Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 2

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(Winter 1991)


Well, the news isn’t ALL as bad as Bush & the boys would have you believe… despite their antics of power & control in the middle east (how in ‘l kin’ ANY W.A.S.P. portend to be the ‘saviour’ of the East, anyway?) & the total wreck they’ve made of the economy; there ARE some encouraging signs!  Not least among them was issue # 7 of GAJOOB arriving, with strong indications that # 8 would follow in a VERY short time!  # 7 was just JAM-PACKED with reviews, GREAT letters section, & literally 100’s of reviews.  For any/all wh’ve never had the pleasure of reading this mag, GET IT!  Contact Bryan Baker, POB 3201, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84100.  This is the FINEST tape magazine going right now!

The latest flyer from Hal at Electronic Cottage sez that the next issue (March, 1992) will return to REVIEWS, absent since issue # 2.  From Hal’s previous reviews, I can tell you, they’ll be SUPER!  Many of us who’ve been with Hal since he started have been bemoaning the absence of the reviews for quite some time.  What MORE could a home-taper ask for?  EC always seems to have a new slant in every new issue as well; always SOME kind of a nice surprise.  For subscription information, contact Hal at Electronic Cottage, POB 140368, Gainseville, FL., 32614-0368 USA.  All you EC vets; change yer’ databases right away; it’s a NEW ADDRESS!!!


Since the ‘fall’ issue of I.N., yer’ friendly editor has been actively expanding the tape library of hiz’ alter-ego, ROTCOD ZZAJ.  Newest releases are:

CRITICAL MASS – Red-hot collab with Mark Kissinger


FRACTURED FAIRY TALES – Poetry/music madness with ‘Poetry Devils’ Robert Winson and a guest shot by Artemis ab ZZAJ (my son!)


DANGEROUS REVISIONS – New directions in concert with Harlan Mark Vale, from the majickland of Olywa, one of the Northwest’s true masters.


Of course, these are in addition to the other 22 ZZAJ tapes.


Due to increased postage costs, listings of my tapes can no longer be sent for free; I’ll be GLAD to correspond with you, but the catalog will required at LEAST two $.29 stamps; my lady is (rightfully so, I think) severely protestin’ my generosity, & when correspondents don’t even THINK about an S.A.S.E., I think I can see why!  Don’t let that STOP ya’ though… keep them kards & letters comin’, eh?  The NETWORK is the really hot part of this scene; anyway, insofar as I’m concerned!  Look forward to hearing from YOU!








Look like giant mice

Heavy in the hind-quarters – like

They’re the lost tribe

of marsupial lawyers

Escaped from a late…

Twenty-first century

Gene-splicing accident

And who have evolved

Back downward into

Our centuries because

Of radiation reversal

True, also, sometimes

They look like deer

Or like eohippus (which

was the first horse and

that looked like a pig)

And it’s nothing I

Can prove except for

My theory about mice

Edward Mycure


Friends from majickland

Spoke briefly of

Impressions left on the


Of children…


And I remember


Of one now dear

Eons earlier


Not so cruel

That I must forget

But still

Pieces linger…


Foreign scenes

Attitudinal criticisms

Of my wanderlusts

And early departures!





Sdrawkcab Zzaj

Mostly In The Gnus

Inherited Anorexia

Kickin’ In Th’ Kitchen

Zzaj-Art – Vol 1

Zzaj-Art – Vol 2

Jesus & Adolf

In A Conservative World

Spirit of the Rhodes

Sampler ’90

‘Spresso Wacko

2 Sides of Zzaj

10 Years After

Rogue Sea Merchants – Won

Rogues Sea Merchants – Stew

Leave the – Jesse’s Behind

Binary Reductions

Piece Coalitions

Alien Tongues

Each Speech

Critical Mass

Dangerous Revisions

Fractured Fairy Tales


Look FORWARD to hearin’ from you!!!




Got hold of ONE of me’ old pals, Joe Hardin, since the last issue declared my desire to find many old musical (& otherwise) acquaintances… thanks to all!


Gotten several notes of late that indicate some disillusionment on the part of hometapers who feel the cassette scene is ‘dying a slow death’, to quote.  Lond days waiting at the mailbox, & general feeling that ‘I can’t get not SATISFACTION!’  Well, I can (in the sense of being a mailbox “junkie”, anyway), but it only dies as much as we let it… sort of like our sense of freedom!  Saw a movie by the same title (Sense of Freedom); started off to look like a cheap import, not too well shot (tho’, to be fair, they did say that it was made by ‘Homespun Productions’, or something like that); BUT, the message, as so often happens, was the MEAT!  This poor dude gets WHACKED about in every conceivable fashion by the authorities’ (not that the movie excuses the fellow – they make it VERY clear that he did some REAL bad things to people) but ABSOLUTELY refuses to let it sway him from his conviction that, despite his wrongdoings, he is STILL a living human being & deserves to be treated as a person, rather than as an ANIMAL!  I imagine some of us in home-taping get to feeling as if we’re trampled on and beat about, as well… I know that most reg’lar folks have NO sense of where MY music is comin’ from… ‘course, that’s of little import to me; but the BIG guys would LOVE this attitude to catch on… the only cure that I can see is to KEEP ON networking… NEVER let the barstards get ya’ down… keep yer’ sense of freedom!  Strange, mayhaps, but that’s where the Zzaj mind’s been runing’ over the last few weeks.


Tho’ this isn’t a review, I thought it might be interesting…


   Rotcod Zzaj


      sknaht rof eht weiver.  ereh si a $ rof a ypoe.  I deyojne eht epat uoy tnes ern – ti dednimer em fo a puorg I desu ot yalp htiw – Desolene si a ypoc fo na mubla ew edam


                    yppaH senut,






Shake Mechanics – BITS AND PIECES OF RESISTANCE:  C60  This one came for a trade.  I popped it in & hadda’ sit RIGHT down & WRITE… don’t always write reviews of folks tapes that were sent for trade… Jon Greenbaum does most of this solo.  NICE guitar work with vocal overlays that are clear & to th’ point… stylewise, much of Jon’s guitar work has leanings towards earlier Bret Hart work I’ve heard, with a little more blues flavor; there are sections that really remind me of way-early Savoy Brown, instrumentally at least… Jon said in the accompanying note that “The pieces were short because when I was recording I wasn’t actually thinkiing of putting anything out.”  GLAD you changed your mind, Jon!  There is also a strong ‘resistance’ theme running all through the tape, as noted on the J-sheet!  HIGHLY recommended for those into music that HAS music in it!  This is a NICE tape, ‘specially for a first shot!  Contct Jon at POB 42055, Rochester, NY 14604


Screamin’ Popeyes – MAGNAVIDO:  First heard the POPEYES on a collab with poet extraordinaire John M. Bennett, reviewed in the last issue of I.N.  MAGNAVIDO finds them in a more instrumental vein, & with titles like “Bombarded by Bozos”, “”Find Me, Meet Me, Kill Me, Eat Me”, & “Only Apparently Real”, you can guess that this is not top-forty puke.  Challenging music by quality players Jeff Olson & Craig Strong.  My fave tunes, in the sense of looseness & musicality, are “Gas Music” (some odd angles, but pleasant and relaxing) and the bouncy jazz-tinged “It’s About Jan”.  FINE tape, but NOT for AM dialers!  Only price I saw listed was on an old review sheet, so you’d better write to Jeff at 210 South Alta #D, Branson, MO 65616


Screamin’ Popeyes – AH, SQUID:  Much more experimental (read loops & vocal overdubs) than previous tapes from the POPEYES I’ve heard… if the recording quality on this one is fine (which it IS), then it was EXCELENT on MAGNAVIDO!  The POPEYES are challenging music, not for the squeamish.  Contact Jeff at 210 South Alta #D, Branson, MO 65616


DimThingShine – DIMSTAIN:  Another GREAT tape from DTS!  This time out, he’s got standby Jean Chaine along with Tom Furgas & Mike Shannon, on a tape that’ll boggle th’ mind of even the most SERIOUS of us inclined toward th’ slightly strange… DTS versatility shines thru once again, in licks & loops that’ll CHANGE ya’ – in one way or ‘t other!  Contact him at Thingsflux Music, 7829 Miramar Pkwy, Miramar, FL 33023 for MUCH more info than I could hope to provide in this little rag!


Raymond Scott Woolson – MORE THINGS TO LISTEN TO:  Here’s another ‘cool’ection of R.S.W.’s red-hot guitar soundz; sound production is even BETTER than the first batch (reviewed in the LAST issue of I.N.)… as with any of his works, these are NOT for those inclined towards lilting ballads or soft folk… these are pieces that will tear the ROOF off!  Feedback, distortion, noise… whatever you want to call it; strangely calming, like a TRIPLE espresso, if ya’ know what I mean!  The newer tunes on side 2 DO even have some interesting vocal material, very enjoyable!  A musical voice well worth hearing!  Contact Raymond at POB 1158, Lockpotr, N.Y. 14095


Andrews/Ligon – PURE BONERS:  Saw a review of this one in GAJOOB # 7, and Duke (Andrews) sent it to me as a trade; together with Jacky Ligon, strange and wonderful soundscapes, using a vocal technique they call “snazz”, are woven for yer’ listening pleaseure… & I DO mean pleasure!  The “snazz” style, vocals interwoven with very articulate and well-crafted synth/sampler/drum machine snatches, is PARTICULARLY near & dear to yer’ editor, & they do it VERY well on “Boners”!  I know it sounds like a formula for an ‘improv’ tape… but it’s NOT hype formula music… STONG bass lines & good musical sense are excellently woven together to make for truly original pieces.  If I have any neg-critz at all, it’s only that the tape wasn’t labelled to show if it was Dolby or not… but that’s a MINOR complaint, & really doesn’t matter, as the fine music, concepts & energy mesh to form a GREAT tape.  Contact the label at Uncensored Musics, 209 Williford Court, High Point, NC 27260.  You’ll be glad you did!


John Alkins – CONTINUUM:  The last tape received for this issue… the CONTINUUM series by John is always something to look forward to!  These are all original piano compositions.  BEAUTIFULLY executed.  John’s music conforms to no pattern, though it has a continuity and power not often heard in our troubled times.  The latest selection of tunes evoke a sense of the true healing power that music can provide for us all.  This is HIGHLY recommended for any and all who can appreciate intricate piano solo work.  Those looking for destruction and havoc will not be able to do that very well, & though John & I (& the rest of the Olywa gang) have played PLENTY of dark and dangerous music over the years, THIS is where John’s stylistic excellence SHINES!  GET IT from John at POB 10183, Olympia, WA 98502  What a beautiful way to start 1992!


the IMPROVISOR:  The Magazine Journal of Free Improvisation:  Ye into the myriad conceptual and sonic ranges of the POWER of improvising will NOT want to miss ANY of this!  Volume IX, back after a painful absence of almost 2 years, made it worth the wait!!! Absolutely JAMMED with articles, opinion and ideas from those who DO it, in many cases.  IX also has a really comprehensive review section done by VETERAN improvisor (if there is such a thing), Wally Shoup!  If you want to FEEL a piece of what a particular tapes is all about, all you have to do is soak up Wally’s (& other’s) impressions of the artistry (or lack thereof), & you’ll come as close as you can get (from any review) to actually having BEEN there!  No objections to the minimal amount of adverts, & the computer typeset is SUPER format!  I look forward to seeing ever more issues of the IMPROVISOR; in fact, if there were enough support, could there be a more frequent publishing schedule?  The world NEEDS it, ya’ know!  Write to the editorial staff at 1705 12th Street South, Birmingham, AL 35204, with check or money order for $5.00; it’s money well-spent!




I’ve already received several inquiries about ADS; when, how much, etc.  As the sole editor & staff of one, I would MUCH prefer to do this without ADS!  Just seems to me that they tend to force certain reviews, etc.  The only way I can avoid them, however, is if YOU help me spread the word about I.N.  Especially if you like it – tell EVERYONE you know – but even if ya’ DON’T like still TELL someone about it!  Even negative responses usually stir the imagination & make someone want to check it out.  The whole idea of no ads may not sound like sound ‘business’ practice… but THIS is not a business!  All I want it to be is a sounding board, fencepost exchange, free-form forum; call it what you will, but a place where improvisors/artists can get their ideas out, AND expect a fair price for maximum output!  As always, if you disagree with my stance, don’t hesitate to write and say WHY!  One last note in an editorial vein… your letters will NOT be published in I.N. unless you specifically state (IN the letter) that you WANT them to be!  If you do, I still reserve the right to only extract portions, rather than pringing the whole letter!  This is primarily aimed at conserving space!  Don’t let that stop you from writing, however; the whole basis for I.N. is in hearing from the ARTISTS!




As you can see, the review section included a ‘fair’ amount of new tapes, a ‘little’ poetry and not too much in the way of essays/opinions from artists themselves.  I urge you who are inclined to write (NOT novels, just short pieces on improv & the state of it today) to DO something with it!  Write it down, send it on in & SEE what happens.  I’m sure you’ll understand that a small rag like this is not going to print EVERYTHING you send in… but on the other digit, SOME of you will make it in here & the ARTIST is the voice I/WE want to hear!


A lot of correspondence I’ve received as a result of the FALL issue of I.N. from other improvisors/artists  sez’, in one form or another, that it’d be better if I put out an issue overy 2 months… one gent even suggested MONTHLY, but I’m not sure I’m prepared for THAT busy a schedule.  I AM willing to consider every 2 months, however; WRITE & let me know what YOU think!  If enuff opinions are registered for the increased frequency (& those who commit to BUYING it), I’ll give it some real STRONG consideration!  ‘BYE till ’round April!


Rotcod Zzaj


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