Monthly Archives: June 2012

Kyle Gann/Sarah Cahill – Long Night (Cold Blue)

Featuring Sarah Cahill on three unsynchronized pianos, Long Night was written in 1980 when the composer was only 24.

The piece has rippling quality, like soft light illuminating a quiet room off an antique mirror, on a cloudy afternoon just before Easter, on the way down stream to later. Ambient without being minimal, classical without the powdered wig and contemporary without being electronic.

David Beardsley

Originally published in the Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter.


Keith Jarrett – Belonging (ECM)

An old friend gave me a turntable and this is the first thing I listened to. Phew! This is so hip, I dig this “European” band so much more than his current trio or the “American” band. The music deserves a reunion of these guys – saxophonist Jan Garbarek, bassist Palle Danielsson, and drummer Jon Christensen with Keith Jarrett.

How about a box set of live recordings to celebrate this great band on ECM?

Spectrum Road (Palmetto Records)

Works for me, it’s the best tribute to Tony William’s Lifetime that I’ve heard yet. Jack Bruce and the band sound perfect.

Iannis Xenakis – Orchestral Works, Vol. 5 (Timpani)
Iannis Xenakis – Works for Piano (Mode)

Xenakis knocks me out… unpredictable on the first listen, crazy sliding pitches, insane spiky piano, terrifying.

But I gotta be in the mood for it.

Morton Feldman – Last Pieces (Sub Rosa)
Morton Feldman – Something Wild: Music for Films (Kairos)
Morton Feldman – Patterns in a Chromatic Field (Tzadik)

When I first heard Feldman, I think he was probably only gone a few years and already new recordings of performances were multiplying.

Something Wild is an odd collection of  music for films (obviously, gotta listen again), while the solo piano on Last Pieces always works for me. I’ve heard Patterns in a Chromatic Field performed twice, once by these musicians, Charles Curtis, cello and Aleck Karis, piano.

Patterns and Last Pieces are essential Feldman.

I became aware of Art Jarvinen aka While You Were Art a few years ago.

From The Real Frank Zappa Book:

Art Jarvinen…asked me to write an arrangement of “While You Were Out,” a solo from the Shut Up ‘n Play Yer Guitar album, for his ensemble to play at one of the Monday Evening Concerts (remember the postcard with “We will be unable to play your piece because it requires a left-handed piano”? — those guys — they’re still in business). I created the arrangement on the Synclavier, and, using another of the machine’s features, printed out the parts. When he saw them, he realized that it was a difficult piece, and worried that his ensemble wouldn’t have enough time to rehearse it, as the concert was imminent. “You’re in luck,” I told him, “because you won’t even have to play it. All you have to do is learn to pretend to play it, and I’ll have the Synclavier take care of the rest. Just go out there and do what all the ‘Big Rock Groups’ have done for years — lip-sync it and make sure you look good on stage.” I made them a tape copy of the Synclavier performance and told him, “The way to pull this off is to have wires hanging out of your instruments leading into amplifiers and effects boxes on the floor. Any sound the audience hears that might be deemed ‘synthesized’ will be overlooked because there’s a wire coming out of your instrument.” Final result? The man who ran the concert series didn’t know the difference. The two classical reviewers from the major Los Angeles newspapers didn’t notice anything either. Nobody in the audience knew, except for David Ocker, my computer assistant, who had helped prepare the materials. Nobody knew that the musicians never played a note. It produced quite a scandal in ‘modern music circles.’ Several members of the ensemble, mortified by all the hoo-ha, swore they would never “do it again.” (Do what again? Prove to the world that nobody really knows what the fuck is going on at a contemporary music concert?)


Art died in late 2010. Here’s a blog post/obit by Kyle Gann and Art’s web pages.
Edit: David Ocker on his friend Art.

His music is obscure, not widely heard. Here’s a rare performance of his string quartet that showed up on utube recently, performed at Beyond Music at Beyond Baroque, by the Formalist  Quartet.

Art Jarvinen: 100 cadences with four melodies, a chorale, and a coda (with bells on!). Formalist Quartet performing for the “Art Jarvinen birthday concert” at Beyond Baroque, January 27, 2012.

Conspiracy of Crows (Kathy Pisaro at Beyond Baroque, January 27, 2012.)

Henry Threadgill Zooid – Tomorrow Sunny / The Revelry (PI)
Ravi Coltrane – Spirit Fiction (Blue Note)

I heard these two streaming online at NPR’s First Listen, a great way to preview albums before I run out and get a copy. The Threadgill grew on me, Ravi is his own man…maybe I’ll get these somewhere down the line.

Brian Eno, Icebreaker with BJ Cole – Apollo (Cantaloupe)

I also heard this streaming online at The Bird Cage, I love it. I’ll have to get a copy. It should be in the stores or what’s left of them, this week.

Don Pullen and Don Moye – Milano Strut (Black Saint)
Don Pullen – the Sixth Sense (Black Saint)
Don Pullen and Sam Rivers – Capricorn Rising (Black Saint)

Oh yeah baby! (particularly Capricorn Rising)

Tony Williams – Life Time (Blue Note)
John McLaughlin, Jaco Pastorius, Tony Williams – Trio of Doom (Columbia Legacy)

Terry Riley – Descending Moonshine Dervishes (Kuckuck Schallplatten)

I was thrilled to hear this classic on WKCR one afternoon, while I was driving past Cony Island, down the Belt Parkway. The next day I even heard Riley’s Mescaline Mix. New York radio is the best.

Julian Bream and John Williams – Live (RCA Red Seal/Sony)
Harry Partch – Delusion of the Fury (Columbia)
Iannis Xenakis – Xenakis Percussion Works (Mode)

John Cage/Morton Feldman – Music for Keyboard 1935-1948 (New World)
Morton Feldman – Music of Morton Feldman (CRI)
Morton Feldman – Piano and String Quartet (Elektra/Nonesuch)

Early one morning in December 1993, I was listening to Piano and String Quartet and I checked my answering machine to find a message from Dancing Bob that Frank Zappa had died. I will always remember that moment when I hear this piece.

I’ve been working my way through the 18 disc Messiaen Edition (Warner Classics). It could have been mastered a bit louder (seriously), but I’m up to disk 9.

Today is Harry Partch and Terry Riley’s birthday.

Grachan Moncur III – Evolution
McCoy Tyner – Supertrios

The drummer is the common link between these two recordings. Tony Williams at 18(!) in 1963 on Evolution and then years later on Supertrios in 1977. The Moncour album is new to me, recorded at about the time Tony started playing with Miles…great sensitivity to the resonance of the drums.

Tony plays half the Tyner album and Jack DeJohnette plays on the rest. And what an album! Many people told me what a great album this is and now I know for myself. Tony is so exciting because he constantly surprises me. This would be the next thing to check out after his playing with Miles Davis.

Why did I wait so long?


Edit: I heard Tony play once at the Bottom Line, NYC date (1991?) of a six date tour with Jan Hammer. Rock tunes…Miami Vice, Led Boots, Blue Wind and Tony tore the place up. I’m so fortunate to have even heard Tony play, even in a rock band.

Check out his playing with Miles Davis, the Lifetime with Larry Young, those early Blue Note dates when he was still a teenager….listen to the truth.


Miles Davis – On the Corner
Miles Davis – Jack Johnson

Wait a year and it all sounds so fresh again.

Don Pullen featuring Sam Rivers – Capricorn Rising
Don Pullen – Warriors
Don Pullen – the Magic Triangle

For years I’ve posted what I’ve listened to during the day. I’ve been doing this on Facebook since Fall 2008, now I’ve decided to start doing this on the blog.

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