Creative Black Music at the Walker

Source: Walker Art Center.

Jazz and the broader worlds of creative black music have been important parts of the Walker Art Center’s Performing Arts program since its inception. In the early 1960s the volunteer-run Center Arts Council began presenting genre-defining, totemic black jazz figures, often introducing their music to the Upper Midwest for the first time. While the Walker’s programming has over decades involved many leading figures in jazz and experimental music across racial, generational, cultural, and transnational lines, this volume of the Living Collections Catalogue—Creative Black Music at the Walker: Selections from the Archives—focuses on a select group of influential black artists who came to the fore in the ’60s and ’70s and appeared at the Walker multiple times, each having an indelible impact on US musical culture.

The Story of Can: Krautrock, Communism and Chaos

Source: Louder.

The undisputed kings of krautrock, Can formed in Cologne in 1968. They were avant-garde – and then some – and their influences came from an immense variety of sources: from The Velvet Underground to Karlheinz Stockhausen; from The Beatles to Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention; from free jazz to contemporary classical music; from Jimi Hendrix to The Goombay Dance Band. Only kidding about that last one. But in truth, nothing should surprise us about these übercool German improvisationalists.

Simon H. Fell Posthumously Profiled

Source: The Wire.

It was almost exactly 20 years ago that composer and double bass player Simon Fell agreed to speak with me about his life in music. Our conversation led to an article published in The Wire 198, August 2000. We met in Cambridge, where at the close of the 1970s Fell had studied English Literature. At his suggestion, we sat and talked in the sunshine beside a stretch of urban pasture. Birds were singing and insects buzzed. Cattle sidled by occasionally, looking inquisitive. Even in that relaxed setting Fell was brimful of energy and enthusiasm for all aspects of music making. At the same time he remained intensely focussed and perceptive. That combination of passion and clear-sighted practicality was striking and memorable.

Ennio Morricone in The Wire Over the Years

Source: The Wire.

Ennio Morricone, the legendary Italian film composer cited as the “father of the modern arrangement”, has died, aged 91. Morricone worked on more than 400 scores for film and television, as well as a number of compositions for concert halls. He featured numerous times in the pages of The Wire, and here we’ve selected a few articles that give some insight into his avant garde genius.

In The Wire 110, April 1993, Ben Watson feasted on the anti-pasti art music of Ennio Morricone’s Gestazhe/Totem Secundo.

In The Wire 159, May 1997, Russell Lack’s Primer gets to grips with the iconoclastic film music of Morricone.

In The Wire 259, September 2005, a new compilation of Ennio Morricone’s less familiar soundtracks – culled from his most prolific and twisted period in the early 1970s – is murderously brilliant, said Ken Hollings.

Braxton75: Navigation Through Form Online Event

Source: New School.

In celebration of Anthony Braxton’s 75th birthday year, International Contemporary Ensemble and Braxton’s Tri-Centric Foundation are collaborating to present the very first online Braxton75 event accessible to the public. In this talk, Tri-Centric president James Fei, who has been working closely with Braxton for over two decades, will offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Braxton compositions. Specifically, using scores and audiovisual material, Fei will examine the intersection of improvisation and notation, the changing role of the performer, and the fluid notions of “composition” in Braxton’s works.

Tangerine Dream – 50 Years of Electronic Meditations

Source: Echoes.

50 years ago Tangerine Dream began recording their electronic music in what was then West Berlin. Founded by Edgar Froese, Tangerine Dream has epitomized the electronic age of music, recording over 150 albums of synthesized compositions. Their film soundtracks include “Sorcerer” “Thief,” “Risky Business,” and “Legend.” Tangerine Dream founder and last original member, Edgar Froese left the planet in 2015, but the group continues on with music he composed. On Echoes, we draw upon over a dozen interviews with the Dream members past and present including Froese, Peter Baumann, Christoph Franke, Klaus Schulze, Thorsten Quaeschning and Ulrich Schnauss and many others to celebrate 50 years since the release of their debut album, Electronic Meditation.

Inside John Zorn’s Jazz-Metal Multiverse

Source: Rolling Stone.

One day in the late Nineties, Dave Lombardo, the metal drumming powerhouse best known for bringing a tornado-like fury to Slayer’s early thrash masterpieces, was driving from San Francisco to his home in Los Angeles. On the way, he threw on a recording of an unusual gig he’d just taken part in: a performance of a so-called game piece by John Zorn, in which the category-defying composer assembled a group of improvisers and staged a spontaneous sonic happening according to a series of rules, cards, and gestures.

For most of his musical life to that point, Lombardo had performed in highly controlled settings, but he’d always felt he had a gift for more off-the-cuff playing. With Zorn, he finally got the chance to explore it. And listening back to the show, he had an epiphany.

Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter

Source: Downtown Music Gallery.

I bought my first two albums by Anthony Braxton in 1974 (’New York, Fall 1974’) and 1975 (‘Five Pieces 1975’), both of which were on the Arista/Freedom label. Those records changed my life, my understanding of modern jazz at that point. I had only started buying jazz records in 1972 when I was a freshman at Glassboro State College in South Jersey. I hadn’t heard much about Mr. Braxton before that, aside from some journalists panning/misunderstanding Braxton’s early solo sax 2 LP set, ‘For Alto’ (from 1968). But those first two Arista records were a breath of fresh air and Braxton was working with Kenny Wheeler, George Lewis, Dave Holland & Barry Altschul, all of whom would become heroes of my friends & myself. Mr. Braxton went on to make another dozen albums for Arista, all different and all worth checking out. They were released as a box set on Mosaic but are long out of print. I went back to discover his Braxton’s earlier records with other members of the AACM and discovered even more riches, more treasures to savor. I have been a Braxton fan-addict ever since and have heard him in concert many times and have collected a large quantity of records from his vast 50 year career. Along with Sun Ra (one of Braxton’s main inspirations) or perhaps Duke Ellington, Mr. Braxton might have more releases than any other 20th/21st century composer. I was honored to actually meet and hang out with Mr. Braxton a couple of times nearly a decade ago, first when he wanted to sell off the old Braxton House label back catalogue and then when he did an in-store at DMG (when we were on the Bowery), signing copies of his Iridium box set and graciously meeting & shaking hands with his many of his fans for three hours that day. Later on the day we went across the street and had dinner at a thai restaurant that used to be the Tin Place avant/jazz club that existed during the loft jazz days. While we ate, Braxton was interviewed by Ted Pankin for Downbeat and he asked some tough questions. His answers were long and fascinating, I can still hear him describing the essence of Ghost Trance Music, a decade-long style of music that he had invented and which had continually evolved. After teaching at Wesleyan University for a long period, Mr. Braxton finally retired from academia and now works hard on his music and the Tricentric Foundation, which documents his music and encourages other musicians and composers with grants and other sources of inspiration.

Happy 75th Birthday Anthony Braxton

Today is Anthony Braxton’s 75th birthday. This year was supposed to feature performances of Braxton material at venues worldwide, but the vast majority of that has been canceled. Today, we also finished our run of Braxton75 celebratory posts. Many thanks to Chris de Chiara for curating that material. The entires series can be found at AMN Celebrates Braxton75.

In the mean time, the Tricentric Foundation has sent out some news:

Today, we celebrate Anthony Braxton’s 75th birthday with the release of Duo (Improv) 2017, his newest boxset in musical conversation with Eugene Chadbourne, eight CDs plus a digital bonus track available only on Bandcamp. Thank you to the many people who pre-ordered! More than a third of our stock has already found new homes which should ship in about two weeks, if not earlier. For those who can, we kindly ask you to consider purchasing tomorrow, June 5th, which is a no-fee day on Bandcamp.

Also in celebration of Anthony’s birthday, we are adding to our collection of accessible items Anthony Braxton’s Catalog of Works, currently nearly 90 pages of material continually being updated. Please feel free to browse and enjoy!

The Tri-Axium Writings too is moving forward. The TAW team is well into the proofing process. We will continue to keep you posted.

Please consider supporting Tri-Centric so that we can continue to preserve and disseminate Anthony Braxton’s work. No amount is too small!

Coming up, Thumbscrew – with Tomas Fujiwara, Mary Halvorson and Michael Formanek – will release The Anthony Braxton Project on July 24th from Cuneiform Records.

Last month, the ensemble Tropos released an album featuring many Anthony Braxton compositions.

Please be on the lookout for more news coming soon including a rare Anthony Braxton solo performance video.