AMN Reviews: Arni Cheatham’s Thing – Thing [Porter Records PRCD 1507]

For decades, New York had generally been recognized as one of, if not the, most important centers for jazz in the world. But even during New York’s dominance the music flourished in creatively fertile regional centers such as Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, New Haven, and Boston. This last city was home to the early fusion group Thing.

Thing, whose members met as students at the Berklee School of Music, was nominally led by alto and soprano saxophonist Arni Cheatham. Originally from Chicago, Cheatham became an influential figure in Boston’s jazz community not only as a musician, but as one of the founders of the city’s Jazz Coalition as well as a music educator and advocate.

The group’s self-titled, self-issued album, which came out in the early 1970s and has recently been reissued by Porter Records, was its only release. The album contains two lengthy live performances, each of which would have taken up one side of an LP, recorded live in Cambridge, Massachusetts in spring of 1972. Both are superior examples of the kind of early jazz-rock fusion that eschewed elaborate arrangements and chord progressions in favor of a more direct, modal improvisation grounded in a funk-rock rhythm. The rhythm section of electric bassist David Saltman, electric pianist Vagn Leick, drummer Kiah “T” Nowlin and conga player Dorian McGee set out infectious grooves and static harmonies that afford Cheatham—on flute as well as saxophones—and trumpeter Wil Letman the freedom to play in or out. The group’s rhythms are complex but intelligible, the solos tight but loose; the performance seems to capture a moment—short-lived, as we now know–that saw just the right balance struck between the conservation of jazz conventions and the importation of the instruments and pulses of rock.

Thing is just one installment in Porter’s continuing series of reissues of archival performances deserving of a second life. Two other releases in the series—Obugumba, the 1972 album by the Ugandan guitarist/vocalist Birigwa, and drummer Joe Chambers’ 1976 New World—are also worth hearing.

Daniel Barbiero

All About Jazz Reviews

Source: All About Jazz.

Free Energy! (Self Produced)

Gabriel Ferrandini
Volúpias (Clean Feed Records)

Michele Rabbia – Gianluca Petrella – Eivind Aarset
Lost River (ECM Records)

Pharoah Sanders
Live At Antibes Jazz Festival Juan-Les-Pins (Alternative Fox)

From Wolves To Whales
Strandwal (Aerophonic Records)

Frode Gjerstad
Day Two (NoBusiness Records)

Jon Irabagon
Invisible Horizon (Irabbagast Records)
Reviewed by Mark Corroto

Spring Roll
Episodes (Clean Feed Records)

Gapplegate Music Reviews

Source: Gapplegate.

J. William Greene, Buxtehude at Lynchburg, Free Compositions and Choral Preludes

Derek Bermel, Migrations, Luciana Souza, Ted Nash, Derek Bermel, Julliard Jazz Orchestra, Albany Symphony, David Alan Miller

SWR VokalEnsemble, Japan, Works for Choir, Toshio Hosokawa, Toru Takemitsu, Michio Mamiya, Jo Kondo; Marcus Creed, Conductor

Messiaen Meditations sur le Mystere de la Sainte Trinite, Tom Winpenny

Coming to the IBeam Brooklyn

Source: IBeam Brooklyn.

8:30 PM 10:30 PM
8:30 Catherine Sikora Mingus/Brian Chase duo
9:30 Catherine Sikora and friends

8:30 PM 10:30 PM

8:30 PM 10:30 PM
8:30 pm
First Set: “Emptying the Self”
P.S: piano
William Parker: bass
P.D: drums
9:30 pm
Second Set: Andrew Drury Group

7:30 PM 9:30 PM
Samir Boehringer (drums)
Caleb Curtis (alto sax)
Kenneth Jimenez (bass)
Attias/Ammann duo
Michael Attias (alto sax)
Sebastien Ammann (piano)

Michael Vlatkovich Wind Quintet in Santa Monica

Source: Santa Monica Public Library.


Trombonist/composer Michael Vlatkovich brings a unique ensemble to the Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium of the Santa Monica Main Library, at 601 Santa Monica Blvd. on Wednesday, September 18, at 7:30PM.

Described by Jazz Review as “the finest improvising trombonist working today,” Michael Vlatkovich is an in-demand studio musician, performing and recording with artists from Peggy Lee and Brian Setzer to Vinny Golia and Anna Homler.

He will be joined by Dan Clucas and Greg Zilboorg on trumpets and Andrew Pask and Bill Plake on saxophones, to form a jazz-inflected version of a brass or wind quintet. Each of these artists will bring a distinctive personal voice to this set of Vlatkovich’s challenging original compositions.

This show is part of Soundwaves, a concert series emphasizing artists who appear on the DRAM (Database of Recorded American Music) streaming service. The Santa Monica Public Library is the first public library to offer this service to its cardholders. Listings of past and upcoming Soundwaves shows as well as sound and video recordings are at

Admission is free and all are welcome. Seating is limited and on a first-arrival basis. The Santa Monica Public Library is wheelchair accessible. For other disabled services, call Library Administration at (310) 458-8606 at least one week prior to event. For more information, visit or contact the Santa Monica Public Library at (310) 458-8600.

New From Tzadik

Source: Tzadik.

Zion 80 : The Book Beri’ah Vol 8–Hod

The brainchild of guitarist Jon Madof, Zion80 is a dynamic 10-piece ensemble that explores the Jewish tradition through the lenses of afro-beat, funk, rock and jazz. Drums and percussion drive this tight band of horns and guitars into a polyrhythmic intensity as driving grooves blend with the madness of the Downtown scene. Spiritual, grooving and endlessly exciting, this is essential Jewish music for the 21st century. With Zorn guesting on one intense track, “Hod” is a dynamic highpoint to the Beri’ah series! Masada meets afro-beat.

Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz: Bass
Yoshie Fruchter: Guitar
Frank London: Trumpet
Jessica Lurie: Baritone Sax, Alto Sax, Flute
Jon Madof: Guitar
Brian Marsella: Keyboards
Greg Wall: Tenor Sax
John Zorn: Sax
Yuval Lion: Drums
Zach Mayer: Baritone Sax
Marlon Sobol: Percussion

John Zorn : Encomia

Featuring the fabulous virtuoso pianist Stephen Gosling, “Encomia” is a collection of tributes to many of Zorn’s musical heroes.The first “Book of Preludes” consists of three impressionistic pieces in the tradition of Debussy and Ravel that pay tribute to the legendary ballet dancer Nijinsky, the author Novalis creator of the prose poem, and the Hellenistic 3rd century poet Nossis. “Encomia” is a suite of tributes to five of Zorn’smusical heroes that run the gamut of styles from minimalism to maximalism. Violinist Chris Otto joins Stephen Gosling for the final piece, a new composition for violin and piano inspired by the writings of Sigmund Freud. A remarkable program of some of the most beautiful music Zorn has ever written.

Stephen Gosling: Piano
Chris Otto: Violin