Improvijazzation Nation, issue # 75

# 75

Issue # 75 REVIEWS

An ANNOUNCEMENT about IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION!!! I’ve been tagged as a replacement for someone (over) in Iraq… I’ll be leaving (sometime) in late December or early January!!!  For that reason – please SUSPEND ALL SUBMISSIONS to us… but, DO NOT “write us off”!!!  I’ll be back sometime early summer 2006, & will notify all of you when we’re able to take your submissions again!  Please SPREAD THE WORD to folks you know who send us review material, too… I will NOT BE REVIEWING material until after I get back in summer, 2006!!!!

FEATURED Zzaj Productions album samples

We now have 3 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!


Margie Adam – PORTAL:  Lay back easy in your big cushioned office chair (or th’ “beanbag” thang, if you’re still in ’60’s “hippie mode”)… either way, as you watch the integrated slide show that rolls across your screen (from the DVD), you’ll be taken back years & years to an earlier time (as in Stonehenge, Scotland, etc.).  Pleasant is the word that comes to mind in the immediate, though other descriptive phrases/words will come a-floating as well… “Leprechaun”, “Celtic” & all the others you’ve heard that pertains to the majick of those yesteryears.  Also included in this set is a full-length audio CD that features Ms. Adam’s absolutely stunning keyboards… introspective, yet vibrant, I’m easily reminded of one of my favorite American piano composers, John Alkins.  Margie paints rich sonic images that will (both) relax and inspire you… and your soul.  I really enjoyed her simple, yet talented, approach to playing… many solo piano compositions tend to “rush” the listener with “too much” content, if you know what I mean… Margie’s pieces help you to relax, mainly because she (clearly) knows that (often) “less is better”.  I am highly impressed… enough so that I rate this as (not only) MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but also give it the “PICK” of this issue for “best solo piano”!  Get more information at her site – …& tell her “Zzaj” sent you, of course!      Rotcod Zzaj

Ed Drury & Mental Anguish – ELECTRONIC AMERICAN:  One of the best things about having written this review ‘zine for so many years is that I frequently get to hear “old friends” (like Chris Phinney, aka Mental Anguish) paired up with new sounds/players.  I’d been admiring Ed Drury’s music over at for some many months before I realized that he’d done a lot of collaborations with Chris, & (so) asked Chris to send me some of their work together.  It’s the title track that holds my ears most firmly… great electronique (from Chris) woven together seamlessly with Ed’s flute magicks.  Very, very accessible, yet with shadows of ancient rhythms & tribal rites that offer up “visions” of our past (and future).  The other beauty of their music(s) together is that it’s so unique and creative… you haven’t heard music like this before, & unless you keep on spinning this CD, you’re unlikely to.  “Terrible Mistake” is my favorite cut on the album, featuring some haunting spoken-word snippets & sound byte integrations (especially the stuff from “Shrubbie” & “Adolf”)… really paints a clear picture of where the revolution will come from!  If you haven’t found the holy (musical) grail yet this year – GET THIS… it is indeed MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Get more information via or     Rotcod Zzaj

Knitting By Twilight – SOMEONE TO BREAK THE SILENCE:  A very “odd” CD… doesn’t “fit” into any clean little niche… difficult to classify for the prospective listener… but that does NOT mean that it’s not great – in fact, it IS, just because it’s different.  Starts off with a very interesting guitar rhythm, flows (ever so gently) into the drum beats down under & paints a very calming sonic picture for your mind.  Track 2 opens with the beats & then weaves violin/string/synths into an almost psychedelic piece with (some) overspeak.  That’s what this most reminds me of, actually.. a “head” album from the late ’60’s or early ’70’s… & that’s a good thang… highly creative & well crafted music that will transport you beyond the norm & make you think!  I’m loving the fact that this all-original music would fit for listening out on the road, as well as in your home aural chamber.  The more I listen, the stranger it gets, in a semi-rock vein – with the focus on strong (& crystal-clear) percussion.  A GREAT little CD that gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from us, especially for those listeners who demand “different”.  Get more information via     Rotcod Zzaj

Wayne Peet Quartet – LIVE AT AL’S BAR:  Live sets are very difficult to record, but this CD captures it perfectly… Peet’s (Hammond) organ is the centerpiece, but the hot/scorching guitar works of Nels Cline & G.E. Stinson, along with the superb drums of Russell Bizzett, will smoke yer’ ears!  3 very, very long sets (the longest clocks in at 16:35) that will make you feel like these guys are right there in yer’ living room… all original, which makes it even better for the dedicated listener.  My favorite piece is the 3rd track, “Inner Funkdom”, mainly because of the “roots” funk bass sounds that Peet keeps running with his left hand.  This album takes me way, WAY back… early-to-mid ’60’s feel, with guitars on the right & left side of yer’ headphones (just) screamin’ in yer’ ears at full tilt!  You can’t classify this as “jazz”, per se, nor can you call it “just jam”, because the organ keeps it in the realm of accessible.  I’d recommend headphones for your first listen, to be sure… you need to be totally focused for this kind of music, or you won’t catch all the little nuances that are going on…. something new each time you listen back through.  Total fun & great musicianship make me rate this as HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for folks who love extended-set high energy (almost nuclear) jams.  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Alexander McCabe – THE ROUND:  There is (literally) nothing more pleasant than a great jazz CD like Alexander has produced on this release… through one’s ears, into the brain & right on down into th’ deepest parts of th’ soul, McCabe’s alto sax reaches out & touches your spirit with the stuff that jazz dreams are made of!  He’s joined by Joe Barbato (piano/accordion), bassist Ugonna Okegwo & drummer Steve Johns – perfect quartet!  All original tracks, which helps to elevate the sense of involvement the listener has with the music… ‘coz listeners who are truly into jazz will always pick originals over covers (no matter how well performed, or exciting they are).  This is Alexander’s first national release (due out in the racks on October 11th)… & it’s a “smash hit” here in th’ Zzaj inner sanctum.  All th’ way from the beautiful lead-in track, “Floating”, to the high-energy (& most innovative title track, which features Barbato’s accordion), you’ll find yourself on a voyage of jazz discovery that will sate even the most jaded jazz listener.  This is one of the most fantastic listens I’ve had this year, & this CD will be in my racks for years & years to come (in the front of the stack).  I give this one a seriously deserving MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Get more information at    Rotcod Zzaj

Craig Schumacher – NEW SHOES:  Kick back, light up somethin’ relaxing & think about where “the blues” really comes from… all original tunes, with Craig doing both vocals & some wonderful acoustic guitar pieces that will transport you beyond the realm of “regular”, as you find yourself arriving at that smoky lil’ after-hours joint that’s always in your dreams.  Gary Berg’s harp & sax work contribute a lot to that “feel”, too, but all the players (Dean Granros on electric guitar, Kenny Horst on drums, Chris Bates doing bass & Donnie LaMarca’s piano) have interpreted Mr. Shumacher’s sweet aural visions perfectly for your ears – they’re tight through & through.  This kinda’ music is what I refer to as “slinky”… I always get a vision of a snake slithering when I hear this kind of music… not sure why… it just kind of sneaks up on you & grabs you right where your soul is.  My favorite track (from that standpoint, anyway) is cut 6, “The Right Thing”… pure slithery FONK, volkz!  A highly creative CD that will entertain you for hours on end, with th’ ‘phones on, or out on th’ road, this one gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from our ears!  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

ZeroOne – ULTRA ZONE:  This is some of the strangest music I’ve heard (yet) from our pal Jim Konen, out in Pontiac, Michigan.  I’ve recorded with him before, on some more “straight-ahead” jazz & blues type(s) of music, but this solo outing as ZeroOne is much more in the “space music” realm.  All relatively short pieces that will remind you of aural images you would have when reading a juicy remote-galaxy space adventure… think alien, think plowing through comet’s tails, think gigantic clanging, banging spacecraft plowing through asteroid belts, & you’ll have a pretty good idea of just how “far out” Jim’s guitar antics will take you on “Ultra Zone”.  As always, the driving rhythms that exist “down under” his guitar layers will take you into “zones” you never knew existed before… probably ‘coz they didn’t… these are very unique “Konen Kreations”.  I have constantly been impressed with Jim’s work, & this CD is no exception… travelers who only want to travel in a “comfort zone” need not apply, but listeners who thrive on “different” & “new” will agree en toto when I declare this to be MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Get more information via e-mail to     Rotcod Zzaj

The Rick Ray Band – TEMPORARY WORLD:  Anyone who has heard Rick’s bands before will know (already) that they ARE th’ “smokers” of rock today… carrying on a rock tradition that seems to have been lost for many of today’s young listeners.  We’ve reviewed a LOT of Rick’s CD’s, but I didn’t realize that he’s all the way up near 30… this album is # 28.  It’s clear as you listen to the excellent band he’s assembled (Chuck Abraham, vocals; bass by Jack Ambrose; great reeds from Rick Schultz, drums by Sam P.J. Glorioso & guitar/keyboards by Frank Pellino) to play against/with/around & alongside his own scorching guitars, that Rick just loves the music… anyone who can’t hear that shouldn’t even listen to the rooster in the morning.  This is one of his most vibrant albums, with superb recording & strong music through & through.  We’re REALLY impressed – AGAIN!  This get a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for rock listeners the world ’round!  Contact him on his site via email to or snail to Neurosis Records, 4020 Logan’s Way, Perry, OH 44081 !!  & do it TODAY!!!!    Rotcod Zzaj
Jim Mcauley – GONGFARMER 18:  If it’s solo improvised (acoustic) guitar you love, you won’t be able to do without this debut release from Jim.  It probably won’t be everyone’s “cup of tea”, but for those in our readership who can’t do without some “originality” & some “new”, this IS the TICKET.  He’s totally talented at weaving your mind into the mix, often to the point that you’ll forget where you are, or what you were doing… “acoustic amnesia”?  One reason Jim is so successful at this is that he knows how to use the “open spaces” between notes… he’s not afraid to leave a note hanging open, but totally capable of inserting a tone you had no idea would be there… either rhythmically, or melody-wise.  Prepare yourself by making sure you’ll have no interruptions, then put th’ headphones on & cruise off into the dream(s) Mr. Mcauley paints for you.  I was highly impressed…you will be too… Jim “has the magic”!  I give this one a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all but the “non adventurous” among us.  Get more information at, or send e-mail to      Rotcod Zzaj

Moodfood – ICE:  If that group name had come from any other than the “Soulfood” label, I doubt it would have gotten reviewed for a while.  Since we’ve reviewed quite a bit of stuff from “Soulfood”, though, I suspected this would be great… & my ears certainly weren’t disappointed.  The opener, “Kaif Kun”, reminds me (somehow) of early “Sting”, probably from the rhythmic persuasions & vocal echo effects.  DJ Free & Peter Schimke have joined forces to astound your ears with up-to-date & non-cliché beats that often approach somethin’ you might call “World Jazz”.  It’s danceable as well, & has flawless execution of rhythm.  Some very pleasing synthesizer works… my favorite cut is “Martini House”, which takes my ears way back to bands like Spyro Gyra, & keyboardists like Joe Zawinul (Weather Report).  This is an excellent album through & through, with something for every listener’s ears.  I give it a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Paula Lammers – A BLANKET OF BLUE:  & that is what it IS, folks!  Definitely laid-back, pleasant vocals that will wrap you up & make ya’ warm (in your heart).  Debut releases are always fun, ‘coz th’ energies are KICKIN’, & that certainly holds true for Paula’s “on” vocal style.  What you’ll notice right away is how clear the words she sings are… & not in a “high style”, either… you know, some singers kind of “affect” their language & come across sounding really phony… that’s not true with Ms. Lammers at all!  She’s purely original in her presentation & performance.  Most of the tracks are covers… so, for her next outing, hope she’ll include (at least) a few more originals… the one she does include – “Goodbye – Again” – is my favorite cut on the CD, in fact.  She’ll reach right out & touch your soul, to be sure… excellent singer, excellent music, excellent album.  This one gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listener who wants to get “wrapped up” in Paula’s beautiful “blanket of blue”.  I’m impressed, & you will be too!  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Jim Wilson – A PLACE IN MY HEART:  This is a very pretty piano CD, featuring Jim on his 5th album.  We’ve reviewed his works before & have been truly impressed with the beauty he’s able to express.  As you might glean from the title, this isn’t “hard-edged” or improvised… very much like what you’d hear on a PBS special with Yanni, or someone like that.  If your ears are thirsting for well composed music that is both relaxing & inspiring, this will be your ticket to Nirvana.  It’s a totally professional recording, with track titles & author info burned right onto the CD… very handy if you don’t want to dig through liners & jackets to find out who composed the piece.  Of course, these are all Wilson originals, which makes the pieces ever more attractive to me… originals always have (much) more fire, methinks.  I give this one a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any listener who wants something to be inspired by.  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Thelonious Octopus – SOME GLAD MORNING:  Our first listen to Jeff Stoneking’s works as “T.O.” is most interesting… high-end sculpted electronics in compliment to a sermonette in re:  “The Greatest Of These” leads off… & on into lots & lots of other religious-overspeak wonderments that feature some very interesting electronic beat thangs.  The title track is something entirely different than you may have imagined… certainly not a “quiet” piece of “solitude”, suffice it to say… little strange snippets of voices, heavy pounding beats & aliens in disco mode (or something like that).  My only critique (& it’s a frequent one these days) is that the titles aren’t “burned” into the CD… use “Nero”, or some other burning tool that permits the titles, author info, etc., to be permanently burned on the CD, next time.  That is no “detractor”, however, for the seriously dedicated listener… if you’re looking for well-recorded D.I.Y., with great quality & high energy, this one comes MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  File under “strange”, to be sure!  Get more information, or purchase the CD, at     Rotcod Zzaj

Picoso – PICOSO:  I first listened to Izaak Mills a couple of years back, at the Olympia Experimental Music Festival… that set was (as you might imagine) significantly more in the “outer zone” than this fine lil’ Latin-based CD.  When Izaak’s dad handed “Picoso” to me for review, he made note of that, saying that it was more “accessible” than that earlier stuff.  Well, he was right… 11 high-energy pieces that take me (way) back to mem’ries of Astrud & Joao (Gilberto), along with Stan Getz… those with Spanish language skills will find the vocals exciting & full of life (but those (like me) who are limited in that arena, are taken care of, too… the singer does an English-language version on some of the tracks, too).  “Puerto Rico – (Yeah! Yeah!)” is my favorite track… decidedly Cubano, but with a big-band be-bop flavor… a very cool tune!   The recording is excellent, pulling out the conga & percussive sounds better than most albums you’ll hear anywhere (I suspect that may have something to do with the fact that our friend Doug Haire was involved with the recording).  I would recommend that the track titles be “burned” onto the CD next time, as most folks don’t want to have to keep running back & forth between the track playing & the jacket, just to see what the title is.  A very pleasant listen that gets a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from these ancient ears.  Get more information at    Rotcod Zzaj

Patty & Abigail – HERE WE GO AGAIN:  Well, now, this CD is a change of pace, to be sure.  Lil’ bit o’ this, lil’ bit o’ that, stylewise.  My ears hear is as having solid roots in modern country, but their vocals tend to keep it in the pop realm.  Nice acoustic & electric guitar compositions that will appeal to all different kinds of listeners.  The most intriguing tune (for me) was “Run Away” (track 8), probably because the instrumentation has a “haunted” feel… the vocal extends that feeling to “sad” as well as ghostly.  These ladies show high energy for their music, as well as well honed skill.  This music won’t appeal to hard-core jazzers, or those who want skulls & crosses in their trax… but anyone with (even a slight) sensitivity & heart will find this quite enjoyable.  Very pretty music that will give you hours of listening pleasure.  I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for lovers of soft-rockin’ pop music everywhere!  Get more information at    Rotcod Zzaj

Ezra Weiss – PERSEPHONE:  Some of the finest (& most intricate/inspiring) jazz you’ll hear in 2005 is on this new CD, which hit the streets on 20 September, 2005.  Weiss’s keyboards are superb, involved without being overbearing.  9 totally original tracks that display great talent (on the part of all members of the sextet)… even without reading the liners, where they talk about Ezra’s fascination with Greek mythology, you’ll know (right away) that this is music that will be near/dear to the Gods!  What really happens here (as with creative music anywhere) is that Weiss creates his own musical stories… & though the sextet format is (nearly) too close to “big band” to qualify as “intimate”, they pull it off… one reason for that is skillful use of silent space, as well as full-bore playing… some of the bass interludes are excellent.  My ears were mightily impressed, as will be yours… Mr. Weiss “digs deep”, exploring territory that blues may once have inhabited, but keeps his compositions firmly rooted in jazz forms!  I rate this as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for anyone who wants to hear what “tomorrow’s music” is going to sound like.  Get more information through     Rotcod Zzaj

Nicholas D’Amato’s Royal Society – NULLIUS IN VERBA:  I’m not exactly sure what Nicholas’ music can be classified as… or, if it even should be… what I can say, without qualification, is that it’s highly original, & full of great energies!  All original tracks, featuring D’Amato’s bass, drums by John O’Reilly & great galloping guitars by Wayne Krantz, these compositions will thrill jazz fans who’ve been lookin’ for something “more” than standard.  Every tune is rock-solid, anchored in bass & drum works that keep the listener wondering where they’re going next… what my ears dug on the most was the improvised aspects of each of the tracks – they go much further than “just jam”, plumbing the depths of a particular rhythm for all of it’s nuances.  “Smooth jazz” fans probably won’t like the music here much, because this kind of music challenges the listener to actually comprehend what the players are saying with their music… but those with (even a bit of) adventure in their ears will “get this” right away.  This CD will be a “treasure” in the collections of those who enjoy something “different” in their listening.  I rate it as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED… in addition to giving it the “PICK” of this issue for “best improvised jazz trio”!  Get more information at   Rotcod Zzaj

Suzanne Ciani – SILVER SHIP:  It’s been quite some time since we received a CD for this splendid artist… you can check back issues for reviews we’ve done of her (issues # 21,& 25, for instance)… what you’ll find is that we hear her musical talent as occupying a “special” place.  Suzanne doesn’t restrict her vision to one “genre”, or even one “instrument”, for instance… while it’s true that her main instrument is keyboards, she seems to be equally at home with acoustic or electronic.  On “Silver Ship”, she’s joined by a whole host of players, too long to itemize here… the main thing to point out is that she has integrated their sounds flawlessly, and with great energy coming across to the listener.  If you’re not fully enchanted after you listen to the beautiful title track (which includes magical vocals), you probably have little vision yourself.  You can’t “classify” Ms. Ciani’s music easily… there are certainly elements of “new age” here, but she easily transcends the limitations of that classification… what she composes/plays is pure joy for your ears – and your heart!  We’ve missed hearing Suzanne’s all original wonders, but I can tell you – she’s back in full force, folks!  This gets a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, without another moments’ thought!  Get more information, or purchase at     Rotcod Zzaj

Michael Pagán Big Band – PAG’S GROOVE:  If it’s “Big Band” jazz you love, this CD will be one of your favorites for a while to come!  It takes a little while for Michael’s wonderful keyboard chops to come in as the lead instrument… which is what you’d expect, since th’ rest of the “big band” kind of “sets it up” for his leads.  He’s clearly a very talented player, & easily able to convey a sense of excitement & high-energy to the listener through his fingers!  We’ve reviewed him before, tho’ not as leader… check issue # 65 1/2.  The title track is my favorite piece on the album, & I suspect it will be yours, too… good ol’ 12 bar blues in tribute to “Bag’s Groove”, of course, with great solos from Garner Pruitt (trumpet), John Hines (trombone) & Greg Harris (vibraphone).  The arrangements are superb & the recording is among the best I’ve heard this year.  True jazz fans will want to hit th’ racks ’round September 13th, when this one is released… get your own, NOW!  I give this one a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, especially for those who want full-bodied “Big Band” jazz!  Get more info on the label site, at     Rotcod Zzaj

Patrick Ryan – KNOWLEDGE:  Highly energetic & vibrant tropically-flavored musical “punch” that will get yer’ feet (& your soul) movin’… heavily influenced by the lyrics Ryan pens for tunes that infuse “world” with meaning for your ears.  It’s an odd mix of styles, nothing you can pigeonhole easily, & of course that (alone) makes it get a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from my ears.  If you had to “peg” it, you would have to chop it up into sections… a little rock, a little “art-house”, a little “reggae” & that.  The cut-outs from “Reefer Madness” in the title track make that one my favorite cut on the album… funny, FUNNY!  There are sections on this cut (& others) where I hear a bit of “Talking Heads” floating through, too.  This Ryan dude is a long LONG way from where he grew up in Iowa… been down a few roads since those days, & you’ll hear that clearly in his music.  Patrick has done a great job of (both) performance & composition, & any listener who likes a lil’ bit of “strange” in their R&R will dig DOW-un on this CD.  Well done, Mr. Ryan!  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Gini Wilson – SFCJQ:  That stands for “The San Francisco Chamber Jazz Quartet”, & jazz is the keyword, to be sure.  We reviewed Steve Heckman (soprano & alto sax, clarinet & flute on this outing) in issue # 74, & were highly impressed… as we are here.  Gini’s piano, along with superb bass from Pat Klobas, drums from Ron Marabuto & a vocal guest shot from Jackie Ryan & Badr Karram playing Dumbek, congeal into one of the tightest jazz quartets we’ve heard in a while.  The CD features a whole array of original pieces by Ms. Wilson, not the least of which is “Lucky Monkey” (the instrumental version), my fave track on the album… it just rocks & jumps!  Heckman has a couple of originals featured, too… I’m especially fond of “O Town Blues”, which blends Gini’s sweet keyboards with a really full-throat sax sound, & kicks right along… perfect music for th’ road!  If you’re looking for a jazz album that will take you along for a joyride – GET this one… it’s MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz fans th’ world over.  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Eric Roberts – IN A SILENT PLACE:  Mr. Roberts guitar works will definitely take you to a place where “silence is to be treasured”.  All originals, which makes it immediately apparent to the listener how talented Eric is… his spirit shines through each gentle acoustic guitar passage, & will transport you to regions of your soul you didn’t even know existed.  There is far more than just cliché guitar phrasing here, too… my favorite track is “Journey Through Time”, which features Eric on Guitar & Guitar synth, as well as David Darling on Cello & midi-percussion… a timeless high-energy composition that will “take you there” – across the eons, to be sure.  He also does some marvelous spontaneous improvs… both solo (“Reflections I through III”) & accompanied (“A Stringy Dialogue”) by Mr. Darling.   Other players featured are Ed Contreras (percussion) & Robert Weinstein (guitar).  If your body can’t relax as your ears absorb this wonderfully relaxing music, you probably belong in a “ward” somewhere, getting “the cure”… on the other hand, this music probably can provide you with a cure, for all but the most aberrant souls, that is.  I’m impressed enough to rate this one as MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Get more information, or purchase, at    Rotcod Zzaj

Jessie Allen Cooper – PACIFIC LOUNGE:  Shades of Kenny G, in 21st century clothes & mindset… there is a significant difference, though, from Mr. G’s albums (especially towards “the end”)… that’s Tim Ponzek’s great acoustic piano.  A perfect match with Cooper’s soulful soprano.  There seemed (to me) to be a penchant for ballads & pieces that stay (almost) too close to the “smooth jazz” tradition, perhaps because of the acoustic keyboards… I would have liked to have heard at least a couple of tunes with more “bounce” to them.  Though the titles were burned into the CD, they didn’t include author (nor did the liners), so that’s a slight detractor… I like to know if the tracks are originals.  Those listeners who want music that tugs at the heartstrings will find this a total winner, but more adventuresome ears will probably go to other bins in the racks.  Nevertheless, no one can say that this isn’t great & expressive music… because Jessie/Tim clearly know what they want to say to the listener, & they do it very well.  I give this one a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any/all who are in love with smooth jazz energies.  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

Oscar Reynolds – RIVER OF LIGHT:  This CD is, quite simply, the best album I’ve listened to in this issue… extremely well-recorded, and full of supremely soulful music from the heart, his compositions are just so easy to fall in love with.  The fact that so many of the players are from Bolivia has a lot to do with the Latin “flavor”… you know, lots of flamenco, high-end flute & percussion aplenty… the difference is that Mr. Reynolds is able to use the flutes to take this to a level of “world music” that will be totally attractive to your ears, without being cliché in the least.   All the titles are burned right onto the CD, so there’s no need to go flipping back & forth between the liners & the media.  Oscar’s cast of characters is too large to itemize here… you’ll have to purchase the CD.  “Estrellas Azules” is my favorite track on the album, because of the superb guitars & percussion, but since they’re all Reynolds originals, there will be very little your ears don’t like.  I’m highly impressed, & expect we (and you) will be hearing a LOT more music from this master.  “River Of Light” gets our MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED rating!  Get more information on his pages, at     Rotcod Zzaj 

Kerry Politzer – LABYRINTH:  I’m not sure this is the title I’d have picked… as it can imply “jumble”, or “muddle”… what Kerry’s doing here is not in the least confusing… we reviewed another of her CD’s in issue # 58 (WATERCOLOR), & were highly impressed with her clear directions on that one, too.  “Labyrinth” is much more Brazilian-jazz oriented, & that may have a lot to do with why my ears dug it so much, I’m not sure.  I believe the other attracting factor is that all these tracks are Politzer originals… highly energetic compositions, which is always a plus for these old ears.  My only critique is that the CD should have the titles & track info burned TO the CD, so the listener doesn’t keep having to run back & forth between the jacket & the player.  She’s joined by some fine players, too.. Andrew Rathbun on tenor & soprano saxophone, Chris Higgins on bass & George Colligan on drums… a truly tight quartet that will have jazz listeners around the globe thirsting for more!  She has a “lush” touch on the boards, & is quite comfortable “out front”, as well as comping behind superb sax or bass… this is listening you’ll get excited about (or at least your ears will).  We give this gem a MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for jazz aficionados everywhere.  Get more information at       Rotcod Zzaj

Amy Banks – WHEN THE SUN COME OUT:  The “keyword” for Amy’s vocals is… “rich”.  You can add any other words you hear… there will be many… “vibrant”, “energetic”, maybe even “hot”.  Her debut jazz CD features some wonderful jazz players as well… Allen Farnham (piano), Steve Rudolph (piano), Steve Varner (bass), Rich DeRosa (drums), Tim Warfield (saxophone) & Tony Miceli (vibraphones); though some of these players are legends in their own right, the arrangements feature Ms. Banks prominently, & her soulful vocals transport you to that jazz nirvana you’ve been lookin’ for all your life.  Most of the tunes were written by other players, but track 8, “Ruined For The Rest”, is an Amy original (co-authored by pianist Steve Rudolph) & it literally shines… lots of crystal-clear energy & some nice scat at about 2:30 or so.  I’d like to hear more originals on her next album, but that still doesn’t detract from the rating… this gets a definite MOST HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for any/all who gotta’ have “the spirit” in their jazz listening.  Keep your ears tuned to this lady… she’ll be around for a long time to come!  Get more information at     Rotcod Zzaj

The Screwdrivers – SHAPE OF A BIRD IN TRANSIT Another rawk-in’ lil’ gem of a CD from these folks, whose first album we reviewed in issue # 59… this ’round seems (somehow) more “jangly” & “hard-edged”… not sure why.  Now, you might take that as a “hit”, but from a rock perspective, that’s not th’ deal at all… I’m reminded of the spirit of the ’60’s, when new talent was croppin’ up on every corner!  This album sounds much more like a “live” recording (whether studio or show)… much more spontaneous & energy-filled.  Just the kinda’ tunes you’d want to listen to if you were driving cross-country, right around Missoula, Montana, I’d think… lush country, rich rock-roots music that will trip you right on through the forests ’round th’ road.  If you’re lookin’ for wild-assed improv, or sophisticated chamber music… move on… this is “down-home” flavored guitar music that’ll turn your krank!  I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!  Contact at 9 Crescent St., Easthampton, CT 06424, via e-mail to  or on their site, at     Rotcod Zzaj





We were especially happy to receive the following 8 poems from our most poetic friend, Golda Solomon.  As you’ll see, she “speaks from the soul” – THANKS, Golda!








Pantoum for a Saratoga Springs, NY Jazz Festival



Always steps ahead.  Dressed to kill.

Miles blows colored dissonance this festival day

Opaque balloon pants in billowy royal hues

Like pieces of eight woven with gold thread


Miles blows colored dissonance this festival day

Pirate ship stage, masts of electrical equipment

Like pieces of eight woven with gold thread

Sound buffeting sheer white sails


Pirate ship stage, masts of electrical equipment

Vast sea of audience held captive

Sound buffeting sheer white sails

We willingly walk the plank


Vast sea of audience held captive

His sword ready to smite us

We willingly walk the plank

Late afternoon shadows – brush strokes on this jazz galleon


His sword ready to smite us

Glints of mischievous sheen on his chocolate locks

Late afternoon shadows – brush strokes on this jazz galleon

He blows directly into the speakers


Glints of mischievous sheen on his chocolate locks

Strutting from one black monolith to the other

He blows directly into the speakers

McLaughlin’s guitar shocks Miles


Strutting from one black monolith to the other

Mutiny thru an electrical storm

McLaughlin’s guitar shocks Miles.

He stays with Miles, then leads Miles


Mutiny thru an electrical storm

The speakers cackle back obscenities

He stays with Miles, then leads Miles

El Capitan smiles broadly


The speakers cackle back obscenities

Sound waves on ionized dust particles

El Capitan smiles broadly

Keys and modes jump ship

Sound waves on ionized dust particles

Wet notes come spraying out at us

Keys and modes jump ship

Melodies disappear, crackle, curdle


Wet notes come spraying out at us

Captain Hook on trumpet navigates a new course

Melodies disappear, crackle, curdle

This is power forty fathoms deep


Captain Hook on trumpet navigates a new course

Opaque balloon pants in billowy royal hues

This is power forty fathoms deep

Always steps ahead.  Dressed to kill.



            Golda Solomon@2002 .


for harlem in the 1960’s




my day gig

my night hang


sunlight patterns the broad boulevard

at 117th st. a church going woman

blesses me


saxman setting up on his corner

beat up case with a faded lining

readied for nickels and dimes


his chops gone

his shoes shined

pomade slicked nappy grey afro


he nods

we speak without words

he knows i’ll stop and listen later


he’ll play on green dolphin street

without me asking

i’ll drop my loose change


a mangy dog sniffin’

for a pork chop

in a bag at the curb


comes up with a discarded hi top sneaker


growls at the knotted laces


i pass

save your soul storefronts

damn your soul liquor stores


open   tremored hands

winos holding pint size brown bags

tastes of cheap booze


it’s never too early for a fix

ashy faces of dead presidents

framed on folded bills buy smack





exhaust fumes darken the air

uptown and downtown busses

tout life on elsewhere avenues


a lost yellow cab

stops at a light

engine revving and ready


i have my routine

a sense of place



i turn a corner

boarded up brownstones

etched brass doorknobs chained shut


a regal past for sale

the blues walks these streets

stalking the next generation


lunchtime i brown bag it

relax on a bench

periphery of mt. Morris park


listen to quiltings of conversations


resting knarled toes


fall and spring i walk

in winter hibernate

eat with teachers who care


any many who do not

i get to know

my territory


i minister to small groups

changing ye’th’s into yes

mowf into mouth


bending vowels, suggesting

alternatives of articulation

spoken currency below 110th st.





seasoned idioms

dance with

my brooklyn


the south

still at war

with the north


will i wait my turn at the

better pie crust company

take home a sweet potato pie


or buy

a bean pie from a suited x

hawking muhamed speaks


we’re all hungry

for truth

aren’t we


we see

too many truth sayers





street lights have a different glow

from dusk on

drop me off in harlem rhythm


the theresa’s past its hey day

fidel’s upraised fist



sro’s dot the landscape


houses of poverty


white rookies pullin’ the wrong precinct

trigger happy pimple faced cowboys

afraid of the dark


sequinned he/she ho’s

too much makeup

hope for a good night





musk of maryjane

perfumes garbage

in overfilled cans waiting to be picked up


i hail a black beauty taxi

traffic lights



reds and greens

like a flight path

lighting the runway to jazz joints


i land at wells

sounds   succulent

golden squares of waffle


siren’s song for syrup

regal crusted breasts

fried chicken


batallions of legs and thighs

night welcomes me back

to my adopted neighborhood


biting this juicy uptown apple

quenches my thirst

scotch turns milk creamy


my uprooted european roots


this hybrid soil


brown arms of jazz


my blues


dark jazz

wails through horns

primal notes


my lost childhood

can’t be found

like a misplaced library book





only i can

forgive my too early

loss of innocence


the bass

lays it all



hungry and thirsty

my freudian dwarfs

i am not snow white


any more

the piano man

plays my story


i’m a snapping


of desire


other’s expectations

once seemingly important

disappear as the tune ends




                        Golda Solomon@2005


NY Times January 16: Devanampattinum, a village



This is India’s ravaged southeastern coast

This Tamil speaking region far from Munbal

Shy smiles of an old woman

show betel – stained teeth

A barefoot little girl giggles, trails after him

He swoops her up – her first Prince Charming

A safe memory to build on

Young men’s calloused hands

Want to shake his outstretched pumice smoothed ones

No Hindi speaking Bollywood picture house

Movies rare here

Thatched huts – homes – lives – lost

Dead of summer

This peaceful fishing village of 3000

Disfigured landscape

Tsunami caught 71 fathers, sons,

Mothers, sisters, boys, girls in its net

This slow paced vacation retreat

Getaway from a pressured money making industry

This movie idol works among them

Walks the tattered route

More rupees needed

More than a genies three wishes can provide

Debris strewn dreams

Like their fishing nets need mending

Twelve fishermen

Set out in newly repaired boats

This same sea is now tranquil again

The day before Pongal

Harvest festival of southern India has begun



                                  Golda Solomon@2005


In Praise of a Young Black Woman From the Midwest



De Avery   De Catur

De midwest comes East

De law teaches – preaches

Columbia, gem of the Ocean

Sweet bites into this soured apple of a city

Genealogy of her family

Travels along for de ride

In Illinois, a black skein in white sheep’s territory

Here her ancestral hair in knitted knots

Knowledge dreds fly off in different directions

Familiar faces live in this metropolis of underground rails

She learns the rites of rights

De fender of the children

She knits and purls

Wool the color of blood

textured in slavery

She is her grandma’s child

Clacking away on crossed needles

Neat rows of advocacy

Stitched truths in a shawl for her mother

Patterns the tapestry of generations

Quiet revolutionary

This De Avery



                                 Golda Solomon@2005


First Mention: Isiah 34:14

His hands stuttered those first times he touched her

he and she made from the same dirt.  Explored

gently blew away dust

particles from innocent places

Coupling he moaned her name

Lilith my wife, Lilith my wife


… and God looked down and was pleased


No vocabulary of discontent

Glances.  Shared shyness

Learning the Garden God had given them

His fingers combed her long shiny tresses

her majestic wings spread, holding him to her

She sang the beginnings of her voice

She wanting to mount him

he insisting she remain beneath


… and God looked down and disapproved

     and God looked down and disapproved


She spoke strongly to him

They were of the same dust.  She was his

equal.  Beneath me always he said

their Garden soiled with harshness

where they once lay content

discord.  She flew away


… and God looked down and was angry

     and God looked down and was angry


Pride.  Dry hacking rage.  She could not relent

She’d rather lay and procreate with Fallen Angels

kill her own newborns

She would forever be a She Demon

God issued her fate

her siren song

her forgotten name

never to be mentioned “In The Beginning …”


… and God looked away from her

    and God looked away from her



                                 Golda Solomon@2004


Harlem (1965)

 West to East



 Bowlegged mothers, sisters, aunties

 Fallen arches, tired, blessed sleep

 Only to begin again and again

 Nurses and aids, scuffed white shoes

 Outline of bunions and corns

 Worn down heels, negotiating shifts

 Big sisters pulling little sisters by the hand

 Tugging at tight braids, pulling up socks

 Knees buffed shiny with Jergens

 Dispassionate parochial plaids of pleated skirts

 “Don’t you make me late again for school”

 Brothers trying to keep up

 Clip-on ties, brigade of navy kites flying up Lenox Ave

 Against a sky of light blue shirts

 Oversized jackets and long pants

 Get two years of wear if you fold the cuffs under

 Bits of white fluff clinging to future afros

 Book bags slappin’ street rhythms against gabardine

 Old men, stoop sitting bookends

 Milky grey rimmed eyes and alcoholic egos

 Early morning pints in communal brown bags

 A lost sister joining them, legs splayed

 “Hey, gimme a taste man”

 Scent of southern politeness

 Rancid garbage

 Underfed dogs poking into overturned cans

 Bunches of fresh mustard, turnip and

 Collard greens sold daily from the backs of

 Trucks and station wagons “Fresh fish here”

 “Those whitey owned markets show us no respect”

 Wilted heads of lettuce dreams, days old passing for produce


 Middle class high rise condos and coops

 Butting against projects and boarded up buildings

 Intricate brass doorknobs, remains of another era

 Harlem Hospital, Lenox Terrace

 History of a people on shelves at a collection called Schomberg

 Get clean or high at the “Y”

 Glassine packets of white powder

 Folded green backs slipped palm to palm

 Suited men hawking Muhammed Speaks and bean pies

 Belly’s full of jazz, chicken and waffles from Wells

 Minton’s open

 Showman’s open

 Gold Brick open

 22 West where high collared preachers conversate

 about the ‘man’, sports, latest politician on the take

 “Hey girl, this slice of watermelon must be for one

 of those puny pale guys downtown”

 116th St. crosstown bus

 Changing voices of puberty ranting “the dozens”

 “Hey faggot” “Your mama didn’t think so last night”

 Baptist Church mediates the 5th Avenue divide

 Museos Del Barrio, a storefront on Third

 Smells of La Marqueta

 Bodega beginnings

 Park Ave uptown is cheap chic

 Clothing hung from high racks

 Un-easy truce with the Po-leese

 Knight sticks dangling off blue uniformed hips

 Cars whizzing down the drive protected by an avenue named Pleasant

 Highways and projects named after dead white presidents and generals

 Patsy’s on First, pizza and old world dining

 Kisses on both cheeks, jowls held by pinky ringed men

 No Blacks

 No Puerto Ricans

 No longer safe

 “Hey, ja hear, Frank was in the neighborhood”

 Sinatra sighting at the Ded-lightful Coffee Shop



            Golda Solomon@2003


Celebration of Sisters in Jazz


I saw Dottie Dodgion play drums

Diminutive   Blond haired     Big smile

Taking charge                       Taking charge

Legs splayed apart

A woman on men’s turf

A woman on a man’s instrument

Ladies don’t sit that way

Drummers do.

I should have remembered every detail

Shards of memory    Reflections in my mind’s mirror

The impact it would have on me

The catskills or the Halfnote

I saw her                     I saw her

I heard her                  I heard her

My beginnings of celebrating women in jazz

Women were teachers, not drummers

Women were nurses – not horn players

Women were mothers – no axes, just kitchen knives

Women were piano teachers

Like my Rose Ludivico

I walked up 2 steep flights

A brownstone in Little Italy

Red gravy smells hitting my nostrils, garlic and Bach

Fiercely independent at 10

Saddle shoes scuffing on concrete steps

My feminism began

My rounded fingers on 88 keys

Now I rattle off names

My sisters in the rhythms of my jazz life

Their names a mantra for young girls

A Who’s Who of you can do it

Play their names as I salute them

Play their names                   Play their names


Cindy Blackman                    Virginia Mayhew                   Judi Silvano

Sylvia Cuenca                       Allison Miller                          Tessa Souter

Alberta Hunter                       Cobi Narita                            Carol Sudhalter        

Susie Ibarra                           Lisa Parrott                            Maxine Sullivan

Ingrid Jensen             Nikki Parrott                           Miriam Sullivan

Etta Jones                              Barbara Sfraga                   Kendra Shank

Sheila Jordan                        Abbey Lincoln


                           Golda Solomon@2001


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 @ 2001






INTERVIEW with Chris Phinney


ZZAJ: Are you (still) primarily into “self-production”? Are you more digital now, or less than you were just before 2000?

Chris Phinney: Yes 95% of the releases available on the Harsh Reality Music label are self produced. The collaboration projects are either produced by me or the collaborative partner & a lot of times we both produce parts of the music. The releases that I put out on occasion from other artists are produced by them though I usually do the cover art. The re-releases of old cassettes from the label by other artists to cdr of course the music was produced by the artist, but I do the transfer/master to cdr.

Yes, more digital now in regards to the software I use on some recordings,the mastering, the VSTI’s I use & of course the releases are on compact disc these days versus the vinyl & cassettes of the old days.

ZZAJ: Your music has great high energy; after all these years, how do you maintain such levels of energy?

Chris Phinney: Having 4 kids I have no time to be lazy, it helps keep the momentum going. I feel that one must put their all into their music if they are creating.I feel like I have to use all types of media, gear, software etc when its offered otherwise the music becomes stale & complacent. Besides trying new things is the spice of life.

ZZAJ: Has the explosion of digital artists increased the “competition” for your music on the Internet; has it changed your “influences” at all, or did your influences stay pretty much the same?

Chris Phinney: Yes & no,  the explosion has increased the competition to get your mp3s heard on the internet to some extent. But the musics being heard current stats from reflect this (266,568 mp3s streamed & or downloaded from January 04 to Sept 4th 05 & 41,811 mp3s streamed or downloaded from  since we switched to php & had to rebuild the database about 8 months ago or so).To me though mp3s are more of a demo,a tool anyways though some will argue this point.The quality is just not the same as a wav file or a cd that contains mastered audio files.I try not to be influenced by what I listen to of the digital artist explosion.I will say though that my fellow artists at Tapegerm do provide influences for me,as well as collaborative partners do in those recordings influence me.Other than that my influences have stayed pretty much the same.

ZZAJ: I (personally) have a preference for “original” tunes. How do you feel about that… is “original” better, or does it really matter?

Chris Phinney: Well I prefer original tunes as well (personally) I really don’t want to hear covers of other peoples tunes unless maybe its a tribute album or something like that & then I prefer an original (twist) on a cover tune over a straight ahead sound alike cover tune.I do think it matters but to what extent I am not sure.

ZZAJ: We talked (quite a bit) in the old days about promotion & distribution; have OMD”s (Online Music Distributors) like MIXPOSURE, helped you in your distro efforts, or is it about the same as it was way back when? How much time do you have to devote to OMD sites, as opposed to your earlier days?

Chris Phinney: I think all the OMD’s helped with exposure & in reaching a wider audience yes,outside the old days of the hometaper networking.From 98 until a liitle past mid 2003 I had music on just about every OMD site out there.those still out there & those that have dissapeared,networked like mad as well.A little past mid 2003 though I realized I had no time for that anymore & deleted everything I had out there,continued putting up some tunes at tapegerm & in January 04 bought Harsh Reality ( & decided that my online music efforts would be only at Harsh Reality & ( & the occasional networking friends sites or labels.

ZZAJ: Do you get any “direct” feedback from listeners via your website?

Chris Phinney: Yes I get some direct feedback from both Harsh Reality Music & Tapegerm.

ZZAJ: Is there such a thing as “too much music”? Does this explosion of “home artists” interfere (at all) with your own efforts to make a living from music? Or, DO you “do it for a living”?

Chris Phinney: No I don’t think so, sometimes though you have to wade through a lot of stuff you are not really into in order to find what you really like.

No as I don’t create music for a living, but for my enjoyment & if someone happens to like it thats great,& if someone happens to not like it that’s fine as well.

ZZAJ: Does the MUSIC take up more of your time now, or do you wind up spending (much) more time now on Internet sites, chatting with users & such?

Chris Phinney: Yes the creation of music takes up more of my time now, when I am not doing the family things & work things that I enjoy doing. There is just not enough time to create music the way I want to & talk with users on a lot of sites & messageboards.

ZZAJ: I’ve little doubt that with the heavy emphasis on “war” as a “business” today, the healing power(s) of music are viewed (by many) as a “loss leader”; how can we get back to a situation where the politicians are on the “back burner”, where they belong, instead of “in the news” all the time? In other words, what can we (as musicians) do to help improve the world?

Chris Phinney: We could stop creating music altogether, that would surely put the politicians on the back burner where they belong & bring the healing powers of music back up to the forefront. Then once accomplished we could start creating the music again & that would keep the music & its healing powers & messages back on the forefront for quite some time I think.

ZZAJ: Please pass on any “words of wisdom” you have for aspiring artists in today’s world? What can they do to make their music better, both “technically” & aesthetically?

Chris Phinney: Artists should use all forms of promotion, internet, OMD’s, etc should be used by all artists with access in order to reach a larger audience, but artists should not just rely on the internet, they should send their music out to college & community radio stations, take a chance on sending their music to commercial radio stations as well. Send it to as many magazines as they can underground & commercial,& to newspapers etc. maybe even advertise in these magazines if they can afford to & be sure & make the CDs a release, a nice product both musically & artistically, a good package not just a demo. Print up flyers & pass them around, put them out there & stickers as well. Hit up distributors of music with product.. Don’t be afraid of bad reviews & of not getting a review, or answers of no your music is not what we are looking for. Try all mediums & methods that are available. Release the music in as many formats as possible, that consumers use today. Some European countries still want cassettes & vinyl. There are also some radio shows out there that have their shows broadcast on shortwave radio as well, this touches people who don’t have all the radio stations, TV, internet, etc. Always try to release a good product all way around & promote to as many places as as ones budget allows.. Most of all though keep on making the muse...



wpe2.gif (2503 bytes)

An ANNOUNCEMENT about IMPROVIJAZZATION NATION!!! I’ve been tagged as a replacement for someone (over) in Iraq… I’ll be leaving (sometime) in late December or early January!!!  For that reason – please SUSPEND ALL SUBMISSIONS to us… but, DO NOT “write us off”!!!  I’ll be back sometime early summer 2006, & will notify all of you when we’re able to take your submissions again!  Please SPREAD THE WORD to folks you know who send us review material, too… I will NOT BE REVIEWING material until after I get back in summer, 2006!!!!

    Well, it’s finally arrived – my “time in the sand”.  Unless something (really) drastic steps in & changes my timelines, I’ll be leaving for Iraq in the very near future.  I’m not “complaining” about the trip, though (of course) I’d rather just stay here & continue to review music & enjoy my twilite years.

         There are “positive” aspects to such a trip, though (believe it or not)… I’ve always been of the opinion that there is no better place to discern (just) how big “the lie” is than on-ground… I should be able to come back (assuming I do) & let you all know from first-hand experience how much the politicians (on both sides of the fence) have distorted the truth… it’s a foregone conclusion, in my mind, that things are “different” than we’ve been led to believe – always is! 

        I’m hoping that I’ll be able to meet a few of the local folks, though that will be far more limited than my usual excursions round & about th’ globe… I’m all for discussion & interchange of ideas… but not if it involves grenades & mortars.  I do know (from personal experience) that many of the folks who’ve been over there have come back with horrific mementos of their time over there… one of my contractor pals had a grenade/bomb rip him from stem to sternum, if you will.  So, I’ll err on the side of caution, to be sure.

       I doubt that I’ll be able to publish from over there, as there are (very legitimate) severe restrictions on what can be accessed/pushed to the web from inside “the zone”. 

       Please do keep me in your thoughts/prayers… nothing would make me feel better than to arrive safe/sound & ready to report reality to/for you!  In the meantime, all issues of our ‘zine will remain available for you to peruse… please tell others about our ‘zine… I have every intention of running this ‘zine up to my (personal) goal of 100 issues… at that time, I’ll probably bow out of the scene & let some younger enthusiast for high-energy music continue the tradition… but, obviously, I’ve got to make it through these 4 or 5 months in order to accomplish that goal!


See you next summer…,



Rotcod Zzaj


Leave a Reply