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Leeway

VISION FESTIVAL 19 - June 11-15, 2014 NYC

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Here's my last write-up on the Vision Festival. I really enjoyed relyles write-up of Saturday evening. Thank you for that! I wish I could have stayed for Sunday, but a body can only stand so much. Steve's write-up does very well in place of being there. One of my fondest memories of VF was the Kidd Jordan honoree night, in 2008, played IIRC, in an incredibly steamy, boiling hot, Clemente Soto Velez Center. Kidd, drenched in sweat, blew ferociously through several sets, including one with Fred Anderson. Incredible!

Vision Festival – Saturday – June 14, 2014 –

Satoko Fujii New Trio + 1: Fuji (p), Todd Nicholson (b), Yoshi Shutto (d), Kappa Maki (tp). At one time I was hearing some tremendously good things about Satoko Fuji, and this was my first chance to see her. The set began with a fairly dramatic piece, with lots of tension and conflict, but it seemed to me that these elements were more a given than earned. Then trumpeter Kappa Maki came out; his role in the set seemed outsized, practically eclipsing Fujii at times. I thought Maki was an interesting player. Wonder what he would be like in a solo setting? Drummer Shutto provided some active and sharp drumming. Nicholson’s bass playing was fine if unexceptional. Unfortunately, the set headed south when Maki and Shutto engaged in some silly games involving kids’ squeak toys and small percussion instruments; they were eventually joined by Nicholson. Whatever momentum the set had was lost; the game-playing added nothing to the music. A very disappointing performance.

The Matthew Shipp Trio – Shipp (p), Michael Bisio (b), and White Dickey (d). Think of Shipp as the Godard of the piano; the same elements are there, but the expression is always somehow alive and full of energy, both physical and mental. We’ve seen it before, we’ve heard it before, but nevertheless, he pulls us into his world for the space of 50 minutes or so. Let’s call this set “The Sorrows of Young Werther,” in which Shipp takes us through the ups and downs of the cerebrated life, finding at the end a celebration of life. Bisio and Dickey both took their solos, the former romantic, the latter utilitarian. After the Fujii performance, it seemed utterly brilliant. But I think Matt needs to dance with some more new partners, if Werther is not to grow solipsistic, or worse, dull.

TarBaby – Orrin Evans (p), Eric Revis (b), Nasheet Waits (d). How did these guys get here? I think that was a pretty common thought in the audience, both before and after the set. I thought the performance was a fairly conventional piano trio set, maybe, perhaps, nudging the envelope just a bit. Mostly it sounded like a Brad Mehldau gig, ecept Evans is not as good as Mehldau. Waits was good on drums (he usually is), but Evans and Revis really showed nothing much. This seemed to be the night for silly pranks: during one piece, at set times, all the members of the trio yelled out, “Oh!” in unison (more or less). Was this to create excitement? Don’t know; seemed rather silly. I would like to see them with Oliver Lake and Marc Ducret, who appear on the groups most recent album; might have made it more interesting. To be fair, TarBaby had some fans in the audience who seemed to have enjoyed the set.

Sonic Projections – “The Secret Escapades of Fred Anderson” – Nicole Mitchell (fl), David Boykin (ts), Craig Taborn (p), Chad Taylor (d). Dedicated to the life and memory of Fred Anderson. The set started with a high-energy duo of piano and drums. Taborn was electric the whole set. Boykins played like a young David Murray, alternating a big tenor sound, with lots of “out” squiggles, skronks, and screams. I had been looking forward to Boykins, whom I had not seen before, and he did not disappoint. Mitchell, utterly charming as usual, had some incredible flute solos with plenty of muscle. She also played a bit on the tranverse flute, which I have not seen before. Taylor’s drumming was snappy and versatile; he and Taborn really seemed to cook together. Obviously, this was a truly fine set, and helped to redeem some of the evening’s low moments.

Best of the Festival (Thurs-Sat):

  1. Brotzmann-Parker-Drake
  2. Jemeel Moondoc Quintet
  3. Sonic Projections- Nicole Mitchell

Worst of the Festival (Thurs-Sat)

  1. TarBaby
  2. Alcorn-Halvorson

Most Disappointing (Thurs-Sat)

  1. Charles Gayle Trio + Dance
  2. Charles Gayle Quartet
  3. Satoko Fujii

Another Vision Festival is in the books: the great, the good, the bad and the boring. Next year is #20. I hope it is a memorable one.

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Leeway - thanks for all your hard work.

Just a small correction - it was Fujii's husband Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and not the billed Kappa Maki.

Interesting comment about Boykin and David Murray. By coincidence, at the beginning of the Mitchell set Murray was sitting right in back of me engaged in a passionate discussion with bassist Brad Jones (I think) about Sun Ra.

Edited by relyles

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Tyshawn Sorey/Fay Victor

Insert into previous post......

I'm no fan of "Jazz Singing" except maybe a dosing of Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughn from back in the day. Tried Betty Carter and I've heard a few avant sorts like Jeanne Lee and there is little that has caught my ear.

I fell hard for Tyshawn Sorey on drums on a night he played with Evan Parker, John Escreet and John Hebert last September. As good as the other musicians were that night, Sorey was the ultimate highlight. I then saw him lead an improvising trio with Ben Gerstein and I think Kris Davis this past winter and that gave me hope that I could endure the singing.

This mind and heart was opened. She sang, she wailed, she sweated, she sang about sweating, she sang with words, no words, all in all - gorgeous, compelling musician who even played some nice piano.

Only problem with the piano is that it was AFTER Tyshawn Sorey played the piano. Now he is a drummer who swings like a motherfucker yet never plays a groove, and he created a tension beyond tension when 20 minutes in he walked to the piano and investigated it from all sides like only a master sound manipulator/master musician could. He then eventually sat down a played something that crossed Paul Bley and Cecil Taylor and I was stunned.

after she left the bench, he returned to the kit and exploded on impact.

First some more of the sticks and brushes in the air - just the sound of the air - and then the crack of the snare , the tom, the bass drum - then all of them. One of those great endings. One of those sets. Mesmerizing performances by both.

My wife was all in now - she loved Sorey last fall - she now is questioning why Fay didn't enter and win The Voice - and then after the first set with her drummer, Mr. Hamid Drake, she was now in a good mood - and with my Barbara, sometimes that's not an easy accomplishment.

Standing on a Whale Fishing for Minnows

Edited by Steve Reynolds

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an aside from my wife. I mention what she thinks as she doesn't listen to jazz on CD except from time to time with me and is mostly coming at the music from a far different angle than almost all who read or post here.

She said that last night should have been Tyshawn Sorey's big break - if you have one in this world of music.

This is her response to a drummer who pretty much plays no groove, plays in a very non-traditional manner, focused more on the inside of the piano and then when he played the piano in a more traditional way approached the abstraction of Cecil Taylor.

Yet he swings

Yet live he is so accessible, endearing, captivating and in the end, pretty much irresistible. He has that magic gift. The gift of presence. He has the IT factor.

The drummer who swings without groove. He is the one.

Genius level musician based on the three concerts I've seen him play.

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Generally a cheerleader for Moondoc, though because of other commitments I couldn't make the Vision gig. Glad to hear it was a good set. I actually have some problems with the new record, which is too bad because I wanted to like it. Maybe it is a grower.

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Generally a cheerleader for Moondoc, though because of other commitments I couldn't make the Vision gig. Glad to hear it was a good set. I actually have some problems with the new record, which is too bad because I wanted to like it. Maybe it is a grower.

I wanted to hear Breedlove and Swell. When I heard Moondoc in 2012 in a quartet with Matt Lavelle as his front line partner, the alto saxophonist's delivery was fairly weak and uninspired especially compared to the very bright and energetic (overly?) playing of the trumpeter. Maybe it is the different night or maybe Leeway hears the musicians differently although we seem to agree on quite a bit.

Next year, we will be sure to overlap on at least a night or two. Usually I've been able to get there 2 or 3 nights. That wasn't possible this year. I'm very glad I chose last night.

Commentary on the closing set later.....

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The final performance of the night was by Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections with David Boykin, Craig Taborn and Chad Taylor. Since I had heard the other three groups live on multiple occassions before, and there are not as many opportunities to hear this particular ensemble, this was the performance that was the primary motivator for me to drive into Brooklyn. And they did not disappoint! Mitchell is a fabulous flutist, most of the time an interesting composer and admittedly one of my favorite musicians on the scene. From the first song this group was on fire - in particular Taborn who was the most animated than I have heard him live before. I have long enjoyed Boykin's playing on recordings and it was a joy to hear him live for once and Taylor impressed throughout. They performed titles from the groups just release RogueArt recording dedicated to Fred Anderson. Nice variety and great playing.

:eye::party::rhappy::o Whoa! Had no idea about this group or album... many thanks, off to track this down!

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The final performance of the night was by Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections with David Boykin, Craig Taborn and Chad Taylor. Since I had heard the other three groups live on multiple occassions before, and there are not as many opportunities to hear this particular ensemble, this was the performance that was the primary motivator for me to drive into Brooklyn. And they did not disappoint! Mitchell is a fabulous flutist, most of the time an interesting composer and admittedly one of my favorite musicians on the scene. From the first song this group was on fire - in particular Taborn who was the most animated than I have heard him live before. I have long enjoyed Boykin's playing on recordings and it was a joy to hear him live for once and Taylor impressed throughout. They performed titles from the groups just release RogueArt recording dedicated to Fred Anderson. Nice variety and great playing.

:eye::party::rhappy::o Whoa! Had no idea about this group or album... many thanks, off to track this down!

They have 2 recordings I saw last night. One recently released and the other from about 3 years ago, I think

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The final performance of the night was by Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections with David Boykin, Craig Taborn and Chad Taylor. Since I had heard the other three groups live on multiple occassions before, and there are not as many opportunities to hear this particular ensemble, this was the performance that was the primary motivator for me to drive into Brooklyn. And they did not disappoint! Mitchell is a fabulous flutist, most of the time an interesting composer and admittedly one of my favorite musicians on the scene. From the first song this group was on fire - in particular Taborn who was the most animated than I have heard him live before. I have long enjoyed Boykin's playing on recordings and it was a joy to hear him live for once and Taylor impressed throughout. They performed titles from the groups just release RogueArt recording dedicated to Fred Anderson. Nice variety and great playing.

:eye::party::rhappy::o Whoa! Had no idea about this group or album... many thanks, off to track this down!

They have 2 recordings I saw last night. One recently released and the other from about 3 years ago, I think

Now that you mention it, it's quite probable that someone recommended me their earlier CD last year when i belatedly discovered Mitchell... anyway, this horse is ready for the water now.

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"...he could make Hamid Drake look like Paul Motian..." That made me laugh. Thanks Leeway and Relyles and Stevie for your reviews. I'm a big Satoko Fujii fan, and I just want to tell Natsuki Tamura that ITS OK SOMETIMES TO PLAY THE TRUMPET LIKE A TRUMPET IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED, YOU KNOW...WITH AN ORDINARY TONE?

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Leeway - thanks for all your hard work.

Just a small correction - it was Fujii's husband Natsuki Tamura on trumpet and not the billed Kappa Maki.

Interesting comment about Boykin and David Murray. By coincidence, at the beginning of the Mitchell set Murray was sitting right in back of me engaged in a passionate discussion with bassist Brad Jones (I think) about Sun Ra.

Thanks for the correction. I don't know either trumpeter, so relied on the program. Maybe Maki would have been better? hard to tell your spouse (from the other side of the stage no less) to knock it off.

Tyshawn Sorey/Fay Victor

Insert into previous post......

I'm no fan of "Jazz Singing" except maybe a dosing of Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughn from back in the day. Tried Betty Carter and I've heard a few avant sorts like Jeanne Lee and there is little that has caught my ear.

I fell hard for Tyshawn Sorey on drums on a night he played with Evan Parker, John Escreet and John Hebert last September. As good as the other musicians were that night, Sorey was the ultimate highlight. I then saw him lead an improvising trio with Ben Gerstein and I think Kris Davis this past winter and that gave me hope that I could endure the singing.

This mind and heart was opened. She sang, she wailed, she sweated, she sang about sweating, she sang with words, no words, all in all - gorgeous, compelling musician who even played some nice piano.

Only problem with the piano is that it was AFTER Tyshawn Sorey played the piano. Now he is a drummer who swings like a motherfucker yet never plays a groove, and he created a tension beyond tension when 20 minutes in he walked to the piano and investigated it from all sides like only a master sound manipulator/master musician could. He then eventually sat down a played something that crossed Paul Bley and Cecil Taylor and I was stunned.

after she left the bench, he returned to the kit and exploded on impact.

First some more of the sticks and brushes in the air - just the sound of the air - and then the crack of the snare , the tom, the bass drum - then all of them. One of those great endings. One of those sets. Mesmerizing performances by both.

My wife was all in now - she loved Sorey last fall - she now is questioning why Fay didn't enter and win The Voice - and then after the first set with her drummer, Mr. Hamid Drake, she was now in a good mood - and with my Barbara, sometimes that's not an easy accomplishment.

Standing on a Whale Fishing for Minnows

In my Braxton Nonet write-up, I wrote about Fay Victor's ensemble performance. Marvelous voice and style.

Generally a cheerleader for Moondoc, though because of other commitments I couldn't make the Vision gig. Glad to hear it was a good set. I actually have some problems with the new record, which is too bad because I wanted to like it. Maybe it is a grower.

I wanted to hear Breedlove and Swell. When I heard Moondoc in 2012 in a quartet with Matt Lavelle as his front line partner, the alto saxophonist's delivery was fairly weak and uninspired especially compared to the very bright and energetic (overly?) playing of the trumpeter. Maybe it is the different night or maybe Leeway hears the musicians differently although we seem to agree on quite a bit.

Next year, we will be sure to overlap on at least a night or two. Usually I've been able to get there 2 or 3 nights. That wasn't possible this year. I'm very glad I chose last night.

Commentary on the closing set later.....

I'm not a Lavelle fan, so I would be inclined to say that the presence of old partners like Breedlove and Swell, plus the occasion of Roy's passing, produced an inspired performance by Moondoc, who himself recognized the passing from the scene of his generation in a direct and honest way: "See You On The Other Side."

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The final performance of the night was by Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections with David Boykin, Craig Taborn and Chad Taylor. Since I had heard the other three groups live on multiple occassions before, and there are not as many opportunities to hear this particular ensemble, this was the performance that was the primary motivator for me to drive into Brooklyn. And they did not disappoint! Mitchell is a fabulous flutist, most of the time an interesting composer and admittedly one of my favorite musicians on the scene. From the first song this group was on fire - in particular Taborn who was the most animated than I have heard him live before. I have long enjoyed Boykin's playing on recordings and it was a joy to hear him live for once and Taylor impressed throughout. They performed titles from the groups just release RogueArt recording dedicated to Fred Anderson. Nice variety and great playing.

:eye::party::rhappy::o Whoa! Had no idea about this group or album... many thanks, off to track this down!

They have 2 recordings I saw last night. One recently released and the other from about 3 years ago, I think

Now that you mention it, it's quite probable that someone recommended me their earlier CD last year when i belatedly discovered Mitchell... anyway, this horse is ready for the water now.

The first recording on RogueArt (Emerald Hills) is excellent. I started listening to the recent recording on the drive home Saturday night, but decided it was too close to the experience of hearing it live. It quickly paled in comparison.

Edited by relyles

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The final performance of the night was by Nicole Mitchell's Sonic Projections with David Boykin, Craig Taborn and Chad Taylor. Since I had heard the other three groups live on multiple occassions before, and there are not as many opportunities to hear this particular ensemble, this was the performance that was the primary motivator for me to drive into Brooklyn. And they did not disappoint! Mitchell is a fabulous flutist, most of the time an interesting composer and admittedly one of my favorite musicians on the scene. From the first song this group was on fire - in particular Taborn who was the most animated than I have heard him live before. I have long enjoyed Boykin's playing on recordings and it was a joy to hear him live for once and Taylor impressed throughout. They performed titles from the groups just release RogueArt recording dedicated to Fred Anderson. Nice variety and great playing.

:eye::party::rhappy::o Whoa! Had no idea about this group or album... many thanks, off to track this down!

They have 2 recordings I saw last night. One recently released and the other from about 3 years ago, I think

Now that you mention it, it's quite probable that someone recommended me their earlier CD last year when i belatedly discovered Mitchell... anyway, this horse is ready for the water now.

The first recording on RogueArt (Emerald Hills) is excellent. I started listening to the recent recording on the drive home Saturday night, but decided it was too close to the experience of hearing it live. It quickly paled in comparison.

Yeah i've had that happen to me before. Also, i just realised i effed up in the New Releases thread (thought Emerald Hills was the new one). Better go fix that up!

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Friday night was the high point of the festival for me. Moondoc and Blood Ulmer seemed to really catch the lyrical spirit of Ornette Coleman and Moondoc's tribute to Roy Campbell was touching. A sweet alto player and quite a quintet he had, too. Ulmer started by playing a song that was variations on the opening phrases of Lonely Woman. Boykin was special in the Nicole Mitchell set - every now and then he gets inspired. Did any Organissimos go out afterwards and hear Boykin etc. at that late-late event? At the Charles Gayle event Kidd Jordan and Ingrid Laubrock didn't get to play much, but I'd heard her in a revealing concert in Chicago a few weeks before. If she and Gayle and Kidd had had the chance to play at the Ornette concert in the park, I'm sure they would have severely smoked Branford Marsalis, Antoine Roney, David Murray, and Joe Lovano, who did play there. On Sunday it was great to hear Connie Crothers confronting Henry Grimes, making him play a duet with her and playing quite the best fiddle music I've heard him play. Rob Brown is always a pleasure at these festivals and it's too bad we only got one little solo from Lewis Barnes. Too bad Dennis Gonzalez wasn't there, since he'd been advertised. To me a Vision fest without regulars like Roscoe, Alvin Fielder, Barnes, Jarman, Reg. Workman is less festive.

At Prospect Park it was great to see Ornette, though frail, in a happy mood and hear him play that white plastic alto sax with such a beautiful sound. He and Rollins are such great guys. It was also great to hear that almost everyone had taken time to rehearse Ornette's songs - how many "tributes" have you heard where musicians play the latest song they wrote and say "This is my tribute to ---"? I thought Threadgill played especially well and that the 2-guitar arrangement of "Sadness" w/Nels Cline and Thurston Moore was quite lovely and simple. And that pink suit that Ornette had made for the m.c. was something else - almost a shocking-pink color. I give a lot of credit to Denardo for putting on this show.

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It really bugs me how the Marsalis crew is trying feverishly to co-opt Ornette's music and legacy. Branford? Roney? Lovano? GTFOOH! The show seemed, for the most part, to consist of arrivistes and pretenders to the throne. The celebration in Philly seemed more honest, but it lacked Ornette in a pink suit and plastic alto. That I regret missing.

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Did any Organissimos go out afterwards and hear Boykin etc. at that late-late event?

I was extremely tempted, but since it was close to 12:00 when Vision was over and I had a long drive home by myself, I made what for me was the responsible decision to just get on the road.

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John, you liked Crothers? The last few times I've seen her she was a bit lethargic; I felt like I should apply a cattle prod. Glad she was up for this one.

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I saw Crothers in the "Women With An Axe to Grind" piece on Friday. Was supposed to have been Kris Davis; no explanation for the change. Shayna Dulberger was on bass, Mazz Swift on violin, Patricia Nicholson dancing. Connie was pretty animated, as were Dulberger and Swift; lots of heavily rhythmic, staccato playing. Nothing wrong with Connie's energy level, she was really pounding away at the piano, but the piece overall didn't really work for me.

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I had a very hard time with the trio set with Crothers, Grimes and Gibbs save for some of the piano and some of the violin with that piano towards the mid portion of the set. There is something endearing about Henry's screechy violin improvising.

Crothers got to some nice exhuberant passages but overall a bit more banging than touch for my taste.

The last set for which I am still looking for words for was another story.

Edited by Steve Reynolds

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John, you liked Crothers? The last few times I've seen her she was a bit lethargic; I felt like I should apply a cattle prod. Glad she was up for this one.

In my limited exerience, Crothers has been up and down. Down, to me, on the set where she subbed for Kris Davis, formidable sometimes like when playing with Grimes and Gibbs. The best I heard of her was a solo concert in Chicago when she played Tristano songs, one after the other. They brought out her lyricism, her most atractive quality.

Leeway, I like your "arrivistes and pretenders" description.

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I just received the Arts for Art newsletter which indicates some big changes for Vision Festival, 2015 marking the 20th year of the Festival.

After a few years at Roulette in Brooklyn, it appears the Festival is moving to Judson Memorial Hall on Washington Square South in Greenwich Village. That's smack in the middle of the NYU "campus," where I went to college eons ago. My first thought is that the venue is not as nice as Roulette (but which is not perfect either), my second thought is that it will be nice to be able to hang in Washington Square Park and hit the local food (and drink) places before, between, or after sets.

The dates of the Festival also have changed, the usual June dates moving to July 7th to July 12th, 2015.

Artists listed so far include Roscoe Mitchell, Douglas Ewart, Milford Graves and Ingrid Laubrock.

The information is also on the AFA site: http://www.artsforart.org/about/vision20.

Should be interesting.

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Happy it is in Manhatten

I don't like the space. Hope there are decent chairs (or any chairs)

Hope there is AC that works (or any AC)

I love the roulette space although the drive is long - I usually go to 2 or 3 nights but last year it was only the final night but it was great, the sound was great and the seats and view were great.

Overall I'm disappointed they moved the venue. The previous venue before Roulette was horrible. Hot with awful sound. This should be better but I'm not thrilled at all.

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I hear you. Judson was used during Winter Jazzfest. No seats, lots of standing about (OK during winter when trying to keep warm), or sitting on the floor. It was OK because most people were there for only a couple of sets. For VF20, they are going to have to move chairs in there, hopefully not those cheap folding chairs with the narrow backs. Those hurt just thinking about them. A surprising choice really.

The previous venue was Abrons Center, which had good seats and a more or less functional A/C system. I liked that venue actually. The one before that, Clemente Soto Velez, was an absolute steambath! Nothing worked. And I think they used those awful folding chairs :rmad: .

This just in: Roscoe Mitchell will be performing a major new work, PEAK/ABYSS, with his quintet: Roscoe Mitchell, Hugh Ragin, Craig Taborn, Tyshawn Sorey, and Kikanju Baku. That is strictly "don't miss!" (well, for me anyway).

https://www.newmusicusa.org/projects/roscoe-mitchell-new-quintet-vision-festival-xx-world-premiere/

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