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Nate Dorward

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Everything posted by Nate Dorward

  1. Hm, the review's by Brian Olewnick, who's usually a sensible & trustworthy reviewer (as long as one takes his reviews of Erstwhile releases with a grain of salt). Truthfully, I've been avoiding that one for years because of the presence of Bergman, & will continue to avoid it. Oh, glad to hear Kevin Uehlinger's got a solo disc out. He sounded really good on Anthony Braxton's recent Delmark quartet album.
  2. I like Invisible Hand, though I think Osby could have given the other players more room. Gary Thomas, in particular, is barely used on the album (he gets a single flute obliggato & a brief tenor solo), & in general the whole album is gimcracked around Osby's own soloing, which seems perverse given how extraordinary the band is. But I like the disc's moody vibe.
  3. Yes, Battaglia is a really interesting player--I don't know the duo with Oxley but his most recent one on Splasc(h), Atem, is very fine.
  4. I don't have any firm impression of KVDM's composing & arranging; they seemed all right, if more functional than memorable. Is there something about them that struck you? -- I can't check my impression now of his compositions as I got rid of the recordings I did have, & am not likely to get any more: after having reviewed a few in the past, I've made it clear to my various editors I'm not very interested in reviewing any more KVDM discs. As an organizer? Well, he surrounds himself with some great players, & is very good at the mechanics of promotion, touring, &c. I wish I could say I liked the musical results more.
  5. Truthfully, having heard KDVM twice live & having heard three discs of his, I've yet to be at all impressed by him & am unwilling to spend further time on him. My impression was of a decent if limited R&B-style player, rather than a jazz player per se (the foursquare rhythmic sense & lack of harmonic flexibility suggest as much), though he typically surrounds himself with much better players. His heart seems in the right place, given the obsessive dedication of virtually every piece of his to artists he admires; but that's not enough to sell me on his own music.
  6. Hey, thanks for the kind words on the review.....! Actually, the review I did I'm proudest of on that site is the one of Duos for Doris....it was very hard to write, because I found the amount of critical fuss about the disc distracting (it was like reviewers were competing with each other to praise it more highly than the last). My first impressions of it had been kinda....blank....& so I found I had to, so to speak, clear a space for myself to listen to it intently & without pressure. The resulting review is pretty positive, but with a lot of ambivalence hovering around the edges. I don't think Jon Abbey (of Erstwhile Records) liked it much, as a result. Haven't heard St Louis Shoes....well, nevertheless I think I'll want to hear it, I've found most of Osby's Blue Notes worthwhile. Besides, I'd better do my bit to support him at the home of Norah Jones......they keep releasing discs by him but they also have been deleting even fairly recent ones at a ferocious rate.
  7. Ah yes, the Jurek review..... That appeared before the disc was formally released & a chunk of it (the bit calling for the disc to win a Grammy) was extracted & used in the packaging of the eventual release, I gather. (I haven't got a copy of the formal release; I was sent a bare-bones CD-ROM by Thirsty Ear a few months before it came out.) Actually one of the oddest things about the disc was the repeated postponing of the release date--the earliest review I saw was in July but I think it actually eventually came out in September. On the other hand: http://www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine...oct_text.html#8 http://bagatellen.com/archives/reviews/000156.html et al.
  8. Redman sounds good on Mark Turner's self-titled debut for Warners (which is I guess now out of print or going out of print). I haven't heard any of his discs as a leader. Yaya3--eeehhhh, it's OK, but I don't understand the enthusiasm for it. This is what I said in Cadence.
  9. Looking at the t.o.c. & the page of blurbs it looks to me like the book has little or nothing on free jazz, despite the title--it's largely on hard bop, with a focus on Mingus & Coltrane. I haven't seen the book itself, though. For this particular period I'd also recommend David Rosenthal's Hard Bop. I've read Jost, Spellmann, Wilmer. They're all of use. Derek Bailey's Improvisation is also useful if you want to follow the European thread of free playing--it's not a history by any means, but it gives a lot of information via reproducing interview material with various players. There are also specialized books of course like Whitehead's New Dutch Swing.
  10. Here's what I wrote about it: http://www.squidco.com/cgi-bin/news/newsView.cgi?newsID=259
  11. 1) yeah, Threads stinks. 2) the AEOC's The Meeting. Not bad, but pretty lacklustre considering it's got everyone but Bowie back on board. 3) The much-ballyhooed Limescale on Incus isn't terrible, but it's a one-joke album. Predictably enough The Wire has elevated it to the ranks of the best releases of 2003 (at least one Derek Bailey release always receives this accolade, & since he only released two or three albums this year there wasn't much to pick from.....). Don't be fooled. 4) Actually I was a bit underwhelmed by a lot of Palmetto discs this year. I got one batch from them that included the Previte, Matt Wilson, Javon Jackson & Ted Nash. None of which I thought was all that remarkable, & the Jackson is downright terrible. Fortunately they released some good things this year too--I haven't heard the Fred Hersch disc, but the Bill Mays & Marty Ehrlich are superb. 5) Ron Carter's The Golden Striker is inconsequential & genteel music from three players capable of much more. 6) In the teeth of countless Vandermark fans I'll insist that Airports for Light isn't all that great. But then, I've never really gotten with the program on KVDM.... 7) William Parker, Joe Morris, Hamid Drake, Eloping with the Sun. Shapeless studio jamming, with Morris's banjo/banjouke genuinely painful to listen to. You know it's bad when they include a 3-minute track with Hamid noodling on the drums while the other guys have a conversation with the recording engineer (entirely audible on the track).
  12. Oh crap, I have the Joe Daley on LP & should have got that, though I haven't listened to it for about 7 years (my record player is no longer working & hasn't been fixed for ages). It's indeed a remarkable disc--is it available on CD? My LP is very, very rough. It's a terrible, terrible shame that Daley didn't go on to greatness (at least on disc). -- Actually I think the reason I didn't get this is because it's been so long since I heard the disc I'd remembered Daley as playing baritone not tenor on it. Yeah, the El'Zabar concert I saw counts as one of my top-ten Awful Concert-Going Experiences, just nudged out of the number-one slot by two Jerry Granelli gigs (hm, both of 'em pleased-with-themselves drummers.....there's a pattern here). Oh well, it happens. It was still nice to see Fred Anderson, though.
  13. Glad to know it's Wilkerson & Bowie on the "Ornette" cut--Wilkerson in particular sounds excellent--but I still don't get it about el'Zabar himself (& the cut is hardly an advertisement for his inventiveness as a drummer ). The one time I've seen him live was in duet with Fred Anderson; Kahil disappeared into the dressing room just before the concert was to start, leaving Fred bewildered onstage--Kahil made him & the audience wait for an hour before he bothered to show up, & then the concert itself was a depressing display of a great tenor player having to contend with some obnoxiously splashy & egotistical drumming. Anyway, that was my last shot at hearing el'Zabar, because the local music promoter won't bring him here any more (after three occasions where his Ritual Trio was hired to play--KEZ only brought one other player on each occasion but ate the fee for the full trio anyway). Yeah, Marsh remains a specialist taste I guess. I was surprised so few people identified him, actually--easily one of the most distinctive stylists on the saxophone I know of, identifiable within a few notes if you know his sound. I assume Woody Theus = "Son Ship Theus"? What happened to him anyway? I last encountered him on some Charles Lloyd discs in the early 1980s.
  14. Hey, I quite like Constellations. Nice cover of a Nichols tune on it among others. Shepik = the pronunciation of Shoeppach. He got tired of people stumbling over how to pronounce his name. Well, I'll beg to differ on Synergetics/Phonomanie but in any case it's not a very good place to hear Parker. He's the organizer of the festival it's drawn from but actually only plays on a few tracks of it. The only Hopscotch I have is Barcelona with Derek Bailey & Agusti Fernandez. It's pretty good. My favourite thing is that I have one of the screwed-up first batch--nothing wrong with the CD, but one letter of the pianist's name is missing on the packaging by accident. This is fixed on later issues.
  15. I'm not a huge Shipp fan or Morris fan but it's worth pointing out that I've never heard a good thing about their duo album on Hat Art, & it gets a lowly rating in the Penguin Guide to boot. I haven't heard it but it's probably not a good place to form one's estimate of either player. -- I've heard By the Law of Music, which FWIW is supposedly one of Shipp's best albums (Ben Ratliff, who wrote the liners, even includes it among his list of 100 essential jazz albums). I found it pretty stodgy actually, & got rid of it. (It features Mat Maneri--in his droopy electric-violin phase rather than his more interesting acoustic viola phase--& William Parker.) -- Morris is a talented but frustratingly voluble player, I've found. Haven't heard Age of Everything; of those I've heard I found No Vertigo pretty tough going; the quartet with Brown/Parker/Krall is OK; Many Rings is dry, dry, dry, though it does give a glimpse of a post-Lyons Karen Borca at least; Eloping with the Sun is a tepid studio jam with Morris plinging away on banjo & banjouke. The one I WOULD highly recommend of those I've heard is Whit Dickey's new Prophet Moon on Morris's Riti label: it's Dickey, Morris, Rob Brown, & it's terrific. As usual, Morris rarely lets up--he tends to come to the foreground for his solos, recede to the background when Brown's soloing, but never actually stops playing. But it's a really good disc nonetheless & was enough to make me think I'd take another chance on Morris again after some years of rather lukewarm feelings. The Minimalism of Erik Satie is an excellent disc, yes.
  16. Phew, while I feel somewhat mortified that I'd casually said the Shannon Jackson was an "amusing interlude", I'm glad I didn't actually sit down & try to make out the lyrics. Following along with the lyrics with the disc on the stereo I can see that I could only have gotten about half the lines without the help of the lyric sheet. The most interesting discovery so far (I'm writing with only tracks 1-10 of disc 1 commented on so far) is the Maynard Ferguson track, not so much for Ferguson himself as that it leaves me wondering why Lanny Morgan doesn't play in that Booker-ERvin style more often. I'e heard two of his latterday albums with Carl Saunders, & he's an excellent but entirely by-the-books West-Coast Parker disciple. I just played the track with Ferguson side-by-side with his solo on the (excellent) Carl Saunders Big Band disc on Sea Breeze, & it's hard to see any resemblance at all. (I presume it is Morgan taking that solo there--I notice there was some confusion in the BFT responses as to whether it was an alto or tenor solo.) Interesting how the Duke track closely resembles what some of the classically-trained players on the European scene are doing--hence my guess of Michael Moore (American, but Amsterdam-resident); the approach is actually very close to George Graewe's album of Monk tunes on Nuscope.
  17. Whoops, hadn't checked in with the label website recently--there was a long, long gap in terms of new releases after disc 1012 (Grathovox) & I lost track.
  18. My understanding is that the Knitting Factory has abandoned its support of free jazz almost entirely, both of live concerts & the associated record label. There was a public letter going around a few months ago about the situation concerning the discs: it was being circulated on behalf of musicians afraid that their discs would be trashed without a chance to buy copies or receive a proper accounting. I can dig it up if anyone's curious--I think it was posted on a thread on the Jazz Corner board. Meniscus: I have all their discs, due to a generous gesture from Jon Morgan. Everything I've heard has been worthwhile, though not all of them tickle my fancy. It was a solid label but never quite broke through; at the point where it was genuinely starting to get consistent attention (for releases like Points Snags & Windings, and Trumpet) Jon disappeared from the scene for a year & a half. The most recent (last?) releases, Surface/Plane by the Sealed Knot Trio, & Le Ventre Negatif by Le Quan Ninh, would have been cutting-edge if they'd been released on-schedule at the start of 2002, but instead came out belatedly in summer 2003, when they were less arresting (as the lowercase-improv style of the Sealed Knot for instance has become far more widely exposed in North America). That said they're both some of the label's stronger releases. -- The trio disc Quicksand is musically pretty good; my hesitation over it concerns the wonky recording, which is dominated by Lovens' drums & buries the piano. It's nonetheless listenable. If you want reviews of these discs I'd suggest typing "Meniscus" into the search engine on the Paris Transatlantic site--www.paristransatlantic.com--& you will find that Dan or myself has reviewed virtually every release on the label. Also, dig up Nick Cain's Opprobrium website (no longer updated but it's still very much worth reading) for some more, equally incisive reviews of those discs. (A Googling on "nick cain opprobrium" should turn it up.) Nuscope: I have two of their discs, the Graewe Interpretations of Monk & Butcher/Durrant/Lee Intentions. Both are very nice. The label covered overlapping improv territory to the Meniscus label, with Graewe & Butcher favourite musicians on both labels. Nuscope seems to be defunct now, though their old releases are still available. Again, the two sites I mentioned above will have plenty of thoughtful reviews.
  19. I'd be interested in doing a test. The timing doesn't matter to me--not a terribly busy guy at present--but I gather that the ranking have reached so far up I'm looking at circa 2005 at this rate..... Well, whatever.
  20. Oh yeah, avoid this one like the plague. I'm exaggerating somewhat--it's got some nice George Lewis on it--but it's also got a lot of longueurs, & it's a 2CD set so it's pricey. The recorded sound is a real problem, not least because it was so poorly done that they had to remove most of the tracks with electronics because some of the high frequencies caused distortion. So though there are two guys using electronics on the album, they're virtually invisible because only tracks where they played a minor role are included. It also includes some fairly tedious stuff for launeddas (a type of bagpipe)--the first 8 minutes or so or the album are taken up with its tootling--& in general Evan Parker himself has a very minor role on the album, playing for no more than about 20-30 minutes between the two CDs. The Cook/Morton guide is quite enthusiastic about the Parker/Guy/Lytton trio's first disc Atlanta. I've always had less warm feelings about this, in part because the recording is not terribly good, but it does include one of my favourite examples of Parker's solo soprano work from the mid-1980s, "The Snake as Roadsign". It's in part a useful track to have because it's in a drier acoustic than Parker usually favours for solo concerts, so it sounds very different from say Conic Sections or Monoceros or Lines Burnt on Light. I think the duet encounter with Braxton on Leo is pretty extraordinary. As with the encounter with McPhee, it's not the place to hear Parkerian fireworks--it's cooled-out & there's no circular breathing showcases--but if you're a fan of Konitz/Marsh duelling lines, it's great stuff. Not the world's best recording quality, again, but it's quite acceptable. I haven't heard the trio disc with Rutherford but it can't be too shabby surely. I'm told that all the Psi reissues from the 1970s with Lytton & Lewis are remarkable stuff, by the way. Lastly, I'm rather fond of Parker's work on the first of the two discs with Paul Bley & Barre Phillips on ECM, Time Will Tell, which is pretty untypical of his work (being, well, ECMish). The echo is appalling--it's excessive even by ECM's standards--but it's interesting music, in part because Bley & Parker are so obviously testing each other out, & neither of them on home territory. The sequel Sankt Gerold I found pretty but very frigid, & it falls foul of one of the mannerisms of a lot of later Parker discs--too much space given to spotlit solo excursions, where the players do little more than play their default solo-piece. It's After Appleby. I haven't heard it; I have the previous quartet disc Natives & Aliens, which is good but somehow I've never warmed to it quite. It's the EP/BG/PLyt trio plus Marilyn Crispell. The duo album with Eddie Prevost is worth hearing, by the way, if repetitive (should have been a single disc not a 2CD set). Most Materiall.
  21. & also re: Alex Ward--haven't heard False Face Society but he's indeed a good guitarist--funnily enough that's his 2nd instrument, he's better known as a clarinetist. But there's a nice two-guitar duet on 2:13 worth checking out, Crypt, with John Bisset. It's acoustic duets, quite charming.
  22. Hm......I think that Alder Brook is rather pretty but hardly a good place to start with Evan Parker. The one person I've talked to who seems enthusiastic about it is Walter Horn, but I'm not sure why really. Lines Burnt on Light is easily the dullest solo disc I know of: it probably will sound just fine if you haven't heard any of the earlier ones but I would nonetheless not go for it first. I'm told The Snake Decides is excellent, as well as Six of One both now reissued on Psi. I have Monoceros which is superb but may be scarce as I think the CD reissue recently went out of print, though Cadence/North Country & I think DMG still carry it. For Parker with groups, I'd suggest heading straight to the 2CD 50th Birthday Concert on Leo, which is a remarkable document. Imaginary Values on Maya is another good one by the Parker/Guy/Lytton trio (in fact everything by the trio is worth hearing, except the drab Redwood Sessions). I'm not enormously well-versed in the 1970s & 1980s Parker oeuvre, but I'm sure people can say more here. On the whole just about anything Parker's done up to about 1997 is worth hearing. Recent years have found him rather stuck on his lofty plateau, though there are notable exceptions like the duos with Joe McPhee (for those who like their music REEEAL dour & sombre, but it's great stuff I think).
  23. Yes will be interested to hear what this track is as it's extremely good. I was wondering about the Rollins i.d. simply because the particular album many people have pointed to, with Rollins, Grimes & La Roca, is way too early for this track--it dates from 1959, but it seems clear to me that (1) the track shows evidence of a serious absorption of Ornette Coleman's music, which would have been impossible in 1959 when Ornette hadn't even yet recorded all his classic albums for Atlantic; (2) the bass solo on the track seems to me too out-there for 1959.
  24. Report on Soundtrack to Human Motion? It's a very nice disc, cooler & more restrained than Moran's later stuff--as much Hancock as Hill in the mix, I think. A reading of a Ravel piece on it, if I remember rightly, but otherwise all originals. The sound is closer to Greg Osby's Blue Notes of the period than to Moran's own conception later on, in part because of the smoother & more conventional rhythm section here. It's very much worth picking up, needless to say.
  25. The rest. 8: My first thought was Basie. Not sure if it’s Lester Young on the sax; lots of Lester licks & the sound too, but a few things that surprised me. 9: Ornette-influenced reading of a Charlie Parker tune. Sonny Rollins’ free period? Sounds great, anyway. Live sound could be a little better but hard to top the music – all three musicians in excellent form. Classic 1960s-free bass-solo in there is particularly great to hear. 10: The bizarre voicings & timbres made me think it was late Zappa, but the voice isn’t that of any Zappa vocalist I know of and the guitar and lyrics certainly aren’t Zappa’s. There’s the distinctive possibility therefore that the ridiculous backdrop isn’t actually parodic........ Anyway, worth hearing though not all that interesting. 11: Threadgill, obviously: the instrumentation and some of the wrong-turnings in the chord changes could be no-one else’s. Though it’s a lot more upbeat than the Threadgill I have, which is the Columbia stuff. Sounds like he’s trying to sound kinda of like African music – Threadgill does Sunny Ade. Is this from the Pi discs or the Black Saints?
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