Phil Miller - In Cahoots — Out of the Blue
(Crescent Discs CD5CD, 2001, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2001-07-01
Guitarist Miller, no doubt best known for his tenure with Hatfield and National Health, continues his mission with his band “In Cahoots,” represented here by two distinctly different instrumental lineups – a quartet featuring Pip Pyle (drums), Fred Baker (fretless bass), and Pete Lemer (keys), with guest guitarist Doug Boyle, and a sextet which also features Elton Dean (saxes) and Jim Dvorak (trumpet), in addition to the regular members of the quartet. As with previous releases, the music falls squarely into jazz-rock realms, perhaps this time far closer to the vocabulary of jazz (especially on the sextet material, which accounts for five of the discs seven tracks), but the key word here is right in the title: blue. The pieces here are (to varying degrees – more so with the quartet) more blues-affected than one might expect from most of Miller’s recent work, giving it a very distinct flavor. As always, his writing and playing are superb, offering a balanced approach playing fierce melodics off a keen dynamic jazz sensibility, keeping the long pieces energetic over the duration. Special note must be made of Baker’s remarkable fretless work, who together with Pyle maintains a busy bottom end throughout most of the proceedings. With the sextet, Miller keeps a lower profile, yielding to the flights of fancy by saxes and trumpet. While not likely to set the world on fire, the disc features plenty of fine instrumental excursions that seem to get more compelling with each listen.
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