KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Kondo, Toshinori – "Blow The Earth India" – [Subcontinental Records]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, Jazz

Toshinori Kondo, who departed this life last year, was a prolific Japanese composer, trumpet player and wanderer of the Earth. This release (from 2019) is a part of the series called “Blow the Earth” which he moved to Amsterdam to start in 1993. The film BLOW THE EARTH JAPAN came out in 2011 – it was his first project as a film director. He composed, performed and mixed all of the tracks on this album. After moving to New York in 1978, Kondo collaborated with many notable jazz musicians including: Bill Laswell, Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Ernaldo Bernocchi, John Zorn and Peter Brotzman. This is arguably one of his best releases. AArbor

Trible, Dwight – "Mothership" – [Gearbox]

aarbor   9/29/2021   12-inch, Jazz

Dwight Trible, who is originally from Cincinnati, is a versatile vocalist, and known as the godfather of the L.A. jazz scene. He’s collaborated with a range of musicians from J.Dilla to Pharoah Sanders for 40 years. He is best known for promoting and creating opportunities for others in the LA Jazz community, rather than in the spotlight. This release puts Trible firmly in the spotlight, showcasing his own compositions as well as covers of others’. You can hear his talent as a jazz vocalist quite clearly here. He is surrounded by some well-respected instrumentalists who support him with solid playing. AArbor

Baraka, Imamu Amiri -It’s Nation Time – [Motown Records]

Thee Opinataur   9/22/2021   12-inch, Jazz

Pan-African-themed concept album recorded in Harlem in 1972. Re-released in 2018, Segues between free jazz, R&B, and African drumming. There is a cover of the Supremes song ‘Come See About Me’, (A4), with Baraka adding a spiritual call to ‘Allah’. 

By far the most thought-provoking and articulate, well post-civil rights black awareness album I think I’ve ever heard. Amiri Baraka successfully imparts his message just direct talking politics and beliefs that don’t seem any less relevant listening now than when they were recorded in ’72. The music on here is fantastic too. There is some real sweet Motown soul, deep heavy Afro-centric jazz, not to mention the endless percussion and backing rants vocals and interplay. Poetry is rooted in Black-centric politics, positive and uplifting. Anyways, this blew me away and almost made me a card-carrying member of the Black Nation. Not just a spoken word album, much more, much respect to how the album draws upon jazz, R&B, and Soul that makes everything sound easy. It continues to crescendo into a higher and higher gear. 

Black people from all walks of life get up and get busy to cultivate the consciousness and commitment to come together to build Black institutions, mobilize and organize movements and fight for our liberation “by any means necessary.” It was an “all Black hands on deck” call to action for Black people to join the Black Freedom Struggle and to use whatever we had to achieve victory! and nearly 60 years later, many of these topics are still relevant. – Thee Opinataur

Bunnett, Jane and Maqueque – "On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme" – [Linus Entertainment]

aarbor   9/9/2021   12-inch, Jazz

Jane Bunnett is a Canadian alto sax player, flutist and pianist, with many recordings to her credit. With Maqueque she set out to mentor up-and-coming young Cuban women jazz musicians. The group has become very successful playing at high visibility festivals.They are being touted as the “New Queens of Afro-Cuban Jazz”. They are deliberately trying to sidestep the machismo of the Cuban jazz scene and have succeeded, although I find myself wishing for playing with a bit more grit or attitude. AArbor

Davis, Miles / Live In San Juan

carsonstreet   8/31/2021   12-inch, Jazz

By the late ’80s Miles Davis had radically overhauled his style yet again, incorporating prominent synthesizers and using an ever-changing cast of young backing musicians. This remarkable set took place in the intimate setting of the Coach House Concert Hall in San Juan Capistrano, California, on June 15, 1989, and was broadcast on American Public Radio. It features just two tracks, a tribute to Jaco Pastorius from Davis’s 1989 Amandla album and the title-track from 1986’s Tutu. Check out the insert with lots of additional information. This is on serious 180g vinyl and is a UK import.

Present Quartet – “Routes, Paths, Courses” – [Pfmentum]

Max Level   8/31/2021   CD, Jazz

Inspired sounds — flutes, woodwinds, harp, bass, and electronics — by this So Cal quartet. Interesting and enjoyable movements as the instruments combine, diverge, drop out, rejoin, combine, diverge… Four masterful players confidently expressing their ideas, each leaving plenty of space for the others. Another top notch release from the reliably remarkable Pfmentum label.

Field, Ken – "Transmitter" – [Neuma]

Cousin Mary   8/27/2021   CD, Jazz

Ken Field (Birdsongs of the Mesozoic and other projects) plays sax, overlaying and processing the six tracks on this solo effort. Very atmospheric and beautiful, sometimes mysterious and occasionally experimental. The instrument is recognizable at times, but also morphs into a very different sound as it loops and echoes. A pleasure to hear!

Carter / Shipp / Parker / Cleaver – Welcome Adventure! Vol. 1

carsonstreet   8/17/2021   CD, Jazz

Recorded in New York City. Released June 2020. Recorded during the pandemic and perhaps in some ways reflecting the weird trip it has been. The music here swings a bit more than the names billed might lead you to believe. Daniel Carter has been collaborating with William Parker since the early 70s and with Matthew Shipp starting in the mid 80s. This trio has played together on many recordings but by adding legendary drummer Gerald Cleaver to the mix they have created a supergroup of sorts. Two extended tracks bookend a shorter four-minute piece, “Scintillate”. Perhaps the Adventure is the end of the pandemic and the ability to get together and make music again.

Keshav Batish – Binaries In Cycle

carsonstreet   8/17/2021   CD, Jazz

Keshav Batish hones a personal, multifaceted sound as a player and composer with Binaries in Cycle, his debut album, featuring alto saxophonist Shay Salhov, pianist Lucas Hahn and bassist Aron Caceres. When the group gathered to record Binaries in Cycle at Kuumbwa Jazz Center, in Batish’s home city of Santa Cruz, the beloved performance space was empty. It was August 3, 2020, the height of the COVID pandemic. Despite adverse circumstances, Batish and the quartet rose above to deliver stirring performances of five original pieces, plus inventive readings of Ornette Coleman’s “Police People” and Thelonious Monk’s “We See.” Keshav has played in our pit with his father Ashwin.

Toniutti, Agnese – "Subtle Matters" – [Neuma]

Cousin Mary   7/30/2021   CD, Jazz

Italian pianist Agnese Toniutti explores the possibilities of sound from piano, timbre piano, and toy piano in the her compositions and those of Lucia Dlugoszewski, Tan Dun, Phillip Corner. Tinkly, booming, comedic, and thought provoking.

PGM: Some tracks go quiet quite a few seconds before they end.

Murray, Kevin / Sato, Kazuto / Weeks, Tom – “Hard Boiled” – [Wolfsblood Records]

Max Level   7/19/2021   CD, Jazz

Great playing by this drums/bass/sax trio. Three long tracks of (I’m assuming) improvised creativity. I’m used to hearing saxophonist Weeks on alto, but on Track 2 he moves over to baritone and it’s a nice change. On that same track, upright bassist Sato switches to electric bass guitar for a while and then switches back. Murray on drums is supportive throughout and plays interesting parts without calling attention to himself. These guys are a high-functioning outside free jazz unit and it sounds like they get off on playing with one another. What more can you ask for?

Harlem In Vogue: Poetry Jazz of Langston Hughes [coll] – [Fingertips Records]

Thee Opinataur   7/8/2021   CD, Jazz


This compilation consists of four separate recordings from 1958-60. . The first ten tracks
are Langston Hughes accompanied by Leonard Feathers All-Star Sextet. The next eleven
tracks are Hughes’s poetry with Charles Mingus & The Horace Parlan Quintet. Six tracks
of Hughes poetry follow, closing with two tracks from Bob Dorough’s interpretation of
Hughes poetry. While Hughes did most of his writings years earlier, these were his first
attempts to bridge the jazz and written word. The ‘Weary Blues’ with Leonard Feathers
Quintet as well as ‘Motto/ dead in there’ are some of the best works on this lengthy
compilation. However, while some of his most important works such as ‘I have known
rivers’ and ‘I too’ are wonderful to hear from the author’s own voice, they could have
used some accompaniment. The last two tracks put this otherwise fine collection to
shame as the quality of Bob Dorough’s interpretation of Hughes falls completely flat. A
fine historical piece overall – Thee Opinataur

Lenoci, Gianni – "A Few Steps Beyond" – [Amirani Records/Amirani Contemporary]

aarbor   6/23/2021   CD, Jazz

Gianni Lenoci was an Italian jazz pianist, composer and educator who departed this life in 2019 at the age of 56. This (posthumous) album was released this year. It’s a live concert at the Talos Festival September 4, 2019 – his last concert, he died later that month. Here he’s a jazz pianist playing other people’s work. It’s an Ornette Coleman sandwich, with Jerome Kern, Paul and Carla Bley, and Gordon Jenkins as the creators of the sandwich innards. Classical themes sublimated in noir semidarkness, meditative glimpses, unexpected diversions. AArbor

Lake Oliver,Tchicai John, Osgood Kresten, Westergaard Jonas -Lake | Tchicai | Osgood | Westergaard – [Passing Thru Records]

Thee Opinataur   6/9/2021   CD, Jazz

Oliver Lake [Black Artists Group, World Saxophone Quartet] has collaborated with many of the jazz greats of the past 4+ decades. Recorded in 2003 in Copenhagen, Oliver Lake, Alto Sax, completed a tour of Denmark with Danish tenor saxophonist John Tchicai, drummer Kresten Osgood and bassist Jonas Westergaard. They immediately went into the studio afterward, the product of which is this release on Lake’s Passin’ Thru record label. All four artists contributed compositions to this album. Heavily steeped in swing with a vast amount of improvisation, and a bit of poetry and chanting mixed in on tracks 5 & 7 respectively.

To the ears, this recording feels like you are actually situated in a small intimate live space, not a studio, which is a great treat for the listener. Lake and Tchicai take turns leading us on several journeys throughout with timely phrasing and great energy. The youngest of this group, Kresten Osgood to me is the unsung star, his understated timing, and control to keep this quartet loose, free, and yet playing together as one is a thing of beauty. 

This album is such an engaging and pleasant experience. Its warmth will tickle that sweet spot in your body and brain and yet not let you get too comfortable as it insists on opening your mind and spirit to new places not yet experienced. 

Thee Opinataur

Soldier, Dave – "Eighth Hour of Amduat, The" – [Mulatta Records]

Thurston Hunger   6/8/2021   CD, Jazz

KFJC’s worship of Sun Ra is well known, and we are not alone. Professor-purveyor-pilot Dave Soldier helps keep Sun Ra alive, with no less than Marshall Allen among the crew for this 2017 release. There may be no air in space, but this release launches with an aria and then includes a dixieland space walk. Track two, electronics, deep tuba, maybe an erhu and Bastet (cat God) on vocals? Harp ripples in on #3, strings both classical and angry angular guitar are summoned. Impressively, sax forces are Marshall’d; Mr. Allen served many tours on Sun Ra’s interplanetary journeys and judging by his playing on here, he has not aged a single note, though he may be 90+ in Earth years. The combination of natural sounds (water beneath the boat, birds on the breeze) along with the swelling choir, help the journey, but the EVI from Allen and Soldier’s own digital squiggles are nice sonic spikings. Ultimately this is an opera, and Sahoko Sato Timpone shines brightest, but the gravity of Sun Ra’s creativity pulls it all together. -Thurston Hunger

Hot 8 Brass Band – "Rock With The Hot 8 Brass Band" – [Tru Thoughts]

aarbor   5/26/2021   CD, Jazz

The Hot 8 Brass Band is from New Orleans. It’s a 20 year old band forged from 2 separate groups who all went to Fortier High School: the High Steppers and the Looney Tunes Brass Band. Sadly 4 of the original members are gone due to illness and street violence. Hurricane Katrina displaced band members as well. The Hot 8’s funk style is a blend of influences from the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth brass bands, with more elements of contemporary R&B, Rap and its local variation called “Bounce”. The Hot 8 have been featured in 2 Spike Lee documentaries. This release from 2007, the band’s first on Tru Thoughts, includes many of the original members. Enjoy! AArbor

Arthur Doyle Plus 4 – ‘Alabama Feeling’ – [Rank and File]

Thee Opinataur   5/25/2021   12-inch, Jazz

Arthur Doyle Alabama Feeling Album

Recorded Live at the Brook, New York City, Nov 11, 1977. Reissued in 2009 on Rank & File Records out of Berlin.
While Doyle had previously supported other Free Jazz greats, such as Noah Howard (Black Ark) and Sun Ra, This is Doyle’s first album where he leads. He is credited on this album playing Tenor Voice-O-Phone, Bass Voice-O-Net whereas he not only plays but sings at the same time through his instrument. Its results are a fierce raw cerebral energy right from the beginning with ‘November 8th & 9th – I Can’t Remember When’. In fact, the whole first side is a nonstop uncompromising bastion of energy that literally blows you back and really doesn’t stop until you flip to side two. Here the two drummers Rashied Sinan and Bruce Moore blend beautifully in a dark tribal rhythmic duet on ‘Ancestor’ as one by one the other members join in the journey. Charles Stephens Trombone is all over the place throughout this album as he goes from swampy elongated pitches to short, full blasts exploding perfectly alongside Doyle. Not to be outdone, Doyle’s childhood friend from Birmingham, Richard Williams on Fender Bass is magnificent in support of keeping complex time. There is definitely confrontation all along this journey, but I believe that is purposeful, and why this recording stands out and has defied the test of time in its relevancy even today.
While the original master was lost, this reissue was captured from the original vinyl recording. It is lo-fi and has an almost field recording feel to it, and it is absolutely perfect.

Sarid, Daniel / Kretzmer, Yoni / Evans, Michael – "Bring" – [Out Now Recordings]

Hemroid The Leader   5/17/2021   CD, Jazz

BRING Daniel Sarid, Yoni Kretzmer, Michael Evans

Like the angry guy at the mouthpiece make-out party, restrained free jazz trio gusts and squalls and never quite draws blood, forges unique sound. Searching melodic piano approach from leader Sarid. Outnow honcho Kretzmer’s klezzy Ayler-isms emit smoke but stop short. Evans absurdly kicks the kick down Cymbalism St. & Dada Lane. His original/absurd drum solo closes out 7. Solid release, adds to our Outnow/Kretzmer collection.

Schulze, Klaus – "Dziekuje Poland Live '83" – [Mig-Music]

aarbor   4/21/2021   CD, Jazz

Klaus Schulze started out as a drummer with Psy Free (1967-’69), Tangerine Dream (1969-’70) and Ash Ra Tempel (1970-’71). In 1971 he started a solo career an an electronic musician. He released several very experimental electronic albums including “Cyborg” and “Irrlicht” (both in the KFJC library). Schulze says that for him electronic music is totally sensual. He describes his approach as very physical and playful. This recording is from a tour of Poland which he did with Rainer Bloss in 1983. Poland was still behind the “Iron Curtain” and the audiences were very grateful. The tracks are long and live. AArbor

Copyright © 2021 KFJC 89.7 FM
12345 S. El Monte Road Los Altos Hills, California 94022
Public Inspection File