Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri April 1 & Tues April 5

ManyStrav

What can I say? After welcoming the season in with three brilliant versions of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps over the last three weeks and now, finishing up with Stravinsky’s own 1960 recording—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Carnegie Hall time—after doing a lot of close listening to all these versions, I have to ask myself: is there really anything of value that Messrs. Bernstein, Boulez, Svetlanov or any number of others can add to what the composer himself brought to the music? His performance used to sound a little hard and tight to me, constricted compared to Bernstein and the other showpiece versions that followed, but I don’t hear that anymore, while on the other hand is the somewhat saturnine Boulez really more detailed than the composer himself bringing out what he put in? Neither does Stravinsky’s performance lack any voltage of excitement. It’s got everything, along with a degree of authenticity no one else can supply. Listen in if you like, and see if you agree. In any case, the Sacre is great emough so that no performance can exhaust its possibilities. It’s the center of this virtually all-Stravinsky show—it opens with well-known Ornette Coleman and Charlie Parker quotes from the Sacre, and there’s also a Parker masterpiece in the midshow featuring what may be a Stravinsky variation—preceded by Bernstein’s exhilarating Petroushka, the ballet composed immediately before the Sacre, which may be Stravinsky’s most emotionally direct and open music, ever. The Sacre, though, remains his Citizen Kane, the work no one will let him live down, the work because of which he’s tasked with never having gone for broke again, for being brilliant and heartless and not sharing his soul with us throughout his neoclassical period—his late works are another story: taking up Schoenbergian dodecaphonics gave him an amazing boost of fresh greatness. We don’t go there this week, but we do have two major middle-period works: the deeply committed Symphony of Psalms—Shostakovich, for one, thought it the greatest work of the century’s greatest composer—in a stunning, maybe definitive performance led by John Eliot Gardiner, and the 1931 Violin Concerto played to a fare-thee-well by a great young Hillary Hahn. If you’re up for two hours of glittering genius-level dazzlement, this is the place.

Death Valley Radio Program 884

Death Valley Radio is a format-free program for the musically curious.

In this age of bland radio programming (both commercial and non-) and automated music services, DVR is still built by hand, non-algorithmically — one set at a time.

Death Valley Radio can be heard here at taintradio on Saturdays at 10:00 PM ET and Wednesdays at 10:00 AM ET.

DVR program 884 features country songs, bluegrass style (Lynn Morris, Cindy Woolf, Alecia Nugent, Del McCoury, Michael Daves); acoustic melancholia (Richmond Fontaine, John Mellencamp, Sara Watkins, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings); a choral arrangement of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” as the setting for the Christian prayer “Agnus Dei.”; music composed by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Alva Noto and Bryce Dessner for Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu’s The Revenant; and guitarists Julian Lage, Ibrahim Ag Alhabib, Kevin Breit and Fred Frith. Also: new music from the nine-member Haitian ensemble Lakou Mizik and Cuban keyboardist Alfredo Rodríguez with Ibeyi.

Each week’s playlist will be archived until the end of time at deathvalleyradio.org.

Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri 3/25 & Tues 3/29

Doc77

I missed Cecil Taylor’s 87th birthday by almost two weeks—oops, but isn’t it fine to see so many jazz lives run at length rather than surrender prematurely to the rigors of the trail? The great Ernestine Anderson just left town at a comparable age, so that her midway intermission from the scene now seems but a brief pause in a majestic career; so, beginning with her, welcome to a Catchup Ball Special on this week’s Updoc, Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Washington Square Park, Northwest Corner time. With the onset of spring and the wealth of gesture Taylor derived—especially once he discarded set tempos and made his phrasing itself the muscle of his music—from the birdsong piano works of Olivier Messiaen, I thought I’d start off with an early example of the French master’s practice before opening the gate to Taylor’s solo-piano Garden and a quartet Unit piece. That led me to realize that I’d been listening to Messiaen all wrong for years, and that my disinclination to incline his way had to do not only with an incompatability in my preference in tone-colors but a hankering for high-modernist developmental logic that was increasingly alien to his work: never moreso than in his late, open-form, American-outdoorsy From the Canyon to the Stars, a piece that strikes me now as sufficiently plumb wonderful to excerpt on the show. As for the rest of it, Yevgeny Svetlanov conducts the USSR Symphony Orchestra in this week’s rendering of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps, and what strikes me most about it is not some obvious Russianness but Svetlanov’s fluent sense of tempo—the rhythmic shifts feel breath-natural, with no sacrifice of precision—and his delineation of individual voices in the orchestra: we all know that Soviet ensembles either lack or didn’t try for the sectional creaminess of the capitalist competition, but the strandiness of the brass and especially the strings and woodwinds here seem an intentional branching back to the music’s folk roots. Stravinsky always denied that there were old Russian melodies in the Sacre, but he was lying through his dentures; Svetlanov doesn’t put up any billboards of peasant life, but he gets at something central I haven’t heard before. Stravinsky said that there “isn’t any room for soul-searching in the Sacre”. This performance doesn’t search but, springlike, finds it in the natural course of things and keeps going deeper.

Death Valley Radio Program 883

Death Valley Radio is a format-free program for the musically curious.

In this age of bland radio programming (both commercial and non-) and automated music services, DVR is still built by hand, non-algorithmically — one set at a time.

Death Valley Radio can be heard here at taintradio on Saturdays at 10:00 PM ET and Wednesdays at 10:00 AM ET.

DVR program 883 features Punch Brothers’ slightly skewed take on the Greek myth of Icarus and Daedalus; more train songs (Bukka White with Washboard Sam, Robert Johnson, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters); sad memories (Uncle Tupelo, Richmond Fontaine, Funeral Bonsai Wedding); back stabbers (Son House, the Undisputed Truth, the O’Jays); Eric Hofbauer’s interpretation of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring”; and new music from Michael Daves, Bilal, Frostlake and Mavis Staples.

Each week’s playlist will be archived until the end of time at deathvalleyradio.org.

Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri 3/18 & Tues 3/22

RiteBrun

Spring is here? Really? Something seems to have trumped it, and the weather keeps flipping its coin. What next? Bill Evans for starters, and we can’t usher the season in without goldbright notes from Clifford Brown and Django Reinhardt. So it goes at the start of this week’s Updoc—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Hudson River Valley time—before running into Chinese music, Charlie Haden and Keith Jarrett, Albert Roussel’s neat-o springtime piece, Sheila Jordan and Eartha Kitt, respectively, when their worlds were young, and I forget the rest. Oh, more Clifford Brown, this time with Max and Sonny, but the wrap-up’s same as last week, only different: Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps, this time preceded by the master’s old-age piece The Requiem Canticles—as spare and sere a music as you will ever hear, right up against the end of life, telling what it sees, no code, in clear—and this week’s Sacre a 1963 Boulez performance with the ORTF that shows how far as you can travel from last week’s blazing Bernstein and still be playing the same music. At the turn of the ‘60s Lenny may have helped turn the epoch-making clamor of the Rite into a super-exciting orchestral showpiece, and this has framed most interpretations since, whether as commentary or in opposition. I’ve noticed that American conductors, including Michael Tilson-Thomas, an acknowledged master of the score, generally turn out bracing, celebratory music, stronger on birth and rebirth than on the human sacrifice, remember, that ends it. No such thing from Boulez, where dread’s in there from the downbeat: his interpretation hardly lacks excitement, but its inexorable, juggernaut tread is as intent on the bad news as the good, aware of the piece not only as breakthrough of all apparent limits but as prophecy of the devastation to come. As compensation, you hear notes and details that other performances obscure: Boulez is intent on presenting the entire picture, fact and vision both. I think it’s his best recording of the Sacre, and if you listen well, O Wolves, you’ll know you’ve been through something when it’s over. Next week Yevgeny Svetlanov keeps it Russian, and for this week’s ending Piaf sings Y a pas printemps and me I say you wanna bet?

Death Valley Radio Program 882

Death Valley Radio is a format-free program for the musically curious.

In this age of bland radio programming (both commercial and non-) and automated music services, DVR is still built by hand, non-algorithmically — one set at a time.

Death Valley Radio can be heard here at taintradio on Saturdays at 10:00 PM ET and Wednesdays at 10:00 AM ET.

DVR program 882 features some homespun philosophy courtesy of John Prine, Lefty Frizzell by way of Willie Nelson, and Gillian Welch with David Rawlings; music by or associated with Blind Willie Johnson, including Taj Mahal, Robert Randolph and the Family Band with Ben Harper, Tom Waits and Pops Staples; and songs about the sea from the Unthanks, Hanan Townshend, June Tabor and Suvi Oskala.

Also: new music from Mavis Staples, Luther Dickinson, the Portland, Oregon-based quartet Richmond Fontaine, M. Ward, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and New York-based electronic musician and instrument builder Lesley Flanigan.

Each week’s playlist will be archived until the end of time at deathvalleyradio.org.

Beyond the Groove Yard 3/13/16 & 3/17/16, ep 066  Eatly Mose Allison on Prestige & Atlantic in the 50’s & 60’s.

Hour One:
Mose Allison: New Ground  Back Country Suite  Prestige      
Mose Allison Train  Back Country Suite  Prestige      
Mose Allison: Warm Night  Back Country Suite  Prestuge      
Mose Allison: Blues  Back Country Suite  Prestige
Mose Allison: Saturday  Back Country Suite  Prestige      
Mose Allison: Scamper  Back Country Suite  Prestige      
Mose Allison: January  Back Country Suite  Prestige      
Mose Allison: Promised Land  Back Country Suite  Prestige      
Mose Allison: Spring Song  Back Country Suite  Prestige
Mose Allison: Highway 49  Back Country Suite  Prestige
=====================
Mose Allison: Smashed  Mose Alive!  Atlantic
Mose Allison: Seventh Son  Mose Alive! Atlantic
Mose Allison: Fool’s Paradise  Mose Alive! Atlantic
Mose Allison: Seventh Son Mose Allison Sings  Prestige
Mose Allison: Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand  Mose Allison Sings  Prestige
Mose Allison: Parchman Farm  Mose Alkuson Sings Prestige
Mose Allison: If You Live  Mose Allison Sings  Prestige
====================
Mose Allison: Your Mind is on Vacation  I Don’t Worry About a Thing  Atlantic
Mose Allison: Everything I Have Is Yours  I Don’t Worry About a Thing       Atlantic
Mose Allison:Meet Me at No Special Place  I Don’t Worry About a Thing Atlantic      
Mose Allison: Wild Man  The Word From Mose  Atlantic      
Mose Allison: Rollin’ Stone  The Word From Mose  Atlantic      
Mose Allison: Don’t Forget to Smile  The Word From Mose  Atlantic     

Hour Two:
Mose Allison: Mojo Woman  Local Color  Prestige      
Mose Allison: Town  Local Color  Prestige
Mose Allison: Trouble In Mind  Local Color  Prestige
Mose Allison: Lost Mind  Local Color  Prestige
Mose Allison: Don’t Ever Say Goodbye  Local Color  Prestige      
====================
Mose Allison: Stop This World  Swingin’ Machine  Atlantic
Mose Allison: Promenade  Swingin’ Machine  Atlantic
Mose Allison: If You’re Going to the City  Swingin’ Machine  Atlantic
Mose Allisom: Saritha  Swingin’ Machine  Atlantic       
======================
Mose Alloson: If You’re Going to the City  I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinkin’ Atlantic
Mose Allison: Now You See It  I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinkin’  Atlantic
Mose Allison: Your Molecular Structure  I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinkin’ Atlantic
Mose Allison: Look What You Made Me Do  I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinkin’ Atlantic
Mose Allison: If You Only Knew  Western Man  Atlantic
Mose Allison: Night Club  Western Man  Atlantic
Mose Allison: Mountains  Western Man  Atlantic      

George Klein
Beyond the Groove Yard
Current shows: Sundays 2-4 pm ET, Thursdays 4-6 pm ET;
Older shows: Wednesdays 5-7 am ET, on taintradio.org  
Archived at RadioFreeAmsterdam.com
gklein@emich.edu
facebook.com/beyondgrooveyard
Produced in beautiful mid-town Ypsilanti MI

Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Fri 3/11 & Tues 3/15

LenSac

First things first: Kenny Barron’s got a new trio album out; that’s an event, and about half of it leads off this week’s show for your listening pleasure—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, One-Hour-East-of-Chicago Time. After that the plot thickens, with some showstoppingly brilliant Sidney Bechet and large excerpts from saxophonist Rob Reddy’s brilliant Bechet Our Contemporary, in which echoes of Charlie Haden’s Liberation Orchestra arise amid primary colors old and new. And then? Then there’s the recurrent question as springtime surfaces: do I play Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps this year, and if so which performance of the ones I love: Gergiev or Bernstein or Stravinsky’s own again, or Dorati, or maybe one of the early implacable juggernauts by Boulez? Good news, Taintradions: I found a live Bernstein Sacre with the LSO in 1966, and it is the rompinest stompinest shoutinest Dionysiest eruption of ‘em all. Stravinsky famously reviewed another Bernstein Sacre with a simple “Wow!”, which was not an unalloyed compliment exactly. What would he have said to this one, “Gaah!?” Lenny starts it off as if he’s going to ride and bounce atop the tempo and not give it a heavy pelvic push, but in the runup to the drums’ entrance he forces this already not-very-English-sounding orchestra into an accelerando worthy of Wilhelm Furtwängler, and the rest of it will either make your hair stand on end or set it on fire (batteries not included). The speed may work less well in Part Two—one of Gergiev’s triumphs was his trenchant slowdown of the second half—but the sound of an orchestra pushed to its limits, then going for broke way the hell across the line is plenty-nuff to augur springtime in or for that matter prophesy, in 1913, the savagery to come and the savagery to continue. Of course nowadays we’re living groovily on a planet of peace and happy bunnies, so there’s no need to fear or worry. The show ends with the searing solo shakuhachi piece Kogarashi, composed by Nakao Tozan in the aftermath of the 1923 earthquake and fire that devastated Tokyo and environs and killed about 150,000 people. OMG what have I done?

Death Valley Radio Program 881

Death Valley Radio is a format-free program for the musically curious.

In this age of bland radio programming (both commercial and non-) and automated music services, DVR is still built by hand, non-algorithmically — one set at a time.

Death Valley Radio can be heard here at taintradio on Saturdays at 10:00 PM ET and Wednesdays at 10:00 AM ET.

DVR program 881 features jazz-inflected country and country-flavored jazz (Asleep at the Wheel, Elizabeth Cook, Monica Rizzio, Speedy West and Jimmy Bryant, Ry Cooder, Merle Haggard’s Strangers, Julian Lage); Jay Farrar revisiting the Uncle Tupelo songbook with Son Volt, recorded live at NYC’s Bottom Line; William S. Burroughs reading from The Western Lands over music recorded by a Swiss quartet called Dub Spencer & Trance Hill; and Meshell Ndegeocello in outer space.

Also: new music from Loretta Lynn, Carrie Rodriguez & the Sacred Hearts, Buddy Miller with Lee Ann Womack, Ralph Alessi and Jazmine Sullivan with Robert Glasper.

Each week’s playlist will be archived until the end of time at deathvalleyradio.org.

Rafi Zabor’s Updoc, Friday 3/4 & Tues 3/8

TripDSC

After a bluesy opener from Christian McBride’s gobsmackingly excellent big band there’s a lot of twang in the first half of this week’s Updoc—Friday at 8PM and noon next Tuesday, Uptown Downtown time—much of it featuring the always welcome Bill Frisell, playing movie themes and such with his own band, and with Charles Lloyd and Willie Nelson dreaming an end to war; interpersed with that I’ve curated some selections from Brad Mehldau’s four-CD set of solo piano concerts, especially including a remarkable, uncharacteristically bluesy version of Monk’s Dream. Americana continues with Roy Harris’ 3rd Symphony, secure in the national pantheon and still a wake-up call from start to finish. I tried hard to find an alternative version but settled back with Leonard Bernstein’s 1966 recording, unbeatable even by the one he waxed for DGG twenty years later. The show’s second half takes a measureably darker, more intense turn—though among old friends—first with a fleet 20 minute pursuit of Impressions by the John Coltrane Quartet at the Five Spot in 1965—a rarity, but you may have heard it before; even so, be ready to be seared on both sides—and then a live performance of Shostakovich’s 2nd Violin Concerto by its dedicatee and greatest interpreter, David Oistrakh: in 1968, at the height of the Cold War, Yevgeny Svetlanov conducting the USSR State Symphony Orchestra at London’s Royal Albert Hall—George Smiley was in attendance—when few in the West knew the realpolitik in q. or that Shosta was smuggling his soul out between the notes. This performance surpasses in intensity anything anyone has achieved on the (master)piece by anyone, ever, in a studio. You can breathe out, afterward, with two piano dazzlements from Martha Argerich, and emerge a better, larger, wiser human being for the experience (par ma foi)