Hmmm, that's the way, isn't it? We bitch about a film like Let's Get Lost not playing in L.A. and lo and behold there pops up an embarrassment of great and terminally underseen jazz films playing 'round the way, thanks to partners Filmforum and Cinefamily. Coming up this Thursday (Feb. 7th) is Shirley Clarke's documentary Ornette: Made in America (1985), followed this Sunday by Ron Mann's Imagine The Sound (1981), featuring the music of Cecil Taylor, Archie Shepp, Paul Bley and Bill Dixon. On Thursday the 21st, Stevenson Palfi's celebrated New Orleans doc Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together (1982), which features three generations of New Orleans pianists: Isidore "Tuts" Washington, Henry Roeland "Professor Longhair" Byrd and Allen Toussaint. (It's a wonderful film, and quite poignant in the wake of the filmmaker's suicide shortly after Hurricane Katrina.)
Not only THAT dear readers, but on Thursday the 28th, the Silent Movie Theatre will be hosting an EXTREMELY RARE screening one of the great underground jazz films of the 1970s: Passing Through, directed by Larry Clark, co-written by Ted Lange (yes, "Isaac" from Das Love Boat) and featuring the music of Horace Tapscott and the Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra.
CRYPTOGRAMOPHONE: WHINING 'TIL WE GET OUR WAY
On Saturday February 23, at 8pm, the Open Gate Theatre will be celebrating it's 25th anniversary with a special concert performance at its base of ops, the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts.
Open Gate is a collective that has created a unique style and approach to the joining of the arts through the joining of creative artists: instrumentalists, clowns, singers, puppet/mask makers, dancers, and actors; writers, composers, choreographers, and visual artists. In their twenty-five years, OGT has produced over 280 concerts, premiered and created three Operas, three musical dramas, two Biblical Masques, and seven evening long dance dramas. OG has presented shows in Tokyo, New York City and Berlin.
The anniversary concert will feature work by the following artists: Pip Abrigo, Bill Casale, Alex Cline, Brad Dutz, Vinny Golia, Luke Hatanaka, Tuba Heatherton, Tobar Mayo, Christina Linhardt, George McMullen, Gloria Newton, Rika Ohara, William Roper, Mitsu Salmon and Will Salmon. (There will also be a reception/party to follow!)
SHARED VISION: CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF OPEN GATE
Saturday, February 23, at 8pm
Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock
2225 Colorado Blvd. Los Angeles
(one block west of Eagle Rock Blvd., easily accessible from both the 2 and 134 freeways)
Admission $15 (students, seniors, and series performers $10; people who have performed with OGT free). Parking is free and plentiful, including the Bank of America lot. For further information, call Open Gate Theatre at (626) 795-4989.
While we're all celebrating the first time in 44 years that a jazz artist has won a Grammy for Album of the Year, our man "Gnarls" Cline has been biz-izz-izzy. But don't take our word for it...
Just completed, no release date:
"I was commissioned by author/producer David Breskin to compose and record pieces for an upcoming book on the art of legendary L.A. artist Ed Ruscha. The book, called Dirty Baby, will be a recontextualization of Ruscha's work as envisioned by Mr. Breskin, who selected and organized the pieces to accompany his poems."
"It will be divided into "Side A" and "Side B" on two CDs that will accompany the art/writing, with each "side" dealing with different aspects of Ruscha's slightly lesser-known work form the late 80s and 90s: The "Silouette Paintings" and the "Cityscapes". It is a brilliant (to my mind) recontextualization, and there were two ensembles put together for each "side". Personnel for Side A: Bill Barrett, Wayne Peet, Glenn Taylor, Jon Brion, Jeremy Drake, Danny Frankel, Devin Hoff, Scott Amendola and yours truly. For Side B: Scott, Devin, Alex Cline, Vinny Golia, Dan Clucas, Jeff Gauthier, Jessica Catron, Jeremy Drake, Brad Dutz and yours truly. Most of these musicians are, like Mr. Ruscha, talents from the City of Lost Angels. Love them! The session was produced by Mr. Breskin and engineered by the amazing Ron St. Germain. I wrote 39 pieces of music for this; 33 of them short pieces for the relatively intimate "Cityscapes" on "Side B". The session was recorded and mixed in 8 days! Stay tuned..."
It's all set, ffolkes. April 22 is D-Date for our new 2008 releases...
Myra Melford is the best-kept secret in jazz. - Alex Cline
In the March 2008 issue of Downbeat (that's "Downbeast" without the "s"), Yoshi Kato interviews pianist Myra Melford, who just released Trio M's Big Picture on Cryptogramophone last year. In the current All About Jazz, Phil DePietro profiles pianist Alan Pasqua, whose Crypto drop The Antisocial Club made many "Best of 2007" lists.
Also in the new AAJ (unreadable-tiny-font print version), Ollie Bivins profiles "The Private Charlie Haden" -- although we're hard pressed to find an online version.
Myra will be playing three shows this coming weekend for Flowers of the Season, a two-week series of dance and music improvisations at Venice's Electric Lodge -- on Sunday she'll be joined by drummer Alex Cline, who has his own massive show on Saturday night celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Open Gate Theatre (see Feb. 8 post). Check out Victoria Looseleaf's (great name) review of last week's "Flowers" shows in the L.A. Times. And speaking of the Times, Don Heckman wrote a little ditty about the reunion of the classic fusion combo Return To Forever. 'Nuff said 'bout dat.
O yes, uno mas cosa: Check out my preview of the great lost jazz film Passing Through (playing in LA next week) in today's L.A. Weekly.
CRYPTOGRAMOPHONE: HEROIN WITHOUT THE NEEDLE
By Yosji Kato
[reprint courtesy of Downbeat]
After wrapping up her day as a professor of improvisation and jazz at the University of California-Berkeley, pianist/harmonium player Myra Melford spoke in her faculty office last December before an improvised performance with multireedist Frank Gratkowski, electronics master David Wessel and violinist Nils Butlmann, Melford is always eager to collaborate as much as lead, demonsrtated by last year's Spark! (Palmetto), a partnership between herself and Marty Ehrlich.
So it's finally going to happen: Nels Cline's 12" feet will finally grace the stage of Saturday Night Live -- the same stage where Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Betty Carter, Frank Zappa, Sun Ra, Keith Jarrett and Captain Beefheart (not to mention Leo Sayer and Color Me Badd) once stood -- when Wilco stops by Studio 8H next week. The host is Juno's Ellen Page. Good lord, does this mean Nelsie could actually be in a sketch with her? Do you think he could scam us a perfumed autograph with lipstick on it?
CRYPTOGRAMOPHONE: JAZZ THAT CAN'T BE UNJAZZED, HOMESKILLET