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A short interview with Medeski, Martin and Wood has been posted.

John Zorn, Lou Reed, and Laurie Anderson will play next year’s Montreal Jazz Fest.

Theo Bleckmann has a new album of Charles Ives songs coming out.

Phil Kline‘s latest two releases are reviewed in the Chicago Reader.

Caustic Reverie is an ambient-drone artist with 15 albums available for free download.

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Upcoming Roulette TV Shoots

From New York’s Roulette:

Christian Wolff
Sat Dec 12 – 8:00 PM

All-Star quintet: Joey Baron, Robert Black, Larry Polansky, Robyn Schulkowsky, Christian Wolff present the music of Christian Wolff both old and new – including the premiere of new long form piece written specifically for this quintet.

Christian Wolff was born in 1934 in Nice, France. He’s lived mostly in the U.S. since 1941. He studied piano with Grete Sultan and composition, briefly, with John Cage. Though mostly self-taught as a composer, the work of John Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tudor and Earle Brown have been important to him, as well as long associations with Cornelius Cardew and Frederic Rzewski. A particular feature of his music is the various freedoms it allows performers at the time of performance as well as the variable results possible for any one particular piece, for which various new notations have been invented. Underlying notions in the work are shared freedom, self-determination and democratically-spirited collaboration. The music is published by C.F. Peters, New York and much of it is recorded, on many labels. A number of pieces, starting in 1953, have been used and commissioned by Merce Cunningham and his dance company. Wolff has been active as a performer and as improvisor – with Takehisa Kosugi, Steve Lacey, Christian Marclay, Keith Rowe, William Winant, the group AMM, Kui Dong and Larry Polansky. His writings on music (up to 1998) are collected in “Cues: Writings and Conversations”, published by MusikTexte, Cologne. He has received awards and grants from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Ford Foundation, DAAD Berlin, the Asian Cultural Council, the Fromm Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts (the John Cage Award for music) and the Mellon Foundation. He is a member of the Akademie der Kuenste in Berlin and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2004 he received an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts. Academically trained as a classicist, Wolff was professor of classics and music at Dartmouth College from 1971 to 1999.

Joey Baron
Sun Dec 13 – 8:00 PM
Join us for the filming of Roulette TV’s special on Joey Baron! Avant-garde jazz drummer Joey Baron has worked with an impressive list of musicians, including everyone from Bill Frisell, Stan Getz, and Tony Bennett to John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Fred Frith, and Tim Berne. His own groups he has led include the “Down Home Group”, Barondown, and Killer Joey and was a member of “Naked City” (with John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith and Wayne Horvitz) and of Zorn’s group Masada (Dave Douglas and Greg Cohen). Joey Baron was born 1955 in Richmond ,Va. He started drumming at age 9, performing profesionally the following year. His early musical education included private drum lessons as well as the wide genre radio programing of the 1960s. After finishing high school early through a special accelerated program, Mr. Baron spent time in Boston attending the Berklee School of Music.He settled in Los Angeles,California in 1975 to realize a dream of playing with the great jazz musician Carmen McRae,consequently becoming a much sought after singer’s drummer. Since moving to New York City in 1983, Mr. Baron has continued to expand his scope and develope his musical ideas through collaborations with various artists including Red Rodney, Bill Frisell, Tim Berne, Ron Carter, and John Zorn ,with whom the collaboration continues to the present. Current projects include solo concert tours, duo concerts with Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell, his own band, “Killer Joey”,The John Abercrombie Quartet, and the Schulkowsky, Studer, Baron drum trio.

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Roulette in December

From NY’s Roulette:

Mon Dec 7 – 8:30 PM
Hans Tammen creates music that has been described as an alien world of bizarre textures and a journey through the land of unending sonic operations. Using Earle Brown’s open form composition idea as a starting point to create a large multi-movement piece, thoroughly composed and purely improvised at the same time. He gets his thrill out of exploring the world of sounds, and by superimposing or phasing of multiple rhythms. His new work ANAGENESIS draws from a single repertoire of around 100 pre-conceived musical units. The conductor uses the orchestra as an instrument, while each performer shapes the music through virtuosic improvisation and the individual stylization of musical performance. “Everything about Third Eye Orchestra… indicates mastery and control”

Shaking Ray and Shelley
Tue Dec 8 – 8:30 PM
“Ole’ Timey Avant-Garde” ensemble The Shaking Ray Levis team up with eccentric vocalist Shelley Hirsch for an explosive evening of improvisation. The Shaking Ray Levis were conceived by Dennis Palmer and Bob Stagner in 1986, and have since been the first American group be be released on Derek Bailey’s Incus Records. Using synthesizers (analog & digital), MoogerFoogers, samplers, vocals and percussion they achieve an incredibly unique blend of experimental sound with an Ole’ Timey feel.

Jim Staley w/ Ikue Mori & Kyoko Kitamura
Wed Dec 9 – 8:30 PM
Trombonist, composer, and founder of Roulette Jim Staley has been shaking up the downtown scene for over 30 years. Working primarily with improvisation, crossing genres freely between post-modern classical music and avant-garde jazz, Staley has collaborated for many years with other highly experienced improvisers, both dancers and musicians. Tonight, Staley is joined by laptop virtuoso and longtime collaborator Ikue Mori and multilingual, electronics enhanced vocalist Kyoko Kitamura.

INTERPRETATIONS: FLUX Quartet performs David First / Dom Minasi String Quartet
Thu Dec 10 – 8:00 PM
An evening of music by two guitarist/composers, both writing for chamber string ensemble – FLUX, comprised of many of New York’s premiere instrumentalists. “Guitarist and electronic composer David First’s subtle way with drones and other extended tones reveals a musician who successfully controls the barely controllable” (K. Leander Williams, Time Out NY). Tonight, the eclectic composer and punk-era innovator premiers new music for string quartet, performed by the fearlessly dynamic new music ensemble, the FLUX Quartet. Guitarist/composer Dom Minasi offers his own unique take on the concept of a string quartet, fashioning an ensemble that is equal parts chamber music and jazz. Comprised of players with whom Minasi has worked for many years, the music was not simply composed with a specific instrumentation in mind, but each unique player’s personality was embedded into the writing. Minasi’s group will perform music from their recent CD Dissonance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder, featuring Dom Minasi on nylon string guitar, with violinist Jason Hwang, cellist Tomas Ulrich, and bassist Ken Filiano.

Susie Ibarra “Drum Sketches”
Fri Dec 11 – 8:30 PM
Percussionist/Composer Susie Ibarra performs a rare evening of new solos and compositions featured on her solo cd, Drum Sketches on Innova Records. Drum Sketches are mixed with folkloric and contemporary percussive sounds and field recordings which “translate her interpretations of Filipino ambiance” in non traditional ways . “In the past decade, her willingness to step out from behind the kit and embrace non jazz forms- opera, poetry experimental sound, dance-has taken her from that initial buzz from below Houston Street to international reknown as a composer, performer and proponent of folkloric music.” New York Times.

Sat Dec 12 – 8:00 PM
All-Star quintet Joey Baron, Robert Black, Larry Polansky, Robyn Schulkowsky, and Christian Wolff present the music of Christian Wolff both old and new – including a premiere of new long form piece written specifically for this quintet. Christian Wolff studied piano with Grete Sultan and composition, briefly, with John Cage. Though mostly self-taught as a composer, the work of John Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tudor and Earle Brown have been important to him, as well as long associations with Cornelius Cardew and Frederic Rzewski. Tonight marks the filming of the next episode of Roulette TV

Sun Dec 13 – 8:00 PM
Avant-garde jazz drummer Joey Baron has worked with an impressive list of musicians, including everyone from Bill Frisell, Stan Getz, and Tony Bennett to John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Fred Frith, and Tim Berne. His own groups he has led include the “Down Home Group”, Barondown, and Killer Joey and was a member of “Naked City” (with John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith and Wayne Horvitz) and of Zorn’s group Masada (Dave Douglas and Greg Cohen). Tonight Joey Baron presents an evening of solo percussion music for this installment of Roulette TV.

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The boundless sonic creativity of Okkyung Lee

From the Chicago Reader:

Okkyung Lee, who plays Sunday night at the Pritzker Pavilion in Min Xiao-Fen’s Asian Trio, is one of the most beguiling young figures in New York’s creative-music community. The Korean cellist—she came to the U.S. in 1993, at age 18—moves effortlessly between different worlds without changing her sound in any significant way. She plays in pianist Vijay Iyer’s multimedia project Still Life With Commentator as well as Laurie Anderson’s art-pop ensemble, but on her own she’s concerned mostly with improvisation.

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Bagatellen Reviews

From Bagatellen:

Two from Low Impedance (Merzbow Veliotis/Grivas)

Nikos Veliotis & Anastasis Grivas – Vertical (loz 013)
Merzbow – Somei (loz 015)
By comparison to other indie labels dealing with open form music, Low Impedance is all about the map in its catalog, with no one release preceded or followed by anything that you’d call “similar”. I suppose the common denominator is a matter […]

“Blue” Gene Tyranny – The Somewhere Songs / The Invention Of Memory

A renowned partner in crime of Robert Ashley, Laurie Anderson, Iggy Pop, Carla Bley and then some, “Blue” Gene Tyranny is rarely highlighted as a composer. Perhaps this is due to the deceptively simple façade of a good portion of his music, which hides finesse and attention to detail behind a veil of apparent weightlessness, […]

Xabier Erkizia – Spam Detect (Hamaika)

It’s been far too long a wait for something new from Xabi Erkizia, a musician I intently followed some four to five years ago, around the time I’d been knocked sideways by his Antifrost disc, Entresol. What I’ve since found is that Erkizia is a busy, busy man, still heavily pursuing his own […]

Michael Jefry Stevens Trio – For Andrew

Though in the Sixties the flashier superimpositions and cells of pianist Cecil Taylor got a significant amount of press as the more significant future path of the instrument, there were certainly other approaches to rhythm, tonality and “swing” in free piano music at the time. The equilateral pull of piano, bass and […]

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Broken Arm Trio Reviewed

Erik Friedlander‘s latest is reviewed.

It’s a quiet pluck and a kick, a twitter reminiscent of the Grecian zither-based music from The Third Man that introduces you to improvisational cellist Erik Friedlander’s newest effort. Usually a manic, wiry bower with the likes of John Zorn and Laurie Anderson, Friedlander let go of the bow and played only pizzicato as the leader of BAT so to create this intimate brand of bop-infused balladry with the small-group groove of Herbie Nichols’ finest moments. (Friedlander’s band name actually comes from the time Oscar Pettiford busted his arm playing baseball and, in a sling, experimented with a cello and released classics like 1964’s My Little Cello.)

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December at Roulette

Upcoming shows at New York’s Roulette:

December 4th @ 8:30pm
Audrey Chen / Duane Pitre
Chinese-American musician and performance artist Audrey Chen presents a series of improvisations utilizing her voice, cello and analog electronics. The consequences will run the gamut between conflagration and the tenderness of a shared space of warmth, like eskimos retreated into their igloo for the night, burning oil and experiencing the co-mingled heat of their bodies and breath… Chen is currently based in Baltimore, where she is a member of the Red Room and High Zero Collective, an on-going series and festival devoted to experimental music.

Brooklyn-based composer, performer, and improviser Duane Pitre’s work explores chaos and discipline—and the relationship that exists between the two. Tonight Pitre presents Ensemble Drones – a rule-based, long-tone composition for 20+ performers (Strings, Winds, and Brass along with bowed electric guitar played by the composer and harmonium) arranged in a formation that will partially encompass the audience. Ensemble Drones is an exercise in discipline and freedom, in the refinement of music, and in communal focus.

December 5th @ 8:30pm
H*E*R : Yvette Perez, Danny Tunik, Peter Zummo
H*E*R blends minimalism, jazz, and pop influences in delicate, mysterious, and sophisticated tunes about memory and the outer world that blur the line between improv and song; between prismatic recollection and blighted reality. The trio is led by the Carla Bley of avant-pop music vocalist/keyboardist, Yvette Perez, whose sensuously sparse soundscapes are reminiscent of Annette Peacock and Laurie Anderson. Legendary trombonist/composer Peter Zummo contributes some of his compositions and crafts masterful melodies and improvisations. Vibraphone and percussion player Danny Tunick adds distinctive textures and floating rhythms. The group performs this evening with alto-saxophonist Darius Jones as special guest.

December 6th @ 2:00pm
Metal dust pan, aluminum sheets, bronze gear, faucet sleeve, shish kabob skewers, plastic chopsticks. By bowing, scraping, circular breathing, and sometimes hitting objects such as these, and many others, Andrew Drury will give a solo floor tom performance that revels in the hidden voices of the drum and pushes young peoples’ imaginations beyond the limit. There will be Q&A and audience participation. Drummer/composer Andrew Drury works mainly in jazz and free improvisation, with regular forays into new music, pop, and other genres and media. The former student of Ed Blackwell has performed in Europe and North America, can be heard on over 20 CDs, and has led nearly 1,000 workshops in schools (pre-K to graduate), prisons, museums, Indian reservations, homeless shelters, and in remote villages in Guatemala and Nicaragua.

December 6th @ 8:30pm
Join Roulette for this special Benefit concert with performances by an eclectic mix of some of the most important names in contemporary music and rarely seen in such intimate settings – PHILIP GLASS, JON GIBSON, SHELLEY HIRSCH, ZEENA PARKINS, with films by HENRY HILLS. All tickets $25 to help benefit Roulette and make sure Roulette can continue for another 30 years!

December 7th @ 8:30pm
Brooke Hamre Gillespie: The Holy Experiment
– Circle – Bowing – Remember – Light –
Weaving her voice through dream-like sound-scapes composed of acoustic/electric sounds from violin, bells, flutes, drums, electronics, and other instruments, Brooke Hamre Gillespie (aka The Holy Experiment) creates evolving, organic architectures of vibration, light, shadow, and movement. The listener is guided on an inner journey where the lines of audience and performer become obscured. The Holy Experiment will be performing a fluid meditational piece in honor and prayer of the sacred lands and waters of the earth, for the earth changes that are currently happening, and the people who are currently experiencing the effects of these changes; a ‘new’ musical offering.

December 8th @ 8:30pm
Rozanne Levine & Chakra Tuning (w/ Mark Whitecage, Perry Robinson and Rosi Hertlein)
The “hauntingly beautiful” music of Chakra Tuning weaves in and out of melodies, exploring rhythms, moods and inner space in a transforming, unfolding journey. Sonic conversations emerge and develop as the group explores textures, sonorities and space. Ms. Levine performs on alto clarinet, clarinet and bamboo flute, and is joined by long-time collaborator Mark Whitecage (clarinet, soprano saxophone, electronics), Perry Robinson (clarinet) and Rosi Hertlein (violin, vocals). Rozanne Levine’s compositions form the thematic material from which the musicians improvise. Electronic manipulation plays a part in the group sound, as do bird whistles, ocarinas, half horns and percussion.

December 11th @ 8:30pm
INTERPRETATIONS: Thurman Barker’s Strike Force
Douglas R. Ewart & Inventions
AACM percussionist Thurman Barker leads his percussion quintet Strike Force for a set of fascinating new works.
Also a longtime AACM member, reedsman Douglas R. Ewart brings together his ensemble of New York and Midwest musicians, Inventions, to perform new works inspired by Mr. Ewart’s recent experiences in Haiti and the memory of trumpeter Lester Bowie. Strike Force: Bryan Carrott, vibraphone; Eli Fountaine, marimba; Wilson Moorman, xylophone/timpani; Ray Mantilla, conga drums and percussion; Thurman Barker, drums. Inventions: Dee Alexander, vocalist; Kamau Brathwaite, poet; George E. Lewis, trombone and electronics; Adegoke Steven Colson, piano; Reggie Nicholson, marimba and drums; Douglas R. Ewart, reeds, voice, and percussion

December 12th @ 8:30pm
Violinist Tom Chiu Meets Digital Media: New Works With Special Guests David First, Elise Kermani, and Michael Schumacher
Noted champion of new music, experimental violinist, composer, and improvisor Tom Chiu has performed over 100 premieres worldwide and has worked closely with many distinguished composers including Virko Baley, Dean Drummond, Oliver Lake and Chen Yi, among others. Tonight Chui teams up with David First, Elise Kermani, and Michael Schumacher – three musicians whose work he greatly admires and has worked with collaboratively for as long as thirteen years. By presenting new works by three stylistically disparate sound artists, Chiu, a pioneer in extended vocabularies and techniques on the violin, stretches the sonic boundaries of the storied instrument when placed in today’s digital media context.

December 13th @ 8:30pm
Amy X Neuburg
“One-woman musical hurricane” Amy X Neuburg combines poetry, theater, technology, and exploration of multiple genres using the many colors of her four-octave vocal range to create emotionally intense, meticulously crafted ‘avant-cabaret’ songs and stories. In this concert Amy will perform favorites from her past and present repertoire as well as introduce works-in-development using her newest gadget the Blippoo Box — a hand-built analog synthesizer created for her by instrument designer Rob Hordijk. Tonight special guest singer, songwriter, pianist, and NYC Anti-Folk veteran Steve Espinola will join Amy for an experiment in live looping using 1940s archaic recording technology.

December 14th @ 8:30pm
Jim Staley & Joey Baron
Virtuosic trombonist, composer, and Roulette founder Jim Staley has worked with everyone from Fred Frith, to John Zorn, Ikue Mori, and Elliot Sharp. Percussionist Joey Baron has worked with everyone from Carmen McRae, to Bill Frisell, Laurie Anderson, and Dizzy Gillespie. Tonight these two colossal forces collide for an evening of free improvisation!

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