AMN Reviews: F. S. Blumm & Nils Frahm – Music for Wobbling Music versus Gravity (Sonic Pieces) / Nils Frahm – Screws (Erased Tapes)

Within the space of the first two minutes, the talented duo of multi-active F.S. Blumm and pianist Nils Frahm manage to suggest a Baroque rondeau, cowboy campfire and contemporary composition, just with the slightest flick of the wrist, each just for a moment. In the next, Frahm embarks on a lovely melody that Blumm mosquito-bites with noise. This oddly named collaboration is intended to accompany the duo´s 2010 collaboration Music for Lovers Music versus Time. Overdubbed and edited improvisations that not only have not been “cleaned up” but are further distressed by Blumm´s “concrete bricolage”, ranging from crumpling paper to crumpled digital. Music for Wobbling Music versus Gravity is a playhouse, and much of it really works, but too much broken toy racket risks sounding as outlandish as Spike Jones and his battery of wacky sound effects. Seeing as the classically-trained Blumm has such a singular touch with a guitar, it is when the two nestle deeply in sync on the spare “Old Friends Inst.,” “Silently Sharing” and “Sip Song,” that both their kinship and musicianship are thrown into high relief.

Speaking of broken things, last year Frahm slipped, fell and busted his thumb so badly that four surgical screws were needed to put it back together again. Drawing inspiration from misfortune, he composed nine short pieces for nine fingers and recorded Screws. Brief, intimate and rudimentary recordings, picking up the very physicality of the piano and ambient hiss like dust motes in the air, its titles are simplilcity itself, taken from the “sol-fa” scale (bookended by “You” and “Me”). As familiar as folk, pop and jazz standards from the very first listen, the sweet, pastoral “Re”, sober meditation of “Fa”, muted optimism of “Sol” and a “Let it Be” gospel rise in “Si” are just a few of its furtive highlights.

While Frahm´s collaboration with Blumm poses a challenge (one certainly worth accepting), Screws should please just about anyone who listens.

Stephen Fruitman

Jazz Listings From The New York Times

Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, performing a...
Swiss pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, performing at Le Triton, Les Lilas (France) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Bad Plus (Friday through Sunday) Few groups in the greater jazz orbit sound more doggedly intrepid than the Bad Plus, which flirted with electronic textures on “Made Possible” (eOne), released last fall. The band — Reid Anderson on bass, Ethan Iverson on piano, David King on drums — has recently collaborated with sympathetic interlopers, notably the guitarist Bill Frisell. But this run, taking place on familiar footing, will simply feature the trio in all its lean, concussive glory. At 8:30 and 10:30 p.m., Village Vanguard, 178 Seventh Avenue South, at 11th Street, West Village, (212) 255-4037,; $25 cover, with a one-drink minimum. (Chinen)

Louie Belogenis at the Stone (Friday through Sunday) A saxophonist drawn to the rugged epiphanies of free improvisation, Louie Belogenis is programming a week at the Stone, connecting with a range of compatible searchers. On Friday he performs first with a pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and the electronics artist Ikue Mori (at 8 p.m.), and then with Magical Listening Hour, featuring Steve Swell on trombone, Nate Wooley on trumpet and Michaël Attias on saxophone (at 10 p.m.). On Saturday he leads Unbroken, his trio with the bassist Shanir Blumenkranz and the drummer Kenny Wollesen; on Sunday he wraps things up with the pianist Roberta Piket and the drummer Billy Mintz. At 8 and 10 p.m., the Stone, Avenue C and Second Street, East Village,; $15 for each set, $10 for students. (Chinen)

Tony Malaby’s Paloma Recio (Saturday) Paloma Recio, a vigorous working quartet led by the tenor saxophonist Tony Malaby, explores shadowy postbop terrain with the subtlest of Spanish accents. The band is usually a quartet with the guitarist Ben Monder, the bassist Eivind Opsvik and the drummer Nasheet Waits; Ches Smith stands in for Mr. Waits here. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, (212) 989-9319,; $20 cover, which includes a drink. (Chinen)

Michael Moore at the Stone (Tuesday through July 28) The saxophonist and clarinetist Michael Moore — not to be confused with the filmmaker, in case that needed saying — is a native Californian who has spent more than 30 years in the Netherlands, working with an honor roll of European improvisers. He’ll touch down in the East Village next week, digging in with an array of adopted New Yorkers, like the pianist Sylvie Courvoisier and the violinist Mark Feldman, with whom he’ll play a trio set on Wednesday (at 8 p.m.); and the guitarist Mary Halvorson, who joins him in two small groups on Thursday. At 8 and 10 p.m., the Stone, Avenue C and Second Street, East Village,; $15 for each set, $10 for students. (Chinen)

Tom Rainey’s Obbligato (Friday) Tom Rainey, a starkly suggestive drummer with expansive sideman credits, has only recently been pushing his own agenda as a bandleader — in relative terms, of course. Obbligato is his new group with the trumpeter Ralph Alessi, the saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock, the pianist Kris Davis and the bassist Drew Gress. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, (212) 989-9319,; $20 cover, which includes a drink. (Chinen)

Sound It Out 1st Anniversary Hot House Festival (Friday through Sunday) For the last year, the Sound It Out concert series, founded by the music journalist Bradley Bambarger, has been a beacon of adventurous programming in Greenwich Village. To celebrate its first anniversary, the series is presenting a four-night festival, running through this weekend. Highlights include a trio with the guitarist Jonathan Goldberger, the bassist Michael Formanek and the drummer Devin Gray (Friday at 7:45 p.m.); Endangered Blood, a band that includes Mr. Formanek and the multireedists Chris Speed and Oscar Noriega (Friday at 8:45 p.m.); Surface to Air, a chamber-like trio that features Mr. Goldberger (Saturday at 8:45 p.m.); a piano duo with Craig Taborn and Gust Burns (Sunday at 7:30 p.m.); and the Rez Abbasi Trio, led by its namesake guitarist (Sunday at 8:30 p.m.). Greenwich House Music School, 46 Barrow Street, West Village, (212) 242-4770,; $20 for each night. (Chinen)

Classical Music Listings From The New York Times

John Zorn (cropped version)
John Zorn (cropped version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Michaels Reise um die Erde’ (Friday and Saturday) Stockhausen’s esoteric testament, a seven-day opera called “Licht” (“Light”), has never been staged in its entirety. The Lincoln Center Festival presents a production by the Wiener Taschenoper of the second act of “Thursday,” a mesmerizing instrumental work featuring one of the seminal trumpet solos of the 20th century. Members of the Cologne-based Ensemble musikFabrik perform, but audience members are invited to become part of the immersive experience by wearing the color blue to performances. At 8 p.m., Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, (212) 721-6500,; $25 to $110. (da Fonseca-Wollheim)

Bang on a Can Music Institute (Friday through Aug. 3) The new-music collective Bang on a Can is firmly rooted in downtown New York culture. But every July, it decamps to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art for a residency program devoted to creative experimentation and play. In addition to special events and performances, there are twice-daily gallery recitals, at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m., through Aug. 3. Performers this week include the violinist Todd Reynolds, the pianist Vicky Ray, and the cellists Nick Photinos and Ashley Bathgate. Mass MoCA, 87 Marshall Street, North Adams, Mass.,,; free with museum admission. (da Fonseca-Wollheim)

Zorn@60 (Saturday) Lincoln Center Festival’s two-concert celebration of the 60th birthday of the omnivorous composer and musician John Zorn concludes with a concert of his six works for string quartet played by local groups: the JACK Quartet, the Alchemy Quartet and Brooklyn Rider. At 8 p.m., Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, (212) 721-6500,; $25 to $50. (Woolfe)

Pat Metheny on Digging Into John Zorn’s “Book Of Angels”

Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny (Photo credit: Matteo Rorato)

Metheny is interviewed about Zorn:

Pat Metheny plays John Zorn? Why not? At this point in the careers of guitarist Metheny and composer-saxophonist Zorn, should anything surprise us? Metheny, who turns 59 next month, has pleased about as broad and diverse an audience as any instrumentalist: He’s won 20 Grammy Awards in 11 different categories. And yet he sounded as natural alongside Ornette Coleman on 1996’s “Song X” as with his longtime quartet. Zorn, who turns 60 in September, may once have represented a renegade downtown Manhattan scene, but that was long ago. His 60th is being celebrated throughout this year at venues as varied as Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, and the Japan Society — a reflection of the depth, breadth, and reach of his celebrated work.

Fresh Sound Music Series Fall Shows

From San Diego’s Fresh Sound Music Series:

Fresh Sound Music series
Fall 2013
1955 Julian Avenue, San Diego, CA, 92113
Performances — all concerts at 8 pm

Friday, Sept. 13th Eric Byers, solo cello: acoustic and electronics
Tuesday, Oct. 1st Ian David Rosenbaum, solo percussion — drums, marimba and flower pots
Sunday, Oct 20th KONK PACK, trio from Europe
Friday, Nov. 1st Evan Ziporyn, solo clarinet: acoustic and electronics

This season’s concerts originally meant to focus on solo performances by three brilliant contemporary classical performers: Eric Byers, cello (Los Angeles, Calder String Quartet) and electronics; Ian David Rosenbaum, solo percussion (New York, Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society and Le Train Bleu), and Evan Ziporyn, clarinet (MIT in MA., Bang on a Can All Stars for 25 years). And then KONK PACK trio (England and Germany) let us know they will be on a rare tour of America and we couldn’t miss that opportunity to have them here. We loved them when they performed at Spruce Street Forum in October, 2001.