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ALL artists!  I am very, VERY happy to announce that IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION is ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS again.  I have been granted a (possibly long-term) stay of execution for my trip to Iraq.  I will still  be traveling all over the U.S., so new issues may be a little less timely, but (as always), we will review your materials as soon as possible after we receive them.  Look at the guidelines for submission below, please:


MUSIC:  All formats accepted.  Snail mail to:  Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 5308 65th Avenue, Lacey, WA 98513  The only criteria for music you submit is that it MUST HAVE high performance energy... if you submit lacklustre material, it will be reviewed accordingly

POETRY:  Poems are accepted for publication ONLY via e-mail.  Poems submitted in any other fashion will NOT be published.  Poetry that includes some reference to music is granted first priority for publication.

BOOKS:  We will review some books; books about music are PREFERRED.  We will NOT return any books submitted for review.  Snail them to the address listed above for MUSIC.


Improvijazzation Nation

Issue # 64 REVIEWS

FEATURED Zzaj Productions album samples -

Bluer Than Blue (Ernesto Diaz-Infante; poetry,  Zzaj; keyboards)

Continuum - (John Alkins, solo piano)

Each Speech (John M. Bennett; wacked-out poetry, Zzaj; keyboards)

Check out th' "new" Zzaj "diary"


Joe Fonda/Gilbert Isbin - BLISTERS:   As soon as you hear Gilbert's guitar(s), you'll know where th' CD title came from... lightning-fast, high-energy picking, & Fonda's double-bass drives the pace to th' kind of frenzy that only raw talent can accommodate. The duo keep up a running background scat on quite a few of the pieces, though you have to listen pretty closely to hear their chanting. Fans of players like Ernesto Diaz-Infante will relate to this style immediately! Rather than epic compositions, most of the pieces are quite short (under 5 minutes, except for one), so it (actually) makes for a wonderful listen. Gilbert is from Belgium, Joe from the U.S., but they're definitely soul-mates with a clear understanding of the directions their music is traveling towards... subtle oblivion & energetic excellence. If you're looking for full-blown orchestral, or "pop" jazz, you'll hit "eject" right away... but if you love strings that vibrate & move the strings of your heart, you will have to have "Blisters". The keyword here is subtle... but, nothing is obscured, the recording has captured ev'ry moment, with no need to screech/whistle/pop to cover anything over. I enjoyed this greatly, & listened to it (at least) 5 times through before I felt I had "absorbed" (a part of) their vision. This gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of string-based improvisation.

Joe Guiardullo - NOW IS:   Now is" happenin', volkz! From th' opening note, these cats are hell-bent for leather in their improv... won't stop, can't stop! This is Joe's third release on the Drimala label this year... high energy playing from some of today's best artists. Joe does soprano on this outing, Joe McPhee is featured on brass & reeds, bass is performed by one of our favorites, Mike Bisio, & Tani Tabbal does drums & othersuch. This isn't wall-scratch improvisation, with chickens screamin' as their feathers are plucked; it is, rather, closer to traditional jazz, albeit (as Father Frank would have said) it doesn't smell funny! 

Any bass fan out there who has never heard Bisio before is in for an absolute treat... this guy has monster ideas that come squeezin' out through his strings. His performance on the title track (about 10 minutes in) will hold your ears hostage! The most impressive part of the (overall) listen, though, is the pace changes... these guys (all) move fluidly together, from high-end boppin' right through to quieter stretches that emphasize the silence(s) between percussives. Now, this is not music that AM'er's will much enjoy, because you actually have to listen to the intricacies and interplays to hear the language/dialect of "now". A smashing success of an album that merits an immediate MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us! 

Acoustic Reign Project - ACOUSTIC REIGN PROJECT
Not a lot of liner notes, but I can tell you, the opener ("Depths") is a killer... a 19 minute free-jazz epic, it features some high talent from the Great Northwest... Jim Knodle on trumpet, Brian Kent on tenor sax, Reuben Radding on bass & Jack Gold on drums. Seems (to me) to be a lot of "talk/response" play between Knodle and Kent, with heavy bass and drum as a framework for the horns to talk & dance against. The recording is superb, capturing ev'ry little moment/note. Some listeners will be put off by the length of the pieces, but they wouldn't be th' kinda' listeners who understand this kind of free play anyway. Some beautifully strange sounds on the second cut, "I Don't Need This" (frogs kissing?), but th' winner for me was cut 4, "Heat", which also features guitar by Roger Fisher... Fisher truly understands how to integrate his guitar into the freeform landscape, not "stealing" anything from any of the other players. This is a VERY solid free-jazz album... a "must listen" for players who want to go out in their explorations, as well as for listeners who don't want to hear "just th' same riffs"... this gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us, as well as the "PICK" of this issue for "best recorded improv".
Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation #64, September 2003

Doug Haire - NINETEEN AMERICAN WAYSIDES:  I always look forward to the Olympia Experimental Music Festival... not just for th' great performances I know will be observed, but because all those performers generally have material they want reviewed... & I know, without doubt, that though the listen may be challenging, it will provide it's own rewards. That couldn't be truer than on this little gem of a CD that Doug recorded. Some wonderful field recordings, integrated with a host of (other) sounds that paint a unique sonic portrait of this great American landscape (?soundscape?), as heard by Mr. Haire's aural appendages. Do yourself a favor, and listen to it with the phones on... no interruptions, just a great hour of listening entertainment. I already knew how much of a master Doug is at recording, as he did (one of) the first CD's that "The Imaginary Band" produced... but this album displays talent and perception far beyond "the norm". You won't hear any raging improv solos here, but th' sounds of early morning & late night across this country are a beautiful sonic experiment! Gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as well as the 'PICK' of this issue for 'best field recording'!

Guideline for artists SUBMITTING to us:  We do NOT generally review .mp3 files/sites.  Being an active artist myself, though, I understand the need for the use of Internet sites as a "staging ground" for reviews!  You are encouraged to email us your .mp3 links... we will visit the site/link, & if we like your energies, we will contact YOU!  (We will NOT respond to followup inquiries about .mp3 files, though!!!)

PLEASE VISIT our SAMPLES page to listen to FULL-SONG samples... then tell ALL your friends about our fantastic variety of improvised and spontaneous music(s)!!!!!!!!

NOTE:  You can also purchase any of these CD's (use your credit card) by going to our HOMEMADEMUSIC catalog page!



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