Jump to content

BFT 51 - The Answers


Nate Dorward
 Share

Recommended Posts

Some introductory comments:

I'd sworn that this time around I'd make a very different BFT than #14 -- more avant-garde stuff, a wide chronological range, two CDRs rather than one -- but in the end it seemed better to keep it simple. Most of these discs, as in BFT 14, are ones I reviewed in the past two years. I tried to avoid anything too predictable, which would inspire what I.A. Richards dubbed "the stock response": there is barely anything on the disc squarely "in" a particular jazz style. One result of this has been an interestingly varied range of response -- none of the tracks became a consensus favourite or a consensus thumbs-down either, which is all to the good I think.

Congratulations to the folks who i.d.'d some of these--I figured that a few of them would be easy (#1 and #3 especially) but was surprised that #2, #7 & #11 got nailed too. -- Incidentally (now I'm ruining any future BFTs I do!) I was slightly surprised both with BFT 14 and 51 that no-one figured out the easiest way to nail virtually everything: simply go to my website & blog & check out the year-end best-of lists. Most of these discs have figured on them or will figure on them. I've actually written reviews of everything on this BFT except the Lester & Sellers.

I don't have all the discs here at the moment--some are in Anne's room (she's asleep) so I'll pick away at this tonight & tomorrow. But I will provide basic info; it's just the comments & details that will take a bit.

*

Pieces are by the performer unless otherwise stated.

Edited by Nate Dorward
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[comments in-progress]

1. Roy Nathanson, "By the Page", from Sotto Voce (AUM Fidelity, 2006). Nathanson, as, spoken word; Sam Bardfeld, vn, vcl; Curis Fowlkes, tbn, vcl; Tim Kiah, b, vcl; Napoleon Maddox, beatboxing. Brooklyn, 13 November 2005.

AUM337.JPG

You either love or hate the Jazz Passengers, & people either loved or hated this track by Nathanson & a bunch of his fellow passengers. That’s Napoleon Maddox with the beatbox vocals -- there's no conventional drummer on the disc.

People who hated this track should breathe a sigh of relief that I didn’t include another vocal track that nearly made the cut: I was going to put in something by the Reveries, a Toronto trio that specializes in sweetly ruined jazz standards. Their most distinctive feature is the use of "mouth speakers" -- disconnected cellphone speakers placed in the mouth.

2. Billy Stein, "Juice", from Hybrids (Barking Hoop). Stein, g; Reuben Radding, b; Rashid Bakr, d.

bkh011.jpg

Debut record for Stein (a friend of the drummer Kevin Norton, who runs Barking Hoop). He's not young -- he attended Milt Hinton's workshops with Norton in the early 1970s, & later worked in Bakr's ensembles.

Reuben told me he was incredibly sick when he did this session, and he avoided listening to the CD for ages once it was released, because he feared he'd ruined the session.... in fact, he didn't listten to it until I sent him my review...! He was pleasantly surprised, once he actually heard it, to find that the music was pretty good.

3. Lindsey Horner, "Green Chimneys" (T. Monk), from Don't Count on Glory (Cadence Jazz Records, 2005). Horner, b; Marty Ehrlich, as; Brian Lynch, tpt; Pete McCann, g; Neal Kirkwood, p; Allison Miller, d; Jeff Berman, perc. Brooklyn, 2003.

lindseyhorner.jpg

I would have preferred to include a longer track from this album, especially the title-track with a guesting Uri Caine, but this peppy odd-metre version of a Monk tune seemed to function as a good breather among the heavier/weirder stuff on this BFT. It's an unusually mainstream release for Cadence, and it might have got more attention if it had been on Palmetto or Omnitone, I think.

4. Jim McAuley, "Dark Blooming", from Gongfarmer18 (Nine Winds, 2005). McAuley, Ramirez classical guitar.

McAuleyGongfarmer.jpg

Jim is a veteran who's been on the West Coast scene for decades. He started out as an enthusiast of classic blues guitar, was involved in the folk & folk-rock scene (at one point was signed to John Fahey's Takoma Records but it fell apart when the label was bought by Chrysalis), briefly spent time doing session work in the late 1960s/early 1970s (he's on albums by Frank Sinatra, Pat Boone, Perry Como...) but quickly decided to concentrate on his own music, and instead gravitated towards the local avant-garde scene. He was a student of John Carter's, and was also involved in the microtonal music scene around Kraig Grady, Ivor Darreg, Erv Wilson, &c. I did a feature on Jim for Signal to Noise that later was expanded into a full-length interview for Paris Transatlantic (available here); it was one of the most enjoyable & illuminating experiences I’ve had in my short career as a music journalist, & do check it out if you liked this track.

Jim has released only two albums so far: this solo guitar recital, and a superb trio album with Nels Cline and the late Rod Poole on Incus (one of the mellowest things on the label; I recently played it for an enthusiast of traditional Chinese music & he loved it & noted some similarities...). He has several more recordings in the can (a set of duets with Leroy Jenkins, Nels Cline, Alex Cline & Ken Filiano; & two more Acoustic Guitar Trio albums, one live & one studio), and I hope they are released soon. He's extremely selective about his work--Gongfarmer18 was whittled down from extensive studio recordings and one live date, & the duos album is again a careful selection from a larger collection of material.

It was hard to pick a representative track from this album, which ranges from freeform blues to prepared guitar to a gracious waltz to an almost narrative composition called "Eyelids of Buddha". I picked this piece because its diversity of texture really shows what he can do, and because it shows his classical guitar chops nicely.

I just talked on the phone to Jim today, incidentally, & he was tickled by all the comments in the thread, esp. the one suggesting the track sounded like a cross of Derek Bailey & Michael Hedges!

Edited by Nate Dorward
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[comments still in progress...]

5. MTKJ Quartet [a.k.a. The Empty Cage Quartet], "Attack of the Eye People", from Day of the Race (Nine Winds). Jason Mears, as; Kris Tiner, tpt; Ivan Johnson, b; Paul Kikuchi, d.

mtkjquartet.jpg

More from Nine Winds! I received a review copy of MTKJ’s earlier Making Room for Spaces before this, and thought it a nice live freebop date, but it didn’t really grab my attention. This very hot studio session (untypical: most of their records are live) grabs me harder. I picked this track mostly for the snappy trumpet solo by Tiner, one of a small army of excellent freeish trumpeters cropping up nowadays (others include Peter Evans, Taylor Ho Bynum....).

6. Respect Sextet, “3 in 2” (Fred Anderson), from Respect in You (Roister). Josh Rutner, ts; Eli Asher, tpt; James Hirschfeld, tbn; Red Wierenga, p; Matt Clohesy, b; Ted Poor, d (all musicians play various little instruments, radio, &c in addition).

riycover.jpg

Young guys who seem to really have the right idea about how to approach "the tradition": with curiosity and appetite, not reverence. They tend to have a huge book of tunes, including a massive amount of Misha Mengelberg tunes (some of the players studied under him briefly) -- the sharp-eared will note a quote from Misha's "Gare Guillemins" near the end -- and Sun Ra is another big influence, which may lie behind the bandmembers' doubling as percussionists and noise-producers when they aren't soloing. I've never heard the original Fred Anderson recording; any Chicagoans here care to comment, if they've heard it?

7. Billy Lester, “Skip’s Bounce”, from Four into Four (Coppens). Lester, p; Simon Wettenhall, tpt; Sean Smith, b; Russ Meissner, d. NYC, 7 Apr 2002.

f81485cnuca.jpg

Picked this up on Jason Bivins' or Joe Milazzo's recommendation, IIRC, when I posted asking about Tristanoite players who were genuinely interesting/enjoyable (as opposed to kinda creepy....). Lester is a student of Sal Mosca's, but judging from this album he's not a dogged follower of either Sal or Tristano. Lester writes terrific tunes, mostly over the changes of familiar standards (this one seems to be an exception).

8. Jesse Zubot, "Delirium", from Dementia (Drip Audio, 2006). Zubot, vn. Vancouver, June 2006.

10.jpg

The only Canadian musician on the album -- I probbly should have included a few more (the Reveries, Fraser MacPherson & Thom Gossage nearly made the cut). This is one of my favourite solo discs of recent vintage. Jesse can be incredibly lyrical or hot or insane as occasion demands -- I've heard him play in the rather Charms in the Night Skyish band Great Uncles of the Revolution, the prog rock ensemble Fond of Tigers, & the ZMF trio with Joe Fonda & Jean Martin. He also has a duo with Steve Dawson I haven’t heard, which does bent country music they call "strang music".

This album is actually quite varied -- this is one of the more hair-raising tracks, as you’d imagine -- and also includes some overdubbing of guitar and mandolin (played also by Jesse). I think there has been a little post-production tweaking here -- there's an electronic “glitch” at two points, which could be produced in real-time but I think may be a little post-performance addition. What do you think?

Edited by Nate Dorward
Link to comment
Share on other sites

[comments still in progress....]

9. Joey Sellers' Jazz Aggregation, "El Payaso", from El Payaso (Nine Winds, 2005). Sellers, tbn, arr; John O’Gallagher, as, ss, cl, flt; Tony Malaby, ss, ts; Adam Kolker, bari s, bcl, flt; Taylor Haskins, Dave Ballou, tpt, flgh; Joe Fiedler, Noah Bless, tbn; Nathan Durham, b tbn; David Berkman, p; John Hebert, b; Mike Sarin, d. (Solos: Fiedler, Kolker, Malaby.) Brooklyn, 18 September 2001.

joeysellersja.jpg

(image doesn't really do it justice, does it?)

My third Nine Winds pick, by a leader rather sparsely represented in the catalogue: just three big band dates and a quartet with Malaby, all for Nine Winds (I can't figure out why no other label seems interested in his stuff). This disc (recorded in New York a week after 9/11) appeared quite belatedly, and didn’t get a lot of press. The classy studio recording is the work of the late David Baker, incidentally. I could have picked a shorter or more conventionally swinging chart, but Sellers' best work tends to involve long structures and luminous, constantly shifting textures that often sound as improvised as the solos.

& if you think I was being indulgent including 3 Nine Winds discs, consider that none of them were i.d.'d here! I don't think people pay enough attention to the West Coast scene.....

10. Carl Maguire, "Egocentric", from Floriculture (Between the Lines, 2005). Maguire, p; Chris Mannigan, as; Trevor Dunn, b; Dan Weiss, d. Brooklyn, 2002.

cmaguire2006.jpg

A debut for this young pianist; he originally self-released it but waited years for it to come out on Between the Lines. It was worth the wait! Dan Weiss is on the latest Rudresh Mahanthappa album, which may explain why some listeners thought there was a connection (that, & the use of complex/layered time signatures).

11. Albrecht Maurer/Trio Works, "Jour de Fête -- avant" (collective improv), from Movietalks (JazzHausMusik, 2002). Maurer, vn; Wolter Wierbos, tbn; Benoît Delbecq, p. Germany, 1999.

covertrioworks.jpg

The lone European track of this BFT, chosen of course for its brevity but also its charm. The rest of the disc is more composerly, but for this piece the only preparation was Maurer's instruction: "play a fantasy that is like a character in Jacques Tati's Jour de fête".

Edited by Nate Dorward
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I deliberately steered clear of your blog Nate - figured it might make a few things too easy! That said, I hope everyone checks out the site. It's really excellent.

Really interesting selections. Jim McAuley was a real revelation to me. I look forward to checking out more of his stuff. I was interested by the Derek Bailey comments about this track - really couldn't hear that myself. I feel like McAuley really has his own thing (although listening again, I stick by my remarks that he sounds a little bit like various Threadgill guitarists)!

Track 2 continues to grow on me. I think it's really wonderful.

I've never heard of Jesse Zubot. My feeling is that those 'glitches' are probably live (although as you say, could quite easily have been post-production)...the only reason for this is that there are only a couple, and such tiny additions seem a little extravagant (curiously) to do post production...

I love the composition element of that Maurer piece. Great!

What was really interesting here as well for me was that many of the players I knew/had heard 'a little' in the past - Mears, Malaby, Tiner, Radding. This may account for the 'tip of the tongue' feeling which I experienced rather a lot here, even though, looking back at the answers, there was no way I was going to get them!

Edited by Red
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I deliberately steered clear of your blog Nate - figured it might make a few things too easy! That said, I hope everyone checks out the site. It's really excellent.

Thanks for posting the link I just wanted to ask for!

I was laughing out loud when I read Nate's remark about the answers being practically being below our noses on his blog ....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

6. Respect Sextet, “3 in 2” (Fred Anderson), from Respect in You (Roister). Josh Rutner, ts; Eli Asher, tpt; James Hirschfield, tbn; Red Wierenga, p; Matt Clohesy, b; Ted Poor, d (all musicians play various little instruments, radio, &c in addition).

riycover.jpg

Young guys who seem to really have the right idea about how to approach "the tradition": with curiosity and appetite, not reverence. They tend to have a huge book of tunes, including a massive amount of Misha Mengelberg tunes (some of the players studied under him briefly) -- the sharp-eared will note a quote from Misha's "Gare Guillemins" near the end -- and Sun Ra is another big influence, which may lie behind the bandmembers' doubling as percussionists and noise-producers when they aren't soloing. I've never heard the original Fred Anderson recording; any Chicagoans here care to comment, if they've heard it?

Well, I own this disc and raved about it when I first picked it up, but I never made the connection here.

Time to go back and give this one another spin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No problem about not getting to the BFT--I knew that not everyone would manage to write up comments. Really, it's just nice to spread some of this stuff around: I'm a firm believer that the most original jazz being made nowadays is on small labels & that much of it receives only a fraction of the attention it deserves. There are just too many competing albums out there, & it's easy for some exceptional music-making to get lost in the sea of music now available, especially when the musician isn't a really pushy hustling type.

Mike, thanks for the kind words, & I'd certainly be game for doing another BFT in the future, a couple years down the road. You can pencil me in if you like. -- My attempts to rein in the BFT to a fairly concentrated area of music (basically, current releases on small labels) was in part because I wanted something that would appeal to a relatively wide spectrum of listeners (not all of whom want confrontational avantgarde stuff!), but actually I think the deciding factor was the problem of audio quality: there was no way to include a wide range of stuff without including huge variations in volume level, dynamics, surface noise, balance, &c. I don't have professional audio software for correcting such things, & my experience with the "volume equalizer" functions on ordinary CDR-burning software has not been happy (they introduce bad distortion or compression). I wanted a disc that would be nice to listen to as an entire experience, rather than feeling too bumpy a ride! -- The irony of all this is that it's far easier, in my experience, to compensate for such problems when dubbing off old vinyl...!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd recommend the burning software I use, but it's in German language - it includes a very basic sound editor that I used to adjust volume levels in my new BFT, and it worked without compressing or distorting.

FWIW: feurio! - just saw they have an English version as well!

Edited by mikeweil
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I'm probably breaking all the rules by placing my very short comments on the discussion thread a couple of minutes ago.

I note that I hardly knew any of these musicians and my only suggestion was Roy Nathanson with Sotto Voce. I did, however, mention Bryan Lynch on track 5, only 2 tracks removed :-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

[comments still in progress....]

A debut for this young pianist; he originally self-released it but waited years for it to come out on Between the Lines. It was worth the wait! Dan Weiss is on the latest Rudresh Mahanthappa album, which may explain why some listeners thought there was a connection (that, & the use of complex/layered time signatures).

11. Albrecht Maurer/Trio Works, "Jour de Fête -- avant" (collective improv), from Movietalks (JazzHausMusik, 2002). Maurer, vn; Wolter Wierbos, tbn; Benoît Delbecq, p. Germany, 1999.

covertrioworks.jpg

The lone European track of this BFT, chosen of course for its brevity but also its charm. The rest of the disc is more composerly, but for this piece the only preparation was Maurer's instruction: "play a fantasy that is like a character in Jacques Tati's Jour de fête".

I transferred my old favorites Jour de fête and les vacences de M Hulot from video to DVD fairly recently (inspired by Mr Bean). It didn't help me here. Neither did a household name (for me) like Benoit Delbec

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually don't know Delbecq very well--the only other album I have is the recent trio w/ Evan Parker & François Houle, which I haven't really absorbed yet (seemed OK from a first listen but didn't bowl me over). Ethan Iverson at DTM has occasionally boosted Delbecq, I note.

As you can see, Brian Lynch is indeed here, just not on the track you named him on (in the Discussion thread)!

Will take down the in-progress flags shortly, just have been waiting to find enough time to revisit some tracks & flesh out the comments on a few of the discs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...