Archive for May, 2009

current listening 05/09

ornette coleman: twins (1871)

ornette coleman: twins (1871)

+ Ornette Coleman: Twins (1971) – Re-issued last year on the Water label, Twins offers what were, in 1971, unreleased sessions from the vanguard saxophonist’s early years (1959-61). Coleman’s free jazz heart is ablaze throughout, but it’s the guest list that kills you: Charlie Haden, Eric Dolphy, Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell. Stealing the show is the very sweet blend of Coleman’s scorched alto sax with the roaming groove of bassist Scott LaFaro on Check Up. An extraordinary jazz excavation.

king crimson: in the wake of poseidon (1971)

king crimson: in the wake of poseidon (1971)

+ King Crimson: In the Wake of Poseidon (1971) – Crimson’s 1969 debut set the prog and psychedelic rock worlds on fire, although it’s lineup quickly splintered. Poseidon majestically picks up the pieces of proggish adventures that bow the blues (Pictures of a City), quasi-classical revisionism (the very Holst-like The Devil’s Triangle) and gorgeous acoustic reflection (Cadence and Cascade). The 1999 edition adds bonus material, extensive notation and gorgeously remastered sound.

santana: santana (1971)

santana: santana (1971)

+ Santana: Santana (1971) – Retroactively titled Santana III, this post-Abraxas album was the final outing for the first Santana lineup. Predominantly instrumental, the album pulls out the Latin psychedelic stops on Taboo, No One to Depend and Toussaint L’Overture while Everybody’s Everything enlists the hard soul swing of Tower of Power. Compare this to the Santana records of today and you just want to cry.

the flying burrito brothers: the flying burrito bros.

the flying burrito brothers: the flying burrito bros. (1971)

+ The Flying Burrito Brothers: The Flying Burrito Brothers (1971): Many fans wrote the Burritos off after Gram Parsons flew the coup. And while the band’s self-titled, Rick Roberts-led third album is safer, smoother and more Californian in design than its predecessors, it remains an appealing listen in its own right. But then, having prime Merle Haggard, Bob Dylan and Gene Clark tunes to draw from doesn’t hurt.

fairport convention: angel delight (1971)

fairport convention: angel delight (1971)

+ Fairport Convention: Angel Delight (1971): Whittled to a quartet after the departure of guitarist Richard Thompson, the vanguard Brit folk-rock band simply plowed ahead with one of its most underappreciated albums. Less psychedelic and more rustic in an Old English sort of way, Angel Delight pumps up the mandolin, fiddle, and pub hearty attitude. A great overlooked chapter in the Fairport saga.

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the clinton administration

george clinton. photo by darryl scott.

george clinton brings his newest p-funk collective to lexington for the first time in nearly a decade on monday. photo by darryl scott.

The catalyst was always rebellion. From the time George Clinton merged his Parliament and Funkadelic bands into a single, massive conglomerate, he knew the grooves his fans would flock to would be the ones their parents actively avoided.

“I always try to find the music parents hate and then gravitate towards that,” said Clinton, 67, who brings the 30 or so members of his newest Parliament-Funkadelic (P-Funk, to its fans) collective to the Kentucky Theatre on Monday.

“Doing that, I legitimize that music. It has always worked like that. When I hear something that parents hate, I know it’s going to be the next big music. Hey, kids always like what their parents don’t like, right?”

Maybe so. But given the near half-century the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has been making music, more than a few parents are likely to be fans themselves.

Perhaps they championed singles like (I Wanna) Testify, a 1967 soul hit for the Clinton band then known as The Parliaments. Or it could have been the truly groundbreaking music that Funkadelic pieced together on its first three albums in the early ‘70s – songs mixed social and political commentary with the kind of hardcore psychedelia most white bands of its day couldn’t match.

More than likely, though, the music that established Clinton as the foremost funk voice of the ‘70s was the more pop-savvy tunes of Parliament, a more groove driven R&B update of The Parliaments. When Parliament released its Up for the Down Stroke album in 1974, just as disco began to mute R&B into static dance music, Clinton started to fashion his concerts as sci-fi funk spectaculars. 1975’s Mothership Connection album, in fact, triggered a massive tour where Parliament and Funkadelic became a single, theatrically inclined entourage. The music reflected two of Clinton’s foremost inspirations, James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone. But the stage show, complete with a flying saucer-like stage, outrageous costuming and literally dozens of onstage singers, dancers and musicians, was unlike anything black or white audiences had seen before.

What did it all mean? Who knew? Clinton delighted in not spelling out specifics when it came to his music on or off the stage.

“That’s the way it was when I first started getting introduced to rock ‘n roll back in the ‘50s,” Clinton said. “It was always like, ‘Huh? What are they saying? A whop bop-a-lu bop a whop bam boo? What the hell does that mean?’

“But that was the prototype for what came next. Rock n’roll? It was the same thing. ‘Why are they playing so loud?’ And then we come along and people are going, ‘Yeah, the groove is funky, but what are they talking about?’ Then when hip-hop happened, splitting the beats and all, I could immediately see the same thing happening again.”

And that was…

‘The funk, man. The groove. It’s the DNA for anything new that comes along. Really, all music is pretty much the same, It just goes around with different tags on and gets a little crazier because each generation is trying to top the last one. It’s like when disco came along and narrowed the groove down to one beat. Man that just got on your nerves. Hip-hop evolved, though. Now you’ve got all kinds of hip-hop. But, really, all of it evolves into jazz.”

In conversation, as in music, it can be difficult keeping up with Clinton. By the time he summarizes his dissertation on the evolution of the groove – an explanation that could only be formulated by someone who has lived with the music over four decades as he has – Clinton is off professing respect for a multitude of different bands and genres.

The Beatles? He loves them. Country music? Clinton confesses such a devout respect for its songcraft that he became a contestant on the CMT reality series Gone Country earlier this year. And peppered among the non-funk acts to earn accolades from Clinton: the ‘70s prog rock trio Emerson, Lake & Palmer and the equally progressive but still active King Crimson.

“That’s because we had records that were pretty much like their songs,” Clinton said, referring to early Funkadelic classics like Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow (1970) and Maggot Brain (1971), both of which featured the late and sadly unheralded psychedelic funk guitarist Eddie Hazel.

“We have songs that are like jazz, classical, psychedelic, blues, The Beatles – all of it. Man, I’ve learned to respect almost all sounds.

“Music, to me, is either in tune or out of tune. If it’s pleasurable to your ears, it’s in tune. When you hear music like that, your appreciation just grows. It also means there is that much less (expletive) out there to get on your nerves.”

George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic perform at 7 p.m. Monday at the  Kentucky Theatre. Tickets:$44.50. Call: (859) 231-7924.

the dylan remasters

bob dylan, far right, on the full album artwork for 'the basement tapes.'

bob dylan, far right, on the full album artwork for 'the basement tapes.'

A new batch of Bob Dylan remasters snuck into stores with absolutely zero fanfare in late March. Word has it that Dylan’s management put the kibosh on any promotional campaign for the albums so as not to steal thunder from the release of a brand new Dylan recording, Together Through Life. The plan worked. Together Through Life sits at No. 1 on the Billboard album chart this week.

Regardless, the four new remasters contain two essential Dylan collaborations with The Band, a 1970 sleeper and a throwaway concert implosion with The Grateful Dead.

None of the remasters contain any bonus material. But they sound as glorious, crisp and revitalized as the last batch reissued in 2004. Here’s the rundown.

+ The Basement Tapes (1975) – Dylan made more vital and important recordings, certainly. But with the possible exception of 1969’s Nashville Skyline, none provided a more pleasurable listen than this grab-bag of often-bootlegged tunes cut with The Band in the aftermath of Dylan’s 1966 motorcycle crash. Dylan sounds ultra relaxed while The Band outline the fun with Garth Hudson’s calliope-like organ, Robbie Robertson’s wiry hullabaloo guitar work and the wildly joyous singing of three featured vocalists. The late Richard Manuel’s lead on Katie’s Been Gone and Dylan’s doomsday riverboat blues Crash on the Levee are highlights, but all 24 songs are gems.

+ After the Flood (1974) – A document of the spring 1974 tour that Dylan undertook with The Band. Reviews seriously slammed Flood upon its release that fall. I always thought Dylan provided an almost punkish vitality to the locomotive intensity of Most Likely You’ll Go Your Way (and I’ll Go Mine) and Highway 61 Revisited while the solo acoustic urgency of  It’s Alright Ma, I’m Only Bleeding gained new topicality given how these performances coincided with the collapse of the Nixon administration. Casual Dylan fans generally hated Flood because of the liberties the singer took with the melodies of his own songs. But such stands the reinvention that has marked Dylan concerts to this day. It would have been nice if a few unreleased tunes from those ’74 concerts filled out the reissue. As it is, though, Flood is an exquisite sleeper time piece.

+ New Morning (1970) – Another sleeper, recorded and released only months after one of Dylan’s most poorly received albums, Self Portrait. New Morning is a casual and unassuming recording with musical similarities to John Wesley Harding and Nashville Skyline. If Not for You, covered by George Harrison for his landmark All Things Must Pass album, could have been a hit single, while Winterlude, One More Weekend and especially the loose fitting blues If Dogs Run Free are modest treats, too, with a carefree sensibility that recalls The Basement Tapes. New Morning is a diversionary album – unimportant, even – when placed next to Dylan’s poetic masterworks. But it placed a derailed career back on its feet.

+ Dylan and the Dead (1988) – Quite possibly Dylan’s worst album. It’s not that the notion of Dylan and The Grateful Dead touring together was necessarily unsettling, even though there is zero chemistry between them on this album. In fact, there are dozen of bootlegs circulating of the Dead covering Dylan tunes with and without His Bobness that possess a performance and recording clarity that simply underscores how zombie-like this record is.

In short, run to the Basement, cherish the Flood, celebrate the Morning but beware the Dead.

critic's pick 70

allen toussaint

allen toussaint: the bright mississippi

At the close of the sublime new The Bright Mississippi, Allen Toussaint steps back from the arena of New Orleans funk that has long been his musical home. Actually, the entire album embraces a contemplative jazz attitude that the pianist has used more as a seasoning than as a main course in the past. But on a finale of Duke Ellington’s Solitude, Toussaint teams with guitarist Marc Ribot, a musical journeyman known mostly as a torch bearer of the New York avant garde. What results, however, is a quiet, elegiac Crescent City serenade for the times. The dialogue is blues in its most elegant form with a piano voice that glows at every quiet turn.

The rest of the recording offers a more overt instrumental view of New Orleans, as on a playful street parade reading of Sidney Bechet’s Egyptian Fantasy with clarinetist Don Byron that nicely summons the composer’s joyous spirit.

Curiously, Toussaint ignores his own works on The Bright Mississippi and sings on only one of its 12 tunes (a sagely delivery of Leonard Feather’s Long, Long Journey). Instead, this latest collaboration with pop songsmith-turned-soul producer Joe Henry invests itself almost exclusively in the stately stride of Toussaint’s piano work.

With help from New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton (who matches Byron’s buoyancy) and drummer Jay Bellarose (who provided the Grammy winning Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album Raising Sand with such a righteous beat), Toussaint internalizes his mammoth New Orleans inspirations. His take on Just a Closer Walk with Thee, for instance, strolls with the purpose and inevitably of the Mississippi River in motion.

Jazz pros Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman provide tasty cameos. But this party belongs to Toussaint. As the album’s Thelonious Monk-penned title tune suggests, The Bright Mississippi celebrates a grand musical heritage without overplaying its hand. With artist, producer, band and material all steeped in such exquisite taste, why would it need to?

Two younger generation disciples also have new recordings out that mingle jazz with their luminous New Orleans heritage.

kermit ruffins

kermit ruffins: livin' a treme life

Trumpeter Kermit Ruffins’ Livin a Treme Life (Treme is one of the Crescent City’s most fruitful musical neighborhoods) offers a generous nod to Toussaint by covering the pianist’s pop-soul nugget Holy Cow. But Ruffins also honors Horace Silver (by way of the timeless groovefest Song for My Father), Louis Armstrong (through Hatty Bolton’s Didn’t He Ramble) and The Isley Brothers (a pop-gospel reworking of For the Love of You) with ample Southern swing, soul and reverence.

marcus roberts trio

marcus roberts trio: new orleans meets harlem, volume 1

Pianist Marcus Roberts doesn’t exactly bust open new ground on New Orleans Meets Harlem, Vol. 1. Most of his records seem to favor interpreting works by compositional giants over his own tunes. But his trio still shines with spring-like elegance during Fats Waller’s Jitterbug Waltz and the simulated second line strut of Scott Joplin’s A Real Slow Drag. Such fraternal musicianship practically makes New Orleans and New York seem like next door neighbors.

AT&T U-verse TV Football Fans Score With Unique College Football Content, Fantasy Football App.

Telecommunications Weekly September 9, 2009 AT&T U-verse(SM) TV customers can kickoff the football season with new content and features that make watching their favorite teams even better. AT&T* announced the availability of “College Football Extras,” a new On Demand category featuring content from several top college football programs, and the return of the Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football application — both available at no extra cost.

“AT&T U-verse customers know that there’s really only one way to watch TV, especially the big game,” said Jeff Weber, vice president of video services for AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Our new football content and fantasy application improve how you can stay on top of your college teams and fantasy football leagues. These latest upgrades are yet another example of how we continue to bring our customers more and more.” Alumni and college football fans from across the country can now follow their teams with a new “College Football Extras” On Demand category that features free, unique content from top college programs, including Georgia Tech, The University of Connecticut, The University of Kansas, The University of Southern California, The University of Texas and all of the Big Ten Conference teams. “College Football Extras” will offer 2008 season highlights, a 2009 season preview, and more content throughout the season from each university. this web site att yahoo login

Fantasy football die-hards are able to manage their fantasy teams right from their U-verse TV with the return of last year’s popular Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football application. The app allows you to simply and conveniently track your fantasy football team and receive customized information on your favorite professional football teams through the AT&T U-bar.

Additionally, to coincide with the start of football season, AT&T U-verse has launched a new “Classic Sports Movies” On Demand category which features some of the most popular sports movies of all time. The titles will range from $2 to $6 per rental, and are available in Standard Definition (SD), High Definition (HD) or both.

These features are the latest examples of standard AT&T U-verse services and applications that improve the viewing experience for football fans and all customers. With fast channel change, U-verse TV football fans can channel surf without the delay experienced on other digital TV services, and all U-verse TV customers enjoy picture-in-picture browse capability that lets you preview games on other channels. Sports junkies can also follow their favorite sports teams through the AT&T U-bar by setting up their personalized team, weather, traffic and stock preferences through the AT&T portal with their U-verse High Speed Internet account. here att yahoo login

U-verse TV customers can also enjoy the exclusive ability to watch and manage recordings from a single DVR on any connected TV in the house with U-verse Total Home DVR, the ability to record up to four programs (or can’t-miss games) at once, an extensive High Definition (HD) channel lineup with access to 110 HD channels, and more.

AT&T U-verse TV is the only 100 percent Internet Protocol-based television (IPTV) service offered by a national service provider, making AT&T U-verse one of the most dynamic and feature-rich services available today. AT&T U-verse TV ranked “Highest in Residential Television Service Satisfaction in the North Central, South, and West Regions,” according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Residential Television Service Provider Satisfaction Study(SM).

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

*Games telecast locally may also be included in the ESPN GamePlan. Game schedule, number of games and actual match-ups are subject to change. Games subject to local blackout. Subscriptions subject to applicable sales tax.

in performance: peter brotzmann, eric revis and nasheet waits

peter brotzmann.

peter brotzmann.

Sometimes you know when a tune has completed its tour of duty, even if the music itself has no compositional boundaries.

Last night, at end of a first set at the Red Mile Round Barn that consisted of a single 35 minute untitled improvisation, a siren could be heard as the chatter between veteran avant garde saxophonist Peter Brotzmann, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Nasheet Waits settled. Brotzmann, an artist of few words, raised his head in acknowledgement of the unanticipated intrusion and then gave a quick, sharp nod as if accepting the siren as punctuation, if not a complete coda, to the music at hand.

In most of the group settings Brotzmann has employed over the past 40-plus years to exhibit his robust and relentless free jazz improvising, a siren would almost seem like an inevitability. His playing could be that chaotic. Last night, there was more give and take, a greater elasticity, to Brotzmann’s music.

Oh, there were still explosions within the evening’s three improvised selections. But there also seemed to be considerable room for Brotzmann to roam within this trio makeup. As a result the dynamics were greater which, in turn, heightened the drama during the passages where the music truly got wild.

Revis and Waits, both longtime friends, complimented Brotzmann in very different ways. Revis, who has also served as bassist for the Branford Marsalis Quartet for the past 12 years, made greater strides to match the more aggressive aspects of Brotzmann’s performance profile. Throughout the evening, he played the bass with two bows, stuck a single bow between strings, and slapped the neck and body of the instrument as if it was being interrogated. His playing was physical and often fierce, creating taught percussive sounds that regularly played off Brotzmann’s beefier playing, especially on tenor saxophone.

In contrast, Waits was the picture of taste. When Brotzmann’s clarinet leads took on, briefly, a meditative air during the first improv, Waits produced a steady, almost chant like backdrop. Earlier, when Brotzmann would bring his alto sax work slowly to a boil, Waits shifted gears with the music. But he never overplayed. There was a stately and at times solemn reserve to much of his work last night that recalled some of the great Impulse recordings cut by saxophonist Pharoah Sanders in the late ‘60s. Not coincidentally, one of the drummers on the classic 1969 Sanders album Karma was Waits’ father, Freddie Waits.

Brotzmann himself remained a player of stunning immediacy. In fact, the evening’s first improv sprang to life as though the bandleader had flicked on a light in a dark room. But the emerging alto sax melody quickly mutated into a dirge, then into the blues and, with little warning, into a brief, violent scream. Brotzmann may have left out some of those extended, red-faced solos from past visits that made you wonder if he was about to burst into flames. But the intensity was still very much there.

That was especially true of the evening’s third and final improv. Where the first two were extended, half-hour voyages, the final workout lasted a mere eight minutes. After Revis gave his bass a full frontal assault, Waits organized percolating chatter on snare, bass drum and the rims of his kit. Over that, Brotzmann plaintively wailed on clarinet. The mood and groove soon intensified to an almost rockish growl. And then, in an instant, the music concluded. Instead of sirens, there was abrief, modestly stunned silence.

A standing ovation quickly followed. But in an evening of such fearsome and fascinating improvising, a final few beats of settling quiet made the music all the more rapturous.

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bocephus goes boom

hank williams jr. headlines this summer's red, white and boom celebration on july 4.

hank williams jr. headlines this summer's red, white and boom celebration on july 4.

Looks like this year’s Red, White and Boom is going to be a family affair.

The annual downtown July 4th music and fireworks celebration will feature veteran country renegade Hank Williams, Jr. – Bocephus, to his fans – as headliner. But among the mainstay acts filling out the bill will be the singer’s more Americana inclined daughter, Holly Williams.

The elder Williams has been a popular Lexington draw for nearly three decades and performed at Rupp Arena as recently as May 2008 with Lynyrd Skynyrd. This time, he plays outside of Rupp at Red, White and Boom’s longstanding home, the Cox Street parking lot.

Rounding out the bill will be contemporary country celebs Keith Anderson (another returnee; he opened an Opera House show for Phil Vassar last year as well as a Rupp outing by Rascal Flatts in 2005) and Justin Moore.

Eastern Kentucky’s Halfway to Hazard, which played Red, White and Boom in 2007 with Gary Allan but had to relocate indoors due to thunderstorms, completes this year’s lineup.

The 2009 installment of Red, White and Boom comes with a variety of price tags, too:

+ $98 covers seating in the first 10 rows, reserved parking and assorted goodies.

+ $40 covers the remainder of the reserved seating area.

+ $15 covers general admission. That means you’re on your feet for the day, although folding chairs are allowed. That price jumps to $20 after May 22. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday through TicketMaster. Call (800) 745-3000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com or www.redwhiteandboom.com.

Remember, Bocephus is expecting you.

in performance: reverend horton heat

reverend horton heat.

reverend horton heat.

A post-Derby Sunday evening full of rain and chill was hardly the most inviting of settings in which to get out of the house. But it was still Sunday and The Rev was in town. So off to The Dame it was for a little rock ‘n roll penance by way of three piece, roots savvy twang and tremolo.

Actually, the opening instrumental The Happy Camper set the mood early on by sending the hotwired spiritualism into country territory. There was giddy but nimble guitar picking from the good Rev. Heat and the kind of tough knuckled rhythmic support that gave longtime bassist Jimbo Wallace as much of a percussive voice in the trio as drummer Paul Simmons.

A campish charm also inhabited the country flings, whether it was in the homewrecking weeper Where in the World Did You Go With My Toothbrush, a surprisingly summery version of the smugglers’ hymn Bales of Cocaine or a new tune that honored the disenfranchised swarrow cactus called There Ain’t No Swarrow in Texas.

Heat still played guitar like a demon, too, especially during the jacked up drive of Galaxy 500 and the ageless thrash of Psychobilly Freakout. And when The Rev broke out the swing, as he did during It’s Martini Time, the one hour and 45 minute performance all but packed its bags for Coolsville.

Heat’s vocals were buried a bit in the sound mix, though, which decreased the show’s danger element somewhat. Luckily, 400 Bucks was still a world class rant. Judging by the tune’s still volatile temperament, forgiveness probably won’t make it into The Rev’s sermon rotation any time soon.

A PROMISE TO BE SAFE DURING PROM SEASON.(SUFFOLK SUN)

The Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, VA) April 22, 1999 The blood was fake. The car crash was staged. Accident victims were completely fine. The message, however, of the Prom Promise program staged at Lakeland High School was real – drinking while driving is deadly.

To raise student awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving, local emergency agencies staged a mock disaster for juniors and seniors at the Lakeland High School stadium on Monday. lakelandhighschool.net lakeland high school

Two vehicles were involved in a drunk-driving accident with victims trapped inside. One person was flown by a Nightingale helicopter from the scene. Suffolk Police took one student into custody. Officials tried to make the accident scene look as dramatic and real as possible – going so far as having Lakeland students wear fake blood as victims. here lakeland high school

Last year, school officials considered the demonstration a success because no drunk-driving injuries or deaths were reported on the night of Lakeland High School’s prom. This year’s prom will be held on the Spirit of Norfolk May 15.

CAPTION(S):

Staff photos by MICHAEL KESTNER Bonnie Gwaltney, a Lakeland High School student, gets a little more fake blood from a Suffolk fireman as they prepare for a mock crash as part of the Prom Promise campaign.

Several hundred Lakeland High juniors and seniors watched from the bleachers as firemen, paramedics, police and a Nightingale helicopter created a very realistic crash scene.

A group of Lakeland High students gather in the bleachers to watch the mock accident, extracton and rescue by emergency crews.

Suffolk police officer Charles Barbour (at left) attempts to subdue Corey Perry with assistance of Nansemond-Suffolk rescue squad member James Barrett. Perry was playing the part of an intoxicated driver.

current listening 05/02

Buddy & julie miller: written in chalk

buddy & julie miller: written in chalk

Buddy & Julie Miller: Written in Chalk (2009) – As usual, the Millers put their ample Americana spirit through the ringer, whether it’s with their beautifully jagged duets (Gasoline and Matches, Memphis Jane), Julie’s hauntingly sparse narratives (June, Don’t Say Goodbye) or Buddy’s cunning alliances with Robert Plant (What You Gonna Do Leroy), Patty Griffin (Chalk) and Emmylou Harris (The Selfishness in Man). A killer record all the way through.

CJ3/crimson jazz trio: king crimson songbook, volume 2

CJ3/crimson jazz trio: king crimson songbook, volume 2

Crimson Jazz Trio: King Crimson Songbook, Volume 2 (2009) – Another celebratory view of the beastly Crimson in swing mode. But Volume 2 is also a postscript for CJT drummer (and Crimson alumnus) Ian Wallace, who died shortly after these sessions were cut. The whole album is striking. But hearing Wallace and sax guest Mel Collins revisit music they originated on Crimson’s 1972 album Islands is a beautiful but bittersweet delight.

peter gabriel: lima, peru; 20-03-09

peter gabriel: lima, peru; 20-03-09

Peter Gabriel: Lima, Peru; 20-03-09 (2009) – Prog rock politico Gabriel toured Latin America in March and recorded every performance for release through themusic.com. This two hour show from Peru covers tunes from all of Gabriel’s studio albums, from the gingerly Solsbury Hill to the worldbeat apocalypse of Signal to Noise to last year’s Wall-E soundtrack delicacy Down to Earth. Bassist Tony Levin and guitarist David Rhodes light a fuse to it all, too.

grateful dead: road trips, vol.2, no. 2; carousel 2-14-68

grateful dead: road trips, vol.2, no. 2; carousel 2-14-68

Grateful Dead: Road Trips, Vol. 2, No. 2; Carousel 2-14-68 (2009) – Of the two new Dead archival albums, the 1977 snapshot To Terrapin is the cleaner, more commanding entry. But this mail order/download Road Trips set is way cooler. By peeling back the years to 1968, Jerry Garcia and crew sound positively fearless. They play the groove of Caution and the blues of Hurts Me Too like the music was brand new. And in 1968, it essentially was.

mike marshall: mike marshall's big trio

mike marshall: mike marshall

Mike Marshall: Mike Marshall’s Big Trio (2009) – The formal air of the cover photo suggests classical music. But mandolinist and guitarist Marshall’s new collaboration with two youthful protégés – bassist Paul Kowert and violinist Alex Hargreaves – revels in mixing chamber, Americana, touches of gypsy jazz and bluegrass sounds.  Granted, Marshall has been engaged in such synthesis for decades. But the resulting big sound of the Big Trio, though, is no less striking, inventive or playful.

from marsalis to brotzmann: the jazz journey of eric revis

bassist eric revis performs with saxophonist and free jazz giant peter brotzmann and drummer nashet waits monday at the red mile round barn.

bassist eric revis performs with saxophonist and free jazz giant peter brotzmann and drummer nasheet waits on monday at the red mile round barn. photo by emra islek.

If you were to follow a stylistic trajectory for the jazz music bassist Eric Revis is helping create this year, you might believe your travels were about to encounter some turbulence.

Most jazz audiences know Revis as a mainstay member of the Branford Marsalis Quartet, the Grammy-winning ensemble that this year celebrated its 10th anniversary (although Revis’ membership is closer to 12 years). Such an alliance has taken the Los Angeles-born bassist to most every jazz port in the world – except, of course, Lexington.

That changes on Monday, when Revis finally makes his local debut. But his company will be very different here. He will playing alongside a longtime pal, drummer Nasheet Waits, and one of the most influential European free jazz saxophonists, composers and bandleaders of the last 40 years, Peter Brotzmann. Prior to their current tour, Revis has performed with Brotzmann exactly once.

“We have been talking about touring for quite some time,” Revis said of Brotzmann. “We played together three or four years ago in New York. He had been doing some duo work with my good friend Nasheet. So it just happened that they invited to me to play a gig with them at (the now defunct New York experimental music club) Tonic. That, of course, was really cool.

“I saw Peter again about a year ago in Austin. He said, ‘I’ve been thinking about the trio. We need to do something.’ And here it is.”

Brotzmann is more than just an improvisational music patriarch with a volcanic, almost confrontational saxophone tone. His 2002 concert at Memorial Hall with his monstrous Chicago Tentet was the catalyst for Outside the Spotlight, a concert series organized locally by Ross Compton that has since brought over 100 performances to Lexington by leading free jazz and avant garde artists from Chicago, Sweden, New York and, in Brotzmann’s case, Germany.

Playing bass for Brotzmann places Revis in some pretty elite company, as if his longstanding tenure with the Marsalis Quartet wasn’t prestigious enough. The bassists that have performed with Brotzmann at past Lexington concerts have included Chicago’s Kent Kessler (a member of the Chicago Tentet and the Vandermark 5, which has also played several shows for Outside the Spotlight) and the veteran New York composer and improviser William Parker.

“Growing up, I was into a lot of different music.” Revis said. “Some of it might even be considered hardcore punk. So the first time I heard Peter’s music, my initial response was just to the visceral aspect of it. It was like, ‘Wow. I don’t know what the hell these guys are doing, but I’m feeling it.’ There was something about it that was very, very engaging.”

Brotzmann’s music could be viewed almost as pure anarchy when placed alongside Marsalis’ recordings. But there are undeniable links in the work ethics of both saxophonists, especially in how they relate to players like Revis.

Brotzmann pushes improvisation to the forefront. In fact, when asked if Monday’s concert was going to be entirely improvised, Revis replied, “I hope so.” That means interaction and communication between three distinct musical voices.

With Marsalis, the freedom to explore and refine that musical voice is encouraged. On the Marsalis Quartet’s newest album, Metamorphosen, Revis contributes two compositions, including a solo bass interlude titled And Then, He Was Gone. Marsalis himself only composed one tune for the recording.

“Branford is a great leader in as much as he is very specific and definitive about how he wants to present his music. But once that is addressed, he is extraordinarily open to you doing your own thing. That has provided me with a platform to actualize my voice.”

Performing with Brotzmann, though, largely means throwing out the game book altogether. But as Revis, Waits and Brotzmann have yet to record together (although the bassist is hoping they will after the conclusion of their tour) and have only played as a trio once, there are no proven performance strategies to fall back on.

“Peter and Nasheet are so creative and so in the moment,” Revis said. “You have to balance not only the idea of responding to them instantaneously, but to interjecting your ideas while that is going on. It’s a challenge. But it’s also something I’m really looking forward to doing on a consistent basis.”

While Brotzmann has yet to record the trio, Revis has hit the studio on his own. He independently released his second solo album, Laughter’s Necklace of Tears, in March. The record, not surprisingly, frequently shifts stylistic course, from a blues meditation (Faith in All I Fear), to a Monk-ish joyride (The Deaf Schizophrenic) to guitar accented bop (Shuffle Boil).

“I don’t try to purposely contextualize these different things. I just want to get to the point where, hopefully, the singularity of my voice translates into those situations. In terms of mindsets, I don’t really approach any of them differently.

“But with Peter and Nasheet… well, I think playing with them will be more a question of pure stamina than anything else.”

Peter Brotzmann, Eric Revis and Nasheet Waits perform at 8 p.m. Monday at the Red Mile Round Barn, 1200 Red Mile Rd. Admission is free. Call (859) 536-5568.

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