RIP Gail Zappa

Source: Rolling Stone. Gail was significant in releasing many of Frank’s posthumous albums.

Gail Zappa, wife of Frank Zappa and executrix of the Zappa Family Trust, has died. She was 70. A cause of death has not been revealed, though TMZ reported she had had a long battle with lung cancer. Zappa, “departed this earth peacefully at her home … surrounded by her children,” according to a statement from the Zappa Family Trust.

A Guide to Iannis Xenakis’s Music

Source: The Guardian. This is an older article but I don’t think we featured it previously, and it serves as a good intro to Xenakis.

It sounds like something out of a film script. A Greek man in his early 20s fights for his homeland as part of the Communist resistance at the end of the second world war. Shrapnel from a blast from a British tank causes a horrendous facial injury that means the permanent loss of sight in one eye. He is sentenced to death after his exile to Paris (a sentence that was later commuted to a prison term, with his conviction finally quashed with the end of the junta in 1974). By the time he returns, he has become one of the leading creative figures of the century: an architect who trained, worked, and often transcended the inspiration of his mentor and boss, Le Corbusier; an intellectual whose physical and mathematical understanding of the way individual particles interact with each other and create a larger mass – atoms, birds, people, and musical notes – would produce one of the most fertile and prophetic aesthetic explorations in musical history; and above all a composer, whose craggily, joyously elemental music turned collections of pitches and rhythms and instruments into a force of nature, releasing a power that previous composers had only suggested metaphorically but which he would realise with arguably greater clarity, ferocity, intensity than any musician, before or since. This is the music of Iannis Xenakis.

Terry Riley Works at National Sawdust Reviewed

American composer Terry Riley Interview at Lin...

Source: The New York Times.

“We hope you will make National Sawdust your home,” the composer Paola Prestini told an eager audience on Monday at that inviting new performance space in a bustling section of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As the creative and executive director of this adaptable black-box venue, its walls and ceiling scattered with white mottled sound panels, Ms. Prestini was introducing her new institution, and also the last in a series of programs celebrating the pioneering American composer Terry Riley, who turned 80 in June.

The Free Jazz Collective Reviews

Source: The Free Jazz Collective.

Otona No Kagaku: Kalimi (Silent Water, 2014) ****
Cortex – Live! (Clean Feed, 2015) ****
Walabix Invite Bart Maris (Becoq, 2015) ***½
Ken Aldcroft & Scott Thomson – Red & Blue (Trio Records, 2015) ***½
Stephen Haynes – Pomegranate (New Atlantis, 2015) ****½
Tom Prehn Quartet – Axiom (Corbett vs. Dempsey, 2015) ***
Garrison Fewell, Roy Campbell & Luther Gray – Invisible Resonance Trio (Creative Nation Music, 2015) ****
Raphael Rogiński – Plays John Coltrane and Langston Hughes. African Mystic Music (Bôłt, 2015) ****½
Darius Jones Quartet (featuring Emilie Lesbros) – Le Bébé de Brigitte (Lost In Translation) (AUM FIDELITY, 2015) ***½
Otomo Yoshihide – Guitar Solo 2015 LEFT (Doubtmusic, 2015) ****

Lisa Mezzacappa’s Glorious Ravage Reviewed

Source: SFCV.

The spirit of adventure powers Lisa Mezzacappa’s musical expedition, Glorious Ravage, which enjoyed its Northern California premiere at the Brava Theater, in San Francisco’s Mission District, Oct. 1-2. Mezzacappa, in collaboration with four local filmmakers and a virtuosic ensemble of Californian musicians — and an entrancing vocalist from New York — sourced and magically reimagined the legacy of a handful of women explorers from a century-and-more ago, leading the appreciative audience into its own thoroughly modern series of discoveries.

Ostrava Days Reviewed

Source: The Brooklyn Rail.

Ostrava Days is the finest festival of modernism in classical music there is, it has no peers or rivals. In its eighth iteration, the sheer mass of the music was stunning—forty hours across those nine days—and the range and depth are like a dream come true: Stockhausen, Cage, Lucier, Wolff, Phill Niblock, Bernhard Lang, Kotík, Berg, Ligeti, Bernd Alois Zimmermann; European composers like Petr Bakla whose music never makes it to America; plus dozens of fine, fascinating works from young composers whom you will hear from more in the coming years.

Interview with Matana Roberts

Source: The Quietus.

Saxophonist, composer, improviser, visual artist: Matana Roberts is one of the most exciting artists working today, and nowhere better demonstrating this is her COIN COIN project, a 12-chapter work exploring African-American history. Montreal-based Constellation Records have so far released three chapters of the project, named after Marie Thérèse “Coincoin” Metoyer, the freed slave and businesswoman who helped establish the Creole community in Cane River, Louisiana, with each radically different in sound.