Monday, August 31, 2009

"New" Phill Musra and Michael Cosmic Track

Reedman and composer Phill Musra has given me permission to share this track with readers of Ni Kantu. The piece is titled "More Beautiful Vibrations from the Creator," and was recorded in 1986 in Los Angeles with Phill on tenor, Cosmic on alto, Mike Mowen on bass and Kay Ballard on drums. This tune, written by Musra, also appeared on the LP Musiki (Intex, 1974), under the leadership of drummer Huseyin Ertunc, and a fine document of the Musra-Cosmic-Ertunc cooperative group. Apparently it is Michael's last performance on the alto saxophone (he takes the second solo, egged on by Phill's honks).

Michael Cosmic also played piano and various other reeds; according to Phill, "he could play anything he put his hands on." It's a shame that he passed away in 2001, but luckily there are nuggets of great music that he left. His own LP, a scarce privately-pressed document entitled Peace in the World, is one of the scarcest free jazz/Boston improvisation albums, though Musra has confirmed the presence of master tapes and we can hope for its reissue in the not-too-distant future.

Until that time, hope you enjoy "More Beautiful Vibrations from the Creator," available here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Not-So-Brief Interviews with Famous Men

Just a couple of updates while I have a few minutes, provided by the wi-fi and Americano at Progress Coffee...

The interview with Bill Dixon, titled Bill Dixon: In Medias Res, will be running in mid-September at All About Jazz. It will be really special, containing some rare photographs and, even cooler, a number of Bill's paintings and lithographs. If you haven't had a chance to see his singular visual artwork, this will be your chance. There will be a gallery of about ten of his works on display at the AAJ site, linked through the article.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for interviews with Bobby Bradford and Harris Eisenstadt (soon) and another major one with Anthony Braxton (later).

For those of you into the AACM who can't wait for the Braxton discussions, head on over to Bagatellen - a review of the new Nessa Records CD reissue of Roscoe Mitchell's Congliptious is posted there and comes highly recommended.

Happy listening!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Early Week Roundup

Last week was extraordinarily busy for me in my "other life," attending the Society of American Archivists conference 2009, which was here in Austin. Consequently, almost no time to ponder the musical wellsprings nor reflect on the passing of a few of history's giants: drummer Rashied Ali and guitarists Les Paul and Lawrence Lucie. I understand that the folks at Destination Out will be doing a Rashied Ali memorial post soon, so stay tuned to their well-researched neck of the internet for more.

In less morbid news, however, readers of Ni Kantu can look forward to another post on the music of Phill Musra and Michael Cosmic, reedmen and twin brothers. Phill is still with us and playing, though Michael passed in 2001. I hope to, with Phill's permission, post an exclusive rare track, one of the last to feature Cosmic's playing. I can guarantee it won't quite be like anything you've heard before.

In music...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Rahsaan

August 7, 2009 - reedman and composer Rahsaan Roland Kirk would have been 73 today. Here's a celebratory clip with Rahssan and his group of the time (1969), featuring (as near as I can tell) Ron Burton on piano, Jimmy Hopps on drums, and Vernon Martin on bass. That's Joe Habad Texidor on vocals and tambourine, also. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Minneapolis We Insist

The long-awaited interview with Weasel Walter is available at All About Jazz here. I think it came out pretty well. I'd be curious for some feedback of course.

Just returned from Minneapolis and my sister's wedding with an armload of releases from my friend Clint's label De Stijl. Check them out! Maybe I can strongarm him into doing some jazz/improvised releases in the near future. But for that there is always Roaratorio, another Minneapolis-based label that has been tirelessly documenting the work of artists as diverse as Joe McPhee and Paul Metzger. Look for a solo alto saxophone McPhee LP shortly.

I didn't have much time for record shopping, but did pick up an original Atlantic Stereo pressing of the self-titled Clarke-Boland Big Band record; not as groovy as the later European sides on MPS, Columbia, et al but pretty strong and an appearance from Maffy Falay is always welcome.