2017-07-24 FurFour

Furfour by Grumbling Fur.

I read the wire magazine, so I keep thinking I should like Grumbling Fur.

And they do occasionally have interesting interstitial bits between their songs proper.

However, at the core of their songwriting is a fondness for anthemic, saccharine vocals and synth/sequencer palettes based on 80s/90s nostalgia that sets my teeth on edge.

Sort of like Wrong Way Up era Brian Eno collaborated with Pet Shop Boys or Tears For Fears.

Nope. No sir, I don’t like it.

#GrumblingFur #Furfour #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack 

2017-07-21 Tenor and Fallen Angels

Tenor and Fallen Angels by Joe McPhee.

Ken Vandermark has written and spoken of this 1977 solo Tenor Saxophone album from Mr McPhee as crucial to his development as a player.

Endlessly inventive, yet not inaccessible, Mr McPhee uses noir-ish themes to launch his angelic flights into the open skies of free improvisation.

#JoeMcphee #Saxophonistry #TodaysCommuteSoundtrack

2017-07-20 Bells for the South Side (Disc 2)

Bells For The South Side (Disc 2) by Roscoe Mitchell.

When we lived in Madison, WI, Roscoe Mitchell was a professor in the music department at the University of Wisconsin. He would frequently bring the groups he was involved in through town, and I was lucky to see many permutations of his sound.

We were also lucky to be close enough to Chicago that it was close enough to drive down and see many more concerts related to the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). The concerts documented on this recording were recorded as part of an exhibit, called The Freedom Principle, at the Museum of Contemporary Art celebrating the contributions of artists associated with the AACM to world culture.

Roscoe Mitchell, and the AACM, have been a huge part of my musical mind space for many years, and this release is a sort of summary of his work, from what has passed, to what is to come.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #RoscoeMitchell #CraigTaborn #KikanjuBaku #JaribuShahid #TaniTabbal #WilliamWinant #JamesFei #TyshawnSorey #HughRagin #BellsForTheSouthSide #AncientToTheFuture #TheFreedomPrinciple #MCAChicago

2017-07-19 Bells For The South Side (Disc 1)

Bells For The South Side (Disc 1) by Roscoe Mitchell.

At some point, during the first track on this album, “Spatial Aspects of Sound”, I found myself asking, “What differentiates a discrete series of sound events from music?” Which reminded me of a workshop I attended with Ben Goldberg, where we talked about using silence, as well as sound, with intent, in your playing.

#RoscoeMitchell #CraigTaborn #KikanjuBaku #JaribuShahid #TaniTabbal#WilliamWinant #JamesFei #TyshawnSorey #HughRagin

2017-07-18 BLIMMGUASS

BLIMMGUASS by SAXRUINS.

I’ve been following Japanese drummer Tatsuya Yoshida for quite a while now and few of his (many) projects are as intriguing to me as SAXRUINS. His drumming combined with the multi-tracked sax stylings of Ono Ryoko is an astounding thing to hear. Simply imagining the work that went into a single person recording all the sax tracks on this album is, uh, daunting. So much detail!

On a practical level, Ono Ryoko’s sax arrangements give a more open feel to Yoshida’s compositions. As if Frank Zappa had been run over by the Magma tour bus with John Zorn at the wheel.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #TatsuyaYoshida #YoshidaTatsuya #onoryōko #OnoRyoko #RyokoOno #RyOrchestra

2017-07-17 Bill Orcutt

Bill Orcutt by Bill Orcutt.

Solo electric guitar recordings of theme and variation on various American songs.

From Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman through to Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner, largely Orcutt takes intervals from the songs and creates melodic variations on their themes over the chords. Jazz, in other words, but not. Compelling, original, and moving.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #BillOrcutt

2017-07-14 Nefertiti the Beautiful One is Come

Nefertiti, the Beautiful One Has Come by Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, and Sunny Murray.

One of the key recordings of Cecil Taylor’s career, and one of the key documents of “Free Jazz”, the concerts recorded at Cafe Montmartre in Copenhagen, Denmark in November of 1962 are the first recorded expressions of the true vision Taylor would pursue (and continues to pursue). Astonishing and beautiful. To have been in the audience!

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #CecilTaylor #JimmyLyons #SunnyMurray

2017-07-13 Jazz Advance

Jazz Advance by Cecil Taylor, Denis Charles, Steve Lacy, and Buell Neidlinger.

Continuing my investigation into Cecil Taylor’s early work, with his recorded debut from 1956. More interesting, than compelling, you can hear Taylor is still working out his concepts. And the rest of the band is trying to figure out, “If he’s playing THAT, what do we play?” The forms, at least in terms of time, are largely respected by Taylor, but the content of his solos often strays. Lacy is primarily playing Bebop runs over the changes. And the rhythm section is keeping time and walking the chords.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #CecilTaylor #DenisCharles #SteveLacy #BuellNeidlinger

2017-07-12 Cell Walk for Celeste

Cell Walk for Celeste by Cecil Taylor with Buell Neidlinger, Denis Charles, and Archie Shepp.

A year after the “World of Cecil Taylor” sessions and the band is a lot tighter. Shepp has matured and is incorporating Taylor’s right hand melodic expressions and rhythmic motifs into his playing. Unfortunately, Taylor is saddled with a painfully out of tune piano and sits out much of this session. Two of the tracks are Bass/Sax duets. The piano issue is particularly egregious on the relatively straight forward covers of the Mercer/Ellington tune Jumpin’ Punkins with a larger band including Billy Higgins, Clark Terry, Roswell Rudd, Steve Lacy, and Charles Davis. Unless you’re curious what it would sound like to hear Taylor playing honky tonk piano, avoid those two tracks.

#CecilTaylor #BuellNeidlinger #DenisCharles #ArchieShepp #BillyHiggins #ClarkTerry #RoswellRudd #SteveLacy #CharlesDavis #CellWallkForCeleste

2017-07-11 The World of Cecil Taylor

The World of Cecil Taylor by Cecil Taylor, Buell Neidlinger, Sunny Murray, Denis Charles, and Archie Shepp.

Since I listened to alternate takes from the sessions for this album yesterday, I thought I should revisit the album proper today.

First, whomever picked the takes to use on the album was right. While the tracks on “Air” have their charms, these stand head and shoulders above. From Murray’s drum call to action to Cecil’s soft intro to track 2, these are invigorating, dramatic, and astounding.

#TodaysCommuteSoundtrack #CecilTaylor #BuellNeidlinger #SunnyMurray #DenisCharles #ArchieShepp #TheWorldOfCecilTaylor