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Everything posted by 7/4

  1. Hermeto Pascoal

    October 29, 2004 Brazilian Jazz Master Begins U.S. Tour By LARRY ROHTER/NYTimes RIO DE JANEIRO - Miles Davis used to call him "that crazy albino," but the composer and versatile instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal never took offense. Here at home he was already known as "the mad genius of Brazilian popular music" and "the sorcerer," so one more gruffly affectionate nickname could only burnish his reputation as an eccentric prodigy. Describing Mr. Pascoal's music, on the other hand, has always proved a much harder task. Though Mr. Pascoal and his quintet are scheduled to perform in the Jazz at Lincoln Center series tonight and tomorrow, the start of a rare United States tour that will continue into next month, he admits that he would feel just as comfortable playing with a symphony orchestra or at a backwoods hillbilly dance. "I'm 68 years old, and to this day, even I have never been able to define the type of music that I play," said Mr. Pascoal, who favors the piano but is conversant in a dazzling variety of instruments, in an interview before a performance here this month. "I'm a jazz musician when I play jazz. It's part, a strong part, of my music. But it's just one of the things I do, not the only thing." To the jazz luminaries Mr. Pascoal has worked with over the years, ranging from Davis to Ron Carter and Cannonball Adderley, it scarcely matters how his music is labeled. These days Mr. Pascoal's influence is especially strong among younger players, who search out vinyl pressings of his old albums and admire the complexity of the harmonies in his orchestral arrangements and the playful unpredictability of his compositions. "He's one of my all-time favorite composers, and I've turned a lot of cats onto him," the trumpet player Nicholas Payton said in a telephone interview from his home in New Orleans. "He is so far ahead that it has taken this long for people to catch up with him and for him to get the exposure he deserves." One of the things that make Mr. Pascoal so compelling, Mr. Payton added, is that "he's very contemporary, yet very rooted." As Mr. Payton put it, "he's not afraid to take chances, he's wild, he'll do anything, yet what inspires me is that even when he is at is his most abstract, you can feel those Brazilian rhythms, that connection to the core of his culture, in his music." But increasingly, Mr. Pascoal's appeal also extends beyond the jazz world. Orchestral pieces he composed have been performed in Europe and Latin America, and the Kronos Quartet commissioned and has long played a high-energy composition of Mr. Pascoal's, "Marcando Tempo," after being impressed by one of his United States performances in the 1980's. "I don't know if it's a fair comparison, but someone similar in American music might be Charles Ives," said the violinist David Harrington, a founder of the quartet. "Hermeto is creative in the most fundamental and invigorating kind of way, with an expansive imagination like a child's, a hugeness about his sources of inspiration and a vibrant curiosity about sound, a feeling that anywhere we are, there are sounds going on that can become part of musical experiences." Born in the poor northeast Brazilian state of Alagoas, Mr. Pascoal was drawn to what he calls "the sacred beauty and openness of music" at an early age. But because of the visual problems associated with being an albino, he found that music teachers were unwilling to take him on as a pupil, telling him that he would not be able to read or write scores. As a result, he had to learn to play instruments on his own and is, in his own words, "completely self-taught." He started at age 7 with the accordion, which he played at back-country dances and then, after moving to the urban hub of Recife as a teenager, on radio programs. "We had nothing out there in the bush, not a radio or a piano or anything else, so I felt like an orphan," he recalled. "Until I was 14, I played mostly for the animals, and that experience is part of my essence." By the start of the bossa nova era, however, Mr. Pascoal had made his way here and found work both as a player and arranger. He spent much of the 1960's in a band with the percussionist Airto Moreira, playing a mixture of samba, bossa nova and jazz. It was around 1970, on his first trip to the United States, that Mr. Pascoal met Davis. Mr. Moreira, by then a member of the Davis group, had asked his former bandmate to write songs and arrangements for an album that he planned to record, but when Mr. Davis heard the songs that Mr. Pascoal had written, he wanted not only to go into the studio and record them with Mr. Pascoal but also have "the crazy albino" join his touring band as a pianist. Mr. Pascoal turned down the offer to go on the road with Davis, but two of his compositions, "Igrejinha" and "Nem Um Talvez," ended up being included on Davis's groundbreaking "Live Evil" album. Originally credited to Davis, their authorship was restored to Mr. Pascoal after a long struggle, but nowadays they once again appear as Davis's compositions, which means Mr. Pascoal is no longer getting the publishing royalties on his compositions. "That's the fault of the record company, not Miles," he said. "He and I had a very spiritual friendship, and he always looked out for me. Once he even took me to see his doctor and told him in that hoarse voice of his to 'take good care of this guy, he's a genius.' '' Critics here and in the United States have also likened Mr. Pascoal to Frank Zappa. Both men show a fondness for triplet figures, dense orchestrations and rapidly shifting melodic lines in their work, though Mr. Pascoal, who for many years did not even own a record player, said he had never heard any of Zappa's music. "Everybody makes that comparison, but I always take care not to listen too much to music, so as not to be influenced by others," he said. "I don't even listen to my own music that much, because if I did I would repeat myself." Like Mr. Zappa, Mr. Pascoal is famous for his long and demanding rehearsals. Often, he requires band members to switch instruments, so that they acquire more versatility and a greater appreciation for the structure of the pieces they are playing. "We had to learn these extremely intricate, harmonically challenging parts, so we would practice five days a week, rain or shine, for six hours a day," said Jovino Santos Neto, a Brazilian pianist who played in Mr. Pascoal's band for 15 years and now lives and works in Seattle. "He knows how to dish out the challenges to each player, a little beyond what you can do, but not so far that you can't eventually reach it." Mr. Pascoal himself sets a high standard as an instrumentalist. He plays piano, saxophone, guitar, flute, accordion and an assortment of percussion instruments, some of which he has invented himself. "The instrument I like most is whatever instrument I happen to be playing at the moment," he said. "But if God said you could choose only one to play, I'd take the piano, because it contains everything within it, melody, harmony and rhythm, and is the father of all instruments." Deeply spiritual, believing that "music is prayer," Mr. Pascoal is also a prolific composer who sometimes "writes songs down on napkins" when he doesn't have sheet music at hand. In one memorable exercise, published in book form as "Calendario do Som," he wrote a song every day for a year, finishing shortly after a performance at Central Park on June 21, 1997, the last time he recalls playing in New York City. "The key to being able to compose is never to do anything in a premeditated fashion but to give yourself up to the moment, to intuition and the energy that is out there," he said. "You don't have to believe this if you don't want, but when I'm composing, I feel other composers who have already gone to heaven approaching me," from Chopin and Mozart to Thelonious Monk and Davis. Among musicians, stories about Mr. Pascoal's ability to discern music in everything are legion. Once, while recording the album "Slaves Mass" in the 1970's, he took a pair of pigs into the studio and "played" them as if they were bagpipes, while on another occasion he taped a radio soccer announcer narrating a goal being scored and wrote a song based on the rhythms and tone of his speech. "Music is the expression of something that flows through Hermeto 24/7," Mr. Santos said. "Being around him is like being near a waterfall. Whether he is talking, composing or performing, something is going on all the time."
  2. Frank Zappa

    Five Zappa Songs For People Who Don’t Get Zappa * new thread because I can't find the old one, I KNOW there's an old thread.
  3. Evan Parker

    The two I have are Chicago Solo and Conic Sections. Both are solo saxophone discs that I'm rediscovering after they went missing my apt. for a few years. I'll have to pick up more next time I'm in NYC.
  4. Sonny Sharrock

    Happy Birthday Sonny Sharrock (August 27, 1940 – May 26, 1994). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonny_Sharrock
  5. Igor Stravinsky

    This is a massive 22 disc box including the Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky recordings on Sony. I know we've discussed this box elsewhere, but here's a link to a page with the tack listing.
  6. Kidd Jordan

    June 13, 2008 Music Review | Kidd Jordan A Sax Man of Distinction and That Vision Thing By NATE CHINEN To the extent that the tenor saxophonist Kidd Jordan is known in the general jazz world, he’s known as a New Orleans patriarch and educator. Dig deeper and you might also hear about his long, eclectic career as a sideman and his role in inspiring the formation of both the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the World Saxophone Quartet. But Mr. Jordan, 73, has never made much of a dent as a solo artist, and he still doesn’t have an entry in “The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz” (Oxford). None of which should be seen as a reflection of Mr. Jordan’s prowess, or his prominence among a certain adventurous subspecies of jazz fan. At the Vision Festival, held annually on the Lower East Side, he commands a sort of veneration. On Wednesday at the Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center, the festival devoted a full evening of programming to Mr. Jordan, bestowing what it calls a lifetime recognition honor. And he earned that distinction, playing hard in four ensembles and presiding over a fifth, in a room that might charitably be described as ventilation challenged. The group that didn’t include Mr. Jordan was a sextet featuring two of his accomplished sons: Marlon, a trumpeter, and Kent, a flutist. Their set, atypical for the festival, involved post-bop standards by John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. In terms of content and execution, it would have suited a Midtown jazz club. Every ensemble featuring Mr. Jordan, by contrast, knocked about in the realm of free improvisation. He’s a master of that tradition, one of a handful of saxophonists of his generation to absorb the breakthroughs of his contemporaries Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, not just as a shock but also as a spur. His technique has the capacity to astonish, especially in the altissimo range. But he works to ensure that the technical takes a backseat to the soulful. That much was clear in the first of his two sets with William Parker on bass and Hamid Drake on drums, the same partners as on “Palm of Soul” (AUM Fidelity), one of Mr. Jordan’s few available albums. During one heated stretch, he engaged in a strident back-and-forth with the violinist Billy Bang; during another, he took the horn out of his mouth and called out exhortations. He seemed just as committed to a quintet with Mr. Parker, the trumpeter Clyde Kerr, the pianist Joel Futterman and the drummer Gerald Cleaver. His rapport with Mr. Futterman in particular — they have recorded together — was striking. Earlier he had struggled to find the right chemistry with another strong pianist, Dave Burrell. But the set with Mr. Burrell had also presented Mr. Jordan with an intuitive foil, the baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett. Their dual improvisation kept returning to the substance of a spiritual, with rewarding results. A similar thing happened in the evening’s exquisite finale: Mr. Jordan locked horns with Fred Anderson, a fellow tenor and former Vision Festival honoree. As on the album “2 Days in April” (Eremite), recorded in 1999, they dug in deeply with Mr. Parker and Mr. Drake. But first there was a conversational prelude, in which the two saxophonists tossed phrases back and forth, rejoicing and rejoindering with a mischievous secret wisdom.
  7. October 7, 2007 Music to Brood by, Desolate and Stark By SIMON REYNOLDS, NYT THE mystique surrounding Joy Division has always been way out of proportion to its record sales. Far bigger bands, like the Clash and Pink Floyd, are still waiting for their biopics, but this post-punk cult band from Manchester, England, has two to its name. The first, the bright, hyper-active “24 Hour Party People,” from 2002, couldn’t be further in mood from the lustrous monochrome and stillness of the new film, “Control.” “Party People” wasn’t entirely devoted to Joy Division. (The lead character was Tony Wilson, Factory Records’ co-founder and a patron and champion of the band.) But it’s hard to imagine that movie getting made without the aura and international name recognition supplied by the band and its doomed frontman, Ian Curtis. The Joy Division legend is based partly on the enigma of Mr. Curtis and his dramatic exit in 1980, a suicide that terminated the band’s life, too. (Its members had vowed to drop the name if any member quit.) But it’s also founded on the power and originality of Joy Division’s music. Listening to the band’s two studio albums, “Unknown Pleasures” (1979) and “Closer” (1980), which will be reissued on Oct. 30 by Rhino, what’s most striking is how harsh the music is. This is a sound with the mettle to match the unflinching view of the human condition presented by Mr. Curtis’s lyrics. Bernard Sumner’s guitar sounds as if it has been chipped out of granite; Peter Hook’s bass playing is fluent but unyielding, like steel cable. In performance, as documented on the live recordings packaged with these reissues, Joy Division’s dense assault approaches heavy metal. But its studio music was stark and desolate, permeated with a cavernous spatiality courtesy of the brilliantly inventive producer Martin Hannett. Joy Division’s unsettling combination of the visceral and the ethereal has hooked generation after generation of listeners. New Order, the more commercially palatable and dance-oriented (yet still angst-tinged) outfit that the band became after Mr. Curtis’s death, has helped maintain Joy Division’s profile. As with the Velvet Underground, Joy Division’s name has been kept alive by the vastly more successful groups it influenced, like U2 and the Cure, which have paid it public tribute. Joy Division helped spawn the Goth movement (countless sepulchral singers have copied Mr. Curtis’s doomy baritone drone), and you can spot its stray chromosomes popping up everywhere from emo to the more melancholy strains of metal. Most recently, Joy Division-indebted outfits like Interpol, Bloc Party and Editors have refocused attention on post-punk, that late 1970s, early ’80s era of musical experimentalism and lyrical innovation in which Joy Division assumed a central role. Crucial to Joy Division’s allure is Mr. Curtis’s bleak glamour. There were a relatively small number of photographs taken of him (many by Anton Corbijn, the director of “Control”), keeping his charisma — the faraway eyes, the Eastern bloc image of long gray raincoat and short hair — ageless in black and white. And his lyrics boasted an unusual combination of unflowery directness and mysterious poetic depths: “A cry for help, a hint of anesthesia/The sound from broken homes” (from “Colony”). Mr. Curtis’s despair has a perennial appeal to sensitive teenagers confronting for the first time the possibility that life is meaningless. At some point between “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer,” fans and critics began to treat Mr. Curtis like a seer: a New Wave equivalent to Jim Morrison, but with the balance shifted from Eros to Thanatos. (The Joy Division songbook is remarkably devoid of sex, not to mention humor.) Then Mr. Curtis’s suicide transformed him into something like a martyr. This notion of singer as fallen savior was played up in Mr. Corbijn’s 1988 video for the re-released single “Atmosphere,” in which a procession of cowled monks carry a gigantic photograph of Mr. Curtis. “Control” resembles an expanded remix of that black and white, Bergmanesque clip. But a full-length movie can’t rely on the power of pure imagery the way a video can. Mr. Corbijn obviously needed to somehow “explain” Joy Division. One approach he might have taken would be to situate the band’s music as the product of a time and place: late-’70s Manchester, a declining industrial city in the rainy, grey-skied northwest of England, its landscape blighted with derelict factories and cleared lots. But “Control,” for all its unstinting attention to period detail, barely mentions the group’s sociopolitical context. Instead Mr. Corbijn opts for biography, presenting Mr. Curtis’s increasingly out-of-control life — his disintegrating marriage and a guilt-racked affair, the conflicting pressures of impending fame and a rapidly deteriorating epileptic condition — as the truth behind Joy Division’s songs. All this makes for a compelling story, but it has distinct limits as a prism for understanding Joy Division’s music. Mr. Curtis’s songs are existential rather than autobiographical. Rarely straightforwardly drawn from his life, his lyrics strip away the everyday details that observational songwriters use to impart a sense of lived reality. In his songs, ordinary life achieves an epic grandeur (hence their perennial fit with the wounded narcissism of adolescence). But there’s no bombast or emotional theatrics; instead there’s a modernist starkness as pared down as a Samuel Beckett play. These lyrics are all the more effective framed by music that has the hard-rocking power of the Stooges but is too repressed to actually rock out. Another problem with tying Joy Division’s impact to the specifics of Mr. Curtis’s life is that during the group’s lifetime, hardly any of it was public knowledge. Few outside the Factory Records milieu were aware of his marital problems. It’s only since the publication of “Touching From a Distance,” the 1995 memoir by his widow, Deborah Curtis, on which “Control” is largely based, that his personal trials have become widely known. The foundations of the group’s enduring cult were laid during a 15-year period in which Mr. Curtis really was an enigma. Yet there’s one crucial factor mentioned in “Touching From a Distance” that “Control” strangely ignores: Mr. Curtis’s romantic fascination with rock stars who died young. In the book Ms. Curtis writes that her husband told her he had “no intention of living beyond his early 20s.” This apparent death wish suggests that amid the depression and confusion, there was an aesthetic component to his fatal decision. From his teenage infatuation with glam rock to the attention he paid to record design, Mr. Curtis appreciated the power of gesture. Because his suicide preceded the release of “Closer,” it determined the album’s immediate reception and its long-term resonance. (In “The Eternal,” the narrator watches a funeral procession — his own?) It could be that Mr. Curtis planned it that way. He played a major role in choosing the album’s cover, a photograph of a sculpture tableau in a cemetery of the dead Christ surrounded by mourners. At some gut level, Mr. Curtis understood that rock is all about myth. From the start, he was driven by a fierce ambition to become precisely the kind of edge-walking rock shaman that he ended his life as. The manner of that ending sealed the deal, giving Joy Division’s music an appalling gravity and — for better or worse — an undeniable authenticity. Joy Division assimilated the desolation of its environment and the dislocation of its era and gave it a somber glamour. The barren beauty of that landscape of sound captured how lots of people felt at that late-’70s moment: the dawn of the Thatcher-Reagan era, a freshly frigid cold war with renewed anxiety about Armageddon. But tension and dread are far more the norm than the exception, which perhaps explains the time-defying and endlessly renewing appeal of Joy Division.
  8. Anthony Braxton

    I have a reasonable collection of Braxton disks, but I haven't really listened to a lot of them in years. Some favorites that stand out: The Arista recordings (except For Four Orchestras, I'll have to revisit that someday). Piano Music (Notated) 1968-1988, Quartet (Dortmond) 1976, Quartet (Santa Cruz) 1993, Quintet (Basel) 1977: all on the Hat *** label. The Creative Music Orchestra disks: Creative Orchestra Music 1976 (Arista/RCA BLUEBIRD), Creative Music Orchestra (Koln) 1978 (Hat Art) and Eugene (1989) (Black Saint). That's it for now, more in the future.
  9. McCoy Tyner has died, aged 81

    An important bit of jazz history has left us. I like what Jim Alfredson said on FB: "A master has left us. RIP McCoy Tyner. There is jazz piano before McCoy and jazz piano after McCoy."
  10. Tower Records

    It was called Other Music.
  11. Lyle Mays, R.I.P. (1953–2020)

    One of my first ECM albums was Watercolors (1977), also his first Pat Metheny album. A huge impact from an album rarely mentioned. Usually folks mention the white PMG album. "a recurring illness" might explain why he retired from music and the road early, a lesson in impermanence for us all.
  12. Happy Birthday 7/4!

    I feel old, thanks for remembering!
  13. Emil Richards 1932-2019

    He showed up on my microtonal radar, all my friends in LA knew him. RIP
  14. Wayne Shorter on Twitter

    Makes twitter interesting!
  15. I think D Holland is always off to something else since the big band. Uncharted Territories with Evan Parker was real good.
  16. Paul Bley's Daughter dies in car crash

    awful. George Crumb's daughter Ann passed away a few days ago too.
  17. The guitar corner

    My most recent acquisition, an used Epiphone Joe Pass, made in Korea. I have guitars, but I don't own an archtop. Just picked it up last week. Note autographed photo of Robert Fripp on the wall.
  18. John Cage

    There used to be a John Cage thread...it must have been deleted. Anyway...here's a version of .
  19. The guitar corner

    I did for years...all gone now. I grew up in North Brunswick.
  20. The guitar corner

    City Lights in New Brunswick, NJ? I used to drop in there quite a bit. I must have bought something there, maybe an Epiphone Granada.
  21. Do you wear a watch?

    probably not in 10-15 years. I use my phone.
  22. Frank Zappa

    Family needs money, bad!
  23. Matt Mitchell

    Snakeoil and his own albums. .