AMN Reviews: The Sam Rivers Trio – Ricochet [No Business Records NBCD 128]

From the beginning, multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers’ trios of the 1970s featured bassists and percussionists of exceptional quality. On his freely improvised excursions of the time, Rivers was joined by musicians like Richard Davis, Cecil McBee, Arvil Anderson, Norman Connors, and Warren Smith. But it was Rivers’ double bassist and percussionist of the mid-to-late 1970s trios that many consider to make up the classic free trio rhythm section: Dave Holland and Barry Altschul. On Ricochet, the third entry in No Business Records’ superb Sam Rivers Archive Project, they are featured on a performance recorded at San Francisco’s legendary Keystone Korner on 12 January 1978.

Ricochet’s single track captures the seamless flow of the group’s nearly hour-long, continuous performance. The piece is structured as a typical Sam Rivers Trio set, with Rivers moving from one instrument to the next while maintaining a running dialogue with bass and drums. In addition, both Holland and Altschul get ample solo space of their own. The performance launches with Rivers’ acerbically bright soprano saxophone, followed by an interlude for solo bass, a piano section, a cello interlude, a tenor saxophone section, a percussion solo, and finally a section for flute. The energy level is especially high, as is brought out in the recording’s mix which puts Rivers and Holland both to the front. Holland in particular is shown to be a motive force in structuring the flow of the music as he centers Rivers’ solos with rapid walking lines and rhythmically dense repeated figures. The Keystone set was done at a time when he was playing cello; his long cello solo between the piano and tenor saxophone sections is exciting for its forward motion and for its introduction of a new voice into the set. The subsequent extended interplay between the cello and Rivers’ kinetic tenor lines is intriguing for the way the two instruments converge in range and diverge in timbre. As is typical of his work with the Rivers trios, Altschul brings a restless, abstract swing to the table; his playing is volcanic throughout.

That January night at the Keystone the Sam Rivers Trio played cathartic music of an especially high order; surely this has to be among the Rivers-Holland-Altschul trios best performances.

http://www.nobusinessrecords.com

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Picks of the Week: Titans to Tachyons / Lamia Vox / Jordan, Futterman, Parker & Drake / Lea Boudreau / Anna Webber

Here is where I post, at a frequency of about once a week, a list of the new music that has caught my attention that week. All of the releases listed below I’ve heard for the first time this week and come recommended.

Because of current events, these postings may be coming more frequently than once a week for a while.

Titans to Tachyons – Cactides (2020)
Lamia Vox – Alles ist Ufer. Ewig ruft das Meer (2020)
Jordan / Futterman / Parker / Drake – A Tribute to Alvin Fielder, Live at Vision Festival XXIV (2020)
Lea Boudreau – Chaos Contrôlé (2020)
Anna Webber – Rectangles (2020)

Gary Lucas Profiled

Source: Guitar World.

Over the past four decades, Gary Lucas has seemingly dabbled in just about every style of music out there. That long list includes psychedelic rock, world music (including ’30s Chinese pop, Hungarian folk and blues raga), film music, classical, electronica, jazz, blues and avant-garde. The common thread to it all is his guitar playing. Thanks to his fearless attitude and agility, Lucas shapeshifts like a chameleon in tune with whatever soundscape he’s in.

A Listener’s Guide to Warr Guitar Music

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

When the prolific metal guitarist Colin Marston was about 10, a ride to band practice changed his life. His bandmate’s music-loving father, himself a longtime amateur bassist, had picked them up from school. While driving his charges to rehearsal, he put on some King Crimson, the prog band that brought to rock music a new level of brain-splitting intricacy. Marston, who’d never heard the band before, was floored; before long, he was tracing his own way through Crimson’s catalog. He was especially intrigued by something he’d never heard before—the Chapman Stick, a wide piece of wood with 10 or 12 strings that were tapped more than strummed, producing a hybridized bass-and-guitar tone that sounded as alien as the instrument itself looked.

Two New Releases from Out Of Your Head Records

Source: Out Of Your Head Records.

Rectangles
by Anna Webber
releases July 31, 2020
Anna Webber – tenor saxophone, composition
Marc Hannaford – piano
Adam Hopkins – bass
Mark Ferber – drums
Recorded live on December 12, 2019 with Marc’s Zoom in Queens NY.

Atlantic Extraction: Live at Threes
by Nick Dunston
releases July 24, 2020
Nick Dunston – double bass, compositions
Louna Dekker-Vargas – flute, alto flute, piccolo
Ledah Finck – violin, viola
Tal Yahalom – guitar
Stephen Boegehold – drum set
Recorded live on an iPhone at Threes Brewing on February 26, 2020.

AMN Reviews: Anna Webber – Rectangles (2020; Out of Your Head Records)

Recorded live last December, but not initially intended for release, this 34-minute piece from Anna Webber, Marc Hannaford, Adam Hopkins, and Mark Ferber is an unexpected but welcome offering. Webber is the muscular and expressive saxophonist whose compositions are intensely modern and convoluted. She has put out a series of stellar recordings as leader and co-leader over the last decade, and seems to be growing more confident in her unorthodox stylings with each one. And Rectangles is a solid fit on that regression line. Indeed, the album follows Webber’s approach on Binary, where she used Internet constructs to guide her writing. Here, it was a YouTube test channel.

There is a troubled, yet energetic, anxiety present as Webber directs the group through staccato-laden and staggered rhythms. Hopkins and Ferber navigate these with skill, cutting through the complexity with grit and flares of their own creativity. Hannaford plays percussively, accompanying Webber’s exploratory solos. While clearly improvising, Webber centers around and gets mileage out of a number of discrete themes, some of which she takes to the edge of going outside without quite taking that leap. But her contributions are often rhythmic as well, which allows her bandmates to break out, though in a controlled fashion. Toward the middle of the track, musical structures loosen up and at first blush sound free-form. But upon closer listens, the quartet is largely staying within Webber’s system.

Tangled but not impenetrable, Rectangles will be available for download at the end of the month. If anything, the rawness of this recording complements and dovetails nicely with Webber’s sense of discipline. Do not hesitate one bit.

Sun Ra Profiled

Source: The New York Review of Books.

With such a bold, phantasmagoric performer for a namesake, it’s perhaps no surprise that young Herman Poole Blount became a musical prodigy. By age twelve, he was sight-reading piano music and composing his own. As a teenager, he could reproduce from memory the big-band concerts that came through Birmingham, led by greats like Duke Ellington and Fats Waller. While attending the segregated Industrial High School, Herman joined a handful of jazz and R&B bands, including one led by his biology teacher, Ethel Harper. When Harper left the group, Herman took it over and renamed it with his nickname—the Sonny Blount Orchestra—for the rest of the tour.

This Week in Live Streamed Concerts 

Source: I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.

NICO MUHLY | WORKS & PROCESS
Created at home by artists familiar to Works & Process audiences, these virtual commissions financially support artists and champion their creative process during these challenging times.
Monday, July 13 at 7:30 PM Eastern Time

HOUSE MUSIC | METROPOLIS ENSEMBLE
Metropolis Ensemble’s series, House Music, reflects its values of putting community at the heart of its practice, and allows it to continue to create opportunities for artists to do what they do best: make and share new music. All artists are being paid for their work. Metropolis Ensemble is commissioning performers to present bite-sized works from contemporary composers, as well as composers to create new works specifically for this series, which are then recorded from wherever the artists are sheltering. “House Music” launched in late March and streams live every Tuesday and Thursday.
Tuesday, July 14 at 10:00 AM Eastern Time

DAN TEPFER | DIGITAL DISCOVERY FESTIVAL
This Discovery Concert kicks off a week of “music and technology” focus led by pianist and composer Dan Tepfer and a live artificial-intelligence driven composition for keys.
Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00 PM Eastern Time

AKI ONDA | ISOLATED FIELD RECORDING SERIES
In response to COVID-19’s impact, ISSUE is commissioning artists to produce field recordings to be streamed over the course of this challenging and isolated time. This series will support artists directly in an unprecedented moment of uncertainty, struggle, and financial risk and emphasize the solidarity of artists working in a situation where everyday life is confined and separated. Focusing on recordings from artists’ current conditions, the series will broadly approach the field recording as an expanded form and open invitation to experiment with home audio recording during this period of social distancing.
Wednesday, July 15 at 8:00 PM Eastern Time

HOUSE MUSIC | METROPOLIS ENSEMBLE
Metropolis Ensemble’s series, House Music, reflects its values of putting community at the heart of its practice, and allows it to continue to create opportunities for artists to do what they do best: make and share new music. All artists are being paid for their work. Metropolis Ensemble is commissioning performers to present bite-sized works from contemporary composers, as well as composers to create new works specifically for this series, which are then recorded from wherever the artists are sheltering. “House Music” launched in late March and streams live every Tuesday and Thursday.
Thursday, July 16 at 10:00 AM Eastern Time

VIRTUAL WORKS & PROCESS: LISA BIELAWA | WORKS & PROCESS
Works & Process at the Guggenheim Presents the Virtual Premiere of Lisa Bielawa’s Broadcast from Home Chapter 15 with Film for Chapter 4 by Anthony Hawley.
Thursday, July 16 at 7:30 PM Eastern Time

ALONE TOGETHER | JENNIFER KOH
Violinist Jennifer Koh’s Alone Together is an online commissioning project that brings composers together in support of the many freelancers among them. Twenty-one composers have each agreed to donate a new, 30-second micro-work for solo violin while also recommending a fellow composer to write their own 30-second solo violin work on paid commission from the artist-driven nonprofit ARCO Collaborative. Koh will premiere a selection of these donated and commissioned works each Saturday at 7:00 p.m Eastern Time.
Saturday, July 18 at 7:00 PM Eastern Time

PATHWAYS: ART & TECHNOLOGY, PART III
Join bespoken and the International Contemporary Ensemble for Part III of a free, four-part online series focusing on the intersection of technology and art. Each session will have different speakers discussing their artistry and practice across four disciplines – moving image, audio engineering, live-sound, and video – and how their work intersects within each area. How does technology and art come together in performance? How do we begin to work across disciplines? The series is not only educational but also a platform for empowerment, breaking down the barriers to using technology in an artist’s practice, & specifically for women & gender non-conforming artists.
Sunday, July 19 at 2:00 PM Eastern Time

LIVE@NATIONALSAWDUST
Live@NationalSawdust is a digital home for the voices and work of the artists they have hosted over the past 5 seasons in their Brooklyn venue. Live@NationalSawdust will feature weekly releases from their archive of live performances and is free for audiences across the globe.