Todd Clouser And Cinema Music Plus

Todd Clouser is a composing guitarist, songwriter & performer based between Mexico City and the USA. Combining elements of rock, jazz blues, spoken word & improvised musics, he has toured the world with his group A Love Electric, as a solo act and performed alongside luminaries from John Lurie to John Zorn, Flea, Cyro Baptista, John Medeski, Keb Mo, and more, performing at rock, jazz and world music festivals across the globe. His prolific output & genre-evading creativity had NPR call Todd “a fascinating musician ….. (he) doesn’t belong to any scene and doesn’t want to”, and Mexico City’s La Jornada mentioning the group as “one of the most important acts of recent years”. A native of Minneapolis, MN, Todd grew up traveling the USA following his favorite artists & self publishing poetry/recordings before being signed to Ropeadope Records for his first “proper” release, entitled “A Love Electric”. As time/tours passed, A Love Electric became a band, first an instrumental act joined by NYC downtown scene heroes Steven Bernstein, Cyro Baptista, & Billy Martin, eventually settling as a trio that explores Todd’s songwriting while honoring the inquisition and fearlessness or jazz tradition, w/Hernan Hecht on drums & Aaron Cruz on bass. The trio has gone on to release 6 records on labels in the US & Mexico while performing nearly 1,000 concerts in the span of 7 years. So much has happened since those early days. Philanthropy/community outreach work has been an important of his work in Mexico and beyond. With the founding of his “Music Mission” initiative, Todd and patrons have donated thousands of dollars worth of instruments, education materials, workshops and basic needs support to communities in Nicaragua, Chiapas, Oaxaca, Mexico City, Durango etc. Todd is also the founder of Ropeadope Sur, a record label based out of Mexico City with a focus on Mexican acts in search of increased projection of their music, the first act signed being Los Cardencheros de Sapioriz, an acapella group singing slave-era songs on the ranches on northern Mexico.

It’s always nice to visit with family and Todd and I had a chance to catch up as he is heading to Madison on May 124th to play Garver Feed Mill in a trio with Alex Mercado and Rodrigo Villaneva. We get into the event which is entitled Cinema Music for Unmade Film and the tour that it is a part of. We spend some time also talking about his latest releases, “Fake Dudes” by Magnet Animals and a brand new live album on Ropeadope Sur called “Live, Loft, Köln”. The best part of all the things Todd is a part of is that there are so many kinds….it really provides me, a listeners and a sharer of music to learn so much about so many. I thini this latest conversation will do the same.

Talkin’ Garage A Trois With Skerik

Garage A Trois return in the form from which they were born 22 years earlier with a new studio album, Calm Down Cologne, on RPF Records. Comprised by guitarist friends of the proGram, Charlie Hunter, saxophonist Skerik and drummer Stanton Moore, OG GAT released their debut album Mysteryfunk to wide acclaim in 1999. The band evolved over the years in various configurations before eventually going dormant following its 2011 album, Always Be Happy, In 2019, the original 3 piece line-up reunited for a handful of shows. This would lead to an afternoon recording at Stone Gossard’s Studio Litho in Seattle, right across the street from where the band was playing a sold out, three night run at Nectar Lounge. Ace engineer Randall Dunn was invited to document the proceedings and captured the resulting album in one magical session. Dunn later took the tracks to AVAST! Recording Co. for mixing. With all but a few edits on the beginnings and ends of performances, Calm Down Cologne presents the music as it was played in the studio that day. The story about the album title might be that legendary underground Seattle artist Rick Klu gave Skerik the idea when he was describing a bouncer having to use some ‘calm down cologne’ on an unruly patron. I have been sprayed once or twice myself I think.

I had the chance to dive deep into the new music with Skerik. We talk about the creation of these mind-opening, ass-shaking tunes and how music – this music is the best thing they can do and capture this music in the now moment. This translates so beautifully when this band is live and amazingly, onto this record. We also got into some of the new music is is making with True Loves on Color Red Music, and recent music with Nels Cline. SAY WHA????? Skerik is also cool enough to build a setlist of things around one of the new tracks on Calm Down Cologne….click into find out what he choose.

Black Eyed Peace

Atlanta based producer Matt Mansfield aka Piper Street Sound has created a stunningly beautiful & collaborative EP of instrumental Reggae music with legendary Reggae guitarist Andy Bassford (Toots and the Maytals, Dennis Brown, Horace Andy, Culture, Roots Radics). Black Eyed Peace follows 2020’s Small Plate / Rid Them EP but puts a focus on guitar melodies masterfully executed by Maestro Bassford. The songs still bear that special Piper Street customary horn heavy & dub infused stylin’ but on this release, the flow moves into some new territory; elements of Rocksteady, major keys now bouncing alongside their minor key brethren, Yaya Brown’s akete drumming prods and propels the rhythms carved by the uber-tight drumming of Brian Daggett and the bass of Mansfield, Chris Case’s keyboard mastery blazes alongside, almost at times within the horns of Will Scruggs, Jonathan Lloyd and Dashill Smith. Black Eyed Peace is a collaborative affair pieced together gradually over the course of the pandemic, the horn sessions miraculously took place the week before everything shut down, and all other elements were recorded in home studios and electronically gathered by Matt, who then helped to guide them through the forest of the unknown into a toGetherness of today, many of us seek to find.

I had the opportunity to spend a little quality time with Andy Bassford to get a deeper look and feel into what led to his accepting this fantastic project as something he could feel ready to attach his name to. We get an inside look into his decision making, the vibrancy of the newly found relationship with Matt and even the possibilities of what comes next sonically. When you listen in, it sounds like the discovery of what could be has just beGun. Andy has been around so many of the great artists and sounds of a genre specifically, but I believe after listening in on this conversation, you’d agree that he is clearly in the business for the music, and I am so excited that Matt and he have found each other, and as that door keeps opening, we will all benefit from future collaborations and new found friends.

Praying For Enemies with Joy Harjo

In her first new recording in a decade, Joy Harjo – the first Native American named Poet Laureate of the United States – digs deep into the indigenous red earth and the shared languages of music to sing, speak and play a stunningly original musical meditation that seeks healing for a troubled world – “I Pray for My Enemies”, released on Sunyata Records March 5. Collaborating with producer/engineer Barrett Martin on this unique new album, Joy brings a fresh identity to the poetry & songs that have made her a renowned poet of the Muscogee Creek Nation & one of the most authentic and compelling voices of these times. “The concept for I Pray for My Enemies began” says Harjo, “with an urgent need to deal with discord, opposition. It could have been on a tribal, national or a personal level. I no longer remember. The urgency had a heartbeat and in any gathering of two or more, perhaps the whole planet, our hearts lean to entrainment – that is, to beat together.” Latin Grammy-winning producer, composer and founding father of the historic Seattle music scene, Barrett Martin brings a new dimension to Harjo’s unique sound-world – her words and music spoken, sung and explored in a vibrant mix of classic instrumental sounds. Harjo and Martin describe it as “funkified spoken word” inspiring “elegant jazz, urban soul, and inner city, reservation grit.” She sings and speaks her poetry, as well as playing saxophone and flute, on an album she describes as “very much of-the-moment.” Martin holds it all together with drums, upright bass, keyboards & production duties. He assembled an all-star band to explore Harjo’s work, featuring Peter Buck (R.E.M.) on electric guitar & feedback; Mike McCready (Pearl Jam) on electric guitar solos; Krist Novoselic (Nirvana) on acoustic guitar; and Rich Robinson (Black Crowes) on electric guitar solos. Additional players include renowned Iraqi oud master Rahim Alhaj; trumpeter Dave Carter & percussionist/backing vocalist Lisette Garcia. Joy’s stepdaughters sing harmony vocals, and her husband Owen Sapulpa plays surdo drum on the album. Joy defines songs and poems as distinctly different expressions, & both are featured in the 16 tracks that make up the album. Her words & music, older & newer, get a fresh new identity here. Some of Harjo’s defining poems appear here – “An American Sunrise,” “Fear,” “Running” & “Remember” – refracting her own experience as a Native American woman of her culturally defining generation. “Calling the Spirit Back,” from an early collection of Harjo’s poems, and the new song “How Love Blows Through the Trees” – written when COVID-19 reached her home in Tulsa, OK – echo the suffering of a world experiencing a pandemic.
Joy Harjo is the author of several books of poetry, plays, children’s books. In May, The Library of Congress will release Living Nations, Living Words: an Anthology of First Peoples Poetry: and in September a memoir Poet Warrior, A Call for Love and Justice, Oprah Winfrey recently picked her anthology of Native American poetry for her book club. Her many honors include the Ruth Lily Prize for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Foundation; the Academy of American Poets Wallace Stevens Award; PEN USA Literary Award and many others. She is a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

I had the complete honor of catching up with Joy about this brand new release and we dive into the seed to flower tale. How she got to work with Mr. Martin and the key of the rhythm. All the words above speak the truth about Joy, but to get a true sense of this album and how it sounds and more importantly feels, is up to you. Go hear, go feel.

Cable Access TV from Heather The Jerk

Heather the jerk is the solo project of Heather Sawyer based out of Madison, WI. She started the project around 2016 to challenge herself and see if she could play music “one man band” style using guitar, bass drum, and high hat. After playing a few shows HTJ released a 4 song ep titled “The Rick Shitty Sessions” recorded by Rick Freuhling of local bands Fire Heads and Dumb Vision. In between now and then Heather played in a couple touring bands and was pretty busy with that. Fast forward several years and a pandemic later, Heather wrote a bunch of songs and decided to record them all as a full band this time around. Cable Access TV is the result of the recording sessions. Recorded entirely by Graham Hunt at their practice space this last fall, CATV also features Graham, and friend Tyler Fassnacht on some guitar and bass help. Cable Access TV is the result of some breakups, a pandemic, and smoking up.

I had the opportunity to get a little time with Heather The Jerk to get her take of how the album creation went down. We talk some of the ins and outs of this album, some of those inspirations that inspired and a new video as well as some thinGs in the pipeline….who is this Dana and The I Don’t Need That’s?? Heather is one of those special people making that real feel to her sound and Madison is lucky to have her within the scene.

Triptides Bring Out Alter Echoes

With a sound oscillating between psychedelic pop and space rock, Triptides’ album Alter Echoes channels both The Byrds at their most hallucinogenic and Pink Floyd at their most cosmically composed while creating something immediate and new. These are some heady, sun-drenched psych-pop-type sounds that guarantee to open new paths within you, and bring a easy cool feeling over you. The band has established itself as a preeminent part of the new wave of L.A. psych music. With Alter Echoes they pull away from the pack, thanks to the quality of their songwriting, performance and production. The Los Angeles based band is led by multi-instrumentalist Glenn Brigman, and with drummer Brendan Peleo-Lazar and bassist/guitarist Stephen Burns. Triptides’ Alter Echoes will be released on limited vinyl and digital / streaming platforms on March 19th via Alive Naturalsound Records.

I had the chance to catch up quick with Glenn Brigman of Triptides to dive a little deeper into the uplifting sounds created on ‘Alter Echoes”. We get into the path from start to finish, the growth of the music and Glenn builds a set around one of the tracks off the record with some other wild artists and tunes. EarGrab the conversation but make sure to get an earful of this album.

FREQUENCY EQUILIBRIUM KOAN by MGJ

One of the most influential guitarists to emerge during New York’s avant-garde loft jazz scene has returned to influence a new generation of edge-pushing, genre-hopping musicians. Michael Gregory Jackson has tread a winding musical path over his 40+ year career, embracing everything from creative music, jazz, blues, rock and electronica soundscapes to harmonically rich & lyrically-deep vocal tunes, with the complex arrangements & subtleties that are a signature of his music. His ability to span musical genres was best captured by one reviewer’s depiction as “Musical Mercury.” He was barely of his teens when he served as co-creator in the Oliver Lake Quartet, one of the most critically acclaimed & far-traveling ensembles working jazz’s outer fringes. Michael’s brilliant technique on electric & acoustic, flavored with quicksilver runs, volume pedal swells and sudden shifts from crystalline melodic to fuzzy dissonance, has been name-checked as a critical-influence, and can be heard deep in the musical DNA of six-string legends like Bill Frisell, Vernon Reid, Pat Metheny, Marc Ribot, Mary Halvorson & others. His journey from the avant-garde to what the industry regarded as a more commercial, song-based sound was thankfully and intriguingly gradual. It gave fans with inquiring taste a ringside seat to an evolution that unfolded subtly over a series of superb albums, ones that continue to be favorites of critics and his fellow musicians. Jackson’s newest release, Frequency Equilibrium Koan, will come out on Golden Records in February 2021. Frequency Equilibrium Koan is a 1977 recording of an extraordinary concert of Michael’s music at Joe Lee Wilson’s New York City venue, The Ladies’ Fort, performed by an extraordinary quartet: Michael Gregory Jackson (guitars & percussion), Julius Hemphill (alto saxophone), Abdul Wadud (cello), Pheeroan aKLaff (drums). Featuring 40 minutes of music and liner notes by Michael and guitarist Bill Frisell, Frequency Equilibrium Koan offers listeners a priceless opportunity to experience a key moment in NYC’s long lost Loft Jazz Scene of the 1970s, with Michael at that scene’s heart.

I had the honor of connecting with Michael Gregory Jackson primarily about this particular release to get deeper into the who and what, the now and then and the journeys between. We talk the scene, the people and the magic of not missing moments. I have been listening to and sharing his music for many years now, and this release makes me feel as close to that NYC Jazz Loft scene as I have ever felt, I believe some of those notes are still ringing thru the streets of the city. Head over to his bandcamp page to get your own taste and see what I mean.

Some Kind Of Tomorrow With Jane Ira Bloom

Soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom and bassist Mark Helias come together to create duets discovered in the moment in a way that is rarely heard today with “Some Kind of Tomorrow”. The long time bandmates, separated by space and time find a way to play in real time with one another and the results are magical. Two master improvisers and composers bring listeners up-close and personal to the first spark of their imaginations at work, recording eleven duet improvisations over the spring, summer, and fall of 2020. The music is raw, authentic, intimate, alive, and unapologetic in its passion. Their sound is deep wood and polished brass recorded with a depth that is hard to describe. They played the music, recorded it, mastered it firsthand and are now making it available to listeners for the first time as a digital download on Bandcamp. Don’t miss these fearless jazz explorers as they face the future.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Jane Ira Bloom about this project. We got into the creation of songs in a way, that up until now had probably not been considered as a way to go about one’s music…but…here we are. We talked about some challenges and the need to do this playing. Versatilityis one of those things I appreciate about Jane, so we touched briefly on the most recnt release she did with M’Lumbo on Ropeadope Records, released back at the end of October, 2020. And of course, as a true sound architect, Jane was able to point to the future a tad with what felt like assurance that there would be a volume 2 AND a new project on the winGs of exploration with a group of female improvisers called “Picturing The Invisible”…ahhh the future looks and sounds good…Listen in above to find out more.

An East African Journey with Omar Sosa

Omar Sosa has been passionately interested in exploring African musical cultures and their connections with his Afro-Cuban roots since early in his career – subtly blending traditional and contemporary sounds on many of his recordings. He has forged collaborations with Gnawa musicians in Morocco, and with musicians from Senegal, Mozambique, Mali, Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, and South Africa, et al. Highlights include his 2002 GRAMMY-nominated recording ‘Sentir’ featuring Moroccan singer and Guimbre player El Houssaine Kily, and his 2008 CD release ‘Afreecanos’, which served as a point of departure for his East Africa project. This new exquisite set of music featuring the 7-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Mr. Sosa showcases collaborations with 8 East African artists, fusing traditional sounds with jazz in a subtle, contemporary production. The folkloric music forming the basis of this project was recorded by Mr. Sosa while on tour in East Africa, including material from Madagascar (Rajery), Kenya (Olith Ratego), Sudan, Ethiopia (Seleshe Damessae), Burundi (Steven Sogo), Zambia and Mauritius (Menwar). With Mr. Sosa on pana and Paris-based producer, Steve Argüelles on drums and percussion and multi-instrumentalist Christophe ‘Disco’ Minck on double bass, synths and effects. These recordings will help expose some of the rich musical traditions of East Africa to new and wider audiences. Included in these recordings are some possibly unknown instruments that are the very keys to unlock the newness of sounds.

I had the honor of talking with Mr. Sosa about not only his personal journey on the creation of this magical album, but the journey of the music. We got into the times between the recording and the ability for me to be able to share and enrich others with the final product. We dive into the people, the cultures and the special instruments for the regions unfamiliar to many of us, but easily uniting those who open their ears and minds. I have to admit that Omar Sosa has long been one of those artists I have admired from a far, and I am so pleased we got a chance to talk abut this project…as it has taken me back while moving me forward. Hope you get that sense! An East African Journey will be released everywhere on March 5th. Check out more here.

A Trilogy Of Albums And Mike Dillon

Mike Dillon has spent the last 3 decades playing well over 200 shows a year with both his own band, as well as a vibraphonist/percussionist with artists including Rickie Lee Jones, Les Claypool & Ani DiFranco. So when the pandemic hit in early 2020 forcing him off the road, he instinctively directed his perpetually restless creative energy to writing & recording. Recently relocating to Kansas City after spending 15 years in New Orleans, he and producer Chad Meise would track a trilogy of albums. In collaboration with his longtime record label Royal Potato Family, they would offer the records exclusively via Bandcamp just days after they were mixed and mastered. On March 12, 2021, those albums now receive the full vinyl treatment, as well as complete digital release across all streaming outlets.

The first of the 3 records, ‘Shoot The Moon,’ is a 10 track collection, which Mike describes as “Punkadelic-Funk-Psych,” focused heavily on the current political climate in the United States. Assembling an assortment of stylistically uncompromising musicians to contribute, its line-up features Matt Chamberlain, Steven Bernstein, Nicholas Payton, Robbie Seahag Mangano, Jean-Paul Gaster & Nick Bockrath among others. Highlights include the apocalyptic road warrior anthem “Drivin’ Down The Road,” a swirling New Orleans jazz-raga “Further Adventures in Misadventures” and the snarling punk rock diatribe “Quool Aid Man” with its indictment of the American right: “old men and their guns.”

The 2nd recording in the series, ‘Suitcase Man’ is a 9-song cycle through which Mike examine his life & choices made over the past 55 years. It’s a distinct entry in his extensive discography, notable for its strikingly honest lyricism & minimalist arrangements that incorporate sparse vibraphone & percussion with a handful of background vocals by Tiff Lamson of Givers and frequent collaborator JJ Jungle. Songs like “Empty Bones,” “Turkish Rose” & “Matthew” represent him at his most creatively daring, while confirming his ascent into the upper echelon of cult music outsiders in the lineage of artists like Tom Waits, Harry Partch & Captain Beefheart.

Mike completes the trilogy with ‘1918.’ The focal point here are his instrumentals: the dank and dark Moog/tabla/vibraphone psych vibe of “Pinocchio,” the electro analog trance of “Pelagic” and the jungle groove, space rock of the title track. Mike once again calls on friends like drummer Earl Harvin and guitarist Shane Theriot to assist. Thematically speaking, the material addresses the Covid-19 pandemic and recent social unrest.

I had the pleasure of catching up with friend of the proGram, Mike Dillon to discuss the creation and construction of these three different feelings and flavors of sound. We touch on the who and what, the how and the why and how a pirates’ voice for he comes into play.

All Exce$$ With Danny Zelisko

When concert promoter Danny Zelisko says, “I’ve got some stories to tell,” he isn’t kidding. His remarkable new book, ALL EXCE$$ Occupation: Concert Promoter, takes you both backstage & on stage with music’s top stars, recounting his incredible five-decade career in which he has produced over 10,000 concert events throughout the country. Along with his vivid, insightful and highly entertaining recollections, Danny shares an eye-popping array of never-before-seen photos from his personal archives that might have readers thinking he’s a rock ‘n’ roll Zelig: There’s stories & shots of him with Alice Cooper, Willie Nelson, Roger Waters, Aerosmith, the Grateful Dead, members of Led Zeppelin and The Doors, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Beck, Kris Kristofferson, Chuck Berry, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Bennett, Muddy Waters, Genesis, Tina Turner, Billy Idol, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Billy Joel, Bob Seger, James Brown, John Prine – as they say, the list goes on and on.
In addition, Danny chronicles his lifelong love of sports, his passion for collecting memorabilia/autographs, and some of the incredible friendships he formed while in his pre-teens with giants such as Chicago Cubs shortstop/first baseman Ernie Banks and Chicago Bears stars Brian Piccolo & Gale Sayers. He also talks about his first impressions & situations that followed with concert business legends Bill Graham & Shep Gordon, who went on to be his close friends and mentors throughout his career. What message does he hope readers will take away from the book? “Anything & everything is possible,” he says. “I want to inspire people, whatever they want to do, they can do it. You see a picture of me with Robert Plant or Muhammad Ali, and you might think, how did this guy get there? That’s the story I tell. And it can happen to you, too. You just have to believe in yourself & never quit.”
How does a starry-eyed Midwestern kid go on to become one of the biggest concert promoters in history? Danny details his rise from scrappy beginnings to overseeing iconic stadium shows. “A lot of people have no idea what a concert promoter actually does, so that’s something else I hope people take away from the book,” he says. “There’s the great times – hanging out with the stars, the fun, the partying – but there’s awful times, too. And there’s the work. My team and I are responsible for every aspect of putting on a show. Without the great people who have supported these promotions, day in and out, I could never have done it. They are the stars behind the scenes”.
At its heart, ALL EXCE$$ Occupation: Concert Promoter is a tale of friendships. His longtime pal & baseball legend Kirk Gibson wrote the book’s Foreword in which he describes the author as “the straw that stirs the drink.” “I’m very fortunate to have made such incredible friends,” Zelisko says. “I think a big reason for that is because I’m always very honest with the people I deal with. I can admire them and worship what they do, but I deal with them straight and tell them the truth. I think that’s how you last in the business, and it’s how you maintain relationships.”

I had the chance to catch up with Danny about this book of tales, some you might expect, some you might not. But the journey feels maGical when I put myself in his shoes through the pages. Hear what he has to say about it here:

ALL EXCE$$ Occupation: Concert Promoter is available at dzplive.com, you can also get it from Kindle, Amazon and Amazon Print on Demand. Additionally, a limited number of first-edition signed copies are available to benefit NIVA’s Save Our Stages (to support music industry employees affected by COVID-19).

Talking Bill Evans Trio With Mr. Jack DeJohnette

Resonance Records proudly released Bill Evans Live at Ronnie Scott’s, the label’s 3rd collection featuring unheard recordings by the great pianist’s short-lived 1968 trio with bassist Eddie Gomez & drummer Jack DeJohnette, as a 2-LP Record Store Day exclusive on Black Friday, November 27. The album will subsequently be released as a 2-CD set and a digital download on December 4th. Unearthed by Resonance co-president Zev Feldman (a/k/a “the Jazz Detective”), Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest (2016) was a two-LP/two-CD studio date, cut five days after the Evans-Gomez-DeJohnette trio’s Montreux appearance, which had sat unheard in the German vaults for 50 years. A 2nd historic discovery, Another Time (2018), was recorded two days later by the Netherlands Radio Union in Hilversum. Drawn from Jack DeJohnette’s personal archives, Live at Ronnie Scott’s comprises 20 scintillating tracks captured during the Evans trio’s month-long ’68 residency at the eponymous saxophonist-impresario’s Soho club. (It is Resonance’s second live Evans album to emanate from that venue: 2019’s Evans in England derived from a 1969 stand at Scott’s, featuring Gomez and drummer Marty Morell.) Recordings by the Evans-Gomez-DeJohnette lineup are as prized as they are rare. Mr. DeJohnette was an especially simpatico accompanist for Evans, for he had been a pianist before taking up the drums. Despite their chemistry, the trio played together for a mere 6 months. During their stay at Scott’s, Miles Davis stopped in to check out the band, and the trumpeter swiftly recruited DeJohnette for his new group. By the end of 1968, Morell was hired by Evans as his replacement, and he drummed behind the pianist through 1974. Distinguished British critic, author, broadcaster, & pianist Brian Priestley, who witnessed Evans’ ’68 trio in action, puts the London stand and Evans’ then-current repertoire in context in newly commissioned notes for the release. He writes that the performances’ “compelling, indeed at times overwhelming, musical quality is such as to impress this listener all over again. Live at Ronnie Scott’s also features a joint interview, conducted by Feldman, with DeJohnette and Grammy-winning pianist (and, in his early career, drummer) Chick Corea, who played with DeJohnette in Miles Davis’ storied late-‘60s lineups. And as with all of Resonance Records releases, the packaging/artwork & provided documented history makes this yet another “must have” to any music lovers collection. Bill Evans Live at Ronnie Scott’s will be the fifth Resonance title to feature unreleased music by the pianist: 2014’s Live at Art D’Lugoff’s Top of the Gate was the label’s first Evans collection. Smile With Your Heart: The Best of Bill Evans on Resonance, a mid-priced compilation, was issued in 2020.

I had the honor of chatting with the legendary, Mr. Jack DeJohnette about this release. We get into the time and place of its creation. How Mr. Evans was creatively at the top of his playing game and how fortunate we are that these recordings made it to all of us, with some fine cleaning up work, we get to re-live and re-feel moments that many of us never shared in originally. Mr. DeJohnette and I also talk a little about working within the change on a moment stylings of Miles Davis as well an naming off a few artists he sees as carrying on that ability to create in any situation, and how they can find some cracks in structure to find freedom.

Vanessa Williams: LIVE FROM THE WEST SIDE

Vanessa Williams is one of the most respected & multi-faceted performers in the entertainment industry today. Having sold millions of records worldwide, she has also achieved numerous #1 and Top 10 hits on various Billboard Album & Singles charts: Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel & Jazz. Her critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliate including four Emmy nominations, 11 Grammy nominations, a Tony nomination, three SAG award nominations, seven NAACP Image Awards & three Satellite Awards. Her platinum single “Colors of the Wind,” from Disney’s Pocahontas, won the Oscar, Grammy & Golden Globe for Best Original Song. A graduate of Syracuse University, Vanessa is a strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the LGBTQ+ community & minorities. She was honored with the Human Rights Campaign “Ally for Equality” Award for her humanitarian contributions. She also achieved a career pinnacle with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007. Vanessa’s autobiography, “You Have No Idea,” co-written with her mother Helen Williams, was a New York Times Best Seller in 2012. Her recent Broadway credits include co-starring with Cicely Tyson in The Trip to Bountiful, (the #1 play of the 2013 season), After Midnight (2014) and a special limited engagement in Hey, Look Me Over at New York City Center in 2018. Vanessa was recently in previews for Josie Rourke’s City of Angels in London’s West End, when production was suddenly forced to pause due to COVID-19. Her charitable endeavors are many & varied, embracing & supporting such organizations as Concerts for America, Special Olympics and several others as well as the Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation. Vanessa is one of the world’s most accomplished concert artists, appearing regularly with the most prestigious symphony orchestras in the world, most recently with the National Symphony Orchestra at The Kennedy Center.

I had the absolute honor to be invited to attend a national Zoom press conference with the one and only Vanessa Williams in support of the LIVE FROM THE WEST SIDE: WOMEN OF BROADWAY: Vanessa Williams event on Dec. 5. This show is the final show in the Overture Center‘s Live from the West Side: Women of Broadway series. The show, transmitted live in HD with professional sound mixing, will feature a mix of Broadway showtunes, pop songs and personal stories from Vanessa’s celebrated career. The performance will take place at The Shubert Virtual Studios on Manhattan’s West Side. At-home audience members will be invited to email in questions to be answered during the livestream.

Here is the snippet of my time with Vanessa where we talk about music she has been getting into & how the band is doing ahead of this event on 12/5. Such a thrill!!

Loud Apartment’s System Breakdown

NYC-based funk art collective Loud Apartment has released their new album, aptly titled ‘System Breakdown’, produced by Bill Laswell and created at Orange Music in West Orange, New Jersey. This is Loud Apartment’s 2nd studio album & the first with the current lineup. Their unique NYC fusion of funk, soul & rock with Latin, reggae, dub & hip hop influences is inspired by growing up on the old upper west side. The band debuted in 2012 with their ‘Get Up Get Down’ LP, which was mixed by Mr. Laswell & featured Dr. Bernie Worrell* (P-Funk/Talking Heads), who also appeared with them for live performances at Galapagos Art Space, Drom, & Public Assembly in NYC. Their sound embodies the intersection of culture that is New York City, loose enough to give room for improvisation & extended grooves. Created by musician & technologist Nevaris A.C., the band’s current lineup includes legendary musician/producer Bill Laswell on bass, turntablist DJ Logic*, multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum* (flute/sax), guitarist Will Bernard, drummer Lockatron, and Nevaris (voice, percussion, keyboards). “System Breakdown” refers to the collapse of the systems meant to protect citizens during a time like is being experienced right now. Access to healthcare. Access to a vital financial lifeline after the collapse of the live music industry during the pandemic. The album also takes aim at the incompetence & negligence of the current administration in the first 2 songs. The band began recording ‘System Breakdown’ in January 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic. Once it hit New York City, recording was halted & Nevaris began writing new lyrics that reflected his anger at the current administration. The band returned to the studio in the summer of 2020 to finish the album, including the new material, giving the record a more political tone.

I had the chance to catch up with Nevaris A.C. to dive ear first into the creation of the album and the way this current (and what I consider a mind-bending MVP group) lineup came toGether and some of the things working with people like trailblazers like Bill Laswell and Bernie Worrell brought to his creative spirit and creation approach. We talk about the current situation here in the States and how that was influential when wrapping this project up and we find out which songs Nevaris A.C. would choose off the new album if he was taking over for me in the studio. Get this record into your earholes!

Larry Keel’s American Dream

Larry Keel is an award-winning innovative flat picking guitarist and singer/songwriter hailing from Appalachia. Raised in a musical family steeped in the mountain culture of the region, he began from an early age to forge a distinctive sound, taking traditional music and infusing it with modern light. With the acoustic guitar Larry has brought the flat picking form to its highest level of sophistication and sonic power with his muscular, yet refined style of playing. As a composer and singer, he integrates raw honesty and charming grit to form a unique brand of music he calls ‘experimental folk’, songwriting that is filled with reality, imagination, imagery and mood. He has appeared on over 20 albums, 12 of which he produced, and has written songs that have been recorded and performed by distinguished artists including Grammy-award winners Del McCoury and The Infamous Stringdusters. Mr. Keel has collaborated and continues to merge creative forces with some of the greatest artists in modern roots music such as Tyler Childers, Billy Strings, Al DiMeola, Tony Rice, Keller Williams and Sam Bush, to name a few. His latest creation is a solo album titled American Dream, whose every component—from the writing and arranging, to the instrumental and vocal performances, to the recording and production—spring straight from the mind, soul, and hands of the Virginia-born artist. Each of the album’s 10 tracks were composed by Larry and serve as an autobiographical overview of his life and career, as well as the influences and episodes that have shaped his personal perspective along the way.

I have the honor of calling Larry a friend. He and Jenny are like family to this G. it is one of those things that right from the first moment…it was more then just about the music. That being said. Larry and Jenny and I get into the new American Dream record and talk about it’s seed planting into it’s crop yield. We talk a lot about the real “solo” aspect of this recording and even get into the nooks and crannies of a couple of tracks, including a: “It’s Not Nice To Fool With Mother Nature” quote. And…if Jenny all of a sudden comes out with a solo bass album in the near future, you can thank this guy for that! Take a few moments a walk through the fields of this new album with Jenny, Larry and I and then maybe go get some of the music into your ears and collection, I think it belongs in both places.

Martin Barre: 50 Years of Jethro Tull

Martin Barre was the guitarist of Jethro Tull for over 43 years, his sound and playing was a major factor in their global success. Martin’s guitar playing has earned him a high level of respect and recognition; he was voted 25th best solo ever in the USA and 20th best solo ever in the UK for his playing on ‘Aqualung’. His playing on the album ‘Crest of a Knave’ earned him a Grammy award in 1989. One of the lauded & respected rock guitarists ever to walk the planet, Martin’s dynamic, expressive, explosive guitar playing was paramount to Jethro Tull’s live and recorded sound, starting with his debut on the band’s classic second album, Stand Up (1969), right up to the band’s eventual demise in 2012. As well as numerous Jethro Tull albums, Martin has worked with many other artists including Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, Gary Moore, Joe Bonamassa and Chris Thompson and has shared a stage with such legends as Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd & Led Zeppelin. Martin has put together a band to play the “classic” music from the Tull catalogue. His band is a total commitment to give the Tull fans and a broader audience the chance to hear tracks not performed for many years. The band includes top musicians from a similar background. On Friday November 6, The Store for Music record label will proudly release worldwide Martin’s new album…a double CD affair entitled “50 Years of Jethro Tull”. CD1 features Martin and his band doing live in-studio electric performances of Jethro Tull songs…both classic tracks and deep album cuts from Tull’s earlier days….with new arrangements with Martin and his band putting their own stamp on these amazing songs. The 2nd CD features Martin and his band doing their own new versions of primarily classic acoustic songs from various periods of Tull’s legendary catalog. Martin and the band’s take on all these songs is fresh, inventive, interesting and, of course, extremely well done. His own band will be touring again at some point whenever the world is safe for him to do so, performing both Tull classics & Martin’s amazing original music.

I had the honor of catching up with Martin to get the buzz about this new double CD set into as many earholes as possible. We go through the creation of the records, including the respect Martin and his band mates have for the original music and the many people it shares an importance with. We talk songwriting and the addition of a new instrument, a female vocalists sound on some of the tracks. Martin is one of those people who is deeply rooted in many of our musical “family” tree and the new album(s), provide that same nostalgic sense as well as some real fresh, high quality newness, we all deserve to take a chance on.

Sikiru Adepoju & Riddim Doctors

Sikiru Adepoju is a master of the talking drum and many other Yoruba percussion instruments. After moving to the San Fransico Bay Area in 1985, Sikiru joined the influential and pioneering Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olantunji and his Drums of Passion. This marked a lengthy period of high productivity from Sikiru which saw him recording and performing throughout the world until a year before Olantunji’s death in 2003. During this period he was introduced to Grateful Dead drummer, Mickey Hart, who has called Sikiru “The Mozart of the talking drum,” and employed him on many of his personal projects including the Grammy award winning albums Planet Drum (1991) & Global Drum Project (2008). Sikiru has shared the stage or recorded with many of music’s finest including The Grateful Dead, Stevie Wonder, Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, Ornette Coleman, Airto Moreira, Zakir Hussein, Pharaoh Sanders, Dave Schools, George Porter Jr., and many more. It is his versatility, skill, good humor, and willingness to push the limits of his drumming and his music which has gained Sikiru acceptance and respect among his peers and music listeners of all tastes. Now, in 2020 Sikiru brings us a new album titled “Ope (Gratitude)” with the group dubbed Riddim Doctors on MansMark Records.

I had the honor of spending a little time with Sikiru recently to discuss the new album. We get into the long and winding journey this music has taken, along with Sikiru, in order to make it out to the world. We talk about the incredible process and the amazing people behind the album’s sound and style. Including the role, Zakir Hussain played in the process. We also spoke about what he was able to learn, as a master when he started to talk with, work with and create with both Babatunde Olatunji and Mickey Hart. it is within this portion of the conversation that I knew Sikiru and I were connected by the bridge of the moment, finding your space within each of those moments. It’s times like this that remind me why it’s not just about the sounds, it’s about those who bring them to us just as much. While I have been close to him via his previous recordings and projects and that has helped me grow as a listener and sharer, this new music brings all that back plus, a sense of the now where this music, this sentiment is needed.

Spoken Drum from Victor DeLorenzo

We have been fortunate enough to have Victor DeLorenzo be a part of the show in many ways. From Femmes to the Drum-n-Cello of Nineteen Thirteen to the open aired radio plays of “Frail Pagans”. This time around we have a chance to discuss a new spoken word project he is putting forth to the world. Check out the chat below for more into the thoughts and execution of the Spoken Drum project and hear the voice from within the instrument.

TRACKS LISTING:

head
coffee
run
civil rights
cry
lovely
bow
world
if

Produced by Victor DeLorenzo

*Recorded and Mixed at Sympathetic Muffler
and The Past Office in Milwaukee by Victor

**Text and Light Music by Victor
with Janet Schiff and Josh Schmidt

***All pieces c&p 2020 Defendimusics bmi

Victor: Drum Sets, Snare Drums, Cymbals, Voices, Keyboards,
Bass Keyboards and Percussion.

Janet: Bass Keyboard and Cello on “civil rights”
and Keyboards on “head”.

Josh: Cello Orchestra Arrangement and Recording
on “civil rights”.

Available now here.

Josh Werner’s Mode For Titan

Raised in Milwaukee, Josh Werner was a private student of Richard Davis. In 1996, he moved to New York and attended the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music program. His years of recording and performing with top-tier and cutting-edge artists has made an imprint on his identity and place in music history. He is also a frequent collaborator of Bill Laswell via such projects as Method Of Defiance and Bass invaders. On October 9th, Josh dropped his album ‘Mode For Titan’, a solo bass offering that is grounded in minimalist beauty and co-produced Mr. Laswell. This stunning collection of tracks is being released via Laswell’s label M.O.D. Reloaded. This album proves that the bass is a melodic and ambient force in its own right. Writing on and for the bass, Josh explores new dimensions of composition and improvisation, and effortlessly moves through sonic textures, all without a conventional rhythm section, he explores novel instrumental territory, including the sitar bass, seven-string and fretless bass. Over the years, Josh has made quite a name for himself working in a variety of styles, most notably in dub, experimental rock, hip hop and jazz. His work with Ghostface Killer, CocoRosie, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Cibo Matto, PopCaan, James Brandon Lewis, Matisyahu, Sly and Robbie, Wu Tang Clan and TV On The Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe has cemented his status as a low-end heavyweight.

I had the chance to catch up with the program’s friend, Josh Werner about this new project. We get into the beGinnings of the album, we talk about how the roots set into the ground of the songs and while a wide array of influences is heard on his compositions, it’s the introspective creative focus that guides. Simplicity, beauty and space are constant in this journey, and the rich colors of Mr. Laswell’s sonic translations are the compass. So, we get into how creating the entirety of the album with someone like Mr. Bill Laswell took the album to where it calls home. I think when you get your whole person wrapped around the experience of this collection of feelings, you’ll find where it fits into your home too. As of October 9, the ‘Mode For Titan’ LP is available on CD and digitally everywhere, including Apple Music, Amazon and Spotify. It can also be obtained directly from the label via Bandcamp.

Angelheaded Hipster & Marc Urselli

Marc Urselli writes, produces and records artists from all over the world. He also composes music for TV and film and does sound design for commercials. Marc was born in Switzerland and raised in Italy. His musical education began with studying the piano at age twelve. At age seventeen he opened his first commercial recording facility in Italy. He later moved to New York City where he began, and continues to work at the legendary recording studio EastSide Sound as the resident Chief House Engineer. In 2005 he participated in the recordings of “Strength” by Roy Hagrove‘s project RH Factor which was nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Album and in the same year he also participated in the recordings of Lila Down‘s album “Una Sangre (One Blood)”, which won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Folk Album. Additionally, in 2006 Marc won two Grammy Awards (Best Instrumental Rock Performance & Best Instrumental Pop Performance) for his work engineering and mixing the entire Capitol/EMI album “American Made, World Played” album by Les Paul & Friends (featuring Sting, Joss Stone, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards, Buddy Guy, Bon Jovi’s Richie Sambora, Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznick, ZZ Top, Sam Cooke, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall and many more). Marc also does and has done live sound for artists such as Eliane Elias, John Zorn, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed and others.

AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T.Rex

The genius and pioneering influence of Marc Bolan’s T. Rex – 2020 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee and one of the great rock musicians of all time – will be celebrated with AngelHeaded Hipster: The Songs of Marc Bolan and T.Rex, out September 4 on BMG. The collection features 26 songs culled from Bolan’s vast body of work released as T.Rex and Tyrannosaurus Rex from 1968-77. A wide-ranging cast of wizards and cosmic dancers have joined together to reimagine Bolan’s work – sometimes in radical fashion – resulting in a collection that is less tribute than bold new work. Featuring some of Bolan’s greatest songs, including, ‘Jeepster’, ‘Bang A Gong (Get It On)’, ‘Ride A White Swan’, and beyond/deeper. AngelHeaded Hipster was lovingly created by the late great leGend, Mr. Hal Willner, who passed away on April 7 from COVID-19. The acclaimed music producer, who “for nearly four decades bent and shaped the dimensions of almost-popular music” (New York Times), produced albums for artists including Lou Reed, Marianne Faithfull, and William S. Burroughs, and concept albums drawing upon the music of Thelonious Monk, Kurt Weill, vintage Disney films and others. He also produced concert events exploring the work of such subjects as Leonard Cohen, Allan Sherman, Neil Young, Edgar Allan Poe, and Tim Buckley, and served as the Saturday Night Live sketch music producer for nearly 40 years. After his passing, many of the artists who knew Mr. Willner best posted tributes to his singular spirit, including Elvis Costello, Bono, Tom Waits, and Nick Cave, who praised his “limitless imagination” adding “Hal was our visionary, our ringleader, always working against reason itself, armed with a deep love and bottomless knowledge of music.” Mr. Willner, who referred to AngelHeaded Hipster as his ‘White Album’, was eager for everyone to hear these beautiful songs and to start thinking about Bolan and T. Rex again. This album is a testament to Hal’s spirit.”

I had the honor of catching up with Marc about this latest project. How it went from Mr. Willner’s vision to his ear, the depth of the songwriter, not just the rocker that Marc Bolan obviously was and we talk about some of the challenges/highlights while getting into the nooks and crannies of the diverse roster of artists that came together for this “concept” album. This is one of those releases that belong on everyone’s playlist.