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Thumbscrew (Michael Formanek / Tomas Fujiwara / Mary Halvorson): Ours (Cuneiform Records)

The New York free improvising jazz trio Thumbscrew with long-time collaborators guitarist Mary Halvorson, double bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara in the 1st of 2 albums on the reborn Cuneiform label, here presenting creative original compositions from each of the three musicians in 9 virtuosic, sometimes quirky, and always warmly adventurous tunes. ... Click to View


Thumbscrew (Michael Formanek / Tomas Fujiwara / Mary Halvorson): Theirs (Cuneiform Records)

The second of two albums from the reborn Cuneiform label by New York free improvising jazz trio Thumbscrew with long-time collaborators guitarist Mary Halvorson, double bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara, here presenting compositions from jazz greats Benny Golson, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Nichols, Stanley Cowell, Misha Mengelberg, &c. ... Click to View


Paul Dunmall / Philip Gibbs / Neil Metcalfe / Ashley John Long : Seascapes (FMR)

Long-time collaborators, saxophonist Paul Dunmall and guitar Philip Gibbs are joined by Neil Metcalfe on flute and Ashley-John Long on bass for a concert at the Victoria Rooms, in Bristol, England in 2017, six collective improvisation of spectacular technique and inventive playing, often at very fast tempos, but always resolving to an inner calm and beauty. ... Click to View


Frode Gjerstad / John Stevens / Johnny Mbizio Dyani: Detail 83 (FMR)

A significant release from the history of the Detail trio of Frode Gjerstad on reeds, John Stevens on drums, and Johnny Dyani on bass, recorded at the Red Seahouses in Norway in 1938 during Detail's first trio tour, a smoking set of free jazz showing the power of these innovative players around the time of their first album, "Backwards and Forwards". ... Click to View


Fake Humans (Fisher / Didur): Exegesis [ VINYL] (Shhpuma)

The Toronto-based duo of Colin Fisher on woodwinds and percussion and Carl Didur on keyboards and bass bridge acoustic and electronic improv with science fiction sensibilities in their four part "Exegesis", a critical exposition of un-genred music that borrows from global sources in service to their unusual and exotic tale; a wonderfully perplexing album. ... Click to View


Jaap Blonk : Irrelevant Comments (Kontrans)

As he delves further into electronics, Netherlands vocal improviser and experimental artists Jaap Blonk finds an ever-increasing array of approaches to modify his voice and set it into alien and astounding environments, here in 16 tracks of musique concrete, sound poetry, pulse based electronics, soundscapes, and inexplicable hybrids of the same. ... Click to View


Tomomi Adachi / Jaap Blonk: Asemic Dialogues (Kontrans)

Performing together since 2004 between Tokyo and Amsterdam, Dutch vocal improviser, innovator and electronicist Jaap Blonk meets Japanese vocal improviser and fellow electronics artists Tomomi Adachi at Lettretage in Berlin in 2017, recording this, the 5th in Kontrans Electronic Improvisation, for two extended and energetic dialogs of unique creative interplay. ... Click to View


Jason Kahn : Voice and Sky [BOOK + CD] (Editions)

Sound experimenter and electroacoustic organizer Jason Kahn revisits previous works and expands on them with the book and CD release, with an essay on his approach towards public space interventions and text / sound installations, a track listing, photographs from the locations of his field recordings, and texts and prose poems to accompany the listener. ... Click to View


Jason Kahn : Space Text Sound [BOOK] (Editions)

A 244 page book documenting text material used in three of sound experimenter Jason Kahn's recent installations: "An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Hong Kong (After Perec)" (2016), "Drifting" (2016) and "Other Ghosts" (2015), emphasizing how words can convey the sense of place sounds can and how these words impart a feeling for inner spaces. ... Click to View


Sean Conly : Hard Knocks (Clean Feed)

The history of bassist Sean Conly's collaborations and releases shows a strong love of the jazz tradition and a perceptive writing style that references that tradition, heard here in free and lyrical original Conly compositions performed in the studio in a trio setting with fellow New York musicians Satoshi Takeishi on drums and Michael Attias on alto saxophone. ... Click to View


Caterina Palazzi Sudoku Killer: Asperger (Clean Feed)

A wicked hybrid of jazz, avant rock and cinematic elements, bassist Caterina Palazzi's quintet Sudoku Killer takes on the music of Disney in a suite where each track is dedicated to an antagonist from movies like "Snow White" or "Sleeping Beauty", performed with Giacomo Ancillotto (guitar), Maurizio Chiavaro (drums), Sergio Pomante (sax) and Antonio Raia (sax). ... Click to View


Alberto: Pinton Noi Siamo: Opus Facere (Clean Feed)

Multi-reedist and wind player Alberto Pinton's quartet Noi Siamo ("We Are") with Niklas Barno on trumpet, Torbjorn Zetterberg on bass and Konrad Agnas on drums, are caught at the Swedish Glenn Miller Cafe in Stockholm for this exciting album of knowledgable and passionate free jazz, a dynamic concert referencing Eric Dolphy, Freddy Hubbard, and Ornette Coleman. ... Click to View


Jemeel Moondoc Quartet: The Astral Revelations (RogueArt)

Saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc takes his masterful NY quartet of pianist Matthew Shipp, bassist Hilliard Green, and drummer Newman Taylor Baker to perform live at Bimhuis in Amsterdam in 2016, capturing four remarkable improvisations of Moondoc compositions including an extended rendering of "Cosmic Nickelodeon", the band balancing lyricism with intensely creative playing. ... Click to View


North Of North (Pateras / Tinkler / Veltheim): North Of North (Offcompass)

The first release on pianist Anthony Pateras' new label OffCompass intended to explore a more diverse set of projects is from the North Of North trio of Anthony Pateras on piano, Scott Tinkler no trumpet, Erkki Veltheim on electric violin, using improvisation, Carnatic music, 20th and 21st century compositional strategies, mathematical theories and open forms of jazz. ... Click to View


Will Guthrie : 6 Days into 8 [CASSETTE] (Careful Catalog)

The sixth set performed during an 8-day tour of Japan in 2018 by Australian drummer / percussionist Will Guthrie (Ames Room, The Sommes Ensemble) took place at 0g in Osaka, captured here as a 32 minute set of vigorous playing tempered with introspective passages, using powerful technique and unorthodox approaches to his kit; cathartic and captivating. ... Click to View


Karl Berger: In A Moment - Music For Piano And Strings (Tzadik)

Pianist and vibraphonist Karl Berger is also a professor of composition, having won numerous awards and commissions for his work, here presenting the final part of a trilogy written Tzadik, a beautiful 14-part suite for piano and string realized with Berger himself at the keys in a septet of well known NY performers including Ken Filiano, Tomas Ulrich, Jason Kao Hwang. ... Click to View


Dave Holland Feat. Evan Parker / Craig Taborn / Ches Smith: Uncharted Territories [2 CDs] (Dare2 Records)

Reuniting late bassist Dave Holland with saxophonist Evan Parker, a longtime friend from their early days in London, and joined by Craig Taborn on piano and electronics, and Ches Smith on percussion, as the group performs as a quartet and also in a variety of permutations of duo and trio configurations, for a set of rich and informed dialogs of masterful skill. ... Click to View


Eugene Chadbourne : Fuck Chuck (Chadula)

An unsual album even by Chadbourne's standards, this reissue and remaster of material recorded in the 80s and 90s from his cassette series brings recordings from his noise group Chuck with Murray Reams and David Nikias together with recordings with Ut Gret (Joee Conroy and David Stilley) to create a hybrid of live experimental improv and found sounds. ... Click to View


Eugene Chadbourne : Lets Get Weird But Comfortable (Chadula)

Named for an audience comment that their music was "weird but comfortable", guitarist Eugene Chadbourne's band with Jeb Bishop on trombone, Jorrit Dijkstra on saxophone, Nate McBride on bass, and Curt Newton on bass are caught live in Boston covering the music of Thelonius Monk, Misha Mengelberg, Steve Lacy, Duke Ellington, Doc Chad, Willie Nelson and The James Gang. ... Click to View


Omelette: Live At The JazzLab (FMR)

Australia's performing trio Omelette of Jordan Murray on trombone, Ronny Fereller on drums, and Luke Howard on piano follow up their 2014 album on Jazzhead with this live album, the trio joined by Chilean percussionist working in Melbourne Javier Fredes, for a lyrical and rhythmically rich live performance at Melbourne's JazzLab in 2017. ... Click to View


Implicate Order, The : At Seixal (Clean Feed)

The very first album from Portugal's impressive Clean Feed Records is this live album at Auditorio do Forum Cultural do Seixal from the trio of Steve Swell on trombone, Ken Filiano on bass and Lou Grassi on drums, joined by Paulo Curado on alto sax and Rodrigo Amado on baritone sax, a significant concert merging free players from two nations with profound influence on jazz music. ... Click to View


Magnus Granberg : Es Schwindelt Mir, Es Brennt Mein Eingweide (Another Timbre)

An hour-long work for an ensemble of six musicians by Swedish composer Magnus Granberg performed by Anna Lindal on baroque violin, d incise on vibraphonen electronics, Cyril Bondi on percussion, Anna Kaisa Meklin on viola da gamba, Christoph Schiller on spinet, and Magnus Granberg himself on prepared piano, transforming material from a song by Franz Schubert. ... Click to View


John Cage: Two2 (Another Timbre)

One of a handful of John Cage's number pieces, this work for two pianists follows the forms of Renga poetry, composed with 36 lines of music, each containing 5 measures, and each line having 31 events occuring in the sequence 5-7-5-7-7, with the pianists allowed their own tempo but waiting to synchronize each measure, as performed by Mark Knoop and Philip Thomas. ... Click to View


Bondi / Martel / Schiller: tse (Another Timbre)

With backgrounds in both improvisation and compositional music, the new trio of Cyril Bondi on harmonium, Pierre-Yves Martel on viola da gamba, and Christoph Schiller on spinet, agreed on a sequence of pitches for this 5 part improvisational work, allowing space for the players to explore pitch and melody within a contemplative and pensive framework. ... Click to View


Angles 3: Parede (Clean Feed)

Martin Kuchen's Angles band changes shape constantly, originally a trio and expanding as large as Angles 10, but this album, recorded live at SMUP, Parede, Portugal in 2016, returns the band to the original trio of Kuchen on sax, Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten on double bass, and Kjell Nordeson on drums & percussion, reworking Angles compositions to their essence. ... Click to View


Honest John w/ Ab Baars: Treem (Clean Feed)

The Norwegian quintet Honest John of Ole Henrik Moe on violin, Kim Johannesen on guitar & banjo, Ola Hoyer on double bass, Erik Nylander on drums & drum machine, on Klaus Ellerhusen sax and clarinet, are joined by multi-reedist and shakuhachi player Ab Baars at Nasjonal Jazzscene Victoria to capture this quirky, controlled, and incredibly knowledgeable concert. ... Click to View


Chris Pitsiokos / CP Unit: Silver Bullet In The Autumn Of Your Years (Clean Feed)

Pushing the envelope in genre-smashing collective improvisation, Brooklyn-based sax and synth player Chris Pitsiokos and his CP Unit with 2 electric bassists--Tim Dahl and Henry Fraser--2 drummers--Jason Nazary and Connor Baker--and guitarist Sam Lisabeth, take a twisted path through improv, rock, and electronics that always shows a fierce allegiance to free jazz. ... Click to View


Scott Clark: Tonow (Clean Feed)

Drummer Scott Clark continues to explore his Native American roots in this album dedicated to the protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota, each heartfelt piece titled for aspects of those demonstrations, performed with bassist Cameron Ralston, trumpeter Bob Miller, saxophonist Jason Scott, guitarist Alan Parker, and extended with Chicago guitarist Tobin Summerfield. ... Click to View


Lynn Cassiers: Imaginary Band (Clean Feed)

Composer, vocalist and electronics artist Lynn Cassiers' new septet with Sylvain Debaisieux (soprano and tenor saxophone), Ananta Roossens (violin), Niels Van Heertum (euphonium), Erik Vermeulen (piano), Manolo Cabras (double bass) and Marek Patrman (drums) in their adventurous debut album blending improv, pop aesthetics, electronics, dreamlike voice, and solid playing. ... Click to View


AMM: An Unintended Legacy [3 CDs] (Matchless)

A beautiful 3-CD set with a hardcover book presenting 3 full concerts from 2015 & 2016 of the AMM trio configuration of John Tilbury (piano), Keith Rowe (guitar) and Eddie Prevost (percussion). The 70 page book, dedicated to saxophonist Lou Gare, includes an AMM discography, plus photos, and essays by Paige Mitchell and Allen Fisher; Keith Rowe; Eddie Prevost; and Seymour Wright. ... Click to View


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The Squid's Ear
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Travelogue


  Okkyung Lee Tour Diary  


[Photo: Peter Gannushkin]
before you go on reading this long travelogue, i have to warn you that you are not going to find out so much about music or other stuff as you might expect... this is about one person's journey who happens to be a working musician and encountered lots of unexpected dramas... also you see, this trip was going to be really special one for me since a part of the trip was going to be my very first gig in europe... but it turned out to be even more than that and a really unforgettable one...

for your better understanding of the whole situation, let me explain a couple of things beforehand... sometime in may this year, it was finalized that i would go to venice, italy in september with lawrence d. "butch" morris as a member of his sheng/skyscraper group to perform at venice biennale... so i had to have my visa revalidated outside the country so i could come back to the states after the performance... yes, i do not have a green card or citizenship... i have something called o-1 visa status, known also as an artist visa... which i didn't get to take care of until mid august, see... meanwhile pianist/composer/friend vijay iyer invited me to go to portland, OR to perform his "in what language" project written with poet mike ladd at time based arts festival in september, right before butch's gig... so being how i am with lots of things, i really thought i could take care of all of this within 11 days... so, i was to leave new york to portland on the 13th of september, then come back to new york on the 17th... then the same day, go to toronto to take care of my visa and come back on the 18th... then finally off to venice on the 19th, do the gig on the 20th and come back on the 21st...

i knew it was a pretty insane schedule but it had to be that way because i put off taking care of things until the very last minute...

so here is how it all really went...

september 12, friday - day minus 1, new york

7:30 am - alright, alright... i'm up... have to be in upper east side by 9... alright...

8:15 am - well, i think i am going to reward myself with a doughnut plant doughnut for getting up so early... some sugar will help me get going...

8:20 am - jesus, how many doughnuts is this guy buying? 24? fine... let's not lose it yet... but then what about this japanese mother & daughter team...? they sure are taking their time... let me take a deep breath... i think I'm going to have both cashew and fresh white peach... yeah, what the hell...

8:32 am - i think i'll be pretty much on time... these doughnuts are good... cannot finish them now though...

9:03 am - where is this italian consulate...? is this the door? looks like it's for, uh-hum, short people...

9:10 am - oops, i forgot to take my box cutter out of my bag this morning... security guard is giving me a funny look... i smile back...

10:32 am - i'm sick of waiting... i have a rehearsal in midtown from 11...

10:43 am - alright... let's not panic... why didn't i think about bringing that goddam INS letter? the one that's been making my life hell... well, nobody told me in advance... why would the italian consulate need to see my INS documentation anyway... this italian lady behind this glass thingy looks tough... she's not going to give me a break, is she... the place closes at 11:30! she tells me to come back by noon... i have about an hour to drop off my cello at the rehearsal place, go home, and come back! great! right... i shove in what was left of the doughnuts...

11:03 am - at carroll studio, told vijay it's an emergency situation... thank god, he is understanding...

11:55 am - i'm at grand central... is it really 11:55 already? ok... next stop, get off and transfer to 6... ah, god...

11:58 am - where the hell is the 6? should i run? should i wait? should i run? ah...

12:06 pm - out of the 68th street station... i'm running, running... fuck...i hope they will let me in... out of breath... today is the only day i can get this done... otherwise... ah, bye bye venice... it has to work! press the buzzer and this voice says it's closed! i yell out "patricia told me to come back!"

12:27 pm - alright... now i have to get somebody to pick up my passport on tuesday because i need it by wednesday when i come back from portland... and of course the consulate has to be closed on wednesdays... ah, erica!

3:30 pm - back home... ah... at least i could do half an hour of the rehearsal for vijay... thank god, he's not pissed... ok... time to go and pick up a flight case from david gage string shop in chinatown...

4:02 pm - noah? what's he doing here...? a friend from NEC... [FOOTNOTE 1: The New England Conservatory of Music in Boston] the first time in 3 years... he says he's doing an internship here... after all he is a bass player...

4:13 pm - i was just told that i need a soft case to use their flight case... i don't have a soft case... i haven't had one for last 15 years... what the hell... they don't have any left at the shop... midtown...? ah... sick of running around the day before i'm leaving...

4:28 pm - what an asshole! this cabbie wouldn't let me put the case in the back of the cab! fine... i gave him a finger... i'll take the subway... this thing weighs about... 40 lbs... and it's big... almost as tall as i am... down the stairs... arg...

4:40 pm - i'm out of breath... this thing is so awkward... how am i going to get home...? i live in a 5th floor walk up...

4:42 pm - maybe jason (viseltear) from the violin shop (viseltear & young) around the corner has a soft case i can borrow! he's an angel... always saves my ass...

4:44 pm - alright... jason is not in but this guy on the phone will trade me a soft case for a cup of tea...! ha!

5:17 pm - ah... i'm dead... cannot believe i schlepped this shit up 5 floors... now i gotta go to mode (records, my part time job) for a second... cannot believe this guy who lend me this soft case didn't even ask my name...

5:58 pm - at mode... have to buy plane tickets to go to toronto next wednesday... the last time i checked, orbitz.com has the best price... should i spend extra $60. to go direct? nah... i choose the one that flies to washington dc first... sounds dumb but hey, i save $60...

7:15 pm - back home... hungry... what should i eat?

9:46 pm - at tonic, talked to erik (friedlander) a little bit... i asked him for advice for flying with my cello for the first time... his advise was get to the airport early and be nice! it's a bit tough for me to be "nice"... but i will do it if i really have to... hope they are not such jerks at the airport...

10:28 pm - zorn's bar kokhba is happening... even though i am quite distracted... see zeena (parkins) in spunky outfit... she looks better and better each time... want to be cool like zeena...

11:32 pm - walking toward to tim (barnes) & erica (bricking)'s house... i have to give erica this letter of permission so she can pick up my passport for me this tuesday...

11:35 pm - forgot to send this deposit slip to motria (sabat) in toronto... i think i must use the one i received from the consulate... i'll fed ex it to her tomorrow morning... yikes...

12:45 am - it's always good to see them... i'm lucky to have them as friends... where is this F train?

1:15 am - i ended up not seeing any of elliott (sharp)'s show... oh, well...

2:10 am - looking for some travel size stuff... a 24-hour rite aid on grand... they don't have the shampoo i want... this one looks alright...

3:30 am - i think i'm pretty much packed... i'm bringing only 2 small bags since i have to carry that giant shit... maybe i can sleep for a few hours... set the alarm for 7:30 again...

september 13th, saturday, day 1, new york to portland, OR

i woke up at 7:40 and went to kinko's on houston... thankfully it was open at 8 and did have a fed ex drop off box... i filled out a fed ex envelop and when just about to drop it off, i saw this sign saying that there's a fed ex location open on saturdays at newark airport... so i thought, great! i can do it at the airport and even make it sure it'll get there by wednesday...

taking a car service from delancey was a good idea... the driver was a lot cooler than that stupid cabbie from the day before... i got there plenty of time ahead as erik suggested... and this lady at check in didn't even charge me anything! wow, i got lucky... it was kinda weird seeing someone else carrying my cello off to somewhere though... i got scared for a second... see, since i was a kid, i have carried my cello...

then i had about an hour to kill so tried to find this fed ex location... nobody seemed to know... i called the fed ex main office and they told me it was in building 155... so...

i asked for the building 155 to this woman in a uniform who told me to go outside and take P5 bus... outside, huh...? then on P5 bus, the driver told me that it's on the other side of his route... ah... he let me get off and told me that about 15-minute walk should get me to the building 155... it was looking pretty gray out... like it was going to rain any minute... but i really had to get this sent... i felt like such an idiot for not dropping it off earlier but what else could i do... so i started to walk... wearing these mesh slippers and carrying two bags... not too heavy but still... after 5 minutes, i realized it was not going to be a 15-minute walk... i do walk slowly and the map i found didn't look that promising... but once i started to walk, it was hard to turn back... i am known to be stubborn... i tried to catch a bus or something but nobody seemed to want to stop for me... then it started to rain a bit... then it started to rain some more... then it really started pouring down and i was getting... soaked... i felt like a real idiot... my feet were all wet... bottom of my pants were getting wet... my fed ex envelop was wet... my bags were wet... i was miserable... finally after almost 30 minutes of walking in rain, i made it to fed ex... dropped it off... the lady at the counter said it would get to toronto by monday... then this nice fed ex truck driver gave me a ride back to the terminal... it took about 5 minutes by truck... ah... i do really walk slowly...

flights went pretty smooth... changed flight at denver... as soon as i got my cello case back from oversized baggage claim area at portland, i opened it up and she was fine! i was so relieved... it was really beautiful out when we finally got outside of portland airport...

i was with 3 other musicians... trevor (shaun holder), drummer, rudresh (mahanthappa), saxophonist and ambrose (akinmusire), trumpeter... we had enough stuff with us... with my flight case and trevor's drum stuff... we were supposed to be picked up by someone from the festival... so... there was this guy showed up with... a jetta... even my regular cello case doesn't fit in the trunk of a jetta! it's a really very nice car but doesn't do me any good! so... there i was... waiting for a van for another 45 minutes... sick of waiting... thank god, trevor waited with me...

finally got to our hotel called mark spencer... a small charming place... and i got to share a room with latasha... i like latasha... we got to relax a bit then went to see donna uchizono, a choreographer from new york... i saw her work some time last year in new york and liked it a lot... i got to the theater a bit late but caught most of it...



continued...




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