: Palo AltoPalo Alto

* Favorite Instrumental Albums of 2010 *

30th Dec 10 (Thu) 3 comments

Disclaimer: No, I haven’t heard all 8,000+albums released this year. I’ve heard about 120 of them, which makes me at least 98.5% likely to be wrong. I make no claims to objectivity. These albums are my favorites from 2010. You might think that the one you’ve heard that I haven’t heard is the best album of 2010. And you might be right. And, I while I generally agree with John Roderick about Year-End Lists, I still find it quite fun to compile my own.

As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes.  I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals (i.e.- the Beats Antique & Tin Hat CDs).  For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness.  My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules.  With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.

As said before… I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my third year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, SpaceBook & MyFace pages, yadda yadda yadda. A lot of these also made it on to my 2010 Mix CD.

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Honorable Mentions: The Album Leaf‘s A Chorus of Storytellers, For a Minor Reflection‘s Höldum Í Átt Að Óreiðu, Yuka Honda‘s Heart Chamber Phantoms, Medeski Martin & Wood‘s The Stone Issue Four (great NFP/charity live release), and Jamie Saft‘s A Bag of Shells

Boy Eats Drum Machine20 Beats (self) :: OK, due to its title, 20 Beats had to come in at #20, right?  Regardless of wherever it hit, it’s a great album.  I first saw Boy Eats Drum Machine (aka Jon Ragel) open for That1Guy in Eugene.  I loved his turntablism, his sax playing, and his trippy sounds.  He’s a Portlander, too; so I’ve had a chance to see him twice this year.  Hopefully more in the near future…


John ZornFilmworks XXIV: The Nobel Peace Prize / In Search of the Miraculous / Interzone (Tzadik) :: John Zorn put out a ton of stuff in 2010.  Some of it didn’t make this list.  Some of it was great (these 3), and some of it was stupendous (some others higher up on the list). Filmworks XXIV is a more genteel offering. It is performed by the Rob Burger trio (and it’s a film score… duh). In Search of the Miraculous is in Zorn’s spiritual / “magick” subcategory (which has been hit or miss to me).  This album seems like a souped-up Rob Burger/Alhambra piano combo.  Quite delightful. Interzone is a return to Zorn’s “filecard” system and a tribute to William Burroughs. Some people on the Zornlist have raved about it… I find it good, but not amazing. Too much filler in the long-tracks… moments of brilliance, but also moments of meh-ness.  I’d rank it definitely better than “for the completist,” but lower than “legendary.”  All in all… solid experimental record.  The players are the usual fantastic Tzadik studio players: Medeski, Baptista, Dunn, Mori, Ribot, Wollesen and Zorn.
Mostly Other People Do the KillingForty Fort (Hot Cup) :: So, I’m a fan of composer Moppa Elliott and trumpet player Peter Evans. Peter’s solo show in Eugene a couple of years ago was an avant-garde delight. MOPDTK is a little more straight forward than Peter’s solo stuff. It’s a fun jazz group… very similar in feel and youthful, party jazz energy as Reptet (up in Seattle). This is their second album that I’ve heard but their fourth released. My favorite tracks are “Nanticoke Coke” and the title track “Forty Fort.” I’m looking forward to more from this killer band ensemble.
Masada String Trio plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two, Volume 16: Haborym (Tzadik) :: Greg Cohen, Mark Feldman, and Erik Friedlander are fantastic players, and their contribution to the Masada Book Two series is an essential release.  One of the best of the series, and the Trio’s first studio recording in five years (last one was 2005’s Azazel #5).  Masada Book Two Sidenote: Cohen was actually in the original Masada quartet, but all of the members of the String Trio have also shown up on other MBT releases – Cohen (Astaroth #1, Lucifer #10, Stolas #12 and Baal #15), Friedlander (Volac #8, #10 and the upcoming Caym #17), and Feldman (Malphas #3 & #10).
John ZornThe Goddess (Tzadik) :: The Goddess is a continuation of In Search of the Miraculous, but I fancy it far more.  It is also a souped-up Rob Burger/Alhambra piano combo, quite lyrical and melodic.  As the title suggests, it is dedicated to the feminine.  It also features some harp work from Carol Emanuel – who unbeknownst to me until now has been on quite a bit of Zorn’s releases.
Derek WebbFeedback (INO) :: From my original writeup: Feedback is a self-proclaimed “worship album.” I also love the general aesthetics of it. It’s definitely got some electronic elements, but it has a more sweeping feel as well. Some of it feels like a mix of a happier ambiance of Amiina/Sigur Rós meets an acoustic-electronic bridge in a Sufjan Stevens song meets a gentle Ric Hordinski lyrical guitar solo (I am in a Monk mood). It’s a great quality instrumental album from a man who I loved via his witty voice from the get go. It’s nice to see him expand outside his comfort zone. As an atheist, I take it as a conduit into introspection and the worship of the divine as I see it – music.
Secret Chiefs 3Satellite Supersonic Vol 1 (Web of Mimicry) :: A new format release of the 7″ vinyl singles that SC3 put out in the Spring of 2007.  Nothing majorly new, but still nice to have in this format.  Secret Chiefs 3 fans are still waiting on Book of Souls, the follow-up to 2004’s Book of Horizons.  Who knows if we’ll ever get it… but this compilation is a great “tweener” – especially if you weren’t able to get the limited 7″ vinyls or didn’t have a record player.
John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio (with Marc Ribot) – Ipsissimus (Tzadik) :: The Moonchild Trio is one of the more experimental / scary groups.  It’s a highly composed, but seemingly improvisational group made up of Mike Patton on voice (not lyrical), Trevor Dunn on bass, and Joey Baron on drums. Ipsissimus is the fifth in the series, and includes Marc Ribot’s guitar and John Zorn’s sax for more than just one tune (like on The Crucible).  This release is not for the faint of heart.  Purely energetic, glossolaliac noise metal.
AutorYnoPastrami Bagel Social Club (Tzadik) :: I am fans of some of the other Jewish rock acts on John Zorn’s Tzadik label: like Eyal Maoz’s Edom, Jon Madof’s Rashanim, and Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom. The description for this AutorYno debut from Tzadik was “a wild klezmer/rock fusion by this crazed band of Paris-born punk rockers… AutorYno hits with a hardedged sound and an exciting musical imagination. Full of youthful energy, massive guitar and centered by a powerful beat, they present eleven instrumentals that combine the power of rock with a taste of Jewish tradition.” Regardless of Tzadik’s usual/expected hyperbole, I couldn’t not get it. I’m glad I did.  Utterly fantastic klez-jazz-rock blend.
Tin HatForeign Legion (BAG) :: The Bay Area acoustic group is no longer a trio.  They are currently made up of Carla Kihlstedt on violin & voice, Mark Orton on guitar & dobro, Ben Goldberg on clarinets, Rob Reich on accordion & piano, and Zeena Parkins on harp.  It also features Willie Nelson on guest vocals on a track.  The album is part European explorer, part cinematic, part chamber group, part tango.  I generally by anything Carla Kihlstedt is involved in.  So far, I haven’t been steered wrong…
Beats AntiqueBlind Threshold (self) :: I got to see Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique twice this year… once with Beats Antique during Eugene Celebration, and once with the Indigo Bellydance troupe as part of their Le Serpent Rouge tour. She had a knee in a brace during Eugene Celebration; so she lended her stage presence to additional percussion instead of dance – which was unfortunate. Beats Antique is a bellydance-friendly, electronic and live instrument band from the Bay Area. Elements of Balkan music and tribal-fusion dance music. “Egyptic” is indicative of their infectuous sound.
Anakronic Electro OrkestraSpeak With Ghosts (Balagan Box) :: One of my favorite EPs of 2009 was Anakronic Electro Orkestra’s The Yiddish Part. My only complaint with the EP? It was too short. Well, in mid-November 2010, unbeknown to me at the time, they came out with their debut full-length Speak With Ghosts. AEO hail from Toulouse, France, and crank out a mighty fine mixture of drum & bass mixed with Eastern European-fused klezmer. This album is a 40+ minute shuffle through a modern klezmer forest – including one song featuring David Krakaeur (another favorite musician of mine). I think AEO is also great for fans of Beats Antique and Balkan Beat Box.
Loose GripLooking Glass (Fabrikant) :: Loose Grip is a fantastic Edinburgh-based jazz quartet led by drummer Chris Wallace. This guitar and tenor sax infused contemporary jazz band is great for fans of Chris Potter and Joe Lovano on the sax angle, great for fans of the guitar jazz like John Scofield, etc. It’s a well made record, and clearly stands out amongst the many jazz records that came out this year.
John Zorn’s The Dreamers play Masada Book Two, Volume 14: Ipos (Tzadik) :: Let’s just put this out there now… with thirteen albums and a DVD out in 2010, John Zorn might seem to have more misses than hits. Well, I don’t think there’s been a more consistent set of songs than his Masada songs, and there hasn’t been a more consistently great series than the Masada Book Two series (Zorn’s Masada songs covered by others). The Dreamers is a supergroup, too: Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn and Jamie Saft – pillars in the adventurous, downtown NYC scene.
Charlie HunterGentlemen, I Neglect to Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid (Spire Artist) :: One of the most amazing things from this past year was watching Charlie play live (twice). His seeming ease at which he plays bass and guitar on one instrument is stunning (and curse-worthy for the guitar aficionado in the crowd). If you weren’t watching the stage, you’d easily be fooled that it was a quartet and not a trio. It’s quite an amazing thing to see and hear. He’s so unassuming about it, too… a showman without the show-off attitude. Gentlemen came out in early 2010, and is a great melodic romp.  For prior fans of Charlie, you won’t be disappointed.  For people who aren’t yet fans… you will be.
Dave Douglas & KeystoneSpark of Being (boxset) (Greenleaf) :: Dave and his fusion group Keystone were busy with this 3-CD boxset. All three releases were inspired by Douglas’ recent collaboration with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison on the new multi-media project Spark of Being. The first release is the soundtrack to the film.  Two additional releases, Expand and Burst, feature Douglas and Keystone exploring and interpreting the themes of the film. Expand was also available on vinyl (a first for Dave’s Greenleaf label).
Dave HollandPathways (Dare2) :: I got into Dave Holland around the same time as a lot of other jazz. I got into jazz through the backdoor (John Zorn) and then slowly moved into the more straight ahead jazz. I think I can officially blame Ken Laster and his In the Groove, Jazz and Beyond podcast for playing a lot of Dave Holland. Anyway, shortly after hearing Holland, I picked up Extended Play: Live at Birdland and Critical Mass. Both are great, but the latter is quite fetching. Pathways is a superb combo and features some amazing playing by some other favorites of mine: saxophonist Chris Potter and drummer Nate Smith.  Outside of Joey Baron (Masada, etc), I think Nate Smith is one of the most entertaining drummers to see play.  I love how Dave Holland surrounds himiself with amazing players.  Great band, great record!
Holy FuckLatin (Young Turks) :: Despite what you think of their choice of band name, these Toronto band continue to put out great, groove-infused live electronic music that is both experimental and a poppy-force in the indie rock movement. Latin, their third full length album, grabbed me immediately when it came out this past May… and it’s #1 with a bullet as far as instrumental albums go in 2010. To top it off, they swung through Oregon twice this year (both excellent shows), and they put out quite possibly the cutest video for the raddest song (“Red Lights” – click the kitty to the right). The video now has over 1,000,000 views on the YouTubes. Only 900,000 views are from me.

Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases?  My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York.  Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them.  I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.

And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG.  I just love and support what they do.

Enjoy the New Years weekend!! Be safe! See you in 2011.

My Other Favorites of 2010 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Kevin MooreShine

Favorite Concerts of 2010

23rd Dec 10 (Thu) 7 comments

Well, this year’s concert seasons were especially good to me… 365 days, 79 shows, 149 artists, many long nights driving home, and a lot of photos…

My favorite concerts of 2010:

  1. Sufjan Stevens :: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall :: Portland, OR {29 Oct} [review with photos] – completely stunning show
  2. Toad the Wet Sprocket :: Crystal Ballroom :: Portland, OR {28 Jul} [review with photos] – I am a slave to Glen & Co’s alt-pop
  3. Jon Þor “Jónsi” Birgisson (of Sigur Rós) :: Roseland Theater :: Portland, OR {13 Apr} [review with photos] – stupendous stage show
  4. Nellie McKay :: Berbati’s Pan :: Portland, OR {31 Mar} [review with photos] – missed her Eugene show while at Sufjan, I heard that show was also “the bomb”
  5. Dream Theater :: Roseland Theater :: Portland, OR {21 Jun} [review with photos] – made more special after Mike Portnoy left the band this fall
  6. Tegan and Sara :: Keller Auditorium :: Portland, OR {8 Apr} [review with photos] – first time seeing them, not too be missed
  7. Holy Fuck (twice) :: Mississippi Studios & Holocene :: Portland, OR {6 Jun & 14 Oct} [reviews with photos #1 & #2] – one of the most consistently great live acts, Holocene show was better, but Mississippi was also rad…
  8. Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa :: McDonald Theatre :: Eugene, OR {12 Jun} [review with photos] – keeping the FZ torch alive!
  9. Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy :: PDX Jazz Fest / Crystal Ballroom :: Portland, OR {28 Feb} [review with photos] – honestly, all of these Top 15 could be #1 in a slow concert year
  10. Over the Rhine (twice) :: WOW Hall & Aladdin Theater :: Eugene & Portland, OR {15 & 17 Nov} [reviews with photos #1 & #2] – twice after three years of OTR drought for me
  11. Charlie Hunter Trio (twice) :: WOW Hall & Sam Bond’s Garage :: Eugene, OR {18 May & 16 Dec} [reviews with photos #1 & #2] – Charlie has a pact with the devil… he’s too good…
  12. Peter Mulvey & Jeffrey Foucault (twice) :: The Woods & Sam Bond’s Garage :: Portland & Eugene, OR {22 & 24 Oct} [reviews with photos #1 & #2] – both brilliant storytellers before VH1 made it a show
  13. Susan Enan :: House Show :: Eugene, OR {15 Jul} [review with photos] – at our house… super fun & intimate
  14. Damien Jurado :: Mississippi Studios :: Portland, OR {27 Feb} [review] – I didn’t know more than half of the songs, but it didn’t matter
  15. Medeski Martin & Wood :: McDonald Theatre :: Eugene, OR {25 Feb} [review with photos] – jazz dance party!

Runners-Up: Bill Frisell Trio at The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts, Fishtank Ensemble at a Eugene House Show, Pink Martini at The Hult Center / Oregon Bach Festival, Trio Subtonic & the Dead Kenny G’s at Mt. Tabor Theater, The Weepies at Aladdin Theater.  Even after honorable mentions, I cut some GREAT ones… 2010 was a great year.

My favorite concert photos of 2010: (in chronological order)


(all images are free to use under a creative commons designation, simply identify Daniel Temmesfeld with a photo credit and link to jazzsick.wordpress.com, or items noted with emobiephotography.com is photo credit Margaret O’Brien)

Past Favorite Concerts Lists:

Favorite music of 2010 will be coming soon… EPs/DVDs/etc, vocal albums, instrumental albums, artists of the decade

~Dan – np: nine inch nailsbroken

Dave Douglas – Spark of Being making of video

7th Oct 10 (Thu) 2 comments

Check out the “making of” feature for Dave DouglasSpark of Being

And, if you’re lucky, they have a handful of dates…

October 7th, 2010
Spark Of Being in MN:
preview in CityPages
Event screens at 8:00 @ Walker Art Center [tickets] [map]

October 8th, 2010
Spark Of Being in KC: preview in Kansas City Star
Event begins at 8:30PM @the Blue Room [tickets] [map]

October 24th, 2010
Spark Of Being in NYC
Event screens at 8:00 PM @ the Highline Ballroom [tickets] [map]

~Dan – np: The Weepies Be My Thrill

Dave Douglas on vinyl

23rd Jul 10 (Fri) 2 comments

So, Expand from Dave Douglas & Keystone – the second in the Spark of Being trilogy – is now up for pre-orderSpark of Being is Dave’s recent collaboration with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison (read more here).  As a cool option, it’s going to be made available on vinyl – a first for Greenleaf Music.

I’ve got mine on pre-order… boxset and now vinyl.  Oh, and once pre-ordered… you get to download it, even though its release date is August 24th.

~Dan – np: Dave Douglas & KeystoneSpark of Being: Expand

Dave Douglas & Keystone’s Spark of Being

21st May 10 (Fri) 1 comment

The latest music from Dave Douglas & Keystone is a three-part release.

Part 1: SOUNDTRACK (out June 22nd)
Part 2: EXPAND (out August 24th)
Part 3: BURST (out September 21st)

All three releases were inspired by Douglas’ recent collaboration with experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison on the new multi-media project Spark of Being, and were written by Douglas for his electric sextet Keystone. The first release, to the aforementioned film, will be available exclusively through Greenleaf Music on June 22. Two additional releases, Expand and Burst, will follow later this year and feature Douglas and Keystone exploring and interpreting the themes of the film.

Spark of Being, which premiered on April 24 at Stanford University’s Lively Arts, combines a re-interpretation of the Frankenstein story featuring new, archival and distressed footage on film by experimental filmmaker Bill Morrison with an original score by Douglas. Spark of Being was commissioned by Stanford Lively Arts as the centerpiece of a campus-wide “Art + Invention” project throughout the 2009–10 season, and was also the culmination of a multi-stage residency at Stanford by Douglas and Morrison.

Expand is a fully realized new jazz album by Douglas and Keystone. It will be released by Greenleaf Music and distributed through traditional music channels on August 24. Greenleaf will follow with the release of Burst on September 21, which, like Expand, further develops the musical ideas of Spark of Being, without the parameters of a soundtrack composition. All three albums will also be available in a full box set on September 21.

Spark of Being began its life as a meditation on humanity and technology,” said Douglas. “Through the lens of contemporary music and film, Bill Morrison and I were both interested in a collaboration that showed the various uses for invention, from the quirky to the profound, from the benign to the murderous.”

Greenleaf Music rolled this out as part of their newly expanded subscription series.  The new subscription service offers expansions to their levels… newly included are subscriber-only podcasts, full streaming of the ENTIRE Greenleaf catalog, complimentary tickets to a Greenleaf artist’s show, meet & greet opportunities, et cetera.  My subscription was expiring anyway; so it was a great time to re-up. :)

~Dan – np: Maery LanahanLessen

Dave Douglas & Keystone – Spark of Being

11th May 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

From the Greenleaf Music blog

Spark Of Being: Soundtrack

Dave Douglas: “Keystone and I have finished our new recording and it will be released very soon. Here is the cover of the first album in the trilogy of CDs and we’re all really excited about the collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison on Spark of Being. ‘Soundtrack’ is the first release of three — it’s the music from the actual film. We’ve documented much more than that, with two CDs of Keystone recordings from the sessions in Stanford.

We’ll be making a big push for this first release as well as for the three CD set and new subscription podcasts and conversations.

I think you’ll enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.”

Sweeeet… more news will be posted when I hear the word…

~Dan – np: Holy FuckLatin

Dave Douglas – Masada seminar at the Stone

7th May 10 (Fri) Leave a comment

If you’re in New York City next week and love jazz, you have to go to this…

John Zorn, Ner Tamid, from the Masada songbook.

Monday, May 10, 7PM – 10PM:
Stone Seminar 19 – Dave Douglas on the Music of Masada
At The Stone in NYC

When John asked me to present a seminar, I thought: why not take a handful of Masada tunes, old and new, and play them with people? We’ll have the charts in Zorn’s incredibly-expressive handwriting… Bring your instrument as the goal will be to play as many tunes as we can get through. I learned a lot playing these tunes, and I think people may enjoy coming to get a closer look at how the tunes look and how performances of them work. Word is the composer may even come by and answer some of the many remaining questions I have for him.

Playing this music has always been fun, challenging, and thought-provoking for me. I can’t say that I have any answers, but Monday we will open up the book and see where the charts take us. Each of these tunes points in a unique and inspiring direction.

More info and specifics at The Stone website.

I’m really, really, really jealous…

~Dan – np: KembweKembwe

PDX Jazz Photo Wrap-up

2nd Mar 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

As mentioned earlier, there is a Flickr stream for all official Portland Jazz Festival 2010 photos by Fran Kaufman.  Check them out, they capture various aspects of the fest from shows, jam sessions, interviews, et cetera…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdxjazz/
(click link for larger photos)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdxjazz/
(photos by Fran Kaufman)

And if you missed it, check out my reviews for Dave Holland Quintet (2/27), Pharoah Sanders (2/28), and Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy (2/28).  It was a truly fantastic weekend.  Also check out Oregon Music News’ complete coverage

Stay tuned to http://www.pdxjazz.com/.  Sign up for their mailing list and be there for next year’s fest!

~Dan – np: First Meeting (Satoko Fujii, Natsuki Tamura, etc) – Cut the Rope 

REVIEW: Dave Douglas @ PDX Jazz Fest (Portland, OR – 2/28/10)

1st Mar 10 (Mon) 5 comments

Right on the heels of Portland Jazz Fest‘s Dave Holland Quintet and Pharoah Sanders, was Dave Douglas and his Brass Ecstasy band – the capper to the festival.  I’d seen Dave Douglas four times before, twice with John Zorn‘s Masada quartet and twice with SF Jazz Collective (with Joe Lovano, Miguel Zenon and others).  I was looking forward to seeing my first show with Dave Douglas as primary bandleader.

This new band of his features Dave Douglas on trumpet, Vincent Chancey on french horn, Luis Bonilla on trombone, Marcus Rojas on tuba, and Nasheet Waits on drums.  Their debut album, Spirit Moves, came out last year, and it was in my Top 5 Instrumental Albums from 2009.  Go get it!

They hit the stage shortly after 7:30pm and went right into the title track from their record, “Spirit Moves.”  It’s a fun number and a great start to the set.  Right after that, they did a lengthy version of “Bowie,” which is dedicated to Lester Bowie.  It was fun to see that song breathe and take over the room.  I’m also impressed by Luis Bonilla’s soloing on it.  It has to be difficult to solo on a trombone…

The trombone, horn, and definitely tuba drive the sound of this band to a familiar New Orleans street band – which I’d imagine was what Dave Douglas was aiming his sights towards.  Marcus Rojas also did some “tuba beat boxing” to mix things up.

I knew all of the songs they played, but luckily Dave announced them from the stage (yay, I didn’t have to keep them all up in my head)…

Setlist: about 90 minutes

  • Spirit Moves
  • Bowie
  • I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry (Hank Williams)
  • Fats
  • Rava
  • Awake Nu (Don Cherry)
  • The Brass Ring (with drum solo)
  • Mr Pitiful (Otis Redding)
  • Encore: Twilight of the Dogs

All members got their fair share of solos.  The drum solo on “The Brass Ring” was fantastic, and Dave Douglas’s trumpet solos were colorful and vibrant, as usual.  Favorites of the night were the bebop of “Fats,” and the acrobatic trumpet on “Rava.”  Dave played a lot of that song off mic, yet his sound carried throughout the room.  Thank you Portland Jazz Fest!  It was a wonderful weekend of great music.  See you next year!

I took a few iPhone photos.  I wish I was able to bring in my regular camera, as I was right up front and the iPhone only takes marginal photos at best (::sigh::).  Anyway, check out my photos below, or check the link at the bottom for PDX Jazz’s Flickr photo stream.

DAVE DOUGLAS’ BRASS ECSTASY PHOTOS
these pictures are (cc) 2010 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

For photos from this and other PDX Jazz shows, check out PDX Jazz’s flickr stream:



(photos by Fran Kaufman)

The Appropriate Linkage:

~Dan – np: Susie Ibarra & Roberto RodriguezElectric Kulintang

PDX Jazz Fest :: Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy

16th Feb 10 (Tue) Leave a comment

Well, the PDX Jazzfest in Portland, Oregon, is only 1 week away.  You won’t want to miss it.  There are many fantastic local and national acts, including these great headliners:

Thursday, February 25 – Luciana Souza
Friday, February 26 – Mingus Big Band
Saturday, February 27 (3pm) – Trygve Seim & Frode Haltli
Saturday, February 27 (7:30) – Dave Holland Quintet
Sunday, February 28 (3pm) – Pharoah Sanders
Sunday, February 28 (7:30) – Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy

As we lead up to the event, I’ll focus on one of the headliners a week… last up Dave Douglas and his horny band Brass Ecstasy.  I’ll be going to this show, which caps the PDX Jazz Fest.  I got into Dave Douglas via John Zorn’s Masada.  I’ve since gotten into Dave’s other bands: Tiny Bell Trio, Keystone, DD Quartet, DD Quintet, SF Jazz Collective, Second Sight, New & Used, Mosiac Sextet, Orange Then Blue, A Single Sky… tons of releases over 20+ years.

His Brass Ecstasy band released their debut recording, Spirit Moves, in 2009 – which features Dave joined by Vincent Chancey on french horn, Luis Bonilla on trombone, Marcus Rojas on tuba, and Nasheet Waits on drums and releases on Greenleaf Music.

Two-time Grammy-nominated jazz musician Dave Douglas is arguably the most prolific and original trumpeter & composer of his generation. From his New York base, where he’s lived since the mid 1980s, Douglas has continued to earn lavish national and international acclaim including trumpeter, composer, and jazz “Artist of the Year” by such organizations as the New York Jazz Awards, Down Beat, Jazz Times, Jazziz, and the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. His solo recording career began in 1993 with Parallel Worlds on Soul Note and he has since released over twenty-eight recordings. In 2005, after seven critically-acclaimed albums for Bluebird/RCA, Douglas launched his own record label, Greenleaf Music. The same year, he was honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship. On Greenleaf, Douglas has released albums with his long standing Quintet, the electronic sextet Keystone, and the mixed chamber ensemble Nomad. His latest project, Brass Ecstasy, features a brass quintet of trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba and drums and will release Spring 2009.

Douglas is currently the artistic director of the Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music at the Banff Center and the co-founder and director of the Festival of New Trumpet Music, which will celebrate its 7th year in 2009.

In addition to leading his own groups, Douglas has an important ongoing musical relationship as a member of John Zorn’s Masada and with artists such as Anthony Braxton, Don Byron, Joe Lovano, Miguel Zenon, Uri Caine, Bill Frisell, Cibo Matto, Mark Dresser, Han Bennink and Misha Mengelberg. As a composer, Douglas has been commissioned by the Trisha Brown Dance Company, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Essen Philharmonie, Library of Congress and Stanford University. Recent large scale works have included Blue Latitudes, for chamber orchestra and 3 improvisers, and Delighted States, for big band with soloists (both unreleased as of press date).

Webpage: http://www.davedouglas.com/

FOR INFO & TICKETS: http://pdxjazz.com/tickets/

~Dan – np: Hotel LightsHotel Lights

PDX Jazz Fest // Nellie McKay

8th Jan 10 (Fri) Leave a comment

Two unrelated news items…

PDX Jazz Fest is just over 6 weeks away… if you like live music and live anywhere near Portland, Oregon, you need to check this out.  It’s a great festival.  This year’s line-up is pretty darn excellent, if you ask me.  I’m hitting three of them (Holland, Sanders & Douglas)…

Headliners

Thursday, February 25 – Luciana Souza
Friday, February 26 – Mingus Big Band
Saturday, February 27 (3pm) – Trygve Seim & Frode Haltli
Saturday, February 27 (7:30) – Dave Holland Quintet *
Sunday, February 28 (3pm) – Pharoah Sanders
*
Sunday, February 28 (7:30) – Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy
*

The whole week of Feb 21-28 (2010) is full of other great local and national jazz artists as well… all over town.  For tickets and more information: http://www.pdxjazz.com/

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Nellie McKay has released a few 2010 tour dates on her webpage (very scattered so far).  The Seattle date is with Garrison Keillor‘s A Prairie Home Companion… fuuuun.  I’m planning to make the trek up to that show.

  • 1/7/2010 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant
  • 2/18/2010 New York, NY The Allen Room at Lincoln Center
  • 4/3/2010 Seattle, WA Paramount Theater – A Prairie Home Companion
  • 4/10/2010 Delaware Water Gap, PA Deerhead Inn
  • 6/1/2010 New York, NY Feinstein’s at The Regency
  • 9/17/2010 Monterey, California, United States Monterey Jazz Festival

I’m sure more dates will trickle in throughout the year.  Go to her tour page for more info.

~Dan – np: Miles DavisPorgy & Bess

Thom Yorke // Dave Douglas

7th Jan 10 (Thu) 1 comment

Two news items… both film & music related…

As posted on atease… Radiohead’s Thom Yorke wrote three songs for the Tibetian documentary When The Dragon Swallowed The Sun.  It is the documentary on the inside perspective on the Tibetan movement to free Tibet from Chinese occupation, its internal conflicts and contradictions.  In an interview with 24-bit, director Dirk Simin revealed that Thom Yorke wrote three new songs for a particular chapter of the film.

Songwriter Damien Rice has also written a song for the documentary, and composer Philip Glass has penned the main theme for the film, including a piece for a key “grand finale” sequence. The premiere is expected early in 2010.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

One of my favorite jazzmen, Dave Douglas, is bringing his Keystone group to Stanford to collaborate with filmmaker Bill Morrison on Spark of Being, a ‘monumental work’ combining the screening of film with live musical performance.  Dave Douglas is an artist in residency for most of the Spring 2010 at Stanford University.

If you are lucky enough to live near (or are vacationing near) Stanford, you can try your hand at going to the world premiere performance of Spark of Being on April 24, 2010.

~Dan – np: FlossVitamin A

Artists of the Decade – 2000s (#11 to 20)

4th Jan 10 (Mon) 5 comments

Artists of the Decade – Honorable Mentions (1/1/2010 blog link)

  •  Dweezil Zappa
  • Tori Amos
  • Celldweller
  • Iron & Wine
  • King’s X
  • Derek Webb

Artists of the Decade (#21 to 25) (1/1/2010 blog link)

25 ~ Ben Folds (solo)
24 ~ Peter Mulvey

23 ~ Opeth

22 ~ dredg

21 ~ Holy Fuck

And now round 2

~*~*~

20 ~ Pedro the Lion (and David Bazan solo)

Pedro the Lion released their two most powerful and poignant albums in the early 2000s (Control and Achilles Heel), then frontman David Bazan decided to disband PTL and go solo (though by the 2000s, the writing was primarily Bazan anyway with hired guns for studios and tours).  Prior to his first full length solo album, he did a side project called Headphones, put out annual Christmas 7″ vinyls, and released a split electric/acoustic EP.  At the end of the decade, he hit the ground running with his fantastic “breaking up with God” record, Curse Your Branches.  He’s been touring in a solo fashion fairly regularly since 2007 or so and is going to hit the road again this coming spring…

~*~*~

19 ~ Jurassic 5

Jurassic 5 combined four well-versed, naturally flowing MCs (Chali 2Na, Soup, Marc7 & Akil) and two melodic, creative, musicianship-driven DJs (Cut Chemist and NuMark) to create some excellently catchy hip-hop and rap.  What I loved about them is that they weren’t all about the “drugs and bitches” that the gangsta rap had just previously been all about (don’t get me wrong, I love Dr. Dre’s The Chronic from the 90s, but J5 tended to keep it positive and definitely more musically-inclined).  All six members have gone on to do solo albums and/or side projects after the band’s official breakup in the late 2000s… my faves have been Cut Chemist’s The Audience’s Listening and Chali 2Na’s Fish Outta Water.  I still long for a reunion record, and I bet it’ll happen… maybe in the 2010s?

~*~*~

18 ~ My Brightest Diamond

Shara Worden’s utterly gorgeous, operatic voice is almost too much for the indie rock scene.  Almost.  It seems to fit in perfectly with Sufjan Stevens’ quirky folk and her own lush My Brightest Diamond string-infused indie pop (and the subsequent remix LPs/EPs centered around her studio albums).  In a live setting, her voice is powerful and sublime, and her stage presense is charming.  If you can get ahold of her pre-MBD band CDs, do so (AwRy was the name of the band).

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17 ~ Nellie McKay

Her debut, Get Away From Me, is a 2-disc / 18-song satirical, poignant, humorous & angsty romp.  The tag-line of “Eminem meets Doris Day” rang true.  She followed it up with a couple of more subdued albums with the occasional harder edge tune, and then by decade’s end, she released a Doris Day only album.  It seems somewhere along the line, she lost the Eminem edge, but she ended up still topping my list with the more gentle album.  Her live performance for the Doris Day material was fantastic – which definitely helped its appeal with me.  She’s a vegetarian and animal rights activist, too… so, definitely on my friendly artists list.

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16 ~ Secret Chiefs 3

Book M and Book of Horizons (both in the early 2000s) were SC3’s last officially “SC3 studio albums,” but since 2007, they have been busy with a handful of impressive 7″ vinyl singles, a “greatest hits” compilation, an amazing John Zorn Masada Book Two release in 2008 (Xaphan), a great concert DVD, a soundtrack to a made-up movie, and the ever-lasting promises of the Book of Souls (an album in the making… since… 2005?).

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15 ~ Over the Rhine

In 2001, I think Over the Rhine made one of the best albums of their career… Films for Radio.  They followed with a stunning double-album (Ohio), several solo albums by pianist Linford Detweiler, four live compilations, a few more pretty darn decent albums (including a new holiday album), and continual touring every spring & fall/winter.  All in all, it was a pretty solid decade of a healthy work ethic.  I’m curious what the 2010s will bring in the land of Over the Rhine.  One can hope that they keep evolving.

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14 ~ Mike Patton

Mr. Bungle broke up at the front end of the decade… but Mike continued on from Fantômas to Tomahawk to Lovage (with Dan the Automator & Elysian Fields’ Jennifer Charles) to Peeping Tom to multiple movie scores to many projects with John Zorn and back to Faith No More in 2009. As we lead into 2010, there are more Faith No More touring plans, more Fantômas plans, new bands Mondo Cane (50s Italian pop) and Crudo (DJ/rock-oriented), another Peeping Tom in 2011, and plenty else up his sleeve. Patton’s vocal versatility and hard work ethic make him one of my faves this past decade.

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13 ~ Ani DiFranco

Similar to Tori Amos, the 1990s found a more consistently on her game Ani. While those days are gone, in the 2000s Ani kept delivering album after album after album and has way too many wins than loses, in my book. Revelling / Reckoning is quite possibly the most important release of her career (though not necessarily my favorite in this long oevre). She’s continually active and important in my musical world.

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12 ~ Johnny Cash

This decade brought us American III, IV & V, and the Unearthed box set… all true genius from Johnny and Rick Rubin. The video for “Hurt” (a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song) is one of the most powerfully emotional videos I’ve ever seen (he really brought something new to that original NIИ song). If Rick Rubin never does anything important in the world of music ever again, he’ll still be the one who made Johnny Cash a legend (again).

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11 ~ Dave Douglas

Founder of Greenleaf Music (a jazz label), and member of John Zorn’s Masada quartet… Dave Douglas is my #1 living trumpet player. My foray into a mega jazz love throughout the decade led me to be a fond admirer of Dave and his varied work.  His various incarnations – the Quintet, Keystone, Brass Ecstasy, the Big Band, and more – show that he’s a hard worker.  I can safely say, he’ll be back on this list in late 2019. :)

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Tune in tomorrow for the final round…

My Other Favorites of 2009 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Charlie Hunter Gentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid

Oh, and for those who say that the decade ends at the end of 2010… meh. I’m starting with 0 and ending with 9 (like a LOT of people). Rationale: the 80s, the 90s… you don’t say the 80s went from 1/1/1981 to 12/31/1990 or the 90s from 1/1/1991 to 12/31/2000.

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