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

Steuart Liebig / Tee-Tot Quartet: Always Outnumbered (PFMCD053)

Louis Lopez 1 Comment

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Steuart Liebig/Tee-Tot Quartet

Joseph Berardi: drumset, percussion
Dan Clucas: cornet
Scot Ray: dobro
Steuart Liebig: contrabassguitar

Tracks

07-04-00 4:58
serenade 5:06
wrong how long 4:00
stutterstep 4:26
fearless 7:49
clean, shaved and sober 3:52
bobtail 1:54
cooked and chopped 3:15
chucktown 4:17
mercy kitchen 7:26
sunshine candy 4:24
barrelfoot grind 4:26
lonewolf 4:28

© 2008 steuart liebig/
sisong music (ascap)
www.stigsite.com

artwork and layout by Steuart Liebig
cover photos by Scot Ray
band photos by Tee-Tot Quartet
recorded by Wayne Peet, assisted by Aaron Druckman, at Newzone Studio, Los Angeles, 19–20 May 2007
mixed by Wayne Peet and Steuart Liebig, July–August 2007
Steuart Liebig uses Fodera basses and Fodera roundwound strings, the Raven Labs PMB-1 and pickups by Rick Turner
Joe Berardi uses Paiste cymbals and attack drums heads
big thanks to Tee-Tot, Wayne Peet, Jeff Kaiser, and Leslie Rosdol, Anya Liebig and Aron Liebig

Always Outnumbered

. . . is an unholy transfiguration of the jazz and blues canon—a perverted translation of the sacred 78s of Chicago jazz and blues circa 1920–1950 into a more sinister modern dialect. On the opening track, 07-04-00, you can hear some noxious sonic concoction brewing, an aural hormetic designed to make you stronger if you can survive the cocktail.

Tee-Tot are expatriate pioneers that flew a few light-years past Europe and landed in a neighboring multiverse with fewer happy endings. These four veterans of the Los Angeles new music scene bring something completely different to each tune, different from the last tune and different from anything you normally hear on their respective instruments.

Joe Berardi is a medium for myriad gods of groove. He’s a maniacal Baby Dodds wielding his contraption for the dark side on Sunshine Candy, an angry Fred Below demonstrating primal scream therapy through the art of the shuffle on Chucktown and on Serenade he’s a fallen military snare player tapping ‘help me die’ in Morse code in vain.

Steuart Liebig constructs wide melodic avenues through the hostile landscapes of convoluted tunes like Wrong How Long. As heard on Cooked and Chopped he uses compelling melodies to drive the band from beneath instead of walking the well-worn footpaths of predictable chord progressions. He reinvents the bass role as an interactive melodic instrument in contrast to the bebop obsession of “chasing a melodic rat around a harmonic maze.” He’s also comfortable playing little or nothing at all for large patches, as on Fearless, an oblique tribute to Mingus—a “Goodbye Pork Pie Hat” for a lost and dispirited Lester Young.

Dan Clucas channels a deranged Cootie Williams, commands a gaggle of nuclear geese and employs various subsonic pitches possibly responsible for climate change. He employs all manner of ornamentation and virtual pedals from a very ill-mannered velar growl to a vibrato that would have made Clara Rockmore nervous. On Clean, Shaved and Sober, he celebrates the decline of a late-stage Bix Beiderbecke suffering from years of poor-grade Prohibition-era alcohol.

Scot Ray possesses a wide arsenal of portamento that would make any carnatic pandit blush. A seemingly infinite variety of sounds come out of his dobro’s resonator, from distressed ermine lamentations to the wailing of the damned. Considering today’s totalitarian atmosphere, Scot’s frenetic picking, rubbery phrasing and anxiety-provoking note choices on Stutterstep alone should earn him a place on a government list. Somewhere in hell an unfortunate freshman soul attempts to decipher his solo on Barrelfoot Grind.

Contemporary jazz and blues music lies wasting in a gurney of predictable mimicry, its circulation gone sluggish, its pulse nearly arrested as it grows more necrotic by the year. Tee-Tot debrides the bed sores of the sedentary modern roots scene.

Steuart has more than a few bands. They are all distinct from one another, draw from disparate sources and are all degenerate—in the best sense of the word. The dozen or so albums from these groups have explored everything from Muddy Waters to Anton Webern. There’s never a shortage of great melodies or superb improvisation, and this disc is no exception.

–Bill Barrett, Los Ageles, January 2008

pfMENTUM CD053

PFMCD053

The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet: The Alchemical Mass and The Kaiser / Diaz-Infante Sextet: Suite Solutio (PFMCD019)

Louis Lopez 1 Comment

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The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet: The Alchemical Mass

The Kaiser/Diaz-Infante Sextet: Suite Solutio

The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet with The Ojai Camerata

Woodwinds: Vinny Golia, Eric Barber, Jason Mears * Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Kris Tiner * Trombone: Michael Vlatkovich
Tuba: Mark Weaver * Bass: Jim Connolly * Prepared Acoustic Guitar: Ernesto Diaz-Infante * Acoustic Piano: Wayne Peet
Percussion: Brad Dutz * Drum Set: Richie West * Jeff Kaiser: Conductor, Flugelhorn

The Ojai Camerata:
Sopranos: Diane Besocke, Candace Delbo, Eleanor Land,
Laura Johnson-Bickford, Lu Setnicka
Altos: Gwen Erickson, Lisa Gordon, Katherine Halsey,
Holly Mitchem, Zoe Pietrycha
Tenors: Carla Aiello, Jaye Hersh, J.B. White
Basses: Dave Farber, Jim Halverson, Kurt Meyer, Bill Wagner
Dr. Wyant Morton, Director

The Alchemical Mass
Conducted by Jeff Kaiser and Dr. Wyant Morton
1. Introitus 10:28
[Eric Barber, Soprano Sax * Vinny Golia, Sopranino Sax]
2. Kyrie 3:00
3. Collecta and Gloria 2:33
[Kris Tiner, Flugelhorn]
4. Epistola and Graduale 1:44
5. Offertorium 9:03
[Jeff Kaiser, Flugelhorn * Jason Mears, Alto Sax]
6. Ave Maria and Commune 7:16

Kaiser/Diaz-Infante Sextet
Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Jeff Kaiser * Prepared Acoustic Guitar: Ernesto Diaz-Infante
Trombone: Scot Ray * Bass: Jim Connolly * Percussion: Brad Dutz * Drum Set: Richie West

Suite Solutio
7. Part I 2:38
8. Part II 1:25
9. Part III 5:06
10. Part IV 5:49
11. Part V 4:19
Total Playing Time 53:21

All compositions and arrangements by Jeff Kaiser * (C)2004 Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP
The Alchemical Mass was recorded 4.26.03 at the First United Methodist Church in Ventura, CA
Recorded, mixed, and mastered by Wayne Peet
Suite Solutio was recorded 2.25.01 at Zircon Skye in Ojai, CA
Recorded by Jeff Evans * Mixed and mastered by Jeff Kaiser
Photographs by Michael Kelly * Design and layout by Jeff Kaiser

The Alchemical Mass is dedicated to Keith McMullen for his friendship and unending supply of prima materia.
In Stercore Invenitur

Liner Notes:

“Obscurum Per Obscurius.”
[Explaining the obscure by the more obscure.]

-Anonymous Alchemical Quote

“It is true that alchemy always stood on the verge of heresy and that certain decrees leave no doubt as to the Church’s attitude towards it, but on the other hand it was effectively protected by the obscurity of its symbolism, which could always be explained by harmless allegory…The alchemists ran counter to the Church in preferring to seek through knowledge rather than to find through faith, though as medieval people they never thought of themselves as anything but good Christians…But in reality they were in much the same position as modern man, who prefers immediate personal experience to belief in traditional ideas, or rather has it forced upon him…For this reason there have always been people who, not satisfied with the dominants of conscious life, set forth – under cover and by devious paths, to their destruction or salvation – to seek direct experience of the eternal roots…”

-C.G. Jung, Psychology and Alchemy

Nicholas Melchior Cibenensis – chaplain and court astrologer to Ladislaus I (King of Hungary and Bohemia) and then Louis II – wrote the text of The Alchemical Mass between 1490 and 1516. Following the death of Louis II in 1526, Cibenensis fled to Vienna…where Ferdinand I would execute him in 1531. The original text is quite long and has been paraphrased for this composition.

Introitus Missae:
Fundamentum vero artis est corporum solutio quae, non in aquam nubis, sed in aquam mercurialem resolvenda sunt, ex qua generatur verus lapis philosophorum. [The basis of the Art is the dissolution of the bodies…]
Versus: Introitus vitrioli, et salis vitri, aequales partes, dans solutionis testimonium: Gloria patri, et filio, per spiritum sanctum.

Kyrie:
Kyrie, fons bonitatis, inspirator sacrae artis, a quo bona cuncta tuis fidelibus procedunt, Eleison.
Christe, Hagie, lapis benedicte artis scientiae qui pro mundi salute inspirasti lumen scientiae, Eleison.
Kyrie, ignis divine, pectora nostra juva, ut pro tua laude pariter sacramenta artis expandere possimus, Eleison.
[Our Lord, fount of goodness, inspirer of the sacred art, from whom all good things come to your faithful, have mercy. Christ, Holy one, blessed stone of the art of the science who for the salvation of the world hast inspired the light of the science, have mercy. Our Lord, divine fire, help our hearts, that we may be able, to your praise, to expand the sacraments of the art, have mercy.]

Collecta:
Deus largitor totius bonitatis, qui maxime in fine temporum; sola tua bonitate et sapientia famulo tuo. N.N. non suis meritis praecedentibus: sed tua ineffabili pietate, et gratia praeveniente, lumen sacrae artis alchemiae inspirasti, praesta quae sumus, ut quod ex tuae maiestatis dono accepit, ad salutem corporis, et animae eius prosit, in ipsoque omnia vitia mortifica, et gratiam virtutis infunde, ut eandem sacram artem solum modo ad laudem, et gloriam nominis tui, et fidei Christianae propagationem, fideliter expendat, per dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Amen.
[May thy servant N.N. practice the sacred Art of alchemy to the glory of God…]

Gloria in excelsis

Epistola:
O altitudo divitiarum sapientiae, et scientiae Dei.
[O profound, wise and knowledgeable God.]

Graduale:
Surge aquilo et veni auster: perfla hortum meum, et fluant aromata illius.
[Arise north wind, and come south wind, blow through my garden and let the aromatical spices flow.]

Ave Maria:
Salve, O caeli iubar speciosum, mundi lumen radiosum; hic cum luna copularis, sit copula martialis, et Mercurii coniunctio. Ecce res est una, radix una, essentia una…qui est lapis philosophorum. Hic est thesaurus thesaurorum, summa medicina philosophorum, caeleste secretum antiquorum, beatus, qui hoc invenerit.
[Hail beautiful lamp of heaven, shining light of the world! Here art thou united with the moon, here is made the band of Mars and the conjunction of Mercury. And behold it is one thing, one root, one essence…this being the stone of the philosophers. It is the treasure of treasures, the supreme philosophical potion, the divine secret of the ancients. Blessed is he that finds such thing.]

Commune: Regem nostrum venientem ex igne, illuminatum, et diademate coronatum, ipsum honorate in perpetuum. Amen.
[Glory be to our king who comes out of the fire, who is illumined, and crowned with the diadem, for ever and ever. Amen.]

I wish to thank Dr. Wyant Morton and the Ojai Camerata for commissioning this work and The City of Ventura’s Office of Cultural Affairs for a grant to fund The Jeff Kaiser Ockodektet. I would also like to thank Adam McLean, author of over 40 books on alchemical and hermetic literature, who took the time out of his busy schedule to send me the complete Latin text of The Alchemical Mass with translation. Visit his web site at: www.levity.com/alchemy/ for text and art on all facets of alchemy.

pfMENTUM CD019

PFMCD019