Dinner Time Stay-cation

The experience was akin to an International Cafe commercial (Anyone remember those? “Jean-Luc!”).  Sitting at the dinner table with my family – imagine it:

I’m holding a bowl of soup up, inhaling the rich scent, looking through the gently curling steam at my loving husband, chef and creator of this amazing dish.   The buttery-richness of homemade stock mixed with kabocha squash.  Every sip brought the soft focus back to this dinner time pastoral, blurring out the loud and fussing toddler just out of frame to my left, probably throwing food on the ground and shouting no or something like that.  Another sip.  I look out the sliding glass door to see the fading colors of yet another beautiful sunset.  The perfect end to what must have been a perfect day.  “Honey,” I didn’t say because I don’t call anyone that, “this soup is perfection.  Every swallow is like going on vacation.”  I actually did say that second part.  And it was true.  So rich and sumptuous.  So yummy.

That’s when I learned that, in addition to kabocha squash and chicken stock, the soup also had an entire stick of butter in it.

Whatever.  I don’t care.  Calgon, take me away…

Raw Frame, “Krokovia”

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“Elegant and melancholy” Italian jazz trio: guitar, bass, drums. Tracks don’t swing as much as meander. They build up and fall to pieces and change abruptly. Sometimes it’s kitschy.
The guitar has a subtle reverb. The drummer is good and gets quite active at times. I’d be interested to hear it next to the right Jack Diamond record.
Track 9 is a Charles Mingus tune.

West Hill Blast Quartet, “Live At Cafe Oto”

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Old school pianoless free quartet. Collective melody is delivered in bleats, trills, and high speed arpeggios. Then, a more lyrical horn statement. Drums are skittishly verbose. Trumpet player overblows. Group freakout, then solo focus, then back. Earnest. Drummer and bassist push hard. Recorded live at a cafe in NE London between a vintage clothing store and a bicycle shop, May 2015.
Part 3 features an extended drum solo with bicycle bells, whistles, and harmonica, before a reedy sax solo.
Part 4 features autoharp and harmonica drum workout.
Part 5 has bowed bass, live delays and members called out by name at the end of the track.

First (Almost) Concert Experience

My dad was in town playing with the Cypress Quartet.  John John’s first concert!  We met Opapa in front of the venue.  John John was excited.

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We sat in the very back, knowing that at any moment during the concert we might have to bolt.  John John sat on my lap barely making it through the chamber society’s lengthy announcements of their upcoming schedule, but sat up when the musicians entered and walked up to the stage.  He clapped, a member of the audience.

But they didn’t sit down to play.  First was the informational talk on what we were about to hear.  You can imagine how high that flew for a two year old.  We had to leave before the music even began.  (wah-wahhh goes the sad trombone.)

Happily, John John got his own private concert the very next morning.

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He liked that very much.

“Indian Music Of The Southwest”, Folkways Records

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Songs, with and without drums. Recorded by Laura Boulton, groundbreaking female ethnomusicologist. Album released in 1941.

“The Indian sings with his jaws only slightly open and there is very little change in the position of his jaws or lips while singing.” “Nonsense syllables are common.” Pure melody, no fixed scale, and only occasional heterophony. “When a soloist performs, it is not because he has a beautiful voice and wants to give aesthetic pleasure but because he has a song which has particular value or power.” The singing and drumbeat patterns coincide but do not match. “It is necessary to put aside … fixed concepts in order to understand.” Our predecessors on this land used these songs to deliver rain, prosperity, and victory in battle.

Lisa Mezzacappa & Bait & Switch, “What Is Known”

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Mezzacappa is a triple rarity: female-bandleader, female-bassist, and bassist-bandleader. She calls Bait & Switch her “garage jazz quartet.” Collective improvisations, odd meters, jazz cats play rock’n’roll. Guitar tone is distorted, reverbless, sax screams passionately a la Rahsaan, drums subtle and controlled. Reminiscent of James “Blood” Ulmer, Sebadoh, Zappa. #5 Solo bass tune from Air (jazz group). #4 Captain Beefheart tune. #9 Mingus-esque, group wailing session into bass solo.

Aaron Bennett- tenor sax. John Finkbeiner- guitar. Lisa Mezzacappa- bass. Vijay Anderson- drums.

Jen Shyu, “Sounds and Cries of the World”

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Very personal folk opera art songs. A Taiwanese-East Timorian out of Peoria, Illinois. Shyu (SHOO) sings a mix of her own writings with traditional songs and poetry accompanying herself on Asian string instruments and backed by a jazz quartet. Microtonal flourishes blur into Western vibrato. Libretto is in English.
Track 9 text based on East Timor’s Report On Reconciliation, a sad saga of rape and torture.
Track 2 a very compelling story about a girl eating and being eaten by a beautiful white flower.

White Out w/ Nels Cline, “Accidental Sky”

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White Out is Lin Culbertson on electronics and Tom Surgal on drums and they have gigged with Nels Cline for fifteen years. Recorded in Tom and Lin’s apartment, this is their first album together. Sometimes droning, sometimes percussive, ‘wet’ sounding. Snare drum has the strainer relaxed. Knobs are twiddled. Song titles refer to sky, clouds, mist, and light: images and ideas in constant flux. Active but not aggressive. Songs peter out.

Liberty Ellman, “Radiate”

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Pi recordings, Jazz CD
Tuba solo is on track three.
Jagged spectral funk from Brooklyn guitarist associated with Henry Threadgill/Zooid, and M-Base. Prolific studio engineer, a nice recording. Bay Area-raised, played early gigs with The Coup. Part groovin’, part advanced compositions. Rhythm section bass, drums and tuba.
Tracks 1,3,5 hit harder. Tracks 2,4 more exploratory. They’d be good two in a row. Track 9 has breakcore drum programming.
Previous- Ophiuchus Butterfly (Jazz CD)
Sideman/engineer- Henry Threadgill/Zooid, Steve Coleman, Vijay Iyer
Also on Pi Recordings- A lot. Steve Lehman, plays sax here and leads his own group.