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(Fall 1991)

The demise of so MANY publications in our scene is what has prompted an expanded version of I.N.  There are SO many folks across the span of this great globe we live and play on who are DOING things... not accepting the media hype about BIG vs. SMALL... but many of the instruments for spreading the news of who is doing what have fallen victim to the wars being waged (still) on freedom by the POWERS? that be... or, they (some, anyway) may have MADE it in the mainstream, eh?  Whatever their reasons, I personally am tired of spending tons of buckz for non-delivery... I mean, artists (most ALL of us, as a group) may be known for a lack of punctuality... we may not always respond right when we are SUPPOSED to - & I have NO problem with THAT; it's O.K... but do I (or YOU) have to wait for YEARS to get the word?  Not, I'm not promising any rigid schedule - quarterly, semiannually, monthly, whatever; because I too am usually more interested in DOING my music than writing about it.. but 1 thing I CAN guarantee is that when I DO publish a cutoff date & declare a time-frame for publication, this rag'll BE there!  SO!  Join me... send yer tapes, artwork, poetry, articles, letters, thoughts, whatever in for possible inclusion.  I am interested in all types of improvisation, news about it, though mainstream pap for mass consumption probably won't be too successful.  The next edition will be early '92 (probably 'round the end of January).  Focus will be on reviewes of materials submitted and articles by YOU the improvisor.  If you've received a tape/album/CD by an improvisor or group of improvisors, don't hesitate to write a review of it yourself & send it on to me for possible inclusion... of course, I resever the right to edit for grammar, but content will remain the SAME as what you submitted!  Short but descriptive is the only rule!  Guess that's 'nuff of my ranting fer' right now.  Look forward to hearing from you!  Cost per issue is $1,, 3 $.29 stamps or an equal amount in IRC's (for now' any changes to that cost will be announced well in advance)


For any of you who've been around this scene for at least two or three years, you'll probably remember one of the premier publications of improvisation - 'the Improvisor' - hell, I thought it had rolled over in the grave & just flat-out DIED!  It's rollin' back OVER, mon!  Got a note from the publisher(s) in mid-August, & it's due out again 'round September/October frame... 'twill be a welcome revival.  For any/all interested write to 'the Improvisor', 1705 12th St., SO., Birmingham, AL 35205... & do it NOW!



I've never been a real strong advocate of chain letters; but in the last 6 months, I've tried about 3 of 'em... & they WORK; especially as an alternative to magz that never arrive, despite lots of promises.  Even if yer not a big fan, try 'em out once or twice... they WORK, man!


submitted ty C.L. Champion...


clumSy    lobSter    Whip




 ancien   y

T feRr


K tong e

  UE Gu


disenchant.  Them/selve s

wit a flutt. forMMdforMM clatter

wid da' you heaR








  vi o l i ns




here its sit sliding

mud footprints while

knarled gravel hi-way

since caught spring

chest could or winds

whine a slammed in

where shaft TWANG

whats so swellsswwoo

ns oh size shirts


celesital off I so

scene rusts burns ti-

cKS drips WHerE rudd-

erS weight sunK.






frOze poiNT wind

ow drift motion siCK NESS

an endless haIR

                                               c.l. CHAMPION




No more reviews of my own tapes; just listings; all tapes are $6, postpaid & hi-bias, dolby B:






















Inquiries/orders to Dick Metcalf, 642 Dorchester Rd., # RR, Rochester Hills, MI 48307




J. Alkins - COMPLEX CONTINENTS:  Red hot performance work from J. Alkins, J. Morgan, H.M. Vale and Jim Stonecipher; the music is right up at the cutting edge of what toda is all about!


Alkins, Glaude, Vale - CAUGHT IN THE ACT  A fantastic group of players from the majickland of Olywa... highly energetic music in a jazz vein, but improvised to keep your attention... you owe this treat to yourself!


H. Mark Vale - ZEITGEIST & THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH:  With Jeff Morgan on cornet & Jim Stonecipher on guitars, this will lead you in to dream states you never before imagined to be possible!


J. Alkins - PIANO PORTRAITS:  Detailed and intimate sketches on solo piano from one of the great northwest masters.  Turly original and healing music.


K. Rubenstein - THE FIVE YEAR SENTENCE:  Fantastic guitar from an artist who knows what he wants to achieve.  I was impressed & I'm sure you will be too!


John M. Bennett & the Screamin' Popeyes - EL NINGUENEO:  Another NEAT poetry/music collage from Luna Bisonte Productions (137 Leland Ave., Columbus, OH) & the Screamin' Poopeyes (JEFF OLSON, 201 #D So., Alta, Branson, MO 65616).  Behind the sometimes enchanting and always challenging poetry read by John M. Bennett, are sound structures as background by the 'Popeyes'.  The music is challenging as well, though not offensively so.  These are very well put together musical structures, not yer' average run-o-th'-mill answering machine claptrap.  For those as enchanted with a mix of fine poetry and musics as I am, this comes HIGHLY recommended!


Francisco Lopez - SAMPLE 4:  Using Ensoniq & Yamaha instruments, Francisco has created some very unique samples of his work indeed!  There is a verity of style, from the nice little piano structures (cleanly woven and well executed) on side 1 to a not overly complicated by thoroughly enjoyable rhythn excursion on side 2.  I would prefer titles (rather than the numberical titles he uses), but ya' can't have everything, I guess.  All in all, a fascinating excursion from Europa.  Contact Francisco at Sample Home Users International Association, Francisco Loes Apdo 2, 542 28080 Madrid (Spain)


Raymond Scott Woolson - THINGS TO LISTEN TO:  A sampler of various tracks from 13 casssettes recorded between July 1988 and April 1991.  This is probably quite representative of the things Raymond does... for those into loops, samples and guitar mayhem, this will be PURE enjoyment.  He does some engaging things with his ideas, both musically and from the standpoint of repitition.  Though this is not exactly my style, it's already spun 4/5 times on my deck, because even on the repetitive pieces, there's a sense of the mysterious - and he holds to his OWN sense of what the music should be, not trying to copy others.  Personally, I believe more of us ought to be doing that these days.  His guitar solo pieces will KNOCK yer' sockzoff!  FINE tape!  Contct:  Raymond Scott Woolson, POB 1158, Lockport, NY 114095


Don Malone - LIVE ALGORITHMIC MUSICAL PERFORMANCE (LAMP):  Don sent this tape in trade for something I had sent his way; GLAD he did!  All of side 1 is EXCELLENT synthesizer work, and he doesn't let the idea that a piece has to conform to 3 or 4 minutes confine him in any fashion.  Very enjoyable, intricate weave of percussion and synth, without getting bogged down in repitition.  Side 2 is another long piece, with even more variation in movemeent and flow.  For those into hardthrash, or synthopop, ferget it!  If you enjoy relaxing music that is well done and fun to listen to, GET IT!  Elements of outer space brought into your living room!


DimThingShine - LEFTOVER ROACHES ON THE MENU:  Another GREAT DTS tape; sometimes just can't believe the versatility this dude's got... hell, it shows just in the listing of 'guest artists... John M. Bennett, Bad Boy Butch Batson, Isaac Ersoff, Drake Scott, T. Dirk & many others of course.  The styles vary, as always, and yer' BOUND to find something here that will enchant you.


Well, that about does it for the reviews this time 'round.  I surely look forward to all the things you send; tho' I don't promise to review each & every tape I received, ANYTHING you send will be listened to, in its' entirety!  Send all material to Zzaj Productions, c/o Dick Metcalf, 642 Dorchester Rd., # RR, Rochester Hills, MI 48307




Haven't heard much from GAJOOB (a FANTASTIC tape mag) lately... hope that doesn't mean that Bryan is fazing out... that magazine is one of the best bets around for those of us strictly in to TAPE as a medium...


D.C. at SOUND CHOICE said during a recent phone conversation that his last issue will be out some time in the fall; that's another that I hate to see go; surely looking forward to what he puts together for an end run...


Have you heard that Factsheet Five has changed hands?  Got a flyer just the other day that said the next issue won't be out until around November '91... it's apparently not going the 'way of the wind' though... also looking forward to hearing from the new editors, tho' I'm sure they're up to their necks in it... would have been nice to hear what Mike & crew were planning on, BEFORE I got the notice of change.


PERSONAL NOTE:  I'm looking for several old friends of mine; if anyone has addresses/phones for any of the following, please SEND the information as SOON as you can... PAUL & KATHY GOWINS (last known to be residing in San Francisco bay area); VICTOR P. CLARK (somewhere in southern California, eons ago); JOE HARDIN (supposed to be playing east coast club bands out of somwehere in south Florida); BETH JACKSON (also somewhere down near the everglades); I'll be FEREVER in yer' debt if you kin' find any of these folks & let m me know how to get in touch!




As frequently happens, my braincase has slipped out o' th' pan.  Just noticed I'd left out a couple of addresses for tapes reviewed.  To contact Don Malone, write to Box 32, Sharon, WI 53585.  For DimThingShine, write to Thingsflux Music, 7821 Miramar Parkway, Miramar, FL 33023.  Sorry 'bout that!




While putting this little letter together, I've been thinking 'bout how to get it known.  With the cost of postage the way it is right now (& who KNOWS what it'll be later), I certainly can't afford to pass out free copies all over the place... so HELP out!  Read it, absorb the intent, & TELL all yer' friends about it... as ya' kin see from the price, I'm not in it fer' buckz - who in 'l ever makes any money in improv, anyway - but I DO need to spread the word.  It's fer' fun, but even FUN needs to be KNOWN to be enjoyed.  So, PASS th' WORD, O.K?




I imagine you'll see more and more editorial comments (like the excellent words Hal McGhee penned in the last issue of EC) on the need to support independent artists and labels... I certainly have no intent of "copying' his words, or any others' for that matter; but the importance of keeping a sense of worldwide 'community' and support for those who EXERCISE their freedoms by DOING something can NOT be overemphasized (leastwise, I don't think so)... & by SUPPORT, I don't mean sittin' on our collecitve arse sayin' how froggin' GREAT we are!  There are 100's of politicians/relgious freaks who would LOVE to see ya' doin' just THAT... 'cause THEN they KNOW our collective efforts'll fade away & die... & don't sit there being lulled to sleep/peace by all the media hype about Russia, Latvia, etc., etc., ad nauseum being OPENED up to FREEDOM... the REG'LAR news has SO many people thinking in 10 day to 6 month cycles... all the TALK in the world about freedom don't mean JACK unless it's tested by those who DO it - whatever 'n hell IT is - that's just how they want ya' to feel... like EVERYTHING'S OK!  & if you leave your local (or distant) artists without ANY support, they won't BE there!!! If we were talking about having to send 100's of dollars off every couple of months, I could DIG the reticence; but when there are SO many relatively INEXPENSIVE things you kin check out, what's th' HANG?  NEW musics; new IDEAS; new ART... so many creative folks out there...!  Now, don't get me wrong... this is not a HYPE to sell ZZAJ tapes, etc... it wouldn't hurt my feelings (or my postage bill, for that matter) if you order a tape, copy of this 'zine, whatever; but I don't DO what I'm doing with any great expectations of wealth... this is, basically, just great FUN for me!  The real meat o' th' matter for me, though, is that no matter WHAT label it's under, there are brand NEW experiences out there... things to keep you AWARE/AWAKE/ALIVE!!!  If you never send off for some of 'em you'll never KNOW what they were.  It all works together, too; trades, cash, stamps, whatever - the idea is to keep the PEOPLE'S ideas circulating... NEVER let that cease!  The ONLY way that can continue to happen is if you SUPPORT the network(s) in whatever way you CAN!!!  The potential for doing AWAY with all the frightening deathrains, crapola military regimes, CIA/KGB intrigues is in YOUR hands and MINE! Having been in the military for a very long time I can tell you that there are MANY (tho' by no means ALL) folks in the military/industrial machines who already have your future PLANNED!  In great part, those plans will only work if 'JOE'does what he's expected to do!  If, on the other hand, he NETWORKS, spreads a certain attitude throughout the WORLD, LIVES improvisationally, think independently of NBC/CBS/1985, their plans will be DEAD!!!!!!!!!!  You may not feel that it is as IMPERATIVE as I lay it out for you here... hell, mebbe' I'm wrong - but why take the CHANCE?  True freedom of expression only sticks around when it is USED!  So USE IT!  Write, trade, send a coupla' buckz off for someone's new tape/mag, whatever... SUPPORT the artist!!!  The benefits of simple actions like that on the part of a few 100's of thousands of us reg'lar folks will throw the biggest monkeywrench you ever SAW in the planner's GAMES!  'nuff rant fer' now!  More later, I'm sure!




What is the import of technique, stylewise or hardware-wise, in today's improv?  I read mainstream magz as well as the fine "underground" efforts, to get a sense of whatz' running through other musical minds... those like Keyboard and Guitar Player (as well as many others, I'm sure) have interesting thoughts & ideas at times, but who in 'l among us peons has the megabuckz required to buy - & buy - & buy... & is the end product any more 'creative' or 'professional' than you or I with our little double cassette deck & a mike?  While it's true that I have bought a little equipment over the past year or so, am I any farther along technically?  Is there any aspect of improvisation that is enhanced/improved by tons of fancy-dancy machines?  I rather doubt it, but then what do I know?  I'd like this to become an open forum for discussion of this issue, as well as an area where any and all can send in helpful little 'hints' for things you've done to improve your works, technically or elsewise. 


One of my favorite areas here is the effects box & it's use with the singing voice... I hear MANY  folks using vocal chains, with effects & without... but, other than demos for those aspiring to be the next 'hit' band, I RARELY hear honest efforts to SING in conjunction with other instruments/formats... in my mind, and I think history (if you will) bears this out to some degree, SINGING is one of the richest areas open to improvisation!  I like to use an effect called 'stereo echo' (cheapie effects box) to sing with... I lay down a very basic rhythm trak, second trak is a clear spoken word trak, & then layer the singing trak (with about 50% effect) on top of that... not that it always WORKS... I sometimes have to come back over it about 3 times to get the singing to mesh satisfactorily with the rhythm... but it's worked well on at least a couple of tunes! 


Now, that may not be a real in-depth discussion of it - I'm not REAL interested in all the gory detail, anyway - but, it's the kind of thing I have in mind for this area... most of the magazines I read these days offer NO help for those of us interested in improving our skills in taped music/spoken word.  SHARE your insights in this area.  You send 'em in, & I'll make sure as many as possible get in here for others to see.  Doesn't (or shouldn't) matter how minimal or expansive yer' system is... just pass along yer' idea, someone might be able to use it - and, as often happens, make the end result something TOTALLY different from your own little nuance.  If you don't like this idea of sharing it, or you just think this is a stupid idea, TELL me what's better!  I WANT to know, & I want to make this a little rag that artists/musicians/poets can USE!  Lemme' HEAR from you!




Crystalclaws glitter

In ivory coldmoon flash, this

Conscienceless razorfang

Midnight speaker

Incalculate seeks, the

Crimson's ruby flow...


Darkbreath dragon

Raises the shroud

Revealing sinisters' cloud, for

Passions' predecessor



As mercury's monsoon

Turns to abandoned rapids

Frozen instants, and other


Of jaded immediacy...


Free in form, this antiquated


Unencumbered earthbreaker


It's own momentum, and

In jugular approaches

The vain!





Dry paper, sweat night

Under spell

You may rest

Assured of arrest

Or attack

Of injocular veins

The vapor dies

In direct proportion

To your...


Whipt' Scream!




Means (roughly) 'peace go with you' in the Korean language... equate that to 'the Force', & yer' unbeatable... keep on improvisin', don't let the barstards get ya' down & keep it flowing!  Till the next edition of 'Improvijazzation Nation'...



R. Zzaj



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