November 21, 2009

Playlist 11-21-09

* Dowland: Complete Works for Lute, Vol.1 (O’Dette) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* Vivaldi: Concertos for the Emperor (English Concert/Manze) (Harmonia Mundi SACD)
* Vivaldi: Late Concertos RV386, etc. (Carmignola/VBO/Marcon) (Sony CD)
* Vivaldi: Cello Sonatas (ter Linden/Mortensen) (Brilliant Classics 2CD)
* Telemann: Flute Concertos (Arte dei Suonatori): Cieszn 6-15-08 (FM CDR)
* J.S. Bach: Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin (Holloway) (ECM 2CD)
* Sun Ra: Secrets of the Sun (Atavistic CD)
* Sun Ra: Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, Vol.2 (Universe CD)
* Sun Ra: Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, Vol.1 (Universe CD)
* Anthony Braxton: Quartet (Coventry) 1985 (Leo 2CD)
* Henry Threadgill’s Zooid: This Brings Us To, Vol.1 (Pi CD)
* Rudresh Mahanthappa featuring Kadri Gopalnath & the Dakshina Ensemble: Kinsmen (Pi CD)
* Bill Laswell: Silent Recoil: Dub System One (Low CD)
* The Beatles: The Beatles (a/k/a The White Album) (mono) (d.2) (EMI/Apple 2CD)
* Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol.4: Live 1966 (d.2) (Columbia 2CD)
* Bob Dylan: Together Through Life (Columbia CD)
* Dr. John: Gumbo/In the Right Place (MFSL CD)
* Grateful Dead: Road Trips: Vol.3, No.1: Oakland 12-28-79 (GD/Rhino 2+1CD)
* Grateful Dead: Fieldhouse, University of Iowa, Iowa City 8-10-82 (SBD 3CDR)
* Jerry Garcia Band: Let It Rock: Keystone, Berkeley November 17 & 18, 1975 (Rhino 2CD)
* Big Star: #1 Record (Ardent/Classic LP)
* Big Star: Radio City (Ardent/Classic LP)
* Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues (Sire/Warner Bros. DVD-A)
* Television: Marquee Moon (Rhino CD)
* Television: Adventure (Rhino CD)
* Guided By Voices: Under the Bushes Under the Stars (Matador LP+EP)
* The Takeovers: Turn to Red (Fading Captain Series LP)
* Yo La Tengo: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (Matador CD)
* Radiohead: Kid A (Capitol CD)
* Gastr del Sol: Upgrade and Afterlife (Drag City EP+LP)
* Gastr del Sol: Camoufleur (Drag City LP)


Lots of new stuff this week! (It was, after all, my birthday on Sunday!) The Vivaldi cello sonatas as played by Jaap ter Linden are certainly a lovely, gentle way to start the day. This is about as languid and serene as Vivaldi gets –very, very mellow (thanks Steve & Katie!). At the other extreme, the Venice Baroque Orchestra plays Vivaldi’s music with hair-raising intensity – particularly when violinist Giuliano Carmignola is sawing away on the fiddle. These late concertos (Vivaldi wrote over 240!) had never been previously recorded and they are all first-rate. Great fun! My sister also provided Henry Threadgill’s new disc, which is, of course, excellent, if much too short! (Thanks Molly & Geoff!) My brother-in-law sent me the Rudresh Mahanthappa disc, which I had heard a lot about but had never heard. It’s a synthesis of free-bop and classical Indian scales and talas that, on paper, shouldn’t work, yet somehow it does. When the whole band really gets going in high-stakes group improvisation, the room starts to levitate. Wild! (Thanks Dave & Michiko!)

On Tuesday, I made a quick trip to Grimey’s on my lunch hour, just to get out of the office for a few minutes and dig the friendly, music-loving vibes. I poked around a bit and was about to leave empty-handed when I noticed they had the first two Big Star LPs recently reissued on the renowned audiophile label, Classic Records. I figured, what the heck, it’s my birthday! Wow, these thick slabs of translucent “Clarity Vinyl” sound freaking fantastic — and just about exactly perfect at maximum volume! Heavenly!

So there’s all that but then the Grateful Dead: Road Trips Volume 3, Number 1 also arrived in the mailbox on Monday. Now, I’ve been less than totally enthused about the Road Trips series, but they hit a home run with this one: the complete concert at the (relatively) intimate Oakland Auditorium Arena on 12-28-79. This makes a long-overdue companion to Dick’s Picks Vol. 5 (released way back in 1996!) which contains the complete 12-26 concert; but I think this is a better show all around. (And if you order now, you get a “bonus disc” containing choice selections from 12-30). I have to admit to being quite fond of the early Brent Mydland years, if only because that is when I personally “got on the bus” and hearing this version of the band brings back some fond memories. But Brent’s hot-rodded Rhodes electric piano sounds dated and thin to some (personally, I like it). Nevertheless, his Hammond B-3 organ (and occasional Prophet-5 synthesizer) added some welcome textures to the music. Furthermore, there can be no denying that Brent’s arrival had an invigorating effect on the band –– particularly Garcia — but this period (c.1979-1986) is woefully underrepresented in the official discography. For that reason alone, this is a welcome release indeed. Note that this is not a “soundboard” tape, but a “Betty Board”, a separate two-track mix made by Betty Cantor-Jackson to a Nagra reel-to-reel and it sounds fabulous. And, if you’re wondering, it sounds much, much better than the circulating version – and that’s saying something. Only available only at

Also in the mailbox was another tasty vault release of an early incarnation of the Jerry Garcia Band which briefly featured the mercurial Nicky Hopkins on piano and Elvis’s own Ron Tutt on drums. Hopkins’s precocious virtuosity on the piano sometimes threatens to overwhelm the proceedings – he even takes to addressing the crowd and introducing the band as if he is the leader! But Garcia takes it all in stride and it’s obvious everyone is having a real good time. Recorded to 16-track by the indomitable Betty and mixed by current GD sound guru, Jeffrey Norman, these CDs sounds amazingly realistic and three-dimensional. This is a nice choice that fills an important historical gap in Garcia solo discography. It's worth it just to hear Nicky Hopkins in Deadworld. Fun stuff!


Speaking of the Grateful Dead, were Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd the Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir of the nascent NYC Punk/New Wave scene? Yes, they were. Just listen to the sprawling, ten-minute title track brimming with ecstatic dual-guitar heroics on their 1977 debut album, Marquee Moon. Case closed.

1 comment:

Sam said...

Your mailman's been busy! :) Hope to see a report on the new Threadgill soon. Here's my playlist for last week:

Playlist 2009-11-23

*Anthony Braxton & William Parker: 2007-05-15 Vicenza, Italy (CDR)
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2008-12-26
*Rodger Coleman & Sam Byrd: 2009-07-23
*John Coltrane Quartet: 1960-06-10 Jazz Gallery, NYC (CDR)
*Joe Harriott Quintet: Free Form
*Sam Rivers: Fushcia Swing Song
*Wadada Leo Smith: Lake Biwa
*Sun Ra: Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, vol. 2 (Universe)
*Sun Ra: 1971-10-19 Aarhus, Denmark (CDR) disc 1
*Sun Ra: Detroit Jazz Center, disc 3 (1980-12-26) (CDR)
*Acid Mothers Temple: Acid Mothers Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O.
*Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label
*Grateful Dead: 1968-11-01 Silver Dollar Fair, Chico, CA (CDR)
*Grateful Dead: 1968-12-07 Louisville, KY (CDR)
*Grateful Dead: Dick's Picks 25 (1978-05-10/11) disc 2
*Mickey Hart & the Hartbeats: 1968-10-30 Matrix, S.F. (CDR)
*Eddie Hinton: Very Extremely Dangerous
*Husker Du: Warehouse: Songs and Stories
*George Jones: Cup of Loneliness disc 1
*NPG: Exodus
*OOIOO: Armonico Hewa
*Pere Ubu: Datapanik in the Year Zero (disc 4: 390 Degrees of Simulated Stereo, vol. 2)
*Yo La Tengo: I Am Not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass

Reading log 2009-11-23

*Gibson, William. Virtual Light (started/2nd time)
*Baker, Nicholson. Size of thoughts (finished)
*Crumb, R. Genesis (finished)
*Gibson, William. Mona Lisa Overdrive (finished)
*Irwin, Robert. Arabian Nights: A Companion (in progress)