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Vandermark / Wooley / Courvoisier / Rainey: Noise Of Our Time (Intakt)

After reedist Ken Vandermark's residency at The Stone in 2016, he went into the studio with improvisers Nate Wooley on trumpet, Sylvie Courvoisier on piano, and Tom Rainey on drums to record this spectacular album of forward-reaching jazz using stunning technique and wonderful lyrical complexity, as they run through compositions from Wooley, Vandermark and Courvoisier. ... Click to View


Kaja Draksler / Petter Eldh / Christian Lillinger: Punkt.Vrt.Plastik (Intakt)

The rhythm section from the Amok Amor quartet--drummer Christian Lillinger and bassist Petter Eldh--and reforming it as a trio with pianist Kaja Draksler, to create a thrilling, twisting and turning band of quick-witted, avant jazz angles, confusing and thrilling with unexpected shifts in direction on an informed, fun-filled and thoroughly modern album. ... Click to View


Michael Formanek Elusion Quartet: Time Like This (Intakt)

NY Bassist Michael Formanek composes for and leads his Elusion Quartet with saxophonist Tony Malaby, pianist Kris Davis, and drummer Ches Smith, a heavyweight set of improvisers who take on Formanek's sophisticated and elusive compositions, using unusual meters and complex yet comprehensible structures, performed with prodigious skill and passionate approaches. ... Click to View


Don Byron / Aruan Ortiz: Random Dances & (A)tonalities (Intakt)

Working together since 2014 in larger ensembles, NY reedist Don Byron and Cuban-born, US pianist Auran Ortiz find a modern yet lyrical heat in their duo collaboration in an album that includes original compositions and intimate renderings of pieces by Duke Ellington, Federico Mompou, Geri Allen, and J.S. Bach, a uniquely diverse and wonderfully embraceable release. ... Click to View


Trio Heinz Herbert (Landolt / Landolt / Hanni): Yes (Intakt)

Blending free jazz, electronic music, glitch, and collective improvisation, the Swiss trio of Dominic Landolt on guitar, effects, Ramon Landolt on synth, samples, piano, Mario Hanni on drums, effects bring a modern and experimental edge to their diverse approaches to free improv, albeit tinged with electronica and rock overtones; a fascinating brew. ... Click to View


Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (feat. Marilyn Crispell / Evan Parker): Parallel Moments Unbroken [2CDS] (FMR)

Scottland's large improvising ensemble of around 20 musicians, merging backgrounds in free improvisation, jazz, classical, folk, pop, experimental musics and performance art, in a 2-CD release of a piece commissioned by the BBC and featuring pianist Marilyn Crispell and saxophist Evan Parker, written using graphic scores, through composition, photographs and artwork. ... Click to View


Morton Feldman (Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt): Atlantis (Hat [now] ART)

A much-needed reissue of this 2000 CD of three orchestral works from late composer Morton Feldman--"String Quartet and Orchestra" (1973), "Oboe and Orchestra" (1976), and "Atlantis" (1959)--demonstrating the evolution of his incredible control in working with tone, mood and instrumental combinations, from his earliest large-scale work to later mature works. ... Click to View


Fritz Hauser : Laboratorio - Solo Percussion (Hat [now] ART)

Swiss drummer & percussionist Fritz Hauser's solo album creates a fictional percussion center that he uses as as springboard to compose solo works for spaces within the [non-existent] environment, depicted in both spacious and active sound work, generating open-air locations with bird sounds and cymbals and areas of quick-paced activity; absolutely impressive. ... Click to View


Karlheinz Stockhausen : Historic First Recordings of the Klavierstucke I-VIII & XI (Hat [now] ART)

Originally conceived as a cycle of 21 solo piano pieces, composer Karlheinz Stockhausen only completed a section of these Klavierstucke works, eventually transforming the series for synthesizers and electronic instruments; Hat Hut now restores the original recordings from the 50s by the pianist Stockhausen dedicated some of these pieces to: David Tudor. ... Click to View


Roland Dahinden : Talking with Charlie: An Imaginary Talk with Charlie Parker (Hat [now] ART)

Bass clarinetist Gareth Davis asked composer Roland Dahinden to write for his quartet, with Koen Kaptijn (trombone), Dario Calderone (double bass) and Peppe Garcia (percussion), the result this "imaginary talk" with Charlie Parker, captured in a score involving graphic as well as more conventional elements, allowing structure and improvisation for the players. ... Click to View


Howard Riley: Live In The USA (NoBusiness)

The brilliant UK pianist Howard Riley is caught live in a US tour in the fall of 1976, recorded at 3 locations in NYC and in Buffalo, NY, each of the well-recorded improvisation a masterwork of extended form as he plays both outside and inside the piano, ranging from warm sections of lyrical quality to fast-paced streams of consciousness in a Cecil Taylor mode; magnificent. ... Click to View


James Lewis Brandon (Lewis / Branch / Stewart / Pirog / Crudup III): An Unruly Manifesto (Relative Pitch)

New York tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis leads a quintet with Jaimie Branch on trumpet, Luke Stewart on bass, Anthony Pirog on guitar, and Warren Trae Crudup III on drums, in a free jazz album dedicated to Charlie Haden & Ornette Coleman and Surrealism, modern creative music with one foot planted in the 70s and one in the 2010s. ... Click to View


Bloor: Drolleries (Astral Spirits)

Drolleries are small creatures adorning the margins of 13th-15th century illuminated manuscripts; Sam Weinberger is a Brooklyn saxophonist known for groups W-2, and this Bloor project with electric guitarist Andrew Smiley and drummer Jason Nazary, an assertive and rugged trio playing Weinberg's compositions about the perceptual phenomenon of ever-changing repetition. ... Click to View


Bloor: Drolleries [CASSETTE] (Astral Spirits)

Drolleries are small creatures adorning the margins of 13th-15th century illuminated manuscripts; Sam Weinberger is a Brooklyn saxophonist known for groups W-2 and this Bloor project with electric guitarist Andrew Smiley and drummer Jason Nazary, an assertive and rugged trio playing Weinberg's compositions about the perceptual phenomenon of ever-changing repetition. ... Click to View


Dunmall / Siegel / Pursglove / Sanders: As One Does (FMR)

Two saxophones take the front line in Paul Dunmall's 2018 studio album, the leader on tenor saxophone with fellow tenor player Julian Siegel, also on bass clarinet, while Mark Sanders drums and Percy Pursglove handles bass and also trumpet, as the band falls into a hard bop mode, weaving lines together over wonderfully turbulent and soulful grooves; outstanding. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmall / Philip Gibbs / James Owston / Jim Bashford: Inner And Outer (FMR)

Paul Dunmall's 2018 studio album in a quartet with James Owston on bass, Jim Bashford on drums, Philip Gibbs on guitar, and Dunmall on tenor saxophone, Gibbs's hollow-body opening up the band sound as Owston and Bashford trade rapid responses or provide solid grooves, the themes of the dialogs focused on space and time through intricate, complex and profound interaction. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Albert Cirera / Rodrigo Pinheiro / Carlos Santos: 3 Phases (I) White (Creative Sources)

"3 Phases", or different aspects of the approach that violist Ernesto Rodrigues applies to improvisation, in three different groupings over three different days, all live at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal in 2018, here in an ea-improv setting with Albert Cirera on tenor saxophone, Rodrigo Pinheiro on piano, & Carlos Santos on field recordings & sine waves. ... Click to View


Ernesto Rodrigues / Bruno Parrinha / Nuno Torres / Paulo Galao: 3 Phases (II) Grey (Creative Sources)

"3 Phases", or different aspects of the approach that violist Ernesto Rodrigues applies to improvisation, in three different groupings over three different days, all live at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, Portugal in 2018, here in an acoustic sax trio with strings, with Bruno Parrinha on soprano, Nuno Torres on alto, Paulo Galao on tenor sax. ... Click to View


Diceros (Rodrigues / Mira / Silva / Curado / Almeida / Chagas /...): 3 Phases (III) Black (Creative Sources)

"3 Phases", or 3 aspects of the approach that violist Ernesto Rodrigues applies to improvisation, in 3 different groupings over 3 different concerts at O'Culto da Ajuda, in Lisbon, here in an electroacoustic ensemble with Miguel Mira, Guilherme Rodrigues, Joao Silva, Eduardo Chagas, Paulo Curado, Noel Taylor, Miguel Almeida, Andre Holzer, Andre Hencleeday, Carlos Santos, and Joao Valinho. ... Click to View


Ferran Fages : Detuning Series For Guitar (Edition Wandelweiser Records)

The 2nd part of a trilogy for guitar and sinetones composed between 2015-18, alongside "What Might Occur (Rereadings of Triadic Memories by Morton Feldman for guitar and sinewaves)" (2015-17) and "Un Lloc Entre Dos Records" (2017); this work, originally written in 2016, and revised in 2018, is heard in a recording at GMEA, France, with guitarist Benjamin Maumus. ... Click to View


Larry Ochs / Gerald Cleaver / Nels Cline: What Is To Be Done (Clean Feed)

The first release from the trio of Nels Cline, Gerald Cleaver, and Larry Ochs in a 2016 concert at Gallery5 Arts, in Richmond, Virginia, captured as part of the trio's series touring around the Northeast each December since 2015, playing what Larry Ochs describes as music that "seeks sonically to soothe, to inspire, and to conspire", in three urgent and powerful improvisations. ... Click to View


Jorgen Mathisen's Instant Light: Mayhall's Object (Clean Feed)

Saxophonist Jorgen Mathisen (The Core) composes for and leads his quartet with fellow Norwegian players Erlend Slettevoll on piano, Trygve Waldemar Fiske on double bass, and Dag Erik Knedal Andersen on drums, through six lyrical free jazz compositions, often in a Coltrane mode, his music influenced by sci-fi, Sun Ra, and Philip K. Dick; a solid record of modern jazz. ... Click to View


Alberto Conde Iberian Roots Trio: The Wake Of An Artist - Tribute To Bernardo Sassetti (Clean Feed)

A tribute to pianist and composer Bernardo Sassetti from a trio that includes two members of Sassetti's Trio--bassist Carlos Barretto and drummer Alexandre Frazao--along with pianist Alberto Conde and violist Jose Valente, as they interpret Sassetti compositions, a Federico Mompou piece Sassetti played frequently, along with original compositions from all members. ... Click to View


Wschod (Pinheiro / Kozera / Suchar): Wschod (Clean Feed)

Red Trio pianist Rodrigo Pinheiro joins Polish free improvisers, drummer Kuba Suchar from the European band Robotobibok (which became Mikrokolektyw), and double bassist Zbigniew Kozera from Sundogs and LEM, for five collective improvisations, diverse and dynamic dialogs of profound technique and creative intention. ... Click to View


Jose Dias : After Silence, Vol.1 (Clean Feed)

Portuguese guitarist Jose Dias steps away from his quartet and trio, and from the many scores for theatre, contemporary dance and animation film that he's composed, to focus on his solo electric guitar work, in this album that applies subtle affects and a warm, ethereal ambiance to expressive and passionate pieces, each conveying a sense of narrative and purpose. ... Click to View


Ron Caines / Martin Archer Axis: Les Oiseaux de Matisse (Discus)

Saxophonist Ron Caines, who led the innovative band East of Eden in the late 60s, joins a septet including Martin Archer on reeds & electronics, Laura Cole on keys, Gus Garside on bass, Johnny Hunter on drums, Graham Clark on violin & guitar, and Herve Perez on live sound processing & shakuhachi as they merge improv with real time processing and studio collage. ... Click to View


Maja Bugge : No Exit (Discus)

Recorded in Britain's longest tunnel--the Standedge Canal Tunnel--during the Marsden Jazz Festival 2017, Norwegian cellist and composer Maja Bugge's solo album uses the natural resonance of the tunnel as an accompaniment to her expressive playing, recorded at a concert that blended composed work with improvisations that respond to the tunnel's unique resonant properties. ... Click to View


Laura Cole: Enough [2 CDS] (Discus)

Pianist Laura Cole's first solo album presents 2 CDs; the first a collection of arrangements of pieces given to Cole for the album from friends and colleagues, including Robert Mitchell, Alex Wilson, Nikki Iles, Jason Yarde and Corey Mwamba; the 2nd disc, "As Warm As The Sun" is a collection of compositions and improvisations by Cole herself. ... Click to View


Luis Ianes: Antiguas Construcciones Utiles (Crusoe) (Creative Sources)

With references to "Robinson Crusoe" and titles referencing islands, the sea and shipwrecks, Argentinian guitarist living in Brooklyn, NY, Luis Ianes (Parias Ensemble) records his album that roughly translates to "Useful Ancient Constructions", using effects to create percussive, accompanying, and aquatic sounds, sometimes idiosyncratic, always interesting. ... Click to View


Dietrich Petzold / Ernesto Rodrigues / Guilherme Rodrigues : Ljubljana (Creative Sources)

German violinist & composer Dietrich Petzold joins violist Ernesto Rodrigues and cellist Guilherme Rodrigues, Petzold also bringing along a viola, clavichord and bowed metal objects, as the three perform live at SKUC Gallery, in Ljubljana, Slovenia for the 6 improvisations that build from languid tonal environments to detailed, rapid improv, all with remarkable control and patience. ... Click to View


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Op-Ed (Opinions and Editorials)


  Cheek to Cheek Misdemeanors  

NYC's Cabaret Laws: Infracting Cheek to Cheek

When George Clinton wrote of a future where there was "no boomboxes and no live bands, they're all illegal," he was intoning his long-standing paranoia of a future without funk. But his anthem of contraband dancing, from 1996's The Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership, described a future that was very nearly the present in New York City.

Under a little enforced ordinance that dates back to 1926 - at the time aimed at Harlem jazz clubs - dancing is illegal in New York in clubs which haven't paid for a seperate license to allow ass-moving. The original law also required that clubs with dancing employ musicians of "good character," a clause that was removed in the 1960s, a few years after the act was amended to allow only cabaret licenses in commercial and manufacturing zones.

The demonization of dancing stems from an era of puritan legislation (sex, of course, leads to dancing) and, it has been suggested, from efforts to put a rein on so-called “race music.” In prewar Chicago, it was illegal to play saxophone after dark, and likewise New York’s ordinance against dancing put a damper on Harlem nightlife, and left jazz as the sit-politely music we listen to today.

Whatever the roots, New York City is now taking measures to allow good people to mambo, cha cha, salsa or tango, to break a sweat, breakdance, step in time or cut a rug. In November, New York Consumer Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra announced an effort to repeal the laws that since 1999 have been increasingly enforced by a squad of "dance police" that would make Dr. Funkenstein shudder.

"They have to expend resources and energy telling people not to dance," Dykstra said at a press conference at the Knitting Factory. "They don't have any community problems, they don't have violations. But people can't shake their booties when they come to the Knitting Factory. And that strikes us as a little odd."

As the Knitting Factory has looked to build its audience from the sit-politely crowd to younger rock fans, the boogie ban has become a concern to the club's new management.

“The new DCA proposal is an elegant solution to a longstanding and seemingly intractable problem,” Knitting Factory President Jared Hoffman said in a prepared statement. “The real issue is minimizing community impact. It does not make sense for the city to legislate what types of music are acceptable. Some dance clubs are operated poorly and have considerable community issues, but many are operated impeccably. Many rock and roll or hip hop venues have impact issues and many don’t. It’s not about the style of music, it’s about the operation.”

But some are questioning the new legislation being promoted by the City/Knit partnership. Members of the New York Nightlife Association, a group of club and restaurant owners represented by former New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Norman Siegel, have challenged the new ordinance's swapping of regulations on dance for restrictions on sound.

The Department of Consumer Affairs plans to "focus on noise and not dancing," Siegel told The Village Voice. But they haven't actually addressed the zoning laws already on the books. "I hope this isn't a three-card monte," he said. "We won't have Consumer Affairs being the dance police but maybe the buildings department will. And no one can give me a straight answer."

In a city as densely populated as New York, noise restrictions are a necessity. The recent explosion of clubs in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn is just another part of a long history of venues opening in abandoned and industrial parts of town where there are few neighbors to disturb. But regulating noise has become a cottage industry for the city, and has only been exacerbated by the no-smoking ordinance. With smokers forced to stand outside, noise complaints have increased, and the Knitting Factory is a prime example of a place forced to keep watch on its patrons even after they leave.

A stricter noise ordinance would also be easier to enforce than the dancing ban: While police can't necessarily see dancing from outside, they can hear the music. And more violations, of course, would mean more money for a city so in need of new revenue that it is considering selling ad space on its trash cans. If the end result is dancing being allowed in clubs that are forced to keep the volume at a minimum, the victory might seem a hollow one. Until then, we can only suggest that clubbers heed another of Clinton's anthems: Shit, goddamn, get off your asses and jam.



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Recent Selections @ Squidco:


Howard Riley:
Live In
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James Lewis Brandon
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Crudup III):
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The Momes:
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Dunmall /
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Jose Dias :
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Jorgen Mathisen's
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Hifiklub:
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Das Rad
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