Sunday, May 13, 2012

Podcast Episode 2 - Symbols of Transformation

Sabrina Siegel: Stop and Employ Nature from “Piano Breath (action music)” (2012) [7.27]
Anthony Braxton: JMK-80 CFN-7 from “Saxophone Improvisations Series F” (1972) [17.57]
Master Mujicians of Joujouka: Pull up your Belt and Dance from “Joujouka Black Eyes” (1995) [2.38]
Human Arts Ensemble: Hazrat, the Sufi from “Under the Sun”, (1975) [21.24]
Tom Soloveitzik/Korhan Erel/Kevin Davis: Arba Esre from “Three States of Freedom” (2012) [5.34]
Viktor Sethy: 3rd Movement from “Improvised Piano Concerto” [15.24]

Sabrina Siegel seeks to create situations where nature/chance compromise her control, to bring forth grace through the precarious. "More than executing notes or rhythms or melody, a song or a piece of music to me is a field for being--for direct living, feeling, breathing, and expressing in the moment; for sinking deeply, or flying highly into self/Self; or just maintaining our balance--which may reveal a simple beauty or truth. And like life, one rides the waves of grace and the precarious--in this existence, the better we watch and listen, the easier and more potent our flight."

“Braxton developed a systematized approach to free solo improvisation that would give various levels of pre-performance structure and organization to the music. Formal, stylistic, melodic and rhythmic organizational tools are implemented to stimulate the player's improvisatory thinking. By structuring the free improvisation, the performer is given a set of variables from which to generate personal creativity. Secondly, Braxton combined opposing creative forces into one unified thrust of creative expression. The solo alto saxophone improvisations combine jazz and concert modernist traditions, visual and audible creative mediums, and other dichotomies in an attempt to advance toward one composite world creativity.” [David Putnam Rowell, “Structure and Musical Convergences in Anthony Braxton's Solo Saxophone Improvisations”, B.A., Furman University, 2006]

“A lone pipe line leads the group into action. The drummers pound out an incessant barrage of colliding patterns on their drums (with sheep hides for skins), rested on the knees and played with a spoon shaped piece of wood in one hand and a thin stick in the other. You can watch the musicians and try to work out who is playing what, but once you catch the eye of the man you’ve picked out they will instantly change the beat. The rhaita players carry on a follow-the-leader routine, constantly upping the ante, using circular breathing techniques to maintain the notes, until unified screeches ring out in ascension, building up and building up the intensity until the pitch is ringing out beyond the lavish tent that is their backdrop and high out into the hills. And oh yes, it is loud too.” [Ritchie Troughton full article here]

“The Human Arts Ensemble was a musical and theatrical cooperative founded in St. Louis, MO, in 1971 by free jazz musicians who had been associated AACM and BAG (Black Artist's Group). Around 1970, public funding began to dry up for arts organizations that were suspected of having ties to radical political groups, and drummer Charles Bobo Shaw had the idea of creating a new artistic co-operative that was open to any person without regard to race. The resulting Human Arts Ensemble was thus able to proceed within a radical political agenda and pursue its unique brand of guerilla theater, yet get the public support it needed to do so. […] Among musicians who spent some time jamming with the Human Arts Ensemble were Luther Thomas, Joseph Bowie, Marty Ehrlich, John Lindberg, and even a young John Zorn, along with more established artists such as Lester Bowie and Oliver Lake.” [Uncle Dave Lewis at Allmusic]

“In October 2009 I travelled from Israel to Istanbul. Curious to connect with like-minded improvisers, I contacted Korhan, a founding member of Turkey’s pioneering free improvisation group, Islak Köpek. Korhan arranged for us to meet with Kevin, the group’s American-born cellist in Galata, home to many shifting communities over nearly two thousand years of Istanbul’s cosmopolitan history. Our tour began in June 2010, just a few days after the May 31 raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine Turkish citizens were killed by the Israeli military. Our tour coincided with a heat wave, too. We saw cars stopped by the side of the road, unable to cope with the heat. In Jerusalem, a hundred thousand ultra-Orthodox Jews took to the streets to protest a Supreme Court decision that ruled against ethnic discrimination in one of their schools. A line was drawn from our first meeting in Istanbul to our last days in Jaffa. While we recorded, this line hovered in the air, connecting our individual histories with a multitude of histories of confrontation, resistance, and co-existence.”
[Tom Soloveitzik, Tel Aviv, February 2012]

“Now we are living in one huge global society, and chaos and corruption rule. Talent doesn’t counts any more – that’s why we don’t have any subculture renewing cultural life – giving us geniuses like we had in the 60s or in the early 70s. in music, fine arts…or even in politics.  So – art is a way of life and needs a person who has to have all the opportunities (and time) to practice, play, work and show results to the public. Our life is not written down either – we have to know how to improvise – also in music, also in life. Otherwise we are not humans but robots = good slaves, perhaps… Art is something sacred – it can lift up our souls, our minds to a higher level of existence. And what else that is sacred is left for people these days?  I guess nothing.  This is the only, and the last chance for humanity to find the right way.  Maybe that is why some want to destroy it so bad.”
[Viktor Sethy, interviewed by Michele Andrée]

To listen to the podcast, go to Podomatic website and search for 'completecommunion'.
To send me material to be featured on the podcast, email me at galasi.g [at] or gianpaolo.galasi [at]

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