Bruce Friedman: O.P.T.I.O.N.S. / OPTIONS (PFMCD054)

Jeff Kaiser 0 Comments

[playlist ids="476"]
O.P.T.I.O.N.S.
Lynn Johnston: clarinets
Ellen Burr: flutes
Eric Sbar: euphonium
Bruce Friedman: trumpet
Michael Intriere: cello
Andrea Lieberherr: violin
Emily Beezhold: keyboard synthesizer
Jeremy Drake: electric guitar
Rich West: drums, percussion
Special thanks to
Haskel Joseph: guitar and
Richard Kim: violin for their participation

Tracks:
1. Monochromatic Textures (MCT-1) 3:35
2. MCT – 2 with Solos 10:10
3. MCT – 3 with Solos 19:25
4. MCT – 4 with Duos 16:45
total time: 49:57

“O.P.T.I.O.N.S. is a collection of music notation symbols, both original and traditional that were designed and compiled with the intent of minimally guiding improvisation. The selection, order and interpretation of the symbols are left to the ensemble, hence the acronym O.P.T.I.O.N.S. — Optional Parameters To Improvise Organized Nascent Sounds.

For this recording, each symbol became manifest as a musical texture. Three of the compositions include improvised solos or duets. This ensemble gave two concert performances in the Los Angeles area. The O.P.T.I.O.N.S. CD is the result of artistic contributions made by this wonderful group of devoted musicians. While I did guide the project, the music’s evolution was very much a collaboration. I cannot thank the individual participants enough for their invaluable contributions to this endeavor.

–Bruce Friedman”

Recorded at Architecture on March 26, 2005
Scott Fraser – studio engineer (recording, mixing, mastering)
P & C 2008 brucefriedmanmusic, BMI
www.pfMENTUM.com
Graphic notation by Bruce Friedman
Layout and design by Jeremy Drake

pfMENTUM CD054

PFMCD054

The Empty Cage Quartet: Hello the Damage! (PFMCD040)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="446"]
Jason Mears: alto saxophone, clarinet, wood flutes
Kris Tiner: trumpet, flugelhorn
Paul Kikuchi: drums, percussion
Ivan Johnson: contrabass

Disc 1: First Set (24:20 / 21:17)
1. Attack of the Eye People (Mears)
Who Are They If We Are Them? (Mears)
The Mactavish Rag (Tiner)
2. And Who Is Not Small (Tiner)
Function-3 (Tiner)

Disc 2: Second Set (42:57)
1. Swan-Neck Deformity (Kikuchi)
The Empty Cage (Mears)
Swim Swim Swim, Eat Eat Eat (Mears)

Recorded live at Café Metropol in Los Angeles, California on Friday, December 30, 2005
Recorded live to two track by Paul Kikuchi
Mastered by David Christensen and Paul Kikuchi
Cover photo and album design: Kio Griffith
Band photos: Allen D. Glass II
Thank you to Kio Griffith, Misato Nagare, Dottie Grossman, David Christensen, Rocco Somazzi, Allen D. Glass II, Jeff Kaiser and Vinny Golia
© 2006 Jason Mears Music, ASCAP and Kris Tiner Music, ASCAP
For more information: www.mtkjquartet.com

Finale
When the camera pulls back
on people you care about
because you have followed
their story all season
and you know
what makes them happy
and what hurts them
and you love them
and want to protect them,
that’s your cue to sit back,
let the music take care of them now.

When I wrote that, I wasn’t thinking about The Empty Cage Quartet, but I see a connection. They share a common view, something about expansiveness or maybe a sense of what I can only call “mission.” These guys actually care about us, and want to make us better through their musical example, God help them. It’s a tall order, admittedly, but saxophonist Jason Mears and trumpeter Kris Tiner talk seriously about the band as a positive model for social change, incorporating and expanding upon what they learned under the tutelage of people like Wadada Leo Smith and Vinny Golia.

Mears, Tiner, Kikuchi and Johnson (“The MTKJ;” now “The Empty Cage Quartet”) came together at The California Institute of the Arts, in Southern California, circa 2002. They began playing music that was admittedly “horrible” (Kris Tiner’s word), at first, but which has evolved to a very telepathic kind of communication that transcends historical models of creative new music and almost doesn’t require language in its usual sense. They’re bent on transcending the clichés of “free jazz,” with its historically associated bias toward self-expression at the expense of everything else. They all contribute tunes and are dedicated to finding ways of getting around traditional improvisation and composition, to create music that is “continuous” and spontaneous. At the same time, in their musical explorations, they incorporate and honor the earlier forms they want to transcend. There is, for example, homage to without imitation of the Anthony Braxton and Ornette Coleman quartets.

So they use a system which in effect means that, in performance, any player can cue a composition at any time. For that to work on a level that approaches art requires the ability to almost literally read each other’s minds. Forget about not paying attention. Forget about playing on chord changes. It’s very akin to linking arms and jumping off the proverbial edge-of-the-cliff. It takes enormous mutual trust, acquired through the time-honored method of playing and touring. It is a truism that there’s no substitute for playing together a lot over a period of time in different settings and circumstances. The bonding that emerges from this kind of intensity has created, for these four, a unity that is probably more rock-solid than that of most “real” families.

And that makes them happy. They like it when audiences are touched and even inspired by the music they make together. Drummer Kikuchi tells about a gig in Olympia, WA, when the audience behaved as if they were at a rock show, yelling and “getting into” the show, letting the music take them to new places.

A word about the title of this CD: “Hello the Damage” was the all-too-literal English translation of part of a French review damning the group’s last CD. Anyone familiar with the often hilarious nonsense masquerading as “translation” on the Babelfish web site will sympathize.

This is a band whose musical growth rate has been amazing. They’re dedicated to doing something new, and the strength of their musicianship and vision are collectively and individually impressive enough to make that happen.

I’m going to leave the last word (well, almost) here to Kris Tiner, who, talking about how much he appreciates the work of Thelonious Monk, Charles Ives and Morton Feldman, says, “You can tell they love music.” Amen.

Dottie Grossman
Los Angeles, CA
April, 2006

[Ed. from a reviewer friend: This expression (in french “bonjour les dégâts…”, “damage” is a plural in french, it makes it more spectacular) became famous after is was used in an advertisement against alcohol when driving : “Un verre ça va, trois verres bonjour les dégâts” “One drink is alright, three drinks, hello the damage” : nobody speaks about 2 drinks, the case becomes a hole where reason gets drowned).]

pfMENTUM CD040

PFMCD040

Rich West: Heavenly Breakfast (PFMCD035)

Jeff Kaiser 0 Comments

[playlist ids="435"]
Rich West: drums, accordion, pieces
Dan Krimm: electric bass
Bruce Friedman: trumpet
Emily Beezhold: electric piano, korg ms2000
Lynn Johnston: saxophones, clarinets

1. Bloomsday
2. A Performer’s Objective Is to Put Everyone to Sleep
3. You Never Want to Tell People You’re a Scent
4. Le Petomane
5. Detritus or Treasures
6. Death Pledge
7. Glenn’s Conducting

all compositions by Rich West, © 2006 richwest recordings (bmi)

Design and Layout by Jeremy Drake
Recorded April 18th and November 27th, 2004
Mixed March 24th, June 2nd, and June 10th, 2005
Mastered August 2nd, 2005
All at Catasonic Studios by Mark Wheaton

Notes:

Heavenly Breakfast is a novel/autobio by Samuel Delany about
communal living but it reminded me about how happy I was when I
would visit my friends’ cooperatives in Santa Cruz. The food was
vegetarian and excellent. The meal would cost a dollar and I’d help
either in the kitchen or at the dining table. And then the circular
massages. It definitely takes a certain type of person to be involved in
those things on a day-to-day basis.

I was not one of them.

– Rich West

BLOOMSDAY
I could say I based the form of this tune on the structure of James Joyce’s book Ulysses – but I didn’t. It’s more about getting progressively more wasted on an eventful Bloomsday (June 16th) on the UC Santa Cruz campus in 1984. I came to a classroom full of joyous Ulysses fans drinking Irish whisky, enjoying another full-length all-night reading of the tome. Brendan, in his tenth year at the university as an undergrad, was trying to finally finish a B.A. in philosophy, preferably before a heroin overdose. He was sitting front and center, absorbed. He got up and read for about a page.

A PERFORMER’S OBJECTIVE IS TO PUT EVERYONE TO SLEEP
“Come to my gig,” I tell my girlfriend. “You can take a nap.”

YOU NEVER WANT TO TELL PEOPLE YOU’RE A SCENT
Right?

LE PETOMANE
I’ve thought of dedicating a whole cd to him. I would be the stand-in for
the famous actor who would play him in the full-length movie. I’d need a
voice-over, though, as I’m really an unpracticed amateur. Did you
know I was once the model for a Butthole Surfers concert promo poster?
Taken by Steve Callis, the police were looking for the photographer and
producers who put out this smut, this photo of a woman’s groin. Ah, pride.

DETRITUS OR TREASURES
In chipping away, a fantastic and unfortunate thing happened.
A 20,000-year old fossilized bug came loose as Mr. Big was digging.
It lodged in his corneal area. A trip to the hospital and some tweezers later, his eye was red for several weeks.

DEATH PLEDGE
See the Latin word “mortgage.”

GLENN’S CONDUCTING
There was a great series at the Kabuki Theatre in San Francisco in
1983 on Fridays. The first one I went to was Glenn Branca
when he had his big guitar group with the sympathetic vibration string
instruments and the drummer played an anvil. You really couldn’t
hear those sounds on recordings, not the way he intended anyway.
I noticed that if you mixed peach brandy and sat in the front row you’d
have involuntary regurgitations. It was LOUD, and freaky because
of all those sympathetic vibration highs. Mind-blowing, psychedelic, and
he had a program so you could read about it in very academic language.
Right?

pfMENTUM CD035

PFMCD035

The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet: 17 Themes for Ockodektet (PFMCD010)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="374,376"]
Woodwinds: Eric Barber, Vinny Golia, Emily Hay, Lynn Johnston
Trumpets: Dan Clucas, Kris Tiner
Euphonium and Valve-Trombone: Eric Sbar
Tuba: Mark Weaver
Prepared Acoustic Guitar: Ernesto Diaz-Infante
Electric Guitar/Electronics: G.E. Stinson
Organ/Theremin/Electronics: Wayne Peet
Contrabasses: Jim Connolly, Scott Walton
Drums: Billy Mintz, Richie West
Percussion: Brad Dutz
Conductor/Trumpet: Jeff Kaiser

Suite One
1. Dirge 2:31
2. Clad Like Birds 3:40
3. Amplifying Their Parallels 7:01
4. Nothing May Be Taken Naturally 2:56
5. Even with Diagrams 8:12
6. One Absolute Material 5:54
7. Figures of this In-Between 3:05
8. Figures to be Actualities 4:27
9. Figure with Wings 7:09
Suite Two
10. Coincidentia Oppositorum 3:55
11. Where His Third Eye Could Be 3:59
12. Fulfilled by the Reflected Image 7:41
13. There is No Profit from Dreams 7:55
14. Into That Nothing-Between 5:07
Total Time: 73:44

All compositions and arrangements by Jeff Kaiser, ©2002 Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP
Recorded direct to DAT – on the occasion of Jeff Kaiser’s 40th birthday party – at Ventura City Hall, Ventura, CA, 12.8.01
CD recording, mastering, design, and layout by Jeff Kaiser

“Dreams are sleep’s watchful brother, of death’s fraternity, heralds, watchmen of that coming night, and our attitude toward them may be modeled upon Hades, receiving, hospitable, yet relentlessly deepening, attuned to the nocturne, dusky, and with a fearful cold intelligence that gives permanent shelter in his house to the incurable conditions of human being.”
— James Hillman, The Dream and the Underworld

pfMENTUM CD010

PFMCD010

The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet: 13 Themes for a Triskaidekaphobic (PFMCD013)

Jeff Kaiser 1 Comment

[playlist ids="381"]
The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet is:
Eric Barber: Soprano and Tenor Saxophones
Vinny Golia: Saxophones, Clarinets, Flutes
Emily Hay: Flutes
Lynn Johnston: Saxophones and Clarinets
Jason Mears: Alto Saxophone
Dan Clucas/Kris Tiner: Trumpets
Michael Vlatkovich: Trombone
Eric Sbar: Euphonium and Valve-Trombone
Mark Weaver: Tuba
Ernesto Diaz-Infante: Acoustic Guitar
Tom McNalley: Electric Guitar
G.E. Stinson: Electric Guitar, Electronics
Jim Connolly/Hal Onserud: Contrabass
Wayne Peet: Organ, Theremin, Electronics
Brad Dutz: Percussion
Richie West: Drum Set and Percussion
Jeff Kaiser: Conductor, Trumpet

Track List
1. My Uncle Toby’s apologetical oration 6:57
2. Gravity was an errant scoundrel 5:55
3. This sweet fountain of science 8:44
4. The Curate’s folly betwixt them 5:47
5. Devout, venerable, hoary-headed man, meekly holding up a box 4:43
6. The stranger’s nose was no more heard of 1:18
7. Uncle Toby understood the nature of a parabola 4:01
8. The Accusing Spirit which flew up to heaven’s chancery 6:55
9. A thousand of my father’s most subtle syllogisms 7:23
10. His life was put in jeopardy by words 5:44
11. The heat and impatience of his thirst 5:16
12. Nothing but the fermentation 4:11
13. I wish my Uncle Toby had been a water-drinker 6:09
Total Playing Time: 1:13:13

All compositions and arrangements by Jeff Kaiser
©2003 Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP
Recorded at Ventura City Hall, Ventura, CA, 9.7.02
Recording, mastering, design, and layout by Jeff Kaiser

“Number helps more than anything else to bring order into the chaos of appearances.”
— C. G. Jung, The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche

pf MENTUM CD013

PFMCD013