Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 16

Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 16

Brought to you by: Zzaj Productions & D.B.A.R.

Improvijazzation Nation

Sixteenth Edition, Spring 1995

D. Metcalf, HQ 19th TAACOM, Unit 15015 POB 2879 APO AP 96218-0171

Title Here



Broca’s Area

Jettison Charlie

Ken Rubenstein

Dan Susnara

Kieth Nicolay

Henry Schneider reviews


WIND magazine

Standard Deviation

David Childers & the Mount Holly Hellcats

& much much more!

Rotcod Zzaj


Improv ONLY?

Had a coupla’ commentz since the last issue (probably most NOTABLE was from our radiopal Don Campau, of KKUP, out in Cupertino, California)… seems MANY have the impression, due to my TITLE for the ‘zine, that this ‘zine has a PRIME focus on improv music. NOTH ING could be FURTHER from the truth! “I.N.” is inter ested (more than anything else) in promoting “D.I.Y.”/in dependents of ALL shapes and size! I’m not particular (in the least) about format (tape, CD, vinyl – whatEVER is FINE!); genre is basically immaterial, as well!

There IS one overriding concern/qualifier I have for the kind of thing that actually MAKES it in the ‘zine… that the ENERGY be “there”! Star-crost hypesters who are looking to make music a “profession”, in the sense of groupies at their collective side(s) all night long, or people whose convictions CAN’T come across in their music will (probably) NOT make it in to “I.N.”. &, yeah, I guess that means I’m settin’ myself up as judge AND jury… no doubt I’ll make a few wrong calls (CERTAINLY have in the past), but more often than not, I’ll have a pretty fair idea (as will MOST listeners who are in to the creative flow) of what’s “real” & what’s just “for sale”. The MAIN thing, tho’, is that this ‘zine IS NOT just for im prov artists! Pass it ON – THANKS!

Rotcod Zzaj

John Herron/Eric Hausmann: FISH MUSIC – ‘avin ‘ad th’ chance ter’ collab with precision drummer Herron, I know JUST how pleasant an experience it can BE! No “mushy” stuph in my diatribe(s) ’bout th’ man, either… just a plain & simple FACT – he KNOWS whereof he drumz! If th’ “fish” caught on to THIS dance, th’ OCEANS’d be EMPTY – so much FROLICKING would there be! & ERIC, people – I mean – NEW DIMENSIONS! His guitar(s) are absoLUTEly ON! Make NO mistake – doing a collaborative effort against drums takes SKILL… your sense of rhythm (as well as your sense of where the DRUMMER was headed) must be near-perfect – or else it comes off sounding DIS-jointed and very, VERY amateurish! Clear recording (as with virtually EVERY Spilling Audio release I’ve heard) and MUSIC that will bring you out of whatever depths your life may have plunged you to! What KIND(s) of music? Well, it runs the gamut from “Chinese Checker Players”, a jaunty backbeat leading a rock-riff (if you can figure THAT out) on side 1 to “Fever Monument” (you’ll have to GET the tape to come up with your OWN descriptors for this one) on side 2. This is GREAT FUN music; I wouldn’t leave home withOUT it! Contact Eric at POB 24592 JACKSONVILLE FL 32241 (or via e-mail at ) Rotcod Zzaj

Broca’s Area: INTERIM – A whole (smashing) GROUP o’ pieces from this group (reviewed at least a COUPLA’ times before in “I.N.” – & quite favorably, I might add) that n’er made it on to a “release” version… f’rinstance, there’s a really NEAT sorta’ “spooky” piece on the very FIRST cut called “Dead Radio” from a “previously unreleased album” of the same title. This gent has moved out to Michigan now (guess Amurrican carz MUST be gettin’ better, eh?) Seems therez sum JOBS out there now’days), where he sez (as I often do) that his “job’s beginnin’ ter’ get in the WAY of my music”. So, with me (practically) beggin’ ‘im to send me MO’ stuph… he assembles some of the trax that didn’t quite get “released” – s’pose that might be where the tape title came from? Tellin’ YOU, people, this is H-O-T stuph! Not a buncha’ leftovers – in fact there’s some ROCKIN’ stuph on here, tastes of improv scattered throughout, albeit in a more “rockish” (but NOT cheez-pop) vein than I might be able to manage on my own collabs! As those of you who DO somethin’ with your music know, especially in the improv/freeform arena know, it’s quite often said that “the best pieces never get recorded”. These are quite credible examples of what happens when they DO! You (really) OWE it to yerself to get ACQUAINTED with the music of Broca’s Area. Contact at 3055 FOLLMER ST NILES MI 49120 Rotcod Zzaj

Peter Stenshoel: SMILE OF PYTHAGORAS – Not sure where the title came from, but this is a GREAT little tape… came in from Don Campau (KKUP, Cupertino, California). I’d read reviews of Peter’s works before, think I even tried to contact him once upon a bloomoon! Well recorded jazz licks, synth prettiness, some FINE improvisational shorts, all culled from works that span the years from 1987 through 1992. The piano work makes me regret not having gone any further with my own theory work (you know, strictly ear players are JUST as limited as those who can’t play a note without a sheet in front of ’em, at least when it comes to anything they don’t know. This is NOT “stodgy” in ANY sense of the word, though… just crisp, decisive and clean. I really enJOYed this tape, if only for it’s sense of having FUN with music. &, in this (albeit warped) Zzaj-mind, that’s the REAL testament to a work being “better”… it comes across to the LISTENER that the artist was enjoying themselves! STRICTLY “meat&potatoes”, no “soybean substitues” here! You OWE it to yourself to contact (through) Lonely Whistle Music, POB 23952, San Jose, CA 95153 Rotcod Zzaj

Control-Alt-Delete: CAT COMPILATION – A verily MOST recent reLEASE… these volkz appear to have a whole NATIONAL network… I mean, their OWN lil’ newspaper about th’ promo party (August of ’94, down in Dallas)! Groups th’ Zzaj’d ne’er ‘eard of, verzure… except perhaps fer’ “Violet Arcana” who I’ve been seein’ a lot about on the NETZ of late! Many H-O-T techno-rock cutz, the music’ll ROCK yer’ along! IF this is an example of wot’ th’ netz are DOING (I mean, not phroggin’ TALKIN’ ’bout – but DOING!) for music, I’ve mixed feelings. I mean, on the one hand, I’m in TOTAL excitement… well-recorded, from front to back, this is C-L-E-A-N… pleasant enough, lyrically sound, probably VERY radioable; on th’ other set o’ digitz, I sorta’ WONDER – will th’ damned Jesse Helms’s of our (sometimes) fair land LET this BE? No “gross” pieces here, but in it’s own sorta’ techno-way, this music DOES carry a message (fer’ these ol’ earz, ennyway)! They ain’t NUTHIN’ yer’ can DO about it, Jess! “We’re, like, HERE! We’re PLAYIN’ whether you LIKE it or not!” The promo package has a NEAT little (special edition) ‘zine with it that gives a FINE bio/sheet on each group on the comp. Track 7, from NR 17 absoLUTEly KICKZ, people! I mean, it’s not th’ ONLY one, but it carried me WAY back to th’ high-stage daze/haze of (wot’ used ter’ be called) HARD-ROCK! One of the GREATEST things about th’ ‘zine is that it has E-MAIL addresses for MANY of the volkz corresponding with it. What BETTER way to LIVE th’ dream… some (in our readership, anyway) may not J-U-M-P at th’ music, tho’ it got MY blood movin’… I mean, networkers are s’posed to NETWORK, eh? This is a FUN CD, & “I.N.” will SURELY be lookin’ FORWARD to the next input from them! Contact at POB 38533-1010, Houston, TX 77238-8553 (OR, join IN their networkin’ frenzy by contacting ) Unless yer’ just an ol’ phuckin’ phrog, GET this one! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by Zzaj! Rotcod Zzaj

Ken Rubenstein: MEN – How appropriate that this tape came in as a result of one o’ my late-night forays thru th’ “database”… got to rattlin’ wi’ Ken (’bout whonosewot) – & th’ next week this rolls thru th’ mailslot! Ken NEVER disappoints… not only did he get the tape TO me – but, as with most of the tapes he’s sent me, it is UNIQUELY his! Imagine Moses trudgin’ thru th’ desert somewhere, & when he callz fer’ th’ musicmakers – there’s KEN, wi’ his electric gitar, MIDI gitar synths, along with Meredith Borden (vox), Rick Van Benscholen (fretless bass) & !HEY!, our CO-EDITOR, Wes Jensen on electronic drum kit. Stylistically, this does call up visions of camel trains – but, as with most of Ken’s GREAT sonic renderings, this absolutely DEFIES categorization… which is why I so much enJOY gettin’ a tape in from him. Improv with theme… mixed in with a touch o’ nostalgia or two. Simply O-R-I-G-I-N-A-L! This comes MOST HIGHLY recommended from Zzaj. Contact at Wild Turkeyneck Records, 45 Belmont Avenue, Garfield, NJ 07026 (or call him at 291-772-6995. & do it NOW! Rotcod Zzaj

Okaniwa Fumihiro: DIRECT LAYER – If, like me, your closest friend is music – th’ playing of, listening and devotion to it, you WILL enJOY this tape; OTOH, if your interest is casual in any fashion… you know, you just want something to play “in the background” whilst you bake yer’ muffins, luv yer lover or scramble yer toast – you’ll probably leave THIS ‘un alone. This is almost all percussion – a TOTAL percussion experience, I might add. I’ve reviewed quite a few of Okaniwa’s tapes in the last six months or so. Rather suspect he’s (at least in some respects) drawn to it as I am… JUMP at a chance to play – with ANYone, any style! This tape shows his music in a most favorable light & in a NEW dimension. It IS, however, a tape that DEMANDS your attention. If you CAN’T bring yourself to sit down & just LISTEN – you will NOT enjoy it. Purely percussion – but MOST enjoyable, from my perspective. Contact at 3-30-3 SenZoku Taitou-ku, Tokyo 111, Japan Rotcod Zzaj

Jettison Charlie: HITCHHIKING IN BUDAPEST – Released under the “Turn Of The Century label (which th’ flyer sez is “under new management”, “committed to becoming an international independent record label”), this h’yar CD KICKZ booty, boyz&gurlz… & if yer’ IN ter’ pop/metal with the requisite underlying sense of sped-up musical challenge, I’ll tell yer’ right NOW… Jettison Charlie HAS yer’ ticket! Most volkz know Zzajmusic is “odd” (in fact, I like to think of myself & my muzik as a precursor to the “odd-istry” yer’ BOUND to see in th’ 21st) – but, without these janglin’ (albeit VERY well-recorded), rockin’ GITARZ, I’ll ne’er reach the level of “frenetic” these volkz do. The playing is not only well-recorded, itz’ R-E-A-L! A cut ABOVE th’ pack, if yer’ know wot’ I mean, mainly becoz it doesn’t get stuck in a pure metal “rut” – diversions galore, with acoustic interludes that show their musical “independence”! This one’s H-O-T! Comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from Zzaj! Contact at (their new address) 50 Lexington Ave., Suite # 197, New York, NY 10010 (or, if yer’ HEARIN’ me & got yerself up on th’ NETZ, e-mail to ) Rotcod Zzaj

Dan Susnara: AVOID DIRECT SUNSET – Now, this lil’ gem comes outta’ th’ BACK o’ th’ cassette rack… (Dan’s prob’ly gonna’ KILL me… can’t remember HOW long ago he sent this to me, but it should’ve been reviewed at least two issues back, I’m sure). Those who have stayed with “I.N.” for the last couple of years will remember that I’ve reviewed MANY styles of music that Dan’s done or been associated with (back issues still available, just e-mail me, ok?) & that I believe he STANDS for what D.I.Y. is all about. Clean, well-recorded (I didn’t say S-L-I-C-K) music that proves the “volkz” can DO IT! As he notes on th’ liner – “recorded at home on 4 Track”… & if that ain’t D.I.Y., Zzaj’ll eat his shorts! A VERY interesting blend of 60’s folk & “stratocast” guitarz, phsychedelic in tone, virtually EVERYthing done by Dan himself. Production this time ’round is T-O-P-S! If yer’ HIDEBOUND improv, in th’ sense of needin’ s-p-a-r-s-e music, some o’ Dan’s other tapes can provide that as well; in FACT, this tape HAS a sense of the ethereal that Dan’s often SO good at conveying, tho’ it has stronger leanings toward the “folk” side on this outing! Very pleasant ride & comes STRONGLY recommended from Zzaj! Contact (like, NOW, man) at 7806 S. KILPATRICK CHICAGO IL 60652 Rotcod Zzaj

Jin Hi Kim: KOMUNGO ‘ROUND THE WORLD – How apt a title. This young komungo VIRTUOSO has played on th’ four-corners it seems like. Having missed MY chance to meet her, due to E-X-T-R-E-M-E holiday traffic here in Korea, I must enjoy her affinity for natural rhythm and clear tones on this beautiful instrument via tape. Not that this is a BAD experience, either. Just that I prefer to actually MEET th’ players, since they’re so few & far betwixt here in Korea (tho’ even THAT is changing these days; ‘ad an “L” of a show over here of Korean jazz players this year). The music is more upbeat than I’ve heard from her on previously reviewed CD’s, etc., heck th’ J-SHEET is even “up”. Of course, I’m talkin’ about s-p-i-r-i-t, not the actual pace. This is VERY interesting, though, first time I’ve heard a sitar with a komungo. There were 3 other pieces, each with an instrument from a different country – certainly lends credence to th’ title, don’cha’ know? Clean recording, very relaxing and beautiful music. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! My only “complaint” is that th’ j-sheet liner notes were printed too small to read; still, don’t let that be a detractor – it’s the MUSIC that counts! Contact NO WORLD IMPROVISATIONS, 261 Grovers Avenue, Black Rock, CT 06605-3452, or call at 203-367-9061. You can even FAX to 203-367-7917 Rotcod Zzaj

Keith Nicolay: PRANDIAL TEST – It was about 4 issues ago, I believe (maybe only three) that this gent sent a CD that I gave an absoLUTE RAVE review to; an improvisor’s DREAM! That, being a CD, was rather tightly produced… this, being a “test” tape, is much more “homey”, improv by th’ fire, if yer’ will! I know the best improvs I’ve ever been in th’ middle of usually had such a sense… & this tape dinna’ let yer’ DOWN – if yer’ IN to improv, get hold of these people right NOW! Swirling, sorta’ “flutey”, pretty cleanly recorded for a tape. For those of you who “do” improv (not just talk/write about it), this is what I like to call “ride” improv – meaning it’s airy, spaceship-like & most assuredly trekkin’ yer’ thru’ th’ ETHER! On th’ other hand, that don’t mean simply scratchin’ sticks & gitar pluckin’, either – there’s sum HEAVY sax & synth on here as well! Comparisons are available, but why BOTHER – these volkz have their OWN sound – & if YOU like improv (nearly as much as I do) – yer’ gonna’ want to get ON this train… MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by Zzaj. Contact at 1953 65TH, BROOKLYN, NY 11204 Rotcod Zzaj

FORGOTTEN SOUL – Whooptee-good-gawd-a-mighty, putcher’ mo’cycle BOOTZ on, boyz&gurlz! ‘nother offa’ th’ NETZ! All yew metalheadz out there, cry yer’ EYEZ out if ya’ ain’t GOT this CD! Straight-ahead rockin’, from th’ GUT, no mercy fer’ those that can’t ROCK, ‘cept mebbe’ on the honeysweet ballad, “Julianne”! With toonz like “No Balls, No Glory”, seemz like yer’d get the IDEA pretty darn QUIK, eh? Tell yer’ what, there’s a REAL good way ta’ guage if a group is only a PRETENDER to the throne – I just play it fo’ MZ. Zzaj (who’s 10 yearz younger than yer’ friendly reviewer)… she LOVED it! Sed “you can play ANYthang yer’ get from these boyz!” (they’re promisin’ a new CD release in ’95, tentatively titled “Rhythm Dancer” – make sure yer’ send it HERE fo’ review, ok guyz?) SCORCHIN’ gitarz, gitarz, gitarz, drumz that’ll kick yer’ TAIL & some lyricz I could underSTAND! Recording/production is MIGHTY crisp. Now, I know there’s prob’ly (more’n) a few who’re sittin’ out there readin’ this & sayin’ “how kin’ HE be a good judge of this METAL?” Well, if ya’ ain’t ridden the milez&milez o’ Harley (& Indian) roadz (lined with broken bottles o’ JD & burnt-out roaches) THIS boy ‘az, just shut up & GET this! One other point deserves to be made… musical genre makes little DIFF to the Zzaj – the REAL point is if th’ playerz FEEL what they’re doin’… no DOUBT these boyz are fo’ R-E-A-L. Reach out & TOUCH ’em at POB 6821, Clearwater, FL 34618-6821 (*or* e-mail ’em at , if yer’ in a HURRY fer’ yer’ phix). DO IT – NOW! Rotcod Zzaj

…now, HERE are the BRAND-NEW reviews in from down Houston-way… our netfriend Henry Schneider (a totally NEAT guy to get in TOUCH with, eh?……) can turn you on to MANY aspects of th’ D.I.Y./home-tape scene! We (all) appreciate his contributions to “I.N.” & look FORward each MONTH to his latest batch of reviews… those on e-mail should SEND him a short message – you know, say “THANKS, Henry”! Well, here we go with the latest, hot-off-the-presses batch of his observations…

Enterphase PHASE ONE (AD14) CD: 64:07 Its been a long 3 years since Fred Becker’s first solo CD release Inner, Stellar. I’ve been looking for and expecting a new release from him for quite some time. Now we can rejoice. For his second CD release Fred teamed up with Jeff Filbert to record this Do-It-Yourself collaboration of electronic space music. While on a trip to Florida 2 1/2 years ago to witness a Space Shuttle launch, Fred spent a day visiting and jamming with Jeff. Luckily for us Jeff recorded the session directly to his cassette recorder. Over the intervening years Fred and Jeff worked with David Wright to extract the best pieces, remove the tape hiss, and master the tracks to a DAT and thus to the CD. David Wright cleaned the sound up so well that you would never have guessed that the original recording method was analog! Phase One is a far cry from Fred’s Inner, Stellar. Whereas Fred’s first release recalled the ambient and sequenced teutonic electronics of the seventies, Phase One is definitely nineties space music. Fred is quite a talented musician, his improvised work always sounds as if he scored it. I know from recording with Fred several years ago, his approach is to program a sequence, let it run, and then improvize over the top. The same is true with Phase One and Jeff is clearly able to musically complement Fred’s thoughts. There are only five tracks on this CD, the longest Time Dilation being 27 minutes. The other four clock in at 10 minutes or less which is the proper length for this music. Time Dilation wears thin chiefly because the simple eight note sequence dominates the music for almost the entire piece. I therefore found it difficult to pay attention to what Fred and Jeff were playing. Overall Phase One is an amazing musical record of two musicians that had never played together before. There is something magical in their improvised cosmic music. It is very relaxing. I much prefer their ambient efforts Altarian Meadow andAndromeda Signal to the heavily sequenced Lunar Vista, Blue Shift, and the above mentioned Time Dilation. Since Phase One is an improvised album it is not derivative of any particular electronic style. It stands on its own merits while at the same time you can hear the influences of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, and Cluster. If you are looking for a refreshing change of space you owe it to yourself to listen to Phase One. It certainly transcends the orchestrated efforts of a lot of contemporary space music artists. [Fred Becker, Mach 25 Music, P. O. Box 26331, Indianapolis, Indiana 46226 or Jeff Filbert, JSF Productions, 839 A Angela Avenue, Rockledge, Florida 32955] – Henry Schneider – November 1994

Lunar Chateau LUNAR CHATEAU (Musea FGBG 4117.AR) CD: 58:27 Lunar Chateau is a new band from the United States formed by the Sekulovich brothers, Novak (keyboards and vocals), Paul (bass guitar and lead vocals), and Milo (drums). Based on this information you might jump to the conclusion that Lunar Chateau would be an ELP clone. Not! Even though you can hear Keith Emerson’s influence on the two instrumentals The Thrust and Metropolis the remaining music has closer ties to Camel and the Italian progressives. Paul’s mellow tenor, a mixture of Richard Sinclair and Jon Anderson, takes you on a very pleasant musical journey. The songs are well crafted and loaded with those little hooks that keep the music and lyrics running through your mind hours and even days later. The music itself is quite lyrical and complex. The best moments are Novak’s beautiful piano solos. Interestingly enough Milo’s understated druming in no way prepares you for the machine gun pyrotechnics on his 3 minute drum solo piece Fearless. Lunar Chateau is a very well executed album and is one of the best of Musea’s contemporary releases. It certainly proves the United States is capable of producing quality neo-progressive music. By all means give Lunar Chateau a spin on your player. [Musea, 68 La Tinchotte 57117 Retonfey, FRANCE] – Henry Schneider – November 1994

Tibet TIBET (Musea FGBG 4115.AR) CD: 39:09 Tibet is another one of Musea’s reissues of obscure seventies bands. Unfortunately for Musea the master tapes were lost over the past 15 years. They had to remaster the CD from a vinyl copy using state of the art equipment to remove the surface noise. It baffles me why Musea went to this expense to reissue this mediocre album by this derivative German band. The best things about this reissue are Musea’s trademarked extensive liner notes, band history, lyrics, and outstanding artwork. The music is a poor imitation of Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound and the vocals are extremely annoying. Only three of the seven songs rise above the ooze but not enough to make it worthwhile for you to invest your hard earned money. [Musea, 68 La Tinchotte 57117 Retonfey, FRANCE] – Henry Schneider – November 1994

The Cool Sense: “sensible” – Frum th’ heart o’ KKUP country (Don Campau’s “No Pigeonholes” D.I.Y. tape show, remember) komz this WAY-cool (phun intended) demo… billed as “alternative” (gawd, doncha’ get TIRED?), the group goes a step or three BEYOND that worn-out cliche… if you like U2, Rush, etc., you’ll have sum idea. Strong bass lines contribute a foundation for instrumental and lyrical work that’s QUITE pleasant to listen to. Once again, the true “judge” of workz like this is Mz. Zzaj – since yerztruly is too far towards the “edge of th’ jade”, or sumthin’ like such, eh? She sed “I really LIKE it”. My second (& now third) listens mean that while it’s a bit “poppy”, it’s VERY listenable (else I’d have not gone past spin 1). Really NICE music, strong lyrically, EXCELLENT backing percussion – an all-round NEAT tape that’d be FINE fer’ th’ road or th’ plane. Contact 6916 Dartmoor Way, San Jose, CA 95129 Rotcod Zzaj

Ritual: I GIVE – This must be some kinda’ SIGN, volkz! Two absoLUTEly H-O-T power-rockin’ groups in a WEEK! & th’ neatest thang (for me, ennyway) is that they came thru th’ NETZ! Of course, that (even fer’ THIS ol’ netrover) don’t generate even HALF th’ excitement that RITUAL does… liner sez’ “centers on the… …darker side of life.” Well, they do it with th’ phroggin’ P-O-W-E-R behind ’em. It just don’t normally SMOKE like this, peeples! Now, th’ Zzaj’s been up&down th’ “krank” trail once or twice befo’, quite a few times in fact… but, these boyz’re movin’ at LIGHT speed. The most impressive part o’ this ride is the RUSH of POWER their gitarz push/pull yew thru! The linerz also sed Ritual is “ready to unleash it’s brand of frenzic music unto the world”… question is – is th’ world (THIS ‘un, ennyway) READY for ’em? “Indie” is a catchphrase too often a cliche fer’ players that ‘aven’t th PHOGGIEST of what “music” izallabout… well, Sean Harley, Jason Collis, Joel LaBrosse & Daryl Kiviaho surely DO – to th’ point where THIS tape getz th’ Zzaj PICK of this ish fer’ SHEER ENERGY! Superb – so fine, you NEED to contact them TODAY at 1301 Osborne Ave., Cornwall, Ontario, Canada K61 1K3 (*or* via landline at (613)933-3876 – better YET, if yer’ got connexions, e-mail to ) Rotcod Zzaj

Dean Laabs/Jeff Song: INVISIBLE MANIAC – You who read “I.N.” as a ‘habit’ will know that I fell in love with the musics created by Jeff Song from the first CD that arrived, IN VIVO (with Matt Turner, who joins Laabs/Song on this effort, along with John Mettam on percussion and Dan Stein, who joins/fills in with/behind Matt on keyboards). The earlier efforts were less “tradtoon” oriented than this “Maniac” effort, incorporated more of Jeff’s kay-a-gum, in the “eastern” mode. This round feels like a clean NYC or SF “night out on th’ town”; yer’ know wot I mean, funk&smoky rooms ‘n all? Laabs trumpet is a jazz “scorcher”, but not strictly in the tradsense. In fact (as I’ve often sed before & surely will again), there’s LITTLE traditional about these original toonz/arrangements. IOW, yer’ WON’T be bored. While not “stuck” in any “tradrutz”, their playing is tight as a camel’s arse & they know RIGHT where they’re GOING. A quite UNIQUE twist is Jeff’s FINE bass guitar this time around! S-T-R-O-N-G is th’ best word! Some o’ Dean’s hornlickz put me back about 30 years ago, listening to way-early Freddie Hubbard or Lee Morgan… new & fresh, these ladz’re gonna’ TAKE th’ jazz world to TASK & kick th’ demons’ butt! EVERYONE ramz&jamz right along together, a SURE sign that itz not just “playin’ lickz”, but a spiritual commune that’s taking place here – one YOU’LL be privileged to join in when you order this beautiful CD from Asian Improv Records, 1433 Grant St., Berkeley, CA 94703-1109 (*or* phone ’em at 510-527-3415) Rotcod Zzaj (ed: Jeff asked me to point out that my earlier reviews may have painted an improper picture of his musics as being “korean”… he’s a “full-blown” American who has LEARNED the kay-a-gum and, more importantly, learned how to incorporate it BEAUTIFULLY with other forms… sorry for any “misconceptions” I may have sponsored, people! Zzaj)

Pure: PURE@FUNALIA – This is th’ first CD that came off a STAK in from the “Laurie Mercer Co.”, a distributor from Vancouver, British Columbia (be lookin’ for a TON o’ new stuph from their direction, there’s sum H-O-T stuph in this stak o’ five!) Back to th’ music at hand… PURE is five doods with a UNIQUE sound – not just that their playin’ is straight-ahead & kickbutt (which it IS). There’s a variance of styles blended with some significant musical TALENT (something often RARE with rock/metal groups, methinks). I really enjoy their lyrical bent as well, most ESPECIALLY on “Spiritual Pollution”. There are S-T-R-O-N-G supporting basslines, & some real P-O-W-E-R in the guitars. Th’ promo folder indicated a remark attributed to one Kim Fowley that PURE would soon be the next Guns&Roses. Even BETTER, methinks! Stylistically, it’s true, they approach things in that musical light – BUT, what I like MOST about this group is that you can FEEL their intimacy with that which they rock about! In FACT, don’t just “lump” these gents in there with th’ “resta’ th’ rockerz” – they DESERVE ter’ be listened to – I really enJOYed this! There was only ONE drawback in the experience for me – th’ CD liner notes are so durned small that if I hadn’t had the promo flyer, I’d have known LITTLE about their tunes. This is a FINE power-rock group that MERITS more’n one or two spins on yer’ CD. H-O-T, people. Contact Wrong Stuff Records, POB 3243, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 3Y4, Canada (*or* inquire to Laurie Mercer, at ) BTW, this is MOST HIGHLY recommended as a pleasurable rock EXPERIENCE by Zzaj!! R. Zzaj

Ken Clinger: KC44/KCM15 – This lil’ tape came in as a result of a flyer I’d put up on/in Bryan Baker’s D.I.Y. list, soliciting new material. This is the FIRST time I’ve really LISTENED to Ken’s work… in a word? STUNNING! In his own words, “except for any vocals (the KC side has Ken doing some beautiful spoken-word songs over almost “classical” pieces), everything is done with MIDI sequencing”. There are stretches on the vocal side (the KCM side is strictly instrumental) where I’m reminded of the Moody Blues, stylistically, BUT – this is PURE Ken. Even covers (Crimson & Clover is a familiar one, eh? In fact, it’s a song that I detested when it originally hit th’ ‘waves… Ken’s version is G-R-E-A-T!), most pleasantly done. I’m tellin’ you people, this is NOT yer’ “normal” MIDI-driven hodgepodge. Recording quality is SUPERB, arrangements crisp & clean, with NO junk, but a unique talent-driven musical form that will attract you in the immediate! One final note, again in Ken’s own words… “my tapes are for trade only. Tho’ I prefer that whoever I trade with sends their own material, any non-commercial material is fine for those who don’t have any, or are between projects.” Ken is a MASTER – contact at 311 Stratford Ave., # 2, Pittsburgh, PA 15232-1108 This is MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – in fact, I can’t stress that ENOUGH! Get in touch – TODAY! Rotcod Zzaj

Rollins/Ralfete/Nicolay: IMPROV # 2/3 – If you read “I.N.” on a “regular” basis, you’ll prob’ly remember a CD reviewed a couple issues back from a group called POST PRANDIALS – Kieth Nicolay is a linchpin in that group, & he’s since sent me several notable examples of his forays into “out there” improv. Bein’ th’ laggard I am (‘specially when these BOSS guyz ‘spect me to actually WORK…), it’s taken a bit to get ’round to his submissions. This tape is improv recorded the way improv is S’POSED ter’ be (turn th’ sucker ON & let ‘er RIP). Electric/acoustic guitars, live drums, strong horns lead you on a dance to oblivia. Quite well-recorded for a “home” generated effort, tho’ the “lows” are a bit too low at times… other’n that, though, the music is in th’ “wanderment” zone that all improvisors “seek” – & only sometimes find. Players are solidly together, but it doesn’t turn in to the “mush” that some live sessions can be… instruments are clear and distinctive, full of expression and wide ALIVE! In fact, as I continue listening to this – I’m EXCITED about it! If you like solid, well-rounded improvisation – THIS is th’ TICKET! Contact at 1953 65TH, BROOKLYN, NY, 11204 Rotcod Zzaj

Mr Right/Mr Wrong: ONE DOWN AND TWO TO GO – In from Laurie Mercer’s Wrong Stuff Records, this is a KICKBUTT CD! Almost a “comp”, it’s got NOMEANSNO, The Hanson Brothers, Mr Wrong & Swell Productions playin’ their collective arse off! Rockin’ from th’ front ter’ th’ finish, this AIN’T no improv. IF yer’ can’t TAKE power-rock, you’ll shy away from this; but if yer’ inclined to break AWAY from yer’ lil’ improv-oriented SHELL e’ery once in a bloomoon – this is what to DO it with! Rollin’ on down th’ phroggin’ ROAD, people, this is th’ stuff that invades th’ dreamz o’ Harley riders th’ world OVER! The 15 trax on here run the gamut from “sensitive” acoustic guitarz to BTO-like screamers that’ll have you beggin’ fo’ MO’… with titles like “Real Love” & “Canada is Pissed”, yer’ get th’ idea, eh? Well-produced & clean as a whistle, this is a most pleasant diversion for an hour or so… NO throwaways! Got it? GET it! Contact Wrong Stuff Records, POB 3243, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 3Y4, Canada (*or* inquire to Laurie Mercer, at )

Dan Susnara: CLOAK OF DECEPTION, b/w RECLUSE – A very short entry from Dan (yer’ KNOW I likes th’ LONG tapes, yoh?), with a couple of really pretty toonz thereon! Singles just aren’t my fave format – I like to get a better “feel” for the artist – OTOH, I’m sure these serve DJ’s a lot better; or, if YOU just want a “taste”, sort of an “intro” kind of thing, this is perfect for that! Musically, the perfection is STILL at the forefront. His blend of lyrical excellence and surreal “60’s”-type psychedelia is an enchantment you won’t want to miss – these two toonz? In a word, “lilting”. In a world of crud, Susnara’s vision stands out as a beacon for healthy & good! Dan just sent his ’94 catalog, & it’s JAMMED to th’ GILLS with other longer efforts that will make for a fuller listen. The main attraction (for this reviewer) in Dan’s music is his apparent love of what he’s doing – a D.I.Y.’ers! Get in touch for this single & many OTHER fine productions at the address listed (earlier review) for Dan’s “Mumble Mumble” music! Rotcod Zzaj

Poetry – WIND – This one came to me (prob’ly) coz’ it had a short review (by our (young ol’ friend Joan Payne Kincaid) of “I.N.” in it. I’ll say it right NOW – if yer’ in to poetry, THIS will be your cup o’… on the scene for 24 years, this 3/4-sized softcover is just CHOCK full o’ good poetry and short fiction. Very little editorializing, so all you get is what you WANTED when you bought in to it. For those who are submitting, poem length seems to be about 30 lines or less, sometimes just slightly more. The fiction got (at the max, in this issue, anyway) about 15 pages, so there’s PLENTY of room to stretch out. Plenty of “names” (most notable for me was Lyn Lyfshin), but plenty of “new” (to me, anyway) writers, too. Clocks in at just over 100 pages, very little advertising to detract. This is GOOD poetry – if your first love is writing or reading, you’ll WANT to get an issue of WIND! This comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from Zzaj. Contact at POB 24548, Lexington, KY 40524 Rotcod Zzaj

Sam Garforth: SELF-TITLED – Demo in from Sam, first time th’ Zzaj has heard ‘im! Promo flyer makes mention of a lot of musical/artistic “background”, rather interesting read, actually. The music? Synthotech, on the “poppy” side, not bad at all. Since it’s a demo, there’s only 4 cutz, not a WHOLE panorama… the “feeling” is there, but OTOH, th’ drum mo-chine detractz a bit for me. I know others have sed th’ same of some of my earlier works, too… here’s a “whooshin'” gitar-jangle thingie that I can dig on! The third cut, “Could It Be Magic”, is cool enuff & I enJOY his gitarz! Expect we’ll hear more from Sam before long. My only real complaint is that (even tho’ it’s just a “demo”), I’d feel a lot more comfortable if it filled one whole side. Certainly worth a stamp or two for a contact. Touch base with Sam at 19 Western Road, Winchester, Hants S022 5AH Rotcod Zzaj

Bashful Habits: tubby – Here’s a VERY interesting demo/release tape (their second, if I’m readin’ th’ promo sheet right)… a Minneapolis-based band with (apparently) decidedly “midwest” influences (since most of their performances have been in Minnesota & Wisconson), the music has real G-U-T-S! Coolest trak (fer’ th’ Zzajman, ennyway), wuz “Hang Around”, bouncy rock with clean gitarz, straight-ahead drummin’ & clear/to-th’-point vox! Though this trip isn’t xactly “in-yer-face”, there’s an underlying sense of ‘flippant’ that will enchant any with th’ true “rebel” spirit. Stephen Young (vox/gitarz), Brian Caqelin (guitar), Lucas Mueller (percz) & David Meier (bass) aren’t just phroggin’ ’round ‘ere, volkz! This is indie rock that’ll MAKE yer’ lissen’, if yer’ know wotImean! I truly enJOYed this, & will GLADLY look for more o’ their material ter’ come bouncin’ thru th’ mailslot! RECOMMENDED! Contact at POB 13070, Minneapolis, MN 55414 Rotcod Zzaj

Relache: OUTCOME INEVITABLE – & now, here’s a BRAND-NEW release on CD from O.O. Discs, Joseph Celli’s wonderful little label! As with many of the artists on O.O., this is a first listen for me, which makes it all the MORE lovely! Those who’ve been with “I.N.” through the last year will remember that in addition to Celli’s work with world-renowned kay-a-gum player Jin-Hi Kim, I’ve had occasion to review some of the BEST music coming out today – on the O.O. label! They’ve scored AGAIN, let me tell YOU, with this landmark 20th century “new” music. I don’t particularly care for that label, but whether I like it or not, this IS new… ensemble work of compositions by Robert Ashley, Lois V Vierk, Eleanor Hovda and Fred Woi-han Ho, you just can’t lump it in with any other category. For those readers whose first love is the unique, rest assured… you will LOVE this! The “outcome”, in this ‘zine anyway, is another “pick” – the best “new music” entry for this issue. The most striking piece for this reviewer is the first (and title) cut, composed by Robert Ashley. One of the “loneliest” oboes I’ve EVER listened to, but an astounding piece in th’ overall, very moving – unless yer’ a ROCK, it will move YOU, too! If you don’t buy ANY other CD this year, people, GET THIS! MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Contact at 251 GROVERS AVE., BLACK ROCK, CT., 06605-3452 Rotcod Zzaj

Generation XL: IN LOVE WITH LISA SUCKDOG – Well, ‘nother “first” fo’ Zzaj Productions… heard ’bout her, read ’bout her & now get to hear her do th’ INTRO to a comp of many of her songs. The tape was compiled by Tony R. Boies, for NUT music, & has folks we’ve reviewed quite a few times doin’ “covers”, if you will. Broca’s Area, Space Ocean & a coupla’ others ‘ave all been in these pages priorly. Lot o’ other groupz I’ve not listened to before, like The Micronauts, Kill The Hippies, Dizzy & Topless (of which Boies is a member). Nothing terribly remarkable on here, I get the feeling that her musics are much more interesting in the “performance” mode than on tape – ‘specially as her intro said she did “a lot of them naked”. The first piece, by Broca’s Area (Beasts of the Night Gather Together) was more musically inclined than most of the others. Now, I’ll take that back – “Chicago”, by Dizzy & Topless (end of side 1), has VERY nice acoustic guitars & vox! Overall a quite odd portrait of an odd cultural quirk, I’d say, side 2 a lil’ spacier than th’ other… it’s not somethin’ I’d subject MY mother to, but then, there’s LOTS o’ things me’ mum wouldn’t appreciate. Some would, I’m sure. OK, but not th’ best I’ve e’er heard! If you’ve not heard Lisa & just want to get a sampling of what/where she’s comin’ from, this is worth the stamp… if yer’ more into the “musical” end of things, go somewhere other than POB 2602, Winchester, VA 22604. Rotcod Zzaj

Dizzy and Topless: HURRAH – Now, THIS is interesting… came from Tony Boies, a.k.a. Topless… Dizzy is one Bryan Richardson… these two young ‘uns sorta’ sneak up on yer’ in a ’90’s version of Art & Paul… some REALLY nice acoustic gitarz start it off, makin’ yer’ think yer’ bein’ transported to hookah-land; then a kickin’/twangin’ electrik intrudes on yer’ visions o’ Donovanesque (as in Mellow Yellow, fer’ those who kin’ remember THAT), in a MOST humorous mode. Kind of a mixed bag here, little bit of atmospherics & humour stirred together with a pleasant enough dose of “attitude”. D.I.Y. with “lip”, know wot’ I mean? If yer’ been gettin’ jus’ TOO serious ’bout yer’ music lately, can’t stop frettin’ over the “mystery” of them chordal “movements”, take a BREAK from it all – & listen’ to D&T… hometaper answer to MTV’s B&B? I got a real kick out of these toonz… a FUN tape that’s RECOMMENDED! Contact at 729 Vermont St., No. 3, Arlington, VA 22203 Rotcod Zzaj

Post Prandials: LIVE AT THE BUNKER You’ve seen this group before – question is, for you R-E-A-L improvfreakz ennyway – have you HEARD ’em yet? Too many players to name on this gig… looks like th’ whole HOUSE joined in on this ‘un! This issue seems to have gotten a lot more “rock/pop” oriented stuff in it – which is just FINE, we’re not genre-restrictive – but, this tape takes us BACK to th’ Zzajroots, lemme’ tell YOU! Clean and lean improvisation, guitars laced with synth, vox, & other delicacies too tasty to enumerate. As I tol’ “I.N.” friend Kieth, t’would make ALLA’ th’ wierdos o’ th’ world salivate, wishin’ they coulda’ been THERE! There are actually 8 players on here, & anyone who has played in such a forum knows that largeness like that can make for straight pandemonium, no separation, if the players can’t “feel” each other out pretty well… in my experience, it has to be a bit like “mind reading”. Amazingly enough, this experience transcends that, in great part due to Nicolay’s (almost) classical-sounding guitar leads. Can’t say ENOUGH about this one folks… if you don’t get another improv tape this year, GET THIS! Kieth does a LOT of trading, not sure what his policy on “cash” sales & such is, you’ll have to ASK him, at Nicolay, 2E, 1953 65th, Brooklyn, NY 11204 By the bye, this one GETS the “improv” PICK for this issue. MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Rotcod Zzaj

Standard Deviation: PLAY IT SAFE: Here’s ‘notha kicka’, volkz! Rochester must be burnin’ an “‘luvva” lot more than when I wuz growin’ up just south o’ Jamestown! Power gitarz against drumz that’ll BLOW yer’ away! First listen deemed it pretty “standard” (howzat fer’ stickin’ wi’ th’ title?), but then th’ ‘deviation’ they’re talkin’ ’bout sneakz up on yer’ … this is the third spin – which sez somethin’ about how good it is… if it’s boring, I never get PAST th’ second go-round! Lotta’ attitude in these young fellers’ lickz… with toon titles like “Cannot Make Me What I’m Not” & “Angry American”, I’m sure yer’ know what I’m speakin’ of, eh? The recording is sharp as a razor, lead solos above average & a S-T-R-O-N-G bass jammin’ right DOWN there! Fine all-round rock&roll, with it’s own style, no cheese on here at all! Break away from th’ random for a bit, krank this sucker UP & cruise on down… ya’ KNOW? RECOMMENDED, people! Contact at 180 Coolidge Road, Rochester, New York 14622 or via e-mail at  Do it NOW! Rotcod Zzaj

Catharsis: SELF-TITLED – In from uno’s where (aw, it DOES ‘ave an address, but NO note, j-sheet with no info), ‘s a shame – ‘coz this music is well-recorded, lyricially quite pleasant & an all-round fine example of (what I assume to be) home-studio work, maybe an 8-trak! Floating bass lurkz & sneakz under a Robin Trower style lead gitar, sort of a heavy-duty folk-rock style. Whoever they are, they KNOW what they’re doing! Side two of this demo (there’s only 2 pieces on side 1, with a big G-A- P to get to the second side) moves in to a bit “harder” turf, with “9.7.9” & “Iridescence”, both very sixties/seventies orientation… I do INDEED like it! Send MORE, Catharsis, ‘hoever & wherever yer’ are! & NEXT time, fill up at LEAST one whole side… give us some info on the j-sheet… & mebbe’ a note that sez’ hi, or wotever’n’l! Thankfully, there was an address on th’ envelope. If yer’ at ALL in to clean & well-recorded psychedelic-style folk/power oriented rock, yer’ OTTA’ give ’em a note at Bo 151, Kleefeld, MB, ROA, OVO RECOMMENDED (& IF yer’ get some INFO on ’em when yer’ contact them, please PLEASE send sum to Zzaj, eh?) Rotcod Zzaj

Friction: LEFT ON NOYES ST – How interesting… a tape from a band that’s already “expired” . The bio sez they died sometime in December (th’ BAND, not Bernd, Dave, Liz & Sahi) due to th’ “usual musical differences”. Wotta’ bummer! Tape is still available, with 12 clean kutz, “alternative rock” to th’ (now dead) core! Th’ vox on here SHINE, nice support stuff with th’ bass & gitarz. Strong lyrical lines that are quite intelligible. “Don’t Have a Clue” stuck out as quite enjoyable; so did “The Dinosaur Song”. Maybe imagine a ’90’s “electric, eclectic Peter, Paul & Mary”… that otta’ give you an idea. Surely worth th’ price of a stamp – even if th’ barstards DID raise it again – to 9008 Fairview Road, Silver Spring, MD, 20910 (or via e-mail to doug ( ) or bernd ( )

David Childers & the Mount Holly Hellcats: GODZILLA! HE GONE BROKE OUT – & if yer’ think THAT’S a mouthful, wait’ll th’ lyrical adventurism settles in on ye’… har! har! This CD came on a referral from one David Christensen (th’ mighty INTERNET ‘z struck again, eh?). David sed’ “there is a nice folk, acoustic rock/blues thing happening these days.” No doubt after only the first spin that the “Hellcats” are a large part o’ the reason WHY there’s nice things happenin’. Gawd, this brings back mem’ries… sittin’, sippin’ (hot apple juice), listnenin’ live to the quality strummin’ of a class picker like Bryan Bowers, or a red-hot tape o’ David Bromberg. Don’t read that wrong, David & his lead git-fiddle player Irwin Bostian come across VERY clearly as their OWN players (nice flic of ’em in the promo package), especially on the cutting-edge lyrics Childers layz on ya’! We don’t get a whole lot of folk/rock/blues in here & what we have listened to in the last 6 months comes NOWHERE near the quality of this ‘un! Sweet, sweet music… balance is the word that comes to mind in th’ immediate. This gets th’ “folk” PICK for this issue! I’m tellin’ ya’ people, this IS “people” music! I want MORE! Comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from Zzaj! Contact at Single Wing Records, POB 845, Mt. Holly, N.C. 28120

Twisted Helices: TWISTED DEMO – ‘nother net-related input. Ram Samudrala stands as an example of a “twisted” one-man band. Vox, guitarz, programs… Ram sez he likes to make “self-indulgent” music & “mix and match between genres”. Ergo, “Twisted Helices”. Not b-a-d, volkz! His guitar work is pretty clean… vox not terribly bad, just a bit muddled, probably intended to be a part of the “mix & match” he alludes to. The drumz are just a bit too “tick-tick” for my taste, but yer’ can’t have everything, I reckon! The most redeeming feature of “Twisted” is that it’s apparent Ram is having a GREAT time with his music, & he certainly holds up his end of the D.I.Y. ethic (wotever’n’l THAT is)! Good fer’ a quik spin! Side 2 is better/best! He’s got a WWW home page, & that’s probably the best way to contact him – http://www.wam.umd.du/~ram/th , or  e-mail to  IF alla’ that fails fer’ some reason, his snail is 9600 Gudelsky Drive, Rockville, MD., 20850

Hit Me: HIT ME – Fer’ clean funk’n FUN, this lil’ demo is IT! Cat’s meow & alla’ dat’, just a really C-U-T-E lil’ selection o’ jumpin’ cutz! If (like me) yer’ can remember WAY back to th’ mid-70’s, sorta’ between th’ “Motown Sound” stuph & th’ “burn-it-down” mindset bein’ screamed by th’ “Last Poets”, this’ll fall right ‘tween & ‘twixt. If you can also remember “Wattstax”, wherein one pink-suited Rufus Thomas got up & did strange thangs wi’ his “Funky Chicken” – you know, just havin’ FUN, then you’ll have an inkling. Lyrically, Derek Sivers & crew are in fine form, most especially on “Karaoke Promises”, bringing back to mind (more than) a few o’ th’ young foxes I’ve met over here in th’ Karaokes! Lotza’ promise, but “it” never HAPPENS! This one comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, if yer’ into a nostalgic (but wi’ a ’90’s feel) trip (B.R., yer’ know, “before rap”) back to when phunk sprang forth from th’ well & wuz G-O-O-D! Contact at Bizy Backson Music, POB 4147, New York, NY 10185-4147, or via e-mail at

Pounce International: DEMO TAPE – Little 5 or 6 cut demo in from Columbus, Ohio. This is another one from the INTERNET connexions “I.N.” is so priveleged to have. Sort of instrumental dance trax, with a bit of “ambient” thrown in, it’s a pleasant listen, mostly electronic (which may turn some off, but doesn’t need to). Electronic “improv”, if you will, there’s a “good” feeling established here that ‘reached’ me as a listener. The only drawback is the demo format leaves a big “blank” on side one… next time, at LEAST fill up side one, ok? This will become a full-length CD in the spring sometime. Heavily synth-laden, with clear separation & clean recording. Certainly worth a stamp or an e-mail to inquire, to POB 164171, Columbus, Ohio 43216-4171, or e-mail to

D.I.Y. News

There’s a WWW page I think some of you with access may want to check out, like SOON! Try for Dixon Christey’s DIGI-ZINE. He’s got a BUNCH of projects planned & is just gettin’ off the ground! In fact, he’s gonna’ help th’ Zzaj get there, too! It ALREADY looks much more appealing to me than I.U.M.A (for reasons which I’ll not go into here)… tho’ I’m not really IN to predicting things, I’d wager THIS is gonna’ be (by midsummer) one o’ th’ H-O-T-T-E-S-T sites around! If you want to inquire about it a little bit more, contact Dixon via e-mail:  – but, do it SOON, eh?

Issue # 17 of “I.N.” will have a MONSTER interview with our ol’ “I.N.” friend & hometaper extraordinaire, Dan Susnara, of Mumble Mumble music. Keepin’ up our trad of putting you in TOUCH with the people who ARE D.I.Y.!

There’s a SUPER ‘zine out (that Zzaj Productions will soon be in) from Creative Musicians Coalition, called Aftertouch, that MANY of you will want to touch bases with. Focus seems to be on the undiscovered and creative talent out there all OVER the world. Nice bios, perhaps a little more “commercial” emphasis than I’d prefer, but all-in-all, it’s one of the COOLEST little deals I’ve seen in quite sometime. I do wish they were webbed, maybe that’ll come before too long… for now, you can get to them through Compuserve (do a GO CMCNOW), PAN/Delphi (AIMCMC), or via e-mail at either, 71333,, or on Applelink at WALLACE.RON Those D.I.Y. artists who are actually PRODUCING something creative (‘stead of just sittin’ ’round on the netz all day just TALKIN’ ’bout creativity) should inquire – like, NOW, people! This is a HOT link that DESERVES your attention & comes MOST HIGHLY recommended from Zzaj!

If anyone knows how to connect to, please LET US KNOW! It’s a USENET group that I’ve seen ADVERTISED, but the freenet host administrators can’t seem to find it – does ANYONE know? If so, e-mail the answer to me at  The first “correct” response will get a *f-r-e-e* 4-issue (e-mail) subscription to “I.N.”

Speaking of e-mail subz… IF you want to reduce your subscription fee (not to mention, MY postage costs), consider an E-MAIL subscription to IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION! The regular rate for the paper issues is $8.00 for a 4-issue subscription… if you mail me a check for $8.00, you can get the next eight (yeah, 8) issues… of course, you MUST remember to furnish me a VALID e-mail address. Hypesters beware – I’ve got ALL subz logged in my database, & ONLY those who’ve provided me the proper input will GET the ‘zine. &, please help me spread the WORD on this REAL deal, ok? Thanks!


Won’t BE a “rant” this time ’round… thot it might be interestin’ fer’ you to hear “How I Spent My Cmas”, or somethin’ along those lines!

Flight from Taegu to Seoul on th’ 15th o’ December, slightly bogged down after a month o’ hagglin’ with th’ damnable “day job”. Sure there’s a few out there who can relate to THAT mess, eh?

Seoul wasn’t bad this time, security restrictions much lowered from when they had the Olympics. Only had to spend an hour or so & they only lost the seat bookings twice – a record. We finally got it all under control, withOUT ‘avin to bribe anyone (that’s CUSTOM here, but not MINE)! Flight to Portland was quite uneventful, just basically long & JAMMED up! No place to stretch out & I’ve an ‘l’ of a time sleepin’ on planes anymore ‘less I can lay DOWN. Portland on down to Atlanta & then in to the Jacksonville, Florida metro (or whatever’n’l they call it these daze).

On arrival, we found out that the “30 minutes” that had been estimated was more like 2 or 3 hours. It was 100 MILES outta’ Jax, way in the country. That was friends we’d known from Korea, so Kim had someone interesting to talk/visit with. Th’ prearranged “gig” with Eric Hausmann (Spilling Audio tapes) was gonna’ be a bit harder than I thought, just th’ distance involved, yer’ know? This is, like, a Thursday night for arrival, & Eric’s only free day was Saturday… so, only ONE day of rest fer’ th’ wicked Zzaj. Called ‘im up Friday, directions & such & then trundled on over there. RIGHT to ‘is doorstep, I might add. Kim & her friend Ginny came in & met Eric (his lady was at th’ stables) & the cat. Cuppa’ or two, ‘nother hour rappin’, & then RIGHT down on th’ mixer. Eric on gitar & me on Casio. Loopthangs circin’ in th’ back & of a sudden, 1:00 p.m. is about 4:30 or 5:00. Kewl. Break fer’ supper, as Sandy’s home (Eric’s lady), order a pizza that just took TOO long to come (ergo, th’ tape title, Undelivered Pizza), so we went out & got takeout & some espresso. Back to play for another hour or so, & by gawl-ly, we got ALMOST a whole C90! Slept over & took a bus back out to th’ countryside.

23rd, wake up & trudge ‘cross th’ tundra (mebbe’ that otta’ be “swampland”) to fly on up to K’lumbus, Yohio, where me’ sister lives. Did th’ normal Cmas shoppin’ jag (gotta’ pair o’ “Rotcod Zzaj” sunglasses that may come in handy on a future tape cover), spoke with Terry Burke (SET Cassettes) down in Cincy; th’ capper was stoppin’ off (with th’ whole family, Mz. Zzaj, Zzaj Jr. II, & meself) to drop a coupla’ toonz off fer’ John M. Bennett to voiceover fer’ th’ “Pizza” tape.

Wotz’ th’ “moral” o’ this diatribe? Hell, I dunno’, ‘cept to say that IF you wanna’ DO it yerself – it’s withIN reach. Almost all that trip & it’s contacts (& a few that didn’t turn out) were made via th’ INTERNET. There’s NO better way to DO it than via e-mail/internet, volkz! Nappy Yew Hear, eh?

Rotcod Zzaj




The fog is thick

so thick that the falling

snow is obscured,

camouflaged by diffuse clouds.

Descendingfrom the heavens,

they seem to be seeking repose

on the planet below.

The flakes sleep once they land;

each crystal is smashed among

the others, the adults of once

creative children pommelled

into uniformity. They’re nothing

apart from their position

in the whole, a sort of hole.

They no longer raise their voices

in protest; in fact they prostrate

themselves, suppposing that one

voice could never be heard

in such an enourmous crowd.

They submit, resign themselves

to pretend to accept the dictates

of the group. A short while later,

they no longer remember

what it was that struck them

as wrong. Then they no longer

have to pretend to accept

the dictates of the group.

The spring sun rises

and melts them all away.

It’s as though they never existed.

They might as well have never existed.

c Laurie Calhoun


Hot air ballons ascend

while patrons of the bar

descend trying desperately

to escape from their own

fleeting instants of incipient

lucidity. Another scotch

on the rocks suffices to erase

what might have been an idea

from thought. Quickly floats

away any memory of the fact

that one has been bought.

c Laurie Calhoun



No sentimental greeting cards; no slap-

Dash doggerel complaining avante garde–

No vulgar, too abstract or free verse crap!

Refine the finest craft! We know our bard!

No mushy pornographic blatant sex

Political religious fantasy–

No new-age chants, that incantation hex,

Nor stodgy sing-song simple scenery!

No sonnets, haiku, quatrains (maybe fright)

No racist anarchist or fascist bull

Excessive rhyme or meter trashed on sight!

The line length limit is one syllable

No simultaneous submissions–Not!

Yes, previously published poems (if hot)!!

c Timothy Ross Whelan



c Timothy Ross Whelan


The man who plays the horn

slouches at the knees

pushes the length

of his thighs

down slides sways

as he hugs the notes

out of that brass extension

his upper body curves

in an S

shoulders lift

hunker the air

it’s the slinking of his knees

as though he’d slide

his thighs against mine

push my legs open

snake his music into me

the notes jam

stamped with the melody

dip the shoulders dip

upper body arches

pleading for the notes to rise

c Barbara Hoffman

Dance Dance Dance

Music calls me. Dance,

Flute notes flow to my brain.

Violin strings wind through my veins.

Horns explode in my heart.

Drums quiver my hips kissed by rhythm.

I sway in half-light

bend my body around silvery sound.

c Barbara Hoffman



I’m toting ragtime in my jazzman’s bag

smoky blue licorice licks — low-down upright rinky-tink

snappy brass-plated razzamatazz

and boogie-woogie drum beats pulsing deeper than my bones.

I am a one-man-band swaying to the borrowed rhythm

my feet and fingers syncopate the jive of ragtime swing

music that sneaks up on me like prohibition hooch

and sticks like gin-wet tumblers to the surface of my mind

Like lint to the lining of my jazzman’s bag.

c Regina Murray Brault



at the last movement

of Mahler’s ninth Symphony

I hold my hands like a prayer

fingers warm dry papery

one hand pressing

against the other

when was the last time

I held my hands like a prayer

a child at First Holy Communion

in white veil, rosary beads

draped over my hands

now, with indrawn breath

I try to hold the moment of music

that cannot be held

that resonates through my body

escaping earth

fluttering into air

c Barbara Hoffman



Bones are separate

down expressways

overshadowed by skull.

Dark ribbon touches

a million drops of theater.

A hundred eyes unhindered

absorb a stratosphere.

The tongue is the highest

of many snails powered by their senses.

Air finds notes

between turns. Struggles form.

Let them glow.

Each tongue tumbles.

Veins speak compulsively.

c Nathan Whiting



I look. Wynn sees.

It is the first dance

I will remember forever.

We don’t know the rules

but they become present.

We build piano wires low

to sense along.

They tighten.

Her face focuses one mood

and mine moves close.

She is young

to dip years

around pain.

When have we

ever spoken?

c Nathan Whiting


aluminum tin

have toy railroad on

a table

little scissor drive gears

pull engines on

Xed slippers of track

sometimes they

fall off

off the end

splatter on a concrete floor

so realistic

c Peter Layton


nights, days

we talk talk


amount mortared blocks

one on top of another

gravel, grit, between our teeth,

as chinked pumice railroad bed


c Peter Layton



want to dream

want to non-experience

to release whatever it is onto itself

c Eric Sherman


i haven’t got a clue

i’ve got to remember that

i’ve got to remember that i haven’t got a clue

c Eric Sherman




was not

meant to be


without meaning


it is open

beaconing you to come

and fill in

its pleasures.

c gabriella david



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