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March 2008 Archives

March 4, 2008

Our Fearless Leader Looks Back

From Cryptogramophone's upcoming Assemblage 1998-2008: A Ten Year Retrospective:

Jazz improvisation is the art of taking musical risks. Think where jazz would be without feisty little labels willing to take risks on creative musicians. But how much longer can independent labels continue to take risks while producing artifacts fewer and fewer people want to buy? Now that musicians can record in their living rooms and download music to their toasters, do we really need companies that produce high quality recordings on old-fashioned CDs, in artsy-fartsy packages?

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March 7, 2008

¡Mas Myra!

We found a few other shout-outs about Myra Melford -- now touring Europe with Marty Ehrlich -- 'round the way thanks to our Blogroll buds.

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This profile is from the San Francisco Gate.

This interview is from the North Coast Journal Blogthing.

There have also been quite a few music reviews of Trio M, which features Myra, Matt Wilson and Mark Dresser: This one from The New York Times; this one from the HurdAudio blogspot; and this from the Visionsong blog.

March 10, 2008

"My imagination is beyond the civilization in which we live."

Kasper Collin's acclaimed jazz documentary My Name Is Albert Ayler opened this week in Los Angeles (in ONE rather hard-to-get-to movie theatre downtown). We caught Saturday's matinee -- yes, it was a beautiful day outside, but we like the dark.

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Donald and Albert Ayler

Collin's film fills in some of the blanks for those whose interest in the out-out-OUT there free jazz saxophonist was piqued a few years ago by the Revenant label's monumental 10-disc retrospective Holy Ghost, which was quite the appropriate title. Ayler’s greatest compositions ("Spirits," "Witches and Devils," "Ghosts") were haunted by so many ghosts: children’s rhymes, army-band marches, Mexican folk songs, church hymnals, not to mention the deepest earth of the blues and the occasional set of bagpipes. (Seems fitting that Ghost should be packaged in a replica of a carved-wood spirit box, augmented by a mysterious smattering of dried flowers.)

Continue reading ""My imagination is beyond the civilization in which we live."" »

March 11, 2008

Friday Night Prayer Meeting

By Kirk Silsbee
[courtesy of Arroyo Monthly]

It's the first Friday night of the new year and the drive from Santa Monica to Pasadena has been an ordeal. The peristaltic traffic is enough to make one question the wisdom of living in Southern California, and on Sierra Madre Boulevard, the wind blows the rain across the road in sheets. But at the building marked 322, the soft glow of internal light acts as a silent beacon in the darkness. It's a night when beacons are welcome.

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Bobby Bradford (photo by Michael Germana)

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March 21, 2008

Recipe for an Austin Hangover

Whewie. We've just started to come out of the fog of SXSW. We thought'd we'd be blogging every day from the epic music bash in Tejas -- what the bleep did we know?

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"No I don't have a laminate. I do, however, have this coin..."

As expected, music was squeezed out of every orfice of Austin. We're not exactly the type to walk around with a laptop strapped to our hips; instead we took barely legible Lester Bangsish notes in a sweaty black leather "Hilton Hotel" writing pad. (Sample entry: "there is an uneasy faceoff between pedestrians and traffic -- always sketchy in college towns even during the off season, but brought to a lather for SxSW -- as streams of one constantly threaten to halt the other.") We avoided the night parties in favor of the day parties -- and man, we hit 'em all: The Garden Party, The AP Party, the Bust Party, The Filter Party, I Heart Comix, the Fader Party, the Whig Party. We felt like crying when we missed the Lou Reed Tribute at Fader that featured Thurston Moore, Yo La Tengo and J Mascius. #@@$%&&&!!!!! We even missed the panel discussion where Thurston Moore interviewed Steve Reich -- probably the one happening that related most to what we all are doing here at Crypto. But we got nothin people, nothin'.

We did happen to catch Mr. Moore with his acoustic combo at the old French embassy, which included Steve Shelley on drums. That was quite a thrill. We wanted to say something to Thurston afterwards, you know, a good icebreaker along the lines of "Nels Cline says hi" or "You look just like Rusty from National Lampoon's European Vacation."
But no.

Thing is, constant motion in the hot Texas sun (it was 92 degrees on Friday) mixed with constant beer drinking and loooooong Port-A-Potty lines and endless stream of cigarettes and very little food equals heat stroke mixed with exhaustion yielding...you guessed it: THE FLU!!! (BTW: if you ever have the flu AND heat exhaustion, I can't recommend more hanging out in airports...really the perfect place to be ill and vulnerable, especially when all you want is for it to end as quickly as possible and you hear that voice over the intercom: "this flight has been oversold...we are offering bus rides to the Houston airport." We made the flight, but those ten minutes of fevered terror will last me a lifetime. The only saving grace was that we almost collided with Janine Garofalo near our gate.)

Anyhoo, this is just a very circuitous explanation for why we haven't blogged all week. We are ingesting chicken soup and OJ at an assembly-line rate and should be up and ranting next week like nothing happened.

CRYPTOGRAMOPHONE: WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'RE NOT ON THE GUEST LIST?

March 22, 2008

Your Brain on Jazz

An interesting -- if not exactly surprising -- report published last month by researchers at John Hopkins University's School of Medicine and the National Institute on Deafness demonstrates the almost rapture-like dream state the brains of jazz musicians enter when they are "in the zone" of improvising. Check out a good article on the study here. For a cool 5-minute interview with the interestingly named Dr. Charles Limb M.D., who headed the study with Dr. Allen R. Braun, M.D., and also a studied jazz saxophonist himself, go here. To read their actual report, go here.

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If anything, this study is a refutation of that classic National Lampoon bit between Christopher Guest (playing Mr. Rogers) and a VERY young Bill Murray (as a hungover jazz bassist) when the former asks the latter what he thinks of when he is soloing. "I think of candies -- fresh little candies," Mr. Rogers ventures. After an awkward pause, the jazz musician admits: "Well, mostly I think about my financial situtation..."

March 25, 2008

World Stage Stories Announces Spring 2008 Calendar

Chet Hanley, Clint Rosemond and Jeffrey Winston, our friends down at Leimert Park's World Stage Performance Gallery, just sent us the new Spring schedule for World Stage Stories, their next round of live oral history interviews with local jazz luminaries:

March 28: drummer Fritz Wise
April 11: author Steve Isoardi
May 2: vocalist Barbara Morrison
May 9: singer/washboardist Sweet Baby J’ai
May 30: cornetist/bandleader Bobby Bradford
June 6: pianist Harold Land, Jr.

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Fritz Wise

All WSS interviews include a formal interview with the artist, then a Q&A with the live audience, followed by a short "woodsheddin'" segment where the artist blows the roof off the mutha. WSS takes place on Fridays at 8pm at the World Stage (4344 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008). A $10 donation is suggested. For more information, call Clint Rosemond at (323) 290-6565.

March 27, 2008

Crypto Kicks off 10th Anniversary by Re-Invading Manhattan

That's right, people. Next month we're returning to the Jazz Standard in New Nork, New Nork for a week of West Coast wackiness -- April 23-27, 2008 -- to coincide with the April 22nd release of Early Reflections, Bennie Maupin's follow-up to 2006's monster-of-a-comeback Penumbra, as well as a 10th Anniversary compilation including 2 CDs and a DVD entited Assemblage: 1998-2008 featuring recorded nuggets from the Cryptogramophone catalog as well as unreleased live video footage of Sir Nels Cline's New Monastery band, Mr. Maupin and other label artists.

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Pic from last year's triumphant Crypto week at the Jazz Standard: from left, Bobby Bradford, Ben Goldberg, Nels Cline & Devin Hoff
(photo by Richard Termine, courtesy of The New York Times)

Here's the schedule thus far:

Continue reading "Crypto Kicks off 10th Anniversary by Re-Invading Manhattan" »

Tag cloud

Adam Rudolph Alex Cline's Band of the Moment Alex Cline; Nels Cline: Alex & Nels Cline; Downbeat; Continuation; Coward Alma Lisa Fernandez Angel City Jazz Festival 2009 Angel City Jazz Festival 2009 Live Review (Day 1) Angel City Jazz Festival 2009 Live Review (Day 2) Angel City Jazz Festival 2009 Photos Antonio Sanchez avant-garde Ben Goldberg Bennie Maupin Bennie Maupin & Dolphyana Bill Stewart Billy Childs Jazz-Chamber Ensemble Billy Corgan Billy Hart Bob Sheppard California Jazz Foundation Cameron Graves Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band Carol Robbins Charles Mingus; Son of Watts Musical Caravan Project; Azar Lawrence; Nate Morgan; Henry Franklin; Alphonse Mouzon; Prayer for My Ancestors Charles Owens Chops: The Movie Chris Barton Cryptogramophone Records Cryptonight Darek Oles Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy David Anderson Pianos David Witham Denman Maroney Devin Hoff Double M Jazz Salon Downbeat 57th Annual Critics Poll Dwight Trible Eagle Rock Center for the Arts Eclipse Quartet Edward Vesala Electric Lodge Eric Dolphy Eric Von Essen First Friday Series at the Museum of Neon Art G.E. Stinson Global Village Monday with Maggie LePique Go: Organic Orchestra Gravitas Quartet Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival; Peter Erskine Greg Kot Gregg Bendian Hale Smith Hannah Rothschild Hans Fjellstad Harry Partch; L.A. Weekly; John Schneider; REDCAT Horace Tapscott; Horace Tapscott Tribute Concert; Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra; the Ark; Jazz Bakery; Ruth Price; Jesse Sharps; Austin Peralta; Isaac Smith Huffington Post Hugh Hopper Ikeda Kings Orchestra improvisation Initiate Ivan Cotton James Newton Jason Robinson Jay Bennett Jay Hoggard jazz Jazz at the Plgrimage Jazz Bakery Jazz Explosion III Jazz Journey with Eddie B. Jeff Gauthier Jeff Tweedy Jesse Sharps Jim Black Joe Zawinul John "Drumbo" French John Fumo Kamasi Washington Ken Coomer Ken Kawamura KJAZZ 88.1-FM KPFK 90.7-FM KXLU 88.9-FM Larry Goldings Larry Karush Larry Koonse Learning How To Die Leimert Park: The Roots and Branches of L.A. Jazz Les Paul Lester Bowie Lily Burk Memorial Live at the Atelier Los Angeles New Music Ensemble Los Angeles Times Luis Bonilla Maggie Parkins Marcus Rojas Mark Dresser Mark Zaleski Mel Morris Michael Davis Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Mimi Melnick Motoko Honda Museum of Neon Art Museum of Neon Art; MONA; Many Axes; Susan Rawcliffe; Scott Wilkinson; Brad Dutz music blog Myra Melford Nasheet Waits Natsuki Tamura Nels Cline Nels Cline Singers Nels Cline Singers with Jeff Parker Nestor Torres Nick Rosen OC Creative Music Collective Oguri Open Gate Theatre Sunday Concert Series Pannonica Rothschild Peggy Lee Peter Bernstein plays monk Rashied Ali ResBox at the Steve Allen Theater RISE with Mark Maxwell Roberto Miranda Rod Poole Ron MIles Royal/T Cafe Sara Parkins Sara Schoenbeck Sarah Thornblade SASSAS Satoko Fujii Scott Amendola Scott Colley Sky Saxon Tribute Sonship Theus Spirit Moves Spirits in the Sky Steuart Liebig Terry Riley The Gathering The Jazz Baroness The JazzCat with Leroy Downs Thelonious Monk Thomas Stones Tom McNalley Trilogy Van Morrison; Astral Weeks; Scott Foundas; Jan Steward; Music Cirle; SASSAS Vincent Chancey Wayne Horvitz Wayne Peet Wilco Wilco; Nels Cline Wilco; Wilco (The Album); Nels Cline Will Salmon