Monday, June 07, 2010

Bits and Pieces for June 7, 2010

Today, I was at Barnes & Noble in downtown Washington, DC, and they had new issues of two magazines that I find to be amongst the most interesting publications devoted to music available.

waxpoetics is a fascinating publication that has devoted issues to jazz, funk, reggae and most recently, hiphop which does seem to be its anchor. The current issue (#41) has pieces on KRS-One, Ice-T and Ice Cube along with a record rundown from Easy Mo Bee that runs from otis Redding to Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, Love Unlimited Orchestra and Kraftwerk. The website is, and you can download a playlist with each issue.

Signal to Noise is subtitled “The Journal of Improvised, Experimental & Unusual Music,” and covers a wide range of musical styles in its articles, as well as reviews of festivals and other live performances, recordings, videos and books. What that means is that one can fine coverage of cutting edge music in what is called jazz, contemporary composed music, progressive rock and allied disciplines. Not to say that they forego traditionally oriented artists as the current issue has a review of the Carolina Chocolate Drops but the features include a story on bassist Henry Grimes who played with Sonny Rollins and Roy Haynes as well as Albert Ayler and Pharoah Sanders before disappearing until being rediscovered a few years ago with his career being revived. Another article focuses on “The Art of Noise,” on Poster art associated with Creative Improvised Music for performances by such artists as Kalaprusha, Carla Bley Big Band, Charles Gayle & William Parker and Milford Graves, AIr, Sun Ra, The Residents, Peter Brotzmann and the Vandermark Five. With extensive review section it is a quarterly that should be of interest to anyone into improvised music. Website is

Finally on a recording note, I have been listening today to a marvelous album by saxophonist Houston Person, Just Between Friends (HighNote) that is an album of duets with the great bassist Ron Carter. Person has somehow escaped receiving the acclaim that he deserves among living tenor saxophonists, perhaps because of his association with acid jazz or the late vocalist Etta Jones. As the intimate duets with Ron Carter, Person is a master of ballad playing who makes the songs sing with his tone and phrasing. The beauty of his playing makes up for the generally slow tempos as its a delight to listen to the interplay between these two jazz masters as they handle such standards as “Darn That Dream,” “Lover Man,” “Lover Come Back To Me,” “Blueberry Hill,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” and “How Deep Is The Ocean.” He will be appearing in Montreal when I am up there for the Montreal Jazz Festival, and I certainly hope to see him live after all these years.

For the purpose of FTC regulations, I purchased the two publications and I believe I purchased the Person recording.

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