Ryley Walker's "Psych-Jam" Set At Union Pool

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I haven’t been feeling well lately, so I missed out on seeing Ryley Walker at Valley Bar, one of my favorite Phoenix venues. But don’t worry, I’m sure that staying home sick as a parent to 8 kids was just as fun as seeing a great artist in an intimate venue.

Though I have been tempted to drown my sorrows in Hot Toddys (or is the plural “Hot Toddies”?), instead I am listening to Walker’s “Psych Jam” set at NYC’s Union Pool from NYC Taper.

The show’s page provides context:

Ryley Walker’s March residency at Union Pool covered all the bases of Walker’s sound, from relatively “straight-ahead” song-based performances to instrumental blowouts with friends and colleagues like Ryan Jewell and Steve Gunn. Count this final night’s performance firmly in the latter camp, as Walker and residency mainstay Jewell were joined by David Grubbs (Gastr del Sol, others) and C. Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core) for a full set of avant-garde experimentation that found Walker stepping away from the mic but fully present as guitarist and spiritual force.”

Enough talking. Let’s jam.

Sunwatchers: February 22, 2019 The Glove by NYC Taper

Sunwatchers: February 22, 2019 The Glove by NYC Taper

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Sunwatchers’ Facebook page describes the band as “Punk Jazz Drone” and really wants you to know what they’re all about in all caps:

SUNWATCHERS STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE DISPOSSESSED, IMPOVERISHED AND EMBATTLED PEOPLE OF THE WORLD.

That’s a sentiment we will stand with. Especially when the music is as vibrant as this. Who knew instrumental music could be political? We all did, son. NYC Taper, to whom we are all indebted for this show says:

Sunwatchers make no secret of their politics — heck, they’re written right on the cover of their previous album, II. They’re far from the only “rock” band (if you can even call them that) to use a saxophone, of course, but in Jeff Tobias’ hands, the instrument itself becomes political, recalling elements of spiritual and free jazz. Peter Kerlin, Jason Robira and Jim McHugh make a hell of an avant-rock trio, but it’s the defiant tone of that sax, the holy cry, that seals the band’s sound.

The band’s most recent album Illegal Moves is one of my favorite albums of 2019. I’ve been jammin this 2019 February set at The Glove and I think you will too.

  • Visit the Sunwatchers Facebook page.

  • Follow Sunwatchers at Twitter.

  • Visit the show’s page at the NYC Taper site.

  • Download the show from its page on the Live Music Archive.

  • Purchase the group’s music at Bandcamp.

  • Purchase the group’s music at Amazon.

Sunwatchers2019-02-22The GloveBrooklyn, NY USARecorded and produced by acidjackSchoeps MK4V (FOB, ROC, PAS)>KCY>Z-PFA>Sound Devices MixPre 6>24/48 WAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5>Audacity 2.2.2>FLAC ( level 8 )

Chris Forsyth and the Broken Mirrors Motel Band 7​​.​​11​​.​​19

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Celebrating his latest double LP “All Time Present,” guitarist Chris Forsyth did a little mini-tour with “The Broken Mirrors Motel Band.” From Forsyth’s Facebook page announcing the run of three shows, Forsyth says:

Minneapolis/Milwaukee/Chicago dates in July. The band on this little run will be Doug McCombs (Tortoise, etc) on bass, Areif Sless-Kitain (Brokeback, The Eternals) on drums, and Jaime Fennelly (Mind Over Mirrors) on keys aka the Broken Mirrors Motel Band.

We are lucky enough to live in a day and age when we can get high quality live concert recordings within days. Ofter for free. Think about that. What a time to be alive. With that in mind, let’s all give a warm thanks to the people over at Southern Jukebox Music for not only recording 07/11/19’s show and sharing it, but making it a “name your price” release on Bandcamp with all proceeds going to the artist. That is cool. Really, if you can, throw a couple of bucks Forsyth’s way. The more we can do to support great music the better.

Southern Jukebox Music says:

In early July 2019, Chris Forsyth pulled three lauded Chicago musicians together to rehearse for a single day before they set out on a short three-night tour—Doug McCombs of Tortoise on bass, Jaime Fennelly of Mind Over Mirrors on synth, and Areif Sless-Kitain of the Regulator Watts on drums.

Before hitting Acme Records in Milwaukee and finishing at the Hideout in Chicago, they made their first live appearance together at the Fraternal Order of Eagles #34 in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, the fabled meeting place of young punks and irritated townies confused at the noise coming from one of the ballrooms that’s drowning out Karaoke at the bar.

This was recorded direct to reel. Enjoy and thanks to all involved!

Artist Spotlight: Letta Mbulu

This artist spotlight originally posted January 18, 2019 on the dearly missed Global Elite Music Radio Podcast Supershow site.

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One of the joys of doing a project like the Global Elite Music Radio Podcast Supershow is discovering new artists we didn’t yet know we loved.

We featured Letta’ Mbulu’s track “Kukuchi” on Episode 32 of our very own podcast. We were so smitten with Mbulu’s music that we wanted to give you, the fine people of the Internet, more Mbulu. So we put together an hour-long mix of some of our current favorite tracks.

If you don’t yet know Mbulu, allow us to introduce you.

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Letta Mbulu (pronounced "let-ah" "em-boo-loo") was born in Soweto, South Africa in 1942 and remains a towering figure in South African music. Doug Payne says in his online biography of Mbulu:

Still in her teens, Letta began touring outside of Africa with the musical "King Kong," which ran for a year in England following a highly successful two-year run in South Africa. When the tour ended, she returned to South Africa but soon the policies of Apartheid were to force her to leave her native land for the U.S.A.

She arrived in the United States in 1965 and quickly befriended such fellow South African exiles in New York City as Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela and Jonas Gwangwa - all alumni of the "King Kong" musical. Performances at New York's famed Village Gate club began to attract attention to her talents, particularly from jazz legend Cannonball Adderley, who invited her to tour with him (which she did throughout the remainder of the decade). 

To put Mbulu’s career and influence into perspective, Strange Sounds From Beyond says:

the South African vocalist released her first LP in the same year The Beatles released The White Album. She is the towering figure of South African singing – the proud matriarch of a strange, soulful, synth-powered hybrid of US and South-African influences. Along with the 12 LPs carrying her own name, she’s worked with jazz saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, calypso icon Harry Belafonte, and even Michael Jackson on “Liberian Girl”.

According to South African History, Mbulu was also an accomplished actress who appeared “in the film Roots for which she received an Emmy award. Her other screen appearances include A Warm December with Sidney Pottier and The Colour Purple. She is also a founding member of the South African Artists United (SAAU) an organisation which was established in 1986.”

Allmusic quotes Quincy Jones as saying: "Mbulu is the roots lady, projecting a sophistication and warmth which stirs hope for attaining pure love, beauty, and unity in the world."

If you don’t know her yet, it is our pleasure to introduce you to the music of Letta Mbulu. If you already know her, please enjoy this mix and we’d love to hear your favorite tracks.


Tracklisting:

  1. Hareje *

  2. Kukuchi #

  3. Noma Themba *

  4. Jigijela (Don't Throw Stones) @

  5. Zimkile *

  6. I Need Your Love @

  7. Mamami #

  8. Aredze ^

  9. Afro Texas *

  10. Ade #

  11. Qonqoza (Knock) @

  12. Kube *

  13. Gumba-Gumba #

  14. Macongo @

  15. Olu Ati Ayo #

  16. Melodi (Sounds of Home) @

  17. Never Leave You *

Though there are many terrific albums by Letta Mbulu, for this mix, I focused on the following four albums (use the symbols to see which song is found on each album):

@ Letta (Chisa, 1970)

* Naturally (Fantasy, 1972)

^ I’ll Never Be The Same (1973)

# Letta Mbulu Sings/Free Soul (2005)