Herman “Sonny” Blount (1914-1993), the Afro-futurist jazz composer and bandleader who renamed himself Sun Ra after visiting Saturn in an interplanetary vision, would have turned 100 this year. To celebrate the centennial, Strut Records has released Marshall Allen Presents Sun Ra and His Arkestra: In the Orbit of Ra. This double-CD collection culls gems from a sprawling catalogue that takes in big-band swing, electronic noise, stride piano, and otherworldly doo-wop in one of the most astonishing oeuvres in 20th-century music.
Archive for the ‘Interviews’ Category
From the Washington City Paper:
There are several “ghost” big bands that have continued performing long after their leaders’ deaths, the Ellington and Basie bands not least among them. But even in this position, the Sun Ra Arkestra is a different breed. Twenty-one years after its founder and visionary departed the planet, the Arkestra’s still as much defined by its original stage presence—with all the costumed flair and outer-space mysticism that entails—as by its music.
In recent years several Italian musicians hit the big time in the electronic scene. Most of them use a pen name: Gianluigi Gasparetti, a.k.a. Oöphoi, is a case in point. This Rome-born artist is an all-around musician: a player and a composer, he was also the editor of Deep Listenings, a magazine devoted to a wide-ranging choice of non-commercial music. He has released some 20 CDs for many international labels, and he currently runs his own, Umbra, devoted to new Italian ambient artists.
From Jazz Right Now:
Vocalist Fay Victor has been at the center of a number of interesting and innovative musical groups since returning to New York City in 2003. Her longstanding Fay Victor Ensemble has released a series of acclaimed albums, most recently Absinthe & Vermouth (2013). Her previous release, Freesong Suite (2009), remains one of the most forward-looking vocal albums of the past decade, combining her rich vocal work with abstract ideas grounded within a rare aesthetic palette.
Victor is also quite effective in the duo setting. Her longest-standing association is with guitarist Anders Nilsson. Victor is also constantly breaking ground with new musicians, such as her duo with guitarist Brandon Seabrook which is performing for the first time this month.
From 5049 Records:
Trey Spruance is a guitarist and composer who has had a gigantic influence on me for the past twenty years. As a founding member of Mr Bungle and the compositional force behind Secret Chiefs 3, Trey has released several records and made many radical statements that have influenced an entire generation of adventurous musical thinkers. A lot of people have asked for me to have Trey on the show and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to share this conversation.
From New Music Circle:
A percussionist, sound-artist and composer, Eli Keszler’s M.O. involves the dense and relentless movement of sound. His drumming approach is quick, with a vested interest in small, microtonal points of attack – little snippets of “bings” and “bangs” that go by quickly and aspire, in Eli’s words, to “create something that moves so fast that it is slow”. On the other hand, his travel schedule is anything but slow, with recent performance collaborations involving the likes of David Grubbs (curated by none other than STL ex-pat, Paul C Ha), Tony Conrad and Joe McPhee.
From 5049 Records:
Matthew Welch is a hugely talented contemporary composer whose work seeks to synthesize an incredibly broad and ecclectic range of influences from gamelan to traditional bagpipe music, Morrissey to Morton Feldman. He has spent the last twenty years traveling the world and immersing himself in various world traditions and academic institutions.