McGregor, Chris – Group, The – “Very Urgent ” – [Fledg’ling Records]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

McGregor who was white and the other musicians in this group who were black could not perform in their native South Africa in the apartheid era. So they moved to Europe where they recorded this music in 1968 and left a lasting legacy especially in Britain.

Great stuff, bringing the ???townships??? to jazz. Hints of Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Albert Ayler, etc.

Note: Pocket trumpets have tubing that is wound more tightly than a standard trumpet to reduce its size, resulting in a different tone.

Aguilar, Gustavo – “Unsettled On an Old Sense of Place ” – [Henceforth]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

Percussionist and multi-instrumentalist Aguilar draws on his Tex-Mex background and other influences to produce and mix this spare lovely music. Instruments include viola, harp, flute, guitar, and the teponaztli (Aztec slit drum).

All tracks have distinctive sounds. Track 5 sounds static-y and might cause our listeners to adjust their radios. Track 6 features the reading of a Wendell Berry poem with glockenspiel (!) accompaniment.

Schrader, Barry – “Monkey King ” – [Innova/American Composers]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   A Library, CD

Schrader has been on the music faculty at CalArts (Valencia, CA) since 1971. While a grad student at the University of Pittsburgh in 1969, he was exposed to a Buchla 100 system that began his concentration on electro-acoustic composition.

Liner notes give substantial background on Wu Xing and Monkey King stories.

Quiet, but never boring. Very accessible, large-scale and gorgeous!

Romus, Rent Jazz On The Line/Chico Freeman – “Thundershine ” – [Edgetone Records]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Jazz

Edgetone Records founder Rent Romus formed ???Jazz on the Line??? while a student at UC Santa Cruz in the 1980???s, and they still work together from time to time. This album was recorded live at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz in October 1992 and was recently re-mastered and released (2008). Playing with sax great Chico Freeman fulfilled a longtime dream for Romus.

Driving, straight ahead jazz with hints of funk and Latin from this tight ensemble of fine players. Listen for Romus on baritone sax (track 5) and flute (track 3).

Given the emphasis on the highly experimental at Edgetone Records, this CD surprised me. Excellent, recommended!

Scruggs, Earl With Family & Friends – “Ultimate Collection Live At The Ryman, The ” – [Rounder Records]

Cousin Mary   1/11/2009   CD, Country

Live recording of 83-year-old (at the time of this concert) banjo virtuoso Earl Scruggs with family and friends on guitars, fiddles, etc. to a very appreciative crowd. The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee was once the famous home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974.

Watch out! Tracks tend to end with a pre-announcement for the next track — so prepare to pot down.

Your toe will tap.

Bernstein, Steven, & Millennial Territory Orchestra We are MTO (MOWO!)

Cousin Mary   1/8/2009   CD, Jazz

Trumpeter Steven Bernstein (of Sex Mob) has put together a fine ensemble that harkens back to the bands that toured the Midwest prior to the big band era.?? To my ears, it???s just a bit outside of the usual swing, trad jazz, Dixieland music.

Includes everything from the Beatles??? ???All you need is love??? to Fats Waller ???reefer??? tune, ???Viper Song???.?? Track 1 seemed most original in sound to me.

Ochs, Max Hooray for Another Day (Tompkins Square)

Cousin Mary   1/8/2009   A Library, CD

Max Ochs is known as a fine guitarist, a folk singer/protester from the 60???s, the cousin of Phil Ochs, and a charitable good man around Annapolis these days.

Folksy tunes on this album, some with hints of sitar and blues, are fine listening.?? Tracks 3, 5, 8, 10 are spoken-word poems.?? I especially liked track 5 about his apple orchard.?? Track 10 ???Phil??? is a sad poem of his cousin???s death.

Liner notes give details of each song.

Onda, Aki Bon Voyage! Cassette Memories Vol. 2 (Improvised Music from Japan)

Cousin Mary   1/8/2009   A Library, CD

Onda traveled extensively from 1988 to 2002 in places such as Japan, Paris Rio de Janeiro, and New York.?? He took along his cassette recorder, sometimes grabbing a tape he had already used to lay some new sounds over it.

Birds, trains, human voices, rain, traffic, wind, thunder, subways, noise.?? Lovely, evocative!

Keszler, Eli & Paul, Ashley S/T (Rel)

Cousin Mary   1/8/2009   A Library, CD

Limited run of 100 CDs with handmade cover.?? Both artists are from Providence, RI.?? Ashley Paul is a multi-reedist, Eli Keszler is a multi-instrumentalist and percussionist.

Dark, almost industrial sounds with shrill notes and silences.?? Interesting combination of traditional instruments and electronics.?? Featured on track 2 is a nail violin, which has a wooden soundboard & metal nails and is played with a bow.

Muslimgauze VS. Species of Fishes (Tourette)

Cousin Mary   1/8/2009   A Library, CD

Remixes of tracks from ???Species of Fishes???, a Russian electronic duo.???? Muslimgauze was Bryn Jones (1961-1999), British experimental musician.

Rhythmic beats, clicks and buzzes, snippets of voices, Middle Eastern and Russian influences. Repetitive and hypnotic.?? Recommended!

Bley, Carla & Haines, Paul Escalator Over the Hill (JCOA)

Cousin Mary   1/8/2009   12-inch, Jazz

Recording (1968-1971) of Carla Bley???s jazz opera using Paul Haines??? trippy poetry as libretto.?? These words wash over and provoke an emotion, but defy analysis.

Well played and sung by many fine artists.?? Some who were (or became) more prominent are Carla Bley (organ), Don Cherry (trumpet), John McLaughlin (guitar), Gato Barbieri (sax), Linda Ronstat (vocals), Sheila Jordan (vocals), Paul Motian (drums), Charlie Haden (bass), Viva (Andy Warhol celebrity).?? Startlingly original compositions from Carla Bley include eastern influences, calliope, etc.

Language on side 2, track 5.?? Last track of side 6 repeats ??? a flaw that was intentional?

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