Sofia Gubaidulina Profiled

Source: The New York Times.

The composer Sofia Gubaidulina, who turns 90 on Sunday, lives in a humble brick bungalow in this small town outside Hamburg. She receives guests in the dining room; to get there, they are led through the kitchen to a small round table decked out with a spread of strong tea, something sweet, and the Russian Orthodox icon known as Our Lady of Kazan. It’s all modest and unassuming. But there are clues everywhere of an eminent career in music.

A Guide to the Eclectic Funk Music of Bernie Worrell 

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

As co-founder of the legendary psychedelic funk conglomerate, Parliament-Funkadelic (P-Funk), keyboardist Bernie Worrell was one of the most influential figures in popular music. With his innovative use of instruments like the Minimoog Model D—playing the synth for basslines and using the pitch wheel to create a portamento effect on the melodic sounds—as well as the Clavinet and Hammond B-3 organ, Worrell changed the way those instruments were played, helping to push popular music into daring new territory. Nicknamed “The Wizard of Woo,” Worrell had the ability to enchant listeners with the strange and electric sounds that he willed from his keyboards.

A prolific musician and adventurous collaborator, Worrell continued to display his creative range in the ’80s as a de facto member of Talking Heads. A classically-trained virtuoso, Worrell was comfortable in a variety of musical settings, working with the likes of Fela Kuti, Sly & Robbie, Nona Hendryx, Yasiin Bey, Gil Scott-Heron, and Yoko Ono.

The Strange World of… Derek Bailey

Source: The Quietus.

Free improvisation is to music what poetry is to writing – not only is there a lot that is prosaic or downright terrible due to the inherent risks of the form, but there’s also a lot of people who think they don’t ‘get it’. Derek Bailey is one antidote for anyone who thinks they’ll never understand improvised music. His guitar playing is that which requires a surrendering to your own ears. The best listening advice is not to overthink it. It is what it is, and that’s exactly what he intended it to be. “What I do is not precious,” he told his biographer Ben Watson, “there are times when I’ll play with more or less any fucking thing.”

Wadada Leo Smith Profiled

Source: The Boston Globe.

Composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith’s 80th year has been a busy one. Two three-CD box sets of his music, “Trumpet” and “Sacred Ceremonies,” were released by the Finnish record label TUM in May, with a four-CD box set (“The Chicago Symphonies”) and a single-disc album (“A Love Sonnet for Billie Holiday”) slated for release Nov. 19.

Darius Jones Curates a Playlist

Source: I CARE IF YOU LISTEN.

Darius Jones has created a recognizable voice as a critically acclaimed saxophonist and composer by embracing individuality and innovation in the tradition of African-American music. Jones’ new album, Raw Demoon Alchemy (A Lone Operation), will be released on Northern Spy Records in Fall 2021. Darius’ music is a confrontation against apathy and ego, hoping to inspire authenticity that compels us to be better humans.

ListN Up with Jaimie Branch

Source: ListN Up.

jaimie branch is an improviser, composer, and trumpeter based in Brooklyn, NY. Earlier this year saw the acclaimed Fly or Die Live (International Anthem), a singular epic of raw cosmic brilliance from her quartet performing the previously released Fly or Die and Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise. branch’s works convey a dissatisfaction of American politics with a cutting sense of humor, serving to balance experimentalism and accessibility with party and erudition, “jazz” and the next thing.

Mark Tester Profiled

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

After a brief tenure in Los Angeles, Tester returned to Indianapolis in March 2016, where he still resides. In his home city, he’s made a name for himself as an experimental musician, improviser, and booker for beloved venue and bar State Street Pub. These days he plays in various configurations and projects, from his duo with Caldwell, to Kraut-esque outfit The MK-II, to free-form, free jazz contingent Crazy Doberman, to releasing music under his own name. He mentions that more recent compositions are created like a painting, embodying chance and mood with an impressionistic approach. “It’s a bit of a cliche,” he says. “But I like being an antenna, a conduit for whatever sounds I hear.”

Revisiting Zappa

Source: Milner on Music. This is just one of many recent articles (another is here), and even a book chapter, in which the author is torn on Zappa – between his brilliance, his low-brow humor, and his consistently many less redeeming qualities. Zappa is being revisited and his ugly side explored. There’s no genius pass anymore.

I’ve been thinking about Frank Zappa lately. Why? A few days ago, writer and critic Steve Smith wrote a little post (and some tweets) about seeing The Zappa Band, and mentioned he used to be a fan, then went through a period where he wasn’t, but has sort of come around a little. And it got me to thinking about how I, a trans woman in her mid 30s, thinks about and tries to enjoy the music of one of classic rock’s biggest misogynists, when I’m the kind of person Zappa would have enjoyed pissing off.

Anthony Braxton Conference Coming in June 2022

Source: University of Antwerp.

For more than half a century Anthony Braxton has played a key role in contemporary and avant-garde- music as a composer, multi-instrumentalist, music theorist, teacher, mentor and visionary. Inspired by Jazz, European art music, and music of other cultures, Braxton labels his output ‘Creative Music’. This international conference will be the first one dealing with his multifaceted work, discussing different research projects concerned with Braxton’s compositional techniques as well as his music-philosophical thinking. In addition to this we will also look at his legacy, taking this vast body of work as a unique example among many to offer a different perspective on the eurocentric canon of post-war Western art music. The conference will take place from June 3rd. to 5th 2022 at De Singel International Arts Campus in Antwerp, Belgium.