Stuff I like!!
A few more CD's that i like to listen to, old and new, friends and strangers! I've accepted the fact that if I'm going to be honest about my listening experiences and tell you about the CD's that I love, I'm going to have to feature A LOT of my friends work! I guess that means that either I'm too stuck in my own world or I just happen to have some remarkable friends!!
The Claudia Quintet - I Claudia
This is the first I've heard from this group even if they've been together for quite some time and consist of my friends and acquaintances. John Hollenbeck is the leader and composes all the material as well as play some serious drums. Others are Chris Speed (tenor & clarinet), Matt Moran (vibes), Ted Reichman (accordion) and Drew Gress (bass). What a band!!! Needless to say they all sound fantastic but what makes this CD remarkable is John's writing! He is a fantastic composer who combines minimalism, jazz, rock-grooves, ethnic sounds and modern composition approaches into a convincing blend all his own. The tunes are surprisingly "catchy" and lyrical but there is plenty of room for his band mates to improvise. A very inspiring album and I'm really looking forward to hearing John's new large ensemble CD.
This has to be one of the best bands in the universe!!UNBELIVEBLE playing!! I'm usually not a fan of "metal music", whatever the sub-genres or variations may be. Much of it sounds uninteresting to me. But this band is in a league all its own. This is their most recent release but all their previous releases are fantastic as well. The rhythmic stuff is what got my attention at first, their compositions are filled with surprising, twisted rhythms but there is more to it than just that. They are all fantastic musicians and the arrangements are incredibly imaginative and musical. Unlike most metal bands, they have totally abandoned the "guitar-heroics" that bore you to death. But the few times they solo on their older CD's they show that they are more capable than the rest. Not because of their technique (which is mind-blowing btw) but because of their sound and musicality.
Nels Cline - Destroy All
Nels is a fantastic guitarist from California who is finally now getting the recognition he deserves. This is my favorite CD of his but he is very prolific and has played on a great number of good CD'S both as a leader and sideman. We have been in e-mail contact for some years and exchanged CD's (his generosity has made him one of the best featured artist in my CD collection). Only recently did we meet though, when he was nice enough to invite me and Jim Black to a Wilco concert in NY. Great guy, who also has a great web-site that he unfortunately doesn't update often enough. I really enjoy his writing and his column on music that he listens to is what inspired me to do the same. He is an genuine fan of music and has a vast knowledge of music in every genre.
Tim Berne-Nice View
Now, this is probably one of the most influential CD of my life! Tim was nice enough to invite me and Chris Speed to the old Power Station when he mixed this CD and right from the first sounds of Marc Ducret's intro on the first track it blew me away. It is an incredible band. Herb Robertson (trumpet), Steve Swell (trombone), Mark Dresser (bass), Bobby Previte (drums), Django Bates (piano), Ducret on guitar and of course Tim on sax. Every bodies playing is fantastic needless to say but the real strength of this recording are Tim's compositions. He is one of the best contemporary composers as far as I'm concerned. I've been fortunate enough to work with him on several occasions and have learned so much every time. Any and all of his recordings are recommended!
Gregorio, Gustafson, Nordeson-Background Music
Mats Gustafson is a musician that I have tremendous respect for. He has almost single-handedly changed the Swedish improv scene from a dull one to an exciting one. Of course that is a generalization, a lot of other great musicians have been important as well but Mats's role is tremendous. He is also a musician that has such a range of abilities within the avant/jazz spectrum, he can wail like Broetzman and be as tender as Jimmy Giuffre. This CD is a particular favorite of mine, the interplay is fantastic but more importantly it has a very fascinating and continuous"mood" that is so engaging. Highly recommended!
Joanna Newsom-The Milk-Eyed Mender
Wonderful singer/songwriter that plays the harp instead of the guitar. It turns out that the harp is the perfect instrument for this genre. Joanna is a tremendously gifted songwriter and storyteller. Her voice is also very unique which makes her all the more memorable.
Gunter Muller & Jim O'Rourke- Weighting
Gee, what can I say about this one!! It was recommended to me by my friend Rafael Toral. And what a gem it is. One of the most beautiful CD's in my collection. As best I know it is all improvised, but who needs written stuff when you can improvise like this!!
Human Feel-Speak to it
Yeah, yeah, I know they're all good friends of mine. BUT, this is a GREAT CD. The playing and the writing is just incredible and this band really shows the tremendous connection these players have with each others. Andrew and Chris play like they're the same person (they actually still do, weather they like it or not!!!). Fortunately this band has now re-united and recorded a new CD ( much to my surprise and amusement they recorded an old tune of mine. Needless to say it sounds great!!)
Jim O'Rourke-Remove the Need
Skuli Sverrisson turned me onto this one, years ago. It just blew my mind. There I was, having studied the guitar, quite seriously for over a decade and I didn't have the slightest idea how Jim was able to squeeze these sounds out of his guitar! It inspired me to investigate and experiment with the sonic possibilities of the guitar and now I know how to make these sounds BUT it doesn't take away any of the magic of these live performances. Just beautiful music. I read somewhere that Jim doesn't like this CD. Well, I do!!!!!!
Click HERE for older stuff!!