AMN Reviews: Andrea Cheeseman – SOMEWHERE (2019; Ravello Records)

Clarinetist and electroacoustic composer Andrea Cheeseman achieves a remarkable range of sonorities and atmospheres from the clarinet and recorded sound in “Somewhere,” while achieving a common aesthetic throughout the album.  Cheeseman’s clarinet lines are often of main focus in these pieces: verdant, thoughtful melodic lines evoke Stravinsky and Bartok.  Cheeseman frequently employs recognizable sonic samples, along with disfigured percussion with industrial qualities.  Her use of panning effects and attention to register creates tangible layers of depth and dimension.  These effects sometimes border on the cinematic.  

To highlight the range of sounds and techniques Cheeseman uses, in one song human breathing, accompanying the clarinet, transforms into currents of rattling sound. A Gnawa-like groove consisting of sampled weaving loom sounds drives Penelope’s Song forward, while processed bird calls appear in another piece.  Breath has a fascinating celestial atmosphere reminiscent of Gamelan music, with a vaporized mosaic of microtonal pitches.   

While recorded sound and polystylism are important aspects of “Somewhere,” Cheeseman also creates interest using more basic musical elements.  Arioso Doubles opens with clarinet lines that metamorphose into shimmering feedback, which sometimes harmonize with the clarinet.  Cheeseman’s clarinet lines are often angular and tonally disorienting, yet they retain an organic quality.  Moments appear in Ariosa Doubles that could render the piece polystylistic: accompanied by a rich timbral sheet of processed harmony, one section of the piece sounds like a reminiscence of folk music—bare, yet honest and evocative.  Cheeseman transitions back to more complex pitch organizations after this simple melodic section.  

The folk music sonority found in Ariosa Doubles reappears throughout the album, most distinctly in the piece Favorable Odds. Pentatonic clarinet lines create impressionistic atmospheres that morph into sounds of English folk music.  Favorable Odds is certainly polystylistic:  The pentatonic opening transitions to an unquantized stammering of electronic blips and buzzes, which turns into a forward driving groove with bluesy clarinet lines.  While this sounds like an impossible conglomeration of sonorities, the piece has a striking amount of integrity. 

The juxtaposition of musical styles, including adapted world music styles, urges the listener to develop a narrative about the relationship between the eras and cultures belonging to each style.  The episodic arrangement of different styles creates potential for a rich polyvalence of narratives, which could involve topics like technological progression and nature, or globalization.  From a purely aesthetic perspective, Cheeseman’s album contrasts sonorities that are distinctive and compelling in order to create elaborate sound environments.  

Thomas McGee

San Francisco Scene: September 13-20, 2019

Source: Bay Improviser.

Friday, September 13

Fri 9/13 6:00 PM Design By Cosmic [115 Cooper St., Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz CA 95060]
Catherine Provenzano: “Pitch Correction Software and Vocal Ecology”
Musicologist Catherine Provenzano examines how pitch correction software Auto-Tune and Melodyne reify racial and gender stereotypes, including their development and use in US Top 40 and hip-hop music. Provenzano draws from interviews she conducted with software developers, audio engineers, music producers, and artists in Los Angeles, New York, Silicon Valley, and Germany. This event is part of a series of Digital Alchemy Talks at Design By Cosmic, probing the intellectual and ideological histories of art and technology.

Fri 9/13 7:30 PM Oakland Technical High School [4351 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611 Auditorium Entrance on 42nd Street]
“Watershed” is a collection of six new pieces composed by Ted Allen for the Incendiary Cycle, an ongoing creative music project for four horns, electronics and percussion. The Incendiary Cycle is an evolving set of reflections on the dynamic relationships between people, industry, and nature in California.

Fri 9/13 8:00 PM Old First Concerts [1751 Sacramento St. SF]
Fri 9/13 8:00 PM Brava Theater Center [2781 24th St, San Francisco, CA]
SFEMF announces its 20th Anniversary Festival dedicated to groundbreaking electronic music. With one evening of fixed media multi-channel sound works and three nights of live performances featuring a diverse cadre of internationally renowned and emerging composers, the festival will begin at Envelop SF, a next-generation immersive audio venue and continue at Brava Theater Center with live performances Friday through Sunday. Friday evening artists: Maggi Payne, Joel St. Julien, and MSHR.

Fri 9/13 8:00 PM Brava Theater Center [2781 24th St, San Francisco, CA]
SFEMF announces its 20th Anniversary Festival dedicated to groundbreaking electronic music. With one evening of fixed media multi-channel sound works and three nights of live performances featuring a diverse cadre of internationally renowned and emerging composers, the festival will begin at Envelop SF, a next-generation immersive audio venue and continue at Brava Theater Center with live performances Friday through Sunday. Friday evening artists: Maggi Payne, Joel St. Julien, and MSHR.

Saturday, September 14

Sat 9/14 12:00 PM Noisebridge Hackerspace [2169 Mission St SF]
G|O|D|W|A|F|F|L|E||N|O|I|S|E||P|A|N|C|A|K|E|S
KROB
Sarah Elena Palmer
Ape Parts
Earspray
Linoleum Dicks

Sat 9/14 4:30 PM San Francisco Public Library, Richmond Branch [351 9th Ave. San Francisco, CA 94118]
Thomas Dimuzio will be playing a Buchla modular synthesizer for this performance.

Sat 9/14 7:00 PM Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture [2 Marina Blvd SF]
On September 14, SF Contemporary Music Players open their 2019-2020 season with a stunning assembly of forces for the world premiere of a new, concert-length, site-responsive work by Bang On A Can founding composer Michael Gordon with special guests Roomful of Teeth, and Splinter Reeds.

Sat 9/14 7:30 PM Fifth Street Farms [1517 Fifth Street Berkeley, CA]
Theresa Wong – Solo voice and cello

Sat 9/14 8:00 PM Brava Theater Center [2781 24th St, San Francisco, CA]
SFEMF announces its 20th Anniversary Festival dedicated to groundbreaking electronic music. With one evening of fixed media multi-channel sound works and three nights of live performances featuring a diverse cadre of internationally renowned and emerging composers, the festival will begin at Envelop SF, a next-generation immersive audio venue and continue at Brava Theater Center with live performances Friday through Sunday. Saturday evening artists: John Weise, Dohee Lee, and Marc Kate

Sunday, September 15

Sun 9/15 7:30 PM Temescal Arts Center [511 48th Street Oakland]
Doors That Only Open in Silence (open participation, non-hierarchical workshop in free improvisation)

Sun 9/15 8:00 PM Brava Theater Center [2781 24th St, San Francisco, CA]
SFEMF announces its 20th Anniversary Festival dedicated to groundbreaking electronic music. With one evening of fixed media multi-channel sound works and three nights of live performances featuring a diverse cadre of internationally renowned and emerging composers, the festival will begin at Envelop SF, a next-generation immersive audio venue and continue at Brava Theater Center with live performances Friday through Sunday. Sunday evening artists: Carl Stone, Dana Jessen, and Svenska Elektriska Operaensemblen

Tuesday, September 17

Tue 9/17 7:30 PM California Jazz Conservatory – Rendon Hall / Fiddler Annex [2040 Addison Street Berkeley]
Scott R. Looney Trio
Pianist Scott R. Looney teams up with fellow sonic adventurers Lisa Mezzacapa and Kjell Nordeson, for an evening of multitimbral piano trio music featuring original compositions, interpretations, and improvisations.

Wednesday, September 18

Wed 9/18 7:30 PM San Francisco Public Library, Richmond Branch [351 9th Ave. San Francisco, CA 94118]
A free screening of the Sublime Frequencies documentary “Musical Brotherhoods From The Trans-Saharan Highway” (2008), on Moroccan street music.

Wed 9/18 8:00 PM Peacock Lounge [552 Haight Street San Francisco, CA]
Sharon Tate Fetus Explosion
Deadpanning familiar horrors of the human condition, served up as forthright lo-fi songs reminiscent of Noh Mercy, Sarah Lockhart’s charm is a sonic sort of whipped topping soothing the nose cut off to spite the face of the human race.
https://sharontatefetusexplosion.bandcamp.com
Shatter Pattern
Julia Litman-Cleper entangles us in bodily electronic alienation. Since sensory organs are one step from “knobs” interfacing us with external substance, now is the time to seize the means of production. Gaze into your shatter, rearrange your dials, previct all landlords, and empty the mind jail.
http://soundcloud.com/waxy-tomb | http://www.shapedthought.com/
Kit Clayton (Orthlorng Musork/Cycling ’74)
Open fist anarchist who can slap your frowning smile like a skipping stone across the rising oceans to a far horizon, Clayton is founder and inventor of Cycling ’74/Jitter and Tamarack infoshop in Oakland. Clayton’s music is marked by the gravitational pull of its unlimited breadth and well…. you’ll have to close your knowing mouth and jump to learn its depth.
http://www.musork.com/o_jkc.html
Glochids
He’s already got a purge for your misguided Black Flag FOMO this WED, don’t go there… listen instead to the Glochids edit of only the good parts from “Damaged.” It only takes a few minutes. Then leave the misremembered past in the dust, and come clean to the Peacock Lounge for the bite of your actual here and now.
https://glopuntia.bandcamp.com/album/black-flag-damaged-glochids-edit

Thursday, September 19

Thu 9/19 7:00 PM The Contemporary Jewish Museum [736 Mission St SF]
Experiments in Sonic Potential: Animals and Giraffes
Musicians from the Bay Area’s rich improvisational jazz scene perform live music in conversation with Annabeth Rosen’s ceramic sculptures.

Thu 9/19 8:00 PM Luggage Store Creative Music Series [1007 Market Street SF]
Expanded film + Sound with
Gino Robair’s Unpopular Electronics
Featuring the 16mm Films of Lori Varga & Tom Djll Plus very special guest!

Thu 9/19 10:00 PM KPFA [1929 Martin Luther King Jr Way, Berkeley, CA 94704]
Grex Live on “The Hear and Now”
Grex (Karl Evangelista-guitar, voice, perc/electronics, Rei Scampavia-keys, voice, perc/electronics) performs on KPFA’s “The Hear and Now,” debuting some brand new slabs of explosive art rock and electronic sound.

Friday, September 20

Fri 9/20 7:30 PM Center for New Music [55 Taylor St SF]
Colin Martin and Friends

Fri 9/20 8:00 PM Mills College Littlefield Concert Hall [5000 MacArthur Blvd Oakland]
The Del Sol String Quartet performs works by Terry Riley, Ben Johnston, Darius Milhaud, and Elena Kats-Chernin at Mills College.

Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition 2019-20 Concert Season

Source: The University of Chicago.

Saturday, October 12, 2019 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Performance Hall (915 E. 60th St.)
Third Coast Percussion
Grammy-winning ensemble Third Coast Percussion opens the contemporary season with an evening of engaging works and world premieres. The program includes works by TCP’s Peter Martin, emerging composer Ayanna Woods, Alex Lunsqui, along with world premieres by G.F. Haas and UChicago composer Rodrigo Bussad.
Guests are invited to an after-party in the Gidwitz Lobby following the performance.
$15, students free with ID / Subcription series

Thursday, October 24, 2019 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Penthouse (915 E. 60th St., 9th floor)
HEAR in NOW
A world-caliber collective of women working in a class almost entirely their own, HEAR in NOW is a string trio that composes and improvises fluidly between free jazz and contemporary classical, folk, and avant-garde music. HEAR in NOW has become a rare egalitarian ensemble for the three highly active musicians, who are as often singular bandleaders as they are side women. HEAR in NOW musicians are Mazz Swift on violin/vocals, Silvia Bolognesi on double bass, and Tomeka Reid on cello. This concert is presented in partnership with the Experimental Music Series, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, Arts, Science + Culture Initiative, and UChicago Arts fund.
Free

Friday, December 6, 2019 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Performance Hall (915 E. 60th St.)
Grossman Ensemble with Michael Lewanski
The CCCC resident ensemble takes the stage for its first concert of the season, conducted by Michael Lewanski. The ensemble that “filled the evening with wonder and, at times, awe” (Third Coast Review) premieres four works by distinguished guest composer Tania León, Grossman Ensemble co-director Anthony Cheung, and UChicago composers Will Myers and Alison Yun-Fei Jiang.
Guests are invited to an after-party in the Gidwitz Lobby following the performance.
$15, students free with ID / Subcription series

Saturday, January 11, 2020 / 8 PM / SITE/less (1250 W. Augusta Blvd.)
Sounds and Spirits
Saxophonist Allison Balcetis premieres six works by UChicago graduate composers Hunter Brown, Rodrigo Bussad, Maria Kaoutzani, Will Myers, Andrew Stock, and Justin Weiss in a unique installation space. Mixologist Gregory Tatavosian offers samples of handcrafted cocktails inspired by each of the new works.
Free

Friday, March 13, 2020 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Performance Hall
Grossman Ensemble with Jerry Hou
Chicago’s newest ensemble of contemporary music specialists are led by Jerry Hou in the premieres of works by guest composers Paula Matthusen and Stephen A. Taylor, along with a work by UChicago composer David Clay Mettens, and the 2019-20 Postdoctoral Researcher Ashkan Behzadi.
Guests are invited to an after-party in the Gidwitz Lobby following the performance.
$15, students free with ID / Subcription series

Friday, June 5, 2020 / 7:30 PM / Logan Center Performance Hall
Grossman Ensemble with Oliver Hagen
The Grossman Ensemble closes the CCCC’s second season with four new works, conducted by Oliver Hagen. Guest composers Zosha DiCastri, Jay Alan Yim, Du Yun, and David Serkin Ludwig share their world premieres with the Chicago community.
Guests are invited to an after-party in the Gidwitz Lobby following the performance.
$15, students free with ID / Subcription series

Five Essential Albums of 1980 

Source: JAZZIZ Magazine.

Jazz may not have an official yearbook, but it does have a vast and well-documented discography. ‘Year by Year’ is our attempt to bring you the most noteworthy albums of each year, complete with audio samples and fascinating backstories. We hope you join us as we travel through the music’s endlessly fascinating history, stopping every 12 months along the jazz timeline.

Desertion Trio and Ava Mendoza in NY Tomorrow

Sound It Out presents: Desertion Trio (Nick Millevoi/Johnny DeBlase/Kevin Shea) and Ava Mendoza
Saturday, September 14 at 7 pm @ Greenwich House $15

https://www.facebook.com/events/501817857253719/

Desertion Trio is the creation of guitarist/composer Nick Millevoi (John Zorn, Nels Cline, Moppa Elliott’s Unspeakable Garbage). The band fearlessly explores the history of instrumental electric guitar music and throws it in a blender, creating an explosion of jazz, psychedelic rock, surf music, and country rock instrumentals. Noisey described the band’s sound as “supremely weird desert noir,” and NPR Music said the band “hits the sweet spot between Neil Young’s exploratory Crazy Horse jams and a spaghetti western soundtrack.”

Desertion Trio features bassist Johnny DeBlase – Millevoi’s former bandmate in Many Arms (Tzadik) – and drummer Kevin Shea (Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Talibam!), but the band is frequently joined by other collaborators, such as keyboardist Ron Stabinsky (Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Meat Puppets), Jamie Saft (John Zorn), Tara Middleton (Sun Ra Arkestra), and others.

Desertion Trio formed after the release of Millevoi’s 2016’s Desertion album on the Clean Feed label’s Shhpuma imprint, which featured DeBlase as well as Saft and drummer Ches Smith. In 2018, Shhpuma released the debut record under the Desertion Trio’s name, Midtown Tilt, with also featured guest Saft on keyboards. In 2019, Long Song Records released Twilight Time, Desertion Trio’s anarchic take on the music of the 50s and 60s.

Bandcamp Daily called Midtown Tilt a “manifestation of the rapid-fire chemistry” of the band, while Downbeat Magazine selected the album as an Editor’s Pick, and Rolling Stone described Twilight Time as “warmly nostalgic and potently surreal,” calling their version of the title track, “a stakes-raising celebration of the song’s eerie emotional pull.”

AVA MENDOZA is a Brooklyn-based guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. Born in 1983, she started performing her own music, and as a sidewoman and collaborator in many different projects, as soon as she was old enough to get into 18+ venues. As a guitarist, Mendoza has received acclaim for her technique and viscerality.Her most ongoing work is as leader of experimental rock band Unnatural Ways, and as a solo performer on guitar/voice. In any context she is committed to bringing expressivity, energy and a wide sonic range to the music. Mendoza has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with musicians including Carla Bozulich, Fred Frith, Mick Barr, Nels Cline, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Mike Watt, Matana Roberts, Ikue Mori, Matt Mitchell, Adele Bertei, William Hooker, Jon Irabagon, members of Caroliner, the Violent Femmes, and more. Recordings are available on labels Tzadik, Weird Forest, Clean Feed, NotTwo, Resipiscent, and New Atlantis.

An Interview with John Gray on Free Jazz Scholarship

Source: The Wire.

In 1991, Greenwood Press published the sturdy black hardcover book titled Fire Music: A Bibliography Of The New Jazz, 1959–1990. The work of independent researcher John Gray, the book presented – after a Val Wilmer foreword – the most exhaustive picture ever assembled of the print coverage of free jazz since its inception. The bibliography’s more than 7000 entries referenced books, magazines and indexes of ephemeral literature covering musicians ranging from Albert Ayler and Ornette Coleman to Chris McGregor, Evan Parker, Frank Wright and hundreds of other players with less visible profiles.

The product of systematic research, Fire Music was not intended for mainstream distribution but for the library market. It has nevertheless acquired a particular status among students of avant garde jazz history. By bringing together such a large amount of heterogeneous material, Gray has provided future writers on the music with a reliable guide to existing documentation and studies of the music. Three decades after the original publication of Fire Music, Gray produced its companion volume: Creative Improvised Music: An International Bibliography Of The Jazz Avant-Garde, 1959–Present. Its publisher, scholarly imprint African Diaspora Press, has also been the outlet for Gray’s research on other major genres in black music, from reggae to hiphop.