Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Things we like

1) The opportunity to jam with Da Kobe I mentioned below came about because I was invited to provide some background music for a short skit the estimable dramatist Rob Bosquez wrote about the Wreck Room (and performed with his friend Susan van Belkum) as part of the Wildcatter Exchange Radio Hour, a sort of teaser for a festival of literature and storytelling that'll be held at multiple venues March 27-29 (exciting details here). The radio hour was a throwback to days gone by, and will be broadcast on John Rody's radio station (97.5 FM) at a future date, with a cast I was gassed and stoked to be part of, including fellow muso-scribes Michael H. Price and Josh Alan with Shae Lynn Goldston in Arch Oboler's 1936 radio drama "The Dark," storyteller David Ellis, and master of ceremonies James Hinkle (who told his story about bringing leftover BBQ chicken from a Hip Pocket benefit to the Wreck Room by way of introduction to Rob's piece -- and I was there!). While it was humbling to hear myself spoken of as a guitarist in a room where Da Kobe, Josh, and Jime were present, how often does one get invited to play one's own ghost?

2) Listening to a bunch of Sonny Sharrock on cassette, CD, and sweet, sweet vinyl, and remembering that the late free jazz guitar master made a bunch of good records between his Bill Laswell-sponsored resurgence with Material and Last Exit and his career-capping masterpiece Ask the Ages (the closest thing to a new Coltrane record we had back in '91, with Elvin Jones and Sonny's '60s employer Pharaoh Sanders in full effect). My sweetie 'n' I unearthed a Phil Overeem-dubbed cassette that included Sonny's overdubbed-solo Guitar -- perhaps the purest example of what he was up to -- along with the rest of our tape hoard. Faith Moves, a duet with Nicky Skopelitis (whom Shannon Jackson credited with coming up with the groove Herbie Hancock used on "Rockit") on a variety of mostly Near Eastern acoustic instruments, puts me in mind of a project I want to do with Da Kobe someday. And Seize the Rainbow features Sonny fronting a rock band with Decoding Society/Rollins Band vet Melvin Gibbs on bass, and two drummers that sound like one drummer. (Later they added a keyboard player, and were not as good.) While Sonny's known for his skronk and chaos-slide, the main impression I have of him in his maturity is the majesty of his melodic statements.

3) The smiling folks at Clean Feed over in Portugal still have me on their promo list, even though I haven't really got much time to review stuff these days. Lucky me. As a result, I got to hear Epicenter, a new side by Chris Lightcap's Bigmouth, a bassist-led, piano-dominated (Craig Taborn's Wurlitzer is particularly effective) quintet with two tenors including the redoubtable Tony Malaby that's capped by a scintillating cover of the Velvet Underground's "All Tomorrow's Parties" that might just be the best jazz cover of a rock song since, I dunno, Steve Marcus' "Tomorrow Never Knows." Also new from Clean Feed is I Never Meta Guitar Three, the latest installment in the Elliott Sharp-curated series of contemporary solo guitarists. Like its predecessors, Three is rich in electro-acoustic wonderment.


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