Playlist: August 31, 2011

Full playlist is viewable here. A few notes:

Donnie McCaslin — “Mick Gee” — Seen from Above (Arabesque, 2000) ….. Blast from the past. I remember this album didn’t make me a McCaslin convert; some of the melodic tracks and soaring, dramatic swells were too much for me. But he’d assembled a crack band: Ben Monder (guitar), Jim Black (drums), and Scott Colley (bass).  They don’t push boundaries on many of the tracks, but this one’s a cooker, and it opens with some of Black’s trademark drum propulsion. Overall, I do prefer McCaslin’s more recent stuff (such as Perpetual Motion on Dave Douglas’ Greenleaf label). McCaslin’s playing at Yoshi’s Oakland on Sept. 12, so I might be spinning him next week in conjunction with a ticket giveaway.

Danielle Roger — “India Which Is Not India”/”Deception… and Melancholy” — Pinta, Nina & Maria (Ambiances Magnetiques, 2008) ….. Interesting brew of classical music, electronics, and improvisation. This pairing, which ends the album, starts with a crinkly electronics sound but then bursts into a full-on chamber composition, with jumpy brass criss-crossing against madrigal woodwinds. Ren Faire plus modern classical plus abstract electronics.

James “Blood” Ulmer — “High Yellow” — Forbidden Blues (DIW, 1998) ….. I blew it here.  A caller raved about the loud, chaotic Joe Morris track I’d played last week and mentioned that he was into Ulmer as well.  So, into the library I went.  But I decided to go with this track for its catchy opening rather than with the searing, cosmic-ocean-wave sound of “What Is.”  The result worked well as far as radio transitions go (especially going from this track to the steady Klez-funk of Ben Goldberg’s Go Home), but I got bored of the track quickly. Good stuff, just not what I was looking for at the moment.

Evan Parker & John Wiese — “No Shoes” — C-Section (Second Layer, 2011) ….. Evan Parker is Evan Parker: saxophone sounds that flutter and continually change, like a flame. He’s teamed with electronics, tapes, and computer patches by Wiese. I’m having a hard time getting into this one; the electronics seem abrupt and disruptive. The session is meant to have a loud aesthetic, which is great. I’m just not sure the blend works for me.