Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 72

# 72


Issue # 72 REVIEWS

FEATURED Zzaj Productions album samples

We now have 2 TOTALLY FREE CD’s (with free cover art) available for download at our NETLABEL site!  The only thing we ask is that you scroll to the bottom of the page(s) & give us a REVIEW!  Please ADVERTISE this to ALL your friends… tell them we are GIVING AWAY music!

Dave Liebman & Phil Markowitz – MANHATTAN DIALOGUES:  Any dedicated jazz fan who hasn’t heard Dave’s wonderful saxophone compositions has likely had their heads buried somewhere in sand… the keyboards by Phil are superb as well, & these two fit each other like hand-in-glove. I’ve been listening to Liebman for some many years now, & his style is always “sweet & low”… a gentle approach, but with “the fire” in sections, & Markowitz (who I don’t believe I’ve heard before) does nothing to “intrude” on that flow.  This is some of the most intriguing duo work you’ll ever hear, & you’re doing your ears a disservice if you don’t get this CD.  Some of the amazing keyboard changes & chords made track # 6, “Jung”, my absolute favorite on “Manhattan Dialogues”.  The sessions really do sound like a conversation between musical masters, & are very comfortable to listen to.  GREAT music with great spirit.  MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, to be sure.  Get more information at  or     Rotcod Zzaj

SoulFood and Billy McGlaughlin – GUITAR MEDITATIONS:  This CD features some of the prettiest guitar music we’ve heard in quite sometime.  The style is (definitely) “world”, & comes (at times) closer to “New Age” than I might prefer… on the other hand, though most of the songs are at a slower pace than many of the CD’s we listen to & review, there is no doubt that the album is full of great energy for the music they are doing, & will enchant any listener who isn’t kranked out on some form of meth!   The guitar(s) ride over synth washes that are simple, yet beautiful…  I’m reminded of some the highly creative musics I heard in the early 1980’s, right here in Olympia.  Sweet times, no worries & a morning sky full of seagulls and music that took away all cares and worries.  This one gets an immediate HIGHLY RECOMMENDED  from me for anyone who needs to find solace in chords and music full of joy for life and the living of it.  A truly nice album for all. Check out more about this album (& lots of others) on th’ label site at  or e-mail to   Rotcod Zzaj

Cadwallader, Asetta & Dixson – QUICKER THAN THE EYE:  Rex Cadwallader’s keyboards are joined by bass from Mike Asetta & drums from Arti Dixson on this sleek little jazz CD… tasty music with th’ kind of verve I grew up on in the ’60’s & ’70’s.  Now, I’m not callin’ ’em “retro”, or any such kind of thing… they’ve definitely got their own style & it stays firmly rooted in the energies of the 21st century!  What carries me back to earlier years, though, is the fact that they’re expressing heavy-duty creativity that just won’t quit.  I’m diggin’ those keys more & more, fluid as can be & rooted in th’ phunk that jazz is all about.  Asetta’s bass is well recorded, & th’ drums that Arti plays are steady & true from start to finish.  I expect that this one will be loved by fans of solid jazz everywhere, & give it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for those who are fond of great keyboard works.  You can get more information via snail to Stanza USA Music, 52 Clark Hill Rd., Milford, CT 06460    Rotcod Zzaj

Cady Finlayson – SHINES LIKE SILVER:  This wonderful little CD will take you back thousands of years… to a time when (both) joy and sorrow were somehow more poignant.  Cady’s spirit does indeed shine, & your ears will serve as portals for her emotionally charged playing, to be sure!  Sure, we’ve all heard “American-Irish” tunes before, but I’ll venture to say that you’ve not heard anything with quite this much verve & insight lately.  There are 15 tracks that span a range of feelings as old as the human race… something today’s musical scene needs far more of.  I enjoyed this a great deal, & give it an immediate HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want more than packaged pop glitz.  A very solid musical experience.  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

The Tango Group – AMOR POR EL TANGO:  I used to sit in streetside cafes all over Europe, listening to music like you’ll hear on this CD as I sipped espresso & read Jung or Nietzsche.  This isn’t the kind of music one would hear on the sidewalks these days – but it SHOULD be!  The album expresses high passion as it attempts to revive the “tango” spirit, & I (for one) would welcome such a resurgence.  Producer Roger Davidson’s piano is right “on” all the way through each track, & Pablo Aslan’s bass does a great job of “steering” the energy on each of the tunes.  One really wouldn’t be surprised to see Poirot sipping along with them in the dreamscape this most pleasant music creates.  Great fun for listeners in all age ranges!  I give this one a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Find out more about the CD at    Rotcod Zzaj

Rivka Simmons – CREATING CALM IN YOUR LIFE:  I’ve listened to many “relaxation” tapes/CD’s… as many of you know, they generally use voice and music integrations to help you reach your holy place.  This CD was unique, in that it only used spoken word.  There may be plenty of folks who will like this approach, but it didn’t really work for me.  Ms. Simmons is crystal clear in her narratives, & can (indeed) help guide you to a calmer spot… but, I would have liked to have heard some musical passages woven in through the tracks.  I think I’d pass on this one.  If you’re interested in exploring a very well-performed spoken word track for meditation, though, you can find out more at    Rotcod Zzaj

Bob Rodriguez – CORRIDOR:  This CD won’t hit th’ stores until August of 2005, but you’ll want to place your order now… to be sure you get this one before all the other jazz fans beat you to the punch.  Our first listen to Bob’s gentle keyboards tells us we will want to hear (much, much) more of his works.  He’s joined by Mike Richmond on bass, & Eliot Zigmund on drums.  The recording is excellent, though the drums & the piano seem to have better clarity in the mix than the bass… not sure why, since I’m really not an engineer.  It’s nothing serious, though, the recording is still bright & full of creative energy that will enchant jazz fans the world over.  My only “complaint” is that there were only 8 tracks… maybe there will be more on Bob’s next album.  My favorite track, besides the title cut, was cut 3, “Inside”… the players/instruments mesh seamlessly on this one, & create an entirely mellow environment for the listener… sweet!   If you’re a jazz fan, you’ll agree with me when I declare “Corridor” to be MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Great jazz!  Get more information at Bob’s site,     Rotcod Zzaj

Eric Comstock – NO ONE KNOWS:  I’m not always attracted to male jazz vocalists.. guess they remind me too much of ’50’s era lounge stuff.  In Mr. Comstock’s case, though, I’m diggin’ it a lot!  A lot of that has to do with his skill at making th’ lyrics stay “alive”, as well as superb recording of the vocals.  The fact that he’s a pianist whose energies are totally focused also helps a great deal, I think.  Comstock definitely raises the bar, & takes the form into the 21st Century… I’m highly impressed, without doubt.  This impression is easy to have, though, since Eric is backed by an All Star cast… sax by Frank Wess, trombone by Wycliffe Gordon, shared piano by Eric Reed, guitar by Peter Bernstein, bass by Peter Washington & drums by Matt Wilson.  If you’re looking for jazz that swings, & will make you gain a new appreciation for jazz vocals – GET THIS ONE!  I give it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  It just hit th’ street on May 1st, so get on down to your local store!  You can get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Ken Kaufman – SEASONS OF TRANQUILITY:  Ken’s works are new to my ears, & it’s a joy to hear them.  The CD is part of Swann’s ambient “Relax With Swann” series, & meets the need, to be sure.  Synth/percussion lines are woven together very skillfully to draw the listener into a zone where the cares of the world can be put aside.  You will hear a lot of Native American influences here, & I think that’s got much to do with how relaxing/inspiring the music is for the listener.  This isn’t one of those albums where only one form is explored, though… there are four separate moods/seasons explored, & Ken’s talent shows through brightly.  It’s often difficult for a “meditation” CD to make it to the “active” stack in my collection, but “Seasons Of Tranquility” is a true keeper, & will be there through many seasons to come.  This one gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners of all persuasions.  You can learn more about Ken’s CD, & others in the series, at      Rotcod Zzaj

Seay – 1 VOICE:  There are CD’s… & then there are CD’s with full life, & moments that inspire the listener to achieve goals at higher and higher plateaus… Seay’s “1 Voice” clearly falls in the inspirational category.  That’s the only “category” it can be placed in, because her compositions don’t “fit” into neat little pigeonholes… she has an elegant vocal style that blends (clearly) musical experiences from all ’round the world into a grand whole that will serve the listener for years & years to come.  We have all heard music(s) like this before, but Seay is able to shape and mold her aural visions into sonic sculptures that will carry the beholder through a celebration of spirit seldom done so well.  She does all the instrumentation, vocals & keyboards, with guest assists from Scott Hallgren (strings), Jerry Watts (5 string fretless bass) and Jonathan Smith (Digeridoo).  VERY impressive work… “1 Voice” gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us!  Get more information at      Rotcod Zzaj

Lesley Spencer (& the Latin Chamber Pop Ensemble, featuring guitarist Fareed Haque) – POSTCARDS FROM SPAIN:  Freelance composer Spencer has put together a very pleasant listening experience… great blends of Latino-styled orchestral arrangements that will make you glad to be alive.  Lesley’s piano is featured, though Fareed’s guitar magic is closer to the front of the mix than the keyboards (as you might imagine for this style of music).  The playing is all “straight-ahead”, no synths or samples… & that does make a difference, believe me!  This is our first listen (that I know of) to production from this label (Gabriella Music), & it’s clear that they are out to ensure that the music they produce can’t be “rubber stamped” as “just another….”.  If you’re looking for wild-eyed improv, you’ll go elsewhere, but if you want a musical experience that can be enjoyed over & over again, you’ll fall in love with “Postcards”.  I’m impressed enough with the energy levels displayed here to give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Learn more at the label website –      Rotcod Zzaj

Clark Terry (with Jeff Lindberg and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra) – PORGY & BESS:  My ears are often disinclined to visit “classics” like Gershwin’s fantastic musical suite… and, as is so often true, they would have missed a lot!  This CD is a true keeper for any jazz lover, and will inspire you for many years to come.  I’d heard Clark’s playing way back in the mid-’60’s, when I was first getting into jazz, along with hundreds of other players of that era… but this album displays his talent in all it’s shining glory!  His notes are “solid” throughout, no gaps or gaffes.  He’s able to reach down into th’ listeners’ heart & tug at those strings with his soulful phrases… some GREAT music!  I believe it’s difficult to “make it” with an album that focuses on themes from a production, or a movie, but if you give it half a shake, you’ll find that this rendition is (like mine) one of your favorite musical adventures!  I give it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, in the immediate!  Learn more at the site, at     Rotcod Zzaj

David Elias & Xing – WEBCAST ARCHIVE FEBRUARY 2005:  A new recording format (DSD), which the liners say is “the highest resolution media available anywhere today”, is featured on this great little CD in from David!  I was first introduced to David’s wonderful acoustic guitar & vocals over at MIXPOSURE ( ), by Guy Michetti (who is a fantastic player in his own right).  Elias’ music takes me back nearly 30 years, to an era where the singers were able to reach right out & touch your soul with their lyrics (think James Taylor, maybe).  David’s voice is a natural for this kind of music, & his lyric-writing skills are top-o’-th’-line.  There’s a tinge of country & a flash of John Denver, but I’d say his singing & lyrical style reminds me (more) of one of my all-time favorite singers, Bruce Cockburn.  Simple messages wrapped in intelligent & meaningful words.  If you like this type of music, I’d suggest you keep your ear on Mr. Elias… he’s got fame & glory coming soon.  Be sure you’re there to enjoy it with him… I will be, for sure!  This CD gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from my ears!  Learn more about David & his music at or purchase the CD at    Rotcod Zzaj

Barbara Montgomery – TRINITY:  I’m seldom inclined to listen to music with “religious” overtones or influences… what sets Ms. Montgomery’s latest effort apart, though, is that there’s no “preaching” involved.  It does have a deep “spiritual” pull, primarily because of Barbara’s clear skill at wrapping the listener in a cocoon that allows them to escape the mundane & paltry, & let them feel the power (we all have) of the music she sings.  Solid jazz influences, but th’ “roots” of the music composed and played here extends across musical borders to make it less “jazz” than “accessible to all”.  Barbara has a most haunting quality in her vocals… deep & resonant, exactly the quality I’d imagine those “sirens” of old using to draw listeners (inescapably) to them.  Her rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “If It’s Magic” is the best (besides Stevie, of course) I’ve ever heard.  The album features a cast of musical characters far too long to itemize here… you’ll have to purchase the album, or learn more at    This CD is among the best jazz vocal CD’s I’ve heard this year, & gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me!  You can purchase the CD soon, as it hits the streets on 1 June, 2005.  Contact via e-mail to    Rotcod Zzaj

Barbara Markay – SHAMBHALA DANCE:  There are some wonderful moments on this 3rd CD from Barbara.  Rhythms on a universal scale are woven very tightly into a neat package that will inspire hour after hour of listening.  This would make excellent background music for a drive through the Sonoran desert, or across the hills & valleys of our moon.  Intriguing sounds rush at you that have been culled from cultures all across the globe… I especially loved the little “bell” sounds that enhance (& sometimes break up) the rhythms.  She has a very “full” sound in her compositions that will be attractive to any listener.  Though the liners describe it as “New Age”, it extends to larger realms than that, & will be enjoyed by any listener who loves sonic dreaming that inspires.  I’m impressed enough to give this one a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Very, very mysterious music that will keep you on the edge. This one goes on the “keeper” list.   Get more information at    Rotcod Zzaj

Mark Dunn – RETURN TO PEACE:  This was a “strange” listen for me… Mark is a pianist who trekked through Central America, doing Irish pennywhistle tunes.  The CD features Celtic tunes, yet the cover has a picture of a jungle/forest bird sitting on a wind instrument.  That’s not saying anything negative about the music, however… his compositions, including keyboards, as well as the pennywhistle & violin, make for some very inspiring listening, & will hold the listener spellbound.  What (I think) is most impressive about the album is that this must have been almost like “improvisation”, since he carried the pennywhistle with him on the jungle excursions, & then recorded the piano & other parts in Costa Rica.  Mark is clearly a talent to be watched, with a wide range of skills.  If you’re looking for something to listen to that has excellent recording & interesting contrasts, this is the ticket.  I give this one a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners of all persuasions, but particularly those who love Celtic music.  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

C. Goff III – BYTING THE RAM ON THE BIG DIGIT:  Anyone who has had their brains dented by our pal Charles Goff before will now find themselves in need of complete air bag replacement… he has moved into the “video” realm, & tho’ it ain’t “Holly-gloss”, it’s very clearly a competitor for other “vid-iests” we know, like 99 Hooker!  The music “behind” the graphics is seamless, woven totally into the production, & just as “odd” as we’ve come to expect from CRG III.  Don’t get me wrong… this is not “Saturday matinee” fare…. this is definitely 21st Century art, to be watched & listened to without preconception, & open to the total image he is painting for your eyes & ears.  If Charles were given the resources of a big studio, he would make something stranger than “Strangelove”, I’ve no doubt… this CD/DVD is absolute proof of his grasp of the craft, & we’re really looking forward to more productions like this from him.  I give this a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but with the caution that you must view this totally sober (at least the first time ’round), or you may find yourself so absorbed in the fantastic scenarios he’s weaving that you’ll wind up in the same abode that Tim Leary currently stays in (you know, the “negative image” ward).  DO NOT pass this opportunity for insanity up!  Contact through CRG’s website, at     Rotcod Zzaj

James Finn Trio – PLAZA DE TOROS:  Just released on the 12th of May, 2005, this smokin’ jazz CD will transport those in our readership who are (as Dick Stein, of KPLU radio, would say) “true Jazz-oids” to the heights!  Finn’s tenor work just shines in this trio setting… he’s joined by Dominic Uval (double bass) & Warren Smith (drums).  The recording is one of the cleanest I’ve heard lately, a perfect sonic experience… you’ll really feel like you’re right there with th’ players, & will be wrapped in the rich, full-bodied, tones of James’ tenor!  As you might imagine from the title, these compositions describe the essence of the bullfight… filled with passion, some degree of fear & skill.  Listeners who don’t enjoy “red cape” musical experiences, wherein their pre-conceived notions of what music “is”, or “is supposed to be”, will find this listen a bit daunting, perhaps… but I can tell you that Finn’s trio will guide you through your fear of the unknown & help you emerge into this “new day” of music that rides the edge.  Simply superb compositions; the album draws immediate MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from this reviewer!  GET this one!  Learn more at the following site –    or via e-mail to     Rotcod Zzaj

Daria – FEEL THE RHYTHM:  A truly funky jazz CD that hearkens back to an earlier age, when that good ol’ bass line drove th’ tune… that’s certainly the description that comes to mind on the opening track, “All Or Nothing At All”.  & tho’ this is our first listen to Daria’s stunning jazz vocals, we’ve no doubt that we’ll be listening a lot more – she’s ON IT!  It helps (a great deal) that she’s got folks like Alex Acuna (Percussion), Jose Neto (Guitar), William Kennedy (Drums) & Marc Russo’s smokin’ sax!  Many of the cuts have heavy Latino influence, & you’ll find your feet tempted to get up & dance a few rounds, but (if you’re like me), you’ll be listening with headphones, so you can catch all the lovely little nuances & sweet turns.  I was particularly enchanted with Daria’s rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Sunshine Of Your Love”, but it was surely the title track that was my absolute favorite!  I’m impressed enough with her high talent & star quality to declare this album the “PICK” of this issue for “best Latino jazz”… it gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, to be sure!  Learn more by going to     Rotcod Zzaj

Julie Lavender – NEVER FELT THE SUN:  Nearly all original cuts on this fine sounding (& very pretty) CD from Julie.  She managed to snag (one of my favorites) flutist Hubert Laws, as well as pianist Hugh Martin, to compliment her wonderful songs.  Her vocals are light (tho’ not “lightheaded”), but expressive across the full emotional range of the things we feel every day.  Hardcore improv jazzers probably will move on from this one rather quickly, but anyone with ears that want to taste tuneage with full body & enchantment will spin this one over & over again.  This is the kind of music you want playing when you want to recover lost love, or woo a newfound flame.  While it has plenty of sweetness, it’s not (at all) “syrupy”, & I love Ms. Lavender’s compositions for that!  This one comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who want something less extreme with high talent & verve.  You can learn more on Julie’s site, at     Rotcod Zzaj

Natsuki Tamura, Elliott Sharp, Takayuki Kato and Satoko Fujii – IN THE TANK:  It must have been one of those “sensory deprivation” tanks the players were thinking about when they played this fantastic improvised set of tunes.  The CD will be a genuine treat for listeners who thrive on the chaos of improv played without reservation… the recording is just top-dollar, something very difficult to do without losing the “essence” of the experience.  I know whereof I speak, because in my own improvised musics, I know just how challenging it can be to convey to the listener the sense of spontaneous pandemonium that’s expressed here.  I’ve been a fan of Natsuki’s & Satoko’s for many many years now, & those of you who read this ‘zine frequently will know that I’ve reviewed a lot of their CD’s.  This is the first recording I’ve heard them dedicate to total improv, & it just shines!  You will not have any comparisons you can make… it’s that unique… so, if you (like me) are into experiencing music that’s never been heard before, this one will go in your “keeper” stack.  At times, I can imagine this as the background music for a neo-mystery movie, at others I hear little red demons running ’round a baseball field… but, you will have your own visions, totally different & separate from mine, I’ve no doubt.  VERY inspiring improvisations, this album gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us, “in the immediate”, so to speak.  GET this one!  Contact through their site, at    Rotcod Zzaj

Tom Erbe, Chris Mann, Larry Polansky, Douglas Repetto, Christian Wolff – TRIOS:  I’ll have to apologize here to the artists, & the distributor (our friends from Pogus Productions), for not getting ’round to this one for so long.  Chris Mann’s spoken word & text snippets are in the foreground, & they’re odder than even I am used to.. & that’s really “saying something”… this stuff is totally out & REFRESHING.  Be forewarned, though – if you think that means “nostalgia”, or “heard before”, you’re headed down the wrong path.  The other players weave a very complicated web of sounds (mostly electronic) behind the sliced & diced texts that Chris performs, & your ears will have to be of the type that are rabid for adventure, or you will find yourself running from the room to be treated by your shrink.  Tom Erbe did the recording, & it’s clear that he’s a master at capturing the cacophony… this is one of the best recorded “out” albums I’ve heard (yet) this year.  VERY interesting, & it will never give your ears (or your mind) a rest… be prepared for the new!  I give this one a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but only for listeners who aren’t afraid of those sounds we hear in the dark.  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Entropic Advance – MAD COW B.B.Q.:  A group of our totally jaded neighbors (they live up in the Seattle area, we’re down in Olympia) get together to turn your ears to total & unadulterated mush… if your brain survives this onslaught, you can survive anything!  Players were bios+a+ic, Noise Poet Nobody, inBOIL & Otis Fodder.  66 (& then some) minutes of total madness… I’m not sure what kinda’ diet they’re on, but if this is what “Mad Cow” does to you, invite me to th’ next roundup.  Experimental in the extreme, “regular” listeners will not be able to “stomach” this, & will probably turn into vegans after the first cut, “Mustard”.  It’s an odd marriage, as the food-related titles actually parody some kinda’ “relaxation” tape experience… but, I picture your body going into spasms & fits during the listen, if you’re not acquainted with madness already.  This is some of the best “new” experimental I’ve heard in the last couple of years… there is some drone stuff, but there are excellent percussives woven around the drone, so that you (really) won’t even notice the drone – until it’s too late, & you’re already infected.  This one gets the “PICK” of this issue for “best experimental music”, as well as a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for listeners who have need of aural strangenesses.  Contact through the site, at        Rotcod Zzaj


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


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

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

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

DIY Announcements:  We will post your (e-mailed) ad about DIY projects, regardless of genre or medium… HOWEVER, this is ONLY for INDEPENDENTS… if you are a corporation, don’t even BOTHER sending stuff… it will be marked and reported as SPAM!



Well, we are very happy to announce that we had several POEMS submitted this time ’round from our friend Rochelle Hope Mehr, as well as a new poet friend, Golda Solomon, so the “poetry” pages can come alive again!

Poets – SUBMIT your poems via e-mail to:


Bop For Daddy


I caught the blues like an Indian summer head cold.  A

twelve year old princess sitting at the window, elbows

leaning on the sooty sill listening for the screech of the

subway.  That late night sound.  You won’t be walking

up Nostrand Avenue coming home anymore.  There’s

something about a girl’s father that frames her life.


Hear the train a callin’ whoo-ee

… the blues in the night


As quick as the crack of Jackie Robinson’s bat hitting

a homerun in Ebbet’s Field, my daddy was gone.  Jeffers

Funeral Home, Empire Blvd. did the service.  I listened

to ball games on the Emerson radio, followed the World Series

in his memory.  He died before he could warn me about men.

Nipples pushing against a white undershirt, I learned the

Lindy Hop, polished scuffed brown and white saddle shoes

and looked for princes who might smell like my daddy.


Hear the lonesome whistle blowin’ cross the trestle, whoo-ee

… the blues in the night


I married and divorced a boy who worked summers for

the railroad.  Go back in years to find myself.

Treasure his silver pocket watch, tarnished chain.

That special day, Sunday matinee, the Roxy Theatre.

Perry Como, a dot on the stage crooning to

us in the last rows in the balcony.


Now the rain’s a fallin’, hear the train a callin’ whoo-ee

… the blues in the night



                                                            Golda Solomon,





Duke’s dynasty reigns

pens sensual courtly jazz

Seduction complete

Notes, embroidered courtesans

blush-anticipate his touch.


Silk knots.  Black  beige  tan

Sacred threads tease needle’s eye

Rejoice.  Come Sunday

sophisticated ladies

swoon give witness.  Testify



                                    Golda Solomon,



Golda’s In The House



A Baltimore Oriole tiptoed thru the tulips

The first time I heard Sheila Jordan’s voice

Some gay club in the Village

or was Tuesday night gay night

Tiny Tim, his curls, his ukulele

Sheila easing her instrument

Up over and under and onto perfect notes


Gigs haven’t changed much

It’s still about dues paying and “the man”

Smoke-filled clubs

Vodka on the rocks

2 drops of vermouth only please

What’s a nice girl like you doing in this neighborhood

Hey, if anyone gets in your cab

And wants to hear New York jazz,

Bring them here to the Bowery

Or to Hudson near Spring

The Half Note

Then to Wells Uptown

Fried chicken and waffles

Scotch with milk


Sure it’s safe


That cavernous Village Gate

Monday was always Latin Nite

But it was the Five Spot

The Five Spot

My weeknite hang

My routine

An after work nap

Dressed and out by midnight

Ratners on 2nd Avenue at 4 a.m.

Work the next A.M. at 8

That last night on the Bowery

The move to St. Mark’s Place

Bobby Timmons “dat dared” on the keyboard

Chessboard set up and ready Mal Waldron, checkmate

Musicians, Knights holding court at their round table

Narrow slice of light across the worn floor when

the bathroom door opened and closed

Listenin’ to Sir Hanna rattle those ivory’s with Bach riffs

The aroma of Chan’s rice

Farewell cake for Eric Dolphy

“Later” inscribed in chocolate buttercream script

Mingus’ bass plunking commands


Weekends were for tourists only then

Maybe I’d grab the end of the last set on a

lonely Friday or Saturday

I crocheted a floor length cobalt blue skirt

Listening to Chico Hamilton and Charles Lloyd

Those two notes from Forest Flower still echo

High and true

Cal Newborn’s sweet guitar

Sundays walkin’ around the Jazz Gallery with Roland

Before he was Rasaan

He knew my laugh

Golda’s in the house

Who knew we were witness to a history

We were just out listenin’

Finger poppin’ to the sounds we needed like a fix


The Poet Laureate Billy Collins remembers the taste

and price of beer at the Five Spot.

I remember Joe and Iggy Termini

The notes the cash register played

And that little dance Monk did.                                           



Golda Solomon,


Pantoum – for Thelonious Monk


What if life were orderly like good penmanship

Oval swirls and curlicues of letters

No upper case swoops intimidating

Looming over this lower case innocent


Oval swirls and curlicues of letters

Monk’s fingers, fat stubby crayons on keys

Looming over this lower case innocent

His primal notes in primary colors


Monk’s fingers, fat stubby crayons on keys

Bright moments of sharps and bitter flats

His primal notes in primary colors

Simple to the ear – balm for my Gilead


Bright moments of sharps and bitter flats

Brown strong hands cover my baby ones

Simple to the ear – balm for my Gilead

In your notes I hear my childhood


Brown strong hands cover my baby ones

Dissonant chords alter my penmanship

In your notes I hear my childhood

A writing bump forms on the inside of my finger


Dissonant chords alter my penmanship

No uppercase swoops intimidating

A writing bump forms on my finger

What if life were orderly like good penmanship



                                    Golda Solomon,  



Rochelle Hope Mehr



Murmuring Brook


What do we crave?

A folderol

A cockatoo

A look askance —

That’s nothing new.


What we forgave —

The parasol

The lockstep, too —

Mistook a dance

And so withdrew.


Unwritten stave

Do you gambol?

Are you a laughingstock, too?

What do you hook in abeyance

Far, far from view?



Rochelle Hope Mehr





smoothing things out

too many thorns

pierce the air


pat the eath down

cover over the seeds

maybe they’ll grow



Rochelle Hope Mehr





You might as well take my poem

For that is the best part of me:


The ripe part I suffer to ache.

The part that cleaves yearning to break…



Rochelle Hope Mehr



terri schiavo


she lies there

negative space

reaching to respond

or just reflex?

random movement

or reaction to stimuli?

warm fuzzy family

link to humanity, the world she once knew

cold, steely clinicians

probing, analyzing, short-circuiting all connections

husband in a new world of his own

going through his

motions of sealing her off further

take out her feeding tube

nobody cares

“persistent vegetative state”

“already dead fifteen years”

the world at large writes her off

take out her feeding tube

remove the vestigial link between

her and us

forget about her tomorrow

but remember something

something about being dimly aware

about those reaching out to you

and those shutting you out

those shutting you out

and then, finally, shutting you down

down like an obsolete computer



Rochelle Hope Mehr



Sanctum (To Ashley Smith)


Grace I’ll take

Wherever it comes –

In a North Atlanta suburb –

Seeking asylum –

Sharing holy thoughts

With a waitress chum

Serving real butter pancakes – yum-yum –

Something in me

Dark and glum –

Grace I’ll take

Wherever it comes –



Rochelle Hope Mehr





These are the things that belong to the night:

The coat rack, the lantern, the billowing flight,

The twist in the alley, the hissing floodlight,

The list into madness…

The face ashy-white



Rochelle Hope Mehr





Obsession will haunt you.

You fear the thing you want.

You want the thing you fear.

You slink back to your old haunt —

A red bandanna,

Blood red disrupting the white light of day.


Why can’t you stay away,

Let the waters flow gently,

Let the sands nuzzle you into oblivion?


Pass, pass, let it all pass,

Let it while itself away.

Pass, pass, like a passepied:

Eloquent and haunting,

Spirited and daunting,

Daunting and passé



Rochelle Hope Mehr





When to look, arms outstetched and free

At the receding and beckoning arms of the sea.

When to foam at the mouth

As the meters increase,

As the dry land opens up vistas between you and me.

When to flee

Before the wall of waves lashes its fury,

While you stand there dumbstruck

By its come-hither look.

By its treachery.

Miles and miles away, the earth shook.

The waves roiled

In the doomsday book.

But all you saw was a placid sea.



Rochelle Hope Mehr



Current Events


The reality of imagination;

Its primacy in our lives.

The latest roadside bombing

Soon goes in the archives.


We focus on the glamour;

The veneer above the base.

What tension in the tenuous

Rivets us to the chase.



Rochelle Hope Mehr



White Wall


White wall blocking my way.

Traffic cop shoving hand in my face.


Take seat.

Pinpricks up my ass.

Like junior high fiends

Thumbtacking the seats.

We had to learn to look

Before sitting.

Always wary.

Always watching.

Always knowing someone’s out to get you.

Stand up, take stand.

White wall in my face.

Nothing up ahead.

Pinpricks waiting behind.

Not so cushy

For my tushy.




INTERVIEW with Arkay & Sebastiaan


Zzaj: We reviewed a “Various Artists” CD in issue # 71, called “The Unmoderated”.  Since our friend Solispism was “in the thick of it” with that project, I decided I wanted to have an INTERVIEW done with the guys who were at the “core” of that CD, & that HE was the most appropriate one to do that… so, our HAT is OFF to Craig (Solispism) for taking the time to do this great INTERVIEW…



Craig:  Hello guys, first off can you give us some background info on yourselves, where you come from what instruments you play and what were your first experiences with music.

Arkay – I have lived in the Chicago area my whole life. I went to college for Music for a few years playing classical and jazz guitar although I have always sought the odd corners of the music world. While getting disenchanted by the limited views of the “Jazz or Classical” music program, I discovered recording. I then spent several years studying, Apprenticing, Seconding and Engineering. After finding out that Audio Engineers either become Label Bitches or Jingle Whores, I decided to work elsewhere so that the energy I spend on music can be put to the uses I choose.


Sebastiaan – Hi, I live in Arnhem, The Netherlands. I play guitar, piano and synths. For both instruments, piano and guitar, I’ve studied about 6 years on the classical instrument. As a child I listened to my uncle playing blues on the piano and I loved it. Later I discovered the blues, the rock and Arab music on my transistor radio. When I was about 15 years old I listened to all kinds of music: Jimi Hendrix, psychedelic music (especially Pink Floyd), (hard)rock, punk, blues and, of course, Frank Zappa.


Craig:  Can you tell us how The Unmoderated project came about…who’s idea it was in the first instance and how you went about turning the idea into a reality.

Arkay – White Person and Sebastiaan thought of the idea that there should be an FZ Forum Band. I thought of the idea to base it around Xenochrony. As FZ Forum members are from all over the world, a huge variety of sounds were sent to me for xenochronization.

Sebastiaan – When the FZ forum just started I met a guy there from the US who called himself White Person. We started to chat about our own musical activities and decided to exchange some of our own music. Quite exciting days, sending your own stuff to and receive music from someone in the US. We both liked what we did and started to think about a way to make music together, through internet. Around that time, April 2003, another forum friend, Arkay, started a thread about it. ‘Help the Forum Band. You, yes you!’ was it called. We just had to send him our own musical stuff and he would put it all together. He asked everyone at the forum to send him stuff, doesn’t matter what and how. CD’s, tapes… So he received guitar solos from Canada, the sound of broken glass from Belgium, screams from Chicago, Solipsism space sounds from Scotland, teenager compositions from Key West… etc etc. I sent him a lot. Like jams of my old band, easy to ‘fill up’ with other contributions. I sent him a full CD, also with some spacy music I did with Cubase on my computer.

Craig:  How many different artists appeared on the disc, did the amount of different contributors help or hinder the project and do you have any plans to do more projects in a similar vein.

Sebastiaan – I think Arkay can better answer this question. He spent hours and hours of work in the project. I certainly would like to participate in a new project and would love to see much more contributions – which will happen anyhow I guess because a lot of people of the forum regretted afterwards about not participating on this CD.

Arkay – There were somewhere around 60 people involved. I love variety. My palette as an editor is based around the amount of raw audio I can obtain. In that regard, it’s a great thing that we were able to get so much interest in the project. The hard part of having so many band members is the organization. Communication was The Land of Redundant, Misunderstood and Lost Messages. To do another project would probably reprise that situation, but it seems that is simply the price to be paid.

Craig:  What are your own musical backgrounds…tell us about about any bands you are in, bands you’ve been in or other musical works you’ve been involved in.

Arkay – I’ve worked with alot of bands, in several studios, also running live sound. One band in particular that I spent alot of time with was called D-Ray and although they broke up almost 10 years ago, hopefully some day the band will get all the attention it deserves. Overall, I consider my primary music discipline to be Editing. I did my first free-form edit in about 1992, leading up to The Unmoderated

Sebastiaan – When I studied classical guitar I started to learn electric guitar for myself, playing along all kind of records. Dead Kennedy’s albums for instance, or Grand Funk Railroad, or Jimi Hendrix, Thin Lizzy. I started a band with bass player Stefan Schaminee, you can hear him on the Unmoderated CD also. We were 18 years old and wanted to play hard rock, but soon we were only jamming. We met a drummer with similar ideas and started to jam with him. That’s what we loved and still love to do. We made tapes like ‘jam in the night of full moon’ etc. We still have our own ‘vault’ with all the tapes of our jam sessions. Our band was called Red Planet. The second track on the Unmoderated CD is a 13 minute Red Planet jam from the ‘good old times’. Later we (Stefan and I) played in Emotional Toilet and Vulvasonic. Great bands, a little more symphonic, but with room for everyone to jam. Red Planet still exists and the main goal will be a release of a jam CD. Vulvasonic also still exists, waiting for gigs, which is too bad. Stefan and I are playing together now for 20 years.

Craig:  Now it was a common love and appreciation of the work of Frank Zappa that allowed this project to be born in the first instance. Tell us what the music of Frank Zappa means to you personally, how it’s effected your life and importantly how you think it effected or influenced the content of The Unmoderated disc.

Arkay – I would probably do FZ a disservice to highlight one portion of his output as the best, or most important to me. I’d rather leave it just saying that I appreciate his pursuit of excellence. Most people don’t give a shit about being excellent and it shows. I may not be excellent, but its what I shoot for. I don’t mean “awesome” or “cool”, I mean having a concept for a finished product and doing whatever it takes to realize it as best you can. There was alot of pressure from the members of the Forum to “just put out the music”, and I had to endlessly tell people that it wasn’t done yet, that I would rather have it take longer and end up with something we could be proud of.

Sebastiaan – For me Frank Zappa is the ultimate in everything in music. There’s no band or artist that even comes close to what Frank Zappa did. The mix of rock, jazz, improvisations, classical music, blues, freak music, his intelligent humor, his cynical view on society and the human race in general, his complex compositions, and let’s not forget his guitarsolos… all these elements together created a musical universe on it’s own that still fascinates me. I think it effects my life in a way I share his views on society and people. More than any other guitarist he influenced my guitarsound. I kept buying effects in trying to immitate his sounds, haha. I still can be amazed by listening to a concertboot. All of his bands were incredible. As for The Unmoderated CD: the freak-level, the humor (listen for example to White Persons contributions) and of course the Xenochrony technique that was used are the main connections with the music of Frank Zappa. But we never quoted him, nor his music or his lyrics.

Craig:  What sort of effect do you think the internet will have on the future of music, will it become an integral force or will it forever be on the fringes.

Arkay – It seems that even the geek-clowns who are constantly making predictions about these things regularly miss the mark. There aren’t alot of good fortunetellers out there. That said, I only consider music created on, through, or distributed by the internet as “fringe” now because the big record labels still have big pockets to control so much of the market. That dynamic is already changing… and we all know that it’s not really about the market anyway.

Sebastiaan –  think this Unmoderated CD project is a good example of how it will be in the future. With increasing internet speed there will be more of these releases. People from all over the world can make music together and internet is the right place and a quick way to find your kindred spirits. Promising and a huge threat for record companies. Most of them are full of shit anyway so they won’t be missed. Not by me.

Craig:  Who came up with the title The Unmoderated.

Sebastiaan – In the ‘Help the Forumband’ thread we asked people to come up with names. And I totally forgot who came up with this name. I’ve got to read the thread back but there are more than 60 pages to read at the moment… Eh… Arkay?

Arkay – Swiftkicknow

Craig:  Now i know Zappa’s concept of xenochrony played a big part in this album, can you explain for the readers exactly what the term xenochrony means.

Arkay – Xenochrony is the simultaneous playback of two or more recordings that were each made without any knowledge of the other. This leads to unplanned-for rhythmic results or as the name literally translates as “strange time”. This project has become a study in Xenochrony for me, I could go on all day about it.

Sebastiaan – Arkay explains the main theory in his Xenochrony Manifesto that comes along with the CD. Let me give you a good example: It’s about ‘Stucco Homes’, a guitarpiece FZ did for his album ‘Shut Up And Play Yer Guitar’. Frank asked his guitarplayer Warren Cuccurullo to play along a live recording of the song ‘Inca Roads’. So he did and after that FZ took a drumpart that Vinnie Colaiuta had played on a complete different song, took Warren’s guitartrack that he just played and layed it over Vinnies drumpart. Than FZ plugged his ‘black widow’ guitar in the mixing console and played the solo. I was quite amazed when I heard the story, recently told by Warren on Noneradio, because I always thought ‘Stucco Homes’ was a jam with the band but the vamp is clearly a mix of two tracks that had nothing to do with each other.

Craig: Now i know that the ZFT (zappa family trust) were aware of this disc and that some famous people made guest appearances on it. What were your dealings with the ZFT like and who were the big names.

Arkay – *** still dealing with GZ… probably shouldn’t comment at this time***

Sebastiaan – Some guys wanted to build a website around our project and asked Gail Zappa permission to make it look like the FZ forum. She didn’t want that but liked the idea of the project very much and offered a temporarily link on the official website which was great. She had also listened to the first four pieces that were ready and told us she liked them. That caused a huge sensation over here, Gail had actually  listened to me noodling on an acoustic guitar and even liked it! Another ‘participator’, a guy who calls himself ‘swiftkicknow’, felt the same excitement, haha. That was cool.

Craig:  Finally, if you were to do another project in a similar vein, is there anything that you would change to smooth out the process or do you think this was a good template for things to come.

Arkay – I think it was a great template. I learned alot about Xenochrony and look forward to learning more. But, I’m also open to other techniques being used on future releases, such as the sequential recording techniques used on Z-Road to Nowhere, in which the original composition was made in Illinois, then sent to The Netherlands for overdubs, then to Pennsylvania, then finally to me. Its not necessarily xenochrony, but it is a great method. One of my favorite phrases is ‘No Rules Audio’. I love exploring the possibilities of audio and generally will go wherever an interesting idea will take me, no matter how difficult or how long it takes.

Sebastiaan – I think the template is ok. I think I would send some more ’empty’ jams of my bands that could be filled up with solos and sounds from other forumers. But I would also send some solostuff, like guitar, vocals, keys or just sounds. Streetsounds from Holland, whatever, that kind of stuff. I also hope more people will participate but I’m not worried about that. I also think I’ve met some great musicians, thanks to this project, with whom I will make more music in the future.



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    “They” say, you can’t take it with you… not that I’m planning on “going over” any time soon, but I’ve often wondered about that axiom.  After many years of hex-amining it, I’m inclined to believe that you CAN “leave it here” for others to share.  What’n’l ‘m I talkin’ about?  Well, if you’re a musician or artist, what you “do” WILL be there for the next-gen, eh?  So, in that sense, if you make sure that what you’re creating is what you’d want to take with you, it will move (at least) on to the next generation.  & who is to say that such perpetuation might not last until th’ final turn of th’ big wheel?

     We just moved to our NEW abode… so everyone knows, if you’re submitting music, please be sure it goes to our new address:


Zzaj Productions

c/o Dick Metcalf

4714 39th Ave SE

Lacey, WA 98503


You know th’ drill… th’ “forward” will stay in place for some months, but your submission will get “hung” for a few extra days, & that could keep it out of the next issue… so, please be SURE to use our new address.


     As always, moving is a P.I.T.A.  OTOH, I feel very lucky… during the move, discovered about 50 “old friends”… vinyl albums… much Zappa, ‘coupla’ Stevie Wonder’s & much much more… I’ll be digitizing those over the next couple of months… it’ll be a heavy project, but well worth it.  Also, if any (of you) know where to find the “best” vinyl collectors’ sites, let me know about the, eh?  Like to see if what I have is of any significant value to anyone out there.  Then, prob’ly hold onto it for another 10 years… see how far UP that market might go.


     Time to run along… my schedule for June/July ’05 is packed down TIGHT… so I won’t be scanning my favorite sites on the net as heavily as usual.  We still WILL be reviewing everything that comes our way… so, note the address above & submit your CD.  We do take poetry, too, but only via e-mail to  NO paper poetry submissions… they will be dumped!

Till next time…,



Rotcod Zz

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