BEST OF 2012
again a good year for music. The usual disclaimers: We were not
able to hear all the concerts and discs of 2012, ‘though we gave it a
good shot. We merely give credit to the ones we geographically,
financially or by circumstance were able to lay our ears upon.
Happy hunting to all, and here's to an artistically rich
New York City
EYVIND AARSET. Dream Logic.
This guitarist’s website declares: blacknoise/whitesilence.
That’s a fine description of the sound here. Along with Jan Bang
on samplers, dictaphone and programming, Aarset creates intriguing
soundscapes with guitars, electronics, percussion. ECM
B0017679-02. eyvindaarset.com, samadhisound.com/janbang/,
JOHN ABERCROMBIE QUARTET. Within A Song.
The guitarist, in league with Joe Lovano, Drew Gress and Joey Baron,
hits just the right spot in this program of jazz classics, embodying
both ECM-gentle and bebop. ECM B00169029-02. johnabercrombie.com,
drewgress.com, joelovano.com, joeybaron.com,
J.S. BACH. 6 Suites for Solo Cello.
Pieter Wispelway, baroque cello and piccolo cello. His
third go-round on CD, with an improvisatory spirit and rich
sound. Intriguing 52-minute documentary about the suites.
EPR-Classic EPCR 012, 2CD + DVD (NTSC). pieterwispelway.com
ALICE COOPER. Old School (1964-1974).
Not the starting point for newbies, of course. Two CDs of demos,
outtakes, live tracks, and radio ads, plus an interview disc plus the Killer
album (one of my desert island discs) performed live in St. Louis,
1971. Alive/Nightmare/Universal B0017594-02, 4CD in a 64-page hardbound
digipak book. alicecooper.com,
Anthology – ”DROP ON DOWN IN FLORIDA: Field
Recordings of African American Traditional Music 1970-1980.”
Savory and downright homey folkblues and gospel, in excellent
sound. Edited by Dwight DeVane and Blaine Waide. Dust To
Digital DTD-24, 224-page hardcover book with 2 CDs. dust-digital.com
Anthology- “HARD TO HANDLE: Black America Sings Otis
Redding.” Ace CDCHD 1352. acerecords.co.uk
Anthology- “Praisin' & Hell Raisin'
A Benefit for LCM Collective-1.”
This supports (Performance Gallery) Life Changing Ministries, Oakland
CA. 69 tracks including Thomas DiMuzio, The Haters, Vertonen,
Travis Johnson, et al. Pay-what-you-can download via lcmoakland.bandcamp.com/
Anthology- “NOISE CONGLOMERATE, Vols IV, V.”
Anti-Everything AEN#AE69 2013. This 99-track pay-what-you-can
experimental, electroacoustic, experimental, electronic, industrial,
minimal, synth, musique, concrete, no wave, noise download features
Menche, Carlos Giffoni, Cock ESP, Haters, Ernesto Diaz-Infante, Lasse Marhaug, Richard Ramirez, Adam Chao, et al. via noisecomplication.bandcamp.com/
BEETHOVEN. The Great String Quartets
(1,2,4,5,7-10,14-16) The Paganini Quartet. United
Archives NUA11, 5 CDs taken from RCA LPs recorded 1947-1953, unitedarchives.net
GARY BERTINI, conductor. Berlioz:
Fantastique, Romain, Celiini; Ravel: Daphnis 2, Valse, Concerto;
Debussy: Mer, Nocturnes, Faun; Mahler: Wayfarer, Kinderototenlieder,
Wunderhorn; Strauss: Zarathustra, Burleske. Excellent
mid-price repackaging of vital performances. Capriccio 7136, 5
individual CDs in slipcase. capriccio.au
BIG BLOOD. Old Time Primitive.
Don’t Trust The Ruin DTTR 033, This struck me hard when I heard it
playing in a shop. A string of consciousness; a collection of
songs with interludes of the lo-fi, dreamy folk psych ilk. Hard
to describe, so give it a listen at freemusicarchive.org/music/Big_Blood,
where you can download it for a donation, or it’s truly worth buying
the physical copy at way less than $10 for its handmade covers and
THOMAS BUCKNER / J. D. PARRAN / MARI KIMURA / EARL
HOWARD. Particle Ensemble. Three multi-layered,
extended works with no dull spots by these master performers.
Mutable 17547-2. mutablemusic.com
THE CLEANERS FROM VENUS. What a wonderful
discovery! A British lo-fi cassette-only band riding the waves of
punk and new wave 1981-1982 in a style all its own. Easy to play
all three discs without a break. Excellent notes (albeit
black ink on stupidly dark colors) in a thin, triple-fold cardboard
sleeve. Captured Tracks CT-145-4, 3 CDs, capturedtracks.com
Kui DONG. “Since When Has The Bright Moon
Existed.” Shui Diao Ge Tou And Song. Miniatures
V-VII. Let Frogs and Crickets Carry It On. Summer Spring
Autumn Winter. Composed works making fine use of
Western and Asian elements. If you like Ligeti and Hosokawa,
you’ll likely dig this. Other Minds 1018. otherminds.org/shtml/Dong.shtml,
Kui DONG / LARRY POLANSKY / CHRISTIAN WOLFF. Trio.
Five improvisations for two pianos and fretless guitar; wonderful
textures and arc. Henceforth 111. henceforthrecords.com
BOB DYLAN. Tempest.
MATT GOLD. Drown Before You Swim.
Ten-song double CD-EP by gay singer/songerwiter Gold, with lyrics more
thematically varied than that would imply. Excellent timeless pop
arrangements. He sometimes phrases a bit like Donovan, but with a
solid, ringing voice. The modern lovechild of Buzzy Linhart and
Ferron? Matt Gold Music, no catalog number. mattgold.net,
ROY HARPER. Live At Metropolis Studios, London.
Salvo CD + DVD. There’s been nothing I haven’t liked and few I
didn’t love from folk-psych-troubadour Roy Harper. I only got to
see him live one, at an amazing gig at the knitting Factory, and here’s
a chance to see him live permanently. Hats off to Harper! salvo-music.co.uk
FRED HO and the SAXOPHONE LIBERATION FRONT. Snake-Eaters.
With Salim Washington, Bobby Zankel and Hafez Modirzadeh (the current
members of the Brooklyn Saxophone Quartet), Fred Ho delivers a
wonderfully savory disc, political in theme, but without the polemic
lyrics which sometimes spoils his work even for fellow-travelers.
Mutable Music/Big RedMedia 002. mutablemusic.com, bigredmedia.com
Toshio HOSOKAWA. “Landscapes.” Landscape
V, Ceremonial Dance, Sakura für Otto Tomek, Cloud and Light.
Mayuma Miyata, shô, Münchener Kammerorchester, cond. Alkexander
Liebreich. ECM New Series 2095. ecmrecords.com
JASON KAO HWANG. Burning Bridge.
This absolutely blew me away when it was performed at the Vision
Festival this year, and I craved a recording of it. Recorded
shortly after that live performance, this CD is perhaps the best single
release of the year. Innova 840. innova.mu, jasonkaohwang.com
JASON KAO HWANG’S SPONTANEOUS RIVER. Symphony
of Souls. An eleven-movement work performed by 37
string improvisers and drums. Mulatta MUT022, jasonkaohwang.com, mulatta.org
INSTANT COMPOSERS’ POOL. ICP Box: Complete
Boxed Catalogue. Challenge/icp 1275-1, 52 CDs + 3 DVDs +
photo book in 12”x12” box with covers individually hand-drawn by Han
BENEDIKT JAHNEL TRIO. Equilibrium.
This piano trio (Antonio Miguel, bass; Owen Howard, drums) reminds me
of the exciting, visceral early days of the
Jarrett-Garbarek-Christensen-Danielsson quartet of Belonging days,
sans sax. ECM B0017680-02, ecmrecords.com
JOëLLE LéANDRE & LAUREN NEWTON. Conversations
Live In Ljubljana. The master cellist and the master
vocaiist start out great and then combust. Not Two MW 892-2, nottwo.com
TAJ MAHAL. The Hidden Treasures of Taj Mahal
One disc unreleased studio tracks 1969-73, and one Live at The Royal
Albert Hall 1970. One special treat is his take on “Oh Susannah,”
so different from the Happy To Be Just Like I Am album take,
here deliciously infused with phrasing in tribute to Otis Redding and
Van Morrison. Columbia Legacy 82876822942, 2CD. tajblues.com,
MERIDIAN BROTHERS. Desesperanza.
To steal an online consumer’s words, this is “Latin dance done by The
Residents.” Soundway SNDW049. soundwayrecords.com
VAN MORRISON. Born To Sing: No Plan B.
Not just treading water, this is the first Van Morrison studio album to
move me since 1980’s Common One. Exile/Universal 509999
79467 2 4, vanmorrison.com
ANDERS NILSSON. Night Guitar. A
magical set of electric guitar in styles osmotically drawn from gospel,
blues, hard rock, and Ralph Townerish skyscapes, but mostly from air
dark and beautiful as the cover photo. Sound At One S@1 #107, andersnilssongguitar.com
IVO PERELMAN / JOE MORRIS / GERALD CLEAVER. Family
Ties. Leo LR 630, leorecords.com, ivoperelman.com,
GIOVANNA PESSI / SUSANNA WALLUMRØD. “If Grief
Songs mostly by Henry Purcell, but also Leonard Cohen, Nick Drake and a
Susanna original. A baroque harp, viola de gamba and nyckelharpa
(a keyed harp- see one via your favorite online search source) provide
a perfect bed for Susanna’s velvety, vibrato-free voice, allowing for
the lyrics to be the prime focus. File this one under Purcell or
the waif-like singer Susanna as you choose. ECM New Series ECM
CECIL TAYLOR + PAULINE OLIVEROS. Solo –
Duo – Poetry.
Live at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. &5
minutes of Cecil’s poetry, an hour of solo from each, a duo, and
more. Gotta have it. End of story. EMPAC Rensselaer
DVD (16:9, NTSC). empac.rpi.edu, paulineoliveros.us
BILL WITHERS. Complete Sussex and Columbia
If you only know “Lean On Me,” check out a lot of these funky soul
tracks, reminiscent of Shuggie Otis’ work for Epic. Sony Legacy
86978 94672, 9 CDs boxed in mini LP sleeves. legacyrecordings.com,
NEIL YOUNG WITH CRAZY HORSE. Psychedelic Pill.
The first disc is best; great extended songs and jams. Reprise, 2
PERFORMANCES- Dance, Music, Opera,
Sean Ali, solo prepared double bass. September 30,
2012, Downtown Music Gallery, NYC. seanali.com, downtownmusicgallery.com
Edward Albee. The Lady from Dubuque.
Directed by David
Esbjornson, with Jane Alexander, Michael Hayden, Peter Francis James,
and Laila Robins. EndStage Theatre at The Signature Theatre,
Maxwell Anderson. Both Your Houses. Still timely 1933
political satire. Metropolitan Playhouse, NYC. metropolitanplayhouse.org
Robert Ashley. The Old Man Lives In Concrete.
opera, in a stunning performance with Joan LaBarbara, Jacqueline
Humbert, Thomas Buckner, Sam Ashley and Robert Ashley.
Electronics by Tom Hamilton. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. roulette.org, robertashley.org, lovely.com
Robert Ashley reading selections from Past
Lives. October 18,
2012. Roulette, Brooklyn NY. roulette.org, robertashley.org, lovely.com
Anthony Braxton “Two Ensembles (NYC) 2012.” Anthony
Quartet featuring Anthony Braxton (alto, soprano, sopranino,
bass, and contrabass saxophones), Dan Blacksberg (trombone, euphonium),
Ken Filiano (acoustic bass), Mike Szekely (percussion) and
the Diamond Curtain Wall Music Ensemble featuring
Braxton (reeds, electronics), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet, brass), Josh
Sinton (baritone saxophone, bass clarinet), Maura Valenti (harp), Amy
Crawford, Chris DiMeglio, Michael Douglas Jones, Kyoko Kitamura, Anne
Rhodes (voices). September 13, 2012, Roulette, Brooklyn NY.
Willem Breuker Kollektief. The second-to-last
performance, long, rich and edge-of-your-seat exhilarating.
October 4, 2012, ShapeShifter Lab, Brooklyn NY. willembreukerkollektief.nl,
Meeting of Capitalists Inc. to Mark the 100th
Anniversary of the Birth
of JOHN MILTON CAGE, Jr., Hosted by rahrahree! (Kurt Gottschalk
Tamara Yadao) Many hundreds of records were broken, smashed,
drilled, and worse. Downtown Music Gallery, NYC. September
2, 2012. downtownmusicgallery.com,
Merce Cunningham. Pond Way.
November 20, 2012. Merce
Cunningham Studio at City Center, NYC. mercecummingham.org
Rinde Eckert. And God Created Great
composed and written by Eckert; directed by David Schweizer; Rinde
Eckert (Nathan) and Nora Cole (Olivia). Culture Project, NYC. cultureproject.org,
Will Eno. Title and Deed.
Performed by Conor Lovett,
directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett. Signature Theatre, NYC.
Video clip: www.signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=1952
Double Bill: Richard Foreman’s Boulevard de Paris and David
Finkelstein’s Invincible City. The Brick, Brooklyn
Athol Fugard. My Children! My Africa!
Directed by Ruben
Santiago-Hudson, with Allie Gallerani (Isabel Dyson), James A. Williams
(Mr. M) and Stephen Tyrone Williams (Thami Mbikwana). Signature
Theatre, NYC. signaturetheatre.org
Athol Fugard. Train Driver. Directed
by Athol Fugard, with Leon
Addison Brown (Simon Hanabe) and Ritchie Coster (Roelf Visagie).
Signature Theatre, NYC. Video clips at signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=1960
Katori Hall. Hurt Village.
Directed by Patricia
McGregor. Astoundingly vivid and real play about life in the
projects, Memphis style. See video clips and Talkback at signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=1940
Leroy Jenkins, Mary Griffin, Hisao Ihara. Coincidents:
Multimedia Opera. Musical direction: Myra Melford.
6, 2012. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. roulette.org/events/excerpts-from-coincidents-a-multimedia-opera-by-leroy-jenkins-mary-griffin-hisao-ihara-2/
Matana Roberts. Coin Coin (Work In Progress).
2012. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. matanaroberts.com,
Franz Schubert. Winterreise.
Christopher Dylan Herbert,
baritone. December 21, 2012, Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Make
Music New York presented a spellbinding performance of Winterreise
migrating every few songs to various stations in the Garden, with
placards designed and held by students from Parsons The New School For
Design as surtitles. Some audience members held radios playing
the accompaniment in various guises, from piano (Timothy Long) to synth
string trio and beyond (Jonathan Zalben). Herbert’s voice is a
magnificent thing itself, its timbre holding strong in the air, and his
embodiment of the lost, wandering narrator was visceral. Kudos to
the weather for being misty and gloomy, and to the BBG for its brook
and linden tree. bbg.org, makemusicny.org, christopherdylanherbert.com
Sam Shepherd. Heartless.
Directed by Daniel Aukin, starring
Lois Smith and Jenny Bacon. Signature Theatre, NYC. signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=2362
Nicky Silver. The Lyons.
Directed by Mark Brokaw, with
Linda Lavin. (Rita Lyons), Michael Esper (Curtis Lyons), Kate Jennings
Grant (Lisa Lyons), Brenda Pressley (Nurse), Gregory Wooddell (Brian)
and Dick Latessa (Ben Lyons). Music and sound by David van
Tieghem. The Cort Theatre, NYC.
Karlheinz Stockhausen. Natural Durations 1-12.
Buddin, piano. Grace United Methodist Church, Brooklyn NY. graceumcbrooklyn.org, http://stockhausen.org
Viktor Ullman. Der Kaiser von Atlantis.
conducted by Ransom Wilson. Stage Director, Markus
Kupferblum. The Bohemian National Hall at the Czech Center New
York. Video clip: operamoderne.com/#!kaiser-highlights/c19s8. bohemiannationalhall.com,
August Wilson. The Piano Lesson.
Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. As good, but terribly
different from the original Broadway
cast, and other revivals. Brilliant ensemble acting by Eric Lenox
Abrams (Avery), Chuck Cooper (Wining Boy), Brandon J. Dirden (Boy
Willie), Jason Dirden (Lymon), Alexis Holt (Maretha), Mandi Masden
(Grace), Roslyn Ruff (Berniece) and James A. Williams (Doaker).
video clip: artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/27/in-performance-brandon-j-dirden-of-the-piano-lesson/?ref=arts,
VISION FESTIVAL 17. Roulette, Brooklyn NY.
Highlights: Farmers By
Nature (Craig Tabborn, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver), Joe
McPhee’s Angels, Devils & Haints II (Steve Swell, Roy Campbell,
Gardiullo, Rosie Hertlein, Michael Bisio, Dominic Duval, Hilliard
Greene, William Parker, Warrren Smith, Jay Rosen), Sheila Jordan
Jay Clayton Bop To Freebop (with Jack Williams and Cameron Brown),
Jason Kao Hwang’s Burning Bridge -a
jaw-dropping suite- (Taylor
Ho Bynum, Steve Swell, Sun Li, Wang Gunwei, Ken Filiano, Andrew Drury),
Burnt Sugar Holy Ghost & Fire Orchestra. artssforart.org/events/archive/schedule/visionfestival17
ROBERT ASHLEY. Kyle Gann.
University of Illinois Press, 152 pages. press.uillinois.edu,
THE JAZZ STANDARDS: A GUIDE TO THE REPERTOIRE.
Ted Gioia. 250 songs, mostly from The Great American
Songbook, get about two pages explaining their origins of composition
to performance histories, followed by lists of perhaps 20 recommended
versions, which will keep you busy (and buying) and disputing favorites
with friends. Treat yourself, then the friends for whom you know
this would be the perfect gift. Oxford University Press, 544
THE MAN WHO SOLD THE WORLD: DAVID BOWIE AND THE 1970s.
Peter Doggett. What makes Doggett so doggone good is
his weaving, song by song, performance by performance, of the
development of each track, musically and lyrically, Bowie’s
ever-changing personae, and how he fits into the musical and cultural
scene at any given time. I have a love/hate affair with Mr.
Bowie, all his fault, and Doggett’s deft analyses put everything Bowie
into perspective(s). Harper Collins, 512 pages. peterdoggett.org, harpercollins.com
A WOMAN LIKE ME. Bettye LaVette and David
Ritz. Let’s lay it out. The woman has history, tells a
mean tale, no holds barred and no name undropped, but not to show
off. This is the history of one singer, but through her passes
the whole history of r’n’b, jazz and the recording industry from the
early 1960s until now. I cannot overemphasize the joy of
hearing LaVette tell her own story, her own way, and with salt,
muthafucka. She is self-aware, and does not spare herself nor any
others what is so believably the whole truth. Feminist polemicists,
male and female, will have a field day fighting this one out. Now
not only is she a singer who has blown me away since 1977 (my first
encounter), but now one of my heroes. My favorite read of the
year. Blue Rider Press, 272 pages. bettyelavette.com,
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD. Behn
Zeitlin, director; Quvenzhan Wallis as Hushpuppy, Dwight Henry as
Wink. 20th Century Fox.
New York State
Best of 2012
As usual, in no particular order. It's hard enough to
narrow down a whole year to a small list, let alone imply one release
is better than another.
Dan DeChellis Trio - My Age of Anxiety. dandechellis.com
Joel Harrison 7 - Search.
Formanek - Small Places. ECM. ecmrecords.com
Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti, Charlie Haden - Magico
- Carta De Amor. ECM. ecmrecords.com
Donny McCaslin - Casting for Gravity.
Greenleaf Music. greenleafmusic.com
Fred Lonberg-Holm's Fast Citizens – Gather.
Harris Eisenstadt - Canada Day Octet.
482 Music. 482music.com
Angelica Sanchez Quintet - Wires & Moss.
Clean Feed. cleanfeed-records.com
RED Trio+Nate Wooley – Stem. Clean
Kenny Wessel Quartet - Weights And Measures.
Luis Perdomo - Universal Mind.
RKM. Music website defunct. facebook.com/RKMMusic
Luis Perdomo - The Infancia Project.
Criss Cross. crisscrossjazz.com
Marilyn Crispell, Mark Dresser, Gerry Hemingway - Play
Braxton. Tzadik. tzadik.com
Marzio Scholten - Voids, Echoes and Whispers.
Clarence Penn - Dali in Cobble Hill.
Criss Cross . crisscrossjazz.com
Jim Hall - Live vols 2-4.
Michael Musillami Trio + 4 – Mettle.
Wadada Leo Smith - Ten Freedom Summers.
William Parker - Centering: Unreleased Early
Recordings 1976-1987. No Business. nobusinessrecords.com
Tomas Fujiwara & The Hook Up - The Air Is
Different. 482 Music. 482music.com
Scott DuBois - Landscape Scripture.
Sam Rivers-Dave Holland-Barry Altschul - Reunion
Live in New York. Pi Recordings. pirecordings.com
Chris Kelsey-Pat Hall-Joe Gallant-Dean Sharp - Happy
House. Unseen Rain. unseenrainrecords.com/
Cristian Mendoza - Lost In New York. Fonarte
Latino (download only). fonartelatino.com
Ron Miles w. Bill Frisell, Brian Blade – Quiver.
András Schiff - J.S. Bach, Das Wohltemperierte
Clavier. ECM New Series. ecmrecords.com
Newcomers, 7 Months Later...
Both released halfway through 2011 David Binney's Barefooted
Town on CrissCross and Adam Kolker's Reflections on
Sunnyside are two beautiful releases that impacted in 2012 as well.
Jason Kao Hwang/EDGE, with Taylor Ho Bynum, Ken Filiano,
Andrew Drury. The Chapel Restoration, Cold Spring, NY. chapelofourlady.com
photos © 2012 James Keepnews
Darius Jones Trio, with Sean Conly, Jason Nazary.
The Chapel Restoration, Cold Spring, NY. chapelofourlady.com
Billy Hart Quartet, with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, Ben
Street. Review of this concert and ECM disc All Our
Reasons, with photos by Nathea Lee: hart.html
Joe Fiedler's Big Sackbut, with Joshua Roseman, Ryan
Keberle, Marcus Rojas.
Adam Cruz Quintet, with Miguel Zenon, Steve Cardenas,
David Virelles, Ben Street.
All three above at The Falcon, Marlboro, NY. liveatthefalcon.com
What I Say: The Early Electric Music of Miles Davis.
Chris Kelsey, Jack DeSalvo, Greg Murphy, Joe Gallant, Alan
Lerner. Magnolia's Cafe, Patterson, NY. magnoliascafeny.com/
Venue now, sadly, closed.
New York State
Most inspirational rituals of 2012
Trippple Nippples @ Shea Stadium 1/4/12
Kraftwerk @ Moma 4/11/12
Ruins @ Death By Audio 4/29/12
Keith Fullerton Whitman & Pete Swanson @ 285
Merzbow @ St. Vitus 6/4/12
Erik Friedlander & Ikue Mori duo @
Inklings @ Spectrum 10/5/12
Swedish Energies festival @ Abrons Arts
Phantom Orchard & Pet Bottle Ningen @
Masada mini-marathon @
Cuidad México, D.F. / Mexico City
In 2012 I threw myself into the vortex of the flamboyant
1970s NY underground hard salsa, just to be rendered before the sound
of these guaguanco beasts, killer salsa dura to ignite a frenetic dance
floor and produce a rush of pulsating energy. No cheap romanticism, no
nice singers, no salsa monga here. Que salgan las bestias...
Dax Pacem Orchestra / Dax Pacem Orchestra / Amaral
“Yo voy a decirte historia bie sibcerra, en la Tumba de
Roberto y de Chino....” The infamous lyrics for La Tumba by
fiery opening lead singer Hector Rivera, Dax Pacem is Latin for 'give
us peace,' an extraordinary orchestra that just recorded one LP led by
Benny Vargas. 500% powerful, radiant and honest music. Jose
Velez’ organ just blows my mind. No hay farsantes aquí.
The Brooklyn Sounds / Free - Libre / Mary Lou Records,
2.1 Brooklyn Sounds! - Salsa Records 2001, 1970.
Brrrrr... El sonido maldito, fuego puro. Los trombones
violentos y agresivos de La Brooklyn. Both records by
Brooklyn Sounds are outstanding, from openers “Sueltame Ya” or “Libre,”
this is pure Solid Sound; what you see is what you get, bro.
Orchestra Dicupé / Orchestra Dicupé - Fania Records
The first time I heard Orquesta Dicupe was a deep version (full of XXL
bass) by the hand of maestro Sonidero Raúl López a/k/a
SONORAMICO, Since then, I have not been able to forget the
timbales-possessed sound of “Breakdown” (transtorno) by Johnny
Almendra. Inferibious sound, Larry Harlow production at his best.
The Orchestra Soledad / Vámonos Let’s Go / Futuro
Guaguanco duro by the leading pianist Miguel Fulu with trombonists
Héctor Ramos and Tony Torres. Descarga masiva meng, ahí nama.
Orquesta La Moderna of New York / Orquesta La Moderna of
New York - Amaral Records, 1973.
Combative & ferocious Boricuas playing like demons. La
Moderna shows its ability to play guaguanco, bolero, mambo, bomba and
descargas. Salsa dura at its best.
And my usual high dosage of jazz & improvised music:
Hairy Bones Live. Teatro de la Ciudad México D.F.
Miércoles 9 de Mayo de 2012.
Seeing Brö & Kondo live was simply fantastic. These are my
living gods, their refinement and power is amazing. They play waves of
energy, not sounds; so refreshing like the first time I heard them
together, in Little Dogs Have Fast Hearts.
The Complete Remastered Recordings Series on Black Saint
& Soul Note 2010.
So many good recordings included in these nicely packaged boxes.
Don Pullen, Mal Waldron, Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Henry Threadgill,
Cecil Taylor and David Murray. The vibrantly remastered sound is
crystalline. I never heard before so many amazing records,
Steve Lacy & Mal Waldron - Italian sessions.
Max Roach & Anthony Braxton - Birth & Rebirth.
Don Pullen & Sam Rivers - Capricorn Rising.
Jimmy Lyons The Box Set - Ayler Records.
Amazing Lyons box set full of Loft Jazz sessions at the famous Sam
Rivers Studio Rivbea in NYC or playing live in Switzerland.
What a great document!
Charles Gayle Solo in Japan / P.S.F. Records 1997.
Mr. Gayle’s character "Streets" plays in a pure and touching
mood. Solo pieces on tenor and soprano saxophone or
piano. You don’t need to think as you listen; go with what you
Andrew Lamb / Portrait In The Mist / Delmark Records
I only have this CD from this excellent tenor saxophonist, and now I
need all his recordings! Lamb with Andrei Strobert on drums,
Warren Smith on vibes, and Wilber Morris on bass are a perfect match
for this vibrating session. Superb jazzmen.
Ethnomusicologist, composer, improviser
BEST DISCOVERIES OF 2012
John CAGE. Song Books.
The first complete recording of the Song Books. A
milestone. Two CDs and 24-page booklet. The first edition
is already sold out. Brussels: Sub Rosa. 2012. subrosa.itcmedia.net/en.html
John CAGE. How to Get Out of the Cage: A Year
with John Cage.
A documentary by Frank Scheffer. Includes several fun
extras. DVD. Berlin: EuroArts Music International.
2012. euroarts.com/artikel/, naxos.com
CAGE, TAKEMITSU, WOLFF, STOCKHAUSEN, von BIEL,
ICHIYANAGI. Cage Shock, Vol. 1-3.
Important concert from Cage’s first Japanese tour. Osaka: EM
Records. 2012. emrecords.net/
Jonathan HARVEY. Wagner Dream.
Two discs and book that includes the libretto, texts, and essays.
Brussels: Cyprès CYP-5624. 2012. cypres-records.com/
Toshio HOSOKAWA. Orchestral Works:
Metamorphosis; Re-Turning; Ferne-Landschaft III.
Italy: Stradivarius STR-33899. 2012. stradivarius.it/,
INVENTIONEN VII: 30 Jahre Inventionen 1982-2012.
Five hours of electroacoustic compositions, recorded during the first
30 years of the Berlin festival "Inventionen." Highlights include
Iannis Xenakis’ “Bohor,” Trevor Wishart’s “Encounters in the Republic
of Heaven, Akt 1-4” (75 minutes), “Rolf Enstrom’s “Fractal” (both tape
and video versions), Richard Barrett’s “Simorgh,” Daniel Teruggi’s
“Sounding Landscapes,” works by Bogusław Schaeffer, and a whole CD of
music by Ricardo Mandolini. Berlin: Edition RZ RZ-3006-8 2CD +
DVD. 2012. edition-rz.de/0,2,0.html
KURDISH-Turkey. Mistefaye Satilvala u Dengbej
Sakir. Kilamen Serhede.
Satilalava has an amazing voice; every note is a multiphonic.
Istanbul: Umut Muzik Yapim. No date. Fax: +90-212-519-2574.
Hafez MODIRZADEH. Post-Chromodal Out!
New York: Pi Recordings. 2012. pirecordings.com/
Bhob RAINEY. Manual.
112 page paperback book and 65-minute album. Music by the BSC
(with Pauline Oliveros). Book edited by Bhob Rainey with
contributions from Damon Krukowski, Aaron P. Tate, Ben Hall, and Mike
Bullock. Three tracks, 65:30. Book 5.8125″ x 8.25.″
New Orleans: NO Books. 2011. bhobrainey.bandcamp.com/,
Arnold SCHOENBERG. Herzgewächse.
Due to the fortuitous acquisition of rare LPs this year, I was able to
compare six out of the seven commercial recordings of this sparkling
gem. By far my favorite is soprano Eileen Hulse’s performance, under
conductor Robert Craft (who conducted three recordings of the piece,
including its first, published in 1956). She turns the soaring
pinnacles into diamonds. Recorded in 1994. On the album Pierrot
Lunaire (Schoenberg, Vol. 6). Hong Kong: Naxos.
8.557523. 2007. naxos.com/
Tom SOLOVEITZIK, Korhan EREL, Kevin DAVIS. Three
States of Freedom.
Improvisations for tenor saxophone, computer, and cello. Recorded in
Jaffa. Lisbon: Creative Sources Recordings. CD-209.
Gerhard STÄBLER. Vokalwerke.
Compositions involving improvisation, including the influential
“Drüber,” for eight screamers, cello, and tape. Edition
EarPort. No date. earport.de/edition-earport.html
Jakob ULLMANN. Fremde Zeit Addendum.
Very quiet music. Edition RZ RZ-1026-28, 3CD. 2012. http://www.edition-rz.de/