KFJC 89.7FM

Music Reviews

Glenn Spearman – Free Worlds [Black Saint]

outlier   4/21/2005   CD, Jazz

Spearman lays down the heat in 3 sextet pieces, plays in an intimate raga vocal duet and leads the play on several blues, ballad structures. (1,8,3,6) Sextet pieces rule the release, JR Routhier’s solid body/dirty pickup gtr cookslike a blues master jammin’. GS,Marco Eneidi, and Raphe Malik create big band free form over JRR, Lisle Ellis on double bass keeps things tight and Donald Robinson on drums.Paul Plimley’s piano work on the quartet pieces are also first rate stuff(2,7). The raga with Pakistani vocal masters reminds of L’infonie.
3w: Badder Than SpyJazz

-Outlier

Gayle,Charles/Parker/Ali?”Touchin on Trane” [Free Music Production]

outlier   4/21/2005   A Library, CD, Jazz

STRONG evidence for status as present day tenor sax #1! William Parker and Rashied Ali give Gayle a moving target rhythm that allows him to soar into jet stream polyphonics or settle into modern interpretations of Trane voicings without losing momentum in the trio’s center of sonic gravity. Gayle controls notes unintended for the tenor sax with agile mastery and power where others sound as though sphincter blowout were imminent.
3w: Power Jazz Mastery
– Outlier

Futterman Jordan Fielder – Southern Extreme [Drimala]

outlier   4/21/2005   CD, Jazz

With the left hand of Muhal Richard Abrams and the right hand stride of Jaki Byard, Futterman permeates Kidd Jordan’s Maurice McIntyre-like sound on tenor sax creating a Cecil Taylor/Jimmy Lyons dynamic with New Orleans spice taking the place of euro-classical overtones. Forceful searching runs of ts +pn swirling and winding in hyperballad style climaxing with screaming reed over Tayloresque arpeggio rampage. Compositions embrace complexity as another incarnation of the New Orleans riff style of pre-WWII Dixie jazz and cook up some distinctly Southern style avant garde on tenor sax, piano and drums.
3w: N’Orleans Avant Garde
-Outlier

Ahmed Abdul-Malik – The Music of [New Jazz]

outlier   4/21/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Conversational, sociable, ‘happy ending? jazz where all turns out as expected and all the dinner guests behave. What saves this from Blue Note boredom is the uniquely North African (Sudan) influence on the song structures. Andrew Cyrille on drums and Calo Scott on cello give a lively, upbeat accent to the Arabic and calypso tunes. Abdul-Malik also plays oud to further accent the international flavor of the album.
3w: happy ending jazz
-Outlier

Thollem and Rivera – ?Everything Is Going Everywhere” [Edgetone]

outlier   4/21/2005   CD, Jazz

Pn-dr Adventurous, articulate, precise and lyrical expression. Thollem is a native Bay Area composer/pianist virtuoso with shades of Bill Evans, Glenn Gould and Mose Allison. Pieces range from playful/bouncy to elegant/forceful, beautiful waltz to meditative fantasia. Unique is not adequate to describe the rich, priceless tones and clusters Thollem commands from all 88 with perceptive, percussive accents from Rivera. This isn’t
piano bar music and Thollem doesn’t want the chump change from your bar tab. Rather, he wants to induce contemplation of our world with sounds conveying urgency and incisiveness like political essays transcribed to music. The sounds can set your heart racing or cool you out.
3w: CLASSICAL JAZZ GENIUS
– Outlier

Fuchs, Wolfgang – “Six” (Rastascan)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

Free sextet of Fuchs-bcl+ss, Djill-tr, Perkis-elec, Robair-perc, Shiurba-gtr and MATTHEW SPERRY (1968-2003)-bs honor Sperry’s life with 6 remarkable soundpieces. (1,2) are sound factory tours that begin at floor level and build up to a collective form at a time-enhanced perspective. (3) takes a more symphonic path in coagulating the sounds while (4,5) are of a free jazz form and texture. (6) returns to free-form soundstorm with wind chatter interludes. The soundpieces stand on their own but knowing this is the document with which Sperry’s friends honor him gives it a very special place in free music.
3w: Sperry’s Spirit Resurrected
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Tiner and Baggetta, Kris and Mike – “There Just As You Look For It” (pfMENTUM)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

Acoustic guitar and trumpet post-jazz possibilities are explored by two young jazz improvisers of west and east coasts respectively. Baggetta’s style is of Spanish influence with a Derek Bailey sound of chimes and tweaks, giving Tiner’s chamber trumpet sound a percussive fabric to play into. Space is the canvas, timing is relative. The full timbre and resonance of tones suspend in time, then evaporate into the surrounding wake of sound. Evening is the mood and all is calm as these young lions of free music eloquently pursue the masters’ path.
3w: Acoustic Magical Post-Jazz

Hay, Emily – “Like Minds” (pfMENTUM)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

A collection of various projects undertaken over the decade by the phenomenal Emily Hay, experimental vocalist-flutist from SoCal. Pieces range from surging winds and street smart rhythms in experiment (1,5,7,11) to free vocals with percussion and/or electronics (6,8,9,10) to song structures of Dadamah-like magic (3,12) to post-classical virtuoso conversations (2,3). The lyrical phrasing and instrumentation keep the experimentation in the musical dimension. Hay’s vocals are about hearing what the voice can do as an instrument. Infusion of unrestrained vocal energy into the trio/quartet creations thru evocative utterances over and in between flute expressions bring you intimately into her soundspace, moving beyond words to true emotive convergence between artist and listener as the sounds are shared.
3w: Emotive Evocative Expression
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EXIAS-J electric conception – “Balance of Chaos” (PSF)

outlier   4/10/2005   CD, Jazz

Free music exploration of the organic guitar sound with smart electronics in support. Enters the same sonic space as Wired but less orchestral. Cavernous, echoes with deep resonance and some eastern psych meditations (less tribal than Tohosara and less wall of sound than Tsurubami- last two tracks excepted). Flowing sonic energy that reaches climax in an AMM style with 2 gtr-pn/synth-elec-bs-dr. Guitar tones cast the sonic beams by which the unit is led, the path is true and free.
3w:
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Morris, Butch – “Homeing” (Sound Aspects)

outlier   4/10/2005   12-inch, Jazz

Dense tapestry of orchestral sounds that displays wondrous collective cohesion in a multi-directional, multi-dimensional work. Improvised symphonic group exploration led by the master vision of Morris. Cacophony never results from the mass layering of sounds that rise from each wave. 12 musicians that sound like a full orchestra with musicianship that rivals any classical artists. Each movement flows into the next seamlessly, making the sonic voyage an inspiring flight over what would seem an exhausting path of musical destinations. Recorded live in Berlin 1987, this work is an undeniable masterpiece.
3w: STRAVINSKY WOULD DIG
– Outlier

Cooper-Moore & Assif Tsahar “tells untold” [Hopscotch]

Thurston Hunger   3/29/2005   CD, Format, Jazz

Tsahar’s Hopscotch label as been delivering pure beauty as of
late, whether en masse with Underground Orchestras or in more
subtle style as with these above-the-clouds duets. While I
remain a charismatic agnostic, it is still hard not to hear
the harp as a heavenly harkening. And there’s something about
the thumb piano, that seems to summon up otherworldly vibes
as well. This release even pipes in a shofar, a ram’s horn
for ancient atonement. But this album doesn’t strictly serve
up its spoils past mortal coils, there’s rootsier-than-the-
holes-in-a-bluesman’s-shoes “diddley-bow” on “Deviations”
and the CD closer as well. It’s a one-string, rubber-band
thing that rumbles and stretches. Or if you want neither
angels nor men, how about computer? While not credited, #8
has Assif spiraling tenor scurries into what sounds like
a bubbling cauldron of circuitry (but possibly a homemade
concoction of Cooper-Moore?’) For as much competing bliss
and brimstone as is found here, this album hangs together
supremely. At once refreshingly relaxing, and gloriously
gnashing. The melody at the end feels like coming home,
the rest of the joys are definitely otherworldly.

Parker,Evan and Peter Brotzmann “The Bishop’s Move” [Victo]

outlier   3/12/2005   CD, Jazz

A circular breathing round tripper, this sextet aurally pleasures you for 73m and it’s FREE ! Supergroup of two free jazz pioneers’ trios who got together in Quebec in May 2003. 2 saxes, piano-Schlippenbach, bass-William Parker and 2 drums-Hamid Drake and Paul Lytton. Schlippenbach provides the center of gravity but his chords never tie down the soloists moves. E Parker and Brotzmann set their horns on fire with relentless wailing that sometimes never stops to breathe. Dual master blowouts are a RARE event especially when backed by rhythmic GIANTS such as these.
3w: FREE YOUR ASSSSS (mind will follow)
– Outlier

Swell, Steve “Slammin the Infinite” [Cadence Jazz]

outlier   3/12/2005   CD, Jazz

HARD BOP with freeish developments, Grachan Moncur (New Africa Suite w/ Roscoe Mitchell, Dave Burrell, Alan Silva and Andrew Cyrille) is my best point of reference. Swell’s compositional style is edgier than Moncur and his trombone work is more modern with a slip and slide delivery. No chatter, some reed screed and blowout ‘bone, but we are slammin the infinite here not regressing to the average. Mateen(tenor sax, alto sax ,clarinet) gives a spirited performance while Heyner-bass and Kugel-drums seriously sustain the energy delivered by the leadmen.
3w: Limitless FREE BOP
– Outlier

Sun Ra and the Myth Science Arkestra “Live in London” [Blast First]

outlier   3/12/2005   CD, Jazz

The good vibes on this recording are infectious. Sun Ra channels the world’s discord and uses the mystical powers of the Myth Science Arkestra to convert this malaise into musical merriment. Ranging from Afro Jazz chaos to spacey intoxicated big band sounds, this set captures the unorganized cohesion that was the magic of the MSA. 1-3 are astral jazz explorations while 4-6 run the old school stride and ballad routines, singing included on 5,7 and 8. Not as out there as “Concert for the Comet Kohoutek” but nobody goes home disappointed.
3w: Cosmic Party Jazz
– Outlier

Giardullo, Joe / Zingaro, Carlos “Falling Water (Live at Mae de Agua)” [Drimala Records]

Thurston Hunger   3/10/2005   CD, Format, Jazz

Okay so this duo is really a trio, as the setting for the
sound steals a lot of the scenes. Recorded in an ancient
aqueduct in Lisbon, the amazing depth of this dank palace
alters the timbre of Giardullo’s saxes and especially
Zingaro’s violin to make this album often seem like it is
a communication between hyper-intelligent galactic whales.
Also riding with the extended reverb is fun, so lots of
times a note will drone into a sea of sustain. Slap the
violin’s body and listen to it careen around the cavern
(check #5 for some of that, maybe it is also the fluttering
of Giardullo’s fingering). There are still flights of more
fanciful playing, but the sound comes more often in streaks
rather than flurries. And as such, it is really a wonderful
release. A lot of modern jazz has musicians treating their
instruments and deviously working to pull new sound from
them…the ingenuity of “Falling Water” was to let the
situation instill the strangeness. It is often difficult to
discern who is creating what sound. And that is tremendous!
It would be interesting to hear a recording of just the
instruments, sans the nine-second shadow of reverb, interesting
but not as worthy. Immerse…

Kirk, Roland “I Talk with the Spirits” [Limelight]

Thurston Hunger   2/13/2005   12-inch, Format, Jazz

Pre-Rassan flute frenzy… Kirk as accustomed to blowing many
minds at a time as he was accustomed to playing 2 or 3 saxes
(or flutes) at the same time, relaxes and struts here with
a sweetheart of an album. Still there’s some fierce blowing,
from shrill squeals, to raspier reed-rattling. His breathy
grunts and choked chuckles are all mic’d up tight…and you
can hear him singing right on down and out the holes. Bobby
Moses drops in on some tracks with vibes that work so well
with the flute… One track, “Fugue’n and Alludin'” is gone
too quickly but the title track with Miss C. J. Albert
harmonizing along with them both is hauntingly captivating.
The short solo from Kirk on that begs to be turned up loud
to catch every nuance of sound that this blindman could pull
out of the dark center of a flute (or a sax or a trumpet or
an unique horn made just for him…but here he is confined
to flutes). The music box of “Ruined Castles” pitches an
almost gamelan shadow and that tinkering (Moses?) lingers
on into “Django” before the piano and bass take over and
we get a more standard combo toe-tap tour. Kirk’s exhaled
his last in 1977, but this 1964 album still breathes fine.

Smith, Wadada Leo – Light Upon Light (Tzadik)

outlier   2/9/2005   CD, Jazz

Wadada Leo Smith – Light Upon Light (Tzadik)
A fucking masterpiece of sophisticated psychedelia that transcends being a hybrid of jazz and classical. Dreamy, transporting tones wind and mesh through space as a sonic counterbalance. (3,5) Trumpetronics, (1,2,4) String pieces. (3,5) Toshinori Kondo’s ‘Nerve Tripper’ sound – beats + master composer’s awareness of passages’ natural spaces = Wadada Leo Smith ! Proof left to the listener as an exercise. (1,2,4) Similar to Once Festival material (see Tyke), searching phrases unfolding clusters, mid and low-register cello sound, intense minor key stuff but not dark. Stravinsky/Bartok moves with an AMM sense of space, very powerful yet subtle. (4) is like a psychedelic symphony only with a small ensemble. (3) gets to Japan psych chant rock spaces but from an African jazz point of origin.
– Outlier

Eskelin, Ellery – Ten (Hat Hut Records)

outlier   2/9/2005   CD, Jazz

Ellery Eskelin – Ten (Hat Hut Records)
10yr anniversary of the outside jazz trio of Eskelin, Parkins and Black. EPB explore underdeveloped textures in jazz. Forget the Grey Poupon Shit, ‘Ten’ is alive with spirited lyricism of theatrical quality and force. Marc Ribot appears on guitar on last half of cd. Jessica Constable delivers stellar vocal energy on 4 tracks, comparable to Fontella Bass w/ Art Ensemble of Chicago in feel. 2-8 minute tracks, adventurous sound. No formal attire required, just a head for sound reflection.
– Outlier

Hooker, William Quartet – Lifeline (Silkheart)

outlier   2/9/2005   CD, Jazz

William Hooker Quartet – Lifeline (Silkheart)
(1) Loosely woven alto sax runs accent the percussive conversation b/w Wm Parker and Hooker. Double sax solo opens into main theme followed by a Hooker recitation then 40m+ of blowing and pounding. Not as edgy as a Vandermark or Brotzmann piece, it flows fluently, unburdened by structural constraints, as if exploring the edges of familiar territory without wandering. (2) ts-trb-pn-dr, Chamber jazz w/choppped piano and recitation setting up a blowout. (3) same instr as 2, a Muhal Richard Abrams type blowout (Wise in Time-condensed w/o percussion). Refined yet relentlessly unleashed jazz energy.
3w: Flowing Forceful Free-verse
– Outlier

Parker,Drumm and Zerang, Jeff, Kevin, Michael – Out Trios Volume 2 (Atavistic)

outlier   2/9/2005   CD, Jazz

Parker Drumm Zerang – Out Trios Volume 2 (Atavistic)
A musical maelstrom of free sounds from 2 gtr w/ elec and drums of the organic noise variety with fuge-like interchanges as home base. Sounds like what the main character of Memento heard in his head when he tried to remember shit. Flashing, percolating meshes of sonic sorcery with sustained ferocity. The 2nd release of the Out Trios on Atavistic but definitely not 2nd place stuff. Ranges from an active continuum of surging flashpoints with chopped guitar to Hafleresque soundscapes with driving drums or chord progression mutations. Out of the Chicago scene, Parker (Chicago Underground Duo, Isotope, Tortoise), Drumm (Vandermark territorial band) and Zerang (Solisitice w/ Hamid Drake) get OUT and take you on their journey to the other side – the OUTSIDE ! “Onslaught” smashes the sonic barrier.
3w: Massive Memento Maelstrom
– Outlier

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