Playlist: December 1, 2009

Click here for the full KZSU playlist for Dec. 1, 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.  Notes and highlights:

* Ben Goldberg — “Lace” — Go Home (BAG Production, 2009) ….. I continue to showcase this group, which I saw live in February and November.  I went for a slower one this time, rather than the funkier tracks that might grab people more forcefully.  It’s still got a solid, ear-catching groove to it, and lots of outside-swinging clarinet.  It may be slow-paced, but you can still lose yourself in the rhythm.

* Scott Fields — “Ghost Trio” — Samuel (New World, 2009) ….. Appropriately ghostly, with pale, single-note guitar lines alongside contemplative sax and cello.  Overall it’s abstract, but it’s got occasional flashes of swingy rhythm or bluesy harmony — surprising, considering it’s based on the text of a Samuel Beckett play.

* Human Being — Live at the Zodiac, 1968 (Nepenthe, 2008) ….. One long, heavy sound sculpture, synth-free, of course, since it was 1968.  Guitar, organ, drums, and a bit of vocals, sent through reverb, delay, and echo units to produce a slow, otherworldly menace.  It must have been a real trip to hear back then.

* The Uptown String Quartet — “Overture” — Max Roach Presents the Uptown String Quartet (PolyGram, 1989) ….. Roach lent his name to this mix of jazz and classical sounds, hoping to “create a body of music for string quartet that exemplifies the talents and creativity of the jazz musician,” as he writes in the liner notes  That Maxine Roach is on viola probably helped germinate the idea, but it was still a worthy cause. Tracks include traditional blues and gospel tunes as well as some more modern jazz; this track was written by Odean Pope, for example.  If you want to hear them, WNYC has archived this 1994 show that includes the Uptown and Max Roach.

* Tim Berne’s Paraphrase — “Piano Justice” — Visitation Rights (Screwgun, 1997) ….. When you hear the albums, you understand why Tim Berne got so enthusiastic about this all-improvisational trio.  The overall style of the music is similar to Berne’s other groups, with long-form soloing that branches off from free jazz and gets burly and crazed, and deep-knit quiet phases; the difference is the lack of Berne’s complex but catchy composing.  I had to cut off this 30-minute track somewhere, and sadly, it was right as Drew Gress began his bass solo.  One of these days I’ll fade into a Paraphrase track where the bass and drums (Tom Rainey) get to shine.  As compensation for my fade-out, I did give Julius Hemphill’s music a spin, in the form of Vijay Iyer’s reading of “Dogon A.D.

POP NOTES:  We get all kinds of crazy rock and punk music from the Croatian label Slusaj Najglasnije.  F**ckin’ DJ Sedna is no exception to the “crazy” part. He’s like a dub/reggae DJ, only the stuff he spins is more rock-guitar based, with that fuzzy distortion sound. Over that he does some MC’ing, mostly repetitive slogans and/or swear words. Stuff that could play during NBA time-outs.