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Curlew + Live at CBGB 1980

Curlew: Curlew + Live at CBGB 1980 (DMG ARC)

Incredible double CD (re)issue of the first Curlew record (George Cartwright, Tom Cora, Bill Laswell, Nicky Skopelitis, Bill Bacon) with bonus cuts, and a live CD from CBGB in 1980 with Denardo Coleman on drums.

Price: $19.95


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product information:

UPC: 808713070422

Label: DMG ARC
Catalog ID: DMG/ARC 704
Squidco Product Code: 10000

Format: 2 CDs
Condition: New
Released: 2008
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack Double CD
Disc 1 recorded at Creative Music Foundation Studio, February 29-March 2, 1980 by Martin Bisi and Michael Lytle. Disc 2 recorded by Martis Bisi. Disc 1 originally released in 1984 on LP on the Landslide label.


George Cartwright-alto, tenor and soprano saxophones

Tom Cora-cello, indingiti

Nicky Skopelitis-guitar

Bill Laswell-Fender bass

Bill Bacon-drums, percussion, gamelan (studio album)

Denardo Coleman-drum kit (live album)

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Artist Biographies:

"Thomas Henry Corra (September 14, 1953 - April 9, 1998), better known as Tom Cora, was an American cellist and composer, best known for his improvisational performances in the field of experimental jazz and rock. He recorded with John Zorn, Butch Morris, and The Ex, and was a member of Curlew, Third Person and Skeleton Crew.

Tom Cora was born in Yancey Mills, Virginia, United States. He made his musical debut as drummer on a local television program and in the mid-1970s he played guitar for a Washington, D.C. jazz club house band. He took up the cello while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia and studied with cellist Pablo Casals' student Luis Garcia-Renart and later with vibraphonist Karl Berger. During this time he formed his own group, The Moose Skowron Tuned Metal Ensemble and began constructing instruments for it.

In 1979 Cora moved to New York City where he worked with Shockabilly guitarist Eugene Chadbourne, introducing the cello to the honky tonk circuits of North America. He performed at improvising clubs and venues in New York with John Zorn, Fred Frith, Andrea Centazzo, Butch Morris, Wayne Horvitz, David Moss, Toshinori Kondo and others. Cora also collaborated with George Cartwright and Bill Laswell which led to the formation of the art rock band Curlew in 1979 . Cora remained with Curlew for over ten years and appeared on five of their albums.

In 1982 Tom Cora and Fred Frith formed Skeleton Crew, an improvising rock and jazz band best known for their live performances where they played various instruments simultaneously. Cora and Frith were each one-man bands on stage and for their act, Cora constructed musical contraptions he could play with his feet. The band existed for five years during which time they toured Europe, North America and Japan extensively. They made two studio albums, Learn to Talk (1984) and The Country of Blinds (1986), the latter with Zeena Parkins who had joined the band in 1984. In October 1983 Skeleton Crew joined Duck and Cover, a commission from the Berlin Jazz Festival, for a performance in West Berlin, followed by another in February 1984 in East Berlin.

Cora was also a member of the improvising trio Third Person, formed in 1990 as a live collaboration with percussionist Samm Bennett and a "third person" who changed from concert to concert. Two CDs of some of their performances were released, The Bends in 1991 (with "third persons" Don Byron, George Cartwright, Chris Cochrane, Nic Collins, Catherine Jauniaux, Myra Melford, Zeena Parkins, and Marc Ribot) and Luck Water in 1995 (with "third person" Kazutoki Umezu).

Cora performed with a number of other bands, including Nimal with Momo Rossel and post-rock quartet Roof. In 1990, he played two concerts with Dutch anarcho-punk band, The Ex, and the success of this collaboration resulted in Cora performing hundreds of concerts with The Ex and appearing on two of their CDs. In 1995 in The Netherlands, Cora and Frith collaborated, as Skeleton Crew, on Etymology, a CD-ROM sound sample library of sonic sounds and wire manipulations.

Tom Cora died of malignant melanoma at the age of 44 in a hospital in the south of France, where he lived with his wife, singer Catherine Jauniaux, and their son, Elia Corra."

-Wikipedia (

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"Over the course of some three decades, visionary bassist-producer Bill Laswell has been one of the most prolific and restlessly creative forces in contemporary music. A sound conceptualist who has always been a step ahead of the curve, he has put his inimitable stamp on nearly 3,000 recording projects by such artists as Mick Jagger, Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno, Bootsy Collins, Nine Inch Nails, Motorhead, Peter Gabriel, Blur, The Ramones, George Clinton, Pharaoh Sanders, The Dalai Lama, Matisyahu, Angelique Kidjo, DJ Krush, RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ, Sting, The Last Poets, Afrika Bambaataa, Julian Schnabel, Whitney Houston, Manu Dibango, Fela Kuti and most notably Herbie Hancock, who collaborated with Laswell for the pivotal 1983 smash-hit single "Rock-It" which introduced scratching to the mainstream, inspired a generation of turntablists and gave the great jazz pianist instant street credibility among the burgeoning hip-hop cognoscenti.

Laswell's sense of creative daring as a producer was further demonstrated on several recordings that have kept him on the cutting edge, including Afrika Bambaataa's collaboration with John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten of Sex Pistols fame) on World Destruction and PiL's Album (which brought together an unlikely pairing of drumming greats Ginger Baker and Tony Williams, synth-pop pioneer Ryuichi Sakamoto of Yellow Magic Orchestra fame and rising guitar star Steve Vai). His spoken word collaborations with William S. Burroughs and expatriate writer-composer Paul Bowles have gone against the grain of music industry trends while his radical remixes (or re-constructions) of landmark recordings by Miles Davis (Panthalassa), Carlos Santana (Divine Light), Bob Marley (Dreams of Freedom) and a vast scan of dub-related and atmospheric ambient projects have gone on to further defined Laswell's presence as a revolutionary ikonoklast.

Bill Laswell has helped in generating several innovative recording labels such as Celluloid, Subharmonic, Black Arc, and Innerhythmic. Along with Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records (Bob Marley and U2), he established the AXIOM label in 1989. M.O.D. Technologies, his most recent imprint is releasing projects by Method Of Defiance, Lee "Scratch" Perry, PRAXIS, Garrison Hawk with Sly & Robbie, Bernie Worrell, The Process (with Red Hot Chili Peppers' drummer Chad Smith and pianist Jon Baptiste) and progressive/futuristic music from Ethiopia (CDs/DVDs).

As a player, Laswell's bass lines resound with rare authority on groundbreaking projects by Tabla Beat Science (with Zakir Hussain and Ustad Sultan Khan), his avant-funk band Material, the apocalyptic assault of Last Exit (with Sonny Sharrock), his progressive dub effected Method of Defiance and the throbbingly intense power trios, Massacre (with Fred Frith and Charles Hayward), Painkiller (with John Zorn and Mick Harris), Praxis (with Buckethead and Brain), Blixt (with Raoul Bjorkenheim and Morgan Agren) and the latest (2014) Bladerunner (with John Zorna and Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo).

Laswell's artistic reach has consistently extended to the continent of Africa, creating ground-breaking, evolutionary snd controversial recording projects in Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Gambia and most recently, Ethiopia where he has established a base for developing new as well as legendary artists, just as he did in the South Bronx some 30 years ago.

A veteran of 300 plus journeys to Japan, where he has worked with everyone from The Gagaku Orchestra (Japan's ancient music, only played for emperors for 1500 years), to avant-jazz, rock, hip-hop and DJ culture. An eternal musical renegade, Bill Laswell has always played by his own rules."

-Bill Laswell Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

Disc 1: First Album + bonus tracks

1. Panther Burn 6:21

2. The Bear 1:08

3. Better Thumbs 6:27

4. The Victim 1:45

5. The Hardwood 5:20

6. Sports 1:48

7. Bruno 1:13

8. But Get It 2:37

9. Rudders 3:16

10. Binoculars 2:56

11. The Ole Miss Exercise Song 8:43

12. Sports (Live) 2:04

13. Better Thumbs (Live) 6:44

14. Intro/The March (Live) 2:31

15. Social Work (Live) 4:13

16. The Ole Miss Exercise Song (Live) 9:39

17. Panther Burn (Live) 6:40

Disc 2: CBGB's October 1, 1980

1st Set:

1. Social Work 2:44

2. Panther Burn 5:51

3. Red Channels 3:40

4. Mink's Dream 2:47

5. Moon Lake 3:17

6. The Ole Miss Exercise Song 7:19

2nd Set:

7. Sports 2:15

8. Moon Lake (2) 3:33

9. Social Work (2) 2:22

10 .Mink's Dream (2) 3:25

11 .The Hardwood 6:39

12 .Red Channels (2) 3:18

13. The Ole Miss Exercise Song (2) 8:39
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"DISC ONE: The legendary first [self-titled] album by Curlew, initially released by Landslide on LP in 1984 and out-of-print ever since, with the original lineup of saxophonist/composer/leader George Cartwright, Tom Cora on cello and devices, Nicky Skopelitis on guitar, Bill Laswell on bass, and Bill Bacon on drums. This incredible record, originally released by Landslide in the U.S. and U.K., has never before been released on CD anywhere! Bonus material on this disc includes six more cuts from one of their earliest live gigs at CBGB on February 6th 1980, previously unreleased in any format! [two other tracks from this gig are included as part ot the original album sequence]

DISC TWO: Previously unreleased in any format! A complete 64 minute set from CBGB on October 1st 1980, with almost the same lineup, except Denardo Coleman [from Ornette's Prime Time, and Jayne Cortez' Firespitters] is on drums!"-DMG

From the liner note: "George Cartwright formed Curlew in 1979 .. immediately attracting the brightest and best legends-to-be to his side. Bill Laswell paid his dues in R&B rhythm sections along the East Coast, first coming to prominence in New York Gong which debuted at Daevid Allen's ZU Festival, where George, Bill, Nicky, Fred and so many others first met. (Bill later transformed NYG into Material). Nicky Skopelitis was a shy but monstrously talented guitarist and oud player. Tom Cora had worked with Karl Berger, Eugene Chadbourne, and Andrea Centazzo, extending the language of cello. Bill Bacon was formerly of Flying Island, and a student of world percussion under Collin Walcott.

Not only was [and is!] George a great genius compositionally - I still remember my jaw hanging open 30 minutes after first listening to this album! - his music was at once both new-jazz and new-art-rock, with virtuoso ensemble playing which discarded the unison crutch of fusion. His amazingly versatile reed work betrayed without imitation a wide ranging source of influences including Southern R&B, impressionistic minimalism, and Ornette's harmolodic approach. Says Mr. Cartwright, "the basic concept came from Ornette (and his recent electric albums): to be melodic, danceable, strong, clear and (more my idea) messy ... And I mean 'danceable' in a, uh, creative kind of way with toe-tapping as an integral part of [it], too. But, the ideas and inspiration came from everywhere. Not just Ornette."

Over the years, Curlew has been for avant-jazz and new music (much as Mothers Of Invention or King Crimson were to rock) an incubator and/or showcase for extraordinary talent, including founding members Cora (Skeleton Crew, Third Person), Laswell (Material, Painkiller, Praxis), Skopelitis (Ekstasis), and later members Fred Frith (Henry Cow, Massacre), Wayne Horvitz (The President, Naked City, Zony Mash), Davey Williams (TransMuseq), Pippin Barnett (Orthotonics, Nimal), Ann Rupel (No Safety), Amy Denio (Tone Dogs), et al. Even Denardo Coleman - batterie for Prime Time, and Ornette's son - felt right at home!

This group possesses all the hallmarks of the very best musical institutions, including: They sound like no one else. And, you can hear their unabated exuberance throughout - they had FUN! playing together. These outrageous recordings are where it all started. Googleplex Thumbs Up!" - Emanuel 'MannyLunch' Maris

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Top 20 for 2008
Free Improvisation
Sextet Recordings

Other Releases With These Artists:
Recommended & Related Releases:
Other Recommended Releases:
Skeleton Crew (Frith / Cora)
Learn to Talk [VINYL]
(ReR Vinyl)

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