30 September 2008

Stockhausen Day - 2008 Proms

Karlheinz Stockhausen - Stockhausen Day
Royal Albert Hall, London
Saturday 2nd August, 2008

BBC Prom 20
Details from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2008/whatson/0208.shtml#prom20

One of the most influential composers of the 20th and 21st centuries, Karlheinz Stockhausen would have turned 80 this year.

Aside from the performance of Punkte ('Points') by the Gürzenich Orchestra under Markus Stenz on the actual day that would have been the composer's 80th birthday (Prom 48), this Stockhausen Day offers a fuller immersion into the work of this uniquely uncompromising creative force. This early-evening Prom contrasts a pair of Stockhausen's early works - Gruppen ('Groups'), which passes ideas between three spatially separated ensembles, and Kontakte, referring to 'contacts' between instrumental and electronic sounds - with two recent works - both of them excerpts from Klang, the large-scale sequence on which Stockhausen was working at the time of his death last December.

Disk1 (79.54)

24.36 Stockhausen Gruppen
02.54 Announcer
32.04 Stockhausen Klang, 13th hour - Cosmic Pulses (for electronics) (UK premiere)
02.45 Announcer
16.10 Stockhausen Klang, 5th hour - Harmonies for solo trumpet (world premiere) (BBC commission)
01.24 Announcer

Disk2 (79.12)

02.47 Announcer
34.58 Stockhausen Kontakte
14.07 Announcer > Stockhausen interview
24.45 Stockhausen Gruppen (repeat performance)
02.33 Announcer

Marco Blaauw trumpet
Nicolas Hodges piano
Colin Currie percussion

BBC Symphony Orchestra
David Robertson, conductor
Martyn Brabbins, conductor
Pascal Rophé, conductor

BBC Prom 21
Details from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/proms/2008/whatson/0208.shtml#prom21

In this Late Night Prom comes Stimmung for six amplified voices - the first work of Western music to be based on the harmonics, or overtones, that make up the sound-spectrum of a single note. Stimmung is a hypnotic piece for 'six singers and six microphones' that takes on a unique
atmosphere in live performance. Among the many influences which Stockhausen acknowledged when composing the work was a month spent wandering among the ruins in Mexico.

The Theatre of Voices - as adept in music of the Middle Ages as in new music - have made
something of a speciality of Stimmung, and Hillier's long association with the piece includes his
participation as one of the singers at a Proms performance 30 years ago.

Disk3 (79.57)

05.57 Announcer
71.54 Stockhausen Stimmung
02.02 Announcer

Theatre of Voices
Paul Hillier, director

This is a follow up to the Licht post made here earlier in which there has been much interest, judging from the number of downloads. Everything I have heard from Klang so far is sublime, not least Cosmic Pulses included here, and I have some other episodes if there is continued interest. I'd like to thank Tom Phillips who made this very high quality recording (demonstrating that digital radio can often exceed FM in quality) and seeded it on dime.

21 September 2008

Phil Minton, Freddy Studer,Christy Doran and Amin Ali- play jimi hendrix- 1993

Heres something in the spirit of the recent Aki takase and crew playing Fats Waller.
another bunch of free improvisers paying tribute with tongue firmly in cheek.
phil minton singing..i dont live today is something to hear!!

heres a an amusing and entertaining amazon fan's review
"I can understand why this album earns the hatred of those unfamiliar with the names of the musicians & who thus buy it on the strength of Hendrix's name without knowing what they're getting into. The band is an odd mixture of players from several countries & from a variety of backgrounds. The guitarist Christy Doran is a fine jazz-rock guitarist, born in Ireland but living most of his life in Switzerland. He recorded a lot of albums for Hat Art: I'm especially fond of a trio with Han Bennink & Ray Anderson which recorded _Cheer Up_ & _Azurety_, the latter album a perfect combination of delicate free improvisation, heavy rock workouts, a blues tribute & Ellingtonia. The drummer Fredy Studer is a frequent companion of Doran's, with a wide experience of rock, jazz & free-improv musics but basically a rock drummer. Keyboardist & occasional horn player Django Bates is best known for his work with the English group Loose Tubes. Electric bassist Amin Ali is the brother of Coltrane's drummer Rashied Ali; he's done brilliant work with James Blood Ulmer's Music Revelation Ensemble. Phil Minton is the oddest inclusion here: he's an English vocalist (& also a trumpeter, though he doesn't essay any playing here) whose work tends to split into two kinds. First, the rather "literary", lyrics-based work he's done with Mike Westbrook (e.g. his performance of William Blake poems on _Bright as Fire_) & Lindsay Cooper (_Oh Moscow!_) & in some of his own projects (the _Finnegans Wake_ performances on _mouthfull of ecstasy_). Secondly: free-form vocal performances which often contain as much "noise" (burps, gurgles, shouts, gargles, clicks, groans...) as pitched notes--a good example is his work on _dada da_ with Roger Turner. He is truly an astonishing vocalist--besides using throat-singing techniques, he also can distort his vocal cords in order to produce two notes at once. Still, I tend to mentally class him with Eugene Chadbourne & Han Bennink as one of those musicians who inspires a rabid cult following about some people (the Ben Watsons of this world) while to my mind his effectiveness can greatly vary depending on the musical situation. Sometimes he's just a trickster figure, verging on the annoying--on other occasions, as in _mouthfull of ecstacy_, I think he's done something truly remarkable.
OK: so what about this disc? There's a long tradition of jazz musicians paying homage to Hendrix, going back to Gil Evans & Miles Davis in the 1960s & 1970s. This tribute is not radically revisionary--the treatments are floridly psychedelic rock renditions of the tunes, though with the odd disruption (notably the bizarre, hilarious acapella Minton solo in "Manic Depression"). The treatments are fresh ("Manic Depression" kicks off with a nice new guitar riff, while "Hey Joe" is one of the album's high points in its slow, cooled-down arrangement), while not radically departing from the originals--that's to be expected, I suppose, given that the instrumention isn't too far from that of the original Experience albums, except for the keyboards. That said, the album's take on psychedelia is deliberately campy, especially in Minton's completely over-the-top renditions of the lyrics & in Bates's cheesy keyboards.

The main problem here is that the album doesn't seem to be able to make up its mind about how seriously it wants to interrogate the Hendrix canon. It would really have benefitted from more unconventional instrumentation & arrangements (cf. the fashion for Hendrix arranged for string quartet, e.g.); instead, Minton sticks out like a sore thumb because of his parodically overwrought vocals, while Christy Doran plays things absolutely straight. Too much of the album is simply self-indulgent--virtually every track is in the 7-8 minute range, rather than keeping to the pithiness of the original versions. That said, it's nice to hear Doran's take on Hendrix, & the album is at least memorably odd. It'll appeal to those with a strange sense of humour--probably more Zappa fans than Hendrix fans will like this. "

review by
N. Dorward "obsessive reviewer"

pretty sure this has appeared elsewhere in mp3's
i love this record and thought someone might like it lossless.
however if theres demand i'll rip it to mp3 too

Kahil El'Zabar with Lester Bowie and Malachi Favors at Saalfelden 1987

Regular readers of this blog may recall that we posted two albums by Kahil El'Zabar back in August, both of them released on the Sound Aspects label. They may also recall that due to an intervention by the label proprietor, the links to the files of these recordings disappeared.

Kahil El'Zabar made at least one more album for Sound Aspects called "Sacred Love" which featured Malachi Favors (who was also on the album with Billy Bang) and Lester Bowie. I do have the album, but since we're under restrictions, I'm not going to post it. The pictures appended to this post are from the back sleeve of the album, though.

Instead I propose to post something even better, a live recording from the Saalfelden jazz festival in 1987 with the same line-up. Here you'll get 20 minutes of extra music as compared to the album.

Those familiar with the other recordings will know the basic structure by now. El'Zabar starts out on earth drum, switches later to a regular drum set and finally settles in on the thumb piano. Malachi Favors stays close to El'Zabar, using the bass as a second rhythmic-percussive instrument, leaving Lester Bowie free to extrapolate on the top. The African rootedness of this set is strongly present throughout.

Two-thirds of the trio are no longer with us, but El'Zabar is still active, releasing records on the Chicago-based Delmark label. He's a long-time member of Chicago's AACM and was voted Chicagoan of the year in 2004 by the Chicago Tribune, also thereby crediting his wider work as an educator and community leader.

Basic info:


Saalfelden Jazz Festival, Saalfelden, Austria
Aug 28, 1987

01 part one 45:37
02 part two 14:57
03 encore 07:37

Three pieces somewhat artificially separated, but in reality one contiguous piece with an encore at the end.

Most likely recorded from radio. There is a noticeable hiss in the quieter passages.

Another Dime, no longer on the tracker, so I've no idea who recorded/upped this one, but in any case, a tip of the hat for making this available.

ADDENDUM: It has been brought to my notice that there is another posting of this set here: http://ubu-space.blogspot.com/2008/06/kahil-elzabar-lester-bowie-malachi.html. These were posted as flacs. To save server space, I'll delete the flacs from this post, but keep the mp3 file. Those wanting the flacs are advised to seek out the other posting.

Mp3 file here:


20 September 2008


Two concerts from AMM, at once similar and contrasting. 

The first is an FM recording from WDR of a 1994 concert in Bielefeld, from a series entitled "Mobil - Offene Form mit Variations", and features the cellist from the Arditti String Quartet;

16th May, 1994
Ravensberger Spinnerei, Bielefeld, Germany

Eddie Prevost - drums & percussion
John Tilbury -  piano, announcements
Keith Rowe - electric guitar
Rohan de Saram - cello

The music includes;

Cornelius Cardew - Solo with Accompaniment for 2 instruments ad libitum
Christian Wolff - for 1, 2 or 3 people, any sound producing means
John Cage - Variations III for arbitrary number of players and arbitrary sound originators
Howard Skempton - for strings (waves, shingle, seagulls)
Cornelius Cardew - February pieces for piano (#2)
AMM - improvisation for piano, guitar, violoncello and drums

A very good quality recording - thank you very much, Owombat, for making this available.

The second concert is AMM as a duo, from earlier this year, and was a concert recorded at Aula Magna dell'Università La Sapienza di Roma on 11th March, 2008 (and broadcast on RAI3 on 6th September). The music is similar, but the interpretation has moved on.

John Tilbury - piano 

Eddie Prevost - percussion

Cornelius Cardew; Piano Solo with Accompaniment
Cornelius Cardew; Unintended Piano Music
John Tilbury/Eddie Prevost; Improvisation AMM

17 September 2008

Aki Takase's Fats Waller project - live in Hamburg 2008

Continuing with the bass clarinetists, the time has come to have a listen to Rudi Mahall. Actually, he's a sideman for this project, which is headed by brilliant Japanese pianist Aki Takase.

This is a delightful way to appropriate the jazz tradition, in this case Fats Waller. One might think that this group of Berlin avantguardists might not be the right people to do so, but thinking it over, there is a legacy of collective improvisation linking the early practitioners to today's free jazzers so if this project might sound odd on paper, in practice it comes off very well.

A motley crew on this one:

Nils Wogram,tb
Rudi Mahall,bcl
Aki Takase,p
Eugene Chadbourne,g,banjo,voc
Paul Lovens,dr
Fats Waller,comp

All in all, Fats' Boys (well, almost). The added outsider chap to this crew of Berlin residents is of course lovable eccentric Eugene Chadbourne who gets to do the vocals on a couple of tracks and proves that the banjo is perfectly OK in this setting.

The tunes:

1 Lookin' Good, But Feelin' Bad 5:56
2 Handful Of Keys / Announcement AT 7:39
3 Jitterbug Waltz / Hold Tight (Want Some Seafood Mama) 7:53
4 Viper's Drag 8:55
5 Medley: Ain't Misbehavin' / Way Down South Where The Blues Began (W.C.Handy,comp) / Honeysuckle Rose / Announcement AT 14:50
6 Announcement Speaker 1:08
7 Two Sleepy People (HoagyCarmichael,comp) / Lookin' Good, But Feelin' Bad 2:27

Recorded live on February-21, 008 in Hamburg, Germany, at NDR, Rolf-Liebermann-Studio,
2008. Top sound from FM radio.

The cd version received the German jazz critics' award in 2004.

Another golden Dime. It has dropped off the tracker, so I've no idea who taped/uploaded this one.

They played here two years ago, but I wasn't there. I keep wondering where my head was at at the time.

If this one catches on, we do have some more Aki Takase up our sleeve.

Fun is guaranteed for all!

Steve Swell "Slammin' The Infinite" - Live NYC 2007

September 18,2007

Steve Swell: trombone, composition
Sabir Mateen: reeds
Matthew Heyner: bass
Michael Wimberly: drums

track01 -37:40
track02 -20:34

The Living Theatre
21 Clinton Street
New York NY

Perhaps not a household name, but Steve Swell has played with many of the greats such as Braxton, Cecil Taylor, William Parker and particularly with his influencer Roswell Rudd. Veteran multi-instumentalist Sabir Mateen needs no introduction from me. Steve has played previously in his bands.

Very good quality audience recording. My thanks to taper and uploader.

16 September 2008

The Original MEV-1968 (reissued 1996)

for tantris who posted a great live MEV show some months back.
Heres the 2nd MEV,album from 1968..theres nothing quite like this in the free improvised canon..early AMM is about the only plausible comparison.
this is magnificently raw..the sort of thing that fumblers like sonic youth..do in their spare time when they aren't making lame ass corporate rock albums.
the galling thing is that they have become famous for feedback /noise noodling..and can get highly paid gigs at noise and improv festivals.
while thoughtful and amazing records like this languish in obscurity.

Cello [Amplified] - Jon Phetteplace (tracks: 1 to 4)
Percussion [Amplified], Vocals - Frederick Rzewski* (tracks: 1 to 4)
Synthesizer [Portable] - Allan Bryant
Trumpet, Percussion - Alvin Curran (tracks: 1 to 4)
Notes: Track 1 to 4 recorded live in London in 1968.

1 MEV* Part I (11:23)
2 MEV* Part II (5:40)
3 MEV* Part III (9:05)
4 MEV* Part IV (15:15)
5 Allan Bryant Bug Get Tgethr, Stomp N Flash Dans (11:49)
the last track is a synth solo.

not much evidence of this online ..save for a few second hand copies.

please note , our friend Volkan ..has provided rome cansrt ,from the same year check the comments.
thank you Volkan

12 September 2008

Diamond Curtain Wall Trio (Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, Mary Halvorson): Tivoli, July, 2008

An excellent audience recording from this summer's European concert schedule; the music from this trio, in a set lasting just over one hour, is quite simply superb, with a sustained concentration and very effective use of electronics. (Recordings from some of the other concerts (Moscow & Besançon) were posted earlier on this blog);

Chiostro di Villa d'Este
Tivoli, Italy

2nd July, 2008

Extended improvisation (composition number not known) - 63'35"

Anthony Braxton - as, ss, sopranino, cb-cl, electronics
Taylor Ho Bynum - tp, flugelhorn, cornet
Mary Halvorson - el-g 

This comes from dime - many thanks to sdro for the recording and the interesting story that accompanies it.

11 September 2008

Athens [GA] Creative Media Festival April 1-5, 2004 Joe Maneri & Mat Maneri duo

Joe Maneri & Mat Maneri duo

Athens Creative Music Encounter
40 Watt Club,
Athens, GA

April 4, 2004

lineage: AUD > DAT > Tascam standalone > CDR > EAC > FLAC FRONTEND > FALC


Joe Maneri - sax
Mat Maneri - viola

This is the final performance of the series. I hope you've enjoyed these posts, there's more great  stuff which I'll post when I return from touring in November.


Athens [GA] Creative Media Festival April 1-5, 2004 - School Days

School Days

Athens Creative Music Encounter
40 Watt Club,
Athens, GA

April 4, 2004

lineage: AUD > DAT > Tascam standalone > CDR > EAC > FLAC FRONTEND > FLAC


Ken Vandermark-reeds
Jeb Bishop-trombone
Kjell Nordeson-vibes
Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten-bass
Paal Nilssen-Love-drums

Athens [GA] Creative Media Festival April 1-5, 2004 - Joe Maneri Trio

Joe Maneri Trio

Athens Creative Media Encounter,
40 Watt Club,
Athens, GA

April 3, 2004

linage: AUD > DAT > Tascam Standalone > CDR > CDR > EAC > FLAC FRONTEND > FLAC


Joe MAneri - reeds
Matt Maneri - viola
Randy Peterson - drums

10 September 2008

Athens [GA] Creative Media Festival April 1-5, 2004 - Vandermark 5

Day 3.

The Vandermark 5 was formed during the spring of 1996. Since that time it has been a major outlet for the compositional and improvisational ideas of Ken Vandermark, whose thinking has been developed through years of work with groups like the NRG Ensemble, AALY, the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet, the Free Music Ensemble, School Days, Free Fall, and the Territory Band.

Trying to organize a small unit with the capabilities of a large ensemble, he needed and chose four exceptional musicians to join him on the project: Jeb Bishop: trombone/guitar, Kent Kessler: bass, Tim Mulvenna: drums, and Mars Williams: saxophone. During the past decade the quintet’s line-up has evolved and now, in addition to original members Vandermark and Kessler, it includes the extraordinary saxophonist Dave Rempis; Tim Daisy and his powerful work on percussion; and the cello/improvisation master Fred Lonberg-Holm.

Each of the current members has years of performance experience working with a wide variety of music. This, coupled with the range of instrumentation and stylistic potential held by the ensemble, allows Vandermark to compose material that runs the gamut of musical possibilities; he incorporates elements of jazz history, contemporary composition, funk and rock into the group’s music. Even so, the band’s focus remains on improvisation. Each piece is arranged to allow ample room for the members to interpret and reinterpret the writing; this creates an environment where they are constantly interacting and utilizing their unique ideas in a spontaneous way.

In the spirit of the great bands scattered throughout the history of jazz, the Vandermark 5 has concentrated on live performance as the means to hone its skills and develop its concepts. For several years the quintet played on a weekly basis at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. Now the ensemble has shifted their concert schedule to focus on the road, and they tour in North America and Europe on a regular basis.

Their most recent work included a trip to Europe in November of 2006 to support the release of its newest album, A Discontinuous Line. After this, the band recorded a new set of material that will be released by Atavistic in the coming year. In February of 2007 the quintet will tour in the United States and Canada, performing music developed in the year and a half since Lonberg-Holm joined the group in the summer of 2005. Despite its longevity this musical unit continues to develop, while creating new methods for the investigation of composition and improvisation. With their history together and the current possibilities at their disposal, the Vandermark 5 will clearly remain “a modern-day band for the jazz ages.”—Penguin Guide To Jazz on CD.

Athens Creative Media Encounter,
40 Watt Club,
Athens, GA

April 3, 2004

linage: AUD > DAT > Tascam Standalone > CDR > CDR > EAC > FLAC FRONTEND > FLAC


Tim Daisy: percussion
Dave Rempis: saxophones
Kent Kessler: bass
Fred Lonberg-Holm: cello
Ken Vandermark: reeds

9 September 2008

Athens [GA] Creative Media Festival April 1-5, 2004 - BROTZAMANN TENTET (WITH 9 MUSICIANS...!!!)

Peter Brotzmann Tentet

Athens Creative Music Encounter,
40 Watt Club,
Athens, GA

April 4, 2004

lineage:  AUD > DAT > Tascam standalone > CDR > CDR > EAC > FLAC FRONTEND > FLAC


Peter Brotzmann - reeds
Ken Vandermark - reeds
Mats Gustafsson – reeds
Jeb Bishop - trombone
Joe McPhee - cornet/sax/valve trombone
Fred Lonberg - Holm-cello
Kent Kessler - bass
Paal Nilssen-Love - drums
Michael Zerang - drums

Athens [GA] Creative Media Festival April 1-5, 2004 - Joe McPhee solo!!!

Athens Creative Media Encounter,
40 Watt Club,
Athens, GA

April 3, 2004

linage: AUD > DAT > Tascam Standalone > CDR > CDR > EAC > FLAC FRONTEND > FLAC


Athens [GA] Creative Media Festival April 1-5, 2004

DAVE REMPIS has emerged, over the past few years, as one of the most active young players on Chicago's improvised music scene. His work with the Vandermark Five has been noted in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Reader, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Down Beat, as well as the Boston Globe, in which noted jazz critic Bob Blumenthal referred to him as the band's "primary firebreather." It has also given him the opportunity to perform extensively in clubs, concert halls, and festivals throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. His own work, most intensively with Triage (with Jason Ajemian and Tim Daisy) and The Rempis Percussion Quartet (with Anton Hatwich, Tim Daisy and Frank Rosaly), has been called "ever more impressive" by Lloyd Sachs of the Sun-Times, and pushes him in directions which his work as a sideman does not approach. In addition to these two groups, Rempis plays regularly with The Territory Band, The Crisis Ensemble, The Chicago Improvisers Group, and The Thread Quintet, and has worked with Paul Lytton, Axel Dörner, Hamid Drake, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Michael Zerang, Jim Baker, Kevin Drumm, Paal Nilsson-Love, Chris Jonas, Tony Buck, and Joe Morris.

Since April 2002, Rempis has curated a weekly concert series of improvised music at 3030, a performance space situated in a former church in the Humboldt Park neighborhood of Chicago. With over 100 concerts and two annual festivals, the series has become an essential part of the city's improvised music scene.


Athens Creative Media Encounter,
40 Watt Club,
Athens, GA

April 3, 2004

linage: AUD > DAT > Tascam Standalone > CDR > CDR > EAC > FLAC FRONTEND > FLAC


Dave Rempis-reeds
Jason Ajemian-bass
Tim Daisy-drums

8 September 2008

Athens [GA] Creative Media Festival April 1-5, 2004

Day 3 First concert:

Peter Brötzmann has led a number of internationally renowned, large group improvising ensembles since the late 1960s. The latest, called the "Chicago Tentet," is one of his best. First organized in that city during January of 1997, the band has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe in the last decade, and has released nine albums containing a huge variety of music. In 2007, the ensemble celebrates its ten years of work together with a tour in Europe during June, a festival performance in Molde, Norway, in July and an engagement (their only North American appearance) in Chicago, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Chicago Tentet is a veritable "Who's Who" of contemporary improvised music and includes many of the most significant members from that scene's cutting edge. Since its inception, the group has had a rotating line-up and past versions of the band have included William Parker (bass), Toshinori Kondo (trumpet/electronics), Roy Campbell (trumpet), and Mike Pearson (a renowned actor, who participated in a special project integrating Brötzmann's music and the texts of Kenneth Patchen for the Chicago Humanities Festival in 2004). All of the musicians connected to the ensemble, past and present, have contributed their distinctive voices to the group, making each concert appearance of the Tentet a truly exceptional experience. For the concert schedule in 2007, the group's size will be expanded to include both Johannes Bauer and Jeb Bishop on trombone.

Though the Tentet is clearly directed by Brötzmann and guided by his aesthetics, since the band's outset he has been committed to utilizing the ideas of everyone involved. Initially, this meant allowing the other musicians to contribute their compositions; since 2005, however, the ensemble has been a total improvisation unit, foregoing scores in order to explore their music with complete spontaneity. This shift in approach has allowed the group to explore an outstanding range of material, and the Tentet employs almost every organizational strategy available to an improvising ensemble while developing their music for each concert. The scope of conception, plus the diversity in each individual's approach to playing, has helped the band to cultivate an extremely multifaceted performance style. As the Tentet improvises from moment to moment, it can explore musical intensities that move from spare introspection to raging walls of sound, using open-ended rhythms or those of a hard-hitting groove.

Since the late 1990s, the main work of the band has been done in concerts on the road. Though the economics of sustaining a large ensemble are a struggle, the Chicago Tentet has continued to find innovative ways to keep performing their music for audiences around the world. Through this ongoing effort they've been able to advance a sound and depth of communication impossible to find in any other contemporary music group, no matter what size or style. 

Peter Brotzmann Tentet

Athens Creative Music Encounter,
40 Watt Club,
Athens, GA

April 3, 2004

lineage:  AUD > DAT > Tascam standalone > CDR > CDR > EAC > FLAC FRONTEND > FLAC


Peter Brotzmann - reeds
Ken Vandermark - reeds
Mats Gustafsson – reeds
Jeb Bishop - trombone
Joe McPhee - cornet/sax/valve trombone
Fred Lonberg - Holm-cello
Kent Kessler - bass
Paal Nilssen-Love - drums
Michael Zerang - drums

Athens [GA] Creative Media Encounter Festival April 1-5, 2004

 Over the course of the past three years, several of the world's most renowned and influential improvisational jazz musicians have found in Athens a haven for their forays into uncharted sonic territory.
Appropriately enough, it all started on an open-minded whim. In 2000, local musicians Julie Powell and Erik Hinds attended a concert performance in Atlanta of the Vandermark 5 featuring preeminent saxophonist and clarinettist Ken Vandermark, a new-school free jazz luminary and the 1999 recipient of the prestigious MacArthur ''Genius'' grant. 
''I had no idea who the Vandermark 5 were, but Erik suggested we go see the show in Atlanta,'' says Powell, a correspondent for Marquee and the Athens Banner-Herald. ''I think I had some sort of awakening that night, and the one thing I was sure of was that what Ken and his ensemble were doing was the answer I had been looking for - not so much the style of music, but the passion with which they were innovators.''    After seeing that performance in Atlanta, Powell invited Vandermark to do a residency at the University of Georgia School of Music in Athens. He brought his DKV Trio for three days of workshops and concerts which were a great success, Powell says. 

''Although Athens had not been a stop on the avant-garde circuit up to that point, the enthusiastic reception of the attendees led to a veritable who's who of free jazz players coming to Athens over the next two years,'' Powell says.  In fact, Vandermark himself returned to play the 40 Watt a year later. At that point, Powell says she met with Vandermark and the idea of a doing a larger scale festival in Athens was born. ''The discussion started with the Black Mountain residencies in which Merce Cunnigham, John Cage, Martha Graham and a ton of other artists from all disciplines gathered to create new art. The whole idea was that Americans were just copying the Europeans as far as 'high' art went,'' she explains. ''When you look at how American art changed after Black Mountain, you can really see the value of bringing all these artists together for synergy. Basically, we just thought it was time to try to do something like that again. Athens is such a creative place with so much support for new art, it really seemed like a logical place to do it.''

And so the Athens Creative Media Encounter Festival was born.

For the first time in the U.S., ACME, under the guidance of Vandermark, brings together 22 international musicians and two journalists for a week of collaboration and dialogue. Starting today, the inaugural ACME Festival will include concerts, lectures, workshops and seminars and bring its lineup of world class performers to the 40 Watt Club and ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art.
Although the festival this year features only music and journalism, the goal in the future, Powell says, is for the festival to be multi-disciplinary with artists collaborating over a longer period of time, hence the name Athens Creative Media Encounter.   Meanwhile, through ACME, Hinds, Powell and Vandermark hope to attract not just free jazz die-hards, but anyone interested in exploring a form and approach to music that challenges preconceptions and never promises to be mainstream-palatable, but also holds infinite rewards for those willing to make the leap.
Sure, the obstacles to overcome might seem intimidating at first.

Josh Love.

[Athens [GA] Creative Media Encounter Festival April 1-5, 2004]

Concert Program Day 2:

Friday, April 2
   8 p.m. - Joe Morris solo

   9:30 p.m. - The Thing & Joe McPhee

   11 p.m. Atomic/School Days

5 September 2008

Ray Russell - Rites and Rituals 1971 LP rip

When I bought this LP, thirty odd years ago, I'd never heard of Ray Russell. I bought it primarily because it featured Harry Beckett, who was, and still is, a big favourite of mine. Funnily enough, all these years later, I've still heard little of him, though apparently he is a cult figure in some quarters, and has made numerous recordings. His style on this recording is akin to that of John McLaughlin at the time, and is accompanied my some stalwarts of the British 70s jazz scene. Runswick is also a bit of an enigma to me. This is the only example of his work I've heard, but he really is excellent on both accoustic and electric bass.

I've included quite a lengthy resume of Russell's career in the rip for those people who can be bothered to read such stuff. Somewhat surprisingly, he's composed and recorded a number of TV theme tunes, including one which will be familiar to Brits - "Bergerac", the 80s detective series set in Jersey, that hotbed of crime, starring John (Barnaby) Nettles.


Ray Russell - gt
Tony Roberts - reeds
Harry Beckett - flg
Nick Evans - tb
Daryl Runswick - bass
Alan Rushton - dr

Rites and Rituals
Cradle Hill

Recorded De Lane Lea Studios August 1970
Relased on CBS 64271

MP3 and Flac links in comments. Sorry no covers, no scanner at the moment.

2 September 2008

Brotherhood of Breath in Altena Castle, Germany, 1972

There's been an encouraging spate of Chris McGregor and Brotherhood rereleases lately, some of which has been featured on this blog before. Just around the corner is a Blue Notes box set containing all of their four releases on the Ogun label. One of them has also been posted here previously.

But what's on offer here and now has not been officially released yet at any rate. It's an excerpt from a concert inside Balver Höhle in Germany in 1972.

The info given is as follows:

Call 8:44
Andromeda 9:13
Think Of Something 14:19
Track 4 4:14


Harry Beckett
Marc Charig
Malcolm Griffith
Nick Evans
Dudu Pukwana
Mike Osborne
Gary Windo

The first three pieces are announced as such by the radio presenter, but "Call" sounds uncannily like "Ismite is Might" off the Willisau album and features most likely Nick Evans on the trombone. The second piece is "Mra" leading into "Andromeda". The third piece is "Do It" leading into "Think of Something", the latter featuring Mike Osborne on alto, Gary Windo on tenor and either Mark Charig or Harry Beckett on trumpet. The last piece is quite clearly "The Serpent's Kindly Eye", also on the Willisau album (which was the first ever release on the Ogun label).

The sound's fair on the first three, but a bit grimy on the last, though. The band is at its ramshackle best as ever. Some may find the BoB cacophonous at times, but to these ears it's beautiful cacophony.

Mp3 and flac versions in the comments section. Another golden dime.