Jaimie Branch Interviewed About New Album

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

“The concept is music,” says avant-garde jazz trumpeter Jaimie Branch of Fly or Die II: Bird Dogs of Paradise. “It’s not a concept album, like a Rush album or something.”

Yet conceptual trappings hang all over Branch’s second album with her Fly or Die quartet: cellist Lester St. Louis, bassist Jason Ajemian, and drummer Chad Taylor. The ragged, hypnotic opener “Birds of Paradise” is answered with the back-end title track. The main event (“Prayer for Amerikka”) is a two-part, 11-and-a-half-minute blues and political epic, which segues into another track (“Twenty-Three n Me, Jupiter Redux”) by way of an improvised passage from St. Louis.

“I try to write all my music like a suite,” acknowledges Branch in her distinct Chicago twang (she’s now based in Brooklyn). Even so, her newfound ambition on Fly or Die II is unquestionable.

George Crumb Profiled Ahead of University of Pennsylvania Performances

Source: WHYY.

George Crumb — one of America’s premiere avant-garde composers, whose 70 years’ worth of work has been described as “some of the most poetic and atmospheric music written in this century,” earning him Grammys and the Pulitzer Prize — is a modest guy.

He once built a large studio on the side of the house where he could compose in more comfort. But it wasn’t comfortable.

“It was too big,” he said. “There were big windows that looked out on the backyard. There were always squirrels and birds doing their tricks out there. I couldn’t concentrate.”

Crumb prefers to work in a tight space with a low ceiling and no windows. What he hears inside his head when he’s working in West Virginia.

Tomeka Reid Profiled Ahead of New Album Release

Source: Bandcamp Daily.

It’s a few days before Tomeka Reid is set to release her second album as a bandleader, and the cellist/composer is busy. Not so much with album prep and tour, but with all of the other things she does when she’s not leading a band. Reid is currently teaching composition at Mills College, and is the Darius Milhaud Distinguished Visiting Professor this semester. “It’s super awesome; it’s just so last-minute,” Reid says of the honor, on a call. “I had a full tour scheduled this fall, so fitting it all in has been very interesting, to say the least.” In a day, she’ll be performing in Los Angeles, then flying out to Rome, where she will tour Europe as a member of the legendary Art Ensemble of Chicago. Then, she’ll briefly return home to Queens before flying back to California to teach again.

Somewhere in between the travels, Tomeka Reid Quartet’s thrilling and highly anticipated second album, Old New will be released. For that album, Reid reconvened the group that was first heard on the crackling 2015 debut: drummer Tomas Fujiwara, double bass player Jason Roebke, and guitarist Mary Halvorson. Its songs strike out in bold, lyrical directions, the three string instruments darting amongst one another like bees in a garden. “We’re always all busy, but we find moments somehow to make it happen,” she says. “It keeps it fresh and I’m always excited for it.”

Delving Into Consciousness: Hamid Drake’s Favourite Music

Source: The Quietus.

Born in Monroe, Louisiana, in 1955, Hamid Drake is widely acknowledged to be one of the finest percussionists working in jazz and improvised music today. Drake’s style is a blend of elements from wildly diverse cultural and genre backgrounds. He has played with many of the leading names in jazz, including Don Cherry, Herbie Hancock, Pharoah Sanders, Fred Anderson, Archie Shepp, David Murray and Peter Brötzmann. He has appeared in numerous line-ups and on countless recordings with the great double bassist, composer and poet, William Parker. Along with the likes of Steve Noble and the Dutch free-jazz colossus Han Bennink, Drake is a drummer that I’ve heard more than one fellow Cafe Oto attendee refer to as a personal favourite. I took the opportunity to talk to him during the excellent recent Parker/Drake Oto two-day residency, and we discussed some of the recordings and personalities that have influenced him on his own musical and spiritual path. It becomes clear from the onset that the erudite and personable Drake is going to have difficulty sticking to a mere 13. “There are a lot of things I could choose,” Drake begins. “Bernard Pretty, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Creedence Clearwater, the Band. I could talk about all of those. All of those things have had an influence on me, so 13 is like!? I mean, we could talk about 50 recordings.”

The following 13 albums (with additional honourable mentions) do not appear in order of importance. Click the image of Hamid Drake below to begin reading the selections.

Kris Davis Profiled

Source: The New York Times.

Since moving to New York in the early 2000s, the pianist Kris Davis has released close to an album a year under her own name, rarely with the same group twice, while also becoming one of the most trusted side musicians in avant-garde jazz. Her signature style, based in miniature gestures, has a peculiar appeal: Rarely does such serrated, asymmetrical music — often diced up into odd time signatures, or improvised freely — feel this fun to listen to.

King Crimson’s ‘Schizoid Man’: How Song Inspired Yes, Kanye, and More 

Source: Rolling Stone.

In this second installment of our two-part deep-dive into the history and influence of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man,” we look at how various lineups of the band have made the song their own, and how it’s inspired artists from the worlds of prog, metal, punk, hip-hop, and beyond during the past half-century.