Welcome to the first editon of what I am currently calling the "Alloy Music Capsule." For lack of a better description, this is in part a text-based, blog-style version of my weekly broadcast. In addition to my narrative (I will try not to be too wordy!), I have also provided freely available versions of all (or as many as I can find/provide) the tracks featured on my show--be it via YouTube, Bandcamp, or other fantastic music resources. Though I like talking about music (okay, I love talking about music!), I also love sharing what I like and listen to each week. My hope is that this provides direct access to the music I feature and makes it as easy as possible for both listeners and non-listeners of the show to get a firstshand sense of the music I play each week. Without further adieu, here is this week's "capsule."
"Molten Sunset" by Dave Douglas from "High Risk"
Frequent listeners of the weekly "Alloy" broadcast know that I am a huge fan of trumpeter and 2-time Grammy nominee, Dave Douglas. Dave is a restless, creative musician, and is not content to sit and nurse one music vein, style, or genre. He thrives on exploring possibilities. On June 23rd, Dave will release "High Risk" his latest offering that blends jazz, fusion, with healthy shots of progressive ambient jazz. It is a gorgeous album that creates memorable musical soundscapes. Pitchfork gives it some nice praise as well. Dave is supported on this album by electric and synth bassist, Jonathan Maron, acoustic and electric drummer, Mark Guiliana, and DJ and maestro of electronics, Shigeto. I invite you to take a listen to a pre-release track from this forthcoming album, "Molten Sunset."
"Cleveland: By the Lake" by Peter Malinverni
from "Emerging Markets"
On pianist Peter Malinverni's forthcoming release, he creates a living musical tribute to eight once strong and vital industrial U.S. cities that, today, are facing harder times, and are much less than they once were. Malinverni's intent, and the music he has created, is by no means a static music elegy. Rather his is a musical expression that, like the cities that are showing signs of resurgence, is full of life and vitality. Hence the title, "Emerging Markets" (to be released on June 19, 2015). On this week's show I featured the track, "Cleveland: By the Lake." In the release's liner notes, Malinverni describes his "Cleveland" motivation:
Another great industrial town of tough and good people, sitting hard by Lake Erie, whose waves are conjured by the “liquid” figure at the outset and the languid interpretation here by the fellas. Cleveland, too, is on its way back, its big-hearted, family-minded people leading the way, organizing communities and attracting businesses that will employ but not destroy. (1)
The track was also described by Gary Walker, WBGO music director, as a track that :
with its liquid piano introduction, has the group in a steadfast easy feel, the leader's piano working with a gorgeous patience, making space for relaxed statements from the tenor and bass, not unlike someone who's changing for the better and knows exactly how to accomplish intentions. (2)
Because the album is not yet released, I do not have a track to share, yet. In the meantime, give a listen to a live performance of Malinverni's trio from 2014. It provides a good taste of Malinverni's style and approach.
Here is a link to pre-order "Emerging Markets."
Alloy goes gospel...sort of.
This set of music began with repeated listens to Bill Frisell's cover of Sam Cooke's classic, and anthem for the American Civil Rights Movement, "A Change is Gonna Come." I am almost ashamed to admit that it wasn't until this past week that I really made the connection between the two (Frisell's cover and the original Cooke classic). I was so locked into Frisell's version of the song it just didn't register to listen to the original. Well, I rectified that situation and listened to the Sam Cooke version (wow!) which, ultimately, prompted me to read a bit about the life and career of Sam Cooke. First off, what a gorgeous piece of music Cooke's version is--the background orchestration, the soulful performance by Cooke, all of it is just spot-on. I was surprised to learn that Cooke felt "A Change is Gonna Come" had a kind of ominousness about it leaving him reluctant to perform the song after its formal release and also becasue of the complexity of the song's arrangement.
Each verse is a different movement, with the strings carrying the first, the horns the second, and the timpani carrying the bridge. The French horn present in the recording was intended to convey a sense of melancholy. (3)
"People Get Ready" by Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions
"A Change is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke
"A Change is Gonna Come" by Bill Frisell from "History, Mystery"
The next two songs represent a sound and/or muiscal direction that I am hearing a lot lately. Not sure if it is simply what I am attracting (or attracted to) or if it represents a trend.
First up, and one of the examples of serendipity for the week, I was contacted via the Alloy web site the morning before the broadcast, by a new Finnish record label, Luova Records, a music collective working together through different bands and projects around Finland. I was literally pulling tracks together when..."bing!"...went the inbox notification. In short, I was invited to listen to recently released tracks by one of Luova's artists, Humanoita, a prog-rock, jazz, "shoegaze, stoner and post-rock and metal" band. I put that last part in quotes because that is lifted directly from their site and what immediately made me smile when I read it. "Shoegaze, stoner..." how could I not give it a listen. With those adjectives, my curiosity was piqued.
"The Pilgrim" by Huminoita from "All is Two"
If you are curious what "Humanoita" means, here is some background from the band's site: "Huminoita is a finnish word that can be related to the wind between the trees. Sounds made by the wind and the branches. Noita means 'a witch' in finnish. Humi-noita has definitely some connections to the forests and witches of Finland. Or does Huminoita have something to do with humanoids? Or maybe humanoids are witches? Who knows..." When I have definitive ordering info/links for Huminoita's releases I will update this section.
"Sun Spot" by Throttle Elevator Music from Jagged Rocks
I have featured tracks by Throttle Elevator Music in past episodes and welcomed the opportunity to play a track from their latest release, "Jagged Rocks." They remind me of an instrumental version of the '90s band Morphine. There is an alt-rock/jazz flavor to their music that is both edgy and engaging. This track features saxophonist Kamasi Washington (see next track) who is in high demand these days and whose playing is a real plus on this track.
The Next Step, Kamasi Washington , The Epic Vol.1: The Plan
Saxophonist Kamasi Washington released "The Epic" a 17 song, 3-disc jazz opus. I applaud the shear size of this release--a tremendous creative release, It is rare these days to find any artist, let alone a jazz artist, producing/releasing multi-disc conceptual creative musical concepts in one standalone release. It feels like a real throwback to the "double/triple-album" days now long passed. I am still working my way through "The Epic" and will continue to share the best bits on the show. If you want to learn more about Kamasi, hear how the album came together, and see his band play a number of tracks, live, from their album release event, check this out this documentary available on the Jazz at the Lincoln Center site.
"Close To the Edge (I. The Solid Time of Change, II. Total Mass Retain, III. I Get Up I Get Down, IV. Seasons of Man)" by Yes from "Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two"
I finished this week's show with a prog-rock classic. Yes recently released a monster box set, "Progeny: Seven Shows From Seventy-Two (14CD Deluxe Box)"---a prog-rock lovers delight. It is a massive collection of complete live recordings from seven cities, seven shows recorded during their 1972 tour of North America. I played one of my favorite tracks, "Close to the Edge" from the Durham, NC show in its entirety. I discovered this new release rather serendipitously via John Kelman, a music reviewer for All About Jazz, and someone I follow on Twitter. You can read his fine review here. You can also listen to an excerpt of "Yours is No Disgrace" captured live in Athens, Georgia.
If you want to see someone actually unbox the huge Progeny CD box set, here is a video link to the unboxing of Progeny. Unfortunately, I don't have a track to share from the newest box set release, but in its place, here is a video clip from the '72 tour and part of the previously released live album Yessongs from 1973.
If you are interested in the new release, here are some links to get you started: