Whack Jazz

Something Else! Interview: Jazz guitarist John Russell

Something Else! Interview: Jazz guitarist John Russell

“I’m not too much of a fan,” the free-form legend admits, “of the ‘jazz’ label.”

WTF?! Wednesdays: John Zorn, “Chronology” from Spy vs. Spy (1989)

WTF?! Wednesdays: John Zorn, “Chronology” from Spy vs. Spy (1989)

I wonder what Ornette thinks of this stuff?

WTF?! Wednesdays: Peter Brotzmann and Nasheet Waits Duo at UMass Amherst (2005)

WTF?! Wednesdays: Peter Brotzmann and Nasheet Waits Duo at UMass Amherst (2005)

We were sitting about 70 feet away and the amount of sound coming from that man’s horn … unamplified … was kind of scary. I don’t know how he does it.

WTF?! Wednesdays: Eugene Chadbourne, “Electric Rake” (2005)

WTF?! Wednesdays: Eugene Chadbourne, “Electric Rake” (2005)

My introduction to guitarist/raconteur/wise ass Eugene Chadbourne came out of a short stack of records borrowed from a co-worker. This would have been back in the early 90s. There were things like Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, and Henry Kaiser in that pile.

One Track Mind: Thumbscrew [Mary Halvorson / Michael Formanek / Tomas Fujiwara], “Cheap Knock Off” (2014)

Made up of three highly distinctive voices in the world of jazz and avant-garde music, Thumbscrew should probably collapse under the weight of its star power

photo credit: Stefan Bremer

Raoul Björkenheim / eCsTaSy – eCsTaSy (2014)

My first encounter with the dazzling whack jazz guitar wizardry of Raoul Björkenheim came via one of his many projects, the Norwegian-Finnish alliance power combo Scorch Trio (Luggumt, 2004).

WTF?! Wednesdays: Fred Frith, “No Birds” (1974)

WTF?! Wednesdays: Fred Frith, “No Birds” (1974)

Many years ago, I made a mix tape specifically for use on long drives in my pickup truck. No, it was not filled with country music.

Xiu Xiu – NINA (2013)

Xiu Xiu – NINA (2013)

Xiu Xiu vocalist Jamie Stewart enlists Ches Smith and These Arches to record a Nina Simone tribute record. The resulting NINA is one of the weirdest records of 2013.

WTF?! Wednesdays: Sun Ra and his Astro-Infinity Arkestra, “Strings Strange” (1966)

WTF?! Wednesdays: Sun Ra and his Astro-Infinity Arkestra, “Strings Strange” (1966)

The music Sun Ra never disappoints. His “Arkestra” had the ability to swing like crazy in conventional contexts as well as more “out” presentations.

WTF?! Wednesdays: Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, “Improvisation #2″ (1985)

WTF?! Wednesdays: Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, “Improvisation #2″ (1985)

To the statement that “Nobody sounds like Derek Bailey” comes the snarky reply, “Just who the hell would want to sound like Derek Bailey?!”