AMN Reviews: Dead Neanderthals – Prime (2014; Gaffer Records)


prime-band-photo1Coming off a recent team-up with Machinefabriek, Dutch free-jazz / noise group Dead Neanderthals is back with Prime, a release due out in early October. Consisting of Colin Webster and Otto Kokke on dueling saxophones, and Rene Aquarius on drums, the Neanderthals amp it up in a major way on this effort. Ultimately, this is a free jazz blow-out ala Peter Brotzmann with a touch of hard noise wall on the side. Webster and Kokke don’t slow down the screeches and squeals for a bit on the album’s single 40-minute track. They turn in an all-out blast fest with Aquarius pounding the drums relentlessly. Fans of Merzbow, Painkiller, heavy drones, and saxophone madness will find plenty to like here. Perhaps you could say  that they are a one-trick pony – but what a heck of a trick!

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Ars Nova Workshop Fall Schedule


John Coltrane

Cover of John Coltrane

From Philadelphia’s Ars Nova Workshop:

Thursday, September 4, 8 pm
TOOTIE HEATH-ETHAN IVERSON-BEN STREET TRIO
Ethan Iverson, piano; Ben Street, bass; Albert “Tootie” Heath, drums
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street, $15
Ars Nova Workshop is thrilled to welcome back Philadelphia legend Albert “Tootie” Heath along with Ethan Iverson and Ben Street in what is sure to be a very memorable evening. Tootie, of course, is the youngest member of one of the first families of jazz, the Heath Brothers. Along with bassist Percy and saxophonist Jimmy, the Philadelphia-raised drummer became a first-call player while still a teenager, backing up visiting New York artists like Lester Young and Thelonious Monk. Throughout his professional career of over fifty years, Heath has remained a crucial link to the art of be-bop drumming. Ethan Iverson and Ben Street are two musicians steeped in tradition thanks to their rigorous study of and participation with members of the jazz pantheon, and the trio of Heath, Iverson and Street has been together for nearly five years, recently convening for a residency at New York’s famed Village Vanguard. Their most recent recording, Tootie’s Tempo, was released on Sunnyside Records in August 2013.

Friday, September 5, 8 pm
INGRID LAUBROCK QUINTET
Ingrid Laubrock, tenor + alto saxophones; Tim Berne, alto saxophone; Ben Gerstein, trombone; Dan Peck, tuba; Tom Rainey, drums
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street, $15
Ars Nova Workshop is proud to welcome the Ingrid Laubrock Quintet. An award-winning composer and performer, Laubrock’s style “balances impulsive spontaneity with a structural cohesiveness that occasionally sounds surreal; each of her sophisticated pieces embodies its own distinctive sound world” (Troy Collins / Point of Departure). This new group performs Laubrock’s latest compositions, written for saxophones/brass and drums. These new compositions are tailor-made for this cast of hand-picked musicians, all of whom have established themselves as great improvisers and interpreters of creative new music alike. Featuring saxophonist Tim Berne, trombonist Ben Gerstein, tubist Dan Peck and drummer Tom Rainey, the collective experience of the members includes work with Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill, Bill Frisell, Julius Hemphill, Joe Lovano, John Abercrombie, Lee Hyla, John Zorn, Dave Liebman, ICE, Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound and many others.

Tuesday, September 23, 5:30 pm
OFFERING: ON JOHN COLTRANE
Robert Kenyatta, musician; John Szwed, critic; Francis Davis, critic; Carl Grubbs, musician; J. Michael Harrison, moderator
Temple University Paley Library, 1210 Polett Walk, Free
Ars Nova Workshop joins forces with Temple University Libraries and Resonance Records to celebrate the life, work and birthday of John Coltrane in conjunction with the release of Offering: Live at Temple University. This film documents a legendary concert by John Coltrane at Temple University’s Mitten Hall in on November 11, 1966, nine months before his untimely death. It captures Coltrane in exemplary form, navigating a language he had developed during the last phase of his musical path with passion and clear logic. Direct transfers of the original master reels from a location recording by Temple’s then student-run WRTI-FM were tracked down in the stations archives by Coltrane Scholar Yasuhiro Fujioka. Temple University Libraries, Ars Nova Workshop and Resonance Records will host a panel discussion on this historic concert with noted Philadelphia-based jazz critic and author Francis Davis, noted Sun Ra biographer and jazz historian John Szwed, local Philadelphia percussionist Robert Kenyatta (who appeared on the Temple concert) and Baltimore saxophonist Carl Grubbs. The panel will be moderated by J. Michael Harrison of WRTI-FM, host of “The Bridge,” a 15-year-old program that bridges the gap between jazz and hip-hop and other contemporary black music.

Friday, October 17, 8 pm
SAM AMIDON WITH BILL FRISELL AND SHAHZAD ISMAILY
Sam Amidon, voice, fiddle, banjo + guitar; Bill Frisell, guitar; Shahzad Ismaily, bass; Chris Vatalaro, drums
FringeArts, 140 N. Columbus Blvd, $20
ANW and FringeArts are pleased to present singer/fiddler/banjoist/guitarist Sam Amidon with jazz great Bill Frisell in celebration of Lily-O, the new album of reimagined folk songs on Nonesuch Records. The album, produced by Valgeir Sigurosson, also includes Amidon’s other frequent collaborators, bassist Shahzad Ismaily and drummer Chris Vatalaro. Amidon first heard Bill Frisell at the Village Vanguard during a teenage visit to New York. The two musicians stayed in touch and had their first live collaboration in 2011, and Amidon invited Frisell to join him, Ismaily and Vatalaro to record what became Lily-O. The folk songs, shape-note hymns, and country ballads that Amidon performs deal on the surface with the darkest, most fundamental of issues—the specter of death, the looming clouds of war, unquenchable longing, unrequited love. The Vermont-born and raised, London-based Amidon’s particular gift is not to compose new songs, but to rework and repurpose traditional melodies into a striking new form that makes them feel very much his own. As Pitchfork has said, “his interpretations are so singular that it stops mattering how (or if) they existed before.”

Sunday, November 2, 8 pm
DANS LES ARBRES + KIM MYHR
Xavier Charles, clarinet + harmonica; Ivar Grydeland, guitar + banjo with preparations, sruti box; Christian Wallumrod, prepared piano + harmonium; Ingar Zach, bass drum, percussion
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 215 S. 18th Street, $15
Ars Nova Workshop welcomes the return of Dans les arbres to Philadelphia, accompanied by a solo set by fellow Norwegian Kim Myhr. Dans les arbres finds its roots in a few iterations of the ensemble, including Ivar Grydeland and Ingar Zach’s concurrent studies towards a Master’s degree in Chamber music and their work as a duo, Christian Wallumrød’s involvement with that duo, and Xavier Charles’ guest appearance on a release of another project, No Spaghetti Edition – in short, these musicians have a long and accomplished history of collaboration. In 2006, the quartet met to work on a cohesive sound and to compose music for their self-titled first release. Since then, the band has been touring in Europe, North America and Japan as a quartet. Dans les arbres have also performed with guest musicians such as Yumiko Tanaka, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O´Rourke and the young Norwegian duo Vilde & Inga. The ensemble’s second release, 2012’s Canopée, incorporates the additional layer of Grydeland’s electric guitar.

Sunday, November 9, 8 pm
PETER EVANS ZEBULON TRIO
Peter Evans, trumpet; John Hébert, bass; Kassa Overall, drums
Philadelphia Art Alliance, 215 S. 18th Street, $15
Ars Nova Workshop is proud to present Peter Evans’ Zebulon Trio. Named for the now-defunct Brooklyn club where they recorded a live album, the trio is comprised of Peter Evans on trumpet, John Hébert on bass, and Kassa Overall on drums. Evans, who the New York Times describes as “a trumpeter with an expressive command of timbre and texture,” has an expansive resumé, with solo albums, quartet, and quintet chops as well as his work with Mostly Other People Do The Killing, Mary Halvorson, Weasel Walter, Evan Parker, and many more. Louisiana native John Hébert has worked with musicians like Fred Hersch, Andrew Hill and Mary Halvorson, and as a bandleader on releases like 2009’s Byzantine Monkey. Kassa Overall’s history includes work with jazz, indie pop, and hip-hop artists including Geri Allen, Mayer Hawthorne, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer, Das Racist, Wallace Roney, and many others, and in addition to percussion he’s also contributed to projects as a producer, rapper and singer. Evans’ label More is More released the trio’s live album in 2013.

Thursday, November 13, 8 pm
ABRAXAS PERFORMS JOHN ZORN’S PSYCHOMAGIA
Aram Bajakian, guitars; Eyal Maoz, guitars; Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz, gimbri; Kenny Grohowski, drums
Shivtei Yeshuron-Ezras Israel, 2015 S. 4th Street, $15
Ars Nova welcomes the return of Abraxas to the historic “Little Shul,” Philadelphia’s last active pre-World War I rowhouse synagogue. A significant part of John Zorn’s radical Jewish music movement and his Masada project, Abraxas contributed to the Book of Angels 2. They continue to utilize the gimbri to reflect Blumenkranz’s Sephardic roots and to give the music a primeval edge, and play to their rock roots (guitarist Aram Bajakian, for example, has played with Lou Reed) to amplify their particular interpretation of Zorn’s compositions both figuratively and literally – this is truly modern, radical Jewish rock. “Psychomagia” is the newest work by the celebrated tribal rock unit led by Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz for the Book of Angels series. Here they perform a complex new suite of music written expressly for them by Downtown alchemist John Zorn – a surprising new volume in Zorn’s mystic series that matches the intensity and power of Moonchild, PainKiller and Naked City.

Thursday, November 20, 8 pm
TRAVIS LAPLANTE’S BATTLE TRANCE
Travis Laplante, tenor saxophone; Jeremy Viner, tenor saxophone; Matthew Nelson, tenor saxophone; Patrick Breiner, tenor saxophone
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Free
Ars Nova Workshop welcomes the tenor saxophone quartet Battle Trance. Described as “plumbing the depths of sound in very brave, very vulnerable ways” (Northern Spy), the quartet is led by Travis Laplante, known for his solo saxophone work and his long-standing relationship with Little Women. Laplante’s other projects include musicians like Trevor Dunn, Gerald Cleaver, Michael Formanek, Mat Maneri, Ingrid Laubrock, Tim Berne, and others. Jeremy Viner’s past work has included ensemble work with Steve Lehmen, John Hollenbeck and Tyshawn Sorey, among others. California native and Oberlin graduate Matt Nelson has performed with acts and musicians spanning several genres, including Timosaurus, Arts and Sciences, Beep!, Weasel Walter, Peter Evans, Ben Goldberg, genevbaker, 8 Legged Monster, and others. Brooklyn performer and educator Patrick Breiner rounds out the quartet, recently coming off shows and releases from two of his other projects, ZhirtZ n ZkinZ and Double Double (with Will McEvoy, Adam Hopkins, and Flin Van Hemmen)

Tuesday, December 2, 8 pm
BALLROGG
Klaus Ellerhusen Holm, reeds, electronics + field recordings; Roger Arntzen, double bass; Ivar Grydeland, guitar, pedal steel guitar + banjo
The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut Street, Free
Ars Nova Workshop welcomes Ballrogg, a Norwegian trio that defines itself by inviting the influence of styles as varied as Americana and neo-classical. Beginning as a duo, Klaus Ellerhusen Holm and bassist Roger Arntzen previously released two albums on Bolage, drawing influences from both the European and American contemporary and avant garde scenes. Klaus Ellerhusen Holm studied at the Trondheim Music Conservatory and before Ballrogg, led the Klaus Holm Kollektif (awarded Young Nordic Jazzcomets 2003). He has played with the Norwegian quartet Murmur and with artists like Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Ingar Zach, and Jim Denley, among others. Roger Arntzen, known for his work in the award-winning trio In the Country, has also performed with ensembles like Chrome Hill and the Håvard Stubø Trio and artists like Mark Ribot, Susanna Wallumrød and others. Guitarist Ivar Grydeland’s contributions on guitar, pedal steel and banjo skew towards the direction of Country and Western, a sound he’s contributed to other ensembles including Dans les arbres, Huntsville and the Norwegian singer Hanna Hukkelberg. Ballrogg’s most recent recording, Cabin Music, was released on Hubro in 2012.

Roulette Fall Schedule


English: Kenny Wollesen at a concert with Sex ...

Kenny Wollesen

Below is a preview of the this fall’s shows at New York’s Roulette:

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Sylvie Courvoisier Trio with Kenny Wollesen and Drew Gress

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
INTERPRETATIONS: A Tribute To Robert Ashley

SEASON OPENER: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 @ 8:00 PM Presale: $25/20 Doors:$35/30
THE SUN RA ARKESTRA directed by Marshall Allen + Nate Wooley Quintet

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $15/10
Dissemble with Josiah Cuneo + American Academy of Achievement

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $15/10
Battle Trance Palace of Wind Record Release Concert + Greg Fox

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
INTERPRETATIONS: Evan Parker Solo // Earl Howard & JD Parran

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2014 @ 7:30 PM $20/15
Beth Morrison Projects presents David Lang’s “The Difficulty of Crossing a Field”

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
[EAR HEART MUSIC] Richard Reed Parry and Y Music Ensemble Music for Heart and Breath (Deutsche Grammaphon CD release party)

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
The Anatomy of the String Quartet – Samson Young and the MIVOS Quartet

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Tom Johnson + the Dedalus Ensemble: Counting to Seven

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $15/10
Sound Rhythm: Billy Martin, Chris Cochrane, Kato Hideki, Kevin Bud Jones w/Jessica Lurie and Brian Chase

MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
THE RUTH AND RINDE SHOW

TUESDAY-WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 21-22, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $15/10
[DANCEROULETTE] Lec-Dem: Performances of lecture and lectures on performance

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
INTERPRETATIONS: Michael Byron: “Celebration” // John King: Selections from “Free Palestine”

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
The Paul Dresher Double Duo with TwoSense – Ashley Bathgate & Lisa Moore

FRIDAY-SATURDAY, OCT 31 – NOV 1, 2014 @ 8:00 PM Presale: $25/20 Doors:$35/30
29 SpaceTime: Julia Heyward and Perry Hoberman

TUESDAY-FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 4-7, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
[DANCEROULETTE] Sally Silvers: Actual Size

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Peter Evans + Archer Spade with Toshi Nakamura

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
[EAR HEART MUSIC] Contemporaneous: Living Toys

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
[JEROME COMMISSION] Ben Stapp + The Zozimos

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Tone Road Ramblers

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15

INTERPRETATIONS: Marie Incontrera & The Eco-Music Big Band “Tribute To Fred Ho” // Warren Smith Ensemble

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2014 @ 8:00 PM Presale: $25/20 Doors:$35/30
John Zorn’s Cobra

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Matana Roberts’ Anthem

THURSDAY-FRIDAY, DECEMBER 4-5, 2014 @ 8:00 PM Presale: $25/20 Doors:$35/30
Henry Threadgill

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Annie Gosfield / JACK Quartet: Signal Jamming and Random Interference. A world premiere for string quartet and jammed radio signals

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Svjetlana Bukvich: Works from EVOLUTION and other stories

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Tyshawn Sorey Trio

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2014 @ 8:00 PM
INTERPRETATIONS: Chris Brown, Frank Gratowsky & William Winant // Fast Forward: 10

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2014 @ 8:00 PM Presale: $20/15 Doors:$30/25
Pauline Oliveros

MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Allison Miller’s BOOM TIC BOOM

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
Ben Goldberg

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2014 @ 8:00 PM $20/15
EXPANSIONS: The Dave Liebman Group

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014 @ 5:00 PM $10
Phill Niblock, Music and Film, Six Hours

Myra Melford Upcoming Tour Dates and Events


Myra Melford

Cover of Myra Melford

From Myra Melford:

AUGUST 2014
Aug 29: Snowy Egret – Chicago Jazz Fest -
7:10pm in Millennium Park

SEPTEMBER 2014
Sept 19: Duo with Taylor Ho Bynum at
Center for New Music, SF
Sept 21: Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom Angel City Jazz Festival

OCTOBER 2014
Oct 9 & 10: Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom at
The Outpost, Albuquerque, NM
Oct 11 & 12: Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom at Dazzle, Denver, CO
Oct 17: Russ Johnson’s Still Out To Lunch CD release tour:
Edgefest, Ann Arbor, MI
Oct 18: Constellation, Chicago
Oct 19: University of Wisconsin, Parkside, WI

NOVEMBER 2014
Nov 8: Dialogue Ben Goldberg/Myra Melford Duo at
Maybeck Recital Hall, Berkeley, CA 3pm
Nov 14: Dialogue at Firehouse 12, New Haven, CT
Nov 16: Dialogue at The Sanctuary for Independent Media, Troy, NY
Nov 19 – 30: Dialogue Tour in South America, with festivals in Buenos Aires, Montevideo and Cordoba

DECEMBER 2014
Dec 15: Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom Roulette, Brooklyn
Dec 18: Duo with Satoko Fujii – Brussels, Belgium – Studio Room at Bozar

FEBRUARY 2015
Myra’s curated festival at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Feb 4: Gala Event with Scott Amendola Ensemble (Duende, Oakland, CA)
Feb 5: Henry Threadgill’s Tribute to Butch Morris: Ensemble Double Up with Jason Moran and David Virelles
Feb 6: Satoko Fujii Duo: Nowake, Rudy Royston’s 303, Matana Roberts Coin Coin (with Myra Melford)
Feb 7: Jenny Scheinman solo, Lisa Mezzacappa Bait & Switch Film Noir Project with Willie Winant, Anjelique Kidjo performing songs from Eve, Nicole Mitchell, Joelle Leandre and Myra Melford Trio, Ben Goldberg’s Orphic Machine (with Myra Melford)

MARCH 2015
Myra Melford’s Retrospective at The Stone

March 24: Tuesday: Duo with Allison Miller and Spindrift for Leroy Jenkins with Nicole Mitchell and Tyshawn Sorey
March 25: Duo with Ben Goldberg and MZM with Miya Masaoka and Zeena Parkins
March 26: Crush Quartet with Cuong Vu, Stomu Takeishi and Kenny Wollesen followed by Be Bread Sextet with Brandon Ross, Ben Goldberg, Cuong Vu, Stomu Takeishi and Matt Wilson
March 27: Same River, Twice, with Dave Douglas, Chris Speed, Erik Friedlander and Michael Sarin (both sets)
March 28: Snowy Egret with Ron Miles, Liberty Ellman, Stomu Takeishi and Ted Poor (both sets)
March 29: Duo with Marty Ehrlich and original trio with Lindsey Horner and Reggie Nicholson

APRIL 2015
Dialogue European Tour (April 10 – 26)
JUNE 2015
June 1: Chicago Symphony Orchestra MusicNow with Myra Melford (compositions), Tomeka Reid cello and Mike Reed drums/percussion

Masada Comes To The Village Vanguard


John Zorn (cropped version)

John Zorn (cropped version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From The Jewish Week:

The Village Vanguard is one of the half-dozen most important jazz clubs in the world, a venue that every musician wants on his résumé and one that can launch a career. As John Zorn wrote in a recent e-mail, “It is one of the best rooms in the city for music, with a really heavy history.” Despite his own impeccable credentials, Zorn, 60, a leading light in jazz and Jewish circles, had never played the Vanguard. But that will change Sept. 2-7 when the club hosts 11 bands associated with the saxophonist-composer-organizer in a live retrospective of his “Book of Angels” compositions for the band Masada, his ensemble that blends forward-thinking jazz and Jewish music. In addition to an appearance with Masada on Sept. 6, Zorn will be guesting on five of the late-night sets that week.