I, Norton Approacheth

As Professor Farnsworth would say: Good news, everyone!

Gino Robair will be on the show Sept. 11, a special 2:00 p.m. start time, to talk about his opera, I, Norton. His CD of past performances is/should be ready to come out, and there’ll be an I, Norton performonce on Sept. 19 at the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival.

(“The Show” is listenable at kzsulive.stanford.edu, or 90.1 FM if you’re in the Bay Area.)

I got to see an excerpt of I, Norton at an sfSound show last year, and it was good stuff. Tom Duff played Norton, strutting around the stage making his hefty proclamations. Aurora Josephson, playing the role of an imaginary First Lady, I think, added wordless, improvised vocals as part of the musical backing. Robair conducted the orchestra.

Here’s the official explanation, from Robair’s Rastascan Records site:

In performance, I, Norton takes the shape of an improvised collage structure that combines conduction (using hand cues), graphic scores, and memory-based improvisational structures. The opera can be performed by a mere handful of people, or with a large ensemble. Although the score includes text-based material for speakers and singers, a realization of the opera can be completely instrumental. The piece does not require staging, sets, lights, or costumes. It is meant to be performed anywhere, anytime: A “mobile guerrilla anti-opera,” if you will.

You can read a little more about the opera, and a lot more about Robair, in this terrific Paris Transatlantic interview.

Now, it so happens The Bad Plus is in town for a stint at Yoshi’s SF next weekend, so the Yoshi’s folks have arranged for them to be interviewed as well. They’ll be on at 3:30. I’m particularly interested in talking with them about the origns of the band and about Ethan Iverson and Dave King’s work with Tim Berne in Buffalo Collision, which plays the Monterey Jazz Festival on the 20th. Nothing against the guys, but I hope their appearance doesn’t overshadow Robair’s.

Playlist: March 20, 2009

KZSU playlist for Friday, March 6, 2009, 3:00 p.m. to 4:50 p.m.

Items of note:

….. I got the new Buffalo Collision CD, featuring Tim Berne along with two members of The Bad Plus. Haven’t given it a thorough listen. I found a segment of the first track that I thought would work well on-air, but it turned out to have fewer fireworks than I’d heard at first. The segment had a good, strong flow to it, but I don’t think I let the band put their best foot forward. I’ll do them proper later on; meanwhile have a look at what Stef thinks.

"Farmers By Nature" - source: AUM Fidelity….. The trio CD from Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, and Craig Taborn is a winner. I wish the sound fidelity was stronger (recorded live at The Stone) but the playing is undeniable. Reviews from Stef and All About Jazz.

….. Found a Mario Pavone/Anthony Braxton CD, a combination of Braxton’s abstractions and some of Pavone’s more wide-open compositions, and even a couple of standards. I’ve known of Pavone as a solid inside/out bandleader but was surprised to see him on something this far out. Released in 1993 on the Music & Arts label.

….. All those Cryptogramophone CDs were in anticipation of a two-night “Cryptonight” series at Yoshi’s next week.

….. Blues pianist and singer Eddie Bo died Wednesday, and word was just hitting the major media outlets as my show was progressing. (I can thank the sharp eyes of @siebert on Twitter.) We’ve got a couple dozen Eddie Bo tracks spread out among various blues compilations, so I had to delve into that stash.

Continue reading “Playlist: March 20, 2009”