Free Jazz Blog Reviews

John Butcher 4
Image by michaelz1 via Flickr

From Free Jazz:

Yo Miles! Shinjuku (There Records, 2010) ****
Yo Miles! – Lightning (There Records, 2010) ****
Colin Town HR Big Band – Visions Of Miles (In+Out Records, 2009) ***
Médéric Collignon & Jus De Bocse – Shangri-Tunkashi-La (Plus Loin Music, 2010) **
John Butcher & Claudia Ulla Binder – Under The Roof (Nuscope, 2010) ****½
Liudas Mock?nas & Ryoji Hojito – Vacation Music (No Business, 2010) ****½
Stephen Haynes – Parrhesia (Engine Records, 2010) ****
Ingrid Laubrock – Anti-House (Intakt, 2010) ***½

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RIP Marion Brown

Marion Brown
Cover of Marion Brown

From The Stranger:

Saxophonist Marion Brown, who performed with jazz greats like John Coltrane, Anthony Braxton, Chick Corea and Archie Shepp, passed away Oct. 10, after enduring several years of poor health. Brown’s impact could also be felt in the rock and electronic-music spheres. The Michigan rock group His Name Is Alive played a tribute concert to Brown in 2004, and in 2007 released parts of the concert with studio versions as Sweet Earth Flower: A Tribute to Marion Brown on High Two Records. Superchunk and Savath & Savalas also paid homage to Brown with the tracks “Song For Marion Brown” (on Indoor Living) and “Two Blues For Marion Brown,” respectively. Minimalist composer Harold Budd recorded Brown’s “Sweet Earth Flying” on his album Luxa.

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Mike Reed Interview: “Everything Has Its Roots in Something”

Vision Festival
Image by andynew via Flickr

From Washington City Paper:

Drummer Mike Reed is not only a Chicago musician: He’s devoted an entire band project to exploring the Windy City’s jazz legacy. Specifically, Reed’s People, Places and Things quintet gives a free-jazz spin to the rarely trodden ground of Chicago’s scene during the hard bop era—approximately 1954-60. In advance of PP&T’s performance tomorrow night at the Black Cat, Reed spoke to Arts Desk about his city’s music, past and present, and how he spreads its gospel to farflung towns

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Edgetone Records Releases

Gino Robair
Gino Robair (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Edgetone Records:

The Rejuvenation Trio
Rejuvenation Voyage

The debut recording of the Rejuvenation Trio featuring Hasan Abdur-Razzaq and Ryan Jewell out of Columbus, Ohio. Saxophonist/cellist, Hasan Abdur-Razzaq, is a prolific musician and painter who is a descendant of the Cleveland free jazz scene that brought in the Ayler brothers and Abdul Wadud.

Emergency String (X)tet meet Rent Romus
Emergency Rental

Recorded one spring evening in San Francisco, Emergency Rental is a collaboration by the Emergency String (X)tet and Rent Romus exploring sound in and outside the elements of free improvisation between saxophone and strings.

Noertker’s Moxie
Some Circles

Some Circles, the first suite in bassist/composer Bill Noertker’s Blue Rider series, takes us on a musical journey into reflection, and enchantment. The Blue Rider group of painters (Kandinsky, Marc, Klee) is Noertker’s inspiration.

Thollem McDonas
Gone Beyond Reason To Find One

This is the second solo recording on Edgetone by impresario pianist Thollem Mcdonas showcasing three live concert performances that took place at the SFCMC during the 9th Annual Outsound New Music Summit, accompanying the films of Martha Colburn in San Francisco, The Songlines concert series at Mills College in Oakland California, and at the Area Sismica Piano Festival in Meldola, Italy.

T.D. Skatchit & Company
Skatch Migration

T.D. Skatchit & Company now presents their second recording of Skatch music featuring T.D. Skatchit (David Michalak & Tom Nunn) playing Skatchboxes in trios with guests ~ Bruce Ackley, Bob Marsh, Doug Carroll, Aurora, Tim Perkis, Kyle Bruckmann, Jacob Felix Huele, Gino Robair, Scott Looney and Ron Heglin.
“To invent something one needs a good imagination and a pile of junk.” – Thomas Skatchit

Scott R. Looney & Klaus Janek

1510 is a collaborative duo project started in 2009, by Scott R. Looney and Klaus Janek, named after the studio in Oakland where many international and local improvisers have been recorded.
The music of 1510 covers a wealth of sonic and textural landscapes in their interactions, with an emphasis on logic and contrasting concepts guiding the overall shape of the work. The resulting sound is meditative and ambient at times, yet hints at free jazz and electro acoustic improvisational influences as well.

Ear to the Earth 2010

R. Murray Schafer
Image via Wikipedia

From EMF Productions:

The 5th New York Festival of Sound, Music, and Ecology
October 27 – Nov. 1

Featuring R. Murray Schafer, Matthew Burtner, Yolande Harris, Bernie Krause, Charles Lindsay, Annea Lockwood, Phill Niblock, Kristin Norderval, David Monacchi, Maggi Payne, Andrea Polli, Liz Phillips, David Rothenberg, and many more

New York City—Water is essential to the support of all living organisms. Yet, we are headed to a crisis in managing it. For its fifth installment, Ear to the Earth 2010 – a unique festival of sound, music and ecology conceived and presented by Electronic Music Foundation – will turn its attention to the current states of water and our social and cultural attitudes towards it. For five days, from October 27 through November 1, eco-composers and sound artists will explore the topic of “Water and the World” through compositions, installations and presentations featuring the sound of water and bringing forth critical environmental issues – melting ice and rising sea levels, access and privatization, pollution, storm intensity, salinity, to name a few. The festival will take place at Frederick Loewe Theater, Greenwich House Music School, White Box, and Kleio Projects in New York City.

Ear to the Earth 2010 will kick off with a rare New York appearance by the acoustic ecology pioneer R. Murray Schafer (Oct. 27). Highlights include a presentation on how animals (including fish) taught us how to dance by bioacoustician Bernie Krause (Oct. 29); Kristin Norderval’s new vocal electronic work on a virtual polar icecap meltdown (Oct. 30); Michael Fahres’ video concert of dolphin sounds and Senegalese master drummers (Oct. 31); Phill Niblock and Katherine Liberovskaya’s live audio/video work on the sounds of the Rhine and Danube rivers (Oct. 31); Charles Lindsay and David Rothenberg’s new live performance work on water in western United States (Nov. 1); Andrea Polli and TJ Martinez’s documentary on surfing as a way to reflect on climate change (Nov. 1); as well as performances and presentations by Matthew Burtner and Scott Deal, Yolande Harris, David Monacchi, Maggi Payne, and Matt Rogalsky.

On Oct. 31, New York Soundscapes – an evening of premieres offering panoramic portrayals of the metropolis’s audio personality and urban ecology – will feature a team of up-and-coming sound artists focusing on NYC water-related issues such as consumption (Miguel Frasconi), the Gowanus Canal (Aleksei Stevens), and the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel (Paula Matthusen). In addition, this year’s festival will present Daniella Topol and Sheila Callaghan’s highly entertaining, yet disturbing, theatrical work on struggles around water, and sound installations by Annea Lockwood, Liz Phillips and Jennifer Stock.


> An Encounter with R. Murray Schafer
Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow St. (bwt. Bedford St. & 7th Ave. S), NYC

Canada’s most prominent composer R. Murray Schafer will make a rare New York appearance to talk about the origins of acoustic ecology and soundscapes and their evolution into today’s environmental sound art.

> Bernie Krause: Fish Rap: The Life-Affirming Soundscapes of Water
> Yolande Harris: Fishing for Sound (NY Premiere)
Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow St. (bwt. Bedford St. & 7th Ave. S), NYC

Noted composer and bioacoustician Bernie Krause addresses the question of how animals (including fish) taught us to dance and sing, drawing from his book, The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places, due for publication by Little Brown (Hachette) in 2011. Find out how the organizational forms we’ve emulated in music can be found in the biophonies of rainforests, deserts, mountains, and riparian habitats worldwide.

Amsterdam-based composer/sound artist Yolande Harris explores the sea of spatial connections between phenomena under water, in the mind, and from outer space. The performance weaves sounds culled from scientific analysis of marine environments, psychological treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, and sonified data from satellites orbiting the Earth. Listening in these spaces is like fishing for sounds.

> Kristin Norderval: Tattooed Ghosts (World Premiere)
> Matt Rogalsky: Memory Like Water
Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow St. (bwt. Bedford St. & 7th Ave. S), NYC

Composer/vocalist Kristin Norderval’s Tattooed Ghosts, for voice, interactive audio and live processing, draws from Dina Von Zweck’s monumental literary work, FLUDD—Virtual Polar Icecap Meltdown. Combining elements of poetry, fiction, memoir, scripts, and plays, FLUDD imagines the meltdown as a flood of waters that releases the Arctic’s profound secrets. Tattooed Ghosts uses poems and songs from FLUDD’s final three parts to trace the accumulation of ocean contaminants.

Drawing from his 2007 sound installation of the same title, Memory Like Water, media artist Mark Rogalsky presents a series of live performance pieces that explore the flow and malleability of memory and identity through the passage of time.

White Box, 329 Broome St., NYC
3 PM:
> Water (or the Secret Life of Objects) by Sheila Callaghan (playwright), Katie Down (Sound Artist), Leah Gelpe (video projections), Daniella Topol (Director)

Initiated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, this part science experiment, part media-bomb theater project illuminates struggles around water – access, purification and privatization – while exploring water as a life force and object of political debate.

8 PM:
> “NEW YORK SOUNDSCAPES”: Three World Premieres
Miguel Frasconi: Inside-Out
Aleksei Stevens: Standing Water: Sound Map of the Gowanus Canal, 2010
Paula Matthuson: Navigable

Miguel Frasconi transforms information on NYC water consumption – and the journey water takes from its source to the big metropolis – into a score for electronics and a menagerie of glass objects (struck, blown, stroked and otherwise coaxed into vibration).

Aleksei Stevens made recordings of the Gowanus Canal in order to isolate its sounds from the highly visible evidence of its pollution, only to find the resulting recordings eerily devoid of not only the typical sounds of wildlife (save the odd gull), but also indeed the very sounds of water itself.

Paula Matthusen presents a theme and variations based on the resonant frequencies of the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel – a space not only renowned for its significance in the development of subways, but also as a site of cultural intrigue.

Frederick Loewe Theater, 35 West 4th Street, NYC
5 PM
> David Monacchi: Stati d’Acqua / States of Water
> Maggi Payne: Liquid Amber
> Matthew Burtner & Scott Deal: Auksalaq

David Monacchi’s Stati d’Acqua reflects the manifold mutations that water undergoes in its physical form as springs, streams, waterfalls, water dripping in caves, and ocean waves.

Composer Maggi Payne‘s videomusic Liquid Amber is about texture – “images that compel me to physically reach out and touch them in real life and on-screen.” Sounds produced by the touching of various objects (water, skin, fabric, wood, metal, etc) interact in unexpected ways with compelling images such as a sheet of copper and an old ship.

Matthew Burtner and Scott Deal’s Auksalaq (the Inupiaq Eskimo word for “melting snow”) explores global climate change as it is experienced in Alaska and the Arctic. Through telematic technology, live music, and images, the work integrates artistic expression, scientific information and social/political commentary to reveal conflicting perspectives. The interactive software NOMADS will enable personal computers to interact with the performance in real time. Bring your laptops or PDAs!

8 PM
> Phill Niblock & Katherine Liberovskaya: Sound Delta (NY Premiere)
> Michael Fahres: Cetacea

Phill Niblock and Katherine Liberovskaya’s Sound Delta is a live audio/video performance derived from work created during the 2008 European Sound Delta project – a traveling art residency in which thirty international sound artists navigated on the Rhine and Danube rivers.

Dolphins use sonar to communicate with each other. The Senegalese Sabar drummers converse over large distances by percussive patterns. Inspired by this acoustic connection, Michael Fahres’ Cetacea merges dolphin sounds (from the dolphinarium in Duisburg, Germany) with the rhythms of Senegalese Master drummer Doudou N’Diaye Rose’s percussion ensemble. The evening features a video performance of the concert in 5.1 surround sound.

> Charles Lindsay and David Rothenberg: Western Water (World Premiere)
> Andrea Polli and TJ Martinez: Dances with Waves (Documentary)
Frederick Loewe Theater, 35 West 4th Street, NYC

Charles Lindsay and David Rothenberg debut a live multimedia performance on the complex environmental, political and social issues involving water and the western United States. Western Water features video, stills and field recordings of the American West, including the Hoover Dam, Mono Lake, Yellowstone Park’s geysers, The Mermaid Bar in Great Falls, industrial irrigation, and water coolers. Rothenberg performs on clarinets and overtone flutes, with live explorations of found sounds, while Lindsay plays pristine and processed sounds of water, electric cello and Moog guitar.

Andrea Polli and TJ Martinez’s documentary Dances with Waves investigates the science of surfing as a way to reflect on global climate change. Surfing, in one respect, is simply a recreational sport. It is also a kinesthetic conversation between the living body of the surfer and the living body of the wave – shedding light on how our lives are tied to weather patterns and the delicate ecology of the ocean.

Tickets for all events at the Greenwich House Music School and White Box are $15 for general admission, $10 for EMF Subscribers and seniors, and $5 for students. Festival pass is $30.

Admission to all events at the Frederick Loewe Theater is free.

For more information on Ear to the Earth 2010, visit or email or call (888) 749-9998.

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