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
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
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 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
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
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 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.
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
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
The band also performed two other amazing extended jams to conclude the performance with Koïabafrom 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.
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
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.
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
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.
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! 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! also performed the title track from his second recording No need for alarmas 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
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
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
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.
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, 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
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
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.
A few years ago I needed to clear out some of my cd collection and I started selling cds at the usual spots to sell music online. Some of the cds had been in my collection for 20 years and I thought it best to looking into replacing them on vinyl anyway. I sold a lot of great recordings by Fela Kuti, Ornette Coleman, and Last Poets to name a few. One day I looked in the account and noticed an order from Penn Jillette. It was for the Sun Ra title ‘Blue Delight‘.
I remember thinking how that made selling records online fun for a while. Thanks Penn and as I remember writing in a note with the sale- you have good taste in music.
Rainford Hugh Perry goes by many names such as The Upsetter, Pipecock Jackson, and Lee “King” Perry but most of those in the world of Dub know him as Lee “Scratch” Perry. Scratch, the living legend, has an illustrious history as both the creator of Dub as well as having been the famous producer who helped Bob Marley and the Wailers craft their authentic sound when Reggae emerged from the roots of Ska and Rocksteady from the 50’s and 60’s in Jamaica.
£ee $cratch Perry performing Super Ape at Moe’s Alley 9/4/14
Perry’s studio was the infamous Black Ark where some of the greatest names in Reggae and Dub performed such as Max Romeo, Junior Murvin, the Heptones and the Wailers. Scratch’s studio band was referred to as “The Upsetters” and were the session musicians for many of these legendary recordings. It was in the Black Ark where Perry recorded what many consider the first Dub recording in 1976 on Perry’s own Upsetter record label, Super Ape. Super Ape was released internationally on Island records later in the same year. The use of reverb on percussion was key in creating the impression of a different plane in which the rhythm bounced and shook as if in some sort of vacuum.
£ee $cratch Perry performing at Moe’s Alley
Perry also implemented a variety of sounds that were samples of recordings simulating exhaust, bubbling laboratory experiments and other mind expanding sound effects to give his music an otherworldly element.
Blessed also with an eccentric flair for the strange, Scratch has a wardrobe that gives him the aura of a mystic. On Friday, September 4th, the founder of Dub proved he had more energy than anyone in Santa Cruz including his collaborators, Subatomic Sound System, a band from Brooklyn who help pull of the performance of Super Ape in it’s entirety. The 79 year old icon performed for well over 2 hours endlessly streaming together his quirky rhyming lyrics that are characteristic of his signature sound.
Pipecock Jackson with Subatomic at Moe’ Alley in Santa Cruz
Perry’s legacy doesn’t stop as the creator of Dub. In the 80’s Scratch continued to develop his futuristic and Dub sound for the space age while working with On-U Soundproducer Adrian Sherwood. The team worked together originally with The Dub Syndicate. In 1990 Perry teamed with The Dub Syndicate to record From the Secret Laboratory. The collaborations between Perry and Sherwood have continued (though infrequent) and are another important component of The Upsetter’s amazing career. Perry and Co. performed the song Inspector Gadgetfrom the aforementioned Secret Laboratory release in Friday’s performance.
Helios Creed and members of Chrome @ Catalyst Club
Helios Creed is one of the true pioneers of sound in the bay area. Along with Damon Edge who founded the band Chrome in 1975 Creed has propelled the group to a band that transcends generations. They released more than 30 recordings in various incarnations of the band. Creed also released a series of solo recordings during the late 80’s and mid 90’s through Subterranean, Amphetamine Reptile and Cleopatra Record labels. Chrome initially gained critical acclaim on their 1977 releaseAlien Soundtracks. The follow up Half Machine Lip Moves is highly regarded as the band’s strongest recording as their combination of Psychedelic and Punk influences were blended to what would be viewed as their signature sound. It contains the classic song ‘TV as Eyes‘. The classic band’s spin on these two genres take listeners to a rather dark realm of the other worlds where aliens send their rock through a distorted filter and the exhaust is the combustion of a fuel from some abstract unknown planet.
Helios Creed and Keith Thompson of Chrome 7/14/15
Helios Creed of Chrome
Their recordings have long been regarded among the best of the undiscovered bands as their recordings have reissued a number of times over the decades. The most recent incarnation of the band and label interested in documenting their genius is King of Spades records who in 2013 releases a series of out takes from 79-80 on a Double LP/CD release entitled Half Machine from the Sun. Chrome also released a Double LP/CD in 2014 on King of Spades records featuring all newly recorded material entitled Feel it like a Scientist.
Creed currently resides in Santa Cruz and their concert on Wednesday consisted of two local openers making it a show of locals. They performed songs from Half Machine Lip Moves as well as their acclaimed Third from the Sun. The 1982 release contains 3 songs performed on Wednesday, the song of the same title as well as ‘Armageddon‘ and ‘Firebomb‘. Many fans regard this among the most essential of all of the Chrome releases.
Chrome performing the into to Third from the Sun at Catalyst Club on 7/14/15
Dusted Angel performing at Catalyst Club in Santa Cruz 7/14/2015
Dusted Angel ripped through their set as openers for Creed and Co. The quintet first emerged in 2008 as a side project for BL’AST front man Clifford Dinsmore. Their style ranks them along bands like St. Vitus, High on Fire and Corrosion of Conformity. To date the group has released a 3 song ep on Corruption Records as well as a full length recording entitled Earth Sick Mind on Mankind Records.
Dusted Angel will perform on Wednesday, July 22nd at the Ritz in San Jose opening for Fu Manchu
Mountain Tamer from Santa Cruz open for Dusted Angel and Chrome
Mountain Tamer are a trio from Santa Cruz who formed in 2010. The band has a 70 Stoner/Psych rock groove and worth a visit on over at Reverb Nation to see who’s who in town from this sound. Their song ‘Levitating Lady‘ was released in 2013 and is one example of what the group has to offer.
Mountain Tamer will be performing next in Santa Cruz at the Crepe Place on July 31st with Dark Seas as openers. Admission is $6.
The Endless Tour featuring Magma performing at Slim’s on 4/8/15
Imagine my surprise to find they were to do a rare US tour that included the bay area! I bought tickets immediately because although I wasn’t sure if it would/could sell out or not, I knew I didn’t want to risk missing a show with this much promise and anticipation. During my formative years it wasn’t easy to find Magma recordings but Attahk will always remain atop my list of favorite recordings from my formative years. They always had such a deep catalog and every song title and description seemed to take us to an alternate universe filled with spacey and celestial themes. The term Zeuhl is from Vander’s visionary language he invented to express musical ideas. This language is called Kobaian.
Magma performed songs from Slag Tanz and songs from their catalog
Magma were formed in 1969 in Paris, France. Over the decades they’ve released over 30 recordings both studio and live and are touring to support their latest recording Šlaǧ Tanƶ (on 7th Records). Šlaǧ Tanƶ was released in January of 2015 and is an EP.
Magma aux Etats-Unis!
Christian Vander is a classically trained drummer who founded the band in 1969. There were many musicians who’ve been members of Magma over the years one of the higher profile profile alumni of the band is composer Yannik Top who started with the band in 1973 and played bass on a number of their recordings during the early to mid seventies. They’re recordings are influenced by Classical vocals featuring several several vocalists during their performances including Vander and his wife Stella Vander who first appeared with the band on the 1973 recording Mëkanïk Dëstruktïẁ Kömmandöh.
Magma performent la disque nouvelle Slag-Tanz
On Wednesday April 8th, 2015, when the Endless Tour featuring Magma earthed at Slim’s in San Francisco, Ca., the band was introduced by local Punk icon Jello Biafra of the Dead Kennedys. Jello recounted being on the east coast one day and learning they were going to be performing in Pennsylvania. He said ‘he took every back road he knew and broke every traffic violation in the book to get there. On the way when he noticed he was still running late he had told himself if he were able to arrive and see 1 minute of music by Magma it would be a success. He finished by saying when he finally did arrive an hour late he rushed in and witnessed what was the best hour and a half of music he’s ever seen… And now (he went on to add) they’re in our town!’
Magma performed a rare US tour in the Spring of 2015