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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sad news, New Albion closes shop and the catalog is now digital only.

My first exposure to Morton Feldman was a New Albion recording of Rothko Chapel and Why Patterns?. This was a rich catalog, full of wonder with many classic recordings, many first recordings by Terry Riley, Harold Budd, John Cage, Stephen Scott, Stefano Scodanibbio, Deep Listening, Pauline Oliveros, Stuart Dempster, Kyle Gann, John Luther Adams, Lou Harrison, Michael Harrison, David Hykes, Alvin Curran, Rova Saxophone Quartet and many others.

After 25 years of making and releasing new music records, New Albion has closed its retail shop.  Whatever existing stock we have on the shelves will be sent to the individual artists this summer so you may still have a chance to get copies directly from them. We will still manage the digital sales and all the master licensing requests that come in. Thank you very much for your ongoing interest and support of New Albion. Our audience has always been artists, musicians, composers, dancers and all those who like to start out the windows of perception. The actual infrastructure that New Albion was created in, one that resembled an independent record label, no longer exists and has yet to be replaced in the new order, so we are moving on.

http://www.newalbion.com

discography at http://www.discogs.com

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Mosaic Select: Beirach & Liebman
Mosaic Select: Pendulum

Pendulum is a three disk live set from ’79, nice to hear them tackle Well You Needn’t by Monk. More interesting is the Richie Bierach and David Liebman set. Disk one, Lookout Farm from ’76 sounds dated. Disk two is a great duet and disk three, 1988/1991 live shows from Quest smoke. Liebman is almost always a joy.

Jon Hassell -– Last night the moon came dropping its clothes in the street (ECM)

Previously reviewed for DMG. This is still a very exciting recording for me, it’s a shame that Hassell doesn’t record more, but he’s getting on in years…someone should throw a lot of money at him and maybe the legend will give new material a serious thought. Please.

Mal Waldron/Steve Lacy – Sempre Amore (Soul Note)
Steve Lacy/Mal Waldrom – CommunIque (Soul Note)
Steve Lacy Trio – the Window (Soul Note)

Totally digging it, Steve Lacys soprano tone is much earthier than those that came later like Coltrane, Shorter and Liebman. I like how he digs into the low range.

Billy Hart – All Our Reasons (ECM)

Just checking it out.

Wim van Dullemen, piano – Gurdjieff’s Music for the Movements (Channel Crossings)
Keith Jarrett – Gurdjieff, Sacred Hymns (ECM)

Vintage, quiet, dusty old music…but I like it. Robert Fripp’s very public interest in Gurdjieff  moved me to buy a few books 32 years ago, then I later heard some of the Jarrett album on WNYC’s New Sounds.

McCoy Tyner – Time for Tyner  (Blue Note)
McCoy Tyner – Today and Tomorrow  (Blue Note)

Sam Rivers – Waves (Tomato)
Miles Davis – Live at the Fillmore East, March 7, 1970: It’s About that Time (Columbia/Legacy)
Miles Davis – Black Beauty: Live at the Fillmore West (Columbia/Legacy)
Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock – 1+1 (Polygram)
Bobby Hutcherson – Stick-Up! (Blue Note)
Bill Dixon – Vade Mecum (Soul Note)
Bill Dixon – Thoughts (Soul Note)
Bill Dixon – Son of Sisyphus (Soul Note)
Marilyn Crispell -Woodstock Concert (1995) (Music & Arts)
Eberhard Weber – Stages of a Long Journey (ECM)
Keith Jarrett – The Köln Concert (ECM)
Anat Fort with Paul Motian – A Long Story (ECM)
Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Music from the Penguin Cafe (Obscure/Editions EG)
John Cage – In a Landscape (Catalyst/RCA)
Leo Kottke – 6- and 12-String Guitar (Takoma)
Pink Floyd – Meddle (Capitol)
David Gilmour – Live in Gdańsk (EMI/Columbia)

Jan Garbarek with Terje Rypdal – SART (ECM)

Jan Garbarek had a lot of interesting guitarists in his band, but I also like his early saxophone playing, quite a raw, distinctive beast. I think his sound got more polished and slicker as time wore on, not what it used to be, but more accessible to folks over the years.

On this album:  Terje Rypdal, Bobo Stenson, Arild Andersen and Jon Christensen, musicans who would go on to make many albums for ECM as leaders and sideman. A box with a few albums from this era is coming out on ECM any day now and the big news is the live recording with Keith Jarrett’s European group  from the vaults.

Terje Rypdal was special, a perfect match for Garbarek’s edgy intonation. Distinctive rock guitar that’s a combination of non-tempered whammy bar vibrato and volume swell atmospherics drenched in reverb, he’s been cited as an influence by many such as David Torn, Bill Frisell and others. He recently played a rare show in NYC.

Jan Garbarek and Ralph Towner – Dis (ECM)

Duets from 1977 + wind harp(!). I used to hear this on WNYC’s New Sounds all the time in the 1980. There’s some really beautiful textures here, Jan even plays some wooden flute, the wind harp adds some mysterious drones.

Solstice with Jan, Ralph and band was one of my first ECM albums, probably because of an article in Guitar Player. Guitarist Towner wasn’t just playing jazz on a classical guitar, but doubling on 12 string and playing with his fingernails and classical technique. More on the amazing Ralph later.

Jan Garbarek with John Abercrombie and Nana Vasconcelos – Eventyr (ECM)

There’s some stunning textures on this album. I hear birds, bells…

Jan Garbarek with Bill Frisell – Wayfarer (ECM)

An early 1983 listen to jazz legend, guitarist Bill Frisell. Very listenable.

Jan Garbarek with David Torn – It’s OK to Listen to the Gray Voice (ECM)

An early high profile gig for Torn, although he’d already made a few appearances on the label by 1985. His electronic simulation of tape loops still sound a lot like this today. More on Torn later.

Jan Garbarek and Miroslav Vitous – Atmos (ECM)

A particularly beautiful duet album with Weather Report founding member Vitous on bass.

Al DiMeola – Elegant Gypsy
Al DiMeola – Casino
Al DiMeola – Scenario (Columbia)

Yikes! I do like Scenario, always have…it’s really a Jan Hammer album masquerading as a DiMeola platter. Extensive Fairlight CMI (early sampling workstation) programming by Jan gives the album a particular dreamy sound. I remember buying it because off duty King Crimson members Tony Levin and Bill Bruford were on one cut. Al always seemed to be such a tool of the industry and didn’t quite live up to the hype for a lot of us. His playing in Return to Forever was a bit of a disappointment after he replaced the great Bill Connors. I’m not familiar with his work after this album.

Tangerine Dream – Phaedra (Virgin)
Tangerine Dream – Rubycon (Virgin)
Brian Eno – Discreet Music (Editons EG)

Three electronic music classics from my teenage years. Murky and dreamy Sunday morning music, perfect for resting between trips on a busy weekend.

Joe Zawinul – Zawinul (Columbia)

Recently found, it’s been lost in the collection for months. I love this album…the solo album between Miles Davis and Weather Report.

Years ago I decided I had to check out some Jazz guitarists. I headed down to the used record store with a list of names copied from Guitar Player Magazine and found a stash of good stuff. Apparently they had just bought a guitar album collection that had a nice selection of Jimmy Raney. I really resonated with his playing, Raney sounded like he had adsorbed a lot of Bop and Bach and I still love his playing to this day.

Side one

Suite for Guitar Quartet (1957)

Jazz guitar and a string quartet, quite an amazing sound. I really like the chamber jazz vibe. The liner notes compare this piece to Béla Bartók and Alban Berg, I would say this is a bit more accessable than those composers. Also we find out that Raney studied with Hal Overton, who arranged the charts for the Thelonious Monk at Town Hall album. I’d love to hear someone talented transcribe, perform and record this piece, so it doesn’t slip away in the sands of time like an out of print record. Jimmy is such an important player and it seems like only true aficionados….Jazz guitarists, historians and record store employees seem to know who he is.

Side two

Here we hear 1969 Raney in his usual context, a jazz quintet with Bobby Jones (tenor sax), Bob Lam (piano), Jack Brengle (bass) and John Roy (drums). Four tunes, Bernie’s Tune, Darn That Dream, Stella by Starlight and ‘Round Midnight are exactly what I expect from the crafty and inspired Raney.

Here’s what All Music has to say:

This important Muse LP, only the fourth release by the label, teams together a pair of very interesting and never previously released sessions featuring guitarist Jimmy Raney. The first side, from 1957, has Raney joined by violin, viola, cello, bassist Peter Ind and drummer Nick Stabulas for his five-part “Suite for Guitar Quintet.” the music is influenced a bit by composers Béla Bartók (one section is called “Homage to Bartok”) and Alan Berg, but still swings in its own fashion and is a superior showcase for Raney’s beautiful sound. The second side has four jazz standards (including “Bernie’s Tune” and “Stella by Starlight”) performed by Raney in 1969 in a quintet with tenor saxophonist Bobby Jones, pianist Bob Lam, bassist Jack Brengle, and drummer John Roy. Recorded live at a gig in Louisville, KY, this session was Raney’s only recording of the 1965-1973 period and only his second date since the 1957 string set. The hard to find Muse LP is highly recommended.

As previously noted, an old friend of mine recently gave me a very nice turntable recently, but now it’s a rare moment when I have a chance to listen. So I pick my vinyl for listening carefully….

I picked this up about 22-24 years ago for $3.99 and apparently it’s a rare one. Out of print and shouldn’t be.

Recently I called for ECM to release some live recordings by Keith Jarrett’s European Quartet…little did know they were going to do exactly that.

Next…how about all those unreleased on CD John Abercrombie albums and some live recordings from that quartet with Richie Beirach? Arcade (1978), Abercrombie Quartet (1979) and M (1980) plus an album with Ralph Towner, Five Years Later (1982).

U.S. Release date: August 7, 2012

ECM is particularly pleased to present this two-disc set by one of the most outstanding groups of its era, the group often referred to as ‘Belonging’ or Keith Jarrett’s ‘European Quartet’, heard here in a previously unreleased concert recording from 1979. After more than three decades in the archive, this “sleeper”—an original analog recording, newly mixed and mastered in 96 kHz/24 bit—now awakes, sounding thoroughly alive and of the moment.

Sleeper is a significant addition to the group’s small discography, until now comprised of the albums Belonging (1974), My Song (recorded 1977, released 1978), Nude Ants (recorded 1979), and Personal Mountains (1979, released 1989). The pieces performed by the quartet on April 16, 1979, at Tokyo’s Nakano Sun Plaza were Jarrett compositions—“Personal Mountains”, “Innocence”, “So Tender”, “Oasis”, “Chant of the Soil”, “Prism” and ”New Dance”—all written for this ensemble (in later years, “Prism” and “So Tender” would be reinterpreted by the “Standards” trio), all delivered with enormous verve. This was a group that could play very freely, and joyously, inside the melodic and rhythmic structures set up or implied by Keith Jarrett’s writing, with an extraordinary and unforced sense of flow. As Jarrett said at the time: “I myself, as a so-called leader, wish very, very often to blend with the other three musicians and that situation [the Belonging band] allows that, because no one is fighting with anyone else. Everyone is just trying to make the thing transparent and clear and feeling good.”

Throughout Sleeper exceptional improvisational exchanges, dynamic episodes of surging energy and lyrical passages of wild beauty abound. The interplay between Jarrett and Garbarek is uncanny, and the Danielsson/Christensen rhythm team swings wildly and delightfully. Jan Garbarek wrote about the Belonging experience in the liner notes to his Selected Recordings collection a few years ago: “It was a crucial time for me as a young and relatively inexperienced musician to work closely with someone so musically advanced as Keith, and I feel I benefited tremendously from it. His touch, his chord movements, the always present rhythm, the surprising melodic turns, the ability to make the piano sing in such a unique way, complexity and simplicity, abstraction and earthiness hand in hand… I was more or less in awe the whole time, not always wanting to join in with what was going on between Keith, Palle and Jon, I just enjoyed listening to them so much! The one thing that stands out in my memory, though, was the way we would play melodies in unison, in fact I felt very much a sense of unison with the way Keith made music as a whole, as if belonging…”

The Belonging quartet came together initially for the album of the same name, and the musical compatibility of its members was instantly striking. Jarrett had been well aware of these musicians since the late 1960s, had played with Palle Danielsson and Jon Christensen in Norway, and his admiration for Jan Garbarek’s saxophone approach had already led him to write the string music of Luminessence for Garbarek to play over.

In the five years between the first album and the end of the story Belonging played infrequently enough for Jarrett to tell one journalist that it was less an ensemble than a ‘special event’. The pianist had other pressing demands on his time, then, including tours with a demanding American quartet in the final phase of its existence, and a burgeoning concert life as a popular solo improviser. In between, there was Belonging. Jarrett wrote music for the strengths of the individual players and for the sound they created as a unit, and the classic My Song album was recorded in 1977 after a series of nine concerts with the ECM touring festival, “Evenings of Improvised Music.”

In 1979 came the tour of Japan from which Personal Mountains and now Sleeper were drawn and, the following month, the New York concerts at the Village Vanguard that generated the Nude Ants album. And then the story was finished. As Ian Carr was to observe in his Jarrett biography, “The influence of this quartet is out of all proportion to its brief life. Musicians on all instruments have been influenced and inspired by Keith Jarrett’s work in general, but also by this quartet in particular. The European Quartet ceased to exist when it was at the height of its creativity.” Sleeper confirms that this was indeed the case.

Keith Jarrett: piano, percussion
Jan Garbarek: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, percussion
Palle Danielsson: double-bass
Jon Christensen: drums, percussion

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