AMN Reviews: Magma – Slag Tanz (2015; Jazz Village)

cover_slag_tanzMagma is back with its second EP release in three months. Following rapidly on the heels of the re-recording of Rïah Sahïltaahk, Slag Tanz once again features the modern Magma lineup performing music reminiscent of their arrival on this planet 45 years ago. The recording features Stella Vander (voice), Isabelle Feuillebois (voice), Hervé Aknin (voice), Benoît Alziary (vibraphone), James MacGaw (guitar), Jérémie Ternoy (piano), Philippe Bussonnet (bass), and of course Christian Vander (drums, piano, voice), which with the exception of Ternoy, has been the core group since 2008.

For Magma fans, Slag Tanz has a lot to like. The familiar, layered call-and-response vocals, jagged bass-and-drum-driven rhythms, and distinctive potency of the compositions are on display. The eight short tracks sum up to about 20 minutes, and run together in a suite form. While Slag Tanz breaks less new ground for Magma than, say, Félicité Thösz, it marks a return to the more complex scores Magma worked from in the 1970s. In fact, according to Christian Vander, Slag Tanz was originally written in that time period.  It has been performed several times since 2009, reportedly evolving from show to show.  Thus, it is hard to characterize this effort as a remake like Rïah Sahïltaahk.

Still, you could call Slag Tanz retro, but doing so would unduly dismiss the pure joy that is Magma in peak form.  The operatic choruses, heavy angular riffing, atmospheric vibes, and superb rhythm section are transcendent.  Bravo.


San Francisco Scene: January 30 – February 6, 2015

From the Bay Improviser Calendar:

Friday, January 30

Fri 1/30 5:30 PM Yerba Buena Center for the Arts [701 Mission St @3rd SF]
New Frequencies Fest
Adventurous Jazz and Improvised Music with Lisa Mezzacappa

Fri 1/30 7:30 PM Second Act [1727 Haight St. SF]
Aural Films records, the label that publishes soundtracks for movies that do not exist. Is proud to present the San Francisco Fog Music Festival 2015. A four day event that brings together more than 20 different artists to present their sound and light interpretations of the weather event known as Fog.

Fri 1/30 9:00 PM Studio Grand [3234 Grand Ave, Oakland]
OPENING RECEPTION // A Sung Kim Installation // With Friction and Empathy-Piloting the Satellite Sympathetic Resonators More…

Saturday, January 31

Sat 1/31 2:00 PM Southern Exposure [3030 20th St. San Francisco, CA 94110]
Fog Meditation
Join Kallmyer and guests for an afternoon performance of fog-inspired music, with distant horns, slow moving sound and white-out conditions, taking us back to a pre-global warming San Francisco summer.
This event is part of Sets, three two-week projects of process-based, video and performance work by Bay Area artists Christy Chan, Chris Kallmyer and Olivia Mole.

Sat 1/31 7:30 PM Second Act [1727 Haight St. SF]
Aural Films records, the label that publishes soundtracks for movies that do not exist. Is proud to present the San Francisco Fog Music Festival 2015. A four day event that brings together more than 20 different artists to present their sound and light interpretations of the weather event known as Fog.

Sat 1/31 8:00 PM Berkeley Arts [2133 University Avenue Berkeley]
A Night of Improvised Music to Benefit
A Night of Improvised Music to Benefit
Fred Frith (guitar, voice)
Theresa Wong (cello, voice) DUO
Jeanie-Aprille Tang (electronics)
Tara Sreekrishnan (piano)
Nava Dunkelman (percussion)

Sat 1/31 8:00 PM San Francisco Conservatory of Music [50 Oak St. SF]
Special Event: Steve Reich: Drumming M

Sunday, February 1

Sun 2/01 4:30 PM Bird & Beckett Books and Records [653 Chenery St. SF]
Rent Romus’ Life’s Blood Quintet
with Timothy Orr, Adam Lowdermilk, Bill Noertker
and special guest Amber McZeal

Sun 2/01 5:00 PM Actual Cafe [6334 San Pablo Avenue Oakland]
The first Sunday of every month at the Actual Cafe:
John Schott’s Actual Trio, with John Hanes and Dan Seamans

Monday, February 2

Mon 2/02 8:00 PM Make-Out Room [3225 22nd St SF]
The Monday Make-Out
The cutting edge of Bay Area jazz and improvised music–
Set #1: Phillip Greenlief/David Boyce (improvised saxophone duo)
Set #2: Goddess Aphonic (psychedelic jazz/no wave)
(Britt Ciampa-dms, Mike Forbes-ts, Matt Chandler-el b)
Set #3: Quintet (first time meeting of Bay Area improvisers)
(Rob Ewing-tbn, Henry Hung-tpt, Raffi Garabedian-reeds, Matt Wohl-b, Hamir Atwal-dms)

Mon 2/02 8:30 PM Spice Monkey [1628 Webster St Oakland]
Will Northlich-Redmond’s Thwack
Thwack- WNR- perc, kalimba, conduction, Mark Clifford- drums/perc., Jordan Glenn – drums/perc.
Also performing… Luo Danna- vocals, Marc Schmitz- guitar, Dave Mihaly- drums, Michael Fortes- bass

Wednesday, February 4

Wed 2/04 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
An evening of unaccompanied flute works that have redefined the sonic possibilities of the instrument. From the standard repertoire by Berio and Hosokawa, to subsonic, and nearly silent techniques of Sciarrino and Holliger. A representation of the different styles and trends from different parts of the world, explained by the performer himself.

Wed 2/04 8:00 PM Yoshi’s Oakland [510 Embarcadero West Oakland]
After more than a decade as a co-leader of the internationally acclaimed trio Minsarah, bassist Jeff Denson is forging into new territory with his trio that features Dan Zemelman on piano and Jon Arkin on drums.

Wed 2/04 9:00 PM Duende [468 19th Street Oakland]
Jazz in the present tense.
We kick off New Frequencies Fest with a really killer offsite kickoff party at Duende, the popular restaurant and music club in Downtown Oakland. The band features Scott Amendola on drums, and special guests violinist Jenny Scheinman, guitarist Jeff Parker, and bassist John Shifflett. Tickets can be purchased directly through Duende’s website at

Wed 2/04 9:30 PM Studio Grand [3234 Grand Ave, Oakland]
Oakland Freedom Jazz Society presents Chen/Shelton/Rankin-Parker plus McCowen/Djll/Bruckmann

Thursday, February 5

Thu 2/05 6:30 PM Contemporary Jewish Museum [736 Mission St San Francisco, CA]
Sun Ra’s musical afro-futurist film, Space is the Place (1972, 85min)

Thu 2/05 7:30 PM Mills College Littlefield Concert Hall [5000 MacArthur Blvd Oakland]
A Lecture by Composer MORTON SUBOTNICK:
The Tape Recorder, the Transistor and the Credit Card: The Technological Big Bang A Personal History

Thu 2/05 8:00 PM Luggage Store New Music Series [Outsound co-Presents @ The Luggage Store Gallery 1007 Market St. SF]
8:15: Glou Glou (Gretchen Jude: Voice/Koto/Electronics, and Arjun Mendiratta: Electronics/Violin/Rocks)
8:45: Oa (Hugh Behm-Steinberg and Matt Davignon: Electronically-treated voices.)
9:30: Parties
Joe Morgan (The Late Virginia Summers), P.D. Wilder (Hotel Hotel & More States) and Andrew Weathers

Thu 2/05 8:00 PM Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater [701 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103]
Henry Threadgill Double-Up, Tribute to Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris

Thu 2/05 9:00 PM Duende [468 19th Street Oakland]
Scott Amendola Band with Jenny Scheinman, Nels Cline, Jeff Parker, and John Shifflett

Thu 2/05 9:00 PM Winter’s Tavern [1522 Francisco Blvd Pacifica, CA]
Reconnaissance Fly Live at Winters Tavern

Friday, February 6

Fri 2/06 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Join improvisation mavens Fred Frith and Sudhu Tewari in a perfomance on homemades and guitar-like objects.

Fri 2/06 8:00 PM Yerba Buena Center for the Arts [701 Mission St @3rd SF]
New Frequencies Fest

Fri 2/06 9:00 PM Winters Tavern [1522 Francisco Blvd Pacifica, CA]
Tri-Cornered Tent Show Returns to Winters Tavern

Fri 2/06 9:30 PM Duende [468 19th Street Oakland]
Ben Goldberg Trio with Trevor Dunn and Kenny Wollesen

Fri 2/06 10:00 PM Yerba Buena Center for the Arts [701 Mission St @3rd SF]
New Frequencies Fest
Coin Coin Chapter Two: Moonchile

Avant-Garde Saxophone Quartet Battle Trance Endeavors to Breathe Together


Battle Trance founder Travis Laplante still doesn’t understand it. One morning, Laplante, an accomplished free-jazz saxophonist, woke up with a crystal clear vision, compelled to start an ensemble consisting solely of tenor saxophone players. Three specific tenors, in particular — Patrick Breiner, Matthew Nelson and Jeremy Viner.

Jazz Listings From The New York Times

Matana Roberts


Tim Berne’s Snakeoil/Russ Lossing Quartet (Tuesday) Mr. Berne, an alto saxophonist and composer of granite conviction, has had a superb recent outlet in Snakeoil, a chamber-improv quartet with the clarinetist Oscar Noriega, the pianist Matt Mitchell and the drummer Ches Smith. The group plays a 10:30 p.m. set in the Konceptions series; an earlier set, at 9 p.m., will feature a quartet led by the perceptive pianist Russ Lossing, with Adam Kolker on saxophone, Masa Kamaguchi on bass and Billy Mintz on drums. Korzo, 667 Fifth Avenue, at 20th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, (Chinen)

Jon Irabagon Trio (Saturday) Jon Irabagon, a saxophonist of frisky temperament and formidable technique, has long been heard to strong effect in a trio format; his partners in this one are the bassist Yasushi Nakamura and the drummer Rudy Royston. At 7:30, 9:30 and 11:30 p.m., Bar Next Door, 129 Macdougal Street, near West Third Street, Greenwich Village, 212-529-5945, (Chinen)

★ Jazz & Colors: The Masterworks Edition (Friday) This festival, which has twice presented a bounty of jazz ensembles at picturesque locations all over Central Park, is moving indoors this year, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among the 15 groups performing simultaneously, at locations throughout the museum’s galleries, are the Don Byron Quartet; the Amir ElSaffar Quintet; the Matt Mitchell-Ches Smith Duo; Ben Williams and Sound Effect; and Jenny Scheinman’s In the Museum, a special-edition quartet featuring the guitarist Marc Ribot. Each group will tackle the same set list, with jazz standards including Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” At 6 and 7:30 p.m., 212-535-7710,; free with museum admission. (Chinen)

Matana Roberts ‘Coin Coin’ (Tuesday) Ms. Roberts, an alto saxophonist and composer, has devoted herself to a corpus of work she calls “Coin Coin,” sifting through layers of folklore, family history and reconstructed memory in search of one or another form of revelation. She performs her third installment — “river run thee,” due out as an album on Tuesday — in this show, which also includes sets by Rain Machine, the solo electronic project of Kyp Malone, and the collaborative noise trio of Ryan Sawyer, Nate Wooley and C. Spencer Yeh. At 9 p.m., Union Pool, 484 Union Avenue, at Meeker Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 718-609-0484, (Chinen)

Pharoah Sanders (through Sunday) The tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, one of the most significant survivors of 1960s free jazz, has never stopped imbuing his performances with the tone of a spiritual quest. He leads a quartet with William Henderson on piano, Nat Reeves on bass and Joe Farnsworth on drums. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street and Broadway, 212-258-9595, (Chinen)

Sun Ra Arkestra (Saturday) Led by the irrepressible alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, who is 90, this repertory outfit carries on the cosmic avant-gardism of its namesake with all necessary gusto. The band plays two sets beginning at 7 p.m. at Sugarcube, the pop-up space at South Street Seaport, courtesy of the Brooklyn avant-garde label Northern Spy. At 7 p.m., Sugarcube at South Street Seaport, Fulton and Front Streets, Lower Manhattan, 212-732-7678,; free, but online registration is required. (Chinen)

Classical Music Listings From the New York Times


Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Tuesday) Percussion is in the spotlight here, with a multimedia lineup featuring four percussionists (Victor Caccese, Christopher Froh, Ayano Kataoka and Ian David Rosenbaum) and two pianists (Gilbert Kalish and Wu Han). They will perform works by Toru Takemitsu, Steve Reich, John Cage, Conlon Nancarrow, Thierry de Mey and Bela Bartok. At 7:30 p.m., Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, 212-875-5788, (Vivien Schweitzer)

Composer Portrait: Missy Mazzoli (Thursday) Seven of Ms. Mazzoli’s works for strings — all of distinct and varied styles — make up her turn in the Miller Theater’s indispensable series. “Quartet for Queen Mab” receives its world premiere with the quartet Ethel, and, among much more, there’s also an aria for the soprano Marnie Breckenridge that’s part of Ms. Mazzoli’s continuing opera project on the Lars von Trier film, “Breaking the Waves.” At 8 p.m., Broadway at 116th Street, Morningside Heights, 212-854-7799, (David Allen)

Focus! Festival (Friday) This annual Juilliard School festival, organized by Joel Sachs, is an opportunity to focus, as it were, on a particular place and time, and this year, the theme is “Nippon Gendai Ongaku: Japanese Music Since 1945.” The closing concert, by the Juilliard Orchestra, conducted by Tadaaki Otaka, features a tribute to Toru Takemitsu as well as works by Claude Debussy, Akira Miyoshi and Takashi Yoshimatsu. It is free, but tickets are required. At 8 p.m., Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Lincoln Center, 155 West 65th Street, 212-799-5000, (Woolfe)

International Contemporary Ensemble (Friday and Saturday) This intrepid ensemble continues its residency at the Abrons Arts Center, where it celebrates the centennial of the Henry Street Settlement with commissions from New York composers. The lineup on Friday includes George Lewis’s “Born Obbligato,” inspired by Beethoven’s Septet; a piece by the experimentalist Pauline Oliveros; and John Zorn’s “Baudelaires.” On Saturday, the program includes music by Ms. Oliveros and the premiere of Mr. Zorn’s Gauguin-inspired “Oviri.” At 8 p.m., Abrons Arts Center, 466 Grand Street, at Pitt Street, Lower East Side, 212-352-3101, (Schweitzer)