Monday, January 29, 2024

Venice to Society: Luigi Nono 100

Luigi Nono - Incontri

We're back, and with the truly weird shit this time.

Say whatever you like about my little page, but no one alive is gonna give you Robert Palmer one day and this guy the next.

Who would even think to? I don't suspect there are many people in the world rocking Addicted to Love and Sul ponte di Hiroshima back to back, I am just saying.

If there are, I definitely want to meet them, and raid their music collections.

So yeah, another centennial! I love these, because they always concern figures whose output survives long after their physical body quits.

While this cat had a physical body, he used it -- and a whole lotta mind -- to create some of the most unclassifiable and out-there sounds of our epoch.

The saying goes that King Crimson is what you get when you cross Béla Bartók and Jimi Hendrix. Well, this guy here is maybe what you get when you cross the twelve-tone serialists like Webern and Schoenberg with, say, Italian madrigals.

His most famous work is all about the destruction of Hiroshima, if that gives any idea to the uninitiated.

What all his stuff shares is the sense of total, no-fucks-given abandon, and of a person not interested in holding back or sugarcoating what he's doing.

He was born, and died 66 years later, in Venice, and his music somehow reflects a strain of that city's legendary Romanticism, albeit couched in an often disturbing and challenging framework.

What to do to mark the centennial of an extraordinary figure of uncompromising aesthetic temperament such as Luigi Nono?

I know! How about 5 1/2 full hours of French radio broadcasts, containing unissued and often stunning performances of some of his most iconic compositions?

I knew you'd agree.

Luigi Nono
A Portrait I & II
FM broadcasts, 1992-2019

A Portrait I:
01 Varianti (1957)
02 Due espressioni (1953)
03 Per Bastiana Tai-Yang Cheng (1967)
04 Sarà dolce tacere (1960)  
05 Ha venido, Canciones para Silvia (1960)
06 ...sofferte onde serene... (1976)
07 Incontri (1955)
08 Polifonica, monodia, ritmica (1950) (original version)
09 Risonanze erranti, a Massimo Cacciari (1986)
10 Polifonica, monodia, ritmica (1950-51)
11 Canti per tredici (1955)
12 Caminantes... Ayacucho (1986-87)
13 Variazioni canoniche sulla serie dell'op.41 di Arnold Schönberg (1950) (excerpt)
14 Il canto sospeso (1956)
A Portrait II:
15 Canti di vita e d'amore: Sul ponte di Hiroshima (1962)
16 ...sofferte onde serene... (1976)
17 Omaggio a György Kurtag (1983)
18 Como una ola de fuerza y luz (1971-72)
19 Il canto sospeso (1956)
20 ...sofferte onde serene... (1976)
21 ¿Dónde estás hermano?  (1982)
22 No hay caminos, hay que caminar: Hommage à Andrei Tarkovsky (1987)
23 ...sofferte onde serene... (1976)

Total time: 5:28:41
disc breaks go after Tracks 06, 10, 13, 17 & 19

Tracks 01-03: Orchestre National de Lyon, Thierry Fischer - Paris FR 1.18.2007
Tracks 04-05: Arnold Schönberg Choir, Erwin Ortner - Salzburg AT 8.14.1999 (Claudia Barainsky - soprano)
Track 06: Maurizio Pollini (piano) - Salzburg AT 8.14.1999
Track 07: Orchestre Philharmonique RTF, Hermann Scherchen - Paris FR 1.20.1964
Tracks 08-09: Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ingo Metzmacher - Paris FR 5.27.1999 (Susanne Otto - mezzo)
Tracks 10-11: Ensemble Modern, Peter Eötvös - Paris FR 8.31.1992
Track 12: Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Ernst Senff Chor/Solistenchor Freiburg Experimentalstudio des Heinrich-Strobel-Stiftungs des SWR, 
Arturo Tamayo - Berlin DE 3.19.1999
Track 13: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Zoltan Pesko - Paris FR 1.20.2007
Track 14: Austrian Radio Orchestra & Choir, Alicja Mounk - Paris FR 9.22.1995
Track 15: Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Tito Ceccherini - Paris FR 11.17.2017 (Anu Komsi - soprano, Peter Tantsits - ténor)
Track 16: Julia Den Boer (piano) - Paris FR 11.17.2017
Track 17: Ensemble Intercontemporain, Matthias Pintscher - Paris FR 10.17.2014 (Lucile Richardot - contralto)
Track 18: SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden & Freiburg, Ingo Metzmacher - Paris FR 11.18.2014 (Laura Aikin - soprano, Jean-Frédéric Neuburger - piano)
Track 19: SWR Sinfonieorchester, Peter Rundel & SWR Vokalensemble, Michael Alber - Berlin DE 9.11.2017 (Laura Aikin - soprano, Jenny Carlstedt - alto & Robin Tritschle - tenor) 
Track 20: Hidéki Nagano (piano) - Paris FR 3.16.2019
Track 21: Choeur de la Radio de Stuttgart SWR, Marcus Creed - Paris FR 11.17.2010
Track 22: Ensemble Intercontemporain & Orchestre du Conservatoire de Paris, Jonathan Nott - Paris FR 4.9.2011
Track 23: Julien Le Pape (piano) - Paris FR 4.9.2009

2019 upgraded version of a 2008 compilation of unissued performances 
from various off-air master cassette captures of France Musique FM broadcasts from 1992 - 2019
1.71 GB FLAC/direct link

I might do one more this month, it depends on what the tea leaves say and if I can determine where the track markers go.

Anyway I hope you'll take the plunge into the Avant Garde with us and say Yesyes to Luigi Nono, born this day in 1924 and still creating ripples of radiant, resonant ruckus throughout the rhizosphere!--J.

1.29.1924 - 5.8.1990

Friday, January 19, 2024

Riptide Pride: Robert Palmer 75


Robert Palmer - Murderess

Let's interrupt the Jazz fare with a milestone birthday for someone who's dead over 20 years, yet still seems culturally ubiquitous somehow.

He began as the Seventies did, in a sorta Prog-Soul-Blues-Rock amalgam called Vinegar Joe, who had recorded an album under another name right before he joined.

After three albums with them that went next to nowhere, they broke up and he went solo, as so many refugees from bands do.

He started to make solo albums in the mid 1970s, gradually building an audience with his evolving brand of soulful rock and funk.
For a couple of these records, he was even backed by The Meters, as funkified a New Orleans outfit as shall e're be.

As the Eighties began and MTV started, he began to have minor hits in the charts and move towards a kind of sophisticated, gentlemanly persona and image, which would really start to flourish and become iconic as the decade progressed.

Then -- after a splashy stint in a supergroup -- he dropped his 1985 platter, called Riptide, and folks began to get, well... addicted.

This album's several #1 singles propelled him into the ionosphere, and -- after 15 years at it -- he immediately became a global superstar.

More records and more hits followed until he died too young, in 2003.

I probably lean towards the music of Robert Palmer in his pre-glory days, with songs like Clues and Johnny and Mary, and of course his classic, hit version of Moon Martin's Bad Case of Loving You.

But it's the 1986 sold-out tour for Riptide that we visit on this, what would have been the man's 75th b'day, for this wild concert I have refurbished from an uncirculated, 1st gen FM source.

Robert Palmer 
Open Air Theatre 
San Diego State University
San Diego, CA 

01 Monogamy
02 Discipline of Love
03 Communication
04 Every Kinda People
05 Dance for Me
06 Tell Me I'm Not Dreaming
07 What's It Take
08 I Didn't Mean to Turn You On
09 Murderess
10 Woke Up Laughing
11 Stupid Cupid
12 Shoot the Moon
13 Pride
14 Riptide
15 Get It Through Your Heart
16 Save Your Love (For Your #1)
17 Johnny & Mary
18 Some Like It Hot
19 You Are In My System
20 Planet of Women
21 New Day Rising/Jealous
22 Flesh Wound
23 Addicted to Love
24 Hyperactive
25 Bad Case of Loving You
26 No, Not Much

Total time: 1:36:44
disc break goes after Track 13

Robert Palmer - vocals 
Eddie Martinez - guitar & vocals
Frank Blair - bass & vocals
Dony Wynn - drums 
Sally Ven-Yu Berg - drums, percussion & vocals
Alan Mansfield - keyboards & guitar
Julie Homi - keyboards & vocals 
Kit McClure - clarinet, saxophone, flute & vocals
B.J. Nelson - vocals & percussion

1st gen off-air cassettes of the original live Westwood One broadcast, at some point transferred to MiniDisc
edited, retracked, repaired and remastered by EN, January 2024
674 MB FLAC/direct link

I understand that the pre-FM source for the majority of this performance circulates, but to be honest the mix for the later rebroadcasts of this sounded dull and empty to me, and attempts to remaster it fell flat.

This live mix, done on the fly as the whole show went out over the Westwood One network, blows it clean off the airwaves in my opinion, so it's this, largely uncirculated FM tape on which I chose to work.

Anyway I shall return with two more missives for the month, but I hope you enjoy what I've done with this one, all in honor of Robert Palmer's 75th birthday today. And if not? No offense: I didn't mean to turn you on!--J.

1.19.1949 - 9.26.2003

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Pianonagenarian: Cedar Walton 90

Cedar Walton Quartet - Voices Deep Within

We are back with the next January message, this one concerning a milestone birthday for another dearly departed figure of legend.

He began as a sideman in the 1950s, but he really exploded as a result of his stint in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers -- as close to a Living University for musicians as humanity is probably ever gonna get -- in the early Sixties.

From there he kind of diversified, working as the house pianist for Prestige Records throughout the decade and recording with various Hall Of Famers like Charles McPherson and Lee Morgan.

Around the same time he began recording as a leader; when it was all said and done when he passed in 2013, he had played on recordings numbering in the hundreds and crowding a full thousand!

Perhaps his most longstanding achievement was the creation of the Eastern Rebellion collective, and the many albums that his group named for it have made.

Has there ever been a piano player in Jazz as prolific as Cedar Walton? I'm straining my mind and coming up goose eggs.

No, even the Herbie Hancocks and the Ahmad Jamals gotta give it up to Cedar, who was named for a tree and stood as solid as one -- and left as many leaves -- over a tremendous career.

We'll celebrate the man's extensive contributions to the continuum with this cracking 2008 performance. Watch out for drum deity Alvin Queen -- someday he will get his own post here -- anchoring the proceedings from the backline with customary flair, as per usual.

Cedar Walton Quartet
Linz, Austria

01 The Newest Blues
02 Little Sunflower
03 In the kitchen
04 CW announcement
05 Dear Ruth
06 Sixth Avenue
07 You Don't Know What Love Is
08 Voices Deep Within
09 CW announcement
10 Holy Land

Total time: 1:19:55

Cedar Walton - piano
Javon Jackson - tenor saxophone
David Williams - bass
Alvin Queen - drums

digital capture of a digital 320/48K Rete Due broadcast
converted to 16/44 CD Audio -- with some applause and announcements edited to fit one CD and Track 08 decrackled -- by EN, January 2024
457 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll return in 48 hours to supply more vital, lifesaving diagnoses... the next one's got a real bad case of lovin' you.

Do not hesitate to glue your eardrums to this lovely 80 minutes of everything, courtesy of the esteemed b'day boy Cedar Walton, who was born this day in 1934 and is in no danger of leaving us, even a decade departed!--J.

1.17.1934 - 8.19.2013

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

(Don't Fear the) Repercussions: Max Roach 100

Max Roach Quartet - Nommo (excerpt)

We're starting the postings for 2024 where they oughta start: the centennial of one of the foremost figures in not just Jazz, but modern music in general.

I know I've covered this cat a bunch of times, but he's definitely on the Cleared For Repetition list.

Easily one of the most musical drummers ever to pick up a pair of sticks, no percussion person has ever combined the melodic touch with the smash-bam attack the way he did.

What do you say? He burst out way back in the 1940s at the dawn of Bop, playing in the bands of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Coleman Hawkins and Miles Davis.... and that was just on Tuesdays!

Surely one of the primary architects of the Be-bop drum vocabulary, he exploded onto the scene almost fully formed and revolutionized the back line not just for Jazz players, but for everybody.

One time I saw him play and he took a 15 minute solo.... on just his hi-hat stand.

In 1952 our hero made another crucial innovation, becoming (with Charles Mingus) co-owners of their own label: one of the first instances of artists taking that sort of control.

This label, called Debut, saw the release of the famous Jazz At Massey Hall all-star concert, as well as a passel of Fifties Jazz essentials.

From there he went on to form a band with trumpet deity Clifford Brown, cut short by that legend's untimely 1956 death in a car accident.

After that -- you'll forgive me if the career recap for this dude reads like the Complete History of Jazz -- he backed Dinah Washington and began churning out his own, seminal platters.

In the Sixties he got involved with social activism and began to produce Civil Rights-themed Hard Bop concept albums like We Insist! and Members Don't Git Weary, some of the most popular and integral Jazz records of the time.

The 1970s saw him lead his own groups, culminating with the formation of his percussion army, M'Boom, towards that decade's close.

Did I mention he is Fab Five Freddy's godfather? He died in 2007 after decades upon decades driving music forward, so Max Roach -- as mighty and influential a musician as shall ever live -- would have been 100 years old today.

I twisted up a remaster of this tremendous bootleg of one of his stranger bands of the 1970s to honor the occasion, as I am sometimes wont to do.

Max Roach Quartet
Köln, Germany

01 It's Time
02 Drums In Five
03 St. Louis Blues
04 Nommo/For Big Sid
05 'Round Midnight

Total time: 1:54:22
disc break goes after Track 03

Suleiman Hakim - alto saxophone
Clifford Adams - trombone
Calvin Hill - bass
Max Roach - drums

off-air master reel of the original NDR broadcast
slightly edited, denoised and remastered by EN, January 2024
720 MB FLAC/direct link

He sure loved to count those beats, I know that's right.

I'll return in a week with more, but make sure you honor the legacy of the great Max Roach on his centennial today, and get a taste of this brilliant 1977 show... it's two hours of what made him the towering figure he was and shall ever be!--J.

1.10.1924 - 8.16.2007