Space is the place and other concert reviews

‘If you find earth boring, just the same old same thing. Come on sign up with outer space ways incorporated‘-Le Sony’r Ra

The Sun Ra Arkestra Performing at SF Jazz center's summer festival

The Sun Ra Arkestra Performing at SF Jazz center’s summer festival

It’s hard to imagine the year is already in the back stretch. There have been quite a few good concerts in the bay area this year, including the Sun Ra Arkestra on August 6th at the SF Jazz center. The concert we caught was the final night of a 4 night stretch which boasted different compositions each night. Led by longtime alum and maestro, Marshall Allen the Arkestra once again made good on their word to take every member of the audience to outer space.

 

SFJazzCenter

Maestro Allen has transcended above any doubts fans might have had of whether he and the Arkestra would be able to adapt to a world without Sun Ra himself still in it. In fact, Sun Ra‘s very presence seems to be now somehow channeled through Allen as their compositions continue to inspire and evoke communication and the culture from some distant planet. Throughout history, many musicians and cultures have longed for an extraplanetary connection only to seem destined to fall short of such communications. The Arkestra has quite a track record for such a connection, not unlike the Dogon tribe in Mali.

 

 

 

8.6.17 The Sun Ra Arkestra performing their fourth night in SF

8.6.17 The Sun Ra Arkestra performing their fourth night in SF

Sun Ra was well known for his compositions and improvisations as well as his ability to draw the Arkestra‘s talented and devoted group members. It does appear that Maestro Allen also serves as an inspirational musician who plays alto saxophone, flute and EVI. The EVI is an electronic wind instrument which Allen uses in a way not dissimilar to the way Sun Ra utilized synthesizers to explore sounds that enter our auditory realm from outer space while the band rhythmically swings and bops and paints auditory landscapes. Joined by saxophone, bassoon and flutist Danny Ray Thompson, alto saxophonist and singer Knoel Scott the group performed a wonderful version of the Sun Ra classic ‘Dreams come true’.

 

 

 

 

Farid Baron, Tara Middleton, Marshall Allen,  James Stewart, Knoel Scott and Danny Ray Thompson

Baron, Middleton, Allen,Stewart,Scott and Thompson

Michael Ray is also a longtime trumpet player and member of the Arkestra is also know for his work in Kool and the Gang, his own group Michael Ray and the Cosmic Krewe and other groups as well. The band also included singer Tara Middleton, percussionist ElSon Nacimento, Cellist Kash Killion and guitarist DM Hotep. Pianist Farid Abdul-Bari Barron plays in a wonderful barrel house style that fits in so well with the Arkestra and he is a wonderful spirit to have in the group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For another take on the Arkestra and on Sun Ra, please have a look at my first vlog here.

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Vanessa Silberman, Reed Mullin and Mikey Ross at the Blue Lagoon in Santa Cruz, July 25, 2017

Vanessa Silberman, Reed Mullin and Mikey Ross at the Blue Lagoon in Santa Cruz, July 25, 2017

On Tuesday, July 25th L.A. based guitarist songwriter Vanessa Silberman brought her tour to the Blue Lagoon in downtown Santa Cruz. Her band included Reed Mullin (Corrosion of Conformity, Reed Mullin Music) on drums and Mikel Ross (Dreamstar Productions, Lucky Recording, Inc.) on bass. Playing a short but blistering set the trio played loud and fast, supporting her 2016 self titled EP. The edgy rock written by Berkeley born Silberman likens back to post punk era 90s such as Scrawl and Nirvana. Those folks put on an amazing set and brought along Boston singer songwriter Carissa Johnson as an opener.

 

 

 

 

 

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On Monday June 19th the one and only Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry performed at the Catalyst atrium in Santa Cruz with NST & the Soul Sauce from South Korea. It was one of two bay area shows, performing at the Mezzanine in SF and at the Sierra Nevada World Music Festival. Performing alongside the dub pioneer was Subatomic Sound System, a Brooklyn based band who toured exclusively with Mr. Perry around the US performing the classic Upsetters record Super Ape, from 1976.

Lee 'Scratch" Perry at the Catalyst Club on 6.19.17

Lee ‘Scratch” Perry at the Catalyst Club on 6.19.17

Lee Scratch Perry with member from Subatomic Sound System performing in Santa Cruz

Lee Scratch Perry with member from Subatomic Sound System performing in Santa Cruz

 

 

This year’s incarnation with Noah Tha Riddum Doktor and Subatomic performed the single they cut with Scratch entitled ‘Black Ark Vampires‘ as well as well know including ‘Zion’s Blood‘ and ‘I am a madman‘. Perry tours extensively and the 81 year old singer, producer and inventor of Dub music has a storied career with his years at Studio One, the Black Ark, with producer/engineers Adrian Sherwood, the Mad Professor and others.

 

 

 

 

Inventor of Dub Lee Scratch Perry performing one of 3 West Coast shows in Santa Cruz

Inventor of Dub Lee Scratch Perry performing one of 3 West Coast shows in Santa Cruz

Originally born in Kendal, Jamaica, Perry‘s mother was of Nigerian ancestry. He now lives in Switzerland and tours Europe extensively performing with Sherwood and Mad Professor in England, Pura Vida from Belgium, and has a new release with Cookie the Herbalist  from Switzerland entitled Ease! The master of dub proves that he is still a force to be reckoned with his quirky style and energetic shows. Wonderful sets from Perry and NST & the Soul Sauce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A-Plus from Hieroglyphics/Souls of Mischief and Knobody are part of Grow Theory

A-Plus from Hieroglyphics/Souls of Mischief and Knobody are part of Grow Theory

On Sunday, April 30th, Adam Carter AKA A-Plus from Souls of Mischiefand Hieroglyphics brought his Spring Cleaning tour from Oakland to the Blue Lagoon in Santa Cruz. With a set that included Hiero classics such ‘You never knew‘ as well as the Souls of Mischief hit ‘93 til Infinity‘, and music from his solo career including Patna Please.

Joined by Producer Jerome Foster AKA Knobody,  A-Plus performed with DJ Nocturnal and refers to this group as Grow Theory. Their anxiously awaited record is in the works and will be yet another group coming from the Hiero Emporium record label from the sunny side of the bay. Nothing but fun times every time I make it out to see any Hiero member and certainly they make the bay an exciting mecca for fans of old school hip hop.

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The night prior to that stellar night of Hip Hop was Saturday, April 29th and we had a wonderful opportunity to see Oakland saxophone legend David Murray performing with Chicago native  and AACM member Kahil El’Zabar at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall in Felton, Ca.

David Murray and Kahil El'Zabar Duo

Kahil El’Zabar and David Murray Duo

David Murray and Kahil El'Zabar at Don Quixote's International Dancehall in Felton, Ca.

Kahil El’Zabar and David Murray at Don Quixote’s International Dancehall in Felton, Ca.

 

 

In addition to being a band leader and session artist Murray is well known for being a founding member of the World Saxophone Quartet. He has received many awards including the Village Voice magazine’s ‘Musician of the Decade’ in 1980 as well as winning a Grammy in 1989 for his band’s recording ‘Blues for Coltrane‘.

 

 

 

 

 

David Murray was kind enough to take a photo with me after the show!

David Murray was kind enough to take a photo with me after the show!

 

 

Kahil El’Zabar performed with many legendary musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderly, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder. El’Zabar is known for his bands including the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, Ritual Trio, TriFactor, JUBA Collective as well as being the recipient of the 2012 International Ambassador’s award in the Arts from former President Barack Obama.

Soulful and rhythmic with infusions of dance, spoken word are some of the memories this wonderful concert left on me. The Duo has three recording out together and they played efforts ‘We Is‘ and a number of other repertoire songs that captivated fans and audience members.

 

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Top 25 records of 2016

 

Rusconi + Fred Frith photo courtesy rusconi-music.com

Rusconi + Fred Frith photo courtesy rusconi-music.com

1 Rusconi + Fred Frith– Live In Europe-Qilin
2 Fred Frith Trio-Another Day in Fucking Paradise-Intakt Records
3 Pauline Oliveros, Roscoe Mitchell, John Tilburry, Wadada Leo Smith-Nessuno-I Dischi Di Angelica
4 Joe McPhee, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten-Bricktop-Trost Records
5 Rova Channeling Coltrane– Electric Ascension Live- Rogue Art
6 Rangda-The Heritic’s Bargain-Drag City
7 Dwarfs Of East Agouza-Bes- Nawa recordings
8 Unnatural Ways-We Aliens-Tzadic
9 David Bowie-Black Star-Columbia records
10 A Tribe Called Quest– We Got It From Here-thank you for your service-Epic records
11 Leonard Cohen-You Want It Darker-Columbia
12 Lin-Manuel Miranda-Hamilton (OST)-Atlantic
13 Peter Brötzmann, William Parker, Hamid-Drake- Song Sentimentale-Otoroku
14 Various Artists- This is Kologo Power(A Bolgatanga Ghana Collection)-Makkum Records
15 King Champion Sounds-To Awake In That Heaven Of Freedom Excelsior Records
16 ICP Orchestra– Restless In Pieces-Instant Composers Pool
17 Terry Riley-The 3 Generations Trio-I Dischi Di Angelica
18 Childish Gambino-Awaken My Love-Glassnote
19 Solange– A Seat At The Table-Columbia
20 Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry– Must Be Free-Megawave
21 Tortoise-The Catastrophist- Thrill Jockey
22 Konono no.1– Meets Batida- Crammed Discs
23 The Dead C.– Trouble- Bada bing
24 The Avalanches– Wildflower- Astralwerks
25 Jeff Parker-The New Breed-International Anthem Recording Company

The Mothership touches down in Oakland

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic

For 2 nights, September 15th and 16th, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic played the east bay at the Fox Theater in Oakland. His presence allowed many old and new fans the chance to visit Funkalelica and join in on his party with other Funkateers as they performed ‘One Nation Under a Groove’. Uncle Jam officially joined the Brainfeeder records ranks opening for electronic and hip hop legend Flying Lotus aka. Captain Murphy. Flying Lotus is also known for incorporating projection mapping onstage with the assistance of Strangeloop and Timeboy, his visual designers weave 3D images throughout the concert creating a visual impact that virtually. Another Brainfeeder artist performing was Thundercat, who works with Flying Lotus and released the song ‘Them changes’, a song that had all of us singing along last year and in Thursday’s concert too. Early sets by Shabazz Palaces and Gaslamp Killer, the qwirky dj who bobbed around like Animal from the Muppets, and had alot of folks bobbing too.

 

Thu dercat performing live in Oakland, Ca.

Thundercat performing live in Oakland, Ca.

Although the entire night was really quite amazing, my personal favorite parts of night took place when Thundercat played. He performed the hit, along with the opening two songs ‘Hard Times’ and  ‘Song for the Dead’ from his 2105 EP ‘The Beyond/Where Giants Roam’ and ‘The Lotus and the Jondy’ from his 2013 ‘Apocolypse’ release. ‘The Lotus and the Jondy’ is a song written about the late pianist Austin Peralta and Flying Lotus. The former Suicidal Tendencies bass player has shown how varied his talents are as his new musical recordings show much more influence to 70’s fusion jazz such as Weather Report than to the thrash metal he became know for during his days with S.T. For people who haven’t heard this incredible new direction from Stephen Bruner, is as prolific when working on his own music as he is when he’s working with Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus and other Brainfeeder artists.

Flying Lotus 3D visual stage imagery

Flying Lotus 3D visual stage imagery

Steven FlyLo Ellison has really been turning alot of heads since the release of his 2012 recording ‘Until the quiet comes’ and the title song short film that won the Sundance Film Festival’s Short film special jury award in 2013. FlyLo’s music and visual design on many media fronts take us to other worlds and often times other dimensions as one of his most utilized stage media is a tesseract. The soundscapes are often eerie and macabre, at times even telling violent or futuristic tales where mutations and electronic beats flow like Tim Burton and Danny Elfman recreated into one person. Ellison performs with a long list of who’s who also including Kendrick Lamar and Kamasi Washington. Kendrick Lamar’s vocals were present in the closer of the night ‘Never going to catch me now’. Ellison’s alter ego Captain Murphy made an appearance on Dead Man’s Tetris, a song also from the 2014 realease ‘You’re Dead’. FlyLo also gave the audience a glimpse of the upcoming Thundercat song and it was one of the highlights of his set, bringing us back from the rapid fire beats and visuals like returning to one’s sense after a dream or psychedelic experience.

FlyLo performing at the Brainfeeder Records concert

FlyLo performing at the Brainfeeder Records concert

While Dr. Funkenstein himself may have not headlined the event, George Clinton really did the most with the audience of anyone on stage that night. Parliament Funkadelic concerts are typically greater than 2 hours with an extended group and performance that includes Sir Nose D’voidoffunk and no Funkadelic concert would be complete without Starchild’s anthem ‘Flashlight’ in which Sir Nose is hit with the bop gun and starts to dance. Last year, Clinton released the memoir, ‘Brothers be, Yo like George, ain’t that funkin’ kinda hard on you?’ The book coincided with a song bearing the latter half of the phrase by Funkadelic that finishes the title with ‘I was hard when I started and I’ll be hard when I get through.’ The song features Kendrick Lamar with Ice Cube. With the time constraints of having so many artists one song that was noticeably absent from the set of recent years was ‘Maggot Brain’, but maybe the switched it up night two and added it back in. The crowd favorite ‘Atomic Dog’ was certainly not overlooked and it was clear that was one of strongest songs of the night for N. Carolina born Clinton and P-Funk. Concerts by the undisputed Godfather of Funk meld a multitude of hits from over the years and Thursday included the 1975 hit ‘Get off your ass and jam’ as incentive to the crowd to dance.

George Clinton takes it to the stage at the Fox

George Clinton takes it to the stage at the Fox

Opening acts Shabazz Palaces and Gaslamp Killer had the crowd grooving early at the start of the show. Shabazz Palaces combine hip hop with the Kalimba and add some loops to this chill vibe. The Gaslamp Killer is a dj with some really far out records to spin and invite you in. With all of those acts performing on the same stage, they made us aware that ‘There ain’t no party like a P-Funk party cause a P-Funk party don’t stop!”

Joe McPhee -Solos: The Lost Tapes(1980-1981-1984) Roaratorio038

Joe McPhee: Solos: The Lost Tapes (1980-1981-1984)

Joe McPhee: Solos: The Lost Tapes (1980-1981-1984)

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years is the unprecedented amount of reissues or first issues of Joe McPhee recordings from the vaults. For decades Mr. McPhee has released countless releases with a multitude of extremely talented improvisers to say the least. Now, there seems to be a certain popularity with vinyl records among collectors that coincides with where the consumer is on improv music. Which in short, means when I go to a record store and see a record that says Joe McPhee Lost Tapes, I want it in my collection and I’m certain a lot of other people do too.

Roaratorio records is a great label to look for such vinyl released by McPhee. I picked up my copy of Solos:The Lost Tapes last year and have been listening to it along with the 4 reissues of CJR records on Bo-Weavil and other recordings from this early era McPhee for some perspective.  This recording does absolutely everything one could hope it would. Side one begins with ‘Wind Cycles’ an exploration of the depths of the breath within the saxophone and transitions nicely from what seem to be electronic manipulations of wind and tones. The opening key tapping segment almost seems reminiscent of John Snyder’s electronic manipulations on their work together.

Joe McPhee Solos Album photo by Ken Brunton

Joe McPhee Solos Album photo by Ken Brunton

The Redwood Rag is very rich melody that according to the liner notes (written by the artist) is dedicated to the of town, Redwood, NY where the famous Cadence Jazz Record label is located.  The song is 3:50 of pure bliss! McPhee puts so much into each note and there is a resounding wow being generated by my ears and brain when listening to this song. I recall buying a CD years called the Redwood Sessions by Evan Parker, Barry Guy, and Paul Lytton mainly because it had Joe McPhee as a guest on the Cadence Label (CIMP records). To imagine this song was written about 16 years earlier makes it more impacting.

Opening side two is Ice Blue, is also a strong improvised piece, this time showing the depth of McPhee’s ability to make his alto saxophone roar. This recording, as well as The Redwood Rag are credited to the Loft Jazz period in NYC, where McPhee laid many of his early roots.

The closing song, Voices is hauting melody that was originally released on The Willsau Concert (Hat Hut records). Willisau is a small town in Switzerland, referred to as ‘The Mekka of Creative Music in Europe’ according to the album cover. The original version was from a concert that featured John Snyder on synthesizer and Makaya Ntshoko on drums. The solo version transitions from the opening melody to point where the song shifts and takes flight as if its undulating and navigating some cross currents before again landing and closing on the refrain of the opening melody. Voices was recorded at a benefit for the New Music Distribution Service, a record distributor who, along with Cadence provide some context on how listeners of creative music gained access to new recordings in the 70’s and 80’s. Founded by Michael Mantler and Carla Bley, their catalogs contained releases of musicians ranging from electronic to free jazz. Many years ago I owned a copy that was handed down to me by a friend, but it was sadly lifted from me at a record store I was working at in the early 90’s.

The Willisau Concert Hat Hut records 1976

The Willisau Concert Hat Hut records 1976

With many recordings being available through streaming and CD only, it’s great to have this opportunity to have access to some of the early recordings found on Solos: The Lost Tapes on a vinyl format. Material worthy not only of documenting, but including in regular rotation as well.

 

 

Jeff Parker – The New Breed- International Anthem records

Los Angeles based guitarist Jeff Parker‘s new release grabs your attention on track 1 and captivates the listener throughout the entire record. The opening track ‘Executive Life’ starts out like a some wild combo of hip-hop jazz sound mixed with Lounge Lizards-esque composing woven together. That’s the first moment you know this band in this session is special.

Parker plays Electric Piano next in the quirky ‘Para Ha Tay’, then it’s back to showing off some of his laid back and amazing songwriting in Here Comes Ezra, which also is in a way adding more Parker touches in with his electronic beats as well as the guitar style he’s known for.

Jeff Parker- The New Breed

Jeff Parker- The New Breed

Jrifted starts off the second side and immediately we’re starting to wonder if we’re listening to enchanting melody with Gil Evans or Butch Morris and then you notice the orchestral sound is following the guitar. The guitar part is one of several loops included in the recording that really work. The saxophone of Josh Johnson is great on this song too. Mr Johnson has some nice solo and collaboative playing in Jrifted and as well on many songs in the New Breed.

Jeff Parker New Breed insert

Jeff Parker New Breed insert

The new release for the Tortoise guitarist has some great directions including some old school funk in ‘Get Dressed’. Drummer Jamire Williams and Vocalist Ruby Williams draw you into the only vocal track ‘Cliche’. This song has some elements of a vocal track one might find on a Henry Threadgill record. When comparisons are made, they’re mainly made on style as this record really captures it’s own brilliance.

Iva Bittovà and Paolo Angeli @ the Respect Festival: The blog from Prague

Iva Bittove and Paolo Angeli perform at the Respekt Festival

Iva Bittove and Paolo Angeli perform at the Respect Festival

Some of the best musical collaborations occur during summer music festivals. A wonderful collaboration occured at the Respect Festival this year.The Respect Festival in Prague is now in its 19th year of existence. A music festival based on diversity and non-violence, Respect Festival draws international artists who perform both traditional and improvised styles of music.

Czech singer/violinist Iva Bittova with Italian guitarist Paolo Angeli

Czech singer/violinist Iva Bittova with Italian guitarist Paolo Angeli

Independently, both Iva Bittova and Paolo Angeli are well known for leaving audiences  spellbound by the energy and beauty of their music. Bittova, from the Czech Republic and Angeli, from Italy recently performed together at Palac Akropolis in support of the Respect Festival in Prague.

Live @ Palac Akropolis Prague

Live @ Palac Akropolis Prague

Iva Bittova is a renowned singer and violin player who has recorded and performed extensively with artists such as Fred Frith, Pavel Fajt and Vladimir Vaclavek. She has recorded and performed traditional Czech and Moravian songs, music by composer Leos Janacek and a large library of her own compositions.

Paolo Angeli performing on the Sardinian guitar

Paolo Angeli performing on the Sardinian guitar

Paolo Angeli has also recorded with many of today’s best known improvisors and both Angeli and Bittova have independently worked with jazz percussionist Hamid Drake. Angeli performs on a Sardinian guitsr that he has modified to add new dimensions to its sound. The modifications include foot pedals used to make movable mallets tap the strings at the base of the guitar thus making a percussive sound. He also has added an electric turning device that spins on the strings sound a bit like a cross between a dulcimer and hurdy gurdy.  These,  and other modifications allow him simultaneous playing of both a lead and backup part to his songs either by picking or use of a cello bow.

Concert poster supporting Respekt Festival

Concert poster supporting Respect Festival

On Monday night’s performace the duo played several songs from Iva Bittova’s Bile inferno and Ne nehledej. From Bile inferno Sto let and Zelini Vinececk. The two also performed a variety of improvised songs as well as a traditional Czech song and a traditional Sardinian song. The audience was excited to see this rare collaboration of two great musical minds.

Prog rock icons Magma perform at GAMH in SF on 3/18/2016

Magma at The Great American Music Hall on 3/18/2016

Magma at The Great American Music Hall on 3/18/2016

Last year Magma ended their concert with vocalist Stella Vander stating “See you next time”. Fans at the sold out concert at Slim’s in April of 2015 left thrilled at not just what they witnessed but also the idea that the band would return again to perform in city by the bay.

 

Christian Vander and Magma are on their second US tour in as many years

Christian Vander and Magma are on their second US tour in as many years

This year the band lived up to their promise with the Endless Tour returning to SF, this time at the Great American Music Hall in the Tenderloin. Magma returned this time performing a different set from last year’s show. The group started out with Theusz Hamtaak, a song originally written in 1972 is from the Theusz Hamtaak trilogy of albums  which includes the 1973 release Mekanïk Destruktïw Kommandöh , a song they also performed at last Friday’s concert. Vocalist Stella Vander said regarding Theusz Hamtaak that the crowd liked seventies music and this was good, because they had 70’s songs to perform to us. 

Christian Vander's Magma in the 70's

Christian Vander’s Magma in the 70’s

The band also performed two other amazing extended jams to conclude the performance with Koïaba from their first album in 1970 s/t release and Zombies, a song from the 1976 record Üdü Ẁüdü. The intensity of being at a Magma concert is like no other show you’ll see. This is perhaps one reason the band sounds live now like they’re as much ahead of their time as they were when they recorded the songs from the set list.

Magma are the greatest band on earth.

Magma are the greatest band on earth.

The band has a new face in the band with guitarist James Mac Gaw sadly facing a health concern that prevented his touring with the band. The newest guitarist is working out for the band as yet another alumni to Magma is bringing the group closer their 5th decade as a band, something most artists might dream about. The music of the band reaches audiences of all generations. In fact the younger audience members seemed to know all of the songs and were into it and not missing a beat.

Magma have existed 47 years in music and are as ahead of their time today as they were then

Magma have existed 47 years in music and are as ahead of their time today as they were then

Cellist Helen Money was the opening act on Friday. Jello Biafra, a San Francisco resident and original singer for the Dead Kennedys (as well as a solo artist) introduced the band. He spoke about the recording of the new film To Life, Death and Beyond that is being recorded in part during this tour by Laurent Goldstein. The band once again said they will see us next time and once again the audience I’m sure can’t wait.

Jello Biafra introduced Magma at Friday's concert

Jello Biafra introduced Magma at Friday’s concert

deL! The Funky Homosapien @ Moe’s Alley 3/12 /2016

# Hieroglyphics #delthefunkyhomosapien

deL! The Funky Homosapien and Hieroglyphics producer Domino at Moe’s 3/12/2016

The central coast was given the opportunity to hear bay area hip hop legend deL! the funky homosapien on Saturday night as the Oakland based artist performed to a sold out crowd at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz. The concert was the last night of a short 7 stop tour dubbed the Underground Ohana tour. In Hawaian the word ohana means family and was set out to celebrate traditional music including artists from Hawaii and California joining together to cultivate a dope groove.

deL! always breaking new ground with Hiero Emporium records

deL! always breaking new ground with Hiero Emporium records

There were several opening acts (members of the Ohana) including Scarub, Pure Powers, Darrow, Labrat and Grow Theory, a new band featuring A-Plus from Souls of Mischief and Knobody. Together they pulled off one of the tightest sets I’ve seen in quite a while. Grow Theory took us way back with a set including tracks from Souls of Mischief’s classic 93 til Infinity as well as some classic Hieroglyphics cuts that had everyone dancing and feeling alright.

#ohana

The Undercover Ohana Tour 2016

deL! also mixed his set up by performing much of his classic tracks from his career as both a solo artist and with the hip hop super groups Deltron 3030 and Hieroglyphics. Joining both deL! and Grow Theory was DJ/Producer Domino.

deL! Domino and A-Plus

deL! Domino and A-Plus

deL! took the audience way back to his first recording I wish my brother George was here by performing Dr. Bombay and Mistadobalina. He reminisced on the early days by giving a shout out to DJ Pooh (producer of the 1991 debut).

deL! performed with Hieroglyphics producer Domino and A-Plus from Souls of Mischief and Hieroglyphics

deL! performed with Hieroglyphics producer Domino and A-Plus from Souls of Mischief and Hieroglyphics

deL! also performed the title track from his second recording No need for alarm as well as Boo Boo heads from the 1993 follow up. It’s worth noting that in his second record was when deL! really came into his own and you could tell there was something special going down in Oaktown. This isn’t meant to take anything away from his first recording which is a solid slab of  funk and hip hop, this is simply to say that Hieroglyphics essentially was stamped all over his sophomore No need for alarm recording when it dropped.

deL! The Funky Homosapien cutting it up in Santa Cruz

deL! The Funky Homosapien cutting it up in Santa Cruz

We also rocked it to the cuts Virus and Positive Contact from the now classic 2001 release Deltron 3030. There were good times to be had at Moe’s on Friday, even a little rain couldn’t hold the crowd back from the Ohanu spirit being swept in from stops in Oahu, Maui and the Big Island in Hawaii and from the Grass Valley regional town of Nevada City, California. At one point someone thought it was a good idea to go up on stage with deL! but it was all good and he was escorted back into the crowd, feeling maybe a bit foolish for trying to make the most of the moment.

Domino and Knobody of Grow Theory on 3/12/2016

Domino and Knobody of Grow Theory on 3/12/2016

The bay area is sure mad about deL! and Hieroglyphics as well as all of the history and related acts including Souls of Mischief and Casual. We’re very fortunate to have artists such as deL! and A-plus who consistently bring it with clever lyrics and body shaking funky beats.

deL! The Funky Homosapien performed at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz on 3/12/2016

deL! The Funky Homosapien performed at Moe’s Alley in Santa Cruz on 3/12/2016

 

Mills Faculty and Rova Perform the music of Lindsay Cooper

Zeena Parkins with the Mills Performing group

Zeena Parkins with the Mills Performing group

Lindsay Cooper, a modern composer and bassoonist for the 70s Rock in Opposition band Henry Cow left a legacy of amazing music before leaving this planet in 2013 after a long fight with MS. Two of her former band members joined a group of local musicians to perform a concert of some of her work at Mills College’s Littlefield Concert Hall. Fred Frith and Cooper were both members of the band Henry Cow, a band who invented new ways to combine rock and experimental music in the 70’s heyday of progressive rock.

Fred Frith with Kate McLoghlin and Jordan Glenn

Fred Frith with Kate McLoghlin and Jordan Glenn

Zena Parkins worked together with Cooper in the band News from Babel along with Dagmar Krause and Chris Cutler from Henry Cow. Parkins and Frith were also members of the groups Skeleton Crew with the amazing and unfortunately also departed Tom Cora. Perhaps to bring the unique collaboration together, Cora and Cooper collaborated as well, in a group called the Hat Shoes with Cora’s wife, Catherine Jauniaux, along with This Heat drummer Charles Hayward, Henry Cow saxophonist Tim Hodgkinson, Pere Ubu vocalist David Thomas and Chris Cochrane, a member of Parkins former band No Safety. The list of musicians above include some of the prolific musicians and composers of the past 40 plus years.

Rova Saxophone Quartet performing  'Faces In A Crowd'

Rova Saxophone Quartet performing ‘Faces In A Crowd’

Another heavyweight band performing the music of Cooper tonight was Rova Saxophone Quartet. Rova Saxophone Quartet have long revolutionized the abstract jazz field with their ability to invent textures of rhythm combined with circular breathing style saxophone reminiscent of jazz greats like Steve Lacy and John Coltrane.

Zeena Parkins and Fred Frith with McLoughlin and Jason Hoopes

Zeena Parkins and Fred Frith with McLoughlin, Evelyn Davis and Jason Hoopes

I first had the chance to see Frith and Parkins performing together at the Festival International Musique Actuelle in Victoriaville, Quebec in 1992. They performed in Frith’s piece Stone, Brick, Glass, Wood, Wire. At the same festival, I also saw Frith perform an improvised duet with Han Bennink, who was a member of Albert Ayler’s Dutch band. I took away some memories from Victo in 92. One was hanging in front of the old Grand Cafe without money for to buy a ticket to see Lars Holmer when two guys came out about 20 minutes into the set. One of them gave me their ticket and I went inside only to see Frith joining the Looping Home Orchestra as an unlisted guest. At the same festival Zeena Parkins also performed two great sets with Elliott Sharp’s Carbon and Orchestra Carbon.

McLoughlin and violnist Emily Packard

McLoughlin and violnist Emily Packard

Both Frith and Parkins continue to inspire by writing and recording great music when they aren’t doing their day jobs as professors in the music department for Mills College.

I also first saw Rova at FIMAV in 1997 with a larger Rova X8 band. This band is really always hard hitting improv that stands the test of time and has done so with their many hatArt/HatHut releases and the recently released title ZORN where the group plays the music of another improviser and collaborator with Frith and Parkins. Zorn and Frith were together in the band Naked City while Parkins and Zorn were together in the two releases Cobra and The Bribe.

Songlist from Lindsay Cooper tribute at Mills 12/5/2015

Songlist from Lindsay Cooper tribute at Mills 12/5/2015

More recently, Frith and Parkins have performed together in the band Cosa Brava, a band that also includes Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi from Sleepytime Gorrilla Museum.

Lineup of Lindsay Cooper tribute at Mills College

Lineup of Lindsay Cooper tribute at Mills College

I was fortunate to witness many great performances at VICTO with many collaborators Ms. Cooper. Towards the end of her career as a musician she wrote the piece Oh Moscow, which was released on Les Disques Victo in 1991 and was a member of the Feminist improvising group with film director and screenwriter Sally Potter.

It’s great to live close enough to Mills in order witness such a great tribute to Lindsay Cooper.
I never had the opportunity to see any Ms. Cooper performances in my life, but tonight, for a moment it made me feel as if I had.

They even had Rova tshirts

They even had Rova tshirts

 

 

 

Top 20 recordings of 2015

Thundercat The Beyond/Where Giants Roam

Thundercat The Beyond/Where Giants Roam

1. ThundercatThe Beyond/Where Giants RoamBrainfeeder Records
2. McPhee/Saft/Morris/DownsTiconderogaClean Feed
3. Uneven ElevenLive at Café OTOSub Rosa
4. Steve Coleman and the Council of BalanceSynovial JointsPi Recordings
5. Henry Threadgill’s ZooidIn for a penny, in for a pound– Pi Recordings
6. Kendrick LamarTo pimp a butterflyTop Dawg Entertainment
7. Cécile Mclorin SalvantFor one to loveMack Avenue Records
8. Raheem DeVaughnLove, Sex and PassionEntertainment One Music
9. Alan JenkinsThe Kettering Vampires perform The Velvet Underground and NicoCordelia Records
10. Ikue MoriLight in the shadowTzadic
11. Kamasi WashingtonThe EpicBrainfeeder
12. The ThingShakeThe Thing Records
13. Tim Berne’s SnakeoilYou’ve been watching meECM Records
14. The NecksVertigoRecommended Records
15. FiliaMotsaLike it isAagoo records
16. Dominique PifarelyTime Before and AfterECM
17. Ben NeillHorizonalAudiokult Records
18. Stephen Haynes QuintetPomegranateNew Atlantis Records
19. Prince BujuWe are in the warMakkum Records
20. The AndThe AndTractor Notown