Escape To New Jazz With ESC

Escape To New Jazz With ESC

NEWS AND VIEWS *******************


The moniker of label and distribution house EFA comes from the German phrase, Energie
Für Alle
(Energy For All). That motto and the manifesto “life
is too short for boring music” fueled the label on to longevity and the celebration
of its 20th anniversary in 2002. The birth of this label happened during the
exciting birth of punk, new wave, and the singer/songwriter genre. These still
provide a context for some of the most exciting independent music today. Infused
with a pioneering spirit, EFA continued to expand outward and this philosophy
can also be found in the EFA Jazz Department. EFA’s Cologne-based ESC Records,
which also has an office in New York, was founded in 1995. ESC Records makes
a point to work with the elder statesman of adventurous jazz in obtaining new
recognition for new recordings. Bill Evans, Maceo Parker and Randy Brecker
are among the artists on the roster. A new recording from Joe Zawinul, “Faces
& Places,” on the label shows this septuagenarian has lost no interest in new
sounds. The international array of percussionists (India, Africa and South America
are represented) presents a bright spectrum of rhythm to this focused, well-crafted
opus of shrinking world, pan-ethnic international jazz. Les McCann also has
a new album on the label, Pump it Up. Similar to the new, electronic
direction of George Clinton, this ’70s jazz pioneer and early advocate of the
synthesizer uses contemporary studio wizardry to create a bawdy old school funk
party. A litany of funk icons appear on this album and special appearances include
Billy Preston playing organ on “Tryin’ to Make it Real.” Bill Withers’ ballad
“You Just Can’t Smile it Away” gets excellent treatment in a duet with Dianne
Reeves. Maceo Parker himself provides alto sax on “Funk It (Let the Music Play).”
Les McCann was a previous guest on the Outsight Radio Hours. Hear him talk about
his approach to music here.

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to or Buy McCann at CDNow


Proto Tracks offers a
subscription to receive an audio CD every other month with a booklet describing
the tracks handpicked from hard-to-find labels. Focusing on electronica,
the subscription offers techno, breakbeat, 2-step, house and more from new,
independently released recordings. This independent venture has no label affiliations.
Its Website helps the listener find out more about the sampled music and actually
buy the source album. For the artist interested in appearing on a Proto Tracks
CD compilation, and getting this respected third-party editorial endorsement and recognition,
it is absolutely free. If you’d like to be considered for Proto Tracks, e-mail
or send material to Proto Tracks, PO Box 78294, San Francisco, CA, 94107.


In London, England a legal battle over a minute’s silence in a recorded song
has ended with a six-figure out-of-court settlement. British composer Mike Batt
found himself the subject of a plagiarism action for including the song, “A
One Minute Silence,” on an album for his classical rock band The Planets. He
was accused of copying it from a work by the late American composer John Cage,
whose 1952 composition “4’33″” was totally silent. For the full article from
CNN go here.

Listen to or Buy at CDNow


A new album is slated for early 2003 from Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds on the
label that now also includes Tom Waits, Merle Haggard, Solomon Burke and Daniel
Lanois. The Cave deal is a licensing agreement with UK label Mute for the Australian
band. Daniel Miller, Mute MD, comments, “I’m very excited about this new relationship
with Anti for Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. I’m sure the affinity and enthusiasm
the label has for the band will bring them to a far wider audience in North
America.” Cave himself characterizes the news positively, “I couldn’t be more
pleased to be working with Anti in North America.”


After the mood-changing traditionalism of 2001’s Corridors & Parallels,
David S. Ware seems to have wholly left behind the vivid hand-waving of his
early multi-note cosmic jazz. On his new AUM
release Freedom Suite, Ware explores the possibilities of
Sony Rollins’ 1958 trio composition of the same name. Ware’s quartet, featuring
Matthew Shipp (piano), William Parker (bass), and Guillermo E. Brown (drums),
exhibits a controlled and thorough examination of the pieces’ possibilities as
one saxophone great pays tribute to another… AUM Fidelity’s other new release,
Going to Church from Maneri Ensemble, recalls the free jazz origins
of this label. Again, versatile keyboard virtuoso Shipp plays his role in an
ensemble led by a saxophonist (Joe Maneri). The extemporaneous studio session
was purposefully devoid of prior arrangements, resulting in a protean shape-shifting
sound featuring microtone master Maneri joined by his son Mat on viola.
Expatriate bassist Barre Phillips (Ornette Coleman, Naked Lunch soundtrack)
is on hand to offer his experience and talent kept honed by his participation
in the European improv scene. Roy Campbell, a peer to Shipp in the NYC Now Jazz
scene, offers his distinctive trumpet styles while Randy Peterson plays the

Listen to or Buy Ware at CDNow

to or Buy Maneri Ensemble at CDNow


Terminus Records
brings to CD yet two more early albums from Col. Bruce Hampton and
The Late Bronze Age. Hampton et al produce wacky and sophisticated rock with
a humorous and Dadaist approach that makes them the Southern analogue to Capt.
Beefheart and Frank Zappa/Mothers of Invention. This round sees Outside Looking
and Isles of Langerhan, released in 1980 and 1982, respectively,
making their CD debut. Digitally remastered and repackaged, these releases each
feature bonus tracks. It is not the singing that makes these albums, but the
ambitious fusion of progressive rock experimentation with rich percussion, strings
and a funky horn section. The nine-minute bonus track to Outside Looking
is “Seven Men in a Bazooka.” This track is marked with a distinctively
world music feel thanks to the flute playing the main theme. Isles of Langerhan
is stylistically based on the same formula as on Outside Looking Out.
Characterizing this opus is its opening title track. The disc is much tighter
in delivery and adheres to higher production values than its comparatively loose
and informal predecessor. While it may that the zany Georgian is going for a
more commercial feel here, the crazy wisdom is left largely intact in spirit, though musically the tracks are more predictable. The bonus tracks are
“A Sensitive Pond and the Sailor” and “Jack The Rabbit.” “Jack The Rabbit” is
a high-energy number with a psycho-grass feel while “A Sensitive Pond and the
Sailor” is a reflective acoustic guitar interlude preceding a breezy Mexican
boogie that could exist on a Jimmy Buffet record. Featuring less instrumentation
and less risk-taking, Isles of Langerhan is more for the Hampton completists.

Listen to or Buy Outside Looking Out at CDNow

to or Buy Isles of Langerhan at CDNow


Punk’s not dead – it’s just been repackaged onto CD and DVD. An excellent source
for punk DVDs is Cherry Red
. Peter and the Test Tube Babies have been keeping the punk flame
lit since 1978 and the DVD title Cattle and Bum + Manchester 1983 compiles
video footage on the band from 1983 to 1992. This is the first official DVD
title from the group. Cattle and Bum gives an overview of the band’s
later career on video through live video, promo videos, TV footage and home
videos. The editing quickly takes us from scene to scene for a fast-paced tour
that maintains interest. There is also a jocular “Making Of” featurette that
goes along with the group’s self-deprecating sense of humor. Manchester 1983
is a complete concert that predates most of the Cattle and Bum material…
Cherry Red released another DVD debut in Joker in the Pack, this time
for The Adicts. This DVD includes two promo clips for “Viva la Revolution” as
well as the title track. Additionally, there are two features previously thinly
distributed on VHS. Now remastered, Live at the Manhattan Club captures
the band during the 1983 tour riding on the strength of their nationally charting
“Bad Boy” single. Also included, “Up Yer Tower” takes us to the previous year
during the venue’s 1982 punk festival. Improved picture and sound combined with
the band’s colorful A Clockwork Orange apparel make for entertaining
viewing of the seminal group… On the CD front, TKO
continues to mine the vein of reissued punk, this time with an ANTiSEEN
title Drastic/E.P. Royalty. Beside the double-7″ format, the label also
combined the group’s first two 7″ EP releases onto a CD. The angry punk rock
on these early documents show the Southern punk outfit’s bilious output started
out just as spiteful as it is now. However, this early sound is often much more
of an ominous doom-punk, with some tracks, like “Nothings Cool” classifiable
as Gothic… Meanwhile Anagram Records, The Cherry Red punk archive imprint, offers
much cheerier material in the anthemic, uplifting but still punkish sounds of
Tenpole Tudor on Wünderbar. These post-punk pioneers hit the scene in
1979, paving the way for skinny tie bands and power pop in general as they played
in support of The Clash, The Ramones, The Pretenders and more. This compilation
includes all the group’s Stiff Records singles as well as the Eddie Tenpole
and Tudors singles released by the fractured group’s halves after Eddie refused
to tour the U.S., marking the end of the band. All tracks are remastered and
bassist and producer Dick Crippen wrote the sleeve notes… Also on the Abstract
imprint is The Very Best of Punk and Disorderly. The 41 tracks on this
2-CD set come from a golden era of punk when real punk acts charted in England
and the whole genre was fertile with innovation and energy. Brought together
here are a live version of G.B.H.’s “City Baby Attacked by Rats,” three Peter
and the Test Tube Babies tracks including “Banned from the Pubs” and a video
track of “Moped Lads.” Also present are Chaos U.K., Dead Kennedys, The Adicts,
U.K. Subs and much more… The
Butthole Surfers’
DVD Blind Eye Sees All: Live in Detroit 1985 is
one of the MVD Punk DVDs available at
Recorded two years before the group’s high water mark Locust Abortion Technician
and now remastered to 5.1 Surround Sound, this concert still reverberates in
the Detroit scenester community among those that were there at the Traxx gig.
Interspersed between the songs of the gig is the semantically acrobatic group
bed interview that often appeared in VHS form to be laughed with or at, depending
on your point of view. Special features on the DVD include bonus 1991 live
tracks as well as additional audio and a photo gallery…

More on Cattle and Bum + Manchester 1983 from CDNow
More on Joker in the Pack from CDNow
More on Drastic/E.P. Royalty from CDNow
More on Wünderbar from CDNow
More on The Very Best of Punk and Disorderly from CDNow
More on Blind Eye Sees All: Live in Detroit from CDNow


Joe Tex created a spectrum of humorous soul novelties (“Skinny Legs and All,”
“It Ain’t Sanitary”) and swinging dance hits (“Show Me”, “I’ll Never Do You
Wrong”). Under the guidance of Buddy Killen, Tex recorded for Killen’s Dial
Records and other record labels through the ’60s and ’70s. Working doggedly,
Tex had uneven commercial success. Still, he had significant popularity on
Southern Soul, thanks to his up-tempo material ranging from proto-disco to southern
morality odes, all backed with a blend of the Nashville sound. Continuing a series
begun by Connoisseur Collection with volumes planned but not released, RPM
issues Volume 3 and Volume 4 of the complete Dial recordings.
Volume 3 gives us the two albums that came out on Atlantic in 1968: Live
and Lively
and Soul Country. The three bonus tracks here include
the single hit “Men are Getting Scarce.” Volume 4 takes us to the following
year with Happy Soul and Buying a Book, both also sold through
Atlantic. The bonus tracks here are “Betwixt and Between” and “Chocolate Cherry.”
Both CDs offers extensive liner notes from Clive Richardson.

Listen to or Buy Live and Lively/Soul Country at

to or Buy Happy Soul / Buying a Book at


Sue Matthews is a sophisticated jazz vocalist whose elegant, effortless phrasing
echoes the mature New York style. One at a Time is her third solo project
and out on Renata Music.
This versatile vocal stylist populates her album with a variety of renditions
taken from jazz (“Rocks in my Bed”), blues (“Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues”),
early R&B (“Caledonia”) and even includes a version of “Amazing Grace.” Here,
all-star band support includes Stefan Scaggiari (piano; Concord Jazz), Keter
Betts (bass; Ella Fitzgerald), Paul Langosch (bass; Tony Bennett), Paul Bollenback
(guitar; Joey DeFrancesco) and Steve Abshire (guitar) in various arrangements
from track to track… On Open Wide (Purple Chair Music), Jen
and Stephan Crump
opts for original music in an acoustic setting. Minimal in instrumentation,
but maximal in expression, Open Wide is rooted in cool jazz styles but
enlivened with a subtle hip swing due to Chapin’s delivery. Besides performing
at New England folk festivals, singer and songwriter Jan also performed on jazz-funk
records in Switzerland and Germany…

Listen to or Buy Sue Matthews at CDNow

to or Buy Open Wide at


The back-to-school season brings a new crop of female singer-songwriters for enlivening
drab dorms or making late-night homework sessions more bearable. First up is Andrea
Two (Trust
Issue Records
). Andrea plays all instruments on this album, save drums.
That is taken up by SearCh who adds a lickety-split style that in its horizontal
motion keeps this album moving forward. Perry sings in a charming, heady voice
reminiscent of Kate Bush. Some songs feature piano or keyboards, others guitar.
Plushly upholstered in multi-tracked vocals singing poignant personal poetry,
Two is number one material… Jenn
hails from the NYC anti-folk scene. Her record Gotta Lotta
(No Evil Star) is for those that like their acoustic singer-songwriter unpretentious,
honest and daringly non-cute. Think early Ani DiFranco crossed with Lach… Stacey
offers a musical diptych in her self-released Drive. The first
group of songs is in an uptempo, heartland Sheryl Crow style. The latter and larger
group of songs is delicate and emotional folk-pop… Redoubtable Aimee Mann comes
on board with Lost in Space (SuperEgo Records). The title may sound wayward,
but this is the most right-on Mann solo release yet. She has matured into a sophisticated singer-songwriter somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Lucinda Williams.
Right down to the packaging, this is a coherent and stylistically intriguing release.
For the thick booklet, Mann enlisted Zero Hour Publications graphics artist Sean
(Evans) to add his portrayals of urban existential despair as apt visible accompaniment
to Mann’s complex and revealing song-testimonies on substance abuse and the class
of missed personal connections that mirror the unfortunate detachment corporate
music has had for her talent… Mia
Doi Todd
has a languid, easy delivery that borders on the melancholy on The
Golden State
(Columbia). The Mitchell Froom-produced CD borders on trip-hop
by combining artsy-sad vocals from Todd with chilly beats…

Listen to or Buy Perry at

to or Buy Board at
to or Buy Mann at CDNow

to or Buy Todd at CDNow


Legendary punk pioneers D.O.A. mark their 25th anniversary next year. In 2003,
Canadian punk pioneers D.O.A. entered their 25th active year as a band. Sudden Death
Records, the label of singer Joey “Shithead” Keithley is very happy to announce
that D.O.A.’s tenth studio album Win The Battle was released in the United
States October 15th on Sudden Death America and distributed exclusively by Big
Daddy Music. The album includes a cover of ZZ Top’s “La Grange.” Also, Keithley
is re-issuing the band’s classic second album, Hardcore ’81, also on Sudden
Death America. In early 1981, D.O.A. released the album on a Canadian indie label
and set up the now historic Hardcore ’81 Festival in Vancouver that included Black
Flag. From there, D.O.A. headed out on the lengthy Hardcore tour that criss-crossed
North America and helped hardcore to spread. The album has been out-of-print for
over two decades. The vinyl will be re-released in an edition faithful to the
original with liner notes and newly unearthed D.O.A. photos. The CD version includes
1984’s Don’t Turn Yer Back On Desperate Times EP recorded live as a John
Peel session as the bonus tracks.

DVD REVIEWS ***********************

Joe Cocker
Quantum Leap/Music
Video Distributors

After his brilliant showmanship in the ’60s, Joe Cocker pretty much faded from
view in the following decade. His successful comeback that once again made him
a top name in the ’90s and into the 21st Century began quietly in the ’80s. This
live show from 1981 in Italy captures the rebirth of Joe Cocker in his second
career as an outstanding, soulful rock performer. The 10-song set before a small
audience begins with “Feeling All Right” and includes “Delta Lady” and “Jealous
Kind” before ending with “With a Little Help from my Friends.” The DVD features
include individual song selection, biography, an interactive quiz and more. (3.5)

More on this video title from CDNow

Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy O: Unauthorized
Trinity Home Ent./Music
Video Distributors

For this DVD, the “unauthorized” appellation seems more a legal necessity than
an advertisement in muckraking. For, rather than in the sordid approach of paperback
expositions, Ozzy O: Unauthorized contributes as much to the hagiography
as it does to the humanization of this near-mythical figure. Pasted together from
numerous sources both video and audio (though not featuring any Ozzy or Sabbath
songs), this provides a well-directed and detailed collage of the somewhat mysterious
artist. An actor posing as an over-zealous metal fan used to bumper segments is
the only content weakness in this documentary. Including much in the way of candid
interviews and litanies of Ozzy’s substance abuse history, this DVD goes far to
straighten out all the biting off of the heads of flying creatures. Including
interviews with the fans the brought the “dead” bat to the Des Moines concert,
detail is given to this as well as the dove decapitation that occurred in front of record executives and presaged his successful solo career. (3.5)

More on this video title from CDNow

The Chameleons
Live at The Gallery Club & The Hacienda, Manchester
Cherry Red Records

Like The Psychedelic Furs, The Chameleons fused Goth and post-punk pop during
the ’80s, a decade ripe for such a genre marriage. Interesting, their oft
chilly delivery comes across on this DVD as perhaps lack of live experience
if not even stage fright. These John Peel Show favorites are shown trying out
material exclusive or nearly exclusive to these shows and in some cases never
performed again. Thus, what the rare videoed performances lack in production value
and stage presence they make up for in rarity and historical significance. This
is a must for any fan of The Chameleons specifically and British post-punk music
generally. (3)

More on this video title from CDNow

Puppetry of the Penis
Tackle Happy
Music Video Distributors
/Eclectic DVD

Simon Morley and David “Friendly” Friend brought to the stage an apparently not unknown
Australian male pastime of genital origami or “dick tricks.” In this funny documentary,
the pair travels the subcontinent on a Spinal Tap-like tour where increasing resistance
from the blue noses causes cancellations and venue limitations for the daring
duo’s nude act of “twisted” humor. Only some of the penis poses (“Fruit bat,”
“Uluru”) are specifically downunder in theme. “The Wristwatch,” “The Hamburger”
and others cross most cultural boundaries. A series of interviews with a comedic
radio show keeping tabs on the disaster-fraught tour adds to the laughs and segments
the story into chronological episodes. (3.5)

More on this video title from CDNow


Music Video Distributors
has several jazz DVDs available. As part of the Cool Summer series
documenting the Harvest Jazz Festival at the Paul Masson Vineyards (California),
there is a Dexter Gordon & McCoy Tyner disc. Top of the bop tenor saxophonist
Dexter Gordon is especially loquacious in the stage chatter and off-stage interview
that breaks up his three-song set on this DVD. Brilliant jazz pianist McCoy Tyner
is somewhat lost in the ensemble setting for this three-song set captured here,
but the playing from all is superb and the final cut “The Seeker” includes special
guest vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson… Also on MVD, Jazz Collection is a
2-DVD set featuring noted jazz greats Art Blakey, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie,
Dexter Gordon and more including bassist Willie Dixon. The 2-hour DVD set is the
first two volumes of the Jazz Collection in The Legends Series and features
artists displaying their talent live…

More on Cool Summerfrom CDNow
More on Jazz CollectionCDNow

CD REVIEWS *************************

One Man Army
Rumors and Headlines
BYO Records

The band’s third album, its first on BYO Records, is rooted in old-school punk.
The opener “Victoria” is anthemic and recalls early melodic Brit post-punk styles
(Toy Dolls, for example) while the fast, buzz-saw “It’s Empty” recalls another
class in that school. One populated by G.B.H., The Exploited and the like.
Still, the jaunty, melodic style is highly accessible (“S.O.S.”) and this might
be partly due to the production efforts of Kevin Army. Through his work with Green
Day and Operation Ivy, Army knows well musical styles with both popular appeal but
within the context of punk sound history. Indeed, the band’s first two albums came
out on Adeline Records, the label of Green Day’s Billy Joe Armstrong. While it
remains to be seen if the San Francisco trio will gain the heights of popularity
attained by Green Day, their upbeat U.K. sound guarantees this record will long
be called upon as a touchstone in West Coast neo-punk. (4.5)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Sonic Youth
Murray Street

Sonic Youth is exceedingly admirable for their integrity and adherence to
their artistic vision of arty noise-rock. However, this, their sixteenth album
since forming in 1981, is somewhat sluggish. It is still a very good album and after a career this long, I think
it is OK to have your best work behind you. The Kim Gordon-led pieces are
stand-out and particularly vigorous. Thurston Moore continues to head toward a
more melodic vocal style. During the recording of this album, recording at their
own studio was interrupted, and their masters and instruments were locked into
their studio within an area cordoned off after the events of September 11, 2001.
This is the second album in the group’s trilogy about lower Manhattan culture
preceded by NYC Ghosts and Flowers. For their trademark sound of sophisticated
noise, the group continues to successfully rely on the production prowess of Jim
O’Rourke. (3.5)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow


Voltaire is a neo-Gothic styled comedic musician and also a visual talent. Voltaire
is the creator of the Oh My Goth comic book series. His wry and wicked
humor come across best on the biting opening track, “Future Ex Girlfriend” about
the base nature of initial attractions. Voltaire adds acoustic guitar to his vocals,
but it is the bright and present sounds of violin and cello that really dress
up this CD and make the music a match of the cutting humor. This is the breakup record for those that want to laugh about it and hit the clubs, not sit home
and cry. (4)

Listen to or Buy at CDNow

Various Artists
156 Strings
Cuneiform Records

Henry Kaiser is our “curator” in this 19-track museum of experimental guitar.
The purpose of this CD is to exhibit the current state of acoustic guitar innovation.
Participants range from the versatile Richard Thompson to avant-guitar stalwart
Fred Frith. Frith is, of cour

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