Music Reviews

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

Reed, Michael & Peter Pan Orch – “Tubby the Tuba ” – [Synthetic Plastics Co.]

David Richoux   1/16/2005   7-inch, B Library

This is not actually ‘Tubby The Tuba? but more of a copyright skirting song ABOUT the song ‘Tubby the Tuba.’ A 1960 release by kiddie music rip-off artists Michael Reed and the internationally infamous Peter Pan Orchestra. A bit scuffed and scratchy, but fun/stupid. Flip side is not much better… The REAL ‘Tubby? was written by George Kleinsinger in 1946 with lyrics by Paul Tripp – first of 4 different Tubby episodes (Circus Band, Jazz Band and Further Adventures of Tubby – with a marching band!) and has been performed by such greats as Danny Kaye, Annette, Julia Child – and all four were done recently by The Manhattan Transfer.
Tuba players do this at gunpoint (or for big piles of money) but it has stereotyped the instrument worse than any other song I can think of! *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 – “Imom Bilde ” – [None (It’s a Cart!)]

Studebaker Hawk   1/16/2005   A Library

We got this from Craig Bork 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

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