KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Tuba Skinny – “Some Kind-A-Shake” – [Self Release]

aarbor   9/21/2022   12-inch, Jazz

Tuba Skinny is a jazz band from New Orleans. For over 10 years the band has evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into an ensemble of excellent players dedicated to bringing the traditional New Orleans sound to audiences around the world. Their range of musical influences is from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz. Their sound evokes the musical heritage of New Orleans. Their loyal following likes their distinctive sound, their commitment to reviving long-lost songs, and their live performances. This release is from 2019 and is primarily ragtime and traditional jazz. Instruments: sousaphone, trombone, clarinet, cornet, alto sax, banjo, guitar, percussion. Some of their other recordings include a washboard (frottoir). AArbor

Boyle – “Psych-Jazz Collage I”

carsonstreet   8/10/2022   CD, Jazz

On bandcamp they say: “A most succinct and descriptive album title Boyle’s Psych-Jazz Collage I is exactly what it advertises. Brilliant cut-and-paste in the spirit of Faust Tapes, layers of reeds drone while percussion skitters across the stereo field. Pure endlessness.” All instruments and voices by Boyle. No effects or backwards masking used in this recording. Wild stuff psych, jazz and noisy stuff. One long track (43:29) fade in and out and have some fun.

Guitarist Gary Boyle was born in India, 1941. In the early sixties he attended the Leeds College of Music in the north of England. Before releasing his solo debut album in 1977, Boyle had played and recorded with many kinds of artists, e.g. Dusty Springfield, Bert Jansch, Keith Tippett and Stomu Yamash’ta, and had founded his own fusion group Isotope in 1973.

Shipp, Matthew and Gauci, Stephen – “Pandemic Duets” – [Gauci Music]

Max Level   7/19/2022   CD, Jazz

Gauci’s tenor sax teams up with Shipp’s piano, bringing us eight active conversations in which the two players weave around each other, suggesting things, following each other’s lead, staying fully engaged throughout. Creative improvisation at its best. This is one of nineteen improvised sessions in Gauci’s “Pandemic Duets” series, recorded in Brooklyn NY in the summer of 2020 when the Covid pandemic had brought activity in the NY music community to a standstill. Gauci resolved to give players in the local avant-jazz scene an outlet to express what they were feeling in those challenging times by inviting them to perform duets with him and recording the sessions. This release is solid and I don’t doubt the others in the series are as well.

Jean-Pierre Jullian Quintet – “Foret Lacandone”

carsonstreet   7/11/2022   CD, Jazz

Foret Lacandone is a jungle with thousand-year-old trees in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. Since the 1990s, it has been home to the Zapatista humanist resistance movement, whose desire is to protect the dignity and rights of the Indians. The emblematic figure of this movement is Subcomandante Marcos. Jean-Pierre says: “With the music of the quintet, I evoke a journey at once, uncertain, perilous, magnificent through this inextricable, inhospitable, thorny forest. It ends up clearing up and finally, benevolent, it offers the traveler an opening towards the light that brings hope to emerge regenerated, peaceful, happy. With the music of the quintet, I evoke a journey at once, uncertain, perilous, magnificent through this inextricable, inhospitable, thorny forest. It ends up clearing up and finally, benevolent, it offers the traveler an opening towards the light that brings hope to emerge regenerated, peaceful, happy.” Listen and you can hear the jungle and the journey on every track.

Markley, Ben Big Band with Ari Hoenig – “Ari’s Funhouse” – [OA2 Records]

aarbor   6/1/2022   CD, Jazz

Ben Markley is a pianist, arranger, and leader of the Ben Markley Big Band, an ensemble known for their creative/daring takes on modern and contemporary jazz classics. Ari’s Funhouse is a big band album featuring the music of drummer Ari Hoenig, with Hoenig himself in the drum chair. Markley asked whether he could arrange Hoenig’s work. In the process they communicated regularly to maintain the integrity of the arrangements. Hoenig said, “When I first heard what he was working on the first thing that hit me was the quality and attention to detail he gave in each of the arrangements,” Hoenig says. “He really took the rhythmic language I use and included it in the arrangements while at the same time bringing in his creative unique voice.” In addition to great arranging the performers are very strong and deliver excellent performances. AArbor

Weather Report – “Heavy Weather”

carsonstreet   5/31/2022   12-inch, Jazz

Weather Report was an American jazz fusion band active from 1970 to 1986. The band started as a free improvising jazz group with avant-garde and experimental electronic leanings and then moved to a funky, edgy sound incorporating elements of R&B and world music. Joe Zawinul used the latest developments in synthesizer technology and took advantage of a large variety of sounds and tone colors to make the band stand out. During the first half of their career, Weather Report were seen as one of the defining acts in modern jazz, winning the DownBeat “best album award” five times in a row. Heavy Weather is Weather Report’s eighth album was a commercial hit thanks to “Birdland,” a catchy change of pace for FM radio and a nice unification with older jazz styles. Austrian leader and keyboardist Joe Zawinul and saxophonist Wayne Shorter were the only original members left. After their introduction on 1976’s Black Market, Florida bassist Jaco Pastorius, Peruvian drummer Alex Acuña and Puerto Rican percussionist Manolo Badrena were promoted to full-time players on Heavy Weather.

Welker, Marius and Bec, Matieu – “Free Tao”

carsonstreet   5/31/2022   CD, Jazz

Marius Welker is from Le Vigan, France and has teamed up with Mathieu Bec to make this beautiful jazz. Bandcamp translated from the French: " Marius Welker, multi-instrumentalist, great improviser, with many facets. You will find here all styles of productions from jazz, to free jazz, fusion, sometimes with just the right amount of electro... Happy listening and god bless you" Welker Bec is a duo born from an encounter around the love of jazz, world music and nature. Marius Welker on sax, flute, clarinet and vocals and Mathieu Bec on drums. They get a little wild sometimes, but don't we all.

Sumrra – “7 Visions” – [Clermont Music]

Cousin Mary   5/15/2022   12-inch, Jazz

This fine piano trio from Santiago de Campostela in Spain looks at stellar time from different viewpoints in this album. Very accessible but unusual. The piano lead sometimes seems more in line with classical etudes than jazz riffs. I was curious about the language on the cover, it appears to be Galician rather than Spanish or Portuguese. Manuel Gutierrez on piano, Xacobe Martinez Antelo on double bass, Lar Legido on drums.

Sun Ra & His Intergalactic Infinity Arkestra – “Night of The Purple Moon, The” – [Saturn Research]

Cousin Mary   5/15/2022   12-inch, Jazz

1970 recording where the Arkestra is down to no more than 4 members, with some solo keyboard pieces. The first track on each side is a bit more accessible than most Sun Ra, while the remaining tracks soon launch into outer space. Sun Ra plays the Moog synth and also the Rocksichord electric harpsichord. Just when I thought the KFJC library did not need another Sun Ra album, this comes along to prove me wrong. With John Gilmore, Danny Davis and Stafford James.

Stowell, John / Glenn, Dave and the Hawcaptak Quartet – “Violin Memory” – [Origin Records]

aarbor   5/11/2022   CD, Jazz

John Stowell is a guitar player and Dave Glenn a trombone player. They have played together in various settings including as a duo – an interesting pairing. This recording has 21 tracks, most of which are pairs: An Intro played by the Hawcaptak Quartet and the paired track played by Stowell and Glenn. John Stowell wrote most of the pieces and Dave Glenn arranged most of the string quartet versions. I hear the string quartet Intros as the Yin (melodious and feminine) to the Stowell/Glenn duo’s Yang (trombone grounded and masculine). AArbor

Toned – “Toned” – [Self Released]

Max Level   5/9/2022   CD, Jazz

An electroacoustic dream with nightmare attached. Make sure you are firmly strapped in for this one. East bay trio Toned slices and dices everything within reach, mixing and matching the sounds of outside jazz, noise, spoken word, loud ambient tone layers, crazy crashing percussion, electronic blurts, etc etc etc—-basically more things than I can name—into a hyperactive, blinding, deafening, audio assault that defies description. Sometimes sounds like unrelated tracks of noisy playing piled on top of each other, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad way to do things. Track 10 bursts out of the speakers like some unholy rampaging monster come to life.

Carter/Ishito/Plaks/Swanson/Panikkar – “Open Question Vol.1” – [577 Records]

carsonstreet   4/26/2022   CD, Jazz

Warm freely improvised music. The band formed organically in 2019 from weekly jam sessions in Harlem. It is comprised of tenor saxophonist Ayumi Ishito, pianist Eric Plaks, bassist Zach Swanson, drummer Jon Panikka and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter. Recording an album of only free improvisation was Ishito’s long-time dream. Open Question’s music today, while fully improvised, remains firmly rooted in the jazz tradition. Can be edgy but won’t hurt you. A second volume is to follow soon.     

Lugerner, Steven; Lang, Garret; Tootie Heath, Albert – “It Takes One to Know One” – [Slow and Steady]

carsonstreet   4/26/2022   CD, Jazz

Jazz reedist Steven Lugerner typically spends a lot of time composing new music for a variety of bold new ensembles. He has taken a different, more laid-back approach for It Takes One to Know One. By inviting drumming legend Albert “Tootie” Heath into his inner circle, Lugerner has recorded five covers with as much reverential care for the material as his drummer. Throw in bassist Garret Lang, and you have yourself a “chordless” trio – three instruments that are incapable of playing a musical chord. Lugerner sticks to the bass clarinet for the entire album made up of a Joe Henderson cover, an Irving Berlin cover, an Ellington/Strayhorn cover, and two tunes written by Heath’s older brother Jimmy Heath. When you add it all up, it’s all as easygoing as the cover art depicting three guys sitting on a bench next to a yawning dog.

Ponty, Jean-Luc – “Live” – [Atlantic (Jazz)]

carsonstreet   4/26/2022   12-inch, Jazz

Live is a live album by French jazz fusion artist Jean-Luc Ponty, recorded in December 1978 and released on April 18, 1979. Ponty was born into a family of classical musicians. His father taught violin, his mother taught piano. At sixteen, he was admitted to the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, graduating two years later with the institution’s highest honor, Premier Prix (first prize). He was hired by the Concerts Lamoureux in which he played for three years. While still a member of the orchestra in Paris, Ponty picked up a side job playing clarinet (which his father had taught him) for a college jazz band, that regularly performed at local parties. It proved life-changing. A growing interest in Miles Davis and John Coltrane compelled him to take up tenor saxophone. One night after an orchestra concert, and still wearing his tuxedo, Ponty found himself at a local club with only his violin. The rest is jazz history.

Parker, William – “Painter’s Winter” – [Aum Fidelity]

Cousin Mary   4/25/2022   CD, Jazz

William Parker on bass and Hamid Drake on percussion give a whole new definition to the term rhythm section, sometimes swinging, sometimes not. Parker’s turns on trombonium and shakuhashi (especially on track 4) are splendid. Daniel Carter’s trumpet, sax, clarinet and flute carry and set the themes. Elegant and original!

Moondog – “More Moondog/The Story of Moondog” – [Prestige/New Jazz]

aarbor   4/13/2022   CD, Jazz

Moondog is Louis Thomas Hardin b. 1916 in Marysville, KS. He grew up amidst Native Americans in Wyoming and began his career as a Manhattan street musician during World War II. He lost his sight at age 17 due to an accident with a dynamite cap. I first heard him as a preschooler in NY on a record I had. I later saw him on the street in NY and was fascinated by his Viking costume. I bravely walked up and told him that he was on a record I had. Some bits of the percussion from that record are found here and there on this release which includes 30 tracks of his 2nd and 3rd Prestige releases. This is sounds of NY: the tugboats, ocean liners, people on the streets, instruments real and invented, dances in different time signatures. I love it because it’s part of my childhood in sound and it’s Moondog’s world. AArbor

Jones, Boogaloo Joe – “Boogaloo Joe Jones” – [Prestige/New Jazz]

aarbor   4/13/2022   CD, Jazz

Ivan Joseph “Boogaloo Joe” Jones (b. 1940) is an American jazz guitarist. These recordings are from August 1969 and February 1970 re-released as part of the Legends of Acid Jazz series in 1996. These tracks are a part of early “acid jazz” which incorporated psychedelic elements into jazz in the form of percussion and electronic dance beats. Boogaloo adds a bit of funk and soul too. Track 4 quotes audibly from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”. Track 9 is wonderfully funky. Jones was a session musician for the Prestige label at the time of this recording. AArbor

Shner, Idit and Mhondoro – “Heat Wave” – [OA2 Records]

aarbor   4/6/2022   CD, Jazz

Idit Shner is sax player from Israel, John Mambira is a traditional musician from Zimbabwe, the rest of the crew are all from Oregon (where they live today). From backyard jams and living room recording sessions during the pandemic came the song Fingerprints [7] and then the other 6 tracks of this release. Mhondoro means “the lion spirit’ in Shona (a Zimbabwe language). A band and release born of the pandemic Shner and Mambira were in a “parent pod” (their children attended online school together). It’s global and hyper-local jazz – how American. AArbor

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