For the Record is a weekly round-up of new and pending recordings of interest to the new-music community: contemporary classical music and jazz, electronic and electroacoustic music, and idioms for which no clever genre name has been coined, on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, digital-only formats… you name it.
This list of release dates is culled from press releases, Amazon, Bandcamp, and other internet stores and sources, social-media posts, and online resources such as Discogs. Dates cited typically correspond to initial U.S. release, and are subject to change. (Links to Amazon, used when all else fails, do not imply endorsement.)
After publication, new listings are incorporated into On the Record: The Master List, a continuously compiled and updated resource exclusively accessible to paying Night After Night subscribers, found here.
These listings are not comprehensive—nor could they be! To submit a forthcoming recording for consideration, email information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publishing a newsletter in the middle of the night obviously isn’t ideal from a circulation perspective. On the other hand, not publishing a newsletter for a second consecutive week – having spent most of the day working on a sensitive interview that didn’t feel done by the end of business hours – didn’t feel right, either—particularly with regard to the small but significant portion of my readership that pays to support work I pursue wholly by choice.
Tonight’s newsletter is dedicated to Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris, a towering creator whose work still isn’t appreciated sufficiently; to Chadwick Boseman, who grappled with inconceivable odds to share his artistry with the world; and to the reader who sent me an email on Friday evening, just to make sure everything was okay.
Recording of the Week
Lawrence D. “Butch” Morris
Photograph: Claudio Casanova
Live in Paris
Anyone who follows me on social media knows that I’m a fervent booster for Bandcamp, a music sales platform invested with an oversize share of passion and ethics. The musician, writer, and podcast host Damon Krukowski illustrated this unlikely phenomenon elegantly in “A Tale of Two Ecosystems,” an essay for the NPR website, which contrasted the Bandcamp business model with that of Spotify. (How genuinely darling is it when Bandcamp co-founder/CEO Ethan Diamond, pressed by Krukowski to name another digital service with which he feels kinship, chose Etsy?!)
There are a lot of reasons to appreciate Bandcamp, but the one that makes me bring it up now – and, I’d say, the cause that makes me sing the service’s praise most loudly, time and time again – is its employment of social influence as a recommendation tool. Explained simply: if you elect to maintain a personal Bandcamp collection page, you probably will follow artists and labels whose work you admire. But you also can opt to follow other music consumers, whether real-world friends or complete strangers whose avatars show up consistently among the buyers of music you’ve opted to own.
If you follow other consumers, a handy email shows up regularly to fill you in on what they’ve bought. This service serves a vital function similar to those of the trusted record store clerk who’d tip you to the choicest new arrivals, or the opt-in Facebook groups that replaced formerly bustling online bulletin boards.
Perusing such an email earlier this evening, I saw that Jeff Golick, a co-proprietor of the late, lamented avant-garde jazz rarities blog Destination:Out (which, in an unlikely metamorphosis, transformed into an exclusive Bandcamp retailer for the iconic free-improvisation label FMP), recently acquired a recording I’d not seen before: Live in Bergamo, by Nublu Orchestra, the ad hoc ensemble Butch Morris led at the East Village club of the same name for much of the first decade of the 21st century.
A bit more poking revealed yielded another serendipitous discovery: Live in Paris, issued today.
The Nublu Orchestra, a result of the close friendship between Morris and saxophonist/Nublu founder Ilhan Ersahin, was a bona fide New York City institution. Morris honed the ensemble as a vehicle for conduction, his signature discipline of collective improvisation guided by an elaborate vocabulary of physical gestures and hand signals. But, unlike many of the other groups Morris conducted, the Nublu troupe maintained a core of elastic funk, informed by the electronic musicians and DJs who plied their trade at the club.
With all due respect, I don’t love the bit of text on the Bandcamp pages for the three live Nublu Orchestra releases issued since June, which proclaims that the East Village had in Morris “its own Zubin Mehta, its own Herbert Von Karajan, its own Daniel Barenboim.” Fact is, those esteemed baton wavers never could have created what Morris achieved. His spontaneously shaped tapestries of sound not only proposed a continuum extending from Charles Ives, Duke Ellington, John Cage, and Charles Mingus through electric Miles Davis, the A.A.C.M., P-Funk, and Prince, but demonstrated regularly how crucial that proposition would sound.
Pick up Live in Paris for a mere $5. Stream the entire thing first, if you like, and listen to how the music oozes, writhes, snaps, and coheres. Then check out the recently issued Live in São Paulo and Live in Bergamo, previous installments in a globetrotting series documenting Morris’s work with the band. While you’re exploring, dip into the band’s debut document, Nublu Orchestra Conducted by Butch Morris, on which the chic quartet Brazilian Girls navigates improbable grooves alongside heavy hitters like Eddie Henderson and Graham Haynes.
All told, these modest yet rich releases pay tribute to the late Morris, an artist of insurmountable vision, and to Ersahin and the players who helped to transform that vision into sound.
What’s Goings On?
I had a similarly brief review in the Aug. 31 issue, covering A Cockroach’s Tarantella, an album composer-performer Du Yun recorded with the JACK Quartet near the end of June, and somehow managed to release just eight weeks later.
A Cockroach’s Tarantella is available for streaming on Amazon, Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and YouTube, and you can purchase a download from Apple and Amazon. A vinyl LP version is under consideration.
New This Week
Photograph: Domeinic Jimenez
Siavash Amini - A Mimesis of Nothingness (Hallow Ground)
Bellows (Giuseppe Ielasi & Nicola Ratti) - Undercurrent (Black Truffle)
Alan Braufman - The Fire Still Burns (Valley of Search)
Celer - Don’t Stop Saying Goodbye (self-released)
Valance Drakes - Freedom Is Its Own Kind of Salary (laaps)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra - Urban(e) (Greenleaf Music)
Sarah Frisof - Beauty Crying Forth: Flute Music by Women Across Time - compositions by Tania León, Clara Schumann, Amy Williams, Lili Boulanger, Kaija Saariaho, and Shulamit Ran (New Focus)
Catherine Christer Hennix - Unbegrenzt (Blank Forms)
David Serkin Ludwig - The Anchoress - Hyunah Yu, Mimi Stillman, PRISM Quartet, Pifaro The Renaissance Band (XAS Records)
Nublu Orchestra - Live in Paris (Nublu)
Tobias Picker - Opera Without Words; The Encantadas - Nashville Symphony/Giancarlo Guerrero (Naxos)
claire rousay - Both (Second Editions)
Spektral Quartet - Experiments in Living - compositions by Johannes Brahms, Arnold Schoenberg, Ruth Crawford Seeger, Sam Pluta, Anthony Cheung, Charmaine Lee, and George Lewis (New Focus)
Liza Stepanova - E Pluribus Unum - compositions by Lera Auerbach, Kamran Ince, Chaya Czernowin, Reinaldo Moya, Anna Clyne, Eun Young Lee, Badie Khaleghian, Pablo Ortiz, and Gabriela Lena Frank (Navona)
Manuel Valera New Cuban Express Big Band - José Martí en Nueva York (Greenleaf Music)
Gyða Valtýsdóttir - Epicycle II - compositions by Ólöf Arnalds, Daníel Bjarnason, Úlfur Hansson, Jónsi, María Huld Markan Sigfúsdóttir, Kjartan Sveinsson, Skúli Sverrisson, and Anna Thorvaldsdóttir (DiaMond/Sono Luminus)
Photograph: Charmaine Lee
Kate Carr - Splinters (self-released)
Asher - Arrangements II (Room40)
Bivins/Menestres - Rip Current (Out & Gone Music)
Tomás Gueglio - Duermevela - performances by Austin Wulliman, Latitude 49, Juliana Moreno and Patricia García, Ben Melsky, and Nuntempe Ensamble (New Focus)
Jeb Bishop Centrifugal Trio - Jeb Bishop Centrifugal Trio (Astral Spirits)
Caldwell/Tester - Little Flower (Astral Spirits)
Jackson/Baker/Kirshner - So Glossy and So Thin (Astral Spirits)
Dominique Lemaître - De l’espace trouver la fin et le milieu - Dan Barrett (New Focus)
Tatsuya Nakatani/Shane Parish/Zach Rowden - Live at Static Age Records (Astral Spirits)
James Ilgenfritz - The Ticket That Exploded (Infrequent Seams)
Bunita Marcus - Lecture for Jo Kondo - Bunita Marcus, David August, Ensemble Adapter (99Chants)
Kjartan Sveinsson - Der Klang der Offenbarung des Göttlichen - Filmchor Berlin, Filmorchester Babelsberg (Sono Luminus)
Panos Ghikas - Unrealtime (Diatribe)
Georgina Isabel Rossi/Silvie Cheng - Mobili - compositions by Rafael Díaz, Carlos Botto, Federico Heinlein, David Cortés, Juan Orrego-Salas, and Carlos Guastavino (New Focus)
Wendy Eisenberg - Auto (Ba Da Bing)
Patrick Higgins - Tocsin - performances by Wet Ink Ensemble, Vicky Chow, and Mivos Quartet (Telegraph Harp)
Diana Golden/Shawn Chang - Tanbou Kache - compositions by Justin Élie, Werner Jaegerhuber, Frantz Casséus, Carmen Brouard, Julio Racine, Daniel Bernard Roumain, and Jean “Rudy” Perrault (New Focus)
Fay Victor’s SoundNoiseFunk - We’ve Had Enough (ESP-Disk’)
William Basinski - Lamentations (Temporary Residence Ltd.)
Photograph: John Marolakos
Improvising bassist, composer, and bandleader Gregg August, who pursues his art in the concert hall and the jazz club, talks about his ambitious, timely new album, Dialogues in Race, Volume One, and how he prepared for its arrival and reception.