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Henry Threadgill Zooid:
Poof (Pi Recordings)

The sixth album in saxophonist and composer Henry Threadgill's Zood small ensemble project Zooid, a quintet with guitarist Liberty Ellman, tuba & trombonist Jose Davila, cellist Christopher Hoffman and drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee, following Threadgill's serial intervallic language compositions to create an amazingly intricate yet warmly embraceable avant jazz; exceptional! ... Click to View


Henry Threadgill Zooid:
Poof [VINYL] (Pi Recordings)

The sixth album in saxophonist and composer Henry Threadgill's Zood small ensemble project Zooid, a quintet with guitarist Liberty Ellman, tuba & trombonist Jose Davila, cellist Christopher Hoffman and drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee, following Threadgill's serial intervallic language compositions to create an amazingly intricate yet warmly embraceable avant jazz; exceptional! ... Click to View


Lussier / D'Orion / Kuster / Tetreault :
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Artifacts (Tomeka Reid / Nicole Mitchell / Mike Reed):
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Charlotte Keeffe :
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Skeeter Shelton / Hamid Drake:
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After meeting in Detroit when tenor saxophonist & flutist Skeeter Shelton subbed for a sick player in a duo concert with drummer/percussionist Hamid Drake, the two found a bond through Shelton's father, Ajaramu Shelton, who had been one of Drake's mentor at Chicago's AACM; the concert was so successful that this recording was immediately planned, based around many of Shelton's themes. ... Click to View


Skeeter Shelton / Hamid Drake:
Sclupperbep [VINYL] (Two Rooms Records)

After meeting in Detroit when tenor saxophonist & flutist Skeeter Shelton subbed for a sick player in a duo concert with drummer/percussionist Hamid Drake, the two found a bond through Shelton's father, Ajaramu Shelton, who had been one of Drake's mentor at Chicago's AACM; the concert was so successful that this recording was immediately planned, based around many of Shelton's themes. ... Click to View


Archer / Keeffe / Pyne:
Hi Res Heart (Discus)

Inspired by the 70's Leo Smith Trio and the AACM tradition, during pandemic lockdowns UK multi-reedist & wind player Martin Archer, Charlotte Keeffe on trumpet & electronics and Martin Pyne on drums, percussion, vibraphone & toy piano, developed these 12 pieces where each member recorded four ideas independently, the other two arranging and recording their own parts in response. ... Click to View


Blue Lines Sextet (Rave / Maris / Wierbos / Scheen / van der Weide / Hadow):
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Leap Of Faith:
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The core duet of the Leap of Faith Orchestra of David Peck on clarinets, saxophones, clarinets & flutes, and Glynis Lomon on cello, aquasonic & voice are joined by Evil Clown regular, Bob Moores on trumpet, guitar, electronics & percussion, the excitement evident as the trio performed together live in the studio the first time after pandemic vaccinations. ... Click to View


PEK Solo / A Quartet of PEKS:
Fixed Intentions for the Saxophone Family (Evil Clown)

The sixth PEK Solo effort of 2020 in Boston-based improviser and composer David Peck's series, this album is a followup to his Clarinet Family album earlier in the year, here creating a virtual symphony of saxophones by layering his composition in the studio through four separate recordings, working in the vein of Rova Sax Quartet or the World Sax Quartet. ... Click to View


Don Cherry:
Complete Communion & Symphony For Improvisers, Revisited (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

Following a 1964 Albert Ayler tour, trumpeter Don Cherry remained in Europe, working on new concepts of improvising based on form itself, developing his concepts with saxophonist Gato Barbieri, vibraphonist Karl Berger & bassist J.F. Jenny Clark, composing two brilliant albums: 1966's Communion with Barbieri, Henry Grimes & Ed Blackwell; and in 1967 Symphony for Improvisers as a septet. ... Click to View


Nick Fraser Quartet:
If There Were No Opposites (ezz-thetics by Hat Hut Records Ltd)

First recording in 2012 as a trio with saxophonist Tony Malaby as a guest, 9 years later Toronto drummer Nick Fraser's quartet with Malaby as a permanent member, Rob Clutton on double bass and Andrew Downing on cello show their long collaboration's strength in a set of improvisations plus compositions for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and the DJD production, Juliet & Romeo. ... Click to View


Ivo Perelman (Duos w/ Burrell / Crispell / Ortiz / Parks / Courvoisie / Fernandez / Taborn / Sanchez / Iyer):
Brass And Ivory Tales [9-CD BOX SET] (Listen! Foundation (Fundacja Sluchaj!))

Referring to the brass saxophone and the piano's ivory keys, Brazilian saxophonist based in New York City Ivo Perelman celebrates his 60th birthday with this 9-CD set of diverse approaches to sax & piano duos, performed with some of world's finest improvising pianists: Dave Burrell, Marilyn Crispell, Aaron Parks, Augusti Fernandez, Craig Taborn, Angelica Sanchez and Vijay Iyer. ... Click to View


Alex Ward:
Gated (Discus)

A stunning solo album showing the widely diverse interests of UK clarinetist and guitarist Alex Ward, recording in the studio in 10 multi-track pieces using clarinets, saxophones, guitars, keyboards, electric bass and assorted software instruments in a mix of pre-composed and improvised approaches, burning the spectrum from contemplative to aggressively assertive performance. ... Click to View


Blue Lines Trio (Scheen / van der Weide / Hadow):
Blue Lines Trio (Casco Records)

With all the tongue-in-cheek aspects of Dutch improvisers, the piano trio of Michiel Scheen on piano, Raoul van der Weide on bass, crackle box & sound objects and George Hadow on drums, all hailing from a superb pedigree of European Free Improv involvement, show their connection through comprehensible playing with a wonderful sense of humor in their approach to delightfully smart playing. ... Click to View


Axel Dorner:
Untitled [3''CD] (Euphorium)

A companion of sorts to the Euphorium release from Leimgruber/Turner/Dorner/da Boff/Flesh, London/Leipzig/Luzern, trumpeter Axel Dörner breaks off solo for an extended improvisation recorded at the same studio on the same day in Leipzig, employing his unique approach to the instrument in an 18-minute exploration of tone, timbre, and unexpected brass utterance. ... Click to View


Alex Reviriego:
Raben [CASSETTE W/ DOWNLOAD] (Tripticks Tapes)

Spanish double bassist Alex Reviriego (Memoria Uno) in a solo album recorded by Ferran Fages in 2019, the second chapter of his "German Poets Trilogy" following his 2018 Blaue Tauben album, here inspired by the writings of Romanian-born poet Paul Celan in an intense and moving album of dense foreboding depicted through nine improvisations of heavy bowing, ruminative harmonics and dark friction. ... Click to View


Axioms:
Hypothesis (Evil Clown)

The second album of free improv with poetry from the Boston-based Evil Clown collective band Axioms of David Peck, Jane SpokenWord and Albey onBass, this album extending the trio with Glynis Lomon on cello and Steve Niemitz on drums & percussion, heard in an extended improvisation bridging the distance between poetic discussion of truths and abstract musical structures. ... Click to View


Anne-F Jacques / Takamitsu Ohta:
Oto to Secchi [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Tsss Tapes)

Using small objects and contact microphones to create peacefully clacking, mewling and idiosyncratic utterances, sound artists Takamitsu Ohta and Anne-Francoise Jacques developed this installation shown in 2019 at the Bonjour! Gendaibunmei gallery in Kyoto, recorded by Jacques as a tour of the various sonic manifestations that a visitor to the gallery might experience. ... Click to View


Keith Tippett / Matthew Bourne:
Aeolian [2 CDs] (Discus)

Two generations of remarkable pianists--Keith Tippets and Matthew Bourne--performed a series of two-piano concerts between 2017 and 2019, also recording in the studio, as heard in this 2-CD release, the first a set of consequential piano duos recorded at Leeds Conservatoire in 2019, the 2nd disc a live performance at Daylight Music at Union Chapel, London, Tippetts' final public performance. ... Click to View


Takatsuki Trio Quartet w/ Tobias Delius / Alex Dorner:
Berliner Quartette (Orbit577)

The Berlin-based collective Takatsuki Trio of Rieko Okuda on piano, Antti Virtaranta on double bass and Joshua Weitzel on guitar & Shamisen are expanded to a Quartett in two extended live sets at Berlins' Kuhlspot Social Club in 2020, first in an expansive set with trumpeter Axel Dorner, and then an intensely active set with tenor saxophonist & clarinetist Tobias Delius. ... Click to View


The Remote Viewers :
The Remote Code [3 CDs] (Remote Viewers)

Three CDs of three concerts at London's Iklecktik Club, presenting primarily compositions by David Petts plus collective improvisations, from Adrian Northover, David Petts, Caroline Kraabel and Sue Lynch on saxophones, John Edwards on bass and Rosa Theodora on piano, with Northover, Edwards & Petts adding percussion and electronics to their cryptically rich music. ... Click to View


New Rumours And Other Noises (Ada Rave / Nicolas Chentaroli / Raoul van der Weide):
The Moonlight Nightcall (Casco Records)

The debut of the Amsterdam-based trio of Argentinian pianist Nicolas Chientaroli and saxophonist & clarinetist Ada Rave with Dutch bassist Raoul van der Weide, all three using preparations, objects and voice to extend their unique approach to instant composition, heard in eight succinct, animated and sometimes eccentric dialogs recorded at BIMHuis. ... Click to View


Xavier Pamplona Septet:
Play The (Casco Records)

Initiating his Netherlands-based ensemble in 2016, contrabassist Raoul van der Weide assembles younger musicians, alongside Michael Moore for one piece, orchestrated up to a septet performing a dizzying and joyfully fun array of original compositions including pieces from ICP composers Bert Koppelaar, Guus Janssen and Tristan Honsinger, and a piece from Fred Katz. ... Click to View


Homei Yanagawa:
Homura (Armageddon Nova)

Two extended pieces of solo free improvisation from Japanese alto saxophonist Homei Yanagawa, aka Yoshinori Yanagawa, who regularly performs solo, releasing this album 30 years after his first solo album in 1991, Ground and Figure, here recording in the studio for confidently active and diverse approaches to solo expression; engaging and absorbing work. ... Click to View


The Pitch (Baltschun / Nutters / Joh / Thieke):
KM28 [CASSETTE w/ DOWNLOAD] (Tripticks Tapes)

The Pitch is the Berlin quartet of Boris Baltschun on JI organ &, sines, Koen Nutters on upright bass, Morten Joh on JI electric vibes & cassette tape delay and Michael Thieke on clarinet, performing at Karl-Marx-Strasse 28 as they break off into solos, duos and trios to create spaciously reflective electroacoustic music of indirect melodic warmth and development; gorgeous. ... Click to View


An PEK Solo Orchestra of PEKs:
Prisms (Evil Clown)

The first "Orchestra of PEKS" album to feature Tim Kaiser's recent electro-acoustic instrument, this multi-track solo recording also introduces multi-wind / multi-instrumentalist David Peck's new West African Kora, in a wild electroacoustic set performed on a dizzying array of reeds, winds, strings, electronics, metallic percussion, wood percussion, sirens and thunder tube. ... Click to View


Rodrigo Amado / This Is Our Language Quartet:
Let The Free Be Men (Trost Records)

Referencing Ornette Coleman in the group name, Portuguese tenor saxophonist engages three US free jazz players--legendary saxophonist and pocket trumpeter Joe McPhee, double bassist Kent Kessler and drummer Chris Corsano--for this 2017 concert at Jazzhouse in Copenhagen, Denmark, capturing four exemplary, at times explosive, and always tightly interactive collective improvisations. ... Click to View


Mofaya! (John Dikeman / Jaimie Branch / Luke Stewart / Aleksandar Skoric):
Like One Long Dream (Trost Records)

A fiery record of collective free improvisation from the Mofaya! Quartet of American saxophonist based in The Netherlands John Dikeman, Chicago trumpeter Jaimie Branch, US East Coast bassist Luke Stewart and Slovenian drummer Aleksandar Skoric, recording live at Roze Tanker in Amsterdam for three exhilarating improvisations that embody US & European Free Jazz forms. ... Click to View



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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)


  The Upside of Dowloading  
by Scott MX Turner

This is what it's come to: A 12-year-old girl in New York was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America, those asswipes, for fileswapping / filesharing / downloading.

The mighty mouthpiece of megacorporate music. Hey, I like that alluring alliteration, so much so I'm gonna upper case it. Those Asswipes, The Mighty Mouthpiece of Megacorporate Music ... suing a 12-year-old for acquiring "If You're Happy And Your Know It, Clap Your Hands" without paying for it.

A fucking campfire song.

As you know, Those Asswipes are suing hundreds of filesharers throughout the land in the belief that free downloads are killing music.

How adorable!

Those Asswipes are on a nostalgia trip, just like the rest of us. They're reliving the good old days of "home taping is killing music," "radio broadcasts are killing music," "recorded music is killing music" and "sheet music is killing music."

They're so cute!

Especially since it's music that's killing music.

More precisely, the music biz that's killing music.

Here's why sales are down so badly that Universal has reduced suggested retail prices by a whopping 30%:

1) CDs are obscenely overpriced;

2) The music biz promotes increasingly smaller numbers of acts of increasingly worse quality;

3) CDs are obscenely overpriced;

4) The biz capriciously switched formats, from vinyl to digital, and now has to lie in the cold and soulless bed it made;

5) CDs are obscenely overpriced;

6) Said format change has reduced fans' appreciation and need for artwork, making downloads a less unattractive alternative;

7) CDs are obscenely overpriced;

8) Politically and culturally conservative Clear Channel is locking up radio stations nationwide, rendering radio itself a wasteland of Lee Greenwood anthems and Timberlakeian pop drivel...the opposite of "limitless possibilities."

9) CDs are obscenely overpriced.

Since I subtly got you thinking about the retail price of today's compact disc, let's have a little look, a little see...

For indie artists like myself, a CD costs $1-2 to manufacture on an order of 1,000 discs - the standard order for most bands issuing their own releases. The larger the pressing order, the cheaper the discs. Indie bands have learned what the major labels haven't: You don't need to blow million$ to make a great album.

Obviously, the Megacorporate Music Labels get much larger bulk discounts on the manufacturing end. They just refuse to pass the savings on to you.

And obviously, Megacorporate Music Labels spend more on one artist's in-store posters than most indie bands make in a year.

They're entitled to the discounts - they do press a lotta discs. But not the immoral expenditures keeping their publicity juggernauts afloat.

Unlike P. Diddy and Sir Elton, indie bands don't generally put a gun to their labels head for overwrought videos, Courvoisier and Lear jets. More to the point, indie labels can't afford it. Major labels should urge spoiled brat superstars to experiment with anatomically impossible solo sex acts, and instead divert the money to signing good bands, getting 'em out on the road, and really bringing down the price of CDs.

Sticking to the basics means better music at cheaper prices.

The Megacorporate Music Labels haven't learned that one just yet, even though screams of "ohmyfuckingGodwe'redoomed!!!" can be heard coursing through the hallways at Bertelsman, AOL Time Warner, Sony, Universal and their megamates.

Now that the expected bumper crop of the analog-to-digital forced march - everyone buying the CD version of Dark Side Of The Moon to replace their vinyl copy - has waned, the big labels are running on fumes. Weirdly, they're only starting to learn how to use the Internet to make money. The biz is like your old, grouchy Uncle Fred, the one who never gets it and won't take anyone's advice.

Then again, how weird can it be when you're dealing with people who couldn't predict the utter ease of counterfeiting and bootlegging digital releases?

As for radio - the free downloading of choice in the '70s, '80s and '90s, thanks to blank cassettes - the Clear Channels are making sure that less, and less imaginative, bands are coming to the forefront. Very few commercial channels are freeform these days. Not the hippie freeform playlists of 20-minute live tracks, but rather djs being allowed to think for themselves ... having the freedom to choose tracks they believe in.

The last remaining bastion of alternative radio, smallpower college stations, are under attack from the FCC, local religious groups, conservative on-campus student organizations, and funding cuts at universities across the land. The FCC periodically makes noise about repealing college stations' exemptions and forcing commercial-standards compliance they can't possibly meet.

Know this: the battle over downloading is the same as any other socio/political/economic struggle in the world today, a war between the haves and the have-nots.

The haves, represented by Those Asswipes,

Here's how most musicians make money these days: live dates, touring and selling merchandise. Record sales are the primary source of income for a small percentage of musicians.

How could they be? The average pre-taxed take for major label musicians on their album sales is 3 to 7 cents on the dollar. If you're in the MetallicaLLCoolJ stratosphere, you're making a lot of money from cds. If you're on any of the lower levels, you simply use cds as portal to earning a living.

Those Asswipes and the Megacorporate Music Biz are gonna have to change their way of thinking, buying, selling and promoting. If they wanna stay in business, they're gonna have to sell cds at fair value prices, prices that support a decent salary for working musicians (whose pay scale must be increased) and trim the fat from label heads and superstar artists (whose pay scales must be slashed). The more radical idea - that times have changed and recorded music now plays a support role to live music, not vice versa - must be embraced, and music labels need to make the shift. It doesn't mean layoffs, it just means learning new modes and skill sets.

And what of the kids? Those sweeties who spend their campus days searching for WiFi hotspots to download music? Are they part of an evil cabal to deprive us musicians the right to earn a living? Do they truly hate Metallica and Dr. Dre and - no! - Those Asswipes? Are they ... are they ... un-American in their refusal to embrace free-market capitalism?

Probably not, since many support bands whose music they download by purchasing t-shirts, concert tickets, books and magazines with their heroes on the cover. A lot of 'em end up buying the albums anyway.

People who download become music fans. Or they already are, and want to expand their horizons. In other words, just the kind of informed consumer Those Asswipes fear. Because the more access music fans have to music, the more support they give to musicians. Downloaders don't sit in front of their computers, gleefully rubbing their hands and churlishly celebrating depriving musicians of a salary. Rather, they're trying to remain music fans in the face of overpriced cds of limited choice.

And that's terrifying to a business controlled by Those Asswipes, their megacorporate clients, and the Clear Channels of the world.

Musicians should be paid a fair wage. We shouldn't have to nickel-and-dime with club owners and record labels who, without us, wouldn't have a pot to piss in. There need to be more organizations like the old Noise Action Coalition, which worked hard to fuse labor activism with the New York downtown scene in order to earn fair pay for musicians on both fronts.

The thing is, downloading and filesharing ultimately aren't about who gets paid, but rather, about new models for the distribution of culture. That, and our increasing independence from the old models, which have stood for exploitation of music workers and condescension toward music buyers.

And if that makes you happy and you know it, clap your hands.



The Squid's Ear presents
reviews about releases
sold at Squidco.com
written by
independent writers.

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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Artifacts (
Tomeka Reid /
Nicole Mitchell /
Mike Reed):
...and then there's this
(Astral Spirits)



Lussier /
D'Orion /
Kuster /
Tetreault :
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Henry Threadgill Zooid:
Poof
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(Discus)



Blue Lines Trio (
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Anne-Francoise Jacques /
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Modelbau (
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Sean Conly:
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Expanse Meets
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