Saturday, March 6, 2021
Legendary NYC composers, band leaders, multi-instrumentalists and long time collaborators Jonathan Kane and Dave Soldier join forces with two of their most enduring projects—the trance-blues ecstatic minimalism of Jonathan Kane’s February, and the groundbreaking experimental string quartet innovations of Soldier String Quartet. With collective experience that include Swans, La Monte Young and Rhys Chatham for Kane, and John Cale, Bo Diddley and Kurt Vonnegut for Soldier, this pair has got stories.
February Meets Soldier String Quartet weds overtone-drenched drones with Delta and Chicago blues, trance, minimalism, jazz, no-wave, Haydn, and the great American songbook. It’s music that reconciles hypnosis with the physicality of a sweat-drenched juke joint. These are sounds for dancing, meditating, having sex, or banging your head against the wall.
Jonathan Kane is a downtown NYC legend, as co-founder of the no-wave behemoth Swans, and the rhythmic thunder behind the massed-guitar armies of Rhys Chatham and the three-hour blues excursions of minimalist godfather La Monte Young—and as one of the hardest-hitting drummers on the planet. His critically acclaimed trance-blues releases February, I Looked At The Sun and Jet Ear Party, power guitar-driven minimalism into the blues, and the blues into guitar-driven harmonic maximalism. His live band Jonathan Kane’s February has performed internationally to kinetically charged audiences. Kane has also worked with The Kropotkins, Transmission, Circus Mort, John Zorn, Gary Lucas, The Kane Bros. Blues Band and Jean-Francois Pauvros. He appears on over 75 records.
Dave Soldier’s many projects include the Thai Elephant Orchestra consisting of 14 elephants in northern Thailand, the cult Delta punk band the Kropotkins, The People’s Choice (The World’s Most Unwanted Music), the Soldier String Quartet, the Brainwave Music Project, and coaching children to compose their own music in Harlem, Brooklyn, and Guatemala. He has performed as violinist, guitarist, and composer/arranger with Bo Diddley, John Cale, Kurt Vonnegut, David Byrne and others, appearing on over 100 records, including 20 featuring his compositions for classical and jazz musicians. Soldier, as Dr. David Sulzer is also a professor at Columbia University Medical Center in the Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Pharmacology. His book Music, Math and Mind on the physics and neuroscience of music will be published in February by Columbia Press.
1. Hate To See You Go. 9:16. Walter Jacobs – Arc Music/BMI
Little Walter’s Chicago blues classic becomes a full on trance-blues dance floor workout.
The relentless riffs begin and never let up, blooming in full force with a luscious orchestral string section and a slashing Albert Ayler-inspired violin solo.
2. It Was A Very Good Year. 8:06. Ervin Drake – ASCAP
Popularized by Frank Sinatra, this staple of the great American songbook takes the listener on an instrumental journey through a life as seen through the lens of two NYC Downtown Music practitioners.
3. Requiem for Hulis Pulis. 16:09. Jonathan Kane – Mythco Music/BMI
A long form trance-blues voyage that takes minimalism to the crossroads where John Lee Hooker, Gavin Bryars, Muddy Waters, Steve Reich and Shostakovich come together to discuss what’s for dinner.
4. Vienna Over The Hills. 11:15. Dave Soldier – Rigglius Musc/ASCA
A gauzy dream-cum-nightmare of the worlds of Mozart, the Pastorale symphony, Mahler, Fritz Kreisler, Arnold Schoenberg, Klimt, Anna Freud and the Vienna Woods after it tore itself limb from limb.
Jonathan Kane – Drums, Guitars, Bass
Dave Soldier – Strings
Born out of his studies at Juilliard in the mecca of Jazz, New York City, Hugh Manwell crashed on the scene in 2014 creating his own lane for his unique, contemporary sound. A live multi-instrumentalist and producer, Hugh Manwell intricately blurs the line of Jazz, Funk, and Soul while remaining true to his own raw, uncut sound. Hugh's style has been compared to a mixture of artists such as Robert Glasper, J Dilla, Miles Davis, BadBadNotGood, and Jackie Mclean, and more.
With his debut project, Hugh, Hugh Manwell delivers 4 genre blending Contemporary Jazz songs on NYC based record label, Onza Records. The 4 track EP showcases his multi-instrumental playing capabilities. On the short project, Hugh shows his strengths playing Drums, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, and Saxophone on each song. From the upbeat disco-esq House Of Glass to the slowed down psychedelic grooves of The One And Only, you're sure to find something that satisfies your hunger. The album pulls inspiration from artists such as Robert Glasper, J Dilla, Miles Davis, BadBadNotGood, Jackie Mclean, and more.
1. The One And Only 02:35
2. House Of Glass 03:00
3. Slow It Down 02:40
4. Bricks 03:05
Hugh Manwell on Alto Saxophone, Keyboards, Bass, Guitar and Drums
TAO Forms is =very= excited to [soon!] present the entirety of this astonishing new work from the fertile creative mind of tenor saxophonist–composer James Brandon Lewis. Performed by the Red Lily Quintet, an exceptional & singular inter-generational ensemble, this album speaks to the forever-evolving continuum of the jazz tradition.
Voted Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist in the 2020 DownBeat Magazine International Critic’s Poll, James Brandon Lewis supercharges his remarkable evolution with Jesup Wagon, a brilliant and evocative appreciation of the life and legacy of turn-of-the-19th century African-American renaissance man George Washington Carver. The album – to be released on May 7, 2021 – consists of seven pieces that create a portrait of stunning clarity and depth.
There is so much special about this recording, James’ 9th, starting with [on the way in] the lavish artwork, including a reproduction on the cover of Carver’s own tantalizing drawing of the Jesup Agricultural Wagon, which is shown in a photograph on the back cover, rendering a dialogue of representation and abstraction that Lewis models in the music. And while liner notes are generally more relied upon than celebrated, Jesup Wagon’s are delivered by the great UCLA American historian Robin D.G. Kelley, who in 2009 released the definitive Thelonious Monk biography 'Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original'. His notes, printed lovingly on an ochre background, contain much historical detail about Carver, particularly as they relate to the tunes. The fact that Kelley was willing to write them tells you something about the power of the music on the album, which Kelley calls “a revelation.”
If “revelation” is a word commonly used to describe master saxophonists like John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Pharoah Sanders and Dewey Redman, then it fits easily in the horn of James Brandon Lewis, who is a keen student of those and many other elders. But while boundless energy characterizes his playing, it is also grounded by a deep sense of narrative, which is why he is attracted to histories, like Carver’s, or to theories like his own Molecular Systematic Music, used on his superb previous 2020 Intakt album, 'Molecular', or to artistic genres such as surrealism, modeled by Lewis on the stunning 'An UnRuly Manifesto' from 2019.
Helping James get it all out on Jesup Wagon is the Red Lily Quintet, anchored by the tectonic rhythm section of bassist William Parker and drummer Chad Taylor, and rounded out by cornetist Kirk Knuffke and cellist Chris Hoffman. Parker, who James says “has looked out for me ever since I arrived in New York City,” is a genius of the stand-up bass who performed with grand-master Cecil Taylor for 11 years straight. He is also a renaissance man in his own right. Chad Taylor, “one of the most melodic drummers I’ve ever played with,” James says, is a Chicagoan who has gifted to New York some of the energy and drama the windy city is known for. Kirk Knuffke is one of New York’s rare cornet players, using that instrument’s impish tone to explosive effect on dozens of records by New York jazz heavies. Chris Hoffman made his bones playing Henry Threadgill’s demanding music in a few of the great alto saxophonist’s bands, and has worked with artists as diverse as Yoko Ono, Marc Ribot and Marianne Faithful.
When Walter Smith III released his fourth album Still Casual in 2014, people listened, and the album was heralded as one of the top releases of the year. Now, fans of the saxophonist and composer can experience the tenorist’s wide-ranging release in a fresh new format on Vinyl *for the first time* on this special 2xLP, 180 gram limited edition printing in gatefold artwork.
Smith’s discography is pleasingly joined-up. As In Common 2 follows In Common, Still Casual references his 2006 solo debut Casually Introducing. The title might be another one of Smith’s trademark riffs, but the album is as committed to exploration as any other. Over the course of ten original tracks, Smith covers a swathe of musical and emotional ground.
The players assembled for Still Casual speak volumes for the quality of Smith’s company. Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire joins Smith for explosive soloing on ‘Fing Fast’ and ‘Something New’. In Common co-convenor Matthew Stevens provides reflective harmonic support and muted solo colours alongside the understated backings of Taylor Eigsti. Together, Harish Raghavan and Kendrick Scott provide moments of tension and intrigue from the backline, adding suitable punch to the opener ‘Foretold You’.
Chronologically, the album precedes the In Common projects, and comes right as Smith hits his stride as a composer and arranger. From the elaborate (‘About 360’, ‘Processional’) to the personal (‘Greene’ is dedicated to saxophonist Jimmy Greene, whose daughter was killed in the Sandy Hook school shootings in 2012), Smith shines across fast-flowing vernacular and reflective, tender tones. Still Casual showcases a group stretching themselves in a way that never seems hurried, delving into a powerful collective energy to test their limits instead.
Cory Weeds delivers a blistering set of Italian themed tunes backed up by one of the pre-eminent organs bands in jazz today!
The results speak for themselves: swinging bop lines executed by all, crackling rhythm section accompaniment and interaction, and an ensemble sound that underscores the values of swing, groove and participatory interaction over a carefully selected set of compositions--thanks to the support of Giulio Recchioni and the Italian Cultural Centre--that celebrate through reinvention and interpretation some great Italian music ("O Sole Mio," "Toma A Surriento"), as well as compositions taken from the rich history of contribution that Italian-Americans have brought to jazz and the American popular song (Marmarosa, Corea, Martino, Mancini).
Although to some, perhaps, the ideas presented here may appear on the surface to be disparate and tangentially connected: a jazz version of "O Sole Mio," a fifth instrumentalist added to a longstanding quartet or even the Hammond B3 organ in jazz (a relatively late addition to the music's instrumentarium with an unusual historical pedigree of roller rinks and makeshift churches), jazz has long been about thwarting normative conventions and looking for points of intersection that connect and unite players and sounds that span nationalities, race, language, gender and musical history.