Tony Conrad Profiled, Performances, Film

English: Tony Conrad at the DeStijl/Freedom Fr...

Source: The New York Times.

In February 1963, a 22-year-old experimental violinist named Tony Conrad stood outside Philharmonic (now David Geffen) Hall in New York wearing a signboard that read “Demolish Lincoln Center!” With the composer Henry Flynt and the filmmaker Jack Smith, Mr. Conrad formed a three-man picket line that spent a day marching at the center, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They were protesting, Mr. Conrad later recalled, “the imperialist influences of European high culture” and gesturing toward “the dismantling and dispersion of any and all organized cultural forms.”

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Drummer Paal Nilssen-Love Profiled

English: Jazz-drummer Paal Nilssen-Love in con...

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

There’s never been a point for Paal Nilssen-Love where jazz drumming wasn’t an integral part of his life. His father, a British drummer who married a Norwegian woman, moved to the small town of Stavanger, where they opened a jazz club. This allowed the young Paal (pronounced Paul) to meet a host of legendary players, one of whom was Art Blakey. “He came to my parents’ house after a gig in Stavanger when I was eight years old or so,” Nilssen-Love recalls. So it should be no surprise that when it came time to choose an instrument in school, he opted for drums and has never looked back.

Evan Parker Interviewed and Profiled

British saxophonist Evan Parker

Source: Irish Times.

If you’ve never heard Evan Parker play a saxophone, there is little by way of comparison that can prepare you for his visceral, otherworldly sound. The way Parker tells it, it was science fiction that first drew him into the orbit of free improvisation, the challenging, rarified musical form of which the 73-year-old Englishman is one of the world’s leading exponents. As a young saxophonist in London during the swinging sixties, he was approached by a friend to record a soundtrack for a student film at the Royal College of Art.

Vocal Ensemble Roomful of Teeth Profiled, Upcoming Nashville Performance

Source: Nashville Public Radio.

To get a sense of some of the most unique vocal practices from around the globe – Tuvan and Inuit throat singing, yodeling, Korean P’ansori, heavy metal vocal styles, and Sardinian cantu a tenore, just to name a few—you’d need a hefty amount of airline miles and an extended vacation to travel the world in search of such diverse traditions. Or, you could listen to a performance by Roomful of Teeth.

Remembering Sonny Sharrock

Sonny Sharrock

Source: Reverb.

When Sonny Sharrock’s grandmother told him he should go to church, he told her she should go listen to John Coltrane. That’s Sonny Sharrock in a nutshell. Nothing was sacred. There was no right way to do things besides his own. Sonny was a blues player who didn’t care that the blues was a formula. Sonny was a jazz player that plugged his Les Paul into a Marshall full stack and pumped the gain.

Denardo Coleman on Ornette Coleman

English: Ornette Coleman at Enjoy Jazz Festiva...

Source: Ornette Coleman.

My father was deep, meaning his way of thinking and intuition could not be tracked. But he always seemed to bring new insight, new logic to whatever he was contemplating. The sound of his horn reflected this depth, the depth of the emotion of the raw soul. His concepts so advanced, so intellectual, yet his expression so human, so direct. He created and spoke his own language. For some his music was too complicated, too abstract, nothing to grab on to, just too out there. For others it was utterly profound because it spoke directly to the brain and to the soul simultaneously. As he would say, “It’s about life. You can’t kill life.” He was obsessed with expressing life through sound. He went into its properties as scientists had explored genomes, discovering DNA. He called his science Harmolodic. Open thinking, equality, freedom, the pursuit of ideas, helping others all included. He would say, “It’s about being as human as possible.”

Sun Ra’s Definitive Singles Catalog 

English: Sun Ra at New England Conservatory, F...

Source: Bandcamp Daily, the story behind this release. The article ran a while back but deserves more eyeballs.

Sun Ra departed Earth on May 30, 1993, just days after the 79th anniversary of his arrival. (One doesn’t talk about Ra in terms of “birth” and “death,” but more on that later.) He left behind a massive, convoluted musical legacy—including at least 120 full-length albums, one of the world’s largest known discographies—and perhaps an even bigger mystery. Who was this jazz composer/arranger/bandleader/pianist, who insisted that he was a native of the planet Saturn and espoused a philosophy that blended science fiction, Biblical texts and ancient Egyptian history and mythology (wearing costumes that also expressed that combination)? And what were we to make of his music, which ranged from big-band swing to bebop to avant-garde and fusion?

Twenty-three years later, we have some answers. It’s only in that time, for example, that Sun Ra has been revealed to be the former Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount, born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1914. A small army of researchers has made some sense of his discography as well, assigning session dates and personnel to previously un-annotated tracks. Many of the Sun Ra Arkestra’s albums were ex post facto compilations of disparate sessions and lineups. Still, there are a number of holes and gray areas, and perhaps always will be. But with Strut Records’ release of Singles: The Definitive 45s Collection—an assemblage of one of Ra’s most overlooked bodies of work—the picture becomes a bit more complete.