Thursday, January 13, 2022

Damon Smith + Peter Kowald, Joëlle Léandre & Bertram Turetzky - Bass Duos 2000​-​2007 (January 15, 2021 Balance Point Acoustics)

I met Joëlle Léandre when she was a visiting professor at Mills college in 2002. This was very exciting, as I had been collecting her albums since I started to play the double bass and she was an important influence on my work. I had a bass lesson scheduled with her the day we lost Maestro Kowald. She was very close to him and it was devastating to her. For me, it meant losing a role model; for her, it was losing a close friend and supporter. We had a long phone conversation and she told me many stories about him. A few days later, Henry Kaiser graciously offered to let me record a solo for Kowald in his home studio. I thought a bass duo with Joëlle would be more fitting and I believe it was. Still, the sadness surrounding the session kept us from dealing with it for many years. I would get it out and try to consider track order or titles, maybe email Joëlle about it, and that would be the extent. Both her work and his remain a guide for me as I continue my work in the music. I am glad to finally get this session out into the world!

The reason I started playing music was because of seeing the great Mike Watt play with the band fIREHOSE. His extremely physical and multi-textured approach to the bass guitar logically pushed me to improvised music and the double bass. In the 1990s I had formed a bass quartet with George Cremaschi, Lincoln Smith, and Morgan Gubberman and we decided to ask Watt for a composition for our next performance. Watt replied saying he has lots of compositions and that he would just come up and play them with us. The music he brought consisted of his pieces from the monumental minutemen album Double Nickels on the Dime. I am a bit too young to have seen the minutemen so this was an incredible experience: the first time I heard these songs live was playing them with Watt! I should mention that Watt's bass duo DOS, with the great Black Flag bassist Kira Roessler, is now his longest running band and the first time I ever heard a bass duo was one of their albums! We got quite a nice guarantee for the show and I asked Watt if we could spend half of it bringing Bertram on board.

Watt was excited by the idea! Bert was into playing a rock club and said "I used to play places where you had to check your guns and knives at the door. It will be great!" At the show a punk rocker yelled, "Play louder" during a break in his set that night. Bert replied, ”You listen louder.” I ended up getting lessons from Bert, organizing many Bay Area concerts and workshops for him, and we developed a friendship. For me as a young bassist, he was very generous with his time. His commitment to improvised music was very inspiring as was his tireless effort to catalog the available timbres and techniques for the instrument, resulting in his book The Contemporary Contrabass. Originally meant as a resource for composers, it is an incredible guide for improvisors trying to deepen their relationship to the instrument. During a phone conversation one of us casually suggested a duo album. The magnitude of recording with this master did not sink in until just a few days beforehand! It was originally released in an edition of 100 CDRs that sold out pretty quickly.

These experiences are formative for me and have shaped the way I work with the instrument in improvised music. Not everyone has the opportunity to go directly to the source of the area they are working in, and these duos are certainly the source for me. Dave Holland and Barre Phillips made the first improvised double bass duo LP. It seems to me that Kowald's series of three LPs on FMP with Barre Phillips, Maarten van Regteren Altena and Barry Guy solidified it as a working method, and this meant having the duo as an available format in which I could work. My longest running bass duo is with the Texas bassist Thomas Helton, and hopefully an album will come out of our work as well.

Damon Smith

1. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Broken Mirrors April 28th 1 15:34
2. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Broken Mirrors April 28th 2 16:07
3. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Reflections on April 28th 1 03:45
4. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Reflections on April 28th 2 03:58
5. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Reflections on April 28th 3 03:12
6. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Reflections on April 28th 4 04:38
7. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Reflections on April 28th 5 02:32
8. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Reflections on April 28th 6 03:57
9. Peter Kowald & Damon Smith - Reflections on April 28th 7 07:20
10. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Throw off the Husk 04:35
11. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Ancestor & the Future 03:04
12. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Lost & Lucid 03:24
13. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Time Dries Up (DS solo) 01:18
14. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Mirrors Without Dust 02:34
15. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Uweaving the Threads (JL solo) 04:50
16. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Listening to the Same Blood 02:46
17. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Hive of Instants (DS solo) 02:19
18. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Building our Erosions 03:31
19. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Flowers Without Venom 03:05
20. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Unfingers its Grasp 04:22
21. Joëlle Léandre & Damon Smith - Sky Without Birds 01:58
22. Bertram Turetzky & Damon Smith - Vulturegrip 04:12
23. Bertram Turetzky & Damon Smith - Coalmarked 10:37
24. Bertram Turetzky & Damon Smith - Chalkravine 06:35
25. Bertram Turetzky & Damon Smith - Woodsong 02:05
26. Bertram Turetzky & Damon Smith - Slickensides 06:14
27. Bertram Turetzky & Damon Smith - Southbright 10:51
28. Bertram Turetzky & Damon Smith - Northtrue 08:27

Damon Smith Bass Duos
Peter Kowald 2000
Joëlle Léandre 2002
Bertram Turetzky 2007

Disc One:
Peter Kowald double bass
Damon Smith double bass

Broken mirrors:
Recorded on 28 April 2000 at Gallery 2310 Oakland, California; this is one piece with an index point for convenience only.

Reflections on April 28th 2000:
Recorded on 3 May 2000 in Oakland, California
Remastered by Weasel Walter 2021
Front cover drawing (reproduced above) by Peter Kowald; design by Kowald and Jürgen Schäfer.

Disc Two:
Joëlle Léandre double bass
Damon Smith Jdouble bass
Recorded by Henry Kaiser September 2002
DAT transfer by Ryan Edwards
Mixed by Maikol Seminatore 2020
Mastered by Weasel Walter

Titles from English translations of poems by Andrée Chedid

Disc Three:
Bertram Turetzky double bass
Damon Smith double bass.

Remastered by Weasel Walter 2021
Recorded on 11 November 2007 at 1510 8th St. Performance Space, Oakland, California, tracks 1-5 in studio, tracks 6-7 live.
Front cover photograph (reproduced above) by Damon Smith; design by Alan Anzalone.
Titles are English translation of invented German compound words by Paul Celan

Front cover drawing by Peter Kowald
Overall design by Allen Anzalone
Thanks to Clifford Allen for editing help!

PDF of full cover art & liner notes including the original Mirrors, Broken, But No Dust notes included with all downloads

Paul Hartsaw / Damon Smith / Jerome Bryerton - Precipitation of a DecisIon (January 2022 Balance Point Acoustics)

1. Demarcation of Contents 05:38
2. Memory Prop 04:12
3. Sea of Reeds 06:08
4. Empty Time 05:28
5. Dissolution Through Expansion 02:41
6. Bits of Heat 04:05
7. Elimination of Empty Spaces 08:28
8. Light in the Pool 04:06
9. Reversal of Loss 06:12
10. Trickling from Dripping Wounds 04:25
11. Memory not Reliable 04:38
12. Paul Hartsaw / Damon Smith - Ghost with Necktie 02:41
13. Paul Hartsaw / Damon Smith - Flour in the Sausage 05:06
14. Paul Hartsaw / Damon Smith - To Each His (Own) Palm Tree 11:19
15. Paul Hartsaw / Damon Smith - Potato Pyramid in Zwirner's Cellar 04:43
16. Paul Hartsaw / Damon Smith - Higher Beings Command-Paint an Angel 02:35
17. Paul Hartsaw Damon Smith - Knitted Alps 01:27
18. Paul Hartsaw / Damon Smith - Untitled (Platypus) 04:53
19. Paul Hartsaw / Damon Smith - Protocol from the 29th of July 07:44

Cover Art:
Eliot Daughtry Postcard 1 & 5
Photographs by Melissa Venator
Design by Alan Anzalone

Disc 1 Precipitation of a Decision (track 1-11)
Artist: Paul Hartsaw – Damon Smith – Jerome Bryerton
Title: Precipitation of a Decision
Recorded: Bird Cloud Studio in St. Louis, MO
Date: May 15, 2021 (05/15/2021)
Recording Engineer: Ryan Wasoba
Paul Hartsaw – tenor saxophone;
Damon Smith – double bass;
Jerome Bryerton – percussion

Ttitles from Anselm Kiefer's Notebooks

Disc 2: The Ride on the 8 Of Infinity (tracks 12-19)
Artist: Paul Hartsaw – Damon Smith
Title: The Ride on the 8 Of Infinity
Recorded: 1510 Studio in Oakland, CA
Date: February 2, 2008 (02/02/2008)
Recording Engineer: Scott Looney
Mastered by Weasel Walter
Paul Hartsaw – soprano & tenor saxophones;
Damon Smith – double bass, laptop, field recordings
For Sigmar Polke

Ronald Shannon Jackson and The Decoding Society - Live 1989 Koln, Germany (January 2022)

RONALD SHANNON JACKSON is best known as a jazz drummer of the first rank, having worked with both Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor. But he is becoming better known as the leader, composer and arranger for the Decoding Society, one of the most progressive and influential jazz-rock bands now performing and recording. Mr. Jackson was Prime Time's original drummer. 

1. Ronald Shannon Jackson | LIVE | KOLN, GERMANY | 1989 | 1 12:09
2. Ronald Shannon Jackson | LIVE | KOLN, GERMANY | 1989 | 2 11:02
3. Ronald Shannon Jackson | LIVE | KOLN, GERMANY | 1989 | 3 02:34
4. Ronald Shannon Jackson | LIVE | KOLN, GERMANY | 1989 | 4 03:59
5. Ronald Shannon Jackson | LIVE | KOLN, GERMANY | 1989 | 5 09:56
6. Ronald Shannon Jackson | LIVE | KOLN, GERMANY | 1989 | 6 21:24
7. Ronald Shannon Jackson | LIVE | KOLN, GERMANY | 1989 | 7 27:56
8. Ronald Shannon Jackson | LIVE | KOLN, GERMANY | 1989 | 8 32:24

Anthony Peterson Guitar
David Gilmore Guitar
Ramon Poser Electric Bass
Ronald Shannon Jackson Drums

Avishai Darash (feat. Marmoucha Orchestra) - Andalusian Love Song (January 15, 2022)

'For me, Andalusian music is the origin and core of Western music. I want people to learn and discover Andalusian music and let them find their own voice in this vast and rich tradition.' So says Avishai Darash, Artistic Director of Amsterdam based Marmoucha Orchestra and creative vision behind Andalusian Love Song.

Reflecting the rich cultural diversity of the Netherlands, Marmoucha is a cultural organisation that is made up of artists from that country, North Africa, the Middle-East, the Maghreb and the Mediterranean. Andalusian Love Song is a love letter to Andalusian music and its journey and evolution through the MENA region and into southern Spain. It fuses traditional sounds and rhythms with Jazz and represents a fresh outlook on tradition and innovation created by musicians with a passion for diversity and the languages of musical styles.

1. Andalusian Love Song 04:37
2. Kartana 06:26
3. She's The Perfume In The Wind 04:07
4. Longing-Sadness 06:52
5. Twishya Hijaz El Kbir 03:59
6. Prakriti 04:15
7. Mohamed's Blues 03:06
8. The Day After 06:12
9. Arriving Home 03:32

Avishai Darash - Piano/Composition/Arrangement
Mohamed Ahaddaf - Ud
Jessy Hay - Guitar
Pablo Martínez - Trombone
Maripepa Contreras - Oboe/Layouts/Arrangement for "The Day After"
María Cristina González - Flute
Gidon Nunez Vaz - Trumpet
Claudia Valenzuela - 1st Violin
Sophie De Rijk - 2nd Violin
Oene Van Geel - Viola
Lucas Stam - Cello
Arin Keshishi - Bass
Emad Ghajjou - Darbuka
Mehdi Nassouli - Krakeb
Udo Demandt - Percussion
Yoran Vroom - Drums

Managing Director - Said Salhi
Financial Director - Peter Bander
Production manager - Taraneh Pour Yousef

Recorded and Mixed by - Paul Pouwer for POwerSoundStudios
Mastered by - Joris Wolff for Wolff Media
Cover Design - Madelon Timmers

Dave Liebman - John Coltrane’s Meditations (January 2022 Arkadia Records)

“…the music is simply terrific. Water is Liebman’s first recording with Metheny, and it’s a solid combination… if he just keeps making records as engaging as this one, that’ll be libation enough: a tall glass of water.”
– Downbeat Magazine

20-time Grammy Award winner Pat Metheny plays alongside saxophone virtuoso David Liebman as he leads this remarkable quartet, that includes Jazz architects Cecil McBee and Billy Hart, as they examine the expansive and elusive nature of the primordial element, Water. From impressionistic ballads to tsunamis of sound, David Liebman’s Arkadia Records album, The Elements: Water is probably the most ambitious project of Liebman’s career.

“Here’s a Jazz concept album that actually works quite well… The combination of Liebman and Metheny is particularly strong, ranging from soft, ethnic-sounding passages to roaring avant-garde explosiveness – a potent reminder that there is far more to Jazz in the ‘90s than the more frequently heard, retro examinations of the past.”
– Don Heckman, Los Angeles Times

“They produce a greater variety of timbres and textures than most quartets due to Liebman doubling on tenor and soprano sax and wood flute and Metheny employing several guitars: acoustic, electric, guitar synth, and Pikasso guitar. Each group member plays impressively. Liebman has a bright, attractive soprano sound and displays considerable rhythmic grace when playing the instrument. On tenor he’s powerful; his solid full lower register work deserves special attention. And what a nice, big flute sound he produces.”
– Harvey Pekar, JazzTimes Magazine

Teaming up with guitar prodigy Pat Metheny, reedist David Liebman, who plays tenor saxophone, soprano sax, and wood flute, explores through music the various aspects and facets of water, giver of life and refresher of souls. The combination of Liebman and Metheny on this album is stunning. While the Arkadia Records album, Dave Liebman: The Elements: Water, leans towards Jazz’s less traditional sensibilities, it also contains an earthy quality that connects it to the sounds of nature, and in doing so creates an organic yet contemporary album that’s both accessible and inventive. 

1. Introduction 00:52
2. The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost 13:44
3. Compassion 10:55
4. Love 12:24
5. Consequences 07:35
6. Serenity 09:24

Composed by John Coltrane

Transcriptions by Caris Visentin

David Liebman: Tenor sax
Vic Juris: Guitar
Jamey Haddad: Drums and percussion
Phil Markowitz: Piano and synth
Tony Marino: Bass

With Special Guests:

Billy Hart: Drums
Cecil McBee: Bass
Tiger Okoshi: Trumpet
Caris Visentin: Oboe

Mary Pearson - You and I (January 2022 Arkadia Records)

“…fresh interpretations and insights… zesty… entertaining as well as romantic, as much fun as it was creative.”
– George Kanzler, Newark Star Ledger

“Long overdue – stunning and original.”
– Aaron Fensterheim- WXEL- FM 90.7

On this Arkadia Jazz recording of intimate duets, entitled “Mary Pearson: You and I”, Jazz singer Mary Pearson’s voice weaves a seamless tapestry of romance. Mary and her all-star partners Fred Hersch, Lynne Arriale, Harvie Swartz, David Lahm, Steve Davis and guitarist John Hart create a virtual suite of love songs, guaranteed to keep you under her passionate spell.

“Ms. Pearson gets to me not only with her humorous energy and stunningly musical vocal talent, but also with her “on the edge” eccentricity”. – Mark Murphy, legendary Jazz vocalist

The musical concept of the album – pairing Pearson’s indelible voice with a single instrument per song to create a collection of intimate duets – seems so clever that it’s hard to believe it is not employed more widely in the Jazz world. The simplicity of this format helps breathe new life into some of the often performed Jazz Standards, and three originals, and creates an impressive pulpit to introduce her original compositions to the world.

“These austere settings showcase the warmth and richness of Pearson’s instrument, a lush, supple voice… “You and I” is an impressive, musically exacting first effort..” – Joel E. Siegel, JazzTimes Magazine

Mary Pearson knows that it takes more than a beautiful voice to once again bring alive some of the most cherished and recorded timepieces of our American Songbook. According to the accomplished veteran, “If you can’t add something new, you may as well just put on the original and sing along”. With creative ingenuity and a vision to fashion her songs in a style never before tailored, on this Arkadia Records album, “Mary Pearson: You and I”, Pearson has been able to reclaim a glory that once existed in the classic realm of romantic Jazz, performing in the tradition of Shirley Horn, Morgana King, and Chris Conner. 

1. Lazy Afternoon 04:11
2. The More I See You 05:18
3. Take Five 02:59
4. What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? 03:58
5. * I Am Yours / You Are Mine 05:15
6. Thou Swell 04:03
7. You and I 05:24
8. * In Your Arms 04:11
9. How Long Has This Been Going On? 05:54
10. My Funny Valentine 03:57
11. * I Can’t Believe 03:26
12. Over the Rainbow 05:10

* Composed by Mary Pearson

All vocals and arrangements by Mary Pearson

Mary Pearson: Vocals
Fred Hersch: Piano
Lynne Arriale: Piano
John Hart: Guitar
Harvie Swartz (Harvie S): Bass
Steve Davis Drums
David Lahm: Piano