Harley, Rufus – “Re-creation of The Gods ” – [Ankh]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   12-inch, Jazz

Recorded in 1972, Harley shows us the soul side of the bagpipes along with a sermon, organ, percussion, electric bass, and infants??? cries. Musical variety parallels the very spiritual liner notes that find commonality among Sufi, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam ???that God is within us all.

???Ain???t but one thing going on, all you have to do is dig it.???

Bultmann, Nils – “Terminally Unique ” – [Mutablemusic]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

Bultmann is a violist, composer, and PhD candidate at UC Berkeley. Using Pro Tools, he has put together compositions, improvisations and field recordings. Exquisitely lovely, well played, and original.

Roscoe Mitchell on sax and flute is Composition chair at Mills College. Cellist Parry Karp is a music professor at the U. of Wisconsin, Madison. Paddy Cassidy on djembe (West African drum) is also from Wisconsin. Mutable Records is Thomas Buckner???s label.

Dolphy, Eric – “Outward Bound ” – [Prestige/New Jazz]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

Dolphy is terrific on alto sax, bass clarinet, and flute on his 1960 debut album, here remastered in 2006 by the original engineer, Rudy Van Gelder. Terrific performances all around, especially by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard who was 21 at the time.

Original liner notes are included and note Dolphy???s appreciation to his influences whose names appear in the track titles ??? G.W. is Gerald Wilson, Les is trombonist Lester Robinson. (245 was Dolphy???s Brooklyn street number.)

Carlos, Wendy (Walter) – “Switched-on Bach ” – [Cbs Records /Columbia]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   12-inch, A Library

Walter (later Wendy) Carlos directly requested modifications from Robert Moog to enable the synthesizer to do everything from articulation to dynamics to make this album possible. At that time, tedious work and a lot of time were required to produce only a few seconds of music. This early electronic music was analog, not digital, and used Ampex 8-track tapes.

Released in 1968, SO-B became one of the first ???classical??? albums to sell more than 500,000 copies. It was on the Billboard Charts??? Top 40 for 17 weeks & Top 200 for over a year. In 1970, it won 3 Grammy???s in classical categories.

Copland, Aaron – “Piano Fantasy/Piano Variations ” – [Odyssey]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   12-inch, A Library

Aaron Copland composed the Piano Variations in 1930, his period of writing ???absolute??? music and being influenced by Schonberg and Alban Berg and 12-tone technique. Leonard Bernstein, who loved this piece, joked that he played it at parties to “empty the room, guaranteed, in two minutes.”

The Piano Fantasy is also highly experimental music. It was commissioned in 1957 for Julliard???s 50th anniversary concert and was performed by William Masselos on that date.

???Fanfare for the Common Man??? this ain???t. Liner notes have excellent details of musical theory and composition.

Shot X Shot – “Let Nature Square ” – [High Two Records]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

This Philadelphia quartet (drum, bass, tenor and alto) blurs the boundary between composition and improvisation. Collaborative sound is sophisticated and complex since the instruments??? sounds are constantly interwoven. Unlike some ???free jazz??? that is chaotic, this is orderly but never stodgy.

These guys are awfully good. I look forward to more in the future from this very young (20???s) foursome.

Coltrane, John – “Olatunji Concert: The Last Live Recording, The ” – [Abc Impulse Records]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

This was Coltrane???s last live concert recording, made 3 months before his death from liver cancer. Perhaps knowing what lay in store, he phoned sound engineer Bernard Drayton just the day before to come up to Harlem and make this recording.
Track 2 – Ogunde: High energy, insane, screaming sax ??? very intense. Ends with 15 seconds of applause.
Track 3 ??? My Favorite Things: Begins with 7.5 minute bass solo, then 27 minutes of wild improvisation with occasional brief visits to the melody.

Exhausting and absolutely worth it!

Zomes – “Zomes ” – [Holy Mountain]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

Zomes is a solo project for Asa Osborne, guitarist from Lungfish. Short tracks loop hypnotically, starting with a short melody and then gradually shifting it. Strongly evokes psychedelic music from the 1960???s.

Minimal and trance inducing and a very good listen. Might mix well.

Mofone – “Sling Shot ” – [Evander Music]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

Mo???fone is ???more ???phones??? ??? a collection of saxophones (sometimes a clarinet), a sousaphone and percussion. Funky with occasional nods to New Orleans. Recorded in Oakland with many Bay Area musicians including my favorite local tenor sax player, Dave Ellis, on track 6.

Track 10 is slow and somber — all other tracks are fun and bouncy. Not really breaking new ground, but a good listen.

Franov, Alejandro – “Aixa ” – [Nature Bliss]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

Franov is from Buenos Aires and began to play piano and compose at an early age. He has also played with Juana Molina. This is his second solo disc, recorded in Japan and combines field recordings, electronics, and traditional instruments.

Very lovely and soothing.

Freight Elevator Quartet, The – “Fix It In Post (live, 1997-2000) ” – [Cycling 74]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

The Freight Elevator Quartet was an electronic avant-garde group in NYC from 1997 to 2003. The group was formed by R. Luke Dubois, Paul Feuer, Rachael Finn, and Stephen Krieger at Columbia University.

Taken from live concerts spanning 4 years. Edited together in some cases (in other words ???fixed in post-production???) from a variety of renditions since music is highly improvised. Electronic and traditional: synth, drum machine, cello, keyboards, guitar, computers, sax, turntables, etc.

Easy and complex at the same time.

Hank IV – “Refuge In Genre ” – [Siltbreeze]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

San Francisco quintet Hank IV???s second album is hard driving, head banging, high energy rock.

Lyrics are funny and topical and the music just does not let up! Highly recommended.

Language on track 7. Track 10 instrumental, no vocals.

Cage, John/Hiller, Lejaren/Johnston, Ben – “HPSCHD/String Quartet No. 2 ” – [Nonesuch Records]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   12-inch, A Library

HPSCHD was a collaboration between John Cage and Lejaren Hiller first performed in 1969 at U. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Written for up to 51 electronic sound tapes and up to 7 harpsichords, in this recording all the tapes and 3 harpsichords are used. Included is a computer printout (1971 CDC-6400) for changing the 2 channels on volume, bass and treble levels so ???the home listener???s hi-fi set in intergral to the composition???. Beepy 70???s computer sounds and dueling harpsichords make for a surprisingly fun listen.

Ben Johnston???s String Quartet is rather gloomy and spare, but has moments of loveliness.

Exhaustive music theory detail for both pieces on sleeve.

Osborne, Mike – “Force of Nature ” – [Reel Recordings]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

Mike Osborne (1941-2007) was a British alto sax player who was unable to continue his musical career after 1983 due to schizophrenia. Shortly before his death from lung cancer in 2007, he was very happy to hear that these live recordings would be released on this album.

Very high energy ???free bop??? ??? fine contributions from all on all tracks. Track 1 recorded live in Germany really screams, great solos. Track 3 begins with a Charlie Parker like riff and ends with a fine drum solo.

Thoughtful liner notes from trumpeter Dave Holdsworth.

Lenoir, J.B. – “J.B. Lenoir ” – [Roots]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   12-inch, Blues

These recordings from 1951 ??? 1956 show off Lenoir???s songwriting, guitar playing and sweet boyish voice. Unusual for blues at the time is that some songs tackle national issues such as Eisenhower, the Korean War, and paying taxes. Plenty of hints of early rock and roll.

John Mayall and Elvis Costello, who have covered his songs, cite Lenoir as an influence. Born in 1929, Lenoir died in a car accident in 1967.

Gamelan Sekar Jaya – “Age of Chaos, The ” – [Self Release]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

30 musicians play in a bronze gamelan orchestra ??? one hears bells, chimes, flutes, drums, etc. This is called a soundtrack for a dramatic dance work that is performed by this group. Track 1 has singing, track 3 has poetry in English and ends with laughter.

Beautiful and uplifting.

Applebaum, Mark – “Sock Monkey ” – [Innova/American Composers]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

Applebaum is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Stanford University. This CD is a collection of chamber and orchestral works performed by a number of fine ensembles, many of them local such as sfSound and the Stanford Symphony Orchestra.

Of interest (to me) is track 6 (???Variations on Variations on a theme by Mozart???) which is based on ???12 Variations on ???Twinkle, twinkle’ (Ah, vous dirai-je, maman, K 265)” and is played on 18 prepared pianos! ???Sock Monkey??? was inspired by Applebaum???s little daughter???s toy.

Very interesting, well played, frequently goofy and fun.

Vandermark 5, The – “Airports For Light ” – [Atavistic]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

Fine 2002 recording by this quintet led by Ken Vandermark on reeds. While still uncompromising and aggressive, overall this is a more accessible, swinging and sometimes downright funky sound than I have come to expect from V5.

Tracks are dedicated to artists and musicians ??? knowing who makes the tracks more understandable.

This CD surprised and delighted me ??? check it out.

Ellis, Lisle – “Sucker Punch Requiem ” – [Henceforth]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

When Ellis was in New York during the 1970???s, he was influenced by the graffiti art of Jean-Michel Basquiat who sometimes signed his work SAMO (same old (shit)). Track 14???s title notes the place and date of Basquiat???s death.

Ellis???s bass and compositions along with a number of other fine jazz musicians lead to a variety of sounds. Tracks 1 and 15 are especially unsettling; others are pleasant straight-ahead jazz.

Extra treat – some excellent female jazz players here!

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