In 1996, I had a day job in the magazine business and I saw the editors always getting lots of promotional compact discs. I thought…hey I could do that. And so Juxtaposition Ezine was born. I had some major surgery on my leg and had a bit of time on my hands, so I wrote a bit, eventually including reviews of shows I went to. I stopped writing after a while because didn’t have time. Later I wrote reviews for the Downtown Music Gallery Newsletter.
Here’s what I wrote about the review of my site from the Wire in 1998.
The Wire is an internationally distributed new music publication published in London. In the June 1998 issue, Rob Young reviewed Juxtaposition Ezine for his Multimedia feature. How about that! The only thing they got wrong was the authorship of the NewBand article – that was by Philly tuning theorist Joe Monzo. I don’t know about Joe but I can live with that. Anyway… thanks to The Wire for noticing my efforts.
The Wire review:
Lots of articles here on a wide range of New Music, with emphasis on Just Intonation and microtones, but with a strong penchant for the exploits of (former) Prog rockers (there’s a recent live review of Bill Bruford and Tony Levin’s Upper Extremities at New York’s Knitting Factory). Webmaster David Beardsley has his ear to the ground in the States – he reviews a live soundtrack to the Murnau film of the Last Laugh by Newband leader Dean Drummond, performed on the instruments of Harry Partch; and he traces the interface of gamelan on the Fouth World fusions of Bill Alves. Other names that rase an eyebrow among the ever growing archive of profiles, live reviews and ruminations include Cluster, Eno, Deep Listening Band and Ornette Coleman, and there’s the odd side trip into the world of multimedia installation by the likes of sound sculptor Harry Bertoia. Plenty to mull over for browsers trying to escape the summer sun.
Pretty cool, eh?
Happy Birthday, Elliott Carter! (NEOS)
I’ve tried for thirty years to wrap my ears around Elliott Carters first two string quartets (Nonesuch). This disc of chamber pieces is a bit more accessible, I particularly like Oboe Quartet (2001) for oboe and string trio. I find that contrast between the wind and the strings make this more interesting to listen to. The same goes for the some other pieces on this album, Mosaic (2004) for chamber ensemble, Enchanted Preludes (1988) for flute and cello. The disk also features a pair of works for solo instruments and a three movement piece for soprano and ensemble.
Paul Jacobs, Arnold Schoenberg – Piano Music (Nonesuch)
It’s a classic and essential…I love this one. Schoenbergs music is somehow more accessible through his piano music.
Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts (Blue Note)
With the news of her fathers passing, I realized I’d never heard Norah Jones latest album. Not bad…I pay no attention to the lyrics, her pure voice floats above drum loops that remind me of the Black Keys weirdly enough. Nora pursues her pop muse.
Joaquín Rodrigo – Complete Concertos for Guitar and Harp (Philips)
Chick Corea – Light as a Feather (ECM)
David Toop – Sound Body (Sahmadi Sound)
Zia Mohiuddin Dagar – Raga Yamin (Nimbus)
Folks looking to expand their listening horizons beyond the late Ravi Shankar might want to check out this classic. The Dagar family specializes in Dhrupad, an ancient contemplative vocal music style, Zia MoHiuddin Dagar translates this to the ruda vina. Sparse and meditative is the music….I remember the first time I heard ZHD play his introductory low notes on this album: BEEEEWOW.
Not the same raga, but here’s a video for a taste:
Sun Ra – Angels & Demons at Play/the Nubians of Plutonia (Evidence)
An old favorite, Sun Ra sounds like he’s playing a Wurlitzer electric piano in places. The charts must be difficult to read, the heads to the tunes are full of sharp angles and square corners. The flutes are here with the exotic harmony, for that far away and alien vibe.
Weather Report – Sweetnighter (Sony)
An early WR album with much percussion and Josef Zawinul on vintage electric piano and synthesizer. Classic Wayne Shorter tracks with the master front and center.
Paul Desmond – Pure Desmond (CTI)
Connie Kay is father time on the drums, obscure Jazz Telecaster master Ed Bickert shines here. Ron Carter is easy to hear with an electric pick up on his acoustic bass. I love the sound of Paul Desmond’s horn.
Desmond is the man who wrote Take Five. From Wiki: “Desmond specified in his will that all proceeds from “Take Five” would go to the Red Cross following his death.”
David Toop – Black Chamber (Sub Rosa)
My first exposure to David Toop was his Buried Dreams album with Max Eastley and I really dug his writing in the Wire years ago. There’s a Jon Hassell/Fourth World vibe to his ’90s/post Y2k albums, different elements juxtaposed in sound…ambient.
David Toop’s blog: a sinister resonance.
New ECM release: Jack DeJohnette: Special Edition Box, press release says it all…
In the year of his 70th birthday, ECM is releasing a 4-CD box set of Jack DeJohnette recordings with his band Special Edition. This includes the Inflation Blues from 1982 which was never released on CD before.
Special Edition – a band with revolving membership and an incredible cast of soloists including David Murray, Arthur Blythe and Chico Freeman – was one of the most sophisticated vehicles for Jack DeJohnette’s all-around talents. This set brings together the albums Special Edition, Tin Can Alley, Inflation Blues and Album Album, underscoring the excitement of invention and possibility one can hear in this era of DeJohnette’s career. The recordings reveal him as an artist in touch with tradition even as he sought the cutting edge of the day, paying homage to his jazz heroes yet experimenting with new sounds. There are echoes of old New Orleans grooves and Swing-era big bands in this collection, as well as material crafted with the techniques of ’80s pop singles; there are ambitious suite-like compositions, and there is spontaneously lowdown rhythm & blues.
Recorded 1979-1984 and remastered from original tapes for ECM’s Old & New Masters series.
Vivaldi – Complete Bassoon Concertos 2 (Naxos)
Louis Couperin – Harpsichord Suites (Naxos)
Marina Puccinini & Brazil Guitar Duo – Bach Flute Sonatas (Avie)
Georg Phillipp Teleman – Violin and Viola Concertos (ESS.A.Y. Recordings)
Getting in touch with my baroque side, I love the order…the rhythmic feel, that swing that makes it baroque with the harpsichord.
Harold Budd – La Bella Vista (Shout Factory)
Harold Budd – Mysterious Skin (Commotion)
Harold Budd & Clive Wright – A Song for Lost Blossoms (Darla)
La Bella Vista & Mysterious Skin work for me, much like Budds classic albums with Brian Eno. Clive Wright’s A Song for Lost Blossoms sounds more like a lost Robert Fripp album.
John Williams – El Diablo Suelto, Guitar Music of Venezuela (Sony)
Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition/Night on Bald Mountain (RCA Living Stereo)
Wayne Shorter – Et Cetera (Blue Note)
Crimson Jazz Trio – The King Crimson Songbook, Volume Two (Inner Knot Records)