Author Archive

Album Review: D-Town Brass — Demiurge

Much of what passes for avant garde music tends toward a kind of seriousness, a dour approach that screams, “this is art!” and all but insists that the listeners revel in its importance. Accessibility rarely figures into the mix, and that’s the point, kind of. But there are exceptions. The work of Sun Ra certainly

Todd Rundgren’s “Clearly Human” Tour: The Ever Popular Geofenced Artist Effect (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … “We’re doing 25 shows specifically targeted to 25 markets,” Rundgren says. “And everything that we do will be in the pursuit of preserving the experience both for the audience and for the band.” The focus is squarely on making each show a unique event, in a manner as close as

Todd Rundgren’s “Clearly Human” Tour: The Ever Popular Geofenced Artist Effect (Part One)

An edited version of this feature appeared previously in New City. For his latest concert tour, perennial wunderkid Todd Rundgren is revisiting his 1989 album Nearly Human. With an expanded band featuring longtime musical associates Kasim Sulton, Gil Assayas, Prairie Prince, Rundgren’s wife Michele and five others, the “Clearly Human” tour represents the latest in

Album Review: Miles Davis’ ‘Jack Johnson’ at 50 (Part Two)

Continued from Part One … Side Two of Miles Davis’ Jack Johnson features the same players plus a different lineup, and in fact the aggregation wasn’t credited on the original LP. McLaughlin returns, joined by gonzo electric guitarist Sonny Sharrock. The bassist now is Dave Holland, and Jack DeJohnette plays drums. Bennie Maupin – whose

Album Review: Miles Davis’ ‘Jack Johnson’ at 50 (Part One)

Much is made – and rightly so – of Miles Davis’ landmark 1970 release Bitches Brew. The album represented Davis’ adventurous foray into the (previously unoccupied) space in which rock and jazz coexisted. True, others had made moved toward bridging the gap between the two genres, but none had done so as forcefully and uncompromisingly

The 411 on 415

Last November I wrote a cover story for SF Weekly; it focused on a series of reissue/compilation CDs on the Liberation Hall label. Those releases contained music originally released on 415 Records, an influential and trend-setting indie label based in San Francisco in the late ‘70s and early-to-mid 1980s. Founded by Howie Klein and Chris

Album Review: Robert Jürjendal – Water Finds a Way

Keeping up with such matters as I do, I’ve learned that there are quite a few different ways of coping with the realities of 2020 and beyond. That’s especially true for creative types. Some have gone to ground; others are in full creative flower. Estonian guitarist Robert Jürjendal is most definitely in the latter category.

Album Review: The David Angel Jazz Ensemble – Out on the Coast

Unless one was an aficionado of the style during its heyday in the 1940s, there was little reason to predict that the form would endure far into the future. It’s doubtful that even hardcore big band fans would have expected it to last into the 21st century. But here we are. Yes, it occupies a

Boxed Set Review: Iggy and the Stooges – From KO to Chaos

In music fan and critical circles, the concept of “blues police” comes up in conversation from time to time. Simply put, blues police is a pejorative term applied to self-anointed arbiters of What Is And Is Not Blues™. These auto-deputized lawgivers would have us believe that, say, Ana Popovic isn’t blues because she didn’t grow

Hundred-word Reviews: February 2021, Part 3

These five are all archival, reissue and/or compilation releases. There’s even a vinyl release here. Wolfgang Lackerschmid & Chet Baker – Quintet Sessions 1979 I was only recently introduced to the sublime collaborative genius of Lackerschmid and Baker via this release. Now, from the same era, comes this archival release. It’s even better, featuring as