Fascinating Things : Issue 20

A biblical deluge of new things in this week so only time for  some short and sharp reviews:

Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek (Fortuna Pop!)

The debut album from the new band fronted by Emma Kupa, formerly of BBC 6 Music favourites Standard Fare. Released on 10 July via Fortuna POP!.  A dozen simply marvellous power pop tunes with Emma’s delightful and arresting voice holding the attention for the whole of the album. Lyrically spot on, musically clever, and as it is stripped down to guitar, bass and drums, this is a perfect example of how to write and deliver good tunes.

Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain (Cardinal Fuzz/Sunrise Ocean Bender)

Manchester’s Dead Sea Apes have quickly built a fascinating catalogue that delivers fascinating instrumental jams. From the riveting stomp of previously featured ‘Soy Dios’ and ‘Astral House,’ to the enigmatic ebb and flow laden ‘Lupus,’ and straight through to their stunning collaboration with Black Tempest, ‘The Sun Behind The Sun,’ Equally capable of crushing heavy riffing and  mesmerizing ambient space-psyche as heard on last years critically acclaimed ‘High Evolutionary’,  this is a band that gets better with every release. ‘Spectral Domain,’ is their third full length album. From the Lalo Schiffrin meets Cluster spy theme of ‘Brought To Light’, the driving noise juggernaut of ‘Universal Interrogator’ through to the dubbed out claustrophobia of ‘Sixth Side of the Pentagon’, this is wigged space rock of the highest order. Releases on September 28th  in a visually striking sleeve and insert designed by Luke Insect on a purple and clear vinyl swirl be quick though only 200 are available. Nothing available from the album as yet for embeddinhg so here is something from High Evolutionary to whet your whistle.

Minimi Deutsch – Minimi Deutsch (Cardinal Fuzz)

Emerging from the vibrant Japanese psych explosion that has recently birthed Kikagaku Moyo, Sundays & Cybele,  as part of a new wave of acts that are making waves in the West, Minami Deutsch formed in 2014 and quickly went to work on this their debut album. The album is  a product of their source bands while putting a fine new twist on them,  capturing a  motorik sensibility as the band locks into repetitive locked modular grooves.  Source influences are Can, Neu! and La Duesseldorf (the clue is in the name) with added modernist synth swoops and whirls.  Hypnotic repetition with subtle changes leaves this listener wanting much more. Stunning stuff. 28th September sees the release of a 500 pressing on Weissensee white vinyl.

Henry Threadgill Zooid – In For A Penny, In For A Pound (Pi Recordings)

A double CD of a new suite of compositions from the masterly Mr Threadgill.  As usual there is the unique combination of instrumentation that characterises a Threadgill release – alto, flute and bass flute from the leader, and trombone/tuba,guitar, cello, and percussion. Essentially a “stream of musical phrases” developed over six distinct pieces. Each CD starts with a short introduction and then moves two lengthier section, Bubbling with ideas this is typical Threadgill territory,  his complex avant garde structures creating a unique musical palette with passages of manic pointillism sitting alongside measured chamber jazz, which can then transform into Henry’s particular version of mutant jazz rhythms. Not to for the faint hearted but if you enjoy challenging music you should give this a try. Again there is nothing from the album available as yet so here is a live cut from a couple of years back.

Johann Kloos – Flower Bed (Bandcamp)

A retrospective collection of material from 2003-2011 from the ever busy Dr Kloos. As usual it is jam packed full of musical ideas, replete with humorous idiosyncrasies, and damn fine. Johann moves between various genres across ten excellent tracks, one minute a piece of jazz-funk that Jan Hammer would have been proud of, the next atmospheric post-punk textures,  and then motorik driven beats .  This guy has more ideas in his little finger than any Coldplay wannabee that has been signed by a major. This guy should be supported and promoted he deserves the widest possible audience.

Aaron Diehl – Space Time Continuum (Mack Avenue)

Widely acknowledged as a modern master in the aftermath of his acclaimed 2012 Mack Avenue debut, “The Bespoke Man’s Narrative”, 29-year-old pianist-composer Aaron Diehl ups the ante with his 2015 release “Space, Time, Continuum”. Diehl first came to notice on the self-released late ʼ00s albums “Live At Caramoor”, a solo date on which he navigated the stride piano canon with deep assurance; and “Live At The Players”, on which he delivered a program spanning classical music, bebop and the blues. On “The Bespoke Man’s Narrative”, Diehl presented original music drawing on composers like John Lewis and Duke Ellington for inspiration.  On “Space, Time, Continuum”, an eight- track album, Diehl uses the core trio of bassist David Wong and drummer Quincy Davis. Also featured are the iconic tenor saxophonist-composer Benny Golson and baritone saxophonist Joe Temperley, both 85 years young; the 39-year-old underground tenor saxophone giant Stephen Riley; and the rising star trumpeter Bruce Harris, not yet 30. are also featured. The album moves between trio workouts to blues drenched pieces, or sprightly bop workouts, featuring the horns. Beautifully recorded, there is nothing ground breaking here but the playing is exemplary.

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World Of Jazz Podcast #01

Mixcloud Link

The first jazz podcast since my departure from Salford City Radio includes the following:

  • Don Grolnick – Genie – Nightown : Don’s second and final Blue Note release from 1992, he died far too young four years later, a stunning line of Ehrlich, Holland, Lovano and Brecker make this a must listen release.
  • Jan Garbarek – Gula Gula – I Took Up The Runes : a jazzy cover of Mari Persen’s tune sets the tone for a great mid-period album for Garbarek
  • Bennie Maupin – The Jewel In The Lotus – The Jewel In The Lotus : from 1974 and very much in the shadow of Bitches Brew – Maupin assembled a stellar line-up for this amazing album – most of his Headhunters chums are along for the ride and the arrangements are some of the best in jazz.
  • Ken Vandermark’s Joe Harriot Project – Shadows – Straight Lines – from 1999 a  celebration of Harriott’s compositions. With KV you have  Jeb Bishop on trombone, Kent Kessler on bass and Tim Mulvenna on drums.
  • Henry Threadgill & Zooid – A Day Off – Tomorrow Sunny/The Revelry SPP : a 2012 release with Henry doing what he does best by being completely unique and uncategorisable.
  • John Surman – Double Tripper – Nordic Quartet : typical ECM from 1995 – not known as Surman’s best work but highly entertaining and ambient.
  • Joshua Redman – Before – Passage Of Time : see below
  • Joshua Redman – Free Speech Phase 1 : Declaration – Passage Of Time : featuring Pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gregory Hutchinson – this 2001 album is a good representation of Redman’s writing abilities and the band is good on both the written and improvised sections.
  • Ponga – Naugahide – Ponga – Entirely improvised from start to finish,the album is a collection of   jam sessions  featuring  Wayne Horvitz (keyboards),  Bobby Previte (drums)  Skerik (sax) and Dave Palmer (keyboards). Released in 1999.
  • Paul Lytton, Phillip Wachsmann – The Redefining of Methods and Means – Some Other Season : Also from 1999 a collection of improvised pieces which hang precariously between jazz and ambient.
  • Miles Davis – Tatu Pt 2 Calypso Frelimo – Dark Magus : Live at Carnegie Hall in 1974 with Miles deep into his electric phase.