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ACOUSTIC LEVITATION
BEST OF 2012

Dear Readers,

It’s 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 future.
Steve Koenig,
Editor



STEVEN KOENIG
New York City

DISCS

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/, ecmrecords.com

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,
ecmrecords.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 Reynols, Daniel 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 inserts. myspace.com/bigblood24

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, naxos.com

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.  Columbia.  bobdylan.com

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, cdbaby.com

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 Bennink.  icporchestra.com/icpbox/

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 1969-1973.   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, legacyrecordings.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, joe-morris.com

GIOVANNA PESSI / SUSANNA WALLUMRØD.  “If Grief Could Wait.”  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 2226. 
ecmrecords.com

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 Albums Collection.  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 CDs.  neilyoung.com

 

PERFORMANCES- Dance, Music, Opera, Theater

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, NYC.  http://signaturetheatre.org

Maxwell Anderson.  Both Your Houses.  Still timely 1933 political satire.  Metropolitan Playhouse, NYC. 
metropolitanplayhouse.org

Robert Ashley.  The Old Man Lives In Concrete.  His newest 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 Braxton Quartet featuring Anthony Braxton (alto, soprano, sopranino, baritone, bass, and contrabass saxophones), Dan Blacksberg (trombone, euphonium), Ken Filiano (acoustic bass), Mike Szekely (percussion) and the Diamond Curtain Wall Music Ensemble featuring Anthony 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. 
tricentricfoundation.org, roulette.org

Willem Breuker Kollektief.  The second-to-last American farewell performance, long, rich and edge-of-your-seat exhilarating.  October 4, 2012, ShapeShifter Lab, Brooklyn NY. 
willembreukerkollektief.nl, wbk.home.xsforall.nl, shapeshifterlab.com

Meeting of Capitalists Inc. to Mark the 100th Anniversary of the Birth of JOHN MILTON CAGE, Jr., Hosted by rahrahree! (Kurt Gottschalk and Tamara Yadao)  Many hundreds of records were broken, smashed, drilled, and worse.  Downtown Music Gallery, NYC.  September 2, 2012. 
downtownmusicgallery.com, tamarayadao.com/rahgrahree

Merce Cunningham.  Pond Way.  November 20, 2012.  Merce Cunningham Studio at City Center, NYC. 
mercecummingham.org

Rinde Eckert.   And God Created Great Whales.  Created, composed and written by Eckert; directed by David Schweizer; Rinde Eckert (Nathan) and Nora Cole (Olivia). Culture Project, NYC. 
cultureproject.org, rindeeckert.com

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 NY. 
bricktheater.com

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: A Multimedia Opera.  Musical direction: Myra Melford.  January 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). August 24, 2012.  Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. 
matanaroberts.com, roulette.org

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.  David Buddin, piano.  Grace United Methodist Church, Brooklyn NY. 
graceumcbrooklyn.org, http://stockhausen.org

Viktor Ullman.  Der Kaiser von Atlantis.  Opera Moderne, conducted by Ransom Wilson.  Stage Director, Markus Kupferblum.  The Bohemian National Hall at the Czech Center New York.  Video clip: operamoderne.com/#!kaiser-highlights/c19s8bohemiannationalhall.com, new-york.czechcentres.cz

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, signaturetheatre.org/tickets/production.aspx?pid=2371

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, Joe Gardiullo, Rosie Hertlein, Michael Bisio, Dominic Duval, Hilliard Greene, William Parker, Warrren Smith, Jay Rosen), Sheila Jordan and 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


BOOKS

ROBERT ASHLEY.  Kyle Gann.  University of Illinois Press, 152 pages.  press.uillinois.edu, robertashley.org, lovely.com

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 pages. 
tedgioia.com, oup.com

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, penguingroup.com/static/pages/blueriderpress/index.html


FILM

BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD.  Behn Zeitlin, director; Quvenzhan Wallis as Hushpuppy, Dwight Henry as Wink.  20th Century Fox.



CRAIG NIXON
New York State
Managing Editor

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.

RECORDS

Dan DeChellis Trio - My Age of Anxiety.  dandechellis.com

Joel Harrison 7 - Search.  Sunnyside. 
sunnysiderecords.com/

Michael 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 CitizensGather.  Delmark. 
delmark.com

Harris Eisenstadt - Canada Day Octet.  482 Music.  
482music.com

Angelica Sanchez Quintet - Wires & Moss.  Clean Feed.  
cleanfeed-records.com

RED Trio+Nate WooleyStem.  Clean Feed.  
cleanfeed-records.com

Kenny Wessel Quartet - Weights And Measures.  Nonotes.  
kenwessel.com

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 Whispersmarzioscholten.bandcamp.com/album/voids-echoes-and-whispers

Clarence Penn - Dali in Cobble Hill.  Criss Cross .
crisscrossjazz.com

Jim Hall - Live vols 2-4.  ArtistShare.  artistshare.com/v4/

Michael Musillami Trio + 4 Mettle.  Playscape.  playscape-recordings.com

Wadada Leo Smith - Ten Freedom Summers.  Cuneiform.  
cuneiformrecords.com

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.  Sunnyside.  
sunnysiderecords.com/

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 BladeQuiver.  enja/Yellowbird.  jazzrecords.com/enja

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.


PERFORMANCES

Jason Kao Hwang/EDGE, with Taylor Ho Bynum, Ken Filiano, Andrew Drury.  The Chapel Restoration, Cold Spring, NY.  chapelofourlady.com  

Jason Kao Hwang
Taylor Ho Bynum
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. 



CHUCK BETTIS
New York State
Musician
chuckbettis.com

Most inspirational rituals of 2012

Trippple Nippples @ Shea Stadium 1/4/12
trippplenippples.com/
liveatsheastadium.com/

Kraftwerk @ Moma 4/11/12
kraftwerk.com/
moma.org/

Ruins @ Death By Audio 4/29/12
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruins_(Japanese_band)
entertainment4every1.net/shows/

Keith Fullerton Whitman & Pete Swanson @ 285 Kent 5/11/12
keithfullertonwhitman.com/
soundcloud.com/_type/sets/pete-swanson-man-with
facebook.com/285kentave

Merzbow @ St. Vitus 6/4/12
merzbow.net/
saintvitusbar.com/

Erik Friedlander & Ikue Mori duo @ Barbez 9/21/12
erikfriedlander.com/
ikuemori.com/
barbesbrooklyn.com/

Inklings @ Spectrum 10/5/12
evibeast.li/Evi_Beast/sound.html
facebook.com/spectrumNYC

Swedish Energies festival @ Abrons Arts Center 11/30/12-12/1/12
issueprojectroom.org/drupal/program/swedish-energies-ems-nyc

Phantom Orchard & Pet Bottle Ningen
@ Roulette 12/11/12
youtube.com/watch?v=7S0UhAHskgY
petbottleningen.com/
roulette.org/

Masada mini-marathon
@ Nublu 12/16/12
youtube.com/watch?v=JCR-rfH4wbE
tzadik.com
nublu.net/


CARLOS GóMEZ
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 Records, 1969.
“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, 1970.
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 1972.
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 Records 1970.
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, especially:  
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 feel.

Andrew Lamb / Portrait In The Mist / Delmark Records 1995.
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.


ROBERT REIGLE
Istanbul
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/, allegro-music.com

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/, bhobrainey.net

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.  2012.  creativesources.rec.com

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/




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