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June 11, 2007

Exclusive Preview of "The Nels Cline Singers Draw Breath"

We can finally see the horizon on Cryptogramophone's upcoming Summer 2007 releases: Spinning the Circle from pianist/Goatettee David Witham and The Nels Cline Singers Draw Breath from...oh, you know. The drop date for both is JUNE 26th.

With barely two weeks left, we've already pre-released tracks from the new Nels Cline CD -- "Caved-in Heart Blues," "Mixed Message," "Recognize II" and "Confection" -- on Nels' MySpace page and the Crypto homesite. We also decided to get a jump on the reviewers and offer "pre-reviews" of both for your dining and dancing pleasure. [WARNING: Mixed metaphors will be used]

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June 15, 2007

Andrew Hill and Alexandra Montano

This has been a difficult time at Cryptogramophone. In the last month we lost two great artists who touched our lives and impacted the world of music; Andrew Hill and Alexandra Montano. To read Nels Cline's remembrance of Andrew Hill, please visit his website at nelscline.com.

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I had the good fortune of knowing French vocalist Alexandra Montano a little bit, although I now wish I had known her better. I first met Alexandra at the sessions for Mark Dresser and Denman Maroney’s 2005 Cryptogramophone recording Time Changes. The sessions took place at Michael Brorby’s studio in Brooklyn. I walked in and the first thing I noticed was Alexandra on the floor doing yoga and vocalizing. Once the rehearsals started, I was amazed at how well this talented singer negotiated Mark and Denman’s incredibly difficult music. This is music that sometimes changes meter every other bar, and often has instruments playing in different meters at the same time. The quality of Alexandra's voice, her musicianship, and her sense of pitch were outstanding. Then I heard her improvise, and wondered why I had never heard of her before. As it turns out she was quite well known in the world of contemporary classical music, but she could improvise jazz almost instinctively. She was a joy to work with, and was a consummate professional. She was also a dedicated parent. I remember her talking with Mark about her teenage son, always interested in a man’s perspective on the problems of raising a teenager.

About nine months ago, Alexandra was diagnosed with a brain tumor. What a shock. It seemed inconceivable that someone so alive and talented could be given a diagnosis like that. She fought bravely, but ultimately succumbed to the disease last week. Our condolences go out to her family and friends who supported her to the end. If you’ve never heard Alexandra Montano’s music, I recommend you check out her website at alexandramontano.com, and also check out the first MP3 on Mark Dresser/Denman Maroney’s CD Time Changes at cryptogramophone.com. Alexandra was a talented musician, and a beautiful soul. She will be deeply missed.

June 20, 2007

"MAKIN' A RACKET": An Exclusive Interview with David Witham, Pt. I

David Witham is a monster musician—and we mean not just his in-demand chops but the fact that the guy is around 6' 6'' with a big booming voice, linebacker’s gait and ham-sized hands that can lightly caress the 88 keys on a piano and then crush a metal napkin dispenser.

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Continue reading ""MAKIN' A RACKET": An Exclusive Interview with David Witham, Pt. I" »

June 23, 2007

Nels Cline From the Road

I am happy to say that the official release date for the new Singers disc on Cryptogramophone, DRAW BREATH, is nearly upon us. I am out here on the road with Wilco at the time of this writing, and Moday, those who attend our show in New York will been able to buy this rather attractive and multi-faceted document a day before the official release date of June 26th.

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The CD package is adorned with artwork by painter Angela DeCristofaro, most of it done just for this release. I suggest that you visit her website (www.beznic.com) to see and learn more. As for the music, it's the usual mix of loud, soft, structured, free, trad, avant... There are two pieces on which I play acoustic steel-string guitar only, which is a bit of a departure for The Singers. It is rather amusing to me to note how many people are surprised to learn that I play acoustic guitar, but these people knew nothing of my efforts in the eighties with Quartet Music and the like. They were barely even born! But I actually played MOSTLY acoustic guitars in those days. Weird! Anyway, Devin Hoff and Scott Amendola do their usual cogent-verging-on-visionary contributions (OK, I like my band!), and Glenn Kotche, best known as the octopus-like tubsman in Wilco, adds a panoply of sonic wonders to the last piece on the disc. Thanks, Glenn!

I want to thank my pal and constant enabler Jeff Gauthier for continuing to release this music at a time when it is such a blatantly quixotic (read:insane) endeavor. His support and commitment to the music and artists he cares about is non pareil in the extreme. And I encourage all of you out there to continue to seek out non-pop expressions such as ours and, if you dig it, to support it. Maybe buy a CD! These Cryptogramophone ones look really cool! And they sound good, too...

Some people are wondering when/if The Singers will come to their town on tour in support of DRAW BREATH. In light of all the touring I am doing to support the new Wilco record, coupled with the financial unfeasablility of such ventures these days, it might be awhile before a Singers tour can be mounted. Devin has also joined Oakland band Xiu Xiu and will tour extensively with THEM next year. But the desire is there. Don't rule it out! In the meantime, we will be trying to squeeze in as many little gigs this year as we can.

OK, it's almost time to hear another set by one of the best bands ever in this land, Low. And if you like connecting the dots as much as I do, check out their influence on my music as represented on the three Singers discs (all on Crypto) - it's there.
By the way, for all you guitar geeks out there, I am adding a list of all the guitars I played on DRAW BREATH, but I am not going to tell you where I used them.
Love to all, N

6/20/07 Charlotte, NC

Guitar Geeks - click below...

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June 25, 2007

“LIGHT AT NIGHT”: An Exclusive Crypto Interview with David Witham, Pt. 2

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Spinning The Circle, David Witham’s second solo album since 1988’s self-released On-Line, shows the pianist’s versatility with jazz, world beat, and jamband influenced originals—from the breakbeat electronica of "The Neon" to the gentle balladry of "Who Knows." But he brings some heavy-hitters along for the ride. “My associations with the members of this ensemble span the last thirty-some years, basically the course of my musical career thus far,” Witham writes in the liner notes. They include guitarist Nels Cline and drummer Scott Amendola are both on board, as are pedal steel guitarist (and frequent Bill Frisell collaborator) Greg Leisz, bassist Jay Anderson, woodwind player Jon Crosse, and percussionist Luis Conte.

Continue reading "“LIGHT AT NIGHT”: An Exclusive Crypto Interview with David Witham, Pt. 2" »

July 3, 2007

Nels discusses Caved-In Heart Blues from Draw Breath

CAVED-IN HEART BLUES was written while I was sitting around the Wilco loft in Chicago, playing with a lot of reverb. The title is actually literal. It IS a blues, but only one trip through 1-4-5-4-1. As for the caved-in heart part, well, I am pretty sure that most humans can get a feeling or idea about that image/sensation. I play my beloved Jerry Jones baritone guitar on the main body of the piece, and the psych blues collage is lap steel and 6-string electric looped, reversed, delayed, etc., along with Scott's electronics and Devin's arco bass harmonics and textures. I think of this as being in the mood and tradition of the work song. Our version, anyway.

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October 24, 2007

The Art of Being Misunderstood---Do Your Homework

Well, The Anti Social Club is finally out. I can just hear people talking after they listen to it for the first time. "Wow, I didn't know Alan Pasqua played Fender Rhodes. It must be something new he's been working on..." The Anti Social Club is not a new branch of my creative tree, rather a return to it's roots. All that nice, pretty introspective piano trio and quartet music that I recorded (Milagro, Dedications, Live at Rocco, Badlands, My New Old Friend, Body and Soul, Standards, etc) is certainly music that I love.

But The Anti Social Club is conceptual music that I evolved with in my early years. I never played in a piano trio in Boston. I never played in an acoustic quartet there either. Everything I did was ELECTRIC. I played in a band whose leader was a great trumpet player/ composer named Stanton Davis. That is where is learned the ropes. Stanton was a protege of George Russell, and like George was many years ahead of his time. Stanton Davis and Ghetto Mysticism. 1974. Here's what we looked like:

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Continue reading "The Art of Being Misunderstood---Do Your Homework" »

April 3, 2008

Desert Island Dozens: Peter Erskine

Ted Goia's Jazz.com website features an extensive list of what recordings our friend drummer Peter Erskine -- who plays tomorrow at the Swedish Jazz Celebration in dear ol' Stockholm -- would take with him to a desert island. Check it out here.

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April 14, 2008

David Witham Spills His Guts to AAJ

Before we get to Paul Olsen of All About Jazz's extensive (it even has a "Chapter Index"!) interview with rez Crypto ivory-man David Witham, we'd like to acknowledge the passing of L.A. jazz producer/promoter Oscar Cadena last week at the spry young age of 83. (Here's Jocelyn Stewart's obit from the LA Times.)

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The Ozz-man

Our friend Kirk Silsbee recently wrote a fine 2006 profile for L.A. Citybeat of the gentleman everyone -- even those who never met him -- called "Ozzie."

OZZIE CADENA: THE HIPPEST GUY IN THE ROOM
by Kirk Silsbee

Jazz has always needed facilitators, people who open the channels between musicians and listeners. They’re impresarios, record producers, managers, label owners, club operators and even publicists. They carry out the nuts-and-bolts operations that bring the music to the marketplace. One of the most steadfast facilitators in Southern California jazz of the last 30 years has been Ozzie Cadena, who turns 83 in September. As he recuperates from a health crisis in a Torrance hospital, it’s worth examining Cadena’s contribution to the music.

Hermosa Beach’s current jazz profile is almost entirely due to Cadena. Ozzie brought jazz back to the Lighthouse after it had become a rock venue, first in the early ‘80s and recently since the late ‘90s. He also books the music into the nearby Sangria restaurant. Cadena spearheaded the action to have plaques that note the glorious Lighthouse history set into the pavement. (The city has ten plates that it expects to install in November.) He’s an east coaster who always acknowledged what West Coast jazz had to offer. It’s another chapter in the life of a facilitator who never could do enough for jazz.

Music took hold of Cadena at a young age. Growing up in Newark, New Jersey, he shined shoes in the proximity of a street blues singer. Beginning at age twelve, Cadena took the train into Harlem every Saturday night and attended the Savoy Ballroom. The Home of Happy Feet was America’s prime laboratory and showcase for cutting edge vernacular dance. “I heard all the bands there,” he once said, in his clipped Jersey accent, “every one of ‘em.” His presence was so consistent that Cadena was known as ‘Newark’ to the other regulars. (One of them was a tall marijuana salesman known as Detroit Red, the future Malcolm X.) Every Saturday at midnight, management made sure that the underage Cadena was escorted to the nearby subway station.

Did he ever feel a racial draft? “One time some guy started to give me a bad time about dancin’ with a girl,” he relates. “He started callin’ me names and it almost got ugly. And one of the bouncers got between us. They were all ex-pugs who carried billy clubs. ‘He said, ‘This guy botherin’ you, Newark?’ I said, ‘This stupid bastard don’t like the Dodgers.’ That was the end of it.”

After serving in the Pacific in World War II, Cadena studied music, specifically, the bass. Music fundamentals would stand him well later on. After a stint as a jazz disc jockey, Cadena worked for the Newark-based Savoy Records in the ‘50s, as an A and R man and producer. He recorded swing era veterans like Coleman Hawkins and youngbloods like John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley and his brother Nat. Ozzie almost single-handedly documented the explosion of young players who busted out of 1950s Detroit: Milt Jackson, Yusef Lateef, Kenny Burrell, Donald Byrd, Tommy Flanagan, and Hank Jones.

Detroit provided Cadena with two sturdy and dependable pianists. “I used Hank Jones for the swing players like Hawkins,” Ozzie claimed. “For everybody else, I used Tommy Fanagan.” Cadena’s feel for black roots music served him well at Savoy. Big Maybelle, Jimmy Scott, and Nappy Brown were among Ozzie’s studio charges. Cadena earned a co-composer credit on Nappy’s “Night Time is The Right Time.” (When Ray Charles covered the tune, Cadena’s name was removed from the song and Savoy owner Herman Lubinsky’s was substituted.) Ozzie recorded blues pianist Sammy Price—whose history dated back to the 1920s, when he backed numerous blues singers—with tenor saxophonist King Curtis and guitarist Mickey Baker to make one of the greatest R&B instrumentals of all time, “Rib Joint.”

“I’m as proud of the gospel stuff I cut,” Cadena once confided, “as I am about anything else.” Gospel scholar Anthony Heilbut, in his groundbreaking study The Gospel Sound, cited Ozzie as one of the greatest of all sanctified music producers.

While Cadena had a gold card at Birdland, he also had entrée to the black churches in New Jersey. His gospel Savoys, with Ruth Davis and the Davis Sisters, among others, would make a formidable box set.

Lubinsky ran Savoy as a cut-rate operation. The artists might get less money for a recording session than what Blue Note or Prestige paid, but they had it in their hands on the way out of the studio. Junkie jazz musicians would take the short money, just so they didn’t have to wait. It was exploitation and the bad feeling that Lubinsky generated sometimes rubbed off on Cadena. “One day in the ‘50s,” he recalled, sitting at a table one night, “I was in Birdland. Billy Taylor was there, foolin’ around at the piano, and (bassist Charles) Mingus was there too. Miles Davis walked in. Mingus was always lookin’ to record, so he said, ‘Hey Ozzie—let’s find a drummer and get a record goin’.’ I said I could probably make a few calls and work it out. Miles said, ‘Who’s the record for?’ Mingus pointed to me and said, ‘It’s for his company.’” Cadena leaned forward and looked me in the eye as he continued, “Miles said: ‘Fuck you and ya mothufuckin’ record company!’” Leaning back in his seat, Cadena shrugged his rejoinder: “Hey, I’m workin’ for an asshole. You’re workin’ here, an’ you’re workin’ for an asshole.”

Birdland, the self-proclaimed “jazz corner of the world,” was probably the most important jazz club in the world at the time. Cadena had carte blanche entrée at all times. Babs Gonzales, a hustler first and a singer second, spotted Ozzie standing in a long line outside the club one night. “He said, ‘Ozzie, what are you doin’ here? Let’s you and me jump the line.’ I said, ‘No, Babs, that would be disrespecting all these people waiting to get in.’”

One day in the early ‘60s, Cadena was in a Harlem café having lunch. “Malcolm X walked in with a big group from the Nation of Islam,” Ozzie states. “This was when he was preachin’ the separation of blacks and whites. I was sittin’ in the back and after awhile, one of the lieutenants came over to my table. He said, ‘Malcolm just wants you to know that although he’s not able to break away from his work, he sends his regards to you.’”

One evening in ‘88, Cadena was at the Hyatt on Sunset Blvd. for the inaugural reception of a short-lived jazz organization. It was the kind of event that attracted everyone in jazz who was in town. Trumpeter Donald Byrd made a beeline to Cadena’s table. “Ozzie!” he almost shouted. “You makin’ any records?” Cadena smiled his lop-sided grin and shrugged. “Naw. You know how I make records: I get this guy and that guy and we go into the studio and roll the tape. They can’t use me anymore.” It was a light-hearted parry of the frustration he must have felt and it made light of the lifetime of preparation Cadena brought to the recording studio.

Ozzie’s studio philosophy was simple yet effective: pair up players from different schools and generations to stimulate a chemical reaction that will result in something new from each of them. Recording, for Cadena, was not rocket science. He was the first to bring Cannonball Adderley—then an unknown Florida schoolteacher who was on vacation in New York in ’55, into the studio. Ozzie is characteristically modest about beating the major labels to him. “If five guys tell you somebody can play,” he once offered with a shrug, “you record him. Simple as that.”

After Cannonball’s Cinderella debut—sitting in at a Greenwich Village club—veteran drummer Kenny Clarke took the Adderleys under his wing, steering them away from New York hustlers and to Cadena. Clarke was the first modern jazz drummer, who revolutionized drumming by moving the beat to his ride cymbal and accenting with sticks and bass drum “bombs.” He worked hand-in-hand with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk to redefine jazz in the bebop insurgency of the ‘40s. Cadena recorded Clarke at every possible opportunity, as he did with Milt Jackson, Charles Mingus, Hank Jones and Tommy Flanagan.

The Clarke-Cadena relationship was symbiotic. In ’93, Cadena articulated it in a very informed way. “He had weaknesses in his playing, like everybody else, but he could give a band a good shim like nobody. Except Eddie Blackwell and Billy Higgins, but they came along much later. What I liked about Klook was his meter. He was not right on it with a ‘tick, tick, tick’--which could be too damn monotonous. His beat was like the ocean: sometimes it came in deeper, sometimes shorter. His beat might have varied mathematically a little but his playing just glided. The pulse was always there. When I’d walk into a club where Klook was playin’, I might not see that it was him but my ear could tell me that he was on the stand. The band was instantly loose and relaxed. He didn’t hit his cymbals as hard as a lot of guys but the sound he got was like a long ‘whoosh.’ The pulse was where he hit it but the vibrations off the cymbal were constant—like an organ with the key pressed down.”

Though Blue Note owner Alfred Lion was the producer of record on all of that label’s issues, Cadena, in fact, supervised Horace Silver’s Doin’ the Thing: Live at The Village Vanguard (Blue Note, ’61). Like Lion, Ozzie had a close working relationship with that most punctilious of jazz recording engineers, Rudy Van Gelder.

After working for Prestige Records in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Cadena relocated his family to Hermosa Beach. In ’82, Ozzie began booking jazz into the Silver Screen Lounge of the Hyatt Hotel on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood. His efforts resulted in a little golden age for L.A. jazz. Cadena used the occasion to extend his recording modus operandi to the bandstand. He brokered first-time meetings between guitarist Tal Farlow and tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, alto saxophonists Frank and Lanny Morgan, pianist Mal Wadron and Frank Morgan, guitarists John Collins and Tal Farlow, tenor saxophonists Lockjaw Davis and Joe Farrell.

Cadena also gave bandstand space to promising young players, usually in the company of veterans. Ozzie championed trumpeter Stacy Rowles, saxophonist Rickey Woodard and bassist Kristin Korb as youngsters. The excitement and the expectation that his combinations raised are something that Cadena has tried to carry through at the Lighthouse and Sangria. Of course, not all experiments yield great results. A local soloist, who prefers anonymity, has worked for Cadena a number of times. “I’ve always liked and respected Ozzie,” he stresses. “I think it’s great what’s he done in Hermosa Beach. But I don’t agree with the premise of throwing strangers in together. They do that at those jazz parties. I know the people like it but I think it’s a mish mosh. If I can bring my own band, the musicality is always at a much higher level than if I’m playing with someone for the first time.”

Still, Cadena knows the value of names on a roster, just as he knows the value of making live music available to the jazz audience. Getting the musicians into the studios and people into the clubs to hear the music is what he’s done with his life. It sounds simple and Cadena probably wouldn’t try to convince you otherwise. He’d probably just smile, and say something like: “I’m just trying to do something good for jazz.” (LA Citybeat, 8/03/06)

After a moment of silence.................................................................................................

Continue reading "David Witham Spills His Guts to AAJ" »

April 28, 2008

Reflections on the week that was

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Well, CryptoNights 2008 at Jazz Standard NYC has concluded, and as a (not so) independent observer I'd have to say it was a smashing success. Every night was well attended, everyone played great, and the Crypto way was perpetrated in fine fashion. It was wonderful to see old friends in attendance (the family Bendian, Bonnie Wright, Lisle Ellis, et al), and make some new ones as well. The guys who came from Louisville, Nels' wild and interesting pals, they all made me really happy.

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June 19, 2008

JazzTimes Gets the Skinny on Bennie

A SIX PAGE profile or Mr. Bennie Maupin!? What God did we please?

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You know, I always like those lads at JazzTimes -- and apparently so does the Jazz Journalists' Association, which just last night awarded JT the honor of "Best Jazz Periodical."

June 30, 2008

AAJ Grills a Weary Fearless Leader

Before we get to the latest in a flurry of current interviews with Jeff Gauthier, we'd like to finally acknowledge some shitty, sad news: one of the extended Cryptogramophone clan has passed on in a most untimely fashion: bassist Dave Carpenter.

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Probably best known for his trio work with pianist Alan Pasqua and drummer Peter Erskine, Carpenter suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Burbank on June 23. Read the all-too-short L.A. Times obit here, and check out some of Mr. Carpenter's stellar work here.

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November 17, 2008

Initiator of a Revolution: Alex Cline Remembers Mitch Mitchell

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As I lay down to go to sleep on the night of Tuesday, November 11, for some reason I found my thoughts turning to my first real drum hero and one of my musical life's biggest influences, Mitch Mitchell. As I lay there, I began a mental survey of his work, from the early recordings with the Jimi Hendrix Experience through Hendrix's last official album recorded what seemed like a long time later but which was in fact only a few years later, The Cry of Love. My concentrated overview, pondering Mitch's trademark early style--prodigious technique, distinctive touch, beautiful sound, swinging feel, fire, crisp articulation, and strong musical contributions to Hendrix's visionary musical innovations--and later work--more slack, somewhat more tired feel, more slack tuning, yet still strongly contributory and irreplaceably integral to the music that Hendrix was then making--triggered indelible memories, powerful associations, deep appreciation, and pure awe. It also caused me to wonder if he still played. I knew he endorsed DW drums, but I had no idea what he was doing. I wondered what he might sound like now, so many years later. I considered his distinction as the only surviving member of the original Jimi Hendrix Experience. I also wondered why on earth I was spending so much time lying there engaged in such a thorough analysis of Mitch Mitchell's music making and its overwhelming influence on my own life and music as a drummer. Then I fell asleep, forgetting all about it.

I learned the following afternoon that Mitch Mitchell had died. I was stunned. At 62 years of age, he was only ten years older than I. And he was on tour; he was playing. Then I suddenly remembered my thoughts of the previous night. It was chilling. It was also extremely sad. Not only had another of my strongest drumming influences passed out of manifestation, the one who in many ways was the source of the trajectory of all the drummers to follow was gone. My reverie turned to mourning.

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My brother Nels and I were eleven years old when we first heard what we immediately, after having eyed the compelling cover of their first album, knew had to be the Jimi Hendrix Experience. We were listening to Top 40 AM radio one afternoon, which was then beginning to experiment with playing album tracks, when the song "Manic Depression" came on. We were stunned, transfixed. We couldn't even figure out how most of the sounds were even being made--that eerie, wailing guitar, that drum part (a waltz!) with all those cool fills--yet the impact of the music itself was immediate and ultimately transformational. It was so powerful that it was almost like hearing music for the first time. It was a revolution in our midst. We were never the same after that, and we knew it. As soon as we had the necessary dollars saved from our allowance, we went out and purchased the album, Are You Experienced? It was one of our musical life's most important milestones. Besides the visceral yet other-worldly guitar virtuosity, there was the drumming. It was dazzling, driving, fluid, solid, intense. At the time I didn't recognize that Mitch's approach was essentially that of a master jazz drummer playing cutting-edge rock. Just listen to "Third Stone from the Sun"! I had no idea how he was doing what he was doing, but what I did know was that it was what I myself wanted to be able to do.

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As instant Hendrix fanatics, we ardently followed all the subsequent recordings and developments. The music certainly doesn't need to be reviewed at this point, but some of the truly memorable and outstanding examples of Mitch's drumming that I'd like to mention in this moment are the driving groove that exemplifies the title of the tune on which it is heard, "Fire"; the already mentioned "Third Stone from the Sun," where Mitch seems to be pushing a crazy cosmic big band with his flurries of swinging accents and free-form waves of toms and snare; the free jazz/noise insanity of "I Don't Live Today"; the deep pocket-cum-free-against-the-time soling on "If 6 Was 9" (and where he seems to drop a drumstick in the middle of a furious phrase, ending it midstream); the amazingly swinging, pure jazz brushwork on "Up from the Skies"; the furiously blazing bashing on the otherwise totally silly Noel Redding tune "She's So Fine"; the glorious flanger-heavy close of "Bold as Love" (which I honestly felt at the time was sort of the most ultimately perfect, heavenly musical moment I'd heard till then; I used to play it over and over); the astounding solo on, of all things, a slow blues (!), certainly one of the most amazing slow blues jams of all time, "Voodoo Chile"; and the slushy, wonderful slow backing for the moving "Angel" from Hendrix's last album. These are only few standouts in a catalog of consistently stellar performances, as most people already know. Everything Mitch recorded, which sounded so fresh and remarkable at the time it was waxed, still sounds absolutely astounding today. Adding to the astonishment is the fact that when he started making this music he was only 19 years old! I don’t think I ever realized the weight of this until now. It's almost a Tony Williams scenario! I certainly never sounded anything close to that good when I was that age! Mitch was a phenomenon.

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Mitch was my favorite drummer when I was a kid, and his busy, jazz-drenched rock style led to my enthusiasm for drummers charting similar territory who came shortly thereafter: Clive Bunker with Jethro Tull and Michael Giles in the first King Crimson band. Later in my life I realized how this foundation helped lead me straight into the world of jazz drumming that would become my area of endeavor once I was about16 years old (and after Hendrix died). Mitch Mitchell not only set me up for my next major, life-altering drumming encounter to follow, which was my hearing Tony Williams for the first time, but he made my appreciation for every major influence to come possible, from Elvin Jones to Jack De Johnette to Roy Haynes to Sonship Theus to Tony Oxley to Pierre Favre and so on down the line. While my earliest drumming experiences were that of playing Charlie Watts parts to old Rolling Stones records at my friend (and young drum prodigy) Pat Pile's house, it was Mitch who opened my ears and mind to what drumming could be in the hands of a more complex and flashy master. Mitch and the Hendrix Experience totally changed my life.

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So today I remember with deep gratitude, reverence, and love a brilliant artist whom I never met but who profoundly shaped the course of my life as a drummer and musician and who still inspires me now. To me, Mitch Mitchell is not just a fine drummer, not just a big influence on me, he is someone who deservedly resides in the pantheon of the greatest, most important drummers/musicians of all time. Thank you, Mitch. I pray that I may in some way be your continuation.

January 21, 2010

Tom McNalley on Haiti

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Guitarist Tom McNalley, a longtime Crypto pal and collaborator who has been down to Haiti several times to help people there before the earthquake/aftershock, has written his thoughts on the crisis for The Huffington Post: "8 Things to Keep in Mind About Haiti".

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McNalley and his trio will play the Museum of Neon Art on Friday, Feb. 5 at 8pm.

Greg Burk's Live Picks of the Week (Jan. 22-28)
Don Heckman's Live Picks of the Week (Jan. 19-24)
Brick Wahl's Live Picks of the Week (Jan. 20-27)
Los Angeles New Music Events (Jan. 21-June 3)

REST IN TEMPO
Paul Bryant
Bobby Charles
Dannie Flesher
George McCabe
Kate McGarrigle
Willie Mitchell
Theodore DeReese Pendergrass, Sr.
Jay Reatard
Lhasa de Sela
Ed Thigpen
Jimmy Wyble

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Adam Rudolph Alex Cline's Band of the Moment Alex Cline; Nels Cline: Alex & Nels Cline; Downbeat; Continuation; Coward Alma Lisa Fernandez Andrew Hill 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 Bard Hoff Ben Goldberg Bennie Maupin Bennie Maupin & Dolphyana Bill Stewart Billy Childs Jazz-Chamber Ensemble Billy Corgan Billy Hart Black Metal Bob Sheppard Bobby English Brent Hoff California Jazz Foundation Cameron Graves Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band Carla Bozulich Carol Robbins Charles Mingus; Son of Watts Musical Caravan Project; Azar Lawrence; Nate Morgan; Henry Franklin; Alphonse Mouzon; Prayer for My Ancestors Charles Owens Charlie Hunter Chops: The Movie Chris Barton Cryptogramophone Cryptogramophone Records Cryptogramophonr Records Cryptonight Darek Oles Dave Douglas Brass Ecstasy David Anderson Pianos David Breskin David Witham Denman Maroney Dennis Callaci Devin Hoff Dirty Baby Double M Jazz Salon Downbeat 57th Annual Critics Poll draw breath Dwight Trible Eagle Rock Center for the Arts Eclipse Quartet Ed Ruscha Edward Vesala Electric Lodge Eric Dolphy Eric Von Essen First Friday Series at the Museum of Neon Art G.E. Stinson Geraldine Fibbers Glenn Kotche Global Village Monday with Maggie LePique Go: Organic Orchestra Gravitas Quartet Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival; Peter Erskine Greg Kot Gregg Bendian Guy Klucevsek Hale Smith Hannah Rothschild Hans Fjellstad Harry Partch; L.A. Weekly; John Schneider; REDCAT Henry Grimes Horace Tapscott Horace Tapscott; Horace Tapscott Tribute Concert; Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra; the Ark; Jazz Bakery; Ruth Price; Jesse Sharps; Austin Peralta; Isaac Smith Howard Roberts Huffington Post Hugh Hopper Ikeda Kings Orchestra improvisation Initiate Instrumentals 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 L. Stinkbug 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 Linkous Mark Zaleski Matt Ritvo Matthew Duersten Mel Morris Michael Davis Michael Session 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 New Monastery Nick Rosen OC Creative Music Collective Oguri Open Gate Theatre Sunday Concert Series Pannonica Rothschild Peggy Lee Peter Bernstein Phil Ranelin Phillip Greenlief plays monk Rahmlee Michael Davis Rashied Ali ResBox at the Steve Allen Theater RIch Breen Rich Breen RISE with Mark Maxwell Roberto Miguel Miranda Roberto Miranda Rod Poole Ron MIles Ron Saint Germain Royal/T Cafe Ruth Price Sara Parkins Sara Schoenbeck Sarah Thornblade SASSAS Satoko Fujii Scott Amendola Scott Colley Shrimper Records Sky Saxon Tribute Sonship Theus Soul Jazz Records Sparklehorse Spirit Moves Spirits in the Sky Steuart Liebig Steven Isoardi Terry Riley The Gathering The Giant Pin The Jazz Bakery The Jazz Baroness The JazzCat with Leroy Downs The Nels Cline Singers The Nels Cline Trio Thelonious Monk Thomas Stones Tom McNalley Tony Allen Tribe Records 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 Yankee Hotel Foxtrot