Kendra Steiner Editions

December 25, 2014

three albums full of choice 1926-29 obscurities from Paramount Records

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:07 am

Since the first round of 20’s blues reissue LP’s in the 1960’s and into the 1970’s (when I first discovered this music through Yahoo reissue LP’s, some of which I still own), the Paramount label has become associated in the public mind with the deepest and most pure blues music….Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Blake, Charley Patton, and hundreds of others. With the exhaustive reissue blues series on LP and then CD from Document Records, pretty much anything Paramount you ever dreamed of hearing was now available to us. Presently, JSP offers a number of inexpensive box sets with the better-known material in excellent sound, the Black Swan label (one of the labels associated with the late George Buck’s jazz empire and the present owners of the Paramount trademark) offers a number of fine one-volume samplers, and the old Document CD’s can still be had used or new from unsold record store stock. And then of course there are the two massive Third Man/Revenant Paramount boxes, together offering about 1600 tracks, but beyond most people’s budget (certainly beyond mine, but then, I have most of the Document reissues, so I may already have most of that material, minus the boxes and books and collector-artifacts). In short, unlike the hungry years of the 60s and 70s, now you can probably overdose on Paramount blues to your heart’s content…and that’s a wonderful thing.

HOWEVER, I wanted to alert readers to three albums which dig deeper into different aspects of Paramount’s deep catalog, the majority of which has not been reissued elsewhere.

RARE PARAMOUNT BLUES: 1926-1929 (Document DOCD-5277, CD, Austria), issued in 1994. This is a collection of VERY obscure performers whose recordings fall under the broadest interpretation of the term “blues,” many of which with performance styles going back to the pre-blues songster era. Someone like Sweet Papa Stovepipe and his songs about chickens might have been found playing for tips outside a small-town southern courthouse or playing at a backwoods fishfry circa 1920, while Charlie “Dad” Nelson and his kazoo put the listener into the world of low-rent 1920’s neighborhood-level “entertainers” with old-time roots, people who could keep them laughing with novelty songs and clever performance antics but who also had lyrics full of specific details of poor and transient life that would resonate with his audience. Closing the album, after varied selections from five other artists (and a reissue of the various artists Paramount promotional 78 ‘Hometown Skiffle’), we have the blues piano of Freddie Brown (a woman), who could be put on the same shelf with such performers as Will Ezell or Montana Taylor. I’ve always been the kind of person who prefers an odds’n’sods collection to a greatest hits collection, so RARE PARAMOUNT BLUES has been a regularly played album here for the last twenty years. Be warned, though: these are all journeymen (and women) performers. We get spoiled from reissues that cherry-pick the geniuses from the other 99% of performers–they don’t depict the reality of the situation. I’m someone who still catches live music in clubs/bars almost every week, and there is something unpretentious and vital and refreshing about the journeyman musical entertainer. You’ve got it in its purest form on this album, circa 1926-29.

paramount one

note: here is a label scan of the Hometown Skiffle disc mentioned above. It’s commonly accepted that Blind Lemon Jefferson does NOT appear on this record; his riffs are played by Blind Blake. When I first heard this on an old Yazoo LP in the 70’s, I thought the Lemon riffs were well-played in a fluid style, but did not have the jagged quality I associate with Jefferson.

paramount hometown

 

PARAMOUNT HOT DANCE OBSCURITIES, Volume 1: 1927-1928 (Jazz Oracle, BDW 8039, CD, Canada), issued in 2003. Readers of this blog are aware of Jazz Oracle since almost every year one of their albums is high on my Best Of The Year list. They set the standard for 1920’s reissues, both in terms of sound quality (this one was transferred/remastered by the late great John R. T. Davies, so no awful computer filtering here, just careful use of proper stylus and speed correction and mint copies to give the full frequency range of the original 78 rpm records which, because they ran at a fast rate, contained A LOT of sound information in the grooves, just waiting to be extracted for our enjoyment….after the passing of Mr. Davies, Jazz Oracle has continued in the same tradition, and hearing their releases is a joy….I believe that 1920’s music could have a much bigger audience if these releases got a fair hearing in the public marketplace) and historical research and presentation. The two bands presented here (in various permutations) were both Chicago-based and could best be described as jazz-influenced dance bands, upper Midwest Territory Bands who were earthier than, say, the Isham Jones Orchestra, but who did aspire to that level and who wanted to get in on that action in the clubs. Many tracks feature vocal refrains, and the better ones are in the Smith Ballew vein…although a few have a twist of the florid Irving Kaufman style. This music ALWAYS swings, in the pre-Swing Era sense, and this is STILL the pre-1929 era, so we have brass bass (tuba) as the rhythmic anchor and a banjo providing the pulse. The best material here has the cheerful sense of 1920’s feelgood glee one finds in the Coon-Sanders Original Nighthawk Orchestra, and one can easily imagine oneself listening to this on the radio in 1928, or if one had some money, taking in a night at a speakeasy or nightclub. Interestingly, most all of this material was issued on Paramount’s BROADWAY subsidiary (I’ve included a label scan of one of the the records below….both sides of this 78 are contained on the album). If you are not an aficionado of the 1920’s danceband genre, this album is as good a place to start as any. There are no Bix Beiderbecke or Eddie Lang-level genius performers here, which is what today’s listeners often expect from vintage recordings of this type since the few tracks they have heard DO feature such performers….no, these are working musicians like you could hear at a club of the day. It was a magical and exciting time, one of the THE most exciting periods of American popular music in one of the greatest-ever music cities, CHICAGO…and this album dips its ladle into that rich stew and provides an exciting and FUN listening experience…and a side of Paramount Records quite different than what you might expect.

paramount dance

ALEXANDER WHERE’S THAT BAND? PARAMOUNT RECORDINGS, CHICAGO 1926-28 (Frog DGF 13, CD, UK), issued in 1997. The British FROG label has issued a number of collections of super-obscure 20’s jazz 78’s, some based on locale, some just based on obscurity, some based on original label, such as this one. This is the flipside of the Jazz Oracle album….while that featured White artists, this one features Black artists, although if you are expecting pure King Oliver-style hot jazz, you’ll be somewhat disappointed as these artists have (at least) one foot in the Black vaudeville entertainment world of the day. 20’s music fanatics will find a number of familiar names peppering the personnel listings: trombonist Preston Jackson, pianist and bandleader Tiny Parham, pianist Richard M. Jones, pianist Mary Lou Williams back when she was still known by her maiden name of Mary Lou Burleigh, alto player Vance Dixon, vocalists Elzadie Robinson and Leola B. Wilson. As with the above album, all these recordings were made in Chicago. Imagine yourself in a second or third-tier Black nightclub in Chicago circa 1926-27, the kind of place that working people might go to if they happened to get a bonus at work for the holidays….hot and exciting jazz with an uptown feel, the kind of thing that could be included in a “revue” as part of a show. Thank the Lord (and Paramount Records) that someone documented this material, full of fire, loose and spontaneous but with the dynamism one gets from musicians working nightly in the clubs. Jaunty tunes, hot riffing, and colorful solos are in abundance. These records are yet another side of the multi-dimensional Paramount label.

paramount alexander

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

All three albums are full of unfamiliar music, presented in good sound (as good as could be expected with the source material, with no filtering or digital artifacts to get in the way of the pure 78 sound and its full frequency range) with informative liner notes from the world’s experts in these specialized genres. They will transport you to another time and place, and they capture the color and flavor and excitement of the period like sound-lightning in a bottle. And they give a much fuller picture of the totality of what the legendary Paramount label was about….   dig in!!!

paramount two

paramount catalog

Paramount_s-Christmas-Greetings1

 MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL FROM KENDRA STEINER EDITIONS…..AND PARAMOUNT RECORDS!

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December 24, 2014

new album from BRENT FARISS….”FOLK SONG FOR 27 OBOES” (KSE #284)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 12:20 pm

brent and bass (anathema)

BRENT FARISS

“FOLK SONG FOR 27 OBOES”

CDR album    KSE #284

$8 US postpaid / $11 elsewhere postpaid

payment via paypal to DJANGO5722(at)YAHOO(dot)COM

BRENT OBOES

We are very excited to welcome back Austin composer-musician BRENT FARISS for a second KSE album, the composition FOLK SONG FOR 27 OBOES (KSE #284). Brent’s first KSE album, FOUR ENVIRONMENTS ….COLLAPSING (KSE #199, released in July 2011) was much acclaimed, he played (both solo and in duos with Rick Reed) in both of the 2011-2012 KSE Austin concerts sponsored by the Church of the Friendly Ghost, and when I was asked by Corwood Industries to assemble a group to support Jandek for the Austin 2012 concert I organized, Brent was the obvious choice for bassist. That concert was a sublime event, and Brent’s intuitive, edgy playing was an important element. One of the areas KSE wants to support through our CDR music releases is contemporary composition. This recorded performance of FOLK SONG FOR 27 OBOES was commissioned directly by Kendra Steiner Editions, and we worked with the composer at every step along the way, including the bleached-out, oversaturated cover art he provided. It’s been well worth the effort to present this stunning and fascinating  composition. Let’s let Brent Fariss himself explain the genesis of the piece:

FOLK SONG FOR 27 OBOES, COMPOSED BY BRENT FARISS

Jacob Green – oboe(s)

Brent Fariss – acoustic guitar

“Folk Song originally started as my attempt to create a beautiful folk / pop song. It quickly developed into something more complicated, taking over 4 years to complete. Why the number 27? The primary reason was due to the large number of instrument groupings I could utilize, mainly because of the number 3 (3 x 3 x 3). Obviously, finding 27 oboes willing to play this was going to be next to impossible, so I opted to seek out a single oboe player (Jacob Green) to record all of the events. The oboe tracks were recorded one at a time and then carefully mixed (with placement in the stereo field based on each parts relationship to the overtone series).

Even though the piece remains fairly abstract, with a huge emphasis on texture, I still felt it connected to the idea of “song” form, albeit one that has been slowed down quite a bit. The first section is considered the “verse”, the 2nd section (which focuses primarily on harmony, overtones, and microtonal tunings/beatings) is the “chorus”. The chorus became fascinating to me in that it becomes almost a piece for some otherworldly reed organ. It takes quite a while for this to happen, but when all 27 oboes play at once, the cluster of sound is dizzying!

Special thanks to Jacob Green (dawn of the oboe), Clark Crawford, and Nathan Wood for their assistance and patience in recording this, as well as putting up with hearing me blather on about it for so many years.

Folk Song is dedicated to my grandmothers, Lois Bird Cooper (1921-2002) and Dolores Fariss (1912-1993), both of whom offered a deep exposure to country music. Dolores (aka Granny) explained the ideas and the long tradition of stories told through western, folk or regional music…as well as giving me my first gig (playing snare drum on her acclaimed song, “The Austin Waltz”). And Lois (aka Mimi) taught me how to square dance by the age of 10, taking me all the way to the state square dancing competitions in the big city (aka Dallas)…and how much more folksy can you be than that?”

It’s amazing what composer Fariss and performer Green do in this piece….starting off with percussive  “clicking” extended techniques with the oboes then weaving in and out of all kinds of string-like textures and raga-like variations and thick, kaleidoscopic layers of oboe overtones…all held together with the same occasional acoustic guitar chord, explored from many directions, from the composer. You’ll lose all sense of time with this piece, and when it ends, you’ll want to push the “play” button again…and again.

As with any worthwhile piece of composition, you can either focus on the structure and the juxtapositions….or let it wash all over you while entering into its world….or alternate back and forth. In any event, this is an exciting album, a worthy follow-up to FOUR ENVIRONMENTS….COLLAPSING. I’ve probably seen Brent in performance a dozen times over the years with various groupings (and with the Austin New Music Co-op) and solo (and let’s not forget his membership in WACO GIRLS…), and this album really captures the inventiveness and playfulness and textural explorations (as a string player, Brent is a specialist in textural explorations) that epitomize his work. It’s KSE’s final music release of 2014,  and a testament to the forward-thinking musical talent we have here in Central Texas.

Hats off also to Jacob Green for a virtuoso performance….27 of them, that is. The oboe is an under-utilized instrument….nice to hear it taken to the limit here.

FOLK SONG FOR 27 OBOES.   Limited edition of 99 copies. Get yours NOW!   $8 US   /  $11 elsewhere

red brent 2 (the return of hauss of wolves)

……………..

“When all 27 oboes play at once, the cluster of sound is dizzying!”–indeed, it is!

Bio

Brent Fariss is a composer / performer living in Austin, Texas. He has collaborated in several modern music ensembles including the Austin New Music Co-op, Knob Jobs, and the Gates Ensemble. As a performer, he has worked with Phill Niblock, Ellen Fullman, Michael Pisaro, Radu Malfatti, Pauline Oliveros, Jandek, JG Thirwell, and Arnold Dreyblatt. Currently, he is completing a trilogy of music theater pieces (der IdiotprinzThe Magic Show, & the forthcomingLarry Lewis); destroying galleries & clubs alike with the retro-noise project, Waco Girls; and composing a new chamber work for Ensemble Pamplemousse (premiering Spring 2015). Fariss holds a Master’s degree in Composition from Texas State University, where he also studied the contrabass. His goal in music is exploring the nature of sound (timbre), elevating it to the same level as melody, harmony, rhythm, and form. He is the recipient of two Meet the Composer grants for the compositions, “Dim Gleam” (for choir, 2 basses, 2 percussionists and choir chimes) and “The Water Bowl” (for 4 performers, horn, trombone and percussion). In late 2014 – early 2015, Fariss will have three releases coming out on Kendra Steiner Editions (Folk Song for 27 oboes), Weighter Recordings (unitard), and Instincto Records (bliss…).

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OTHER  RECENT SMALL-EDITION, HAND-CRAFTED CDR ALBUMS OF FORWARD-THINKING MUSIC FROM KSE:

 ($8.00 each, ppd. in US        —outside US $11 )

Please include a note with your paypal order including the items ordered AND your mailing address (which Paypal often fails to provide me)….thanks!

ALL ARE AVAILABLE FOR IMMEDIATE DELIVERY

KSE # 291 (CDR), MARCUS M. RUBIO, “Cities Sinking Down”

marcus cities

KSE #266 (CDR), MATT KREFTING, “Recitals”

matt recitals

KSE #286 / MJC #440  (CDR), FOSSILS, “The Cardigan Hour” (only 24 copies available from KSE!  “Chamber Fossils”)

fossils cover cardigan

KSE #289 (CDR), A. J. KAUFMANN, ‘Stoned Gypsy Wanderer,” cover art by Justin Jackley

AJK, album cover

KSE #285 (CDR), SMOKEY EMERY (aka Daniel Hipolito), “Live At The Hideout Theatre”

SMOKEY LIVE

 

KSE #288 (CDR, spoken-word poetry), BILL SHUTE, “Worried Men and Wooden Soldiers: Bill Shute reads selected 2013-2014 poems,”  produced by Marcus Rubio

GUIDE_20140703_0001

KSE #275 (CDR), ALFRED 23 HARTH, “China Collection”

GUIDE_20140611_0001

KSE #281 (CDR), FOSSILS, “Wooly Bully” (a co-release with Middle James Co., only 20 copies available from KSE)

GUIDE_20140709_0001

 

KSE #279 (CDR), ERNESTO DIAZ-INFANTE, “Wistful Entrance, Wistful Exit”

ernesto album cover

 

KSE #274 (CDR), MASSIMO MAGEE/TIM GREEN/MAX FOWLER-ROY, “Relentless Communion”

CATHAL RODGERS_20140117_0002

and the last remaining copies of …


A23H  4

KSE #257 (CDR),  ALFRED 23 HARTH, “Micro-Saxo-Phone, Edition  IV.”

Thank you for your continued support of KSE and all independent, grass-roots arts organizations….as we enter our TENTH year of operation!

December 19, 2014

Bill Shute/KSE top 20 music releases of 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 1:38 pm

Here in no particular order is a list of 20 essential music releases from 2014 (and late 2013) which I spent a lot of time with in 2014, and what better yardstick is there for value than the amount of time spent living with pieces of music? Ten are new recordings, ten archival material. I’m sure some releases such as Bear Family’s massive BLACK EUROPE box set would be on this list if I could afford them, but I can’t. Thanks to all the artists who created these fine works and the labels that issued them. Music and sound art are essential in my life–and I am happy to add to the mix by running this label, Kendra Steiner Editions, which issued an average of AN ALBUM A MONTH in 2014! In the immortal words of George Harrison, try some, buy some….

Thanks to all who supported KSE and my own work in 2014. We hope to continue on with new and surprising and satisfying offerings in 2015…               and now, the list……

1. MATT KREFTING, LYMPH EST  (LP, Kye, US)

krefting-6.16.2014

 

2. v.a., ALICE IN WONDERLAND & OTHER RAINY DAY GIRLS : THE GREAT LOST SOUTHERN POPSIKE TRIP (2-cd set, Charly, UK)

alice

3. SAM WOODING: COMPLETE RECORDINGS OF SAM WOODING, 1922-1931 (3-cd set, Jazz Oracle, Canada)

sam wooding

 

4. DEREK ROGERS, THIS HOUSE IS A BLOCK (cassette, Patient Sounds, US)

derek_rogers_patient_medium_image

5. EDDY GILES,  SOUTHERN SOUL BROTHER: THE MURCO RECORDINGS, 1967-69 (CD, Kent, UK)

eddy giles

6. JOHN CAGE (performed by Sabine Liebner, piano), ONE7, FOUR6 (CD, Wergo, Germany)

cage new

7. RODD KEITH, BLACK PHOENIX BLUES (LP, Roaratorio, US)

rodd black phoenix

 

8. SMOKEY EMERY (Daniel Hipolito), SOUNDTRACKS FOR INVISIBILITY VOL. IV: PHOTO OF A PAINTING (cassette, self-issued, US….alas, now sold out, but the download is still available for purchase at http://smokeyemery.bandcamp.com/album/soundtracks-for-invisibility-vol-iv-photo-of-a-painting  )

smokey tape

9. THE BEATLES, THE COMPLETE POP GOES THE WEASEL (4-CD set, Great Dane, EU)

beatles pop

10. JANDEK, GHOST PASSING (6-cd set, Corwood Industries, US)

Ghost-Passing

11. ELVIS PRESLEY, WELCOME ABOARD (2-cd set, Elvis One, Holland)

elvis, welcome aboard

12. MARCUS RUBIO, LAND OF DISENFRANCHISEMENT (cassette, Already Dead Tapes, US…sold out)

MARCUS M four

13. .v.a., MERCURY SOUL DIAMONDS (CDR, Buried Treasure, France)

mercury soul diamonds

 14. TONY MALABY’S TAMARINDO, SOMOS AGUA (CD, Clean Feed, Portugal)

TONY

 

15. CHET BAKER/PIERO UMILIANI, ITALIAN MOVIES (3-cd set, Moochin’ About, EU)

chet italy cover

16. DUKE ELLINGTON, IN GRONA LUND 1963 (2-cd set, Storyville, Denmark)

duke grona

17. THE CRYAN SHAMES, A SCRATCH IN THE SKY: DELUXE EXPANDED MONO EDITION (CD, Now Sounds, UK)

cryan

 

18. ALFRED 23 HARTH / WOLFGANG SEIDEL, FIVE EYES (CD, Moloko Plus, Germany)

 

MOLOKO

19. WILKO JOHNSON / ROGER DALTREY, GOING BACK HOME (CD, Chess, UK)

roger

20. BOB DYLAN, THE RED CIRCLE: JAPAN LIVE COLLECTION 2014, VOLUME 2 (18-cd set, EU boot)

bobdy-red-circle-box1

December 16, 2014

excerpts from THE LANGUAGE OF CONSTRUCTION (KSE #265, originally issued July 2013)

Filed under: Uncategorized — kendrasteinereditions @ 6:33 pm

 

with KSE #265, THE LANGUAGE OF CONSTRUCTION being sold out, you can now get a free online version, with slightly different formatting….hope you find it interesting and worthwhile….it was written in and all the photographs are from New Braunfels, Texas, where it is also set….

THE LANGUAGE OF CONSTRUCTION

 

 ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

 

damning the morning

              breeze

                       but not

             adjusting the sails

                                                  they handed me

                                                      a French manifesto

                                                              opposed

                                      to the concept of manifestos

 

  sunburst

        reflected

             on rice paper

 

                                                        the toddler

                                              in the American flag shirt

                                 wandering from table to table    here

                                                    at the Treasury Bar

                                      probably won’t screw things up

                               as much as my generation did

language one

an hour

                      later in Jacksonville

               an hour

                      earlier in El Paso

         same

                  moment

             different markers

 

                                        those who write the guidebooks

                                  step around Bix & Tram

                                         & advise routes

                                     that no local would take

 

     as the vision deteriorates

                           the senses sharpen

 

                                                 just another

                                                      signholder

                                                    on an unshaded corner

 

language three

      sentenced

                                            in absentia

                                                to life w/o parole

                                           on Frankenstein Island

 

     mortar

         palm branches

                  & peach roses

                                                      gravity-free                          

                                  copper-flecked

                                                 flugelhorn tones,

                     reticent, in powdery cotton soundscapes

                                  gathering atop the bar’s

                              twenty-foot-high windows

 

    I tell the manager

        the water’s no longer hot enough

                                  to sanitize the dishes

                                                   he says

                                       not to worry       because

                                 I’m not paid to think,    just to do

language four

    Ana’s husband’s away

                                   for four days in Nuevo Leon

                              getting some teeth extracted

                                         in case I want    to stop

                                     by for coffee          after closing

 

    her daughter’s just discovered

               the plays of Harold Pinter

          but isn’t yet living

             the lives of his characters

                                                          each year Ana drinks

                                           more,                sleeps

                                  more,            worries

                           more,  and builds the sandbar

                                   higher, until one day

                                she will triumph over the tides

 

                                                      just another signholder

                                             between the cement plant

                                        & the Air Force base

language five

dust falls upon

                  the lightbulbs     faster

                       than it burns away

 

      a straw-haired lady, taking an occasional hit

                                                  from an oxygen tank,

                           dealer in antiques and part-time realtor,

                     overpraises the Italian crème cake

                              & exaggerates the heatwave

                                         she’s just experienced

                                                  in Las Vegas–

                             lingering,              but not    tipping

 

       an endless       graffiti-tagged

                 Union Pacific train

           passes by                hauling gravel to Waco

 

                                           they’re building an annex

                                  to the Comal County Courthouse

                                     as     business has been so good

                                                      the last few years

language six

     thirty years ago

                                    the scholarship committee   told Ana

                        her voice & the material clashed

 

                                                   the sparks

                                                              from that friction

                                                                 went unseen,

                                                                  u n h e a r d

                                                          & she began

                                                    waiting tables

 

                     I’m ready for that

                              Bangkok massage now–

                              do I need to pick up

                         some oil on the way over?

 

                                                   just another signholder

                                                         waiting for rain

                                 yet

                                   afraid

                                               of rain

language three

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