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October 20, 2011

"Nice Guys" - Art Ensemble of Chicago

Back in August I discovered a new record shop in Northeast Portland called Beacon Sound. It had a small, yet focused, Jazz vinyl selection with a good percentage of avant-garde discs that I would've gladly purchased. I restrained myself by limiting my purchase to one LP, Nice Guys by the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Nothing too rare as it was a cut out, but the price was just right at $6.

I have owned a digital version of this album for some years now. It's not one the Art Ensemble's strongest works, but it sure exemplifies their compositional style and sheer force as they perform in the studio. Like most music on vinyl, I have been listening to it a lot more now. It must be something to do with putting a record on the turntable over and over again that feels right. Rather than using my Click Wheel to access it.

Nice Guys is the first album the AEOC cut for the ECM label, and also the first after a five year break from recording. Probably what is the most satisfying part of the record is the final track, 'Dreaming of the Master'. What is Joseph Jarman's high tribute to Miles Davis, the whole album seems like a culmination that ultimately feels like a spiritual breaking down during this closing tune.

In 1990 'Dreaming of the Master' was reintroduced in a new album entitled, Dreaming of the Masters Suite: Music Inspired by and Dedicated to John Coltrane. Released on the Japanese Label DIW, it's a mixture of Art Ensemble and Coltrane compositions.
1978 - ECM (1126)
Lester Bowie - trumpet, celeste, bass drum; Joseph Jarman - reeds, percussion, vocal; Roscoe Mitchell - reeds, percussion; Malachi Favors - Maghostus bass, percussion, melodica; Famoudou Don Moye - drums, percussion, vocal.

October 6, 2011

nwFilmCenter's Reel Music Film Fest Is Back!

The Portland Art Museum's nwFilmCenter brings back their Reel Music Film Festival; now in its 29th rendition. There's usually something for any music fan here, and each installment of RMFF even contains something for us Avant-Garde music geeks.

On October 18th, at 7pm, you're not going to want to miss this triple header of DICK FONTAINE films.

A meditation on freedom of expression with three avant garde musicians, under the leadership of Ornette Coleman, as they make music for a Living Theater project in Paris.

A portrait of the great jazz musician during his self-enforced exile from his audience.

Sound??? [1967]
A poetic journey from zoo to echoic chamber in search of the limits of music with Rahsaan Roland Kirk and John Cage.

Who's Crazy is a live music performance of a movie score for the film of the same title. Hardcore Ornette fans probably have heard the audio before as it was originally issued on vinyl in 1966 as a two volume set. I've heard of import reissues being available, but I know digital materials do exist in the far stretches of the internet.

The music is exciting and offers more of an insight into Coleman's post-quartet, post-career hiatus trio that featured David Izenzon (bass) and Charles Moffett (drums). Also heard here are some fresh chops by Coleman on Violin and Trumpet. Who's Crazy is intense, somber, heavily rhythmic (Moffett really utilized his kick pedal) -- but ultimately it's still the melodic, harmolodic, and joyous Ornette that we all love.