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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Dieter Ennemoser and C37 theory - a human friendly science or...?


C37 Book - English


"The Character of Sound" by Dieter Ennemoser

The C37 book "The Character of Sound"
by Dieter Ennemoser
ISBN 3-907073-32-0
German and English text in one book.





Contents:

Introduction 5
The Decisive Idea 5
The Ear as a Multiple Filter 7
The Brain as a Complementary Filter 7
The Diversity of Sounds and Their Classification 8
The Effect of Dampening 8
The Transient Response,
or How the Code Hid Behind Itself 9
The "Warm Sound" 10
The Supervowel of the Singer 10
The Supervowel in Musical Instruments 12
The Timbre 12
Perfect Pitch 13
The Existence of "Natural Overtones" 13
Musically"True or"Natural" 14
The "Supernatural" Sound 14
Records, Compact Discs and the Acoustic Paradox 15
The Example of Loudspeakers 16
Technical Details of the C37 Pattern 16
The Musical Metre as a Consequence of the
C37 Pattern 17
Conclusions 19




Pan Verlag



Büro Deutschland:
Naumburger Straße 40
D - 34127 Kassel
Telefon: 0049/(0)561 50049360
E-Mail: info@pan-verlag.com


Distribution of PAN editions

Schweiz/Switzerland:
Musica Viva AG
Schützenmattstr. 1
CH - 8180 Bülach
www.musicaviva.ch

Weltweit/worldwide:
Merseburger Verlag Berlin GmbH
Naumburger Straße 40 - 34127 Kassel
Telefon: +49 561 789809-11
Fax: +49 561 789809-16
E-Mail: vertrieb@merseburger.de





Excerpt from
"The Character of Sound"
by Dieter Ennemoser



The Musical Metre as a Consequence of the C37 Pattern



This suggestion came from my sister Heidi Ennemoser who, in the course of her training as a conductor,
experimented with the effect of various musical tempi on the perception of the listener.
She found out that different people, when hearing the same tempi, had the same or similar feelings.
The fact that these results were quite decisive lead me to the question: Is the perception of tempi somehow
linked to the C37 pattern and the perception of sounds? One particular quality of the C37 pattern is its
octavability in both directions.
This implies that by halving the C37 frequencies several times one could get within a frequency range of
"beats per minute".
What would the metronome numbers resulting from these calculations be like? Would my expectations be
proved wrong?


After some calculations, I had established the following metronome numbers:

61,4 63,0* 66,8 70,3 75,5 82,8 88,1 93,0 100,0 109,0 113,7 123,0 126,0*


134,0 141,0 151,0 166,0 176,0 186,0 200 beats per minute.

(* = new, not in the book)



I made measurements and comparisons and came to the following conclusions:

The C37 tempi feel natural and full and in harmony with the body. The body seems to respond to them.
Just as a swing can be made to go ever higher by a series of small repetitve pushes, so the correct
tempi induce distinct reactions in the body.
Even with the sound of a pulsating metronome (it is an electronic one with a little loudspeaker) I could
detect differences due to the tempo: The beating of the C37 tempi appeared clearer, firmer, and more forceful.
Intermediate tempi sounded nasal and flat, as though striving to recover from an unstable position.
A new question in evitably emerged: How does a 3/4 time or a 6/4 time fit into the system?
Are only the whole bars important or the individual beats also? - It turned out that both the bar tempo as
well as the beat tempo (i.e. treble the metronome number for 3/4 time) should follow the C37 pattern.

This, of course, means a reduction in the number of tempi available. Calculation shows that only the following
metronome numbers meet these criteria: 61.4 66.8 75.5 82.8 100.0.

These tempi, because of their stronger body resonances, also appear very forceful in (2/2) time whereas the
remaining five tempi 54.5 70.3 88.1 93.0 and 113.7 suggest lighter, more graceful themes and may be able
to express more subtle registers.


Conclusions:

What can be concluded from these results? Our perception of tempi reveals itself as the extended oscillation
of our constituent atoms! This is how we share a specific common relationship; who we are, what we are made of, and what we express through music. This specific relationship is called musicality.

(Naturally these figures, as those for the frequencies noted in the previous chapter, only represent the current
extent of my research and I make no claim for their accuracy or cempleteness).
We perceive musical tempi not as an objective physical phenomenon but through the unconsciously felt vibrations of our own bodies. That is why, in century of technical progress, the determined attempts to impose new structures on music through mathematical formulae have been unable to alter anything. And when pedantics try again and again to deny the nature in us and declare everything to be relative, nature always reemerges as the dominant factor.

Any musician who has played in an orchestra knows the feeling of suddenly tuning into the same beat
transmitted from conductor to player to player, or from player to player to conductor, or occasionally even from
listener to conductor to player to player.

A conductor will not lose his creative freedom because of the discovery of the existence of natural vibrations as
one might first assume - not any more than the painter would be restricted in his creative art by a knowledge of
the functioning of the human eye. Knowing these natural relationships, he can become increasingly conscious
of the effect that the choice of tempi, and the increasing or reducing of speed, and tempo shifts have upon the
expressive value of music. He will also realize the importance of this instinct, will cherish it and perhaps even
revive experiences or abilities buried for a long time.

... WE 437-based phono stage... Audio Consulting AG from Swirzerland did this way...




Audio Consulting of Switzerland, the super esoteric workshop run by Serge Schmidlin which plainly said, simply hates caps and AC, while loves battery-operated P.S.U. and Cocobolo exotic wood;-)), also used the elusive WE 437A triode in his CHF 165.000 (165.000,00 CHF = 109.296,42 EUR i.e. Euro 1 CHF = 0,662403 EUR - 1 EUR = 1,50966 CHF) three tiers phono-stage... have a look also to the 6Moons review and visit to the workshop itself...

Their philosophy is the following:

Philosophy - Emotion in Sound


"Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from eyes of woman."

- Ludwig van Beethoven -

"Things should be as simple as possible, but not simpler."

- Albert Einstein -

We would like to explain our philosophy :
There is always one optimum solution for a given problem.
It is very time consuming to find it, but this is the only way to make real progress.

A very helpful thought from the "Petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

"We only know the things that we tame, said the fox. People no longer have the time to know anything. They buy things already made from peddlers. But since there are no peddlers of friends, they no longer have friends. If you want a friend, tame me!
Goodbye, said the fox. Here's my secret; it's very simple: we see well only with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes."

- English version by Richard Waswo -


Very interesting, indeed... also if, dear Ludwig, music brings tear to my eyes, as well;-)

Wood and music - an heavenly match - Hi-end Swiss' style

Thanks to 6Moons and to Audio Consulting AG.

P.S. (written at a later date) - my friend Georges from Athens told me about the following: the very WE437A-based phono-preamp showed on above pixes was destroyed during last Munchen Audio Fair, due to a fire which unfortunately happened during the night in Serge Schmidlin/Jean Hiraga's exhibition-room... a very sad evenience.

Friday, May 29, 2009

ECM 2009 - the year of jazz/arabic fusion?



They already, first among all or so, to mix arabic culture and tradition with jazz, a no-brand music like the Anouar Brahem, a musican I deeply love and who I often quote, but what Manfred Eicher and his ECM did this year sounds still more groundshaking: jazz and arabic language, texts from Coran and Jelauddin Rumi. AMAZINGLY new and ancient at same time, yet a superb mix.

"Fasil" ECM 2076 (2009) first... yes, I already quoted this very disk... but maybe worth repeating and requoting it... "Fasil, based on an idea by guitarist Marc Sinan and author Marc Schiffer, tells of the life of Aisha, the great love and youngest wife of the prophet Mohammed, in the course of an inspired song cycle. The improvisations take as their inspirational starting point fragments of Koran recitations recorded by Marc Sinan in Turkey. Together with Julia Hülsmann’s songs they form an Ottoman suite, a Fasil. Highlights in this transcultural project include exceptional performances by Sinan himself, and by Yelena Kuljić in the role of Aisha. The singer was recently described by the Frankfurter Rundschau as “the most thrilling new voice in the current jazz scene.”

and...

"As Ney" ECM 2084... "The melody and texture of the Persian language exerts a subtle hold on the composing and improvising of the Berlin-based Cyminology quartet, heard here on its ECM debut Bandleader Cymin Samawatie, charismatic German-Iranian vocalist, sings her own Farsi lyrics as well as poetry of Sufi masters Rumi and Hafez, and 20th century verse of Forough Farrokhzäd. “As Ney”, an album titled after Rumi’s “Song of the Reed-Flute”, is quietly compelling, proposing a chamber jazz from new and fresh perspectives. An unusual and highly attractive ‘intercultural’ recording whose sensitive musicianship draws the listener in."

Strangely. but not so much, they are both female vocals-based GREAT disks... a new boundary is over, thanking ECM... give'em a try!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

WE 437A/LCR Phono-stage and 801A/10Y Line-stage project - Thomas Mayer's at work!








The result of sooo pleasant, recent Berlin's gathering and endless audio and music chatting has been the above: Thomas Mayer is definitely at work on my behalf seeking for my next all triodes/tube rectified, separate P.S.U. four-chassis LCR phono-stage and line-stage pre-amps.

After my recent exposure to the glory of a Telefunken EC 8020 based phono-stage, I finally understood 'twas time to go for a special project: an LCR based on classic Tango EQ600P LCR modules, using the most exotic and sought after of the super-high transconductance, super-low impedance and highest Mu triodes ever: His Majesty the Western Electric 437A triode (sort of an U.S. version of the mega-rare German-made Telefunken's EC 8020).

All the above mentioned goodies will be painstackingly filtered by hands, skill and knowledge of one of the truly passionate, out-of-the-choir, leading audio designers and builder around, in Europe or elsewhere: Thomas Mayer from Germany. His knowledge of the basics, musical and aesthetic good taste and respect for the data-books is filtered by a braveness and a dadaist experimenter fever which is simply rare these days.

It's always a great experience to discuss and fiddle and think about the building of a one-of-a-kind audio gear... I still fondly remember - in my limited, yet sincere experience - when I built a couple of WE 300B based monoblocks... every aspect, down to the last screw and inch of wire was worth long chatting around... all in the name of Music.

So... here we go: found a quartet of '70s WE 437A, one pair in the USA and the other pair in Japan; found the classic Tango's EQ600P LCR pair, discussed about circuits, tubes, sockets, metal-chassis, colours, wooden-boxes and aesthetics, TVC by Dave Slagle and among the best components and parts around... well, knowing someone, a friend, is making drawings, thinking, assemblying, soldering for you alone, is bespoke care and salt to life and to this passion.

... about TVC (Transformers Volume Control)... here is something I recently read on the matter, which deeply intrigued me...

"Trasparency & ambience": There is a great sense of clearness, possibly due to ground decoupling, and a much improved ambience retrival.
"All bandwidth sounds at the same level" Another reason for going TVC is that all the part of the sound spectrum "works" in the same way and direction. We realized that with the stepped resistor attenuator we used previously, at some level-settings and under certain conditions, the sound started to "shout" (at very high level).
"Whispering with body and guts" at very low level - so nice at midnight - with previous volume control, sound seemed quite "thin", this will be another surprise: you can have a great "body" also when listening at low level.
"Pump up the Volume" We don't know why, but from the time we've put this pots in the chain we're pleasantly listening at an higher level than before; the tonal balance seems more natural & open and also power flows more gently, effortlessly natural.
At the end we found ourselves listening (almost without fatigue) at a so high level we could barely chat to each other."

... the above points, taken from an Italian blog, sounded so true, I simply had to try TVC in my system and yes... it worked as per above mentioned hypes!

Unfortunately the TVC's equipped gear was on loan... but...

... more to come.

........

(added at a later date...)

Thomas Mayer just wished to add the following:

"Dear Stefano,

thanks for the kind words...

It is an honor for me to construct these music making machines for such a fine gentlemen who has such a refined taste.

Thanks for the interesting chats we had in Berlin. And thanks for the trust you put in me!

best regards

Thomas"

... my pleasure, Thomas!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Himalaya Blues


Knut Reiersrud/Hans Fredrik Jacobsen/Vajra
Himalaya Blues
Grappa
2004

Norwegian blues guitarist Knut Reiersrud has collaborated in the last 25 years with blues legends such as Buddy Guy and Otis Rush, when he was only 18 years old, and with experimental guitarists such as Henry Kaiser and David Lindley, while he was acting as researcher, consultant and production assistant in Kaiser and Lindley's musical exploration of Norway ( The Sweet Sunny North, Shanachie, 1994; The Sweet Sunny North, Vol.2, Shanachie, 1996). Reiersrud was always able to combine the musical traditions of Norway, West Africa and America, and in Himalaya Blues, together with Norwegian winwood and reed player Hans Fredrik Jacobsen and Nepalese folk band Vajra, he proves that he can also cope with the musical traditions of the Indian subcontinent.


Himalaya Blues was conceived during a 2000 tour of Reiersrud and Jacobsen's band, The Funky Homosapines, to India and Nepal. During that tour the band played at the jazz festival of Katmandu, Jazzmandu, where they united with Vajra, a band that works to keep the classical folk music of Nepal alive. The Nepalese folk tradition is very similar to the classical music of north India, but it's based on a more short and catchy melodic phrases. The Funky Homosapines and Vajara were reunited again at the beginning of 2003, and then this beautiful recording was completed.


The first track "Kuvisa/Gothald" begins with field recording of the urban commotion of Katmandu but the joyful noise quickly dissolves into the airy meditative sound of the flutes of Jacobsen and Vajra's Raman Maharjanis, both of them portraying the similarities between the beautiful mountain scenery of Norway and Himalayan Scenery. The second track is an arrangement of the popular religious Newari song "Byanchuli" that Jacobsen and Reiersrud turn into a kind of funky Norwegian folk song, using whistles and driving rhythm guitar. Reiersrud sings gently the traditional gospel "She's Got the "Whole World," now called "Mother Himalaya," with a flute and tabla backing, answered by a Sanskrit translation of that Afro-American song, sung by Vajra's Santosh Bhakta Shresta, backed with sarod, flute and tabla backing, until the last chorus in which Reiersrud and Santosh sing together and are joined by the bamboo flute, the bansuri.


Reiersrud brings the music back to Norway when he adapts an odd tuning of the Norwegian noteworthy Hardanger fiddle player Hallvard T. Bjørgum into a kind of country blues playing, and using the guitar sometimes as a West African kalimba. Reiersrud also composed also "Shangri-La," based on a Pakistani folk tune and originally written for the Norwegian vocalist Deepika, daughter of Pakistani parents and a a one-time collaborator of famed Norwegian saxophone player Jan Garbarek ( Ragas and Sagas, ECM, 1990). This song was recorded before with David Lindley in a much more Middle Eastern version when Reiersrud played the oud and Lindley the bouzouki. The current version drives the tune into a folky Indian song.


Jakobsen's "Loknes" is an enchanting demonstration of the affinity between the folky flutes of Norway and the bansuri. "Golden Tap" is a truly collaborative union of the two bands, where you can not discern the sound of the guitar from the sarod, the percussion from the tabla or the Norwegian flutes from the bansuri. This album ends with an almost tweve-minute musical feast, "Himalaya Blues," that spellbound the silent crowd at the historical place of Patan Durbar Square with the touchy and melodic fusion of these great musical traditions, creating a true one world music.


Visit Knut Reiersrud on the web.



Tracks: Kuvisa/Gothald; Morning song/Byanchuli; Mother Himalaya/Himali mata; Sylvartun ; Shangri-La; Loknes; Ballad of the Sad Young Tigers/ Jawan Bagha Kobyatha; Golden tap/Lunhiti; Himalaya blues (Around the jungle/Ban Bihaar); Himalaya blues video version.

Personnel: The Funky Homosapiens: Knut Reiersrud - guitars, vocals on track 3; Hans Fredrik Jacobsen - willow flute, metal flute, og bone flutes, saksophones, two-rowed accordian; Audun Erlien - bass on tracks 2,5, 8 & 9; Anders Engen - drums tracks on 2, 5, 8 & 9, percussion on track 6. Vajra: Santosh Bhakta Shresta - israj, vocals; Raman Maharjan - bamboo flute; Suresh Raj Bajracharya - sarod; Bidur Rajkarnikar - tabla.


Thanks to my friend Kim Bjornqvist from Oslo for hinting this... sure worth exploring it! Thank you, Kim!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

IVIE TECHNOLOGIES INC. IE-30A and Damiano Pinazza's Holy Hands






As I recently wrote, I was pushed by Dietmar Hampel from Germany, to use pink noise and Real Time Analyzer to finely tune my speakers system, I purchased an Ivie Technologies Inc. IVIE IE-30A RTA with "Class 1" measurement-microphone and an IVIE IE-20B Pink/White noise generator, the Rolls-Royces in the field, '80s style, proudly and painstackingly hand-made in Utah, U.S.A.

I privileged the super-fast, real-time attitude the IE-30A's has vs. the computer-based Clio's or more recent IVIE's, because, really, with a self contained, battery operated machine you can do everything everywhere!

Measuring a church organ or an orchestra during a concert, the floor noise from the pub nearby, at 2 A.M.;-))) or the crickets and birds singing in the countryside or a thunder S.P.L. during a storm... all this and more... plus the AMAZING capability of fine tuning a complex horn-based speakers system in one hour... while, before, I was time consuming my ears (and patience...) for weeks!

After few months of great improving of my skills in IVIE's use, greatly, GREATLY supported by Damiano Pinazza, "The Archibishop of IVIE Church" (c/o Audio Network Technology Srl);-), I'm now able to use in a cool way, also if at maybe 20 percent of its full and virtually endless possibilities, the mighty IE-30A: possibly my best audio-related purchase in years, period.

After my positive experience, two dear friends of mine followed me in this technically challenging trip: Georges from Athens and Giovanni, my pard, from Naples.

They both purchased the full combo: IVIE IE-30 and IE-20... must say I paid something for mine, BUT I never had any problem, while both my friends had some troubles which costed some pain to the wallet and in stress terms, after they saved on original purchase.

... and that's what I wish to share: an IE-30A began to show some malfuntions and I promptly contacted Damiano Pinazza at "The IVIE Church Headquarters", in Bovisio Masciago (Milan).

After some days, he called at my mobile, saying that, to his great regret, the sturdy, IE-30A was giving to him some troubles, enough to seriously think for a trip to Utah's IVIE Technologies Inc.'s official maintenance workshop for a fully (and quite expensive) overhaul.

Sounded painful, but OK... me and my friend agreed...

Yesterday, a new phone-call and five mails containing some pixes... to say it short: Damiano was sooo hungry and deluged he didn't find the trouble in Giovanni's IVIE's that he, at 5,40 A.M., was in his workshop, where he dismantled the machine and re- did some soldering, also changing some faulty or leaking tiny caps...

The pixes, beside a dismantled IE-30A during the troubleshooting, show a tired, yet happy and satisfied, proudly smiling Damiano Pinazza with Giovanni's fully serviced and re-calibrated IE-30, after 4+ solid hours spent at the bench with soldering iron in HOT-mode, with LEDs blinking again in the dimmed light of his workshop.

Now, what can I say?!?!? It's tooo weird in this imperfect world a successful, wealthy young manager, loose his sleep for restoring an old measuring laboratory gear... without shame or drums&trumpets, he humbly used his skills and passion and won over the kicking, malfuntioning IVIE's.

Thanks a lot, Damiano, for your being the nice, NICE person you are, for your attitude and "holy hands", for keeping your feet on the ground and for the lesson you gave, keeping the "quality of life" ideal in good consideration - i.e. relationships first - as most important.

... and last but not least, for not giving up and winning on the Machine.

I owe to you a lot... and no, it's not simply a relationship between faulty gear owner/technician... it's a Church, do you remember?!?!;-)))

There is music involved, so it's Archibishop vs. a faithful music-lover in troubles.

Thanks, Damiano... thanks and... amen!
;-)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vicenza Jazz Festival 2009 - Dave Holland Quartet







... jazz, at last... plain, pure, good, ol' jazz... where everyone's having good time, the drummer and sax take their solos, where people applauds after each of them, shouting "Yeahhhh!" while tapping feet ... that's jazz.

Dave Holland is a living icon: he played virtually with EVERY GREAT JAZZ musician of the last 40 years, period.

You name and can't be wrong... he played with.

I just finished grooving in "Angel Song", one of my "records of the decade"... Dave Holland, Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell and Kenny Wheeler... can't imagine a better record.

Dave's playing is fluid, evocative, various and innovative as it can be, and gives to music a backbone seldom heard.

Also "Thimar" with John Surman and Anouar Brahem, always on ECM, is special to me... BUT the yesterday evening concert was more on the "classic" side of jazz, as I told you... like mr. Holland was showing the easy-going face of his skills and art...

On "A Rio", the drummer, vibes and soprano sax created a superb, exotic, slow climax for double-bass growling, yet so utterly clean and intellegible elucubrations... I was at about 4-5 meters from the group, the only way I can use the live music experience for my weird psycho-acoustic and audio related obsession, and what I heard was the sound of such a group as I feel, perceive it, at home... details, imaging, the standing musician is sounding like a standing musicians and the drums are more self-reverberating, large and omni-directional, yet very frequencies related - i.e. cymbals and drums sounds MUCH different - like marimba and vibes, while double-bass and sax are drier and more pinpointing-focused sounding.

I'm so sorry I someway "uses" a great concert for my "purpouses", sort-of downgrading it... BUT music is so free and high it stands also "this" kind of misuse and abuse.

Everytime Dave Holland was going solo, I was virtually comparing the sound, the Real Thing I had in front of me, actually maybe one of the 3/4 GREATEST living double-bass players (as, unfortunately, the late Scott LaFaro passed away too long ago... way out of league and too missed, since now... and Gary Peacock, Charlie Haden and Barre Philips' what remain...) with the aural memory of Dave Holland as I know since my boyhood from the dozens records I own where he cheerfully, always measured and classy, swings...

... that's my idea, my ideal of music: yes, it's moving, it's exciting, as the musicians are there, alive, like never before, but, most important to me, the very experience gives a load of sonic and aural hinting, like a battery recharging for the home listening sessions... live vs. reproduced don't sound so weird or inappropriate...

That's my approach... enjoying music, appreciating fingers and related skills and refreshing my musical memory, "feeling" the musicans, their sweat, their smiles, their stress or easiness. Meeting in person a gentle, handsome genius like Dave Holland, chatting with him, shaking his hand... and yes, having his seminal "Emerald Tears" and "Conference of the Birds" albums autographed... having him showing his almost foldable custom-made double bass and listening to his witty comments, the kindness of his wife apologizing for interrupting our chatting... well: this is salt to life, spice to the greatest passion ever: Music.

... like the late Frank Zappa said: "Music is Best!"

This apparently childish statement is MUCH more heavy and deep as it appears to be... Music is esperanto, is brotherhood, is a straight, pure language... is unique as every musician is a man, thus unique, per definition. It's a miracle!

Thanks to Riccardo Brazzale.

... some infos on Dave Holland:

Dave Holland was born in Wolverhampton, England on October 1st 1946. He was drawn to music at an early age starting with the Ukelele at age 4, moving to the guitar at 10 and then to the bass guitar at 13. Other than a brief period of piano lessons, in these years he was largely self taught learning the popular music of the day from song books and the radio. At 13 he and a few friends formed a band and began playing at the local clubs and dances. By the age of 15 he had joined another band and as that group was working a lot he decided to leave school and try and earn a living as a musician. It was around this time that in a search for expanding his ideas on the bass guitar that he began listening to jazz and heard on records the great bassists Ray Brown and Leroy Vinnegar. This had a profound affect on him and he quickly got a double bass and began practicing with the records. Although he was still working as a bass guitarist he began going to jazz clubs with his double bass and sitting in with the local jazz players. In the summer of 1963 at the age of 17 he was offered a 3 month job on double bass with a dance band that was playing a summer season at a holiday resort. Following this there was a short tour with a big band that was accompanying the pop singer Johnny Ray and then came an offer of a job in London playing music in a restaurant.

As soon as he moved to London he began looking for a bass teacher and started weekly lessons with James E. Merritt who was the principal bassist of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and teaching at the Guidhall School. In the spring of 1964 on his teachers recommendation he applied for admission to a three year program at the Guidhall school and after taking the entrance exam was admitted with a full scholarship in September of 1964.

This began a period of intense musical experiences. By his second year at the school he was the principle bassist in the school orchestra and was also beginning to work with a wide variety of people in the London jazz community. His early jazz work was with bands that were playing in the New Orleans style of King Oliver and Louis Armstrong but he soon was working with many other groups that ranged in style from swing era to modern.

By 1966 he was beginning to play with some of the London based musicians that were being influenced by the contemporary jazz trends of the time. These musicians included John Surman, John McLaughlin, Evan Parker, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Chris MacGregor and others. Bassists that influenced him during this period included Charles Mingus, Scott LaFaro, Jimmy Garrison, Ron Carter and Gary Peacock. His studies at school introduced him to the works of many contemporary classical composers which also had an important influence on him, particularly the music of Bela Bartok. Other activities included free-lance work with chamber orchestras and a variety of work in studios recording music for television, film, radio and records.

By 1967 he was appearing frequently at the Ronnie Scott Club with such jazz greats as Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster and Joe Henderson. It was during an engagement there in July of 1968 that Miles Davis visited the club and heard Dave playing and asked him to join his band. Dave moved to N.Y.C. a few weeks later and for the next two years toured and recorded with Miles. When not on the road he worked with many others in the New York community.

It was late in 1970 that he left the band along with fellow band member Chick Corea and together with Anthony Braxton and Barry Altschul founded the group Circle. It was at this time that he started performing on violoncello as well as bass. After working together for a year the group disbanded and early in 1972 Dave joined Stan Getz’s group. He also had the opportunity to work briefly with Thelonius Monk and began what was to be a long playing relationship with Sam Rivers. Later that year he recorded his first album as a leader, the widely acclaimed Conference of the Birds. This was also the year that he began teaching both privately and as an occasional guest teacher at the Creative Music Studio in Woodstock, New York. He left the Getz quartet in the beginning of 1973 and concentrated on working with Anthony Braxton in duo and group situations and with Sam Rivers in duo and another setting. In 1975 he took part in the formation of the Gateway trio with John Abercrombie and fellow band member from the Miles Davis band Jack DeJohnette. This has continued as an occasional project up to the present time. After working with Betty Carter for a few months in 1976 he spent the remainder of the decade working and recording with Sam Rivers. Dave recorded an album of solo bass music in 1977 entitled Emerald Tears and also began performing solo concerts.

The 1980’s began with Dave still working with Sam Rivers but by 1981 he had left the band so that he could turn his attention to putting together his own group. This was interrupted for a year by an unexpected illness but by the end of 1982, after recording the solo violoncello album Life Circle, he was ready to assemble his first full time working band, a quintet. The first version of the group featured Kenny Wheeler, Julian Priester, Steve Coleman and Steve Ellington. Later members included Marvin Smitty Smith and Robin Eubanks. The group recorded three groundbreaking albums and toured extensively until 1987.

Following the disbanding of the quintet he continued working in a trio format and in 1988 recorded the poll winning album Triplicate with Jack DeJohnette and Steve Coleman. He also performed with Hank Jones and recorded two albums with him, one of them with Billy Higgins.

His teaching activities included being appointed in 1983 as artistic director of the summer jazz workshop at The Banff School in Banff, Alberta, Canada, a position he held until 1990, and from 1987 to 1990 a full time faculty position at the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1988 Dave formed a new band, a quartet with Steve Coleman, Kevin Eubanks and Marvin Smitty Smith and in 1989 the group recorded Extensions an album that was voted album of the year in Downbeat magazine and received world wide acclaim.

Other activities included a 1990 world tour with Jack DeJohnette’s Parallel Realities group featuring Herbie Hancock and Pat Metheny, and a Grammy nominated recording with Metheny and Roy Haynes. Since 1992 he has also appeared as a member of Herbie Hancock's trio and in that same year Dave performed on Joe Henderson's Grammy Award winning recording So near, So far.

1993 started with a tour of Europe performing solo concerts after which he recorded his second solo album, and later that year took part in an extensive tour with a special project featuring Betty Carter, Geri Allen and Jack DeJohnette during which the group recorded live at the Royal Festival Hall in London, England. This recording was released in 1994 under the title Feed the Fire.

Early in 1994 Dave formed a new quartet with Steve Nelson, Eric Person and Gene Jackson. The summer was spent touring with the Gateway Trio and the trio recorded an album for ECM December. Dave’s Quartet performed in Europe and America and early 1995 the band recorded its first album to be released on ECM Records in April 1996. The remainder of the year he toured both with his group and as a member of the Herbie Hancock Trio with Gene Jackson.

Biography courtesy of Saudades Tourneen

Monday, May 11, 2009

Vicenza Jazz Festival 2009 - Jan Garbarek & Hilliard Ensemble "Officium" by Arvo Part



Imagine a centuries old Francescan Monastery in downtown Vicenza with a nearby Gothic cathedral, a sort-of peceful island in the busy modernity, full packed for the event of the year, music and spirituality, modern and ancient.

Padre Celso, the Dom, elder friar, introduced the concert to the several people in the church, where in his words, the spirituality and misticism of Arvo Part's masterpiece where paramount vs. a concept of "religion" which is quite limited to the deepness of music and its effects on human soul.

After some minutes of crowd noises calming down, at last, the Tempio di San Lorenzo, that's the name of the place, voices began to spread in the huge reverberant space, coming in the Gregorian chant centuries old tradition, from the walking singers while reaching the shrine, elevated central space.

Jan Garbarek arrived with his "Reunion Blues" leather sax-bag, with two instruments: a tenor-sax and a saxello and he began, respectfully, to interact with heavenly voices of Hilliard's four angels...

Seeing all this happening at 4-5 meters from me made me someway embarassed: is it not too much, for me?!? Who am I to be sooo near to the core of things happening?

The text in latin, russian, english, is a long, long, yet far TOO brief moment, so various, full of chromatic and melodic changes... when the sax sounded a little bit inappropriate, suddenly the composer changed his music...

As Padre Celso explained, also the singers, for two times, during the "Officium" itself, the corpus of sacred words and music made for meditation and knowledge, are brought to ask for pity to the Lord, humbly... during the aria: "Most Holy Mother of God Save Us", the interwoving of three of the four voices resulted in shivers and mind-boggling for yours truly... the simple voices in the huge church resulted so... so... unique, awesome, moving...

Shortly after, always 3/4 of Hilliard's made something... in an angular, Perotinus-like vocal bliss, Jan Garbarek's began a slow boogie-woogie, cool bluesy riff, which, to anyone surprise, was so elegant and proper... surprising thinking that what was modern in 12th century may be still modern these days, blending with absolutely "wrong", modern music, flawlessly.

After a time which, no surprise, flowed like a fluid, as they arrived, the four singers exited... their voices coming from mid and back of the Cathedral where reminding me of Harmonic Chanting, as coming from Tibetan Gyuto monks from Tibet... this surprised me, as one more time, I discovered, must say re-discovered something I was already aware of... it's one world and no boundaries, in music and culture REALLY exists.

That's plain true... thus my hint is: keep your eyes on ECM's concerts schedule to find the Garbarek and Hilliard on Arvo Part's music nearest to you.

A great concert, an experience... again beyond definitions: is it classic, is it avantgarde or ancient, Gregorian music or is it jazz? Who care... it sure is Music and one of the very best concerts of my whole life.

Thanks to Padre Celso, Riccardo Brazzale, Franca and Pippo.

Thanks also to Roberto Cifarelli, as I linked here below to his superb pixes and site:

Officium pixes

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A new Desert Island Record: The Chitinous Ensemble directed by Paul Buckmaster


I owned this very elusive disc in cassette and open-reel 9 i.p.s./2 tracks formats for most of my (musical) life - the record dates back to 1971 - and only recently I found a copy, a nice copy on Deram label - Made in England gorgeous pressing.

Well, must say I wasn't prepared to the enjoyment I experienced this afternoon, when I had a listen, a careful, loving listening to the vinyl, at last.

It's music I've really been exposed to for decades, it's part of myself, BUT, nonetheless, the legendary Decca's recording quality made the miracle I discovered literally WORLDS of never heard sounds, the music passed at a completely different level of perception than other lesser medias, period.

The disc is simply AMAZING: Ian Carr's trumpet shines, while orchestra and prog-jazz musicians who recorded in three days - imagine they were well rehearsed - the masterpiece are in seldom heard league.

... not a cheap disc... BUT , folks, it's worth every sum, believe me.

For anyone interested in classic British jazz and prog-jazz, I listed some records I own and which recently listened to with great pleasure... consider them a sort of compendium to The Chitinous Ensemble (I'm listening to it right now...), an enlarged memory soundtrack to those magical early '70s, where all happened.

McLaughlin, Holland, Stu Martin, Surman - Where Fortune Smiles (Dawn)
Michael Gibbs - Just Ahead (Polydor 2lps)
Mike Westbrook - Love Songs (Deram)
McLaughlin/Okley/Surman - Extrapolation (Immediate)
Mike Westbrook - Marching Song Vol. 1 e 2 (Deram)
Michael Gibbs - Tanglewood '63 (Deram)
Michael Gibbs - First (Deram)
Keith Tippett's Centipede - Septober Energy (RCA 2lps)
Mike Westbrook - London Bridge is Broken Down (Venture/Virgin 3 LPS)
Ian Carr - Belladonna (Vertigo)
Norma Winstone - Edge of Time (Argo)
Keith Tippett/Marc Charig- Pipedream (Ogun)
Coxhill/Miller-Miller/Coxhill (Caroline)
Mike Westbrook - Metropolis (RCA)
Surman/Oxley/Skidmore - S.O.S. (Ogun)
Michael Garrick - Troppo (Deram)
Keith Tippett - Blueprint (RCA)
John Surman - Morning Glory (Island)
Hugh Hopper - 1984 (CBS)
Robert Wyatt - Ruth is Stranger than Richard (Virgin)
The Chitinous Ensemble (Deram)
John Surman - Westering Home (Island)
Robert Wyatt - Rock Bottom (Virgin)
John Surman - Tales of Algonquin (Deram)

You can't be wrong on the above... Enjoy!

Vicenza Jazz Festival 2009 - John Zorn & Uri Caine




Wikipedia on John Zorn


... yesterday evening, the first evening of 2009 edition of Vicenza Jazz Festival... a cool beginning beyond the thresholds of standards and jazz... the great, great John Zorn, born Sept. 2nd 1953, seems a rapper, younger than ever, never tired of his decades-long musical career, his Tzadik record label, Masada Acoustic and Electric projects exploring his Jewish roots, the recent projects with fellow Newyorkers Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed... a true volcano.

Uri Caine, beside being a very nice piano player, sounds sometimes second-listen, echoing some Jarrett/De Hartman/Tsabropoulos' Gurdjieff's hinted melodies alternating stormy piano sonic wrecks with mid-eastern flavoured melodies...

John Zorn's solo on alto sax - simply said, on a class itself - pays hommage to the noblest tradition of solo sax explorations of Ornette Coleman, Lol Coxhill, Evan Parker, and Anthony Braxton (the greatest of all, as John said during a too short conversation, after the concert...) hinting to whales, penguins and, broadening comparison, birds singing, snorting, puffing, farting, whistling, scaling, overtoning, playing in a sonic Picasso's version of (free) jazz, Terry Riley and LaMonte Young and Steve Reich in the shadow of timeless Teatro Olimpico's landscape, so misterious and appropriate to this weird music, with their blessing spirits...

The duo with Uri Caine, finally presented as a third, duo-act, after solos, showed a Zorn's Masada project-related revisitation... interesting, pleasing... but so much more normal than the sax-solo performance, quite rare and unseen & unheard by definition, left myself and others, still mouth-watering and missing the Zorn's previous stellar performance... beyond the limits of music and sound... to the VERY limits of the instrument itself.

... on next Sunday May 10th, Jan Garbarek and Hilliard Ensemble playing Arvo Part "Officium"...

Thanks to Riccardo Brazzale for the GREAT music program. Bravo and braveheart;-)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Choosing & listening to a record: how it happens? An hint...


Yesterday evening I was listening to some old Krautrock classics: Can - Tago Mago, Ash Ra Temple - Join Inn, Amon Duul - Disaster and I had the crystal clear, intense feeling in "KNOWING" what was the mind process in choosing RIGHT THESE DISCS...

When I was listening to Klaus Schulze's Moog on Ash Ra Temple's disc, I had a strong, "primitive", "natural" wish - as opposed to "I see a disc on a shelf and I pick it up for a listen" by chance - to listen to Damo Suzuki's voice in Tago Mago... then, again a primitive thought... hey, then I'll have a listen to that old, crazy double Amon Duul's disc, the one with concrete lettering on the cover (Disaster).

During this SOOOO pleasant, freaky - very private listening session... i.e. - jumping in the Music Room, playing an invisible guitar à la Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock... after calming down... I had a further speculation on this... is it possible, I guess, that many times, when both purchasing and listening to Music, we are following a path, better still, we are refreshing, confirming, matching the music which is ALREADY stored in our: brain, mind, soul, heart... choose the best match for you...

If I stop myself and concentrate on some high quality listening in my discs- collection, it REALLY represents an extraordinary, necessary and extremely valuable support for my true, very ME... an emanation, a prosecution of myself, an external hard-disk of life-friendly soundtracks, a mind-library... that's POSSIBLY the VERY "why" we're never tired in expanding our music discotheque... 'cause as living our life we're never tired in learning, broadening our knowledges, meeting new people, it's simply "natural" to continuing collecting, beginning new interests, re-discovering old neglected... one of best points in music collecting and music tout-court is in listening a record you forgot to own... only the touching the cover among other discs makes mind boggling, with a lot of remembrance from the past.

So, I argue... the listening process is a matching affaire with the ideal music the VERY ourselves know it's best for their - let's name this - health... music is already stored in ourselves from the past generations or, who knows, still more misteriously, as Makoto Kawabata says - he's a japanese musician, an improviser who claims he's an antenna - for the Music always and ALREADY here and coming from somewhere... maybe from... the Outer Space!!!

... sounds like the expression "Food for Thought" isn't so far from reality, don't you?!?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tears of Joy



Tears and Music... a topic which intrigues me a lot... I already wrote something in my native language on the matter, but, as I freshly experienced it, aehm... 'twas yesterday evening, indeed... - here I am again.

What happens is in human nature, I guess... a piece in minor-key, usually hints for commotion, having an utterly moving character per se...

Yesterday I put on the platter of the Shindo 301 a disc which is in my disc-library since early '70s: Karl Richter playing the 16th century organ of Jaegerstadt Kirche in Copenhagen... a Deutsche Gramophone old tulip label recorded almost 50 years ago, where the old organ, noisy and breathing like a gentle giant;-) touches the soul only with its sound... but if J.S. Bach's "Canzona in D minor BWV 588" is played... well, the only thing which makes sense is... sighing, shamelessly!

Really, words are not able to describe the beauty, the immense beauty hinted... the lines, 4-5 voices are interwoving and following each other, always changing, always new to the ears and soul.

Subbass is like God's voice, mid and highs are angels... really, if I think to something religious, mystic, I cannot stop thinking to this superb piece, silently humming it in my head.

... and prayers aren't for such a deep, yet light and moving at the same, mysticism in music... prayers are for the fearsome, and no fears is felt when grooving in J.S.'s fractal immensity... life is too short but soooo beautiful and what we can do is living, nothing more, nothing less... like words cannot describe the very private sensations this very music gives to me, nonetheless, let me say... I listened to this very organ masterpiece in the dark, in my music room: at the very beginning, only the triodes blueish glowing were apparent in the warm, cocooning dimmed light... then, also smaller tubes and some reflections on my wife glassewares on the shelves and on the large horns became apparent... what I felt for a long moment was I looked at my very personal sky, with stars and stars and again stars shining...

... that was the moment I experienced shivers on my arms and legs and... tears erupted from my eyes... tears of joy.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

WJAAS - A & E Technical Research closed... a sad moment and an audiophile loss!


 弊社では、1972年に日本で最初のDCパワーアンプを発売して以来、位相特性、延滞特性など、時間軸に対する認識の重要性を発表し、精細な音楽信号をいかに忠実に再現するかを追求してまいりました。その間、1975年には直流ドリフトの面で不可能といわれたプリアンプも、特殊な変調方式を使ったチョッパーアンプを用いることにより実用化し、その後、イコライザ、チャンネルデバイダ、D/Aコンバータ、ラインセレクタ、さらにスピーカーに至るまで、トータルな製品群を一品一品手作りにより今日まで提供してまいりました。
 しかしながら、近年のIC技術の発展よる低価格オーディオ製品の台頭、ご利用者世代の交代、趣味や生活環境の変化といった要因が伴い、DCアンプの先駆者として、音楽を鑑賞するという至福の時間を過ごして頂きたいが為に提供してまいりました弊社のオーディオ製品郡の担った役割は終えたものと判じました。
 よって、弊社のオーディオ製品一切の、修理も含む取り扱いを停止させて頂きます。
 今尚ご利用頂いております皆様には、多大なご迷惑をおかけ致しますが、なにとぞご容赦頂けますようよろしくお願いいたします。
 皆様、長年ご愛用頂きまして、誠にありがとうございました。

2008年5月20日
エーアンドイー テクニカルリサーチ
代表  竹上 寛之

Musings - just in case...


The Ears for Tomorrow?

Farcical Laboratories Sonic Blinders



Reg. Price: $995.00
Sale Price: $599.95
Save: $395.05







Farcical Laboratories Sonic Blinders - this unique device enhances and controls your sonic reception avoiding interruption during your favorite musical passage (such as an aggravated spouse or whining child). Great for those late night listening sessions when you don't want to wake your neighbor (or listen in on them). No batteries required. Made from Space-Age Palintonic Synthetics. Order now and receive a complementary box of Q-tips. Lightweight and Portable. Available in Medium, Large or Ridiculous sizes.

Caution: Avoid use during windy conditions.


Thanks to Dietmar Hampel for sharing this.

See you in Berlin, Dietmar;-)

Friday, May 1, 2009

The secret unveiled: Roman Bessnow's DPoLS, speakers Imbedded Macro Positioning and playback in-wide-phase to room or the Quest for AEZ;-)


I consider the reading of some essay Roman Bessnow wrote in his Romy the Cat/GoodSoundClub forum to be among the best speculations ever written on audio and music reproduction, period.
That's possibily due to the mix of new and old world personal history, heritage, culture, skills and habits... but, well, what Roman did was far, FAR away and deeper than the usually empty hype-oriented typical audio chatting available everywhere... his hinting toward an ideal goal in musical enjoyment is nor crytpic neither snobbish, but, IMO, sincerely aimed to promote such an apparently difficult task: the better possible sound AND musical involvement and enjoyment while listening, BETTER, while experiencing Music at home...
I carefully read, digested and mumbled around several pages of his superb forum, where he passionately spend zillions world in trying to distillate a concept which is - very Zen-like - understandable in full ONLY if experienced, at least, one time in the life;-)
Very, very simplified, the practice of moving speakers around in the music-room, searching, as also a mainstream audio-guru - David Wilson of WAMM, WATT and Puppy's fame - suggests, calling it "Zone of Neutrality" or the location where the speakers interact less with the boundaries of the room... Roman calls this "Zone of Maximum Partiality", when acoustic system is organically imbedded into the imperfections of the room itself, taking advantage of the imperfections, thus converting these into advantages.
While mr. Wilson is afraid of room boundaries and feels there are "better rooms", Roman didn't think there are "bad rooms"...
Wilson looks for a neutral zone outside of which a room booms... Roman seeks for the boomiest zone outside of which... nothing happens.
While, always going ahead in DW vs. RB opinions, DW sweet-spot is about 3 inches sized, RB's is, with same speakers and careful set-up, a walkable space... and so and so on...
The above apparently obscure different, contrastating opinions bring us to a clearer place... please read further...
The above mentioned relatively-wide bandwidth "agilest" spot (the walkable space) in your room, will not be a spot but rather a quite large space.
It's very difficult to make a generalization about its size, but generally this quite "large bloomy space" would be a space equal to something between 1/8 and 1/12th of the room dimensions.
Roman (as myself - it's time to discover my own feeling) calls this large bloomy space as "Acoustical Erogenous Zone" (AEZ) of our listening room and obtains it moving the spakers, one at a time, where the 80hz to 500hz, the "Melody Range" driver/speaker, being AEZ-linked to room, gains its maximum potential "in" the room and "with" the room.
It's something not subtle and much cheaper than any gears swapping you can imagine! The speakers must be "inside" the AEZ: this way our artificial room-transducers (speakers) are in-phase with the very nature and essence - i.e. size, materials, pro & con - of the music room and then on, they do not work against each other.
Roman insists that if our "Melody Range" channels/ways (or a live instrument, as well...) are in AEZ, then they are capable of truly WONDERFUL things by "TURNING THE ENTIRE ROOM ON" - i.e. you cannot accomplish it with better speakers or better amps.
Diving in dangerous, yet pleasant territories, Roman says that driving our room with loudspeakers from "outside" AEZ location, is like pleasing different parts of a female body - it gives positive and effective atomic (meaning individual, isolated) effects to her gratification. However, only performing ALL necessary "actions" on women fabled;-) G-spot, some (lucky) woman will reach not atomic, BUT a FULL BODY REACTION.
The Melody Range lodging a room from AEZ is much more akin in hitting the G-spot of our music/listening room and allows us to get a VERY different and evolved result of the room loading, that's simply unimaginable if you drive same room "outside" of AEZ!

So, beside some difficulties in making an acceptable synopsis of Roman's stream of consciousness, that's plainly said, what I obtained in my humble 25 sq. metres music/listening room: the sensation of listening to a Musical Room, not speakers in a room to accomplish aesthetics or easy living or WAF... friends which listened to my elucubrations about "walking among musicians", "looking at the bottom of the violinist", the "speakers disappearing" and the "huge, organized time/music bubble, respecting instruments and voices recorded sizes and informations", and last but not least, the lysergic mass of "organized details", interwoving each other, without overdistracting or loosing the moving qualities of musical message... well, they had to experience with their own ears and senses to understand and believe me.
This is DPoLS, in glorious "Gotorama" and analog full-bloom, the best possible sound in a given room... that's what I'm grooving-in since some months ago, when I possibly - sort-of - sold my soul to the Devil or something... or, maybe, it was I dreamed and followed this ideal of sonic aesthetics I wasn't aware of... a beauty including quality and enjoyment, where the several complications involved in musical reproduction at home is ONLY a medium, so not paramount per se, like top musicians do not shows pain or stress also in most difficult playing, instead only giving "Music" to the listener. Simple, isn't it?!?!

Thanks Roman... myself and, as I hope, many others, owe to you A LOT... for teaching with simple words and hinting a path with an out-of-the-choir cristal-clear voice.

... like in '50s B-movie: "Romy vs. the Morons", Music by Miklos Rozsa;-)))))))))