The Squid's Ear Magazine

McKenzie II, Donald Sturge Anthony (feat. Nels Cline / Melvin Gibbs  / Vernon Reid): Silenced (577 Records)

A six track album from drummer Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II written about the abuse of force from those charged to protect us, in a series of duos with amazing performances from guitarist Nels Cline, saxophonist Arnold Lee, bassist Melvin Gibbs, bassist Dave Hofstra, guitarist Vernon Reid, and drummer/keyboardist CX KIDTRONIX; disturbing and important work.

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product information:

UPC: 755491192108

Label: 577 Records
Catalog ID: CD-577R-5799
Squidco Product Code: 30110

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded in at Orange Music Studio, in West Orange, New Jersey, in the Summer of 2016, by James Dellatacoma.


Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II-drums

Nels Cline-guitar

Arnold Lee-saxophone

Melvin Gibbs-bass

Dave Hofstra-bass

Vernon Reid-guitar

CX KIDTRONIK-drum machine, keyboards

Click an artist name above to see in-stock items for that artist.

Sample The Album:

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"Look: one take is all it took - nothing fake or by the book. "Silenced" giving voice to choice. A cookbook for the now, shaking and shook.' -Nels Cline

"In Silenced Don McKenzie has reconnected contemporary improvisational music to one of the most crucial & controversial issues facing us today- the misuse of lethal force by those sworn to Serve & Protect ALL of us. I am proud to be amongst the artists participating in this remarkable project" -Vernon Reid

1 - Sandra Bland feat. Nels Cline

2 - Renisha McBride feat. Arnold Lee

3 - Malissa WIlliams & Timothy Russell feat. Melvin Gibbs

4- Samuel DuBose feat. Dave Hofstra

5- Eric Garner feat. Vernon Reid


Also available on Vinyl LP.

Artist Biographies

"Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II is an American musician and composer from New York City. This world- class drummer and highly skilled beat-smith has been called a "powerhouse" and a "master of deep-pocket hip hop, funk, jazz and rock." According to Vernon Reid (Living Colour), McKenzie is among the best in the industry.

McKenzie began his musical training at the age of ten and was quickly recognized for his virtuosic talent and finesse. Under the tutelage of Everett Collins (Isley Brothers) and world-renowned drumming teacher, Dom Famularo, McKenzie has steadily evolved into a truly great musician with a firm basis in theory.

McKenzie has travelled extensively throughout Europe, North America, Australia, South America and Africa, playing sold out shows at the finest venues in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Carthage, São Paulo and New York among many others.

His illustrious career has led him to tour and record with an impressive list of avant- garde artists such as multi-instrumentalist Elliott Sharp, celebrated American guitarist Marc Ribot, and Grammy nominated jazz composer, Roswell Rudd, on BBC recordings in the MALIcool project. McKenzie's work in hip hop and R&B includes backing prolific artists such as Pharoahe Monch, P.Diddy, Grave Diggaz, New Kingdom, DJ Spinna, Mr. Complex, Martin Luther, Cody ChesnuTT, Polyrhythm Addicts and R&B legends, Sweetback, and The Persuaders. McKenzie also serves as musical director for Kat DeLuna, and teaches master classes at the Brooklyn Music School when he's not touring the globe.

Don McKenzie is best known however, for his longstanding tenure with Vernon Reid as a member of the band Masque. An accomplished composer who is constantly seeking to push boundaries, his composition, Kizzy, which has been called "dreamy", "atmospheric" and "powerfully evocative", is featured on Masque's third album "Other True Self."

As a bandleader McKenzie is skillful and generous, never overplaying but instead leading with agility and polished sophistication while creating a solid foundation for other musicians to express themselves creatively. Elliott Sharp explains that his firm sense of pocket, "hard hitting asymmetrical jazz flavors and light-fingered sonic abstractions" are what make McKenzie truly great. However, in spite of his accolades, McKenzie's humility is clearly reflected in his philosophy,

"A good drummer needs to be the foundation for the melodic and harmonic instruments while leading the way. It's a dichotomy but it's a necessary one...the older I get the less I want to lead and the more I want to support." It is exactly this remarkable prowess and matching subtlety that have won him the respect and admiration of famed artists such as friend and mentor, iconic jazz composer Cecil Taylor. And it is these qualities which have led him to become one of the most highly sought after musicians in the industry."

-Donald Sturge Anthony McKenzie II Website (

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

"Nels Courtney Cline (born January 4, 1956 in Los Angeles) is an American guitarist and composer. He has been the guitarist for the band Wilco since 2004.

He first came to prominence in the 1980s playing jazz, often in collaboration with his twin brother Alex Cline, a drummer. Since then, he has worked with a wide range of musicians in punk and alternative rock, notably Mike Watt and Thurston Moore. He also leads the groups the Nels Cline Singers and Nels Cline Trio.

Cline was named the 82nd greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone magazine in November 2011."

-Wikipedia (

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

"My name is Arnold Lee I am a professional musician, saxophonist and composer. I am the son of bassist/composer Bill Lee and Susan Lee. I was born in 1985 and I was home-schooled and grew up in Fort Greene in Brooklyn New York. I started playing drums when I was two years old. being home-schooled gave me the opportunity to travel with my dad on tour and be in the recording studios with him in the early 1990's. I am not sure if home-schooling is for everybody but I really liked it, it gave me a chance to hangout and be friends and really communicate with people of all ages. My friend Javon Jackson brought me an alto saxophone for my seventh birthday, I kind of already new the ambature for the saxophone from watching my friend Donald Harrison play. I play double lip (I think lol) I got that from Donald.

Also a vast part of my upbringing revolved around the FGC (fighting game community). Playing video games was one of the first things where I really began to focus and practice for hours at doing something I love, and being in the FGC really opened up my mind to be very open and caring. In the arcades where I played nobody cared about race, gender or sexuality they just wanted to know could you play and have a good time. With Marvel vs Capcom 2 I began to take it very seriously and I was playing on a profesional level, I would train in Chinatown Fair with Justin Wong and Sanford Kelly, I was up to practicing eighteen hours a day. So when I switched my focus over to music I kind of applied what I had already learned about my concept of practicing.

I graduated college from The Oberlin Conservatory of Music where I had the chance to study with my good friends Gary Bartz, Marcus Belgrave, Paul Samuels, Robin Eubanks, Dennis Reynolds, Dan Wall and Ralph Jones and I have also studied with Patience Higgins and I get tips sometimes from Branford Marsalis. I played some baseball in college at Oberlin for my first year and my a little of my second year, but my sophomore year is when I decided I that I want to be a professional musician, and I turned my focus to music. I didn't have to force it, it was just kind of natural.

I have had the opportunity to learn perform and/or record with Bill Lee Frank Wess, Wallace Roney, Jeff "Tain" Watts, Iron Solomon, Kassa Overall, Tecla, Sullivan Fortner, Marcus Strickland, Spencer Murphy, Eden Ladin, Jason Brown, Tivon Pennicot, Meeko Isreal, EJ Strickland, Antoine Roney, Kate Ettinger, Alex Overington, Clifton Anderson, Orrin Evans, Stacy Dillard, Be Steadwell, Lawrence Clark, Luques Curtis, Zacai Curtis, Eric McPherson, Nasheet Waits, Duane Eubanks, Emanual Ruffler, Bazaar Royale, Rashan Carter, Kush Abadey, Aruan Ortiz, Lenny White,UA, Meeko Isreal, Rafiq Bhatia, Alex Ritz, Jack Hill, Ben Wolfe, Donald Edwards, Christopher Mees, Nina Moffitt, Jonathan Barber."

-Arnold Lee Website (

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"Melvin Gibbs is an American bass guitarist, composer, and producer who has appeared on close to 200 albums in diverse genres of music.

A native of Brooklyn, New York, Gibbs attended Medgar Evers College and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. After attending and graduating from the Berklee College of Music, Gibbs first came to public notice as a member of the group Defunkt which was a mainstay of the early 1980s downtown New York scene. Throughout most of the 1980s, he played in drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society alongside guitarist Vernon Reid, as well as playing with guitarist Sonny Sharrock and saxophonist John Zorn. Additionally with Jackson and guitarist Bill Frisell he was also a member of the group Power Tools. Gibbs co-led the band Eye and I with D.K. Dyson who also co-founded the Black Rock Coalition of which he is also an original member.

He was a member of the avantmetal Rollins Band from 1993 to about 1998, and again in 2006 when the group briefly reformed. As a member of the Rollins Band, he performed at Woodstock '94 in 1994 and was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1995. Gibbs has also recorded with hip-hop artists Dead Prez, Brazilian artists Caetano Veloso and Marisa Monte, Latin jazz artist Eddie Palmieri, Nigerian artist Femi Kuti, and guitarist Marc Ribot. He has also produced albums by guitarist/singer Arto Lindsay and turntablist DJ Logic.

Gibbs formed the Punk-Funk All-Stars with James Blood Ulmer, Defunkt leader Joseph Bowie, Vernon Reid and Ronald Shannon Jackson. He co-leads the band Harriet Tubman with guitarist Brandon Ross and drummer JT Lewis. His other current projects include Melvin Runs the Hoodoo Down with guitarist Pete Cosey and keyboard player John Medeski, the JFM Trio featuring guitarist Jeff Parker and percussionist Francisco Mora, and the Geechee Seminoles, a duo featuring Gibbs and drummer/hand-body percussionist/dancer David Pleasant.

Ancients Speak, the first album by Melvin Gibbs' Elevated Entity, was released on March 17, 2009, by Livewired Music.

In 2009, he joined the group "SociaLybrium", alongside Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee keyboard player Bernie Worrell and long time Parliament-Funkadelic guitarist and musical director DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight as well as J.T. Lewis on drums. The group's album, For You/For Us/For All was released by Livewired Music in December 2009.

Gibbs took on the role of record producer while with the Rollins Band in the 1990s. He worked in that capacity, producing records for other artists on Rage Records."

-Wikipedia (

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

"David Carl "Dave" Hofstra (born May 21, 1953, Leavenworth, Kansas) is an Americh jazz double-bassist. He also plays bass guitar and tuba.

Hofstra was an autodidact on bass. He worked with Robin Holcomb, John Zorn, Joel Forrester, and Dave Sewelson (de) in the late 1970s.[1] He was active primarily in New York from the 1980s, playing with William Parker, Lou Grassi (de), Denis Charles, Elliott Sharp, Paul Shapiro, Bobby Previte, Wayne Horvitz, Saheb Sarbib, Bobby Radcliff, Jemeel Moondoc, Marie McAuliffe, Bill Frisell, Robin Eubanks, Greg Osby, David Rosenbloom, Phillip Johnston, Chris Kelsey, Rachelle Garniez (de), Clare Daly, William Gagliardi (de), and Robin Holcomb."

-Wikipedia (

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

"As the lead guitarist of Living Colour and a co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, Vernon Reid has done a great deal to undermine stereotypical expectations of what music black artists ought to play; his rampant eclecticism encompasses everything from hard rock and punk to funk, R&B and avant-garde jazz, and his anarchic, lightning-fast solos have become something of a hallmark as well. Born in London, Reid and his family emigrated to Brooklyn while he was a child; he began playing guitar at age 15, initially studying jazz and progressing quickly. In 1980, he joined drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, a cutting-edge jazz group with whom he appeared on six albums; over the course of the decade, Reid went on to work with a wide variety of experimental musicians -- Defunkt, Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, and Public Enemy, among others.

Around 1983, Reid formed the first version of what was to become Living Colour; in 1985, with journalist Greg Tate, he formed the Black Rock Coalition, an organization devoted to opening doors in the music business for black musicians who were not content being confined to the roles of soul crooner or rapper. Living Colour did not really begin to jell until their lineup stabilized in 1986, and when Mick Jagger saw the group perform at CBGB's and invited them to appear on his Primitive Cool album. Jagger went even further, producing two demo tracks and helping to convince Epic to sign the group. Living Colour debuted to massive critical acclaim in 1988 with Vivid; the group lasted through Time's Up (1990) and Stain (1993) before disbanding in 1995. Reid has continued to make periodic appearances on others' recordings, and in 1996, he issued his solo debut, Mistaken Identity. He resurfaced in 2002 as one half of Yohimbe Brothers, a duo also featuring DJ Logic. The two released the Front End Lifter album in September and subsequently toured the United States throughout October. They issued a followup in 2004 on Thirsty Ear entitled The Tao Of Yo.Reid has remained active as both a session guitarist and as a producer, most notably on James Blood Ulmer's recordings since 2001 beginning with Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions in 2001 and continuing through 2003's No Escape From the Blues: The Electric Lady Sessions, 2004's Birthright and Bad Blood in the City: The Piety Street Sessions in 2007. Also in 2007, Reid, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and drummer Grant Calvin Weston played a get-together for the closing of New York's Tonic performance space. The show went well enough for the trio form a band called the Free Form Funky Freqs; their drbut album, Urban Mythology: Volume One was released as part of Thirsty Ear's Blue Series in February of 2008."

-All Music (

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"The DJ/producer/vocalist CX KIDTRONIK makes explosively danceable throwback hip-hop, meshed with electro and metal. He counts Kanye West, Saul Williams and Trent Reznor among his fans, and has worked with each. "He is a character," says Reznor. "He's also one of those guys, when he's around, things start to happen."

First, about the "krak." CX once saw Jody Watley squat for a split second to pick up a tambourine at a Central Park performance - at the height of the low-rise jeans era - and it was all over from there. The newfound obsession with accidental crack was put to music in his 2006 debut album Krak Attack, a pledged allegiance to the sag. His Stones Throw release Krak Attack 2: Ballad Of Elli Skiff takes a more conceptual angle - the title and album artwork references a low-slung-pants-wearing New Hampshire woman, who was arrested for refusing to leave a mall.

CX - "Christopher X" - is based in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, and comes from Detroit, with detours through Atlanta and Madison WI, where he was an official, bow-tie clad member of Louis Farrakhan's Nation Of Islam. But "KiDTRONiK" - the name - is pure NYC, a reference to '80s electro rap group Mantronix, who has heavily influenced his style.

A one-time member of Anti-Pop Consortium and Airborn Audio, he worked for years as a New York city club DJ, and has toured the planet honing his production style, playing custom-built synths, and drum machines with names like the "CX Betacrack Box" and "The Catonator," specializing in live kicks and snares, rather than loops. He has dazzled audiences around the world with his technically proficient, yet completely chaotic performances, full of gyrating women, flashing lights, lazers, sweat and beer. In recent years CX has toured with Reznor, Saul Williams, and produced for Kanye West's artist Consequence. What's more, in 2010 CX became a member of German digital hardcore group Atari Teenage Riot, filling in for the late Carl Crack. (The KraK/Crack connection is purely coincidental.)"-Ben Westhoff

-Stones Throw (

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

Track Listing:

1. Sandra Bland feat. Nels Cline 20:41

2. Renisha McBride feat. Arnold Lee 5:51

3. Malissa WIlliams & Timothy Russell feat. Melvin Gibbs 5:56

4. Samuel DuBose feat. Dave Hofstra 3:44

5. Eric Garner feat. Vernon Reid.mp3 12:00

6. Darrien Hunt KRAK ATTACK REMIX! (feat. CX KIDTRONIK) 9:54

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Septet recordings
Soundtracks, Movie Scores, &c.
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