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Ajemian, Jason

Protest Heaven [VINYL]

Ajemian, Jason: Protest Heaven [VINYL] (482 Music)

Jason Ajemian's Daydream Full Lifestyles band in an LP-only release capturing a live performance at the Chicago art gallery Heaven with Rob Mazurek, Jeff Parker, Chad Taylor and Tony Malaby.

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product information:

UPC: 650594106710

Label: 482 Music
Catalog ID: 1067
Squidco Product Code: 13241

Format: LP
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: USA
Packaging: LP
Recorded December 15th, 2006 at Heaven Gallery by Noritaka Tanaka.


Tony Malaby-tenor sax

Rob Mazurek-cornet

Jeff Parker-guitar

Chad Taylor-drums

Jason Ajemian-bass

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track listing:

Side A:

1. Still Building Your Life on Fear 4:58

2. Your Concrete 6:25

3. Get Mine 5:28

4. Stock Pile 5:53

Side B:

5. Light Up 3:50

6. No Dark 2:41

7. Let Live 2:52

8. Animal, Big Tree & River Steam 13:31
Related Categories of Interest:

Vinyl Recordings

Improvised Music
Chicago Jazz & Improvisation
Quintet Recordings

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"One afternoon, a teenaged Jason Ajemian was laying carpet at a country music recording studio in the Blue Ridge Mountains. "I saw an upright bass on top of a vocal booth, so I asked the engineer if I could string it up and borrow it." And so he did. There weren't a lot of jazz musicians around his native Virginia, Ajemian explains, so he got into what was at hand. "I did my first playing with my father's old friends: they did folk songs, hillbilly stuff, mountain music. He grew up in an Irish family. His three brothers were all musicians. Whenever I was around them, there was a lot of music happening."

Like Charlie Haden a half-century before him, Ajemian absorbed one batch of American forms - country and bluegrass - on the way to embracing another - jazz and improvised music. The formidable and much-loved New York tenor saxophone player Tony Malaby was the catalyst for the young bassist's transition, mentoring and befriending Ajemian during his first days as a student at Arizona State University. That formative relationship comes full circle on Protest Heaven. This vinyl-only release captures music made on a single evening at the Chicago art gallery Heaven. The performance was the climax of an ongoing series of shows featuring a group assembled from some of the best-known musicians on the city's post-1990s scene: Chicago Underground Duo, Trio, etc., stalwarts Rob Mazurek (trumpet), Chad Taylor (drums) and Jeff Parker (guitar). And the out-of-towner, Mr. Malaby - one of New York City's most valuable players for the last 15 years.

The band is called Daydream Full Lifestyles. The outfit grew out of intense musical relationships that had been evolving for years. Ajemian's history with Taylor and Mazurek began before he arrived in the Midwest in 2000. "I was a huge fan," he says. "I'm really good friends with all of them." Soon enough, he was playing with the pair in the trio, and in Mazurek's Mandarin Movie & Exploding Star Orchestra, and also gigging weekly with Parker.

Ajemian continues: "In 2005 Tony talked to me about putting some music together. Tony was really into the UG guys, as well, and those guys into Tony," The bassist didn't expect his bandmates to insist it be his music. "Oh great," he recalls thinking, laughing. "I'm a little younger and these guys are pretty well-established. And I'm trying to figure out how to get enough work (on my own name) to keep it afloat."

If Ajemian had any insecurities about the validity of the concept, or the power of the improvised sounds that the musicians make, they don't show on these eight tracks, selected and edited from a live recording that ran over an hour. The music's open flow, spontaneous dynamic and intimate spirals of thought and passion are the very core of what improvisation is all about. And when the players are of this caliber, inspired moments abound as a product of collective process and individual spark.

There's a method here. The songs, with impressionistic titles like "Animal, Big Tree & River Steam," and "No Dark," come together as what Ajemian calls "breath process music." He explains: "Instead of music composed to a time signature or external clock, this is timed to each performer's internal clock. Everyone plays along to their own breath patterns. It's a chance operation. You compose music so it can fit into any overlapping of people's breath patterns."

Ajemian has been doing this a lot. "Getting with these guys was my first attempt to take it to jazz spectrum. There's this quality that at any moment someone can think about his breath more than they think about where he is in the music, and move the music that way. At any moment, we can teleport where someone focuses on his breath and go inside instead of outside."

"I'm not putting out a jazz record that sounds like the next jazz record," Ajemian says. "Some things I do are heavily improvised, some are conceptual big band music. My thing is more about concepts. How is this thing gonna sound? It sounds like this but you arrange it a little more like that. The beautiful thing about it is we're all improvisers, so we know how to get into things. It causes this constant catalyst of motion." "-482 Music

"In January of 2002 I started a music series at Heaven Gallery in Chicago. At the time I was trying to wrap my head around my country's reaction to war, combating religious fanaticism with religious fanaticism and patriotism. I find religion, faith and the belief in something bigger than this life quite valuable, but I was searching to understand at what point we let our beliefs become destructive. Our religious affiliations are often geographical, environmental, coming from what we wish to be true, affirming what we want to believe. Like sports fans who hate the team from across the way, or people who can only relate to certain geographic styles or genres of music. So I called the series Protest Heaven and found it fitting in some fashion. A call to self-reflect and to recognize that the only idea we can truly have of heaven is what we believe, and/or wish it to be. For we cannot step outside this life or universe to have any objective knowledge of a life beyond. I consider this trust in our beliefs or this closing of our minds to our beliefs to be the point at which they become destructive to this life and our existence. So when it came time to edit a one hour and ten minute continuous improvised set of music into a forty-four minute album, I wanted to conceptually draw some parallels to these ideas that spawned the series. Instead of trying to edit the set into a compositional continuum with arc and story, I wanted to represent a mind's attention span or focus. How it can turn on a dime and teleport from the present moment to the future, past, worry, ideas, dreams, fantasy etc. if we were listening to the live set on a record and picking the needle up and placing it down at different points. Or more conceptually, as music and heaven exist and are playing all the time, all we have to do is put the needle down or tap into it. As listeners, our minds work like that as well - the continuum of all things gets broken up by our minds' abrupt wandering to different aspects of life. I wanted to think about it as a listener's possible experience of attention span coming in and out. I made hard edits into focused blocks of sound and took out the roads on which we arrived or traveled further. I guess in some ways I was attempting to metaphorically express my own ideas. Heaven and music exist, and we have a choice to experience that joy with every breath if we do not try to control it with our beliefs but rather allow it through some sort of faith. To me it doesn't seem a matter of getting there, as much as simply being there."-Ajemian, November 2009

Artist Biographies:

"Tony Malaby (born January 12, 1964 in Tucson, Arizona) is a jazz tenor saxophonist. Malaby moved to New York City in 1995 and has played with several notable jazz groups, including Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra, Paul Motian's Electric Bebop Band, Mark Helias's Open Loose, Fred Hersch's Trio + 2 and Walt Whitman project, and bands led by Mario Pavone, Chris Lightcap, Bobby Previte, Tom Varner, Marty Ehrlich, Angelica Sanchez, Mark Dresser, and Kenny Wheeler. Other collaborators have included Tom Rainey, Christian Lillinger, Ben Monder, Eivind Opsvik, Nasheet Waits, and Michael Formanek. His first album as a co-leader was Cosas with Joey Sellers."

-Wikipedia (

"Rob Mazurek is an American electro-acoustic composer, cornetist, improviser and visual artist living in Chicago, Illinois. As a composer, Rob Mazurek has written over 300 original compositions over the past 30 years, and has released 55 recordings on various labels. He currently leads a number of ensembles, including Exploding Star Orchestra, Pharoah and the Underground (featuring Pharoah Sanders), Chicago Underground, Pulsar Quartet, São Paulo Underground, Skull Sessions, Sound Is Quintet, Starlicker, Mandarin Movie and Throne of the House of Good and Evil, each of which possesses its own distinct musical personality.

He has collaborated with a wide variety of artists, such as Bill Dixon, Pharoah Sanders, Mike Ladd, Roscoe Mitchell, Yusef Lateef, Fred Anderson, Naná Vasconcelos, Mamelo Sound System, Kassin and Marcelo Camelo and others. Additionally, Rob Mazurek works as a visual artist (incorporating sound, painting and video) with numerous international performances, exhibitions and artist residencies."

-Rob Mazurek Website (

"Jeff Parker (born April 4, 1967) is an American jazz and rock guitarist based in Los Angeles. Parker is best known as an experimental musician, working with avant-garde electronic, rock, and improvisational groups.

Parker currently plays guitar in the post-rock group Tortoise and also was a founding member of the ensembles Isotope 217 and the Chicago Underground Trio in the 1990s and early 2000s. He is also a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, as well as working with musicians George Lewis, Ernest Dawkins, Brian Blade, Joshua Redman, Fred Anderson (musician) and Jason Moran. He has released three solo albums: Like-Coping, The Relatives and Bright Light in Winter."

-Wikipedia (

Other Releases With These Artists:
Illtet (Ladd / Parker / Sorey )
Mazurek, Rob Exploding Star Orchestra Featuring Roscoe Mitchell
Matter Anti-Matter, Sixty-Three Moons Of Jupiter & Electronic Works [2 CDs]
Mazurek, Rob
Space Between [CD + DVD]
Digital Primitives
Lipsomuch & Soul Searchin' [2 CDs]
(Hopscotch Records)
Ajemian & the HighLife, Jason
Riding the Light into the Bird's Eye
(Sundmagi Records)
Joy Mega
Forever is Something Inside You
(New Atlantis)
Mazurek, Rob Pulsar Quartet
Stellar Pulsations
Haker-Flaten, Ingebrigt Chicago Sextet
Live From Jazzfest Saalfeleden 2011 [VINYL]
Reed, Mike People, Places & Things,
Clean on the Corner
(482 Music)
Sao Paulo Underground (Featuring Rob Mazurek)
Tres Cabecas Loucuras
Guthrie, Will
People Pleaser [VINYL]
(Black Truffle)
Daisy, Tim Trio
A Fine Day In Berlin
(Relay Records)
Rempis / Abrams / Ra
Boss Of The Plains
Ballister (Lonberg-Holm / Nilssen-Love / Rempis)
Mi Casa Es En Fuego
(Ballister Music)
Dorner, Axel & Jassem Hindi
waterkil [WHITE VINYL]
Rosaly, Frank
Centering and Displacement [VINYL & CD]
(Utech Records)
Frith, Fred
Clearing Customs
Black / Dunn / Noriega / Speed
Endangered Blood
Phillips / Jauniaux / Goldstein
Birds Abide
Koller, Hans with Bill Frisell
Cry, Want
Kretzmer, Yoni Trio
(Hopscotch Records)
Tippett, Keith & Julie
Couple in Spirit: Live at the Purcell Room
Morris, Joe
Tyler, Charles
Eastern Man Alone
Exploding Star Orchestra
Stars Have Shapes
Adasiewicz, Jason
Sun Rooms
Eisenstadt, Harris
Woodblock Prints [VINYL]
Mahanthappa, Rudresh and Bunky Green
(Pi Recordings)
Kihlstedt / Bossi / Ismaily
Causing A Tiger
Rempis / Rosaly
(482 Music)
Taylor, Chad
Circle Down
(482 Music)
D'Angelo, Andrew
Skadra Degis
Jensson, Hilmar's TYFT
Smell the Difference
H-Alpha (Krauss / Mori / Black)
Red Sphere
Perowsky, Ben
Esopus Opus
Eskelin, Ellery / Parkins, Andrea / Black, Jim
One Great Night...Live
Clusone 3
Soft Lights And Sweet Music
Morris, Joe Bass Quartet
High Definition
Adasiewicz, Jason
(482 Music)
Leandre / Crispell / Campbell, Jr. / Maneri - The Stone Quartet
DMG @ The Stone, December 22, 2006 Volume 1
Rempis Percussion Quartet, The
(482 Music)
Swell's Fire Into Music, Steve
Swimming In A Galaxy Of Goodwill And Sorrow
Pramrod Sexena (Jamie Saft / Mr. Dorgon)
Gods Special People [VINYL]
(Jumbo / Frank Booth Industries)
Recommended & Related Releases:
Mazurek, Rob (w/ Takara / Granado / Rohrer / Somervell)
Chants and Corners
(Clean Feed)
Malaby, Tony / Mat Maneri / Daniel Levin
New Artifacts
(Clean Feed)
Thollem / Mazurek
Blind Curves and Box Canyons
(Relative Pitch)
Parker, Jeff
Slight Freedom
Mandarin Movie
Mandarin Movie
Mayhall, Matt
Sao Paulo Underground / Rob Mazurek
Cantos Invisiveis
Eisenstadt, Harris
Old Growth Forest
(Clean Feed)
Rova Channeling Coltrane
Electric Ascension - Live At The 2012 Guelph Festival + "Cleaning The Mirror - A Documentary by John Rogers" [Blu Ray + DVD + CD]
Bathysphere (with Bishop / Malaby / Ho Bynum / &c)
(Driff Records)
Lightcap, Chris Bigmouth
(Clean Feed)
Malaby, Tony / Juan Pablo Carletti / Christopher Hoffman
Nino/Brujo [VINYL]
Malaby's, Tony TubaCello
Scorpion Eater
(Clean Feed)
Mitchell's, Nicole Black Earth
Intergalactic Beings [VINYL 2 LPs]
(For Practically)
Chicago / Sao Paulo Underground feat Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah and the Underground - Primative Jupiter [VINYL]
(Clean Feed)
Fujii, Satoko New York Orchestra
Ajemian, Jason / Tony Malaby / Rob Mazurek / Chad Taylor
A Way a Land of Life [VINYL]
Chicago Underground Duo
(Northern Spy)
Gregorio, Guillermo
(Hat [now] ART)
Sao Paulo Underground
Beija Flors Velho E Sujo
Smith, Ches and These Arches (Smith / Berne / Malaby / Halvorson / Parkins)
(Clean Feed)
Fraser, Nick
Towns and Villages
Mazurek, Rob
Silver Spines
Sanchez, Angelica Quintet
Wires and Moss
(Clean Feed)
Mitchell, Nicole
Eisenstadt, Harris
The Soul and Gone
(482 Music)

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