The Read: June 25, 2011

1. Giving local musicians some love: This goes back a bit, but SFGate ran a nice profile of bassist Lisa Mezzacappa.

2. Quasi related, here’s a review of the band Cylinder in JazzWrap. Cylinder is a quartet that includes Aram Shelton (sax) and Mezzacappa; they’ve played around town for years, and it’s to my detriment that I’ve not seen them nor heard their album on Clean Feed. One more for the to-do list.

3. SOMArts in San Francisco is hosting a five-show dance/installation piece called The Book, by Avy K productions. Performances occur roughly weekly starting July 1. My main interest: experimental vocalist Ken Ueno and clarinetist (and sfSound founder) Matt Ingalls will be performing in Part 2, which takes place July 7.

4. Chris Speed’s Skirl label got a nice writeup in The Wall Street Journal. The story focuses on the general difficulties of selling CDs and getting music out to the public (or getting a fan base into the music).

5. Interesting discussion floating around the Web about whether younger jazz players are paying proper respect to their own sound and to their elders. Without a nightly bandstand to mature on, it would seem fewer musicians are interested in developing a bebop virtuosity. It’s an argument that has some credence and seems to have touched some nerves. Here’s a blog from writer Peter Hum about the issue; that’s a link that goes to other links, but it’s a good summary and a good starting place.

6. Remember that CD diptych from Steven Lugerner?  Here’s more about the former Berkeley native, from the L.A. Times and Berkeleyside.

7. From Louder Than War, a great long Cardiacs article.

8. From 2007, a piece on the coolness of Cryptogramophone.

Steve Lugerner’s CD Trick

I like CDs and LPs, unapologetically. After all, your newfangled MP3s can’t do this:


That’s a diptych of CDs from Steven Lugerner, a former Bay Area musician who’s back in town Thursday night, May 26, to promote both of those releases at Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco.

I’ve gotten only an aural glimpse via Bandcamp. One of the CDs, These Are the Words, involves transcribing passages of the Torah into numerical codes that become tone rows. The results, pensive and chamber-like, are played out by a quartet of familiar names: Myra Melford (piano), Darren Johnston (trumpet), Matt Wilson (drums).

Narratives, the other CD, features a sextet of names that are new to me. Its tone is closer to regular jazz, with airy, supple horn arrangements and comforting piano. It’s music that can share a bill with Fred Hersch (and it will, at Herbst Theater in San Francisco in October).

I’m looking forward to giving each disc a listen and, eventually, to hearing the music live. I can’t make Thursday’s show, but Lugerner will return to Red Poppy on July 7.  He’ll also be at Yoshi’s Oakland on July 25 and at Herbst on Oct. 30.

And no, I didn’t write all this just to show off the word “diptych.”