Levin Brothers — Levin Brothers
(Lazy Bones Recordings no#, 2014, CD / LP)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2014-10-14While brothers Pete and Tony Levin have both had enormously successful careers – Pete as keyboard player working with jazz greats like Gil Evans, Jaco Pastorius, Lenny White, John Scofield, and countless others, while Tony made his mark with Peter Gabriel, King Crimson, and a number of rock collaborations, as well as some work in the field of jazz, this is the first time the two siblings have made an album together in full collaboration. At a young age, the brothers were influenced by the work of bassist Oscar Pettiford and French horn player Julius Watkins (Pete Levin was a French horn player before switching to piano), as well as the cool jazz ethic of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and that pervasive influence is felt throughout the sixteen tracks here, although interwoven with their two lifetimes of more contemporary musical experience. The focus here is more on concise compositions and strong melodies as opposed to pure performance and improvisation, and to that end the brothers have gathered some outstanding players in drummer Jeff Siegel, guitarist David Spinozza, and sax man Erik Lawrence. Drummer Steve Gadd steps in on a couple numbers as well. There are several standouts here, including “When Sasha Gets The Blues,” its powerful lead cello figure and sypmathetic piano accompaniment are at once haunting and beautiful; “Not So Square Dance” is a fun romp that recalls some of the best of the cool jazz style of the early sixties; “Havana” has the brothers exploring a Latin jazz style with some great organ playing by Pete, and some vocalizing by Tony on an album that is otherwise entirely instrumental. And the album’s only cover tune is a beautiful jazz reworking of “Matte Kudasai” from King Crimson’s Discipline. Though after as many listens as I’ve given it leading up to this review, every single cut qualifies as a standout!
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more