Denver Gentlemen, The – “Introducing The Denver Gentlemen ” – [Smooch]

jordan   4/25/2007   A Library, CD

This re-release of the Denver Gentlemen???s debut album, recorded live in 1995 at Denver???s Bug Theater, croons its mix of cabaret style male and female vocals laced with accordions as if it were a Bertolt Brecht revival.

Lots o???schmaltz, drama, and catchy melodies.

The band includes Jeffery-Paul Norlander and David Eugene Edwards of 16 Horsepower and Woven Hand. Two songs from this album were recorded by 16 Horsepower on the album ???Low Estate???.

Hicks, Kelli Shay – “Buck Again ” – [Carbon Records]

jordan   4/25/2007   A Library, CD

Lonely, wandering tunes.

The unconcerned hum of traffic leading to a little girl voice and naked guitar.

Kelli Shay Hicks??? three song EP, ???Bucked???, is sparse and vocals driven. The EP was recorded by filmmaker Jem Cohen, who, in 2002, produced a 16mm film about Cat Power entitled CAT POWER LIVE: FROM FUR CITY.

Zorn, John – “Filmworks XVII ” – [Tzadik]

jordan   3/13/2007   CD, Soundtrack

John Zorn “Film Works XVII” is a double dose of movie scores, the latest release of Zorn???s cinematic escapades. This time around, the scores for the flicks ???Notes on Marie Menken??? and ???Ray Bandar: A Life with Skulls??? are brought together: the first film, a documentary of an underground filmmaker, the second, the true story of a Bay Area skull collector.

The album interweaves the soundtracks, not in any particular predictable pattern, but rather in an ebb and flow that balances the African thumb piano of the bone collector and the jazz guitar of the revolutionary film maker. Tracks 7 and 8 are exceptional in a field of exceptional tunes.

Takahashi, Yuji – “Plays John Cage: Sonatas and Interludes Vol. 1 ” – [Fylkingen Records]

jordan   3/13/2007   A Library, CD

Yuji Takahashi Plays John Cage: Sonatas and Interludes Vol.1 is a re-release of a 1965 recording. Cage wrote this piece in 1948 for the Armenian-American pianist, Maro Ajemian.

The music itself draws its inspiration and theory from the Indian rasa: musical moods reflecting both the dark and light of the human experience. To express these moods, Cage composed the work for ???prepared piano??? ??? a piano inserted with small objects that effect the sound.

The effect? A voluminous dream in a whisper. The tracks are short and can be strung together like pearls.

Sanders, Pharoah – ???Elevation??? – [Verve]

jordan   1/23/2007   CD, Jazz

Pharoah Sanders said of himself as recently as 2006, “When you reach a spiritual level you become the instrument yourself.???* Listening to the reissue of 1973???s ???Elevation,??? one understands this point, strong and solid.

???Elevation??? soars and swoops and rests within the holy madness of Sander???s tenor sax. The album offers a message to all moods; a sacred wine, a hospice. For instance:

??? ???Elevation??? (Track 1- 18:00), the title track, envelops the body whole within the pain and joy of creation. Inescapable. A frenzied metaphoric speaking in tongues. No church walls. Only boundless possibilities. Only forever.

??? ???Greeting to Saud??? (Track 2- 4:07), the next track, comes gently. Kindly. Quietly respecting the expansion, the release, the suffering of soul. This song offers rest for the weary.

One more bit: Sun Ra bequeathed the name Pharoah on Farrell Sanders.
*(The above quote from the San Francisco Chronicle 4/19/06)

Green, Grant -???Green Street???- [Blue Note]

jordan   1/23/2007   CD, Jazz

One can???t help but include Grant Green in the categories ???One more jazz great done in by heroin??? and ???How great he could have been if only?????? . Prolific as he was screwed up, Green???s talents on guitar have been feted over the last few years; his place at the table now firmly secured. Blue Note???s reissue of 1961???s ???Green Street??? reconfirms this resurgent interest in Green.

???Green Street??? was released within the same year as Green???s fist record, ???Grant???s First Stand???. This album, ???Green Street???, is easy ??? it???s easy to take in. It???s easy to be with as it rolls out, all tender and bluesy, the melody responsive and willing beneath Green???s touch. Track 2, ?????? Round Midnight??? (7:01) is especially good.

Cat Power – “Dear Sir ” – [Plain Rcordings]

jordan   11/7/2006   12-inch, A Library

Cat Power – ???Dear Sir ??? – [Plain Recordings]

Raw lyrics and wailing vocals on Cat Power???s debut album Dear Sir leads one straight into the trap of sketching out feline comparisons. First released in 1995, the then twenty-three year-old Cat, whose real name is Chan (pronounced Shawn) Marshall, shows up like a stray on your porch, pacing nervously, hungry and desperate. She wants the bowl of milk, but she won???t let you touch her. Trust doesn???t come easy. She???s been through too much.

This is a re-release from 2001 on Plain Recordings.

Hailing from Georgia, Power???s lot changed when she met Steve Shelly of Sonic Youth and Tim Foljan of Two Dollar Guitar in New York City, who both encouraged her to record. Shelly and Foljan each play on Dear Sir.

If you are more familiar with Power???s newer, slicker, melodic material, the wild wounded tunes of Dear Sir reveal the earlier days of the cast out singer-songwriter searching for a place to call home.


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