KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Harley, Rufus – “Pied Piper of Jazz, the ” – [Label M]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

I actually say this guy play 15 years ago at the Scottish Games in Santa Rosa – among all of the traditional pipe bands (most of the audience did not “get it” but I thought it was a great idea.) Rufus Harley has to work extra hard to play jazz on the pipe chanter (the fingered part sometimes used without bag or drones) and the full “war pipes” because of the limited number of notes that can be played on the beast. This is a collection from various mid 1960’s Atlantic recordings and also features him on sax and flute. Some tracks are closer to novelty than jazz but they are all quite interesting. He has kept on playing (read the booklet) and there still is not another major jazz bagpiper after all these years! Wonder why….’ *review by David Richoux

Hill, Andrew – “Dusk ” – [Palmetto Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Andrew Hill has been around the mainstream since the early Sixties, composing and playing piano with Dinah Washington, Roland Kirk and many others. Here he has assembled a team of “Knitting Factory Types” to check out this next century of jazz. Moving from slow and mellow piano with horn ensemble to moderate new-bop to rhythmic pomp (almost Latin but still outside that) to trumpet ballad to playful joys. There are new and old things together here, tasteful and sweet, but with an edge you will like.
*review by David Richoux

Drums and Tuba – “Flying Ballerina, the ” – [My Pal God Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

According to “official web info” there was a bit of a flood at the D&T warehouse so a lot of CDs had to be reprinted. Good thing, cuz this is some really fine stuff from the Austin-moved-to-New York trio. There are all sorts of things on this CD from danceable modern rock-jazz-rhythms to ethereal bloots and humms from Brian Wolff’s electro-tuba. Crazy guitars, reeds, percussion, trumpet, whistles and duct tape all add to the strangeness from this trio. Eclectic would be the word for it, yes, that’s it! *review by David Richoux

Best of Broadside [coll] – [Smithsonian/Folkways]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Country

Ah! The Early 60’s when everybody wanted to be a folksinger… magazines like Broadside were everywhere around colleges, camps and coffeehouses. They printed the music and words with chords so anybody could learn the latest songs. It was not a bad thing to be a folkie then – it was even hip! These tracks are somewhat lesser known pieces by singer-songwriters that had some fame (Reynolds, Ochs, Ian, Seeger and “Blind Boy Grunt”) and some not so famous. Some tracks are a bit tedious by modern standards, but that was the style. A few cuts are closer to delta blues and the last track is much more dramatic with a full band and the story of rape revenge murder and women’s liberation. *review by David Richoux

O’donnell, Kevin Quality Six – “Control Freak ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Before you do anything with this, read the liner notes inside – hilarious! Then appreciate the extra fine quality this group puts into this music. Taking elements of various sorts of historical jazz, R & B, western swing and near rock & roll – these guys know their shit – there are some very fine vocals that wander around Tom Waits territory, a neat-o spoken word thing (eight and 13) and a killer Caravan (11.) Highest praises for the fiddle (also the vocalist), sax, bass and drums.. the others ain’t bad either! For once a modern/retro small jazz group that can do original stuff that feels new and old at the same time – not an easy task! Extra Swank Quality – now we gotta get their first record… *review by David Richoux

El’zabar, Kahil Ritual Trio – “Africa N’da Blues ” – [Delmark]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Yet another in the series of recent recordings from various members of the AACM on Delmark, this time with percussionist Kahil El’Zabar’s Ritual Trio teaming up with Art Ensemble’s Malichi Favors on bass and guest Pharoh Sanders on reeds and piano. The result is very tasty free jazz with a mystical flavor – not a crazy as some of the Art Ensemble stuff from the past, not as long winded as some of Sanders recent recordings – if you can fit longer tracks into your show, give this a try! *review by David Richoux

Lang, Peter – “Thing at the Nursury School… ” – [Takoma Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Nothing but solo 6 and 12 string guitar here – no vocals, no drums, no nothin’ but that does not mean this is a lightweight recording. The tunes seem to be improvised to a point but there is a lot of thought behind the improv. This was actually recorded back in 1972. Lang is a friend of John Fahey and the recording was produced by Kerry Fahey (could not find out the relationship, if any) coming out of the late 60’s folk/blues/jazz thang. Some of the longer tracks seem to drift off into another world, but I think you will like the trip… *review by David Richoux

Icp Orchestra – “Aan & Uit ” – [Icp]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Channeling Bertold Brecht and Hoagy Carmichael via Loony Tunes, the ICP (Instant Composers Pool) Orchestra once again takes a odd look at modern composition, improv, jazz, swing and other fun things for this project. Strings and horns poot forth a wonderful stew with a sometimes feverish rhythm section (Han Bennink is dictator with Ernst Glerum on plucked & bowed bass) punctuated with co-leader Misha’s piano and unaccredited minimal gurgling vocals from time to time. As their website says: they are preferring to be, well… Dutch.
Lots of short & tasty tracks. I don’t know if this is a conducted group in performance – we will have to see when they come to Kuumbwa 10/26/04. If you like this, also check the jazz library for another Dutch wacko ‘orchestra:? Willem Breuker Kollektief.
*review by David Richoux

Brave Combo – “Let’s Kiss ” – [Dentone (Brave Combo)]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

25 years for Brave Combo! Wow. This is all new stuff from the co inventors of Punk Polka, a fine fun mix of edgy polkas, twisted Tex-Mex waltzes and two versions of ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game.’ For you beer & sausage fans, an Oktoberfest polka – not “Fill The Stein” from ‘The Simpsons? episode Brave Combo did (but their version of the Simpsons Theme that closed the episode is here and it is great!) Lots of original songs and lyrics in a variety of danceable genre. Not as outrageous as Polkacide (the other co inventors of Punk Polka) but they won’t ever be confused with Frankie Yankovich… *review by David Richoux

Noertaker’s Moxie – “Sketches of Catalonia ” – [Edgetone Records]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Spanish Surrealist, Modern Art & Architecture and Jazz? Sure, why not? With graphic design that directly quotes the Miles Davis / Gil Evans masterpiece ‘Sketches of Spain’ this is the first of 3 in a suite of jazz compositions inspired by Dali, Miro and Gaudi. Recorded in San Francisco in 2001, this has a kind of post-bop cool flavor, not really very surreal at all. Still, it is a nice work and it should be interesting to hear the other two sessions. Added Note: Dali, Miro and Gaudi were all from the Catalonia region but are often misclassified as “Spanish Artists.” Some (many) Catalonians do not consider themselves to be part of Spain – there is a strong separatist movement. review by David Richoux

Nagl, Max – “Evil Garden, the ” – [November Music]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

The mixing of improv jazz and the writings of Edward Gorey is not a far-fetched thing. Macabre poetry, twisted words and spooky imagery and pooting saxes, plopping pianos and tweezy guitar & synths seem to go together like black oil on toast. This is mostly very minimal style, moody and sparse, some attempt at melodic lines (but some tracks pick up a little steam after a while.) The lyrics are read not in exact time with the music. Lol Coxhill and Julie Tippett take turns with the readings, but ‘duet? on #2. I like it all! *review by David Richoux

Oakland Interfaith Gospel Chor – “Great Day ” – [Self Produce]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   Blues, CD

This recording of gospel music goes directly back to the roots of pre and post slavery days 150 years ago. Even without the organ, drums, guitar and bass they normally use this award winning Oakland choir still is powerful and beautiful with classic arrangements of “Negro” Spirituals. Some you may recognize (Tracks 2, 8, 12,16) and many more are obscure but still worth a listen. Some are up and joyous, others are way down and soulful. You will hear some elements that helped lead to the development of blues and jazz but these works also stand on their own merit as a great American artform. Come on and Wade in the Water, Children! *review by David Richoux

Glass, Daniel Trio – “Something Colorful ” – [Very Tall Music]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

very nice but energetic vibes-bass-drums instrumentals. A bit different feel from other recent vibe trios, maybe because the leader is the drummer. Most tracks are originals but there are a few covers of Bud Powell and others. It is hard to have “Edgy” music on vibes so this tends towards “Easy” instead. *review by David Richoux

Rivers, Sam Trio – “Firestorm ” – [Rivbea Sound Company]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   CD, Jazz

Just a trio, you say – but when all 3 players are multi – instrumentalists of great skill this becomes a miniature big band! All kinds of flexibility with shifting combinations of reeds, strings, percussion and piano following squirty paths and furious sheets of intertwined improv – very driving, yet very beautiful results. This is all live recording with no multi-tracking but you might think otherwise. There are a few grunty/shouting vocals with not much word action, but mostly this is instrumental. Sam River’s liner notes give the best possible description of this incredible performance – all true!
Track 3 is a bass solo – all the rest are trio form. *review by David Richoux

Pocket Orchestra – “Pocket Orchestra ” – [Self Produced]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

We got this CDR from Craig Bork (we have had “Imon Bilde” on cart for eons, he saw it listed on a KFJC playlist and sent all of what he had.) This was recorded in a mobile studio, school bus converted, backed up to a garage in San Bruno. It was recorded sometime in 1980. Although the band had been together for 10 years it was recorded towards the end of its existence, although they played together in different forms for years after that. Tim Parr passed away around 1985, Tim Lyons died a few years ago.
Very fluid, cartoony, Zappa-esq, art-jazz-rock with lots of fun tricks going on. All instrumental. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Pocket Orchestra – “Knebnagauge ” – [Self Produced]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

We got this CDR from Craig Bork (we have had “Imon Bilde” on cart for eons, he saw it listed on a KFJC playlist and sent all of what he had.) Knebnagauge was the previous name for Pocket Orchestra (and is pronounced Neeb-Nah-Gawgh) This was recorded in a mobile studio, school bus converted, backed up to a garage in San Bruno. It was recorded sometime before 1980. Tim Parr passed away around 1985, Tim Lyons died a few years ago.
Very fluid, cartoony, Zappa-esq, art-jazz-rock with lots of fun tricks going on. All instrumental *review by Studebaker Hawk

Dolomites – “Lovely Day for a Hogshead Of.. ” – [Walking Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Pirates and Drunken Punk Irishmen are alive in the hills of Portland Oregon! This band of reclusive weirdoes have been stomping around the stranger bars and clubs in the Pacific Northwest for a few years (but there is very little known about them – even the best local Elvis impersonator stood in awe as they performed at a recent Oktoberfest). They look like a fine bunch of geeks but they sound much like the Pogues in top form. Cap’t Jack will love them dearly and I think many other DJs will hoist a glass to their rather unique take on an ancient musical art form!
Clean lyrics as far as my ear (and the lyric sheet) can tell – but the vocals are so rough sounding it would be hard to tell…
*review by Studebaker Hawk

Tiger Lillies, the – “Circus Songs ” – [Misery Guts Music]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library, CD

Imagine if Tom Waits and Dame Edna somehow had a love child and he grew up to be a Contra Tenor (male soprano) singer and accordion player – well, this is what it might sound like…
Euro/Brit singer-songwriter Martyn Jaeques and two Adrians form the Tiger Lillies and they have been turning out a huge library of CDs in the last few years that have been almost totally ignored in the USA. This particular release takes us to a Circus that is more twisted and ugly than most Big Tops and Freak Shows, but there is somehow a sad respect for the mutants that run the show. There are a few obvious choices for over-the-top cover songs: Send In The Clowns, in particular but mostly these are originals. Track 3 has the only bad language, but this is very strong stuff in general – a very dark, dramatic and strange recording. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Davis, Sammy Jr. – “Yes! I Can (Vol One) ” – [Rhino Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   B Library, CD

Starting at the age of 2 and a half in 1928, Sammy Davis Jr. was almost instantly an incredible Vaudeville performer, dancing, singing, comedy, acting and becoming a big part of “American Show-Biz” for 64 years. This 4 CD set spans most of his adult career (from 1949 to 1988) with outstanding quality and variety. Even if you ignore the religion, politics and “Rat-Pack” environment that came later his lifetime you will have to agree that the guy had the chops! Jazz songs, Blues, Tin-Pan Alley classics, Broadway show-stoppers, ballads and Pop – many hits and award winning stuff here (and even the less well known tracks are moving!) Disc One covers 1949 to 1960 including some of his tracks from the film version of Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.”
My Hot Picks for this disc: #1, #7, #8, #15, #21but give the others a try as well. *review by Studebaker Hawk

Davis, Sammy Jr. – “Yes! I Can (Vol Two) ” – [Rhino Records]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   B Library, CD

Disc Two covers 1961 to 1965 – includes some of his most successful work. His long association with Frank Sinatra and the rest of the original “Rat Pack” leads to much more film work and international fame. His versions of songs by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse kept him on the top of the charts (even against the “British Invasion.”) Some of these tracks continue the jazzier feeling interpretations and some great duets. *review by Studebaker Hawk

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