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ha’fway 2017

4th Jul 17 (Tue) Leave a comment

Happy 241st birthday, United States!

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

Ah, the annual halfway through the year music recap where I rarely post an end of year recap. *eyeroll* Eh… I don’t blog much anymore… regardless, here goes for my Top 10 of 2017 so far…



Artist Album (style)

  1. Sufjan Stevens, Bryce Dessner, Nico Mulhy & James McAlisterPlanetarium (indie rock)
  2. Burning GhostsReclamation (jazz metal)
  3. KXM (Doug Pinnick / George Lynch / Ray Luzier) – Scatterbrain (hard rock)
  4. Peter MulveyAre You Listening? (singer-songwriter)
  5. SexmobCultural Capital (jazz)
  6. David BazanCare (indie rock)
  7. Ani DiFrancoBinary (singer-songwriter)
  8. Future IslandsThe Far Field (indie pop)
  9. Mostly Other People Do the Killing (with Steven Bernstein of Sexmob) – Loafer’s Hollow (jazz)
  10. Incubus8 (rock)

Honorable mentions…

  • Albums by Lydia Ainsworth, Alt-J, Brian Marsella Trio’s Masada Book Two, Aimee Mann, Dave Douglas’ Riverside, and Throttle Elevator Music (Kamasi Washington).
  • EP – ANOHNI’s Paradise
  • Live – ISIS’ Live VII: 2.25.2010
  • Re-issues – Pink Floyd early years boxset(s), the Beatles Srgt. Pepper’s 50th, U2 The Joshua Tree 30th, Radiohead OK Computer 20th
  • Novelty – A**l Trump’s If You Thought ********* **** Was a Lot of People, You Should Have Seen My Inauguration 5″ vinyl (in “Seth Putnam form,” shall we say).

What’s still to come in 2017…

Claypool-Lennon Delirium 12″ (RSD wider-issue), Spotlights, Antibalas, Steven Wilson, Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Mogwai, Radiohead OKNOTOK (physical), Failure live vinyl, Lo Tom (David Bazan, TW Walsh & Starflyer 59 folks), Celldweller, The National, Secret Chiefs 3, Weird Al boxset, plus much more, I’m sure.

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

Dan – np: Critters BugginMuti -EP-

REVIEW: John Zorn at 60 @ Walker Art Center & St. Mark’s (Minneapolis, MN – 4/6/13)

12th Apr 13 (Fri) Leave a comment

John Zorn - only pulled out his horn at the very end

John Zorn turns 60 this coming September, and Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center wanted to throw a Zorn Fest of sorts.  Since Zorn doesn’t like to travel, he wanted to keep it to a minimum: not a 3+ day fest, but hey, let’s do it all on one day!  And thus “Zorn @ 60” at Walker Art Center was born!

Check out what 60 of Zorn’s contemporaries have said about him… Part 1 & Part 2.

There have already been a  few great reviews already posted (Jazz Police / Walker Art / City Pages); so I’ll keep my write-up to my own personal reflections, and not as in-depth, per se.  Here’s who Zorn had with him for this fest, in different assemblies… Cyro Baptista, percussion; Joey Baron, drums; Greg Cohen, bass; Chris Cunningham, guitar; Marc Feldman, violin; Eric Friedlander, cello; Michelle Kinney, cello; John Medeski, piano, Hammond B3; Ikue Mori, electronics; Marc Ribot, guitar; Joey Schad, electric keyboards; Kenny Wollesen, vibraphone, percussion, and drums.

Well, first off, due to documentaries, I know what Zorn sounds like… and I was getting off the elevator at my hotel and I heard a familiar voice.  Then I looked up, and “whoa, John Zorn is getting on the elevator that I’m getting off of.”  I almost wanted to act like I forgot something in my room and ride up with him.  Alas, I wussed out.  Then in the lobby, Marc Ribot was futzing around on his phone, and Greg Cohen’s massive upright bass case was blocking the front desk.  It all added to my overall giddiness for the day…

John Zorn discussion w/ Philip Bither

The full day of Zorn @ 60 started at 3pm with a sit down with fest curator Philip Bither.  Zorn is a lively, humorous, acerbic character.  I kinda love him.  Probably more f-bombs and frivolity than most Q&A sessions, the near hourlong session was highly interesting.

The first part of the discussion talked about Zorn’s age… as the fest was all about his experience and what got him to where he is now in the scene at 60.  Zorn talked a little bit about other “60” celebrations he’s doing this year (of all things MySpace has the best list), and one that he’s doing at The Met (NYC) completely intrigued me… ten performances every hour on the hour in different galleries throughout the museum on September 1st (Facebook link).  if I can swing a way to be in NYC for most of September, I’d be happy.  Unlikely, though.

Some of the best quotes from the interview and Q&A (paraphrased from my scribbles):

[about turning 60]“You don’t have any more doubts.”

“They’ve been saying I’ve been playing ironically for decades… that’s bullshit. But they don’t believe me when I say that’s bullshit.”

“Ribot plays guitar like a mutha’fucka!”

“I live in a library [of books, LPs, CDs, DVDs]… I didn’t have a kitchen for over a decade, but I didn’t have cockroaches either!”

[on creativity] “There were probably Bach-types banging on logs [in the earliest times]. Creativity is mystical, spiritual, ineffable.”

[on his schedule for the day] “Eating is a drag… it’ll only slow you down.”

[on critics] “The secret to longevity is to stay away from negative people… all reviews are bad. We don’t need that bullshit.”

And while I write reviews (and perhaps this is one), I understand his take on the industry of critique.

Marc Ribot plays selections from The Book of Heads
(about 20 minutes)

Mark Ribot performs with Doveman at The Studio in Sydney Opera House for Vivid Live 5th June 2010. (photo by Daniel Boud)

John Zorn / Marc Ribot - The Book of HeadsFirst music of the day… Marc Ribot by himself with a guitar, some pedals, a violin bow, some balloons, and an intenseness in his eyes.  The Book of Heads, an album of solo Etudes composed by Zorn, is a very difficult listen.  It screeches, it hurtles into many different directions.  It’s hard to follow, it’s hard to even want to listen to at some times.  Seeing it live, though, was quite fascinating.  It’s highly composed, but seemingly improvised.  Just seeing Marc’s stern look at the sheet music showed the composition.  He was intently following the haphazard that was on the page.  When one of the greatest guitarists is using balloons as a key part of the music making process, you know things are weird.  Weird but gripping.

Ribot played the following Etudes (not necessarily in this order): 13, 23, 9, 24, 22, 27, 7, 2.

Game Piece: Hockey with Kenny Wollesen & Erik Friedlander
(about 10 minutes)

John Zorn - Hockey

John Zorn - HockeyThe next piece was a trio game piece first created in 1978.  Zorn’s game pieces are a strict set of rules and is a structured, improvisational collaboration between the artists.  Hockey on record is OK to listen to, but like The Book of Heads and Cobra (below), it’s far more interesting in the live setting.

A game piece is…

As well as a sports game, a game piece may also be considered analogous to language: The performance is directed by a well defined set of rules (a grammar) but by no means fixed or predetermined (just as all sentences generated by the same grammar are not the same). The length of a piece may be arbitrary, just as a sentence can be of any imaginable length while still conforming to a strictly defined syntax.

This time is was Zorn on birdcalls, Kenny Wollesen on bird calls and percussion, and Erik Friedlander on cello.  With Kenny and Erik looking intently at Zorn for his verbal and hand motion directions.  The level of musicianship of these three players is amazing, and the game pieces are basically a way to stretch their creative musical muscles while making sounds that you’d never expect.  It’s not for the casual listener.

Game Piece: Cobra (for 11 players)
(3 games; about 30 minutes total)

John Zorn - holding up cue card during the Northsea Jazz Fest

John Zorn heard off stage before Cobra started: “Just don’t make any mistakes!”

John Zorn - CobraCobra takes the game piece concept to whole new levels.  The rules are more complex, and John Zorn doesn’t play but directs at the front.  Based on the card he holds up and his verbal and non-verbal cues, the musicians go off on an adventure – never the same in any repeat performance.

With eleven players on stage (all listed at the top of this post), they played three games of Cobra.  This was my first time seeing Cobra.  It’s very interactive, starting with Zorn’s lead, but the players get room to lead things too.  It’s improv, but still with a structure.  Here’s a glimpse at the cue card structure:

John Zorn - Cobra cue cardsHighlight for me: Joey Baron’s smile.  I get such a kick out of watching him play.  He’s probably the musician having the most fun ever on stage every time I see him.

Cobra was the end of the first program, and the fest broke for a couple hours.

Erik Friedlander plays selections from Masada Book Two: Volac
Masada String Trio, and
Bar Kokhba Sextet
(a little over an hour – total)

The second program was the chamber music segment (and also the part of the day where my notes have now gone missing).

Erik Friedlander plays Volac (John Zorn's Masada Book Two: Book of Angels)I’d seen Erik Friedlander before (both solo with his own stuff and playing Volac), and it was a great warm up for the increasingly larger groups playing music from John Zorn’s Masada Book Two set of music.  He played a gorgeous 20 minute selections from Volac.

Masada String TrioUp next was the Masada String Trio made up of the aforementioned Erik Friedlander on cello, Mark Feldman on violin, and Greg Cohen on upright bass.  While the music they played was composed (same with Bar Kokhba Sextet), John Zorn sat on the floor in front of them, conducting.  They played about 20 minutes from their Masada Book Two set.  Gorgeous players, gorgeous music!

Bar Kokhba SextetContinuing in the chamber music written & conducted by Zorn, the Bar Kokhba Sextet found the Masada String Trio joined by Joey Baron on drums, Cyro Baptista on percussion, and Marc Ribot on guitar.  This was probably the best part of the night for me – outside of the experience of seeing Cobra played for the first time.  The group effortlessly brought Zorn’s Masada tunes some groove, and seeing both Baron and Baptista work together percussively was a delight.

John Zorn’s Nova Express & The Concealed
encore:

John Zorn playing to Wallace Berman’s film Aleph
with Kenny Wollesen & Greg Cohen
(about 75 minutes total)

At the beginning of the third program, someone yelled out from the audience, “where’s your horn!?” to which John Zorn yelled back, “at home mother fucker!”  Irreverent and hilarious.  Even though he was lying (he brought out his alto sax for the final piece).John Zorn in Minneapolis 2013  Photo by Bryan Aaker.

Nova Express and The Concealed songs were played by Joey Baron on drums, show-stealer Kenny Wollesen on vibes, Erik Friedlander on cello, Mark Feldman on violin, Greg Cohen on upright bass, and John Medeski on piano.  These are two of Zorn’s better albums in the recent three years’ output (of ~36 albums!!!!).  Partly classical takes on Masada tunes (Nova Express), and partly mystical (The Concealed).

Zorn Zorn - Nova Express John Zorn - The Concealed

As mentioned, the only time John Zorn brought out his sax was for the visual installation piece Aleph – set to Wallace Bergman’s short cut-up film of the same name. Iit was a ripping, avant-garde piece in the dark, backlit by the film, with Zorn wailing on sax, Kenny Wollesen moving off of vibes on to the drums, and Greg Cohen on bass.  Stellar!

John Zorn’s The Hermetic Organ (midnight) @ St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral

John Zorn - hermetic organ

John Zorn - The Hermetic OrganA special free midnight performance of John Zorn’s The Hermetic Organ was across the street after the final third program of Zorn @ 60.  Most of the crowd piled over to St. Mark’s Cathedral to watch the contrasting and turgid organ piece.  I stayed for about half of the 30+ minute set and then slowly started my 2 mile, midnight walk back to my hotel – content at the day’s musical gifts.

A brilliant, music-packed day!  If you want to check out some videos of what went down, the French Zorn website le zornographe has linked to some performances posted from the Walker Art Center “Zorn @ 60” fest on YouTube:

Bar Kokhba Sextet “Sother”

Masada String Trio “Bethor”

John Zorn’s Cobra (piece 2)

Erik Friedlander ” Sannul”

The Concealed “Towards Kafiristan”

Nova Express “Between Two Worlds”

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Soul’d Out Festival’s Charlie Hunter with Booker T. Jones & Carlton Jackson (first time as a trio) @ Dante’s (Portland 4/14)..

~Dan – np: ElleryLying Awake
Ellery - Lying Awake

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000WDSRVY/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000WDSRVY&linkCode=as2&tag=essentialmusi-20

John Zorn @ 60 in Minneapolis (soon)

9th Apr 13 (Tue) Leave a comment

John Zorn @ 60 in Minneapolis was awesome… I’m still decompressing, but I should have a write-up posted this week sometime…

John Zorn

John Zorn @ 60 – McGuire Theater @ Walker Art Center :: Minneapolis, MN
John Zorn discussion w/ Philip Bither
Marc Ribot plays selections from Book of Heads
Game Piece: Hockey with Kenny Wollesen & Erik Friedlander
Game Piece: Cobra (for 11 players)
Erik Friedlander plays selections from Masada Book Two: Volac
Masada String Trio
Bar Kokhba Sextet
John Zorn’s Nova Express & The Concealed
John Zorn’s playing to Wallace Berman’s film Aleph with Kenny Wollesen & Greg Cohen
John Zorn’s The Hermetic Organ (midnight) @ St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral

Moonchild & Melvins Lite

17th Feb 12 (Fri) Leave a comment

The upcoming Moonchild record will be the first to feature lyrics that John Zorn has written for Mike Patton to sing.  Prior Moonchild albums have been trio affairs of noise/jazz metal glossolalia from Patton, Trevor Dunn (bass) and Joey Baron (drums) with a smattering of guests musicians like Ikue Mori, Jamie Saft and Marc Ribot.  The sixth (!!) Moonchild release is set for a 2012 delivery on Zorn’s Tzadik Records.  Based on info from Chippy (Tzadik’s art designer), the album name may very well be called Templars.

Here’s some more tidbits from the mixing/mastering crew:

Other related news… Trevor Dunn is also involved in the new stripped-down Melvins Lite band with the Melvins “core” members: King Buzzo and Dale Crover.  The debut album from this evolution of the band comes out in June 2012 on Patton’s Ipecac Recordings…

Source: Ipecac

Oh, Freak Puke… such lovely imagery…

~Dan – np: CelldwellerSoundtrack for the Voice in My Head Vol 2, Ch 2

* 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

John Zorn w/ Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & John Medeski

27th Dec 11 (Tue) Leave a comment

These posts from Tzadik mixer extraordinaire Marc Urselli made me giddy…

Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & John Medeski together on a future John Zorn release?!  Excellent!  It’s not listed on the Tzadik upcoming releases page, yet

~Dan – np: Steven Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra – MTO Plays Sly

Zorn Christmas CD/LP/45 (out now)

7th Oct 11 (Fri) 3 comments

Originally mentioned here, the John Zorn / The Dreamers Christmas album is out now on Tzadik.  The CD, limited edition vinyl and limited edition 45 rpm 7″ vinyl can be ordered now via Tzadik’s official retailer: Downtown Music Gallery.

The CD & vinyl will also be at Amazon (by Oct 11th), but the 45 rpm single will only be at DMG.  It’s also available via Amazon & iTunes as well in mp3 digital download format (but why would you ever get something like this in lower fidelity?)…

The Dreamers band is Marc Ribot, Jamie Saft, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn, Joey Baron, and Cyro Baptista… and the album also features Mike Patton crooning “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.

~Dan

John Zorn – The Dreamers’ Christmas (Tzadik 2011)

10th Jul 11 (Sun) 2 comments

Update 10/7: go back HERE for CD/vinyl/45 rpm/mp3 download ordering info.

Posted on (Tzadik designer) Chippy’s Facebook page earlier this weekend…

The biggest surprise of the year is John Zorn’s beautiful Christmas CD. Zorn has hand picked seven of his favorite Christmas songs, penned two lovely originals and they are performed here in classic Dreamers style with plenty of exciting solos, exotic colors and catchy lyricism. Filled with a joyful holiday spirit, innocence, a touch of nostalgia and a charming lyricism, this is music for all ages that will make you smile with delight from the very first notes. As a special treat, vocalist Mike Patton delivers an intimate and heartfelt rendition of “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” making A Dreamers Christmas an instant classic, and an essential CD for any contemporary Christmas celebration.

This album will also feature The Dreamers band: Marc Ribot, Jamie Saft, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn, Joey Baron, and Cyro Baptista. It will be out in CD and vinyl LP.

My guess is it’ll hit in October or November as Tzadik tends to not release anything in December.  I’m looking forward to it.  I mean, I tend to not like Christmas music that much (there are only a few).  I find it funny that a record label entrenched in Jewish music and jazz would put out a Christmas album with Santa on it… but, well, that’s John Zorn for you.  Not following the protocol.

And that’s why we love him!

Update 7/28, the cover for the 45rpm vinyl single…

~Dan – np: SilverchairFrogstomp

Packaging Art : Design in front of the Music

27th Jun 11 (Mon) Leave a comment

A big piece of what still links me to music is the artistic approach that goes into the whole package.  Sure, break it all down, and the actually music hitting my ears is the “most important” component, but I still dig the physical product (CDs & vinyl).

Two of my favorite record labels go out of their way to create stunning packaging: the John Zorn-run Tzadik Records and the Mike Patton co-owned Ipecac Recordings.

 

For Zorn, the die-cut and gorgeous lettered detail in Tzadik’s Masada Book Two series jumps to the forefront, as do many of the stunning titles in the Archival series (The Dreamers, etc).  For Patton, the gold-embossed Mit Gas from Tomahawk was a first step, and the Peeping Tom & Mondo Cane packaging was colorful and stupendously took Ipecac’s level of art-packaging to a new level.

Both labels obviously believe in the physical artistic value, otherwise, they wouldn’t bother.  Well, this post delves a little bit into that process with two designers for Tzadik & Ipecac, respectively…

In a recent interview with Chippy from Tzadik…

Poor quality digital artwork is a shame because the original art/packaging is an extension of the concept. Most people therefore will not be able to fully appreciate/experience beyond the music. At the same time, the low quality is a good reason to truly really seek out the hard copy because there is so much more beyond the digital world. People forget about the beauty of books and print. The paper, the binding, the thread, glue, etc. There’s a reason why artists/designers use a certain ink, stock, varnish, diecut, emboss/deboss, etc. Dismissing this part of the experience minimizes the experience.
READ the FULL INTERVIEW with CHIPPY

Aaron Lazar from Tzgani Design worked on the most recent Book of Knots release from Ipecac.  The original design would have cost too much ($6-7/per unit), but would have been a three piece laser etched packaging design that would cradle a CD (printed in aqua, yellow and orange) and would function as a working astrolabe. Check it out in higher-resolution.  I wish this could have come to fruition, but I guess you have to be realistic in your artistic pursuits, too.

It is works of art like this that make me seek out more than just a download version.  Even if “CD quality” 320 kbps, it still seems hollow to me.  And more than just design… with music moving to a cloud-based platform now, here are eight reasons why vinyl is cleaner than “the cloud”… READ HERE at DigitalMusicNews.

~Dan – np: John ScofieldUp All Night

The future of Zorn’s Masada Book Two

8th Jun 11 (Wed) Leave a comment

Every time I talk about it, I’ll state that Masada Book Two is one of the best series on John Zorn’s Tzadik label.  The quick premise: One page of music in a book of 300+ tunes, given to others to interpret and record.

Who has done it so far (bold being my faves so far): Jamie Saft Trio, Masada String Trio, Mark Feldman and Sylvie Courvoisier, Koby Israelite, The Cracow Klezmer, Uri Caine, Marc Ribot, Erik Friedlander, Secret Chiefs 3, Bar Kokhba Sextet, Medeski Martin & Wood, Masada Quintet featuring Joe Lovano, Mycale, The Dreamers, Ben Goldberg Quartet, Masada String Trio, and Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of the Spirits.

All seventeen thus far as stupendous releases… you can’t go wrong, especially if you love improvisational jazz and klezmer.  Listen: Amazon search page.

Good Aural blog posted the following yesterday:

According to John Zorn, Tzadik records will release about four—possibly five—more Masada Book Two albums in 2012. It’s amazing to think that we’ll be hearing volumes 18, 19, 20, 21, and maybe even 22 of Zorn’s Book of Angels by the end of next year.

Want a preview of who’ll be playing on these upcoming volumes? Here are the new Book of Angels releases planned for 2012:

New Klezmer Trio

Clarinetist Ben Goldberg is a pioneer in avant-garde Jewish music. His New Klezmer Trio released their first album, Masks and Faces, in 1992; it was reissued on Tzadik in 1996. New Klezmer Trio has since released several more albums on Tzadik: Melt Zonk Rewire and Short for Something.

In 2010 Goldberg recorded Baal: the Book of Angels vol. 15 with Masada book veterans Greg Cohen, Jamie Saft, and Kenny Wollesen. This new Ben Goldberg Quartet was assembled and conducted by Zorn himself.

Finally, Goldberg plays clarinet with the acoustic ensemble Tin Hat, which appeared on the Masada anniversary album Voices in the Wilderness.

David Krakauer

David Krakauer is a clarinetist firmly rooted in both klezmer and classical music. His band, Klezmer Madness!, incorporates elements from funk, jazz, and a variety of other genres. He has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet and made several releases on Zorn’s Tzadik label, including Klezmer Madness! and Klezmer, NY.

Given that Krakauer has collaborated with Uri Caine and played both clarinet and bass clarinet on John Zorn’s seminal Kristallnacht, it’s only natural that he should (finally!) record a set of tunes from The Book of Angels.

Pat Metheny

Guitarist Pat Metheny recorded the acclaimed free jazz album Song X with Ornette Coleman and recorded Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint” with Kronos Quartet. Metheny’s upcoming Book of Angels entry is planned as a solo performance.

And Beyond…

Whatever Masada Book Two compositions remain will be recorded on one or two albums by artists not yet announced. Once those are completed, we’ll have finally reached the end of this chapter in Masada’s legacy. But for hardcore fans of this music, there’s still plenty to come.

On the horizon: Masada Book Three.

Good Aural apparently heard the news from John Zorn himself.  I had heard rumors of the Pat Metheny one in the past, and the other conspirators are consistent with who Zorn has worked with in the past.  I’m hoping Mike Patton’s Fantômas does something in this series in the future.  It’s not out of the realm – they did one song for the Unknown Masada album in 2003 (a pre-cursor to the Masada Book Two concept).  Oh, or the Moonchild Trio!! That would kick ass.

http://tzadik.com/

~Dan – np: Red Hot Chili PeppersStadium Arcadium

John Zorn’s Masada Marathon 2011 (via Aural Addict)

31st Mar 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

Great review from Jeff from AuralAddict of the recent John Zorn Masada Marathon in New York City… CLICK BELOW…

John Zorn's Masada Marathon 2011 March 30, 2011 8:00PM City Opera at Lincoln Center, NYC When I saw this event listed I figured there was no way I was going to be able to go.  I happened across a ticket giveaway contest from Relix magazine and entered, then kinda forgot about it.  Tuesday morning I received an email saying I had won tickets…and there was much rejoicing.  The … Read More

via Aural Addict

A to Z / Music Packaging Today

3rd Feb 11 (Thu) Leave a comment

Check out this cool article/interview from last Thursday with A to Z Media‘s Sarah Robertson and Scott Pollack to discuss the state of physical media in 2011.  Click here or the pictures below to go to the interview…

John Zorn‘s Interzone

John Zorn‘s The Dreamers with Chippy’s artwork

A to Z Media covers a lot of John Zorn’s Tzadik and other record label releases, which are all quite stunning mini pieces of art.

~Dan – np: Over the RhineGood Dog Bad Dog 

Nels Cline Singers – Portland (photos on Wednesday)

31st Jan 11 (Mon) 1 comment

Last night’s show at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland with the Nels Cline Singers (Nels, Trevor Dunn & Scott Amendola) with Yuka Honda was rad.  Due to my schedule, I won’t be able to post the review until late Tuesday Wednesday (Go Here for the Review/Photos).  Here are some teaser shots… one with Sean Lennon







More to come… check back Tuesday night Wednesday morning!  Sorry, utterly swamped at work…

~Dan

REVIEW: Erik Friedlander plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two @ the Shedd (Eugene, OR – 1/8/11)

9th Jan 11 (Sun) 5 comments

FYI… PHOTOS of the SHOW at the BOTTOM

NYC-based cellist Erik Friedlander is a favorite musician of mine.  I have only a handful of his solo works, but he shows up in the subtlest of places… I mean, if I do a quick search for “Friedlander” in my iTunes, I show 32 and a half hours of music (Tzadik Records & DMG are a key component of my monthly music budget).  He has worked with Courtney Love, Dar Williams, the Mountain Goats and many more… but I primarily know his work in the NYC jazz & avant-garde scene: Dave Douglas, Ikue Mori/Death Praxis, Jamie Saft, Yuka Honda, Wadada Leo Smith, Tim Sparks, Ned Rothenberg, and of course… John Zorn.

With John Zorn, Erik has been involved in several Masada incarnations, notably the Masada String Trio (with Greg Cohen & Mark Feldman) and the Bar Kokhba Sextet.  When John Zorn was done writing music for the original acoustic Masada Quartet, he sat down and penned over 300 songs that became the Masada Book Two: Book of Angels.  I’ve talked a lot about Masada Book Two on this blog… it is the most consistently amazing set of music out on Tzadik (John Zorn’s 503(c)3 record label).  MBT is essentially John Zorn’s Masada tunes, covered by those around him.  Some of my favorites are Secret Chiefs 3’s Xaphan, Bar Kokhba Sextet’s Lucifer, and Medeski Martin & Wood’s Zaebos… but quite honestly, all sixteen releases (to date) have been stunning and essential.

Erik was one of the early invites to the Masasa Book Two Club… releasing Volac (volume 8 in 2005).  The John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts in Eugene commissioned Erik Friedlander to come in a perform these Volac songs last night.  I had seen Erik in Portland in 2009 with his photography & music piece – Block Ice & Propane (his music set to his father Lee Friedlander’s photography); so I knew Erik would deliver a wonderful performance.  Set-up in the Shedd Recital Hall, just off the courtyard, Erik went on around 7:40 and entranced us with his playing…

He was playing his carbon-fiber “alien cello.”  I imagine that was his easiest axe to bring for a two-night Seattle & Eugene weekend before heading back home.  Its sound was quite similar to a wooden cello – at least to my untrained ears.  Per Erik, it’s not as ornery or sensitive as a wooden cello.

The Masada songs have a definitive Jewish klezmer feel in points of the melodies.  Erik’s arrangements and playing definitely bring in a chamber music and jazz improviser aspect to the Volac songs.  He played roughly half of the songs bowed, and the rest either plucked or strummed.  Switching between the styles for each song for the most part – as is one of John Zorn’s “rules” which Erik joked about.  Hush, don’t tell John, but Erik acknowledged that he broke a few “rules” during the night.

Setlist: about 70 minutes

  • Harhazial
  • Yeruel
  • Ylrng
  • Haseha
  • Sannul
  • Rachsiel
  • Kadal
  • Anahel (the 1st written by Zorn for MBT)
  • Zumiel
  • Ahaniel
  • Zawar
  • Encore: Sidriel

Essentially the entire Volac album, just in a different order. Erik doesn’t make it out to the Pacific Northwest as much as I’d like, but when he does make it out, I’m going.  If you love cello or other chamber music – you should go, too!  Nary a disappointment. Oh, also check out his free podcast First Light which features a weekly early morning improvisation.

more photos below

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Reptet (jazz combo from Seattle) at Luckey’s in Eugene, Friday, January 14th!

~Dan – np: Nine Inch NailsGhosts I-IV

ERIK FRIEDLANDER PHOTOS
all pictures (cc) 2011 Daniel Temmesfeld,
you may use freely under a creative commons attribution

(click for larger)

* 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

John Zorn’s new art gallery

20th Dec 10 (Mon) Leave a comment

Reposted from A-to-Z media blog

A to Z is excited to announce that our long time friend/client/unyielding supporter, John Zorn, has created a new online art gallery –  Obsessions Collective that has just gone live. The site has been beautifully designed by Heung-Heung Chin whose own work will be exhibited on the site and can be seen at the top of this post.

The aim of this non-profit site is to serve as the conduit between living, cutting edge artists who work outside of the gallery system and art collectors and patrons who seek to interact and purchase art directly from the artists themselves with no interference or meddling from a third party.

In true Zorn fashion, 100% of the income derived from the sales of the artwork goes to the artist directly. No commission or bullshit admin fee’s will be charged on any of the pieces purchased. 

John has created this site simply to shine a light on the many talented artists he is friends with and to encourage art collectors to open their minds and wallets to discover, nurture and support  truly independant artists who are deciding to make real art for art’s sake.

http://www.obsessionscollective.com/

~Dan – np: Sarah Kirkland Snider & Shara WordenPenelope 

Zorn @ Marciac (Aug 2010)

11th Dec 10 (Sat) Leave a comment

If you have 54 minutes to kill… and, well, maybe you should clear your schedule… John Zorn & Co @ Marciac Jazz Fest 2010

August 11, 2010

1. Little Bittern
2. Anulikwutsayl
3. Exodus
4. Karaim
5. Lilin

JOHN ZORN – direction, saxophone
MARC RIBOT – guitar
JAMIE SAFT – piano, orgue
TREVOR DUNN – bass
KENNY WOLLESEN – vibraphone
JOEY BARON – drums
CYRO BAPTISTA – percussion

~Dan – np: AutorYnoPastrami Bagel Social Club

Erik Friedlander to play John Zorn (1/8/2011 in Eugene, OR)

3rd Dec 10 (Fri) Leave a comment

New York cellist Erik Friedlander is coming back to Oregon.  I saw him last year in Portland performing his Block Ice and Propane songs.  This time, he’s coming to Eugene to play his songs from John Zorn‘s Masada Book Two: Volac.

The solo cello show will be Saturday, January 8, 2011 @ 7:30 at the John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts in Eugene, Oregon.

Tickets are on-sale now.  For more info:

http://theshedd.org/divP/series.aspx?event=1868

Check out the album, Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 8 (Volac)…

~Dan – np: My Brightest DiamondA Thousand Sharks Teeth

John Zorn THE DREAMERS on vinyl(!!)

2nd Oct 10 (Sat) 2 comments

So, there was a hint a few months ago about a vinyl release from Tzadik… my hunch was that it would be John Zorn / The Dreamers O’o release (out on CD in 2009).  Well, posted on Tzadik graphic artist Hueng-Hueng “Chippy” Chin’s Chippy Design flickr site yesterday was this…

“The Dreamers vinyl”
(click for larger)

It’s available for pre-order at Amazon under the title Dreamers – The Gentle Side… out Nov 23rd, 2010.

Update (10/8): the picture disc…

 

~Dan – np: Frank ZappaMeets the Mothers of Prevention

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

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