Iron Kim Style — Iron Kim Style
(Moonjune MJR031, 2010, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2010-07-01It starts out with a loose groove and wah-wah trumpet, so the first impression is of electric Miles Davis, though with more guitar and no keyboards. Later, as more diverse elements show up, that impression fades somewhat. This is adventurous electric jazz by a group consisting of two guitars (6- and 12- string), trumpet, bass and drums, with guest bass clarinet on two tracks. While the music is completely improvised, there's a coherence and musicality that is lacking in many unscripted recordings. There's no shortage of hot playing, but these guys have the good sense not to step on each others' toes, so when the trumpet's flurry of notes runs its course, one of the guitars will step up to take the lead for a while. Though tonality may be in constant flux, tempos usually are not, ranging from slow swirling swells to dark funk to quick bop (I really love the fast atonal walking bass lines). In addition to the Miles comparison, I'm reminded at times of Soft Machine in the Third to 5 era, again with guitar replacing the keys, and also (when they get noisy) of some of Crimson's improvs. One of the guitarists is Dennis Rea of Moraine, and the drummer is Jay Jaskot, formerly of that band; the others have impressive resumes as well (no room here for details), and all come together in service of one of the most listenable freely improvised recordings I can recall in recent years.
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart $amp; Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more