Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Right Prescription: An Alvin Fielder Mixtape

Since I don't have a regular radio outlet anymore—:(—thank God for Destination:Out. The site's principals have been unusually generous re: letting me muscle in on their territory when I have a blogging idea that suits their multimedia format. Last year, I surveyed Bobby Few's oeuvre, and now I've got another mixtape up on the site, bearing my somewhat corny—but IMHO justified— title of The Right Prescription (you'll have to read the intro to find out where that title comes from). This one's dedicated to Alvin Fielder (tearing it up behind the kit and looking like a ’70s ?uestlove in the pic above), a man who's always been one of my favorite drummers, yet whose recordings have always seemed really elusive outside of his famous debut on Roscoe Mitchell's Sound. I decided to use the sad recent news of his illness as an excuse to comb through his discography and pick out some choice tracks. Please take some time to sample this music; it's inspiring stuff.

All best wishes to Mr. Fielder! Here's hoping he makes it back to New York for a gig someday.


Also, now playing over at The Volume, strong new tracks from John Hollenbeck, Kevin Hufnagel and Stinking Lizaveta.

And, in this week's Time Out New York, my review of the new Dylan disc.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Myself and Irene

Tonight I had the insanely overdue opportunity to hear Irene Aebi sing live. As detailed here, it was glorious. That's Aebi at right in the pic above (snapped by Laal Shams), with (left to right) Josh Sinton and Kirk Knuffke of the excellent Steve Lacy repertory band Ideal Bread and saxist Jeremy Udden.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Pure Norwegian Free Jazz // Yo King

Friday's Håkon Kornstad and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten duo show was a serious trip, as I attempted to relate here.

The pair's recent record, Elise (all info plus a full stream here) is a winner. Telepathic meditative poignancy, first-rate free soul, etc. Scandinavian jazz is no joke whatsoever. It is really the frontier as far as I'm concerned.

Speaking of which...

One-item playlist (besides the aforementioned Elise):

Futterman-Jordan Quintet - Nickelsdorf Konfrontation (Silkheart, 1995)
This strange and wonderful disc teams Mats Gustafsson, the reigning sax titan of the aforementioned musical community, with (get ready for this) Barry Guy, "Kidd" Jordan, Alvin Fielder and Joel Futterman. The latter three have often performed as a powerful trio, but the addition of the Euro free masters makes this a real find.

Still listening to the hell out of Supporting Caste too.


And in STATS news, I'm proud to say that "Yo King," the first track from our brand-new demo/EP, Marooned, is now streaming over on MySpace. It would behoove you to play this loud. If anyone is interested in getting ahold of the full three-song recording, please drop a line to (Bonus points if you can figure out where the song title came from.)

Also, really fun show the other night (flyer above, though I don't know why I didn't think to upload it *before* the gig) with Scurvy and Zevious. Heavily high-tech prog-jazz from both ensembles. Thanks to Johnny for setting that up.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Weekend in review / Recent listening / Get well, Alvin Fielder

A busy and enjoyable weekend for the ears, I tell you.

*I got to hear the new Sunn O))) record on Friday.

*Laal, Tony and I checked out Attila Csihar and Bohren & Der Club of Gore at (Le) Poisson Rouge that night.

*And then Laal, Joe and I took in Roy Haynes at the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival on Saturday, preceded by a gorging session at the impressive Smoke Joint. Sadly we missed the opening set by Amiri Baraka, but luckily the esteemed poet came back out at the end to drop some impish witticisms. He and Haynes were together onstage long enough for me to snap the blurry but (at least IMHO) evocative pic above.

Note: Yes, more and more posts on DFSBP are now linking to The Volume. Am doing my best to keep both beachballs in the air, but it's tough; sometimes there's just going to be overlap, which I'm cool with and hope you are too. Thanks for bearing with me in this transitional time.


Recent listening:

I've never really offered straightforward playlists on here before, but why not start? I've been doing some spring cleaning both at home and at work and have unearthed a fair amount of jazz and experimental music discs from recent years that I've been really digging. Since most of them are old now they conform to the DFSBP corporate motto: "Apropos of Nothing!"

Vinny Golia Quartet Sfumato (Clean Feed, 2005)

Dennis González's Spirit Meridian Idle Wild (Clean Feed, 2005)

Does the Portugese avant-jazz label Clean Feed release too much music? Of course, there's no such thing as too much, but in one crucial sense, I'd have to answer yes. As you can tell by the vintages above, I'm nowhere near caught up on all this label's boatload of records from the past few years. I'm sure there's a ton more awesome ones that have fallen through the cracks. Both Sfumato and Idle Wild feature unbelievable supporting casts, and interestingly both records include the awesome Ken Filiano on bass. Oliver Lake steals the show on the González--the latter *always* recruits the sickest sideman; just check some of his Silkheart discs from the '80s--and on the Golia, I'm blown away by the leader's frenetic multireed facility. I really don't know Golia's other work at all. These are both out-jazz sessions with a just-right balance of structural integrity and free blowing.

Matthew Welch Ceol Nua (Leo, 2002)

Ambitious and beguiling, as with pretty much all of Welch's work that I've heard. Love the solo bagpipes piece, "Traversing Mad-Hatten," and the large-ensemble stuff ain't too shabby either. Cool that the last track features future stars such as Charlie Looker (Extra Life) and Tyondai Braxton (Battles, etc.).

Greg Kelley I Don't Want to Live Forever (Little Enjoyer/Gameboy, 2005)

What a strange, strange musician Kelley is. This is an enigmatic set, a sort of tape-collage thingie constructed out of live recordings. Don't know that I prefer this to, say, Nmperign, but at its best, it features the same obsessively textural quality that makes that duo so awesome.

William Parker & the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra Raincoat in the River (Eremite, 2002)

Exuberant and well-constructed; loose yet efficient. Have never truly loved a Little Huey record, but this one comes closest to what I'd like to hear from the band.

Håkon Kornstad and Ingebrigt Håker Flaten Elise (Compunctio, 2008)

A dazzlingly romantic and gritty release. Are Scandinavians making the best jazz in the world right now? Could be. You can hear the whole record here.

and finally:

Miles Davis The Complete Birth of the Cool (Capitol/Blue Note, 1950/1998)

There are not too many jazz records as flawlessly exquisite as the original Birth of the Cool. Fleet and breezy yet insanely ornate; lovely, catchy, PERFECT (especially the to-die-for "Moon Dreams," a woozy ballad that becomes a modernist fever dream). It's a kaleidoscope of beautiful writing and as for the soloists, Lee Konitz, in particular, sounds utterly like mercury here. Really wish I'd caught him at the Vanguard this past week.


Lastly, trolling about the Clean Feed site, I just discovered the unfortunate news that drummer Alvin Fielder is very ill. All well-wishes to this excellent and underrated musician, who played on Roscoe Mitchell's 1966 landmark Sound as well as a ton of great sessions in more recent years with "Kidd" Jordan et al.