AMN Reviews: Weston / Saxon Groove Assembly – Acceleration (2016; Orenda Records)

Drummer G. Calvin Weston is well-known for his contributions to recordings from Ornette Coleman, James Blood Ulmer, and the Lounge Lizards.  Here, he teams up with Jonathan Saxon (who plays just about every percussion instrument that is not a drum), as well as veterans Wayne Peet (piano and Hammond organ) and Steuart Liebig (bass and electronics) for a wild ride through eight compelling tracks.

While this album doesn’t quite go in an avant or free direction, it is a unique recording of funky rhythms and driving melodies. Reminiscent at times of Bill Laswell‘s works – for the use of ambiance and space – the focus is certainly on the stylings of Weston and Saxon.  For instance, the fifth track, Road Trip to Downey, is a percussion duo which allows both of these gentlemen to stretch out over a series of rhythmic patterns.  Both slick and catchy, the piece avoids the stereotypical trappings that would have Weston and Saxon show off. Instead, they perform a percussion composition that is hard to pigeonhole into any particular category.

But the contributions of Peet and Liebig should not be downplayed. On the second track, Stutter Step, Liebig lays down an active and complex bass line, while on the next track, Third Floor, he solos like a madman. Peet takes the lead on the title track with a keyboard solo that harkens back to both the 70’s as well as the 80’s New York styles, but without going so far as to sound retro.

The overall result is an album that embraces familiar approaches, but doesn’t quite sound like anything else I’ve heard. Not exactly jazz, not exact rock, not exactly anything, Acceleration is a superb offering for anyone who is looking for thoughtful, varied music, that is a whole lot of fun.

New World Records Recent Releases

Source: New World Recordss.

Robert Carl: The Geography of Loss

Imagine, if you will, a busy, furiously humming beehive, and, within it, a calm, meditative bee. The image comes from only one work on this disc, and yet it seems curiously apropos to so much of Robert Carl’s (b. 1954) music. There is a still center in his music, even at its modernist rowdiest. In his music dissonance and rhythmic complexity do not connote anxiety, fear, violence, but rather the overflow of the exuberant noise that springs up from the ground of life. His music embraces extremes of simplicity and complexity, which in his vision interpenetrate each other.

Chris Brown: Six Primes

Chris Brown, piano
Chris Brown (b. 1953) composes music for traditional instruments, acoustic instruments with interactive electronics, improvisers, and computer networks. With Six Primes (2014), for retuned piano in 13-limit just intonation – drawing on the Rhythmicana ideas of Henry Cowell, the pure keyboard focus of Conlon Nancarrow, the affection for just intonation of Lou Harrison, and the unadulterated clarity of math…

Harmonic Constellations
Works for Violin & Electronics

Mari Kimura, violin
Mari Kimura’s career is a measure of how violin virtuosity has changed over the last few centuries, and particularly in the last fifty years. By the middle of the 20th century, violinists and composers began to feel that the violin’s traditional technical arsenal required updating, lest the instrument continue to sound like the 16th-century technology it is, trapped in a quickly changing, increasingly high-tech mod…

Momenta Festival II in New York

Source: Momenta Quartet.

Sept. 28 – Oct. 2 @ Tenri, NYC

Momenta Quartet, the “outstanding” (George Grella) and “enterprising” (Russell Platt) string quartet based in New York City, happily announces Momenta Festival II, following the success of its inaugural Momenta Festival in 2015. Taking place September 28 – October 2 at the Tenri Cultural Institute of New York, Momenta Festival II is split into four programs, each curated by a different member of the ensemble: violinist Emilie-Anne Gendron, founding violist Stephanie Griffin, cellist Michael Haas, and Momenta’s newest addition, violinist Alex Shiozaki.

Joining Momenta in performance will be pianists Vicky Chow (October 2) and Nana Shi (September 29), and video artist John Gurrin (October 1). A special appearance will be made by “magnificent” (LA Times) soprano Tony Arnold (pictured left) and Indonesian experimental vocalist Nyak Ina Raseuki, better known as Ubiet, for a performance of Tony Prabowo‘s string quartet opera Pastoral on opening night.


Wednesday, September 28 (8pm): Written in Fire
Curator: Stephanie Griffin, viola // Guest Artists: Tony Arnold, soprano; “Ubiet” Nyak Ina Raseuki, vocals

Matthew Greenbaum: Castelnau (2002) *
Wang Lu: New Work (2016) WORLD PREMIERE *
Leoš Janáček: String Quartet No. 2, “Intimate Letters” (1928)
Tony Prabowo: Pastoral, a string quartet opera (2005) *

Thursday, September 29 (8pm): An Interval of Infinity
Curator: Alex Shiozaki, violin // Guest Artist: Nana Shi, piano

Joji Yuasa: Solitude — in Memoriam T.T. (1997)
Somei Satoh: Birds in warped time II (1980)
Toru Takemitsu: A Way a Lone (1980)
Akira Nishimura: Sonata II, “Trance Medium” (2005)
Ludwig van Beethoven: String Quartet No. 15 in F Major, op. 135 (1826)

Saturday, October 1 (8pm): At the Forest’s Edge
Curator: Emilie-Anne Gendron, violin // Guest Artist: John Gurrin, video art
Eugène Ysaÿe: Sonata in G Major, Op. 27/5 (1923)
John Cage: String Quartet in Four Parts (1950)
György Kurtág: Selections from Signs, Games, and Messages (1986—)
Perpetuum mobile (1987/1991)
Hommage à John Cage—­­Faltering Words (1987/1991)
…für den, der heimlich lauschet… (“For those who listen secretly,” 2001)
…féerie d’automne… (“Autumn fairy­world,” 2004)
Népdalféle (“Folk Tune,” 1987/1994)
The Carenza Jig (1989/1997)
Edvard Grieg: String Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 27

Sunday, October 2 (8pm): Dark Matter
Curator: Michael Haas, cello // Guest Artist: Vicky Chow, piano

Christopher Stark: Winter Music (2016) NY PREMIERE *
Henri Dutilleux: Ainsi la Nuit (1976)
Alberto Ginastera: Pampeana No. 2, Op. 21 (1952)
Henri Dutilleux: Trois Strophes sur le nom Sacher (1976)
Alberto Ginastera: Quintet for piano and strings, Op. 29 (1963)

Newsbits: Thumbscrew / HAGL / Martin Kay / Amendola vs. Blades / Pauline Oliveros / Ben Bennett / Hedvig Mollestad

English: Scott Amendola live at Saalfelden 200...

Jazz Right Now reviews albums by Thumbscrew and Heroes are Gang Leaders.

Avantwhatever has a new release out from Martin Kay

Scott Amendola and Wil Blades have launched a Kickstarter to record their first album, Greatest Hits.

Four Meditations / Sound Geometries by Pauline Oliveros is reviewed.

Percussionist Ben Bennett is profiled and interviewed.

Black Stabat Mater by the Hedvig Mollestad Trio is reviewed.

Chicago Scene: July 31 – August 6, 2016

Iannis Xenakis

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

Sunday, July 31st 2016

8:30PM at Constellation, 3111 N Western ($20-$10)
Third Coast Percussion with special guests EARDRUM — music by Nicklaus A Huber, Dieter Mack, Johannes Fischer, Wolfgang Rihm, Iannis Xenakis

Monday, August 1st 2016

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

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Tudo De Bom : Jeff Beer, Juli Wood, Kathy Kelly, Dan DeLorenzo, Peter Mannheim
Jimmy Bennington Colour And Sound, with Fred Jackson Jr, Artie Black, Dustin Laurenzi, Sam Mosching, Mike Harmon

Tuesday, August 2nd 2016

5:30PM at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago, 312.280.2660 (wheelchair-accessible)
Tuesdays on the Terrace
Ari Brown

9:00PM at Café Mustache, 2313 N Milwaukee, 773.877.3327 (wheelchair-accessible)
Jason Stein, Aaron Zarzutzki
Inclusions : Carlos Chavarria, Adam Tramposh, Jeff Wheeler, Scott Dunkerley

Wednesday, August 3rd 2016

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
Jim Baker, Joshua Abrams, Tatsuya Nakatani

Saturday, August 6th 2016

6:30PM in Fred Anderson Park, 1611 S Wabash
A Tribute to Malachi Thompson
directed by Steve Berry

9:00PM at Elastic, 3429 W Diversey, #208, 773.772.3616 ($10)
King of Dahomey : Ayana Contreras, David Boykin

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

Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter July 29, 2016

English: Ornette Coleman at Enjoy Jazz Festiva...

Source: Downtown Music Gallery.

Two from Jacob Sacks with Andrew Bishop/Dan Weiss/Jacob Garchik! Three from The Rocco John Iacovone Quartets! Five from Sunnyside: Guillermo Klein/Black Arts Collective/Chris Cheek/Denny Zeitlin! Henry Kaiser/Nels Cline Review & Free DL Gem!

Plus Archival CDs from: Bob Brookmeyer! Jimmy Giuffre! Jim Hall! Jeanne Lee & Ran Blake! Wes Montgomery ‘Full House’! Sonny Rollins & Don Cherry! Archie Shepp/Bill Dixon Quartet! Four Freshmen! Kevin Ayers! Pete Brown & Piblokto! Caravan CD+DVD! Ornette Coleman LP! Half Dozen from Vinny Golia! Two from Fred Anderson and Two from Khan Jamal and A Few More Rarities!


The DMG FREE Weekly In-Store Concert Series Continues With:

Sunday, July 31st: 6pm: ALAN BJORKLAND / KIM CASS / SAM OSPOVAT – Trumpet/Bass/Drums

Sunday, August 7th – Rare Triple Bill: 6pm: NICOLAS LETMAN-BURTINOVIC & KYOKO KITAMORA! 7pm: SPLIT CYCLE: Samuel Blais – sax, Nicolas Letman-Burtinovic – bass, Akira Ishiguro -guitar & Chris Carrroll – drums! 8pm: X. Y. / SEAN ALI / J. D. – Voice & Electronics / Contrabass / Laptop!

Rare Monday, August 8th: 6pm: SUSAN ALCORN & TOTO ALVAREZ!



DMG is located at 13 Monroe St. (between Catherine & Market Sts) in a basement below a former Buddhist temple & beauty salon. Take the F train to East Broadway or the 6 train to Canal or the B or D to Grand, or the M-15 bus to Madison & Catherine. Come on Down, the Music Always Free & the Vibes are Quite Cosy!

John Cage’s Historical Niche, a Legacy in Letters 

English: Farah Diba greets John Cage and Merce...

Source: The New York Times.

While the radical composer John Cage (1912-92) was alive, it seemed easier to dismiss him as an irritating crackpot than it does now. In death, Cage has only grown. His paintings, his philosophy, his anarchism are better known; it’s far easier to find recordings of his music; he’s much watched on YouTube. We can now see — witness his recurrent appearances in Alex Ross’s superb history “The Rest Is Noise” (2007) — that no study of 20th-century music is complete without Cage. He’s most famous for his all-silent three-part 1952 composition “4’33” (a reference to its duration in minutes and seconds): An end to conventional music, it became a beginning for Cage, opening up the possibilities of sound and noise.

Avantwhatever Show in Melbourne

Source: Melbourne’s Avantwhatever.

Alex Garsden
Amanda Terry & Tim Green
Matthew Revert

The Alderman
134 Lygon St
Wednesday August 10
Entry $10 | 7pm for a 7:30pm start

Alexander Garsden (b. 1987) is a composer, guitarist and electro-acoustic musician, working across multiple exploratory musical disciplines. He is based in Melbourne, Australia. Recent works include commissions from the Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, Speak Percussion, Michael Kieran Harvey, Jessica Aszodi, Eugene Ughetti, and Golden Fur, alongside performances with Slave Pianos (Melbourne/Yogyakarta), Erkki Veltheim, and Rohan Drape. He performs as a soloist of both notated and improvised musics, and in a range of other contexts including True Strength (with Ida Duelund-Hansen), Francis Plagne, Ned Collette and Wirewalker, Yuko Kono, and Forth Impact (with Sam Dunscombe). Alexander is co-director of the INLAND Concert Series, and has taught through the RMIT and the University of Melbourne.

Amanda Terry & Tim Green are a violin and percussion duo from Brisbane.

Matthew Revert is an author based in Melbourne, Australia. His work tends toward the indescribably unusual and patently absurd and defies easy genre classification. His first book, ‘A Million Versions of Right’ was released in July 2009 by Australian-based press, LegumeMan Books. It has been very well received by those kind enough to read it, which to be honest, isn’t that many people. Outside of writing, Matthew also works as a graphic designer. He tries admirably to record music, however he’s not very good at it. His only area of vague aptitude is in writing.