Laughter

the human race has one really effective weapon


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Broadcast 03: Four for Lou/Free Jazz

dolphy_in_studioBelow are two links to the WZBC Archives where you can listen to my October 27th radio show, broadcast on WZBC 90.3 FM in Boston. Those links will remain active until November 10th, at which point the show will disappear and be replaced by a new one. I will not be uploading permanent MP3 links.

I intended to play two solid hours of jazz on Sunday night, from musicians like John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Sun Ra, and Joe McPhee. But after reading about Lou Reed’s death before heading into the studio, I grabbed three Velvet Underground records and played a few of my favorites from those. Many great words have been written about Lou Reed in the last day and half, all of them by people who have spent much longer with his music than I have. I encourage you to read the obituaries from Sasha Frere-Jones and Punk magazine co-founder Legs McNeil.

Here’s an excerpt from McNeil’s piece:

Lou Reed articulated things that were never supposed to be clarified, like those “rushing” sounds on “Heroin.” I actually get goose bumps listening to those sustained notes of the different drugs flowing from my bloodstream and magically walloping my brain that the song mimics. I mean, that’s a real fucking achievement—to audibly duplicate the experience of a drug hitting the brain. It’s so ludicrous, so exact, and so wonderfully transcendent that I can’t help loving Lou Reed for dedicating his life to making songs of the depraved. Not just for the hopeless, but music that spits back that private experience—just in case you’ve never had the pleasure—and makes it sound so beautiful.

I’d also like to point everyone to this obituary for Ronald Shannon Jackson, drummer for Last Exit, The Decoding Society, Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, and many others. It’s from Jeffrey Taylor’s excellent Jazz Diaspora column, part of the Line Out blog at The Stranger. That piece is the reason I picked up Köln last week and played it on the show. It’s definitely worth digging through previous entries in the Diaspora series, and Köln is an album that anyone interested in Peter Brötzmann, Bill Laswell, or Sonny Sharrock should check it out.

Almost no label links this time, as most of them wouldn’t help very much. You can find many of these records very easily  from the stores, shops, and distributors listed at the bottom of this page. Any questions or requests, send me an email (see the about page).

Thanks for listening.

Laughter: October 27th, 2013 – Hour 1 and Hour 2

  1. The Velvet Underground, “White Light/White Heat” from White Light/White Heat (1996) on POLYDOR – originally released in 1968 on Verve
  2. The Velvet Underground, “What Goes On” from The Velvet Underground (1996) on POLYDOR – originally released in 1969 on MGM
  3. The Velvet Underground, “Venus In Furs” from The Velvet Underground & Nico (1996) on POLYDOR – released in 1967 on Verve
  4. The Velvet Underground, “The Murder Mystery” from The Velvet Underground (1996) on POLYDOR — originally released in 1969 on MGM
  5. John Coltrane, “Mars” from Interstellar Space (2000) on IMPULSE — originally released in 1974 on Impulse, recorded in 1967
  6. Eddie Gale, “A Walk with Thee” from Eddie Gale’s Ghetto Music (2003) on WATER MUSIC — originally released in 1968 by Blue Note
  7. Joe McPhee, “Nation Time” from Nation Time (2000) on ATAVISTIC — originally released in 1971 on CJ Records
  8. Bill Dixon, “Pellucity” from Vade Mecum (1994) on SOUL NOTE — included in the Black Saint/Soul Note 9CD set
  9. Eric Dolphy, “Straight Up And Down” from Out to Lunch (1964) on BLUE NOTE
  10. Noah Howard, “Ole Negro” from The Black Ark (2007) on BO’WEAVIL — recorded and released in 1969, on Freedom Records
  11. Last Exit, “Hard School” from Köln (2005) on ATAVISTIC — recorded in 1986, Discogs shows the first release as 1990 on ITM Records
  12. Miles Davis, “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down (fragment)” from Bitches Brew (2010) on COLUMBIA/LEGACY — originally released in 1970 on Columbia
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The Monthly List: April’s Top 10

photograph by Kevin Baird

Solar Eclipse – “Ring of Fire” – photograph by Kevin Baird

The only new album on the list this month comes from the Phil Minton/Audrey Chen Quintet on Sub Rosa. Everything else is a reissue or a new collection of older music.

Impulse’s release of John Coltrane’s complete Sun Ship sessions snuck in right at the end of April, but didn’t make the list because I was too busy listening to MeditationsCrescent, and Interstellar Space to notice. Coltrane has been almost the only thing I’ve wanted to hear for the last two weeks and I don’t see any sign of that streak ending. Repeat plays of Crescent and Meditations were broken only by Human Ear’s reissue of Michael Pisaro’s Tombstones and Machu Picchu’s re-release of Inside the Shadow. Both are essential and I highly recommend seeking them out.

The first half of the month was also dominated by reissues. Recollection GRM’s Xenakis LP is outstanding, as is MCR’s treatment of Where’s My Towel/Industry Standard from Austin’s Big Boys.

As always, formats posted are the ones I own. Others may be available. If you like any of the samples I link to, please buy the album. You can find numerous retailers carrying these titles at the bottom of this page.

some record shelves


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The Monthly List: October’s Top 11

Coltrane and Ali playing together

photo of John Coltrane and Rashied Ali by Omar Kharem

I put the monthly list together approximately every four weeks to review the records I’ve enjoyed most in that time. I hear at least 50 or 60 new records (EPs and singles included) every month thanks to my job, but this list isn’t restricted to new music. It’s just a way for me to keep track of what I like and listen to the most, new and old. Albums may repeat themselves from month to month and links are provided for anyone interested in checking the music out themselves (check out the “Get Music” links at the bottom of this page too). This month there are 11 records on the list, eight of them new and three of them from last month. Of the eight new titles, three of them are eMego titles. I have a bunch of new Erstwhile and Gravity Wave cued up for listening too, but haven’t gotten around to all of them yet. That’s what I’ve been listening to the most since November started. Formats listed are the ones I own. Releases may be available in other formats.

October’s 11, in no particular order: