May News 2000

Leo Records Reviewed by Dan Warburton:
Eugene Chadbourne: I Talked to Death
Dominic Duval and CT Quartet
Evan Parker: After Appleby
Joelle Leandre Project
Perelman & Rosen: The Hammer
Steve Cohn: Bridge over the X-Stream
Sun Ra Live at Praxis
Bennink / Chadbourne / Kondo: Jazz Bunker
Press Release: Brasilia: music and architecture
In Concert: Claude Vivier Electronics at CCMIX
Last Month

Next Month


Eugene Chadbourne

Leo CD LR 276

This splendidly-titled disc is the latest installment in Leo Feigin's series of Chadbourne releases,and is a typically (and touchingly) batty mixed bag of originals (Chadbourne is, erm, working on hisLouis Armstrong and Bob Dylan impressions and also tries his hand at a Slovenian (!) accent on"Don't Happy Be Worry") and cover versions (Carrie Shull's sinuous oboe is pretty surreal on "Gladto be Unhappy"). As always, hi-fi purists will cringe at the good Doctor's "poor man's Teo Macero"(merci Philippe Alen!) idea of production. I think I know now why Chadbourne's ertswhile partnerJohn Zorn won't give him his own squeaky-clean Tzadik album.. Anyway, it's nice to see thereformation of the Camper Van Chadbourne line-up with Victor Krummenacher and JonathanSegel. Oh, are we to thank Leo or Dr. Chadbourne for the splendid typo of "I've Got a Crash OnYou"..?

(back to top of May 2000 page)

Dominic Duval and the CT String Quartet
Leo CD LR 279
Dom Duval's Leo releases are sometimes uneven but never tedious. "Under the Pyramid", hissecond outing with the CT String Quartet (Duval plus Jason Hwang on violin, Ron Lawrence onviola and Tomas Ulrich on cello) might seem a bit of a trial at 64 minutes, but repeated listeningreveals the group's inner strength, namely an expressive urgency backed up by attentive listening toeach other (sounds stoopid that, but improvisors are too often preoccupied with trotting out theirpersonal trademark licks to listen to what's going on around them). The shorter, grittier pieces hereare thrilling – their sound recalls Xenakis in the glory days when he had no idea how to write forstring instruments – whereas a couple of the longer tracks tend to drag, both harmonically andtexturally; I found myself crying out for another timbre after 45 minutes. Interestingly enough, mycries have since been answered: not only have I just seen these guys live (minus Lawrence) with thegreat Joe McPhee, but my source at Leo tells me a new trio recording with Duval and McPhee is inthe pipeline for later this year.

(back to top of May 2000 page)

After Appleby
Evan Parker / Barry Guy / Paul Lytton / Marilyn Crispell:

Leo CD LR 283/4

In improv circles, a word uttered against Evan Parker can lead to summary execution; this guypractically invented European free saxophony, and is to be found on almost all the landmarkreleases of the genre (if genre is the right word), as well as occasionally guesting on cult albums bythe likes of Michael Nyman, Scott Walker and Robert Wyatt. Even so, liner-note writer SteveKulak goes too far in his Parker-worship (I can't help thinking that Evan would probably blushbehind his bushy beard at Kulak's comparing him to Einstein); though "After Appleby" is a superbdouble CD (one studio, one live), and a more significant element of the Parker discography perhapsthan other recent collaborations, it's hardly the earth-shaking monument that Kulak's flatulenthyperbole would have us believe it is. The live album could have done without the extra(Parkerless) track, and a couple of the shorter studio takes could have been sliced off as wellwithout compromising the excellence of the work. Barry Guy's bass is superbly recorded, Lytton'slightning-fast jabs thrilling, and Parker's work on both soprano and tenor (nice to have more of thislatter) is, as ever, amazing (though you've heard it many times before, you still wonder how he doesit..), but the real thrill on this album is Crispell, bursting in on a long-standing trio that knows eachother's moves inside out, and giving the impression she's been playing with them all for decades.Anyway, that's enough compliments. I might end up sounding like Steve Kulak.

(back to top of May 2000 page)


Jöelle Léandre / Marilyn Crispell / Paul Lovens / Richard Teitelbaum / Carlos
Leo CD LR 287

What I remember as a rather shoddy concert has turned out to be a fine disc (it's normally the otherway round), thanks to judicious editing, and is further proof along with last year's "E'Vero" thatLéandre is a force to be reckoned with. Once more she's in good company: Marilyn Crispell is onexemplary form (on the strength of this and Evan Parker's "After Appleby", she's certainly on a rollright now), and the long-standing partnership between Richard Teitelbaum and Carlos "Zingaro"(the two first met over twenty years ago) is a joy to listen to. Paul Lovens, who was in anuncharacteristically sulky mood at the gig as I recall, still turns in some splendid percussion and afabulous saw solo on track 2 (which, unless my classical education is playing a perverse trick onme, veers dangerously close to the famous Bach ricercar from "The Musical Offering"(!)).Crispell's piano playing is tight and contrapuntal, Léandre's bass urgent and "Zingaro"'s violinlyrical throughout, and the album is gloriously topped off with Teitelbaum's amazingkeyboards/computer work, charting a jagged and phantasmagoric aural landscape somewherebetween Subotnick and Nancarrow.

(back to top of May 2000 page)


Ivo Perelman / Jay Rosen:
Leo CD LR 286

The rather claustrophic drum recording (especially Rosen's kick drum) only serves to reinforce animage I have of Perelman as a large dangerous insect buzzing frantically around inside a glass jar.Musical ideas are bounced back and forth like crazy, especially on the 8-minute title track (more orless in regular 4/4 time – Rosen's power drumming recalling Tony Williams at his best) – maybethis is what it's like to be an atom inside a linear particle accelerator. Even so, that drum soundfinally starts to wear you out: check out these two on last year's killer Leo release "Sieiro" withTomas Ulrich and Dom Duval if you want to hear the same intensity of improvisation in a slightlymore satisfying mix.

(back to top of May 2000 page)


Steve Cohn:
Leo CD LR 288

A relaxed and very satisfying live set from the Knit featuring Cohn on shakuhachi, hichiriki, shofarand piano (not all that well in tune, but never mind: maybe Michael Dorf was too busy buyinginteractive software that day to pay a piano tuner). His sparring partners are Jason Hwang (what asplendidly fluid and lyrical violinist–rare in jazz/improv), Tom Varner (there are also few goodhorn players in this music, but Leo's hooked another one for his label to go along with ArkadyShilkloper) and Reggie Workman, who's obviously enjoying a magnificent Indian summer thesedays, if this album and the reformed NY Arts Quartet are anything to go by. Cohn's rather spaced-out liner notes may be less fun than his track titles, but help prepare the receptive listener for adeeply satisfying experience. Improvised music doesn't have to be blood and guts all the time. Playthis album back to back with Marion Brown's early 70s stuff and get a breath of fresh air. How thehell did fresh air get into the Knitting Factory?

(back to top of May 2000 page)

Sun Ra Arkestra

Leo Golden Years GY LR 5/6

Ra aficionados would probably have preferred something re-released from the late 60s/early 70s,and hi-fi purists with an ear for top quality recording will be pretty horrified at the cavernousacoustic of this 1984 live date from Athens (previously issued as triple LP on Praxis), but the sheerjoy of the playing more than makes up for such petty quibbles. Saxophone mainstays John Gilmoreand Marshall Allen are both on exemplary form, and the band swings like hell from the outset (eventhe 70s cosmic anthem "Space is the Place", coming as it does right after Fletcher Henderson's"Yeah, Man!", is a stomper). "Nuclear War" totally rocks – if records are to be classed according tohow well they make my 18-month-old son dance, then this is this year's Number One so far, withouta doubt. Screw the purists and treat yourself.

(back to top of May 2000 page)


Han Bennink / Eugene Chadbourne / Toshinori Kondo:
Leo Golden Years GY LR 7/8

For true insanity, check out this ninety-minute double CD of a 1980 live gig at Rotterdam's JazzBunker. Chadbourne (various guitars) is joined by Toshinori Kondo (on, amongst other things,"trumpet, two different euphoniums (one of them Polish), and Pignose amplifier") and certifiableDutch madman Han Bennink on drums, piano, tenor and soprano sax (!), B flat clarinet (!!),trombone (!!!) harmonica (!!!!) and voice. For those familiar with Bennink's antics (this is the guywho once tried to saw a stage in half, frisbee'd his cymbals at the ceiling of the Queen ElizabethHall and totally massacred two large potted plants when I first saw him), his (rather fine) sax workwill come as a pleasant surprise. The eruptions into spastic Monk and Beatles covers are short-livedand utterly hilarious, and the lo-(I mean LO)-fi recording only adds to the fun. Makes you think ofthat selection of music that was blasted into outer space by NASA some years back to announce ourcosmic cultural credentials to music-loving extra-terrestrials.. if they'd put "Jazz Bunker" on theplaylist you could bet your ass any potentially hostile alien invading force would steer weeelll clearof Earth. So there you have it: Eugene Chadbourne could literally save the planet.

(back to top of May 2000 page)

Music and Architecture
From the press release:

'Brasilia: Architettura vol. 4' by PANACEA is out
now. unlike previous volumes in the 'Architettura' series which
examined individual pieces of contemporary architecture, 'Brasilia'
focuses on an entire city. built 40 years ago and known for its
bizarrely futuristic look, the capital of modern day Brazil is the
vision of modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer.dark & apocalyptic,
panacea leaves the listener with a void, echoing
the desolation of this pre-planned metropolis.

check out real audio clips from the album on their newly revamped web

coming soon:

the Architettura film shorts:

directed by iara lee, these four shorts feature music from the series
and and some of the most striking architecture from across the globe.


(back to top of May 2000 page)

Claude Vivier's Unknown Electronic Music

Claude Vivier Concert, June 5th, 2000 (Paris)
French premieres of three electroacoustic works from 1972
presented by CCMIX, Paris; in conjunction with the Institute of Sonology, Den Haag.

Homage. Musique pour un vieux Corse triste
Variation I
Random Music

review by Guy Livingston

Claude Vivier, murdered inexplicably at the age of 35 in Paris in 1983, was potentially one of the great composers of Canada. His untimely death deprived us all of a visionary innovator. Tonight was a rare opportunity to hear (on a flawless sound system) music from the early seventies, electronic works that are virtually unknown, and were written towards the close of what he described as his ‘conceptual period.’ Later on, Vivier would become known for energetic, often ecstatic music; but these early works are abstract, reserved, and delicate.

Variation I is a fabulous mixture of clicks and farts, belches, and ticks. All probably derived from the simplest of speaker clicks but transformed into a swirling counterpoint of energetic horses’ hooves and water droplets. A breath of fresh air after the depressing bleakness and uniformity of Homage. Musique pour un vieux Corse triste.
Random Music shifts back and forth between distortion and quotation, using a polyphonic Latin choral mass as a cantus firmus. The odd aspect to this composition is that Vivier wrote the left channel, and Peter Hamlin wrote the right channel. Like the other works on the program, this was composed in the Netherlands at the Institute for Sonology in the Hague. But Random Music was actually written for a multimedia celebration of chance operations at the University of Utrecht. Hamlin’s and Vivier’s musics merge beautifully in a bittersweet encounter of religious nostalgia and contemporary abstraction. Bravo to CCMIX for presenting this intriguing evening.

(back to top of May 2000 page)

Copyright 2000 by Paris Transatlantic