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In 1964 Albert Ayler's approach to free improvisation had found its voice, in a quartet supported by the now-legendary players Don Cherry on cornet, Gary Peacock on doublebass, and Sunny Murray on drums, heard live in a well-recorded concert at Club Montmarte, in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1964; ferocious and forward thinking, an astonishing concert! ... Click to View


Matthew Shipp: Invisible Touch At Taktlos Zurich (Hatology)

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Harry Miller: Different Times, Different Places Volume Two (Ogun)

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Linda Smith Catlin : Drifter [2 CDs] (Another Timbre)

Ten pieces dating from 1995 to 2015 from Canadian composer Linda Catlin Smith, performed by Quatuor Bozzini and Apartment House, the first in Another Timbre's Canadian Composer series, a 2-CD release focusing on Smith's "equal and simultaneous drive toward abstraction and lyricism" in slowly developing, lush and sophisticated compositions. ... Click to View


Chiyoko Szlavnics : During a Lifetime (Another Timbre)

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Martin Arnold : The Spit Veleta (Another Timbre)

Canadian composer Martin Arnold is based in Toronto, writing melodic works that contain a meandering, psychedelic quality, as heard in these three compositions performed by Philip Thomas on piano and Mira Benjamin on violin, the first two pieces solos from each respectively, and the last a duo with both musicians. ... Click to View


Mat Maneri / Evan Parker / Lucian Ban: Sounding Tears (Clean Feed)

Viola improviser and composer Mat Maneri leads this trio with British UK legend Evan Parker on soprano and tenor saxophone and Romanian ex-patriot and frequent collaborator Lucian Ban on piano, for ten compositions blending tradition, song, and improvisational tactics, recalling 20th century modern classical music in addition to jazz. ... Click to View


Rova / Bruckmann & Kaiser: Saxophone Special (Clean Feed)

The Californian saxophone quartet composed of Bruce Ackley, Steve Adams, Larry Ochs and Jon Raskin is extended with Henry Kaiser on guitar and Kyle Bruckmann on analog synth to perform the music of saxophone legend Steve Lacy in 7 compositions, putting an eclectic spin on the iconic composer and performer's music. ... Click to View


Mario Pavone (Pavone / Ballout / Malaby / Noriega / McEachern / Sarin): Vertical (Clean Feed)

Drawing from some of the finest players on the New York Downtown jazz scene, with Dave Ballou on trumpet, Tony Malaby and Oscar Noriega on reeds, Peter McEachern on trombone and Michael Sarin on drums, double bassist Mario Pavone presents a set of 11 new compositions of lyrical and sophisticated jazz anchored by the leader's powerful compositional structures. ... Click to View


Meridian Trio (Mazzarella / Ulery / Cunningham): Triangulum (Clean Feed)

A lyrical outing from the Chicago working trio of Nick Mazzarella on alto saxophone, Matt Ulery on doublebass, and Jeremy Cunningham on drums, performing live at the Whistler in Chicago, Illinois in 2016, recorded for this debut album of Mazzarella compositions, flexible pieces that balance jazz traditions with avant options for the players. ... Click to View


Chamber 4 (Vicente / Ceccaldi / Ceccaldi / dos Reis): City Of Light (Clean Feed)

A live concert at Les Soirees Tricot Festival in Paris, France in 2016, dedicated to the "City of Light", from the quartet of Luis Vicente on trumpet, Theo Ceccaldi on violin, Valentin Ceccaldi on cello and Marcelo dos Reis on acoustic guitar and prepared guitar, in music that, like the city, exhibits gorgeous simplicity through intricate sophistication. ... Click to View


Angles 9: Disappeared Behind the Sun [VINYL] (Clean Feed)

Saxophonist Martin Kuchen's amazing 9-piece Angles ensemble returns for an album titled for the grief of those who disappear due to war, crime and oppression, music that celebrates the tense balance in the challenge to confront and lead away from darkness and tyranny. ... Click to View


Honest John (Moe / Johannesen / Hoyer / Nylander / Holm): International Breakthrough (Clean Feed)

The Scandinavian quintet of Ole-Henrik Moe on violin, Kim Johannesen on guitar; Ola Hoyer on double bass; Erik Nylander on drums & drum machine; and Klaus Ellerhusen-Holm on alto saxophone and Bb on clarinet, in a daring album of mostly Ellerhusen-Holm compositions, arranged collectively into these creative and energetic gems. ... Click to View


The Selva (Jacinto / Almeida / Morao): The Selva (Clean Feed)

The Portuguese trio The Selva of Ricardo Jacinto (cello), Goncalo Almeida (double bass) and Nuno Morao (drums) in an album building on world and historic music forms focused through modern improviser's ears, creating a hybrid approach that slowly reveals its jazz roots in an unhurried but cultured take on new creative music. ... Click to View


Rune Your Day (Mathisen / Roligheten / Nergaard / Skalstad): Rune Your Day (Clean Feed)

Rather than ancient Germanic alphabet letters, "Rune" Your Day is named for Norwegian composer and band-leader, double bassist Rune Nergaard [Bushman's Revenge], and his quartet with Jorgen Mathisen on alto & soprano sax & clarinet, Andre Roligheten on tenor & baritone sax, and Axel Skalstad on drums, for an album of concentrated, creative jazz. ... Click to View


Humcrush (Storlokken / Stronen): Enter Humcrush (Shhpuma)

After a six year break the Humcrush duo of Stale Storlokken on keys and Thomas Stronen on drums & electronics return with this studio album of rhythmic angularities and experimental sound worlds, drawing on their experiences with bands including Supersilent, Food, Elephant9, Time is a blind guide, Meadow and Motorpsycho. ... Click to View


Thollem / Mazurek: Blind Curves and Box Canyons (Relative Pitch)

Recorded at an exhibition of visual works by Chicago trumpeter Rob Mazurek in Texas, this was the first meeting with pianist Thollem McDonas, in an ardent session of explorative improvisation using electric and analog piano, sythn, samplers, cornet, voice, bells and effects; inquisitive and cathartic music of great drive. ... Click to View


JR3 (Olaf Rupp / Rudi Mahall / Jan Roder): Happy Jazz (Relative Pitch)

The Berlin trio of Rudi Mahall on clarinet and bass clarinet, Olaf Rupp on electric and acoustic guitar and Jan Roder on double bass in an ironically packaged album of free improvisation of the highest standard, taking the listener on a journey of informed free jazz that references the past in thoroughly modern approaches to creative music. ... Click to View


Joshua Abrams Natural Information Society: Simultonality [VINYL] (Eremite)

Chicago bassist and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Abrams follows up his incredible "Simultonality" album with this faster-paced album recorded with his Natural Information Society, joining traditional musics, American minimalism & jazz with the gnawa ceremonial instrument the guimbri. ... Click to View


Dunmall / Edwards / Noble / Sanders: Go Straight Around The Square (FMR)

The stellar quartet of Paul Dunmall on tenor and soprano saxophone, John Edwards on bass, Liam Noble on piano, and Mark Sanders on drums performing 2 extended improvisations balancing energetic playing with contemplative conversation, captured live at the Vortex, in London, England, in 2016. ... Click to View


Francois Carrier / Michel Lambert / Rafal Mazur: Oneness (FMR)

The well-traveled working group of Francois Carrier (alto saxophone, Chinese oboe), Michel Lambert (drums) and Rafal Mazur (acoustic bass guitar) performing live at Alchemia Club in Krakow, Poland in 2015 for an excellent example of collective free improvisation with distinctive and unconventional approaches to their dialog. ... Click to View


Udo Schindler / Ove Volquartz: Answers And Maybe A Question? (FMR)

Udo Schindler's Salon for Sound and Art at Krailing in Krailing, Germany is the setting for this superb live duo concert, capturing Schindler and Ove Volquartz both on bass and double bass clarinet, showing the breadth of sonic possibilites and diverse approaches from the deepest of clarinets performed by two masterful musicians. ... Click to View


Runcible Quintet, The (featuring John Edwards / Neil Metcalfe): Five (FMR)

The Runciple Quintet of John Edwards on double bass, Marcello Magliocchi on drums, Neil Metcalfe on flute, Adrian Northover on soprano saxophone, and Daniel Thompson on acoustic guitar recording at IKLECTIC, in London in 2016 for 5 excellent examples of detailed, collective improvisation. ... Click to View


Rob Burke / George Lewis / Paul Grabowsky / Mark Helias: Shift (FMR)

A meeting in NY's Lower East Village between four improvisors--Robert Burke on saxes, George Lewis on trombone & electronics, Paul Grabowsky on piano & snare drum, and Mark Helias on acoustic bass--playing a pre-composed work, blending 21st century composition with modern jazz sensibility, enhanced by Lewis' computer-based "shapeshifts". ... Click to View


Gauden / Hanslip: And How The Who Can Think the What... (FMR)

UK Tenor saxophonist Mark Hanslip and drummer Ed Gauden in their 3rd record together, here stripped down to a duo, inspired by a planned trio concert where the pianist was unable to perform; the resulting show worked so well that the two decided to take it to the studio, this album the result of impressive avant interchanges in 8 succinct tracks. ... Click to View


Szilard Mezei: Still Now (If You Still) (FMR)

An exciting album crossing free improvisation with chamber approaches and extended techniques from Serbian violist Szilard Mezei performing in a trio with pianist Marina Dzukljev and drummer/percussionist Vasco Trilla, recording in Novi Sad, Serbia in 2017. ... 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.



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