Monthly Archives: December 2018

Wadada Leo Smith turns 77 today, December 18, 2018.

Today Is The Question: Ted Panken on Music, Politics and the Arts

In recognition of trumpeter-composer Wadada Leo Smith’s 77th birthday, here’s the text of a long feature that I wrote about him for Downbeat last year in conjunction with his multiple “Critics Poll” victories as “Best Trumpet,” “Best Artist” and “Best Album”


Late last December, just after Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith turned 75, well before Downbeat’s critics anointed him “Best Trumpet,” “Best Artist” and “Best Album” for 2017, John Lindberg spoke about “the rare arc” that has brought his old friend to “arguably the most productive time of his career.”

“That Wadada has elevated so much in notoriety, recognition and output of work speaks to his endurance, determination and sheer grit, his complete dedication and focus on his work for 40 years,” said Lindberg, who first played with Smith in a creative orchestra concert in 1978, has played bass regularly with Smith’s Golden Quartet and Organic ensembles since 2004…

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Swedish guitarist Göran Söllscher performs works by Bach, Dowland, Pärt and the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.”

maxresdefaultGöran Söllscher (born 31 December 1955) is a Swedish award-winning virtuoso classical guitarist known for his broad range of musical interpretations, ranging from Bach to the Beatles. Söllscher’s international career began during his years of education at the Royal Conservatory of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark when at the age of 23, he won the Concours International de Guitare in Paris, 1978. He was signed by German record label Deutsche Grammophon, the largest label featuring classical guitarists. As of 2005, Söllscher had released 19 records, which altogether have sold over a million copies.” – Wikipedia

Some new things that came out in 2018…I can’t check out everything I want to, but I try. My recent listening lists here.

no particular order:

John Luther Adams – Everything That Rises (Cold Blue)
Kyle Gann – Hyperchromatica (Other Minds)
Mary Jane Leach – (f)lute songs (Modern Love)
Peter Garland – The Landscape Scrolls (Starkland)
Stefano Scodanibbio, Daniele Roccato, Ludus Gravis Ensemble – Alisei (ECM)
Jon Hassell – Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One)
Brian Eno – Music For Installations (Opal)

Andrew Cyrille, Wadada Leo Smith, Bill Frisell – Lebroba (ECM)
Bobo Stenson – Contra La Indecisión (ECM)
Cuong Vu – Change In The Air (RareNoise Records)
Dave Holland – Uncharted Territories (feat Evan Parker, Craig Taiborn and Ches Smith) (Dare2 Records)
David Liebman, Adam Rudolph, Tatsuya Nakatani – the Unknowable (RareNoiseRecords)
Florian Weber – Lucent Waters (ECM)
John Coltrane – Both Directions At Once: The Lost Album (Impulse!)
King Crimson – Meltdown (Live in Mexico 2017) (Discipline Global Mobile)
Kris Davis and Craig Taborn – Octopus (Pyroclastic)
Marc Copland – Gary: Piano Solo (Illusions)
Mark Turner and Ethan Iverson – Temporary Kings (ECM)
Miles Okazaki – Work, the Complete Compositions of Thelonious Monk (Not On)
Tyshawn Sorey – Pillars (Firehouse 12)
Wayne Shorter – Emanon (Blue Note)
Allan Holdsworth Tokyo Dream 1984
John McLaughlin & Mahavishnu – Live in SF 2018 (Abstract Logix)

“He who knows others is wise; he who knows himself is enlightened.”
― Lao Tzu

“No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself. No man is free who cannot command himself.”
― Pythagoras

Know thyself. These words, which are generally ascribed to Socrates, actually lie at the basis of many systems and schools far more ancient than the Socratic.”
― George Gurdjieff


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Today Is The Question: Ted Panken on Music, Politics and the Arts

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a sinister resonance


Kyle Gann on music after the fact