Billy Strayhorn’s Birthday!

Lament For a Straight Line, WRIU, November 24

DIALOGUES ON RACE | Gregg August | Musician | Bass
Julian Lage (appearing at Narrows Center for the Arts on Thursday, Dec 2), McGinnis+Bailey+Sperrazza, Eric Friedlander, Don Byron, Renee Rosnes, Craig Taborn, Tony Malaby’s Sabino, Makaya McCraven, Hank Roberts, Marc Ribot, Gregg August, etc, etc, etc…
Ugly Beautiful by Billy Mintz on Amazon Music - Amazon.com
Slide Hampton - Two Sides Of Slide - Blue Sounds

A Trance Which Is An Existence Beyond The Normal Existence

Cecil on ‘Say Brother’

Cecil at Ornette’s farewell

Allison Miller & Jane Ira Bloom Tues Days (Outline Records)

On paper, most improvised duets should have a natural sparseness – the fewer the instruments, the more gaunt the music. But from Haden/Jones to Blackwell/Cherry to Halvorson/Frisell, that “on paper” stuff often turns to hooey. The wisest improvisers know how to sculpt their presentations to conjure the impact of a full ensemble. This new duo exchange between soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and drummer Allison Miller pulls off such a trick. Agile, yes. But in an uncanny way, flush with gambits that bend sound towards elaboration. The 11 fully improvised performances, cut remotely in Brooklyn last spring during Covid down-time with no initial intention of being shared with an audience, glow with a unusual heft. A lot of this victory has to do with the breadth of sound that Miller’s percussion is capable of. On “Technicolor” that means a parade of kinetics. Morse code on the toms, clanging cymbals, circus press rolls, and metallic chatter – with her mate’s nimble horn lines brocading the action, the drummer turns the piece into a poetic flourish. Other tracks follow suit. The flutters that Bloom delivers in “Crayola” accumulate nicely, their feathery swoops becoming part of a rich foreground. “Upon Seeing JP” simmers and simmers, intermittently threatening to boil over. And if you do wind up yearning for a hushed passage that still has plenty of cool particulars, “Light Years Away” is right there waiting for you.

Jane Ira Bloom

Allison Miller

TONE Audio

Far Flung Folk, WRIU, November 24

Sousoume Tamachek | Mdou Moctar
UYGHUR MUSICIANS FROM XINJIANG - Music from the Oasis Towns of Central Asia  - Amazon.com Music
NRBQ, John Lee Hooker, SUSS, Caitlin Rose, Harry Dean Stanton, Amy Rigby, Michael Hurley, Madagascar musicians, Happy Johnny and Family, Molly Tuttle, Hank Thompson, Sarah Borges, Edna St Vincent Millay, Julian Lage, etc, etc, etc…
Tony Scherr – Come Around (2002, CD) - Discogs
Cups | Sally Anne Morgan

Scando Fiddle Power

Ben Allison Moments Inside (Sonic Camera)

The lithe interplay. The inspired poesy. Nods to all things sensual. When Brazil delivered bossa and samba to the pop world in the late ‘50s and early 60s, and then augmented them with the progressive insights of Tropicalia just after, 20th century musicians had a wealth of provocative ideas to absorb. Jazz improvisers took to it fast, and the joyous sounds of Brazilian pop still fascinate many. Moments Inside finds Ben Allison putting a personal spin on the music’s building blocks, helming a two-guitar ensemble that glides through seven new originals and a supple update of Herbie Nichols’ “House Party Starting.” As they breeze along, they prioritize the same kind of nimble interplay Tropicalia oddities used to craft their memorable auras. The bassist-bandleader has long been a melody man, and this new music is warm and genial, dodging dissonance and stressing accord. From his earliest titles some twenty-plus years ago, he has found ways to craft catchy themes that band members can address in a kaleidoscopic manner, simultaneously refracting several aspects of the music and presenting them as a kaleidoscopic whole. That tack is somewhat downplayed on Moments Inside, though guitarists Chico Pinheiro and Steve Cardenas spend the entire record darting and weaving around each other. Together they create a web of fluid lines dedicated to nuance – grand gestures are verboten. The rhythm section of drummer Allan Mednard and Allison find a unique bond that makes lilt sound like oomph. (Mednard is a pro at this: check the way he lifts Brandee Younger’s harp work on her recent Somewhere Different.) From “The Chase” to “A Child Sings In Stone,” this music floats as often as it soars. And there’s intimacy at work. The performances are vivacious, but it sometimes seems like the band is sharing a little secret with you – a nice balance. Pinheiro is a native Brazilian who grew up with his homeland’s pop tunes; Cardenas is a pro known for his stylistic breadth. Both have built a rep on the expressive touch they bring to their instruments. As they trade lines on “Breakfast With Eric” (a nod to Mr. Dolphy and compositional tack on Out To Lunch), you can see why Allison paired them. Together they crochet the breezy sensibilities of Brazil into a jazz mindset that makes Moments Inside a familiar yet unique treat. 

TONE Audio

Ben Allison

Ben Allison: Moments Inside

Lament For a Straight Line, WRIU, November 17

Homeward Bound
Tyshawn & King from The Buddy System on Beatport

Mark Helias, Makaya McCraven, Vienna Art Orchestra, Julian Lage, Marta Sánchez, Joel Frahm, Esperanza Spalding, Tyshawn Sorey, Alice Coltrane, Matthew Shipp, Irreversible Entanglements, and the Blake boys, Johnathan and Michael, etc, etc, etc…three hours of modern jazz.

Irreversible Entanglements: Open the Gates Album Review | Pitchfork
Codebreaker | Matthew Shipp | TAO Forms

Ride Your Snark Horse, Get On Your Snark Horse And Ride

Matt Mitchell & Kate Gentile

Snark Horse (PI Recordings)

All hail experimentation! For their Snark Horse adventure, percussionist Kate Gentile and pianist Matt Mitchell invited an improvising cohort to have their way with a series of one-bar phrases specifically written to generate a wealth of ideas. Sometimes a kernel is all you need to launch engaging extrapolations, and on this six-CD set (!) said cohort finds numerous directions in which to head. The Zip codes of their final destinations are far flung locales to say the least. Amiable dissonance, wobbly riddims, and clashing motifs make for luminous dreamscapes, anxious waiting rooms, and psychedelic confessionals.  Those familiar with the leaders’ previous work shouldn’t be shocked by the daunting variety of these soundscapes. Those familiar with the previous work of their guests – saxophonist Jon Irabagon, bassist Kim Cass, guitarist Brandon Seabrook, violist Mat Maneri, trumpeter Davy Lazar, guitarist Ava Mendoza, trombonist Ben Gerstein, and saxophonist Matt Nelson – probably know that they’re pros at painting themselves out of corners. Free improv is thrilling when the instantaneous ensemble mind-meld becomes deep enough (see the Morse Code pulse moves of “tooth helmet”), and though the Snark squad has chosen some dangerous territory on which to plant their flag, much of its effort – including the Lee Perry ambiance of “fertile pinwheels,” the off-the-menu caprice of “feral pineals,” or the Franz Waxman spookiness of “alphabotanical” – is vital in ways that only the sturdiest abstraction can be. 

TONE Audio

Matt Mitchell

Kate Gentile

Snark Horse

PI Recordings

Carmen Staaf Quartet at LunAtico TONIGHT

Tony Scherr, Sam Newsome, Anwar Marshall for the Tuesday hit.