Friday, January 12, 2018


Music Week

Music: Current count 29345 [29288] rated (+57), 375 [378] unrated (-3).

Surprised by the high initial rated count (48), but there were 49 records listed below, so I actually undercounted. I went back and found the error, plus another record I reviewed last week (bringing the list below to 50), plus two more older grades I had failed to register, so I manually added them in. [PS: Also manually added in the Curlew albums I played after my normal cutoff, to keep them together.]

I took a break last week from compiling EOY lists, and as such from searching for 2017 records I had missed, to compiling my old reviews into my Recorded Jazz in the 21st Century guide book. Even made some notable progress on it, finishing the Jazz '00s artist list, and reaching midway in the groups list (52% to be precise, Le Boeuf Brothers). That brings the draft file up to 1518 pages. I'll probably finish up the groups this week, reaching a little over 1550 pages. I then need to go back and pick up things I missed, mostly because I've continued to write new reviews since I started compiling in August 2016, but also because there's some fringe stuff I wanted to include but it's filed elsewhere in the database (e.g., Latin, African, rock).

Once I've done all that -- end of February is a possibility but not a lock -- I'm not sure what happens next. I'll probably make a PDF available and issue an RFC (request for comments). I need to look into tools for converting LibreWriter files into E-book format(s). I'm sure it would take a massive further effort to edit it into a worthwhile book -- maybe more than I can ever do (especially given that I don't have a lot of time to work with). I really don't know what happens next. I certainly didn't expect to be stuck at this stage for eighteen months, but that's the size of it.

A side effect of working on the Jazz Guide(s) is that I started checking out old jazz records. First one was the Italian group Scoolptures, in my database but with nothing I'd heard, so seemed like a good idea to give them a try. After that I found it easier to think of old records to check out than new ones, and they sort of took over the week.

At some point I looked at Milo Miles' blog -- probably because he had an RIP post on John Perry Barlow, and as I scrolled through past posts I noticed a long one on Cuneiform Records: they're going on some kind of hiatus, where they'll continue to take orders but not release new records -- usual gripes there about the forces killing the record business. For some time now, they've used Bandcamp as a promo tool but made very little music available to the public there, but last week I noticed that the entire second Fast 'N' Bulbous album was available. (I reviewed it, Waxed Oop, gave it an A-.) Turns out that virtually all of their records are on Bandcamp now, so I started filling in some of the jazz titles I had missed.

I've also noticed that ECM's back catalog is now mostly up on Napster. Thus far the only things I've looked up have been a couple of records that intersect with other artists I've been looking up -- Raoul Björkenheim has several albums on Cuneiform, but also two Krakatau albums on ECM, so it made sense to serialize them below. Still, a lot more unheard ECM to work through sooner or later. I've been working on this stuff pretty quickly, looking for wider rather than deeper coverage. Sometimes that's easy, sometimes it's frustrating. The Tippett-Dunmall-Dean albums tend to blur together. I'm listening to a series of Curlew albums now, and they're even more of a mixed bag.

One last note on Barlow. Seems like he was always identified as a Grateful Dead lyricist, but I never knew or cared whatever that was supposed to signify. I knew him through his work in Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), where he was an important advocate for free software and a free internet. The recent FCC decision to end net neutrality is just further proof that his work is more needed now than ever.


New records rated this week:

  • David Bertrand: Palmyra & Other Places (2017, Blujazz): [cd]: B+
  • Girma Bèyènè & Akalé Wubé: Éthiopiques 30: "Mistakes on Purpose" (2017, Buda Musique): [r]: A-
  • Nick Biello: Vagabond Soul (2016 [2018], Blujazz): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Harley Card: The Greatest Invention (2015 [2018], self-released): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Fred Farell: Distant Song (2016 [2018], Whaling City Sound): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Craig Fraedrich: Out of the Blues (2017, Summit): [cd]: B-
  • Brad Garton/Dave Soldier: The Brainwave Music Project (2017 [2018], Mulatta)
  • James Hall: Lattice (2016 [2018], Outside In Music): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Jupiter & Okwess: Kin Sonic (2017, Glitterbeat): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Rich Krueger: Life Ain't That Long (2017 [2018], Rockink): [r]: B+(**)
  • Julian Lage: Modern Lore (2018, Mack Avenue): [r]: B
  • David Murray feat. Saul Williams: Blues for Memo (2016 [2018], Motéma): [r]: B+(**)
  • Negative Press Project: Eternal Life: Jeff Buckley Songs and Sounds (2017, Ridgeway, 2CD): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Quelle Chris: Being You Is Great, I Wish I Could Be You More Often (2017, Mello Music Group): [bc]: B-
  • Cecilia Sanchietti: La Verza Via (2017 [2018], Blujazz): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Dr. Lonnie Smith: All in My Mind (2018, Blue Note): [r]: B-
  • Spellling: Pantheon of Me (2017, self-released): [bc]: B
  • Edgar Steinitz: Roots Unknown (2017 [2018], OA2): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Bobo Stenson Trio: Contra La Indecisión (2017 [2018], ECM): [r]: B+(**)
  • Hideo Yamaki/Bill Laswell/Bjorn Björkenheim/Mike Sopko/Dominic James: Inaugural Sound Clash for the 2 Americas (2017, MOD Technologies): [r]: B+(***)

Recent reissues, compilations, and vault discoveries rated this week:

  • Mulatu Astatke: Mulatu of Ethiopia (1972 [2017], Strut): [r]: B+(***)

Old music rated this week:

  • Raoul Björkenheim & Krakatau: Ritual (1988-90 [1996], Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(***)
  • George Cartwright: Dot (1994, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(*)
  • George Cartwright: The Memphis Years: Terminal Moraine (2000, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Curlew: Live in Berlin (1986-87 [1990], Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Curlew: Bee (1990 [1991], Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Curlew: A Beautiful Western Saddle (1993, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Curlew: Paradise (1996, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Curlew: Fabulous Drop (1998, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Curlew: Meet the Curlews (2002, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Curlew: Mercury (1998, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Elton Dean/Howard Riley/Paul Rogers/Mark Sanders: All the Tradition (1990, Slam): [r]: B+(***)
  • Elton Dean: The Vortex Tapes (1990, Slam): [r]: B+(**)
  • Elton Dean Quintet: Silent Knowledge (1995 [1996], Cuneiform): B+(***)
  • Elton Dean Quartet: Rumours of an Incident (1996 [1997], Slam): [r]: B+(**)
  • Elton Dean/Paul Dunmall/Tony Levin/Paul Rogers/Roswell Rudd/Keith Tippett: Bladik (1996 [1997], Cuneiform): [bc]: A-
  • Paul Dunmall Octet: The Great Divide (2000 [2001], Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Paul Dunmall/John Adams/Mark Sanders: Totally Fried Up (1998 [1999], Slam): [r]: B+(**)
  • Vinny Golia/Aurora Josephson/Henry Kaiser/Mike Keneally/Joe Morris/Damon Smith/Weasel Walter]: Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler (2006 [2007], Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Franz Koglmann: Schlaf Schlemmer, Schlaf Magritte (1984 [1993], Hat Art): [r]: B+(*)
  • Franz Koglmann: About Yesterday's Ezzthetics (1988 [1989], Hat Art): [r]: B+(*)
  • Franz Koglmann: A White Line (1989 [1990], Hat Art): [r]: B+(**)
  • Eero Koivistoinen: Helium (1999 [2001], Texicali): [r]: B+(**)
  • Eero Koivistoinen & UMO Jazz Orchestra: Arctic Blues (2005-16 [2016], Svart, 2CD): B+(*)
  • Krakatau: Volition (1991 [1992], ECM): [r]: B
  • Krakatau: Matinale (1993 [1994], ECM): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mujician: The Journey (1990, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Mujician: Poem About the Hero (1994, Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Mujician: Colours Fulfilled (1997 [1998], Cuneiform): [bc]: A-
  • Mujician: Spacetime (2001 [2002], Cuneiform): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Scoolptures: Materiale Umano (2009, Leo): [r]: B+(**)
  • Scoolptures: White Sickness (2009 [2011], Leo): [r]: B
  • Scoolptures: Please Drive-by Carefully (2012 [2013], Leo, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)
  • Scorch Trio: Brolt! (2007 [2008], Rune Grammofon): [r]: B+(**)
  • Keith Tippett: Mujician Solo IV (Live in Piacenza) (2012 [2015], Dark Companion): [r]: B+(**)


Grade (or other) changes:

  • Raoul Björkenheim//Ingebrigt Håker Flaten/Paal Nilssen-Love: Scorch Trio (2002, Rune Grammofon): [bc]: was A-, B+(***)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Peter Kuhn: Dependent Origination (FMR -17)
  • Peter Kuhn Trio: Intention (FMR)
  • Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob Band: My Heart Belongs to Satchmo (Blujazz): February 28
  • Electric Squeezebox Orchestra: The Falling Dream (OA2): February 16
  • Hal Galper Quartet: Cubist (Origin): February 16
  • Sergio Galvao/Lupa Santiago/Clement Landais/Franck Enouf: 2X2 (Origin): February 16
  • Mike Jones/Penn Jillette: The Show Before the Show: Live at the Penn & Teller Theater (Capri): March 16
  • Joe Lovano & Dave Douglas: Sound Prints: Scandal (Greenleaf Music): April 6
  • Sahkers n' Bakers: Heart Love (Little i Music): February 14 (digital)/May 26 (CD)