Archive for Free Jazz

Impressions of the ICP Orchestra, Zürich 2015

Posted in Free Jazz, Han Bennink, jazz, Photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2015 by crownpropeller

DSC_4339(Click to enlarge) The ICP Orchestra at Rote Fabrik, Zurich,
Switzerland, October 17, 2015. Mary Oliver, Tristan
Honsinger, Ernst Glerum, Han Beninnk, Michael Moore,
Ab Baars, Wolter Wierbos (hidden), Tobias Delius (hidden) and
Thomas Heberer.  Photo by Armin Büttner

The ICP Orchestra, that famous european jazz institution founded in 1967 by drummer Han Bennink and pianist Misha Mengelberg, played in Zurich yesterday. Since I have a bad cold, I was not in the mood to fumble around with a video cam, but I took quite a few photos which turned out so nice, that I thought I’d present them here.

In it’s current incarnation – Misha Mengelberg is not able to appear on stage anymore – the ICP Orchestra consists of Han Bennink, trumpeter Thomas Heberer, trombonist Wolter Wierbos, Michael Moore (as, cl), Ab Baars (ts, cl), Tobias Delius (ts, cl), Mary Oliver (violin, viola), cellist Tristan Honsinger and bassist Ernst Glerum. The piano chair was manned by Misha Mengelbergs good friend Guss Janssen. They played a lot of  Mengelbergs compositions as well as his arrangements of pieces by Monk, Herbie Nichols and Duke Ellington, as well as pieces by band members. To make it short, it was a great evening and I was glad I went – I even had the feeling my cold had gotten better afterwards.

So here are some photos (you can always click to enlarge, they are quite big!):

DSC_4308Han Bennink at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4321Han Bennink, Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Tobias Delius at
Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4301Mary Oliver, Tristan Honsinger, Ernst Glerum at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4324Michael Moore and Ab Baars at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4348Mary Oliver at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

After a twenty minute intermission the second part of the evening started with about twenty minutes with a special quartet. ICP-members Bennink, Glerum and Moore were joined by Zurich based pianist Irène Schweizer (they know each other for years and years, swiss label Intakt has just released a new Cd of Schweizer/Bennink duets).

Here are some photos from that part of the evening:

DSC_4373Irène Schweizer, Ernst Glerum, Han Bennink and Michael
Moore at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4386Han Bennink and Michael
Moore at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4384Han Bennink at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4407Irène Schweizer at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

Then it was back to the ICP Orchestra again:

DSC_4428Michael Moore, Ab Baars, Tobias Delius, Wolter Wierbos and
Thomas Heberer at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4430Ernst Glerum, Mary Oliver, Han Bennink and Michael Moore
at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4453“And without further ado I present to you: absolutely nothing!”:
Tristan Honsinger at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4467Going down low: Tristan Honsinger and Wolter Wierbos at
Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4471And up: Tristan Honsinger in the air at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4476Guss Janssen and Mary Oliver at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4485Han Bennink and Ab Baars at Rote Fabrik.
Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4490Han Bennink, Ab Baars, Michael Moore and Tobias Delius
at Rote Fabrik. Photo by Armin Büttner

DSC_4502A quite hum for Misha Mengelberg: Han Bennink at Rote
Fabrik, Zurich, October 17, 2015.

Enjoy!

Marshall Allen Magic Science Quartet : Oedipus/Edipo 2015

Posted in clips, Henry Grimes, jazz, Marshall Allen with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2015 by crownpropeller

allen_grimesHenry Grimes and Marshall Allen at Casa Torre
in Poschiavo, Switzerland on September 19, 2015.
Photo by Armin Büttner

When one of my co-workers told me that Marshall Allen and Henry Grimes along with drummer Avreeyl Ra and Cornelia Müller would be accompagnying a screening of Cornelia Müller’s silent movie “Oedipus/Edipo” at Casa Torre in Poschiavo, Switzerland it was clear I had to go. Poschiavo is a five hour train ride from here – but what a beautiful voyage.

Cornelia “KA” Müller’s movie “Oedipus/Edipo” is a reinterpretation of the ancient greek myth, filmed in the surroundings of colorful Poschiavo Valley featuring Butoh dancer Yoshihiro Shimomura in nearly all roles. You can read all about the movie here. And here is the official trailer:

I really liked the movie, especially when Yoshihiro Shimomura did the Sphinx . But in a way it seemed like drummer Avreeyl Ra  and Cornelia Müller herself playing piano where the only ones reacting to what happened on screen, whereas Marshall Allen and Henry Grimes were faced towards the audience. Somehow this left the music rather directionless. Here is a small excerpt from the Casa Torre screening (which of course does neither the movie or the musicians right):

After the movie was over, people had applauded and the lights had gone up again, the quartet started an encore of which I managed to capture a nice part on video with Marshall playing his EVI with Henry Grimes and Avreeyl Ra swinging behind him:

During the encore Allen also grabbed the alto saxophone to send the room off into space – something he had not done during the screening where he he had played EVI, Casio and Kora exclusively. I did not film his solo but captured the audio. Here it is with some pictures of the concert mixed with some shots of beautiful Poschiavo where the concert took place:

 

It was good to see that Marshall is still going strong (he’s 91 now!) and to hear that Henry Grimes plays so well. After the concert I bought Henry’s CD “The Tone Of Wonder” recorded in Poschiavo when he was artist in residence there in 2013:

2728821Here’s a nice review of it.

And of course after all was over girlfriend made a “snapshot with your superstar” photo of Marshall and me.

DSC_3502Clearly the taller person here needs a shave.

Two more shots  from the concert:

allen_grimes2 Henry Grimes and Marshall Allen at Casa Torre
in Poschiavo, Switzerland on September 19, 2015.
Photo by Armin Büttner

allen_grimes3 Henry Grimes, Marshall Allen and Avreeyl Ra at Casa Torre
in Poschiavo, Switzerland on September 19, 2015.
Photo by Armin Büttner

Enjoy!

P.S.: There are still copies of the LP available, that my friend Hubi and me recorded with Marshall Allen and cellist Kash Killion in 2012 (see here and here).

Still available: Marshall Allen / Kash Killion: “Two Stars In The Universe”

Posted in 33 rpm, Free Jazz, jazz, Marshall Allen, Sun Ra with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2015 by crownpropeller

cover-gold

Funny to see that some copies of the LP my friend Hubi and me produced with arkestral legend Marshall Allen and cellist / sarangi player Kash Killion are already selling for around 100 $. Funny because you can still order them direct from us for much less, as a few copies of this limited to 250 pieces LP are still available.

If you never heard about that LP, here is our sweet little promo clip again:

If you want to know more about this record check out my old blog entry here. Or have a look here.

There are bad news though: Because the swiss frank is no longer bound to the euro, we had to raise the prices partly. In Switzerland it’s still 35 Franks. For the rest of the world it’s either 35 Euro or 40 USD. Beware that swiss postal rates are very high, depending on where you are (20 Euro for europe, 36 $ for the rest of the world).

If you’d like to obtain a copy of this – very beautiful we think – record, contact me by writing a comment (which will not be published).

Sun Ra and the hot chicks!

Posted in documents, jazz, Sun Ra with tags , , , , on June 15, 2014 by crownpropeller


A while ago while searching for hot girlie magazines Sun Ra related items on ebay I was surprised that the March 1969 issue of Swank magazine showed up in my search.

swank_cover

Sex and space music: “Swank”, March 1969

I have applied a little censorship to the mag’s front page here as this blog might be visited by minors. Also, the woman pictured on the cover might not be happy to see herself dressed that way again.

I bought the magazine because I was very much curious what space jazz master Sun Ra was doing in between the “Teen-Age Sex Queen Of Sweden” and “Love Potions And Aphrodisiacs!”.  Adding to my curiousity was the fact that being from March 1969 (the “Rolling Stone” with the Sun Ra cover shot of  was the April 1969 issue) this must be a quite early mention of Ra in an US-wide distributed non-specialist magazine. So what’s inside?

Continue reading

Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Sardegna 1974

Posted in Art Ensemble Of Chicago, clips, Free Jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2014 by crownpropeller

Listening to a lot Sun Ra, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylot at home, I usually do not agree with people who say that Free Jazz is something only to be enjoyed at concerts because seeing the musicians helps you to understand what they are up to.  It was always different for me with the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. Although I have a few records by the AEOC, they never touched me in a way nearly every Sun Ra album does. This is a band where in my regard the visual element is missing when you hear a recording.

It is hard too find much pre-1980 footage of the Art Ensemble Of Chicago. So I am very lucky to have found over 46 minutes of Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, Roscoe Mitchell, Malachi Favors and Don Moye at a Jazz Festival in Sardegna in 1974 on one of Otto Flückiger’s old VHS-cassettes. which I am presenting you here.

Enjoy!

Marshall Allen / Kash Killion: “Two Stars In The Universe”

Posted in 33 rpm, Free Jazz, jazz, Marshall Allen, Sun Ra with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by crownpropeller

SOME COPIES STILL AVAILABLE!

As vaguely announced at the end of this post, my friend Hubi and me along with sound engineer Dario went to Poschiavo in summer 2012 to see the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Maestro Marshall Allen and make a recording of  Allen to be released on a limited edition vinyl LP.

Crown Propeller’s blog announces that this record, “Two Stars in The Universe”, featuring duets by Marshall Allen with masterful cellist, bolon/bolong and sarangi player Kash Killion, will now be released as Little Rocket Records LP001 on May 22nd!

So what does it sound like? Have a glimpse at our little  promotion video to get an idea:

Note though, that the sound on all video clips in this blog post is directly from the camera’s microphone. The LP sounds much better. A short mp3 excerpt from the original master can be had on request.

cover-goldLittle Rocket LP 001 will be released on May 22nd, 2014

So how did this come to happen? My friend Hubi  and me are long time devotees of that cosmic being called Sun Ra. And we both developed a deep love for the idiosyncratic sound of  alto saxophonist and now Arkestra leader Marshall Allen.

So when in spring of 2012 we heard that the Arkestra will be accompanying two theatrical productions during three days at the Uncool Festival  in Poschiavo (at the the south-eastern end of Switzerland), we had the idea to record Allen playing solo, since we wanted  to capture his sound pure and unaccompanied. Since we both are also what you would call vinyl junkies it was decided there and then that we will be trying to release a limited edition vinyl LP and found a little record company that will exist until the copies are sold out.

allen:killion_black_gold

Marshall Allen and Kash Killion in Poschiavo, June 21, 2012

We decided to try to reach Marshall via Cornelia Müller who runs the Uncool Festival. Finally a week before the Poschiavo event,  Marshall let us know through Cornelia that he was ready and willing. Cornelia promised to get a room organized for thursday, June 21. So Hubi, me and our engineer Dario on wednesday made the six hour car ride to see the Arkestra’s evening show and record Marshall the next day.

road

On the way to Poschiavo in the beautiful Poschiavo valley

I had become sick a day right before our trip and had a bad fever when we arrived in Poschiavo and were told by Cornelia that it was hard to organize a room and that maybe we should ask around the small village for a room to record in on the next morning. I thought: ok, this is the end of our little adventure, as I could not imagine knocking at unsuspecting people’s doors and asking them if we could maybe record some free jazz in there barn or their living room. Nonetheless I managed to enjoy the three hour Arkestra gig that evening. Marshall – at that time 88 years old – was blowing, directing the band, singing, dancing all evening through without ever sitting down for a minute – clearly music is his fuel. Excerpts from that concert can be found here.

marshall_on_stageMarshall Allen fronting the Arkestra in Poschiavo, June 20, 2012.

marshall_on_stage_2Marshall Allen on stage in Poschiavo, June 20, 2012.

I had a sleepless, fevery night and on the next morning Dario, our italian speaking and good looking sound engineer, talked a hotel maid into letting us use the Hotel’s diner room. But then on our way to breakfast we met Cornelia again who told us that she managed to get a room anyway and Marshall would be ready to meet us at 12 o’ clock.

 

spazioLo Spazio in Poschiavo

The room turned out to be Cornelia’s living room in her house and artists’ space “Lo Spazio”. The room had very beautiful acoustics – so we were happy. But then Marshall appeared and told us he really was not in the mood for playing solo since he needs (an)other person(s) to react to: “I am a band musician”. So this again sounded like the end of it – but we had the  idea to ask Marshall if there is someone in the band he’d like to record in a duo context with. Marshall said that yes, he’d like to record with Kash Killion who is playing cello with the Arkestra on and off since 1991. This sounded very promising to us, so we gathered some more cash together to be able to pay Kash something as well.

dario_allen

Sound engineer “Il Nuovo Presidente” Dario and Marshall Allen

We phoned Kash who was ready to come over from his hotel at once and brought along his cello, a Sarangi – the queen of indian instruments because it is so close to the human voice (Killion has studied  the instrument with the great indian master Ali Akbar Khan) – as well as a Bolong (also spelled Bolon) – a harp from west africa that also functions as a percussive instrument when you hit the neck and the gourd.

setting_upSetting up: Dario, Marshall Allen and Kash Killion in Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

Marshall and Kash played beautiful improvised music for two and a half hours without ever talking about what to play next and visibly having fun all the while. We just sat there in awe not daring to interfere or make any suggestions like true producers are supposed to do (or are they?).

sessionOff we go: Marshall Allen and Kash Killion at the Little Rocket Records
recording session, Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

Here’s a little view into the recording session, Marshall Allen on flute and Kash Killion on Sarangi playing an improvisation they later titled “India Reflections”:

happyIt’s done: Marshall Allen, Armin Büttner, Hubi Horst and Kash Killion,
Poschiavo, June 21, 2012.

¨allenkilliondarioAfter the session: Marshall Allen, Dario and Kash Killion

 Apart from choosing the tracks for release we did not do any editing or massive post production. We just choose complete tracks as Dario recorded all of this so perfectly – standing in a half bowed, body devastating position in front of the musicians all this time, a little digital recorder in his hands.

“Two Stars in The Universe” as the LP was titled by Marshall and Kash is a beautiful, surprisingly quiet and moody but also very joyful record of many colors. Besides alto saxophone and flute Marshall also plays one of those old small Casio keyboards. I always think he is channeling messages from Sun Ra with it. If you listen to his Casio playing on “Cosmic Blues-Life Of Two”: Hearing the rattling sound of it’s keys struck by Marshall, you’ll notice that he uses the same fluttering up and down hand movements  that he uses when producing the freaky alto sounds he is known for. Here is an excerpt from “Cosmo Blues-Life of Two”:

 

I had to be back at the office the next day, so we had to return. But after I told my girlfriend about the experience, she went down to Poschiavo for the last Arkestra show a day later. After the – again very long concert – Marshall and Kash Killion sat down stage front after most people had already left and played kora and bolon for a while. You can see again that they really enjoy playing together:


(Video courtesy of The Sun Ra Arkestra)

All 250 copies of the 180 gram vinyl  LP  “Two Stars In The Universe” have handprinted (silk-screened) covers. Some are printed in gold on black, some in silver, blue, or white, we think it came out very nice. Here is a little clip from the silk-screening process. Music for this video is an excerpt from an unreleased track, recorded with a photo camera after session for the LP had already ended.

silk_screenBeautifully designed (thanks, M.!!!) and freshly silk-screened

Unfortunately this did not make the thing cheap. This beauty will cost 35 Dollars (postage – which is high – not included). This will hopefully allow us to get back our expenses if nothing more.

The record will be officially released at the Arkestra concert in Zurich on May 22nd, Sun Ra’s 100th Arrival-on-Earth-Jubilee. Since there is no real distribution, the way to go is contact me directly if one wants to obtain a copy. Please use the comment section of this post to get in contact.

Enjoy!

Matana Roberts: Mississippi Moonchile (Zürich 2012)

Posted in clips, jazz with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by crownpropeller

In February 2011 I went to see and hear alto saxophonist and composer Matana Roberts with her group playing  «Gens de Couleur Libre», the first chapter of the “Coin Coin” series in which Roberts deals with the life of her family and the traces oher ancestors left in Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries. Since I liked Roberts take on Free Jazz very much, it was clear that I was going to the Rote Fabrik on march 22 of this year, when Roberts was presenting “Mississippi Moonchile”, the second chapter of the series which is dealing with the beginning of the 20th century. This time besides Roberts the Coin Coin Band consisted of Jeremiah Abiah (voice), Jason Palmer (trumpet), Shoko Nagai (piano), Thomson Kneeland (bass) and Tomas Fujiwara (drums).

I liked the “Moonchile” concert very much and I was happy to have my camera with me to document it.

After the concert Matana Roberts was so nice as to sign her  10 inch 2LP set for me which was recorded on one of the  «Gens de Couleur Libre» concerts (she also signed two copies for friends of mine who unfortunately could not come to the concert). This beautifully designed record  contains the first part of the “Coin Coin” series – and is hereby recommended very much. Free Jazz is not dead!