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.”

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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.

 Jon Hassell Profiled

Jon Hassell performing at Stockholm JazzFest09

Source: World Music Central.org.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, Jon Hassell grew up with ears alert to divergent aspects of the jazz tradition, one early influence including Maynard Ferguson’s “stratospheric” trumpeting with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. While studying at the Eastman School of Music, Hassell became increasingly interested in serial music and more experimental expressions of the new music avant-garde, in the mid-1960s traveling to Cologne to study with pioneering composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

Charlemagne Palestine Interview

Charlemagne Palestine

Source: Red Bull Music Academy Daily.

Born Chaim Moshe Tzadik Palestine (or Charles Martin) to Eastern European Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York, Charlemagne Palestine is a musician, filmmaker and visual artist whose contemporaries include Tony Conrad, Laurie Anderson and Steve Reich, but who playfully defies the conventions and contexts most associated with modernist composition. After singing in synagogues as a young man, he became a carillonneur in the Saint Thomas Episcopal Church across the street from the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. It’s a sonic and visual pairing that feels apt, considering the interdisciplinary breadth of Palestine’s work and the fact that he’s known to prefer the term “trance music” to “minimal”; in his own words, “a kind of fundamental transportation to leave the ordinary.”

February Perfect Sound Forever is Out

English: Ennio Morricone at the Cannes film fe...

Source: Perfect Sound Forever. A few highlights:

ALIEN INSTRUMENTS
When weird equipment ran free

GRUPPO DI IMPROVVISAZIONE
Italian improv & Morricone

MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN?
What music fuels the Trump movement?

METAL FOR THE NEW MILLENNIUM
What are headbangers’ path forward?

VINYL ANACHRONIST
A Turntable Is Not a Toy

WEIRDO RECORDS
Bahamas guitar, space jazz, Satan rock

Saxophone Quartet Battle Trance Works Toward Transcendence 

Source: Portland Mercury.

Travis Laplante’s relationship with music goes beyond the simple joys of performing and listening. The New York-based saxophonist and qigong healer sees sound as something elemental that can have a huge impact on listeners.

“The transcendent quality of music, that’s what I’m interested in,” he says, speaking from his home in Brooklyn. “It’s so mysterious that it’s hard to describe with words. But there’s something about being in the moment with everyone as a human and letting the movement come alive and take a hold of our hearts. It’s a transmission that I’ve felt and I know any music lover has felt. Something is happening there that is greater than the sum of all the parts.”

It was this kind of transmission that Laplante was hoping to create when he literally dreamt up his current group, Battle Trance.

Boulez’s South American Experience

Pierre Boulez in 2004

Source: The Guardian.

The composer and conductor Pierre Boulez died in January last year, aged 90. He was the first of many great musicians to die in 2016 but his name was rarely mentioned in the end-of-year roundups, simply because he didn’t have the public prominence of David Bowie, Leonard Cohen or Prince. Nonetheless, Boulez changed the concept of music – the very idea of what it is – far more than those who are more publicly mourned. He completely transformed the rules of composition, and his work challenged preconceptions in postwar Europe just as it does today.