Playlist: Sept. 4, 2009

KZSU playlist for Friday, Sept. 4, 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Full playlist viewable here.

Notes:

source: CD baby….. Great to see Fred Anderson is still at it. Staying in the Game (Engine, 2009) is a lo-fi excursion, but Anderson’s ebullient sax still shines through. A trio disk with Harrison Bankhead (bass) and Tim Daisy (drums).

….. Feeding Frenzy (Nine Winds, 2003) is a Vinny Golia album pairing a string quartet with his flute (or clarinet). Some comparisons to classical music are inevitable, but really it’s a free-jazz romp, often dipping into abstraction.

….. Bruno Montovani goes in the opposite direction, a classical composer whose aggressive, modernistic pieces shade towards the free improv side of the rainbow and touch on jazz concepts, as in the long percussion duet in the fifth movement (the one I played today) of “La Sette Chiese” (from La Sette Chiese/Streets/Eclair de Lune (Kairos, 2009)).

source: cd baby….. The Molecules are a local post-punk trio that plays complex rock and often plays it “wrong.” Complex time signatures, knotty and wormy bass lines, guitar chords not known to man, and occasional shrieking. Friends (RA Sounds, 2007) is the remnant of an abandoned 3-CD set that would have been the group’s tour de force. Its release came about a decade after the Molecules’ glory days — they were big in Japan, from what I understand — and was accompanied by a mini-tour that I was fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of. I’m always impressed by the number of songs musicians can remember, and doubly so here, because the Molecules spit out one- and two-minute blitzkrieg songs by the fistful.

….. Pop break: Lady Lazarus is a downcast, DIY singer/songwriter type whose CD, Home Recordings (self-released, 2009) comes in an oversized paper packaged with hand-stitching on the edges. A pensive, lonely, lovely sound.

….. This was fun: Unexpectedly got the chance to give away grounds passes to the Monterey Jazz Festival — and for Sunday, Sept. 20, no less: the day when Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, and Buffalo Collision (w/Tim Berne) will be playing. (Buffalo Collision can also be had in MP3 form.)

Local Heroes

source: signal to noise magazine.comIt’s a Bay Area-heavy issue of Signal to Noise magazine this quarter, and I’m thrilled.

There’s a feature on Pink Mountain, the quasi-local avant-rock supergroup I’d mentioned back in July. Tom Djll tags along on their mini-tour (which I missed) for the new album (which I haven’t heard yet; hey, it’s a busy life over here!)

The band consists of John Shiurba (guitar), Sam Coomes (of Quasi; keys & vocals), Gino Robair (drums), Kyle Bruckmann (oboe), and Ned Rothenberg (sax). A noisy rock band with oboe and sax. You gotta love that.

There’s also a feature on Mills College, the wellspring of so much local talent. Present and past faculty there includ(ed) Fred Frith, Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, and Darius Milhaud.

A nice score for the home team. And if you’re interested in any of the music I write about here, StN is a steady resource and a good read, and not expensive. (And no, I don’t work for them, and even if I did, it would probably have to be pro bono.)

Uptown

Aram Shelton, in quartet @ The Uptown

Last week, I finally made it to one of The Uptown‘s avant-garde Tuesdays. Took long enough. For several months now, the club — normally a rock venue, and one with a nicely renovated bar at that — has handed the keys over to the improv crowd for an evening of no-cover music.

It’s great when clubs do that. The Uptown is particularly well suited for it, because the regulars who do trickle in on these otherwise slow nights don’t have to watch the music. There’s a long wall separating the stage and performace space from the bar. The sound goes around the wall easily, so the bar patrons and the musicians are probably distracting each other the whole time — but as bar gigs go, it’s not bad at all.

(Flashback: This space used to be called the Black Box, and the bar half was an art gallery. Moe! Staiano’s Moe!kestra did a gig here where two orchestras were set up in each half, with Moe! sprinting back and forth to conduct each group. I wasn’t there, but the results were recorded for the album, 2 Rooms Of Uranium In 83 Markers: Conducted Improvisations Vol. II.)

I hope they keep this up. Don’t know what the bill is for September yet. (These shows tend to get posted to the Uptown’s calendar only a week or two ahead of time).

Anyway, a summary of what I managed to see:

Ingrid Laubrock and Tom Rainey — A sax/drums duet from NYC who had crossed this way a few months ago on tour. This time, they were on vacation and just taking the opportunity for a quick gig. They did two mid-sized improvisations, probably 10 minutes each, showing off a good rapport and a nice variety of styles. I’m familiar with Rainey through his work with… well, everybody, especially Tim Berne, so it was great to get a chance to chat with him for a minute or two.

From left: Perkis, Greenlief, StinsonTim Perkis, Phillip Greenlief, G.E. Stinson — An interesting middle piece with the lights down, and abstract video projected onto a screen. After a while, you could tell the video consisted mostly of outdoor shots of streets and lonely buildings, distorted beyond recognition. The music shifted from ominous droning sounds to occasional slashes of noise, particularly from Stinson (guitar). Greenlief’s sax often stuck to subtle tones and bleats, blending into the mix of electronics (Perkis) and guitar effects.

Aram Shelton Quartet (pictured up top) — Back to more acoustic-minded improvising, although the quartet included Perkis for some more electronics fun. The quartet, rounded out by Damon Smith (bass) and Jordan Glenn (drums), played a few good improvisations. Nice stuff, and a good contrast to Shelton’s jazzier work with Dragons 1976 and the Ton Trio (as noted here).