Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Abstract Index Playlist - May 14/08

Matana Roberts' Sticks and Stones was one of the highlights of the Guelph Jazz Festival two years ago. Roberts’ beautiful burnished tone on alto commands attention throughout with fluidly melodic ideas within assertive phrasing - and that's before the amazing gold-trimmed outfit and theatrical makeup came into play. Her appearance certainly suggested influence from the Art Ensemble's sartorial sense, but she often sounds like Fred Anderson, with whom she duets on three versions of "Birdhouse". Each is a phenomenal saxophone sparring match.

Although this disc looks back to the sixties first and foremost, its exceptional mix sets it apart from other contmeporary attempts to capture the freer post-bop spirit of those times. Recorded with love by John McEntire and mixed by hip hop engineer Scotty Hard and pianist Vijay Iyer, the sound of The Chicago Project should subliminally grab the attention of casual listeners. The mix is full and powerful, like a rock record, not wispy and atmospheric as is the case with so much jazz production.

Guitarist Jeff Parker, McIntyre’s bandmate in Tortoise, is becoming more expressive all the time, and his instrument is flattered by the production. His sensitive textures in “For Razi” match well with Roberts’ tone and Frank Rosaly’s mallet-driven cymbals. Josh Abrams bass is the unifying element, adding muscle to the already excellent songwriting. The Chicago Project’s invention never lets up, and its production guarantees repeat listening.

Hour 1 podcast
Hour 2 podcast

the ancient voice of 'e' - ronald shannon jackson/twins seven seven (caravan of dreams)
nearness/distance - feuermusik (standard form)
annwn pt. 7 - ocrilim (hydra head)
for razi - matana roberts (central control)
how the world began - lal (PTR)
off to mars - mike ladd (def jux)
carino - ocote soul sounds & adrian quesada (ESL)
kenimania - monomono (soundway)
parabens - marcos valle (far out)
sed - psychotropical orchestra (denso)
toca alfredo toca - alfredo de la fe (LP)
babylonia - ricardo marrero (luv n haight)
just one song - elizabeth shepherd (do right)
triple double - shot x shot (high two)
ole remix - tony allen rmx. by moritz von oswald (honest jon's)
freedom - catrat feat. yah meek (best seven)
king tubby's explosion dub - king tubby (trojan)
marijuana - revolutionaries (trojan)
suru lere dub - prince far i (virgin)
sunshine - progress (no label)
these eyes - alton ellis (heartbeat)

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