Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Greatness of Barry Altschul
...Barry Altschul's roots are in bebop. His approach to that music draws from an unusually rich and varied sonic vocabulary. He uses the past as grounding and guide, not as a directive. His strong listening skills support his ability to invent and respond freely in the moment. He can thus begin with a tune, but take it anywhere that his ears might lead him in the moment--within, around, or away from the tune. (Bob Gluck, The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles, 2016, p. 93.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Playlist, Week of 2016-04-24

R.I.P. Prince.

Playlist 2016-04-25:

*AMM: AMMMusic 1966
*Art Ensemble of Chicago: 1984-09-23 Charlottesville VA (CDR) (selections)
*Anthony Braxton: The Complete Arista Recordings of Anthony Braxton (discs 7, 8)
*John Coltrane: The Classic Quartet: The Complete Impulse! Recordings (disc 5)
*John Coltrane: Transition
*John Coltrane: Living Space
*John Coltrane Quartet with Archie Shepp: 1965-08-15 Chicago (CDR)
*Convergence Quartet: Slow and Steady
*Chick Corea: The Complete “Is” Sessions
*Kris Davis Trio: 2015-01-22 Vienna (CDR)
*Miles Davis Quintet: Live in Europe 1967 (The Bootleg Series Vol. 1) (disc 3) (selections)
*Miles Davis: Bitches Brew
*Billie Holiday: The Commodore Master Takes
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-02-22 “Contact Saturn (Checking on Ra)” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-03-28 “Well Extract Belief System” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-04-04 “Ambiguity Promiscuity” (wav)
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-04-13 Musicircus, UR, Richmond (wav)
*Tom Rainey Trio: Hotel Grief
*Sun Ra and His Myth Science Arkestra: Angels and Demons at Play
*Sun Ra: Sun Song
*Sun Ra: Concert for the Comet Kohoutek
*Sun Ra: Explore the Cosmos (2014 remaster) (selections)
*Anna Webber: Simple
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2016-04-13 (wav)
*Otis Redding/Carla Thomas: King and Queen
*Esperanza Spalding: Emily's D+Evolution
*Various artists: Lullabies/Dreams (cassette compilation) (side A)

Reading List, Week of 2016-04-24

Reading List 2016-04-25:

*Gluck, Bob. The Miles Davis Lost Quintet and Other Revolutionary Ensembles (started)
*Parker, T. Jefferson. Crazy Blood (started/finished)
*Van Mierlo, Wim. “‘For plemypolity’s sake’: Editing Finnegans Wake: A Consideration and Review,” in Genetic Joyce Studies (Spring 2012) (started/finished)
*Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything (in progress)
*Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare, ed. Arthur F. Kinney (in progress)
*Segar, E. C. Complete E.C. Segar Popeye, Vol. 9: Dailies 1934-1935 (in progress)
*Sorrentino, Gilbert. Blue Pastoral (reread/in progress)

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

New Ting Ting Loft at RVA Noise Fest V This Sunday

Forget Game of Thrones! New Ting Ting Loft will be playing a 15-minute set at 8:30 this Sunday at the RVA Noise Fest V at Gallery 5! See the link for the full schedule. Short Style Weekly blurb here, in which our music is referred to as "deep left-field jazz." I'll take it.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Playlist, Week of 2016-04-17

Biggest blow-away for me this week, in a week of super-blowout listening, was Coltrane's solo at the end of what we have (ca. 37 minutes) from the 1965 Soldier's Field concert with Archie Shepp. It's not like Trane hadn't been hitting the stratosphere already in the spring and summer of 1965, but damn.

Playlist 2016-04-18:

*Anthony Braxton: Anthony Braxton Quartet [Sao Paulo 2014] (disc 2)
*Rodger Coleman: 2016-01-20 Portland Brew 12 South, Nashville (wav)
*John Coltrane Quartet: 1965-04-02 Half Note, NYC “Untitled Original [Creation]” (CDR)
*John Coltrane Quartet: 1965-07-27 Antibes, France (CDR)
*John Coltrane Quartet: 1965-07-28 Paris (CDR)
*John Coltrane Quartet: 1965-08-01 Comblain, La Tour, Belgium (CDR)
*John Coltrane Quartet with Archie Shepp: 1965-08-15 Chicago (CDR)
*Kris Davis Trio: 2014-03-04 London (CDR)
*Mihály Dresch/Lafayette Gilchrist/Mátyás Szandai/Hamid Drake: Sharing the Shed
*Dutch Jazz Orchestra: Portrait of a Silk Thread: Newly Discovered Works of Billy Strayhorn
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: 2012-05-26 Moers Festival (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey: 2012-09-23 Magic Garden, NYC (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock/Achim Tang/Simon Camatta: 2012-11-15 Essen, Germany (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey: 2013-02-25 Brooklyn (CDR) (disc 1)
*Micro-East Collective: Fabric
*Ken Moore & Daniel Barbiero: Frequency Drift
*Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra: Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra Visits Planet Earth
*Sun Ra and his Astro Infinity Arkestra: Sound Sun Pleasure!!
*Sun Ra and His Myth Science Arkestra: We Travel the Spaceways
*Sun Ra: The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 2
*Sun Ra: The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 3: The Lost Tapes
*Sun Ra: Live at Slug’s Saloon (discs 5, 6)
*Sun Ra: Disco 3000: The Complete Milan Concert 1978 (Art Yard) (disc 1)
*Sun Ra Arkestra: 1980-12-27 Detroit Jazz Center (CDR) (disc 1)
*Sun Ra: Other Shades (CDR compilation)
*Bob Dylan: Highway 61 Revisited
*Heldon: Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale
*Paul McCartney: Flowers in the Dirt
*Otis Redding: The Otis Redding Dictionary Of Soul
*Esperanza Spalding: Radio Music Society
*UYA: 1989-11-07 Pre-Live (wav)
*Yes: Tales from Topographic Oceans (sides 1, 4)

Reading List, Week of 2016-04-17

Reading List 2016-04-18:

*Segar, E. C. Complete E.C. Segar Popeye, Vol. 9: Dailies 1934-1935 (started)
*Sorrentino, Gilbert. Blue Pastoral (reread/started)
*Szwed, John. Billie Holiday: The Musician and the Myth (started/finished)
*Costello, Elvis. Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink (finished)
*Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything (in progress)
*Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare, ed. Arthur F. Kinney (in progress)

Saturday, April 16, 2016


...the hallmark of our contemporary culture is an active resistance to difficulty in all its aesthetic manifestations, accompanied by a sense of grievance that conflates it with political elitism. Indeed, it's arguable that tilting at this papery windmill of artistic superiority actively prevents a great many people from confronting the very real economic inequality and political disenfranchisement they're subject to, exactly as being compelled to chant the mantra "choice" drowns out the harsh background Muzak telling them they have none. (Will Self, "The novel is dead (this time it's for real)," Guardian 2014-05-02)
One doesn't take in Proust or Canada on the basis of a single visit. (Donald Barthelme, "Interview with J. D. O'Hara," in Not-Knowing: The Essays and Interviews of Donald Barthelme, p. 285) 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

New Ting Ting Loft at Musicircus

Here's some video. Big space, not a big crowd, still tons o' fun. New Ting Ting Loft at Musicircus, 2016-04-13, University of Richmond, Booker Hall. Tommy Birchette: electronics, styrofoam. Jimmy Ghaphery: alto sax, wood flute. Tim Harding: guitar. Fred McGann: keyboard, guitar, vocal. Ben Scott: electronics, percussion. Sam Byrd: drums, percussion.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

New Ting Ting Loft at Musicircus April 13 at UR

Akira Kinoshita, courtesy of the John Cage Trust

New Ting Ting Loft will be participating in this year's annual Musicircus event, Wednesday, April 13 (tomorrow night!) at the University of Richmond's Booker Hall of Music. Curated by Brian Jones, this event is nothing but fun. The John Cage composition goes like this:
Created in 1967, MUSICIRCUS is an invitation for as many performers as possible to assemble and play together where multiple performances occur simultaneously to create new, unusual configurations. Each ensemble or soloist prepares a set of works that they will perform. Each group plays what it has prepared and the overall effect is a circus. MUSICIRCUS is not a jam session-- one group does not try to blend in with another group.
Here's what Style Weekly says about it:
An unpredictable Richmond tradition, the event gathers a wide cross section of Richmond musician and scatters them throughout the building for exactly one hour of simultaneous playing. It’s an opportunity to see some of RVA’s best players up close, and to experience the uncanny frisson of moving between radically different styles. Or just standing where free jazz, samba, bluegrass and Balinese gamelan run together in a multiplexed collision of perfect noise.
We always have a blast doing this. Come check it out! 8:50 or 9:00 or thereabouts, sharp!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Recent Activity from New Ting Ting Loft

Here are a couple of short videos from our most recent improv session of last week.

Not sure how to fix the bleedover into the right column. These are from "Ambiguity Promiscuity," from 2016-04-04. That's Fred McGann on keyboard and guitar, Tommy Birchett on electronics, Jimmy Ghaphery on alto sax and clarinet, and Tim Harding on bass and keyboard. I'm behind the kit with my phone. Here's audio of the full session:

And as a bonus, here's the 44-minute session from the week before:

As always, we get into some strange territory! These and much more available at the New Ting pages on the Internet Archive.

Playlist, Week of 2016-04-10

Just brilliant. First live release from this trio.

Playlist 2016-04-11:

*Anthony Braxton: Anthony Braxton Quartet [Sao Paulo 2014]
*Brötzmann/Miller/Moholo: The Nearer the Bone, the Sweeter the Meat
*Brötzmann/Bennink: Atsugi Concert
*Rodger Coleman: Moog Sketch 2016-03-24 (mp3)
*John Coltrane: Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up “Song of Praise”
*John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (Deluxe Ed.) (disc 2)
*Kris Davis Trio: Waiting for You to Grow
*Ingrid Laubrock/Dan Peck/Tom Rainey: 2012-05-11 Moers (CDR)
*Jimmy Lyons: Other Afternoons
*Ken Moore & Daniel Barbiero: Frequency Drift
*New Ting Ting Loft: 2016-03-28 “Well Extract Belief System” (wav)
*Tom Rainey: Obbligato
*Tom Rainey Trio: 2013-10-19 Brooklyn NY (CDR)
*Tom Rainey Trio: Hotel Grief
*Sun Ra: When Sun Comes Out
*Sun Ra: Live at Slug’s Saloon (discs 3, 4)
*Sun Ra: I, Pharaoh
*Sun Ra: Voice of the Eternal Tomorrow
*Sun Ra Arkestra: 1980-12-26 Detroit Jazz Center (CDR) (disc 3)
*David Torn & Prezens: 2007-08-24 Saalfelden (CDR)
*David Torn & Prezens: 2008-01-19 Budapest (CDR) (disc 2)
*Lily Allen: Sheezus
*Beatles: 1+
*Elvis Costello and the Attractions: Armed Forces (2002 reissue, disc 1)
*Elvis Costello & the Attractions: Get Happy (2003 reissue, disc 1)
*Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home
*Mike Elder/Harry Forrest/Greg Jordan/Sam Byrd: 2016-04-01 (wav)
*Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger: Midnight Sun
*Heldon: Stand By
*High Llamas: Here Come the Rattling Trees
*Richard Pinhas/Oren Ambarchi: Tikkun
*Richard Pinhas/Yoshida Tatsuya: Welcome in the Void
*Richard Pinhas/Yoshida Tatsuya: 2016-12-01 Tokyo (CDR)
*Soft Machine: Jet Propelled Photographs
*Esperanza Spalding: Emily's D+Evolution
*Various artists: Music for Weirdos (disc 4)

Reading List, Week of 2016-04-10

I'm especially digging the parts about his collaborations with Paul.

Reading List 2016-04-11:

*Cronin, Justin. The Passage (finished)
*Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything (in progress)
*Costello, Elvis. Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink (in progress)
*Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare, ed. Arthur F. Kinney (in progress)

Frequency Drift


Another mysteriously brooding contemplative beauty of a release from Daniel Barbiero. His recent releases outside the group context of Colla Parte have emphasized quiet texture developments and long tones, highlighting his dexterity with bowing and his ability to create floating sound structures that shimmer and morph in the mind. Frequency Drift, a collaboration with Ken Moore on treated tam-tams, mines that vein even further. Beautiful!

Available for free download here.

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Tom Rainey,
Rhythm is important, and it's one of the things you notice about student work. Very often students don't, in the beginning, understand that their sentences are supposed to have certain rhythms and that the rhythms are part of the texture of the story. It's hard to teach, something that's more a knack than directly teachable. But it's central, it's a factor in every sentence, and you have to insist on it, remember to insist on it. (Donald Barthelme, "Interview with Bobbie Roe, 1988," in Not-Knowing: The Essays and Interviews of Donald Barthelme, p. 317)

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Once when I was in Elaine de Kooning's studio on Broadway, at a time when the metal sculptor Herbert Ferber occupied the studio immediately above, there came through the floor a most horrible crashing and banging. "What in the world is that?" I asked, and Elaine said, "Oh, that's Herbert thinking." (Donald Barthelme, "Not-Knowing," in Not-Knowing: The Essays and Interviews of Donald Barthelme, p. 23)

Monday, April 4, 2016

Playlist, Week of 2016-04-03

Absolutely astonishing. However, the greatest recording from Coltrane at the Half Note remains officially unreleased: what has become known as "Creation," from 1965-04-02.

Playlist 2016-04-04:

*Peter Brötzmann Octet: The Complete Machine Gun Sessions
*Brötzmann/Bennink: Ein Halber Hund Kann Nicht Pinkeln
*Brötzmann/Bennink: Schwarzwaldfahrt
*Rodger Coleman: Moog Sketch 2016-03-23 No. 1 (streaming)
*John Coltrane Quartet: 1965-04-02 Half Note, NYC (CDR)
*John Coltrane: Live at the Half Note: One Down, One Up (disc 2)
*John Coltrane: The Major Works of John Coltrane
*Kris Davis/Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey Trio: 2011-10-22 Cormons, Italy (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: 2011-08-06 Lisbon (CDR)
*Ingrid Laubrock Anti-House: Strong Place
*Ken Moore & Daniel Barbiero: Frequency Drift
*Tom Rainey Trio: 2012-07-06 Rotterdam (CDR)
*Tom Rainey Trio: 2012-12-30 Brooklyn NY (CDR)
*Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra: Other Planes of There
*Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra: The Magic City
*Sun Ra: The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra, Vol. 2
*Sun Ra: Live at Slug’s Saloon (discs 1, 2)
*Sun Ra Arkestra: 1980-12-26 Detroit Jazz Center (disc 2) (CDR)
*Dark Carpet: 2016-03-04 The Rock Shop, Brooklyn (wav)
*Heldon: Un Rêve Sans Conséquence Spéciale
*Heldon: Interface
*High Llamas: Here Come the Rattling Trees
*Paul McCartney: McCartney (Archive Collection) (disc 2)
*Richard Pinhas: 2014-05-16 Victoriaville (CDR)
*Otis Redding: The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads
*Otis Redding: Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul
*Otis Redding: The Soul Album
*Esperanza Spalding: Emily's D+Evolution
*UYA: 1989-11-05 Glasnotes (wav)

Reading List, Week of 2016-04-03

More than what Ratliff actually had to say about any of the music, I appreciated the framework of approaches he takes for listening, as arbitrary as it is. He doesn't get the collector mentality, but at least he addresses it. Sun Ra: not mentioned at all.

Reading List 2016-04-04:

*Costello, Elvis. Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink (started)
*Cronin, Justin. The Passage (started)
*Ratliff, Ben. Every Song Ever: Twenty Ways to Listen in an Age of Musical Plenty (finished)
*Van den Berg, Laura. Find Me (finished)
*Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything (in progress)
*Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare, ed. Arthur F. Kinney (in progress)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Review of Omniverse Sun Ra

Art Yard has released a second revised and expanded edition of Hartmut Geerken's Omniverse Sun Ra.  Originally published in 1994, the first edition was a massive LP-sized paperback that almost instantly went out of print.  Besides several articles by Ra scholars, poets, and philosophers commissioned especially for the book, its key feature was a stunning array of record covers in full color. This was especially exciting because, of course, so many of the Saturn releases had blank sleeves that were individually hand-decorated by Ra and the band.

The second edition expands that selection to over 70 pages of gorgeously reproduced full-color images of album covers, record labels (including a ton of rare singles), and other Ra-related ephemera such as Saturn fliers and catalogs. The cloth-bound book itself is beautifully put together with a durable spine and an orange placeholder ribbon. It primarily reprints the essays from the original book, with new introductions from Geerken and Chris Trent. These essays are a mix of musical, biographical, and philosophical studies, among them an account from Geerken of Ra's trips to Egypt, a treatment of Ra quotes from poet Robert Lax, and an insightful study of Ra's place in culture from Chis Cutler. My favorite essay is "Sun Ra: Supersonic Sounds from Saturn," by discographer and Ra expert Robert L. Campbell. This 30-page piece remains the best single piece of writing about Ra's music, covering his entire stint on Earth and presenting a concise overview of all of the highlights (and of course there are many). This essay alone is worth the price of the book.

But its treasures do not end there. The selection of photographs is greatly expanded from that of the first edition. They come from two sources: the excellent black-and-white photos of Val Wilmer from 1966 and 1979, and photographs documenting the Arkestra's 1971 concerts in Cairo. The Wilmer prints are familiar, but never have they been reproduced with such stunning clarity. The Cairo photographs are fascinating; some of them have appeared elsewhere, but most of them are printed here for the first time.

To top all of this, the capstone of the new material for the second edition is the expanded discography by Chris Trent. Unlike the official discography by Campbell and Trent (Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra, 2nd ed.), this new one does not include the unissued live dates. But it does include all of the new releases (official and not-so-official) that have come to light since Earthly Recordings came out in 2000. This means it covers all of the Transparency CDs, the Norton LPs and CDs, the Atavistic/Corbett vs. Dempsey CDs, and the Art yard reissues, originals, and compilations. Trent gives detailed notes, with personnel and track listings, on all releases. His work is extremely helpful and is a worthy companion to Earthly Recordings. It is particularly valuable for sorting out such confusing aspects of the recorded work like the various reissues, repackaging, and new issues of the three volumes of Heliocentric Worlds, the live dates with Pharoah Sanders from 1964, the different versions of the Nothing Is 1966 tour, and the Irwin Chusid/Michael Anderson iTunes remasters and bonus tracks. There's even a special (if incomplete) section on Sun Ra remixes.

This new edition of Omniverse Sun Ra is a must-have for Ra fanatics. It's a beautiful, well-executed testimony to Ra's legacy, and will stand as an essential companion to Saturn research.