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July 2009 Archives

July 1, 2009

This Friday at MONA


Dorothea Grossman & Michael Vlatkovich: "Call and Response"

Dorothea Grossman - poetry
Michael Vlatkovich - trombone

Tom McNalley Group

Tom McNalley - guitar
Michael Vlatkovich - trombone
Steuart Liebig - contrabassguitars
Joe Barardi - drums


Friday Night July 3rd - 8PM
Museum of Neon Art
136 W. 4th St., LA 90013
Tel. (213) 489-9918
Tickets are $10 at the Door
Parking available on the street and in two adjacent parking lots 1/2 block away

Dorothea Grossman - The late Allen Ginsberg called Dorothea (Dottie) Grossman's poetry, "clear, odd, personal, funny or wild-weird, curious and lucid." The award-winning poet lives, works and writes in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in numerous poetry journals and magazines. In 1988, Tango Press published her book, "Cuttings: Selected Poetry 1978-1988." "Poems From Cave 17" was published in 1996, and "Museum of Rain" was published by Take Out Publications in 2001. Her latest chapbook, The First Time I Ate Sushi, was published by Zerx Press in January, 2008. The CD, "Call And Response," on the pfMentum label, features her in live performance mode with Vlatkovich. Her poems were featured in a live performance at Wichita State University in 2006, in a piece commissioned by the school for theater arts majors, singers and musicians under the direction of flutist Ellen Burr. In August, 2006, she was invited to exhibit poems at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions Galleries as part of a FLUXUS salute called "Broom Events: Sweepings."

Michael Vlatkovich - trombonist, composer and arranger, is based in Los Angeles, CA, and also tours extensively in the United States, Canada, and Europe. In addition to leading his own ensembles, Vlatkovich has performed and recorded with a variety of singers and instrumentalists, including ROVA Saxophone Quartet, Bryan Adams, Bobby Bradford, Gerry Hemingway, and Rob Blakeslee. The "call and response" format in which the two will perform was born about seven years ago in Albuquerque, NM, on a jazz radio program. This format solves the problem of one medium overshadowing the other, plus, says Grossman, " it avoids the old 'jazz and poetry' trap, with its cliché-ridden stereotype of angry, beret-wearing, bongo-playing bohemians." The CD, "Call And Response," on the pfMentum label, represents Grossman and Vlatkovich in live performance mode.

Tom McNalley - the guitarist presents his new group featuring longstanding cohort Michael Vlatkovich on trombone performing all new music. The past year saw McNalley playing with Ornette Coleman and studying music in Haiti, and it all comes out somehow. Guitarist Tom McNalley has been recognized as a major force on the creative music scene, working as both a sideman and a leader. He has performed (and can be seen) with a wide variety of musicians, including Rob Blakeslee, Michael Vlatkovich, Rich Halley, Nels Cline, Bert Turetzky, Mark Dresser, Jeff Kaiser, Alex Cline, Bert Wilson, Adam Diller, Tad Weed, John Stowell, John Gross, Jason Mears and John Zorn, as well as with his own groups.

July 3, 2009

Happpie Indie Pendants Daye!

Before we disappear into this holiday weekend, some unfinished business:


Multiple review of new collaborative CDs from Nels Cline and friends: Acoustic Guitar Trio's Vignes and Red Feast from Cline with Stephen Gauci, Ken Filiano and Mike Pride. Also, a multiple review of several of Myra Melford's recent efforts: Under The Water with Satoko Fujii, Continuation with the Alex Cline Ensemble and Andrew Drury's My Fingers Will Be Your Tears.


Both Nels and Alex made the Avant Music News list of "the albums released so far in 2009 that have garnered the most listens":

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society – Infernal Machines
Henry Cow – Vol. 1: Beginnings
Nels Cline – Coward
Univers Zero – Relaps: Archives 1984-1986
Quartet Offensive – Carnivore
John Zorn – Filmworks XXII: The Last Supper
John Hébert – Byzantine Monkey
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey – Winterwood
Land Of Kush – Against the Day
Maurizo Bianchi – A M.B. Lehn Tale
Michaël Attias – Credo
James Blackshaw – The Glass Bead Game
Mary Halvorson and Jessica Pavone – Thin Air
Gerald Cleaver, William Parker, Craig Taborn – Farmers by Nature
Kayo Dot – Blue Lambency Downward
Alex Cline – Continuation


Of interest to all L.A. free jazz geeks, Nessa Records' 2-CD reissue of the Spontaneous Music Ensemble, a meeting of minds between L.A. free jazz pioneer Bobby Bradford and a group of British musicians led by the drummer John Stevens. Recorded over a long holiday weekend on July 9, 1971, SME represents a breakthough period of sorts for Bradford's composing and bandleading. "I was still nibbling away at writing some chordal stuff, bop-like stuff, some free pieces, but I didn’t have a handle on the free style yet at first," Bradford told an oral historian in 2000. "I don’t think it hit me until 1971, when I really started to go crazy writing...when I went to in England for the first time. I don’t know what hit me…I was writing stuff on the plane going there….I stayed for awhile and did some recordings with some British musicians…Everything we did was out of new music I’d just written and all of it was free-form. The Spontaneous Music Ensemble was John Stevens' band, but when we played together we played my music.” Bradford also recorded two consecutive live sets from Chat Qui Pêche in Paris with the same band that was reissued in 2003 under the title Love's Dream.

Sunday, June 12, 2009, 2:30-6:30pm. Crypto extended family member Bennie Maupin will be conducting his 24-piece Ikeda Kings Orchestra for "Jazz Explosion III," a fundraiser sfor the California Jazz Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports California jazz musicians in need. The emcees will be K-JAZZ DJ (and host of the Angel City Jazz Festival LeRoy Downs and our pal "Dr." Jeffrey Winston. Joining them will be Ernie Andrews, Llew Matthews, Richard Simon, Roy McCurdy, Bill Cunliffe, Janis Mann, Gerry Gibbs and many more to be announced. At All Saints Episcopal Church, 132 N. Euclid Ave., Pasadena, CA.


July 19, 2009, 8pm. The next week in Eagle Rock, Open Gate Theatre will present a screening of Buster Keaton's classic The General with live-music accompaniment by percussionists Brad Dutz, Joe Berardi and David Shafer, woodwind player Jasper Dutz, oboist Camille Liu and voila player Alec Santamaria. Staycation admission price: $5! A plethora of free parking! At Eagle Rock Center for the Arts, 2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, CA (one block east of Eagle Rock Blvd.).


Saturday, July 25, 2009, 7pm. The Society for the Activation of Social Space through Art and Sound (SASSAS) will kick off the 10th anniversary of its sound. concert series with a first time pairing of like-minded West Coast sound explorers: Seattle-based sound manipulators Climax Golden Twins (CGT) and Los Angeles-based experimentalist Steve Roden. For further information visit www.soundnet.org or phone (323) 960-5723.


Nice looooong interview with Tim Berne from The Bad Plus' website. Berne has been a frequent collaborator with The Cline Boys, and will be playing at The Stone at the end of this month with Nels and drummer Jim Black in a trio dubbed "The BBC."

July 30-August 1, 8pm. The next night across the continent, Alex Cline will join visual artist Carol Kim, trumpeter Dan Clucas and Butoh master Oguri for "a hallucinatory mix of live-feed video and layered projections form an immersive installation that refracts the live performances." On the same bill will be the mysterious "all-girl feminist cock rock" ensemble Jennifer The Leopard, who will "stage a multimedia event featuring songs about celebrity sightings and knife fights while it pits an on-stage 'audience' against the real one in a show that is part bitchin' rock concert and part post-studio pep rally." Both are part of the aptly named New Original Works Festival at REDCAT.


Allright, that's it. We're outta here!

July 11, 2009

Apparently, We Matter

Cryptogramophone is one of the indie upstarts mentioned in a recent post from NPR's A Blog Supreme that poses the mercurial query: "Do Jazz Record Labels Still Matter?"


Greg Burk's Live Jazz Picks (July 10-16)
Don Heckman's Live Jazz Picks (July 6-12)
Brick Wahl's Live Jazz Picks (July 9-15)

Barry Beckett
Edward Downes
George Fullerton
Bob Mitchell

July 15, 2009

Hot Weather Music

As scales tipped the 100-degree mark last weekend, the Beast decided to check out Bennie Maupin's hour-long set at the Jazz Explosion III, a California Jazz Foundation benefit at Pasadena’s All Saints Church. The maestro was conducting his Ikeda Kings Orchestra, a big band teaching ensemble he formed under the aegis of SGI-USA, the Buddhist organization that also counts Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock as members. In Mr. Maupin's words to the audience: "Unless you're at UCLA or USC, you don't get a chance to do this." Sweeping his hand over the 25-member band, he added: "We came from the streets, not academia."

Bennie Maupin conducts the IKEDA Kings Orchestra with vocalist Neeyah Lynn Rose

Anyone familiar with Mr. Maupin's classic work with Miles Davis and Hancock's Headhunters (or even his most recent efforts on Cryptogramophone) can see a different side of the saxophonist/clarinetist when he conducts the IKO. The band -- 5 saxophones, 1 bass, 2 keyboards, 1 guitar, 6 trombones, 1 french horn, 5 trumpets, 4 percussionists -- provided the most sternum-rattling moments (we were right up next to stage left) during jaunty instrumental workouts like "Wind Swept" (with a terrific tenor sax break from John Armstrong) and “Lester Jumps Out.” Their set was laden with Latin-heavy arrangements on songs like "Patina Latina" and a bossa nova read of Lieber-Stoller's "Save the Last Dance for Me" replete with mariachi-style trumpets and Phil Edwards’ supple vocal accompaniment.

Maupin centered the set around vocalists whom he admitted he "loved to play with." They included Edwards, Jen Yim and Dee Dee McNeil, who sparkled on "Imagination" and "Fly Me to the Moon," after which Maupin remarked off-mike: "Ah, the voice of experience." Linda Faye closed the set with a smoldering take on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s "Desafinado" and the Vanessa Williams ballad “Colors of the Wind" before closing with the old Eddie Floyd barn-burner "Knock on Wood." (Check out pics from the performance here.) After the set, we caught guests like Mr. Buddy Collette, Mimi Melnick and co-host “Dr.” Jeffrey Winston, who revealed the tough and sluggish negotiations currently underway to keep the World Stage Jazz Festival on the rails for this summer. Keep your economically declined fingers crossed.

Bill Milkowski interviews extended Crypto pal and frequent Cline Brothers collaborator Gregg Bendian for All About Jazz.

On July 31, the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble will present "Time, Minimalism and Electronics," a summer program centered around California composer Terry Riley's 1964 masterpiece In C at Columbia College in Tarzana.

Bassist Nick "The Kid" Rosen sent us this message yesterday: Hey Everyone, I have just finished my first full length album entitled Into the Sky after over a year a half of work. It is produced by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Carlos Nino, and features all new music of mine with a lot of great musicians from around LA. In celebration of this new album, I will be playing a show coming up on August 3rd at the Mint to play the new music from the album with a live band. This will also be my group's only west coast performance this whole year, so don't miss it. I have a really great group lined up for the night and I will have some copies of the album to give away.

The Nick Rosen Group:
Nick Rosen-basses, vocals, acoustic guitar
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson-viola
Josh Nelson-keys
Brian Green-guitars
Mike Bennett-drums
plus special guest vocalists

Live at the Mint
Monday, August 3rd
7:30pm, $8
6010 W. Pico Blvd

July 17, 2009

Crypto (The Song)*

*sung to the tune of "Wilco (The Song)"


Pardon us for this digression,
We know there’s better things to do,
Are you feeling some suppression?
Is life drilling a hole in your head?
Do you hide in your bed?
So kick back the sheets,
And stop playing Garbo,
And go go go,
To Crypto,
Crypto will save you, baby

Is Auto Tunes getting stale?
Are your favorite pop stars in jail?
Have you reached the end of your rope?
Is your boss just a dope?
Dump that Blu-ray and go
To a land of musical to and fro’
Wilc-- uh, Crypto,
Crypto won’t steal your lady

Too many things we can’t control,
Like that tweaker next door who smells like Skoal,
There is a place past the clouds,
Where you can don cosmic sonic shrouds,
And play it loud-oud-oud
Crypto will make you proud

Someone put a boot on your car?
Stay away from that wine bar,
Get out before you drown in Bordeaux,
D’oh d’oh d’oh,
Crypto will always love you, boo

July 18, 2009

Sky Blue Sky

The recent passing of beloved/puzzled-over Seeds frontman Sky Sunlight Saxon (not his real name) has brought out some prominent voices to pay tribute. A recent Saxon collaborator -- the irrepresible Billy Corgan -- of Smashing Pumpkins© fame offered up this tribute and reputedly will appear in some sort of all-star pickup band (alongside The Electric Prunes' Mark Tulin and other TBAs) for a Saxon tribute on July 24th at the Echoplex in Glendale.


But now to the important part: a fella we know who was actually alive when Sky and the Seeds were doing their semi-seminal work -- Mr. Nels Cline hisownself -- will be particpating in the tribute. Whether he'll be part of the "Spirits in the Sky" band or just going at it solo-style is anyone's guess. Read Nels' tribute to this late, irreplacable whackjob here.

July 22, 2009


I wanted to play my own chords. I wanted to create and invent on little jobs.
Thelonious Sphere Monk

It’s easy to forget that one of the originators of bebop had such modest goals in his early years, just as its easy to forget that some of Thelonious Monk’s most mercurial compositions were themselves actual harmonic reconfigurations of pop standards: “I Got Rhythm,” for example, filtered through Monk’s starling, jagged notes and splayed-finger technique, begat “Rhythm-a-ning” and “The Theme.”


No doubt, this is the reason for the plethora of Monk tributes over the years: the pianist's open reharmonizations ensured that those who followed him would use his music as building blocks for their own ideas, and that the ultimate Monk tribute would not be note-by-note traditionalism but explorations that would sound very little like a night at Minton’s Playhouse in 1941. “Monk's songs are condensed compositions that function as riddles, as lessons, and above all as vibrant, swinging music,” says plays monk bassist Devin Hoff. “Each one of them possesses an inner strength and resiliency that can withstand infinite variations and permutations without giving up its form or its content.”

Continue reading "ANGEL CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL 2009: Got Monk?" »

July 26, 2009

We Love You Lily

From the staff and artists at Cryptogramophone Records

To our dear friends, Gregory Burk and Deborah Drooz, for an unfathomable loss.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there
I do not sleep
I am a thousand winds that blow
I am the diamond's glint on snow
I am the sunlight on ripened grain
I am the gentle autumn's rain
When you awake in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight
I am the soft stars that shine at night
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there
I did not die


Please consider making a donation to Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles, in Lily Belle Burk's name.

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