Allan Bryant’s Pitch Out

MEV

Alvin Bryant was a founding member of Musica Elettronica Viva. This amazing recording of three guitars with electronics is his first solo gesture, proceeding his 1977 LP Space Guitars by a number of years. It was released with an issue of Source: Music Of The Avant-garde – one of the most important music periodicals of the 60’s and 70’s. Their 10″ releases are often regarded as high water marks in the avant-garde. Alvin Lucier’s I Am Sitting In A Room, Robert Ashley’s The Wolfman, David Behrman’s Wave Train and Alvin Curran’s Magic Carpet, all entered the world with issues of Source. Pitch Out features Barbara Bryant, Carol Plantamura, and Frederic Rzewski on guitars, and is absolutely stunning. Stop what you’re doing and give it the 18 minutes it deserves.

maybe the best thing ever (stephen cheng’s always together)

I took the long way around, but I’ve become a serious fan (and collector) of Rocksteady. I also love strange musical hybrids. Rocksteady itself is hybrid form of earlier Jamaican musics, with American R&B and Soul. Stephen Cheng’s Always Together is another thing. Made sometime in the mid to late 60’s for the Chinese immigrant population in Kingston, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Rocksteady with Chinese vocals and phrasing. It’s killer. The vocals were apparently drawn from the traditional Taiwanese folk song featured bellow.  The original is rare as hell, but it’s recently been reissued if you need it for yourself.

 

Continue reading “maybe the best thing ever (stephen cheng’s always together)”

photos from roscoe mitchell + john edwards + mark sanders @ Cafe Oto 10/27/15 + 10/28/15

photos from roscoe mitchell + john edwards + mark sanders @ Cafe Oto 10/27/15 + 10/28/15

I make no mystery of my deep affection for Roscoe Mitchell. It was an encounter with the Art Ensemble of Chicago during my teens, that planted the seeds for my lifelong love of Free-Jazz. I’ve gone out of my way to see him play, at every available chance, for the last 20 years. The man is astounding. I can’t think of a better living saxophonist. When I returned to London a few months back, after two years in New York, I was feeling starved for all the wonders that transpire within the walls of Cafe Oto. I noticed that Roscoe was playing two consecutive nights with John Edwards and Mark Sanders – two of the brightest lights in European Free-Jazz, and jumped at the chance. I don’t take pictures at gigs often, but after arriving at the first evening, I realized my camera was in my bag, and figured what the hell. Both nights were mind-melting. Roscoe was in top form, as were his Edwards and Sanders. They locked together and cracked apart in perfect harmony. The power of their playing was overwhelming. On both nights Roscoe displayed some of the most incredible circle breathing I’ve ever witnessed – stretching toward the half hour mark with rippling drones.  If you find him coming your way, drop everything. These are the images I took over both nights. They’re a little jumbled up. I decided to let them lay where they fell. They could never do the music justice, but I hope you enjoy.    Continue reading “photos from roscoe mitchell + john edwards + mark sanders @ Cafe Oto 10/27/15 + 10/28/15”

derek bailey’s on the edge: improvisation in music (1,2,3,4)

derek bailey’s on the edge: improvisation in music (1,2,3,4)

On the Edge: Improvisation in Music was produced for the British television in 1992, by Chanel 4. The four part mini series was written and produced by Derek Bailey. It’s a visual extension of his seminal book Improvisation: Its Nature And Practice In Music, and is wonderful. Bailey, who in my opinion was one of the most important musicians ever to have emerged from Britain, was well know for his advocation of improvisation as an art form, his belief in active listening, and of music as a live idiom. He was often regarded as cranky and cantankerous, but comes off as charming, and incredibly articulate in the series. What’s particularly important, is that Bailey’s argument is not structured to advocate his generation’s practice, but rather toward the importance of improvisation in the broadest sense. He addresses Jazz, music from diverse cultures from across the world, blues, rock, the gestures of children and beyond. Like many great artists, his hope was to help change how people saw the world, and what was possible. It’s a wonderful journey through the possibility of creation. It blows my mind that Bailey convinced anyone to let him make it, but here it is. All four part after the jump. Highly recommended! Continue reading “derek bailey’s on the edge: improvisation in music (1,2,3,4)”