Rhapsody Streamnotes: September 9, 2014

It's been 18-19 days since the last one, but I've kept my nose to the grindstone and come up with 101 records here. That matches 101 last time, and only trails two (of 13) columns this year -- the biggest one was back on March 19, when I cruised through the Johnny Cash catalog.

A brief reminder here: the main reason I can cram so many records in is that I don't spend much time with any of them. (That isn't totally true: I must have played Richard Galliano six times before I bumped it to A-, and I think the Margots got four spins each. But it's certainly the rule: to get a second play a record has to convince me it has some potential to rise on the grading scale. Most A- records got at least two plays (Caffeine is one exception I recall), as do many (but probably not a majority) of high B+ records.

About one-quarter of the records below are CDs that were sent to me (or, very rarely, things I bought). Almost all of those are jazz, and I still generally play everything I get no matter how awful it looks (see Ricky Kej and Novox below). The other three-quarters I play on the computer, most often from streaming sources like Rhapsody and Bandcamp (where the latter presents full albums). I also get a fair number of download links in the mail, but lately have done very little to follow them -- some recent technical problems have added to my customary disdain for such work. The streamed records are at a slight disadvantage: I'm slightly less likely to give them a second spin, my computer speakers aren't as good as the stereo speakers, nor do the MP3 sources match up in sound quality. But all of the streamed records start with some sort of rep, even if (cf. Dirty Loops) it proves unfounded or downright ridiculous. And, of course, I'm more likely to credit genres and labels of past interest -- dance pop, Americana, underground rap are things I tend to follow -- and I don't bother with stuff I generally dislike -- metal is the obvious example. As my jazz mail declines, I've tried to compensate with Rhapsody, but that only goes so far.

One thing that helps me figure out what to look for is my tracking file, which I recently expanded to retain my grade info. It includes a lot of stuff I'll never bother with but it's useful to know it exists. Not nearly as much information as past metacritic files, and as a result of not doing that work I'm not nearly so much aware of what other people are thinking. But that's just one more reason to ignore "alt/indie rock" I've never much cared for -- New Pornographers is always a good example of that.

Three sections below: new new records, new old records, and old oldies. The middle section is always the short one, but it's the sort of thing I previously covered in Recycled Goods (and would today if it wasn't totally impossible to get the goods). The old music section is a crate dig, and what shows up there varies much by my mood. Most of what's there this time are older records from Ken Vandermark's Catalytic-Sound Bandcamp stash (also shared by Peter Brötzmann, Mats Gustafsson, Joe McPhee, and Paal Nilssen-Love, but I've focused on Vandermark), and most of the rest come from my attempt to find Penguin Guide 4-star (and more often these days 3.5-star) jazz records -- although at present I'm just sort of poking around there (no special reason why John Lindberg and Jeff Palmer should be the main focus other than that I've missed them in the past). The odd record out, The Best of Joy Division, was suggested by Michael Tatum. I try to catch up when I can.

I've also included a two lists of Catalytic-Sound records that I didn't review this time: one (much the longer) I previously rated, and another I haven't gotten to. Note that one reason some records stuck on the latter -- notably the second Audio One -- is that the site doesn't provide the full album. Can't review what you can't hear (although sometimes it's tempting).

Good chance I'll get another one of these posted by the end of September. Beyond that, who knows?

These are short notes/reviews based on streaming records from Rhapsody. They are snap judgments based on one or two plays, accumulated since my last post along these lines, back on August 21. Past reviews and more information are available here (5302 records).

New Releases (More or Less)

Audio One: An International Report (2014, Audiographic): One of Ken Vandermark's many recent big band projects: ten pieces (four reeds, cornet, trombone, viola, bass, vibes, drums) -- much of the power in the saxes where either Vandermark or Dave Rempis is having a terrific day (I'm not betting on Mars Williams or new altoist Nick Mazzarella, although I'm sure they help beef up the roaring ensemble sound). [One reason I initially hedged here is that the same group also recorded The Midwest School starting the night before. Only one track available, not enough to review, but has more of that underlying r&b romp I so like.] A- [bc]

The Bad Plus: Inevitable Western (2014, Okeh): Piano super-trio: Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, Dave King, all three contribute songs here and do considerable work elsewhere. Heavy on the melodrama, perhaps, but such muscular chops, the sort of physical prowess you expect in a western. B+(***)

Bahamas: Bahamas Is Afie (2014, Brushfire/Island): Singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen, from Toronto, has a winning way with the confessional ballad, and can fancy it up a bit on occasion, not that he always feels the need. B+(**)

Cory Branan: The No-Hit Wonder (2014, Bloodshot): A singer-songwriter from Mississippi who went to Memphis instead of Nashville. Still, only when he pulls out all the country tricks do the songs come alive ("Daddy Was a Skywriter," "The Highway Home"). B+(*)

The Bug: Angels & Devils (2014, Ninja Tune): Kevin Martin, produced a lot of records 1990-2003 (when I finally noticed Pressure), but they've thinned out since, this the first in six years (during which he's been involved with Black Chow and King Midas Sound). Best when he goes upbeat, possibly Jamaican, but slow can be dull, and sometimes he seems to be more interested in horror soundtracks. B+(*)

The Cellar and Point: Ambit (2011-13 [2014], Cuneiform): Self-described as a "garage chamber" outfit. The "chamber" part is earned by the preponderance of strings -- violin (Christopher Otto), cello (Kevin McFarland), guitar (Terrence McManus and Christopher Botta, with latter doubling on banjo), and electric bass (Rufus Philpot) -- and percussion (Joe Bergen on vibes and Joseph Branciforte on drums). The latter keep this moving, but the strings all melt together. B [cdr]

Common: Nobody's Smiling (2014, Def Jam): Chicago rapper, tenth album since 1994, a major label affair though only about half of the guest spots ring a bell. Conceptually, about his hometown, not a happy place these days. Fully half of the songs are above the line, quotable even if not that notable. Dragging my feet on the other half. B+(***)

Eliana Cuevas: Espejo (2014, ALMA): Originally from Venezuela, now billed as "Canada's Latin Music Queen," has a handful of albums since 2003, writes and sings in Spanish so I'm not catching much here, but musically seems pretty generic. B [cd]

The Delines: Colfax (2014, El Cortez): Low-keyed countryish rock group from Portland though the title song suggests Denver, singer is Amy Boone although Willy Vlautin -- a novelist Christgau has written about and the leader of Richmond Fontaine -- seems to be the songwriter. Stories about working on oil rigs and wandering the streets in a PTSD fog are realer than usual. And the music reminds me of a group called the Vulgar Boatmen -- slow and cautiously lovely. A-

Dirty Loops: Loopified (2014, Verve): Swedish group, three male faces on the cover, touted as "ambitious jazz, prog rock, R&B, and electronic dance-inflected pop music" -- not sure I hear any of that, but I suppose if you jammed all that into a blender and turned it to goop you might get something like this: synth fireworks with histrionic vocals. C+

Brian Eno/Karl Hyde: Someday World (2014, Warp): Hyde is the singer from Underworld, with a dozen or so albums 1988-2010 and a solo since. He takes the songs a little faster and harder than Eno usually does, B+(*)

Simone Felice: Strangers (2014, Dualtone): Singer-songwriter, formerly of the Felice Brothers which made quietly tuneful countryish-rock albums from 2006 and continue without him. With a little more harmony, this could be another of them. B+(*)

The Felice Brothers: Favorite Waitress (2014, Dualtone): More harmony than brother Simone's album, of course, also more mayhem as "Cherry Licorice" demonstrates. B+(***)

5 Seconds of Summer: 5 Seconds of Summer (2014, Capitol): Australian group: AMG argues they're the logical intersection of Green Day and One Direction, although I don't know (or appreciate) the former well enough to hear it. But you do get "boy group" harmonies with an upbeat beach-rock vibe. Problem is it's as white as the antipodes, and sooner or later orchestrated cheer wears thin. B

Four Year Strong: Go Down in History (2014, Pure Noise, EP): After four 2007-11 albums, a five track, 16:36, EP. Very upbeat, with everyone trying to shout over guitar trying to drown everyone out -- a death spiral I see little value in. B-

Roddy Frame: Seven Dials (2014, AED): Scottish singer-songwriter, first appeared in Aztec Camera with a near-perfect 1983 debut album (High Land, Hard Rain), about as lush and catchy as pop albums get. The band folded in 1995 and he's been knocking out solo albums since 1998, but this is the first I've noticed. Still has a knack for pop melodies, but perfect is no longer an option. B+(*)

Larry Fuller: Larry Fuller (2013-14 [2014], Capri): Mainstream pianist, started out working with singer Ernestine Anderson, has also appeared in Jeff Hamilton Trio and with John Pizzarelli. Second trio album, all standards -- "Both Sides Now" counts, but it's "C Jam Blues" and "That Old Devil Moon" that always get my attention. B+(***) [cd]

Richard Galliano: Sentimentale (2014, Resonance): French accordion player, has recorded a lot since 1990, building on the folk roots of his instrument, delving into tango and film scores, always working in the jazz tradition -- draws on Ellington and Coltrane here, Horace Silver too. With Tamir Hendelman's piano and Anthony Wilson's guitar this risks becoming overly lush, but that's sentimentalism for you. A- [cd]

Ben Goldberg/Adam Levy/Smith Dobson: Worry Later (2014, BAG Productions): Clarinet-guitar-drums trio plays ten Monk tunes. B+(**)

Ariana Grande: My Everything (2014, Island/Republic): No longer a teen star, AMG says when this dropped she "was poised to be the reigning pop diva of the mid-decade," citing her superior vocal chops -- as if her rival is Adele and her archetype is Mariah Carey. I always figured conceptual audacity was more important, but I've spent much more time listening to Madonna and Gaga (and Lily Allen and Nicki Minaj). But at least Grande has the studio budget, and gets the expected results, more or less. But one play didn't reveal the smash that will keep drawing the masses back so the rest can sink in -- unless it's "Bang Bang" (with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj) but I see that's only on the sucker-priced "deluxe edition." B+(**)

Eric Harland's Voyager: Vipassana (2014, GSI Studios): Drummer, second album but he was well established before his 2010 Voyager album, winning polls based on over 100 side credits since 1997. Don't have a detailed credits list, but hype sheet mentions Walter Smith, Julian Lage, Taylor Eigsti, Nir Felder, a couple others. The instrumental passages behind Smith's tenor sax are lush and grooveful. On the other hand, several cuts have vocals, often just as window dressing, and they're awful. B- [cdr]

Phil Haynes: No Fast Food: In Concert (2012 [2014], Corner Store Jazz, 2CD): Drummer, coming off a very good duo record with trumpeter Paul Smoker, collects a couple of trio concerts with David Liebman (more tenor than soprano sax) and Drew Gress (bass). B+(***) [cd]

Joe Henry: Invisible Hour (2014, Work Song): Singer-songwriter with a "plain Joe" persona and a natural touch for everyday life serves up another helping. B+(*)

Horse Meat Disco: Volume IV (2014, Strut): A collective of four London DJs, remixing tracks that more/less date to the golden age of disco -- where it all comes from isn't clear at this vantage point, but the only track I immediately recogmized was "Getting to Know You," credited as "Getting to Know MC (Funked Over Mix) to Shahid Mustlaf MC, but ultimately one of my favorite ever Parliament songs. [The CD version has two discs, the second with "unmixed" versions of 12 (of 16) songs. The digital release matches CD1. The 2-LP only includes 11 (of 16) songs. Rhapsody only has 14 tracks (omitting "Got to Work (Hot Toddy Mix)" and "I Love Your Beat").] B+(**)

Ikebe Shakedown: Stone by Stone (2014, Ubiquity): Seven-piece Afrobeat band from Brooklyn, second album, section horns but no solos, no vocals either -- none of which is a big deal one way or the other. B

Jason Jackson: Inspiration (2012 [2014], Jack & Hill Music/Planet Arts): Trombonist, has a couple previous albums, this one cut in three sessions with big bands and string orchestras -- credits list is a sore sight for tired eyes, but the names you know are mainstreamers -- Roy Hargrove, Slide Hampton, Steve Wilson, Terell Stafford, Rufus Reid. Some talented postbop there, but the strings are a huge drag. B [cd]

Ricky Kej/Wouter Kellerman: Winds of Samsara (2014, Listen 2 Africa): Indian keyboardist and South African flautist, a shared connection in Mahatma Gandhi and interest in Nelson Mandela, various voices and what not, undercutting its modest exotica with "Greensleeves." C [cd]

Wiz Khalifa: Blacc Hollywood (2014, Atlantic): Puff of smoke on the cover, follow up to Rolling Papers. Enjoyed two plays and don't have a thing to say, and no, I wasn't smoking along. Mostly thinking about something else, which the music suited fine. B+(**)

Nils Landgren Funk Unit: Teamwork (2013, ACT): Swedish trombonist, started as a mainstream player until he got on the funk bandwagon, even singing some. Nothing George Clinton needs to worry about, but more enjoyable than you'd expect. [I started listening to this year's digital-only Extended Version, then clipped it back to last year's CD -- not actually much of a trim.] B+(*)

Matt Lavelle/John Pietaro: Harmolodic Monk (2014, Unseen Rain): Monk songs, done up with tricks from Ornette Coleman as if the originals weren't kinky enough. Lavelle plays cornet, flugelhorn, and bass clarinet (like no one else). Pietaro plays vibes, bodhrán, congas, and percussion, a thin counterpart to Lavelle's brave soloing. B+(**)

Dave Liebman Big Band: A Tribute to Wayne Shorter (2014, Summit): Seven Wayne Shorter tunes, arranged by Mats Holmquist, and featuring Liebman probably because he handles both soprano and tenor sax parts much like the model, whom he famously replaced (don't recall right now how directly) in Miles Davis' band. On the other hand, Liebman's always looked back to an earlier Davis saxophonist: John Coltrane. B+(*) [cd]

The Magic Words: Junk Train (2006 [2014], Shake It, EP): Lisa Walker (of Wussy) solo project, released in a run of 100 at the time, plus 25 more with handmade covers. Only runs 8 cuts, 28:15, so lo-fi I'm not really sure of much I've heard, but two plays suggests there's something there. B+(**) [bc]

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt: Fire on the Nile (2014, Red House): Guitar and drums, respectively, a duo. AMG credits Magraw with eight albums since 1994, classifying him as folk and new age, probably because one of the albums was called Celtic Hymns. The label is basically a blues outfit, but this is on the jazz side of grooveful. Gravatt (b. 1938) is older, and keeps it honest. B+(**) [cd]

The Margots: Pescado (2013, Okka Disk): Milwaukee singer-lyricist Adrienne Pierluissi got help from guitarist John Dereszynski and saxophone colossus Ken Vandermark to flesh out songs for her lyrics. The latter's horns turn out to be notably tasteful, as is the guitar, nicely setting up the deadpan tilt of the voice. I doubt the lyrics rise far enough above the music, but when she switches to Spanish I know better than to wonder. B+(***) [bc]

The Margots: Soplé (2014, Okka Disk): More of the same, but more songs rock and a few slow way down, and more are in Spanish (at least I assume that's what it is -- the Bandcamp page is tagged "brazilian jazz" and "tropicalia" but also "european free jazz" and really this sounds like none of the above). Vandermark's sax is less prominent but still tasty, and Adrienne Pierluissi is one cool chanteuse. B+(***) [bc]

J Mascis: Tied to a Star (2014, Sub Pop): Dinosaur Jr. frontman, has recorded own albums since 1996 despite the occasional band reunion. His last one, Several Shades of Why, surprised me. This was more like what I was expecting: unassuming and less than prepossessing, guitar that can get your attention, and a voice that can lose it. B+(*)

John McLaughlin & 4th Dimension: The Boston Record (2013 [2014], Abstract Logix): Interesting that as he passes into his 70s the original fusion guitarist seems more focused on the here and now than on the transcendental goals he sought long ago. Live record, concluding a US tour with Gary Husband on keybs and drums, Etienne Mbappe on bass, and Ranjit Barot on drums. Hard edged, compressed, more than a little clunky. B

The Muffs: Whoop Dee Doo (2014, Cherry Red): Pop-punk band from LA led by singer Kim Shattuck, around since the early 1990s, back with first album since 2004, on an oldies label no less. Choppy, cheeky, cheezy even. B+(***)

Novox: Over the Honeymoon (2014, Label Z Production): French band, from Lyon, leader-guitarist Pierre Alexandre Gauthier cites George Clinton and Jimi Hendrix as chief influences, but he finds it easier to fake the funk than play like Hendrix. Two horns, synths, a turntablist, no singers but some vocal clutter. Probably more accurate to call this "post-rock" -- but not everything that's unclassifiable is interesting. C+ [cd]

Brad Paisley: Moonshine in the Trunk (2014, Arista): Bit off more than he could chew last time, ending up with his first record that didn't go gold, so this time he borrows a page from Luke Bryan and starts off with three party anthems in the first five (make that four of seven: "when life gives you limes/make margaritas") -- albeit parties I want no part of. On the backstretch, he tries to return to the sincere liberalism that won him Yankee admirers -- a JFK snippet, a song bragging about that "American Flag on the Moon," an inclusive "Country Nation," another about "Going Green," then finally he taps Tom T. Hall for the obligatory Jesus song. Still, even at his best he's awfully shallow: after all, "if you want to know who we are/it's on the logos of our caps." More and more I'm making him out as a "crunchy con." B-

Pattern Is Movement: Pattern Is Movement (2014, Hometapes): First notes here sounded like a new wave throwback, but this gets considerably softer, drippier, and drearier than that. B-

Ivo Perelman/Karl Berger: Reverie (2014, Leo): Berger plays piano here, his original instrument although he is better known for vibes, in a long career that puts him well into his 70s now. He does a lovely job of setting up -- interviewing is the word that comes to mind -- the Brazilian avant-saxophonist, who pours emotion into his leads. A- [cd]

Anthony Pirog: Palo Colorado Dream (2014, Cuneiform): Guitarist, first album, trio with Michael Formanek and Ches Smith, doesn't have much flow or groove but that's the idea, something less predictable than Montgomery or McLaughlin. Does get more interesting toward the end when he works some feedback in. B+(*) [cdr]

Jeff Richman & Wayne Johnson: The Distance (2014, ITI Music): Guitar duets, a couple with extra percussion. Richman has more than a dozen albums since 1986. Johnson has a somewhat shorter list going back to 1980. Pleasant picking, strikes me as "new age" but is a cut above what gets classified there. B+(*) [cd]

Ritmos Unidos: Ritmos Unidos (2014, Patois): Latin jazz octet from Indiana, second album, drummer Mike Mixtacki seems to be the central figure, also playing timbales and bata drums and taking the vocal leads, but the most distinctive aspect of their sound is the wash of steel pans. B+(**) [cd]

Bruce Robison/Kelly Willis: Our Year (2014, Premium): Second album for husband-wife team, both with substantial solo careers behind them. Reading credits left-to-right, I filed their first under Willis. Alternating vocals plays to their strengths, wears neither singer out. B+(***)

Jason Roebke: Combination (2014, self-released): Chicago bassist, works in avant circles, leads a quartet here with Greg Ward (alto sax), Brian Labycz (modular synth), and Frank Rosely (drums). A little thin and warbly. B+(*) [bc]

Jamie Saft/Steve Swallow/Bobby Previte: The New Standard (2014, Rare Noise): Piano trio, although Saft plays some organ too (good chance he's played more organ than piano over the years). All original material, with 4 (of 10) songs jointly credited, so the notion that any of these pieces will emerge as standards is far fetched. B+(*) [cdr]

Akira Sakata/Johan Berthling/Paal Nilssen-Love: Arashi (2014, Trost): Japanese alto saxophonist, born early 1945 in Kure (a naval base town near Hiroshima), so in his first six months he survived numerous conventional bombings as well as the first atomic bomb. Has a substantial discography, especially since 2000 as he's played more with free jazz figures around the world. He's on a tear here, sharply accented by a drummer who's played often with Peter Brötzmann and/or Ken Vandermark -- he most closely resembles the former, but even faster on alto, and he adds a dimension with his vocals, as harsh as his horn. B+(***)

Akira Sakata/Fred Lonberg-Holm/Ketil Gutvik/Paal Nilssen-Love: The Cliff of Time (2013 [2014], PNL): Alto sax/clarinet, cello/electronics, electric guitar, drums. The sax is as frenzied as in Sakata's Arashi, but the sound is more muddled -- may have something to do with production or reproduction although the extra instruments are suspect as well. Terrific drummer. B+(*) [bc]

Masahiko Satoh/Paal Nilssen-Love: Spring Snow (2013 [2014], PNL): Piano-drums duo, the pianist's name is often transliterated as Sato. He was born in 1941, and has a substantial discography since 1970, although it takes some digging to find it. Seems like a talent, in this company flashing some avant moves on two long cuts. B+(**) [bc]

Carl Saunders: America (2013 [2014], Summit): Trumpet player, broke in as a teenager in 1960 under Stan Kenton and worked in many surviving big bands of the 1960s, including Buddy Rich and Maynard Ferguson, as well as in his uncle Dave Pell's octet. Has close to a dozen albums under his own name since 1995. The small group (piano, bass, drums, percussion) sets his trumpet off nicely. Seven originals, five covers -- "America the Beautiful," Chopin, Jobim, "I Can't Get Started," "How Deep Is the Ocean" -- a bit corny. B+(*) [cd]

Billy Joe Shaver: Long in the Tooth (2014, Lightning Rod): A fairly legendary songwriter, noted for songs that were often funny and catchy and corny at the same time, early on he was regularly outsung by his clients but the margins have narrowed so his biggest problem these days are songs that don't get past their titles ("The Git Go" and "Long in the Tooth"); well, that and the chances you've heard a few before -- like "Last Call for Alcohol" or "Hard to Be an Outlaw" (on Willie Nelson's latest, reprised here complete). B+(**) [Later: A-]

Side A: In the Abstract (2013 [2014], Not Two): Ken Vandermark sax trio, with piano (Hĺvard Wiik) and drums (Chad Taylor). Second album, after 2011's impressive debut, A New Margin. This is more mixed, perhaps because the slower, more abstract pieces close in on the territory of that other Vandermark-Wiik trio, Free Fall (named after the Jimmy Giuffre album) -- I prefer the harder-edged pieces where Vandermark plays baritone sax. B+(**) [bc]

Tim Sparks: Chasin' the Boogie (2013 [2014], Tonewood): Guitar player, I file him under klezmer since many of his early albums focused on Jewish folk music -- Little Princess: Tim Sparks Plays Naftule Brandwein (2009) is one I'm particularly fond of -- but he starts out closer to the fingerpicking style of John Fahey. Doesn't chase the boogie very hard here, but everything here is very pleasant as background and intricate enough to engage you. The closing "Blue Bayou" is especially lovely. B+(***) [cd]

Spider Bags: Frozen Letter (2014, Merge): Garage-punk outfit, based in Brooklyn, singer Dan McGee has a talkie voice and a bit of a drawl. First four songs go fast (3:30 max), the other four stretch out (5:11-6:32) as they kick up the drone. B+(*)

Statik Selektah: What Goes Around (2014, Duck Down Music): DJ, so even though he gets lots of shout outs he depends on his fairly illustrious guest rappers -- slightly more than half names I recognize -- to get the messages across, or to make them up on the fly. And they aim for more gold than their underground reps should make them accustomed to. A-

Ed Stone: King of Hearts (2014, Sapphire Music): M.D. and sometime smooth jazz guitarist, third album, anesthetized grooves with a couple of nondescript vocals for those radio slots. C+ [cd]

Street Priest: More Nasty (2012 [2014], Humbler): Guitar-bass-drums trio (Kristian Aspelin, Matt Chandler, Jacob Felix Heule), "fragmenting free funk into textural noise"; 4 cuts, 35:29, available as a download or a limited run cassette (250 copies). B+(**) [cdr]

Randy Travis: Influence Vol. 2: The Man I Am (2012 [2014], Warner Brothers): Presumably the leftovers from the session that produced Vol. 1, so I suspect my more favorable response must be a change in me. Covers, country classics with a few lapping into the 1970s (including two Kristoffersons, too many). But also, Travis doesn't sound as broken or weary as I recall. And while no one improves on Lefty Frizzell, Travis mostly holds his own. B+(**)

Ken Vandermark's Topology Nonet: Impressions of Po Music (2013, Okka Disk): Featuring Joe McPhee, whose 1981 album Topology was the first of a handful of albums credited to "Joe McPhee Po Music" -- at the time a group varying between 7-9 players. (Later Po Music groups dropped down as far as four members.) Vandermark's group includes three saxes (McPhee, Dave Rempis, Vandermark doubling on clarinet), cornet, trombone, cello, vibes, bass, drums, but the "impressions" -- based on McPhee titles -- are pretty hit-and-miss. B+(**) [bc]

The Bill Warfield Big Band: Trumpet Story (2013-14 [2014], Planet Arts): Trumpet player, although he's spent most of his career teaching, arranging and conducting the occasional big band album since 1988. For the trumpet theme here he leaves the big solos to Randy Brecker, but the trumpet story itself isn't all that clear or pronounced -- at least it's less clear than Vic Juris' guitar, which stands out over two pianists and the usual clatter of horns. B+(*) [cd]

Wussy: Duo (2013, Shakt It, EP): Out-of-print limited release for Record Store Day 2013, hadn't noticed it as streamable until now. Runs 7 tracks, 24:07, reportedly demos but with full band sound, and the songs are substantial enough. Just not much to it, not that their fans won't be lining up "to be the first to squeal." B+(**)

Reissues, Compilations, Vault Discoveries

Cables to the Ace (2014, Communicating Vessels): Label compilation -- having entered through the Green Seed I expected more hip-hop but got only two cuts, the best ones here. The balance is some kind of alt-rock, nothing memorable nor particularly annoying. Chances are some (maybe even most) of these groups could turn in a decent B+ album, but the mix doesn't help. B

Jay Clayton & John Lindberg: As Tears Go By (1987 [2014], Jazzwerkstatt): I've seen two different reissue covers (as well as the 1988 original on ITM) and the differ, one adding & More Songs to the title, the other & Some More Songs, the latter also dropping the ampersand from the credit and slipping String Trio of New York in between. [Rhapsody has the former, but attributes the record to Various Artists.] Unable to sort this out, I reverted to the original credit/title. Lindberg appears on all tracks. His String Trio of New York colleagues James Emery and Charles Burnham join on 4 (of 8), with Marty Ehrlich on reeds (mainly clarinet) on three others. Discogs credits Clayton as singing on four, but didn't notice her on the title track. Aside from the title track and "Drifting" (Jimi Hendrix), the rest of the songs come from band members (3 Lindberg; 1 each Burnham, Ehrlich, Emery). In other words, this is something of a mess, basically a sketch for as many as three separate albums. The one I want to hear more of is the one starring Ehrlich. B+(*)

Hyperdub 10.1 (2006-14 [2014], Hyperdub, 2CD): Ten year label anniversary sampler, specializing in a variant of electronica called dubstep. Drums have a certain hollow log feel, pretty consistent for a comp and nice when the music is loose, but there are spots when it gets tedious. The label is planning two more anniversary sets. Not sure when/if I'll get to them. B+(**)

Charles Lloyd: Manhattan Stories (1965 [2014], Resonance, 2CD): Early, these two previously unreleased sets came on the heels of Lloyd's auspicious debut, Of Course, Of Course, retaining guitarist Gabor Szabo (also just breaking in) and bassist Ron Carter, replacing Tony Williams with Pete La Roca, and before Lloyd's more popular albums on Atlantic. Interesting parallels here both to Rollins and Coltrane, although Lloyd had a softer tone and integrates better with his group -- Szabo is terrific throughout. Both sets include a stretch on flute, very much in character. A- [cd]

Pete Magadini: Bones Blues (1977 [2014], Sackville/Delmark): Drummer, led two albums 1976-77, two since then. This a sax quartet with Don Menza on tenor, Wray Downes on piano, and Dave Young on bass -- all strangers to me, but a mainstream blowing sessions like the old Prestiges, a strong sax man, gets off on the right foot with "Old Devil Moon." B+(**) [cd]

Don Pullen: Richard's Tune (1975 [2014], Sackville/Delmark): The pianist's first name album, a solo cut on the road in Canada and originally released as Solo Piano Album, now named for its first song, one dedicated to Muhal Richard Abrams -- a good hint if you want to locate him, but he already has more rhythmic muscle even if his fully developed style was still a few years away. B+(***) [cd]

Suburban Base: The History of Hardcore, Jungle, and Drum 'n' Bass: 1991-1997 (1991-97 [2014], New State, 3CD): Label comp, the label in question a side venture of a suburban London record store called Boogie Times. I haven't developed any sense of how to tell the numerous taxonomies of electronic dance music apart, and this doesn't help -- very little doc here, no names I recognize, little reason to differentiate even by disc. Still, functional, and something of a bargain. B+(***) [cd]

Old Music

AALY Trio with Ken Vandermark: Hidden in the Stomach (1996 [1997], Silkheart): The first of five records where Ken Vandermark sat in with Mats Gustafsson's sax trio (Peter Janson on bass, Kjell Nordeson on drums). Two covers help pin this down: Charlie Haden's "Song for Che" and Albert Ayler's "Ghosts/Spirits." B+(**) [bc]

AALY Trio with Ken Vandermark: I Wonder If I Was Screaming (2000, Crazy Wisdom): The last of five albums with Vandermark sitting in with Mats Gustafsson's late-1990s trio, soon to be replaced by The Thing. The perennial problem with Vandermark-Gustafsson groups is to keep the friction from melting them down. Here the trick appears to be tighter songwriting. B+(**) [bc]

Artifact iTi: Live in St. Johann (2008 [2010], Okka Disk): Ken Vandermark (reeds) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums) pick up a couple local musicians for Austria's Festival ArtActs 2008: Johannes Bauer (trombone) and Thomas Lehn (synthesizer). One long piece (36:18), two short ones (total another 11:00), highlights exciting, a few of those quiet stretches that may force a live audience to focus but on record tend to blank out. B+(***) [bc]

Billy Bang Quintet: Invitation (1982, Soul Note): With Charles Tyler (alto/baritone sax), Curtis Clark (piano), Wilber Morris (bass), and Dennis Charles (drums), a solid (but less than spectacular) outing for the violinist. B+(**)

John Wolf Brennan/Alex Cline/Daniele Patumi/Tscho Theissing/John Voirol: Shooting Stars and Traffic Lights (1993-97 [2006], Leo): Piano, drums, bass, violin, soprano/tenor sax -- a group which later recorded (generally without drums) as Pago Libre. Effectively an avant-chamber setup, the violin more prominent than the sax. B+(**)

Caffeine: Caffeine (1993 [1994], Okka Disk): Ken Vandermark (reeds), Jim Baker (piano), and Steve Hunt (percussion): group played together as late as 2005 but this is their only album. Not many examples of Vandermark with piano, which is surprising considering how well he plays off Baker's frenzied block chord ruckus. A- [bc]

The John Carter Octet: Dauwhe (1982, Black Saint): Clarinet player, appeared on landmark Horace Tapscott albums like The Dark Tree earlier and had a long-running quartet with cornetist Bobby Bradford, doubled in size here but not in sound -- additions include James Newton on flute, Red Callender on tuba, and Charles Owens on soprano sax, oboe, and clarinet. African references abound, but the record doesn't quite go there. B+(**)

Cinghiale [Mars Williams/Ken Vandermark]: Hoofbeats of the Snorting Swine (1995 [1996], Eighth Day): Title sounds like the sort of noise rout both are capable of (especially in one another's company), but what we get instead are fairly balanced sax/clarinet duets exploring a wide range of possible interactions. B+(***) [bc]

DK3: Neutrons (1997 [1998], Quarterstick): Ken Vandermark trio with a pair of rock musicians: guitarist Duane Denison (Jesus Lizard) and drummer James Kimball (Laughing Hyenas, although he also wound up with Jesus Lizard). Beats tend to be regular, and Vandermark prefers riffing along to breaking loose, so this approaches a post-rock ambience he never returned to. B+(***) [bc]

The Frame Quartet: 35mm (2009, Okka Disk): What's most distinctive here is the admixture of electronics by bassist Nate McBride and cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm. Otherwise, this is Ken Vandermark on tenor sax and clarinet plus Tim Daisy on drums powering their way through Vandermark 5 pieces, a little less edge without the second saxophonist, and because the electronics aren't ultimately that helpful. B+(***) [bc]

Joy Division: The Best of Joy Division (1979-80 [2008], Rhino): I've long felt that the two albums, Unknown Pleasures and Closer, stand up well enough on their own, and rated both above the Substance 1977-1980 and Permanent: Joy Division 1995 compilations, with their marginal trivia. Of course, we now know that after deep-voiced Ian Curtis hung himself the band took a turn for the better as New Order, the prototype here more tangible than the dead end. A-

John Lindberg: Trilogy of Works for Eleven Instrumentalists (1984 [1985], Black Saint): The bassist composed the three pieces, but the most conspicuous credit alongside many genuine names is "conductor" Anthony Braxton. Four brass (including Vincent Chancey on French horn), three reeds (including Marty Ehrlich doubling on flute), piano, guitar, bass, and drums. Seems a little clunky at first but eventually coheres into something surprising. B+(***)

John Lindberg: Luminosity: Homage to David Izenzon (1992-06 [1996], Music & Arts): Solo bass, with a couple vocal asides. Izenson was noted for his arco bass work with Ornette Coleman. B+(**)

John Lindberg: Quartet Afterstorm (1994, Black Saint): With Albert Mangelsdorff (trombone), Eric Watson (piano), and Ed Thigpen (drums), a rather freewheeling album with juicy solo spots (not least for the bassist) and taut ensemble work. A-

John Lindberg Ensemble: Bounce (1997, Black Saint): Bassist-led quartet, the tunes do favor a sort of bounciness, closer to pogoing than swing or bop, scratched out schematically by Dave Douglas on trumpet, with Larry Ochs less conspicuous on saxophones. B+(***)

John Lindberg Ensemble: A Tree Frog Tonality (2000, Between the Lines): Two-horn quartet, with Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet and Larry Ochs on soprano/tenor sax, players who are willing to stray well outside the lines, and a superb Andrew Cyrille on drums. B+(***)

John Lindberg: Ruminations Upon Ives and Gottschalk (2001 [2003], Between the Lines): I don't know the work of Charles Ives or Louis Gottschalk well enough to connect the dots, but the credit sheet shows all original material by the bassist. The group: Baikida Carroll (trumpet), Steve Korn (reeds, bansuri), Susie Ibarra (drums, percussion). B+(***)

Paul Motian Quintet: Misterioso (1986 [1987], Soul Note): With trio mates Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano, plus a second saxophonist (Jim Pepper) and a bassist (Ed Schuller). Two Monk tunes, frequent targets for drummer Motian. The rest fractured originals. B+(**)

Paul Motian Trio: One Time Out (1987 [1989], Soul Note): With Bill Frisell and Joe Lovano, starts a bit wobbly but ends with a powerhouse piece ("Circle Dance"). B+(***)

The Kevin Norton Ensemble: Knots (1997, Music & Arts): Drummer-vibraphonist, backed with cello and bass, with Bob DeBellis on clarinet, alto sax, and bass clarinet -- looks like David Bindman and David Krakauer also play clarinet on three tracks each. B+(***)

NRG Ensemble: Bejazzo Gets a Facelift (1997, Atavistic): Saxophonist Mars Williams joined Hal Russell's band in 1979, and after Russell died in 1992 Williams kept the band going, recruiting Ken Vandermark as the other saxophonist. They cut three albums as NRG Ensemble, this last one cut after Vandermark formed the Vandermark 5, with Williams as the other saxophonist. Specialty here is the racing saxes, and like most dirt track racing there are plenty of crashes and spills, some funny, some not so. B+(***)

Pago Libre: Stepping Out (2004 [2005], Leo): Name reportedly formed from bits of member names, although at this point that's far from obvious -- "bre" is pianist John Wolf Brennan, the one constant, here joined by Arkady Shilkloper (alphorn, flugelhorn), Tscho Theissing (violin), and Georg Breinschmid (bass). Avant-chamber jazz, with violin prominent and no drums, although this one swings more readily than their earlier efforts. B+(***)

Jeff Palmer/John Abercrombie/Arthur Blythe/Victor Lewis: Ease On (1992 [2013], Sledgehammer Blues): Organ player, has a handful of albums with an especially notable band here -- alto saxophonist Blythe is a good deal more avant than your average soul jazz players but can work some blues licks in easily enough, while Lewis is a mainstream drummer who can touch up anything. B+(***)

Jeff Palmer/Arthur Blythe/John Abercrombie/Rashied Ali: Island Universe (1994, Soul Note): Swapping drummers (Ali replaces Victor Lewis) pushes alto saxophonist Blythe back into the avant-garde, moving this from organ-based soul jazz to something well beyond. The guitarist has always been one to go with the flow, even when it gets choppy as it does here. A-

Sten Sandell Trio: Face of Tokyo (2008 [2009], PNL): Avant-piano trio, with Johan Berthling on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. Recorded live in Tokyo in two half-hour chunks. B+(**) [bc]

Alan Skidmore: After the Rain (1998, Miles Music): Tenor/soprano saxophonist, an important figure in the British avant-garde but you'd never guess that from this collection of ballads, backed by Colin Towns' lush but undistinguished strings. Quite lovely, just a bit shy of sublime. B+(***)

Territory Band-4: Company Switch (2004 [2005], Okka Disk, 2CD): Ken Vandermark's big band, honoring (if not really following) the old blues-based territory bands from Kansas City and points south and west. The bands were numbered, this particular edition numbering eleven musicians: two brass (Axel Dörner, Jeb Bishop); three reeds (Vandermark, Fredrik Ljungkvist, Dave Rempis), piano (Jim Baker), cello (Fred Lonberg-Holm), bass (Kent Kessler), two drummers (Paal Nilssen-Love and Paul Lytton), and Lasse Marhaug (electronics). This was the first Territory Band set to slop over to a second disc, in large part because they spread the options out more, moving beyond raw spontaneity to follow up a more deliberate plan -- if only it were more clear. B+(**) [bc]

The Thing: Action Jazz (2006, Smalltown Superjazz): Mats Gustafsson's long-running sax trio, with Ingebrigt Hĺker Flaten on bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums. They made their first splash featuring very hoary free jazz riffs on alt-rock hits, hooked to a barely recognizable refrain. But by this point they've diversified, covering Lars Gullin, Ornette Coleman, Yosuke Yamashita, Lightning Bolt, and others plus an original named "Strayhorn." B+(**) [bc]

Vandermark Quartet: Solid Action (1994, Platypus): Second Quartet album, two years before the Vandermark 5's first record, from a time when he was just out of NRG Ensemble and still playing with avant-rock groups like the Flying Luttenbachers. This has frequent collaborators Kent Kessler on bass and Michael Zerang on drums, plus Daniel Scanlan playing violin/guitar/cornet -- as the counterpoint to Vandermark's tenor sax/clarinet/bass clarinet. Lots of interesting, surprising moves; also a tendency to get tied up. B+(***) [bc]

Ken Vandermark: Standards (1994 [1995], Quinnah): I don't see any song credits, and don't recognize any song titles, so consider the title a joke. Vandermark plays three tracks each with four "improvising trios": Kent Kessler (bass)/Hamid Drake (drums); Mars Williams (sax)/Michael Zerang (drums); Jim Baker (piano/synth)/Daniel Scanlan (guitar/violin; and Kevin Drumm (guitar)/Steve Hunt (drums). Trying on different looks, but the final session with Drumm starts off explosively. B+(**)

Ken Vandermark: Strade d'Acqua/Roads of Water (2008 [2010], Multi Kulti): A soundtrack to a film by Augusto Contento. Band contains many Chicago regulars including Jeff Parker (guitar) and Fred Lonberg-Holm (cello) but no extra reeds so no jousting, just soundtrack-ish colors and moderate background pacing. B+(*) [bc]

Additional Consumer News:

Records at Catalytic-Sound I still haven't heard:

  • AALY Trio with Ken Vandermark: Live at the Glenn Miller Café (1999, Wobbly Rail): 0/4 tracks
  • Nils Henrik Asheim/Paal Nilssen-Love: Late Play (2006 [2007], PNL)
  • Audio One: The Midwest School (2014, Audiographic): 1/5 tracks
  • Peter Brötzmann: Wels Concert (1996, Okka Disk)
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet: At Molde 2007 (10 Years 10tet) (2007 [2008], Okka Disk)
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet: Walk, Love, Sleep (2011 [2012], Smalltown Supersound, 2CD)
  • Peter Brötzmann/Shoji Hano: Funny Rat (1991 [1992], EGG)
  • Peter Brötzmann/Kent Kessler/Hamid Drake: Live at the Empty Bottle (1998, Okka Disk)
  • Peter Brötzmann/Fred Lonberg-Holm/Paal Nilssen-Love: Ada (2011, self-released)
  • Peter Brötzmann/Paal Nilssen-Love/Mats Gustafsson: The Fat Is Gone ()
  • Peter Brötzmann/Massimo Pupillo/Paal Nilssen-Love: Roma (2008 [2009], self-released)
  • DKV Trio: Past Present (2008-11 [2012], Not Two, 7CD)
  • Terrie Ex/Paal Nilssen-Love: Hurgu! (2011, PNL)
  • Full Blast & Friends: Sketches and Ballads ()
  • Mats Gustafsson: Parrot Fish Eye (1994, Okka Disk)
  • Mats Gustafsson: Slide ()
  • Hairy Bones: At Fresnes (2009 [2010], self-released)
  • Lasse Marhaug/Paal Nilssen-Love: Stalk (2004 [2007], PNL)
  • The Joe McPhee Trio: First Date: Live at the Third Annual Vision Festival (1998-2004 [2012], CJR): 1 (of 2) tracks/li>
  • Joe McPhee/Raymond Boni/Dominic Duval/Michael Bisio: Port of Saints (2000 [2006], CJR)
  • Vandermark 5: Live @ the Empty Bottle 1997 (1997, Savage Sound Syndicate): 0 tracks
  • Vandermark 5: Thinking on One's Feet (1999, Savage Sound Syndicate): 0/7 tracks (Seth Tisue refers to album as Vandermark 5 vs. Santo)
  • Vandermark Quartet: Big Head Eddie (1993, Platypus): 0/10 tracks
  • Ken Vandermark/Paal Nilssen-Love: Letter to a Stranger (2011 [2012], Smalltown Superjazz): 1/10 tracks
  • Witches & Devils: Live at the Empty Bottle (): 1/4 tracks

Records at Catalytic-Sound I have previously heard and rated:

  • AALY Trio/DKV Trio: Double or Nothing (1999 [2000], Okka Disk) [*]
  • AALY Trio/Ken Vandermark: Stumble (1998, Wobbly Rail) [B-]
  • Fred Anderson/DKV Trio: DKV Trio With Fred Anderson (1996 [1997], Okka Disk) [*]
  • Atomic/School Days: Nuclear Assembly Hall (2003 [2004], Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Atomic/School Days: Distil (2006 [2008], Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Ab Baars Trio & Ken Vandermark: Goofy June Bug (2007 [2008], Wig) [**]
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet: Stone/Water (1999 [2000], Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet Plus Two: Broken English (2000 [2002], Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet Plus Two: Short Visit to Nowhere (2000 [2002], Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet: Images (2002 [2004], Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet: Signs (2002 [2004], Okka Disk) [B]
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet: Be Music, Night (2005, Okka Disk) [**]
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet: American Landscapes 1 (2006 [2007], Okka Disk) [***]
  • Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet: American Landscapes 2 (2006 [2007], Okka Disk) [**]
  • Peter Brötzmann/Hamid Drake: The Dried Rat-Dog (1994 [1995], Okka Disk) [B]
  • Peter Brötzmann/Toshinori Kondo/Massimo Pupillo/Paal Nilssen-Love: Hairy Bones (2008 [2009], Okka Disk) [A-]
  • Peter Brötzmann/Peter Friis Nielsen/Peeter Uuskyla: Medicina (2004, Atavistic) [A-]
  • Peter Brötzmann/Paal Nilssen-Love: Sweet Sweat (2006 [2008], Smalltown Supersound) [**]
  • Peter Brötzmann/Paal Nilssen-Love: Woodcuts (2008 [2010], Smalltown Superjazz) [**]
  • Peter Brötzmann/Marino Pliakas/Michael Wertmüller: Full Blast/Black Hole (2008 [2009], Atavistic) [***]
  • Peter Brötzmann/Peter Uuskyla: Born Broke (2006 [2008], Atavistic) [***]
  • Cato Salsa Experience and the Thing with Joe McPhee: Sounds Like a Sandwich (2004 [2005], Smalltown Supersound) [**]
  • DKV Trio: Baraka (1997, Okka Disk) [*]
  • DKV Trio: Live in Wels and Chicago (1998 [1999], Okka Disk) [***]
  • DKV Trio: Trigonometry (2001 [2002], Okka Disk) [***]
  • FJF: Blow Horn (1995 [1997], Okka Disk) [*]
  • FME: Underground (2004, Okka Disk) [A-]
  • FME: Cuts (2004 [2005], Okka Disk) [A-]
  • Free Fall: Amsterdam Funk (2004 [2005], Smalltown Superjazz) [*]
  • Fire Room: Broken Music (2005 [2009], Avatistic) [B]
  • Gold Sparkle Trio/Ken Vandermark: Brooklyn Cantos (2002 [2004], Squealer) [**]
  • Mats Gustafsson/Barry Guy/Paul Lovens: Mouth Eating Trees and Related Activities (1992, Okka Disk) [B]
  • Adam Lane/Ken Vandermark/Magnus Broo/Paal Nilssen-Love: 4 Corners (2006 [2007], Clean Feed) [A-]
  • Lean Left: The Ex Guitars Meet Nilssen-Love/Vandermark Duo, Volume 1 (2008 [2010], Smalltown Superjazz) [A-]
  • Lean Left: Live at Café Oto (2011 [2012], Unsounds) [**]
  • Made to Break: Provoke (2013, Clean Feed) [***]
  • Joe McPhee: Sonic Elements: For Pocket Trumpet and Alto Saxophone (2013, Clean Feed) [*]
  • Joe McPhee/Peter Brötzmann/Kent Kessler/Michael Zerang: The Damage Is Done (2008 [2009], Not Two) [**]
  • Joe McPhee/Peter Brötzmann/Kent Kessler/Michael Zerang: Guts (2005 [2007], Okka Disk) [***]
  • Joe McPhee/Paal Nilssen-Love: Tomorrow Came Today (2007 [2008], Smalltown Superjazz) [A-]
  • Joe Morris/DKV Trio: Deep Telling (1998 [1999], Okka Disk) [**]
  • Joe Morris/Ken Vandermark/Luther Gray: Rebus (2006 [2007], Clean Feed) [A-]
  • Joe Morris/Ken Vandermark/Hans Poppel: Like Rays (1996 [1998], Knitting Factory) [B-]
  • Paal Nilssen-Love/Ken Vandermark: Dual Pleasure 2 (2003 [2004], Smalltown Supersound) [B+]
  • NRG Ensemble: Calling All Mothers (1993, Quinnah) [B+]
  • Powerhouse Sound: Oslo/Chicago Breaks (2005-06 [2007], Atavistic, 2CD) [A]
  • Resonance Ensemble: Kafka in Flight (2011, Not Two) [A-]
  • Resonance Ensemble: What Country Is This? (2012, Not Two) [A-]
  • School Days: Crossing Division (2000, Okka Disk) [A-]
  • School Days: In Our Times (2001 [2002], Okka Disk) [A-]
  • Side A: A New Margin (2011, Clean Feed) [A-]
  • Sonore: No One Ever Works Alone (2003 [2004], Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Sonore: Call Before You Dig: Loft/Köln (2008 [2009], Okka Disk) [*]
  • Spaceways Incorporated: Thirteen Cosmic Standards (2000, Atavistic) [A-]
  • Spaceways Inc.: Version Soul (2002, Atavistic) [A]
  • Steelwool Trio: International Front (1994 [1998], Okka Disk) [A-]
  • Territory Band-1: Transatlantic Bridge (2000 [2001], Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Territory Band-2: Atlas (2001 [2002], Okka Disk) [**]
  • Territory Band-3: Map Theory (2004, Okka Disk) [B]
  • Territory Band-5: New Horse for the White House (2005 [2006], Okka Disk) [*]
  • Territory Band-6 with Fred Anderson: Collide (2006 [2007], Okka Disk) [***]
  • The Thing/Ken Vandermark: The Immediate Sound (2007, Smalltown Superjazz) [*]
  • Trespass Trio + Joe McPhee: Human Encore (2012 [2013], Clean Feed) [**]
  • Tripleplay: Expansion Slang (1998 [2000], Boxholder) [A-]
  • Ken Vandermark: Furniture Music (2003, Okka Disk) [B+]
  • Ken Vandermark: C.O.D.E.: Play the Music of Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy (2008, Cracked Anegg) [***]
  • Ken Vandermark: Mark in the Water (2010 [2011], Not Two) [*]
  • The Vandermark 5: Burn the Incline (2000, Atavistic) [B+]
  • The Vandermark 5: Free Jazz Classics Vols. 1 & 2 (2000-01 [2002], Atavistic, 2CD) [A-]
  • The Vandermark 5: Airports for Light (2002 [2003], Atavistic) [A-]
  • The Vandermark 5: The Color of Memory (2004 [2005], Atavistic) [A-]
  • The Vandermark 5: Alchemia (2004 [2005], Not Two, 12CD) [A-]
  • The Vandermark 5: A Discontinuous Line (2005 [2006], Atavistic) [A-]
  • Vandermark 5: Beat Reader (2006 [2008], Atavistic) [A-]
  • Ken Vandermark Barrage Double Trio: Utility Hitter (1995, Quinnah) [A-]
  • Ken Vandermark/Brian Dibble: Duets (2002 [2003], Future Reference) [B+]
  • Ken Vandermark's Joe Harriott Project: Straight Lines (1998 [1999], Atavistic) [A-]
  • Ken Vandermark/Pandelis Karayorgis: Foreground Music (2006 [2007], Okka Disk) [**]
  • Ken Vandermark/The Resonance Ensemble: Head Above Water, Feet Out of the Fire (2012-13 [2013], Not Two, 2CD) [A-]


Everything streamed from Rhapsody, except as noted in brackets following the grade:

  • [cd] based on physical cd
  • [cdr] based on an advance or promo cd or cdr
  • [bc] available at bandcamp.com
  • [sc] available at soundcloud.com
  • [os] some other stream source
  • [dl] something I was able to download from the web; may be freely available, may be a bootleg someone made available, or may be a publicist promo