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October 22, 2014

"Lower Bottoms" - Matt Nelson

Released yesterday, Matt Nelson's first solo album delivers a far out investigation in sound and technique.  Nelson's curiosity and experimentation, coupled with a tremendous use of guitar effect pedals, treats our minds to a feast of noise, sound, and concepts

With electronic manipulation and a healthy dose of feedback the saxophone is delivered fresher than ever before.  Nelson showcases smooth, hypnotic moments intertwined with disjointed assaults.  Allowing us to peek into Nelson's expanding approach to his instrument.

Nelson's tonal range is on full display thanks to the production efforts of engineer Eli Crews.  With a nice system dynamic highs, warm mids, and boomy lows are all brought to light.  I'm not much of a low-end guy, but the moments that sound like my speakers are beneath the floorboards are some of my favorite parts.

... I can guarantee that no other 2014 release comes even close to Lower Bottoms.

Matt Nelson will be performing in Portland next Monday, 10/27, at the Habesha Lounge.  You can also catch him play in Battle Trance, an all saxophone quartet, on 11/02/14 at the Habesha Lounge.

July 29, 2014

New July Releases From OutNow Recordings

Gordon Beeferman Trio, 
Out In Here

This collection of improvised music places us into Beeferman's new piano trio outing. At times Out In Here possesses a physical dominance that's pulled from Cecil Taylor's early 60s work, and at other moments evolves into textural and fluid bits much like a Paul Bley piece. These strong structural landscapes are carried through the entire recording. Production-wise this CD is a dream. With bright stereo staging Out In Here appears crisp, clear, and tight. 
  • Gordon Beeferman - Piano
  • James Ilgenfritz - Double Bass
  • Michael Evans - Drums

Yoni Kretzmer / Pascal Niggenkemper / Weasel Walter, ProtestMusic

Right out of the gate, from the album title to the very first note, ProtestMusic elicits emotional, reactionary movements. If these two CDs were Abstract Expressionists, ProtestMusic would be Jackson Pollock while Out In Here would be Barnett Newman. 

ProtestMusic is raw and organic. Pulling from the stylings of Frank Lowe, Charles Gayle, and Pharaoh Sanders, Yoni Kretzmer's dense tenor playing appears front and center in this piano-less trio. With Kretzmer as the nervous system, Pascal Niggenkemper and Weasel Walter form a strong (and deformed) skeleton to complete this disjointed body.  
  • Yoni Kretzmer - Tenor Saxophone
  • Pascal Niggenkemper - Double Bass
  • Weasel Walter - Drums

July 12, 2014

Charlie Haden; August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014

Charlie Haden redefined the role of a bassists.  His musical impact stretches beyond the boundaries of jazz, and the avant-garde.

I'll just leave you Ramblin'...

... And direct you to these great pieces.
Howard Mandel, Jazz Beyond Jazz
Fred Kaplan, Slate

May 30, 2014

Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog Wowed PDX

Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog pulled into Portland Tuesday night with one of the best sets I have seen in awhile. Ribot, along with Ches Smith (drums/electronics), and Shahzad Ismaily (bass/percussion/moog), displayed an amalgamation of genre bending sounds.  The trio's songbook flowed seamlessly from free improv, to punk, to math rock, to free-jazz(ish) in front of a packed house at the renowned Mississippi Studios

Even in unfamiliar territory, familiarity was found within a punk-fusion variation of Paul Desmond's Take 5; offering glossy licks and cool jazz scales over a turbulent free-punk mash.  Ribot switched gears by singing on a handful of numbers. His singer-songwriter persona brought a certain cynicism into the equation which was evident in songs like "Masters of the Internet."

Ceramic Dog's performance kept the crowd looking around the corner to see what was coming. Altogether a bitches brew containing Smith's melodic, mathy drumming, Ismaily's noisy, improvised base lines, and at the helm Ribot's thrashy, amplified guitar chops.
You can check out Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog's latest studio album, Your Turn, at Northern Spy a Records.

May 26, 2014

PDX Show Announcement: Ceramic Dog with 1939 Ensemble

Marc Ribot's Ceramic Dog , a noise/avant-garde/free-punk outfit, will be playing at Mississippi Studios Tuesday night , 5/27/14.

Portland's ethereal vibe/drums duo, 1939 Ensemble, will be kicking things off at 8pm.

Ceramic Dog
Doors: 7pm, Show: 8pm
Mississippi Studios
3939 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227

May 22, 2014

Tabor Space is the Place

Today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of Sun Ra's arrival on the planet Terra...  Tomorrow Tabor Space is the place...

From the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble:
The PJCE celebrates Sun Ra with new pieces by George Colligan, Ken Ollis and Galen Clark.

6:30 — Meet the Composers, Appetizers and Silent Auction

7:30 — Concert

Tabor Space, 5441 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97215

$5-60 Sliding scale donation. (All donations above $10 are tax deductible.)

... Be there or be square.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

May 17, 2014

New York Is Now!

I'm just off off the heels of visiting friends & family in New York.  Lingering on our time spent there I've been dialed into Ornette's 1968 Blue Note masterpiece, New York Is Now!

The Garden of Souls by Ornette Coleman on Grooveshark

Although I haven't posted about this album, I'm probably the most familiar with it from Coleman's large discography.  It's simple, well stated, and prominant in its presence.   Since this session is backed by Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison, a unique back drop is created for Coleman to work within.  

In typical Blue Note fashion this album swings, swings, and swings some more.  I love Jone's heavier use of the kick drum here.  It anchors the group with pops and flutters behind Coleman's melodic playing.  And Dewey Redman's presence is a welcomed contrast to Coleman's concepts.

New York Is Now! is a must listen for fans of Coleman, Coltrane's Classic Quartet, and post-bop.   It warrants re-listens, and appears to fit in the background of most situations.  

It's a small drop in Ornette's Large discography, and along with its sister release, Love Call, stands out from anything else he's released.

April 9, 2014

April Jazz in Oregon / Plus new things from Northern Spy Records

Couple of show announcements ...

Wednesday, 4/16, at Mississippi Studios you can catch the Chris Speed Trio, featuring Dave King of The Bad Plus and Chris Tordini, with the Blue Cranes also on the bill for the night.

Northern Spy recording duo, Jooklo Duo, will be hitting three locations throughout Oregon.  Thursday, 4/17, at Interzone in Corvallis, OR as part of their The Red Room: Improvised Music Series, along with two dates in Portland: Friday, 4/18 at Valentines, and Easter Sunday, 4/20, at Reed College.

... Speaking of Northern Spy artists, I've been really into Locus by the Chicago Underground Duo.  This amalgamation of genres feels like a love child between The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Aphex Twin, and Thurston Moore. 

We hear processed sounds that are pulled from analog and digital sources, and derive anywhere between a synthesizer and a Game Boy. Rob Mazurek and Chad Taylor take us on an adventurous sound experiment across the realms of music.  Heavily rhythmic within its melodies, Locus creates a sense of eagerness from one cut to another.  Each track is like a layer revealing a next step onward into uncharted territory.  Through every listen I find myself wanting to re-cue this record once the last note hits.

April 19 is Record Store Day.  Northern Spy has an exciting lineup of RSD only releases.  So check in with your local haunt for some shiny new wax from J. Spaceman & Kid Millions, or a Deerhoof + Marc Ribot / Ceramic Dog split 7".

March 23, 2014

Cloud Becomes Your Hand - Portland Show Announcement

Off the heels of their new album, Rocks or Cakes, Brooklyn based band Cloud Becomes Your Hand will be performing at Valentine's in Old Town Portland.

Cloud Becomes Your Hand joins ambient themes along with well arranged electronics and harmonies. Staggering from Post Punk-esq noise, to whimsical melodies reminiscent of carnival or marching band music, to tracks that create an old school, spacey Sci-Fi feel.

About Northern Spy Records - Weather it be jazz, noise, prog, minimalist, electronic, etc., Northern Spy's portfolio stretches to the far edges of the avant-garde universe. Including the latest release from the Chicago Underground Duo, entitled Locus; dropping this week.

232 SW Ankeny
All Ages