Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics

With the Jazzman label’s release of A Lifetime In Oriental Jazz last year ethnomusicologist Dr Lloyd Miller finally received something approaching his due, his seamless combination of ancient Middle-Eastern instruments and post-Giuffre chamber jazz, striking a chord with modern hipsters searching out lost ‘new’ sounds. Now, following their hook-up with Mulatu Astatke, Malcolm Catto’s London-based jazz travellers have lent their rhythmic talents to the 72-year old multi-instrumentalist. With Miller displaying a rare mastery of Middle-Eastern time signatures and instruments, the Heliocentrics follow his lead, a loose caravan creating an hypnotic, spiritual jazz amble through the forests, mountains and clearings of a magical Middle-East. Given Miller’s on-record disgust at modern music, the real triumph here is how well this trip grooves, managing to sound simultaneously modern, ancient, and blissfully timeless.

source: Mojo

Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics


Fresh Warp Eno

Click on picture to watch "Seven Sessions on a Milk Sea" video on NY Times website

And I wonder: Does he ever feel uninspired? Brian Eno’s launch of his debut album with Warp records “Small Craft on a Milk Sea,” is promoted with a series of videos, titled “Seven Sessions on a Milk Sea,” documenting improvised performances at his London studio with the musicians Jon Hopkins and Leo Abrahams. An entry, titled “Signal Success,” can be seen by clicking the image above, and subsequent videos are posted at Mr. Eno’s official Web site, brian-eno.net/seven-sessions.

A sample from the new album, single ’2 FORMS OF ANGER’ here.

And here is a funny one 🙂

The Creative Process and self-teaching: Bill Evans

Extracted from the movie “The Universal Mind of Bill Evans – Creative Process and Self-Teaching”. Bill Evans talks about his own development as a musician and explains how to become expressive in music. He shares his insights about evolving, playing professionally and the whole process of learning.


Link to Bill Evans’ Webpages

The Creative Process: Kind of Blue

In March 1959 Miles Davis and his sextet consisting of pianists Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Paul Chambers, and saxophonists John Coltrane and Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, got into the Columbia’s 30th Street Studio in New York City to record Kind of Blue.

Left to right: John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Miles Davis and Bill Evans in studio, 1959

They had no rehearsals. The band had no idea what they were going to play, other than what was on some notes with sketches of scales and melody lines on which to improvise, he handed them just before they got in the studio.

Davis was trying to find a way out of bebop and its complex chords, which he believed were restraining creativity. Influenced by pianist George Russel’s publication Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, he avoided using chord progression as a means for improvisation typically used by bebop musicians, using instead a series of scales or modal sketches, that defined the parameters of their improvisation and style.

This led to the birth of Modal Jazz. Davis implemented his first modal composition with the title track of his studio album Milestones (1958), and his first sessions with Bill Evans, 1958 Miles.

This was the first entire album based on modality.

Liner notes from the LP cover by Bill Evans

“There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere.

The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation.

This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflections, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician.

Group improvisation is a further challenge. Aside from the weighty technical problem of collective coherent thinking, there is the very human, even social need for sympathy from all members to bend for the common result. This most difficult problem, I think, is beautifully met and solved on this recording.

As the painter needs his framework of parchment, the improvising musical group needs its framework in time,. Miles Davis presents here frameworks which are exquisite in their simplicity and yet contain all that is necessary to stimulate performance with sure reference to the primary conception.

Miles conceived these settings only hours before the recording dates and arrived with sketches which indicated to the group what was to be played. Therefore, you will hear something close to pure spontaneity in these performances. The group had never played these pieces prior to the recordings and I think without exception the first complete performance of each was a take.”

Bill Evans


First Choice: Armed & Extremely Dangerous (1973)

Rochelle Fleming, Joyce Jones, and Chester, PA, native Annette Guest were originally known as the Debonettes and performed around Philadelphia.

When it came to female Philly soul in the ‘70s First Choice were second to none. The girls were high school friends from Philadelphia who sang together as The Debronettes in the late ’60s. After contacting WDAS Radio DJ Georgie Woods, they were introduced to Philly soul guitarist/songwriter/producer Norman Harris and Delfonics manager Stan Watson.

Their first big breakthrough was the infectious “Armed and Extremely Dangerous” (with its urgent “calling all cars!” intro), a Top 20 R&B/Top 30 pop hit in 1973.



Their rework of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” is just magnificent. Proper Soul straight from the source.

Unsuprisingly First Choice’s best known songs were released on the Salsoul label a few years later.


In the 80s, the disco influenced house music genre emerged new life was breathed into disco-soul groups like First Choice. “Love Thang” and “Let No Man Put Asunder” began to surface in club DJs’ dance-floor mixes, and were met with loud enthusiasm from the crowd. Possibly bolstered by countless bootlegs, Salsoul issued a 12” single remix of “Let No Man Put Asunder” by DJ Frankie Knuckles. He helped popularize the record by including it in his turntable mixes during his stints at Chicago night club The Warehouse and on his lunchtime “hot mixes” on local radio station WBMX-FM. Delusions was reissued on CD by U.K. label Charly in December 1994.

Charles Bradley

Charles Bradley has had a tough road. The 62-year-old soul singer has spent most of his life trying to make ends meet, working as a chef in kitchens from upstate New York to Alaska. After years spent moonlighting as a James Brown tribute act, Bradley was discovered in a Brooklyn night club by Daptone Records and is now releasing his first album, ‘No Time for Dreaming.’ While the debut marks the culmination of a long journey, it’s also the first time Bradley has been able to cope with the murder of his brother 11 years ago.

“My brother was shot in the head with a hollow-point bullet,” he tells Spinner. “It took me a long time to talk about that. That’s why I made that record, ‘Heartaches and Pain.’ I put all that love and memories of him in there, because he’s the one who would help me keep going with my music when I was about to give up.”

http://www.daptonerecords.com/ http://www.spinner.com

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Just landed home, overwhelmed by their fantastic performance at Astra (Berlin). I kind of knew it was gonna worth the search for a ticket in the black market, for their only and sold out concert in Germany. But this was more than I ‘d ask for.

A moody, atmospheric, romantic soundtrack for contemporary urban decay, or more appropriately, the industrially declined. Created with classical acoustic instruments (violin, contrabass, guitar, drums) using distortion, the harmonics that ride the swell of coloured noise on the opening track are richer and fuller than could ever be achieved by purely electronic means. These acid-tinged, filmic compositions reside in the mysterious, misty realm of experimental music.

Classically fucked up, Godspeed could be really pretentious but the sounds they make are way too cool to be merely coldly superior. Sensitive, intelligent, original music for gentlemen and women of all persuasions.

And after a 2-hour string-madness, dreamy performance, immersed in sunshine and gasoline, they are at the foyer selling t-shirts.