Jessica Ackerley’s Interdisciplinary Approach

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

In 2021, Jessica Ackerley left New York to begin a doctorate in composition at the University of Hawai’i. In the preceding months, the guitarist, composer, and improviser worked hard to document their projects—groups SSWAN, MAW, and Petting Zoo, the latter a trio with reedist Yuma Uesaka and drummer Colin Hinton. “That was definitely the most concentrated amount of time that I spent improvising in a collaborative setting with other musicians,” they say over Zoom. One of the most exciting guitarists in avant-garde jazz and improvised music, Ackerley combines classic jazz chops with an openness to sonic exploration that has taken them from delicate acoustics to fuzzed-out skronk, noise-pop to ambient music.

Sound American 29: The Roscoe Mitchell Issue is Coming Soon

Source: Sound American.

This very special issue is an appreciation of Mitchell’s career as an improvisor, instrumentalist, composer, painter, and educator as told by the musicians whom he has affected and through his own words. The issue starts with a rigorously researched and beautifully written overview of the saxophonist’s career by Brooklyn-based saxophonist Sam Weinberg. As the reader continues, they will then find insights into Mitchell’s work and working methods from a group of future iconoclasts, such as Tyshawn Sorey, Darius Jones, Ken Vandermark, James Fei.

Throughout the issue, composer and improvising harpist Zeena Parkins explores Mitchell’s work as an educator through a series of interviews with former Mills College students, all of were collaborators in orchestrating and arranging Mitchell’s recent works for large ensembles.

But the real glory of this issue, one of the half-dozen “artist portraits” that SA has produced over its ten-year history, is the sheer weight of the artist in his own words. For the first time ever, an issue features four interviews with its subject: a previously published conversation on music and saxophone with Bay-Area stalwart, Phillip Greenlief; a talk about living the musician’s life with cellist Tomeka Reid and architecture scholar David Brown; a friendly talk on all things saxophone with the radical contrabass clarinetist John McCowen; and a revelatory talk about Mitchell’s visual art practice with Chicago writer and gallery owner John Corbett. This last chat leads us into a very special double gatefold color reproduction of some of Mitchell’s paintings in celebration and anticipation of his first solo show at the Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery in early 2024.

The Mesmerising Innovations of Heiner Goebbels 

Source: Morning Star.

HEINER GOEBBELS is a contemporary German theatre director and avant-garde composer. One of his most noted productions is Stifter’s Dinge (Founder’s Things) — a multimedia poetic technology performance piece, first performed in 2007, inspired by the nature writing of the 19th-century Austrian romantic writer Adalbert Stifter. An extraordianry 80-minute work produced by the Swiss theatre company Theatre Vidy-Lausanne in association with Artangel in London for a 2008 production. It featured a multitude of invented instruments and cutting edge audio production with the score released by ECM.

How Don Cherry Is Still Making Jazz New 

Source: The Guardian.

In the years following that infamous Five Spot residency, Cherry would go on to develop his own theory of “collage music”, applying the freeform methodology he honed with Coleman to incorporate new influences. An early pioneer of what we might now call “fusion” or global music, Cherry formed several genre-spanning bands absorbing non-western musical traditions from his travels to Morocco, India and South Africa. He crafted a signature sound that contained fragility within its breathy power, teetering on the edge of dissonance. It could be heard on ensuing collaborations with everyone from director Alejandro Jodorowsky to pianist Carla Bley, Ian Dury, saxophonist Sonny Rollins, and his stepdaughter, singer Neneh Cherry.

Surya Botofasina, Alice Coltrane’s Mentee, Takes Center Stage

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

It’s the winter of 2017, and I’m in a bustling Midtown restaurant interviewing the soft-spoken Surya Botofasina. Botofasina, like most New Yorkers, has spent most of his adult life in hustle mode (he even worked at this very restaurant), ranging from acting in Boardwalk Empire to making beats. But I’m here on this day to talk about his childhood, as he was raised on the grounds of the Sai Anantam Ashram in California, the ashram established by Alice Coltrane (née Swamini Turiyasangitananda). That conversation would become part of Luaka Bop’s The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, a crucial compilation that brought Coltrane’s previously unheard tapes of devotional Hindu hymns (better known as bhajans) to light after many decades. It would also lead Botofasina into a new role, serving as musical arranger and conductor for the Sai Anantam Ashram Singers. That group performed concerts around the world, presenting these centuries-old bhajans to far larger audiences than were ever convened on the ashram grounds.

‘Jazz From Hell’: How Frank Zappa Delivered A Late Classic

Source: Yahoo Entertainment.

Released in November 1986, the fully instrumental Jazz From Hell was technically the last studio album that Frank Zappa released in his lifetime, despite having finished two others – Civilization Phaze III and Dance Me This, that were both released posthumously in 1994 and 2015, respectively. Fittingly, Jazz From Hell was every bit as uncompromising and groundbreaking as the composer’s best work, giving a tantalizing glimpse of how Zappa might’ve continued to harness cutting-edge technology were it not for his untimely death.

Rediscovering the Work of Roland Kayn, Overlooked Electronic Music Pioneer 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

The Dutch composer Roland Kayn occupies a somewhat liminal space in experimental electronic composition. Having worked in a variety of legendary early electronic studios, most notably Utrecht’s Institute of Sonology, Kayn was operating in the same world as well-known composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen and Luigi Nono. Yet, his work sounds nothing like theirs, and his rejection from that same world of composers cast him into relative obscurity. His music was rarely performed, and much of it went unreleased during his lifetime. But for the last two years, an ongoing project has uncovered large swathes of Kayn’s unreleased material, and thanks to the efforts of his daughter Ilse, there may now be more available recordings of Kayn’s music than many other composers of his era. Yet still, Kayn remains shrouded in mystery.

Ivo Perelman Profiled with New Release Reviewed

Source: burning ambulance.

He’s one of the hardest-working musicians I know, and everything he puts out, he puts himself into 100%. And by constantly inserting himself into new and different contexts, he challenges himself and the listener. And he’s a fundamentally nice person, a gentle spirit who lives his entire life on an artistic quest, but without becoming a monk or some kind of sociopathic asshole forever chasing the next opportunity.

His latest release is Reed Rapture in Brooklyn, a collection of 12 duo sessions on the Mahakala Music label. Each session features a fellow saxophonist, and the lineup is fucking stunning: he’s paired off with Lotte Anker, Tim Berne, James Carter, Vinny Golia, Jon Irabagon, Dave Liebman, Joe Lovano, Joe McPhee, Roscoe Mitchell, David Murray, Colin Stetson, and Ken Vandermark. As always with Perelman, everything is fully improvised, with no discussion or preconceptions.