December 2018 Notebook
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Monday, December 17, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 30808 [30774] rated (+34), 269 [259] unrated (+10).


New records rated this week:

  • Andrew Barker/Daniel Carter: Polyhedron (2017 [2018], Astral Spirits): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Jon Batiste: Hollywood Africans (2018, Verve): [r]: B+(*)
  • Beak>: >>> (2018, Temporary Residence): [r]: B+(*)
  • Boygenius: Boygenius (2018, Matador, EP): [r]: B
  • Christine and the Queens: Chris (2018, Because Music): [r]: B+(**)
  • Maria Da Rocha: Beetroot & Other Stories (2018, Shhpuma): [r]: B+(**)
  • El Eco With Guillermo Nojechowicz: Puerto de Buenos Aires 1933 (2017, Zoho): [r]: B+(*)
  • Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Kikoeru: Tribute to Masaya Kimura (2018, Libra): [cd]: A-
  • Fernando Garcia: Guasabara Puerto Rico (2017 [2018], Zoho): [r]: B+(*)
  • Vinny Golia/Henry Kaiser/Bob Moses/Damon Smith/Weasel Walter: Astral Plane Crash (2018, Balance Point Acoustics): [r]: B+(**)
  • Hamar Trio: Yesterday Is Here (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
  • Lonnie Holley: MITH (2018, Jagjaguwar): [r]: B
  • François Houle/Alexander Hawkins/Harris Eisenstadt: You Have Options (2016 [2018], Songlines): [r]: B+(***)
  • Quin Kirchner: The Other Side of Time (2018, Astral Spirits): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Knalpot: Dierendag (2017 [2018], Shhpuma): [r]: B+(*)
  • Leikeli47: Wash & Set (2017, Hardcover/RCA): [r]: B+(***)
  • Leikeli47: Acrylic (2018, Hardcover/RCA): [r]: B+(**)
  • Master Oogway: The Concert Koan (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Peter McEachern Trio: Bone-Code (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: A-
  • Música De Selvagem: Volume Único (2017 [2018], Shhpuma, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Rico Nasty: Nasty (2018, Sugar Trap): [r]: B+(**)
  • Barre Phillips: End to End (2017 [2018], ECM): [r]: B+(***)
  • Antonio Raia: Asylum (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Mattias Risberg: Stamps (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Bobby Sanabria Manhattan Big Band: West Side Story: Reimagined (2017 [2018], Jazzheads, 2CD): [r]: B
  • Travis Scott: Astroworld (2018, Epic/Grand Hustle): [r]: B+(**)
  • Thollem/DuRoche/Stjames Trio: Live in Our Time (2015 2018], ESP-Disk): [r]: B+(*)

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

  • John Coltrane: 1963: New Directions (1963 [2018], Impulse!, 3CD): [r]: B+(***)
  • Soul of a Nation: Jazz Is the Teacher/Funk Is the Preacher (1969-75 [2018], Soul Jazz): [r]: B+(***)

Old music rated this week:

  • John Coltrane: Newport '63 (1961-63 [1993], Impulse!): [r]: A-
  • Barre Phillips: For All It Is (1973, Japo): [r]: B+(**)
  • Barre Phillips: Journal Violone 9 (2001, Émouvance): [r]: B+(*)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Bob Baldori/Arthur Migliazza: The Boogie Kings: Disturbing the Peace (Blujazz)
  • Bobby Bradford/Hafez Modirzadeh: Live at the Blue Whale (NoBusiness): cdr (lp only)
  • Marion Brown/Dave Burrell: Live at the Black Musicians' Conference, 1981 (NoBusiness)
  • Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo: Kikoeru: Tribute to Masaya Kimura (Libra)
  • Jones Jones [Larry Ochs/Mark Dresser/Vladimir Tarasov]: A Jones in Time Saves Nine (NoBusiness): cdr (lp only)
  • Martin Küchen/Rafal Mazur: Baza (NoBusiness): cdr (lp only)
  • Doug MacDonald Trio: View of the City (Blujazz)
  • Liudas Mockünas: Hydro 2 (NoBusiness)
  • Joel Moore/Nick Mizock/Paul Scherer/Michael Barton/Paul Townsend: Magnetic EP (Blujazz, EP)
  • Simon Nabatov/Barry Guy/Gerry Hemingway: Luminous (NoBusiness)
  • Judy Night Quintet: Sliding on Glass: Live at 210 (Blujazz)
  • Howard Riley: Live in the USA (1976, NoBusiness)
  • Wadada Leo Smith/Sabu Toyozumi: Burning Meditation (1994, NoBusiness)

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Some scattered links this (or the previous) week:

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 30774 [30736] rated (+38), 259 [264] unrated (-5).

No Weekend Roundup this week. Sunday was the deadline for ballots for the 13th Annual Jazz Critics Poll, and I spent pretty much every waking hour collecting and compiling mail, checking details on records, and occasionally kicking back requests for clarification or changes -- main problem is the arbitrary 10-year cutoff date between new and historical music categories. Still counted a couple of stragglers today, giving us 137 ballots -- same as in 2017. I expect results to be published at NPR sometime next week, but don't know anything for sure. Presumably they'll let me know in time for me to set up the complete totals and individual ballots on my website. I still have some annotation to do, but everything is pretty well set up on my end. That means I should get back to normal shortly -- it's just that aside from JCP, nothing I had planned to do last week got done, so I'm starting from a hole.

I did wind up making one minor change to my JCP ballot (see last week): I dropped Nik Bärtsch's Ronin: Awase from 10th place on my new list and moved Martin Küchen & Landaeus Trio: Vinyl into its slot from the Reissues/Historical list (moving the following three records there up). Küchen's music dates from 2013-14, so doesn't qualify as historical given the 10-year rule. And I decided that it isn't really a reissue, even though the music was previously released on two vinyl LPs. This was their first appearance on CD, and it's not unusual for new records to go through changes from format to format. Seemed like the best answer for JCP, although I still have it Reissue/Historical in my own still-evolving EOY lists Jazz (also Non-Jazz). Both of those lists grew by 2 last week, so now are 55-49. Still, none of the new records came close to being ballot picks.

No incoming CDs last week, although I did get a couple packages this week, including new releases from NoBusiness in Lithuania. I don't think I've ever run the numbers before, but my impression has long been that close to half of my top-rated albums come from European artists (22/55 this year) and/or labels (25/55) -- not that I'm sure I'm counting either right. (Add one in both columns for Japan/Asia.)

I should also offer a link to the EOY Aggregate file. I was close to caught up a week ago, but since then I've fallen way behind -- lots of lists are coming out, and I've only counted a few. So I expect quite a bit of change as I catch up.


New records rated this week:

  • Albatre: The Fall of the Damned (2018, Shhpuma): [r]: B
  • Anguish: Anguish (2018, RareNoise): [cdr]: B+(**)
  • Lotte Anker/Pat Thomas/Ingebrigt Hĺker Flaten/Stĺle Liavik Solberg: His Flight's at Ten (2016 [2018], Iluso): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Kadhja Bonet: Childqueen (2018, Fat Possum): [r]: B-
  • Butcher Brown: Camden Session (2018, Gearbox): [r]: B+(*)
  • Carla Campopiano Trio: Chicago/Buenos Aires Connections (2018, self-released): [cd]: B
  • Guillermo Celano/Jachim Badenhorst/Marcos Baggiani: Lili & Marleen (2016 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(**)
  • Coyote Poets of the Universe: Strange Lullaby (2018, Square Shaped, 2CD): [cd]: A-
  • Dystil: Dystil (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Satoko Fujii/Joe Fonda: Mizu (2018, Long Song): [bc]: B+(***)
  • The Goon Sax: We're Not Talking (2018, Wichita): [r]: A-
  • Guillermo Gregorio/Rafal Mazur/Ramón López: Wandering the Sounds (2018, Fundacja Sluchaj): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Barry Guy: Barry Guy @ 70: Blue Horizon: Live at Ad Libitum ()2017 [2018], Fundacja Sluchaj, 3CD): [bc]: A-
  • Eric Harland: 13th Floor (2018, 13th Floor): [r]: B+(*)
  • Stefon Harris + Blackout: Sonic Creed (2017 [2018], Motéma): [r]: B-
  • Ingrid Jensen/Steve Treseler: Invisible Sounds: For Kenny Wheeler (2018, Whirlwind): [r]: B+(***)
  • Jessice Lurie: Long Haul (2017, Chant): [r]: B+(**)
  • Masta Ace & Marco Polo: A Breukelen Story (2018, Fat Beats): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet: Polka (2018, Whirlwind): [r]: A-
  • Onyx Collective: Lower East Suite Part One (2017, Big Dada, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Onyx Collective: Lower East Suite Part One (2017, Big Dada, EP): [r]: B+(*)
  • Onyx Collective: Lower East Suite Part Three (2018, Big Dada): [r]: B+(***)
  • Chris Pitsiokos/Susana Santos Silva/Torbjörn Zetterberg: Child of Illusion (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Rosalía: El Mal Querer (2018, Sony Music): [r]: B
  • Akira Sakata & Chikamorachi With Masahiko Satoh: Proton Pump (2015 [2018], Family Vineyard): [r]: B+(***)
  • Akira Sakata/Simon Nabatov/Takashi Seo/Darren Moore: Not Seeing Is a Flower (2017 [2018], Leo): [r]: B+(**)
  • Josh Sinton's Predicate Trio: Making Bones, Taking Draughts, Bearing Unstable Millstones Pridefully, Idiotically, Prosaically (2018, Iluso): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Tirzah: Devotion (2018, Domino): [r]: B+(**)
  • Turbamulta: Turbamulta (2018, Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Chucho Valdés: Jazz Batá 2 (2018, Mack Avenue): [r]; B+(***)
  • Voicehandler: Light From Another Light (2017 [2018], Humbler): [cd]: B+(*)
  • Walking Distance: Freebird by Walking Distance feat. Jason Moran (2018, Sunnyside): [r]: B+(***)
  • Aida Bird Wolfe: Birdie (2018, self-released): [cd]: B+(***)
  • Z-Country Paradise: Live in Lisbon (2016 [2018], Leo): [r]: A-

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

  • Joan Jett: Bad Reputation [Music From the Original Motion Picture] (1976-2016 [2018], Legacy): [r]: A-
  • L7: Wireless (1992 [2016], Easy Action): [r]: B+(***)
  • L7: Fast and Frightening (1990-98 [2016], Easy Action, 2CD): [r]: B+(**)

Old music rated this week:

  • L7: Slap-Happy (1999, Bong Load): [r]: B+(**)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week: no music albums, but let's list some recent music books:

  • Robert Christgau: Is It Still Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism 1967-2017 (paperback, 2018, Duke University Press)
  • John Corbett: Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium (paperback, 2017, Duke University Press)
  • Tom Smucker: Why the Beachboys Matter (paperback, 2018, University of Texas Press)

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Music Week

Music: current count 30736 [30692] rated (+44), 264 [271] unrated (-7).

Got so jammed up Monday I didn't get a word of this written on its appointed day, but I did manage to move the records from the scratch file and start on next week while I was falling behind. One task was to format Robert Christgau's latest XgauSez question and answer session, which came out in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Another was counting ballots for the 13th Annual Jazz Critics Poll (56 in at present, deadline Sunday, December 9, 7pm). I can't show you any of that, but I've also been counting EOY lists for my EOY Aggregate, which you can track the progress of. Although lists started to appear before Thanksgiving, there wasn't much until December 1 (or the Monday after).

It occurs to me I should probably nail down my Jazz ballot now, rather than wait for the end of the week. Of course, my real list remains subject to change. If the past is any guide, I'll probably find a new A- record within 2-3 days, and something to nudge into the ballot territory in 10-15 days.

New Music:

  1. Joakim Milder/Fredrik Ljungkvist/Mathias Landraeus/Filip Augustson/Fredrik Rundkvist: The Music of Anders Garstedt (Moserobie)
  2. Peter Kuhn Trio: Intention (FMR)
  3. Kira Kira: Bright Force (Libra)
  4. Rich Halley 3: The Literature (Pine Eagle)
  5. Rodrigo Amado: A History of Nothing (Trost)
  6. James Brandon Lewis/Chad Taylor: Radiant Imprints (OFF) **
  7. Sons of Kemet: Your Queen Is a Reptile (Impulse!) **
  8. Henry Threadgill 14 or 15 Kestra: Agg: Dirt . . . and More Dirt (Pi)
  9. Kevin Sun: Trio (Ectomorph Music)
  10. Nik Bärtsch's Ronin: Awase (ECM) **

Reissues/Historical:

  1. Martin Küchen & Landaeus Trio: Vinyl (2013-14, Moserobie)
  2. Alexander Von Schlippenbach/Aki Takase: Live at Café Amores (1995, NoBusiness)
  3. Art Pepper: Unreleased Art Pepper Vol. 10: Toronto (1977, Widow's Taste, 3CD)
  4. Fred Hersch: Fred Hersch Trio '97 @ The Village Vanguard (Palmetto)

Vocal:

  1. Benjamin Boone/Philip Levine: The Poetry of Jazz (Origin)

Debut:

  1. Kevin Sun: Trio (Ectomorph Music)

Latin Jazz:

  1. David Virelles: Igbó Alákorin (The Singer's Groove) Vol I & II (Pi)

You may notice that the Reissues/Historical list doesn't match the EOY file. I decided to only include records that I have physical copies of -- partly to credit the few good publicist who actually still send me eligible records, and partly because some of the records on the current list (like the expanded Sonny Rollins Way Out West and the reduced Anthony Braxton Quartet (Willisau) 1991 Studio) are items I was already pretty familiar with. Also, note that only three Reissue/Historical albums will be counted. I went to four in case the judge decides that the Küchen album is too recent (although it is literally a reissue of recent vinyl releases).

[PS: I finally decided to treat Küchen/Landaeus as new and slot it at number 10, bumping Nik Bärtsch's Ronin from the top ten. So, turns out my blog-posted ballot didn't last 30 minutes before I had a change of heart/mind.]

I published Streamnotes (November 2018) last Friday, so most of this week's batch of newly rated records got written up there. I added one more jazz A- in the two days after Streamnotes (Flavio Zanuttini), and I've actually added one more in the two days between when I ended last week and as I'm writing now (Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet's Polka). My current division of A-lists is 53 Jazz vs. 47 Non-Jazz, so it's tilted a bit toward jazz over the last couple weeks.

I was hoping to get a couple of technical things set up so I could announce them this week, but didn't get around to doing the necessary work:

  • I plan on setting up an RSS feed, like I did for Robert Christgau's website. Same idea: manually manage a list of new/updated files (checking against a time-sorted list of files), and write a bit of code to format that list as RSS 2.0. This could just include the faux blog files -- that's certainly the piece that needs RSS exposure. Shouldn't take more than a couple hours to set up at this point.

  • I want to add a question-and-answer feature, like I did for Robert Christgau with XgauSez. It will take a couple hours to set up a special email account, add the captcha code, port the question form and the Q&A reader, and add some links. I'd also like to add some new features, like a keyword search.

  • I want to set up an email list (based on GNU Mailman) for people who would like to offer advice (technical but also user) on my various website projects (especially robertchristgau.com and tomhull.com, and a future music website, to be hosted at terminalzone.net). I've often found myself wishing I could tap into a pool of technical help, as well as to get comments on user design questions, especially as I undertake development projects, like the recent RSS feeds, and more importantly a redesign of the Christgau website. I expect this to be set up shortly after I post this, but it will (at least for the time being) be a private list, so if you want to join (to participate or maybe just to lurk) please send me email. Most likely I will subscribe you then, and you will receive email with an account password (which you can change). You can use your password to change your options (such as to elect to receive a daily digest instead of every email message as it's sent), or to unsubscribe. You may also at any time ask me to unsubscribe you.

So, one (mostly) down. The others shouldn't be too hard to get working in the next week. Also managed to get a stub set up over at Terminal Zone, so I can start hanging things there. Still, most of this coming week will go to tabulating ballots and collecting lists. I guess the latter qualifies as my favorite waste of time. At some point I need to stop and get onto other work, but for now, 'tis the season for it.


New records rated this week:

  • Juhani Aaltonen/Raoul Björkenheim: Awakening (2016 [2018], Eclipse): [r]: B+(**)
  • Tom Abbs & Frequency Response: Hawthorne (2018, Engine Studios): [r]: B+(***)
  • Anderson .Paak: Oxnard (2018, Aftermath/12 Tone Music): [r]: A-
  • Brom: Sunstroke (2017 [2018], Trost): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Peter Brötzmann/Heather Leigh: Sparrow Nights (2018, Trost): [bc]: B+(*)
  • Dustin Carlson: Air Ceremony (2017 [2018], Out of Your Head): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Neneh Cherry: Broken Politics (2018, Smalltown Supersound): [r]: B+(***)
  • Chicago Edge Ensemble: Insidious Anthem (2018, Trost): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Lando Chill: Black Ego (2018, Mello Music Group): [r]: B+(*)
  • Zack Clarke: Mesophase (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Collective Order: Collective Order Vol. 3 (2018, self-released): [cd]: B
  • Francesco Cusa & the Assassins Meets Duccio Bertini: Black Poker (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Drone Trio [Evelyn Davis/Fred Frith/Phillip Greenlief]: Lantskap Logic (2013 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • James Francies: Flight (2018, Blue Note): [r]: B
  • Full Blast: Rio (2016 [2018], Trost): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Marquis Hill: Modern Flows Vol. 2 (2018, Black Unlimited Music Group): [r]: B
  • Khruangbin: Con Todo El Mundo (2018, Dead Oceans): [r]: B+(*)
  • Frank Kimbrough: Monk's Dreams: The Complete Compositions of Thelonious Sphere Monk (2017 [2018], Sunnyside, 6CD): [r]: A-
  • Roy Kinsey: Blackie: A Story by Roy Kinsey (2018, Not Normal): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Simone Kopmajer: Spotlight on Jazz (2018, Lucky Mojo): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Andrew Lamb Trio: The Casbah of Love (2018, Birdwatcher): [r]: B+(**)
  • Low: Double Negative (2018, Sub Pop): [r]: B+(*)
  • Kirk Knuffke/Steven Herring: Witness (2017 [2018], SteepleChase): [r]: B
  • Thomas Marriott: Romance Language (2017 [2018], Origin): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Joakim Milder/Fredrik Ljungkvist/Mathias Landraeus/Filip Augustson/Fredrik Rundkvist: The Music of Anders Garstedt (2016 [2018], Moserobie): [cd]: A
  • Father John Misty: God's Favorite Customer (2018, Sub Pop): [r]: B
  • Fredrik Nordström: Needs (2018, Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
  • Miles Okazaki: Work: The Complete Compositions of Thelonios Monk (2018, self-released, 6CD): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Caterina Palazzi/Sudoku Killer: Asperger (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(***)
  • Charlie Porter: Charlie Porter (2018, Porter House): [r]: B+(*)
  • Quoan [Brian Walsh/Daniel Rosenboom/Sam Minaie/Mark Ferber]: Fine Dining (2017 [2018], Orenda): [r]: B+(**)
  • Ernesto Rodrigues/Guilherme Rodrigues/Bruno Parrinha/Luís Lopes/Vasco Trillo: Lithos (2017 [2018], Creative Sources): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Renee Rosnes: Beloved of the Sky (2017 [2018], Smoke Sessions): [r]: B+(**)
  • John Scofield: Combo 66 (2018, Verve): [r]: B+(**)
  • Sleep: The Sciences (2018, Third Man): [r]: B+(*)
  • Marcus Strickland Twi-Life: People of the Sun (2018, Blue Note): [r]: B
  • Trio Heinz Herbert: Yes (2018, Intakt): [cd]: B+(***)
  • The Way Ahead: Bells Ghosts and Other Saints (2017 [2018], Clean Feed): [r]: B+(*)
  • Mars Williams: Mars Williams Presents an Ayler Xmas (2017, Soul What): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Mars Williams: Mars Williams Presents an Ayler Xmas: Volume 2 (2018, Soul What): [bc]: B+(**)
  • Yoko Yamaoka: Diary 2005-2015: Yuko Yamaoka Plays the Music of Satoko Fujii (2018, Libra, 2CD): [cd]: B+(**)
  • Flavio Zanuttini Opacipapa: Born Baby Born (2018, Clean Feed): [r]: A-

Old music rated this week:

  • Boneshaker: Unusual Words (2012 [2014], Soul What): [bc]: B+(***)
  • Billie Holiday: Songs for Distingué Lovers (1957 [1958], Verve): [r]: A-
  • Terry Pollard: Terry Pollard (1955, Bethlehem): [r]: B+(***)


Unpacking: Found in the mail last week:

  • Sam Broverman: A Jewish Boy's Christmas (Brovermusic)
  • Scheen Jazzorchester/Eyolf Dale: Commuter Report (Losen)

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Weekend Roundup

Any week since Trump became president, spend a day or two and you'll come up with a fairly long list of pieces worth citing, and the sense that you're still missing much of what is going on. For instance, my usual sources on Israel/Palestine have yet to catch up with this: Josef Federman: Israeli Police Recommend Indicting Netanyahu on Bribery Charges. Seems like that should be at least as big a story as Putin and Saudi crown prince high-five at G20 summit. But this is all I came up with for the week.

I probably should have written standalone pieces on GWH Bush and on Jill Lepore's These Truths, but wound up squeezing some notes here for future reference. Under Bush, I wondered how many articles I'd have to read -- critical as well as polite or even adulatory -- before someone would bring up what I regard as the critical juncture in his period as president: his invasion of Panama. I lost track, but in 20-30 pieces I looked at, none broached the topic. I had to search specifically before I came up with this one: Greg Grandin: How the Iraq War Began in Panama. When Bush became president, people still talked about a "Vietnam syndrome" which inhibited American politicians and their generals from starting foreign wars. Bush is generally credited as having "kicked the Vietnam syndrome," with two aggressive wars, first in Panama, then in Iraq. Bush and the media conspired to paint those wars as glorious successes, the glow from which enabled Clinton, Bush II, and Obama to launch many more wars: Somalia, Haiti, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq (again), Syria, as well as dozens of more marginal operations. Woodrow Wilson once claimed to be fighting "a war to end all wars." Bush's legacy was more modest: a war to kindle many more wars.

Oddly enough, the story below that links up most directly to Bush's legacy of war is the one about the increasing rate of premature deaths (suicides and overdoses). That's what you get from decades of nearly continuous war since Bush invaded Panama in 1989. The other contributing factor has been increasing income inequality, which has followed a straight line ever since 1981, when the Reagan/Bush administration slashed taxes on the rich.

Recently, we've seen many naive people praise Bush for, basically, not being as flat-out awful as his Republican successors. They've done this without giving the least thought to how we got to where we are now. The least they could do is check out Kevin Phillips' 2004 book: American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.


Some scattered links this week:


Nov 2018