Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Odean Pope, Out for a Walk (Moers 1990)

Most sites list this disc as a 1990 release, but Odean Pope's official website lists it as a 1980 recording, two years before Almost Like Me. Regardless, Out for a Walk starts where Almost Like Me leaves off. The two discs could easily have been recorded at the same session. It's the same line up, with Gerald Veasley on bass and Cornell Rochester on drums stretching out and playing some serious modern music. There's nothing else out there quite like this, funky modern Philly jazz with some amazingly serious bass. Not to be missed.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Odean Pope, Almost Like Me (Moers 1982)

Here's Odean Pope's outstanding and very hard to find first release as leader. Some hard-core funky slap bass Philly modern jazz, with Cornell Rochester on drums and Gerald Veasley on bass playing some of their best work. This is the album Jamaaladeen Tacuma should always have recorded. Don't miss track 7, the deeply funky and African influenced "Mwalimu." Highly recommended.

Track Listings
1. Elixir
2. Almost Like Me
3. Multiphonics
4. Scorpio Twins
5. No Air
6. Kyle's Theme
7. Mwalimu
8. Good Question

Monday, November 1, 2010

Miles Davis, Avery Fisher Hall NY 1975

Any 1975 recording of the funk collective is a treat, and this July 1975 band recording is a real surprise. The sound quality is surprisingly good, and it's a rare recording of the funk collective at its height. Personnel is:
Miles Davis (tpt, org)
Sam Morrison (ss, ts, fl)
Pete Cosey (g, perc)
Reggie Lucas (g)
Michael Henderson (el-b)
Al Foster (d)
James Mtume Foreman (cga, perc)

Band warming up 0:53
Turnaroundphrase (M. Davis) 15:14
Tune in 5 (M. Davis) 4:14
Cga/thumb piano/rhythm box interlude from 2:40.
Maiysha (M. Davis) 18:30
Untitled original 750505 (M. Davis) (with applause, announcement) 3:27
Right Off (M. Davis) 12:53
Mtume (M. Davis) 6:57
Latin (M. Davis) 6:46
Ife (M. Davis) 13:16

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Harry Pepl Quartet, N.Y.C. Impressure (Extraplatte, 1992)

A hard hitting and impossibly hard to find album from the ever obscure Austrian guitarist Harry Pepl. Many of the tracks could easily be from one of Steve Coleman's best albums from the same era. Apparently this was recorded the day after a gig at the Knitting Factory. An unusually concise and funky album from the usually outside Pepl with more than the occasional nod to Miles. With Claus Stötter on trumpet and fluegelhorn, Paul Nowinski on bass and Jojo Mayer on drums. When Pepl channels Hendrix on La La La it takes my breath away. My favorite Pepl album and an easy thumbs up.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Atlantic Family Live at Montreux (Atlantic 1977)

Killer big band jazz funk from the mid seventies. The line up is pretty amazing: The Don Ellis Orchestra, the Average White Band, the Brecker Brothers, Herbie Mann, Sonny Fortune, Klaus Doldinger, Richard Tee, Luther Vandross and well the list goes on and on. How did they get all these guys on the same stage? It's got some cheesy dated synth here and there, but the grooves are rock solid and the playing is intense. The extended "Pick up the Pieces" was edited and released on the rerelease of the Average White Band CD. I picked this up when it came out, and I still love it.

1 Bahia (Na Baixa Do Sapateiro) 16:32
2 Jadoo 10:34
3 Everything Must Change 6:21
4 McEwan's Export 8:58
5 One to One 9:10
6 Pick Up the Pieces 21:40

Personnel (from Wikipedia):
* Ben E. King - lead vocals
* Sonny Fortune - alto sax
* David "Fathead" Newman - alto sax
* Roger Ball - alto sax
* Herbie Mann - flute
* Dick Morrissey - tenor sax
* Molly Duncan - tenor sax
* Klaus Doldinger - tenor sax
* Michael Brecker - tenor sax
* Jaroslav Jakubovic - saxophone
* Don Ellis - trumpet
* Gilman Rathel - trumpet
* Lew Soloff - trumpet
* Randy Brecker - trumpet
* Alan Kaplan - trombone
* Barry Rogers - trombone
* Richard Tee - electric piano
* Jim Mullen - guitar
* Hamish Stuart - guitar
* Rafael Cruz - percussion
* Sammy Figueroa - percussion
* Rubens Bassini - percussion
* Alan Gorrie - bass
* Steve Ferrone - drums
* Onnie McIntyre - guitar

Backing Vocals:

* Alfa Anderson
* Diane Sumler
* Diva Gray
* Krystal Davis
* Luther Vandross
* Peter Cox
* Robin Clark

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Elvin Jones, Very Rare (Koch 198?)

There have been several Elvin Jones releases with the title of "Very Rare." This one was on the Koch Jazz label and featured music from both the Very Rare and Love & Peace albums. Both sets are great, but for me the Love & Peace track "Hip Jones" is the stand out. It's a grooving modern jazz track from 1982 with McCoy Tyner, Pharoah Sanders, Richard Davis and Jean-Paul Bourelly. The first 6 tracks are from the earlier Very Rare release with Art Pepper, Roland Hanna and Richard Davis. The last 6 tracks are from "Love & Peace."

1. Sweet Mama
2. Passion Flower
3. Zange
4. Tin Tin Deo
5. Pitter Patter
6. The Witching Hour
7. Little Rocks Blues
8, Hip Jones
9. Korina
10. For Tomorrow
11. Sweet And Lovely
12. Origin

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sonny Sharrock, Dance With Me Montana (Marge 1982)

I just came across this rare and nice early 80s (pre Bill Laswell) Sonny Sharrock recording at Brian Olewnic's review leads one to think it will be unlistenable with "astonishingly leaden drumming" and how it has "one of the very worst covers in the history of recordings." Well, to start with, I don't think the cover is that bad. This is a rare treat and a pleasant surprise. I'm enjoying the recording, more than some, maybe even most, of Sharrock's later recordings with Bill Laswell. It's an easy thumbs up.

Be sure to remember to leave an appreciative comment when visiting Also remember the website when prompted.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My current (modest) home hi fi

Back when myjazzworld was still up, Smooth use to occasionally post about gear, so in the spirit of Smooth (we miss you!) here's a quick rundown on the setup I'm happy with.

Back in the day, it was the speakers and the turntable phono cartridge that made the most difference, and now I'd say little has changed. The only thing new in the equation is the DAC, or digital to analog converter. Unless you listen primarily to vinyl, the DAC has replaced the phono cartridge in importance.

I listen to most of my music in mp3 form off my iPod. While some audiophiles may cringe, it's not that bad. I'm using a $400 Wadia i170i digital transport to get the digital signal out of the iPod. From there I'm using a lovely but inexpensive Muse DAC with 4 parallel Phillips TDA1543 chips. It's commonly available for around $60 on ebay. I've tried other DACs using the more respected PCM1793 chip, but I always come back to the Muse. I don't really understand the theory behind parallel non-oversampling DACs, but my ears are sold.

For years I used the highly acclaimed (and rightfully so!) Trends TA-10 digital amp. It really sounds lovely, though other digital amps using the same Tripath TA2024 chip (commonly available on ebay for well under $100) have sounded equally good when I've hooked them up to my system. The Trends got booted out though on visual appeal. I'm now using the $200 Qinpu A3 mini hybrid tube amp. Even though it's only rated 8.5 watts per channel, it's got (as they say) more "real world" power than the 10 watt Trends amp. Audiophiles will rightfully note that it's not a "real" tube amp as the tubes are run at low wattage and just color the sound of the preamplifier. I think it sounds great, as good as the Trends T amp, and it looks a lot more impressive on my book shelf. I've used a cheap low wattage "starved plate" design pre-amp for years to record microphones and guitar, so I've got no issues with low wattage tubes in the pre amp section.

My minuscule system needs highly efficient speakers, even though my living room is a boat like 9 feet wide. I'm very happy with my $330 Axiom M3ti bookshelf speakers. I think the 92spl rating is optimistic, but they have enough efficiency to fill my small room with sound and thumping bass well before the 12 noon mark on either of my low wattage amps volume controls.

I'm not going to pretend to be an audiophile. My small system cost less than most individual audiophile components, but it makes me happy.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sonny Simmons, Mixolydis (Blue Marge 29, 2002)

A great CD that has somehow escaped the blogosphere so far. It's in the spirit of the two awesome Quest recordings "Ancient Ritual" and "American Jungle," if a bit mellower and more melodic at times. As you might already know, in the early sixties Simmons went to NYC and was one of the most promising avante garde players. In 1965, he moved back to the San Francisco east bay area and married trumpeter Barbara Donald, a double whammy that pretty much ended his musical career. He spent much of the 70s and 80s destitute and occasionally playing on the streets. He reemerged in 1994 with the killer Ancient Ritual, and his playing since has never been better. This one was recorded July 27 & 28, 2001 at Studio Sysmo, Paris, France.

1. Echoes Of Eric Dolphy (Sonny Simmons) [5:21]
2. Mixolydis (Sonny Simmons) [8:04]
3. The Lady From Trinidad * (Sonny Simmons) [8:14]
4. Benedictina (Sonny Simmons) [6:00]
5. Reverend Church ** (Sonny Simmons) [8:21]
6. Blues In The Pocket (John Hicks) [5:37]
7. The Voodoo Stomp (Sonny Simmons) [8:08]
8. The Promise (John Coltrane) [9:00]

Sonny Simmons : alto saxophone, English horn
Eddie Henderson : trumpet
John Hicks : piano
Curtis Lundy : bass
Victor Lewis : drums

producer : Gérard Terronès

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jef Lee Johnson, The Sigularity, (Dreambox Media, 2000)

This one pushes it in many directions; electric grooves, blues, funk, noise, psychedelia, and soul. It's reminiscent at times of Jean-Paul Bourelly and Hendrix, but it's consistently rewarding and original. Features Charles Baldwin (bass) and Ted Thomas Jr. (drums). Gotta love the super funky, cerebral and angular cover of Al Green's "Love and Happiness." Jef Lee Johnson is the consummate guitarist. Just a great record.

This is Stewart Mason's review at

"The Singularity is as good a description as any of guitarist Jef Lee Johnson's multi-hyphenated stew of rock, blues, jazz, soul, and noise. Recorded live (mostly during a two-night stand at New York's Knitting Factory, but also with some in-studio workouts), the 17 songs range from minute-long snatches of atmosphere to extended tracks like the ten-minute wiggly funk groove "Ain't Seen Irene" and the almost Hendrix-like space rock of "Communion." A point of similarity would be Material, the early-'80s kings of New York art-funk, but nothing on The Singularity is as precious as Material's over-studied music could often be. Even on those songs where Johnson risks overplaying, his gritty and direct vocals, along with his seldom-hidden knowledge of solid rock and soul riffs, are enough to make The Singularity an immediately accessible but far from simple collection."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ronald Shannon Jackson, What Spirit Say, (DIW 1995)

Probably my all time favorite Jackson recording, just because James Carter and Jef Lee Johnson rock the house. Carter loves extended technique, big tone and big solos, and I think his style actually works best with a strong funk backing groove. Johnson's guitar work is a revelation, grounded in Hendrix and 'Blood' Ulmer, and always in the pocket. Ronald Shannon Jackson's drumming is as melodic (!) as always, and this funk delivers.

Listening to the album again, the third track "Terminal B" sounded too familiar. Sure enough, the James Carter credited tune is also on Carter's "Layin' the Cut" from 2000 (another all time favorite). Comparing this album's version of "Terminal B" to it's later incarnation is interesting. It reveals that the latter album had better audio production, and Marc Ribot's second guitar adds to the recording. Most surprisingly, drummer G. Calvin Weston can hold his own even when compared to Ronald Shannon Jackson. But Jef Lee Johnson's guitar playing is just stellar on "What Spirit Says," as is the interplay with Carter. So draw your own comparisons, they are both excellent tracks!

There's really an amazing dearth of reviews for this gem out there. Anyone want to share?

1. What Spirit Say (Jackson) 4:49
2. Opinions (Jackson) 3:36
3. Terminal "B" (Johnson) 6:13
4. Cameroon Morning (Jackson) 5:43
5. Aged Pain (Jackson) 6:06
6. Sorcerer's Kitchen (Jackson) 3:22
7. Serenade for Magicians (Jackson) 7:33
8. A Night in Seville (Jackson) 6:47
9. Front Seat Frisco (Carter) 4:35
10. Now's the Time (Parker) 4:25
11. Missing Link (Jackson) 3:00

1995 - DIW (Japan) 895 (CD)

Recorded December 11-12, 1994 at the Power Station, New York City

Ronald Shannon Jackson, drums, percussion, flute, boschhorn (schalmei); Jef Lee Johnson, guitar; James Carter, soprano and tenor saxophones; Ngolle Pokossi, bass; Martin Atangana, guitar (7)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Let's Be Generous, Joachim Kühn, Mark Nauseef, Tony Newton, Miroslav Tadic (CMP 53, 1990)

What immediately grabs you on the first track is the free and funky ring modulated electric piano. This is really unique music. I've always liked Joachim Kühn. He played on a couple of my favorite Jan Akkerman recordings. Kühn is nothing if not eclectic, and this is his best recording.

Bill Bruford said about Mark Nauseef and Let's Be generous in his November 1991 Wire Magazine interview: "Great drumming. This is where you'd hope Jimi Hendrix Experience would have got to. I have to say that it gets my blood going to hear Mark Nauseef rather than some of the older guys now. Five out of five."

In his November 1992 Berkeley Weekly review, Henry Kaiser wrote: "If this is jazz, then it's certainly the most daring, original, and innovative jazz recording I've heard this year. Mark Nauseef's Tony Williams vs. John French drumming, Miroslav Tadic's John McLaughlin meets Zoot Horn Rollo guitar stylings, Tony Newton's bass virtuosity and Joachim Kühn's incredibly peculiar, unfashionable, and distorted keyboard sounds all unite and create something that nobody has ever heard before."

Track listing and personnel:
1. The Prophet (E. Dolphy)
2. Senegal (J. Kühn)
3. Avant Garage (M. Tadic)
4. Always Yours (J. Kühn)
5. Something Sweet, Something Tender (E. Dolphy)
6. The Captain And I (J. Kühn)
7. Heavy Hanging (J. Kühn)
8. Don't Disturb My Groove (J. Kühn)
9. Snake Oil (T. Newton)
10. Bintang (M. Nauseef)
11. Kissing The Feet (Kühn / Nauseef / Newton / Tadic)

Let's Be Generous is:

Joachim Kühn on electronic keyboards and piano.

Mark Nauseef on drums, gongs, cymbals, Chinese drums, temple bells, metal plates, "magic drum", ADD II digital drums and junk.

Tony Newton on bass.

Miroslav Tadic on guitar.

Recorded in August 1990 at Ztudio Zerkall, Germany by Walter Quintus.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Miles Davis, More Sessions 1975-76, (ER070)

Another snag from Elastic Rock that for some reason seems to be no longer available there. This one is some rare ephemera from the twilight of Miles great 70s funk band. These tracks have been packaged together in several other collections including "Unknown Sessions 1973-1976, Volume 1 & 2." As Miles descended into cocaine, he played less and less. While his trumpet is completely absent on the first track, his presence is felt, and the opener exhibits both great guitar and great drum machine manipulation by Pete Cosey. Miles does play on the subsequent tracks, beginning with the multiple takes of the melodic "Latin." On "Song of Landa," Miles trumpet disappears again as he plays only minimal organ, yet the simple heartfelt melodicism hints at the direction his music will take when he reemerges in 1980. "TDK Funk" is a brief reprise of the greatest funk band of all time. A bittersweet bookend to one of the greats.

Tracks and personnel:
1 Turn of the Century (M. Davis) Feb 27, 1975 15:34
2 Latin (M. Davis) [takes 3/4] May 5, 1975 4:47
3 Latin (M. Davis) (take 6) May 5, 1975 4:41
4 Latin (M. Davis) (take 6, different mix) May 5, 1975 4:15
5 Song of Landa (S. Morrison-M. Davis) (take 2) Mar 30, 1976 4:05
6 Song of Landa (S. Morrison-M. Davis) (take 6) Mar 30, 1976 4:48
7 TDK Funk (M. Davis) (Untitled original E) Dec 27, 1976 5:01

February 27, 1975
Columbia Studio, New York
Miles Davis Septet
Miles Davis (tpt, org); Sonny Fortune (ss, ts, fl); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Reggie Lucas (g); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

May 5, 1975
Columbia Studio, New York
Miles Davis Septet
Miles Davis (tpt, org); Sam Morrison (ts); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Reggie Lucas (g); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d); James Mtume Forman (cga, perc)

March 30, 1976
Columbia Studio, New York
Miles Davis Studio Group
Miles Davis (org); Sam Morrison (ss, as, fl); Mark Johnson (el-p); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d)

December 27, 1976
Unknown studio, New York
Miles Davis Studio Group
Miles Davis (org); Pete Cosey (g, perc); Michael Henderson (el-b); Al Foster (d)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tisziji Muñoz, Rendezvous With Now (India Navigation 1034, 1978)

Killer, killer album! This had been previously posted over at India Navigation but it's no longer available there.

For some background, here's a short excerpt that Henry Kaiser wrote on Tisziji Muñoz:

"A warmly sustained and lightly distorted guitar dances fluidly over a modally-inflected, jazzy, piano-bass-drums rhythm section. On the surface, for a few moments, it seems a familiar sound, common to the last 3 decades of electric jazz. Something is truly different here, though. The notes and intervals are somehow different - flying by in patterns that don't seem to equate with any of the normal guitar fingering patterns and the rhythm breathes in some different way that is beyond swinging. Clouds and torrents of lightening-fast notes are just slightly slurred or bent to odd, microtonal intervals that are both different and somehow exactly right for the heavenly musical continuum that they inhabit. The longer you listen - the more you realize that this is something unique; both so familiar and so different at the same time, that you know you had better take some time to figure out what's going on."

Here's a youtube video of a live performance in Boston with Tisziji Muñoz, John Medeski and Bob Moses

Check it out, and then head over to Most everything Tisziji has ever recorded (except this album) appears to be available. I suggest you buy anything and everything you can.

(A note on his website, I was flummoxed and couldn't figure out how to check out. I sent an email and received a very nice reply from Nancy Munoz offering to sell the cds directly through paypal. I was able to eventually get my order in, but don't I don't remember the exact steps. I think I had to click on a particular album and click "Buy now" before I could find my shopping cart.)

Guitar - Tisziji Muñoz
Piano - Bernie Senensky
Bass - Cecil McBee
Drums - Claude Ranger
Percussion and vocals - Clayton Johnston
A1 The Shepherds Chant
B1 Blessings
B2 The Word of God Chant
B3 Waiting for Now to Be Forever

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ronald Shannon Jackson, Nasty, (Moers 1981)

I'd been searching for this one for years. This is Ronald Shannon Jackson's second recording as leader, but the first where he really hits his stride. Personnel is
Ronald Shannon Jackson, drums; Vernon Reid, electric guitar; Lee Rozie, soprano and tenor saxophones; Charles Brackeen, tenor and soprano saxophones; Byard Lancaster, alto and baritone saxophones, piccolo flute; Khan Jamal, vibraphone; Melvin Gibbs, electric bass; Bruce Johnson, electric bass.
1. Small World (Jackson) 3:20
2. Black Widow (Jackson) 10:18
3. Sweet Natalie (Jackson) 5:01
4. Nasty (Jackson) 5:55
5. When We Return (Jackson) 11:39

1981 - Moers Music (Germany) 01086 (LP)

Recorded March 23-27, 1981 at the Hit Factory, New York City

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jef Lee Johnson, Communion, (DIW Japan 1998)

Jef Lee Johnson first got my attention on Ronald Shannon Jackson's "What Spirit Say." He and James Carter lit that recording up, and he's also a major influence on James Carter's wonderful "Layin' in the Cut." Jef can play gospel, funk, blues, psychedelia, jazz and Sonic Youth noise--the guy has chops. He tours and backs names like Aretha Franklin and George Duke, but when he records under his own name, It's not the clinical work of a Berklee guitar graduate. It's like he's got his paying gig, and when he records something for himself, it's whatever he feels like playing, noise, grunge, funk. Eclectic, wonderful, powerful stuff.
Credits: Jef Lee Johnson all instruments
Track Listing
1. Face
2. Communion
3. How True Are You
4. Just Have to Be There
5. Time to Kill
6. Let It Ring
7. Tell-Tale Heart
8. Cannot Get With This
9. Giant Steps
10. Suspicious
11. Stroll On
12. You Jump'd the Gun, Again
13. Feel So Fine
14. Jungle

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Robert Quine, Ikue Mori & Marc Ribot, Painted Desert (Avant Japan 1997)

This is nominally Ikue Mori's album, but Robert Quine's fingerprints are all over it. It's an instrumental guitar and drum machine album in the style of Robert Quine's "Escape" and "Basic," if a bit mellower. Murray Cizon at writes:

"Guitarist Robert Quine has claimed that Painted Desert is his session, but it wasn't released as such "because of legalities." Ikue Mori, under whose name this album was released, views it more as a meeting between Quine and herself that was directed by producer John Zorn. Either way, Painted Desert is a stunning work of guitar and drum machine/sampler trios. Mori recorded her parts, which rely primarily on tom tom and cymbal sounds, and then gave the tapes to Quine and Marc Ribot, who improvised guitar parts. The music sometimes sounds as if the guitarists decided to record a Ennio Morricone tribute. This isn't a Big Gundown-style album, however. Quine's guitar playing is very blues-influenced, while Ribot plays with unusual sedation, providing atmospheric shades of sound that occasionally recall Bill Frisell during his "volume pedal" period. The songs range from the mid-tempo title track (sounding like a spaghetti Western version of Miles Davis' Jack Johnson) to the abrasive "Gundown," which is reminiscent of DNA. Fans looking for an album that highlights Mori and her distinctive drum sounds will be disappointed with Painted Desert. Quine and Ribot enthusiasts, however, should be very pleased."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Henry Threadgill, X-75 Volume 1 (Arista Novus, AN 3013 1979)

I've always tried to limit myself to posting recordings that aren't easily available anywhere else. This isn't the first post of Henry Threadgill's X-75, but it's my own rip of the vinyl, so it might be of interest as another example of this wonderful and long out of print recording.

Brian Olewnick at writes:
"After ten years as a member of the innovative trio Air, Henry Threadgill's first album as a leader immediately plunged into experimental waters. He utilized a nonet the likes of which had certainly never been heard before and probably not since: four reed players, four bassists, and a vocalist. The bass quartet was made up of participants in Brian Smith's Bass Violin Choir, and here they provide not only most of the rhythmic impetus but also carry a good deal of the melodic weight, as Threadgill's massive talent for mid-size band arrangements is immediately apparent. Their opening few minutes on "Celebration" presents a marvelous array of bowed, hymn-like tones as well as deeply grooving pizzicato lines. The songs are less solo vehicles than complete compositions, already prefiguring several of the directions the leader would take with his subsequent ensembles. Only "Air Song," an ethereal piece scored for four flutes and voice, meanders a bit and fails to really catch hold, though even then it presents some wonderful textures and colors. The closer, "Fe Fi Fo Fum," is the most traditionally jazzy of the pieces, allowing for something close to a theme-solos-theme format, Threadgill's alto given a moment to shine in all its acerbic glory. As of 2002, X-75, Vol. 1 was unreleased on disc and, even more disappointingly, there was never a "Vol. 2." But Threadgill fans looking for a link between Air and his Sextett owe it to themselves to search this one out."

Bass - Fred Hopkins , Leonard Jones , Rufus Reid
Bass, Bass [Piccolo] - Brian Smith (9)
Clarinet [Bass], Flute - Douglas Ewart
Piccolo Flute, Flute [Alto], Saxophone [Tenor] - Wallace McMillan
Producer - Michael Cuscuna
Saxophone [Alto], Flute, Flute [Bass] - Henry Threadgill
Saxophone [Soprano], Flute - Joseph Jarman
Vocals - Amina Claudine Myers

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Roberto Cacciapaglia, Sei Nota in Logica (Philips 1978)

A serendipitous find, I found this one in the bins at Poo-Bah's records in Pasadena back around 1980. A wonderful recording, it's as if Steve Reich and Phil Glass recorded an early collaboration with an ensemble that mixed electronic and acoustic instruments. Here's a review from the progarchives:

"After the mind blowing and epically majestic first album Sonanze, the prolific and eclectic Roberto Cacciapalia explored diverse musical aesthetics. Before to define his music in more mainstream pop territories in later albums he had a short excursion into classical-minimalist music. Sei Nota in Logica is the result of this transition. As usual it's perfectly achieved with a real sense of harmony and composition. However in term of ideas and musical creation this is not really challenging. Sei Nota in Logica only re-visit recognizable intricate sound patterns released by U.S minimalist researches (I'm notably thinking about the most asceptic parts of Steve Reich's minimal structuralism). The gamelan, the sax and the piano's intertextual moves progress into a peaceful-dreamy envinonement interrupted by suspensfully electronic scintillations. The atmosphere is intimate, percussive and full of short rythmical modules but not quite dense. Sei Nota in Logica is gently calm and decorative without growing into absorbing-lysergic droning waves. Highly recommended for fans of minimalist-arpeggiated musical impressionism (early Philip Glass, Reich and Gibson)."

Amazingly, this resurfaced briefly as a CD. This is from that briefly available CD. BTW, Sonanze is available over at Mutant Sounds.

Robert Quine & Fred Maher, Basic (EG Records, 1984)

Another all time favorite. I first became aware of Robert Quine in a Lester Bangs article on the "Punk Jazz Connection" in Musician magazine. This was back in 1979, and I'd only recently discovered Agharta and Pangaea. Lester writes:

"Finally, back home at CBGB's, original spawning ground of the late Seventies punk revolution, Richard Hell and the Voidoids are running through one of the final sets of their career. Ironically, where the group used to put on sloppy sets in front of small but adoring audiences, now they're playing incredibly tight, slashing rock 'n' roll to a packed house consisting mostly of rubbernecking tourists and suburbanite teens who have heard about all this punk stuff and finally found the courage to come down and check it out, and for whom it wouldn't make much difference which band was onstage. But for those who are there to listen, it's obvious that the Voidoids have something more than the usual punk engine-gunnings going for them: in the dense mesh of guitars are, unmistakably, quotes from and elaborations on Miles Davis lines off albums like Agharta and On the Corner; if you listen and look closely, you can tell that this incredible stylistic melding is emanating mainly from the guitarist over stage left, a quiet, balding guy in sunglasses named Robert Quine. When the Voidoids break up, he will make an album of instrumental improvisations with guitarist friend Jody Harris (ex- of the Contortions) and a rhythm machine."

Well, that got my attention. I've been on the look out for Robert Quine recordings ever since. IMHO, this one is the pick of the bunch. This is from the briefly available CD version, this one is long out of print and selling for silly money now.

BTW That awesome recording Escape by Robert Quine and Jody Harris that Lester Bangs mentions is available over at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Barre Phillips, Three Day Moon (ECM 1123, 1978)

An all time favorite with some of Terje Rypdal's best guitar work. I vaguely remember reading an interview with Barre Phillips where he said this recording didn't come out the way he expected. Terje Rypdal had just been loaned one of Roland's new guitar synthesizers, and he was keen to play it on every track, so it came out a bit more electronic and spacey that Phillips might have intended. The last track "S C & W" (I'm guessing "Space, Country & Western") has got to be one of the most amazing tracks ever. Barre does a convincing job fiddling his bass as if he were playing bluegrass, while Trilok Gurtu is keeping the beat using Indian Tala rhytmic patterns and Rypdal and Feichtner are, well, out in electronic space. I was surprised at the dearth of reviews, this is from Craig LeHoullier at "I suppose that the recordings of Barre Phillips will never be widely available or popular. They are odd, challenging, and sometimes quite scary. The sounds that he evokes from his bass are remarkable. He is truly an artist - not just a musician, but a painter of images."
Barre Phillips - bass
Terje Rypdal - guitar, guitar synthesizer, organ
Dieter Feichtner - synthesizer
Trilok Gurtu - tabla, percussion

Long out of print, this is from the briefly available Japanese CD edition which is now impossible to find and currently selling for silly money.

Broun Fellinis, Real Moments (Moonshine Records, 1995)

Back in the day, I use to actually get out of the house and listen to live music. The Broun Fellinis were one of my favorites, and I'd catch their gigs at the Elbo Room in San Francisco's Mission District (usually on Thursdays), which at the time was walking distance for me. I took a friend from Seattle there, and he couldn't get over all the "young hip people" grooving and dancing to Jazz. I bought this disc at a gig, it's apparently their debut release. Steve Huey at writes "The Broun Fellinis are a jazz/hip-hop trio hailing from the Bay Area whose members include percussionist Professor Boris Karnaz (born Kevin Carnes), bassist Kirk the Redeemer, and woodwind player Black Edgar Kenyatta. The group has created their own mythology explaining their origins -- they claim to be from the mythical land of Boohaabia, which floats off the coast of Madagascar and is surrounded by the Phat Temple, the Ministry of Imagination, and the Oasis of Surprise, which are all at equal distances from Boohaabia. Further, Karnaz claims that Boohaabia may be reached through the group's music, or perhaps through Kirk the Redeemer's bass cabinet if the pilgrim has brought him some cashews; Karnaz promises that the listener's chair will then sink six inches into the sand and giraffes will appear, ready to take the listener wherever he may want to go. "

Monday, April 5, 2010

Henry Threadgill Sextet, Subject to Change (About Time 1984)

Brian Olewnick at writes: "The third album released by Threadgill's seven-member Sextett (!) on the fine About Time label, Subject to Change continued to display the leader's extraordinary compositional gifts in a series of pieces ranging from the episodic to the melancholy to the purely grooving. His bands always had a deep and infectious capacity for strutting and this quality is amply in evidence on pieces like "Homeostasis," as the group swaggers with all the aplomb of a classic New Orleans marching band. "Higher Places" stands firmly in the canon of brooding, quasi-dirges that have always been a special strength of Threadgill, a gorgeous, steamy theme redolent of hot southern evenings. The title track is a burner, featuring striking work from cellist Diedre Murray and evolving into a series of bluesy variations worthy of Mingus. Amina Claudine Myers is added on vocals for the last number, prefiguring Threadgill's increasing interest in singers in upcoming years, notably Cassandra Wilson, who provided the lyrics for this piece. Subject to Change is very much of a piece with other Sextett albums of the '80s: meaty, imaginative, solidly and even inspiringly played, and rich in evocations of past musics while looking straight into the future. Collect 'em all. "

Friday, March 12, 2010

Henry Threadgill Sextet, When Was That?, (About Time, 1982)

From Thom Jurek at "Finally! After almost two decades of CDs we get reissues of saxophonist/composer Henry Threadgill's legendary sextet from the early 1980s. And while it's true that this band put out some hellishly great records for RCA during the middle of that decade, the trio of albums from About Time is arguably its greatest period. This is the band that included cornet wiz Olu Dara, trombonist Craig Harris, longtime cohort Fred Hopkins on bass, piccolo bassist Bryan Smith, and drummers Pheeroan Aklaff and John Betsch! Threadgill's compositions at the time were wonderfully strident exercises in both restraint and open-door improvisation. His melodies were as rooted in R&B traditions -- as evidenced here by the free for all "10 to 1" -- as they were in the new forms put form by Ornette Coleman (check "Melin" and the title track). Threadgill's main thrust was to create a series of modal environments whereby all instrumentalists would engage with one another in the framework of a particular tune, yet play different roles as the ensemble went on its way through the record. Therefore, his own flute playing, say on "Just B," would be organized differently than it was in "10 to 1," as would the particular weight of its solo. Nowhere does this play itself out more than in the rhythmic roles between Betsch and Aklaff, and in the bowed bass atmospherics of Hopkins and Smith. Ultimately, however, this band swung together, no matter how far out the proceedings got. They always returned to Threadgill's magically inherent lyricism and humor in the end, and each and every track here bears that out. This is a nearly mystical album in the life of this band, and, at last, folks who own CD players get a chance to find it out for themselves."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Henry Threadgill Sextet, Just the Facts and Pass the Bucket, (About Time 1983)

Dusty Groove America writes: "Overlooked genius from Henry Threadgill -- one of his under-exposed 80s sessions for the About Time label, and work that's every bit as great as his better-known sides for Delmark or Black Saint! The group here has a nice sense of freedom and interplay -- almost a quality that hearkens back to Threadgill's roots in the AACM, thanks to strong contributions from Craig Harris on trombone, Olu Dara on trumpet, Fred Hopkins on bass, Deidre Murray on cello, and both Pheeroan Aklaff and John Betsch on percussion."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Masabumi Kikuchi, Susto, (Sony 1981)

Mike Peden wrote this over at the Kozmigroov site: "A wash of electronic jazz sound with chattering guitars and a solid bottom end which hits a groove and stays on it. Heavily influenced by Miles Davis electric projects but with better dynamics and more focused recording/production. Features a cast of all stars including Airto, Grossman, James Mason, Liebman, Hino, Aiyb Dieng -list goes on and on. Bought a copy about 18 years ago and still play it now-highly recommended." I concur. Here's personnel and track information from the Poomaniac discography:
Sony SRCS9378
Recorded Nov/1980 at Sound Ideas Studios,NYC Dec~Jan/1981
at Sony Roppongi Studio,Tokyo
Masabumi Kikuchi(Fender Rhodes elp,Korg PS-3300,PS-3200, MS-20,DL-50, BX-3,synthe bass SB-100,Sansui P-1, parametric equalizer for the sound system), Terumasa Hino(cor,bolivian-fl), Steve Grossman(ss,ts), Dave Liebman(ss,ts,a-fl),Richie Morales(ds),Victor "Yahya" Jones(ds), Hassan Jenkins(b),James Mason(gt),Butch Campbell(gt),Marlon Graves(gt), Barry Finnerty(gt),Billy Paterson(gt),Alyrio Lima(perc),Aiyb Dieng(perc), Sam Morrison(wind driver,ss),Airto Moreira(perc),Ed Walsh(synth prog) Pruducer:Kiyoshi Itoh
[track list]
(All compositions by M.Kikuchi)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Terry Riley, You're No Good, (Organ of Corti 1967)

Continuing the theme of "prescient" from the previous post on Esperanto, this album is the pre-electronica bomb. The album cover sums it up nicely. Riley deconstructs a little known mid 60s soul tune, adding harsh electronics, echo, loops, phasing and jarring juxtapositions of various musical elements. It's remixing 30 years before it became fashionable. The second track is a nice live recording of Poppy Nogood. Awesome! My rip of the out of print cd that is currently selling for silly money.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ryuichi Sakamoto Esperanto, (Midi Inc., MDCZ-1126, 1985)

An unusually prescient album, Esperanto from 1985 charts the direction of abstract electronic beats to come. I bought it because it features Arto Lindsay. I was in Tower Records near Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, and that first track "A Wongga Dance Song" came over the speakers. I recognized Arto's guitar work (it's hard not to) and ran to the counter to ask what the heck it was. Well, it was insanely expensive then ($27 for a Japanese import CD back in 85) and sells for silly money now. Still sounds cool and modern.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

La Monte Young, Just Stompin': Live at the Kitchen (Gramavision #79487, 1993)

The perfect album. I love the blues and the Dorian scale. La Monte Young stretches out with some bluesy jams, but always keeps the minimalistic piano drone. For me, and I'm no fan of just intonation, this one hits it on the head. This album deconstructs the blues better than any other. My rip of the out of print CD that sells for silly money now.
Keyboards - La Monte Young
Bass - Brad Catler
Drums - Jonathan Kane
Engineer - Bob Bielecki
Guitar - Jon Catler
Mastered By - Chris Muth
(A 128 kps rip of the well tuned piano is over at