May 25, 2011
Burning Ambulance contributor Steve Hicken is a composer as well as a writer about music. In the third issue of the magazine, he described his compositional process in a lengthy essay that’s well worth your time.
He recently had some of his work performed at the Western Illinois University New Music Festival. Streams of two of those pieces can be heard at the links below.
The River Flowing Through Me (solo viola, performed by Istvan Szabó)
Night Music (solo oboe, performed by Michael Ericson)
May 16, 2011
by Phil Freeman
JD Allen, born in 1972 and originally from Detroit, but currently based in New York, is one of the most interesting tenor saxophonists around. His style is extremely restrained, simmering with the intensity of a John Coltrane ballad circa 1964, and his tone recalls both Coltrane and Branford Marsalis, playing in the center of the horn’s range. His notes sometimes murmur, and other times rise to a heartfelt cry, but he never abandons himself to free jazz screaming, or tangles himself up with knuckle-busting ribbons of notes. His phrases have a deep blues feeling, and his compositions are built around concise, memorable melodies which he repeats until they’ve sunk deep into the listener’s memory.
Allen recorded two albums for Criss Cross, 1999’s In Search Of… and 2002’s Pharoah’s Children, before his career (as a leader—he remained a very employable sideman) hit a six-year dry spell. Since signing with Sunnyside in 2008, though, he has recorded three albums for the label, all with the same partners: bassist Gregg August, drummer Rudy Royston and producer Richard Knight. The records—2008’s I Am I Am, 2009’s Shine! and 2011’s Victory!—all share multiple commonalities. Knight places the band in a warm, reverberant space, each instrument sounding full and pure, with August’s bass a heavy throb slightly behind Allen and Royston’s drums skittering, but never underpowered, and often propulsive. With only two exceptions, a version of Butch Morris’s “Conjuration of Angles” on Shine! and a reading of “Stairway to the Stars” (the standard, not the Blue Öyster Cult tune) on Victory!, each of the 34 tracks the trio has recorded is by Allen. And almost without exception, they are very short.
Buy I Am I Am (Amazon MP3)
Buy Shine! (Amazon MP3)
Buy Victory! (Amazon MP3)
The interview is after the jump.
read more »
May 12, 2011
Filmmaker Dave Markey, then the drummer for Painted Willie, went on the final Black Flag tour in 1986 and shot this two-hour movie, which is now on Vimeo. Enjoy the last gasp of the Flag (the Greg Ginn/Henry Rollins/Cel Revuelta/Anthony Martinez long-hair stoner-skronk lineup), plus music by Gone and Painted Willie, and much more.