October 22, 2011

Playlist Week of 10-22-11

Mary Halvorson - The Stone, NYC 2011-10-15

* Miles Davis: Relaxin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet (Prestige/DCC CD)†
* Miles Davis: Cookin’ With The Miles Davis Quintet (Prestige/DCC CD)†
* Miles Davis: The Complete In a Silent Way Sessions (d.1,3) (Columbia/Legacy 3CD)†
* Miles Davis: Agharta (CBS/Sony 2CD)
* Miles Davis: Pangaea (CBS/Sony 2CD)
* John Coltrane: The Heavyweight Champion: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (Atlantic/Rhino 7CD)†
* John Coltrane: Impressions (Impulse! CD)†
* John Coltrane: Coltrane (Impulse! CD)†
* John Coltrane: Crescent (Impulse! CD)†
* John Coltrane: Ballads (Impulse! CD)†
* Bill Evans: The Complete Live At The Village Vanguard 1961 (Riverside/Concord 3CD)†
* Stan Getz & Jao Gilberto: Getz/Gilberto (Verve CD)†
* Stan Getz & Charlie Byrd: Jazz Samba (Verve CD)†
* Antonio Carlos Jobim: The Composer of Definado, Plays (Verve CD)†
* Air (Henry Threadgill/Fred Hopkins/Steve McColl): Live Air (Black Saint/Soul Note CD)
* Air (Henry Threadgill/Fred Hopkins/Steve McColl): Air Mail (Black Saint/Soul Note CD)
* Bill Dixon: Bill Dixon In Italy, Volume One (Black Saint/Soul Note CD)
* Bill Dixon: Bill Dixon In Italy, Volume Two (Black Saint/Soul Note CD)
* Joëlle Léandre/Phillip Greenlief: That Overt Desire Of Object (Relative Pitch CD)
* Ingrid Laubrock Sleepthief: Sleepthief (Intakt CD)
* Ingrid Laubrock Sleepthief: The Madness Of Crowds (Intakt CD)
* Paradoxical Frog (Kris Davis/Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey): Paradoxical Frog (Clean Feed CD)
* Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up: Actionspeak (482 Music CD)
* LTJ Bukem: Journey Inwards (Kinetic 2CD)†
* Grateful Dead: Jahrhundert Halle, Frankfurt, W. Germany 4/26/72 (GDP/Rhino 4CD)
* Wilco: The Whole Love (dBpm/Epitaph 2LP)



Just got back from a weeklong vacation in New York City—the Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps—and we had an amazing trip. We timed it so we could see our favorite guitarist, Mary Halvorson, on Friday and Saturday at The Stone and she did not disappoint. The first night was devoted to Halvorson’s new quintet/septet with saxophonists Ingrid Laubrock and Tim Berne, Jonathan Finlayson on trumpet, Jacob Garchik on trombone, John Hebert on bass and Ches Smith on drums and she introduced all new compositions for the expanded ensemble. Unfortunately, she didn’t really let loose on the guitar until the very end, preferring to leave the solo spaces open to others, with Laubrock putting on a particularly breathtaking display of tenor madness during the first septet piece. But instead of freewheeling improvisation, the focus was on the richly textured compositions, which happily evoke the post-bop big-band idiom while bending and stretching it into something altogether new, fresh and exciting. Saturday night featured Halvorson with violist Jessica Pavone in what was supposed to be a record-release party for their new CD on Thirsty Ear, but manufacturing delays caused it to be unavailable. Nevertheless, they played the entire album from start to finish and demonstrated the continued development of their unique brand of electric chamber music. Sounding more like Henry Cow than Eric Dolphy (complete with charmingly weird and dissonant art-songs), they still encored with a wonderfully twisted cover from Out To Lunch. Halvorson is the most interesting guitarist around in my opinion and I was privileged to get to meet her after the show—and she is as nice and down-to-earth as could be. I can’t wait to hear what she does next.

On Sunday evening, we trekked down to Downtown Music Gallery, the world’s greatest record store for out-jazz and avant-garde music of all kinds, where I did a little shopping and saw a brief set by bassist Dominic Lash and clarinetist Alex Ward. Holy smokes! Words cannot even describe how intensely beautiful it was! The level of musicianship was just extraordinary and their telepathic musical communication was astonishing to behold. I need to hear more of these two immediately! Finally, on Monday night I went with my friend Scott to Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural Center (a converted schoolhouse in a seriously funky neighborhood in the Lower East Side) to see Ingrid Laubrock again, this time with bassist Joshua Abrams’s group with drummer Gerald Cleaver. This band can groove and it was interesting to hear Laubrock doing her thing in a different context. The night ended with a duo performance by cellist Tomas Ulrich and bassist Michael Bisio that was simply mindblowing. These guys attacked their acoustic instruments like Pete Townsend (or Jimi Hendrix)—I halfway expected them to smash them to bits and set them on fire at the end! Yet their playing was extraordinarily sensitive as well, with a touching rendition of John Coltrane’s “Alabama” thrown in amidst the extended improvisations. I was completely blown away.

After four nights in a row, that was it for music; we spent the rest of the week looking at art and sightseeing. It seems we could have stayed a month and not seen all we wanted to. But we did see the big De Kooning retrospective at MOMA; David Smith sculptures at The Whitney; the 100-year exhibition at the New York Public Library; “Steiglitz and His Artists: Matisse to O’Keefe” at The Met; “Ingres at The Morgan” at the Morgan Library; “Picasso’s Drawings, 1890-1921: Reinventing Tradition” at the Frick Collection; as well as a gallery tour of Chelsea, where we saw Richard Serra’s massive torqued spirals at Gagosian, paintings by Agnes Martin at Pace, and Nick Cave’s “sound suits” at Mary Boone. Even so, it felt like we barely scratched the surface of the NYC art world. But we also took the “Harbor Lights” cruise on the Circle Line; took the elevator to “The Top of The Rock”; and strolled through Central Park and along the new High Line Park downtown. Best of all, our hotel room—a “junior suite”—at the Sofitel was dee-luxe! It was so nice to stay in such a nice place while we were there; it made the trip much more relaxing—we could even listen to my iPod on the in-room stereo! The weather was (mostly) delightful and we got to see old friends as well as a rare visit with Lizzy’s brother, David, who had just flown in from Tokyo to give a paper at Princeton (!). Oh, and the restaurants! The Modern! Mercato! Cafe Un Deux Trois! Candle 79! Kellari! Yummee! It was a really special trip, vastly exceeding my wildest expectations, and I will forever have such fond memories. Sure, it’s nice to be home—but I can’t wait to go back again some day.


Sam said...

Dang, Rodger, you were busy! Sounds like a great trip. Ain't nothing like the Big A...

Sam said...

Here's my lists for last week, while you were out cavorting in New York City, you lucky dawg:

Playlist 2011-10-24:

*Ronnie Boykins: The Will Come, Is Now
*Curlew: Mercury
*Tadd Dameron with John Coltrane: Mating Call
*Billie Holiday: The Complete Billie Holiday on Verve 1945-1959 (disc 7)
*Charles Mingus: Jazz Composers Workshop
*Roscoe Mitchell: 2011-02-17 Roulette, NYC (CDR)
*New Loft: 2011-08-24 "Wet or Dry?" (wav)
*New Loft: 2011-09-21 "Kitchen Drawer" (wav)
*Sun Ra: Outer Reach Intensity-Energy (side 2)
*Henry Threadgill Very very Circus: 1992-01-30 London (CDR)
*CCC/Ill Chemist: Cracked Pepper
*Jimi Hendrix & Larry Young: Record Plant, NYC 1969 (CDR)
*High Llamas: Live (CDR compilation)
*High Llamas: Miscellaneous & Related (CDR compilation)
*Hosemobile: What Can & Can't Go On
*Mars Volta: 2011-07-21 San Francisco (CDR)
*Van Morrison: Astral Weeks
*Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
*Rolling Stones: Let It Bleed
*Alexander 'Skip' Spence: Oar
*Tad Thaddock: Lunch Pumpus
*Zu: Carboniferous
*Zu: Igneo

Reading List 2011-10-24:

*Parker, T. Jefferson. The Border Lords (started)
*The Complete Shock SuspenStories (EC) (started)
*Morgan, Richard K. The Steel Remains (finished)
*Arabian Nights: Tales of 1001 Nights (transl. Malcolm C. Lyons) Vol. 2 (in progress)
*Borges, Jorge Luis. Selected Poems, 1923-1967 (in progress)
*Bradbury, Ray: Bradbury Stories (in progress)
*Bride of Dark and Stormy, compiled by Scott Rice (in progress)
*Lambert, Philip. Inside the Music of Brian Wilson (in progress)