AMN Reviews: Kalbata & Mixmonster – Congo Beat the Drum (Freestyle Recordings)

R-5710332-1400575221-9356.jpeg.jpgAs we know, roots reggae is imbued with the spiritual message of Rastafarianism, the Jamaican repatriative faith that adopted some of its theology from Ethiopian Christianity and a plethora of metaphors from Judaism, although the Torah (as well as the New Testament) is seen by believers as partly corrupted. In Rastafarian parlance, Zion is a Utopian vision of freedom and justice located in the land once and forever ruled by Haile Selassie. Still, common cultural reference points engendered an unsurprising affinity between Jewish and Jamaican musicians – a kind of Judeo-Rasta subgenre flourishes in the work of King Django, David Solid Gould and Matisyahu, among others.

Meanwhile, back in that other Zion, Tel Avivian producers Kalbata (Ariel Tagar) and Mixmonster (Uri Wertheim) spent a year sculpting instrumental tracks inspired by King Tubby and early dancehall. Traveling to Kingston, they invited an all-star cast of venerable singers and toasters, all of who came to prominence in the seventies and eighties, to flesh out their bare bones. Congo Beat the Drum is the intriguing result of this new-meets-old, red-green-gold Star of David session.

Following the sweet lover stylings of Puddy Roots and Little John, the leonine nyabinghi of the title track, chanted by digital dancehall star Major Mackerel, is absolutely ferocious. Now that we have your attention, dub poet Mutabaruka calls out the political and clerical elite on “Same Thing Every Day” before ceding the mic to Trinity and Jah Thomas, who are having “Trouble in the Dance”, despite the exemplary, minimalist backing propelling their call-and-response. On “Aim”, Tullo T shakes the pixie dust amiably and ambiently scattered by Kalbata and Mixmonster with a huge smile spreading wider and wider on his face. Finally, Echo Minott and the late Prince Jazzbo get down to brass tacks, the former plaintively pleading the case of the poor man on “Out a Road” and the latter pointing accusing fingers on the trickily titled “Voice Make a Joyful Noise”.

The thirty-seven minute album breezes by far too quickly, crying out for full-scale, extended dub versioning. The closing, lounge-y “CRB Version” of “Prisoner in Love” is a great start.

Stephen Fruitman

JazzPOP Coming to the Hammer Museum

Source: LA’s Hammer Museum.

Hammer Presents: JazzPOP
Thursdays, August 4, 11 and 18
8 p.m. in the Courtyard – FREE

The Hammer’s “reliably excellent” (Los Angeles Times) annual summer festival of creative jazz and improvised music celebrates its 11th year with three FREE concerts featuring some of the most adventurous, inspired, masterful music happening on the West Coast. Curated by Lisa Mezzacappa.

August 4: Cathlene Pineda Quartet
In her extended work, Passing: A California Suite, pianist and composer Cathlene Pineda pays tribute to the complexities and wonders of the city of Los Angeles with music that is “airy, elegant and haunting” (Bakersfield Californian). Pineda and her close-knit quartet navigate the music’s emotionally rich and rhythmically dynamic landscape in a series of compositions inspired by the works of Los Angeles’ first poet laureate, Eloise Klein-Healy.

Cathlene Pineda: piano
Kris Tiner: trumpet
David Tranchina: bass
Tina Raymond: drums

August 11: Michael Vlatkovich Septet
“Vlatkovich…balances dramatic tension, a sly wit, and the wild card of unpredictability in his writing…” —Jazz critic Stuart Kremsky

Amazingly fleet for a group packed with so much thunderous low-end, trombonist Michael Vlatkovich’s Septet features many of Southern California’s most versatile improvisers, handling familiar musical genres with an irreverent and innovative playfulness. The band shapeshifts effortlessly through hard-swinging romps, brass band fantasies, and collective improvisation epiphanies.

Michael Vlatkovich: trombone
Andrew Pask: woodwinds
Bill Plake: tenor sax
Dan Clucas: trumpet
William Roper: tuba
Dominic Genova: bass
John Hernandez: drums

August 18: Sheldon Brown Ensemble
From the vast musical mind of Bay Area saxophonist and composer Sheldon Brown comes an expansive project connecting the rapturous voices of poets to the power of jazz improvisation. Brown’s superlative ensemble performs his thrilling, layered, asymmetrical compositions, built from the rhythms and speech melodies of Beat and Surrealist poets reading from their work.

Sheldon Brown: alto saxophone, clarinets
Lorin Benedict: voice
Darren Johnston: trumpet
John Finkbeiner: electric guitar
Jonathan Alford: piano
Michael Wilcox: electric bass
Alan Hall: drums

Roulette Fall Preview

English: Joe McPhee, moers festival 2010

Source: Roulette.

Fall highlights at Roulette include the premiere of new work from Glenn Branca; analog synth pioneer Suzanne Ciani’s first New York performance since 1975; a three-part performance series curated by Meredith Monk; and the first edition of the Optics 0:0 multimedia festival organized by video artist Victoria Keddie.

Our DANCEROULETTE season returns with a two night festival in September featuring Patti Bradshaw and Elke Rindfleisch, followed by three nights of Kyli Kleven’s Triangle Theory performances in December. Other highlights include world premieres from Ikue Mori, John King, and GABI, as well performances from avant-garde luminaries David Behrman and Zeena Parkins.


Tues, 9/6:Resonant Bodies Festival: Julia Bullock, Alice Teyssier (with The Atelier), Sofia Jernber
Wed, 9/7: Resonant Bodies Festival: Abigail Fischer, Peter Tantsits, Dashon Burton
Thurs, 9/8: Resonant Bodies Festival: Frauke Aulbert, Sophia Burgos, Charlotte Mundy (with TAK Ensemble)
Tues, 9/13: Damon Smith, Alvin Fielder, Joe McPhee Trio
Wed, 9/14: ACFNY & Dame Electric Present: Suzanne Ciani, E. Indigo & Antenes
Thurs 9/15: Elliott Sharp’s Vivarium
Fri, 9/16: Ikue Mori: Pomegranate Seed // World Premiere of Obelisk
Sun, 9/18: Ned Rothenberg
Sun, 9/25: Matt Lavelle and the 12 Houses Orchestra
Tues, 9/27: [DANCEROULETTE] Elke Rindfleisch: Horsepower
Wed, 9/28: [DANCEROULETTE] Patti Bradshaw: 3 Short Portraits
Thurs, 9/29: Kamikaze Ground Crew
Sun, 10/2: Kris Davis & Craig Taborn
Tues, 10/4: The Vinny Golia Quartet with Tim Berne, Ken Filiano, and Michael TA Thompson
Sat, 10/8: Glenn Branca: The Third Ascension and The World Premiere of The Light (for David)
Thurs, 10/13: Curated by Meredith Monk: David Behrman
Fri, 10/14: Music of Huang Ruo
Sun, 10/16: Passin’ Thru Festival: Josh Evans Quintet + The Oliver Lake Big Band
Mon, 10/17: Passin’ Thru Festival: Trio 3, 10^32K
Tues, 10/18: The Westerlies: Album Release Show
Wed, 10/26: John King: Amorphous IV
Thurs, 10/27: Vicky Chow: Piano
Wed, 11/2: Optics 0:0
Thurs, 11/3: Optics 0:0
Fri, 11/4: Optics 0:0
Wed, 11/9: Zeena Parkins
Tues, 11/15: Ron Stabinsky: Free For One Album Release Celebration
Sat, 11/26: Curated by Meredith Monk: Theo Bleckmann
Mon, 11/28: [DANCEROULETTE] Kyli Kleven: Triangle Theory
Tues, 11/29: [DANCEROULETTE] Kyli Kleven: Triangle Theory
Wed, 11/30: [DANCEROULETTE] Kyli Kleven: Triangle Theory
Thurs, 12/1: Curated by Meredith Monk: Missy Mazzoli // GABI
Sun, 12/4: Steve Swell’s Kende Dreams
Mon, 12/5: Face the Music
Thurs, 12/15: Ingrid Laubrock Septet: Serpentines Album Release
Wed, 12/21: Phill Niblock: 6 Hours of Music and Film

Newsbits: The Out Louds / Weasel Walter / Matthew Shipp / Why Does Music Sound Good? / Dissonance Appreciated by Non-Westerners

avant-garde pianist Matthew Shipp

Jazz Right Now has been busy, first with a review of the debut of The Out Louds, then with a review of two Weasel Walter releases, and finally with a review of Matthew Shipp live at The Stone.

Wired writes about how neuroscientists don’t know why music sounds good.

Ars Technica writes about how people from non-Western cultures are more open to dissonant music.