Announcing the latest release from Dave Rempis’ Aerophonic Records, an aptly titled double CD, The COVID Tapes. Here’s an excerpt from Dave’s excellent liner notes:
“…the Hyde Park Jazz Festival (for which I also work as a producer…) invited Joshua Abrams to present an outdoor concert as part of their “Postcards” Series. He convened our trio with Tomeka Reid for this on August 14th, and we scouted out a location at a park two blocks from my house in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. Seeing how well it worked, I continued this Friday evening series for the next two months. I mostly worked with Tyler Damon as a duo, sometimes adding Joshua on bass, and once adding Bill Harris for a double drum lineup. Matt Butchko, who I would refer to as a “superfan” of the music, generously came to each concert with the same portable mobile setup that he uses regularly at venues, with two small bud microphones positioned on top of his baseball hat. He managed to get good-sounding recordings, even outdoors. A huge debt of gratitude goes out to him for being there right up front for these and so many other concerts.
One of the interesting benefits of playing outside is evident on these recordings: all of the great background noises that play into the improvisations. Check out the overwhelming swells of sound from the chorus of cicadas, the punctuation of passing cars on Lake Shore Drive, and the cardinal calls at the end of the trio with Abrams and Reid for example. Or the truck beeping as it backs up at the end of the duo with Tim Daisy. Or the barking dog that passes through during the trio with Abrams and Damon. Those events all became a part of the music, and they’re presented here without any effort to filter them out, to give a better sense of what the experience of these concerts was actually like.”
Getting together for these impromptu shows and playing directly for an otherwise-atomized community week after week kept a fire in my belly through this mind-shattering time. I had always wanted to bring my music into the public sphere for the fun of it, anyway, so this was a perfect opportunity. I hope the music contained herein offers you respite like it has for me, a model for what is possible for live music even when barriers emerge for everyone in every direction. Preorder here:
Photo by Ricardo Adame. Margate Park, Chicago, September 2020
Dave Rempis and I have been shaking the rust off for about an hour every Friday evening over the past month, hitting on occasion with Josh Abrams on bass. Setting up on Chicago’s north side adjacent to Lake Michigan, we have been performing for friends and strangers alike and have relished the opportunity to do so safely during the pandemic. Dave has been streaming these via his Instagram page if you’d like to check them out: @daverempis
Ken Vandermark wrote of one performance:
“Jazz On A Summer’s Day 2020: Thanks to Dave Rempis and Tyler Damon for bringing challenging music to a safe place to listen on Friday afternoon, August 21st. It was a beautiful day and a group of listeners, masked and safely distanced, met to hear the duo under a canopy of trees in the park near Foster and Marine Drive. Based on the current circumstances and projections on the near future, it looks like this may be one of the only viable ways to make live music possible in front of an audience sharing the same space for a while. Much appreciation to Dave and Tyler for giving an example of how to work through this period as a musician, and for playing with passion under challenging circumstances.”
Many thanks Ken!
Photo by Ricardo Adame.
To Catch A Bird In A Net Of Wind, my latest LP with Tashi Dorji released this past April on Austria’s Trost label, was recently reviewed in Wire Magazine #440 in conjunction with a broader feature on Tashi’s excellent new LP on Drag City, Stateless. Marc Masters reports:
I hope you’re all staying sharp of mind and healthy in body and spirit.
With no end in sight, and the unavoidable prolonging of this tragedy due to the criminal negligence and inhumane cruelty of many of our alleged leaders (and the spineless kowtowing to mounting fascist power of the so-called “left” establishment), it is difficult, nay impossible, to predict when we might all be able to (safely & responsibly) commune again for the sake of music and camaraderie.
That said, here are a couple of new quartet releases from March and May of 2019 recorded here in Chicago which exist solely in the digital realm to hold you over until we can get back to in-person communion (click titles or album art for links):
Michael Foster – soprano & tenor saxophones
Dave Rempis – alto, tenor & baritone saxophones
Jason Roebke – upright bass
Tyler Damon – drums/percussion
Recorded live at Hungry Brain, March 17th, 2019 by Dave Zuchowski.
Joshua Abrams – upright bass
Tyler Damon – drums/percussion
Forbes Graham – trumpet
Ava Mendoza – electric guitar
Recorded live at May Chapel, May 4th, 2019 by Dave Zuchowski as part of Dave Rempis’ Exposure Series. Mastered by Weasel Walter. Artwork by Forbes.
Tashi & I, Spring 2019. Photo by Kari Leigh Ames.
As usual, it has been a little while since my last post. I’m only stopping by to drop off the pertinent information, so here’s what has come out recently, what’s coming out soon and where you may find me in the coming months. The image above was commissioned for a forthcoming release on Austria’s Trost label (who released a trio CD of Tashi, Mette Rasmussen and I back in 2017).
Thanks to everyone for the support in 2019. Looking forward… – T
Late Winter / early Spring 2020 dates
– Tuesday. January 7th – Kuzu + Joshua Abrams w/ Manas @ Elastic Arts (3429 W. Diversey Ave.), Chicago, IL
– Sunday, March 8th – Kuzu @ The Mothlight (701 Haywood Rd.), Asheville, NC
– Monday, March 9th – Kuzu @ Marshall University, Smith Recital Hall (1 John Marshall Dr.), Huntington, WV
– Tuesday, March 10th – Kuzu @ Explorer Academy (2901 Saltwell Rd.), Huntington, WV
– Tuesday, March 10th– Kuzu @ University of Kentucky, John Jacob Niles Gallery (160 Patterson Dr.), Lexington, KY
– Wednesday, March 11th – Kuzu @ Joe’s Cafe (6014 Kingsbury Ave.), presented by New Music Circle, St. Louis, MO
– Thursday, March 12th – Kuzu w/ Lytton/Vandermark duo @ Elastic Arts (3429 W. Diversey Ave.), Chicago, IL
– Friday, March 13th – Kuzu @ Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln Ave.), Milwaukee, WI
– Saturday, March 14th – Kuzu @ Cafe CODA (1224 Williamson St.), Madison, WI
Tashi Dorji & Tyler Damon – “To Catch A Bird In A Net Of Wind” (Trost , 2020)
Forthcoming duo LP on Austria’s Trost label. Recorded in Chicago at Exposure Festival 2018. Preorder now at Trost’s Bandcamp page…
Kuzu – Purple Dark Opal (Aerophonic, 2020)
Released February 2020. Recorded in 2018 at Milwaukee’s Sugar Maple, Purple Dark Opal may be my favorite recorded document to date (that I’ve had a hand in, of course…) – A handful went out to the public at our recent last-minute appearance at Elastic in quartet mode with Joshua Abrams. Order now via Aerophonic.
“…merges more passion and emotions than a David Mamet play.” – Mark Corroto, All About Jazz
“…for all the runs, flushes and an all-in mentality, there is not a wasted minute where we catch them floundering. […] Purple Dark Opal is an essential recording that showcases this group’s prowess when left to their own devices.” – Taylor McDowell, Free Jazz Blog
Sam Weinberg / Henry Fraser / Tyler Damon – Foment (Amalgam, 2019)
“Foment represents a first-meeting of New Yorkers saxophonist Sam Weinberg & bassist Henry Fraser with Chicago drummer Tyler Damon. Although the three musicians had not played in this formation before the recording, Weinberg and Fraser have been working in close partnership, in various capacities and configurations, for half a decade. Their rapport is evident, but here modified, tinkered with, and expanded upon by the expansive drumming of Damon whose voice opens the record on the sprawling “Sleet”. Throughout the course of this close to hour long recording–spread out over two lengthy tracks– the trio traverses a host of dynamic and timbral zones, without ever sacrificing a palpable sense of momentum and entropy. Recorded in the winter of 2019, “Foment” is a document of forward-thinking 21st century improvised music from an irrepressible crew of fledgling musicians.”
Kuzu – Lift To Drag (Medium Sound, 2019)
Recorded in October 2018. Taylor McDowell over at Free Jazz Collective writes:
“Taken from a performance at Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center in Buffalo, Lift to Drag consists of 80-minutes of improvisation at its finest. The two extended tracks leave ample room for this trio to seize rhythmic or melodic ideas, construct wild grooves from it, only to burn it down in strident anarchy.“
Digital downloads are available HERE from Medium Sound. A repress of the cassette is available now if you missed the first run; available from the above link or in-person at shows…
Eddie Flowers & The Wax-Lip-Swamp-Dub – s/t (Feeding Tube, 2020; originally released on cassette in 2019 by Long Gone Sound System)
A one-off improvised recording session at the now-defunct Magnetic South in Bloomington while Eddie was visiting from Long Beach yielded this strange document which now rears its fried head on LP. Byron sez:
“The music created by The Wax-Lip-Swamp-Dub unit is thick with acid-haze (generated by a real random assortment of instruments) and powered into fields of Can-like glory by the superb drumming of Tyler Damon. Eddie’s vocals sprawl across the top of it all, giving an entirely new meaning to R. Meltzer’s phrase, “blabbermouth lockjaw of the soul.” The vocals here are all that, but they lay out like a beatnik rattlesnake frying happily in the Texas sun. It is a beautiful trip.
Hint to travelers: the higher you fly, the better your view.”
January 9, 2020 [permalink] 2020, Aerophonic, Amalgam, Byron Coley, Cassette, CD, Dave Rempis, Duo, Eddie Flowers, Feeding Tube, Free Jazz Blog, Henry Fraser, Joshua Abrams, Kari Leigh Ames, kuzu, Live, LP, Mark Corroto, Medium Sound, Quartet, Reviews, Sam Weinberg, Tashi Dorji, Taylor McDowell, tour, Trio, Vinyl, Wax Lip Swamp Dub