Friday, May 20, 2005

Who reads yesterday's papers?

A semi-moldy free jazz round-up:

-- Over at All About Jazz, Derek Taylor is in the process of reviewing the Free America reissues from Verve. Parts one and two are up; part three to come next week. Taylor blows way too hard --- "On the album’s title track Lacy and his reed confrere Steve Potts capitulate to the eponymous divide" --- but if you can wade through the rain of $2 words, a decent portrait of the music emerges.

-- Earlier this month the AACM celebrated its 40th birthday with a round of performances in and around Chicago. John Litweiler, author of The Freedom Principle, filed this report for the Sun-Times on the concluding concert, held May 8th.

-- Not sure how we've missed this lo these many months, but Avant Music News is a useful if terse outpost for out-music tidbits, from Boredoms to Braxton. More a bulletin board than blog, just the thing if you're not sure if the latest Downtown Music Gallery broadsheet has been issued.

-- Not, strictly speaking, music related, but as posted at the WFMU blog, British MP George Galloway unspooled some kind of wild solo in the august halls of the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. Galloway is an unsavory character, possibly a charlatan, but in an appearance before a Senate committee, ostensibly to defend himself against corruption charges related to the oil-for-food program, Galloway unleased a torrent of anti-war invective the likes of which simply haven't been aired outside of talk radio or blogdom. The guy went off:

Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.

If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.

We don't go in for politics much here --- it's handled much better elsewhere --- but that struck a chord. It's unfortunate that Galloway is, er, kind of a comprised figure (check the comments below the 'FMU post), but we've always believed, after Chaucer, that even an evil man can tell a moral tale.

-- ESP-Disk has this year been remastering some of their essential early releases, combining some into 2-fers,
genuflect before the Sun
with bonus material --- often interviews with the lead musician. This 4000 series has so far included Sun Ra's two-volume Heliocentric Worlds in one package; the complete Frank Wright on ESP, plus interviews; Ayler's Bells and Prophecy together; and Pharoah's First with a number of interview clips. ESP has also remastered the signature ESP disk, Spiritual Unity. All disks at the well-stocked ESP store are $12.99. (The remasters and multi-disk sets are more.)

-- This is the last post I will ever write; I'm just going to keep adding bullet points. In the Voice earlier this week, Francis Davis reviewed Vijay Iyer's new album, Reimaginings, liking it generally but having some trouble citing influences beyond the jazz canon. I can relate. Davis also notes some grey market, vintage Don Cherry, with the "I got mine" insouciance of a five-year-old who just ate the last cookie. Charming. A Voice squib also reports that NYC's Anthology Film Archives ("We challenge you to find more uncomfortable seating!") has just started a series called Eye and Ear Controlled, featuring avant-musicians' films, with notable concentrations of Tony Conrad's work, several short Terry Riley-Steve Reich collaborations, and a presentation of Michael Snow's New York Eye and Ear Control (soundtrack available from ESP store!), inspired in part by Carla Bley. The series was programmed by Jim O'Rourke and Anthology guy Andrew Lampert. Per the Voice, Snow will be on hand to discuss his work, though the AFI site doesn't make mention of this. For more on Conrad and O'Rourke, have a sitdown with Brooklyn Vegan.


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