The early days of fall have filled my music inbox with a cornucopia of excellent new releases. As a result, if you caught this week’s live show, you might have thought you were hearing double. Well, in essence, you did. The strength of several of this week’s new releases is how from one track to the next there is excellent variety. It seemed only fitting to explore and share this variety together. During this week’s broadcast, I featured two tracks from several new/recent releases by Wadada Leo Smith, George Burton, Brian Marsella’s iMAGiNARiUM, and Dave Douglas.
Wear your “double hearing” protection, lend an open ear, and listen to many of this week’s featured tracks below. Also, don’t forget that you can listen to all of the music from the last episode, “Serendipity” from the comfort of your browser (click here). This week’s artwork, “double hearing protection” is (tongue firmly in cheek) by yours truly.
“Yosemite: The Glaciers, the Falls, the Wells and the Valley of Goodwill 1890” by Wadada Leo Smith
The progressive music label, Cuneiform Records congratulates the
National Park Service on its Centennial with the release of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith’s ambitous double album, America’s National Parks. In spired by the beuaty and grandeur of America’s National Parks, Smith composed six works to honor the following parks/areas:
- “New Orleans: The National Culture Park USA 1718”
- “Eileen Jackson Southern, 1920–2002: A Literary National Park”
- “Yellowstone: The First National Park and the Spirit of America – The Mountains, Super-Volcano Caldera and Its Ecosystem 1872”
- “The Mississippi River: Dark and Deep Dreams Flow the River – a National Memorial Park c. 5000 BC”
- “Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks: The Giant Forest, Great Canyon, Cliffs, Peaks, Waterfalls and Cave Systems 1890”
- “Yosemite: The Glaciers, the Falls, the Wells and the Valley of Goodwill 1890”
On this week’s show, I have opted to feature the track “Yosemite: The Glaciers, the Falls, the Wells and the Valley of Goodwill 1890.” Unfortunately, given the newness of this track, streaming option aren’t available, yet. What is available, is a generous excerpt of the album’s opening track, “New Orleans: The National Culture Park USA 1718.”
“Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks: The Giant Forest, Great Canyon, Cliffs, Peaks, Waterfalls and Cave Systems 1890” by Wadada Leo Smith
See previous entry above for more info about this track and to listen to an excerpt from this album.
“First Opinion” by George Burton
This and the following track are from the brand new release by pianist Geore Burton, The Truth Of What I Am > The Narcissist. The track “First Opinion” features some interesting Fender Rhodes piano work mixed with Tim Warfield’s sax and Wayne Smith’s drums—all layered and playing off and against each other in a more avant-jazz approach.
“From Grace To Grass” by George Burton
This track from the brand new release by pianist Geore Burton, The Truth Of What I Am > The Narcissist. separates itself from the previous tune played by virtue of the excellent guitar work by Ilan Bar-Lavi. His playing asserts both an atmospheric and bluesy air that lifts this song very positively. Bar-Lavi, saxophonist Tim Warfield, and Burton marry their lines beautifully on this track—complimenting, asserting, and driving this song to very pleasant heights.
“Marketplace Haggling Session” by Brian Marsella’s iMAGiNARiUM
This track, another excellent one, from the eclectic and engaging new release Chapter One: The Clocks Have Gone Mad featuring Brian Marsella’s iMAGiNARiUM illustrates a healthy dose of the variety represented on this release. From the opening vocal rhythm scatting to the weaving together of accordion and violin, this track moves, rhythmically and melodically, across a dynamic and varied musical landscape.
“Lost In The Bubbles” by Brian Marsella’s iMAGiNARiUM
As mentioned above, this album Chapter One: The Clocks Have Gone Mad featuring Brian Marsella’s iMAGiNARiUM illustrates moves in many different directions making it both fun and engaging. The moods are varied. Like this retro bossa nova, muzak-inspired, trip down musical memory lane. It is complete with island-style guitar work dreched in heavy reverb, Herb Albert-like horns, with an almost a flamenco beat/vibe overlaid…fantastic. So much going on and so subtley genius. Great fun to listen to and drift across its melody lines.
“Unorthodox Behaviour” by Brand X
This track is from the 1976 release, Unorthodox Behaviour, by the fusion group Brand X. I was inspired to poke around their archive after watching an excellent documentary on the Genesis classic, Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. If you have not seen this documentary, highly recommend giving it a view. In this documentary, Phil Collins talks about his drum work around the time of Lamb… and how he felt his drumming was ati its best around this time. He goes on to mention working with Brand X as another example of his playing at that time. Curious, I started looking into Brand X and found this track. Very nice drum work and percussion on a whole. Phil Collins is probably more known for his solo pop songs, then his involvement with Genesis, and then his drumming. His drumming is for some reason often overlooked. He is an excellent drummer. This track you can hear the influence of Tony Williams and Billy Cobham. Collins’ work is creative yet solid with an excellent rudimentary skill across the whole kit.
As mentioned above, here is the excellent Genesis documentary on the mamking of Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
“The Search For Cat” by Nels Cline
I have been playing tracks from Nels Cline’s latest release, Lovers ever since it was first released. I snuck this short guit-orchestra piece (its so beautifully weaves the two—guitar and orchestra) into the week’s playlist to show yet another facet from this musically expansive album. This Henry Mancini composition plays like a prelude to something greater or a soundtrack to a movie scene. You, listener, decide the what and where.
“Mission Acropolis” by High Risk
This album, Dark Territory, the second by trumpeter Dave Douglas’ avant-group, High Risk, continues to explore the electro-acoustic terrain of the previous High Risk album. Gorgeous melodic layers punctuated by staccato rhythms and vast soundscapes make this track, and the album on a whole, engaging and aurally expansive.
“Spork” by Dave Douglas and Frank Woeste
This is the first release from a forthcoming release from trumpeter Dave Douglas and pianist Frank Woeste. More info on this project is available on Douglas’ Greenleaf label site. Here is nice quote lifted from the project’s site:
“Writing music based on visual art is always very subjective and intuitive,” Woeste says. Douglas adds, “The Dada Movement is such an elusive term (like so-called ‘post bop’ or ‘free jazz’) that half the fun of working with various ideas was being able to explore for ourselves and explode some of the manifestos and stances. These were great artists, and as such were mutable and fluid. In that way there is great relevance within improvised music.”
I look forward to hearing more and sharing more from this release once it is available.
You can watch a brief video featuring Douglas and Woeste talk about this project (see below).
“Concierto de Cienfuegos: III. las Dos Orillas (The Two Shores)” by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, Seville Royal Symphony Orchestra & The Romero Guitar Quartet
This was another product of serendipity striking this week. While traveling in my car, I turned on WRTI during their classical part of the day and caught the better part of this work. I was immediately struck by the wonderful infusion of flamenco guitar and rhythms. But the more I listened to it, the more I could hear a certain prog-ish-ness (perhaps a new term/genre??!). Robert Fripp’s The League of Crafty Guitarists comes to mind, as one example of many possible references. The more I listened, the more I heard an experimental /chamber/jazz energy and quality that totally resonated. All of this wholly captured my imagination. Brilliant. This 2006 recording, of which I am featuring the third part, includes two additional parts:
- Concierto de Cienfuegos: I. Noche, Lago de Mil Fantasias (Night, Lake of a Thousand Fantasies)
- Concierto de Cienfuegos: II. Canto a la Noche - Arrullos (Song to the Night - Lullaby)
Give it a full listen, highly recommended.
“Zen/Unzen” by Richard Pinhas & Barry Cleveland (Featuring: Michael Manring & Celso Alberti)
Last week I featured the opus track, “I Wish I Could Talk In Technicolor” from this excellent new release, Mu. The bass work on this track, like “I Wish…”, is excellent and captivating. This composition is not as start-to-finish driving, perhaps, as “I Wish…” but the energy is still evident throughout. Electric and electrifying. When I listen to tracks from this album, I can’t help but be transported to some sci-fi dystopian future. Not sure that is the artist’s intent, but that is my experience. Very cool. You may want to pair this track with the excellent Metheny/Mays track, As Falls Wichita, So Falls Wichita Falls Just a suggestion.