MUSIC


ARTS



CULTURE
 

Home

Mission
Music
Concerts
DVD | Film
Stage | Dance
Poetry
Visual Arts
Interviews
Features
Stories
Books | Zines

Contributors

Newsletter
Links
Contact
Make A Donation
SEARCH
Archive

Free Downloads

Visit Us On Facebook



ACOUSTIC LEVITATION
BEST OF 2016

Dear Readers,

As always, we offer suggestions about our currently favorite recordings and give praise to the most memorable performances, as best we can; we can’t hear every CD, attend every show, nor be everywhere in the world, and yet we do a lot.  I’ve had to downsize my collection and I’m shedding tears, but meanwhile more is coming in in various digital formats, for better or worse. Here’s to our Best of 2016.

Steve Koenig,
Editor


STEVE KOENIG
New York


PERFORMANCES

Angel Reapers. A Shaker dance-theater piece created by Martha Clarke and Alfred Uhry. Directed and choreographed by Martha Clarke. I don’t know whether the performance or the “play” itself was more moving, but they were inseparable and edge-of-your-seat. Signature Theater, NY. marthaclarke.com, signaturetheatre.org

Doublebill: “Interpretations” Series. Robert Ashley. Maneuvers for Small Hands. Reinier Van Houdt, piano, played the piece magnificently, with all the physical hi-jinx built in to this 1961 work. Brian Schober and librettist Joan Ross Sorkin’s monodrama about the 19th century Jamaican legend of Annie Palmer, The White Witch of Rose Hall, was spine-tingling; you were strongly grabbed into her story by mezzo-soprano Blythe Gaissert and percussionist Jared Soldiviero. December 8, 2016. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. robertashley.org, reiniervanhoudt.nl, composers.com/brian-schober, jaredsoldiviero.com, cekovskalubica.com, interpretations.info, roulette.org

Tom Blancarte. Ron Stabinsky. Each solo, each riveting. Blancarte sculpting magnificent structures with his amplified upright bass, Stabinsky refreshing the ears with his piano works which kept you wondering whether they were improvised or composed. November 15. 2016. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. roulette.org

Brooklyn Raga Massive. John Coltrane Birthday Celebration. This ensemble of mostly Indian instruments put their own stamp on Coltrane’s works, including, natch, “India.” Joy from start to finish. September 23, 2016. Littlefield, Brooklyn, NY. brooklynragamassive.com, littlefieldnyc.com

Darmstadt Institute New York: 70 Year Anniversary Celebration
Talea Ensemble
: Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mikrophonie I (1964).
SEM Ensemble
: Petr Kotik, Music for 3 (1964); Alvin Singleton, Be Natural (1974); Iannis Xenakis, Mikka and Mikka “S” (1971, 1976), Conrad Harris, violin; Morton Feldman, Why Patterns? (1978) for Flute, Piano, Percussion; Karlheinz Stockhausen, Zietmasze  (1955-1956) for Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Clarinet, Bassoon; John Cage, Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1957-58) Joseph Kubera, piano (in version with two orchestras).
May 11, 2016. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. semensemble.org, taleaensemble.org,
roulette.org

The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead by Suzan-Lori Parks. Lileana Blain, Cruz, dir. Deeply funny and humorously deep, this play (pun intended) on Black archetypes strikes many chords. Signature Theater, NY. suzanloriparks.com, signaturetheatre.org/shows-and-events/Productions/2016-2017/Res-1.aspx

Dover String Quartet. Mozart SQ 22 (K. 589); Britten SQ. 2; Beethoven SQ 9 (Op. 59, No. 3). December 10, 2016. People’s Symphony Concerts, NY. pscny.org

Downtown Music Gallery 25th Anniversary Celebration. Jon Madof’s Zion 80, Burnt Sugar Arkestra, Bill Laswell’s Method of Defiance with Mike Sopko. June 20, 2016. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. downtownmusicgallery.com, roulette.org

Downtown Music Gallery Free Weekly In-Store Performance Series.
Set One: Rob Price, Ellery Eskelin, and Trevor Dunn. Set Two: Patrick Brennan, Sean Conly, Brian Groder. April 24, 2016. elleryeskelin.blogspot.com, trevordunn.net, briangroder.com,

Jason Kao Hwang, violin; Michael TA Thompson, drums
June 12, 2016. jasonkaohwang.com,
downtownmusicgallery.com

Fully Committed by Becky Mode. Jesse Tyler Ferguson revealed his chops in this highly funny story about the running of a high-end restaurant, in which he plays about forty characters. He was able to switch not just voices but personas, midsentence, turning on a pin. Jason Moore, director. Lyceum Theatre, NY. jessetylerferguson.com

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Music by Jeanine Tesori; Book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel; Directed by Sam Gold. I’d been collecting Bechdel’s comic book series Dykes To Watch Out For since the beginning. This musical based on her autobio-graphic novel was touching, deep and yet suited for the entire family. Not dumbed down. Great singers. Circle In The Square, NY. dykestowatchoutfor.com

William Hooker’s EVIDENCE: The Baldwin Suite. Multimedia jazz, rap, and dance piece inspired by the works of James Baldwin. This was a work-in-progress and I can’t wait to see how it develops. Kimani Fowlin, dance;?Tor Snyder and Jesse Henry, guitars; Matt Lavelle, trumpet; AkuStyx, rapper; Mark Hennen, piano; William Hooker – drums, direction. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. April 1, 2016. williamhooker.com, roulette.org

Leos Janacek. Jenufa. The Metropolitan Opera, NY. Karita Mattila (Kostelnicka), Oksana Dyka (Jenufa), Joseph Kaiser (Steva) and especially Daniel Brenna as the lost soul Laca. David Robertson, cond. metopera.org, danielbrenna.com

Juilliard String Quartet. Haydn SQ Op. 20, No. 5; Richard Wernick (new work); Beethoven: SQ 23 (Op. 130) w/ Grosse Fuge. I’ve been a longtime JSQ collector on disc, but this was my first live encounter and they knocked my socks off. November 5, 2016. People’s Symphony Concerts, NY. juilliardstringquartet,org, pscny.org

Andrew Lamb’s Circadian Spheres of Light Project. This jazz-theatre piece was intended to create brain stimulation for those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and post traumatic stress disorder, and included magic and dance. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. Feb 29, 2016. roulette.org

Master Harold and The Boys. Written and directed by Athol Fugard. This revival is as heart-wrenching as previous productions I have seen. The Signature Theatre, NY. signaturetheatre.org/shows-and-events/Productions/2016-2017/Master-Harold.aspx

The Servant Of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni. Perhaps the most farcical farce I have ever had the pleasure and pain of seeing as I split my sides laughing and gasping. Lots of contemporary (and New York City) references seamless woven into the text. Adaptation by Constance Congdon, director Christopher Bayes. and Steven Epp. Theater For A New Audience, Brooklyn, NY. tfana.org/1617season/servant-masters/overview

Metropolis Ensemble Turns Ten celebrated a decade of innovation in music with a ROVING PARTY inspired by John Cage’s “Musicircus.” 36 musicians performing works by 23 composers, in all variety of combinations under the artistic direction of conductor Andrew Cyr. Highlights were the world premiere special arrangement of Funkadelic's Maggot Brain by DD Jackson for Hammond B Organ, alto sax, and orchestra. Jackson also did some delightfully intelligent and fun free-improvisations on themes by Scott Joplin. Sean Statser, percussionist, played Child of Tree by John Cage, for cactus and contact mic. Angel Orensanz Center. NY. Sept. 27, 2016. metropolisensemble.org, ddjackson.com, orensanz.org

Garrick Ohlsson, piano. Beethoven, Sonata 24; Schubert, Sonata D. 860; Cekovská, Four Movements; Chopin short works. October 28, 2016. People’s Symphony Concerts, NY. pscny.org, cekovskalubica.com

Our Mother’s Brief Affair by Richard Greenberg. Lynne Meadow, dir. Linda Lavin, Greg Keller, Kate Arrington, John Procaccino. Manhattan Theater Club, Samuel J. Friedman Theatre, NY.

Franz Schubert.  Winterreise Christopher Dylan Herbert, baritone.  December 21, 2016. Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, NY.  Make Music New York again presented a spellbinding performance of Winterreise migrating every few songs to various stations in the Garden, with placards designed and held by students from Parsons The New School For Design as brief translations.  Some audience members held radios playing the accompaniment in various guises, from piano (Timothy Long) to synth string trio and beyond (Jonathan Zalben).  Herbert’s voice is a magnificent thing itself, its timbre holding strong in the air, and his embodiment of the lost, wandering narrator was visceral.  bbg.org, makemusicny.org, christopherdylanherbert.com

Alvin Singleton 75th Birthday Celebration. Part of the “Interpretations” series, composer Singleton presented “Argoru IV” for solo viola, performed by Stephanie Griffin; “Somehow We Can” and “Secret Desire to Be Black” by the Momenta String Quartet; “Baked In The Cake”, “Argoru I”, & “In My Own Skin”, pianist Joseph Kubera; and “Be Natural” for three string players, with Meaghan Burke, Stephanie Griffin, and James Ilgenfritz. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. March 10, 2016. alvinsingleton.com, interpretations.info, roulette.org

Damon Smith, Alvin Fielder, Joe McPhee Trio. Bass, drums, horns. Magic. September 13, 2016. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. alvinfielder.com, joemcphee.com, roulette.org

Igor Stravinsky. The Rake’s Progress. A performance as good as I ever hope to see. Powerful singer/actors and a band which presented all of Stravinsky’s flavor. Brilliant, clever direction, too. Gilad Paz, Tom Rakewell; Benjamin Bloomfield, Nick Shadow; Stefanie Izzo, Anne Trulove; Francesca Lunghi, Baba the Turk; The String Orchestra of Brooklyn; Queens College Summer Chorale; Audrey Edelstein, choir director; Tito Muñoz, conductor. Roulette, Brooklyn, NY. thesob.org, roulette.org

THE UNDERPANTS GODOT written and directed by Duncan Pflaster. This not-quite-campy tale of a theater company trying to get permission from the Beckett Estate to perform a all-in-underpants version of Waiting For Godot. The writing cleverly skirts with being a play-within-a-play, as the characters go through some existential problems of their own. The Secret Theatre, Long Island City, NY. duncanpflaster.com, secrettheatre.com,


RECORDINGS

Another Evening at Logos 1974 79 81- Record One.” Max Eastley + Logos Ensemble. Feminist Improvising Group [Georgie Born, Lindsay Cooper, Maggie Nichols, Sally Potter, Irène Schweizer]. Coum [Genesis P.Orridge et al.] Logos Ensemble. Derek Bailey. Historical documents fans will want this. 2LP in thick gatefold. Sublogos 01.  logosfoundation.org, subrosa.net

Martha Argerich and Friends. Live From Lugano Festival 2015. Argerich continues her annual series of three-disc highlights from her festival in a thin box at budget price. Works by Brahms, Debussy, Glass, Turina, Bartók, Ginastera, et al. The many performers include Nicholas Angelich, Gautier Capuçon, Ilya Gringolts, Lilya Zilberstein. Warner Classics 0825646285495.  warnerclassics.com

Ehud Asherie. Gypsy Blues. Pianist Asherle, at times with some friends, serves up a most enjoyable set of improvisations on songs from Eubie Blake and Noble Sissle’s show Shuffle Along. Blue Heron [no catalog number given].  ehudpiano.com, blueheronrecords.com/ehud-asherie/

Count Basie & His Atomic Orchestra. Complete Live At The Crescendo 1958. Excellent sound, superlative performances, five well-filled discs. Five bonus tracks with Sammy Davis, Jr., added, from the same year. Informative booklet with many photos. Phono 870245. [No contact information given.]

BassDrumBone. The Long Road. Bass = Mark Helias, drum = Gerry Hemingway. ‘Bone = Ray Anderson. That should really be enough for you to pounce on this, but this,, their seventh CD is, I believe, their finest set to date, and they’ve all been very good. Some of it brought to mind the hypnotism (not the melody) of Julius Hemphill’s “The Hard Blues.” It’s a double CD, with thirty minutes of live performance ending the program. One track adds Joe Lovano and another, Jason Moran. They hold up well. Auricle AUR 16+17.  gerryhemingway,com

Tom Blancarte. The Shortening Of The Way. Excellent solo electrified acoustic bass. One set per side. Fine pressing. Tubapede 02, LP. tubapederecords.com

Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Andy Sheppard. Andando el Tiempo. All compositions by Bley, as one can readily hear. ECM 2784.  ecm.com, wattxtrawatt.com, andysheppard.co.uk

Tim Buckley. Lady, Give Me Your Key. Previously unissued solo acoustic sessions from 1967. Fan of his first two albums must have this. Newcomers might want to start with some of the later discs which can be improv-like (Lorca, Starsailor) or naughty R&B (Greetings From L.A.). Future Days Recordings FDR 631.  timbuckley.net, lightintheattic.net

Mark Dresser Seven. Sedimental You. The bassist’s new album features tricky, quirky compositions navigated with musical ease by flutist Nicole Mitchell, clarinetist Marty Ehrlich, trombonist Michael Dessen, pianist Joshua White, drummer Jim Black, and David Morales Boroff on violin. Clean Feed CF385CD.  mark-dresser.com, cleanfeed-rcords.com

Bob Dylan. The 1966 Live Recordings. Yes, for fans only, especially as each two-disc soundboard-recorded (a few exceptions) concert has practically the same program, and yet... Individual color photos on each sleeve with track listings on the back, lift-top cube box, booklet, various original Columbia labels. Sony 88985358192, 38CDs. bobdylan.com

Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus. The Distance.
Saxophones/Woodwinds: Loren Stillman (alto sax); Oscar Noriega (alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet); Chris Speed (tenor sax, clarinet); Brian Settles (tenor sax, flute); Tim Berne (baritone sax)
Trumpets: Dave Ballou, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Kirk Knuffke (cornet)
Trombones: Alan Ferber, Jacob Garchik, Ben Gerstein, Jeff Nelson (bass trombone, contrabass trombone)
Marimba: Patricia Brennan; Guitar: Mary Halvorson; Piano: Kris Davis?Double-bass: Michael Formanek; Drums: Tomas Fujiwara
Conductor: Mark Helias
.
The title track is an interesting six-minute chamber piece, but the meat is the extended, eight-part, 53-minute suite
Exoskelton for the ensemble. ECM 2484.
amibotheringyou.com, ecm.com

Satoko Fujii and Joe Fonda. Long Song Records LSRDC140/2016. The pianist and bassist (also flute) on a forty-minute track. Trumpeter Natsuki Ramura joins for an 11-minute followup.  satokofujii.com, joefonda,com, longsongrecords.com

Satoko Fujii Orchestra Tokyo. Peace: Tribute to Kelly Churko. An extended 32-minute track and three around ten minutes. The orchestra, in this recording, often brings to mind the texture of the Liberation Music Orchestra, with four squealy Evan Parker-ish saxes in the blend. Libra 217-039.  satokofujii.com, librarecords.com

Philip Glass and Robert Wilson. Einstein on the Beach. The classic, complete opera finally officially on disc, recorded in 2013 in the Theâtre du Châlelet, Paris. Essential. (It had at been for a short while on YouTube in lower quality.) Opus Arte OA 1178D, 2 DVDs.  philipglass.com, robertwilson.com, lucindachilds.com, opusarte.com, chatelet-theatre.com

Brian Groder Trio. R Train on the D Line. With bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Jay Rosen. Latham Records 6001.  briangroder.com

Fred Hersch. Sunday At The Vanguard. Bassist John Hébert and drummer Eric McPherson make this a particularly fine Hersch record. His live albums have always moved me. Palmetto PM 2183.  palmetto-records.com

William Hooker and Thomas Chapin. Crossing Points. Three extended live duets by the drummer and late saxophonist. Intense. NoBusiness Records NBCD 28. 70:51.  nobusinessrecords.com, williamhooker.com

I.P.A. I Just Did Say Something. A Scandinavian jazz quintet featuring trumpeter Magnus Broo and bassist Ingebrigt Håker Flaten. The promo material likens them to Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman’s Atlantic era recordings, which to me explains their rhythm and interplay perfectly. The group started in 2007 and now I have to check out their back catalog. Cuneiform RUNE 422.  cuneiformrecords.com

Kamran Ince. “Passions and Dreams.” Present Music, Kevin Stahlheim, dir. This Turkish-American composer presents six recent compositions on a well-filled CD. Dreamlines is a haunting, twisting “architect’s prayer” played by piano, cellos, flutes, voices and other instruments, which has been performed at the Blue Mosque. Zamboturfidir swirls into a hypnotic dance which would be great on a program with Adams’ The Chairman Dances and Maxwell Davies’ Orkney Wedding at Sunrise. Each of the other pieces is just as intriguing and played with vitality. Don’t let this one fall through the cracks. Ince has four previous CDs on Naxos which I look forward to exploring. Innova 931.  kamranince.com, innova.mu

Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith. A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke. Mostly low key, Iyer on piano, Fender Rhodes and electronics. It’s Wadada’s trumpet, whether sparse or bold, which makes this come alive. ECM 2486.  ecm.com, vijay-iyer.com, wadadaleosmith.com

Keith Jarrett. A Multitude of Angels. The final recordings to be released “from his early period,” they say, of Jarrett’s solo concerts of extended improvisations, these from Italy in 1996. ECM 2500-03, 4 CDs.  ecm.com, keithjarrett.com

Jon Lundbom & Big Five Chord. Make the Magic Happen.. The players are guitarist Jon Lundbom, alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon, Balto Exclamationpoint on tenor, prepared tenor and b alto saxophones, bassist Moppa Elliot, and drummer Dan Monaghan. Big Five Chord released four digital EPs in 2016 (this is one; two other strong EPs are Comedy Gold and Make The Changes). Hot Cup Records   hotcuprecords.com, www.JonLundbom.com

Meredith Monk. On Behalf Of Nature. Group vocals, ranging in influence from minimalism and hockets, to murmuring and... well, I really should say that Meredith Monk is the influence on others. ECM New Series 2473.  meredithmonk.org, ecm.com

Naftule’s Dream. Blood. The klezmer-based group continues to thrill with their mix of jazz, rock, and East European music. It made me giggle seeing their cdbaby page say “recommended if you like Frank Zappa, John Zorn, King Crimson,” because that’s pretty close to the mark. Naftule’s Dream NDR 203.  naftulesdream.com

Aruán Ortiz. Hidden Voices. The Cuban pianist, who has played with Bob Gluck and in Nicole Mitchell’s Black Earth Ensemble, is joined here by bassist Eric Revis and drummer Gerald Cleaver in original compositions plus a track by Monk and another by Ornette Coleman. Perfect for those who like all three genres equally: free improvisation, Latin jazz and straight-ahead jazz. Intakt Records CD 258.  intaktrec.ch/258-a.htm

Noah Preminger. Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground. The saxist’s quartet delivers up nine classic blues in a jazz framework. It leaves me satisfied’n’tickled too. (No label or catalog number stated.)   noahpreminger.com

Sergei Rachmaninoff. Complete Piano Music. Now boxed up, six discs of striking performances by young mostly Russian or Eastern European pianists, such as Alexander Gavrylyuk and Nikolai Lugansky. Booklet with English notes about both the compositions and each performer. Piano-Classics PCLM01111.  piano-classics.com, alexandergavrylyuk.com, zlatachochieva.com, geniusas.com, alexanderghindin.com, harrisonparrott.com/artist/profile/nikolai-lugansky, elisatomellini.com

Otis Redding. Live At The Whiskey A Go Go. Complete recordings April 8-10, 1966. Six CDs, two per night. Otis is as powerful and soulful as one could hope for, and the sets are somewhat varied. First-ever release. Nice booklet. Shame the Volt Records logo are merely tiny thumbnails on the disc labels. Stax/Volt/Concord STX-39646-02, 6 CDs, slipcase, booklet.  concordmusicgroup.com

Steve Reich. The ECM Recordings. Master performances now boxed up. Mine are on the original LPs. On three CDs: Music for 18 Musicians; Music for a Large Ensemble, Violin Phase, Octet; Tehillim. ECM New Series 2540-42.  ecm.com, stevereich.com

Sonny Rollins Quartet with Don Cherry. Complete Live At The Village Gate 1962.Rollins, Cherry, bassist Bob Cranshaw and drummer Billy Higgins make up the quartet. Six well-filled discs of previously unreleased material (except three tracks, which were in shorter form). Every moment enthralling; nearly half of it untitled free improvisations. Informative 20-page booklet with many photographs. Solar SOL-145880/4569959. 

Neil Rolnick. Ex Machina. Clever name for a double-disc of works all using laptop. My favorite is Wakeup, a mashup of the Everly Brothers’ “Wake Up, Little Susie.” The other is O Brother!, a deliciously sly tribute to American roots music. Co-conspirators on other tracks include Ted Nash on alto sax, cellist Ashley Bathgate, and pianist Kathleen Suppové. Detailed, informative liner notes. Innova 950.  neilrolnik.com, innova.mu

Rothko Chapel.” Morton Feldman. Rothko Chapel. Erik Satie. Gnosienne 1, 3, 4; Give 1, 2. John Cage. Four2, ear for EAR (Antiphonies), In A Landscape, Five. Sarah Rothberg, piano, celesta; Houston Chamber Choir, cond. Robert Simpson; Kim Kashkashian, viola; Steven Schick, percussion. ECM New Series 2378.  stevereich.com, ecm.com

Hermann Scherchen. The Art of Hermann Scherchen. I was very disappointed with the performances in the Tahra box (Homage à Hermann Scherchen, Vol. 1), even though it included many magnificent works. Here there is no Schoenberg or Krenek or Kalinnikov, but there is Mahler 1 and 2, Honegger, Orff, Stravinsky and dozens of others, taken from public domain (in Europe, at least) official recordings from 1951-62, in (mostly) fine performances. Super-budget price, about two dollars a disc. Fine sound. No booklet, but the individual sleeves have the tracks and recordings data. Scribendum Argento SC801, 28 CDs. I’m not listing them separately here, but I also highly recommend their new individual large boxes of the Barylli Quartet, the mono Vegh Quartet, and the Vienna Konzerthaus Quartet.  scribendumrecordings.com

Dmitri Shostakovich. Complete String Quartets. Quatuor Danel. Now in a budget-priced box, 5 CDs. Alpha 226.  quatuordanel.eu, outhere-music.com/en/labels/alpha

Sokratis Sinopoulos Quartet. Eight Winds. “We’re not ‘fusing’ anything,” says Sinopolous in the press release. It’s perfectly true. His Greek lyra joins perfectly with the piano-bass-drums, being neither ECM-over-reverberant-jazz-lite nor ECM-diluted-ethnic fusion. When they get it right, it’s just like this. ECM 2407.   ecm.com, sinopoulos.com

Wadada Leo Smith. America’s National Parks. Double disc follow-up to the four-disc jazz suite treat from last year, Ten Freedom Summers, on the same label. If you don’t already know the style of these works, audition this track: https://cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/americas-national-parks. Cuneiform RUNE 430/431   wadadaleosmith.com, cuneiformrecords.com, waysidemusic.com

Ches Smith, Craig Taborn, Mat Maneri. The Bell. Low key for the respective percussionist, pianist and violist, but beautiful and rich. ECM.  craigtaborn.com, chessmith.com, ecm.com

Ron Stabinsky. Free For One. Solo piano, relatively short pieces, each with its own intrigue, sounding like no one else and everyone else at the same time. His solo concert convinced me to buy the disc and I haven’t been disappointed. He’s a member of the savory group Mostly Other People Do The Killing, and this is on their label. Hotcup 151. hotcuprecords.com

Sun Ra/Merzbow. Strange City. Japanese noisemeister Masami Akita (Merzbow) has remixed and intermingles two Sun Ra albums with his own special brand of noise to excellent effect. Strange Strings is rather accessible Sun Ra; The Magic City one of the more difficult ones. I’m told the vinyl LP of the same title and same cover art has totally different tracks on it. Cold Spring CSR228CD.  coldspring.co.uk

Natsuki Tamura and Alexander Frangenheim. Nax. The intrepid trumpeter meets and improvises with the doublebassist in Berlin. Creative Sources 280CD. natsukitamura.com, creativesourcesrec.com

Matt Wilson. Beginning of a Memory. The drummer serves us a set of anthemic, sad or grabbing tracks. Palmetto (catalog number unavailable).   mattwilsonjazz.com, palmetto-records.com

Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention. Meat Light: The Uncle Meat Project/Object. Expanded version of classic 2-LP set now on three CDs. It should really be titled under the Mothers, but with the vicissitudes of the Zappa family... Zappa ZR20024.  zappa.com

* * * * * * * * *

CRAIG NIXON
Beacon, NY
Managing Editor

Like several of my colleagues I missed many releases this year, due to real life circumstances. Even so, there's always an avalanche of great recordings to try to narrow down. I long ago gave up rankings or and Album of The Year thing, going with an alphabetical list like this one. But every now and again something comes along that just slams you, opens your ears, turns your mind around and stands out as an important statement. The Transformations Suite, created by composer/pianist/director Samora Pinderhughes (with poems/spoken word by Jeremie Harris and contributions from Saul Williams and Tupac Shakur), and released in October, is just that statement. Combining music, poetry and theater, the 5 movement suite is an impassioned cry against racial and social injustice and inequality. The time is certainly right for this piece, and it grabbed me like nothing else in music did this year, and chances are it will do the same for/to you. Check it out at the URL on the list below...now. You will not regret it.

Another release that qualifies as a statement, though a much different one, is drummer/composer Tony Moreno's quintet release Short Stories. Moreno was one of thousands of victims that had homes/studios/possessions/entire careers wiped out by Hurricane Sandy. In Moreno's case he lost a work studio, compositions, a great amount of gear, including irreplaceable items such as cymbals or drums handed down from an earlier generation of greats like Elvin Jones. Offered a residency (and even the keys to the club) by the 55 Bar, he regained a place to get this music together and resume work. I have had many conversations with Tony about this time, how hard it was to start the work from scratch after having it wiped out, and I was very happy to be by his side at the 55 Bar CD release event, which packed the house with friends for two sets.

And of course... many thanks to the artists represented below, and scores of others as well.

Rodrigo Amado Motion Trio - Desire & Freedom (NotTwo)
rodrigoamado.bandcamp.com/album/desire-freedom

Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile - Continuum (ECM)
ecmrecords.com/catalogue/1450186232/continuum-nik-bartschs-mobile

Michael Bisio & Kirk Knuffke - Row For William O. (Relative Pitch)
relativepitchrecords.com/releases/rpr1043.html

Jaimeo Brown Transcendence - Work Songs (Motema)
motema.com/releases/work-songs/

Philippe Cote feat. David Binney - Lungta (Mythology)
philippecote.bandcamp.com/releases

Stephan Crump's Rhombal (Papillion)
store.stephancrump.com/product/rhombal/

Andrew Cyrille Quartet - The Declaration of Musical Independence (ECM) ecmrecords.com/catalogue/1470403665

Mark Dresser Seven - Sedimental You (Clean Feed)
cleanfeed-records.com/product/sedimental-you/

Ross Hammond & Vinny Golia - self-titled
rosshammond.bandcamp.com/album/ross-hammond-and-vinny-golia

Rocco John Improvisational Composers Ensemble - Peace And Love (Unseen Rain)
unseenrainrecords.com/

James Brandon Lewis Trio - No Filter (BNS Sessions)
jblewis.com/music-1/

Nick Millevoi - Desertion (Shhpuma)
shhpuma.com/product/nick-millevoi-desertion/

Billy Mintz - Ugly Beautiful (13th Note)
thirteenthnoterecords.com/

Tony Moreno Quintet - Short Stories (Mayimba)
mayimbamusic.com/artist/tony-moreno

Quinsin Nachoff - Flux (Mythology)
quinsin.bandcamp.com/album/flux-feat-david-binney-matt-mitchell-kenny-wollesen

Samora Pinderhughes - The Transformations Suite
transformationssuite.com

Bobby Previte - Mass (Rare Noise)
rarenoiserecords.com/bobby-previte

Rich Rosenthal - Live at Quinn's (Unseen Rain)
unseenrainrecords.com/

Roswell Rudd-Jamie Saft-Trevor Dunn-Balazs Pandi - Strength And Power (Rare Noise)
rarenoiserecords.com/rudd-saft-dunn-pandi

Wadada Leo Smith – America’s National Parks (Cuneiform)
cuneiformrecords.bandcamp.com/album/americas-national-parks

Triage - self-titled
triagemusic.bandcamp.com/releases


* * * * * * * * *

ROBERT REIGLE
Istanbul
Ethnomusicologist, composer, improviser

BEST DISCOVERIES OF 2016

In alphabetical order:

BRÖTZMANN, Peter. & ICI Ensemble. Beautiful Lies. Neos 41601. CD. Published 2016.  neos-music.com/

CAGE, John. Complete Song Books. Performed by Reinhold Friedl. Karlrecords. 2xLP plus download code. Published 2016.  karlrecords.net/

CAIRO CONGRESS OF ARAB MUSIC/Congrès de Musique Arabe du Caire, 1932. Bibliotheque Nationale de France/Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority BNF 18xCD, 256-page book in French, English, and Arabic. Published 2015. editions.bnf.fr/congr%C3%A8s-de-musique-arabe-du-caire

DARMSTADT ORAL DOCUMENTS, Box 3 – Ensembles. Barden, Barrett, Becker, Billone, Brün, Cage, Carrillo, Eloy, Erickson, Estrada, Evangelisti, Fritsch, Gentilucci, Grosskopf, Hoban, Hoffmann, Ishii, Ives, Jelinek, Johnston, Jungheinrich, Kounadis, Lauck, Lehman, von Lilienstern, Lim, Marchetti, Moguillansky, Poppe, Pousseur, Prins, Radulescu, Reudenbach, Riehm, Rzewski, Wielecki, Xenakis. NEOS. NEOS-11230. 7x CD. Published 2016.  neos-music.com/

DARMSTADT ORAL DOCUMENTS, Box 4 – Pianists. Andre, Aperghis, Apostel, Baltakas, Barden, Barlow, Bartók, Boucourechliev, Boulez, Bussotti, Castiglioni, Clementi, Criton, Engelmann, Evangelisti, Febel, Ferneyhough, Ferrari, Flammer, Heyn, Kagel, Kayn, Killmayer, Krebber, Kubisch, Kurtág, Lachenmann, Lang, Mack, Marie, Mochizuki, Poppe, Rayeva, Rihm, Rothman, Saunders, Schönberg, Sciarrino, Sessions, Steen-Andersen, Stiebler, Stockhausen, Tanaka, Webern, Wolpe, Xenakis, Zimmermann, Žuraj. NEOS. NEOS-11630. 7xCD. Published 2016.  neos-music.com/

HENNIX, Catherine Christer. Live at Issue Project Room. Just-intonation ensemble with Imam Ahmet Muhsin Tüzer, Amir Elsaffan, Amirtha Kidambi, Paul Schwingesnschlögl, Elena Kakaliagou, Marcus Pal, and Stefan Tiedje. Important Records, IMPREC-434. CD. Published 2016.  importantrecords.com/imprec/imprec434

HOUBEN, Eva-Maria. Works for tromba marina. Edition Wandelweiser Records. EWR-0712. CD. Published 2007.  wandelweiser.de/_e-w-records/_ewr-catalogue/ewr0712.html

HOW TO BE A TUDOR: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Tudor Life. Ruth Goodman, read by Heather Wilds. Unabridged, 11 hours. Highbridge Audio. 9xCD. Published 2016.  highbridgeaudio.com

IRAN. Iranian Zoroastrian Ritual Religious Music: Avesta-Khani & Gata-Khani in Yazd. Regional Music of Iran, Volume 60. Mahoor Institute of Culture and Arts, MCD-443. CD. Published 2015.  mahoor.com

IRAN. Music from Loristan. Ayene-o avaz [Ceremony and Song, also translated as “Mirror and Song”], Volume 22. Edited by M.R. Darvishi. Tehran: Hoze-ye honari-e tabliqat-e eslami. Cassette. Published 1997.

IVES, Charles. Orchestral Works 2. Holidays Symphony, Three Places in New England, Central Park in the Dark, Unanswered Question. Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Sir Andrew Davis. Chandos CHSA-5183. Super Audio CD, hybrid multi-channel and stereo.  chandos.net

KRIEGER, Ulrich. /RAW:ReSpace/. XI Records, XI-137. 2xCD. Published 2016. xirecords.org

LANG, Klaus. Organ Works Vol. 2. God Records. God-26. LP. Published 2015. godrec.com

LUZZASCHI, Luzzasco. Madrigals, Motets, & Instrumental Music. Profeti della Quinta. Note 1 Music, Pan Classics, PC-10350. CD. [No home page.] Published 2016.

MONTEVERDI, Claudio. The Mirror of Claudio Monteverdi. Huelgas Ensemble, directed by Paul Van Nevel. Monteverdi’s “Messa in illo tempore,” with Vicentino’s “Laura Che’l Verde Lauro,” and one madrigal each by Tudino, De Wert, and Marenzio. Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 88875143482. CD. Published 2016. [No home page.]

OLIVEROS, Pauline. Four Meditations for Orchestra; Sound Geometries for Chamber Orchestra, Expanded Instrument System, and 5.1 Surround Sound System. Sub Rosa, SR422. CD (LP sold out). Published 2016.  subrosa.net/en.html

RADULESCU, Horatiu. Piano Sonatas & String Quartets 1. Piano Sonatas No. 2 and 5, String Quartet No. 5. Mode Records, Mode-290. CD. Published 2016. moderecords.com/

SCHWARTZ, Jay. Music for Orchestra. Wergo. WER-65722. CD. Published 2009. en.schott-music.com/wergo/

ZENDER, Hans. Adónde? Wohin?. With 72 micro-intervals per octave. Wergo. WER-73362. CD. Published 2016.  en.schott-music.com/wergo/


* * * * * * * * *




(c)2008 - 2016 All contents copyrighted by AcousticLevitation.org. All contributors maintain individual copyrights for their works.