John Blevins exciting new recording on pfMENTUM

Dedicated to creative music—and the musicians that make it. John Blevins: Matterhorn On the latest pfMENTUM release, John Blevins leads his ensemble Matterhorn through an exciting set of compositions and improvisations that reflect both the jazz-rock experiments of the late 1960s and contemporary sonic explorations. You can check out the album—and a free track!—here.   Members John Blevins (Trumpet/ Compositions), …

John Blevins: Matterhorn (PFMCD092)

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John Blevins: Matterhorn

(Please note: this is for the CD version, the vinyl version will be linked here when available.)

1. Identity Theft
2. Unaware
3. Brink
4. Nascent
5. Little Dickens
6. See
7. Breathe
8. Hear
9. See (alternate take)

John Blevins – Trumpet
Drew Williams – Tenor Saxophone
Brad Mulholland – Alto Saxophone/Flute/Clarinet
Nick Grinder – Trombone
Marta Sanchez – Fender Rhodes
Jeff Mclaughlin – Guitar
Marty Kenney – Bass
Nathan Ellman-Bell – Drums/Percussion
John Doing – Congas

Produced by John Blevins and Shane Endsley

Recorded at Grand Street Recording in Williamsburg, Brooklyn by Jake Lummus on July 21 and 22, 2014

Edited and mixed by Jake Lummus and John Blevins, Autumn 2014

Mastered by Liberty Ellman on December 12, 2014

All compositions © and& ℗ 2015 John Blevins Music (ASCAP)

Original artwork and design by Sam Gezari

THANK YOU to Nathan, Marty, Jeff, Nick, Drew, Brad, Marta, and John for their dedication to this music. It’s an honor to play with you.

Special thanks to Shane Endsley, Jake Lummus, Liberty Ellman, Leah Jubara, Matt Hurley, Simon Yu, Sam Gezari, Daniel Stessen, and to Bill Jubara and everyone who supported this project on Kickstarter. Special thanks to my loving, supportive family and especially to Amanda.

For Ray and Howell.

pfMENTUM CD092

PFMCD092

Tom McNalley Trio: Tom McNalley Trio (PFMCD018)

Louis Lopez 1 Comment

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Tom McNalley Trio

Tom McNalley: guitar
Jonas Tauber: bass
Ken Ollis: drums

1) Reddog 18:32
2) Orange Needle Society 13:53
3) ZHE 14:34
4) Mourned 9:54
5) Gallery 421 7:30
6) Loss 8:01
Total Playing Time: 72:24

All compositions by Tom McNalley, (C)2004 Tom McNalley Music, ASCAP
Recorded at Cappos Cafe, 10.6.03 by Keegan Quinn
CD mastering, art design, and layout by Jeff Kaiser
Photographs by Jonas Tauber and Tom McNalley

After getting the initial version of this CD, I sent copies to several people to see what they thought. One was my friend, author and music critic Richard Meltzer. He called and said that he loves the CD – very much, in fact – and if I wanted liner notes, he would write them. Naturally, and with gratitude, I took him up. — Tom McNalley
******

Hey, listen — I got something important to tell you:

Tom McNalley is the youngest Great Musician I’ve ever encountered.

Great! Amazing! To put things in even partial perspective, the last young’un anywhere near as adept and inventive and passionately original was probably David Murray, pre-WSQ, back when he was still a ferocious motherfucker.

Tom McNalley IS a ferocious motherfucker. By turns savage and tender — a killer and healer — nutso and nutty, then logical/lucid as Jerkoff Sebastian Bach, his playing is as hotly/coolly/sanely/madly a-dance and a-prance (at peace-and-war) with abstract notions as it is with direct emotional one-on-one — “interest” and “feeling” existentially melded (no mean feat) — “jazzy” in the least jaded, least guitar-baggaged, most mammal-elegant sense, while partaking EQUALLY of the dirty screaming scuzz of postwar blues and rock rock rock and roll…fuggit.

Sophisticated beyond its maker’s 21 years, Tom’s music spins, spills and spits forth whole vast sonic WORLDS (pardon my French), but if you’re lookin’ to hear Other Guitarists in his playing, well, you won’t hear other guitarists in his playing. Okay, splashes and soundings maybe — f’r sure he’s picked up “things” from Hendrix, McLaughlin, Sharrock, Nels Cline, Derek Bailey, Alberts Collins and King — but rarely anything as explicit as a borrowed “idea,” a riff, even a lick.

“I’ve never been lick-oriented,” says Tom. “I’ve tried to develop a sense of melody that will serve me, that’ll do me some good, and I always like to see how others handle it, but not through their licks.”

By “melody,” um, you mean tunes? Tunefulness?

“No, more like just the basis for telling a story — the unique and individual approaches of players I admire, the ones who seem to be emotionally honest, who have the chops to communicate directly and honestly. Most aren’t even guitarists. Rob Blakeslee is and has been very important to me, seeing how he makes the music that is his — the concepts he brings to his trumpet playing.

Ayler…Braxton…Charlie Parker, certainly — but not for anything to do with ‘bebop.’ Bebop as such has very little meaning to me.”
And what is the importance, the weight in the equation, of “free”?

“In a sense, I view composition as no more than a set of instructions for the band. There are things I want to happen, but they’re general. I like looseness — flexibility — so the music can go anywhere. In some cases there’ll be a written line, but usually no more than a suggestion of bass line, rhythmic groove, things like that. Half the tunes in this set, on this recording, are freely improvised — completely — there’s no written or suggested anything. Even the stuff that sounds written is very spur-of-the-moment. In real time, not trying to play to a pre-existent notion, but at the same time going for and building a musical totality, the players communicated the compositions to each other. We just played and listened.”

Played and listened: dig it!

Look, I don’t wanna make with the ultra-superlatives again — well, maybe I do — but this here album, on which Tom, bassist Jonas Tauber and drummer Ken Ollis explore, with extreme malice (and extreme care and definitude), the MYSTERY OF INTIMACY — stripmine it — achieve near-total communion — is to my ears the HOTTEST debut alb by a guitar guy & co. since Are You Experienced? Hendrix. Before you were born (that’s how old I am).

It is also — pardon my carried-away — one of the great trio albs, period, y’know like ever, up there with Trio in Real Time by Richard Grossman, the v. best of Bill Evans with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, and the bestest by Air with Steve McCall. The music these humpers make together is outstanding and astounding…I wouldn’t shit ya.

Hey — I love this record — ‘scuse me — disc. I hope you will too.

— Richard Meltzer, Portland, 2004

pfMENTUM CD018

PFMCD018

Ted Killian: Flux Aeterna (PFMCD007)

Louis Lopez 1 Comment

BACK IN PRINT! We have 10 copies left…

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Ted Killian: Electric and acoustic guitars, samples, loops, sound design

Loop-based guitar improvisations/excursions recorded “live” in the studio in a single take. Ted's music is frequently compared to that of David Torn, Steve Tibbetts, Terje Rypdal, Robert Fripp, Adrian Belew, Sonny Sharrock, Nels Cline, or Bill Frisell, sometimes even David Gilmour, Jeff Beck or Uli Jon Roth. But Ted cites influences that come from all over the map: Leo Kottke, Eliott Sharp, Paul Dresher, Scott Johnson, Vernon Reid, John Abercrombie, Michael Brook, Daniel Lanois, Gary Lucas, Jim Thomas, John Fahey, Jimi Hendrix, John Mclaughlin, Frank Zappa, Pat Metheny, Buckethead, Chet Atkins and Les Paul. Yet, despite this, there is still something uniquely “Killianesque” in his approach. Ted is a guitarist who isn't afraid to paint with the instrument's full color “palette.” He's not afraid to make wild, adventurous, passionate “in-you-face” music or sonorous, languid, peaceful harmonic/melodic explorations.

Ted Killian: A Biography

Born and raised in sunny Southern California, Ted Killian has been a guitarist for over 4 decades now and he still hasn't managed to learn to play the thing correctly. But, as it turns out, this may have turned out to be a pretty good thing. Without necessarily having set out to do so, Killian has found his own unique “voice” on an instrument that is nearly ubiquitous in modern popular music. His sound is a peculiar amalgam of odd, sometimes familiar, influences: folk, pop, blues, rock, metal, jazz, electronica, electro-acoustic “art music,” and just plain noise (“!”) that begs one to think the word “fusion” but is much more primal, gut-level and organic than any connotation that word may conjure.

Killian's music is full of contradictions. It is primitive and sophisticated, visceral and sensitive, abstract and accessible, complex and blood simple all at once. It is given birth by heavy doses of technology (MIDI guitar, a plethora of electronic effects, digital echo devices, samplers, and all manner of assorted “gadgets”) but the result is amazingly human sounding. There is blood and sweat mixed in with all of the diodes and cables — and more than a small measure of passion. This intensity is not something that can be seen in the usual form of typical guitarist “histrionics” but can be heard in every note of the music itself.

Killian began playing and experimenting early on, but (in terms of public performance) bloomed late. Beginning in the late 1980s, he began performing his original music in conjunction with the Ventura New Music Concert Series (Southern California)– aided by close friend and colleague, avant-jazz trumpeter, Jeff Kaiser. So began a long series of ever-changing concerts and presentations all around Southern California. Some of these were in connection to SEAMUS, an acronym for the national “new music” organization: the Society for Electro Acoustic Music in the United States (Killian was introduced to the organization by Kaiser in 1990 and became President of the Los Angeles chapter in 1992). Ted's has been interviewed as a featured composer on “Music of the Americas” on KPFK radio in Los Angeles. Since the debut of “Flux Aeterna” his music has been played on literally dozens of radio stations around the globe and has garnered critical praise in as many publications internationally. In recent years, he has composed music for ballet, “fixed” gallery installations, multi-discipinary art performances, large ensembles and small groups. And, after all of this, Killian has still somehow managed to avoid having ever been in anything resembling a “band.”

Ted Killian is a 1982 graduate of UCSB with a Bachelors degree in visual arts. Since then he has exhibited paintings, sculpture and computer art in a number of galleries, museums and other venues across the country. He was a 1992 appointee to the “Task Force for Visual Arts” in Ventura, CA. He supports his musical/artistic activities with his “day job” as a freelance graphic designer for various musical instrument and high-tech manufacturers. He currently resides in Southern Oregon with his wife, 3 sons, 3 guinea pigs, and 2 goldfish.

pfMENTUM CD007

PFMCD007