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May 2008 Archives

May 5, 2008

Bennie Makes "The Week"; Nels (barely) Makes "Spin"

While we're still recovering from our recent sojourn to New York, Bennie Maupin's Early Reflections received 4 stars in The Week, which as is its style, offered a compendium of various early reviews:


"For the past 35 years, Bennie Maupin has been a faithful foot soldier of progressive jazz, said Mark Stryker in the Detroit Free Press. His "sinewy" bass clarinet playing helped to define Miles Davis' landmark Bitches Brew and he later worked with Herbie Hancock on the keyboardist's early forays into jazz fusion. Early Reflections finds the multi-instrumentalist in his element, wonderfully expressive and free to delve into the "lush avant-gardism" that makes his palying unique. This album just isn't a chance for Maupin to sum up the different styles he's explored over the years, said Michael West in the Village Voice. It's a continutation to a lifelong devotion to musical experimentation. Playing flute, clarinet or saxophone, and supported here by a relatively unknown Polish quartet, Maupin daringly rejects musical scrictures and imagines an "acoustic post-bop jazz of rich lyricism" that's at once subtle and audacious. "Coaxing wistful phrases from his soprano" sax, Maupin transforms the "eeriness" of "The Jewel and the Lotus" from his 1974 album of the same name into "sweet reverie." He creates a sense of wonderment throughout, pairing short sketch-like compositions with sweeping drifts of euphony. Early Reflections reveals a musical depth "refined by experience and cured through wisdom," said Michael Nastos in Billboard. By putting himself at the helm, Maupin creates the "most introspective" and remarkable recording of a "long and varied" career."


In direct opposite news, Das Wilco made the "Live Reviews" section of the current Spin magazine -- but where on earth was any text mention of the LEAD GUITARIST Nels Courtney Cline? Well, at least the had a small photo of him playing the lap steel...

May 7, 2008

Ah, That New CD Smell

We got 'em! The next Crypto releases have come back from the pressing plant and we've literally just ripped the cellophane off of the Jeff Gauthier Goatette's House of Return and Todd Sickafoose's Tiny Resistors. Drop day is June 10, but here's a little preview of both. First up, House of Return:

Fancy the cover art? It's by Nels' friend Angela DeCristofaro

Continue reading "Ah, That New CD Smell" »

May 12, 2008

That New CD Smell 2: Semi-Acoustic Boogaloo

We've just torn the wrapper off Tiny Resistors, Todd Sickafoose’s new Crypto drop that will hit all Capitalist Aural-Stimuli Dispensing Centers on JUNE 10TH.

cover art by Grady McFerrin & Gareth Jiffeau

Todd is familiar to most alt-music hounds in his role as righteous babe Ani DiFranco's house bassist for eight touring months out of the year—indeed, no less than The New Yorker called him “Ani DiFranco’s secret weapon.” (Go here for a short clip of them performing "Coming Up" from Imperfectly at Ann Arbor in 2006.) Mr. Sick is a versatile chap whose two previous solo records as a leader show his interest in obliterating the musical boundaries between jazz, chamber music, punk, folk, indie rock, and experimental electronic improvisation—or, more to the point, creating new ways of joining and bridging such disparate musical styles. It reminds me of a line from the LA Weekly’s fireplug music critic Greg Burk: “There are no styles any more, only music.”

Continue reading "That New CD Smell 2: Semi-Acoustic Boogaloo" »

May 13, 2008

Of Bird & Bankruptcy

This week's issue of The New Yorker features a profile of jazz nerd Phil Schaap of Columbia University's WKCR radio and his ornithological-leaning show Bird-watchers, a program that, in writer David Remick's words "places a degree of attention on the music of the bebop saxophonist Charlie Parker that is so obsessive, so ardent and detailed, that Schaap frequently sounds like a mad Talmudic scholar who has decided that the laws of humankind reside not in the ancient Babylonian tractates but in alternate takes of 'Moose the Mooche' and 'Swedish Schnapps.'"


Remick asks Schaap to compile his top 100 Essential Jazz Albums (assumed, Of All Time), "more as a guide for the uninitiated than as a source of quarrelling for the collector" and Schaap responds with an eminently quotable commentary on the sad state of Music Lists as a whole. (Bravo.) For a little perspective of Mr. Schapp, we found this interesting Bulletin Board debate on All About Jazz entitled "Phil Schapp drives me crazy!".


AAJ also has a timely feature this week on the recent fiduciary woes of the International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE). -- although one doesn't usually read an investigative piece that beigns with the line: "The truth is, we don't really know."

May 19, 2008

"Guest Blogger": Kirk Silsbee

As part of our ongoing celebration of Crypto's 10th year in the red (ahem), we're featuring the writing of one Mr. Kirk Silsbee, who along with Greg Burk has been one of the deans of loCal jazz journalism for over 30 years. First up is "Livin' Large," a piece about the first rehearsals for Vinny Golia's Large Ensemble, which of course featured players who would go on to become part of the extended Crypto family. Enjoy!

Kirk Silsbee (right) presenting an award to Dr. Paul Martin, who treated Billy Higgins, at the Jazz Bakery in 2004
[photo by Skip Bolen]

Continue reading ""Guest Blogger": Kirk Silsbee" »

May 21, 2008

(a second helping of) Guest Blogger: Kirk Silsbee

As part of our ongoing celebration of Crypto's 10th year, we're featuring the music journalism of one of our local scribes Kirk Silsbee, a man crazy enough to attempt write about all the different nooks and crannies of L.A.'s jazz scene with any kind of acuity. Today, it's a piece that's close to OUR heart: the general state of independent jazz record labels in Los Angeles. Take it away, Sils!

Notre Chef Courageux [photo by Maura C. Lanahan]

Continue reading "(a second helping of) Guest Blogger: Kirk Silsbee" »

May 23, 2008

Kirk Silsbee (Last Time Around)

One truism of being a freelance jazz writer is the fact that some pieces you write never actually make it to print -- thanks to those pesky last minute editorial decisions (i.e., "$$$$$$"). Our guest blogger this week, Kirk Silsbee, was kind enough to provide us with an unpublished piece he wrote on Cryptogramophone's late, lamented concert series Cryptonight at Club Tropical, which ended almost a year ago when the new owners booted us out sooner than expected (cutting off a highly anticipated evening with singer Dwight Tribe.)

"Hola chicos! Vamos a poner en un espectáculo!"

Although this piece now reads bittersweet, it reminds us that, in the words of Crypto house pianist David Witham, "the time has come to start a discussion on when and where Cryptonight can rise from the ashes." Well, as it turns out, Mr. Witham will be dueting with our Fearless Leader Jeff Gauthier on June 6, 2008 at the Museum of Neon Art in downtown L.A., which just happens to be the re-launching of CryptoNight MACH 2!!!

Continue reading "Kirk Silsbee (Last Time Around)" »

May 25, 2008

House of Return

Hey Kids. Here's a taste of the new CD, "House of Return" by the Jeff Gauthier Goatette, to be released June 10th. It features Nels Cline on Guitar, Alex Cline on drums, David Witham on keyboards, and Gauthier on violin and electric violin. Check it out. To order this CD, please go to www.crypto.tv.


May 28, 2008

Wanna Write a Jazz Book?

If you're like me -- a freelance writer beginning a long and involved slog through what he hopes will be a comprehensive view of L.A. jazz from 1965 on -- you are simultaneously consumed with feelings of pre-accomplishment ("I'm finally embarking on my life's work!") and feelings of abject failure ("Who the hell's going to buy -- much less publish -- this thing?"). A friend of mine (OK, it's my main squeeze) recently sent me this somehwat hopeful, somewhat depressing memoir of jazz-book publishing by the late Leslie Gourse, author of the 1998 Thelonius Monk bio Straight, No Chaser.


Continue reading "Wanna Write a Jazz Book?" »

May 30, 2008

Review Round-Up: Bennie Maupin's Early Reflections


Continue reading "Review Round-Up: Bennie Maupin's Early Reflections" »

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