Suzy WilliamsEnjoy the RideSuperbatone2010 The sprawling landscape of Southern California plays home to numerous pockets of creative regional artists. On LA's westside, Venice, a long time artists' enclave, once a backdrop for Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, continues its fierce resistance to gentrification, while nurturing independent visionaries of all stripes. The release of singer Suzy Williams' warm and beautiful Enjoy the Ride shines a light on a group of rarely recorded but broadly gifted musicians keeping the jazz light burning in this colorful coastal town. Williams recorded the disc ...read more
Mimi Melnick's Salons feature some of Los Angeles' best improvising musicians in the most intimate of settings--her home, at the top of a hillside overlooking the San Fernando Valley. This afternoon's trio tunes, and tests sound levels. Bass wizard and longtime UCLA professor Roberto Miranda banters with veteran drummer Bert Karl, while the group's lanky guitarist, Nels Cline, studiously tunes a vintage Fender Jazz Master, and a fretless hollow-bodied 11-string that probably exists only in the arsenal of the versatile guitar slinger. Their two hours of exhaustive exploration slip by quickly, and the widely employed Cline rides off to his ...read more
Just a few miles east of the Whisky a Go Go, where they stunned the world over 40 years ago with the classic Mothers of Invention, keyboardist Don Preston and saxophonist Bunk Gardner returned to Sunset Blvd. as The Don and Bunk Show, reviving their duo homage to the early music of Frank Zappa. Dolores Petersen Productions brought the terrible two to the Hollywood Studio Bar and Grill to warm up for their east coast tour, which may jump the ocean and go all European. Despite busy solo careers, Preston and Gardner still love the old master, and play wonderfully ...read more
Watching Adam Rudolph conduct the Go: Organic Orchestra is witnessing the embodiment of music. Rudolph takes on the role of sound sculptor, leading the specially-trained musicians through channels of sound as they occur to him in the course of performance, mixing and editing with hand signals, facial expressions and bodily torque. The only constant in the swirling world of change that characterizes the project is the near ecstatic Rudolph, shaping and molding the music as it appears, in the form of an improvised dance. You're just flowing with whatever you're receiving," he says. If it's something ...read more
When they called Eugene Edward Young up to the podium to receive his 2009 NEA Jazz Master's award, he was called by his professional name, Snooky. I don't know how I got it," he said. It started when I was a real little kid. I don't know where it came from. It used to be Snookum and it finally wound up being Snooky." The first chair trumpet player with Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton, Gerald Wilson, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, the Tonight Show Orchestra and currently the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, began playing at age five, having been born ...read more
With the release of his unique, understated, and critically acclaimed Tiny Resistors (Cryptogramophone, 2008), bassist/composer Todd Sickafoose suddenly and unintentionally upped the ante for indie jazz. Surging ahead of such indie mainstays (and label mates) as Nels Cline, Steuart Liebig, and boss Jeff Gauthier, Sickafoose has garnered strong press from such diverse sources as Bass Player Magazine, PopMatters, Jazz Times, USA Today, and The New York Times. The daring, spacious compositions and performances on Tiny Resistors, Sickafoose's third CD collection, have succeeded in obliterating all the subheadings of modern," progressive" and new"--settling, instead, on eminently appealing.
A longtime ...read more
Stratostrophic, the sixth release by the Empty Cage Quartet (ECQ), finds the avant West Coasters full of ideas and limited by nothing. Their omnivorous approach gladly frustrates label taggers while rewarding informed listeners with advanced compositional and improvisational delights. Their continuing association pays off in an acquired looseness that revels in taking chances without losing the links that keep these sonic aerialists flying together. Inside/outside, silly/serious, ECQ's creative central heat liquefies such abstractions into a bold shower of musical sparks. The set begins with the three-footed Again A Gun Again A Gun Again A Gun." Drummer Paul ...read more