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Awhile back Mark Stryker posted some of his vintage reviews that I enjoyed immensely. So, I figured, why not? Perhaps a thread dedicated to this idea might be fun. So haul out the brickbats and flamethrowers boys and girls... Seriously though, I'd be interested in responses both positive and negative. And it would be interesting if other folks who have published reviews that might not be generally available would chip in their contributions.

CD reviews, LP reviews, concert reviews, festival reviews...

To kick it off here's one of my personal favorites of the ones that I've written for Signal to Noise. The layout is as-printed. I didn't monkey with it and break it up into paragraphs although I was sorely tempted to do so. It will probably be immediately obvious that Vonski is one of my favorite musicians too.

_________________________________________________

Von Freeman

Live at the Dakota

Premonition 90750

When Chicago tenorman Von Freeman visited Minnesota's Twin Cities in the spring of 1998, the stars and planets must have been in salutary conjunction, as the vibe on this live recording is unfailingly right. He was abetted by one of the region's finest rhythm sections on this two-night stand (April 30th and May 1st) at The Dakota Bar and Grill in Saint Paul: Bobby Peterson, piano; Terry Burns, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. The hoary standard "Bye Bye Blackbird" kicks things off at a blistering pace, with Freeman stating the melody eloquently in two registers, and offering sly rhythmic displacements, before taking off on a vibrant vertical volley of a solo, his broad tone and audacious ideas providing an aural amalgam of the brawny Windy City tenor tradition. The continuum is evident in Freeman's sinewy sound and igneous drive. Although he has usually worked within the strictures of American popular songs and jazz standards, his early free playing and later embracement of the AACM are also abundantly apparent in unconventional note choices, frequently seeming a precursor to Joe Maneri's microtonal ministrations. There's a warm spoken introduction to "Crazy She Calls Me" that shows his side as a smooth showman. Freeman's ballad performances tend to strip away all artifice, reaching down to the emotional core of a song, dredging for its essence. If Billie Holiday had played the tenor saxophone, this is how she might have sounded. Peterson also takes a lucid solo here. When this was cut, the Ellington centennial was fast approaching, and next are three pieces from the Ducal canon. Billy Strayhorn's "My Little Brown Book" is a solo saxophone tour de force that hints at a Sonny Rollins calypso for a few seconds before floating rubato to a serene but strong conclusion. "Caravan" has an ominous, teasing intro that stretches the theme like taffy before settling into a torrid up-tempo. "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me" is relaxed and heartfelt, developing a bluesy swagger amidst Freeman's hortatory asides. Wayne Shorter's "Footprints" provides some of the brightest moments herein, with Freeman's unique timbre and violent contrasts in volume, coloration and register pushing this jazz standard onto heretofore-unknown paths. After piano, bass and drum solos, he returns with a gargled vocal exhortation then mimicked by a spectral tenor entrance that literally raises goosebumps. "Blues for Sunnyland" is Freeman's tribute to his former employer, the great blues singer Sunnyland Slim. It's about as grits 'n' greens greasy as a slow blues can get. Testify, Vonski, testify!

©2001

Bill Barton/Signal to Noise

Published in Issue 23 STN (Fall 2001)

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Good idea, Bill. And that review is interesting to me because it mentions a pianist, Bobby Peterson.

I've got a 45 by a pianist called Bobby Peterson - "Rockin' Charlie" pts 1 & 2, which was issued on the V-Tone label, in the early-mid sixties. Is this possibly the same guy?

MG

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Good idea, Bill. And that review is interesting to me because it mentions a pianist, Bobby Peterson.

I've got a 45 by a pianist called Bobby Peterson - "Rockin' Charlie" pts 1 & 2, which was issued on the V-Tone label, in the early-mid sixties. Is this possibly the same guy?

MG

The Bobby Peterson you mention was from Chester PA and had an R&B with "Irresistible You" hit (later also a hit for Bobby Darin). I doubt if it's the same guy. He pretty much stayed in Chester the rest of his career.

I really like these old reviews.

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Good idea, Bill. And that review is interesting to me because it mentions a pianist, Bobby Peterson.

I've got a 45 by a pianist called Bobby Peterson - "Rockin' Charlie" pts 1 & 2, which was issued on the V-Tone label, in the early-mid sixties. Is this possibly the same guy?

MG

The Bobby Peterson you mention was from Chester PA and had an R&B with "Irresistible You" hit (later also a hit for Bobby Darin). I doubt if it's the same guy. He pretty much stayed in Chester the rest of his career.

I really like these old reviews.

Ah, right. V-Tone was a Philly label, so I guess that pins it. Thanks Harold.

MG

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Great idea for a thread Bill. You know I credit you with starting my Von Freeman obsession. Maybe if I get a little confidence I will post one of my reviews that has been published by Jazz Improv.

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Stereo Review - March 1998

DAVID MURRAY:
Fo Deuk Revue
.

JUSTIN TIME 94

* * * *

This is an odd release, a fusion of American jazz and pop with current West African sounds. Murray’s pinched tenor notes are effective on “Blue Muse,” the opening track, but Amiri Baraka’s shouting poetry recital on “Evidence” is timeworn, I’m afraid. I find the opening of “One World Family,” which seems to be about chicken (but probably isn’t) hard to digest, but it improves, and even the rap segment is made palatable by Murray’s orchestration. On the other hand, the rap piece, “Too Many Hungry People,” is delivered a la mode without imagination. A prepossessing, hypnotic “Chant Africain” modulates into a passage that has Murray’s tenor riding expressively over a rich texture of rhythm and voices, but it is slightly marred by the interjection of a trite (albeit brief) political statement. To my ears, the most satisfying tracks are “Abdoul Aziz Sy” and “Thilo,” both presumably sung by Tidiane Gaye (the notes avoid such details as who performs what, where). It all adds up to a sometimes chaotic, sometimes monotonous, but often ambrosial mix of musical cultures.
C.A.

This is interesting, too. I have Tidiane Gaye's first album ("Waxonalako", 1997) as a leader of his own band ("Le Dieuf-Dieul") in which he sings "Abdul Aziz". Never knew he'd been involved in projects like this one beforehand.

MG

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Downbeat January 22, 1931

Armstrong Shines: But What's Next?

by Allen Lowe; New York City

Satchmo's latest swings, but where does jazz go from here? Maybe Count Basie should take over the Bennie Moten band. Or Duke should hire some new guys (I heard some real swingers a few weeks ago in a Harlem jam session; memo to Duke: Look up this new guy Cootie Williams - not to mention little Johnny Hodges). But still, that begs the questions - what will they call the new music? What will it BE, and will it BOP?

Edited by AllenLowe

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Down Beat, Caught in the Act, Autumn 1969, Plugged Nickel

Outside of Charlie Parker’s best units, I don’t think there’s ever been a group so at ease at up tempos as Miles Davis’s current quintet. Their relaxation at top speed enables them to move at will from the “hotness” up-tempo playing usually implies to a serene lyricism in the midst of turmoil.

This “inside-out” quality arises from the nature of human hearing, since, at a certain point, musical speed becomes slow motion or stillness (in the same way the eye reacts to a stroboscope). Yet the group doesn’t move into circular rhythms whole¬sale. They generally stay right on the edge, and, when the rhythm does seem ready to spin endlessly like a Tibetan prayer wheel, one prodding note from Davis or Shorter is enough to send them hurtling into “our” time world, where speed means forward motion.

Recent changes in the group’s personnel and instrumentation have had important effects. Chick Corea is playing electric piano, and while this move may have been prompted by the variable nature of club pianos, Corea has made a virtue of necessity, discovering many useful qualities in the instrument. In backing the horns, its ability to sustain notes and produce a wide range of sonorities frees Holland and DeJohnette from these roles. Corea is now the principal pattern maker in the rhythm section, a task to which Ron Carter and Tony Williams previously had given much attention. As a soloist, Corea has found a biting, nasal quality in the instrument that can be very propulsive. I heard a number of first sets, and each time it seemed that the rhythm section really got together for the night during Corea’s solo on the first tune.

As mentioned above, Holland and DeJohnette don’t often set up the stop-and-go interludes of Carter and Williams. Instead, they burn straight ahead, creating a deep, luxurious groove for the soloists. Holland is as fast as anyone on the instrument, but it is the melodic and harmonic quality of his bass lines one re¬members, as cohesive and austere as Lennie Tristano’s. Shorter, in particular, responds to this kind of musical thought, because it so closely resembles his own. At times it seems as if he and Holland could improvise in unison if they wished. Tony Williams had a greater range of timbres and moods under control than DeJohnette does, but the latter is just right for this group. He sounds something like Elvin Jones with a lighter touch, and he really loves to swing in a bashing, exuberant manner.

Wayne Shorter’s approach to improvisa¬tion, in which emotion is simultaneously expressed and “discussed” (i.e., spontaneously found motifs are worked out to their farthest implications with an eyes-open, conscious control), has a great appeal for me. The busyness and efficiency of a man at work can have an abstract beauty apart from the task. Of course, Shorter’s playing has more overt emotional qualities of tenderness or passion which can give pleasure to the listener.

The problem with such an approach lies in keeping inspiration open and fresh, maintaining a balance between spontaneity and control. Here, Shorter’s recent adoption of the soprano saxophone is interesting. A master craftsman of the tenor, he already has great technical control of the second instrument, and its newness seems to have opened areas of emotion for him on both horns. Often, while Davis solos, one can see Shorter hesitate between the soprano and tenor before deciding which to play. It’s a fruitful kind of indecision. Shorter once referred to his soprano as “the baby”, and I think I know what he meant.

About Davis there’s not much new to say, except to note that he is to some degree responsible for every virtue of the group’s members mentioned above, and that he uses all of them to achieve the effects he wants. He is the leader in the best sense of the term. Playing almost constantly at the limit of his great ability, he inspires the others by his example. There is no shucking in this band, and if Davis occasionally is less than serious in his improvising, as he was one night on “Milestones,” mocking the symmetrical grace of his mid-fifties style, one soon realizes that he is serious after all.

With this version of the Miles Davis Quintet, one aspect of jazz has been brought to a degree of ripeness that has few parallels in the history of the music. Now let’s hope that Davis and Columbia decide to record the group in person.

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Chick Corea is playing electric piano, and while this move may have been prompted by the variable nature of club pianos, Corea has made a virtue of necessity, discovering many useful qualities in the instrument.

Thanks for this Larry. So was MDs slide to all things electric motivated by necessity rather than artistry. Any further thoughts on this. From this end of history the electric piano here seems very deliberate.

I suppose Gerry Mulligan's quartet is the best example of necessity producing a change in artistic direction, there must be others....

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Chick Corea is playing electric piano, and while this move may have been prompted by the variable nature of club pianos, Corea has made a virtue of necessity, discovering many useful qualities in the instrument.

Thanks for this Larry. So was MDs slide to all things electric motivated by necessity rather than artistry. Any further thoughts on this. From this end of history the electric piano here seems very deliberate.

I suppose Gerry Mulligan's quartet is the best example of necessity producing a change in artistic direction, there must be others....

Lester Young's switching to tenor as the other guys got the chicks while he was putting away his drums? :)

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Let's keep it real, Allen. I wasn't going to post another review quite yet, but I thought I'd get the thread back on track. :)

Stereo Review - January 1977

The Extraordinary Stevie Wonder

Patti Page was waltzing—Tennessee style—off the charts and Les Paul and Mary Ford were giving us
How High the Moon
in the second week of May 1951 when Stevland Morris was born. Few black artists had access to the national charts in those days, though much of the music that did make it was directly traceable to black roots. Twelve years later, when Stevland—as Little Stevie Wonder—made his vinyl debut with
I Call it Pretty Music
, Ruby and the Romantics topped the charts briefly with a “soul version” of
Our Day Will Come
, but in the main the radio stations—the holders of the keys—locked most black artists out in favor of white derivatives.
I Call It Pretty Music
didn’t make any of the charts, but it gained Stevie Wonder some attention and marked the start of an illustrious career that has made the blind singer something of a cult figure, one whose record releases are as eagerly awaited by black people as Bob Dylan’s used to be by white people. And if Wonder’s youth and blindness were factors contributing to his early success, genuine artistry has long since taken over.

By the end of 1963, more singles—most notably
Fingertips
—and an album entitled “Twelve-Year-Old Genius” had endeared Little Stevie Wonder to a vast, mostly black audience. Packaged and choreographed in characteristic Motown fashion, he became a headliner on the soul circuit, playing the harmonica and singing about puppy love. By the end of the Sixties, Wonder had emerged as Motown’s most original property, with a string of hits including
Uptight
(1966),
I Was Made to Love Her
(1967),
You Met Your Match
(1968), and
For Once in My Life
and
My Cherie Almour
(1969). As these songs attest, Stevie Wonder—no longer “Little”—developed tremendously as an artist between 1963 and 1969, but he was to grow even more with the arrival of a new decade.

Unlike many Motown acts, Wonder resisted regimentation and consistently expanded his horizons. After studying composition and theory at the University of Southern California, he began to reveal in his music, if not his lyrics, a degree of sophistication and maturity that belied his tender age. No longer restricted to three-minute chart contenders, his compositions became longer and more complex, and with his 1971 release of the album “Where I’m Coming From” (Tamla TS 308) he reached a turning point similar to that which the Beatles had previously marked with their “Revolver” album. Subsequent album releases—”Talking Book” (1972), “Innervisions” (1973), and “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” (1974)—put Stevie Wonder in a class by himself, gained him a more mature audience, and won him the respect of an industry that in 1974 awarded him four Grammys.

The release of a new Stevie Wonder album came to be looked upon as a special event, but all of 1975 and most of 1976 went by without a release from the Wunderkind, which of course considerably heightened the amount of attention given to his new “Songs in the Key of Life” when it finally saw daylight recently. Was it worth the wait? Well, perhaps the question should be, is it worth the weight? The album contains twenty-one songs totaling one hour, forty-four minutes, and thirty-eight seconds of playing time; they are spread over two twelve-inch and one seven-inch 33 1/3-rpm discs. That is a generous portion by anybody’s standards, but one that is praiseworthy only if the material presented on all that vinyl warrants so much of one’s time. In this case it doesn’t.

Let me point out right away that I
am
a Stevie Wonder fan, in fact, I went out and bought this album as soon as it became available, and buying albums is something people on my end of the record business rarely do. Though I confess to being disappointed, I must add that I don’t feel the expenditure was it total waste—the album, besides representing the latest work of an important artist, does contain material of musical value, and I would have bought it even had I been given the opportunity to hear it beforehand. Starting at the top of the program, side one provided me with my first disappointments.
Village Ghetto Land
attempts, in semi-baroque Beatles fashion, a social comment, but it is on an embarrassing high-school level; an instrumental aptly named
Confusion
sounds like a bad Weather Report out-take;
Sir Duke
seems to have something to do with Ellington, Basie, (Glenn?) Miller, and someone the printed lyrics call Sachimo
(sic)
; and there are two other songs of Love and God that are best forgotten.
I Wish
, a highly rhythmic, catchy recollection of childhood, starts off the second side in a more promising vein, but, with the exception of that and
Past Paradise
—featuring the twenty-four voices of a Hare Krishna chorus and the West Los Angeles Church of God Choir—this side, too, is dispensable.

The Wonder of the Sixties opens side three with
Isn’t She Lovely
—and she would be, if she didn’t go on so interminably. There follows a mildly interesting six and a half minutes called
Joy Inside My Tears
, but it is followed by a wretched eight and a half minutes of
Black Man
. This pits no less than forty-three vocal participants against one of those “we-all-must-live-together” message songs; the theme is tiresomely common. and this example is among the worst examples. Much has been said and written lately about pop lyrics as “poetry,” but reading Wonder’s lyrics in the accompanying booklet I was struck by their puerility—and they do seem to be a little worse this time around. However, Stevie Wonder usually manages to rise above even the most inane lyrics, so their inadequacy is less noticeable in the listening.

The song
As
here must be considered Wonder’s piece de resistance, for it is a marvelously infectious, exciting song that will surely be remembered long after most of the others are forgotten. It leads right into
Another Star
, a spirited song of love—and here Stevie Wonder’s new album finally comes alive. But look, we’ve reached the end of side four, and, though there is something arresting about the tango rhythm of
Ebony Eyes
(one of the four selections on the seven-inch “bonus record”), the party is, I’m afraid, over.

In the final analysis, “Songs in the Key of Life” is a disappointment, but bear in mind that we have come to expect the extraordinary from Stevie Wonder. If this album does not live up to expectations, much of it is still noteworthy when measured against most of the other pop offerings of the day. The ingredients for an exceptional single album are here, but like its accompanying booklet (on one page alone 176 people are acknowledged by name) this latest Stevie Wonder offering is marred by excess. —
Chris Albertson

STEVIE WONDER:
Songs in the Key of Life
.
Stevie Wonder (lead vocals, keyboards, and harmonica); various musicians, including Hank Redd (reeds). Bobbi Humphrey (flute), Herbie Hancock and Ronnie Foster (keyboards), George Benson (guitar).
Love’s in Need of Love Today; Have a Talk with God; Village Ghetto Land; Confusion; Sir Duke; Wish; Knocks Me Off My Feet; Pastime Paradise; Summer Soft; Ordinary Pain; Isn’t She Lovely; Joy Inside My Tears; Black Man; Ngiculela—Es Una Historia—I Am Singing; If It’s Magic; As; Another Star; Saturn; Ebony Eyes; All Day Sucker; Easy Goin’ Evening (My Mama’s Call).
TAMLA T13-340C2 two twelve-inch discs plus one seven-inch 33 1/3-rpm “bonus” record 513.98, 8 T1S-340ET $15.98, OT15-340EC $15.98.

Chris, This is really interesting, as the album was later thought of as a great triumph by many listeners, a real classic. I heard it so many times at people's houses in that era that all of the songs are burned into my memory. Your negative comments about several of the songs are right on the money.

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Down Beat, Caught in the Act, Autumn 1969, Plugged Nickel

Outside of Charlie Parker’s best units, I don’t think there’s ever been a group so at ease at up tempos as Miles Davis’s current quintet. Their relaxation at top speed enables them to move at will from the “hotness” up-tempo playing usually implies to a serene lyricism in the midst of turmoil.

This “inside-out” quality arises from the nature of human hearing, since, at a certain point, musical speed becomes slow motion or stillness (in the same way the eye reacts to a stroboscope). Yet the group doesn’t move into circular rhythms whole¬sale. They generally stay right on the edge, and, when the rhythm does seem ready to spin endlessly like a Tibetan prayer wheel, one prodding note from Davis or Shorter is enough to send them hurtling into “our” time world, where speed means forward motion.

Recent changes in the group’s personnel and instrumentation have had important effects. Chick Corea is playing electric piano, and while this move may have been prompted by the variable nature of club pianos, Corea has made a virtue of necessity, discovering many useful qualities in the instrument. In backing the horns, its ability to sustain notes and produce a wide range of sonorities frees Holland and DeJohnette from these roles. Corea is now the principal pattern maker in the rhythm section, a task to which Ron Carter and Tony Williams previously had given much attention. As a soloist, Corea has found a biting, nasal quality in the instrument that can be very propulsive. I heard a number of first sets, and each time it seemed that the rhythm section really got together for the night during Corea’s solo on the first tune.

As mentioned above, Holland and DeJohnette don’t often set up the stop-and-go interludes of Carter and Williams. Instead, they burn straight ahead, creating a deep, luxurious groove for the soloists. Holland is as fast as anyone on the instrument, but it is the melodic and harmonic quality of his bass lines one re¬members, as cohesive and austere as Lennie Tristano’s. Shorter, in particular, responds to this kind of musical thought, because it so closely resembles his own. At times it seems as if he and Holland could improvise in unison if they wished. Tony Williams had a greater range of timbres and moods under control than DeJohnette does, but the latter is just right for this group. He sounds something like Elvin Jones with a lighter touch, and he really loves to swing in a bashing, exuberant manner.

Wayne Shorter’s approach to improvisa¬tion, in which emotion is simultaneously expressed and “discussed” (i.e., spontaneously found motifs are worked out to their farthest implications with an eyes-open, conscious control), has a great appeal for me. The busyness and efficiency of a man at work can have an abstract beauty apart from the task. Of course, Shorter’s playing has more overt emotional qualities of tenderness or passion which can give pleasure to the listener.

The problem with such an approach lies in keeping inspiration open and fresh, maintaining a balance between spontaneity and control. Here, Shorter’s recent adoption of the soprano saxophone is interesting. A master craftsman of the tenor, he already has great technical control of the second instrument, and its newness seems to have opened areas of emotion for him on both horns. Often, while Davis solos, one can see Shorter hesitate between the soprano and tenor before deciding which to play. It’s a fruitful kind of indecision. Shorter once referred to his soprano as “the baby”, and I think I know what he meant.

About Davis there’s not much new to say, except to note that he is to some degree responsible for every virtue of the group’s members mentioned above, and that he uses all of them to achieve the effects he wants. He is the leader in the best sense of the term. Playing almost constantly at the limit of his great ability, he inspires the others by his example. There is no shucking in this band, and if Davis occasionally is less than serious in his improvising, as he was one night on “Milestones,” mocking the symmetrical grace of his mid-fifties style, one soon realizes that he is serious after all.

With this version of the Miles Davis Quintet, one aspect of jazz has been brought to a degree of ripeness that has few parallels in the history of the music. Now let’s hope that Davis and Columbia decide to record the group in person.

This is such a great review to read again because this group never had an official release, live or in the studio. It's a reminder of what should have been.

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Posthumously, "Miles Davis Live at The Fillmore East (March 7,1970) It's About That Time" was released on Columbia Legacy...

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the Fillmore LP came out when Miles was alive -

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Posthumously, "Miles Davis Live at The Fillmore East (March 7,1970) It's About That Time" was released on Columbia Legacy...

Of course! How did I forget that one?

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Chick Corea is playing electric piano, and while this move may have been prompted by the variable nature of club pianos, Corea has made a virtue of necessity, discovering many useful qualities in the instrument.

Thanks for this Larry. So was MDs slide to all things electric motivated by necessity rather than artistry. Any further thoughts on this. From this end of history the electric piano here seems very deliberate.

I suppose Gerry Mulligan's quartet is the best example of necessity producing a change in artistic direction, there must be others....

IIRC, Chick had told me in a DB interview that took place around the same time as this gig that initially he was drawn to the Fender Rhodes because he could get the same sound every night instead of relying on the quality (or lack of quality) of the piano that happened to be in a particular club, but obviously he become interested in the Fender Rhodes because of what it could do.

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Great idea for a thread Bill. You know I credit you with starting my Von Freeman obsession. Maybe if I get a little confidence I will post one of my reviews that has been published by Jazz Improv.

Hi, Ronald! And "you're welcome" or "sorry about that" as the case might be for spurring your obsession :rolleyes:. I'd never guess that you of all people could become obsessive about recorded music :). By all means, please, share some of those Jazz Improv reviews with us. For quite some time I was a regular contributor there and had some rather odd experiences but that's a whole other story... One of the things that I liked about JI is the fact that - at least at the time - writers had complete artistic control over both the length and the content of their pieces. This was a double-edged sword as the hoary ol' cliché goes. Having no set word-count I can tend to become a tad bit verbose, as the next review shows.

Downbeat January 22, 1931

Armstrong Shines: But What's Next?

by Allen Lowe; New York City

Satchmo's latest swings, but where does jazz go from here? Maybe Count Basie should take over the Bennie Moten band. Or Duke should hire some new guys (I heard some real swingers a few weeks ago in a Harlem jam session; memo to Duke: Look up this new guy Cootie Williams - not to mention little Johnny Hodges). But still, that begs the questions - what will they call the new music? What will it BE, and will it BOP?

The anticipation mounts for the Buddy Bolden review, Allen...

__________________________________________________

Many thanks for sharing those vintage reviews Chris and Larry. I feel a bit like a little leaguer on a playing field with the pros. The $5.98 list price included in the review from 1975 is a blast from the past... It reminded me of the framed Ornette Coleman Prime Time concert poster from 1981 that I have hanging on my wall. "Reserved seats $6.50 Students $3.50"

__________________________________________________

ICP Orchestra

March 25, 2006

Seattle Asian Art Museum

* * *

New Dutch Swing is the phrase coined by critic Kevin Whitehead – who wrote a book of the same name – to describe the music of the ICP (Instant Composers Pool) Orchestra, the Willem Breuker Kollektief, Bik Bent Braam and other members of the vital improvised music scene in Holland. Misha Mengelberg, Han Bennink and Breuker were co-founders of ICP in 1967. In Seattle as part of a rare U.S. tour, long-time ICP compatriots Mengelberg and Bennink were ceaselessly creative and irreverent (as always).

The group consists of Mengelberg, piano and voice; Bennink, drums; Mary Oliver, violin and viola; Tristan Honsinger, cello; Ernst Glerum, bass; Ab Baars, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Tobias Delius, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Michael Moore, alto saxophone and clarinet; Thomas Heberer, trumpet; and Wolter Wierbos, trombone. Oliver, Honsinger and Moore are U.S. expatriates; the other members are Dutch.

The ensemble's primary composer, pianist Mengelberg is a spoiler, a trickster, Coyote energy personified. The worm in the apple, the virus in the computer, he seems to delight in constructing elaborate forms then reveling in their destruction and partial reassembly. He is an elliptical maestro of mystifying magic and metrical manipulation, juggling allusions and illusions. Mengelberg is a provocateur, an absurdist, using aural montage and collage in a provocative and waggish manner, often rife with self-mockery and self-deprecation. Thelonious Monk was one of his early musical influences and inspirations. The eccentric genius of Monk remains an important part of Mengelberg's roots. Regeneration (Soul Note 121 054-2) documented his continuing reinvestigation and reinvigoration of Monk's legacy and was also instrumental in rekindling interest in the long-neglected works of Herbie Nichols, another sui generis composer, improviser and pianist.

One of Monk's lesser-known pieces, "Locomotive," in an arrangement by Michael Moore, highballed along with no braking or whistles at the crossings in its Seattle performance. The strings of violinist Mary Oliver, cellist Tristan Honsinger and bassist Ernst Glerum were to the fore as the engine built a head of steam, stoked by Bennink's drums. Trombonist Wolter Wierbos displayed his mastery of mutes, including the plunger, in his engaging solo. When tenor saxophonist Ab Baars was well into his off-center solo I was reminded of a comment I once read (source unknown) likening Albert Ayler to a cranky but loveable grandmother who bakes apple pies and farts a lot. A slightly warped Swing-era 78? Throwing a crowbar on the tracks just to see/hear what happens? Many of the rhythms and tempos utilized by ICP are pre-Swing – sometimes even "pre-jazz" – often with little if any syncopation. It's a bit like walking into a jazz club expecting to hear bebop and marching out at the end of the night with echoes of James Reese Europe and the early jazz of Sam Wooding (African American bandleaders who left a lasting impression on European audiences during the early years of the 20th Century), European cabaret music, circus bands, chamber music, and marching bands ringing in your head. This "Locomotive" also hearkened back to the take-no-prisoners Harlem stride of Luckey Roberts and James P. Johnson; a style abstracted by Monk in what Whitney Balliett called "[his] vinegary, dissonant, Gothic music." It was a cheery if odd train ride, more akin to polkas and schottisches than bebop and the avant-garde.

Mengelberg was associated with the Fluxus movement from 1961 through 1964, and presented a composition at the Fluxus Festival of 1964, the same year he and Bennink recorded the famous Last Date session with the late Eric Dolphy. His affinity with Stan Vanderbeek, Peter Brötzmann, Yoko Ono, Charlotte Moorman, Nam June Paik and other participants in the Fluxus movement is still evident forty-something years later. The ICP's music is always in a state of fluxion: change is the only constant. Paik's cryptic observation: "I…must renew the ontological form of music…" comes to mind.

He could be considered something of a latter-day Dadaist as well. The rumbling, dark, dissonant low-register chords and oblique left-hand melodies, the off-key whistling, the "vocals" based on nonsense syllables and invented languages, the presumably purposefully tentative-sounding entrances – such as the one in this concert's first full-ensemble piece where he tweaked and probed at the composition's innards – are all slightly askew. It's a funhouse mirror view of comprovisation: like carefully molding a fondant then dropping a sauté pan on it and delighting in the splatter.

A member of one of Holland's most distinguished musical families, Mengelberg was born June 5, 1935. His father, Karel (William Joseph) Mengelberg, was a widely respected pianist, composer and conductor. He is the grand nephew of renowned – and controversial – conductor (Josef) Willem Mengelberg. He studied architecture briefly before taking up music – studying at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague – and the three-dimensional aspect of that art/science might be seen as analogous to his comprovisational configurations. A Misha Mengelberg composition is a Bauhaus building with a permanent staff of demolition engineers scurrying about setting off little charges in odd corners; it's designed to retain its structural integrity despite gaping holes and sundered parapets.

A number of 20th (now 21st) Century composers in The Netherlands are important innovators in microtonal music, most significantly Henk Badings, whose compositions using a 31-note scale are well-known. Mengelberg approaches polytonalities from a different perspective, but his innovations are perhaps comparable to those of Badings. Adding pan-idiomatic improvisation to the picture results in a singular oeuvre. He has also studied Arabic and Moroccan music.

Like his contemporaries – fellow composers Reinbert de Leeuw, Louis Andriessen, et al. – Mengelberg is an ardent advocate of greater democratization of Dutch musical life and has been vocal as a promoter of social renewal throughout his career. He was the founder and first chairman of the Bond van Improviserende Musici (BIM), formed in Amsterdam in 1974, an organization that might be considered a counterpart of the AACM and BAG in the U.S.: musicians taking control of their own destinies and livelihoods. He also founded the Studio voor Elektro Instrumentale Muziek. His collaboration with writer/performance artist Wim Schippers from 1974 through 1982 resulted in some noted improvised theatrical productions.

Han Bennink was born April 17, 1942 in Zaandam, The Netherlands. His father was a classical percussionist and he took up the drums in his teens. He first attracted the attention of Dutch jazz fans for his work with visiting U.S. greats such as Dexter Gordon and Sonny Rollins. The quartet he formed with Mengelberg in 1963 played at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1966. Long associated with the avant-garde (for lack of a better, more descriptive term), Bennink has played and recorded with a long list of vanguard improvisers, including Peter Brötzmann (he's on the scary, rapid-fire and pivotal Machine Gun album), the recently departed guitar maverick Derek Bailey, Don Cherry and Dave Douglas. In addition to ICP he has had a long association with the Globe Unity Orchestra. His collaboration with Michael Moore and cellist Ernst Reijseger as the Clusone Trio produced a remarkable body of work, full of whimsical theatricality and profound musicality.

Bennink is among the most technically accomplished percussionists active in any style of music. He doesn't get in the way and never loses the pulse, the beat, and the groove: no matter how abstract things get there's always a center. He tends to tune his drums down low and has a truly uncanny ear for colors, textures and timbral contrasts. It's a painterly approach to the drum set. Not so coincidentally he is a talented visual artist, and has provided the cover art for a number of albums and CDs, including the recent ICP release Aan & Uit (ICP 042) and his delightful duet with Dave Douglas, Serpentine (Songlines SGL 1510-2).

Much has been made of his zany extra-musical stage antics. Like Mengelberg, he is something of a latter-day Dadaist in this respect. A couple of years back when I saw him in Vancouver he played the snare with one foot, bounced a stick off the floor and caught it (in rhythm!) and tossed shards of mangled sticks into the crowd. Sitting in the front row at a Bennink performance demands mindfulness; you never know when a wooden projectile might be headed in your direction. With ICP on this occasion in Seattle there was no slapstick; their humor relies less on schtick à la the Breuker Kollektief and more on the playful twists and turns of the music itself.

Bennink is well acquainted with the entire history of jazz percussion and can summon up the ghosts of Baby Dodds piloting the Armstrong Hot Sevens, Jimmy Crawford driving the Lunceford big band and Big Sid Catlett's buoyant metronomic beat and mastery of dynamics at will. His only unaccompanied solo came in the second set, after "(What Did I Do To Be So) Black and Blue." The melancholy irony of this song – forever closely associated with Louis Armstrong – was exquisitely limned in the ensembles and in expressive solos from tenor saxophonist Tobias Delius and clarinetist Michael Moore, Bennink's adroitness with brushes providing a richly detailed carpet of subtle propulsion. The blending of clarinet with Honsinger's cello here was opalescent, iridescent and almost heartbreakingly lovely. The contrast was stunning when Bennink followed this deeply spiritual performance with a tour de force drum solo that crackled with intensity. The forward momentum, astonishing variety of colors, unflagging tempo and swirling rhythms were – in the true sense of the word – awesome. Bennink is always charged like an ion, and sometimes he charges like a lion. Many drummers use a solo as an excuse to show off their technique at the expense of musicality. Though usually crowd-pleasers, unaccompanied solos – even by famous and widely respected drummers – often sound like a bunch of golf clubs falling down a flight of wooden stairs and landing on a concrete floor. This was most assuredly not the case here. Bennink belongs in the rarefied company of Max Roach when it comes to this naked form of expression.

The third piece played this evening had an almost nursery-rhyme feeling to its melody and rhythmic scheme with pizzicato violin and cello col arco taking the lead before Oliver took up her bow and then the pair was joined by Glerum's bass. Something of a Teutonic chamber ambiance often surfaces in ICP's music, and the string trio can make the leap from Baroque to post-Webern in the blink of an eye. When the three clarinets of Michael Moore, Ab Baars and Tobias Delius teamed up with Wolter Wierbos on trombone the feeling was more New Orleans speakeasy than "chamber." Jelly Roll Morton in his classic Red Hot Peppers recordings utilized this combination of instruments on numerous occasions and it is a marvelous texture missing from most modern jazz. There was some testifying plunger-mute work from Wierbos before Mengelberg finally joined in, his piano needling away and pushing towards a wilder and more "free" segment, Bennink letting loose with a barrage of batterie booting Mengelberg and Honsinger along. Clarinet and two saxophones (alto and tenor) led to Bennink bringing the dynamic level way up and then back down to a mezzo forte as the ensemble shifted to a relatively straightforward swing feel, setting up trumpeter Thomas Heberer's solo, accompanied by the "standard" rhythm trio of piano-bass-drums. Heberer has a magnificent, rich, full-bodied tone and took a gem of a solo here. At other times he was often a fulcrum for the group's flights of fancy. The ensemble entrance with two tenors and alto was spot-on. Mengelberg took a wiry, dark solo before turning things over to Honsinger for a manic slash-and-burn cello solo with Bennink kicking the dynamics up a notch or three once more. An involuted theme statement by the full band capped it all. Whew! This was a whole lot of music in a relatively brief period of time, tweaking both the intellect and the viscera.

There were way too many additional highlights in this evening of exceptional music to detail them all in a "play-by-play" fashion, but a few vignettes deserve mention.

The piece played just before intermission had a loping Sun Ra-esque swing and Ellingtonian overtones in the slower portion, gritty trumpet and more trombone with the plumber's helper providing a Jungle Band ambiance. Mary Oliver's crystalline high note on violin that closed the composition was gorgeous.

Mengelberg opened the second set in duet with trombonist Wolter Wierbos. Dutch Dada, didjerido, didjeridid, didjerislid… Wierbos once more demonstrated why he is considered one of the living masters of avant trombone with a pixilated potpourri of muting techniques, including a portion that sounded uncannily like the Australian aborigine instrument the didjerido. Mengelberg indulged in a cartoonish flurry of nonsense syllables/words and Wierbos had his own turn in the aural scribbles department playing the slide sans the rest of the instrument, sounding like Donald Duck on helium. Sly, wry, dry, fly… At the end a hymn-like melody appeared, and Wierbos also played open horn with an impressive range and opulent tone.

The composition titled "Habanera" featured Mary Oliver on viola, trading the lead with trumpet in the opening ensemble. Bowed bass with piano led to a graceful bass solo before Oliver returned with a viola solo that was abstract indeed. There aren't many improvisers who utilize the viola, and Oliver can definitely be mentioned in the same breath with Mat Maneri as a world-class player. This was a superb solo. The habanera is a Cuban dance of Spanish origin and is an ancestor of the Argentine tango.

"Great Black Music – Ancient to the Future" is the phrase used by the Art Ensemble of Chicago to describe what they play. "Great Multicolored Omnidirectional Music – Ancient to the Future" might describe ICP. The hilarious sound effects intro of the piece that closed the Seattle concert was more than a tad reminiscent of some of the AEC's "little instruments" forays. A snippet of "Take the 'A' Train" flew by thanks to Moore's clarinet and then things took a bebop-ish turn (was that "Hot House" I heard in an oblique quote?) Honsinger's cello solo was a wild and woolly detour into Cecil Taylor land (with whom the cellist has played) and the almost telepathic interaction between Moore on clarinet and Mengelberg on piano in the next segment was transcendent. Moore's warm, polished ebony tone really glowed here. Then things went "out" with a vengeance, Bennink feeding a monstrous pulse and dropping a depth charge drum break. A suspended rhythm ensemble… The end. Brilliant.

Special note should be made of the minimal sound reinforcement. There were microphones on Mengelberg's piano and voice and on the three string players, none on the drums or horns. It's refreshing to have an engineer who knows how balance in this type of music should be dealt with. The acoustics in the Asian Art Museum's performance space are excellent: kudos to those who chose not to monkey with them, and kudos to Earshot Jazz for bringing ICP to Seattle as part of their Spring Series.

__________________________________________________________________

Review published in May/June 2006 issue of All About Jazz-Seattle

©2006 Bill Barton/All About Jazz

Edited by Bill Barton

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Terrific ICP review, Bill. I think that Ayler remark (" bakes apple pies" etc.) was John Litweiler's.

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The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

An Aardvark Christmas

9 Winds

If you're looking for an unusual and different recording of seasonal music with a jazz slant, An Aardvark Christmas may just fit the bill. In general, the program avoids the familiar and overplayed, with the exception of "What Child Is This?" and "Jingle Bells."

Mark Harvey and The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra celebrated 25 years of annual Christmas concerts in Cambridge, Massachusetts with the 1997 release of this CD. All of the selections were recorded "live," and the sound quality is serviceable, if a little distant and hollow sounding at times.

"What Child Is This?" a.k.a. "Greensleeves" opens the set with a pulsing 3/4 arrangement that the liner notes liken to John Coltrane's classic version of the latter, but the horns are too bombastic for that comparison to be really valid, and the chart seems a bit top heavy. Bass trombonist Bill Lowe salvages things with a fine solo, and guitarist Richard Nelson also takes a turn in the limelight.

"I Wonder As I Wander" begins with Arni Cheatham's soprano saxophone stating the lovely melody, then Donna Hewitt-Didham joins in with a wordless vocal before singing the text as written. Her voice is out of the European concert music tradition, and this interpretation has little connection to jazz.

"The Virgin Mary Carol" from the West Indies is also a feature for Hewitt-Didham, joined by guitar, bass and flute only. The Calypso rhythm seems rather stiff, never really breathing; perhaps some idiomatic percussion would have saved the day.

The medley of "Go Tell it On the Mountain/Sweet Little Jesus Boy" has a promising opening for fans of the lower brass, with a growling bass trombone melody solo by Jeff Marsanskis accompanied only by contra bass. Polyphonic saxes and trumpets are joined by vocalist Jerry Edwards in a lengthy conversation, before leader Mark Harvey's trumpet sets up the closing brass chorale. Although these pieces are from the African American spiritual tradition, there is precious little soul to be heard in this somewhat dry, rhythmically static rendition.

"O Come, O Come Emmanuel," a French Advent hymn, has some expressive playing by trumpeter Mike Peipman in the brooding, slow first segment. The up-tempo middle portion of the arrangement seems grafted on, however, and the drumming is annoyingly obtrusive, although Brad Jones has a pleasant sax solo before this part grinds to an ignominious halt and the original mood returns.

"Gloria in Excelsis Deo" is an original by Harvey. It is both the longest (at 21:31) and most successful piece on the disc. The dynamic range and variety of moods are quite compelling, and Vinny Golia takes MVP honors for his delightful bass clarinet work here.

"The Song of the Birds" is an exquisite melody that is caressed lovingly by Peter Bloom's lead flute, the combination of flutes and strings fitting the mood perfectly, and the improvisations growing organically out of the theme, with Harvey's trumpet a particular highlight.

"Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," a modal 17th Century French hymn, has an arrangement that sounds uncomfortably like the theme from a 1970s TV cop show. Harvey's tendency to go in for the "more is more" school of big band writing is evident here, with the "almost quote" from "Eleanor Rigby" coming off as a bit cloying. If you're a Stan Kenton fan, this chart may appeal more to you than it does to me; I find it pompous. A little silence would have been golden.

A New Orleans second line take on "Jingle Bells" closes the collection with a nice Jay Keyser trombone solo and some over-the-top section work from all hands. It's a fun version of this hoary old standard.

An Aardvark Christmas has several thoroughly enjoyable performances of un-hackneyed seasonal music. But, on the whole, the misses outweigh the hits, and I can't in good conscience recommend it without some reservations.

©2000

Bill Barton/Jazz Improv

Published in Volume 3, Number1

Edited by Bill Barton

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Not sure the NSA should allow aardvarks to gather in groups large enough to form bands, let alone orchestras. :unsure:

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Terrific ICP review, Bill. I think that Ayler remark (" bakes apple pies" etc.) was John Litweiler's.

Thanks, Larry! It's good to get a name to go with that quote. What a great line.

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Not sure the NSA should allow aardvarks to gather in groups large enough to form bands, let alone orchestras. :unsure:

:rofl:

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Bill, here's one that probably wasn't worth the plow price of admission...

Thanks for sharing that one, Chris. I've never heard the Borah Bergman album in question and after reading the review am not sure that I really want to :rolleyes:. Indeed a rather curious recording technique...

On the other hand, I quite like Bergman's duo recording with Oliver Lake, though his brand of pianism may be an acquired taste.

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I obviously do not have the experience of others here and I have yet to write a review with the insight and clarity I am striving for. So, I will use this as an educational opportunity. I am open to all comments.

This was published in Jazz Improv, Vol. 7, No.3 Summer 2007

====================

Jerome Sabbagh

POGO – BEE JAZZ Records: Licensed to Sunnyside Communications SCC 1166. www.sunnysiderecords.com. Middle Earth; Rooftops; Moon/Sun; Stand Up; Pogo; As One; Hamra; Eye of the Storme.

PERSONNEL: Jerome Sabbagh, tenor and soprano saxophone; Ben Monder, guitar; Joe Martin, bass; Ted Poor, drums.

By Ronald Lyles

Like many of his peers, Paris born saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh has a difficult task in trying to distinguish himself amongst the glut of thirty-something, academically trained, New York City based saxophonists trying to be heard by the jazz public. On his second recording as a leader, Pogo, Sabbagh displays commendable talents as a saxophonist and composer while producing a program of consistently well performed music. The only concern is whether Sabbagh has developed a recognizable original voice or a sufficiently strong group identity to differentiate Sabbagh and Pogo from his likeminded contemporaries producing similar recordings.

Accompanying Sabbagh on Pogo are guitarist Ben Monder - who seems to be one of the three or four guitarists of choice at the moment - bassist Joe Martin and drummer Ted Poor. All eight of the tunes on the recording were written by Sabbagh. Overall there is an appealing variety in the moods and grooves of the compositions that allow all four of the musicians to flaunt the range of their skills. A subliminal inspiration may be John Scofield’s very successful early nineties quartet featuring Joe Lovano, but at times Sabbagh’s quartet hints at parallels to the more recent Kurt Rosenwinkel-Mark Turner collaborations. Sabbagh plays throughout in a relaxed and controlled manner with an emphasis on well constructed statements. The many sides of Monder are prominently featured, and drummer Ted Poor’s contributions in laying down the grooves and pushing the soloists often draw the listener’s attention.

“Middle Earth” is a solid opening to the recording, which foretells much of what will follow. Over a medium-up tempo groove and Poor’s propulsive polyrhythmic drumming, Monder, Sabbagh and then Martin all play thoughtful solos. This is followed by the slinky funk inspired groove of “Rooftops”, one of the stronger performances on the recording. Sabbagh and Monder both take concise solos that flow nicely with the rhythm of the tune.

“Moon/Sun” and the later Egyptian flavored “Hamra” are the two features for Sabbagh’s soprano saxophone playing. His approach on the straight horn is less appealing than his playing on tenor, but is nonetheless serviceable and ultimately effective for the tunes the soprano is featured. The mood on “Moon/Sun” is somewhat quiet and reflective and Sabbagh’s soprano enhances that mood. “Stand Up” and “As One” are two additional standouts in a similar zone as “Rooftops”. Together these tracks reveal that Sabbagh is most effective on somewhat lazy mid tempo pieces where his thoughts are ordered and the lines flow comfortably from his horn. His playing contains a good balance of the expressive qualities of the horn with a recognizable logic in his improvisations. “As One” gets the edge as the strongest track on the disc. After a reserved introduction the tune settles into an easy stroll for Sabbagh’s solo. After Sabbagh, Monder creates one of his better statements on the disc. The tempo evolves slightly as the tune continues highlighted by the tension between the overall laid back groove of the tune and Poor’s hyperactively agitated drumming. There is a strong feeling that Poor will burst out and overwhelm the rest of the proceedings at any moment, but to Poor’s credit it never happens.

Pogo is certain to appeal to many listeners who favor straight-ahead playing. Sabbagh shows considerable talent and gives reason to expect a lot from him in the future. As he matures and continues to develop, possibly more of his individuality will be incorporated into his music and a personal voice will emerge to allow him to stand apart from the rest of the pack.

Edited by relyles

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"I obviously do not have the experience of others here and I have yet to write a review with the insight and clarity I am striving for."

Join the club, Ronald, join the club. The key is "striving for" IMHO. For me, the primary reasons I became involved in writing about music circa 1980 were exposing people to sounds that they might not otherwise experience and providing a creative outlet for myself. It's one of the many things that I'm involved with that serve as a kind of "therapy."

I found it particularly cool that you chose to start with a review of a relatively unknown player. This is one of the great joys of both writing and doing radio for me. If someone "discovers" a talented musician because of a review I wrote or a radio show I did it's a great feeling.

________________________________________

Mark O'Leary

Underground Jazz TrioRadio Free Europa – Leo CD LR 499 (www.leorecords.com)

Mark O'Leary/Eyvind Kang/Dylan Van Der Schyff Zemlya – Leo CD LR 507

Mark O'Leary & Han BenninkTelevision – ayler records ayIDL-081 (www.ayler.com)

Irish guitarist Mark O'Leary's previous trio CD on Leo – Waiting with Cuong Vu and Tom Rainey, his sixth for the label – made my 2007 Top Ten list. Radio Free Europa is anticlimactic to put it mildly. His playing here is reminiscent of little critters scurrying about on the forest floor. There are probably reasons or motives for all the hustle and bustle but they're not immediately apparent to an observer (or listener). High-speed lines and scales skitter up and down, around and around. This music doesn't breathe. It huffs and puffs. When he backs off and lets the improvisations develop their own space he can be quite effective; it's too bad that doesn't happen more often. A little self-editing might be in order. He would do well to heed Jim Hall's oft quoted aside to another musician: "Don't just do something, stand there." On "Spraoi" there are moments when the million-and-one-notes-when-one-or-two-would- suffice syndrome subsides, and his trades with drummer John Herndon toward the end flow nicely. Matt Lux is on Fender bass in this trio.

Leo trio number eight has Eyvind Kang on viola and processing plus Dylan Van Der Schyff on drums, percussion and laptop. O'Leary is also credited on electronics. Zemlya has many more moments of interest than does its predecessor. Kang and Van Der Schyff are certainly more imaginative than are Herndon and Lux. Kang indulges in a great deal of pizzicato playing, and the way his lines twine and entangle with O'Leary's speedball guitar, then disengage, can be quite winning. All three players' use of electronics also adds another dimension to the textures. As one might expect, Van Der Schyff's laptop is sometimes employed percussively, and the range of colors is kaleidoscopic. One of the disc's highlights is the lengthy "Vashon" (named for the island?) where O'Leary spins out long sustained lines with an edge of distortion. "Story of Iceland, Part II" (there is no Part I) is also a fetching performance with O'Leary utilizing a clean tone and weaving together nicely with Kang's plucking and chattering trap-set accents before Kang picks up his bow and Van Der Schyff provides a more obvious pulse. "Meekong delta blues" has a suitably Asian feeling and hypnotic rhythms with very cool sounds from the laptop; Kang plays piz throughout and his entrainment with O'Leary is mesmerizing. The ending is a trifle too abrupt but this is a superb piece.

The irrepressible Bennink has his neo-swing headband on through much of Television (part of ayler's download series) and this duo motors along nicely. Where it's going is the question. Unlike Zemyla, there aren't many vivid mental images evoked or stories told. O'Leary often falls into the prolix trap he was ensnared in on Radio Free Europa. It isn't until the sixth track, "Just Like With Rene," that things get really interesting. O'Leary lists Derek Bailey and Rene Thomas as prime inspirations and this one is presumably dedicated to Thomas. Opening with Bennink's rich wash of cymbals, this contemplative piece has a lovely melodic flow and is really the only fully successful performance on the recording. There are scattered flashes of inspiration elsewhere, including the jaunty swing of "Tiger Honey" and the promisingly disjointed yet infectious rhythms of "People," which also sports some of O'Leary's most inventive soloing.

Zemyla is the only essential disc in this triptych. Television is fun though, and Bennink fans will probably want to pick this one up too. "…Rene" alone is almost worth the price of the set.

* * *

An edited version of this combination review appeared in Signal to Noise Issue 50, Summer 2008. The Underground Jazz Trio portion was deleted in the published review as were the references back to it and the final brief paragraph.

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