Sun Ra in Sin City

Source: Lapham’s Quarterly.

he last time I spoke with Sun Ra, I asked him for his take on the enduring legacy of the Great American Songbook. It was 1993. Ra had returned to Birmingham, Alabama, where he’d been born nearly eighty years before. He would die there, from complications associated with pneumonia, a few weeks later. The pianist, composer, and bandleader’s first published composition, “Alone with Just a Memory of You,” written in 1936 together with Henry McCellons, conveyed a tender, awkward Tin Pan Alley tone that betrayed his love of sentimental songcraft. This passion is driven home repeatedly in a survey of Ra’s magnificently gigantic discography. He employed anachronistic singers like Clyde Williams and Hattie Randolph. He played familiar compositions with double-entendre titles especially meaningful to him, such as “East of the Sun,” “Keep Your Sunny Side Up,” “I Dream Too Much,” “Out of Nowhere,” “This Is Always,” “Second Star to the Right,” and “Over the Rainbow.” Never mind that Ra is known as one of the most adventurous and innovative figures in the history of the twentieth century. That he brought synthesizers to jazz. That his costumes and light shows paved the way for psychedelic rock. That he wrote apocalyptic and deeply philosophical poetry. That he identified as an extraterrestrial. That outer space and the unknown featured as prominently as ancient Egypt in his unique proto-Afrofuturist weltanschauung, which often manifested as a circus-like performance troupe that he called the Arkestra.


Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter

Source: Downtown Music Gallery.

Mary Halvorson & Bill Frisell! Gyan Riley – Solo & Duo with Timba Harris! Xander Naylor! Plus Two Books by Keith Rowe and On K’A Davis! Ben Bennett / Michael Foster / Jacob Wick! Kyle Gann! Tapes from Sarah Bernstein & Kid Millions and Michael Foster & Ben Bennett!

LP’s from Carl Stone, Prince Far I and Jean Cohen-Solal! Plus Archival Discs by Van Der Graaf Generator, Don Cherry, Roy Haynes, Phil Woods, Two from Sonny Rollins, Mose Allison, Gene Clark, Ry Cooder & David Lindley and Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson!

Plus Eight New CD’s from the Mighty Clean Feed Label Due in Stock Very Soon!


Upcoming Sets at Downtown Music Gallery – FREE, every Sunday at 6pm


Sunday, July 22nd:
7pm: DREW WESLELY / HERY PAZ / RAF VERTESSEN – Guitar / Tenor Sax / Drums

Sunday, July 29th:
6pm: NATE SCHEIBLE and SARAH HUGHES – Drums and Alto Sax
7pm: STEVE SWELL and MARK SEGGER – Trombone and Drums

Sunday, August 5th:

Sunday August 12th:
7pm: JUANMA TRUJILLO / HERY PAZ / DAYEON SECK – Guitar / Sax / Drums

Sunday, August 19th
6pm: ROBERT DICK and LESZEK “HEFI” WISNIOSKI – International Flute Duo
7pm: ALEX LOUDOUDIS and RAS MOSHE – Drums and Tenor Sax

San Francisco Scene: July 21-27, 2018

Source: Bay Improviser.

Saturday, July 21
Sat 7/21 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
HUSH Series — Hans Otte’s Book of Sounds
Get lost in Hans Otte’s 12-movement masterwork for solo piano, The Book of Sounds (1979-1982), performed by pianist D. Riley Nicholson. This underperformed piano cycle uses rare architectures and structures to weave minimal, subtle, haunting sounds in and through the piano. It “lets sounds be sounds” (John Cage). Casual seating and drinks will be on hand to help you through the journey.

Sunday, July 22
Sun 7/22 4:00 PM Old First Concerts [1751 Sacramento St. SF]
Sarah Cahill
Sarah Cahill, piano
Phil Kline Long Winter
John Adams China Gates
Annea Lockwood RCSC
Samuel Adams Shade Studies
Meredith Monk Steppe Music (excerpts)
Pauline Oliveros Quintuplets Playpen
Terry Riley Be Kind to One Another

Sun 7/22 5:00 PM Community Music Center [544 Capp Street SF]
17th Annual Outsound New Music Summit
The Bay Area’s Creative Music Festival
Touch the Gear Expo
Current Exhibitors: Amanda Chaudhary, Andrew of Chopstick, Andy Puls, Bart Hopkin, Bob Ladue, Collette McCaslin, Dania Luck, David Leikam, Gabby Wen, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Jeff Klukowski, Jaroba, Jess Rowland, L.J. Altvater, Peter Whitehead, Tammy Duplantis, Tom Djll

Sun 7/22 8:00 PM Gold Lion Arts [2733 Riverside Blvd Sacramento]
Social Stutter, a saxophone quartet led by composer/altoist Beth Schenck along with Kasey Knudsen, Phillip Greenlief and Cory Wright. They blurs the line between strictly written chamber music and soaring free jazz. Solos emerge from the natural order of intricately written lines.
Also performing is the Clifford Childers, Jon Raskin and Jenn Schaaf Trio finding pathways of sound, warping time and generally having a good time stretching the capabilities of brass, sax and drums.

Monday, July 23

Mon 7/23 8:30 PM Community Music Center [544 Capp Street SF]
17th Annual Outsound New Music Summit
The Bay Area’s Creative Music Festival
“The Breath Courses Through Us” a documentary film about the New York Art Quartet directed by Alan Roth featuring: Roswell Rudd, John Tchicai, Milford Graves, Reggie Workman, Amiri Baraka with: Steve Lacy, Pierre Dørge, Ben Young

Mon 7/23 9:30 PM Studio Grand [3234 Grand Ave, Oakland]
Oakland Freedom Jazz Society: Social Stutter + Shariat/Schwenkler Duo

Tuesday, July 24

Tue 7/24 7:30 PM Community Music Center [544 Capp Street SF]
17th Annual Outsound New Music Summit
The Bay Area’s Creative Music Festival
‘Sonic Foundry III’a night of sonic invention with Tim Thompson brings his Space Palette Pro, an exploratory technology enabling complexity and extending human capability! Pet the Tiger Inventors Collective presents Harmonic Series Gamelan performing “Music for Fairies and Elves”, original incidental music for Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream David Samas, Bart Hopkin, Peter Whitehead, Daniel Schmidt, Stephen Parris and Ian Saxton

Wednesday, July 25

Wed 7/25 12:00 AM Community Music Center [544 Capp Street SF]
17th Annual Outsound New Music Summit
The Bay Area’s Creative Music Festival
‘The Art of Noise’a night of sonic exploration with SO AR featuring cellist Shanna Sordahl and percussionist Robert Lopez emphasizes the musical transformation of spaces through the ritual of performance XAMBUCA aka Chandra Shukla (sound)strives to give emphasis to art both sonically and visually.

Thursday, July 26
Thu 7/26 6:30 PM Throckmorton Theatre, Tivoli Room [142 Throckmorton Ave Mill Valley, CA 94941]
Del Sol String Quartet

Thu 7/26 7:30 PM Community Music Center [544 Capp Street SF]
17th Annual Outsound New Music Summit
The Bay Area’s Creative Music Festival
‘CarneyVal’a night celebrating the memory of Ralph Carney, a saxophonist and pillar of the San Francisco Bay Area music community for 28 years with
Rubber City
David Slusser – saxophones, Sheldon Brown – saxophones, Chris Ackerman – drums, Richard Saunders – double bass
The Ralph Carney Memorial Octet
David Slusser and Richard Saunders from Rubber City will join Karina Denike and Michael McIntosh from the Serious Jass Project, along with reedists Rent Romus and Phillip Greenlief (also the arranger), Myles Boisen on guitar, and Suki O’Kane on drums

Friday, July 27

Fri 7/27 7:30 PM Community Music Center [544 Capp Street SF]
17th Annual Outsound New Music Summit
The Bay Area’s Creative Music Festival
‘Night of Stone’a night of exploratory rock and psychedelia with
Dire Wolves
Sheila Bosco – drum kit, Brian Lucas – bass,
Jeffrey Alexander – guitarmagoria + moog + wooden sax, Arjun Mendiratta – violin
Amanda Chaudhary – keyboards/synth, Joshua Marshall – tenor saxophone, Tom Djll – trumpet/synth, Mark Pino -drums

Fri 7/27 9:00 PM Gray Area Art And Technology [2665 Mission St. SF]
Hundred Waters and Eartheater A/V at Gray Area Festival
On Friday night of the 2018 Gray Area Festival, Hundred Waters and Eartheater join us for an evening of detailed sonic tapestries and optimistic melodies.

Fri 7/27 9:00 PM Ivy Room [860 San Pablo Ave Albany]
Charlie Hunter Trio

Chicago Scene: July 22-28, 2018

This is a weekly overview live avant performances in the Chicago area. Contact us if you’d like your shows listed.

Sunday, July 22nd 2018

7:00PM-10:00PM at Cultivate Urban Rainforest & Gallery, 704 Main St, Evanston IL, 847.418.1289 ($10)
Jimmy Bennington, Steve Cohn, with special guest Mike Harmon — Record release

10:00PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($18-$15)
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Cool Maritime

Monday, July 23rd 2018

7:30PM at Experimental Sound Studio, 5925 N Ravenswood, 773.769.1069
Julien Bayle — Solo performance and conversation with Ken Vandermark

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($15)
Irreversible Entanglements

9:00PM at Beat Kitchen, 2100 W Belmont, 773.281.4444
Extraordinary Popular Delusions : Edward Wilkerson Jr, Brian Sandstrom, Steve Hunt, Jim Baker

Tuesday, July 24th 2018

5:30PM at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago, 312.280.2660 (Free) (wheelchair-accessible)
Fred Anderson Legacy Band featuring Tatsu Aioki

Thursday, July 26th 2018

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Christopher Dammann’s Restroy, with James Davis, Kevin Davis, Paul Giallorenzo, Mabel Kwan, Avreeayl Ra

Friday, July 27th 2018

9:00PM at the Green Mill, 4802 N Broadway, 773.878.5552 ($15) (wheelchair-accessible)
Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things, with Greg Ward, Tim Halderman, Jason Roebke, special guests Ben LaMar Gay, Jason Stein

Saturday, July 28th 2018

8:00PM at the Green Mill, 4802 N Broadway, 773.878.5552 ($15) (wheelchair-accessible)
Mike Reed’s People, Places & Things, with Greg Ward, Tim Halderman, Jason Roebke, special guests Ben LaMar Gay, Jason Stein

For more information, such as directions, as well as upcoming performances, see:,,,,,,,,,,,

Newsbits: Jamie Saft / Many Many Women / 1922 / Alvin Lucier / Nurse with Wound / Graham Locke on Braxton

Jamie Saft’s Blue Dream is reviewed.

Many Many Women is an extensive site dedicated to female and non-binary musicians involved in all sorts of creative music endeavors. Check it out.

Mike Patton’s film score for the TV series 1922 is reviewed.

Alvin Lucier’s book, Music 109, is available once again.

Pitchfork goes back to review Nurse with Wound’s Homotopy to Marie.

Graham Lock’s Forces in Motion, a book documenting Anthony Braxton’s mid-80 quartet, has been reprinted with a new chapter and afterword.

BA Podcast 21: Jeremy Pelt 

Source: burning ambulance.

Episode 21 of the Burning Ambulance podcast – we’re adults now! – features an interview with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, who’s been on the scene more or less since the dawn of the 21st century. He made his first album as a leader in 2002, but he really broke out of the pack in 2008, when he formed a quintet with JD Allen on tenor sax, Danny Grissett on piano, the late Dwayne Burno on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums. He made four albums with that group—November in 2008, Men of Honor in 2010, The Talented Mr. Pelt in 2011, and Soul in 2012—and they’re all terrific. That was where I started listening to him—the first album I heard was The Talented Mr. Pelt, and I went backward immediately and checked out Men of Honor and November, and Soul. I interviewed him for the site in 2011, and have written about him a lot in the years since, because he makes an album a year, and they’re always impressive.