Alex Smith, Determined Volumes, PFMCD140

Alex Smith: Determined Volumes (PFMCD140)

Jeff Kaiser

Determined Volumes
Alex Smith

[playlist ids="10847"]

Featuring: Alex Smith, various instruments and voice • Andrew Zakerski, percussion and voice • Ari Teitel, electric guitar • Brendan Betyn, drumset • Brent Echols, drumset and field drum • Caleb Goncz, glass marimba • Cameron Halls, percussion and voice • Cody Edgerton, glass marimba • Colin McCornack, percussion and voice • Darrien Spicak, percussion and voice • Joel Block, MalletKat and percussion • John Scharf, percussion and voice • Jon Wright, cajón • Jon Weber, percussion • Kathryn Irwin, field drum • Kevin Keith, drumset • Louie Leager, bass guitar

1. The Building of Asgard (11:04)
2. Um quarto é mais (3:39)
3. Cotton Gindustrial (7:11)
4. Crossroads (5:10)
5. One-Minute Speeches (9:56)
6. a. Oscillation (0:00-4:25)
b. Song for the Unmentioned; Devotion (4:25-7:34)
7. 816 (9:41)
8. Tickuf (3:47)

Recorded by Joe Basile, Corey DeRushia, Alex Smith, and Dr. Jon Weber
Mixed by Corey DeRushia at Troubadour Recording
Original album artwork and layout by Will Goodyear

All compositions by Alex Smith, © 2020 jasmith music, ASCAP,
except [4] by Alexis Bacon, ASCAP, [6a-Oscillation] by Joe Basile, ASCAP; [1] poem by Matthew Barbee, [3] sheet music published by Tapspace Publications LLC, ASCAP, and [7] sound design by Joe Basile; thanks Prof. Dease, Dr. Lorenz, and Tijan Dorwana.

Determined Volumes is comprised of some of my compositions and collaborations since 2011. Thanks to all my teachers, friends, collaborators, and influences over the course of my life who have shared their knowledge and skill with me, and that have helped in a variety of ways to produce this album. The tunes on this album are the product of all the practices with which I have connected throughout the course of my life, including but not limited to: Moravian music, jam band music, organ music, Ghanaian gyil music, 90’s alternative rock, rudimental drumming, Northeast Brazilian drumming, noise music, American Jazz and R&B, musical theater, and Western classical piano and percussion music. Visit my YouTube channel for video performances and more information about the pieces.

pfMENTUM PFMCD140
www.pfmentum.com

The Vinny Golia Orchestra Live at REDCAT Los Angeles (PFMDVD123)

Jeff Kaiser

[This product is a DVD]

The
Vinny Golia
Orchestra
Live at
REDCAT
Los Angeles

Set One
1. Set One Introduction 2:31
Primary soloists:
Jonathan Stehney, bassoon
Andrew Rowan, trumpet

2. Show of Force 3:44
Primary soloists:
Carmina Escobar and
Andrea Young, voices

3. 5 (Large Ensemble Version) 11:22
Primary soloists:
Gavin Templeton, alto saxophone
Vinny Golia, baritone saxophone
Stefan Kac, tuba

4. Up In The Sky, Like The Sun At High Noon
(The Eiga Clan Frames The Roscoe Trip) 11:27
Primary soloists:
Erik KM Clark, violin
Dan Clucas and Daniel Rosenboom, trumpets
Jon Armstrong, tenor saxophone

5. Lost & Found (For Henry) 10:49
Primary soloists:
Aniela Perry, cello
Joseph Thel, english horn
Alex Noice, electric guitar
Ingrid Lee, piano

6. Carbine One, Change A Letter 6:13
Primary soloists:
Ben McIntosh, trombone
Michael Mull, alto saxophone
7. Carbine Two 6:09
Primary soloists:
Drew Jordan, trumpet
Vinny Golia and Christine Tavolacci, piccolos

Set Two
1. Set Two Introduction 3:50
Jon Armstrong, tenor saxophone

2. Would You Like Help
On Your Journey To Mottsfield? 6:57
Primary soloists:
Kathy Pisaro, oboe
Vinny Golia, tubax (contrabass saxophone)

3. Soccer Gear Dropped On Religious Leaders 6:57
Primary Soloist:
Alex Noice, guitar
Brian Walsh, bass clarinet
Daniel Rosenboom, piccolo trumpet

4. Barnum Brown Finds Something 4:10
Primary Soloists:
Ingrid Lee, piano
Vinny Golia, sopranino saxophone

5. Just Another Morning 1:57

6. Encore 8:36
Vinny Golia directed improvisation:
Brian Walsh, bass clarinet
Lauren Baba and Andrew Tholl, violin
Christine Tavolacci, bass flute
Jonathan Stehney, bassoon
Alex Noice, guitar
Gavin Templeton, alto saxophone

Special thanks:
Kathy Carbone, Lauren Pratt, Wayne Peet, Allen Kaufman,
David Rosenboom, Marc Lowenstein, California Institute
of the Arts, and all the members of the Vinny Golia New
Music Orchestra

A joint release of
pfMENTUM
and Ninewinds
PFMDVD123/NWDVD400
www.pfmentum.com

Graphic Design: Ted Killian

All compositions and arrangements by Vinny Golia
℗ and © 2018 Ninewinds, BMI

Recorded live at REDCAT in Los Angeles, April 9, 2014
All works Vinny Golia

Conductors Mark Lowenstein and Vinny Golia

Strings
Violins: Andrew Tholl, Henry Webster, Melinda Rice, Stephanie Moorehouse, Lauren Baba, Eric KM Clark, Madeline Falcone
Violas: Cassia Streb, Natalie Brejcha, Morgan Lee Gerstmar
Cellos: Aniela Perry, Derek Stein, April Guthrie, Thea Mesirow
Bass: David Tranchina, Ivan Johnson

Woodwinds
Oboe: Kathy Pisaro
Oboe/English Horn: Joseph Thel
Bassoons: Jonathan Stehney, Archie Carey
C, Alto and Bass Flutes, Piccolo: Christine Tavolacci, Sammi Lee
Saxophones, Flutes, Clarinets: Vinny Golia, Gavin Templeton, Jon Armstrong
Clarinet and Alto Sax: Michael Mull
Bass Clarinet: Brian Walsh

Brass
Trumpets: Dan Clucas, Daniel Rosenboom, Drew Jordan, Andrew Rowan
French Horn: Erin Poulin, Adam Wolf
Trombones: Evan Sprecht, Ben McIntosh, Matt Barbier
Bass Trombone: John Tyler Jordan
Tuba: Stefan Kac

Piano Ingrid Lee

Guitar Alex Noice

Percussion
Mallets: Jodie Landau
Auxiliary Percussion: Tony Gennaro, Vinny Golia
Drum Kit: Andrew Lessman

Voice Andrea Young, Carmina Escobar

Recording Concert recording by Wayne Peet

Mixed and mastered at Newzone Studio, Los Angeles by Wayne Peet with Aaron Druckman (assistant engineer)
Video by Sunlight Digital
Video recording by Allen Kaufman and Jimmy Alioto
Edited and authored by Allen Kaufman

About The Work
When first notified of this REDCAT concert, I planned to meld my electric sextet with my large ensemble; two groups I hold very dear to my heart. Along the way many things happened. I added vocalists, I wanted to have an extended string section and I thought about how I would incorporate the long standing members of the large ensemble and the many new bright faces creating such vibrant music here in Los Angeles. Also along the way tragic events past through the lives of loved ones, the music community suffered the loss of many great musicians and lastly, just a few days ago, Pierre Fauteux passed onto another phase of his continuum. Pierre’s love of music as well as his love of life is embedded in my mind. This concert is a dedication to and a celebration of his time spent on this planet with his lovely wife, Helen, and their two outstanding children, Monique and Jacqueline. It is also dedicated to all those who have lost loved ones.

Pondering on these events happening in my life, the question is (and always has been) how to make music that is meaningful and communicative amidst sorrow and chaos. I still do not know the answer, and my journey takes me deeper into the sounds we create. These compositions were written and re-orchestrated between 2004 and 2014 and are an overview of areas I have been exploring, namely, rhythm, shape, form, and color, with my large and medium ensembles over this time period.

Carbine One, Change A Letter and Carbine Two are portraits of one of my closest friends. Up In The Sky Like The Sun At High Noon is another entry into a series based on driving times in Los Angeles, which as every Los Angeles dweller knows, can be fast and brutal or just plain brutal. This composition also comments on the Eiga clan in feudal Japan, which is a source of inspiration for many other compositions I have written for other various sized ensembles. Show of Force is a commentary on the posturing of nations and how political leaders choose to respond. Lost and Found is for the enigmatic Henry Grimes, whom many thought dead, but who reappeared after many years living in Los Angeles. I have had the great pleasure to perform with Henry numerous times since his reemergence. 5 is the oldest of the compositions, and was originally written for a quartet, then expanded for a quintet, condensed for a saxophone quartet, arranged for a sextet, and finally, orchestrated for this new orchestra. Would you like help in your journey to Motts field? should conjure up images if you enjoy a certain type of film genre.

Lastly, we come to three pieces for Pierre. These compositions, started as a trilogy for percussion and orchestra in 2004, are now just completed. The titles are humorous in honor of Pierre’s love of life, fun, wine, and music. Hopefully you will enjoy them as much as I did while writing them and we have performing them.

In my work there is a balance between the worlds of composition and improvisation. It takes extremely talented musicians to straddle these worlds which includes following a conductor, watching for hand signs and signals, reading complex music, improvising within specific guidelines and interpreting a composer’s ideas into concrete form. I come into contact everyday at CalArts with musicians comfortable working in this way, so after much thought instead of melding my electric sextet with my large ensemble, I decided to take a more orchestral approach and created a new incarnation of my large ensemble for this concert: The Vinny Golia New Music Orchestra. This orchestra comprises many alumni and students who have passed through my various classes and musical groups through the years, as well as CalArts faculty members. The musicians in this orchestra all share a love of exploration and the highest regard for music. It is truly an honor and a privilege to be performing and sharing the stage with them. Tonight we share with you our love of sound in memory of all who have passed through our lives.

—Vinny Golia, Valencia, California, 5 April 2014

Disk Label Text:

The
Vinny Golia
Orchestra
Live at
REDCAT
Los Angeles

A joint release of
pfMENTUM and Ninewinds
PFMDVD123/NWDVD400
www.pfmentum.com

All compositions and arrangements by Vinny Golia
℗ and © 2018 Ninewinds, BMI

Glen Whitehead Trio: The Living Daylights (PFMCD125)

Jeff Kaiser

[playlist ids="1553"]

Glen Whitehead Trio

The Living Daylights

Britton Ciampa Drums • Scott Walton Bass • Glen Whitehead Trumpet

Improvisational structures inspired by natural phenomena that play with our perceptions of space, time, and place

The Living Daylights Suite (1-3)
1. Living Daylights Suite 1—at Time’s Place 05:02
2. Living Daylights Suite 2—Zenosyne 08:23
3. Living Daylights Suite 3—Apophenia 08:30
4. Heliopause 04:01
5. 42 Degrees 04:31
6. Bow Shock 05:49
7. Shedding Vortices 03:38
8. Involution Engine 06:22
9. Fissure Syndrome 03:54
10. Pearl of Swirl 05:50
11. Punktuation 07:44

Recorded at the Banquet Studios February 6, 2016
and July 21, 2016, Guerneville, CA
Engineered by Darryl Webb
Mixed and Mastered by Wayne Peet at Killzone,
Newzone Studio, Los Angeles, February, 2018
Photo Credit—Glen Whitehead
Graphic Design—Ted Killian
© 2018 Glen Whitehead (ASCAP)
pfMENTUM
PFMCD125

The Living Daylights
Musical Notes

The Living Daylights is based on natural phenomena that play with our perceptions of space, time and place and rendered with a loosely structured improvisational system that enables many possibilities within the natural restraints of a conscious system. These pieces explore similarities between immersive activities surrounding intensive environmental exploration and improvisational music composition. The more one invests energy, time and intention to immersive experiences in the world, the more phenomenal events appear – connections come alive with mysterious interactions.

This ensemble is an ecosystem where unique communities of sound are created within each piece. In this “conscious system” individuals are free to roam and explore while supporting the foundations of the emerging sonic environment, each individual being equally responsible for the whole. Empathy through sound, the sounding of self-reflection between the rewards of individuality and shared common goals create unique musical real estate; each piece then embodies unique energies internalized (and externalized) by the ensemble members.

I created the identity of these pieces after the recording process in long term listening, imagining and research sessions. Most ideas were initially encountered through immersive investigations in a variety of natural environments around the world the last several years (many under what I would call an apprenticeship with ecoacoustic composer Dr. Matthew Burtner and the EcoSono Institute) including many sites across Colorado and the great southwest, the Great Sand Dunes, San Luis Valley, headwaters of the Rio Grand, as well as Alaska, Cape Cod, Mexico, Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand, Korea and more.

My long-term goal is to develop a stronger methodology between improvisational music creation, ecoacoustics, acoustic ecology, environmentalism and other related practices.

                                                           

This work is part of a larger interdisciplinary leap on my part that includes several related projects including collaborations with dance, geography, theatre, and film.  In essense, this study is a long-term attempt to build more pathways between creative music practices and partnering fields.

These pieces, and the two incredible musicians whom I have been so honored to work with on this project reflect such phenomenological experiences.  Scott Walton (acoustic bass) has been a key collaborator in my musical life.  He is equal a pianist as a bassist and simply one of the best musicians –   that I have had the privilege to work with and learn from in my life. Britt represents a younger   generation of insanely informed musicians.  His skill as a drummer and knowledge as musician is well beyond his years.  He possesses an uncanny ability to connect obscure subjects and histories within a deep understanding of the creative music world.  The magic of his playing is his ability to wield musical and sonic information into its the fullest possible context.  He is also an “ex-student” of mine from UCCS – one of our very best.

I view the wide world of sonic and musical languages in this work as idiomatic – a respectful departure of what is usually commonly understood in contexts of free improvisation as “non-idiomatic” (from Derek Bailey’s definition).  To me, this is a resolvable contradiction.  I believe it is time to reconcile all sound language as “idiomatic.” We are saturated within the idioms of our instrumental backgrounds – acquired ear, technical and historic knowledge along with both innate and environmental influences.  This is the natural order of things, musically speaking.  All sound is at play, why make distinctions? How we wield our musical instruments is a fundamental part of our humanistic “taskscapes,” a term used by Tim Ingold, originally “to bring the perspectives of archaeology and anthropology into unison” (The Temporality of the Landscape, 1993), “the constitutive tasks of the dwelling” in this case, “musicking,” applies perfectly to instrumental and vocal play.  Such musicking, as has been hypothesized was a fundamental part of the task-scape that played so significantly in the adaptation and improvisation process that went into our early development as a species, so significant in fact it may have been a fundamental catalyst in the development of imagination and possibility.

                                                                                   

Notes on the pieces

The first three tracks make up a suite.  They were the first pieces recorded on this project, conceived and recorded as one unit, and in one take.  At Time’s Place is a play on words in acknowledgment of the constant “present” in which we live.  In this open-ended tradition of improvised music, the phenomenological act of real-time musical creation gives us a unique way to access the past and the future, if only in our minds eye of self-reflection and imagination.

Zenosyne, from the unique “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Greene pinpoints a fundamental experience that had no clear term (in English, anyway) – the sense that time keeps going faster as you get older.  In a different frame, such an example is at the very core of improvisational experience, and I like to imagine would be part of a future established aspect of music theory for improvisation.  I am reminded of many times when an improvisation seemed to take ten minutes, and forty-five minutes had passed. While, to certain members of the audience, no doubt, it felt like two hours!

Apophenia, the perception of patterns, meanings, or connections where none exists, is also a relatively new word although the well explored phenomenon itself is not. Its first use is credited to the psychiatrist Klaus Conrad back in 1958 in his catchy-titled Die beginnende Schizophrenie: Versuch einer Gestaltanalyse des Wahns, which translates to the equally scintillating The origins of schizophrenia: A Gestalt analysis of paranoia.  It is fascinating that this word should appear to be so recent when the actual phenomenon is so old and important enough to have been a lynch-pin for philosophical study through the ages.  In Natural History of Religion (1757), philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) wrote the following:

There is a universal tendency among mankind to conceive all beings like themselves, and to transfer to every object those qualities with which they are familiarly acquainted, and of which they are intimately conscious.  We find human faces in the moon, armies in the clouds; and by a natural propensity, if not corrected by experience and reflection, ascribe malice and good will to everything that hurts or pleases us.

There is one major qualification and difference of how this idea is utilized in this work.  This is a play on the imagination – the “random” discoveries that appear to have no connections, actually uncover true, previously unseen connections and relationships.  I cannot think of a better context for the illusively connective experience of improvised music.

The Heliopause (with its syntactic musical resonance) is the boundary where the sun’s solar wind meets the faint radiation of interstellar space and is no longer strong enough to push back the stellar winds of the surrounding stars.  This is the boundary where the interstellar medium and solar wind pressures meet and balance, physics working on a grand scale, the great meeting point of astral forces locked in a dance. Imagine, even with this distance impossible for us to quantify in scale in our imagination, that this line is definitive and slender where the distant finger of our incubator solar cocoon touches the rest of the universe– what a musical thought.

42 degrees references the connection of people and light reflected in the observations of – well, rainbows.  When we see a rainbow and its band of colors we are looking at light refracted and reflected from different raindrops at an angle of between 40 and 42 degrees at all points of view – whether one person is high on a hilltop and another hundreds of feet below.  Light orients to our visual lenses, our lenses orient the angle of light.

Bow Shock, also called a detached shock or normal shock, is a curved, stationary shock wave that is found in a supersonic flow past a finite body. Similarly, Shedding vortices (vortex shedding) is an oscillating flow that takes place when a fluid such as air or water flows past a bluff (as opposed to streamlined) body at certain velocities, depending on the size and shape of the body. Both of these phenomena, for me, connect with the wind “shock” that occurs inside and across a fast material with wind and brass sound production, and illuminate the use of creating sound vortexes in so many different ways in improvised music.

Involution Engine is a function, transformation, or operator that is equal to its inverse, only applies to itself and is a function of its own inverse. for instance, in medicine, this applies to the shrinking of an organ (such as the uterus after pregnancy) or philosophy and psychology a “turning in” on one’s self.  Musical phenomena in time also have similar phenomena but have been limited in concept, I believe, because of the hard-cast association with printed, scored notation – retrograde inversion, for example. The idea of a sonic involution works exquisitely in an aural, perceived identity, much like a physically created moveable object and is far more complex and four dimensional that can be adequately represented on a typical score (mostly).

 I came up with Fissure Syndrome through pure free association upon listening to the results of this piece several times.  As it turns out, it is a kind of an Apophenia in of itself, as this term lives in the medical world as, superior orbital fissure syndrome (also known as Rochen-Duvigneaud syndrome) is a collection of symptoms caused by compression of structures just anterior to the orbital apex. The eye is to the ear, except when closed.

For Pearl of Swirl, am fascinated by the perception of sound as physical moving substance or phenomena. To me, this conceptual mega-world is in its infancy and a signification of the music theory and creative methodologies of the future of music.  Pearl of Swirl, here, references Pearl Swirl, a rheoscopic fluid created specifically to see the movement or currents in liquids. Its purpose is scientific in nature, yet, it carries commercial tendrils with trademark statuses and “secret ingredient” branding. It is at once a vital substance category for the science of fluid dynamics and other related fields in order to visualize currents, aerodynamics, turbulence, convection and other phenomena (a not so subtle nod to my father, an award winning physical oceanographer, fluid dynamicist and a very creative one, at that).  On the other side of the coin, pearl swirl is also a novel commercial ingredient added to shampoos and other liquids for the purpose of a non-functional aesthetical “swirl” effect. This duality embodies the inescapable, almost satirical relationship between real science and over-saturated reality of commerce in our culture today.

Punktuation – ‘Nuff said and done

—Glen Whitehead

 

Building Blocks: New Recording from Ethan Sherman!

Building Blocks—guitarist Ethan Sherman’s first full-length recording as a bandleader—is a collection of original and traditional music featuring drummer Christian Euman and upright bassist Chris Rolontz. This recording is the culmination of Sherman’s education and experiences as a sideman, collaborator, and bandleader across jazz, American acoustic music, and free improvisation. Building Blocks delivers a thoughtful presentation of a finely tuned …

pfMENTUM and Angry Vegan: New recordings and more! 

Dedicated to creative music, and the musicians that make it! Included in this issue: A letter from Jeff A quiz with FREE CD giveaway… New Vlatkovich releases on pfMENTUM New Hipster Modular (Trevor Henthorn) release on Angry Vegan Upcoming events From Jeff:   This is a very exciting time for pfMENTUM and Angry Vegan!   As many of you know, I left Ventura …

Michael Vlatkovich Quartet: You’re Too Dimensional (PFMCD077)

Jeff Kaiser

[playlist ids="539"]
Michael Vlatkovich Quartet
You’re Too Dimensional.

Michael Vlatkovich: Compositions, Trombone
Jim Knodle: Trumpet
Phil Sparks: Bass
Greg Campbell: Drums, French Horn*

(05:05) 1. various manifestations of thwart & opine for curved bill thrasher & toy piano in 4 parts
(02:48) 2. no candy for the wagon full of devils
(08:15) 3. the curious intensity of a refrigerator defrosting *
(04:24) 4. wishing for 2 at 5/3
(06:26) 5. mOOn jOOiia
(10:04) 6. blue peepers
(06:25) 7. the static equilibrium of the values of savagery
(06:50) 8. i liberate monsters
(02:32) 9. balance out of life out of balance *
(06:32) 10. fools drunks & angels
total 59:37

Recorded in Seattle 2-2-13 Doug Hare – Engineer, Sonarchy Radio
Edited, Mixed & Mastered 5-01/02-13
Wayne Peet – Engineer, Newzone Studio, Los Angeles
Chuck Britt – Design

pfMENTUM CD077

PFMCD077

Zen Widow: Screaming in Daytime (Makes Men Forget) (PFMCD069)

Jeff Kaiser

[playlist ids="522"]
Zen Widow
Featuring Wadada Leo Smith

Zen Widow is:
Gianni Gebbia (alto saxophone)
Matthew Goodheart (grand piano, electro-acoustic gongs and cymbals)
Garth Powell (drums and percussion)
Special guest artist—Wadada Leo Smith (trumpet)

1. Gifts We Have Forgotten 13:05
2. Notated Memory 12:05
3. Black On White Paper 7:05
4. This Seeming Dream 7:36
5. Musa Physics 15:42
Total Time: 55:41

“Screaming in Daytime (makes men forget)” is Zen Widow’s third album, our first collaboration with Wadada Leo Smith, and it is in large part homage to tenor firebrand: Glenn Spearman.

Many of the melodies are constructed from fragments of his compositions. We inverted, rearranged, and modified what wasn’t completely new or created on the spot. Wishing to maintain the essence of Glenn’s rich compositional style was the priority, without resorting to a typical “tribute” collection of an artist’s past works.
All four of us worked with and deeply respected Glenn. I was a young artist right out of music school when I first worked with him. Already a master of the free jazz idiom, he was both thoughtful and generous to treat me as an equal given his age and experience. Although I frequently find myself thinking about the music we shared, this disc represents where the four of us are today—looking up and outward towards our friend.

The San Francisco Bay Area has been the home of a multitude of great artists as it continues to be. Yet, the fire and passion that was stoked throughout our community left a vacuum with Glenn’s passing. That loss is felt to this day. Glenn’s work with Cecil Taylor, Jimmy Lyons, The Glenn Spearman Double Trio with Larry Ochs, The Creative Music Orchestra with Marco Eneidi, and numerous other projects were all testaments to Glenn’s spirit and incredible power.

As improvisers we try to be in the moment, but it’s still hard not to gaze back and think of Glenn.

—Garth Powell 2012

I am very honored to dedicate this recording to Glenn Spearman, I worked with him only once at the Beanbenders concert series in Berkeley. I was very impressed by his solid sound, his gentleness and kindness of spirit. This recording is a double honor for me because of the great sounds of Wadada. He was the original soloist in the trio where I started my musical career with Peter Kowald and Gunther Baby Sommer. Wadada’s trumpet voice is the ideal to show our gratitude to Glenn.

Drops of Gold are falling forever in the long and everlasting dharma of the Great Black Music.

—Jòraku Gianni Gebbia 2012

In February of 1998, my group “Trio and. . .” played at the closing night of Radio Valencia in San Francisco. Performing was my regular line up of Glenn Spearman on tenor and Donald Robinson on drums, with Wadada Leo Smith as guest. The night was intense, beautiful, a fulfillment, these great artists sounding above those simple musical structures of my own making. A few weeks before I had been asked “If you could play with any musicians you wanted, who would it be?” My answer was: this group.

I did not know it at the time, but it was the beginning of an end of an era in Bay Area improvised music. Whatever forces drive certain moments in musicking, they had secretly begun to diverge. The group of artists centered around Radio Valencia moved to other venues. Glenn, in his own words, “went to join the ancestors” some nine months later. The scene slowly evolved into something else. The movement of that night, the deep interaction between Glenn and Wadada over the flux of the rhythm section, remains a personal embodiment of that time. All of these musicians had a profound impact on me, so generous in their time and artistry in support of a younger man struggling to find his formation. Glenn was my mentor; he brought me inside of his world, working closely, hours playing, absorbed in the details of his and our music. He taught me focus and intensity, maturity of vision. From Wadada I learned the concentrated, delicate, sensuous detail of shape and sculpture in each utterance. From Donald: flow, patience, attention, integrity.

To revisit Glenn’s music, over a decade after his death, with the collaborative Zen Widow and (once again) the generous addition of Wadada Leo Smith, moves into sound that complex network of events that exist as cadences in our lives. Glenn’s unending musicality calls back from the ancestors to play among the living.
I still learn from these artists, all of them. If asked again, if I could again play with any musicians I wanted, the answer again would be: this group.

—Matthew Goodheart 2012

Recorded Live to two-track analog at Ocean Way Recording—Studio A—Hollywood, California by Mike Ross (second engineer Patrick Spain)

Production and generous implementation of Audioquest microphone cables with DBS technology by Joe Harley

Mastered by Bernie Grundman—Bernie Grundman Mastering, Hollywood, California

Disc Manufacturing and 1:1 glass mastering—Groove House, Woodland Hills, California

Graphic Layout and Design—John Benz, Petaluma, California

Photography: Front Cover: Heike Neubauer–Antoci, Mettanest Studio, Dresden, Germany
Back Cover Group Photo: David Swann Photography
Inside Face Group Photo: David Goggin

Special thanks to Shantee Maggie Baker, John Benz, Michael Ehlers, Marco Eniedi, David Goggin, Bernie Grundman, Joe Harley, Jeff Kaiser, Wayne Powell, Mike Ross, David and Susan Thompson, everyone at Ocean Way Recording Hollywood, and all of our friends across the world who tirelessly create and support improvised music.

All compositions by Gebbia, Goodheart, Powell, and Smith. Evolving Door Music BMI 2012, SIAE 2012
© 2012 All Rights Reserved

pfMENTUM CD069

PFMCD069

Jeff Kaiser and Gregory Taylor / The Desert Fathers: Coptic Icons (PFMCD050)

Jeff Kaiser

[playlist ids="467"]
The Desert Fathers

Jeff Kaiser: Quartertone Trumpet, Laptop
Gregory Taylor: Laptop

ONLY AVAILABLE DIGITALLY

1. Visions (Saint Anthony) 31:14
2. The White Monastery (Saint Shenouda) 26:02

Recorded direct-to-disc 4.27 and 4.28.07 at the Boise Experimental Music Festival
CD art, mix and mastering by Jeff Kaiser
© 2007, Gregory Taylor, BMI and Jeff Kaiser Music, ASCAP
For more information:
www.pfMENTUM.com • PFMCD050

The Desert fathers—a collection of ascetics, monks, and hermits—fled the persecutions and chaos of the Roman Empire in the third century AD and settled in the deserts of Egypt, seeking safety and solace in loose-knit refugee communities at the margins of civilization. When the persecutions stopped, they remained-drawn as individuals by the solitude, privation, and self-discipline borne of desert life.

Born the son of wealthy landowners, orphaned, and later disciple of a local ascetic, St. Anthony the Great is noteworthy as the first to actually pursue an isolated (anchoritic) life in the desert itself. His biographies describe in vivid detail the afflictions and visions of his isolation—torments from which he emerged enlightened, serene, and healthy. After this, he moved further into the wilderness even as his fame grew, founding his own monastery where he dedicated himself and his disciples to prayer and the discipline of manual labor.

Shenouda the Archimandrite first visited the White Monastery (so named for the color of limestone of its outer walls) located near the Upper Egyptian city of Souhag as a boy. He remained there as a result of a vision granted to the monastery’s abbot, and eventually served as its abbot during its heyday as a thriving ascetic community.

Anthony and Shenouda were both canonized after their deaths as saints in the Coptic Orthodox Church. As monks, they combined their own individualized practices with regimens attuned to their lives in a desert environment and introduced elements of shared communal practice (the sharing of meals and liturgical practice) into their communities that laid the foundations for what we now think of as Christian monasticism.

pfMENTUM CD050

PFMCD050

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

Jeff Kaiser

[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).]

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