Thursday, 28 April 2016

Hy Brazil Vol 10 • New Music From Brazil

I have been dipping into this series every now then. Good to hear some fresh electronic music.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Henry Threadgill wins a Pulitzer Prize

Henry Threadgill, a saxophonist and flutist known as one of the most original composers influenced by jazz, has been awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his recording In for a Penny, In for a Pound.
The jury described the piece as a "highly original work, in which notated music and improvisation mesh in a sonic tapestry that seems the very expression of modern American life." The recording was released as a 2-CD collection on Pi Recordings in 2015, and was listed among the Top 10 albums of the year in the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll.

The Pulitzer Prize is an award that historically has celebrated compositions in the classical style. But your work blends a lot of improvisation with pre-defined composition. I wonder how you see the difference between those two, improvisation and composition.

Improvisation is a part of what I do. I write notated music — there's a balance between notated music and improvisation that occurs. What is notated is what is written, the improvisation takes place, and the composition contains all of it. That's what I do as a composer.
I'm happy that the Pulitzers' views have gotten broader, and seen fit to give me this award. Myself and others who have been working outside classical music — the rest of the artists in the United States, in North America, have been creating art for a long time, and sometimes it doesn't fall under the rubric of so-called classical music. Nonetheless, it is just as creative, and it is important. The Pulitzer Prize has made a major statement, in recognizing my work and others', that they have a bigger picture of creativity. Because that's what we need as a country and as an artistic community, is to have everything recognized. 

In for a Penny, In for a Pound is the latest installment in saxophonist/ flutist/composer Henry Threadgill’s ongoing exploration of his singular system for integrating composition with group improvisation. The music for his band Zooid – his main music-making vehicle for the past fourteen years and the longest running band of his illustrious forty plus-year career – is no less than his attempt to completely deconstruct standard jazz form, steering the improvisatory language towards an entirely new system based on preconceived series of intervals. His compositions create a polyphonic platform that encourages each musician to improvise with an ear for counterpoint and, in the process, creating striking new harmonies.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Gary Thomas • Kold Kage


The struggle is apparent on saxophonist and composer Gary Thomas' 1991 album, The Kold Cage, reissued in 2004 as part of label auteur Stefan Winter's remastering of his JMT label titles. Thomas is a consummate tenor man and flutist. His frustration with what had become standard jazz discourse in light of the new, influential (very narrow-minded) traditionalism ushered in a decade earlier by Wynton Marsalis and cultural conservative Stanley Crouch is obvious here. Thomas employs everything from turntables to electric guitars, synthesizers, and even rap to combat the stasis, while remaining a jazz player. From his knotty forceful compositions "Threshold" and "Gate of Faces," which open the album, Thomas engages extrapolated notions of jazz harmonics and contrapuntal considerations while relying heavily on electronic keyboard textures, and electric guitars (courtesy of Kevin Eubanks and Paul Bollenback) to stretch the margin of that engagement. But on "Intellect," the tension cracks and splinters. Here Thomas' flute and saxophone are shored up by pianist Mulgrew Miller's funky modal statements while rapper Joe Wesson pops along the synth basslines and indicts everything around him in old-school Sugarhill style -- likewise on "Infernal Machine," where Michael Caine's synths paint an off-kilter basis for baseline rhythms to underscore and jump off of. Wesson's tough street rap about faltering neighborhoods, dope, and the strength of the "black mind" introduces a chillingly futuristic series of overdubbed horn lines in the gaps. And on it goes for the rest of the hour, feinting and darting before active confrontation with the myth and magic of jazz in an attempt to make it speak outside of its historical truth and into the current cultural one. It's an exhausting but compelling and rewarding listen. It messes with those classicists in a big way by sitting on their shoes while, at the same time, pulling the tradition into the current vernacular for its validation and assertion as popular music. Far from academic, this is fire-breathing music, one that forces not only confrontation but, from any open-minded music listener, a reexamination of the jazz terrain as a once, present, and future music.
Thom Jurek

1. Threshold
2. Gate Of Faces
3. Intellect
4. Infernal Machine
5. The Divide
6. Peace Of The Korridor
7. First Strike
8. Beyond The Fall Of Night
9. The Kold Kage
10. Kulture Bandits (To Be Continued)

Gary "GTX" Thomas • tenor saxophone, flute, synthesizers, and rap vocals (7,9,10)
Joe "BMW" Wesson • rap vocals (3,4,7)
Kevin Eubanks • guitar (1,3,6)
Paul Bollenback • guitar, guitar synthesizers (2,5)
Mulgrew Miller • piano (2,7)
Tim Murphy • piano, synthesizers (3,4,5,9)
Anthony Perkins • synthesizers (8,10)
Michael Caine • piano, synthesizers (1,6)
Anthony Cox • acoustic bass
Dennis Chambers • drums
Steve Moss • percussion

Produced Stefen F. Winter

Label: 1991 JMT/Polygram 849 151-2
Format: 320
Country: US
Released: 1991
Genre: Jazz
Style: Jazz Fusion

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Gary Thomas, Christy Doran, Mark Helias, Bobby Previte • Corporate Art


This quartet date by guitarist Christy Doran, bassist Mark Helias, drummer Bobby Previte, and saxophonist Gary Thomas may have been recorded in Europe by Stefan Winter, but its feel is utterly New York. Doran's playing is far more on the jazz-rock than avant tip here, giving the entire proceeding a feeling of that beautiful, edgy walk between composition and improvisation. Thomas -- normally an outside player -- reins himself in as a soloist in order to focus on the sometimes wondrous ensemble playing at the heart of the disc. Each member of the band writes on this set and it's obvious that the groove comes from within. It's knotty, sometimes intense, and often complex, such as on the opener "Blood Sugar," and on Doran's "Heitere Gelassenheit," where staggered arpeggios intersect with scalar riffs to form a kind of contrapuntal melody line. But there are wonderfully elegiac and gently swinging tunes as well, such as the flute-driven swing in Thomas' "Chiaroscuro" or the languid tempos of Helias' "21" and "Bass Minotaur." Helias also offers a jazz-funk workout with "Skin," with furious basslines driving riffed-up guitars and a bleating saxophone that stays in the pocket. The album closes with Previte's beautiful nocturne "Theme for W.," where Thomas and Doran weave around one another slowly and purposefully to erect a floating melody that seems to float and hover while actually moving toward a complex harmonic architecture with a controlled dynamic.

1. Blood Sugar 360 Degrees
(Bobby Previte)

2. 21
 (Mark Helias)

3. Mutations
 (Christy Doran)

4. Skin
 (Mark Helias)

5. Chiaroscuro
 (Gary Thomas)

6. Heit Ere Gel As Sen Heit
 (Christy Doran)

7. Bass Minotaur
 (Mark Helias)

8. The Same But Different
 (Christy Doran)

9. Theme For W.
 (Bobby Previte)

Gary Thomas • Tenor Saxophone, Flute
Christy Doran  • Electric Guitar
Electric Bass • Mark Helias
Bobby Previte • Drums

Engineered by Adrian Von Ripka
Produced by Stefan F. Winter

Label: JMT Productions – 849 155-2
Format: 320
Country: Germany
Released: 1991
Genre: Jazz
Style: Contemporary Jazz

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Las/wɛl/ kuh m-plee-tist /ˈse·ries | 01

[kuh m-plee-tist]
a person who attempts to complete a collection or set,
especially a collector who wants to collect an example of every item in a particular field:

F. Robert Lloyd ‎• Think About Brooklyn


1. Blind Willie
2. Daly Day
3. Corkscrew Swamp Road
4. Waltzing Kate
5. Lullaby You
6. Bloody Buddy Rumba
7. Four Lives In A Day Suite
8. Proverbs From Hell
9.True Man Coyote
10. La Femme Bachir
11 .Brooklyn Fuss
12. Crossroads
13. Hellhound On My Trail
14. I Want To Drink It Straight
15. Tribute To Sun Ra

F. Robert Lloyd • guitars, words, voice
Sonny Sharrock • guitar, voice (2 to 9, 11, 14, 15)
Jean Touitou • Wurlitzer, Tibetan bells (5,8,14)
Bill Laswell • bass, fretless bass, bowed bass,
guitar sitar, percussion (1,4,5,6,7,8,9,10)
Gregoire Garrigues • Bass (1 to 9, 11, 14, 15)
Anton Fier • Drums (1 to 7, 9 to 11, 14)
Recorded in seven days at Greenpoint Studio,
Brooklyn, New York
Recorded by Oz Fritz for Hish Velocity
Mixed by F. Robert Lloyd, Gregoire Garrigues,
Jean Touitou, Oz Fritz
Produced by A.P.C.


Format: 320
Country: France
Released: 1993
Genre: Jazz, Rock
Style: Blues Rock, Contemporary Jazz

RBE • Chilla Jones vs Danny Myers

Watch the other battles from this RBE event:

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Bill Laswell • Fireside Chat

Studio visionary, bass maestro and musical activist: Bill Laswell guides us through his varied and immense discography, from Herbie to Fela.

Red Bull Music Academy

1. Reduction • Material
2. America Is Waiting • Brian Eno & David Byrne
3. Work Song • Bill Laswell
4. Crackin • Last Exit
5. After • Massacre
6. Army Arrangement • Fela Kuti
7. Cosmic Slop • Material
8. Crooklyn Dub Syndicate • Bill Laswell meets Style Scott
9. Rockit • Herbie Hancock
10. Improvised Music #3 • Bill Laswell, Sonny Sharrock, 
Derek Bailey, Fred Frith & John Zorn
11. Blast / War Machine Dub • Praxis