Saturday, November 21, 2009


Well, it's the best I could do given my combination apathy/lethargy and most of all paucity of ideas, or at least ideas that will just have to wait and moil in the vast resources of my mind before they come to total fruition (or "fruitation", which got me laughed out of English Phase Three oh so many years ago which in its own strange way is probably why, out of spite, I continue to use that term even this far down the line!). Well, at least I managed to get at least semi-excited about a few items that graced my ears as of late if only for your benefit, and of course I will pad this post out with the usual inanities passed off as insight so don't consider this particular weekend rundown a total loss. I mean, it is one, but please don't admit it lest you bruise my tender feelings.

So, let's see how can I start this weekend rigmarole up anyway? OK, how about me talking about something other than the usual musical fare like perhaps tee-vee! Now I must admit that I haven't been sitting in front of the old boob-tube the way I did when I was four or even fourteen for that matter, but when something hotcha does make it onto one of the 400+ stations one can get with a satellite dish you can just bet your effeminate son that I will be watching the ol' box with both eyes wide open. Unfortunately almost all of the good shows are on while I'm at work, but whenever I got a day off you know where I will be, yardwork be damned!

Thus, the biggest television news to hit my frontals all year just has to be the return of LOONEY TUNES to the Cartoon Network. Of course I'd feel much better if these classic 'toons were being aired on my or even your local station complete with a middle-aged kid show host pluggin' Duncan Yo-Yo's but beggars can't be choosers. Still, it's nice to click on the box to view these long-forgotten and at-times reviled cartoons once again, and although the newer ones from roughly from the early-fifties on are merely good but not as crucial as the Golden Age wonders once in awhile one of those 30s/40s classics will thankfully appear in the mix. You can bet your bottom buckskins that I flipped when the Tex Avery directed DAFFY DUCK IN HOLLYWOOD was recently aired since I haven't seen that one since...since I dialed it up on youtube last week! I only wish that someone'd put out the old Bugs Bunny show that was especially made for television (prime time even!) in the early-sixties and lasted on Saturday mornings for quite a few years...I sure could use a viewing of the episode with an Alfred Hitchcock-ized Bugs giving us the lowdown on "portable holes", a term which seems to have way more meaning in this blog world of ours today than it did way back then!

Nothing much else to say about what else I think about tee-vee as it stands here at the dusk of the ot's (and as you know I'm probably the last person to give you the lowdown on what I think about some new cable-only detective or reality show) so let's just get down to the meaty potatoes of this pixeled blowoff, mainly the MOOZIK REVIEWS! Not that much that really lights any buttocks this week (next may be different but I doubt it) but a few things did manage to rouse me from my boredom thank God (or at least Norton!). And if I didn't share my own biased opinions with you, then this just wouldn't be BLOG TO COMM now, would it!

Jacques Berrocal-PARALLELES CD (Plana-B, France)

(Sorry, that's the largest resolution I could dig up!)

Considering all of the great and mandatory music out there deserving to be heard it's no surprise I finally "got into" as they used to say Jacques/Jac Berrocal so late in life. Having to sort the wheat from the chaff can be a frustrating job for a serious music maven such as I, and sometimes it's hard to discern on first glance whether a certain act might or might not be worthy of one's time especially considering the lack of that and money we have to pour into our various obsessions. And with my usual poor finances and grasping at a hundred leads for that special one sound that might just zone me (but most likely not) it's no wonder that someone like Berrocal might just slip under the radar only to be discovered long after the time that I should have been devouring his various talents. But better late'n never I always say and rather I hear Berrocal in my waning years than get a huge package containing each and every one of his recordings the day after I croak!

If you heard Berrocal's debut you will have an idea of what to expect here, mainly a smattering of free jazz recorded between 1972 and 1979 done up in some of the most angular ways imaginable. Berrocal's entire oeuvre owes just about as much to the Futurists as to the even newer thing of the late-sixties that Berrocal and his Frenchmates have borrowed from, and many of the same things I said in my original review linked above remain pertinent...the Roscoe Mitchell/AACM-styled noisebleat (complete with a violinist on "Bric-a-Brat" who sounds slightly Leroy Jenkins-ish w/o Jenkins' natural gospel ballziness) and frequent trips into pure atonal play w/o any of that stylish Zappa freak quality that really doesn't satisfy now like it did when we were seventeen. Only PARALLELES's played as a serious and many times frightening dwell into the avant garde jazz mindset and not a cheap commercial grab with some classical influx to silence the critics. It's angry, atonal and perhaps a load of uneasy listening for you (but not me). I happened to enjoy the entire hour-long trek complete with the surprises including an appearance by none other than Vince Taylor right before he began taking more than a few cues from idol Gene Vincent (or so the story goes).

As usual, items like this only whet that musical appetite making me want to hear much more. The teaming with James Chance on "I Wanna Be Your Dog" that Andrew Klimek mentioned in the comments section sounds rather desirable if difficult to get, and undoubtedly there are more entries into the Berrocal discography just waiting to be uncovered. But whaddeva...PARALLELES is one disque that should be getting quite a few spins here, at least before its temporary retirement (usually in favor of another stone classic to grace my ears) and if anyone's begging for a career-spanning exhumation and archaeological study it's Berrocal himself. Any takers out there willing to edjamacate the rest of us?

(Interesting production note...track #2 "Post-Card" was recorded in "the pigsty of Jouancy" which should conjure up all kinds of obvious jokes from which I will spare you at this time.)
Sunny Murray's Untouchable Factor-APPLE CORES CD (Baystate, Japan)

You can bet that I was madder than a Mormon in a Coca-Cola bottling plant when I found out that Volcanic Tongue had sold out on a load of the original vinyl pressing of this rare album by avant drummer Murray's late-seventies collective. Naturally my rage later turned to tears of joy once I discovered that this supposed rarity was now available on Cee-Dee in one of those Japanese mini-sleeves, and you can just imagine that I rushed my hard-earned dinero overseas the moment I found this 'un out, impetuous spendthrift that I am.

Hmmmm...good line-up here, and this sounds just as free as that side-long Untouchable Factor track on WILDFLOWERS vol. 5. Such familiar names as Don Pullen, Oliver Lake, Cecil McBee and Hamiet Bluiett fill out the Factor along with a few newies to me, such as that of guitarist Monette Sudler whose style comes off like a more-jazz induced w/o the rock influence Sonny Sharrock even though I have the feeling that the rest of Sudler's output may not be as free as the work she does here. (I mean, just look at those Cee-Dee covers resplendent on her website! How mainstream jazz-reaching can one get anyways???) Especially tasty is the appearance of Youseff Yancy, who besides playing trumpet and flugelhorn also performs on the theremin as well as "various electro-acoustical sound manipulating devices" which sounds as if the man has been hanging around Alan Silva for a pretty longer time than one can imagine. When was the last time you heard a theremin used in free jazz outside of maybe the Art Ensemble of Chicago anyway?

That said, I found side one of this particularly bebop-ish, not at all what I was quite expecting with the playing pretty crisp on the title track and getting into a down groove filled with fraught tension on Oliver Lake's "Past Present Tense". That's a surprisingly beaut of a track which reminds me of a few other late-seventies loft-era takes (Michael Gregory Jackson's "Clarity" comes to mind, oddly enough with Lake present on that one!). Even a take on Coltrane's "One Down and One Up" closes out the side with neat frenetic post-bop coming pretty close to the Blue Note take on avant jazz with Jimmy Vass sounding particularly Dolphy-esque and bassist Cecil McBee doing an ample Jimmy Garrison IMHO.

Once side two rolls around the Factor gets into total eruption free play, the kind that made men like Murray stars in their own field and many an under-the-counter player get to release their own albums on small outta-the-way labels only to get curbstomped once the NMDS went belly up in the late-eighties. On "New York Maze" the group gets into that great AACM-ish all-out blast while Sudler gets to do some mighty impressive quasi-Sharrockian string-bending and Yancy wails away on the theremin to especially bizarroid effect. "Applebluff" is rather perverse in its own way with Yancy playing his horn (and using that "sound manipulating device") along with Abdul Zahir Batin on flutes and whistles while Murray adds his irrythmical blessing all over it kinda sounding like Can doing one of those Ethnic Musical Forgeries on Uranus. Great cap on a fantastico platter that is one of those things that just about every bloke smart enough to tune into this blog should have experienced at age 15, but I guess all these years later we can at least make up for our deprived childhoods by scamming all of the boss free sounds we can before we all clock into that big record shop in the sky and argue about who gets the sole copy of SUNNY'S TIME NOW on Jihad that's up for sale.


darwin layne said...

Is it rigmarole, or rigamaroll? Must be a West PA thing as my Dad side of the family used that. Along with doo-hickey

Christopher said...

My word speller sez it's "rigmarole" and who am I to argue with technology? BTW your brand-spanking new Low Fi disque is on the pile for my next CD Baby order so expect a review of it hopefully more sooner than later.

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