When confronted with crowds, Ms. Bley, a pioneer of modern jazz composition, prefers to let her songs do the talking. That is especially true when Steve Swallow, her first-call bassist and life companion, is on hand to guide the musical conversation, as he was that night, anchoring a quartet in a wry rendition of her “Ups and Downs.”
“I was not meant to be in the socially gracious world,” Ms. Bley said recently, her eyes peeking out from under her signature shock of gray hair as she and Mr. Swallow relaxed at the kitchen table of their home in Willow, near Woodstock.
From Chicago magazine:
Tomeka Reid slides into a shadowy wood-paneled booth at Rodan. It’s clear that the Wicker Park gastropub isn’t how she remembers it. The stick-thin Woodlawn resident plunks down her cello, frowns at the Asian fusion menu, and gives the stink eye to a DJ booth that sits where Tortoise guitarist Jeff Parker once led a rotating jazz trio every Tuesday. “Man, it used to be funky over here,” says Reid. “Now it’s like Wrigleyville.” At 37, Reid has spent the bulk of her adult life avoiding the hollow glitz of places like the redone Rodan, preferring bohemian watering holes such as Constellation in Roscoe Village and the Arts Incubator in Hyde Park, where she regularly flexes her avant-garde-jazz muscles digging into textured melodies that evoke equal parts intellect and elegance.
From The Guardian:
To certain circles, the Australian sound artist needs no introduction. Described by Fact Mag as one of ambient music’s modern masters and “responsible for a series of mind-bending field recordings”, English is also the founder of Australian record label Room40.
This year Room40 marked its 15th birthday with concerts in Olso, Geneva, London and Copenhagen; with shows in Canada and North America scheduled too. In July, celebrations shift to Sydney’s Carriageworks for Open Frame festival. Among others, the festival lineup will feature the celestial murk of Portland’s Grouper, otherwise known as solo artist Liz Harris, the premiere of an electro-acoustic work from musician and producer Jim O’Rourke, and the curatorial coup of William Basinski.
La Monte Young has a different relationship to time from the rest of us. His music goes on for a long time — that’s objectively true, and it feels even longer if, like many people, you find it boring. He’s credited as the vastly influential father of minimalism because when he was 22, in 1958, he wrote the first piece that held notes for a long period, suspended in air to allow examination and contemplation. His best-known work, The Well-Tuned Piano, is a solo performance that has grown in length from three and a half hours to five to, last time he played it, nearly six and a half. (It would have been longer, but he rushed a few parts.) When he was young, Young shocked Karlheinz Stockhausen by strolling in two hours late for the intimidating composer’s morning composition class in Darmstadt, Germany. For some time, Young lived on a weekly cycle of five 33.6-hour days. Lately, he stays awake for 24 hours, and then rests for 24.
From Baltimore City Paper:
san Alcorn can die now. Not that she wants to, of course. But the Baltimore-based pedal steel guitarist and improviser’s new album, “Soledad,” fulfills an ambition she’s carried around since 1987, when she first heard the late Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla play his tempestuous tango compositions in concert. Alcorn says the sinuous beauty and weltering passions of his music connected with her “in a way for which I’m not sure I have words.”
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The band — boasting a three horn front line, guitar, electric bass, drums, and percussion — casually gathered and began spinning out a set of music that was genuinely mesmerizing. It wasn’t just “interesting” but compelling and organic, original and somehow inevitable.