Archive for May, 2013

Asthmatic Kitty Records & Chris Schlarb Announce “Psychic Temple II”

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Asthmatic Kitty Records & Producer/Guitarist CHRIS SCHLARB,
Present Psychic Temple II

Featuring Eight Schlarb Originals
Plus Covers of Frank Zappa, Joe Jackson & Brian Wilson

Out July 16th, 2013 on CD, 12″ Vinyl
& On Limited Edition Flexi-Postcards

It may seem hard to imagine a place where indie rock visionaries like Sufjan Stevens and Castanets’ Ray Raposa could meld minds with the genius of Brian Wilson, where death metal pioneer Paul Masvidal might wield his legendary six-string chops on a blissed-out soul ballad, where adventurous young jazz players like Kris Tiner and Devin Hoff share credit with Mars Volta keyboardist Ikey Owens and singer/songwriter Aaron Roche.

Long Beach composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist (not to mention truck driver) Chris Schlarb has not only imagined such a place but has now made it manifest for a second time. Released by Asthmatic Kitty, Psychic Temple II is a labor of love, envisioned by Schlarb to bring his most far-ranging inspirations to life – as he puts it, “a dream ensemble that could never actually exist.” The ensemble’s sophomore release was painstakingly constructed over more than a year with the cooperation of some of the most progressive musical minds from a staggering variety of genres.

“I love interesting juxtapositions, where you bring together people from different communities,” Schlarb says. He cites iconoclastic predecessors like Bill Laswell’s ever-changing group Material, which once brought together a young Whitney Houston with jazz legend Archie Shepp and future Soundgarden and Red Hot Chili Peppers producer Michael Beinhorn to cover a song by Hugh Hopper of English prog-rock pioneers Soft Machine. On 2010’s Psychic Temple, Schlarb assembled a 29-member ensemble that included Minutemen bassist Mike Watt, vocalist Julianna Barwick, and pianist Mick Rossi of the Philip Glass Ensemble.

“It seems like a crazy combination of people,” Schlarb says, “but they’re all just musicians. Why not bring them all together? It may not always work, but it’s always worth reaching further.”

Psychic Temple II reaches beyond the long-form experiments of its predecessor for a more tightly focused yet conceptually dense collection whose songs are no less exploratory for their briefer durations. “I never see the point in continuing to regurgitate,” Schlarb says of the new album’s unique direction. “What was natural at that time would now feel contrived. I have to keep moving forward.”

Schlarb also includes three cover songs by composers who share his boundary-demolishing mindset: Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out,” Frank Zappa’s “Sofa No. 2,” and Brian Wilson’s “’Til I Die,” a gorgeous, lesser-known Beach Boys song that features vocals by Sufjan Stevens, Castanets’ Ray Raposa, and Cryptacize’s Nedelle Torrisi. (more…)

Miguel Zenón Releases Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico; Debut as Leader at Village Vanguard; Curates Four Nights at SFJazz

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Saxophonist/Composer, MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Miguel Zenón
Releases ‘OYE!!! Live in Puerto Rico’
By Miguel Zenón & The Rhythm Collective
On Miel Music, Out May 28, 2013

OYE!!! Album Release Coincides With
Four-Night Residency at SF Jazz May 30 – June 2

Featuring THE RHYTHM COLLECTIVE (May 30),
ALMA ADENTRO: The Puerto Rican Songbook (May 31),
IDENTITIES: Tales From The Diaspora (June 1) &
DUOS with LUIS PERDOMO & PAOLI MEJIAS (June 2)

Two Weeks Prior 
Two Weeks Prior, Zenón Celebrates 10 YEARS with His Quartet
In VILLAGE VANGUARD DEBUT AS A LEADER – MAY 14-19
with Luis Perdomo, Hans Glawischnig & Henry Cole

The life of a jazz musician is often about fusing life experiences, creative coalitions, new ideas about rhythm, content, flow and innovative musical languages. Saxophonist Miguel Zenón has long been occupied with finding common musical threads in the North American jazz tradition and the music of the African diaspora in the Caribbean and Latin America, and his newest project, Oye!!! Live in Puerto Rico, is his latest triumph in this quest. (more…)

Louisville, KY’s LIBERATION PROPHECY Releases 2nd LP, ‘Invisible House’ June 11 on Calvin Cycle Collective

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Liberation Prophecy’s
LIBERATION LIVING ROOM
Concert Series/Webisodes
Featuring Ben Sollee, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
Plus More To Come

“Takes new approach to concerts for kids,”
says
Louisville Courier-Journal

Liberation-Prophecy-“It began in a real free-spirited kind of way, so it was about the idea that we were going to free ourselves, and that was the prophecy,” Jacob Duncan says with a laugh. “Free ourselves through making music, you know?” Liberation Prophecy’s leader, composer, arranger and alto saxophonist, Duncan has been doing exactly that since 1995, when the band’s inaugural incarnation surfaced as a quartet in the back room of a coffee house in his native Louisville, Kentucky. Since those experimental salad days, Duncan has taken the Liberation Prophecy mission with him around the country, assembling like-minded musicians in Denton, Texas and New York City. Now back home in Louisville, Duncan’s current Liberation Prophecy is a facile, empathic octet that brings his compositions to life with a proprietary blend of precision, intuition, without-a-net-high-wire-daring, and inspired avant-anarchy. Now two albums into its questing, Liberation Prophecy continues to astonish.

At the time of its first release, 2006’s Last Exit Angel, Liberation Prophecy felt the influence of early Carla Bley, John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Ornette Coleman, Frank Zappa, Sun Ra and songwriters Randy Newman and Tom Waits. That heady mélange of inspirations manifested in a debut of remarkable maturity, adventure, and promise. “With the first album there were more traditional elements of jazz, and samba and avant-garde,” Duncan says. “But with the new one, Invisible House (2013), there’s more rock, and I think it’s more present—simple and present. These are actually just songs…they’re stories, and they’re colors and melodies that you could actually remember. That’s the idea— something that’s listenable, but at the same time collaborative and eclectic.” Those collaborations, three songs with lyric contributions from Will Oldham (“Let’s Not Pretend”), Greta Smith (“Wish I May”), and Pokey LaFarge’s Joe Manning (“The Lazy Mist”) are unequivocal successes, and signal Duncan’s continuing growth as an artist. (more…)

Portland, Oregon’s Blue Cranes to Release ‘Swim’, Produced by Nate Query of The Decemberists. On CD and Limited Edition Colored Vinyl Via Cuneiform Records on June 4, 2013

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Since their formation in 2007, Blue Cranes have become a key player in the Portland, Oregon creative music/DIY scene and one of the most exciting groups to keep tabs on in the Northwest. They’ve developed a singular musical voice grounded in melody and explosive improvisations—marking off their unique microcosmic territory in “post-jazz” circles.

blue-cranes-all_online_uses-swimcover-1440The members of the quintet—Reed Wallsmith on alto saxophone, Joe Cunningham on tenor saxophone, Rebecca Sanborn on keyboards, Keith Brush on bass, and Ji Tanzer on drums—bring a unique array of experiences to their group-centered aesthetic, including work with AUThe DecemberistsLaura Veirs, Wayne Horvitz, Rebecca Gates, Laura Gibson, Ethan Rose, Pete Krebs, Black Prairie, and Portland Cello Project. The band takes an evolutionary step forward on their fourth full-length album, Swim, to be released June 4th on the Washington, D.C. area-based Cuneiform Records.

Swim is a departure from Blue Cranes’ previous, and in some ways simpler, albums. Steered dutifully by producer Nate Query of The Decemberists, it is a window into the sometimes messy emotional space of a group struggling with and celebrating the ephemeralness of life. This work is the culmination of several between-album projects, including a 30-day crowd-sourced Amtrak train tour in 2011, and a seven day group composition retreat, supported in part by a grant from Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council. However, the heart of Swim lies in indelibly profound life events—the passing away of two dear friends, a serious injury, two weddings, and the birth of a child (Wallsmith’s first)—events at tragic and uplifting extremes, both cathartic and celebratory. (more…)

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