Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

Sunday Big Note — Listening Session #20

I was first introduced to the music of Astor Piazzolla on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, back in 2005. Almost instantly, I realized that I had stumbled upon something incredibly powerful. Filled with melancholy, and while rooted firmly in the traditional Argentine tango genre, Piazzolla’s work is at the same time intensely influenced by North-American jazz and modern classical music. As with Frank Zappa, Astor Piazzolla’s music defies categorization.


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The Don and Bunk Show

This just in via Andre Cholmondeley:

The Don and Bunk Show…on tour!!

THIS SUNDAY – for those of you in the Wilmington DE, Philly, Baltimore area — Don’t miss an amazing and rare show with the two and only DON PRESTON & BUNK GARDNER from the Mothers Of Invention…

These guys have been playing jazz, rock, and experimental music for around 50 years! They know what they are doing!! Do not try this at home — instead – catch their shows….. I’ve had the pleasure of touring and recording with these gentlemen, and there is…simply nothing like it.

The tour opens at SCHOOL OF ROCK in Wilmington DE, General Admission only $10.

Other shows…
The Don & Bunk Show East Coast Tour
Mar 21 The Garage-Willmington, MD
Mar 24 Bearsville theater Woodstock NY
Mar 25 Rongovian Trumansburg, NY
Mar 26 The Magic Room Boston, MA
Mar 27, Toads Place New Haven, CT
Mar 31, The Hi Hat Providence, RI
Apr 1, Sullivan Hall, NYC

BE THERE. BE SOMEWHERE. JUST BE.

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Frank Zappa as KPFA-FM Disc Jockey

Part 1:

In 1968, Tom Donahue interviews Frank Zappa about his life and work, while Zappa spins some of his favorite music ranging from surf music, doo-wop, jazz, the blues, to the works of Pierre Boulez.

The song selection is very informative for any fan of Zappa’s music, as one can easily trace the influence of all these styles on his own creative output, be it the cheesy harmonies of 1950s pop songs or the intricate percussive patterns of Boulez’s avant-garde classical compositions. The role that such songs had on Zappa’s own musical evolution is made all the more clear at the end of this hilarious program when a selection of satirical songs from the Mothers of Invention are also heard.

Zappa’s musical selection:

Agency ManThe Mothers of Invention
Handsome Cabin Boy [traditional] – A.L. Lloyd and Ewan MacColl
Grunion RunThe Hollywood Persuaders
Le Marteau Sans MaîtrePierre Boulez
When We Get MarriedThe Dream Lovers
Memories of El MonteThe Penguins
Goodbye Pork Pie HatCharlie Mingus
Lucy Mae BluesFrankie Lee Sims
The LetterVernon Green & the Medallions
Daddy Daddy – Richard Berry and the Dreamers
TwilightThe Paragons
FlorenceThe Paragons
Florence Don’t Leave Me – The Paragons
Later That Night – The Mothers of Invention
I’ll Be Forever Loving YouThe El Dorados
Cheap Thrills – The Mothers of Invention
Stuff Up The Cracks – The Mothers of Invention

Click here to listen to remaining three parts.

Zappanale (Then & Now) — Jazzprojekt Hundehagen


Thomas Brünnich, Thomas Käckenmeister and Michael Käckenmeister had already made music together while attending the conservatoire in Rostock in the mid-1980s, before ever conceiving of forming a band together. In the autumn of 1990, the three musicians again became active, playing in Blues and Rock bands surrounding Doberan. Around approximately 1996, was when the lasting foundation was forged to what would eventually constitute the main character of Jazzprojekt Hundehagen.

Michael Käckenmeister emerged as the group’s musical head. The group’s inspirations were rooted in interaction with his brother Thomas Käckenmeister and the musician companion Thomas Brünnich. Thomas Käckenmeister brought the experienced Guitarist Harald Werner into the group, along with the Quintet’s only woman, Pianist Katrin Werner.

The band took their name from the village they rehearsed in – an interim solution for several gigs at first – but the name stuck and it seemed like nonsense to change it.

Jazzprojekt Hundehagen play successfully in the northern part of Germany. They do standards as well as own compositions and themes of Frank Zappa.

Click here to listen (or download) various mp3’s at Jazzprojekt Hundehagen website, including “Black Napkin” “Zoot Allures”.

Jazzprojekt Hundehagen have performed at the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th edition of the Zappanale festival. They are scheduled to appear at Zappanale 20.

Note: Many of the webpages are in German. Use Babelfish to translate.

Strange News From Mars — Jon Larsen

strangenewsfrommars

Written, arranged and produced by Jon Larsen in its entirety, and recorded in Los Angeles in March 2007 with former Frank Zappa band alumni — Tommy Mars, Bruce Fowler, Jimmy Carl Black and Arthur Barrow (also engineered the recording) — Strange News From Mars tells the story of the spacecraft Big Ear III’s voyage to the red planet:

You are now onboard spaceship Big Ear III on the first surrealistic expedition to Mars. We have left the Earth behind, and passed the point of no return.

Three decades ago Big Ear I received an inexplicable signal from space, the mysterious WOW-signal. Whatever it was, our quest on this expedition is no less than to explore this phenomenon and try to answer two other questions that have confused our civilization for millennia.

The crew members are carefully chosen among the finest surrealists of our time, and we aim to please. However, we are in terra incognita, so be prepared for the unexpected.

Capt. Zurcon

Larsen is a guitarist, composer and painter. Painting was his first vocation, and from studying Dali and surrealism in the late 70s he eventually started infusing much of that spirit into music, especially when he took up composing in the nineties. What luck then when individual members of Zappa’s old crew, who Larsen so admired, should approach him with a desire to play on his Mars concept (when they heard of the project) when Larsen went over to LA to start the sessions.

Even though the compositions are all Larsen’s, there is no doubt that the spirit of Zappa infuses the entire album (listen to “Mutant Fromage” and “The Eons Are Closing” on Larsen’s Myspace page). This is made most evident by the key roles that these former Zappa alumni have on the record (Strange time changes, unexpected changes, extended vamps, jumpy bursts of marimba, comedic interjections and Zappa-inspired textures). Needless to say, it is Larsen’s core band of Norwegian musicians that so effectively mimic Zappa’s more jazzy excursions, whom along with and from the gathered alumni are able to build upon the Zappa oeuvre.

One of my favorite tracks on the album, “Dachs Reduction” exemplifies this:

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Musicians on Strange News From Mars:

Jon Larsen – guitar, martian
Tommy Mars – keyboards, telephone
Bruce Fowler – trombone
Arthur Barrow – general magic & bass
Rob Waring – marimba
Jimmy Carl Black – vocal, percussion
Knut Reiersrud – guitar, harmonica
Ole Morten Vågan – bass
Håkon Mjåset Johansen – drums

Strange News From Mars was the first release of Larsen’s new label Zonic Entertainment.

Note: This was a difficult album to track down. Even my usual CD ordering service had to order this one in. To save you time, I suggest you order Larsen/Zonic titles from here.

The Jimmy Carl Black Story — Jon Larsen

jon_larsen_-_the_jimmy_carl_black_story

Recorded prior to Jimmy’s passing from cancer in 2008, The Jimmy Carl Black Story is a double CD from Jon Larsen‘s label, Zonic Entertainment/Hot Club Records. Joined by Zappa alumni Tommy Mars (keyboards), along with Knut Reiersrud (guitar/harmonica), Ola Kvernberg (violin), Rob Waring (marimba) and Jon Larsen (guitar) — the first CD is “Part One: The Surrealistic Space Odyssey”, one hour of music inspired by Jimmy’s life:

The music is groove based R&B, laidback spacerock, and zappaesque jazz/rock, and even with some glimpses of Django. Here is also the 20 minutes adventure of Capt. Zurcon and his crew onboard the Spaceship BigEar III, on their way to the red planet Mars, and their problems with the sexually frustrated Martian (the Guacamole Queen), the mutant fromage, and a lurking whale (depicted on the cover).

The second disc is “Part Two: “The Rockumentary”, an 80 minute documentary about the “Indian of the group”. We hear about Jimmy’s start at the reservation, growing up in Texas with a racist father, The Soul Giants, Frank Zappa, The Mothers of Invention, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, mafia connections, and years of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll, but also moving stories from a long, and unusual life in music. Jimmy Carl Black is the born storyteller. An intriguing and unique addition to the oral history of rock music, with an insider’s view of life in the “Mothers”. Jimmy’s stories have a measured, thinking-out-loud quality to them as he remembers details and clarifies contradictions among seemingly muddled recollections. A must have in any Mothers of Invention collection.

Jimmy Carl Black has always held a special place among fans of the original Mothers, myself included. Jimmy might not have been the most successful of musicians, yet he always managed to live the life of a true troubadour. In his own words: “I’m famous, but I don’t have a pot to piss in,” he was fond of saying.

Although famous for his avant-garde work with Zappa, he was really more of a roots musician and worked extensively in blues, Tex-Mex, and country-rock. He came from a generation of musicians for whom working in a rock & roll band meant playing for strippers, four or five sets per night with more than one version of “Wooly Bully.”

For Black, being impoverished wasn’t just a private matter. His former boss, Zappa, had recorded band meetings and arguments, inevitably about money and the lack of it, and had edited these spoken word bits into several Mothers releases. But no matter how hard times became, Black always remained involved in some kind of musical project … He moved around the Western United States, almost always having to work at some job other than music in order to survive and support his five children.

Always an inspiration, Jimmy’s life seemed as deeply rooted as the blues he sang and played so well.

The following excerpts from The Jimmy Carl Black Story:

Hi Boys And Girls, I’m Jimmy Carl Black

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California In 1964-In Walked Roy Estrada-The Soul Giants

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Then We Went To Hawaii-LSD

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Back To L.A-Frenchy’s A Go-Go-The Original Suzy Creamcheeze

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New York City-Absolutely Free-Off-Off-Broadway At The Garrick Theatre

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Miami Pop Festival-Freak Out at the Cast Away Hotel-Arthur Brown

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Note: if we are infringing on anyone’s copyright, contact KUR and we’ll remove the offending material.

Frank Zappa — Composer & Guitarist

In the above clip, an audio interview circa 1984, Frank Zappa talks about soloing on the guitar, his attitudes toward live performances, and his relationship with his audience (listen closely at the 7:05 point for a relevant opinion of Frank’s regarding the performing of his solos “note for note”). Quite enlightening.

In the clips below, a radio documentary about Frank Zappa’s bizarre relationship with Jazz, culled from various sources and interviews (some with Zappa himself, just before his passing) with various alumni (Arthur Barrow, Adrian Belew, Mike Brecker, George Duke, Bruce Fowler, Ralph Humphrey, Tommy Mars, Patrick O’Hearn and Don Preston), entitled, albeit, ironically “Jazz From Hell” (presented by Charles Shaar Murray for Jazz File, BBC Radio 3).

News of the initial broadcast caused a hubbub, of sorts, among a sinister group of listeners of Jazz File who, euphemistically, referred to themselves as “The Friends Of Radio 3” or “FoR3” who were up in arms over the station’s decision to devote an edition of Jazz File to Zappa’s work:

“If they put Frank Zappa on,” a FoR3 spokesperson warns direly, “they are likely to alienate jazz fans the way they have classical fans.”

Actually, it’s worse than FoR3 feared. The Zappa special in question, Jazz From Hell, which [Murray] wrote and will present, takes up three Jazz File programmes on successive Saturdays. That’s three occasions on which unsuspecting listeners risk exposure to Zappa’s unique musical universe. And all at the taxpayers’ expense!


Click here to read Charles Shaar Murray’s response to the hubbub his audio documentary stirred up.

Note: In order for this documentary to be allowed to be uploaded to YouTube, most of the FZ music had to be removed first. The original poster, ‘fruhko’, apologizes for the uneven editing, but the content is there. This editing also accounts for the shortened time duration.

Bourbon Princess – The Waiting Noon

Deep-voiced lead singer/songwriter/bassist Monique Ortiz, who leads the group Bourbon Princess, with original Morphine drummer Jerome Deupree, Either Orchestra saxophonist/leader Russ Gershon and guitarist/pianist Jim Moran, describes their sound as “blue wave: new wave with a little bit of blues and jazz thrown in.”

At times jazzy, other times more rockin’ and hypnotic, this first video release from Dark of Days, the band’s third album (recorded at the legendary HI-N-DRY Studio) has been compared ” in spirit to The Doors, Patti Smith and Nico-era Velvet Underground, as well as the Boston band Morphine.”

Interviewed at Well-Rounded Radio by Charles McEnerney, Ortiz reveals the life of the contemporary working musician in the 21st Century.

Click here for that interview.

Dark of Days

Dark of Days

3 CDs From Crossfire Publications

What do you get a Zappa fan for Xmas who has everything (okay, well, mostly everything, then)? There’s always Freak Out ale, or a ZPZ DVD? Or perhaps even the latest offering of FZ-related merchadise from Barfko-Swill.

Myself, after enjoying my serving of Don Preston’s Vile Foamy Ectoplasm which I ordered from CD Baby earlier this year, along with Napoleon Murphy Brock’s After Frank: 1st Movement (featuring Gregarious Movement), and Jimmy Carl Black’s Where’s The $%&§#@’ Beer? I ordered three more Crossfire Publications titles from CD Baby:

Bunk Gardner — It’s All Bunk!

The first-ever Bunk Gardner solo album! It’s All Bunk! spans Bunk’s first sessions with Bud Wattles And His Orchestra (1959) to a live track with The Grandmothers in 1981. In between are post-Mothers improvised recordings done with his late brother Buzz and bassist John Balkin, and melodic pieces with the late Andy Cahan. More than half of these tracks have never been released in any form. In tribute to Buzz Gardner, Buzz’s My Love Has Gone is also included.

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B.E.P. (Jimmy Carl Black, Roy Estrada, Mick Pini) — Hamburger Midnight

Download-only release! In early 2002, former Mothers Of Invention drummer Jimmy Carl Black gave his old bandmate, bassist Roy Estrada, a call to find out if he was interested in recording an album of blues favorites and originals. Roy was completely into it and it was the first time they had recorded together since 1970. They were joined by UK guitarist Mick Pini, who had played with JCB in blues bands over the years. Recorded in Germany, the album contains the title track that Roy Estrada co-wrote and originally recorded with Little Feat. That song is presented as part of a medley and on its own for the first time. Roy also sings Little Richard’s “Directly From My Heart To You,” which Frank Zappa’s Mothers Of Invention released on the album “Weasels Ripped My Flesh.”

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The Grandmothers — Dreams On Long Play (Revised Version)

Download-only release! This edition of The Grandmothers was assembled in Austin, Texas in 1988 by Jimmy Carl Black with guitarist/vocalist Roland St. Germain, violinist Linda Valdmets, woodwind player Gerald “Eli” Smith and bassist Ener Bladezipper. “Dreams On Long Play” appears in its revised version here. For some reason, the band was unhappy with it and re-recorded most of the album (the original version is available separately). Regardless, this edition also features the bonus tracks “Taco Soup In 7/4,” covers of Frank Zappa’s “Let’s Make The Water Turn Black” and “Lonesome Cowboy Burt,” the unedited version of “The,” an edit of “Waiting” and a brilliant cover of The Beatles’ “I Am The Walrus.”

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Check out these and other Crossfire CDs at CD Baby and, perhaps, bring a smile to that Zappa-fanatic near you (and, no, I’m not receiving payola…sniff, sniff…I just dig the Crossfire catalog). The three audio tracks offered as samples are: “Qualude To Chaos And Fine”, “Slinkin’ Around”, and “Lonesome Cowboy Burt (Live at KUT)” respectively.

Note: If anyone feels we are infringing their copyright, contact us and we will remove the item in question.

Jazz Piano Palin

Pardon yet another US election post, but this one’s rather funny…