On The Turntable

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    John Sinclair Presents Detroit Artists Workshop

    John Sinclair Presents Detroit Artists Workshop :: Community, Jazz and Art in the Motor City, 1965-1981

    You probably know John Sinclair’s name from his status as a legendary Detroit activist and MC5 manager. But he also worked with trumpeter Charles Moore to put on a wide variety of Detroit Artists Workshop shows that highlighted some of the best local jazz talent. This new compilation gives us a glimpse of the sweet sounds that went down over the years.

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    Misha Panfilov

    Misha Panfilov :: Atlântico

    Estonian composer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer Misha Panfilov continues to operate in his own diaphanous waters where waves of funk, jazz, and exotica crash upon mystic sands of psychedelic rock and kosmische music. Recorded in the archipelago of Madeira, his latest album, Atlântico, shifts tectonic plates of space and sound, leaving a decidedly more spiritual and serene landscape in its wake.

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    Airto & Flora

    Airto & Flora :: A Celebration: 60 Years – Sounds, Dreams & Other Stories

    Compiling thirty tracks across just about as many years (1964 through 1996) from the various solo and collaborating outings of the duo (now in their sixty-first year as union), the set examines their evolving alchemy of samba, bossa nova, jazz-fusion, and outré-funk excursions.

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    Legion Of Mary

    Legion Of Mary :: Oriental Theatre | Milwaukee, WI, 1975 WZMF

    Legion of Mary, the short-lived bay area live outfit that was home to players Jerry Garcia, Merle Saunders, John Kahn, Martin Fierro and Ron Tutt. Performing around 60 shows between July 1974 to July 1975, the band’s spirited performance at Milwaukee’s Oriental Theatre in April of ’75 is one of their best in circulation, and one that, thus far, has yet to see an official release.

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    The Malombo Jazz Makers

    The Malombo Jazz Makers :: Down Lucky’s Way

    Recorded in 1969 but unreleased/unknown until now, Down Lucky’s Way is a little hard to describe — minimal modal folk jazz? Maybe! Guitarist Lucky Ranku called it “healing music,” and that might be the most right on. The gentle but propulsive groove, the free-floating melodies, the comradely interplay … it just makes you feel better. Highly highly highly recommended.

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    En Attendant Ana

    En Attendant Ana :: Principia

    Principia makes good on the promise of the Parisian quintet’s earlier work while expanding and enhancing their overall sound, centered on Margaux Bouchaudo’s terrific vocals. There’s a pleasing swagger to the album’s 10 tracks, a confidence mixed with playfulness, whether the band is approximating mid-period Stereolab on “Same Old Story,” getting beautifully wistful on “Fools & Kings,” or — sweetest of all — crafting a towering motorik anthem on “Wonder.”

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    John Fahey

    John Fahey :: Voice of the Turtle

    … though John Fahey would employ a similar strategy on America’s second side (after a dose of fretboard gymnastics on “The Waltz that Carried Us Away” and “Knoxville Blues”), with “Mark 1:15,” it is “Voice of the Turtle” that comes across as the true pivot point for the guitarist as a composer. And it was just that, which he was becoming. From revivalist interpreter, to experimenter, to composer of, perhaps, the most fundamentally American works.

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    J​.​R. Bohannon

    J​.​R. Bohannon :: Plays Vince Guaraldi

    It might yet be a little early in the year to break out Christmas tunes, but it’s worth letting pedal steel instrumentalist J.R. Bohannon take you “Skating” with this recent single from the folks at Astral Spirits. Slipping and sliding over a ghostly rhythm track, loping bass arcs, and a thick layer of ambient noise, he brings a spooky and psychedelic spirit to Vince Guaraldi’s timeless melodies.

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Bob Seger System :: Mongrel

At some point, every ‘music person’ hits that developmental phase in taste-building that sent them looking for the ‘before they got big’ early era of every artist they were interested in. Maybe that early starving artist period does offer some glimpses into genius, if not ingenuity and survival. Bob Seger is one such artist.

Jim Pepper :: Pepper’s Pow Wow

The first song you hear on Pepper’s Pow Wow is the first song that Jim Pepper ever heard. “Witchitai-To” is a Comanche chant that his grandfather brought home from his duties leading peyote ceremonies in the Native American Church. It first appears on the album as a faithful recreation of the way Jim must have originally experienced it: chants, foot stomps, a turtle shell rattle.

Chet Baker: Live at Pub Le Dreher (Paris, France 1980)

February 29, 1980, captured live at Pub Le Dreher — Rue Saint-Denis, Paris, France. Flanked by Maurizio Gianmarco (tenor sax), Dennis Luxion (piano), Ricardo del Fra (bass) and Donny Donable (drums), the near 45 minute set finds the 51 year old Baker in healthy form as he leads the quintet through five tunes including a vocal via the John Klenner and Sam M. Lewis penned “Just Friends”. Sublime.

Lewsberg :: Out And About

Is this band the Dutch Yo La Tengo? Eh, that is probably an oversimplification — but maybe I’ve got your attention now. Lewsberg’s latest, Out And About, definitely shares a bit with YLT’s brand of winsome indie pop (more than a little Feelies in there, too), but there’s plenty of originality and imagination here, too. Half-spoken, half-sung girl/guy vocals, straight-ahead Moe Tucker thumps, alternately chiming/chugging/fuzzy guitar …

Catching Up With Ilyas Ahmed

It’s been a busy couple of months for Ilyas Ahmed. First, Grails (the long-running band Ahmed joined a few years back) released the awesome Anches En Maat, which was quickly followed up by an extensive European tour. Then in October, the Portland, OR-based artist released his excellent new solo record, A Dream of Another. Recently, we hopped on the phone to get his thoughts on a variety of topics.

Transmissions :: On Pauline Anna Strom

Welcome back to Transmissions. This week on the show, which brings our 2023 season to a close, we are joined by Matt Werth of RVNG to discuss the life and multi-dimensional sound worlds of Pauline Anna Strom. This month, the label released Echoes, Spaces, Lines, which collects the first three albums from the Bay Area synthesist and composer, as well as Oceans of Time, an unreleased record included in the box set for the first time.

Airto & Flora – A Celebration: 60 Years – Sounds, Dreams & Other Stories

There’s an embarrassment of riches to be found on Airto & Flora – A Celebration: 60 Years – Sounds, Dreams & Other Stories, the latest compilation from London’s always dazzling BBE label, this time documenting the work of Brazilian jazz power couple Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. Compiling thirty tracks across just about as many years (1964 through 1996) from the various solo and collaborating outings of the duo (now in their sixty-first year as union), the set examines their evolving alchemy of samba, bossa nova, jazz-fusion, and outré-funk excursions.

The Lagniappe Sessions :: Cactus Lee (Second Session)

On the heels of his superb new album, Caravan, Cactus Lee’s Kevin Dehan returns for his second Lagniappe Session fresh in the air of a newer, bigger, more boogieing climate. On this outing, Dehan and some sacred personnel lay their slick, soulful style down on renditions of the glossy, top ten pop of mid-80’s Christine McVie, Butthole Surfers’ absurdist punk, and a rootsy glam-jam from the Dead.

Joshua Van Tassel :: The Recently Beautiful

Languid melodies weave in and out of piano figures, a lush but minimal sound. The music billows out in an organic way, phrase leading to phrase, one long vibrating note spilling into the next without the guardrails of rhythm or measure. That’s maybe a surprise when you consider that Joshua van Tassell is a drummer by trade. His solo work, however, is lithe and open-ended, a nocturnal conversation between piano and strings.